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Friday, November 28, 2008

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

Hello! Hope you had a wonderful day with your family. We had a great time, especially fun because we were all together.

We traveled to my in-laws for a wonderful dinner and family videos to boot.
I made this cheesecake and I just had to post the recipe- absolutely fabulous!!

Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake

1/4 cup each finely chopped pecans, walnuts, and almonds. (I used a little more of each and made a thinker crust)
1/2 cup finely chopped vanilla wafers.
2 TBLS melted butter

1 1/2 lbs cream cheese
1 1/3 cups sugar
5 large eggs
16 ozs sour cream
1/4 cup flour
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. lemon juice

1. Crust: Mix all nuts and vanilla wafer crumbs with melted butter and press into a 9 inch buttered springform pan, trying to line the sides as much as possible about 1 1/2" up the sides of the pan, set aside.
2. Cheesecake: All above ingredients should be at room temperature before your begin.
3. Start by beating the cream cheese until light and fluffy.
4. Keep the mixer on a low setting throughout the beating and mixing process.
5. Add the sugar a little at a time and continue beating until creamy.
6. Add one egg at a time and beat after each egg.
7. When eggs have been mixed into the cream cheese add flour, vanilla and lemon juice, mix well. 8. Add the sour cream last and beat well.
9. Pour cream cheese into the spring pan.
10. Place on the top rack in the middle of a 325 degrees preheated oven for one hour and 15 minutes.
11. When time is up, prop open oven door and leave in oven for one hour.
12. After one hour, remove from oven.
13. Let cool enough before the cheesecake is put into the refrigerator for 24 hours.
14. A cheesecake should season. The wait is worth it. The flavor ripens and becomes enriched.

Your family will thank you! Mine did.

Have fun this weekend. I am decorating for Christmas!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The President said...

"...It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth."

A. Lincoln

Remember why we celebrate.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thank YOU

This year I find myself with so much to be thankful for, so many reasons to be grateful.

Not of the least of these is all of you. My blogging friends are just precious to me and I want to thank you for being such a huge encouragement, and for giving me a reason to keep writing.

You have richly blessed my life.

I'm thankful for you today.
Hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends on Thanksgiving Day.

Much love,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How to Become a More Valuable Wife


It’s that time of year again and with Thanksgiving just around the corner, this is the perfect time to take inventory of our lives and the perfect time to focus on the amazing and life changing effects of thankfulness, appreciation and gratitude.

Did you know that thankfulness has a magnetic quality about it?
Think about it. Who would you rather spend an afternoon with...someone who complained about their family and life or someone who expressed thankfulness for the things and people in their lives?

Complaining is the product of unthankfulness.

The word 'appreciation' means to be thankful and express admiration.
Another definition for it is "to grow or appreciate in value."
As you appreciate life, you become more valuable - both to yourself and others.

Do you want to "appreciate" and increase in value in the eyes of your husband? You can-through thankfulness.

You might try to tell me that you don't have much to be thankful for with your husband, but I would say- search your heart and ask the Lord to show you all that He's blessed you with.

So tell him, write him, drop him an email and let him know what you are sincerly thankful for about him. It will do your heart (and his) good.

I'm praying for our marriages.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New Website!

Well, it's a work in progress, but click on this and tell me what you think about the new website.

What else should I add?
I'd love your input, thanks!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

We Cry Out Your Name

This song is so beautiful, and this video highlights the powerful words spoken through it.
It draws you in to worship our precious Savior.

He is my all in all. I would be lost without my God who is more to me than words can descibe. His love fills me, satisfys me and carrys me.

Each moment is a gift from You to live...

Much love,

Friday, November 21, 2008

A Beautiful Evening

Well, here it is ladies...

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We had such a nice time. It was beautiful!
The Plainwell Mill and banquet hall could not have been more welcoming.
I just have to say thank you to my greeting team, Norma, Denise and Carol and to Carol also for taking all the great pictures.

