Sunday, March 31, 2013


Death comes to all differently. To some, it comes in a quick, sudden, unexpected way. Others experience death through short or long illnesses. Death can be violent or accidental, but death will occur to all (unless we are raptured!), and we do not know when. After the death of Jesus, I watched through the scriptures as Joseph of Aramathea had Him taken, prepared for burial, then placed in the tomb and sealed by a large stone. Inside a tomb it is quiet and dark. This is Jesus’ place for now.

Having walked from a burial and having watched others walking from a burial, I know there are many emotions in the hearts of those who are doing the walking. Grief, shock, numbness, exhaustion, anger, and even fear –“What will happen to me/us now?” The next days and weeks are roller coaster times for the family and friends of the dead. I can’t help but wonder what Jesus’ family and friends did and said. I saw Mary at the cross with John. I never read anything about His brothers…I guarantee they were in Jerusalem for the Passover. The disciples were scattered (but I have to believe they were nearby), and I do know what happened to Judas.

“Early on the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark” (John 20:1), all the gospels agree it was Sunday early, that women were going to Jesus’ tomb. They had spices to use on His body. When they arrived, the stone/boulder was removed and the tomb was empty.  The first immediate reaction was that Jesus’ body had been taken. Each gospel speaks to an angel being there, grave clothes left behind, and an empty tomb. Each gospel says the women went back to tell the disciples what they had seen and experienced. Can you imagine being one of the women! What good news to ones who were still reeling emotionally from what had happened just days before! I wonder how quickly His brothers heard and how they felt. I am assuming Mary was with John because of the commitment made at the cross between Jesus and John to take care of Mary.

Jesus - Savior, Lord, Mighty God, Lamb of God, Prince of Peace, Son of Man…He is alive! He accomplished the task, the mission, the work God gave Him. The work of salvation. The work of reconciliation. The work of atonement. The work of obedience. ALL FOR ME/US. For thirty-three years, Jesus did what He was called to do. He did it perfectly and completely. Jesus’ resurrection enables me to have a resurrection day. I too shall live again. Life’s greatest enemy - death - has been defeated. I have good news! Good news to live and give!

The life of Jesus is more than a story. It is more than history. Jesus’ life is breath, strength, hope, peace, joy, and eternity to all who will embrace Him as Savior and Lord. I know because I have experienced that life! My life has been resurrected from the death of sin and made new!

“Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, ‘Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?’ But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.  ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid Him.’”  Mark 16: 1-6

Hallelujah, what a Savior! He is risen, He is risen indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013


The Messiah will suffer 
and rise from the dead 
on the third day, 
and repentance 
for the forgiveness of sins 
will be preached 
in his name 
to all nations.

Luke 24: 46-47

Friday, March 29, 2013

THE BURIAL by Tony Manley

When death occurs, close friends and family come, comfort, and offer support. At the burial, close friends and family attend to experience a type of closure - “to see this life to the end”- a completing the process, if you  will. 

Interestingly, when the time came to remove Jesus’ body from the cross to prepare Him for His burial, we are given some insight into who was there. His death had been a public and known event to anyone who knew Him, which means His family, friends, and disciples. All four gospels record a rich man, Joseph from Aramathea, as the one that went to Pilate to ask for Jesus’ body. Each gospel speaks to Joseph being on the Council of the Jewish Leaders, yet he did not want to be public with his faith/relationship to Christ. We had never read anything about this man Joseph being a part of Jesus’ life before this time. Maybe I am reading too much into this, but as Jesus is taken to the place of His burial, I have to ask where were His family and friends? The ones we have gotten to know through the gospels? Was fear, shame, guilt, disbelief, discouragement, finances, or other excuses what kept them away? Would there be regret in the hearts of those left behind due to not being there at the end – the burial? Truly, the day of His death, even the night before, had been intense, chaotic, and I am sure horrific to have lived. But it makes me wonder about the hearts of those who knew and loved Him the most.

What is it that causes a heart to back away, run away, or turn away in the hard moments?
Because I know Sunday is coming, (I have the privilege of knowing and experiencing the Sunday of this time in Jesus life), I know the burial was not the end. But for those in His life on that Friday, His death definitely felt final. Final feels hopeless and final. No more hope. Is that where their hearts were – without hope?

God has reminded me that in my moments that look final and hopeless, I am never without hope and my life is not final at death.

Sunday is coming.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

THE FLESH by Tony Manley

Some years ago, there was a movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? I never saw it, so I can’t speak to what it was about, but I thought about that title with a little bit of a twist during Jesus’ final times. “Guess Who Showed Up With A Vengeance at the End?” became a surprise I realized as I have “lived” the details of this part of Jesus life.  

I feel as though I have gotten to know a little more about Barabbas and Pilate, but by far, I saw that the flesh has been the greatest, most prominent visitor in this setting.

As I think about it, the flesh was very “front and center” at the dinner with the disciples…think foot washing, clueless, and maybe even some jockeying for greatness…wouldn’t this have been a great opportunity to demonstrate love for the Passover Lamb? If only the flesh would have been less quiet, more attentive, and satisfied just to be.  

The disciples’ flesh conquered their time in the Garden when Jesus asked them to pray during His hour of great need for strength. The inability to deny flesh enough to stay awake and pray was a sobering moment as Judas and the mob arrived to seize and arrest Jesus. Then flesh encouraged them to run when the going got tough. And they did.

Pilate sure let flesh lead his heart over what was right. Flesh likes to take the path of less scary and the easy way out. 

Peter definitely cowered down to flesh in the intensity of the moment. Flesh can be a surprise under stress. 

But Jesus…our Shepherd, Savior, Lord…was greater than flesh! He demonstrated the ultimate flesh killer - a heart that says, “Not my will but Your will be done.”

Flesh is one of those things that will always be with me everywhere on this side of heaven. Flesh doesn’t care about anyone or anything but itself. Flesh is shallow, irresponsible, and undependable.
The good news is that flesh can be defeated by a heart that is bowed, surrendered, and obedient to the Holy Spirit. I do not have to fear or be controlled by this intrusive presence. The Word promises He is greater. Jesus demonstrated these truths over and over again. But when He stood up after His prayer of preparation in the garden for what was to be His long night and day of finishing His earthly race, that was the beginning of the ultimate example of flesh being defeated. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

PILATE by Tony Manley

Continuing on the journey of Jesus’ final week...Pilate comes into play as a major figure in the last hours of Jesus’ life. Pilate is the judge who sentenced Jesus to be crucified. Incredibly, it is revealed in scripture he doesn’t believe that the charges brought to him about Jesus by the Jewish religious leaders are true. So my question is, “How do you condemn a man you believe to be innocent to a death by crucifixion when you hold the power to release Him?”

There is much written about Pilate’s background. He evidently hated Jews and probably wasn’t thrilled with being in Jerusalem during the Passover. But he needed to be present with his soldiers in case of trouble, and he may have been under investigation by his authorities for possible harsh treatment of Jews in his past. Knowing how Jews weren’t his favorite people group helped me to think it was easy for him to see just another Jew lawbreaker put to death.  But there is more to this story and this man.

Pilate is much like a lot of people. Pressure can make a person do things that are questionable. Stress, weariness, and resentment work the same way. When people and/or circumstances demand a decision, the heart can surprise us. Good and bad surprises. Pilate tried hard to get out of this whole Jewish thing. He sent Jesus to Herod, he had Jesus scourged and presented Him as a bloody mess when the murderer Barabbas was offered freedom (hoping they would back off when faced with this broken man and a notorious murderer), and he even listened to the heart of his wife. But the pressure from the Jewish religious leaders was just too much and with the escalation of the Jewish people’s emotions, Pilate basically caved in and washed his hands of the whole thing.

