Sunday, March 31, 2013

Verse of the week

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sanctification Challenge week 4

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV
Our only goal in life is to emulate Jesus and to reflect more of the character of God. If we are a new creation in Jesus then we became the righteousness of God. It is time to show it more.

If you have been faithful in doing each and every weekly challenge you are one step closer to where you need to be. And I pray that we will all be able to continue to challenge ourselves to keep those new habits.

Here are the links to the past 3 challenges:
week one
week two
week three

We started our journey at the foot of the cross and we are ending our journey at the foot of the cross. On this Good Friday, let's spend some time there and reflect on what would make any person suffer so much. Let's reflect on His character.

There are no shortcuts on learning more about God's character. We need to read His word, His promises, His warnings and make it our own. For the purpose of this challenge we are going to focus on just a few characteristics.

God is just.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18
 God forgives
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him! Psalm 130:4
 God is good.
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him. Psalm 34:8
 God is love
For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God is patient
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9
God is slow to anger
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. Psalm 103:8
God is faithful
May God Himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and He will do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

So for our final challenge we will display those qualities each day.
Here is a printout to help you keep track of your progress.

We would also LOVE to hear from you and how this sanctification challenge has motivated you to become a better person.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

As for me and my house....

“As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua 24:15

    This statement by Joshua came at the end of a long and fruitful life. Joshua was not a king, nor a judge or a prophet. He was a soldier, who gave his life to God. He was in the desert with Moses, he defeated the Amorites. He crossed the Jordan River into the promised land. He conquered Jericho. If you went to church as a kid, those are your Sunday School lessons.
    Joshua knew firsthand the power of God. He knew to obey and serve Him. When Joshua made that statement he was talking to all the Israelites and reminding them of who they were serving. At Shechem he renewed the covenant.
    Joshua was a leader by example. When he declared “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”, he was not only referring to his close family but also to everybody in his household and his sphere of influence. The rest of the people declared right there and then that they too would not forsake God and that they would serve Him. They knew that Joshua meant what he said because he lived it everyday.
    What I find the most fascinating about this passage is how the story ends.
“Israel served the Lord throughout the Lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel.”
Joshua 24:31
What a testimony that is to Joshua and how he lived his life.
    How we live our lives will influence people in our family and our community. We do not need to preach to convert. We need to live it.
    Will you stand today and say, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Sanctification week 3 Challenge

When I look at a baby I smile.
When I look at the ocean it brings me peace.
When I look at my husband I am filled with love.
When I look at the cross I am filled with awe.
When I look at refugee camps I am filled with sadness.
When I look at torture camps I am frightened and cringe.

 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eyes are healthy, your whole body also is full of light. But when they are unhealthy, your body also is full of darkness. Luke 11:34

What we look out influences how we feel and what we think. The movies we watch, the books we read, the company we keep. Jesus warned us that our eyes are the lamp of our body. How much sadness, depression could be avoided if we choose to look at something positive. How many sins could be prevented if we choose not to read that book or watch that TV show.

This week we are challenging you every day to make a list of the following things:
  • something true
  • something noble
  • something right
  • something pure
  • something lovely
  • something admirable
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4:8-9
You might be wondering how you can avoid looking at things that do not fall in those categories and I do agree that it is not always possible. However more often than not we can choose to look at things that are good. It will not come easy at first but with time it will become second nature. 
Part of the sanctification  process is to turn away from sin and choose better things to focus on. 

Take the challenge and change your life!

Below is a document that you can print out and use to write down what you choose to see.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Easter Buns

One of my favorite Easter recipe is the Easter Buns. Easy, yummy and a crowd pleaser. There are may recipes out there. This one is from

  • 1 cup warm milk (105°–115°F.)
  • two 1/4-ounce packages (5 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons superfine granulated sugar
  • Picture courtesy of

    I usually only uses raisins in my recipe but do feel free to substitute any other dried fruits. Some even use chocolate chips instead. I would not recommend substituting the butter for margarine. It tastes much better with butter. Regular sugar works well. You do not need superfine sugar.

    In a small bowl stir together milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon granulated sugar. Let mixture stand 5 minutes, or until foamy.
    Into a large bowl sift together flour, allspice, cinnamon, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Cut butter into bits and with your fingertips or a pastry blender blend into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Lightly beat 1 whole egg with egg yolk. Make a well in center of flour mixture and pour in yeast and egg mixtures, currants, raisins, and zests. Stir mixture until a dough is formed. Transfer dough to a floured surface and with floured hands knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and turn to coat. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.
    Butter 2 large baking sheets.
    On a floured surface with floured hands knead dough briefly and form into two 12-inch-long logs. Cut each log crosswise into 12 equal pieces. Form each piece into a ball and arrange about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Let buns rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
    Preheat oven to 400°F.
    While buns are rising, lightly beat remaining egg with superfine sugar to make an egg glaze. On a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin roll out pastry dough into a 20- by 6-inch rectangle (about 1/8 inch thick). With a sharp knife cut rectangle crosswise into 1/8-inch- wide strips.
    Brush buns with egg glaze and arrange 2 pastry strips over center of each bun to form a cross. Trim ends of pastry strips flush with bottoms of buns. Bake buns in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, until golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer buns to a rack to cool slightly.
    I use my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix everything. I change it to the dough hook to knead it. Working it by hand though is a great workout! :)


    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Saint or Sinner

    We have all seen her. She dresses provocatively. Men stare at her. We know what her occupation is and we feel that we are doing so much better being busy at home with kids, laundry, cleaning and hosting the pastor for supper tonight.
    We know what she does for a living and deep down we despise her......

    And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). Luke 7:37 AMP

     Jesus went to a Pharisees' house for dinner...... And she came.....
    "Illicit" entertainment was common at those gathering but that did not stop the men (there were only men present at those dinners) from snickering and pointing their fingers. She walked past them, making her way to the head table where Jesus was. 
    I wonder what was going through her mind, did she hear the remarks from the other men, did she care......

    “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:41

    And we meet her again. This time she is the sister of our good friend. And once again she is worthless. We are slaving in the kitchen and she is with the men....again..... We want to impress Jesus..... What did he say? She.... She has chosen what is better.......

    How did this happen? What is it that I am not getting? Mary, the especially wicked sinner, has chosen what is better. She knows the secret to true sanctification. She does not pretend to be someone she is not. She is a sinner, like you and me, she is broken like you and me. She needs a savior like you and me and she goes and seek Him. 

    When she found Him, she gave Him everything she had (her perfume, her tears) and everything she was (her means of living, herself). She held nothing back and she felt no shame. She gave it all and in return she received it all....
    it will not be taken from her.

    And today I want to be her.

    I'll bring you more than a song
    For a song in itself
    Is not what you have required
    You search much deeper within
    Through the way things appear
    You're looking into my heart

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Sanctification Challenge Week 2

    Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
    (Romans 13:11-14 ESV)

    It is time dear Christian to wake up. It is time to do what God has been calling you to do. Some of us know what it is and are running from God...playing with sin. The lie is “this is just a little sin it doesn’t really matter” or maybe “no one will find out”. The truth is “all sins bring separation from God. When we are separated from God we can’t recognize His voice. We begin to slip away. The next thing we know that “little sin” has spread like a wild fire and we are enslaved. 

    What if there wasn’t much time left?  None of us know our hour. None of us know the hour of the coming Kingdom. What if you waste your time and life here? We were meant for more...

    Wake from sleep for salvation is nearer than when we first believed....

    “for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, "Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light."  Ephesians 5:14

    The night is far gone; the day is at hand. 
    So then let us cast off the works of darkness...

    NOT in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.

