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Christmas Card Signatures – The Proper Way

Have you ever wondered how to properly sign a Christmas card?

Did you even know there was a proper way? Well, there is and here’s instruction on how to do those Christmas card signatures the right way.

Adding a personal touch to a Christmas card makes the recipient feel special.
Adding a personal touch to a Christmas card makes the recipient feel special.

Part of the celebration of Christmas is the sending of Christmas cards to family and friends. This is to spread joy and cheer to those we care about whether near or far.

The first Christmas cards were published around 1843 by a London company. Later, other European companies took up the trend and published a variety of cards. Eventually, the cards were sold across the Atlantic in the United States.

At first Christmas cards were handwritten notes. Now, since the publication of cards, most are purchased from stationery and department stores or specialty ordered online. However, no matter how they are printed, there is a proper way to sign the cards.

Instructions for Christmas Card Signatures

If the card is to be printed or engraved then the person or persons sending the card should start the message with their name/s first.

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe send you Christmas greetings…

If the card is not printed or engraved then the message is given first. The person or persons sending the card should place their names at the bottom of the card (after the message).

May you have the merriest Christmas ever.

Mr. and Mrs. John Doe

If the sender/s wish to have all family members listed then the father’s name should come first, wife second, then the children’s names in order.

John, Mary, Richard, Tom, and Sally Doe

Christmas cards from businesses should be sent from the business not the owner or chief operating officer.

The Doe Lawyer Firm sends warmest wishes… or

The Regal Tire Company wishes you a Merry Christmas…

Enclose a photo, bookmark, or hand-crafted item to send extra cheer to your personal friends.
Enclosing a photo, bookmark, or home crafted item will send added cheer to those personal friends you wish to include on your mailing list.

Remember to place your card in an appropriately sized envelope. Affix the proper postage.

Return addresses are appreciated by the postal service even though tradition neglects this step.

Many charities send seals at Christmas time. If you approve of their cause, then use the seals to brighten up your envelope.

Due to the recent restrictions on holiday activities, I pray your cards add some encouragement to those on this year’s mailing list.

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  Matthew 2:10

2020 by Peggy Clark

Thanksgiving Activity Your Family Will Enjoy

The turkey has been a well-loved symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States.
The turkey has been a well-loved symbol of the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. (Public domain postcard available from Vintage.com)

It’s early November and already social media is filled with brag shots of Christmas trees decorated to the hilt.

But what about Thanksgiving?

Have we forgotten the season of gratitude?

Have we forgotten to be thankful for the blessings that we have received throughout the previous year?

One Thanksgiving Activity I’m Sure Your Family Will Enjoy

Here’s one idea for ‘putting up the tree’ that keeps the Gratitude Attitude going for just a wee bit longer especially before the Christmas season hustle and bustle arrives.

Why not have a Thanks Giving Tree?

Yes, if you’re all set to put up the tree in November, then feel free to do so.  But instead of all the Christmas trimmings, decorate your tree with all the items found in the horn of plenty or cornucopia.

Sharing the harvest of blessings from the field has been a long-held tradition.
Sharing the harvest of blessings from the field has been a long-held tradition. (Public domain postcard from Vintage.com)

 

Activity for the Whole Family

Have the children get involved by cutting out shapes of pumpkins, grapes, acorns, or other fall harvest fruitage. Use a hole punch to cut a hole in the top of the shapes through which to attach a string or ribbon for hanging.

Allow every family member to write something for which they are thankful on the shapes. Place the extra shapes in a basket near the tree and invite visitors to participate.

Hang the gratitude shapes on the tree along with strands of popcorn, orange ribbons, appropriately colored bobbles, etc.

Children will also enjoy making small cornhusk dolls to place on the tree.  These can later be used for Christmas.  Just change the ribbon or raffia colors.

Use your creativity to think of other items you might use. The main idea is to get our hearts in a thankful mood before Christmas so that we can truly be thankful for the greatest blessing of all, Jesus Christ.

After the Thanksgiving Holiday

After the Thanksgiving holiday, just replace the Thanksgiving decorations with Christmas ones. The tree will already be up, and the children will love getting to decorate the tree twice.

And maybe, just maybe, everyone will remember what Thanksgiving is truly about and will have a thankful heart for the future bounty they will soon receive.

Enjoy your Thanks Giving Tree!

And have a blessed Thanks Giving season.

Peggy Clark

©2020 by Peggy Clark

 

Do your family have a Thanksgiving tradition that you enjoy? 

If so, please comment and share so others can enjoy.

And, please, share photos of your Thanksgiving tree!

 

Fruit trees provided sustenance for those who happened upon them.
(Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

God Knows the Paths We Take

God knows the paths that we take. He sees and understands the consequences of each of those paths.

God knows the paths we take.
God knows the paths we take. (Photo courtesy of Peggy Clark.)

God is sovereign. His plans are carried out in spite of man’s attempts to control his destiny.

Man is always trying to put his throne above the throne of God. Obviously, this is impossible; but man still attempts to be his own god.

The books of 1 and 2 Chronicles reveal how God led His people, even though the kings continuously rebelled against His will. This rebellion brought the chastisement of God upon His people.

Even though the kings rebelled, God still had compassion upon His people. God had a future planned and continued to work toward restoration.

God knows the paths that we take. He sees and understands the consequences of each of those paths. He does not want harm to come to us. Therefore, He warns us and gives us a way to escape danger.

We do not always want to listen to His wisdom. Yet, if we respond appropriately, we are saved from much heartache and regret.

However, it is comforting to know that when we make mistakes, He is willing to listen and forgive.

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place.

2 Chronicles 7:14-15

Another comforting verse is as follows:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

Have you been walking in a path that is leading you away from God’s will for your life? If so, today is a good day to seek God’s forgiveness.

Ask Him to take control of your life and to give you needed direction. He always remains faithful.


Copyright 2020 by Peggy Clark

Road sign photo
Not all changes in direction are crises.

D-Day, June 6, 1944, A Day to Remember

D-Day, June 6, 1944, forever lives in the memories of those who participated in one of the greatest invasions in history to free the world of Nazi tyranny.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Commanding General of the Allied Powers, prepared and led in the invasion under Operation Overlord. Under his direction, the Allied forces which included American, Canadian, and British troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France, in order to liberate France and northwestern Europe from Nazi control. This decisive battle was one of many that helped bring an end to WWII.

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force: You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle-hardened. He will fight savagely.

The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together in Victory! I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full victory! Good luck! And let us all beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, 1944

Troops landed on 5 designated beaches with code names: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword. Casualties were heavy especially on Omaha Beach.

D-Day: Soldiers on a Landing Craft
Troops in an LCVP landing craft approaching “Omaha” Beach on “D-Day”, 6 June 1944. Note helmet netting; faint “No Smoking” sign on the LCVP’s ramp; and M1903 rifles and M1 carbines carried by some of these men.
This photograph was taken from the same LCVP as Photo # SC 189986.
Photograph from the Army Signal Corps Collection in the U.S. National Archives. Description: Photo #: SC 320901. Normandy Invasion, June 1944.

Meanwhile,the Air Force flew over another region called Pas de Calais dropping aluminum strips to confuse German radar equipment and cause the Germans to think the the invasion was there and not at the designated beaches at Normandy.

Over 4600 vessels were used to carry troops and equipment across the English Channel. 22 minesweepers swept as many mines as possible. The Navy gunned the Germans’ “pillboxes” and other gunnery storage locations.

Landing Ship Transports carried tanks and other heavy armory equipment. 11 thousand planes were involved. Paratroopers dropped behind enemy lines with orders to destroy German communication lines.

Communication during World War II was drastically different and not as reliable as today’s modern communication techniques. (Photo courtesy of Nusa Urbancek on Unsplash.)

Casualties were heavy with Omaha Beach suffering the worst. In the first three weeks of hard fighting approximately 9 thousand Allied troops were killed.

The Normandy Invasion was costly yet necessary to secure liberty from German Nazi control and Hitler’s ruthless dictatorship.

We remember June 6, 1944, respectfully called D-Day, because of the great sacrifice that was made to free a people from the tyranny of dictatorial government.

