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Tuesday, 31 July 2012

The Olympics - London 2012

1 Corinthians 9:25 And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
London is currently hosting the Olympic games 2012. Many people are caught up in the excitement of it all. Our athletes have worked very hard to get to where they are - able to compete on the world stage and much money and time has been spent to prepare for this event. We are happy for our athletes when they win their medals and we are proud to see our country's flag held up.
I want to discuss two aspects of this applied to our spiritual life. The first is taking pride in our country and the second is putting effort into our goals.

Taking Pride in your Country - I am happy and thankful to be a Canadian. We are blessed with a good life here - peace, freedom, shelter and plenty of food available. You could say I am proud to be Canadian.  More importantly than that though and what I value more than my Canadian citizenship is the fact that I am a Christian. Phillipians 3:20 says  For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ 
Our Citizenship is HEAVEN! When this life is over and we are gathered together in Heaven, it will not matter if you were a Canadian, or American, or Russian, Chinese or Iranian etc. All that will matter is that Christ Jesus is your Savior.  We will not be in competetion with each other - all of those that are gathered together in Heaven with the Lord are one huge happy family. So my question is - Why as Christians are we shy about wearing our Heavenly colors here? If we take pride in our country and earthly citizenship - should we not be even more bold about representing Christ here on earth? We should be willing to take a stand for Christ, be bold in witnessing, and share the truth of the Gospel even if it means we are frowned upon by the world. Christ is our passion. He is our hope. It is for Christ that we live! One thing that I have admired about the Muslim peoples in our world is that they are not ashamed to wear their religion so everyone can see what they believe. If you are out and about, perhaps shopping - you can clearly see the Muslims carrying their faith with them. We have a local doctor here who is Muslim and she wears her head scarf as she works. The Muslim faith is a false faith and can never bring them to God. It is not that I am embracing their faith, I am only saying they are not ashamed to show it. The fact that we are Christians should stand out. People should be able to see it in how we love, in our values, our focus in life, our choices in education and dress and entertainment. James McDonald has said ( this is not a direct quote)  As Christians, we should not allow ourselves to be entertained by pagans who take the Name of our Lord Jesus in vain and deny His teachings we find in the Bible.

Put Effort into your Goals - Just as our atheletes have spent hours, days, months and years in training and disciplining themselves to prepare for the Olympics London 2012, so also we need to be putting effort and discipline into our Christian life on a daily basis. If as Christians, we say that we are living for Christ, then Christ should have His way in every part of our life. There cannot be any part of our lives that He is not welcome in. He must have authority in our jobs, in our marriage, in our sex life, in our recreational choices, in our finances, etc. The Bible has clear teachings on what the life of a Christian looks like. The questions we must continually be asking oursleves are  - Does this please Christ? Does it bring Glory to Christ? Do I want this for a selfish pleasure or will Christ be honored in it? Is it of this world alone or does it benefit for eternity? Will it help another person?
 If we are focused on the Blessed Hope -(Titus 2:13   looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,)   We wait for Jesus to come at any time, and we know that we will give account for our choices here, and rewards are available to us (for that which we have done for the Lord ) at the judgement seat of Christ. We now have a whole new way of looking at our life that we live here on earth.  We love what God loves and hate what God hates.

Luke 13: 23-25
23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?”
And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the Master of the house has risen up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open for us,’ and He will answer and say to you, ‘I do not know you, where you are from,’

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Roll Kuchen & Watermelon and Healthy Eating....

Proverbs 3:5-6 says Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
There is really not a tastier treat than Mennonite Roll Kuchen with a slice of watermelon on the side.  Any one raised in a Mennonite family could tell you so. I am looking forward to having Roll Kuchen with the watermelon that are growing in my garden. I took the picture below a few days ago and it shows that the watermelons will still need a couple more weeks to mature and ripen. It has been a very warm and dry summer at my home here in southern Manitoba. Today the temperature is +35C ( that is about 95F) so the garden is feeling
the heat and lack of moisture today. 
But what are Roll Kuchen you ask? Roll Kuchen is a Mennonite food - deep fried sort of bread/cookie. It is made with heavy cream so it would be high in calories also. Some people would say it is not a healthy choice in one's diet but in my opinion, if you eat healthy regularly, you can enjoy special treats like this every now and then with no real health issues developing. That is my opinion. My Grandmother lived to be 95 years old and I know for a fact that she never worried about healthy eating at all. I believe the real issue is the chemicals that is in the foods we eat today. Chickens are mass produced in small enclosed areas and to keep them from contaminating one another, they are fed antibiotics in their daily feed rations. Cows are given hormones to increase milk production and farmers are growing mostly genetically modified grains and spraying the crops with all sorts of chemicals for diseases and to promote crop growth. These are the things that in my opinion are unhealthy. So in the old days, when my Grandmother was preparing food, they were eating fresh garden products and pork, chicken, eggs  and beef meat from animals that grew on their own farms and no chemicals and antibiotics or growth hormones were used. That was the real healthy way of eating.

But back to my Roll Kuchen, I want to share the recipe here with those of you who read my blog, and maybe, just maybe someday you will have a chance to enjoy some delicious Roll Kuchen with a slice of watermelon on the side. It is my hope that you will get the chance.
This is my Mom's recipe for Roll Kuchen.

SisterSparrow's Mom's Roll Kuchen

Put 1 egg ( unbeaten)  into a 1 cup measuring cup. Now fill the cup with heavy cream. Pour this into large mixing bowl. Repeat the process 1 more time. ( Put egg into the cup, pour it full of cream). Now add 1 extra egg to into the egg/cream mixture, Also add 1/4 cup of milk and 1 tsp of salt. Beat together well. Now add flour, mixing in a cup of flour at a time until you have a medium dough that is not sticky.  Turn out onto well floured table mixing in a little more flour as you prepare to roll it out the same as you would for a pie. Cut the dough into squares and put a small slit in each square that you cut. Preheat your deep fat fryer to 350-375F. Please be very careful with the hot deep fat fryer so as to not injure yourself. Gently place the cut Kuchen into the deep fat fryer, turning the Kuchen over once while frying. Fry till a nice light golden brown. Serve immediately with a slice of watermelon and ENJOY!


Note: Now that I am allergic to milk, I will not be able to have this recipe but I am going to try to figure out a recipe using alternatives to milk and cream so I can also enjoy this special summer treat.

Peter Pan Christians - Sermon Review

Sunday Sermon Review - Peter Pan Christians

This Sunday, the church service was cancelled in my home church that I attend. So on days when that happens, I listen to a sermon on the internet. Today I listened to a sermon by David Jeremiah. I like his style of preaching because he chooses a passage from Scripture and then picks up points and lessons from that passage and applies it our daily walk with God.

So from a message taken from Hebrews 5:11-14
Hebrews 5:11-14 says -
11 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
12 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

David Jeremiah began by discussing the problem of our day of the Peter Pan Syndrome. You may have heard of it before. It is the difficulty that young people have of growing up - from moving from adolesence to adulthood. Peter pan could fly, fight Pirates in Neverland and so also today people refuse to grow up but rather spend hours playing video games and think they should be able to eat pizza for every meal.
A person must grow up and become responsible in life. Adults should not act like children. A person must grow up and take responsiblities upon onself  and do what needs to be done.

David Jeremiah warned us to not drift in our faith and to not be entangled in unbelief.
Verse 11 - "dull of hearing" . A person who is dull of hearing wants to be left alone, is lethargic, does not have a desire or have motivation to learn more things of faith, especially the deeper truths in the Word. Becoming dull of hearing is a process in which a person drifts away from faith taking his faith and what Christ has done for granted.

In the Great Awakening of the past, people studied shorthand in order to be able to take sermon notes. They were hungry for the Word of God and didn't want to miss anything.

There are 4 Causes of Spiritual Immaturity - 4 Causes of the Peter Pan Syndrome

1) Experience Unproductive Days
It takes time and effort to grow in maturity with Christ, To study and learn the Bible, and develop a relationship with Christ. As followers of Christ, we are all to become teachers, able to instruct others.  We are not just flipping days on the calender - there is work to be done for Christ in His kingdom.
There are three steps of growth in the Christian's life:
Step one - You need to be fed the Word of truth, the Bible
Step Two - You can feed yourself - you can study the Bible on your own
Step Three - Now you can feed others - share Biblical truth with other people

2) UnHeeded Doctrine
You need someone to teach you again the ABC's of Christ.
You need to relearn the basics of the Christian life\
Before you can teach others, you must be experienceing truth yourself

3) UnHealthy Diet
Spiritually immature feed only on milk
Solid food is not for Spiritual babies
It is an individual's choice whether he or she will do what it takes to grow and mature.
A heartbreaking thought to picture adults feeding as a baby does

4) Unnatural Delevopment
One must grow from baby Christian to maturity. It is not natural to stay on babyfood. Churches are filled with people who want just a tiny bit of truth, but not too much, not to the point of growth or to turn from evil ways.  Carnal Christians are full of envy and strife - " take my toys and go home"

There is a Cure for Spiritual Immaturity

Four Things that Mark Spiritual Maturity in a Believer

1) Exposure to Teaching that goes beyond the Basics -As we look back to our past,  we need to be able to see growth in our lives from where we've been to where we have come to.

2) Evidence of Growth in the Knowlege of Christ
Growing takes time but we need to know we are moving forward
Am I growing in maturity of Christ

3) Engage in the Challenges of Life
Practice your faith in the choices of everyday life

4) Exercising Discernment about Good and Evil
The Lord gives us like a 6th sense and that is discernment. You know when something is not the best God would have for you. Make choices that are God's best for you.

Note: Next Sunday, August 5,2012  my home church will be continuing the series on Worship - Worship in Marriage. Your comments are always welcome on all of my posts.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Why I am NorthernSparrow...

Those of you who read my blog regularly may have wondered why I go by the name NorthernSparrow here on my blog and Sister Sparrow on Twitter. I would like to share a bit about why I chose the name Sparrow.


First of all, NorthernSparrow - northern just refers to me being from the North, I live in Canada. SisterSparrow - Sister of course refers to me being a gal. But why Sparrow??
When I read my Bible, I find that God is very concerned about each and every thing that He has created which of course includes the human family as well as animals, birds, flowers etc. I find it such a blessing to read that He has the hair counted on each of our heads. For some of us the counting of our hair would take a while but for others maybe not as long. The Lord goes to such huge lengths to take care of us in detail. But what does he say about sparrows? Matthew10: 29-32 says :
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

 Jesus uses the sparrow to teach us how very much He cares about us. He knows who we are, He knows where we are, He knows what we need, He knows what is happening to us, and He is available to meet with us and become real and active in our daily life -even in the very small stuff. I can testify this to be true in my own life.

