Archive for Great Quotes

Book Giveaway: The Life Giving Home!!!

UPDATE: THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER AND THE WINNERS ARE DEBBIE S AND JENNY M!

I’m super excited to be able to offer a copy of Sally Clarkson’s newest book, the Life Giving Home, to TWO Joy-filled Days readers, courtesy of Tyndale House publishers!

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Here are a few of my favorite quotes:

“One of the first obstacles I find in presenting the vision for the importance of home is the almost unconscious assumption on the part of many modern people that home is inherently a sentimental notion and that beauty is peripheral to spiritual formation. We discount our own homesickness as a form of weakness. We marginalize the beautiful. We dismiss the aesthetic as second class. WE think of beautiful spaces and comforting traditions as spiritually unnecessary and underestimate the profound importance of a safe place for growing minds and souls.” Sarah Clarkson, pg 15,16

“We must understand homemaking not as a retreat from the fallen world, not as a retrenchment from culture, but as a profound engagement with it. ” Sarah Clarkson, pg 17

No matter what has transpired throughout the day, we can close it by speaking to our children’s hearts with something like, “I love you no matter what. Please forgive me for my impatience today” or “I forgive you for your disobedience today” or “You are very precious to me. I am blessed to have you.” pg 56

“So often we get caught up in the immediate things, the practical tasks–getting the housework done, doing our jobs, checking homework, paying bills, disciplining our children. yet it is the emotional and spiritual atmosphere our children and friends breathe–the way we treat people, the foundations of the grace we live by, that will attach their hearts to ours and ultimately to God.” pg 65

“Even as an orchestra needs a conductor to choose the music, lead rehearsals, and unite all of the instruments into a harmonious sound, so every home needs someone to conduct what I call the life music of home–its atmosphere.” pg 24

To enter, use the form below and either follow us on Instagram, share on Facebook, or comment below. Easy. <3

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Interview with Karen Ehman and a Keep.It.Shut Giveaway

THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW OVER AND WE HAVE A WINNER. CONGRATULATIONS, BERNADETTE V! I’LL BE EMAILING YOU SHORTLY! :)

Today, we have an interview with KAREN EHMAN, a writing friend and hospitality kindred spirit about her new book Keep.It.Shut. Woo hoo!

Karen’s book A Life That Says Welcome is one of my all-time favorites and her super easy yeasty crescent roll recipe is now my old standby as well. (pg. 145)

IMG_3580If you’ve never read it, consider adding it to your hospitality library.

But, I digress, because today we’re here to talk about her new book Keep.It.Shut, a book about using our words wisely. And not just WHAT we say, but the WAY in which we say them.

 

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Here are a few great thoughts from the book:

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“God is patient. He doesn’t fly off the handle in anger. His love never runs out. His faithfulness never takes a vacation day. And God’s Son knew how to impart grace when he spoke while here on earth: “All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips.” Luke 4:22″

“When we flip-flop these two commands—being slow to listen and quick to speak—it often leads to the third part of that verse: we are quick to become angry.[sic] speaking too soon combined with not listening leads to conflict–and conflict leads to anger.”

“If we want to avoid offending our friends–or committing any number of verbal sins–we need to control our lips. And taking a first step can be simpler than you might imagine. When we sense the Holy Spirit telling us that things are starting to go downhill, we can simply say, “I’m sorry. I’m talking too much.”

There are just too many great quotes in this book to mention, so without further ado…let’s get started. :)

Sarah: When I think of Karen Ehman, I naturally think hospitality, family traditions, etc. What experiences prompted you to write Keep.It.Shut?

