Wednesday, January 28, 2009
We all have our own personal wheat and chaff to deal with. Our chaff can be watching too much tv, being disrespectful, not taking care of our responsibilities, or any number of things. The list of my personal chaff is so very very long! I'm disorganized, I watch too much TV, I am awful at housecleaning, and on and on. Yet, I have hope. I know that God is in me, strengthening me, helping me to overcome the failings of this world.
1 John 4:4 (Amplified Bible)
4Little children, you are of God [you belong to Him] and have [already] defeated and overcome them [the agents of the antichrist], because He Who lives in you is greater (mightier) than he who is in the world.
I've dramatically cut down TV time lately. I'm actually enjoying it. It started out that God said we needed to get our house together. No TV until it was all done. Um, yeah. I know He's seen just how much junk and mess we've had to go through. We made exceptions for the TV shows that we watch as a family. Actually, the kids and I discussed it, and we could get rid of our satellite TV and switch over to the free digital TV stuff since our family shows are on regular network TV. But don't tell my husband yet. We're still angling for a digital TV. hehehe
Seriously, the time without TV has been a blessing. I now realize that I like spending my morning in Bible reading and prayer and study. I'm adding that to my daily schedule as a regular thing. I still have to work on the internet time, but that will come. The main floor of the house will be finished today. The lower floor of the house will take more time since we're still redoing everything from the floods (we've had two in the last six months). I look at my schedule five years ago, and I was incredibly busy and even productive! I ran two local chapters of charities on a part time volunteer basis, and was involved in a third. I don't know what happened. I feel like I've been sleeping my life away for the past year. Yes, part of that was being ill, but part was ... well ... laziness. I can't try to hide it. Sin is sin, and we are to call it that. So, laziness is another area of chaff for me. But God (I love those two little but big words!) is delivering me from that. I still feel the call to be involved in charities. Actually, I feel it more - that I need to get out in the world if I am going to impact it for God.
Laying aside the chaff of our lives is only part of His plans for us. We are to grow the wheat so we can be of service to Him. For example, one thing that's working for me right now is the one ministry I'm involved in at church. It's the cookie ministry. Every other month or so, I bake cookies to be passed out to the visitors for that Sunday. That's one small step for me, and the family loves that I make a whole bunch of cookies. lol I have the list of things I'm supposed to be involved in, but haven't implemented it yet. I need to get moving. I need to get proactive, and leave the procrastination behind. I've been praying about how to do that.
Here's how. I look at the book of Revelation and see the many different ways God blesses us with it. The prophesy, the hope, and the planning. Yes, you read that right, the planning. God didn't say, "You know, I just don't have it in me to corral you all to go where you should. Do what you're going to do. Go with the flow." No. He has a plan that is incredibly beautiful and effective. First, the wake-up calls - the seals. Wars, earthquakes, famines, economic collapses. Then, after He has your attention, He begins the judgements to get those who are undecided to repent. The trumpets bring in more earthquakes, seas turned into blood, Wormwood, night and day changed, torture by those deviant locusts called Abaddon, killer horses and riders. We're talking some heavy duty judgements that are not just to punish, but to give those who will time to change their minds and come into the Kingdom. But God, out of His love for us, will give us two witnesses to show us His love and the way to repent. Then the earthquake when the two witnesses are called into Heaven. The seventh trumpet brings an electrical storm like no other! After the judgements comes God's wrath, and things get really bad!
God could end everything in one fell swoop. The fact that He planned out in such detail how to give us so many chances to turn to Him shows His love for us. How can I not take the time to plan out my day, according to His will? I've been doing that for the past few days, and it's really effective. Our next Bible study will be about time management, so hang in there for that. In order to grow the wheat in our lives, the good parts that God wants us to use in service to Him, you have to make the time to spend with Him. Then, He will show you what to do with the rest of your day. God gives us this in
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV
5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
Seek Him first, and He will show you what to do.
I hope that this helps to give you some encouragement in your own lives. It's time for us to lay down some things and pick up the better things that God has for us. I'm getting more and more excited as His plan for this blog, and the direction He's taking my life right now, plays out. Even if no one ever reads this, He is showing me so much. I feel God's grace pouring out in my life. I have goals in my life that He's still showing me what they are and how to do them. I'll go ahead and post those when I feel like I'm at a place where I can share them.
I love all the Etsy stuff she has. Ok. I love the kitchen gadgets too. lol I'm entered! When I have more time, I'll do all the other ways of entering.
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Tuesday, January 27, 2009
So often, when you think of the Book of Revelation, you think of prophesy and doom and gloom. That does seem to the the focus of most studies, at least that I've seen. But there's an incredible hope in Revelation. First of all, imagine that after all God has done for us - created us, loved us, forgave us, and gave us everlasting life through the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ - He still took the time to show the Apostle John this incredible glimpse into the future. Jesus pulled back the veil and allowed John to bring us this message of hope, love, faith and the future. How can you not count that as love!
The first chapter of the book is titled "Hope When You Are Depressed by the Smallness of Your Life". It deals with Revelation 1:1-8. Think about it. God is telling us to not be discouraged or depressed, although not in those exact words. He is showing us His love, His mercy, His faithfulness. How many of us read the last few pages of a book before we finish it, just to see if it's going to end how we want it to? Well, God is telling us how He has ended His book. He has shown us the last few pages of time here on earth. Why would God do that? In a word, HOPE. God wants us to not grow weary of serving Him and praising Him. He wants us to know that until the very last, He will provide if we are faithful to Him. What a blessing!
In these eight short verses, God shows us the depth of His love. He gave John a revelation of the time to come, using angels and Jesus to show him. It's like going to the White House and having the Vice-President and all the cabinet members giving you a tour because the President values you that much. The awesome thing about God is that He doesn't just give you the test, He gives you the answers. Verse 3 says
Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.
God is telling us to read and be blessed. Know and be blessed. Time is running out. Katelyn has several tests this week. We've told her to study every day. Time is running out before the tests. You can't cram the night before and expect to get anything out of the information. Well, the Bible is the same way. Yes, you can wait for the last minute and be saved just in the nick of time - like the thief on the cross next to Jesus. Or, you can take your time and savor the Word every day, incorporating it into your every day life. You can live it and when you get to Heaven, be blessed to know that you touched so many lives and they are there in Heaven with you.
Revelation goes on to remind us all that God has done. God gives grace and peace to the seven churches in Asia (v4). He reminds us that Jesus loves us and paid for our sins with His Blood (v5). We are created to be God's kingdom and priests to serve Him (v6). He tells us to keep watch for Jesus' second coming (v7). Finally, He reminds us that He is in control, and always has been. Praise God! He is the beginning (Alpha) and the end (Omega) and everything in between (v8).
In the perceived smallness of your life, He has taken the time to reassure you that He is faithful and loving. How much must He love us! If you are feeling depressed because you think you are only a wife, only a mother, only a woman, only (whatever tag you put on yourself), start praising God. If you feel small because you don't have a worldwide ministry, you stay at home and "just" take care of the home and family, you have a dead end job or no job, start praising God. Think of all the blessings He has already given you. This wonderful thing happens when you start praising Him right where you are, in the midst of your mess. By praising God, you invite Him in wherever you are. His Glory takes over and radically transforms your circumstances. You may still have that job, or not have a job, you may not have a ministry, you may not see any changes at all in your situation. But God. Just think on those two words. BUT GOD! All the excuses and inferiority falls away with those two words.
BUT GOD steps in and takes over. He molds you and your heart into His vision. He lifts you up and gives you hope and grace and joy. You are transformed from the smallness you perceive to the greatness that He made you for. In the natural, you still have this mess to deal with. BUT GOD, in your spirit, has cleaned it up and shown you what to do. Praise expands to fit the space provided. Keep praising Him and allow Him to expand to fill all those hidden spots in you with doubt and depression and disbelief.
I'm more excited now about this message than when I started! Praising God will do that for you. Tomorrow, I'll go over the Bible Study method that Anne Graham Lotz teaches in the devotional guide in the back of the book. I haven't found the workbook yet, but I will. Right now, I'm just being blessed by the Word. Have a great day all! Keep the praises for God coming. Your day will be radically changed and blessed. Praise HIM!!!
Monday - Fried Rice with quinoa
Tuesday - Leftovers
Wednesday - Pancakes
Thursday - Pot Pie (with a smaller all veggie one for me)
Friday - Probably chili, since I'll be making a bunch of it for the party
Saturday - Mom's in town, so we'll be going out to dinner
Sunday - PARTY! I'll be doing three kinds of chili (or two and a vegan lasagna), stuffed mushrooms (recipe from Marilu Henner's Healthy Life Kitchen, and a HUGE hit in this house), salad, and desserts (including two birthday cakes)
Yep, we are having a birthday party for John and Katelyn. It will probably only go through half time for the game. The kids have school. But, you never know. It may last the whole game, and we'll have some tired kiddos for school the next day. Wednesday's dinner may change, if there's a snow day. I'll do waffles for breakfast if there is, so dinner will probably be soup or something like that. I'll start the chili on Friday, and finish them up on Saturday. Chili always tastes better if you let it sit for a day so the flavors can meld. I'll actually use onions and garlic in two of the three, since I won't be able to eat them. I've heard that using fennel adds some depth of taste to replace onions and garlic, so I'll be trying that in whatever vegan/vegetarian option I make.
I've stopped eating meat for a while. My stomach can't handle it right now. I had a little jaundice last week, so I need to cut out the meat, the fat, and some sugar. I only have eggs, honey and occasionally seafood when I'm eating like this. I will still eat well though. There are lots of other things to eat. I hear from people all the time who don't think that there's anything to eat without dairy or convenience food. They are amazed at not just what I eat, but what my family will eat. The vegan lasagna has tofu, spinach, carrots, and mushrooms in it. Actually, I'll probably put more veggies in it this time. It's such a great dish! I'll have to post my modified recipe for it one day. I got it from a friend on Marilu's website. I have to tweak it so I can make it around my allergies, but it's still really good. I made it for Michael's birthday party last year, and one person couldn't believe there was no cheese or meat in it. lol
Well, I'm so excited to get to the Bible Study today with you all! So, let me get moving with that, and put that post up. I hope it blesses you.
Friday, January 23, 2009
Families are feeling the pinch. Groceries are climbing in price. The cost of heating a home is ridiculous! Clothing, toiletries, and everything else are costing more and more and more. This at at time when many families are losing the value in their homes and/or losing their incomes. What are we to do?! Listening to the news makes us feel like Chicken Little - the sky is falling, the sky is falling! It reminds me of the Depression Era song - Brother Can You Spare a Dime.
The lyrics are
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," lyrics by Yip Harburg, music by Jay Gorney (1931)
They used to tell me I was building a dream, and so I followed the mob,
When there was earth to plow, or guns to bear, I was always there right on the job.
They used to tell me I was building a dream, with peace and glory ahead,
Why should I be standing in line, just waiting for bread?
Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it's done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Why don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Once in khaki suits, gee we looked swell,
Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum,
Half a million boots went slogging through Hell,
And I was the kid with the drum!
Say, don't you remember, they called me Al; it was Al all the time.
Say, don't you remember, I'm your pal? Buddy, can you spare a dime?
Stop. Take a deep breathe. Close your eyes for a minute. Hit the pause button on the panic. Let me help you find the solution. It is right there in front of you. It may not be what you want to hear, but it works every time.
There is a Provider who can give you all you need. He is able to do all things exceedingly abundantly. If God can provide us with salvation and life everlasting, can He not provide us with every earthly need? I'm not saying that we will have manna from Heaven every day like the Israelites in the desert, but we are provided with God's strength and will to sustain us through these times.
1 Peter 4:7-11 (New International Version)
7The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. 8Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. 11If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
We are to use our God given gifts to be a blessing to serve others. Could you imagine what would happen if we all started using a servant mentality instead of a "serve me" mentality? Putting others first, and glorifying God, would have prevented most of what we are going through now. But, we know the truth. The Bible foretold a time when man would be self-consumed and lose its love of God. We have the promise of life everlasting if we know Christ. I know it won't be fun, easy or desirable to go through the rough times we are going through, but we have an advantage to going through these times. We have a secret weapon, if you will.
Philippians 4:12-14 (Amplified Bible)
12I know how to be abased and live humbly in straitened circumstances, and I know also how to enjoy plenty and live in abundance. I have learned in any and all circumstances the secret of facing every situation, whether well-fed or going hungry, having a sufficiency and enough to spare or going without and being in want.
13I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].
14But it was right and commendable and noble of you to contribute for my needs and to share my difficulties with me.
Christ will see us through all of this. We need to lean on Him.
Now, there is a practical side to living through these times too. We need to learn practical arts that provide for day to day needs. We need to reduce debts and increase self sufficiency. The average family in the United States has around $8000 in credit card debt. Add to that the mortgages and car notes, and you see why we have such problems. No, spending our way out of it as a country isn't going to work. Neither is charging every day necessities, or still trying to keep up with the Jones'.
The difference between now and the Great Depression is our work ethic as a country. During the Great Depression, most people were willing to work, no matter what the job was, to provide for their families. Now, it seems that the majority (or very vocal minority) is looking for a hand out or "bail out" to get through these times. That's neither Biblical nor practical. Eventually, the country will have to pay back all the money that they are handing out so freely now.
Personally, I'm standing on the promises of God.
Deuteronomy 28 (Amplified Bible)
Deuteronomy 28 1IF YOU will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.
2And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God.
3Blessed shall you be in the city and blessed shall you be in the field.
4Blessed shall be the fruit of your body and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your beasts, the increase of your cattle and the young of your flock.
5Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading trough.
6Blessed shall you be when you come in and blessed shall you be when you go out.
7The Lord shall cause your enemies who rise up against you to be defeated before your face; they shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways.
8The Lord shall command the blessing upon you in your storehouse and in all that you undertake. And He will bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you.
9The Lord will establish you as a people holy to Himself, as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in His ways.
10And all people of the earth shall see that you are called by the name [and in the presence of] the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you.
11And the Lord shall make you have a surplus of prosperity, through the fruit of your body, of your livestock, and of your ground, in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers to give you.
12The Lord shall open to you His good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain of your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands; and you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow.
13And the Lord shall make you the head, and not the tail; and you shall be above only, and you shall not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you this day and are watchful to do them.
14And you shall not turn aside from any of the words which I command you this day, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.
Over the next few months, I'll be sharing my family's journey into greater self-sufficiency as far as growing our own food, and making many things we use. I'll also be sharing my family's journey into great dependency on God. He is the only thing that will get us through, and we trust completely in Him and His leading.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
It really hit home. I knew that we are counted blessed if we are persecuted, but who really wants that. Seriously, I've seen other people get mean comments and shut down their blogs. I don't want to make waves! But, I have to. God isn't going to let me really rest until I do. So, here goes.
Luke 3:16-18 (Amplified Bible)
16John answered them all by saying, I baptize you with water; but He Who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of Whose sandals I am not fit to unfasten. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
17His winnowing shovel (fork) is in His hand to thoroughly clear and cleanse His [threshing] floor and to gather the wheat and store it in His granary, but the chaff He will burn with fire that cannot be extinguished.
18So with many other [various] appeals and admonitions he preached the good news (the Gospel) to the people.
In order to understand this, you need the definition of chaff. Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary defines it as...
the refuse of winnowed corn. It was usually burned (Ex. 15:7; Isa. 5:24; Matt. 3:12). This word sometimes, however, means dried grass or hay (Isa. 5:24; 33:11). Chaff is used as a figure of abortive wickedness (Ps. 1:4; Matt. 3:12). False doctrines are also called chaff (Jer. 23:28), or more correctly rendered "chopped straw." The destruction of the wicked, and their powerlessness, are likened to the carrying away of chaff by the wind (Isa. 17:13; Hos. 13:3; Zeph. 2:2).
***I love old dictionaries. I have a really old Webster's Dictionary that has Biblical definitions for everything. I need to dig it out from the flood zone stuff and use it. ***
There are several ways to look at this passage in Luke. Many take it as how God will separate the believers from the non-believers in the Day of Judgement. Oh, how glorious (and yet sad to see those who made the wrong decision) will that Day be when we are in front of our Lord! Some people look at it as how we will be refined by the Refiner's fire in the Day of Judgement. I think that's also a correct assessment. I'd like to deal with the chaff of false doctrine though.
I read a lot of Christian women's blogs. I love hearing from other believers. However, I have noticed that sometimes, we place our own expectations on others. Does this fall under false doctrine? I think so, if it's causing someone to stumble. Don't get me wrong. We need to challenge each other to come up higher in our walk with Christ. But if you cause someone to feel like they will never be good enough to be considered a member of the Body of Christ, then you are preaching false doctrine.
I used to belong to a nameless Christian women's group. At first, everything sounded great. As long as you believed that Christ was your Savior, and His blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins, you could join. You were welcome. Then, as you peeled back the layers of the group, you realized that you had to fulfill other conditions to really be a "member". You had to only wear skirts. You had to wear head coverings. You were never allowed to disagree with your husband (taking the submissive wife position a little too far). You had to homeschool. You had to only read one version of the Bible. On and on the conditions went. Yet the Bible says
John 3:16-18 (New International Version)
16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.
I left that group when they started persecuting women for not agreeing with their conditions. It seemed that they were causing drama on a daily basis. I have enough drama in my life. I don't need it from a group that was supposed to edify. God said that you must believe in His Son for eternal life. That's it. There is a reason why the Bible goes on to talk about feeling condemned right after. Personally, I think that it is because God, in His infinite wisdom, knew that we would mess it up and try to put our own conditions on salvation. I have also noticed some of that legalism on people's blogs. Does that mean that I am to never ever read their blogs again?
For that matter, I've noticed many pastors coming out with theories or teachings that I don't agree with. I've had people tell me that I have to learn how to separate the wheat from the chaff with those people. But how much chaff should we be putting up with to get to the wheat? If a teacher has one good point, and many wrong ones, do we still listen to that message?
I've found the deciding factor. It's the Holy Spirit. The Amplified Bible brings this out wonderfully.
Romans 14:16-18 (Amplified Bible)
16Do not therefore let what seems good to you be considered an evil thing [by someone else]. [In other words, do not give occasion for others to criticize that which is justifiable for you.]
17[After all] the kingdom of God is not a matter of [getting the] food and drink [one likes], but instead it is righteousness (that state which makes a person acceptable to God) and [heart] peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
18He who serves Christ in this way is acceptable and pleasing to God and is approved by men.
Notice that we are to consider the kingdom of God as righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit - not the stuff. It's not the skirts or jeans or head coverings, or even the version of the Bible you read. It's the righteousness of God, and the peace and joy you feel in the Holy Spirit.
Here's how this works in practical life. Candy's blog, which I LOVE (see the link above), is one that I read frequently. She is skirts/dresses only, KJV only, and eats dairy. I don't really wear skirts or dress (or own them for that matter), I love several versions of the Bible, and would cause a biological hazard (as well as be hospitalized) if I ate dairy. Yet, I am so greatly blessed by her blog. I've read the discussions she's had about the areas we don't agree on, and I respect them. But, I've prayed about these things, and for me, for now, I'm settled with where I am. I don't embrace every version of the Bible. God has stopped me from reading most versions. But, there are some that He has shown me great things in. I always have to check with Him to be sure what I hear is true. That should go for everything, no matter what we believe. That Holy Spirit check that I get when I'm doing something wrong, or that Holy Spirit release I feel when I'm doing something right, is what guides me.
Here's another practical example. There is a well known pastor that I used to listen to a lot. I heard his teachings when he first came out on the national scene. I was truly blessed by the things he was saying. This is when I was a baby Christian, and hungry to find out just even how to begin serving God. This pastor laid a great foundation for me. As I grew in Christ, and he grew in popularity, I started noticing some contradictions. He was saying things that were against what I was reading in the Bible, and against what he himself had said just a few years prior. Eventually, I had to stop listening to him. The chaff was outweighing the wheat. Does that mean that I discount his foundational messages? Not at all. Those messages are wheat. I have to pray that he comes back to his first love - God. Again, I had to let God show me and guide me through His word and the Holy Spirit what my actions were to be.
One last example. Causing other people to stumble. That one is hard. Sometimes you have to ask God if you are challenging a person or causing them to doubt. We aren't to water down the Word of God, but we are to be loving about it. I was saved at a very difficult time in my life. My first marriage was falling apart. Right after I got saved, we almost lost our son to a bad reaction to a vaccination. Work was challenging in a high school drama kind of way. So, I get saved. A well-meaning person in the church counseled me about how life was going to change. My ex-husband wasn't saved, and I didn't know how to handle the situation. This person told me that if I really was a Christian, I should be able to pray him into salvation in the next month. Well, months later, with no change in him at all (things were actually getting worse), I found myself doubting that I was really saved. I started going to the altar every service to get saved. I had people laying hands on me to figure out why it wasn't working! It's a wonder I have any hair so many people prayed over me.
Finally, I called the church in desperation and asked for a mentor. I figured that having a person I could talk to one on one would help me learn what I was doing wrong. This Godly woman blessed me so much. She took the time to explain just how wrong that first person was. But, that one comment set me back probably a year. We have to caution ourselves that we are not causing others to stumble like that. We are to challenge, not condemn. We know which we are doing by being faithful to God and listening to the Holy Spirit.
I hope I've made sense with this post. I know that I'll be back on this subject again when God says it's time. In such a time as this, we need to learn how to measure everything we do against His word and His leading. Time is running short! Jesus said this...
Revelation 22:12-13 (Amplified Bible)
12Behold, I am coming soon, and I shall bring My wages and rewards with Me, to repay and render to each one just what his own actions and his own work merit.
13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last (the Before all and the End of all).
Praise Him! I can't wait!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Today is Inauguration Day here in the USA. We have a new president - the first African American president in our history. I am filled with pride that our country has come so far that we finally elected an African American for president. I am not a person who has lived her life searching for racism and racists. Unless it's overt, I don't think that every bad thing that happens to me is because I'm black. My husband is white - Scottish, Irish and French. That's about as white bread as you get. lol DD is actually my step-daughter. She's white, very fair skinned and flaming red hair. My ex-husband, Michael's father, is black. So, race hasn't really played into how I live my life. I just don't let it. That doesn't mean the historicity of today is lost on me. I am filled with pride that my son can see someone who looks like him as president. My son knows that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him. But, it's still nice that he can see this man fulfill so many people's dreams.
