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Monday, November 19, 2012

International Week of Gratitude

Pin It Say "thank you" is one of the first polite things we teach our children to say with their words or through sign language.  No please, no baba.  No thank you, no baba.  And so out of a sense of obligation in order to obtain their desired object of affection, they may say it but don't always mean it from the heart!

I can be the same way in giving thanks with my own words, when someone does or gives something to me, even in a prayer, because I know it's right to do so; but at the same time, not really being thankful in my heart.

Over at Good Morning Girls this is the International Week of Gratitude in our Bible studies.  Today as I reflect on these verses I am truly thankful that God chose me.
John 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

Ephesians 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
He chose me!  Before I was born, before the foundation of the world, He chose me!  And while being thankful that He looked upon me in my dreadful state of sin and separation, paying the price to reconcile me to Himself, I am keenly aware that He chose me and then gave me a task - to bear fruit that remains and to be holy and blameless before Him in love.  Neither one can be accomplished without surrendering to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, gaining that vital nutrition that only comes from time spent abiding in the True Vine.

I am thankful -
  • That God chose me!
  • That He saved me!
  • For the Holy Spirit working in my life this year
  • For opportunities to share God's Word with others
  • For a godly husband who loves me
  • For my two beautiful boys
  • For lessons learned on deputation
  • For the opportunity to serve God in Peru
  • For my family
  • For our friends all over the world
HALLELUJAH, THANK YOU, JESUS!  You are worthy of all my glory and praise!

Our Thankful Tree!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

30 Second S'mores

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When I was a little girl living in Torrejon, Spain, I would sometimes see other kids running around with chocolate smeared on a slice of bread and I would wonder what kind of disgusting peanut butter they were eating!  Fast forward, um many years, and I had learned that the dark brown spread was called Nutella and was made from hazelnuts not peanuts.  I still eyed it with caution until one day I took the plunge at a friend's house and was hooked.  A simple graham cracker and a little spread was all it took to win me over.

Now I know there is nothing "new" under the sun but after sprinkling a few marshmallows on our crackers and spread today the idea hit me that I could make a s'more in the microwave!  One thing that always turned me off about making s'mores was the cost of the ingredients.  My boys are huge marshmallow fans and now I had everything on hand to make my chocolate dreams come true.

It wasn't rocket science and only took 7 seconds for the mini-marshmallows to puff up nicely. It was so good I had to make two and plan to make the boys some after they wake up from their naps.

However, a word of caution about marshmallows!  We buy the minis because the large ones can be a choking hazard.  Also, heating them up can make them too hot to eat right away, or too sticky for little mouths to chew without gagging or choking.  I plan to give the boys "uncooked" or "open-faced" s'mores instead.  Normally they like to pick the marshmallows off and eat them first, followed by scraping or licking the chocolate off, and occasionally eating the graham cracker.  It can be a messy, good time, and makes for a fun treat every now and then.

If you need a quick chocolate fix, grab some Nutella today, and happy s'moring!


Side note:  We found a Nutella wanna-be at a local dollar store and though my husband tried to convince me that it was very good, it was not the same as the "real deal"!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Finishing up GMG study on Colossians

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"And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever." I John 2:17
 What an amazing 8 weeks this has been studying the book of Colossians!  God has taught me much through it and my thanks goes out to Good Morning Girls for organizing this study.  If you've never experience a GMG Bible study, I encourage you to join up for the next one.  Starting November 12th, the materials will be available for a 4 week Advent study, starting right after Thanksgiving and finishing up before Christmas.  What a perfect time to study God's Word focusing on Christ.  After all, the reason to give thanks and celebrate is that He came and gave His life for us!

 The part that spoke to me from today's final passage in Colossians was Paul's message to Archippus in verse 17, "And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." 
He was encouraging him to fulfill the ministry he had been given as God would want him to.   Some authors think that he might have been the son of Philemon and that his task was to help Onesimus be received back into Philemon's house.  Regardless of what his task was, his real responsibility was to obey God's leading in his life.

Paul, who probably had every reason to give up and quit, did not, and he encouraged others to do the same. He gave John Mark a second chance and knew that the most important thing we can do with our lives is obey God's calling to reach the lost. 

Man-made ministry will come and go, but God's will abides.

 As my husband and I travel on deputation to return to Peru it is so easy to look around us and get discouraged.  This passage immediately reminded me that we have received a ministry from the Lord, and part of fulfilling the calling that God has placed on our lives is this phase of deputation.  Although it is not our ultimate goal nor our final destination, it is God's will for us right now.

No matter what the difficulties may be in doing what God has called you to do, know this, "It's not in vain!"  If we truly keep our hearts focused on Jesus, as the next Bible study promotes, then it will be easy for our actions to line up with His will.

