Saturday, December 31, 2005

Kicked up New Years Snack

Buffalo Chicken Wing Dip

16 oz. cream cheese
8 oz. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
3/4 c. finely shredded celery
2) 13 oz. cans of shredded chicken (all white)
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese and extra for topping

Soften cream cheese in microwave (5 minute, power 1 on mine), then mix in hot sauce and celery with hand mixer until smooth. Add drained chicken and cheese. Pile into a greased 9 x 13 casserole. Top with extra cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with crackers or tortilla chips.

(Thanks for the recipe, Robin!)

Spagetti Sauce for a Crowd. . .or two

I made a roaster full of spaghetti sauce today. It simmered all day on the kitchen counter while we were taking down our Christmas decorations. Taking down the Christmas stuff always makes me feel sad; but having 40 cups of spaghetti sauce ready for the freezer helps a bit.

Here's the recipe:

Roaster Spaghetti Sauce

4# lean ground beef, browned with onion and garlic, drained and rinsed in hot water. (I used three medium yellow onions and a fist of garlic. Onion can go in with the ground beef, but wait until the meat is nearly done before adding the garlic so it doesn't burn and get bitter)

2 pkg. hot Italian sausage links, cut into rings the size of meatballs (not sure the weight on the sausage but each package had 5 large links--I'd guess something over a pound for each package) Cook sausage thoroughly and cool before cutting into pieces.

1) 6# 6 oz. can of crushed tomatoes

1) 6# 9 oz. can of tomato sauce

3) 12 oz. cans diced tomatoes with juice

3) 8 oz. pkgs. fresh mushrooms, sliced

4 small cans tomato paste

1 tsp. crushed red pepper

Season to taste with parsley, basil, oregano, rosemary. Cook on 250 degrees all day, stirring occasionally. Check seasonings near the end of cooking time and adjust. I usually add basil again right near the end.

Makes 40 cups.

An Evening Prayer

WE THANK THEE, O Lord, for the work of each year, and for the rest of each night. We will lay us down both in peace and sleep, for Thou, Lord, only, makest us to dwell in safety. Keep watch around us throughout this coming year, to protect us against the assaults of the evil one, to suggest to us holy thoughts, to defend us from all dangers, to lead us in the perfect way of peace, and to prepare us for the happy service of a new year. For Jesus' sake.


Rev. John Edgar Park
West Newton, Massachusetts

Happy Hogmanay to You!

Hogmanay: the name, in Scotland, for the last day of the year.

(today's Dictionary Word of the Day; and no, I didn't know that already)

God's Minute

December 31
New Year's Eve

And another said: I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray thee have me excused.--Luke 14:19

FATHER in Heaven, let not our material blessings confound our mind and fill us with a false sense of security, nor suffer us to be enamored by the dazzling prospects of temporal gain and carnal joy. Let us be mindful that the world's chalice of sweet wine is inevitably converted into a cup of bitterness, and that the joy of today becomes the remorse of tomorrow. Thou canst not be denied, O God! All things are Thine, and man is accountable toThee. Grant that we may be faithful stewards of Thy possessions, and that the things of this world may never take precedence in our life over the glorious riches which Thou hast prepared for Thine own from the foundations of the world. If there is any hardness of heart among us, we beseech Thee for the touch of Thy Spirit, that our hearts may yield to Thee in obediance, reverence, and confidence. Thou, whose grace is sufficient unto Thine own, suffer none of Thy children for any cause to depart from the faith this day, but strengthen them, that their faith in Thy goodness and the merits of Christ's redemptive love may remain beautiful and strong. Make us strong according to the inward man, strong in our Christian convictions, strong in faith, strong in our advocacy of righteousness and truth, and strong in our loyalty to Thee. Above all, keep us from dishonoring Thee by any secret or open sin. Through Christ, our Redeemer.


Rev. J.P. Meyer,
St. Louis, Missouri

Friday, December 30, 2005

God's Minute

December 30

The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works.--Psalm 145:9

O GOD, our Father, we are about to enter upon a new day. To meet well all duties and responsibilities that come to us; to resist firmly every distraction and temptation that seeks to draw us from our path; to be utterly prepared for any danger or any crisis that may this day befall us; to be found, when the evening is come, pure and holy--this is our desire.

And we would be friendly with all men; strength to the weak, hope to the despondent, joy to the sorrowing, power to the tempted.

We wait, therefore, our Father, for the coming of Thy Spirit upon us ere we venture into all that this day holds for us. In the quiet of this early morning hour, bowed before Thee, our souls wait. Touch us with that hand which has been laid in blessing upon others before us; speak to us with that still, small voice of power; fill us with Thine own righteousness.

