Acceptance

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 4:15

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Are you constantly trying to please other people? Do you worry and fret about what others think of you, how you look, or how much money you have? We all have this deep need to feel accepted, and so we naturally try to feel accepted by those around us. We get anxious when we think they might not fully accept us for who we fully are, and then we get nervous and act foolishly. It’s a cycle that can go round and round without ever finding rest.

Jesus walked this earth and felt the temptations we feel every day. He knows what it feels like to feel weak. What Hebrews 4:15 is telling us is that God understands our weaknesses and emphasizes with us, and fully accepts us in spite of our weaknesses and failures. We are fully accepted with God, and therefore we can live life to the fullest, even though we will stumble and make mistakes, because God’s acceptance, love, and grace covers us in every step we take.

Today, accept God’s acceptance of you – the good, the bad, and the ugly. You won’t get full acceptance from others, but you already have it in God.

Truth

The Lord’s promise is sure.

He speaks no careless word; all he says is purest truth, like silver seven times refined.

Psalm 12:6

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People seem to throw careless words around as if their mouths were a racket and their words were tennis balls. Words, careless words, flying around and sometimes hitting you straight on. Their words can hurt, shock, annoy, and even knock you down at times.

Yet, the Lord speaks no careless word. All he says is pure truth. You can’t control what others say to you or about you, but you can control who you listen to and what you accept.

Today, decide to listen to truth. Listen to the One who doesn’t speak carelessly.

Peace

The work of righteousness will be peace. And the service of righteousness, quietness and confidence forever

Isaiah 32:17

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Doing the right thing day after day isn’t easy. Most of our natural instinct isn’t to do what Jesus calls us to do. He calls for radical love, radical forgiveness, and radical patience with others. We prefer to give it when we want or when we feel like it. But the work of righteousness will bring peace in your life, marriage, parenting, heart, and home. In your service of righteousness you will have quietness and confidence.

So strive today for holiness, righteousness, and purity and you will have peace.

How to Read God’s Word in a Meaningful Way

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Many of us turn God’s Word into a chore…another item to add to our to-do list. We create this vision of needing to have our morning quiet time in God’s Word and if this fails to happen we feel like a failed Christian. Other women talk of their quiet times as sitting outside while listening to birds chirp or as they slowly sip on their morning coffee, and we once again compare ourselves to how other women are doing things and why can’t we ever measure up?

Today, let’s erase the idea of reading God’s Word as being a chore or something to conquer, and instead let’s embrace what God’s Word is really about:

1. God’s Word is the presence of God: 2 Timothy 3:16 says, All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.

You could look at God’s Word as written by the Holy Spirit. Yes, men wrote the books of the Bible, but it was the Holy Spirit that orchestrated the words they wrote. So when you pick up your Bible you are picking up the very breath and presence of God Himself. There is Life within your Bible, within the words on the pages…and this Life brings new life into your own mind and body and world.

2. God’s Word is truth that will set you free from bondage, lies, and deceptions: John 8:31,32 says, To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” 

Every time you open your Bible you are opening truth that will set any bondage, any lie, any deception free. You may say, well I read a scripture over and over again but I still feel in bondage to something. Let’s say you are in bondage with a low self-esteem. No matter how many times you read the scripture, “you are fearfully and wonderfully made,” it doesn’t seem to make any difference in your self-esteem, and therefore you don’t see how this truth can set you free. The fact is, this truth has set free any lie that you believe against yourself, you just don’t see it or accept it yet. God’s Word doesn’t need your belief to make it true, it’s truth no matter what because it’s given from God’s authority. You just have to believe it to make it true in your mind and in your life.

The truth has already set all bondage, all lies, and all deceptions free…now it’s time for you to see it all as free because of the truth that set it free.

3. God’s Word is alive and active, able to move things around in your life: Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 

Try this exercise today: Find a scripture and repeat it throughout your day. For example, let’s say you’re struggling with having joy. Proverbs 15:30 says, A cheerful look brings joy to the heart. Repeat this scripture in your mind and out loud all day. See how alive and active this scripture has become by the end of your day. Did you smile more? Did you have more joy?

You see, you don’t have to feel joyful before this scripture can become active in your life. God’s Word is already active because it’s from Him and He appoints it to be alive and active. You just need to access and use His alive and active Word in your life to make it alive and active to you.

Do you see how much more impact and importance God’s Word can have in your life when you stop viewing it as a chore or something to accomplish reading, but rather as God’s presence, freedom, and positive activity? Pick up God’s Word and start enjoying it for what it is and what it was meant to be.

