Friday, September 28, 2012

Evening Meditation by Spurgeon


"Go again seven times."—1 Kings 18:43.
Success is certain when the Lord has promised it. Although you may have pleaded month after month without evidence of answer, it is not possible that the Lord should be deaf when His people are earnest in a matter which concerns His glory. The prophet on the top of Carmel continued to wrestle with God, and never for a moment gave way to a fear that he should be non-suited in Jehovah's courts. Six times the servant returned, but on each occasion no word was spoken but "Go again." We must not dream of unbelief, but hold to our faith even to seventy times seven. Faith sends expectant hope to look from Carmel's brow, and if nothing is beheld, she sends again and again. So far from being crushed by repeated disappointment, faith is animated to plead more fervently with her God. She is humbled, but not abashed: her groans are deeper, and her sighings more vehement, but she never relaxes her hold or stays her hand. It would be more agreeable to flesh and blood to have a speedy answer, but believing souls have learned to be submissive, and to find it good to wait for as well as upon the Lord. Delayed answers often set the heart searching itself, and so lead to contrition and spiritual reformation: deadly blows are thus struck at our corruption, and the chambers of imagery are cleansed. The great danger is lest men should faint, and miss the blessing. Reader, do not fall into that sin, but continue in prayer and watching. At last the little cloud was seen, the sure forerunner of torrents of rain, and even so with you, the token for good shall surely be given, and you shall rise as a prevailing prince to enjoy the mercy you have sought. Elijah was a man of like passions with us: his power with God did not lie in his own merits. If his believing prayer availed so much, why not yours? Plead the precious blood with unceasing importunity, and it shall be with you according to your desire.

Picture credit: http://www.jinxiboo.com

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Love Flowing Out in Little Gentlenesses

(J.R. Miller, "Daily Bible Readings in the Life of Christ" 1890)
"I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in My name because you belong to Christ--will certainly not lose his reward!" Mark 9:41

It seems indeed astonishing--that God should keep note of such a little thing, as the giving of a cup of water to a thirsty Christian. It shows how dear to Him His people are--since the smallest things done to one of them--He accepts, remembers, and rewards.

The mention here of the giving of a cup of water suggests that this promise is for little, commonplace acts--rather than for great showy deeds. We are too stingy with our helpfulness. God has put His gifts of love into our hearts--not to be kept locked up and useless--but to be given out.
We would call a man selfish--who would refuse a cup of water to one who was thirsty; yet many of us do this continually. It is the heart which 'thirsts'--and the 'water' we refuse to give, is human kindness.

Kindness is just the word for these small acts. Kindness is simply love flowing out in little gentlenesses. We ought to live our lives--so that they will be perpetual blessings wherever we go. All that we need for such a ministry--is a heart full of love for Christ; for if we truly love Christ--we shall also love our fellow-men; and love will always find ways of helping. A heart filled with gentleness--cannot be miserly of its blessings.

Sons of Korah - Psalm 73: Whom have I in heaven but You


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Live Like That


Make a Joyful Noise

We had the blessing of meeting Mr. John Hamilton this summer in his quest for blueberries. What a joy! When he came out to pick up his apples this past Saturday that he had ordered through our farm, (Alexander Farms) he brought out a special surprise for us. He delighted us all, young and old, with all of the finely crafted instruments that he has made. You can see all of them on his website at John Rodie.com They are beautiful to say the least. For the grand finale he showed and demonstrated this:

Thanks you so much Mr. Hamilton for sharing your instruments with us! You are such a joy to have met!

Look Up


"Cultivate the habit of fixing your eye more simply on Jesus Christ, and try to know more of the fullness there is laid up in Him for every one of His believing people.

Do not be always poring down over the imperfections of your own heart, and dissecting your own besetting sins.

Look up.

Look more to your risen Head in heaven, and try to realize more than you do that the Lord Jesus not only died for you, but that He also rose again, and that He is ever living at God’s right hand as your Priest, your Advocate, and your Almighty Friend.

When the Apostle Peter “walked upon the waters to go to Jesus,” he got on very well as long as his eye was fixed upon his Almighty Master and Savior. But when he looked away to the winds and waves, and reasoned, and considered his own strength, and the weight of his body, he soon began to sink, and cried, “Lord, save me.” No wonder that our gracious Lord, while grasping his hand and delivering him from a watery grave, said, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Alas! many of us are very like Peter–we look away from Jesus, and then our hearts faint, and we feel sinking (Mat. 14:28–31)."

-J. C. Ryle

White Unto Harvest Conference


Monday, September 24, 2012

A Insightful Meditation on the Law and Our Sin by John Piper

I've been reading in a book by John Piper called, "Pierced by the Word".  It covers many different topics; a very helpful meditation book.  Anyways, this morning I read the chapter called, "How Does the Law Help me Know my Sin?"  It was a meditation on Romans 7:7-8.  It was really good and very thought provoking.  The way he worded some things was really helpful to me. So I thought I would post parts of it for your meditation as well!  :-)


Until God's law comes in and prohibits some of our desires ("You shall not covet"), our desires are not experienced as sin but as imperial demands that seem to have their own lawful standing.  Until God's law confronts this mutinous "law" we don't experience our desires as sin ("apart from the law sin lies dead," Romans 7:8).  "I want it, so I should have it."  This is inborn.  "Desire equals deserve," until God's law says, no.  You see this clearly in little children for whom it is very painful to learn that their desires are not law.

