Keep on Swimming. . .

everyday life inside the fishbowl

Frugal Friday: My Top 5 Favorite Deal Sites

{Each Friday, I attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

This is going to be a short one today, folks! 😉

dollar signOne of the best ways I’ve found to save time and money is to follow a few good deal sites. (I’m needing to find a new reader, though, now that Google Reader is gone! 😦 ) If you follow any of these blogs, these ladies do all the work for you in planning out great deals and shopping scenarios. You just follow their instructions (which coupons to print/cut, what coupon codes to use, etc.) and –voila! – you snag yourself a great deal!

Listed below are my favorite sites:

1. Hip2save.com

This is my all-time favorite. Collin does a phenomenal (and ethical!) job promoting the hottest deals out there. My favorite features are her store-specific posts on Saturdays (for CVS, Walgreens, and Rite-Aid) for deals for the upcoming week. Target posts come on Sunday. She lists all the deals, which coupons to use, any possible reward, and the final out-of-pocket price for each deal. She highlights her favorites in red, which are typically the best deals.  It’s great!

 2. Frugalcouponliving.com

This is another great site, with a lot of similar features to the above.

3. Babycheapskate.com

This is great if you have babies. My favorite posts are her “Top diaper deals of the week” posts. She has definitely done her research!

4. Couponmom.com

Again, this is similar to the above, but she has a lot of cool features if you sign in. She has lists for coupon deals for state-specific stores.

5.  Northernillinoiscouponing.com

This is newer to me, since I am new to Illinois, but it has been helpful. Obviously, this is only specific to stores found in Northern Illinois.

What are your favorite couponing/deal websites?

Have a great weekend! 🙂

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Thursday Thoughts: Over-emphasizing the Gospel

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

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First of all, let me say that I do not think we can really over-emphasize the Gospel — the whole Gospel, that is. Let me also say that I have been greatly blessed, encouraged, and challenged by the great number of books and articles that have lately been written with a focus on the Gospel.

But a tiny part of me has always hesitated. Something hasn’t quite seemed right. I felt that hesitation again this week as I once again read some blog posts about “mommy wars.” And they were great blog posts. They encouraged me to not dwell on trying to be the perfect mom and wife that the “other mom” is. They encouraged me to relish in the fact that Jesus accepts me in all my imperfections. And he does.

But that is only part of the Gospel. And I think that is what has bothered me a bit. We talk about grace all the time. I love the word grace. In one word, it is the story of my life. But the emphasis seems to be on justifying grace. We emphasize that we are declared to be righteous because of Christ’s holy life and death on the cross. We are emphasizing the Gospel, but we are over-emphasizing justification to the exclusion or minimizing of the other aspects of salvation.

What happens when we over-emphasize justification in this way? The answer is a subtle change in our mindset. We start to think that because of the Gospel, because God’s grace has been poured out on me, because I have been justified, God accepts me just as I am. . . and he doesn’t really want or expect me to change.

We can subtly start to think that we don’t have to work quite as hard to overcome this or that sin. We don’t have to strive quite as diligently to improve an area of weakness. We don’t have to excel. We don’t have to worship God by living holy and acceptable lives. We don’t have to worry about not being conformed to this world.

And so in over-emphasizing justifying grace, we de-emphasize sanctifying grace. We forget that the same grace that justified us is the same grace that trains us to live godly lives. You can’t have one without the other, as Titus 2:11-14 clearly explains:

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation [saving grace] for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age [sanctifying grace], waiting for our blessed hope , the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

So, why did this all come to mind again as I read these “mommy war” posts?  I was concerned when I read a comment by a 17-year old girl.  To summarize, she said that she can’t wait to be a wife and mom. She said she’s always wanted to be an excellent wife and mom. The article helped her to see that her motivation was not always correct (excellence for the sake of pride, etc.). But then she basically asked if it was still ok to want to do things well.

Wow! What an eye-opener. Here is a young girl who has high aspirations to do things well as a future wife and mom, but one of the things she is coming away with from these types of articles is doubt.  Because of our emphasis on our standing in Christ (the “Gospel,” grace, justification–whatever you want to call it), she is wondering if, in this present age, it is wrong to want to be an excellent wife and mom!

