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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sabbath Keeping ~ New Year's Eve 2017

"Forget the former things; 
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up;
do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland."
~ Isaiah 43:18-19 ~

"All discarded lovers should be given a second chance,
but with somebody else."
~ Mae West

"What are you allowing to stop you from letting go and starting over?"

"You may have a fresh start any time you choose, for this thing we call "failure" is not the falling down but the staying down." ~ Mary Pickford ~

"For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning."
~ T. S. Elliot ~

"The beginning is always today." ~ Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley ~

"The first step towards getting somewhere 
is to decide you're not going to stay where you are."
~ J. P. Morgan

"The more we let God take us over, the more truly ourselves we become - because He made us. He invented us. He invented all the different people that you and I were intended to be...It is when I turn to Christ, when I give up myself to His personality, that I first begin to have a real personality of my own." ~ C. S. Lewis ~

"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." ~ Seneca ~

"The chief beauty about time
is that you cannot waste it in advance.
The next year, the next day, 
the next hour are lying ready for you,
as perfect, as unspoiled,
as if you had never wasted or misapplied 
a single moment in all your life.
You can turn over a new leaf every hour
if you choose."
~ Arnold Bennett

"When someone you love dies, you are given the gift of "second chances". Their eulogy is a reminder that the living can turn their lives around at any point. You're not bound by the past; that is who you used to be. You're reminded that your feelings are not who you are, but how you felt at that moment. Your bad choices defined you yesterday, but they are not who you are today. Your future doesn't have to travel the same path with the same people. You can start over. You don't have to apologize to people that won't listen. You don't have to justify your feelings or actions, during a difficult time in your life. You don't have to put up with people that are insecure and want you to fail. All you have to do is walk forward with a positive outlook, and trust that God has a plan that is greater than the sorrow you left behind. The people of quality that were meant to be in your life won't need you to explain the beauty of your heart. They already understand what being human is---a roller coaster ride of emotions during rainstorms and sunshine, sprinkled with moments when you can almost reach the stars." ~ Shannon L. Alder

"You are never too old to set another goal or dream another dream." 
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"God reminds us of the past lest we get into a shallow security in the present."
~ Oswald Chambers

"And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been."
~ Ranier Maria Wilke ~

"And now, dear lady, I am not writing you a new command 
but one we have had from the beginning. 
I ask that we love one another. 
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. 
As you have heard from the beginning, 
his command is that you walk in love." ~ 2 John 1:5-6

Please pray for ~ Sharon's family and friends as they wend their way through the shadow lands ~ Rebekah ~ Jim ~ Betty ~ 

In 2018 may you be overwhelmed with God's grace, mercy, love, favor, kindness, and, in turn, shower those in your sphere of influence with love.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sharon answered Him saying, "Lord, I believe"

Sharon D. died last week. We've known each other for nigh on thirty years and while our friendship wasn't deep it was abiding and based on a mutual faith in and love for Jesus. Her celebration home going and memorial service was this week and the band of family and friends gathered were bonded through a mutual love of Jesus and Sharon. She was a Christian, a Godly woman of strong faith who lived her faith in small ways and large, both quietly and strongly. If she said she was praying for you, you could consider it fait accompli.

As I sat in the small chapel I thought over the years and was startled to realize Sharon and I mostly knew each other through our leaving. One or the other of us would leave central Virginia for Texas or South Carolina or Southwest Virginia. These leavings were always preceded by Bible study and prayer.  One of the very few times in my life God spoke to me using another person, He used Sharon. I was in a dither, trying to be at peace with a decision to uproot and move to S.C. Sharon quietly opened her Bible and said, "God is impressing upon me to read this verse" and she did. That same verse was one I'd read earlier in the week and a few days later was quoted by my Mom. To this day, other than me (and, of course, God) no one knows the connection or the verse.

God still speaks but we must daily be in His Word to perceive His whisper. 

Later, I told Sharon how God had used her to help me, both of us knowing it was another of His mysterious ways of dealing with His daughters.

Years later I met Dave and after a six year courtship we decided to move and marry on the front lawn of Thistle Cove Farm. Sharon was there in spirit and prayer then visited later with her best friend, Marti.

Sharon and I weren't intimates. We didn't delve into each other's lives and plumb the depths. We were women who held the other in high esteem and prayer, celebrating Jesus, secure in the knowledge we'd end our earthly days "absent in the body, present with the Lord".

Sharon was five days younger than I and has a daughter, Cat, who has a fiance, Will. The three of them had one last wonderful adventure when they traveled to Europe this Autumn. The photo montage shows extreme happiness on those three faces as they traipsed across alpines and villages. I think watching that video again and again will help with the grief process but as I told Cat, "Grief takes as long as it takes. It can't be rushed or ignored else it show up later in ways you don't want or need to deal with." As C. S. Lewis said, "Sorrow is not a state but a process." Dave's been dead six plus years and the grief still catches me unaware. I'm not in a puddle on a daily, or even weekly, basis but the grief is as real as it ever was with the gaping emptiness just as huge. (And please don't e-mail me with the advice to "get over it" but if you want to give words of encouragement, edification and love, those are gladly accepted!).

