Saturday, September 29, 2007

Not What My Hands Have Done

For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2: 8-10

Not what my hands have done
Can save my guilty soul;
Not what my toiling flesh has borne
Can make my spirit whole.
Not what I feel or do
Can give me peace with God;
Not all my prayers and sighs and tears
Can bear my awful load.

Thy work alone, O Christ,
Can ease this weight of sin;
Thy blood alone, O Lamb of God,
Can give me peace within.
Thy love to me, O God,
Not mine, O Lord, to thee,
Can rid me of this dark unrest,
And set my spirit free.

~Horatius Bonar

This hymn was definitely laid on my heart tonight. Do you know this one? I never knew this particular hymn until about twenty or so years ago. This, like so many of the oldies but goodies, as I call them, is solid doctrine and theology. Expressing the truths that we are not saved by our works, but by the work of Christ, its final stanzas contain utterances of praise to the God of Grace and His Son. For me, it's difficult to sing these words without getting all teary. Mr. Bonar is one of my all time favorites. His writings minister MUCH to my soul! I like him because he can write about deep things, but with simplicity. He was concerned for children and wanted them to learn biblical truths from his songs, so I like him for that also. If your children don't know "I Was a Wandering Sheep," I encourage you to search for it and teach it to them. I think I'll write about it one of these hymn posts.

I'm so thankful that my salvation is not dependent upon my work, but on HIS work, aren't you? You and I have no good in ourselves, no righteousness, but He provides it for us. Now isn't that worth all our praise?

I strongly encourage you to read all the verses while listening to the tune at the Trinity Hymnal.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sneaky Nutrition - Cinnamon

I'm sure that cinnamon is by far the most used spice in this house. We wouldn't dare eat applesauce or oatmeal without sprinkling some on; it's a must for any recipe with pumpkin, apples, peaches, or pineapples. And rice pudding has gotta have it, in my book. Next to vanilla, it's my favorite smell. I had a "cinnamon bun" candle burning in our house a little while ago, and what a wonderful aroma to comfort the spirits, particularly on a cool fall day. For me, I think of nutmeg as cinnamon's most faithful companion, but there are times when allspice or cloves are a better choice, or even all three. Have you ever tried sprinkling some cinnamon and nutmeg on baked yams? Try it--I think you'll like it and realize that you don't need all that sugar and syrup that we use for candied yams.

Well, today I thought of making a post about this wonderful spice, because I was told it was good for diabetes. This immediately got my attention because my husband and I are both candidates for this malady. This sent me to Google (which is celebrating its ninth birthday today if you're interested) to check on this. I found out that tests have pretty much proven that cinnamon is helpful with blood sugar levels and other factors which would make it beneficial for a person with Type 2 diabetes. It also has many other health benefits such as aiding in food digestion, helping blood circulation, boosting brain activity, and quite a few others.

Then, at one site, I was checking on its nutritional stats. Here's what I found listed there for daily percentage values:

Iron 211%
Vitamin C-47%
Calcium - 122%
Vitamin K - 52%
Potassium - 20%

This was pretty exciting until I saw the serving size: 100 grams! To put that all in perspective, a teaspoon equals about 2 grams. In other words, we get very little nutritional value in the spoonful or two that we put in our pumpkin pie, but from what I've been reading today, it certainly has other benefits which hopefully add up over a period of time. So I would recommend that you sneak some cinnamon in every chance you get.

So my recipe this time is a good one for this season, my favorite time of year. Anything pumpkin goes well from now until January (and beyond), so here's a healthy cookie for your kids to snack on. Plenty of Vitamin A, C and fiber. Just so you know, I cut back on the honey and butter, substituting applesauce for some of the butter:


1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg, beaten
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspon ground cinnamon
1 cup raisins (opt.)
1 cup chopped nuts (opt.)

Preheat oven 375 degrees.

(1) Cream together honey and butter in a large bowl. Add egg and pumpkin, mixing well. Add vanilla.

