Showing posts from July, 2011

A Weekend Of Investigation

What better time than this weekend to do some investigating? Investigate your devotions. Investigate your motivations. Investigate your heart attitude. Investigate your wants and needs. Investigate your many daily blessings. Make this a weekend of investigating how you appreciate the important things in life - those that center around the Lord.

You're Welcome To Enter

I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. John 10:9 Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD: This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter. Psalm 118:21 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name. Psalm 100:4 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. Isaiah 26:2 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it. Matthew 7:13-14

What's In Your Sweetener?

There are many choices we can use when we need something sweet. We put "the pink stuff" in our coffee, a sprinkle of sweetener over our fruit and heaps of sugar in our desserts. Even though a little goes a long way. God gave us the sweetness of natural honey and the sugar cane. They will tame our sweet tooth for a little while, and then we start craving more. My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14 The Lord says that knowledge and wisdom will be even sweeter than the sweetness of the honey comb. The craving to be immersed in God's Word should be just like the fleshly desire for candy and cookies. But what about the other stuff - the artificial sweeteners. They don't occur naturally, but are created by man to be a substitute for the sweetness of sugar. O

Buried In The Weeds

The yard looked beautiful from a distance - full, lush and a deep green. The grass seemed to be resisting the intense heat of the summer. Upon closer inspection, most of it wasn't grass at all. A fluffy weed had traveled across the yard, leaving an expanse of leaves and green in its wake. The more it wandered from its original planting spot, the thicker it became. And nestled in among the tangle of weeds was a single, dark red berry. It wasn't just any weed spreading over the property, but wild strawberries! In the middle of this lush, winding weed was a small touch of sweetness. I probably would have overlooked this beautiful little fruit if I hadn't been working right alongside it. But it was so tiny and so perfect that it caught my attention. It looked like it was thriving among the healthy plant it was surrounded by. Imagine your heart as that yard of weeds. From the outside, from a distance, it may look wonderful and full. It's the right color, the right texture an

Road-Side Wisdom

Over the past two weeks I've spent more than 32 hours in the car. It was time for a road trip home to Iowa to see family and get in some R&R. So it's a good thing I enjoy traveling! Most of our country's roads are bordered with wall-to-wall billboards. Advertising everything from food to shopping to the next gas station, it's impossible to ignore them. This is how businesses attract your attention and draw you into their establishments. Before I even left town - I hadn't even been in the car for half an hour yet - a sign caught my attention. It was for a restaurant chain and it read: "Deep breaths. We're closer than you think." The restaurant wanted the billboard readers to get to their establishment quickly and satisfy their cravings for food. Since I don't particularly like this type of restaurant, I didn't stop. In fact, I probably sped past and didn't even realize it. The truth is that I was thinking about that sign in an entirely d

In The Midst Of People

Sometimes I just get tired of being around people. Don't look at me that way - you know that you do too. People in the neighborhood have loud parties until late at night. Other cars ride your bumper because you're not speeding like they are. You have to listen to crude conversations every time you venture out in public. It honestly makes you want to become a hermitess and move far away from eyes and voices and noise. Wouldn't it be nice to only hear your music, have silence whenever you want it, and not have to worry about who's doing what to whom and how many times? But our Heavenly example, Jesus Christ, placed Himself right in the midst of people. He had numerous situations when people were disrespectful, spoke with evil words and questioned His every move. Of all people, Jesus had every reason to hide Himself away and be away from people. Praise His holy name that He didn't. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and

DIY Mozzarella Sticks

Have you ever been dissatisfied with frozen foods? They're overly processed and they never cook up to the right texture. You can tell they're fried, whether you like it or not. In less time than you can thaw and cook up frozen mozzarella sticks, you can make your own. Not just ready in three steps, they're also fabulously delicious! Ingredients: 12 pieces Mozzarella cheese sticks vegetable oil all-purpose flour Italian seasoning 2 eggs Italian bread crumbs marinara sauce for dipping 1. Cut each cheese stick in half so you have 24 little pieces. Place them on a plate and put them in the freezer for about 2 hours. 2. Set up your breading station. Bowl one: flour and Italian seasoning. Bowl 2: two beaten eggs. Bowl three: bread crumbs and more Italian seasoning. (I like seasoning!) Dip and bread all 24 sticks before beginning to fry. They'll go quickly. 3. Heat enough oil in a skillet on high heat to half-cover the sticks. Add coated cheese and pan fry, turning once. Serve

Making Changes For Summer

'Tis the season for changing things up a bit. It's desperately hot outside, but the inside of your home can be cool and crisp. A few little switches and you won't want to leave your chilly abode. For example, this is my springtime floral centerpiece. I love these flowers and the rocks made the perfect "bring the outdoors in" piece. But it's really heavy for summertime. So to change it up, I just switched out the dark rocks for some aquamarine glass pebbles. They're clear so they feel much lighter, and the color looks just like the summer beach. Thirty seconds and you've got a fabulous summer decoration. Some other changes you can make for summer home decor: * Exchange your heavy comforter for a lighter quilt or throw. * Trade thick fabrics for brighter colors and transparent cloth. * Fill your home with plants and flowers. * Focus on natural lighting, natural color combinations and nature in general. * Choose prints that fit your summer theme: think pa

God's Love In A Cup Of Coffee

I was sitting in the local coffee shop recently. Not an unusual place to find me. It's a great place to get some writing done and get out of the house for a little while. New surroundings can make all the difference. A businessman was standing in line waiting to order when a soldier in uniform came in behind him. Being married to a retired Army bandsman, I notice anyone in ACUs. I just smiled at him as he walked past and went back to typing. The businessman was ordering when he saw who was behind him. Without hesitation he added, "And then whatever this man is having, I'll pay for that, too." The checkout girl smiled and turned to the soldier. I wouldn't way he was astounded, but he was definitely surprised. I know I was. As they stood together waiting for the bill, the businessman held out his hand and thanked the soldier for his service to our country. Several other people in the room saw and were smiling, too. It was a joy to see the honor they were willing to

A Weekend Of Happiness

Money won't bring happiness. Stuff won't bring happiness. A change in your life won't bring happiness. A different location, condition, relationship or position won't bring happiness. God brings happiness. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD. Psalm 144:15 Make this a weekend of turning to God for true happiness and pure joy. Things of this world won't do it, but the Lord can provide happiness. And provide exceeding abundantly above.

Only God Can Make A Tree

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:3 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Job 14:7 Sing, O ye heavens; for the LORD hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the earth: break forth into singing, ye mountains, O forest, and every tree therein: for the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. Isaiah 44:23 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. Matthew 12:33 And he ran before, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him: for he was to pass that way. And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him, Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down; for today I must abide at thy house. Luke 19:4-5 Blessed are they that do hi

Wash It All Away

Our area is in desperate need of rain. While other places around the country have flooding and water to spare, we're kicking up dust every time we move. The little storms we do have last just minutes. The ground only has a brief moment to take in all it can, while it can. We never know when the next quick storm will stop overhead. But these short showers are enough to wash away the grime that's been collecting on everything. The strong rains and powerful winds take care of the dust that's clinging to everything for the day. Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Psalm 51:2 My heart understands what the ground must feel like. I just need a good, strong shower from the Lord and I can be cleansed again. The grit and grim of the world are purged and my soul is renewed by His power. South Carolina may have to wait for the cleansing storms to come through again, but I can go to the Lord any hour of any day. And He is faithful to both cleanse and forgive

Summer Veggie Wraps

When it's oppressively hot outside and you're looking for a quick and easy meal, this is the recipe to choose. You'll only be at the stove for a few minutes and you'll have veggie wraps for the whole family. Ingredients: 1 bag broccoli and carrot slaw mix 2 Tbsp olive oil 2 Tbsp soy sauce Rosemary, thyme, garlic powder and Chinese five spice, to taste 4 whole wheat tortillas 1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add slaw mix and spices. Continue to stir fry until it reaches the desired consistency. 2. Warm tortillas. Divide slaw mixture between and wrap up. Quick and easy!

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

It looks like a stone pizza, or maybe a large rock cookie. But it's's even better! It's my dollar store centerpiece for summertime! This textured, multicolored stone mat cost me just $4 to make and it looks absolutely beautiful on our wood dining room table. It's not designed to lay anything on top of it, so you can appreciate all of the different stones and patterns in it. All you need is: * a sturdy place mat * two bags of river rocks * a tube of heavy-duty adhesive And all of those things can be found at the dollar store. If yours doesn't have a strong-enough glue, one that's made for something heavy like rock, check the hobby store and hardware store. You'll appreciate having it later. Starting in the middle of the mat, start laying out rocks. You can decide your own personal taste - you may want them very close together or you may want some of the mat showing through. My circular place mat is made of bamboo, so it looked better to have a littl

Death And Life In The Power Of The Tongue

I raced to answer the phone. I didn't recognize the phone number, but said hello anyway. A rushed, loud voice on the other end introduced himself as calling on behalf of one of our local rescue departments. It's a group we have supported financially in the past, and were on their call list. I knew immediately that he was calling to ask for donations to this year's drive. Unfortunately I also knew that we couldn't afford to give this year. All of these thoughts were going through my head as the caller rattled off his written-out script. He took no breaths and allowed me no time to get a word in. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Ephesians 5:6 As he finally wound down, he asked if this large amount of money - larger than we had ever given - would be acceptable to sign us up for. With the most polite voice I know how to muster I said, I'm sorry but we're not able to afford

A Weekend Of Gathering

We can all admit to not doing enough to fill the pews when the church doors are open. Some days it's enough to get ourselves around and ready, but that's no excuse. We can support our sisters in Christ and encourage all of our church members to be in their place. And gather thou all the congregation together unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. Leviticus 8:3 Make this a weekend of gathering - do whatever it takes to bring your own congregation to the door of the church house. Make phone calls, offer to pick someone up and have your own family ready to worship this Sunday morning. Gather the people together to worship the Lord.

Food Convenient For Me

Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain. Proverbs 30:8-9 And she gave the kind an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices great abundance, and precious stones: neither was there any such spice as the queen of Sheba gave king Solomon. 2 Chronicles 9:9 My son, eat thou honey, because it is good; and the honeycomb, which is sweet to thy taste: So shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when thou hast found it, then there shall be a reward, and thy expectation shall not be cut off. Proverbs 24:13-14 Ye shall bring out of your habitations two wave loaves of two tenth deals: they shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven; they are the firstfruits unto the Lord. Leviticus 23:17 And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them; and

Just Trying To Beat The Heat

With temperatures in the upper 90s to even 100 this week, the girls have become very indoor dogs. We've been going for our morning walk and then spending just a few minutes in the back yard several times a day. But that gets old after a while. So one day I hooked up our brand new garden hose to the sprinkler and put the girls out back. They're both mostly black lab, and what lab doesn't like water? Mine apparently. Bailey is the first dog in the water if we're at the lake or walking by rain puddles. But this sprinkler totally threw her for a loop. My plan was for the girls to run and jump and play in the water. But what you see is what you get - Bailey stood there getting hit in the face repeatedly as the water spun around. And you'll notice that Sadie is nowhere to be found in these pictures. She wanted nothing to do with this sprinkler, even with heat and humidity hanging in the air. Instead, she went to lay in the shade and chew on a stick. Water dogs, my foot!

Fourth Of July Treats

Sometimes you just have to make something completely fun and totally themed. I made these adorable little Rice Krispie Treat bites for our 4th of July fellowship at church. It doesn't get much cuter than that! Ingredients: 3 Tbsp butter 4 cups miniature marshmallows 6 cups Rice Krispies 1 pound candy coating Sprinkles and other themed decorations 1. Make Rice Krispie Treats according to the manufacturer's recipe. But instead of using a 9x13 inch pan, use a 9x7 inch pan. This will make them a little taller. Cool completely. 2. Cut the huge Rice Krispie Treat into 24 squares. Make sure the bottoms are all flat and can stand on their own. 3. Melt the candy coating as directed. Dip the top half of each treat in the chocolate, allowing a little to trickle down the sides. Immediately sprinkle with toppings. 4. As finished, place them on the serving tray or in the carrying container you'll be using. Don't move them anymore than you have to. Then place in the refrigerator until

Making A Reminder Bracelet

I had been looking for a reminder bracelet for ages, but couldn't find one that I liked. The idea is that it has number beads or different sized beads that represent a number. All the examples I saw were either very juvenile or just too busy for what I wanted. So I made my own. I wanted one that would count the number of glass of water I drink each day. Popular theory is to drink eight 8 oz glasses of water each day, though the amount really varies by location, time spent outside and the humidity level. So I'm trying to average eight glasses. Now, I know how to make necklaces and bracelets on jewelry wire, but that wasn't the look I wanted this time. Instead, I found a 2 1/2 inch bracelet with a 2-hook closure. It's the perfect length for my thin little wrist and is a more solid base for the beads. Then I very carefully unbent one hook to string the beads onto. If you do this too violently or try to bend it more than once, you'll snap the wire. I found some beautif

If It Bothers You...

I love order. Organization makes me feel calm and centered. When I'm in the middle of chaos and mess, it always seems like I get just as frazzled as the room. Recently I was on a professional organizer's web site and I got a revelation. The title of the post was "If It Bothers You...Change It!" I didn't even read the article. I just sat there and meditated on that sentence for several minutes. I'm really not sure why I had never thought of my organizing in this way before, but it's really very simple. If there's something in your home - a closet, drawer or system - that just gets under your skin, take the time to change it. Usually time is the major obstacle and procrastination gets in the way. But deciding that the bother is worse than the short time commitment changes the way you look at the situation. But what rocked my world was when I meditated on it further. God opened my eyes to the possibilities "If It Bothers You...Change It" could h

A Weekend Of Liberty

We have heard the word liberty many times during this week leading up to Independence Day. We are a free country, we have liberty and we have the ability to make our own choices. We thank our military, past and present, for making that liberty possible. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 Take time this weekend to remember where true liberty comes from. It's not freedom from a ruling country or the right to do whatever we like. The saved have the liberty of Christ, freeing us from the bondage of sin and death. What a glorious liberty we have received!

The Army Of The Lord

When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the LORD thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. Deuteronomy 20:1 And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses. Nehemiah 4:14 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought in the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet d