Thursday, January 30, 2014

“Neither deficiencies nor disappointments, losses nor crosses, can cause disquieting discontents in that bosom where faith is commander in chief.”
- Thomas Watson, The Art of Divine Contentment -

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wait Upon the Lord

I took this picture of Sarah the other day.  She was sitting on Mom and Dad's bed in such a picture-perfect way that I had to capture it.  It seemed especially peaceful done in a pencil sketch, and this verse seemed fitting.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Recipe of the Month ~ Homemade Whole Wheat Tortillas

Hello all! :-)  I hope this day finds you well and growing in the Lord.
Something that our family is hoping to be consistent about this year is posting a recipe each month.  We girls take great delight and satisfaction in being in the kitchen, planning frugal menus, and watching everyone enjoy the food.  Truly, this is part of how we serve the Lord as women.  Though we farm-raised Ohioans love our meat :-) we have been seeking to make more meatless meals as well.  We'll be sure to share some of our family favorite, tweaked, tried-and-true recipes with you all over this year, Lord willing, and we hope you'll give them a try and enjoy them!

Today I'd like to share an Alexander family standby recipe........
Homemade Wholewheat Tortillas
 We use these all the time!  I usually make five to six batches at a time and put them in the freezer so that we have them readily available.  They're different from store bought tortillas, but we think they're wonderful.  Also, not only are they healthier, but they're less expensive too.  And the thing is, they're super easy to make!  So we hope you'll try these and really like them! :-)

3 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp. salt
1/3 cup oil (olive, coconut, palm, etc.)
1 cup water

Stir flour and salt together in mixing bowl.  Mix in oil, first with a fork, then with your fingers to get all the clumps out.  Stir in water with fork.  Knead for about a minute or two, until they're a firm, smooth, soft consistency.  (You may or may not have to add a touch more flour.)  Divide the dough into twelve equal parts.  Roll out each tortilla into an eight to nine inch round.  (I like to use a flexible pie mat.  This allows me to get a more even circle, as well as making it easier to remove the tortillas.  If you don't have a flexible mat of some kind, roll them out on a floured surface.)  Fry the tortillas lightly on a skillet.  Fry them just until they're no longer doughy.  Remove to a wire rack to cool before stacking on a plate.  Enjoy them for any favorite recipe!
One thing that we have discovered over the years is that if you store them in the refrigerator they will get dried out very quickly, making them nearly impossible to roll up.  Also, we recently discovered that you cannot store them on a shelf in the pantry, as they will mold.  Oops. :-)  The best way to store them is in ziplock bags the freezer and just pull them out as needed.  (Make sure they're completely cooled before you put them in the bag, or they will stick.)  They come apart best if you either break them apart with a butter knife while completely frozen, or if you left them thaw completely.

Monday, January 27, 2014


A few quotes from Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

I just began reading Elisabeth Elliot's book "Passion and Purity" yesterday and am already finding myself incredibly challenged by it.  I thought I would share a few of the quotes in the book that really spoke to me, that I hope will be a blessing to you as well.  
"...Grant your people grace to love what you command and desire what you promise..." 
~The Book of Common Prayer

"'The life lost on the Cross was not a sinful one- the treasure poured forth there was God-given, God-blessed treasure, lawful and right to be kept: only that there was the life of the world at stake.'(Lillias Trotter) What kind of a God is it who asks everything of us?  The same God who'...did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all; and with this gift how can he fail to lavish upon us all he has to give?' He gives all.  He asks all."

"One morning I was reading the story of Jesus' feeding of the five thousand.  The disciples could find only five loaves of bread and two fishes.  'Let me have them,' said Jesus.  He asked for all.  He took them, said the blessing, and broke them before He gave them out.  I remembered what a chapel speaker...had said: 'If my life is broken when given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little lad.'"

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Have you decided to follow Jesus, no turning back...even if, no matter what????

200 years ago a revival took places in Whales England.  Many missionaries chose to go to north India , what could only be described as "savage". The tribes were famous for the head hunters that would take their enemies heads and hang them on their walls, and of course Christians were not very welcome.  These Missionaries came and they knew God called them and they continued to share their faith and finally had reached out to one tribe family and they accepted Jesus, and that family became contagious leading others to Jesus and the tribe chief got word of what was happening.

He called a tribe meeting and captured the man and his Wife and 2 kids, told him renounce Jesus or we will kill your children.  The man looked at his children and said "I have decided to Follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back".  The archers drew back their arrows and killed his children in front of him.  His sons lay before him dead and the chief said "renounce Christ or I will kill your Wife".  The man looked at his sons and then his Wife and remembered scripture said to always profess Jesus as Lord, and the man said "Though none go with me still I will follow, no turning back, no turning back" The archers killed his Wife.  With his Wife and sons dead before him, the chief said to him, this time renounce Christ, or you will die.  The man realizing he had nothing left, looked up in heaven and said the last line of the song "The cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back"  the chief gave the order and the archers killed the man....

