It’s been a wild ride so far (Part II)

Father in heaven, I pray for Your presents to be here and leading as we are reading. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ok so where were we… oh yes… waiting for the decision.Analog wall clock at 9:15

I wanted to believe that Jeremy would get this job, yet I knew there was a real possibility that they would hire someone who didn’t have to move across the country to work there. My fear and my faith were facing off as it were. Have any of you seen the movie “Facing the Giants”? This is indeed one of my favorite movies. It’s about a Christian high school football team that has been on a losing streak and the kids along with the parents are getting fed up with these results. Fathers of star players are trying to convince the assistant coach to take over and boot out the head coach. There are, of course, many other things going on in the movie;

Financial struggles

Infertility

Broken down vehicle

Unending home repairs

Faith struggles

And the list goes on.

Even if you don’t care for football, this movie has such a valuable message.

The head coach, Grant, questions his purpose in his job, his home, his life, and what God wants of him. The janitor of the school enters Grants office one day in the midst of is faith struggle and tells him a story of two farmers…

There were two farmers that desperately needed rain. They both prayed for rain. But only one went out and prepared his fields to receive it. Which one had faith that God would send the rain?

Grant answered and said “the one who prepared his fields to receive it”. Then the janitor asked Grant which one he was.

This story has stayed with me and challenged me to ask which one I am. I began putting that question to the test. I opened my closet doors and began pulling out and bagging up all the clothes that would be too warm to wear in Florida. I began sorting through dishes and décor to down size for moving. I gave away an antique phone that I dearly loved to a friend who had her sights set on it for some time. I knew I wouldn’t have a place for it at my new house so I handed it over to its new owner.

We purged, we bagged, we tossed, and we waited. Monday came… no call. Tuesday came… no call. We prayed, we sorted more items, and we continued to wait. We kind of started to think that if they really wanted to hire him, they would have done it by then. However, I found myself telling my daughter to not lose faith when she brought this concern to my ears. “God’s timing is not our timing” I told her. Did I believe it myself? Yes… I did. I kept telling everyone who said I was getting ahead of myself by purging, that I was “preparing for rain”. This had become my mantra. It had become my banner.

I woke up Wednesday morning with a strong impression from God that today was the day. We would have our answer. I felt God asking me if I would still love, trust, and follow Him if the answer was “no.” I evaluated this so I could be completely honest with God and myself. “God” I said, “I will be heartbroken and very upset if the answer is no. But I will still love, trust, and follow You.” You see, God can handle our tears and frustration, as long as we still trust that He knows what’s best. So, I was honest and told Him my feelings. I felt His “fair enough” type answer and I sat down on the floor and continued sorting through mugs and other dishes that were in the bottom cabinet of my hutch.

At 9:30 a.m., my husband came out of the bedroom and sat on the floor beside me. “I got the call” he said. Turning to look at him, I paused with a mug in my hands. “I have bad news…”

Shoulders slouching and releasing a sigh, I turned away from his face. A heavy pause lingered in the air between us.

“We have to leave Michigan.” He said.

Snapping my gaze back to his, I said “You got it?”

“I got it.” He replied.

Bursting into tears I said over and over again, “we prepared for rain, we prepared for rain… God sent the rain!” I knew what would be coming in the months ahead. My daughter graduating, her grad party with over three-hundred people, packing, moving across the country, and all the other stresses in-between. This roller coaster was about to descend the hill and round some sharp curves, jostling us all about. But ya know what? God fastened our seatbelts.

You see my dear readers, when we completely trust God and align our desires with His, whatever He decides to lay before us will be ok. Even if the answer is no. It’s never a no out of some sort of punishment or God trying to keep something good from us as the serpent tried to convince Eve was happening. (Genesis 3:4-5) The serpent tried to make Eve believe that God was deliberately keeping something wonderful from her and her husband for the sake of being selfish. That is not in God’s character. We must trust and believe that when we ask for something, that He will answer with what is best for us when we want what He has that is best for us.

wooden door slightly ajar revealing bright light on the other sideWe asked God for this opportunity once He opened the first door. But we also ask Him to shut any other doors if it wasn’t going to be good for our family. As heartbreaking as it would be, it would be more heartbreaking to act outside of God’s plans for us and have it bring us to our ruin. God already knows the end from the beginning, so as I’ve asked this question before, why not trust the one who already knows how it will turn out?

When a new movie or book comes out and we know of someone who has seen or read it, don’t we usually ask them how it was? If it is someone we trust and they tell us it was awful and the ending was even worse, we would probably forgo seeing or reading it right? Why waste our time and money? So, trust the one who knows something far more valuable… your future!

Revelation 3:8, “I know your works. Behold, I have set before you an open door, which no one is able to shut, I know that you have but little power, and yet you have kept my word and not denied my name.”

No one… NO… ONE, can close doors that God has opened. We may feel worry or concern, but when we have that trust in God, we can have assurance of the best answer to our requests. Trust Him… just trust Him!

Well Let’s see what we have to munch on after reading, shall we…

So, I will probably be drinking more smoothies living in a much warmer climate. This is one of my fav’s…

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

1/2 cup milk

1 ripe banana

2 Tbl. peanut butter

1-2 Tbl. chocolate syrup

6-8 ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender. Secure lid and blend for about one minute. Pour into a pretty glass and grab a straw. This makes a great light lunch or 3:00 p.m. snack. Enjoy!

 

 

 

Easter Wishes

I just wanted to send an Easter greeting to you all! This Sunday we remember the sacrifice Jesus made for us. But let’s not forget the sacrifice that God the Father made as well. He willingly gave His beloved Son to be the barer of all my sins and that of the whole world. Even those who would not accept the free gift of forgiveness were on His mind when He made the plan a reality.

I have a son, but I couldn’t imagine sacrificing him to anyone, let alone those who hated him. God the Father embraced His one and only Son before He left His home in heaven and knew what was to come. Jesus followed the plans exactly and endured such horrific acts on account of my sins. He was mocked, flogged, beaten, spit upon, rejected, nailed to a cross in humiliation, and ultimately surrendered His earthly life all so we could live with Him forever.

WOW!

What a gift!

 

As we gather together at our dinner tables this Easter, or if we reflect in solitude on these sacrifices, may we remember and understand just how much God loves us. He loves each one of us. That includes you!

Read John 3:16 and insert your name where it says For God so loved—-.

 

Happy Easter to all of you! May you be blessed by His gift of eternal life!

It’s been a wild ride so far

Father in Heaven, let Your message be what is seen and heard in these words that follow. In Jesus name I ask it, Amen.

Sunset over trees and a lake
Deep breath in… wooooo! Well where do I begin? Back in February, I told you all about my dear friend who was tragically taken from us in a horrible car accident.

What Is Happening?

A few days after the emotional shock settled down, I remember standing in the dining room of the condo we were staying in and telling my husband that I felt like some big changes were coming. I didn’t know what they were or when they would happen or even why I felt that way. It could have been the unexpected deaths or the fact that my youngest child is graduating in just a couple months or something else entirely. All I knew is that things just felt different.

We came home from our vacation (reluctantly I might add) and unloaded the car. The house was the same, our dog and cat were the same, even the weather was the same as when we left— cold and snowy in case you were wondering. Every year we go on vacation, it gets more difficult to face coming back to the unforgiving icy breath of winter blustering that it’s not finished with us yet. It made it especially hard this year with so much sadness preceding our homecoming.

For many years my husband and I have dreamed of warmer climates, sandy ocean beaches, and a job that wouldn’t be so physically taxing on my husband’s body. Since I rely on him so much because of not being able to drive myself, he worries that he will not be able to do it as often or as long due to his demanding job responsibilities. He is a highly skilled craftsman and his talents are in high demand in certain areas. Although he has built up his reputation where we live, work in his field is becoming scarcer.

While the kids were still young, we only dreamed of heading south. We wanted them to grow up with family around them. My son is going to be twenty-years-old in seven months, and as I mentioned earlier, my daughter is graduating soon. Their career choices will certainly take them out of the area they live in now. But aren’t we supposed to raise our kids, teach them to fly, then watch them take flight?

Well after coming home from this vacation, my husband was feeling very impressed upon to just throw his résumé out there on a job search site in the state of Florida. Now before I lay the next brick down in this road of our journey, let me say that we were not expecting any outcomes one way or the other from such a random act of searching. We basically said to God, “if You want this to go anywhere Lord, You have to open the doors and lead the way.”

This was much like throwing a handful of darts at a dart board and seeing which one or ones would stick, if any. We expected nothing, but hoped for everything. We just let God take control and waited.

My husband put out exactly ten resumes on a Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday late Airplane taking offmorning, he had seven interviews lined up. He quickly scanned flights for the following Sunday, scouted out inexpensive hotels, and by Monday morning, was in Florida preparing for his week of interviews. Jeremy (my hubby) had appointments throughout Florida that would span a seven-hour travel time. Mind you he didn’t have them in one day. But they took him from town to town. By the end of the week, Jeremy was back on a flight home; carry-on bag in one hand and phone containing the Emails with four job offers in the other. Our dream and what could be our reality were now staring at each other face to face.

Over the next few days our family of four came together and prayed, my husband and I prayed, our kids prayed, we prayed individually… well… we just prayed like crazy! We narrowed the field down to one job that Jeremy had been leaning toward from the beginning of this process. He called the gentleman who did the interview and told him that he was very interested in working for this company. The interviewer told Jeremy that was great to know.

For whatever reason, we had been under the impression that this man was simply waiting to hear back from Jeremy as to when he could start. We had spent the week crunching numbers, looking at rental homes, and planning how to tell our families we would be moving out of state. Then we were a bit blind-sided to hear that they had interviewed two other guys for this position and would be letting Jeremy know by the next week. Six… whole… days had to painfully go by before we would hear their decision. Our reality that had been face to face with our dream seemed to fold its proverbial arms in a huff and was now tapping its toe rhythmically along with the ticking of the clock. How in the world were we supposed to wait anywhere from three to six days to find out if our fifteen year long dream would come true?

Well to avoid this post being a short book, I’ll leave you with waiting to hear the conclusion until next week! After all, Ephesians 4:2 says “Be completely humble and gentle, be patient, baring with one another in love.”

So be patient with me and bear with me in love. I will share the rest with you all next week. I’m so glad to have you at my table! Come back and see me next week, okay? I’ll have a recipe at the end of this testimony. But in the meantime, feast on God’s word. It’s so much more nourishing and filling than anything I could cook up for you! See you all soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Catching My Breath…

Well my dear readers, I needed to catch my breath this week so this will not be a regular post. I have some VERY big changes coming up that I need to share with you all. However, I needed a little more time to gather my thoughts.

 

I will have a powerful answered prayer story to share with you next week. It may be a little long but I’m excited to be able to share this testimony. I look forward to seeing y’all next week! Have a blessed weekend and keep praying for what you’re praying for…

Do I really have to go in the deep end?

Oh Father, we ask for your words to be spoken here. In Jesus name, Amen.

Ahhh, spring seems to be getting closer and closer. Technically it’s already here pool with an inflatable flamingo raft, two standard lounge rafts and a tube, all bright colors.according to the calendar, however the temperatures might tell a different tale. The sunshine is a delight to see and feel. It can appear to be opening the first chapter of warm weather. We begin planning out our flowers and vegetable gardens and uncovering the patio furniture. If we are fortunate enough to have a swimming pool, we may even begin the prep work on getting it ready for the laughter and splashing it is sure to provide. Along with some wonderful memories.

I remember going to a family friend’s home during the summer when I was a kid. They had a large above ground pool complete with red wood decking. Rafts and water wings were aplenty. These friends were so welcoming and giving. They often had big beach towels sitting out right beside bowls of chips and platters of hotdogs. All of us mer-people who spent ninety percent of the day in the water, may as well have taken up residency at Jan and Ken’s house. They were always like second parents to us.

Ken and my father were close friends and the types of dads who were in the water almost as much as us kids were. They were often tossing us over their heads, walking into the deep end with one of us atop their shoulders, or coaxing someone who was just learning to swim to come on in and they would hold onto them.

