Wednesday, November 11, 2015

God's Amazing Grace

God's grace is awesome!!!

Sometimes in our Christian world it can be hard to see God's grace through all the law we pile on ourselves.  I've been involved in a study on Jacob recently.  As I've been studying the story, I've found a story about God's amazing grace in spite of and in the middle of Jacob's shortcomings.  Jacob had a wrestling encounter with God that ended his journey of being identified as a deceiver and started his journey of identifying with God and His grace.  Jacob still deceived, but it wasn't his identity anymore.

Of course that wasn't the focus of the study.  We ended up examining our every action and motive because it might be sin and we need to get rid of it if any shred of sin can be found.  Some of the women were really laboring over this.  Oh my.  I tried to insert some comments of grace into the discussion but I don't think they were well received.  I'm not writing this to belittle the others at all.  They just haven't had the same revelation about grace that I've had.  I wish that all of God's children could fully embrace God's grace.

Anyway, I'm glad I did the study because through my own study of the story God's grace and greatness became even stronger to me.  It was just a great reminder to me that everything we read in the Bible has to be seen through the lens of grace and the blood of Jesus.  The one thought that I keep having as I finish this study is this.  If I ever start making God's Word more about my sin instead of God's grace and greatness, then heaven help me because I will have missed the whole point.  I don't need to agonize over my every move, wondering if I'm sinning or not.  God will straighten out anything that needs fixed, and He will do it gently.  He might even let a donkey talk to me. My job is to have a heart for God and keep my eyes on Him, not me.

I love living in the joy and freedom that Jesus paid such a high price for me to have.  I am free to live unencumbered and I'm so thankful.  His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.


Winning Words

Then Jesus said, "Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you.  Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, October 19, 2015

Order and Chaos

Have you ever sat through a program, concert, or sermon that's all over the place?  It's hard to make sense of it because there's no theme to provide cohesiveness.  I'm an orderly person and something like that is hard for me to sit through.  I usually leave trying to make some sense out of it, but if it doesn't happen in about 5 minutes I just put it in the 'lost cause' bin. I don't want to spend time trying to make sense out of someone else's chaos.

Or how about when someone redecorates their house and they go to the store and buy everything they like but nothing goes together.  I've seen homes like that, haven't you?  Many of them are also cluttered, but even if they aren't cluttered they still look like they are. I'm a pretty organized person.  I believe that everything should not only go together but also have a place and a purpose, even if that purpose is just to decorate. You won't find a jumbled up junk drawer in my home, but there's still always room for improvement like putting away the pile of books by my chair.

And then there are some artists.  I know that a lot of people love mixed media fiber art, but I'm not one of them.  I look at a piece of fabric with trim, thread strands, beads, fabric scraps, and every other leftover craft item attached to the fabric, and while others are raving over the beautiful 'creativeness' I look at it and say, "What a mess!"

I was reading the creation story last week about how God turned chaos into His creation.  Everything went together perfectly.  Perfect cohesion.  I've been thinking about how we sometimes think that creativeness is chaotic.  That couldn't be further from the truth. God created with perfect orderliness and purpose. He set the example. Being deliberate, planning, and executing something with precision and purpose is simulating God. Sloppiness and just throwing something together is not. A week later I'm still realizing all the areas of my life that would benefit from a little more order, purpose, and cohesiveness.  Excellence.  God took chaos and created order.  Then He declared that it was good.


Winning Words

"Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!"
Genesis 1:31a NLT


Sometimes I get myself in trouble and this post may be one of those times.  My examples in this post were simply generalizations.  They were not pointed at anyone in particular.  Just to clarify, I have a wonderful pastor who delivers very organized sermons. In my post A Tree Fence (Sort Of) I wrote that for me this year has been about getting back on track, taking care of business, and getting things in order.  Much like a financial professional will see money matters when they read the Bible, at this point in my journey I have been seeing planning and organization. Although I'm an organized person, I am far from perfect in this area. We are all at different places in our journey.

Every morning I drive to the mall near my home to walk.  I thought I would be walking with all senior citizens but I was surprised to find people of all ages.  When I first started I thought it was great when I could pass the 85 year old with a walker. I've come a long way since then, but I still don't pass the woman pumping her arms like crazy and skipping a few steps once in a while to keep herself from breaking into a run.  We have the same ultimate goal - exercise - but we're at different stages. I think that Christians with a heart for God have the same goal - pleasing God - but we're at different stages.

Let me finish with this thought. Last week in Bible study I was asked to read Hebrews 10:19-22.
"And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven's Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus.  By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place.  And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God's house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ's blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water."
Then the leader asked what that means to us.  The first thing that came to my mind is that we can stand before God and He sees us as clean.  He isn't out to get us. He doesn't condemn us. Our condemnation comes from us, not God, and we don't have to have a guilty conscience.  Christ already paid the price to get rid of it.  All of the women sitting around the table seemed to identify with what I was saying. We are our worst critic.

