Tina the Turken

by on June 20, 2012
in Uncategorized

She isn’t beautiful, but she does look interesting!
She has several names and there are different stories surrounding her unusual profile.
One of her names is “naked neck,” another “Turken,” and another is “Transylvanian Naked Neck.”
She looks like a regular chicken except that there are no feathers on her neck! She has a fluffy body and a fluffy little head, but her long curving neck is bare. She also has half the amount of feathers on her body as other chicken breeds.
One story is that the breed was developed to be easy to kill by wringing the bare neck and easier to pluck the feathers since there are less of them.
Another story is that the breed is a cross between a turkey and a chicken, but no viable offspring can come from those two.
She may have come from Hungary or Transylvania, become popular in Europe, and eventually was brought to America. There is a Turken from Australia that lays blue or green eggs, but most lay brown eggs. She will lay 120 to 180 eggs in a year and, although usually only eight pounds when grown, some raise her for meat.
Our little four week old naked neck will grow up to a calm, disease resistant, good forager, and a chicken who can do well in the hot weather and, surprisingly, in cold weather. I guess you could says the will be a chick for all seasons!
But I keep coming back to the idea that she was bred to be easy to pluck and easy to kill.
Is Leviticus one of your favorite books of the Bible? You can learn all about the details God gave the Children of Israel for the sacrificial system. . . but most of us don’t spend a great deal of time reading Leviticus.
If you do read about the sacrifices in chapter 6 you can find out about the two goats that were to be brought before the Lord.
“Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat. Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.” (Leviticus16:7-10)
So what happens to the scapegoat? “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”(Leviticus 16:20-22)
We enjoy our pets and we often become quite fond of the animals we raise. Can you imagine raising your very best, firstborn animal– whether lamb or goat– knowing that you were choosing it, feeding it, protecting it, keeping it as perfect as possible to deliver it to the priest to be killed.
If your favorite animal was going to be slaughtered and the blood used in the sacrificial system for you to find forgiveness for your sins, wouldn’t the process become much more personal?
What if you had to take the animal you had seen born, nurtured, and took pride in—out into the woods and leave it to be killed and eaten by some wild animal? Sacrifice would become personal.
How can we wrap our feeble minds about the reality of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross that was pictured with every sacrifice made through the years?
How can we ever imagine the depth of love and pain that God endured as He saw His only Son delivered beaten and bruised, but unbroken to the bloodletting cruelty of the cross.
Our forgiveness came at an unbelievably high price.
It couldn’t have been more personal.
We need to get back in touch with the grief and pain and loss of sacrifice, and the intense life taking seriousness of sin.

Someone to Listen to Me

by on March 22, 2012
in Uncategorized

Do you ever feel like all you ever do is listen to other people’s problems, and that no one listens to you?
I have seen a genuine need for people to have someone to really listen to them.
You may have experienced a similar need.
Some of my students say people listen to something bad, juicy, or gossipy or “sometimes if someone really cares about you, they probably will listen. Most of the time it is maybe fifty percent of the time, or twenty five percent of the time, that people listen.”
You, like them, may not be able to find anyone to actually concentrate on what you are saying.
Your friends, or your listener, may only use the time you are speaking to think of what they want to say next.
You may find that, distracted by something else going on or another person, the listener’s eyes and attention wanders from you and your sharing your deepest feelings.
Can you remember how people used to sit around downtown, chat, and laugh and really talk face to face? I remember when old men in worn, clean overalls gathered around the pristine, white courthouse in my Southern home town to “chew the fat” as they said. They gathered, whittled, drank frosty, cold coca-colas, or spit juice from Red Man chewing tobacco, and talked, discussed, argued, and actively communicated.
Last weekend in New Orleans I saw two elderly gentlemen sitting side by side on a window casement, their white shirts crisply pressed, their old shiny suit pants clean, their black shoes brightly shined, and each one with his bristly grey head bowed—-over their individual cell phone!
It was as if each man was in a world all his own even though he was sitting close to another person on a busy sidewalk in a crowded city celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day. Noisy, chattering people wearing bright green wigs, green shirts, green dresses, and long green knee socks patterned with white shamrocks made their way past the men .
They never even looked up, absorbed in their silent communication on their phones.
If you feel unnoticed, you are known by someone.
If you need someone to listen to you, don’t give up.
There is someone who knows you and will always listen to you. He will not put you off saying He is too busy. He will take you and your words seriously. Not only will He listen, He will respond.
You may get “no,” or “yes,” or “wait” for an answer to a request for help. You may be changed, or the situation changed, or the other people involved in the situation may be changed; but God will respond in His time.
The Bible tells us that God heard the cry of Ishmael when he and his mother, Hagar, were in a terrible situation. They had been sent away from Abraham and found themselves alone without provisions in the hot, harsh desert.
“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there.” Genesis 21:17.
Second Samuel 22 records the song of David during the time he was being pursued by jealous King Saul. The Lord had saved David from his enemies and Saul, then David sang: “In my distress I called to the LORD; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. (II Samuel 22:7)
Again we read an assurance in Psalm 66:19: “but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.”
First John 5:14 continues, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”
Isn’t that an amazing statement? How many people do you have confidence in? How many friends can you really count on to hear what lies in and under and around the words you use to try to express yourself?
When you need someone to talk to, try God.
When you need someone to listen to you, try God.
When you aren’t sure if He hears you, try reading His word in the Bible or ask a Christian to share how God has heard and responded to them.
And have confidence.

