Saturday, May 21, 2011

It is not the Majority

It has never been the majority that God used to accomplish anything substantial or revolutionary in the past, nor-do I believe-what he will use in the future.

It was Gideon's 300 that defeated the army of the Midianites and the Amalekites that were as “grasshoppers for multitude” and their camels in number as “the sand by the seaside”.

It was the youthful David who smote the giant that marked the beginning of victory.

It was the orphan Esther, who stood alone before the king, that saved her people from death.

It was the lowly Jesus born in a manger, among the stalls of animals and wrapped in swaddling cloth, that turned the tide of history like no other.

It was the 12 apostles, from fisherman, to tax collectors that turned the world upside down, or rather, right side up.

It wasn't the popular opinion that shook the monarchs crown, or the majority that teetered the pontiff's seat. No, it was but a few poor humble men of lowly birth, such as Martin Luther, that brought such a reformation to the world.

It wasn't the majority or the renown. No, it was the misfits, the cast-offs of society. It was the one's who were called “renegades”, “traitors”, “dissenters” etc., that founded America and made it as great as it was. The number of Americans fighting for liberty against the British and English, were so few and provisions so poor, that it is unthinkable that they should have gained the victory. But that is how our God works!

It's not the majority, no, neither the great or the renown that God uses to defeat mighty enemies or to turn the tide of history. It is the tireless, committed, and courageous few that he uses to accomplish the noteworthy and the lasting. It is the 'poor', the 'outcasts', the 'weak', the 'unpopular', the 'renegades' – the remnant: it is those who see their weakness, their smallness and their helplessness who cast themselves wholly on God, and make him their strength, dependence and all in all, that God makes mighty. It is those who regard God's opinion above the popular, who love truth regardless of the consequence, and who stand for the right though the heavens fall: it is those, who have a passion and a vision and who do not fear to stand alone in their convictions (if they must) that God uses. For it takes that kind of courage, that kind of love and that kind of faithfulness to turn the tide of history.

May we never be ashamed to be counted among the few, for though we be few, we are not weak!

If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31)

“We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.” (1 Corinthians 4:10)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Rejoice in the Lord

God never moves without purpose or plan
When trying His servant and molding a man.
Give thanks to the LORD though your testing seems long;
In darkness He giveth a song.

I could not see through the shadows ahead;
So I looked at the cross of my Savior instead.
I bowed to the will of the Master that day;
Then peace came and tears fled away.

Now I can see testing comes from above;
God strengthens His children and purges in love.
My Father knows best, and I trust in His care;
Through purging more fruit I will bear.

O Rejoice in the LORD
He makes no mistake,
He knoweth the end of each path that I take,
For when I am tried
And purified,
I shall come forth as gold.

~ Ron Hamilton

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Appreciating the Sunshine

Most days around here are sunny and warm. Even though we are on the verge of winter. And that is the way I like it best. It means we'll have plenty of solar to do washing and it'll dry quicker on the line. And a sunny day to me, is a perfectly beautiful one.
But today was different. The sun didn't come beaming over the hilltop this morning. It did really, but it didn't penetrate the clouds. Great...
"Why did God let days be overcast if it isn't going to rain?" I asked Mum.
Maybe... "maybe it's so we'll appreciate more the sunny ones," I thought through aloud.
"Maybe that's why," she smiled.

Having a trial and coming through to the sunshine.... it makes me appreciate the warmth so much more.

And I'm grateful that those days when Mama-dear had hard times raising us, she kept on through the trials, for the sunny and warm times. Happy mother's day, today and always. You've done so much for each us of us - I love you, Mama.

I can't wait for the day of Sonshine and joy forevermore.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Would I Dare to Say "I Do"?

I saw them, I heard of them - marriages just crumbled to pieces. Heart-broken wives who had been married for many years all of a sudden have their husband walk away or vice-versa. My heart ached for them, and I would cry as I imagined the pain the family must be enduring. Was it worth it? Was it worth getting married and having a family?

From a child, I knew I wanted to be a wife and mother. I wanted family; it was the desire of my heart. I determined that I was going to do everything that I possibly could to be the best wife and mother I could possibly be. I observed people and picked out the good qualities in them and I wanted to be all of those. I dreamed and had all these high ideals and visions that were probably more than could be realities. I hadn't doubted the fact that I wanted to get married some day and have a husband to cherish and lovingly support in his vision, work and raise children together. I wanted it, because I wanted to make a difference and do it right!

It wasn't till around my mid-teens that I started to question whether I really wanted to get married some day or not. It was after seeing broken homes and broken hearts, and the total disregard by so many of the sacred relationship of marriage, that I questioned. Vow's and promises have lost their sacredness and solemness and instead of being like unbreakable chains, they have become but as vapor by the majority. What if, the one I married professed to hold the same convictions I did on marriage, and yet did not or later lost them? The thought of the possibility of my husband walking away from me was terrifying. Part of an entry to my journal I made at one time says: "Oh do I dare? Would I ever dare to give my heart to a man? To love and respect and honor and to place complete trust in? Would I? My heart quakes with fear..." The thought of my love and trust being betrayed is what I feared. Was there a man I could trust? If there was, how would I even know? Was there anyone who would realize the enormity and solemnness of the marriage vow, make it and stick with it till death do us part? I don't and can't know.

However, there is something that I know, and that is written in God's word. God ordained family to be and meant them to always be. He made husband and wife and children. He gave men roles, and women roles and each with their special responsibilities. If men and women walked in God's will and obeyed His laws, there would be peace and happiness in each heart. There would be unselfishness and love and the home would represent the character and kingdom of God. Marriage can be beautiful, and it is meant to be beautiful. I realized that and by God's grace, the vision and dreams I once had, I have still.

Yes, I will dare to trust my future to God. If time should last that long, I will dare to love the special person God brings into my life and I will dare to trust him and in his love. And...

Yes! I will dare to say "I do"!

Men and women of virtue are few and far between and it's easy to be tempted to think that there is no one out there for you and give up hope, but there is hope! We can't ever let go of hope! The choice and commitment in marriage is enormous and solemn. It will affect our whole life for better or for worse and if it were left up to our own judgment it would be a very fearful thing to choose. We can't read hearts and we can't decide who the right one for us is. Yet, God does, and He delights to make the perfect couples if we allow Him. He always has been and always will be the perfect matchmaker. He knows when we are ready, and in His perfect timing He will bring that special someone into our life.

40-50% of marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce. More than 50% of Americans co-habit before getting married. As of 2000, the most common household type in the U.S. was a person living alone. I don't know this for a fact, but I wouldn't be surprised if the majority never even get married. Isn't it alarming though? What is happening to society? Morals and high and noble principles have been degraded; a sense of right and wrong has been perverted; the beauty and sacredness of marriage and family has been lost. It is saddening!

God's ideals, God's vision, God's standards are not the worlds ideals, the worlds visions, the worlds standards. No, it is much much higher! Shall we make God's ideals our ideals, and God's standards our standards? Shall we catch God's vision and make it our vision?

God has a beautiful plan for your life and my life; for each season and for each moment. In perfect trust in God, there is perfect peace and hoping keeps you going.

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." Isaiah 26:3

Monday, May 2, 2011

True Cooks

"Eeww! Tofu in pudding?!" wrinkled up noses and suspicious looks. Okay, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration but not really. How about left over tomato soup turned into salad dressing, or pumpkin in bread, or coconut milk/cream in coleslaw or soy milk in mayonnaise ... And the list could go on.

Have you tried making something new, something different and had people ask you "What's that?" And after you've told them they turn up their nose and not want to eat it (even if it looks good), just because they are afraid to try something new or because it has something in it they don't like, or because they've never heard of it being used in that kind of dish? Maybe they are even afraid to try a purple potato and decide that they don't like it before they even try it. It's happened to me. I almost got to the point where I was afraid to tell some people what I'd made, or what was in the dish, or even share my recipes because they might make fun of my cooking again and think it was weird and un-tasty before they'd even try it. However, most of the time they would have a second serving and if asked, they'd have to admit it tasted good. Nevertheless, that still never stopped some people from making fun of my inventions in the kitchen. But that's ok... Let them make fun, it's only to their loss!

Creativity, imagination, and experimentation are essential for every cook, and it's what makes every true cook. Food is so versatile and only your imagination can stop the variety of gourmet dishes you can make. It's really good to eat a variety of different foods for different meals as they all have varying nutritional values. If there is something you or someone in your family don't like and if it's healthy, use your imagination and creativity and experiment. Try making it in a way that tastes good and that people will like. After a meal I have had people tell me at times, something like "I didn't like kale, but this was good" or "I didn't like black eyed peas so I was a bit leary in trying them, but I really liked these!" It's so rewarding to be able to make something healthy, taste good to people that never liked it before. And just think of all the healthy nutrients the are getting. :-)

Being flexible to your circumstances and being able to cook good, healthy and tasty dishes with what you have, with what's in season, with what you can afford and change recipes to meet special health needs etc... is a talent we should all cultivate. There may be an item you can buy cheaply where you live, but in other places it's extremely expensive. You may be able to obtain a certain items in one place but not in other places. So it's good to get your brain gears grinding and think of what you can replace certain things with, according to your circumstances or even make something brand new and different!

I don't make a meal menu for every week or month (unless I'm cooking for camp meeting or other events), though sometimes they help with ideas but, it's hard to know if there will be left-overs or what will have to be used sooner. So I like to plan around that and if there are left-overs, I like to re-create them into something different unless everyone really liked it and doesn't mind having it again the next day. ;-)

We don't go to town often as we live 100 miles away. If you are like us, then maybe sometimes you've wondered how you could stretch the food or fresh produce out longer to last you till next shopping spree. One thing I like to do with fresh fruit is make tapioca and put some of it in and serve it that way. It is yummy and really does help the fruit to go further. :-)

Have you seen something that looked really good in a photo? Try to duplicate it with what you have and with the things that you eat.

If you already love to be creative and use your imagination and experiment in the kitchen, keep it up, it's great! If you are just starting don't let anything discourage you! Yes, you may and will have failures, everyone does, but that's when you try again and keep at it! :-) Every time you try, you make progress! :-) Remember that if no one was creative or inventive we wouldn't have yummy things like spaghetti, pizza, soup, cakes, ice cream, breads or any number of other yummy things! So don't let fear stop you!

Don't let anyone's turned up noses, suspicious looks, distrusting comments or anything else and not even your own failures discourage you from being creative, imaginative, or experimental in the kitchen! It's a tremendous talent, a wonderful work to prepare healthful, well balanced, delicious meals while at the same time being flexible to your circumstances, cooking with what you have, with what is affordable, re-creating left-overs, changing recipes to fit people's specific health needs, making your own new yummy healthy dishes, stretch the food out to make it last longer if need be etc... It is an art and a talent that every girl should cultivate and striving always to do your best in the kitchen is nothing at all to be ashamed of!
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