Keep growing in the Word day by day!


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Daddy vs. the Flu

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As the Queen Bee around here I know what it takes to keep the hive humming along smoothly, but when one of the bees comes down with the flu the hive starts to fall apart! 

In this round of flu season, I was actually the first one to go down in a pitiful heap.  Slumped over on the couch I demanded my rights: a cup of soup, a warm blanket, a pillow, and some peace and quiet.

Daddy came to my rescue and whisked the boys off to do...whatever, and allowed me to rest.

 Reveling in my new found freedom I promptly fell asleep.  Three naps later I thought I was feeling better, until I tried to get up and return to my normal activities!  After about three days of off and on "flu head" symptoms I started to feel better.

But the bug had already infected the hive.  My oldest son was the next victim with three days of fever, and then my husband with a nasty bout of coughing and hacking all over the house.   (I guess those mini-hand sanitizers I got on sale won't last until the New Year!)

When the cough just wouldn't go away and he reached the end of his patience, my husband did the unthinkable (at least in my opinion).  He said the dreaded words...

"Mamita, I can't take it anymore.  I'm making a phone call."

You see, my husband loves to use this horribly, disgusting looking home remedy that he first came across as a single teacher in Peru, South America.  You know the kind that "old wives tales" are famous for.  It's a concoction of brown sugar, water, red onion, garlic, lemon, honey, and eucalyptus leaves that are diced, sliced, smashed, and boiled into a murky brown cup of cold-n-flu tea.

Ever the dutiful wife, I waited while my husband called a friend to get the recipe, and then assisted him in purchasing the ingredients (substituting some tea bags from Peru containing the eucalyptus leaves since we didn't find any in Wal-mart!).  Then when we arrived home I diced the cloves of garlic while he set the sugar to simmering.  He added the water and brought the sugar solution to a boil. After chopping up the onion it too joined the pot along with the garlic.  You can only imagine the smell of semi-burned sugar glaze, garlic, and onion.  When it was good and brown I strained it into a tea cup and squeezed in fresh green lime juice and added several spoons full of honey.

According to the directions he was supposed to drink it right before bed and sleep in a semi-upright position, so making himself comfortable on the couch (complete with pillow and warm blanket) he downed two large cups of his garlic tea.  Awhile later he asked if I felt it was hot in the room and later commented that his eyes were like" burning pieces of garlic" or something like that.

Imagine my amazement when after listening to constant coughing for three days I experienced a silent night.  Before he dozed off, the tea had had its desired expectorant effect on his lungs and he had a blissful night of uninterrupted sleep.

I must admit, I've yet to brave the garlic tea, but after seeing its powers in action, the next time we make a stinky pot I might be tempted to take a sip...a very, very, small sip!

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Colossians...Finish Strong!

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Week 8 is finally here!  I cannot believe that I have already spent eight weeks in the book of Colossians.  As we head into chapter four, the final chapter of the book, Paul again speaks about prayer.  With prayer being one of the first topics covered in this letter and one of the last it becomes obvious how important prayer was to Paul, and how important it should be in our lives.

In Colossians 4:2-3, Paul states, "Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;
Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:"

His plea is, "PRAY for us!" 
Paul was imprisoned many times for preaching God's Word.  He was just as human as they were, subject to the same temptations, doubts, and fears.  He needed prayer in order to stay faithful to the hard task of taking the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles.

As you have been praying, keep praying!
How many times have I started a prayer journal, a prayer card, a prayer list, only to lose it, forget about it, or neglect to use it not long after?  The answer is many.

As you pray, be diligent, be vigilant!
 Stay awake in your prayer life!  Don't get stuck in a rut of rote prayers.  We serve a Risen Savior, and we pray to a LIVING GOD!

As you pray, give thanks!
We are quick to say that we give thanks all of the time.  We thank God for our food three times a day.  When we get an unexpected blessing we are the first to say, "Thank you, Lord!".  I think Paul's idea of giving thanks goes a little deeper.  Thank God for Who is and for what He does and is doing and will do in your life!

As you pray, pray for open doors!
Pray that God would open up a door to share the Gospel message with others.  Paul had been imprisoned for preaching Christ, but he didn't care.  He didn't even pray to get out of prison.  His focus was not on the temporal, but on the eternal.   His prayer was for more opportunities to preach the gospel!  To the world this seems like insanity, but for believers this is the whole point.  The reason why we are here is to PROCLAIM CHRIST! 

Paul is basically saying, "Pray for us as we have prayed for you."  Be specific.  Pray with thanksgiving.  Pray with spiritual goals in mind.  Pray to be a useful witness for Christ.

Then do some self-evaluation.

How diligent am I in praying for others what I ask them to pray for me?