Read more at www.conniebunch.com

Finally Catching Pretta

by on March 6, 2012
in Uncategorized

We kept trying.
Trying to catch Pretta, that is.
Remember last week? We left Pretta in the next door pasture. She had jumped the fence and was being very difficult to catch. We had tried luring her with sweet feed, but the other horses got in the way. The stud and lead mare wouldn’t let Pretta or the younger horses near us and the feed.
Then a neighbor came by and offered to help us try again to catch our pesky mare that still acted shy and trotted away as we approached her. Gary, our neighbor, and I climbed the barb wire fence carefully and began our walk to find the bunch of horses. We passed butter-yellow jonquils the sun made almost translucent, we hiked up the dusty bank of the blue-green pond that rippled in the wind, and as we made our way over a little green hill we saw them.
A big-muscled sorrel mare, a slim pinto stud, a black mare with a white stripe running down her face like dripping cream, and four more various colored horses were gathered around the round bale of hay.
We kept walking slowly toward them at an angle, our bodies relaxed, our hands loose at our sides trying to covey that we meant no threat.
Horse heads turned towards us. Deep, dark horse eyes took us in. They kept chewing hay.
We got closer. The stud shuffled his feet and started walking away as the red mare tentatively took a few steps toward us. The black mare let me touch her. I rubbed her long face, and stroked her strong shoulder, hot from the Spring sunshine.
As we moved closer to Pretta, the stud horse joined her, they dodged us, and slipped by us to gallop up the hill their tails streaming out behind them.
We were quiet and still. Slowly the two came back to the rest of the horses. As we tried again, I heard another neighbor call, “Hey, you need help over there?”
“We sure do!” I replied my voice carrying over the pasture, across his green pasture, to him and his wife who were outside their house.
They soon pulled up in their truck, and he got out to help us. Now we were four in the pasture of seven horses. As we moved slowly to work the horses toward a corner so we could catch Pretta, we were making some progress.
Suddenly Pretta wheeled, and turned, and ran by me with a flurry of hooves kicking up clods of grass and dirt.
“I need some feed,” our friend said, and his wife returned to their house and came back with a blue plastic bucket filled with fragrant sweet feed.
The three of us tried to get the interest of the other horses, and as we kept them away, our friend walked toward Bella.
He had the feed bucket in one hand, and as Pretta came near, stretching her long black neck out to sniff the feed, he calmly reached up and took her red halter in his hand.
Success!
We called him our horse whisperer as he held Pretta and Gary attached the lead rope to her halter. She took a few mouthfuls of feed and contentedly followed Gary as he led her out of the gate, down the side of the highway, and to the county road leading to our little farm.
Pretta didn’t shy, didn’t rear, didn’t pull back, or try to get away. She followed as calmly and as well mannered as she possibly could. Once, she turned to look back, but kept going forward.
After we had her in our pasture, Gary and I took Pretta to the water trough, showed her the hay, and fed her and Bella a small sweet feed meal.
What one person had a hard time doing, the four of us managed.
Pretta was hungry enough to risk coming close.
The time was right.
The Bible tells us about the strength of having more than one person stand with us.
“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12.
“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”( Psalms 17:17) This Psalm reaffirms that there are times when we need someone to stand with us against problems or troubles.
There can be strength in numbers. Do you have two friends you can count on to be there for you, to stand with you, to hold you accountable, and help you live a spiritually acceptable life before God?
A true friend is very difficult to find; perhaps you have many acquaintances, but no one who is a constant in your life.
Don’t worry. Although friends make life sweeter when we are blessed with them, no human can be perfect or meet all our needs. There are some burdens, even friends can’t help us with.
That’s why when we invite Jesus Christ to be our Savior and Lord, He will come as God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to be our constant companion and source of strength. Philippians 4:13 assures us:” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
Are you hungry enough to come to Christ?
He won’t lead you wrong.

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