Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shock and Awe

Last night, after I gave my 7 month old son a bath and put him in his PJs, I sat down and started scrolling through Facebook. I live in Arizona and all of my family and most of my friends live in Michigan or Indiana. Facebook is kind of my way of keeping up with their lives. Little did I know that what I read... would create a shock and awe in my heart.

My junior year at Bethel College in Mishawaka, Indiana I roomed with 3 other girls, all of them golfers. I was the odd one out, being a cheerleader. I didn't know them well, had just had a few classes with one of the girls the previous year and found out they needed a 4th roommate. Throughout the year, getting to know these girls was such a blessing. They were so sweet and we shared life together for a time. A few years ago, one of them lost their mom in a solo car accident in Michigan. It was before she got engaged or even married. Tonight, I learned that another roommate, Kayla, lost her husband suddenly.

They have an 11 month old daughter.

I can't even begin to imagine. I instantly called my husband, who had just left our house to head to our church to help with youth group, and told him how much I loved him. I asked him to be careful as he drove and not be looking at his phone or be in a hurry. I can't imagine losing my husband, and I felt that I needed to to him for the 13th time today that I loved him. But as I sat there reading these posts about how people were shocked to learn this news, how their hearts go out to the family... the most important thing I read was... "Brad is with Jesus. Thank God for his salvation."

Do you know where you're going when God decides your time on Earth is through?

Jesus says in the Bible that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other way to the Father (God), except through Jesus. Jesus commands us to love him with all our heart, all our soul, and all our strength. That is the greatest commandment. In John, Jesus tells us that in Heaven, His Father's house, there are many mansions built for those coming to live with Him eternally. Jesus died the most excruciating death ever recorded, on a cross, for the sins that anyone has ever committed or will ever commit. BECAUSE HE LOVES US AND WANTS TO SPEND ETERNITY WITH US.

But that means we have to take action. Do you know Jesus? Do you have a personal relationship with Him? If He were to take you from this Earth tomorrow, do you know where you're going?

I do. Praise God, I do.

God asks us to come to Him, with honest, open hearts; to ask forgiveness of the sins we've committed. If you want to live a life that brings glory to God, ask Him to fill your heart and come into your life. God will help you live out His commandments and teachings. But you have to be willing to let go of yourself, to be on fire for Christ and sharing Him with others; you have to learn to change. The reward is so great my friends. God is so great. We may not understand His ways, His timing, or why He allows things to happen. But His blessings and His love for people is amazing.

Jesus loves you.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My past is my past

Today we have a guest writer! Andrea is out sick with the flu, please keep her in your prayers!


I am so blessed to be sharing with everyone here today!  My name is Kelly and I blog @ The Houtz House Party where I talk about my life as a wife, my life with 4 littles under age 4, some randomness and quite a bit about my faith in Jesus.  God has put on my heart a longing to encourage women right where they are in life and to be a safe place to find love and acceptance.  I long for each woman to find that strength through Him to achieve their dreams in this life.

I am so blessed to have met some wonderful women at church.  I so enjoy the REALNESS of these girls during our weekly bible study and they have no idea how much they've impacted my life.  I truly value each of them.

Recently, we were discussing who in our lives was our Hosea.  You see Hosea never gave up on his wife even though she left him, publicly embarrassed herself and him over and over.  He NEVER gave up.  He NEVER ever stopped loving.

Who saved me?  Who has always been there unwavering even when I didn't deserve it?

A couple of the girls spoke up about their husbands.  I just kept nodding in agreement and couldn't help but hold back my tears…and I am not really the crying at bible study type.  Crying in public makes me a little uncomfortable for some reason.  Anyway, I digress…

I feel 100% that my husband is my Hosea.  I've joked to people at times since J and I got married that I don’t know what God was doing when J and I got together.  Perhaps he was sleeping?  I don’t deserve J in the least.  Not one bit.  Somehow God saw fit to give him to me as my husband and I am so grateful.  Our first year was rough.  You can read about that here.

Honestly my past was a “past”…

I went through that party girl phase.

I was self-absorbed.

I only cared about what I was doing, accomplishing, etc.

wasn't very nice.

J was pretty much perfect.  I was a mess.  I liked to think I was good at hiding it.

I regret that person for the way I treated people I love.  I don’t regret that time though, because I firmly believe that made me who I am and am blessed to share my story in even some small way. 

God redeems.  God loves UNCONDITIONALLY, although I think that much love is almost impossible to fathom. 

