Monday, April 30, 2012

A Very Productive Saturday

     Saturday was a very busy day for us.  We arrived at the Locker in Martinsville about 8:30 a.m. with six 5 gallon buckets to fill with water.  Cindy had agreed to freeze the water for us to use to ice down the pop and water for the Community-wide Youth Rally to be held at the fairgrounds on Wednesday.*.
    After we dropped off the buckets, we went to check on the readiness of the grill the grain elevator had received as a Christmas present.  We plan to use it to cook about 400 hot dogs at the youth rally.
    We then went to Sydney and Owen's soccer games.  They each scored a goal in their respective games so it was fun to be there to share in the fun.
    After the soccer games we went to Mom's for a family work day.  My sister and her husband were here from AZ, so all the siblings & spouses were present along with several grandchildren and great grandchildren.  We replaced siding on the front of Mom's house, painted the siding, replaced an outside water hydrant, painted her gas tank, removed a window air conditioner and patched the hole where it had been installed, trimmed trees, burnt brush and moved plants.  I think Mom was thrilled with the progress--especially since many of the jobs were things she had wanted done for a long time but had been unable to do herself.
     I overheard the conversation of some of my siblings saying they hoped it didn't rain so they could get the projects finished.  I remarked that it would be hard to be God and decide which prayers to answer, because we farmers were praying for rain no matter what it interrupted.   The fields are very dry and the new corn planted has been having a difficult time coming up through the hard earth.
     Well, I have to admit He did a good job with His answers Saturday, because we were able to finish most of the work before the rain began and then we got .7 of an inch Saturday night which will certainly help the crops.  It seems all our prayers were answered!
    We had lots of fun working together and were grateful that we could help Mom.  It was a busy but very productive day!

   * If you know youth in the area, or have young people in your family, be sure to let them know about  Elevate Elevate, the area-wide youth rally Wed. night beginning at 5:30 at the fairgrounds.  They won't want to miss it!   Email me if you need more info.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Gift of a Word of Knowledge: Be Obedient, by Rick Joyner


Rick JoynerI was involved in a prophetic experience that I think has some great lessons. It happened when I was flying our ministry plane to Nashville with some of our musicians to do some recording. After taxiing to the General Aviation ramp, a line woman directed us to a parking spot. After we deplaned, the wife of one of our musicians said to the line woman as she walked past her, "You get along with animals better than you do people – you should have been a vet." The line woman looked stunned, and I couldn't help wondering if this had insulted her.
Our team left with their ride, which had been waiting to take them to the recording studio. Before I left, I gave my fuel order at the service desk when the line woman came in and blurted out, "Was that woman with you a psychic?" I said, "No, but why do you ask?" She told me that when she was parking our plane she was thinking about how she gets along better with animals than she does people and that she should have become a vet. That's when the musician's wife spoke to her.

It was just a small terminal, and this conversation was so loud that everyone in the terminal looked intently at us. I explained how this lady was a Christian, and how Christ loves all people and has a plan for their lives, and sometimes He gives His servants information like this about them to confirm His will for their life. The line woman was deeply moved and resolved to take seriously that she was "called" to be a vet and to pursue it.

Then the other employees and passengers in the terminal started asking if this woman was coming back, and could they get a message like this? This led to a lot of ministry in the terminal over the next few months as we went back and forth for this recording. At that time, we had not set up prophetic ministry teams, but if we had, I would have sent a team over to park in that terminal for as long as there was an opening for ministry. This helped us see the need for this, and now we can be more responsive.
The Holy Spirit Is the "Helper," Not the "Doer"
Almost every such opening that has led to a lot of fruit was the result of someone just stepping out and taking initiative. We must keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the "Helper," not the "Doer." He will not do anything without us, and we should not want to do anything without Him. Faith is basically the willingness to take initiative even when you may not know the exact outcome. This is why true faith is not faith in an outcome, but in the Person we put our trust in. We must seek to simply do the will of the Lord, and not just seek results, because results can be very different than we're expecting. The same miracle that has a great impact in one place may not have any in another place, just as we see in the Lord's own ministry.

