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Author: Kelly

Love Your Neighbor

Love Your Neighbor

 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”  Matthew 22:36-40

I am so grateful for the Savior who has died for me! And you know what, Jesus died for “my neighbor” as well! The neighbor who may not look like me. The one who hasn’t made the best decisions and his life is not very “holy”.  The family member who has rejected me because of of my love for Christ. The one who needs the love of God just as much as I did before he saved me! 

I am reminded of the Amish school shooting  that took place in Pennsylvania back in 2006. Six innocent little girls were shot and killed that day and six more injured. The response of the Amish community is a lesson in grace and forgiveness for all of us. The Amish community explained at the time:

“I don’t think there’s anybody here that wants to do anything but forgive and not only reach out to those who have suffered a loss in that way but to reach out to the family of the man who committed these acts.

Before the end of that terrible day the Amish community comforted the wife and family of the shooter and extended forgiveness to them. They also set up a charitable fund for the family of the shooter and many members of the Amish community attended the shooters funeral. What an incredible example of loving your neighbor!

As I continue on this path of God’s grace, I realize more and more that love is the key. Jesus loved us so much that he died for us and the best witness to a dying world is the love we have for others even when it doesn’t make sense.

 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13

Standing Alone

Standing Alone

As a believer, it is likely that you have been challenged to stand alone. You have probably been in a situation that forces you to decide if you will obey God or “follow the crowd.” It is not always easy. It requires courage. Standing alone means you have confidence in the Lord and His Word.

When I became a Christian at the age of 18, I soon found out that not everyone was happy about my new faith in God.  As I studied God’s Word and learned His ways, some of my friends were not exactly pleased with me. The convictions started to come and the cost of following Christ became very real to me. But, now I knew the truth! I was no longer looking for the approval of the World, I was looking for the “Light of the World”!

        Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” ~ John 8:12

The “world” is watching us and we have the awesome privilege to be on the mission field every single day! It starts in your home, with the people you love and extends to your neighborhood, the workplace, the marketplace, and maybe even in your church!

Here are a few verses I hope will encourage you as you stand alone!

 Deuteronomy 31:6 – Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he [it is] that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

Isaiah 41:10 – Fear thou not; for I [am] with thee: be not dismayed; for I [am] thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

1 Corinthians 10:13 – There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].

Isaiah 40:31 – But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew [their] strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; [and] they shall walk, and not faint.

Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all [ye] that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Psalms 31:24 – Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.

Exodus 15:2 – The LORD [is] my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he [is] my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father’s God, and I will exalt him.

Matthew 6:33 – But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

 

Are You Drifting?

Are You Drifting?

I have a family full of sailors. My father, father in law, husband and both of my sons love to sail. It takes a lot of skill to “stay on course”. You must constantly watch the water, the wind and look out for hazards as you sail to your destination. You can not let go of the rudder or you may suddenly realize you have “drifted” off course.

I think that the Christian walk can be a lot like sailing. We must be constantly watching or we can easily get off course. Lately I have been thinking about the distractions that can cause us to “drift.” I think a big obstacle can be “entertainment”. What kind of books are we reading? What music are we listening to? What DVDs are we watching or allowing our children to watch? How much time are we spending with a screen in front of us?  Are are we letting things into our lives that are distracting us for the truth of God’s word?

 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path ~ Psalm 119:105

We must remember to apply God’s word to every area of our lives as we “navigate” the course and continue on to our destination!

Healthy “Fast Food”

Healthy “Fast Food”

Meal planning is a very important part of  managing your household. As a young bride, I could barely cook anything and I certainly did not know much about healthy ingredients. Through the years I have learned lot about artificial preservatives, corn syrup and other not so good things found in our American diets. You really can feed your family “fast” without making a trip through the drive thru. It takes a little planning, but it is well worth the effort. I have found a few short cuts in preparing healthy “fast food” meals for my family…

~ Cook large quantities of chicken in your crockpot. I roast several chicken breasts at a time. (I usually season the chicken with mojo, adobo and garlic). I package them with my Food Saver Vacuum Sealer and freeze them for use in casseroles, soups, tacos, etc.  When I have a busy day I simply defrost and add the cooked chicken to my recipe.

~ I also brown and season ground beef or ground turkey in large batches and freeze it in food saver bags as well. Having the meat already cooked saves so much time! I can make chili, tacos, and casseroles fast!

