Wednesday, November 30, 2011


       Country Guy and I went to Champaign yesterday to look at recumbent exercise bikes.  I have been thinking that I need to find a way to get some exercise during the winter when I'm not working outside.  I happened to read an article about these machines.  If I could watch TV or read a book while I'm exercising I think I would be more inclined to stick with it.  Anyway we tried out a few different ones and now we are attempting to decide which one, and if we will use it enough to make it worth the money.
     While we were in Champaign we called Tanya, one of the girls we met this summer, to see if she was available for dinner.  We met at Escobar's Restaurant which I found by searching online.  Since we had never been there we didn't know what to expect, but it was such fun!  The food was excellent and the atmosphere seemed almost like we were on vacation.  We are looking forward to going again the next time we are in Champaign.
     Today Mom & I went Christmas shopping in Terre Haute.   I didn't find much, but then I'm not going to do much shopping.   Mom found several gifts and is now feeling a little better about being prepared for Christmas.  We were surprised how few people there were in the Mall.  It seems many people may be cutting back on shopping.
      Two days in a row of shopping are about all I can take this week!  I know some people love to shop but not me!  How about you?  Do you enjoy shopping?  Are you one of those, like my sister, who is almost finished with her Christmas shopping because she enjoys it so much?

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Letter From An Israeli Reserve Soldier

     This letter came from our friend, Karen, who works with the ministry, David's Shield, in Israel.  This ministry prays for, gives fleece jackets and other supplies to Israeli soldiers, and supports them in any way they see is needed. 
     The letter, written from a soldier's perspective, certainly sheds new light on situations the Israelis have to deal with and their compassion for others.  I had no idea there were so many refugees coming to Israel from Darfur, or what they had to go through to get there!

A Letter from an Israeli Reserve Soldier
by Aron Adler
Our young country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, does not turn its back on humanity.
      My name is Aron Adler. I am 25 years old, was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Efrat, Israel. Though very busy, I don't view my life as unusual. Most of the time, I am just another Israeli citizen. During the day I work as a paramedic in Magen David Adom, Israel's national EMS service. At night, I'm in my first year of law school. I got married this October and am starting a new chapter of life together with my wonderful wife Shulamit.
      A few weeks out of every year, I'm called up to the Israeli army to do my reserve duty. I serve as a paramedic in an IDF paratrooper unit. My squad is made up of others like me; people living normal lives who step up to serve when responsibility calls. The oldest in my squad is 58, a father of four girls and grandfather of two; there are two bankers, one engineer, a holistic healer, and my 24-year-old commander who is still trying to figure out what to do with his life. Most of the year we are just normal people living our lives, but for 15-20 days each year we are soldiers on the front lines preparing for a war that we hope we never have to fight.
       This year, our reserve unit was stationed on the border between Israel, Egypt and the Gaza Strip in an area called "Kerem Shalom." Above and beyond the "typical" things for which we train – war, terrorism, border infiltration, etc., this year we were confronted by a new challenge. Several years ago, a trend started of African refugees crossing the Egyptian border from Sinai into Israel to seek asylum from the atrocities in Darfur. What started out as a small number of men, women and children fleeing from the machetes of the Janjaweed and violent fundamentalists to seek a better life elsewhere, turned into an organized industry of human trafficking. In return for huge sums of money, sometimes entire life savings paid to Bedouin "guides," these refugees are promised to be transported from Sudan, Eritrea and other African countries through Egypt and the Sinai desert, into the safe haven of Israel.
         We increasingly hear horror stories of the atrocities these refugees suffer on their way to freedom. They are subject to, and victims of extortion, rape, murder and even organ theft, their bodies left to rot in the desert. Then, if lucky, after surviving this gruesome experience whose prize is freedom, when only a barbed wire fence separates them from Israel and their goal, they must go through the final death run and try to evade the bullets of the Egyptian soldiers stationed along the border. Egypt's soldiers are ordered to shoot to kill anyone trying to cross the border OUT of Egypt and into Israel. It's an almost nightly event.
         For those who finally get across the border, the first people they encounter are Israeli soldiers, people like me and those in my unit, who are tasked with a primary mission of defending the lives of the Israeli people. On one side of the border soldiers shoot to kill. On the other side, they know they will be treated with more respect than in any of the countries they crossed to get to this point.
The region where it all happens is highly sensitive and risky from a security point of view, an area stricken with terror at every turn. It's just a few miles south of the place where Gilad Shalit was kidnapped. And yet the Israeli
soldiers who are confronted with these refugees do it not with rifles aimed at them, but with a helping hand and an open heart. The refugees are taken to a nearby IDF base, given clean clothes, a hot drink, food and medical attention. They are finally safe.
           Even though I live in Israel and am aware through media reports of the events that take place on the Egyptian border, I never understood the intensity and complexity of the scenario until I experienced it myself.
          In the course of the past few nights, I have witnessed much. At 9 p.m. last night, the first reports came in of gunfire heard from the Egyptian border. Minutes later, IDF scouts spotted small groups of people trying to get across the fence. In the period of about one hour, we picked up 13 men - cold, barefoot, dehydrated - some wearing nothing except underpants. Their bodies were covered with lacerations and other wounds. We gathered them in a room, gave them blankets, tea and treated their wounds. I don't speak a word of their language, but the look on their faces said it all and reminded me once again why I am so proud to be a Jew and an Israeli. Sadly, it was later determined that the gunshots we heard were deadly, killing three others fleeing for their lives.
          During the 350 days a year when I am not on active duty, when I am just another man trying to get by, the people tasked with doing this amazing job, this amazing deed, the people witnessing these events, are mostly young Israeli soldiers just out of high school, serving their compulsory time in the IDF, some only 18 years old.
          The refugees flooding into Israel are a heavy burden on our small country. More than 100,000 refugees have fled this way, and hundreds more cross the border every month. The social, economic and humanitarian issues created by this influx of refugees are immense. There are serious security consequences for Israel as well. This influx of African refugees poses a crisis for Israel. Israel has yet to come up with the solutions required to deal with this crisis effectively, balancing its' sensitive social, economic and security issues, at the same time striving to care for the refugees.
          I don't have the answers to these complex problems which desperately need to be resolved. I'm not writing these words with the intention of taking a political position or a tactical stand on the issue.
           I am writing to tell you and the entire world what's really happening down here on the Egyptian/Israeli border. And to tell you that despite all the serious problems created by this national crisis, these refugees have no reason to fear us. Because they know, as the entire world needs to know, that Israel has not shut its eyes to their suffering and pain. Israel has not looked the other way. The State of Israel has put politics aside to take the ethical and humane path as it has so often done before, in every instance of human suffering and natural disasters around the globe. We Jews know only too well about suffering and pain. The Jewish people have been there. We have been the refugees and the persecuted so many times, over thousands of years, all over the world.
           Today, when African refugees flood our borders in search of freedom and better lives, and some for fear of their lives, it is particularly noteworthy how Israel deals with them, despite the enormous strain it puts on our country on so many levels.
Our young and thriving Jewish people and country, built from the ashes of the Holocaust, do not turn their backs on humanity. Though I already knew that, this week I once again experienced it firsthand. I am overwhelmed with emotion and immensely proud to be a member of this nation.
           With love of Israel,
Aron Adler, writing from the Israel/Gaza/Egyptian border 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thank Your Way to Peace - Joseph Prince Devotional 11-27-11