What should be made clear is that, yes, we are accepted in Christ because he graciously justified us! And I can remember that every single time I fail: every time I yell at my kids, snap at my husband, hypocritically paste a smile on my face at church when I want to cry, fail to clean my house or cook a nice meal because I was too distracted with Facebook, fail to read my Bible and pray, fail to exercise like I should. . . fail, fail, fail. And, yes, there is grace, grace, grace.

But it is not just justifying grace. It is sanctifying grace. I accept the truth that Jesus accepts me as I am because of grace, but it doesn’t stop there! I then take up the promise of Titus 2 that God’s grace also trains us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age. Today, I am justified. Today, I have the grace to live godly.

And that means I don’t accept my mediocre mothering just because Jesus accepts me. I don’t content myself with frozen pizzas every night, a dirty house, kids who watch TV for hours a day, etc. Obviously, there’s a balance here. Sometimes frozen pizzas, dirty houses, and tv-watching kids are a temporary reality. I’m not saying that we should try to be the best-dressed, wisest, godliest, cleanliest, etc mom and wife we know. But we should strive to be better in ways that need improvement. We can strive for excellence.

Imagine if I brought this thinking into a profession like medicine. I am a nurse (though I am  not presently employed). Imagine if I simply relished the fact that I am accepted by Christ despite any mistakes that I make as a nurse (which is true!). But suppose that I stop there. Because I am accepted in Christ, I don’t have to work really hard to excel in my field. What happens when you don’t work hard to excel as a nurse? Well, you could kill someone. Or at least really hurt them. Not trying to excel as a nurse can have really negative consequences.

Not trying to excel as a wife or mom could have really negative consequences too. Wouldn’t we rather be an example of excellence, coupled with a praise-worthy fear of the Lord, to our children? That is the type of woman Proverbs lifts up as commendable.

And so we must balance the truths of the Gospel in our lives. We must rejoice that we are justified – by grace.  And we must strive to live sanctified lives – by grace. And that means we moms need to rejoice that we are accepted when we fail, yet we also need to strive to live more sanctified lives by being ever-better stewards of our time, money, resources, etc to better serve our families and glorify our Savior.

{As a side note, I would imagine that many of these authors who emphasize justification would agree with me in theory. I am just concerned that we don’t subtly slip into incorrect thinking or unwittingly encourage others to do the same.}

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Worthy Word Wednesday: My FAVORITE Bible Story Book for Kids

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

ImageI love The Jesus Storybook Bible! When my son, Calvin, was 5 months old, I asked for this book for Christmas. I started reading this to him every night. You can imagine how many times I’ve read it! Calvin just turned 3 this summer, and I love seeing the comprehension starting to dawn in his eyes. I’ve recently tried to more consistently read to my daughter Mackenna, as well, who is one.

Sally Lloyd-Jones does an amazing job re-telling the Bible stories. She points to Christ throughout the stories, and she consistently reminds us of God’s “Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love.”

Jago illustrated the book, and the illustrations are just phenomenal. You will enjoy them as much as your kids! It is just such a great book!!

Tonight we will be (once again!) at the story of Christ’s crucifixion. If the story of Christ’s death is not enough to make you cry, imagine it being meaningfully retold for a child. I cry every time I read this story to Calvin. Sometimes my husband has to come in and finish the story.

Here’s a taste of the crucifixion story:

            They nailed Jesus to the cross.

            “Father, forgive them,” Jesus gasped.”They don’t understand what they’re doing.”

            “You say you’ve come to rescue us!” people shouted. “But you can’t even rescue yourself!”

            But they were wrong. Jesus could have rescued himself. A legion of angels would have flown to his side – if he’d called.

            “If you were really the Son of God, you could just climb down off that cross!” they said.

            And of course they were right. Jesus could have just climbed down. Actually, he could have just said a word and made it all stop. Like when he healed that little girl. And stilled the storm. And fed 5,000 people.

            But Jesus stayed.

            You see, they didn’t understand. It wasn’t the nails that kept Jesus there. It was love.

