fullofhisgrace

learning one day at a time

A Place To Pray….A Family Altar February 26, 2012

I recently felt as though we needed a designated area in our home for God. He should be at the center of our lives and should hold a special place in our homes as well. I was reading a book this past week and it talked about establishing a family altar in the home. I LOVE this idea! A place in the home reserved just for Jesus. A place to pray together, read the Bible together, and discuss together. I think it is important to do these things all throughout the day and in many different places of the home, but putting together an altar is a way to draw your family together to worship, and a wonderful reminder of how you should be living daily. There are altars throughout the Bible and in churches everywhere. Why not have one at home too? I know we spend way more time at home than we do at church. Here are some pictures of our simple altar….

I placed a Bible box next to our family altar to make the Word accessible. Make your family altar part of your daily routine and place important emphasis on the time you spend there. We have been reading two chapters of the Old Testament and one chapter of the New Testament each evening, then discussing them and then praying together. It is wonderful to worship God together as a family and if you have children to show them the way through example. They learn from watching parents…think about what you want them to take away from you as they grow and mature into adults themselves. Set your sights on things not of this world, but focus on that which is spiritual! Be set apart!

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

The Fallen-ness of Earth February 22, 2012

S-i-n. Such a tiny three-letter word that stands for so much. The separation from God, the exile from His presence. Three little letters that hold so many in bondage that keep them from grasping the salvation promises. Sin comes in so many forms and it is so sneaky. Are you aware of all the sin in your life? Have you examined yourself lately? Ask His forgiveness. Repent and draw ever closer to the Father. Banish the sin from your life and let Jesus heal you from the damage it has done. It is never too late to turn your life around and begin living for the Lord…

When you think, or speak, or read, or write,
When you sing, or walk, or seek for delight,
To be kept from all wrong when at home or abroad,
Live always as under the eyes of the Lord.

Whatever you think, never think what you feel
You would blush, in the presence of God to reveal;
Whatever you speak in a whisper or clear,
Say nothing you would not like Jesus to hear.

Whatever you read, though the page may allure,
Read nothing unless you are perfectly sure
Consternation would not be seen in your look,
If God should say solemnly, “Show Me that book!”

Whatever you write, though in haste or in heed,
Write nothing you would not like Jesus to read;
Whatever you sing, in the midst of your glees,
Sing nothing His listening ear would displease.

Wherever you go, never go where you’d fear
God’s question being asked, “What doest thou here?”
Turn away from pleasures you’d shrink from pursuing,
If God should look down and say, “What are you doing?”

-Excerpt from God’s Ideal Woman by Clifford Lewis

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

Hm….Hospitality? February 21, 2012

Lately, I have really been feeling the Spirit urging me regarding hospitality. According to the online dictionary, hospitality is “The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” Today hospitality seems so complicated. It feels as though you have to have a big party to be hospitable or be like Martha Stewart. I am no Martha Stewart, folks! I have a very sad confession. We do not know our neighbors. Not one of them and we have been living in this house, in town, for almost two years! I have also found myself turning away company when my home is not as clean as I would prefer it to be, or just feeling like I never have to time to invite people into my home. Having guests means work cleaning, cooking, taking time out of my busy schedule and everything. It just seems like too much of a hassle. I have recently realized that it is important to invite people into our home because home is where some of the best ministry can be done. We are supposed to live out our faith as an example and what better place to do this than at home. I have been thinking about ways to be more ready for unexpected guests and ideas for entertaining those I know are coming.

1. Keep a pitcher of tea or lemonade in the fridge.

This is just a good idea because you should always be ready to offer your guests a glass of something to drink. It is important to offer them a beverage when they come into your home. It makes them feel welcome and like you have time for them.

LEMONADE:
1 cup sugar
5 cups cold water
1 cup lemon juice

Dissolve sugar in 1 cup cold water and lemon juice. Add remaining cold water. Serve over ice. Makes 6 1/2 cups.

2. Make sure at least the kitchen, living room and bathroom look decent.

These are the rooms your guests will see! Even if they aren’t sparkling they should be mostly decent. If you have some dishes in the sink, so what? Perfection isn’t necessary…there just shouldn’t be filth. Most people do live in their homes. It is unrealistic to think your home will look wonderful all the time. If guests are expected, it should look beautifully clean though.

3. Don’t only welcome friends.

Hebrews 13:2- “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some have entertained angels without know it.”
Christ welcomed people from all walks of life to His presence. The story of Zacchaeus comes to mind because everyone was furious with Jesus for dining at His home. Jesus came to save the lost sheep. Welcome all kinds of people into your home and you will be blessed for it.

4. Open your home for things such as Bible study with others or prayer.

One of the most important things we can do as Christians is to fellowship with one another. Matthew 18:20- “For where two or more come together in my name, there I will be also.” The disciples stayed together and prayed together. They broke bread and discussed their faith. Opening your home this way will be a blessing to others and a blessing to your family as well.

5. Have cookies in the cookie jar.

Be able to offer your unexpected guests a bite to eat as it makes them feel welcome.

Here is an excellent cookie recipe (Husband’s favorite)::

SNICKERDOODLES

1/2 c. softened butter          1 cup sugar           1/4 tsp. baking soda            1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
1 egg                                             1/2 tsp. vanilla     1 1/2 c. flour                          2 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. gr. cinnamon

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of sugar, baking soda and the cream of tartar. Beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until it is easy to handle. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the 2 Tbsp. sugar and the cinnamon. Shape the dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-11 minutes or until edges are golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool. This should make about 36 cookies.

 

6. When someone leaves your home, they should feel blessed.

“Families shaped by deep Christian faith and strong love for one another can offer an extraordinary gift in welcoming people into their homes. In living their lives in front of their guests, they provide a model of a healthy family, warts and all. They allow people to see what the Christian life looks like in the daily give and take of loving and forgiving. Around a dinner table, family and guests share food and life, and talk of that which gives meaning to their lives.” –Christine D. Pohl

7. Anticipate the needs of your guests.

Pay attention to your guest. Watch their glass and if it needs refilled ask if you can get it for them. Make sure they are comfortable and they will want to come back to your home. They are not there to help themselves. You are the hostess and that is your responsibility.

8. Burn candles.

Burning candles creates  a comfortable atmosphere and will make your guest feel relaxed. Candles just make the home homey. Be sure to ask your guest if they have an aversion to certain scents. It wouldn’t do to send them into an asthmatic  fit!

9. Set  your table.

If you are having a dinner party, set your table before guests arrive. It lets them know you have been anticipating their arrival and they also won’t feel obligated to help. Use your best of everything because your guests are special.

A delicious dessert for a dinner party::

PEACH COBBLER: My grandmother’s recipe (9×9 baking dish)

2 eggs                           1 1/2 cup sugar                   1/2 c. shortening + a little more            almost 3/4 c. milk
1 1/2 c. flour              1 1/2 tsp. b. powder          Large can of peaches or frozen ones

Cream the shortening and sugar. Add eggs, flour and milk. Put peaches in the bottom of your dish with some tapioca and pour the batter over it. Bake about 1 hour at 350 degrees. If a toothpick  comes out of the center dry, it is finished.

10. Have games.

 

Games are a wonderful way to practice hospitality. Playing cards or a board game with your guests is a great way to have fun together! (Yes, our game basket could be more organized…)

There are so many more ideas on how to practice hospitality that it would take me days to cover them all. I am going to begin applying these thoughts more in my life and start opening my home more to others. Being a blessing to others is what being a Christian is. We should be willing to welcome others into our homes.

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

Some Thoughts About Housekeeping February 18, 2012

Filed under: Family,Homemaking,Ministry — fullofhisgrace @ 8:46 pm
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1. Listen to something while you clean like praise music, a sermon, the Bible on CD. It will really improve your attitude
and your desire to make your home clean and comfortable.

2. Maybe I should be ironing my drapes because evidently people notice those things, but I just feel like it is a waste of time.

3. Eating in different rooms of the house like bedrooms, living rooms, etc is a bad idea because
A. It is easy to forget dishes in other rooms.
B. It makes cleaning the house a larger chore.
C. Bugs and mice are attracted and harder to catch.

4. Yes, you can vacuum the windowsills…and it is wonderful!

5. File papers as soon as they come in or at your first possible convenience.

6. Don’t hold on to things just because you think you will need it later! Give it away or sell it. You will be happier with less
clutter.

7. Check pockets before putting things in the wash! I learned this from experience when a blue ink pen exploded in the
dryer…

8. Housekeeping should be something you look forward to, not something to dread! Make it fun for yourself if you hate it.
Give yourself incentives to keep on going like chocolate or a break!

9.  Just leaving the dishes in the sink only makes it harder to scrape the junk off later. Get them over with.

10. When you drop a lasagna on the carpeted kitchen floor, don’t panic use a spatula and then just soak the carpet in
in cleaner until it scrubs up nicely.

11. Clean with homemade products whenever possible…I use lots of borax, baking soda and vinegar!

12. If you have a family, involve them. Give them chores to do. This is great for training up children and teaching them
important life skills! It also helps to make a game of the work.

13. Make a schedule and stick to it- for instance, grocery shop on Monday, laundry on Tuesday, etc. I am bad at this, but
am definitely trying to work it out.

14.  Make a list and check off items as you go.

15. Do everything as though you were doing it for Jesus. Pretend He is coming to visit you at your home! Your home is a ministry in itself and you are the keeper of your home…let’s make it a hospitable home, fit for company!

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

How To Celebrate Valentine’s Day This Year February 13, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Marriage,Recipes — fullofhisgrace @ 3:12 pm
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Here we go all you married couples out there, a list of inexpensive ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day just in case you are stumped this year! It really isn’t about gifts or extravagance…it’s about celebrating your love for each other. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune!

1. Build a fort.
Yes, I said build a fort. Get some blankets and chairs and fashion a quilt fort that you can spend the night in. Rent a movie or read a book together, buy some yummy Heart-Day treats and light some candles. This actually is really romantic and just fun, not to mention inexpensive! It feels like you are going away, but really you are just moving to a different room. Be sure to sleep in your fort to get the full experience!

2. Go see a romantic movie.
Usually there are many romantic movies coming out around Valentine’s Day. My suggestion would be The Vow this year.

3. Make dessert together.
Spend the evening in the kitchen making chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, or ice cream sundaes. This is sweet because you can spend time together and celebrate the day of love with foods.

4. Candlelit Dinner.
Husband’s this is for you! If you really want to impress your wife, cook her dinner, set the table with flower, candles and a tablecloth, and play some romantic music! She will LOVE it! Here are some great recipes for a romantic dinner:

Chicken Parmigiana

Ingredients

  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 ounces dry bread crumbs
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 3/4 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
  • 2 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a medium baking sheet.
  2. Pour egg into a small shallow bowl. Place bread crumbs in a separate shallow bowl. Dip chicken into egg, then into the bread crumbs. Place coated chicken on the prepared baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or until no longer pink and juices run clear.
  3. Pour 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce into a 7×11 inch baking dish. Place chicken over sauce, and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses on top and return to the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Baked Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
 Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a bowl, mix together the olive oil, brown sugar, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, oregano, thyme, salt, and black pepper until thoroughly combined. Add the broccoli florets, and toss until evenly coated with the seasoning. Spread the broccoli florets out onto an baking sheet with a rim.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven until the broccoli is just browned on the top, 10 to 15 minutes.

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Ingredients

  • 16 ounces milk chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries with leaves
 Directions
  1. Insert toothpicks into the tops of the strawberries.
  2. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and shortening, stirring occasionally until smooth. Holding them by the toothpicks, dip the strawberries into the chocolate mixture.
  3. Turn the strawberries upside down and insert the toothpick into styrofoam for the chocolate to cool.

5. Go for a drive and star gaze in the country.
Make sure to dress warmly, and take lots of blankets if you live in a cold climate! It is always sweet to star gaze with your honey and it’s fun to snuggle in the cold too!

6. Write love letters.
Sit together at the table and write each other a love letter, a poem, a song or make a list of why you love your spouse. It is fun to read these out loud to one another.

7. Picnic.
I know it’s freezing outside…it is February after all, but picnics can be inside too. Set up a picnic in a room of your house that you don’t normally eat in. Actually pack a picnic basket and lead them to your romantic picnic. This is nice because you can light candles, sit on pillows, have flowers and so much more. Your imagination is the limit on this! It is a nice surprise for your husband or wife too, they will be thoroughly impressed!

8. Decorate your bedroom.
Make the bed, set out candles, rose petals and what not and celebrate love! Your spouse will love this because you put forth effort to make it special.

9. Massages.
Give one another massages. It is sweet and free!

10. Board Games.
Play board games or cards together. You can play for different things like winner gets a kiss and loser has to do the dishes after tomorrow’s supper.

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget that marriage is glorifying to God so take the time and celebrate the love He has given you for your spouse. Let them know how much they mean to you!

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

Take Time To Be Holy… February 2, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Family,Marriage,Ministry — fullofhisgrace @ 1:52 pm
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I’ve been sitting here watching the sun fill the sky with light, chasing away the dark shadows, and I am overwhelmed with the splendor of it. The beauty of this earth the Father has created and all that creation praising him in the early morning light. I am reminded to be thankful, to count the blessings he bestows and to pray. Prayer is how we experience deep communion with the Creator and I don’t want to miss out.

Mark 1:35

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark,

Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place,

where he prayed.

Communion is more than just partaking of the Lord’s Supper at church. It is “an act or instance of sharing; intimate fellowship or rapport- communication.” I want to have this deep intimacy with God. It is something my heart yearns for, and hopefully yours does too. Jesus often went off to the lonely places to pray, early, even before dawn. He knew communion with the Father. It is necessary for us to spend quality time with the Lord, to set aside time for him. Stop the clock for him. Don’t just give him the few minutes you have here and there, give the other things in the day the few minutes, and really make time for the Lord. I know I am guilty of praying just every once in awhile throughout the day while I’m up to my ears in laundry or working on homework, and not stopping my clock for him.

Make time for the Lord, and he will return that time back to you. You have nothing to lose by stopping the movements and praying, praising, or meditating on the Word. Your life will be fuller, your cup will begin overflowing and you will know abundant joy. Jesus came that we would have life more abundantly. He acts as intercessor to the Father and allows that communion. He is speaking to the Father on your behalf. We pray in the name of Jesus, the spotless lamb and the Father hears. 

Stop your clock today, at least once and experience the peace that transcends understanding. Let the Father fill you up with his love and goodness. Let him use that time to transform your heart and renew your mind. Meditate on all things holy and experience the wonder of communion. Let me know how your journey to communion is coming along. I would love to encourage you, just leave a comment…

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

-William Longstaff

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

Daniel’s Prayers January 27, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Family,Marriage,Ministry — fullofhisgrace @ 11:46 pm
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Daniel 6:10 (NIV)
“Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God…” 

This week I felt led to create a Facebook group for a prayer challenge. The challenge is to stop and pray three times a day, just like Daniel did. I think this will significantly impact the people who commit and actively participate. God wants to hear from us. He wants to be praised! Get down on your knees and thank him, seep gratitude and wonder at his awesomeness!

Since I have begun stopping my clock for God, I feel peaceful and more sure of everything. I haven’t felt nearly as anxious as I typically do. Communicating with God is a MUST, and I am sad to say that many many people are not in the habit of taking time out to pray. I know that when I am praying, it is usually while I am in the middle of something else. I am not making it a priority to put my focus entirely on God. When we focus all our thoughts, our heart and our energy on him, we will feel better! I have also begun to notice God more throughout the day in all kinds of ways. I am more attuned to his hand in my life when I am determinedly communicating with him.

This challenge isn’t just to see if you can do it…it is to really build your life upon that unwavering rock and hold on with steadfast devotion! I feel that people will be able to see the change in you because when you are in communion with God, your insides start lighting you up on the outside! It is so wonderful to experience true peace in this world of uncertainty.

I hope that you determine to join in this challenge…start your own in your church, or with a group of friends, your family, or even people you work with. Hold one another accountable and encourage each other to take time out to pray.

If you decide to commit to the challenge comment on this post and I will begin praying for you on your journey to a deeper relationship with the Lord.

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny