Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/28/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. This will be my last post on this book. My final quote from the body of the book is from chapter 8. Mrs. Deibler was taken to maximum security prison for a time, interrogated, and put in solitary confinement. I was struck by how she passed the time in her cell:

"Much time was passed repeating Scripture. Starting with A, I would repeat a verse that began with that letter, then on through the rest of the alphabet. I discovered that most of the songs we had sung when I was a little girl were still hidden in my heart, though I hadn't consciously memorized many of them. 

As a child and young person, I had a driving compulsion to memorize the written Word. In the cell I was grateful now for those days in Vacation Bible School, when I had memorized many single verses, complete chapters, and Psalms, as well as whole books of the Bible. In the years that followed, I reviewed Scriptures often. The Lord fed me with the Living Bread that had been stored against that day when fresh supply was cut off by the loss of my Bible. He brought daily comfort and encouragement--yes, and joy--to my heart through the knowledge of the Word." 

It was an encouragement to see how God used His memorized Word to comfort, instruct, inform, console, and nourish in such a great time of need.

Eventually, the war end, that author was released from prison and returned home to America, this time a very young widow. She later remarried, had two children, and returned to the mission field (where she spent most of her life).  I highly recommend reading this book. We need books like this to remember what a faithful God we serve and to remind us of the price at which we enjoy freedom in America. On that note, I leave with a final quote from the author. This quote was found in the "acknowledgements" section at the very beginning of the book.

"More than 10 years ago I began to write my experiences during World War II for Bruce and Brian, my sons. I wished them to know, if ever difficult circumstances came into their lives, that their mother's God is still alive and very well, and His arm has never lost its ancient power!"


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Happy Anniversary, Dear

Today, Greg and I celebrate 17 years of marriage. We started today with a ferocious bout of the stomach flu (yep, both of us, but I'll spare you the gory details), which reminded me a bit of our 13-year anniversary where the morning started by plunging a stopped up toilet in our bathroom, together. Ahh, may the romance live on.

God in His providence allows some anniversaries to fall on run-of-the-mill, "this is really married life" days, for which I am grateful. There can be some danger in looking to the calendar to fill you emotionally, and that certainly can happen with days like anniversaries and birthdays.

As we approached our anniversary this year, I found myself incredibly grateful for God's kindness toward us in our marriage. I can say it is only by God's grace that our marriage survived and still thrives today.

As I reflect on the past year, I am ever so grateful to God for continuing to grow my husband in the knowledge of Him. I can see Greg's patience with me and compassion toward me growing with each passing day. He is an example to me of how to love and serve others. I thank God I can with live with him and learn from him.

So, it was this morning after a night of exhausting trips to the bathroom that we both collapsed in a heap on our bed and I turned to my husband and said, "Happy Anniversary, Dear." Then we both called in sick to work, an unexpected day off together. May there be, if God wills, many more days together, whatever His plan for them may be.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Book of Acts Part 3

As mentioned before, our pastor at church is currently preaching from the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 1:12-14 "Devoted to Prayer". Enjoy!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Cookie Baking Night Update

For those fans of Cookie Baking Night posts, we usually have just one "Cookie Baking Night" in December, so we're currently on break. Be looking for us to resume on Monday, January 9. At that time, we'll head into our 9th year of Cookie Baking Nights with the nieces and nephews.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Joy to the World/Merry Christmas

I am particularly struck by this line in the song "Joy to the World"

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,


Jesus, the second Adam, came to this earth to break the curse incurred by the first Adam. That is truly a reason to be joyful. May we not forget it. Merry Christmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hark the Herald Angels Sing

You just can't beat the theology in some of our most cherished Christmas carols. I challenge you to pay attention to the words as you sing them this year. I'll be posting a few in the days ahead, starting with "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

1. Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

2. Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

3. Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"


Text: Charles Wesley, 1707-1788; alt. by George Whitefield and others
Music: Felix Mendelssohn; arr. by William H. Cummings
Tune: ---, Meter: 77.77 D with Refrain

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Book Club Thursday 12/22/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

In my desire to finish posting on this book by the end of December, I've decided to add a "Book Club Thursday" post this week.

Today I leave you with a scene from chapter 7. The author had been separated from her husband for several months. He was in prisoner of war camp for men, and she was in a prisoner of war camp for women. Mrs. Deibler was told about the death of her husband three months after it happened. On the day she was told, many sought to console her including the commander of the camp, Mr. Yamaji. He said, "You are very young. Some day the war will be over and you can go back to America. You can go dancing, go to the theater, marry again, and forget these awful days. You have been a great help to the other women in the camp. I ask of you, don't lose your smile."

