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What To Do On Those Sleepless Nights

Her disheveled hair and dark-circled eyes made it obvious that her Insta-story on Instagram had been made in the middle of the night. A female author I follow there posted a few minutes of herself talking about her struggle to sleep…again. It seems her nighttime fitfulness has become a regular part of life for her. Her hopeful remedy was going to be a series on television and a hot bourbon. She asked her viewers who else was struggling to sleep. She said – I think it’s all this unrest around us. So much sickness. So much change even during the Christmas season. I just don’t know how to cope. Then she asked her viewers a question – Please tell me how you cope when you can’t sleep.

I gladly answered her question then, but then I got a fuller answer from the Lord just a couple days later.

My recent Bible reading took me to a psalm about home life and family –

Psalm 127

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

As I read, I thought of the Christmas story I’ve been contemplating and remembered that Joseph was also having a sleepless night. Remember?

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
21 And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.

22 Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

Joseph is “tossing and turning!” He had learned that Mary, his fiance’, was with child. Here he is getting ready to “build his house,” to start a family of his own, and now this! His carefully laid plans seem to be crumbling in his lap and he can’t sleep.

God saw Joseph’s unrest about his situation – and he came to tell him that this was all a part of His Divine plan to redeem the world. The Fruit of the womb was God’s (greatest) reward! This baby would be the Savior of the world! Joseph could go back to sleep and rest – even in this unusual play of events. God was doing something incredible. As Psalm 127 says, it was vain for Joseph to stay up late or rise up early. The worry or the planning was empty. In essence, God was saying,

Go to sleep, Joseph, everything’s going to be okay because I’m building your house.

No more sleeplessness for Joseph! Matthew 1 goes on to say,

Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

So what has you tossing and turning in your bed, unable to sleep? If you know Christ, that baby that was born at Christmas to be your Savior, be reminded that ~

  1. God has a sovereign plan for your life that is different than you would pick, but it’s going to be awesome!
  2. As you build your house on Christ, you can trust Him for all the details – That includes how to serve God as a single person, or if you’ll get married and who your spouse will be, when/if you’ll have children, how to train your children, how to capture their hearts for the Lord, how to deal with your marriage issues, or how you’ll live gracefully in the golden years.
  3. The best place to take your worries is to the foot of the cross. Jesus loved us enough to care for the greatest need of our lives (the penalty of our sin), and He will care for every other need. Stop worrying, and instead, slip out of your bed, either literally or mentally. Bow before Him and hand over the details of your worries. If you drink a hot bourbon, it will only comfort you until it wears off. Jesus already knows about your cares, as He did Joseph’s and He already has a plan. Why not lean in and listen, then go to sleep.
  4. Be ready to obey when you arise from sleep. After that good, heaven-sent sleep, do as Joseph and rise up from your sleep and do what He tells you! Is it really that easy? Yes, it really is that easy.

But friend, if you don’t know Christ as your Savior, your sleeplessness is meant to draw you to Him. He is your only hope of salvation. You can go here to read more about how to trust in Christ and know Him personally. He loves you! There’s no need to lose sleep when Christ came to give you His rest.

Here at Christmas we’re thinking about that blessed “Fruit of the womb” who changed not only our future destiny, but our present circumstances!! What reason to rejoice!

What did I tell my Insta-story “friend?” “I take my worries to Jesus and go back to sleep.”

How would you answer her question about how to go back to sleep?

I pray you’ll be refreshed in your sleep,

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Have You Heard?

Rahab leaned in as her friend cupped her hand around her mouth and said in hushed tones –

“Have you heard the news?  The Israelites have finally been freed from their slavery in Egypt.  Hundreds of thousands of them left…in the middle of the night!  They say that when they got to the Red Sea, their leader, Moses, lifted up His rod and the water parted, and those people crossed on dry land!  But when the Egyptians tried to go after them the waters crashed down on them, and not one soldier was left alive!  I heard it was their God that cause all those plagues to happen beforehand, and that He was the One that made it possible for them to cross the sea safely.  I wonder if they’ll try to come here to Jericho?  I’m afraid of what will happen to us if they do!” 

Rahab sat back, wide eyed and disbelieving at first, but then nodded as she remembered other things she had heard about the Israelite’s God. 

Continue reading “Have You Heard?”
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What To Do With Worry

It was 2:30 am and I had done more tossing and turning in my bed than a two year-old in a church service. My heart was anxious.

Plans had been changed, circumstances were upside down causing my heart to fret instead of rest and sleep.

I finally decided the best action would be to rise and head to my Quiet Place.  Odd how different this place looks in the darkest time of the night.  I turned on the lamp beside my chair and reached for my Bible.  How comforting to just hold this book in my hands.  I turned its crinkled pages to my daily Bible reading for the day and found that I was on a familiar and loved chapter – Jeremiah 29.  It was God’s voice speaking to me like a parent rocking their child in the middle of a thunderstorm.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.  

Finding my pen and my journal, I wrote,

“I know the thoughts that I think toward you. (God thinks on me!)
Thoughts of peace (calming my turmoil)
and not of evil (He is a good God who can only do good);
to give you an expected end (a future and a hope).  In this I can rest.”  

I closed my journal and my Bible and talked to the Lord, thanking Him for this promise.  I gave Him the situation that had me anxious.  Then I snapped off the lamp and fumbled my way down the darkened hallway back to the comfort of my bed.  The time or two that I awoke, I rehearsed in my mind what I had just read…

“God is thinking about me.  He has a good plan that will not harm me,” 
and I slept.  

If you have a decision to make, rehearse this promise in your thoughts rather than letting it make you worried and fretful.  The Lord will be up through the night thinking about you so you can rest.



Kitchen Tips · Uncategorized

Easy Does It ~ In the Kitchen

Last month I began this series of Easy Does It. These are just tips and helpful ideas that have simplified my life and I think they’ll do the same for you!

This edition are all things regarding the kitchen. Who couldn’t use a little simplification there?!

  1. Paper products can roll out easier with this tip – The first tip is regarding the rolls of plastic wrap, waxed paper and foil that you probably use on a daily basis. Did you know there’s a built-in way to keep that roll from falling out of the box when you’re trying to pull off a piece? There is! I learned this little tip just a few years ago. I wondered if I’m the only one who hadn’t known about this!

At the end of each box, you’ll see the lock tabs. Simply push them in. They will go into the cardboard roll and hold it in place. No more foil rolling across the kitchen floor!

2. Skinning Tomatoes is a snap – If you have tomatoes to can or freeze as spaghetti sauce of salsa, there’s a super easy way to skin them and to do a huge batch at one time! Simply put them on a baking sheet after they’ve been washed and dried. Then place them under a broiler for about 4-5 minutes or until the skins begin to wrinkle. Remove from the oven and the skin will pull off when you pinch it between your fingers. Let them cool slightly so you can touch them. This was such a help to me recently when I canned salsa!

3. Preserving Bananas for baking is a cinch – We love all things banana at our house! Baked oatmeal with bananas, Banana Bread or this Banana Cake are delicious examples! But these recipes all even better with over-ripe bananas. They’re so sweet! Because I can’t always keep them on hand, I go to the produce section of our grocery store and head to the reduced produce section. They have the “ugly bananas” wrapped together or in a bag for sale at a reduced price. I take them home, peel them and place two bananas into small Ziplock bags and toss them into the freezer. When I’m ready to make one of my banana recipes, I thaw it in the microwave and I’m ready to bake!

4. Freezing Popped Popcorn is genius – My favorite nighttime snack is popcorn. We recently found Smart Food Popcorn at the grocery store and fell in love with its White Cheddar flavor. It’s absolutely additive in my opinion! (If you haven’t had it, you must try it!) One day while walking through Sam’s Club we found a giant bag for nearly the same price we were paying for half that size at the grocery store!

But even with our love for it, it would go stale once the bag was opened. Then I discovered you can freeze it! The popcorn never actually freezes, it just keeps out the moisture so it stays fresh. We can go get a bag out of the freezer and pour it into our bowl and eat it immediately! It’s as fresh as when we opened the bag!

I hope these simple tips will help things to roll a little easier in your kitchen! (Pun intended!) Tell me: Did you know about the lock tab on the foil and plastic wrap boxes?
What’s your best tip for simplifying life in the kitchen?

Have a wonderful weekend and be refreshed by being under the preaching of God’s Word!

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(L)Oven Monday – Entertain with Appetizers

RefreshHer

0502172032abLast week I had a group of women over for a night of fellowship and I wanted to serve refreshments that were tasty, but not too heavy.  So I dug into my recipes (some I’ve share here on the blog) and pulled out three appetizer dips!  I had a couple that were sweet and one that was savory.  Appetizers are fun because you can make a little meal with them.  The ladies enjoyed them and it was fun to watch them go back for more.  Here are the ones I chose for our party.

Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip

Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips

S’mores Dip

bean dip

This Tex-Mex Black Bean Dip is great as an appetizer or served with a meal of Mexican foods!  It’s super good and really fast to put together!  You can make this ahead and pop it into the oven or microwave to warm up.

Tex-Mex Black Bean…

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