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How’s Those Resolutions Doing?

How are your New Year’s resolutions doing?  Have you fallen slack already? Gained weight instead of lost?

Nothing wrong with having resolutions.

Resolved means just simply firmly determined.

What have you firmly determined to do or to be?

1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV) For I decided to know nothing among you except  Jesus Christ and him crucified.

Quite a worthy resolution.

What about Ezra’s?

Ezra 7:10 (ESV) For Ezra had set his heart to study the Law of the Lord, and to do it  and to teach his statutes and rules in Israel.

Can’t get much better than that.

Have you set your heart on studying God’s Word, doing it and teaching it?

Now that your original resolutions have been broken, resolve to do what Ezra did.

 


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Cake Balls

My kids made fun of me last Saturday.  They thought mom had lost her mind.  See I baked a cake, made icing and then mixed it all up again in the mixer.

But they sure ate the results.

Cake Balls

1 Cake Mix, baked according to directions

1 tub icing or one recipe of icing

1 package Almond Bark

I used a fudge cake mix and baked it, then refrigerated the cake over night.  The next day I made chocolate cream cheese frosting and then crumbled the cake into the icing in the mixer.  Mix until crumbly and moist.  Some recipes called for refrigerating the mix but mine was cool and I could easily make balls from the mixture.  I made bite size balls of cake and placed them on wax paper in a baking pan.  Then I froze the cake balls for a couple of hours.

Melt the almond bark (I used chocolate).  I melted a coffee cup full in the microwave at a time.  Now to make the Almond Bark easier to dip into I added about 1/4 tsp of vegetable shortening.  Using a toothpick I dipped the frozen cake balls into the almond bark.  After twirling to smooth the chocolate over the ball place them on wax paper.  They will harden quickly.  The hardest part is removing the tooth pick when hard but not so hard that it cracks the ball.  Dab a drop of almond bark over the toothpick hole.  The cake balls that begin to thaw while dipping the others were hard to dip so I suggest not removing all of the balls from the freezer at once.

The cake balls were crunchy chocolate outside and very very moist inside.  The insides seemed to be more moist then when I started but the effect was nice.  These were really good but it isn’t something I would make regularly due to the time it takes.  One thought I had is that this would be a good use for leftover iced cake that would make the amount of time much less.

This will be a special treat not a regular treat.

After making these I’ve seen them advertised for $14 – $25 dollars.


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More Bible Reading Plans

Bible Reading Plans for 2011

Receiving daily intake of the Word of God is vital for the spiritual health of any Christian. One of the ways to create the habit of being in the Word and also to expose yourself to all of the Word of God and not just your favourite portions is by using a Bible Reading Plan.

January 1st marks the beginning of a new year and the beginning of a new decade. It is the perfect time to evaluate your current reading habits and determine to dig deeper into God’s Word during 2011.

Here is a list of Bible Reading Plans that may help:

52 Week Bible Reading Plan [PDF]
Read through the Bible in a year, with each day of the week dedicated to a different genre; Epistles, The Law, History, Psalms, Poetry, Prophecy, and Gospels.

Chronological Bible Reading Plan [PDF]
Read through the Bible in a year in the order the events occurred chronologically.

More


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What Are Your Bible Study Goals For Next Year?

Do you sit down and plan what you will be studying in your Bible study for the upcoming year?

Do you plan which Bible books to study?

Books on Biblical topics to read?

Sermon topics to listen to?

Questions to find answers to?

Do you plan verses to memorize?

What about a Bible reading plan?

Or like most have you not even thought about it?

I usually do some planning and preparing during the last week of the year, although I haven’t felt well and haven’t gotten a round to it yet.

Give some thought to where you are headed in your Bible study just as we would plan ahead for anything else important.  That doesn’t mean you won’t get led off into some other direction sometimes but goals are important.


Here are some Bible reading plans:

  • ESV Daily Bible Passage – I have used this one for years. I get an email/feed of the text (with a click link for audio if online) and I get a podcast of the audio. I have really enjoyed this method. I’m less likely to get distracted with cross references and writing notes when I have the audio going.

  • M’Cheyne Reading Format – All I can say is this is a method that those fond of M’Cheyne really like, I haven’t tried it.

  • Dr Horner’s Bible Reading Plan – This has you reading 10 chapters a day from a variety of books in the Bible. The amount of days rotate but this means that what you are reading together changes also. I have read lots of compliments of this reading system but it is a little too haphazard for me. However, I have done a modified version of reading maybe five of the different areas a day. Works better that way for me.



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Are You Preparing for a Baby or the Lord and King?

If you are celebrating Christmas today what are you celebrating?

The birth of a baby in a manger or the birth of your Lord and King who came to die?



Most everyone, but an ardent atheist, has no problem with Christmas and a baby in a manger. Even those of other religions accepted that Christmas was a Christian holiday and rarely complained before. But even those who claim to be Christians tend to forget and gloss over the real Christmas gift – That the baby grew up and died for our sins on the cross. Without the cross, the birth of Jesus is just a virgin birth, miraculous for sure, but it in itself was just preparation for the cross. Every event surrounding the birth of Jesus was in light of the cross.

  • John the Baptist wasn’t preparing others for a baby. He was a baby himself. John the Baptist was to prepare others for the ministry and death on the cross of the Messiah.

Luke 1:16-17 (ESV)
16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,
17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

  • Zachariah, the Father of John the Baptist, showed that the birth of the Messiah was just a step along the road to the cross.

