Thursday, December 18, 2014

Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts...

by Debi Baker

The phrase 'Jehovah Sabaoth' which means 'Lord of Hosts' is used well over 270 times in the Word of God.  'Host' is defined as a great number of something or an army.  The phrase 'Lord of Hosts' implies the idea of great power.  God has dominion over all of creation and that includes the angels, humans, stars, the sun, the moon, the animals and even Satan and his imps.  
photo credit

We read in 1 Samuel 17:8-11 NLT how Goliath taunted the Israelites.  "8 Goliath stood and shouted a taunt across to the Israelites.  'Why are you all coming out to fight?' he called.  'I am the Philistine champion, but you are only the servants of Saul.  Choose one man to come down here and fight me!  9 If he kills me, then we will be your slaves.  But if I kill him, you will be our slaves!  10 I defy the armies of Israel today!  Send me a man who will fight me!'  11 When Saul and the Israelites heard this, they were terrified and deeply shaken."

All of Saul's army was in fear of ONE giant of a man.  Does that make sense to you?  How can an entire army be afraid of one man, no matter his size?  I'll tell you how...because they were allowing themselves to be deceived by the devil.  Because Goliath looked big, the enemy let the imaginations of the army run wild and the warriors began to believe 'big equals better.'  These were God's people.  They were supposed to rely on HIM and not themselves or anyone or anything else!

Then i1  Samuel 17:45 NKJV, we find a young [probably around 12-13 years old] David boldly proclaiming to Goliath and all those around him, "45 You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied."   

David was trusting not in himself but in the assurance that God was with him and He would be victorious because of GOD.  We all have giants in our life.  Those giants can cause us to fear and tremble...BUT...we need to remember 'Jehovah Sabaoth, the Lord of Hosts' is with us...He has our back.  There is NOTHING the enemy can do to us that can change that fact!   Goliath came before the army of Israel with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin.  David came before Goliath with GOD.  The use of weapons require ME to do the work of battle, but in God, it's not me, it's HIM!  No weapons are needed!!

This next statement I will make is so was given to us during Bible Study last night...

What is the worst case scenario concerning your giant?  If what you are afraid will happen does happen, what is the worst thing that could happen?  The answer to that is "With God, there is NO worst case scenario!"  There is nothing your giant can do to you that God can't handle!

When facing a giant in your life, remember this, you are too blessed to be distressed!

Face your giants with boldness the way David came before Goliath.  The world said David was crazy...but God...God intervened and David was victorious in His Name!!

Have a 'giant defeated' day!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gingerbread Cookies with Royal Icing

Gingerbread Cookies:

Recipe courtesy of
1 package sugar cookie mix
1 egg
1/2 cup  all-purpose flour
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Royal Icing:
2 large egg whites or 5 tablespoons meringue powder
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or 1teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
Food coloring if desired

Directions for cookies:

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, blend all ingredients together and chill for up to 1 hour. Roll dough out on floured board about 1/8-inch thick. Cut desired shapes with cookie cutters and place onto sheet pan. Bake for 8 minutes in preheated oven.

Directions for Icing:

With a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the lemon juice or extract until frothy. Add the sifted powdered sugar and beat on low speed until combined, smooth and shiny. Turn to high and beat for approximately 5 minutes until stiff and glossy. Add food coloring, if desired and transfer to a pastry bag to pipe onto cookies.

Monday, December 15, 2014

For the Gamer's Wife...

Does your play video games? Does it bother you?

My husband goes through phases. He plays video games regularly for a few months, then he tires of it and won't play for a few months. He is on his gaming phase right now.

I realized something one night while he was playing; I love when he plays video games!

Yep, you read right. I love when my husband plays video games. Why? Because I get to enjoy his happiness. I get to hear his laughter. I get to see him bonding with the kids. I get to snuggle next to him with a book as we both do something we enjoy.

Now, the video games my husband plays are family friendly and he plays with the kids. Our family loves Mario and sports games. It becomes a family activity, a time to bond and laugh together.

Does your #husband play #videogames? Here's some encouragement for the gamer's wife! #marriage

Is your husband a gamer? There are several types of gaming here.

  • First, we have the the kind like my husband. The one whose games are clean and friendly and it is a family affair. If this is your husband, embrace it! Enjoy it! Love it! Even play a game with your husband. My husband and I enjoy playing the old time Mario games when the kids go to bed. It becomes a date of sorts.
  • Second, we have the gamer who plays with his buddies. There is nothing wrong with this gamer. Just like your husband, you want time away to do things with your friends from time to time. This is his way of getting that time. If it becomes a problem in the family, where he is gone with his gaming buddies more than home, simply talk to him. Work out a schedule where he can get that time away occasionally.
  • Third, we have the gamer who plays games that might be inappropriate. If this is your husband, first pray over him. Lay hands on his gaming system and pray that God would allow only clean things to come out of it. Then talk to him in a calm way. Explain that you want your home to be Christ centered. Ask him if he could find games that are family friendly. If your husband is not yet a believer, spend extra time in prayer before going to him. If he balks at first, simply go back to prayer, don't push him.
Whatever type of gamer your husband is, don't nag him, embrace him.

Does your husband game?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Are Christmas Cards Worth It for Single Women?

by Brenda Rodgers

As a single woman I always felt silly sending Christmas cards.

I had a dozen reasons why I shouldn’t – they cost money, they take time, and then of course the reason that was my reason for not doing a lot of other things, too - Christmas cards are for people with families.

If social media were popular six years ago, I could have also added that everyone knows what I look like now anyway. So why send a card with a picture of me and a dog (except that I didn’t have a dog)?

But despite all of these reservations, every year I found myself sending Christmas cards. With a picture of just me. And a message. A message with a purpose.

I want to encourage you, as a single woman, to do the same.

The Bible specifically tells us that the enemy uses our circumstances to take our focus off of God and put in on ourselves. And what better time for him to do this than at Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

Every year as I considered not sending Christmas cards I thought about the one friend who might not have even thought about Jesus throughout the year or during the season. I imagined my card triggering a wondering. And that wondering leading to salvation.

Think of your Christmas cards not as a way to share all of your blessings or lack of aging or your current status. But put the focus back on Jesus and think of them as a way to open your friends’ minds to the idea of our Savior’s birth.

How do I choose Christmas cards? 

1. I make sure they are affordable.

I do not like spending tons of money on Christmas cards.  You can buy find affordable picture cards on any of the popular photograph websites. If you enjoy using photo editing programs like or Photoshop, you can make your on. Or even better, you can get Christmas cards on sale after Christmas and save them for next year. You don't have to be like everyone else. I still love a folded Christmas card without a picture but a handwritten note. 

2. I only look for Christian themed cards.

This goes back to my purpose for sending Christmas cards.  My purpose is to use them as a tool for sharing the Gospel and keep the meaning of Christmas Christ-centered. It's possible that my card is the only representation of Jesus a person holds or hangs on their pantry door. 

3. I choose cards with a fair amount of text space that I can change.

I rarely use the default wording or message that the company uses to advertise the card.  I like to write my own personal message, so I make sure to choose a card that I can change and that has adequate text space.

Do you send Christmas cards?  Please share with me in the comments why you do or don't.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Christmas Basket Full of Senses: Celebrating Christmas With Our Senses Part One
A Christmas Basket Full of Senses

Celebrating Christmas With Our Senses
By Angie Ketcham

About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews?  We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”  …They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2:  2 and 11

The Wise Men that came to visit Jesus knew that this baby boy was special.  They knew that this moment in time was significant in history and they were fully committed to the task of worshipping this boy-child, King of the Jews.  They chose to worship with the giving of precious gifts, a sacrifice of great value.  Scholars contend that these gifts would be given for spiritual symbolic reasons:  the gold as a precious metal-the sign of deity, frankincense as perfume or incense-the sign of his priestly role and healing, and myrrh as anointing oil-the sign of the significance of his death and embalming. 

These gifts stand out to me as significant for the way they each affect our senses.  Gold shines and glows.  Its beauty is talked about throughout the Bible.  It always represents royalty and righteousness, a picture of what God wants us to be:  pure and spotless, an image to behold.

Frankincense is a very highly potent scent that has been used since ancient times for the purposes of healing arthritis, oral issues, and an array of other problems. The fragrance is used as a popular ingredient in cosmetic products and also used in incense burners for centuries.  The scent is closely associated with religious traditions and rites within the Christian faith.

Frankincense also relates to our sense of touch.  It can be rubbed on the skin for softer skin and for a relaxant to relieve stress and anxiety.  It has been proven that the sense of touch can make a baby calm.  It can help a child’s brain to be stimulated and for neurons to connect for better brain functioning.  It can cause a baby with low birth weight to begin gaining weight.  It heals connections within the nervous system so touch does not cause pain, but pleasure.
Myrrh is also an highly potent oil that is taken from the Commiphora tree.  It is used throughout history as perfume, incense, and medicine.  It can be ingested by mixing it with wine. It is a bitter and spicy resin that has high healing properties, just as Frankincense.  It was used in Ancient Egyptian graves for mummification of the important leaders and rulers.  It was used in Jerusalem in the Temples as a holy anointing oil of the high priests and kings.  Because of the anesthetic properties of Myrrh, it is believed that in Mark 15:23, when Jesus was offered wine drugged with myrrh to more easily endure his cross, he refused so he could go through the suffering with a clear mind. 

Most importantly were the sounds that were heard on that blessed night the Wise Men found the boy-child, Jesus.  Scripture says they saw the child and bowed down and worshiped him.  I wonder if their songs of worship brought tears to all those in the room?  I wonder if their words soothed the hearts of an anxious, weary mom whose little one wore her out completely?  I wonder if heaven stopped to hear the sounds of wise men seeking the adoration of this child, King of the Jews?  I wonder if God himself smiled down as hearts were bowed in respect, offering everything they had?

When I think of this most holy days of celebration of the birth of our King, I want to first, offer myself as an act of worship.  May I fall on my knees and bow my head, turning from the daily activities at hand, to seek the one it’s all for, Jesus.  May I use the senses that God has already given me to remember what took place on that blessed day that Jesus was born and for what took place on that blessed day when Jesus gave His life for me on that cross.  May I find worship in every activity that I do and may my senses remind me of the Savior that came that day.  Join me again next week as I focus on some “senses” that make our Christmas season one to remember.