Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello my friends ~

The Domain will be inactive for a while. Many changes taking place in our lives have already required my attention elsewhere, leaving a very meager supply of posts published in the last six months. If you would like me to contact you when I reactivate the blog, feel free to leave a comment or email me.

August marked my four year anniversary in blogging, and over these years you ladies have created a special place in my heart.

Please keep our family in your prayers ... as you will be in mine.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Our family sends you the very warmest Christmas Greetings because ~ and only because ~

. . . we have seen and do testify that
the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the world . . .
1 John 4:14

May you find peace and joy at this time and always because you rest in the promise of who He is.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Comfort in Winter

Thou hast made summer and winter. Psalm 74:17.

My soul, begin this wintry month with thy God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind thee that He keeps His covenant with day and night, and tend to assure thee that He will also keep that glorious covenant which He has made with thee in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world, will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation: He scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes over the once verdant meadows of our joy: He casteth forth His ice like morsels freezing the streams of our delight. He does it all, He is the great Winter King, and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore thou canst not murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills, are of the Lord's sending, and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill noxious insects, and put a bound to raging diseases; they break up the clods, and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! How pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw nigh to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His promises, and go forth to labours which befit the season, for it were ill to be as the sluggard who will not plough by reason of the cold; for he shall beg in summer and have nothing.

~ Charles Spurgeon
Morning by Morning

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pie Crust

(We interrupt this unplanned blogging hiatus in order to post our family's pie crust recipe that is forever being misplaced in this house!)

Mix dry ingredients:

4 cups flour
1 TB sugar
2 tsp salt

Cut in . . .

1 cup cold butter
3/4 cup cold shortening

Toss lightly with

1 beaten egg
1/2 cup ice water

Add additional ice water by the tablespoon
only as needed (up to 1/2 cup).

Makes 4 single crusts or 2 double crusts.

[For anyone curious, in the photo Brittany used 1/2 of the above recipe (2 single crusts), lined a 9 x 13 pan and doubled my quiche recipe to fill it. It was as yummy as it looks. :o)]

I hope everyone's summer
is goingwent well. Ours became busier than initially planned. I have a few pictures to post if I ever get enough time to actually sit at the computer for more than five minutes on the fly.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

God's Generosity

Valley - Israel, Hills of Galilee, Sea of Galilee
Valley - Israel, Hills of Galilee, Sea of Galilee

I wanted to share a little something from the scriptures that never fails to touch my heart whenever I'm reading through 1 Samuel. It's just one little word in chapter 7, but to understand it's significance you must know the background.

The story of Samuel begins with his mother Hannah. Unable to conceive and mocked by her husband's other wife, she was desperate to have a baby. During one of their yearly journeys to Shiloh to offer sacrifices and worship the Lord, Hannah went off for a private time of weeping and crying out to the Lord.

And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the Lord, and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow, and said, O Lord of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a male child, then I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head. (1 Samuel 1:10-11)

The High Priest Eli, after ascertaining that Hannah was not drunk (his initial reaction to her behavior), blessed her and said,"...go in peace, and the God of Israel grant thee they petition that thou hast asked of Him." (1 Samuel 1:17)

And they (Elkanah, Hannah, his other wife Peninnah and her children) rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house at Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah, his wife, and the Lord remembered her. (1 Samual 1:19)

The Lord, who had shut Hannah's womb (1:5) now opened it and brought about conception (1:19).

When the child was weaned (probably at least 3 in that time and culture), Hannah took Samuel on the trip to Shiloh and left him there with Eli. For this child I prayed; and the Lord hath given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore also I have lent him to the Lord; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the Lord. And he worshiped the Lord there. (1 Samuel 1:27-28) And Hannah rejoiced! (1 Samuel 2:1-11)

I will step away from the initial direction of my post to make a confession. About ten years ago I was reading this story to my eldest son, and I was so convicted. Could I bow before my Lord and joyfully give Him my children? I spent much time on my knees over the next week as I wrestled with the issue of giving my children over to the Lord. I was afraid if I said they were His and He could do as He pleased that He would take them from me.

In my head, I knew all the Biblical answers, but in my heart, I feared. It was a trust issue. In the end, I was finally able to let go, knowing that God loves my children more than I ever could and knowing that He loves me more than I'll ever understand. Almost one year later our son Benjamin Samuel was stillborn. In His compassion, God had been preparing my heart for that journey.