Give us of Thyself, that we may this day so live for ourselves and before men that through us Thy Kingdom may in part come, and Thy will more fully be done among men. For Jesus' sake.


Rev. Seeley K. Tompkins,
Cincinnati, Ohio

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Desktop image

My desktop image changes almost daily. Something strikes my fancy and I'll put it up for a few days, but it never stays the same for long.

This morning I put up this painting by Monet:

Monet's Garden at Argeteuil
Monet's Garden at Argeteuil Monet's Garden at Ar
This picture just sort of drew me in. It reminds me of the part in Les Miserables when Jean Valjean takes Cosette to live in the house with the fenced in garden. That is where Marius and Cosette meet and fall in love. I imagined it like this.

I wonder if Monet ever read Les Miserables. Surely he did.

God's Minute

December 29

For the love of Christ constraineth us.--2 Corinthians 5:14

OUR Father in Heaven, we are Thy children, redeemed by Christ our Saviour and Elder Brother, and we come to Thee in His name. Forgive our sins. Deliver us from all the guilt and power of sin, and from its consequences. Take the love it it out of our hearts. Make our live of Thee to glow. Let it burn out all the dross of evil, and impel us constantly to gracious acts of kindly ministry done to others in the Master's name and for His sake. Give us a clear vision of our ever-present Saviour as an abiding Friend. Grant that we may be trasformed by thus beholding Him, growing daily more and more like Him in the desires of our hearts, the words of our lips, and the things we do and refrain from doing.

Bless with us all others, supplying their every need, and giving them grace and guidance. Make the Gospel light shine out brightly in all lands, bringing peace and spiritual prosperity, and drawing all men to Christ, and together in the bonds of Christian unity and brotherliness. We ask all this, as we pray for grateful hearts, in the name of Him Who died on Calvary.


J.H. Bomberger, D.D.,
Cleveland, Ohio

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Mustafa sighting(s)

Mom's end of the couch

My end of the couch is very popular with the dogs. When Ivy was a puppy and for the first two years of her life, we would snuggle on the couch together in the evenings--Ivy and me on my end of the couch, Tom on his end of the couch. And every day until I hit the couch in the evening, it was her royal throne. Mom's end of the couch.

Since we got Eve in February, there has been an interesting competition for mom's end of the couch. Ivy, by virtue of her position as first dog in the house, claims it as her own. Eve, by virtue of her advanced age and general wanting to be in constant contact with me, not to mention the fact that it is Ivy's favorite spot, desires it above any other resting place. And so it begins--the daily wrangling for position.

Have I ever told you how smart Ivy is? Vizslas are, in my opinion, the smartest breed of dog in the world and Ivy is the smartest Vizsla. She not only thinks, she problem-solves. She plots. She plans. Mostly what she plots and plans is how to get mom's end of the couch.

If ever Eve manages to get the coveted position, Ivy swings into action. There are many tactics. I will share a few.

Eve is on the couch. Ivy goes and gets Eve's favorite bone and chews it on the other end of the couch, just long enough for Eve to notice. Once Eve's attention is gained, Ivy lets the bone fall to the floor, Eve hops down to retrieve it; Ivy gets mom's end of the couch.

Eve is on the couch. Ivy sets up a diversion--barking like a mad dog on squirrel alert. Eve hops down to see what is going on in the sunroom; Ivy circles back immediately and gets mom's end of the couch.

Eve is on the couch. Ivy runs to the kitchen and dings the dog dish until I fill the water bowl. Eve comes out to see what is going on in the kitchen. Ivy never drinks a drop of water, runs to the living room and gets mom's end of the couch. Eve empties the bowl and wonders how she lost mom's end of the couch.

Eve is on the couch. Ivy gets up and dings the bell on the front door, asking to go out and go potty. Eve hops down as I open the door; Ivy gets mom's end of the couch. Eve finds herself standing in the front yard, wondering why she had to go out when she didn't really have to go potty in the first place.

Eve is on the couch. Ivy steals something that belongs to someone in the family--a sock, an oven mitt, a dish towel and runs joyfully through the house until someone notices. Mom goes into action--"You rotten dog, give me that fill in the blank." Eve jumps down to see what all the commotion is about, Ivy immediately drops whatever it is she stole and circles back to mom's end of the couch.

I don't think it really is my end of the couch. . .

God's Minute

December 28

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father, in the name of our Lord, Jesus Christ.--Ephesians 5:20

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ.--1 Corinthians 15:57

OUR Heavenly Father, for all Thou hast given and all Thou hast forgiven, we thank Thee. For every gift of nature, and Thy favoring providences, and Thy great salvation through Christ, we thank Thee.

