Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Crock Pot Freezer Meals by Paula Roten

We're all busy! Who couldn't use recipes that are easy to follow and require little fuss so we can have dinner ready for a hungry family?

I stumbled onto this site one day and discovered 33 crock pot freezer meals. What? The crock pot and the freezer? What could be easier? I browsed through each recipe and printed off the ones that I knew my husband and I would enjoy. Now I'm waiting on sales for the meats so I can fix them economically. Pretty soon, I'll have easy meals that I can just thaw the night before in the frig and then dump into the crock pot right before I head out the door. I can already smell the home-cooked goodness.

33 Easy Crock Pot Freezer Meals

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Can Good Come Out of Bad? by Vicki Taylor

Have you ever wondered why God allows circumstances to happen in your life all the while wondering where He is in those circumstances? And where does Romans 8:28 fit in when we are struggling just to get through the “all things work together for good?” Well, let me explain where I am going with this… 

Saturday, my husband and I were on our way to Oxford to spend the day with our number one son, and when we are in the car we like to listen to Chuck Swindoll. That day he told me he had been listening to this particular message about Samson and he wanted me to listen to it. I had bought him the series on Old Testament Characters by Chuck (yes, we are on first name basis).  

It seemed Samson was a character alright. He was born of very godly parents, late in life, an only son and very spoiled. They lived in the time of the Judges under Philistine rule. One night he decided to go into Timnah to party and there he saw a young Philistine girl. When he returned home he told his parents, “I have seen a Philistine woman in Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.” Does this give you an idea what Samson was like? Needless to say, his parents were shocked and did their best to persuade him to choose someone from among their people. But Samson saw what he wanted and demanded that they go get her. Can you imagine how his parents felt, the hurt, the humiliation, the disappointment?

Ok, here’s where the scripture begins to get interesting. In the parentheses there is a little phrase that said, “His parents did not know that this was from the Lord, who was seeking an occasion to confront the Philistines…”  Ken asked, “Did you catch that?” He backed it up so I could catch the phrase, “His parents did not know that this was from the Lord…”  So let me get this straight, Samson’s parents had to go and get that Philistine girl and allow him to marry an enemy of God because this was God’s plan for the people of Israel? That’s when Ken reminded me of Romans 8:28 - “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” As I’ve said before...His plans are not our plans and His ways are not our ways.  

Let’s be honest … We all have had plans go wrong, children make unwise choices, businesses fail, and friends betray us, all the while wondering why this was happening to us. We never once look for the parentheses that the Lord has put in there for us. Nor do we think that “this might be from the Lord.” We cannot see past our circumstances to Romans 8:28 that He is at work for us because we have been called for His purpose. Things that happen to us unexpectedly could be for His purpose, not ours. Unfortunately, Samson’s parents did not have Romans 8:28 to cling to. They had to deal with the disappointment of a wayward son wondering where they went wrong. Then watch him make mistake after mistake not realizing that it was from the Lord for the purpose of Israel.

So the next time trials come, and they will come, look for the parentheses. Choose to see your circumstance “as from the Lord” and lean on Him for your help. After all, we have been called for His purpose…

Monday, April 28, 2014

Word for the Week

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, 
and there are no grapes on the vines; 
even though the olive crop fails, 
and the fields lie empty and barren; 
even though the flocks die in the fields, 
and the cattle barns are empty, 
yet I will rejoice in the Lord! 
I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
Habakkuk 3:17-18

"Focus on your faith, not the missing pieces." - Jennifer Rothschild

I had only heard about you before, 
but now I have seen you with my own eyes. 
Job 42:5

"It was through the missing pieces that Job saw God." - Jennifer Rothschild

Do as Habakkuk did and make out an "even though" list. Even though _____________ happens, I will still rejoice in you, God, and I will be joyful in You! I will trust You and not be mad at you for not doing what I think you ought.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Epaphras Praying by Kim Wright (Col.3:18-25)

Every Friday, we will be wrestling in prayer over our children. Click HERE to read Kim Wright's post that started the concept of Epaphras praying.

Read Colossians 3:18-25 personalizing these verses in prayer for your children.

V 18 Father, when my daughters become wives, help them to submit to their husbands, as unto the Lord.  Help my sons choose wives who will be submissive to them.

V 19 Father, when my sons marry, help them to love their wives, and not to be harsh with them.  Help my girls choose husbands who will be committed to loving them and who will not be harsh with them.

V 20 Help my children to obey us (their parents) in everything, help them to recognize that this pleases you.

V 21 Father, help my husband not to embitter our children, so they will not become discouraged.

V 22 When my children work for other people, help them to work with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.

V 23 Whatever my kids do, help them to work at it with all their heart, as working for you, not

V 24 for man. Help them remember it is you they are serving.