This post is part of our current series: Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul. To view all posts from this series click here. 

Strawberry Eclair Cake

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Mrs. H from Heritage Schoolhouse is here to share her Strawberry Eclair Cake Recipe with us!

1 (16 ounce) package graham crackers
2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant strawberry pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) package frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (16 ounce) can prepared strawberry frosting

Line the bottom of a 9×13 inch baking pan with graham crackers. In a large bowl, combine the milk and strawberry pudding. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread half the pudding mixture over the graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers on top of the pudding and then spread the rest of the pudding. End with a third layer of graham crackers. Place pan in the refrigerator to chill for an hour or two. Remove lid and foil from frosting and warm in microwave for one minute. Pour frosting over the top of the cake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with fresh strawberries. 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. 

 

When You’re Jealous of Your Husband

When your husband has “exciting” business trips, nice lunches, and interesting conversations with other adults in his day you may feel bored and left out while you stay home cleaning, doing laundry, and breaking up sibling fights. At times you may feel like you’re living a mundane life full of serving and giving behind dusty walls and crumby floors, and it can create jealousy and ungratefulness towards your own husband.

So, how do you fight back these feelings and stand firm in your faith?

You focus on what positives and good things you do have in your life. List all the positives you can. Start thanking God in your mind as you watch your kids play. Laugh with your kids and have fun with them. Remember you are in a short season of life – make it the best you can.

Did you know that David focused on God almost 9 times more than he focused on the giant, Goliath? He prayed and prayed to God and kept his thoughts on him, instead of Goliath. He let his faith become greater than his fears.

If your feeling ungrateful and jealous for what it seems like your husband gets and you don’t, then your giant is jealousy and ungratefulness and negativity. Start focusing on God and the good He has given you and your giant will start to fall too.

 

How to Have Confidence in Parenting Decision-Making

Being a parent can bring on new levels of self-doubt that you never knew existed. There are so many specific decisions to be made from baby years, to toddler, to pre-teen, into the teenage years, and even beyond. With every decision comes a chance of self-doubt –  how will this decision affect my child later on, is this what’s best, how do I know if this is the right choice??

Here’s one little perspective that might help turn your self-doubt into confidence: you know what’s right and what’s wrong for your child. Yes, there are some gray areas, but for the most part, you know your child, and if you study God’s Word you know what is helpful and what is not for your child.

Let’s look at a few key verses to give you confidence in your parenting decision making:

1. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. (James 1:5)

~ Making a decision for your child? Ask God for wisdom.

2. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. (James 1:6)

~ After you’ve asked for wisdom believe God will give it to you.  Don’t always be led by your heart. The Bible says our hearts can deceive us. Search for answers in God’s Word and make sure your gut feeling lines up with God’s Word.

3. That man (the one who doubts) should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is like a double-minded man, unstable in all he does. (James 1:7)

~ An unstable person is one who makes a decision and then almost immediately doubts that decision…then changes their mind back and forth…never fully confident or stable in what they do. This verse is telling us that a person who is like this should not expect to receive anything from the Lord! Yikes – that’s a wake up call.

The Lord wants us to come to Him in prayer with confidence and in expectation that He will give us the wisdom He knows we need in making decisions. Once He has given us His wisdom through His Word or through counsel (someone teaching God’s will and way), we need to be confident that the decision we are making is one of wisdom from the Lord. We should be confident in our decisions when they are backed with God’s Word and wisdom.

There are so many times we can feel like we would willingly do what God wants us to do – if only we knew what He wanted us to do! There are so many gray areas in life that the Bible just doesn’t specifically give us answers to. There’s a reason for that. It’s called relationship and trust with God. If God laid out every specific answer to every specific question we have in life there wouldn’t be much reason for us to pray, wait in faith, and believe in faith for a response from Him. Asking God for wisdom, expecting God to answer and provide, and carrying through with our decision in confidence causes us to be still, and know that He is God.

Joining Wise Women

A Guide to a Better Prayer Life

Today starts our new series, Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul. (I will be posting this series on Mondays instead of Thursday, as originally stated. :))

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If a mother is going to be able to serve our husbands and children well, she is going to have to take care of herself mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Today’s focus on taking care of your mind, body, and soul is on the mind; specifically prayer. 

Some days seem so busy that we don’t think we have time to pray, but we usually do make the time to make our beds, wash the dishes, do the laundry, eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, watch t.v., skim through news feeds, ect. We do have time to pray, and our decision on if we are going to choose to pray or not is vital to our mindset. 