"Talk to me about the truth of religion and I'll listen gladly. Talk to me about the duty of religion and I'll listen submissively. But don't come talking to me about the consolations of religion or I shall suspect that you don't understand." ~ C. S. Lewis ~ 

Grief is a foreign country with an unknown language and there's no guide book. Most of us don't want to visit but if we live long enough, we'll get to to that land. God alone knows how long we'll reside there but He is with us (me) each and every moment. Had He not been, I would have followed Dave.

Sharon, don't rest in peace. You're free from pain, suffering and all the ties that bound you to earth. No doubt you heard, "Well done thou good and faithful servant" and have joined that great celebration choir. Who knows the plans God has for us and for His glory but, for those who love Him and are called, those plans include Heaven for all eternity. He has work yet for each of us; I know, beyond a shadow of doubt, you'll work joyfully as you gaze upon Jesus' face. Just as you've done.

The last time we saw each other we held hands and I whispered a quiet prayer into your ear. I also wanted you to tell Dave, if allowed, I'm doing okay but as my greedy brain cast about for the right way and words to pray, I forgot my question.  People tell me Dave is watching over me and hears me should I talk to him but I'm not comfortable with that notion and can't find anything Biblical to support it. I am comfortable knowing God watches over me and gives His angels watch care as well. In ways large and small God lets us (me) know He cares. When I arrived at the chapel, the greeter handed me a yellow rose. Yellow roses were the number two choice Dave always gave me and in being handed that yellow rose, God let me know He knows and He cares. I hope He was as loving toward the others in that room.

Sharon, once again our friendship is based on leaving. I was born first and you're leaving first. Now, as does Gabriel, and with that great cloud of witnesses gone before, you're standing in the presence of Almighty God! That makes me shout and dims the grief; Praise God!

Ponder this ~ "Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

And Sharon answered Him saying, "Lord, I believe."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Sabbath Keeping - Christmas Eve 2017

born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel's strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

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

"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  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. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.

But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart."
~ Luke 2:1-19 ~

Please remember in prayer ~ those family and friends of Sharon D. who passed away this week ~ Rebekah ~ Jim ~ military members ~ all those working on Christmas Day ~ EMS ~ law enforcement ~ hospital staff ~ ...thank you all for your service!


Sunday, December 17, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"The Lord God is my strength, 
and He will make my feet like hinds' feet,
and He will make me walk upon mine high places."
~ Habakkuk 3:19

"Sometimes God will put a Goliath in your path for you to find the David within you."

"Nothing is so strong as gentleness,
nothing so gentle as real strength."
~ Francis de Sales ~

"In all my perplexities and distresses, the Bible has never failed to give me light and strength."
~ Robert E. Lee ~

"Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light." ~ Helen Keller ~

"It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. For the needs of today we have corresponding strength given. For the morrow we are told to trust. It is not ours yet. It is when tomorrow's burdens is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear." ~ George Macdonald ~

"Deny your weakness, and you will never realize God's strength in you."
~ Joni Eareckson Tada

"Only he who can say, "The Lord is the strength of my life" can say, "Of whom shall I be afraid?"
~ Alexander MacLaren ~

"No one enjoys feeling weak, whether it is emotionally, spiritually or physically. There is something within the human spirit that wants to resist the thought of weakness. Many times this is nothing more than our human pride at work. Just as weakness carries a great potential for strength, pride carries an equally great potential for defeat." ~ Charles Stanley ~

"Faith upholds a Christian under all trials, by assuring him that every painful dispensation is under the direction of his Lord; that chastisements are a token of His love; that the season, measure, and continuance of his sufferings, are appointed by Infinite Wisdom, and designed to work for his everlasting good; and that grace and strength shall be afforded him, according to his need."
~ John Newton ~
"I am mended by my sickness,
enriched by my poverty, 
and strengthened by my weakness."
~ Abraham Wright

"When I have kept Him waiting when I ought not, He has waited even then. Always waiting - so patient with my foolishness, my weakness, my fear. Our fellowship is with God, and fellowship is friendship, and friendship means that partnership which, on His part, is the accommodating of His strength to my weakness." ~ G. Campbell Morgan ~

"If we desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and therefore, through trial, be strengthened." ~ George Mueller ~

"Remember, is is not your weakness that will get in the way of God's working through you, but your delusions of strength. His strength is made perfect in our weakness! Point to His strength by being willing to admit your weakness." ~ Paul David Tripp ~

"Do not work so hard for Christ that you have no strength to pray,
for prayer requires strength."
~ Hudson Taylor