            “Papa?” Jesus cried, frantically searching the sky. “Papa? Where are you? Don’t leave me!”

            And for the first time – and the last –when he spoke, nothing happened. Just a horrible endless silence. God didn’t answer. He turned away from his Boy.

            Tears rolled down Jesus’ face. The face of the One who would wipe away every tear from every eye. . . .

            The full force of the storm of God’s fierce anger at sin was coming down. On his own Son. Instead of his people. It was the only way God could destroy sin, and not destroy his children whose hearts were filled with sin.

            Then Jesus shouted out in a loud voice, “It is finished!”

            And it was. He had done it. Jesus had rescued the whole world.

 

 I can’t even type that out without tearing up! I remember one of my sweet little nieces standing behind me one day as I read that story to Calvin. The tears streamed down her face as she heard of Jesus’ great love for her. So good!

I hope you will try this book out for your children. It will be good for you and them! You can buy it on Amazon.

What Bible storybooks have you liked for your children? Why do you like the one(s) you have?

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Tasty Tuesday: The Absolutely BEST Oatmeal Cookie Recipe EVER!

{On Tuesdays, I share a yummy recipe. Typically, my recipes will be super easy, because I’m a mom with littles. I try to be healthy and frugal as well. But I like good food, so it will always be delicious! }

I know it can be somewhat annoying when people claim to have the best recipe for something, but. . . this one is! 🙂 Any time my sisters, mom, or I (My dad’s even made some to give to people!) make these, people are amazed at how good they are. I felt especially assured of the quality of this recipe when one of the 90-year old {amazing} ladies at our church asked me for the recipe, wondering what the secret ingredient was! Score!! 😉

To be honest, I don’t know that there is a secret ingredient. But, this is the only oatmeal cookie recipe I know. (And, in my humble opinion, it is the only one you will need to know too, once you try it!) I do believe, however, that there is a key to getting them so soft and delicious: very, very slightly under-bake them. {My mom, however, will tell you to bake them for the full time, because she does not like them soft, chewy, and deliciously amazing.}

If you would like to {ruin them-ha! 🙂 }, you could add raisins. Or you could add chocolate chips. But, honestly, they are amazing as is.

{Makes about 2 dozen cookies, depending on size}

Ingredients:

¾ cup Crisco

1 cup packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

1 egg

¼ cup water

1 tsp vanilla

3 cups uncooked quick oats (do NOT use old-fashioned oats!!)

1 cup flour

1 tsp salt

½ tsp baking soda

Directions:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350.
  • Combine Crisco, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix well.
  • Add flour, salt, and baking soda, mixing well.
  • Stir in oats.
  • Place on baking sheet in spoonfuls. {I prefer bigger spoonfuls, especially because I under-bake them a bit. If you like them crispier, make them smaller.}
  • Bake 12-15 minutes {Now, this is where I deviate. I think this is the most important deviation in the whole recipe. I will typically set the timer for 8 or 9 minutes, based on the size of my spoonfuls. I will then add a minute at a time if necessary, as I watch them bake. I pull them out when they are just starting to look done, yet they still look a little “wet.” They will look quite under-baked when you pull them out. Yet, as they cool, they will firm up a little. It may take some practice, but once you figure out your perfect “doneness” level, it will be delicious!}
  • Cool for a minute or so on the baking sheet if you under-baked them slightly, or else they will fall apart when you transport them to a cooling rack. Once they look a little more firm, transport to a cooling rack.
  • Enjoy! 🙂
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Monday Meditations: The Blessing & Suffering of Baptism

{On Mondays, I share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

waterYesterday, my husband preached on baptism, followed by his baptizing three members of a family during our worship service. What an incredible blessing to dwell on the Gospel, then watch it in action, so to speak, as three believers in Jesus Christ made public their professions of faith. Each of their testimonies gloried in God’s grace to them, as they recounted to us how God had made them a new creation through Jesus Christ.

As I listened to their emotion-filled testimonies and saw their tears, as well as those in our congregation, I was reminded (as Dave also challenged us in his sermon) of the significance of baptism.

 The Symbolism

Romans 6:3-5 ~ Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.

