Friday, December 23, 2011

The Yummie and Super Healthy Green Smoothie

At church there is the woman who (I think) is a little older than me and she is in amazing shape. She is a fitness instructor who has devoted herself to a healthy lifestyle for herself and her family.

I've been struggling with my weight and with weight loss for about 7 years to the point that I want to change doctors. If I hear him scold me for being overweight one more time, I'm going to scream.

I finally had to be real, I'm a glutton. Not in the obvious way, but in the lonely and secret times. I'm trying to fill a void that only God can fill. I was catching myself more going for the carbs when I was stressed or depressed; like some drug to calm me. Physiologically it works, but only for a short time. It never fills the emptiness that enslaves, leaves me ashamed and feeling hopeless.

For the last few years I've been asking for God's help. I'm so tired of Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. which I've done a number of times. I've had a measure of success, but I would end up gaining the weight back and then some over a period of time. I also believe it has messed up my metabolism from my constant yo-yo dieting.

Just a side note,  I found through research that diets may work for a time, but if you're not getting at least your Basal Metabolic Rate BMR  (Minimal amount of calories to keep your organs functioning normally aka. the amount doctors calculate if you were in a coma), you can trigger a starvation response and ultimately starve weight loss.

Anyways, back to the cute skinny lady I go to church with; she told me about the green smoothie. She encouraged me just to start with that and my cravings will decrease and my energy will increase.

The next Monday, I went to the market, and bought all the stuff and started my morning smoothie routine. I was surprised how good they were. You don't taste the greens because they are masked by the fruit. However, one of biggest personality flaws is I never finish what I start, so my smoothie swaging mornings faded. When I grew tired of blending, cutting, buying all the stuff, I slowly gave up.

A few months later, I did some research on the internet on diets. It seems the fad is raw food and...blending green smoothies! There was a 21 day green smoothie challenge, and I read and watched some of the video blogs of personal testimonies of the abundant amount of energy these people had.

At that point, I was in bed for 6 weeks prior recovering from pneumonia, so I had to do something to regain my strength. I decided I was going to give these green smoothies another try, and I was going to do it for at least 21 days.

The results were amazing! I feel so good and I'm addicted to them now. I've been doing my morning "cocktails" for more than three months. There was a day or two when I couldn't get to the store and buy my fix. Honestly, I did not notice a surge of energy when I started the challenge, because it happened gradually. However, when I miss a day of drinking my "Shrek Drink" (As my kids call it), I notice a huge difference in my lack of stamina.

In the fall, I planted a winter garden of spinach, chard, collards, beets, and lettuce. Now I no longer have an excuse for not drinking smoothies every day. Not to mention, I'm getting fresh raw organic leafy veggies straight out of my backyard which is even more nutritious.

I now exercise daily, because my energy is elevated due to my nutrition increase. There are no gimmicks, no fad diets, just pure nutrition and all of my daily fruit and vegetable requirements in one glass at only about 180 calories!

We're in the Christmas season, and there is cream cheese frosting in the refrigerator right now as I type, which was a big temptation for me. In the past, I would sneak a spoonful of it until the entire tub was gone. I wouldn't admit that before, because I would be so disgusted with myself. Who does that? Yuck!!

Now I have no desire to get in to that nasty stuff, because my sweet cravings have pretty much disappeared. Don't get me wrong, I still eat sweets, but my intake is more controlled. This will be the first Christmas of frosted cookies in 2 years now that I've conquered frosting phobia.

I'm determined next year to be my year of weight loss. I've already lost a few pounds just drinking smoothies every day. I'm ready to take my diet and exercise to another level. I haven't been dieting and I've only been exercising by walking with my friend for a year about 4 times a week.

I'm going to work harder at eating better and increasing my exercise to 6 days a week. I went out to run the other day, and I thought I was going to die of a heart attack and my legs felt like they were going to explode. I'm not going to let that stop me. I'm going to be a runner this year. It's always been my dream and only I, with God's, help can make it happen.

Well, it's out there. If you are stumbling on this blog, maybe you can join me. We can keep each other accountable! I believe the reason diets are unsuccessful for the most part is we are not fueling our bodies with enough nutrition to maintain energy and kill cravings. Just by drinking these fresh tasting smoothes, I believe I'm well on the way.

The Basic Green Smoothie

3-4 handfuls of leafy greens
1 banana
1-2 cups of frozen or fresh fruit of your choice
water enough to blend

I add the greens first with a little bit of water to make it smooth, then I add the rest of the ingredients with all the water. Enjoy.

Here is more information and inspiration on the Green Smoothie! Also, she uses a high powered blender, so if you only have a cheap Walmart version like I do, it will do.

Note: You can calculate your BMR  and use the Harris Benedict Formula:

To determine your total daily calorie needs to maintain your current weight, multiply your BMR by the appropriate activity factor.. Once you figure this formula, subract calorie intake by diet and/or exercise,  but never go below your BMR.

1. If you are sedentary (little or no exercise) : BMR x 1.2

2. If you are lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week) : BMR x 1.375

3. If you are moderatetely active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week) : BMR x 1.55

4. If you are very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week) : BMR x 1.725

5. If you are extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training) : BMR x 1.9

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Was Jesus Judgemental?

I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? God judges those outside. "Purge the evil person from among you." 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Gospel in 12 Minutes

Saturday, October 22, 2011

How to Awaken a Dead and Unregenerate Church? - Steve Lawson

"Peal back and get rid of the vainer, all of the layers of religiosity and churchianity to get down to the live nerve of what it is to be a follower of Jesus Christ."

Is This All?

During the school year I don't have time to write much of anything. What a great reminder by John MacDuff of what happens when we don't set our minds on the things above.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

You Might Be a Pragmatist

I’d imagine most of us on the conservative end of evangelicalism—whether you’re part of the YRR crowd or the OBR (Old, Boring, Reformed) crowd—we understand the wrongheadedness of church growth methodology. It’s easy to see how men like the early pioneers of church growth (Donald McGavran, C. Peter Wagner, Robert Schuller) and their most famous disciples (Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Joel Osteen) got it wrong.

The theology of the Bible teaches us God is absolutely sovereign over salvation; He alone predestines, calls justifies, and glorifies fallen sinners who are dead in trespasses and sin. Christ is the sovereign head of the church who receives the elect bride from His Father; He alone directs, equips, and grows the church according to the will of the Father. The Holy Spirit is the executor of the Father’s will, drawing the elect to Jesus Christ; He alone regenerates the sinner, seals the elect, and empowers the church for growth and service.

We don’t deny the human element, even as we affirm monergism and divine initiative. God uses means and we’re part of the means He uses to do His work, right? As Paul said, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” And it’s important to see that the apostolic pattern of planting and watering were not according to a pragmatic, “the end justifies the means” approach. Paul, Apollos, and every other exemplary minister of the apostolic age did ministry according to the means God prescribed (i.e., Eph. 4:11-16) and not according to what seemed reasonable to the culture (i.e., 1 Cor. 2:1-5).

