Equipping the Saints website

Breezing in here to share a source of great wealth to me lately, the Equipping the Saints website. Are you struggling with hard things? Be encouraged by a site that explains how death to self takes faith to comprehend and experience. Learn about true humility, which only comes from Christ in us, when we abide in Him and stop struggling with being “good enough” or “doing enough” and just realize that until He takes over, we’re just good at getting in the way of progress! “Self” is a powerful enemy of the plans and purposes God wants to accomplish in our lives.

Here’s a quote from the site to whet your appetite!

“The Christian life is not our living a life like Christ, or our trying to be Christ-like, nor is it Christ giving us the power to live a life like His; but it is Christ Him-self living His own life through us; ‘no longer I, but Christ.'” Miles J. Stanford

And something from the Lord to prick your heart,

John 15:4-5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.”

Here’s to fruitfulness that only comes from reckoning ourselves dead to sin and alive to Christ!

–Mary

Overcoming emotional hurts with Christ’s help

I often get letters, behind scenes, expressing great anguish and crippling turmoil over familial hurts that seem insurmountable and are accompanied by pleas for help. I just wanted to answer this one publicly and with virtual hugs. It’s okay. Jesus understands. And you are not alone. Here’s my story.

First, I want to tell you, I understand. I understand the being overwhelmed, the agony, the injustice, the “no one can understand and possibly everyone things I’m over-reacting”. The not being able, much less willing, to put yourself out as a target when those “archers” responsible are in the same vicinity! I felt the same emotional turmoil for years, whenever I was around a certain someone. Those were hard but growing years. I’m so thankful for a godly mother’s counsel, and her strong shoulder on which I cried many times.

Like you, survival meant keeping a distance and meantime in the civil distance, with much prayer and a lot of maturity in both the other person and myself, I have been able to put the hurtful things that happened behind me. I NEVER thought I’d be able to be around that person with my guard down, but happily I am. I pray that over time and with God’s healing between you and this other person, total renewal (love, forgiveness, trust) will be gained. Until then, you are wise to listen to your loving heavenly Father and protect your fragility, build yourself up in the confidence and strength that comes from the Lord.

1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:”

2 Corinthians 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:”

Our heavenly Father will equip you. Perfect love casts out fear! Pray that Jesus will give you an overwhelming love–unconditional with no past recriminations hovering–for this person. A love that will cover their human failings toward you.If you are like me, you will have many kneeling-before-the-throne sessions, weeping, praying for the burden to leave. But the joy isn’t in the burden leaving, as much as it is in surviving it by God’s grace and coming out on the other side scathed, but healed, and enabled to help spread the message of hope that you’ve experienced firsthand.

The Lord gave me that for my situation. I wanted to bawl for joy when he crushed that last wall I’d built for my sanity and protection, and let me just feel love and compassion for the one that had hurt me so, with no history tainting it WHATSOEVER. I even cleared the air with them, and apologized for my part in the problem, not hinting at anything they might have done. It is so over–and I am free and so incredibly thankful to have that horrible, crippling angst of a burden rolled off my heart. To be able to be around them with no hurts between us any more is a MIRACLE! He is faithful so just keep hounding the Lord for peace and healing on this–even if your loved one never changes–I believe you will get to the point of having a Jesus-love for him or her that can see past their faults and sins and even let this unfair treatment of you and hurtful words roll off of you because you are SO bathed in Jesus’ affirmation and love, blood-covered and GRACED out, that you’ll hurt more for this other person than yourself when those darts hit their mark.

Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

But, in the meantime, do keep your distance so you can focus on healing and commit to pray hard for this perfect work. I can’t explain how all my hurts, anger, insecurities, jealousies over the injustice of it all (false rumors, etc.) were completely vanquished and it wasn’t overnight…but it definitely happened and it was all Jesus. I think of this person now with so much love, sometimes with tears as I pray for their precious family. What a blessing!

Having read all of that, I hope you get a message of HOPE and can see that I’m not judging, because I’ve been there. Perhaps I didn’t have as much to forgive in my situation, as you do in yours, but Jesus can handle it.