The author replied thusly:

"Mr. Yamaji, may I have permission to talk to you?" He nodded, sat down, then motioned for me to take a chair.

"Mr. Yamaji, I don't sorrow like people who have no hope. I want to tell you about Someone of Whom you may never have heard. I learned about Him when I was a little girl in Sunday school back in Boone, Iowa, in America. His name is Jesus. He's the son of Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth." God opened the most wonderful opportunity to lay the plan of salvation before the Japanese camp commander. Tears started to course down his cheeks. "He died for you, Mr. Yamaji, and he put love in our hearts--even for those who are our enemies. That's why I don't hate you, Mr. Yamaji. Maybe God brought me to this place at this time to tell you he loves you."

With tears running down his cheeks, he rose hastily and went into his bedroom, closing the door. I could hear him blowing his nose and knew he was still crying. We were not supposed to leave the presence of a Japanese officer without permission; however, since he didn't return to dismiss me, I sat quietly praying for his salvation, that he might understand life in Christ Jesus and someday go home to share God's love with his wife and family--to be a light in some dark, possibly even remote, area of Japan. Realizing finally that he was not coming out of his room, I left, knowing from that moment on that Mr. Yamaji trusted me, and I understood why I was in the Netherlands East Indies. How adequate his Indonesian was to fully understand what I shared with him, I didn't know, but there had definitely been a response.


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/21/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

If you, by chance, hold to the philosophy that people are basically good, then I suggest you read a book describing life in a "prisoner of war" camp OR life in a communist prison. You're likely to change your mind. Every time I read any such book, I am reminded that people are basically evil, only God is good, and only God can take an evil heart and make it good. The depths to which an evil heart can plunge are almost unimaginable but can often be described in a book depicting the life of a prisoner of war.

In chapter 6, the author describes a scene where the commander of the camp, having been fed up with the problem of numerous flies created by the open drainage ditches carrying waste from the piggery (pigs used to feed the Japanese soldiers), ordered each woman from the camp to kill and personally deliver to his office 100 flies a day. Those who came up short of their quota were beaten severely with a cane. The author described many such scenarios throughout the pages of this book, and I am sure she left out many details along the way and did not come close to describing the actual horror of the situation. I am, again, reminded of Jeremiah 17:9 "The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Who can know it?"

Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Luke 2:68-79

After finding out his barren wife would conceive a son well after child-bearing years and that the child would be the forerunner to the Messiah, Zechariah questioned how this could be true and was struck dumb (silenced) for six months. When his tongue was finally loosed, this is what he said,

"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us: to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in to the way of peace." Luke 2:68-79 (ESV)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Evangelism

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a post about the "Christmas packs" I made up and have been handing out while I run errands (at restaurants, grocery stores, hair salon, gas station, etc.) Each pack contains a gospel tract, a couple pieces of candy, and a half sheet of paper with the following info:


"Peace on earth. Goodwill to men." That's a popular phrase this time of year. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from the Bible. Many people think of peace as the absence of conflict or the absence of fighting, but the peace spoken of int he Bible is much greater than that. "Peace on earth. Goodwill to men" refers to peace between you and God. It's the message the angels brought to the shepherds in the field the night Jesus was born on this earth. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14. It's the message we proclaim when we sing that classic Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing ("Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled). Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on this earth. He came here to provide us with the peace of reconciliation with God. That is why we celebrate Christmas. 

I have provided two things for your today: 
  • A treat (Merry Christmas! Enjoy!)
  • A gospel tract (my hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).
Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!

Christmas Evangelism Postscript: 
I have been most grateful for these packs this year and have handed out about 30 in the last couple weeks. They couldn't be easier to hand out.

If you're not sure it's something you could do, let's have a little training session. Repeat after me. "This is for you. Merry Christmas!". One more time. "This is for you. Merry Christmas!" Consider yourself trained.

Now grab some gospel-centered material, a couple pieces of candy, a baggie and a ribbon, and hit the errand-running trail prepared to the share the gospel. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Niece & Nephew Christmas Party 2011

Today was the 8th annual Niece and Nephew Christmas Party. We offer this in lieu of gifts (the party is the gift). Hmmm ... conspicuously absent from the party this year ... nephews! (Ethan had a birthday party to attend and Joe is all grown up--so this year just the girls). In attendance: (left to right) Carissa, Kylie, and Emily. 


We started the party by making Shrinky Dinks (ahh-remember Shrinky Dinks), cute little girly charm Shrinky Dinks--they were a hit. 


Next, we decorated a gingerbread house cookie. As you can see, everyone got in on the act (even Uncle Greg).







