Selasa, 31 Mei 2011

Put The Lime In The Coconut And Let's Have A Pool Party!

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Oceanside pools aren’t just for posh resorts. Find a style you’d love coming home to―whether it’s a luxurious infinity version or a petite lap pool that opens right up to your family room―and take the plunge

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Mix up some pineapple drops and dig into our finger-food version (no whole pig necessary)

Enjoy the essence of summer in a glass with cubes left over from fruit salad and a simple syrup made from sugar and water. Pour 1/2 cup of the puree into a glass filled with ice; top off with chilled sparkling water. You can also freeze the fruit-syrup mixture to savor the season even after it's gone.

Walking in the Word

Walking in the Word
Dr. Charles Stanley

Psalm 119:97-104

People make a lot of decisions on any given day. Most choices present themselves quickly, leaving little time to weigh pros and cons. So we “go with our gut.” However, believers who desire to walk wisely through the perils of this world require something more reliable than flesh-based instinct. We need godly knowledge and principles to guide us, which is why we must meditate on the Word.

I mention meditating on Scripture often in my writing and preaching—and for good reason. The Bible is the key to knowing God and following His will. Believers simply cannot neglect spending time poring over its words. If you want to be certain of God’s perspective on an issue, you go to the source book to fill your mind with truth.

All of us have a sort of grid around our minds. It’s made up of the principles we were taught as children, the habits we’ve formed, and the information we accept as true. New knowledge coming our way passes through that grid and is either assimilated or rejected. Think about TV commercials—those persuasive ads full of beautiful people are designed to steal past your mind’s defenses. Well, the Devil has the same goal of getting past your grid and gaining a mental and spiritual foothold.

Some of the darts that Satan aims at your mind seem harmless or even good—that’s why “going with your gut” is so dangerous. A mental grid plastered with biblical truth is essential for Christians, because it identifies and rejects whatever is sinful, poorly timed, or simply not fit for God’s children.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

MAY 31
Jesus, the Bridge Spanning the Great Divide
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.” Ephesians 2:16

Up in heaven is the holy God.

Down below is the sinful man.

And sin is the dividing rod that separates.

Without God, man has an empty void in his life he knows he must fill, so man is constantly trying to reach God. But he keeps rebounding off the sin barrier.

Then God, moved in mercy by the pitiful plight of sinful man, said, “I will do something.”

God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus, to make a way. And upon the rough-hewn timbers of a cross, Jesus gave His life so you and I could live forever and live forgiven. Jesus built a bridge between man and God. It’s a bridge man could never build. And a bridge that man can never take away.

God made a way that we couldn’t make . . . for me . . . and for you.

Since Jesus built a bridge of love for you to be reconciled to God, it’s your turn to build a bridge of love to someone who is lost and searching.

The Beatitudes of Anger Management - Part 1
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth
“In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

Friend to Friend
Everyone has to deal with anger. The challenge is to deal with anger in the right way. Anger is powerful - an emotional warning that something is wrong. We have been hurt or rejected. Something has changed and we don’t like it!

Anger itself is not sin. We just have to learn to express anger in the right way. Mishandled anger is destructive but anger that is handled correctly can become a tool for good. God’s Word is filled with tips for learning to handle anger in a healthy and godly way.

Be still.
Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

If we are busy, it is much easier to ignore or refuse to face and deal with the real source of anger. Anger that is not dealt with in the right way accumulates over time, allowing bitterness to take root and rage to simmer just below the surface of everything we do, say, think or feel. In order to manage anger, we need to incorporate frequent and regular “stops” into our schedules; time set aside to simply be still and hear the voice of God.

Be quiet.
James 1:19-20 “Everyone should be slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

Our first response to conflict is often not a response at all … but a reaction. We jump in with a brutal rebuttal or a thoughtless correction – which is like pouring gasoline on a fire. An explosion is bound to happen. Our first action should be to stop and think instead of rushing to respond in a way that could escalate tensions or provoke an offensive response from others. Listen to the other person before responding. Try counting to ten before saying anything. This may not address the anger directly, but it can minimize the damage you will do while angry.

Be wise.
Proverbs 25:28 “Like a city whose walls are broken down, is a man who lacks self-control.”

Wisdom is doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason. Anger management comes from wisdom rooted in self-control. I love the story of Jesus driving the money-changers out of His Father’s temple. In John 2:15, Scripture says Jesus “made a whip out of cords.” Don’t miss this picture. At the height of His anger, Jesus gathered several cords and braided a whip. I imagine it took several minutes at least to form a whip substantial enough to drive grown men anywhere. I think Jesus was so angry that He knew He needed to cool off, so He deliberately chose to be still, quiet and wise. When we are close to losing control of anger, we need to be wise.

Be discerning.
Psalm 4:4 “In your anger do not sin … search your hearts and be silent.”

The longer I work with people the more I realize that there is always a reason for their behavior. Hurt people – hurt people. When you are angry at someone, ask yourself why. Think back to what led up to the conflict. Was it something someone said to you? Has a past problem triggered your present anger? Give yourself time to consider why you are upset and what you should do to handle it in a way that pleases God.

God created us with the capacity for emotions. That means He has a right plan and a right place for emotions in our lives. Anger management is a spiritual discipline that God honors, blesses and empowers. Tomorrow, we will look at four more ways God gives us to control anger.

Let’s Pray
Father, please forgive me when I allow anger to control what I say and do. I want to honor You in the way I manage my emotions – especially the anger in my life. Fill my heart with Your peace. Help me cultivate the spiritual discipline of anger management and learn how to control my emotions instead of allowing them to control me.
In Jesus’ name,

Now it’s your turn
Evaluate the level of anger in your life. Would people who know you well describe you as an angry person? Identity the source of your anger; then make the commitment to face and deal with whatever is causing your anger. Review each anger management tip. Which one jumps out at you as a starting point for learning to control anger in your life? Read and memorize the verse of Scripture listed with that tip. Pray – asking God to show you the steps you need to take today to manage the anger in your life. Record your thoughts and the truths God gives you in your journal.

Girlfriends in God
P.O. Box 725
Matthews, NC 28106

Today's Scripture Reading:   Micah 7: 7-35

The earth will be ruined for the people who
live in it.
because of their deeds.

So shepherd your people with your stick;
tend the flock of people who belong to you.
That flock now lives alone in the forest in the middle of the garden land.
Let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
as in days long ago.

As in the days when I brought you out of Egypt, 
I will show them miracles.

When the nations see those miracles,
they will no longer brag about their power.
They will put their hands over their mouths,
 refusing to listen.

They will crawl in the dust like a snake,
like insects crawling on the ground.
They will come trembling from their holes to
the Lord our God
and turn in fear before you.
There is no God like you.
You forgive those who are guilty of sin;
you don't look at the sins of your people
who are left alive.
You will not stay angry forever
because you enjoy being kind.
You will have mercy on us again
you will conquer our sins.
You will throw away all our sins
into the deepest part of the sea.
You will be true to the people of Jacob,
and you will be kind to the people of
as you promise to our ancestors long ago.

Micah 7:13-30

Senin, 30 Mei 2011

Everybody loves Ebelskivers

I've blogged about it before, but I just love our [new-ish] little family tradition of having Ebelskivers for breakfast when Sean is home for a holiday.  Healthy? not so much. Delicious? definitely. We have tried lots of different recipes from my Ebelskiver recipe book, but this one was probably in the top three {along with Lemon Curd ebelskivers and Apple-spiced filled ebelskivers}.  This morning I made Double Blackberry Ebelskivers with a fresh blackberry in the middle and homemade blackberry sauce! 

Living and loving life in the little things. 
Days off, family breakfast, sticky fingers, beautiful sunny day. 
Doesn't get much better.
Thank you Lord.

As Organic as it Gets

We love spending time with [both] our families, and Jack especially loves all the fun and special things he does with his Grandparents. We were at Sean's parents house for *yummy* carne asada the other night, and I decided to capture my little farmer having fun with Grandma and her vegetable garden.  I'm so jealous because I love fresh veggies and buy all organic [when i can]...and can you imagine just walking out to your yard and picking a nice handful of spinach for your salad? Thats exactly what we did. Love it! It doesn't get any more organic than that! 

Jack loves watering the plants and I should have known better than to try to get his picture while he was busy gardening.  He soaked me! I literally had to throw my jeans in the dryer...I was that wet.    
It's ok though. Sometimes making memories [and capturing them on camera] means getting soaked by your 2 year old with a hose.


Remembering Our Heroes - Keep Watch!

Remembering Our Heroes

“And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the Lord brought you out from this place.”Exodus 13:3

Each year, Americans remember those brave-hearted souls who fought and gave their lives so that you and I would have the rights and privileges of living in a free country.

Remembering is important. In fact, God instructs His people on many occasions in the Old Testament to remember from whence they came and to remember His providence.

It is by the mighty hand of God that we are saved, we are protected, and we are free to live in the Land of the Brave. Never take that freedom for granted, my friend. It is a precious commodity for which the world hungers. And it is a powerful charge for you and me to protect.

Do you know of someone in your life who has served in the armed forces of this country? Make a point this week to express to them your gratitude for their service.

Keep Watch!
Gwen Smith

Today’s Truth
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith… (1 Peter 5:8-9a, NIV).

