Thursday, March 31, 2016
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
Today I like the…
Smell of…my husband.
Sound of…the old hymns.
Sight of…fuschia colored orchids (inside) and red wild poppies (outside).
Feel of…a soft, warm tunic (because it’s just a little chilly this morning).
Good Things about Today:
- There is a chance of rain which we really need.
- I don’t have to go shopping or to the doctor today.
- It is not going to be a hot day. :-) (Something to be thankful for as we are headed into the warmer weather.
- Bible reading, breakfast, and light therapy.
- Communicated with my sister-in-law about a project.
- Played the piano.
- Looked up some music on You Tube.
- Working on a blog post now (which is taking much too long). :-)
- Some laundry.
- Putting away things that have strayed from their proper places and finding locations for things that need new proper places.
- Try to get an appointment with the eye doctor scheduled so that we can find out the results of my MRI and what is going on with my swollen optic nerve.
- Working on my sewing projects some more.
How our cat asks to go outside. :-)
“Driving around most of the National Parks is pretty strenuous in itself. If you could put Yosemite and Yellowstone together, you would have something about the area of Wales whose geography is a combination of Switzerland, Persia and the Day of Judgement. …these parks were lovingly created two generations ago by men who chopped through thousands of feet of lumber, who rode into them on a horse, who discovered the sublime with an axe, a botanist’s kit, a piece of bacon, a tent and a stout heart.”
- Alistair Cooke; taken from Letter from America 1946 - 2004, p. 16. (Original quote from 1948.)
Verse for Today:
Jude 1:24-25 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Poem for Today:
You ask how you learn to trust Him?
Dear child, you must just let go!
Let go of your frantic worry,
And the fears which plague you so;
Let go of each black tomorrow
Which you try to live today;
Let go of your fevered planning,
He knoweth all your way.
Fear not lest your slipping fingers
Let go of your Savior too, --
Trusting is only knowing
He’ll not let go of you!
- Martha Snell Nicholson
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Illustration source unknown.
Luke 24:3-6 And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen...
The Empty Tomb
A Mohammedan once said to a missionary:
"We have our Prophet's tomb to show, but you have nothing."
Earth's Meccas and the faiths of men
Hold but a corpse within a tomb;
Each weary pilgrim's journey ends
At some sad shrine of grief and gloom.
Earth's prophets rest, in silence wrapped,
Dust in the dust from whence they came;
By Death's chill wind their torches quenched,
No more to kindle into flame.
Earth's priests in solemn splendor sleep,
Ashes to ashes, robed and stoled;
Their chanted prayers forever hushed,
Their altar fires forever cold.
Earth's kings in state and glory lie,
In crypts of porphyry encased;
Their names and deeds, in marble carved,
Time's blurring touch has half erased.
No mausoleum built by man
Entombs our Prophet, Priest and King;
Our love no pilgrimage need make,
No fading votive garlands bring.
No death could kill, no guard could keep,
No seal could stay, no grave could hold
Immortal Life in mortal clay;
No darkness could the Light enfold.
Our Prophet's word shall come to pass,
Our Priest is interceding still;
Our King shall reign forevermore,
While heaven and earth shall do his will.
"No grave to show"? This is the stone
On which the temples of our faith
Rise higher than the mosques of Ind;
Our Living Lord has conquered Death!
Annie Johnson Flint
Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore...
Saturday, March 26, 2016
John 20:29 Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
1 Peter 1:7-8 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I first wrote and published this in April 2011. The thought is still pertinent today. [Edited]
Easter and Christmas are said to be the two biggest church going events of the year. Consequently a lot of churches will put forth extra effort to get people to come to them on these “holidays”. We received an invitation to a church in our area this week in the mail. They sent out a colorful flier that looks a lot like a business advertisement but is supposed to help us “find reasons” to go to their church this next Lord’s Day. Their very “Christian” slogan is “Hop Over This Easter”. (I hope you realize I’m being a bit sarcastic there.)
Among the enticements they are offering to get the crowds in are:
Live music --- Hello? Don’t church services usually have some form of “live music”?
Coffee bar --- Hm. That’s a nice enticement. Hopefully it will keep the people awake through the following:
A “relative and inspiring message” --- Um… Yes, you read that correctly. :-) I’m not exactly sure if that “relative” was a mistake or not, but it sure gave my husband a laugh.
Easter Egg Hunt --- Of course. This ancient, non-Christian symbol is an old standby for pleasing the crowds on “Easter” day.
A space just for the kids filled with interactive games and videos --- You see where I get the carnival idea.
