Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanksgiving: an expression of gratitude; a token of appreciation of God’s blessings.

I readily admit that I don’t always have the most thankful heart. I’m often more focused on what could and should be, rather than on giving God thanks and praise for what is and seeing His blessings in it. Where do I turn when I need a heart adjustment? Singing His praises. As I lift my spirit to Jesus in song, His Holy Spirit floods my heart with thankfulness for His precious gift of redemption and the multitude of daily blessings He brings into my life

The Holy Spirit has often used the hymn, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing to rekindle a thankful spirit within me:

Come Thou Fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I'm fixed upon it,
Mount of God's unchanging love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Hither by Thy help I'm come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise.
Give thanks to Him; bless His name.
-Psalms 100:4

If you find yourself struggling to be thankful today, it is my prayer that these lyrics will help to fix your eyes upon the only One who can create a genuinely thankful heart within you.


Thursday, November 19, 2009


With the national celebration of “Thanksgiving” right around the corner, I’ve been researching the history of America’s first harvest festival. This has rekindled questions in my mind about America being founded as a “Christian nation”. I’m pondering what I was taught and have always believed vs. that which historical records seemingly indicate.

Festivals of thanksgiving are among the oldest celebrations throughout history. Ancient tribes, Greeks, Romans and Jews all held harvest festivals to thank and seek favor from their gods and goddesses. I’m wondering which god was truly being worshipped at this “New World” event.

• In 1609, the first colony of English-speaking Europeans settled in Jamestown. They were contracted by wealthy Englishmen to seek more wealth, not religious freedom.

• In 1620, 102 passengers arrived on the Mayflower. Although we tend to refer to all of them as "Pilgrims" (religious traveler: somebody who goes on a journey to a holy place for religious reasons), the fact is America is not “holier” than any other land. Half of these travelers were part of an English Church from Holland and the other half were likely not “pilgrims” at all, coming instead, for economic reasons. Of the fifty who remained after the rigorous first winter, I’m wondering what they did that looked like Jesus.

There were similar settlements in other areas, some of which were “Christians” fleeing persecution. However, most of these religious colonial governments persecuted those of the "wrong" faith!

• The majority of the constitution’s framers often referred to “God”, yet never professed Jesus. Wanting no part of the religious intolerance developing in the “New World”, they set out to proclaim that the American government would never promote or interfere with any religious beliefs. In 1787, they established the first government in history to separate church and state.

• In 1797 America made a treaty with Tripoli declaring that "the government of the United States is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion." Written under Washington's presidency, this reassurance to Islam was unanimously approved by the Senate under John Adams.

John Adams also pledged that every American citizen would be required to observe and fulfill the premises of this treaty which was printed in the Philadelphia Gazette and two New York papers, with no evidence of any public dissent! Citizens proclaiming America as a “Christian nation” are actually breaking a national pledge.

Yes, Protestant churches have been allowed to flourish in America. However, having nationally vowed to uphold neutrality in matters of any religion, all religions are to have the same freedom. Why does it surprise and irritate us then that people from various nations and religions come to America seeking to enjoy such freedom? Isn’t this the type of nation America’s founding fathers sought to establish without any opposition from its citizens?

While there are only two contemporary accounts of America’s first Thanksgiving, neither of them mentions Jesus. Could this nation’s religious freedom stance have been established at its first Thanksgiving? The “Christian pilgrims’” religion forbade them from breaking bread with “heathens”, yet we find them honoring “God” with a few pagan Englishmen and a number of naturalistic native friends Have we been fooling ourselves about which god was being worshipped at this festival? Do you suppose Jesus was honored as the only way to the Father (John 14:6) or could this harvest celebration have been the first assembly of religious unionism held in America?


Thursday, November 12, 2009


I’m always thrilled when I see a wild rose bush in bloom. There aren’t many things more beautiful in the heat of the summer and their fragrance is simply heavenly! It seems disappointing, though, that within a few days the blossoms fall away; leaving what appears to be nothing but an unattractive barren bush. However, around mid-October, if you look carefully you will notice that the delicate petals seem to have sacrificially made room for a beautiful display of bright red “berries” called “rose hips”.

Rose hips are considered a fruit and are related to apples. While it is said that they contain Vitamins D and E, essential fatty acids and antioxidants, the greatest value of these precious jewels is their extremly high Vitamin C content. In fact, it is recorded that during World War II, when German submarines were sinking many of the commerical ships used to import citrus fruits the people from England harvested and made syrup from wild rose hips in order to obtain adequate amounts of Vitamin C.

While there is always the option of purchasing rose hips
sometimes for a whopping $25/lb,
with the magnitude of viral colds and debilitating influenzas
going around these days,
1700-2000 mg of unadulterated Vitamin C per 100 g of dried rose hips
free for the pickin’ doesn’t sound like a bad deal.

I desired to take advantage of this precious gift; yet, I was concerned that heating the rose hips would destroy their vitamin C and that my harvesting and preserving efforts would be wasted. While rose hips do contain an enzyme which causes them to oxidize when they are broken open and left at room temperature, I discovered that this enzyme is destroyed and the antioxidant activity and levels of Vitamin C maintained when rose hips are boiled for 10 minutes!

Loaded with this information, I set out to learn how hips are harvested and how the Englishmen made this syrup. Here’s what I’ve discovered:

• Harvest rose hips just after the first frost when they are most nutritious.
• Use of metal pans or utensils when preparing the rose hips will cause loss of vitamin C. Therefore, glass pans and wooden utensils are better choices.

ROSE HIP SYRUP• Clean 4 cups fresh hips with filtered rather than chlorinated water.
• In a glass pan, boil hips in 2 cups water 20 minutes with lid on or until tender and easily mashed.
• Strain juice through fine sieve or jelly bag.
• Return pulp to pan. Add enough water to cover fruit. With lid on, boil 10 minutes.
• Strain this and add to first juices.
• Add 1 cup sugar to rosehip juice boil, 5 minutes to right consistency
• Bottle while hot.
This syrup can be taken alone, added to beverages or used on pancakes, muffins etc.

DRIED WHOLE, rose hips can also be stored in a dark cool place without losing much nutritional value.

• Bring one pint filtered water to boiling
• Add 2 tablespoons dried rose hips
• Cover and boil 10 minutes.
Some enjoy the slightly tart tasting tea with a bit of sweetener. Oh, yes! Don’t throw out the boiled berries! They are still very nutritious and can be added to soups, stews, etc.
• Grind dried hips to a fine powder.
• 1 tablespoon can be added to breads and cakes, etc. for added flavor and nutritional value. It can also be added to wild game recipes to eliminate the wild taste.

I’m sure this is only the tip of the iceberg on the many blessings which rose hips have to offer us. I’m anxious to learn more.



All content of this article is commentary or opinion and is protected under Free Speech. The author sells no hard products and earns no money from the recommendation of products. The information herein is presented for educational and commentary purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice from any licensed practitioner. The information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease. This is best left to the Creator of the universe. In all health-related situations, “qualified healthcare professionals” should always be consulted. The author deems THE GREAT PHYSICIAN to be most qualified. The author assumes no responsibility for the use or misuse of this material.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


I’m so thankful for Nora Giese’s recent “Letter to the Editor”. She has broached at least three important topics that may be beneficial for us all to consider. I know I don’t to have all the answers and regularly pray for a teachable spirit. Therefore, please do not receive my response to be either argumentative or condescending. I’m very willing to consider other’s opinions as we address these issues:

• Is worship the reason we often find
Jesus and His apostles in synagogues?
• Was persecution the reason why
early Christians met in homes?
• Were there occasions when
members of one church community offered
guidance to those of another?

1) Most of us, including myself, have been taught that Jesus and His apostles went to synagogues to worship. However, Scripture seems to indicate [Acts 14:1; 17:1-33; 18:4 and 19], that instead of worship, they crossed the threshold of synagogues filled with non-believing Jews in order to evangelize!

Faith in the Messiah of Nazareth was not the focus of worship in the Jewish synagogue. Consequently, we don’t find Jesus or His disciples “worshiping” with non-believing Jews nor encouraging new converts to do so. Rather than holding to human traditions of worshiping at a sacred place on a sacred day with the Jews, Jesus and His apostles took advantage of the custom of inviting visiting Rabbis to teach [Acts 13:14] and spoke against such human traditions [Colossians 2:8]. Consequently, they were expelled from the synagogue!

2) I was also taught that early Christians began to meet in one another’s homes because of persecution. However, didn’t Jesus establish His church in the open air and in homes before persecution ever began? In the three years Jesus trained His apostles, they learned to carry on the work that He began [Acts 20:20] which was not worshiping in synagogues nor choosing gathering locations out of fear.

Following Jesus’ and the apostles’ teaching, early Christians continued to meet in one another’s homes even during times of peace [Acts 2:42-47 and 9:31]. When persecution did break-out, it doesn’t seem that Christians went to great pains to “hide-out.” Instead, unbelievers knew exactly where to find them [Acts 8:3; 1 Corinthians. 14:23] … in their homes.

All local Christians also gathered daily at the accommodating temple courts [Acts 2:44-46] where the non-believing Sadducees were responsible for controlling temple activity. Such public places wouldn’t be very effective hiding for those desiring to go unnoticed!

3) Although there is Scriptural evidence that Christians from one community did offer advice to those in other communities, this isn’t the subject at hand. Instead, the issue is …

The early Church
had only one local body of believers in each community
who functioned as one family.

We learn from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians for example that, while there were at least five different “house churches” in Corinth, [1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 16:19], Paul doesn’t write to the individual groups. Instead, he wrote to all believers in Corinth [1 Corinthians 1:2] because the issues affected the entire local family!

Jesus never desired that His brothers and sisters meeting in one house would have no regard for the matters of those who met in another. In fact, Paul rebuked the Corinthian believers for thinking and functioning so independently!

While I desire to honor God’s Word and not quarrel over disputable matters; He does encourage us to lovingly challenge one another to develop a clear understanding of and devotion to what Jesus and the apostles taught [Colossians 3:16].


P.S. For those who may not have had a chance to read Nora’s letter, you may read it at under “NORA’S LETTER … ”.