Monday, November 25, 2013

The Orchard - Fall 2013

I thought we would catch everyone up with how our orchard is doing.

The Lord in His wisdom decided not to grant much this year, except...

These were our first apples I believe we've received! We were pretty excited, and they tasted yummy!

Apples from Apple Tree, Fall 2013


Very sadly though, shortly after this, the tree began to wither and died. We pray that spiritually the Lord sustains us by the power of His Spirit so that the same doesn't occur with us, and that by His Spirit He brings forth much fruit! (Please see John Gill on John 15:2 regarding this.)


We also have pecan trees, and here is one that made pecans this year!

Pecan Tree with Pecans, Fall 2013
Fall 2013 Pecans


These are our first harvested pecans:

Our First Harvested Pecans


And the final haul -- 26 in all! We're thankful to God for granting this provision!

The Full Pecan Haul, Fall 2013


I guess it was last year, we began mulching the orchard, starting around the trees, just to get the process going, and then filling in the rest of the area with mulch starting at the back. Well, over the past several months, I tried to get back to doing that, because it really looked like those trees in the fully mulched areas were growing better than those not in it. And so, here's how far it's been filled in:

The Orchard, Fall 2013, with Mulching
Another Pic of the Orchard, Fall 2013, with Mulching


We lost some trees this year, especially the apples, but most stayed with us, thanks to the Lord.

We are once again grateful for these resources, and humbly ask the Lord grant that these trees be fruitful, as we again beseech Him by His graces and mercies for the same about us spiritually.

-- David

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Susan's Musin's - Redeeming the Time, Part 2

Back in 2011, Mr. Michael Bunker had just written "Modern Religious Idols," one of the best books I've ever read (buckle up, though, because he doesn't pull any punches). I am of a naturally curious nature, so after I read the great foreword by Dr. C.J. Williams, I went to his bio online to find out more about his background. In the midst of his short bio, I saw that he had written an article entitled "Redeeming the Time." Those words really jumped out at me since the Lord had so recently put those verses on my heart, so I obtained permission from my husband to contact Dr. Williams and ask for a copy of the article. Dr. Williams was very gracious to take time out of his busy schedule to look for the article. He was not able to easily locate it for duplication, but he did send me a copy of an older sermon he had preached on the same subject, which I believe God provided to me as a wonderful means of grace to help me grow in this area.

I have included below, with his permission, the sermon notes included in that CD sent by Dr. Williams:


REDEEMING THE TIME by Dr. C.J. Williams
Ephesians 5:15-16

Most people in our fast-paced society regularly agree in the complaint that "time flies". However, this consensus of modern experience was first captured in the ancient Latin proverb tempus fugit. Time moved no slower for the Romans because the passage of time is a human problem, not a modern one. But, like most human "problems" and the proverbs which accompany them, tempus fugit misses the point. Time is not to blame for moving too quickly, rather, we are to blame for wasting it. The divine corrective is to "redeem the time".

1. The word "redeem" (Greek exagorazo - "to buy back" or "rescue from loss") is used only four times in the New Testament. Twice it refers to Christ's redemption of His people and twice it is found in a command to us to "redeem the time" (Eph. 5:16; Col. 4:5) Obviously, the thing redeemed is of great value and importance to the redeemer. Time is a holy thing to the Christian, truly a "window of opportunity" in the great edifice of eternity. Time is a scarce, precious and unrecoverable thing.

2. The reason we redeem the time is "because the days are evil." Perhaps so because they are commonly filled with evil things and thoughts, but perhaps also because they are commonly filled with nothing, or at least nothing of importance. Time is not just a neutral measurement of activity that is either good or indifferent. All of life is a spiritual endeavor - there is not "time out" from it. Therefore the default mode of each day is evil. It takes something to redeem a day; it takes nothing to make it evil.

