A Blessed Sunday

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As I was taking a walk this morning before Church, I saw a few members the deer family that live on and around our property. They were enjoying the spoils of one of our recovering horse paddocks. The image is fuzzy, but I caught a picture of the four of them.

Seeing this reminded me of how simple life truly can be. We clutter it up with so much worry, so much heart ache. Always rushing around trying to do everything on the to-do list. I think we forget that Heavenly Father not only sent us here to learn from our actions and our relationships with others, but also to enjoy the wonderful world that He created.

Even in the midst of our struggles and our trials, the Lord is always watching us and always there to help us on our way. His atoning sacrifice allows for us to give Him our pains and He will wash us clean. We live in a world of turmoil and chaos, but if we have faith in our Savior, there will be no need unmet. He will always provide a way.

I hope that no matter what trial you are going through, you turn to God and give it to Him. He will give you rest and heal your heart. It is through Him that all Light comes. It is through Him that we have hope. Give your worries to God, and wake up renewed.

 Stock-Image-Separator-GraphicsFairy21“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.”

Isaiah 40: 31 (KJV)

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Where Love Is, God Is

by Leo Tolstoy
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IN A CERTAIN TOWN there lived a cobbler, Martin Avdéiteh by name. He had a tiny room in a basement, the one window of which looked out on to the street. Through it one could only see the feet of those who passed by, but Martin recognized the people by their boots. He had lived long in the place and had many acquaintances. There was hardly a pair of boots in the neighbourhood that had not been once or twice through his hands, so he often saw his own handiwork through the window. Some he had re-soled, some patched, some stitched up, and to some he had even put fresh uppers. He had plenty to do, for he worked well, used good material, did not charge too much, and could be relied on. If he could do a job by the day required, he undertook it; if not, he told the truth and gave no false promises; so he was well known and never short of work.
Martin had always been a good man; but in his old age he began to think more about his soul and to draw nearer to God. While he still worked for a master, before he set up on his own account, his wife had died, leaving him with a three-year old son. None of his elder children had lived, they had all died in infancy. At first Martin thought of sending his little son to his sister’s in the country, but then he felt sorry to part with the boy, thinking: ‘It would be hard for my little Kapitón to have to grow up in a strange family; I will keep him with me.’
Martin left his master and went into lodgings with his little son. But he had no luck with his children. No sooner had the boy reached an age when he could help his father and be a support as well as a joy to him, than he fell ill and, after being laid up for a week with a burning fever, died. Martin buried his son, and gave way to despair so great and overwhelming that he murmured against God. In his sorrow he prayed again and again that he too might die, reproaching God for having taken the son he loved, his only son while he, old as he was, remained alive. After that Martin left off going to church.
One day an old man from Martin’s native village who had been a pilgrim for the last eight years, called in on his way from Tróitsa Monastery. Martin opened his heart to him, and told him of his sorrow.
‘I no longer even wish to live, holy man,’ he said. ‘All I ask of God is that I soon may die. I am now quite without hope in the world.’
The old man replied: ‘You have no right to say such things, Martin. We cannot judge God’s ways. Not our reasoning, but God’s will, decides. If God willed that your son should die and you should live, it must be best so. As to your despair — that comes because you wish to live for your own happiness.’
‘What else should one live for?’ asked Martin.
‘For God, Martin,’ said the old man. ‘He gives you life, and you must live for Him. When you have learnt to live for Him, you will grieve no more, and all will seem easy to you.’
Martin was silent awhile, and then asked: ‘But how is one to live for God?’
The old man answered: ‘How one may live for God has been shown us by Christ. Can you read? Then buy the Gospels, and read them: there you will see how God would have you live. You have it all there.’
These words sank deep into Martin’s heart, and that same day he went and bought himself a Testament in large print, and began to read.
At first he meant only to read on holidays, but having once begun he found it made his heart so light that he read every day. Sometimes he was so absorbed in his reading that the oil in his lamp burnt out before he could tear himself away from the book. He continued to read every night, and the more he read the more clearly he understood what God required of him, and how he might live for God. And his heart grew lighter and lighter. Before, when he went to bed he used to lie with a heavy heart, moaning as he thought of his little Kapitón; but now he only repeated again and again: ‘Glory to Thee, glory to Thee, O Lord! Thy will be done!’