Friend to Friend
I was really excited that evening because I actually had a fun dinner plan … which is not always the case. There was some grilled chicken left over from dinner the night before, so I decided to bust out my griddle and whip up some yummy grilled chicken quesadillas – a simple, yet very popular Smith-family delicacy. I know: it’s a crazy-easy make, but for some reason my kids think I’m a genius when quesadillas are on the menu. Go figure.

I grabbed a knife, a chopping board, and the leftover chicken from the fridge. Minutes later, the chicken was ready for it’s cheese and tortilla companions. While the griddle was heating up, I turned my attention to a few other family matters. I don’t even remember what those matters were. It might have been a buzzer, noising from laundry room – alerting me of dry clothes that needed hung. I might have turned away to set the table or perhaps I had to intervene between my children who perpetually struggle to keep their hands to themselves. Whatever it was that drew my attention away from dinner prep was innocent – normal stuff – nothing out of the ordinary.

When I turned back to the business of quesadilla making, confusion gripped me as an empty cutting board glared at me. With an eyebrow raised quizzically, I asked my husband if he had moved my chicken.

“No Honey. I haven’t touched your chicken.” He replied, with a twinkle in his eye.

Hmmmmm. A chicken mystery. How odd.

I grew a bit anxious and quickly began to interview each of my children, “Did you take the chicken off the cutting board?”

“No Mom. I didn’t touch the chicken.” They said one after another.

I wondered, “If I didn’t move the chicken and my family didn’t move the chicken, then where is my chicken?” I looked around the room once more just to be sure that I hadn’t simply placed the chicken somewhere else.

Then I saw it … a look of guilt. A look that screamed and pleaded, “Yes! I took your chicken, but please don’t be angry with me. It smelled so good and … and … I’m a big dog – I need my nourishment. Was it wrong? Okay. I know it was wrong. Please forgive me. I did it. I ate your chicken. I’m sorry. I’d like to go to my crate now…”

His ears lowered as my eyes met his. My brows furrowed. “Rocky! YOU ate my chicken! Bad dog!” I lamented in frustration as I began to make a new dinner plan…

Rocky’s just a dog. He’s not out to get me and he didn’t mean to mess up our dinner plans, but he did prey on our family meal that night. He came and took what wasn’t his because I had let my guard down. I wasn’t watching over my chicken.

As believers in Jesus Christ, you and I must guard our hearts and watch over our homes. The Bible warns Christians to keep watch. Beyond things seen, there are spiritual battles taking place around us continually. If you are a believer and follower of Jesus Christ, then you have an enemy and his name is Satan. If you live to listen to the voice of Jesus, the Good Shepherd, then strap on your battle gear, girlfriend, because your enemy has a mission to destroy you. Beware!

In the New Testament book of John, chapter 10, Jesus identified himself as the exclusive way to our salvation – as the Gate for the sheep of God – as the One who loves, leads and rescues us. In John 10:10, Jesus warns that though His plan for us is protection, love and help, the enemy … Satan … “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.”

The Bible has a lot to say about this. It tells us time and time again to be alert to the schemes of Satan. To keep watch. “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith…”(1 Peter 5:8-9a, NIV).

Though we have an enemy with a real plan to mess with our emotions, our health, our marriages, our children, our relationships and our thoughts, we are not without help or hope. We have both. God’s power and protection are readily available to believers, 24/7. “But the Lord is faithful, and He will strengthen and protect you from the evil one” (2 Thessalonians 3:3, NIV).

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:10-18, NIV).

I was caught off guard the night that my dog took the chicken off my counter, and there have been times when I’ve been caught off guard in the midst of spiritual battles. As Christian women, let’s remember to keep watch – over our hearts, our minds, and our homes. Let’s purpose to proactively pray for protection, power and perseverance. May we always keep watch.

Let’s Pray
Dear Lord, You are all-powerful and mighty to save. I praise you and delight in your plan for me to have abundant life through Jesus. Please cover me in Your Spirit today and equip me to fend off attacks from the enemy in your power and help.
In Jesus’ Name I pray,

Now it’s your turn
What came to your mind/heart as you read this devotion? Can you identify an area where you feel the enemy is attacking you? Grab your journal and write about it. Pray for specific people and relationships that you feel need protection.

More from the Girlfriends
Are you an armed and dangerous Girlfriend in God? Be that woman! Let’s pray for one another today. If you want to link arms with GiGs from across the globe and stand unified in prayer against the schemes of the devil, click over to my Facebook page:

Perry Stone - Dreams & Visions

Minggu, 29 Mei 2011

Get-Happy Ideas for the Summer

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Summer can be freeing in more ways than one.
Here, free get-happy ideas for the season — and beyond.

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We reveal the real skinny behind the myths that make you fat.

Southern Belles...

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The belles of Charleston won us over with their Southern charm — and style

 Psalm 24:3-4

Words To Warm The Heart

Those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.
Sir James Matthew (J.M.) Barrier

The supreme happiness of life is the conviction of being loved for yourself, or, more correctly, of being loved in spite of yourself.
Victor Hugo

Sow a thought and you reap an action; sow an action and you reap a habit; sow a habit and you reap a character, sow a character and you reap a destiny.
William James

Let us not grow weary in doing what is right,
for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up.
Galatians 6:9

God Likes To Talk To Us

Image of Moon - Space Station NASA

God Likes To Talk To Us
James Robison

We all need wisdom and direction, which God offers through His Word. The Bible itself is a supernatural, God-breathed gift. He communicated it and controlled those who recorded it. Naturally, we must be wary of misguided interpretations and blatant abuses, but the Word itself can be trusted.

We must also realize that the God who inspired the written Word desires to communicate with each one of us in a very personal way. You can hear God.

Jesus made it clear that His sheep hear and know His voice. At creation in Genesis, God talked with Adam and Eve, not only giving them divine direction, but also confronting their ineffective attempt to cover their nakedness by asking why they were hiding. He then followed with a very clear explanation of the consequences of their actions. God talked to people.

Throughout the Old Testament, God communicated with the patriarchs and the prophets. In the New Testament, the Holy Spirit spoke to and through several people. He did not love Moses, Abraham, Samuel, David, Peter, John, Paul or any other person in the past any more than He loves us today.

In recent days, as people have become more keenly aware of Holy Spirit power and a meaningful, personal relationship with God, we will often hear someone commenting, “I received a word from God!” Perhaps more frequently than is best, someone will comment, “I have a word for you.” Sometimes they do. Sometimes the best advice is to beware. Frequently, people will ask, “Do you have a word for me?” They do this when they perceive that someone else has a meaningful, personal relationship with God.

It is perfectly appropriate to share a word with others, but we must be very careful how we present it. None of us are infallible and the closer we get to God, we are tempted to believe that we always hear clearly or even perfectly. Often this is not the case. It does not mean we should live with fearful unrest or distrust. It does imply, however, that we walk in continuous humility and legitimate meekness, perhaps expressing a thought that is most appropriate, “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change. When we are right, make us easy to live with.” Sometimes when we’ve been dead on, we will soon find ourselves puffed up and then dead wrong.

I have enjoyed a conversational relationship with God for extended periods of time. I am heartbroken to know how few Christians even believe such a relationship is possible. I am convinced it is what God wants for all of His children. It is, in some ways, an expression of what Paul exhorted New Testament Christians to do: “Pray without ceasing.” We are to live continually communicating with God. We share our heart and then listen to hear His heart. I am quite a talker, but as I have gotten older, most of my praying consists of listening.

Scripture reveals, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” (Romans 10:17) The ability to live a life of faith comes from hearing God and hearing comes from the Word. If you’re not a student of His Word, your ears will not be open to hear clearly and you will have limited faith. Your confidence will be lacking. If you do not know His Word, you will not be able to discern the sounds in the realm of the Spirit.

Years ago, I learned you will almost always hear the enemy – Satan – speaking at the same level you hear God. If you merely feel impressions from God, like a gentle nudge, you will have similar counterfeit, deceptive, distracting impressions coming from the realm of darkness. If you honestly believe you hear God speaking audibly, you will likely hear the enemy the same way. Simply consider the great confession of Simon Peter when Jesus asked, “Whom do you say that I am?” Peter announced, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus said, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona, flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but my Father in Heaven. Upon this rock [this revelation – this ability to hear the voice of the Father] I will build My church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:13-19, paraphrased) This clearly indicates the church that withstands the forces of hellish destruction and deception are the people who hear God, recognize His voice and respond appropriately to it.

When Peter opened his mouth again it was pure Satan. He went from quoting the Father, to quoting the enemy (the prince of darkness). He emphatically disagreed with Jesus saying that what Christ had predicted would not come to pass. Jesus then spoke to Peter, “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” He was rebuking the enemy that so negatively influenced Peter, leading him to speak deceptive words in the very same conversation. We can see in this passage, there is no room for arrogance, but in humility, trust and confidence we can hear God’s voice. (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:17, Matthew 11:15, Matthew 13:19, Matthew 13:43, John 10:3, John 10:16, Revelation 2:7, Revelation 2:17, Revelation 13:9, Hebrews 3:7.)

Let me give you an example of “a word” in light of “the Word.” If you want “a word” from God concerning a situation, direction, person, or something important, you need to go first to “the Word.” You can always trust “the Word” to help you find “a word” for a particular situation. Keep in mind the word to some other person in the scriptures is not necessarily “a word” to you. For example, God told Joshua and Israel to march around Jericho seven days and on the seventh day to blow a trumpet and the walls would come down. You may face your own “Jericho” – some serious problem. The word for you is not necessarily to spend the next seven days marching around that person or that problem and then blow a trumpet. That was direction for Israel clearly teaching that we can also get direction for now. But God’s way for them is not necessarily the way for you.