The immersion of a believer symbolizes what Christ has done for the believer. Christ died our death for us. Just as he was powerfully raised from the dead, we have the same power to live holy lives! Thus baptism symbolizes our union with Christ as well. Romans 6 goes on to describe the freedom from sin that is ours because of our “dying with Christ.” Baptism symbolizes the end of our enslavement to sin!

The Suffering

As we sat in our comfortable seats in an air-conditioned auditorium and watched Dave baptize three believers in a warm, clean baptismal, I couldn’t help but compare our situation to the rest of the world. I did a quick google search on persecution and baptism this morning. Plenty of current results popped up. People all around the world are being persecuted for baptizing believers and for being baptized.

I suppose we could say that we in America are fortunate. But part of me wonders if we really are. Do we truly count the cost? Do we really understand the significance of baptism?

 I have been reading through 1 Peter, and the book is full of discussion about suffering. And baptism falls right in the middle of that discussion. 1 Peter 3:18 tells us that Christ also suffered for our sins, then verse 21 says that “baptism. . . now saves you.” My husband helped us understand yesterday that this verse does not teach that the actual, physical act of being baptized saves you, as the following phrase in the verse explains: “not as a removal of dirt from the body.” Rather, baptism is the symbol that we have appealed to God as the only means of our salvation.

Then 1 Peter 4:1 states

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking.”

We have to arm ourselves with the mindset that we will suffer as well. Much of Christianity in the world today (and past!) has done this. They have counted the cost. And many of them have died or suffered immensely.

After our church’s baptismal service, we hugged and shook hands and went on with our day. I am certain that those baptized yesterday did understand the significance of their baptisms. There was great joy.

Yet Peter tells us that we should arm ourselves to expect suffering. Suffering for Jesus Christ, as He suffered for us. Our responsibility is to live holy lives that correspond to lives that have been unified to Christ as symbolized by our baptism. Baptism is that first, public profession that we are Christ’s. Our lives should be the continuous profession that we are his as well. A life well-lived for Christ will suffer in some way.

Have you armed yourself with the mindset that you will suffer? Have I? Is your life worthy of suffering for Christ? Is mine?

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Frugal Friday: Diapers, Wipes, & Diaper Disposal {Saving you Money!}

{Each Friday, I try to attempt to pass along a frugal tip I have learned or am attempting to learn. I love a good deal, and I love to help our family stay within the budget by being frugal in every area of life!}

baby in diaperLet me state up front, that this is not a disposable vs. cloth diaper post. 🙂 I was interested once upon a time in cloth, but my husband (who used to watch the kiddos when I worked part-time) gave them the thumbs down. Time (and convenience) is money, as my husband often tells me. So, we use disposable.

Let me also state up front that what is “best” for one mom and her child(ren) may not be best for another mom/child(ren). When it comes to caring for our babies, sometimes we moms are paranoid that if our baby products are not “the best” (read: the most expensive or natural brand available), we are going to forever scar our children and cause them immense bodily harm. In my humble opinion, we need to stop being paranoid, make wise and balanced decisions, and trust the Lord.

That being said, here are some tips for making frugal decisions about diapering:

  •  Be willing to try a variety of brandsincluding store brands. I was scared to try store brands initially after my first child was born, because the huge drop in price {I thought} must surely mean that the “cheapo” diapers are going to tear my baby’s precious little bottom to shreds. But, I overcame my fear and trepidatiously bought my first pack of Luvs, then Walgreens, then Rite-Aid, then CVS, then. . . Dollar Store! And his bottom was just fine. And my budget was even finer! {On a side note, sometimes certain brands don’t work for certain babies. My son leaked through all his Huggies diapers and none of the store brands!}
  •  Set a price point for your diapers and wipes. Set a price for which you will buy diapers and wipes, and don’t buy them if the price is any higher. This means you will have to stock up when the price is at or–especially–below your price point. For example, the most I will pay for a jumbo pack (any brand) of diapers is $5 (which ends up being $0.14 or less per size 3 diaper, if I’m buying a bigger pack). If I see them below $5, I will buy as many as my budget allows. My price point for wipes is less than or equal to $.02 a wipe.
  •  Rip your wipes in half for wet bottoms. I only recently started doing this.  1 whole wipe is a lot for just a little wet bottom. ½ works just fine, and they rip very easily!
  •  Use resealable sandwich bags for your dirty diapers. I used to own a diaper genie. It was nice, but the refills were so expensive! When I threw dirty and wet diapers in it, I went through the refills so quickly. So, I tried only throwing dirty diapers in there. I don’t recommend that unless you like your cute little nursery smelling like a septic tank! I even tried garbage bags in the diaper genie to no avail. Then my bright husband recommended sandwich bags for the dirty diapers. And they work great! We throw the wet diapers right in the garbage along with the dirty diapers–sealed in a sandwich bag! {We even re-use our sandwich bags for this. Any bag that was used for a non-messy item like a sandwich or crackers goes in an empty sandwich bag box to use for dirty diapers!}