2 Corinthians 4:16 says, Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. What this means is that everyday our bodies are getting older and weaker, but our spirits have the ability to do just the opposite – our spirits have the ability to be renewed and grow stronger with each day. One way to grow stronger each day inwardly is through prayer.

Prayer will strengthen your spirit, renew your mind, reset your perspectives, and readjust your priorities.

There are a couple types of prayer: deep prayers and light prayers.

Deep Prayers: 

Deep prayers are prayers that you purposefully set a time aside for, in a quiet place, and you spend a good length of time communicating with God – praising, thanking, confessing, requesting. Your eyes might be closed, you’re alone, and it’s between you and God.

Luke 5:16 says, However, he (Jesus) continued his habit of retiring to deserted places and praying. (International Standard Version).

Imagine, Jesus having a habit of removing himself from people and distractions to pray. In the gospels we read of Jesus retreating to a mountain or a garden to be alone and pray. Jesus prayed often while He was here on earth. He also served many people, healed the sick, took time to fellowship with His disciples, ate meals with friends, traveled – and He still had time to pray.

Deep prayers = choice and habit. Make the choice to retreat and spend time in deep prayer every day to the point where it becomes a habit. Your deep prayers may be in the morning before you get out of bed, a time in the afternoon when you go to a special place to pray, or at night before you go to sleep. Seize opportunities to pray deep prayers – you’ll find there’s more time in your day to pray when you decide to pray more.

Light Prayers: 

Light prayers are prayers that you say throughout your day wherever you are. The Bible tells us that Jesus gave thanks to God in front of thousands of people for the bread and fish before he multiplied it. (Luke 9:16) He was also praying as He was baptized. (Luke 3:21) We can do the same throughout our days – give thanks for the food you eat, give praise as you watch your children play, ask for wisdom as you guide your child through a difficult situation. These are light prayers that keep our eyes fixed on God and keep a stream of communication with Him. When we do this our minds will stay focused on truth, God’s will, and His perspective, thus helping us with our daily tasks.

Light prayers also = choice and habit. We can choose to go about our daily tasks alone, or we can choose to keep an open line of prayer and communication with God and receive His wisdom, strength, and help. The more we pray in the little moments, the more of a habit it will become – a good habit, not a complacent habit.

Hebrews 2:17,18 says, For this reason he (Jesus)  had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. 

Jesus knows what you are going through – He has been through it Himself so He can understand you and have mercy on you. What a gift to be able to renew and strengthen your inward spirit every day by praying to the One who understands you and understands it all.

“Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the One who hears it and not in the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.”

~ Max Lucado

Spicy Romano Chicken

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Mrs. H from Heritage Schoolhouse  is here to share her Spicy Romano Chicken recipe with us!

Spicy Romano Chicken

8-10 servings

16 ounces bow tie pasta
1 stick butter, divided
2 tablespoons oil
1 pound fresh, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
16 ounces heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup shredded romano cheese
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 3.5 ounce package sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
1 14.65 ounce can quartered artichoke hearts
1 small can sliced mushrooms

Boil pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter and oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add chicken breasts and brown throughly on both sides. Turn heat down to medium low, cover, and continue to cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken from pan, slice thinly and set aside.

Melt the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan. Add cream and bring to a boil. Lower heat and stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and cayenne. Stir until cheese has melted.

Add tomatoes, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and cooked chicken to sauce. Stir until mixed thoroughly and heated through.

Drain pasta. Add pasta to sauce and toss to coat.

Serve immediately 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. 

 

New Series: Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul

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I’m excited about a new series I’ll be posting every Thursday: Taking Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul. I firmly believe that to be a good mother you have to personally take care of yourself. We’re going to dig deep into what our minds, bodies, and souls need and practical ways to take care of all three core parts of our body.

Matthew 26:41 says, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” There are so many temptations in one day which distract us and pull us away from what is good and right for us. Knowing and maintaining a firm foundation of what our minds, bodies, and souls need will keep us on the right track with God, which will bless ourselves, our marriage, our children, and those around us.

Here is what I’ll be covering over the next 8 weeks on Thursdays:

Mind:

~ Prayer – daily deep prayers and light prayers

~ God’s Word – daily reading and reflecting with the right approach

~ Meditation – repeating God’s truth daily

Body:
~ Physical Exercise

~ Healthy Eating

~ Giving (using your hands, eyes, ears, smile, words to serve)

Soul: 
~ Salvation – belief of being covered by Jesus’ grace and sacrifice

~ Belief – the deep belief that you are loved and forgiven unconditionally

I hope you’ll join me for this series - starting next Thursday - and chime in with your thoughts and perspective as well!

Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2