Category Archives: VBS Summer 2019 <3

Day 5 of our VBS Reviewing the promise <3

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Well we have reached the last day of our VBS for grown ups. I have loved every minute digging into Psalm 91. 

It has been a long while since I took the time to follow rabbit trails in Scripture and if you got one thing out of this, I am so thankful but I would have done it all again just for the time I have spent with the Word and a pen and paper and the Holy Spirit whispering to my heart. 

I have so many thoughts I could write this morning and words poured out yesterday as I prayed about what to say to end this week of VBS. 

Typical of me, my mind wants to present a well-organized conclusion but my heart and soul and spirit are just going to pour out some final thoughts. 

Psalm 91: 5 & 6 in the Contemporary English Version says:

You won’t need to worry about dangers by night or arrows by day. And you won’t fear diseases that strike in the dark or sudden disasters at noon. 

Oh wow.

Isn’t it the way of life on planet earth?

As a child I dreaded night time. Laying in the bed I was often paralyzed with fear that something was under my bed or in my closet. I was so frightened I couldn’t even get out to run for help as I just knew whatever it was would grab my ankle. 

I would call out and my dad would come in and turn on the light. He would look under my bed and in my closet and proclaim my fears unfounded. 

But the panic was tangible. 

I have told you before I had a little plastic glow in the dark figure of Jesus as the shepherd with some sheep. I would often fall asleep looking at that cheap fluorescent trinket drawing strength in Him who promised to watch over little children. 

Arrows by day fly too. Daylight does not protect us from a rude encounter with a driver or a person who loves to stir up strife. 

Words and actions of others directed toward us at work or in our home or out on the byways zing us and the fact that they happen in broad daylight makes them even more of an affront. 

Diseases…oh yes. They sneak up don’t they? They brood and germinate out of sight. 

Cancer

Alzheimers

Chron’s and IBS

Strokes

Heart issues

These are just a few of the more insidious diseases that have fermented in the bodies of people I love. 

We didn’t know about them until they manifested in symptoms and then we faced the diagnosis and testing and treatments and we walked through new realities that caused us to say…this isn’t how I thought our life would go. 

Sudden disasters at noon? 

We know those don’t we? We watched the Twin Towers fall before our eyes. 

Some of us have had to leave work to head to the hospital. 

Flood waters have risen and people have been escorted from their desks as others munched on their lunch and sometimes trains derail right in the middle of rush hour. 

And I want to read the next line that says … You will not be harmed….and I want to ask God how on earth He couldn’t see that those arrows and terrors and diseases and disasters have very much harmed me and people I love. 

But I go back and I look again at the beginning of verse 5 to find the promise. 

The promise is … we do not need to worry. 

And by harmed…it doesn’t mean we won’t be affected…it doesn’t mean we won’t experience the results of these things…

it means that what matters most…our salvation…our position as children of God…His love and care and provision in the midst of it all…will not suffer any damage. 

This will get us through. 

This will help us hold on. 

This will give us the courage to reach out to others around us as they dodge arrows and follow the procedures for treatment and grieve their losses and together, we who dwell in the Shadow of the Almighty…we will hold fast together until He comes and makes all things right and new <3

Your activity today is simply to abide in Him. 

No matter what has happened in the past or is happening today, at any sign of worry, remember…you are different. Choose to NOT worry…

Easy? Not at all…so ask Him to help you <3

Your snack today is a comfort food from my past and a reminder that God is the one who comforts you in all seasons. 

I got this recipe from a dear friend of my youth, Janey Boyd.

Janey was the antithesis of me…so smart and could play the piano like a pro. She had long blonde hair and a hippie soul and I loved her dearly even if we were polar opposites. 

She became a doctor and worked in clinics for little money out in San Diego and when we went to visit her with our three young children we sat up until the wee hours of the morning, just like we used to do in high school…rambling and talking and laughing and philosophizing because time cannot separate good friends. Ever. 

