Thursday, July 31, 2008

And the doctor said...

"That bump on your arm that's been bugging you for months and won't go away and doesn't seem to heal is a form of skin cancer. Not the malignant, metasticizing kind...but we ought to treat it right away."

It's a sobering thing to be told you have cancer - even a mild form of it. I didn't catch the name the doctor mentioned, but I think it might be a pre-cancerous condition that can spread to squamous cell carcinoma.

At any rate, my doctor used liquid nitrogen to freeze four spots off of my arms. It stung a little, but that's a small price to pay to rid my body of cells that could prove to be much more dangerous in the long run.

I reminded my doc that both my mother and my grandmother died of cancer. He has ordered a few tests.

Meanwhile, it is good to know that my days are numbered, and that I won't die one millisecond before my God has ordained is my time of death. Not only that, but "how precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints". My faith gives me peace.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Seven Daily Rungs

While surfing the net this morning, I followed a link to "A Holy Experience", a blog by Ann Voscamp. This woman has a way with words, and I highly recommend stopping by. I am adding her blog to my links.

In the daily grind of life, when we're feeling a touch "Crazy", it's good to remind ourselves that our walk through this world IS truly a holy experience. Taking a step back from the craziness and fleeing into the arms of Jesus makes complete sense. It gives new life, and hope, and the strength to go on. Ann (without an e!) explains this brilliantly.

The month of August is fast approaching, and I am furiously working at yard work and barn chores, in order to complete these before the end of July. I have two days.

Why the rush? Because August has been, for 25 years, my preparation time for the homeschooling year. I take four weeks to plan, to photocopy, to prepare all of my curriculum for all of the children I happen to be teaching for the following year. Interspersed in all this planning time is a getaway with the children, and a couple of days' camping with my dear friend Darlene. By the end of the month, I am ready (I think!) for another year of reading, writing and arithmetic.

All of this planning is meaningless without purpose. My purpose is to glorify God, and to raise my children to glorify Him. So, the books we read, the methods we employ, the practical skills we learn, must all be chosen with this purpose in mind: Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all to the glory of God!

Ann Voscamp addresses this succinctly, writing:

How do we know everyday what is a worthwhile investment of our time and what will burn up, straw at the end of time? How do we cultivate not simply well-trained minds, but nurture holisitic, well-lived lives? How do we work everyday towards raising up children, who are not merely academic automatons, but exuberant, soul-healthy, worshipers of God, committed to meaningful, eternal Kingdom work? How do we set our ladders against the right wall, and make the opportunity of today count for eternity?

Simply put, how do we make our way through a day?

Ann writes, "Everyday, we endeavor to scale
Seven Daily Rungs.

I urge you to follow the link and read the post, but in a nutshell, here are the seven daily rungs:

First Rung ~ Listening: a way of the Spirit (Scripture reading, prayer and memorization)
Second Rung ~Love: a way of sacrificing (that which is at the the heart of everything we do)
Third Rung ~ Labor: a way of serving (farm work, household chores, creativity, ministries, volunteer work)
Fourth Rung ~ Loveliness: a way of seeing (Poetry, Nature, Music and Art)
Fifth Rung ~ Literature: a way of seeking (discovery through great books)
Sixth Rung ~ Language: a way of speaking (narrations, Latin/Greek, grammar, writing)
Seventh Rung ~ Logic: a way of scaffolding (ideas, reasoning, science, mathematics, discussing)

At the end of the day, Ann and her family sit together and evaluate:

As the sun sets in the west, we ring the farm table, and pause to reflect on the shadow of the seven daily rungs.

Hands to ears, we ask of the first rung: Did we listen to our Lord today?
Hands over hearts, we question the second rung: Did we love Jesus by loving others?

Then, holding fingers high, we mark off the five remaining rungs:
Labor: Whom did we serve today?
Loveliness: What did we see today?
Literature: What did we seek and discover in good books today?
Language: How did use we speak, written and orally, today?
Logic: How did we scaffold into new ideas and understanding today?
With God's help, I plan to incorporate climbing the seven daily rungs in our family's homeschool this year.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We did it!

We moved the shed that I have been wanting to move for quite some time. I failed to take pictures, and I am too tired to really explain it all, but for posterity's sake I wanted to record the achievement.

We've all been working at the last corner of our property that needs to be tidied up and organized. Everything else is fine. However, just behind the barn was a little patch (maybe 30 square feet) full of burdocks and thistles and twigs and branches and stones and old tools and duck bones (THAT'S where the predators take the poor ducks to dispatch them! - we never knew!) and old fencing.

We all raked and dug and picked up and put away and carried all sorts of things. It's been really hot working out there, so I was determined that today would be the day. I didn't want to have to spend another day at this miserable job.