V 25 Help my kids to remember that anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favoritism.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Hand by Paula Roten

Our Life Action revival concluded with a theme being placed in my heart: Open Mind, Open Heart, Open Hand. God always speaks to me through the preaching of His Word. I just didn't expect to be tested on it so soon after the revival ended. 

On Friday after the close of the revival on Wednesday, my mother and I got up early in order to get to her doctor's appointment. We left the house with about 10 extra minutes to spare in case of heavy traffic. Shortly after I left the house, I pulled up toward a stop sign. The car ahead of me stopped and an elderly woman got out. As she headed back my way, I could see she had matted blood on her face under her nose and was wearing an oxygen tube. My first thoughts were, "What is about to happen? What do I do? I can't pull around since I'm so close to her car. Why is all that blood there?"

As she approached, I could see a look in her that seemed to be genuine fear or confusion. Waving a blood-stained piece of paper, she said, "Can you take me to this doctor's office? I can't find it!" 

I looked at the piece of paper and saw that it was driving instructions that had her leaving the hospital and driving to this doctor's office. A few hundred thoughts ran through my mind in an instant: Is this a scam? Is she for real? Are we in danger? Does she need an ambulance? We're going to be late for our doctor's appointment! 

Yes, I had a choice right then. Do I help this lady, or do I get my mother to her own doctor's appointment? After all, it had been set up for a month now. She couldn't miss it.

I asked the lady, "Are you able to drive and follow me?"

She replied that she could. 

So I began driving. I had no idea where that office was, even though I drive this particular road every single day. As address numbers approached, I realized I had chosen the right street, but the wrong direction. I was going to have to turn around. I pulled over and got out. I went back to the lady's car and told her I was going to turn around and go the other way. She asked me if I had a cell phone. She then gave me another blood-stained paper, this one with the doctor's phone number on it. I returned to my car, gingerly holding the papers without getting blood on myself, and called the office, asking for directions.

As I drove, another car got in between me and my needy person. I slowed down, pulled over, and waited for that car to pass. Then I got back in front of her. As I approached the turn in for the doctor's office, I slowed and put on my turn signal. I turned...and she kept going straight on! The way the turn in was designed, I couldn't get out to chase her down. All I could do was honk my horn, but it did no good. She was gone!

I was at a loss for what to do. I decided to go into the office and give them the papers, telling them the story of how this woman, needing help, had stopped a complete stranger. 

Back in my car, I realized I had 15 minutes to get my mother to her appointment on time. It would take us at least 30 minutes. We would be late. 

As I drove, I had quite a few questions for God: Why would you let this woman stop me and then not let me actually help her?! Since she gave me her papers, did she even know where she needed to go? Did she make it? Is she okay? Why, God? What was Your purpose in all this?

My mother and I came up with several possibilities, but no conclusions: 1) God was testing me to see if a person was more important to me than my schedule. 2) God was showing my mother that this poor lady had no one, yet my mother had had my sister and me to help her during her current 3 months of illness. She was overwhelmed with gratitude toward God for His provision to her. 3) This wasn't a person at all, but an angel who had been sent by God. 

Finally, we made it to our appointment....late, but with no harm done. Mother was still seen and all turned out well. But we couldn't stop thinking about this dear lady (angel?) and what God had meant by it all.

That night at dinner, I couldn't wait to tell my husband about this strange incident, thinking he might give me some added insight or reason it happened. I told him my story, and his reply was, "Well, let me tell you about the start of my day."

He had gotten up early to get to the gym but realized he needed to go get gas. In the dark, he pulled into the gas station and was followed by another car. A clean-cut, neatly dressed young man got out and approached him. He told him he needed to get to a certain destination but needed gas money. Could my husband give him some? My husband's brain was thinking all sorts of things: It's dark and I'm alone in this gas station. Why would he follow me in here? Am I about to be robbed or killed? Is this just a scam? My husband automatically replied, "No, I don't have any money."

As he pumped his own gas, he felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit: "You know that's a lie! You do have some money. This guy might really need some help."

The young man was on the other side of his car, rubbing his head as though at a loss for what to do when my husband approached him with some cash. He thanked him and went to the cashier to pay for the gas. My husband left. 

What a day for both of us! Had we been tested by the Lord today? We were both shown that we didn't have open minds or open hearts. No, our first thoughts had been questions of the other person's motive and our own safety. Thank the Lord for the conviction of the Holy Spirit and for second chances. We truly do want Open Minds, Open Hearts, and Open Hands. Lord, please keep working with us until our first thought is of others and not ourselves...until our first thought is being your hands and heart to a needy world. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Dressing Your Bed for Spring by Stacy McSpadden

Can Spring get here already? I don't know about all of you, but I am ready for some sunshine and warmer temps! The thought of Spring inspires me to make changes in my home. This Spring I am focusing on a new look for my bathroom and bedroom. I am really into a clean, fresh look with lots of whites and pops of color. When my bathroom is done, I may post a before and after pic, but only if it turns out right!  

When a co-worker and I were in Atlanta in January, we saw these fresh, clean looks throughout the showrooms. The best colors for spring were corals and blues popped on shades of solid colors. Solid linens are so easy to find and relatively inexpensive. They are very versatile and can change with the seasons. You can put warmer fall hues on your bed with a couple of throw pillows and then freshen it up in spring the same way. Don't be fooled into thinking every piece on the bed has to be changed to follow the seasons. A pillow or neat throw will do the trick.  

Happy Spring!

Stacy McSpadden
Interior Designer and Store Manager
Chestnut Hall Fine Furniture and Interiors
3075 Forest Hill Irene Road
Germantown, Tennessee 38138
901.753.8515 phone
901.756.1966 fax

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Beth Moore Conference

Today is the last day to get the early bird price of $59.00 for the Beth Moore Conference in Memphis. Click on the link below for details and to order.

In the Presence of Your Saints by Lynda Leeson

But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; 
I trust in and confidently rely on the loving-kindness 
and the mercy of God forever and ever.
I will thank You and confide in You forever, 
because You have done it 
[delivered me and kept me safe]. 
I will wait on, hope in and expect in Your name, 
for it is good, in the presence of Your saints 
(Your kind and pious ones).
Psalm 52:8-9 (AMP)

As I was reading this morning, I was struck by the phrase "in the presence of Your saints." This passage says "for it is good in the presence of Your saints." That was certainly true during the Thirst Conference. I don't know whether I needed it the most or if The Holy Spirit really showed up in a fresh way, but it was doubly GOOD in the presence of the saints.

Closer to home, it's been not only good, but essential for me to be in the presence of the saints. As many of you know, the "tacky cancer" is on the move, and drastic measures have been required lately. You, being The Saints in my life, prayed, believed, and encouraged, and every need was supplied.

Dr. Wheeler agreed to try other drugs short of the big whammy. West Clinic found a donor program to pay the enormous price ($2700 monthly) for these drugs and they will be here Tuesday. Wow!!! More than all of this, I have had total peace during this time because I knew The Saints were praying and believing for me. You had my back...nothing like it!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Word for the Week

Therefore, since we have a great high priest 
who has gone through the heavens, 
Jesus the Son of God, 
let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 
For we do not have a high priest 
who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, 
but we have one who has been tempted in every way, 
just as we are - yet was without sin. 
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, 
so that we may receive mercy and find grace 
to help us in our time of need. 
Hebrews 4:14-16

Because of Easter, we can live this life with confidence that we are not alone. We will find help from the One who knows what we're going through.  

Friday, April 18, 2014

Epaphras Praying by Kim Wright (Col.3:1-17)

Every Friday, we will be wrestling in prayer over our children. Click HERE to read Kim Wright's post that started the concept of Epaphras praying.

Read Colossians 3:1-17 personalizing these verses in prayer for your children.

V 1 Since my children have been raised with Christ, help them to set their hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at your right hand.

V 2 Father, please help them to set their minds on things above, not on earthly things.

V 5 Help my kids put to death whatever belongs to their earthly nature:  sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

V 8 Help my children to rid themselves of all such things as these:  anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language form their lips.

V 9 Help them not to lie. Help them to take off their old selves with its practices

V 10 and help them to put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of you, their creator.

V 12 Help my children to remember that they are your chosen ones, holy and dearly loved. Help them to clothe themselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

V 13 Help my kids to bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances they may have against each other (and other Christians). Help them to forgive others as Christ has forgiven them.

V 14 And over all these virtues, help them to put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

V 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in their hearts, and help them to be thankful.

V 16 Let the Word of Christ dwell in them richly as they teach and admonish others (and each other) with all wisdom, and as they sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in their hearts for You.

V 17 And whatever my kids do, whether in word or deed, help them to do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lessons Learned by Christie Smith

The preacher asked us to join hands. So we gathered around the sanctuary, standing hand-in-hand. And I can't quite remember what he was wanting from us that night...something about looking at each other and seeing who it is that's in this with us, something about us moving on and moving forward. And though I agreed with what he was saying...that we have to move on from our past and move forward together into our future... I couldn't help but reminisce as I looked around the room. Some of the faces in that circle were faces that have been there my whole life. I was overwhelmed with gratitude, because these same faces that represent so many lives that invested in me as a child are now investing in my own children. And I'm thankful that the same lessons that prepared me to be the woman I am today are the very same lessons being taught to my own daughters.

So here is my thank-you letter to you, my church "church moms:"

Thank you for preparing me to be a wife. Before I could talk or walk or even stand on my own two feet, you assumed I would one day walk down that aisle to the man God created just for me. Thank you for preparing me to be the wife God intended me to be. 

Thank you for preparing me to be a mother. I was a child myself, but it was assumed that in my distant future I would have babies of my own. And I had to be ready. The lessons learned in classes, in nursery, in living examples of mothers who lived out Proverbs 31...they all prepared me for the most important job I'll ever have. 

Thank you for preparing me to be a home-maker. Before I had a home of my own, you thought it was important that I knew what I was doing. It was important to you that I know that this imaginary place was to be a sanctuary of peace for my imaginary husband and imaginary children. Because you knew that they wouldn't always be imaginary. 

But of all the lessons I'm most grateful for...thank you for teaching me that part of the journey is failing. A lot of churches, a lot of Christians, turn their noses up at sin. They are quick to judge and not always free with second chances. My church family, many of the ones standing around the sanctuary've been there when I've fallen and helped me get back up. You've taught me that the scrapes and scars are part of my story...they're just evidence and reminders of His Grace. You showed me that it's ok to fall as long as the getting back up points to Him. 

I'm thankful to be part of the next generation of teachers because
there are little ones coming. They’re looking at us, not sure which way to go. 

We have to teach them...teach them how to stand, but also how to fall. We have to teach them how to fail and how to lean on Him to stand back up again. 

This is the family I see looking around the room tonight. A family that is there...after all of these years. And although I'm grateful for all the lessons I've learned through the years, I'm even more grateful that my children will learn these lessons from some of the very same people that were there to teach me. Families that stick together are becoming very rare. Church families that last from generation to generation are almost obsolete. 

I am so thankful for you, my Family!!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Basmati Rice Pilaf by Brenda Riden

Last week I told you about Crispy Lemon Chicken, the best chicken dish in the world. It goes great with this basmati rice pilaf. 

Basmati Rice Pilaf
1 cup uncooked Basmati rice
1 T oil (canola, grape seed, or extra virgin olive oil)
¼ c finely diced yellow or white onion
1 bay leaf (preferably Turkish)
1 ½ cups hot chicken stock or broth
Salt to taste
1 T unsalted butter, optional

1.  Rinse rice under cool running water until water is clear.
2.  Heat oil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add onion and bay leaf and cook gently until tender NOT brown (Just sweat it).
3.  Add the rice and stir to coat grains of rice completely. Do NOT brown. This encourages the grains to remain separate when cooked.
4.  Add the hot chicken stock, season lightly, and stir once or twice; bring to a simmer.
5.  Cover the pan tightly, reduce heat, and cook until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender, about 20 minutes.
6.  Remove pan from heat and remove and discard the bay leaf.  Add butter and fluff rice with a fork.  Taste and adjust seasoning with additional salt if needed.  Serve immediately.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Aspects of Prayer by Tony Manley

I have written recaps of the spring Bible Study the last few weeks. Each week a question has been posed for us about God’s character and just how much do we/I believe in Him. His CARE, His better than FAIR ways – He is JUST, His THERE (always present), His AWAREness(all-knowing), and now His ear for my PRAYER.  Each week, the scriptures have been life giving and strengthening to the heart. 

This week the scriptures and lessons pointed to five important lessons about prayer.  
*God always gives the perfect response.
*Silence can be golden – beneficial. I don’t have to fear silence.
*Waiting and watching is a necessary part of prayer.
*Trust the Giver of the gift(s).
*The end result of prayer is relationship.

I needed this! Being a person who likes specific principles to hold to, I appreciated the Holy Spirit’s teachings in this week’s study. I do see in my life that God has always given me what was best for me in order to become more like Christ and less like me! When He is quiet, it is nice to know He is with me and He is not driven to chatter just to give me “white noise.” As I learn to wait and watch for Him, my trust in His heart grows. Trusting His heart is always a must for peace and rest. But I believe what I loved the most from the lessons was the reminder that prayer grows/places me in a stronger more intertwined relationship with God. At the end of the day, that relationship is what I want more than anything.  

Well, I have had another wonderful week of manna served at exactly the right time and in the right portion! Stay tuned for the wrap-up blog. It’s coming…

“And He told them a parable to the effect that they OUGHT ALWAYS TO PRAY AND NOT LOSE HEART.”  Luke 18:1

Monday, April 14, 2014

Word for the Week

Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?
Has God forgotten to be merciful?
Has he in anger withheld his compassion?
Psalm 77:8-9

Pain makes us wonder if God has forgotten to care about us. 

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has born?
Though she may forget, 
I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; 
your walls are ever before me.
Isaiah 49:15-16

God doesn't forget to be compassionate, but sometimes His compassion is obscure and hard to recognize. When you consider your difficult trials, it may be hard to understand how God can truly care if he lets it remain. Why doesn't He show his compassion in a way we'd recognize? Could God be showing His compassion by allowing your pain to remain rather than by removing it? We often assume God's apparent inactivity in our situation is evidence of His neglect, when it really may be His way of showing compassion to protect you, provide for you, or preserve you.

~ Jennifer Rothschild in Missing Pieces: Real Hope When Life Doesn't Make Sense, week 1, day 1, pages 11-13

Friday, April 11, 2014

Epaphras Praying by Kim Wright (Col.2)

Every Friday, we will be wrestling in prayer over our children. Click HERE to read Kim Wright's original post that started the concept of Epaphras praying.

Read Colossians 2:1-23 personalizing these verses in prayer for your children. 

V 6 Father, just as each of my kids received Christ Jesus as Lord, help them to continue to live in Him, 

V7 rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as they were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness (**And those of my children who have not yet trusted in you…I pray for their salvation!!)

V8 Please help them to see to it that no one takes them captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Let It Go by Paula Roten

Have you heard the "Let It Go" song from the new Frozen movie? Who hasn't, right? There's the original, the one done in different Disney and Pixar voices, and even one sung by a very talented 11 year old with an African flavor to it. Why, I even saw where a preacher mentioned it on Facebook this morning. So it started me thinking about that phrase Let it go.

I enjoy my Bible app on my iPhone. I typed Let go in the search box and up popped Bible verses that included those words. My own personal Bible study this morning included these verses:

Job 20:12-1 (NIV) - Though evil is sweet in his mouth and he hides it under his tongue, though he cannot bear to let it will become the venom of serpents within him.

Job 27:6 (NIV) - I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it. 

Psalm 37:8 (CEB) - Let go of anger and leave rage behind! Don't get upset - it will only lead to evil.

Psalm 46:10 (GW) - Let go [of your concerns]! Then you will know that I am God. I rule the nations. I rule the earth.

Psalm 138:8 (CEB) - The Lord will do all this for my sake. Your faithful love lasts forever, Lord! Don't let go of what your hands have made. 

Proverbs 3:3 (GNT) - Never let go of loyalty and faithfulness. Tie them around your neck; write them on your heart. 

Proverbs 4:13 (NKJV) - Take firm hold of instruction, do not let go; Keep her, for she is your life. 

Matthew 6:12 (AMP) - And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven (left, remitted, let go of the debts, and have given up resentment against) our debtors. 

Mark 7:8 (NIV) - You have let go of the commands of God and are holding on to human traditions. 

Hebrews 12:1 (CEVU) - Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won't let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. 

Hebrew 6:18-20 (MSG) - We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek. 

Revelation 2:4 (CEB) - But I have this against you: you have let go of the love you had at first. 

Here's what I learned:

  • Things I don't let go of but should - evil, anger, rage, my concerns and problems of life, things others have done to me or owe me and my resentment toward them, worthless traditions, things that slow me down in my Christian life, my apathy toward sin
  • Things I have let go of but shouldn't - God's commands, my love for Jesus
  • Things I must never let go of - my righteousness (while I can never lose my salvation, I can lose my focus on it) and my right living (living in a way that shows I am saved), loyalty and faithfulness, Godly instruction, the promised hope of God

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Crispy Lemon Chicken by Brenda Riden

This is the best chicken I think I have eaten in my life. I got the recipe from a Viking Cooking Class that I took a few years back –cost me about $300 for the recipe (class!), but it's free to you all! 

Next week's recipe will be a Basmati Rice Pilaf that goes great with this chicken. Or you could serve it with a green salad, broccoli, or asparagus. Any way you serve it, it is fit for a king! This would be a great Easter recipe. 

Crispy Lemon Chicken
4 (4-5 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts (I use chicken cutlets and don’t have to pound them thin)
½ cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. paprika
½ tsp. garlic powder
1 large egg
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice (about ½ lemon)
1 cup Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
½ cup (lightly packed) finely grated Parmesan cheese (about ½ oz.)
1 tsp. finely minced lemon zest (about ½ lemon)
1 large whole lemon
3 T. canola oil
2 tsp. chopped fresh parsley (optional garnish)

