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Learn more about Jesus! Let the Bible show you how to fix your life! Enjoy Christian words of encouragement from the Bible, inspirational Bible stories, Bible verses to live by, and sound Bible teaching. Learn how to homeschool and prepare healthy easy recipes. Scroll down for our menu...
by Linda Hull
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Copyright © 2012 Linda G. Hull
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January, 2012, Volume 18.1
"Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul." Psalm 25:1
Will You Contact Me? Share a prayer request, your decision, or seek counsel.
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"As we live out our daily lives, each must choose whom they will serve. I seek to maintain a close fellowship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and to serve Him as He directs. My desire is to be in the center of His will at all times. It is my prayer that Words of Encouragement will encourage and exhort all of us towards a closer relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ through increased knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. May it provide the help and hope you seek. May it strengthen the Church of believers."
- Linda Hull
Do You Know For Sure?
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"Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" Galatians 4:16
January is not the month when I am more likely to start new things. On the contrary, January is the month to undo bad habits of eating, sleeping, and leisure that took up our time throughout the holidays! It's time to get back on track, whether that be with your Bible reading program, school or job, or just life in general. We need to seek the Lord for our new year, asking Him to reveal His will for this year. Maybe you need to seek Him in confession first, just to clear the air, and get back into a right relationship with Him. He is quick to forgive when we confess our sin.
This month I've included some thoughts on finding our roots in Christ. It's so easy to forget Him in the midst of life's demands. Maybe you thought you knew what you are supposed to be doing, but not sure that He's blessing. Maybe it's because you left Him out of the decision making process. There's lots to think about...
"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" Isaiah 52:7
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Copyright © 2012 by Linda G. Hull
"Wherefore laying aside all
malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil
As newborn babes, desire the
sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If so be ye have tasted that
the Lord is gracious.
To whom coming, as unto a
living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and
Ye also, as lively stones,
are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual
sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Wherefore also it is
contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone,
elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be
Unto you therefore which
believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone
which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the
And a stone of stumbling, and
a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being
disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen
generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye
should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness
into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are
now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained
The Believer's Mission...
"Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."
1 Peter 2:1-10 (KJV)
Finding Our Roots Again
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps" 1 Peter 2:21
Sometimes in order to move forward, we have to go back. Back? Yes, to our roots. If we have lost sight of our life goal, this is evidence we have lost our roots. We need to remember why we set out on the path we have taken. We need to be reminded of who we were and where we were going.
Too often in the frenzy of living our lives, we get off track and can't find our way back. The goals we sought to attain have been muddied and discarded. Most importantly, we may find that we have moved away from our Lord. Bad habits abound as we have pursued our own ways.
Other things have taken control of our lives, pulling us into directions we never sought. The "have to's" or the "must do's" rule. We have not prayed to our heavenly Father to see how He chooses to use us. We just go with the winds that push us where ere they blow.
If you think you're still in the center of God's will, take some time to pray to make sure. Maybe you veered off His way and don't even realize it. How easy it is to be busy doing worthwhile and good activities, only to realize these are not what God has ordained. His will is supreme and must be considered as paramount in our lives.
We are a busy people who spend much of our time talking inane nonsense on our cell phones and texting and tweeting ridiculous messages. We no longer find the time or have the inclination to read God's Word or to pray. We are consumed by self-interest. Self has truly taken center stage in the hearts of man.
I call on Believers today to step away from the world's entertainment for a time and a season. You will see how it has clouded your vision and perverted your thinking. Many of our young people spend their lives away playing endless games on a variety of technological gadgets. If their time was not being stolen from them, and they weren't so willingly giving it away, think what could be accomplished.
We have believed the lie that all that happens is fated to be. This kind of "whatever will be" mentality protects us from facing the truth. We have surely allowed ourselves to be pulled into all manner of things believing it has been orchestrated by our Lord or that we were destined for it. Nonsense! We are in control of our destiny in so much that we are called to serve God's purpose. He orchestrates our life so that we might bring Him honor and glory.