Philippians 1:6, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

Psalm 27:1, “The  LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?”

The blessing of total forgiveness is that forgiveness will come much easier for you down the road when others hurt you. The more like Christ we become, the more dead we become to self, and “dead people” don’t get offended or hold bitterness or grudges. I would much rather be dead to “self” and alive to Christ. For more on this, you may want to read my Dying to Self series. For now I’ll leave you with Galatians 2:20,

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

God bless you and heal you as you seek His ways in all you do…

Gluten-free, egg-free Brownies and Blondies

These recipes are for my gluten-free friends…Mary B, you especially!

This is my friend Jane’s specialty. She is allergic to eggs so she came up with this fudgy delicious substitute to regular brownies. The secret ingredient will most likely surprise you…canned beans! There are many recipes for gluten-free Black Bean brownies and White Bean Blondies on the internet, but these don’t have eggs.

IMPORTANT: in my opinion, these brownies need 24 hours in the fridge to meld the flavors to perfection. In fact…the first time I made them I was really disappointed. We ate them while still warm from the oven, and they really didn’t do much for me. In fact, blech! But by the next morning…WOW–they were amazing! Everyone said so. So take my word for it, and save the majority of them till the next day. (because I know you will have to sample at least one straight from the oven…)

You can thank me later for that tip. *Smile*

Another IMPORTANT thing: you will need a food processor or good blender for this recipe.

Black Bean Brownies

  • 1 15 oz can black beans
  • 2 T. cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut or vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 – 2/3 cup chocolate chips (we think dark chocolate is best!)
  • more chips on top for presentation, if desired (you will so desire!)

Preheat oven to 350*F. Drain beans. Combine all ingredients (except chips) in a good food processor, or blender, and blend till completely smooth. Stir in the chips, then pour the mixture into a greased 8×8″ pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chocolate chips over the top. Cook the brownies 18-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out mostly clean. Then let them cook 10 minutes or more before trying to cut. Makes 9-12 brownies.

Chocolate Chip Blondies

  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas or white beans
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup quick oats
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350*F. Drain beans. Blend all ingredients (except chips) until very smooth in a good food processor or blender. Mix in chips and pour mixture into a greased 8×8 inch pan. Optional: sprinkle extra chips over the top. Bake for around 30 minutes. They will look a little undercooked when you take them out, but they will firm up as they cool, and you don’t want them to get hard.

A note about Gluten-Free…

Those of you that are deathly allergic to gluten know what is and isn’t allowable. I do not claim to know the ins and outs of Gluten-free…so before making these and blessing all your GF friends with them…do some research. For instance…I know that gluten-free oats and gluten-free chocolate chips exist…but I don’t know if that’s just because the GF movement is taking advantage of the fact that most normal people don’t have any idea that chocolate chips contain gluten. ?? I know gluten is found in some very strange things, like certain soda-pops. So use your discretion.

If any gluten-free folks can shed some light on the ingredients in this recipe, I’d sure love to know!

Thanks, and enjoy this healthy recipe!

 

Cookbooks and Food Miracles

Today I picked up a large cooler full of ground venison from the meat locker. Tonight we’re celebrating “red meat in the hoose” by utilizing The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook…her bacon-wrapped and bbq-tomato-gravy slathered meatloaf (page 150) to be exact. And her PW’s Creamy Mashed Potatoes (page 146) made from Yukon Gold potatoes from our very own garden. I haven’t been immersed in such a delightful cookbook since my mom gave us the Two Chicks from the Sticks cookbook. Another must-have. Hint. Many of our best-selling farmer’s market recipes have come from that last one.

But the real reason I’m blogging tonight (besides having t.i.m.e. and no one else competing with me for our one and only computer…) is that we had another miracle recently! We have them quite often actually. I wish I had time to blog about each and every one.

