Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Puree

This summer I was pleasantly surprised by finding a pumpkin plant from the previous tenants. I only got one good pumpkin from it, but it was a very good sized pumpkin!!
I had to bring it inside to allow it to ripen completely, only got partially orange in the garden.

I wasn't sure how good the pumpkin would be not getting all the way ripe.

It's been sitting inside my house for a few weeks. I decided to cut into it last week and see how it turned out.

I cut and scooped...

Baked and peeled...

Cut in chunks and pureed...

Measured, bagged, and put in the freezer!

I'm surprised I got 26 cups of pumpkin puree out of that one pumpkin!
I love baking with pumpkin and am excited I succeeded my first time making pumpkin puree and can't wait to make pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin puree.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Autumn morning hike

Wednesday morning my husband and I took a day hike up a canyon outside town. A quick 30 minute drive to the canyon, and a 4 mile hike round trip! 
The night before as we got our day packs ready, we were aware it was expected to be a very cold day. High temperatures were expected to be in the 50's. 
I enjoy hiking, but like the conditions to be just-so. I was afraid it would a bitterly cold, miserable hike. (Not to mention I would most likely be very sore from my 3 mile run the day before).
We bundled up in thermal base layers, long sleeves, scarves & jackets. 

Contrary to what I had expected it was a gorgeous morning! It was cold, but warm clothing makes all the difference. We were quickly shedding jackets just after the first half mile. With a clear blue sky, no wind, and accelerated heart-rates we kept very comfortable!

I am soo pleased we did take a hike! The autumn colors were breath-taking! And the time together and conversation was wonderful!

My favorite part was walking over a blanket of bright colored leaves and hearing them crunch under my feet. That, combined with listening to the clear, spring water running down the canyon I was overwhelmed with the beauty that surrounded me.

The striking contrast of bright, bold colors against the brown, high desert, sage brush-covered hills. 

It was a glorious morning! I quickly forgot how cold it was and couldn't get enough of the autumn beauty! 

No one but my God could paint such a unique, lovely picture! The beauty of His creation never ceases to amaze me! I am in awe and humbled every time I get out and behold His handiwork.

"By the Word of the LORD the heavens were made;
and by the breath of his mouth all their host.
He gathers the waters of the sea as a heap; 
he puts the deeps in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the LORD; 
let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him!
For he spoke, and it came to be;
he commanded, and it stood firm."
Psalm 33:6-9

The Journey of a Lifetime: Reflections on Pilgrim's Progress

Last weekend I attended my churches annual Women's retreat. All the Orthodox Presbyterian churches in N. California and Nevada get together for this annual retreat. I attended my first on last year and loved it.

This year was a little different. We had about 10 women representing our church go last year. This year is was just three of us. My Pastor's wife, another woman and myself. This conference truly is a "retreat" for us women who live in "remote middle-of-nowhere Nevada" as we have to drive 8 hours to the Bay Area in California to attend. Being a day-long conference starting at 8am and ending at 5pm. We arrived the afternoon before, and left the morning after.

We really enjoyed the company of one another over our 3 day weekend! As well as getting to fellowship with other women in our Presbytery and hear an amazing conference. We had fun with one another shopping and enjoying good food as well! Here is the conference in a nut shell. What I learned from it, things that stood out, and what I was most challenged by. I hope you can get something from my mental notes as I blog about them here.

Speaker: Mary Haney Underwood - Wife and mother, raised in the church and has a passion for teaching!
I. Theme: Pilgrim's Progress. The Journey of a Lifetime. (I never knew you could spend a day dissecting Pilgrim's Progress).

a. Theme Verse: Psalm 16:11 You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
We are not promised an easy journey as a Christian, but we are promised that all our needs will be met. Phil. 4:19

b. Defining 'Pilgrim' & 'Progress':
"Pilgrim": Strangers; aliens; one not at home; "to embrace the journey to where we belong"
"Progress": "Moving Forward" Not where we began once we reach the end.
A Christian is one who's home is not this world. Who is temporarily dwelling here on earth - a Pilgrim journeying toward sanctification in Christ Jesus. As a true believe in Christ we will move forward and make progress, no matter how slow or how fast. Progress simply means "moving forward" no pace is indicated.