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From that time Martin’s whole life changed. Formerly, on holidays he used to go and have tea at the public house, and did not even refuse a glass or two of vódka. Sometimes, after having had a drop with a friend, he left the public house not drunk, but rather merry, and would say foolish things: shout at a man, or abuse him. Now, all that sort of thing passed away from him. His life became peaceful and joyful. He sat down to his work in the morning, and when he had finished his day’s work he took the lamp down from the wall, stood it on the table, fetched his book from the shelf, opened it, and sat down to read. The more he read the better he understood, and the clearer and happier he felt in his mind.
It happened once that Martin sat up late, absorbed in his book. He was reading Luke’s Gospel; and in the sixth chapter he came upon the verses:
‘To him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and from him that taketh away thy cloke withhold not thy coat also. Give to every man that asketh thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.’
He also read the verses where our Lord says:
‘And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock. But he that heareth and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth, against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.’
When Martin read these words his soul was glad within him. He took off his spectacles and laid them on the book, and leaning his elbows on the table pondered over what he had read. He tried his own life by the standard of those words, asking himself:
‘Is my house built on the rock, or on sand? If it stands on the rock, it is well. It seems easy enough while one sits here alone, and one thinks one has done all that God commands; but as soon as I cease to be on my guard, I sin again. Still I will persevere. It brings such joy. Help me, O Lord!’
He thought all this, and was about to go to bed, but was loth to leave his book. So he went on reading the seventh chapter — about the centurion, the widow’s son, and the answer to John’s disciples — and he came to the part where a rich Pharisee invited the Lord to his house; and he read how the woman who was a sinner, anointed his feet and washed them with her tears, and how he justified her. Coming to the forty-fourth verse, he read:
‘And turning to the woman, he said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath wetted my feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. Thou gavest me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but she hath anointed my feet with ointment.’
He read these verses and thought: ‘He gave no water for his feet, gave no kiss, his head with oil he did not anoint. . . .’ And Martin took off his spectacles once more, laid them on his book, and pondered.
‘He must have been like me, that Pharisee. He too thought only of himself — how to get a cup of tea, how to keep warm and comfortable; never a thought of his guest. He took care of himself, but for his guest he cared nothing at all. Yet who was the guest? The Lord himself! If he came to me, should I behave like that?’
Then Martin laid his head upon both his arms and, before he was aware of it, he fell asleep.
‘Martin!’ he suddenly heard a voice, as if some one had breathed the word above his ear.
He started from his sleep. ‘Who’s there?’ he asked.
He turned round and looked at the door; no one was there. He called again. Then he heard quite distinctly: ‘Martin, Martin! Look out into the street to-morrow, for I shall come.’
Martin roused himself, rose from his chair and rubbed his eyes, but did not know whether he had heard these words in a dream or awake. He put out the lamp and lay down to sleep.
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Next morning he rose before daylight, and after saying his prayers he lit the fire and prepared his cabbage soup and buckwheat porridge. Then he lit the samovár, put on his apron, and sat down by the window to his work. As he sat working Martin thought over what had happened the night before. At times it seemed to him like a dream, and at times he thought that he had really heard the voice. ‘Such things have happened before now,’ thought he.
So he sat by the window, looking out into the street more than he worked, and whenever any one passed in unfamiliar boots he would stoop and look up, so as to see not the feet only but the face of the passer-by as well. A house-porter passed in new felt boots; then a water-carrier. Presently an old soldier of Nicholas’ reign came near the window spade in hand. Martin knew him by his boots, which were shabby old felt ones, goloshed with leather. The old man was called Stepániteh: a neighbouring tradesman kept him in his house for charity, and his duty was to help the house-porter. He began to clear away the snow before Martin’s window. Martin glanced at him and then went on with his work.