This miracle occurred one chilly morning a couple weeks ago. I was down at our field pens, doing chores for the 30 little chickies we’re raising…when a hunter pulled up. He’d been hunting and successfully bagged his buck and wondered if I could come take a picture of him with it. Just FYI, we’d met him the previous weekend when he’d kindly let us know he had permission to hunt the forested area north of our property. So he’d be driving through our place in the wee hours of the morning and didn’t want us to be alarmed. Heh, if he only knew how familiar we are with the “wee hours” of the morning, getting up at 3:55 am every day to milk. But I digress. Nice guy, from out of state. He waited on me to run up to the house and pull my banana nut bread out of the oven and then we were off for a photo shoot.

The drive was through pasture, a little rough. By the time we got done with the pictures, I could tell he was anxious to get the deer gutted and his deer stand dissembled, so I offered to help. That was a fun ramble through the woods to the deer stand…he pointed out a bobcat lair, among other interesting things I didn’t know were within a half-mile of my home!

The blessing of this adventure is that we got a large cooler of ground venison for our freezer! Because this guy was from out of state, he couldn’t take his deer home with him. He asked if we happened to like venison…we LOVE venison. Not only that…but less than two weeks before, I’d announced to my family that I was praying for God to dump some red meat in our laps so they better watch and see how He was going to provide it. We had been out of everything but our broiler chickens for a while, and I sure was missing the versatility of having ground red meat at my disposal. We just don’t buy beef from the store…we process our own beef here at home because we like to know what we’re eating! I’d even begun grinding some turkey so we’d have ground meat…but turkey is just meant to be roasted. An added blessing of venison is that it doesn’t contain any antibiotics or vaccines….which is a hallelujah side bonus! *grin*

We are truly thankful, and excited to enjoy this first meal made from this venison gift tonight. I guess I’d better go mash up some potatoes!

Have you got anything in particular you need to take to the Lord in prayer? Another thing you should know…the same day this hunter relayed his intention of giving us the meat from his deer, my in-laws stopped by with a grocery sack of beef from their freezer. What a double blessing! Meat to eat while we waited on the locker to process the venison. God loves to knock our socks off…but so often…we “have not because we ask not”…

What miracles has He done in your life recently?

Ginger Peach Lemonade Recipe

Farmer'sMarketLemonade2It’s Farmer’s Market season again! Every week amidst the last minute packaging of treats we bake, and whilst my husband and middle daughter are feverishly loading the vehicle for market, my youngest daughter and I are busy in the kitchen concocting the “perfect fruity lemonade”. This is a last minute affair because we want it as fresh as possible, you see. This is 8 year old’s contribution to the market–a lemonade stand.  You can pretty much juice any fruit and add it to a substantial amount of lemonade. Watermelon. Pink Lady apples. Plums and Oranges. Strawberry Kiwi. Cherry Limeade. These are a few of our favorite ones.

Well, we happened upon a real peach this past Tuesday night. My oldest knew we were planning on Peach Lemonade…as peaches are in full swing around here, and when possible, we love doing lemonade with whatever fruit is in season. She suggested “Ginger Peach Lemonade”. Oh man. Around here we lo-ove fresh ginger…

And a recipe was born.

Peach Lemonade with a hint of Ginger

  • 12 peaches, with pits removed
  • 2 cups Lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar
  • around a gallon of water
  • ginger syrup: boil 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and about 3 inches of peeled and sliced ginger root till sugar is dissolved. Cool, remove ginger pieces.

I have a Champion Juicer–love it. Someone asked me if they could just throw the peaches in the blender…well, I’d say no, because a juicer separates the juice from all the pulp. But if someone with one of those fancy-schmancy Vitamix blenders wants to set me straight, please do so. It could work! I slice my peach halves into chunks that will juice easily and juice them all. You’ll get 16 oz (at least) of peach juice, depending on how juicy they are. Mix up a gallon of lemonade (your two cups lemon juice, 1 cup sugar and almost a gallon of water). Brew your ginger syrup…and mix all three delights together. Ta-da! Serve it up on ice for a fantastic summer bonus!

This sold out in the first 45 minutes of market…I’m making it again next week! Good stuff…and it’s so much fun to hear people’s comments.

“Wonder what flavor they’ll have this week?”