After killing the man and his family the chief stood speechless and couldn't believe the man gave his family and himself for God and that this Jesus must be real. On the very spot the reports say the chief accepted Jesus as Lord and through the weeks the tribe accepted Jesus, though one man willing to give up everything he had.

~Posted by Breanna

Notes on Seeking God from Genesis 32

Along with beginning a new year some of us have begun a reading plan to read through the Bible this year chronologically.  I am always encouraged reading through Genesis as I see the Lord at work in the lives of His people.  Sometimes it didn't make sense and circumstances even seemed contrary to what He had promised, but because we can see the end of the story we see that God was working all things together to sanctify His people, establish His will in their lives, and use them for His glory as part of His perfect plan.  Just last night as I was digging through a box of we girls' bedroom things (yes, we're still working on finishing up dealing with boxes :-) ) I found some old notes that I had taken a few years ago.  I was really excited, because I had been wanting to re-read them because of my recent Bible reading.  The Lord was so good to provide them when I wasn't even looking for them.  Anyway, I thought I would share these notes with all of you in hopes that it will be an encouragement.  May the difficulties and trials in this life cause us to look to and seek the Lord in greater ways and not make us spiritually stagnant!

Jacob Seeks the Lord in Time of Trouble
~Notes from Genesis 32~

Verse 9 ~ Jacob begins prayer by restating the Lord’s commands.
Verse 10 ~ Jacob verbalizes his unworthiness of the Lord and expresses how the Lord has blessed him.
Verse 11 ~ Jacob seeks the Lord asking for His deliverance and confessing his fears.
Verse 12 ~ Jacob repeats back the promises the Lord has given him.
Verses 13-23 ~ Jacob takes steps preparing to move forward.
Verse 24 ~ Jacob “wrestled” in prayer.
Verse 26 ~ Jacob refuses to move forward without the Lord’s blessing.
Verses 28-29 ~ The Lord blesses Jacob.
Verse 30 ~ Jacob named the place where he had been for the purpose of remembering.
Verse 31 ~ Jacob steps forward in faith.

In verse 7 Jacob was struck with fear.  His fear drove him to seek the Lord in verse 9.  In verse 25 difficulty came to Jacob while “wrestling” in prayer.  This did not hinder Jacob from continued prayer and seeking the Lord’s blessing.  In verse 31 Jacob moves on in faith, trusting that the Lord would be with him even though he now had difficulty in so doing.  He had to pay a price to overcome the threat of not getting God’s blessing.  Jacob could still move forward in faith even with an extra trial because he had received the blessing of the Lord upon him and upon his ways.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

True Love

“Love is not first a feeling. Though the feelings come later and grow thick in the basic loam of love, they don't constitute the sum and substance of love. Love is doing whatever good God says you must do for another, to please God, whether (at first) it pleases you or not. You must do so because He says so; and you don't wait until you feel like doing so. Love begins with obedience toward God in which one gives to another whatever the other needs. Love is not a gooey, sticky sentimental thing; it is hard to love. Often it hurts to love. Love meant going to the cross through the garden of Gethsemane. Christ did not feel like dying for your sins, Christian, but He did so nonetheless. The Scriptures teach that he endured the cross while focusing on the subsequent joy that it would bring.” ― Jay Adams

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Charo Washer's Testimony

I so appreciate the honesty of this precious sister.  I wonder how many children raised in a Christian home, if really honest, can relate to Mrs. Washer.  

This is not an area to not be sure of.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Courage to Change the Things I Can

I was blessed and encouraged when I read this article.  The Lord has been teaching me a lot about keeping my mind stayed on Him in faith so that I can have His "perfect peace".  (Isaiah 26:3)  One thing that really stood out to me as I read this was, "Courage is born to those who exercise it through faith."  I hope that some of you are encouraged by it as well.
The Courage to Change the Things I Can

Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.
- Maya Angelou
Picking up the phone, I heard Michael’s voice on the other end, “I got an interesting call,” he said. “I just got off the phone with your doctor.”
That was odd since I had just been to their office that afternoon. Did they forget to tell me something? Did I leave something behind?
“Uh huh?” I replied. “What did they want?”
“They said that they spoke with you this afternoon, and the doctor didn’t feel like you had a grasp on the situation. They thought that perhaps you didn’t realize the gravity of your condition.”
The heat rose in my face as I listened to his words. Clearly Michael agreed with the choices I had made, so why couldn’t they?
“Your baby,” the doctor said, “if he makes it to term–will likely have Down’s Syndrome.”
I was okay with that. But by the time I talked to Michael, Spina Bifida had also been discussed as a strong possibility.
“Spina Bifida?” I gasped with one hand over my mouth. I wasn’t prepared for that. Life hadn’t prepared me for any of this…
Even so, the choices were clear-cut for us. Children are a blessing from God. Period.
And so we refused to entertain the idea of termination. And we refused to undergo any further testing that could potentially harm our child.
This boy was a gift from the Lord and was to be treated as one.
Several months later Graham was born, kicking and screaming his way into this world. Sure he had his fair share of health problems, but nothing compared to what could have been. In fact other than an allergy to nuts every health problem he had is behind us.
Life doesn’t prepare us for moments like that, which is why we must prepare ourselves for the journey. Courage is born to those who exercise it through faith.
It starts with seeking God’s will for our lives and is exercised through the choices we make.
As parents, we’re constantly faced with choices that call us to exercise courage. We started homeschooling when it wasn’t so cool to do so. It was the early nineties, which brought one of two responses from people. Either they were absolutely confused by the notion and suggested we were breaking the law, or they assumed we were religious fanatics out of touch with reality.
The words of Reinhold Niebuhr come to mind where they nest in my soul:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Courage is the backbone of  faith. Without it we can’t be a light on a hill that shines through the darkness. With it we step out alone serving unpopular truth in a world that can’t grasp who we are.
Back in the day my dad often sang the popular hymn to us, “Tho none go with me still I will follow. No turning back, no turning back…”
And by his example we learned that being different is a natural part of who we are in Christ.
We’re not called peculiar people because we wear distinctive clothing or keep our hair a certain way. We’re different because we don’t conform to pop culture that stands in the way of our faith.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; – 1 Peter 2:9
If it hasn’t happened already, the day will come when you and your husband have strong choices to make. When your only options are to either stand true to your faith or to give in to opinions around you.
Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. – Joshua 1:9
Stand strong in your faith and get ready to take on the world!
You are loved by an almighty God,
Darlene Schacht

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Choosing the Most Important Ministry in 2014

I was sent this article by Mack Tomlinson in an email and was so encouraged and very challenged by it.  Though a little lengthy, I hope you take the time to read it, meditate on it and that you are as blessed by it as I was. ~Breanna 

2014 - Choosing the Most Important Ministry

And she [Martha] had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to His teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me'. But the Lord answered her, 'Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. - Luke 10:39-42

Perhaps the highest and loftiest acts a Christian can have toward God are private worship and prayer. These two acts are uniquely vertical--that is, unless one includes Bible reading, they are the only experiential things a believer does that are directly toward God, that directly and literally put he or she in living, relational communion with the living God. It could be argued that the reading of Scripture does this as well, but that in itself is a means to bring us to worship and pray. All other aspects of the Christian life are horizontal--outward toward others. But worship and prayer are uniquely God-centered and Godward, dealing with God alone and bring us to Him relationally.

Therefore, these ought to be viewed as the central and most important things a Christian can do. Nothing should compete, nothing should interfere, nothing should take precedence over these two realities--personally being with God alone in communion and prayer. If neglected, all other aspects of the Christian life will wither and dry up. Nothing about the Christian life can survive or thrive without them. Supremely important, and the most vital realities of all in the Christian journey, are private worship and prayer.

If this is true, then is it not a wonderful grace that both of these acts--worship and prayer--are not dependent upon anything external? They don't require a group of people, money, education, or politics. You do not need to be smart, gifted, have an outgoing personality, or anything else to worship and pray. You don't have to know someone or organize anything--you just have to be still before God and discipline yourself to be with Him, talk to Him, and adore Him. As Tozer said, to gaze upon the beauty and greatness of His attributes.

Prayer and worship can be done anytime, anywhere, and by any Christian, regardless of their abilities, financial status, education, or people skills. All that is needed is this--a heart for prayer and a heart for God. The two greatest ministries that can be done are those that can be done daily without a newsletter, a computer, an office, or other people. These can be done quietly from an apartment or bedroom. Nothing to do except draw near to God and stay there for a while. Get alone and get with God. He has promised the seeker that "He is in secret and sees in secret."

Why are so many people only pursuing outward ministry? Young men want to preach or evangelize, want to sing or do missions, yet the ministry of private worship and prayer are greatly neglected. Not many feel "called" to the place of separation and isolation to have a ministry of prayer, the reason being that worship and prayer are not done in relation to men--they are not done publicly and are not seen by men nor appreciate by men. They are not busy activities, but are done in stillness and in private. Yet these two acts in the Christian life take more discipline, more a sense of calling, and more grace than anything else that could be done.