Just about everything was ready when we came in for supper. After supper, Rick decided that he and Daniel had to go and dump the truck. We begged him to wait until the building was moved, but he would have none of it. He needed to dump in the daylight, which was fast fading.

So, we called Jared - it's a handy thing having a son who is 6'7" - and then Linda and Heather and Elena and Tiana and I hooked a couple of ropes to the building, and we P-U-L-L-E-D! It moved!! We pulled some more, and lifted a bit, and with much huffing and puffing, we got it where we want it.

Now we have to put the tarp on it, but that's a job for Rick. My part's done. YEAH!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

A blessing and a curse...

The kids and I were cleaning up the back yard by the barn today, and Daniel (18) was dismantling our old Husquvarna lawn mower. Once he had taken the engine and mower deck off of it, he wanted to put it in another part of the lawn. Little brother Christopher came to the rescue. Critter sat on the tractor, steering it, while Daniel pushed it.

It took about two seconds before it became an adventure. Daniel RAN. Critter hung on for dear life, steering and laughing while his brother pushed the lawn mower as fast as he could.

What a picture I have in my mind of those few moments (I wish I had my camera handy). This is one of the blessings of homeschooling. My 18 year old son took joy in making his brother, nearly 10 years younger, laugh with joy! Not many 18 year old young men would want to spend a few moments entertaining a little brother. They'd likely rather be out with their friends, or glued to something electronic. Yet in a homeschooling family, they have time to develop relationships with every member of the family. These relationships will last a lifetime.

Rick came home after that with (literally) tons of bread waste. Unfortunately, the bread was in plastic bags, not having been sorted and put into the bins separately from the plastic, which goes to the landfill.

We all were called out to do our part, sorting through the ton of bread. We emptied bag after bag of breads, rolls, cakes, cookies, buns, bagels, etc., putting them into a bin (to be taken to cattle) and putting the plastic into a separate garbage bin. It was a messy job.

The worst part was the reaction I had. Celiac disease is a dreadful thing sometimes. Gluten is normally absorbed in the intestines, causing rashes or bloating or pain, along with many other symptoms. However, gluten can also be absorbed through the skin. The literature warns us never to use shampoo or other skin care products that have wheat/gluten in them. We cannot use stickers on our children's skin, or they may have a reaction.

I should have thought about that when Rick asked us to help him, but I didn't. After working merrily away for 40 minutes or so, I noticed the skin on my forearms was itchy. I ignored that for a bit, but it persisted, becoming more and more sensitive, burning and itching. My fingernails were also hurting, around the nail on both sides. I finally couldn't take it any more, and rushed inside to wash up.

Now, I sit here with a bloated stomach, itchy arms, and painful gas. Mind you, I didn't ingest any of the wheat. But the long exposure of wheat to the skin of my hands and forearms has given me intestinal pain.


I write all this, not to complain, but to explain to those who read my blog how very careful they must be, if they are feeding celiacs, or even eating wheat or gluten in the surrounding area. It's a terrible thing. It takes very little (only a crumb) to cause a painful reaction.

It's a curse, I guess. But thankfully, I know that when this life is over, there'll be no more rashes, no more bloating, no more gas or passing wind, no more canker sores, no more migraine headaches. I'll be rid of my celiac disease, just like I'll be rid of my sin nature. And THAT'S a blessing I can look forward to with much anticipation.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Living Grace

I was blessed today by the words of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, preaching a sermon called "The End of the Age".

Dr. Lloyd-Jones made the point that this world is NOT our home. We're just camping out. We're sojourners here, on our way to eternity. This life will be over in the blink of an eye, and then what will we do? We'll find ourselves standing before an utterly holy God.

Actually, we won't be standing. We'll fall on our knees, worshipping.

And if not that, then we'll bow the knee anyway. Every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

It's amazing to me that I can sit in my own living room and listen to one of the great preachers, long since gone on to glory, expounding a passage of Scripture that impacts me today.

Don't miss it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies - worth reading!

How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Did the fruit flies beat you to the fruit bowl? Once they settle in, these uninvited guests know how to overstay their welcome. Here are a few quick, easy and environmentally friendly ways to rid your home of those pesky fruit flies.


  1. Remove the food source and breeding areas. Fruit flies have a life-cycle of 10 days, giving them plenty of time to punish you for leaving moist, fermenting, organic material in which they may lay eggs. Most fly trap ideas only serve to illustrate the flies' progress in taking over your home, and some will themselves provide a breeding ground. Sanitation is the only effective resolution. Address these frequent problem spots:
    • Wash all dishes. Clear the drains.
    • Launder the dishrags, or at least wash them thoroughly with soap, rinse them well and wring them dry before hanging them up (don't leave them in the sink).
    • Store trash in a covered bin.
    • Do not toss food garbage into waste-paper baskets.
    • Cover your fruit bowl or store fruit you wish to keep in the refrigerator. Also, raisins, dates and prunes are favorite attractants.
    • Discard all overripe fruit.
    • Clean opened containers of fruit juice, fermented or vinegar products, for example ketchup, siracha or cooking wine. Seal them well. Keep these in the refrigerator if possible.
    • Wipe up crumbs and spills from your cabinets, counter and floor.
    • Take out all trash
    • Do your laundry.
    • Clean the seals of your refrigerator door, the top and under the fridge, especially clean the evaporation pan if it has one.
    • Clean under and around your dishwasher and stove.
    • Dump mop water, clean the pail, launder the mop rag.
    • Remove damp lint from the laundry room.
    • Take out your compost and keep your collection bin covered and food additions to your pile buried beneath yard waste.
    • Do not use manure, beer or rank water for fertilizer near the house.
    • Use screens for your doors and windows.

  2. Make a bowl trap:
    • Put a piece of old skinless fruit and some wine, or some balsamic in a bowl (think like the flies: what do you want for dinner?).
    • Cover the bowl tightly (no wrinkles) with plastic wrap.
    • Poke many small holes in the plastic with a fork. The fruit flies go in and can't get out (if the holes are too big they will fly back out).

  3. Make a plastic zip lock bag trap:
    • Place a few slices of an apple inside a zip lock bag
    • Leave an inch open to allow pests to enter. The little pests will soon be on and surrounding the apple.
    • Zip the bag closed and crush each one with your fingertips.

  4. Make a funnel trap:
    • Make a cone out of the sheet of paper (like a funnel). Tape the outside of the cone so that it stays in place.
    • Check that the cone fits snugly into a glass or cup.
    • Cut off the tip of the cone so that you now have a funnel.
    • Pour a small amount of cider vinegar into the glass or cup. (Rum mixed with orange juice also works very well - additionally, a half teaspoon of baker's yeast in water can also suffice)
    • Insert the funnel into the glass or cup, but don't let the bottom of the funnel touch the liquid. Tape the funnel in two or three places from the outside so that there is no gap between the glass and the cone.
    • Place your newly created trap on a flat surface. The flies will be attracted by the smell of the fruity vinegar and fly into the cone. The flies will slip down the cone and will either land in the vinegar and drown or will be trapped and not able to get back out. If you leave the trap overnight, the trapped fruit flies will eventually fall into the vinegar and drown.

  5. Make a soda bottle trap:
    • Remove the lid and label from a clean, empty plastic two-liter soda bottle.
    • Carefully remove the upper third of the bottle by cutting along its circumference at approximately where the top of the label used to be.
    • Put an attractive liquid such as orange juice or cider vinegar in the cup-shaped part of the now-severed bottle.
    • Turn the cone upside-down and insert it into the cup-shaped bottom part of the bottle. Seal the seam at the top of the bottle with duct tape.
    • Fruit flies find their way into the bottle, but they can't get back out. After most flies are trapped inside, simply seal the bottle in a plastic shopping bag and throw out.

  6. Make an oven trap:
    • Remove all available food from kitchen. Clean the dishes, place open items in ziplock bags or the fridge.
    • Open the door of your oven and place a piece of fruit (banana or kiwi peels) in there overnight.
    • Wake up early the next morning and quietly close the oven door.
    • Turn on the oven to 400ºF/200ºC for about 10-15 minutes and majority of your fruit flies will be gone.
    • Clean the oven thoroughly.

  7. Make a glass trap:
    • Put a piece of fruit in a glass.
    • Cover the glass tightly with plastic wrap and secure to the glass.
    • Put a small hole in the plastic. The fruit flies go in and can't get out.

  8. Make a wine trap:
    • Put a small amount of sweet wine in a little bowl.
    • Take your finger tip and put a very tiny amount of dish soap on it, preferably diluted
    • Barely touch the surface of the wine at the center with your finger tip.
    • This breaks the surface tension of the wine. The fruit flies will be attracted by the scent of the wine and drown in it. Normally the surface tension of the wine would have protected them from drowning, but with it gone, as they touch the edge of the wine to drink, they will stick to it, fall in and drown.

  9. Catch and release method
    • Drop a piece of fruit (preferably rotten) into a large, clean jar such as a Mason jar.
    • Place the jar near the greatest concentration of flies (i.e., if they're hanging around the fruit bowl, put the jar in the fruit bowl). It will take the flies a while to find the jar, but once they do, they'll hang around in there having a little rotten-fruit orgy.
    • Once you see a bunch of flies in there... WHAM! slam a plate down on the top of the jar. You have to be quick or they'll all fly out.
    • Escort the flies outside and release them--make sure they all fly out of the jar.
    • Repeat this process until you're finding only one or two flies in the jar at a time (release them too). The idea is that along with getting rid of the food where they were breeding, you get rid of the breeding generation. Important: This process may take several days. You must replace the piece of fruit every day because the flies will have laid eggs on it and if you let them hatch you're back where you started.