The end goal, as well as the means employed to achieve that end, are important to God. So, when we use pragmatic-oriented church growth principles to plant and water, we go against the grain, planting and watering according to the pattern of the flesh rather than the power of the Spirit. That’s wrong. We, along with Paul, want the faith of those who hear us to rest, not “in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5).

So, here’s my concern: Are we truly squeaky-clean? Are we free from the charge of pragmatism? Do we condemn in our preaching what we practice in our ministries?

At times, I can imagine the church growth practitioners with wry smiles on their faces. They listen to us condemn the methodologies they’ve openly embraced, while using them to grow our churches and ministries. Sure, there’s a difference in degree, but that only makes our public denouncements all the more hypocritical. After all, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

When those of us who claim to be Reformed, or Calvinists, or faithful adherents to the Doctrines of Grace (or whatever the most accurate title happens to be for your brand of biblical fidelity), when we eschew in our preaching and teaching what we practice in our ministries, we unwittingly become one of the strongest arguments in support of evangelical pragmatism.

So, just to help you think it through, to provoke you a wee bit, here’s a quick Top 10 list you can use to evaluate yourself and your ministry for signs of pragmatism.

1.If you see ecclesiology as a subset of missiology, you might be a pragmatist.

2.If you believe evangelism rather than edification is the purpose of the church, you might be a pragmatist.

3.If you are trying to figure out what works in evangelism and church growth, and you’re using resources less than 100 years old to answer the question, you might be a pragmatist.

4.If you turn to sociology and psychology rather than theology to help you understand human response, you might be a pragmatist.

5.If you think the feel of your church, the music you play, and what you wear makes it more/less likely for an unbeliever to believe the gospel, you might be a pragmatist.

6.If you are often counting your numbers (e.g., number of visitors, baptisms, and “decisions for Christ,” visitors to your website, sermon downloads, or any other countable sign of growth), you might be a pragmatist.

7.If you feel the need to quote your numbers to establish your credibility, you might be a pragmatist.

8.If you are more concerned with the opinions and comfort-level of unbelievers who visit your church than you are with the opinions of believers in your church, you might be a pragmatist.

9.If your church youth program is designed to accommodate and entertain young people rather than teach and confront them, you might be a pragmatist.

10.If the young set the tone and determine the culture of the church, you might be a pragmatist.

I know that’s a short, somewhat simplistic, and woefully incomplete list, but hey, it’s a start. If any of those points are true of you or your church, you might need to repent. Start by confessing your sin of relying on the flesh and using fleshly methods, and study the Scripture to set a positive course for your ministry.

•Study biblical anthropology so you understand the truth about the human condition and human response (Rom. 1:18–3:18; Eph. 2:1-3).

•Study the true purpose of the church and the pattern of church growth as laid out in Scripture (Eph. 4:7-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-16).

•Study the ways and means of God until you see how opposite they are of the ways and means of man (1 Cor. 1:18–2:5; Jam. 3:13-18).
Learn to live by faith and not by sight; that is to say, stop counting! God’s work is largely invisible, growth takes take time, and wisdom is generally not recognized by her contemporaries, but by all her children (Luke 7:35).

Travis Allen
Director of Internet Ministry
Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California

Related Articles:

The Church is for The Church ~ Josh Miller

Bring True Converts to Church ~ Charles Spurgeon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Spicy Chicken and Tortilla Soup

Oh my goodness is this a good one! I've also stolen many ideas for this recipe and combined it with a spicy, flavorful and satisfying bowl of tasty happiness. I used the tomatoes straight out of the garden and pureed it for a smooth broth. You're gong to love this.

1 whole chicken
4 green onions uncut
1 handful of fresh parsley uncut
5 whole garlic cloves
2 celery stalks
2 whole carrots
5 whole tomatoes
1/4 onion
1 7oz. can of  Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
1 small bag of frozen corn
20.5 oz. can of black beans
2 teaspoons of cumin
4-6 chicken bouillon cubes
10 oz. can of tomato paste
1 cup of rice (optional)

Fixings: Tortilla chips, jack cheese cut into chunks, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.

Clean chicken and put in a pot of water with green onions, parsley, garlic, carrots and bring to a boil. Cover pot letting out some steam and simmer for at least an hour. Keep an eye on the water level. Remove chicken and vegetables.

After an hour with the pot still simmering, drop in tomatoes for about 15-20 seconds and remove with slotted spoon into cold water to cool. The skin and the hull of the tomatoes should come off easily. Drop the skinned and hulled tomatoes in a blender with the whole can of the Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce (I like it very spicy, so if you want to turn it down, use less peppers) the vegetables (garlic cloves, carrots, celery, etc. from the simmer) and the 1/4 onion and blend until smooth. Pour the blend into the simmering stock.

Stir in the corn, beans, cumin, bouillon cubes to taste, and tomato paste. Strip the meat off of the simmered chicken and add it to the soup. Add rice if you like. Simmer for about another 20 minutes.

Serve in bowls and top it off with crushed tortilla chips, avocado, cilantro and a squeeze of a lime wedge. I also love to top my tortilla soup with cubed jack cheese rather than shred it, so it will goo out on my spoon. Enjoy!

The Godly Home

The below links are a five part series of The Godly Family by Paul Washer.

Part 1 Audio Sermon  (58 minutes)

Part 2 Audio Sermon (86 minutes)

Part 3 Audio Sermon  (92 minutes)

Part 4 Audio Sermon (81 minutes)

Part 5 Audio Sermon (97 minutes)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

41 Evidences Of Pride by Nancy Leigh DeMoss

1. Do you look down on those who are less educated, less affluent, less refined, or less successful than yourself?

2. Do you think of yourself as more spiritual than your mate, others in your church?

3. Do you have a judgmental spirit toward those who don’t make the same lifestyle choices you do . . . dress standards, how you school your kids, entertainment standards, etc.?

4. Are you quick to find fault with others and to verbalize those thoughts to others? Do you have a sharp, critical tongue?

5. Do you frequently correct or criticize your mate, your pastor, or other people in positions of leadership (teachers, youth director, etc.)?

6. Do you give undue time, attention, and effort to your physical appearance—hair, make-up, clothing, weight, body shape, avoiding appearance of aging?

7. Are you proud of the schedule you keep, how disciplined you are, how much you are able to accomplish?

8. Are you driven to receive approval, praise, or acceptance from others?

9. Are you argumentative?

10. Do you generally think your way is the right way, the only way, or the best way?

11. Do you have a touchy, sensitive spirit? Easily offended? Get your feelings hurt easily?

12. Are you guilty of pretense? Trying to leave a better impression of yourself than is really true? (Would the people at church be shocked if they knew what you were like at home?)

