Persecution

Pray for the Persecuted Church

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Who is your family? Your husband, or wife, kids, and grandkids probably come to mind right away. Then there are parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, brothers, and sisters. You may have a really large family or a very small one. If you are a Christian you are part of an enormous family. You have brothers and sisters all over the world. Isn’t that amazing!

When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Savior, they become a child of God.

For you are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus. Galations 3:26, NASB

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. John 1:12, NASB

As Christians we are brothers and sisters in the same family, with the same Father. Our family is huge. There are over 2.38 billion Christians in the world.1 Christianity is the world’s largest religion. With that large number of Christians also comes a large amount of persecution.

Around the world, more than 340 million Christians live in places where they experience high levels of persecution, just for following Jesus. That’s 1 in 8 believers, worldwide.2

Every day, 13 Christians worldwide are killed because of their faith.

Every day, 12 churches or Christian buildings are attacked.3

In just the last year*, there have been:

  • Over 340 million Christians living in places where they experience high levels of persecution and discrimination
  • 4,761 Christians killed for their faith
  • 4,488 churches and other Christian buildings attacked
  • 4,277 believers detained without trial, arrested, sentenced or imprisoned

* 2021 World Watch List reporting period4

  • 322 Christians are killed for their faith every month (Open Doors).
  • 214 churches and Christian properties are destroyed every month (Open Doors).
  • 772 forms of violence (beatings, kidnappings, rape, arrest, etc.) are committed against Christians every month (Open Doors).5

Around the world every single day millions of our brothers and sisters in Christ experience terrible persecution for following Jesus. Reading these statistics can make one feel helpless. What can we do to help our brothers and sisters in Christ? There are many things we can do to help, but the most powerful thing we can do is pray.

The book of Acts has a miraculous story of the church praying and a prisoner being set free. Peter was imprisoned for his faith by King Herod. James had already been killed and it looked like Peter was next.

So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made to God intensely by the church. Acts 12:5, NASB

Peter was asleep in his cell between two soldiers. He was bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the door. (Acts 12:6) Peter wasn’t going anywhere. But God had a plan.

And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near Peter, and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter’s side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And his chains fell off his hands. Acts 12:7, NASB

God heard the passionate prayers of the church for Peter, and He answered their pleas. Peter walked out of that prison. It was a miracle. Read then entire incredible story in Acts 12:1-19.

We must pray for the persecuted church. Our brothers and sisters need us. As I sit comfortably in my living room, in America, I am blessed. I am free to worship, and pray, and read my Bible, and practice my religion without fear of imprisonment. Though its getting uglier here for Christians, we still have it quite easy. I expect persecution to come with intensity to America too, eventually. But today, I am free. So I will do what I can to support my family around the world who are losing everything because of Jesus.

I love my brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

I love you all too.

Meghan

Father God,

Thank you for your amazing love and care for your children. I lift up all my brothers and sisters in Christ around the globe who are suffering because of their faith in Jesus. Bring comfort and protection to each of them and their families. Strengthen their faith and may many come to the saving grace and knowledge of Jesus as their Savior because of their suffering. You waste nothing. Use every ounce of suffering for their good and the good of the Body of Christ. Bring relief and lift their burdens. Open doors around the world for the good news of Jesus to be spread. Protect these precious siblings in the family who are willing to give up everything for Jesus. Great are their Heavenly rewards.

Amen

Here are two Christian organizations that help the persecuted church. They have prayer guides, newsletters, and practical ways to get involved.

The Voice of the Martyrs https://www.persecution.com

Open Doors

  1. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/religion-by-country
  2. https://www.opendoorsusa.org/2021-world-watch-list-report/
  3. https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2021/january/christian-persecution-2021-countries-open-doors-watch-list.html
  4. https://www.opendoorsusa.org/christian-persecution/
  5. http://theestherproject.com/statistics/

Photo by Aslak Sonderland at Pexels.

