Sunday Morning Coffee: Weather

It’s been weird here in my corner of PA.  Colder than cold, then a sudden rise to 60º and now another dip.  It’s supposed to reach a high of 25º today.  Not horrible, but it feels as if we’re on the downside of a very steep rollercoaster right now.

It reminds me of  James 1:6-8:

But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

The passage is talking about a person who can’t make up his mind, even when asking God for something.  He is not praying in faith, but in doubt.  He wavers to and fro in his mind, like  the waves of the ocean in a wind storm.  He won’t get an answer, because he is of two minds; the double-minded man is always unstable, never able to make up  his mind about anything.

 

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The people in this man’s life are subject to the vagaries of his instability. They never know what they’re going to get. His moods, his ideas, his choices about everything from his tie to which cereal he wants, are all over the map. (By the way, please understand that I’m using the masculine pronoun because I’m old school–the masculine embraces the feminine.)

Believers are gifted with the surety of the promises of God. We don’t need to waver back and forth.We can ask God for wisdom, which He gives liberally, withholding nothing, We can ask Him for direction in all our choices, large and small. I believe we can even ask Him for a sure sign, as Gideon did when he asked God for two different results from putting out a fleece overnight. God gave him the results he asked for, and God never rebuked Gideon for asking either the first or second time  (Judges 6:40).

Sometimes, the answers we seek are already in the pages of God’s Word. For instance,  should we ever be afraid, inhibited from moving forward because of fear and dread?  No.  Absolutely not.  There are 365 places in God’s Word that tell us “don’t be afraid” in one way or the other.  That’s one for every day of the year.  And here’s my favorite:

Isaiah 41:10. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

 

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Sunday Morning Coffee: The Apple of Your Eye

Proverbs 7: 1-2.”My son, keep my words
    and store up my commands within you.
Keep my commands and you will live;
    guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.”

There is an interesting history behind this term, “the apple of your eye.”  My research indicates that in the original Hebrew, the term was actually “the dark center” of the eye, or the pupil.  There is much more about how it has become the expression we use today.

The important thing is that we are to keep God’s Word safely guarded in our minds and hearts; that we are to protect it, and study it, and love it.  When we do,  we will have life. We will find the pleasure and the beauty of life that God intended us to find.

The opposite is also true.  When we  fill up our eyes with things that are contrary to His Word, and those things become the center of our desires and of far more importance than His Word, then  the life of joy in the Lord can flicker and die.

In Psalm 13, a retrospective written by David when he was older about a time when he was young, we see him in utter despair. He is running away from Saul, who wants to kill him. David cries out to God, saying things like, “How long will You forget about me?  How long will You hide your face from me?”

The truth is that God had not forgotten David; nor had He turned His face away.  David had lost sight of God, however.  God was no longer the apple of David’s eye, and when he continues in that Psalm to pray and seek God, then in the last two verses he begins to rejoice again in God’s salvation; he even finds he can once again sing unto the Lord.

When I skip my Bible-reading, or skim over it just to get it done, there is a nearly tangible reduction of joy and peace in my heart.  It doesn’t take long for me to find a moment to pray, seeking forgiveness, and get back on track.

I need God’s Word, just as I need food and water.  Without it, other things can easily become the apple of my eye.

In those things, though, there is very little joy or life.  You’d think I’d have this all figured out and never have a problem staying in the Word, right?  I’m 70, after all, and by now I should know better.

I DO know better.  I just don’t always DO what I KNOW.

Lord, help me to keep Your Word as the apple of my eye.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: ‘Twas the Week. . . .

. . . .before Christmas, just eight days to go;

The weather was good;  there was already snow!

But with so little time

And so much left to finish,

Poor Mommy knew she

Would need to eat spinach

To keep up her strength and

To tie every bow;  to sign all the cards,

And to say Ho! HO! HOOO!

Well, enough of that silliness. I’ve never been much of a poet, and I really don’t know why all that popped into my head.

Except, of course, that it’s a busy season.  Not as busy for me as when all the kids were home.  Back then, I started baking in November, and there were dozens of different kinds of cookies.  I wrote stacks of cards.  These days, I can’t have the sugar and I just don’t feel the need to do all those cards any more.

