Three Things Every Home Needs

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Labor Day weekend is a time when those who work with their hands take a break and rest. Nobody knows what it’s like to work and labor with their hands like a mother.

She dusts, she folds laundry. She hugs, she soaps up. She packs lunches, she cooks dinner. She pulls sheets up a little tighter around little shoulders, she ties shoes on little feet. She drives and then drives some more. She jots notes on her calendar so she won’t forget, she dials doctors and dentists and vets.

Yes, a mother’s hands are busy busy in her home. The wise woman builds her home.

As you build your home with the work of your hands, remember these three things that your home is longing for:

1. Wisdom ~ wisdom is having the knowledge and understanding of the right action to take in a given situation. According to Proverbs 2 wisdom will save you from wickedness, adultery, bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones, long life, honor, riches, pleasantness and peace. A wise mother loves her children, has concern for them, trains and guides them, provides and protects them. A wise wife is faithful and trustworthy to her husband. Your home needs wisdom, and to gain more wisdom? Read your Bible, soak in it’s words, and pray.

2. Love ~ love is the commitment to an imperfect person. Love means you will respect and honor another person unconditionally. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and their children, (Titus 2:4) A home full of love is a warm and happy home, nourishing little self-esteems.

3. Grace ~grace is forgiveness and mercy. An understanding that people are not perfect, including mothers, husbands, and children. Every day every person in your family will make a mistake, including yourself. Your heart and your home need plenty of open space for grace. Forgive yourself. Forgive your husband. Forgive your children. People grow deeper and stronger through grace. Mercy triumphs judgement. (James 2:13)

So, which of these three ~ wisdom, love, or grace ~ do you think your home needs more of right now?

Take this day of rest to pray and reflect on where you can go deeper to make your home full of more wisdom, love, and grace. Each of these three virtues begins with taking the pressure off of yourself to be perfect and soaking in the wisdom, love, and grace from God’s Word and through prayer.

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Loving When it’s Difficult

“But I tell you:

Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

Matthew 5:44

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Jesus called his disciples to move beyond just loving their family and friends. He instructed them to love all people, even their enemies as well. This is God’s character and by his disciples acting in this same way of loving, everyone would know they follow Jesus.

Look closely at these words that describe the magnitude of God’s love:
He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
(Matthew 5:45)
This kind of love cares for those who don’t care for you back. This kind of love protects and provides for those who aren’t grateful for the provision.
Is it fair? No.
But it is perfection – maintaining your good character despite another person’s character.

This kind of love, this depth of it, is the pinnacle of understanding God’s purpose for every person’s life - to express the very character of God. Love may be described as an unconditional commitment to an imperfect person. It means showing love in our actions and controlling our character, even if the other person doesn’t deserve our goodness.

When you love like this you show that you understand who God is and what He wants from you. Is it easy? No. Does it come naturally? No. But casting off your selfish desires and attitudes and soaking in God’s selfless character does bring peace and a closeness to God. You become like God Himself.

Paul endured some of the harshest treatment from others, but through it all, he maintained a good and righteous character. He said, To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (1 Corinthians 4:12,13)

Does this mean we allow abuse from others and let them walk all over us? Not at all! One of the best ways of defending yourself against someone else is with confidence. Having the strength to remain calm and kind when others frustrate you is showing confidence. Refusing to gossip or get revenge when someone hurts you is showing confidence. Confidence in God’s instructions and confidence in yourself that you can be obedient.

Let’s look at another example of this kind of love confidence. This scripture is referring to Jesus: When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23)

What difference would it make in your life to entrust yourself to him who judges justly? Meaning, how much load would be lifted from your shoulders if you handed all of the annoyances and irritations your holding about someone else over to God – the One who judges justly? Another person’s actions were never meant to be your responsibility to judge and hold them accountable. All your responsible for is maintaining faith and obedience in your character.

Challenge:

I will not talk negatively about people I don’t like

I will see people as God sees them instead of how I see them

I will show love by my actions of respect and graciousness to others, even if I don’t feel it

I will not judge others

I will focus on maintaining my good character, instead of focusing on another person’s character

Prayer: Father, it’s hard to love those who are difficult. It’s easy for me to see the negative instead of the positive sometimes. Change my heart and make it like yours. Change my thoughts so I see love instead of hate. I want to know the peace that comes from being like you instead of being my natural sinful self. Give me the strength and self-control to love like you.

Related Post: Staying Gentle with Your In-Laws

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Caramelized Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza

flatbread pizza

Mrs. H, from Heritage Schoolhouse is here to share her Caramelized Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza with us!

Caramelized Onion and Roasted Red Pepper Pizza
5 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, halved and sliced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 flat breads
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, cut in strips

Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onions and salt. Cook, stiring occasionally, for 20 minutes or until onions are very tender and golden brown. Stir in peppers and vinegar. Preheat oven to 400°. Place flatbreads on baking sheet and top with the onion mixture, cheese and basil. Bake 10 minutes. Cut flatbreads into quarters to serve and enjoy!

You can find Mrs. H sharing stories from her farm, homemaking tips, and delicious recipes on her blog. You can follow Mrs H’s blog at Heritage Schoolhouse. Follow her on Facebook at Heritage Schoolhouse. 

A Back to School Devotion for Moms

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Children are starting school this month, and whether you home school, public school, or private school, you know that this is a new season for your family. A season of learning and growing for both your children and yourself! With this exciting new season, it can also bring difficulty. Regardless of how your child is schooled, there are struggles with self-doubt in children as they learn new academics and make friends, and the endless rush of homework and activities.

Mothers, be encouraged and strengthened in these words as your kids go back to school:
She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.
(Proverbs 31:25-27)

 

Challenge yourself to become this wise woman during this season! Be filled with confidence for the battles that will come your way this school year –  turn each struggle your child faces into a teachable moment. Celebrate your child’s accomplishments and growth and let them know how proud you are of them!

There are some very simple things you can do this school year to make it a great year: 

1. Listen…really listen to your children. Give them your full ears when they get home from school. Ask them questions to dig deeper into the conversation and to let them know you’re interested in what they have to say.

2. Pray. Pray for your children while they are at school. Pray for yourself and your marriage so you connect deeper to God, so He can fill you up with more of His love. You will feel more patient and full of joy when your kids get home from school.

3. Choose a scripture for the school year. Memorize it. Reflect on it. Recite it. Here is a great one: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7

 

Even though your child may be away at school most of the day, you can still hold a very proactive role in your child’s day!
Listen to them when they come home, pray for them throughout the day, and focus on scripture for your children and your family.

 

Prayer: Father, this is a new season for my children! Please give them an awareness that you are with them while they are at school. Please guide them and direct them towards encouraging friends and great experiences. Bring out in them the spirit of power, love, and self-discipline that comes from you. Be with me and draw closer to me as I draw closer to you. Help grace and love to fill my heart and our home. Amen.

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When You Need New Eating Habits

Today’s post is part of our current series:Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul. Today we are going to be looking at our eating habits. 

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Most of you reading this know that it’s important to eat healthy and even how to eat healthy. We know we shouldn’t over eat or under eat. We know balance is key and we weren’t meant to obsess over food. Having the self-control to carry out these healthy eating habits is another story. So, in this post we’re going to look at the heart of some eating issues and why it is so hard to have self-control.

Before we keep going on about food though, let’s look at something deeper – our hearts and its desires…

James 1:12-15 says, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

What this scripture is saying is that our temptations do not come from God. They are from our own desires. Temptation to do wrong is basically the thought of needing to feel fulfilled, valued, secure, important, and beautiful but finding these things in something or someone other than God. That’s it. Temptations say: find what you need instantly through ___________ (food, affairs, drinking, shopping, gossiping), instead of waiting on God.

What happens when you get hungry? Your stomach rumbles and you can even feel sick if you wait too long to eat. When the hunger pains come you fill up your stomach with food and your stomach is satisfied. Our hearts do the same thing. They hurt and they ache from insecurities, lies, and wounds that have hit us. Broken hearts rumble and cry out and we can feel sick if we ignore a hurting heart too long. When heart pains come it means our heart needs to be filled up, just like an empty stomach needs to be filled with food. What our hearts are meant to be filled up with is Jesus’ love and grace – he is the Bread of life. He is the healthy bread our hearts need to eat. But, so often we fill our hearts with something else – drinking, affairs, over-eating, over-spending, ect.) Why? Because it’s quick and easy and provides instant gratification. We feel fulfilled and even happy…for a moment, until this “fake bread” goes away and our hearts cry out again, just as our stomachs rumble not too many hours after we’ve eaten. 

So, what does all this have to do with eating healthy and taking care of our bodies? I’m going to propose a new plan if you’re struggling with unhealthy eating patterns. In fact, it doesn’t even have to do with food. It has to do with Jesus and your heart. 

Every time you feel those hunger pains in your heart – those thoughts that tell you you’re not pretty, you’re not a good mother, you’re bored and lonely…pray for God to fulfill your heart with His love and grace and thenwait. Wait on the Lord to fill you up. It’s not the instant fulfillment you want to get from food or anything else. The Lord moves at His own pace and as you wait for Him to fill you full you understand more about what faith and trust is all about. He also promises that He will never leave us or forsake us. We must trust this promise, just as Abraham trusted in God’s promises, even though the physical evidence was not in front of him. 

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13,14)

Wait on the Lord. Trust Him to fill you with the love and grace your heart is so hungry for. You may realize as you deepen your relationship with Jesus that food isn’t all that important anymore. You may just find that food doesn’t give you the fulfillment and happiness it once did…something replaced it. Something better – Jesus. The Bread of Life. 

For additional reading and digging deeper into this issue please read the scriptures below:

When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”

26 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

28 Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”

29 Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”

30 So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you?What will you do? 31 Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

32 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

34 “Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”

35 Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. 36 But as I told you, you have seen me and still you do not believe. 37 All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. 38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. 40 For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

41 At this the Jews there began to grumble about him because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can he now say, ‘I came down from heaven’?”

43 “Stop grumbling among yourselves,” Jesus answered. 44 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’[b] Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. 46 No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. 47 Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. 48 I am the bread of life. 49 Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. 50 But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. 51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven.Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

52 Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”

53 Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. 55 For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. 56 Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. 57 Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”59 He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum. (John 6:25-59)

Prayer: Father, please fill us with what we need, not with instant gratifications that don’t last. Please make our minds aware of what we are doing and why we do what we do. Make us aware of all the things we are trying to fill our hearts with that aren’t from you. Help us to realize that the more we draw close to you the less longing we will have for the things of this world. Let your Word be exciting to us. Let prayer time with you be peaceful and comforting. Let your presence fill our days so we long to seek you more and more. Please help heal any sister in Christ who is struggling with eating or body issues. Let her know she is loved and your grace covers her. Amen. 

*This post is not intended to stop any diet or eating habits that you personally need in your life due to medical reasons. Please consult a doctor before starting or stopping any new eating activity. 

Tropical Lime Chicken

mediterranean supper

Mrs. H from Heritage Schoolhouse is here to share her yummy Tropical Lime Chicken recipe with us!

for salsa:
1/2 cup pineapple tidbits
1 kiwifruit, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
for chicken:
4 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon grated lime peel
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 cup couscous

Combine salsa ingredients; cover and refrigerate until serving. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine lime juice, oil, lime peel, salt and pepper; add chicken. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Drain and discard marinade. Place chicken in broiler pan. Broil 3 in. from heat for 5-6 minutes on each side. Cook couscous according to package directions. Serve chicken over couscous and pass salsa. Enjoy!

You can find Mrs. H sharing stories from her farm, homemaking tips, and delicious recipes on her blog. You can follow Mrs H’s blog at Heritage Schoolhouse. Follow her on Facebook at Heritage Schoolhouse. 

Good Works

…that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed. 

