Aug 24, 2006

Weekly Recipe: Potato Pie

A delicious mashed potato variation!

5 lbs. potatoes, boiled
1 c. butter
1 lb carrots, peeled and grated
2 c. cheese, grated
1 c. orange juice
4 eggs, beaten
2 t. sugar (healthy)
S/P to taste

Make mashed potatoes with the butter. Mix all ingredients together and put in a 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 min.

Aug 23, 2006

Weekly Recipe: Taco Soup

2 cups cooked kidney beans (1 can drained and rinsed)
2 cups cooked pinto beans
2 cups cooked black beans
2-4 cups shoepeg corn (preferably organic)
2 c. chicken broth (or water with boullion)
1 onion, diced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can Ro-Tel tomatoes
1 T chili powder
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 T dried or fresh parsley, crushed
(sea) salt to taste

Mix all ingredients and cook for at least 2 hours or in a crock pot.
Serve with healthy tortilla chips, grated cheese, and sour cream. Enjoy!

How Children Spell Love

I recently asked my children if they thought I loved them.


Then I asked if they thought I liked them.

“Of course!”

“Why do you think that I LIKE you?” I probed.

The answer was swift and unanimous: “Because you spend TIME with us!”

Children spell love T-I-M-E.
Children spell like T-I M-E.

You can love someone without liking them. I know many parents who love their children very much, but it is obvious that they don’t really LIKE them.

You can also like someone, such as an acquaintance, or a speaker you listen to, without truly loving them.

Is loving your children enough to have their hearts?
I think you have to truly LIKE your children to have their hearts and keep them.

If children spell love T-I-M-E, they will only know that you truly love them if you LIKE being with them, if you LIKE doing things with them, if you LIKE what they like, if you LIKE them. In the big picture, children do not count much what you do FOR them; it is only what you do WITH them that matters in their eyes.

Here are some ways I spend time WITH my children, enjoying them every minute. There are many other ideas that you will have, but this will get you started.

Work ~ It is fun to work together, side by side. When it is time to fix a meal, for instance, my children are almost always with me, working together, in the kitchen. We will often work in the yard and garden together, or do laundry together.

Eating ~ We eat 3 meals a day together and often have a snack together. It is very rare that we ever eat separately. This is a wonderful time of fellowship as well.

Music ~ Instead of sending my children to piano lessons, I teach them myself. Singing, dancing (to the Lord), and playing instruments together seem to form a bond unlike any other. I also LIKE the music my children enjoy. I listen to them sing and play, with undivided and rapt attention.

Reading ~ Reading aloud is so much fun! Reading a great book is always an incredible experience, but reading that same book at the same time, out loud, with your children, multiplies that experience exponentially, building precious memories together.

School ~ Although I began homeschooling my children for a very different set of reasons, I continue homeschooling my children now so that I can be with them. Call me selfish, if you will, but my number one reason for homeschooling my children is to be WITH them, working side by side, learning together.

Errands ~ When I go someplace in my truck, I almost always take someone with me. This is free time just looking for a relationship.

Exercise ~ We often exercise together. There are times when I just can’t, because I’m not up to it physically, maybe, but as often as possible, exercise time is together time.

Games ~ Solitaire is not a game that is played in our family, nor are video or computer games, which teach self-centeredness. Games are great learning experiences that come with a relationship. You know those special little made up games that little ones like to play, over and over and over again? Enjoy them every single time!

Jokes ~ We get an e-mail joke every day and we laugh together as we hear it all together. It’s an easy way to take our daily medicine together.

Talking ~ I have one child who LOVES to talk, for hours and hours and hours. Listening is included. If I don’t have those long conversations with her, she will find someone else who will!

Quiet ~ I have one child who enjoys just sitting with me quietly, no talking. That’s important, too.

Movies ~ Watching a movie can be a great tool, if you make it such. We ALWAYS watch movies together, to learn together, to talk about them together, to be together. Movies are NOT a babysitter.

Bedtime ~ Special bedtime routines are important to each of my children. It takes a LONG time to tuck in all 3. I don’t know what I’d do if had more!

Sermons ~ If there is a sermon I would like to hear that might impact the family (OK, there are TONS of these for us!), we all listen to it together, and then we discuss together if it lines up with God’s Word. If it does, we discuss together what changes we ought to make. This helps set a foundation in our family that God’s Word tells us how to live our lives, not a set of do’s and don’ts.

Projects ~ Sewing, crafts, models, building, organizing, moving – all kinds of projects lend themselves easily to togetherness. Look for these and you’ll find one around every corner.

I don’t spend ALL my time with my children, but I do spend as much time with them as I possibly can, while I have them with me. No one ever died regretting spending TOO MUCH time with their children!

I know some people think it takes too long to do these things WITH your children. Wouldn’t it be easier to just do them FOR your children? Or don’t you get more done if you all spread out and just do what needs to be done? Maybe. But there is nothing in this life more important than relationship – with God first, with family second. God did not call us to put time management ABOVE our relationship with our children. God did not call us to put our own interests ABOVE our relationship with our children.

