Monday, November 28, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

Are you reading God's word every day? It can get busy during Holidays - I know- but we still need to hear from God.

Here are some of the treasures I have found in God's word lately:

What caused me to worship God more?
"Whoever speaks, is to do so as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves it to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen." 1 Peter 4:11

God truly does deserve all the glory and praise. He is the source of all wisdom, strength and life. We can do nothing without Him.

What Scripture touched me?
"Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed, And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence;" 1 Peter 3:13-15

Knowing that we have Jesus Christ beside us each step of the way is such a wonderful comfort!

What prompts me to action?
"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Peter 1:5-8

That is quite a list of things to work on. 😉 That is what I love about the Bible though - some inspiration on how to live better - a more fulfilled life. I don't want to be useless or unfruitful - I want to glorify God in what I do.

What interesting fact did I find?
"Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat! 2 Peter 3:11 & 12

This world is not going to remain forever. In fact it will be completely destroyed. That is part of God's plan. We just need to make sure that we are ready! Are you?

What treasures did YOU find in God's word lately?

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Feeling so Thankful!

Megan and Aaron helped me with rolls. A favorite traditional job at our place.
 We were blessed with a wonderful Thanksgiving time.  I hope you were as well. Ken was able to take the last 3 days off which was so fun. His work keeps him very busy so it is common for him to need to work on the weekend as well as the week days - the joys of running your own business! 😊 So having him home so long was a treat.

   I think it is so important to give thanks to our Heavenly Father each and every day and throughout the day but it is neat to have a special day dedicated to that as well. He is SO good to us!

Here are a few random pictures from our Holiday (and missing any pictures of our lovely company - my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and 2 friends- I seem to get busy with company and forget about my camera.).
 Ken used his time at home to finish setting up his big screen, projector and sound system. This was in the works since we planned our home as I don't like having a TV in the living room (As a family we watch very little TV) but Ken wanted to be about to watch a game now and then in the living room rather than down in the basement so we came up with this compromise- Jonathan's idea. I didn't realize the screen would be quite so BIG! But the screen neatly rolls up and out of sight so it works just fine. They enjoyed watching the Vikings play on Thanksgiving. Notice Jonathan with the pillow in front of his head. I hadn't noticed that until I looked at the picture. Lately he has been trying to avoid photographs.
 Megan hanging up things we are thankful for on some branches.
 Mara had fun making pies. I did help some too and my mom and sister-in-law also brought pies. We had way more pies that needed but that is fun.
 The varieties that we had are pumpkin, peanut butter, blueberry cream, apple, plum, mince, lemon and pecan (the last two aren't pictured - my sister-in-law brought them later).
 Sorry for the sideways picture. I used some chalkboard tags that we had made for name tags at our places.
I like a pretty table. I had fun using my odds and ends of blue plates this year.
Today I delivered flowers for a wedding. I loved the pretty fall colors.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd {A Book Review}

    I recently read the book One of the Few by Jason B. Ladd. It was an encouraging and insightful book that used many different experiences in the author's life to then go forward and teach a spiritual lesson.
The book was long but interesting.

   You learn bits and pieces of his life as a marine and a pilot. You also learn about him meeting and then marrying his wife Kerry. But the biggest part of the book is about his relationship with God. He talks of his growing up without a belief in God and the journey that he went through in finding and understanding truth and accepting God's gift of salvation.

I book marked many parts in this book as ones that I wanted to share with you. There are a lot of good nuggets throughout this book. I thought I would share several of them with you.

"To become a better leader, a better spouse and a better parent, you must first discover what is true. Then you must learn how to detect what is false. The world is full of lies: all religions are basically the same, Christians are anti-education, humans are just animals, sew is not sacred, and drunkenness is harmless. Your worldview will inform your judgments on these notions and more. Right and wrong exist, and the world, while sometimes grey, still has poles of black and white. 

Be not deceived."  

"Nobody likes a know-it-all, but with God we should make an exception. If it is possible for a being to know everything, and a being exists who does know everything, then that would be the only being worth worshiping. God has knowledge of the past, present, and future. This follows from God's infinity since a god without limits cannot have limited knowledge.
  God knows who will believe and who will not, who will fall away from the faith and who will return, and who will stare death in the face before accepting his gift of life. No one can fully comprehend the complexity of the universe God designed. When you want to learn how to use a computer program, you do not seek help form the end-users trying to figure it out as they go. You go to the source - the omniscient programmer - for answers." 