Consider the fact that it is possible to walk on the water. You can read the truth of this supernatural possibility in the scriptures. Peter walked on the water. Study that passage until you are pickled in scriptures and then go try to walk across the lake or a local neighborhood swimming pool. Jesus told Peter, “Come to Me on the water.” Until you hear Him speaking that word to you, the word to Peter is not necessarily the word to you. God will give you a word, though it’s not always what we want to hear or delivered in our time frame.

God has communicated that He loves to talk to those who love to hear Him. My challenge to you is to respond to His invitation to live in fellowship with Him. I began to experience this sweet fellowship as a boy when I found that God wanted to talk with me even before I had trusted Jesus as my Savior and Lord. After I entered into a personal, life-giving relationship with the Lord, it inspired the sweetest little church girl – Betty, who became my wife - to recognize that she had “religion” and church membership without relationship. It was my conversational, personal relationship that inspired the most beautiful person and Christian I’ve ever known to trust our wonderful Lord.

You can be assured our great God and Father wants conversational fellowship with you. If you will seek to know His Word, you will begin to know Him and hear Him in ways you’ve never imagined.

Words of LIFE Weekly Devotional 
LIFE Outreach International
P.O. Box 982000
Fort Worth, TX 76182-8000
1-800-947-LIFE (5433)

HOSANNA - Phil Driscoll

Words to Warm The Heart

Look to the Lord and be strong; at all times seek his presence. Psalm 105:4

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength. Isaiah 30:15 NRSV

The promise to enter the place of rest is still good, and we must take care that none of you miss out . . . Only people who have faith will enter the place of rest . . . God has promised us a Sabbath when we will rest, even though it has not yet come. On that day God's people will rest from their work, just as God rested from his work. We should do our best to enter that place of rest, so that none of us will disobey and miss going there, as they did. Hebrews 4:1, 11 CEV

What difference does it make to you what someone else becomes, or says, or does? You do not need to answer for others, only for yourself! Thomas a Kempis

The most important thought that I ever had was that of my individual responsibility to God. Daniel Webster

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live." John 11:24-25

He will change our weak mortal bodies and make them like his own glorious body, using that power by which he is able to bring all things under his rule. Philippians 3:21

Man cannot cover what God would reveal. Thomas Campbell

Revelation consists of the initiative of God who personally came to meet man, in order to open with him a dialogue of salvation. It was God who began to talk, and it is God who carries it forward. John Paul II

Sabtu, 28 Mei 2011

Inquire of the Lord

Inquire of the Lord
Bayless Conley

1 Samuel 30:8 tells us what David did next as He sought to deal with the troubles that besieged him. After grieving and strengthening himself in the Lord, here is what he did,

So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I pursue this troop? Shall I overtake them?" And He answered him, "Pursue, for you shall surely overtake them and without fail recover all."

David inquired of the Lord.

There is a story in the book of Joshua that shows the importance of inquiring of God, of seeking His guidance, no matter how things may seem.

The nation of Israel had entered the Promised Land and they were gaining great victories. One day a group of Gibeonites showed up. They had bags full of old moldy bread, their sandals were worn out, their water skins were cracked and old, and their clothing was old and worn.

They told Joshua and the leaders that they had come from a country far, far away. They went on to tell them they had heard about the great things God was doing through Israel, and they wanted to make sure they would not be attacked. So they had traveled from afar to make a covenant so that when Israel eventually reached them in the future, they wouldn't attack the Gibeonites.

The Bible says specifically that Joshua and the men did not inquire of the Lord. Rather, they looked at the people's provisions…the moldy bread, the old sandals, the old water skins…and they made a covenant with them.

It turns out they were the next door neighbors and Israel had been deceived. And it caused huge problems in Israel's future.

I am telling you, things are not always as they appear. It pays to inquire of the Lord when you are going through difficult times. He will lead you.

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God.

God Is Always In Control
Dr. Charles Stanley

I am the LORD, and there is no other;
apart from me there is no God.
I will strengthen you,
though you have not acknowledged me,
so that from the rising of the sun
to the place of its setting
people may know there is none besides me.
I am the LORD, and there is no other.
I form the light and create darkness,
I bring prosperity and create disaster;
I, the LORD, do all these things.

I admit that I often don’t understand why bad things happen. Even so, I believe that God has a purpose for everything He does or permits. My faith is rooted in the biblical principle that says the Lord is sovereign (Ps. 22:28). He is in absolute control of this universe, the natural and political climate of this earth, and my life and yours.