3. So, what does it take? The way we "buy time" according to the apostle is to "walk circumspectly" (i.e. with diligence and carefulness), and to be wise (vs 15). Wisdom is to "understand the will of the Lord" (vs. 17), and a circumspect walk is one that acts upon His will with diligence and carefulness. So much sanctification ahead of us, so many people to whom we can witness, so much to be done for the edification of the church, so much to learn about the Lord who saved us, so much prayer left undone - and so little time. With such things being the business of God's people, "wasting" time is too gentle a notion. You either redeem it or desecrate it.

4. Now is the time. You only live in a tiny sliver of it called the "present". The past is unrecoverable (though not unforgivable), and good intentions for the future don't count. ("Good intentions" are the things we plan to never do, and a clever way to waste the present.) Employ the only time you have, the present, to its most profitable end. Use that time which can be used for spiritual good to the utmost, and "do all things as unto the Lord" during the time that must, of necessity, be filled with more common things. Let rest and entertainment be the servants which refit the body and mind for the work of our calling, not the masters of our time which claim an undue proportion of it. While time lasts, and some is still allotted to you, consider that you will give account for it and use it accordingly.

End


WOWW-EE-WOW-WOW! "Therefore the default mode of each day is evil. It takes something to redeem a day; it takes nothing to make it evil." ....... "With such things being the business of God's people, "wasting" time is too gentle a notion. You either redeem it or desecrate it." To me, so much food for thought and meditation.

I recently read the following quote from A.W. Pink and thought it might be apropos to this post: "The more we are occupied with the Lord our God, the more shall we be weaned from this perishing world, the more shall we be delivered from Satan's snares, and the better shall we be equipped for the fight of faith".

Through all of the means of grace mentioned previously in this post that God graciously has used to teach me, my eyes have been opened to see that time spent in idleness and distractions of folly had become a HUGE idol in my life. The Bible has taught me, and I have seen it so many times, that my flesh is CONSTANTLY at war with my spirit; and unless I ask God for help to be diligent (remembering those words from Dr. Gill: "diligence", "caution", "exactness", "uttermost of his strength and power") in hungering and thirsting after righteousness and the means of grace God has provided to make a way through this life, the war will be lost.

My dad, after reading Part 1, relayed a personal anecdote to me that I have found helpful in keeping the principle of redeeming the time ever in my focus. He said "Years ago, I was looking into the word 'circumspectly' just as you are. What helped me the most was this simplified version, 'circum' (circumference) plus 'specs' (eyeglasses ... to see) = 'to see all around'."

My prayer is for God to help all of His children redeem the time and walk increasingly circumspectly in these evil days, and that He may be glorified.

Susan

Monday, November 4, 2013

Susan's Musin's - Redeeming the Time, Part 1

"See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,

Redeeming the time, because the days are evil."
(Eph. 5:15-16)

God has convicted me so strongly on this subject I went to Dr. John Gill and Matthew Henry to assist in my studies and pray their teachings may benefit others as much as it has myself. I will provide more personal insights I have learned at the end of the post.

Here are a few thoughts from Dr. John Gill on these verses:

Ver. 15. See then that ye walk circumspectly,.... "a man should see to it that he does walk, and to the way in which he walks, and how he walks; that he walks circumspectly, with his eyes about him; that he walks with diligence, caution, accuracy, and exactness, to the uttermost of his strength and power; and with wisdom and prudence, looking well to his going"......

Wow, some of the words he uses: "diligence", "caution", "exactness", "uttermost of his strength and power". To me, these are words that are very purposeful, representing ultra alertness, awareness and carefulness to control what influences our lives and how our lives influence others.


...."not as fools, but as wise" "such walk like fools, whose eyes are not upon their ways; who walk in their own ways, which are crooked, and ways of darkness, and lead to destruction; who walk after the flesh, and naked, without the garments of a holy life and conversation; and with lamps, but no oil in them: and such walk as wise men, who walk according to the rule of God's word, make Christ their pattern, have the Spirit for their guide, and walk as becomes the Gospel of Christ; inoffensively to all men, in wisdom towards them that are without, and in love to them that are within; and as pilgrims and strangers in this world, looking for a better country; and so as to promote the glory of God, and the good of souls."