Think back to a time when Jesus was Lord over your life. Do you remember the zeal you once had for Him and for His ways? You were not ashamed of Him or unwilling to spend time with Him in His Word or in prayer. When our lives were new in Him, we were so excited! Church attendance was a pleasure and a joy. We were excited to see what God would do as we yielded ourselves to Him. How careful we were to obey Him and honor Him.
What has God called you to do for Him? Do you remember? Let's get back on track. Time is not to be frittered away with useless endeavors. Time is precious and there is so little of it. We all struggle with overcoming bad habits, picked up when we were careless in our walk with the Lord. Now is the time to put them aside. For some, it will be a daily struggle. Remove the temptations! Don't leave that extra candy laying around. Get rid of it. Use your time for more worthwhile activities such as taking up a hobby.
If you aren't sure where you are in your walk with the Lord, start over. Go back to your early roots in Him.
Seek Him with all your heart, mind, soul, and spirit. Ask Him in prayer to restore your love for Him. Confess all known sin, acknowledging your role in your disobedience. Get back into a daily Bible reading program so you can be reminded of what His Word says so you can obey Him. Take time to thank Him for all He has done for you. Praise Him for His faithfulness and constancy in your life. Be reminded of the work He has called you to do, and go back to where you left it behind.
"For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls." 1 Peter 2:25
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"And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me." Jeremiah 32:40
Musings... How to be Wise
Job asked the question...
"Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" Job 28:20
Moses explained wisdom comes from God...
"And He hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;" Exodus 35:31
Solomon, the wisest of all men, spoke about having wisdom...
"A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:" Proverbs 1:5
"Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding." Proverbs 4:7
"Whoso keepeth the law is a wise son: but he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his father." Proverbs 28:7
Even the psalmist sang of wisdom...
"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His commandments: His praise endureth for ever." Psalm 111:10
"Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice. Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:6-10
"So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Psalm 90:12
Perhaps the one who understood best where wisdom comes from and how to gain it was James...
"If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord." James 1:5-7
"Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom." James 3:13
"But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." James 3:17
"Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not." Jeremiah 33:3
"And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;" 1 Timothy 1:12
I enjoy photography! I am thankful for my husband who introduced me to the joy of preserving special moments in time. I am especially thankful to enjoy and preserve the beauty of God's Creation.
My first camera was purchased from money from my first job many years ago. It was a simple Kodak Instamatic which still works, if only there was film available for it. Only a few years ago did I begin to develop my photography hobby.
We enjoy hiking backwoods trails and nature paths. How thrilling it is to discover scenic landscapes of God's Creation! We would have missed these treasures if we had not purposed in our hearts to get away from the computers and get out of the house.
Even a small flower reflects His glory and majesty in its design. Despite what the global warmers say, God says:
"While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease." Genesis 8:22
We tend to live our lives in black and white, dull and mundane, dependent on entertainment to bring a smile and lift us out of the winter doldrums. God loves color! All of nature at all times of the year is filled with color! Don't let your life float away in a black and white cloud of despair and discouragement, all alone. Seek Him and ask Him to put color back into your life. You might be surprised to discover the many ways He will invigorate your life if you will but let Him.
Taking things for granted is another mistake. Becoming used to seeing, but not seeing what is around us is a huge loss. The little things go unnoticed. People go unnoticed. Opportunities for ministry go unnoticed. Slow down so you can really see what's going on around you! This tree looks like an old man to me. Unfortunately, on our last hike, we noticed it had been cut down. Nothing lasts forever. All the more reason to appreciate your surroundings and those God brings into your life.
My mother used to say when I couldn't find something, that it should be painted red. Hmmm...I wonder if that would have made a difference. On one of our treks, I almost walked on this little guy...
Photography has opened my eyes. Sometimes I think about what God sees as He watches over us. Does He mourn the carelessness of humans? Does He take note of our wastefulness? I am reminded our sins are ever before Him. He's not looking to catch us out, but we sure give Him lots of opportunities to correct and teach us.