I have a few stories to tell, but wanted to get the pictures up for you to enjoy. I'll write more later.

I am looking forward to our next night out on January 15th.
The theme will be:
"Never Stop Dancing"

PS: I am working on another website just for Praise and Coffee Night dates, locations, pictures, testimonies! So send me your feedback and info of ones that you attended or are hosting!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Tonights the Night

Well, tonight's the night girls!
The first Praise and Coffee Night in my hometown.

The most important thing you need to know about tonight...
I'll be wearing jeans.
Seriously, I've had a few calls, and I want you to know-that's what I'm wearing.
It is a casual night, jeans are perfectly acceptable.

Feather boas however are optional!

(You really don't want to ever google the words
"feather boa" it was awful. My eyes hurt.)

Unfortunately, it looks like we will be wading through snow to get there, but I'm not too worried about it. I've been in Women's Ministry long enough to know that women will walk over a bed of nails to have a night out.
However, for those of you traveling a distance to get here...I want you to be safe- so use discernment and don't do anything foolish- there will be more Nights out.... (my next one is January 15th).

I can't begin to tell you how much God has moved to bring this evening together- really- I want to share, but I can't share everything- just trust me! His favor is incredible!!!!
And apparently this is something that our community of women has been hungry for. I have over 60 RSVP's. We even had to reserve the banquet room above the coffee shop to fit us all.

Here's an article from the Hometown Gazette.

I am hearing over and over... "I need this"... or "I need something."

My prayer for these evenings is that every single woman walking in will sense God's presence and love throughout the evening, and be strengthened and encouraged as she goes.

"Come as you are...leave refreshed!"

If you can make it tonight, great! If you are hearing about this last minute and didn't RSVP, come on out anyway.

Also, Florida gals are meeting tonight too. Click on the picture link for details of both groups.

Not close to either of these? Start you own!
Whether you have 3 people or 300. Meet at a coffee shop, share the praises of God and see what God does in your midst- I have a feeling it will be wonderful!!!!
It could be you and your girlfriends or you could do what I did and invite the community and several different churches. Pray about what God would have you do.
I have talked to at least 10 other women that are planning on starting them around the country. God is up to something wonderful, He's bringing His women together!

Matt 18:20
For where two or three come together in My name,
there am I with them.

I'll try to post pictures and give you updates this weekend.
I would love it if you pray for us!
Much love,

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is it God...or are you building in vain?

Just a quick thought...

Psalms 127:1-2
Unless the LORD builds the house,
its builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the watchmen stand guard in vain.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat —
for He grants sleep to those He loves.

Is it a God thing or just our thing?

Inordinate excessive care about the things of this world is a vain and fruitless thing. We weary ourselves for vanity if we have it, and often weary ourselves in vain for it.
(from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)

Questions to ask ourselves:
Who is getting the glory for this?
What is the fruit?
Does it seem to be "alive" and "growing" or stagnant?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two shall become One ~ The Impact of our Marriages


This Friday Mark and I celebrate 21 years of marriage. I know, I know- I look way too young for that *blush* but it's true :)

Just like any other family, we've been through some wonderful times and some very painful times. But Mark and I have always been of the mindset that we are in this marriage for the long haul, for the rest of our lives. We committed to never use the word "divorce" no matter how angry or frustrated we were, it was never an option.

I was thinking about how our committment to this marriage and our family has impacted those around us. I believe that it has made a world of difference in many other lives, not the least of these is our children.

I want to ask you a few tough questions (sorry- I like getting my toes stepped on, it spurs me on to change- I hope you enjoy it too).

* How has your marriage (good or bad) affected those around you?
* How would others describe your marriage?
* How would your children describe your marriage?
* How would your children explain "what a Godly wife is" by your example?

These questions challenge me too!

If you are not happy with the answers you thought of, what do you need to do to change those things?

Then let's do it!
Let's open God's Word and see what HE says about marriage. Pick up a book on marriage, apply yourself to learn. Go back and re-read the "Two shall become One" posts.

It's not too late. If you feel guilty, go to the Lord- He promised to be faithful to forgive us. That's the business He's in! He forgives and restores.

I believe that the people in our lives are greatly influenced one way or another by our example of marriage. I want to make sure that influence is a positive one.
It's not always easy- but it's worth it.
Look into the eyes of your's worth it.

I'm praying for our marriages,

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Furious Storm

Good Monday morning!

I was reading this story today.

Matt 8:23-26
Without warning, a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping.
25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Lord, save us! We're going to drown!"
26 He replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?"

Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

1. Without warning: sometimes the storms come from seemingly no where- and they are furious. To the point we feel they will over take us.

2. Jesus is not moved by the storms...we feel that we have to "let Him know" of the grave danger at hand.

3. His response to our fear is, why are you scared? Don't you believe me?

4. Instead of ignoring our pleas for help or condemning our lack of faith, He speaks and brings peace on our behalf.

Not all storms are calmed immediately. Sometimes He calms the storm, and sometimes He calms His child in the storm.

But His response is always...BELIEVE ME.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Lived Up to It's Name

My girlfriend Norma and I set out about 9 AM on Thursday for our 2 and a half hour drive east. We went first to Birch Run Outlet Mall and did some damage there. Then we stopped at Uno's for (way too much) yummy food. After that we headed to our hotel.

I brought my Bose ipod thingy and we spent some "knee" time in worship and prayer before heading off to Tim Horton's at 7 PM.

I was unsure what to expect, but I knew God had a plan for us that night. It was a cozy group of about 9 of us, perfect for what the Lord had in mind.

After meeting these precious friends of Hope's, I asked them about what God had been doing in their lives. One conversation sparked another and we spent 2 hours praising God for all He had done through some of our darkest times.

Among them was a gentleman (yes, a man...and it worked out just fine!) that had just gone through a battle with cancer and in the midst of it, his wife past away. With tears in his eyes he shared how hard that was...but how good God was.

Another friend told about how the Lord had called her and her husband out of pastoral ministry to take care of their children- their 18 children. Yes, eighteen. Three biological and 15 adopted. They never dreamed that God would take their life in this direction, but He did and they were grateful.

And then there was her neighbor, oh I would have loved to spend a whole day hearing her story. She is an author and publisher who beautifully reflects the amazing grace of God. I only got a tiny glimpse into her life, but I could tell that it was one full of testimony to the love of her Savior.

As we were visiting a customer came over to Hope to ask her about what we were doing. She told her that it was a Praise and Coffee Night and the woman said that she had a praise to share. She told Hope how the doctors thought she had cancer but after prayer, it ended up being something else. She asked if they were going to meet next week (and they are) and she wants to come.

At the end of the evening we prayed together. I felt so blessed to have met these people and hear their stories. I believe we all walked away feeling that we had not only met with one another, but as we gathered together, He was there in our midst also. The evening lived up to it's name, a Praise and Coffee Night.

Norma and I went back to the hotel, turned on the Bose and thanked the Lord for all He had done. It was good.

Here is a link to Hope’s very sweet words about the evening. (She has pictures!)

I believe that all of the Praise and Coffee Nights are going to have a different feel to them, but one thing will be central and that is...praise to our God.
The main focus of these evenings is to share His praises with one another. Share what He has done and is doing in our lives.
Encourage those in the group that are going through a valley and rejoice with those on the mountain tops!

I am looking forward to this Thursday as we meet in my hometown and as Mel meets in Florida. I pray that many of you also will take the initiative to start your own Praise and Coffee Nights.

If you do, let me know and I will post them here.

Much love,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

1st Praise and Coffee Girlfriends Night Tonight!

I am headed east! East Michigan that is.

Monkey Giggles is throwing the 1st Praise and Coffee Night tonight and I'm so excited. I'm going to head out early with a girlfriend and we are going to stop in Birch Run for a little shopping, then off to Tim Horton's in Clio, MI for a fun evening.
If you're in the area, stop by!