     Since we are in the season of Thanksgiving, I enjoy being reminded of my need to continually give thanks to God because He is the giver of all gifts.  I found this devotional helpful in explaining how to apply Phil. 4:8 so that I can have a peaceful and thankful heart no matter what the circumstances.

Thank Your Way To Peace
Philippians 4:6
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God;
You would probably have read this verse before, but would you like to know how to apply it in your everyday life? Let me give you an illustration to help you.

Let’s say that you are one of those in your company eligible for a promotion and you will know tomorrow whether you get it. You want the promotion badly because it means more income for your family. So you lie in bed at night tossing and turning. You pray, “Father, please take away all my worries about this promotion. Give me faith.” One hour later, you are more anxious than ever. It seems like God is not answering your prayer!

How come? Because you are not doing it God’s way.

Pray like this instead: “Father, I cast all my worries about the promotion into Your loving hands because You care for me and love me.” The Bible tells us to cast all our cares upon the Lord for He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7) Then, say, “Father, I would like to have the promotion.” It is okay to ask Him for that. Now, here comes the most powerful part — thanksgiving. Finish off with thanksgiving. Thank God for His faithfulness.

Say something like, “Father, whether I get the promotion or not, I thank You that You will always provide for my family with more than enough. You who feed the birds of the air and clothe the lilies of the field will take care of us. So I am not going to worry about this promotion. You are the source of all my blessings.” (Matthew 6:30, Philippians 4:19)

When you pray like this, all of a sudden, you are no longer held hostage by the promotion. I call this the “thank You” therapy. The more you know God’s Word, the more you can thank Him. The more you thank Him, the more His peace reigns in your heart. And many a time, before you know it, it is morning! You don’t even remember falling asleep. The peace of God reigns like that.

My friend, whatever your concern is, bring it to your Father in prayer and thank your way to peace!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Grave Consequences of Being Unthankful by Joseph Mattera

      I found this great article today by Joseph Mattera, which I thought had such merit that I wanted to share it with you, too.  

       Here is a link to the article online, if you want to read it there.

