Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week 3 - Making My Home a Haven

Making My Home a Haven Challenge

Week 3 Assignments
  • Make a list of areas in your home that are visually stressful because of the clutter and clear them out.
  • Consider any spiritual "clutter" you've noticed. What gets in the way of peace in your life?
  • Continue last week's assignments.

Clutter, oh my, clutter.  See, I'm one of the people that is VERY organized ONLY about certain things... like school work, office work, but when it comes to the home... I have like little piles everywhere that are titled "MY MESS".  Those piles of mess though ARE organized to me and ONLY me.  I guess it's that creative instinct in me, who knows... but I truly DO know everything in a pile of mess.  Actually, if I move it, then I get confused.

So this weeks challenge was HARD for me.  But I decided to take my piles of messes and find an organization system for them.  So every place where a pile of mess was - I put a cute basket in place that was out of the way and organized it inside the basket with colorful file folders to label sections for easy filing.  Then I had my son pick out a basket of his own and we decorated it - this basket became his "put away" basket.  So, when it's clean up time at the end of the day, he puts it all in the basket and wheels it into his room to put everything away.  Worked out GREAT! And has helped me save time on cleaning! :)

As for spiritual clutter, God has been dealing with me personally on small things that I have overlooked in my life.  But these things that I thought were "small" were actually vital to some very important people in my life.  I went through some forgiveness time, and then seeking the Holy Spirit to change me - I can't say I have arrived.  I am a work in process.  God is helping me and "patience" is a definite virtue that I need to work on MORE!!!

My son is absolutely enjoying this challenge with me, I love being asked "can we light the peace candles?" and now he wants to help light them with me.  So we walk through each room and as we light each one he'll say "Thank You, God, for peace in our home."

I can truly say that peace is beginning to reign in our home... and we've had some testings come up to try and disrupt that peace, but we CHOSE to be peaceful instead.  We conquered these testings, some we failed - but Thank God, they are only tests! :)

How is your week 3 coming along?

Menu Mondays

Menu Mondays

Welcome to my first post of Menu Mondays.  I will post weekly our "menu" plan for the week.  This is a complete menu plan with breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner, and desserts!

Download this weeks menu plan: 10/31-11/6/11

Enjoy! Be a blessing and happy homemaking!

November Challenge: 30 Days to be Thankful

This is a fitting challenge as it will fit right into our homeschool theme! I hope others decide to take on this challenge too.  Thankfulness is such an important part of our Christian walk - it's the beginning step to receiving God's peace!

Read about this challenge at Becoming a Strong Woman of God and see if this is something you would like to be part of too.

If you are joining with me on this challenge, please post a comment, so I can keep you and your family on my prayer list.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Abiding Fruit: PEACE

Abiding Fruit Study: PEACE

Passage to Read: Philippians 4:4-9

Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again – Rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do.  Remember, the Lord is coming soon.  Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing.  Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable.  Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Keep putting into practice all you have learned and received from me – everything you heard from me and saw me doing.  Then the God of peace will be with you. (NLT)

Peace is a promise with a condition!
-         Ask and Thank, THEN you will receive
-         Practice what you learn from me and see me doing, THEN you will receive

Imagine never being worried about anything! How great would that be?!?! I know, I know… it seems like impossibility – we all have worries: finances, marriages, kids, pets, car issues, schedule conflicts, health conditions, you name it it’s a worry! But Paul gives some awesome advice – turn your worries INTO prayers.

Think of it like this:      WORRY = STOP, DROP, AND PRAY!!!!

Yes, it is that SIMPLE! Literally, wherever you are, when worry creeps up, don’t give the devil a foothold to corrupt your mind – STOP, DROP, AND PRAY! Give it to God, and then watch God give you the words to tell the devil to combat that worry – you are VICTORIOUS and you will defeat worry, if you just get on your knees.

Our Thoughts are SO important! I don’t think we realize that our “thoughts” is something we are held accountable for too.  I know you are probably thinking “WHAT?!” – but it’s true.  God knows EVERY thought you think, just like He knows your heart!

Think about it this way…

Computers are serving nearly every segment of society.  But they have on flaw – they are dependent on the programs and information put into them.  So, is your mind!