  10. Hair dryer method
    • locate the general area of the fruit flies and the nearest plug. Get a hair dryer.
    • Plug in the hair dryer, turn it on (preferably to full heat) and put the back end of the dryer near a hovering fly. It will be sucked in and fried by the hair dryer. This is fun and highly effective! Trying to blow at them with the hot air doesn't work but sucking them in like this does.


  • If you have a gas stove with a constant pilot light, place the trap on the warm part of the stove top. This will help spread the smell of the vinegar.
  • Make sure your choose right type of vinegar. White vinegar does not work. Malt vinegar and red wine work, just not as well. Beer sometimes works, too. Balsamic vinegar also works well. Wine works extremely well, and a wine bottle with an inch or so left can be used without an additional funnel.
  • You can forgo the funnel if you put a small bit of dishwashing detergent in the cup with the vinegar and stir. The fruit flies are still attracted to the vinegar smell, and the detergent traps them. The detergent actually reduces the surface tension of the liquid allowing the flies to more readily sink and drown.
  • You can forgo the traps. Fruit flies dehydrate easily, a small draft usually does the trick.
  • Another simple suggestion is to use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment. The fruit flies cannot escape the suction and will die in the process of being sucked in. This is especially helpful when you get a very large "surprise" infestation.
  • Fruity smelling dishwashing liquids (lemon, etc.) also attract fruit flies.
  • Bourbon also works. Leave the top off of a mostly empty bottle and the bottle will act as a funnel trap.
  • Fruit flies breed and live in warm moist places such as a garbage disposal and/or drains in the sink. Cleaning and hot water on a regular basis will combat these possibilities. You can also pour ice down the drain overnight.
  • Hang a few of those old flypaper rolls over the area of infestation. Ugly, but effective. These are extremely poisonous though; use with caution.
  • And get rid of all your exposed fruit! Once ripened, bananas can be stored in the refrigerator.
  • The accumulated scum inside your sink drain is a breeding ground for fruit flies. Use a cheap bottle brush and a hot water rinse to clean out the drain every week or so. The bottle brush must be small enough to fit past the strainer grid. Also, never stick your hand into a garbage disposal!!!
  • Tip for bartenders that constantly fight this. Cover liquor bottles that have a pour spout on them with a small sheet of cellophane. Clean bottles below the spout with an ammonia based cleaner, every other day. Wipe bar down at the end of the night with same cleaner.
  • Fruit flies sense quick movement. Approach them very slowly with a moist paper towel on bathroom mirrors, cabinets, etc. and you'll get them every time.
  • Leave an empty bottle of beer open and unattended, they will fly in. recap and throw away.
  • Clorox cleaning spray. Wipe down surfaces and dead flies afterwards. Also, fumigate the room you're spraying; the smell can be somewhat overwhelming.
  • If using fresh fruit in your trap, be sure to remove and thoroughly clean it every day - the fruit will give way to larvae surprisingly quickly. Vinegars and wines don't allow larvae to survive.
  • After cleaning a drain or getting rid of old fruit, peppermint extract will drive them away. If you take part of a paper towel and twist it into a wick, place one end into the peppermint extract, leaving part of it on the outside. Tip the bottle to wet the wick. Set the bottle of peppermint extract on the counter or by the area that was infested. They will be gone! This works great at home, but also works in bars near the drains.

Things You'll Need

  • One sheet of paper
  • One glass or clear plastic cup
  • Scotch tape/adhesive tape
  • Cider vinegar, or other liquid bait
  • Plastic two-liter soda bottle method:
    • Apple Cider
    • Malt
    • Red Wine

  • Bottle of Clorox.
  • Bottle of Peppermint Extract
  • Paper towels

Related wikiHows

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Praise God for the Atlantic-waves!

A friend of mine sent the following Spurgeon devotional to me. It was a great encouragement, because of the great trials we have been experiencing lately.

"The Lord our God hath shewed us His glory"
(Deuteronomy 5:24)
God's great design in all His works is the manifestation of His own glory. Any aim less than this were unworthy of Himself.

I have taught my children this: What is the chief end of man? The chief end of man is to glorify God! But how should we glorify God? By seeing Him as He really is!

But how shall the glory of God be manifested to such fallen creatures as we are? Man's eye is not single, he has ever a side glance towards his own honour, has too high an estimate of his own powers, and so is not qualified to behold the glory of the Lord.

The problem is that we fallen creatures have a great opinion of ourselves. Instead of desiring only that God be glorified, we want a little bit of it for ourselves. Didn't I do a good job singing today, we think. Wasn't it kind of me to speak to that homeless person? We want a pat on the back; we want to be recognized. Yet our chief end is to glorify GOD!