c. Conversion - The beginning: The Bible recorded two types of conversion:
1. Miraculous - Example being Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus (Acts 9).
2. Covenant - Example being Timothy's conversion, or rather blessing of being raised with a knowledge and love of God for 3 generations in the family (2 Timothy 1:5).
This was a huge blessing to me as well as an "eye-opener". I'd never heard conversion explained this way. Myself often struggling with "am I a Christian? do I need to pray again to make sure? how do I really know? I can't remember a time I didn't believe, know, and love God. When was MY conversion? My testimony is boring." etc. To understand it as God's covenant to His people that also belongs to their children should they choose to accept it make so much sense and clears up this doubt and confusion I dealt with for much of my childhood.

II. Coming to Jesus:The story of Pilgrim's Progress begins with a man named Christian, reading a Book, being convicted of sin and fearing judgment. He deals with a weight of guilt in the form of a literal burden strapped to his back that he cannot get off, and is confused.
We see this analogy:
Man - A sinner in filthy rags --Isaiah 64:6
Book - The Bible is powerful to convict --Hebrews 4:12
Burden - Guilt of sin --Psalm 38:4
Confusion - No one can do good --Romans 3:10-11

a. The Sinner
Christian's condition as the story begins is the condition of the Sinner before repentance. We all start this way in one sense or another. There is none without sin, no one who does good. Christian actually starts out with the name "Graceless" meaning literally "without grace" at the cross he becomes "Christian" literally "with Christ".
Christian understands his condition and is not ready for Judgment, being death (Heb. 9:27). He meets Evangelist who points him to the the Gate through which he will reach The Light.
The position of Evangelist is not a profession given to some and not others. All believers are called to be Evangelist and show Sinners the Way to the Light.

On the Way, Christian meets Obstinate and Pliable who we see by their actions are not true believers. The seed planted in them was not in fertile soil (Matt. 13:4-9, 18-23). They give up once they fall into the Slough of Despair. Christian is not able to get out and turn back to the City of Destruction (from where he came). Help comes to help him out of the pond and point him toward the Gate.  Help is a gift given to us on our journey. Important to cling to the promises in God's Word that help us from falling and getting stuck in despair.

b. The Gate

"You must abhor anyone who turns you from the way." Christian on his journey meets those who tell him he can reach the Celestial City another way. But Help told him to knock at the Gate.
Christian knocks 3 times. He has perseverance on the Way. He is asked three questions by the Gate keeper, and is required to give his testimony. Three Questions to ask ourselves from time to time, and a good way to give our testimony.
--Who Are You (who do you belong to)? Are you Christ's or are you Satan's?
--Where Do You Come From? Why are you fleeing the World - what is your motive?
--What Do You Want? Is heaven your goal?
We see Christian's answers were, he is Christian, from City of Destruction to flee judgment, seeking the Celestial City. That is his testimony! What is your testimony on your journey?

c. The Cross
Christian comes to the Cross after passing through the Gate. By simply LOOKING up at the cross his burden falls off. He does nothing to remove his burden of sin but look to the cross. A vivid picture of "For by grace you have been saved through faith and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9.
We see the sovereignty and power of God in our salvation. It is by Grace along, through Faith alone, in Christ alone!!
Keep coming back to the Cross when remembrance of sin weighs us down. Just look at the cross. "Work out your own salvation" (Phil. 2:12-13) as you continue on your journey to sanctification in Christ. That is what this journey is all about: SANCTIFICATION! Continually look to the Cross daily!
"Only at the Cross are we released from the burden of sin and guilt."