Your mind is like a computer.  If it only has crud going into it, you will most likely only think about, say, and do “crud”! But if you think about what is pure, just, honest, right, holy, true, worthy – you will find that your thoughts will be held captive to the Word of God and produce LIFE to you.  It really is as simple as this!

The hard part comes in trying to keep out the “crud”! It truly doesn’t take much to pollute our minds.  So, what is the solution? Reprogram your mind! There are no shortcuts or convenient ways to do this.  This takes work and dedication.

Steps to reprogramming your mind:
1.    Guard your eyes!
What do you watch on TV? When you turn on that certain show you can’t wait to watch, does it give you nightmares at night? Does it bring glory to God? Does it make you feel good about yourself? Does it change your attitude? Depending on your answers, you might to rethink what types of shows you are allowing your mind to watch!
2.    Guard your ears!
What kind of stuff do you listen to? Think about the music, the radio, the friends in your life.  Do the things that are “said” by these sources… do they bring glory to God? Do they make you compromise your faith? Do they change your attitude? Do they make you feel good about yourself? Depending on your answers, you might have to make some changes, and yes, that could mean losing a friend.
3.    Guard your heart!
What kind of stuff are you reading? From magazines, to the blogs, to the internet, to books… Do these things bring glory to God? Do these things make you question what the Bible says? Do these things make you feel good about yourself or do they make you want to “like” a picture or image? Depending on your answers, you will want to audit your reading style and make a change.

The more exposure to things that have polluted your mind, the longer it will take to clear our minds and reprogram them!

The reprogramming process beings when we realize that destructive thoughts and images are trying to get a foothold in our mind, and then kick them out!  You kick them out by using the Sword of the Spirit – the Bible! Begin memorizing Scriptures to conquer the pollutant in your mind and you will defeat it and reprogram your mind – and the freedom you experience is like none other!

My Princess,

I want your mind fixed on Me, My beloved. But I want even more from you. I desire great things for you, so I want you to guard your mind by making an "aware list"--all the things you watch, listen to, and read. Let Me show you the things that can carry you away from your calling and destroy your dedication to Me. Even your thoughts can be held captive by the ways of the world.

I want to protect you, but I will never force you to listen to My Spirit or make your mind dwell on what is true, pure, and right. The choice is yours, My love. You can have an abundant life, a blessed life-a life of influence for others to follow; or you can join the way of the world. I, your God, am asking you today to let your mind dwell on Me, and you will discover the kind of life you long to enjoy not only now, but forever.

Your King and your Peace of Mind 

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
~Philippians 4:7, NIV~

© Sheri Rose Shepard, His Princess Ministries from “His Princess Love Letters from Your King” book.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Should Christians Celebrate Halloween?

People always come up and they ask “Why do we ‘celebrate’ Halloween?” Yes, Halloween is the darkest night of the year and it is called “Devil’s Night”.  Yes, Halloween came from a pagan culture and witchcraft.  And we could argue our opinions to no end, but even the Bible speaks of that as foolishness for we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).  If you really think about it, you walk out into a world of darkness every single day.  The Bible says that there is an enemy after us and he is out to kill, steal, and destroy us (John 10:10), and if we are not careful we will help this enemy accomplish his mission.

Halloween is a dark night, and if we as Christians shut off our lights, close our doors, lock up our houses, we are basically saying to the devil “there’s a WORLD out there, accomplish your mission, we will not participate for we are hiding”.  And we’ve let the devil reign on Halloween night for years and years and years.  I don’t know about you, but I’m angry… I’m tired of the devil in my family, I’m tired of the devil in my church, I’m tired of the devil stealing away and robbing us of our freedoms.  And I’m not going to sit and let the devil do this every single year…

I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Jonathan who looked up into the high place and saw that the enemy had taken over the high place, instead of hiding, Jonathan and his armor-bearer climbed up and defeated the enemies! (I Samuel 14)  Our purpose is not to hide, but to further the Kingdom of God, and that does not stop on one night of the year.  Isaiah 60:1 says this, “Arise Jerusalem! Let your light shine for all the nations to see! For the glory of the Lord is shining upon you.”