Karen: Having my mouth get me in so much trouble over the decades of my life! Seriously. It is the old case of any strength carried to an extreme becoming a weakness. I enjoy talking. But I let it get out of hand often. And when it does, I have often found myself in a heap of trouble.
Sarah: What hope would you give to the woman who has had a lifelong struggle with foolish/sinful speech patterns? What gospel hope could you offer?
Karen: Christ redeems and makes all things new. That even applies to our words! When we are intentional to follow his example and to be quick to ask forgiveness when we do sin with our mouths, we can start to form new habits and patterns over time. Then, instead of constantly using our mouths in a way that is not pleasing, we can begin to see that happen only every once in a while as the habit of our speech becomes more godly.
Sarah: Struggling with words is something we all struggle with to some extent or another. And then there are some women who seem to blurt anything that comes into their mind like a verbal drive by shooting. I have a friend whose mother in law has no “filter” and it can be hurtful. I know we’re not responsible for the behavior of others, but what  do we need to know about these women in order to be more compassionate to them and love them well?
Karen: Believe the best about someone before we assume the worst. Give them the benefit of the doubt. They mean well, their mouth just often misfires. It helps for us to remember that, although we might not regret our words as often as someone else, we too have an area of our life where we tend to trip up in sin. Having grace helps us to wipe the slate clean in our relationships with others so we can continue to relate without negative baggage from the past.
Sarah: How can young moms train their kids to be careful with their speech?
Karen: By modeling it. By asking forgiveness for our mama mouth when we blow it. And we will blow it! We don’t want our children to think we are perfect and that we never send in what we say. We want them to see a mom who is striving to be Christ like in her speech but who also knows where to go when she blows it. She goes to God and she goes to the person she has offended, even if it is one of her children.
Thank you so much, Karen, for such great advice!
Now, you can enter to win a copy of Keep.It.Shut. Giveaway ends Tuesday. I hope you win! :)

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*Post contains affiliate links to Amazon. I received Keep.It.Shut free to review. All opinions are my own.

Ever Feel Stuck? Critical Advice We Need to Grow.

I was encouraged this week by this quote from Stepping Heavenward,

God never places us in any position in which we can not grow. We may fancy that He does. We may fear we are so impeded by fretting, petty cares that we are gaining nothing; but when we are not sending any branches upward, we may be sending roots downward. Perhaps in the time of our humiliation, when everything seems a failure, we are making the best kind of progress. – (Elizabeth Prentiss)

elizabeth prentiss

During hard times, we have a critical decisions to make: Cling to Christ and saturate ourself in His word, or choose an easy path, finding comfort in spilling our guts to friends, complaining, mindless entertainment, over-eating {chocolate! lol} shopping {retail therapy!}, electronics or other escapes. {other gods. Who you turn to in time of trouble is your “reigning god.”}

As Christian women, we’ve got to choose to send down roots by digging into God’s word! Oh, I know that roots are not that impressive on the surface, but don’t you love to be around a woman who’s rooted and grounded in the Word of God? She’s scripture saturated, grace filled and spirit empowered? She’s allowed the “word of Christ to dwell in her richly” and because of it, like a tree with deep roots, she is personally stable, steadfast, producing fruit and providing shade and refreshment to other women! That’s the kind of woman I want to be.

Like Elizabeth Prentiss encourages us, send roots downward.

  • When life seems like it’s at a stand still and no visible progress is being made, send roots downward.
  • When you feel insignificant, under-appreciated  or unloved, send roots downward.
  • When children are unmaking the house as faster than you can clean it up, send roots downward.
  • When your husband is unsupportive or out of the picture, send roots downward.
  • When people fail and friends disappoint you, send roots downward.
  • When you’re lonely, send roots downward.
  • When your energy is gone and your health is depleted, send roots downward.
  • When money is low and bills are mounting higher, send roots downward.
  • When your calling is hard and you don’t see visible fruit, send roots downward.
  • When emotions are raw and your mind is confused, send roots downward.

See, all of these things were made to make us grow and how I respond determines if I grow better or become bitter.

I’ve learned that sometimes God strips away the things we value in order to give us something we should value more–>HIM.

What is that ONE THING, ONE SITUATION, ONE PERSON in your life you feel needs to change in order for life to be good again?

Those things are the very catalyst that God wants to use to refine me. It may hurt, but He’ll get rid of sinful tendencies, blind spots, any impurities or rough spots that don’t reflect His glory properly, and on the other side I’ll be more like Him. That’s why trials should be counted as “Joy.”

So that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:7

One of my favorite songs that we sing with our teens at church is God’s Refining Fire by Mac Lynch. The lyrics are a prayer for God to strip away whatever He sees fit.

God’s Refining Fire Lyrics

Oh Lord we pray thy will be done, or Master here am I.
We pray you’d do a mighty work, that to the flesh we die.
And when the answer comes to us in form of trial and test,
We fail to see your loving hand, refining fire is best.

God’s refining fire, God’s refining fire.
May it purge me now and make of me what you require.
Oh Lord feed the fire, your refining fire.
Now as gold and silver must be tried, Lord may my heart be purified.
Lord send your great refining fire.

That I may stand when you appear, abide till your return.
Oh place the fire perfectly that all my dross be burned.
Whether furnace of affliction Lord, or unfulfilled desire,
Bring forth a vessel pure and tried, by your refining fire.

I hope they encourage you to count your trial as all joy, and embrace what God is doing right now. It might not feel like joy, but DON’T trust your feelings. Feelings come and go and will tell you that you have the right to do and say all kinds of terribly sinful things. Don’t trust them. Go to God’s Word for your “reality” check, and put down roots there.

 

 

Weekend Edition: Recipes, Books and Art I’m Loving Right Now.

I don’t normally write on Saturday, but here I am. Winter seems long right about now, and to compensate (I think) I tend to fill the house with flowers. Peter bought me these hydrangea after the last blizzard, and surprisingly, I haven’t killed them. Emily made this adorable centerpiece by arranging old milk jars we had in the cellar. Did you know that my great-grandfather was a dairy farmer in Plymouth and he was one of the last in the area to deliver milk to the community? So milk jars just seemed right for this quick centerpiece.

My tulips were a bit droopy, so putting them in old milk bottles helped them to survive a few more days.

Peter's grandmother taught me to water plants from the bottom and let them drink up the water as they want to. So far so good. It's been two weeks, and this hydrangea is still living.

Recipes:

For Valentine’s Day, I made Peter this dessert for maple creme brulee from the New York Times online website. It was gooood. It was also not on my diet. Ahem.

Hope and I made this delicious Grandmother’s Bread recipe. We split the dough in half and used one half to make the orange sticky buns variation for breakfast. Extremely good bread and would make great sandwich bread. (I tasted a bite, but behaved myself.)

Strawberry Summer Salad is one of my favorite recipes to make for company. I always top it with Grilled Caribbean Chicken. Served with rice, roasted veggies, and grilled bread, this makes a delicious, easy meal. I served this last night for dinner when we had a young couple from our church over. Here are the recipes:

Strawberry Summer Salad.

Strawberry Summer Salad

1 head red leaf lettuce

1 pt. strawberries, sliced

4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

1. c. chopped pecans

Salad Dressing: Wisk together until well mixed: 1 cup veg. oil, 3/4 c sugar, 1/2 c. red wine vinegar, 2 cloves garlic minced, pepper to taste. Pour onto salad.

*I use less sugar, and it comes out fine. You can also use sugar substitute.

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Grilled Caribbean Chicken

1 envelope Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing Dry Mix

2 T. brown sugar

2 T. oil

2 T. soy sauce

1 t. cinnamon

1 t. fresh thyme (or 1/2 t. dried thyme in a pinch)

2 lbs chicken pieces or boneless skinless breasts

Mix the dressing mix, sugar, oil, soy sauce, cinnamon and thyme in a small bow until well blended. Pour over chicken mixture and let marinate for one hour. Grill chicken until done, over hot coals, until cooked through.

Blog Posts that Inspired Me:

1. This post from Ruth at Gracelaced resonated with me. It is encouragement to embracing motherhood for what it is. This is the desire of my heart and something I keep in the forefront of my mind. Read it here. I also wrote A Letter to Young Mothers here.

2. When we are quick and careless to glibly counsel “You just need to give yourself grace!” when a mom is discouraged or desperate, we may be doing them a disservice. Each opportunity to counsel comes with a responsibility to also accurately assess and apply God’s truth to your friends situation as discussed in this great post.

3. This excellent post on praying like Jesus from Good Morning Girls. Here’s an excerpt:

“A person who values prayer will make it a prominent part of their lives because they understand that they can’t do “it” alone, whatever “it” is. They know they are not wise enough to make decisions on their own, and are not strong enough to handle the circumstances they are in without divine assistance. We will pray when we understand we are not spiritual enough to grow in godliness in our own effort. A woman of prayer is therefore humble.

On the other hand if prayer is not a major part of our lives we are basically saying that we don’t need God’s help. We believe we can figure it out on our own. It means that we are looking for answers, comfort, and strength somewhere else–in ourselves, in another, or in the world. A prayerless woman is prideful, and in a practical sense atheistic.”

Go read the rest of it here. You’ll be glad you did!

4. This week on the blog we talked about friendships that leave us disillusioned and noted that not all friendships are created equal, and that’s okay. We’ll continue this topic in more specifics next week.

5. Emily, my 17-year-old, wrote this article on complaining. I’ve thought of it several times this week as I began to open my mouth to sin mention several annoyances this week, like “I can never find the cord to my GPS.” Let that sink in for a moment. ahem. Thankful for a reminder from my precious girl, and God’s word.