Jason gives some pretty straight talk concerning sexual purity - a message that is very needed in our day. He shares this scripture in his book: "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. For of this you can be sure; No immoral, impure or greedy person - such a man is an idolater - has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Ephesians 5:3-5

"We are not only to avoid acts of sexual immorality; we are to avoid sexually immoral thoughts as well. It sounds like "mission: impossible." But Jesus' words are clear, and we are to continue fighting the war no matter how many battles we lose. What's the big deal about thoughts and secret desires? James explains in James 1:14: " 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." 
Jason also gives some straight talk concerning drinking and how the Bible speaks against drunkenness. I appreciate his willingness to tackle this unpopular but important topic. 

"Drunkenness didn't end well in Biblical times, and it doesn't end well today. Being a Christian does not mean we will not sin; it means owning up to it when we stumble."

He also talks of the importance of being a part of a church. I too believe this incredibly important!
"Let us not give up meeting together, as the author of Hebrews exhorts, lest we cause our comrades to stumble."

"Christians must never forget that they are fighting for truth, responsible for their message, and dedicated to the God who created them free."

  Though I found the book a little random at times and story line a little hard to follow - overall the important message of his journey to a life of following Jesus Christ and understanding His truth came through loud and clear. I found the book encouraging and it gave me food for thought in various areas. I recommend it.

This book is available for purchase on Amazon and currently the Kindle book is only 99 cents. You can also find out more on Jason's website.

Disclaimer - I did receive a digital copy of this book for purposes of reviewing but received no other compensation and all opinions expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Daily Bible Reading Challenge

In October I went off and did a little different type of sharing from the Bible but now I thought I would go back in sharing some of the nuggets I am finding as I do my daily bible reading each week. That daily Bible reading is still super important to me. Through this challenging election year when there have been many issues that challenge what a christian believes and stands for it has been a blessing to spend much time in God's word and see the answers that are there.

Here are some of the verses that stood out to me in my reading last week:

What caused me to worship God more?
"So that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls." 1 Peter 1:7-9

It is through Jesus Christ that our souls can be saved. That is a treasure worth much more than gold or silver or any earthly thing. It is one of the many reasons that we need to worship our Creator and King.

What scripture touched me?
"Then He said to me, "Son of man, I am sending you to the sons of Israel, to a rebellious people who have rebelled against Me; they and their fathers have transgressed against Me to  this very day, I am sending you to them who are stubborn and obstinate children and you shall say to them, "Thus says the Lord God." As for them, whether they listen or not - for they are a rebellious house - they will know that a prophet has been among them. And you, son of man, neither fear them nor fear their words, though thistles and thorns are with you and you sit on scorpions; neither fear their words nor be dismayed at their presence, for they are a rebellious house, But you shall speak My words to them whether they listen or not, for they are rebellious." Ezekiel 2:3-7

As I read through the Bible I have been seeing over and over and over again the admonition to not be afraid. To stand up and be courageous. I think this is a very important part of following God. We are also told that we are to fear God - to obey Him and do what He says no matter what the consequences are. When we do that we don't have to worry about the future at all. God has everything in His control. That doesn't mean that we never prepare for the future - God gives us instructions in His word to prepare often but it does mean that we never ever have to worry. Also we can be courageous to stand strong and share God's message because that is what He asks of us. 

  This message that God gave to Ezekiel also gives me strength. I am so thankful for the examples of following God that we can read about in His word.

What prompts me to action?
"At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me, saying, "Son of man, I have appointed you a watchman to the house of Israel; whenever you hear a word from My mouth, warn them from Me. When I say to the wicked, "You will surely die," and you do not warn him or speak out to warn the wicked from his wicked way that he may live, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at your hand. Yet if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but you have delivered yourself. Again, when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness and commits iniquity, and I place an obstacle before him, he will die; since you have not warned him, he shall die in his sin, and his righteous deeds which he has done shall not be remembered; but his blood I will require at your hand. However, if you have warned the righteous man that the righteous should not sin and he does not sin, he shall surely live, because he took warning; and you have delivered yourself." Ezekial 3:16-21

This is again a message given to Ezekiel but I think I can learn from it. When I choose to follow Jesus Christ I was given a great commission to go and tell others about the Good news that I had come to know and accept. That commission never goes away. All of our life as a Christian we need to be telling others. Whether we tell others or not can have eternal consequences. This is important!

What interesting fact did I find?
"If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God." 1 Peter 1:17-21

It is interesting to note that this passage says to conduct ourselves in fear - but this is a fear of God not of men.

 The fact that I am relishing in here is that the inheritance that we are looking forward to receiving has nothing to do with how rich we are here but has everything to do with whether we have been covered with the blood of Jesus Christ. Have you?

What insight have you found in God's word in your Bible reading lately?