It is clear, then, that self must stand out of the way, that there may be room for God to be exalted; and this is the reason why He bringeth His people ofttimes into straits and difficulties, that, being made conscious of their own folly and weakness, they may be fitted to behold the majesty of God when He comes forth to work their deliverance.

God sends trials into our lives to open our eyes. He wants us to see how foolish and weak we are, so we can understand how majestic He is. Our trials cause us to cry out for the Living God, and we worship Him when He delivers us from all evil.

I cry out for Your hand of mercy to heal me

I am weak, I need Your love to free me

Oh Lord, my rock, my strength in weakness

Come rescue me, O Lord

He whose life is one even and smooth path, will see but little of the glory of the Lord, for he has few occasions of self-emptying, and hence, but little fitness for being filled with the revelation of God. They who navigate little streams and shallow creeks, know but little of the God of tempests; but they who 'do business in great waters', these see His 'wonders in the deep'. Among the huge Atlantic-waves of bereavement, poverty, temptation, and reproach, we learn the power of Jehovah, because we feel the littleness of man.

I know this. I have been tossed among the Atlantic-waves of loss, of poverty, of reproach. I have known what it is to be at "wit's end", to have nowhere to turn but to God Himself, because I am unable to *fix* what is wrong. And God has always welcomed me when I run to Him.

Thank God, then, if you have been led by a rough road: it is this which has given you your experience of God's greatness and loving-kindness. Your troubles have enriched you with wealth of knowledge to be gained by no other means: your trials have been the cleft of the rock in which Jehovah has set you, as He did His servant Moses, that you might behold His glory as it passed by.

God is so good to us, to lead us into dark and dangerous waters. It's during those dark days that we learn that God will NEVER leave us, nor forsake us. We learn that He is always in control, and that He means to bless us with a greater knowledge of His grace and His provision. Without the troubles I have experienced in my life, I would not have seen His glory.

Praise God that you have not been left to the darkness and ignorance which continued prosperity might have involved, but that in the great fight of affliction, you have been capacitated for the outshinings of His glory in His wonderful dealings with you.

How I praise You, O my God! How I marvel at your wonderful goodness to the children of men. You send the afflictions that are perfect for my soul, and your timing is always best. You don't ever leave Your children in the storm one second longer than is necessary for their growth in grace and in the knowledge of Your Beauty.

You are my hope

Your promise never fails me

And my desire is to follow you forever

Lord, glorify Your name in me. Let Your work be done in my life, so that I can shine forth with Your glory.

For You are good,
For You are good,
For You are good to me.
"Now therefore, my God, I thank You and praise Your glorious name!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hummus, & Keeping it all in Perspective

Tomato Basil Hummus


* 2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed, or soaked if using dried

* 1 can (15 ounce) whole, peeled tomatoes

* 2 tablespoons of tahini

* 2 ½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice

* 2 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

* 1/4 teaspoon cumin

* 1 clove of garlic, crushed

* 1/2 teaspoon salt

* 2 ½ tablespoon basil, chopped


In a blender or food processor, blend the chickpeas. Add tomatoes, olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, basil, and salt until the ingredients form a creamy, paste-like consistency. Pour the mixture into a large serving bowl. Cover and refrigerate for one hour.

We added four sun-dried tomatoes to the above recipe. We also added a couple of shots of Frank's Red Hot, to give it more zing. It was delicious!

Cucumber Rounds with Hummus


* 1 large cucumber, seedless if possible

* 1 16 oz. can of chickpeas or garbanzo beans

* ¼ cup liquid from can of chickpeas

* 3-5 tablespoons lemon juice (depending upon taste)

* 1 ½ tablespoons tahini

* 2 cloves garlic, crushed

* ½ teaspoon salt

* 2 tablespoons olive oil


In a blender or food processor, blend chickpeas, lemon juice, tahini, garlic, salt, and olive oil until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add liquid from chickpeas until desired consistency, creamy and paste-like. Wash and dry cucumber. Cut the cucumber into rounds about ¼” thick or slightly less and lay flat on dish or serving tray.

Top each cucumber round with a dollop of hummus. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate.