Titus 2:4,5

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Two words that Paul emphasized over and over in his letter to Titus were “good works.” He used these words 4 times in his short letter. The good works Paul was referring to are timeless and simple: be patient, gentle, sober. Stay away from quarrels and debates…stay away from worldly ideas and lusts. To women – love your families, take care of your home, speak kind words.

We can put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to compete with everyone around us, to over-achieve and outdo all the other moms. We are our own worst enemy and we don’t have to get wrapped into this kind of lifestyle. Paul’s message to Titus is a message we must embrace today for a simple, pure life: love God and love those around you. These are the good works that will last.

Prayer ~ Father, today help me to focus on the simple, but lasting things – to love you and love those you’ve placed in my life. Take away the distractions and the needless competitions, and stir in me a passion for love and grace. Amen.

Respect

The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.

 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.

Romans 14:3-5

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Every day you are surrounded with beliefs and opinions from others. Every person in this world is different and nobody has the exact same perspective on everything. This can cause irritations and annoyances within you. But this is not how God wants you to think or feel. He wants you to be at peace and harmony with everyone and within yourself.

You must learn to respect everyone, while you stand firm in your beliefs. Read and re-read the above scripture, Romans 14:3-5. What Paul is saying is God has accepted all believers in Jesus. Beyond that, how that person chooses to live, eat, and think is not for you to judge. Be fully convinced in your own mind of what you believe is right, but respect others as to what is right in their mind. God’s way and will is the only perfect way, and we all have to stand before Him – the Truth.

This includes your children and your husband, your parents, in-laws, siblings, neighbors, co-workers. They will have their own perspectives and choices. Respect them for that. You cannot change a person, but you can influence and encourage them. The more solid you stand in your convictions while showing respect and love for others the more influence and impact you will have in another persons life.

Respect. Respect yourself and respect others. This will bring enormous peace and freedom to your life.

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Why Exercise is Important for Christians

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For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.
1 Timothy 4:8

Our time on this earth is short and the most valuable thing we can achieve while living is strengthening our faith and relationship with God and the people He has placed in our life. What we develop in our walk with God will last for eternity. What we develop in our exercise routine will not last for eternity.

However, physical exercise does help with our mood, joint pain, lung and organ function, and overall health of our bodies, which all enhance our ability to focus and persevere on our journey with God.

So, it’s worth putting some thought and activity into physical exercise. Take a look at this chart:

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Our brains clearly get moving when we move our bodies. Physical exercise can help us get “out of a fog” and help us recharge and focus.

The key to a good exercise routine is doing what suits your personality. A very heavy and intense work out is not needed to obtain the helpful benefits that come with exercise. Walking, swimming, hiking, and playing basketball are all forms of exercise. Even regular dancing has tremendous benefits to the health of your body and mind.

My dental hygienist told me about her 80 year old mother who walks 20 minutes every day. Sometimes it’s as simple as that.

What you want to look for in your exercise routine is activity and movement. Getting up, out of the house, and moving is what is going to get your brain and body moving into a healthier direction. How you choose to do this is up to you.

* Chime in! What is your exercise routine like? What changes do you notice in your mood or body when you exercise? What happens when you don’t exercise?

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Summer Morning Granola

granola

Mrs. H from Heritage Schoolhouse is here to share her Summer Morning Granola recipe with us!

Summer Morning Granola 

Ingredients:

4 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup dry milk powder
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup oat bran
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¾ cup water
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup oil
½ cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped dates
1 cup dried apricots

Directions:

Combine oats, milk powder, wheat germ, oat bran, pecans, almonds, sesame seeds and cinnamon; set aside. Bring water and brown sugar to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in oil, honey and vanilla. Add to oat mixture and mix well. Spread evenly on two cookie sheets. Bake at 275° for 1 hour. Let cool. Stir in cranberries, raisins, apricots and dates. Store in an airtight container. Serve with milk or top with yogurt and enjoy!

You can find Mrs. H sharing stories from her farm, homemaking tips, and delicious recipes on her blog. You can follow Mrs H’s blog at Heritage Schoolhouse. Follow her on Facebook at Heritage Schoolhouse.