I have learned many things along this rocky road called life! The most important thing I've learned is that I needed a Savior long ago! I felt so lost before the Lord found me and I opened up my heart to Him. Many things were coming at me, not the least of which was a voice telling me that my life wasn't worth going on for! When the Lord found me, He saved me from this lying voice! I invited Him into my home and my heart! From then on it's been Him and I in all things. My hope for you is that if you are on that same rocky road that I was on, empty, wondering if it's worth it to go on, you too will invite the Lord to save you. He will show you that your life is worth living for Him!
Nehemiah, Cupbearer to the King! This man must have been brave! He understood what danger was and how it affected people! He was the one who had to take a taste test of the kings drink before the king would drink from his cup! He made sure it was not poisoned! That is very scary to me!
One day Nehemiah had some visitors!
2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came to visit me with some other men who had just arrived from Judah. I asked them about the Jews who had returned there from captivity and about how things were going in Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Things are not going well for those who returned to the province of Judah. They are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire.” New LivingTranslation
Wow, that was disturbing for Nehemiah to hear. Judah was lying in ruins. Those who had been taken captive and allowed to return home were in pretty bad shape. There had been no progress in the rebuilding of the city. Their stronghold, their fort, their beloved city was unprotected from their enemies and from all sorts of other dangers. They were living in shambles. I would imagine it was probably a pretty bad economy too! Much like ours today.
What if the fencing around our homes was blown over by the Santa Ana Winds, or knocked down by thieves? How would we feel if our front door, back door and garage door were all burned out by fire. Would we feel safe? How open to danger would we be? We would not be able to lock our doors for safe keeping and deep sleeping at night. Worst of all we would be open to every animal, insect, and creepy crawling thing that is around! Hahah! We would not feel like our families were safe from harm. I know I would be really down and discouraged.
Here is how it affected Nehemiah and what he did about it!
4 When I heard this, I sat down and wept. In fact, for days I mourned, fasted, and prayed to the God of heaven!
What a view into Nehemiahs heart. How about us, are there people we know whose lives are broken down, lying in ruins? Their hearts are unprotected and they're wide open for sin to come in and snatch them away! We can pray for them with a heart like Nehemiahs!
Here is his prayer to follow:
5 Then I said,
“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for your people Israel. I confess that we have sinned against you. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! 7 We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that you gave us through your servant Moses. 8 “Please remember what you told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to me, I will scatter you among the nations. 9 But if you return to me and obey my commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for my name to be honored.’10 “The people you rescued by your great power and strong hand are your servants. 11 O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honoring you. Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me.* Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” In those days I was the king’s cup-bearer.
Nehemiah first and foremost acknowledges who God is in his prayer! You are the God of Heaven, you are great and awesome. What a rich and full statement. Nehemiah reminds himself of where God is and honors God from his heart! Let's see what thoughts the words awesome and great bring with them.
3372 יָרֵא, יָרֵא [yare’ /yaw·ray/] v. 1 to be feared, revered, be afraid. 1a (Qal). 1a1 to fear, be afraid. 1a2 to stand in awe of, be awed. 1a3 to fear, reverence, honour, respect. 1b (Niphal). 1b1 to be fearful, be dreadful, be feared. 1b2 to cause astonishment and awe, be held in awe. 1b3 to inspire reverence or godly fear or awe. (Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)
1419 גָּבֹול, גָּדֹול, הַגְּדֹולִים [gadowl, or (shortened), gadol /gaw·dole/] adj 1 great. 1a large (in magnitude and extent). 1b in number. 1c in intensity. 1d loud (in sound). 1e older (in age). 1f in importance. 1f1 important things. 1f2 great, distinguished (of men). 1f3 God Himself (of God) subst. 1g great things.
Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
Nehemiah teaches us who God is and how He is to be repsonded to: with honor, reverance and respect mingled with fear. When we think of God we can see Him as one who is full of magnitude, depth, importantance, distinguished from all other gods, intense, and all powerful.
Next Nehemiah while reminding himself, tells us what this great and awesome God does for us:
You are the God who keeps his covenant of unfailing love with those who love him and obey his commands.
Nehemiah certainly wasn't reminding God of who He is, he was reminding himself of who God is! Meditating on who God builds up our faith, then when we are praying we can come boldly before His throne with love, respect, awe, and faith all mingled with fear!!!
One way to know who God is would be to do a study of His Names. Each name tells us a whole bunch about His character, His nature in action towards us, it builds up our faith.
