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
I shivered in the cold wind and pulled my coat further up around my neck. Resting on a flat bed trailer behind my grandpa’s old tractor, I noticed the stars seemed brighter than ever in the clear, frigid, spring skies. Ma told me I would freeze if I went with Pa. Now I believed her and wished for my fuzzy flannel nightgown and cozy covers.
The old tractor jerked and groaned as we repeatedly started and stopped. Trying desperately to save a crop of fruit threatened by a late freeze, Pa had decided to warm the blossoming trees by placing smudge pots around them. Breathing pungent kerosene fumes and smoke, Pa’s helper, Willie, and I rode on the trailer and hopped off at each stop to place the black, flame-tipped pots. I thought we’d never finish.
We returned home very late that evening, and I felt tired and sick. Despite his fatigue, Pa headed for the kitchen, rattled some dishes, and mixed a fresh, hot lemonade drink for us that warmed me all the way to my toes. When I finally crawled into bed, I felt good. I had helped my Pa.
The next morning Pa prayed, “Lord, give us thankful hearts for these and for all our many blessings.” It was the same prayer he prayed over every meal. My grandpa depended on God for everything, so I knew he meant every word.
Bright sunshine soon replaced the East Texas cold snap. But bad weather at the wrong time had greatly diminished Pa’s crop of peaches and plums, a major source of his income. As a grade-schooler living near my grandparents, I carefully observed their responses to various situations. In spite of adversity, Pa seemed to view the bigger picture of life. He worked hard, but like the Apostle Paul, he also seemed content in his circumstances, whatever they might be. He acknowledged God’s goodness, and he never missed a day of thanking Him for His blessings.
Long after Pa passed away, I remembered his sweet, humble spirit, and I wanted to recapture his attitude for my own brood. A grateful heart had already become more than just a memory as I tried to personalize Pa’s prayer; but prayers of thanksgiving became even more special when I grew up, got married, and had children of my own.
Many times I found that praising God moved me from Complaint Avenue to Thanksgiving Boulevard (a phrase I heard by singer Joann Shelton).The words of the apostle Paul encouraged me to always be thankful. “Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NASB).
Dear Father, during this Thanksgiving season, let us see your love and provision at every turn, even when we may not completely understand our present circumstances. Let us replace grumbling and complaining with thankful hearts because we can always trust you to know what is best.
Because Jesus Lives,
THIS MONTH'S RECIPE
SPICY SOUTHWEST CHICKEN
1-2 tsp. chili powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
4 boneless chicken breasts (about 1 ¼ pounds)
1 Tablespoon Vegetable oil
1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained, rinsed
1 can (11 oz) whole kernel corn with red and green peppers (undrained)
1/3 cup chunky salsa
2 cups hot cooked rice
In a small bowl mix chili powder, salt, pepper, and sprinkle evenly over both sides of chicken breasts.
In a 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chicken, cook 8-10 minutes, turning once, until juice of chicken is clear when center of thickest part is cut.
Stir in beans, corn, and salsa. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until vegetables are hot. Serve with rice.