Sparrows were sold for not much money at all  in the days when Jesus walked this earth - two sparrows costed a farthing which is (according to my Bible's commentary)  1/16 of a rural person's daily wage. So I am thinking in today's world a sparrow would be worth about $2-3. So Jesus is saying that none of us is without significance in His eyes no matter how small we feel or others have tried to have us feel. We all matter to Him. In verse 31 He says : ye are of more value than many sparrows.  So when I call myself Sparrow - I am really saying that even though I see myself as insigificant and I feel that I am not nearly as gifted or bright as many others around me, Jesus does value me dearly. I am His child, He died for me on the cross and I have accepted Him as my Savior and Lord. I belong to Him and there isn't anything that can happen to me without my Heavenly Father taking notice. He watches over me. I am one of His Sparrows and therefore I am not afraid.

Matthew 10:28  And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

I just love the song  His Eye is on the Sparrow posted below: 
(written in 1905 by Civilla D Martin and Charles H Gabriel)

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Chorus:
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.


"Let not your heart be troubled," His tender word I hear,
And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fears;
Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Chorus


Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Romney for President - Updated!

Updated August 2, 2012 - My blog poll is closed now. According to my poll, Mitt Romney should win and become President in November! My personal opinion though is that President Obama will get re-elected. I was hoping that I would get more participation in this "just for fun" poll. I says thanks to those of you who did vote.  Some people are suggesting that the election will be cancelled due to the circumstances that are developing in the USA and around the world. We know that God controls the outcome of  elections and He allows those to get into office whom He will use to fulfill the He preordained prophetic Word. We will see what happens. Thanks again and God Bless.
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For a couple of weeks now I've had a poll on my blog asking the question-  Who should be elected President in the USA come November? Should Prseident Obama be given a second term or is it time for the Republicans to get into office with a President Romney in the Whitehouse. There is only 1 day left to vote in my poll, so anyone out there - it doesn't matter what country you call home, you are encouraged to vote. I am interested to see what people everywhere are thinking. Some people are even suggesting that the fall election could be called off. What do you think? Leave a comment to support the man of your choice!
    

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Billy Graham's letter to America...

Many of you reading my blog will know that I am a fan of Billy Graham. It was through Billy's preaching on the Hour of Decision broadcast, that I was able to understand my need of salvation.
I want to post a letter that Billy Graham has written to America. It is clear that Billy Graham can see that the judgements of God are getting ever closer. I believe that it is not only America that is facing the downward spiral that Billy talks about. I see it here in Canada very much the same. May God Bless you as you read Billy Graham's letter posted here.

Here is the letter Billy Graham wrote:   (I will highlite some parts that I find significant: )


July 24, 2012 - In a new prayer letter Billy Graham writes: "My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance."

 

Some years ago, my wife, Ruth, was reading the draft of a book I was writing. When she finished a section describing the terrible downward spiral of our nation’s moral standards and the idolatry of worshiping false gods such as technology and sex, she startled me by exclaiming, “If God doesn’t punish America, He’ll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
She was probably thinking of a passage in Ezekiel where God tells why He brought those cities to ruin. “Now this was the sin of ... Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy. They were haughty and did detestable things before me. Therefore I did away with them as you have seen” (Ezekiel 16:49–50, NIV).

I wonder what Ruth would think of America if she were alive today. In the years since she made that remark, millions of babies have been aborted and our nation seems largely unconcerned. Self-centered indulgence, pride, and a lack of shame over sin are now emblems of the American lifestyle. Just a few weeks ago in a prominent city in the South, Christian chaplains who serve the police department were ordered to no longer mention the Name of Jesus in prayer. It was reported that during a recent police-sponsored event, the only person allowed to pray was someone who addressed “the being in the room.” Similar scenarios are now commonplace in towns across America.Our society strives 
to avoid any possibility of offending anyone—except God.

Yet the farther we get from God, the more the world spirals out of control.
My heart aches for America and its deceived people. The wonderful news is that our Lord is a God of mercy, and He responds to repentance. In Jonah’s day, Nineveh was the lone world superpower—wealthy, unconcerned, and self-centered. When the Prophet Jonah finally traveled to Nineveh and proclaimed God’s warning, people heard and repented.

I believe the same thing can happen once again, this time in our nation. It’s something I long for, and my son Franklin recently shared a vision for perhaps the greatest challenge in the history of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association—to launch an outreach called My Hope with Billy Graham that would bring the Gospel into neighborhoods and homes in every corner of America next year.

BGEA has already taken My Hope to more than 50 nations. We’ve worked in close partnership with local churches across each country, and those churches have reported millions of life-changing decisions for Christ. Carrying out a nationwide American version of this evangelistic outreach will be an enormous undertaking, but in my spirit I know God has called us to do this, and I pray He will stir your heart to join us in prayer and support.

Franklin will share more about the project with you as the planning develops. In the meantime, all this year Franklin and his son Will are preaching “repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21, ESV) at Crusade events across North America—from Texas to Canada—and God has blessed the work. Already tens of thousands have heard the Gospel, and many have responded, especially young people.

As I write, I am in the middle of a busy summer enjoying visits with many of my grandchildren and other family members, but also working hard on a new book that addresses some dangerous illusions about eternal salvation that are becoming increasingly accepted in many places. I want to point the world to what the Bible says.
Although age and health restrict my mobility and my stamina, not to mention my eyesight and hearing, I am thankful for the days God has given me, and I am humbled by His continued hand of favor on the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The Lord draws people to Himself daily through BGEA’s various evangelistic ministries, and I am so deeply grateful.

The next Crusade event is August 18–19 with Franklin in Green Bay, Wis., followed by two in September, in Buffalo, N.Y., and Ottawa, Ontario. Please join me in praying for the power of the Holy Spirit on the preaching of the Gospel.