However, how I wish it wasn't this man. President Obama was rated the most liberal senator. His views honestly make me almost worry. My rest is in the Lord, so I'm not going to really worry. I just can't agree with what he stands for. More than that, I honestly can say, after this whole election process, I don't know him. I don't know anything more than the biography put out by him and his people, the company he keeps, and the scary adulation that people seem to feel for him. I've read newspaper articles and blogs comparing him to the new Messiah (Um, nope. There's only one and he isn't it) to the anti-Christ (I have no idea and we won't know for a while who is, although many keep guessing). I'd like to give him the benefit of doubt. I'd like to get fully behind him as our president. I just can't. Michael asked me yesterday to tell him about Obama. I couldn't answer. I mean, with every other candidate, there were all kinds of investigative reports and digging up of dirt that didn't happen with Obama. It was almost like everyone was too scared to say anything that was remotely questioning or negative.
Where are his childhood friends and relatives? Where are the inane interviews with his mother's cousin's uncle's best friend twice removed? Shoot, they had that interview about the pilot who did the successful Hudson landing. Why not the man who is leading our country?
Our country and world is at a crossroads right now. We are facing challenges that were unthinkable just a few years ago. I hope, and pray, that Obama makes wise choices for our country. We are commanded by God to pray for our leaders. We have no choice, or we are disobedient. We are also to be respectful of those in authority over us. I didn't vote for Obama (big surprise). I wasn't really wild about McCain, but I love Palin, and have done so since before she was nominated for VP. I don't like what's happened to the Republican party. Too many RINO's, but that's another post for another day.
The biggest problem with the country (no, it isn't Obama) is that we have lost our first love. We have lost our heart for God. Turn on the TV. There are shows celebrating all kinds of depravity. There is one channel that is geared to teenagers that I would be embarrassed for my mother to see. I don't think that it matters who is leading the country at this point. If we, as a nation, don't get on our knees and repent before God for the mess we're doing, this nation is sunk. For that matter, we already know how the end is written. I shouldn't be surprised by the things we're seeing. The financial crisis and the loss of common courtesy and the downward slide of decency shouldn't be a surprise. It was foretold. This is not new! This is prophecy fulfilled. We are living in interesting times. Part of me is sad to see what's happening, and know the outcome of so many people's eternity. Part of me is happy because I know that no matter what, I get to see my Savior face to face. I am determined to take as many of my family, friends, acquaintances, passersby, and strangers to Heaven with me as I can.
For today, I'd like to close with this. President Bush was treated with incredible disrespect. I think that, more than anything, contributed to the disrespect of the world to our country. I see it with my children all the time. If I get mouthy with my husband (and I do. Let's just keep it honest here), I notice the kids get more mouthy with him. The same holds if he's disrespectful to me. John and I had a talk with the children before the election, during the election, and after the election. God says we are to respect those in authority over us. It is still ok, and even expected, for us to call our leaders out if they mess up or if they are going in the wrong direction. But, it must be done respectfully. I will be watching. I am incapable of keeping my mouth shut. Please join me for the study of Revelation with the book The Vision of His Glory by Anne Graham Lotz. It's not doom and gloom prophesy. It's joy and hope and faith. It's God's promises to His people - that's us. It's knowing that there is a purpose in all we do. It's encouragement. Spread the word! Have a friend join us for the study. I can't stress enough that we are running out of time. There is far less time in front of us than there is behind us. We need to be bold in proclaiming our faith.
This is an interesting article - http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=85729
Here, Tim Tebow is literally wearing his faith on his face. But more than that, he walks his life out according to God's will. He makes God first and he makes sure everyone knows it.
Me being me, this made me start thinking. Hmmm. What about my life? When people look at me, do they see God's Word on my face? Do they see Him in my life? How am I making Christ known to those who don't know Him?
In church this past Sunday, we prayed about getting rid of the spirit of timidity and putting on boldness for Christ. I want that for my life. I may not put God's word on my face with my eyeliner, but I do want people to see Him in everything that I do.
2 Timothy 1:7, "For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power, of love, and of self-discipline." (NIV)
So, if I'm reading this right, I shouldn't be scared to let others see Christ in all I do. I should use His power in me to show Him to others. I should use love to show Him to others. I should use self-discipline to show Him to others. There is a boldness that comes from doing God's will. You know that nothing and no one can successfully come against you. There is a peace that comes from doing God's will. A joy! That is my prayer for today, and every day from now on. I want a boldness to cover everything I do for Christ. I want to lose my concern about what the world may think, and be consumed with concern that I not let my Lord down.
I was going to blog today about starting a Bible Study. The book I selected is a great book, but now I feel led to work on another one. It's one that I've studied from before, but I think that God has something new to show me. I have to be faithful to His leading. Here's the Bible Study that I'm going to start. I'll be posting lessons from it every week. Obviously, with copyright laws, I can't just post the whole book. Check it out, and let me know if you decide to read along with me.
I hope to find the workbook that goes along with it by next week. If not, I'll just use the mini one in the back of the book.
I have one more post for today, unless I find the transcript of the prayer today. Hang tight!
We're on a mission to completely revamp and organize our home this week. That's our first step for the $3000 challenge. You can't get rid of stuff until you know what you have.
*****Breaking News - I am watching the inauguration while typing this out. May I say that Rick Warren knocked it out the park! He made sure there was no doubt that he was praying in the name of Jesus. He said it in several different ways, just to be sure we got the message. When they release a transcript of the prayer, I'll post it here.*****
Our week's menu started yesterday with spaghetti. I make the sauce from scratch, since I'm allergic to onions. I've also suspected that my allergy is getting worse, and is going to other onion related seasonings. Last night, I added garlic to the list. I had the same symptoms with garlic that I have with onions. They are in the same family, so it makes sense. I love garlic! Oh well. I don't love it enough to get sick again. Garlic had bothered me some before, but I thought I had a little more time before I had to stop eating it.
Here's the menu -
Monday - homemade spaghetti sauce over linguine
Tuesday - Turkey patties and steamed veggies
Wednesday - Turkey and rice soup, homemade foccacia
Thursday - Fried rice and veggie won tons
Friday - leftovers if Michael goes to his father's. If not, then wraps
Saturday - wraps (rice, grilled veggies, and sauce)
Sunday - chicken and veggies
Also this weekend, I'm working on testing some recipes that I want to enter in a cooking contest.
That's about it for the light stuff of today's posts. I have a few more posts that I am going to put up. I have a few things I know that I need to say. I apologize ahead of time if I am not PC or kind and gentle about it. I have this fire burning in me that I have to pay attention to. God has put some messages on my heart that I need to share.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
1 lb ground turkey - $1.68 (frozen roll from Wal-Mart by the Turkey Store - awesome deal and I stack these in the freezer)
30 ounces kidney beans - $1.25
Spices - $.50
Tortillas - $1.25 (buy one get one free)
Rice - $.75
canned tomatoes - $.50
can of diced green chilies - $.75
lettuce - $.50
mushrooms - $4 (a grocery day splurge. My family LOVES mushrooms!)
advocado - $1
Total - $11.18
I could have made another meal out of this, but I let everyone serve themselves seconds and they loaded up on the meat and not the rice. ARGH! Next time I'll have to put half in the freezer BEFORE I put dinner on the table. lol
I try to start off my menu planning week with salad and fresh veggies and fruits. By the end of the menu week, I am with frozen or canned veggies, normally in a soup, stew, or pot pie. With my food allergies, I have to make just about everything from scratch, so I don't buy too much processed food. All of my cooking is dairy free and onion free (as well as a bunch of other stuff I'm allergic to also).
Gotta go! Night all. I'm heading to bed and getting a good start to tomorrow. Is it a bad thing to wish for a snow/cold day from school tomorrow for the kids? lol
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Well, I'm off to bed for tonight. I've posted several posts from my old blog here, with a few updates. Hopefully I can post tomorrow. I think our schedule is pretty free. I'm half hoping they call school tomorrow because of the cold.
Every time I'd go out paryting, I'd get drunk and feel awful the next morning. I'd pray to God that I'd never do that again. Then, my girls would call and say let's go out, and there I'd go again. Dancing, drinking, smoking... A few things happened that changed my actions. First, a friend was killed. He died one night while I was out acting an idiot with some other friends. He died being chased by people who wanted to hurt him, supposedly over a cigarette, and was hit by a van that just left him there. I kind of lost it. People, I suppose they meant well thinking I wanted or needed all the details, told me all about what happened, his injuries, and the horrible way he died. I dreamed about that for weeks. I started chain smoking and we went out a couple weeks later to toast him and blow off steam. That's when the next thing happened. That night is a blur! I remember bits and parts. Neither the friend I went out with nor I remember how she drove us home. Later that week, the smoking and partying caught up with me in the form of a double lung infection. Then a situation came up at work, and I was purposely made even more ill. That situation is still too much for me to talk about without blowing a gasket. I'm still working on being a Christian about that situation.
So, all this happens, and I'm sitting at home, whacked out on medication, literally drowning in my own phlegm. I hear someone on the TV, a well known female Bible teacher that I adore, talk about the Apostle Paul's words that make up the verse of the day. All of a sudden, it clicks! First of all, how sick do I have to get, physically and spiritually, before I finally stop trying to straddle the fence? I mean, I was saved, but I wasn't living the way I should have. I was still listening to my flesh instead of my God. Secondly, by condemning myself over the mistakes I was making, I was giving the Devil too much ground. I should have been praising God for the work He was already doing in me instead of concentrating on the shrinking ground that Satan was occupying.
I wasn't doing as much dirt as I used to. I only partied a handful of times a year, normally in times of great stress. I had overcome quite a few issues and made peace with myself and others in my life. I had a great life, and it was still improving! Why was I concentrating on the negative? If the great Apostle Paul confessed to doing stuff that he knew he wasn't supposed to do, then surely I could have a little slack. How liberating that is! I'm not where I'm supposed to be, but I'm sure not where I was.
Now, I'm not going to pretend that by feeling this way I have been delivered from doing everything I shouldn't. And I am definitely not saying that we shouldn't be improving in our behavior and actions. The more of God you get in your life, the more your will is going to decrease. You won't have the desire to do the things you shouldn't. For those behaviors that are really tough, like quitting smoking or drinking, changing your actions when everyone else around you still does the same stuff, etc... it's going to take some time. For me, it meant not hanging out with some people. It meant not listening to certain music that put a desire to go out to the clubs. It meant having someone I could be accountable to - my husband. Let me tell you, the thought of facing my husband after sneaking a cigarette or something like that terrifies me. Fortunately, he knows he doesn't ever have to worry about that stuff coming into my life again.
