Thursday, May 31, 2012

Article - Living Above Offense

(The following is a reprint of a ministry newsletter that I wrote way back in July of 2000. There have been several incidents lately that has brought this newsletter to mind over and over and over again, so, I decided to step out on a limb and republish it here. I pray that it ministers to some. Have a blessed Thursday! All My Love ~Rebecca)

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Once again....this newsletter is very late (as you can see) and we do apologize for that. We have been under spiritual attack for weeks now and it is hard to get into the swing of things and stay there. Please continue to lift us up in your prayers. Despite the onslaught of the enemy, though, we continue to seek the Lord’s will for our lives. As we do, we find that His blessings far out-weigh anything that Satan and his demons can throw at us! Praise the name of the Lord!

This month I would like to take a look at offense among the brethren. As we reach out and minister to those around us, and to those with whom we come into contact, we find that so many people...most in fact...have been hurt by someone within the body of Christ somewhere along the way. As a result, many of these people no longer attend church or participate in any church activities. They find that it is easier to pull into their shell and hide than it is to jump in there with both feet, rise above the offense, pick up their cross and carry on for the cause of Christ. But....you know what? Jesus knew that it would be like that! In Luke 17:1 He says, “...It is impossible but that offenses will come...” He also adds, “...but woe unto him, through whom they come.” Proverbs 18:19 says, “A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city...”

We must be careful in the way that we conduct ourselves that we not become a stumbling block for our Christian brothers and sisters, but what are we to do if we are the one that the offense is against? Jesus continues on in that same passage in verses 3 and 4, “Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him (In other words....tell him so!); and if he repent, forgive him. And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him.” (Do you notice that this is a “Thou shalt?” Not a “You oughta?”) Paul says in Philippians 1:9 and 10 that our love should abound more and more in knowledge and in discernment so that we may “...approve things that are excellent...” that “...we may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”

No...rest assured...offenses will come! And there are different degrees of offense, too! There are those who deliberately set out to stir up strife and tear down the church....workers of iniquity who masquerade themselves as Christians....but who secretly are working with the enemy to undermine the Word of God and cause division among those of the body of Christ. Of those the Word says, “...mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good [smooth] words and fair [flattering] speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17-18) But that’s not what I am talking about here.
 I am talking about offenses that come when Christian brothers and sisters aren’t prayed up and unknowingly allow access to the enemy. The kind of offenses that come when things happen and people get hurt by mistake. Then, of course, unfortunately, there are the kind of petty, stupid little offenses that Satan most often uses to keep us out of church. Petty things like.....”Well! Brother Sew-and-Sew didn’t even shake my hand!” Or “I passed Sister Sew-and-Sew while driving down Main Street this morning....and she didn’t even wave at me! “ Or....”We were gone last week and not one person from that church called to find out why we weren’t there!” Some people get offended over everything! They don’t like the way this is done or that is done! Or they don’t like the person that is in charge of doing it! There is always something that isn’t going to be to our liking....and that’s just too bad!

Folks....first of all....you are NOT going to find a perfect church and I will tell you why. Every “church” is made up of human beings. Human beings make mistakes! Not a one of them is perfect! Then....on top of that...each and every person is different! Different people have different ways of looking at things....different ways of doing things. 1 Corinthians 12:14-26 says, “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee; nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honorable, upon these we bestow more abundant honor; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to the part which lacked. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it.” Not everyone is going to do things the way that you would do them! And not everyone is going to think the way that you think! Praise God! But we can all work together in love and peace and harmony to achieve a common purpose and arrive at a common goal and that is to win lost souls to the Lord and disciple them!

When somebody does something differently than you think that they ought to (or...in some cases....don’t do things that you think they should have done) and these differences begin to surface....when you begin to feel offense rising up within your spirit....remember this: We of the body of Christ are each unique individuals....each made in the image of God Himself. Satan will use those difference to divide and to destroy the body of Christ if we allow him to! Don’t allow him to any longer! If someone offends you...in word or deed....don’t get all upset and feeling sorry for yourself and DON’T go running from house to house gossiping about the one that offended you! Instead....follow Jesus’ directive! “If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him...” (Luke 17: 3) Go to him (or her). In most cases the offending party is not even aware that they offended you! Go to them! Tell them what happened and why you were offended. “...and if he (or she) repent (or says that they are sorry), forgive...” them!

And to answer another question....In Matthew 18:21 the apostle Peter asked Jesus, “...Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” In verse 22 Jesus responds with , “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” In other words....over and over and over again! As many times as it takes! Easy? NO! Worth it? YES!

