Hello and Welcome!
Life is tough, but God is good. God’s Word is a strong foundation that is indeed practical and relevant in our world today. Scripture surely molds and changes us as we integrate it into our hearts and lives. Paul’s example in I Thessalonians demonstrates spiritual fruit that remains. I want these same elements to characterize my life to:
A personal relationship with Christ is the most exciting element for daily living. He came to give us an abundant life! (John 10: 10). He loves us and wants us to experience the fullness of His grace, joy, and peace. A joyful heart is good medicine (Proverbs 15: 13). I pray that you’ll find encouragement and hope through my writings and that God will bless you abundantly as you seek His face.
THIS MONTH'S MESSAGE
By Fran Caffey Sandin
During a summer sightseeing cruise on Lake Superior, my husband and I viewed Pictured Rocks along the National Shoreline. We gazed upward to a huge grey rock formation that resembled a giant battle ship heading out to sea. Then we saw the red 180 foot Indian Head rock, a 70 foot waterfall, and coves with an outcropping of vibrant colored rocks that our tour-guide explained were formed from a combination of limestone, and the seepage of minerals such as copper and manganese or tannic acid—all breathtaking--a photographer’s dream. But the scene that grabbed my attention most was a lone pine tree atop Pulpit Rock. The interesting feature was that the tree’s roots extended to the mainland for nourishment. If those roots ever got disconnected, the tree would surely die. My thoughts immediately turned to the words of Jesus in the book of John.
“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’ve joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown in the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples” (John 15: 5-8 The Message).
A modern-day example of a “branch” connected securely to the “Vine” would be Mariam Ibraheem, a young mother who recently gave birth to a baby girl in a disease-ridden Khartown prison as she faced a death sentence because she refused to denounce her faith in Jesus Christ. She persevered while Christians prayed for her and divinely-appointed helpers intervened to secure her release from evil captors. She never lost faith. Later Miriam was able to encourage Naghmah Abedini--whose husband has been incarcerated in Syria because of his faith in Christ. Miriam said to Naghmah, “Do not fear, be strong. Take care of your kids, and the Lord will be with you.”
While the lone tree at Pulpit Rock is temporal, these brave women are a living example of a spiritual principle. They are connected to Jesus Christ, the source of their strength, the One who gives life everlasting. Because of their faithfulness to stay connected to Jesus, they are impacting the world with their discipleship. They encourage us all.
Dear Heavenly Father, let us never forget that without You, we can do nothing. While we may connect to the internet, cell phones, and social media, help us realize that the greatest and most important connection in life is our relationship with You through Jesus Christ, our Lord, our Savior. You are the nourishment for our souls, and nothing will take the place of a genuine relationship with You. Let us abide in You as our focus for life. In Jesus’ name-Amen.
THIS MONTH'S RECIPE
ORANGE COCONUT MUFFINS
Beat Together: ¾ cup butter
1 cup sugar
Add: 2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla and mix well
Stir in: 1 can mandarin orange sections (do not drain)
In a separate bowl combine and stir together:
2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 cup coconut
1 cup blueberries
Combine all ingredients and stir with a large spoon until moistened.
Bake in muffin pan for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
You are sure to enjoy this tasty, moist muffin recipe our hostess at a B&B in New Foundland, Canada, shared with me.