May God bless you,

Billy Graham

Monday, 23 July 2012

Sermon Review Worship Part 2 ( Work )

Sunday Sermon Review July 22, 2012 - Worship in Work

Before I write this post, I want to point out that I do not agree 100% with the Pastor's take in that your work is worship. While I do firmly believe that a Christian must allow Christ to be Lord and Master in every area of life ( includes family, finances, health, work, recreation, etc - everything) that is not the same as worship. Worship is much more than that. We adore our Savior for all that He is and that He has done in us. As a follower of Christ we strive to allow Christ to influence and direct each decision and choice that we make.

The worship leader began by reminding us that nature never stops worshipping God. He mentioned the birds, frogs etc. He prayed for God to reveal Himself to us, to open our eyes to see God at work all around us in our world. He read from Psalm 62: 1-8

This was followed by a presentation by a Canadian Foodgrains Bank representative.
This was followed by a few songs including "In Christ Alone".

The preacher today was one of the Pastors at our church - Pastor Frank
He began by repeating the definition of worship from last Sunday. Worship is our response to what God has done for us and that it is more than Sunday morning worship.
He quoted Romans 12:1 from the NIV and the Message but I will post it from KJV - Romans 12:1 says  I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service

How Can We Worship God in Work?
Some view work as a curse and believe that no one should have to work. But the Biblical perspective of work is clear from Genesis where God gave the task of taking care of the creatures and the world to Adam and to the rest of us. God invented work and He expects people to work.
Ephesians 4:28 says Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth

Our Culture Bases Career on Earning Potential
Is your career choice based on selfish motives?
Ignore the obsession of the paycheck

God honoring work does not need to involve the church - Pastor Frank mentioned homemakers and seniors who volunteer

How can we Worship God in Work
With the attitude of serving others
Phillipians 2:3  Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Our motive should be on serving others and helping the needy.
Consider the needs of your boss, clients and collegues and show appreciation
Put the interests of family ahead of your own
By doing so we are worhipping God.
Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.
Speech
Worship at work is guarding your speech at coffee and lunchtime
Phillipians 2:14 says Do all things without murmurings and disputings:
Remind yourself to stop complaining, to thank God and to pray when you are frustrated
When you are angry, Talk to God rather than counting to 10

How we behave at work determines the joy others around us will find in their work.
God's Blessing will pass from us to others
That ended the message on Worship in Work by Pastor Frank.

Next Sunday the church service is again cancelled at our church. The following Sunday the topic will be Worship in your Marriage.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Heaven - Eternal Life!

John 6:47 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
 It is eight years now since my Dad left this earth - around 9:10 AM on July 21, 2004 he passed throught the door of death and into Heaven. We wonder what will Heaven be like?  We know that being with Jesus in the presence of God the Father will make it so awesome - we cannot really even begin to imagine what it will be like. I'd like to post a few Scriptures about Heaven as I remember my Dad today. 



Jesus will welcome us home to Heaven!
My Dad as a young man.  I imagine how Jesus will have welcomed him home to heaven eight years ago. "Well done, good and faithful servant".
Below is a picture of my Dad reading to my twin boys ( his grandsons) years ago. He did so love his family.

So what can we know about Heaven?
1) Jesus is preparing our heavenly home for us - John 14:2   In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
2) We will dwell with God - Revelation 21:3 - and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God
3) There will be no more pain, tears, sorrow or death at all! - Revelation 21:4 -And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
4)  The Glory of God and the Lord Jesus will be the light in heaven - Revelation 21:23  And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof
5) No evil of any kind will be allowed into heaven - Revelation 21:27  And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life.
6) The throne of God is there and we will be serving God - Revelation 22:3 And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:
7) There is no end to heaven -a gift given and it is eternal, we are safe there - John 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand
As I think about heaven, I find myselft longing for heaven more and more. This earth really has nothing to offer in comparison at all. Try to think of the most exciting thing here on earth that you like to do - then put that up against being with Jesus in the Presence of God at His throne serving Him, no pain or sorrow of any kind forever! -  we see that there is no earthly pleasure here that can even begin to compare. So let us fully and whole heartedly commit our lives to the Lord Jesus and let us be ready to meet Him.
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Tragedy in Colorado Theater..

Today horrible things happened at a theater in Colorado. We ask why such evil things must take place and when will such violence end? We need to be in prayer for those who are hurt and suffering and have lost loved ones.
But we wonder where such violence has its roots. One answer would be that we have all been born with a fallen sin nature and without the love of Christ we can only act on that sinful nature. But I think there is more to the answer than that. It is plain to see that as nations in general, God is being pushed out of our lives, out of schools and government. People want to live their lives separate from God and the principles taught in the Bible. Many people would rather live the way of the world. I believe that when we saturate our minds or the minds of our children with the garbage that is on television, in the movies and magazines etc, this garbage grows within a person and becomes the natural way for a person to behave. It is the sowing and reaping principle on which I posted an article on this blog. You can find it on my blog titled " My Vegetable Garden - Sowing and Reaping".

What ever a person puts in his or her mind is a tool that has been given to satan that he will then use against us. It might involve entertainment - watching a violent or sexual arousing movie, pornography, unwholesome language, lust, listening to secular music that stirs up the flesh, living beyond one's financial means, desires for things that are not ours. Whatever evil we put in our minds will work its way into action eventually. You plant the seed and it will grow.


