Monday, July 30, 2012

It's All about Jesus

"Paul never glamorized the gospel! It is not success, but sacrifice! It's not a glamorous gospel, but a bloody gospel, a gory gospel, and a sacrificial gospel! Five minutes inside eternity and we will wish that we had sacrificed more, wept more, bled more, grieved more, loved more, prayed more, given more!!!" ~quote from Leonard Ravenhill

It’s all about JESUS
We are accountable to God, our creator
We have sinned against God and will be judged
Christ died making it possible to be saved
Be truly repentant and turning from sin in heart and action
Receive forgiveness
Take hold of the free gift of eternal salvation
Faith in JESUS
Believing that he is the son of God
Fruits of the spirit (evidence of) will follow genuine transformation
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 6:23

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Menu Monday

Weeks 13 & 14 (click to open pdf) - Suzie M.
Monday: Grilled Pork Tenderloin
Tuesday: Cheesy Crockpot Chicken Spaghetti
Wednesday: Salmon Teriyaki
Thursday: Skillet Ziti
Friday: Quesadillas
Monday: Taco Soup
Tuesday: Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Wednesday: Healthier Fried Chicken
Thursday: Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan
Friday: Winter Chicken Salad

Friday, July 27, 2012

Summer Book Club

I Am New

By Kim H.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”   
2 Corinthians 5:17

The transforming power of being in Christ is something you see as you walk out your faith. It’s definitely a continual thing.  You don’t just arrive on this journey we call faith.  And there are moments when God helps me see where I have slipped back into my “old ways.”

We live in a twenty five year old house and my children’s bathroom needed updating, this bathroom had layers of wallpaper that had covered up previous old patterns used throughout the years, the wood trim had split and its paint was peeling. We had put off this project because we knew it was going to be messy.
The day came when the painters removed all those old layers of wallpaper, textured the walls, sanded the woodwork and gave it a fresh new look. My son and daughter were able to agree on a color they both liked, and it looked GREAT! I couldn’t stop looking at it. I would go through the bathroom several times a day to see the fresh, new look. As I stood there one day, I felt the Lord say to me, “That’s what I want to with to you.”
I realized as I felt his words that it is not easy to repair the damage of this world, the effects of sin, all we use to try to cover up and all we have peeling in our lives. It hurts actually. Uncovering hurts makes us vulnerable, sanding off our rough edges - it’s painful, admitting we need help…extra hard! But the end result -- Beauty! SO very worth it!
“You were taught, with regard to your old self, which is being corrupted by it’s deceitful desires, to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”   Ephesians 4:22
Challenge: As you think and pray about what needs repair in your life and heart, let the Lord bring restoration and healing at the same time. Thank you Jesus!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

White Flag

Suzie vs. Husband

Suzie vs. Husband
By Suzie M.

My husband and I are in the process of buying a “new” vehicle.  When we first began this process I was all excited because after driving my car for the past 10 years I was finally getting a new car!  Well, the wind was quickly knocked out of my sail.
This Christian walk thing is hard.  Sometimes, I want to act like a four year old and stomp my feet and whine to get my way.
My husband and I were not on the same page when we began our car buying process.  We had decided that we really needed to get a minivan.  We have three girls with lots of stuff and friends and my Explorer is getting very cramped.  Well I was thinking new leather seats, moon roof, DVD player the whole works.  I had been praying about a new vehicle for a while knowing both our cars were aging quickly.  I thought, “God is totally answering my prayers!”  We drive our cars for a long time so a new car makes total sense right?
I had it all worked out in my mind.  There are more details but they aren’t important to this story.  As we began discussing the car situation we immediately realized we were on two totally different levels.  He said ok let’s look at some used Odysseys and the Kias.  Well I made sure to let him know that his idea did not make any sense at all and I wanted to only look at the new Odysseys.  I was not driving a Kia for heaven’s sake and have you looked at the price of a used vehicle, well you might as well buy new, in my mind.  Like I said, I had been praying about this and I felt like this was an answered prayer but the Kia was not what I had in mind.
Needless to say God has a plan for everything.  Luckily His ways are not my ways. After a weekend of tears, being mad at one another, calling my godly friend who I knew would see things my way, lots of prayers and bible time, the Lord hit me over the head with a two by four.
This story came up two days in a row in two different bible studies and in two different books of the bible.  Mark and Luke, the story of “The Rich Young Man” (Mark 10:17-31), the rich man asks Jesus how he can inherit eternal life and Jesus responds with following the commandments, he says I already do that but Jesus came back with “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor…then come follow me.”  The rich man can’t do it.  Jesus tells us, “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God.”
Ouch!!!  Then the Proverb for the day in my One Year Bible was “One man pretends to be rich, yet has nothing; another pretends to be poor, yet has great wealth.”  Proverbs 13:7
You think God is trying to tell me something?  Oh yeah!  I could hear Him loud and clear.  You see, we really don’t have the money to take on a big car payment and we don’t have enough cash to buy a fancy new car I had my eyes on.  However I like nice things, I like expensive things and I try to pretend like we have all this money when we don’t.
Ok Suzie, get out the white flag.  It’s time to surrender.  Even as slow as I am I knew God was telling me to surrender this whole car issue and let my husband be the one to make the tough decision.  He knows what we can take on financially and I was trying to manipulate him and the entire situation.  If I hadn’t given this up we could end up in a bad financial situation.  I called him at work and told him I was sorry and I would drive whatever he decided that this was his decision.  He was so thankful.  He told me he wanted to cry.  By surrendering this I took a huge weight off his shoulders because my husband thinks the world of me and he would do whatever it takes to make me happy.
To surrender is to humble yourself.   Jesus completely surrendered himself to the Father to the point of death.  In that perspective this car seems so silly.  Really, what eternal value is there in what kind of car I drive?  Instead of buying the most expensive car I could buy a used lesser expensive one and use the saved money for eternal use or wherever the Lord leads.  It’s pride.  Pride is a messy, ugly sin and abhorred by the Lord.  I am a mess and make a mess of much, but my Father in Heaven loves me too much.  That’s why he lovingly disciplines me with His Word.  He uses it to prune and refine me.  It can be a painful process but the rewards last forever and that is longer and better than any car on the market.
Challenge:  What do you need to surrender today?  What in your life is not lining up with God’s will?  This is a process, let God work through you.  I am right here with you.  To surrender daily sometimes hourly is God’s will for you and me. I am praying for us all to not just pray for our problems and decisions but to surrender them! 
“Cast all your cares on Him because He cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:7