Isaiah 22 caught my attention today:
1 ¶ The burden against the Valley of Vision. What ails you now, that you have all gone up to the housetops,
2 You who are full of noise, A tumultuous city, a joyous city? Your slain men are not slain with the sword, Nor dead in battle.
3 All your rulers have fled together; They are captured by the archers. All who are found in you are bound together; They have fled from afar.
4 Therefore I said, "Look away from me, I will weep bitterly; Do not labor to comfort me Because of the plundering of the daughter of my people."
5 For it is a day of trouble and treading down and perplexity By the Lord GOD of hosts In the Valley of Vision—Breaking down the walls And of crying to the mountain.
6 Elam bore the quiver With chariots of men and horsemen, And Kir uncovered the shield.
7 It shall come to pass that your choicest valleys Shall be full of chariots, And the horsemen shall set themselves in array at the gate.
8 ¶ He removed the protection of Judah. You looked in that day to the armor of the House of the Forest;
9 You also saw the damage to the city of David, That it was great; And you gathered together the waters of the lower pool.
10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, And the houses you broke down To fortify the wall.
11 You also made a reservoir between the two walls For the water of the old pool. But you did not look to its Maker, Nor did you have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago.
12 And in that day the Lord GOD of hosts Called for weeping and for mourning, For baldness and for girding with sackcloth.
13 But instead, joy and gladness, Slaying oxen and killing sheep, Eating meat and drinking wine: "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!"

God was sending His judgment upon His own people, in the form of invading chariots and horsemen. The people responded by looking to the armouries, by making sure they had water and that the enemies could not get to the water, and by fortifying the wall.

But, in all of their preparations, they did not look to their "Maker, Nor did [they] have respect for Him who fashioned it long ago. Instead of weeping and mourning, they feasted and made merry. They forgot to repent, and look to the Lord for His deliverance.

Matthew Henry commented:

Let us learn hence.

1. To look for distress ourselves. We know not what straits we may be brought into before we die. Those that live in cities may be forced to lodge in forests; and those may know the want of necessary food who now eat bread to the full. Our mountain stands not so strong but that it may be moved, rises not so high but that it may be scaled. These Arabians would the better bear these calamities because in their way of living they had used themselves to hardships.

Our circumstances could change in a moment. We ought not to be too proud when we are successful, when everything's "all as it should be". We ought to remember that every good thing we enjoy is temporary, this side of eternity.

2. To look with compassion upon those that are in distress, and with all cheerfulness to relieve them, not knowing how soon their case may be ours:

"Bring water to those that are thirsty, and not only
give bread to those that need and ask it, but prevent
those with it that have need; give it to them unasked."

We aren't guaranteed that our job will continue till the end of our lives. And we ought not to judge those who find themselves in times of trial, or lay-offs, or medical emergencies. Instead, we ought to offer them a "cup of cold water", or whatever we can give to alleviate their pain and to encourage them to persevere.

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your name

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Grimshaw's Creed

Here is an extract:

I believe that Jesus is a full, as well as a free Saviour. The same yesterday, today and for ever. He alone is not only the believer's wisdom and righteousness, but his sanctification and redemption; and in Him is a fountain ever open for sin and uncleanness unto the last breath of his life. Here is my daily, necessary privilege, my relief and my comfort.

. . . I think that all that is not of faith, and consequently before faith, is sin. Nor will I allow that it is anymore by good works after grace received, than before, that a believer is saved. For however our Lord may graciously consider them at the last day, eternal life is certainly the gift of God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ alone has purchased for us what grace in heart and life makes us meet for. What have we to boast of? Or what have we that we have not received? Surely, by grace we are saved.

When I die I shall then have my greatest grief and my greatest joy. My greatest grief that I have done so little for Jesus; and my greatest joy, that Jesus has done so much for me. My last words shall be "Here goes an unprofitable servant."
Yet God, in grace and mercy, will say to William Grimshaw and all God's children, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord!"

Amazing grace.

I was encouraged when I pondered Grimshaw's creed. Jesus is a fountain, filled with life, ready to receive all of my sin and uncleanness, and to replace it with His righteousness and purity. What an amazing transaction that is! It is His grace that enables me to do His work well. Without that grace, I am like a branch cut off from the Vine - worthless.

God is still pruning me, taking off the old dead limbs, trimming back the ugly, infested parts, making me so I will bear more fruit. This pruning process is uncomfortable, even painful sometimes.

I was blessed this morning as I read John Piper's blog, Why God Doesn't Fully Explain Pain.
It's enough to know that God is in control, that He is working all things for good, that He is refining me so that I can be more useful, and that His power is magnified in my weakness.

Lord, even though I am an unprofitable servant, I realize that any good You choose to do through me is glorious, because it reflects Your glory. Thank You for the trials You send - for I know they have a good purpose. Thank You for Your immeasurable, precious promises. You are a God of grace and power. I trust in You alone.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Dougie Doesn't Know Best

Dougie the Doggie is having a bit of trouble these days. I am not quite sure what his problem is. At first, I thought it was fleas, and treated him (and all the canines) with Advantage. The scratching didn't fact, it got worse. I have been reading up on all the possibilities, and trying different remedies on this poor old dog.

He didn't like the apple cider vinegar, not one little bit. He howled until I washed it off. I tried Melaleuca oil, which seemed to ease the itching, but again, he tried to rub it off. The next trial cure was Arnica gel. It seemed to soothe his skin, and he didn't scratch as much for a day or two.