When we are in the midst of a trial, it is hard to resist crying out, “God, Why is this happening?” Sometimes we get the answer and sometimes we don’t. What we can be sure of is that nothing happens by accident or coincidence. He has a purpose for even our most painful experiences. Moreover, we have His promise to “cause all things to work together for good to those who love God” (Rom. 8:28).

Seeing in advance how the Lord will work evil or hurt for our benefit is very difficult, if not impossible. My limited human perspective doesn’t allow me to grasp His greater plan. However, I can confirm the truth of this biblical promise because the Father’s good handiwork appears all through my pain, hardship, and loss. I have experienced Him turn mourning into gladness and have seen Him reap bountiful blessings and benefits from my darkest hours.

As believers, we must accept that God won’t always make sense to us. Isaiah teaches that His ways and thoughts are higher than our own (Isa. 55:9). He sees the beautifully completed big picture. We can rely on the fact that God is in control, no matter how wildly off-kilter our world seems to spin.

For more biblical teaching and resources from Dr. Charles Stanley, please visit

Today's Headlines Are God's Warnings
Evangelists Billy Graham 

Isaiah 32:1----35:10 
SITUATION   Isaiah spoke of God's coming judgment on both individual and nations surrounding Judah. People's motives were clear to God, and he rewarded those who lived by his commandments and were honest.  He punished sinners.

OBSERVATION   Although slow to anger God punishes sin.  Only the faithful will know God's bounty and security.

INSPIRATION   Almost every headline, every television news report and every radio bulletin these days proclaims one essential truth.  The modern world is in chaos and no one has a realistic solution . . .

The whole world is crying out for some word of hope, but all we hear is the babble of wishful thinkers and charlatans.  Psychologists, educators, social scientists, physicians, and media wizards of every stripe offer pronouncements and preachments, but even the best ideas generally collapse under closer scrutiny.  So far, our modern secular society has produced no positive answers; yet we continue to reach out in hope.

Actually, there is still time.  For with society's failures comes the chance to repent and seek renewal.  If we recognize the failures of living without God and turn our foolishness and disobedience, we may yet be able to receive God's mercy and forgiveness.

Today's headlines are God's warnings to a sinful world.  The television news flashes are a shadow of His loving hand at work, pushing for the world's redemption.  The radio bulletins are a reminder that in spite of our compulsive determination to ruin the earth and destroy God's program of salvation, He has not given up on us completely.  Until that day when God's final judgment affixes each of us into place for eternity, there is a chance to begin again.  Jesus said, "You must be born again" (John 3:7).  That is the last best home for this world.  Ultimately it is our only hope.  (From  Storm Warning by Billy Graham)

APPLICATION   Have you ever surrendered your life to God?  Have you ever asked him to forgive your sins?  Pray and ask him to be your Lord and Savior.  Tell him your sorry for your sins.  Tell  your pastor that you accept Christ as your Savior.

EXPLORATION   Judgment-- Deuteronomy 7:2; Matthew 3:10; 13:30.

The Devotional Bible - Experiencing the Heart of Jesus, Max Lucado General Editor, Thomas Nelson Publishers, pages 858-859.

Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone) - Chris Tomlin

Jumat, 27 Mei 2011

What I'm learning about Prayer: Finding my Voice

I have gone through different seasons in my prayer life. Some where praying was a joy, spending time listening and learning was a constant throughout the day; and other times when praying seemed like the last thing I wanted to do, or felt like I could do.  I was silent. My mind was not fixed on things above.  My heart was not moved upwards to the Lord. Even the very beat of my heart seemed silent.
My boys. I love them. These pics were from this outing.

I haven't been able to really pray out loud for a long time.  I know why. I know when it started. But I haven't been able to overcome it- yet.  I was working in a church {where I met Sean} and there were some things that happened, and I was hurt very deeply by some of the people ministering there.  I won't go into detail here because a) it is irrelevant to my point and b) I don't see the benefit of re-hashing those particular events.  Except to say that I know it was after that time that I lost my voice to pray out loud.  I was betrayed and hurt and all while "doing ministry" with these people, who ultimately were unloving, uncaring and at times- down right mean.  I left there totally jaded, hurt and disillusioned by these "church" people.   How could these "Christian" people, working at a church "serving the Lord" treat somebody this way?  I still loved the Lord and trusted Him, but the hurt from that time left wounds that I'm still working through.  Part of me shut down {the part that prayed out loud}. I don't really know why that part of my relationship with the Lord was affected the way that it was, but it just was.  I put up walls in my heart that stifled my voice.  I have made some progress, and praying with Jack has helped a lot- and for some reason is always easy.  I want my children to know I pray, to hear me pray and to learn to pray.  Sean is pray warrior.  I love listening to him pray. He prays with his heart listening to the Lord, and he prays with conviction, strength and with the power of the Holy Spirit.  I want to be able to pray with people, on the spot, out loud.  Instead of letting the fear reign, I want to allow the Holy Spirit to work and speak through me.  Eeek. Even just saying this makes me nervous. But it really is the desire of my heart.

