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You Are The Reason

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Breakfast-With-Jesus

The week before last, I wrote several posts about the idea that while preparing to teach Vacation Bible School to young children, I was reminded that God intends for the adults to be gleaning truths from His word as we are sharing them. Just because we are teaching doesn’t mean we aren’t learning.

Well, I’m back at it again this week.

Last Friday night, our church hosted a Youth Night complete with a spaghetti dinner and board games for all who wished to come fellowship. I gave a short devotion because I never want to miss an opportunity to share the gospel.

Like the previous week, I was reminded that I am never too old, never too familiar, never too well read that His truths do not continue to wash over me and bring me great comfort.

Let me share what I mean.

The devotion I read to the youth was from the book Breakfast with Jesus by Greg Laurie. My dad gave me this book more than 10 years ago. I read it. My husband read it. I have read it to my children as a part of our family read-aloud time. I read parts of it to my nephew when he lived with us for a short time.

I highly recommend this book as it is simple and straightforward, yet full of deep truths.

The devotion I read was called You Are The Reason. Greg Laurie reminds his readers that in the garden of Gethsemane, Satan appears to be “directing the show.”

Yet, he goes on to say, “Gethsemane was one of those very rare occurrences where, in one sense, both God and Satan were working toward the same goal. Satan’s goal was to kill Jesus; by doing so, he intended to foil Christ’s mission. God’s goal also called for Jesus to die. Why? Because only through the death of Jesus could the sins of the world be forgiven.”

Laurie continues, “Gethsemane marked a watershed moment for Jesus and His ministry. What caused Him to stick to heaven’s plan, knowing that even the Father Himself would momentarily forsake Him as He took upon Himself the sins of the world?”

The answer is found in Hebrews 12:2 -

“for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame” (NKJV)

That joy, says Laurie, is us. You. Me. We are the reason.

‘I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents’, Jesus declared. ~Luke 15:7 (NKJV)

You are His joy!”

‘The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field,’ Jesus said. ‘When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.’ ~Matthew 13:44 (NIV)

You are His treasure!”

“And You are the reason Jesus reaffirmed His decision in Gethsemane to go through the pain and agony of Calvary.”

If you have never acknowledged your sin and need of a Savior, I pray that you would seek Him now. You see, the Lord is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9 (NKJV). Would you humble your heart as Christ humbled himself on the cross and surrender to Him now? (Philippians 2:8)

If you have the joy of knowing the Lord, would you just take a moment to ponder the truth that You are the reason?

Here is the message for the youth, for me, and for you – the world may tell you that you are an anomaly or an accident, that you are unworthy or unwanted, but Jesus Christ said that You are the reasonYou are the reason He suffered and died on the cross, the reason He conquered sin and death, the reason He came to die. In that, we may live.

Father God, thank You for sending Your Son to die that we might live. Help us quiet the voice of the enemy with the voice of Truth – Your Word. Help us to honor You with our lives by pouring out thanks and gratitude. Give us the boldness to tell others that they, too, are the reason.  We love You, we praise You, and we thank You for all You have done for us. Thank You that we are the reason. In the precious name of Jesus, we pray. Amen. 

You can purchase Greg Laurie’s Breakfast with Jesus from Amazon by clicking here.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

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12

Easy, Healthy Chickpea Salad

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Chickpea-Salad

This salad couldn’t be easier or more flavorful!

I’ve shared with you my recipe for Easy, Healthy Corn & Black Bean Salad. One day, I was cooking up a huge pot of Chickpeas (also called Garbanzo Beans) for my Chicken Pot Pie (recipe forthcoming). I thought it would be interesting to see if I could combine some of my favorite flavors and come up with a cold summer salad.

What I discovered is now a new favorite. Today I’d like to share the recipe with you so you can see for yourself. Continue reading →

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Time

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Bible-and-cup

“…redeeming the time…” ~Ephesians 5:16 (NKJV)

Of all the many things we might ask for, time is the one thing we need more of. The adage that, “time and tide wait for no man” seems to ring true when we are racing the clock to meet a deadline, or we would have more time to enjoy the things of life.

Continue reading →

11

How To Find Peace When The Fires Rage

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Bible-Peace

As the worst fires in our state’s history rage a little too close to home, one cannot help but wonder about the what if’s. 

While I am choosing faith over fear, I cannot help but think practically about what we would do should evacuation, or God forbid, the loss of land, home, or property become a reality for us.

Continue reading →

12

Blessings

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blessings

A dear friend, missionary, and fellow blogger shared recently a post she, too, called BLESSINGS. (You can click on the highlighted text to visit her site.)

Bonnie wrote about how much the word “bless” is used and she began to “ponder what does BLESS really mean to me.” She not only shared a few of her thoughts, but encouraged her readers to do the same.

Continue reading →

8

What To Do With The Garlic Scapes In Your Kitchen

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scapes

I first tried Garlic Scapes earlier this year when my friend shared a jar she had pickled from her garden. (Thanks, Aemi!) Until then, I had never even heard of them.