Supplies for the Journey
I. Internal Supplies/Provisions (individual)
We are not at home. We are aliens and strangers - "Pilgrims" But we have been given all we need for our journey here 2 Peter 1:3 - "His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him who called us to his own glory and excellence."
These are some of the provisions given.

a. Word of God  - "All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." 2 Timothy 3:16-17
In the story the Word of God appears as many different tools such as, Conviction, Scroll, Sword, Key, Map. All these tools Christian treasured and kept safe as he needed them to fight his battles and find his way to the Celestial City. Scripture is to be valued above all!

b. Prayer - Ephesians 6:18; Mark 9:17-29.
When Christian comes to the Valley of the Shadow of Death, he is physically prepared with physical armor and weaponry, but he quickly finds it is a battle of the mind, all this weapons cannot aid in this battle. He finds victory only through Prayer.
c. Singing - "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God." Psalm 40:3
Christian sings: At the Cross, after a night of rest, after the Valley of the Shadow of Death, at Vanity Fair, after escape from Castle, and welcomed into heaven singing with the angels.
God gives us the gift of music and song to praise Him with! All glory belongs to God, by praising, worshiping and thanking Him through out our journey we are helped, refreshed and encouraged along the way! "Singing: Our closest connection to Heaven while on earth."
d. Holy Spirit - "Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." Romans 8:26
In the story, Christian meets The Interpreter and spends time in his house where he is shown and taught many things, as well as given warnings. Christian is taken into the Dust room (grace of the gospel) we cannot clean up the filthy state of our hearts, we just stir up the dust. Need Christ to clean and make new. He is shown the Hopeless Man in Cage (letting go of God and the way makes a sad, hopeless, bound soul - constant warning to always follow the Way). He meets the Man Trembling from a Dream (hears of a vivid dream that judgment day came, he was unprepared and not taken to heaven). The Holy Spirit shows the journey ahead and things to be cautious of. He comforts, reminds, teaches, helps, and guides.

II. External Supplies/Provisions (corporate)
a. The Church - Palace Beautiful.
The Body of Christ, strengthening fellowship, and communion all centered on Christ.
Once again, Christian is asked the 3 questions asked at the Gate. He is held accountable to make sure he is who he says he is. He once again must give his testimony.
Being questioned and examined by the Church is to make sure he belongs there - the duty of church leadership. 

You Must Know Your Testimony. Christian had to defend his faith and give his testimony 4 times on his journey. It was needed for getting him on the right path throughout the journey.

Palace Beautiful also provided Christian with supplies for the rest of his journey. Bread, wine, and grapes. A picture of The Lord's Supper/Communion. Church provides the means of grace by which we are spiritually sustained and can grow and continue.
How do you utilize the Church? What are you doing to share and give of the Church's service (as Evangelist did)? 

b. Church Leaders - Pastor, Elders, Deacons.
In the story, many different types of characters ask lots of personal questions of Christian.
Pastor and Elders need to be aware and involved in our progress on our journey of the Christian life.
Evangelist - Encourage in the Way
Pastor - Teach and instruct (found at the House of the Interpreter)
Elders - Examine and make sure testimony is true.
Pastor is also seen: on the Delectable Mountains as Shepherds, at the Place of Rest (sabbath). Each of these characters give Instruction and Guidance, that is the job of a Pastor.

From the roof of Palace Beautiful (Church) the characters there (Pastor/Elders) Show Christian a view of the Delectable Mountains, and from there the Shepherds show him a view of Celestial City.
"Church is next door to Heaven."

c. Travel Companions - "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another." Proverbs 27:17
As Christian journeys through a hard, trying place, The Valley of the Shadow of Death. He is encouraged to hear a voice ahead calling to him. Giving him encouragement to continue on through the dark valley, and mental battle. Faithful journeys with Christian for a time and they share each others' testimonies to encourage one another. When Faithful is martyred at Vanity Fair, Hopeful joins Christian as he continues on the journey. Hopeful joins Christian because of him and Faithful's testimonies at Vanity Fair.
5 Characteristics of a Travel Companion:
- Both agree to one goal - advance the kingdom of God and give Him the glory.
- Exchange of godly advice and encouragement.
- Fellowship of prayer.
- Agree to confront one another with sin.
- Point out snares and hindrances to each other.

d. Others 
Throughout Christian's journey he meets many different people and things. Some good and some bad. Some of the good people and things he meets along the way are provisions given for the journey that help him along. Such as, Help, Angels, Companions Faithful and Hopeful, encouragement, instruction, nourishment, supplies, tools, etc.
Do you see all that God has given and provided for your journey? And do you use them?