And I will admit further that this giving away of my children unto the Lord is something that I have to revisit periodically. I have to search my soul and deepest heart to make sure that I'm not clinging to something I ought not to. Such are the beginnings of idolatry, and I want nothing ~ especially not a blessing from God ~ to come between my Lord and me. There are times when I realize that I need to let go again and confess to the Lord that I have not trusted Him enough.

Well, that went down a road I didn't expect ~ :o), but here is the sweet part. Oh, the tenderness of God!! Look at what He does.

And Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. And he went from year to year in circuit to Bethel, and Gilgal, and Mizpah, and judged Israel in all those places. And his return was to Ramah; for there was his house, and there he judged Israel, and there he built an altar unto the Lord. (1 Samuel 7:15-17)

See that one word, Ramah? When Samuel grew to be a man and built his house, he did it in Ramah. Ramah was the town his parents lived in. (see 1 Samuel 1:19 posted above). Hannah gave Samuel to the Lord, and the Lord gave him back to her! Is He not an awesome God? We can never out give the Lord!

I feel like I cannot end this post without pointing out 1 Samuel 2:21. And the Lord visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters. . . God is a tender, compassionate and generous God!

Friday, September 29, 2006

Place Revisited

Quick recap of Wednesday’s post: In Genesis 12:6-7 we learn that Shechem is the very first place in Canaan to which God brought Abram, and it was here that God restated his promise to make Abram a great nation. In Genesis 33:18-20 we learned that Shechem is the place of safety that Jacob returns to after his long absence in Paddan Aram, and here he built an altar and called the place El Elohe Israel (God, the God of Israel). Then in John 4:4-6 we discover that Shechem is the place that Jesus, the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham, comes to offer salvation to the woman at the well. [New tidbit: I forgot to mention before that Shechem is also the place where Joseph’s bones were buried. Again a promise fulfilled here from Genesis 50:25 . . . “God will surely visit you, and you shall carry up my bones from here.”]

But there is something more I noticed in my study, and I just want to share it. It’s about Jacob. First God brought him to Shechem, a reminder of where he came from, his position in God’s plans and how that gave him value.

The initiation of the next move was a terrible event. Dinah, daughter of Leah and Jacob, goes “out to visit the women of the land.” She is unprotected and put herself into a dangerous situation. She draws the attention of Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, the ruler of that area. She is abducted and raped, and kept by Shechem while he and his father attempt to arrange a marriage. Simeon and Levi (Dinah’s brothers) retaliate by using trickery to wipe out all the men of that city and then take all their women, children and wealth (and, of course, save Dinah). Jacob is furious because Simeon and Levi’s trickery has left the family vulnerable to attack if the Canaanites and Perizzites join forces in retaliation.

In Genesis 35, God tells Jacob to move his family to Bethel, settle there and build an altar to God. Then Jacob tells his family to get rid of their foreign gods, purify themselves and change clothes. Obviously, Jacob had aligned himself with God (El Elohe Israel – back in chapter 33) but NOT his family. He was still not taking charge of his responsibilities as head of his home which may have been why Dinah got into the trouble she did and why Levi and Simeon thought they should handle the situation and proceeded as they did. But NOW he steps forward and sets a standard for his family. So in 35:4 Jacob buried all the foreign gods and the rings in their ears under the oak at Shechem. Then they set out for Bethel, and no one pursues them for terror of God.

So why Bethel? If God could protect them on the journey to Bethel, He could just as easily have protected them in Shechem. But Bethel is a special place in the life of Jacob, and I believe God wanted Jacob back there. Back in Genesis 28:10-22, Jacob is fleeing Beersheba after he has tricked his father and angered Esau. At sunset he stops to rest, sleeps on a stone and dreams of the stairway with the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

Genesis 28:13-15
And behold, the Lord stood above it and said: “I am the Lord God of Abraham your father and the God of Isaac; the land on which you lie I will give to you and your descendants. (14) Also your descendants shall be as the dust of the earth; you shall spread abroad to the west and the east, to the north and the south; and in you and in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed. (15)Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go, and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”

This confirmation of the covenant is crucial to Jacob because of the deceitful way in which he received the birthright and blessing. Now the promises are not his because his grasping hand managed to close around them first, but the promises are his because God says so! Jacob makes a pillar of his pillow, pours oil on it, and names the place Bethel (House of God).

