Ending Is Beginning

December 29, 2009 at 6:42 pm (Family, Friends & Ministry, Godly Living, Vignettes) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

Posted by Abigail

Yesterday, my Mom and I crept in late to the funeral of a woman we had never met. Actually, she was the mother-in-law of a friend, and we had come to show support to the family. In front of us a lady folded a handkerchief around her finger and dabbed at her eyes.

Several months ago, Marlene’s Doctor had told her she had the silent killer: cancer. He gave her only a few months to live, without treatment. “It’s okay,” she said. “It’s right.” Without a complaint, she accepted from the Lord that He was calling her home and refused any treatment. She was ready to go. “Herman the Vermin,” she named her enemy—cancer—and she looked to Jesus for certain release. On Christmas Day, at her son’s home, Marlene shed her earthly body and went to be with Jesus.

I looked at this woman’s beautiful paintings and wood-burnings, listened to the stories others shared, watched the slideshow of her life and listened to the notes she had written in her Bible. A hunger, a thirst for the Lord. A longing to be with Him. Even as an older widow, the preacher recounted how she had enthusiastically wanted to be part of an evangelistic team. In a letter she’d left in her Bible, she had expressed that she didn’t know how much longer she had, but she wanted to serve—the Lord and others.

As I listened, I struggled to understand. Why did the Lord allow this woman who loved Him to linger so long between this world and that better one? Why the dark cloud of certain doom? Why the struggle for her family as they watched her fading away? Perhaps, her attitude in suffering brought the glory back to the Lord. As the glory departed from her earthly temple, the glory of God shone more brightly to those left behind. Everyone I mentioned her name to had one thing to say: “Miss Marlene was a godly woman.”

Miss Marlene spent her life learning that “to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

How fitting. As one year draws to a close, we find we are beginning another. As Miss Marlene’s life ended, we are reminded that it is not an end—but a beginning. In life, with Christ, ending is always a beginning. Life with Christ begins with an end—an end of living for self and sin, of being enslaved to that which would destroy us. The end of every day brings us to the beginning of another—with new mercies and new grace. And when we come to the end of life, we discover that we are only beginning—to live. The end of the world marks the beginning of Christ’s eternal reign. Every fairy-tale finishes with the words “The End” but in God’s eternal story, “The End” marks the beginning.

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Famous Oatmeal Cookies

December 22, 2009 at 4:59 pm (Counter Culture) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

counter-culture

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shortening, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 egg

1/4 cup water

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup sifted all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 cups uncooked oats

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat shortening, sugars, egg, water and vanilla together until creamy.  Sift together flour, salt and soda, add to creamed mixture, blend well.  Stir in oats.

Drop by teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 12-15 minutes.  Can add raisins or chocolate chips.

Enjoy!



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Leftover Pie!

December 10, 2009 at 9:46 am (Homemaking, The Domestic Economy) (, , , , , , , , , )

When Nathaniel was out of town for a couple of days I wasn’t very motivated to cook for just one person. Fortunately, I had made a huge batch of taco meat (5 lbs) before he left. We had tacos at least twice, then I figured I’d munch on it the rest of the week while he was gone. But after about 3 days of taco meat, I began to have mixed feelings.

So, I decided to make use of the leftovers in my fridge—using them to jazz up my taco meat. I had some creamy corn leftover from a church function, some rice from stir-fry night, and some green onions just begging to be eaten. Toss in a can of beans and cream of mushroom soup, top with cheese, bake, and voila! A new meal! I was even able to mix it all in the pan—so very few dishes to clean! This filled a 13 x 9 inch baking dish…so I’m not sure what I’ll do when I’m tired of my taco meat in this form…freeze it???

This was fun and just reminded me of a tip I could share on living frugally. Since the baby has arrived, it’s been a challenge to keep up with normal household responsibilities. I asked and Nathaniel agreed that I could cook in bulk and we could eat the same thing for several days in a row if necessary. This saves me time and money. Eventually, I’ll turn this into cooking in bulk and dividing into portions to freeze so we have a greater variety during the week. But for now, this works, and works well. And it has given me lots of opportunities for making “Leftover Pie”. In the past I’ve been less-than-praiseworthy when it comes to using up items in the fridge before they go bad. This has been a fun way to avoid that! Having a few cans of cream of mushroom soup, corn, beans, and other staples on hand means you can stretch out just about anything!

What kind of “Leftover Pie” have you made lately???

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Fire and Light

December 8, 2009 at 4:38 pm (Food for Thought) (, , , , , , , , , , )

food-for-thought

Chew on this…

Remember this.  When people choose to withdraw far from a fire, the fire continues to give warmth, but they grow cold.  When people choose to withdraw far from light, the light continues to be bright in itself but they are in darkness.  This is also the case when people withdraw from God.  ~Augustine

…and tell us what you think.

thess-5

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Prisoner Alert

December 4, 2009 at 1:15 am (Announcements) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Here in the “land of the free and the home of the brave”, we’ve been horrified by just how quickly our freedoms can be torn away. We’ve seen a smackling of persecution and we’re shocked. But ladies, persecution is a reality for Christians worldwide. Christ promised that, just as He was rejected, hated and even killed, so His followers would be rejected, hated and even killed. Ostracized. Marginalized. Relegated. Legislated. Sent like sheep to the slaughter for His sake.

So far, we have experienced basically nil. Regardless of rising anti-Christian sentiment in the U.S. it is still one of the most religiously tolerant countries in the world. Across the globe, our brothers and sisters are suffering much worse things than negative press. Caught up in our lives of luxury and ease, it’s easy to forget our brothers and sisters who, along with Paul, are “filling up the sufferings of Christ.”

Soon, we may be joining them in a battle against the temptation to deny Christ. When the Voice of the Martyrs magazine arrived today, it featured a story of two young Iranian women, imprisoned for refusing to deny Christ—the head of the body in which we are all members. When one part of your body is wounded, the rest of your body rushes to its aid. We still have much freedom, and while we do, we should be reaching out to our suffering sisters. VOM is committed to uniting suffering Christians and those of us who are at ease. Through voluntary support they send needed supplies and literature into hostile areas—even seeking to evangelize Jihad terrorists. Recently, they’ve launched a great website to make it easy for you to offer encouragement, support and even plead with government officials for the release of Christian captives. Check out Prisoner Alert and see how you can help—from your safe home.

Ladies, many of you have time to do some web surfing. Many of you have time to write e-mails or catch up with friends on Facebook and Twitter—or even to meet new people online. Can’t you take the time to visit the site, read the stories of your suffering brothers and sisters and send them your love and Christ’s?

“Remember the prisoners, as though in prison with them, and those who are ill-treated, since you yourselves also are in the body.” ~Hebrews 13:3

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Remember the Prisoners

December 2, 2009 at 7:02 pm (Poetry) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Could I erect a monument to my suffering brethren
I’d kneel before it, kiss the marble, shed some tears
Then turn and walk away

So removed from agony as life is far from death
I look, I hear, I close my eyes and weep and pray
Until my comfort fades their pain

To me their pain is words printed on glossy
Bold italic prayer line news
And pictures

Starvation is a word that makes my stomach growl
And shrunken limbs bring gratitude for plenty
But a full belly soon forgets

A little pain can make me feel for suffering brothers
And for a moment rising prayers can bridge the gap
Soon their pain is past my mind

To me their pain is words printed on glossy
Bold italic prayer line news
And pictures

To them it’s breathing down their collars
Creeping up their mind and heart
And engulfing.

Copyright 2006 by Abigail

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