Just a few weeks ago, my sweet friend and neighbor brought me a bag of them that she had purchased from the Farmer’s Market. (Thank you, Cheryl!)

Today I’d like to share with you what Garlic Scapes are and a few ways in which you can use them. If you grow your own garlic, you will be able to use a part of your plant that you may have previously thrown away. If you come across these at the Farmer’s Market or in your CSA box, you will know exactly what to do with them.

What is a Garlic Scape? Continue reading →

2

What Is Worship?

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Bible-and-cup

“Give unto the LORD, O you mighty ones, 

Give unto the LORD glory and strength.

Give unto the LORD the glory due to His name;

Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”  ~Psalm 29:1-2 (NKJV)

When I was a kid, I used to love lying down on the front lawn looking up at the stars. I am sure you probably did, too. At the time they were just a wonderful curiosity to me. I had no concept of how they got there, or even why. I just thought they were magnificent to admire. Continue reading →

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Waiting For Power

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Holy-Spirit

I hope that you have enjoyed this week of Vacation Bible School for grown-ups.

If you are just joining us, you can read the posts from earlier in the week – How Great Is My Faith?, The Result of Great Forgiveness, A Spiritual Rebirth, and The Importance Of Sharing Our Faith.

Today is our last day of VBS with the kids. It has been an exhausting, rewarding, challenging, and blessed week. I am so thankful to God for the opportunity for our community to come together to teach and encourage these children in their faith. I pray that you, too, have been blessed by what you have read here this week.

Today’s lesson comes from Acts 1:1-11. Our focus is that more than just telling others about Christ with our mouths; we need to show His love to others with our lives. Continue reading →

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The Importance of Sharing Our Faith

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A Spiritual Rebirth

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The Result of Great Forgiveness

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cross-in-sky

This week we are looking at the idea that Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids.

While the program is catered to them, specifically, I believe that God has just as much to teach us. Here is how I put it yesterday:  “While I don’t usually stumble upon brand new information while preparing to teach VBS, I am always humbled by the fact that though my head may know all of this stuff, my heart needs to ponder it yet again.” If you missed that post, you can read it here – How Great Is My Faith?

While yesterday’s subject was faith, today’s subject is LOVE.

My Bible titles Luke Chapter 7 as “A Sinful Woman Forgiven”. The lesson of this story is simple, yet profound: the result of great forgiveness is great love. Continue reading →

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How Great Is My Faith?

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spoon-mustard-seeds

Vacation Bible School isn’t just for kids.

As I was preparing for my 9th VBS this week, I was once again reminded that every year I start out with the perspective that I will be teaching the children about God. Each year, I am reminded that while I may be teaching the kids about God, God is teaching me more about Him.

I take many weeks to read the Scriptures, the material, to plan, and to pray. Every time, I am reminded that I need these lessons just as much as the kids do. There will be some children who will hear these truths for the first time. There will be others who know the stories, but their faith will be strengthened.

While I don’t usually stumble upon brand new information while preparing to teach VBS, I am always humbled by the fact that though my head may know all of this stuff, my heart needs to ponder it yet again. Continue reading →

4

Hang In There!

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Bible-and-cup

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” ~Ephesians 6:10 (NKJV)

Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a 19th century Baptist preacher in England. He had the ability to take one or two verses of Scripture and expound on them at great length. He was called the “Prince of Preachers” for this very reason, I suspect. I have heard that he was able to sit at his desk on Saturday evening and write out his sermon for the next day. I have read a number of those sermons, and I can tell you that they are quite eloquent and meaningful. I am not so gifted.

Nevertheless, since I have sort of appointed myself your spiritual encourager, I thought this one verse was chocked full of encouragement that could keep you going. While I admit that the title to today’s morning offering is not very spiritual, you can identify with it, I hope. Continue reading →

4

How I Prep My Kitchen For A Busy Week

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kitchen-prep

Today I’d like to share a simple tip with you.

You see, I have been planning the last few weeks knowing that next week will be a busy one for me. I am not used to having to leave the house everyday (I know – I’m quite spoiled!). Next week, however, I will be teaching Monday through Friday at our community Vacation Bible School.

It is such a rewarding time, but it is also quite tiring. The kids and I will arrive home each day tired, hot, and hungry. Hubby will be eagerly awaiting our arrival (and lunch!).

I will need to prep for the next day’s teaching, as well as make dinner and all the other tasks I never seem to have the time to accomplish in a day. I need to do something to make my week easier. Continue reading →

10

I Am Not A Gentile

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not-a-gentile

I had just had one of those precious moments with God. You know, the kind where He whispers something to your spirit? A few familiar words where He reminds you of something so simple, but so profound that you will never be the same?