The Grave Consequences of Being Unthankful

Tuesday, November 22, 2011
      Recently I read about how 25% of all U.S. women suffer from some form of depression, and that more than 12 million women will suffer some form of clinical depression in their lifetime.
      There is an epidemic of pessimism, anxiety and hopelessness that has erupted in the United States and beyond. This is par for the course for any sociological system that is not built upon being thankful to our Creator. Romans 1:21 teaches that being unthankful is the cornerstone sin of all other sins, with a trajectory that leads to covetousness, worshipping creatures more than God, all sexual sins including homosexuality, and pride, gossip and all kinds of malice that eventually lead to full-scale rebellion against God (Romans 1:21-33)!
      In essence, praising God is good (Psalm 92:1) not just because it makes us feel closer to God but because it is perhaps the most countercultural thing we can do to show our resistance against Satan’s kingdom, which is steeped in insurrection against the Lordship of Christ and the mandate of the Kingdom of God. By living lives that are worshipful we show that we do not depend on circumstances, people, materialism or the pleasures of this world in order to be satisfied. This is the antithesis of the kingdom of darkness that is built upon pride, lust, and greed (1 John 2:15-17).
       In regards to kingdom culture, my greatest difficulty is adapting my mind to continually practice praise and thanksgiving towards God. This involves intentionally engaging my mind, not only my spirit, in ordering my thoughts in a manner that pleases God (Philippians 4:8). Seventy percent of all that we think and do is unconscious. Thus we are all acting out our lives based on mostly negative thoughts that are embedded in our souls. It is important for us to break out of this mental bondage if we are going to enter the promised land of our soul and destiny, or else we will wind up like the children of Israel who didn’t praise and honor God, which resulted in unbelief and wandering in the desert for 40 years (Numbers 13).  
       The following are some negative consequences of living unthankful lives:

We will not be able to see the divine opportunities in front of us
       God has already provided for all of our needs (Ephesians 1:3; 2 Peter 1:3-4). Praise takes the veil off our eyes and turns on the switch of faith and insight that enables us to see all the hidden opportunities that are masked by problems and challenging circumstances.

We will focus on the actions of people instead of the processes of God         
      When we are unthankful we magnify the actions, activities and circumstances produced by other people for or against us, and weigh our lives based on their responses, which inadvertently saps our faith in God!
      When we are God-focused we see the providential activity of God behind every circumstance, even as Joseph did when the word of the Lord tested him when his brothers sold him as a slave in Egypt. He told his brothers, “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20).

We will worship pleasant circumstances rather than be satisfied with God alone
     When we are constantly complaining, then we as believers are in essence saying that God is not enough to satisfy us. This is unlike David who said that the Lord was His portion, cup and inheritance (Psalm 16).
      Because Paul the apostle lived a life of rejoicing and praise he was not a victim of outside circumstances and he did not allow the actions of others to control his attitude. This enabled him to worship God even while bound in chains and stocks in a Philippian jail (Acts 16).

We will give place to the devil who operates in lust, greed and pride
     Satan’s original sin was pride, which led to him not being thankful for his place as a covering cherub (Isaiah 14:12-14). This led him to covet the throne of God which eventuated in him being thrown out of heaven.
     Since the beginning of the world Satan has been the father of all greed, covetousness and complaining. We give place to him in our hearts when we are not grateful for the things God has already given us.

We will repel key people around us 
     When we are not living lives of praise to God we are not thankful to Him for His goodness. When we are not thankful to Him then we will not be grateful for the key people God has put in our lives, leading to accentuating negative aspects about these people in our minds. This results in us repelling them by our negative speaking and communication towards them.
      When we live lives of constant complaining, grumbling and lack of thankfulness we will exude the wrong spirit in our homes and nurture families that are ungrateful towards one another and even towards God. We will be teaching our children that it is only time to “turn on the switch” of thanksgiving during a two hour worship service on Sunday. Unfortunately, this compartmentalization will produce hypocrisy in their lives and result in them not fully serving the Lord!

We will repel the presence of God within us 
      The psalms teach us that God dwells in the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). This also can be reversed: when we don’t have an attitude of thanksgiving towards God we can repel His personal presence within us, which grieves His Spirit and hurts our ability to fellowship intimately with Him.

God cannot trust us with more blessings 
      I learned a long time ago that God will multiply the things in my life that I am most grateful for. He will not trust me with whatever I am not thankful for because I don’t appreciate it.
      Sometimes we are even thankful for or appreciate bad things that come in our lives which can also multiply and destroy us. For example, we could appreciate the kindness and flattery of a strange woman which could then lead to adultery if we are not grateful to God for our spouses. But if we show gratitude to our spouses it will greatly aid our marriages. (If we are continually complaining about, and to, our spouses it will repel them and distance them from us.)
      David blessed the Lord with all that was within him, which led him to recounting continually all the blessings of the Lord that continued to multiply in his life (read Psalm 103).