“I LOVE this stuff!”

“I come to the market just for my lemonade!”

My youngest daughter was able to save all of her lemonade money last summer and used it to purchase a lovely mandolin, which she now plays at market once the lemonade is sold out! Fun times.

I also have a Peach Lemonade Concentrate recipe that cans up great if you want to take a look at that one.

Happy Summertime everyone! Do you have a favorite fresh summertime drink? Do share it in comments!

 

Spring Adventures

Watering canIt’s feeling a lot like spring outside! And it’s been a long while coming, hasn’t it? I had my hands in garden dirt today, helping our local CSA farm plant 1,000 broccoli and cauliflower plants–perfect afternoon project for four families to tackle, made easier by many hands and a nifty transplanter implement new to the farm. I think I may have gotten a wee bit of a sunburn today–and some good ole-fashioned Vitamin D, while I was at it!

Baby chicks moved in last week–37 of them to be exact. The morning they arrived, we also had our 4 calves escape their pen, and a baby goat that needed warmed by our fire and bottle fed every 2 hours for a couple of days. Yep, spring has sprung.

Last night we offloaded 400 cattle from 4 semi trucks, and then herded them by horseback to a neighboring pasture…at dusk. My husband and I, our 3 daughters, and 3 cattle dogs. By the time we headed back to the horse trailer we could barely see each other on our bay and roan horses. We’ve ridden in the dark before, to the tune of 3:30 A.M. but never at night–we can’t wait till next time! Oh, and the chocolate rice krispy treats my oldest made for the truck ride over to this adventure rounded out the fun, not to mention how the girls baled onto the pick-up bed for the ride home. Happy!

Got my pansies planted just now, homemade noodles ready to roll out for supper…should I pop open a quart jar of home-canned turkey or beef to add in with gravy? Hmmm.

Now if our milk cows would only calve soon, we’d be in milk again. The laying hens are giving me 15-20 eggs a day. I’m telling you, THIS is living. Fresh air and SUNSHINE, greening grass and trees, flowers, loamy dirt to fill with veggie transplants, baby critters, girls on horseback, real food at the end of a long day’s work. I’m thinking I don’t deserve to have it so good. Thank you, Lord, for your abundant blessings!

How’s your spring shaping up?

 

The Health Benefits of Eating Whole Organic Foods and How They Can Aid in Preventing Illness

What is your opinion of organic food? Do you think of it as overpriced? Do you think of it as unnecessary? Maybe you have looked at the organic foods in the grocery store and thought the produce didn’t look as robust or oversized as the “regular” stuff.

It is interesting to note that there are many benefits to eating whole organic foods, and that many people remain entirely unaware about the ways that these foods will prevent illnesses on many levels.

Food and Health

Let’s start by understanding two of the terms we used above: whole food and organic food. These are two very different things. Whole food are those that are unprocessed and unaltered to a great degree. For example, fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, nuts, and grains can be called whole foods.

Organic foods are those that are grown to very specific standards and which use no dangerous chemicals in the growing, harvesting, and processing stages of market preparation. In the United States a food cannot simply be labeled as organic without first passing the standards designed by the USDA.

So, why is it that whole and organic foods will prevent illness? Let’s start with nutrition.

The Nutrients in Nature

Because whole and organic foods are grown under relatively ideal conditions and are left as intact as possible, their nutrient levels are superior to the more “traditionally” grown foods.

Need an example? Let’s say you want to buy a bag of apples at the market. These are whole foods, right? Yes, but when they are not grown organically they are fairly saturated with some hefty chemicals. In fact, there is a list known as the “dirty dozen” and it identifies the foods that are the most heavily contaminated when not grown organically. (The list includes peaches, apples, sweet bell peppers, nectarines, celery, cherries, strawberries, grapes, pears, lettuce, potatoes, and spinach)

Now, if you buy the regular, non-organic apples it means you are ingesting large quantities of pesticide residues. It also means that the nutrient properties of the fruit are likely to have been compromised too. This is because the compounds sprayed on the growing apples are intended to make them more marketable. So, the bag of luscious red-skinned apples may look far more appealing than those less glamorous organic apples, but you are going to get a lot more nutrition and good food value from that bag of organics.

