Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

On this day in America we remember and honor those who have fought and died to keep this country free.  I want to thank all those who have fought in our military and those who are fighting....America would not be the same, might not even be, without you.
Thinking of our soldiers I was reminded of the verse in
2 Timothy 2:3-4 which says,
"You therefore must endure hardships as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier."  We too are soldiers for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." 
Ephesians 6:12
Just as a good soldier is focused on what his Commander has sent him to do so we should be focused on the mission our Lord has sent sent us to do.
"...he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left."
2 Chronicles 4:2b
What is that mission?
"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen."
Matthew 28:19-20

May you and I, just like the soldiers who fight to keep America free, stay focused on the mission our Commander has sent us to free those who are prisoners in the arms of sin.
Happy Memorial Day!

Learning to delight in Jesus,

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dating or Courtship?

My wonderful parents!
{Before I begin I'd like to make one thing very clear - I realize this may be a completely foreign concept to some of you, maybe you've never heard of courtship or have never known that there was another choice other than dating.  No matter what you call it, dating or courtship, the main goal I'm trying to present is to be careful as you pursue relationships with young men.  With that said please continue reading :)}

So what's the difference, you may ask?  If we go by America's definition of "dating" it says that dating is: "An engagement to go out socially with another person, often out of romantic interest.  One's companion on such an outing." (definition from the free dictionary online).  What is wrong with this scenario?  If you go out on a "date" you're usually on your own with the opposite sex with absolutely no parental or adult supervision.  This can lead to a lot of situations that are intended only to be shared after marriage.  Also, when dating you don't usually have marriage as the end goal.  This can lead to portions of your heart being shared with someone who is not your husband.  It says in Proverbs 31 verse 12, " She does him good and not evil all the days of her life." [emphasis mine]  If our future husbands could look back at how we acted around other young men while growing up, would they still want to marry us?
We ladies have an especially hard time keeping ourselves emotionally whole for marriage.  Oftentimes we get emotionally attached to a young man before the time is right, or before we've sought the Lord and our parent's advice.  Why is parental advice and supervision so important?  First, because the Scripture says to obey and submit to them as our parents and elders.
"Children, obey your parents in all things, for this is well pleasing to the Lord." 
Colossians 3:20
"Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders..." 
1 Peter 5:5a

Second, they've walked further down the path of life and have gained much wisdom from which we could glean from.  If we are wise, we will seek the advice and direction of our elders.
Finally, it's always helpful to have another opinion about the young man you're considering.  Parents oftentimes see things that our starry eyes don't see or don't wish to see.  I cannot stress how important a good relationship with our parents is, especially as we get older and face much more serious issues than what to wear to church on Sundays ;).

So, what's courtship?  Courtship looks different in each family but I would define courtship as "a guarded, prayerful relationship with a young man with the goal being that of marriage." Now it is true that not all courtships end in marriage, but it's a much more serious approach to getting to know young men.  Dating tends to be "just for the fun of it", whereas courtship is a commitment to keep each other pure while seeking out the Lord's will in the relationship.  Another difference between courtship and dating is that during the courtship process the parents, especially the father, is very involved.  In the best case scenario the father gets to know the young man before the young man gets to know the daughter.  By doing this the father can see whether or not the man is even a possibility for the daughter and it protects the daughter from becoming too emotionally involved too soon.  Hopefully no one knows a girl as well as her parents.  They know her weakness, they know her likes and dislikes, her convictions and preferences, etc.  Okay by now you're probably saying "Hannah, seriously, this is old fashioned!  You need to catch up with the times."  But look to the Scriptures.
In my post "A Daddy's Girl" I point out how young ladies in the Scriptures depended on their fathers' and stayed under their protective authority until that authority was transferred to the husband.  I find it interesting what Genesis 2:24 says, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." [emphasis mine].  In Mr. Doug Phillips tape "What's a Girl to do" he says that a son leaves but the daughter is true!  There is much safety in the Lord's design.
Below is some books that have greatly assisted me in formulating the convictions I now have regarding dating and courtship:

1. Before you Meet Prince Charming ~ by Sarah Mally
2. So Much More ~ by Anna Sofia and Elizabeth Botkin
3. Preparing to be a Help Meet ~ by Debi Pearl

Please understand these are my convictions.  I'm not trying to push them on any of you.  Research this issue yourself, pray about it, seek wisdom and guidance from your parents and the Lord.  I promise you that you won't be disappointed!  The Lord will speak and show you the way in which to walk!
Learning to delight in Jesus,

Monday, May 16, 2011

Recipe: Chicken 'n Wine Sauce

No worries, this recipe does call for wine but we don't use it (mainly because we never have wine in the house).  This delicious dish feeds many a hardworking person and is extremely simple and conducive for large families.  (I just noticed that my last recipe was a chicken dish too!  Oh well! ;)  We get our chicken breasts from Quail Cove...naturally raised, no hormones = healthy.
Picture from online
Chicken 'n Wine Sauce

6-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1-2 cups of shredded cheese (Monterey Jack or Cheddar)
26 oz. Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup of Sour Cream or Plain Yogurt

After trimming excess fat off the breasts, lay them down evenly in a 9x13 pan.  Spread the cheese over the top of the breasts then spread the Cream of Chicken Soup/Sour Cream mixture evenly over the top.  Cover and cook at 350 degrees F. for about an hour. Then spread a couple handfuls of croutons over the top before cooking for another 30 minutes (might need longer depending on the size of the breasts).  Serve with cooked rice, a veggie, and freshly baked rolls (to dip up that creamy sauce!).  Enjoy!