On more than one occasion, my dad or Ken had a hold of a new swimmer, water wings snuggly in place, and slowly inched them off the side of the pool, into the shallow end. Clinging to their necks for dear life, the little guppy would ease themselves down into the water and discovered they could still touch the bottom. This allowed their confidents to grow.

After some time splashing in secure depths, one of the dads would begin coaxing again to lead the child a little deeper. Still able to touch and arms still inside the bright orange pillows of life support, the child would tippy-toe down the slope a little further toward the deep end. Holding onto the hands of a father, they still felt secure. Now was the moment of truth. Would the little fish with wings venture to territory where they could no longer touch the bottom?

The Father still held onto the child and slowly floated the child to depths that they had to hold on to the Father. Then came the removing of the wings. Scared and unsure, the panic ridden tot would say “I can’t touch… I can’t touch!”

You know what the Father would respond with?

“But ‘I’ can touch… and I’ve got you.”

Do you feel like you are drowning right now? Do you feel that things are over your head and you can’t touch bottom? Friends we have a Father who wants to lead us into a deeper relationship and a deeper trust for Him and He has a hold of us!

Isaiah 43:2, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you and through the rivers, they will not overwhelm you. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you.”

Our Heavenly Father desires us to have full trust and faith in Him. I’m experiencing this deeper trust as I write these words. I’m having to put full confidence in the Lord in a way I’ve never had to before. Our Father wants us to know that we don’t need to touch bottom or have bright orange water wings to hold us up. He is all the security we need. He will not let us drown. Just as a child learning to swim, they put full trust in their daddy that he will hold them up.

Even if our earthly daddies weren’t there to hold us up, our heavenly Daddy IS there to hold us up! He will never let us go. Trust in Him. Remove the water wings, don’t worry that you can’t touch bottom, and hold on to your Daddy.

I had this recipe I found but tweaked it with a few different ingredients. It’s hardy and filling. Just like the presence of God…

Red Flannel Hash

6-8 large Beets

6-8 Red skin potatoes

Turkey ham

1 large Red onion

½ cup chicken broth

½ cup maple syrup

2 tbl. Butter melted

1 tbl. Honey

Half tsp. salt

Hot sauce (optional) to taste

Pepper to taste

Mix chicken broth, syrup, honey, salt, pepper, melted butter, and hot sauce (if using) together in small bowl. Set aside. Cut Turkey ham into approximately 1 – ½ inch chunks. Cut red onion into slices. Scrub clean then cut red potatoes into quarters or 8ths if they are larger. Cut beets into bite size pieces that are the right size for you. Place these prepared items into crock pot. Pour syrup mixture over the turkey ham, beets, red potatoes, and red onion. Mix well. Turn on low and cook for about 7 hours. This would be perfect to cook over night and have breakfast ready when you get up in the morning! Dish up a plate full and snuggle into your space with God and have your time with Him.

 

Does God have a house?

Father in Heaven, I ask that Your presence is seen here and Your words are heard here. In Jesus name, Amen.

Well well, it’s good to have you all back! Pull up a chair and get comfortable. I hope you have a cup of coffee, tea, or whatever beverage you prefer. Let’s chat…    Red armchair near a bookshelf and an end table with a lit candle.

Have you ever had to move around a lot? I know some people have had to move quite a bit while others have lived in the same place all their lives. Where do you fall in this spectrum?

I fall on both ends. As a kid, we only moved once. When I just turned five-years-old my parents built a new house and still live there to this day. I lived there until I got married at twenty-four and then I of course moved into my own place. Well the “staying put” philosophy kind of went out the window. Several different windows in fact. A series of unforeseen circumstances would lead us to several moves over the course of twenty years. One move resulted from our decision to honor God and not the bank but we knew God had a plan for it all. Sometimes trusting His plan can walk us through some difficult situations, but that trust is what gets us through it.

We have pretty much stayed in the same general area, but different size houses. I wish I had the space and time to tell you all the miracles God performed through each of these. Alas, none of us has time to read a book in one sitting! However, these miracles will be displayed in my book. But I digress…

I can tell you that moving is hard work and not for the unadventurous. But could you imagine having to move around so much and having to erect a tent every time you relocated? Not just a small pup-tent. No, a huge army sized tent or circus style tent? Well that is what the Israelites did to provide a place of worship and a place for God to dwell with them.