Fighting Illness

In addition to upping the nutrition value in foods, buying whole and organic foods also means that you are eliminating compounds that have strong links to diseases such as cancer and immune malfunction.

Of course, there is also the very obvious link to a whole food diet and better health. Because whole, organic foods are low in fat, sugar, and sodium it means that they are less likely to cause any subsequent health problems. For example, if you avoid non-organic and processed foods and opt for the healthier whole foods you are not likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, or to become obese.

Lastly, if you did a blind taste test of organic versus non-organic foods, you would usually choose the organic as the better tasting food. This is because farmers have to grow specific varieties if the non-organic food can survive the shipping and marketing processes. Often this comes at the cost of taste and nutrition. Organic farmers don’t work that way and will grow less attractive varieties because they are guaranteed to be packed with flavor, color, and nutrition.

Going organic and eating a whole food diet makes sense if you want to enjoy a long and healthy life.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

Miracle on New Year’s Eve 2012

My husband and I were up at the barn milking the cows when it happened. Screams, distant enough that I shoved my hood back and strained to distinguish whether or not they were in fun or in terror. I’d just been watering the livestock at the back of the dairy barn, humming “Let it Snow,” thinking what a gorgeous adventure I was having, helping the love of my life milk ye old cows, tromping through 3 inches of white stuff, and just loving the calm still of a snowflaked world on New Year’s Eve. Inside the house, a table piled with our favorite finger foods awaited us, special movies hand picked for bringing in the New Year, and a roaring fire in the fire place. Life just didn’t get better than this.

Until my heart stilled at the sounds of all three of my girls screaming for help. My husband jumped away from Gertie, our Jersey-Guernsey cow that he was finishing up, and asked me if something was wrong out there. I was still in denial, hoping there wasn’t.

“I think they are just playing…I shut the chickens in early tonight, so they let Guiney out to romp in the snow a bit.” I hurried through the barn, heading for the door that was nearest the commotion.  Guiney is our female Australian Shepherd, my 12 year old’s special pet, a great dog…but one with an affinity for eating my laying hens. We dare not let them out at the same time.

When I reached the big sliding south door of our dairy barn, all doubt as to the seriousness of the situation vanished. My 8 year old was hysterical, hardly able to talk she was wailing so loudly. “Mommy! Daddy!” her screams were punctuated with chest-shuddering sobs, “Guiney’s head is caught in a trap, she’s going to die, come quick!”

My husband took off running, I’ve never seen him fly over the snow so fast. Later we looked at his boot prints…all a good four feet apart. Down the long hill, past our horse pens, around the fledgling fruit trees we planted last year, and across the small pasture where we keep our broiler pens…I prayed he’d make it in time. Adrenaline pumping, I hurried to free the dairy cows from their stanchions and turned them back into their part of the barn where they could munch alfalfa and not get into trouble. I hurried to my youngest, still wailing as if her heart had broken into a million pieces, bent over in the snow, rocking and praying to God to please please save Guiney.

My own emotions were threatening to pull me under. This couldn’t be happening. If only the girls had asked before letting Guiney out. But how could they know that there was a trap set down by the field pens, set to catch the elusive critter that’s been after the chickens here of late? I hugged my youngest close and we prayed together, loud desperate pleas to the only One who could work the miracle needed a quarter mile away.

Youngest didn’t want to go near the scene, she just knew Guiney was dead, and couldn’t bear to have it confirmed. I sent my delirious little sweetheart trudging forlornly to the house, and headed down to the rest of my family. When I got within view, my hubby was heading back this way…I hollered down to him, thinking he might need something and I could save him some steps. He gestured with his hands in a way that I thought meant, “She’s gone. She died. It’s over.” The tears I’d been fighting rushed out, my rip-tide of emotions finally collapsing when all hope was gone. But then I saw Guiney, up and walking around, a ghost of a dog…as if nothing had happened. What?

