Hypocrite

According to Mark 7, in response to criticism from some Pharisees, Jesus replies:

“Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written:
‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.’ You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to the traditions of men.” Mark 7:6-8

As Christmas approaches, ask yourself, “Am I holding man-made traditions higher than celebrating fulfilled prophesy, the birth of Jesus? Am I truly honoring Jesus through this advent season, OR is my heart and attitude actually far from God overwhelmed with crazy busyness/stress due to traditions?”

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Remember, it’s not  christMAS; it’s CHRISTmas.

Father God, forgive us. We are just like the Pharisees. We tend to proclaim Christmas as a celebration of your birth, yet we push you to the background focusing on our man-made traditions and fanfare. May we have softened hearts to honor you throughout this advent celebration. To God Be the Glory! Amen

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Give Thanks

Whew! What a busy season the past several months have been!

Several years ago, I realized I was taking many of God’s blessings for granted. Quite honestly, I often was not even noticing the numerous ways He was blessing. Noticing and recounting these gifts of grace and joy are not merely for my benefit, but really for God.  You see, God wants us to delight in Him. He wants us to praise Him. He wants us to fully seek Him. By intentionally looking for His blessings and becoming more aware of His everyday presence, I am overcome with humble gratitude and drawn near to God.

God blesses in unexpected ways, and I don’t want to be so wrapped up in busyness that I miss His handiwork! These gifts that bring joy come in all shapes and sizes, some obvious and others minute.

First and foremost, I am grateful for His salvation. I am unworthy of this eternal gift of His grace.

I will praise you forever, O God,
    for what you have done.
I will trust in your good name
    in the presence of your faithful people.
Psalm 52:9 NLT

The sweet aroma and colorful blossoms of honeysuckle were a pleasant surprise; I don’t recall honeysuckle ever blooming mid November at my home on the range. This was a beautiful bright spot in the mostly brown landscape accompanied by gray skies, a blessing from the Lord.

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Encouragement from a longtime friend, an unexpected email asking “How are you?”, songbird choir filling the air with joyful melody, a smile across the room from My Love, answered prayer, a call from a son just to chat, end of wheat planting and harvest, health and strength to help others, the opportunity to live in a country with hard fought freedoms, flexible schedule to give and serve others, beautiful sunsets, starlit sky, a sweet hug, and the list could go on and on because God lavishly blesses with His goodness to each and everyone of us. Take time to notice and give Him praise and thanks.

Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
    Let the whole world know what he has done.
 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
    Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
 Exult in his holy name;
    rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
    continually seek him.
Psalm 105:1-4 NLT

Weedy Mess

My garden has been a weedy mess! The soaker hoses are strung out, but they have not had to be used much. Weeds have flourished, and vegetables have needed pampering because in the past month my garden has endured heavy frost, a blizzard, hail, wind, and rain.

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Yesterday and today, I finally had some time to eradicate those pesky weeds. Between animal chores and running errands for my Farmer, I pulled weeds, installed tomato cages, mulched around plants, planted remaining vegetable seeds, and swept the carpet paths.  Whew!!

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What a transformation! The early potatoes are blooming and second planting of peas are almost ready to pick. It’s much more enjoyable to pick and dig without weeds. Also, the tomato plants survived the frost and blizzard, and they are blooming on strong stalks.

What’s the past month been like for you? Have you weathered some storms of life? Are you growing stronger, or have you let your guard down allowing weeds to take over? It is time to tackle those weeds! The following is part of David’s prayer of repentance found in Psalm 51, and I pray these verses often.

Wash me clean from my guilt.
    Purify me from my sin.
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
    Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
    and make me willing to obey you. (NLT)

RaIn!!

We have been praying for 3 weeks now, asking God to rain on the prairie. Thousands of acres burned leaving ranch land naked. Wind has blown topsoil and sand creating drifts in the ditches. Today, God has answered the prayers of many.

 R a i n ! !

Glorious rain has fallen throughout the day. The earth, like a sponge, is soaking it up as quickly as possible. This has not been our normal spring  isolated shower that dumps rain in a small area and then quickly moves on. This is cell is hovering over us, gently pouring. The weather radar indicates that it could continue raining throughout the next 24 hours or more. I not only celebrate for myself, but more so for friends and neighbors who needed this rain desperately to bring plant life back to their barren land.

Sing to the Lord with grateful praise;
    make music to our God on the harp.

 He covers the sky with clouds;
    he supplies the earth with rain
    and makes grass grow on the hills.
 He provides food for the cattle
    and for the young ravens when they call.
Psalms 147: 7-9 NIV

Thank you, God, for hearing and answering our pleas!

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I hope you will praise God with me, and please pray for these ranchers in my corner of the world that have lost so very much. This rain will cause vegetation to grow, but it will take much time to rebuild homes, corrals, barns, miles of fence, and cattle herds.

Freezing Rain

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In my corner of the state, moisture of any kind has been next to nothing for quite sometime now. Therefore, when the rain began to fall last evening, I was filled with joy even when it did soon begin to freeze.

It rained through the night, and continues as I type. Already branches are snapping from the heavy coat of ice. This harsh pruning is leaving jagged breaks. Sometimes, when God prunes me, this is what it feels like – harsh, jagged, breaks. However, over time, as I submit to Him and grow He smooths out the splintered edges.

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Choring with Hubby was a bit cold, wet, and slippery, but there were many reasons to be joyful. There was a slight breeze to keep the windmill pumping water for the cows, and although the fence is sagging look at how wet the lane is! That field of wheat will certainly benefit from this moisture.

One does not need to look hard to see that beauty abounds!

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He [God] gives a command to the earth and it quickly obeys him.
 He spreads the snow like wool and scatters the frost like ashes.
He throws down hail like rocks.
    No one can stand the cold he sends.
 Then he gives a command, and it melts.
    He sends the breezes, and the waters flow.
Psalms 147:15-18 NCV

PuMpKiNs

With a sure-to-kill hard freeze, it was time to cook up the pumpkins I’ve had setting outside for Autumn decor. Before I get into that, here’s a picture of the monogrammed pumpkins I grew for my grandsons.

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Back to cooking pumpkins…

After I have my pumpkin cooked and mashed it is ready to use in a multitude of recipes – pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, pumpkin chocolate chip muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin custard, pumpkin pop tarts, pumpkin whoopie pies, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin french toast, and the list can go on and on. Today, I’m prepping for Thanksgiving. I am usually asked to bring dinner rolls to our family gathering, so I made pumpkin dinner rolls. Now before you turn up your nose, let me tell you that there is no pumpkin flavor. However, the rolls are a delightful golden color. The pumpkin also adds nutritional benefits to the rolls, and can replace half of the fat called for in your recipe. These rolls are moist, light, airy, and most delish when eaten warm with a bit of fresh butter. I admit; I could hardly wait for one to cool enough to sample!

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I also made pumpkin cinnamon rolls to serve for Thanksgiving Day breakfast.

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These freeze well, so I’ll thaw at room temperature Wednesday night. In the morning, I will warm them in the oven while I whip up some cream cheese frosting. It will be a quick and easy breakfast before we hit the road to join friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner.

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For your enjoyment, here is the Pumpkin Dinner Roll recipe.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups warm milk
2 Tablespoons softened butter
2 cups mashed cooked pumpkin
2 teaspoons salt
5 cups whole wheat flour
2 Tablespoons Instant yeast
5-7 cups all-purpose flour

In large mixing bowl combine salt, whole wheat flour, and yeast.
Heat honey, water, milk, butter until very warm.
Pour over dry ingredients and mix.
Add pumpkin and mix.
Add all purpose flour 1 cup at a time until dough can be handled.
Knead on floured board 10 minutes adding flour as needed.
Place dough in greased bowl and cover. Let rest 10 minutes.
Prepare/grease pans or baking sheets.
Form dough into balls and place in pans. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in size (about 30 minutes).
Bake 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Serve warm. Makes approximately 4 doz.

What is your favorite way to eat pumpkin?

 

Sunbeam

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Seeing these sunbeams radiating through the old barn wall, brought to mind a song I’ve not heard nor sung for many years. When I was a little girl, I remember my mom singing it to me.

Jesus wants me for a sunbeam,
To shine for him each day;
In every way try to please him,
At home, at school, at play.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
Jesus wants me for a sunbeam.
A sunbeam, a sunbeam,
I’ll be a sunbeam for him.
Next time I’m with my grands, I may need to catch sunbeams with them, and then sing the sunbeam song.