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Day With No Deadlines

 As I had mentioned in my last post - this has been a very busy year but it feels like things are slowing down a little. We always keep busy since Ken and I both have our own businesses (he has an insurance agency and I a wedding flower business and I teach music lessons), are active in our community and have four kids but we are dropping down to normal busy and that is nice. I had a lot of fun on Thursday enjoying a day without deadlines to worry about.

  I still had dreams of getting a lot done but I could flit about like a butterfly and do whatever project seemed important at the moment. I could spend a little extra time here and there. I could notice something I had forgotten earlier (something that really needed a little extra cleaning or something like that) and take the time to care for it. I had time. It was wonderful. I thought I would share a few pictures from Thursday.
I took the time to make apple crisp for breakfast. It was fun to find a couple of candles to add to our table to make it special.

 Megan is 10 and is perfectly capable of brushing and caring for her own hair but I had fun taking the time to braid it for her on Thursday morning.
 We try to play and sing together most mornings (though with kids going off to work and with me having to leave to go places early several times lately we haven't gotten to do it as regularly) but on Thursday morning we were able to spend extra time and we practiced quite a few songs to play and sing for the people at the nursing home today.
 This is our current reading selection for after lunch at our house. It was a delight to have all of my kids home (we have been missing one or two all to often lately).
 Mara is my herb lady. She takes care of drying most of our herbs and then getting them put away into jars. She worked on that while I read aloud.
 We did end up leaving home for a while. I had thought I would just stay home but my mom had called and said she had a lot of milk, and didn't I want to come get some? And then the boys said we needed chicken feed. So we went and got milk and then to the feed store and got a little over 500 lbs of chicken feed. It is cheaper when you buy it in bulk and so we stocked up. We shouldn't have to buy feed again for a good long while. We are storing it in garbage cans.
 Ken's dad called in the evening to visit (they live in Nevada so we don't get to see them very often) and the guys and Kitchi were enjoying relaxing in the living room with a fire going in the fireplace.
 My big project of the day was making curtains and hanging them up in the boys room. Jonathan likes to do schoolwork at his desk (Aaron and Megan prefer the kitchen table) and when it is sunny it just pours in his southern window and the bright light bothers him. I was able to look through fabric I had and find some that would work. Aaron liked the horse fabric. I had to add the tan on to make it big enough but it works. Both boys ended up liking them and I like that they didn't take long to make and I could use what I had on hand.
 The curtain rod was given to me by a friend after she moved and didn't need it. Very nice!
 Mara found some of our flowers still blooming outside and brought them in to decorate. That is pretty cool for northern MN in the middle of November!
 I finally got the boys hair cut. It was over due!
I cleaned off my window shelf and I also cleaned off all of my counter-tops and used a sealer polisher on them. That was nice to get done.

   It was a lovely productive day. So grateful for God giving us this slower time of year.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Excited to Have More Time to Focus on Home and Family and Sharing the Gospel

  I am pretty excited to have more time available again!

Harvest is over - with all the canning and processing that goes with that.,

Wedding season is over -I only have one more wedding scheduled for 2016 so most Saturdays are free again.

The election is over - I worked as hard as I could to promote a person I thought would do well for our country and I prayed for a miracle but that was not to be this time. Life goes on with the full realization that God is in control, He works in ways that we don't always understand and I am super excited to see how He can be glorified and have His church grow through all of this. (I am also super excited about some of the local candidates that we supported winning and also the way Congress turned out.)

Mara and Jonathan's summer job at the ice cream shop is over for now as they closed up for the winter. It is lovely to have them home again and also doing their chores a little more regularly again.

So tomorrow will be a day at home (with nothing scheduled - no music students, no consultations....). I am looking forward to really giving my house some attention that it deserves in the cleaning and organizing department. I think it would be fun to work on a little decorating, maybe a little mending that has been rather neglected. I am looking forward to having plenty of time to visit at mealtimes, to reading to all of my kids together (so often the last few months 1 or 2 have been gone) after lunch. To just enjoy our time together.

  I have really been thinking a lot about how I can better share the good news of Jesus Christ with others. That news is so much more important than telling somebody about a particular candidate or talking politics or anything else. So I am seeking God's leading in that. I want to be used of Him and I don't want to ever make excuses and pretend to be to busy to let Him use me to reach others.

  Have you found this time of year to be a slower time for you as well or does life still seem to be super busy? Hopefully I can share some highlights of our day with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Vote Fearlessly!

I just wanted to share some verses that I have really been speaking to me as we go to vote today. I hope they are a blessing to you as well.

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

“Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…” from Psalm 91:1-16

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28


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