Fruit Magic

1 box Jiffy cake mix white or yellow

1 can fruit filling 1 lb 5 oz ( I love cherry for this)

1/4 cup butter

350 degree oven. Put fruit in bottom of greased 8 x8 pan. Sprinkle dry mix over and dot with butter. Bake 45-50 minutes. 

Delicious with ice cream of course <3

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Day 4 of AVBS Protection from fowl play…

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Welcome back!

To start us off let’s look at the opening verses to Psalm 91 from The Message:

You who sit down in the High God’s presence, spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow, say this: ‘GOD, you are my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!’ That’s right —he rescues you from hidden traps…

Psalm 91:1-3

In other translations that “hidden trap” is called fowler’s snare. 

I did some research and found a sermon preached by Charles H. Spurgeon that expands on this image. 

The fowler often snares birds by using a net. Since these creatures would be suspicious of the foreign material of netting lying over the ground or in the weeds or trees, the fowler camouflages the trap by covering it with vegetation, leaves, sticks and such. 

To entice his prey to land strategically in the trap, he places tidbits of food so that the bird will be drawn to eat and once settled on the bait, the fowler pulls the trap and the animal is caught. 

Interesting and ironic, isn’t it? 

When we hide in the Secret Place of the Most High….He rescues us from the secret traps of the enemy of our soul

In an earlier post I suggested you ask God to reveal to you the place where He longs for you to dwell…what that looks like for you and for your relationship with Him. I do believe that the context of how we “dwell” in obedience to God will not be a cookie cutter experience. 

I do believe that each of us, while we must all share the common ground of coming to the Cross of Jesus Christ and exchanging our life of self and sin and deception for His life of sacrifice and forgiveness and truth, have very personalized and unique sanctifications. 

Thus our acts of obedience and our refinings, our trials and our triumphs, will all vary and be tailor made to how God created us to be. 

In the same way, as Spurgeon points out, the fowler does not use the same trapping method nor bait for every bird. 

The snares for me will look very different than the snares for my husband, my children, my friends….my pastor, my co-workers, my neighbors. 

The thing they will have in common is that they are geared to catch us off guard and offer us things that look good for us. 

Like all bait they will be…pleasing to the eye, good for meeting our needs and helpful in making us smarter, wiser and better equipped to live the life we think we were meant to live. Sound familiar? Think Genesis 3 if you need your memory jogged. 

Spurgeon has a great quote:

“…he adapts his snare to the condition of the bird which he desires to take.”

My heart beats a little faster on reading those words. 

It makes me feel a bit fearful for myself and those I love. 

Which is why the promise of Psalm 91 is so precious. 

He rescues us from the hidden traps.

He himself rescues from the fowler’s snare. 

In the sermon I read, Spurgeon says this rescue has two-fold meaning. 

He often rescues us FROM the snare in many different ways when we are living so closely with Him. 

Perhaps we suddenly see a glimpse of the net and realize we are about to enter a trap. 

Perhaps a problem or trial erupts suddenly and in the midst of seeking God for how to deal with this interruption, we recognize the hidden work of the fowler who was luring us into a net.

Perhaps in our walking closely with Him, we suddenly feel called to a deeper level of prayer and Scripture reading and we are strengthened spiritually to recognize the bait being offered. 

Perhaps God orchestrates events and circumstances in such a way that by the time the trap is set, we have not interest in the bait which days, weeks or years before would have enticed us.

And then…grace upon grace….when we have chosen to abide under God’s protection by living in surrender and obedience and yet, somehow we succumb to the hidden entrapment of sin…even as the net closes around our sorry soul and we think all hope is lost, it is His hand of love and grace and mercy that reaches into that web and pulls His child back out. 

When we belong to God through the eternal Blood of Jesus Christ, we ARE protected…we ARE rescued…there is NOTHING that can separate us from His love <3

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For your activity today: Think back to a time (if you can’t come up with one, ask God to remind you) when you know there was a trap set for you and somehow you realized and flew on away unscathed. Take some time to acknowledge that it was not your great smarts or your hutzpah that saved you. Thank God for helping you to avoid the net. 