(2) Sift together baking powder and soda, flour, allspice, and cinnamon. Graduallymix into butter mixture. Fold in raisins and nuts.

(3) Drop by teaspoonfuls onto sprayed baking sheet; flatten with back of a spoon.

(4) Bake until lightly browned, 8-10 minutes. Remove from baking sheet and cool on wire racks.

They may not be as popular as the chocolate chip ones that you get at church socials, but you feel better about serving them to your loved ones at home. Hope you enjoy them!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sweet Babies

Thought you might enjoy seeing these sweet young babies with their parents. Most of them are being cared for by their mommies; only one is being tended to by the daddy. Can you guess which one? (Top to bottom: rhino, flamingo, dolphin, giraffe, leopard, elephant.)
Note: I added the rhino later, so he doesn't count. He was just born three days ago!

An Anniversary

Wishing a Happy Anniversary to our daughter and son-in-law. If you get a chance, go over to her spot and read their story. Three years and one baby later, these are still precious memories for all of us.

I am posting calla lilies in honor of the occasion. They were in abundance that day in 2004, as was the above picture. I hope they will be a reminder to our family of the mercies of a kind and benevelent God, from whom comes every good gift and every perfect gift, which we heard about in our sermon on Sunday.

So, we count our blessings and I hope this finds you and your family doing the same.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

His Eye is on the Sparrow

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Matthew 6:26

According to a chart I just read on a website that should be knowledgeable, the Autumnal Equinox for the year 2007 occurs on September 23rd in the continental United States. That's tomorrow, right? And if my understanding is correct, that means that autumn, a/k/a fall, a/k/a my favorite season of the year, begins tomorrow. Well now, that is something nice to think about after many weeks of hot, sticky weather, mosquitoes, and other unpleasant things. I feel a coolness, crispness in the air and up go all my windows. Ahh, feels good.

My dear feathered friends are busy now. The robins were all over the yards in our neighborhood this morning, filling their bellies with seeds, worms and whatever else it is that they eat. They have congregated in huge numbers, many of whom just began life this summer, as they start their journey southward. I always marvel at the migration of birds. Last year I did a post about it if anyone cares to go read it. All of the birds are busy now, knowing that their difficult days are coming. You see them fluttering about, often with their young following behind begging for food. Since the juveniles have to learn to fend for themselves, they are now being ignored by their parents. Danger has returned to the ones who come to my feeder. I saw a sizeable clump of feathers down near one of the large trees--an indication that a morning dove had met its death. So the hawks have returned from their summer in the nearby wooded areas along the interstate.

Well, the Lord will be their help and guide through the winter. Some of them will make it and some won't. It's all up to Him. Of course, it will be the same for mankind. It's all up to Him. Knowing that our future and our well being rest with Him should help us to face all of the seasons of life with quietness of heart. I'm praying that for myself and for all of you. After all, His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

Why should I feel discouraged,
Why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely
And long for heav'n and home,
When Jesus is my portion?
My constant Friend is he:

His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know he watches me.

"Let not your heart be troubled,"
His tender Word I hear,
And resting on his goodness,
I lose my doubt and fear;
Though by the path he leadeth
But one step I may see:

Whenever I am tempted,
Whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing,
When hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to him,
From care he sets me free.

This wonderful trusting hymn was written by a woman named Mrs. Civilla Martin. My new bloggy friend Sparrow should appreciate this one!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Had a Wonderful Time!

O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things. . .Isaiah 25:1

Hi there, we're back! Most of you folks didn't even know we had gone, did you? Actually, we've been away for a few days and I never got to tell you we were going. We finally had a little getaway, something we don't do often enough. We went over to Pa Dutch Country about two hours away from us--a place we love to go whenever we want a peaceful and relaxing time, enjoying some of the wonderful things in God's world. It was a wonderful time for just my hubby and me, staying at a wonderful historic inn, eating wonderful food at a wonderful restaurant, and especially loving the wonderful weather in our area right now. We got to go shopping at a lot of wonderful little shops and ride around the wonderful countryside. This wonderful little trip was a gift from our wonderful church family, to mark the occasion of my wonderful husband's birthday a couple of months ago. Our wonderful daughter number one took care of our wonderful daughter number two, along with our not-so-wonderful dog Frodo (who almost got sent home from camp for several reasons, but that's another story).

So, now we're back home, and that is wonderful. God did something nice for me, though at the time I wasn't so happy about it. I was quite excited when I got my first laptop earlier this summer and I took it with us, thinking how neat it would be to blog from over there. Well, the first thing that went wrong was that I forgot to take the cord. Don't ask me how I forgot it, but I did. After getting over that and knowing that the battery was fully charged, I calmed down and figured I'd get my email and sparingly use it. Well, something was wrong and I couldn't get on the internet nor was Outlook working. I got connected to the wireless network that the inn provides, but it kept saying "Local Access only." The people who work there didn't understand it and I have yet to figure it out. I'm not sure, but I am suspicious that it has something to do with Windows Vista. I'll be trying to find out why, because I surely don't want that to be a problem when I go places. After all, why have a laptop? Well anyway, I think maybe the Lord wanted me to concentrate more on my husband, the birthday boy, and on the wonderful world we were enjoying for those few days. There is life beyond the computer, you know. Thank you, Lord.

And by the way, Frodo is a wonderful doggy most of the time.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Crown Him With Many Crowns

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. Rev. 5:12

A prelude to worship for this coming Lord's Day. Sing along and give Him the praise and honor due to His wonderful name.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Girls Day Out

You've seen these two on this blog before, especially my granddaughter on the right. The last time you saw them together was in April when I did a post called "Sunday School Lessons." They were about seven months old then and they are still buddies. As you probably know, at this age little ones don't do so well with all that goes into a friendship, but now that they've just turned one, they do make little attempts at it. Or may we say, others attempt it for them. Our friend Beka is taking care of Ava this week so she and Bev had a "play day" yesterday, including an outing with the girls. Lots of fun! I'll leave it for Beka to tell you more about her week with Ava.

Actually, this is a prayer request. Selena will be coming tomorrow afternoon and staying until Saturday afternoon, so that Bev and Edie can attend the various services being held for the slain husband and wife I've been talking about recently. Edie's close friend, who actually was best man at Bev's wedding, is the son of these two "fallen soldiers," whom Edie always felt were like "other parents" to him. You can see that these are difficult days for my son-in-law, as well as for some of their other friends who are in the family. So, we won't be going. I think we all decided that Selena would be better off here, away from the huge crowd of people and the emotions that her parents will be dealing with. We need prayer because it's the first time she's ever spent the night away from her parents. This is a huge deal because it's pretty well known that she's very attached to them, particularly to her mom. Even though she loves PopPop, Nanna and Auntie Nee, usually when she wants Mommy, she wants Mommy. So pray for her, and for us, and for her mommy particularly who will, of course, be wondering how she's doing. (They'll be a little more than an hour and a half away.) Thank the Lord for cell phones!!!

And I ask continued prayers for this dear family, the church family, and the many friends through this time of grieving, while yet rejoicing in the triumphant lives of these two treasured saints.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Am I a Soldier of the Cross?

I finally have the time and heart to post my Saturday hymn for this week. I've long given up on my initial intention that I would first go through my Thurday Thirteen list of long ago. Circumstances and my state of mine have often "hindered" that from happening--it's more important that it be the right one for that week, determined primarily by what seems right at the time, for a variety of reasons. So, with that in view, I went on a search for lyrics that captured what God would seem to want me to meditate on at this time and which He would have me to offer to those who might come by. As soon as I saw this old hymn of Isaac Watts, I knew these were the words for this week. It may not be too familiar to some of you, though we often sang it in church when I was growing up. I never liked the tune that much, but I now realize how powerful its lyrics are.