I don’t think I’m losing my Christmas spirit. I do know I don’t have the pep in my step that used to carry me through the holidays. I still enjoy the day itself, and when we can get there I love a good Christmas Eve service full of all the beautiful, sacred music of Christmas.

You know, the Bible never really says that the angels sang on the night the Savior was born. It says that they spoke to the shepherds, telling them that Messiah was born.  Of course they COULD have sung!  Certainly they must have been bursting with joy at the Good News that had come to earth.

And besides, it would sound pretty funny to sing “Hark! the herald angels said. . . .”

Whether or not they actually sang isn’t the important thing. The important thing is that finally, in the fulness of time, Jesus came just as the prophets had said he would:  Born to a virgin,  conceived by the Holy Spirit of God; born to die for the sins of all mankind, and to rise triumphant over sin and death so that we, too, could have eternal life with God in heaven.

As I continue to blog through the book of Isaiah, I am more excited all the time to see prophecies that have already been fulfilled;  prophecies yet to be fulfilled; and to watch world affairs as things seem to be  trending toward a human effort to have peace on earth enforced by  human military efforts under the auspices of human authority.

Of course, we know there will not truly be peace on earth until Jesus reigns from Jerusalem, and then we can sing “Joy to the world! The Lord is come!  Let earth receive her King!”  with a whole new understanding.

 

 

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: A Little Late :)

I’m tired.  Too many late nights for this old lady.  I actually overslept my alarm this morning, which is quite embarrassing.  I remember turning it off, and thinking, “I’ll get up in a minute,”  I woke up nearly three hours later. Blush.

Terry  must have figured out  that I’d done too much.  I’m pretty sure he didn’t even try to wake me up. We had our first snow of the season yesterday.  Beautiful, fluffy, stuff.  Several inches.  I went to a concert with a friend last night, and we drove through a winter wonderland to get there.   The main thing it made me realize is that I need a new pair of boots.  Mine are over 20 years old, and they’ve become pretty ratty.  My Christmas bonus will be useful for that, I think.

Back to last night.  We went to a Gaither Homecoming Christmas concert in Reading.  It was wonderful.  Lots of traditional music that hundreds of people could sing along with the performers. Lots of humor, lots of tears.  I’ve never seen one of their programs live before, and I loved it.  At one point they used a video of an old favorite, who is now in heaven. Jake Hess, singing White Christmas, was a real treat.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about Christmas music, and all that it means.  All the years of memories that it stirs, all the joy, excitement, and sense of holiness and awe from the sacred songs that filled my childhood at Christmas.

We all sing Joy to the World at Christmas, but it really isn’t about the baby.  It’s about the future time when Jesus returns to set up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years. “Let earth receive her King.”  Here’s the whole song:

Christmas Songs – Joy To The World Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

[Verse 2]
Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

[Verse 3]
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

[Verse 4]
He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love

********************
This is a triumph song, a song about the  only time when there will indeed be peace on earth.  Jesus will reign over the entire world, and sin will not triumph  over His power.

There’s really nothing wrong with singing the song at Christmas, but I think it would be completely appropriate to sing it all year ’round.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Soup du Jour

So today (it’s Saturday night) I boiled the turkey carcass. We’d already picked off the biggest chunks of meat, but left a good amount.  Turkey Frame Soup is a post-Thanksgiving delicacy at my house, and I enjoy the process almost as much as the eating.

Wonderful broth results from simmering the bones.  Then I strain all the stuff out that we can’t eat, pick more meat off the bones (once they’re cool) and dump the meat back into the broth. There was more meat in the fridge saved for this purpose, and that went into the pot.

Image result for Turkey Frame Soup

From there, I use whatever I have available. Potatoes, onion, celery, carrots, a small rutabaga because Terry loves it; half a big bag of mixed veggies, barley from my pantry, and whatever herbs take my fancy.  The aroma is hard to resist by suppertime.

Tonight I made fresh biscuits to go with the soup, and they turned out just right. Rose up nice and high, tender and flaky and a perfect go-with for the soup.  Butter and honey made them even more delicious.