I have to admit, Pilate has bothered me. He has shown me how weak my heart can be under pressure and loudness. Pilate could have stood strong and been at peace with himself by ruling on the truth of the charges. Some scholars believe his career and life went downhill terribly in the years after this Passover. He possibly committed suicide. Makes me wonder how his heart handled the hours after his handwashing of Jesus.

God uses different people and circumstances to teach me truth. Pilate asked, “What is truth?” to the Truth. What a great question for me daily. Pilate did not even recognize Truth while He stood before him. 

I must live confidently in the Truth daily as I am pressured to compromise what I know and who I know is Truth.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

BARABBAS by Tony Manley

(All this week, Tony will take us along on her own personal journey as she studied Jesus' last days leading up to his crucifixion.)

With Easter just on the horizon, I have intentionally wanted to “live” in the era of Jesus as best I could. To move past the flannel board story and to experience the mood, emotions, sequence of events, and basically, come away with a more grateful heart for what I have received as “the gift of God.” (Eph.2:8)

As best I can learn, Barabbas’ name is “Bar - son of” and “abbas - father (from abba),” so Barabbas is “son of the father.” William Barclay writes, “The name may be compounded of Bar-Rabban, which could mean ‘son of the father.’ Thus Bar-abbas could have been the son of a well known Rabbi or well known teacher.” Josephus – a well known Jewish historian states Barabbas was a notorious criminal before he was caught, possibly not for his crimes, but because of his family. (Not much has changed…we tend to sensationalize the sins of family members of those famous and in leadership).

Barabbas was to be crucified – put to death - for crimes of murder and insurrection. This word insurrection means “leading a rebellion against the authorities.” It is said he was housed with the other insurrectionists (think other men crucified with Jesus), and therefore, the very cross Jesus was crucified on was meant for Barabbas. Jesus’ crucifixion, we learn, was carried out on the day Barabbas would have been taken with the other two men. Barabbas was imprisoned in a place close enough to have heard an angry mob shouting his name and the phrase “crucify him,” but not close enough to have heard the questions to those answers. Which meant when he heard the footsteps coming toward his cell, he would have known the door that opened, opened to his walk of death. But unexpectedly and definitely undeservedly, the door swung open to his freedom and his being given the gift of life. 

After reading and coming across more information about the details of Barabbas, I have come to realize I am Barabbas. I was born in rebellion to my Father’s authority. This would mean I too am an insurrectionist. I am guilty of murder in my insurrection. (Doesn’t scripture teach “anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in Him.” 1 John 3:15) I was condemned to death and awaiting my sentence to be carried out, when unexpectedly my heart’s door was opened to being released to new life and freedom. Just as Barabbas received pardon and freedom (this treatment which I have never appreciated), I was given the same gift from the same innocent Man. The same Man who willingly took the cross of this one who murdered and rebelled (born to and willingly).

As I finished Barabbas’ story and as I live my story, I am left with a couple of penetrating questions. Did Barabbas stay and watch the events of his interrupted crucifixion? Did his life change or did he go back to business as usual in his lifestyle? Did he grasp the gift of life and freedom or as time went on, take for granted what the Innocent Man gave to him through His death? Did he even know about the resurrection and did he believe? I am Barabbas. I want to testify to the new life and freedom I received because of the willingness of Christ to take my cross and sin so that I have forgiveness and eternal life in oneness with the Father. His Father. (The answer to Jesus’ very prayer in John 17:21 “that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”)

“Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe…”  

“But He was pierced for our/my transgressions, He was crushed for our/my iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we/I are healed.”  (Isaiah 53:5)



He who did not spare his own Son 
but gave him up for us all, 
how will he not also with him 
graciously give us all things? 
Romans 8:32

This verse is the most precious verse in the Bible to me because the foundation of the all-encompassing promise of God's future grace is that the Son of God bore in his body all my punishment and all my guilt and all my condemnation and all my blame and all my fault and all my corruption, so that I might stand before a great and holy God, forgiven, reconciled, justified, accepted, and the beneficiary of unspeakable promises of pleasure forever and ever at his right hand.
     ~John Piper, Future Grace

Thursday, March 21, 2013


Back in the fall when I participated in designing a Vesta Showhouse, my old friend Erick New from the Garden District in Memphis supplied several florals and plants to soften our house.  One plant that he used and I fell in love with is the succulent. I want to show you some great ways to decorate using these low maintenance plants.  

First of all, we need to define the "succulent." Wikipedia defines it like this:

In botany, succulent plants, also known as succulents or sometimes fat plants, are plants having some parts that are more than normally thickened and fleshy, usually to retain water in arid climates or soil conditions. Succulent plants may store water in various structures, such as leaves and stems. Some definitions also include roots, so that geophytes that survive unfavourable periods by dying back to underground storage organs may be regarded as succulents. In horticultural use, the term "succulent" is often used in a way which excludes plants that botanists would regard as succulents, such as cacti. Succulents are grown as ornamental plants because of their striking and unusual appearance.

Now after the show, I was able to take a small pot of these hearty plants to my house. I have placed it on my coffee table and have enjoyed it all winter. Since I don't have a green thumb, this has been the perfect plant for me. I think I may have watered it twice since October, and it looks as great as it did when Erick brought it to us. I have seen on Pinterest and design magazines some great ideas for decorating and entertaining with these jewels.

I love the way these were used to decorate what looks like a dining table for a party. The great thing about this is that you can also use the simple pot with one plant for a great party favor!

I also love this grouping of several plants to create an interesting arrangement on a chest or console. The various colors and textures make for a very interesting tablescape.

This is a great container because it uses a mixture of succulents and other tropical type plants. Great for a centerpiece.

So the question is, how do we grow these wonderful plants? Well, I found a great article that will instruct you as to how you should plant and care for these plants. This is a relatively inexpensive way to make a big impact on you home.,default,pg.html

Enjoy getting your hands in the dirt and using God's creation to make a statement in your home!

Stacy McSpadden
Manager of Interior Design Services
Chestnut Hall Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


My mind is still on the subject I last wrote about...answering the specific questions of life. The big ones like "Where are we supposed to live? Work? Do we homeschool or send the kids to a school? Which school? The kids have left the what?" The questions never end, no matter what age or season of life. So, how do we figure out the answers? I said that we had to answer the foundational questions first...what are we supposed to be doing as children of God and then as women of God? If we aren't correct in our views and answers to these questions, the answers to the more specific questions in our life will be off as well. It's all related. So, where do we begin?

Make sure the Main Thing is the main thing. It's easy to say and we hear it a lot, but what does that mean? What is the MAIN THING? That's a tougher question to answer, not because we don't know the answer, but because we don't like the answer. If someone asked you, "Why are you here on this earth"...what would you say? If we answer that question honestly, from our American human minds we would say, "Success is our priority. Success financially, socially. To be comfortable and happy." Now, even if we're not brave enough to say those words out loud...what does our life answer? If someone looked at our lives, what would they see? Where is most our time and money spent? Whether we like it or not, the answer will be obvious. Are the priorities of your life the same ones in the Scriptures?

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment." Matthew 22:37-38. 

These are red-letter words, the words of Jesus himself. So there is no confusion and no one can dispute their validity. God himself spoke them. The first and greatest commandment is to love Him with everything you have...heart, soul and mind! And how can we love Him unless we know Him? So, to keep the MAIN THING the main thing, we have to know the main thing. We have to know the Lord... His heart, His mind, His words. When we start to prioritize our time around knowing Him, when we become intentional about the choices we make in our daily activities, when we get up an hour earlier or read His Word instead of watching an hour of t.v., or (for those of you who work) spend one lunch-break a week (or every lunch break) with Him instead of eating out with friends...that's when our lives will start to match God's first and greatest commandment.

"If your first concern is to look after yourself, you'll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you'll find both yourself and me." Matthew 10:39, The MSG

So, where do we start when we want to be able to answer the "big," specific questions of life? Make sure Christ is the top priority of our life! How do we do that? Make sure our time, our actions, our lives prove that He is! If we focus on making our lives revolve around Him, then everything else will fall into place. Put God in the center of our world and it all works out. Put You in the center of your world and everything will be out-of-balance. So, if you're walking on a path you're not sure of and don't know what road to take next...just do what any traveller would do when trying to find their way: find your TRUE NORTH. Make sure your life starts with the absolute truths of God's Word!!! Maybe the big questions in life are only big questions because we have never answered to the biggest questions. Or, maybe it's harder to answer those specific questions because the answers to the fundamental questions aren't lining up with God's plan. We want God to speak to us when we want answers, but He wants to speak to us everyday, all the He can tell us about His awesome heart and mind, to tell us about His overwhelming love for us, and maybe even give us a few answers to the questions we want answered. ;)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Since we're getting a taste of slightly warmer weather, soups and stews can now be replaced with fresh veggies. Here's a quick stir-fry recipe that can easily be made into a main dish just by adding chicken or Italian sausage slices.

1 package (12 ounces) uncooked fettuccini noodles 
1 large carrot, cut into julienne strips 
1 small yellow summer squash, cut into julienne strips 
1 small zucchini, cut into julienne strips 
3 plum tomatoes 
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided 
2 garlic cloves, pressed 
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 
1/4 cup snipped fresh basil leaves 
1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper 
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese 

1. In a (8-qt.) stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions; drain in large colander. Return pasta to stockpot; keep warm. 

2. Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Cut carrot, yellow squash and zucchini into long julienne strips. Slice tomatoes in half lengthwise and remove seeds ; slice tomatoes into 1/4-inch strips. 

3. Heat a stir-fry skillet over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil and garlic; cook and stir, 2-3 minutes or until garlic is softened and begins to brown. Add carrot, yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt; stir-fry 1-2 minutes or until vegetables are crisp-tender. 

4. Snip basil using shears. Add basil, remaining oil, salt and black pepper to pasta; toss gently. To serve, spoon pasta onto a platter; top with vegetable mixture. Grate cheese over pasta. Serve immediately. 

Yield: 8 servings or 16 sample servings 

Nutrients per serving: (Light): Calories 180, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 2.5 mg, Carbohydrate 29 g, Protein 7 g, Sodium 360 mg, Fiber 3 g 

Cook's Tip: For a heartier main dish, 2 cooked chicken breasts, cut into 1/4-inch strips, can be added to the vegetable mixture, if desired.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Monday, March 18, 2013


Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, 
and clamour, and evil speaking, 
be put away from you, with all malice: 
And be ye kind one to another, 
tenderhearted, forgiving one another, 
even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32

Friday, March 15, 2013

Movie Night

Thursday, March 21, 2013

7:00 pm

Like Dandelion Dust

Based on a book by Karen Kingsbury 

Great movie! 

We will have popcorn!! 

Sign up at the Women's Ministry table!!

Switzerland or Holland? by Tony Manley

There is a story of a couple that prepared for their dream trip, a trip to Switzerland! They studied the geography, the climate, the dress, the culture…everything they knew to do to be the best “enjoyers” and “preparers” of Switzerland. They saved, shopped, and went. As the plane was preparing to land, the pilot announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, there has been a change in plans. We will not be landing in Switzerland. We will be landing in Holland.” As the couple took the announcement in, they immediately panicked. “This can’t be, we have done everything for our dream trip to Switzerland. All of our preparation and heart is in Switzerland.” As they were processing this information, the pilot came on and spoke, “But not only are we going to Holland, it is tulip season.” At this, the couple quieted their heart and began to reprocess the change in plans.

I have noticed lately, there are many people who are living in Holland! Holland is not a bad place, but when all the eggs were put in Switzerland’s basket, Holland can take some time to wrap one’s head around! In other words, how many of us are living the life and dreams we prepared for? Has there been a change in plans? Do I embrace the truth, “God’s ways are higher than my ways?”  (Isa. 55:9). Basically, am I ok with God changing my plans, circumstances, and relationships? Do I believe He has the right to do that TO ME?

Living in Holland requires readjusting and releasing the agenda. When I came to Christ, I had no idea what He had planned for my life, but I wanted Him. As we walked together, I began to learn this relationship was only as wonderful to the degree that I lived John 3:30 - “He MUST increase, I MUST decrease.” He is the Head, He is the One who knows me and my tomorrows. Oh, there is so much more about living in Holland with Christ. True joy, peace, satisfaction, provision…just a few extras of accepting a change in the life I thought was headed to Switzerland and ended up in Holland. By the way, I would never trade Holland for anything that is in Switzerland. I have learned and continue learning that when God takes me to a new place – a different place (Holland vs Switzerland), it is always better for my heart and my eternity than where I wanted or thought I wanted to go! 

“I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.”  Isa. 48:17

As spring is approaching, I am looking for tulips…after all, Holland is not such a bad place to live.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


If an F5 tornado blew through your life today, how would you face it? Would you kick and scream at God, shake your fist in His face, and ask why? Would you blame others for your calamity…friends, neighbors, or the government? Or would you be able to give thanks for your situation? Ahhh, that will make you think, will it not? Doesn’t God’s Word tell us to give thanks in “ALL” things?

I know in my own life, I have faced many storms … some you could say were small, others large, several colossal. All painful…but you know what? I did survive them all, often wondering about my sanity during the process. (Yes, I know some of you are still wondering about that.) But did I come through them all thankful? Well, let’s see…

I believe that facing storms really depends solely on how firm your foundation is planted. Now ladies, I don’t mean makeup either. I mean the “Rock” you are planted on. The firm foundation you can stand on while the winds of adversity try their best to blow you away, pounding relentlessly at you from all sides with everything they have, 24 hours a day. Just how does one give thanks during times of great distress and horrendous storms? Well… by now you know, I decided to dig.

Jesus says in Luke 6:46-49 (me paraphrasing) that if you come to Him and hear His Word, then put what you learn into practice, you will be like the person who builds their house on the rock, digging down deep and laying that foundation on the rock. Then when the floods come and the hurricane rains pour down on you, you will not be shaken. But… the person who does not put His Words into practice will be like the person who builds their house on the sand. And we all know what happens to that house.  

Did you catch that phrase, “digging down deep?” I believe that is the key that opens the lock to thankfulness. We need to dig deep in God’s Word and apply it in our hearts…laying the foundation for thanksliving. Yes, I meant to say “thanksliving.”  We need to learn to live the thankful life.  

In First Thessalonians 5:18, Paul says to “give thanks in all circumstances.” And I am the first to say, that’s hard to do. I remember during the holidays, during a very stressful time, asking my husband, “And I’m supposed to be thankful for all this too?” To which he wisely and calmly replied, “Yes.”  Doesn’t it just unnerve you when “they” are always right?  

I can tell you this… your circumstances probably will not change, but your outlook can. Get in His Word, dig deeper, read the Psalms, encourage yourself in His Word, like David did when he was under attack.  He got alone with his God and sought solace by spending time with Him, thanking Him, and praising Him.  

I love the Psalms. They are full of hope, praise, encouragement, and thanks. They have gotten me through every storm I have encountered. They can get you through too. Next time you face your storm, plant your feet firmly on the ground, give thanks, and hold on until the storm passes. Then enjoy the calm and dig deeper. Get to know your Heavenly Father on a deeper level. Firm up your foundation because I really hate to tell you this, but another storm is brewing on the horizon.  

I’ll leave you with one of my favorite verses, Psalm 54:4 -  “The Lord is the sustainer of my soul…”

He will sustain you too.


Monday, March 11, 2013


  • I can do the hard thing and confront a sister in sin.
  • I can pray for the same thing year after year without seeing the answer and without losing my faith.
  • I can watch a loved one suffer.
  • I can do this job.
  • I can love this difficult man.
  • I can lose this weight.
  • I can live with this sickness.
  • I can watch a loved one die.
  • I can ask for forgiveness.
  • I can forgive.
  • I can take on new ministries or responsibilities or goals.
  • I can quit these unnecessary activities.
  • I can raise these children.
  • I can stop nagging.

I can...I can...I can...because "the One who calls you is faithful, and He will do it."  I Thessalonians 5:24

Friday, March 8, 2013

TEACH THEM TO PRAY by Cathy Westmoreland

We teach our young children to dress themselves, to ride a bike, to read and write and to be mannerly. But do we teach them to pray? It is one of the most valuable things parents can teach their children. Prayer habits last a lifetime. Allow them to see you pray. They learn from visual examples. The first people they hear saying heartfelt prayers should be in their homes. I am not very articulate, so my children are used to hearing simple prayers. Many, many times they have heard me as I ask for forgiveness for failing my Heavenly Father. As their parent, they look at you with expectations that you always do what's right. They need to hear you say, "I am sorry, Father, for I have sinned." They learn that there is nothing they can't share with the Lord. (He already knows.) The more you pray, the more they will want to pray.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Something for your sweet tooth!

12  (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/4  cup sugar
1/2  teaspoon Pantry Korintje Cinnamon (ground cinnamon)
2  tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
1  cup strawberries, hulled and finely diced
1  ripe mango, peeled and finely diced (see Cook's Tip)
1  kiwi, peeled and finely diced
1  lime
1/4  cup sliced almonds, coarsely chopped
1  jar (11.75 ounces) strawberry ice cream topping
3  cups vanilla ice cream

1.  Preheat oven to 350°F. Trim tortillas to form triangles using Pizza Cutter; discard scraps. Cut a 1-inch slit in each side of triangles. Combine sugar and cinnamon in Flour/Sugar Shaker; mix well. Place butter in Prep Bowl; microwave on HIGH 20-30 seconds or until melted. Brush tortillas with butter using Pastry Brush; sprinkle with sugar mixture. Press tortillas into cups of 12-Cup Muffin Pan. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven; cool 5 minutes. Remove shells from pan to Stackable Cooling Rack; cool completely.

2.  Hull strawberries using Cook's Corer(R); slice using Egg Slicer Plus(R). Finely dice strawberries, mango and kiwi using Chef's Knife. Zest lime using Lemon Zester/Scorer to measure 1 teaspoon zest. Juice lime using Juicer to measure 1 tablespoon juice. In Small Batter Bowl, combine lime zest, juice, strawberries, mango and kiwi; stir gently.

3.  Coarsely chop almonds using Food Chopper. For each sundae, spoon 2 tablespoons of the strawberry ice cream topping onto Simple Additions(R) Small Square. Place one tortilla shell onto sauce. Place one scoop ice cream into shell using Ice Cream Dipper. Top with fruit salsa using Medium Scoop. Sprinkle with almonds; serve immediately.

Yield: 12 servings

Nutrients per serving: Light: Calories 310, Total Fat 8 g, Saturated Fat 4 g, Cholesterol 20 mg, Carbohydrate 56 g, Protein 4 g, Sodium 140 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook's Tip: To peel and finely dice a mango, use the Paring Knife to cut thin slices from both ends of the fruit. Stand fruit upright, stem end down, on Cutting Board. Using Utility Knife, carefully cut off peel from top to bottom. Slice off flesh alongside the large, flat pit; finely dice flesh. 

If desired, 1 cup finely diced fresh or canned peaches can be substituted for the mango.

Shopping List:
12 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon Pantry Korintje Cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup strawberries
1 ripe mango 
1 kiwi
1 lime
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 jar (11.75 ounces) strawberry ice cream topping
3 cups vanilla ice cream

(C)The Pampered Chef, Ltd. 2006

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant


Wednesday, March 6, 2013


One morning in staff meeting, the pastor read an article that got me to thinking about the “what ifs” of life. He used as the illustration, “What if the Israelites only went around Jericho six times?” How different the story would have ended! Actually, it got us all to thinking. What if I had not married my husband, but married someone else? I would not have my sons or the grandchildren that I have. What if I had chosen a different profession? I would not have served in ministry all these years. How different my life would be. What if … well, you get the picture by now.  

Let’s take it a step further. What if whilst in the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus decided to pass the cup instead of accepting it? What if He had changed His mind? Where would we be today? Scary thought isn’t it?  

What’s it like to see with eyes of faith, past the visible to the invisible? Moses was able to see that - “He persevered because he saw Him who is invisible…” Hebrews 11:27. He chose not to be identified as the Pharaoh’s daughter’s son, but to be mistreated along with God’s people. By faith he led them out of Egypt, across the red sea, then across the wilderness, and to the promise land, because he saw Him who is invisible. 

And let’s not forget Abraham’s faith. Could you be tested by God and haul yourself and your firstborn son up a mountain only to sacrifice him to your Lord? I don’t think so. He saw Him who is invisible … and by faith, chose to believe He would provide the sacrifice. Which He did by the way, a perfect sacrifice.

Then there’s Joseph. In everything he endured - sold by his brothers, enslaved by being falsely accused by his boss’s wife, imprisoned again, lifted up to the highest position in the land of Egypt. Then who shows up for assistance? His worthless brothers who sold him in the first place. Talk about family dysfunction!!!!  But because he saw Him who is invisible, he gave instructions about his bones and where to take them when the Israelites would leave Egypt. Now that’s faith, because they were not even slaves yet. 

Then there is Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross … He took that cup because He could see beyond the cross to the joy set before Him.  He saw the invisible! He saw His Heavenly Father and knew He was saving Him a seat beside Him in glory. I cannot even imagine, can you? Think about this … He rode in on a donkey one day as the King of Kings, and a week later, He went out carrying the cross of a criminal. Beaten and spilled out for us. All because He could see the invisible.

I don’t know about you, but I want to see deeper, know deeper, thank deeper, and feel joy deeper. How I see is how I live by faith… because it’s faith that helps me see. Faith is the gaze of the soul upon a saving God.  It’s faith that gets us through the difficult times. It helps us persevere. It’s what makes us persevere through life … to see Him who is invisible. Life is full of “what ifs,” but it’s our faith in the Lord that determines the outcome. I’m going deeper. Want to join me?

Monday, March 4, 2013


I lift up my eyes to you, 
to you whose throne is in heaven. 
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, 
as the eyes of a maid look to the hand of her mistress, 
so our eyes look to the Lord our God, 
till he shows us mercy. 
Psalm 123:1-2

"This verse is a description of entire reliance upon God. Just as the eyes of the servant are riveted on his master, so our eyes are up unto God...Spiritual leakage begins when we cease to lift up our eyes unto Him."

 ~Oswald Chambers in My Utmost for His Highest

Friday, March 1, 2013

CHEESE RING by Stacy McSpadden

Several people asked for the cheese ring recipe last night at our Valentine's Refresher. So glad you enjoyed it.

Cheese Ring

16 oz. Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated (Does better if you grate it yourself instead of using the pre-packaged grated cheese)
16 oz. Medium Sharp Cheddar Cheese, grated
1 small onion, grated
1 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 cup pecans, chopped
Strawberry preserves or pepper jelly

Combine cheeses, onion, mayonnaise, and red pepper. Mix well. Sprinkle 1/4 cup pecans in well-oiled 7 cup ring mold. 
Press cheese mixture in mold. Chill until firm. 
Unmold on platter. 
Pat rest of pecans on cheese ring. 
Fill center of the ring with preserves or pepper jelly. 
Serve with crackers.