carve time for the Lord

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It seems these days our lives are so jammed packed with schedules it’s difficult to find time to spend with the Lord. In order for our relationship to grow deeper we must spend the time in His presence, His Word and in praise and thanksgiving.

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Some days I think how in the world can I get this all in? You might be reading this thinking, are you crazy lady? I don’t have time to develop any relationships, let alone one with the Lord. Do you know what I have to do each day to make things happen? Where will I find the time for this?

Trust me, there are ways you can find the time. If we have time to sit and watch a movie, TV or find the time to spend on social media (OUCH!)….. then we can find time to develop our relationship with the Lord.

Reading a spiritual post on FB or twitter does not count towards your Bible reading for the day. Just saying. What I think those do is help us to keep our mind focused on Him throughout the day. But it should not replace intimate time in His Word and in His presence.

All of these are time suckers; I am not saying don’t do them, please hear my heart on this. What I am saying is make the Lord your first priority.

Here are a few suggestions on how to carve out time for the Lord:

  • Get a good study Bible: You can use this for the days when you actually have the 9780785258803_p0_v1_s260x420time to really spend in the Word. I am using a great one: “New Spirit Filled Life Bible”- New King James Version by: Jack Hayford.  Psalm 119:162 says: “I rejoice at Your word as one who finds great treasure”; Rejoice over His Word like you found a great treasure.
  • Get a Bible app on your smart phone: Use this for the days when you are on the go. I use “YouVersion” app. It’s great. I need structure, so I put myself on a few reading plans. What is so cool about this is you have it with you wherever you go; most of us have our smart phones attached to our body in some way or another. So when you are at lunch, waiting in a doctor or dental office, waiting for the kids at sports practice, or in the line to pick them up from school; whenever you have a wait: pull out your phone and read the Word.
  • Take advantage of car time: You can pray en route, listen to CD’s or podcasts of your favorite ministers. A few times a week I listen to a message, but most of the time I utilize it for prayer. Caution: be aware of your surroundings; don’t get so caught up in prayer you forget you’re driving. And whatever you do don’t pray with your eyes closed!
  • Talk to the Lord, praise Him, and thank Him throughout your day. This keeps your mind on Him; when your mind is on Him, He will keep you in perfect peace: Isaiah 26:3
  • Don’t make unrealistic demands on yourself. Sometimes we think we have to read a lot of chapters to spend time in His Word; you can do that and not even know what you’ve read. The key is putting what you read into practice in your daily walk. So read a verse or one chapter and meditate on it throughout your day, and put it into practice.
  • If you miss it: Don’t let the enemy beat you up and tell you that you are no good. Just tell the Lord you are sorry and move on. This happened to me last week. My youngest daughter came for a visit; I spent my time with her and slacked on my daily reading. I ask the Lord to forgive me and I didn’t allow the enemy to make me feel guilty about it. I just picked up where I left off and moved on.
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the easter omelette

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History of the Easter Omelette

In Bessieres,Haute-Garonne, France they have an annual Easter omelette fest, where they make a giant omelette in a giant pan in the middle of the town.

Legend has it that the omelette became famous when Napoleon and his armies were traveling through the south of France. They rested one night near the town of Bessieres. A local innkeeper prepared an omelette for Napoleon, who loved this culinary delight.

Napoleon ordered all the towns people to gather all the eggs in the village and prepare a huge omelette for his troops the next day. This founded Bessieres tradition of the Easter Omelette.

An Omelette is a dish of beaten eggs cooked in a frying pan until firm, often with a filling added while cooking, and usually served folded over. I like to get really creative with my fillings, as you will see below.

Recently I really have been into making omelettes for my husband. I have always enjoyed making them with my microwave omelette maker. However, at the present moment I don’t have a microwave, so that led me on a quest for a simple technique of making an omelette in a frying pan.

I have discovered there is an art to this. My first stop was at Recipe Wars on You Tube, then I proceeded to watch a few Julia Childs videos. This will get you started on how to make a basic omelette.

Maria’s Greek Omelette:

Ingredients: onions, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, feta cheese, oregano

IMG_1246I am Greek and because I am Greek I like onions and lots of them!

Slice the onions and separate the rings into a frying pan with a bit of olive oil in the bottom. I start the onions first because they really need to be soft and almost carmelized.

This process takes about 30 minutes. Half way through I will add some sliced mushrooms and continue to sautee the mixture. When the onions and the mushrooms are soft, add fresh spinach; continue to sautee until the spinach is tender. Keep warm.

This is where you might want to check out those videos on technique. I have created my own and tend to make a huge mess….I am still trying to perfect my technique. I also tend to over cook my eggs because I hate wet eggs.

While your filling is cooking get your eggs ready: 2-3 eggs slightly beaten with salt and pepper. Use a small frying pan and heat the pan on medium high.

Melt approx. 1 Tbsp of butter in the pan; then when the pan is nice and hot pour in the IMG_1202egg mixture. The eggs should sizzle when you put them in. Cook to desired consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drain the mixture of the liquid so it won’t make the eggs soggy.IMG_1203

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fill the omelette with the filling and top with feta cheese. Then fold the other half over and top with more feta cheese and sprinkle with  some oregano.

IMG_1248Another option is to serve the omelette open faced. You can substitute the feta with mozzarella or grated parmesan cheese.

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Mexican or Spanish Omelette:

Ingredients: Eggs, onions, grated cheddar cheese, avocado, salsa

First slice the onions and separate the rings into a frying pan with a bit of olive oil inIMG_1247 the bottom. You want to sautee these on a medium – med/high heat for about 30 minutes.

While the onions are cooking, get your egg mixture ready; 2-3 eggs slightly beaten add salt, pepper and if you want fluffier eggs you can add 1 tsp of water, cream or milk. Using your small frying pan, heat it up really hot, melting about 1 Tbsp of butter in the bottom. Cook eggs to desired consistency.

Top the omelette with the onions, cheddar cheese and avocados. If you want to melt the cheddar cheese place omelette in the oven (without the avocados) and heat until melted.

Then garnish with salsa.  I have used regular salsa, but I’ve also tried a mango salsa that gave the omelette a totally different flavor. Sour cream might be nice as well!

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One thing I found out about omelette’s, you can’t really mess them up.IMG_1213

My husband always says: “So what if they don’t look perfect, they still taste the same”! Get creative and make any filling that you think would be tasty and go for it!

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Bon Appetite! 

to every season

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven” NKJV

This scripture is saying that everything and every season has its proper time or cycle. l look at this as- you won’t be in that season forever! That’s good news!

There are many different seasons we can go through; not every season is a negative

Spring is almost here!

Spring is almost here!

season or one that has a darkness surrounding it.  There are seasons of harvest, success in every area of life or a desert season. There are seasons of growth, seasons of reflection, seasons of sowing, of reaping, seasons of rest, refreshing, seasons of busyness and seasons of testing our character and the trials of life.

No matter the season we are in, the Lord requires that we be diligent to do some things. The Bible tells us that: “the soul of the diligent will be made fat”: Proverbs 13:4. In other words those who are diligent, focused, who have mined or dug for gold, will be made fat, or satisfied. Here are a few things that can be done in every season of life so you will be satisfied.

  • Spend time in the Word of God: Take the time to study and memorize the Word, plant it in your heart: Psalm 119:11.  In Colossians it says that hiding in Jesus are treasures of wisdom and knowledge. We must dig for His treasures; which will help us to grow and stay strong.  Read Colossians 2: 2-3 to see what the Word will do for you.
  • Confessions/ Speak the Word: Find scriptures that you can speak over your situation. Life and death are in the power of the tongue: Proverbs 18:21. Speak God’s Word over your life!
  • Prayer: Spend time praying in the Spirit it will build your faith: Jude:20. Pray with your understanding. Build your relationship with the Lord by talking with Him. Then leave some time to hear what He has to say; don’t do all the talking. It should be a two-way conversation, so take time to listen for His voice.
  • Praise & Thanksgiving: Praising God will keep you from complaining. Praise Him regularly for what He is to you and thank Him for what He has done for you. God inhabits the praises of His people: Psalm 22:3. So keep on praising Him.
  • Go to church: Church is where you get strengthened, encouraged and comforted. Don’t ever let the season you are in keep you from the family of God. We need one another.

You need to be diligent in the good seasons, or you will sow for a season of lack in any area. Many do all the right things when they need the Lord to come through; but after the answer comes they relax their grip on the Lord until the next crisis comes along.

To be honest, I have had a few of these seasons over the years. Two come to mind and both ended up in a season of lack and a desert (spiritually dry) season. In a season of harvest we feel we have earned the right to relax spiritually. As long as we live on this earth we don’t have that luxury, not with an enemy that is looking for an opportunity to take you out.

Don’t be like the sluggard in Proverbs 6: 6-11: “a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep- so shall your poverty come on you like a prowler”. Be like the ant that “provides her supplies in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest: so she can eat all winter!,

a new season

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I am sitting at my kitchen table watching the snow fall hard and fast; wondering when this winter will end. Sometimes we are in a winter season waiting anxiously for it to end. I find myself in that season as I write.

However, I am not waiting anxiously for it to end, I know that the Lord wants to do a deeper work in me during this season. We all go through seasons in our life in the natural and in the spiritual. What we do in these seasons determines the depth of growth in our life.

A while ago the Lord spoke to my heart: “embrace this season”.  I quickly looked up the word embrace; it means: accept or support a belief, theory or a change willingly and enthusiastically. Hahaha! Are you joking? Accept this season or this change in my life willingly AND with enthusiasm. I love the Lords sense of humor.

I started to ponder on that and realized that we can go through anything one of two ways, complaining or praising.  When we choose to praise God through the season we have the joy of the Lord and then we have strength to make it through.

Nehemiah 8:10  Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength!” (NLT)

Let me tell you a little bit about my season. My husband and I recently resigned as senior pastors of the church in which we were shepherds for over 15 years. We felt the Lord stirring our hearts in a different direction in ministry: as itinerate ministers. We had the Nashville, TN area strong on our hearts as a base for this ministry. So in December, we moved from California to Tennessee.

We went from constantly being busy to absolutely nothing and at the same time we became empty nesters. It is like empty nest x 200, natural and spiritual children. We went from ministering to others to ministering to our pets. When all the excitement of the move and the holidays were over; I actually started to embrace this season.

I began to look at this season as a season of refreshing and renewing, a season of deeper growth. Just like a seed; it first has to be buried in the ground in order to grow strong. It must be watered and then it will burst forth.

Use your winter season as a season of input and watering in order for you to grow and burst forth.

Check out the parable of the growing seed and the mustard seed: Mark 4:26-32.

Here are a few pics from the last leg of our cross country trip:

Missouri near the Ozarks

Crossing the Mississippi River from Missouri & then the Ohio River into Kentucky

Downtown Nashville

 

son, don’t give yourself away

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Proverbs 31: 3 “Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroyeth kings”

This is a power packed verse describing how a king or a leader should act and live their life. I know that this verse is talking specifically to men. However, in this day and age we live in a loose and immoral society, so this is something we need to teach our daughters as well.

Our lovely Proverbs 31 mom is giving her son some strong advice: “don’t give your strength to women”. Now, that word “strength” in this verse means: resources, army, wealth, virtue, valor, goods, might, power, riches and substance. The word “women” is referring to loose women, an adulteress, or many women. So our wise mom is saying: “son, don’t give the kingdom away to a woman you have no business being with, or by having affairs with many women. In other words: don’t give your resources, army, wealth, goods, power, or riches away to loose women. And don’t give your way, or your course of life to that which will destroy kings and leaders. Interestingly this word “destroyeth” means to erase, blot out, abolish, ruin, and wipe out.

That is exactly what happens when a leader gets caught up in sexual immorality. How many leaders have been brought to ruin because they lack integrity in this area? I know this is a day and age where society accepts sexual immorality and, sex before marriage, do we dare say these archaic words: fornication and adultery. We should be raising leaders, ambassadors for Christ. We represent the King of Kings and the Lord of Lord’s.  Our sons should be taught to stay away from the loose woman and to not give himself away.   We should teach our daughters to stay away from the man that is willing to give his strength away and more importantly to not be the “loose woman”.

The Bible gives us an example in the story of Samson & Delilah. Samson was a judgeSamson & Delilah for Israel; he was their leader; and the Lord blessed him with great strength. Unfortunately he got caught up with a wrong woman who had silver coins in her eyes.  Delilah enticed Samson to reveal the source of his strength to her. His strength was in his long hair, so Delilah set him up; when he was sleeping the enemy came in and cut his hair. Samson’s strength was gone and he was taken captive, Israel’s leader was brought to ruin, wiped out. You can read the whole story in Judges 16.

I like the Message Bible version of Proverbs 31:3 “Don’t dissipate your virility on fortune-hunting women, promiscuous women who shipwreck leaders”. The definition of words can really paint a picture. The word, “dissipate” means: to scatter, squander, waste away, to lead a dissolute life, a life lax in morals. The word, “virility” means: manliness and power of procreation, a man’s seed. In other words our sons should not scatter, or squander their seed. Can I be blunt? Their power of procreation; OK they shouldn’t squander or scatter their sperm on loose women who shipwreck leaders.

I know this is not popular, but we need to teach our children about sexual purity, staying pure until they are married. We are to teach them to avoid ruinous behavior that leads to heartache and pain, possibly destroying lives.

I want to encourage those of you who have young children, be strong and teach them what is right in the sight of the Lord. Teach them to stay pure until they are married.  You can do it; I know you can!

Further scriptures to study: Proverbs 5:3-23, Proverbs 6:24-29 & 32, Proverbs 23: 27-28, Proverbs 29:3

“True Love Waits” is a program that is great for teens regarding the subject of purity.

I recommend the book: “Living Pure Inside and Out”.    http://www.lifeway.com/tlw/

teach your children part 2

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Proverbs 31:2: “What, my son?  and what, the son of my womb?  and what, the son of my vows?” (KJV)

I love this; it’s like she is getting ready to give it to him, son what end, what good, what purpose; what ARE you thinking???? Ever been there? Then she goes on with “the son of my vows”. Other translations say the son I promised to God, or the son I dedicated to God.  The Message translation says: “Oh son of mine, what can you be thinking of!  Child whom I bore, the son I dedicated to God”.

If you have a moment of freaking out prior to instructing your children, not to worry you are in good company. Our mighty woman of God may have overreacted in this verse, maybe laid on the guilt a bit, or was acting like a drama queen with “the son of my womb” or “the child whom I bore” stint; but she did not continue in that frame of mind.

What I really like about our Proverbs 31 Woman is that she seems to have gotten over it quickly. She doesn’t camp out on freaking out. Instead she pours out her wisdom to her son for the remainder of the chapter.

I want to take a moment to talk about dedicating your children to the Lord. Dedicating your child to the Lord is so special for you and your child. Children are a gift from God; and dedicating your gift back to God is not only showing the Lord that you appreciate His gift to you; but more importantly it is asking God to give you, the grace and wisdom to carry out your responsibilities as a parent. Take a moment and read Deuteronomy 6:4-7. This portion of scripture first, commands the parents to love God. We must be the example to our children. We must love God and it must be evident in our daily life if we truly want our children to follow after and love the Lord.

Here are a couple baby dedications done at Living Faith while we were pastors

Baby Dedications @ Living Faith Brandon & Justine dedicating Above: Alexander July 2012 Below: Evelyn November 2012

Baby Dedications @ Living Faith Brandon & Justine dedicating Above: Alexander July 2012 Below: Evelyn November 2012

Baby Dedication @ Living Faith November 2012 Parents: Michael & Tayleina dedicating Celeste

Baby Dedication @ Living Faith November 2012 Parents: Michael & Tayleina dedicating Celeste

Secondly, in verse 7 we are given a command to teach our children diligently. It is not the responsibility of the schools or Sunday schools to teach your child in the ways of the Lord; it is your responsibility. So many parents leave the educating in the “things of life” to others. Proverbs 22:6 says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it”. This is a promise of God, when we do our part and train up our children in the things of the Lord, in morality, kindness and love, we should expect that when they get old they will not depart from what they know is right.

Our beautiful Proverbs 31 woman is a woman of action; knowing you should do something and actually doing it AND doing it diligently are two very different things. In the verses to follow she teaches her son about what kind of woman he is not to get involved with, and then also what kind of woman that he should be looking for to be his helpmeet in life.

I want to encourage you to love God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. Be the example your children need; teach them diligently in the ways of the Lord. God gives you this promise: if you do, He will keep your children from departing from it.

teach your children part 1

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When my husband Tony and I were pastors, I had the honor of teaching the women in our church a study of the Proverbs 31 Woman. The Lord put on my heart to start blogging about the wonderful treasures that are found in this awesome chapter. So here we go! I truly hope you enjoy this wonderful journey.

Prov 31:1 The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him. (KJV)

Some scholars believe that King Lemuel was King Solomon. If that were true, then Bathsheba would have been the mother that taught this prophecy. A word study will give us a fuller understanding of the meaning hidden in these verses. “The Words of King Lemuel”, here “words” mean advice, counsel, a decree or commandment, our duty, our work.

Prophecy” means his mother’s burden, tribute or utterance. The Vines Bible Dictionary explains it as: “a spiritual load or burden that she carried, an utterance or an oracle.

The Webster’s Dictionary defines tribute as a personal testimony to achievements or qualities. Webster’s defines an oracle from a person of outstanding wisdom. So this King’s mother was a woman who lived the life of Proverbs 31 Woman; she was also a woman with outstanding wisdom.

Since the Bible says that it is a prophecy, then we can believe that God gave it to King Lemuel’s mother. This is what she taught him, instructed and corrected him with.  Vine’s describes the teaching as a sense of discipline.

Speaking to your sonThe Message Bible reads this: “the strong advice his mother gave him”.  As mother’s it is our job to speak into our children’s lives. We are to teach them, correct them and instruct them in the ways of the Lord.

Psalm 119:103-104 How sweet are Your words to my taste, 
Sweeter than honey to my mouth! Through Your precepts I get understanding; 
Therefore I hate every false way.

If our words are founded on the Word of God, they will be like honey to our children; they will gain understanding and hate every false way. Mom’s, keep speaking, give strong advice and wise counsel to your children. Speak truth into their lives.  It’s our job, our duty, and our ministry. Don’t ever stop, because the world is feeding them way too many lies.