This morning, I thought I'd apply Arnica gel again. I heard Dougie thumping his way down the stairs, so I was ready with the Arnica. He came around the corner, took one look at me, and high-tailed it back up the stairs!

I was reading the first part of Isaiah this morning:

Chapter 1:2 ¶ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! For the LORD has spoken: "I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against Me; 3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider."

This morning, Dougie was a great example of this sort of rebellion. He did not consider that I, his owner, who has taken care of him since he was a young pup, might know something and might be able to help. In the same way, we children of God rebel against our LORD, and do not consider all of the facts.

4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the LORD, They have provoked to anger The Holy One of Israel, They have turned away backward.

Dougie LITERALLY turned away backward, when he saw me standing there with gel to soothe his sore skin. He scrambled to flee from the one person who could do something about his problem. Don't we do the same thing, though? We're laden with iniquity, full of evil, and instead of fleeing to the One who can help us, we scramble to run away as fast as we can.

5 Why should you be stricken again? You will revolt more and more. The whole head is sick, And the whole heart faints. 6 From the sole of the foot even to the head, There is no soundness in it, But wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; They have not been closed or bound up, Or soothed with ointment.

God sends trials to us in order to bind up our wounds, to soothe us with ointment, to heal us from our diseases. Of course, you'd have to read the rest of Isaiah to find out how gloriously God moves on behalf of His people.

I thank God for this reminder today. God used my little, pathetic dog to teach me more about Himself. I am too quick to deny that there's anything wrong. I flee the other way, trying everything I can to fix my own problems, instead of turning to God, who is the One who has the remedy for whatever ails me.

Dougie, when he finally submitted to me and allowed me to slather him with Arnica gel, made grateful noises in the back of his throat as I rubbed him with the soothing gel. He relaxed and rested on his pillow, sighing once in a while, more content than he has been in a while.

I, too, must submit and allow my God to do His work in me. He must treat my diseases with whatever He deems necessary, in order to soothe me and get me ready for His service.

Go ahead, Lord. Bind up my wounds. Soothe me with Your ointment.

I won't run away.

Isaiah 1:18 "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the LORD, "Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. 19 If you are willing and obedient, You shall eat the good of the land;

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Irresistible Grace

I've been camping with kids and grandkids, up at Creekside Camping. Adeena and Jeff have done a marvelous job of creating a little haven. Their little valley includes a creek, a huge willow tree, a tiny bridge (over said creek!), and a brand-new outhouse. Because they are far away from a major city, the stars at Creekside are absolutely stunning. We were awakened each morning with the sound of birds chirping in the nearby bushes, and we were lulled to sleep by the rippling brook and the sounds of bullfrogs calling for their mates.

The only damper was the mosquitoes. I didn't mind the few episodes of rain, because rain is to be expected, and we hid away inside the shed or the trailers if need be. However, I despise mosquitoes, simply because they find me irresistible. I taste better than anyone around me, including my sweet and tasty littlest grandbabies.

God is Irresistible, too. He calls, and we come. It's as simple as that. Who can resist the God of Heaven, who woos us and hems us in, making us turn to Him, because there really is no other path to take? Nobody can. And blessed are those who have been chosen, and called, and made children of this Glorious God.

Here's a song, Irresistible Grace, that expresses it well.

And now I am heading off to my bed. After a few days of sleeping in an old Rambler Trailer, my bed is also irresistible. At least for me, at this moment.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Hunza Bread Recipe

I tried making this bread today. I followed the directions to a "tee", but got carried away checking email and overbaked it. So, mine turned out a bit on the burnt side, at least around the edges. It is DEFINITELY filling.

Here's the recipe. I used millet flour, and added cranberries, raisins and almonds.

Hunza Diet Bread is a delicious, dense, chewy bread that's very nutritious and is almost impervious to spoilage. The following recipe makes a huge batch of approximately 60 (sixty) 2 inch squares, high in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Keeps weeks at room temperature, even longer in the fridge and indefinitely in the freezer. The recipe for this wonderful bread is as follows: -

* 4 cups of water
* 3.5 (three & one half) to 4 pounds of natural buckwheat or millet flour
* 1.5 (one & one half) cups of canola oil
* 1.5 (one & one half) cups of natural unrefined sugar
* 16 ounces of honey
* 16 ounces of molasses
* 4 ounces of powdered soya milk (half cup)
* 1 teaspoon sea salt
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 2 teaspoons baking powder (non aluminium)

Hunza Diet Bread has a taste that is very satisfying and chewy all on its own, but you may also add if required, apricots, raisins, chopped walnuts, almonds, sliced dates to the above ingredients. Mix ingredients. Grease and lightly flour cooking pan(s). Ideally use baking trays with about 1 inch high sides. Pour batter in pan(s) half an inch thick over the base. Bake at about 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 C.) for 1 hour. After cooking, dry the bread in the oven for two (2) hours at a very low heat - 90 degrees Fahrenheit (50 C). After it is cooled tip out and cut into approx 2 inch x 2 inch squares. Store it wrapped in cloth in a container.

