Monday, April 30, 2012

Roman Road

Roman Road                         

All Have Sinned. Romans 3:10 states, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” And again in Romans 3:23 we are told, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Romans 5:12 tells us, “Wherefore, as by one man [Adam] sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” When Adam sinned, he brought the curse of sin upon all mankind. This is why everyone is born with a nature to sin, it has been passed down since Adam.
There is a Penalty for Sin. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Death is the penalty for sin, Physical Death and a Second Death. Most people confuse spiritual death with the Second Death. We are born spiritually-dead. Adam and Eve died spiritually the moment they sinned, and all of their descendants since have been born spiritually-dead. This is why a person must be born-again spiritually. God's Holy Spirit is that spiritual life. The Bible also speaks of a Second Death, which means being cast into the Lake of Fire forever as punishment for our sins. Just as a person is paid wages for work performed on the job, so does God payback sinners in the Lake of Fire.
Jesus Paid Our Sin Debt. Romans 5:8, But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” What a precious Scripture! God in His love decided to give mankind a chance to escape the wrath of God's judgment. Jesus came and laid down His life for us, knowing just how messed up the human race is. God expressed His love for humanity-paying men's sin debt-knowing that we are undeserving.
Call Upon the Lord Jesus to Be Saved. Romans 10:13 promises, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” The word “call” means “to appeal unto.” Lost sinners who come to Jesus for forgiveness of sins, believing that He is the Christ, the Son of God, will be saved. How much faith do you need to be saved? Just enough faith to obey Romans 10:13 and trust upon the Lord Jesus for salvation.
They say there is an app for everything, there is even a Roman Road app:

Friday, April 27, 2012

Heaven Is For Real

by Todd Burpo
Curious if there is a heaven?  Wonder what it could possibly look like?
Heaven is for Real is a beautifully written story of a young boy’s trip to heaven and back.  The story is retold by his father after his son nearly lost his life.
The details are amazing!  The story is so powerful, the quotes from the child will stay with you.  My new favorite line of encouragement is, “Ask the Holy Spirit to shoot you down some power.”

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pray for your Enemies

Pray for your Enemies
by Suzie M.
Seven years ago my husband and I went into a business deal with a good friend and his wife.   By the end of the project my husband and I were hurting both financially and emotionally. 
Our partners’ wife and I were very good friends, but when the deal went south so did our friendship.  My husband’s pain was felt in his wallet but mine was in my heart. 
I was very angry at her husband for his role in the deal and how he mistreated us, but particularly because it resulted in a huge friendship loss.  Through countless lonely days, nights and tears I heard the still small voice in my head telling me to forgive him. 
Matthew 18:21-22, “Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me?  Up to seven times?”  Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
I began praying for this man and my friend every day.  I would lie in bed some nights filled with so much anger, but I would pray anyway.  I prayed every time I thought about them.  I finally began asking myself if I had really forgiven him, after all, I had been praying for him on and off for over 3 years.
One day a girlfriend of mine and I went to lunch.  We walked into the restaurant and I saw this man sitting there and thought he sure looks like my friends husband.  As we walked by his table he said “Hi Suzie.” It was him!  My instant reaction was “Hi!  Oh my goodness, I thought that was you.  How have you been?”  We talked for a few minutes and then I sat at my table.  I could not believe my reaction!  I knew at that moment that I had truly forgiven him.  I did not have any more anger and I was genuinely glad to see him and talk with him.
When I read the Crucifixion of Jesus in Luke 23 I am always in awe that Jesus prayed for the people who were crucifying him, casting lots for his clothes and mocking him.  “Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”  Luke 23:34
Jesus was not only praying for the witnesses there that day but he was also praying for you and me.  Once again our perfect Jesus sets the example for us to follow.  No matter what someone has done to you, pray for them.  God will change your heart.
Challenge:  Pray for those who have hurt you mistreated you, or any other offense against you.  Forgive and let Jesus do his work on them and you. 
As a side note, when this man was leaving the restaurant he asked me for my husband’s cell number.  Turns out the Lord did a work in him and he was calling everyone he had wronged!  Go GOD!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Menu Monday Weeks 25 & 26

Menu Monday Weeks 25 & 26 (click to open pdf) - Suzie M.
Monday: Salsbury Steak
Tuesday: Spicy Chicken Rigatoni, Salad and Garlic Bread
Wednesday: Tenderloin Tips and Rice
Thursday: Slow Cooker BBQ and Buns
Friday: Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken
Monday: Beer Pork Chops
Tuesday: Firehouse Special
Wednesday: Nacho Chicken
Thursday: Lasagna
Friday: Rice with Black Beans and Corn

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Everybody Loves a Good Gift

Everybody Loves a Good Gift
By Amy Gentry

4 “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us.” 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 NLT

In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us the Parable of the Talents.  Just as the Spirit gives to every believer, the master in that parable entrusted each of his servants with varying talents according to their ability (v.15).  Just like the Lord, the master also expected a return on his investment – he wanted the talents that were entrusted to their care to bring a blessing back to the master.