Food, mustard seed sentinel

Kool-Aid Pie

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My childhood included consuming large amounts of Kool-Aid. With five children this was an inexpensive way for my mom to give us a fun drink, and we drank a lot of it. So I was very excited to find this Kool-Aid pie recipe. 

One of my favorite childhood drinks in the form of a pie. The nostalgia. The wonderful memories. I had to try this fun dessert, and it did not disappoint. I made cherry for my first attempt, and it packs a punch just like the Kool-Aid Man. It is a bit on the sweeter side but still very good.

Kids will absolutely love making this easy no-bake dessert. Choose any flavor you like. It comes together within minutes. No special equipment is required. You just need a large mixing bowl and a rubber spatula. 

Only four ingredients are used for this delightful pie that will make you feel like a kid again. The flavor options are plentiful. I have also made a tropical punch flavored pie and that too is a winner. Kool-Aid pie will add a little sunshine to your day. Who doesn’t need more of that.

Happy Eating!

And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 

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Kool-Aid Pie

Ingredients 

1 (14oz.) can sweetened condensed milk

1 packet of Kool-Aid (any flavor)

1 (8 oz.) container whipped topping

1 store bought graham cracker pie crust

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl pour the sweetened condensed milk. Add Kool-Aid and mix with a rubber spatula until combined and the color is uniform.
  2. Fold in the entire container of whipped topping until everything is mixed evenly and there are no streaks of color. 
  3. Spread mixture into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Notes

  • You can use homemade whipped cream instead of Cool Whip. 
  • Reduce the amount of sweetened milk to bring down the sweetness. 
  • Freeze the pie during the summer for a cool treat.

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You can find this recipe and all of my recipes that I share on Mustard Seed Sentinel, Meghan’s Corner.

https://www.mustardseedsentinel.com/post/meghan-s-corner-kool-aid-pie

Trials

It’s Been a Crazy Week in the Great State of Texas

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This was our backyard on Monday. It was cold. Very cold for southeast Texas. Our power went out early Monday morning. My husband left for work, and I thought for sure our power would come back on soon. We never experienced any long power outages in the 8 years we have lived in Houston. We have survived crazy tropical storms, and Hurricane Harvey with no lengthy power outages or property damage.

I was sure we would be fine with power and heat returning that day. I was wrong. As the day continued and our house got colder I realized the power may not come back on. My husband found the very last available hotel room so we could get warm for the night. By the time Tom came home to pick us up the hotel had lost power. We all breathed a collective sigh, and hopped in my warm car.

The heat in my car felt incredible. I was able to calm down for a few minutes and relax a bit. As we drove through our neighborhood and down the road, it looked like the apocalypse with absolutely no light whatsoever. Pitch black everywhere until we got farther down the highway. Suddenly businesses were lit up but closed. Why did they have power and we didn’t?

Every restaurant, gas station, and store was closed. We found a 7-11 that was open. It was like an oasis in the snow and ice. We dined on pizza and it was actually pretty good. The hot meal was a blessing. Arriving back at our dark icy cold house was not easy. My husband, myself, and our two sons made the best of it. We layered up our clothing, and blankets, and tried to get some sleep. Tomorrow would be better and the power would come back on, we hoped and prayed.

That night I pulled my chilly head under the covers looking for any amount of warmth. I couldn’t help but think of all the homeless people, and those living in poverty around the world who sleep like that every night in the cold. Thank you Lord for heat.

Day two started out with power and a hot cup of coffee. But it didn’t last. By mid morning the power was back off. We continued to make the best of it, and focus on what we could do as we waited for the power to return. My oldest son and I were in the backyard enjoying the sun when we heard an odd sound. Water was pouring out of the pipe at the side of our house in two spots. Dylan ran to turn off the main water line.

Day three ended with the power coming on and off again for short periods until it finally came back on for good late Wednesday night. We still had frozen pipes but we were warm. Hallelujah!