Nature is not always benign. God allows it to run its course. That means we will experience floods and mudslides and torrential rains and more as nature shapes our earth. Check out these sights:
Nature points me to my Lord and Savior, reminding me that God keeps His promises. He is in control, and all of nature reflects His power and might and majesty. Praise be to God!
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"Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct Him? He that reproveth God, let him answer it." Job 40:2
Photo of Lois Rebecca Brice (1880-1918)
"Inspired by great-grandmother's scrapbook, compiled before 1918."
The Prize Fight"I am a boxer, who does not inflict blows on the air, but I hit hard and straight at my own body."—1 Cor. ix. 26 (WEYMOUTH'S Translation).'T'was breakfast time, and outside in the street The factory men went by with hurrying feet. And on the bridge, in dim December light, The newsboys shouted of the great prize fight. Then, as I dished the bacon, and served out The porridge, all our youngsters gave a shout. The letter-box had clicked, and through the din The Picture News was suddenly pushed in. John showed the lads the pictures, and explained Just how the fight took place, and what was gained By that slim winner. Then, he looked at me As I sat, busy, pouring out the tea: "Your mother is a boxer, rightly styled. She hits the air sometimes, though," and John smiled. "Yet she fights on." Young Jack, with widened eyes Said: "Dad, how soon will mother get a prize?" We laughed. And yet it set me thinking, how I beat the air, because a neighbour's cow Munched at our early cabbages, and ate The lettuce up, and tramped my mignonette! And many a time I kicked against the pricks Because the little dog at number six Disturbed my rest. And then, how cross I got When Jane seemed discontented with her lot. Until poor John in desperation said He wearied of the theme—and went to bed! And how I vexed myself that day, when he Brought people unexpectedly for tea, Because the table-cloth was old and stained, And not a single piece of cake remained. And how my poor head ached! Because, well there! It uses lots of strength to beat the air! "I am a boxer!" Here and now I pray For grace to hit the self-life every day. And when the old annoyance comes once more And the old temper rises sharp and sore, I shall hit hard and straight, O Tender-Wise, And read approval in Thy loving eyes.
Inchfawn, Fay. "The Prize Fight" The Verse-book of a Homely Woman.
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"Teach me thy way, O Lord; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name. I will praise thee, O Lord my God, with all my heart: and I will glorify thy name for evermore. For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell." Psalm 86:11-13
I was watching some kids in an after school program write down answers on their work sheet. It wasn't their answers that interested me, but the way they held their pencils and formed their letters. I was surprised to see such a disturbing trend.
Each child held their pencil differently. Some held it between their thumb and forefinger. Others held it between other fingers and the bottom of their thumb. Some just held their pencil in a fist. I couldn't see how this would be comfortable much less effective. The other astounding thing was how they made their letters. One child started at the top of a letter, forming it from top to bottom. Another made several motions, where many of us use one. It seemed that each child had been left to do what seemed easiest, without any kind of instruction.
Good penmanship is so important. Yes, I know we use computers and keyboards now, but we still must apply our hand to form a signature on important documents. Good penmanship demonstrates the value of a good education.
I used the Ball and Stick method to teach my children. It was the way I learned, and seemed the best to me. We practiced forming letters each day. I was very glad to discover a Scripture based curriculum.
I used "A Reason for Writing" Curriculum by Eva Hoshino and Carol Ann Retzer. Each week featured a Scripture verse for daily handwriting practice. New letters were introduced and practiced, culminating in word practice, using the words from the Scripture verse. At the end of the week, the child had a keepsake worksheet called a Scripture Border Sheet on which to write the verse and color the picture. Each daily lesson takes very little time, usually 10-15 minutes max.
Later we used transitioned into cursive writing using the same curriculum. Best of all my children were learning Bible verses!
*******JANUARY HOMESCHOOL TIPS*******
January can be difficult, what with coming off the holiday vacation time and fighting the weather. Don't restart your daily grind without adding some great times of fun and activity to build interest and burn off steam. If you have snow on the ground, take some time in the afternoon to go sledding or tubing. Let the kids make some Snow Cream for an afternoon treat.