"Prayer is the acid test of the inner man's strength. A strong spirit is capable of praying much more and praying with all perseverance until the answer comes. A weak one grows weary and fainthearted in the maintenance of praying." ~ Watchman Nee ~

"The remedy for discouragement is the Word of God. When you feed your heart and mind with its truth, you regain your perspective and find renewed strength." ~ Warren Wiersbe ~

"Occasions of adversity best discover how great virtue or strength each one hath. For occasions do not make a man frail, but they show what he is." ~ Thomas a Kempis ~

"It is the consciousness of the threefold joy of the Lord, His joy in ransoming us, His joy in dwelling within us as our Savior and Power for fruitbearing and His joy in possessing us, as His Bride and His delight; it is the consciousness of this joy which is our real strength. Our joy in Him may be a fluctuating thing; His joy in us knows no change." ~ Hudson Taylor ~

"God will not permit any troubles to come upon us,
unless He has a specific plan 
by which a great blessing can come out of the difficulty."
~ Peter Marshall

"But the Lord is faithful,
and He will strengthen you
and protect you from the evil one."
~ 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ~

Please pray for ~ Rebekah ~ Jim ~ Sharon ~ Molly's son ~ Rick ~ 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Quiet Mornings Begin the Day

Mornings, for the most part, get off to a quiet and slow start, just like this post.

When the front door opens, this is the facing wall; a few things that mean something to me or make a statement about me. All photos with natural light, untouched so therefore, sometimes, difficult to make out. Just like life a lot of times, eh?

Starting at top, going clockwise..."LOVE RULES. Hold Hands ...Often. Say I Love You. Encourage Each Other. Stay on the Same Team. Remember why you fell in love. Be the first to say I'm sorry. LAUGH Everyday. Kiss Just Because. Live Happily Ever After."

A photo of an Irish cottage in a rough barn wood frame.

The Road to the house of a friend is never long.

Bless This Home brass plaque and in the center:


These things bless and warm me every time I enter my home; I hope others feel the same.

Needful things...a place to hang keys that's handy but out of sight of the entrance. This is an old rake head, topped with a beautiful braided fabric...I call it a fob but there's probably a more correct name. Again, something old, given new life and future...just like me, bless His Name forever.

This photo probably shouldn't be included but as I've little reason to bow to convention's under the key rake and where I perch to put on work boots in the morning. The bench is hand crafted and has been with me for twenty, or more, years. Under the bench is a boot tray to catch dirty and wet boots and the strange object to the left is the boot remover Daddy and Mom made me a few decades ago.

This metal deer is on the wall in front of the boot tray and reminds me of unicorns which I believe were hunted into existence some thousands of years ago. Did you know the Bible mentions unicorns? People say they don't exist and they are correct, they don't now but I truly believe they used to exist. This site tells the numbers of extinct animals; in 2006 it was 784 and today it's 905; it's happening too rapidly and it frightens me. We humans are given stewardship over the Earth and, for the most part, I'm thinking we're not doing a commendable job.

This old ladder is hand crafted with rope rungs and holds a small collection of rugs amassed by Dave and I while traveling the world. The wooden grain shovel is also hand crafted and has a chip due to use in days past.

Morning light cast lamp shadow against the wall; the sofa table is in the living room, behind the sofa and a favorite spot for yellow roses, a creche, a non-working antique clock and on either end, two glass lamps filled with shells. The wooden case to the left holds CD's of favorite music and a candle holder made by a WV friend.


There are several book cases in the living room but none of them are yet put to rights. I'm still unpacking boxes, and will be unpacking boxes by Valentine Day is my guess, so I'm putting things out that bring me I unpack them. This photo of Mom and Daddy, married 66 years, rests beside my little Irish tea pot and mug. The mug wasn't made in Ireland but has a little sheep on it so compliments, I think, the tea pot. It all rests in a trugg atop a handmade book given me when I taught in Russia.

OH JOY! One thing unpacked is my collection of animals bells. A dear friend, ML, gave me a little sheep bell she purchased on a trip to London and that started the collection. There are horse, sheep, goat, cow bells from Romania, Poland, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republic...mostly Eastern Europe.

This little creche was purchased at a thrift store with figures surrounding Jesus. Some folks "stage" a creche so Mary and Joseph are on one side with Wise Men, shepherd and animals facing. That's good but I like Jesus in the middle with everyone in a He is in our hearts, you know?

Somewhere is another block with an R but who knows where?

This poster has been with me since 1989, the year Dave and I met and, for a short while, lived in Maui. Lion Coffee is my favorite brand and Kona my favorite coffee. Is it silly for a senior citizen to have a poster in her home? I surely hope not because this isn't the only poster that's going to be put on my walls!

No idea who did this stitch work of the Lord's Prayer but, again, it's not the only stitch work going on the walls. More to follow, eventually.