Family Portraits --- Really?? How thoughtful of them. Now the once and twice a year church goers can have some concrete evidence to show whoever they think they are going to impress that they were actually at church on Easter 2011. Somehow I don’t quite think those pictures are going to make it to heaven with them. They certainly would not impress God, especially considering the probable lack of reverence at this particular event! (I’m sure the idea is also to show off those lovely new clothes that are another man-made tradition and vain show of the flesh that is common for “Easter Sunday”.)
In the paragraph on the left of the card we read that people are finding reasons to go to “_________ Community Church”. The reasons given are:
Real relationships --- To whom?
Relevant teaching --- About what?
A meaningful spiritual experience --- What kind of spirituality are we talking about here?
This very personal invitation addressed “To Our Neighbor”, lacks some very important things.
There is not one reference to God anywhere on it. Not one. This is supposed to be a church, and yet nothing is mentioned about why they meet, who they worship or what kind of “spiritual experience” they are imparting to those who come.
John 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. 24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
There is not one reference to the Bible. What foundation do they have for their church? What do they refer to for their authority in communicating a “relevant teaching”? They claim to offer us next Sunday a “relative and inspiring message”. Relative to what? Inspiring in what way? If they have no final authority or inspiration higher than themselves why should we want it?
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Finally, there is no reference whatsoever to Jesus Christ or His resurrection. None.
Now, I realize that Easter, as many people know it, is all about bunnies, eggs, flowers, candy, etc. It is not a holy day to remember the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There is good cause for that relating to the history of Easter and the date as the Catholic church chose it. (That is a topic for another time and article.) This is why my family have distinguished the first Sunday after Passover by calling it Resurrection Sunday. We feel this name clarifies whom we are honoring on that day.
This mass mailing invitation shows, I think, why this is necessary. These people, though they claim to celebrate “Easter” as a “church” in a “Christian” context, put the whole emphasis entirely upon self-fulfillment of the attendee. The Lord Jesus Christ, who rose from the dead so that He could conquer the last enemy for us eternally (1 Corinthians 15:26), is excluded, set aside, and unmentioned.
Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have no salvation.
Romans 4:23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; 24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; 25 Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ we have no justification.
1Corinthians 15:14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. 15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. 16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: 17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. 18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.
Without the resurrection of Jesus Christ Christianity is a farce and we have no hope of the future. Without it there is no point whatsoever in having “church.” We might as well stay home and eat chocolate and play golf.
1Corinthians 15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [Emphasis added.]
I’d like to ask the people seeking a “spiritual experience” in a place that does not mention God, the Bible or the Lord Jesus Christ on their invitation:
“Why seek ye the living among the dead?”
What about you this coming Resurrection Day? Is Jesus Christ the center of your thoughts and preparations? It is something well worth considering.
This post by my sister-in-law, Clara, goes very well here:
Are We Consumers or Followers?
Are We Consumers or Followers?
Sunday, March 20, 2016
First published on this blog Oct. 2011. Edited.
Nov. 30, 2006
More About Abilities
Earlier this month. I made mention of some comments from a friend regarding abilities and the fact that God does not require of us what we cannot do.
Interestingly, this subject came up again recently for me in my Bible reading in the context of giving.
Ezra 2:68 And some of the chief of the fathers, when they came to the house of the LORD which is at Jerusalem, offered freely for the house of God to set it up in his place: 69 They gave after their ability unto the treasure of the work threescore and one thousand drams of gold, and five thousand pound of silver, and one hundred priests' garments. [Emphasis added in several places.]
Also note that they gave - they did not sell and buy bonds to build the temple.
Notice that here the men gave for the work of the Lord (building the temple in this case) according to their ability. They did not give what they did not have. In other words, there was no "faith promise" involved. They did not give more than they could, as some have done when pressured by men who like to sheer the sheep too close (offering takers). They did not piously say, "If I had a million dollars, I'd give it aaalllll to God," despite the fact that they only had $5 to give. They just gave after their ability. Not less. Not more. Not on promise. And, although this was the Old Testament era, they also did not give on command. They offered freely.
Here is a parallel thought in the New Testament:
Acts 11:28 And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. 29 Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: 30 Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.
So, in the context of the New Testament church where Old Testament tithing is not commanded, we see that giving is also to be according to ability and not according to people's expectations or demands - others or our own.
2 Corinthians 8:12 For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
1 Corinthians 16:2 Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.
2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. 7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
Friday, March 18, 2016
Photo property of Lindsay Wilkes at The Cottage Mama.