1.  Lightly pound breasts to an even ¼ in thickness; set aside.
2. Combine flour, salt, pepper, paprika and garlic powder in shallow bowl; mix to distribute spices and set aside.
3.  Whisk together egg and lemon juice in a second shallow bowl and set aside.
4.  Combine panko, Parmesan, and lemon zest in 3rd shallow bowl, making sure that ingredients do not lump.
5.  Dredge both sides of chicken in flour.
6.  Dredge flour coated chicken in egg mixture allowing extra egg to drip off.
7. Place egg coated chicken in panko mixture and gently press to ensure even coverage. 
8.  Trim ends of lemon and cut 4 round slices for garnish and cut remainder of lemon in 4 wedges and set aside
9.  Place breaded chicken breast on a clean plate and repeat with remaining chicken (steps 5-7)
10.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in frig for at least 10 minutes (this will help set the breading)
11.  Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat; add oil. Place chicken in pan leaving 1 inch between. Sauté until golden brown (about 3 minutes), turn, and cook other side until beautifully brown (about 2-3 minutes more) Note: you may need to cook in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding.
12.  Remove chicken from pan & place on warmed serving platter.  Squeeze lemon wedges over chicken. Top with a sprinkle of parsley and a lemon round; serve immediately.

Brenda Riden
Pampered Chef Consultant

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Anger Issues by Ramona Callahan

We’ve all heard the term “anger issues.” It has become an often used phrase (accompanied by a giggle) that would suggest it’s not a big deal. Having a temper has become something we are expected to just accept about each other. We make excuses which allow us to give full reign to our behaviors. However, according to Paul’s instruction in 1 Timothy 4:7, it is actually our own responsibility to train ourselves to be godly. This includes questioning our own attitudes and responses and comparing them to the example set by our Lord Jesus Christ.  

One day I came across a verse that smarted just a little. It called out to me as if the Holy Spirit was prompting me to pay attention. I was reading Colossians 3. In my Bible it was subtitled “Rules for Holy Living.” In this chapter Paul is saying for us to put to death the things that belong to our earthly nature. He goes on to say in verse 7, “You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived.” Okay, I can deal with that.  I once was… I’m not anymore… So far, so good.

It was when I came to verse 8 that I began to sit up and take notice.  “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” The “BUT NOW” statement got my attention. In other words, as a Christian, now that I’m supposed to be living holy, I still have this “human nature” or this tendency to anger. 

“RID YOURSELVES” tells me that it is my own responsibility. And to rid something does not suggest putting it aside. It says RID. That means completely gone… no excuses. 

Then I began to look more closely at the list.
Anger: I read somewhere that all anger is fear-based. If you take a moment to list all the physical attributes of fear, like sweaty palms, racing heart, raised blood pressure, fight or flight tendencies, etc., you will realize they are exactly the same as those caused by anger. Both are accompanied by adrenalin.
Rage: The full expression of anger. The outburst of unleashed commentary fueled by adrenalin. 
Malice: the desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another, either because of a hostile impulse or out of deep-seated meanness; spitefulness, bitterness. The words spent during a fit of rage are certainly meant to harm.  
Slander: defamation, false statement or report. 
Filthy language: words, signs, sounds, or gestures used to express a derogative message

As I read the list and searched dictionary and thesaurus meanings, I realized that each one builds on the next. Anger is an emotional response which when allowed to go undisciplined leads to rage. While a person is raging, it is usually with malicious intent and quickly becomes slanderous with or without conscious effort. And how much easier is it to allow myself to get away with a curse word or two when I’m angry? Also, when I’m angry, it’s usually a lot easier to say things I would normally keep to myself. I began to realize each of these characteristics would be made weaker without the others.
Filthy language: If I take away all adjectives and adverbs that are not encouraging and uplifting, it is easier to communicate what bothers me without the contagiousness of anger. 
Slander and malice: By not allowing myself to “vent” to a third party, I will no longer speak falsely or maliciously about another. I must leave out all language and intentions of hurting someone’s feelings to make myself feel superior. 
Rage: What fun is it to rage when I’m not using hurtful language, not talking about someone else, and not intending to hurt or put down another? 
Anger:  Anger is not so strong when I take away all of its friends. All by itself, anger is much easier to deal with between God and me. When I add any of the other characteristics, it becomes an issue between me and another person.
In verse 12, Paul goes on to say we should clothe ourselves (or cover ourselves) with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. He said we are to bear with each other.  Forgive whatever grievances we may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven us, and above all else, put on love. I couldn’t help noticing that these traits were exact opposites of the traits of anger. 

It wasn’t until a couple of days later when the conviction of this lesson hit me fully. I had been angry at work. I “lost my temper” in front of everyone. I didn’t get my blood pressure up. I didn’t yell and scream. But I did give full vent to my emotions. I did say things that were not uplifting or encouraging. I talked about people who weren’t present in a way that certainly did nothing to improve their reputations. I allowed myself to use language to color my expressions not intended to build character. I felt the tug of guilt at the back of my mind, but I continued on in the conversation justifying it all along because I had every right to be angry. 

It was later when a friend and co-worker held me accountable that the full force of God’s conviction hit me square in the stomach, and the heart. As she recounted to me what I had said and done, I realized that I had hurt my own reputation and testimony much, much more than the people I had been angry with. The verses I had read only the day before came flooding back to me. As I stood there guilty as charged, I could do nothing but ask for forgiveness. And just like when a parent disciplines a child, the mark of that spanking stayed with me for a while. Hopefully, it hurt enough that I will remember the lesson next time. And if not, my Father loves me enough to discipline me again. It is my responsibility to train myself in becoming godly. I must rid myself of filthy language, making it easier to stop myself from slander, malice, rage, and finally anger. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Epaphras Praying by Kim Wright (Col.1:15-28)

Every Friday, we will be wrestling in prayer over our children. Click HERE to read Kim Wright's original post that started the concept of Epaphras praying.

Read Colossians 1:15-28 personalizing these verses in prayer for your children. 

V 16 Help my children to realize that they were created by you and for you.

V 17 Help my children to recognize that you are before all things and that in you all things hold together.

V 23 Help my children to continue in their faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the Gospel.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Contentment by Cathy Westmoreland

What is contentment? I have been been thinking about this subject quite a bit lately. It all started with a simple phone call to my Aunt. I asked her, "How are you?" and her answer was, "I
am very content." Contented was not the answer I was expecting, but it was a great one. Her statement stuck in my mind and I couldn't shake it, so I went to my Bible Concordance and found several verses about contentment. After reading those, I believe contentment is being happy with what GOD has blessed me with. Being satisfied.

When our lives are full of grumbling or complaining it simply shows a lack of trust in GOD. Contentment will never be dependent on our circumstances, but will always be dependent on our reactions and responses to them.

I have told my grandchildren that it's not important what size home I live in, but it is important who lives in me. Then why does this ole lady feel discontent at times? Because I want to give them more materially. God through His grace and mercy has saved me, given me His word and the Holy Spirit. Sharing that with my grandchildren is the best gift I can offer.

Contentment is not the fulfillment of what I want. It is the realization of how much I already have. If we know Jesus Christ...we are BLESSED and should be contented.

Have you ever noticed that the happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything? They just make the best of everything they have. True contentment will not be found in location, wealth, poverty, suffering, blessing, job, pleasures, good deeds, health, pleasing others, or stuff. Contentment can be found through a surrendered life to Christ alone!

Here are the verses I found as I was going through another spiritual check-up:
Philippians 4:11-12  - "Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to get along with humble means and I also know to how to live in prosperity, in any and every circumstance. I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering."

Hebrews 13:5  - "Let your character be free from the love of money, being content with what you have, for He Himself has said, "I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you."

Philippians 2:14  - "Do all things without grumbling or disputing."

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bow Ties with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream by Paula Roten

I recently ran across this super simple and quick recipe on my favorite on-line recipe site Need something that you can throw together really quickly after work or a busy day? This is it! Add a fresh or bagged salad, and you've got a delicious meal in thirty minutes or less. 

Bow Ties with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cream - serves 6

1 (12 ounce) package bow tie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed and crumbled
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup diced onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) can Italian-style plum tomatoes, drained and coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta in boiling water for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.
2. Heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Cook sausage and pepper flakes until sausage is evenly brown. Stir in onion and garlic, and cook until onion is tender. Stir in tomatoes, cream, and salt. Simmer until mixture thickens, 8 to 10 minutes.
3. Stir cooked pasta into sauce, and heat through. Sprinkle with parsley.

  • This recipe can be cut in half very easily. 
  • Feel free to use variations: use the bulk Italian sausage (hot or mild), omit the red pepper flakes (especially if you have children), use the tiny bow tie pasta or your favorite shape (some children seem to like the little pasta shapes better)
  • left-overs reheat very well

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

An Unexpected Lesson in Trust by Ramona Callahan

I went on vacation with a couple of friends. I agreed to do something I had never done before on each day of the trip. (This because I had convinced my friend to do new things which had been a wonderful experience for her.) So we went on a cruise, which I had never done before, and at each stop we scheduled an excursion. Even though I was terrified of heights, on one of these excursions, I agreed to go on a zip-line. I’ve always said I didn’t want my fears to hold me back. I also thought it would be one single zip line! So this is what happened in Belize…

We took a bus into the jungle. It was hot and extremely humid. Our tour guide led us up a steep hill where we were instructed on the proper use and mechanics of zip-lining. We were also warned that we were crossing a “no turn back” zone. I knew it would be frightening, but I didn’t want to let down my friends, and I had come this far, so I continued with the group. As we climbed the path, I thought about how much I enjoy hiking and that this part would be fun. And then I saw it, the break in foliage looking out across the mountain. I had already come much higher than I realized. I was on the edge of the mountain with only a few trees protecting me from falling over. My stomach lurched. I took a deep breath and kept going, this time looking only at the path ahead. One foot at a time, one step after another, one foot in front of the other… this became my mantra. I also began to utter prayers under my breath. I prayed, “Lord, what have I done? How did I get myself into this? Please help me. Please give me courage or stupidity, whichever it’s going to take to get me through this.” As a single tear escaped, I wiped it with the side of my arm and exclaimed, “Whew, sweat is really pouring off me.” The climb went on for much longer than I expected. As we continued upward I became more and more anxious. I began to hear others in the group express a little nervous comment occasionally. Some would tease others. My friends were both in front of me. Occasionally my head gear even nudged one on from the back side. We had been climbing for what seemed an eternity when we reached a metal shelf. I couldn’t see beyond the jungle growth to know how high it was, but several people in front of me began to ooh and ah and gasp. 

This is probably a good time to note that I had been reading and praying a lot about learning to trust God. Trust sounded like a good thing, but I couldn’t find any “how to’s” or “three steps to trust.” I waited my turn and secretly wished it would never come. Maybe somehow the weather would suddenly turn and I’d be saved! Realizing this was a futile wish, I became resolved to the inevitable. I would have my turn, and I would have to jump like everyone else. I started listening to the instructions given to each person in front of me. One by one, the guide told each person to put their hands a certain way and jump. He worded it differently a couple of times, but each time the message was the same… “Jump.”  “You can do it!” “Don’t be afraid!” And the one I heard the most… “Just let go and go for it!”

I was determined to step up and just go for it like the others. But something different happened. The young man looked me in the eyes and said, “Just hold on and let me do all the work. I’ve got you.” At first I thought I must be hearing him wrong. He didn’t say that to anyone else, just me. 

And as I rode along the wire, I looked out at the expanse of the jungle from 285 feet above the forest floor. My, how creative our God is! It was beautiful. I could smell the fragrant blossoms below me rising in the heat. The wind from my decent blew the sweat off my forehead. The breeze helped me relax ever so slightly. I had done it. I was about to be on the other side, on my way down the path. I was elated to glide into the arms of the waiting crew member. My feet planted on the receiving metal shelf, and I was home free! I hadn’t wet my pants. I hadn’t had an anxiety attack in front of everyone else. I had made it. The smile on my face stretched every muscle all the way down my neck.  

And then I saw it. The next line. What? Another? I didn’t know I signed up for more than one. Oh no!  NO THANK YOU! I did it, now send me home!  

I had four more zip lines to go and two additional repels. 

But once again I heard these words, “Hold on and let me do the work.” At the next station I heard, “I will do the hard part. You just have to hold on.” Each time I heard these words, they sank deeper and deeper into my understanding. The other people were being told completely different messages. I listened to the words, but I heard the voice of my Father. I began to answer, “I have no choice. I am so afraid. I don’t know if I can keep going.” But in answer, in my spirit, I heard Him reply, “Just hold on. Let me do the work. I’ve got you. Trusting me doesn’t mean you won’t be afraid. It means you do it anyway knowing that you won’t fall because I won’t let you. I have never left you. I will never forsake you.”  

Tears began to roll down my face. Relief, understanding, joy, and indescribable gratefulness flooded my whole being. As I made my way back down that mountain, I had revival in my soul. God had used this adventure to teach me the lesson I had been praying to understand. He taught me through personal experience what it means to trust Him. He showed me line by line that trust gets stronger with practice. He showed me that just when I think I’ve got it down, the lesson changes. 

I came to the repelling part of the jungle. I had to step out into the air holding onto a wire and then let go. “Let go. Let go.” I heard the guide saying the words. I knew I had to loosen my hands. But somehow the instruction and the action were not connecting. As I hung mid-air, I had to learn another lesson about trust. When I finally released my grip, the man waiting below caught me with a pulley system. I started to giggle, then laugh. I’m sure I was going into shock. But I heard my Father once again, “Sometimes you will think you’re falling, but I will always catch you. I am connected to you just like this pulley system. You aren’t really falling at all, just quickly declining. And I am here.”  

I will never forget the way God taught me to trust. I’ve told this story a few times. I’ve used it to try to explain trust to others. But something tells me we never really learn from hearing someone else’s story. We learn by holding on to God and letting Him do the work. We learn by practicing over and over, and occasionally we feel like we are falling when we are really just going a different direction, still connected to God and protected by His grace and power, which is love.