Speed Bumps, Potholes & Detours:
Psalm 1 is a contrast between God's Way and Satan's. 

I. Speed Bumps - Slow downs
a. Hill Difficulty
Christian is absorbed in self shortly after leaving the Cross. He is feeling good about his burden being gone, his spirits are high, and he's doing well. He lets his guard down, falls asleep and loses the Scroll given to him by angels at the Cross. He travels up the hard, steep, Hill Difficulty. Only to get to the top and realize he lost his Scroll. He now has to back track, setting him back on his journey.
How often we become absorbed in self, life is good, and we're happy. We quickly become relaxed, comfortable, let our guard down, and are "spiritually asleep" not paying attention. Be alert! The devil is at work! (1 Peter 5:8)

b. Two Valleys - Apollyon - "and give no opportunity to the Devil" Ephesians 4:27
At this "speed bump" Christian needs his armor (Eph. 6:12-18). Apollyon attacks mentally, spiritually and physically. His arrows hit Christian in the head - attacking his knowledge, in the hand, which hold his Sword, (the Word), and he is hit in the feet, effecting his walk, (godly behavior).  
Must have the Armor of God at all times: (belt) Truth, (breastplate) Righteousness, (Shoes) Gospel of Peace/Readiness, (shield) Faith, (helmet) Salvation, (sword) Spirit, and Prayer!!

In the second valley, Christian is prepared physically for battle, but soon finds it is a battle of the mind. He is ready with his sword, but this battle demands bravery and courage. Was a dark, dreary place. Valley of the Shadow of Death. Christian's prayer at this time is, "I will walk in the strength of the Lord God." Prayer, in this valley is his one and only defense.
Looking back we see how God leads and protects. Cling to these promises and encouragement: Psa. 72:12; 17:5; 145:18-19; Rom. 16:20; Isa. 48:10; Lam. 3:22-27

II. Detours - Off the beaten path
Others that come and distract us on the Way

a. Talkative & Ignorance
Talkative at first appears to be a believer, on the right path. But Christian soon finds out he only has head-knowledge and is not a true believer. (1 Cor. 13:1-3; John 13:17).
Knowledge must be put into action - Psalm 119:4.
Instruction on how to deal with "fakes" Ephesians 5:11

Ignorance is a believer in "works-righteousness" his statements in the story are, "I will never believe my heart is bad" & "I believe Christ died... He will accept my obedience." These statements reveal his spiritual condition. His faith is in himself and his good works & obedience, not Christ alone for his salvation.

b. The Flatterer
Black person dressed in white. Misleads them by sounding appealing.
Satan thrives on subtlety. "Come my way, I'm headed there too" was essentially the Flatterer's message. Very subtley deceptive.  We're easily lead the wrong way by those who flatter and sound appealing but distract us and deceive until we are no long following Christ.

III. Potholes - Causes for damage
a. Vanity Fair
Here you can do anything you want. It is strategically built along the Way, designed to distract and lure in those on the Way to the Celestial City to destroy them.
Sin always appears pleasurable, and often is for a time. Many sins are represented at Vanity Fair, one being Gold. Gold is promised, leading to a superficial, materialism lifestyle. 
In what ways are we caught up in sins like this? Have you visited Vanity Fair in the past 24 hours? How did you spend those 24 hours?
Christian and Faithful are different from the other people at Vanity Fair.
They are clothed in Spiritual Robes, speak of godly and spiritual things, they desire to buy truth. They expose and convict those at Vanity Fair and quickly stand out and are disliked and unwelcome (Eph. 5:11). They arrest Christian and Faithful. Faithful is martyred for his testimony. Hopeful is at Vanity Fair, but chooses to follow Christian because of the testimony of him and Faithful.