This was not a small little structure; this was massive with lots of items that went along with it. Very specific bowls, lamp stands, trimmers, candle sticks and many more things, had to be toted and erected along with the tent. It was not easy. I remember very well all the packing and unpacking that goes with moving. Yikes! But I wanted to follow God’s leading and so did the Israelites.

It feels so wonderful to have a structure that is permanent and not to have a tent to live in. But I must not assume a permanent dwelling for myself and not have a permanent dwelling place for God.

2 Samuel 7:5-6 “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord; Would you build Me a house to dwell in? I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent for my dwelling’”

Once the Israelites were settled and David became King, God was still moving about in a tent with no permanent structure. I always had a strange sense of “how do I pack God up and take Him with me” way of thinking when it came time to move. But that’s the beauty of God. He is with us no matter where we go! How wonderful it would be to have a structure for God. I have in my home, a place that is my little sanctuary of sorts. I have created in each of my houses a space that I study, pray, write, and any other inspired activities. My son made me a rustic cross many years ago and that always gets hung up in my space. I have a picture frame that says “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. (Joshua 24:15) I usually have some means of spa type music via my Alexa, CD’s, or whatever. Maybe even a candle or some soft lighting.

This has been my little house for the Lord within my house. It can be created no matter where I am. You can do the same! It doesn’t take much space. It can just be a chair in the corner of your room. It can be a small space you create in your basement with a recycled chair and rug. A small table and lamp or candle and voila! A house for the Lord.

I want God to be in my entire house but I do love my little house created for Him and I to spend special time together. Just like anything else, I have times I didn’t spend hardly any time in my little house but I try again the next day. God appreciates our efforts and longs to help us along our journey. Make a house for the Lord and meet Him there each day.

Maybe having a little something to nibble on in your quiet time would be sweet too. How about this…

BBQ Chip Chicken

8 chicken tenderloins or 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 stick butter

1 regular size bag of BBQ chips

Prepare your chicken for use by thawing, rinsing, and patting dry. In a glass pie pan or glass bowl that is microwave safe, melt the stick of butter. Crush all chips inside bag. This might be a fun job for the kids or grandkids! Have a cookie sheet ready (spray with cooking spray if the sheet is not non-stick) and set up your items in an assembly line fashion. Start with your plate of prepared chicken, roll it in the melted butter, transfer to chip bag and shake to coat the whole piece, place on cookie sheet. Repeat these steps with each piece of chicken one at a time. Have your oven preheated to 350 degrees and bake the chicken for 30-40 minutes or until there is no more pink in center of thickest chicken piece. Serve with your favorite sides. Delish!

 

 

A brief study of types

I would like to introduce to you a new friend I met recently. His name is Nathan and he has a passion for writing. Specifically bible study type materials. He has done his homework with this particular study and I would love to share it with all of you. Please welcome Nathan to the table…

The bible is called the word of God. Jesus is also called the Word of God. The whole BibleCloseup of open Bible is about Jesus. It is the Living Word. This is a brief study of types in the Old Testament. A type is a historical fact that illustrates a spiritual truth.

Jesus is seen in many people and events in the Old Testament that serve as types. REV 12:1 ” Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars.” This woman is the bride of Christ, God’s church. The sun is the New Testament. The moon that she stands on is the Old Testament. The Old Testament is the foundation of God’s church.

The Old Testament is the lesser light, it’s Jesus in symbol and prophecy, whereas the New is Jesus revealed in human flesh. ROM 5:14 says that Adam is a type of Jesus. Both entered the world as a special act of God as sinless men. In Genesis 22:1-14 God told Abraham to go to Mt. Moriah and sacrifice his son. Mt. Moriah is also where God directed King David to place the tabernacle, and where Solomon built the temple. Abraham placed the wood for the offering on his son to carry up the mountain. Jesus had to carry His cross. Abraham bound Isaac upon the wood and was about to slay him when the Angel of the Lord stopped him. Verse 13 says,” Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a RAM caught in a THICKET by its HORNS. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” A ram is a clean animal that represents Jesus. The ram was caught in a thicket or thorn bush by its horns.