I am still reading Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and I love the chapter on prayer.  Here are a few excerpts that are really speaking to me:

"In prayer, real prayer, we begin to think God's thoughts after him: to desire the things he desires, to love the things that he loves, to will the things that he wills" (Foster, 33).

Isn't this exactly what the Christian life should be? The finite human drawing ever closer to the infinite Creator, Redeemer, and Savior God; always seeking to better know the heart of God. Prayer is our avenue to the heart of God.  This will inevitably flow outward into the rest of our lives, if we are committed to it. Prayer will necessitate change, for we cannot draw nearer to perfection with out our own imperfections starring us in the face.  We will be moved.  We will be changed.  We will be progressively transformed to his likeness.

"The apostle Paul gladly announces that we are "co-laborers with God"; that is, we are working with God to determine the outcome of events (1 Cor. 3:9)" (Foster, 39).

Prayer not only changes us, but it can affect events and circumstances in your life and in the lives of those around you.  There is an amazing section on intercessory pray (praying for others) in this chapter.  I would have to type out the whole thing to really do it justice- it is just that good.  Let is suffice to say that God hears our prayers and God does change his mind according to his unfailing love (Jn. 3:10) so our prayers CAN affect change.  Prayer is a powerful tool that God has given us.

"We begin praying for other by first quieting our fleshly activities and listening to the silent thunder of the Lord of hosts. Attuning ourselves to divine breathings is spiritual work, but without it our praying is vain repetition (Matt. 6:7). Listening to the Lord is the first thing, the second thing, and the third thing necessary for successful intercession" (Foster, 39).

This reminds me of Ecclesiates 5:1-2 when it says, 

"Go near to listen rather than to offer the sacrifice of fools... do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few." 

Drawing near to LISTEN. That is the first step in prayer.  In the margin next to this passage I had written a quote from John Bunyon, "In prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart."  Listening to God gives our hearts the words that we should pray. 

"If we are still we will learn not only who God is, but how his power operates" (Foster, 39).

This past week I had to pray out loud. There was no choice. I had to pray- out loud- to hear the words myself, because I believed them, and I wanted God to know that I was pleading and believing.  And there was no time for fear or self-anything. I just had to PRAY. I saw God answer our prayers. I saw him MOVE. I saw him do a MIRACLE.  There are some things I won't share on this blog, but the truth is: there is POWER in PRAYER. I feel like my walls are starting to crumble. I'm finding my voice in prayer again. I'm finding in through silence.

My Verse of the Week this week is Col. 4:2

"Devote yourselves to prayer being watchful and thankful."

I am excited to delve deeper into the heart of God, learning to listen, to pray and to know the power of praying....out loud even.

linking up with Casey here

101 Bits Of Summer Fun!

 Laura Winslow Photography

Girls Just Want To Have Fun....

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining,
the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken.
~James Dent

Strengthen Yourself

Strengthen Yourself
Bayless Conley

For today's devotional, I would like you to read 1 Samuel 6:30 again as it contains another truth I want you to see,

Now David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.

Notice that this verse begins by saying, David was greatly distressed, but it ends this way, But David strengthened himself in the Lord.

It is all right to weep, but when you are done, you need to strengthen yourself. It is all right to grieve, it is all right to express those emotions, but when you are done, you need to strengthen yourself in the Lord.

You need to connect with God in whatever way you find is best for you. If it is lifting your hands and worshiping Him, then that is what you should do.

If it is getting into His Word (which I would suggest for everyone) and spending time feeding your spirit, then do that. If it is reminding yourself about how God has helped you in the past, you need to do that.

Personally I believe that is what David was doing when the Bible says he "strengthened himself in the Lord." I think David was reminding himself about:

· How God delivered him from the lion and the bear;

· How God delivered Goliath into his hands; and

· How God delivered him when Saul tried to kill him.

I am confident David was thinking, "You know, God hasn't delivered me so miraculously in my past to get to this point and to let go of my hand and abandon me. I know He is going to help me now."

David was strengthening himself in the Lord, and you need to learn to do the same thing.

Visit the Answers with Bayless Conley website for more ways to Connect with God.


Today's Scripture Reading

Daniel and the Lions  -- Daniel Chapter 6

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”


 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.  Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.

At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever!  My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”   The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Daniel's Dream about Four Animals -Daniel Chapter 7

Daniel said: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me were the four winds of heaven churning up the great sea.  Four great beasts, each different from the others, came up out of the sea.

