Markland News 1-26-12

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Hello friends; woke up to sunshine this morning (Tuesday) and felt blessed – not that I expect it to last long but I will take what I can get. Sunshine in winter is as wonderful as shade in summer and I appreciate both.

It certainly beats that ‘cotton-pickin’ ice we had over the weekend. My deck would put an ice skating rink to shame. Flake jumped out the door (after I finally got it open) just like usual…I warned him to be careful but he didn’t listen. He slid all the way across the deck; if there hadn’t been latticework railing on the other side, he would have gone over.

Flake turned around and looked at me like I had pushed him; cats can really give you some very expressive looks. Naturally I laughed and he gave me a disgusted look, which made me laugh harder.

When I saw my sure-footed cat, claw for foot purchase, I knew it would be totally stupid for me to try to cross the deck (I know I do some stupid things but I am not ‘totally’ stupid.) I grabbed a good book and turned on the oven – well, if you can’t go outside you may as well bake and read, right? I baked a couple of loaves of bread and made a pot roast in the oven; it sure made the house smell good.

I used to always make my pot roasts (I always use a chuck roast) in a pressure cooker – they taste wonderful that way but then I read in one of my cookbooks (Cook’s Country) that you can get the same thing by roasting it in the oven (an added benefit in cold weather – the oven helps keep the house warm as well as instilling a wonderful fragrance throughout the house.)

In a covered roaster, put in your meat, potatoes, celery, onions, carrots, condiments, and add water up to the level of the top of the meat, put it in the oven at 350 degrees and let it bake for four or five hours (depending on the size of the roast.( The meat and vegetables come out tasting wonderful and tender, it just melts in your mouth – and the long baking time gives you time to take a nap, read a book, or something else enjoyable. I love a ‘win-win’ situation.

Cyndi Carr does her roasts much the same way and they are delicious.

Sunday I missed church (I congratulate everyone that braved the ice and made it to church) and that always kind of fouls up the week (even with two good football games on) so I was in a ‘sour’ mood by the time I went to the ‘Y’ Monday morning for aerobics; however, there is one immediate benefit to exercise…it makes you feel better. It did; being around friendly folks helps too; Flake was still mad at me. Did you know cats hold grudges – they could give the ‘Hatfield and McCoy’ clan lessons.

I was going to go to the Library but as soon as I walked out of the ‘Y’, it started raining (liquid, not frozen for which I was grateful.) My books are not due until Friday anyway so I was still safe. Went through the bank drive-in then went on over to Patty’s place.

Patty wasn’t there so Mike and I talked ‘books’; we are both avid readers. Mike can’t see but he has the books on audio Patty had just run up to Sub-Way; Mike took a ‘yen’ for a chicken sub (Patty took mercy on him and went and got it.)

Patty was soon back and we got to sit and gab for a bit. She told me that the kids (Jeanne Bragg with Brittany and Brennan, Mindy Otter with sons Keegan and Traiten, Jennie Simpkins with son Troy, Jamie Miller, and Micky Miller with son Michael) surprised Mike on Sunday with a big cake to celebrate his 69th birthday. It did surprise him (and I was surprised that all those people fit in their apartment); his birthday was on the 16th and Sunday was the 22nd – he thought they forgot him. Among other things, Jamie gave him a gift certificate to Sub-Way, which he immediately wanted to use (Patty’s Monday trip.)

After I got home, I took a nap (had to ‘restore’ my energy for Bible study Monday evening.) Melissa Park had a good study prepared, mostly from Romans (Romans is one of my favorite books – actually whichever one of the books in the New Testament I am reading at the time is my favorite. It is a lot like flowers, whichever one is blooming is my favorite. Romans is kind of like an instruction manual for living a Christian life.

After the study, we always have a little fellowship get-together (with snacks naturally) and I was telling Gayle Rayles that our Bridge group was trying to get ‘two tables’ going but was short one person. She remembered Jane Alexander several years ago teaching her and several other ladies how to play Bridge and mentioned someone that might be available (Gayle is working Wednesdays.)

As soon as I got home, I called Carolyn Green (Jane’s sister) to see if she knew the lady…and she did. Carolyn is going to call her. Gayle and I agreed that Bridge is a wonderful mental exercise even if you just ‘dabble’ in it (like me.)

According to scientists, the more mental exercises you do the better your mental alertness in ‘old’ age will be. Learning a foreign language, doing puzzles, even computer games (just about anything that causes you to think, outside your ‘comfort zone’) all contribute to having healthier ‘golden years’ for us and helping us to enjoy life. Physical exercise is important too.

 Monday afternoon I was surprised to notice my rose bush is budded out; even the plants are having trouble acclimating to the odd weather we are having this year. Saturday and Sunday, it was covered with a quarter inch of ice on all of its branches – Monday afternoon, little leaves are showing. Poor thing, I’ve probably contaminated it since I am so screwed up myself. I am sure there is hope for both of us…but I wouldn’t bet money on it.

Can you believe next week is already February? This coming Sunday Markland Baptist Church will have a ‘Fifth Sunday Dinner’; the church is providing the fried chicken and the congregation will bring in covered dishes, yumm-yumm. (Being actively involved in the faith of your choice is also recommended by science for a healthier and more enjoyable life – I don’t think they meant the dinners though, let’s just call it a ‘perk’ in a good life, shall we?)

When I miss church (for whatever reason) I try to put in some extra Scripture study and Sunday I was particularly drawn to Jesus’ parables in Matthew and Luke, chapters: in Matthew, 7:24-27 (Wise and Foolish), 15:8-9 (Isaiah’s prophesy), 25:1-13 (Bridegroom and Virgins), Verses 14-30 (Talents), Verses 31-46 (Sheep and Goats), in Luke 6:47-49, and 12:47-48, and in Deut. 30:6.

Taken all together (allow me to paraphrase), if you are going to call yourself a Christian, there must be correspondence between your profession of Christianity and your practice. If you say you are a Christian, then you should talk, and act, like one – in other words, ‘walk the talk’ (otherwise you are a hypocrite.)

Just saying the words, I believe in Jesus Christ or (in the Jew’s belief) physical circumcision, will not save you. Your words, and actions, must be sincere and you must practice what you ‘preach’. Just to hear the words of Christ is not sufficient, you must practice them.

Even though even sincere Christians sin (all humans sin [Romans 3:23], Christian and non-Christian alike), God will forgive the Christian after that sin is confessed, and will ‘circumcise’ the heart of the Christian through the ongoing regeneration of the heart by the ‘in-dwelling’ of the Holy Spirit.

Even the sincere acceptance of Jesus Christ does not make us perfect Christians, just forgiven ones. The in-dwelling Holy Spirit continues to teach (and comfort) us, helping us to mature (grow more Christ-like, called ‘sanctification’) all through our life.

Check out some of these references for yourself and see if you agree that the above is the correct meaning of the message…and let me know what you think.

Until next week my prayer for each of you is that the Lord will cause His face to shine on you, to bless you and keep you safe from harm; may He lift up His countenance and give you heart-peace. Amen.