b. Doubting Castle
Christian is caught off guard by a weak moment. He complains about the journey, being tired and weary. He decides to rest in a near by meadow that looks inviting and comfortable that is off the Path. Because of straying off the Path he ends up in Doubting Castle as a prisoner.
This shows up how destructive sin is, yet even in "doubting castle" God's mercy can reach us. When Christians doubt God's way Satan is ready to provide temptation. "Doubt isn't God's will for the believer, rather it is an effect of sin." It is so important to be consistent in confession and repentance and to constantly "look to the Cross".
Christian has progressed so far, yet finds himself in a dungeon of doubt. But then remembers he has the Key of Promise.
"What a fool am I, thus to lie in a stinking dungeon, when I may as well walk at liberty! I have a key in my bosom called Promise; that will, I am persuaded, open any lock in Doubting Castle."
Remember you have the Key of Promise, the Word of God. Use it to escape from sin, and once again, constantly go to the Cross!

c. Enchanted Ground
At the Enchanted Ground, which Christian was warned, about Hopeful becomes sleepy. Knowing how dangerous it is to sleep, Christian talks and sings to him to help him stay awake and alert.
When Christians talk together they won't fall asleep. Two people walking together on the Way to Heaven get there faster than on journeying alone.  When are we most likely to fall asleep (spiritually)? when things are good, comfortable and easy. We get lazy in our Christian walk, start to neglect the Word and Prayer, even Church and Fellowship. When you are asleep you are not alert, you are vulnerable and have let your guard down. The best time to be attacked by Satan is while you are asleep. Don't sleep. Find a companion to join you on your journey to keep you accountable... and AWAKE! "Lively conversations about things of the Lord is a good way to stay alert!"

Souvenirs and Scrapbooks
What we are left with after a journey is souvenirs and memories. We don't know what Heaven will be like apart of the little that is revealed about it in Scripture.
I. Reflecting on God's Faithfulness
Review gives us hope and encouragement to persevere. We get glimpses of heaven along the Way. Looking ahead and longing to be Home with Christ. Just as Christian did at Palace Beautiful!

II. Glimpses of Heaven - a prospective view of the journey
Christian must face one last trial before entering the Celestial City, which is physical death. We should not fear death as only through an earthly death can we finally live eternally with Christ (with the exception of His 2nd coming).
"But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ." Phil. 3:20
Fearing death, or being sad at the death of loved ones is a human perspective. Death for the believer is a time of rejoicing in their homegoing - just as was the case with Faithful. Even though we miss our brothers and sisters in Christ, and grieve, we have Hope that the world does not have! "It is not death to die" is life eternal for the Christian!
As our bodies decay on the outside, our souls are being renewed on the inside. Physically we die and decay. Spiritually we grow into eternal life.  Death should point us to the Cross.

III. Eternity with Jesus - This world is not my Home
Heaven is describe in the Bible as "the marriage supper of the Lamb" The Church is the Bride, and Christ our Bridegroom!
Think about how much time and preparation goes into a wedding. What do you remember about your wedding? Are you preparing for your up coming wedding? Live today preparing for your last day!  

In the story we meet Ignorance again at the gate of the Celestial City. Since he did not have a certificate, nor the Scroll he was not allowed to enter and was sent to Hell. "There is a way to hell from the gates of heaven as well as from the City of Destruction."
If we do not follow the Way we cannot get to heaven. Thought we may find our way there - we will be condemned to Hell at the gate and never enter. Only by placing trust in Christ alone for salvation, following Him in obedience on the Way, and not trusting in ourselves can we get to heaven. Look to the Cross and lean not on your own understanding!