We're all on a journey and we're all at different places in that journey. God doesn't condemn His children although He may convict us through the Holy Spirit.  I believe without a doubt that God appreciates excellence.  So do I.  But there is no condemnation from God, or from me, toward someone who is at a different place in their journey.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A New Machiine!

There's a new sewing machine in my sewing room!  A few weeks ago Amazon had this machine as the Deal of the Day.  How could I not get it?  I think my husband rolled his eyes a few times but he never said anything so all is good.  It's the Singer Fashion Mate and I love it.  I don't think I would want it as my only machine, but it's great as a 2nd machine.  My heavy duty machine is great at some things and the Fashion Mate is great at some things, so together they make a perfect pair.  It's also nice to have 2 machines if  I'm making something like jeans that have a lot of topstitching with a different thread.  I can sew them together with one machine and topstitch with the other so I don't have to keep changing thread.

I haven't been making clothes for myself lately.  I've made pajamas for Brie, I'm working on covers for the sewing machines and serger, and I've been making finished quilt squares.  The women's ministry India team at church is going to use the squares for a project they're taking on a mission trip in the near future. I'm so glad that I can help out in this way.

I haven't been making myself clothes because I'm hoping to lose this weight I've gained first.  My son had this fitness tracker and he gave it to me.  I love it!  I walk every morning.  I walked 4 miles this morning and as you can see I'm already not far from my 10,000 steps a day goal.  No problem making the goal today.  I can even sit and sew for a while.


God Is Sew Good

I walk 6 days a week and every morning I start my walk by listening to Psalm 91 and Psalm 92.  It makes it easy for me to live in God's rest for the remainder of the day.  The promises in these two psalms are really powerful.  I find myself praying many of the verses in these psalms over my family throughout the day.

"Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high because he has known My name."  Psalm 91:14

"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon."  Psalm 92:12

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Salmon Patties/Salmon Cakes

Do you have a food from your childhood that you haven't seen for a long time and completely forgot about? We live in a world of fast food burgers and french fries, and the way we eat has changed a lot since I was a kid.

Recently I was at Sam's Club and  I saw some cans of salmon.  It reminded me that my mom used to make salmon patties all the time when I was a kid.  I don't eat much seafood, but this was one thing that I liked.  I have no idea how my mom made them, but I've been playing around with ingredients and I've come up with a recipe that tastes pretty similar to the ones my mom used to make.

Salmon Patties


7 oz. can of salmon (I used the one from Sam's Club.)
1/3 cup bread crumbs (I used panko bread crumbs.)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons oil (I used canola.)
1/2 tsp. dried dillweed


1.  Mix everything together.

2.  Make 4 patties.

3.  Put them in an oiled pan on medium heat.

4.  Turn them when they are browned.


Monday, August 10, 2015


All through the Old Testament God tells the Israelites to remember what He's done in the past.  It builds our faith and makes us stronger when we can look back at what God has done for us in the past.  Although God is always doing things on my behalf, I have several times that stick out in my mind that I will probably always remember.  I thought I would share one of those stories.

It was about 16 years ago and we were living in Flint, Michigan at the time.  My mom decided that she would go with Brie and me to pick up Travis from kindergarten, and then she would take us out to lunch.  We picked up Travis and then went to a nearby Wendy's.  
We ordered our food and had just sat down at our table when a man at a nearby table jumped up and yelled, "He has a gun and he's coming this way!" 
Everyone looked out the window and sure enough, two men were running across the Home Depot parking lot next door, and one of them was waving a gun in the air.  They were headed toward Wendy's.   
People started demanding that the doors be locked, but they were on some kind of automatic timer and the manager couldn't lock them.  The manager saw that I was the only one with small children and she whisked us into the bathroom to hide while everyone else took cover behind the condiment counter. 

I knelt down to eye level with my kids who were extremely frightened by this time, and I said, "God will protect us.  We need to pray."  We quickly prayed for the safety of everyone, and we prayed that the gun wouldn't even be able to come into Wendy's even though the doors couldn't be locked. 
A few minutes later the manager came to the bathroom door and told us the danger was over and we could come out.  I walked out of the bathroom and looked out the window.  On the sidewalk in front of the window, a man was tackled to the ground about 5 feet from the door, and the police were arriving.   
My kids were very little, just 5 years old and 3 years old, but they both knew that God kept everyone safe, and He didn't even let the gun come into Wendy's.


Winning Words

"Remember His marvelous works which He has done, His wonders, and the judgments of His mouth"  I Chronicles 16:12