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Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thankfulness - It's a Miracle!

Some thoughts from my husband, Robert, concerning the account of the ten lepers that Jesus healed in Luke 17:12-19, and encouraged by a book called The Everlasting Word by Hans Bakker (see *note below): 

"Then Jesus answered and said, 'Were not ten cleansed? But the nine - where are they?' Was no one found who returned to give glory to God, except this foreigner?' " (Luke 17:17-18)

Ten lepers were healed but only one came back to give thanks to the Lord Jesus. Where are the nine?
Where are the nine? Oh, they are at home with their families, eating turkey and stuffing, having a wonderful time, happy that they were healed. 

But none of the nine thanked the Lord Jesus. Only one, when he saw that he had been healed, turned back glorifying God with a loud voice. Only one fell on his face at the feet of Jesus giving Him thanks. (from Luke 17:15-16)

May the lesson of the lepers be for our personal instruction; it is for our warning...It is to show us that by nature we belong to the nine and that it would be a great miracle if we would be the one who returned in thankfulness to the Lord Jesus.*

Let this day of Thanksgiving 2019, be a day spent not just expressing what we are thankful for among our loved ones, but a day in which we return to the Lord Jesus in worship for what He has done for us. And may it be that we, the ones He has healed from sin-sickness, fall at His feet, glorifying God with all our being. May we be His great miracle of thankfulness! 
*Note: These portions of this post were taken from the devotional book, The Everlasting Word by Frans Bakker, from November 24's entry.   

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Thankfulness - It's a Miracle!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

A Beautiful Design Video Series

Matt Chandler has a YouTube series on Biblical manhood and womanhood called A Beautiful Design. There are ten videos in this series and you will find all ten posted here.

Take your time. Each sermon is a typical sermon 45+ minutes. Listen to one each day for the next ten days when you have your devotional time with the Lord. Be praying that, as a wife, you will fully cooperate with God's beautiful design for you as a woman of God.

A Beautiful Design (Part One): In the Beginning

A Beautiful Design (Part Two): In His Image

A Beautiful Design (Part Three): Man's Purpose

A Beautiful Design (Part Four): Man's Hurdles

A Beautiful Design (Part Five): Man's Redemption

A Beautiful Design (Part Six): Incomplete

A Beautiful Design (Part Seven): Woman's Purpose

A Beautiful Design (Part Eight): Woman's Hurdle

A Beautiful Design (Part Nine): Woman's Redemption

A Beautiful Design (Part Ten): Together for the Gospel

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

A Beautiful Design Video Series

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

She Does Him Good

“She does him good…all the days of her life.” Proverbs 31:12

This article was written nine years ago. I don't know why it took so long to post it, but it's still great information for doing your husband good!

A Very Important Education for Women
Studies have found that married men live longer than bachelors. There are many reasons, but diet is a very significant factor. “According to a study presented at a meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, married men eat a healthier diet than bachelors. Analyzing the eating habits of 29,728 male health professionals between the ages of 40 and 75, researchers found that married men eat more vegetables and less fried food…”

Another study showed that: ''Women traditionally take more responsibility for the home than men do, and, as a consequence, women's education might be more important for the family lifestyle - for example, in terms of food habits…(this) could have a substantial influence on the health and mortality of the partner.”

Time to Wise-up!
That “education” for me commenced about 6 years ago, after my husband and I began to experience health problems. No doctor could tell me what my problem was so I began to look into nutrition.

After discovering The Weston A. Price Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism, I realized that I knew very little about nutrition.

These “nutrient-dense” foods have been demonized by today’s diet gurus and also by the medical field – butter, eggs, whole raw milk, cream, saturated fats, red meat, organ meats, etc. These are foods that God created and has sanctioned in Scripture for the human diet, as 1 Timothy 4:3-5 says, “…foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good…”. If God says it’s good, who is to say otherwise? It all made sense.

As these foods were restored to our diet, and all the processed so-called “health foods” (low-fat-this, cholesterol-free-that, etc.) were eliminated, our health began to improve dramatically. Within a few months, we were discarding many prescription drugs because the health issues associated with them no longer existed (high blood pressure for instance).

Helping My Husband
As my husband’s helper, I remain committed to putting densely nourishing foods on the table. It is a very real way I can assist my husband in regard to his physical well-being so that he can continue to advance the kingdom of God, serving as God has called him.

Robert has taught the Bible for many years – in the pulpit (though he is not a pastor), at mid-week Bible study, to seminary students abroad, etc. In June he is traveling with 2 other men from our church to conduct several Pastor’s conferences in Southern Sudan. His health is crucial to these ministries. I want to do what I can to help him continue to minister God’s word for the good of His people for His glory.

As wives, we have the opportunity to help our husbands enjoy good health. Food should do what God intended – build and support a strong immune system, build and repair our bodies, satisfy our taste buds and satiate our hunger. Only real food can do that. Fake foods do just the opposite – damage and tear down our bodies and weaken our immune system. And even though those foods may taste good, they are toxic (containing chemical flavors, preservatives, pesticide residues and more) that cause bodily damage.

Real Food Really Makes a Positive Difference
A few months back Robert saw his doctor for a routine visit. His blood pressure was 123/72. The doctor said, “You are a rarity – the only man your age (63) that I’ve seen recently with such great readings without medication.” Wow! I was there and heard this. I thought to myself, “If I told the doctor that it’s all the wonderful saturated fat and cholesterol (along with all the good veggies and fruit), he’d never believe me!”

However, I must also remember that though real food definitely makes a difference for health, God is still sovereign. He can and does use illness at times for our spiritual growth and benefit. But I am still committed to doing what I can to help my husband’s health (and mine). But if God decides to use cancer for our good and His glory, I know that it would be His sovereign and gracious design for our lives and not because I was serving chemical-laden faux-foods.

Getting Back To The Past
We live in a world where we can have anything in an instant, including food. We no longer have to plan meals. Just a quick trip to the grocery store provides us with a fast-fix for dinner (breakfast or lunch). We think that getting out of the kitchen in a flash improves our lives.

But women in the past knew better. They had a wisdom about food that has long since been lost to the younger generation. Wives were always on board to support their men with hearty, healthful meals from early morning to suppertime.

The Proverbs 31 woman “…rises also while it is still night and gives food to her household and portions to her maidens.” Notice here that feeding her loved ones was such a priority for this excellent wife that she did not delegate the job to her servants. She did the cooking herself and even served her maids breakfast!

My father was more educated than most modern brides. When Mom continued to make eggs for breakfast, after cold, boxed cereal had made its way onto the grocery shelves, Dad told us (his three discontented kids) that the health of our future children depended on our eating nutritious foods in the present, especially for breakfast which he proclaimed was the most important meal of the day. Now, as I read books like Real Food for Mother and Baby by Nina Planck, I marvel at his homespun wisdom. That “wisdom of the ancients” is far superior and accurate to what we are told today by the food industry.

But What if My Husband Objects?
It is not unusual for the man of the house to offer a few objections. The best way for me to deal with this issue has been submission, prayer and a respectful appeal (in order to come to an agreeable solution if need be). Here are some typical and reasonable objections your husband might offer:

“I really don’t care to eat that stuff.”
Personally, I would love to serve seafood once a week, but Robert simply does not care for it. In fact, he loathes it. But I know that the Omega 3’s that fish provide are vital to health. What to do? After putting it before the Lord, the answer came – COD LIVER OIL. Can you believe that? My husband would rather go hungry than let one morsel of mackerel (or salmon, etc.) pass through his lips, yet he will gladly slurp down a spoonful of cod liver oil every morning. That’s because it’s flavored with real lemon and has absolutely no fish taste.

One lady I know tried numerous times in numerous ways to get her husband to eat unrefined coconut oil, but he could detect it no matter how she disguised it in his food. Finally, she relented and put her gallon of coconut oil to rest.

Subsequently, one evening after retiring for bed, her husband leaned over to kiss her goodnight and gagged as he said, “Do you mean to tell me that I cannot even give my wife a kiss goodnight without tasting that stuff?!” Since she no longer had any culinary use for the coconut oil she had begun using it as a skin moisturizer.

But that’s not the end of the story. My Bible study group met at this lady’s house weekly. One evening I provided popcorn – popped in coconut oil and slathered with good butter – as the snack. I stayed a little afterward, just long enough for her husband to waltz in and ask for something to nosh on. Not remembering the coconut oil debacle, I handed him a bag of popcorn. He gobbled it down with relish, commenting about how scrumptious it was. When I realized what he was eating, it was all I could do to keep from laughing.

“We cannot afford organic.”
This is where it really pays to know your stuff. If you have educated yourself, you can respectfully appeal to your husband. Pray first, then approach him with ideas to make whole food work within your budget. Here is a sampling of what you might present:

• Many foods are safe to eat that have been grown conventionally. Thick-skinned produce such as citrus fruits, melons, avocados, bananas and many, many more.
• Growing food organically helps to stretch the food dollar also.
• Serving economy meals is helpful – soups, legumes, etc. that are inexpensive to make. Of course, this requires planning.
• Money will be saved by not buying expensive convenience faux foods or eating out nearly as often. (My husband and I have lived on a very small income since eating this way and we have never had to compromise at the grocery store.)
• Making cleaning and beauty products from common household ingredients will save money that can then be directed toward the food budget.

“What about dessert?”
Your husband may feel like his sweet tooth will be starved out (actually, that’s not a bad thing). Assure him that you will be making his sweets from scratch (perhaps this is yet another way to budget for whole foods). Use healthy alternative sweeteners – palm sugar, raw honey, organic maple syrup, Rapadura, stevia. (Follow this link to understand why agave is one of the most unhealthy sweeteners.)

Personally, I have never been a baker. Instead, our sweet treats include puddings, baked apples, peaches or strawberries and cream with honey, parfaits, homemade ice cream, etc. Most of these sweets offer fewer carbs than baked goods and also some nutrition in the form of eggs, cream and milk. Still, these types of foods should be served occasionally rather than daily since they are not the most nutritious of foods. Also, try serving salty snacks as an alternative treat, such as popcorn, popped as mentioned above, peanut or almond butter on celery or salty nuts prepared for optimum nutrition.

“I don’t at all want to change the way we’re eating.”
If this is your situation and your husband will not be persuaded otherwise, if it concerns your husband’s tastes rather than the budget, there are many things that you can do to make his meals more nutritious. Here are some ideas:
• Switch from toxic fats and oils to those that are nourishing.
• Switch from processed sugar to healthy alternatives.
• Make your own salad dressings (the ones your hubby really likes) and mayonnaise.
• Buy bacon and wieners, etc. that do not contain nitrites and nitrates.
• Make hamburgers from grass-fed beef instead of conventional beef.
• Buy snacks (potato chips for instance) that are made with cold-pressed monounsaturated oils instead of polyunsaturated heat-extracted oils.

God is Honored
When it is your desire to help your husband in this fashion God is glorified and He will provide in ways that you never dreamed of. Hasn’t He commanded us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” If it is your desire to help your husband eat well, but you believe that your budget will not be adequate to buy whole foods, don’t give up before you ask your Heavenly Father to make it possible.

Some Practical Ways to Nourish Your Husband
• Make breakfast. After fasting for 10 hours or more and with the full day still ahead, breakfast is vital for energy and general health.
• “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”
• Pack a lunch if your husband eats away from home while working
• Serve the salad as a first course. If your husband leaves most of his salad because he fills up on the main course, give him his salad (alone) first with his favorite (healthy homemade) dressing.
• Provide plenty of good fat with each meal. Good fat satiates hunger better than carbs or protein. Your husband will go longer without needing snacks. Slather cooked veggies in butter (it also assists in the delivery and metabolizing of nutrients to your body).

Now go and do your husband good just like the Proverbs wife did!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

She Does Him Good

Monday, August 5, 2019

Eight Reasons for Memorizing Scripture

In this short video clip, John Piper presents eight reasons why the Christian should memorize Scripture. Take a few minutes to let the Spirit of God challenge you in this regard.

If you need help memorizing Scripture, I highly recommend an app that is available for both Android and Apple devices called "Remember Me". It is free and though I have tried other apps for Bible memory, Remember Me is head and shoulders above them all (in my opinion.)

Photo by NilsStahl on Upsplash
You can find Remember Me at Google's "Play Store" or Apple's "App Store". Just type in the name of the app in the search bar, download and enjoy!
Meantime, here's a brief video showing some of the features of the Remember Me app:

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Eight Reasons for Memorizing Scripture

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

God's Sovereignty and Goodness in Adversity

"It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes." (Psalm 119:71)

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

God's Sovereignty and Goodness in Adversity

Teach Me, My Lord!

"And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!" (Luke 11:9-13)

What an invitation! What an opportunity! 
And the book of James tells me, "You do not have because you do not ask" (James 4:2b). There is far too much truth in that. So once again, this morning, I am asking of the Lord, as did the disciples, to teach me to pray (Luke 11:1). Notice that they did not ask Jesus to teach them "how to pray", but simply "to pray". I am asking Him to increase my faith so that in my asking, I know He will answer since He is not only able but also so very willing because of His great goodness, mercy and love.

I am asking Him to burden me with His purposes and call me to pray for those very things that He has determined will be accomplished through prayer (Matthew 6:10). I am asking Him to call me to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) so that I may see Him and His answers also without ceasing and be filled with joy in glorifying Him in those prayers (John 16:24; John 14:13).

Yes, and I am asking Him to teach me to pray so that I may behold His beauty (Psalm 27:4). Sitting at my Savior's feet I am thereby made rich all the day with His presence and His unbounding joy. I am asking Him to teach me to pray so that, by beholding Him, I may become transformed into His likeness and be less like myself (2 Corinthians 3:18). I am asking Him to teach me to pray because, most of all, I want more of Christ, I want more of my kind Father and I want more of the sweet Spirit filling me with their fullness each and every day.

I want more of this incomprehensible Triune God, who, out of His great heart of love, mercy and grace has poured out upon me such a kindness that can never be known apart from Him. It is not possible to describe the love I find in His presence when I commune with Him. He is love! So my heart swells with great waves of affection heaped so generously within me and upon me that I am filled to overflowing with Him and all that He is.

But distractions abound when I ask Him to teach me how to pray!
And yet, with this effusive beneficence found at my Savior's feet, I can actually get so distracted in the wee hours that I miss out on Him. I can listen to the demanding needs of the day and forsake time spent at the throne of grace for the sake of doing some menial task, which is soon undone, only to have to be done again. And can I not do that task after I meet with the Lord? Will it not be there for me then? Of course, it will!

By neglecting time with the Lord, I remain in my poor, forgetful, drowsy state for the remainder of the day. I am not rich with His love or kindness toward others, especially in my thoughts. Since I have not partaken of His wisdom (James 1:5), I will be prone to my own discretion, which is simply moral and so ordinary and most of the time just plain wrong. Any ethical unredeemed man or woman could produce and does produce this lowly wisdom. But I want the wisdom from above that "is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere" (James 3:17). This is not ordinary earthly wisdom, which is all I am capable of without having invited Wisdom Personified into my day.

And what else will I lack having had no time for my Lord? When temptation confronts me, I may not even be aware (sleepy, as were the disciples in the garden with Jesus) for I have not watched and prayed with Him. I will cave in, or at best, I will crave that which is set before me (though I will probably say "no" to it), instead of possessing a passion and love so significant for my Savior that nothing touches my joy in Him. Temptations lose their power when I abide with Christ and He with me.

Of course, joy will be absent, as will peace, contentment, patience, a soft answer, assuming the best of someone, thoughts that honor Christ. But most of all, I give up the sense of His sweet, empowering presence and my overarching love for Him.

So I continue to ask, "Lord, teach me to pray!"
Obviously, I must continue to ask Him and never cease to ask Him to teach me to pray (this is a request that can never end for me). And in my asking of Him, often that sounds like, "Dear Father, keep my heart focused on You. Help me to not be drawn away from You right now." 

And herein, I believe, is the key to learning to pray - to never come to a place in which I think I've learned to keep this divine and divinely appointed communion. For, reiterating, every morning, without exception, I am assaulted with the demands of the day, which, if I heed them, will rob me of the one essential thing - meeting with my God.

Father, how good You are! You give Your child Your ear so graciously and freely. You have nothing but good ordained for me. And as You said, Lord Jesus, as a parent, I delight to give my children what they ask for. How much more, then, do You delight in giving me that which I request, for You are completely free of any heart defect. You are perfect and holy and the very definition of LOVE. It is to You that I pray; it is to You that I come; it is in You that I trust; it is You that I want.

Teach me, my Lord, to pray! Yes, teach me to pray!

Posted by Sharon Kaufman

Teach Me, My Lord!