Monday, March 31, 2014

New Studies and a Fabulous Recipe!

The Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies'  Gap Study that I have been involved with the past three weeks (actually three months) is over and I miss it already. To help fill the void, I joined Good Morning Girls' Why Easter Matters study. I am getting ready to dig into that study later this morning. Next up will be the P31 OBS "Living So That" by Wendy Blight study. This looks to be an excellent study and I am anxious for that to get going. I encourage you to go the website and click on the Online Bible Studies tab for more information and to sign up.

I am spending the day at home with my little guy. He has been running a fever so I kept him home from school. That gives me a little more time to do some around the house tasks that I never seem to get done! As a treat, I am finishing up my hubby's laundry. He generally washes his own clothes because they come home so dirty and greasy from work. I was going to wash my windows, but it looks like it is going to rain sooner than the weatherman predicted, so that will have to wait. I have finished planning our evening meal and am thinking about the rest of the week. We really need to butcher! I am just about out of beef! That never happens, so that means I have done a pretty good job of planning our meals out of the freezer the past year! Speaking of food, check out the newest Jensen family favorite - Mac & Cheese. No, not your normal everyday, run of the mill mac & cheese, but fabulous yummy melt in your mouth mac & cheese. The recipe is below:

Mac & Cheese

1/2 of a 1-pound package of penne pasta, cooked and drained
1 jar (14.5 oz) Prego flavored with savory bacon alfredo sauce
1/2 of a 1 oz package of ranch salad dressing mix (I used Hidden Valley Ranch.)
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Stir the pasta, sauce, dressing mix and half of the shredded cheese in a large bowl. Spoon into an 8x8 baking dish. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until the mixture is hot and bubbly.

We decided that this was an absolute must keep recipe. We are going to make it again and add left over cubed chicken from the freezer. Add a garden or fruit salad and some garlic bread and you have a complete meal.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

So Long, Fear!

See that Fear? All that underlining and notes and stuff? Did you notice where it says STOP? Did ya?

I am, once and for all, kicking my fear of rejection to the curb! One of the verses I am using to do that is Philippians 4:6-7. The picture above shows my verse mapping for it. No, I didn't do it in June of last year, I did it today. I used the camera at the preschool and we don't have the date set on it! ANYWAY....
I will take you through it a little at a time. "Do not" translates as STOP. (I actually wrote 'as in STOP!'). I need to stop letting fear grab me and lead me away from God.

When I got to "anxious" I looked at my study Bible (NIV) and the notes said self-centered, counter-productive worry (fear). I don't know about you, but I can certainly be self-centered at times, maybe more than I should be. Allowing my fear of rejection to be in control is certainly counter-productive to living a God-filled life.

"...anything" to me means big and/or small stuff, "everything" as in all were my next insights. This was followed by "prayer, and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God."  God hears my prayers, both said and unsaid. I went to the note section again and found that thanksgiving along with prayer and petition are the antidote to worry (or fear). The notes went on to say that "Anxiety and prayer are two great opposing forces in Christian experience." Wow! Anxiety can lead me away from God and my prayer life or I can use prayer to combat my anxiety! When we take all our cares, worries, etc. to God during our prayer time, we leave them with God and worry about them no more. Just dump them write there and walk away.

"And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Peace brings to mind contentment and tranquility. A quiet pond with lilies floating on top is what I think of when I hear the word "tranquility." There is so much about God that He doesn't want us to know and my understanding of Him is minute. Transcend is to go beyond my ability to understand, but even so, I trust Him and believe in Him. Around the word "guard" I drew what is supposed to be like a fortress or strong tower because that is the image that popped into my head. I didn't draw a sentry standing outside the door, but there was one of those in my image too.  God guards and protects me 24/7 my entire life. ADT can't even do that!

My hope is that you have been able to "kick fear to the curb" once and for all or are on the way there. Blessings as you continue down the path God has laid out before you!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Got Courage?

As I am writing this, the house is quiet. I am home alone, a rarity for sure. Abie is spending the night at her BFF's house and my husband took Wyatt out riding on the quads at Solon. It is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and melting away the last of the snow piles in my backyard. Thank you, God, for Spring!

Time to focus on the task at hand - do I see myself as a woman of good courage? Do I have the courage of Joshua? What a wonderful example he is! He fully believed in God,  trusted Him beyond all measure, did exactly what God asked of him and was successful! It was the power of God that delivered Jericho into the hands of the Israelites.

I can be courageous when it is something I am familiar with or comfortable with, but then is that really being courageous? Realistically, if I am faced with something that takes me outside my comfort zone, courage flees me at an alarming rate.

Why? Why do I let my courage falter? I am sure some of it is a control issue (Yep, I'm working on letting go and letting God!), but the majority of the blame falls on the "What ifs...". What if I mess up; what if people laugh or make fun of me; dear Lord, what if I'm successful, then what?!

I learned through the study this week that, just like everything else, it all come back to God, my loving and forgiving Father. I need to surround myself with prayer warriors (who said I have to do this on my own?), dig deeper into God's Word and let His presence fill me and pray, pray, pray! God is always with me (Psalm 23). He loves me (1 John 4:8) and He forgives me (1 John 1:9). Truths directly from the Bible that are applicable to my life and yours. Is it always going to be easy to "be of good courage?" NO! In my Concordia Self-Study Bible (NIV), the notes say for Matthew 4 that "God tests his people, but it's the devil how tempts us to evil (fears).

Without God we can accomplish nothing; we are nothing. God can accomplish many amazing things through us if we have courage to believe and trust in God above all things. Remember, sweet sisters, as we work to overcome our fears

  "I can do all things through him who gives me strength." ~ Philippians 4:13.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Kicking Fear to the Curb

Wow! What a first week of the "Kicking Fear to the Curb" Gap Study! I have enjoyed completing the assignments and reading the comments of my fellow sisters. Our 2nd assignment had us looking at six verses from God's Word:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Philippians 4:13
2 Timothy 1:7
Joshua 1:9
Isaiah 41:10
Deuteronomy 31:6

Some of the verses were ones I was familiar with, while others were new. I have decided through reading these verses that fear is a tool that Satan uses to separate us from God. He loves nothing more than watching us believe the fallacies and lies he whispers in our ears and marks on our hearts.

To overcome our fears, no matter what they may be, we must turn to our loving Father. The Bible is full of verses that encourage us to trust in and depend on Him. He gives us weapons to combat our fears. He will give us the strength and courage, if we only let Him. He will be with us every step of the way. He will remove obstacles in our way. Do not lack confidence fellow sisters.

"For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline."  
 2 Timothy 1:7