For blessings within us and around us; for everything by which Thou hast brought good and drawn us to Thyself through all our lives and the lives of our kin; for our power of understanding, of loving, of homemaking, of sharing friendships; for the good hope concerning loved ones who have gone from the ways of earth, and for our own expectation of sharing heaven's joy with them through Christ's saving merit--we thank Thee.

Help us, O Father, to live and work with the cheer of a grateful spirit, overcoming all trouble by the patience of hope and the wisdom of love. So may we share the fellowship of all who follow Christ, both near about us and in all the world.


Rev. William Allen Knight, LL.D.
Boston, Massachusetts

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Our family went to see "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" on Friday afternoon. I loved it! I will not review it here; there are many, many reviews available online--I will only say that I was thoroughly enchanted with the whole production and found nothing that I would change.

The only reason I am even blogging about the movie is that my son, Sam, bears a striking resemblance to the young man who played Edmund. The likeness was not perfect and it is more noticeable in "real life" when one can see the play of emotion and the turn of a head, but I thought I'd share a Christmas morning picture of Sam:

God's Minute

December 27

And He said to them all, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it.

For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?--Luke 9:23-25

O LORD, Thou Whose eye seest everything, even into the secrets of our hearts, and with Whom is all wisdom and power, be not silent to our petition. In our suffering let us observe Thy presence, and, out of pain, teach us submission.

We cannot always understand what Thou art doing with us, but O Thou Watcher of men, make our souls to know that Thou art always just and good, ever long-suffering in Thy mercy. Give us Thy strength to bear the burden.

Teach us that if we would be most serviceable to Thee, we must be marred and hurt and made to bleed. The we shall come forth as gold tried in the furnace, and Thy righteousness shall be our robe, and Thy glory our diadem.


Peter Ainslie, D.D.,
Baltimore, Maryland

Today's prayer seems to fit beautifully with a post I read this morning at Rebecca Writes. If this prayer has resonated with you because you are going through a trial of some kind, please do go visit Rebecca and read her thoughts on God's providential preparation for times of trial. I believe you will be comforted and strengthened in your trial and given a heart to praise Him for what He is working out in your life, even now. And though I may never know who has need of it, I have prayed for you this morning.

Monday, December 26, 2005

A Christmas Tradition

This is Ivy's third Christmas with us and the third year we have given her the same doggy toy.

And this is the third year she has dismantled it while we opened presents. . .

There is nothing quite so happy as a dog who has permission to make a mess. Within an hour, poor "Mustafa", as my husband calls him, is spread from one end of the house to the other.

This year Tom "rescued" Mustafa's head before Ivy totally destroyed it. . .I think he had plans for it. . .

Hard to say where the head of Mustafa may show up next. . .

God's Minute

December 26

We have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.--Romans 5:1

OUR Father, Thou Who sitteth upon a throne high and lifted up, Whose glory fills the Heavens, make us conscious this morning that Thou art not far from any one of us, Thy children. Thou has revealed Thy nearness to us in Jesus Christ our Lord. Help us to see that our selfishness is the only thing that can separate us from Thee. Take out of our hearts every selfish impulse, and fill them with a holy l0ve for Thee. Then we know that there shall be fulfilled for us the promise of Jesus, that Thou, our Father and He, our Brother, shall come in and dwell with us this day. Speak to us by Thy still, small voice.

Christmas day has come and gone. We have given and we have received the tokens of friendship and love. We cannot repeat these gifts every day, but we earnestly beseech Thee that the Christmas spirit may abide in our hearts and in the hearts of mankind everywhere. Take out of our hearts every trace of jealously and hatred toward any of Thy children, and give us the attitude toward all mankind which was in Jesus Christ our Lord. Hasten the day when our ears shall hear the morning stars singing together and all the sons of men joining with the angelic choir in the anthem of the first Christmas morning, "Peace on earth among men of good will." Through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Rev. Frank W. Padelford,
Boston, Massachusetts

Sunday, December 25, 2005

God's Minute

December 25 Christmas Day

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.--Luke 2:10-11

We are filled with joy and gratitude this morning for the gift of the Saviour, Jesus. We are especially thankful that He is not a Saviour afar off, but linked to our nature in the manner of His birth, in childhood, in humility, in love and sympathy. He who saw the light of day in the midst of the beasts of burden when first He threw the mantle of humanity over Himself, has lifted us from the burdens of sin and anxiety. In Him we are glad.

With all the angels who celebrated His nativity we add our voice of joy. With the humble who inquired what these things meant, we still search for the truth of the incarnation. Give joy this day to all people, we earnestly pray. Bless all children, the babes of the land. Be with the poor, and give to us all, and to all others, the spirit of good will and of charity. Bring peace to earth, a reception of the good tidings also. May the gifts of love manifest the spirit of Jesus, we ask in His name.