You may be thinking that you would love to be able to hear that clearly from the Lord and touch other people like this young lady did. The truth is you can, and you possibly already do but just don't realize it. We get impressions from the Lord but think they are our own imagination, or something else, and don't act on them. Many who come to our Prophetic Equipping Conferences who leave hearing from the Lord realize they have been hearing from Him for a long time but did not recognize Him. We can't give people prophetic gifts, but we can help them recognize and stir up the gifts that they've been given. Every Christian has the ability to know the voice of the Lord.

Stirring a city with a word of knowledge like Jesus did through the woman at the well, or like Philip the evangelist in Acts 8, would be wonderful. It is obvious that Philip was using the gift of a word of knowledge because we're told in Acts 8 that the people gave attention to him because of the miracles that they "heard and saw."

Then Philip was commanded by the Spirit to leave such a great revival and go into the desert to share the Gospel with just one man – the Ethiopian eunuch. That an evangelist, who all seem to thrive on crowds, would be this obedient is almost as much of a miracle as him being translated afterward. However, hundreds of years later when explorers first entered Ethiopia they were astonished to find that the Christian faith had preceded them. We won't know until eternity how many were led to salvation by Philip's obedience and neither could Philip.

The point is that we cannot judge the fruit here – we must just focus on obedience to the Holy Spirit. A single word of knowledge might stir a city, a general aviation terminal, or just one person, and the one person could bring more fruit than the others combined. Be obedient.
Rick Joyner
MorningStar Ministries

Email: info@morningstarministries.org

Rick Joyner is the founder and executive director of MorningStar Ministries and Heritage International Ministries and is the Senior Pastor of MorningStar Fellowship Church. He is the author of more than forty books, including The Final QuestA Prophetic History, and Church History. He is also the president of The OAK Initiative, an interdenominational movement that is mobilizing thousands of Christians to be engaged in the great issues of our times, being the salt and light that they are called to be. Rick and his wife, Julie, have five children: Anna, Aaryn, Amber, Ben, and Sam.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Rhododendrons Are Beautiful Right Now

My rhododendrons are so beautiful right now that I just had to post a few pictures.  I wish the blooms would last longer, but I'm grateful to get to enjoy them for even a short time.






Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Chuck Colson on Being a Christian

       I love the following quote from Chuck Colson because it is how I, too, want to live my life.  It is my desire to do something every day to advance the Kingdom of God.  Of course, in the world's eyes those things may not seem great--a smile, an encouraging word, a kind deed, but by God's standards they can be significant.  I love hearing stories of people whose lives were changed (sometimes even saved) by a caring person showing love just when the person was ready to give up. 
    Please, Lord, keep me aware of every opportunity to show your love to others.


"One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don't ever get up in the morning and wonder if what I do matters. I live every day to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, I'm going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God." -Charles Colson

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

New Blog Format in the Planning Stage

One of these days soon, when I have time, I'm planning to change my blog design. Blogger has just published several new templates so I think it will be nice to try something different for awhile. Therefore, don't be surprised if you check back in the near future and see an entirely new format. Just sayin'. (I thought I would give you opportunity to adjust to the anticipated change and create a little suspense.) :o)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Report on the Community MAPPING Meeting

      What a great meeting we had last night!  If you weren't able to attend, I'm sorry you missed it!
       The information presented during the business part of the meeting was very informative and inspirational.  Martinsville IS on the Move.  An added bonus was the introduction of Hannah, our new Peace Corp Fellow, who will be working full-time for 11 months beginning in September to help Martinsville grow.
      Kent announced and explained the Linn Foundation which has been established to benefit Martinsville.  The Foundation has been funded with almost a million dollars.  The interest on that money will be disbursed each year to 501(c)3 organizations in the community.  We expect that will amount to around $30,000 to $50,000 to be spent yearly to improve the community.  Other people are also invited to contribute to the Foundation to help it grow.
    There were approximately 120 attending the meeting and 27 of them signed up as new volunteers to work on the Action Teams.  How encouraging--especially since over 50 others went through the MAPPING process and are already on Teams!
   

  Since the theme was "Saddle Up for the Future of Martinsville," Linda used saw horses with stick horse heads and yarn tales to hold western saddles.      
 
