Home making · Kitchen Tips · Meal planning · Spiritual Refreshment

Mid-Week Kitchen happenings

Kitchen is a busy place – not just when you’re cooking. It takes daily work to keep things organized, efficient and well-planned. This is an important part of the work in the kitchen.

I was away last week and then have been quite busy since returning home. That means things were lacking in the kitchen. I have been working to get things straightened up, freshened up and planned for the week ahead.

I love to gather inspiration for meal planning. I find lots of good ideas in the Relish magazine that comes in the Sunday newspaper.

How cute is that board full of fall treats? I’m definitely going to make a version of that this month!

These sliders look so good, too! They’d be perfect on game day, if you have some football fans! They would also be good for a weekend supper.

If you’re in a menu rut, pull out an old cookbook and flip through it for some fresh inspiration. You might even find an old recipe you haven’t made in a while that you need to recreate! Go to the library and check out a new cookbook or a food magazine like Taste of Home. You’re sure to get some good inspiration there! I know the Internet is full of great ideas, but sometimes I find it easier and more fun to use a printed form.

I am freshening up some kitchen decor. I’m removing all the red items in my kitchen and the last things to go were my red rooster canisters. I found clear glass jars at Home Goods and they were exactly what I was looking for! The opening is large enough for a cup measure to fit inside – a must, in my opinion!

I also took some time to clean out the drawers in my island and while I was at it, I changed out the drawer liner. It’s amazing what a little addition like that can do!

I love being in the kitchen, and keeping it inviting is important. It keeps me motivated and happy about being in there!

Let’s use all this to make a spiritual application. It can be so easy to be busy doing all the things that followers of Christ do – attending church, serving others, teaching a class, and attending a Bible study that we forget to maintain our own walk with God. Things get “messy” and overlooked. We must intentionally take time to just be with God. Spend longer time in prayer just enjoying communing with Christ, hearing from Him as you sit quietly and allow Him to speak to you. Sing. Confess. Worship. Fellowship with the God who loves you and rejoices over you because you are His child. You’ll find that you are energized for the spiritual works before you.

So, what is the mid-week activity of your spiritual life looking like? Are you too busy? Stop and focus on the Lord so then you can move forward in your tasks with purpose and joy!

In your kitchen, are you planning and also staying motivated for meal times? Are there areas you need to freshen up? It’s worth it to spend a little time taking care of those needs. You’ll probably find you’re more productive! But if you can only focus on one area, start with your spiritual needs and then ask the Lord to guide the work of your hands.

ministry · Spiritual Refreshment

The Wrong Way To Serve

ATTITUDE. Ever have one? You know what I mean. It’s that annoyed reflection of something in your heart. Someone pushed the wrong buttons, pushed you once too many times, or pushed you harder than you cared to be pushed and then – the attitude happens. It’s not pretty.

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I know of which I speak because I can be the Queen of Attitude at times. I hate to admit it, but if I’m honest I have to tell you it’s true. I had one just this week, and guess what it was over? Ministry! I got tired of carrying other people’s loads, of doing “more than my share” (who decides how much is more than my share?), and being pushed to the limit. Oooo – that button got pushed and out the attitude came. The good thing was that the Lord convicted me and after a time of stewing, I made it right. However, the Lord wasn’t done teaching me the lesson He wanted me to learn.

Yesterday in my devotions, I was working on memorizing the last two verses in Philippians 2. The background of these verses is that Paul had sent a man by the name of Epaphroditis to the Philippians and Epaphroditis became sick to the point of death. Why was he so sick? Verses 29-30 tell us:

Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation:

Because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life, to supply your lack of service toward me.

Epaphroditis was taking up the slack of the Philippians; doing what they hadn’t done and became so sick while ministering that he almost died!

Paul says in verse 29 to “hold such in reputation.” Hold a man like this in high regard. At that moment in my quiet time the Lord brought the truth to my heart that this was a man who worked and ministered so much that he was at death’s door! My work took me nowhere close to that kind of sacrifice! I see no sign of an attitude in Epaphroditis here either! It says that he was full of heaviness because they learned he had been sick. He was probably the kind of man who tried to cover his weakness, work through whatever pain he might have been experiencing because there was a cause here – the love of Christ- and that constrained him to keep on.

I was very convicted by this man’s life, and repented of my sin and my attitude. There is a balance to strike, and I asked the Lord in my quiet time to help me hit that balance – work, rest, respite. It’s necessary so that we don’t burn out.

As you serve in any capacity, whether it’s full-time or as a layman in the church, guard your heart against the “A” word. Let’s make sure we’re serving the Lord with a sweet spirit; the kind in which the Lord would “hold us in reputation” like Epaphroditis. His work was “the work of Christ.” Too often my work is “the work of Denise” done with an attitude and won’t be rewarded in eternity. “Oh, Lord, may my ministry be Your work, done in Your strength, and done for your glory!” Ahhh, there’s the right attitude!

Anyone aside from me need this reminder today?
Refreshment · Spiritual Refreshment

A Time For Rest

I doubt I’ll ever forget the frightening experience of the accident. While we were dating, my husband and I both lived a couple hours from the ocean and we drove to the beach for the day in a borrowed vehicle. It was a sport Jeep – the convertible kind, perfect for the outing we were taking! However, all our fun turned sour when, in the middle of the day, my fiance’ ran into the car that stopped in front of us.

Crash!

A dented fender was the only damage, but there was damage to a vehicle that didn’t belong to us! You know that sick feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when something like that happens? It led us to head home where my boyfriend worked hard at fixing the car the best he could before he had to return it and “fess up.”

That situation would have been sad if it was our own car, but because it belonged to someone else, we felt twice as bad about it being damaged. When you’re caring for someone else’s property, I think there’s a greater feeling of responsibility.

That’s how I feel about caring for my body. It doesn’t belong to me! I just read in my Bible reading this week ~

What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you and which ye have from God, and that ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. I Corinthians 6:19, 20

When I read those verses, I was reminded about the responsibility that I have to care for this body that doesn’t belong to me. I feel a responsibility to the Lord to care for it in the best way I can (without going overboard!). I want this body to take me through all the years the Lord will give me with strength and health. I can’t control everything, but there are some things that are in my charge. So, I…

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Maintain my weight so I can function without huffing and puffing
  • Get regular exercise
  • Get eight hours of sleep each night
  • Take a weekly rest from responsibilities

During the month of June my husband will be officially on Sabbatical (period of rest) from all his responsibilities at our church. I’m not on staff at our church, but I do many ministry tasks each week and am praying that I will be able to also rest with him. We will be close to home during this time. We love our home and find it the best place to rest, but we will take a few excursions not too far away. I will be blogging during this time, but I may be reposting some things from years past. I have serious doubts that most will even remember seeing these things before, so please stick around and check in Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I may even share a few pictures from our times of rest!

What are YOU doing to care for the body God has entrusted to you? Remember, you’re given the responsibility to care for it so it will enable you to serve the Lord well.

Which of the bullets I mentioned do you need to put into play in your life?

Refresh yourself as you care for your body,

Godly Character Traits · spiritual growth · Spiritual Refreshment

One Thing We Can Do To Grow Spiritually This Year

We are a family of “Foodies.” We plan out our meals. We anticipate them. We enjoy them. We record them. When a new, “successful meal” is complete, I make sure I’ve marked that recipe for future use. I have a written copy of that recipe either on-line, in one of my cookbooks, or in my recipe box because I want to be able to go back and re-do that menu!

I make notes about how I may have tweaked the recipe, a substitution I made, or even what I learned I need to do the next time I make it. I love flipping through my recipes and bringing up old recipes I’d forgotten about! Without that written reminder, it would have been lost forever because we eat lots of meal in a year’s time!

But even more than my physical food, the greatest “food” I partake of each day is the manna of God’s Word – the Bible. It is a feast that is never complete. There’s always more. It’s rich, sweet, and nourishing. I need it. I look forward to it. I remember it.

For many of us, we enjoy the taking in of God’s Word, but we do little in regards to making a memory of what we’ve read or what we’ve learned. Simply put – we don’t write anything down after we’ve read the Scriptures.
Here are four reasons I’m choosing to journal when I read God’s Word this year ~

  • It helps me remember the Truth I just learned. There’s something about putting it in ink that just cements it better in my heart and mind. That leads to the next reason…
  • It helps me meditate on those Truths throughout the day. As I’m driving, I’m thinking about what I wrote down. I talk to the Lord and ask Him questions about the things that come to my mind as I ponder it.
  • It helps me dig deeper into those Truths and add notes – things from commentaries or quotes from other authors that are a blessing.
  • It helps me see my spiritual growth. Just like the physical growth of a child isn’t seen day by day, but you see it when you compare it to last year’s growth chart, neither is my spiritual growth seen daily. However, my journal serves as my “growth chart,” if you will. As I look back a month or a year later on what I’ve written, I see how the Lord has increased my faith, taught me lessons, and revealed more about Himself to me. It’s so encouraging!

I‘ve had seasons when I didn’t journal and I truly feel I didn’t grow like I should have. See if you resonate with my reasons for not doing so. I think there are four basic explanations as to why most women don’t journal ~

  1. I’m not a writer. I think that can mean two things – 1. I don’t enjoy using a pen…it’s just not my favorite thing to do the process of writing. It’s tiring. It’s messy 2. I’m not really good at expressing myself creatively.
  2. I used to, but I’ve just gotten away from it. I got tired of the habit.
  3. It takes more time and that’s one thing I don’t have!
  4. I really don’t feel like I need to do that. I’m good with just reading. I can remember it without writing it down.

As we think back to all the physical meals we’ve eaten this past year, there’s no way we could give a commentary on each one. How could we answer, “What was the best part? What did you enjoy most?” However, if we had each recipe card in front of us, we could be reminded and have something to share, right? Let’s make the analogy – As we think back to all the spiritual meals we’ve been exposed to in this past year, (preaching as well as personal devotions) could we share one truth we learned from each one? Only if we wrote something down.

Oh how much more value there is in God’s Word than our physical food! Job said it well in Job 23:12 ~

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

Could you and I really say that? It will show in how we value the Bible. Ask God to give you a greater love for His Word so that you will treasure it more than ever before!

Next Wednesday I’m going to share some practical answers to our four excuses and also share a guide in Bible journaling that can be simple, and effective!

Refresh your response to God’s Word,

Christian growth · Coronavirus · obedience · Spiritual Refreshment

(Don’t) Follow Your Heart!

Don't Follow Your Heart - A Christian Webcomic
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As our world continues its restrictions and we all find our daily life in a new routine, I wonder if you’re feeling a bit lost?  I’ve been getting up and asking,

“What should I do today? How should I spend my time?”

My flesh (my heart) tells me one thing, the Spirit of God another.  Sadly, I haven’t always listened and obeyed God’s voice.  Why?  The pull of the flesh is strong!  My heart wants me to be lazy, comfortable, at ease, and not pushed into hard things!

It’s so easy to believe that ~

  • I deserve a little extra sleep!
  • I’m too busy to stop and pray.
  • It doesn’t matter if I don’t get to _____ or ______.  No one is going to see it but my family!
  • I’m too exhausted to even think about working on a Bible study.
  • I never was good at memorizing things; forget trying to memorize Scripture!

Continue reading “(Don’t) Follow Your Heart!”