It is much easier to preach, evangelize, and do mission trips than it is to pray. But the highest, loftiest, and most difficult ministry of all is private prayer. And it is probably the most needed today. Many of this younger generation are out evangelizing, writing blogs, or trying to get a ministry. But how many are willing to just have a ministry of prayer, and then let any other ministry develop out of their prayer life? Who feels called to mainly pray, more than preaching or outward ministry? Where are the younger ones who will say, "Prayer will be my work, my ministry."

I have been a Christian for forty years and have heard many people say, "I believe I am called to preach or pastor,"-"I know God has called me to be a missionary"-"I am called to be a worship leader." But few are those I have ever met that view prayer as a life's work and calling, and who give up the outward, public ministry to be alone in the secret place to pray. 

The priority of private worship and prayer. These will outlive the outward activity into old age. There will be many activities we cannot do any more and will have to give up when we are older. Many things may have to cease and we cannot continue to do them any longer--

- Write or use a computer when you always could before

- Go to church meetings when you always could before

- Preach or teach when you always could before

- Travel and do mission work when you were active and healthy

- Write books, tracts, or blogs when your mind was clear

- do outward acts of service when you were physically able

In other words, when all ability to do outward activity has ceased, and you are sitting or lying on a bed with illness all day--this is your lot in life now--then it is only personal worship and prayer that are available. There are only two things you are yet able to do--worship and pray.

If this is true, that one day, if you live long enough, the only things for God you will be able to do is worship Him and pray, then why not do them more now? Who among us is called to make prayer their priority in 2014? Where among all the young people and college students are those who will say, "I want a real life of prayer--I will give up outward ministry positions, live at home or rent a cheap room, work part-time, and pray as my job and ministry?" Who feels called to a ministry of prayer before or instead of a calling to missions? Who will give up the spot light of public ministry to be hidden away with God?

When the Christian life begins, a new convert can worship and pray. When a couple doesn't have any "ministry", they can have a ministry of prayer. When one has no financial resources, they can have a ministry of prayer. When life is nearing its end, the body is broken down, and all you can do is sit or lay in bed, still you can pray and worship God.

I wonder this new year if this can become the priority for any of us? Time is passing, life is fleeting, and many of us may be wasting time on outward things that don't really count for eternity, that are not bearing maximum eternal fruit. May we give ourselves increasingly to two things that we may be able to do still at the end of life. At that point, we may not be able to walk, work, be in church meetings, preach, or even speak. But when all the outward is over, some of us will be yet before God in daily stillness, and we then can have the greatest ministry--worship and prayer. 

So I issue a challenge to all young people (thirties and younger). If you desire to serve God and don't know what He wants you to do, then choose a ministry of prayer. Choose to have a prayer life. Make prayer your calling. Develop your prayer life. You are wrestling with whether God want you in full-time ministry and what kind of ministry that would be. Make it prayer. Ask Him, as His disciples did, "Lord, teach me to pray." Just give yourself to a ministry of prayer. Don't tell others. Just do it. Make prayer your priority and your ministry. And 2014 is a good year for this to become more than they have ever been in our lives. Some will preach, some will become missionaries in foreign fields, and some could stay home and have a private life of prayer. Why not choose prayer?

Mary chose the best portion, which was not taken from her until her death. This year, let us do the same--worship and pray.

- Mack Tomlinson

Friday, January 10, 2014

Some Thoughts From This Week...

I was very blessed by the following devotional this morning.  Not only was it an encouragement to me, but it also prompted my thoughts back to some other things the Lord has been showing me this week.  At the beginning of the week the Lord encouraged me with this verse.
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”  - Isaiah 26:3
I was feeling disturbed about something and then realized that I was not feeling the Lord’s perfect peace.  That means that my focus is off somewhere.  My mind must be stayed on Him; I must trust Him.

Yesterday evening we girls were talking to Mom and she was encouraging me to keep my eyes on the Lord.  Regardless of circumstances I must place my focus on the Lord and leave all the results up to Him.  That means that I can just take joy in where He has me right now and seek to serve Him right now.
 This picture represents something very near and dear to my heart.  The Lord has given me so many ways to serve Him and to “water” the lives of others.  He has blessed me with six precious siblings.  Four of them are so young.  They are little rays of sunshine in my life.  There’s nothing quite like one of those smiling faces bounding toward you with arms out wanting a hug.  They need so much love and attention poured into their little souls.  Amazingly, I have found that when I am feeling down the Lord uses them in a special way to somehow shine joy and security into my heart.  He has given me the opportunity to serve and love them, to invest into them physically and spiritually, and it is very rewarding.