 
                                                                                                                                                

    The tables for the dinner afterward were decorated in red and white checked cloths with centerpieces made from old boots filled with corn to stabilize them so they could hold a bouquet of colorful silk flowers.
Straw bales draped with bandanas were placed strategically in case someone needed to "sit a spell".      The barbecue prepared by Mike & Cindy was delicious.   Even the country themed music playing before the meeting and during the meal added to the festivities. I heard many wonderful comments on various aspects of the meeting so I know those who attended enjoyed it as much as I did.  It was a very pleasant and productive evening! (Sorry, I have no idea why the big space appears above. I have done everything I can think of to remove it! This is SO frustrating!)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Community-wide MAPPING Meeting

      This evening is the community-wide meeting for the MAPPING process.   Over 50 people from the surrounding area participated in a series of meeting in February to develop a vision and plan for the growth of the city of Martinsville.  The 6 Action Teams formed from those meetings have been exploring ideas and strategies to reach the goals set forth for each Team during the February meetings.  It has been an enlightening and invigorating process.  The Action Teams include:  Education, Healthy & Environmentally Friendly, City Wide Pride, Thriving Industrial, Downtown Revitalization, and Festivals & Events.
    Today each team will present the ideas and strategies they have been working on and ask for community input and support.  Afterwards we will be serving a light meal of barbecue sandwiches, chips, veggies and cookies.
      Here is our new logo.
     It was decided to incorporate a horse theme into some of the city growth preparations because horse racing has always been part of the Martinsville Agricultural Fair each summer and because horse training facilities function at the fairgrounds all year long.  So I expect of see horses popping up in unexpected places throughout the town.
     We are excited about the future of our village and look forward to imparting some of that enthusiasm this evening at the meeting.  Hope you will be able to attend.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Cheese Potato Recipe

      When I was searching for a potato side dish to have with grilled steaks last week, I found a recipe for Scalloped Potatoes that sounded pretty good, but I really wanted something with cheese so I used the scalloped recipe as the base and changed a few things.  We thought these were excellent.  ( I'll also post this on the Recipes #1 page under  4  Salad, Vegetable and Side Dishes for later reference.)

Cheese Potatoes
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 1/2 T. butter
3 T. flour
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 1/2 c. milk
6-8 thinly sliced potatoes (3-4 c.)
2 inch slice of Velveeta cheese from 2 lb loaf
1-2 c. grated Colby Jack cheese

      Melt butter.  Stir in flour till blended.  Add milk, salt, pepper, onion, Velveeta cheese.  Cook and stir till cheese is melted and sauce has thickened.
      Place potatoes in 9x9 baking dish.  Cover with sauce.  Bake uncovered, at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Top with Colby Jack cheese and return to oven till cheese has melted and is bubbly (about 15 min.)
      Serves 4-6.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Have you been praying amiss?

     I believe we have been praying amiss for a very long time.  Since Jesus has already provided all that we need, we don't need to beg Him to give it to us.  We just need to recognize He has done it and appropriate it to our lives.  No need begging Him to give it to us.  He has already given it.  We have to receive (take) it as He offers it and declare and proclaim it is done.  
     Joseph Prince explains this so well in this devotional, I think.  




Prayers That Proclaim by Joseph Prince
Luke 13:12
12
But when Jesus saw her, He called her to Him and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.”

When you have a need, do you pray or do you plead? Do you begin your prayers with words like, “Please God, please! God, I beg You to have mercy!”

Prayers that plead and beg imply that your heavenly Father is not willing to do it. Yet, He is far more gracious and willing to give to you than you are willing to ask, think or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20) He desires above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)

In fact, long before you have a need, God has already met that need. Long before you knew you needed a Savior, He sent His Son to be your Savior. This is your God! He is a good God. So when you beg Him for something, you are actually saying that He is reluctant to give and needs to be persuaded strongly before He will move. Yet, He is not like that.

Jesus knew the heart of the Father. When He saw the woman bound with a spirit of infirmity, He did not pray, “Oh Father! She has been suffering for 18 long years! I beseech You, Father, have mercy on her. Please, please heal her!” No, when Jesus saw her, He immediately proclaimed, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity,” because He knew the heart of the Father. He knew that the Father wanted her delivered from her crippling condition.

At the end of a church service, I don’t stand and pray, “Oh God, please bless Your people. Oh God, do keep them. Oh God, be ever so gracious to them!” Instead, I proclaim, “The Lord bless you. The Lord keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you!”