And back by popular demand, the surprise activity. This year, Uncle Greg set up a movie theater in the basement, and we watched the movie Tangled. Greg stood at the bottom of the steps and collected the tickets. There were concessions to purchase (candy, pop, and popcorn).


Greg borrowed a projector from work and projected the movie onto a large wall in the basement. A good time was had by all.



Merry Christmas little ones! We love you all.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Evangelism Focus 12/16/11



Post from July 8, 2011

Two nights ago, my brother asked me to visit one of his friends (a childhood friend of ours) in the hospital. I was a little confused by the request because I hadn't seen the man he was speaking of for at least 15 years. My brother finally admitted, "I'm concerned for his soul." Who can refuse a request such as this--an invitation to share the gospel? So, to the hospital I went.

Unfortunately, my brother's friend (Jeff) was in the ICU in critical condition and unresponsive. I let him know I was there and left him the gospel in the form of a tract. I have visited twice now with little response (or capacity to respond) either time.

I left there pleading with God to have mercy on this young man (37) and allow him the opportunity to hear the gospel one more time. I also left there with a heavy heart and renewed desire to share the gospel with those I know while there is still time.


Post from July 15, 2011

I mentioned last Friday that I visited my brother's friend in the hospital. I visited two times. On both visits, Jeff (my brother's friend) was unresponsive (awake but not able to communicate, he had spent some time without oxygen to his brain, and there was the appearance of brain damage). At the point I first visited him, he had been in the ICU at the hospital for 12 days.

I also mentioned that I left the hospital (on both accounts) pleading with God to have mercy on him and allow him to hear (and understand) the gospel one more time.

I stopped back today, a week from my first visit. I was very self-conscious about visiting him for the third time when I hardly knew him. I considered leaving at least three times while I was in the waiting room (waiting for the nurse to give me the clearance to go in and visit him).

When I arrived in the room, I was amazed to find Jeff alert and responsive. We had a lengthy conversation. I was able to share the gospel with him and pray for him.

In the beginning of our conversation I said, "Jeff, God kept you alive for a reason."

He said, "Well if he did I don't know what that reason would be."

I said, "Jeff, if you had died when they first brought you into the hospital, would you have been ready to meet God?"

He said (most emphatically), "No!"

I said, "Well, I think that might be your reason right there."

I left Jeff with some literature about the gospel, and he invited me to stop back and visit next week. I pray God grants him the gift of repentance.

This time, I left the hospital overwhelmed by the mercy and kindness of a great God who hears our prayers.

Post from December 16, 2011

I was able to visit Jeff one more time in July. On that visit, he was recovering from his illness and was moved out of ICU. We had just a short visit as his parents were visiting him at the same time, and I spent some time catching up with them as well. I stopped by a few days later and Jeff had been released from the hospital. I was told the doctors were calling it a "miracle recovery". I knew God had answered my prayer. He allowed Jeff another opportunity to hear the gospel message.

Last Sunday my brother told me Jeff was in the hospital again in a similar situation to the one he was in back in July. I stopped to see him on Monday (he was in the ICU), and he was unresponsive and not doing well physically. They had put him on life support. I stopped to see him on Tuesday and found much of his family in the room, saying their goodbyes. Jeff died on Tuesday evening, and I will be attending his funeral soon.

As God knew the outcome of Jeff's situation long before I did, I continue to praise Him for allowing Jeff the opportunity to hear the gospel again. I marvel at God's goodness to us and His faithfulness in answering prayer. May I never hesitate to share the gospel again (Oh, please Lord). Amen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Book of Acts Part 2

As mentioned before, our pastor at church recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. This week's sermon is from Acts 1:4-8 "The Necessity of the Holy Spirit in Christian Witness". Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/14/11

The Musings Book Club selection for December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose.

As I was reading through Chapter 5, the author was describing life in the Japanese prison camp. She explained that she was selected as a barracks leader and responsible for representing her barracks as go-between with the head of the camp and the camp commander.

I was particularly struck by the following paragraph:

"Immediately following evening roll call, everyone came to the front section of the barracks to hear the announcements and check the work schedule for the following day. The first night in our barracks, I established a practice that I believe was responsible for maintaining the high level of compassion and cooperation that existed in our small community. That night and every night, we invited everyone to remain while we read a portion of God's word and prayed. We were united by a recognition of a mutual need from within for help from One Who is greater than we. We faced a common enemy from without, and if we were to survive we had to function as a unit. The interpersonal barriers of language, race, and color became nonexistent, and an ever-increasing appreciation of one another enabled us to face with courage the common plights of most prisoners of war: suffering, hunger, deprivations of every kind, forced labor, bombings, disease, psychological pressures, death, and lonely graves. People from other barracks often joined us during the evening devotions. Throughout those very difficult years that tried our souls, but kept our barracks home center in the eye of the military storm that raged around us. There was a sharing, a concern, and a love that was unique. We struggled to preserve family feelings, to discover ways to lift morale, to encourage, comfort, and bear one another's insupportable burdens. I am convinced the harmony we experienced in barracks 8 was due to the spiritual shelter beneath which we all hid when there was no other refuge."


May this kind of commitment to God be said of each one of us when facing severe trials.

Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Romans 11:33-36

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid? For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Baking News

It's a boy! We have another nephew. Rylar Gene Oseid made his appearance into the world on December 3, 2011. (Congratulations to Dan & Deena, Greg's brother and sister-in-law, Rylar's parents).

Rylar, we'll see you at Cookie Baking Night in about three years. We've reserved a spot for you.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Day With A Niece 12/10/11

Our niece, Emily, spent Saturday night with us. She came over to help me with a little Christmas "baking" project. I usually make candy mice at Christmas time and sell them to coworkers, friends, family and the like. This year I scaled back and took only one standing order for 10 boxes. Emily was very concerned that we also made enough for our family Christmas gathering (and a few boxes for her to give to her friends), so we did that together. We made a lot of mice and had a good time in the process. Emily's been making these candy mice with me since she was about 3 or 4 years old so she's an experienced candy maker and was a huge help to me.




Friday, December 9, 2011

Meaningful Christmas

Revive our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss recently aired a few helpful radio programs on "keeping Christmas more meaningful". Click here to listen to the first program in the series titled "How to Quiet Your Heart at Christmas". I find this women's ministry (Revive Our Hearts) very helpful and I found this particular radio series thought provoking. I recommend checking it out.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Book of Acts-Part 1

As mentioned before, our pastor at church recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts in the Bible (love the book of Acts!). I'll be sharing those sermons with you on a weekly basis. Click here to listen to the sermon or to download it so you can listen to it at another time. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 12/07/11

Today marks the 70th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In God's providential timing, I am reading Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. Darlene and her husband, Russell, were missionaries in New Guinea when World War II started. I read chapters 1 through 3 this week, and the beginning of chapter 3 describes the scene when they first heard the news of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The author describes it this way: "A day that would live in infamy. America was now a participant in the global conflict." She then went on to describe and link together events from the past year that led up to that fatal day. It was fascinating to read about this historical event as told by one who was living through it. Darlene was in her early 20's when World War II started.

Chapters 1-3 were pre-war days and described Russell and Darlene's missionary work with the natives of New Guinea. The author's excitement for the work and love for the people of New Guinea is contagious.

I hope you're reading along. This is a hard book to put down. I look forward to reading your comments.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Day With A Niece 12/6/11


My niece, Meghan, spent the night at our house on Saturday, came to church with us on Sunday, and after church, she and I went to a "tea tasting" event downtown. (Meghan loves tea, and there were at least 100 different kinds to choose from). Above, she's pictured helping me wrap some homemade caramels (while you have them, put them to work, that's my motto).

She's 16 years old, has a job now, and is on the verge of getting her driver's license. Needless to say, spending time with her aunt is very low on the priority list. I enjoyed spending the day with her and will seize the opportunity when it presents itself again.

Always good conversation with Meghan. She's a thinker, and it's my prayer that she thinks long and thinks deep on who God is and what He wants for her.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 12/05/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily. She helped me create a version of the Baker's Square candy cane pie. I think we got pretty close with this one. It certainly was a good prototype, and we learned many things that will aid us in future attempts.





Most of our evening was spent making the pie (it had several layers and several steps), but we did spend some time reading Lesson 60 from Leading Little Ones To God by Marian Schoolland. The lesson tonight was titled "God's Children Think About God". Emily read the lesson, and I read Psalm 77:11-14 from the Bible.



As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Housekeeping

Just a few blog "housekeeping" items today:

  • Labels-I wanted to mention the "Labels" section of this blog (found on the bottom right hand side of the page). I label most blog entries with a word that describes what that particular post is about, i.e., Cookie Baking Night, Evangelism, etc. If you're looking for a post on a particular subject, you can go to the "Labels" section, click on the subject of interest, and it will bring up all the posts on that subject.
  • Book Club Wednesday-In 2012, I plan to read missionary biographies/autobiographies and blog about them on "Book Club Wednesday". I already have a few in mind, but would be interested in your input as well. If anyone has a missionary biography suggestion, please weigh in with your opinion in the comments section of this post.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Evangelism Focus 12/2/11