Rev. Robert W. Thompson,
Pittsburg, Kansas

Yea, Lord, We Greet Thee

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

True God of true God, Light from Light Eternal,
Lo, He shuns not the Virgin’s womb;
Son of the Father, begotten, not created;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

See how the shepherds, summoned to His cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither bend our joyful footsteps;

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Lo! star led chieftains, Magi, Christ adoring,
Offer Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
We to the Christ Child bring our hearts’ oblations.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Child, for us sinners poor and in the manger,
We would embrace Thee, with love and awe;
Who would not love Thee, loving us so dearly?

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Yea, Lord, we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
O come, let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Silent Night

picture taken by missmellifluous


Silent night, holy night
All is calm, all is bright

Round yon Virgin Mother and Child
Holy Infant so tender and mild
Sleep in heavenly peace
Sleep in heavenly peace

Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Saviour is born
Christ, the Saviour is born

Silent night, holy night
Son of God, love's pure light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face
With the dawn of redeeming grace
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth
Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth

Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!

Immanuel, God with us

Sherry at Semicolon has a wonderful blog entry that you really should go read this Christmas eve day. She is meditating upon the incarnation--the physical arrival of the Son of God, "now in flesh appearing." Impossible! And yet nothing is impossible for God.

God's Minute

December 24

His ears are open unto their prayers.--1 Peter 3:12

AROUND this, our family altar, we come, O God, to seek Thy face. Keep us today, sheltered in the light of Thy countenance. Help us to do only the things that please Thee. At every step may we be conscious that Thou art at our side.

We sseek Thy very best, both for ourselves and for those, our loved ones, absent from our altar of prayer. As parents, may we guide our household aright; as children , may we walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing.

Mid the darkening shadows, keep us walking in the light; may our hearts be garrisoned with peace. Fill us, O God, with the knowledge of Thy will in all wisdom and spiritural understanding; make us fruitful in every good word and work. As we bow around this family altar, O Lord, help us to comprehend the atoning efficacy of Thy death, the keeping power of Thy life, and the blessed hope of Thy coming.

We ask Thy presence with us during the day; we dare not walk alone. The tempter is too subtle, the pleasures of the world too luring, and the lost of riches too strong. Lead us, O Lord, in the train of Thy triumph; make us more than conquerors in Thee.


Rev. R. E. Neighbour,
Athens, Georgia

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday. And not just any birthday. Today I turn 50.

When I was in about the third grade, I remember sitting at my desk and "doing the math." How old will I be in the year 2000? What year will it be when I turn 50? 65? 75? I sat there and looked down at my little girl hands poised over the wide-ruled paper and wondered what they would look like "when I get old." I really did that.

My hands are aging. I've gained more than a few pounds. I see the beginnings of silver in my hair and I don't even want to describe what is happening to my neck! Too often now I am stiff and sore for no apparent reason. I am aging. Even so, when I look in the mirror I am surprised.

My grandmother told me it would be like that. She said that no matter how old you get, inside you will still feel like a young girl. She was right. I have no idea how old the girl inside of me is. She seems ageless and yet she seems to be young. I wonder if that is so because that is my "eternal age"--the age I will experience forever in glory. My grandma thought so.

I haven't posted a picture of myself on my blog yet. I don't like pictures of myself--ask anyone who tries to take one! But today it seems like something I want to do:

I don't know what I'll look like 5, 10, or 25 years from now, nor indeed how many years I yet have on this side of heaven, but "whoever" looks back at me through that mirror will see "me" and I'll still feel young. My grandma said so.

God's Minute

December 23

They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Zion, which cannot be removed, but abideth forever. As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even forever. For the rod of the wicked shall not rest upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands unto iniquity. Do good, O Lord, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.--Psalm 125:1-4

OUR gracious Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for the light this morning. Endue our hearts with gratitude and love for the blessings of the past week, and direct our converstation and daily walk through the coming week. May all we do be acceptable in Thy sight. Grant that we may render Thee service that will not only give us joy and comfort, but that our example and influence will lead others to love and serve Thee. God grant that we may realize and appreciate every day of our lives that we own all to Thee and that all the good things of life come from Thy mercy and gracious kindness. All this we ask for Christ's sake.


George T. Jester,
Corsicana, Texas

Thursday, December 22, 2005

God's Minute

December 22

I have loved thee with an everlasting love.--Jeremiah 31:3

OUR Father in Heaven, we would praise and magnify Thy Holy Name. Thy love watches over us, protecting us from every kind of danger, and provides for our every need. Thou dost never fail us. We trust in Thee.