Pilgrim's Progress is an allegorical story of the Christian's walk beginning at conviction and repentance and ending with physical death leading to eternal life with Christ! Psalm 16:11

I thoroughly enjoyed this conference! I never could have got this much out of the famous, historical piece of literature! Though I know this post is long, I hope you enjoyed it and that you were encouraged by it!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Life as we know it.... frightening?

Today I was reminded of the reality of life in this day and age.
My husband and I keep most of our money in the bank. However we don't have "all our eggs in one basket" so to speak. We do have cash and other resources in other places besides just one bank. I keep a stockpile of foods, both pantry items, canned goods, and a chest freezer. I live in a rented single-wide manufactured home, so I don't have a ton on hand due to only so much space. But being 50 miles from the nearest Walmart and being somewhat "isolated" I like to keep extra on hand for emergencies.
Today, I was in a very small way reminded why I do.

My day played out as follows:

Up at 7am

Prayer with 2 women from church at my house at 7:30am.

Breakfast and Email/Facebook at 9:00

Gym 10:00
*At which I ran 3 miles strait on the treadmill for the first time in my life Woop! Woop!! and post about on Facebook thru my smart-phone.

Get gas, stop by friend's house to pick up miscellaneous items, stop and Bank and Post Office 11:00ish
*At gas pump, instead of using cash set aside specifically for gas I use my debit card (with busy weekend at conference in CA, simply hadn't made it to the bank to get cash out yet). Spend 10-15 minutes at friend's house. Get to Bank, I'm told I can not make a withdrawl because all computers and phones are down at the moment. "No biggy" I think to myself, just needed to get about $50 out for various envelope-accounts (I do the Dave Ramsey thing). I headed to the Post Office (next door) to mail off B-day thank-you cards, pick up mail, and buy stamps. Remembered I can get cash back when I buy stamps. Only need $50. As I'm in the middle of the transaction computer freezes and transaction cannot be completed.... nor canceled! I pay for my stamps with a $10 I had in my wallet and settle for waiting to get out the $50. During my Post Office visit the other cashier also cannot complete a transaction, a man comes in asking if they have internet access - to which they reply was "no, not at the moment". I conclude both Bank, Post Office, and probably all other buisnesses in town are experiencing the same problem. Internet down!

I go Home.
My  husband greets me, asking if I got his text congratulating me on my run. I say, "I don't know, haven't checked my phone". He continues to tell me the internet is down, and phone isn't working too well. To which I was already aware and tell him of my experiences in town.

I recover from workout with a PowerAid, and sit down to do my Bible reading.

Change into warm work clothes (was really cold today) and go with my Man to friend's house to pick up railroad ties to put in new flowerbed. Clean up yard and flowerbed area, unload railroad ties, and put together flowerbed (a drive to the hills will happen this weekend to retrieve dirt for bed).

Clean house a little, preparing for Thirty-One party I hosted this evening.

Shower, and get ready for the day.

Bake cookies and finish cleaning house.

Make dinner, eat and set up for my party.

Guests arrive at 7:00pm for party. Enjoy party for next hour and half.

Clean up from party 9:00pm at which time my husband is home from Men's Bible study and exclaims, "Yay! Internet is back on!!!"

All this to say:
Our society is nearly 100% dependent on the internet! I cannot take out my money from the bank without technology. I cannot make any purchase with a debit card without technology (I couldn't put gas in my car had I done so but 20 minutes later). My life could very easily be completely handicapped without internet based technology. Another thing that happened today was most cell phone lines were down also. I could not communicate with anybody via phone without technology.

If I don't already have cash I couldn't buy anything, whether it be stamps, gas, groceries, etc
When any cash I do have is gone, I do not have access to the money that I have in the bank.
If in an emergency, I needed to contact someone, I could not call them.

This was the situation we were in for about 9 hours.

How frightening it is that our life is so dependent on the Internet and modern technology. Nobody operates the "old school" way anymore. Nobody carries much cash with them... if any anymore. Most people I know have a cell phone only and no land-line.