Then, next week I am hosting my own Praise and Coffee Night at the Plainwell Coffee Mill in Plainwell, MI. AND Mel over at Mel’s World is hosting one in Miami, Florida!

You could be next... just invite a bunch or friends to a coffee shop, play some praise music if you can, laugh-talk-have fun, spend some time encouraging one another and by all means drink some coffee (or cocoa if you must :)!

I had a reporter call and interview me the other day from a local paper. Due to timing, they are going to advertise this one, but maybe come out and do an article for the one in January.

I pray these evenings will be a fun time out for women and up to connect and be encouraged. The evening will be informal and focused on fellowship except for a short time of inspiration from God's Word about our lives as wives, moms and women of faith.

Next week Thursday, the 20th I am so excited to have a special guest coming to share some inspiration with us. Karen Hossink, MOPS speaker and author.
She has written two books, "Confessions of an Irritable Mother" and "Finding Joy-More Confessions of an Irritable Mother".


To give you a little more info on Karen, I did a little interview with her:

1. Tell us about your family.
I have been married to my husband, Brian, for 15 years. We have a daughter, Elizabeth, who is 12 years old, and two sons. Joshua is 10 and Matthew is 8.

2. What is your favorite thing to do when you don't have the kids in tow.
If I am by myself, anything is my favorite thing! I will happily clean the house, fold laundry, rake the yard, whatever.
Seriously, for the past four years I have been doing a special thing without the kids in tow. I attend the Women of Faith conference – all by myself. That means I leave Thursday afternoon and spend the night in a hotel. I attend the pre-conference and conference Friday, spend Friday night in the hotel, and go to the conference again Saturday. It is such a treat to spend those two days by myself, enjoying the presence of God as I listen to awesome Christian women talk about His faithfulness. Truly, by Saturday evening when I get home to my family I am excited to see them and I am totally refreshed.
Now, if there was a way I could arrange to do something like this monthly, or every other month…

3. How did you come up with the names of your books?
By the grace of God, I’d say!
For my first book, “Confessions of an Irritable Mother” was originally going to be the sub-title. Because I built the story around the process of refining silver, I was going to call the book, “Refined Like Silver.” But one day my editor emailed me and said she wanted to talk to me on the phone – wanted to know if I would be available that afternoon. I thought, “Uh, oh. Something is wrong. Why does Christine want to talk to me? Why can’t we take care of this over email?” And I waited for her to call.
That afternoon, Christine told me she had been thinking about it and came to the conclusion “Confessions of an Irritable Mother” would be a much better title. I was unsure, and she encouraged me to ask my friends for their opinions. “Confessions” won – hands down. Now, whenever someone comments about how much they like that title, I thank God again for Christine!
Coming up with the title for “Finding Joy” was another God-thing. Again, I had a different title in mind originally. But one day God used my mentor to speak to my heart about the work He is doing in me.
God had convinced me previously that I could have HOPE for the future because of the way He is using my present trials to refine me. Through the interaction I had with my mentor, God showed me that I could have JOY in the present because He is with me in every moment. I had been joy-less for so long, just wishing for the day when joy would be a normal condition for me. When God showed me there was joy to be had in the midst of the chaos, I knew I had found the title for my new book!

4. How long did they take to write?
I started Confessions in November of 2005. As in, I wrote the first few paragraphs then. I finally got serious about writing it in May of 2006 and was finished in the end of June. I don’t think it took very long to write because I wasn’t coming up with the ideas – I was just writing about the things through which I have gone. My husband let me go away for a three-day writing retreat in May, and I spent many hours at the computer after the kids were in bed. And then it was finished.
Finding Joy was a longer process. I actually started collecting the ideas before I even began writing Confessions. As God would show Himself to me in a situation with my children, I would write it down and file it away “for someday.” Even when I got to work putting the book together God caused me to take a break from writing, and it was in that time He spoke to me about the title – and totally changed the direction of the book. I am telling you, I am so glad God is sovereign and does what He needs to do to make His will known. If Finding Joy had been done on my time table, it would be a completely different book and I am sure it would not be what He wanted.