13. Do you have a hard time admitting when you are wrong?

14. Do you have a hard time confessing your sin to God or others? (not just in generalities but specifics)

15. Do you have a hard time sharing your real spiritual needs/struggles with others?

16. Do you have a hard time praying aloud with others?

17. Are you excessively shy?

18. Do you have a hard time reaching out and being friendly to people you don’t know at church?

19. Do you resent being asked or expected to serve your family, your parents, or others?

20. Do you become defensive when you are criticized or corrected?

21. Are you a perfectionist? Do you get irked or impatient with people who aren’t?

22. Do you tend to be controlling—of your mate, your children, friends, those in your workplace?

23. Do you frequently interrupt people when they are speaking?

24. Does your husband feel intimidated by your “spirituality”?

25. Does your husband feel like he can never measure up to your expectations of what it means to be a good husband, spiritual leader, etc.?

26. Do you often complain—about the weather, your health, your circumstances, your job, your church?

27. Do you talk about yourself too much?

28. Are you more concerned about your problems, needs, burdens than about others’ concerns?

29. Do you worry about what others think of you? Too concerned about your reputation or your family’s reputation?

30. Do you neglect to express gratitude for “little things”? To God? To others?

31. Do you neglect prayer and intake of the Word?

32. Do you get hurt if your accomplishments/or acts of service are not recognized or rewarded?

33. Do you get hurt if your feelings or opinions are not considered when your mate or your boss is making a decision or if you are not informed when a change or decision is made?

34. Do you react to rules? Do you have a hard time being told what to do?

35. Are you self-conscious because of your lack of education or natural beauty, or your socio-economic status?

36. Do you avoid participating in certain events, for fear of being embarrassed or looking foolish?

37. Do you avoid being around certain people because you feel inferior compared to them/don’t feel you measure up?

38. Are you uncomfortable inviting people to your home because you don’t think it’s nice enough or you can’t afford to do lavish entertaining?

39. Is it hard for you to let others know when you need help (practical or spiritual)?

40. When is the last time you said these words to a family member, friend, or co-worker: “I was wrong; would you please forgive me?” (If it’s been more than a month, mark it down!)

41. Are you sitting here thinking how many of these questions apply to someone you know? Feeling pretty good that none of these things really apply to you?

© Revive Our Hearts. Used with permission.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hindrances To A Heavenly Life by Richard Baxter

Take 10 minutes to hear this timely word.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

To Teach Her Children-Raising Future Husbands

I'm praising the Lord that I had good tests from the doctor and I'm on the mend from a grueling 6 week bout with pneumonia. It's not easy being sick for so long and living with 4 males. In the midst of this illness, I became embittered at the lack of willingness from my husband and sons to help me with dinners, cleaning, etc. It seemed it was still expected of me, and like a good martyr, I went along with my normal duties with resentment and not getting the rest I needed.

At the midpoint I realized I needed help, so I asked my 15 year old how he would show love in a practical way to his future wife. I thought his answer was so honest, "To provide for her." I kind of teased him at first, but I also thought how wonderful it was to think how God wired him. I told him that providing for the family is definitely an important way to show practical love to his future wife, but what happens if she gets sick, and she is no longer able to do the things that need to be done? He really couldn't give me an answer. I would consider my teenage son Kyle to be one of the most sensitive young men I know, so I realized just then that men are wired by God's wonderful design differently, and I had to use my sickness as a teaching opportunity.

I simply told my three boys to help me around the house and gave them each a list. I was amazed at how well and how proud they were to step up to the plate with my household chores. Instead of watching me suffer helplessly, they felt empowered to help their mom get better. I was simply amazed at their positive and even masculine attitude.

How silly I was. I expected my men to pick up the slack and when nobody did, I thought they didn't care about me. How wrong I was. They are wonderfully different, and they need to be directed. For example, let's just say my husband had a small business and he fell ill. How would I like it if he just expected me to pick up where he left off with no directions? How would I feel if he thought, you see me do my job, why don't you just do it? What if he became angry with me because I was unable to read his mind and do what needed to be done? If he gave me a list or told me what to do, I would be more than happy to help him.

A while back, I made a basic housekeeping binder. I have a loose cleaning schedule that I do on my own. My guys need detailed instructions just as I would of I need to take over my husband’s job, so I added a "Sick Mom" tab. I also put in very basic recipes so they can do the grocery shopping, prepares meals the next time I get sick, because that is inevitable.  I can honestly tell you it will empower your husband and sons. It's also not a bad idea if you have daughters. My teacher's always told me a Proverbs 31 woman is always prepared. Unfortunately I learn the hard way.

While we're on the subject of being prepared for a sickness, I came away with one tip. Try and to double up on at least one meal a week to freeze while you're well. I wish I would have done this. My cholesterol went up just by eating more take out. It's important to make sure you're not only resting, but eating well too.

After waking up and verbalizing my needs, I was delighted at my husband and sons who really desired to be helpful all along. Even my two younger boys vacuumed and dusted with such enthusiasm. I've never been more proud of them. I remembered something I had forgotten, that men are very different. I expect them to be like me, and how self absorbed is that? I also used the opportunity to teach my boys how to love their wives and die to self.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Recovering Biblical Womanhood - Paul Washer

"There is nothing more attractive than a woman who has this look of wisdom, and discretion, and nobility and simplicity." Paul Washer

As you can see, I'm a big fan of Paul Washer. I've met him at a meeting last fall, and he is just an everyday brother who loves the Lord and has devoted his life to serve Him. I believe God has raised him up to jar this generation out of our lukewarm sleep through his fiery sermons that have spread over the internet over the past couple of years. He is usually very intense and offensive to many, but in this sermon he is lighthearted and funny. I found myself busting out in laughter at myself throughout. I'm also convicted at my silliness and lack of obedience to God's commands as a wife.

Sermon here

To be Self Controlled: I Look to You

The last thing I want to do is come of as some expert or someone who has arrived. All you have to do is spend some time with me and you would find out pretty fast that this is not the case. One of my greatest sin is my lack of self control in many areas of my life. It all can stem from fear of man, not being focused, laziness, selfishness etc., but what it really boils down to is my unwillingness to recognise these things as sin and not depending on God and His word.

As I've grown older, I've struggled with weight more than ever. I need to lose 30 pounds. It's not a lot to some, but the weight hasn't  budge with exercise and various dieting for about 5 years. I will diet for a while, but fall drastically with binging. This cycle has been going on for some time and I get very discouraged with myself.

I dread going to the doctor because I know he is going to get after me for not losing the weight he told me to. I've done Weight Watchers many times, Atkins, South Beach, you name it; I've even tried a free online Christian weight loss program that really points to the sin of gluttony to no avail. I was discouraged by the legalistic regiments, and feeling dizzy from fasting and going on their "liquid days".

I heard a preacher recently mention that gluttony is the same sin in God's eyes as drunkenness. God freed me of drunkenness almost 18 years ago, so this really struck me. He challenged us to pray without seizing and asking God what to eat.  How little I really depend on Him in my day to day life.

Tozar said that, "Christians don't lie, they just sing them." At church we sang "I Need Thee Every Hour". Do I really need Thee every single hour including when I eat? The next time I sing this song, I want the lyrics to be true in my life.

 Below is a video about a woman who has struggled with weight her whole life. She's lost 80 lbs with more to go. She wouldn't of done it without her dependence on God. Get ready for some goosebumps.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Facebook and Other Social Networks

This is a wonderful link about social networks and how they can hurt people if we're not careful. I certainly have done my own share.

Alone With Jesus - Octavius Winslow

To be honest, I've been struggling with many things. This video encouraged my heart so much today. I hope it speaks to you too. Praise our Jesus for His loving embrace. Be alone with Him today.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

A Holy Offering to God - Paul Washer

If you don't have time to watch this sermon, I hope you just watch the first five minutes. Do we really believe the Bible is sufficient? What an indictment!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Perfected Tuna Casserole

I'm looking forward to autumn, and since we're on the subject of comfort food, why not add another traditional favorite. I took a little bit of my mom's, my past roommate’s, and my sister's recipes that I've stolen over a 20 year period, and developed the perfect tuna casserole. The gooey melted chucks of Swiss cheese is a twist that I couldn't believe I was missing for so long. I don't put crushed potato chips on mine, but go for it if that's your fancy.

1 (12 ounce) package egg noodles
1 cup cubed Swiss cheese
1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese
 1 cup frozen green peas
2 (6 ounce) cans tuna, drained
1 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
1/2 teaspoon of celery salt

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F

Bring a large pot of  salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions until al dente; drain.

In a large bowl, thoroughly mix noodles,  1 cup cubed Swiss cheese, peas, tuna, soup, mayonnaise, and celery salt. Transfer to a 9x13 inch baking dish, and top with remaining 1 cup of shredded Swiss cheese.

Cover and bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven and remove cover for 10 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly.

...To Love Her Children: The Scattering of Seeds by J.R. Miller

All our thoughts, words, and acts are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do. The mother’s teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere germs; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years, in strength and beauty, in nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother’s words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life, are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge, they grow.

You never can lose your mother. She may die, and her body may be borne out of your sight, and laid away in God’s acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love upon your life’s garden. But you have not lost her. Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very tissues of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech. You never can lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life. ~J.R. Miller

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Spagetti Chicken - From the Pioneer Woman

I want to share some tried and true recipes that my family loves. With three growing boys (one being a teenager), my food bill is growing to max capacity. Not only will these recipes be delicious, but easy on the wallet.

This is the only casserole all my boys (including my husband) gobble up. The seasoning salt, and just a touch of cayenne pepper gives this dish the right amount of kick and flavor. It is my family's creamy cheesy comfort food of choice. I omit the pimentos, and sometimes I'll do shortcuts with a readymade rotisserie chicken I get at the store with canned broth. I often double up and freeze for those days I don't have time to cook. This is perfect for potlucks, or sending to a friend in need.

■2 cups Cooked Chicken
■3 cups Dry Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
■2 cans Cream Of Mushroom Soup
■2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
■1/4 cup Finely Diced Green Pepper
■1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
■1 jar (4 Ounce) Diced Pimentos, Drained
■2 cups Reserved Chicken Broth From Pot
■1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
■1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
■Salt And Pepper, to taste
■1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Boil 1 whole chicken or cut up fryer for one hour and pick out the meat to make two cups. Cook spaghetti in same chicken broth until al dente. Do not overcook. When spaghetti is cooked, (Don't forget to save 2 cups of broth) combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.

Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Posted by Ree on September 5 2009

For more detailed instructions, go to the Pioneer Woman link.

Use Simplicity in Sharing the Gospel

John Charles Ryle [1816-1900] was a prolific writer, vigorous preacher, faithful pastor in England, husband of three wives (widowed three times) and the father to five children.

It is a certain fact that deep reasoning and elaborate arguments are not the weapons by which God is generally pleased to convert souls. Simple plain statements, boldly and solemnly made, and made in such a manner that they are evidently felt and believed by him who makes them, seem to have the most effect on hearts and consciences. Parents and teachers of the young, ministers and missionaries, Scripture-readers and district visitors, would all do well to remember this. We need not be so anxious as we often are about defending, proving, demonstrating and reasoning out the doctrines of the Gospel. Not one soul in a hundred was ever brought to Christ in this fashion. We need more simple, plain, solemn, earnest, affectionate statements of simple Gospel truths. We may safely leave such statements to work and take care of themselves. They are arrows from God’s own quiver, and will often pierce hearts which have not been touched by the most eloquent sermon. ~ J.C. Ryle

Monday, August 1, 2011

To Be Sober Minded: What Kind of Woman Am I?

A few years ago, I received the below list of wisdom from an older woman who got it from her older woman. When I taught Titus 2 a few years back,  many people who I would invite would say, "I don't want to be a doormat!" God does not call us to be such a thing. When I read the women of scripture, there was no woman of God that I would call a "doormat".  I've known women who are notorious doormats and they can be very manipulative with their loved ones by being the family martyr. I can see how many women will run from submissiveness because of the distortion of it being modeled perhaps from their own mothers. They are just as self seeking as an outright contentious woman. I can be both those women at times more than I realize. Here is a list of "The Doormat Woman", "The Contentious Woman" and "The Sober Minded Woman of God".  I've gleaned so much from this list over the years and it never seizes to convict me.

The Doormat Woman:
  • Motive: People Pleaser
  • Heart Attitude: Fear and Guilt
  • Rights: Doesn't feel she has any
  • Responsibilities: Feels responsible for everything and everyone
  • Emotions and Self Control: Highly emotional, prone to fear and self-pity
  • Love Relationships: Being accepted is more important than being loving and truthful
  • Needs: Lets needs and feeling of others rule over her life
  • Discernment: Only wants to see strengths, not weaknesses in others
  • Dealing with Shortcomings: Overly disappointed when sees weaknesses, often devastated
  • Truth: Afraid to be truthful for fear of angry consequences
  • Submission: Misunderstands submission
  • Power: Feels powerless and intimidated
  • Offense: Stuff offense - stays unresolved

The Contentious Woman

  • Motive: "...unto self"
  • Heart Attitude: Resentful
  • Rights: Recognizes rights and demands them
  • Responsibilities: More concerned with rights than responsibilities
  • Emotions and Self Control: Highly emotional and prone to fear, resentment and anger
  • Love Relationships: Being right is more important than being loving
  • Needs: Preoccupied with her own feelings and needs
  • Discernment: Only sees weaknesses
  • Dealings with Shortcomings: Critical and judgemental when weakness is revealed
  • Truth: Offers truth through blaming and demands change
  • Submission: Resents and rejects submission
  • Power: Wants her own power
  • Offense: Is quick to be offended

The Sober Minded Woman of God

  • Motive: "...unto God"
  • Heart Attitude: Cheerful and willing
  • Rights: Recognizes rights and lays them down
  • Responsibilities: More concerned with responsibilities than rights
  • Emotions and Self Control: In touch with feelings, but not controlled by them
  • Love Relationships: Being loving is more important than being right
  • Needs: Listens carefully and is sensitive to the needs of others, but not ruled by them
  • Discernment: Sees both weaknesses and strengths, but accepts person
  • Dealings with Shortcomings: Edifies, encourages and strengthens when weaknesses show
  • Truth: Offers truth and petitions out of love
  • Submission: Embraces submission
  • Power: Focuses on God's power and her own powerlessness
  • Offense: Slow to be offended, willing to admit and resolve it when it occurs

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Keeper of the Home - The 31 Day Challenge

Who are you? Are you a Mary or a Martha? If you're a Martha type, then you may not need this challenge.
I'm pumped! I hear the lyrics of "Eye of the Tiger" in my mind. I've been reading this wonderful blog on how to clean my home in 31 days. I'm not a natural born cleaner and more of a Mary than a Martha. I'm not a lazy person, but I love to hang out with friends, play with my kids, chat online, cook...anything but clean my house. I want a clean house for the peace of  having a little slice of heaven, but cleaning is boring and tedious to me. Laundry and cleaning the bathrooms are at the bottom of my not-so-favorites. I'm just keeping it real sisters.

Organization is also an issue. Almost everyday I'm looking for my keys or some other important item. Cleaning and organizing goes against my more imaginative and creative grain. Maybe some of you are more the Mary type. Most people I know are Marthas. They don't get us Marys, but I don't get the Marthas either. There is a balance we all need to strive for. I've known women who cleaned to the point of forgetting to feed their kids. I'm not judging here, because I have the problem at the other end of the spectrum.

I'm ready for the 31 day challenge. It's the perfect time since we're at the end of summer and still have a month before school starts. Who is with me? Check out the link below.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thoughts on Harry Potter

I haven't been on my Facebook news feed in a few days, and it's always interesting on what is being talked about around the modern water cooler. Almost every other post is about Harry Potter. There are some who are excited about the last book coming to life on the big screen, and there are those who are warning against it. I'll first disclose that I'm not a fan, and even though I'm a born again Christian, I will not be out with my torch and pitchfork at my local theater this evening.

Before all of the hysteria began, someone loaned me the book. I unknowingly read the first couple of chapters, and I knew it was not something I would enjoy. Later, I viewed one of the movies to see what all the fuss was about, and fell asleep. I just didn't get it. I love a good epic of good and evil, but something about Harry and his friends didn't do it for me. My black and white personality  couldn't find the clear distinction between good and evil, which is one of the complaints I hear about the stories.  I admit that I'm a big ring geek (The Lord of the Rings), so I understand what it's like to enjoy a story about enduring characters, self sacrifice and heroic journeys.

There are a lot of concerns with the lure of Harry Potter especially with children. Ever since this popular series has exploded into a huge phenomenon, the acceptance of the occult has brought on a life of its own. I visited my local library a few months back, and I saw a display of about a hundred books on witchcraft, how to talk to the dead, making potions, just to name a few. I honestly don't think this would have been showcased in such a way 10 years ago. I've seen many people fall into the traps of Wicca by the glamorization of dark mystic trialling and seen it tear down families. Needless to say, I will not let my boys watch Harry Potter and they don't have an interest. By seeming indifferent to the series, it has made them disinterested . With that being said, I feel I can share some thoughts on why it bothers me that some of my brethern are getting on the band wagon speaking against this popular series in public forums like Facebook. Also, if you're going to speak out against immoral movies, you might as well do all of them.

I'm going to pick on "The Notebook" for example, because I've seen it "liked" by many churched teen girls and it goes unchallenged. You're probably thinking that it is not a fair comparison since Harry Potter and The Notebook are two completely different genres. That may be true, but that does not mean both can't be an equal influence to a vulnerable mind with mixing moral with non moral elements. Before I knew the content of the film, I thought I would fix me some popcorn and watch an old fashion love story. I was shocked, disappointed and embarrassed at the explicit sensuality and flat out fornication.

The sad part about "The Notebook" it was that the main young couple didn't get along unless they were making out. The message was more on uncontrolled lust more than true love.  What shocks me more, is the promotion of this over the top erotic romance in mainstream Christian culture in "Christian" movie reviews. Even though there was no nudity, it did not leave much to the imagination with its long drawn out and loud sex scene. Some of the parents speaking out against Harry Potter are allowing their daughters watch things that can be just as destructive. The Notebook undermines purity, parental respect, marriage, and they are opposed in scripture as well as sorcery. The message is wrong of its influences that disenchant and distort a young woman's perfect notion of what love and sex really is, which may cause problems in her future marriage. I can mention more movies, but the point is made.

I also want to warn that the world is watching. I hardly think this should be the hill we all want to die on when it comes to glorifying God. I know many will disagree with me, and they are entitled to their opinion. Before I was saved, a frenzy broke out over the film “The Last Temptation of Christ”. My unregenerate heart went to see it out of rebellion, and curiosity. Looking back, it was the most blasphemous flaunt of evil that will remain wedged in my memory. When we speak out against something that is popular and opposes our beliefs, it fuels the fire.

I met a woman recently who, just by looking at her life, did not know Christ. She is a single parent living with her boyfriend. She was in my home and we were talking and getting to know each other. She knew I was a believer, and one of the first things she said is she read The Golden Compass and Harry Potter. I politely said, "Really, that's nice that you read. I don't read enough", and quickly changed the subject. I could tell she was trying to set up a trap for a debate. I was not going to go there. I was going to love her where she was at and hope a door would open to share the Savior. In my mind I was thinking, "You should of seen the books I read before I was saved; Steven King, Danelle Steel..., quit trying to shock me."

Also, when we are speaking against culture, we make less of Christ. It's fine if you want to discuss and warn those within the church, but to make such an issue of it could divide us from unbelievers. "For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges."1 Corinthians 5:12.  “Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

Paul Washer mentions the Harry Potter series at the 5:25 mark of this 8 minutes sermon excerpt. He is spot on.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards

We all can learn from this 19 year old writer.

The Resolutions of Jonathan Edwards


Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God' s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him. (Resolutions 1 through 21 written in one setting in New Haven in 1722)

22. Resolved, to endeavor to obtain for myself as much happiness, in the other world, as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigor, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

23. Resolved, frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God' s glory, to repute it as a breach of the 4th Resolution.

24. Resolved, whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavor to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

25. Resolved, to examine carefully, and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and to direct all my forces against it.

26. Resolved, to cast away such things, as I find do abate my assurance.

27. Resolved, never willfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, to study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

29. Resolved, never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession, which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, to strive to my utmost every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

31. Resolved, never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of Christian honor, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said anything against anyone, to bring it to, and try it strictly by the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, to be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Proverbs 20:6, A faithful man who can find? may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, to do always, what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, in narrations never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.

35. Resolved, whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call for it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, to inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent,- what sin I have committed,-and wherein I have denied myself;-also at the end of every week, month and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, never to speak anything that is ridiculous, sportive, or matter of laughter on the Lord' s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, never to do any thing of which I so much question the lawfulness of, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or not; unless I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

40. Resolved, to inquire every night, before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism; which I solemnly renewed, when I was received into the communion of the church; and which I have solemnly re-made this twelfth day of January, 1722-23.

43. Resolved, never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God' s; agreeable to what is to be found in Saturday, January 12, 1723.

44. Resolved, that no other end but religion, shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. January 12, 1723.

45. Resolved, never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.

46. Resolved, never to allow the least measure of any fretting uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye: and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, to endeavor, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good, and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving and sincere temper; and to do at all times, what such a temper would lead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have done so. Sabbath morning. May 5, 1723.

48. Resolved, constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

49. Resolved, that this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, I will act so as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, that I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age, say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, that I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

53. Resolved, to improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Whenever I hear anything spoken in conversation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, Resolved to endeavor to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, to endeavor to my utmost to act as I can think I should do, if, I had already seen the happiness of heaven, and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, when I fear misfortunes and adversities, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it, and let the event be just as providence orders it. I will as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty, and my sin. June 9, and July 13 1723.

58. Resolved, not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.

59. Resolved, when I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.

60. Resolved, whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4, and 13, 1723.

61. Resolved, that I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it-that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, etc. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, never to do anything but duty, and then according to Ephesians 6:6-8, to do it willingly and cheerfully as unto the Lord, and not to man: knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall he receive of the Lord. June 25 and July 13, 1723.

63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true luster, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, to act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. January 14 and July 13, 1723.

64. Resolved, when I find those ‹groanings which cannot be uttered (Romans 8:26), of which the Apostle speaks, and those breakings of soul for the longing it hath, of which the Psalmist speaks, Psalm 119:20, that I will promote them to the utmost of my power, and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavoring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness, of which I am capable of, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him: all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance; according to Dr. Manton' s 27th Sermon on Psalm 119. July 26, and Aug.10 1723.

66. Resolved, that I will endeavor always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, after afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them, what am I the better for them, and what I might have got by them.

68. Resolved, to confess frankly to myself all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

69. Resolved, always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. August 11, 1723.

70. Let there be something of benevolence, in all that I speak. August 17, 1723.

Monday, July 11, 2011


I'm not a hard core FIC person, but there is a lot to glean from this documentary. "What an indictment on the family. Obviously youth ministry has its problems, but the failure lies almost entirely on the parents." A comment from the "Divided" official website.

Official Divided the Movie (HD Version) from NCFIC on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are We Leading By Example?

The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed. Titus 2:3-5 (KJV)

Now that I'm middle age, I feel I can speak my mind on this matter. My heart is heavy over young families that are over burdened in church ministries. In chapter 2 of Titus there is an order of the congregation.  The older men are to teach the younger men, and the older women to do the same with the young women. Much of being "teacher's of good things" to a younger person is living by example. Young families need older women and men desperately in a time where families are struggling.

I remember when I was a little girl going to church with my grandparents. The place was buzzing of older men and women holding babies in the nursery, helping in the office, doing logistics, supervising Sunday schools, initiating evangelistic outreaches, helping the homeless, etc. My grandfather spent his last year of his life in South America helping build a church. Back in the day not too long ago, there was a respect for these older people who were giving themselves to young families, local congregations, communities and even the world. We come to our day, and why don't I see this anymore?

Today much of the ministries in churches are led by young families, especially children's ministries. If they didn't do it, the ministries may not exist. New families especially are being neglected of mentoring and practical help from the older generation like never before. Newly married couples with families need to be in meetings on Sunday in order to be refreshed, learning, gaining strength and encouragement from God's word. They need that time to be taught with their own spouses and children so they can grow for the next generation. I can only offer my own opinion in hopes to make an older person to think and evaluate.

We live in an entitlement age. We are told by our culture we are owed something, and this is constantly drilled into our minds daily on TV, commercials, even "Christian" books, media and music. The Sinatra mantra of doing things "my" way duped millions to believe the unbiblical mindset of retirement. The lie of finally getting to rest and enjoy the rest of our lives promises fulfillment. The children are grown and moved away, and we finally get to enjoy the fruit of our labor. We've worked hard and now it's my time to enjoy! Ok, here is the kicker; where is that in scripture? The last I heard, the church is not supposed to be a retirement club.

Not only have young families suffered from this fall out, but the baby boomer generation also is hurting themselves. Many senior saints suffer from isolation, depression, loneliness, to mention a few maladies. There are many reasonably healthy retirees waiting by the phone for their grown children to call as they watch TV.  If they would only get out of their comfort zone and give a small portion of their time, it would help the church tremendously. Many people who were strugging with an empty nest say that volunteering outside of their home has been a life saver. There is no better living than giving ourselves to the Lord's service.

On the other hand, I've also noticed the lack of honor with young adults. As I become an older woman going into my mid forties, I am astounded at the lack of respect of those older in churches. Young immature people are put in positions of leadership are often treating those who are older with contempt and condescension, that I walk away disappointed at times. This could be a reason why so many older people will not serve in church ministry. I understand, and I hate to say it, but there is no excuse. We are called as Christians to put our boots on, forgive, be the better person and live by example.

“I'll not willingly offend, Nor be easily offended; What's amiss I'll strive to mend, And endure what can't be mended” Isaac Watts

This lack of honor to those older could be a result of a lack of teaching from the parents, or (Don't get mad) maybe we need to look in the mirror. Are we honorable? I'm not saying that younger people should not honor, but are we living by example? Are we honoring those who are older than us? Are we showing love to those who are younger? Are we spending time talking to young people, helping out with their children and showing true sacrifice? In all practicality, respect is not earned, but sown. 
I've also heard a very respected teacher that I love, but I respectfully disagree with on this issue that we are to do what we want. I'm paraphrasing, but he said If we don't want to do a ministry, than that is what God's will is. I found this an odd thing coming out of one of the most renowned expository preachers in our day, especially since most of the people throughout scripture were reluctant participants in what God called them to do. Look at Moses how he wanted anyone but himself to deliver Israel. What about Jonah and not wanting to go to Nineveh and face the most ruthless land of that time? Think of Esther who had risk her own life to go in front of the king in hopes to spare her beloved people. These are just a few among most of the people in scripture who were reluctant at their God given assignments. Even Christ Himself shows intense fear and reluctance in the garden of Gethsemane to the point of sweating blood when He asked the Father to let the cup pass from Him, which was His Father's wrath.

At the same time we have to be careful not to spend too much time in ministry. There is a balance. I speak from my own experience, and I finally had to stop feeling guilty about not filling every hole of ministry, because I still have young children. After spending at least half of my time out of church doing children's ministries as a young married woman with a baby, I look back with a little regret. I don't know if I grew as much as I should of during that time. I'm now learning to say "I'm sorry, but I can't..." more. I've wondered if I was falling into the same pitfall of entitlement as some of my older friends, but as I've studied Titus 2:3-5 over the years, I've become wiser with my time. I've learned by my mistakes by not being such a people pleaser and setting my own pace and calendar given the time that I have available. My ultimate purpose is to please God and obey His word. My work is supposed to be in the home, and the needs of church should not impose on that. There will be a season in my life that I will devote more time to ministry. I always tell young people, if you're stressed to the point of being jumpy and you're snapping at your children, you may need to back off of ministry for a time.

Going back to the point of this post; I wonder what would happen if these young people decided not to do the nursery and children's church. Maybe the crying of babies, and the kicking of pew seats from youngsters during the service would motivate older women to pitch in. Hmmmmm....

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Sobering- Are We Really Being Biblical or Traditional?

Sermon excerpts from: "The Centrality of the Home" - Voddie Baucham

My issue is not youth groups, but the lackadaisical attitude toward the importance of teaching parental discipleship.

Take Heed What You Read - Arthur Pink

"Take heed what you hear" (Mark 4:24): the word "hear" obviously includes what is read, for that which is written or printed is addressed to the ears of our intellect. Few people today realize the urgent need for "taking heed" unto what they read. Just as the natural food which is eaten either helps or hinders the body—so the mental food we receive either benefits or injures the mind, and that, in turn, affects the heart. Just as it is harmful to listen to the rubbish and poison which is being served from the great majority of present-day pulpits—so it is exceedingly injurious to the soul to read most of what is now being published. "Take heed what you hear" and read! But let us seek to be more specific.

The only thing which is really worth calling "religion" is the life of God in the soul-commenced, carried on, and consummated solely by the Holy Spirit. Hence, whatever does not bear the impress of the Spirit's unction, should be rejected by the Christian: for not only can unctionless messages do us no good—but what proceeds not from the Spirit—is of the flesh. Here, then, is the test which God's children ought to apply unto all they hear, and here is the balance in which they should weigh all that they read. True, there are varying degrees of the Spirit's unction. As it is in the natural so it is in the spiritual—there will be a varying amount of wetness from the faintest moisture of dew—as compared to the copious shower. As there had to be "salt" in every sacrifice (Lev. 2:13), so every discourse or article proceeding from the Spirit's aid, is "seasoned with salt" (Colossians 4:6). But O how very much today is devoid of spiritual savor and flavor!

Some of God's dear people may suppose that it would be presumptuous to set themselves up as judges of what they hear or read—but that is a serious mistake, being both a false humility, and a shirking of duty. The Apostle rebuked the Hebrews because their senses (spiritual faculties) were not developed so as to discern between good and evil (Hebrews 5:13). With as much reason, might it be termed pride for anyone to pass judgment upon the groceries or meats purchased from the stores. Others may ask, "But how are simple and unlearned souls to distinguish between the different religious publications of the day?" Very simply: in sampling your natural food how do you determine whether or not it be seasoned? By your natural taste, of course. So it is spiritually: the "new man" has a palate too! If the God of creation has given us natural palates for the purpose of distinguishing between wholesome and unwholesome food, the God of grace has furnished His people with a capacity, a spiritual sense, to distinguish between nutritious and unwholesome soul food.

"Just as the mouth tastes food—the ear tests the words it hears" (Job 34:3). Does yours, my reader? Are you as careful about what you take into your mind—as what you take into your stomach? You certainly ought to be, for the former is even more important than the latter. If you eat some material food which is injurious, you can take a purgative and get rid of the same; but if you have devoured mental food which is injurious, it stays with you! "The ear tests the words it hears." Again, we ask, Does yours, dear reader? Are you learning to distinguish between "letter" and "spirit;" between the "form" and the "power;" between that which is of the earth and that which is from Heaven; between that which is lifeless and unctionless and that which is instinct with the breath of God? If the answer is 'No', then you are greatly the loser.

How many of God's dear children listen to the automaton "letter" preachers of today, and yet find nothing suited to the needs of their poor souls! And how many are subscribing for one magazine after another, hoping to find that which will the better furnish them to fight the good fight of faith—only to be disappointed? What they hear and what they read does not penetrate and grip—it has no power—it neither breaks down nor lifts up—it produces neither godly sorrow nor godly joy. The messages they hear or read, fall upon their ear like an idle or twice-told tale—it completely fails to reach their case or minister to their needs. They are no better off after hearing a hundred such "sermons" or reading through a hundred such periodicals, than they were at the beginning! They are no farther from the world—and no nearer unto God!

It is often a long time before God's children are able to account for this. They blame themselves; they are exceedingly loath to say, "This message is not of God." They are afraid to act in the spiritual, as they do in the natural, and condemn and discard that which is worthless. While they feel a lack of power in the sermons they hear, or the articles they read, and while their souls steadily get dried up like a potsherd—they are slow to realize that this is the inevitable effect of the unctionless preaching they listen to, or the unctionless literature they read; and that such dryness and leanness of soul is inevitable—by their association with unhumbled and empty professors. But in due time God opens their eyes, and they see through the flimsy veil and discover that both the sermons they hear, and the literature they read—are only the product of a dead profession!

Ah, it is a great thing when once the Holy Spirit teaches a soul—that it is power which is lacking from the lifeless preaching and lifeless articles of dead professors. It is power which the renewed soul seeks—a message which has power to search his conscience, to pierce him to the quick, to write it upon his heart; a message which has power to bring him to his knees in broken-hearted confession to God; a message which has power to make him feel that he is "vile"; a message which has power to drive him to Christ, for the binding up of his wounds, for Him to pour in "oil and wine," and send him on his way rejoicing. Yes, what the renewed soul longs for (though at first he knows it not) is that Divine message which comes to him "not simply with words—but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction!" (1 Thessalonians 1:5).

Sooner or later, every Christian comes to value "power," and to count as worthless, whatever lacks it. It is by Divine power, that he is taught in his own soul, by which he is made to feel acutely his sinnership, his carnality, his beggarliness. It is Divine power working in his heart—the same power which brought Christ again from the dead (Eph. 1:19, 20)—which draws his affections unto things above and makes his soul pant after God "as the deer pants after the water brooks" (Psalm 42:1). It is this Divine power working in him which reveals to his burdened spirit the Throne of Grace, and causes him to implore mercy and to seek grace "to help in time of need." It is this Divine power working in him, which makes him cry "Make me walk along the path of Your commands—for there I find delight" (Psalm 119:35).

Those who are partakers of this Divine power (and they are few in number) can never be satisfied with a powerless ministry, either oral or written.

"Those who live according to the flesh—have their minds set on what the flesh desires," (Romans 8:5). They are charmed with oratorical eloquence, catchy sayings, witty allusions, and amusing illustrations. On just such "husks", do the religious "swine" feed!

But the penitent prodigal can find no nutriment therein! Men "of the world"—and they may be graduates from some "Bible Institute" or possessors of a diploma from some Bible Seminary, now styling themselves "preachers of the Gospel"—will speak of the things of the world and "the world hears them" (1 John 4:5). But those who are seeking to "work out their own salvation with fear and trembling" obtain no help therefrom, yes, they perceive clearly that such sermons and periodicals are "broken cisterns, which can hold no water" (Jer. 2:13).

"Take heed what you hear" and read! More than forty years ago the saintly Adolph Saphir wrote, "I think the fewer books we read—the better. It is like times of cholera, when we should only drink filtered water." What would he say if he were on earth today and glanced over the deadly poison sent forth by the heterodox, and the lifeless rubbish put out by the orthodox? Christian reader, if you value the health of your soul, cease hearing and quit reading all that is lifeless, unctionless, powerless, no matter what prominent or popular name be attached thereto. Life is too short to waste valuable time on that which does not profit. Ninety-nine out of every hundred of the religious books, booklets, and magazines now being published, are not worth the paper on which they are printed!

To turn away from the lifeless preachers and publishers of the day—may involve a real cross. Your motives will be misconstrued, your words perverted, and your actions misinterpreted. The sharp arrows of false report will be directed against you. You will be called proud and self-righteous, because you refuse to fellowship empty professors. You will be termed censorious and bitter—if you condemn in plain speech—the subtle delusions of Satan. You will be dubbed narrow-minded and uncharitable, because you refuse to join in singing the praises of the "great" and "popular" men of the day. More and more, you will be made to painfully realize—that the path which leads unto eternal life is "narrow" and that FEW there are who find it. May the Lord be pleased to grant unto each of us—the hearing ear and obedient heart! "Take heed what you hear" and read!

Friday, March 25, 2011

What is Life All About?

As a church family member for nearly 18 years, I along with my brothers and sisters in Christ, watched a boy grow up. When I was 28 years old, I embarked on being a Sparks Awana leader for the first time, and I had the privilege of ministering to Rudy Acosta when he was only six. On March 19, 2011, the Lord took the boy we remembered, and the man who served our country with courage and honor home to be with Him. He was killed in action in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan. As I think and pray for his family, and reflect on the sweet face I remember so vividly, I'm reminded why we are here, and that our life is only a vapor.

Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. James 4:14

Question: What is life all about?

Answer: Our life is to glorify God.

The Gospel ~ Good News

God The Glorious Creator

All of creation was made to glorify God (Genesis 1:1, Psalm 104:31, Psalm 72:19, Psalm 19:1) and we are made to do the same. We are made in His image to bring glory to Him. (Genesis 1:27) Glorifying God is why we exist.

Everyone who is called by My name, And whom I have created for My glory, Whom I have formed, even whom I have made." Isaiah 43:7

Ascribe to the LORD, O families of the peoples, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due His name; Bring an offering, and come before Him; Worship the LORD in holy array. 1 Chronicles 16:28-29

We glorify God when we love and obey Him.

And He (Jesus) said to him, " 'YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.' "This is the great and foremost commandment. Matthew 22:37-38

Man has failed to glorify God because man only loves himself and is constantly disobedient.

For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 2 Timothy 3:2-4

We sin and fail to glorify God in our actions.

All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way;...Isaiah 53:6a 

Instead of loving and obeying God, man has followed the ways of this sinful world, Satan, and his own lusts.

in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. Ephesians 2:2-3 (emphasis added)

Think of ways we all have failed to glorify God: Lying, stealing, gossiping, cheating, adultery, murder, etc. Even going through the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 will show our failures. If you ever broken one, you've broken them all.

Man has miserably failed to love and obey god to bring Him the glory He deserves. That is what Romans 3:23 means when it says,

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

God The Glorious Judge

God is glorified by calling all man to judgement. (Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:11-12) God is glorified by His proper punishment of sinners.

The Son of Man (Jesus) will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all stumbling blocks, and those who commit lawlessness, and will throw them into the furnace of fire; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matthew 13:41-42

In glorifying God for His punishment of sinners, the people already in Heaven cry,

O Lord God, the Almighty; Righteous and true are Your ways, Revelation 15:3e

God The Glorious Savior

God's glorious saving love through creation and through judgement:

It is wonderful beyond compare that He has chosen to glorify Himself by saving hopeless, lost sinners!

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16

God's glorious love was demonstrated when He punished and killed His Son Jesus in our place.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Romans 8:32
But the LORD was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering... Isaiah 53:10

...Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors. Isaiah 53:12

Jesus, God's Son, took our wrath and punishment through His death on the cross. Than God raised Him from the dead and He lives forever. His resurrection proves that 100% of the punishment for sin was paid.

He who was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification. Romans 4:25


A change of heart to turn from loving yourself and sin and begin to love and obey God is called REPENTANCE.

A new confidence in Christ to forgive all your sin and to be your new Lord (Master) is called FAITH

Jesus said, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." Mark 1:15 (emphasis added)

Repentance and Faith are essential for salvation. I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you publicly and from house to house, solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 20:20-21

Repent and Believe Today!

Behold, now is "THE ACCEPTABLE TIME," behold, now is "THE DAY OF SALVATION"-- 2 Corinthians 6:2b

  • Do you feel deeply sorry and regretful for your sin and failure to glorify God?
  • Do you truly believe Jesus died in your place, has taken your punishment, and will forgive you?
  • Do you truly desire to begin obeying Him as the Lord (Master) of your life?
If God has changed your heart, and you now believe these things to be true, then express your faith to God.

*The Great Answer to the Great Question by Anchored in Truth Ministries