Today I urge you....get down on your knees and ask God to reveal any hidden anger or unforgiveness that you may be harboring toward your Christian brothers and sisters. Ask the Lord to reveal it to you. When He does...go to that one that has hurt or offended you. Tell them what has happened and ask them to forgive you for being bitter towards them. Then ask the Lord to forgive you. He will do it! And you will experience the sweet release that comes when you allow God to free you of the bondage that comes with offense and unforgiveness!

For those of you who think that it doesn’t much matter one way or the other....think again! Mark 11:26 says, “...if you do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.” For the record....that is Jesus speaking there.

Well, folks! Praise the Lord! We love each and every one of you! Our thoughts and prayers are always with you! Again...we ask that you continue to lift us up in your prayers as well. Pray that the Lord will open up our path step by step before us and that He would make our paths plain and the crooked places straight. Thank you and God bless you!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My Favorite Hen

Silver Queen
My husband caught this shot this morning of my favorite hen, Silver Queen. Queenie is the only bantam in the bunch and she pretty much does what she wants. She flies out of the pen first thing in the morning and free-ranges the yard until she's ready to go back inside. When she's ready she waits for me to go out to check on eggs, then, she follows me around like a puppy. I open the door to the chicken coop and she goes right in. She's the sweetest and smartest chicken I have ever known and I love her to pieces!


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mullein

Mullein Leaves
While out on a wildflower collecting expedition this afternoon I discovered some extraordinarily large mullein plants and brought home a few leaves to dry.

Mullein has been a popular medicinal plant for centuries and has been used to alleviate earaches, swollen glands, asthma, and chronic coughs. It's leaves can be made into an ointment, a tea, or a skin wash.

TO DRY-

1) Collect mullein leaves from either the rosette or the larger second-year plant.

2) Spread a single layer of paper towels on a flat surface in a well-ventilated area. This could be a screened porch or open garage.

3) Place the mullein leaves in a single layer on the paper towels.

4) Turn the leaves on the paper towels at least twice daily or until the leaves are brittle and can be broken easily with your fingers.

5) Store dried mullein leaves in an airtight container.

Note:

- You can also dry mullein leaves in the microwave. Heat one cup of water to simmering inside the microwave and remove the water. Place mullein leaves between paper towels and microwave on high for three minutes. Test the leaves for brittleness and, if necessary, microwave for another minute or two until brittle.

- Mullein leaves will take 5 to 8 hours to dry in a dehydrator. Place the leaves in a single layer on dehydrator trays and turn on the machine.
- You can also dry mullein leaves in the oven by baking on the lowest temperature setting until brittle to the touch (about three hours).

HERE'S AN AWESOME VIDEO ON HOW TO MAKE MULLEIN TEA-






Monday, May 28, 2012

Nesting Box Curtains

Nesting Box Curtains
After reading an article about nesting box curtains on Fresh Eggs Daily, I decided to give it a try for myself. My nesting box curtains aren't as pretty as the ones on Fresh Eggs Daily's site, but I figure they're good enough for a trial run. I didn't even sew mine. I just cut, folded, fastened, and tied. We'll see how it goes. If the girls seem to like them, I'll find a little heavier fabric and make them some nicer ones. (~smile~)

My New Hens

My Six New Hens - Two Are Being Shy Under The Roost
Over the weekend I was thrilled to add half a dozen new ladies to my little flock...six beautiful Rhode Island Red hens. Requests for farm fresh eggs have increased dramatically, so they should make keeping up with my egg customers a little easier now.

One Of My Domineckers Checking Out The New Gals






Memorial Day 2012

Photo Borrowed From My Friend Bev Cooper

Memorial Day Weekend 2012 has arrived and, for most of us, is nearly over. Memorial Day Weekend used to be a much-looked-forward-to-holiday in our family, but in years of late, Memorial Day Weekend has been hard on our family.

Three years ago, it was at the start of Memorial Day Weekend, that our 17-month-old grandson lost his leg in an accident, two years ago...it was on Memorial Day...that my uncle died of a massive heart attack, and, last year, Memorial Day Weekend followed on the heals of the devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, which, being just a few miles down the road from us, and, while it didn't effect our family directly, it did effect friends and families of others that we know and love, and it was just such a horrible time of devastating loss for our entire area. By the time Memorial Day Weekend rolled around last year I was pretty bombed out emotionally, but, as you can read in last year's post, our youngest son, unknowingly, came to my rescue and, for that, I was so incredibly thankful!

Now, today, we are back on track and are planning the first Memorial Day Weekend family get-together that we have had, I think, since my mother passed away nearly seven years ago. As far as I know, all, but one, of our children and their families plan on being there. I am getting ready to make up a recipe of my favorite Kansas City Style Barbecue Sauce so as to prepare a big pan of barbequed baked beans to take along and add to the festivities. My list of what to take along is made and my heart is filled with gratitude to the Lord as, once again, our family is blessed enough to come together. The only thing that saddens me is that, due to the many miles between us, our youngest daughter and her husband won't be able to join us, but, either way, I am thankful that we are able to stay in contact via the phone and computer. Perhaps we'll talk this evening. <3

Anyway, I just wanted to drop in and wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day! I pray that all is well with you and yours and that you are enjoying this time of rest, relaxation, and reflection as, together as a nation, we remember those who have fought and died to keep us free and, in the process, have, officially, kicked off the summer 2012 season. Have a blessed day!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Friday, May 25, 2012

Weekend Picks - 5/25/12

I've had the pleasure of visiting several lovely sites this week and would like to share a few of my favorite posts with you. If you find time over this long, holiday weekend you might want to check them out

1) These healthy homemade fish sticks from The Prairie Homestead look absolutely delicious! I can't wait to try them!

Photo Credit




2) The Thankful Homemaker takes us through one room at a time to declutter, organize, and beautify one month at a time. This month she is working in the kitchen. While it's true I came in a little late, I have run copies of her articles, am making my plan, and plan on joining in!

Photo Credit
3) How about trying your hand at making your own homemade cheese crackers? Eliza over at Happy Simple Living shows us just how to do that! This is another recipe that I can't wait to try! I'm sure the grandlittles will love them!

Photo Credit
4) I love this site anyway, and think I've share links from here before, but this beautiful watercolor block nature journal idea from Handbook Of Nature Study takes the cake! I absolutely love this idea and can't wait to incorporate it into my own nature journaling experiences!

Photo Credit

5) And, last, but not least, how about a recipe for Mom's Raised Doughnuts from Just A Pinch Recipe Club? Don't these look delicious?


Photo Credit


Have a blessed holiday weekend!
~Rebecca <3

Five Minute Friday - 5/25/12 - Opportunity

Five Minute Friday! Where we, as our hostess and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."


Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 
 
Now...for today's assignment....
 
Go! 
 
When I saw today's assignment the challenge of Galatians 6:10 popped into my mind...
 
"As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith."

As I write this I can't help but wonder...how many opportunities have I missed to do good unto others? How many times have I received that gentle nudging of the Holy Spirit to do something kind for someone, only to get distracted by life and fail to do it? It doesn't have to be a big thing. Perhaps it is as simple as taking a loaf of fresh baked bread or a jar of jelly to a neighbor, to make up the $2.00 difference in cash that the woman in line ahead of me is short on her grocery bill, offering a meal to family that has fallen on hard times, or offering a word in season to someone who is struggling in a particular area. Everyday we encounter people...whether it be in person or on-line, and, everyday, along with those encounters, there are ample opportunities to do good. Notice that the above verse says to "...do good unto all men, but especially unto them who are of the household of faith." That means that we are to do good unto all men, yes, but especially unto our Christian brothers and sisters. My challenge to you today is...as you go about your day...prayerfully seek opportunities to do good unto others. Ask the Lord to bring people and situations to your attention...situations where you, through His leading, can make a difference...be it big or small...then follow through. 

Stop!

Have a blessed holiday weekend!

All My Love,
~Rebecca

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Perspective

It's FRIDAY! Okay...well...actually it's Saturday! But I'm working on yesterday's assignment from The Gypsy Mama where, as she puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 
Now...for today's assignment...
 
Go!
 
It's funny how our perspective changes over time. When I was a young girl I saw the world as a beautiful place...enchanted...full of wonder and magic! Every day was an adventure! As time went on life's harsh realities began to set in. The beauty and wonder began to fade as hardship, misfortune, and even death entered in where they were not welcome, and my perspective began to change. I became harder...more calloused...more protected within the walls of protection that I began to build, brick by solid brick, around myself...around my aching heart. In fact, I built those walls so high that, eventually, I became a prisoner in a cell of my own making. And, then, in a moment of desperation, my heart cried out to my God! I asked Him to help me tear down those walls and to, once again, let me experience the beauty...the wonder...the magic of this life that He had blessed me with...and, again, my perspective began to change. Now, while I'm not exactly the carefree little girl of yesterday, I'm also not the hard, cynical self that I had become over three decades ago. Today, I'm somewhere in the middle...reserved, but not limited...trusting, but not naive...cautious, but not unwilling to take risks...especially when it comes to matters of the heart. In fact, there are days in my life today where I can still view the world as a beautiful place...enchanted...full of wonder and magic! And every day truly is an adventure...whether we see it that way or not! 