We can see that the seed the entertainment business has been sowing now for the last twenty - thirty years now with our culture has produced its fruit. The fruit is ripe now. We see it in the violence, the homosexual movement, the way women are dressing very immodestly even in the Christian community - showing their breasts, skin, etc with no shame at all. These are grievous evils in the sight of our Father in Heaven and people and nations will face the consequences of their actions. God will not be mocked in this way. He has given us his Word , the Bible where it teaches us to live in a pure and undefiled way.

Galatians 6:7-8
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Meet our family Pets...

I Timothy 6:17  Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;


We are blessed to have two dogs and two cats in our pet family.

Two Dogs








Two Cats





Our pets are a great addition to have at our home.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Jesus Healed Many at Sunset



Luke 4:40-41 says:  Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.
And devils also came out of many, crying out, and saying, Thou art Christ the Son of God. And he rebuking them suffered them not to speak: for they knew that he was Christ.



I took this picture of the sunset this evening. Even in this late hour, Jesus is ready and willing to heal us - healing in our physical body and also our spiritual inner soul.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Getting Prepared..for a crisis - Updated!

In my morning Bible reading today, I read Hebrews 11. It is known as the faith chapter. I have read it many times before but this time verse 7 kind of jumped out at me. Hebrews 11:7  By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
The question I have in my mind is - What does God want me to do to prepare for the coming world crisis that will affect each of us individually?  We see the build up in the middle east preparing for war, threats from some of the Muslim countries to destroy Israel. We see war in Syria. We see the drought stricken fields in Canada and the USA, the extreme weather that is being reported on the news every night. We see the experts predicting higher food prices and shortages of corn. We see how sexual perversion of all kinds is rampant across our countries. Seeing these things happen, we can see that God is beginning to take action against the sin of our nations. It seems that a line has been drawn in the sand.
Jan Markel, Joel Rosenberg, John McTernan, Ann Graham Lotz and others are warning us just as Noah warned people in his day. In Noah's day, no one listened to Noah as he preached to the wicked people of that day. Day in and day out Noah and his sons worked on the ark which would be used by God to save Noah and his family. Noah acted in faith. The raindrops were not falling yet while Noah was preparing the ark. God told him of the judgement that was about to come on the world, and Noah believed God and began to build the ark. When the flood came upon the world, Noah and his family were ready and were kept safe inside the ark. As a Christian, I too want to live by faith and act upon the word of God, and prepare and be ready.
So the question I am pondering is - What should I do to prepare for that which we see on the horizon? What should I do and what can I do to take care of the people in my family? Thoughts about necessities of life such as food, water,  medications etc. come to mind.
Update - July 18 - as I have been pondering this in my mind the last while, a thought that seems to make sense is to consider making your own relief kit. In the past, many of us have made up relief kits for the less fortunate overseas. So we know that a relief kit would contain many of the essentials rquired in a crisis. To list a few items that I think could be helpful - soaps, band-aids, soothing ointment for a wound - such as Ozonol, painkillers such as advil or asperin, flashlight and batteries, candles and matches, toothpaste, toothbrush, personal hygiene products etc. As individuals, we can each could come up with a list of items beneficial to our specific situations. 
These are questions that we each must work through individually. If the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ is delayed, and times get real tough, Will we be prepared?  We need to draw nearer to the Lord daily, allow the Lord to strengthen our faith, so that when He comes, He will find us watching and ready -  Let's make sure we are prepared at all times to meet the Lord Jesus Christ. 
The very most important in preparation is of course to make sure of your salvation. Jesus the only begotten Son of God, came to earth and was nailed to the cross and paid for your sin and mine. He died there and rose again on the third day. We must accept the Lord Jesus into our heart and life, believe in Him that He is the Son of God and that He did this for us. We must repent of all sin, and confess it to the Lord, turn from the sin to never take part in it again and live for Christ from now on. Then nothing at all can separate us from the Lord Jesus.
Romans 8: 38-39 says
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Monday, 16 July 2012

Dellie - A Friend to All!

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

In this post, I would like to remember a very special person named Dellie. Dellie was a very nice single older lady in the community where I grew up. She was about ten years older than my mother but she was a really good friend to our entire family as well as everyone in the community regardless of ones's age or ethnicity. My earliest memories of Dellie would be of her at around 50 years of age.
 Dellie's life had kind of an odd start. She was born somewhere around 1915 and would celebrate her birthday in February. The woman who would become known as "Mother" to her  found her in a ditch when Dellie was just a very tiny baby, so she had no idea who her birth parents were. Dellie was raised by this elderly woman whom she called Mother. There was also a sister in the family named Chrissie who was about twenty years older than our friend Dellie. I never got to know the Mother or Chrissie though my parents did know them also.
Dellie lived all alone in a very old house that was located on the edge of my parents property. She also had 80 acres of land that was mostly bush. Her property sat right between property that was owned by my parents so she was our closest neighbor. Before Dellie's Mother passed away, the Mother made an agreement with my Dad that Dellie could continue living in that house ( the house was on my parents property) free of charge with no rent or any expense of any kind for 30 years. So the 30 years all passed by and after the time was up Dellie was able to continue living there without ever asking if the 30 year agreemet could be extended. It just was never mentioned.
Dellie was everyone's friend. She didn't have much as far as worldly possessions go but she did have friends. She didn't have hydro electricity in her house for many years but she did always have a telephone. She didn't have a car so she walked to all the neighbors places within two miles in each direction from her house. She had 2 or 3 cows and a few chickens on her little farm. She milked her cows by hand, separated the cream and  would sell cream to the local creamry and that is how she made her living. In the summer she would pick berries ( saskatoons, wild raspberries, currants, chokecherries) in the bush and make fruit preserves. The fruit preserves together with the homemade bread she baked was her main food supply for the winter. I remember our school bus driver would bring out her mail from the post office as well as some groceries and she'd get them right off the school bus. That way she didn't need to get a ride to town.

Dellie was hard working. She would cut and chop a lot of her wood that she needed for the winters. She used a bucksaw to cut the wood. She heated her house with wood and also used wood for cooking her food.
Dellie would come over to our home often for meals and for coffee breaks and snacks. It was so good to have her over and share meals with her. Sometimes she would come for morning coffee and snack, stay for lunch and then stay for afternoon snack. She was such a good friend.

Dellie loved dogs. She had a big German Shepherd dog named Shep. He was so big, I was afraid of him. One day when another neighbor lady walked over to Dellie's for a visit, Shep attacked the lady and she was hospitalized for a time. Shep had to be tied up for safety reasons after this. In later years Dellie got a little black poodle named Benji. Benji was a house dog but one day when he was outdoors for a bit he got away. Benji was lost for some time and we put out advertisements to help Dellie find Benji. One day, many weeks later a phone call came that Benji had been found. So my sister drove out there with Dellie to get Benji back home again.
Since Dellie was really good friends with everyone, she got invited to a lot of homes and places. She would celebrate Christmas with her English friends but then every year she would also get invited to our Ukranian neighbors for their Christmas which was on January 6 and 7. The same with other holidays like Thanksgiving or New Years, Dellie knew she would be invited over to somebody's house for the celebrations.
As I mentioned earlier, Dellie was very poor. She did not have a car until her sister Chrissie's husband passed away and then Chrissie gave their car ( a small pink Rambler)  to Dellie. Dellie did have her drivers license because back in those days you could purchase your license without any test. You simply purchased it as you would a jug of milk today. So when Dellie received this little pink Rambler she was able to get out and about more to visit friends and go to town.
I remember when Dellie turned 65 years of age. As you know, here in Canada seniors receive their pensions from the government beginning at age 65. When Dellie got her first pension cheque, the first thing she did was to buy a pail of ice cream, bring it over to our home and we celebrated together with her. She was so happy that now finally she would have money coming in regularly. Shortly after this, she also got hydro electricity installed in her house and life became easier for her.
I do not know if Dellie ever accepted Christ as her Savior or not. My family witnessed to her on various occasions, and the other Christian neighbors around did also. Dellie would go to Bible coffee with some of the neighbors. My parents brought her to revival services and she was invited to many programs at churches in the area. I remember one time when Dellie got a really bad nosebleed. It just wouldn't stop. We brought her over to our house to help her. My Mom wanted to bring her to the hospital but the hospital refused to take her. So Dellie stayed at our house. My Dad read the entire chapter of John 3 where the way of salvation is clearly explained. Dellie spent the night at our house and we were all so glad when she got well again . She didn't seem to reject the gospel at all and she was always respectful of our family's faith practices.
Dellie passed away several years ago. I have such fond memories of her. I so hope that I will see her in Heaven some day. It would be so good to get together with her and talk again.

Sunday Sermon Review - Worship Part 1

Sunday Sermon Review July 15, 2012 - Worship in Our Everday

Today our church began a summer series on Worship. The series will continue throughout the summer months.

The service always begins with singing. Among other newer songs, an old favorite was also sung. That is the song "I'll Fly Away".
The worship leader continued the thoughts of the lines of the song "I'll Fly Away" and he reminded us that we will all leave this earth either by death or fly to meet Jesus in the air when He returns to earth. He reminded us to be clearminded, self-controlled, to pray and study our Bibles as we wait for the Lord.
It was so good to hear the worship leader exhort the congregation like this and to then to pray earnestly for the Lord's protection and guidance and giving thanks to the Lord for his goodness to us. The worship leader continued as he reminded us that we gather in church to worship and not to be entertained by the various aspects of the service. So often people are so focused on the earthly and material things of life, I thought this exhortation from the worship leader was like a breath of fresh air.
The Service continued with the reading of Psalm 63: 1-8 which is posted at the bottom of the post.

Our Intern Pastor brought the message entitled "Worshiping God Everday".
Here is some of what he said.

Worship means to show honor and to respect, to glorify.
To Glorify is to make something glorious, to praise, and to admire.
Everyone worships something - Either God or something in this world
Misguided worship includes worshipping money, sex, another person or one self

What is True Worship?
God desires our worship all to Himself, Him alone
Worship is our response ( personal, and corporate) to God for who He is and for what He has done. Our response is worship in action.
Worship is not entertainment or a spectator sport.

Exodus 20:3 -  Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Psalm 81:9 -  There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.
Matthew 4:10 - Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
God created all things, all of us, the entire universe
He is awesome in power and majesty

Isaiah 55: 8-9 says For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

God loves us and desires a relationship with us. He sent His only begotten Son in flesh and blood to live among us, and to die on the cross to save us to eternal salvation.

God is Holy
We are wicked without Christ.
He is the only One worthy of our worship
Romans 11:36 - For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen
We Worship God with a Pure Heart

Romans 12:1 - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Worship affects our everyday life, in our choices, our relationships and in our actions.
We cannot separate our spiritual life from our everyday life

Challenge to Congregation:
View your life as worship to God, Lift up your entire life to God everyday as a response to Him.
Repent of the things in your life that do not please the Lord.