We must remember that the freedoms a free loving world have obtained have not been received without great cost. In order to retain those freedoms, mankind must be diligent and acknowledge that without moral and just law, mankind can be seduced by propaganda and fall under such tyranny as Nazism once again.

Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

Romans 13:9

Let us not forget the men and women who gave their lives for freedom. D-Day should never be forgotten.

Tulip photo by Steven Su on Unsplash
(Photo courtesy of Steven Su on Unsplash.)

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15:13

God Has Promised. Are You Prepared for the Rapture?

God has made many promises which He has fulfilled. Are you ready for the most important one?

Fulfilled Promises

God promised Adam and Eve that a Redeemer would come who would take away their sin.  That Redeemer came. 

God revealed to Noah that a worldwide flood was coming on the earth.  He told Noah to build an ark and his household would be saved.  Noah obeyed.  God kept His word and sent the flood.

God promised Abraham that He would provide Himself a sacrifice for sin, and He did. 

God promised the children of Israel that they would be delivered from Egypt’s bondage after 400 years passed.  He kept His promise and delivered them. 

God promised Hannah a son.  She had Samuel. 

Hannah longed to have a baby. God gave her the desire of her heart by giving her Samuel.

God promised King David that his son Solomon would sit on his throne.  He did. 

When Israel sinned against God, God said they would go into captivity for 70 years, but afterward He would deliver them.  When 70 years were ended, they were given their freedom by King Cyrus. 

God promised a virgin would conceive and bear a son who would be called Emmanuel, the Saviour of the world.  He kept His promise.  Jesus was called Emmanuel, and He became the Saviour of the world. 

God promised He would pay our sin debt by dying on a cross, but He would rise again the third day.  He did. 

Conditional Promise

He has promised to forgive those who will come to Him by faith and admit their sinful condition, be willing to repent of their sins, and ask for His forgiveness; and He will. 

Promise for the Near Future

God promised He would come again and take those who believe on Him to Heaven to be with Him forever; and He will.

That coming is called the Rapture. What if the rapture took place today. Are you prepared?

The Way to Heaven

There is only one way to heaven. That is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life:  no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” 

The return of Christ to gather those who have received Him is a promise that will not be broken.

For Further Study

Study 1 Thessalonians 4. See if you can number the events of the rapture in order.

(Taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.)

  • ___________ The Lord will appear in the clouds.
  • ___________ The saints begin their endless existence with the Lord.
  • ___________ The trump of God will also sound.
  • ___________ The voice of the archangel will sound.
  • ___________ The dead in Christ will rise.
  • ___________ The Lord will give a great shout.
  • ___________ The living saints will be changed and raptured.

“A Christian’s funeral is different from an unbeliever’s funeral.  Unbelievers have no hope for a future life.  Christians, however, know that they will see their loved ones again and that they will be with the Lord forever.  Death is only a temporary interruption between a Christian’s death and his reunion with his loved ones.”

Merry Christmas

From our house to yours, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

May your festivities reflect the love that Christ has for each of us.

Here is a snippet from Luke 2 which I hope will bring joy to your heart.

And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings 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
The coming of the Saviour brings joy to every heart that receives Him.

Rebuilding the Walls of Our Lives

Photo of man with luggage starting journey
Life’s crises can be overwhelming, or they can be the start of a new journey in life. (Photo by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels)

Crises are enlightening. They force us to assess what is important in our lives. Sometimes we find we have neglected our most valuable assets for the pursuit of the trivial and worthless.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4

What Walls Need to Be Rebuilt?

Janice reeled from the doctor’s response. She realized she had not taken care of her health properly. Now what was she going to do?

Bobby felt helpless. He knew he should have repaired the roof after the last storm. His wife kept reminding him, but now it was too late. The whole roof and ceiling would have to be replaced.

It was only a small leak. Dan didn’t think it was a big deal. Whenever the oil light appeared he was careful to stop and put oil in his car. He didn’t realize the oil was collecting on the back of the motor and now it was hot-very hot and smoking!

Why is it that we wait until the crisis to realize that certain walls in our lives are broken down?

Being called to the principal’s office, notice of bounced checks, bad reports from health checkups, reception of divorce papers, family arguments over trivial matters, the sudden death of a friend-these are crises that shake us. But do they wake us up?

Accidents will happen. Offenses take place. Good news, as well as bad, comes to us all.

(Photo by Rene Asmussen on Pexels.)

Are We Willing to Acknowledge Our Situation?

Everyone struggles at times with financial, emotional, and physical trauma. It is part of life.

But, how do we handle these crises? Are we prepared to face “the valley of the shadow of death”?

First, we have to recognize that certain walls need to be rebuilt. Until we are willing to assess the situation in which we find ourselves we will never be able to do anything about it.

A business owner must take inventory of his or her stock on hand. If a shortage is found then orders must be placed immediately. A shortage can reduce the owner’s ability to run the business properly resulting in lost sales and profits.

Sometimes it takes an outside person to help us see our need. That person may be a friend, counselor, or family member.

Scripture tells us of such a person whose name was Nehemiah. Upon his inquiry he discovered that the walls of Jerusalem were lying in rubble. The citizens of that city had failed thus far to replace them. Familiarity and complacency had blinded their eyes to their situation. They were comfortable in their dysfunction.

Obtaining a leave of absence from his occupation as the king’s cupbearer, Nehemiah traveled to Jerusalem. Shortly after his arrival he set out to view the walls which were broken down.

After Nehemiah’s inspection he confronted the citizens with the facts. To effectively remove the reproach from their lives they would have to rise up and rebuild the walls that surrounded them.

And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Matthew 3:10

Separate Important from Trivial

One of the gates that needed to be rebuilt in Jerusalem was the dung gate. This is where the trash was taken out of the city and burned.

So much rubbish had accumulated that the work of rebuilding could not be accomplished until this gate was cleared and rebuilt.

Assessing what was salvageable and what was useless was an important step in rebuilding the city walls. It is also an important step in rebuilding our lives.

Separating what is important from what is trivial or useless can be difficult. We tend to cling to what is familiar to us. We seek comfort in our attempt to escape from reality. Yet, that attempt only brings temporary relief.

Get Rid of the Rubbish

We must make an effort to get rid of the rubbish in our lives.

The process may be slow, but every step toward a better life is one step closer to the final destination.

The accumulation of physical goods that clutter, junk foods that hinder our health, emotional baggage that we cling to, and the lack of proper mental and spiritual exercise affects our mental outlook and our physical well-being.

We must take serious inventory and separate what is good in our lives from what is bad. Some things just need to be tossed if we are going to see any progress.

Establish Proper Relationships

The next step in the rebuilding process is to establish proper relationships.

Adjust Your Expectations

Dysfunctional relationships are called dysfunctional because they are just that – dysfunctional. One or both parties are expecting the other to meet all their emotional or physical needs.

So much expectation is demanded that the relationship is smothered to lifelessness. Frustration mounts. Violence sometimes ensues.

No individual can meet someone else’s every need. The only one who can meet all our needs is Jesus Christ. Our focus must shift to dependence on God and His sufficiency.

Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:28

Reach Out to Others

As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Galatians 6:10

Closing the doors of our lives to others is unhealthy. Just as Jesus came “not to be ministered unto, but to minister,” we must also reach out.

Finding those who have interests as we do and joining a circle of friends will enrich our lives. Many long-lasting relationships have been developed due to the comraderey found in such groups. This can be an important step in finding friends if you are lacking in this area.

Observing the needs of someone else and ministering to that need will also help us to feel accomplishment. Making a phone call, sending a card, fixing a meal, mending a garment, volunteering yard work or car repair – these are all ways of helping meet the needs of others.

Set Proper Boundaries

Ministering to others does not mean that we allow others to take advantage of our blessings.

Yes, we must love our neighbor as ourselves. But love must also speak truth to our neighbor.

Scripture tells us of a family man whose neighbor woke him desiring food. The neighbor had received visitors and was unprepared for their arrival.

The family man arose albeit reluctantly and gave the neighbor provision. He was showing himself to be a good neighbor and providing an obvious need. (See Luke 11:5-8.)