We will suffer continual discouragement and even depression 
      If we are not continually and intentionally ordering our minds to think on the good things of God we will not enjoy the peace of God in these troubled times (Philippians 4:8-9). This can lead to discouragement and severe depression. The greatest tool in fighting depression is not medication but worshipping the Creator and being thankful to Him for every good thing He has given us from above (James 1:17).

We will miss our greatest purpose in life: to love and worship God 
       The Westminster Catechism begins by stating that our highest purpose is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Revelation teaches us that in heaven the elders and angelic beings are continually worshipping our Creator. One of the things they say is, “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created” (Rev. 4:10-11).
       This Thanksgiving should not be an event or a one-day holiday but should become a catalyst for churches and believers everywhere to have “holy days”: to live lives of praise and thanksgiving. This is the most countercultural thing we can do to strip the devil of his power over us and our families, and will reveal the vast opportunities God has already given us so we can walk in His kingdom purposes.

Friday, November 25, 2011


     We had a great time with family yesterday.  I hope you did, too.
     As I mentioned in an earlier post that since our daughter's family is here for Thanksgiving and won't be for Christmas I decided to decorate the house early for Christmas.  We were able to pick up our tree--it is 11 feet tall--on Wednesday.  We immediately set it up in the living room so the branches could come down from being wrapped tightly for transport.
    Since my sister volunteered to put the lights on--which I really don't like to do, we brought in the ladder and left the bare tree standing till after Thanksgiving  dinner.  She did a great job with the lights even though there were a couple of problems with extension cords burning out.

    The tall ladder was a great attraction for the grandchildren so I had lots of help hanging the ornaments.
    It was fun and an opportunity to make memories.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


      Our daughter's family are on their way to Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with us.  When I talked with her this week she said the boys are both excited to see us and have lots of things on their agenda to do while they are here. I'm sure that helping Granddad "pick" the eggs and feed Bud, and riding the F-150 and the off-road trike are some of the things they are looking forward to doing.
      But they also want us to see their new looks.  Gage, who is 3 years old, and Gavin who is 5, each have something different to show us about their faces.  Gavin lost his first tooth a couple of days ago, and Gage is now wearing glasses.  He told his Mom he will wear the glasses into the house when he gets here and then he will take them off and say, "Now do you recognize me?"
     Gage's need for glasses was discovered when he went with his brother to a routine eye screen for kindergartners.  Because of his new ability to see the world clearly he seems to feel like an entirely different person and therefore he thinks we may not recognize him.  How wonderful his inability to see clearly was discovered at such a young age!  Our daughter was saying that they put up Christmas decorations Monday which included a little tree in the boys' room.  When they went in to check on the boys and to turn off the tree lights before going to bed themselves they found Gage asleep with his glasses on.  He had been admiring the beautiful lights as he fell asleep.  A whole new world has been opened to him since he got his glasses!
    As I was writing this I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 13:12 which in the King James version says "we see through a glass darkly" but I especially like The Message translation:  "We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!"  
      Gage's experience with new glasses illustrates this verse so well and helps me to understand it better.  How different things will look to us when God helps us to see clearly!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Christmas Decorating

     Since our daughter's family will be coming for Thanksgiving and not Christmas, and therefore I will be having lots of people here for Thanksgiving dinner, I decided to do my Christmas decorating early.  That's why I haven't had much time to write this week.  I have been dragging out all my decorations, sorting through them, throwing away some and looking for new.  I'm almost through except for the tree.
     We've always purchased a real tree to decorate for Christmas so I called a tree seller who said they are expecting their trees to arrive next Tuesday.  I thought if I could get everything else decorated now, then hopefully I would have time to do the tree on Wednesday before everyone comes for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  I may have trouble accomplishing that while preparing for guests, and cooking some things ahead, but I'm going to try.
     At least the rest of the house will look festive--even if it is decorated for the wrong holiday.
     Here is a picture of the main area I've done so far.  I'm beginning to feel encouraged about the results.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Deer Hunting

    I was feeling a little sad Friday night and yesterday.  I know it is irrational, but I couldn't seem to help myself.  Let me explain.  Last week on Wednesday as I was working on my computer in the living room I happened to catch something move in the corner of my eye.  I glanced out the window and saw two big bucks in the woods at the edge of the yard.  I grabbed my camera and took pictures as I watched them for several minutes.  I snapped the picture below as the largest buck (and I) was about to discover a doe lying in the leaves.  As you can see she looks like a large rock in the left side of the picture.  I wish the picture was a little clearer, but I was shooting the photos through the glass of the window.  You get the idea though.  It was such a blessing to watch this little scene from nature right outside my window.
     I continued watching for quite some time and in the process discovered there were actually 4 bucks following her scent.   