We have sinned against Thee in thought and word and deed, but we come with contrite hearts, confessing our unworthiness, and pleading for Thy forgiveness, through the merits of the shed blood of our Saviour Jesus Christ.

We thank Thee for all Thy good gifts to us, and we pray Thee to accept us and to use us as Thou canst. Bless each of us as we need Thy blessing. And, with us, bless all the ill, the sorrowing, the discouraged, the sinning, and all Thy needy ones. We would pray also for all those engaged in lowly or great tasks for the extension of Thy Kingdom in the hearts of men everywhere.

And now do Thou be with us in our daily task of hand or mind. May we be workmen in things material and spiritual of whom Thou needest not to be ashamed. Gather us home after while, without one missing. We ask it in Jesus' name.


Rev. Stewart Winfield Herman,
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

God's Minute

December 21

I will magnify Him with thanksgiving.--Psalm 69:30

GOD of all mercies, Saviour and Sanctifier of men, we worship Thee, the Triune God, and call upon our souls and all that is within us, to praise and magnify Thy Holy Name.

We confess our sins, but rejoice that they are constantly being blotted out by the blood of our blessed Lord, and because He is righteous, we who have our lives hid in Him are also righteous.

We come to Thy mercy seat with joy and thanksgiving, as we count our innumerable blessings, knowing that no good thing shall be withheld from those who love Thee and put their trust in Thee. As Thou hast delivered us from all perils, sorrows and trials in the past, so we are assured that Thou wilt keep that which we commit to Thee for the future. Enrich our hearts with Thy Word, that we may lead clean, holy lives, and have power to be winners of souls for our Master.

We pray for Thy rich grace to be upon our beloved in our home and elsewhere, and for the world which lies in sin, that Thy Kingdom may come, and Thy will be done, through our Lord Jesus Christ.


J.H. Jefferis,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Why go to Church on Christmas Sunday?

Reasons why we should be careful to attend the Public Ordinances of God by Thomas Boston

1. Because God has commanded it, Heb. x. 25.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." The Lord calls his people to be present there, where- ever it is. Thus there was the tabernacle of the congregation in the wilderness, thither the people resorted to the public worship ; and afterwards the temple. And for ordinary the synagogues under the Old Testament were the places of public worship, the ruins of which the church complains of, Psal. lxxiv. 8. It was the practice of Christ himself to attend these places, as we find, Luke iv. 16. He sends ministers to preach, and therefore commands people to hear.

2. Because the public assemblies are for the honour of Christ in the world.

They are that place where his honour dwells, where his people meet together to profess their subjection to his laws, to receive his orders, to seek his help, to pay him the tribute of praise, the calves of their lips. And forasmuch as all are obliged to these things, all are obliged to be present and attend, and to cast in their mite into this treasury. And therefore the people of God look on Christ’s standard in the world as fallen, when these assemblies are gone, as Elijah did, 1 Kings xix. 10.

3. Because these assemblies are the ordinary place where Christ makes his conquest of souls, Rom. x. 14.

‘ How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard ? And how shall they hear without a preacher?’ The gospel is Christ’s net wherein souls are catched. And it is always good to be in Christ's way. Who knows when that good word may come that may take hold of the man’s heart, and make him Christ’s prisoner, bound with the cords of love? A great number were catched at the first sermon preached after Christ’s ascension, and cried out ‘ What shall we do?’ Acts ii. 37. So Lydia hearing the apostle Paul, her heart was opened, Acts xvi. 14. The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Happy are they that get the deepest wounds in this field, ‘ For the weapons of this warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds, casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringeth into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ,’ 2 Cor. x. 4, 5.

4. They are Christ’s trysting-place with his people, the galleries wherein our Lord walks, Exod. xx. 24. the mountains of myrrh, where he will be till the day break.

Those that mind for communion with God, should seek him there, and wait on him where he has promised to be found. What a disadvantage had Thomas by his absence from one meeting where Christ met with the rest of the disciples

5. The delights of Christ and his people meet there ; for ordinances are the heaven on earth.

Christ delights to be there with his people, Psal. lxxxvii. 2. ‘ The Lord loveth the gates of Zion, more than all the dwellings of Jacob,’ Luke xxii. 15. ‘ With desire,’ said our Lord, I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer.’ And they delight to be there with him, and for him. how passionately does David desire the ordinances ! Psal. lxxxiv. 1, 2.
How amiable are thy tabernacles, 0 Lord of Hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord : my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.’ He prefers a day in God’s courts to a thousand ‘ I had rather,’ says he, ‘ be a door-keeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.’ And again, ‘ One thing,’ says he, have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after,
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple,’ Psal. xxvii. 4. What good news was it to him to hear of an opportunity of waiting on God there! Psal. cxxii. 1. ‘ I was glad,’ says he, ‘ when they said unto me, Let us go up into the house of the Lord.’

