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Are You Living a Rich Stock Life?

Our Children know that it is a special day when I make Gumbo.  It usually takes about 2 days to make, so I only do it on special occasions.  Day 1 is Chop and Stock day.  I chop up all the ingredients and begin making the stock that the Gumbo is built on.
Day 2 is to make the Roux and assemble the Gumbo.
The Stock is really important and can make the difference between an okay Gumbo and a great Gumbo. I am a firm believer that a great stock is worth the work. 
So, once I have chopped the ingredients I take all of the discards from chopping and put them into a stockpot.  It usually consists of Chicken broth, shrimp broth, celery discards and hearts, onion butts and pieces, chicken bones and skin, and shrimp heads and shells.  Are you hungry yet? Well, probably not.  You would never think garbage like this could make something taste so good!
The children have come home from school more than once with the aroma of gumbo filling their senses.  Only to open the stockpot and yell, “OH, Grooooss!” There is nothing like the site of bobbing shrimp heads and chicken bones to make you loose your appetite.
I open the lid, checking to see how it was progressing, with my glasses fogging up from the steam, when a thought crossed my mind. There was a time, when my heart and life, looked very much like that Stock. “Oh, Gross.” So much brokenness and garbage from bad choices that I had made, and some bad choices others made that I had to live through.
As I stir the pot of Stock, I wonder if all that is cleaned up in me.  Without a doubt  God rescued me from those dark days and I have been healed from so many things that tried to destroy my heart and life. But has it all been redeemed, or worked through?  I was not sure. 
The Stock has been cooking for about four hours, and is now ready for making Gumbo.   It is now called a Rich Stock, because it has cooked long enough to reduced the water and intensify the different flavors. The flavor is much more pungent than when it was water, broth and garbage.
I begin to pour the Rich Stock through a colander, collecting the large pieces that could now go to the mulch pile or garbage, while watching the little pieces of flavor slip through the small holes.  That is when I heard the Lord speak to my heart.
“ After much time and heat, I have processed your broken pieces of life and garbage, and made for Myself a Rich Stock Life in you.”
I stood very still by the sink, looking out of the window into the yard for several minutes, amazed at the thought.  Me? Rich Stock?  I laugh a little.  Only God could call someone “Rich Stock” with all of it’s meanings, and make it a compliment!  He is so very Awesome!
If He would do this for me, He will do it for you.  So how about it?  What is your story? Are you living a Rich Stock Life?
“When Moses had cut the ram into its pieces, he offered up the head and the pieces and the suet in smoke.  He washed the entrails and legs with water, then offered up the whole ram in smoke on the alter.  It was a burnt offering for a soothing aroma; it was an offering by fire to the Lord, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.”  Leviticus 8:20-21 NAS
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The Day Has Finally Come

Days have gone into months, and now into years since if first began writing about those dark days. Looking back it seems like I am telling you about a movie I have seen.  “Did I really survive that?”, I ask myself.  It seems to hard to believe.  It was a different person and a different lifetime from who I am and where I am today.

Why God cared for me when I was walking so far from Him, I do not think I will ever understand.  Why He saved and restored me better than I was in the beginning is greater reasoning than my mind is able to process.  But He did.
My book is now available through Amazon. Diane W. Bailey, String of Pearls.
 http://www.amazon.com/String-Pearls-Diane-Bailey/dp/1936670003/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1313584714&sr=1-1

The Wonder Of It All


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Psalms 40:5 “Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which Thou has done and Thy thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with Thee; If I would declare and speak of them, they would be too numerous to count.” 
What causes you to Wonder?  What causes you to pause and say, “Wow”?  Is it the sight of lightening, or a dragonfly on the water?  Maybe it is the laughter of a child at a simple joy.  What in God’s creation causes you to Wonder?
The word “Wonder” in this first passage means, to be miraculous, to be astonishing, to cause a wonderful thing to happen, to be hard or difficult. Surprisingly, it is the same word used in Genesis 18:14, as “difficult”.  “Is there anything too difficult for God?” The Word in both verses is, “Pala” (The New Young’s Complete Dictionary of Bible Words). There is nothing like an ancient language to try and confuse me.  It seems to me that Wonder and Difficult should not go together as a definition; but maybe they do.  Here is a story that helps me bring the two together.
On a trip to Israel I met a man named Moshe, a Russian Jew who had returned to Israel.  A very gentle and kind man who was confident enough in his Jewish faith to have open dialog with our group of Christians.  We agreed that it was okay to disagree.
One question we asked Moshe was, “Why do you throw away so many palms or pomegranates, looking for a perfect one to take to a celebration?  You seem to live by such a difficult law, instead of grace as we do. It also seems so wasteful.”
I will remember Moshe’s answer for as long as I live.  He said, “Is there anything too difficult for the One I love?  Is there anything too wonderful or too perfect for my beloved?”  His love for God was worded in ways I had not heard before. 
His words and love for God caused me to look at myself and ask, “Do I give God my best?”  Moshe’s words did give me pause to look at my own life.  Yes, we live by grace, we are also a living sacrifice to God, but am I giving Him my very best?  He gave me His very best for me.  He gave the perfect gift, Christ, who gave His all for me.  Maybe I could try to be a better gift to the One I love.
God’s thoughts and wonders toward us are too numerous to count. But, it is good for me to pause and be taken back by His wonders more often than I am.  Life is too hurried.  God gave to us Christ, the perfect, most wonderful gift.  A gift that is miraculous, and too difficult for me to have on my own; too wonderful for me to even imagine.
But what gives me the greatest cause for wonder is, He chose His Sacrifice on the Cross, because He thought I was worth it! He thinks you are worth it too.
So, What causes you to Wonder?