Yet, if the neighbor woke the family man every night for several days then the family man must speak truth in love to the neighbor. The neighbor must be reminded of his own responsibility in providing for his visitors and go to the grocery store and purchase needed supplies.

Setting proper boundaries sometimes brings fear of losing friends. However, true friends appreciate proper boundaries. Good relationships demand it.

Establish New Habits

And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;

And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;

And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.

2 Peter 1:5-7

Apostle Peter emphasized that new life in Christ brought about a change in character. A person’s newness was to be modeled after the life of Jesus.

Whether we had good role models or not as we grew up, we can look to Scripture and model our lives after the best role model anyone can have. That role model is Jesus Christ.

Our attempts at changing our lives will fail unless we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Then we must diligently add to that faith virtue.

Virtue is having the courage to do what is right regardless of the circumstances. Having that courage will enable us to become a role model for others.

The more knowledge we have of Jesus Christ the more we will have discernment when we are confronted with difficulties. Having ethical principles that do not change due to emotion or relationships or politics will help us to respond to difficulties appropriately.

That knowledge will come as we establish the habit of reading God’s Word. Our minds are thus renewed and our lives are transformed.

Make Better Choices

Replace poor media choices and inappropriate literature with that of good moral content. For example, if an individual struggles with adultery, it would be self-destructive to read novels promoting adultery.

Develop Self-Control

The lack of self-discipline has caused the walls of many lives to come crushing down. Giving in to peer pressure has led many down dangerous paths to addictive behaviors, criminal activity, and lack of self-respect.

Self-discipline or temperance starts with finding direction and purpose in one’s life. Making plans and setting goals is appropriate, but until steps are taken to fulfill those plans they will not be realized.

For example, desiring to purchase your own car is a worthy goal. Yet in order to achieve that goal a person must have a savings account of some sort and diligently set aside funds each week until the purchase price has been obtained.

Waiting until the needed funds are collected may take patience. Yet patience has its reward. Imagine the feeling when you are handed the keys to the car that you just purchased yourself.

Books open the door to learning.  However, the best book to help us lead a life of significance is the Bible.
Books open the door to learning about any topic of interest. However, the best book to learn how to leave a life of significance is the Bible. (Photo by Ralfs Eglitis on Pexels.)

Improve Your Skills

Apostle Peter said to add godliness to patience. Godliness has to do with becoming fit for the purpose that God has for us on this earth.

Jesus Christ Himself grew in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man (See Luke 2:52).

Don’t be afraid to seek additional training to better your position in life. Become a companion of those who are wiser than you are. Glean from their wisdom.

Be an apprentice, take classes, volunteer. Read books and magazines that pertain to your area of interest. There are also online courses and video classes for almost every skill.

Don’t overwhelm yourself. Just take one step (class) at a time. You can succeed.

Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

Let’s face it. Not everyone is nice. Not everyone is likeable. That does not mean that you or I have to respond to other’s mannerisms in like manner.

Having a proper attitude is crucial to having a good day. So what if the rain is falling? Thankfully, flowers will soon bloom. The grass will be greener. The air will be clearer.

Expect Rebuilding to Take Time

As someone once said, “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” It takes time to rebuild walls that have been broken down. Yet, with determination and the right materials they can be built better and stronger than they ever were before.

Just because mistakes have been made in the past does not mean that your or my past must dictate our future. Yes, those mistakes do affect us, but they do not determine who we are or what we will be unless we allow them to.

Every morning is the start of a new day. Prepare to make it a good day and let nothing deter you from that.

Resolve in your heart that with the Lord’s help you will rebuild your life. He is faithful to help you if you turn to Him “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (See 1 Peter 5:7)

Life of Significance

Tabitha, the Disciple of Christ

Did you know that the only woman in the Bible who was specifically called a disciple was Tabitha?

Not only was she called a disciple, but she was known for her compassion toward those in need. Her ministry reflected that compassion as she used her gifts to help the poor and needy.

Road sign photo
(Photo from Pexels.)

How do we know Tabitha led a life of significance?

Tabitha (whose Greek name was Dorcas) lived in the town of Joppa:

Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and alms-deeds which she did.

And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber.

And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them.

Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

Acts 9:36-39

Joppa was a was a coastal city near modern-day Tel-Aviv, Israel. It was in this busy city that Tabitha carried out her ministry to the populace.

Tabitha did many good works for her community. She had an eye for what needed to be done and did what she could to make improvements.

Tabitha also observed the plight of the poor and widowed. She could not meet all their needs but she was committed to do what she could. She decided to use the skills she had acquired to relieve a particular area of need.

Tabitha was an accomplished seamstress. Many were the customers who came to her door to obtain fashionable garments. She would use her skills to make suitable clothing for the impoverished.

Using the simple tools we have we can make a huge difference in the lives of others. Tools as simple as those you see here (thread, thimble, needle, and tape measure) can be utilized to give glory to God.
Using the simple tools we have we can make a huge difference in the lives of others. (Photo by Suzy Hazelwood.)

Since Tabitha already had customers she strategized how she could provide this need to the poor without embarrassment or shame to the recipients. She began making beautiful clothing which included coats for colder weather. This was a godsend to the widows in her community.

However, Tabitha fell ill. Her sickness led to an untimely death. The community around her was shocked. Soon the whole community surrounded her house.

Ladies came in and carefully washed her body. However, instead of wrapping her body and preparing her for immediate burial as was custom, the disciples had her carried to the upper chamber of her house.

Photo by Elena Ferrer on Unsplash
Photo by Elena Ferrer on Unsplash

As the disciples continued to gather, they discovered that the apostle Peter was in the nearby town of Lydda (about 11 or 12 miles away). Two men were quickly chosen to travel to Lydda to fetch Peter.

Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them.

Acts 9:39

Peter agreed to come to Joppa. Upon his arrival he was led to the upper chamber where Tabitha’s body had been carefully placed. During his journey he must have heard of all the wonderful works which this lady had done.

But as Peter entered the upper chamber he was bombarded by many widows who showed off beautiful clothes and coats which Tabitha had made them. Obviously this woman was a woman of significance.

But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.

And he gave her his hand, and lifted her up, and when he had called the saints and widows, presented her alive.

And it was known throughout all Joppa; and many believed in the Lord.

Acts 9:40-42

Memories flooded Peter’s mind as he recalled Elisha’s prayer in raising the Shunemite woman’s son (2 Kings 4) and Jesus’s prayer as he raised Jairus’s daughter from the dead (Matthew 9).

Following their example Peter removed everyone from the upper chamber so that he was alone with Tabitha’s dead body. Peter kneeled down and began praying that Tabitha would be brought back to life.

Then Peter in absolute faith turned to the dead body and said, “Tabitha, arise.” Miraculously, Tabitha opened her eyes and saw Peter. She was probably surprised to see him there in her home.

Immediately, Peter extended his hand to her and lifted her up off the board where she was laid. Calling her friends to come into the room, Peter presented Tabitha alive and well. The joy and excitement of her friends was unimaginable.

Tabitha was now able to continue the great work that she had begun. Only now the fame of her works and her resurrection from death was spread throughout Joppa.

Tabitha’s ability to testify of the saving grace of Jesus was greatly multiplied. Because she led a life of significance many souls were won to Christ.

How do we know Tabitha led a life of significance?

We know because her life made a heavenly difference in the lives of those surrounding her.

Tabitha did what she could with what she had. She also used her talents as a tool to minister to others. Her deeds allowed her to speak to the spiritual needs of the lost and to win them to the Kingdom of Heaven.

She hath done what she could.

Mark 14:8

Discussion:

Tabitha’s life was one of significance. Did she seek significance?

Being a disciple of Christ, should one seek significance for themselves?

Tabitha was a disciple (student of the Word). How does being a student of the Word result in good works?

What will you be remembered for upon your decease?

Spring Blessings

Photo of lillies by Tim Gouw on Unsplash
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Spring – A Testament to the Promises of God

Spring has sprung.

Yellow faces tilt their heads.  Tulips stand ready to burst open.  Purple blossoms color the ground.

Nine hopefuls are nesting under the mother hen as she patiently awaits their arrival.  It is spring.