Over the dividing wall between living and dining room is hung this crochet piece. It's held to a couple of pieces of old barn wood and looks wonderful! (I think so anyway.)

That's it for now; don't want to bore the socks off you nor strain your eye sight -LOL-. I always feel "funny" showing photos of my home...who's interested anyway? There's a lot LOT of calm, peace, quiet, serenity with hand crafted pieces and memories galore. If you've read my blog for any time atall you know I'm big on stories and almost every single thing in this house has a story; sometimes the story goes back a few generations.

Even so, all this stuff isn't as important as the folks who visit whether for a few hours or days. It's the folks I want to make welcome, to say, "Sit a spell, relax, put down your worries for a while. We'll have some short bread and tea (hot or cold), chin wag or not and before you leave, I'll tuck you in prayer." Life is shorter than we think and probably want so take time daily to treat yourself, to remind yourself you are made in God's image. Then, when you've gotten your gumption going, share your special self with a stranger. Give them a smile, a piece of Dove chocolate, pay their toll or buy them coffee. Tis the season of giving so give to be emptied and God will fill you again.

Ponder this ~ "To have been spared in the war and seen victory, to have been given the chance to rest and to re-adjust myself, to have fallen in love completely and unreservedly, makes all one's personal and even the world's troubles seem small and petty." (In a letter written to Princess Elizabeth, around 1946, according to Philip Eade, author of Young Prince Philip: His Turbulent Early Life.)"

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were married 70 years on November 20, 2017. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Sabbath update...

Thanks to prayer and God's positive response, photos are downloaded and instead of my usual Sabbath Keeping post, I'm doing an update this evening. Not a day goes by I'm not thanking and praising God for this move to Nottoway County! God cannot forget His own for in Isaiah it says, "See, I have engraved you on the palms of My hand." Notice He didn't say your name but YOU. In another part of Isaiah it says, "Do not fear. I have redeemed you. I have called you by name, you are Mine." I don't know about you but that makes me scream for joy! Once, Dave asked me, "Do you think God micromanages your life?" I said, "Absolutely." Dave replied, "I don't think God micromanages my life. God gave me a brain and He expects me to use it." I smiled and said, "You're right, Dave. God doesn't micromanage your life because you haven't asked for His help. Just as I'm right because I do ask for His help and He does give it. God doesn't force Himself, He waits for us to ask."

Another time we were talking about prayer and Dave asked if God hear his prayers. I looked sadly at him and said, "No, I'm sorry to say He doesn't hear your prayer because He cannot hear the prayers of the unsaved. The only prayer God hears from an unsaved person is when that person asks forgiveness of sins and for Jesus to live in his or her heart. But once that prayer is prayed, God will always hear your prayer, no matter how short, how long, how awkward...God hears and He always responds. Maybe not immediately and a lot of times not how we'd like. A lot of times He'll say "No" but He always listens, He always hears. When people who aren't saved (but are "spiritual"...whatever that means...I've asked them but never received a reply) tell me they'll "say a prayer for me", I want to reply, "Better save your breath to cool your soup" but I don't because why hurt their feelings?

We've had SNOW! It's been glorious and a sweet reminder of the way it was at the last farm. The major difference is there's not much wind and chores are so much easier without that nasty wind chill! About four inches of snow were covered with sleet and icy rain which has been rather harsh but hasn't stopped me but perhaps slowed me down a tad.

This morning the water in the horse troughs was frozen solid...I really thought I'd left all that behind! Each paddock has a waterer but I like to give them extra so put in these tubs; the horses would rather have the in place waterer because the water is a lot warmer coming out of the ground. By the time I went back to do evening chores, everything had thawed...last night it was about 24 and today's high was 39.

One of the best farm purchases has been the Hay Hut; it's for round bales of hay and minimizes waste. All the horses are in the same paddock and, thank God, getting along very well; being able to feed them all together makes it easier on me.

Yesterday, Mom, Dad and I went to West End Assembly of God Church to see the 30th Annual Christmas production A FANtastic Christmas. There were all sorts of references to Richmond's Fan District, the time was circa 1960's and Mom did a stellar job of driving in the snow and sleety stuff. I tell you this to not only brag on Mom but to say how wonderful it's been being closer to family so we can do things like this.

No, I'm not unpacked but managed to put my hands on a few decorations (thanks to Beloved Sistah) which please me...God blessed me with almost seventy acres so I doubt I'll run out of greenery any time soon. Pine boughs and holly were cut to stick into the concrete planters and this sweet little lantern with candle welcome folks as they step onto the porch. 

These cute little trees are cut from corrugated tin and decorated with star lights and sit on either side of the sidewalk. Two more concrete planters are stuffed with farm greenery and the red lanterns have lit candles while the electric light is a sweet reminder of the one in Chronicles of Narnia.