According to Scripture, the Word of God is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105).  Do you see this flashlight here? When we accept Jesus into our hearts, we accept the Light of the World into our lives, which means we receive a light.  But if we only once in awhile pick up the Word of God, guess what? Our light will not work, so you continue to walk in darkness.  Let’s say you read your Word, but it only stays head knowledge it never reveals in your life, so you can quote Scriptures, but those Words you are speaking out don’t match up with your actions, guess what? That’s like putting batteries in my flashlight the wrong way, and my light will not shine.  But if I pick up the Word of God, I read it, I let it manifest itself in my life, and I realize that my thoughts are not God’s thoughts and that my ways are not God’s ways and I follow the words that I read, guess what? My life is going to reflect the Light of the World, for my path and for others to see Jesus in me!

This really hit me hard this week and I started researching out the word “light” in the Bible and to my surprise that single word is found in almost every Book of the Bible and it appears many, many, many times!  Now, I want to ask you this question… “Why do we NEED to celebrate Halloween?” And the answer is found in Scriptures…

  1. Matthew 5:14-16 says, “You are the light of the world – like a city on a mountain, glowing in the night for all to see.  Don’t hide your light under a basket! Instead, put it on a stand and let it shine for all.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your Heavenly Father.”
  2. John 1:5 says, “The light shines through the darkness and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
  3. Acts 13:47 says, “For this is as the Lord commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the world, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”
We need to be this… A LIGHTHOUSE!!! Let's look at the qualities of a lighthouse:
  • A lighthouse stands out by itself.  Sometimes in ministry, it feels like we are standing alone when surrounded with many different personalities, beliefs, opinions, and we are trying to tell them about Jesus and they are wanting to do a myriad of other things.  But as you stand there with a message to deliver… you are shining out like a beacon!
  • A lighthouse watches out for those in trouble, in distress, heading in the wrong direction … how many times in caring for others do you do exactly that, especially if you have little ones? And perhaps it isn’t pleasant to be the one to correct, instruct, remind and remind again… but it is necessary.  A lighthouse is necessary!
  • A lighthouse gives light when conditions are foggy, or hazy, or stormy, or just simply dark.  They make a pathway at a time when visibility is difficult.  You do that.  You really do.  So many times in families’ lives things get foggy and hazy.  They need you – they need all of us – to shine our light steady and true, unwaveringly, to help them through these times.  A lighthouse is a sign of refuge, safety and redemption!
  • A lighthouse adds beauty.  And that you do.  Your smile, your love, your commitment to Jesus and to this church and the community in particular adds beauty to everyone who gets to witness it – whether they realize it or not.

A lighthouse has a light in its tower and it revolves on a time interval.  The reason it revolves on a time interval is so that no matter where you are standing the light that you see is BRILLIANT, it’s not a weak light.  If we are a lighthouse that is stagnant, we need to start picking up our Swords, the Word of God, and asking Jesus what needs to be removed in our life.  When Jesus was on the earth, He was not a stagnant light; He was constantly moving, spreading the Word and giving life to the darkness.  Luke 11:36 says it like this, “If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight is shining on you.”

Here’s an illustration...  When I got married the most important part of my wedding that I cherish the most was the lighting of the unity candle.  See she has a light in her, and he has a light in him… and see, when 2 or more are gathered in Jesus’ name He is there amidst them.  When these two combine their lights together, something radical happens… the light GROWS! It becomes more brilliant, more radiant.

Now think of this, if we are all housing a light in us, what do you think will happen when we decide to bond together and create one BIG lighthouse? I need 3 volunteers.  As these people bond together with their lights in hand and they become one lighthouse and they become an example of Christ moving as He did, the light grows, the light is brilliant, and it lays out a pathway for all those needing and wanting the light to come to.
Everybody take a moment and feel under your chair and pull out the star that’s stuck to your chair.  Stars are like lighthouses too, since the earth rotates, the star always appears brilliant and it twinkles… but no matter where you are in the world, that same star shines bright.  This star is a reminder that you have been brought to life by God and He lights up your darkness.  This star is a reminder that it can NEVER be extinguished by the darkness, because even if the godly fall down seven times, they always get up (Proverbs 24:16).  This star is a reminder that God is jealous over you and He’s jealous of those walking in darkness because He wants to free them, just like He freed you! It’s time we stop hiding our light and step out like Jonathan and take a stand!

Halloween is no longer Devil’s Night! The devil is no longer going to keep us in hiding so he can continue to steal, kill and destroy in the darkness… because we are going to be a beacon of light, shining a path for those who want redemption, freedom and salvation!

So, again I ask, “Why do we NEED to celebrate Halloween?” Because there are people out there that were just as lost as you at one time, that need the light that is in you to guide them to the Savior, Jesus Christ.  Keep your star and let it remind you that God made you a light to the world to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Abiding Fruit: Love = Excellence (1 Corinthians 13)

Passage to Read: 1 Corinthians 13

1 If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.
   4 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud 5 or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. 6 It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. 7 Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
   8 Prophecy and speaking in unknown languages[b] and special knowledge will become useless. But love will last forever! 9 Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! 10 But when full understanding comes, these partial things will become useless.
   11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[c] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.
   13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.

LOVE! The greatest of these is LOVE!!! This is SO true, but what we have to remember is that the "love" spoken of in this chapter has nothing to do with feelings, has nothing to do with a person, has nothing to do with whether someone did something or not... this LOVE is AGAPE love, and this love is unconditional and it requires a CHOICE to love like this.

I also believe that to have this kind of "love" grow within us, we have to stay in the vine (meaning we must remain in Jesus).  If we stray away, we cut off the nutrient source to the branch (us), and that will result where we think we can get what we need from other sources.  And yes, as humans, we think we can "seek" out love in other things, but really all it does is leave us empty, broken hearted, and wounded.  But if we would just remain in Jesus, following His Words and living out His will, we will grow this "agape" love within us.

See our society today confuses love with lust.  Unlike lust, God's kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourself.  It is utterly selfish.

This kind of love is unconditional - you can do whatever you want, but this love will remain.  God's love never fails! God's love is always there! God's love      is beyond the imaginable!

This is the kind of love I want to grow within me.  I don't want to be a selfish person, but there are times that I fail and think "but I DO everything" or "what about me?" - and that's not what God wants me to do.  He wants to me to love unconditionally without any preset notions to people, to my husband, and to my son.  I find it rather easy to have this kind of love with people and my son -- but at times this is hard to do with my husband.  I can fail at times and that "about me" syndrome will rise.  And all that does is cause chaos, more arguments, and pretty much adds fire to the fire -- it's not a pretty sight.

But if I could learn to love my husband with this agape love, peace, joy, patience, and true love will grow in our relationship in a way we have never seen.

So, I choose to give up the "me" syndrome.  I choose to fulfill this 1 Corinthians 13 agape love in my marriage because I want to change.  I want to love my husband and treat him like I would Jesus - meaning I give him the BEST, I give him 100+ percent of me, I make my home a haven for him, I dress to impress... and more.

What I find rather interesting though, 1 John 4:8 says "God is love".  If you take 1 Corinthians 13 and replace every word of "love" with "God" - how amazing it is to see that you can't LOVE without God and at the same time, you HAVE to remain in the vine to receive love.

Fall Challenge: Week 2

Making My Home a Haven Challenge

Week 2 Assignments

Peaceful music? What?! That's like a HUGE challenge in my home, as my son thinks Veggie Tales is "peaceful" and my husband would prefer hearing the hum dum of announcers for a football game... so, I just had to laugh this off! Did I play peaceful music? Yes, Veggie Tales for my son - which had that song, "Peace like a river, I've got peace like a river, I've got peace like a river in my soul" - totally fit the theme; and when the hubby turned on the announcers, I turned on the iPod and listened to the following:

Yes! Rock-n-Roll for this girl!!! But the words in the songs speak volumes and help me enter into the presence of God, where I experience the fullness of His peace and He consumes me.

 Do I like softer music? Most definitely.  I'm not partial to any "one" type of style of music.  I also listen to the following for peace:

This CD absolutely will melt your heart and want to make you RUN into the Father's arms and just rest there! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this CD - and so does the rest of the family - so this was a WINNER in our home.

What were the "winners" in your home?