I pray to share with my kids one day in a way that teaches so they don’t have to have the rough road to hoe.  Although, to be perfectly honest I've always tended to do things the hard way so I pray.  I pray again & I pray some more that they don’t have that gene. 

I pray their Hosea to find them one day.

You can find me on my blog, shopfacebooktwitter & Instagram.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Setting a Godly Example for Children

Since becoming a mother for the third time it really has changed my perspective on how I parent.

A few days ago it really hit me. I am COMPLETELY responsible for the type of adults my children will become. I am helping form their daily habits, good and bad. I set the standards and examples for what is ok and what is not ok for them.

So, what are my actions teaching them? We all know actions are louder than words.

I want my children to burn for God. Pray even when times aren't going so good and not just when things are going great.

I want them to know that God is ALWAYS there for them and will always provide. Just like when we go to sit on a chair, we never doubt that the chair isn't going break.We are taught that the chair will always hold us. We never question it. I want that to be the way that my kids think of God. That they will NEVER doubt Him. That He will always hold us up even when we want to sit down and quit.

When I think about my actions, it makes me think of how much am I really praying with them and in front of them? What am I speaking to them? What am I speaking over them and how much do I pray for them?

Our words can be so powerful. Speak positively to them and correct them in a loving way. Lift them up, give them compliments and build their self esteem.

Let's look at some scripture about training our children in God's word and ways.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
Deuteronomy 6:6-9 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

Proverbs 13:24 Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

Proverbs 29:17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest; he will give delight to your heart.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

I encourage you to really take a look at the examples you are setting for your kids. I know there a quite a few changes I want to make. I will be trying harder to pray with them more. It is so easy to become busy with life and mommy duties. By the time we get home, make dinner and get the kids ready for bed we can be exhausted! Let us be reminded that it is SO worth it to take a few extra minutes out of your day, sit down with them and pray with them.
Remember we are the ones setting Godly examples for them and God has chosen us as their parents to do so.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Marriage: Leader

This week I am moving on from the wife roles to the husband roles.

The first & second weeks were about respect & forgiveness.

This week...


As a woman, we all crave this in our husbands. The first song that pops into my head is Lead Me by Sanctus Real.

At our ceremony our pastor Adam challenged Chris to this.

Be the leader of your marriage: too many men sit idly back while their wives take charge, there is nothing wrong with a the wife who works, and has many responsibilities but you need to be the leader of your marriage. You need to be the one creating date nights, you need to be the one challenging Tiffany to be a better wife by encouraging her, by loving her. In Genesis 3 after Eve sins and takes the bite of the fruit, God comes looking for Adam because he failed at leading his marriage. God is so happy with you two coming together in marriage but now you are stepping up your responsibility.

Of course I think, well said :) Made me excited hearing this challenge for my almost husband at that point.

1 Corinthians 11:3 -- Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, & the head of the woman is man, & the head of Chris is God.

For me, a strong leader makes it easy to forgive your husband & it makes you want to submit to your husband & Respect him.

If you feel your husband struggles in this area, let it be known that you crave a leader. Don't demand him & say he needs to be a leader because he sucks at it.. That will definitely turn him the wrong way. But just be honest with him, let him listen to that song! It'll stick. I promise.

As wives, we all deserve a strong leader head over ourselves & our family. Do not try to change your husband but ENCOURAGE him!!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Names of God

Have you heard these names of God?  I would love to know them all and what they mean... to be able to pray them regularly.  Aren't they beautiful?!

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Lies We Tell Ourselves - Excerpts From My Journal

Happy Friday!

I have to say I was a little blown away by Kelly's post yesterday... not only was it so well written, but it was exactly what has been on my heart lately!  If you haven't read yesterday's post, I would recommend that you go back and read it - it's not long but it's so relevant.

She did such a fantastic job of explaining how our thoughts can control our lives.  She shared with you a verse from 2 Corinthians which has been a long time favorite of mine: 2 Corinthians 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it more obedient to Christ." 

I too have struggled with anxiety throughout my life and taking thoughts captive is something that my mom taught me to do at a young age.  The bible says that the devil comes to kill, steal and destroy.  He wants to destroy any sense of of peace, joy and comfort that we may have in our lives and he targets our weaknesses by lying to us about the things we fear the most.  John 8:44 says of the enemy: When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  On the contrary it says about God in Hebrews 6:18: It is impossible for God to lie.