Here is what the word name itself means: 8034 שֵׁם [shem /shame/] n m. A primitive word [perhaps rather from 7760 through the idea of definite and conspicuous position; TWOT 2405; GK 9005; 864 occurrences; AV translates as “name” 832 times, “renown” seven times, “fame” four times, “famous. 1a name. 1b reputation, fame, glory. 1c the Name (as designation of God). 1d memorial, monument. Strong, James: The Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
The names of God bring to us knowledge and understanding of His renown Glory. They serve as a memorial to us of what He has done in the past and wants to do now for us, as well as what He wants from each one of us. They can be a memorial to His greatness in our hearts for our own good, for His glory and it will give us wisdom on how to share with others about His love for them.
An example of this is His name Jehovah Nissi. This means the God whose banner over us is love. We in America have a flag. It is red, white and blue, with stars and stripes. When we see it we understand the fullness of it's meaning, how it came to be and what it stands for. Freedom from tierney, freedom to live our lives! And the price paid for us to have this freedom...the sacrificail death of many!
When we think of God, we are to use that understanding of what a banner means and apply it to the great love He has for us. So much so that He sent His son to bring us freedom, freedom from sin. That is only one name of His out of many!!
Nehemiah acknowledges and confesses his own sin, the sin of his country and then petitions God for his desires. He needed grace and success in his petiton of the king for favor for his homeland. Not only did Nehemiah face death each time he drank from the kings cup to check for poison, but he faced death for just being down in the kings presence, and on top of that he wanted to ask to help his countrymen rebuild the walls of protection and to bring his people back to serving their God!
Like I said, he must have been a brave, god fearing man to stand up under all he had going on. With Gods help he moved forward! With Gods help we too can stand up under all we have going on and move forward!
May we like Nehemiah Remember, give Reverence and seek the Redemption of those in need around us!!!!
You may think I am asking about your tummies disposition! Hahah! Most of the time I am! But not today!
Today I would like to encourage you to stay spiritually fed! It's summertime and our women's studies are on a break as well as some of our normal ministries. We are busy planning fun times, weddings, vacations, and very busy with summer time ministries like the Harvest Crusade!
The summertime can be a very fast paced season with lots of fun sprinkled into our lives. We have the beach to go to, exercise to get and those Disneyland passes to use before our blackout days!
My question to us is this. "How are we going to stay spiritually fed this summer season? Do we have a plan ?
The Lord has laid some suggestions on my heart for all of us!
1. We must have a plan of action for studying His words to us! Without a plan we are hit and miss at best!
At the Harvest Bookstore in the very back is a turnstyle with small bible study books on it. LifeGuide Bible Studies from Intervarsity Press. They cover many subjects like Character Studies along with just different books of the bible! These books have kept me going for years! You read a chapter on the topic you are studying and then you answer questions to get you thinking about what you just read! It'sjust that simple! You can go deeper on your own by looking up a word or two in your bible dictionary, therefore getting the deepest meaning and fulness of thoughts to bring understanding to the text!
2. Listen to bible teachings on the radio. Of course, KWVE 107.9 is the best. It's an awesome way to stay full!!
3. Attend a specialized seminar....like the Truth Project going on at Harvest or buy a dvd set on some biblical topic your interested in! Your investment will pay you back tenfold as you gain a better understanding of your God or as God uses you to encourage others with the new wisdom you have found!!
4. Have a prayer partner you can pray with once a week! Either get together or pray by phone. There is good fellowship, good sharing, getting things off your chest and up to God's ear!
( Thanks Dana, I truly appreciate our prayer times!! <3)
5. Read a good daily devotional. I have not found one better than Streams in the Desert!! Each days reading is short, yet deeper than deep. You can meditate and chew on it allllll day long. Each day is an excerpt from lessons learned by many people over the years!
If you are feeling spiritually dry, or are in the shadow of the valley of death and you need encouragement to just keep going this is the devotional for you. Maybe your curious as to what God is upto in the background of your trial? You will find answers in this devotional.
There is a sister book to Streams called Springs in the Valley! Another excellent choice!
6. Pray regularly with your own family! Are your kids home from college for the summer, heading back in the fall? Please be praying with them for their next school year. Cover all the things that you can with them like their education, how to best deal with teachers and for favor from the teachers, cover them with prayers for safety and wisdom. How about your younger kids. They too need prayer for the next school year, for praise and worship and for their little requests. Remember to have intercessory prayer with your kids for others. Because it is not always about us! (just mostly! hahaha!)
Sweet Blessings of fun and abundance this summer as you play, pray and study with your familes! <3
Luv2u! <3 Monica's Munchies!
Here are some of my favorite pics of my family and fun times!
Melissa and Charlie
May the Lord Bless you with great family time this summer, remember He is a member of your family too, so make time for Him!!
This may seem like a silly thing to write a recipe for...but here is ours and it was sooooo yummy!!
Buy the best tortilla chips you can. Preferably from your local mexican market, like El Tapatio!
1/2-1lb. ea. Ground Beef/Ground Turkey
They each do something for the other! The ground beef helps to flavor the ground turkey, and the ground turkey lightens up the ground beef!)
In a bowl mix together half of each ground meat.
Chop 1 whole purple onion and saute in a good heavy duty fry pan, or your wok with a little canola oil!!
Chop 3-4 cloves of garlic. Add to pan and saute for 1 minute.
(Optional: Chop and add to the pan 1 jalapeno. Devein and deseed if desired!)
Add ground beef/turkey mixture to pan, mix well with onions and garlic.
Brown....seasoning with the following:
Lawrys Garlic Salt;
Gebhardt Chili powder
Sprinkle each seasoning across the top of the meat and mix it into the meat while in the pan! Please don't overcook, just til pink is gone!! (Jeff's a stickler about that one!)
Heat tortilla chips on a cookie she and place in a 350 degree oven for about 7-10 minutes.
Take them out and spread the following over them...
Drained browned ground beef/turkey.
Drained whole black beans or drained homemade pinto beans.
1 can of Ortega Chili Peppers, chopped.
1 Can of sliced Black Olives.
Any shredded or small chunks of queso fresco cheese you prefer.
Put cookie tray back into oven and heat until cheese is melted. Take out and place on hot pad directly on table!
(Optional: Add freshly chopped tomatoes or green onions to top off. Use your favorite salsa too...we used Jalepeno Tabasco sauce!! Spicy green goodness!! <3)
Enjoy your Nachos! family style right from the pan.
P.S. Melissa and I shared the pan of Nachos above! Jeff had his own pan! hahaha!!!
If man is basically good, why is there evil in the world? For what purpose was man made? Who created man? Who does man answer to?
Self Actualization is a philosophy that is holding the world captive right now. If it feels good, do it! If it seems right it is okay. All things self oriented. The law says I can!
God said: 8 Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the spiritual powers* of this world, rather than from Christ. Col 2:8
Murder in the name of "I had to do it"! Abuse in the name of "They deserved it"! Murder in the name of "It is legal"! Dictatorship as in Cuba and North Korea, Michael Jackson and his drug abuse, here is a person that answered to no one and now he is dead, by his own self realized ways! and the list goes on.....,.
This is truth...if it does not line up with Gods word, it is a false reality! It is a made up truth. Whether it is a man made religious rule, scientific data, or self actualization. (If it feels good do it, it is right for me, never mind how it affects you!) We all have the freedom to choose to live in truth or in a made up reality. What do you choose?
Do you honestly want to know the Truth about mankind, why man was made, what is man suppose to be doing, who man is to serve? Do you really want to know why is there evil in the world?
If you do:
Start reading the Bible. You will find all the answers to every question you can come up with .
What was the model for mankind?
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. Genesis 1
The Image of God (Hebrew: צֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים; tzelem elohim, lit. "image of God", often appearing in Latin as Imago Dei) is a concept and theological doctrine that asserts that human beings are created in God's image and therefore have inherent value independent of their utility or function.
Man was created in Gods image, so getting to know God is the best place to start in order to understand mankind. There is sooo much to learn about God. The more you understand about God, the clearer your picture of mankind, his purposes and his end will become.
Understanding the fall of man in the garden, (he gave into the temptation of evil ) through his sinful act of disobedience also helps us understand mankind and evil.
What does God say about Evil:
EVIL (Heb. ra’; Gk. kakos, ponēros, phaulos). Evil has a broader meaning than *sin. The Heb. word comes from a root meaning ‘to spoil’, ‘to break in pieces’: being broken and so made worthless. It is essentially what is unpleasant, disagreeable, offensive. The word binds together the evil deed and its consequences. In the NT kakos and ponēros mean respectively the quality of evil in its essential character, and its hurtful effects or influence. It is used in both physical and moral senses. While these aspects are different, there is frequently a close relationship between them. Much physical evil is due to moral evil: suffering and sin are not necessarily connected in individual cases, but human selfishness and sin explain much of the world’s ills. Though all evil must be punished, not all physical ill is a punishment of wrongdoing (Lk. 13:2, 4; Jn. 9:3; cf. Job).