Beloved, when you pray, proclaim your healing, protection and provision because your Father’s heart overflows with love for you. And when you declare it, He sanctions it. When you declare it, He establishes it!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Israel | Jerusalem | Filmed in Imax 3D.

       My friend, Karen, who lives in Jerusalem, sent me this beautiful video.  Country Guy and I have been to Israel only once, on a "That The World May Know" Tour with Ray Vander Laan, but it was life-changing!  We would love to go again!  Seeing places we visited on the video caused me to remember the great lessons taught at some of the sights by Ray Vander Laan, so watching it was an experience of gratitude for me.
      If you, too, have been there I thought you would enjoy the memories.  If you haven't, the video is a short armchair visit to a country and city we hear so much about but may not be familiar with the terrain. I hope you enjoy the trip as much as I did.
(I assume you probably know that once the video begins playing you can click the little 4 pointed square at the bottom far right of the picture and watch this in full-screen, but just in case you didn't know this I didn't want you to miss seeing the beautiful picture as large as possible.   Just click the "esc" key to exit full screen.)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

5 CORE CONVICTIONS, Mark Batterson

      Because I have been inspired much by The Circle Maker, I wanted to know more about who is Mark Batterson, so I looked to see if he has a website.  It is here if you want a quick link to check it out.
       Fyi: (also from his website):  Mark serves as lead pastor of National Community Church (www.theaterchurch.com) in Washington, DC. One church with seven locations, NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations. The vision of NCC is to meet in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the DC area. NCC also owns and operates the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill.
       His blog on April 10 resonated with me.  I believe the church has become ineffective and must change if it is going to affect our culture--and so, obviously, does Mark Batterson.  He says it so much better than I can, so here is the post:


Mark Batterson's blog Post,  

5 CORE CONVICTIONS,

Just thought I’d share 5 core convictions that drive us at National Community Church. These are part of our OS or Operating System as a church.
1. There are ways of doing church that no one had thought of yet.
2. We need lots of different kinds of churches because there are lots of different kinds of people.  Let’s stop criticizing and start celebrating our differences.  If the gospel is being preached, it doesn’t matter what name is over the door!
3. The church ought to be the most creative place on the planet.
4. We ought to be more known for what we’re FOR than what we’re against. Paul didn’t boycott the Areopagus.  He walked into the marketplace of ideas and competed for the truth!
5. The church belongs in the middle of the marketplace.
A church that stays within its four walls isn’t a church at all.  It’s a club. Jesus didn’t just hang out at synagogues. He hung out at wells–natural gathering places in ancient culture.  We can’t wait for people to come to us. We’ve got to go to them. We’ve got to meet them on their turf, their terms.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson

     I just finished reading The Circle Maker, by Mark Batterson.  (Thanks for the gift, Mariann. I am constantly amazed at how God brings new people--and just the right gifts into your life when you need them!)  It was one of the best books I've read on prayer in a long time.  Not only was it inspirational, but it renewed my desire to pray and my resolve to "pray through".  I loved his examples of answered prayer and the timing of those answers.  Sometimes years passed before prayers were answered, but when the answer came it was often "exceeding abundantly more than you could ask or imagine."
      The book is so well written with numerous stories and examples included, that I was eager to continue reading but didn't want to finish the book because I was enjoying it so much and feeling challenged to pray in so many more areas.
     If you are needing a revival in your prayer life, or if you just need your faith in the power of prayer renewed, I highly recommend The Circle Maker.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sad Ending

   This morning when we looked, the bird nest was empty so I went outside to check the ground below.  I didn't find a baby bird, but I found a lot of feathers that looked as if they might have belonged to the mother (or dad) strewn in a rather large area.  I don't know what could have climbed the brick wall to devour the birds, but it looks as if something happened to them.
    I hope nothing else decides to build a nest in that window.  It is so sad to see them disappear before they get to maturity.  (You may remember that last year I just happened to look out as a chipmunk was eating one of the eggs.)
     Considering the misfortune these birds are having, it is amazing we have any birds at all!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jeremy Caris: Secrets to Increase: How to Receive From God