WOW! My prayer is for God to place upon me the "garment of holy life and conversation".....walking circumspectly "as a pilgrim and stranger in this world, looking for a better country...so as to promote the glory of God." I almost get physically ill when I think of the decades I have wasted walking as a fool focused on things of this world and lusts of the flesh, causing others to stumble and continue in deception and false comfort.

Ver 16: "Redeeming the time",.... Or "buying time"; a like expression is used in Da 2:8, which we render, gain time: but in the Chaldee text it is, "buy time": and so Jacchiades, a Jewish commentator on the place, renders it, Myrkmn Mta tazh teh, "ye buy this opportunity"; and the Septuagint version uses the same phrase the apostle does here; but there it seems to signify a study to prolong time, to put off the business to another season; but here taking time for a space of time, it denotes a careful and diligent use of it, an improvement of it to the best advantage; and shows that it is valuable and precious, and is not to be trifled with, and squandered away, and be lost, as it may be; for it can neither be recalled nor prolonged: and taking it for an opportunity of doing good to ourselves or others, it signifies that no opportunity of discharging our duty to God and man, of attending on the word and ordinances of the Gospel, and to the private and public exercises of religion, of gaining advantage to our own souls, or of gaining the souls of others, and of doing good either to the bodies or souls of men, should be neglected; but even all risks should be run, and means used to enjoy it: in the Syriac and Chaldee languages, anmz, "time", comes from Nbz, "to redeem": the reason the apostle gives for the redemption of time is,

because the days are evil; as such are, in which iniquity abounds, and many wicked men live, and errors and heresies prevail, and are days of affliction or persecution; see Ge 47:9.

And here are Matthew Henry's thoughts on these verses:

(v. 15): See then, etc. This may be understood either with respect to what immediately precedes, "If you are to reprove others for their sins, and would be faithful to your duty in this particular, you must look well to yourselves, and to your own behaviour and conduct" (and, indeed, those only are fit to reprove others who walk with due circumspection and care themselves): or else we have here another remedy or rather preservative from the before-mentioned sins; and this I take to be the design of the apostle, being impossible to maintain purity and holiness of heart and life without great circumspection and care. Walk circumspectly, or, as the word signifies, accurately, exactly, in the right way, in order to which we must be frequently consulting our rule, and the directions we have in the sacred oracles. Not as fools, who walk at all adventures, and who have no understanding of their duty, nor of the worth of their souls, and through neglect, supineness, and want of care, fall into sin, and destroy themselves; but as wise, as persons taught of God and endued with wisdom from above. Circumspect walking is the effect of true wisdom, but the contrary is the effect of folly. It follows, redeeming the time (v. 16), literally, buying the opportunity. It is a metaphor taken from merchants and traders who diligently observe and improve the seasons for merchandise and trade. It is a great part of Christian wisdom to redeem the time. Good Christians must be good husbands of their time, and take care to improve it to the best of purposes, by watching against temptations, by doing good while it is in the power of their hands, and by filling it up with proper employment—one special preservative from sin. They should make the best use they can of the present seasons of grace. Our time is a talent given us by God for some good end, and it is misspent and lost when it is not employed according to his design. If we have lost our time heretofore, we must endeavour to redeem it by doubling our diligence in doing our duty for the future. The reason given is because the days are evil, either by reason of the wickedness of those who dwell in them, or rather "as they are troublesome and dangerous times to you who live in them." Those were times of persecution wherein the apostle wrote this: the Christians were in jeopardy every hour. When the days are evil we have one superadded argument to redeem time, especially because we know not how soon they may be worse. People are very apt to complain of bad times; it were well if that would stir them up to redeem time.

WOW! Again! So much wisdom and challenge to the Christian! I understand that nothing I do can earn my salvation, and there is a time for rest, relaxation and revitalization. But, I've started asking myself when I have the choice as to how I will spend my time, "Is this spiritually beneficial?" "Will this feed my flesh to the detriment of my spiritual health?" "Will this distract me from meditating on Christ and preparing me for when I come before Him?"

Continued in Part Two, Lord willing.....

Susan