Thursday, September 30, 2010

Wedding Dress Shopping!

Anna and her mom are going wedding dress shopping on Monday and I've been invited to go!  I'm very excited!

Esther Study Finished

I finished up the last three sessions of the Esther study I was doing this week.  This study has been so awesome for me.  God has shown me so many things through the lives of Esther, Haman,  King Xerxes and Mordecai. In the book of Esther there is no mention of God, yet He is all over it, in it and through it. 

Author: The Book of Esther does not specifically name its author. The most popular traditions are Mordecai (a major character in the Book of Esther), Ezra and Nehemiah (who would have been familiar with Persian customs).

Date of Writing: The Book of Esther was likely written between 460 and 350 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The purpose of the Book of Esther is to display the providence of God, especially in regard to His chosen people, Israel. The Book of Esther records the institution of the Feast of Purim and the obligation of its perpetual observation. The Book of Esther was read at the Feast of Purim to commemorate the great deliverance of the Jewish nation brought about by God through Esther. Jews today still read Esther during Purim.

Key Verses:  Esther 2:15- Now when the time came for Esther to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king's eunuch who was in charge of the harem, suggested.

Esther 4:14 - For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the royal position for such a time as this.

Esther 6:12 - Since Mordecai, before whom your downfall has begun, is of Jewish origin, you cannot stand against him - you will surely come to ruin!

Esther 7:3  -If I have found favor with you, O king, and if it pleases your majesty, grant me my life - this is my petition, and the life of my people - this is my request.

Brief Summary: The Book of Esther can be divided into three main sections. Chapters 1:1-2:18 – Esther replaces Vashti; 2:19-7:10 – Mordecai overcomes Haman; 8:1-10:3 – Israel survives Haman’s attempt to destroy them. The noble Esther risked her own death as she realized what was at stake. She willingly did what could have been a deadly maneuver and took on the second-in-command of her husband‘s kingdom, Haman. She proved a wise and most worthy opponent, all the while remaining humble and respectful of the position of her husband-king.

Esther's story is much like the story of Joseph in Genesis 41. Both stories involve foreign monarchs who control the destiny of the Jews. Both accounts show the heroism of Israelite individuals who provide the means for the salvation of their people and nation. The hand of God is evident, in that what appears to be a bad situation is indeed very much under the control of the Almighty God, who ultimately has the good of the people at heart. At the center of this story is the ongoing division between the Jews and the Amalakites, which was recorded to have begun in the Book of Exodus. Haman’s goal is the final effort recorded in the Old Testament period of the complete eradication of the Jews. His plans eventually end up with his own demise, and the elevation of his enemy Mordecai to his own position, as well as the salvation of the Jews.

Feasting is a major theme of this book: there are ten recorded banquets, and many of the events were planned, plotted, or exposed at these banquets. Although the name of God is never mentioned in this book, it is apparent that the Jews of Susa sought His intervention when they fasted and prayed for three days (Esther 4:16). In spite of the fact that the law allowing their destruction was written according to the laws of the Medes and Persians, rendering it unchangeable, the way was cleared for their prayers to be answered. Esther risked her life by going not once uninvited before the king but twice, (Esther 4:1-2; 8:3). She was not content with the destruction of Haman; she was intent on saving her people. The institution of the Feast of Purim is written and preserved for all to see and is still observed today. God's chosen people, without any direct mention of His name, were granted a stay of execution through the wisdom and humility of Esther.

Foreshadowings: In Esther, we are given a behind-the-scenes look at the ongoing struggle of Satan against the purposes of God and especially against His promised Messiah. The entrance of Christ into the human race was predicated upon the existence of the Jewish race. Just as Haman plotted against the Jews in order to destroy them, so has Satan set himself against Christ and God’s people. Just as Haman is defeated on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so does Christ use the very weapon that his enemy devised to destroy Him and His spiritual seed. For the cross, by which Satan planned to destroy the Messiah, was the very means through which Christ “having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross” (Colossians 2:14-15). Just as Haman was hanged on the gallows he built for Mordecai, so the devil was crushed by the cross he erected to destroy Christ.

Practical Application: The Book of Esther shows the choice we make between seeing the hand of God in our circumstances in life and seeing things as merely coincidence. God is the sovereign Ruler of the universe and we can be assured that His plans will not be moved by the actions of mere evil men. Although His name is not mentioned in the book, His providential care for his people, both individuals and the nation, is evident throughout. For instance, we cannot fail to see the Almighty exerting influence over King Xerxes’s timely insomnia. Through the example of Mordecai and Esther, the silent love language our Father often uses to communicate directly to our spirits is shown in this book.

Esther proved to have a godly and teachable spirit that also showed great strength and willing obedience. Esther’s humility was markedly different from those around her, and this caused her to be elevated into the position of queen. She shows us that remaining respectful and humble, even in difficult if not humanly impossible circumstances, often sets us up to be the vessel of untold blessing for both ourselves and others. We would do well to emulate her godly attitudes in all areas of life, but especially in trials. Not once is there a complaint or bad attitude exposed in the writing. Many times we read she won the "favor" of those around her. Such favor is what ultimately saved her people. We can be granted such favor as we accept even unfair persecution and follow Esther’s example of maintaining a positive attitude, coupled with humility and the determination to lean on God. Who knows but that God put us in such a position, for just such a time as this?

