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Moonless Seas

Of my heroines in the faith, two would be Elisabeth Elliot and Amy Carmichael. I have a copy of Elizabeth’s devotional book entitled, Keep a Quiet Heart. For years I have reviewed it and always been encouraged by her teaching. Today let me share one of my favorite entries from her book in which she quotes Amy Carmichael. The entry reads:

“Some of you are perhaps feeling that you are voyaging just now on a moonless sea. Uncertainty surrounds you. There seem to be no signs to follow. Perhaps you feel about to be engulfed by loneliness. There is no one to whom you can speak of your need. Amy Carmichael wrote of such a feeling when, as a missionary of twenty-six, she had to leave Japan because of poor health, then travel to China for recuperation, but then realized God was telling her to go to Ceylon. (All this preceded her going to India, where she stayed for fifty-three years.) I have on my desk her original handwritten letter of August 25, 1894, as she was en route to Colombo.

‘All day long, let us remember we are not asked to understand, but simply to obey…On July 28, Saturday, I sailed. We had to come on board ton Friday night, and just as the tender (a small boat) where were the dear friends who had come to say goodbye was moving off, and the chill of loneliness shivered through me, like a warm love-clasp came the long-loved lines–‘And only Heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight, over moonless seas.” I couldn’t feel frightened then. Praise Him for the moonless seas-all the better opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, the God who is Enough.'”

If you’re traveling on moonless seas today, remember that He is with you to guide you in the darkness and lead you to the next place He wants you to be. “When you get to the place where you find there’s nothing left but God, you will find that He is enough.”

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Comparisons

When you have an identical twin, you just get used to people staring at you and comparing you to your twin; it’s happened all our lives. When we were growing up people would line us up, shoulder to shoulder to see how we were alike and how we were different. They were trying to find a way to tell us apart, and hence, the comparisons. Many times I’ve been mistaken for Dianne because people couldn’t tell the difference.

Last night at church we got together with a young set of twins and had this picture made. It was funny to see the people that were watching as the pictures were snapped; they were comparing one to the other. I could almost hear their thoughts, “One has her hair longer, one has a freckle under her eye, one is a little taller, her eyes are wider…”

II Corinthians 3:18 says, But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Each day when you and I open God’s Word a comparison is done: how much do I look like my Savior? We read in the Word about Christ’s servant spirit and the Holy Spirit says, “You don’t look like that.” We learn of His willingness to forgive and we see that we don’t look as much like Him as we thought we did. When we line ourselves up to Christ’s example we know that we need to be more like Him each day. People should see Christ in our lives, and His Word is the measuring tool. It’s a blessing to see some areas where we are becoming like Him, and also a blessing to learn where we are different so we can ask the Spirit to change us into Christ’s likeness.

So, how do you compare to Christ today? Are you looking more like Him today than you did a week ago, a month ago, a year ago? We’ll never be sinless until we reach heaven, but could people look at you and see the image of Christ? It is my prayer and my highest goal.
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Make Ahead Butterhorns

As Thanksgiving approaches and you make your plans for your meal, I thought I’d share a favorite yeast roll recipe with you . These are butterhorns that are made ahead of time and then frozen in their doughy state. Then at the time you want to use them, you let them thaw and rise for five hours,then bake.

One year we were traveling to Kentucky to share Thanksgiving with my family. I made the rolls ahead of time and froze them, then on Thanksgiving day I placed them on the baking sheets, put them in the floor of the back seat and they rose while we drove to my mom’s house. When we arrived the car smelled the yummy smell of yeast and the rolls were ready to pop into her hot oven! Talk about fresh!

So, whether you’re contributing to someone else’s meal, or you’re doing it all yourself, give these a try and make your holiday a whole lot less stressful and add a do-ahead yeast roll to your menu!

You’ll find the recipe on this pdf file: http://www.mediafire.com/?xfzl1ukuozh
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Thanksgiving Ideas for Little Ones

As Thanksgiving approaches, you moms with little ones can begin to prepare them – not just for the holiday – but for having a heart of gratitude. Each day let them tell you one or two things or people they’re thankful for. Write it down on a turkey feather made from construction paper and attach it to the body of a turkey. Hang the turkey on the fridge or in their bedroom where it can be seen. Spend time praying with them and letting them thank God for those things or people.

By Thanksgiving Mr. Turkey should be completely covered with thankfulness feathers! When it comes time to tell the family what they’re thankful for, they’ll have already given it sufficient thought and will be able to share it with them as well.
Be sure you’re teaching your children to express their thanks to others. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reminded my girls about writing a thank you note. They’ve often heard me say, “Swift gratitude is the sweetest!” Why not have them write or dictate a thank you note to someone that they’re thankful for? Learning to express their gratitude for others will cultivate a grateful heart.
The turkey candy holder pictured above would make a cute decoration on your Thanksgiving table. You could even use it as a place card, writing the guests names on the feathers.
If you’re looking for some cute foods for Thanksgiving (for big or little kids!) check out this web site!
What do you do to teach your children the meaning of Thanksgiving or being thankful? What fun ideas could you share with us? Tell us here!
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What’s Cookin’ in someone else’s Parsonage?

I’ve mentioned here before that I have an identical twin sister. We share many things in common – one of them is a love for cooking! She’s a great cook, baker, and hostess. I’ve asked her to be my guest today and share with you, not only a recipe, but also her recipe blog.

Dianne writes:
What a special honor to be a guest on my sister’s blog! Interestingly enough, as identical twins, we are both pastor’s wives, we both live in parsonages, and we both enjoy cooking and having guests in our home. Our parents fostered a love for the Lord in all three of us girls, and our mother fostered a love for cooking for our families. Mom made ordinary days special and special days even more special—and she still does that to this day. Dinner after church was always a special meal served on the china and placed alongside a cloth napkin. I thought that was how everyone ate on Sundays. I learned differently as time went on.

You don’t have to have wealth or fine things to make dinner time special. What matters is sharing a meal with family and friends and time spent around the table after dinner talking and laughing. With an empty nest now, Sundays are very different for me and my husband. We now pastor in a congregation that is very connected to their family so we are often invited to gather at their table which is a joy. Occasionally, I have the privilege of cooking for guests on Sundays. Some days, like today, it is just me and my husband. But in “Mom-fashion” I try to make dinner as special for the two of us as it would have been had I had guests.

Something about sitting at the dining room table encourages lingering and conversation. So I encourage you to make Sundays special. By the way, Denise and I also have something else in common—we both have a blog. If you’re looking for a special recipe, I invite you to visit my blog: http://diannesrecipebox.blogspot.com/ Who knows? Maybe Denise can be my first guest blogger!

Here’s what was on our table today:

Elegant Chicken Rolls (recipe follows)
Rice Pilaf
Cole Slaw
Green Beans
Wheat Bread from the deli
One-Bowl Mocha Cake

Elegant Chicken Rolls
6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4-6 ounces each)
4 ounces cream cheese softened
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
2 T. fresh basil leaves snipped
1/2 t. coarsely ground black pepper
6 T. sweet roasted red peppers, drained, chopped
1 1/4 c. seasoned croutons, grated ((1 cup crumbs)
1 egg1 T. milk
12-18 large spinach leaves
6 ounces thinly sliced deli smoked ham

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Butterfly cut each chicken breast half by inserting tip of knife into thickest side of chicken then cutting lengthwise through middle of breast, almost through to the other side. Spread chicken breast open flat. Place each chicken breast between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Flatten chicken to 1/4 inch alternating pounding and rolling.
2. In small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, feta, basil and black pepper; set aside. Chop red peppers and drain on a paper towel. Place croutons in a plastic storage bag and finely crush. Combine egg and milk in another small mixing bowl.
3. For each chicken roll, cover chicken breast with single layer of spinach rolls, about 2 tbsp of the cheese mix, 1 tbsp of the red peppers and then one slice of the ham. Roll up, jelly-roll fashion,
4. Dip rolls in egg mixture then in crumbs. Place seam side down in a baking dish and bake for 35 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing, Dianne! I hope you’ll check out her blog and try her chicken or cake recipe. You won’t believe it, but the cake recipe was found on Cooking Light. It is the most moist decadent chocolate cake you’ll eat…and hey, since it’s light you can have two pieces! =)

