Sweet Assurance

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Yesterday I watched a video from The Wilds Christian camp in New England.  My heart was so touched by the testimony of how many lives have been reached through its ministry in the nine years of its existence.  But the most compelling part of the video came at about a minute and 45 seconds in when I heard several testimonies from campers from this past summer.

My name is Abby and this week I got assured of my salvation.

My entire life, I considered myself a Christian, but this week God showed me I wasn’t, and I got truly saved.

On Tuesday I got saved because I realized that I needed Jesus and that I couldn’t do it without Him..

In all this world there are many things that we can know about, but the most important truth is to know where you will spend eternity when you die.  These young people made that decision based on God’s Word, and now they have the peace in their heart that when they die, or when Christ comes, they will spend eternity in heaven. I love hearing how the one young man thought he’d been saved, but then he learned the truth about what salvation really is and found out he wasn’t saved the Bible way!

The last testimony shared something that many people don’t understand.  Going to heaven isn’t based on our goodness, our works, or our ability to save ourselves.  It’s all based on what Christ did on the cross.

That is so opposite of a testimony I heard several months ago as I was listening to a Christian radio station.  The broadcaster had her grandson, around eleven or twelve on the air with her.  She asked him to share about a decision he’d made recently.  Here’s what he said,

Well, my grandpa died and I was really sad.  I know my grandpa is in heaven.  I figured the only way I’d ever see him again was to be saved, so I got saved, and now I know I’ll see Grandpa again.

Does that testimony make your jaw drop?  It should, because that is not true salvation.  The radio announcer/grandmother gushed and praised him for his decision.  But I cried out loud, “What decision?!  You see, being saved isn’t a form of escape or a shrugging of our shoulders to get a front row seat to a heavenly ball game we’re sure Grandpa is playing “up there.”

Making the decision to “be saved” is to be rescued by Christ’s death on the cross from the fate of our sin – which is eternal death and separation from God.  When we realize that we are sinners and there is nothing that we can do to save ourselves, we understand that our sin was transferred to Jesus when He took our punishment and He died on the cross to pay the penalty. He took our place to make us right before God that we could have eternal life with Him in heaven.  It’s with a broken and a contrite heart that we come to God to receive what Jesus did for us.  We don’t sign our names to join a church, or do as the radio testimony did and figure heaven is the better option.  We bow before a holy God, turn our back on our sin and receive His Son.

If the camera at that camp was on you, could you give testimony to the fact that you have received Christ as your personal Savior and you’re sure you’re on your way to heaven?  It’s the sweetest assurance to have in this life, because it will determine your eternal destiny.

If you’ve never trusted Christ, why not stop now and pray a prayer something like this,

God, I know that I’m a sinner and I deserve hell, but I believe that you sent Jesus to die in my place.  I repent of my sin and accept what Christ did for me on the cross.  Come into my life and save me.  I fully trust in You to cleanse my sin.  Help me to live for You and to have the courage to tell someone of this decision I’ve made today.  In Jesus name, Amen.

I’d sure love to rejoice with you if you accept Christ as your Savior!  Would you contact me using the email info in my Contact section here?  Don’t allow yourself to go through this life without this sweet assurance!

Lovingly,

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Chipped Cups and a Thankful Heart

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There’s a routine that happens in our house several times every day – perhaps it looks similar at yours.  It’s the washing and cleaning up after a meal. Most people don’t relish scraping lasagna off dinner plates, deciding which Rubbermaid container will hold the remains of the tossed salad, getting all the dishes into the already-full dishwasher or cleaning out the drips on the oven floor, but it all must be done.  The blessing of these tasks at my house is that I never work alone.  My thoughtful husband works alongside me until the towel is folded over the edge of the sink and the kitchen light is turned off.  It sounds like a pleasant scene, doesn’t it?  It truly is, and I try to thank my spouse often for his diligent efforts to help me with this daily chore.

But I haven’t always been the smiling spouse and happy housewife during this task.  As ungrateful as it sounds, there have been times when I’ve corrected him for the way he was handling the dishes.  He’s a big guy with big hands, and my dishes have often cringed under the force of being picked up or set down in a not-so-gentle way.

Of course, it was my duty to tell him, right?

Only if I wanted to crush his spirit about helping, when he could have been off doing any number of far more important things than washing my “riches.”

Only if I wanted to hush the chatter we had been having while we worked side by side in our sudsy love.

Only if I wanted to make him feel like my son instead of my husband, my leader, the head of our home, and the provider of the very home in which we were working.