For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil
And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness. Selah.
The heart of the righteous studieth to answer: but the mouth of the wicked poureth out evil things.
Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil.
For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders,
All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.
3 John 11
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
I will close with this thought from Joshua:
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
The choice is yours....whom will you serve this day: Self or God??
The Truth Project....Harvest Christian Fellowship Tues. nights. 7pm
1/2- 1 pkg. Cream Cheese (To soften: Heat in microwave for 30 secs!)
1/2-1lb. Chorizo (Saute in fry pan until thoroughly cooked, breaking into little pieces like ground beef)
Shredded Cheese: a hand full (Smoked Gouda is reccomended, but if you only have Cheddar/Jack thats fine too!)
Tabasco (Red or Green works well, use according to your own heat thermomater!)
Salt and Pepper to taste!
(Oringinal recipe is from Sunny Anderson, it calls for 1egg too! I don't usually add it!)
William Sonoma has a wonderful BBQ stand for the Jalepenos which allows you to cook them standing up and whole. Slice tops off of Jalapenos and use a zuchinni corer to scoop out the insides, stuff with Cream Cheese mixture, place in stand and then place the stand on the BBQ!
1. We also slice them in half, (this time don't slice off the top!)
2. Scrape out the insides, (which we save for Jeff as he loves the heat!)
3. Stuff with the cream cheese mixture and place on a cookie sheet!
You can eat all left over ingredients seperately also:
1. Place left over cream cheese mixture on a cracker and enjoy!
2. Chop Jalapenos up and saute in butter. Add 2-3 scrambled eggs and saute! Enjoy w/ Jalepeno Tabasco!
We BBQ'd them, but you can cook in the oven!! 350 for approximately 25 mins!
Ever since the Devil whispered to Eve...hath God really said? The world, those who do not want to live by Gods clear commands, have taken this line and run with it. They make for themselves a false reality, believe it, and live in it apart from God! Hath God really said....fill in the blank with any area of Gods truth....and the world will ... question whether or not He really said it...they willl twist His truth until it looks like the truth they want to hear. Satan implied that God was with holding some supposed good from her...like knowing good and evil, like being god like, like blessings....
Know this...if God said No to your desire......it is not because He is withholding your supposed good...what you deem as good for you......It is because He knows, yes knows it is bad for you. It is harmful for you, it is not the Holy thing that you should be involved in. It will bring you down, it willl seperate you from His will, it will make you spiritually weak, it will bring down your faith, it will keep you from Him.
Some of us, myself included have areas where it feels like God is withholding good from us by taking sooo long to answer our prayers, or by allowing misfortune to come our way. But it rains and storms on the good and evil, we must hold onto the Truth, and not buy into HATH GOD REALLY SAID! Yes He said it....abstain from.........Lying, Immorality, Lust, Fear, Worry, Depression, Idol Worship, Pride, Envy, Jealousy, Revenge, Hate and more!!
Yet this is what He has said for us to do: ....Worship HIm, Love Him, Love your neighbor, Serve and Worship Him, Keep His commandments, Trust in Him, Pray to Him, Seek Him, Praise Him, Honor your Parents, Get Married (Man and Woman), Serve Him as a single, Be at peace, Read His Word, Be Filled with His Holy Spirit & not drunk with wine, and much more!!!
God's truth is very clear, you either live by it, or choose to make up your own truth, your own reality that is based on serving your own wants, then you believe it as if it were real, serve it and live by it, leading you away from the Creator of the Universe! That is how self gets put on the throne in place of God/
God is clear, He is not the author of confusion...so where there is confusion in your faith, like "Gods trying to withhold good from me, or He made me like this" seek His word for clarity so that your wrong view, attitude, beliefs can be set straight!
Truth has been on trial since Adam and Eve were walking in the Garden with God! The Devil is the false accuser of Truth! God is truth and Love, He has written a best seller to tell us all about His truth and Love! Do you really want the Truth and Love....Find it in the Bible!! God's truth and love doesnt always come in the form of what you and I think feels good, sometimes it is hard.... that is where faith comes in!
A Christian Worldview is critical to have in order to be pleasing to God!