Psalm 63: 1-8
O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;
To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary.
Because thy lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee.
Thus will I bless thee while I live: I will lift up my hands in thy name.
My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness; and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips:
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice.
My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Gluten-free Baking...Dinner Buns

In our spiritual life we need bread - nourishment for our souls. Jesus says  in John chapter 6 that He is the bread of life. John 6: 51 says: I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

In this post I want to share with you how I bake Gluten-free Dinner Buns. I will post my recipe as well as pictures that I took in my kitchen as I was mixing and baking the buns. My husband has Celiac Disease and cannot consume any gluten but he can have milk and eggs so my recipe uses both milk and eggs. Take all precautions to use only gluten free ingredients when making these buns. I developed this recipe after many years of baking and cooking for my husband. He uses these buns when we have hamburgers on the barbeque or with chilli, or even just with jam. The procedure for making gluten free buns is entirely different from  making regular bread so don't be surprised if it seems like an odd way of making buns, it is just the way it needs to be done.

Here is a picture of the finished Dinner Buns:





Here is my recipe: The recipe yields about 18- 20 dinner buns.
Sister Sparrow's Gluten-free Dinner Buns

2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/3 cup soft margarine, melted
1 and 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups packed Celimix white bread mix ( the first ingredient in the mix is cornstarch)
1 and 3/4 cups Celimix Rice bread mix  ( first ingredient is rice flour)

Instructions
Warm up the milk in the microwave till it is warm but not hot. and add the water, sugar, salt, eggs and melted margarine. Beat together with heavy duty electric mixer. Now sprinkle in the yeast and baking powder and beat again to mix well. Now beat in the 2 cups of the Celimix white bread mix ( where on the bag, you will notice the first ingredient is cornstarch). Beat together well.  Now add the 1 and 3/4 cup Celimix Rice bread mix and beat together well. The batter quickly becomes very stiff as you add the rice bread mix.
Here is a picture of the finished batter.



Here is a picture of the Buns batter in the pans:



 You will need to have purchased small tin foil baking cups.  Grease ( I use cooking spray ) the small tin foil baking cups. Fill the baking cups with the bun batter - filling each cup only half full. Set the indivdual baking cups filled with bun batter onto a cookie sheet. Place in a warm place to rise. ( I prewarm my oven just a tiny bit and set them in there to rise) Let rise for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 325 F. ( If you have set your buns in the oven to warm, be sure you remove them before turning on the oven to preheat for baking the buns).
Bake the cookie sheet filled with the individual buns for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
Remove from oven and cool. Enjoy!
Store the buns in the freezer in an airtight container such as an ice-cream pail. When you are planning on having a bun for a meal, warm it in the microwave just prior to the meal. Do not take it out to defrost ahead of time as the buns become dry easy if they out of the freezer. The buns are best fresh or warmed up a bit in the microwave. When the bun is warm again, it will be nice and soft.
Here is a picture of the buns just after they are baked:

To give you an understanding of the two different bread mixes that I use: The reason I use a combination of both of the mixes is that I have found it makes better buns if I use the two kinds of bread mix together.

This is the White Bread Mix



And next is a picture of the Rice bread mix:



If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments section. God Bless you!

Friday, 13 July 2012

The Ten Commandments - Ours Today!

The Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses are the basic instructions for living found in the Bible. We are not saved by keeping them. We are saved through faith in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the cross where He died in our place. But the Ten Commandments are still very important because they clearly and simply show us what God expects from a person who says that he belongs to the LORD.  I would like to go through the commands and see what we can learn for our everyday lives.  The Lord Jesus says in Mark 12: 29-31 :  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

So Jesus says we are to love God with our heart, soul, mind, and strength and we are to love our neighbor as ourselves.  As we look at the Ten Commandments we will see these exact two points over and over again within every one of  the Commandments:
So what are the Ten Commandments and where are they found in the Bible. They are written for us in Exodus 20.


Commandment 1
There is only One God - There is no other
Exodus 20: 2-3  I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me

Commandment 2
Worship only God - God requires our complete devotion and loyalty that is 100%.  We cannot be divided in our loyalty. We cannot love both God and the world at the same time.
Exodus 20: 4-6   Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;    And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments
   
Commandment 3
Keep God's Name holy and with honor. If we are claiming the Name of Christ and say that we are Christians and we still live in sinful lifestyles, we are not giving the Name of the LORD the honor that He deserves nor are we keeping it holy. Also we are not to use the Name of the LORD as a swear word to just to express surprise or horror. We are to honor the Name of the LORD keeping it only for Him.
Exodus 20: 7 Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain

Commandment 4
Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy. Since the Lord Jesus Christ rose on the first day of the week, that is on Sunday, we now have Sunday as our Sabbath Day. It is a day to rest, and to focus on our Lord with more intensity, to be with our family, and to refrain from doing unnecessary work. We are not to work nor are we to have others working in our businesses on a Sunday.  Things that are needed like preparing food or providing medical help or other physical supports for people must obviously continue to be done even in our Sabbath.
Exodus 20: Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.

Commandment 5
Honor your parents - your Father and Mother  Children show honor and respect to parents by obeying them, doing what the parent asks, and not talking back or lying etc. As adults we still need to honor and respect our parents which then looks more like a solid friendship with our parents and we take care of them as they become elderly.
Exodus 20: 12  Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.

Commandment 6
Never kill another person. This includes things such as abortion and euthanasia or mercy killing. God is the giver of all life and only He is the One allowed to end a life. God does not allow murder.
Exodus 20:13  Thou shalt not kill.

Commandment 7
Do not commit adultery - This is a big one in our day and age. Christians are not obeying Christ in this matter. Men and women while being married are getting involved with another person, affairs and sex outside of marriage. Pornography and lust are also included in this commandment. God will judge those who take part in sexual immorality.
Exodus 20: 14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Commandment 8
Do not steal - this speaks very clearly. We are not to take what belongs to another person. This even includes stuff that no one will ever notice such as pens or paper in the office.
Exodus 20: 15 Thou shalt not steal.

Commandment 9
Do not tell lies. Lies are used to cover up. The Lord says that everything will be revealed. There is nothing hidden that will stay hidden no matter how much lying is done to cover it up.
Exodus 20: 16  Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.

Commandment 10
Do not want or desire anything belongs to another person. This includes many different things - job, possessions, house, car, money, fields, a woman, or a man,
God gives us all that we need and we are contented with His goodness to us.
Exodus 20 : 17  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour's.

So we can clearly see that if we love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and we love our neighbor as ourselves, we will have fulfilled all of the Ten Commandments of God.  If we are living with the love of Christ in our hearts we will not be lying to people or about others, we will not be living in immorality, or taking what belongs to others, we will not be killing other people. So we can see that God's way is truely the right and only way to live a good life.
God has given us these instructions in the Bible in order to help us to live a good life. God's Word helps us to have a more enjoyable and fullfilling life.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies - Gluten Free

Colossians 3:23-24 -   And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

For those who read my blog, you will know that my husband is on a gluten free diet due to Celiac disease. You will find the post in my archives entitled "Burdens to bear...allergies"  in archives in the month of May. I always keep cookies in the freezer for him, so since his cookie jar is mostly empty now, I am baking cookies for him today. I thought I would post the recipe that I used today, and a picture so you can get an idea of what the cookies are like. I buy regular white rice and grind it to flour in my electric flour mill so that is the type of flour that I used in the cookies today.



                    
 Here is a picture of my  gluten free cookies I baked today.


Here is the recipe I used today:

Chocolate Chip Cookies ( make sure all your ingredients are gluten free)

Beat together in large mixing bowl:
1 and 1/2 cups vegetable oil ( I use canola oil )
1 and 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup white granulated sugar
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

Now add:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 and 1/2 cups gluten free oatmeal ( make sure the oatmeal is gluten free as not all oatmeal is safe )
2 cups chocolate chips
Stir together well.

Now add approximately 3 cups rice flour ( ground from white rice ) and stir well.  The cookie batter should be very stiff.  (If you are planning on using other types of rice flour, adjust the amount of flour required to make a stiff cookie batter).
Set the cookie batter in a cool place to rest ( not in the fridge) for 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 325 F. Drop dough by rounded teaspoon ful onto greased baking sheet.  Flatten a little bit with hand. Bake the cookies for 7 minutes or till golden brown. Remove from pan, cool and enjoy!

Store the cookies in an airtight container such as a plastic or rubbermaid tub in the freezer.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Book in the Church Library...Osteen

A couple of Sundays ago I was in our church library and I saw the book Everyday a Friday on display. It is written by Joel Osteen. I signed it out and now I am wondering if what the author teaches is a type of  the "Kermit the Frog" gospel? It's not that I disagree with all that he says, I do believe in looking for the good and being positive but I feel he takes it to the extreme. A quote from  the book "If you go through adversity with a smile on your face and a song in your heart, on the other side there will be a reward".  Really??  I think we are much better off casting our cares on the LORD,  He heals the brokenhearted and goes with us through our troubles. I believe that we need to trust in the Lord regardless of the outcome of our difficult circumstances.
It seems the author's message is a lot of fluff, boost your own ego and make yourself happy. I find that quite different from how we are taught in the Bible to find our joy in the Lord, whether we are in good times or bad, the Lord is our strength. The author says that if we smile through our struggle, then we will have passed the test and then good things will come to us, while the Bible says in Matthew 6: 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you .
It is in wholeheartedly seeking God that we find joy. We don't find real joy in stuff here on earth. The author of the book talks of wearing your blessings - him and his wife wanting another property real bad and how God told him its okay and to go ahead and get the property. I compare that with the song  "Be Thou my Vision"  that we sing in church occasionally. Verses 4 and 5
4.Riches I heed not, nor man's empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

5. High King of heaven, my victory won,
May I reach heaven's joys, O bright heav'ns Son!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my vision, O ruler of all.

For a person like me who knows people who have been called by God to give up the normal stuff of life, to go to difficult places to work with very poor people, this whole "smile to get blessings" doctrine seems absurd. I know from my own life and the hard things that I have went through, if someone had told me to just smile through my difficult days and that if I did God would bring me out with rich things, I would have not have made it. I can tell you many a day there were only tears and I have found that when I lean on God and His Word, I am strengthened.
A few years ago my friend was very excited about "the Secret" that Oprah was promoting. It was also a think positive and you'll get stuff message. My friend's husband was working out west in the oilfields at the time. Shortly after he came home, he  got sick. I'll never forget when he came to our place to pick up one of our boys to babysit his child, when he came to the door and the shock in his face as he told me the doctor had given him only three months to live and that he had cancer. A few days later my husband and I went over to their place to see how they were doing, and he told us that he was going to beat the cancer, with this positive message stuff. He wasn't able to beat it though, the pain got really intense, he got paralyzed, and died within three the months. The postive thinking didn't help him, but he was really searching and I do believe that he found the Lord during those last few months and that is comforting.

Like the old song says- This world is not our home, we are just passing through, Our treasures our laid up somewhere beyond the blue.

It is not my call whether the church should promote books such as these but I do find it questionable.