      Then on Friday I looked out a window into the front yard and discovered they were back.  I didn't see any does, but I saw the bucks at different intervals as one would walk off into the woods and shortly another would come behind him.     
      I guess seeing them twice in one week made me feel they felt safe and protected on our property since it is bow hunting season.  And somehow I felt responsible for their security.  Of course I know that's ridiculous because it is a known fact that a buck will follow a doe anywhere at anytime for long distances once he catches her scent, but feelings don't always follow rational thoughts.
      Supposedly this time frame we're in right now is the peak of mating season and therefore a great opportunity for hunters to snag some unsuspecting bucks who have their minds on things other than watching out for hunters, so Friday afternoon my brother showed up to go bow hunting.  He has had permission to hunt on our land ever since we've lived here.
      In my head I know the deer population needs to be thinned--and when they get in my gardens I even wish I could help with the thinning--but somehow in seeing those beautiful bucks I guess I forgot all the damage they can do.  (In addition to the grazing they have done on my plants and shrubs and the corn and soybeans they have eaten, I have also lost several young trees because they rub their antlers against them until the bark is totally gone.)
     Anyway, to my brother's delight, he killed the biggest of the bucks.  When he told me, I'm afraid I didn't share his enthusiasm, and then I was sad for awhile.
      I'm pretty much over the sadness now.  I know shotgun season starts next week so someone else probably would have shot him.  I'm glad that if it was going to happen that my brother was the one to do it.  He was so happy!  He said it is the biggest buck he has ever killed with a bow--and he has done a lot of hunting and has many deer head trophies to prove it!
      I have to say, though, that I still haven't gotten to the point of enjoying seeing any of God's creatures dead, so when it happens it helps me to spend a little time mourning the loss of their beauty.

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11 Prayer Tonight

The Gathering will be meeting for prayer tonight at 6:00 on this historic date of 11-11-11.  We are meeting to coincide with The Call Detroit, a 24 hour solemn assembly, meeting at Ford Field beginning at 6:00 p.m. tonight until 6:00 p.m. tomorrow night.  Here is the purpose of The Call--and our prayer time--quoted from their website:

TheCall Detroit 11.11.11
On November 11–12, 2011, thousands from across America will gather to Ford Field (Home of the Detroit Lions) to fast, pray and cry out to God. We will gather to this city that has become a microcosm of our national crisis—economic collapse, racial tension, and the shedding of innocent blood of our children in the streets and of our unborn.
But the place where they say there is no hope, God has chosen as His staging ground for a great communal healing and His house of prayer for all nations. Therefore, we are calling the nation to a 24-hour solemn assembly, daring to believe that Detroit’s desperation can produce a prayer that can change a nation.
Come and take your place on the wall in Detroit, where we will ask God to send fire on our hearts, to forgive our national guilt and establish justice in our land.

      Since we are unable to go to Detroit for this meeting we will be joining our hearts and spirits with them tonight at our house to pray for revival in this land.  I feel this is an extremely important meeting.  God answers prayer.  He says in II Chronicles 7:14, "if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 
     I believe we are at a crucial time in our nation when we must we take God at His Word and seriously pray for our country.  If you are feeling that also, please come.  We are planning to worship and pray a couple of hours unless the Lord leads otherwise.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Farmers Tribute: So God Made A Farmer.

I have always loved Paul Harvey and of course I love farmers, so I am posting this video as a tribute to both of them.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bible Study

     Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time on the internet looking for a good video commentary on Colossians.  We have been talking in The Gathering that our main purpose and desire is to be focused on Jesus, who He is, what He has done, what He says for us to do.  We have been thinking we need to be studying the Bible consistently to know these things.  Since Colossians has a wonderful passage that sums up who Christ is I thought that book might be the best place to begin, so I was trying to find some enlightening video teaching on it and other books of the Bible that we could watch and learn from as a group.
    Through searching I came upon this great resource:        
     The website says these sermons/commentaries are done by Dr. Bob Utley, a pastor in Texas, who, "as a local pastor, taught verse-by-verse through New Testament books on Sunday evenings and through Old Testament books on Wednesday evenings. All these teachings became the "Video and Audio Bible Commentaries" which are now available through this free website sponsored by Bible Lessons International."       
       What convinced me to listen to some of the sermons, though, was this comment:  "He approaches Bible teaching from an exegetical, verse-by-verse, historical- grammatical point of view. In addition, great effort is made to remove his, and our, social, cultural, experiential, and denominational biases. Bob tries to support his interpretation from the biblical text in one of six ways: (1) literary context; (2) historical setting of the biblical author; (3) word studies; (4) grammatical relationships; (5) parallel biblical passages; and (6) literary genres."  That sounds like the kind of teaching I need to hear and from which I could learn much.
     Country Guy and I downloaded and watched one of the sermons last night which we think could have been one of the best we've ever heard.  It is entitled, "The Bible is Eastern Literature." 
     We are thinking it would be a great one to watch at The Gathering Sunday night at 6:00.  (It seems our agenda may be changing--but didn't I say that might happen?)  We are thinking of doing the Mark Virkler series at a different time--possibly Wednesday nights--and then we could begin studying the Bible on Sunday nights.  Come hear Bob Utley Sunday night, if you can.  I think it will change your perspective on what it means to be a Christian and get you excited to study the Bible along with him as we watch other videos.