Luke 1:76-79 (ESV)
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

  • Even the shepherds in the field were told that the baby in the manger would be their Savior. They were looking forward to the future events not just focusing on the baby in the manger.

Luke 2:10-12 (ESV)
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

  • Simeon, at the temple, also was looking beyond that little baby Jesus to the future.

Luke 2:34-35 (ESV)
34 “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed
35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

  • Anna, the prophetess in the temple, also was looking beyond the baby Jesus to the future.

Luke 2:38 (ESV)
38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

So if you are celebrating Christmas today make sure all your celebration and focus is toward the future of that little baby Jesus in the manger, that became an adult God/Man, was crucified on the cross and has risen from the dead. Otherwise you have left out part of the Christmas Story.



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Difficult Family

Seems like every family has difficult people in it.  You know those extended family members who no matter what happens, they tend to get upset and offended about something.

  • The one who points out that no one considered them when planning get togethers.

  • No one fixed anything they could eat.

  • The children get on their nerves.

  • They can’t watch the football game because you don’t have cable.

  • They never like the gift they are given, but are offended if not given a gift.

  • Their measure of love is by how much money you spend on them.


I’m sure most people can add to the above list many, many more instances.  So what do you do?  How can you best deal with family members who choose to be unhappy and want everyone to be unhappy right along with them?

I’m afraid there is nothing much we can do to change difficult family members.  No amount of talking with, catering to or appeasing will solve the problem.  🙁   There are some people who just enjoy being miserable and trying to make others miserable along with them.  As any believer knows the only hope for a miserable person is Christ.  Yet, no matter how much we pray and share with them we cannot give them Salvation ourselves, only the Holy Spirit can bring them to Salvation.

So what do we do?

I have found that praying for the difficult family member regularly helps me.  I’m sure it also helps them, just it isn’t instant.  🙁  But when I know I will be with a difficult family member I try to spend specific time in prayer for that person.  Used to my prayers were full of “Lord change them.”  While I do still pray that they will change due to becoming a child of Christ,  that isn’t my focus, praying to change them.   I pray for their Salvation most importantly, with an eternal perspective.

But I also pray for how I interact with them.  Family members can learn how to push another’s family members “buttons”.  I pray that I am able to not be offended or take personally the attacks and jabs.  I pray to be able to deal graciously with them and not to get my feelings hurt no matter how hard they may try.  I have found praying for difficult family members and my response to them has helped immensely.  I rarely get my feelings hurt over such.  Verbal jabs and intential slights just don’t bother me anymore, usually.  I do find that it is harder to not be bothered when the slights and jabs are directed at another without reason.  But I typically don’t react with an emotional response anymore.

Try spend a week of praying ahead of time for a difficult family member and just see if it doesn’t change you and make things more pleasant.



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Christ Crucified

Something to ponder.

How do your Christmas celebrations preach Christ crucified?

1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (ESV)
22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,
23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,
24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV) For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.


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Cranberry Salad

Cranberry Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 small packages raspberry Jell-O, I actually used sugar free.
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple
  • 1 can whole cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup cranberry juice, or water works

Topping

  • 1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup sour cream

Directions:

  1. Dissolve Jell-O in boiling water.
  2. Add crushed pineapple, cranberry sauce, jello, and cranberry juice. Mix it all together well.
  3. Mix well. Pour into a 9″x12″ glass dish and refrigerate until firm.  Really firm, so you can spread the topping over the top.
  4. Cream together cream cheese, sugar and sour cream until smooth.
  5. When the first mixture is firm, spread the creamed ingredients on top.

Serve as a side salad or dessert. Can add crushed nuts to the jello mixture and sprinkle on top if desired.  I didn’t.

HT: Lisa 🙂  It’s a keeper.


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The Star Spangled Banner

Very few know the rest of the verses in this song.  Pay close attention to the last verse.

The Star Spangled Banner

O! say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner, O! long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

~~~~~~~

Francis Scott Key



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Nothing Wrong with Making Resolutions

Some people make lots of New Year’s resolutions, while others have given up on them, knowing they tend to fail anyway. Many of us make new resolutions regularly whether we think about it or not. New Year’s is the most common day for most people. But parents and even children tend to make new resolutions at the beginning of the school year – better grades, more reading, consistent bedtime, no TV on school days, etc. We make resolutions when we move into a new house – maintain it better than the last, keep the yard up better, pay it off quick, keep it clean, etc. Even getting married or having a baby is a time when we tend to make resolutions about how we are going to act. How about the resolutions we might make after a health scare?

See we all make resolutions whether we think about it as such or not. My older kids have learned that when mom makes a new resolution that impacts them such as chores or school, just give it some time it will soon fail. They are probably right, because that new school idea while new and interesting for a time soon gets replaced by a better idea or turns out to be not so interesting after all.

There is even a Biblical basis for the resolutions to eat well and to take care of our bodies.

Daniel 1:8 (ESV) But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.

God honored Daniel’s resolve.

We as believers always have a great opportunity to start our new resolutions. Every single morning the Lord grants us new mercy and love so each day is renewed. We can start fresh and clean when we put our trust and faith in the Lord.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (ESV)
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

In the letter to the Thessalonians we see Paul praying that every resolution of theirs for good and everything done of faith might be accomplished by the Power of Jesus. That is my resolution for the year that I, my family and all I know might do every good work in faith through the power of Jesus to glorify the Lord.

2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 (ESV)
11 To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power,
12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

My paraphrase:

I pray for us, that our God may make us worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by His power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in each of us, and us in him, according to the Grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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