Jeremy CarisGod has already "granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness" so that "you may become partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:3-4). The Bible says that we "grow up into salvation" in the same way we should grow to be responsible adults (1 Peter 2:2). Therefore, our experience of the fullness of all that is available in Christ should be growing as well. There are reasons why some grow into "all things" more quickly than others. First, they know that they have nothing without God (see 1 Chronicles 29:14). Second, they are assured in their hearts that "all things" have already been granted to them by God because He wants them to "become partakers of the divine nature" through Christ. And lastly, they have learned how to receive of His increase.
...What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? 1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
As an English speaking American, reading an English translation of the Bible, it is very easy to assume a mentality that whatever God gives us we will automatically and unintentionally receive, based on this Scripture. However, we must understand what it really means to receive, Biblically. There are two Greek words used in the New Testament which are translated "receive," and yet they have very different implications. The first word isdechomai (dekh'-om-ahee) and the second is lambano (lam-bah'-no).
Passive vs. Active Aggressive Receiving
With a little research, you will find that dechomai speaks of receiving in a passive way. It is a passive verb which indicates receiving in the sense of welcoming and accepting. Lambano is a completely different way of receiving and understanding. Lambano is an active aggressive verb which indicates receiving into action or taking possession through action.
Let me illustrate the difference. If someone threw a glass of cold water on you on a hot day, you would dechomai the water, welcoming and accepting it without having to do anything. However, if someone handed you a glass of cold water, making it available, and you then intentionally interacted with them to take it into your possession, you would lambano the water. Either way, you received it. Through this illustration, you can see why lambano is translated "take" as often as it is translated "receive." Let's look at some examples in the Bible. (I will add comments to these Scriptures inside brackets.)
And Simon answered, "Master, we toiled all night [trying to catch fish] and took [lambano] nothing! But at Your word I will let down the nets." Luke 5:5 ESV
When He [Jesus] was at table with them, He took [lambano] the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. Luke 24:30 ESV
There is no fisherman that I know of who expects fish to jump out of the water and directly in into their boat. They know they must lambano the fish, taking them into possession through some kind of action. In the same way, Jesus reached out tolambano the bread, receiving it unto Himself through action.
Do You "Lambano"?
For everyone who asks receives [lambano], and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Luke 11:10 ESV
Perhaps you were led to believe that you should ask of God and then wait for the answer to fall on you at the right time, as if you were expecting Him to throw a glass of water at you, if He felt like it. However, this Scripture says that everyone who asks must take action to receive it. Everyone who asks must lambanothe answer from God, who is not only willing now but is also waiting for us to do so.
God holds out provision to us, making it available to all who are in Christ. Then He tells us to pray for it, asking in agreement with what He's already demonstrated is His will through Christ. Then we must reach out and take what He is offering in order to receive it. God assures us in His Word of His unchanging desire to answer our prayers, and yet He wants us to come asking earnestly, persistently, boldly, and expectantly. Our receiving from God is not meant to be a passive act. God wants to interact with us. There must be action in both His giving and our receiving.
If you received Christ as your Savior and the sacrifice for your sins, then you do understand how to lambano. Everything you receive from God comes exactly the same way: by grace through faith – reaching out to take hold of what He is freely offering. Not a single person has ever received Christ any other way. God acts and we respond. God initiates and we cooperate.
Intentionally Receiving
Now, let's look again at the first verse I quoted:
...What do you have that you did not [lambano]? If then you [lambano] it, why do you boast as if you did not [lambano] it? 1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV
In other words, nothing that you've received from God was automatically and unintentionally received into your experience, so why boast as if you don't know why God apparently gave you more favor than anyone else who is in Christ? Instead of boasting, you should teach others how to lambano!
As each has received [lambano] a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace... 1 Peter 4:10
This verse gives us permission, and responsibility as good stewards, to use what we lambano from God to serve one another. In doing so, it also illustrates a key on how to lambano. When it says "as," it means "in the same way." In the same way you take a glass of water to receive it, you intentionally take God's gifts and use them to serve each other, as good stewards would. So, in the same way, we take all things pertaining to life and godliness through intentional and cooperating action, putting them to use. In other words, do something in expectation that you have taken hold of what you reached out for. Receive it into action!
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received [lambano] it, and it will be yours. Mark 11:24 ESV
This literally means, "Whatever you ask in prayer, lambano it by faith, and it will be yours." Receive it by taking it! The Biblical act of receiving looks like the intentional action of taking. No one takes hold of something all the while wondering if they really have a hold on it. They take hold of it and know that they have it as they are receiving it to themselves. They reach out, grab it, and pull it in. That's how you receive from God.
Good Stewards of Grace
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me. 1 Corinthians 15:10 ESV
It is only by the grace of God that we have anything, and yet it is by the action of faith that we make it ours in experience. The grace of God requires our cooperation in order for it to have its full effect in our lives. The Apostle Paul spoke of this very clearly, even implying that God's grace could have been released and available for him in vain if he had not cooperated with it.
Now, let's take it a step further. In the same way you receive a gift, use it. First Peter 4:10 gives you permission to lambano a gift from God with the intention of serving others. In fact, doing so makes you a good steward of His fully available and varied grace. When someone needs something, you have access to a warehouse full of "all things pertaining to life and godliness" – all available for the taking. A good steward uses what God has entrusted to their care and produces increase from it (see Matthew 25:14-30). This is part of the work that God gives us to do, and by doing it, God is glorified (see John 17:4).
Jeremy Caris
Abiding Glory Ministries

Monday, April 9, 2012

The baby has hatched

   On Saturday I happened to look at the dove's nest.  She is usually setting on it, but this time she was gone and I could see one egg had hatched and a baby bird was barely discernible from the content of the nest.  It was very well camouflaged.  The other egg was gone, so she must have pushed it out of the nest when it didn't hatch.

       Every time I looked at the nest after seeing the baby the first time, the dove was sitting on it entirely covering the baby.  This morning she was gone again so I snapped another picture.  The first one was taken Saturday, the second today.  It is apparent the baby is growing fast!
       I keep wondering how she is going to keep that little guy from falling out of the nest till he/she is ready to fly.  The nest is 2 stories high, so I hope he listens to his mother!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Who do you say He is?


        "I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.'  That is the one thing we must not say.  A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher.  He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell.  You must make your choice.  Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse.  You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God.  But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher.  He has not left that open to us.  He did not intend to." --British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)


I say He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and He is indeed risen!  Happy Easter!


If you haven't quite decided who He is, read this thought-provoking post by Joseph Mattera:  Ten Reasons Why I Believe In The Ressurection of Christ

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Turkeys

     As we looked into the back yard this morning when we got up, this is what we saw.  The sound of turkeys gobbling had woken us, which often happens, but they usually aren't strutting in our yard.
    This guy was comical to watch because he would take a few short prancing steps and then wiggle his tail, and repeat the procedure over and over.  The hen seemed oblivious.  She went right on eating, not seeming even to see him.  This went on for several minutes and then she meandered off into the woods with the tom following several feet behind still strutting, trying to get her attention.  She certainly was playing hard to get--or maybe by ignoring him she was saying that he wasn't "the one".  
     I guess I'll never know.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Alexander Tsiaras: Conception to birth -- visualized


This is an amazing video showing the stages of conception through birth.  It emphasizes the wonders of the human body.

God is an awesome, wonderful, amazing creator!  His thoughts and His ways are so much higher than ours!  (See Is. 55:9)   How could we even imagine anything as complex as the human body!


13 For you created my inmost being;
   you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
   when I was made in the secret place,
   when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
   all the days ordained for me were written in your book
   before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
   How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
   they would outnumber the grains of sand—
   when I awake, I am still with you.
                                                                  Psalm 139:13-18

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In case you're wondering...

      The doves are still setting on their nest outside the bathroom window.  We have closed the mini-blinds so that at least they can't see us even though they can hear us moving around.
       Everyday I peek around the corner of the blind to see if they are still there.  Whichever one is on the nest at the time usually looks at me, but has never been startled enough to leave the nest.
      This week I have been working outside in the courtyard which is below the nest, but that hasn't seemed to bother them either.  Obviously, they are intent on hatching the eggs.    
      One day when I peeked at them they must have been changing shifts because the eggs were exposed so I could see there are still two eggs in the nest.  One of the doves arrived just as I looked around the corner.  I enjoyed watching her fluff out her feathers and gently settle down over the eggs.
       It should be less than a week now before they hatch.  I'll let you know--maybe I'll even post pictures.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

An Encouragement to Pray for Iran from Francis Frangipane


The God Factor by Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)
       Rarely does a night pass without my wife and I praying for the Muslim world, and increasingly so for Iran. We are praying in agreement with millions of other Christians around the world.
      I'm sure everyone knows that the world is moving toward a pivotal juncture in time. Iran's leaders are aggressively pursuing nuclear weapons while simultaneously pledging to destroy Israel. Israel, on the other hand, has sworn that Iran will not get nuclear weapons. The watching world has increased crippling sanctions on Iran, but to no avail. It seems inevitable that these two nations will meet in a war that will leave few survivors.
     America, meanwhile, has pledged to stand with Israel. The Muslim world knows America (and its European allies) are weakened economically and tired of war, yet the U.S. is resolved to face Iran militarily if sanctions do not stop Iran's ambitions.
      Though the stage is being set for a massive conflict, I do not believe this dreaded confrontation is inevitable. Let me explain: Islam is divided into two major sects. Approximately 80% of the Muslim world is Sunni and the rest mostly Shiites and some smaller sects. These two major groups have coexisted but have an historical hatred and mistrust for each other.
       Iran is part of the smaller Shiite sect. Thus, Iran's determination to develop nuclear weapons is not only a threat to Israel, but it is an unacceptable advantage that threatens most of the Sunni world. A nuclear Iran has the potential, not only to ignite a catastrophic war with Israel, but it could easily spread chaos and conflict throughout the Muslim world and beyond.
       However, there is always a third component to determining the future, and that is the “God factor.” The fact is, in recent years Christianity has experienced explosive growth in Iran. I recently met by email a remarkable Iranian woman. Nasrin was born a Muslim in Iran; however, she found Christ through supernatural dreams and visions of Jesus, which led to her study of the Word of God. She now lives in the USA. In a recent email she said,
       God is working in Iran in a mighty way. Before the 1979 Islamic revolution, there were approximately 500 known converts in Iran. However, today many mission leaders believe that now close to one million Iranian converts serve Christ in underground house churches. The Lord is exposing the dark side of Islam to the people in Iran and Jesus is being revealed through visions and dreams. People in Iran have come to associate Islam with hate and war, and they are opening their hearts to the Prince of Peace.
       Her testimony gives insight into one reason why Iran has been arresting Christians, especially pastors, as they try to slow down the rapid growth of the church in Iran.
       Additionally, I had another experience with an Iranian who sat next to me on a flight to Atlanta. As he squeezed into the middle seat, he put a large book in the seat pocket in front of him. I thought the book was the Koran, so I began to talk with him about Islam. He interrupted me and said, "This is not a Koran, it is the Bible. I am an Iranian. Many of my fellow Muslims have become Christians. I too am interested in learning about Jesus."
       God is doing something in Iran. It is this divine initiative that gives me hope that a military option will not be needed. Therefore, I speak to you as people of prayer, faith and vision: let us join intercessors around the world in prayer for Iran! The focal point for our intercession should be the Muslim world in general, but in particular for the leaders of Iran. Let us also pray fervently for the church in Iran, and also Israel.
       Can we dare to hope for such breakthroughs? Absolutely. It was not too long ago when the Soviet Union collapsed before our eyes. Since its fall more people have come to Christ worldwide than the sum of all conversions prior to its demise. We are close to the times of judgment, but we are not there yet. The Holy Spirit has yet to be poured out upon ALL nations (See Acts 2), and that includes the Muslim world!
       I believe a great harvest is going to occur in the Muslim world. The first stage of an outpouring is the awakening of intercession in God's people. Indeed, let us beseech the Lord of the harvest to send laborers into this harvest field, and beyond into the entire Islamic world. Let us, as followers of Jesus Christ, never forget the God factor when we pray about the future

Monday, April 2, 2012

An unusual sight

    The farmers are busy in the fields even though it is very early to be planting.  This is such unusual spring weather that you would think it was summer if you didn't know better.  It was 86 degrees yesterday and is forecast to be in the 80's today and tomorrow.  Many of the trees have leafed out which usually doesn't happen for another month.
     We found about 100 morels this weekend, but the woods is so dry there may not be many more if it doesn't rain.
     When I took Country Guy his lunch I was surprised by this unusual sight.  As I approached the railroad crossing on the way to the field there were railroad cars loaded with windmill blades as far as I could see in either direction.  Obviously, wind energy is getting to be a big industry!