     Here is the passage on the supremacy of Christ which causes me to believe Colossians would be a great book to start with in our quest to better understand who He is.   Col. 1:15-20
    Christ is the visible image of the invisible God.
    He existed before anything was created and is supreme over all creation,
 for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
    He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see— such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities in the unseen world.
    Everything was created through him and for him.
 He existed before anything else, and he holds all creation together.
    Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body.
    He is the beginning, supreme over all who rise from the dead. 
So he is first in everything.
    For God in all his fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through him God reconciled everything to himself.
    He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross.
      I couldn't resist adding verses 21 and 22 here because they tell us the great news that through Christ's sacrifice on the cross our relationship with God has been restored.  Hallelujah!!
   Col. 1:21,22. "This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from him by your evil thoughts and actions.  Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, cont.

      I am enjoying this book (see Sunday's post) very much.  It seems to answer some interesting questions, like why do some people get sick while others stay mostly healthy.  Even though it is not written as a Christian book, many of the concepts can be related directly or indirectly to scripture.  For instance, here is a quote from Hands of Light by Barbara Ann Brennan:  "Illness is the result of imbalance.  Imbalance is a result of forgetting who you are.  Forgetting who you are creates thoughts and actions that lead to an unhealthy life-style and eventually to illness.  The illness itself is a signal that you are imbalanced because you have forgotten who you are.  Illness can thus be understood as a lesson you have given yourself to help you remember who you are."
      This quote makes me think about who God says we are and what Jesus did for us on the cross.  He said that by His stripes we are healed.  Illness causes me to pray which reminds me who I am--a child of God--and what He has already provided for me if I am walking according to His will.
     Dr. Bernie Seagel says in Love, Medicine, and Miracles, a book I read years ago and loved, "I suggest that patients think of illness not as God's will but as our deviation from God's will.
    He then goes on to say, "I feel that all disease is ultimately related to a lack of love, or to love that is only conditional, for the exhaustion and depression of the immune system thus created leads to physical vulnerability.  I also feel that all healing is related to the ability to give and accept unconditional love.  I am convinced that unconditional love is the most powerful known stimulant of the immune system.  If I told patients to raise their blood levels of immune globulins or killer T cells, no one would know how.  But if I can teach them to love themselves and others fully, the same changes happen automatically.  The truth is: love heals."  
    And the Bible says, God is love.  He says we are to love one another as He loves us.  Could it be that if we actually chose to follow the "Good Book" we would live much healthier lives?  I believe that is true.  God has given us all we need for life and health, but we refuse--or ignore--what He has said and then try to find health in our own way.  How foolish we are!  I am often reminded of Romans 1:22 when I hear some of the ridiculous things said by politicians, but it applies to all areas of life.  It says, "Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools."  (In case you're interested, Romans 1:18-32, tells us what happens when we choose to go our own foolish way instead of acknowledging and glorifying Him.  It sounds just like the world we live in.)
     I am interested and excited to be learning ways I can unearth some of my buried feelings to become a healthier and more loving person.  If this interests you, too, I recommend this book.  

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Dr. W. Jerome Stowell's story

        I am reading a very interesting book, Feelings Buried Alive Never Die..., by Karol K. Truman.  In the 2nd chapter she quotes Dr. W. Jerome Stowell as he tells his story.  It gets a little technical but don't give up reading it.  He shares some exciting discoveries in the story.  I find it really fascinating and extremely thought provoking.  Here it is...

