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Helping Those Who Hurt

 Places like The Covering House bring awareness to the prevalence of sex trafficking and help those who’ve been exploited.  The Covering House is non-profit organization that provides refuge and restoration for girls that have experienced sexual trafficking or sexual exploitation here in the United States.

 On September 3rd, The Covering House is hosting their 6th annual Race for Refuge.
I will be walking a 5K to raise money to help support the good
work they do there.

ANY amount will help. ❤ ❤ ❤    Please prayerfully consider giving up your daily coffee/tea/pop stop for a week or even just even one day to sponsor me.  You can give online and your donations go directly to The Covering House. 


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 Heavenly Father, thank You for Your love and for Your daily provisions.  Thank You for providing places like The Covering House that help the exploited. Thank You for inspiring me to help places like The Covering House and to do this 5K.  Thank You for each person who will read this post and who will prayerfully give to The Covering House so they may continue the good work being done there.  Please give Your wisdom, strength, and guidance to each staff member and volunteer at The Covering House as they minister to broken girls.  Please restore each client who goes there as only You can.  It’s in Jesus’ precious Name I pray, so that You alone will be glorified.  Amen. 

Don’t keep Jesus in the manger

  When we lived in Utah, one cold night I came home from work at 10:30 pm to find my entire neighborhood searching with flashlights and calling out my daughter’s name (she was three-years-old at the time). I frantically ran into our house to find that she had gotten out of bed at 9:30 pm to look for me — my husband had been outside cleaning his company vehicle and sent her back in the house. When he went inside a few moments later to tuck her back in bed, he couldn’t find her and asked a neighbor to stay with our son while he searched for her. The neighbor then called other neighbors to form a search party.

Thankfully, I found her in the bathroom under her pink blankie, hidden in between the tub and commode. I had only been involved in the search for less than 10 minutes, but my knees literally gave out from under me and I fell to the ground when I found her. I was emotionally and physically drained from the adrenaline rush, and one VERY, VERY thankful mama.

I wonder if this is how Mary and Joseph felt when they found Jesus after he was missing for 3 days. I also wonder if they had been busy with life and the raising of Jesus that they had forgotten Who their son was. Were the visits from the angels, shepherds and wise men a distant memory? Had they lost sight of Simeon’s blessing? Or were they terrified because they had lost the Son of God?

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 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day’s journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:41 – 52 (ESV)

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 As you begin to put your Christmas decorations away,
please don’t lose sight of the significance of Jesus’ birth.
Don’t keep Jesus in the manger.

cross

Being a better soldier in 2016

 We’ve had a lot of family turmoil the last few weeks all stemming from a divorce that took place over 8 years ago. There is now a very complicated custody battle. While we refuse to take sides, my husband and I have corrected family members who are not being biblical in their actions. This divorce occurred because a man was unfaithful to his wife and his mistress was unfaithful to her husband. The husband is now seeking full custody of his children from his first marriage and wanting his first wife to pay child support. Family members are saying unkind things about other family members, and frankly, we’re saddened by the un-Christlike attitudes we’re seeing.

In all this, I’ve been studying faithfulness and realized I have not been a “good soldier” in my faithfulness to the LORD.  I am refocusing on my faithfulness in 2016:

 “So then, you, my son, be empowered by the grace that comes from the Messiah Yeshua. And the things you heard from me, which were supported by many witnesses, these things commit to faithful people, such as will be competent to teach others also. Accept your share in suffering disgrace as a good soldier of the Messiah Yeshua.”  2 Timothy 2:1-3 (Complete Jewish Bible)

““But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control.”
Galatians 5:22-23a (ESV)

fruit of the spirit

I’m dedicating 2016 as my year of faithfulness: faithful in studying His Word, faithful to my husband, faithful to my family, faithful to my church family, faithful in ministry to the ladies I serve at Trades of Hope, and faithful in taking care of my body.

Praying you have a blessed Christmas season and a joyous 2016!!

No Bake Cookies and Christian Love

  It was 34 years ago that I first tried a No Bake Cookie.

 

 Chocolate-No-Bake-Cookies_11674


I was single, overseas, and living in Air Force barracks. When a coworker’s wife made them for him to share at work, I asked for the recipe. It was the first recipe that someone ever wrote out for me. This couple also happened to be some of the first true Christians I met.

From the ages of 15 to 21, I could have been called a “wild child”. Even though I ran and worked out, I also smoked cigarettes and drank heavily. Very heavily. I lived a very wicked lifestyle and everyone I worked with knew it.

One professing Christian told me that women shouldn’t be in the military. He also told me how his wife stayed home, never wore pants, and only listened to the radio. Sure — like that was going to give me a desire to become a Christian.

Thankfully, God continued to put nonjudgmental people in my path who shared His love in kind and thoughtful ways. They did not put down my sinful lifestyle. They didn’t comment on my filthy language. They showed me Christ’s love in caring actions and the way that they lived their lives.

 I’ve used that cookie recipe numerous times. I’ve made them for my own family. I’ve made multiple batches for youth group events. I’ve taken plates of them to new neighbors, sick friends, and new moms. I make them for the kids I work with at school.

I rewrote that recipe on a card because the original became wrinkled and stained from use.  Every time I take the recipe card out, I think of that loving Christian wife who made cookies for her husband’s coworkers, how the LORD used those cookies to soften my heart, and I thank Him for that loving act so many years ago.  As I made a batch of  No Bake Cookies tonight, I thanked the LORD for allowing me to serve Him and will do so every time I make them.    

Getting to the Core

 It’s been an absolutely BEAUTIFUL summer here in Northwestern Missouri — it hasn’t been too hot, and this week has been in the low 80’s.  The apples on our State Fair apple tree usually ripen mid-August, but the hubby and I took advantage of the cooler temperatures and decided to pick apples two weeks early.  

wheelbarrow full of apples 

Surprisingly, most of our apples have had very few worms this year (we don’t spray our trees with chemicals).   As I was cutting up apples for freezing and canning, it was easy for me to just cut out the portions of apples that contained any worms.  Every so often I found an apple that appeared flawless on the outside, but once I cut it in half I found that worms had ruined the seemingly perfect apple.

 wormy apple

As this disappointment occurred several times over my 4 day process of preparing apples, I realized this is similar to the sin in my life.  I may appear clean from the outside, but on the inside I am just as wormy as the apple in the above photo — anger, jealousy, or any other unrepented sin sure can “eat” away at me if I am not careful.   

Jesus told the Pharisees that it wasn’t things like dirty hands that make people unclean, but that it is what comes out of a person’s heart — their core — that makes them defiled.  In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus explained this further to his disciples:

“What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  
For it is from within, out of a person’s heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person.”

The prophet Samuel learned this valuable lesson when he first thought Jesse’s son Eliab was the one God wanted him to annoint as the new King of Israel:   

1 Samuel

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 Heavenly Father, thank You so much for this wonderful season of summer.  Thank You for cooler temperatures and the bountiful harvest you’ve given us.   Thank You for continuing to love me even when I look good on the outside, but am a wormy mess on the inside!  Holy Spirit, please continue to convict me of my sin of anger, unforgiveness and jealousy, and please show me if I have any unrepented sin in my life.  Thank You, LORD Jesus, for Your gift of salvation through Your death on the cross.  Thank You for loving me that much!!  In Your Precious Name I pray.  Amen.

May the TRUE Force be with you!!

May 4th is considered the unofficial holiday by most Star Wars fans to celebrate
the franchise’s film series, books and culture. The date ‘May the 4th’ sounds similar
to the series’ popular phrase – “May the Force be with you”, which is why many
fans will post on their Facebook pages, “May the fourth be with you.”

 

star-wars


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The Bible is very clear about evil (darkness) and good (light):

“Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” Isaiah 5:20 (NIV)

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NIV)

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We all have a choice: to either follow evil in our own selfish desires or to follow Jesus.
No matter how hard I want to “be good”, I always mess up because I will never measure up to Jesus. I must choose DAILY to follow Him, asking for His guidance in my struggles with the sin of this world (such as anger, unforgiveness to those who hurt me, overeating, etc.) and His forgiveness when I fail.  1 John 1:5-10 confirms that we can NOT claim to be His and then continue to walk in the darkness:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you:
God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.
If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness,
we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light,
we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son,
purifies us from all sin.

  If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins
and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned,
we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

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