The next time you find yourself doing something alone, ask yourself if you could involve someone with you. Making a bed is much easier with two than just one!

God called us to LOVE our children = TIME.
God wants us to LIKE our children =- TIME.

Where their TIME is, there will their heart be also.

Keep Your Mouth Shut!

Everyone knows the damage a big mouth can do, but have you ever considered the physical damage of opening your mouth?

Yes, breathing through your mouth is dangerous to your health! We must all become nose breathers from now on!

Having experienced episodes of hyperventilation often in my younger years, I thought I had outgrown them, and certainly thought I understood the symptoms, until recently. Some of the symptoms can be scary, but they are not life threatening: tight chest; feeling like you can’t catch your breath; tingling in hands, feet, and lips; dizziness or lightheadedness; among a few others.

Hyperventilation means that you breathe out too much carbon dioxide, which then causes an imbalance in the oxygen/carbon dioxide ratio. This can be caused by stress, which usually brings on an “attack,” of sorts; or it can be a result of improper breathing patterns, which can cause long-term difficulties such as lightheadedness or headaches, a racing heartbeat or heart and/or blood pressure problems, weak lungs, allergies (due to mouth breathing), chronic fatigue (due to improper oxygen/carbon dioxide balance), weak adrenals (chronic hyperventilation is like having your fight-or-flight response turned on all the time, which severely drains your adrenals), difficulty concentrating or remembering (brain doesn’t have enough oxygen), and can weaken all the inner organs (and cause eczema on the skin as well since mouth breathing causes more dehydration than usual).

Knowing that I have always been a mouth breather, I shall now attempt to keep my mouth shut and breathe through my nose and use my whole body to take deep healing breaths.

So, keep your mouth shut!

Aug 22, 2006

The World

I have always wondered exactly what I John means when he talks about all that is in the world. Here is the list.

The World

The lust of the flesh
The lust of the eyes
The pride of life

I did an interesting comparison today with the passage in Genesis that talks about the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Here is what Eve saw:

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil

Good for food
Pleasant to the eyes
Desirable to make one wise

Comparing Scripture with Scripture sure does make it come alive!

Aug 20, 2006

And Having Done All, To Stand

I was just reflecting that the last four churches which we have left were all for pretty much the same reasons: I will not back down from the truth of the Word of God. We are certainly not church butterflies, flitting about from place to place, never staying long enough to develop relationships. Far from it. I learned from Henry Blackaby long ago that we should never leave a church unless God directs us to and there are really only two reasons God usually directs in that way: moving and violations of God's Word in either word or deed, after having done all to gently restore the church to the Bible.

Here is a summary of our leaving the last four churches:

Church #1 ~ Stayed 6 years and then moved far away. However, about 2 weeks before we left, I was fired as the adult Sunday School teacher because I taught that wives should obey their husbands and that one of the reasons God was judging America is because of our national sin in this area. There weren't any real harsh feelings, and although there was a definite chasm, there is still respect both ways. We still have some incredibly great relationships from that church.

I would not change my position. I will stand on what the Bible says.

So, in looking for a new church, we made sure we included this in our list of important areas to look for.

Church #2 ~ Although it was very often preached from the pulpit that we should live soberly and righteously in this present age, that we would never have entertainment in this church, at the very same time, the children's and youth programs were being run by none other than worldly entertainment. At one point, the children's church "praise and worship" was led by a local non-Christian TV show! After teaching the children that LIFE means:
L - Love
I - Integrity
F - Friendship
E - Encouragement
~ and that if you have those things you will have true life, I said that my Bible says that he who has the Son has life. When they started singing (during "praise and worship!") "I Love Rock and Roll," I had had enough. Suffice it to say that God's Word was not in any way being taught to any of the youth in that church. After several meetings with the pastors, we were asked to find another church more to our liking. We still have friends from that church and the pastor is still friendly.

I would stand fast on God's Word.

We then abandoned youth and children's programs and looked for a church that didn't separate the family every time we walked in the doors.

Church #3 ~ After attending for 5 years, we began to see this church lean in an extreme right direction (as compared to the left leanings of most American churches). We feel that any extreme is extra-biblical, and therefore, unbiblical. When I realized this church was taking a position that we cannot help but sin (every 10 minutes!), I took God's position that we are no longer slaves to sin, that God has promised that we will never be under more temptation than we can bear, and that Jesus expects us to obey Him. I was excommunicated for this position and all those friends I spent hours each week developing relationships with now turn their backs on us in public.

I still stand on God's Word alone.

Church #4 ~ Although we had major doctrinal disagreements when we agreed to attend this church for six months, the love of Christ that permeates that church was what drew us there. However, when they started a series on how you can lose your salvation, we had to draw the line. Eternal security is a major doctrinal issue, but we still have many good friends from this church.