    Our world, our nation, OUR CHURCH is filled with sexual immorality among other deeds of darkness. It is one thing to be caught up in sexual immorality as a non-follower of Christ - one without the light (that is CHRIST John 14:6) walks in darkness. But it is heart breaking to see God’s own beloved children & bride - His very people - to be enslaved in sexual bondage. The truth will set you free!  Dear sister, if you are hiding sexual sins or other dark secrets - SHINE LIGHT in the darkness. Confess what is true to your God and Father who is full of love and mercy before it’s too late. Also, confess to another believer. 

    Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. James 5:16

    And confess to those who you need to seek mercy and forgiveness from. Be strong and courageous for this is the will of God. He will be with you. Though it may be frightening and things may not go the way you hope, you will be free. In the end, being faithful and true to God is what matters. He will carry you and give you words. He does immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine...He brings LIFE out of darkness. 

    and put on the armor of light...

    But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
            “I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who lives but Christ who lives in me...”    Galatians 2:20
    He is with you and for you. (Romans 8, Psalm 139) Obedience and surrender brings sweet joy, peace, freedom, and sanctification...

    FLEE TEMPTATION!  RUN RUN RUN and keep running from ANYTHING  and ANYONE that will trigger or tempt you to fall, especially if you have been entangled in addiction. Know your limitations, seek accountability, and put healthy boundaries in place. (1 Cor. 10:13)

    Whoever pursues righteousness and kindness
    will find life, righteousness, and honor. Proverbs 21:21

    What do you need to purge out of your life?  
    Hebrews 12:1-2 “Throw of the sin that easily entangles

    This week make a commitment to face your fears and be set free. James 5:!6

    Who do you need to talk with this week - confess, forgive, and pray with?  

    If you cannot think of anything for your personal life, please devote yourself to pray for HIS people. 

    “You are my witnesses,” declares the Lord,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
    that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
    Before me no god was formed,
    nor shall there be any after me.
    Isaiah 43:10

    Tuesday, March 12, 2013

    Agent Blue

    “Where can I go from your spirit?” 
    Psalm 139:7

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful and amazing if Jesus was still among us today? He could answer our daily emails filled with questions and requests. We would be able to go see him on tour and listen to his teachings. I am sure that arenas and stadiums would be filled with eager people and that tickets would be sold out a year in advance. Even though it would be wonderful to have the ability to see him face to face in this life (the good news is we will get to see him one day), we would also be missing out on one of God’s most precious gift: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit could only come after Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus refers to the spirit as the counselor (John 14:16), the spirit of truth (John 14:17). Through the spirit Jesus promises that he will come to us (John 14:18). Since the spirit lives in us, we have access to Jesus 24/7. No need to wait for a response to an email or the next conference.
    I occasionally buy for my children the Listerene Agent Blue™ (I have no affiliation with the company nor will I receive monies for mentioning this product. As a matter of fact Listerene does not even know I exist.)

    Agent blue reveals spots that still need to be brushed. So the kids brush their teeth, do the rinse and check for spots. Agent blue makes the stains visible. When used regularly, it helps prevents plaque, cavities and gingivitis. In many ways the Holy Spirit is like an Agent Blue in our lives. When used properly it reveals those “stains” aka sins that we need to confess and turn away from. When used regularly it prevents “sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery, idolatry, and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissension, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like.” (Galatians 5:19-20) After repeated uses side effects can be “joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

    Are you ready to use some Agent Blue in your life? It is powerful and can be intimidating at times. After all who wants to have their dirty spots revealed? I know though from personal experience that the results are amazing and well worth going through the process. So let’s do this together. Pray with me

    “Search me O God and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”
    Psalm 139:23-24

    If you have not yet received the gift of the Holy Spirit or are not sure about it please talk to a pastor, a chaplain or a godly friend. And please let us know how we can pray for you.

    Saturday, March 9, 2013

    Sanctification Challenge Week 1

    In our search for sanctification, where do we start?

    We start at the foot of the cross.

    We start where it was made possible for us.

    And we linger there.

    Until "God himself, the God of peace sanctify you through and through." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

    Our challenge this week is very simple yet crucial to any Christian life. Every day this week spend time at the foot of the cross and allow God to sanctify you.

    Every day do the following (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18):

    • Be joyful always
    • pray continually
    • give thanks in all circumstances
    Every day

    • Test everything
    • Hold on to the good
    • Avoid every kind of evil
    Remember Romans 12:1 "Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering."


    We have a tool to help you plan this challenge because if you do not have a plan you plan to fail.... So here is a link to a document that will allow you to check your progress throughout the week. Print it out, put it on your fridge or by your bathroom mirror, inside your Bible, share it with a friend or two.

    Do not worry or give up if you missed a day. Life happens. Just continue where you left of. 


    Wednesday, March 6, 2013


    As an army wife I need special encouragement for those times that my husband is gone. Most of you probably have heard of the devotional Faith Deployed. They are now launching their new Bible (New Testament and Psalm). And they are giving away 20 of them. The link is below. Just enter to win!

    Here is what they say about this Bible:
    "Happy official release day for the Military Wives’ New Testament with Psalms & Proverbs! This beautiful hardcover volume includes, in addition to the text of the Scriptures:
    • 60 Reinforcements (devotional readings). See an example of one of these below, written by Bettina Dowell.
    • 30 Home Front Heroes (inspiration stories of other military wives)
    • 10 Basic Training guides for in-depth Bible study
    • 10 Classic hymns that speak to military wives
    • Topical listing of favorite Bible verses for military wives
    I had the privilege to serve as the general editor of this project, and worked with dozens of military wives who shared their insights. To say I am excited for this release is a gigantic understatement.
    Even better? Zondervan has generously offered to give away 20 of these Bibles to readers!!!"

    Tuesday, March 5, 2013


    So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. 
    Romans 12:1-2 The Message

    The word evokes images of pain and suffering. Bloody animals at the altar, things taken that we did not want to let go of. Nothing that we would want to go through or do on our own.
    Yet for the Jewish people sacrifice was a regular occurrence that was not only necessary but looked forward to. Without sacrifice there would be no forgiveness, no redemption, no getting closer to God. It was engrained in their minds.

    Purposes of QorbanotContrary to popular belief, the purpose of qorbanot is not simply to obtain forgiveness from sin. Although many qorbanot have the effect of expiating sins, there are many other purposes for bringing qorbanot, and the expiatory effect is often incidental, and is subject to significant limitations.The purposes of qorbanot are much the same as the purposes of prayer: we bring qorbanot to praise G-d, to become closer to Him, to express thanks to G-d, love or gratitude. We bring qorbanot to celebrate holidays and festivals. Others are used to cleanse a person of ritual impurity (which does not necessarily have anything to do with sin: childbirth causes such impurity, but is certainly not a sin). And yes, many qorbanot, like many prayers, are brought for purposes of atonement.The atoning aspect of qorbanot is limited. For the most part, qorbanot only expiate unintentional sins, that is, sins committed because a person forgot that this thing was a sin. No atonement is needed for violations committed under duress or through lack of knowledge, and for the most part, qorbanot cannot atone for a malicious, deliberate sin. In addition, qorbanot have no expiating effect unless the person making the offering sincerely repents his or her actions before making the offering, and makes restitution to any person who was harmed by the violation. 

    The Jewish sacrifice was mainly to get closer to God, not simply for the forgiveness of sins. It was therefore something that they looked forward to.

    Romans 12:1-2 exhort us to take our everyday life and place it before God. Every day life.




    What does it look like? Get up in the morning and thank God for another day. As you get up give Him today, as you drink your coffee thank Him for coffee beans, as your kids leave for school, leave them in His hands..... You get the idea.




    Give it a try, become a living sacrifice, get closer to the maker of this world. I promise you will not regret it.

    What are some things that can be a living sacrifice pleasing to God? Share with us!