As for focusing on peaceful words, I decided to use Scriptures.  Why not? They are the LIVING Word of God and can bring peace far beyond than we can imagine.  So, I created a powerpoint of "peace" Scriptures and then I created a "Peace" Binder.  I would play the powerpoint with out music throughout the day and pull out the "Peace" binder in the morning and in the evening before bed to read through the Scriptures with my son (morning) and together as a family (evening).  This has been such a wonderful experience for ALL of us -- and I am seeing that I am becoming to "slower" to anger, watching my son memorize the verses, and seeing my husband relax when he comes home -- I couldn't ask for anything more, as that makes me SOOOOO happy!!!

And of course, we still light the "peace" candles every day -- my son LOVES this!

How is your week 2 coming along?

Blessings and Peace to you,


Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Challenge: Week 1

Making My Home a Haven Challenge

Week 1 Assignments
  • Get a large candle and light it each day.
  • Whenever the candlelight catches your eye say a prayer of peace over your home.
  • Reflect on the type of wife and mother you are: peaceful or disgruntled?

I decided to put a candle in each room of my house (well, that had the space for a candle, hehe).  So, I have a candle on dining room table, on a stand in my living room, on a counter in the kitchen, and in each bed room.  As I lit the candles in each room, I prayed out loud.  I prayed out loud only because my son was whining and my husband was getting frustrated with his whining because he had a headache and so I figured if I prayed out loud, I could at least "hear" myself think.  To my surprise the praying out loud ceased my son's whining and my husband calmed down - WOW! Talk about instant peace in the home - woohoo!!! I knew God answered prayer, but that was more than instantaneous, it was like "now".  :)

When I started praying out loud I was just quoting Scriptures of peace and turning them into prayers.  Then throughout the day as I was working with Jordan for school, playing games with Jordan, doing the laundry, cleaning up around the house... every time I saw one of the candles flicker its flame, I just said out loud "Thank You Jesus for lighting up my home with Your peace!"  Jordan listened and then caught on, so everytime we would walk into a room with a candle flickering he would say "Thank You Jesus for lighting up my home with Your peace" too.

As to what type of mother am I...  I have to say I can be both, peaceful and disgruntled.  The times when I'm peaceful and patient and slow to get angry are when things run smoother and usually when I am tested the most.  But the times when I am disgruntled, is usually when everything just gets turned upside down, moods go all over the place for everyone, and peace? - ha! it's nonexistent!

I have decided that every morning when I wake up, I CHOOSE to put on the Shoes of Peace! When things start to get chaotic, I CHOOSE to pray to God.  When my last nerve is about to bust open, I CHOOSE to quote Scriptures of peace.  When the husband comes home from the battlefield stressed, worn out, and wounded, I CHOOSE to make my home the haven he needs for peace, comfort, and healing... so he would not want to feel like it would be better to be on the battlefield than at home!

Abiding Fruit Study: Why We Struggle

Abiding Fruit: Why We Struggle

Scripture Passage: Romans 7:15-24
15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
   18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.
   21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?

The amazing about becoming a Christian is…

That’s right! When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, believing He is the ONLY way to heaven, we are SET FREE from the bondage of sin.

Does that mean we don’t sin? No! I fail ALL the time, but thank God for this verse:

“The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.”
Proverbs 24:16

Though we may fall, we will rise again.

The importance of this passage is that we realize the following:
·        I am not perfect.
·        I do make mistakes.
·        I do not always make the right choice.
·        I am not Mrs. Always Right!

Is the picture clear yet?? No matter how hard you try.  No matter what you may think you are.  You are NOT perfect!!! Actually, I’m far from it.  When there are days that I have a whiny son, no sleep, an impatient husband… I just about lose it and my self-control disappears (to where? I have no clue!) and anger arises in me that I’ve never seen before.  It’s like I went from “fun” to Cruella Deville! Ugh! And I feel absolutely horrible when it does happen… the words that flare up and that end up spoken – I wish I never had said.  And once they are out and on the table, I can’t take them back, I can only apologize and try harder next time to not let anger overtake me and let the peace of God surround me!

I’m learning when I have days like that, to just take a “time out” for myself – walk away, pray, and let God give me the words to say, the strength I need, and the peace to tackle the day.  When I do that, I find my home is at more peace and the attitudes of everyone changes!

The passage here in Romans 7, is a reminder of where I was before I found Jesus – a slave to sin! But thank you, Jesus that you have FREED me from the bondage of sin and all my mistakes are wiped clean and separated as far as the east is from the west.

This passage also reminds me, I am NOT a finished product.  As Romans 8 says, “There is now no condemnation for those who live in Christ Jesus.  And because you belong to Him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.  He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit.”
The importance of Romans 8 is that though we have been freed from sin and no condemnation is upon us, we still have TO DO something – FOLLOW THE SPIRIT!

We must listen to that still voice that whispers in our ear or sometimes stops me in my tracks with a shout to get my attention because at times I just am too busy.  But God will stop me and get my attention.

It’s in that moment, He has given you the advice you need to follow.  Then I have a choice to make – do what I “feel” I want to do or actually do what I “know” I need to do.  Do I always choose the right way? No! There are times where I have argued with God and said, “BUT”… and yes, I have followed my own way and realized the hard way! And then I end up doing it exactly like what God had told me and the blessings pour in – but think about how many more blessings I could have had, if I had just responded the right way the FIRST time?!?!

Obedience is the key to remaining in Him and Following the Spirit!!!

Something, we are moms, desire to teach our children – “obedience”… and yet, here I am still learning myself how to completely surrender myself to authority!

That’s why I love this verse:

“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.” James 1:3-4

The key in this verse is “tested”.  A test, something that is given to see what you know, you might pass it or you might fail it – but again it’s ONLY a test!

Tests are given to us in our life to prepare us for the TRIAL! I truly believe God gives us tests in our life because He is waiting for us to learn the right way.  And once we have passed the tests, God does give us the trial, but thankfully God gave us those tests, so we CAN get through the trial (because we learned what to do, how to respond, etc.).

And my tests aren’t over yet… I have them daily, but I know it preparing me for the trial that is yet to come so that I can PASS it!!!  Because God is molding me, shaping me, pruning me, and delighting in me!

Things to Ponder…
What tests are you going through right now?
What is it that God is trying to teach you?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Halloween Party Ideas with a Christian Impact

Below are a couple of great party ideas with a Christian impact ...

Theme: Daniel and the Lion's Den
  • Game: Daniel and the Lions' Den
    Make a "whiskerless" lion to attach to the wall.  You can use a projector to trace the face of a lion on posterboard and then paint.  Once dry, attach to the wall.  Put velcro strips (fuzzy side) on the lion's face for whiskers.  Then put velcro stips (the stick side) onto ping pong balls.  Have your child try to attach the balls onto the whiskers of the lions.

    Ask: Why are the lions' mouths closed?
    (because God protected Daniel in the lion's den)
  • Craft: Pom-pom Lion Pencil Topper

    Unsharpened Pencils (1 per child)
    1" brown pom-pom (1 per child)
    1/4" gold/tan pom-poms (4 per child)
    Black Felt (1 square piece per child)
    Brown & Orange Tissue Paper
    Circle shape cut out of cardstock

    1. Hot Glue the circle shape to the top of the pencil.
    2. Glue the Brown pom-pom to the center of the circle.
    3. Glue the small gold/tan pom-poms (2 on top for ears, 2 on top of the brown pom-pom to make the snout of the lion).
    4. Cut out a triangle and 2 circles from black felt, glue on the pom-pom for ears and nose.
    5. Rip brown/orange tissue paper and glue around the pom-poms to make the mane of the lion.
  • Snack: Lion Crackers
    You need 1 Ritz cracker, three mini M&M's and two licorice strings per child.  You will also need peanut butter and julienned carrots.

    1. Coat the cracker with peanut butter.
    2. Use the mini M&M's to make eyes and a nose.
    3. Use licorice string to make whiskers.
    4. Use the julienned carrots to make the mane.
  • Puzzle: What's Missing?
    Use a coloring page of Daniel in a den.  Tell the story of Daniel in the Lion's Den and then have the children draw what is missing (lions, angel, etc.) and color the rest of the page.
Theme: Walls of Jericho

  • Game: Walls of Jericho
    Using cardboard blocks make a wall and give the child a playground ball.  Child rolls it to knock down the wall.