Timmy Poore of PJ's Tree and Landscape Service, has done a great job of removing trees around the house, between the house and pond and between the driveway and barn/paddock. While he was in the bucket, he even put in light bulbs on the top of the house. I have some phone videos to load onto Facebook that show him in action along with helpers, Paul and Rick. 

This photo was taken shortly after moving in and before Timmy arrived...the house is blocked from view by one hundred foot tall pine trees and the dam has a few unwanted trees as well. Pine trees have shallow roots and I decided to have them removed before the wind blew them down and possibly into my house. The second photo above shows a clean light of sight from the house deck to the pond and much better! 

Rick works with Timmy and is owner of Unique Wood Treasures. When I asked Rick if he could put in some clothes line poles for me, using some fence posts I had, he sorta looked at me funny and said, "Sure, no problem." After a while, he pulled up and unloaded these hand made, hand crafted (sorry, they're so beautiful had to say it twice!) beauties of cedar! 

I'm a huge fan of washed clothes hung on a line and it will be sheer pleasure using this clothes line for years to come. Rick...ya done good great and thank you!

Joe Nicholes, Cabins and More, added three bays to my pole shed thus allowing extra under cover storage for farm equipment. Joe and family live in Tazewell and are Mennonites so he doesn't have internet presence; if you're interested in hiring him (highly recommended!), send me an e-mail and I can connect you.

Virginia Blue, out of Roanoke, did a benefit concern and they were fabulous! Yes to blues, also jazz, some zydeco, bit of rock 'n roll...whatever they did, it was fabulous! The concert was held at the Blackstone town square in the center of town...a lovely venue.

I'm learning how to use my Android phone and have photos and video's to upload...when I figure out how but for now I think that's enough of an update. At least, I've been at this for a few hours (so very s.l.o.w. -grin) and I'm ready for a break. So, in closing...God doesn't forget His own. Ever. This I believe with every thing I've got...yes, I remember standing on the last farm's upper pasture, screaming at the sky, "God, have you forgotten you've left me here?!!" but knew full well He had not forgotten me. God has His reasons, His plan for my good and His glory. Always. Life is better and easier to deal with...not easier but easier to deal with...when I remember. 

and my Good early Christmas gift to myself...this morning I joined Blackstone Baptist Church and thank God for leading me to these gracious, kind, Jesus with skin on people!

Ponder this ~ if you're a Christian Believer, God has a plan for your good and His glory. If you're not a Christian Believer, get in touch because I can help you there.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 03, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

(If you've noticed I'm using the same photos over and over, I'm having trouble figuring out how to download from the camera into the computer. I'd love to give a farm update, pray for the blessing of knowledge for me to figure out how to accomplish the download."

"Blessed is the man who trusteth in the Lord
and whose hope the Lord is."

"The unthankful heart discovers no mercies;
but the thankful heart will find,
in every hour,
some heavenly blessings."
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

God's blessings go far , far beyond anything we could ever dream.

"Focus on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Focus on your character, not your reputation.
Focus on your blessings, not your misfortunes."
~ Roy T. Bennett

"When God decides to bless you,
He will cause situations to come together in your favor...
no matter what others try to do."
~ Christie Joyner ~

"Reflect upon your present blessings--of which every man has many--not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some." ~ Charles Dickens ~

"Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore,
May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul.

As the wind loves to call things to dance,
May your gravity be lightened by grace.

Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth,
May your thoughts incline with reverence and respect.

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.

As silence smiles on the other side of what's said,
May your sense of irony bring perspective.

As time remains free of all that it frames,
May your mind stay clear of all it names.

May your prayer of listening deepen enough
to hear in the depths the laughter of God."

"If we never experience the chill of a dark winter, it is very unlikely that we will ever cherish the warmth of a bright summer's day. Nothing stimulates our appetite for the simple joys of life more than the starvation caused by sadness or desperation. In order to complete our amazing life journey successfully, it is vital that we turn each and every dark tear into a pearl of wisdom, and find the blessing in every curse." ~ Anthon St. Maarten ~

"Blessed are the single-hearted for they shall enjoy much peace. If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness, you will know what His will is." ~ Amy Carmichael ~

"God gives you blessings so you can bless others. 
He can only pour into an empty vessel."
~ Sandra ~

"Saying with a loud voice, 
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain
to receive power, 
and riches, 
and wisdom, 
and strength, 
and honour 
and glory, 
and blessing."

Please pray for ~ Sharon ~ Rebekah ~ Jim ~ 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. 
And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, "Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?"
And the woman said unto the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, "Ye shall not eat of it, 
neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die."
And the serpent said unto the woman, "Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the 
day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, 
knowing good and evil."

"The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose."
~ William Shakespeare

"Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls, he will find you occupied."
~ St. Jerome ~

"Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his/her knees." ~ William Cowper ~

"If you don't set the tone for the day, the devil will set it for you." ~ Joel Osteen ~

"For where God built a church,
there the devil would also built a chapel."
~ Martin Luther

"You can hide from the devil but he'll always find you." ~ Allen Iverson ~

"One of Satan's most deceptive and powerful ways of defeating us is to get us to believe a lie. And the biggest lie is that there are no consequences to our own doing. Satan will give you whatever you ask for if it will lead you where he ultimately wants you." ~ Charles Stanley ~

"And so it is that both the Devil and the angelic Spirit 
present us with objects of desire 
to awaken our power of choice." 
~ Rumi

"When you make a mistake and the devil comes and tells you, 'You're no good,' you don't have to take on the guilt and condemnation he wants to put on you. No! You can immediately confess your mistake to God, thank Him for forgiving you and cleansing you with the blood of Jesus, and move forward in the victory of His grace and forgiveness." ~ Joyce Meyer ~

"We must remember that Satan has his miracles too." 
~ John Calvin

"Those who play with the devil's toys will be brought by degrees to weld his sword."
~ R. Buckminster Fuller ~

"Satan, the leader of dictator of devils, is the opposite, not of God, but of Michael."
~ C. S. Lewis

"Satan tries to counterfeit the work of God and by doing this he may deceive many. To make us lose hope, to make us feel miserable like himself, and believe that we are beyond forgiveness. Satan might even misuse words from the Scriptures that emphasize the justice of God in order to imply there is no mercy." ~ Dieter F. Uchtdorf ~

"Hell is the highest reward the devil can offer you for being a servant of his
~ Billy Sunday ~

Since that day in the Garden, Satan has lied to all of us: You're not pretty enough. You're not thin enough. You're not good enough. You're not smart enough.

You're not ______________________ (fill in the blank with Satan's lying whissssssper) enough.

And the worst lie of all: God doesn't love you. (Which is, basically, what he told Eve. "IF God loved you, He would allow you to eat of the fruit...")

LIES! ALL LIES! Lies from the father of lies

God loves each and every one whom He has made in His image. Our heavenly Father canNOT love us any more than He loves us nor can He love us any less! Your choice is to (a) believe his lies or (b) don't believe his lies. Yep, it's only one of two...believe or don't believe.

God says, "You are enough...not because of anything you've done but because of my gifts of grace and mercy. Grace being you get what you don't deserve and mercy being you don't get what you do deserve.

"...He (Satan) was a murderer from the beginning, 
and abode not in the truth, 
because there is no truth in him. 
When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own:
for he is a liar, and the father of lies."

"...I am come that they may have life 
and have it more abundantly."

Please pray for ~ Sharon ~ Gladys ~ Jim ~ 

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

"I will give thanks to you, LORD, with all my heart;
I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."

"When you rise in the morning, give thanks for the light, 
for your life, 
for your strength. 
Give thanks for your food and for the joy of living. 
If you see no reason to give thanks,
the fault lies in yourself."
~ Tecumseh

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend." ~ Melody Beattie ~

"When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around."
~ Willie Nelson ~
"Rest, and be thankful."
~ William Wordsworth ~

"Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks."
~ Thomas Goodwin ~

"Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy and change ordinary opportunities into blessings. " ~ William Arthur Ward ~

"Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others."
~ Cicero ~

"The unthankful heart discovers no mercies;
but the thankful heart will find,
in every hour,
some heavenly blessings."
~ Henry Ward Beecher ~

"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it."
~ William Arthur Ward ~

"Life without thankfulness is devoid of love and passion.
Hope without thankfulness is lacking in fine perception.
Faith without thankfulness lacks strength and fortitude.
Ever virtue divorced from thankfulness is maimed and limps along the spiritual road."
~ John Henry Jowett ~

"The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest." ~ William Blake ~

"There are three requisites to the proper enjoyment of earthly blessings: a
thankful reflection, on the goodness of the giver;
a deep sense of our own unworthiness;
and a recollection of the uncertainity of our long possessing them.
The first will make us grateful; the second, humble; and the third, moderate."
~ Hannah More ~

"Gratitude is the sign of noble souls." ~ Aesop ~

"We ought to give thanks for all fortune: if it is good, because it is good, if bad, because it works in use patience, humility and the contempt of this world and the hope of our eternal country."
~ C. S. Lewis ~

"When it comes to life the critical things is whether you take things for granted
or take them with gratitude."
~ C. K. Chesterton ~

"Be thankful. God has commanded it--for our good and for His glory. God's command to be thankful is not the threatening demand of a tyrant. Rather, it is the invitation of a lifetime--the opportunity to draw near to Him at any moment of the day." ~ Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth ~

"It's one thing to be grateful.
It's another to give thanks.
Gratitude is what you feel.
Thanksgiving is what you do."
~ Tim Keller

"If I succeed, I will give thanks.
If I fail, I will seek His grace."
~ Max Lucado

"And it came to pass, as He went to Jerusalem, that He passed through the midst of Samraria and Galilee. And as He entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when He saw them, He said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, "Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?" There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And He said unto him, "Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." 