I immediately thought of my little one, who had just gone into the back porch. I turned back and hollered, “She’s alive!” I had to yell it several times.

She stumbled out, in disbelief, a little nymph all bundled up in coveralls and her red “rooster” ski hood that covered her face with eye-and-mouth holes. “She’s alive?”

We were both so broken up with relief, and tears flowing, that we could hardly communicate. We hugged, our first thought after the relief was that God had graciously answered our fervent pleas. Then we headed down the snow-capped driveway to the rest of the family and Guiney-the-wonder-dog met us. Has any dog ever been so lavished with love as this precious blue-merle Aussie? I hugged and hugged my second-born daughter, Guiney’s owner, and we thanked God over and over for saving her doggie.

My oldest told me the story. She’d seen the killer trap snap around Guiney’s neck. Guiney died in her arms, having first passed out from lack of oxygen. When my husband got there, he pried open the trap with his bare hands, usually not possible. Part of the miracle. He confirmed that Guiney was dead. But not one to give up easily, he decided to breathe into her nose and work on her heart. Minutes crept by. He kept breathing for her, but her eyes were rolled back, and she should have gulped in air the minute he’d gotten the trap off. He sat her up against his chest and moved her around, hoping to stimulate things. The girls were standing a little ways away, praying, hoping against hope, and hearing their daddy pray out loud  in between breathing for our dog. He was about to call it quits, when Guiney’s eyes moved slightly.

The girls were just sure it was all over. All they knew was that their daddy had gotten quiet. But when they heard him say, “Thank you, Lord. Thank you, Lord!” they looked at each other in amazement. Could it be possible? Guiney moved a bit gingerly, but soon was up walking around. By the time youngest and I got mid-way down the driveway, Guiney was jogging to us, as if nothing was wrong. Not a dot of blood even smeared her lovely white collar.

Tonight we have much to be thankful for…we’ll always remember the miracle on New Year’s Eve 2012, when God raised our dog from the dead. This is the kind of faith lesson that will loom over all of us in future hard times, a monument to a mighty God who sees each sparrow, and dog, that falls, and who holds all of our lives in His hands.

Why we like Mark Cahill’s resources

Just so you can see for yourself the impact of a righteous mission-minded man on a young teen’s heart, I’m sharing this letter my oldest daughter wrote a few months ago. I hope it encourages you to check out Mark Cahill’s resources for your own family. We highly recommend them all, but our favorites, ones that we’ve watched over and over again in the past 5 plus years, are Lukewarm No More and Stand Out. They’ve had a phenomenal impact on our Christian walk. Here’s the blurb given at his site for this particular DVD:

There is now a DVD of the talk I have been giving called “Lukewarm No More.” The message is taken out of the book of Revelation Chapter 3 about the Laodicean church.

Is it possible that you are going to a lukewarm church? Or is it possible that you are lukewarm in your faith? Watching this DVD will make it very easy for you to figure that out.

The first time I ever gave this talk, there were numerous people who told me after listening to the message that they repented of numerous things in their lives that did not line up with the word of God. They stated they are now living a holy life that has been given over completely to the Lord. Listen and be challenged to make sure that you never fall into the category of lukewarm ever again.

Also includes the message “Stand Out”—two talks on one DVD!

My daughter’s letter to Mark follows…

Hey Mark,
I’m sure you don’t remember me since you communicate with so many different people in so many different ways, but I feel like I know you personally from watching all of your DVDs except for your newest one (and that problem will soon be remedied!), reading your books and first tract, and visiting one of your speaking events. You also gave our small country church a whole box of One Second After You… booklets and we have really enjoyed giving them away.

I can feel in my veins the urgency to reach lost souls before it is too late. The return of our Lord is imminent and I think that the Devil knows it more than anyone and is working over time to keep his slaves from being freed. He seems to be more aware of the present battle that is raging than most Christians these days. This year I have felt more worldly temptations than ever before, and yet every time I begin to feel discouraged the Spirit of the Most High God reminds me that I am wholly and solely His: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”(2Cor.6:17-18) That verse always makes my heart leap!

One thing that is very disheartening to me lately is the disinterest in reaching the lost on the part of SO many Christians. I’m afraid that sometimes it makes me less zealous instead of making me work for my Lord more heatedly. Thank God, I have several friends who truly love the Lord and they are a huge blessing to me. After all, you and I are only two of the “7,000 in America, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.” If only we could keep our focus on God rather than man. I have decided that one of Satan’s greatest footholds in a Christian’s life is to keep them from reading the Holy Word of God and thus shift their vision from Christ. As Proverbs 29:18 says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law happy is he.”
And Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” You’ve seen these before but it doesn’t hurt to see them again. It never does when you’re talking about God’s Word!

I didn’t exactly mean for this to be so long. I know that you are super busy. I just wanted to encourage you to keep up the good work and that I am fighting for the cause of Christ as well. Stay on the straight and narrow path, Mark, and when you begin to feel discouraged let the utter GREATNESS of our Lord Jesus Christ overcome it. We are praying for you…

Thanks so much for the DVD and booklets. I am fourteen and will be sharing these resources (or should I say “Weapons of our Warfare”?) with many young friends. The DVD will be watched at several sleepovers (or battle planning sessions) and will be loaned to many families. We have some loaned out right now actually and I just watched Watchman on the Wall this afternoon…*smile*.

Well, I had better go! Stay true until the nets are full, Mark!
Forever in Christ…

***********

Be sure to check out Mark Cahill’s site and be as blessed by his evangelistic resources as our family and many others have been! As Mark is so fond of saying…

“Until the nets are full,”

Mary

Things that make me happy!

I am having an uncomplicated day at home for the first time in several weeks. Big deep purr of contentment here. We’ve had back-to-back farmer’s markets in our community, to maximize on various tourism events, and we’re all just feeling plumb worn out. In between all of that, we’ve been processing chickens, keeping up with our big garden, and helping my hubby get ready for hay harvest. Oh, yeah, and milking two cows twice a day really uses up about 3 hours a day when you add in bottle feeding 3 calves, washing and sanitizing all the milking equipment, buckets, bottles, dairy floor…quite the job!

So today I was fixing myself a cup of tea for the first “me time” I’ve had in, well, I can’t remember when, unless you count the time last week when one of my good friends stopped by and helped me peel apples for pies for the market. Now that was pure loveliness, and I’d just been spoiled the day before when another friend came over to share stove duties and helped make pumpkin spice mini loaves. God is so good to me. When is the last time you thanked him for giving you a strong back, the ability to *see* this gorgeous world and participate in LIFE with a healthy body and a family that loves you?

Things that make me happy!

  • White Honeysuckle Tea by Shang, with added goji berries and sweetened with honey–Mmm! (Sipping as I type this…)
  • Seeing a full jar of said honey, and knowing it’s the real deal, honest-to-goodness unadulterated raw, organic honey…and daydreaming about our beekeeping venture panning out…hopefully soon!
  • Time, sweet time, to take deep breaths and snuggle with pup Liz while I watch my girls play with her 5 week old littermates
  • Listening to my girls giggle as they jump on the trampoline with the water hose blasting their every move…
  • My long row of colorful rainbow swiss chard out in the garden–so purty, its oranges, hot pinks, yellows, pale greens and pinks!
  • Garden tomatoes and cukes in my CSA share this week! WOW!
  • Hymns played by my 11 year old on her harmonica–she takes it wherever we go, we rarely listen to the radio in the vehicle anymore…
  • Fresh cream on fresh blackberries with a teensy bit of sugar!
  • Murmuring lovingly to my Jersey cow, ’cause she’s so good to us and gives such amazing milk!
  • Farmer’s Markets–such a fantastic sense of community…
  • Great Bible teaching–which we’re so blessed to get three times a week, praise God!

Wow, I think I could go on indefinitely, but my tea is getting cold and I’m overdue for some time in the Bible today…

What are some of your favorite things? I’d love to hear about them!

Blessings,
Mary

Rejoicing in hope…Romans 12:12