Thirty

John 2:6
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

The Friendships of Women

"Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 

A study of elementary school activity recess revealed that boys and girls play differently on the playground structures. Researchers have found that girls are more likely to swing and climb to the top of the play structures and yell down at their friends who are close by on the ground. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to run around the structure or the playground.

Apparently, these findings concerned the researchers because they worry that girls aren't using enough of the playground. Isn't that interesting? Without any suggestion from teachers or parents, the girls place themselves in closer physical proximity to each other, thereby increasing their social contact.

Although little girls tend to disagree more than boys, their need for friendships is obvious, and at a young age, seek each other out. God designed this need in us, and friendships offer more than companionship, they also offer protection.

With Satan as our enemy, and sin as our nature, we are weakened. One of Satan's most effective tools is isolation. He knows if we stay away from godly friends, he can start planting lies in our minds, and thereby bring us down. But with good friends to surrounds us, and affirm God's truth in our life, we are less susceptible to attack.

Consider frost damage. In a forest, a tree is more likely to be killed by frost if it is standing alone. The same goes for plants and bushes around our homes. However, when the trees are clumped together there is a natural protection and they survive the cold.

This is a lot like people. None of us expect a difficult time to come - but we live in a fallen world and bad things happen. To a person without godly friends, a time of frost can kill them emotionally. However, when a person is surrounded by friends, they are more likely to survive.

For many of us, friendships are whipped cream on the ice cream sundae of life. They are an added bonus, but not essential. However, God thinks otherwise. In Ecclesiastes 4:8-10 we have the following words of advice: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!"

In another book of the Bible, we are advised to confess our sins to others. James 5:16 says, "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective." Since I'm probably not going to confess my sins to someone I don't know, this verse affirms the importance of godly friends.

Take time to be with friends. Plan a holiday gathering and share the things you are thankful for. Look for opportunities to include friends in your everyday life and share what's going on in your life. Our time invested in friendships is time well spent. It's in our God-designed make-up to need each other and it accomplishes God's desire for our protection when the hard times come.

Psalm 80

 1 Please listen, O Shepherd of Israel,
      you who lead Joseph’s descendants like a flock.
   O God, enthroned above the cherubim,
      display your radiant glory
    2 to Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh.
   Show us your mighty power.
      Come to rescue us!
 3 Turn us again to yourself, O God.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.
 4 O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies,
      how long will you be angry with our prayers?
 5 You have fed us with sorrow
      and made us drink tears by the bucketful.
 6 You have made us the scorn[a] of neighboring nations.
      Our enemies treat us as a joke.
 7 Turn us again to yourself, O God of Heaven’s Armies.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.
 8 You brought us from Egypt like a grapevine;
      you drove away the pagan nations and transplanted us into your land.
 9 You cleared the ground for us,
      and we took root and filled the land.
 10 Our shade covered the mountains;
      our branches covered the mighty cedars.
 11 We spread our branches west to the Mediterranean Sea;
      our shoots spread east to the Euphrates River.[b]
 12 But now, why have you broken down our walls
      so that all who pass by may steal our fruit?
 13 The wild boar from the forest devours it,
      and the wild animals feed on it.
 14 Come back, we beg you, O God of Heaven’s Armies.
      Look down from heaven and see our plight.
   Take care of this grapevine
    15 that you yourself have planted,
      this son you have raised for yourself.
 16 For we are chopped up and burned by our enemies.
      May they perish at the sight of your frown.
 17 Strengthen the man you love,
      the son of your choice.
 18 Then we will never abandon you again.
      Revive us so we can call on your name once more.
 19 Turn us again to yourself, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
      Make your face shine down upon us.
      Only then will we be saved.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Just Stuff.......

Where did fall go?  I know it's here, but it seems that we've went from 90 degree weather to 50's.  What happened to the high 60's?  Fall is my favorite time of year, but I'm not a cold weather person.  I am loving the coolness though.  It makes me long to bring my coffee to the porch and watch the sun come over the trees of my southeastern Oklahoma back yard.  It makes me long to bake up a storm.  It makes me long to plan for the holidays.  It makes me long to find a good book and hunker down for a good read....  Hmmm which will I do first?.....

Word-Filled Wednesday

Glass-Eyed Horses



Color is the only difference between glass eyes and normal horse eyes. Normal horse eyes are brown. According to "Storey's Horse-Lover's Encyclopedia", glass eye is only for certain breeds, usually American paint or appaloosa.



Identification


The University of Minnesota defines glass eyes as nearly colorless eyes, but often they are just barely tinged with blue. A horse can have one or two glass eyes.


Color


It was once thought that only horses with white heads had blue or pale eyes. But UC Davis College of Veterinary Medicine claims that blue eyes can appear in horses of any color.


Breeds


Glass eyes are most commonly found in mustangs, appaloosas, American paint horses, Clydesdale draft horses and any mixed breeds with white spots or patches.


Tradition


Terms for the same object differ for those who ride English style than those who ride Western style. Western riders call it a glass eye, while English riders may say wall eye, China eye or Clydesdale eye.


Misconception


Although blue or glass eyes are unusual, they are not a sign that the horse has vision problems, according to the University of Minnesota.



Psalm 79

 1 O God, pagan nations have conquered your land,
      your special possession.
   They have defiled your holy Temple
      and made Jerusalem a heap of ruins.
 2 They have left the bodies of your servants
      as food for the birds of heaven.
   The flesh of your godly ones
      has become food for the wild animals.
 3 Blood has flowed like water all around Jerusalem;
      no one is left to bury the dead.
 4 We are mocked by our neighbors,
      an object of scorn and derision to those around us.
 5 O Lord, how long will you be angry with us? Forever?
      How long will your jealousy burn like fire?
 6 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
      on kingdoms that do not call upon your name.
 7 For they have devoured your people Israel,[a]
      making the land a desolate wilderness.
 8 Do not hold us guilty for the sins of our ancestors!
      Let your compassion quickly meet our needs,
      for we are on the brink of despair.
 9 Help us, O God of our salvation!
      Help us for the glory of your name.
   Save us and forgive our sins
      for the honor of your name.
 10 Why should pagan nations be allowed to scoff,
      asking, “Where is their God?”
   Show us your vengeance against the nations,
      for they have spilled the blood of your servants.
 11 Listen to the moaning of the prisoners.
      Demonstrate your great power by saving those condemned to die.
 12 O Lord, pay back our neighbors seven times
      for the scorn they have hurled at you.
 13 Then we your people, the sheep of your pasture,
      will thank you forever and ever,
      praising your greatness from generation to generation.

My Grandma Flora's Cookbook

This weekend I plan on adding more recipes to the My Granda Flora's Cookbook blog.  I know it's been ages since I've done so... but I feel it brewing!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Bites

Pumpkin Pies

I’ve been in a mini-mood lately when it comes to baking and these bite-sized pies met my big craving.
They are really, really easy. Let me show ya.

Pumpkin Cutter

Of course, it didn’t hurt that I used ready to roll refrigerated pie crust. It comes two to a box and if you roll each round pie crust a little bit thinner with a rolling pin, you can get 24 mini pumpkin-shaped pie crusts out of them. Make sure you use all the dough scraps and re-roll to maximize quantities.

Dough

Then, stuff each one in a mini muffin baking pan. This one holds 24.

Pumpkin Shells

Press the dough down, in and around the edge of each muffin cup. Make sure the stem for the pumpkin stays sticking out. You’ll notice I alternated cups above. I did this mainly to make sure the pie crusts didn’t touch each other. So I ended up baking these in two batches.

Pre-baked

Fill each pie crust with pumpkin filling all the way to the top.

Puffed Pumpkin Pies

When they come out of the oven, they’ll be puffed up like this. Too bad they didn’t stay that way. That would be pretty darn cute.

Pumpkin Pies

But no, after they cool for a few, they’ll fall and be flush with the pie crust.
See… easy mini pumpkin pie bites. These would be really cute at Thanksgiving.

Drizzled Pumpkin Pies

You can even drizzle them with melted chocolate to jazz them up a bit. Just melt some chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between. You can also add a little bit of vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Then, transfer the chocolate to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off and drizzle away.
But wait… you say you don’t want to wait until Thanksgiving.
I don’t blame you.
So… pipe some chocolate faces on and make them in October.

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Cute!
And I’ll say it again… easy!

Pumpkin Pie Bites

2 refrigerated ready-to roll pie crusts
8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Pumpkin-shaped cookie cutter
Optional
1/2 cup chocolate morsels
vegetable oil
re-sealable plastic bags

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Use cookie cutter to cut 12 pumpkin shapes from each pie crust. You will need to roll the dough thinner than it comes out of the box.
Press dough shapes into a 24 cup mini muffin tray. (Make 12 at a time, alternating cups to make sure pie crusts don’t overlap each other.)
Apply egg whites from one egg to the top edges of each pie.
Mix cream cheese, sugar, canned pumpkin, remaining 2 eggs, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice together until thoroughly combined.
Spoon mixture into each pumpkin-shaped pie crust.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pies to cool and repeat with second pie crust. Place the muffin tray in the freezer to cool it quickly for re-use.
Makes 24 pies. Keep refrigerated.
To decorate, melt chocolate in a heat-proof bowl in the microwave on medium. Heat in 30 second intervals, stirring in between until melted. Add a little vegetable oil to make the chocolate more fluid. Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and cut the corner off. Drizzle or draw faces on pies.
Note: The cutter I used was 3 3/4 inches wide, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Just use a round cutter around that size or slightly smaller to cut circle shapes out of the dough. Then make stems with the scraps. Press each stem over the edge and down the side of the dough before filling.
Pumpkin pie spice is a mixture of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice.
Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pies

Wedding Date Set!

Zachery and Anna have a final date on their wedding~ May 28th!  It was pending the date the church was available.  Many plans are already underway... and we are all so excited. Having Anna and Eric in our lives has come as naturally as breathing air. I thank God for this coming union and know that He will bless their marriage and their lives with love and joy.