We will stand on only what God's Word says.

Should doctrinal differences divide us? Yes, if they compromise the truth of the gospel of God's Word. Yes, when it comes to choosing a church, if a doctrinal error is consistently being taught from the pulpit and it is enough to cause either confusion or irritation.

Should doctrinal differences divide friends? I say never. I have friends of all different doctrinal persuasions and we can still love each other in the Lord. I am grateful for the friendships that are so solid that we can discuss our doctrinal differences rationally and search the Scriptures together to see if these things be so.

I am saddened that some would think that turning their backs on a five-year relationship is the best way to handle a doctrinal difference. Even so, and having done all, I will stand, stand on God's Word, and His Word alone.

The Pendulum Swings

In Paul's day, women were generally treated as being inferior to men. Husbands ordered their wives around, and wives had no choice but to obey whatever he said. So why did Paul tell wives to submit to their own husbands then, if wives were treated in much the same way as servants?

We have a clue in the same passage, where Paul tells husbands to love their wives and not be bitter toward them. The KJV word "embittered" can also be translated "harsh." Paul realized that it does not come naturally to a man to self-sacrificially love another, namely his wife, so he encouraged men to think selflessly in marriage. Paul knew that men could easily get irritated with their wives, so he encourages them not to be harsh in tone, in demeanor, in manner. Instead, they are to cherish their wives as they would a set of fine china, being gentle and tender with her as with something so precious and fragile.

God made women to naturally respond to men, and the more a man leads lovingly, the more a woman will naturally respond. Leadership of this type is servant leadership. A husband ordering a wife around will generate a response in the woman, but it would not naturally generate a loving response. If a husband truly desires a respectful, submissive wife, he will look to see what he can to help her, to bless her, to serve her, to cherish her. A woman who is treated with such honor will naturally be motivated to respond in kind. This is simply human nature, Christian or not.

However, Paul elevated the position of the woman in the New Testament era to higher than it had ever been by telling wives to submit to their own husbands. How can that be? The verb tense in Greek of the word "submit" indicates a purely voluntary action on the part of the wife. These passages by Paul are not "commandments" to the wife that she must obey every whim of an overbearing, authoritative, demanding husband. Rather, if a wife loves the Lord, she will choose to obey her husband, no matter how he treats her, because she desires solely to please the Lord. It does not come naturally to a woman to do what her husband tells her to do, but if she truly places her relationship with Christ first, she will choose to submit to her husband for the Lord's sake. Paul tells us that being submissive is fitting in the Lord, not a place of subservience (abject or cringing submissiveness). If both the husband and the wife have their hearts right before God and they both follow God's roles for marriage, a woman will naturally respond respectfully and submissively to a man's love and tenderness.

In Paul's day, wives had almost no rights. Paul tells us that in Christ male and female are equal. Now, in giving wives the responsibility to voluntarily submit to their husbands because of their relationship with Jesus, Paul is elevating the status of women to that of equality with men.

Modern-day feminism, a knee-jerk reaction to men not fulfilling this aspect of Scripture, attempts to place women in a higher status than men. This is equally wrong. This is not a treatise about feminism, but there were definitely reasons that catapulted it into the forefront where it now stands. Some Christians have returned to God's Word to see what God says is a woman's role, and some have even considered a man's role as well, but let us be careful that, as Christians, we are not just as guilty as the feminists in letting the pendulum swing too far in the opposite direction of where America is today. While I am sure there are many husbands and wives who are clearly following Scriptural patterns of authority ~ the husbands truly loves and cherishes his wife as he seeks the Lord for leading his family, the wife gladly submits to his authority and respects him ~ I have also seen far too many knee-jerk reactions to feminism, trying to take Christian families back to the culture of Paul's day, where a woman was little more than a subservient doormat.

True biblical submission and respect on the part of the wife, and a husband's true biblical love and cherishing his wife will play out differently in every marriage. In some marriages, the husband is more detail-oriented and wants to know everything and be involved in everything and plan everything. In many marriages, the husband and wife work together as a team, and if there is a true conflict, one of them will yield their rights. If the man decides that he will take full responsibility for the conflict, then the wife has the privilege of voluntarily submitting because she loves Jesus and trusts Him. And in some marriages, a husband safely trusts his wife, his helper, and relies on her to make many decisions that would benefit the direction of the whole family, or even asks her to do certain things another man might think was his own responsibility.

Let's be careful not to judge another marriage. How submission and respect play out for one wife could be vastly different for another. The key is in that individual marriage. While one wife may be satisfied and happy being a doormat, another wife may have different responsibilities and her husband may want her to take initiative for their family sometimes. Some men may desire to be in control of every detail, while others are grateful they can trust their wives to keep the family going in his absence, or that she may prepare devotions for him to share with the family later that evening. These are two extremes that still appear to be within the biblical roles for husbands and wives. Blessed is the marriage where husband and wife work side by side!

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.
Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.