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Archive for July, 2012

We cook our breakfast overnight!

This Mama Mondays post is barely squeezing in before midnight…I am still trying to work in a blogging routine… speaking of routines, I just finished watching the second lesson in the Real Foods Kids class on GNOWFGLINS which is all about developing a routine for involving kids in the kitchen.

I don’t want to repeat everything in the lesson here; I recommend that you sign up for GNOWFGLINS membership so you can see it firsthand (I always think of the verse, “thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn,” but that seems hardly complimentary when referring to lovely blogging ladies!  No woman wants to be referred to as an ox… 🙂 Basically, I think Wardeh deserves the small membership fee for all her hard work!)  You can also try a membership for just one month when the course is finished–so you can watch all the videos at once–if you’d like to get the most bang for your buck ($10 or so for 19 lessons and lots of downloadable, printable files to help with organizing and planning, plus access to the forums with valuable Q & A )

Advertisement overwith, I thought I’d share my application of this past weeks’ lesson.  The biggest KEY I got from Lesson 2: PLAN GRADUALLY.  Apparently, we all have routines (it’s the way we do things every day) so all we need to do is tweak them and keep on tweaking until we get to where we’d like to be.  My goals this week are to (1) get my small children involved in making breakfast and (2) since she isn’t up at breakfast time, to get my stepchild to do her chore in a way that complements the breakfast routine.

A little explanation is in order: We make steel-cut oats for breakfast in a crockpot so it can soak overnight to reduce phytic acid (remind me to post the recipe for Recipe thuRsday!) and slow-cook to be ready at breakfast time.  We also eat hard-boiled, free-range eggs instead of taking multivitamins (the higher cholesterol should help our FXS child with her autism symptoms).  My stepdaughter’s chore is to empty the dishwasher after she eats breakfast so we can load dirty dishes into it the rest of the day (for which she gets $1/day).  According to the GNOWFGLINS eCourse, there are four “levels” of kid-cook, Swing, Line, Sous, and Head.  Right now I’m designating my preschooler and FXS kindergartener as “Swing” cooks, and my stepdaughter as a “Line” cook.  They can graduate once I figure out what those cooks are supposed to be able to do…

Here is our new breakfast routine:

Breakfast Routine: Add flavoring to oats, Boil & Peel eggs, pour drinks, pray, eat, clean.

OATS:

    • [Line +] Pre-measure spices and honey;
    • [Swing] Add spices and honey to oats;
    • [Swing] Stir
    • [Swing] Serve into bowls
    • [Line +] Pour milk onto oatmeal
    • [Swing] Place on table with spoon

EGGS:

    • [Line +] Get filtered water from the ‘fridge
    • [Swing] Add 16 eggs gently to the pot
    • [Swing] Pour water over eggs
    • [Line +] Turn stove on
    • [Line +] Watch for boil
    • [Line +] Turn on Timer
    • [Line +] Reset Timer and turn off stove
    • [Line +] Scoop out eggs into bowl
    • [Swing] Peel eggs
    • [Line +] Chop eggs in half; sprinkle salt
    • [Swing] Distribute eggs (4-D, 4-M, 3-A, 3-C, 2-E)
    • [Swing] Place on table

DRINKS:

    • [Swing] Shake yogurt milk
    • [Line +] Pour yogurt milk into cups for everyone
    • [Swing] Place on the table

CLEANUP:

    • [Swing] Scoop portions for D and A.
    • [Swing] Scoop any leftover oatmeal into a glass jar with lid
    • [Line +] Wash and dry oatmeal crock
    • [Line +] Wash egg pot and return to stovetop
    • [Swing] Wipe down table
    • [Swing] Rinse dishes
    • [Line +] Place bowls/plates/spoons in dishwasher or sink
    • [Line +] Wipe counters and stove
    • [Line +] Sweep floor

It seems like the trick is to break everything down that you already do into smaller, age-… sorry, cook-appropriate tasks and add clean-up in there.  My goal is to teach and encourage the girls in these steps this week!

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Here’s an all-natural cleaning product you don’t want to be without!

This week’s post presents another product I wouldn’t want to live without in my quest to rid our home of toxins (right choice) for improved health and longevity (bright future).

The late Dr. Bronner came from a family of Jewish soap makers fleeing Nazi Germany. His mental health was called into question repeatedly and his religious philosophy, printed on each product label, seems to be a mix of Jewish mysticism and unitarianism not linked to any particular religious group.

Whatever you may think of his ideological statements, Dr. Bronner was an excellent soapmaker and his family has maintained his soap line. I use the “unscented baby-mild” version available at my grocery/retail store (Meijer) for $13/32oz. It is also available online and at some drug stores.

USES:

  • Use the liquid neat on hands covered in automotive grease or other hard-to-remove messes (my husband was surprised to see how well it worked; it dissolved the grease immediately without drying his hands);
  • Squirt some in your sink bowl to wash a load of dishes by hand;
  • Mix a 1:2 ratio of soap to filtered water in a foaming soap dispenser to make an exra-strength hand soap that may also be used to clean a dish or wash produce;
  • Mix a 1:4 ratio of soap to water and add 2 drops of essential oil (I use lavender and tea-tree for their benefits to skin and natural anti-bacterial properties) to a foaming soap dispenser for hand and body wash (works as a mild shampoo in a pinch too).

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This Faith Friday’s post explains a Hebrew word that helps to give us a different cultural picture or idea of hope.  (I apologize last week’s post was so long: this one is much shorter!)

The word is QAVAH (Strong’s Reference number 6960) and it’s primary meaning is “to wait”.  It’s the word used here:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in His word I do hope.

Psalm 130:5 (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

The primary idea behind QAVAH is to bind something together by twisting.  If you have been waiting for something for a long time–healing, provision, comfort, hope–you may think, “That’s right!  I certainly feel like life is twisted sometimes!”  However, that is not what QAVAH means.  The act of twisting two or more threads together is to make them stronger!  Listen what happens to those who turn to God in the pain of their waiting:

But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.

Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

So what happens while we are waiting?  We cling to God; we put our hope in His promises.  Our purposes become wrapped up in His; with nothing else to look to for fulfillment, we learn to delight ourselves in God and our desires come into alignment with His (Psalm 37:4).

The longer God has us waiting, the more attached to Him we become; that might even be the underlying reason for His allowing trials into our lives in the first place.  Each one is an opportunity for us to bind ourselves to God.  Once we are bound to Him–twisted together with Him–our hopes and dreams merge together with His words and we become strong enough to inherit what He has planned for us all along.

Even in the New Testament, the idea of being bound to God is reenforced:

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

The yoke Jesus was talking about was the beam used to connect two Oxen that would walk at the same pace to plow a field evenly.  It is in our waiting that we become bound to Christ and learn His steady, focused pace.  We deal with the areas of our lives that are hard and brake them up; we take crooked lines and make them straight.  We want to rush, but Jesus’ humble plodding keeps us in tow with the Father’s will for us; eventually, when the ground beneath us yields no indication of our future and looks the same as it does everyday, we learn to look up at the same focal point He does, the character of God, and move toward it.

For those whom [God] foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.

Romans 8:29 (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

God wants us to be molded into the likeness of Jesus as we yoke ourselves to Him and bind ourselves to Him through our steady waiting.  When we walk side-by-side with Jesus, enduring the trial of waiting, He imparts His character to us:

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

The character we gain by binding ourselves to God through Christ in our waiting ultimately leads to…hope!  This idea of waiting producing hope is reinforced by a word I want to discuss next week, TIQVAH.  As we’ll see then, TIQVAH comes from the root QAVAH, confirming that true hope is developed when we bind ourselves to God and His words.

Are you waiting for God to do something in your life?  Here are some suggestions how you can bind yourself to God day-by-day, step-by-step:

  • Daily prayer; keeping a brief prayer journal often helps, as does using prayer cards.  Ask God to help you to bind yourself to Him (that’s huge: there’s no way we can do it with our effort alone!)
  • Daily worship; YouTube has lots of worship music videos with lyrics,I recommend the searches “Chris Tomlin lyrics“, “Matt Redman lyrics“, and “Aaron Keyes lyrics“.
  • Daily Bible reading; YouVersion is great and has a selection of reading plans and devotionals you can customize,
  • Regular study/further reading.  Read Bible-based books on prayer, worry, waiting, etc.  Get involved in a group study at a Church or other Christian organization (like Community Bible Study) that provides structure for personal study during the week.  This will provide a great support group and other examples of how people are binding themselves to God through their waiting.
  • Practice intimacy with God 24/7: learn to talk to God throughout the day, confiding your thoughts and feelings to Him every chance you get (bathroom breaks are a good opportunity to refocus your thoughts on Him).
  • Practice belief in the face of difficulty: Apply the promises of the Bible to each situation that looks dead and hopeless by speaking them out loud, writing them down on index cards and posting them throughout your home as reminders, and including them in your study, prayer, and praise.  There are a variety of God’s Promises books (for the Graduate, for Moms, etc.); they have topically-arranged contents that make it easy to find the promise that matches the situation you are going through.
  • Have regular alone-times where you can do these things; get up earlier than the rest of your family or stay up later; pray and sing to worship music on your commute; eat your lunch in an isolated place where you can read the Bible (I read it on my smart phone through YouVersion).  Sometimes I put on a DVD for the girls to watch if I get up too late to have my “Quiet Time” before they wake up and I go to another room to sing, read, and pray.

I know that if I don’t bind myself to God daily, the pressures of this life will pull me in too many directions and my hope for the future will begin to fray.  Waiting EXPECTANTLY on God through reading, prayer, and worship binds me back together with His plan for me and helps me to have strength to face the day!   Why don’t you wait on God today and see what binding yourself to Him will do for your hope-filled future?

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Easily make your own all-natural Medium-High Heat Ghee in 20 minutes!

Today’s Transformation Tuesdays post is all about using a healthy fat to cook with.  Contrary to the push for low-fat foods in the past few decades, such anti-nutritive diets have done nothing to improve our overall health.  The main culprit of poor health, of course, is sugar which is often added in excess to low-fat foods just to make them palatable (see my faith article, The Most Dangerous Toxin).  As it turns out, healthy fats don’t make you fat, even if you eat them liberally.  In fact, healthy fats will help you to shed the fat accumulated by excess sugar consumption.  If you want to lose inches, start including healthy fats into your diet.

The number one consideration when choosing a fat to cook with is “HOW HIGH?”  At what temperature do you plan to do your cooking?  If you are pan frying, you’ll need a fat that works for extremely high heat.  The factor involved is called the “smokepoint”, the point at which the fat starts to smoke because it is undergoing a chemical reaction caused by heat that makes the oil rancid and carcinogenic.  You don’t want the fat to get to that point!  Spectrum Organics is a company that produces many cooking oils from non-animal sources; they have a smoke-point guide that will help you to find the right oil for your application.  However, I want to show you an easy way to make your own MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT (smoke point around 400F) oil that is much cheaper than buying expellar-pressed organic vegetable oils.  All you need is butter.  Click here for the easy how-to recipe for making Homemade Ghee.

UPDATE: if you are lactose or casein intolerant, this oil solution may work for you because these ingredients are removed through the clarifying process.

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Save your glass bottles and jars…it’s fancy, non-toxic storage for FREE

Today’s Mama Mondays post (a hope-filled tip from this Mama to you!) is about a handy solution for gift giving, personal product creation, and storing your precious homemade sauces, soups, and spice mixes.

As we start researching into healthier food options, it’s inevitable that we run across the dangers of consuming certain foods stored in metal or plastic.  One-by-one I started switching from canned foods and plastic-contained foods to foods that are fresh, in a box, or in glass (except freezer & dairy, those are the two categories we have left to change).  I switched from canned vegetables to frozen & fresh vegetables, canned beans to soaking and cooking my own beans, and just recently I switched from canned tomato products to fresh tomatoes.  I stopped buying olive oil in plastic bottles and only buy it in glass jars; I do the same for Maple Syrup, honey ($20 for 5lbs raw at my local Farmer’s Market), salsa, coconut oil, spices…etc.

So once you start switching to glass jars and bottles for everything, what do you do with them once they are empty?  SAVE THEM!  The fancier they are, the more you should collect them!  Glass bottles and jars make for wonderful, inexpensive, unique and thoughtful homemade gifts.  Regular glass jars are great for storing items in the ‘fridge and freezer!  Here are some suggestions for different bottles/jars and their uses:

Keep in mind that most commercial jars are not tempered like proper canning jars; for example, you’ll need to be very careful when thawing commercial glass jars by increasing the temperature in a bowl of running water very gradually (or by leaving them to thaw overnight in the ‘fridge or on the counter for a few hours) otherwise the bottom will explode off!  I’ve lost some precious chicken stock that way 😦  However, these jars are FREE!  Technically, you are recycling them within your home.  I store mine on the top shelf (it gets quite bare when I’ve made large batches of stock, yogurt, dressing etc).

Free Glass storage on the top shelf!

So have hope, you CAN avoid the dangers of plastic and canned storage SIMPLY AND CHEAPLY by insisting on buying products in glass containers and then REUSING them over and over again to store your own homemade goodies in!  It’s much easier than you might think 😉

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My wireless internet is down, so this week’s post is coming to you from my ‘phone!  Want to enjoy your favorite meat products but are trying to avoid nitrites and corn syrup?   I have a HEALTHY bacon and pepperoni solution for you!

image

The first solution should be available at your local grocery store: Hormel has come out wuth an all-natural line of meat products (“Natural Choice”) that contain no corn syrup, preservatives, or artificial ingredients.  I buy the bacon (pictured above) for $4/12oz., and deli Turkey slices for $3.50/12oz at my local Meijer (Busch’s is almost double the cost).

Hormel does not make all-natural pepperoni. The second option is only available online or in your local Whole Foods chain store.  Wellshire Farms makes all-natural meat products that are also much healthier than regular brands.  If you buy their uncured pepperoni in bulk online, you only spend $1.30 per pack of preservative-free pepperoni slices.

The Hormel Natural Choice products have a much shorter shelf-life than preservative-laden products, so they should be frozen if you like to buy in large quantities.  The Uncured pepperoni is dried so it does not require refrigeration.

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God wants to give you hope in the storms of life!

Today’s Faith Fridays post addresses how we are to stay in hope when the “storms of life” hit.  I hope you will be encouraged by this to stay hopeful, whatever you may be facing today.

Storms: high-energy displays of climatological power; some last for days while others seem to leave as quickly as they came.  Many storms leave damaged structures behind and hundreds of people without electrical power; some make a lot of noise and yet leave no discernible damage at all. The most interesting storms uncover treasures or stir them up from deep waters.  All these storms have one thing in common: we are too small to prevent them.  They are a part of our planet’s system.  On an emotional level, “storms” are a part of our everyday life too.  We cannot escape them and we cannot control them.  We can only choose how we respond to them.

Today’s devotional will take a look at the Apostle Paul in an important storm he had to endure.  Paul had been prosecuted by the Jewish religious leaders (Sanhedrin) of his time for propagating a sect of Judaism called “The Way”, a reference to Jesus being the true Way to God and the Hope of Israel.  Paul narrowly escaped a plot against his life, uncovered by his own nephew, and was escorted from protective custody at the Fortress of Antonia to Governor Felix at Herod’s Palace, Caesarea in AD 57.  Felix, as governor of Judea, had experience dealing with followers of the Way and knew the Sanhedrin’s accusations against Paul to be false.  To satisfy the political pressure of the Jewish religious leaders however, Felix held Paul under arrest for two years and hoped Paul would use his influence among the wealthier followers of the Way to pay for his release through a bribe.

A new governor, Porcius Festus, replaced Felix in AD 59 and the Sanhedrin tried their luck again.  The day after Festus was inaugurated into office, he made a trip to Jerusalem and was confronted by the Sanhedrin.  They demanded that Paul be given over to them to curry favor in support of Festus’ new administration.  Festus insisted that Paul be tried in Caesearea, probably to avoid another plot on Paul’s life.  Members of the Sanhedrin went to Caesarea and accused Paul on trumped-up charges (A later hearing by King Agrippa of Chalsis at Festus’ residence confirmed that Paul was completely innocent).  The only way Paul could escape being put to death at that time was to make an appeal to Caesar–Nero at the time–to be tried as a Roman citizen rather than in the Jewish courts.  Nero had not gone crazy at this point; Paul trusted to give him a fair trial.

Paul was put under custody of a centurion of the Imperial Regiment called Julius, who was responsible for transporting prisoners by ship for trial in Rome.  Paul’s friends the Apostle Luke and fellow “Christian” (follower of the Way) Aristarchus were permitted to accompany him.  They probably wished they hadn’tI  The boat’s itinerary took them from Adramyttium to the ports at Sidon, Myra, and Fair Havens.  By that time the season for fair sailing had ended: the winds had picked up producing ever-increasing delays between ports.  Paul concluded that sailing to Rome at this point would result in their ruin.  He would have known; by this time he had already been shipwrecked THREE times on previous missionary journeys to spread the Way across Asia Minor and into Europe.  Julius ignored Paul’s experience and followed the self-confident talk of the ship’s pilot and owner (for profit) that they could make it at least to Phoenix with a gentle South wind.  As any seaman will attest, conditions on the sea change rapidly: the gentle south wind was soon replaced with an all-out “Noreaster”, a hurricane-inducing wind from the east-north-east that lasted for fourteen days.

A small island gave them some shelter from the storm as they sailed past, enough to take some life-preserving steps of securing the lifeboat, reinforcing the ship’s hull with ropes, and releasing the sea anchor to slow the ship’s speed and stabilize it.  The following day they started throwing things overboard.  The men were sea sick from being tossed by the storm; there was almost no daylight to see by.  Their final condition is described by this verse:

The terrible storm raged for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at last all hope was gone.

Acts 27:20 New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation

Does that describe you?  I hope not.  However, storms have a way of bringing us to the end of what we can do; we often feel like we are at the mercy of the driving winds (which is no mercy at all).  Are you under trial, like Paul?  Have people accused you falsely?  Have your “own people” (family/friends) rejected you and you feel forced to take refuge with foreigners (strangers)?  Are you like the ship’s pilot, so desperate to make it that you ignored the warning signs and ended up in a terrible situation of your own choosing?  Are you like the frightened crewmen who hadn’t seen the light of hope for a long time: you sit in darkness, tossed by the turmoil of your own emotions, unable even to eat?  Even if you do not feel that way now, there are plenty of situations that may happen to put us through a similar experience of hopelessness: a divorce, the death of a loved one, custody problems, joblessness, broken relationships…I could go on.

Paul’s situation dramatically changed when he received a visit from an angel:

No one had eaten for a long time. Finally, Paul called the crew together and said, “Men, you should have listened to me in the first place and not left Crete. You would have avoided all this damage and loss.  But take courage! None of you will lose your lives, even though the ship will go down. For last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me, and he said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Paul, for you will surely stand trial before Caesar! What’s more, God in his goodness has granted safety to everyone sailing with you.’ So take courage! For I believe God. It will be just as he said. But we will be shipwrecked on an island.”

Acts 27:21-26 New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Paul’s prediction came true.  The crewmen dropped four more anchors to keep the ship from hitting land before daybreak.  Some tried to escape the boat on the lifeboat: Paul warned that this would be a certain death so the lifeboat was cut loose.  Paul managed to get the men to eat on the basis of his hope that they would all survive.  The ship drifted across the Mediterranean/Adriatic Sea (the same place where Jonah was swallowed by a large fish) and ran aground on a narrow channel by the Island of Malta.  The men swam ashore.  All 276 of them, prisoners and captors alike, survived.  You can read the entire story of the shipwreck in Acts 27.

Twice in the story, anchors are mentioned; the sea anchor at the beginning of the storm near Crete and the four anchors use to prevent the ship running aground at Malta.  I’m sorry to give you so much background to lead up to this final point, but a lot like grains and beans, I think the truth is most nutritious when it is soaked long enough in our hearts to sprout new life!

So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls

Hebrews 6:18-19a New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

Paul’s true anchor in the storms he faced–the storms of persecution and the physical shipwrecks–was belief in God’s word.  Paul said, “It will be just as He said.”  The Bible is filled with promises that God has given us to navigate the storms of life such as:

And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age

But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.

Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.

Matt 28:20b; Mark 13:11; John 14:27; John 16:33b New Living Translation (NLT) copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation.

All of these words were spoken by Jesus, “The Way” that Paul and the other early Christians identified with and were willing to endure such storms for.  Jesus, during his earthly ministry, was in a storm on the Lake of Galilee and stilled it with a display of his Divine power as Creator God.  Jesus was in the boat with His disciples on that occasion; many years later, He was in the ship with Paul and the other 275 passengers too.  Paul knew he was not alone; his hope became the hope of everyone on the ship.

Could Paul have stopped the storm in the name of Jesus to impress Julius and the others on board?  Possibly.  Paul had seen miracles flow through fabric that had touched him!  Why would God allow Paul to go through this horrible ordeal for the fourth time?

Jesus can stop the storms of our lives with a display of his miraculous power.  But I think there is something far more valuable than God delivering us out of every storm: learning to trust His words.  We impart far more hope to other people when they take courage because of our faith in God’s promises; others need to hear us say like Paul, “I believe God.  It will be just as He said“.  Such hope outlasts the storm and brings us to the fulfillment of the promises He has made to us.  Sure, miracles are wonderful, but they have a “fizzle-pop” effect.  The only way to be truly satisfied by Hope is to get to know the Source; we get a much clearer picture of what God’s personality is like when we learn to trust Him through the storms of life and put faith in His Word:

Through Him also we have [our] access (entrance, introduction) by faith into this grace (state of God’s favor) in which we [firmly and safely] stand. And let us rejoice and exult in our hope of experiencing and enjoying the glory of God.

Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.

…And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity).

…And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.

Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.

Romans 5:2-5 Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Do you have an anchor of hope that will help you through the storms of life?  Have you invited Jesus into your boat?  Paul was willing to suffer persecution and shipwreck to give the hope of Jesus to the whole world.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if by reading his history thousands of years after it happened, you were to become a follower of the same Way he preached 🙂 ?  If you do not consider yourself a follower of Jesus’ (lots of people are Christian by heritage, but not by personal belief or practice), please invite Him into your boat.  Come what may, He will bring you safely through to the other side.  He will never leave or forsake you.  You can trust Him because He loves you, even through the storm.  He is allowing you to go through this storm to produce the character you need to keep you in joyful anticipation for the rest of your life!

If you are a follower of Jesus, like Paul, be encouraged: it was because of Paul’s faith that the entire boat (mostly non-believers) were saved from a watery grave.  You too can help preserve your friends, family, and neighborhood from drowning in hopelessness simply by demonstrating a steadfast hope in God’s promises.  Perhaps you are not in a storm, but a Christian brother or sister is.  Be encouraged by Luke’s and Aristarchus’ example of fellowship to ride through the storm with them, believing God for the strength that will get him to the other side.

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