Louie Giglio - I AM

 

SO POWERFUL!!!

Crossroads Ministries

The new church that we have been attending, Crossroads Ministries,  had it's second service this last Sunday.  It was agreed the first Sunday that our offerings were going to go towards people and circumstances of need.  So, it was amazing this last week to see a couple in the church handed a car title and a pair of keys for a new car! To be a part of that blesses my heart...  The tears flowed as we thanked God for this first miracle out of the box!  God is so good!  I know that He has so much more in store.  We had an increase in number this last week and seeing some faces from Antlers and Boswell was joyful and surprising!  I pray that God continues to bless us with His never-ending mercy and grace.

Remain My Love

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love." John 15:9 (NIV)

Is it really possible to live in God's constant presence free from fear and sheltered by His love? Miraculously, it is. Living carefree in the love of God is doable and real.

It's the kind of life that Jesus lived on earth and the life He desires for each of us. "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love" (John 15:9).

I want to experience God's love and grace every day. As believers, our life is meant to be wrapped in God's love, but many of us live in fear and defeat instead. Where is our power and victory? Where is our peace that flows like a river? If you and I are in a love relationship with God, why don't we reflect that?

Many of us are powerless and full of anxieties rather than love because we do not faithfully practice fellowship with God. We simply stand in the shadow of God, but don't draw near. Perhaps we feel confused, abandoned, betrayed, or afraid of God. Or maybe we just stay too busy to draw near. This is not the Lord's desire. He longs to be with us.

To really experience the loving personality and presence of God, we have to spend time with Him. Knowing about God and knowing Him personally are two different things. We can read the Bible and acquire knowledge about God's love, but that doesn't mean we will experience it in an intimate way. Knowing about someone and being involved in a relationship with them are two very different experiences.

Personally, I don't want to simply know about God and His love. I want to share in it. I want to open my heart to God by telling Him about my hurts and my joys. I also want to know what's on His heart too. I desire to hear from Him instead of doing all the talking myself. I want the kind of relationship that Christ had with His Father in heaven while here on earth. And, I can have that through abiding. You can too.

To abide means to stay where you are. Colossians 3:3 tells us exactly where we are to stay. "For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God."

That's our position; we are to stay in Christ. We don't just run to Christ when we're scared or desperate. Abiding in Christ means to remain in His presence daily - during every season and through every turn of life.

Abiding takes more than a token prayer, reading a few biblical words, or singing some praise songs on Sunday. Besides, abiding is not about doing more but about seeking God and connecting with Him. Today that connection may be about basking in his unconditional love. Tomorrow, it may be His strength that you relish. Whatever your need may be, you can find it in God's presence daily.

Is it possible to live a life in constant contact with God and His love all day long? It was for Jesus. Therefore, it must be possible for us too.

Dear Lord, how I long to live each day with You—in Your love, power, peace, and strength. Lord, I will stay in this moment with thoughts on You until I experience Your connection with me. Come, Lord, and meet with me today. Teach me to remain with You always. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Psalm 78

 1 O my people, listen to my instructions.
      Open your ears to what I am saying,
    2 for I will speak to you in a parable.
   I will teach you hidden lessons from our past—
    3 stories we have heard and known,
      stories our ancestors handed down to us.
 4 We will not hide these truths from our children;
      we will tell the next generation
   about the glorious deeds of the Lord,
      about his power and his mighty wonders.
 5 For he issued his laws to Jacob;
      he gave his instructions to Israel.
   He commanded our ancestors
      to teach them to their children,
 6 so the next generation might know them—
      even the children not yet born—
      and they in turn will teach their own children.
 7 So each generation should set its hope anew on God,
      not forgetting his glorious miracles
      and obeying his commands.
 8 Then they will not be like their ancestors—
      stubborn, rebellious, and unfaithful,
      refusing to give their hearts to God.
 9 The warriors of Ephraim, though armed with bows,
      turned their backs and fled on the day of battle.
 10 They did not keep God’s covenant
      and refused to live by his instructions.
 11 They forgot what he had done—
      the great wonders he had shown them,
 12 the miracles he did for their ancestors
      on the plain of Zoan in the land of Egypt.
 13 For he divided the sea and led them through,
      making the water stand up like walls!
 14 In the daytime he led them by a cloud,
      and all night by a pillar of fire.
 15 He split open the rocks in the wilderness
      to give them water, as from a gushing spring.
 16 He made streams pour from the rock,
      making the waters flow down like a river!
 17 Yet they kept on sinning against him,
      rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
 18 They stubbornly tested God in their hearts,
      demanding the foods they craved.
 19 They even spoke against God himself, saying,
      “God can’t give us food in the wilderness.
 20 Yes, he can strike a rock so water gushes out,
      but he can’t give his people bread and meat.”
 21 When the Lord heard them, he was furious.
      The fire of his wrath burned against Jacob.
      Yes, his anger rose against Israel,
 22 for they did not believe God
      or trust him to care for them.
 23 But he commanded the skies to open;
      he opened the doors of heaven.
 24 He rained down manna for them to eat;
      he gave them bread from heaven.
 25 They ate the food of angels!
      God gave them all they could hold.
 26 He released the east wind in the heavens
      and guided the south wind by his mighty power.
 27 He rained down meat as thick as dust—
      birds as plentiful as the sand on the seashore!
 28 He caused the birds to fall within their camp
      and all around their tents.
 29 The people ate their fill.
      He gave them what they craved.
 30 But before they satisfied their craving,
      while the meat was yet in their mouths,
 31 the anger of God rose against them,
      and he killed their strongest men.
      He struck down the finest of Israel’s young men.
 32 But in spite of this, the people kept sinning.
      Despite his wonders, they refused to trust him.
 33 So he ended their lives in failure,
      their years in terror.
 34 When God began killing them,
      they finally sought him.
      They repented and took God seriously.
 35 Then they remembered that God was their rock,
      that God Most High[b] was their redeemer.
 36 But all they gave him was lip service;
      they lied to him with their tongues.
 37 Their hearts were not loyal to him.
      They did not keep his covenant.
 38 Yet he was merciful and forgave their sins
      and did not destroy them all.
   Many times he held back his anger
      and did not unleash his fury!
 39 For he remembered that they were merely mortal,
      gone like a breath of wind that never returns.
 40 Oh, how often they rebelled against him in the wilderness
      and grieved his heart in that dry wasteland.
 41 Again and again they tested God’s patience
      and provoked the Holy One of Israel.
 42 They did not remember his power
      and how he rescued them from their enemies.
 43 They did not remember his miraculous signs in Egypt,
      his wonders on the plain of Zoan.
 44 For he turned their rivers into blood,
      so no one could drink from the streams.
 45 He sent vast swarms of flies to consume them
      and hordes of frogs to ruin them.
 46 He gave their crops to caterpillars;
      their harvest was consumed by locusts.
 47 He destroyed their grapevines with hail
      and shattered their sycamore-figs with sleet.
 48 He abandoned their cattle to the hail,
      their livestock to bolts of lightning.
 49 He loosed on them his fierce anger—
      all his fury, rage, and hostility.
   He dispatched against them
      a band of destroying angels.
 50 He turned his anger against them;
      he did not spare the Egyptians’ lives
      but ravaged them with the plague.
 51 He killed the oldest son in each Egyptian family,
      the flower of youth throughout the land of Egypt.[c]
 52 But he led his own people like a flock of sheep,
      guiding them safely through the wilderness.
 53 He kept them safe so they were not afraid;
      but the sea covered their enemies.
 54 He brought them to the border of his holy land,
      to this land of hills he had won for them.
 55 He drove out the nations before them;
      he gave them their inheritance by lot.
      He settled the tribes of Israel into their homes.
 56 But they kept testing and rebelling against God Most High.
      They did not obey his laws.
 57 They turned back and were as faithless as their parents.
      They were as undependable as a crooked bow.
 58 They angered God by building shrines to other gods;
      they made him jealous with their idols.
 59 When God heard them, he was very angry,
      and he completely rejected Israel.
 60 Then he abandoned his dwelling at Shiloh,
      the Tabernacle where he had lived among the people.
 61 He allowed the Ark of his might to be captured;
      he surrendered his glory into enemy hands.
 62 He gave his people over to be butchered by the sword,
      because he was so angry with his own people—his special possession.
 63 Their young men were killed by fire;
      their young women died before singing their wedding songs.
 64 Their priests were slaughtered,
      and their widows could not mourn their deaths.
 65 Then the Lord rose up as though waking from sleep,
      like a warrior aroused from a drunken stupor.
 66 He routed his enemies
      and sent them to eternal shame.
 67 But he rejected Joseph’s descendants;
      he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim.
 68 He chose instead the tribe of Judah,
      and Mount Zion, which he loved.
 69 There he built his sanctuary as high as the heavens,
      as solid and enduring as the earth.
 70 He chose his servant David,
      calling him from the sheep pens.
 71 He took David from tending the ewes and lambs
      and made him the shepherd of Jacob’s descendants—
      God’s own people, Israel.
 72 He cared for them with a true heart
      and led them with skillful hands.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Composed and Quieted

"O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, or in things too difficult for me." Psalm 131:1 (NASB)

I watched the young mother deftly work in her kitchen, amazed at all she could accomplish with one hand. In her left arm she tenderly cradled her little one. With her right hand, elbow, shoulder and hip she opened drawers and shut doors; she pulled out cups, saucers, and spoons; she scooped coffee and poured water.

While Juan Valdez's aroma filled the air, she gathered pastries from her pantry and other refreshments from her refrigerator. When silence replaced conversation, she hummed a quiet melody into her baby's ear. Finally we sat down to enjoy our mid-day visit and I realized her tiny infant had slept through it all, mindless of the constant noise and swirling activity.

Oh, to rest in such peace while all around me chaos reigns. What secret lay hidden in that little heart?

The chapter which contains today's key verse offers the answer- such a short and simple Psalm, yet it says it all, "Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; like a weaned child rests against his mother..." (NASB).

I long for an escape from life's challenges. Sometimes the force and frequency with which my trials torment me threaten to undue me.

I've been tested and tried this year to the point that I thought, "If the barrage doesn't let up, I am a goner." I held up my hand in the stop position and screamed out to God, "No more! Have mercy. I'm undone! How am I supposed to juggle all this?"

In that instant God whispered, "Like a child rests against his mother, quiet your soul."

Then the Master Artist sketched for me the picture I described earlier. His reminder recalled a young mother tenderly and safely holding her baby, while all around, life's responsibilities increasingly swelled.

Sweet friend, do you feel like you are losing your footing? Are you struggling to conquer the chaos? If you are like me you are on the brink, throwing up your hands and screaming, "I give up!"

That's good! Give up.

Yes, that is what I said.

Give up and like a child in her mother's arms, trust and rest.

Some matters are too complicated for us to figure out. Let God open and close the doors. Believe that He will prepare and provide. He created you, His precious child. He is protecting you in the crook of His strong right arm.

Father God, Your Word assures me that You are a strong shelter. You don't give me more than I can endure. Out of obedience I believe You and rest. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

New Happenings

My husband and I resigned our positions at the church we have been attending for the past couple of years.  It was a hard decision, but with stepping forward in faith, and tons of confirmation, a right one.  God is once again moving us to work in another new church plant. I love seeing new beginnings.  Especially in small, remote areas where people don't want to drive very far to attend church services.  God's mercy and grace are new every day!  And, I know, if He can use a talking donkey, then he can use me.  Here I am Lord, send me.




Psalm 77

1 I cry out to God; yes, I shout.
Oh, that God would listen to me!
2 When I was in deep trouble,
I searched for the Lord.
All night long I prayed, with hands lifted toward heaven,
but my soul was not comforted.
3 I think of God, and I moan,
overwhelmed with longing for his help.
Interlude

4 You don’t let me sleep.
I am too distressed even to pray!
5 I think of the good old days,
long since ended,
6 when my nights were filled with joyful songs.
I search my soul and ponder the difference now.
7 Has the Lord rejected me forever?
Will he never again be kind to me?
8 Is his unfailing love gone forever?
Have his promises permanently failed?
9 Has God forgotten to be gracious?
Has he slammed the door on his compassion?
Interlude

10 And I said, “This is my fate;
the Most High has turned his hand against me.”
11 But then I recall all you have done, O Lord;
I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago.
12 They are constantly in my thoughts.
I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works.

13 O God, your ways are holy.
Is there any god as mighty as you?
14 You are the God of great wonders!
You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.
15 By your strong arm, you redeemed your people,
the descendants of Jacob and Joseph.
Interlude

16 When the Red Sea[a] saw you, O God,
its waters looked and trembled!
The sea quaked to its very depths.
17 The clouds poured down rain;
the thunder rumbled in the sky.
Your arrows of lightning flashed.
18 Your thunder roared from the whirlwind;
the lightning lit up the world!
The earth trembled and shook.
19 Your road led through the sea,
your pathway through the mighty waters—
a pathway no one knew was there!
20 You led your people along that road like a flock of sheep,
with Moses and Aaron as their shepherds.

Resistance

 (Blog at bottom~ skip down past definitions if you find yourself getting bored!  LOL)

The act or power of resisting, opposing, or withstanding.

The opposition offered by one thing, force, etc., to another.
 
How Does Resistance Exercise Work?
Resistance training works by causing microscopic damage or tears to the muscle cells, which in turn are quickly repaired by the body to help the muscles regenerate and grow stronger. The breakdown of the muscle fiber is called "catabolism," and the repair and re-growth of the muscle tissue is called "anabolism." You're probably familiar with the term anabolic when used with steroids. Anabolic means to grow, and that's exactly what happens after you break down the muscle fibers with resistance exercise. In fact, many biological processes of growth in the body require some breakdown, or catabolism, prior to re-growth. For instance, bones must be broken down first before calcium and other growth factors repair the bone and make it stronger. With muscles, testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, growth hormone, protein, and other nutrients rush to the muscle after a resistance-exercise session to help repair the muscles to make them stronger.


We need to have resistance in our lives to cause us to grow stronger.  We've all heard the old saying "What doesn't kill us, makes us grow stronger."  These words are truer than most of us care to admit.  I say that to say, we should welcome resistance in our lives.. if we can look at the whole picture and realize that those times in our lives will bring us strength.  When we are injured or resisting we know that nutrients (God) rushes to help repair the "muscle" and then in turn, we grow stronger.  It's wonderful to know, that our struggles in this world are not for ought.  They are there for strength building... and for helping others.  When we can look someone in the eye during their time of need and tell them we know what their situation is like because we've been there, then it's been worth it all.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'll Be Back

Taking a couple of days off....... will return after Friday (9/24/10).

God bless!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Proverbs 17

Proverbs 17:17  A friend loves at all times........

Psalm 76


1 God is honored in Judah;
      his name is great in Israel.
 2 Jerusalem[a] is where he lives;
      Mount Zion is his home.
 3 There he has broken the fiery arrows of the enemy,
      the shields and swords and weapons of war.
                         Interlude
 4 You are glorious and more majestic
      than the everlasting mountains.[b]
 5 Our boldest enemies have been plundered.
      They lie before us in the sleep of death.
      No warrior could lift a hand against us.
 6 At the blast of your breath, O God of Jacob,
      their horses and chariots lay still.
 7 No wonder you are greatly feared!
      Who can stand before you when your anger explodes?
 8 From heaven you sentenced your enemies;
      the earth trembled and stood silent before you.
 9 You stand up to judge those who do evil, O God,
      and to rescue the oppressed of the earth.
                         Interlude

 10 Human defiance only enhances your glory,
      for you use it as a weapon.[c]
 11 Make vows to the Lord your God, and keep them.
      Let everyone bring tribute to the Awesome One.
 12 For he breaks the pride of princes,
      and the kings of the earth fear him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cinnamon Bun Pancakes


When two people tell you that these are the best pancakes they have ever eaten, then you know that they are good.  These pancakes are exactly what you want when you are craving a cinnamon bun but do not have the time to make them.  These are sweet, cinnamony and fluffy.  To make something delicious over the top, instead of maple syrup (which is also delicious), top them with cinnamon bun icing.  Nothing short of amazing.
This recipe is indeed a treat, but it is also a great recipe to try experimenting with whole wheat flours.  The pancake itself is already dark because of all of the cinnamon.  If you have children that are put off by things that do not look the same all the time try making this with with a small amount of whole wheat flour and gradually increase the amount.  They will never suspect a thing.

cinnamon pancake recipe
1 1/2 cups flour
3 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 Tablespoon vanilla
pancake recipe
Put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl.
pancake recipe
Whisk the dry ingredients together.
cinnamon bun pancake recipe
Add the wet ingredients and whisk together until well combined.
pancake recipes
Preheat a griddle or large saute pan over medium heat.  Cook until brown on both sides.
cinnamon bun pancake recipe
They are delicious just like this but even better with this.
cinnamon bun pancakes
To make the frosting:
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons milk
Whisk the ingredients together until smooth and a pouring consistency.  If too thick add more milk, if too thin, add more sugar.
These pancakes are the perfect way to start a day.  Make some and share them with someone you love.

Thankful Thursday


Finding Balance

So many of us struggle daily, if not hourly, to find our balance. Pushed and pulled by demands and wants and needs, haunted by speculation or fear, unable to shake a mood or take action - we long for balance. We dream of resting at the hub of our life, with the spokes of relationships and responsibilities spinning smoothly around us.

Gratitude can help you find balance. Even starting small, with a daily or weekly list of the things you're most thankful for, can help you restore calm and balance your energy and attention.

You may find that the things you're most grateful for haven't been your priorities. You may be reminded that simple is also grand.

Psalm 75

 1 We thank you, O God!
      We give thanks because you are near.
      People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds.
 2 God says, “At the time I have planned,
      I will bring justice against the wicked.
 3 When the earth quakes and its people live in turmoil,
      I am the one who keeps its foundations firm.
                         Interlude
 4 “I warned the proud, ‘Stop your boasting!’
      I told the wicked, ‘Don’t raise your fists!
 5 Don’t raise your fists in defiance at the heavens
      or speak with such arrogance.’”
 6 For no one on earth—from east or west,
      or even from the wilderness—
      should raise a defiant fist.[a]
 7 It is God alone who judges;
      he decides who will rise and who will fall.
 8 For the Lord holds a cup in his hand
      that is full of foaming wine mixed with spices.
   He pours out the wine in judgment,
      and all the wicked must drink it,
      draining it to the dregs.
 9 But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done;
      I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
 10 For God says, “I will break the strength of the wicked,
      but I will increase the power of the godly.”

Got Peripety?


So...... do you need peripety in your life? I know I do... and I know of several others that do too.  I love that God sees the BIG picture... and that He knows ahead of time what He plans for us.  He tells us that His plans are for us to prosper and not to fail.



     
Noun1.peripety - a sudden and unexpected change of fortune or reverse of circumstances (especially in a literary work); "a peripeteia swiftly turns a routine sequence of events into a story worth telling"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Psalm 74


1 O God, why have you rejected us so long?
      Why is your anger so intense against the sheep of your own pasture?
 2 Remember that we are the people you chose long ago,
      the tribe you redeemed as your own special possession!
      And remember Jerusalem,[b] your home here on earth.
 3 Walk through the awful ruins of the city;
      see how the enemy has destroyed your sanctuary.
 4 There your enemies shouted their victorious battle cries;
      there they set up their battle standards.
 5 They swung their axes
      like woodcutters in a forest.
 6 With axes and picks,
      they smashed the carved paneling.
 7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground.
      They defiled the place that bears your name.
 8 Then they thought, “Let’s destroy everything!”
      So they burned down all the places where God was worshiped.
 9 We no longer see your miraculous signs.
      All the prophets are gone,
      and no one can tell us when it will end.
 10 How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you?
      Will you let them dishonor your name forever?
 11 Why do you hold back your strong right hand?
      Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them.
 12 You, O God, are my king from ages past,
      bringing salvation to the earth.
 13 You split the sea by your strength
      and smashed the heads of the sea monsters.
 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan[c]
      and let the desert animals eat him.
 15 You caused the springs and streams to gush forth,
      and you dried up rivers that never run dry.
 16 Both day and night belong to you;
      you made the starlight[d] and the sun.
 17 You set the boundaries of the earth,
      and you made both summer and winter.
 18 See how these enemies insult you, Lord.
      A foolish nation has dishonored your name.
 19 Don’t let these wild beasts destroy your turtledoves.
      Don’t forget your suffering people forever.
 20 Remember your covenant promises,
      for the land is full of darkness and violence!
 21 Don’t let the downtrodden be humiliated again.
      Instead, let the poor and needy praise your name.
 22 Arise, O God, and defend your cause.
      Remember how these fools insult you all day long.
 23 Don’t overlook what your enemies have said
      or their growing uproar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Breastplate of Righteousness