I'm thankful I have an Emergency Fund, which is just that, cash in case of emergencies. I'm thankful I keep my pantry and freezer fully stocked at almost all times. I should keep my vehicles fully fueled more regularly. And have ways to make contact in case of emergencies.

I thought about how much I use the Internet and modern technology everyday. I am regularly on Facebook. I have 3 separate email accounts, I enjoy playing music at home... via Pandora because it is the most convenient with the Blu-Ray player that plays Pandora thru my TV. Netflix is our "Cable" or "TV" Almost anything we watch whether movie or show is thru Netflix.
My money is kept in the bank that operates only through modern technology. Same with my mail. Gas pumps use electronic card readers, stores also. The Internet is used to inform us of the news, weather reports, it is the main source of our entertainment, knowledge, and the means by which society operates!

While I was able to do all I needed to do today, didn't have any emergencies, and just 9 hours without internet, and hit-or-miss phone service isn't much in the big picture, it did get my attention. It made me thing. Reminded me of the reality of the day and age I live in. And just how dependent my life is on technology... therefore dependent on whoever controls technology.

How much do you rely on the internet? On modern techonology? Even on your cell phone?
How prepared are you for minor, or major problems that arise when technology isn't available?
Do you have food in your pantry, cash in a safe place, fuel in your car??
Most importantly, can you function without today's modern Internet-based technology? In who or what do you put your trust??

A day like today puts this verse in perspective.
I remember reading this verse for the first time probably 10 or so years ago. I can remember thinking, "who put trust in horses and chariots" in my 21st century mind. But in Bible times, that was your power, your control, your means of transportation, protection, income, and effect many areas of your life. But think of it in modern terms. Replace "horse" and "chariot" with "Internet" and "Technology".

Psalm 20:7
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.

In Who/What do you place your trust? Can you depend on him/it? Will it disappoint and let you down? Can he/it provide all that you need??
I'm thankful for the advancements in technology that we have today. We have been able to accomplish a lot of wonderful God-glorifying things with modern technology. The Internet weekly saves me money, time, and energy. It has been a great tool for gaining useful knowledge, and even now, I'm taking advantage of it by writing this blog post! God has blessed us with creative minds to use for His glory through which we have invented many things. But be careful in how much you willingly handicap yourself by placing too much, or all your trust in it.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Need a Friend?

"...All that you love and admire, and wish for, in creatures, and indeed infinitely more, they find in him [Christ]. 
Do you wish for a friend possessed of power to protect you? Our Friend possesses all power in heaven and earth, and is able to save even to the uttermost. 
Do you wish for a wise and experienced friend? In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 
Do you wish for a tender, compassionate friend? Christ is tenderness and compassion itself. 
Do you wish for a faithful, unchangeable friend? With Christ there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning; but he is the same yesterday, today, and forever. 
His unchangeable love will ever prompt him to make his people happy; his unerring wisdom will point out the best means to promote their happiness; and his infinite power will enable him to employ those means. 
In all these respects, our Beloved is more than another beloved; for creatures are not always disposed to render us happy: when they are disposed to do it, they do not always know how; and when they know how, they are often unable. Better is it, therefore, to trust in Christ, than to put confidence in princes."

By Edward Payson. From Legacy of a Legend: Christ, the Beloved Friend

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Getting caught up... and unexpected joys

This past weekend I made the long, yet not too long trip to Idaho. There were several reason I chose to go. One being Zaycon Foods ( was having a Chicken Sales Event. I took orders for several people here in BM and planned to pick up 7, 40lb cases of fresh Chicken breasts!
Apart from that, I really wanted to get to see my family. It's been a few months since I saw them last, and since we don't plan to spend the holidays in Idaho. I wanted to see them again.

I had a splendid weekend. I drove myself up there Thursday morning. My Man wasn't able to come with this time. Due to work, P.T. appointments, and his brother and friend from Idaho coming to visit him for the weekend. Funny how that happened ;).
I arrived at my parents home Thursday afternoon. I had a wonderful talk with my mom before she went to work for the evening. I was such a blessing to catch up with her, hear about what God is doing in her life and the families. As well as hearing of answered prayers! At times it is difficult to "watch" or hear of the trials my family is going through. Though, at the same time, it is a blessing to see how God uses each and every situation and circumstance to strengthen their faith and grow them. They remain steadfast in their faith which is a blessing! I do pray God will deliever them from the various hard times and trials, and in a small way, God answered some of those prayers this weekend! I was so wonderful to be present to witness it, or rather, hear of it first hand!!
God is good! May Jesus Christ be Praised!!

After my mom left for work I took my sisters to do some errands and shopping I had to do. I really wanted to take advantage of Costco, since it around 300+ miles from my home. We conquered Costco, did some window shopping, and I picked up a few other odds and ends. We enjoyed our short little shopping trip.

We witnessed a beautiful sunset on the way back home.

Friday morning my mom and I went out for breakfast and got to catch up more. I then took her to where she needed to go and take care of a few things. In the meantime I called my very good friend to arrange when we would get together that evening which we had talked about earlier in the week.
(She was 37 weeks pregnant). Her husband answered and informed me they were at the birthing center because her water broke the night before!!

So I was able to go see her that afternoon at the hospital. Since they baby probably wouldn't be born for a few more hours. I decided to go to my mother-in-laws house and visit with her. Later that evening at 9:44pm my friend had her baby girl, Annriette Mae!

Annriette sleeping with the quilt I made for her. Had to give it to them at the hospital. I was planning to be at the Baby Shower, scheduled for the next morning, but for obvious reasons, it was postponed. Happy they liked it.

Saturday morning I picked up the Chicken, did a couple more errands, and headed home!
It was a wonderful trip! Probably the best part being I got to be with my best friend at the time of her first daughter's birth! (The ironic thing about this is, 5 years earlier, I was able to be with my friends younger sister at the birth of her first daughter, at the same birthing center, no less)!!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is it just me....

As I mentioned before, I'm currently enrolled in one of Answers in Genesis's online courses.
I'm doing the Creation Apologetics and Geology course. I have taken the other 4 courses. And excited to have accomplished all 5, shortly!

The previous one I did was on Astronomy. And as one of the lessons talked about the Distant Starlight issue, being, in a nutshell, stars that are billions of light-years away are visible on earth, but the earth is only 6,000+/- years old there hasn't been enough time for light to travel that far yet. But we see the stars.
There currently is no answer to this problem yet, however, creation scientists continue to research and study looking for an explanation.

As I studied this particular weeks lesson on Distant Starlight, I was bothered.
To me, if God has not explained or revealed something to us, that information is not important. God has given us everything we need for life and godliness 2 Peter 1:3.
My problem with trying to figure it out, is that we are human, we are tainted with sin. While we can use the Bible to guide us, if the Bible is silent on that issue, we will use our own speculations, which will be tainted with our deceptive sin nature (Jer. 17:9), and we will probably conclude something false. Even though we study and research under the best of intentions.

Something similar came up today as I began this weeks lesson on the Ice Age. And about the "Vapor Canopy" theory pre-Flood. The man giving the lecture stated that there are serious problems with this theory, however, since it provides answers to most of the pre-Flood conditions, and is very attractive in that way. So they still hold to this view, in spite of the cons, and continue to research a solution to these cons.

I struggle with speculating on things we don't know, and probably can't know. While I understand the reason behind the research, and the good intentions, it still bothers me a little.
Is it just me, or do others see this as a dangerous thing to "dabble" in? Especially considering our thoughts are very deceptive.

The book I've been slowly reading through said it very well,

"The Bible tells us that an enemy came and sowed tares. Now, if any man chooses to go farther than this, and inquire where the enemy got the tares, he is welcome to do so; but I choose to leave it where the Bible leaves it. I do not wish to be wise beyond what is written." Edward Payson, in Legend of a Legacy; Natural Religion.