You may need to repeat the baking depending on the size of your baking pan, and oven, until all the mixture has been used.

Hunza Diet Bread is made from natural buckwheat or millet flour. It is rich in phosphorous, potassium, iron, calcium, manganese and other minerals, as nothing has been destroyed in the preparation from the wheat. Thus it contains the essential nourishment of the grain. This is why you must ONLY use natural buckwheat or millet flour to make your own Hunza Diet Bread.....

Here's another recipe:

Here's another Hunza Bread recipe,that makes 1 pan:

1 cup millet flour
1 cup grated carrots
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon iodized salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 eggs

Combine flour, carrots, oil, honey, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Mix thoroughly. Stir in 3/4 cup of boiling water. Beat the egg yolks
and mix the beaten yolks with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Once the
water and egg yolks are well mixed, add to the flour mixture. Fold in
stiffly beaten egg whites and bake at 325 for 35-45 minutes.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

We press on - here or in Papua!

Trevor Johnson is a missionary in Papua, Indonesia. Lately, he's gone through mud and storms, experienced a car accident, drunks with machetes surrounding his vehicle, and someone trying to extort money from him.

Here's an article regarding the Johnsons when they were leaving to go to the mission field.

And here's Trevor's blog.

I was reading a report from Trevor today, and was encouraged by his closing remarks, which I will quote below:

Summary: I could not hope for better blessings upon the work here. The Lord is allowing me, though it is a strain in time, money and energy at times, to support 3 broad ministry efforts: (1) Team Asih Pamitran in West Java, (2) The Fuau Project in the Mamberamo, and (3) The Korowai project, and the Lord is giving fruit in all areas. Personally, however, we are tired this month and have had many irritations here. So pray that the Lord give us sustaining grace. The door seems to have shut for two weeks for any interior ministries, however, and maybe this is a providential time to rest up a bit. We had better take it.

Final Thought: Why am I so busy? Because I feel an urgency for the work here. Also, because I never know what the Lord will bless.

Ecclesiastes was the first book of the Bible I ever read all the way through. In chapter 11 I receive this “encouragement”:

Cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days. Give a portion to seven, or even to eight, for you know not what disaster may happen on earth.

If the clouds are full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth, and if a tree falls to the south or to the north, in the place where the tree falls, there it will lie. He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

..In the morning sow your seed, and at evening withhold not your hand, for you do not know which will prosper, this or that, or whether both alike will be good.

What does this mean? Here is a paraphrase:

Invest broadly and try many good things. Be a blessing to others, for our lives are short and this could be your last night. If you are always watching for signs and gazing at the weather you will never jump in and work. Instead, plant in the morning and plant at night too. Keep busy, you never know what the Lord will bless...Just maybe, He will bless it all!

We took Trevor's advice today, working hard to prepare for an assessment. Rick also pressed on, picking up more work at some small, independent stores. We are keeping busy, never knowing what the Lord will bless. Just maybe, He will bless it all!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Canada Day - Not such a great celebration.

Canada's Really Big - Doesn't that make you proud?

We celebrated Canada Day by attending fireworks last night. Goderich has always held their fireworks the night BEFORE Canada Day, and for many years we have made the trip to the Harbour and settled on the Main Beach in order to enjoy the sights and sounds.

My parents taught me to be proud of this land called Canada. Long before it was fashionable to celebrate "Dominion Day" with anything more than a subdued picnic with family at a local park, my parents instilled in me a sense of ownership. This was MY country. I was to defend it, as others had before me. My uncle died during the Second World War, and I believed that his sacrifice was a virtuous one, because it stopped the progression of evil in the form of Hitler's Nazis. Now, I wonder about that.

Canada Day 2008 is one I would rather not celebrate. In spite of a clear majority of Canadians who feel that abortion is not something we want to encourage, a committee decided that on this Canada Day, Dr. Henry Morgentaler was to be awarded the Order of Canada. Morgentaler crusaded and succeeded in changing Canada’s abortion law and is responsible for the death of countless thousands of unborn children.

March 1973: Morgentaler announces that he has successfully performed over 5,000 abortions. Doesn't this make you wonder how many babies have died because of this man in the past 35 years?

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

July 2008: Morgentaler receives the Order of Canada. Doesn't this make you wonder if there's anything at all left to celebrate on Canada Day? Sadly, I guess the only thing left to be proud of is that Canada's really big.

Proverbs 28:4 Those who forsake the law, praise the wicked.