Saturday, July 21, 2012

A Metamorphosis

A Metamorphosis
By Amy Gentry

The Lord has given His followers the grace to be transformed into His likeness.  Take a moment to meditate on that statement. 


In His grace, Christ has given us access to every gift from the Heavenly realms that we might need to be transformed into an earthly depiction of His character, a model of His mercy, a portrait of His compassion, the resemblance of His love, and the representation of His power to change a heart, lost.
"He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. (1) He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher (2) to train Christ's followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until (3) we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, (4) fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, (5) fully alive like Christ."  Ephesians 4:10-13 The Message (emphasis mine)
(1) He gave us disciple makers,
(2) To equip us to be a part of His body as skilled servants,
(3) Growing in: living out godliness and having an intimate relationship with God,
(4) Goal: to become fully mature Christians, developing our personal relationship with God and likewise having fruitful relationships with other believers,
(5) Having an abundant life.
You my sister - are a beautiful creation of the Lord, to be transformed from the woman you once were into a masterpiece portrait of Christ here on earth.  Take heart, as you mature in Christ you are going through a HOLY METAMORPHASIS. 
(I personally love the mental picture of being transformed from a chubby caterpillar into a magnificent, soaring butterfly.)

CHALLENGE: Are you sitting at the feet of a Mentor who is training you in living out your faith in Christ? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Q & A

Q and A
By Amy Gentry

Q: Why do I feel like I am dry in my spiritual life?
A: I often get this same feeling.  It is usually after an extended period of doing the same ol’ thing.  The same ol’  daily bible readings, trying to meditate on the same ol’ email devotional, listening to the same ol’ praise songs - basically just going through the motions of what once had given me a feeling of spiritual fulfillment.
I am reminded of the story in John 2:1-11 of Jesus’ first miracle where we find Mary and Jesus at a wedding and the wine had run dry.  They had been at this wedding celebrating for a while, no doubt enjoying each other’s company and chillin’ out.  But in time - the party wound down.  Sounds a little like us? 
But Mary stepped out in boldness, she told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do.  SHE HAD AN EXPECTATION OF JESUS.

Have you lost your EXPECTATION?  Do you read the Word of the Lord EXPECTING to hear His voice?  Do you meditate on a devotional EXPECTING to be pruned?  Do you listen to praise music EXPECTING to worship?  Do you pray EXPECTING to be heard?

Have you stopped celebrating with Jesus?

Monday, July 16, 2012

Guarding Your Home

Guarding Your Home
By Stephanie H.

Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”

A home security system protects your home and everything inside.  It gives you a peace of mind when you are away.  Do you have a security system in place for the hearts of those living in your home?  Are you guarding their hearts and training them to be able to make good decisions when you are away?

