Thursday, January 21, 2010

God is good ALL the time

So often we tell of something good that has happened and follow it with the rhetorical question,
"Isn't God good?" 
But isn't God good in the hard times as well?
...when the car is in the shop?
...when the power bill needs to be paid?
...when we have to exhibit patience? 
Today I am thankful for the struggles that make me stronger,
the weaknesses that keep me humble,
the trials that keep me turning to my faithful Lord.

II Corinthians 12:9-10
And he said unto me,
My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore
will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities,
in reproaches, in distresses for Christ's sake:
for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"By Divine Appointment"

Chapter 12 of Created to be His Helpmeet is a basic reminder of why woman was created.  The author states: "The only position where you will find real fulfillment as a woman is as a help meet to your husband."  Of course, that is why God created woman in the garden of Eden.  She was created to help Adam, it was not good for him to be alone.  And yet, many women buck the position that God has ordained for them.  As prideful creatures, we do not want to submit ... sometimes we want to lead, or to just have our own way.  I like this perspective instead: "The emphasis is not on women submitting to men, but rather on women showing, here on earth, the heavenly pattern of the Son submitting to the Father."  It is a picture of the church submitting to Christ.  Would we have salvation through the shed blood of Christ today if Christ had submitted to the Father as I submit to my husband?  Are our homes the picture of the relationship that Christ has with his church, or have we marred the picture.

But I would have you know,
that the head of every man is Christ;
and the head of the woman is the man;
and the head of Christ is God.
I Cor. 11:3

My position in the home is divinely appointed by God.  Should I let the world belittle that role?  Should I downplay my ministry.  I am the chief aid to the ruler in my home, the executive secretary the CEO of my home.  I have an exalted position.  My hubby treats me in this way, so my role is easier then some.  But why don't you try it?  Even if you don't feel the encouragement from within your home ... take God at His Word and seek to be the woman that He created you to be.

A comforting verse

Are there people around you who are struggling?  There are many around me, and I imagine that there are many more who will not share the burdens of their heart because they are private people or because the pain is too great.  I have written a number of notes this week and included this verse in many of them.

Psalm 71:3a
Be thou my strong habitation,
wereunto I may continually resort:

I pray that the verse encourages those who receive it.  Certainly God has used this Psalm in my life this week as a prayer for help and as a source of strength.


Have I mentioned that I am a creature of habit?  I like routing and stability.  I have missed a few days of posting because I am adapting to a new schedule.  Some semesters the transition is easy, and others it really takes a lot of work.  I mentioned it to hubby and he quipped, "Just about the time that you get it down, it will be summer and you will have to change again."  I guess this is a trait I need to work on more.

I missed Monday's post, but did think about it.  I am personally eating very simply for breakfast and lunch and then sharing dinner with hubby.  I swap my meals for they can be breakfast or lunch, but they are basically two.  One is cheese toast and a piece of fruit.  I just take a slice of homemade bread, put cheese on top and broil until the cheese is bubbly.  The fruit this week has been oranges since they are in season.  The other meal is a unique smoothie.  Hubby thought it sounded nasty when I first mentioned it, but he was surprised when he tried it.  It is VERY balanced and nutritious and also very satisfying.  I found the recipe in a recent Prevention magazine. 

Blend 1 cup milk, 1/4 c old fashioned oats, 1 banana, 1/2 c frozen strawberries, and 1 Tbsp peanut butter.  400 cal.  Has dairy, fruits, fiber, and protein - a win-win all around.

The more pleasant weather here has helped my weight AND my spirits.  A daily walk has been helping me sleep better, has given me clear-headedness to think, and helped add exercise to my day.  Speaking of exercise ... Better hurry along this morning!

Friday, January 15, 2010

New Schedules

It is a BEAUTIFUL day in NC!  I started the day in a sweater and a fleece jacket but the sun came out and warmed things up so I had to lose the winter wear.  It must be near 60* today!  It lifts my spirits to be outside.  I think that I will go for a walk this afternoon while the sun is still shining.

The first week of school is completed.  It is a different schedule from the past two which is calling for some flexibility and adjustment, but it won't be too long before I am into the schedule again.  The first week is tough because it is a new schedule, the complete semester of work sits before you, and there are required evening meetings each night.  I look forward to "normalcy" next week.

Other than school, evening meetings, and typical home keeping, there is not much to report this week.  I hope you have had a wonderful week and are looking forward to Sunday again - I know that I am!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thinking About Spring

Today I am thankful that the sun is out and the temperatures are climbing. The warmth combined with the sun gave me such energy today.  I have been pondering the ways that God communicates with us as I think about teaching general and specific revelation to children.  Isn't it amazing that an Almighty, holy God would want to communicate with me!  The world around me shows His wisdom, His design, His creativity, His order, His thoughtfulness... 

My thoughts also turned to gardening with the anticipation of spring and summer plantings. I was told last year that Valentines Day is the date to start planting those peas and other cold weather veggies ... it that is the case ... then I only have one more month!