As I sit and write, I want to give you an insight into my own thoughts and how I've used God's Truth to counter some of the anxieties/lies that I've believed in my own life.  One of the big ones that used to haunt me in my past was that there was something wrong with me - with the person that I am.  That I wasn't good enough.  I think this is one of the major lies that the enemy tells us.  This lie affected me in so many ways - infiltrated so many area of my life.  I'm currently reading a book called The Five Languages of Apology, written by Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas.  In the last chapter I read, it talked about people who over-apologize.  Oh my, that used to be me!  The second anything went wrong with anyone I was apologizing for it, whether it was my fault or not!  The book suggests that this may be a self-esteem issue and I couldn't agree more.  The moment that anyone got mad at me, the voice inside my head said, "you are bad," "how could you be so stupid?".  Oh those voices, they tormented me.  They whispered to me at times, other times they screamed. This tied into another issue - I always felt I was too sensitive.  I have always felt emotions deeply.  I love deeply, I hurt deeply.  My heart breaks for those who are hurting or in need.  When there is a problem in my relationship with someone I feel it deeply.  The message I got growing up was that I cried to much, that I was too sensitive and that I needed to "get over it".  Again, I didn't feel like I was okay.  I didn't know how to not feel things so deeply so I was never fully comfortable with who I was.

As I look back on some of my journal entries from those days I see where I poured out my heart to God and some of the scriptures that touched my heart during those moments.  I'd like to share a couple with you.

November 2001
What is this that has been chipping at my soul lately? My spirit feels weak, not strong and confident like I want to be.  Nothing in the world seems quite just right.  I find myself questioning everything.  What do I do?  I want to hear your voice so that I can be comforted. I'm not satisfied with the way my life is.  Is this what you want?  Are you trying to teach me something?  God only you can understand how I really feel.  I just wish I knew how to express it.  I envy David, how he wrote all those words in Psalms that were so passionately honest.  I don't know how to express how I feel.

Psalms 77 I cried out to God for help, I cried out to God to hear me.  When I was in distress I sought the Lord; at night I stretched out untiring hands and my soul refused to be comforted...Then I thought to this I will appeal; I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds.

October 2003
...I couldn't help the feeling of fear inside, the reminder, a jolt back to reality. This is life and nothing is for sure except for you Lord.  It is not safe to trust in man because we are all imperfect.  This nagging fear somewhere inside causes me to feel just a little bit desperate...

God's promise: Psalms 62 Find rest oh my soul in God alone, my hope comes from him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  My salvation and honor depend on my God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.

I remember one day years ago like it was yesterday.  I was sitting in church during a time of worship and I suddenly heard a voice inside loud and clear say, "Julie, I made you with a sensitive heart.  You are exactly who I want you to be.  It is a blessing, not a curse."  Those last six words today still grab my heart and cause a lump in my throat.  It was as if a lightbulb went on in my head.  The lie over all of those years that my sensitive heart was a curse was suddenly exposed in the light for exactly what it was - a lie.  The Lord's truth is that my sensitivity is a blessing and that it would be used to bless others as well.  I wrote about this time in my life in my journal:

October 2001
God, you have been teaching me just how valuable I am to you.  I have confidence that I am beautiful, that I have a beautiful spirit.  I sometimes feel that loving people so deeply and being so sensitive is a curse - that it makes me a weak person.  On the contrary, you have been teaching me that it is your blessing/gift to me.  I am not lacking in anything in your eyes and if I am of great worth to you then nothing in the world could mean more to me!  Thank you for these gentle reminders when I need them the most.

1Peter 3:4 Instead it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.  For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful.

Do you have a journal?  I would encourage you to pour out your heart to God.  Maybe a good way to begin to recognize what lies the devil is cursing you with would be to make a simple chart.  It could look like this for example:

Lie: I'm not good enough
Truth: Psalm 139:13 I was created by God in his image
           1John 3:1-3 I am a child of God

Lie: Fear (of harm, the future etc.)
Truth: Psalm 23:4 Even when things are bad, I will fear no evil for he is always with me
           John 14:27 Do not let your hearts be troubled, do not be afraid

When a fear/anxiety/negative thought comes to mind, write it down and begin to look for scriptures that will tell you the truth about it.  You can use the concordance in the back of your Bible to help you with this.  You can look up a specific word, for example, "fear" or "peace" and it will refer you to verses that include those words.