‘I must be growing crazy with age,’ said Martin, laughing at his fancy. ‘Stepánitch comes to clear away the snow, and I must needs imagine it’s Christ coming to visit me. Old dotard that I am!’
Yet after he had made a dozen stitches he felt drawn to look out of the window again. He saw that Stepánitch had leaned his spade against the wall, and was either resting himself or trying to get warm. The man was old and broken down, and had evidently not enough strength even to clear away the snow.
‘What if I called him in and gave him some tea?’ thought Martin. ‘The samovár is just on the boil.’
He stuck his awl in its place, and rose; and putting the samovár on the table, made tea. Then he tapped the window with his fingers. Stepánitch turned and came to the window. Martin beckoned to him to come in, and went himself to open the door.
‘Come in,’ he said, ‘and warm yourself a bit. I’m sure you must be cold.’
‘May God bless you!’ Stepánitch answered. ‘My bones do ache to be sure.’ He came in, first shaking off the snow, and lest he should leave marks on the floor he began wiping his feet; but as he did so he tottered and nearly fell.
‘Don’t trouble to wipe your feet,’ said Martin ‘I’ll wipe up the floor — it’s all in the day’s work. Come, friend, sit down and have some tea.’
Filling two tumblers, he passed one to his visitor, and pouring his own out into the saucer, began to blow on it.
Stepániteh emptied his glass, and, turning it upside down, put the remains of his piece of sugar on the top. He began to express his thanks, but it was plain that he would be glad of some more.
‘Have another glass,’ said Martin, refilling the visitor’s tumbler and his own. But while he drank his tea Martin kept looking out into the street.
‘Are you expecting any one?’ asked the visitor.
‘Am I expecting any one? Well, now, I’m ashamed to tell you. It isn’t that I really expect any one; but I heard something last night which I can’t get out of my mind Whether it was a vision, or only a fancy, I can’t tell. You see, friend, last night I was reading the Gospel, about Christ the Lord, how he suffered, and how he walked on earth. You have heard tell of it, I dare say.’
‘I have heard tell of it,’ answered Stepánitch; ‘but I’m an ignorant man and not able to read.’
‘Well, you see, I was reading of how he walked on earth. I came to that part, you know, where he went to a Pharisee who did not receive him well. Well, friend, as I read about it, I thought now that man did not receive Christ the Lord with proper honour. Suppose such a thing could happen to such a man as myself, I thought, what would I not do to receive him! But that man gave him no reception at all. Well, friend, as I was thinking of this, I began to doze, and as I dozed I heard some one call me by name. I got up, and thought I heard some one whispering, “Expect me; I will come to-morrow.” This happened twice over. And to tell you the truth, it sank so into my mind that, though I am ashamed of it myself, I keep on expecting him, the dear Lord!’
Stepánitch shook his head in silence, finished his tumbler and laid it on its side; but Martin stood it up again and refilled it for him.
‘Here drink another glass, bless you! And I was thinking too, how he walked on earth and despised no one, but went mostly among common folk. He went with plain people, and chose his disciples from among the likes of us, from workmen like us, sinners that we are. “He who raises himself,” he said, “shall be humbled and he who humbles himself shall be raised.” “You call me Lord,” he said, “and I will wash your feet.” “He who would be first,” he said, “let him be the servant of all; because,” he said, “blessed are the poor, the humble, the meek, and the merciful.”‘
Stepánitch forgot his tea. He was an old man easily moved to tears, and as he sat and listened the tears ran down his cheeks.
‘Come, drink some more,’ said Martin. But Stepánitch crossed himself, thanked him, moved away his tumbler, and rose.
‘Thank you, Martin Avdéitch,’ he said, ‘you have given me food and comfort both for soul and body.’
‘You’re very welcome. Come again another time. I am glad to have a guest,’ said Martin.
Stepánitch went away; and Martin poured out the last of the tea and drank it up. Then he put away the tea things and sat down to his work, stitching the back seam of a boot. And as he stitched he kept looking out of the window, waiting for Christ, and thinking about him and his doings. And his head was full of Christ’s sayings.
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Two soldiers went by: one in Government boots the other in boots of his own; then the master of a neighbouring house, in shining goloshes; then a baker carrying a basket. All these passed on. Then a woman came up in worsted stockings and peasant-made shoes. She passed the window, but stopped by the wall. Martin glanced up at her through the window, and saw that she was a stranger, poorly dressed, and with a baby in her arms. She stopped by the wall with her back to the wind, trying to wrap the baby up though she had hardly anything to wrap it in. The woman had only summer clothes on, and even they were shabby and worn. Through the window Martin heard the baby crying, and the woman trying to soothe it, but unable to do so. Martin rose and going out of the door and up the steps he called to her.