This year I've made up some "Christmas packs", and I'm handing them out while I run errands between now and Christmas time (restaurants, grocery stores, hair salon, etc.) Each pack contains a gospel tract, a couple pieces of candy, and a half sheet of paper with the following info:

"Peace on earth. Goodwill to men." That's a popular phrase this time of year. Do you know where it comes from? It comes from the Bible. Many people think of peace as the absence of conflict or the absence of fighting, but the peace spoken of int he Bible is much greater than that. "Peace on earth. Goodwill to men" refers to peace between you and God. It's the message the angels brought to the shepherds in the field the night Jesus was born on this earth. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!" Luke 2:14. It's the message we proclaim when we sing that classic Christmas carol Hark the Herald Angels Sing ("Peace on earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled). Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ was born on this earth. He came here to provide us with the peace of reconciliation with God. That is why we celebrate Christmas.


I have provided two things for your today:

  • A treat (Merry Christmas! Enjoy!)
  • A gospel tract (my hope is that you will read the message in the tract and spend some time considering it today).

Merry Christmas and enjoy your day!

If you have an evangelism idea you use during Christmas time, please share it with me in the comments section of this post.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Book of Acts-Introduction

We attend Bible Baptist Church in Otsego, MN, and our Pastor (Doug Roman) has recently started a sermon series on the book of Acts. Love the book of Acts! I'm looking forward to hearing it preached on Sunday mornings for the next few months in our church. I'll be sharing the link with you as we go through it. Click here to listen to the podcast or to download it for future use. This first sermon is "An Introduction to the Book of Acts". Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/30/11

The book club selection for the month of December is Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. I purchased this book back in January of this year in anticipation of reading it for the book club. I immediately read it and finished it in about three days.

It's an autobiographical story of a young missionary couple serving in New Guinea in the late 1930's and early 1940's when World War II broke out, and they were taken as Japanese prisoners. Darlene spent four years in a Japanese prison camp and chronicles much of that experience in this book. If you have not read any of the book club choices yet this year, please read this one. You will be changed by it (there is no choice in that).

As I've already read it, I will be re-reading it (which I'm hoping will make for timely posts this month), and highlighting areas that stood out to me in the Book Club Wednesday posts for December.


Click on the link below to find out how to purchase this book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Repentance and Faith

I was listening to a 5-minute clip the other day of Paul Washer speaking on the subject of "repentance and faith". I think what he had to say is very helpful for Christians, so I typed it up and share it with you today.

Repentance:
Have you repented? Has your mind changed? Has that change of mind led to a change of the intellect? A change of the will? A change of your emotions? The sins you once loved, do you now hate? The holiness you once ignored, do you now desire? The Christ that you lived apart from, do you now esteem Him? Do you consider the kingdom of heaven to be a pearl of great price. Those are certain evidences that a work of repentance has been done in your heart. Not only must we repent but we must believe on Jesus Christ. It is a recognition that you have only one hope and 100% of that hope is found in the person and work of Jesus Christ. --Paul Washer


Faith: If you truly believe in Christ you have eternal life. But how do you know that you have truly believed? Even if you’ve had some sort of conversion experience, and you felt some sort of peace of God and so many other emotions, how do you know it is real? One of the ways you know that it is real is that it will continue. It is not necessarily that the emotional high will continue but what will happen is that you will continue to grow in grace, you will continue to deepen in your repentance, you will continue to deepen in your faith. Little by little, you will be transformed more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. --Paul Washer

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence, draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:15-16 (ESV)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Evangelism Focus 11/26/11

If you're looking for some evangelistic ideas to use during this Christmas season, I recommend checking out this video from Paul at The Word Street Journal blog. He and his wife, Kim, (and various friends) are out on the streets of Ottawa, often, proclaiming the gospel to those around them. Paul, then, graciously shares those experiences in video form. Evangelists, Christians, don't miss out on viewing this valuable tool.


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday


Today was Black Friday, the traditional shopping day after Christmas. Normally, my friend Kim and I prepare some packets with tracts and treats and head out to the early bird sales to distribute them, but we weren't able to do that this year.

I still wanted to get out in some fashion, so I decided to break out the "Are You Ready" cross. I stood at a very busy intersection in a local shopping complex. I was there for about 45 minutes, and in that time I had a lot of response (some honking, some profanity, some thumbs' up, some cheers, and some indifference--someone even took my picture with their phone, look for me on a facebook near you some day soon).

My goal in standing there was to allow people an opportunity to think on eternal things if even for a few seconds. I pray God used it in that way. I was ready with tracts in my pocket but didn't have a lot of foot traffic on this particular outing (maybe next time).



Upon reviewing of the pictures Greg took during that time: Note to self: Smile more next time. I actually have some good news to tell.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Remember to give honor where honor is due.

I will extol you, my God and King, and bless your name forever and ever. Everyday I will bless you and praise your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised. His greatness is unsearchable. Psalm 145:1-3

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/23/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. Ladies, I encourage you to pick up a copy, read along with me, and let me know what you think in the comments section of the "book club" posts.

This will be my last Book Club Wednesday post on Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild. I'm not quite finished with the book yet, but I've already spent three months on it and will finish the rest of it at a slower pace as to digest it all (I'm in chapter 14 now, 6 chapters left).

I have thoroughly enjoyed the read thus far and would recommend it based on that information. If you picked up the book and read only 14 chapters, it would be worth your money and time. It calls you to think deeply about every area of life as a woman.

If you've read it, please let me know what you thought. I may do a future post on it when I finish it.

Next month, Evidence Not Seen by Darlene Deibler Rose. Please pick a copy and read along with me. I don't think you'll be disappointed.



Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Workplace Musings 11/22/11

I gave this post the "Workplace Musings" title because that is the place where the particular issue I'm about to address comes up the most. It's the issue of blasphemy, using the name of our Lord God in vain. To my shame, far too often I stand by as others blaspheme the name of my God without saying a word. It is far too common an occurrence in the workplace these days.

I was listening to a recording of Randy Alcorn speaking on the issue of the persecuted church, and he suggested saying something like this concerning the subject of blasphemy when done in your presence:

"Excuse me, could I ask you something? Could I make a request? In light of the fact that Jesus Christ is my best friend, He is Lord, and I believe that with all my heart, I would ask that you not dishonor his name in my presence."

A few years ago, I did address this issue with a coworker with whom I spent most of my day. She was annoyed with me (which I think will likely happen no matter what is said), but I didn't address it nearly as eloquently or as thought out as Randy Alcorn presented it in the above paragraph. I appreciated his attention to the subject and the provocation to thought on the matter.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 11/21/11

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa. It was Emily's birthday choice. For supper, she chose ham & cheese souffle (she had that at Panera once and was hooked), cheese curds, green beans, and pomegranate seeds. I thought that was a strange combination (though strange combinations on birthday dinners are not out of the ordinary). I later heard Emily explaining to Ethan that she chose an appetizer, an entree, a vegetable, and a fruit for a complete meal.

For her "cookie", she chose Fun-da-middles (cupcakes with a cream center) that we decorated with lots of frosting.

We also read lesson 59 "God's Children Read the Bible" from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. Emily read the lesson and Ethan read Deuteronomy 11:18-21 from the Bible.

Before the evening was over, we managed to squeeze in a couple games of Zingo.







As usual, a fun time was had by all.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite. Isaiah 57:15

Friday, November 18, 2011

Horrified

Today I leave with you an audio clip from Matt Chandler talking about the condition of the American church/Christians today. He is very passionate on the subject, and you'll find that reflected in the tone of his voice. I think it's worth the 5 minutes it will take to listen to it, and it's worth contemplating the thoughts it will bring to your mind.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Autobiography of God Part 6

Today I leave you with Part 6 (the final sermon) in the Bible Baptist Church sermon series titled The Autobiography of God. The text for this series is Exodus 34:6-7. Click here to listen to the sermon or download it and listen to it at another time. I hope you've enjoyed the series as I have.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/16/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. Ladies, I encourage you to pick up a copy, read along with me, and let me know what you think in the comments section of the "book club" posts.

This week I read chapter 11 titled "Boundaries" (Her Hedges and Precautions). The author suggested 10 hedges to put in place to protect sexual purity (whether you're married or unmarried). The chapter is worth that list alone (and worth the contemplation of such ideas). At the end of the chapter the author challenges the reader to come up with a personal list of hedges and write them down. I really appreciated the content of this chapter.

The information in this chapter is worth reading and reflecting on. If you haven't picked up a copy of this book yet, please do so. If you've been reading along with me, let me know what you think by posting a comment.




Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Workplace Musings 11/15/11

This week is Epilepsy Awareness week. I work at a health clinic, and this week they've been highlighting epilepsy awareness via promotional materials and e-mails to clinic employees.

Here's a brief definition of epilepsy:

Epilepsy is a medical condition that produces seizures affecting a variety of mental and physical functions. It is also called a seizure disorder. When a person has two or more unprovoked seizures, they are considered to have epilepsy. Seizures happen when clusters of nerve cells in the brain signal abnormally, which may briefly alter a person's consciousness, movements or actions.

One particular e-mail I've received during Epilepsy Awareness week contained a list of "famous people" who had epilepsy. The list came from the Epilepsy Foundation website. Two names on the list, in particular, caught my attention: St. Apostle Paul and Vladimer Lenin. In the e-mail they were listed as "successful and famous people who had epilepsy".

Hmmm. I was quite curious about the Apostle Paul so I did a little Google search to see what was being said on the subject. The thought seems to be that the account of Paul in Acts 9:1-9 (But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But arise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.) was describing a seizure. It is also thought that the "thorn in the flesh" Paul referred to in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 was referring to epilepsy.

It seems to me that to believe that Paul had an "epileptic seizure" on the road to Damascus would negate his conversion to Christianity. I also think that saying that Paul had epilepsy (without any actual evidence of it) is taking a modern idea and concept, smashing it into a few details from the past, and then calling it a fact.

I also thought it strange that Vladimir Lenin was listed as a successful and famous person as if he was someone to emulate. Vladimir Lenin founded the Russian Communist party and is considered the father of the communist worldview. An article on prominent Russians said this about Lenin:

Lenin was by all means a great politician, if greatness is measured by the power of will and the scale of damage. He destroyed one powerful empire to create another based on extreme violence. In many ways he defined the development of world history during the 20th century. The first dictator of the century, he was not the last and paved the way for Stalin, Hitler, Mao and many others. However, his victory in 1917 was at the same time his defeat, as his “great” cause was doomed. It took 70 years and millions of lives to put an end to Lenin’s era.

Well, I suppose you could say that Lenin was successful......

I share this in a "Workplace Musings" post as a reminder that, for Christians, all information should be viewed through the lens of the Bible. Just because something is presented in an official capacity and as if it is fact does not mean that it is true or that it is biblical.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cookie Baking Musings

Since I know of a few new readers to the blog, I thought I would take this opportunity to explain "Cookie Baking Nights".

  • Cookie Baking Night happens every other Monday from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The participants are nieces and nephews from both sides of our family.
  • The qualifying Cookie Baking age is 3 years old until they decide to retire (which has been anywhere from 14-16 years old). We've had two move on (retire) from Cookie Baking Nights (they are now 16 and 19) and we have two who will be moving up through the ranks eventually (1 year old and one on the way).
  • Cookie Baking Night has been in existence in our home for about 8 years now.
  • Those who attend Cookie Baking Night join us for supper, then we bake some kind of dessert, we read a Bible lesson, play a few games, go for a walk, etc.
  • On Cookie Baking Nights near birthdays, the one having a birthday gets to chose what we have for supper that evening and what we bake for our "cookie" as well.
  • My goal of Cookie Baking Night is to establish and maintain relationships with the nieces and nephews. So far, so good.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Day With the Nieces 11/12/11

On November 27th, my niece, Kylie, turns 12 years old and on November 28th, my niece, Emily, turns 11 years old. The two cousins requested an activity together for their birthday, so we spent today at the Mall of America. They went on rides in Nickelodeon Universe, spent some time at the arcade, went through the mirror maze. We ate lunch, stopped at a couple chocolate shops, and went on the ropes course.










The above picture is Kylie on the ropes course. It was a course of ropes, rope bridges, and planks reaching a final height of 56 feet above the ground. There were harnesses involved, it was frightening. Kylie has no fear of heights and was experienced at the ropes course. She loved it. Emily, who was talked into the idea, went up the stairs, said "This is really high" and went back down the stairs never to return to the course. I, who have a mediocre relationship with heights at best, spent the entire time trying not cross anything that provided me with only a rope to walk on (such as what you see Kylie walking across in the above picture). I preferred planks if I could find them (which weren't any wider than a an average tissue box, by the way).

It was a fun day together and allowed me more opportunity to establish relationships with both of the girls, for which I am grateful.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Isaiah 45:5-7

I am the LORD and there is no other, besides me there is no God; I equip you, though you do not know me, that people may know, from the rising of the sun and from the west, that there is none besides me; I am the LORD, and there is no other. I form the light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.
Isaiah 45:5-7

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Autobiography of God Part 5

I don't want to leave anyone hanging here, so I commend to you part 5 in the Bible Baptist Church sermon series titled The Autobiography of God. The text for this series is Exodus 34:6-7. Click here to listen to the sermon or download it and listen to it at another time. I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Book Club Wednesday 11/09/11

The Musings book club selection for September and October and November is Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. Ladies, I encourage you to pick up a copy, read along with me, and let me know what you think in the comments section of the "book club" posts.