Blessings for a wonderful weekend and please feel free to comment if you have any questions or need any prayer or encouragement!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

The A Word - Part 2

A few weeks ago I shared my struggle with the A word... anxiety. I described some of the thoughts I have, what makes me anxious, and also what verses have put me at ease. I had an overwhelming response from that post from others who share the same struggle, so I wanted to expand a little on it.

I've been reading Power of a Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian along with the study guide. This is a tremendous devotional and I hope to continue reading her other books. But God has been speaking to me in the chapter I'm reading now entitled, "Lord Show Me How To Take Control of My Mind." The first verse mentioned 2 Corinthians 10:5: "We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it more obedient to Christ." 

A few things really captured my attention and I believe God spoke to me through these statements:

1. A huge part of standing against the enemy of our souls is taking control of our minds. And I believe with God, that is completely possible. Paul writes in the Word that we are to take every thought captive. What does that mean? If you know your mind is wandering to things that are not of God, stop it in its tracks. Ask God if it is from Him? If not, ask Him what you should do with it. The enemy will lie about everything he can to get us to question God's Word and truth. Truth = Christ. Lies = The Enemy.

2. You do not have to entertain every thought that comes into your head. YOU HAVE A CHOICE. You have a choice about what you will accept into your mind and what you won't. This led me to what I like to call "Run Away Thoughts". These are what I had mentioned in the post a few weeks ago and here's an example: I rammed into the corner of our new guest room bed. Ended up with a huge bruise on my thigh, which really did hurt. I checked that bruise all the time for its shape, color, size, etc. My thoughts were, what if there's a blood clot underneath. Even two weeks later, it still hurts, and I'm still thinking what-if, still checking, still having anxious thoughts. These, are Run Away Thoughts. One simple thought leads to another which is worse, which leads to another, which leads to pure anxiety. God, teach me to stop these thoughts before they even begin!

3. There is POWER in the name of the Lord! The is POWER in the Word of God! Pray aloud against the enemy. Study and memorize scripture so that you can KNOW God's truth and promises and so that you can use His truth to destroy the lies in your mind. Ask God to help you to discern when the enemy's voice in upon you so that you may take those thoughts captive and release them to God. Don't be deceived by the anxiety, questions, and harmful thoughts in your mind. You have a choice - you don't have to be consumed by lies.

I encourage you to continue reading your Bible on a daily basis. Heck.. I'm encouraging myself. Because I don't do this daily, and I need it. I may know verses by heart and know of God's truth, but I often need to be reminded. I need to seek His spirit of truth daily so that I am prepared against the enemy and his lies. With God's help, I can take control of my mind. I have a choice when it comes to entertaining anxious thoughts, and I KNOW there is power in the name of the Lord!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Just Dance

In a current bible study Julie, Tiffany and I are working on together, we are reading about The Ark of God. (2 Sam 6:1-11)*The Ark of God was Israels National Treasure. A place that the Lord Dwells* In part of our study we came across a scripture I have heard quoted many times. Either it be in songs, sermons or bible studies, we all have heard it. You know the one I am talking about, David dancing before the Lord.

2 Samuel 6:14

King James Version (KJV)
14 And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod. (cloth/apron worn for religious ceremonies)

I especially love this verse because I LOVE worship. I love to watch the church congregation receive their blessings. I love the feeling I myself get during worship. Worship can be life changing...

When I was 13, I attended a church youth camp up in the mountains. TONS of kids went. From ages
7-18. I tell you was some of the best worship I had ever been involved in. I had the opportunity to be involved in the junior choir and we sang during the night services (every night). The worship was so powerful. It still gives me goose bumps thinking back at the swift move of God during worship.

Still to this day...I am a hot.mess.after.worship. Mascara drippings, half of my makeup gone, tear stains on my collar...a wreck. But that is my time to let it all go. Raise my hands...surrender it all to him.

Tiffany, Teryn and I attend the same church. There is this one gentlemen who is so AWESOME during worship service. His attitude is JUST DANCE! He spins, he leaps, he claps, he shouts, he fist pumps, he MOONWALKS. I mean this dude is all sorts of inspiring to me. When I see him during worship...I think of 2 Sam 6:14...and David danced before the lord with all his MIGHT.

If you think about it...we shout and dance at a concert, in the clubs, at weddings. We shout and dance for a touch down. We shout and dance over a winning lotto. (never happened for me, but hey some people are that lucky) Isn't he worthy of our praise?