I had just had one of those moments and I was moved to tears not because He revealed something to me that I didn’t already know, but because He allowed me to experience it to the depths of my soul. I was living in a moment where He was changing me with His love and I was in awe because I was aware of the work He was doing in me and for me in that very moment. Continue reading →

13

Multi-Grain Apple Cinnamon Waffles

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waffles

After sharing my recipe for the The Best Buttery, Caramel-ly Pancake Sauce EVER, I thought I’d give you a delicious recipe on which to pour that decadent sauce.

Enter my Multi-Grain Apple Cinnamon Waffles. This recipe is very versatile and can be adapted with what you have on hand. You can use berries instead of apples and cinnamon. You can even keep them plain, if that’s the way you roll. Use the recipe as a guideline and create your own favorite variety. Continue reading →

2

More Than Enough

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more-than-enough

 You are faithful, You are Savior

You are more than enough

The lyrics above are part of the song More Than Enough by the Newsboys.

Today, I would like us to ponder the question, Is Jesus really more than enough for us? Theologically speaking, He is more than enough. What I want to consider today is what our hearts and our minds think about the sufficiency of Christ.

Continue reading →

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The Best Buttery, Caramel-ly Pancake Sauce EVER!

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syrup

A few years ago, I came across this recipe – Tasty Kitchen’s Liquid Gold (Pancake Syrup). You can click on the red text to read the original recipe.

I’ve adapted the original several times over the years until I have, in my opinion, perfected this recipe.

We enjoy this on our pancakes, waffles, scones, cakes, and muffins. It is also delicious on ice cream, popcorn, and in our morning oatmeal. We like dipping apple slices into it for a sweet snack.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

This syrup is so full of buttery goodness that we don’t use any additional butter on our pancakes, waffles, scones, or muffins! Continue reading →

2

Help Is Near

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Bible-and-cup

“The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth.” ~Psalm 145:18 (NKJV)

Every Sunday morning in our fellowship, before we begin our worship time, I ask the question: “How may I pray for you this morning?” I do this primarily because the standard question always seems to be, “what are your prayer requests?”

There is, in my mind, a thought that we ought to approach God in prayer with something specific in mind. I say this because I believe, too often, we are just “slinging our prayers toward heaven” in hopes of God hearing and taking pity on us. I am convinced that it’s more about how we ask rather than what we ask. Continue reading →

6

How Everything Can Change In A Moment

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two-holding-hands

One incident. One accident. One illness. One episode. One phone call.

We’ve all experienced a time in life when one moment has changed everything. Though we may get through the original event, we never really see things the same way again.

It has a way of changing us; a way of reminding us that life is short and time is precious. We remember that we forget to tell them they are loved, that they are precious, and that life is beautiful because of them.

I must have needed that reminder.

Just in case you do, too, hold your spouse a little longer the next time you are hugging. Make that phone call to say, “I’m sorry.” Send that card or gift that says, “You’ve blessed my life.” Hold your child’s face, look them in the eye, and tell them all that they mean to you.

‘Cause everything can change in a moment.  Continue reading →

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Joyful, Hopeful, Patient, & Prayerful

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sunflower

A few years ago, my Sister-In-Law gave me a beautiful postcard that I have kept in my kitchen ever since. It has a picture of a big, bright sunflower and the words found in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer.”

These words have been a source of strength to me over the years as I have read them. It recently occurred to me, however, that perhaps I have become so familiar with these words that I am letting them wash over me, rather than allowing them to really sink in. Come swim with me, will you? Continue reading →

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Christmas In July

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advent-conspiracy

I know… I know… no one wants to think about Christmas in the middle of summer. Hang with me, though, I have a really good reason for mentioning it now.

You see, I’m a planner by nature. I like to plan meals, schedules, budgets, etc. July 1st means that this year is half over already.

That also means that Christmas will be here before we know it. We know it’s coming. It’s the same date each year. Most people, however, find themselves unprepared, financially, when the big day comes.

Speaking of finances, do you know how much we spend on Christmas gifts?

I know your time is valuable, but would you do me a favor? Would you please take 2 minutes and 38 seconds to watch a video? It’s a life changer. It’s a Christmas changer. Go ahead. I’ll wait for ya. Your to-do list is important, but so is this. Continue reading →

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How I Roast 2 Chickens Without Heating Up My Kitchen

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roasted-chicken

We eat a lot of chicken in this house.

It’s one of the most frugal meat options, especially when you purchase the whole bird. Gone are the days of boneless, skinless, chicken breast being the star of dinner. I use still them, but only occasionally, sparingly, and with much thought.

Costco’s 2-pack of whole chickens cannot be beat when it comes to the price. At around $6 for each bird, it is the most frugal way I know to feed the meat-lovers in my family. When you consider that I can get 2-3 meals and chicken broth from each bird, it is no wonder I cook one a week.

Actually, with this 18 Quart Roaster Oven, I am able to cook 2 at a time without heating up the kitchen. This method saves me both time and money.

*Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links. You are not obligated to make any purchases, but when you do through one of my links or the Amazon search box to the right, I will make a small percentage on the sale. Thank you for supporting my site.

Here’s how I do it: Continue reading →

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