Lastly, The necessities of all that mind for heaven require it.

Had the ordinances not been necessary. God would never have appointed them. And sure they are not more necessary for any than those that least see their need of them. these are the blind souls that have need to conic to the market of free grace, for that eye-salve that open the eyes of those that see not. Have not Christ’s soldiers need of them to clear their rusty armour? Do not dead souls need them to quicken them ? Sleepy souls, to awaken them ? They are the pools in the way to Zion, which the travellers to Zion have much need of to quench their thirst in their weary journey.

Surely the due consideration of these things may engage us all to make conscience of being all there present, as God gives opportunity.

God's Minute

December 20

He shall save the children of the needy.--Psalm 72:4

O LORD, our Heavenly Father, we praise and magnify Thy Holy Name for all Thy loving kindness and Thy tender mercy which Thou hast bestowed upon us. Thou hast opened Thy hand and supplied all our wants. We thank Thee, O Lord, that when we were without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly, that He might ransom our souls from sin and death, and give unto us eternal life. Grant, O Lord, that each one of us, now in Thy presence, may receive Christ Jesus as our eternal Saviour. We praise Thee, O God, for the gift of Thy Holy Spirit, Who tabernacles in our hearts, and Who takes of the things of Jesus and reveals them unto us day by day, moment by moment.

Grant Thy blessing, we beseech Thee, upon every member of this household, and upon all our loved ones, wherever they may be at this hour. We thank Thee that "in Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they." Remember in mercy, O Lord, any who are in distress at this time, in mind, body or estate. Comfort all who mourn. Let all the earth remember and return to Thee, O God; let all the kindreds of the nations worship Thee, in spirit and in truth. Grant unto us the forgiveness of all our sins, in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.


Rev. Charles George Smith B.D.,
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

Monday, December 19, 2005

Baxter on Choosing Books

This quote has come to mind more than once today, for different reasons, and so I thought I'd share it with you.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691):

"Make careful choice of the books which you read: let the holy scriptures ever have the pre-eminence, and, next to them, those solid, lively, heavenly treatises which best expound and apply the scriptures, and next, credible histories, especially of the Church . . . but take heed of false teachers who would corrupt your understandings."

1. As there is a more excellent appearance of the Spirit of God in the holy scripture, than in any other book whatever, so it has more power and fitness to convey the Spirit, and make us spiritual, by imprinting itself upon our hearts. As there is more of God in it, so it will acquaint us more with God, and bring us nearer Him, and make the reader more reverent, serious and divine. Let scripture be first and most in your hearts and hands and other books be used as subservient to it. The endeavors of the devil and papists to keep it from you, doth shew that it is most necessary and desirable to you.

2. The writings of divines are nothing else but a preaching of the gospel to the eye, as the voice preaches it to the ear. Vocal preaching has the pre-eminence in moving the affections, and being diversified according to the state of the congregation which attend it: this way the milk comes warmest from the breast. But books have the advantage in many other respects: you may read an able preacher when you have but a average one to hear. Every congregation cannot hear the most judicious or powerful preachers: but every single person may read the books of the most powerful and judicious; preachers may be silenced or banished, when books may be at hand: books may be kept at a smaller charge than preachers: we may choose books which treat of that, very subject which we desire to hear of; but we cannot choose what subject the preacher shall treat of. Books we may have at hand every day. and hour; when we can have sermons but seldom, and at set times. If sermons be forgotten, they are gone; but a book we may read over and over, till we remember it: and if we forget it, may again peruse it at our pleasure, or at our leisure. So that good books are a very great mercy to the world: the Holy Ghost chose the way of writing, to preserve His doctrine and laws to the 'Church, as knowing how easy and sure a way it is of keeping it safe to all generations, in comparison of mere verbal traditions.

3. You have need of a judicious teacher at hand, to direct you what books to use or to refuse: for among good books there are some very good that are sound and lively; and some good, but mediocre, and weak and somewhat dull; and some are very good in part, but have mixtures of error, or else of incautious, injudicious expressions, fitter to puzzle than edify the weak.

Baxter's Guide To The Value Of A Book

While reading ask oneself:

1. Could I spend this time no better?

2. Are there better books that would edify me more?

3. Are the lovers of such a book as this the greatest lovers of the Book of God and of a holy life?

4. Does this book increase my love to the Word of God, kill my sin, and prepare me for the life to come?

The Babe: Creator, Brother, Savior

PROFESSION OF FAITH Westminster Confession, Chapter VIII

Minister: What do you believe about the Son of God?