In our study Beth Moore states:
"I'm not sure we will ever be released to fully "dance" before the Lord until we've learned to wail." 

Psalm 30:11-12

New International Version (NIV)
11 You turned my wailing into dancing;
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,
12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent.
Lord my God, I will praise you forever.
In text, she is talking about David dancing before the Lord even after Uzzahs death. He may not of understood Gods reasoning for the circumstances he was facing, but through those circumstances he learned to understand God.

"I will celebrate and dance before the Lord,
whether or not my FAMILY does,
whether or not my FRIENDS do,
whether or not this NATION does, I will CELEBRATE!"
Just dance!
Everybody loves to dance.



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Always Trust God

Over the past year I struggled with fully trusting God. It's not that I didn't trust Him, it's just that I was questioning His plans for my life. I was in a hard place. I didn't know what to think about what was happening and what He was asking me to do. I couldn't see the end result, the future. I only saw the now.

Let me be completely honest here. About a year ago I had a dream from God. He was telling me to take a leap of faith and have another baby. I was left with the question "why?" I didn't understand. In my fleshly mind I was completely done having kids.  Not that I won't love that baby with all my heart, it's just that I wasn't trusting.

So after much prayer and not knowing how to feel I asked God to make it so obvious  to me. God was asking and I had to say YES. Weeks went by and I still struggled with this leap of faith. Then one night I had another dream. I felt like I was going crazy. It's all I could think about. I started to get frustrated. Saying YES was so life changing that I just wasn't ready for it. I was in a whirlwind. Was I going to obey God's requests or say no? How can you say NO to Him?

A few more weeks went by and God gave me a third dream. God told me Party of Five, and a few days later I found out I was pregnant, making our family a party of five! I knew I had to trust, but why was it so hard for me? I never struggled with this before. After much prayer I finally realized why I was struggling. It was because of the unknown!

Fast forward 9 months.

As soon as I looked at her for the first time I praised God and asked for forgiveness for not trusting. I had let the enemy get into my head with "what ifs."She was happy and healthy. God created her perfectly in His image.

Why did I even question his plan in the first place? He always know what we need and want more than we know it.

Now that she is here, I couldn't imagine my life without her. I love her with all my heart.

With spilling my heart to you, I hope that you know that you should ALWAYS trust Jesus and God's plan even when it is hard. Learn from me that everything is going to be OK! Nothing catches God by surprise. He already knows what tomorrow is going to bring because tomorrow is already the past for Him.

Trust in Him even if you don't understand why.

Just trust. ALWAYS trust and never question and you won't be dissapointed.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Marriage: Forgive

Last week I discussed Respect in a marriage & this week I will discuss Forgiving in a marriage.

I think forgiveness is a touchy subject & in a marriage it can be even harder because that's the person you see every day. You may have to look at them each & every day & forgive them for something they have done.

But also remember - your husband may be doing the same thing.

Forgiveness is a battle, an ongoing battle. I wrote an entire post over forgiveness but not specifically in a marriage.


A challenge again this week for the wives.

At our wedding our pastor read this challenge specifically to me.

Forgive - in marriage there are times where you will need to forgive. Forgiveness is an important tool in marriage. God calls us to forgive one another. There will be moments in your marriage where you will need to forgive Chris. When we forgive one another its a letting go and not bringing it up, many times that is so hard to do. Strive to make forgiveness happen in your marriage.

Forgive the small things, forgive the big things. Remember God forgives you OVER and OVER for the things you repeat. Your spouse is bound to repeat his mistakes. But be Love as God shows love & compassion to you.

Maybe the spark of repeated forgiveness will start to reflect in your husband.

Ephesians 4:32 -- Be kind & compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Your challenge this week -- strive to forgive, forgive & forgive. God will give you the strength to.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Special Day

Mark 10:16
Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them.