~ I have an electric pressure cooker that is a big time saver. I can cook beef stew in about an hour. I also cook big batches of rice (it’s takes about 4 minutes!) and freeze it in 1 cup size bags. (I also cook beans in my pressure cooker. No soaking required!) I can easily defrost and add to my recipes.

*A good resource I use for recipes for homemade mixes is Make A Mix. I love this book! I can control the amount preservatives, salt and sugar in a recipe and have mixes on hand for quick meals.

Shared at:

Raising Homemakers

Instagram and #hashtags

Instagram and #hashtags

 

 

I have had an Instagram account for a couple of years. I really like Instagram and find it can be very encouraging and a great way to keep connected. However, I have a few “younger” friends that I follow and to be perfectly honest, I am worried. Many of these young ladies are posting pictures that often surprise me. I am not sure if they are really doing what they are posting or if they are just trying to be hip, cool or popular, but as Christians, they should really take this verse to heart…

 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.  ~ Romans 12:2

One of the “fun” things about using Instagram is using #hastags. You see that when you put up a #hashtag you are linking it to other posts that have the same #hashtag. But, ladies you need to be very careful! I often check the #hashtags some of my younger friends post and have often been shocked at what they are linked to. If I see something that concerns me, I will make contact with these young ladies privately and ask them it they were aware of what they were linked to. Many times they are shocked and embarrassed as to what they see when they click on the #hastags!

 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Use this verse as a guide. Unfortunately, many times I do not see things posted on Instagram accounts that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely (from God’s perspective, not the worlds) of good report, of any virtue, or praiseworthy. These are the things we should be meditating on…and posting on social media! Is what you are posting proclaiming  your faith to the world? Are you using this opportunity to advance the Gospel or are you conforming to the world?

Ladies, please be careful. Don’t get caught up in the trends of the day only to find out you are literally linking yourself to things that are of the world. We are to be different!

 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light ~ 1 Peter 2:9

Shared at:

Stevens Family Adventures

Keeper of the Home

Keeper of the Home

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-EksnuphUZQI/UZ4r76FpBGI/AAAAAAAAAKY/wa2Ws1Mf1LI/s1600/b7a06c5995f4c4ebdadd5f71e4372ade.jpgI was a young girl during the 1970’s a time when “enlightened” woman were fighting so I could have “equal rights”. During this time, many girls like me were being taught that we could have it all. A career, a family and all of the material trappings that would make us all so happy. Much happier than our poor mothers whom we were convinced were chained to a life of housework.

   

The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as become holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.

Titus 2:3-5

Wow! We are to do this so that the “word of God may not be blasphemed”!

according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary blasphemed means 

                ” An indignity offered to God by words or writing; reproachful, contemptuous or irreverent words uttered impiously against Jehovah. Blasphemy is an injury offered to God, by denying that which is due and belonging to him, or attributing to him that which is not agreeable to his nature.”

Those are strong words!

I had never considered that being a homemaker was what God had designed women to do, (as well to be sober, loving my husband and children discrete, chaste, good and being obedient to our husbands!) and by not doing what God has designed us to do we are being reproachful, contemptuous and irreverent and the Word of God is being blasphemed!

I, as an older woman, am now to teach the young woman to do these things! What an amazing privilege and responsibility! The world will continue to tell us that we are wasting our time and talent, but what could be more important than this! 

                                     And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men

  Colossians 3:23

Shared at:

Raising Homemakers

Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth

 

 

Christopher Robin Days

Christopher Robin Days

 

This past week my youngest child celebrated his 19th birthday. As I was looking through some old photos of him when he was little, I longed for what I call “Christopher Robin Days”. Those were such special times when everyday was an adventure! I loved those days. Hours spent in the sandbox, playing with Legos, building forts in the living room and exploring our backyard.

My children knew that when their chores and schoolwork were done, the day belonged to them. Screen time was limited and “boredom was not an option”. My goal was for them to have a childhood full of imagination and exploration. In the summer time I would ask them what they wanted to learn about and we would check out books from the library and take field trips to explore their interests.

I think it is a little harder these days with screens everywhere you go. I cringe when I see a parent hand a small child a electronic device to keep them quiet. I have seen my own children play for hours with a old piece of water hose and a hiking stick! They had so many “pretend” adventures that they still remember today! Children need to have the opportunity to be creative and move around. They also need to learn self control and occupying them with a screen is just entertaining them, not teaching them to be still when it is appropriate.

I want to encourage all of you mamas who have little ones at your house to savor these days. They will go by so very fast. Take the time to see the world through your children’s eyes. Enjoy your own “Christopher Robin Days”! The sad truth is that they pass way to soon!