‘My dear, I say, my dear!’ The woman heard, and turned round.
‘Why do you stand out there with the baby in the cold? Come inside. You can wrap him up better in a warm place. Come this way!’
The woman was surprised to see an old man in an apron, with spectacles on his nose, calling to her, but she followed him in.
They went down the steps, entered the little room, and the old man led her to the bed.
‘There, sit down, my dear, near the stove. Warm yourself, and feed the baby.’
‘Haven’t any milk. I have eaten nothing myself since early morning,’ said the woman, but still she took the baby to her breast.
Martin shook his head. He brought out a basin and some bread. Then he opened the oven door and poured some cabbage soup into the basin. He took out the porridge pot also but the porridge was not yet ready, so he spread a cloth on the table and served only the soup and bread.
‘Sit down and eat, my dear, and I’ll mind the baby. Why, bless me, I’ve had children of my own; I know how to manage them.’
The woman crossed herself, and sitting down at the table began to eat, while Martin put the baby on the bed and sat down by it. He chucked and chucked, but having no teeth he could not do it well and the baby continued to cry. Then Martin tried poking at him with his finger; he drove his finger straight at the baby’s mouth and then quickly drew it back, and did this again and again. He did not let the baby take his finger in its mouth, because it was all black with cobbler’s wax. But the baby first grew quiet watching the finger, and then began to laugh. And Martin felt quite pleased.
The woman sat eating and talking, and told him who she was, and where she had been.
‘I’m a soldier’s wife,’ said she. ‘They sent my husband somewhere, far away, eight months ago, and I have heard nothing of him since. I had a place as cook till my baby was born, but then they would not keep me with a child. For three months now I have been struggling, unable to find a place, and I’ve had to sell all I had for food. I tried to go as a wet-nurse, but no one would have me; they said I was too starved-looking and thin. Now I have just been to see a tradesman’s wife (a woman from our village is in service with her) and she has promised to take me. I thought it was all settled at last, but she tells me not to come till next week. It is far to her place, and I am fagged out, and baby is quite starved, poor mite. Fortunately our landlady has pity on us, and lets us lodge free, else I don’t know what we should do.’
Martin sighed. ‘Haven’t you any warmer clothing?’ he asked.
‘How could I get warm clothing?’ said she. ‘Why I pawned my last shawl for sixpence yesterday.’
Then the woman came and took the child, and Martin got up. He went and looked among some things that were hanging on the wall, and brought back an old cloak.
‘Here,’ he said, ‘though it’s a worn-out old thing, it will do to wrap him up in.’
The woman looked at the cloak, then at the old man, and taking it, burst into tears. Martin turned away, and groping under the bed brought out a small trunk. He fumbled about in it, and again sat down opposite the woman. And the woman said:
‘The Lord bless you, friend. Surely Christ must have sent me to your window, else the child would have frozen. It was mild when I started, but now see how cold it has turned. Surely it must have been Christ who made you look out of your window and take pity on me, poor wretch!’
Martin smiled and said; ‘It is quite true; it was he made me do it. It was no mere chance made me look out.’
And he told the woman his dream, and how he had heard the Lord’s voice promising to visit him that day.
‘Who knows? All things are possible,’ said the woman. And she got up and threw the cloak over her shoulders, wrapping it round herself and round the baby. Then she bowed, and thanked Martin once more.
‘Take this for Christ’s sake,’ said Martin, and gave her sixpence to get her shawl out of pawn. The woman crossed herself, and Martin did the same, and then he saw her out.
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After the woman had gone, Martin ate some cabbage soup, cleared the things away, and sat down to work again. He sat and worked, but did not forget the window, and every time a shadow fell on it he looked up at once to see who was passing. People he knew and strangers passed by, but no one remarkable.
After a while Martin saw an apple-woman stop just in front of his window. She had a large basket, but there did not seem to be many apples left in it; she had evidently sold most of her stock. On her back she had a sack full of chips, which she was taking home. No doubt she had gathered them at some place where building was going on. The sack evidently hurt her, and she wanted to shift it from one shoulder to the other, so she put it down on the footpath and, placing her basket on a post, began to shake down the chips in the sack. While she was doing this a boy in a tattered cap ran up, snatched an apple out of the basket, and tried to slip away; but the old woman noticed it, and turning, caught the boy by his sleeve. He began to struggle, trying to free himself, but the old woman held on with both hands, knocked his cap off his head, and seized hold of his hair. The boy screamed and the old woman scolded. Martin dropped his awl, not waiting to stick it in its place, and rushed out of the door. Stumbling up the steps, and dropping his spectacles in his hurry, he ran out into the street. The old woman was pulling the boy’s hair and scolding him, and threatening to take him to the police. The lad was struggling and protesting, saying, ‘I did not take it. What are you beating me for? Let me go!’
Martin separated them. He took the boy by the hand and said, ‘Let him go, Granny. Forgive him for Christ’s sake.’
‘I’ll pay him out, so that he won’t forget it for a year! I’ll take the rascal to the police!’ Martin began entreating the old woman.
‘Let him go, Granny. He won’t do it again. Let him go for Christ’s sake!’
The old woman let go, and the boy wished to run away, but Martin stopped him
‘Ask the Granny’s forgiveness!’ said he. ‘And don’t do it another time. I saw you take the apple.’
The boy began to cry and to beg pardon.
‘That’s right. And now here’s an apple for you, and Martin took an apple from the basket and gave it to the boy, saying, ‘I will pay you, Granny.’
‘You will spoil them that way, the young rascals,’ said the old woman. ‘He ought to be whipped so that he should remember it for a week.’
‘Oh, Granny, Granny,’ said Martin, ‘that’s our way — but it’s not God’s way. If he should be whipped for stealing an apple, what should be done to us for our sins?’
The old woman was silent.
And Martin told her the parable of the lord who forgave his servant a large debt, and how the servant went out and seized his debtor by the throat. The old woman listened to it all, and the boy, too, stood by and listened.
‘God bids us forgive,’ said Martin, ‘or else we shall not be forgiven. Forgive every one; and a thoughtless youngster most of all.’
The old woman wagged her head and sighed.
‘It’s true enough,’ said she, ‘but they are getting terribly spoilt.’
‘Then we old ones must show them better ways,’ Martin replied.
‘That’s just what I say,’ said the old woman. ‘I have had seven of them myself, and only one daughter is left.’ And the old woman began to tell how and where she was living with her daughter, and how many grandchildren she had. ‘There now,’ she said, ‘I have but little strength left, yet I work hard for the sake of my grandchildren; and nice children they are, too. No one comes out to meet me but the children. Little Annie, now, won’t leave me for any one. “It’s grandmother, dear grandmother, darling grandmother.”‘ And the old woman completely softened at the thought.
‘Of course, it was only his childishness, God help him,’ said she, referring to the boy.
As the old woman was about to hoist her sack on her back, the lad sprang forward to her, saying, ‘Let me carry it for you, Granny. I’m going that way.’
The old woman nodded her head, and put the sack on the boy’s back, and they went down the street together, the old woman quite forgetting to ask Martin to pay for the apple. Martin stood and watched them as they went along talking to each other.
When they were out of sight Martin went back to the house. Having found his spectacles unbroken on the steps, he picked up his awl and sat down again to work. He worked a little, but could soon not see to pass the bristle through the holes in the leather; and presently he noticed the lamplighter passing on his way to light the street lamps.
‘Seems it’s time to light up,’ thought he. So he trimmed his lamp, hung it up, and sat down again to work. He finished off one boot and, turning it about, examined it. It was all right. Then he gathered his tools together, swept up the cuttings, put away the bristles and the thread and the awls, and, taking down the lamp, placed it on the table. Then he took the Gospels from the shelf. He meant to open them at the place he had marked the day before with a bit of morocco, but the book opened at another place. As Martin opened it, his yesterday’s dream came back to his mind, and no sooner had he thought of it than he seemed to hear footsteps, as though some one were moving behind him. Martin turned round, and it seemed to him as if people were standing in the dark corner, but he could not make out who they were. And a voice whispered in his ear: ‘Martin, Martin, don’t you know me?’
‘Who is it?’ muttered Martin.
‘It is I,’ said the voice. And out of the dark corner stepped Stepánitch, who smiled and vanishing like a cloud was seen no more.
‘It is I,’ said the voice again. And out of the darkness stepped the woman with the baby in her arms and the woman smiled and the baby laughed, and they too vanished.
‘It is I,’ said the voice once more. And the old woman and the boy with the apple stepped out and both smiled, and then they too vanished.
And Martin’s soul grew glad. He crossed himself put on his spectacles, and began reading the Gospel just where it had opened; and at the top of the page he read
‘I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in.’
And at the bottom of the page he read
 
‘Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren even these least, ye did it unto me’(Matt. xxv).
And Martin understood that his dream had come true; and that the Saviour had really come to him that day, and he had welcomed him.
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The Old Shoemaker

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This video is based off of the short story, “Where Love Is, God Is“, by Leo Tolstoy.
It is a sweet tale about an old cobbler who sees the Lord.
                   
May you see God today. Have a blessed Friday:)
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“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
~Matthew 25:40
 
 

Understanding Proverbs Thirty-One: A Disection

Proverbs 31 (KJV): 

Verses 1-5 explain the state and condition that a man can fall into and is counsel against “that which destroyeth kings”. These verses tell us how men must not let themselves fall prey to the vices in even great men -even kings- find  themselves in ruin and desolation.

The words of king Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him.

What, my son? and what, the son of my womb? and what, the son of my vows?
Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings.
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink:
Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.

Verses 6-9 tell men of the ways they should live. A man’s strength should be put towards those in need. He should comfort the sick and afflicted and be a voice of reason to those who seek guidance- a comfort to those in need. Note that these verses are not speaking of drunkenness, but that during this time strong drink and wine were signs of wealth. It is not the same as we have today. If we were to compare this to our standards it is essentially saying to give those who are at the limit a cause to be happy and to feel like there is life yet to live. Show the poor man that he is of value- the rich man that there is much he can offer. Give him who is burdened a place of comfort and him who is in need of guidance a place to find his course.

Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction.
Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy.
Verses 10-12
Here we read that the worth of a woman who’s heart is set on God is far beyond any earthly value. It is very clear that a virtuous woman is honest, strong, good willed, protective, and is the support of any well respected man.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.
12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

Verses 13-22
 Such a woman is hard working, knows how to be resourceful in caring for her family, can run a household responsibly, uses the most of the time given to her, and is sure to take care of those that rely on her. The work is hard, but she is willing and capable to doing what is needed. She is knowledgeable about not only her work, but also the work of men. She is therefore able to step in if it is needed for her to bring income as well. She knows quality when she sees it, and knows how to be prepared for whatever challenge comes before her. When it says that “…all her household are clothed in scarlet…her clothing is silk and purple…”, the reference is that a godly woman knows how to provide raiment that is clean and well taken care of- not necessarily that her family is wealthy (as is implied by silk and purple), but that she knows how to make her family clean and exceptionally presentable.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.
14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.
15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.
16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.
17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.
18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.
19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.
20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.
22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

Verse 23
Many people misunderstand the meaning of “her husband is known in the gates”. This reference does not mean that the gate keeper of the city knows who her husband is. During the time this was written, “the gates” were not the gates we think of today. “The gates” was similar to the town council. So when we read it with that understanding, “Her husband is known in the town council, when he sitteth among the elders of the land” it makes a bit more sense- it conveys that he is a man of influence in the community, rather than a man who is known for coming and going through the city gate.
*** This also is applied when we think of “the gates of heaven” if we take the meaning of gates as that of a council, rather than thinking we are approaching big giant gates with an angel standing guard, we think of a council of angels waiting to welcome people home.***

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

Verses 24-26
As we just learned that the husband of a virtuous woman is well respected and revered in their community, we continue to learn that not only is he well received, but that her strong morals and convictions cause her to be the one people come to for comfort, support and guidance. While he is working to build the community and uphold the laws of the land, she keeps a welcoming spirit for those in need of comfort, guidance, and a kind word.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.
25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.
26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

Verses 27-28

This type of woman keeps an orderly house, she does not shirk the work onto others unnecessarily. Her children love and respect her, and her husband cherishes her for her good works.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

Verses 29-31
 As this chapter is counsel from a mother to her son, she is telling him to look at all the good women in the world, but that a godly man sees the best of the godly women and that is what he should be striving for. She tells him that it doesn’t matter how popular she is with the “in crowd” and that it doesn’t matter how physically beautiful she is. What matters is that she loves the Lord and works to please Him. That if she can do that, then the work she does will only bring goodness and that she will be honored at the gates of heaven (remember sort of like Heaven’s welcoming committee). She will see the good that she was able to do and give glory to the Lord, and in return she shall be blessed for it.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.
30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

And that is the woman that king Lemuel’s mother wants him to find- a woman whose good works shine the Light of the Lord brighter than any star. Isn’t that the wish that any godly mother wants for her godly son? That he find a woman with her heart centered on Christ, and a backbone strong enough to do the work the Lord has given her?

These women do exist. But they only exist in those who are willing to make the commitment. Every woman can be as this picture. No matter your past or your present, it is your future that you control. And the Lord knows that this standard is not possible alone. That is why He came and atoned for our sins and transgressions. He died, and lives, that we might find ourselves and do His works at any stage in our lives. The choice is before us, and everyone will fail in fully meeting the standard every single day. But that is why He is here- to help us where we fall short. He is there to give us strength so that others will have a light shining for them in the darkness of their struggles.

This chapter is often quoted, often recited, often referred to. But the counsel in this chapter is often set to the side, and the thought of “I can never be that” is replaced where the charge is meant to be held close. It is the ideal for the perfect woman, and that is where the doubt of worth sets in. The Lord does not set a standard so we can fail. He sets a standard so that we can excel. This chapter is not a list of everything a woman is not doing but should- it is an encouragement to get on your feet and do good in the world. It is the assurance that through faith and hard work, good things will come. It is not a checklist of things that must be done.

It is a challenge for women to become everything the Lord wants them to be. He is saying: Here is a list of what you can be, and what I want for you- Follow me and I will help you to become what it is you are meant to be; I will help you do what you are meant to do. It is encouragement to keep striving and learning and doing.

So when you read this chapter don’t lose hope. Don’t get down on yourself because of the seemingly insurmountable list of everything a good woman should be and everything she must do. Remember that you can be this person. With the Lord’s help, you can become a this and more. Whether you are married or not- living a picturesque life or not, in a place of fair weather or in a tempest of horrid winds- relying on the Lord will bring your strength and comfort. He has a wonderful plan for each of His children. We just need to let Him do His work. If we can let Him do that, then there is no limit to the trials we can endure and the Light we can bring.

Spring Lambs

One of the new animal species we are caring for this spring are Market Lambs.
We got two cross-breds for the littles to use as a 4H project this year.
The pictures below are from the first week or so that we got  the lambs.
They are sweet little things. I like sheep. There is such a peace about them.
 Rose and Sweetheart the day we brought them to the barn.
Rosie before her bath.
 after her bath
Freshly Shorn
 The next day. They are such sweet little market lambs.
August will be an interesting adventure for their precious caretakers.
Having taken care of these animals for almost a month now, it seems strange to think that we’ve never taken a project like this on before. It is interesting to watch and sit with them when they are calm. I have always had a soft spot for sheep, probably because they are mentioned so much in the Word, but now that we are keeping them I can’t help but think how much I like the animals. They are skittish, excited, curious, frightened, and calm all at the same time. I think I would be very ok keeping and caring for this species of livestock for a very long time. They simply bring peace and balance.
Have you kept livestock before? What is your favorite species and why?

Holy Week and Good Friday

SO….This might be slightly late, but I finally finished it before the end of Holy week *GRIN*

In most Judea-Christian the week of Passover is recognized as a special week. It is a week of celebration and gratitude to the Most High for “passing over” the homes of the faithful and sparing the sons of those who followed Jehovah during the time of Moses. Such was a symbol to the Children of Israel that God would send His first-born Son to sacrifice himself for the sins of the world.

Exodus 12:
     “And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, this month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house…your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: and shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assemble of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. And they shall take the blood and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; and with bitter herbs they shall eat it…for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgement: I am the Lord. And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt. And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations…”

This passage in Exodus explains the event of the Passover and the establishment of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

It was during the week of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, that Christ Jesus came to Jerusalem.

We read in Luke 19:
“And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And if came to pass, when he was  come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him. And they that were sent went their way, and found even as he had said unto them. And as they were loosing the colt, the owners thereof said unto them. Why loose ye the colt? And they said, The Lord hath need of him. And they brought him to Jesus and they cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way.And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen’ Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: Peace in heaven. and glory in the highest.”

It was this event that marked the fulfillment of the Prophecy: The Son of God rode through the Gates of Jerusalem. This is the event that we celebrate on Palm Sunday, one week before the celebration of His resurrection.

The same week that God’s Mercy in the passover is celebrated, so do we celebrate His redemption for His people.

Today we remember the Passion and Crucifixion of our Savior. He established the blessing of the Sacrament(Communion), was betrayed by Judas Iscariot, and sold for a price less than that of a slave.

Matthew 26:
“Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests. And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.”

He prayed and bled in the Garden, taking our sins as His own. He was sold at taken to Caiaphas, the priest, then brought before Pilate, and crucified in the place of Barabbas. He was then set on the cross between the murderer and the thief. He was mocked, scorned, and bathed in vinegar.

Luke 23:
“And when they were come to the place that was called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the male factors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying He saved others; let him save himself, if he be the Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, and saying, if thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription was also written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

But even in His last moments, Christ forgave the murderer who was contrite and broken. He granted him peace and eternal life.

 Luke 23:
“And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, if thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

And then, as He said, it was done.

Luke 23:
“And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.  And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying Certainly this was a righteous man.”

It is today that we commemorate His death. We give praise and thanks to our Savior for His sacrifice and His Atonement for our sins.

However, it is not in his death that we celebrate. It is in His Life.
Through Him we have forgiveness, mercy, charity, and the opportunity to be pure.
However, only through Him breaking the bonds of death, and rising again the third day, can we truly have cause for celebration. In mortality He died, in Exaltation He rose again and fulfilled His promise for us to all have eternal life and Salvation in Heaven.

May you remember Him in your thoughts- not just this weekend, but everyday. Remember His miracles, He blessings, His sacrifice, and His Life. We have a living God. And through Him all things just and righteous are made possible. Only through Him can all men be made free.

God Bless you.