Books I’m Reading/Considering:

I’m still working through Jesus + Nothing = Everything, and will probably re-read it again so I can take better notes the second time through. The best explanation of grace that I have read in a long time. (grace that leads to true godliness.) Peter is going to read this after me and I’ve already told my two oldest that this book is required reading for them.

My kids have been mainlining on The City of Ember series. For some reason, every once in a while, they pull that series down and read all four books in one week, like they can’t get enough. Holly tells me that these are her favorite books ever, and that the movie did not do the books justice.

I am making a list of titles to purchasing from Amazon and am looking for recommendations. I prefer non-fiction right now. Has anyone read these?

A Steadfast Heart: Experiencing God’s Comfort in Life’s Storms I might order it to read as I travel this month to visit Rebekah at school.

I’ve heard such great things about Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History, and since I love studying Christian women of the past, I hoped this would be an interesting read.

Comforts from Romans: Celebrating the Gospel One Day at a Time is Elyse Fitzpatrick’s newest book. She is one of my all time favorite authors and so I know that I’ll enjoy this and benefit from her insight.

Artwork:

Right now I am finishing up an English cottage picture, researching for a new commissioned piece, and working on some fun ACEO pieces with Hopie. ACEO art is so popular right now, and in a nutshell it is original art in trading card size. (2.5×3.5″) Fun to make, affordable, adorable in a frame and people love them.

I also made this reminder for myself:

Oh, and look what I found blooming again in the midst of this harsh winter. :)

What are you reading these days? Any great recommendations for me?

 

 

 

 

 

Forgetting Christ At Christmas

I am embarrassed to admit that it is easy for me to forget Christ during the Christmas season.

It is easier to focus on my to-do list than on my Savior. There are presents to be bought and wrapped, Christmas cards to be addressed and mailed, baking and decorating, parties and activities.

And worse, sometimes I know my focus is out of balance and I still desire the meaningless and trivial. My flesh wants “happy” when I know God’s Spirit is leading me toward “holy.”

The thought comes to my mind…

If Satan can’t make me bad, he’ll make me busy.

Busyness means that my mind never “lands”–it just flits from event to event, from one responsibility to the next. When I have free time, I create things to do. I resist sitting still. I mask the emptiness with fun songs about silver bells and a white Christmas.

Why? Could it be that I am actually avoiding Christ? That I am looking for satisfaction in the lights, merriment and wonder of a season, rather than in the person of my Savior, Jesus Christ?

If you are forgetting about Jesus this Christmas, the season might seem hollow and empty.

This quote from John Piper sums it up:

“If you don’t feel strong desires for the manifestation for the glory of God, it is not because you have drunk deeply and are satisfied.

It is because you have nibbled so long at the table of the world. Your soul is stuffed with small things, and there is no room for the great.”

(A Hunger for God)

If I do nothing else this season, I want to make sure that I:

1. Am in God’s word every day, especially when I am busy. (And I want to teach my children about Jesus every days as well.) And not just in God’s Word, but meditating and communing with God throughout my day. Conversing with Him. Celebrating for his glory.

Celebrating Christmas while forgetting the Savior is counter-productive and meaningless.

2. Desire the Giver more than the gifts that He graciously gives. God is good, and gives good gifts, but He wants me to love Him more than I love the gifts.

3. Guard my mind and be careful what I “ponder.”

Scripture teaches that “Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.” What I think about and meditate on exposes/directs my desires. What I spend my time doing exposes what I value. I tend to put time and effort into what’s important to me. I want to fill my mind with the truth of God’s Word.

So, pray for me, would you? That I would enjoy the season, and all the fun and good gifts that God gives, but that I would treasure Jesus Christ and make knowing Him the goal of this season.

Are Bikinis Modest?


Yesterday I spent a day on the beach with my kiddos.

You may not know this about me, but I am a people watcher. Want to know what I noticed yesterday?

 Bikinis are not modest.

Sorry to have to use the flip flop image in a post about bikinis, but I could not find a family friendly bikini image for the life of me. Hmm...

I saw scores of pre-teen girls, 8-12 years old, who have been marketed to and “sexed” up by our culture, parading around with just small scraps of material covering their private areas. I pitied them, and got a knot in my stomach thinking of pedophiles watching them on the beach. These are just little girls, who don’t know any better. They don’t understand that there are grown men behind brands like Abercrombie, with their controversial push up bikini for girls as young as 7 years old, who are marketing this stuff.  We live in a P*rn culture, with a staggering 11,000 p*rnographic movies made each year. (Why is this trash being made? Because there is a demand for it, just like any other thriving “product” in our economy.)

But as Christian women, we are counter cultural and we know that scripture speaks of women dressing modestly, appropriately and with humility.

1 Tim. 2:8-10

Therefore I want the men everywhere to pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or disputing. I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, 10 but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.

Bikinis cover less than your bra and underwear cover. A lot less. I contend that they are NOT modest.

No one would ever answer the door in their underwear under any circumstances because it is just plain too scantily clad to be considered decent. You wouldn’t walk down the street in your “unders”, or walk around Walmart like that. (okay. unless you want to land yourself on peopleofwalmart.com or course)

I would not talk to your husband in my “unders” if he came to our house, nor should you feel comfortable talking to my husband in yours if he came to your door. That would be totally unacceptable and just plain weird–not to mention, if you DID do that, I would be forced me to break out my ninja moves and cut you. (just kidding. sorta.)

So, why do we feel that it is right to walk around in less than our underwear in front of the general population?

What was once only meant for the bedroom is not openly seen in public. Can this be right?

Does God think our clothes are no big deal?

C.J. Mahaney:

There is “not a square inch” of our lives—including our closets—with which God is not concerned. Even more, he cares about the heart behind what you wear, about whether your wardrobe reveals the presence of worldliness or godliness.

All respectable apparel is the result of a godly heart, where modesty and self-control originate. Your wardrobe is a public statement of your personal and private motivation. And if you profess godliness, you should be concerned with cultivating these twin virtues, modesty and self-control.

Modesty means propriety. It means avoiding clothes and adornment that are extravagant or sexually enticing. Modesty is humility expressed in dress. It’s a desire to serve others, particularly men, by not promoting or provoking sensuality.

Immodesty, then, is much more than wearing a short skirt or low-cut top; it’s the act of drawing undue attention to yourself. It’s pride, on display by what you wear.

Self-control is, in a word, restraint. Restraint for the purpose of purity; restraint for the purpose of exalting God and not ourselves. Together, these attitudes of modesty and self-control should be the hallmark of the godly woman’s dress.”

and John MacArthur:

“How does a woman discern the sometimes fine line between proper dress and dressing to be the center of attention? The answer starts in the intent of the heart. A woman should examine her motives and goals for the way she dresses. Is her intent to show the grace and beauty of womanhood?…. Is it to reveal a humble heart devoted to worshiping God? Or is it to call attention to herself, and flaunt her…beauty?  Or worse, to attempt to allure men sexually? A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe and appearance.”

Just to be clear, I am not saying that one piece bathing suits get a free ride either. They can be just as immodest. I get that. I wear a two piece tankini and feel that it is my “most modest option” short of calling attention to myself in something that looks like it came from the 1900’s. If there were no modest options, to be honest, I would just avoid wearing a swimsuit all together.

Just to be clear, you CAN be covered over in a burka and still have a heart that is proud, self seeking and not holy.

What say you? Are you struggling to teach your daughters modesty? Do you find it hard to bring your sons to the beach, because you don’t want to bring them to a place where they will have to fight their own flesh the whole time?

 

 

 

Protect Yourself From Lies by Diving Into Truth

 

Every once in a while, a little soul searching is a good thing.

Some questions:

Do you know error when you hear it/read it?

Are you unknowingly speaking error to yourself? When someone presents error, do you recognize it?

When something is just a tiiiny bit off from the teaching of scripture, but they say they believe in Jesus as the only way to God, and they are using all the right buzz words and seem to be genuinely seeking, do you know error from truth?

When someone adds to the Word of God, do you see that as error?

When someone claims that some religious activity will bring you to a higher level of communication with God, or that abusing the body as penance will help you along as you seek God, do you believe that?

If someone sincerely believes something that is contrary to scripture, do you still believe he is wrong? Or is your truth based on whether you believe yourself to be sincere?

Today’s Christian family is in danger, because we live in a culture that does not believe in moral absolutes. In fact, our culture says “Whatever you believe is fine for you. Just as long as you are sincere.”  Who do you think is propagating this lie? This is a very disturbing trend, and one that cannot be embraced by Christians.

When you think about Satan, do you think about a fun guy–a party animal? Someone who has been around and really knows the ropes? Or do you think liar? Perverter of what is right and good? Glory thief?

Did you know that Jesus told us that He was the Truth? And that His word is truth?

We live in a world where nobody believes in absolute truth. We are tolerant of anyone and anything, but we are not tolerant of anyone who claims that one religion is absolutle truth. It was the same in Jesus day.

“You are a king, then!” said Pilate.

Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.

 “What is truth?” Pilate asked.

Jesus said,”I am the way, the truth and the life, no man comes to the Father but by me.”

And we need to know the truth about ourselves and about God. If we don’t know the truth, then we are believing lies. Without God’s truth shining into our lives, we have  a skewed view of life and our purpose. Just like when you peek into a carnival mirror to see yourself but instead see a distortion. A misrepresentation of what you truly look like.

Do you see two women looking in the mirror or something else?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the truth, and that satan is “a liar and the father of it.” (John 8:44.) Satan has been lying since the first days.

He tries to make us doubt God’s goodness.

He wants us to sin, not because he cares about us…but because sin is an affront to a thrice Holy God.

He lied about sin’s consequences and told Eve “You will not surely die.”

He lied about God’s motives and blamed God for being the shady one- “God knows that in the day you eat, you shall be as gods,” he slandered.

In other words, Satan was accusing God of having deceitful motives.

Satan tried to convince Eve that God was just trying to keep her down.

He maligned God, and told man to sin and that everything would be okay.

Does Satan ever whisper things like that to you?

“Oh, you need to be seen. Your story needs to be told.” “A little sin won’t hurt you. Everyone does it.” “God doesn’t expect anything from you…remember you are just dust.” “Your kids will be fine if they see that. They need to know about the REAL world.” “You don’t need accountability. You can run your own life.”

We need to see things the way God sees them, and not through the carnival mirror of Satan’s lies.

Jesus is the truth.

 And if you want to see the truth about your sin, you don’t need a deep theological background or thorough biblical knowledge. You simply need to look at the cross. At the cross, we see the horror of our sin. We see what God thought of it.

Think of Christ as an effigy. “He was made in the likeness of flesh,” the Bible tells us.  Have you ever seen people burning an effigy of a public figure in the Middle East on the news? They are pouring out their anger on the effigy, and that is exactly what they would do to the actual person if they could just get there hands on them.

Christ took our sin on himself, the Holy One who never, ever sinned. The brutal reality of the cross is the result of our sin.  And the result was that God turned his back on Jesus. He turned his back on his one and only Son, because his Son was wearing our likeness(effigy) and took our sin.

When we look at Christ on the cross, we come to grips with the fact that satan has lied to us. Our sin is a big deal. And God does love us. He loves us right where we are…but He won’t leave us there. He wants us to change. Just like a mother who loves their baby just like they are, but is still going to change their soiled diaper, because it is better for her to be clean.

Satan wants us to believe the lie. He is counting on it.

“Left to ourselves, our guilty consciences only tell us that God is against us, that He is the God with a big stick. We see Him only as the One who sets the moral standards for us, most of them impossibly high, and therefore who cannot but censure us when we fail. There is nothing to draw us to a God like that. But the cross of the Lord Jesus shows us God as He really is. We see Him, not charging us with our sins, as we would have thought, but charging them to His son for our sakes.”- Hession

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their sin unto them (2 Cor. 5:19)

In the face of Jesus Christ, marred for us, we see that God is not against the sinner, but for him; that He is not the enemy but his Friend; that in Christ He has not set new and unattainable standard, but has come to offer forgiveness, peace and new life to those who have fallen down on every standard there is.” 

“The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came through Christ Jesus.”

The question is not are you good, but are you telling yourself the truth? Are  you seeing yourself and your sin as God sees it?

Jesus said unto them, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father, but by me.”

Ladies, we would be wise to guard our own hearts and homes from “deviant” teaching. And if you lack discernment, I have to tell you that I would turn off Christian radio, blogs, books, etc…and ONLY read God’s Word until you were grounded.

 

How about you? Are you listening to those lies? Are you spending more time worrying about earthly things instead of reading the Truth?  Get reading, today!

LINKED TO COURTNEY! AT WOMEN LIVING WELL

Surrendering Our Will- Even in Harsh Conditions

You may remember this post that I wrote last year about my lone pansy that had grown in our rock patio entitled “Growing Between A Rock and A Hard Place.”

Well, this week I came out to find a surprise. My little pansies were no longer alone. They had grown and multiplied and are now lining the wall of my stone foundation and bluestone patio. Seems that they did well in spite of their rocky surroundings. In fact, they not only thrived, they reproduced.

Do you believe that God has you right where He wants you today, whatever your circumstances?  Do you view them as an another opportunity for dependence on Christ and a surrendering of your will on a moment by moment basis?

In the midst of what seems mundane, can you embrace your reality or will you spend your days wishing things were “different”?

Can you accept your limitations, problems, trials–and even embrace them as good gifts?

Can you bloom where you are planted?

Let me encourage you today to remember that God is working on your behalf. Though the circumstances might not be what you “signed up for”, they are in fact what God is using to mold you into the image of His son.

It’s not about happiness. It is about holiness.

Happiness is temporal. Holiness reaches forth and carries on through eternity.

Doing what makes you happy is the easy way. Doing what makes you holy is the up hill, fight for every inch gained hard way. It is the upward path.

“Brokenness is the shattering of my self-will – the absolute surrender of my will to the will of God. It is saying “Yes, Lord!” – no resistance, no chafing, no stubbornness – simply submitting myself to His direction and will in my life.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

And when you bloom where you are planted, despite your surroundings, you show God’s grace in your life…and you encourage others to bloom around you.

“I have learned that in every circumstance that comes my way, I can choose to respond in one of two ways: I can whine or I can worship! And I can’t worship without giving thanks. It just isn’t possible. When we choose the pathway of worship and giving thanks, especially in the midst of difficult circumstances, there is a fragrance, a radiance, that issues forth out of our lives to bless the Lord and others.” Nancy Leigh DeMoss

How about you? Are you whining today or choosing to worship?

LINKED TO SISTERS IN BLOOM

 

Friday Five (on Saturday)

 

So, I know it’s a day late, but here is our Friday Five. :)

But before we start with that, look who’s home:

She got in during the wee hours of this morning. We slept in late, had a special breakfast, had friends and family drop in, and tonight we are spoiling Rebekah with all of her favorite foods.  :)

1. Reading:

Just finished up A Woman’s Wisdom: How the Book of Proverbs Speaks to Everything and I highly recommend it. It was challenging, comforting, convicting and extremely practical.

2. Working on: 

Art for a series of Vintage Style Watercolors that I am painting. I love sketches of children playing outside and enjoying wholesome pursuits. I am hoping to have prints made of this series to sell in local shops. 

3. Learning

A little more about using whole grains. This week I made this simple salad using bulgar (1 cup bulgar soaked in 1 cup water for an hour), chopped avocado, red onion, chopped tomato and lemon juice. It was very easy to make and delish.

 I also made homemade Larabars.

I used use the food processor to chop each ingredient separately and then I mixed them together by hand: chop to two bags of pitted dates, 10 oz. cashews, 5 oz. almonds, 4 oz. Blueberry Craisins, and 1 cup mini chocolate chips with a splash of vanilla.

Then I pressed them into a glass pan lined with wax paper and refrigerated them for two hours. Cut and store in tupperware.

* Next time I make them I may try to add a tiny bit of blueberry juice to make them a little more sticky. But they are delish!

I am also excited to try several different flavors. Perhaps orange craisins next time with chocolate. Oh, are these supposed to be healthy? Ahem.

And Hope made these little guys out of biscuits:

4. Pondering:

These quotes:

“Our worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God’s grace.” – Jerry Bridges

My stomach literally turned as I read this sad account of a young, Christian woman who died of anorexia at the age of 30. She was 66 pounds. Even more upsetting was the take of the Christian periodical that reported it. I was saddened because as a disciple of Jesus Christ, she didn’t have to let this sin control her. Tragic Death and the Gospel.

“Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.
We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”  Jerry Bridges

5. Planning

We have National Hoops coming to our church this week and are excited about this Evangelistic Outreach to the area of Brockton. I am hosting Mother’s Day for my mom, so I have a special meal to plan. We also are running around getting Bek ready for her missions trip. She leaves in two weeks!

How about you? What are you reading right now? Learning? Did you find the article about the young girl who died of anorexia as upsetting as I did?  

Weekend Dribble Drabble

 

Some things that caught my attention this week:

Amusing.

An Amish gang? I was mildly amused by (okay, that’s a lie. I was cracking up)  this article about four Amish women gone “wild”…and taking to cutting off beards. Yup. Hair cutting. It’s the new vandalism in the Amish community. Running around the field with horse mane shears. Come on now, really, Amish moms…can you please get your girls in hand so they will stop this tomfoolery? here

Pondering.

This article by Steve Haftler entitled Morality is Not the Gospel. I have been pondering this article for some time. I know I already posted it. But it is one of those things that the American church struggles with. Doing good and looking right is not the gospel, folks.

Not So Common, Common Sense.

I have an amusing book to recommend, How to Be A Lady. I first fell in love with this little volume while I was waiting for Peter in a Brooks Brothers Store. I was attracted to the rich navy leather binding, which I admit is a shallow reason to pick up a book, but as I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down.

Moms, teaching your daughter good manners is important, but living them out yourself is the real teacher. Not stuffy manners, just common courtesy.

For instance:

“A lady doesn’t ask dating couples when they are getting married. Likewise, she doesn’t ask married couples when or if they are planning to have children.”

“A lady never compliments one person when she is in a group setting. She chooses a moment when the two of them are alone to offer her compliment.”

“A lady graciously accepts a compliment. She does not downgrade herself as if she did not deserve the admiration from the other person. She simply responds with, “Thank you.”

“A lady knows that false congeniality is as obvious as bad false eyelashes.”

The companion book, entitled “As a Lady Would Say” reads in a similar way:

“If a lady realizes, in retrospect, that she is guilty of an unintentionally rude or thoughtless remark, she attempts to set the matter straight, at her earliest opportunity.”

“If a lady is subjected to a rude remark or rude behavior, she does not offer rudeness in return.”

“A lady does not take part in major arguments over minor issues.”

“Faced with the option of using an unusual word or a word likely to be more familiar, she chooses the word that her hearers are more likely to understand.”

I used to think manners were common knowledge, but they are not. With a whole generation of women who grew up without a mother in the home, these  things were clearly not passed along. And there is nothing that makes you shake your head in disbelief quite like a woman with poor manners.

 

Home life. 

We took a few days off this week to go down the Cape. We took the kids to Nausett Beach and enjoyed the completely empty landscape. Gorgeous.

I told the kids to grab their pails and shovels, towels and beach toys…and this is what Hope brought. An empty ice cream container, an empty tennis ball container and a snow fort maker. Why??? We have a shed full of pails and shovels and sand molding toys.

 

This week we celebrated my son Matt’s 15th birthday. He had some friends come over for an airsoft war. He wanted “false teeth” ice cubes for the drinks. Boys!– So different than girls! (I know. News flash! ha ha) I love him so! And I didn’t take ONE picture. sigh.

I also purchased some new throw pillows for my home with a gift card that I got for my birthday. I have a thing about throw pillows…and dishes…and throw blankets.

 

Reading.

I am still reading Love to Eat, Hate to Eat by Elise Fitzpatrick. If you have ever struggled with weight loss or eating disorders, this book is for you. Her “DISCIPLINED” eating questions were excellent:

  1. Doubt: Do I doubt (for whatever reason) that I can eat this food without sinning?
  2. Idolatry: Does eating this particular food demonstrate a heart either of independence—“I can do whatever I want”—or a heart longing for pleasure—“I know that I don’t need this for my sustenance, but I love the feeling of the sweet coldness”?
  3. Stumble: If I eat this, will it cause a weaker Christian to stumble?
  4. Coveting: Am I eating this just because I saw someone else with it and I’m coveting it?
  5. Inroad: If I eat this, will it create an inroad for sin?
  6. Praise: Can I eat this food with thanks and gratitude? Is my heart overflowing with songs of praise to God?
  7. Life: Would eating this food harm my health in any way?
  8. Illustrate: Am I modeling good eating habits for others and encouraging them to be self-disciplined, or do I encourage others to self-indulge?
  9. No: Am I able to say no to this even if I know that I can eat it without sin?
  10. Emotions: Does the desire to eat this flow out of a heart of anger, fear, frustration, or depression?
  11. Distract: Will preparing or eating this food distract me from something better that God has for me to do?
  12. Enslaved: Does it bring me under any kind of bondage?

All of this, of course, can be summed up by one question: In my eating and drinking, am I glorifying God? (1 Corinthians 10:31). I am going through this book with a woman at my church and I have been so blessed by it.

I am also reading Legacy of Faith by Lydia Brownback. I called Rebekah at BJU and told her that this was required reading for her, especially the chapter on waiting for God in the area of dating and marriage. :)

And I have tried to start the Hunger Games two or three times now…but I can just never seem to get into fiction. I am going to try again…soon…ahem.

What are you reading these days? Have a great weekend!