Last weekend we had the opportunity to dedicate our son Weston (8 mos old) to the Lord at a special Saturday brunch that our church held.  It was such a special day for our family and I want to share it with you! 
A parent-child dedication is a special time where the parents stand together with their pastor, family and friends to publicly commit to pray for their child, love their child and raise their children to know the Lord. This is something that took place in the Bible - Jesus himself was dedicated!
In Luke chapter 2, Jesus was dedicated to the Lord at just 8 days old...
Luke 2:21-22 Eight days later, when the baby was circumcised, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel even before he was conceived. Then it was time for their purification offering, as required by the law of Moses after the birth of a child; so his parents took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. 
In 1 Samuel, Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord...
1 Samuel 1:27 I asked the Lord to give me this boy, and he has granted my request. Now I am giving him to theLord, and he will belong to the Lord his whole life.” And they worshiped the Lord there.
When our son Wyatt was two we had him dedicated as well.  What a precious time both dedications were to us as parents and to our families!  I am so thankful that our families have committed to standing beside us as we raise our children in a Godly home.  We understand that we can't force our childrens' faith or salvation.  God gave each of us a choice who we will follow in our lives and that is our childrens' right as well.  But you'd better believe that I will teach my children about His love, His forgiveness and His sacrifice to us.  I will do my best to live my life as an example of my faith to them and lay a foundation for them that they can build on when they are old enough to make their own choices.
Check out the 10 Commandments to Parents below, I thought it was neat!

My sweet boy (sorry about the closed eyes!)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day & Giveaway ***WINNER***

(source unknown)
He is the best Valentine's anyone could ask for!
If you think that you are alone today...he is true love.
Happy Valentines Day beautiful reader!
You are LOVED!
Thank you all who entered in our FIRST ever Giveaway here on GOGH!
You are amazing!
Are you ready for the winner?
Here she is...
*************Abbey Harris ***********
Please email us at 
to claim your prize.
Happy Valentine's Day to all!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Spiritual Religion Vs. Godly

It is not a secret that Satan is after the Church. He wants to see us fall. One way he will do that is with spiritual bait. Oh yes...Satan is very knowledgeable and active in your church. We think just because we attend church, hang out with church people, dress like we go to church and sing on the praise team, we are safe from Satan's schemes within the church. Beloved, he has some of the church members by the throats. Why, because we lack wholeness. We have never fully allowed God to perform his miraculous work IN US. Sanctifying us through and through.

When I was growing up, my parents belonged to a church where most{not all} of the members were out of control. As a kid I could see it. What appeared to be holy (spiritual) on the outside was not so holy on the inside. Satan had a hold of so many members. They stuck to the church "rules" dressed appropriately, sang what they were supposed to, prayed how they were supposed to. They had a outward "spiritual" appearance. As I became of age I knew in my heart what I was accustomed to was not right. I had to establish my own "Godly" relationship with God...outside of that church. I wanted a relationship with God and not a religion. It may have took me longer then it should but eventually I learned how to have a relationship and not a spiritual religion.

What I learned from going to church as a kid; being spiritual about Christian things does not make you Godly. With all my heart I want to be Godly.

I am going to try and not be too wordy, because I will lose you. I feel that this is a topic some need to hear. With the world we live in today, we have come accustomed to leading Spiritual lifestyles. SO....

Let's define the two terms:

Spiritual: of or pertaining to the spirit or soul, as distinguished from the physical nature: a spiritual approach to life.
A spiritual approach to Church only on Sundays or maybe holidays. Partaking in Spiritual rituals. Tiffany also brought it to my attention that "Karma" is another example. What goes around comes around. That is spiritual thinking. Not to mention certain Spiritual "items" can become idols.
What does the bible say about idols? (an idol can be anything you put before God)

Exodus 20:1-15 ESV    
And God spoke all these words, saying, “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, ...

Leviticus 26:1         
“You shall not make idols for yourselves or erect an image or pillar, and you shall not set up a figured stone in your land to bow down to it, for I am the Lord your God.

Godly: conforming to the laws and wishes of God; devout; pious. Conforming...talking with /to God daily. Being of good measure. Performing Gods work within your life. Being a witness. Living as is God was standing right beside you. He is after all. Remember that saying...what would Jesus do? Being Godly is performing your every day tasks with his guidance and will over your life.

After reading through the different definitions of Spiritual and Godly, where do you think you are? Where would you like to be?

The bible also talks about false prophets being deeply Spiritual and not Godly. My biggest fear is falling under the schemes of a false prophet. Someone who appears to be spiritual, but is lacking the godly integrity. How do we know?

By being of Godly character ourselves. Keeping that open communication with God. Daily prayer and devotions. Cross reference what you are being taught with the actual WORD of God.

Even a believer can pose as righteous and spiritual. It is up to us to seek out God and strive for that Godly relationship with the Lord. Being Spiritual is an outward show for all to see. Just as a Religion is thought to be. Being Godly is a relationship. Which is what God looks at on Judgment Day.

2 Cor 11:14-15 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.

I think after growing up in the kind of Church that I did and seeing and hearing all the stuff that went on, it turned me sour to religion/God for quite some time. It wasn't until I was well into my adulthood that I sought after God for myself. I have learned to cross reference sermons with the actual word. Listen to what God is telling me and establish that Godly relationship that he desires us to have. I am far from being Godly, as I am human and sin. But I am not where I used to be. It took a bad experience for me to realize the difference between Spiritual and Godly. I pray that if you are stuck in a similar place or position as I begin to really study the word and seek Gods face. He will give you the revelation that you need. He desires all your attention, your whole heart and wants to reward your for your faithful stewardship.

John 4:23 ESV    
But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Religion got in the way

Today, we have a special guest writing for us, Mimi!

MiMi is a very proud mommy of 2 boys. When she's not embarrassing herself with potty humor and awkwardness you can find her blogging about it at Living in France or with her hands covered in glitter and Mod Podge while she tries to craft. She's also set a goal to finish the Bible in a year or less. Currently she is in Romans. At the end of the day when she's done being awesome you can find her with her nose in a book.
blog // twitter // etsy // facebook


So here's the deal with me. Ya see, I don't speak with much knowledge about God. I don't have quotes, psalms, passages or anything from the Bible memorized. I haven't even read it all the way through. In fact I just recently started attending church regularly. As in, last year. I had quit going for about 12 years. There were lots of reasons why, and I don't want to blab too much about the negative environment at this prior church, but it was one of the principal reasons I decided to quit. Oh, and also, I was too lazy to get up early on the weekends. Do you get what happened there? With the quitting of the church? Think of this:
Religion got in the way.
I know it sounds weird. But there are so many religions with so many rules and ideas about the best way to come to God.I think they sometimes forget that the business end of church is not what church is about. And that the only way to come to God is through Jesus. Religion doesn't buy you a ticket into heaven. Clean living doesn't get you in. You can't squeak in by the skin of your teeth because your will states that all your money goes to the poor. Recently, I had an acquaintance say something astonishing to me. She said, "MiMi, I just don't understand why you are attending church now...I've been trying to convert you to Christian for years." This felt like a blow to me. Like she had punched me in the gut. She may as well have said, "MiMi, I just don't understand why you have two eyes a nose and a mouth." I was insulted, indignant, mad, sad, all of those things. Finally I stammered out with tears in my eyes that I am Christian. I don't remember a time in my life where I didn't know Jesus. It made me think, though. What about my life said to her that I wasn't Christian? And I really thought about it. I didn't just get indignant and walk away and forget it. I've been pondering this question for weeks. In fact, this is the first time I'm really talking about it because I've just been holding it for a while. I decided that there were reasons, for sure, why she would think I'm not a Christian. From her point of view, and her legalistic philosophy of the Bible, of course she thinks I'm not a Christian. No matter that we discussed the Bible, God, Jesus, everything about Christianity and I had said many times I was a Christian, I guess I didn't show it. Here's the rub though: Some peoples' view of a Christian is flat out whacked. Completely insane. There's a difference between being a Christian and being a good Christian. Or even a mediocre Christian. I have not always been a good Christian, but I have always been a Christian. Heck, some days I struggle really hard to be a mediocre one.
But I do know this:
Because I cut my hair short and dye it doesn't make me not a Christian.
Because I sometimes (or a lot) cuss, does not make me not a Christian.
If I'm covered in tattoos and drink beer, it doesn't mean I'm not a Christian.
If I think you can drink wine with communion instead of juice, it doesn't mean I'm not a Christian.
If I have to fight the urge to punch the dude behind me in line at they grocery store because he is irritated waiting for me to check out and makes a sigh into a 3 syllable noise, that does not make me not a Christian.
If I wear makeup and have my ears pierced, that doesn't mean I'm not a Christian.
Because I like loud rock 'n roll doesn't mean I'm not a Christian.
Because I read, eat junk food, laugh when people fall down...still doesn't make me not a Christian.
I recently read something that went like this: When I say I'm a Christian I'm not announcing that I'm clean living or better than you. I'm saying that I'm a sinner and I know that Jesus died for my sins. That's all. And that's everything!! No matter what religion you are...don't let it get in the way! There is one person between you and God and he sits at God's right hand, waiting for you. Waiting for me. Although, I'm sure he wants me to clean up my language before I get there. I saw this video the other day and it reminded me of the one who thought I wasn't a Christian. Click here to view. It's a little over a minute long, and it's hilarious, definitely worth watching if you like tongue in cheek humor. Now, I don't know if this post makes any sense whatsoever. It looks nothing like what I originally planned. My thoughts ran away with my keyboard, I guess. I just wanted to put it out there...what I believe. I am a sinner. But I am saved.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Marriage: Respect

So I am the "newlywed" of the bunch & during our ceremony I basically stood their in awe at what was being said during MY ceremony.

I had never thought anything sounded more beautiful & perfect at any other wedding I had been to. Of course it being my own I may be a little one sided..

We flew to Mexico to have our ceremony & reception. Of course it was not "legal" but as a commitment to God & my husband, it was more real to me than what I could ever imagine.

My husband made the decision he wanted a longtime friend, Adam, now a pastor, to marry us. I didn't know Adam but of course if Chris wanted him to marry us, I did too. 

I had been around Adam once or twice before, but when he got to Mexico I immediately liked him. We ate lunch one day together to "plan" the ceremony & how I wanted it to go.

He brought the idea to me of "challenges" he wanted to give me as wife, Chris as a husband, us as a couple, & our family & friends as witnesses. 

I thought to myself, challenges.. Sounds challenging. But why not!! He didn't tell me what the challenges were beforehand & boy was I glad he didn't. When I heard them for the first time, like I said.. I was in awe.

This week I am going to start by challenging the girls - as wives. 


You hear this word everywhere, but the most important form of respect is told to us by God Himself. This word in itself is an extreme challenge. A challenge that I somewhat battle with & Chris will be here firsthand to tell you, it's true. I try my best to respect Chris & his wishes, his demands, his wants, his needs.. As all of us wives do, we try but after awhile sometimes we just throw up our hands & say I AM DONE. I want to do it THIS way & TOUGH. We've all been there. I know you have.

But as a Godly Woman - that is NOT how I want to portray myself. I want to live the way God wants me to live. And most importantly He wants to respect who He has chosen to be my husband.

Adam stated these words at our ceremony - Tiffany: Respect Chris - you have a unique voice to encourage, build up, and strengthen! Ask any married man in here, that when his wife gives him a bit of encouragement the man feels like he can do anything! So use your unique voice to respect Chris inside your marriage. Most men need more encouraging in their lives, so let your marriage be strengthened by your words to Him. Speak well of Chris around your friends and family don't allow yourself to tear down your husband for a quick laugh or propping up of yourself. When you speak well of your husband to others you can honor and respect him without him even knowing it! 

Now - who wants to sit back & say WOW? Because I know after rereading that I sit here & I am instantly back at the ceremony listening to it for the very first time being like HE NAILED IT!!

Ephesians 5:33b -- And the wife must respect her husband. 

1 Peter 3:1 -- Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives.

Proverbs 25:24 -- Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. 

I challenge you this week to take 1 of these 4 verses OR ALL 4, write them on a notecard & carry them around with you wherever you go. Bite your tongue, fill your mouth with His Word & full out respect your husbands this week. Even if you don't agree, go out on a limb & do it his way all week long. 
Next week I will be talking about being a wife & forgiving. 

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole

I decided to give you some food for soul, but literal food. I figured Sunday would be a good day because that gives you ALL week to plan to make it :)

This recipe has been a HUGE hit with my family & friends. 

Loaded Baked Potato & Chicken Casserole
Potatoes mixed in bowl of sauce
Bake the potatoes
Marinate chicken in left over sauce
Mix toppings together in a separate bowl
Add chicken on top of the potatoes then the toppings
Finished product
Serve it up with a little sour cream, ranch or hot sauce!
2lbs chicken breast
8 potatoes
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS fresh Ground Pepper
1 TBS Paprika
2 TBS Garlic Powder
6 TBS Hot Sauce
2 cups Shredded Cheese
1 cup crumbled Bacon
1 cup diced Green Onion

 Preheat oven 500F
In a large bowl mix Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Paprika, Garlic Powder & Hot Sauce
Cube the potatoes & add to the bowl
Coat a 9x13 dish with cooking spray
Add potatoes, allow for excess sauce in the bowl
Bake the potatoes for 45 minutes, stir every 15 minutes
Cube the chicken & add it to the bowl with the left over sauce
Mix together cheese, bacon & green onion in a small separate bowl
Once potatoes are done, add the uncooked marinated chicken
Then layer the toppings over the chicken
Bake for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked