Psalm 45:10-11, 13-15

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take heart to what I say. Forget your people and your homeland far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. [...] The bride, a princess, waits within her chambers, dressed in a gown woven with gold. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful, enthusiastic procession as they enter the king's palace!



Monday, April 30, 2007

I Will Lift My Eyes

Psalm 89:2
I will declare that your love stands firm forever,
that you established your faithfulness in heaven itself.


Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Life Presented to God – Part 3



“…but be transformed by the renewing of your ming…” Romans 12:2b

“Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” It’s much easier for a transformation to occur when you’ve already made that decisive decision to give yourself wholly unto God and have begun to adjust the attitude of your mind to withstand the life of the world. Still transformation is not easy per se, but the groundwork has been laid for a firm foundation.

In the text the word “mind” also includes the heart, and in view of the fact that the Bible says our heart is deceitful above all things (Jer. 17:9) we should heed the transformation of both. One quick word on transformation, though before we get too far ahead. Transformation is not a quick fix for sanctification. You don’t get saved and are immediately transformed into the image of Christ, you are imputed the righteousness of Christ, but there is still much work to be done. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of faith that trusts (relies on God) and commits to putting our flesh to death. It’s not always fun either. Transformatino usually doesn’t occur on the mountaintop, though it can. The renewal of our heart and mind is a continual process. If we understand that we will keep the temptation of despair at bay.

Let’s take a minute to review,
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:1-2, NIV).
A life that grasps how God’s mercy works is a life that is diametrically opposed, a nonconformist, to the world’s customs and ideas. So, now we are at the renewal of our minds. As we view God’s mercy, by consecrating ourself to Him, and begin to align our thoughts, attitudes, and actions to His we develop a new affection and our life changes. The commands of the Lord are no longer a burden to us (1 Jn. 5:3) and we delight in His laws, which are better than gold and sweeter than honey (Ps. 19:7-10). We have aligned ourself with the word that says,
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Galatians 2:20, NASB).

As our minds are being reformed our perspective changes. God wants us to have such an affection for His commands that it becomes second nature, that we don’t even pause or question our choices or what He says. That is what the continual transforming of our heart and mind will produce in us. God will do the work in us, we must be willing.

Ask the Lord today, “What part of my life am I unwilling to change?”

Remember transformation comes with humility and humility comes with repentance, so set your heart open before God listening to what he speaks to your heart, then follow Him.

A Week in Pictures...

Random Pictures from our week:




Me, Kaite (a jr. higher), & Lynda (another leader) for Kaite's b-day pic before we went to the Institute for Creation Research on Saturday (more about that later).

Our sloppy joe dinner. I seemed to forget the bun part of the sloppy joe, which was good since I also got tomato sauce instead of tomato past. We ended up mixing it with some rice and it was fine.
My homemade fries!


We got to spend some time Friday with our good friends the Lowther's daughter while mom went to grill some hot dogs. She's reading her favorite book ("Oh, no!") at our house. Her and our nephew have their own shelf in one of our closets with books, bubbles, and toys to play with when they visit.



Meal Plan Monday


Monday Leftovers
Tuesday Saucy Honey Mustard Chicken w/ brown rice & corn
Wednesday Toasted Tuna Melts w/ fruit
Thursday Spaghetti
Friday Zesty Parmesan Corn w/ __?___
Saturday Porkchops w/ mashed potatoes

Friday, April 27, 2007

Frugal Fridays: Cheap Meat!




Alrighty, this week for Frugal Fridays this is what I've got: cheap meat.


I use to never buy meat before I was married, except on occasion when I had a coupon for the Tyson family chicken pack (the frozen chicken breasts that are oh-so-itty-bitty). However, one Sunday Joe and I were at Vons picking up something and were browsing by the meat section hoping to see some spicy Italian sausages (a favorite of Joe's that is usually onsale for about $3 for 2lbs.) That's when we saw the clearance section for meat!

It's the stuff that either needs to be used in the next day or so or freezed. And all the meat is marked between 30 to 50% off and occasionally there are things like stuffed mushrooms or chicken marsala. It's a good buy. I only buy meat from the clearance section now and freeze it.


Here's what I've gotten on my last few trips:

Organics Chicken Thighs - .68lb/Reg. $3.39 Clearance $1.69

Porkchops - 1.44lb/Reg. $6.47 w/ club card $5.03 Clearance $2.51

Ground Turkey Breast - 1.25lb. (x2)/Reg. $5.99 Clearance $2.99

Sirloin Steak - .77lb./Reg. $5.38 Clearance $2.69

Breast Fillets - 1.65lb./Reg. $9.88 Clearance $4.94

Drumsticks - 1.52lb./Reg. $3.02 Clearance $1.51

Lean Ground Beef - 3lb./Reg. $10.96 Clearance $5.48

It's always fun to find good deals, especially now that my husband gets meat with his meals!

That's it for me....I'm off to make Sloppy Joes and homemade french fries. I've been keeping the menu easy this week, since it's the first week back from Spring Break at work. ;)



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Life Presented to God - Part 2

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:2, NASB


In the beginning of Romans 12 these two verses call us to live a life that is diametrically opposed to this world. That is a life that grasps the mercy of God and lives thus so. What does a life that is opposed to this world and grasps the mercy of God look like? It is a life that is living unconformed to this day and age, but continually being transformed.

§ NLT, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world”
§ NIV, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world”
§ AMP, “Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs]”
§ NASB, “And do not be conformed to this world”
§ The Message, “Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”

To be conformed is to “comply with rules or standards; be similar in form or type” (OED 183). If our life complies with the standards of this world and we look (or live) similarly to the worldly way of life then it’s time to stop and reflect on our personal life asking the Lord, “What needs to change?” Because if we could transplant our life in the world’s system and it doesn’t look any different than the next worldly person, then we’re in trouble! We’re called to be salt, light, and to abide in Christ’s teaching, if we look just like the world then we’re not living (doing) something right.

Look at the translation of the verses:

§ Don’t copy the customs and behavior of this world
§ Don’t conform [comply with, be similar to] to the pattern of the world
§ Don’t fashion your life after or adapt its external and superficial ways
§ Don’t be so well-adjusted to the culture that there’s a seamless fit.


It’s very clear that we are to live diametrically, completely opposite, to this world. It’s vital that we remember who has authority over the earth, the prince of darkness. If we align ourselves and life with the world’s culture, we are also aligning ourselves up with the culture and kingdom of Satan—the exact opposite of what we say we desire as Christ followers!

It’s a time for reflection for all of us. There’s not a person alive on this earth that is living completely by God’s kingdom principles where every aspect of their life is opposed to the world, so humbly yourself to God with me as we reflect and ask the Lord, “What in my life complies with the world?” Wait on Him and listen to what he says, then repent.

Menu Plan Monday

Monday Leftovers
Tuesday Meatloaf w/ salad
Wednesday French Dip Sandwiches
Thursday Hamburger Beef Dinner (the last box dinner in my pantry--no more!)
Friday Sloppy Joe's

Sunday, April 22, 2007

A Week in Pictures...

Homemade Strawberry-Banana Smoothies in the making.

(Joe actually ended up having both smoothies, since I have an aversion to bananas. I tried, but it just didn't work out.)


Grilled cheese on my homemade bread!



The beginnings of homemade cereal.






The finished product.


My homemade verison of Nestle ready made cookie dough. I had frozen some cookie dough a few weeks ago and thought it was time to pull it out.




They were quite petite cookies.







My two loaves of whole wheat bread I made on Monday.




Yesterday, I made two loaves for this week.










Friday, April 20, 2007

Frugal Fridays: Free Cooking Magazines



As I was going through my magazines yesterday and tearing out recipes and helpful articles I had a few Kraft Food & Family magazines that I got one year. They're free and you can sign-up to receive them at www.kraftfoods.com/free. They have a ton of different recipes, of course using quite a bit o Kraft brand foods (but those can always be substituted). If I remember correctly they are quarterly, one for each season. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Life Presented to God: Romans 12:1-2

We started out on Monday's post looking at the parallel theme in 1, 2, and 3 John that we, as Christians, are called to live a life that is very different from the rest of the world. Over the next week or so we'll be delving into Romans 12:1-2 and looking at what it says and what it calls us to as believers. I've been enjoying studying this passage and the fullness of the Word, and I hope you'll join me in it!
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Romans 12:1
Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God,
to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice,
acceptable to God, which is your spiritual
service of worship.