We’ve been eating off the bird all week, and there’s a good amount still in the freezer that will make a delicious casserole at some point.  Turkey is a bird that just keeps on giving 🙂

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. It seems impossible that December is already here, with all the busy-ness it brings. Tomorrow we’ll enjoy a fellowship dinner after church, and then head into another busy week.

I read the second chapter of Proverbs today. It says a lot about the benefits of trusting God and His Word.  In these tumultuous days we’re experiencing, with accusations and suspicion on every hand, I found the last two verses a great comfort:

21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.

22 But the wicked shall be cut off from the earth, and the transgressors shall be rooted out of it.

Trust God. Be thankful.

Sunday Morning Coffee: Grandkids

I have nine grandchildren. Three grew up in Germany; three are in South Dakota; three live about thirty minutes away. I will always be sad about all the years we missed with the six who live so far away.  You don’t really get to be part of their lives, and you miss seeing all the stages of change. My oldest grandchild is 20, and I find that almost impossible to understand!

 

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I don’t think you really understand the emotion that goest with having grandchildren until you hold that first one, the first child of your first child.  Such a wave of amazement and tenderness, and it just keeps getting better as more babies are added to the family.

They are so much fun to have around because they aren’t your responsibility 🙂  You can enjoy them,  relax with them, and then send them back to their parents.

The three who live nearby stayed overnight with us on Thursday, stuffed with turkey and all sorts of other goodies. They bunk in the basement, in a semi-furnished room that holds a sofa, a twin-size mattress, and a couple of cots. They seem to enjoy themselves, and they always come back  upstairs hungry for whatever is featured at breakfast.

The boys spend time outdoors with Grandpa, working on one of his endless projects.  Their sister is out there too, for a while, but usually comes back inside looking for something domestic to do.  This time, she made some chocolate chip cookies.  She doesn’t need supervision any more, and she knows to clean up after herself.

We got some new neighbors earlier this year, and they have  a son and daughter close to the ages of our older grandson and his sister. They spent a few hours here yesterday, getting to know each other.

It’s a strong temptation, with your grands, to look at them and see your own kids.  I try not to do that. They are individuals in their own right, not clones of any of the rest of us. They will follow their own paths, and I pray  daily that those will be God-directed paths.

Well, I didn’t really have anything in particular to say today, I guess.  Just enjoying this part of my life, so thankful for all with which God has blessed us.

 

Sunday Morning Coffee: Signs of Fall

I know it’s been fall for several weeks now, but really, here in my corner of PA, fall doesn’t set in really hard  until right about now.

So how do I know it’s really fall?

Daylight Time change.

More leaves on the ground than on the trees.

I need a jacket.

TERRY needs a jacket.

The raspberry garden is done. We ate the last ones two days ago.

Terry lit the oil stove that heats our living room and most of the rest of the house.

We keep our bedroom doors closed during the day. Don’t need them heated.

I’m now using my puffy bedspread and a heavy afghan. You’ll know it’s winter when I tell you I’ve put on my heated mattress pad and brought my down comforter up from basement storage.  Two comforters?  Well, sure!  Why not?  I’ll be twice as comforted 🙂

Frost on the punkins–and the cars.

 

Dozens of flocks of geese and other birds arrowing south.

Winter squash is abundant. There’s a produce stand near us that has Hubbard squash. It’s tempting–best squash there is–but they’re much too big for just the two of us.

I’ve just about finished switching out my closet from short sleeves to long, light fabrics to heavier, dresser drawers from short-sleeve tees to long sleeves, and the sweaters are coming out.

I’m thinking about my Thanksgiving menu.  I’m well enough, strong enough, to do it here this year, I think. We’ll find out.

I am thankful that, for the first time in 2 1/2 years, I am relatively pain free. I can do most of the housework, the laundry, and the cooking again.  Terry still cooks on Wednesday and Thursday, because I work until 5 those days and he’s happy to have supper ready when I get home.

You know, even as I write, I realize how thankful I am. Just thankful in general.  We are blessed in so many ways.

Happy Sunday to all of you.  I hope you’ll be in church somewhere today, a church where God’s Word is central.