Variations: Cut chicken into bite size pieces instead of leaving them in breasts.  It's much easier to serve and it cooks faster.  

Learning to delight in Jesus,

Monday, May 9, 2011

Rising above low expectations!

"Let no one despise thy youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity."  
1 Timothy 4:12

In today's culture between the ages of 13 to sometimes mid-20's, "teenagers" are considered irresponsible, unintelligent, slobs, rude, disobedient, disrespectful and rebellious.  The majority may be this way but we Christians should look and be different!  Instead of seeking to be like the world, we should strive with all our hearts, minds, soul, and strength to emulate Jesus Christ.  Why is it that in America we think that until you're an adult the Lord can't/won't use you?  What a mistake!  If you earnestly search the Scriptures you will see that the Lord often called youths' to accomplish His purposes.  

1. Samuel was a little boy when the Lord spoke to Him for the first time and told him of the future of Eli and his sons.  Listen to what the Scripture says about him: "But Samuel ministered before the LORD, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod." 1 Samuel 2:18 [emphasis mine]

2. David was a youth when he, in the strength of the Lord, slayed the mighty Philistine and was anointed King of Israel.  "And when the Philistine looked about and saw David, he disdained him; for he was only a youth, ruddy and good-looking." 1 Samuel 17:42

3. What about the young servant girl of Naaman's wife?  If she hadn't testified before her mistress her master would never have known true physical and spiritual healing.  "Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.”" 2 Kings 5:3 

What about the New Testament?  I think of Mary, the mother of our Savior.  In that culture then, she was probably between 12-15 years old when she had Jesus.  And I think of Timothy to whom the verse at the beginning of this post is written too (1 Timothy 4:12).  I've read many stories of young persecuted Christians in our time, who were unashamed to stand up and declare Jesus as their Lord and Savior, and they suffered the consequences because of their faithful witness.

Don't you see?  Something dramatic has happened in this Satan-influenced culture!  Instead of being all we can for the Lord ALL the days of our life...we've begun to say to the Lord "I give you my life BUT only after I "enjoy" my teenage years."  We need to rise above the low expectations so many people set on us as teenagers (I prefer young adults).  We need to show what the Lord can do with a youth fully devoted to Him and His will for their lives.  We need to be an example to the believers just like Timothy was in 1 Timothy 4:12.  And we need to rise up out of the norm and influence, challenge those unbelievers all around us.  How can we testify to the lost if we look and act just like them?!

I am praying that each one of us, including myself, will rise above low expectations and be a brilliant light to this dark and dying world!!

Photography for Jesus
"Those who are wise shall shine 
Like the brightness of the firmament,
And those who turn many to righteousness
Like the stars forever and ever." 
Daniel 12:3
Learning to delight in Jesus,

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Award!!

A couple of days ago one of my fellow bloggers blessed me with this award (thank you, Sarah!).  In order to receive it I'm supposed to tell 7 things about myself...things you probably don't know.  Here it goes!

1) I'm allergic to all animals with hair, fuzz, or feathers (I'm also allergic to peanuts)!

2) I've eviscerated (the nice way of saying gutted) over 100 chickens with some friends of ours!

3) The farthest place I've ever been from my home is Kansas (that's where my dad's extended relatives live).

4) I have extremely curly, thick hair that's hard to manage (thank the Lord for gel ;)!

5) I accepted my best Friend and Savior when I was 6 years old!

6) I've been homeschooled all my life!

7) I enjoy dressing up for special events but I'm also really good at getting everything I wear dirty!

Well, there ya go.  Thanks again for this special award, Sarah!

Learning to delight in Jesus,

Monday, May 2, 2011

Movie Review: The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry

The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry - DVD
Go here for more info
A couple of months ago some good friends of ours highly recommended for us to see this movie.  We finally got a chance to see it this past Sunday night and I also recommend this movie for entire families to watch and learn from.
It all starts on a hot summer day when a young boy in the early '70's is out mowing a neighbors yard.  Impressed with the thorough job the young man is doing and recognizing him as an attendee of his church, an elderly man asks the boy, Dustin, if he would be willing to mow his grass as well.  An hour later the old man, Mr. Sperry, invites Dustin into his house for a refreshing drink of homemade lemonade and this is how their unique friendship began.  Soon Dustin tells his 2 friends of Mr. Sperry and his delicious lemonade and one day they stopped by for a visit.  During that visit Mr. Sperry invited them to come back in a couple of days, with their Bible's, for a little lesson and some chocolate cake.  The boys dug out their unused Bible's and due to the godly teaching of Mr. Sperry, began applying it in their everyday lives.  Only a couple of weeks later Mr. Sperry found himself teaching 15 or so boys in his living room about Jesus and what He has to say.  The boys' lives are transformed because of the Person alive in their hearts.  Prayerful and obedient, Mr. Sperry continued teaching until the Lord took him home...but the story doesn't stop their.  The boys continue to learn and obey Jesus Christ and years later you see how the power of one godly, obedient person can revolutionize lives, communities and the world.
I liked this movie so much because it goes to show that if you are unashamed in proclaiming Jesus Christ people's lives will be changed because of that witness.  They have no choice but to accept or reject.  As Paul wrote to the Christians in Rome, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek." Romans 1:16  
Another verse that the Lord brought to mind while watching this movie was Ephesians 5:16, "redeeming the time for the days are evil."  Every moment should count for the Savior.  Will you join me in attempting to be a better witness for Jesus Christ?  He can change lives through us if we allow Him!
Learning to delight in Jesus,