People: The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties, and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin. He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance, so that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. This person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known.

Colossians 1:15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. 19 For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Come, Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us; let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of ev’ry nation, Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver; born a child, and yet a King.
Born to reign in us forever, now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.
By Thine all sufficient merit, raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Hebrews 2:9-18 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.
10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering. 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“I will tell of your name to my brothers;
in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
13 And again, “I will put my trust in him.”
And again, “Behold, I and the children God has given me.”

14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 16 For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.

Savior of the Nations, Come

Savior of the nations, come,
Virgin's Son, make here Thy home!
Marvel now, O heaven and earth,
That the Lord chose such a birth.
Wondrous birth! O wondrous Child
Of the Virgin undefiled!
Though by all the world disowned,
Still to be in heaven enthroned.
Thou, the Father's only Son,
Hast o'er sin the victory won.
Boundless shall Thy kingdom be;
When shall we its glories see?
Praise to God the Father sing,
Praise to God the Son, our King,
Praise to God the Spirit be
Ever and eternally.

God's Minute

December 19

"O give thanks unto the Lord, call upon His name."--1 Chronicles 16:8

LORD, our God, our Heavenly Father, we come into Thy holy presence as Thy children who would begin this day in Thy name. We thank Thee that Thou hast so revealed Thyself unto us, in Christ Jesus, that we know Thee indeed as our Father whose loving watch-care has been about us all our lives and in Whose keeping we have rested safely in the past night. We thank Thee for the new opportunities that are ours with this morning to which Thy grace has brought us. Make us willing to use this day to Thy glory and strong to so live among men that by word and deed we may bear witness that we are indeed Thine own. Cause us, therefore, to know Thy presence with us, as we go about our ordinary duties this day. Keep us from sin. Should temptations beset us, grant that in the power of Thy name the victory may be ours. And if this day should bring us to trials and sorrows, help us to meet them with courage and that trust in Thee which will cause every experience that life has in store for us to draw us into closer fellowship with Thee. Be with our loved ones and with all Thy children everywhere. Cause the hearts of men to seek Thee, and reveal Thyself in the fulness of Thy love to all who reach out unto Thee. Let the day soon dawn when men shall permit Thy love to right every wrong, and when truth and justice and love shall overrule all the affairs of men. We ask it in the name of Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Saviour.


Rev. Louis W. Goebel,
Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, December 18, 2005

3 degrees in Chicagoland

Hi missmellifluous,

I was afraid you might miss this in the comments. It's three degrees in Chicago tonight.

Temp 3 degrees. Real Feel -10 degrees. Humidity 79% Winds 8 mph.

The furnace is running, running, running, but the house is warm and toasty; the dogs did NOT want to go out to go potty tonight.

What is the temp there in Sydney?

[UPDATE] Miss Mellifluous has shared a link to camera located at The Rocks in Sydney. You can get camera control and look at the harbour, the Opera House, and the Harbour Bridge. Check this out--it is WAY COOL. Thanks, Mm.

God's Minute

December 18

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulcre.-Mark 16:2

A Prayer for Sunday Morning

OUR FATHER: The day brings with it joy and gladness, opportunity and privilege. Be Thou sharer of our joys; help us to see our opportunities; inspire us to magnify our privileges. Thou art the center and circumference of life. The sun gives no light, the sky has no star, the the landscape has not beauty, the flower has no fashion nor fragrance--without Thee. Be Thou our Sun, be Thou our Morning Star, be Thou the Lily of the Valley--the chiefest of ten thousand. Speak to us by whatever voice Thou canst reach us; only speak to us. Suffer no joy to make us forget Thee, no sorrow to make us curse Thee, no tears to blind our eyes to Thee. Come to us by whatever road Thou deemest best; only come to us. Give us that sweetest of experiences, the sense of fellowship with Thee. It is the consummate glory of our faith, the answer to our heart's desire. Push back the protruding world, hush its clamor, silence its call--and give us a gracious peace in this holy day. Carry us to the mount of vision; may we see Thy face. And as we return to the struggling life, may the glow of the Unseen be all about us, that the world may see, even though we know it not. With gratitude we come to Thee; with joy in a full salvation we greet Thee. We pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Rev. W.H. Geistweit, D.D.,
St. Louis, Missouri

Saturday, December 17, 2005

A Virtual Christmas Gift

For my friends "down under". . .

Sunlight on icicles through my kitchen window. . .

Icicles on my neighbor's house. These get HUGE every year and end up going past the middle of the house; must be the pitch of the roof. I took this through the window in the sunroom--you can see the camera reflected in the glass if you look close.