The second piece of armor Paul tells us about when he teaches about the Armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-20) is the Breastplate of Righteousness. The placement of this armor is very important. It should be checked for proper position right after the Belt of Truth is buckled.

Your breastplate of righteousness is not based on your good works. This piece of the armor is put on us when we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. In fact, accepting Christ instantly equips you with a perfectly fitted breastplate of righteousness.

The problem is that most of us don’t believe it. It seems too incredible. Rather, we reason, surely there is something we must do to be made righteous. Belief in Jesus Christ makes you righteous and nothing else.

God knew that there was absolutely no other way for us to be made righteous than for Jesus Christ to make us righteous. God fully understood our total inability to obtain righteousness before He even gave the Law to Moses and asked the people to follow it. The Israelites thought they could do it, but God knew different. This is why God had the plan for Jesus, His Son, to come from the seed of woman, live righteously, be crucified and buried, then rise from the dead. Faith in Jesus alone is the only hope for you to be made righteous.

The breastplate of righteousness will not seem in place if you are unwilling to rest in its reality. When I try to make myself righteous in my own power, I don’t have my breastplate of righteousness in place. Your breastplate of righteousness feels out of place because of your own pride and self-righteousness. It can also seem nonexistent because of your unwillingness to fully accept your complete forgiveness.

I stand in awe of this fact, but it is absolutely true: I am righteous because of Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone. I need to think about that every day. As I stand there in the battle, my enemy will taunt me. He will remind me of all the wrong things I have done in my life and constantly accuse me.

Worse still, he will entice me to consider all the great things I have done for God and how the whole world should be listening to my advice and doing things my way. That’s why it is so important for me to remember that breastplate of righteousness. My righteousness is assured through Jesus Christ.

If you are having trouble really taking in this incredible spiritual reality, I encourage you to read Romans 2:17-5:21 over and over until you understand what Paul is trying to explain about how we become righteous.

Do you have the breastplate of righteousness in place? Make sure you check it every day.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Burning the Koran?


Romans 12:17-19  17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Congratulations Queen Emily!

2010 Rattan Rodeo Queen!

Proverbs 10

Psalm 73

 1 Truly God is good to Israel,
      to those whose hearts are pure.
 2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
      My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
 3 For I envied the proud
      when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
 4 They seem to live such painless lives;
      their bodies are so healthy and strong.
 5 They don’t have troubles like other people;
      they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
 6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
      and clothe themselves with cruelty.
 7 These fat cats have everything
      their hearts could ever wish for!
 8 They scoff and speak only evil;
      in their pride they seek to crush others.
 9 They boast against the very heavens,
      and their words strut throughout the earth.
 10 And so the people are dismayed and confused,
      drinking in all their words.
 11 “What does God know?” they ask.
      “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
 12 Look at these wicked people—
      enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.
 13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
      Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
 14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;
      every morning brings me pain.
 15 If I had really spoken this way to others,
      I would have been a traitor to your people.
 16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
      But what a difficult task it is!
 17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
      and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
 18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
      and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
 19 In an instant they are destroyed,
      completely swept away by terrors.
 20 When you arise, O Lord,
      you will laugh at their silly ideas
      as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.
 21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
      and I was all torn up inside.
 22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
      I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
 23 Yet I still belong to you;
      you hold my right hand.
 24 You guide me with your counsel,
      leading me to a glorious destiny.
 25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
      I desire you more than anything on earth.
 26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
      but God remains the strength of my heart;
      he is mine forever.
 27 Those who desert him will perish,
      for you destroy those who abandon you.
 28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
      I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
      and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jalapeno Sweet Dill Pickles

Jalapeno Sweet Dill Pickles

1 gallon whole dill pickles
3 pounds granulated sugar
1 (12 ounce) jar jalapeno peppers

Drain pickle juice off using a large colander. Slice pickles about 1/4 inch thick. Put pickles back in jar in layers (pickles, sugar, peppers, repeat). You can use only 1/2 of jar of jalapeno peppers for less kick, if desired.

The pickles, sugar and peppers will make their own juice. Leave the jar on the counter for a little while, flipping it over every now and then to help the sugar dissolve. Then place them in refrigerator and they are ready to eat in just a couple of days.