For those new Christians, and to the ones who have been saved for a while but still struggle, let the words of Paul encourage you. Too often, the church plays like once you say the sinner's prayer and are saved, your problems go away and you never do anything wrong again. Reality steps in right away. You go home from church, and your spouse is still getting on your nerves. Your bank account hasn't magically increased, your boss is still leaving a lot to be desired in the humanity department, and you still have to wash dishes. Come on, let's get real folks. Unless God delivers you from addiction (and He can, let there be no doubt), you are still going to have cravings. Getting saved isn't a cure-all. It's a change-all. Instead of facing life's problems alone, you have serious back up! I mean, if God is for you, who can be against you?! That's even a verse in the Bible. lol Romans 8:31 says
What then shall we say to [all] this? If God is for us, who [can be] against us? [Who can be our foe, if God is on our side?} - Amplified
Here's today's verse for the day:
New International Version
Romans 7:15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.
First of all, let me say I have nothing against people that have these bumper stickers. I have seen some cute ones, but can't bring myself to get one. Please allow me to explain why.
My driving sucks. Not your normal every day bad driving, but really and truly sucks! I have worked hard on making my driving better. I don't speed like I used to. I don't have nearly the level of road rage I used to. And I haven't hit anyone in a long time. I have been hit by others, but I haven't hit anyone.
Close your eyes. No really. Close your eyes and imagine a cross between all the bad stereotypes of a New York driver with all the bad stereotypes of a woman driver. Now, multiply that times 10 and you have the way I used to drive. Now, I do the speed limit, which causes its own problems, especially in construction zones. I use my turn signals now, instead of thinking it gave other drivers advanced warning to cut me off. While I do still talk smack to other drivers, I don't use the same language. Actually, I rarely do that at all anymore. I has to be a really spectacular mess up. I also won't do some of the other aggressive driving techniques that I used in the past. I know that many people are appreciative that I no longer go 90mph on a regular basis. I have been known, much to the amusement of my family and dismay of other drivers, to shake my finger at drivers who almost hit me or don't follow the rules of the road. NOT THAT FINGER! It's more like I'm scolding a disobedient child.
However, I do still have my moments. People do not like you doing the speed limit. I can still have moments of road rage, like when people wait until the last moment to get over a lane when there have been signs for the past mile saying that the other lane is going to end. One of my biggest pet peeves is people who don't know how to YIELD!!!!!!! Yield does not mean speed up or just come over into the flow of traffic because you feel like it. It means slow down or stop until there is a break in traffic for you to enter the flow of traffic. We use a lot of highways, since we live out in the country. I have to use the highway to get to the closest grocery store. There are yields all over! At least once a day I almost get hit by someone who won't yield at the entrance to one of Michigan's busiest highways. ARGH!!!!
I'm telling you all this for a reason. Imagine my antics driving while having a "God is my co-pilot" or "Never drive faster than your guardian angel can fly" bumper sticker. How about the icthus one? You know, the fish that some people like to pervert? That's another pet peeve and blog, but still. Ok, so maybe the bumper sticker I saw that says, "The way I drive, I gotta have faith!" would work. lol What kind of witness would I be to non-Christians in one of my more stupid times when I'm running really late and flying down the highway doing 85? Or shaking my finger at someone who has almost hit me while driving a car with a John 3:16 bumper sticker on the back of my car? Sometimes, I wonder if we do more harm by declaring our faith with trinkets and slogans and then acting like a bunch of idiots. Why not just act like God tells us to in His word, and let people crave what we have? What do you want more, some MP3 player that you see someone enjoying or the one that no one is using, but everyone is jumping up and down screaming about? It's just me, but I'd rather have the one I see working than the one that has a great ad campaign.
Well, to make a short story long, I don't have a Christian bumper sticker because I'd rather people see my actions and read Christ there. Besides, with my driving, someone would rear-end me trying to read my bumper. Driving is one of the things I'm still working on. Unless you've heard some of the other stories about my driving (the Detroit Edison truck will live on in infamy forever), you'd think my driving is a weak point. It's actually a testament to the work God has done in me. But, you wouldn't know it. hehehe
More coming soon. DD needs to do a paper for school, but I have a great idea. At least, I think so.
Not only do they have this cool giveaway, but this is an awesome website to check out. We are doing the $5 dinner challenge, although I haven't participated in the posting of recipes yet. As a matter of fact, I was just discussing it with a woman in the grocery store yesterday. I highly recommend this site to anyone trying to be frugal.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
My name is Chele. I have a great husband (who drives me nuts) and two great kids (who also drive me even more nuts). We're born again Christians. We believe that we should live the life that God has for us. Let me tell you. So many things come to folks' minds when they hear that. Hopefully, this blog will help dispell some of those myths. Or, I will prove that my family really is driving me nuts, and some kind person will call the men with the cozy white hug yourself coats to cart me away.
Let's see. I grew up just outside Buffalo NY. Yes, I've heard just about every joke there is to hear about snow. If you think you have a new one, just try me. I now live in the Blue Water area of Michigan. For those who don't know, that's around Port Huron. Country living is quite the adjustment. I have a candle-making business that I run from my home. That can be found at http://www.bluewaterscentsations.com/
Most of my family are very driven for success, very type A, very successful, and very confused about why I am not. Don't get me wrong. I want my business to succeed - very much so. But I don't have the degrees or work for some big firm, or anything like that. My ladder to success is on another type of building. While I'd like to have more money - or just less money worries - it's not a priority to me.
Now then, on to the part about my faith and God. Well, I was born again in December 1999. Sometimes I feel like it was just yesterday. Sometimes I feel like I've been born again for eons. Which one it is depends on how big the screw-ups were for that day. My goal is to be a true Proverbs 31 woman. The Proverbs 31 woman is outlined in verses 10-31. King Lemuel's mother is telling him what kind of wife to find. Let that be a lesson to all men out there - ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER! lol Yeah, if I tell my son that one, he'd laugh and ask me if I had taken cold medicine.
Anyway, the Proverbs 31 woman has it all and does it all. She's the original feminist. What was that old commercial? She could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and - get this - her husband was respected in part because of his awesome wife!
Me? After I located the frying pan, washed it out, remembered I don't have any bacon because I'm trying to get my family to eat better, then decide that I'd rather not fry anything, but wait, did I remember to answer that email oh look my friend sent me a humorous email maybe I want a cup of tea but I have to use MY special tea mug which I'll put in the microwave and forget that it's in there and does my husband have clean socks for tomorrow and what is the dog barking at and what was I doing again? Proverbs 31 I'm not - yet.
I have books that I read on the subject, I have an online community that I belong to, and I pray to God that I learn how to do that before the ever growing pile of laundry takes over the world. I get closer each and every day. I still struggle with issues, like not giving in to my OCD tendencies and color coding everything even though there are days I really want to. I lose my temper, car keys, sunglasses and just about everything else. I am more slob than neat freak. There are days (and no, they are not just lady days) that I want to rip off everyone's lips and make them eat them for dinner.
Now then. For the not stupid part. If we all believed the stereotypes that people, mainly the mainstream media and hollywood types, try to shove down our throats, it would be a sad sad world. Come on folks! Not all Christians are hate-mongering big mouths. Yes, there are Christian idiots, just like there are idiots and morons of every shape, color and creed. But the vast majority of us, who don't get any air time, are just normal people. You know, I don't know of any born again Christians who kiss poisonous snakes. I don't know of any of them telling people they hate
them or are going to burn in hell. Actually, a lot of the people that are said to be saying that stuff don't even say that stuff. No one I know has actually hit anyone over the head with a Bible. I've wanted to hit my husband over the head with a frying pan (the really nice heavy one with the copper bottom), but never with a Bible.
Just because I know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came down to die for our sins so we could have everlasting life in Heaven doesn't mean that I'm going to fall for the African money scheme or the "your bank account is compromised so send us your login information so we can
fix it" scam. For all of those Christians who try to perpetrate our own stereotypes, I don't know any born again Christians in my circle who think they are better than anyone else. We don't have all the answers. We don't have the right to be hate-filled. We do have the right to say when we
know something is wrong, but we need to do it in a loving way. I mean, I sure don't want my sins put out there for everyone to comment on. What gives you the right to do so? We do have the right to share the Gospel and tell people about how much God loved us. I mean, He sent his only son to die for our sins. Isn't that incredible?! Saved? Yes. Stupid? I don't think so.
Here's today's verse. Proverbs 31:10 - A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman - who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls - Amplified Bible.
You may not know me, but I know everything about you. Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up. Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways. Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered. Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image. Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your being. Acts 17:28
For you are my offspring. Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were conceived. Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I planned creation. Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book. Psalm 139:15-16
I determined the exact time of your birth and where you would live. Acts 17:26
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139:14
I knit you together in your mother's womb. Psalm 139:13
And brought you forth on the day you were born. Psalm 71:6
I have been misrepresented by those who don't know me. John 8:41-44
I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love. 1 John 4:16
And it is my desire to lavish my love on you. 1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father. 1 John 3:1
I offer you more than your earthly father ever could. Matthew 7:11
For I am the perfect father. Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand. James 1:17
For I am your provider and I meet all your needs. Matthew 6:31-33
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope. Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love. Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore. Psalms 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing. Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you. Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasured possession. Exodus 19:5
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul. Jeremiah 32:41
And I want to show you great and marvelous things. Jeremiah 33:3
If you seek me with all your heart, you will find me. Deuteronomy 4:29
Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
For it is I who gave you those desires. Philippians 2:13
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine. Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you. Psalm 34:18
As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart. Isaiah 40:11
One day I will wipe away every tear from your eyes. Revelation 21:3-4
And I'll take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth. Revelation 21:3-4
I am your Father, and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus. John 17:23
For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed. John 17:26
He is the exact representation of my being. Hebrews 1:3
He came to demonstrate that I am for you, not against you. Romans 8:31
And to tell you that I am not counting your sins. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you. 1 John 4:10
I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love. Romans 8:31-32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me. 1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love again. Romans 8:38-39
Come home and I'll throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen. Luke 15:7
I have always been Father, and will always be Father. Ephesians 3:14-15
My question is…Will you be my child? John 1:12-13
I am waiting for you. Luke 15:11-32
Love, Your Dad.
'Father's Love Letter used by permission Father Heart Communications Copyright 1999-2008 www.FathersLoveLetter.com'
How powerful is this! Each line comes from the Bible, His words to us. God has written such an incredible love letter to us, and this just brings you a few verses of it. Any time you are worried, stressed, lonely, feeling unloved, go to this love letter and remember the depth of His love for you! The website has a lot of free downloadables. Check it out.
What is it I want this blog to achieve. Hmmmm. Good question. I really just wanted this to be a place to share my goals in this crazy life and walk with Christ. I wanted this to be a place where I can share the journey I go through as I strive to reach those goals. So, today will be the day I list those goals. I'm also going to post some entries I did on my old blog. I shamefully neglected it, and so have put it to rest. Besides, I started it a couple years ago, and it's not where my life is now. I'll be posting multiple entries for the next couple days to bring some of that content in, then posting on a regular basis. I don't know about every day, but I'll try to.
My overall approach to life is I want to be a Proverbs 31 woman. She is the original "feminist". She accomplished many things, while always putting God and her family first. Haven't heard of her? I strongly urge you to read Proverbs 31:10-31. This is a woman telling her son what type of woman he should be looking for as a wife. I look forward to sharing my trials and successes as I work towards that goal.
I'll be back later to get things rolling. My step-daughter's dog at her mother's house was put to sleep this morning. Bez had advanced bone cancer. We're going to be telling her soon and I want to be available for her.