Here's the recipe:
Start with about 8 cups of fresh, clean snow. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Add 1 can (14oz.) sweetened condensed milk. Mix all ingredients together. Serve while cold.
A simpler recipe is one my Mom used: a bowl full of clean snow plus a teaspoon vanilla extract, and milk enough to make it slushy. Serve it up with a spoon.
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When we began our homeschooling journey, there were few resources to help us get started. We too struggled to find information, resources, and support for our journey. Homeschooling is more mainstream today, and for that I am truly thankful.
Still, there are times when reading about another's journey and gathering from the experience of others can inspire and be a help in time of need. To ask questions about homeschooling please contact me!
My homeschool booklet is available to help you on your journey:
Homeschooling: The Modern Day One Room Schoolhouse.
>>>Just click on the book cover or the link above to go directly to the secure store site to order.
***Click on my Homeschool Squidoo Lens icon for more homeschool info:
***Check out my Homeschool Encouragement Designs store for products geared to kids and homeschooling!
This is a free downloadable program for all your record keeping needs! I have used it successfully for years! Record keeping couldn't be easier or quicker!
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"We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old." Psalm 44:1
"Resolutions for the New Year, 1846." Baptist Report
and Missionary Intellengencer III. Ed. Joseph Foulkes Winks.
"Resolutions for the New Year, 1846." Baptist Report and Missionary Intellengencer III. Ed. Joseph Foulkes Winks. London: 1846. 21.
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"But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Corinthians 9:27
Ray Comfort's video, 180...
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"Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is His reward." Psalm 127:3
"And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." I Timothy 6:6
USING LEFT OVERS!
Click on the links below to go to a recipe or the tip of the month or scroll down.
TIP OF THE MONTH
"Hear, and understand: Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." Matthew 15:10-11
*Adapted from "Aunt Caroline's Dixieland Recipes" by Emma and William McKinney. (now in public domain)
** More recipes can be found at Free Recipes or Free Cooking Recipes.
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Two cups cold mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs, well beaten
1 cup milk
Beat ingredients together until smooth. Place in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees until heated through and firm. Serve immediately.
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4 raw potatoes, quartered 3/4 cup beef stock 2 green peppers, diced
coarsely 1 1/2 cups chopped, cooked beef 2 tomatoes, quartered 1 onion,
quartered salt & pepper to taste Run vegetables through food processor set
on coarse. Transfer to saucepan. Add beef stock and cover. Cook
until tender. Add beef and salt & pepper. Cook until beef is hot.
4 raw potatoes, quartered
3/4 cup beef stock
2 green peppers, diced coarsely
1 1/2 cups chopped, cooked beef
2 tomatoes, quartered
1 onion, quartered
salt & pepper to taste
Run vegetables through food processor set on coarse. Transfer to saucepan. Add beef stock and cover. Cook until tender. Add beef and salt & pepper. Cook until beef is hot.
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1 egg white 3 tablespoons sugar 1 cup cranberry sauce 1/2 cup walnuts,
chopped fine With mixer, beat egg white until stiff. Add alternately and
gradually sugar and cranberry sauce. Continue to whip until it swells to a
pint and one half. Serve in desert bowls. Top with a sprinkling of
1 egg white
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup cranberry sauce
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped fine
With mixer, beat egg white until stiff. Add alternately and gradually sugar and cranberry sauce. Continue to whip until it swells to a pint and one half. Serve in desert bowls. Top with a sprinkling of walnuts.
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100 Watt incandescent light bulbs are going to be pulled off the shelves soon. So since I have lamps that can only use incandescent bulbs, and since breaking one of the new compact fluorescent lights containing mercury is so scary, I plan to put aside a few of the old standards. I know the green people will be upset thinking I'm not interested in saving energy. I am, but having to find new ways to dispose of the new mercury filled bulbs is a problem, not to mention the fear of having mercury on my hands or floor if I break one. I've used them in the past, and once I heard about the mercury content, I pulled them out.
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Thank you and God bless you!