This points to the root sinful condition: independence from God, rebellion against God.  At root our sinful condition is the commitment to be our own god.  I will be the final authority in my life.  I will decide what is right and wrong for me; and what is good and bad for me; and what is true and false for me.  My desires express my sovereignty, my autonomy, and -though we don't usually say it- my presumed deity. 

This independence from God -this rebellion and presumed sovereignty and autonomy and deity- produces all kinds of covetousness.  This word "all (kinds)" sets us to thinking about how deviously covetousness can express itself.  We need to know this or we won't know our sin or ourselves. 

In general, there are two kinds of bad desire (covetousness) that the law stirs up, and both are expressions of our love affair with independence and self-exaltation. 

1. One is more obvious, namely, desires for the very things that are forbidden.  This is owing to our ingrained love of being our own god and our distaste for submission

2. The other kind of bad desire that the law stirs up is the desire to keep the law by our own strength with a view to exalting our own moral prowess.  This looks very different.  No stealing, no murder, no adultery, no lying.  Instead, just self-righteousness.  Not that keeping the law is evil or covetous.  No, the problem is the desire to keep it by my power. not in childlike reliance on God's power.  The problem is desiring the glory of my achievement, not God's.  That is a subtle form of covetousness. 

So know yourself!  Know your sins.  Know your sinful condition of rebellion and insubordination.  If this lead you (again and again) to the cross and the gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone, it will exalt Christ, be healing to your soul, and sweetening to all your relationships.   

~John Piper

Friday, September 21, 2012

Seasonal Apple Recipe on Specially Designed Recipe Card

Hi everyone!  Today Breanna created a recipe card specifically for Alexander Farms!  She used it to share an apple recipe on our farm blog.  You can view the recipe by clicking the link below.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Friday Night Family Tradition :-)



Every family has their own special little things, and one of our family traditions is that on Friday nights we have pizza and watch a movie.  We have enjoyed homemade pizza for years, but recently came across a gluten free pizza crust recipe which we have come to enjoy even better than our traditional crust.  So here’s a recipe for all of you, in honor of our Friday night tradition. :-)

Gluten Free Pizza Crust

Ingredients:
¾ cup white bean flour
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
¼ tsp. salt
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup cold water
1 Tbsp. olive oil

Instructions:
Mix first four ingredients together.  Then stir in water and oil.  Dough will be thin, like pancake batter.  Place in refrigerator for 30 minutes to thicken.

After 30 minutes, place a baking stone in your oven and preheat to 400 degrees.  Once oven is preheated, pull stone out and pour pizza dough onto hot stone.  Spread out almost to edge.  Bake for about 15 minutes until completely cooked through.  Once crust is done, add your sauce and favorite toppings and bake as normal.

I hope that some of you will be brave and try this wonderful recipe.  And I promise, it doesn’t taste like beans! :-)  Even our grandma and Tayte like it!

May the Lord continue to draw each of you closer to Himself, and we hope that you will enjoy a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What Is A Tragedy?


I'm listening to a DVD series by John Piper called "Don't Waste Your Life".  I'm not going to quote him word for word here, but in the one section he was talking about what a tragedy really is.  He put forth two examples.

1. A story of two very godly women in their 80's who died in a car accident when they, supposedly, lost the ability to steer the car and went over a cliff on their way to minister to poor people in another country.  Both women had lived their lives fully for the glory of God, doing His will, serving and loving people.

2. A couple in their 50's retiring early, going to Florida, getting a nice place to live and collecting shells until they die.

Which one is a tragedy?  Story number 2 is the tragedy.  They lived their lives with no real meaning, no lasting purpose, only for themselves and things that will be no more.  Wasted lives.  Story number 1 is victory.   They lived for Christ to their fullest, with every ounce of their being.  That is a life worth living.

Which life are we living?

A Daddy's Letter to his baby girl: Pearl Joy Brown

This was posted on I Am Pro-Life's facebook page. 
I thought it was so precious and a wonderful reminder. 

Pearl Joy Brown is the third child of Ruth and Eric Brown. At their 20-week prenatal appointment, Pearl was diagnosed with alobar holoprosencephaly (HPE), a neural disease with low chances of survival.

Despite a grim prognosis and a doctor’s encouragement to induce labor and end the pregnancy, the Browns opted to embrace life and hope and carry Baby Pearl to term.

Here is Eric’s letter to Pearl. Won’t you join us in praying for this sweet family? Read the blog for Pearl at http://pearljoybrown.wordpress.com/


Sweet Pearl, I’ll never forget that December evening I found out you were coming. I was in Indiana, helping the David Crowder Band finish up the last of their shows, and your mother called to let me know she was pregnant. I remember running backstage to tell the guys, though they were literally walking on stage when I shouted it to them. The confusion on their faces spoke volumes. Why couldn’t I wait until we were on the bus that night to share the news? They were kind of in the middle of something! Seems we were both a little over-enthused at the news of your conception! It makes sense now.

I’ll spare you all of the medical details of what happened while you were inside your mother’s belly, as I can imagine you’re tired of hearing about that. We spent several months preparing to meet you and say goodbye all in the same breath.

To be honest, we didn’t even buy any of the normal baby things for you, though we did already fill out the paperwork with the funeral home so all that had to be filled in was the dates and times. We spent more time preparing ourselves for what it was going to feel like when the funeral home came to pick you up at the hospital than we did wondering how on earth we would care for you…perhaps a tactical error on our part. We’re figuring it out though. Thanks for being patient.

And then on July 26th, we were given the news that you needed to be born immediately, as things were looking a bit rough for you in Mommie’s belly. The conversation that day that we had with your brother and sister was one of the hardest conversations we’ve ever had. I remember going to Suzannah’s house and sitting with them both to tell them that the doctors didn’t expect you to come home with us.

Your brother was perplexed and asked if you were so sick that you would probably die. I told him the truth and he melted. You are so loved by your siblings, and have been since long before you were born. Even now, they will often come put their cheek next to your mouth to see if you are breathing, though they try very hard to not give you any germs. I hope that you can somehow feel that love.

We were told that if you made it through delivery, the moment of your birth would be your strongest and that as your systems tried to start up and your brain wouldn’t tell them how to function, your body would start shutting down. And then the milestones started stacking up. You made it through birth, so we cut the cord. Your heart had a little trouble at first, so your little chest got a massage. And then you were breathing, so we took pictures, and you were still going. So…off to the NICU!

That was by far the most amazing night of my life. We watched the hours stack up and you thrived. Each hour was a miracle and still is. Hours turned into days and people from all over were driving and flying in to meet you. Doctors would come to see you, and they would close the door and start crying. Family and friends did the same thing. Even employees from other parts of the hospital would come in, close the door, and cry by just meeting you. So many of these people had prayed for you for weeks and weeks and there you were. Alive. Engaging. Beautiful… a miracle, in its most certain form.

On September 14, you turned 7 weeks old. I don’t know if you know this or not, but every Friday someone brings cupcakes over to our little house and we celebrate your life and we celebrate the Giver of that life. One day, you will meet Him, and much of this will make sense to you. Sweet girl, you have turned our world, and arguably the world of our many others, upside down in the most beautiful way.

You have taught us all what it means to be carried through life. You have taught me that self-reliance is a lie, and you have taught me clearly how dependent I am. Thank God it’s not up to me. I never would have chosen this life for either of us, but it’s so much better than anything we would have chosen for ourselves. Thank you, baby girl. You are loved more than you will ever know here, and more importantly you are shining brightly the Light of the world…to the world. I am so proud of you! Love, Your Daddy

Is God in the Little Things?

(Charles Spurgeon, "A Safe Prospective," 1869)

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows!" Matthew 10:29-31

I would, with special earnestness, beg you to believe that God is in little things.

It is the little troubles of life that annoy us the most. A man can put up with the loss of a dear friend sometimes, better than he can with the burning of his fingers with a coal, or some little accident that may occur to him. The little stones in the sandal make the traveler limp; while great stones do him little hurt, for he soon leaps over them.

Believe that God arranges the littles. Take the little troubles as they come and bring them to your God, because they come from God. Believe that nothing is little to God, which concerns His people. To Him, indeed, your greatest concerns may be said to be little; and your little anxieties are not too small for His notice.

The very hairs of your head are all numbered; you may, therefore, pray to him about your smallest griefs. If not a sparrow hops upon the ground without your Father--you have reason to see that the smallest events in your career are arranged by Him, and it should be your joy to accept them as they come, and not make them causes of irritation, either to others or to yourselves.

This is a truth on which you may rely implicitly, and exercise yourselves continually, until you . . .
  lull the sharpest pains,
  calm the most feverish excitements, and
  obtain the sweetest repose that a Christian can indulge in.

Everything in the future is appointed by God. All is in the hand of the great King. The Lord is King; let his people rejoice!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Life of Faith, Walk of Faith


"If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."—Galatians 5:25.
The two most important things in our holy religion are the life of faith and the walk of faith. He who shall rightly understand these is not far from being a master in experimental theology, for they are vital points to a Christian. You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; on the other hand, you will never discover a truly holy life which has not for its root a living faith upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe unto those who seek after the one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness; these may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness; and there are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees of old, of whom the Master said, they were "whitewashed sepulchres." We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. Of what service is the mere foundation of a building to a man in the day of tempest? Can he hide himself therein? He wants a house to cover him, as well as a foundation for that house. Even so we need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But seek not a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it has no foundation on a rock. Let faith and life be put together, and, like the two abutments of an arch, they will make our piety enduring. Like light and heat streaming from the same sun, they are alike full of blessing. Like the two pillars of the temple, they are for glory and for beauty. They are two streams from the fountain of grace; two lamps lit with holy fire; two olive trees watered by heavenly care. O Lord, give us this day life within, and it will reveal itself without to Thy glory.
~Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation, September 18th

Sunday, September 16, 2012

A Silent Personal Influence


(J. R. Miller, "In Green Pastures")

There is a silent personal influence, like a shadow, which goes out from everyone--and this influence is always leaving results and impressions wherever it touches. You cannot live a day--and not touch some other life. Wherever you go--your shadow falls on others, and they are either better or worse for your presence.

Our influence
depends upon what we are--more than upon what we do. It is by living a beautiful life--that we bless the world. I do not under-estimate holy activities. Good deeds must characterize every true life. Our hands must do holy works. But if the life itself is noble, beautiful, holy, Christ-like, one that is itself a blessing and an inspiration--the worth of the influence is many times multiplied.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation


 
 "He shall not be afraid of evil tidings."—Psalm 112:7.
Christian, you ought not to dread the arrival of evil tidings; because if you are distressed by them, what do you more than other men? Other men have not your God to fly to; they have never proved His faithfulness as you have done, and it is no wonder if they are bowed down with alarm and cowed with fear: but you profess to be of another spirit; you have been begotten again unto a lively hope, and your heart lives in heaven and not on earthly things; now, if you are seen to be distracted as other men, what is the value of that grace which you profess to have received? Where is the dignity of that new nature which you claim to possess?
Again, if you should be filled with alarm, as others are, you would, doubtless, be led into the sins so common to others under trying circumstances. The ungodly, when they are overtaken by evil tidings, rebel against God; they murmur, and think that God deals hardly with them. Will you fall into that same sin? Will you provoke the Lord as they do?
Moreover, unconverted men often run to wrong means in order to escape from difficulties, and you will be sure to do the same if your mind yields to the present pressure. Trust in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. Your wisest course is to do as Moses did at the Red Sea, "Stand still and see the salvation of God." For if you give way to fear when you hear of evil tidings, you will be unable to meet the trouble with that calm composure which nerves for duty, and sustains under adversity. How can you glorify God if you play the coward? Saints have often sung God's high praises in the fires, but will your doubting and desponding, as if you had none to help you, magnify the Most High? Then take courage, and relying in sure confidence upon the faithfulness of your covenant God, "let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

How To End Your Day Centered On God~ Before You Go To Bed

Before You Go To Bed 

By: Joe Thorn at www.joethorn.net

Before you go to bed tonight take time to marvel at the grace of God extended to you today. He gave you life, breath, and many gifts to enjoy. If you faced trials and difficulties you did not have to face them alone, nor work through them in your own strength. Marvel, praise, and worship your God who has been there all day.

Do not drift off to sleep before you address your sins, turn from them, and cast yourself on the overflowing mercy of God in Jesus Christ. Your sins were more numerable than you can count and more offensive than you can imagine. But Christ’s blood covers them all and cleanses you from all unrighteousness. You can rest tonight, knowing that God’s favor is upon you in the Son.

Use the remaining moments of your evening to seek the Lord’s continued grace for yourself and others. Seek his protection and provision for all things with the eager anticipation that he will only give you what is best.

Do not let your night simply fade into sleep. End this day intentionally by bringing your heart and mind to God in prayer.

My soul will be satisfied as with fat and rich food,
and my mouth will praise you with joyful lips,
when I remember you upon my bed,
and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
(Psalm 63:5-7 ESV)

Blessings Poured Out


“Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well, the rain also filleth the pools.”
- Psa_84:6
This teaches us that the comfort obtained by a one may often prove serviceable to another; just as wells would be used by the company who came after. We read some book full of consolation, which is like Jonathan’s rod, dropping with honey. Ah! we think our brother has been here before us, and digged this well for us as well as for himself. Many a “Night of Weeping,” “Midnight Harmonies,” an “Eternal Day,” “A Crook in the Lot,” a “Comfort for Mourners,” has been a well digged by a pilgrim for himself, but has proved quite as useful to others. Specially we notice this in the Psalms, such as that beginning, “Why art thou cast down, O my soul?” Travellers have been delighted to see the footprint of man on a barren shore, and we love to see the waymarks of pilgrims while passing through the vale of tears.
The pilgrims dig the well, but, strange enough, it fills from the top instead of the bottom. We use the means, but the blessing does not spring from the means. We dig a well, but heaven fills it with rain. The horse is prepared against the day of battle, but safety is of the Lord. The means are connected with the end, but they do not of themselves produce it. See here the rain fills the pools, so that the wells become useful as reservoirs for the water; labour is not lost, but yet it does not supersede divine help.
Grace may well be compared to rain for its purity, for its refreshing and vivifying influence, for its coming alone from above, and for the sovereignty with which it is given or withheld. May our readers have showers of blessing, and may the wells they have digged be filled with water! Oh, what are means and ordinances without the smile of heaven! They are as clouds without rain, and pools without water. O God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!

Charles Spurgeon Morning and Evening Devotional Sept. 13

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A House Call for a Sin Sick Church

 Church : Winter church at dawn

We had to stay home today due to poor Brittany suffering from a terrible case of swimmers ear.  It has been a wonderfully refreshing day though.  Although Britt has spent the day again on the couch!  :-(  We know she is sick if she actually consents to laying down.  She has such a sweet servants heart that even if she is not feeling well she will say nothing of it and be helping around the house.  Yesterday she said she just felt like crying.  The rest of us have enjoyed fellowship, listening to sermons, taking a bike ride, singing, praying and being able to serve Brittany in various ways.  This truly is a delight as she gives so much to our family.

This was the first sermon that we listened to today.  It is fantastic!!!  I will never look at the passage in Revelations that speaks about either being hot or cold the same way again.  Not only educational in regard to scripture but challenging to how I live day to day.   Well worth 62 minutes of your time!
Click below to hear the sermon.

A House Call for a Sin Sick Church 
by Voddie Baucham

Little update on Brittany:  As of this evening, on a scale of  1-10 (10 being the worst)  Britt said yesterday and this morning her ear was at a 10 but now she is saying a 5.  Praise the Lord I think we are heading in the right direction!  :-)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Breanna's Testimony


I have always been what most would consider a really "good" kid. As a young child, I was always pretty outwardly submissive to my parents, outwardly obedient. But inside was a whole different story. But I saw myself as being a pretty good kid.  The Lord used a sin in my life to show me who I really was without Him, which I so praise Him for; otherwise, I may never have truly seen my need for a Savior.  This particular sin started when I was, well, as young as I can remember and kept on until I was about 12-13. It is almost difficult to fully describe to you how much in chains I really was, but I was a total slave and captive to this sin that, try what I may, I could not be free of. I tried so many times to put off this sin, but really, I liked it and didn't really want to stop and put off my sin. I saw God as being very angry with me and I thought that He was going to kill me at times. I had a lot of fear of demons and Satan and had a lot of dreams of demons trying to get me. We even had demons in our house at one point and I actually saw one. It was a terrible thing! I think Satan really was after my soul. 

So, it was when I was about 12 or 13 God brought me to the point where, I so remember, I think I was on my knees crying out to God again, after SO MANY previous times of seeking Him, and I truly felt empty. I felt so absolutely empty and hopeless, but God brought me to that point to show me that I COULDN’T SAVE MYSELF!  I NEEDED Him to saved me!  He was the ONLY One who could save me! I could  and did try to clean up my act, quit doing the sins that held me captive.  But I couldn’t do it!  And praise God that He finally brought me to the point where I knew I could not deliver myself.  So, it was then that God showed me Himself being my Deliverer and only hope.  It was a time of throwing myself upon Christ, so to speak, because apart from Him, I was lost and without hope of ever being saved. 

I didn't realize at that point that God just saved me, but it was later that the Spirit revealed that work at that point. And He did deliver me!  He freed me of the sins that I was a slave too and my life is a continued process of sanctification.  Lots of struggles and so much more to learn!  But by His grace, He has brought me thus far and I trust in His promise that He will bring to completion that work which He has started in me. 

I actually didn't come to a fuller understanding of the gospel until about maybe five years or so ago when we went to a conference and heard Paul Washer preach the gospel for the first time! I was shocked and stunned! But so thankful to have a better understanding!  It really shook me up!  I had never, or at least from what I recall, heard someone share the gospel like that and talk about the wrath of God especially.  I had always seen it as “Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sins so that I can go to heaven instead of hell”.  Wow!  I had no idea what all the gospel REALLY meant and that salvation was more than just being saved from hell, but being saved from God’s wrath, the punishment that I deserved that Christ bore in my stead.  The works of God truly are marvelous!!!!  His grace is mind boggling, but I am so thankful for it!  After that, I struggled with, am I really saved, or did I think I was just saved?  Mr. Washer challenged people to evaluate themselves in light of 1 John to see if they are really saved.  So that is what I did.  One Sunday, I spent quite a bit of time all by myself in the book of 1 John, examining myself in light of Scriptures before God to see if I was truly saved.  The Lord graciously revealed to me from His Word that, yes, I am saved and He gave me a peace in that.  It was one of those things that, I HAD to know!  I couldn’t continue living my life without being certain!  This is heaven and hell, life or death, with Christ or without Christ, for God or against God, the wrath of God being on me or His grace being upon me, life in Him or slavery to self without Christ!  I praise God for His great grace that He bestowed upon a wretch like me!  I so desire that my life would be lived totally and wholly for Him!  May the Lamb receive the full reward for His suffering!

What about you????   The Bible says the Lord's arm isn't shortened that it cannot save, and He is willing to save! If we come to Him, He will never cast us out!  The moment we stop holding onto ourselves, our righteousness, our sin, the moment we let go, and look to Christ, RIGHT THERE He will save us!

If anyone would care to listen, this is the message that Paul Washer spoke at the conference we attended in 2009 that so spoke to me:  The Sufficiency of Scripture and the Gospel   So worth listening too!

Kirk Cameron Shares His Testimony~ Very Good!

Kirk Cameron shares his testimony and John MacArthur shares some wonderful teaching as well!
Very worth listening too!


Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation


"In the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."—Philippians 2:15.
We use lights to make manifest. A Christian man should so shine in his life, that a person could not live with him a week without knowing the gospel. His conversation should be such that all who are about him should clearly perceive whose he is, and whom he serves; and should see the image of Jesus reflected in his daily actions. Lights are intended for guidance. We are to help those around us who are in the dark. We are to hold forth to them the Word of life. We are to point sinners to the Saviour, and the weary to a divine resting-place. Men sometimes read their Bibles, and fail to understand them; we should be ready, like Philip, to instruct the inquirer in the meaning of God's Word, the way of salvation, and the life of godliness. Lights are also used for warning. On our rocks and shoals a light-house is sure to be erected. Christian men should know that there are many false lights shown everywhere in the world, and therefore the right light is needed. The wreckers of Satan are always abroad, tempting the ungodly to sin under the name of pleasure; they hoist the wrong light, be it ours to put up the true light upon every dangerous rock, to point out every sin, and tell what it leads to, that so we may be clear of the blood of all men, shining as lights in the world. Lights also have a very cheering influence, and so have Christians. A Christian ought to be a comforter, with kind words on his lips, and sympathy in his heart; he should carry sunshine wherever he goes, and diffuse happiness around him.
Gracious Spirit dwell with me; I myself would gracious be, And with words that help and heal Would thy life in mine reveal, And with actions bold and meek Would for Christ my Saviour speak.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

God calls the weak, makes them weaker, and fills them with life and power. Maturity does not decrease dependence, but is the result of it.  The very storms we dread are the tools of God's providence to conform us to the image of His Son - they bring forth fruit of righteousness.  After so many years I have made so little progress. Yet failure has a positive result: Less confidence in self & more confidence in Christ.  In all your weakness, failure, broken promises, and doubts, always remember - The Anchor holds beyond the veil. He is FAITHFUL beyond words!

~Paul Washer

No Longer an Orphan (But Tempted to Live Like It)

This was posted originally on Desiring God blog.  Post was written by Christine Hoover

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Until my late twenties, I spent the majority of my Christian life striving — striving for perfection, for God’s favor, for the approval of others, and for the joy and freedom that the Bible spoke of yet completely eluded me.

In her forthcoming book, Nothing Is Impossible with God, Rose Marie Miller describes my life as she depicts her own:

The gospel was not my working theology: Mine was moralism and legalism — a religion of duty and self control through human willpower. The goal was self-justification, not the justification by faith in Christ that the gospel offers. But, as many people can tell you, moralism and legalism can “pass” for Christianity, at least outwardly, in the good times. It is only when crises come that you find there is no foundation on which to stand. And crises are what God used to reveal my heart’s true need for him. (4)

Like Miller, I am a pastor’s wife, a church planting wife, and a missionary. Like Miller, I for so long lived a life of legalism, and, like her, ministry was the “crisis” that shone a light on my self-sufficiency and self-justification. I discovered quickly that I could not meet ministry’s demands, and I certainly could not love, according to bootstrap religion.

The beacon of light, simultaneously convicting and life-giving, was Galatians 5:4: “You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law.” That is exactly how I felt — like an outsider standing apart from Christ, trying desperately to earn my belonging. I rejected any of Christ’s advances toward me out of shame over my failures and out of my stubborn self-determination.

 

Living Like Orphans


Rose Marie Miller’s husband, Jack, characterized her self-justification as orphanhood: “you act as if you are an orphan. You act as if there is no Father who loves you” (11).
  • Orphans have to take care of themselves.
  • Orphans must be strong.
  • Orphans must protect themselves from being taken advantage of.
  • Orphans cannot depend on anyone.
  • Orphans cannot be weak.
  • Orphans crave to be taken in and loved but doubt they ever will.
  • Orphans want to be accepted, to belong.
  • Orphans only trust themselves.
  • Orphans cannot get too close.
  • Orphans are on the outside looking in.
For many years, I was acting as if I were an orphan, trying to do the Christian life but failing miserably. I thought that my failures were my accusation, not realizing that this understanding — that I could not actually live the Christian life myself — was the first step toward liberation. Galatians 3:3 taught me that the Christian life can only be lived by the Spirit: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

 

No Longer Orphans


The Father advanced toward me, showing me that, in Christ, I am no longer an orphan but his child: “God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 3:4–5).

If we are daughters (and we are, if we are in Christ), we enjoy the love and protection of a perfect Father. He is not an impatient, stingy parent forever irritated at our weaknesses and failures. He invites us into the family, gives us His name, dresses us with righteousness fitting of His family, and erases the ways of our orphanhood, especially our self-reliance and self-justification.
But that’s just it, we too often return to our orphanhood . . .
. . . living as if it were still up to us, living as if the Spirit never came and could never teach us or guide us in all the affairs of life. We go through the day believing that it is up to us to figure out how to solve our problems and get on with life. The result is that we live with an uneasy guilt and fear because we have not measured up to our standards or won the approval of others. (56)

I see orphanhood pervading my heart and the hearts of other women in an age when Facebook comparison and self-sufficiency reign. There is an undeniable urge toward perfection in our culture and even in our churches. Women stand apart from one another, wondering if they are the only ones, struggling to keep up the fa├žade of flawlessness.

Worse, women stand apart from God, afraid to go before the throne with their failures or unwilling to acknowledge their need before Him, when, in reality, we are daughters with full access to our Father.

 

Perfect For Us


As Miller says, we don’t have to be perfect because Another is perfect for us. When perfect is taken care of — when we’re declared righteousness by the blood of Christ — we are finally free to love, to accept our weaknesses because God is strong in them, and to believe that God is for us.

“Living to please God — repenting of the true guilt that comes when we put anything besides God at the center of our lives, trusting in the blood of Christ to cleanse the conscience of dead works, and relying on the power and presence of the Holy Spirit for the tasks of the day — is truly the liberated way to live” (32).

Charles Spurgeon's Morning Meditation


"Woe is me, that I sojourn in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Kedar."—Psalm 120:5.
  As a Christian you have to live in the midst of an ungodly world, and it is of little use for you to cry "Woe is me." Jesus did not pray O that you should be taken out of the world, and what He did not pray for you need not desire. Better far in the Lord's strength to meet the difficulty, and glorify Him in it. The enemy is ever on the watch to detect inconsistency in your conduct; be therefore very holy. Remember that the eyes of all are upon you, and that more is expected from you than from other men. Strive to give no occasion for blame. Let your goodness be the only fault they can discover in you. Like Daniel, compel them to say of you, "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God." Seek to be useful as well as consistent. Perhaps you think, "If I were in a more favourable position I might serve the Lord's cause, but I cannot do any good where I am"; but the worse the people are among whom you live, the more need have they of your exertions; if they be crooked, the more necessity that you should set them straight; and if they be perverse, the more need have you to turn their proud hearts to the truth. Where should the physician be but where there are many sick? Where is honour to be won by the soldier but in the hottest fire of the battle? And when weary of the strife and sin that meets you on every hand, consider that all the saints have endured the same trial. They were not carried on beds of down to heaven, and you must not expect to travel more easily than they. They had to hazard their lives unto the death in the high places of the field, and you will not be crowned till you also have endured hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. Therefore, "stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong."

Gluten-Free Baked Spaghetti

Hello to all of you!  Hope that this summer has been a good one for you each!  Ours has gone well, and we've been busy with the garden, among other things.
Today we'd like to share a new favorite recipe with you that we created this summer using some of the bountiful blessing the Lord has provided for us!
A change that we have made over the past few months is trying to do a good bit of gluten free cooking.  Dad as been having some ongoing skin issues, so we thought this might help.  Thus, this recipe is gluten free! :-)
One of the many wonderful veggies that we have been enjoying this summer is Spaghetti Squash.  It is a wonderful substitute for spaghetti noodles, and most of us have actually come to like it better!  However, spaghetti and meatballs gets a little old after too much repetition, so...... we decided to try using spaghetti squash in our baked spaghetti recipe.  It turned out great!  Everyone loved it!  Which was a slight surprise. :-)  We've made it several times, thus can truly say it's "Tried and True." :-)
Hope that some of you will venture out, try it, and like it! :-)

Note: This recipe was adapted from one given to us years ago by dear friends.  Thanks Mrs. M.! :-)

 Ingredients:
2 spaghetti squash
1 lb. ground beef
1 cup each: chopped onion, green peppers, and tomatoes
   or 2 cups salsa
1 small jar of canned mushrooms, drained
1 tsp. oregano
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
double recipe of: Basic White Sauce (recipe given below)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese 

Instructions: 
Cut each spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place cut side down on a large baking pan.  Put a cup or so of water in pan, and bake at 400 degrees for about an hour.  Squash is done when you can poke a fork through it easily.  After it is baked, used a fork to pull the squash away from the shell, forming 'noodles'.  Let this sit while you prepare your filling.
 In a large skillet, fry the ground beef, onions, and peppers.  Season meat to taste while frying.  After the meat is cooked, add tomatoes, (or the salsa if you choose to use that instead of chopped veggies), oregano, and mushrooms.  Simmer until well heated.
Place half of the spaghetti squash in the bottom of a greased 9 by 13 baking dish.  Top with half the meat mixture.  Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheddar cheese.  Repeat layering.
In a medium bowl, combine the White Sauce and water.  Pour over casserole.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until hot in center and bubbly around edges.
(Or you can layer ingredients in a crockpot and cook on high for a few hours.)
 
***
Basic White Sauce
This recipe, as well, has been adapted.  The original recipe calls for wheat flour, but to make it gluten free we've changed it to use white bean flour.  You can purchase bean flour, but if you have dry beans and a wheat grinder, it's really quite simple to make your own.  You can use garbanzo (chick peas) or northern beans.  (We use northern because that's what we have the most of.)  To make your bean flour, you will want to break up the beans in a blender first, otherwise they won't go through your grinder.  After you put them through the blender, slowly grind them as you would any other grain in your grinder.  Now you have your white bean flour!
Ingredients:
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. white bean flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
Instructions:
Melt butter in a small sauce pan.  Stir in flour and salt until it gets bubbly.  Then, using a whisk, stir in the milk.  Cook on high, stirring constantly, until thickened.
(This recipe is about equivalent to a small can of cream soup from the store.) 

***
As you can see, it's really quite easy to alter some recipes.  It's kind of fun experimenting anyway!  Even once Dad isn't doing gluten free anymore, we will probably keep some of our gluten free alterations, just for the variety.   We hope that you will try and enjoy this recipe. (With or without the gluten free variations:-)

Monday, September 3, 2012

You have only just begun!


(J.R. Miller, "Intimate Letters on Personal Problems" 1914)

Dear friend,
You say that you cannot live up to the things you read in the Bible and in Christian books. I know of no one who can do so. The Bible sets before us very lofty ideals--so lofty that we cannot reach them in a day or a month or in twenty-five years. So long as you may live, and if you spend every year in striving toward the best things--you will still find that you have not fully attained them.

Paul was a great deal better Christian than most of us, and he said, when he was quite an old man, that he was not yet perfect--but was still striving after the things which he wished to attain. We never measure up to our ideals. We never are so holy any day, as we intend to be in the morning when we set out.

We certainly fall very far below God's requirements. If we did not, there would be no special need of a Savior. Jesus Christ came into the world to redeem us and save us--because we cannot live up to the requirements of His divine law.

You must not judge yourself, therefore, too severely. Christ does not. He is very patient with our slow progress. Always do your best every day, and you will do better still tomorrow.

Make every day as beautiful as you can--pure and true and holy, with obedience and love. Then next day can be made a little better than this one, and so on through every day, unto the end.

Yet you will still find on the last evening of your life, that you have very much to attain, that really you have just begun to be a Christian. I think it was Rubinstein, the great musician, who said at the close of a long life devoted to intense musical work, "I have just begun to know music." It is so in Christian life. If you live to be eighty years old, growing every day more and more holy, you can say then no more than that you have begun--just begun, to know Christ and to know how to live a Christian life.

Remember that you will never reach your goal, until you leave this poor world, and enter upon the perfect life in Heaven.

"Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus!" Philippians 3:13-14

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Karen's Testimony


I was raised in a non Christian single parent home.  I lived a very typical Godless life fully living my life for me.  Seeking to fulfill  the desires of my flesh.    Sounds grim I know!  However, Oh taste and see just how good the Lord is!  At the age of seventeen I became pregnant.  Despite me and my ultimate hate of God, I was a chosen vessel of God's love and mercy and He used my sin to bring me to the place where I would see my hatred and need of Jesus.  For this I am forever grateful!  While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Oh to understand this more deeply yet! 

Nineteen eighty nine was a very big year me.  I found out I was pregnant in February.  Celebrated my eighteenth birthday in April.  Graduated from high school in May.  Got married in August and had my first child, Brittany in November.  All of these things would be but instruments in the hand of our mighty Savior! 

Getting married and being a mother was something I desired with all of my heart even as a young lady.  I have no doubt that God put that desire in my heart.  We see only the here and now but He knows the big picture and is working despite our knowledge of how He is guiding us even before He regenerates us. 


Seth also came from a divorced family and was raised by his father.  I was raised by my mother.  Neither of us had a clue about marriage or being parents!  Poor Brittany!!!  God's grace has been upon that chosen vessel in a very special way!  Needless to say, our first  year of marriage was what we describe as a taste of what hell must be like.  I know that is a strong way of putting it but it was really bad!  Two extremely selfish kids with no clue are now married and parents yet to boot.  There was not a single person at our wedding that thought that our marriage would ever last. 



But GOD!

This is the turning point!  Neither Seth nor I wanted to divorce.  We are by products of that, we certainly had greater hopes for our family.  However, we just could not make it work.  We were miserable!  But this was all part of bring us to the end of ourselves. 

Now I must tell you that we had no Christian friends.  We were not being invited to church.  This is just the power of God!  One day Seth came home from work and we were talking and he said that he thought we should probably start going to church.  "Oh, okay, I said, where should we go?"  "Well I think when I was a little boy we used to go to a Methodist church."  "There is one of those down on the one corner of town."  So the next time we were out we drove past to see what time the service started.  That Sunday we got ready and our little family of three attended church.  We were not going because we thought this would fix our marriage or anything like that.  It was just a formality that seemed right to do.  Why?  Because little did we know how the Spirit of God was at work in our lives.  We were about to come face to face with Jesus and forever be changed. 

Well you might expect that this church that God was taking us to was a booming thriving church where the gospel was truly being preached.  Surprise!  It was a dead little church and who knows what was being taught.  I have no idea what words the pastor, who was one year from retiring said.  I am sure no one in the church building was hearing what Seth and I were.  Every single week we came home and we really wondered if the pastor was a little bird that came and sat in our window during the week.  God spoke to us every week.  Conviction came by the words that we heard and we began to make changes.  It was not a Saul to Paul experience in ways but in some ways it was, only in slow motion. 

God put burning a fire within us and we changed!  We were new creatures in Christ Jesus.   

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
(Rom 10:17)
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me."
(Rom 10:20)

This truly is our testimony!  We did not seek Him!  We did not ask for Him!  We were dead in our trespasses and sin and did not even know we needed Him! 

Is not our Lord good?!!!

From there our family and friends thought we were crazy just going through this 'Jesus faze'.  Well, twenty two years later we are still in our Jesus faze!!!  Redeemed how I love to proclaim it.  Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.  Redeemed by His infinite mercy.  His child FOREVER I am!!! 

Seth and I celebrated our twenty third wedding anniversary this August.  Seven children later and being sanctified daily! 


Now you tell me, what is impossible with GOD?!!!