Genesis 28:20-22
Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and keep me in this way that I am going, and give me bread to eat and clothing to put on. (21) so that I come back to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God. (22) And this stone which I have set as a pillar shall be God’s house, and of all that You give me I will surely give a tenth to You.”

So why Bethel? God brings Jacob from a place of safety based on promises made to Abraham (Jacob’s position in his family; his inherited promise) to Bethel, the place of Jacob’s personal promise. This place will remind Jacob of his own encounter with God, his own intimate, personal relationship with I AM.

We all must have our own intimate relationship with God. Of course, there must be an initial salvation experience to begin the experience. We can only connect with God by way of the cross. But even after we have begun the journey, we still stand alone before God. That’s the purpose of our “daily bread,” intimate, personal contact with God. God loves us so much, and He wants us in a “place” where we are constantly reminded of and aware of that love. Family is important to God. Fellowship with the church family is part of who we are as believers. It helps to define us – brothers and sisters is Christ. But the personal relationship is more important. God has promises that He’s made to YOU. It’s personal, and it’s intimate; and sometimes God has to remind us of that.

Genesis 35:11-12
Also God said to him: “I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall proceed from you, and kings shall come from your body. (12) The land which I gave Abraham and Isaac I give to you; and to your descendants after you I give this land.”

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Significance of Place

What is the significance of place to God? In Acts 17:26 it says that God “. . . hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.” (KJV) The NIV phrases it “. . . and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.”

In John chapter 4 Jesus meets the woman at the well, the woman of ill repute.

(5) Then cometh he to a city of Samaria, which is called Sychar, near to the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to his son Joseph.
(6) Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied with his journey, sat thus on the well: and it was about the sixth hour.

Why is this place chosen for this meeting?

Look at Genesis 12:6-7

(6) And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Shechem, unto the oak of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
(7) And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, “Unto thy seed will I give this land:” and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

The place chosen for this meeting was the place where God appeared to Abram for the first time in the Promised Land. In verses 1 and 2 of Chapter 12 God tells Abram to (greatly revised here (o; !)Get moving and I’ll make a great nation. But in verses 6 & 7 He says – You have arrived! This is it! Here it is! This will be your land!

Fast forward two generations. In Genesis 33 Jacob has returned from Paddan Aram (the country of Laban his uncle/father-in-lawX2). He has already had his meeting with Esau.

Genesis 33:18-20

(18) And Jacob came to Shalem, a city of Shechem, which is in the land of Canaan, when he came from Padanaram; and pitched his tent before the city.
(19) And he bought a parcel of a field, where he had spread his tent, at the hand of the children of Hamor, Shechem's father, for an hundred pieces of money.
(20) And he erected there an altar, and called it Elelohe-Israel.
(Note: Elelohe-Israel means God, the God of Israel. Jacob accepts his new name, Israel, and proclaims a new strength or greater intensity to his relationship with Elohim. God is HIS God.)

In verse 18 the NIV says Jacob had “safely arrived in the city of Shechem."

After his deceipt and exile – Shechem is the place to which God brings Jacob back. A place that he knows from his own family history is a place of great promise to his grandfather Abraham and his descendants, and therefore a place of great promise for him. The promises of God bring hope and assurance and therefore an awareness of safety. (Blessed assurance I’m standing on the promises of God!)

Back to the New Testament!
Reposing in this awesome place of history, Jesus has an encounter with the woman at the well. When he confronts her with her sin, she begins to argue with him about – place.

(John 4:20) Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.

But Jesus does not let her get by with that.

John 4:21-26

(21) Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
(22) Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
(23) But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
(24) God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.
(25) The woman saith unto him, I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.
(26) Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he
(Note: I AM He – I AM – God’s name in the Old Testament)

In a place where a Jew should not be, Samaria, Jesus meets a woman at a place that during that time of day was not customary for “nice” women to be, a well, that is steeped in history as the very soil that God said to Abraham – here is your land, and God said to Jacob – welcome back my wayward child. And in this place Jesus says to that woman, God is a God of spirit to be worshiped in spirit and truth. Worship is a heart issue, not an place issue, not a race issue, not an outward issue. God is accessible to everyone. He is accessible to you. I have made Him accessible to you. Reach out and touch Me. I am God!

Act 17:26-28 (NKJV)

(26) And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, (27) so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; (28) for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, “for we are also His offspring.”

So where are you? Wherever it is -- it's significant!