The guineas have made it through winter.  They take their journey through the pastures seeking bugs.  Seldom do they venture into the yard anymore now that the earth is warming and bugs are appearing.

Spring’s arrival gives new life to the farm.  The dull browns turn to bright greens.  The smell of overturned earth gives memory of fresh tomato sandwiches and cucumber slices.

Yes, spring has arrived.  Its arrival is a testament to the promises of God.

While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. 

Genesis 8:22

Since the Great Flood of Noah’s day, this promise has not ceased. 

Tulip photo by Steven Su on Unsplash
Photo by Steven Su on Unsplash

Spring – Time for Planting

The advance of spring shouts that winter is over.  The time for planting has come. 

We sow in expectation of a great harvest.

Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass. 

Isaiah 32:20

Spring – Looks Forward to the Blessing

Planting in anticipation of a harvest brings a blessing from the Lord.  It stirs hope in the planter’s soul.  It also reminds us of another of God’s promises.

And let us not be weary in well doing:  for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. 

Galatians 6:9
Photo by Elena Ferrer on Unsplash
Photo by Elena Ferrer on Unsplash

May the arrival of spring awaken us to the blessings God sends our way. May this season rejuvenate and energize you as you view God’s creation as it awakens from winter’s slumber.

Copyright 2019 by authorpeggyclark.com

Prayer for Encouragement

Prayer

Prayer for Encouragement

When Job was in desperate need for encouragement, he needed his friends to encourage him.  To their credit his friends did sit with him for a week without saying anything. 

Sometimes there are no words that need to be said. Just being there is a comfort to someone in deep despair.

But then the true thoughts of his friends came forth.  Instead of beseeching God for deliverance, they began to find fault.

“My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.”

Job 16:20

 Friends mean well. They want to help but sometimes their comfort seems harsh. 

Job found his friends to be miserable company, but that did not stop Job from seeking comfort from the greatest comforter of all, his Saviour.

“O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbor!” 

Job 16:21

 Job did not lose his faith during the greatest trial of his life.  Instead, he drew closer to God than ever before. 

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God.”

Job 19:25-26

Life does not always turn out according to our expectations. Job suffered great loss, yet God afterward abundantly rewarded him.  We also will find many blessings if we keep our focus and faith in God above.

Prayer

O Father, thank You for Your great mercies and love that You show toward us.   When we find ourselves discouraged, may we realize that You and You alone can give the encouragement that we need.

Thank you for your faithfulness to us.  May our faith not rest in people or people’s wisdom and advice, but in You and Your power alone.

No matter in what situation we find ourselves, may we respond with love and kindness. Give us a Christlike attitude and remind us of the great homecoming You are preparing for us in Heaven.  Help us to continue in the faith until that great homecoming day.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

May you be encouraged to know that God loves you.  He has not left you alone.  You can call out to Him at anytime and know that He hears your prayers. 

  • Have you ever been discouraged?
  • What did others do that encouraged you the most?

Thank you for commenting on any ideas that will help others to know how to encourage their friends when they need it.


May your heart be blessed by God's Word.
May your heart be blessed by God’s Word.

Copyright 2019 by Peggy Clark


Due Process Hindered by Media Frenzy

Why Due Process?  A Lesson from History

There was a powerful man.  He wanted property that belonged to his neighbor so he set up a meeting at a local restaurant and asked his neighbor if he was willing to sell.

The neighbor refused which made the man very sad.  He left the meeting pouting because of his inability to convince the neighbor to make a deal.

An Evil Conspiracy Begins

Later that night the man’s wife asked him why he was so depressed. After discussing his attempts to purchase the property, his wife conspired an evil plot.

The plot was carried out by those who were secretly hired by the wife.  The neighbor, who was now seen as an enemy that stood in the way of her and her husband’s expansion plans, was to be promoted in front of the townspeople.

A Media Frenzy Orchestrated

As the proceedings began, false accusations were brought before the people.  The media was employed to put the attendants at the proceedings in a frenzy. A false narrative was given that stirred the people to react foolishly which caused the death of the neighbor. This happened even though the townspeople knew that the neighbor was a good man and worthy of the promotion.

The Target Destroyed

The destruction of the neighbor was completed before any of the accusers’ credibility could be questioned.

After the funeral, the wife and her powerful husband confiscated the property leaving the neighbor’s wife and children unable to provide for themselves.

For a while the couple enjoyed the ill-gotten property.  They thought their coverup was complete and felt no remorse over their evil deed.

All the neighbor’s hard labor in growing a successful vineyard seemed to have been wasted.  His house was turned into a potting shed. The vines were removed and replaced with herbs and flowers.

The property became a private grove where the couple could entertain their rich friends and acquaintances.  Business deals were made and celebrated there.

Photo of grapes
(Photo by Markus Spiske temporausch.com from Pexels)

The Evil Plot Uncovered

A message was delivered to the powerful man.  The details revealed that Someone knew of his terrible deed. For a short while, the rich man felt sorrowful for what he had done.  Yet, his wife continued her evil ways. It seemed that nothing could stop her from attacking all who opposed her continual pursuit of power.

The couple’s desire for more power and prestige led them to formulate a plan to take over a nearby city. They covenanted with another powerful man and engaged in efforts to take the city.  While those plans were carried out, the husband was killed.

Our view of what lies ahead may seem overwhelming.
(Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Power Threatened

An opposition party arose that threatened the power and livelihood of the wife.  Using her great power and hefty bank account, she was able to protect herself.  She updated her appearance and used her words wisely to control those around her.

Thinking that she could control any man with her looks and her sly words, she boldly and confidently suggested that no one could rise to resist her.   But soon her demise would come.

The wife rented a tower to proclaim her victory and authority over anyone who would come against her. Yet, those whom she abused day by day with her insults, derogatory language, and belittling remarks realized that there was no point in thinking that she would one day appreciate or care for their efforts to keep her happy.

Photo of police officer and man with evidence
(Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Called into Question

Finally, her helpers saw that protecting this woman was depriving them of the life and liberty they desired for themselves.  They were not prospering as she had promised them.  The only ones who had prospered were the woman and her evil husband and their powerful friends.  Suddenly, they realized that they had only been used to help this woman cover her evil and her harm of innocent people.

Truth Prevails

Once the helpers’ eyes were opened to the realization that they had been lied to and used only for the evil woman’s gain they made a choice to be truthful to themselves.

This was not the life that they wanted to live.  This was not the woman they wanted to support.

As a short trial ensued, those who had previously supported the woman gave their testimony to the evil she had committed. They then assisted in the downfall of her and her kingdom.

No Where to Hide

This event in history reminds us that although evil may prevail for a time, governments and peoples are to follow the laws set forth by Almighty God.  Eventually evil will be dealt with by God if those peoples and governments do not follow through with their God-ordained responsibilities.

God’s intervention in the above situation may have seemed delayed, yet God gives people a choice as to whether they will arise and do what is right and necessary to control evil. God waits to see how they will react when temptation is before them.  Will the people choose evil or good?

No man or woman can do any deed, good or evil, and hide it from the All-Seeing Eye of God.  We will all stand either before the Judgment Seat of Christ or before the Great White Throne of Almighty God.

Always remember, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.” Would you rather have the ‘wages’ or the ‘gift’?

Just so you know, the wicked wife had a choice too. She chose the wages and succumbed to a horrible death. Her pursuit of power had come to an end.

Two Takeaways

  1. Good always wins over evil in the end.
  2. Be aware, Satan knows the Good Book, too.

(For more intel on the story, see the Book of 1 Kings.)

©2018 by authorpeggyclark.com

Hospital: A Depiction of Contradiction

An Orderly Place in a Disorderly World

Assorted characters, diverse personalities, uniformed staff pass as I stroll down the hallway.  My mind thinks of strangers passing in the night.

To my left a child is crying.  Nurses are bent over trying to console and yet do their duties.

Another left and a gentleman is being placed in a wheelchair surrounded by friends.  Hopefully, he is going home.

Ahead, a young man rests his back and his left foot on the wall behind him, phone in hand, the broom by his side.  Yet, I am thankful for I must pass into the room he needs to enter.  He waits patiently.

It is an orderly place in a disorderly world.  Or maybe it’s a disorderly place in an ordered world.  I guess it depends upon our perception.

Fast forward and one sees flashes of concern, bewilderment, laughter, boredom, distraction, and confusion. It is an artist’s vignette of emotions, an author’s journal in character study.   One can observe a vast portraiture of the human soul.

A hosital bench is a great place to observe human character. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)
A hospital bench is a great place to observe human character. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

A Place of Contradictions

It is a place of contradictions.

The cafeteria helps to escape the silence, yet everyone is strangers.  Patient rooms are filled with silence; yet voices try to fill the void.

Private rooms never seem private. Doors open and close.  Another blood pressure check, and chit-chat rises and then falls with the closing door.

Patients pursue answers yet struggle to know the questions.

Professionals come trained to investigate, yet their examinations have no answer sheets.

Hospitals known for healing, and yet there exists such pain. Protocols meant to heal, and yet may leave one lifeless.

Visitors on a mission but find the patient has been dismissed.

A Place Sought for Healing But Does Not Possess the Answer to Life

“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.”  Psalm 121:1-3

I may look unto this natural world seeking the help that I desire, but the help I need comes from the Lord Himself.  He has made all things, even me.

God is my keeper.  He stays alert even when I am asleep.  No matter what may come against me, I am the Lord’s.

Suffering may abound, but it will not last forever. It is only a little season and cannot demand its own way. God is the Great Physician.  He ruleth over all.

Gives Physical Hope But Does Not Possess Eternal Hope

Eternity is but a breath away for everyone.  But eternity for the righteous is an entrance into glory.  All pain and suffering will the righteous leave behind.

One never knows when he or she will walk down the hallways of a hospital seeking answers for the sake of a loved one.

Yet there is One who has all answers and His name is Jesus.  Because He is the Hope of the World, I can rest in His answer to my prayers for my loved one.

My friend, I hope you are ready for eternity.  Don’t let a day pass that you do not call upon Jesus for the hope of eternal life.  He waits for the call of those who seek His face and His deliverance.

Perfect healing may come on this side of eternity, but for those who cross through the shadow of death, only the righteous will experience perfect healing as they enter Heaven.  I hope you are prepared.

May we meet in Heaven one day.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

If you are currently experiencing health problems, may this Get Well Soon card by Artsy Bee be a blessing to you.
If you are currently experiencing health problems, may this Get Well Soon card by Artsy Bee be a blessing to you.  (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

 

Cancer: The Dreaded Diagnosis

As I wrote my last post (see Life’s Unexpected Adjustments or Crises?) I did not realize how soon life’s unexpected adjustments would come to a dear friend of mine.

I found the hospital number in my messages this  morning.  I called certainly not expecting to hear the word ‘cancer,’ but as the conversation continued I feared the worst. 

Yes, the diagnosis is cancer.  Yet, on the other side of the phone line the voice was amazingly calm and peaceful.

What can a friend do but cry?  But there is hope.

Yes, I prayed with my dear friend.

Her thoughts were not on herself.  She is a Christian and does not fear eternity.  Her thoughts were on her loved ones that she wants to see in Heaven one day.

Will this diagnosis take her life?

Jesus already has her life.  Cancer cannot take that away from her.

I pray for her complete healing.

God works in mysterious and miraculous ways.  After all, Christ is the Great Physician.  He knows what the body needs.  It is no small thing for Him to heal in a moment’s time.

So life will be an adjustment for her and her family.  Health, finances, schedules will all be changed.

Yet, one thing will not change.  She will continue to be God’s child.  God is her Heavenly Father and He will not forsake her.

We, as God’s children, have that promise continually.  “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee.”

So today is an adjustment from the normal.  Tests are being run.  Doctors will discuss with family their future plans.

Yet, one adjustment will not be made.  Cancer will never defeat her.  She is God’s and no weapon formed against her will stand. Eternity cannot rob her of her joy.  For that, I am grateful.

I have a sister in Christ.  And, IN CHRIST she will remain.  To God be the glory!

I look forward to hearing her testimony of complete healing.

Thank you for your prayers for her speedy recovery.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Life’s Unexpected Adjustments or Crises?

Unexpected Events

It has been the most unusual day.  I am sitting in a parking lot outside a medical facility with my car hood up.  My car has not overheated, but I have a split hose.  Thankfully, an employee inside has offered to take my husband to an auto parts store during her lunch break.

While I am waiting for his appointment to be over, I have encountered a spider.  I knock it off my skirt but have no idea where it is now.  We will have to endure the heat and the car together.

Next the most unusual occurrence of all.  As I look up in my mirror, I see a fawn running across the lawn.  It must have been spooked from its hiding place or lost from its mother.  I hope it can find its way back to where she left it.

Photo of fawn standing in grassSo unexpected to see a fawn running across the grass in a highly visible location. (Photo by Vincent Van-Zalinger. Courtesy of Unsplash)

Unexpected Events Sometimes Call for Major Adjustments

I have been sitting here reading about crisis points of belief.  The author speaks of making major adjustments in our lives to follow God.

I am thinking of how thankful I am that I can be at peace no matter what happens.  Not everything is a crisis even though circumstances may present themselves as such.

Life happens.  Things wear out or decay.  New things quit working properly.  It is to be expected.  Some things we can prepare for, but some take us by surprise.

No matter what happens or what adjustments need to be made in our lives, God is faithful.  We can rely on the living God to take us through every situation.

Road sign photo
Not all changes in direction are crises.  (Photo by Brett Sayles.  Courtesy of Pexels.)

Other’s Circumstances May Cause Us to Make Adjustments

We have now been to the auto parts store; the hose has been replaced; and we are on our way.

Yet, another encounter—a gentleman and his grandson are locked out of his vehicle.  We offer our help.  After much effort and assistance his door is finally unlocked.

I am thankful that my husband was not afraid or too proud to ask for help when we needed it.  We were given assistance in our time of need.  God was very gracious to allow the hose to break after we arrived at our destination and not in transit on the highway.

I think of the gentleman locked out of his vehicle.  It reminds me of how horrible it would be to be locked out of a place much more important than a vehicle.

It would be tragic to be locked out of Heaven because we were too proud or too afraid to ask for the help we needed.  Our Saviour stands ready to hear our heart’s cry.  If we will admit our sinful condition, Christ Jesus will cleanse us, forgive us, and meet our needs.

Sometimes life does require adjustments.  Schedules can change.  Health can change.  Financial conditions can change.  Our jobs can disappear overnight.  At such times we may experience a crisis of belief.  We must remember, however, that God never changes.  He remains faithful.

An Adjustment for Which We All Must Be Prepared

There is one adjustment for which we must be prepared.  That adjustment will be our entrance into eternity.

Eternity waits for everyone.  Which eternity we experience is our choice.  There are only two doors.

Don’t wait until Heaven’s door is locked to ask for entrance to a glorious eternity.  The other door leads to an eternal suffering no one wants to enter.

May you and I meet one day in eternity in Heaven’s glorious abode.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thessalonians 5:23

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Peggy Clark is the author of So, What's the Latest News?  Messages from a Prisoner in Rome. This commentary of Colossians may be purchased at Amazon and other online retailers.

Abraham’s Altars: A Visible Journal and Example to Us

(Photo of man with luggage beginning journey by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)
(Photo by Mantas Hesthaven from Pexels.)

Ever been told what to do but not given the directions?

What if someone told you to sell your house, pack your belongings, and leave without any idea of where you were to go?

Abram received such a call.  The amazing thing is that he obeyed the call, sold his house and possessions, and started a journey not knowing where he went.

 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. (Genesis 12:1)

Abram’s Call

God called Abram unto a place of which Abram did not know. God did not reveal the location to him, tell him a hotel room would be waiting, or what community services were available.  He only knew he had heard God’s voice speak to him.

Abram in obedience began the journey away from what was secure to him, away from family, and away from familiar places.  He had to trust that God knew what He was doing and where He was leading him. Because of his obedience God changed Abram’s name to Abraham.

Abraham’s Altar

In every place God spoke to him, Abraham took time to build an altar.  The altar was a visible reminder that he had heard God speak.

Whenever Abraham began to wander, he had a physical place to which he could return and remind himself of God’s voice.

As we read about Abraham’s journeys in Scripture, we find that Abraham returned at various times to the altars he had built so that he could commune with God and regain his focus.

In our journey thru life, we can and should build altars that remind us of where God has brought us from to where He is taking us.

Keeping mementos and collecting souvenirs of places we’ve been become more precious to us the longer we live.  The mementos bring back special memories tucked away in our hearts.  The souvenirs remind us of precious time spent with family and friends.

Scripture speaks of stirring up our minds by way of remembrance (2 Peter 3:1).  When and where did we hear God’s calling?  What caused us to start down the path we are taking?  How did we know this was the right job or the right school?  How do we know we are in God’s will at this moment?

A Remembrance of Important Events

Abraham’s building of altars was his way of keeping a remembrance of important events in his life.

Writing two letters was Apostle Peter’s way of reminding the recipients of the words the prophets had spoken and the commandments that the apostles had given to the early church.  Those letters are recorded in 1 and 2 Peter.

Building Personal Memorials

Today we build memorials to do the same.  But how do we build personal memorials so we do not forget the important events in our own lives?

The Scrapbook

Some people keep scrapbooks.

Saving ‘scraps’ of life whether it be placemats from restaurants, postcards and stamps, or photos of birthday parties and anniversaries, and attaching them to pages in a book provides people a way to look back over their lives.

Those ‘scraps’ bring to their remembrance what might have been forgotten if they had not taken the time to memorialize them.

Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times.
Keeping mementos and recording events helps us to remember special times. (Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels.)

The Journal

Keeping a journal is another way we can refresh our memories.  Writing down why we are doing this or that can be invaluable when we feel as if we are stuck in life.

Recording goals and noting when those goals are attained helps us see the progress we are making.

Prayers jotted down and answers received encourage us when we find ourselves in need of another answer to our prayers. The noting of scriptures that gave us light during difficult times serve as reminders of God’s presence.  Chronicling hard-learned lessons can prevent us from making the same mistakes again.

There are many types of journals, but in one respect they are all the same. They are a memorial of our lives lived daily.

Journals are a place we can return to when we forget where we are and a place where our remembrance can stir our minds to renew the plans God purposed for our lives.

A journal is a report card.  It shows us that God has been at work in our past and reminds us that He is still at work in our present.

Did your parents keep a scrapbook of your childhood?

Do you keep a journal?  If so, what type of journal do you keep?

In what way was Abraham’s building of altars like keeping a journal?

I encourage you to begin journaling your special moments if you have not done so.

How precious it would be to recall the words that you feel God has spoken to you when you find yourself needing to remember.  I am sure Abraham was glad he had a place to remind himself of God’s words.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

 

 

Missing Out on Chicken and Tomato Biscuit?

Sitting in a Southern restaurant wondering why the staff hasn’t heard of a chicken and tomato biscuit with mayonnaise.

Grilled chicken is especially delicious when placed inside a freshly baked biscuit.
Grilled chicken is especially delicious when placed inside a freshly baked tomato biscuit. (Photo from Pixabay courtesy of Pexels.)

Does the staff realize what they’ve been missing? 

Everyone should have the opportunity to devour one of these at least once in their lifetime.

Summertime invokes the desire for a fresh slice of tomato on every sandwich.  That is, if the tomato is freshly picked from the garden.  Who cares for an unripe tomato — unless they’re fried, of course.

We wonder about people who don’t know about things we suppose they should know. Yet, how can they know if no one has told them?

Nothing like making your own fresh biscuits. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)
Nothing like making your own fresh tomato biscuits. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Let me introduce you to the chicken and tomato biscuit. 

Cut a freshly baked biscuit in half.  Slather each half with your favorite mayonnaise.

Don’t forget the tomato!

Slice a ripe tomato.  Place one or two slices on the biscuit.  Salt and pepper if you like.

Add a piece of chicken, and wallah, you’re in for a treat.

Have a napkin handy.

Slices of ripe tomato taste delicious on any sandwich.
Sliced tomato ready for making your chicken and tomato biscuit.

Something else you may be missing

While we’re enjoying our biscuits, let me introduce you to something even more wonderful.

I forget how many people don’t know about it. Yet, I am reminded that people are ignorant of the knowledge of this.  They don’t know that they are kept from this because of their lack of understanding.

Why do they not understand?  Is it because they haven’t been told?
How can anyone partake of something to which they have never been exposed?

Let me introduce you to Truth

Let me introduce you to Truth.  Truth is a living eternally-existent Being.

In Truth resides all truth.  When someone does not know Truth, they do not realize Who they are missing.

Some people simply do not understand that they are alienated or separated from the eternal life that resides in Truth.

Who wouldn’t want to know Truth?
Who wouldn’t want to partake of the eternal life that resides in Him?

Know Truth

To know Truth is to be set free.

In fact, knowing Truth sets a person free from the blindness of his or her heart (John 8:32).

Truth then sends His Spirit to guide that person into all truth (John 16:13).  Everyone who knows Truth hears His voice of truth as it is spoken unto them (John 18:37b).

Find Truth

Where can truth be found?  Truth is found in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:21).

All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge reside in Christ (Colossians 2:3).  The great wonder is that He wants us to partake of those treasures.

Just as that chicken and tomato biscuit fills the longing in our hungry stomachs, Truth fills the longing in our hungry hearts.

Don’t miss Truth by not knowing Truth

Just ask Truth to fill you with truth.  He will remove any blindness in your heart, and you will no longer be alienated from the life that is found only in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 4:18).

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

By the way, I hope you enjoyed your chicken and tomato biscuit.  Invite Jesus to eat the next one with you.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

 

Tips and Encouragement for First-Year Home Schoolers

Feeling jittery as you plan for your first year of home schooling?  No need to worry as information concerning home schooling abounds.  In fact, you may find yourself overwhelmed with the abundance.

First year jitters are natural and expected.  Every parent has fears as they begin teaching their children.  Those fears will turn into confidence as the years progress.

To help you with your first year of home schooling I have listed some tips and encouragements. You can read them by clicking the link below.

Check out these ABC’s for Your First Year of Home Schooling.

ABC’s for Your First Year of Home Schooling PDF

Have a great first year as you join the ranks of many who are new to home schooling.

©peggy clark 2018

If the tips have helped you in any way please let us know by leaving a comment below.

Let’s encourage one another.  If you are a veteran home schooler and have additional tips, please share in the comments section below.

Winnowing Wheat: Picture of the Greatest Harvest

Winnowing Wheat

A Memory from My Youth

It was time for wheat harvest. The days were very hot. Dad and Uncle Finley kept a close watch on the fields so that the wheat could be harvested at just the right moment.

They also kept a close watch on the sky. A hard rain and/or high wind could ruin the crop. That is a fearful thing for a farmer.

Wheat heads are ripening fast.
(Photo by Alejandro Brown.)

I can still see Uncle Finley eating grains of wheat as he leaned back against a wall.  He would take the wheat tops and rake the seeds out into his hand and eat them.

As a child I was curious. I remember asking Uncle Finley why he was eating the seeds. He told me that the seeds were wheat and placed some in my hand and told me to eat them.

I looked at him strangely.  I thought, ‘I have never eaten these seeds. Will they hurt me?’

Uncle Finley started telling me that the seeds were what we used to make our bread.  In order to convince me, he also told me of other foods we make with wheat.

Yes, I ate the seeds.  They were hard, of course, yet they were tasty.

There's nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.
There’s nothing tastier than a slice of warm bread with freshly made butter slathered on top.  (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Winnowing by Machine

Usually a farmer in our community came with his combine. The combine would thresh the wheat, separating the seeds from the chaff and straw.  Then another man riding on the combine would pull a lever and let the grains of wheat pour into sacks.

The sacks of wheat were tied with twine and stored in our granary. Some would be used for flour; but most for feeding our animals.

The straw (the stems of the wheat plants) would be left behind in the field. Later, we would bind the straw into bales and store in the barn for bedding.

Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.
Winnowing wheat is a hot and tiring job whether by machine or by hand.

Winnowing by Hand

I remember times when we had to separate the wheat from the chaff by hand. Those were back breaking days.

The wheat would be spread out on a large white sheet. Each of us would take a corner and lift the sheet. Then we would fling the wheat up into the air so that the wind would carry away the chaff leaving the heavier grains of seed to fall back into the sheet. This process is called winnowing.

It seemed we could never get the wheat clean enough. Yet, when Mom saw that the wheat was finally clean, we would gather up the corners of the sheet so that we wouldn’t lose any of the precious grains.  Then we would pour the grain into clean sacks and store for later use.

Winnowing the World

Those harvesting days help me to understand Scriptures such as Matthew 13:30 and Matthew 3:12.

“Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:30

“Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Matthew 3:12

Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world.
Jesus used fields of wheat as a picture of the peoples of the world. (Photo courtesy of Pexels.)

Jesus speaks of His children as being precious wheat. The floor is the world that He has created. The wind and other forces of nature are under His control.

Just as our family lifted the sheets and let the wind carry the chaff away, so will Jesus separate or winnow His precious seed from the chaff.

Jesus will gather his precious children into His garner which is heaven.  And the chaff, those who rejected His love extended toward them, will be cast into an unquenchable fire.

Having harvested wheat, I understand just how precious each grain of wheat is.  Plowing, disking, seeding, fertilizing, and harvesting is no easy task. It is very labor-intensive.

Neither has Jesus spared any expense, even giving His own life, so that at harvest time many souls will be ready for heaven.

I am glad that I am one of those that Jesus considers precious seed. I look forward to the day when He will garner me into heaven.

Are you one of those precious seeds?  If not, you can be.

Let Jesus speak to your heart as you read these words from John 3:16-17; 36.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Believe on Jesus the Messiah.  Give your heart to Him today, and He will prepare you for heaven.

Then when Jesus winnows the peoples of the earth, you will be part of those who will be gathered to live with Him in heaven.

(Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keets Moved to New Home

Adventurous Keet Flies the Coop!

We recently moved our keets to their new home (biddy cage).

The keets seem to enjoy the fresh air and the ability to see beyond their protected space.

(Keets are baby guineas in case you didn’t know.)

Keets are happy in their new living quarters.
Keets are happy in their new living quarters.

Keet Saved from Disaster

One of the keets is especially adventurous.  In fact, before we expected to move the keets to a larger space, this keet ‘flew the coop.’  Thankfully, I heard her (or his) activity before she got entangled in anything harmful.

Now in the biddy cage, this keet has already decided to roost on a low branch placed strategically inside the cage.  She (or possibly he) is obviously a leader.

Keets love the view from the biddy cage.
Keets love the view from inside the biddy cage.

Being a leader can have its advantages and its disadvantages.

Inside the safety of the storage container (see previous post), the keets were kept warm under the heat of a light bulb.  They had plenty of fresh water and food given to them daily.  The container was kept clean (keets are messy).

Yet, this keet decided to try its wings and fly over the top and onto the floor in one of our bedrooms.  If I had not heard its wings fluttering against a vent, this bird may have died from lack of food and water.

Because of this keet’s activities, the keets were moved outdoors.  Within the protection of the biddy cage, this keet is now free to try her wings and encourage others to do the same.

Although we have not seen any of the other keets resting on the branch, I am sure that encouragement from this keet will have them following suit shortly.

Protective Boundaries

To follow the adventurous keet as it flew out of the protective storage container could have been disastrous for the other keets.  However, within the protection of the biddy cage, it is advantageous for the keets to follow in resting on the roost.

Follow the Leader?

Just like the keets, children are young and inexperienced in the ways of the world.  They do not understand that danger lurks outside the protective boundaries set by their parents and other caring adults.

Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes. 

Children repeat the words they hear, imitate the actions they see, and model their lives after those that are honored as leaders or heroes.  Sadly, many times children follow the unwise and corrupt.  Habits are formed which lead to destruction.

Children will follow the leader.  However, it is important that the leader be knowledgeable and upright and praiseworthy.  What is cultivated in the child is what has been honored before their eyes.

An Example Worthy of Imitation

As we lead our children are we cultivating that which is praiseworthy?  Are we cultivating what is honorable?  Are we giving our children an example to imitate that follows truth and godliness?

Can we say as Paul did, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample” (Philippians 3:17)?

Children are great imitators.  May they ‘mark’ those who walk wisely and follow their example.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

Keets Bring New Life to the Farm

 

Keets are happy in their new living quarters.
Keets are happy in their new living quarters.

New Life on the Farm

Seeing new life around the farm is a blessing.  Blossoming faces lift themselves toward life-sustaining sunshine.  Butterflies flit once again.  And the sounds of animal babies mooing or peeping or meowing let us know that life continues even after winter’s long and harsh visit.

Keets Are Here!

Keets have arrived.  That’s baby guineas for newbies to farm life.  They are a skittish bunch.  I’m afraid we may have more males than we desire, but as long as they get along we will be okay.

Keets are finding out where the feed is located.
Keets are finding out where the feed is located.  We removed the shavings after this photo.

Living quarters are a large plastic storage container with paper towels for flooring.  We’ve discovered that keets like to scratch for their feed so the feeder has been removed.  We also took out the shavings and replaced them with paper towels to accommodate their feeding habits.

The keets are a happy bunch.  They huddle together, sing together, eat together, and sleep together in a corner of the bin. Life holds many exciting adventures for them.  We pray that they will continue happily when we place them in a larger pen, and finally, to the yard.

Fresh Perspective

New life is always welcome.  It refreshes and cleanses away the dreary days of winter.  The hope of new life gives us something to look forward to each day.

Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.

Anticipation of new life

Anticipation is the promise of what can be if we will only look for it.  Sometimes it makes us impatient wondering where new life can be found.

But new life is not far from any of us.  In fact, it’s closer than we may imagine.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water.”  John 4:10

Keets have their own personalities.

Gift of New Life

Every living creature needs water to survive.  The keets must have fresh water each day and I must give it to them.  They cannot give it to themselves.

Life is the same.  We cannot give ourselves life.  It must come from someone else.  Our parents birthed us into this world.  They gave us what we needed to survive.

New life is the same.  We cannot give it to ourselves.  It must come from someone else.  That someone else is Jesus Christ.  Only He has the power to give it to us.

New life is eternal.  It is spiritual.  It lasts beyond this world.

“Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”  John 4:13-14

Jesus the Messiah offers the water of life to all who will come to Him.  His gift of new life sustains through all eternity.

“And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3

 

Overcoming Obstacles in Life

Is there an obstacle looming before you? Do the circumstances of life hinder you from moving forward? Be encouraged. No obstacle is too large to overcome if you endure.

The Pioneer’s Obstacle

Our view of what lies ahead may seem overwhelming.
Our view of what lies ahead may seem overwhelming.

American pioneers traveling westward sought passageways through the majestic Rocky Mountain Range.  Determination and grit led them to overcome the difficulties encountered as they faced the daunting heights and freezing temperatures.

Spurred on by their belief that a future and a hope lay on the other side of the seemingly impossible to climb obstacle, they crossed into a land rich with resources.

Fruit trees provided sustenance for those who happened upon them.
Fruit trees provided sustenance for those who happened upon them.

The fertile valleys gave families sustenance.  Homes were built.  Towns and cities sprung up.  Businesses boomed.  The quest for a better life was fulfilled for many even though it came at great cost.

Overcoming Our Obstacles

Jesus is with us as we walk through our valleys and as we climb our mountains. His rod and staff guide us as we face each challenge of life.  His promise to never leave us or forsake us is as true today as when He first spoke it.

We may have a “Rocky Mountain Range” looming before us.  Yet, what we see as an obstacle hindering our movement forward, may instead be the gateway to a new and fulfilling ministry for Christ.

If it is, our view of the impasse does not hinder what lies ahead. God is not limited by our circumstances.  Neither does any obstacle challenge Him or His resources.  Instead, they are opportunities for Him to display His unlimited power.

 

The valleys may meander, but they lead to greater heights and accomplishments.
The valleys may meander, but they lead to greater heights and accomplishments.

Do not let opposition impede your progress. If God has told you move forward, then keep moving forward.  Acknowledge Him every step of the way.

The howling winds, deep snows, and other weather conditions gave the pioneers limited opportunity to reach the other side of their obstacle. Your window of opportunity may be limited also.

Don’t let God’s promises to you slip away. Grasp hold of what He has for you.

And remember, the promise of Heaven is just ahead.

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation:  for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.  James 1:12.

Photo by Pexels
Accept your challenge and win the crown!

Concerned About Your Language Arts Curriculum?

 Is your language arts curriculum satisfactory, or does it fall short in key areas?

Good educators are concerned about their students’ ability to communicate, to write effectively, and to think clearly. Therefore, they are concerned about the textbooks that are available for their use.  Although there is a wide variety of language arts curriculum available, not all are adequate.

Vocabulary                                   

To be able to communicate effectively, students need skills in delivery and the use of a wide variety of vocabulary words. Being able to speak one’s thoughts clearly is a skill learned. Being familiar with the dictionary and the thesaurus are vital.

Punctuation and Grammar

Knowing proper punctuation and grammar rules are not enough. Students need to know how to use these rules in their writing and in their speech.  Therefore, the curricula used should give students ample opportunities to use the skills taught both in written and in oral formats.

Research

Students also need knowledge of a wide variety of topics. Having to research a wide variety of topics will open the students’ understanding of and interest in the world around them. Therefore, writing assignments should not just include what happened on students’ summer vacations.

Creative Writing

A wide variety of creative writing assignments should be given. Poetry, haiku, song, and adventure are only a few examples.

Students love being the heroes of their own stories. Of course, having a list of topics for students to choose from is extremely helpful.

Examples

Students should be provided with good writing examples for each assignment. Good examples encourage good writing. If the curricula does not do this properly, educators must supplement as needed.

Rubrics

Educators should provide rubrics which detail exactly what is expected for each writing assignment.  These checklists provide clarity and help tremendously in the grading process.

Presentation

After assignments have been edited and revised, students should be given the opportunity to present their work orally.  This helps develop their speaking abilities. It also gives students the opportunity to critique others’ as they develop their own listening skills.

Publication

Students should be given the opportunity to publish their work. This can be as easily done as posting their work on a bulletin board. However, collecting their work in a book format for others to view is advantageous. In this way, students can track their own progress during the current year and into future years. Publishing writing in an e-book format has now become a viable option.

Educators should carefully evaluate the language arts textbooks that are being used to see if they provide what is necessary for students to develop adequate communication skills. In today’s fast-paced world, proper communication skills are a must.

Do you have concerns about your language arts curriculum?  Please share in the comments below.

If you are extremely please with the language arts curriculum you are using, please share the title so others can check it out.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

 

 

 

Conciseness

Conciseness: The Writer’s Goal in Effective Writing

Concise writing uses as few words as necessary to convey accuracy and clarity. It means cutting out everything that does not add to the effectiveness of your sentences.

There are several ways to make your writing more concise. We will discuss two ways that can help you achieve conciseness.

Conciseness removes the nonessential.

Ever read an email or department head memo and thought “I wish they would get to the point.’

I have. Sometimes I wonder if I make the same mistake in my writing. That may happen if my sentences are not structured properly.

Remove wordiness and redundancy.

Two ways to avoid the same reaction from your readers is to remove wordiness and redundancy.

Wordy sentences and redundant phrases contain unnecessary words which hinder the reader’s ability to understand the passage and may disengage the reader from proceeding further with the story.

Therefore, being concise is a skill every writer desires.

Reducing clauses to phrases or phrases to single words can make a sentence more concise.

Reduce clauses to phrases.

Often clauses can be reduced to phrases.

A clause is a group of words that has a subject and a predicate. A clause may or may not be a complete thought.

A complete sentence (thought) has at least one clause. A clause that exists as a complete sentence is called an independent clause.

A clause that does not make a complete sentence is called a dependent clause. Dependent clauses begin with words like because, when, who, in order that, after, and although.

Reducing dependent clauses to phrases reduces wordiness.

When applicable, reduce dependent clauses to phrases to reduce wordiness.

Notice the changes in the following sentences.

The man who delivers the mail lives next to the deli.

The mailman lives beside the deli.

The lady who saw the accident gave a statement to the police.

The witness gave a statement to the police.

The jar that is the antique is blue and is sitting on the kitchen shelf.

The blue antique jar is sitting on the kitchen shelf.

The meeting that was scheduled for Thursday has been postponed until Friday.

Thursday’s meeting has been postponed until Friday.

Reduce phrases to single words.

Another way to reduce wordiness is to reduce phrases to single words.

Notice the changes in the following sentences.

Many from the neighboring houses helped the Townsends to rescue their furniture from the fire.

Neighbors helped the Townsends rescue their furniture from the fire.

The businessman from France will speak at our next town meeting.

The French businessman will speak at our next town meeting.

Tom hit the target with accuracy.

Tom accurately hit the target.

The lady with the blonde hair gave a few brief statements.

The blonde-haired lady spoke briefly.

Eliminate redundancy.

Redundancy is needless repetition of thoughts or ideas. Eliminating redundancy improves the reader’s ability to understand your message.

Notice the changes in the following sentences.

The teachers’ meeting will be at 3:30 p.m. in the afternoon.

The teachers’ meeting will be at 3:30 p.m.

New beginners will learn writing techniques.

Beginners will learn writing techniques.

The class is completely full.

The class is full.

Her boots sank down in the mud.

Her boots sank in the mud.

A successful writer strives to make each sentence effective.  Removing wordiness and redundancy is one way to achieve that goal.
I hope this article has been helpful to you as you continue your writing journey.

©2018 by Peggy Clark

The Dirt Road

Roads We Choose to Travel – or Not

Photo by Peggy Clark
Photo by Peggy Clark.  Sometimes life takes us down roads we do not wish to travel.

Because of our limited knowledge, we assume some roads are better than others.

We think that we can control our destiny by the roads that we choose, but we cannot know what lies ahead or what awaits us at the end of the journey.

Some roads become bridges.
Some roads become bridges that connect new friends. (Parrot Island Bridge photo by Wuhan. Courtesy of Pixabay.)

We assume concrete is better than pavement or that gravel is better than dirt.

Concrete may lead us to major cities with skyscraper views, suspension bridges, and fancy restaurants.

Pavement may lead us to more rural areas, smaller towns, and private businesses.

Gravel slows our pace and lets us pay more attention to the various ways people live. We see more of the detail in housing, outdoor life, and personal preference.

One never knows what one might discover down a gravel road.
One never knows what one might discover down a gravel road. (Photo by Cassie Boca. Courtesy of Unsplash.)

But dirt.  It’s the road most people are afraid to take.  Where will we end up? What if we can’t turn around?  What if there’s danger ahead?

The Advantage of the Dirt Road

But the dirt road narrows our vision to one place at a time. We become less distracted by all the busyness.  We notice things we never do on other roads:  the farmer milking the cow, the children playing on a swing-set, the mother hoeing the garden.

Suddenly we notice how the buildings are arranged, the particular plantings in the yard, the curtains swaying in the open windows, and the creative ways in which people erect their mailboxes.

Mailbox photo
Mailboxes sometimes reveal the creativity of their owners. (Photo by Xavier-Massa, courtesy of Unsplash.)

We stop and discover new friends, partake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and learn about the history of the area.

That is, some do.  Others stop and turn around in private driveways, never to return to discover what lies ahead.  They are afraid to discover something new. They do not wish to travel down the unknown road.

Traveling Down the Unknown Roads

My father loved traveling down the unknown roads.

This is how my father discovered where to buy the best molasses, where to pick the best peaches, and where to return for sourwood honey.  We loved riding with him ‘just to find out where it leads.  You never know where it might come out.’

I still like riding the backroads.  People are always friendly, yet understandably less so today.

You never know where a road will lead you. Sometimes you find a valuable shortcut. Sometimes the road is long and winding and never seems to end, but you always see new places and meet new faces.

People still return a wave and a smile, but you would never have known unless you had ridden down the dirt road.

Do you have a special memory of traveling down an unknown road?  Please share your comments below.

©2017 by Peggy Clark