5. How long have you been speaking for MOPS and how often do you speak?
I began speaking in November of 2006 for MOPS groups and have recently started speaking, not just for moms but, for women in general. I love sharing hope and encouragement with mothers, and I will keep doing that as long as the invitations continue. But God has put messages on my heart for Christian women, too, and I am excited about the opportunities to share them.
On average, I probably speak twice a week. Some weeks find me out three times, and others only once. The thing that works nicely is, since my speaking typically happens only during the school year, most of the time I am speaking while my kids are in school, so they never really miss me. They just see me “dressed up” in the morning and say, “Are you speaking today, Mom?”

6. Can you give a nugget of encouragement to the mom who is surviving pre-schoolers...
Well, I think the best thing would be for her to read Confessions of an Irritable Mother and Finding Joy! *grin*
Beyond that profound thought, I would have to say this: Dear mother, you are precious, absolutely precious. You are the delight of God’s heart and He loves you so much! He does not expect perfection from you. He does not expect you to manage an intricate schedule of play dates, tumbling classes, story times, piano and dance lessons, and karate clubs – while you also maintain a perfect house, produce wrinkle-free laundry, and prepare semi-gourmet meals. It is OK with Him if there is some dust on the shelves and if you don’t put on make-up today. God knows you aren’t Wonder Woman, and HE STILL LOVES YOU! Please receive the grace He offers and know He is with you in every moment.

7. Where will you be on November 20th???
In the morning I will be speaking for the MOPS group at St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lansing. And in the evening I am going to be at my first-ever Praise and Coffee Night!!! I can’t wait to see you again, and hopefully lots of other blogging friends!

You can visit Karen and check our her books/blog at her website: Irritable Mother

For those of you who can't make it, but are looking for some praise, here you go:
(I know these recordings aren't always so great, but I still love it!)

When it seems that things in this world are headed in the wrong direction and you feel like the enemy is winning, just remember the words in this song:

"Every heart every nation, every tribe all creation,
will bow before Your presence and sing..."

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Two shall become One ~ Financial Infidelity

Given the current financial crunch so many are in today, I thought I would re-post this past favorite. Originally posted March 4, 2008. Much love! Sue


I heard a story once about a woman who loved to spend money! She was truly a shop-aholic in every sense of the word.

Her husband had sat her down and talked about the fact that they really needed to be on a budget and would appreciate her help with this endeavor.
So one day she sheepishly came home with yet another new outfit from her favorite designer.

She was so excited about her great find and she just knew that her husband would see things her way once he saw how wonderful she looked in this new outfit. She rushed upstairs and put it on to model for her husband.

As she was spinning and twirling in front of her less than impressed husband, he reminded her that they had made a commitment not to spend any money that was not in the budget.

"Oh, but look how darling this is honey, I just couldn't resist! I'm telling you...the devil made me do it!" she said.

"But you know that when the devil is tempting you, you should just tell him, 'get thee behind me satan!'" the husband said.

"Oh, but I DID!" she said, "and the devil said that it looked good from the back too!"

The story is funny, but unfortunately the subject matter is not.
So guess what today's post is about?
That's right.
Honoring our husband with the way that we handle the family finances and spend money.

Prov 31:10-12
10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,all the days of her life.

Prov 31:27
She watches over the affairs of her household

It is called, "financial infidelity" and it is one of the leading causes of divorce today.

The signs of financial infidelity include hiding money or debt, failure to disclose assets, keeping a secret bank account, and secret spending.

This type of dishonesty can threaten a marriage.

The spending and secrets are basically the symptoms.
The real problem is there's been a breakdown in trust between a husband and wife.

I love to shop. I love to spend money. But I have learned that unless we are in agreement about the money spent, it can bring strife into our marriage.

I want to encourage you to respect your husband with your spending. Never make a major financial decisions without his consent.
Be a team financially.
If you have to purchase something secretely, you probably shouldn't be purchasing it.

I think we all want our husband's to have full confidence in us and know that we will bring him good and not harm as the Proverbs say.

Let's not open our marriage up to "financial infidelity."
Create trust by honoring one another with your spending.

I'm praying for your marriages!

Monday, November 10, 2008

The November Winner, Birthday Wishes and a Reminder!

The winner of the November Praise and Coffee is:


I have to wish a Happy Birthday to one of my favorite people in the world. I was having my 1st two children while she was having her last two. She was the best mentor this young mom could have had. She became one of my dearest friends and though we don't see each other much due to our move, I still feel a strong bond of love and friendship with her.

On many occasions I called her needing answers that only an experienced mom would have. I will never forget my desperate call one night because I was trying to get Matt in a "big boy bed" and was failing miserably. She so sweetly talked me through it and put all things in perspective.

Karen I love you and wish you a Happy Birthday!
Reminder! This Thursday is the Praise and Coffe Night in Clio, MI.
I'm grabbing a friend and we are heading over for some shopping at Birch Run and then the fun evening with the girls! If you live over on the East side, I sure would love to see you.
Hop on over to Monkey Giggles to get more details!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

This is my prayer in the desert...

I couldn't sleep this morning, so I decided to throw on the earplugs and drown myself in worship. In searching for a new song I came across this video.

If you've ever struggled with knowing that you need to worship, but carry the weight of trials that make it so difficult, you will relate to and cherish this powerful song.

The testimony at the beginning lays a beautiful path to walk right up to His throne and sing Him praises.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Let's be in unity...really?

Unity, it’s the buzz word of the day. But, what does it mean?
As Christians, are we supposed to be in unity with those around us?
It would seem so from what we are hearing these days.

We have a new president and many of us don’t agree with his policies. But as good little American’s, we are to live in unity so there can be peace. Really?

The definition of unity is: oneness.

As Christians, we are supposed to base all of our beliefs on the Bible, so I decided to see what God’s Word said about unity.

Here’s what Jesus said about unity:
John 17:22-23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

He is referring here to being unified together as brothers and sisters in Christ.

And this one:
Rom 15:5
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus

As they follow Christ Jesus…again the author seems to be referring to being unified as brothers and sisters in Christ.

What about the Old Testament?
Ps 133:1
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

Now back to the New…
Eph 4:3
3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Eph 4:13
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

Col 3:12-14
12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

It is quite clear that in God’s Word, the unity we are called to is within the body of Christ. I could not find any verses that tell us to be unified with the world. But I found these:

Rom 13:1-5
13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Eccl 10:20
20 Curse not the king, no not in thy thought

We are called to submission, and to that submission we add faith. Faith and trust that our God will take care of us if we obey Him.

Unity = oneness.
As Christians, we are one with God and his children, but we are to submit to governing authorities.
We don’t have to agree to submit…that would be called “agreement.”
However, we can not be “one” with the world.

1 John 2:15-16
Do not love the world or anything in the world.
If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

John 15:18-19
"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.
19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

When we submit to the governing leaders and “curse not the king” in obedience to the Lord, we are honoring the Lord.

However, I do not believe that means that we sit back and let whatever happens happen. If there is an issue we disagree with, we first pray. Then we get involved where we can. That could mean writing letters to leaders stating our concerns, it could mean taking situations to our courts and fighting in our legal system for justice. I believe we have every right to address concerns and stand up for what is right within the laws of the land.

Of course we are to first obey God’s commands and if we are told to disobey those, we must not.
Here’s a perfect example:
Acts 4:18-20
18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus.
19 But Peter and John replied, "Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God's sight to obey you rather than God.
20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard."

As always, it comes down to the condition of our hearts. There is nothing wrong with exposing and discussing the concerns we have. But if there is hatred in our hearts towards a person (as opposed to hatred towards a sin) than we are not honoring the Lord.
I know many of you are angry, concerned and upset. Let's bring our concerns to the Lord and obey what He commands. Be in unity (oneness) with fellow believers, but submit to the governing authority in this nation and pray for them in love and trust God.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Church Abuse and Guilt

I wasn't going to write today but I came across a post that I thought many of you would find interesting.

I often get email questions like this, but I just respond personally.

I love the way Barbara answered this question and addressed the issue of church abuse.

Check it out...

Churches and Guilt

Don't forget to sign up for the Praise and Coffee contest from November 1st!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Day After

I have been praying about what to write today. Am I disappointed? You betcha. :)
But, is there peace in my heart? Of course.

The pillars of this world are not the pillars of God’s Kingdom. It is laughable to imagine that this could negatively affect what God wants to do in this world.

Daniel 2:21
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;

God has a plan and though we may not see what is going on, we are to live by faith and not be sight.
2 Cor 5:7
We live by faith, not by sight.

If we are trusting in Him, there will be peace in our hearts.
If not, there will be fear.

Ps 112:6-7
6 Surely he will never be shaken;
a righteous man will be remembered forever.
7 He will have no fear of bad news;
his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

We can not fall apart now, this is the time to rise up and be the body of Christ with great boldness- motivated by love.

This is an example of Godly men facing persecution:
Acts 4:31
31 After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.

I admit, initially I had a knot in my belly, much like the way it felt the day after 9/11. But, I also knew this was coming. Weeks ago Mark and I discussed that he would win. I think the Lord showed that to many of us so that we would prepare our hearts.

Think of how Jesus’ words have come alive this past year…

Matt 7:13-20
13 "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.

14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

I thought of that every time I saw the great masses of people gathered together looking for hope.

And then read what it goes on to say:

15 "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

I have been amazed at the people deceived by smooth words though this election. But, if we don’t know what the Lord calls good fruit and bad fruit- how would we recognize it? That’s the nature of deception, you don’t realize that you are being fooled.

One thing that we HAVE to remember today, is that MAN is not our enemy.
Eph 6:12
12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

Being angry with a man or an establishment will only serve to set us off course and keep us from God’s purposes.

We battle on our knees and with the love in our hearts for God. We serve those around us- that’s how we become victorious in this.

Our God has not changed. And I have the feeling, we are about to see Him show up on the scene and do great and mighty things!
He is our LIVING hope!

Rev 1:17-18
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. 18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I'm so excited to be back!

I took some time off from writing at the Internet Cafe' (the sister site of Christian Women Online Magazine) this summer because of all our travels, but now I'm back and it feels like coming home.

It is a devotional website that offers a daily dose of inspiration from several different wonderful writers. I encourage you to sign up for their morning delivery so you can wake up to inspiration and encouragment every day in your email.

Come on over and check out my post:

"It’s Never too Late for a Fresh Start"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Praise and Coffee Giveaway!


November already! Can you believe it???

I have some wonderful treats for you this month!

First your praise:

Your Name is a collection of powerful worship duets from some of today's top singers and songwriters, including Phil Wickham, Lincoln Brewster, Paul Baloche, Leeland Mooring, Aaron Shust, and members of Rush of Fools, Audio Adrenaline, and Building 429.

And your coffee:

Cinnamon Gingerbread! Perfect for November!

And don't forget, Bayview Cards wants to bless you too! You will also receive a beautiful box of their homemade cards!!

To enter the drawing, leave a comment on this post. Make sure there is some way for me to contact you if you win (link to a blog or email). No anonymous enteries- it always surprises me when I get those! The drawing will be on the 10th of November.

If you have my GIVEAWAY button on your blog, let me know (please don't assume that I will remember- somedays I can't remember my own kid's names!) and you will be entered TWICE!!!!

One more thing, a bit of encouragement from the Message Bible:

Romans 12:11-13

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Much love!

  ©Blog Design by Amy Bayliss.

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