Stop!
 

Monday, May 14, 2012

An Evening With The Duggar Family


Saturday evening my husband and son and I, as well as a couple of our children and their families, were blessed enough to spend an evening with the Duggar family. The event (A Celebration of Hope) was held at Calvary Baptist Church in Joplin, Missouri.
Amber and Audrey and I
Our Table
Daughter, Amber, granddaughter, Audrey, and I attended a special dinner that was held before the family event in the evening and everything was so special! So beautiful!

Audrey and Her Dinner
Dinner was catered in from The Red Onion and there were special cupcakes from Smallcakes Cupcakery. We (and a roomful of other lovely ladies) had dinner with Jim Bob and Michelle and seventeen of their nineteen children.

Afterwards there was a question and answer session with Michelle. After that, we went to the sanctuary where we joined up with our menfolk and the rest of the family that had come. We were blessed with music by the children before Jim Bob and Michelle shared their testimony. Afterwards there were pictures and book signings.
Grandma Duggar
Duggar Children 1
Duggar Children 2

Duggar Children 3
Duggar Children 4
Duggar Children 5
Jim Bob and Michelle - REALLY nice people!!!
This was one of the most spiritually uplifting and encouraging evenings that I can remember in a long, long time. It was absolutely wonderful!


Buddy, Christy, Liz, T.J. and Sarah With Jim Bob and Michelle
Patrick, Amber, Audrey, Silas, and Isaiah With Jim Bob and Michelle
John and I and Audrey With Jim Bob and Michelle
All proceeds from this event went to the Ronald McDonald House in Joplin, Missiouri.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Identity


FRIDAYS! Where we as, our hostess and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 
Now...for today's assignment....

Go!

Identity - "The collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known."

Identity...

You know her! The woman that always has it together! She knows who she is and where she's going! Everything in her life just falls into place and everything goes her way...always! At least it appears that way...to everyone but her and those closest to her. And that's why she keeps most people at bay. 

What most people don't know...and what she herself and those closest to her (even when she thinks they don't) knows all too well...is that she is suffering an identity crisis... 

"A psychosocial state or condition of disorientation and role confusion occurring as a result of conflicting internal and external experiences, pressures, and expectations."

Over a lifetime she has had too many expectations put on her from too many people from too many different directions...some real and some imagined...and, over time, it has eroded her identity...the real her...the her that God created her to be...and it hurts!

The problem is...there's only One Way to get past the crisis and that is to, willingly and purposefully, lay aside the hurt...the anger...the pride...the deceit...the willingness to hang onto all of those past injustices and wrongs that have been launched against her by the enemy (obviously through the use of those closest to her heart)...and truly forgive them...at first by faith if not by feeling...but forgiveness is the only way. By forgiving them...she becomes whole...complete...real...full of love...and ready to come to terms with her own identity...finally becoming all that she was intended to be by the Lover Of Her Soul! 

"Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a 
quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye."
~ Colossians 3:13 ~ 

Stop!




Friday, May 4, 2012

Five Minute Friday - Real

It's FRIDAY! That means it's time for another 'Five Minute Friday' where as, our hostess, and inspiration, The Gypsy Mama, puts it, we write "For only five short, bold, beautiful minutes. Unscripted and unedited. We just write without worrying if it’s just right or not."

Want to join us? Then be sure and visit The Gypsy Mama today! 

Now...for today's assignment...

Go!

Real. For some reason this is a hard topic for me. The last time I wrote on the topic of 'real' I was hoping that, perhaps, someone out there might comment and say that they understood what I was saying, but no one did. That kind of worried me. Am I really that different than most people? :)

Real. While I often read of others and their very real relationships, I find that many of the people in my world aren't real at all. While they have good intentions, good hearts, and warm, wonderful spirits that are crying to burst forth, they've grown up hard, learned to hide behind a facade, a variety of masks, or a wall of their own making...all in an attempt to fit in with whoever they happen to be trying to fit in with or impress at the moment. Out of a fear of rejection they are afraid to just lay it all out there, be who they really are inside, and be real. The problem is (and I've found this to be true in my own life), while we're busy hiding behind that facade...busy changing and wearing all those masks trying to fit in with or impress all those people...or are out busy building that wall...we're not only keeping a barrier between the real us and others...we're building ourselves into a corner...a prison of our own making. Isn't it time to break down those barriers? Throw away those masks? Be real? 

Stop!