Before Jesus was sacrificed the Romans placed a crown of thorns on His head. Through this test God revealed the gospel to Abraham (see John 8:56 and Gal 3:8). Israel’s son Joseph is a type of Christ in many ways. Both Joseph and Jesus are special objects of love by their fathers. Both of them were hated by their brothers. Both of them were rejected as rulers over their brothers. Both Judas and the religious leaders rejected Jesus as their messiah and king. Both Jesus and Joseph were conspired against and sold for silver. Both were condemned although innocent. Both were raised from humiliation to glory.

DEUT 18:15 predicted that God would raise up for Israel a prophet like Moses who communicates directly with God. It is a prophecy of Jesus. Hebrews chapters 8-10 show us that Jesus is our High Priest in the heavenly tabernacle right now. Jesus holds the threefold office of Prophet, Priest, and King.

Moses was also a prophet, priest, and king (although Moses never had the title king, he was ruler over Israel.) Both are kinsmen-redeemers. Jesus came to earth to redeem the fallen human race. Moses went back to Egypt, which is a symbol for this sinful earth to release Israel from bondage. Both were endangered in infancy.

Satan used Pharaoh to try to kill Jesus’ ancestors to stop Jesus from being born. Satan also used King Herod to try to kill Jesus after He had been born. Moses and Jesus both voluntarily renounced their wealth and power. Both are mediators, lawgivers, and deliverers.

The nation of Israel itself is a type of the early life of Jesus. They both went down to Egypt. They both passed through the waters of baptism and immediately entered the wilderness to endure temptation. Then they both finally revealed God’s Character on the mountain. 1 COR 1-2 says when Israel crossed the Red Sea it was a form of baptism. Moses gave the law of God on the mountain. Jesus gave the beatitudes on the mountain. When the Israelites rebelled against God in the wilderness, He sent serpents to bite them and many died. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and lift it up on a pole so that whoever looks up in faith would be healed. We look up to Jesus for salvation and healing.

When the soldier pierced Jesus’ side with the spear 2 distinct streams came from His chest: water and blood. By His blood our sins are wiped away. Jesus is the living water. When Israel was in the wilderness, they became thirsty and began to complain. God told Moses to strike the ROCK with his staff. Jesus is the Rock of our salvation (see 2 SAM 22:47). This act symbolized Jesus’ crucifixion. Water flowed out of the rock.

The second time the Israelites got thirsty God told Moses to just speak to the rock and it will provide water, but Moses was angry and he struck the rock instead. HEB 6:4-6 says that Christians who fall away crucify Jesus again and they can’t be saved. That’s why Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the promised land. He ruined the beautiful lesson that once Christ had been offered you only need to ask for blessings in the name of Jesus.

Jesus is the bread of life. In the wilderness God gave Israel Manna, the bread that comes down from heaven. Sound familiar? They had to gather the bread early in the morning before the sun came up. this is a lesson that we need to consume the Word of God first thing in the morning. We need to start our day putting God first. Moses’ successor Joshua led Israel into the promised land. The name Joshua in Hebrew is Yeshuah which is also Jesus’ name in Hebrew.   We are grafted into Israel if we have faith like Abraham’s. see ROM 4:16 ROM 9:6 ROM 11:13-23. Spiritual Israel is composed of all who have had faith in Jesus from Adam before the flood to the Jews who looked for the coming messiah to Christians. All of this is a shadow of the way Jesus leads us, His chosen people, out of bondage to sin (Egypt), through the wilderness of temptation where we struggle to overcome sin and become purified, and finally into the promised land which is Heaven and the New Jerusalem.

***

I thought you all might like another easy drink recipe to change things up a bit. I actually made this by accident one time but we loved it so much, I make it like this every time now…
1 regular size bottle white grape peach juice
1 2 liter bottle ginger ale or 7up (which ever you prefer)
1 half gallon vanilla ice cream
Mix this all together into a large pretty punch bowl and it’s a great party punch that everyone will enjoy!