·         First check your own personal spiritual health
·         Establish oneness in your marriage, pray together about your desires to protect your family
·         Guard your children’s hearts

Deuteronomy 23:14 “For the Lord your God moves about in your camp to protect you and deliver your enemies to you.  Your camp must be holy, so that he will not see among you anything indecent and turn away from you.” (emphasis mine)

Ways to consider guarding the hearts and minds of those in your home:

·         Model a passion for Jesus in your Home – model a daily walk/relationship with the Lord
·         Wives respect & honor your husbands
·         Limit the TV/movies/radio/internet/devices you allow into the home (What goes in through the eyes goes to the mind…creating a visual rolodex!) resource:
·         Sleepovers (Does the host home have a “system” in place? Do they guard their children’s hearts?  Do they have older siblings of the opposite gender?)
·         The language used in the home (Is it positive?)
·         Restrictions on dating…Set a purpose
·         Train them young to guard/cover their body…they will protect that as they mature
·         Kids should know that you love them no matter what – teach forgiveness, try not to overreact
·         CRAZY Praise/celebrate accomplishments & goals
·         Teach them to use a Concordance and send them to the Word for guidance
·         Train kids to be great workers at home
·         Listen to & validate them
·         Expect your children to show respect to everyone in the family
·         Stand up for what is good, right and holy even if it isn’t the “norm”

Challenge:  After you and your husband have discussed and prayed about ways to protect your children’s hearts discuss these with them.   If you already have a “system” in place remember that it needs to be serviced and updated often as your children grow.  What is needed for your family may not be what is needed for the family next door, so be mindful when speaking of your system so that you do not sound judgmental.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Menu Monday

Weeks 11 & 12 (click to open pdf) - Stephanie H.
Monday: Poppy Seed Chicken Casserole
Tuesday: Baked Ziti w/ Marinara Sauce
Wednesday: Baked Potato Soup
Thursday: Shortcut Chicken Cordon Bleu
Friday: Chili Mac
Monday: Cheesy Spirals
Tuesday: Peppy Pizza Pasta
Wednesday: Creamy Chicken Pasta Soup
Thursday: Meatballs
Friday: Easy Cashew Chicken

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Cost of Freedom

The Cost of Freedom
By Carri P.

There is an interesting passage in Luke 14:28-30 that tells a story of a builder not counting the cost before he begins to build.  It would be a big loss for him as well as a huge blow to his pride.
I recently saw a piece of property for sale.  This property had a concrete foundation poured.   I suppose the previous owners may have run out of funds because it was ready for the new owner to begin building.  How sad to see this dream abandoned.  It would be even sadder to see someone leave the faith because they did not count the cost of following Jesus Christ.

Just as Jesus has told us, “And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple.” Luke 14:27 NIV
As Christian mothers, we see the cost of not only being a Christian and being a disciple, but also the cost of training up our children to do the same.  Freedom that Jesus has provided us may be a free gift, but discipleship comes with a price tag. 

Our kids are watching us.  They observe us waking up early to meet with God to power up our souls,  spending our time at church and in Bible studies, setting aside time at home to train them by reading Bible stories, overcoming any traces of fear to talk to other people we meet about Jesus Christ, encouraging others with God’s word.  It is the fruit of our labor we see when our children mimic a holy action.
There is a cost involved, however, we do not have to do this by ourselves.  Just as one man or woman does not go to battle alone, all Christians are called to fight the good fight and “spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together… let us encourage one another.”  Hebrews 10:24-25 NIV  We are a Christian army fighting each day under the Christian Community flag.

May we take our fight seriously and reach out to other mothers in distress.  May we put out our hands out and pull them up alongside us when necessary.  May we not leave our wounded to die along the way but spoon feed them the power of Jesus Christ to heal them and make them strong.  May we do all things in His name so that He will recieve honor and glory and that our children will replace us in an even stronger army of Christian citizens upon this earth.
Challenge:  Train up your children to be mighty warriors for Jesus Christ.  Reach out your hand to a struggling mom or an unbeliever and pull them from darkness into the light through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Bride of Christ

The Bride of Christ
by Jenn V.
“For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself.  I promised you as a pure bride to one husband—Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:2 (NLT)
There must be a reason Paul compared a relationship to Christ as to a relationship with our husbands.  How close are we to our husbands?  He may be your best friend.  You may tell him everything.  You may communicate with him throughout the day via phone, email or texting.  We should be doing the same thing with God!  Okay, we don’t need advanced technology to do that, he’s right there beside us all throughout the day and night.  You get the picture!
Or what about this:  Do we take our relationships with our husbands as seriously as we do our relationship with Christ?  We may go to Christ with our hurts, needs, joys and wants.  Do we do this just as transparently with our husbands?  We should be!
Or even this:  Would we consider breaking our vows to Christ, as we might sometimes do our husbands?  Breaking our relationship with Christ is unthinkable right?  The thought sends chills up my spine.  We should feel the same way about breaking our vows to our husbands.  Just as we are to “remain in Christ,” we should be doing this with our husbands also, not just being a roommate, but a LIFEmate.
CHALLENGE:  Which relationship is lacking attention from you in your life?  Is it your husband or God or maybe even both?  Make a point this month to get in the habit of nurturing whichever is lacking!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Watermelon Pie