What did you have for dinner on Sunday?
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Stayed on Him

If someone asked you where you were staying, in what situation do you think the question was asked? You might be away on vacation and they want to know what motel you’re staying in. You might be on a weekend retreat at The Wilds and someone asks where you’re staying on the campsite. Are you staying in the duplexes? Are you staying in the inn? Those “stays” are usually short-lived. You can’t live at a resort after your week’s reservation is over (sad, huh?). And as much I always hate leaving The Wilds I eventually have to go home. My stay is over.

One morning his week I studied Isaiah 26:3 – Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. I thought on the verse all day and then that night I heard a message from a godly pastor and he was speaking about this same verse. He had shared with the congregation that his adult son has cancer. Then he said, “Where are you staying? Right now I know where I’m staying – I’m staying on Jesus!” He shared that he was having to rest on the Lord heavily and think upon Him while going through this trial. He was keeping his mind, his thoughts stayed on the Lord. Only then can peace saturate our hearts.

The trial won’t last forever, and even after it’s over, we can keep on staying on Jesus, keep on thinking on Him, keep on trusting in Him. As a matter of a fact, when it’s all said and done, you’ll find it easier to “stay” on Him because you’ve seen the benefits and the joy of staying with Him!

So, today – right at this moment, where are you staying? Are you fretting and worried, or are you staying on Jesus and enjoying the peace that only comes when you trust in Him? Your reservation is never over! Stay!

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The Place to Pray

Just imagine that someone very dear to you is in the hospital and awaiting surgery. You call your pastor and make him aware of your loved one’s condition and you ask if he would come and pray with the family before the surgery. He says he would be happy to do that.

The next morning before your loved one is wheeled to the operating room your pastor walks into the room. He looks around and surveys the situation. He sees that things are critical, that the family is very concerned, and that this could be a risky operation. Then he holds the hand of the patient and begins to pray for all the needs that he has just seen. Your pastor isn’t God, but his presence and his prayer comforts you and reminds you of the Truths of God’s Word as he prays Scripture. You’re so glad he came.

Now, let’s imagine that when you called him the day before to ask if he’d come and pray with the family before surgery he said instead, “You know, I can pray just as well at home. God will hear me whether I’m there at the hospital or here. Be assured that I will be praying for your loved one.”

Aside from being hurt by the response, what would be missing if the pastor prayed at home? He would have missed some of the details he saw when entering the hospital room – the seriousness of the situation or the worried looks on the faces of the family members. He wouldn’t have been able to reach out and hold the hand of the patient, or give a compassionate hug to the worried family members. They wouldn’t have been reminded of the truths in the pastor’s prayer. God indeed would have heard his prayer, but the pastor’s presence there in that hospital room had a great deal of effect on his own prayer and on those that heard it.

How often have you heard your pastor plead with you and the church to come to a prayer meeting? Perhaps it is a prayer meeting for upcoming revival. Perhaps it’s the pre-service prayer meeting, or even the regular Wednesday night service where we spend time in prayer. Have you ever said, “I can pray at home just as well and I will do that!”? Making the connection to the hospital room prayer, can you see what you may be missing by not praying together with other believers in the church where the services are going to take place?

  • You will miss the connection with the people. You won’t understand their immediate needs or be able to pray and encourage them with your prayer for them.
  • You will miss out on the specific needs. Once you gather in the church you may become more aware of the needs of the pastors, the lost that will gather there, with the teachers that will stand and proclaim the Word of God. Sometimes just being there will open your eyes of things to pray about. Your pastor is undergoing spiritual warfare! Someone needs to lift him up before the throne so he can preach the Word in its truth and power!
  • You will be more distracted.

These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication… Acts 1:14 Can we not gather together to pray for the needs “in the hospital room?” The needs are great. Will you meet us there?

Sunday morning 8:30 – Pre-service prayer meeting

Wednesday night 7:00 – Prayer meeting