fullofhisgrace

learning one day at a time

…Things I Have Learned…part 2 March 6, 2012

1. Do not have unrealistic expectations for one another.

If you got married thinking your husband or wife would be perfect, then you are in for, or have already experienced a terrible disappointment. No one but Jesus is perfect, and setting unrealistic expectations can be fatal to your relationship. You should expect realistic things from your marriage. You can expect your husband or wife to love, honor, and cherish you. You can expect them to be faithful, to protect and to provide. You cannot expect them to do things exactly the way you want them all the time. You can’t expect them to never get angry with you and you cannot expect them to never hurt your feelings. We are all sinners and therefore cannot have a perfect relationship. Your relationship will be as wonderful as you want it to be. You have to work at it to make it work.

2. Never use the D-word.

Never ever threaten your spouse with divorce or separation. This is a sure-fire way to destroy trust. The Bible says divorce is acceptable if there is abuse or infidelity, but if you are threatening divorce every time you disagree on something or argue, you are really damaging your relationship. Marriages are built on trust and it is hard to trust someone if they are always threatening to   break the covenant you have made with them that is supposed to last a lifetime. Marriage is serious business. It is sacred, holy, and ordained by God. It is not something to take lightly.

3. Be vulnerable.

Be vulnerable with your spouse. Let them into your heart. Share your thoughts and feelings with each other. If you aren’t willing to share your hearts with one another then you are missing out on true, beautiful intimacy with your spouse.

4. Don’t go to parents.

When you are having problems, don’t take them to your parents. Parents are biased and will typically not give you the kind of help you need. It is too easy for parents to take sides, and defend you. It is so important to go to a pastor, or a godly couple for advice when you are going through a rough patch. I am not encouraging you to discredit your parents’ advice, but I do think it is important to keep your problems between you and perhaps a counselor or Christian adviser.

5. Defend your spouse.

If someone is speaking negatively about your spouse in front of you, speak up! You are their other half, their champion, and you should never let someone put them down in front of you. I have learned that is important not to complain about your spouse to others either! Speak of your husband or wife with praise, and do not let others do differently either. It can be really easy to fall into criticizing your spouse to others after an argument or something, and friends are easy to talk to and willing to listen, but it is a dangerous thing!

6. Don’t abstain from sex.

The Bible very clearly tells us not to withhold sex from our spouse…

1 Corinthians 7:5-

“5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”
Of course there are things like illness and other physical conditions, but it is important to follow God’s will for sex within your marriage. We are supposed to protect our marriages from Satan, and one way of doing this is guarding our spouse from temptation. This verse clearly states that abstaining allows Satan some room to wiggle in there. Sex within marriage is a beautiful gift from God, it is very important to the relationship, and helps couples truly become one in the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual sense.
Some really great Christian blogs/articles about marriage:
To Love, Honor and Vacuum -Sheila Wray Gregoire
The marriage Daily– Sheila Wray Gregoire
Marriage Today – Jimmy & Karen Evans
Blessings In Christ,
Jenny
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A Short List of What I Have Learned From Marriage So Far…(post 1) March 5, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Family,Homemaking,Marriage,Ministry — fullofhisgrace @ 1:09 am
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Some things I have learned from marriage….

1. Read the Bible and pray together everyday.

I cannot express the importance of this enough. God should be the number one priority in both of your lives and you should be pursuing Him together. If God is at the center of your marriage, then you are not going to fail. Reading the Word together gives your relationship a deeper meaning. When you discuss God and what He expects from you, you are in His will. The Bible is what God gives us to help us get through life on earth. It is filled with everything we need to know and how we should be living. God tells us how we should be as husbands and wives and what our relationship should look like. Marriage is a reflection of the relationship between Christ and the church and our relationship with our spouse should be a glimpse of that heavenly relationship. Reading the Bible and praying is how we learn to love like Christ. Marriage can be a wonderful ministry! For our first year of marriage we read a book of devotions by Dr. James Dobson called Nightlight. It was wonderful for drawing us closer to one another and the discussion questions at the end of each section really helped us talk about important issues.

2. Be humble.

Being willing to forgive and to say I am sorry is an important part of being humble. Christ showed amazing humility. I am constantly drawn to John 13 when I think of humility and how Jesus washed the feet of his disciples in love. He knelt down as a lowly servant would have and ministered to his disciples. We should be constantly willing to do this for our spouse even when we aren’t “feeling” the love. I think it is extremely important to note that Christ washed the feet of Judas Iscariot in LOVE. He knew Judas was about to betray Him, yet he lovingly washed his dirty feet. We should be like this with our spouses striving to serve them in any way and to do so lovingly.

P.S.- The Bible tells us to never let the sun go down on our anger. Always resolve issues before going to bed. Do not just brush over them because then the anger, frustration and hurt continue to build until the problem feels irreconcilable.

3. Prioritize.

Prioritizing is one of the most important things you can do for your marriage. Your priorities should be God, your spouse, your children, etc. When your priorities are not straight, your marriage will begin to crumble. Let your spouse know with your words and your actions that they are your top priority under God. If you are telling them that they are your top priority and then spending all your time with your friends, or pursuing your hobbies, then you are shattering their trust in you and you are alienating them. If something or someone is getting in the way of your relationship with your spouse, drop that person or that activity. Nothing is more important than God and your marriage. 

4. Pray FOR one another.

Praying for one another is different than praying with one another. This is not an easy task, but we should be constantly lifting our spouse up in prayer even when we don’t feel like it. If you have never read The Power of a Praying Wife or The Power of a Praying Husband, then you should.

5. Invest Time.

When you are dating, your are investing so much time in your relationship. When you get married it is easier to quit investing as much time in one another. Set time aside each day to spend with your spouse. Make this time when you are completely focused on one another. If you have children, wait until you have put them to bed. Use this time to talk and to strengthen your relationship. It is also a good idea to set aside one night of the week as your date night. We prefer Sunday evenings to be our date night. We don’t spend much money, and we usually stay home, but it is necessary for us to have this time together to just have fun. It is easy to get wrapped up in all the problems of life that your time together becomes tension filled. It is nice to set aside problems one night a week and just enjoy one another’s company. I have another post coming soon about date night ideas that don’t cost much!

This is all I have time for tonight, but I will be posting more about marriage this week and the things I have learned so far. I feel that marriage is one of the most important things in this world and we should constantly be encouraging one another and other couples in their marriage relationship.

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

 

Words of Praise February 28, 2012

Filed under: Faith,Family,Homemaking,Marriage,Ministry — fullofhisgrace @ 6:18 pm
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If I had a dime for every complaint I have ever uttered, I would be rich. It saddens me to think how often I offer complaints instead of thanksgiving, criticism instead of praise, or hurt instead of healing. Our tongues are what cause the most sin in our lives. How often have I said things I wish I could take back…

Proverbs 21:23

“Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.”

Ephesians 4:29

“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

Most things I say are pointless. We will be judged by the words we have spoken. That is a promise from God (Matthew 12:37). God cares about what we say. He cares about what words we use and how we use them. Let praise for God overflow from our mouths and let us carefully weigh what we want to say before we actually do it. I have always been told, “God gave you two ears and one mouth.” That is so true! Those ears are for listening and we should listen twice as much as we speak. I will be working on this for the rest of my life I am sure, and I will fail often, but it is something we need to be very aware of. I will be looking at the words Jesus spoke. They were harsh, always constructive, glorifying to the Father, healing, true, and sure. He was confident in the words he spoke because they were good. Jesus spoke with purpose. He is the perfect example and we should be following in His footsteps in every way, even in our speech. I hope you will join me and strive to speak only things that are glorifying to God!

Blessings In Christ,
Jenny

 

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