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Friday, September 21, 2007

Apple goodies
Colorful and delicious apples that have blessed our dining room table!

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"Controlled By The Spirit"

"Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God. You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ" (Romans 8:8,9).

Apple tree
We are enjoying a wonderful crop of apples from our neighbor's apple tree. Tom and Sharon take what they care to use and allow us to harvest the remainder. I picked a fresh green apple off the tree this morning when I took today's photo and it was sure sweet, crisp, and juicy!

It's interesting that the traditional assumption that the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden was an apple, although the Scripture does not specify the type of fruit. I recall growing up with this erroneous assumption and wondering why it was OK to eat apples! The forbidden fruit was the first test of mankind's self-will versus obedience to God's will. Overall we've been failing ever since. Now as a follower of Christ our need is to be controlled by the Spirit.

Several years ago I was having problems with my computer. I called a technician who was in Texas who walked me through several attempts at fixing it but we kept hitting snags and he just couldn't seem to get to the bottom of the problem.

He then directed me to a screen in which I gave him permission to remotely take over control of my computer.  During this time my keyboard and mouse went dead and I had no control whatsoever. I watched as different screens opened and closed as he went to work on the problem. As he worked I went about my other work and after awhile he called me and returned control to me. The computer worked fine!

Well, many of you know my penchant of finding spiritual lessons in everyday life and this sure got me thinking.  We often speak of allowing the Spirit to take control of our lives and this surely is my desire.

The daily text, like so much of Romans is powerful. Its meaning is so rich and applicable to our lives that we're implored to read the text over and over and ponder on its truth. The Scripture today is a forthright statement concerning being controlled. It begins with the blunt, unambiguous phrase, "Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God." There's sure nothing confusing about that.

But speaking to people of faith Paul goes on to write. "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you." Well, all true believers certainly have the Spirit of God living in them. That's foundational theology and non-negotiable. Paul goes on to reinforce this truth, "And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ."

So what does it mean to be controlled by the Spirit?  Frankly that's always been a challenge, for it surely doesn't mean we are mere automatons. The Spirit certainly doesn't take over our lives like the computer tech in Texas took over my computer.  We don't become passive observers.

Allowing the Spirit to control my life is an ongoing battle. The flesh is always ready to take over if I'm not on my guard. This will be a lifelong battle but I choose to die daily to my flesh and invite the Spirit to take control of my will.  It requires ongoing surrender to Christ, for it is in Him that we live, move and have our being.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Lord, I once again affirm my commitment to follow You wholeheartedly.  I welcome the work of Your Holy Spirit, as He lives in me, to honor You in all that I do.  May the fruit of my life reveal to those around me that I do belong to Christ as I seek to do Your will.  Amen.

Today's suggested music:
"I Surrender All" (Audio) by Michael Armstrong

Yesterday we shared about our experience attending the Tuesday evening prayer service at the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Here are several online videos of the
Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.  Enjoy and be blessed!
"Glory Aleluia" 
"The Light Of That City"  (Video)
"I'm Amazed"  (Video)

Brooksyne's note: Since I usually get inquiries about certain foods we share in our photos I thought I'd go ahead and share the recipe for the jam we featured in today's photo.  This is a new recipe for me but I will definitely be using it again.  The maple syrup in the jam makes it absolutely delicious.  If you preserve your foods through canning you will understand how to process this jam.  If you're brand new to canning you'll definitely want to read up on how to do it.  You could probably freeze this jam as well. It made about 12 1/2 Cups for me.  I like to prepare jams in the summer to give as Christmas gifts along with a loaf of sweet bread.

Apple-Maple Jam (Blue Ball book of preserving, P. 78)
3 qts. chopped, peeled & cored apples (about 6# or 22 med. apples)
6 C. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. allspice
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1 C. Maple Syrup
(I add 1 1/2 C. glazed pecans, 1/2 C. craisins, 1/2 C. raisins which adds a lot to the overall delicious taste.)

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepot.  Bring slowly to a boil. Cook rapidly to gelling point.  As mixture thickens, stir frequently to prevent sticking (about 20 minutes).  Remove from heat.  Skim foam if necessary (I add 1 T. butter which helps control foam.) Ladle hot jam into hot jars, leaving 1/4" to 1/2" headspace.  Adjust two piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling water canner.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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