The theme here in Romans 12:1 is that we are urged in light of God's mercy to view our bodies as living sacrifices. Paul is appealing to the body of Christ in the dedication of our lives as believers to heed what he is about to say. He calls us to present our bodies to God as "a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God." Paul speaks of this idea elsewhere as well, in 1 Corinthians 6:20 he writes, "You were bought with a price. Therefore honor God with your body." Paul is reminding us that we are no longer our own. We no longer have dominion over our own body or life, Christ's death on the cross bought us. We are now redeemed children of grace, thus our bodies are not our own, but God's to use and dwell in. This urging also reminds us that we are to submit ourselves to God (Ja. 4:7). Ultimately, if we are presenting our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices that is submission. Offering yourself to God is not only a spiritual act of worship, as the verse tells us later, but it is also a sign of submission. When we submit to God (or anyone else for that matter) is shows that we trust and obey God, and is our offering to him.
We offer ourselves to God since He has shown us such great mercy. As I was studying, I came across a different translation of this verse and it was just so wonderful to me, "When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?" (NLT) I think that hits it on the head. So often we can come up with excuses, mostly without even being conciously aware, of why we shouldn't or can't fully give ourselves to God. That's why I love this translation, When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?" Seriously, is it too much for God to ask for our complete dedication when he gave up His Son for us? Now, how can anyone answer, "Yes, it is too much to ask!" Who would even be so bold? It's a humbling question that our hearts already know the answer. Offering our self to God is not only an act of spiritual worship or submission, but it is giving Him what is rightfully His, "You are not your own [...] You were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body" (1 Cor. 6:19b-20).
We must make a "decisive decision" (Ryrie 1744) or a "decisive dedication" (AMP 1314) to give ourselves as living sacrifices (as opposed to the dead animal sacrifices of the Old Testament) to the Lord. Our sacrifice is to be "living and holy" (NASB) and "devoted, consecrated" (AMP). We can't go this way or that, or one day decide to be sold out for Christ and the next trying to buy back our life. Lukewarm is not a safe place to be, although we often think it is. When we offere ourselves to God we make a decision of how we are going to live our life, either as those who know God and abide in His teaching by doing the good He says or we could not abide in the teaching of Christ, continue to do evil and thus not know God. Our decision is this, "and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Ro. 6:13, NASB).
We are to offer ourselves to God "as those who have been brought from death to life" (Ro. 6:13, NIV) and offering our bodies as "instruments of righteousness for God" (Ro. 6:13, NASB). This offering our bodies to God in view of His mercy is "holy and pleasing" (NIV), "acceptable" (NASB), "the kind He will accept" (NLT), and "well pleasing" (AMP) to God. Our offering, dedication, decisive decision or dedication, devotion, or consecration is our "reasonable (rational, intelligent) service" (AMP). It is a deliberate choice to offer our self to God. This is the beginning of what our life presented to God looks like. It starts with a correct understanding of grace. We didn't earn it and we were bought by the price of the cross, thus we have made a decision of how we are going to live our life, consecrated to the One True God.

Monday, April 16, 2007

I finished reading 1 John today and read 2 & 3 John too. It's interesting to me that as I read I noticed a theme in John's letters:

"...everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love."
1 John 4:7b-8
"Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son."
2 John 9
"The one who does good is of God; the one who does evil has not seen God."
3 John 11b
There is a definitive line between those who know God and those who do not. The latter might think they do, but don't. It seems so obvious that those who know God are different from those who don't, but those who don't know the Lord may not always be that obvious. It comes down to the details of how you live. Do you simply read the Bible and say, "Yes, that's true." Or do you let the Word transform your life?
"Many read the Scriptures simply to reinforce their current beliefs. Although they read the entire Bible, their mind only sees certain doctrines. Instead of believing what they read, they merely read what they already believe. [...] Christians are often baptized into their denomination. When they are fully indoctrinated, their minds have been immersed into a pool of teaching that leaves them more conformed to the imae of their sect than to the likeness of Christ."
- Francis Frangipane, ICIT
So what does theis all mean? If you let the Lord transform your heart and mind (Ro. 12:1-2) your way will be straight and you will be those John talks about who know God. The catch? We must be spending sustained amounts of time in the Word. If we do not take the time to seat our self before Christ, then how can we be like him? The place Christ is most revealed is in the Scriptures to know HIm we must go there.

Menu Plan Monday



Alright, so I jumped on the menu planning bandwagon a few weeks before I got married. I really enjoy it Now, I'm just sharing our dinner table with the world!

Monday Broccoli-Carrot Stir Fry

Tuesday Grilled Shrimp w/ Lemon & Green beans Amandine (We've been married one month!)

Wednesday Cauliflower, White Bean, & Feta Salad

Thursday Lemon-Parsley Risott w/ Soy-Marinated Sirloin

Friday Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Cutlets w/ Italian Squash

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter Videos

Here are some videos from Easter Sunday at our church. We have a traditional of each person bringing flowers to put on the cross during worship before the message. It's always such a beautiful sight to see the transformation of this plain, wooden, barren, chicken wire cross becoming this beautiful, colorful, and fragrant cross. It's a wonder to behold, and what makes it even more awesome is seeing the transformation and knowing that is what God is doing in our hearts and lives as believers. He is taking what we once were plain, barren, and ugly and transforming us into a fragrant work of beauty!

Enjoy!


(Oh, they're not the best videos since they were filmed on my digital camera.)







This video is of a lady at our church named Phyllis. She's such a sweet lady, but is just aging. For the past few months she's been coming to church in a wheel, but still sometimes you'll see her pulling herself up to stand and worship her King. It's a beautiful sight to see.

What I love about this video is that there is Phyllis putting flowers on the cross, but also one of our elders is standing in front helping a little girl put her flowers on. It's a beautiful picture of the old and young both coming to honor Jesus. It's a wonderful testimony to Him.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

Wedding Pictures!





















In no particular order...