 “The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

“Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’  26 His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant?

Matthew 25:20-26a NIV emphasis mine

 The master was angry that the servant was too afraid to grow the talent.  In the master’s eyes, he saw the servant as “wicked, lazy.”  

When you received the Holy Spirit a gift or talent was given to you, to be used to glorify God.  You are the caretaker of this talent.  Do you ever feel like you were not in line when God was passing out talent?  Well you were.  Often we don’t know what to do with the talent we are given – so we do nothing.
You might need to examine the talent to see how that talent is best used by you, refine the talent by honing the skill, or consider using the talent in many different ways over the progression of your spiritual walk.

To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away.”  Matthew 25:29 NLT

CHALLENGE: Pray and ask the Lord, “What talents have you entrusted into my care and am I using them to glorify you?”
  • Examine your talent to see how that talent is best used by you.
  • Refine the talent by honing the skill.
  • Consider using the talent in many different ways over the progression of your spiritual walk.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

It’s not okay to be a Martyr in your Marriage!

It’s not okay to be a Martyr in your Marriage!
by Jenn Vaught

Proverbs 21:9 (NIV) Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 

OUCH!  You know we all do it!  I have certainly been known to and on more than one occasion.  While cleaning, I may slam a few cabinets (just a little harder), dust just a little longer in front of the TV (as needed for effect), sigh a little louder (to make sure I’m heard from the other side of the room).  My pity parties can be pretty potent.  Should I really be acting that way?  What’s wrong with me?  Am I still 12?  What’s that saying on Pinterest?  What if I’ve lost my Big Girl Panties?  Well girl, let’s get up and find them. 

Proverbs 21:19 (NIV) Better to live in a desert than with a quarrelsome and ill-tempered wife.  Scripture is obviously very clear on this subject!  Yes, we are very busy women who multi-task rings around our families and we can indeed get irritated from time to time because our plates runneth over.  I like to use what I call the Fire Dept.’s STOP, DROP and ROLL method for taming what can be my firey red-headed temper.  What’s that you say? 

·         It’s when I start to get that itchy, irritated feeling of saying where the ketchup is for the one hundred thousandth time (Yes, I live in a house of 4 men and that number for answering questions is rounded down)
·         or I see clothes on the floor less than 10 paces from the laundry hamper
·         or I’m busy running around the house cleaning up after the people who are currently sitting on the couches and watching reruns of Dirty Jobs.  Irony is very sarcastic by the way and well, you get the picture. 

I just stop, (go find my big girl panties) drop (my bad attitude) and roll (with the punches of life).  When I stop assuming that my husband can read my complicated mind or assume that he’s just dying to help me by cleaning all of the ceiling fans, somehow life seems to go a little smoother for me.  Here’s one more for the road, Proverbs 27:15 (NIV) A quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping on a rainy day.  Do you think God’s trying to tell us something?       

CHALLENGE:  When things irritate you, STOP and think about it for a second, DROP the bad attitude and let the offense ROLL off your back by asking for help, fixing it yourself, and/or moving on!  You will actually be a happier person if you do!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treasures in Heaven

Treasures in Heaven
By Stephanie H.

Acts 20:35 (NLT) “And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’”

As women and moms we frequently make sacrifices.  We are expected to give, give, give and we feel like we don’t really get anything in return.  We must remember we are growing in His righteousness, in Jesus’ image, by making physical sacrifices here on earth, enduring hardships and stress, and working to the glory of God. 

Our focus must be on the bigger picture – receiving the Crown of Righteousness - Treasures in Heaven!  We should want our crown to have as many jewels as possible, because when we see our Heavenly Father we are going to want to lay it all at His feet.  I want to bring my Heavenly Father my best, not just my suffered through and here it is.