And that, my readers, is the bottom-line for how I save money diapering my children! 😉

Do you have any other frugal tips for diapering?

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Thursday Thoughts: Joy Mingled with Grief

{On Thursdays, I share some thoughts about what God is teaching me in my various roles as a Christian, a woman, a wife, a mother, and a pastor’s wife.}

Sometimes when my husband, Dave is grieved about a trial or situation that God has placed in his pastoral lap I get very frustrated in response. As a pastor, Dave has burdens either that are his own or that members of his congregation share with him. In order to protect me and to maintain confidentiality of those he shepherds, he does not share these burdens with me. Yet, because he is my husband, I want him to be free of burdens! And so I demand care-free happiness of him.

Then I read 1 Peter 1:6-7.

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

The Reality: We all have trials. Our trials may be very different in type and intensity (“various trials”).  But all these trials do cause grief. Peter says that they were grieved by their trials. It is natural to grieve over trials.

The Reason: The various trials God sends are necessary to prove the genuineness of our faith. We grow through our trials. I can be frustrated about Dave’s trials all the day long, but the reason he goes through them is to purify and prove his faith. (Perhaps one of my trials is watching Dave go through his trials and learning to respond correctly myself?!)

The Response:  Joy. “In this you rejoice. . . you have been grieved by various trials.” Rejoicing in your grief. Hmmm. Much easier said than done. But, a necessary response, though not a natural response. A natural response is grief, and that’s ok as long as our grief doesn’t over-whelm us to the point that we wallow in grief and become angry, self-pitying, and bitter. We must choose joy.

The Reward: If present spiritual growth is not enough of a motivator to help us choose joy, God gives another future, eternal motivation. Our faith “may be found to result in praise and glory and honor” when Jesus returns. Those who choose to have joy in trials are worthy of praise, glory, and honor. And this, in turn, brings praise, glory, and honor to Christ!

So, what can we learn?

  • It’s ok when others grieve over the trials God sends them. And it’s ok for us to grieve too.
  • We need to remember that these trials are good for our spiritual growth.
  • We need to correctly respond to trials, and not get angry instead. We need to rejoice that we have opportunity to grow. We need to pray that others would respond correctly in their various trials.
  • We need to strive to bring honor and glory to Christ in our responses.

How has God taught you joy in the midst of grief?

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Worthy Word Wednesday: Patience with Your Children

{On Wednesdays, I share from a book, blog, or other resource some “worthy words.” I love to read, but my time for reading has been much decreased since the birth of my first child. I am encouraged when I am able to read snippets of precious truth as I come across them. Hopefully these few words will encourage your heart, as well as give you a resource for fuller reading as your time allows.}

One of my favorite Christian blogs is girltalk. The emphasis of the blog is biblical womanhood. I have found this blog so helpful and encouraging. . . and a lot of fun too!

I was prepared to post something else today, but Nicole’s post–even the second time around!—challenged me once again in an area that I struggle with: patience. Particularly, patience with my children!

No matter how many times I read Colossians 3:12 (“put on. . . patience”)–and even write it on my chalkboard in my dining room, so I read it multiple times every day. . . No matter how many times I beg God to give me patience. . . No matter how many times I remember God’s patience with me. . . I am still impatient.

So, what is a mom to do?! Do you ever get headaches frequently? The quick fix is to take some meds and pray the headache goes away. The smart thing is to prevent the headache if you can. Did I eat well, sleep well?

What I am s.l.o.w.l.y learning is that I can attempt to do things to prevent the impatience from building up.  For example, when I am in a hurry, my kids never are and seem rather to move  either in the opposite direction or in the same direction with rocks in their shoes. (Not that much would change if I wasn’t in a hurry!) But if I wasn’t in a hurry, I could have the time to patiently prod and teach them.

Another is example is when I’m trying to write a blog post. If I do it in the play room while both my kids are up, they naturally climb all over me. My 3-year old begs for a story and my 15-month old climbs all over me trying to push every button on my computer (as she is doing right now, as well as almost sticking her foot in my coffee!).  I get impatient with them because I am not choosing the right time to do my blog posting (save it for a nap!).

Nicole gives some great tips on being patient. She encourages us to identify temptation points, be consistent, don’t do stupid things twice, be grateful, and pray. I love her last words on prayer:

“There is something about going to God in prayer that reminds us just how patient our heavenly Father is with us. This produces humility in our hearts, which in turn, produces patience toward our children. And we need God’s help. So let’s pray. He is eager to help us to model His patience toward our children.”

You can read her full article here (and check out the rest of their blog while you’re at it!).

Col 3:12-14 ~ Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

 

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Tasty Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Soup {Crock-Pot}

{On Tuesdays, I share a yummy recipe. Typically, my recipes will be super easy, because I’m a mom with littles. I try to be healthy and frugal as well. But I like good food, so it will always be delicious! }

Crock-pot Homemade Chicken Soup

Ingredients

8 cups homemade chicken broth

1-2 sliced carrots

2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced

1/2 onion, diced

2 cups diced, cooked chicken

couple dashes of poultry seasoning

sea salt & pepper, to taste

1-1/2 cups vermicelli, noodles, or cooked rice

Directions

1. Saute veggies until slightly softened. {Note: I actually skip this step if I chop the veggies small and can get everything in the crock-pot to cook for at least 4-5 hours.}

2. Combine all ingredients except noodles/vermicelli/rice.

3. Cook on low for several hours.

4. Add noodles/vermicelli/rice the last 10 minutes.

5. Enjoy!

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Monday Meditations: Praying for All People

{On Mondays, I would like to share some thoughts from my pastor’s (husband’s 🙂 ) sermon on Sunday. This will be good for me, as it will help cement God’s truths in my head and heart. I hope these truths will encourage and challenge you! If you’re interested in hearing a particular sermon, you can head here to listen.}

woman_prayingText: 1 Timothy 2:1-2

“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.”

Truth    

Reading these verses alone, you might think that Paul, the author writing to Timothy, is saying that Christians should pray for everybody, especially those in authority. Which he is. But there is an object to that prayer if you look at the whole context.

1 Tim. 1 is constantly pointing to the Gospel, from opposing those who don’t promote the Gospel, to proclaiming the truth of the Gospel (Jesus died to save sinners!), to challenging Timothy to fight for the Gospel.

How does Timothy fight for the Gospel? First, by praying for all people! Praying for what? That they may be saved! Verses 3-7 go on to say that praying for all people’s salvation is good and pleasing to a God who desires all to be saved.

Paul hones in on two particular ways to pray for the salvation of all people in verse 2:

1. Pray that those who are in authority would lead in such a way that we (believers) can live peacefully and quietly, allowing us to give the Gospel to all people.

2. Believers should pray for themselves and other believers, that we would live godly and dignified lives, so we complement (rather than detract from!) our giving of the Gospel.

Thoughts

  • I can fight for the Gospel by praying for people’s salvation. I can fight on my knees!
  • I need to pray on a regular basis for all authority (national, international, etc.) to lead in such a way that I and other believers can freely give the Gospel.
  • I need to intentionally live in a godly and dignified way, remembering that my testimony can complement or detract from the Gospel.
  • I need to pray that other believers would live godly lives for the sake of the Gospel.

{If you’re wondering what all this “Gospel talk” is, check out my page on the right, “what is the truth?”}

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