The first was like a lion, and it had the wings of an eagle. I watched until its wings were torn off and it was lifted from the ground so that it stood on two feet like a human being, and the mind of a human was given to it.

“And there before me was a second beast, which looked like a bear. It was raised up on one of its sides, and it had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth. It was told, ‘Get up and eat your fill of flesh!’

“After that, I looked, and there before me was another beast, one that looked like a leopard. And on its back it had four wings like those of a bird. This beast had four heads, and it was given authority to rule.

“After that, in my vision at night I looked, and there before me was a fourth beast—terrifying and frightening and very powerful. It had large iron teeth; it crushed and devoured its victims and trampled underfoot whatever was left. It was different from all the former beasts, and it had ten horns....


When the storms of life come
He won't let us go
He'll carry us through every fight
and every long night
He remains faithful and true
Even when we aren't faithful to Him.

His love will carry us through every storm
Every trial and every drought
Every season His love never lets go

Kamis, 26 Mei 2011

Summer Salads, Side Dishes and Desserts

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A welcome addition to any barbecue, lunch, or picnic, these potato salads are sure to delight. Find your favorite classic recipes, or try a more adventurous version.

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Elevate grilled meats with the perfect summer side dish. Choose from a showstopping selection of top-notch recipes, including potato salads, pasta salads, grilled vegetables, tomato salads, and lots more

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No celebration is complete without a sweet treat to top it off.
When the heat rises outside, keep the kitchen cool with our selection of no-bake desserts.
These recipes are easy to make, easy to enjoy, and completely oven-free!

The Heavens, a Testimony of Creator God

The Heavens, a Testimony of Creator God
Pastor Adrian Rogers

“For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” Romans 1:20

Can intellectuals believe in God? Absolutely! Many intellectuals believe in God. As a matter of fact, your intellect has very little to do with your belief in God.

Out of all of the secular professional groups, do you know what professional group has the highest number of believers in God? The astronomers do. Over 90% of the world’s great astronomers believe in God. Why? Because they have studied the heavens.

It’s not a sign of intelligence not to believe in God. If you’re intelligent, you have to say, “Somebody created all of this.”

Take a walk with your family under the canopy of the night sky. Praise God for His handiwork in the heavens.


Over the past few weeks here in the United States we have had so many funnel clouds that I am reminded of the story of Moses and the Hebrew people :

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.  (Exodus 13:21).  

Below is a short video posted on May 15th. It's a cloud circle around the city of Murfreesboro, Tennessee:

Now, I don't know about you but I've never seen anything like that before! 


1 Timothy 3:15  You will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household,
which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.

James 4:10  Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will lift you up.

John 14:6   Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 16:13 “But when the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.”

Here a link for a  Scripture Poem for Cloud by Day, Fire by Night, written by Cheryl Winchester that you might enjoy reading.

Mother Teresa
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 2, by Os Hillman

"For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me"(Matt 25:42-43).

Mother Theresa gave her life to a service to the needs of the poor in Calcutta, India. She reveals in the following what she believes every believer in Jesus is called to do:

"It is not enough for us to say: "I love God," but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don't love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me."

It hurt Jesus to love us. We have been created in His image for greater things, to love and to be loved. We must "put on Christ" as Scripture tells us. And so, we have been created to love as He loves us. Jesus makes Himself the hungry one, the naked one, the homeless one, the unwanted one, and He says, "You did it to Me." On the last day He will say to those on His right, "whatever you did to the least of these, you did to Me, and He will also say to those on His left, whatever you neglected to do for the least of these, you neglected to do it for Me."

When He was dying on the Cross, Jesus said, "I thirst." Jesus is thirsting for our love, and this is the thirst of everyone, poor and rich alike. We all thirst for the love of others that they go out of their way to avoid harming us and to do good to us. This is the meaning of true love, to give until it hurts."

How might her words encourage you to do things differently?

Today's Prayer

Father, you who created mankind in your image, you sure made a colorful world of people! As I stop and watch and reflect on the people I see, I notice how everyone is unique. Sometimes I'm frustrated by others' personalities and actions; other times I am blessed; still other times I am amused. The fact is, though we were made in your image, you gave us each a will of our own and instilled different gifts, personalities, and potential within us. How boring it would be if we were all just alike! The "spice" of life is made up of all those different people, with different ideas, and various contributions. Thank you for caring enough that we are not your puppets, but are unique individuals, each called to fill special places in your great plan for our lives. I pray that you will keep my eyes open, my mind alert, and my will in tune so that I will use all you have given me--gifts, personality, skills, desires--to the best of my ability, for the edification of the saints, reaching the lost, and glorifying you. Please forgive my past failures and empower me today for all you want to do through me. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Today God Is First (TGIF) devotional message, Copyright by Os Hillman

Prophecy In The News: It's Not Going to Happen!