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Rise Up O Men of God

Yesterday morning in my quiet time with the Lord before church I prayed, “Lord, your word says in Psalm 147:5, ‘Great is our Lord, and of great power.’ I long to see, not what man can do today, but what You can do. Help us not to come to church this morning and practice formality and ritualism. We want to see You at work…” I had no idea how God would answer my prayer, but I just trusted that He would.

The service began with the sweetness of Sunday school and the study of Psalms 146-150. We were reminded “let everything that hath breath praise the Lord.” Psalm 150:6 As we sang our hearts praised the Lord. A baby dedication followed with the parents and grandparents being reminded to be godly examples for this little baby boy to follow. It was a sweet, tender time as this little one was prayed for and given to the Lord. As the preaching time approached my husband put up on the screen the opening slide for his message. The slide read: Rise Up O Men of God. I Timothy 1:7 His heart was overflowing with the joy of the morning…he stood and looked out over the quiet congregation. Then a man close to the front spoke up (an unusual occurrence without being prompted).

“Pastor, may I say something?”
“Certainly.”
“That screen says, Rise Up O Men of God, and I just have to stand up and say that the Lord saved me and I praise him for it.”

Another man stood after him.
“I have to stand with my brother and give testimony of what God’s done in my life…”

When it was finished fifteen men had stood to testify of God’s love and grace in their lives! The regular preaching time never happened because a great God moved in with His power. It was something like I have never experienced before, but hope to witness again the next time we meet in God’s house. The service ended with the men gathering down at the altar to pray. What a precious service it was! If you missed it, I’m sorry for you!

In the service last night the message reminded us of our response to praise – “teach me Lord.” What does the Lord want to teach me as a result of the sweet time of praising His name yesterday morning? One thing I’ve thought a lot about is that as these godly men have a desire to rise up for God I have a responsibility as a woman.

It is my responsibility (and yours) to back up my own husband in His desire to rise up for the Lord. It’s odd, but sometimes we wives pray for our husbands to take the lead, then when they attempt to do that we buck them. As our husband desires to be godly men we need to be behind them 100%. Say “yes” when he asks us to participate with him in ministry. Be willing to serve alongside him, and obey his desires for your family. Yes, I said “obey.” If he wants to make a change in the child training, do it. If he wants to go early for prayer time, go. If he wants to refrain from a particular worldly activity to protect your family, don’t argue – obey.

It is my responsibility to pray for my husband and the men of our church to be courageous and rise up for God. In the days ahead it may take great courage to stand for the Lord. Pray for their courage. Pray for their steadfastness. Pray for their purity.

Praise the Lord for His great power and for the wonderful work He did yesterday. I am looking for His working around me today, and I am desirous to respond to my husband as He submits to our Great God.

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Serving Without Cost

The proverbial woodshed is where I’ve spent my morning. It began as I read II Samuel 24. David had sinned against the Lord in numbering the people. Due to his sin 70,000 men died in a pestilence that was to have lasted three days, but was shortened, by God’s mercy. As is David’s character, he repented of his sin, and asked the Lord to put the punishment on him and his father’s house for his great sin. David then is told to offer a burnt sacrifice. As he goes to gather the threshing floor and the materials necessary for the sacrifice, a wealthy man by the name of Araunah desires to give David what he needed. What would most of us have said at that moment? “Woo hoo! This is my lucky day!” Then the fifty shekels of silver would have been slipped back into our pocket to use for something else (probably self). But David did not do that. He told Araunah, “I will not offer to God that which costs me nothing.” Woodshed, here I come.

Oh that my heart would be willing to only offer to the Lord that which costs me something. Too often I serve when it’s convenient for me, when it fits into my planned time schedule, and when it doesn’t take me out of my comfort zone. That doesn’t sound much like sacrifice. When I look to Calvary and see that Christ’s sacrifice for my sin cost Him His life, I am rebuked at my puny gift that has cost me nothing.

One of my favorite stories of missionaries is that of David Livingstone (pictured above). He was born in Scotland in 1813. He trusted Christ as his Savior and then desired to “show his attachment to the Lord” by giving his life in service on the mission field. He left for Africa when he was 27. He was accompanied on part of his journey by his father, whom he never saw again after that day. Speaking of the sacrifice that people said David had made, David said this:

“People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply acknowledging a great debt we owe to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny? It is emphatically no sacrifice. Rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, danger, foregoing the common conveniences of this life–these may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing compared with the glory which shall later be revealed in and through us. I never made a sacrifice. Of this we ought not to talk, when we remember the great sacrifice which He made who left His Father’s throne on high to give Himself for us.”
David Livingstone lived a very difficult life on the field. He and his wife suffered many hardships while there. Two of their children died in infancy. His wife died at 42. The end of David’s life found him alone, with no family near him. At four on the morning of May 1,1873, the boy who slept at Livingstone’s door wakened, beheld his master, and fearing death, called Susi. “By the candle still burning they saw him, not in bed; but kneeling at the bedside, with his head buried in his hands upon the pillow. The sad, yet not unexpected truth soon became evident; he had passed away on the furthest of all his journeys, and without a single attendant. But he had died in the act of prayer, — prayer offered in that reverent attitude about which he was always so particular; commending his own spirit, with all his dear ones as he was wont, into the hands of his Savior; and commending Africa, his own dear Africa, with all her woes and sins and wrongs, to the Avenger of the oppressed and the Redeemer of the lost.”

I am taken, once again to the woodshed. How rebuked I am at his words and his life. I cannot call what I do for the Lord a sacrifice when it costs me so little. Do I only witness when I’m in the mood? Do I pray if it fits into my schedule for the day? Do I only give when I still have something left for myself? Do I only serve when it’s what I want to do? Each time I serve in such a manner I can picture myself stuffing those 50 shekels of silver back into my purse.

“Oh, Lord, forgive my selfish heart and help me to serve you only when it is of cost to me.”

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Cooking Up Some New Recipes

What are you planning for supper tonight? As women, most all of us are involved in preparing meals every day. It may be just for yourself, maybe you and your roommate or your husband, or for a large family. But the truth is some weeks it can be just plain difficult to come up with interesting menus that you feel like eating, or more importantly, preparing! I thought I’d share a few of my favorite recipes today and perhaps give you some ideas for supper meals.

Baked pasta with Sausage, tomatoes and Cheese – This is delicious and cheesy, yet lighter than many pasta dishes. http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/recipefinder.dyn?action=displayRecipe&recipe_id=549971

Chicken Barbecue Pizza – We had eaten a barbecue pizza while on vacation and it was so good I thought I’d find a recipe so I could make it at home. This was very good.

Tilapia Tacos with Peach relish – Sounds strange, I know, but they are good!

Foil-Pack chicken Fajita Dinner – This is quick and easy.

Chicken Piccata – Another very fast recipe that is one of my very favorites! I serve it with garlic mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus.

Sweet Potato Pancakes – Sometimes we like to eat breakfast for supper. These are from Cooking Lite, but you’d never know it!

Mozzarella Chicken Sandwich – A delicious sandwich that tastes like one you’d find at Atlanta Bread Company!

Okay, there’s a week’s worth of recipes. Hope you find something that sounds delicious!
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The World Rushes On

I’m not a fan of big crowds, probably because of my size. I feel like I’m getting shuffled along against my will. One day last year we were at Dollywood and it was about 45 minutes before the park closed. We decided we’d eat supper at one of the restaurants there before leaving the park. Everyone else was headed to the front gate to go home, while we were like salmon swimming upstream headed to the restaurant. It helps to have a tall sturdy husband to hang on to! He said, “Hold my hand,” then he plunged into the crowd dividing the people like the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. My head was spinning with those people pushing all around me!

My prayer journal has a hymn written at the beginning of each day. The hymn for Wednesday is “Take Time to Be Holy.” One of the verses says,

Take time to be holy,

The world rushes on;

Spend much time in secret

With Jesus alone;

By looking to Jesus,

Like Him thou shalt be;

Thy friends in thy conduct

His likeness shall see.

In order for us to be holy we must spend time with the Lord each day. While we’re reading and listening to His voice the world is just outside rushing all around us. It’s calling for our attention, pushing and shoving right at our elbows; even desiring to turn us and make us follow the busy crowd instead of being still. But the Lord says, “Here, hold my hand.” When we keep our eyes focused on Him and latch securely onto Him we can stay on track. Our thoughts won’t wander, nor will our hearts if we do as the songs says, and look to Jesus. Then afterwards when we do step into the crowd, it will be evident to others that we have spent time with our Savior because we’ll be like Him.

No matter how early you get up the world is rushing around you – let it rush on without you. Have you turned your back on the crowd and taken time to be with Christ today? It will be evident either way.
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What Jesus Did For Me

I’m late posting today – it was a “migraine morning.” But, thank the Lord, the headache is gone now and I’m pressing on. The Lord is good to give medications, and doctors to help. He gives sleep when we need it most, and comfort in difficult, painful hours in the night.

As I sat out on the deck a while ago and read my Bible reading my heart was overwhelmed when I read John 21:25 – “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.” As I sit and reflect on what Jesus has done for me I could write one of those books John was talking about! I could tell you how He began working in my life before I was saved, revealing my sinful nature and my need for a Savior. I could write about the way that He has led me since salvation, marking out His will in my life, giving me purpose and direction. I could tell you how He has answered scores of prayers. He has enabled me to serve Him by giving me wisdom and strength when I had none! He has intervened in my life, protecting me from making poor choices. He has encouraged me by sending along other Christians that were walking with Him. He told them what to say to me, or what to do for me that was exactly what I needed at that moment. My book would be a thick one – maybe it would be a series. Who am I that He would care for me? But He does, and it amazes me.

Every day that I’m walking with Him I see His involvement in my life, and another chapter could be added to the book, What Jesus Did for Me. What a Savior!
Why not share here what Jesus has done for you today…
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Summer Help for Moms

When I went to Walmart this week it dawned on me very quickly that school is out for some children and will be coming for others in the near future. How did I know? Mothers in the aisle of the stores already had that pinched look on their faces. I could hear frustration in their voices as they repeated what they’d already said to their children more than once since arriving in the store. I heard – “I don’t have money for that.” “I’ll buy you a little toy if you’re good.” “Get out of the middle of the aisle where people are trying to push their carts.” “You’re not thinking!”

For some moms summer break means having the children under foot for three months – and that is thought enough to curl their hair without the aid of any iron or curlers! Having a plan in place will help make the summer months one to enjoy instead of dread. Here are a ideas for summer activity that will give your children and you some special times together:

Coin Adventure
Turn an ordinary neighborhood walk into an extraordinary adventure. Pick a time when you have nice weather and a bit of time to spend. As you and your child step out the front door, flip a coin. If its tails turn left. If its heads turn right. Continue this at every corner. You never know where you’ll end up! This is a great opportunity to giggle with your kids and enjoy some chatting.

Be Prepared
Fill a large laundry basket with a good playground ball, a jump rope, and roller skates, hula hoop and some side walk chalk. Fun times are waiting with these items!

Slide Test Drive
This simple activity keeps my son busy for quite awhile and his friends like it too!If you have a swing set with a slide in your back yard.Place a bucket or dish pan at the bottom of the slide.Have your child place a toy car at the top of the slide and see if it will roll into the bucket.Ask him /her which cars were successful, which one failed and why they think that was the case.

Scavenger Hunt
My favorite summer camp activity was a good scavenger hunt. Have a hunt with your kids or help plan one for the neighborhood gang.You’ll Need:A list of common house hold objects that you know you have. Each team or child will receive a list and a bag for the items (make the lists before gathering the kids).The lists can contain anything:A dandelion, rock, Pill bug, worm, leaf, ball, roller blade…Pre-readers will need pictures. The object of the game is to be the first team to find and retrieve all of the objects on the list. Play inside or outdoors.

Refrigerator Box House
No tree for a tree house?Just go to your local appliance center and ask if they can spare a LARGE box. Let your children design there “fort” and you can cut the doors & windows with a utility knife.Paint and decorate the outside using poster paints and sponges or brushes. Fabric scraps and a stapler can be used for curtains. If kept under cover this retreat will last all summer. Don’t for get the “keep out” sign.

Tent Time
Kids love to play in their own tent space. You can do it without the hassle of pitching a tent.Use a plastic tarp over the clothesline with stakes at the corners. Cover the floor with a blanket or sheet.Provide a picnic lunch, board games and other activities for the little campers. Using this instead of a real tent will prevent damaging the lawn. Kids can use it all summer long for a relief from the sun.

Special Treats
If there’s an ice cream truck that rolls through your neighborhood and causes whining among your brood because there’s not money for it, purchase some special treats ahead of time (they’re much cheaper at the store!). When the truck comes into your neighborhood pull out your affordable treats. You and your children could even make the treats – ice cream sandwiches with your homemade chocolate chip or peanut butter cookies would be super good!

Check out this web site that has 99 games to last from Memorial Day to the end of August…ummmm, isn’t that when school starts back? http://familyfun.go.com/games/indoor-outdoor-games/specialfeature/summer-games-june/
Bible Time
Why not host a Bible club in your backyard? It doesn’t have to be a huge organized thing. Invite the neighborhood children (and their moms), have a Bible story, songs, maybe a craft and a little snack. Who knows what impact this could have in your neighborhood? While giving the children the Gospel, you’re also providing a break for those moms for an hour – they’re bound to appreciate that!
I LOVE summer! Hope yours is a great one!

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Just Good Ideas

I love to pick up a book or magazine that has some really good helpful ideas in it that simplify my life. I thought I’d share some of my recent finds with you here. Feel free to share your good ideas on the comment section – I’d love to hear your helpful hints!

  • Place all your shoes in clear shoe boxes rather than shoe racks. They’re shorter and trimmer than standard shoe boxes and stack nicely on the closet shelf. Because they’re in clear boxes they’re easy to find.
  • Put Clear plastic drawers in your closet to store socks and belts.
  • Use a lingerie bag usually used in the washing machine to hold small lids, baby bottle caps and other small items from slipping through the dishwasher rack.
  • Use a magnetic clip to hold your recipe while you’re cooking. Stick the clip to the stove hood and you’ll be able to see the recipe easily.
  • Wrap a rubber band or two around the ends of a hanger to keep your camisoles and sleeveless tops from sliding off the hanger and into the floor.
  • Use an empty tissue box to hold your empty grocery bags.
  • Pop your medication into a contact case for a handy pill box.
  • When you get to the bottom of your favorite tube of lipstick dig out the remains with a Popsicle stick and put it into a clean contact case. Presto! Lip gloss is now at your finger tips!
  • I saw a girl using a baseball card collectors notebook for her coupons. Everything was laid out in sight without having to dig through a coupon box. I haven’t found a cheap one yet, but I’m on the look out! If anyone finds one, please tell me!
  • When you’re in the middle of a painting project and it’s time to quit, instead of washing all the paint off your brushes and rollers simply wrap them in syran wrap ’til you’re ready to paint later that day or even the next day. This way you’ll only have to clean up the messy brushes once!
  • Keep cilantro fresh by cutting off the bottom of the stems and placing the cilantro in a cup with enough water to cover the stems. Place the cup in the fridge. The cilantro will stay fresh for a couple of weeks.
  • I found that cleanser with bleach in it cleans the shower better than any of the expensive sprays I’ve tried.
  • Magic Erasers are fantastic – have you tried them? It removes all kinds of grime that other cleansers won’t!