Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Beauty from Ashes

By: Shari A. Miller




Over the past few days our city has been smoke ridden due to the forest fires in the area. The air has been thick, the sky gray, and the feeling of being caught in a compressed room of gloom has been alive and well.

On the first night of the smoke enveloping our city, my husband and I decided to go watch the sunset. When we found our perfect place, we were amazed at the beauty that unfolded. The sky exploded with beautiful reds, oranges and yellows, it was a portrait that encompassed the whole sky.

As I was standing there, I felt a sense of sadness because I knew that something this beautiful was created through an enormous amount of trial and strife. I considered the families who had possibly lost their homes, the firemen risking their lives to squelch the burning flames, the loss of crops for the farmers and the possible loss of life to animals and man.

It got me to thinking that the scenario that was unfolding before me was a perfect mirror of life. So many times we go through trials that hurt, and burn our spirits to the core. We feel like there is no way out, no way to stop the pain of the flames that come closer and closer.

However, here's the deal...

There is a way out. It comes when we get down on our hands and knees and cry out to the Father to make the path of hope clear. It comes when we make it a priority to seek out who the Father truly is when we study and seek His Word for answers to the way we should go. We need to remember that His ways may not necessarily be our ways, but when we surrender to His will and accept what is, instead of what we want, we'll discover clarity and see the answers start to unfold.

We'll notice that eventually in God's timing, the flames will die down and the smoke will start to clear and we'll see something amazing occur......

Beauty from ashes will rise as we come out from the other side, changed and stronger ready to face life anew. The process of change and growth may not always come about by the way we had planned; but in the end I believe we'll realize that the road we had to travel on was the right path all along.


"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair, In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory." Isaiah 61:3 (NLT)





It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories in their comments.

Use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday

Three rules to this link up:
1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you want!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.

Woman to Woman Ministries

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Chicken and Asparagus Crepes

By: Melissa Baker
Recipe courtesy of www.FoodNetwork.com


Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the dish
  • 2 1/2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
  • 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, dill, chives or mint)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 8 store-bought crepes (about 9 inches each)
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions:


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Butter a large baking dish. 

2. Combine the chicken, ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, 3 tablespoons herbs, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a medium bowl. 

3. Spoon about 1/4 cup filling across the lower half of each crepe; roll up to enclose the filling. Place the crepes, 
seam-side down, in the baking dish. 

4. Cover with foil and bake until the filling is hot, about 15 minutes.

5. Meanwhile, melt 3 tablespoons butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook until it softens, about 1 minute. 


6. Add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. 

7. Add the chicken broth, lemon zest and the remaining 1 tablespoon herbs and simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup parmesan and season with salt and pepper.

8. Divide the crepes among plates, top with the asparagus and sauce, and sprinkle with parmesan.

Per serving: Calories 405; Fat 24 g (Saturated 14 g); Cholesterol 115 mg; Sodium 984 mg; Carbohydrate 19 g; Fiber 1 g; Protein 26 g




Monday, August 3, 2015

A Wise Investment

By: Jenifer Metzger

We hear the word investment a lot. We invest in things that are going to be around a long time, things that are going to benefit us in the future. Many people invest in things such as retirement plans and big purchases like a home.

But what about investing in your marriage?

Your marriage is important. It's going to be around a long time, till death do you part, so why not invest?


Investing in your marriage is the wisest of investments that you could make. But how do we invest in our marriage?

  • Pray. Pray regularly for your marriage. We know God hears our prayers. Pray for your husband, pray that God would help you as a wife, pray for your connection, your relationship, your intimacy, your communication, for every single area of your marriage.
  • Date. Part of investing in your retirement is putting money back on a regular basis. Investing in your marriage means dating on a regular basis. You need that one on one time with your mate to connect in every way.
  • Damage control. When you invest your money in stocks, you keep an eye on that investment and if you see things are going bad, you make adjustments. Keep an eye on your marriage. If you feel things are not going well in one area, make adjustments and work on it. You wouldn't just sit back and watch your money slip away so don't sit back and let your marriage suffer.
What else can you do to invest in your marriage? Share in the comments and join the conversations on Facebook and Instagram!






Friday, July 31, 2015

Giving Honor Where Honor Is Due


Giving Honor Where Honor Is Due
by Angie Ketcham

As I was cleaning the house today, I allowed my daughter to turn on the television to keep her occupied.  As we were flipping through the channels, we stopped at Cartoon Network just to see what kids were watching nowadays.  To my disbelief, all I saw was characters that treated each other with unkind words, adults that were presented as knowing nothing and the children had to run the show to keep order because their parents were incapable of doing the job.  It got me to thinking about what the Word of God looked like compared to what is being planted in the minds of children everyday.

crosscards.com
The Word talks over and over in many places about honoring and obeying parents.  As a matter of fact, God felt it was so important that He made it one of the top ten rules that create our laws.  It is the only commandment that has been given with a promise, that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you!  How did we get to a place that even those who love God and care about His decrees have allowed themselves to be desensitized to the mistreatment of those who have come before us?  At what point did it become acceptable to devalue those who have lived a full life before us?  Whom God appointed to be the very one to lead us in the way that we should go?

So, my mind wondered further today on this issue of honor.  What exactly does it mean to honor a person? The dictionary tells us that honor means "to hold in high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank".  It is equally paired with obedience in the Word, which shows that the words of someone of honor deserves to be unquestionably listened to.  Unquestionably.  It seems the popular culture of today leads us to question everything, and only then decide what works for you to follow.  No one is held in a higher regard that they obediently follow without questioning the order.  Now, don't get me wrong.  Obviously, some people in this sin-sick world must be questioned before blindlessly following them.  But I strongly believe that, if we follow God's command to honor our parents, even when they are mistreating us or leading us in the wrong direction, God's hand is upon them and He will be with them as they go through live's struggles, because they obeyed and honored those we are suppose to honor.

Once again, from a Children's Pastor perspective, I think about how I can make the Word real to the kids I lead.  I have thought about the bombardment that hits them day in and day out on the T.V. leading them away from truth.  I have thought about what would have to happen to turn the tide back to honoring parents in the homes of this generation.  I think about my own children and how I have directed them as an example to honor those who are in authority over them.  The lightbulb moment was quite simple, really.  Our children are a product of what we exemplify.  In the area of honor, we lead by example!  What is your relationship like with your parents and your spouse?  Do you put them in a position of worth?  merit? rank?  Do we use words of someone that is in submission to those in authority or do we talk bad, derogatory, sarcastic statements that show their worthless?  Do we obey, even as adults, making decisions after hearing out those that have already been there? If not, maybe there are chances that need to be made to lead our children into the future generation.

Secondly, I considered that, once again, children learn by example.  It is our job as parents to make sure our children know their worth.  When we belittle or tear down our children, resentment and angry hearts become the result of low self esteem.  Do our children know that they are valuable?  Do they know that they are worth more than the touch down they made on the field or the grades they made on the report card?  Do they know that their words are valued and that they have a voice and it means something?  Do they know that their words and actions shape eternity and the future before it ever even comes to be?  Do they know they are loved?  This evening my daughter was very upset at me because I made a decision to keep her home from a pool party.  She is just on the edge of puberty and her hormones are unbalanced at best (smiley face).  She exploded on me, telling me she hated me and hated her life, and not to be surprised if she ran away tonight.  I could have easily been hurt by her words and spurred out my feelings at the moment, but I chose to stay level in my tone and care and told her I was sorry this was her feelings but I still loved her.  Within minutes, she did a 180 and was telling me she didn't mean it.  She was just upset and mad.  She was sorry for the hurtful words.  We agreed that everybody has their moments and I already forgave her right when she said it, she will just have to work harder next time with the words she says when she's mad, because words have a lasting impact on the person who receives them.  Where are your words?  Are you speaking life?

There is no doubt that there are many other things that play into dishonoring behaviors, but if you want a respectful child, remember, it begins with you.  For their sake, shut off that television that feeds negativity and begin to teach the value of honor.



Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Just Imagine - Following God's Call

By: Shari A. Miller

"We never grow closer to God when we just live life. It takes deliberate pursuit and attentiveness." - Francis Chan

Food for thought:

What if we followed God with our whole heart, using our full potential, no matter the cost?

Just imagine the difference it would make in our lives, as well as the life of others.

"You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him." - Deuteronomy 13:4 (NIV)


Life can get so full...full of things to do, places to be, and people to meet. Everything from joyous occasions to trials can arise and cause us to lose focus of the voice that we can hear deep down within our souls.

Yet the Lord still says, "Follow me. Follow my call and walk along the path that I have called you to go."

Oh how often we may doubt that voice and choose to go our own way instead; because often times we realize that obedience to the voice comes with a cost, a cost that we may not be willing to pay.

"The bottom line in the Christian life is obedience and most people don't even like the word." - Charles Stanley

Are you ready to be different than most and obey God and follow His call?

Let's move forward friends, being deliberate, and intentional every step of the way, following in His footsteps as He leads us forward on a new journey that will mold and shape us into His image.

He's calling us friends to go forth and do great things for Him. To proclaim His name to a lost and dying world. He wants us to be different, to be bold, to be world changers for Him.

Today is a fresh start to begin anew and say, "yes" to the highest calling that we will find. Today is a day to do more than imagine, today is the day to obey, and march forward and watch something beautiful unfold.

Are you with me? Let's go.




It is time for the Woman to Woman Word Filled Wednesday Link Up. We desire to connect women of God with one another and encourage each other in Christ. So grab a cup of coffee or glass of sweet tea, sit back and visit a few blogs. Be encouraged and share your own stories in their comments.

Use hashtag #w2wwordfilledwednesday

Three rules to this link up:
1. Must be a {Christian} faith post.
2. Link back to W2W somewhere in your post. (Feel free to use our button if you want!)
3. Visit and comment on at least one other blog in the link up.

Woman to Woman Ministries