There are also so many others ways the Lord has provided for me to invest into others and to serve Him.  My family and home can be invested into in so many ways it’s incredible.  Then there are other people too; the Lord’s children everywhere.  There are many ways that I can be a blessing and an encouragement to the people the Lord brings across my path.

Instead of worrying about various circumstances in my life and how things will turn out, I need to simply keep my focus on the Lord.  I need to be growing spiritually, seeking to serve the Lord, and be a blessing to others.  The Lord will take care of working out His perfect plan for my life.  As I place my trust in Him and find joy in pouring out myself in His service, He will give me His perfect peace.

I know I’ve been talking about my own life, but these things so apply to each of our lives, wherever the Lord has us.  I hope that this makes sense and is of encouragement to some of you.  May the Lord bless and guide each of your lives and may He use each of our lives to bring glory and honor to His name through His perfect plan.

Divine Recompense
He that watereth shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)
If I carefully consider others, God will consider me, and in some way or other He will recompense me. Let me consider the poor, and the Lord will consider me. Let me look after little children, and the Lord will treat me as His child. Let me feed His flock, and He will feed me. Let me water His garden, and He will make a watered garden of my soul. This is the Lord's own promise; be it mine to fulfill the condition and then to expect its fulfillment.
I may care about myself till I grow morbid; I may watch over my own feelings till I feel nothing; and I may lament my own weakness till I grow almost too weak to lament. It will be far more profitable for me to become unselfish and out of love to my Lord Jesus begin to care for the souls of those around me. My tank is getting very low; no fresh rain comes to fill it; what shall I do? I will pull up the plug and let its contents run out to water the withering plants around me. What do I see? My cistern seems to fill as it flows. A secret spring is at work. While all was stagnant, the fresh spring was sealed; but as my stock Rows out to water others the Lord thinketh upon me. Hallelujah!
Charles Spurgeon, Faith's Checkbook, January 10th

Hope you all have a wonderful and refreshing weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The life of faith....

“The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived - not always looked forward to as though the "real" living were around the next corner. It is today for which we are responsible. God still owns tomorrow.”
― Elisabeth Elliot, Let Me Be a Woman
~Posted By Breanna

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Rejoice in the Lord!

Although the fig tree shall not blossom, 
neither shall fruit be in the vines;
the labour of the olive shall fail, 
and the fields shall yield no meat; 
the flock shall be cut off from the fold, 
and there shall be no herd in the stalls: 
Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 
Hab 3:17-18

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Happy New Year!!!!!

A very happy new year to you all!!!!  What a blessing it is to have been given the gift of 365 more days...may we use them wisely and for the glory of Christ.   It's exciting and inspiring as we make goals for this new year.  I'm sure some of them will end up being shared here eventually.  :-) 

This post by Matthew Jacobson is such a good reminder as we begin this year.  I know for our family, looking back over everything that happened in 2013 is amazing.  It was a BIG year with moving and having so many changes in our lives.  It was a year filled with difficulty, excitement, many trials and testing of our faith, joy in being together, unknown, answered prayers and much waiting...but above all else, it was a year walked with God by faith, which made it an amazingly good year because we serve an amazingly good God who is faithful always!  I wonder what God has in store for us for 2014????  Like Mr. Jacobson says...

He knows[1] 
Are you ready for the new year? Doesn’t much matter because it’s here! A lot of life is like that, coming at us fast and hard.
Much of the time we can feel like Phillip when Jesus looked over the crowd of 5,000 (not counting women and children) and asked, “Okay, Philip, where are we going to buy food to feed these people?” (MLJV).

Philip knew it was impossible. They only had a little money.

Jesus knew it was impossible, too.

Jesus knows what we know. He knows the insurmountable mountain you’re facing right now. But, He knows something more. He knows what He intends to do, regardless of the enormity of our circumstances. The next verse says Jesus asked Philip . . . for a reason . . . to test him. (John 6:6)

Jesus wants to know how we’ll respond when faced with circumstances that only He can handle. Will we trust Him with the impossible? Jesus had a plan for Philip, for that huge crowd, and He has a plan for you, today, right now.

This is what God was reminding me, this morning, when I read these words from the Sermon on the Mount: The Father knows what you need before you ask. (Matthew 6:8).

Will you trust Him with that impossible challenge in 2014?

He knows what we need and He has a plan.


 Blessings and love to you all as we begin this new year!  May God's richest blessings be yours!
~Breanna for the family