Only if I valued my possessions more than a happy marriage.

But I did it and I regretted it. I confessed it to my God and to my hard-working, strong husband.

I decided after that that it was far better to work together, each of us happily humming, talking, teasing, laughing, and loving, than to be doing this triple-day duty by myself just so I could keep my dishes – my riches – without any nicks.

God knew I would need this reminder and He put it in the form of a proverb –

Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great riches and trouble therewith.

Proverbs 15:16

Yes, it’s better to have plates with a hairline crack, a bowl put in the wrong cupboard, or a set of eight glasses that only number seven now, than to have a perfect set of dishes without the comradery that happens when we work together with right hearts.

My dishes were my “riches” that proverbs mentions.  What’s yours? What form of perfection or higher standard comes between accepting gracious help or refusing it?  If your husband attempts to help you at home, do you appreciate his efforts, or do you demand perfection?  Do you accept his help, or ask him to go do something else so the task will be done the way you want it accomplished?  Maybe you need to remind yourself, as I had to do, of the blessing of a man who will be kind enough to offer a hand.  Think about whether you’d rather be sitting at home alone with your “riches” around you, or  living happily as one, with a little less “riches.”

I think many wives must come to grips with this truth.  So, if this rings true in your heart, know that you’re not alone.  Our sinful heart wants our way, instead of the wonder of a sweet marriage that comes when two people work together with happy hearts.

When it’s all said and done, what’s left of my dishes may only be chipped cups and splintered saucers, but if my heart is full of gratitude instead of grumbling, there will also be a whole lot of love that got splashed up in the soapy process.

That’s what I’m going for.

How about you?  What are the “riches” that are causing you to be demanding and critical instead of thankful for your spouse?  Ask God to help you exchange that criticism for gratefulness. Then smile while you sip your coffee from that chipped cup!

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Easy Stromboli

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If you don’t own a Gooseberry Cookbook, I’m telling you, you’re missing some great recipes!  I have one that’s for entertaining that is full of promises of happy things!  There’s not a recipe in there that’s not been really good!!  I recently pulled it out looking for a quick and inexpensive lunch-type food I could serve for after church Sunday night.  I came across this recipe for Easy Stromboli and was sure I’d found a winner…I was right!

This is appropriately named Easy, becuase it was a cinch to make.  Frozen bread dough also makes the prep fast and inexpensive.  I bought a package of 5 loaves for a little over $4 at Kroger.  I also made it and baked it before we went to church.  Then when we got home, I just warmed it in the microwave.  It was a quick light meal to use to entertain friends!

Here’s a picture of the easy steps:

 

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Easy Stromboli

1 loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
2 eggs, separated
2 T. oil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. dried parsley
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/4 t. pepper
4-oz. pkg. sliced pepperoni – I used Turkey Pepperoni
8-oz. pkg. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Roll out bread dough into a 12×15-inch rectangle; set aside. Combine egg yolks, oil, oregano, parsley, garlic powder and pepper together; spread over dough. Arrange pepperoni and mozzarella cheese on top; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Roll up; place seam-side down on a baking sheet. Brush with egg whites; bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Makes 8 servings.

I served it with some pizza sauce alongside for dipping.  Yum!

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Have you ever had Stromboli?  I’m not sure I’d had it before I made this, but it will definitely be on repeat from now on!

With love from my country kitchen,

Denise

 

 

Date Time!

There are lots of fun things to do on date days/nights, but last week, I got to enjoy a really special treat that was a bit of a sacrifice for my husband to pull off. Going to the Biltmore Inn for afternoon tea is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time, so as a belated birthday gift, he took me!

HE TOOK ME!!

The sacrifice came in that my husband doesn’t even like hot tea.  He’s a coffee guy, but he went.

He poured tea.

He drank tea.

It’s also a pretty fancy affair.  While I know he’d much rather be hiking an Appalachian Trail, he was happy to take me on this fun adventure!  That’s what marriage is all about – giving of yourself for the other.  It meant all the more to me  because he went and had such a sweet spirit about it.  He didn’t roll his eyes and grimace; he enjoyed it for me.  That made it all the more fun, of course!

The experience at the Inn did not disappoint!  It was regal.  It was delicious.  It was romantic.  It was a memory-maker!  Let me show you what we enjoyed!

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A sweet Doorman greeted us.
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The menu for the tea, and the beautiful setting at the table.

 

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We could read our menu card, and it had listed in order each appetizer on our plate.  So good!!!

 

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The cheese and sweets tray.  Delicious!

 

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Sweeteners for our tea.

 

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Proof that you can still be a man and pour a cup of tea!

 

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We enjoyed walking around the Inn afterwards.  It’s stunning…and so was my company!
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Even outside, there is beauty all around!

I have two points in my post today:

  1. If you ever have the opportunity to enjoy Afternoon Tea somewhere, do it!  It’s expensive, but it’s a treat that is worth the money and the time.
  2. Be willing to be stretched for your spouse.  This made me love my husband all the more.  He did this for me because he knew I’d love it.  The reservation was made several weeks before and I got to anticipate and look forward to this for days!  Now the memory of it all is tucked away in my heart, filled with admiration for a man who’s not too proud or selfish to do something just for me!  I’m looking for the opportunity to return the favor!!  It will be fun, and I’m sure it will include hiking, sweating and burning calories, rather than adding a few, but that’s okay!  Our marriage is worth it!

What event could you plan to do this week to sacrifice for your spouse and spend time together?  

Refresh your marriage with sacrifice,

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Caring For Our Home –

In my post this week, I referenced having to learn to embrace imperfection in my home.  Does that mean then, that I can just “let things go?”  Watch the video to find the answer.

Find the referenced post here.

Were these tips helpful?  Do you do these suggestions already?

Refresh your home!

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Lean In

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Is there anything more precious than having a sweet baby lean against you?  And if you get the blessing of rocking them to sleep, you know when they’ve drifted off because they become as limp as a forgotten houseplant and they lean all their weight on you.

Recently I’ve heard several people use the term, “Lean in” when referring to trusting in the Lord during a hard time.

I love that!

It conjures up in my mind the picture of that little baby leaning in so hard that they rest completely on the one holding them.  Isn’t that exactly what we need to do with our dear Savior?

I don’t know what burden you’re carrying today, but can I encourage you to lean in with all your heart, your emotion, your baggage, and burdens?  Lean in until you feel your weight being transferred to Him.  Allow the Lord to carry you and your struggles today, and then enjoy the rest that will follow!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

In all thy ways acknowledge him (lean on Him), and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:5,6

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Happy Imperfections

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I’ll never forget the day we moved into our country home where we are now.  It had just been finished being built! We were moving into our very first brand new house!

It was surreal.

I wasn’t moving into someone else’s mess or used home that needed work – this one was new and perfect!

We had many strong men helping us on move-in day lifting, carrying and lugging all our possessions into our new abode.  One kind man set down a box in my kitchen and I began to slide it closer to the place where it would be unpacked.  His response echoes in my ears even today:

These hardwood floors will scratch up even by a box being slid across them; you better lift that instead.

I followed his wise advice, fearful of causing some imperfection to come to my new and perfect home.

Those words guided the careful application of pads to every chair, table, foot stool, and anything else that was going to be rubbing across the hardwood.  I couldn’t stand the thought of a scratch ruining the looks of my perfect kitchen, hallway or living room.

But alas and alack, over the four years that we have been here, it has happened.  What would that man say if he could see where a can of green beans fell in my pantry and dented the floor there on a day when I was preparing a meal?  Or the heels that have walked across the planks causing scratches, or the other little nicks and bumps that have happened just because people live here, visit here, eat here, spill here, and do life here?

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Perfection isn’t a word that would describe my home, but I’m good with that now.  I’ve come to see those scratches as reminders that people are more important than my perfect standard.  If we lived here alone there would be far less imperfections, but oh, the blessings of belly laughs, happy shedding of tears, playful frolic, nurturing visits, prayerful conversations and loving of souls that we would have missed!

Thank you, sir, for your good advice.  I’m grateful you shared that with me – I really am.  I’ll keep the pads in place and care for my home as a gift from the Lord, but when the marks are added to the hardwood, fingerprints to the glass, or smudges on the walls, I can smile instead of grimace at the happy remembrance of the people that have helped make memories – not imperfections.

Last week when I mopped the floor, I saw a scuff on the floor and started to sigh, but then was reminded of the truths that God has been teaching me about living more for people than perfection.  Instead of sighing, with every stroke of that Swiffer, I thanked God – by name – for the different people who had been in our home.  It made my heart so happy – happy for my perfectly wonderful memories made in my imperfect home.

Do you ever get caught up in wanting your home to look perfect, and feel frustrated that it isn’t? People are more important.  Look at the people, instead of the imperfections, and you’ll have the freedom to use your home to glorify God!

Refresh your heart about your home.

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