Dr. W. Jerome Stowell’s story:
     “I was almost a devout atheist, I did not believe that God was any more than a conglomeration of everyone’s mind put together and the good that was there, that was God as far as I was concerned. As for the real, all-powerful God existing and loving us all, with power over everything, I did not believe that.
        Then one day I had an experience that really set me thinking. I was in a large pathological laboratory where we were attempting to find the wave length of the brain. We found a channel of wave lengths, and that channel has a mach room (unit of measure) in it wherein the different wave lengths of each individual’s brain are further separated in identity more clearly than are the finger prints of each individual’s hand. This is a point we should remember: God can actually keep in heaven a record of our thoughts as individuals just as the FBI can keep a record of our fingerprints in Washington, D.C.
       We wanted to make an experiment to discover what took place in the brain at the moment of transition from life to death. We chose first a lady whose family had sent her to a mental institution but who had been discharged. The doctors could find nothing wrong with her other than the fact she had cancer of the brain. This affected the balance of her body only. As far as her alertness of mind was concerned and in every other way, she was exceptionally brilliant. We knew she was on the verge of death and she was informed, in this research hospital that she was going to die.
       We arranged a tiny pick-up in her room to ascertain what would take place in the transition of her brain from life to death. We also put a very small microphone, about the size of a shilling, in the room so that we could hear what she said, if she had anything to say.
     Five of us hardened scientists—perhaps I was the hardest of the group—were in an adjoining room with our instruments prepared to register and record what transpired. Our device had a needle pointing to “0” in the center of the scale. To the right the scale was calibrated to 500 points positive, to the left the scale was calibrated to 500 points negative. We previously had recorded on this identical instrument the power used by a fifty-kilowatt broadcasting station in sending a message around the world. The needle then registered 9 points of the positive side.
         As the last moments of this woman’s life arrived, she began to pray and praise the Lord. She asked the Lord to be merciful unto those who had despitefully used her, then she reaffirmed her faith in God, telling Him she knew He was the only power, the only living power. He always had been and always would be. She praised God and thanked Him for His power and for her knowledge of His reality. She told Him how much she loved Him.
       We scientists had been so engrossed with this woman’s prayer that we had forgotten our experiment. We looked at each other and saw tears streaming down scientific faces.
        Suddenly we heard a clicking sound on our forgotten instrument. We looked and the needle was registering a positive 500, desperately trying to go higher only to bounce against the 500 positive post in its attempt!
     By actual instrumentation we had recorded that the brain of a woman alone and dying in communication with God had registered more than 55 times the power used by a fifty-kilowatt broadcasting station sending a message around the world.
      After this we decided to try a case very unlike the first one. We chose a man lying in the research hospital stricken with a deadly social disease. His brain had become atrophied to the point of very death. He was practically a maniac.
      After we had set up our instruments, we arranged for one of the nurses to antagonize the man. Through her wiles, she attracted his interest in her, and then suddenly told him she did not want to have anything more to do with him. He began to verbally abuse her, and the needle began to register on the negative side. Then he cursed her and took the name of God in vain. The needle then clicked back and forth against the 500 negative post.
       By actual instrumentation we had registered what happened to the brain when that brain broke one of God’s Ten Commandments, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.”
       We had established by instrumentation the positive power of God and the negative power of the adversary. We had found that beneficial truth is positive, and the non-beneficial things covered by the “Thou shalt nots” of the Ten Commandments are negative.
      If we scientists can record these things, I believe with all my heart that the Lord God can keep a record of our thoughts.”

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What an exciting football game we attended this afternoon!

    Our grandsons, Daniel & Parker, play football with the Marshall football team.  Marshall had an undefeated season this year so they are now involved in the state championship playoffs.  This afternoon was the 2nd game of the playoffs.  We played Bismark-Henning.  Marshall led most of the game, 14-0, but then in the 4th quarter Bismark scored two touchdowns and went for 2 points on the last one to bring the score to 15-14 with 17 seconds left to play in the game.  Almost everyone watching the game thought it was over, but we had a wonderful surprise awaiting us!
    Bismark kicked off to Marshall and the clock started ticking.  Marshall threw an incomplete pass, but pass interference was called on Bismark so the penalty moved the ball closer to Marshall's goal on the play.  With only 6 seconds left, the Marshall's quarterback sent the ball flying for a long pass from the 42 yard line to a player near the end zone.  The ball was slightly out of reach of the player who tried to catch the ball but instead tipped it.  The clock buzzer rang just as another Marshall player dove for the tipped ball, catching it on the ground in the end zone for a touchdown and Marshall won 20-15.  Absolutely amazing!
     Now Marshall is 11-0 for their season wins.  I really believe the Lord is showing me something with 11's.  Remember the World Series game we attended which I wrote about a few days ago, when the Cardinals won the 6th game of the series in the 11th inning and then went on to win their 11th World Series Championship in the year 2011?  Both the Marshall game and the Cardinals game seemed to be miracle wins.  I'm wondering if the message isn't that we are never to give up--that when things in our lives look impossible and we are about to despair, to remember that all things are possible with God.  Could that even be a message for our country?
      I believe The Call Detroit, a 24 hour solemn assembly to be held at Ford Field in Detroit is another important eleven.  The date for the assembly is 11-11-11 to 11-12-11, 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  I think another reason I am seeing so many elevens is to be reminded to pray, particularly on 11-11-11 with the thousands who will be gathered to pray and fast for our nation.  I won't be able to go to Detroit, but I plan to join with them on 11-11-11 to pray and fast here at home.  Would you consider joining us?    
       We are planning a special meeting of The Gathering, Friday evening at 6:00 for the purpose of praying for our community and for our nation.  Please come if you can.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Gathering