Our dinners have been cooked on the barbecue grill and camping stove. I boiled water for coffee on the grill. Our pool water has been used to fill up toilet tanks. We have plenty of bottled water and canned food. We haven’t showered all week and we are a bit funky, but we are healthy and safe by the grace of God.

We have hauled so many buckets of water from the pool to the bathrooms it’s like living in another century. When all modern conveniences are gone you have to work a little harder to cook, clean, and use the bathroom. Almost everything is a chore. Each day just trying to keep warm, cooking food, hauling water, and getting through the day is tiring. Thank you Lord for electricity, and plumbing!

I can live without many things like internet, cell phones, and even indoor plumbing. Not sure I would want to live without heat. The cold is very difficult, especially if there is no place to get warm. Being constantly cold in temps as low as 12 degrees was not enjoyable. I have had some very cranky moments this week. Tired of being cold. Tired of no power. And pretty ticked a few times that the energy company purposely made the decision of “controlled outages” to balance out supply and demand.

Another pipe burst today inside our house as the water finally thawed and we turned our water back on. The water is currently turned off as we wait for a plumber to arrive. My husband is very handy and can fix almost anything but he can’t find copper pipe anywhere. He has waited in line at the Home Depot twice for hours only to find all plumbing supplies are sold out. Getting a hold of a plumber right now is impossible. Thank God for a connection through a friend of a plumber. Thank you Lord!

It’s been a long exhausting week. We are just one of millions who went without power in Texas. I kept thinking of all the elderly, and vulnerable people who were stuck in the cold inside their homes. We have been very blessed during this entire crazy storm. God has provided food, water, shelter, and even a plumber for us.

Thank you Lord for modern conveniences. I take them for granted.

Thank you Lord that you are faithful and true. You always get us through the storms in life.

I am looking forward to a hot shower and I can’t believe I’m saying this, doing laundry.

If you have gone without power this week please share your story. I’d love to hear from you!

I am grateful for each of you who follow my little blog and each of you who stop by to read it. This is my condensed story of a crazy week. Thanks for taking the time to read it.

Love you all,

Meghan

If you need prayer send your request here: meghanewhiteauthor@gmail.com

Father God,

Thank you for taking care of our family through this crazy cold week. Provide for all those who have broken pipes and water damage, and have struggled during this storm in Texas. Bring peace, comfort, provision and Your amazing presence to each home and heart. You are bigger than our storms.

In Jesus Mighty Name,

Amen

God, Jesus

Birds Don’t Worry

photography of small blue and brown bird
Photo by Tina Nord on Pexels.com

If there was a contest for the best worrier I would have been in the running. I may have even won. The old me was a worry wart. I like to say that I was a born worrier. I was very good at it. The champion of worriers. This is not the kind of accomplishment to be proud of.

These days I worry much less. Worry still tries to rear its ugly head and take over my thoughts, but now it doesn’t have me captive. When worry threatens to take over, I know how to fight back. I did not learn this overnight. This has taken many years by the grace and mercy of God.

Jesus is quite clear that we are not to worry. He does not suggest or recommend that we do not worry, Jesus commands us not to worry. He uses the illustration of birds to show the importance of trusting God to take care of us.

Birds are beautiful, majestic creatures. I love bird watching. The lovely songs they sing, and their extraordinary colors are awe inspiring. With all their flying and forging they aren’t worrying. Birds don’t have barns or warehouses for their food, yet they are always fed because their creator, Father God, feeds them.

You and I are much more valuable than birds. We are made in the image of God, the pinnacle of His creation. If God takes care of the birds, won’t He take care of us?

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

Matthew 6:25-27, NIV

I love this passage in Matthew. I have read it so many times over the years that the page is falling out of my Bible. These incredible words from Jesus have penetrated my heart and my mind to set me free from worry. That’s how much our Heavenly Father loves us. He does not want us worrying. He cares for our every need and we do not have to worry.

Worry does no good, only harm.

Worry changes absolutely nothing.

Worry places our focus on our problems, or potential problems.

Worry cannot take care of our needs.

Worry takes our eyes off of Jesus.

God loves all of His creation. He cares for the birds He made by providing food and shelter for them. We are much more precious to God then birds. God knows what we need.

God will take care of you.

There is a key component to trusting God for all of our needs. We must seek His kingdom and His righteousness first.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33, NIV

We must seek God first and foremost. If we are earnestly seeking God, we must expect to find Him.

God is sovereign over everything. He rules over all creation, including us. He is our provider and we need to look to Him and trust Him, because He is trustworthy. God loves us and will take care of our needs.

What are you worrying about today?

You can give every single worry over to your Heavenly Father. He is able to take care of your every need. Seek Him, and His Kingdom, and He will take care of your needs. He will replace your worry with peace.

Love you all,

Meghan

Father God,

You are worthy of all our praise. Forgive us when we don’t trust You and we worry. Replace our worry with faith, peace, and complete trust in You. Thank You for loving us and providing our every need.

In Jesus name,

Amen

Read the entire passage in Matthew at the link below.

Food

The Best Sugar Cookies

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These are the best sugar cookies, ever! You may not believe me. A sugar cookie is a sugar cookie. I disagree. I have had many beautifully decorated sugar cookies that taste quite bland with a dry texture. This amazing simple recipe is full of flavor with a nice soft texture.

My family absolutely loves these cookies. I usually make them for holidays and special occasions. I have zero decorating skills. My cookies are very homemade looking. But, they taste so good. 

A lot of the fun of homemade sugar cookies is the decorations. My boys always helped when they were little. Each cookie was a tiny canvas for them to express themselves with icing and sprinkles. If you have kids they will love creating their own edible masterpieces.

I have used buttercream frosting, and a corn syrup based frosting. The best decorating icing is royal icing. It sets up perfectly for stacking and the decorating possibilities are endless. My cookies in the picture have corn syrup icing. It sets up similar to royal icing, but it’s much runnier. It’s not the easiest icing to work with, but I didn’t have the ingredients for royal icing so I had to make do. 

You can find the recipe for royal icing here: Gingerbread Cookies

Enjoy this easy, no refrigeration required, sugar cookie recipe.

Happy Eating!

 

 

 

Sugar Cookies 

 

Ingredients

1 cup butter 

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon almond extract

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

3 cups flour

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375° 
  • In a small bowl add salt, baking soda, baking powder, and flour. Whisk together.
  • Cream the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add vanilla, almond extract, and eggs. Mix on medium high speed until combined. It will look lumpy from the eggs. That’s OK.
  • Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Mix on medium high speed until combined. 
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface. Use your favorite cookie cutters and transfer to a baking sheet, and place them about 1 inch apart.
  • Bake for 8 – 10 minutes. The sugar cookies should be light in color. If the edges are brown they are over-cooked. 
  • Leave the cookies on the trays for about a minute before removing them to a cooling rack. 
  • Cool completely and decorate.

Notes:

  • If the dough is a bit sticky, just place it in the refrigerator for a few minutes.
  • Oven temps vary so keep an eye on the first batch or two of cookies until you see how your oven cooks.
  • Place your oven rack in the middle so the cookies bake evenly.
  • Line your baking sheets with parchment for easy clean up. You can also just bake the cookies directly on your ungreased cookie sheets. 
  • I always use salted butter for all my baking. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Cookie Icing

 

Ingredients

1 cup powdered sugar

2 teaspoons milk

2 teaspoons light corn syrup

¼ teaspoon almond extract

 

Directions

  • In a medium bowl blend sugar and milk until smooth.
  • Add corn syrup and almond extract. Beat until smooth and shiny.
  • Use food coloring to make whatever colors you prefer.

 

Notes:

  • This is very runny icing. The texture reminds me of white school glue.
  • Use a small amount on each cookie. If you put too much of the icing it will run over the edge of the cookies.
  • It will set up overnight.
  • If the icing is too thick add more milk and corn syrup in about the same ratios.
  • I usually just play around with the texture until I get the consistency I want.