Here is a link to a tutorial for some cute bowl covers. You can use this for transporting food, but they can also be used in your own kitchen. How fun to have something that matches your own decor. :-)
I think these would look nice in my kitchen made up with cheerful strawberry fabric, or red with white polka dots. :-)
Would you use these kind of covers?
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Sunday, March 13, 2016
This is a photo of me working on my wedding outfit in Tennessee in 2008.
First posted in Oct. 2011. Edited.
Here is another old blog post that addresses the issue of how we are all different in our abilities before God. This goes well with the post from last week.
Nov. 14, 2006
According To Our Abilities
My friend, Cindy, wrote to me not many weeks ago and shared this very comforting thought relating to a situation that came up for her:
"I made 3 pairs of curtains for [my husband's] dad's house in less than 24 hrs. We picked up a portable machine to sew on at Wal-Mart... Funny thing, Mary, about this is that making these was harder than any I had made before. I was very apprehensive prior to working on them. I happened to read the parable of the talents and noticed the phrase about the 2 who were given talents according to their several ability and got some insight that the Lord gives gifts as He sees fit and didn't give the workers a job they could not do. I had never thought of the parable in that way. It doesn't say inability there. This helped me and God gets the glory for my efforts which turned out fine despite my not knowing ahead of time if I'd succeed at this project."
Matthew 25:15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
I also noticed this verse during our family Bible reading and remembered Cindy's letter:
1Peter 4:11 If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
This is good news. Our kind Lord will not give us a task for which we are not prepared or that we cannot accomplish with the abilities He has given us. We need not worry that He will give us something "too big" for us, but we also need not fret because we can't do this or that like someone else can.
I have personally had people tell me on more than one occasion that they wished they could play the piano. In at least some cases I know it was not possible for them to have learned that and/or it was not an ability that God had given them. According to what we read above, they can be content that their abilities are just as useful to God as anyone else's, even if they can't play the piano. And, if the Lord wants them to play the piano, He will provide the ability. I once knew a lady who started taking violin lessons at 40! :-)
These things apply to many areas of life. I suppose we can all think of some ministry or ability that we would "like" to have. We may also feel weak in areas where we feel "too much" is required of us. We would do well to remember that God gives the abilities and the opportunities to use them. We can rest in His wisdom in this matter.
This is not to say that we should not use discernment in matters. People can and do allow themselves to be pressed into doing things they ought not to do. God will give understanding in these situations too. Remember there is a difference between what He requires of us and what man will try to require of us. We must cast ourselves upon Him for leading in this matter as well, and ask for His wisdom.
Psalm 103:13 Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear him. 14 For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Thursday, March 10, 2016
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Sunday, March 6, 2016
This post was originally published on my former blog at The Home Maker's Corner. I first posted it here in September 2011. I have made some edits and modifications to it at various times.
I was pleased to find this post among my old blog entries because this subject has been a burden to me lately. I have been hurt in my heart to see and hear how women in the Lord’s church are being pushed around by ideologies that require us to all be the same in order to “please God” as “excellent wives.” The unfortunates who don’t fit in the categories that have been prescribed are being stepped on and left in the dust by those who are allegedly “good, obedient Titus 2 women.” Too many of the "spiritual" crowd cry “Grace, grace” yet there is no grace for those who don’t fit – those with few or no children, the single ladies who are out of their father’s home, the women who have to work of necessity, the women who don’t have men to stand up for them and protect them, and sometimes even the women who weren’t raised in a godly home (and are thus made to feel deficient in spite of being complete in Christ, Col. 2:10). Think what variety and pleasure we would miss if every flower were a rose – or a skunk cabbage. Or what if all fruit were apples, or all grass was crabgrass or pampas? Our God loves variety, and He loves it in His children as well as His other creations!
We are meant to be different, dear sister in Christ!
Aug. 30, 2007
Meant to Be Different
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
It's a common problem in the Lord's church for people to be pressured to be or do everything the same. If you want to be "spiritual" or "right with God", you must do or be a certain way. The impression is given that all who "are surrendered" (not a biblical expression) will - go on visitation, teach Sunday School, street preach, participate in faith promise, "go to the altar" regularly, help with the bus ministry, ____________, ________________, _______________ (you fill in the blanks), etc.
Or how about this list of "necessities" to "please God": home school your kids, have lots of children, keep your house in perfect order, bake your own bread, wear only skirts, eat organic, etc. This problem applies in many areas, you see!
Look at what the above verse says, though, Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us... God intends for us to have different gifts. He doesn't want us all to be the same or do the same work. And, He gives grace according to the work that He intends us to do, not for things He doesn't intend for us to do.
1Corinthians 12:17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?
God created the human body with many different functions and abilities. Each is different and special in it's own way, but it is also necessary for those parts to do the job they are created to do. Physically disabled people may train some part of the body to do some other function than normal, such as working with the feet when the hands are missing or breathing with the neck muscles when the breathing muscles are paralyzed, but we marvel at those as a phenomenon and not as "normal" in the sense of what the typical human does. They can survive that way, but we know that was not the original intent for those parts of the body.
How is it then that people in the body of Christ - as it is so correctly called - will try to force others, and themselves, to all do the same job? Why do we imagine that if we can't do what someone else does that we are somehow deficient? This is not God's plan. It is not the mind of Christ.
We are one body but we are supposed to have different gifts. God intentionally gives grace according to the work we are to do. If we try to force our way into some other work, is it so amazing that we don't accomplish the same things that someone else may in that same area? We weren't meant to do that, nor were we "graced for that work", if you will.
Let us be content with the ministries and abilities that God has given and strive to serve Him in those, regardless of what others say or imply. Let us be faithful where God has put us in the body and not feel diminished because we can't do what someone else does. God makes no mistakes. He wants us different for His glory, for His work and according to His wise and perfect plan.
2Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.
Saturday, March 5, 2016
This song really blessed me recently. I hope it blesses you too.
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen...Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Friday, March 4, 2016
Since so many places are not allowing the use of plastic bags, it's nice to be able to make your own tote bags from inexpensive materials. These two tutorials have some fun and fairly easy methods for doing that.
Here is a great little tutorial on how to use an ordinary, boring tote bag as the lining and handles of a pretty tote in your choice of fabric. This would also be a good way to make a stained or discolored tote look good again.
Betz White tells us how to do this, and it is pretty simple stuff - if your tote doesn't have a box bottom.
At the end of the tutorial Betz says that you can do this with box bottom totes as well but, in thinking about it, I'm pretty sure you'd need to add some extra fabric to the top if you are going to box the bottom. This might take some math so as not to end up with a shortage at the top edge.
Instructions on how to make boxed corners.
I don't have any totes to recover at the moment, but it would be an option to buy inexpensive, plain totes and use them for this purpose.
Here is a place where you may be able to find some inexpensive totes if you want to make a selection for yourself, for gifts or to use as gift bags for "wrapping" presents. Be sure to pay attention to what how they are made. Some of the totes here look like the flimsier "press fabric" that is not woven, but some kind of plastic product. If you want real fabric, make sure to find some that are made that way.
Here is a tutorial from The Sewing Dork on how to upcycle a thrift store pillow case (or one inherited or that you don't use) into a reusable grocery bag. You can also use fabric that you already own, which is even better since you won't be spending any more money. :-)
Note: the pocket is totally not necessary. Skip it if you don't want the hassle.
Thursday, March 3, 2016
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Original vintage graphic from Old Design Shop. Altered by me.
Time Marches on. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist that one!)
Here we are in another in-between month – not spring (or autumn) and not winter (or summer) – or maybe it is, because it’s stuck in the middle and that can happen. In Texas, it is spring! We can still have frost and frosty weather for sure, but generally things are popping out in March. In some places it is the "mud month" as snow and ice may be melting during the day and freezing again at night.
This month it seems like we should strive for something a little more challenging again, and it seems like it is time to write another letter or two.
So, here is the challenge:
Write a list of things you love and appreciate about a loved one. Make a copy and give it to that person. [Save your copy to get out and read over when you feel especially provoked at him/her. :-) ]
Write a "love letter" to your spouse, child, parent, grandparent or other family member.
I know. This is the “wrong month”. But, we don’t really observe Valentine’s Day in the first place, and secondly, I don’t like to get stuck doing this or that because it’s the "cultural norm." I kind of like jumping out of boxes that are not necessary. :-) Life keeps us in quite enough necessary boxes.
The list part of this is kind of self-explanatory. It's about appreciating someone we love and letting them know specific things we appreciate. The list doesn't have to be extensive, but I hope you can think of more than three or four items. :-)
The "love letter" is obviously not just about love letters in the romantic sense, although it could be if written to your spouse (husband, as I don't think I have many male readers). Rather it's about expressing love to someone close to us. It could even be a close friend. It might be a good idea to write the letter to someone who you don't always express your love to in words that have more depth of meaning.
This may prove to be a greater challenge than some, but that's a good thing - stretching ourselves in a different way.