    As of right now, we are calling our new adventure, The Gathering.  We will check on the availability of that name when we apply for our tax ID number.  Hopefully, it is available.  We feel the name is a description of what we are doing.  We are a group of people gathering to know Jesus at a deeper level.  It is our desire to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to be Jesus' disciples because we know He said we are to go into all the world to preach the word with power, and signs and wonders will follow, and we don't see that in many churches today.   We are gathering together to learn what, when, why, and how He did the things He did, and to practice allowing Him to do the same things through us.  We expect this will happen through loving one another and sharing testimonies, inviting guest speakers, watching DVD series of anointed teachers, worship, prayer, and any other way the Lord leads.  It is our desire that each meeting will be Spirit-led, so there will be no set schedule--only a loosely held agenda.
     Since we do not see ourselves as a church--in the commonly held definition of the word, but only a group of people gathering to know Jesus at a deeper level, and to learn to do the things he did, it seemed to us the best time to meet would be Sunday nights at 6:00, so as not to be in competition with churches in the area.  All who are searching for, and desiring more of God, are invited to come whether you regularly attend church or not.  This is for everyone, who, deep in his/her heart, knows there is something more and wants to experience it.  Jesus said He came to give us abundant life.  If you aren't experiencing "abundant life" then come learn how with us at The Gathering.  It will be an exciting, life-changing adventure for all of us.
    Our plans are to begin this Sunday night watching the DVD series "Seven Prayers That Heal The Heart," with Mark Virkler.  (As I mentioned, though, our plans are subject to change if the Holy Spirit leads us a different way.)  It seemed to us this DVD series would be good to begin with because it's our desire to be free of anything that keeps us from loving, knowing and serving God.  We know that through things that happen to us in life we make wrong decisions and feel regret, or we get hurt, feel rejected, and can't let go of our anger because of our pain.  This series will help us pray through, and release those things that hinder us from doing what Jesus said to do.  We invite you to come participate with us in becoming all that God created us to be--representatives of His kingdom on earth.  I don't know about you, but I feel a real sense of responsibility to not misrepresent him, and I know that I have, and I do.  I want to learn to be a better disciple.
     I would be glad to answer any questions you have if you want to email them to me.  I hope to see you Sunday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What a relief!

        I have been working practically non-stop on my new cookbook.  I had no idea it would take so much time!  One thing led to another and before I knew it, I had put in many hours for several days straight, typing, reading, re-arranging, proofing etc. Then I had to move everything I had done to a different word processing program because I used Pages and the publishing company wanted it to be in Word.  Each section of the cookbook had to be in a separate document so I cut and pasted to create the required divisions.  Then I realized the way my new computer works--with which I've barely had time to become acquainted--is that every time I tell it to save something in Word, it creates a new document.  As I went back to read the sections several times and made corrections, of course, I told it to save the changes.  What I didn't realize until I had saved several was that it was saving each bunch of changes in a new document!  It became very confusing and time-consuming to discover which was the last document I had saved and to send the others to the trash.
        This morning I finally composed an email with all the files attached and pushed the "send" button, so it is now out of my hands.  What a relief!  But a tad bit scary for me, too.  You could say I am somewhat of a perfectionist.  Once I pushed send, I began to have thoughts about whether there was a way I could have made it better.  I do have one more chance to look at the set-up before it is actually published.   Hopefully, I will be so thrilled with the way it looks in print that I will stop second guessing myself.  :o)
      I have had lots of encouragement in what to include, and some new additions submitted by my extended family, so it looks as if the count--as best I could tell--is 249 recipes.  When my cousin read about the cookbook on the blog she emailed me to ask if I would add our grandmother's orange bread recipe. I mentioned it to Mom, who had a copy, and then Sandra sent one, too, so I was able to include it.  How fun to have old recipes mixed in with the new!  I was even able to add Meredith's recipe which she contributed under "comments" on the original cookbook post a few days ago.  I am always thrilled to have readers' participation!
       After talking with family and friends, I am assuming there may be a few extra copies, so if you are interested in reserving one, let me know.  It looks as if the cookbook will cost less than I had originally thought because I ordered a larger quantity.  I think the price will be around $10 shipped, or about $7-8 if you can pick it up.  I still don't have the final cost yet, and I don't know how much shipping is, so I will let you know when I do.
      As I was sitting in the living room yesterday with my computer on my lap, working on the cookbook, I happened to look up.  This is the sight I saw out our front door.  Of course, I had to get my camera.  I have accused the raccoons of tearing up the mulch there, but it looks as if they have had some help.