I just read chapters 9 & 10 about "Roles" and "Sexual Conduct". I love the theology that is presented in these chapters. Mary Kassian does a great job with both of these subjects. I commend this book and these two chapters to you. I'll leave you with a quote from chapter 10 (page 141).

Marriage is about family--a husband and a wife establish a new family unit. Their union produces children. The relationship is a symbol that teaches us a lot about God. It teaches us about the relationship a father has to his children. It helps us understand the relationship between God the Father and his only begotten Son, the enormousness of what it meant for the Father to sacrifice His son, and what it means for Him to adopt us as His children (Romans 8:29, Galatians 4:5-6).


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Evangelism Focus 11/08/11

The above picture probably has little-to-no significance to you as was the same case for me until June of this year. In June, it was discovered I had an infection in one of my teeth that was draining into a pocket in the side of my gums. I was sent to a local endodontic office (thus the above picture), as the tooth was way in the back of my mouth and needed a specialist. This led to a root canal on one tooth, an attempted fix on a root canal on another tooth (everything that goes with a root canal procedure without the success at the end of the day), eventually surgery on that tooth, and many, many appointments to check the progress in between. As I entered this last appointment, I realized I was possibly missing an evangelistic opportunity that only came my way because of these tooth troubles. So, on my way to this last appointment, I stopped and purchased a couple gift cards to a local coffee shop (one for the doctor and one for the assistant), put them in a card with a gospel tract, and a note that went something like this:

Thank you so much for the kindness and care you've shown to me over the past few months. I wanted to take a moment to pass on a token of my gratitude and a booklet containing the most significant information I've ever heard.

There's not a lot of opportunity for conversation in dental appointments, so I handed the cards to the receptionist on my way out of the appointment.

God puts many opportunities in our path to share the gospel (some perhaps a little unconventional). If we keep our eyes open and employ a little creativity the opportunity is usually there (I say this from one chicken to another).

Monday, November 7, 2011

Cookie Baking Night 11/07/11

Tonight was Cooke Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Emily, Ethan, and Carissa.

Tonight involved some special circumstances. Today I had some dental surgery done which ended up being a little more extensive than I had anticipated (no anesthesia, just Novocaine, but several sutures to the gums, which involved icing the area 20 minutes on/15 off until 9 pm). I decided to continue with the planned Cookie Baking Night. I planned a little lower key evening, and gave Emily an opportunity to lead some of the night (she'll be 11 years old in about 2 weeks, and I knew she'd jump at the opportunity).

I explained the situation to all of the kids. They were very understanding of the circumstances and worked well as a team throughout the evening. Emily did a great job taking the lead. We made caramel brownies. Emily read the recipe and took charge assigning tasks and making the brownies.

Emily also read our lesson this evening from Leading Little Ones to God by Marian Schoolland. (Lesson 58, "God's Children Work). Ethan read 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 from the Bible for us.

We ended the evening by watching a video. As usual, though a little on the low-key side, a fun time was had by all.







Postscript:

When I explained the situation to Emily and asked her to take my place for some of the evening, she said, "Okay, if I'm going to be Katrina tonight, I'm going to need an apron and something to make my hair frizzy (hey now!) At one point, I also heard her turn to Ethan and Carissa at the table and say, "How's it going over here, kiddos?" (I'm notorious for calling the children "kiddos"). It was amusing (and humbling) to watch myself being "interpreted" throughout the evening.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Indianapolis

Here's a few highlights from the trip Kim and I took to Indianapolis over the weekend to attend a Revive Our Hearts conference.
We set out on Thursday morning and arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana at about 8 pm that evening. We had supper with our friend, Jewel, and stayed the night with her landlords who had a couple extra guest rooms and graciously offered them to us for the night.

We set out for Indianapolis on Friday morning, about 30 minutes away from Jewel's house (hitting a couple garage sales along the way, Kim has a hard time resisting a garage sale). The leaves were at peak for color in Indiana, so it was a beautiful drive.
We arrived at the beautiful Marriott in Indianapolis on Friday
afternoon. The conference started at 2 pm and went until 10:30 pm on Friday, then started up again on Saturday morning at 8:30 am and went until 4:00 pm.

On Saturday evening, we met our friend
Jewel for supper and walked around Indianapolis.

On Sunday morning we began the road trip back home, arriving back in Minnesota around 6:30 pm.


The conference was Christ honoring and extremely beneficial for future ministry.


The fellowship was sweet (with Kim, with Jewel, and with several new friends made at the conference). It was time well spent.

Cookie Baking Night 07/31/17

Tonight was Cookie Baking Night. In attendance this evening: Ethan, Carissa, Allison, Rylar, and Enzo (and Larry, Clara, and Greg). Tonight ...