Prayer requests ~ Sharon ~ Rebekah ~ Timmy and family ~ 

If you've ever tucked me in prayer, thank you. If you've ever read my blog, thank you. Please know, if you've ever left a comment, public or private, you've been held in prayer. I am so very grateful to you; thank you. In this season of Holy Days, please concentrate on the precious, friends, life, food, water, shelter, a Bible to read, the fact you're reading this on a computer... . Perhaps we've all felt as did Agatha Christie, "I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing." To which I add...Amen and amen!

Truly, I am both grateful to you and thankful for you. Happy Thanksgiving!

P. S. Computer woes...ahhhh! I count it all joy I can make a lovely pan of shortbread. lol

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sabbath Keeping

" your days are so shall your strength be..."

"True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind
and exercise of the body;
The two are ever united."
~ Wilhelm von Humbolt ~

"Exercise should be regarded as tribute to the heart."
~ Gene Tunney

"The body needs its rest and sleep is extremely important in any health regimen. There should be three main things: eating, exercise and sleep. All three together in the right balance make for a truly healthy lifestyle." ~ Rohit Shetty ~

"Walking is the best possible exercise."
~ Thomas Jefferson ~

"Old minds are like old horses.
You must exercise them if you wish to keep them in working order."
~ John Adams ~

Do you treat your body like a tent or a temple? Why?

"There is no better exercise for your heart than reaching down and helping to life someone up."
~ Bernard Meltzer ~

"To feel much for others and little for ourselves;
to restrain our selfishness and and exercise our benevolent affections,
constitute the perfection of human nature."
~ Adam Smith ~

"Making excuses burns zero calories." 

"There are six components of wellness: proper weight and diet, proper exercise, breaking the smoking habits, control of alcohol, stress management and periodic exams."
~ Kenneth H. Cooper ~

"The only way to get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more." ~ Jack LaLanne ~

"The Holy Ghost brings back memories of what God has taught us. And one of the ways God teaches us is with His blessings; and so, if we choose to exercise faith the Holy Ghost will bring God's kindnesses to our remembrance." ~ Henry B. Eyring ~

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, 
who is in you, whom you have received from God? 
You are not your own, you were bought at a price. 
Therefore, honor God with your bodies."

Please pray for ~ Sharon ~ Jim and Gladys ~ 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

Sabbath Keeping: Dear Dave

Dear Dave,

The last Dear Dave letter I wrote, I wasn't sure if  I'd ever write again but the sixth anniversary of your Homegoing, today, falls on Sunday. I was torn between the usual Sabbath Keeping post with quotes and Bible verses or writing you so I chose both. Before beginning this letter, I typed "Dear Dave" in the blog search box and re-read those letters and posts I wrote to you and was reminded of C. S. Lewis who said, "Isn't it funny how day by day nothing changes but when you look back nothing is the same?" For almost six years that has, somehow, been true but in the last few months enormous changes have taken place. Over the last six years enormous changes have taken place in me as well.

Thistle Cove Farm relocated from southwest Virginia to southside Virginia and, just like God, He allowed me to see this new farm some three or four years ago, all the while knowing His plans were being worked out and I wasn't ready. I believe God had to break my heart in order to make me whole (a continual process, eh?)  but it's only when we're I'm broken His light can get in. Otherwise I am simply filled with myself with not much no room for Him and me with myopic vision and unable to see the larger view.

(A wiser man than I said, "It is well to remember that the entire population of the universe, with one trifling exception, is composed of others." (quote found on Kathy's Laughing Dove blog.))

When my our (God and me) new farm came up for sale, one photo showed WVU cut into a hay field and of course I thought, "It's a sign because that's where you and Cathy (the love of your youth) went to university. Then, the years dragged on (and on and on and...) and as hope dimmed, I began praying truly for God's will, not my own, but I continued searching for a new farm in southside VA. (Anyone who says it's easy to discern God's will in their life is either delusional or they are praying for what they want. Micah 6:8 tells us God's will on a broad scale but when it comes to making the smaller personal decisions, I've found it to be an extremely difficult, yet faith building, process.)

Earlier this year I re-visited that web sale page and found out the property price had dropped. Additionally, folks who wanted to buy the southwest VA farm were able to get their finances in order and make another offer. Long story short, it all worked out and the dogs, cats, horses and I have moved to a place you would love! Dave, there's a stocked pond and I can just see you fishing (with or without a hook -smile), or sitting on the deck enjoying life or...ta-da!...running to Walmart just six miles away and with NO mountains to cross!

It's still Big Sky country but the house is little more than half as small with more than twice the acreage and has open fields, woods, paddocks, barn and a pond. (oh, but I mentioned One of the first things Mom said was, "Dave would really like this place" and she's right. You would love this new farm and, more importantly, it would please you to know you (through God's provision) were instrumental in my purchase of same.

The Bible says "God is the same, yesterday, today and forever..." and His plans are continually being worked out for my good and His glory. Dave, it's so easy to sometimes often forget life, farm, animals, my plans aren't about the here and now, it's all about the here after. God is preparing us for a richer in the way that matters most eternal life with Him, His Son, that great cloud of witnesses, the angels...eternal life in Heaven and all we have to do is believe. But again, you know all that because you made your peace with God five days before you died and are now in Glory! I often sing a song "I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene..." and now Dave, you, like Gabriel, are standing in the presence of God! It fair boggles my mind and I'm having church right here, right now, typing this letter! Glory!

Dearest Dave ~ I am happy, content, enjoying life, this farm, these animals, being closer to family. Because you made your peace with God, I am at peace with no worries or nagging thoughts about your eternal Home. Those decades of asking, "Dave, would you like to go to church with me today?", of you watching me have morning Bible reading and devotions, all those years of you asking me to pray...I like to think believe God used me to help lead you to His Son and even though I wasn't the perfect wife, nor you the perfect husband, we, with God, were perfect for each other. You grew me into the wife you wanted me to be and I am grateful. We grew our friendship into love, our house into a home and I am grateful. I am grateful for a new beginning, a new farm, a new location where people are welcoming me into their lives, their homes, their hearts, their church. I am grateful to God for His plans for my life, plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans giving me hope and a future both now and for all Eternity in Heaven. Perhaps that's what my grave stone should read: Grateful.

Tu manques a moi

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Reformation!

This was originally printed October 30, 2010.

Are you familiar with the Reformation? If you're a Christian, please accept my wishes for you to have, and celebrate, a true holiday...a holy day known as the Reformation.

Here on the farm, we don't "celebrate" halloweenie because it's not a holiday...not a holy day. I've never been a fan of death, dieing and destruction; I'm a child of Light and celebrate Life and choose not to associate with nor decorate with things signifying death and destruction. Why on earth would any sane human being, deliberately, invite such into their lives? Nor, have I ever understood the "need" some folks have to watch horror movies and be frightened out of their minds. I just don't understand but, to be truthful, haven't spent a whole lot of time trying to figure it out. I'm tolerant, just don't want the sordid mess at my doorstep. 

Dr. Martin Luther, on October 31, 1517 posted his 95 Theses or Disputation Against Indulgences on the castle door and mailed same to various local Catholic bishops and, forever, changed the Catholic church's stronghold on the Christian faith. Luther taught that salvation through acceptance of Jesus Christ is a free gift solely through the grace of God and cannot be purchased with money nor earned through good deeds. In effect, Dr. Martin Luther challenged Pope Leo X and the entire Catholic church and further stated the Bible should be in German, the language of the people and not, solely, in Latin, the language of the Catholic church. Just thirty years before Luther's birth, Johannes Gutenberg invited printing from movable type and, it's been said, Gutenberg's invention allowed Martin Luther to "throw ink at the devil". 

Radical thinking.

So, Happy Reformation. Because of a monk's great courage almost five hundred years ago, you and I have salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Alone. Not because it can be purchased with filthy lucre nor earned by doing good works. 

Radical thinking. Even more radical to accept.

95 Theses of Dr. Martin Luther
"Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.
In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
    1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite (Repent), willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance. 2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests. 3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh. 4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven. 5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons. 6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven. 7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest. 8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying. 9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity. 10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory. 11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept. 12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition. 13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them. 14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear. 15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair. 16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety. 17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase. 18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love. 19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it. 20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imposed by himself. 21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved. 22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life. 23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest. 24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and high sounding promise of release from penalty. 25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish. 26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession. 27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory]. 28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone. 29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal. 30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission. 31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare. 32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon. 33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him. 34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man. 35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia. 36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon. 37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon. 38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission. 39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition. 40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them]. 41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love. 42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy. 43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons. 44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God. 46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons. 47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment. 48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring. 49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God. 50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep. 51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold. 52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it. 53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others. 54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word. 55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies. 56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ. 57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them. 58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man. 59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time. 60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure; 61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient. 62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God. 63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last. 64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first. 65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches. 66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men. 67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain. 68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross. 69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence. 70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope. 71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed! 72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed! 73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons. 74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth. 75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness. 76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned. 77.  It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope. 78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii. 79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy. 80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render. 81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity. 82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial." 83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?" 84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?" 85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?" 86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?" 87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?" 88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?" 89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?" 90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy. 91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist. 92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace! 93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross! 94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell. 95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace."

Ponder this ~  God love you so much He sent His Son Jesus who loves you so much He died for you. 
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