Now think of a time you were duped. You saw something that was good and good for you and you pulled up a chair and began to dine only to hear the snap as the strands of a nylon mesh net enclosed around you. There you were. Caught and feeling foolish and knowing there was no way out.

And suddenly the bands that held you tight were loosened as a gentle, nail-scarred hand pulled you out and held you close to the beating heart of your loving Savior. Surely you cried out your relief through sobs of gratitude that day as the blue sky was once again yours to soar through. Will you drop down and thank Him once more today with the same tears of joy? 

Dear Father God, thank You. Thank you for the times You got my attention and I flew off free, shaking my head in relief. Forgive me for my failure when I didn’t acknowledge it was because of Your care for me that I was wary of something that looked too good to be true.

Thank You for the troubles You have sent my way that forced me to my knees and as I cried out to You, You lifted me away from something that was about to ensnare me.

Thank You for the strength You give me when I am tired and weak and You fortify me to continue in steadfastness.

And Father…thank You. Thank You that your love is stronger than any sin I have ever fallen into. Thank You that You have reached into my foolishness and my ignorance and You have also condescended and reached into the places where I willfully took what I knew was bait…and You have rescued me time and time and time again.

Your patience with me and Your love for me overwhelms me and my heart bows in humble gratitude before Your throne of mercy and grace today <3

Let’s celebrate with a yummy snack:

This one is from allrecipes.com and I have a note on it that reminds me we served it at John’s high school graduation party. 

Our graduation parties for all three are among some of my most treasured memories. Our house was jam-packed on all three occasions with friends and family. It was always the hottest day in May and I thought we would have to take out a loan to pay for the AC bill that month. 

Worth every penny…as it was such a great time to put out a huge spread and really thank all the people who had been a part of our each of our children’s journey through childhood to teen and then help launch them to their next step in education. 

For all three parties, I over did the food prep because that is my jam…planning the menu and all is like a hobby for me. But I needed back up and it came in the form of our sister-in-law Sonja. 

For all three events, she came early and helped me clean and cook and then kept the food refilled.

She was and is a sister and friend and helper extraordinaire and I am forever grateful for her organizational skills and steady temperament and loving support. 

So here is the offering for today:

Toasted Almond Party Spread

1 8oz package cream cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted and divided

1/3 cup mayo

2 Tbsp sliced green onions

1/8 tsp pepper

1/8 tsp nutmeg

assorted crackers

Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. Stir in cheese, 1/3 cup almonds, mayo, onions and seasonings. Spread in lightly greased pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 14-15 minutes or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Serve warm with crackers 

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AVBS Day 3 In the shadows <3

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Yesterday we talked about dwelling in the Secret Place of the Most High. 

Dwelling. 

We, Russ and I, we dwell in our home.

It’s the place where our stuff is stored. It’s where we come home to at the end of the day or running errands or traveling. We eat, sleep, talk, read, dress, think, do business…live out every day here in the walls of this home we have made. 

We keep remnants of the legacy of each of our family lines and we have scattered amongst the rooms reminders of our years with a young family.

We have added treasures and we have eliminated things that would harm those we love.

Even in the short time we have lived in our new dwelling, we have accumulated times when family and friends have gathered around tables of celebration and we have held precious friends and family in our arms as they wept salty tears of grief. 

We come home here because it is where we dwell and we strive to make it a haven for anyone who needs a place to feel loved, cared for and encouraged.

How foolish we would be to go to a strange place or rent a room at the nearby hotel at the end of the day when we have this place we call home to return to.

My Holman’s Christian Standard Bible says…The one who lives in the protection of the Most High DWELLS in the shadow of the Almighty. 

When we enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ and receive the gift of His salvation through His blood on the Cross, we have found our permanent home in the protective walls of the love of the Most High God. 

We move about within the days and hours of living, going to work and school. Doing chores and serving others, but our home is in Him and we live under His protection. 

We DWELL in His shadow.

Shadows are interesting, aren’t they?

They are places of darkness in the presence of a greater light. 

On cloudy days or in the black of night we do not see shadows.

Shadows can appear frightening to a child at night when familiar objects make odd shapes in the faint glow of a light down the hall. 

Shadows can be shade that provide a cool place of rest on a hot day. 

Shadows are not substance, but they are evidence of something solid that exists. 

All of these and so many more can be used by my finite mind about dwelling in the Shadow of the Almighty. 

That I dwell in His shadow means even when, to my human eyes, I am in the darkest of places, it is only His shadow that I need to focus on.

The shadow of His hand gives me rest and peace and protection. It is not His substance, but evidence of His existence. 

I will not, can not see, God with my human eyes in the form of His deity and glory. 

But the shadows cast across the landscape of my life are evidence of the substance and faithfulness of His hand at work over, in and around me. 

Verses 14-16 give this promise to us who have chosen to make God our dwelling place, our home…the haven we seek and the one we invite others into.

Because he has his heart set on me…because she returns to Me day after day as her home…

I WILL deliver him

I WILL protect her

Because he knows who I am by name and by character:

I WILL answer when she calls and I will be with him in trouble.

I WILL rescue

I WILL give honor

I WILL satisfy those who dwell in MY shadow by giving meaning and purpose to their existence and I WILL show them My salvation <3

Today’s activity: Go outside and then enter in to your place of lodging through the front door. Sit in one of your favorite spots within the place you call home. Look around and take in the view. Feel the comfort of the chair or couch that is your go to. Ponder what it is that makes this physical building into the place you call your dwelling and think about what it means to “dwell” there. 

Then think about God’s protection and and what His “shadow” represents for you. Think about dwelling in that place. Perhaps find and read the lyrics to the old hymn “Beneath the Cross of Jesus” by Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane <3

Almighty God, Most High, El Elyon, Elohim, Adonai, Yahweh….these are names that do not fall easily from my vocabulary when I cry out to You but they are names that remind me who You are. Your glory and presence are far beyond what I can comprehend, imagine, see, understand but under the Shadow of just your Hand, I can begin to know You. Where You are is my home and it is where I choose to live. My heart is set on You and I receive the promises with a humble and joy-filled heart. Blessed be the name of our God, who calls us by His name. May Your name be forever praised. Amen <3

Our snack today is a recipe courtesy of my Grandma Lochner.

I wish you all could have known her. She was nothing short of amazing.

If anyone exemplified to me “Taste and see that the Lord is good” it would be her because she seemed to embrace all the experiences and opportunities presented to her until the very end. 

She cut asparagus, picked cherries from the tree in her yard…on a ladder…in her seventies. She was a whiz with artistic and creative endeavors in all sorts of ways. 

She wore pants in a time most housewives sported dresses. According to my dad, when The Great Depression left people hungry and out of work, she took in boarders and raised chickens in their yard to make sure they had food. He always said he would eat chicken, but not his first choice as he had witnessed their demise too many times. 

She loved good food and she loved to laugh. She had a temper and was loud and you knew what she was thinking. But she put love into every thing she ever did and I miss her terribly even though she has been gone so many more years than she was alive in my lifetime. 

While I could only hope to be as resourceful and resilient as she, I do note that I seem to have inherited her penmanship…

So today, I give you this favorite recipe. 

You have to love a dish that is called “Duff” right?

Some things you need to know –

Lochners always sifted dry ingredients. It is imperative that you make a huge mess doing this. It’s the only way we know how to cook.

She left out pertinent information like pan size, steps galore and her abbreviations are hilarious so I fixed it to be readable. 

She called apricots “cots”…I have no idea if this is a thing out in the Yakima Valley of Washington state or Lochner thing. But it cracks me up.

Enjoy…it is delicious and for the love of all things good…do not use margarine…use butter <3

Lazy Day Duff (my Peach pie)

1/2 C butter

3 tsp baking powder

1 C flour

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 C sugar

2/3 cup milk

2 Cups fruit (peaches but see note below)

Melt butter, sift together all dry ingredients. Add milk until blended. Put sweetened fruit in a 9×9 pan and spoon batter over this. Dot with butter. Do not stir. 

Bake 375 degrees for 35 minutes

*Fruit can be cots, peaches or cherries

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