Encouragement · faithfulness · friends · ministry

Stayers or Betrayers

It happens to everyone at least once in their lifetime – the betrayal of a dear friend. You thought they would stick with you through thick and thin, when the chips were down, or when you were the last person to be chosen when they were picking teams. When the betrayal comes, it’s a dagger in our heart and the loss is felt with a grief like death. I speak as one who knows…and you do, too. We read in II Timothy 1 that Paul did, too…

This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.

Phygellus and Hermogenes – let’s give them nicknames – Gellus (hmmm, was he jealous?) and Genie…two men named for being deserters of Paul. They turned against him and led a group of others to do the same. This is the only place their names are mentioned in the Bible. How sad that their names are recorded in God’s Word as an example of unfaithfulness! One commentator I read said, “These men couldn’t do anything about their ugly names, but they could’ve done something about their ugly character!” How true!

Why did they desert him? Speculation says they could’ve been afraid that they might also end up in a Roman prison if they were known to be associated with Paul.

I think of Paul, writing this letter from his prison cell, recounting the two men who turned on him. Had they at one time been there with Paul when he preached? When he did miraculous works? When the prison doors were opened? When he ministered the Word from his home? Perhaps. But at some time, they realized it would be better for their own sakes to disassociate with Paul, so they did, and they led a group to follow them.

Years ago when my husband was deserted by a dear friend, Dr. Bob Jones III called to say,

Dale, you’re in good company. Matthew 5:12 says, Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Jesus is the Supreme example of being betrayed by friends. Of course Judas was the one who led the soldiers right to him, but Scripture reminds us that they all forsook him and fled. We probably would have, too, had we been there.

BUT then Paul goes on to say,

The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain:
17 But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.
18 The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well.

Thank God for all the Onesiphorus’s!! Those are the dear ones who:

  • Stay near when the others slip away, quietly, one by one.
  • Stay near to meet a need that no one else even notices.
  • Stay near because they are not ashamed to be associated with you.
  • Stay near to remind you of God’s promises.
  • Stay near to remind you that you are not alone.
  • Stay near to comfort you.

May the Lord grant us memory loss of all the betrayers. Let’s just let it go. But may we praise God and also imitate the character of the stayer, Onesiphorus. The church needs more of them!

How might you come alongside someone who is ministering for the Lord to encourage and serve them this week? Here are some posts that might help you know how. How have others served you like Onesiphorus did Paul?

Refresh someone by being a stayer,

Chicken · Comfort Food

Honey Fried Chicken Strips

Honey Fried Chicken Strips, drizzled with honey on top.

One day just recently my daughter sent me a text and asked me for my recipe for Honey Fried chicken Strips. Oh my goodness! I hadn’t thought of that dish in a long time! I used to make this recipe when my girls were growing up, and quite frankly, I hadn’t made it in years! The reason is because it’s not exactly healthy. It is in complete contrast to some of my recent low calorie posts, but it’s simply too good not to share with you all!

Sweet Alli made up this recipe after getting it from me, then she invited her dad and me for supper. It was worth the little splurge to indulge in a couple chicken strips! You gotta live a little, right?!

Why is this recipe so good? In my opinion it’s due to the batter including honey. It gives it a slightly sweet flavor. I also always serve honey alongside for dipping. Wow, her meal turned out amazingly delicious! When you need a little something special and want to splurge on a not-so-healthy recipe, I’d encourage you to try this family favorite!

Honey Fried Chicken Strips
2 large chicken breasts
1 bunch parsley
3/4 cup self-rising flour
1/2 cup milk
2 tbl honey
1 tsp lemon-pepper seasoning
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Salad oil

1. Cut chicken lengthwise into 1-inch strips. Chop enough parsley to make 1/3 cup.
2. In large bowl, mix flour, milk, honey, lemon-pepper seasoning, salt, and chopped parsley. Stir in chicken; set aside.
3. In 5 quart Dutch oven over high heat, heat 1 inch salad oil to 325 degrees on deep fat thermometer (or, heat oil in deep fat fryer set at 325 degrees.
4. Fry chicken strips, a few at a time, about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and outside is golden. With slotted spoon, remove chicken to paper towels to drain.

This is fried chicken with a twist…a sweet and delicious one! I hope you’ll give this a try. I don’t think you’ll be sad you did!

Here’s another version of fried chicken that’s healthier

With love from my country kitchen,

Family life · Marriage · Parenting

Four Lies You May Be Believing About Your Family

Four lies

One lovely evening we invited friends to come over after church.  We sat around our fire pit watching the flames spit embers upwards and the smoke billow into the night sky.  Then to get the group talking, my husband suggested we play a game called,  Two Truths and a Lie.  Each person has to come up with two truths about themselves that others might not know, and then throw a lie in there somewhere.  We were to guess which one was the lie.  Do you know what the hardest part of that game is?

It’s not hard to come up with a lie – it’s difficult to come up with two truths to share!!!!

Not only is that true in a game – it’s also true in real life!  It’s just easier for us to listen to a lie than for us to listen to (and believe) the truth!

After our game was over, the fire put out, and my week got started, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered someone believing a lie in their life! Could you identify one you might be believing about your family?  There are many, but here are four lies I think are running rampant in our homes:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. 
  2. Things will never change.
  3. My child will go through the typical phases (like terrible two’s and teen rebellion).
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!

Let’s counteract those lies with Truth:

  1. This marriage is a mistake. Once you said, “I do,” you marriage became a covenant between you and your spouse and God.  No matter the situation and happenings before you got married, God doesn’t want you to ditch this marriage – this covenant after you pledged your life and love!  He wants you to stay married and display the Gospel – Forgiveness, mercy,  and grace. When we promise to love ’til death, God desires we allow Him to work in our marriage because it IS His will.
    So today –Commit yourself to this marriage and stop thinking about what it would be like to be with someone else, or in another circumstance.  Pour yourself into this marriage like it was the first day you were married.  Make a difference in your husband’s life today!Matthew 19:6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (separate).
  2. Things will never change. The previous truth about marriage isn’t meant to make you feel hopeless.  To say, “Things will never change” is to doubt an omnipotent God!  He is able to do MORE than we can ask or think.  As long as you are living – there is hope, because God is also alive and on the Throne!
    So today – Trust Him to answer and intervene in your life! Keep praying, believing and watching for what an all-powerful God can do!
    Luke 1:37 For with God nothing shall be impossible.
  3. My child will go through all the typical phases. Your child was uniquely designed and created.  They were born with an old sin nature that will need to be dealt with.  A strong-willed child needs a different kind of approach than a child who is withdrawn.  But with biblical guidance and prayer, they could completely bypass those “expected” kinds of behavior.  Every child has a will and when that will is bent towards Christ and obedience at an early age, they won’t be little angels, but could avoid much heartache they could cause for themselves.
    So today –  Train your child in God’s Word and ways.  Surround them with godly people, biblical discipline and teaching, places and activities that will be the Truth their young heart needs.
    II Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  
  4. This stage of life is going to last forever!  I know that when you’re changing diapers,  chasing toddlers all day, caring for an elderly parent, or dealing with a hard season in your marriage, you think it’s never going to end, but I’m here to tell you there will could be day when you will look back and realize how quickly the time passed!

    Think back to something you did two years ago.  Perhaps it was a significant birthday, a special vacation or a wedding.  Doesn’t that seem like FOREVER ago?  Life is fleeting.  Children grow up. Changes smooth out eventually.  So  what do we need to do?  Learn to enjoy today.  Look for the blessing in the opportunity before you.

    When my mother-in-law had lung cancer, I cared for her in Hospice care in our home.  During those long days, I was exhausted and felt very overwhelmed and wondered how I could keep going. But in six very short weeks, she was in heaven and I was thankful for each day we got to care for her and spend time with her.  I look back on that time and it seems so short!  I don’t remember the hard things nearly like I remember the blessings!  I remember reading Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven to my mother-in-law.  I remember the night my husband and I got to go to a Bed and breakfast for a night away to rest in the middle of this time, and I remember the blessing of friends who helped by bringing meals, and came and sat with her so I could attend church.  Nothing on this earth lasts forever.
    So today – In the midst of long work hours that your husband is pulling, leaving you alone, or while you’re waiting for God to bring you a spouse, or while you’re cleaning up chocolate milk from the walls and floors, look up and find something for which you can be thankful! Look for the blessings and keep a mind on the truth that the clock is ticking!  Remember, too, that Christ could come at any moment and it will ALL  be over, and forever more we’ll be rejoicing!
    James 4:14 Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

Thinking the Truth takes intentional effort.  Keep your heart focused on that which is right.  As Jesus said, The truth will set you free!

Refresh yourself with truth about your family,

Eternity

Are You Prepared For What’s Coming?

While I worked in my craft room doing alterations on some pieces of clothing, I turned my computer on and watched “A life in the day” of a popular vlogger. She’s beautiful, accomplished and poised…this would be interesting.

But what I felt at the end of her video was not an admiration for her life, rather, I felt a sadness for her. That may sound strange, especially if you had seen her lovely home, complete with huge rooms, expensive furniture, and a backyard that beckons you to the built-in swimming pool. But from the beginning of her day through the hurry and scurry of her job and family activities there was no mention of her relationship with the Lord, whom she professes. There was no time in His Word, no talk of Him when she related to her husband, children or coworkers. There was no prayer, no indication of dependence on a God Who could strengthen a weak heart or guide daily decisions. It seemed that this was her day.

At the end of the video, she snapped off the light, wishing a good night to those that had watched, and I also saw darkness in her tomorrow that will repeat this whole scenario all over again. Everything seemed so futile.

The next morning I read a truth in Proverbs 30 that seemed just the opposite of this dear woman’s life…

There are four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise;
the ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.

In wisdom, the ant the ants prepare their winter food in the summer. They work in a time when work can be done and aren’t lazy or procrastinators.

These little insects teach us a lesson about preparing for the coming winter, about what must be the thoughtfulness of one who is making provision for the coming eternity. We can each (myself included) scurry and hurry about, from one task to the next with little or no thought of the life after this one, of the God Who has a plan for this day and eternity, which is always before us.

Of course we have jobs to attend to. Yes, there are children to be picked up from school and packages to be sent, mail to be opened, and appointments to meet, but does that mean there is no time for God in the midst of all our busyness? Do we only relegate God for the hour on Sunday when we will “attend church?” The answer from a heart of anyone who loves God must be a resounding,

NO!!

I’m in no way saying that each moment must be spent with the Bible open, our hands folded in prayer, with no thought to the responsibilities before us. What I am saying is that it is too easy for each of us to plod through our days with little or no thought of God. Some never want to think of where they will spend eternity.

God told the rich man that temporal kind of thinking is foolish because,

Thou fool; this night thy soul shall be required of thee,
then whose shall these things be,
which thou hast provided? Luke 12:20

Surely every man walks about as a phantom; Surely they make an uproar for nothing; He amasses riches and does not know who will gather them. Psalm 39:6

Instead we must heed II Corinthians 6:2

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.

Then after salvation, we have purpose for living that goes beyond work, wealth and weariness. With an eye on my present responsibilities but a heart for heaven and eternity, I go through my day, like that little ant. As I put my feet on the floor, I go to that first “ant hill” and thank God for this new day. I move on through the morning and with coffee cup in my hand I move towards the next “ant hill” and open His Word to get my directions for the day. I lay my burdens at His feet.

As I get dressed, I listen to a podcast that will be bread crumbs I can feast on through the day. I can scurry to the next “ant hill” driving to my appointment with a verse card set up on the dashboard, giving me another crumb to nourish my soul. At the appointment, I seek to encourage someone as I share with my hair dresser how faithful God was in a recent difficult situation and I remind her of God’s care for her.

All through the day we must picture ourselves like the little ant, looking for morsels to feed on or for those to tuck away. We could be “sluggards” as Solomon says in Proverbs 30, or we can be wise like the little ant.


What will I choose today? I want to be wise and prepare now for what is coming, which is eternity. How about you? Are you preparing?

You can listen to a podcast where I spoke about this subject in a series called, Remember Lot’s Wife. Go here and scroll down to April 18, Part 3 to hear the recording. I trust it will further refresh your thoughts about how we live out our days on this earth.

Consider the ant,

Chicken · Comfort Food · Lightened Up Recipe

Country Chicken Pot Pie (Reduced Fat!)

Chicken Pot Pie is one of those classic comfort foods in my book. I have made them for years with my homemade pie crusts and we love that version, but I’ve come across a recipe that is so savory and yet also reduced in fat, and so much faster! The answer to both less fat and less time comes in the form of a reduced-fat crescent roll! These make preparation so easy!

The filling for this pie can be changed to suit your family’s taste buds. The recipe calls for fresh mushrooms, which we loved in there, but if that’s not your jam, you can leave them out and use whatever veggies you love! Here’s the tasty recipe:

Ingredients

1 tsp Butter
1 small chopped onion
1 cup Sliced Mushrooms
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 cups Frozen Mixed Vegetables
1 Cup chicken broth
3 Cups Cooked, chopped chicken breast (a rotisserie chicken is great for this!)
2 Tbl. flour
1/2 Cup Fat-free Evaporated milk
4 Reduced-fat Crescent rolls – I used all 8 that came in the can.

My big dish was rather shallow, so I put some of the filling in single serving bowls for another day.

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Coat a 10-inch round shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Coat a large pot with cooking spray. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and mushrooms and cook, until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, thyme, salt and pepper. Add vegetables, broth and chicken. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.
  3. In a small cup, combine flour and 1/4 cup of evaporated milk; stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes more.
  4. Spoon chicken mixture into prepared baking dish. Unroll crescent rolls and arrange dough around inside edge of baking dish to form a border (there will be a hole in the middle). Bake until rolls are golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.
Every bite was so savory!

My husband and I were both happy there were leftovers for another day. I popped the dish back into the oven so the crescent rolls would get crispy again. It was just as good the second time around!

Eating healthy is deliciously disguised in this comfort food makeover! I hope you’ll try this soon!

This Broccoli Salad or this Green Apple Salad would make great accompaniments to this pot pie!

With love from my country kitchen,