Nature Notebooks in the backyard
Hiking Stick Adventures
Working on a project together in our school room

Cleaning Your House

Cleaning Your House

Due to my recent health issues, my poor house did not get cleaned as well I normally like it. Somethings were just let go and not attended to. So I decided it was time to roll up my sleeves and really “deep” clean my house.

While I was scrubbing and polishing my bathroom, the thought occurred to me that their is more to cleaning a house than just getting rid of the dirt. Things like junk mail that needs to be tossed and “stuff” that needs to be put in it’s proper place have a way of piling up. But as I scrubbed the shower that day, I also thought about the other things that somehow tend to creep in unnoticed.

Things like…

The amount of time I am spending on social media. I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. I love keeping up with people’s lives, but sometimes it just makes me depressed to see what is going on. Suddenly I realize I have spent a big chunk of time doing pretty much nothing!

   How about the TV? Am I spending my time flipping through the channels out of boredom just to see things that do not honor God?

   Or the internet? Am I consulting “Dr. Google” more than I should be?

What am I reading? Are the situations and the people in the story ( fact or fiction) about something that I would allow or invite into my house through the front door?

As a Christian, I have a responsibility to look at everything through the lens of Scripture. It really makes no difference what our culture says is “correct” or not…what does the Bible say? What pleases the Lord?

 I will set nothing wicked before my eyes ~Psalm 101:3

 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things ~ Philippians 4:8

These two Scriptures are taped to the inside of our TV cabinet and next to my computer. This is a constant reminder that we are to evaluate everything we are allowing into our lives through God’s Word. This is an ongoing process that I must always attend to. Just like my house, it can get out of order in a hurray if I do not diligently keep up with it!

Shared at:

Pilgrims and Strangers on Earth

 

Lessons Learned

Lessons Learned

New Year 2016

2016  is a year I will not soon forget. This year so many lessons were learned. Many were not very pleasant at the time, but through it all I experienced emotional, spiritual and physical growth that I am so very grateful for.

Lesson 1 ~ Good things sometimes come to an end. ~ This year, our homeschooling journey came to an end. For the past 20 years that has been the focus of my days. My “new normal” is still a work in progress, but the Lord has graciously given me glimpses of the results of those years. Seeing the fruit of my labor in my children has been very rewarding.

Lesson 2 ~ Sometimes others choose another path.  ~ It is hard to see people you have known for many years choose a different way. It is sad to see that maybe you were not so much alike after all. But, Jesus reminds me that he is the same, yesterday, today and tomorrow. He never changes and neither do his ways.

Lesson 3 ~ Sometimes surgery is the only option. ~ After over 4 years of dealing with gallbladder issues, I ended up in an emergency situation. I had my very sick gallbladder removed in early September and a week later I ended up with a kidney stone. For 45 LONG days my journey with the kidney stone was not only painful, but also humbling. Through this trial, I now have so much more compassion for those afflicted.  After being in pain for so long, I now have a better understanding of how people can get addicted to medication.

Lesson 4 ~ Love never fails. ~ My husband and I have been married for 31 years. We have been through many trials and losses during those years, but his care of me during my health crisis demonstrated love in a whole new way. He was my rock and was there with me every step of the way. Words can not express how truly thankful I am.

Lesson 5 ~ God’s people are everywhere ~ We have had the amazing privilege to travel to many destinations this year. We were able to meet with other believers who really love the Lord. What a blessing and encouragement to me to be with others who share my faith.

Lesson 6 ~ Life is a journey ~ The older I get the more I understand that I will always be learning and growing. I have no idea what lies ahead for me in the coming year, but I do know that God is faithful.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. ~ Proverbs 3:5-6

Shared at: Stevens Family Adventures

 

Daughters of Decision

Daughters of Decision

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logograyOur family attended a conference in Texas last summer and on one the vendor tables I picked up this Quiet Time Journal. A few months later when I started using it, I noticed a website listed on the book so I decided to check it out. That’s when I discovered the Daughters of Decision Website. Wow!

The Thomsen Family has created a treasure. This ministry  “desires to help daughters know Christ and grow in their personal relationship with Him, focusing on five key decisions for growth, and offering practical resources to help daughters put these decisions into practice.”

I am encouraged every time I visit this website. I am definitely past the age they are targeting, but it blesses me to know that they are so commented to sharing the gospel and encouraging young (and not so young) ladies. They also have an academy that students can take music and art lessons via Skype.  I encourage you to check it out.