Last week, there were the tragic murders of two "soldiers of the cross" which still weigh heavily on the hearts of many of us. (See August 30th post.) This family is so very dear to many of us, that it's hard to put all this behind and move on in a normal way in our own little comfort zones. Their bodies still have to be returned to our country, the funeral and burial have yet to take place, so it's hard to move on right now. But I know we have to. Even in the midst of things like making travel plans, finding babysitters, getting time off from work, etc. that abruptly tear asunder daily routines when death comes, somehow we have to "keep keeping on", as they used to say. After all, the battle's not over and there is still work to do. The cause of Christ moves on. I'll quote what I read on someone else's blog today: "May the cause of the gospel run even faster and farther because of this very difficult providence." The conflict we are in has been a reality for centuries and continues. Shed blood has always been the Church's impetus--that of the Savior and that of His saints. Christianity has never been stopped by the death of Christ's people, only increased. It started with Stephen and so it will be until the war's over. And Jesus will be victorious.

Which brings us to our part in the whole thing. Are we soldiers? Each of us should ask the question posed in this hymn: Am I a soldier of the cross? I'll answer that. If you and I are followers of the Lamb, then yes, we are soldiers of the cross. Let's pay particular attention to the second and fifth stanzas. They help to put it all in perspective. I hope we don't expect to reach heaven "on flowery beds of ease." We're soldiers. A soldier's task is not an easy one, but the victory brings reward. I want to focus on the fact that like others before them, the people I knew "sailed through bloody seas", but I'm sure they now view the triumph not from afar, but with their eyes. Hallelujah.

May they, and others that have gone through the same seas, always be an inspiration for those of us whom they have left behind. Bless all of you, fellow warriors, as you meditate on these words. I hope they push us all courageously onward.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A foll'wer of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own his cause,
Or blush to speak his Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flow'ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by thy Word.

Thy saints, in all this glorious war,
Shall conquer, though they die;
They view the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all thine armies shine
In robes of vict'ry through the skies,
The glory shall be thine.

~~Isaac Watts

Monday, September 03, 2007

Birthday Joy

Then spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. John 8:12

In the midst of the sorrows of recent days, God gives joy. One year ago on Labor Day, September 4th, a little light sparkled and began to shine in our lives. This little light is named Selena and as most of you know, is our first grandchild. Many of you have followed my posts, off and on for the past year, as I've written about the various ways and means that this little light has shone for those of us who know and love her.

She had her birthday party on Saturday, which was enjoyed by all, but least of all by her. But there is something she enjoyed immensely, which you can see by the above picture--the little cake that her mom made especially for her. She particularly liked the pink part of the icing! I found out Saturday that she really likes the color pink; for some reason that little fact had escaped my knowledge. We played a game of Selena facts at the party and I found out how much I didn't know, such as the name of the hospital where she was born, and I was right there! I was glad that grandparents were disqualified. She had a big bakery cake with pink and purple decorations, which was adorned with a "number 1" candle, which burned for a short bit before being blown out after the birthday song.

Which brings me to the main point of this post. You probably know what's coming next. My earnest prayer for this little lady, now in this world for one year, is that Jesus will one day touch her heart through His gospel, and she'll be given a light which will begin shining for Him. I hope this light begins shining at an early age, so that she might escape the effects of being swallowed up by the darkness of this world. We know that when the Lord gives her the light of Himself, no one will ever be able to blow it out. And isn't this what we all want for our children and grandchildren?

So, Happy First Birthday to our little Selena, who has brightened our lives already. In honor of the occasion, I'm posting the chorus of the song that she loves to sing:

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine

This little light of mine,

I'm gonna let it shine

Let it shine,

Let it shine,

Let it shine.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

All Freed

You probably have heard that the remaining South Korean hostages have been freed by the Taliban. We certainly can give praise for that. Naturally, whenever the news media is involved, it's difficult to get a clear perspective on any given matter. But I really like the latest post at Persecution Blog. As far as I'm concerned, THAT'S the right way to look at this matter. Hope you have opportunity to read it.