    Say: Joshua was a great leader! With God's help the walls of Jericho came tumbling down!
  • Snack: Crumbling Walls
    Need: chocolate milk, plastic cup, graham crackers, frosting (any flavor)

    1. Frost the graham crackers and sandwich together.
    2. Place the graham cracker sandwich inside the plastic cup.
    3. Pour the chocolate milk over the graham cracker sandwich.
    4. Watch the walls crumble.
  • Game: Be Silent! Shout!
    Play the cake walk game, only the kids have to walk around to no music and being VERY quiet 6 times around and on the seventh time around, they walk to the music, shouting and making lots of noise - when the music stops, draw the number and they win!

Have Fun and Be a Blessing!


Abiding Fruit - Remaining in the Vine

Week 2 of the "Abiding Fruit" Bible Study (from had us read the following passage:

John 15:1-10

“I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. 3 You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. 4 Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.
   5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. 6 Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. 7 But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! 8 When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.
   9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love."

This passage in the Bible is the source of EVERYTHING we need.  If we are the branches and Jesus is the vine, then we need to STAY connected to Jesus to obtain EVERYTHING we need (and want).  And yes, including what we want, for Jesus also told us "to ask for anything using His name and He would do it to bring glory to the Father".  And yes, that means asking for things that line up with His Will, otherwise we are asking Him to do things that will NOT bring glory to the Father.

The most important factor in our walk with Jesus Christ is to abide in Him.  The more we abide in Him, the more we will have peace, victory over sin, and be IN HIS STEPS.

I don't know about you, but I WANT to be "in His steps".  I want to walk the path that He has destined for me.  I want to be on the course that leads to everlasting life, joy, peace, and love! And the only way I can do that is by remaining in Him.

Personally, I truly believe if we looked up the word "abide", you would find that the above passage has a deeper meaning:

1. to remain; continue; stay
2. to have one's abode; dwell; reside
3. to continue in a particular conditions, attitude, relationship; last
4. to put up with; tolerate; stand
5. to endure; sustain; or withstand without yielding or submitting
6. to wait for; await
7. to accept without opposition or question
8. to pay the price or penalty of; suffer for

To abide has to do with the concept of "being" not "doing".  We still are doing the things that God has called us to, but we are doing it in His strength and resting in Him to know that He is taking care of everything.  Picture it like this...

A newborn rests in her mother's left arm while the mom goes about pouring the coffee, pulling out the breakfast plates, putting breakfast on the table, answering the phone, taking messages, etc... and all the while here is this precious baby "sleeping" in her arms while the CHAOS of life is going on around her.

If ONLY we could learn to climb up in our Heavenly Father's arm and REST! Knowing that He is taking care of the CHAOS that life brings on a daily basis. 

Abiding in Christ is about having an intimate relationship with Him.  The relationship is more important than the things we do or don't do.  The more we are abiding in Him, the more we will be faithful.  We will hear His voice clearer, not be works oriented, and have more peace in our life.

Picture intimacy as this: IN TO ME YOU SEE

To abide is to experience His presence! I LOVE to get into the presence of the Lord.  After reading the book, "Threshing Floor" by Juanita Bynum, I DESIRE to go to the threshing floor with My Prince, Jesus! I want to dine with Him! I want to feel His feathers cover me and shelter me with His wings, like it says in Psalm 91:4.

How do you get into His presence? I quiet myself and listen for that still voice.  I pray out loud, despite the chaos of the home - for when I do this, my child stops screaming and starts to listen, my husband's anger melts and peace enters my home.  I put on worship music and I dance! I LOVE to dance and music to me is the heartbeat of God!  How do you get into His presence? No way is the wrong way!

These are the key things I took away from this weeks study:
  • Eternally connected
  • Everything I need is given to me in the time of need
  • Let Him take control
  • Source of Life

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sonshine Tot School: Letter Tt = Thankful

Hop over to my other blog: Sonshine Tot School

Just posted up an entire lesson on Thankfulness for tots! Complete with Bible lesson, coloring pages, puzzle, sorting activities, etc.
My husband and I went and saw the movie "Courageous".  An absolutely awesome movie about the family and really shows how absent fathers has produced the culture we live in today.

We were so impressed by this movie that my husband and I sat down and created together "Our House Rules", "Consequences", and "Time Out Prayer Cards".  We based everything around Scripture.  And I got this idea from Erica on her blog, just tweaked much of it to fit to our family and lifestyle.

The Time Out Prayer Cards are for after the discipline is given, then we pray with our son together.  These cards we created are to break down Scriptures to a level that he can understand and to keep the prayer simple, as it starts the same and ends the same.  If you want to see an example of these, click on the link below:

Time Out Prayer Cards

I hope everyone can get out to see the movie "Courageous", whether you are a father or a mother, it will speak to your heart.  And you will want to change your household after seeing this movie... truly inspirational! :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Abiding Fruit - Secret to Fruit-Filled Living

Week 1 of the Abiding Fruit Bible study had us read Galatians 5:16-26

16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. 18 But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
   19 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, 21 envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
   22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
   24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. 25 Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives. 26 Let us not become conceited, or provoke one another, or be jealous of one another.

My questions that came from this passage were:
1. How can I produce the kind of fruit that is everlasting every day?
2. How can I keep my flesh nailed to the cross and resist it every day?
3. And if I fail, how do I become stronger?

I prayed these 3 questions to God and all day long God was feeding into me the answers...

First, I received an e-mail, no different than any other day as it's a subscription e-mail, but it ANSWERED one of my questions, here is what the e-mail said...

My Princess,

I am the vine – your spiritual lifeline – and you are My beautiful branch that produces fruit for all to taste.  I am in you and with you so that you flourish.  We are eternally connected.

You will never feel alone or abandoned as long as you stay connected to Me.  Wherever you are I am there, ready to give you whatever you need for that moment in time.  I delight in flowing through you, My precious one.  I will never disconnect our relationship even if you try to run from Me.  My loving arms are always open to welcome you home.

Always remember that nothing you do or say will ever change My love for you.  So stay close to the Vine, My Love.

Your King, the Vine

“Yes, I am the vine; and you are the branches. 
Those who remain in Me, and I in them,
will produce much fruit. 
For apart from Me you can do nothing.”
John 15:5

So, how can I produce ever lasting fruit every day... because I AM ETERNALLY CONNECTED TO HIM through the vine!!!

Then God started pouring other things into me...
1. Resisting comes through a daily prayer walk and spending time with Him.  God started showing me that if I want to keep my flesh at bay, then I need to talk with him daily about EVERYthing.  STOP running to friends, family, and even my husband, that I needed to run to Him and ONLY Him - for He has promised me that if I ask any request, He will grant it to me.

2. The more I persevere in a daily prayer walk of spending time with My Father, He will give me the strength to stay on the right path.  And if I fail, He has promised to pick me up and carry me.

Then I decided to look up why Paul wrote this letter to Galatia and discovered this:
False teachers, called Judaizers, were attacking the Christians of Galatia.  They were insisting these Gentile Christians must be circumcised and follow the law of Moses to be saved.  Faith alone in Jesus was not enough to save the Gentile Christians.  They must add their own works of the law to be saved.  This false teaching of the Judaizers threatened the true gospel of salvation and endangered the faith and salvation of the Gentile Christians in Galatia.  Paul wrote the letter to clarify and uphold the true gospel that we are justified by grace through faith alone in Jesus without the works of the law and to prevent the Christians in Galatia from losing their faith and salvation.

Isn't amazing how it is NO different today??? We still have churches and people chastising within the Christian church about the same things -- "you can't do this or you can't do that or you shouldn't say that" -- and yet, all we do when we do that is demean the Christian faith!!! What an eye opener.  It truly is about "faith" and "abiding", which will lead to next weeks study...

Fall Bible Study - Abiding Fruit

I have joined up with "Do Not Depart" in their fall Bible Study called "Abiding Fruit", now on week 3 and I'm diving deeper into God than I ever have before, the insight I have gained is amazing (especially on verses that I have read a thousand times before).

You can find a copy of the study guide here: 

You can join in the study by visiting this link:

I will be adding posts of what I have discovered through this study each week...