Merry Christmas to you in your sunny clime. . .enjoy the beach for us!

God's Minute

December 17

O Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come.--Psalm 65:2

MOST Gracious Father, from Whom all good gifts come, grant us, we entreat Thee, the gift we need above all others, Thy Holy Spirit to help our infirmities, that our worship may be purged from all unreality. We long to pray to Thee sincerely, but we cannot unless Thou dost cleanse our hearts from the dross of vain desire. Free us from selfishness in our prayers; deliver us from asking for those things that will minister chiefly to our earthly pleasure. Thou must inspire the petitions which Thou alone canst answer. We are conscious of our sinfulness, but cannot be truly sorry for our misdoings until Thou dost move us to honest contrition and unfeigned repentance. We would be grateful to Thee for the mulititude of Thy tender mercies, but it is not until Thou dost grant us a due sense of Thy goodness, and awaken within us sincere gratitude, that our cold hearts are ready to praise Thee.

Our love languishes and dies except Thy Spirit shall quicken it into a living flame. Our good deeds cry aloud to Thee for pardon, if Thou dost not inspire them and purify them by Thine own indwelling.

We would live the prayer life; we would learn what it is to pray without ceasing. To this end do Thou come and dwell within us, O Thou Spirit of Christ! We want day by day to glorify Thee, our Father, and to serve our fellows, even as did Jesus, Thy well-loved Son. In His Name. Amen.

S.P. Rose, D.D.,
Montreal, Canada

Friday, December 16, 2005

Parables for the People

For Allyson


by Rev. Lawrence Keister

In a quiet hour there came to me
A sense of God as good;
More sweet than ever before I knew,
And truer to me than ever true;
So sweet and so true, and yet so new,
The sense of God as good.

In a trying hour there came to me
A sense of God as wise;
Who ruled my heart with a gentle hand,
And lead me away from the sinking sand,
And bound me close with an unseen band,
The sense of God as wise.

In a trustful hour there came to me
A sense of God as near.
My God was great and my God was good,
And came to my heart, and there He stood
While I bent low, as anyone would,
When God, my God was near.

In a holy hour there came to me
A sense of God as love;
And with it came such a sense of rest
As human tongue has never expressed,
But belongs to those who God has blessed
With th' sense of God as Love.

In a happy hour there came to me
a sense of God as life;
A vision arose upon my soul,
The brightest I ever saw unroll;
The vision of life as one great whole;
And God, my God was life.

God's Minute

December 16

If a man love me, he will keep My words.--John 14:23

ALMIGHTY GOD, our Heavenly Father, we thank Thee for Thy goodness, Thy loving kindness to us and to all men; for the health that gives strength, and for the sickness that bring patience; and most of all for the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.

We beseech Thee, give Thy guidance in what we ought to do and in the ways wherein we ought to go, and vouchsafe Thy grace to enable us to walk in them aright. Save us from being so busy as to forget Thee, or so contented as to feel no need of Thee.

Fill our hearts with grateful love of Thy dear Son, our Saviour and our King; and open our eyes to the light, and our souls to the grace of Thy Holy Spirit, that He may come in and take possession and work in us the holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.

O God, be merciful to us sinners as we tread the dusty way of active life, and when the evening comes bide with us near, and give light for the way home, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Bishop Daniel S. Tuttle, D.D.,
St. Louis, Missouri

Thursday, December 15, 2005

An Early Christmas Present

Before the first frost I got a call from my friend and neighbor, Sharon, asking me if I would winter over her two prized hibiscus plants in my sunroom. I warned her that I don't seem to be able to keep houseplants alive for very long, but she figured it was worth a try--after all, if they stayed outside they would surely die. At least they'd have a chance. (Fat chance, I thought to myself. . .)

She brought over two of the saddest looking plants I have ever seen. Sharon is a real gardener--she believes in pruning. These plants were nothing but sticks when she brought them to me in October. Not a leaf on them.

(picture taken in November--thanks to sister Kathy for remembering it!)

I've been delighted that over the course of the weeks they've been living with me, not only have they NOT died, they have put out a full complement of leaves.

Last evening I went into the sunroom to turn on the table lamp and there it was: a huge bud. I was like a kid leading up to Christmas morning, wondering if it would actually bloom and if so, would it be the red or the yellow.

This morning I could tell that it would be red and this afternoon, as you can see, the wait is over! Isn't it gorgeous?

What kind of food are you?

Saw this at Marla's blog:

You Are French Food

Snobby yet ubiquitous.
People act like they understand you more than they actually do.

Snobby yet ubiquitous?! What does that mean? I think I'm offended. . .