I pushed aside the heavyweight down comforter and reached for my Sword. The printed words of wisdom have grown smaller over the years but with every passing year, the truth they ring is louder than ever.
After sleeping in, I knew if I stirred, so would they. I also knew that if I didn’t let Jesus stir my heart, I would have nothing to offer them today. So, I read, still and quiet as not to wake those who need me adding value to them this day. With no reading plan, I flipped open with high expectation from the Word of Truth…1 Chronicles 29….ALL of Scripture is useful so I prefaced my reading with a prayer to have something to chew on and nourish me.
Using NIV because that is what was on my nightstand, bold emphasis is mine….
It’s a bit long….read the words, don’t skim them…
Then King David said to the whole assembly: “My son Solomon, the one whom God has chosen, is young and inexperienced. The task is great, because this palatial structure is not for man but for the Lord God. With all my resources I have provided for the temple of my God—gold for the gold work, silver for the silver, bronze for the bronze, iron for the iron and wood for the wood, as well as onyx for the settings, turquoise, stones of various colors, and all kinds of fine stone and marble—all of these in large quantities. Besides, in my devotion to the temple of my God I now give my personal treasures of gold and silver for the temple of my God, over and above everything I have provided for this holy temple: three thousand talents of gold and seven thousand talents of refined silver, for the overlaying of the walls of the buildings, for the gold work and the silver work, and for all the work to be done by the craftsmen. Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today?”
Then the leaders of families, the officers of the tribes of Israel, the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds, and the officials in charge of the king’s work gave willingly. They gave toward the work on the temple of God five thousand talents and ten thousand darics of gold, ten thousand talents of silver, eighteen thousand talents of bronze and a hundred thousand talents of iron. Anyone who had precious stones gave them to the treasury of the temple of the Lord in the custody of Jehiel the Gershonite. The people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given freely and wholeheartedly to the Lord. David the king also rejoiced greatly.
I’m no scholar, just trusting I’m that simply foolish one the Lord wants to use to shame the wise.
Whispers from Jesus this morning, I am the one whom God has chosen. You are the one whom God has chosen! The task before us is great because what we are building is not for us, but for the Lord. We build for his glory. We invest for his glory. We speak truth for his glory. We add value for his glory.
My devotion should be to the temple of God. I am God’s temple. Those around me, believing in Christ as Savior, are God’s temple. I desire to give willingly of myself, to work on and add value to the temple of God. Everything precious in me should be given to you, I should have nothing left at the end of each day if I’m letting God fill me up for the purpose of being poured out.
Yesterday I went shopping, ALONE! I had this thought, “what can I do with myself today….whatever I want to do!!” At the completion of that thought, I looked over and saw a truck trailer that said, “UNIGLORY” and I was quickened to remember for whose glory I am made.
Who am I building for, speaking for, breathing for, writing for, living for, investing in others for? He is the One!
Now, who is willing to consecrate themselves to the Lord today? Are you willing to be poured out for the building of his temple?
Candied Sweet Potatoes were my favorite Thanksgiving dish growing up. A perfected delicacy from my Memaw and Granddad’s hands took me years upon years to master. Finally, about 3 years ago, they actually came out nice and candied, not one mushy potato in the mix. I love them.
6-8 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced lengthwise in several strips
4-6 cups sugar
1/2-1 stick butter
Fill big pot with all ingredients. Cover, cook on med-high for 45 mintues.
Take lid off, turn down heat to low and cook until gummy (ladle juice over)
NOTE….it took me YEARS to get the right texture so don’t skip the lid-on-step or you will have mushy potatoes….keep the lid on for that 45 minutes and leave undisturbed! I never could get an accurate recipe for these sweet babies and have hen scratched notes all over my sheet because I would call my grandparents every year asking and every year I think I get a little different answer. I’m glad I’ve perfected them 3 years running now so it’s safe to share the recipe and feel confident that it’s correct. This year I got the most compliments and I used 6 potatoes sliced thinly like picture, 4 cups of sugar and 1 stick of butter. If you try your hand at these sugary taters….come back and let me know what you think.
If you haven’t already started your holiday festivities, I’m sure you will soon. Food preparation is a common theme we all must deal with. Some handle it better than others and some of us handle it better at certain times than other times. That’s why I’m excited to share Plan To Eat with you again this year!
The super duper coolest thing ever is that it’s 50% off the weekend of Black Friday.
For only $1.60/month, you get this easy recipe storage and meal planning system. It’s so simple to use and goes way above just what you typically think of as meal planning. You are able to keep all of your recipes in one place. You can access, print and share your recipes from any computer with internet access. Importing recipes from over 100 websites and blogs makes saving those want-to-tries a snap or just add your already favorites. Filter the recipes in your collection by ingredients, tags or how often you’ve planned them to simplify the meal planning process. This is a breeze and makes menu prep feel productive.
What I like most about this is that I can have my list on my phone when I go to the store and just check it off as I add it to my shopping cart. No more losing list or digging for a pen to scratch over my list. It’s also organized by ingredient topics….dairy, deli, dry ingredients, etc. LOVE IT.
I love that I don’t have to print off the recipe, I can cook up a new try, save some ink and just read the recipe from my phone. Handy dandy.
For under 20 bucks for the entire year, I figure I save that much and more in the time it would normally take me to plan meals each week. Hope you will click my affiliate link, join Plan To Eat and request to share recipes with me. Happy Planning!
This whole being intentional business wears me to the core.
The creative, life-giving, gentle spirit bubbling up inside of me has the energy and desire to pour heaping bowls of intentional effort upon my family. Then there’s this other fleshly part of me that wants to say, “stick the “nasty” sweet potatoes where the sun doesn’t shine!”
I’m sure you have no idea what I mean being as your flesh has probably already mastered all these intentional efforts. Hang with me anyway.
Isn’t this table beautiful? If you were to walk into my home to the aroma of home cooking and see your name scribbled on your plate…details people….drunk with creative juices….I’m sure you would be filled to overflowing with gratefulness for my efforts and attention to detail. Surely you would, because that’s how I would feel if someone purposed all of this for me.
The thing is, my seven year old cart-wheeler doesn’t like anything worth eating and his parents have lavished more grace than discipline upon the poor Jesus needing creature……. sigh.
We stood, held hands, shared our thanks and asked the Lord to bless. I just asked the Lord to not let me slam the plate over the cute little blonde. The other children, aware of my hurt feelings, were overly thankful and eager to try everything my hands had prepared. The husband made it clear he was thankful for his wife and I was happy to agree that I too was thankful for me!!!
I served my family, wanting to let the gentle Spirit pour over into them but my flesh was just trying not to cry and feel sorry for myself. I almost slipped down the slippery slope of self pity….
Self-pity, in case you aren’t familiar with her (or him) sounds a bit like this….”here I worked all day, slaving over the hot stove, trying to prepare something nice for my family because I stinkin’ love them so much…I obviously love them more than they love me…they can’t even pick their stupid socks up off the couch…knives…shoes…jackets…lazy kids don’t appreciate me at all…they just run outside to play, without even asking…I’ll show them…I’ll just do all the work I asked them to do and make them feel bad, even better, I’ll just throw all their toys away and see how they like that….mean momma, I’ll show them mean momma!”
(In reality, my family wasn’t even rude, mean or unappreciative, I just let my feelings lie to me and tell me how awful they were. Yes, the seriously handsome dude needs a lesson in manners but the only issue that was the problem was that my expectations of other people weren’t met. It was all about me, not about them like it should’ve been.)
I confess, although I didn’t hit the bottom of the pit, I fell a few steps down until the Lord slapped me in the face with the voice of Truth.
I learned a couple of years ago that I am not responsible for the response of others. Their response to me, to the gospel, to truth, to my conviction…..not my responsibility. As we say around here, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink! I was reminded of that tonight as I quietly ate my (delicious) dinner without a word of blessing or life-giving instruction to my family. I quietly scribbled on my paper for the thankful tree, they could participate if they chose but I certainly wasn’t offering an invitation and I was holding the door of my heart shut, not allowing any of the good me to pour into them. I clinched my love up, knowing better..knowing the Spirit was welling up to come out but I wouldn’t let go just yet. I wouldn’t let them have me be tender when they didn’t appreciate me. I’m selfish!
Now my flesh could lie to me and tell me that I actually acted okay because a few years ago I would’ve probably just told them how horrible and ungrateful they were and tonight I just stood quietly, ate quietly, held on to all the life-giving, creative ideas the Lord put into me. If I speak out of line, I sin. If I stand quietly with my heart out of line, I sin. This is not a win, win. My heart was wrong. Yes, I was hurt and my heart was discouraged that I wasn’t more appreciated but I responded to people, rather than responding to my Holy God. How wretched, when will we…when will I ever learrn?
Here’s the deal, peeps……if we have gifts and offerings that benefit others, they are from the Lord. They are his and all we can do is give them back to him. It’s not our responsibility to control their responses and it isn’t our job to offer them so they will respond to us. We offer them in response to him. Why do I mess this up so often? This creative idea and time of family fun just with The Kindle Crew for a fun thanksgiving week was God’s idea…he put it on my heart. I should serve and bless my family so they will feel loved and cherished and in my offering this back to him I should know I was obedient and worship the Lord for giving me the gift to offer. When I get offended because I “feel” under appreciated, I’m taking ownership of these creative ideas and gifts like they were mine or something. They weren’t mine, they were his!!! Mercy.
I’m learning, everyday, that the gifts the Lord has given me are the good works for me to do that add value to other people. If I hoard them and keep them clinched tightly in my hand, others will not be benefited and I will be miserable because I’m not walking the path the Lord has planned out for me…you know, those good works prepared in advance for me to do. It was my good work tonight to bless my family, to offer life-giving words to spur them on towards gratefulness and excellence. Instead, I got my feelings hurt and let that stew in my heart so I closed off all of Jesus in me and didn’t share him with anyone!!! They were not blessed, I was miserable. Do you see the problem here?
I did not make the most of every opportunity, I did not live the life worthy of the calling….all those things I spur you on towards. My heart wants to soar like Eagles but that flesh of mine is a beast. Thankfully, I’ve been praying for quick conviction and I got it. I’ve also been praying for quick repentance, and I did that as well. My heart is restored towards my loved ones and I’m eager to serve them tomorrow, offering my gifts as worship to the king and expecting nothing in return while here walking this earth.
We have a choice, we can pout and have a pity party…letting ourselves feel as if we are victims or we can offer our gifts back to the one who gave them to us anyway and become victorious in our walk with Jesus. I’m purposing to be a victor tomorrow! His mercies are new everyday, thankfully.
I encourage you to offer your gifts as an act of worship, let the Lord take back what he has given us and transform it to add value to those around us.
The good within us, the good within me, must be poured out! It must. We can’t withhold it from others.
Life can quickly become muddled and skew our view of God’s beautiful plan unfolding in our lives. Even a faint fog layer tries to steal the glorious hue planned specifically for my brood. The beauty isn’t hidden, it’s always there, we just have to focus our eyes a little deeper and a little longer.
I spent the last six days soaking in the beautiful color palette of our creative God. Reds, yellows, oranges, greens and many shades of each of those. It’s absolutely stunning and overwhelming to quiet ourselves and recognize that God went, and still goes, to great lengths to take our breath away. He painted the riverbeds and mountain tops so our hearts would sing at the glory of his creation.
The bottom of the spillway, overflowing with rocks, beckoned us to soak ourselves in him. When all noises and voices from the outside world are stilled, Christ is magnified. Be still and know that I am God.
Whispers in the stillness say, “magnify me.” Be his voice. Be the voice that speaks as if speaking the very words of God so others desires will be to thirst for the living water and when they are near us, they are near him.
My encouragement to you today, don’t try to impress others but leave an impression of Jesus upon them. Plant yourself firmly, with deep roots drinking in the living water so others with be thirsty for more of him.
Children’s books are so much fun. I love gathering my brood and reading aloud to them. If you were a fly on our walls, you would know we are big on rhyming almost everything. One of the very reasons I love this new book, it follows a rhyming pattern and could even be put to a tune for your caroling nights.
Geared for ages 4 – 8, my older ones are still intrigued and we all loved the beautiful illustrations. Make some cocoa, gather your family together and enjoy this beautiful addition to your Christmas library collection.
Here’s some info from the publisher:
The First Christmas Night is a beautiful retelling of the birth of Jesus on that joyous night in Bethlehem so long ago. The poem begins with the arrival of Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem and winds though Christ’s birth, the angels’ appearance to the shepherds, and the visit by the Wise Men. The simple, yet elegant, verses will appeal to little ones and are accompanied by the rich acrylic illustrations of Laura Jacques.
’Twas the very first Christmas when all through the town
not a creature was stirring—there was not a sound.
The moon shining bright in the heavens so high
gave the look of midday to the Bethlehem sky.
The animals were nestled in warm, cozy places
with looks of contentment on each of their faces.
I received this product above for free in hopes that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be a good read for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I’ve been sitting, sipping and soaking in the words Emily Freeman penned, words that God crafted specifically for me, and perhaps for you as well. I’ve found myself many times laughing at myself for thinking maybe I’m an artsy person trapped in a not so artsy family. I just didn’t quite know what do to with myself. This tangled web of a knot that I could never unravel or straighten out is slowly being set free as I’ve traveled along the 200 plus pages God spoke through this author.
The passions that move me and stir me, this lump in my throat that creeps up as God grabs my soul, these dreams and visions I feel isolated in dreaming…I am slowly putting words to and understanding. Emily says, “I was aware of a mysterious movement within me, but I was unable to define it.” YES, my soul screams. Tell me more. Help me understand myself, what is wrong with this insanity….I have felt trapped in these God given mysteries he has entrusted me with and have not known what to do with myself.
Emily poses the question of Who is the Artist? She encourages us to be awake to what stirs us and moves us. She has spurred me on to reflect God’s glory in all I do, where I already am and not to be afraid to move forward in these dreams that God has moved in me.
Threaded throughout theses pages, the author pushes us to live life by uncovering the art we were born to make and to release the art we were made to live . Consider the things that make you come alive and glorify the one great God whose image we are to bear. My innermost parts are on a mission to escape my very being. Is your heart not leaping out of your chest? I desire to be “fully awake to my Maker” and reflect him in all that I do and say and create and think and bring forth to those around me.
He is THE ARTIST. You are made in his image…you are the artist who is to reflect his glory. Do whatever you want to do….as long as you are reflecting him…..awake my soul and sing!
Okay, say your soul isn’t singing because you are wrapped up in this “artist” word. Maybe you too grew up in a less than artistic family. No worries, this book isn’t about your typical art. The encouragement is to make everything into your art. I’m no painter, not a sculptor, missed out on the music gene…..Emily says, “art means believing that the God who created the world with words alone creates with words still, through us – whether it be on stage to thousands or in a corner with one.”
“Maybe you make paintings, or maybe you make pie. Maybe you live confidently in the midst of scary situations. Maybe you are brave enough to listen, to wait, to trust. Maybe you see potential in situations and in people that other’s aren’t able to see. Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are.”
Don’t miss that….. Art is what happens when you dare to be who you really are!!!!
Praise God, I am free to be who God created me to be….that is art at it’s finest.
Snag the book, seep yourself in it and be brave enough to move toward what makes you come alive.
“God weaves his art into the very fiber of our being, so close that we can’t not have at least some hint of it, even if we are drowning in addiction, blind to the truth, hardened by unforgiveness, paralyzed with fear.” – emily p freeman
“Available November 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
We allow ourselves to become depleted, we blame it on others and then we snap at the ones accused.
In our weakness we convince ourselves that others suck the life out of us but in reality, if we have a lifeline into the One who saves our soul, shouldn’t those who drink from us be filled with him?
My desire is to welcome others with open arms, come and draw from me because the offering tasted should be full of goodness, the goodness of the father. I need much purification, what pours from me is not always life giving. I do see glimpses of God refining me and I pray that what you receive here will always fill you to overflowing.
Join me today at I Take Joy where I share my heart in my first contributor appearance.