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT) “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

I don’t know about you, but I struggle with the internal, sometimes external questions… What about me?  Why don’t they ever do that for me?  Why don’t they notice how much I do around here?  Why didn’t I get recognized for that?  The things of this earth will soon be gone: the sleepless nights, the endless laundry, mopping.  The things we cannot see will last forever – like the time you patiently and lovingly took to focus on a teachable moment just as Jesus would have.
Challenge:  As Christian women, we can aspire to conduct ourselves “in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love;  in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;” 2 Corinthians 6:6-7 (NIV)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A New Attitude

A New Attitude by Carri P
Have you ever had one of those moments when you just feel like screaming, “I’m done! That’s it, I just can’t do this anymore!”?  Being a wife, mother, employee, friend, housekeeper, homework monitor, taxi driver, student, etc. is just overwhelming sometimes.  I catch myself longing for the Rapture to take me up and away from all of this.  When I am not strong, I find Satan whispering in my ear - telling me what a failure I have become.  Then I look around and notice that I am not receiving any type of appreciation for my efforts (which happens to be my love language).
When I feel this pain I turn to my Bible and seek God’s face, not His hand, to have my quiet time and my soul is refreshed by His love.  He helps me to change my perspective, which has a huge effect on my attitude.  He offers me His living water from His word, “…and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:2 NIV
If Jesus can make such an amazing sacrifice for me, and I am to be like Him, then I can change my perspective/attitude regarding the sacrifices I am making for my family.  My family is not a burden; they are a blessing from God!  My daily chores are not to be dreaded; they are to be cherished as moments of small sacrifices I can offer up to my family saying, “I love you."
Yes, being a mother may include a series of sacrifices, however with a Godly perspective we can receive a fresh attitude of love and joy towards our children and our role as their mother.   God chose you to be the mother of your children!  Rejoice and be glad, enjoy every moment and rather than complaining, thank God for the blessings in your life.  Being a mother is a gift.
Challenge:  The next time you feel an attack of “I can’t do this anymore,” get your Bible out and spend some time with your Father God.  Thank God that He chose you to be the mother of your children.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love in any Language

Love in any Language
My husband, kids and I are missionaries in Portugal. Before you scratch your head and wonder where Portugal is, let me spare you. MOST people (including some employees of the USPS) actually believe we are in South America and speaking Spanish, but no, we are in Western Europe and speaking Portuguese. I was a psychology major and my husband was a sociology major, which is probably how we ended up as missionaries...we obviously have a love for learning about new people and cultures.
I tell you what though...even with my love of people and cultures, it has been challenging here. God has used this experience to teach me so much (which I am truly grateful for) and I thought I might challenge you all to learn a little something that I have been learning...are you ready for it?!
Learn a new language! Now, before you write me off and say, “Are you crazy lady?” let me explain. One thing God has definitely taught me living here is the importance of learning peoples “heart language.” That is why we HAVE to learn Portuguese. And it is HARD! But to explain Jesus to them in their language and see “the light come on” in their heads makes all my pain of language learning WORTH IT! But, let me tell you, I haven’t just had to learn Portuguese; I have had to learn their CULTURAL language as well, if that makes sense. Portuguese people have a completely different view on life than Americans. They value things differently, eat (strange) foods, parent different, relate to God different, etc. Here’s one example of how the culture is so different here: there are AT LEAST three different DAILY magazines just about futebol (soccer). And every day the old men read and discuss them. My husband and I have laughed about this… I mean, what on EARTH could be so different in the world of futebol every single day ?!
Our beautiful city!
But if we want to present the Gospel to people, and I sure hope you do, we need to learn to speak to them…not only in their language (English, German, Chinese, etc.) but also in their cultural context. Only then can it make sense to them. You can even see examples of this in the Bible. Did you know the four gospels were written to four different audiences…using language and arguments that would make sense to that people group?! Why did Jesus speak in parables? To keep things simple, so that His audience could understand what he was saying. Why did Paul quote so much of the Old Testament in his speeches? To help convince the Jews that Jesus was in fact their Messiah. Are you with me so far?!
Alright…stick with me. Hopefully you know by now that I’m not telling you to rush out and learn Russian…I mean, what’s the use unless there is a giant Russian community in your neighborhood, but what I am saying is, find a “new” people group to mingle with. Let’s face it, most of us reading this blog right now are in the middle of “mother-hood.” We have our own language, do we not?! We speak of c-sections and play dates and to “elf on a shelf or not” and new recipes…right?! You KNOW those without children are terrified of us  They wonder what foreign language we’re speaking…I mean, “what the heck is a bumpo or a boppy or a binky?!”
Learn to speak someone elses’ heart language - Volunteer in a prison (their language goes against everything you learned at school, but they’re in a humbled place and more open to hear). Find out if there is a local University with foreign students who I happen to know are just dying to be invited into an American home and while you’re at it, learn a little about their and your kids will be blessed! Find a group of young professionals (this is a BIG group in America and one that personally terrifies me with their talks of stocks and spreadsheets, but they need Jesus!). Sign up to work with the teenagers at church. Talk about another language! You better be up to speed on texting, facebooking and twittering…because it sometimes seems that the only way they communicate is through technology…and in code at that. (do you all know the meaning of: BTW, G2G, ROFL, AUD, BM - not the BM I was thinking!)
All this to say, the opportunities ABOUND around you to “learn a new language”. Just be creative! There are SO many people in your neighborhood that desperately need to hear about Christ! Join a neighborhood softball team, or book club or photography class. They just need someone to “speak their language.” And God needs someone willing to do it you?!
So, there…that’s my challenge. Try it…I promise, the rewards are worth the risks!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Lead Me To The Cross

Clips from the film "The Passion Of The Christ" set to the song "Lead Me To The Cross" by Hillsong United.

Menu Monday Weeks 23 & 24

Menu Monday Weeks 23 & 24 (click to open pdf) - Stephanie H.
Monday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup
Tuesday: Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Wednesday: Cran Man Salad
Thursday: Breakfast Casserole and Strawberry Overnight French Toast
Friday: Pepperoni Roll Ups
Monday: Eggs in the Middle
Tuesday: Pork Chops on Rice
Wednesday: Heady’s Favorite Pasta
Thursday: Chicken in Wine Sauce
Friday: Mexican Beans and Rice
Dessert: Coca Cola Cake

Friday, April 6, 2012

Q & A

Q & A
By Amy Gentry
Q: Do Christians celebrate Passover?
A: Yes. Not in the traditional sense that is laid out in the Law.  Most Christians who attend a Good Friday service generally participate in the taking of the Lord’s Supper.  The traditional Passover meal is celebrated in remembrance of the night the angel of the Lord spared the lives of the Israelite’s first born.   The Lord commanded this celebratory meal be repeated annually, generation after generation, in gratitude to the Lord for his protection.  As a Jew, Jesus partook of the Passover meal.  At his final Passover celebration, “Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”  Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them…” Matthew 26:26-27 NIV emphasis mine.  Eucharisteo is a Greek verb meaning “to be grateful, feel thankful, give thanks.”  Jesus gave thanks (eucharisteo) to the Lord for the provision that was made by the Lord on the night of the original Passover.  Today, we partake of the Lord’s Supper to give thanks (eucharisteo) to the Lord for the provision that He made for our sins – to remember Jesus’ sacrifice.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Resurrection Rolls

Resurrection Rolls

  • 1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 8 large marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons white sugar

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F on lightly greased baking sheet.
  2. Separate crescent rolls into individual triangles.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Dip a marshmallow into melted butter and then roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow into the center of a crescent triangle. Carefully wrap the dough around the marshmallow. Pinch the seams together very tightly to seal in the marshmallow as it melts. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  6. Makes Eight Resurrection Rolls

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Resurrected with Christ

Resurrected with Christ
by Kim H
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD
Isaiah 55:8
The more I look at Peter, the more I see myself. Full of passion and full steam ahead… But! Not always asking God before I act or react.
As Jesus is walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. And He said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.
1) Easy!! I’m so there, follower of Christ, DONE!
Simon was called Peter by Jesus meaning “Petra” that means “rock”. Jesus knew something about Peter, what his exact purpose was. He names him “Rock”. Peter had witnessed many miracles by Jesus. He was taught and mentored by THE Son of God. And yet he goes from telling Jesus he “is The Christ, the son of the living God” to saying to Jesus after he predicts his own death, “Lord, Lord! “This shall never happen to you!” To which Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”
2) I tell God what his plan should be and getting rebuked
 Peter, Christ’s own disciple, denies Jesus three times in fear. In complete fear for his life, he tries to flee the scene of the cross.  After Jesus is arrested, twice he is asked, “You are not one of his disciples, are you?” Peter replies, “I am not.” Another asked him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the Olive grove?” Again Peter denies it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow just as Jesus said would happen in Matthew 26:34.
                          3) I totally relate to failing by trying to follow Christ in my own strength.
The Good News!!
Having an encounter with the resurrected Christ changes you. It changed Peter from a coward into the “Rock” Jesus knew he could be. Then, Peter went out boldly preaching the gospel to the masses where he told them, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:12
Ten out of the twelve original apostles, as well as Apostle Paul, died as martyrs (refusing to deny Christ) for their faith. The disciples died absolutely certain for the cause of the resurrected Christ they witnessed. It was Peter who was said to be crucified upside down at his own request seeing himself unworthy to be crucified the same way as Jesus Christ.
Challenge: Let us pray. Lord, may we seek and find the full power and knowledge of the Holy One and find our true identity in Him.  In Jesus name, Amen

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Romans 5:8

A Prayer for Your Home

I love this prayer written by Ann Voskamp and wanted to share it with you!

Bless this nest, Lord,
of fragile things,
encircling the breakable and broken
in grace,
in the ever warmth of Your wing,
in the sheltering shadow of Your face,
us the clinging ones,
You our clutch of hope,
singing to us the song
of home.