What does safety mean to you?

When it comes to safety this is a good question, what does safety mean to you? Let us turn to my old friend the dictionary first. Webster’s 1913 edition defines safety as:

1. The condition or state of being safe; freedom from danger or hazard; exemption from hurt, injury, or loss.

2. Freedom from whatever exposes one to danger or from libility to cause danger or harm; safeness; hence, the quality of making safe or secure, or of giving confidence, justifying trust, insuring against harm or loss, etc.

3. Preservation from escape; close custody.

Safety can mean many things to different people. Sometimes it means taking all precautions while taking a risk. This would be the bungee jumper making sure that all of his harnesses are tight and will securely hold him while he jumps of a tall place. Or the parachutist double-checking his gear before climbing into the plane. To some it means hiding away from all dangers and being secure from every risk.

What does the Bible say about safety?

A quick search of the word turns up 19 matches in the King James Bible. Safety is connected to two things, Wise Counsel and the Lord.

Wise Counsel

Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 11:14

For by wise counsel thou shalt make thy war: and in multitude of counsellors there is safety. Proverbs 24:6

The Bible makes it clear that safety is in wise counsel. Not just a little wise counsel, but a lot of wise counsel. Of course this wise counsel will be of no use if it is not put into practice. When it comes to any decision in your life, listen to the wise people in your life and remember Rehoboam. Rehoboam was Solomon’s son and he lost most of his kingdom when he listen not to the wise counsel of his elders but to the counsel of his buddies (I Kings 12).

The Lord is our Safety

Photo Credit: cenz via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: cenz via Compfight cc

Several verses make it plain that real safety can only come from God. It comes when we do what we can and leave the rest to God. When we do what God expects of us, He gives us safety whether we are in the deepest jail or the darkest storm. Our safety does not depend on us, but on an unchanging, unfailing God who loves us and wants our best.

Wherefore ye shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and ye shall dwell in the land in safety. Leviticus 24:18

But when ye go over Jordan, and dwell in the land which the LORD your God giveth you to inherit, and when he giveth you rest from all your enemies round about, so that ye dwell in safety; Deuteronomy 12:10

I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety. Psalm 4:8

Of course, there is my personal favorite.

The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD. Proverbs 21:31

What Does Safety Mean to You?

Does safety mean never taking a risk? Does it mean hiding from the will of God because the physical and emotional dangers are too great? Does it mean taking a leap of faith trusting that God will catch you up before you fall? Does it mean you never protect yourself from any dangers?

Safety can only come from God. He is the only one that can see the future. We can only trust that He knows what is ahead and that He has prepared for it. Our risks come when we put into action His plans for us. Those risks may look very large at the beginning but if our faith is in God and He knows our rising from our falling, then we are safe in Him. Does this mean there is no danger? NO! But we obey in spite of the danger.

Think of the five missionary men killed in 1955 while trying to evangelize a forgotten people. They took all precautions, but left their safety in the hands of the Lord. You say, “But they were killed!” Yes, and what safer place is there to be but in heaven where there are no dangers. God used those five deaths to win that tribe for Himself. If you go back today, many of the people of that tribe are Christians because the wives and children of those five men took a risk to go and live among them. Their testimony of faith won the hearts of the people.

Many think physical safety is guaranteed to any who follow Christ. Just look at the history of the church and you will see that this is not so. Physical safety is not real safety. Real safety is in knowing the Savior who died in my place. It is in knowing that He has a plan for your life and whatever happens, happens for a purpose. It is in keeping the teaching of Romans 8 close to our hearts. He know what is ahead and everything will work out for His glory if we just trust and obey.

What does safety mean to you? Please write and tell me what you think.

A Musician’s Best Friend

A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me an article to look over that discussed a specific problem for single missionaries. I am in the middle of preparing a blog post about it so today I am presenting a tool I use in my ministry here in Portugal.

Photo Credit: just.Luc via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: just.Luc via Compfight cc

That tool is a handy little program called Noteworthy Composer. https://www.noteworthysoftware.com/

This program was the best $40. I ever spent for a program. I have used this program many times in my work. I has allowed me to make background music for singing, write original music, rewrite music with Portuguese lyrics, and make medleys for special music. In short, it has been very useful over the years.

The program allows you to write sheet music with ease. It is not a difficult program to use or learn and can be of great benefit to anyone who is a musician. Especially if they also compose music. On top of writing sheet music, you can insert lyrics in English or another language. This has helped me create music for which I only have an English source but to use Portuguese lyrics.

The file when created can be saved as a MIDI file and then played through a MIDI instrument. From there it can be played back into the computer and recorded as an mp3 or other audio file. (You should see my piano when I am doing this. It looks like it sprouted wires overnight.) The music may be a bit canned but that can be compensated for a bit with the composition.

I understand that not everyone out there will find this program useful but if you are a musician it can be your best friend. What are tools that you have found useful in your ministry?

Planning a Menu for One or Two

Menu planning has long been held as one way to be frugal with your dollars and eat healthy. Just a quick search on the internet will bring you dozens of ideas and tips to utilize this tool. However, most of the menu planners are geared toward families. What happens when you are a family of one or you suddenly have an empty nest with only you and your spouse? Many women experience this when their children have all left the house and now, instead of cooking for x number of people, they are cooking for two. Does this mean we, the few, cannot use this tool to frugality? No. It does mean we will have to adapt the practice though.

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Tips to Menu Planning for One or Two People

Used to making a meal for a large family? One way to utilize this habit is to make meals in bulk and freeze them for later. Many meals can be frozen and then heated later for a meal. A little research on the internet can net you thousands of recipes that can be made ahead then frozen. My favorite is lasagna. I can make a large pan of lasagna, cut it up into pieces and freeze the pieces separately. Later when I need a meal, I take it out pop it in the microwave and a few minutes later I have a hot meal.

Many people do not like to eat the same foods two days in a row. This is why menu planning for a single person is so complicated when most recipes make at least 4 servings of food. What can a single person do to mitigate the waste? Again freezing is an option. Making two such meals and alternating days in which they are eaten is another option. Sharing cooking duties with a single friend is another option (with this option you cut expenses and the cooking time).

If I am like most single people, the one thing that bugs me the most about menu planning is fresh fruits and veggies. I find myself many times throwing out rotten fruit and vegetables because I could not consume them before they went bad. This is where a freezer can also come into play. If you live in a country where frozen vegetables are available, use them. If you do not, this idea may take a bit more work, but will be so worth it in the end. Freeze your own vegetables and fruit. A little research in cookbooks or on the internet can provide you with ways in which you can preserve your own frozen fruits and vegetables. (They end up being healthier in the long run because you know what is being put into your freezer.) The only exception to this is lettuce. I have yet to find a practical way in which I can preserve lettuce for salads. When I do I will be sure to post about it.

Menu planning for singles requires thinking outside the box. With a little imagination and planning, a single person or a couple can use this handy tip.

Tools that are Handy for Making Meal Planning for One or Two a Success

The first tool I have already mentioned, a freezer. This does not have to be a large freezer, but a freezer is a very helpful tool to have when planning meals for one or two people. While many people know that a freezer is useful for a large family, many do not realize its usefulness for single people. As I mentioned earlier, a large meal can be prepared then frozen into smaller portions for later consumption. I use this tool all the time for my own meal planning. Lasagna, soup, muffins, pancakes, waffles, baked goods, fruit, some veggies, meat in individual portions, and much more can be stored in the freezer. Just be aware that some items only last a few months in the freezer while others last almost a year.

The second tool that has made menu planning easier for me, has been my microwave. I can make meals ahead and pop them in the microwave when I need them. This useful tool is used mostly in conjunction with my freezer. (One thing I do not put in the microwave though is bread. It will dry out and be hard as a rock if you do. Just a friendly warning.) What if I do not have a microwave or they are not available where I live? Most things can be heated on the stove or in the oven. How do you think your ancestors heated food? A microwave just makes it easier.

The third tool I find useful is a small crock pot. When I first came to the field, I had a crock pot that my mother had left me. It was huge. Way too large for a single person. I was able to obtain a small crock pot from England and I have used that tool almost every week since I received it. It cuts my cooking time by cooking while I am busy doing other things. I can make a meal for just myself or for more with just that one tool. In fact, it makes the chicken pot pie filling much easier to make.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you as you plan your meals. Please, let me know if you have any other tips that have proven useful over the years. Maybe you have found a way to keep lettuce longer!