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"Every Heart Beats True ‘Neath the Red, White, and Blue" -berry Cobbler that is…

What says “Americana-Summer” more than a blueberry cobbler? It is yummy fresh out of the oven, or room temperature the day after. A cobbler consists of a thick crust and fruit filling. This specific recipe does not use the traditional biscuit-like crust. It does however, layer the fruit between a flour based, butter crust which still allows it to be considered a cobbler.  During the time of its invention, the Pilgrims that came to America would  alter the traditional family recipes to fit their new environment. If ingredients in the recipes weren’t available, they would improvise. This led to the diversity of the many different recipes.  Similarly, the lack of consistent ingredient availability made way for other delicious culinary creations. A single recipe could have been used for cobblers, crumbles, pan-dowdies, crisps, Betties, buckles, crumbles, grunts, slumps, sonkers, and many other cobbler-like dishes.
I hope that you enjoy this recipe!
Blueberry Cobbler- Leinbach Family Recipe

Crust:                                                 Filling:
1 c. Hazelnuts                                     ½ c. granulated sugar
2 c. All- purpose flour                         1 ½ TB cornstarch

½ c. granulated sugar                          1quart of canned Blueberries
¾ c. chilled butter cut into pieces
Preheat oven to 450F. In a food processor, process nuts until finely ground. In a large bowl, mix nuts, flour, sugar, and cut in butter until the mixture crumbles. In a separate bowl, mix the berries, sugar and cornstarch until the berries are evenly coated. Press half of the mixture into the bottom of the pan. Evenly spread the filling over the crust and sprinkle the second layer of crust over the top. Bake until the top is golden (Approx 30min).

Let cool and serve warm.

Christmas Kringle

The other day one of our wonderful friends stopped by for a visit. She brought us the most delicious Kringle. She was given the recipe many years ago by a German family who brought it to America when they immigrated, and it has become an iconic Christmas pastry to all those who know our friend. I hope that you enjoy today’s yummy treat!

 
 
Christmas KRINGLE

Bottom Layer:
1 cup flour
½ cup butter or margarine
2 Tbs ice water (may need a small amount more)
 
Cut butter or margarine into flour (same as pie crust) until pea sized. 
Add ice water and form into two balls.  May need to add a bit more water.
Pat out each portion on a baked cookie sheet 3” wide by 12” long.

Top:

1   cup water
½  cup margarine or butter

Bring to boil in medium saucepan.  Remove from heat

Add

1 cup flour, stir until smooth
3  eggs, Stir in one at a time, with heavy spoon or rubber scraper until smooth and mixture is consistent throughout.

Add

½  tsp Almond extract, mix well
Divide mixture in half and spread over bottom layer.

Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes

Frosting can either be put on while still warm as a glaze or wait until pastry is cool and frost.

Frosting:

1 cup powdered sugar                                         

½  tsp almond extract
2 Tbs. butter or margarine
    Small amount of Milk to thin for spreadable consistency

Optional:

Sprinkle sliced almonds over frosting, and decorate with colored sugar

Cut each pastry in half lengthwise, then in 1 – 2 inch diagonal strips width wise.

From the Kitchen of Brenda Werrett

 

 

A New Way to Follow Sew What’s Cookin’!

The last couple of months have been very busy. However, a pinterest account has been started and built up which is full of fun ideas for the Holidays and for all seasons. You will find craft ideas, stocking stuffers, DIY projects, Sewing tips, and recipes.
Follow us on Pinterest!!!

http://pinterest.com/sewwhatscookin/

If you follow the boards, your boards will be followed back!

Just because money is tight, that doesn’t mean that gifts have to stop.
Items can be repurposed, re-created, and can be the most meaningful gifts of the season.

Do not let hard times make you feel inadequate. It isn’t about the stuff. It’s about the Spirit.
It’s isn’t about the gimmes it’s about celebrating the Savior by loving others.

May your Soul be given peace and joy as December brings many new adventures!

Luke 2:10

Kicking off the Holidays

Isn’t Thanksgiving a wonderful way to kick-off the holiday season?
Thursday was a day filled with giving thanks for the wonderful blessings God has given us.
The Lord’s bounty is upon every person who seeks His love. It is such a wonderful gift.

Christmas is a time to remember the birth of our Savior. It is a time of sharing and reverence for His Glory. To celebrate and ring in the Christmas Spirit, the blog will feature a series of holiday themed posts, yummy recipes and fun craft ideas. The hope is that these ideas will inspire you to serve and share your joy with those around you.

Below is a wonderful video to help us all remember the true Spirit of the Season!

May God bless you.