My Aim-

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

I caught small son in the very act of aiming at “nothing”! The other day I told him it was time to go potty. Next thing, I know I’m hearing a crinkly sound. Here he’d decided to make potty time more exciting by going in the waste can instead. Ahh, what delightful sound effects! And what a mess! I was annoyed with him but I’ve been thinking how often I’m just like him! If I don’t plan out my day, very little happens. If I don’t aim for connections with those around me, it just doesn’t happen! If I aim half-heartedly at exerciseing, be assured I will find every excuse in the book not to do it. What should I be aiming for?

Philippians 3:14

“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ
Jesus.”

When we aim for anything other than Jesus, we have messes to clean up just like I had to clean up after little lad! What is your aim going to be today?

Are You Salty?

I’ve been meditating on Mathew 5:13 “13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” After reading it in my personal time with God this week, it has got me wondering. Are we as Christians living as salt in this dark world? This verse is followed right on the heals of “11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you”. Could it be that we are no longer living salty lives?

IS THAT WHY…?

-in America (a supposed Christian nation) there is a mosque in every state with 1200 total?

-a baby dies every 23 seconds in the USA from abortion?

-43% of the people of the world are unreached people groups? They have no Bible and have never heard the good news of salvation.

-there has been a 50% of missionary reduction from America since 1986? 20,500 full-time Christian workers and 10,200 foreign missionaries are in the unevangelized nations. Compare that to the 1.31 million workers in the evangelized non-Christian world

-there are 153,000,000 orphans in the world?(This statistic does NOT include the 2 to 8+ million children living in institutions or those who are enslaved.)  Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no home and no family. James 1:27 If one family in every two churches would adopt, there would be no longer any children in the foster care system waiting for adoption. There would only be waiting families.

-27 million people are currently experiencing modern-day slavery worldwide? 30% of females are in forced labor the remainder 70% are trafficked for sex labor. 32 billion dollars in profit result in it. For every 800 people trafficked only 1 person was convicted in 2006. The cost of one slave is about $30.

-200,000 children in the USA are at risk for trafficking in the sex industry alone?

-22,000 children die each day due to poverty according to UNICEF? Almost half of the world lives on less than $2.50 a day.

-less than 1% of what people in the USA spent on weapons in one year was enough to send all children through school by 2001 and yet it didn’t happen?

-2.6 billion people have lack basic sanitation. 660 million with NO sanitation. 1 in 5 children don’t have access to safe water. 1.4 million people die each year as a result of this.

I will let you come to your own conclusion if  “it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men” would fit American Christianity today. What do you think? Are Christians who they have been called to be?

Taste Tester Thursday-Cookies n Creme Bars

What you will need:

1 box Betty Crocker Family Size Brownie Mix (18.4 oz.)

2 bags Hershey’s Cookies n Creme Drops (8 oz.)

1 can Pillsbury Easy Frost Vanilla Dream Icing

Mix brownies according to package directions. Pour half of batter in 9″ by 13″ pan. Pour 1 bag of drops on top. Pour remaining batter over drops. Bake at 350 till done about 20 minutes. While brownies are still warm, squeeze a small amount of icing on top to create a glaze. Once cooled completely, cut into bars and squeeze a dollop of icing on each bar. Top with Hershey Drop. Enjoy! This recipe is so very simple and tastes great!

P.S. You will have drops and icing left over.

Garden Party-40th Anniversary Celebration

Hi there friends! This week has been crazy for me. We had around 70 people for dinner three different times in the last week. I thought I’d invite you to see what I’ve been up to through this photo journey. The third and final large dinner for a while was a celebration for my husband’s parents who just celebrated their fortieth wedding anniversary.

The Drink

Individual herbal and fruit infused water in glass mason pint jars. I did citrus and pineapple and mint. They both had their distinct flavor. Conrad thought that it might taste too “healthy”. 🙂

Marinated, grilled chicken breast tenders on skewers

Red-skinned potatoes in rivers of browned butter and  crumbs.

Fresh corn on the cob rolled in butter and topped with chives.

Baguette with veggie strips and dip

I’d lined the walk with candles in the sand. The tables had fresh flowers.

~DESSERT~

Angel food cake wrapped in wafers and topped with fresh strawberries or blueberries (middle picture).

We also had fresh fruit salad.

We spent much of the evening chatting around the fire.

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I think it will be awhile again till we have company even though we enjoy being surrounded by friends and loved ones. I am curious if my readers have tips on hosting get-togethers. I’d love to hear from you!

“One Man, A Tow Truck, Two Purses, and Sin”

What does the title words have in common? Let me tell you! One of the past Wednesday evenings we had prayer meeting at church. When we got there, I asked Conrad if he had gotten the keys. “Yup, I put them in your purse”, was his reply. Hitting the lock button we trotted into church. We spent the first thirty minutes praising the Lord in song, opening our hearts up to worship the God of heaven when Kristyn began to cry. Now Kristyn, when she is tired, likes to be wrapped snuggly in a blanket to fall asleep. I whispered to Conrad about the blanket. (He had let her’s in the van.) He began rummaging in my purse for the keys to go and get it. Not finding it and not wanting to create a scene I remembered that I had one in the bottom of my purse. I wrapped Kristyn in her blanket and continued to worship. This bothered Conrad not knowing where the keys were. Alas, he couldn’t find them anywhere! We had locked them in the van! The pastor began taking prayer requests. We divided into prayer groups and went to prayer. The groups go all over the church building and sure enough one was right by the phone (his cell was locked in the van). Not wanting to be a spectacle he pulls the corded phone into the corner and calls AAA. Speaking in low articulated tones he tells them the problem.Darkness had fallen when out they came in thirty minutes with a big flatbed tow truck with flashing lights atop loudly announcing that they had come. This drew faces to the window to investigate what was going on! It was soon no secret that our keys were soundly locked away in our van! So much for our effort to not distract from the prayer service 🙂 ! Here what had happened, I had two purses in the van at the time. One was my going away diaper bag and the other was my church one. He HAD put them in the diaper bag. It just so happened to be the wrong one.

This got me to thinking how very much like sin it was. We huddle in corners trying to keep it secret. But this is only succesful for so long before it gets bigger than a blanket. It soon becomes a flashing tow truck in the night. The next time we think we can tell a “white” lie, gossip, or even thinking negatively without it being a big deal. Be careful! You may soon have a tow truck flashing in the night!

The Christian Women’s Veiling

Thanks to Kendra for this guest post. You will find her blog at www.livingintheshoe.com/

The Christian Woman’s Head Veiling Growing up a Brethren girl and marrying a Mennonite, I’ve had many opportunities to answer this question: why do you wear that thing on your head? Here I will try to answer that question as pertaining not only to me, but to Plain folks in general. And I’d also like to acknowledge those of you who have not grown up with the heritage some of us have, yet have come to this same conclusion through the teaching of God’s Word and the promptings of His Spirit. I recently taught this to our youth girls Sunday School class and I will try to portray it the way we studied it –

Scriptural basis first and the reasons we believe it is a command of God, and then answering the most common reasons people give in opposition of the head veiling. 1. The Scriptural basis for this ordinance is in I Corinthians 11: 1-15. I will not post the entire Scripture here, but you can go here to read it. 2. We woman cover our heads as a sign of our submission to the authority God has placed over us. If you think this is some custom the men made up to exert their rights over women, then I suggest you dig a little deeper. Start at Genesis and read forward and you will see that everything has an order, including human relationships. Whether they be in the church or in the home. Christ Himself is under the headship of God the Father. At the Garden of Olives, He prayed, “Not my will, but Thine be done.” This was the prayer of a submitted heart. If you still don’t believe me, pick up a book of history or government. For even in the secular world, there is a level of headship. Someone always answers to someone else – there is always someone submitting. God knew without this order of headship, there would be chaos. It is His divine way of bringing peace and harmony to homes and churches. So in putting on my veil every morning, I am saying to God that I submit to the authority He has put over me. 3. Some call this a prayer covering because of verses 4 and 5 where it speaks of the covered head in prayer. Thus, they also suggest it only needs to be during worship services when a woman is praying. But a true Christian woman will also be praying and communing with God while doing the laundry, washing dishes, and changing diapers. See I Thessalonians 5:17. In addition, Greek scholars have pointed out that the term “Let her be covered” (vs. 6) is in the present, active, imperative form. Thus giving the meaning “Let her continue to be veiled.” Also, in vs. 17-18, Paul specifically begins instructions for “when ye come together in the church” and speaking of other ordinances such as communion. This strongly implies he had a broader context in mind when speaking of the head veiling. 4. So what about size? If you are of Plain folk background, you will know this is one that our churches struggle in. How big is too big and how little is enough to still call it a covering? Firstly, remember what the purpose of the head covering is – a reminder that I have submitted to the authority God placed over me. This includes the church. And if the local church I have joined has a set size or pattern for my veiling, then I would do well to adhere to what they say. For in rebelling, I am going directly against what I have put the veil on for in the first place. Secondly, this is called a head covering. Therefore, it should cover the majority of the head in whatever way your church has specified. Thirdly, some would call this a symbol and in doing so, reduce the size to where it looks more like decoration than something meant to cover the head. It is true that God is a God of symbols, types and shadows, etc. Yet in the laws laid down in the Torah, God was very specific in all His instructions. What if the high priest had said one year at Passover that the killing of the lamb was only symbolic and not meant to follow out to the letter of the law? What do you think God would have done? True, it was symbolic of the blood Jesus would one day shed for the whole world. But that symbolism did not reduce the importance of the command to sacrifice the lamb in exactly the way Almighty demanded. So it is for the symbol of the veiling. Because it is a symbol or reminder of my submission to authority, it does not take away from the importance of the command that it cover the head.

Now that I’ve covered our basic reasons for doing this, I will present the common opposition regarding this ordinance. Question: I don’t wear a veiling because the Bible states that a woman’s hair is her covering in verse 15. So shouldn’t that count as having my head veiled? Answer: If you take the time to study the original Greek text, you will find there are two different words for covering used in this passage. In verse 15, the Greek word covering is peribolaion, meaning “to be covered or thrown around one”. The word used prior to this is is katakalupto, meaning “to cover or hide; veil”. So if you read this verse and insert the Greek definition for “covering”, it would say this: But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her “to be covered.” Now this is the theological answer for this question. Here is the logical: If a woman’s hair would be considered her covering, then what do we do with the man’s hair? For as his sign of submission, he is supposed to have an uncovered head. So if the woman’s hair would be the covering, then all men must have shaved heads, i.e: no hair, in order to show their submission to Christ – their head. Question: Isn’t this just meant as a cultural custom of their day? We don’t feel it applies to us in the twenty-first century. Answer: Paul inserts this command in the very same chapter that he does for communion. And you will find that most Christian churches regularly hold communion and feel it is of great importance. So why would you claim that the head veiling is not for today when it is listed exclusively in the same chapter as communion – which most feel is for today? Some say verse 16 indicates this is only cultural. However, look at it closely and you will find it different. “But if any man be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.” When Paul was writing his epistles, he would address to that specific church the areas in which they struggled. The head covering most likely was one the Corinthian church was in danger of parting with. And Paul was admonishing them in this verse to not be contentious (full of strife; going their own way) concerning this ordinance. A church needs to be one of unity in heart and a contentious heart is one that is selfish and desires to go its own way.

Now you know why some women cover their heads. I believe the importance of this ordinance is fast slipping away amongst the “freedom” so often proclaimed in contemporary Christianity today. What they don’t teach is that true freedom comes from a heart that is wholly and completely submitted to the Lord and the teachings of His Word. So how do we get it back? Study the Word for yourself and then teach it to your sons and daughters. For they are the church of tomorrow!

~Kendra

My God is an AWESOME God!

Today was one of those days when the battle for truth was very real in my mind! Memories, hard, dark memories kept washing in. I felt sad and angry and hurt. In the Name of Jesus, I prayed against the darkness that wanted to take me captive. I prayed asking God for power to believe the truth. I asked that He would take my unbelief and turn it into faith. I then spent time with Him. I didn’t stop after one verse or one chapter. I didn’t stop after five minutes. I asked Him to impact something on my mind-anything but most of all what He wants me to know for today. I read over the verse Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” I knew that was that God wanted for me but it didn’t occur till 6+ hours later how that verse spoke to the darkness. Thank You, Jesus! You care about truth, about me!