- Lime Sherbet
- Vanilla ice cream or Pineapple sherbet
- Red/Pink-colored sherbet…I couldn’t find this, so I bought Raspberry/Pineapple/Orange swirl sherbet, mixed it up with red food coloring and it was perfect!
- Mini chocolate chips
1. For each flavor, you’ll let the sherbet/ice cream soften for a few minutes before using. The red sherbet should be mixed with the mini chocolate chips.
2. Use a round springform pan. You may want to line the bottom of the pan with wax paper or parchment paper if you plan to transfer the entire “pie” to another dish before serving. I served the slices on plates straight out of the freezer, so I didn’t line the pan. It’s actually cuter sliced!
3. Starting with lime, spread a ring of sherbet around the edge of the springform pan – about 2 inches high (or taller if you want!), and about 1-2 inches wide from the outside edge of the pan.
4. Put pan in freezer to harden lime layer.
5. Repeat step 3 with the vanilla, but make the layer much thinner – maybe 1/2 inch. Use a butter knife to flatten the top, even-ing out the lime with the vanilla. Put pan in freezer to harden again.
6. Repeat step 3 with the red/chocolate chip sherbet. Fill the rest of the pan, then use a butter knife to flatten the top. Freeze!
7. When it’s time to eat, run a knife around the edge of the pan before popping off the outside of the springform pan. Use a nice thin-blade knife to slice.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Gayle Novak is a professional Christian Life Coach.  Her coaching as been described as “refreshing, compassionate, authentic, discerning, and a catalyst for change.”

On any given day you might find Gayle coaching a client through setting new life goals; helping young people find the right college, meeting with a teen who wrestles with body image issues, or speaking to groups about "hope, freedom and purpose." She also may be with a couple introducing effective communication skills, bringing new hope to their marriage and parenting.
This month I’ve been pondering the phrase “Jesus came to set the captives free” referenced from Isaiah 61 which Jesus himself read aloud in the temple: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound” (ESV).

As 4th of July approaches, I often think about the words freedom and liberty... The Webster’s 1828 dictionary is my favorite source to define words: “FREEDOM is exemption from slavery, also from constraint and control,” The word CAPTIVE “is described as a prisoner or to bring into enslavement.”

With freedom there is always a cost, just as there was for our nation 200+ years ago.  Blood was shed. Destruction and death occurred so we could walk in freedom today.  Similarly, in Scripture man became enslaved to sin. The enemy had power over us and man had to live under the law. But Jesus came to set the captives free on earth 2,000+ years ago! His blood was shed and he suffered destruction to his body and ultimately death so that we could walk in freedom today; total freedom, not partial freedom. We are no longer prisoners to sin, to the enemy, or to death, nor are we separated from the Lord.

As a life coach, I love when clients realize that they can have total freedom and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit because Christ’s blood was shed. Personally, I have learned this on many levels in my own life. I was once held in bondage to an eating disorder, where food and body image controlled my entire being. I was healed and no longer am held captive to this! FREEDOM!

I was once held in bondage to unforgiveness that I held against some who had wronged me.  Unforgiveness is destructive and leads to bitterness, illness and despair. It controls you from the inside out. I learned what it means to forgive completely and release others and all my hurt and anger to the Lord and I was then FREE! Man’s approval was another area that held me captive. I constantly wondered what people thought of me, if I was doing/saying/wearing the right thing, if I was parenting perfectly, decorating well enough, and the list goes on!

It was in bondage and a prisoner to what people thought of me. Jesus freed me from this and I now look to an audience of One! My thought life has been freed. Jesus has not erased all my problems, but I am no longer a slave to them. I am released from tormenting negative thoughts about food, my body, my parenting, and my appearance and I can spend time in a place of rest!  My heart for you today is that you will know Jesus as your Savior but also that you will ask him if there are areas in your life where you are not walking in freedom. When you ask, He will gently show you. Realize where you are a captive and accept that what He did on the cross was enough to free you completely. You can walk in victory, freedom, and rest! Enjoy your 4th of July holiday as you ponder these things.

Gayle Novak, Colleyville TX
life coach

Sunday, July 1, 2012

2 Corinthians 3:17

Menu Monday

Weeks 9 & 10 (click to open pdf) - Carri P.
Monday: BBQ Chicken, Corn on the Cob, and Salad
Tuesday: French Dip Sandwiches and Tater Tots
Wednesday: Pesto Chicken, White Rice, and Broccoli
Thursday: Taco Soup
Friday: Ziti Pasta Casserole and Salad

Monday: King Ranch Chicken
Tuesday: Chicken Piccata
Wednesday: Orange Chicken
Thursday: Swiss Steak Crockpot Supper
Friday: Taco Skillet