The heavens declare the glory of God;
and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
Psalm 19:1

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Back into Routine

Well, we are three days into the third semester of college. It seems that this will be a semester of reading - Good for the wife, but hard on the hubby's eyes. It is nice to be getting back into a routine. I thrive on routine and consistency. Today I finished some laundry and there is a dish of homemade baked beans (a combination of my grandma's recipe and a cookbook recipe) in the oven - they smell really good! It is over 40* today so we are going to grill chicken tonight to enjoy with the baked beans.  I also finished a project that hubby gave me at the beginning of the month.  It is "due" on Friday so I still have some time to polish it up.

Chapter 11 in Created to Be His Helpmeet is about the nature of men and women.  We were created different with unique gifts and abilities.  The man is created to lead, to subdue, to conquer, to get things done, to enjoy the challenge of life.  The woman is created to assist him in that task, to be sensitive and vulnerable in order to nurture, while standing behind her husband's strong protection.  The book explains how women are more easily deceived and led astray because of their sensitive nature which may be why Satan tempted Eve first.  A woman is by nature ruled by her feelings and intuitions which are easily swayed and changed.  She needs the leadership of her husband.  She may seem to be more "spiritual," but it may not be based in the Word of God, but in feelings and her ideas.  It is easy to want to usurp authority, especially when I think that I know best.  But there is such peace and relief in knowing that if I stay under the protection that God gives, then I am not responsible for the decisions made and their results, but I am only responsible for my responses and reactions.

The chapter concludes with a challenge to avoid the character of Jezebel and to embrace the character of the Proverbs 31 Virtuous Woman.  Jezebel was a prophetess leading others astray with a facade of spirituality; she was a teacher outside of the home - controlling men or women around her; she pitied - getting what she or a member of her family wanted by any means; she was religious, but not focused on the one God; and she was a controller.  On the other hand, the Virtuous woman is a help meet; she is silent - learning and questioning at home; she is an encourager - creating change by following God's plan; she is prudent - working long hours in the home to care for the needs of her family; and she is submissive - putting herself under her husbands leadership.

So the thought is ... do I exhibit more Jezebel qualities or Virtuous woman qualities?  Do I like what I see?  How am I going to change for the better?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Trust and Rest

Psalm 63:7
Because thou hast been my help;
therefore in the shadow of thy wings
will I rejoice.

God has proven himself over and over and over again ...
     ... silly girl, just trust Him and rest in His goodness and protection.

Monday, January 11, 2010

What's Cookin'?

Well, I have to give hubby the credit for this one.  We were checking out at the grocery store when he noticed a picture for Pork Fajitas and commented that they looked really good.  Cue to wife: try this at home.  I remembered that I had a 3 pound pork loin in the freezer and thought that I could make fajitas out of it.

So ... Saturday afternoon, the pork went into the crock pot with 1 cup of water, a packet of taco seasoning, and some frozen peppers and onions.  24 hours later, it shredded easily with a fork and was ready to be wrapped in a tortilla shell with tomatoes, sour cream, cheese, and taco sauce or salsa.  Hubby loved them and it was an easy meal with no work for Sunday.  I like to make Sunday a true day of rest if I can and this recipe sure helped that!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

God is Near

The Lord is nigh unto them
that are of a broken heart;...
Psalm 34:18

Emmanuel - God with Us
Thank you Lord for your presence each and every day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Reactions

It is good to get back into a little more "normalcy" this week following the holidays. Hubby is working at the farm, the decorations are down, and I am beginning to feel that our home is a little more in order. I have been working on some projects for hubby, so the typical baking and cleaning have not completely filled my days. The cold dry air makes it easy to get LOTS of wash dried outside and with the heat running so much in the trailer, I am glad to save the dryer bill. I picked up the violin again on Monday and was pleasantly surprised that I had not taken too many steps backward. In the next 1 1/2 weeks, I hope to be back up to speed - I am already nervous about a recital in April - it has been a long time since I have been in a recital (over 15 years).

I am ready to be back to the challenge of Created to Be His Helpmeet. This chapter was on my reactions to my situations. Reactions are the true expression of my thinking. So the pattern is simple. If I accept God's thinking, my reactions will be proper. If I give into fleshly, worldly thinking, my reactions will be corrupt. It is easy to look at what my expectations for married life were 7 1/2 years ago and to see that those expectations (at least as far as circumstances) have not been fulfilled. At the time, I imagined a house full of children (I originally prayed for 20 boys), hubby working as a nuclear mechanic or a diesel mechanic, a small home in the suburbs with the perfect garden. Yes, I love to dream - and while I don't condemn the dreaming (I still do it) - I must accept and enjoy God's plan for me right now.

The book challenged that changes in our "plans" can make us bitter. We can excuse our behavior by saying that we didn't agree to this when we got married, that this was not what we expected, that we are mistreated, but God expects us to continue to be a help, a servant regardless of the situation. Unfortunately, as women, we are quick to "console" our friends, to agree with their "struggles" instead of reminding them of truth and of God's plan for them. The improper response is "Poor Me! Why is he doing this to us? What can I do to manipulate and get my way? How can I make him miserable so that he changes course?" The proper reaction from a heart filled with God's thoughts is not "poor me," but "How can I help my husband today?"   Forget the "what could have been" and focus on the future blessings that await you.

I am convicted.
     Many times, my first response is not one of submissive helping, but of a critical spirit.
          Much to work on this week.

Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 2:5

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Psalm 40:17
But I am poor and needy;
yet the Lord thinketh upon me.

Something to think on today. 
Who am I, but a wretched sinner in need of a Savior? 
Could be a sad thought,
 but the Psalm says that my Lord is thinking about me. 
He is there when I call. 
What keeps me from calling?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Something Warm in the Oven

Had a good weekend.  Lots of challenge at church and lots of work to do in becoming more like my Savior.  Last week before classes start again for hubby.  Plans for today: back to the violin practice, make a batch of liquid laundry soap, second load of wash out on the line, a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies, a long term writing project, and a warm casserole for dinner.

The recipe is one that I got from my sister-in-law when I lived with her family for a year.  I was sure to be home on time when this was announced for supper.  It is a staple because it is made with staples :)  It is also a hit in my home because, well, hubby likes anything that has a crust!

Hamburger Pie

1 lb ground beef
1 c chopped onion
3/4 c chopped celery (opt)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 - 10 3/4 oz can condensed tomato soup
1 -2 cans green beans
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp dried basil
ground pepper
1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese

In a large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, celery and garlic until beef is brown and veggies are tender.  Drain well.  Stir in chili powder, basil, and pepper.  Cook 1 minute.  Add soup and green beans; bring just to boiling.  Transfer to a 1 qt casserole.  Layer cheese on top.

1 c flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tbsp shortening
1/3 c milk

Stir together dry ingredients.  Cut in shortening.  Add milk; mix well.  Form dough into a ball.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into shape of dish about 1/4 inch thick.  Cut crust into strips.  Weave strips (like a lattice) or just lay strips on top, pressing lightly against the edge of the dish.

Bake 425* about 15-20 minutes.

Friday, January 1, 2010


Micah 6:8
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good;
and what doth the Lord require of thee,
but to do justly, and to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with thy God.

Happy New Year One and All! 
     I join with many to welcome this new year and to anticipate a new year of learning and growing.

We are just back from a trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  We had a great time visiting Cades Cove - the remains of an early 1800's settlement in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, a drive through the Great Smokey Mountains National Park - including snow at the higher elevations, some wonderful food at the Applewood Restaurant and a Thai place in Pigeon Forge ... and just roaming through lots of stores and enjoying time together.  I particularly like the stores with simple, country decorations - you know, the ones that anyone could make at home with a piece of wood and a little paint, or some fabric and some glue!  A recurring sign appears ... 'Simplicity'.  It must be on the minds of many people.  I think perhaps the greatest lesson that we have been learning is to value simplicity. We have been challenged this year to live on less and to give more,  ... makes no sense, but it is one that keeps our life simple ... the result - we are more focused and less distracted than ever before ... and God has blessed and multiplied as we have never experienced first-hand before.

We named The Parkway through Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, and Sevierville "Vanity Fair" as we drove through one night.  The signs screamed 'entertainment', 'spend your money here', 'Don't miss this!'  Why?  Mankind wants to drown out the voice of God - it is fearful to a lost world or the backslidden Christian to be left alone to think.  This is evident everywhere - movies, restaurants, large screen tvs, the newest and best video gaming systems.  We are a "connected," "plugged-in" society.  I must say that I have this tendency, but am beginning to value the quiet.  We spent a VERY quiet Christmas in NC this year ... it was just the two of us, the meal was prepared the day before, and there was much time to focus on the true meaning of the holiday.  I LOVED IT! 

As we prepare for full time ministry, we often think about the path of the church.  Is it not following the same path away from simplicity?  Must we entertain to share the gospel?  Must we have the most decorative visual aids and handouts?  Do we need a piano, an organ (or electric keyboard), and a small orchestra to magnify the Lord in song?  Of course the answer is no!  There is nothing wrong with a well-orchestrated service, with oder, with beauty, with well-made visuals and handouts, and with God honoring music - but is the worship of God lost in it all? 

So, if I were to make a resolution for this year ... it would be to emphasize simplicity.  Simplicity when I worship the Lord privately and corporately so that He is honored and so that I can hear Him speak, simplicity in my schedule so that God's priorities are my priorities, simplicity when I open my home to others so that it is not something to be feared and dreaded, simplicity in my eating and exercise so I can maintain discipline, simplicity in my belongings so that they don't rule my life. 

What are you working on this week, this month, or this year?  Let me know!