Monday, March 29, 2021

April Scripture Writing Plan 2021: Hospitality

Happy almost April sweet friends!

The plan this month is over something I LOVE- Hospitality!

Hospitality is often thought of as inviting people over to your house for dinner but honestly hospitality is not about a perfectly cleaned and decorated house and fancy platters of food. To me Biblical hospitality is about serving and loving others through Christ and making them feel loved and valued and cherished, anywhere. And I think it's super important to remember that hospitality is not something optional for us to do, it's actually something that God calls us to do!

1 Peter 4:8-10 says:  Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.  Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.

God calls us to first love Him and second to love others. When we love and serve those God places before us, we are honoring and serving Him. When we love others, we are showing our love for God. He loves us wholly and completely and unconditionally so when we love and serve others through hospitality, we are also serving God. When we open our hearts as well as our homes, we're practicing Christian hospitality.

The good news is that Christian hospitality doesn't have to be perfect or expensive or elaborate or Instagram worthy. So often people focus on what they don't have instead of focusing on sharing the blessings of God that they do have.  They often think that when they are older or have more money or a larger house or more time they will be more hospitable. But friends, that's not what God's word says! 

And here's some good news: God CAN use people like you and me to touch lives- right now!
It doesn't matter if we rent or own a house or lease a tiny apartment or live in a trailer.  It doesn't matter if we have fine china and crystal or paper plates and Solo cups. It doesn't matter if our house is spotlessly clean or a huge chaotic mess. When it comes to hospitality here's what we have to remember: People gather with us and come to our homes to see us and spend time and fellowship with us- not to inspect and evaluate our homes. 

Hospitality is all about relationships and making people feel loved and valued. Hospitality puts people first—their comfort, their enjoyment, their needs—and invites them into our lives. Hospitality is not worrying about the clutter on the dining room table as we order pizza to be delivered. Hospitality is not about spending hundreds of dollars purchasing food for a gourmet, 9 course meal but instead it's about intentionally creating a place where people feel welcome and experience love, acceptance, and the presence of the Lord- even if it's just sharing a big pot of leftover vegetable soup along with some crackers. 

When we practice hospitality, we have the opportunity to touch lives in a personal way. We just have to be bold and willing to share what we have with those God places in our path- even if what we have is not a lot. God has not only given us the roof over our heads, He has also given us the love and wisdom needed to open our homes and hearts to others.  My prayer that this month as we read what God has to say about Biblical hospitality and serving others, that we think of ways to invite others to join and fellowship with us. That we truly see who God places in front of us and figure out ways to have them join us so we can share God's love with them. 



(Note: You'll notice that six of the days have only the verse that the piece of armor is mentioned in as the verse for that day. My hope is that you will write that verse several times and then spend time trying to memorize it!)

FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be 
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.















Tuesday, March 16, 2021

My Brother's Keeper

 One of the many things I've missed during the days of Covid is going to the movies. I am so excited that movies are both returning to the theater and being released for folks to watch in their home! I was super excited to watch My Brother's Keeper this past week and it was truly fabulous! 


My Brother's Keeper is written/produced by Ty Manns, a veteran and father of active duty sons. The movie features important, hopeful messages on the reality of PTSD in returning war veterans and features Keshia Knight Pulliam (The Cosby Show), T.C. Stallings (War Room, A Question of Faith), Joey Lawrence (Melissa and Joey), and Robert Ri’chard (One on One).  You can read more about the movie here:  https://mbkfilm.com/  and watch the trailer below. 







Be sure to go see MY BROTHER’S KEEPER when it comes out in theaters or host the film at your church through the Faith Content Network! 

Giveaway: Enter & Share the My Brother’s Keeper promotion now and you’ll be entered to win 1 of 20 The Greatest Warrior Bibles, and to join an exclusive fan call with the Stars of My Brother’s Keeper! Enter Now:  http://bit.ly/3dHDp94


Disclosure: Many thanks to Collide Distribution for providing this product/product information for review. Opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.


Friday, February 26, 2021

March Scripture Writing Plan 2021: The Armor of God

Happy almost March sweet friends!
The scripture writing plan topic this month is all about
THE ARMOR OF GOD


I think it's easy to forget that this world is not our home and is truly a spiritual battlefield. Every single hour of every single day we face a spiritual war and an enemy who is real and evil and who wants nothing more than to steal, kill and destroy us (John 10:10). This enemy is ruthless and cunning and evil and super crazy determined. Thankfully God has given us His Word and His Spirit so that we will have the wisdom and protection we need to stand up against the enemy. No matter how cruel or vicious or cunning the enemy is, he can never chain our spirits that have been set free by Christ. Praise the Lord!

In Ephesians Paul gives us a blueprint for how to win this battle, telling us to be strong in the Lord by first clothing ourselves with God's specially-filled and supernaturally strengthened protective armor and then secondly, to stand firm in it. He tells us to put on the full armor of God and then goes on to describe what each piece is. (It's important to remember that at the time that Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians he was under house arrest and was guarded 24 hours a day by Roman soldiers!)

In Ephesians 6:10-18 Paul writes: 
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

In these verses Paul describes six pieces of apparel that can help Christians in their spiritual battle: 
  • Belt of Truth
  • Breastplate of Righteousness
  • Helmet of Salvation
  • Shoes of Readiness/Peace
  • Shield of Faith
  • Sword of the Spirit
The plan this month takes each of these six pieces and includes verses that help us understand what that piece of armor means and how we can use it in our lives today. God has a plan for our lives but unfortunately the enemy does too. We are so blessed to have specific instructions in God's word to follow that includes everything we need to stand strong. The battle is real sweet friends, and we must be ready!

My prayer is that this month we will be reminded that God alone holds victory over sin and death and our hope is in HIM. I pray that we will spend time this month learning about these tools God has given us so that we can put on His armor, stay alert and stand strong. That we are able to hold His Word as a weapon against the enemy's nasty schemes and have the wisdom and discernment to recognize his traps and snares and stand strong against his evil plans. I pray that we are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit as we learn about these great pieces of armor and reminded that with the Lord Jesus Christ, we are guaranteed victory! 

(Note: You'll notice that six of the days have only the verse that the piece of armor is mentioned in as the verse for that day. My hope is that you will write that verse several times and then spend time trying to memorize it!)



FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be 
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.





Thursday, February 4, 2021

Vegetable Gratin

I served this recently at a family dinner and it was a HUGE hit! I served it with lasagna but it would go well with just about anything and it super easy to put together. I love that it can be done ahead of time! 

Topping:

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

1/3-1/2  cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 teaspoons finely chopped parsley 

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons finely chopped thyme 


Gratin:

Try to find the three items below similar in size:

  • 2 medium zucchini squash 
  • 2 medium yellow zucchini 
  • 3 to 4 plum or Roma tomatoes

1/4 cup olive oil, divided

1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 small onion, thinly sliced or diced

1/2 medium bell pepper, halved and thinly sliced (I used orange bell pepper)

3 cloves garlic, minced


Directions: 

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 375°F. Lightly coat an 8x8-inch baking dish with oil; set aside.

Make the topping:

Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and mix until combined and set aside.

Make the gratin:

  • Cut the zucchini, squash, and tomatoes crosswise into 1/4-inch rounds. Place in a large bowl, add 2 tablespoons of the oil, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper. Toss to combine and set aside.
  • Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions, bell pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook about 1 minute more.
  • Transfer the onion mixture to the baking dish and spread into an even layer. Place the zucchini, squash, and tomato slices on the onions, arranging them on their sides and alternating the slices as you go. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top. Cover tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake until the vegetables are tender and the edges and topping are browned, 15 to 20 minutes more.

Make ahead: I made my advance and refrigerated it, but didn't add the topping on until I was ready to bake it.

Saturday, January 30, 2021

February Scripture Writing Plan 2021: Be Bold

 Happy almost February sweet friends! 

The scripture writing plan topic this month is all being BOLD!

I don’t know about you, but I want to live and speak more boldly for Christ to friends and family and strangers God places in my path.  But here is the thing: being bold is SCARY. Often super scary. Why? Because it requires us to be vulnerable, to put ourselves out there and to be firm in our beliefs, regardless of if we have the same beliefs as someone else or not (and especially if not) and to risk rejection and even ridicule.  I think most of the time when we aren’t bold (even when God calls us to be) it’s because we are scared and honestly because we are fearful of being embarrassed.  Sometimes we are fearful because we don’t know exactly how to say what we believe, we worry because we didn’t go to seminary, we don’t have every Bible verse memorized, we don’t know every historical reference in the Bible and we can’t read or speak Greek.  Because being bold is scary, it is usually easier to just keep wishing we were bolder, to admire and envy bold people and to follow them on social media, to read and be inspired by biographies of bold people, watch movies about bold people and do Bible study after Bible study about being fearful than it is to step out and actually BE BOLD. 

I for one am guilty of all of the above. But here is the good news: Not knowing everything or being fearful does NOT disqualify us to share the love of Christ. Thank goodness! Sweet friends, God created us for purpose, not perfection. He is eager to do things in and through us, but we must decide to take the risk to step out and be bold!

Boldness feels and is risky but only when we do it on our own. When the Lord has called us and is leading the way, we can follow Him without fear, knowing that the outcome is always in His capable, mighty hands. God takes ordinary, flawed people like you and me and help us to be bold to fulfill His purpose and calling. Of course, God knew we would struggle with this and because of that there are tons of stories in the Bible of people being bold for Christ as an example for us. These are a few of my favorites: The Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 10), Queen Esther (Esther 1-4), John and Peter (Acts 4) David (1 Samuel 17) and Paul (Acts 28). God calls us to be bold. God is pleased with us when we do something different and step out in faith, knowing that He will lead us and walk with us. When God resides in us and works through us, His strength and power sustains us. 

My prayer is that this month as we read and write verses about being bold, we stop being fearful and instead are bold (even in fearful situations) to act despite our sweaty palms and pounding hearts. I pray that we pursue boldness and do whatever it takes to declare the gospel to every single person the Lord calls us to and puts in our path!





FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be 
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.











Tuesday, December 29, 2020

January Scripture Writing Plan 2021: New Year

Happy almost January sweet friends! Can you believe it's almost 2021? 

The scripture writing plan topic this month is all verses about a New Year!

2020 has been one of the craziest, heaviest, scariest years for many people 
and most of us are pretty stinkin' excited for the calendar to roll over to 2021. 
This year has shown us that life is crazy unpredictable and you truly never
know what can and will happen that you are zero % prepared for. 
This year has show us that our health and jobs and 
relationships and freedom and security can all vanish in the blink of an eye. 

Whether 2020 was the greatest year of your life, 
or you are crazy happy to see 2020 finally end, 
thankfully there is one truth that still remains 100% true 
through it all for each and every one of us, 
regardless of the insanity around us:
God is with us- ALWAYS. 

God's Word is filled with prayers of men and women who reached out to God for a fresh start. 
Over and over and over again they prayed for God to give them a new beginning
and He was with each and every one of them. 
On the heels of the celebration of the birth of our King, the reminder that He is with 
us has the power to carry us right into a fresh and beautiful new start. 

The truth is that He is Immanuel, God with us. 
And though circumstances and situations around us will shift and change constantly
and though people and relationships will wound and hurt us, 
and though things will happen in 2021 that stink and we wish didn't, 
our God never changes- EVER-
and He will never leave our side. 

When I focus on it, that truth helps me to remember that 
God is in total control and therefore I can rest in the knowledge
 that no matter how out of control I feel, He is still on His throne. 
What a crazy comfort that is in this unpredictable, insane world we are living in today! 

My prayer is that as we read and write these verses about new beginnings and a new year, 
we are able to focus on the truth of His word.
I pray that as a result our hearts and minds are filled with these truths 
and that we spend each and every day of 2021 drawing closer to Him 
and learning more about Him through time spent in His Word. 

FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be 
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

December Scripture Writing Plan: Gifts & Blessings from God

 Happy almost December sweet friends! 

The scripture writing plan topic this month is over 
Blessings and Gifts from God
God has given us (yep, YOU and ME!) so many blessings that we too often taken for granted. We get so used to these gifts that we fail to recognize and thank Him for these incredible gifts that can come to us only through Him. Now I don't necessarily mean physical gifts (although He does provide those), but spiritual gifts and blessings. 

We hear the word and use the word blessed a LOT (seriously, it's on every other shirt and coffee mug you see these days), but what are these blessings from God? Ephesians 1:3 says: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 

Did you catch that? God gives us EVERY spiritual blessing that He has and does not hold back or leave out any blessings to us! Not some or a few- EVERY one. Not some to me but all to you because you deserve them more- ALL of them to each of us. How awesome and incredible is that?  

So what are these spiritual blessings?  These are blessings given to us when we choose to follow Jesus. Of course the biggest gift God gave us was when He physically and outwardly showed us His love toward us, by giving us His only begotten Son to us, as a sacrifice for our sins, so that we might live through Jesus and receive the gift of eternal life.  The giving of Jesus to us was the manifestation of the love of God for us. But there is a HUGE list of blessings and gifts from God that include things like: 
  • Our salvation
  • Forgiveness of our sins
  • Grace
  • Righteousness
  • Mercy
  • Strength
  • The Holy Spirit which gives us insight and power to do God’s will
  • Eternal life with Jesus
  • Anything that brings us closer to Jesus
Now God’s original plan was to bless us with a life of peace and fulfillment with Him. God wants to give all of His children all of His gifts. There is nothing that God wants to hold back from us- He wants to give all good things to us. Of course sin ruined that plan but thankfully he gives us the ultimate blessing of restoration, forgiveness and eternal life through Jesus. Thankfully Jesus pours out all His attributes onto us: His love and joy, His peace and patience, His kindness and goodness, His faithfulness and gentleness. What incredible blessings those are! 

My prayer is that we spend this next month reading about and focusing on the many undeserving gifts and blessings from the Lord and remember to thank Him daily for them. I pray that during this Advent Season, just as Mary pondered the birth of her child, Jesus Christ our Lord, and the gifts and blessings that He brings and that is to come, we would be wise, just like the Wise Men were, to also ponder the meaning of these gifts that were given freely to us from the King of kings and Lord of lords and God Almighty, Himself!






FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be 
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.





Thursday, October 29, 2020

November Scripture Writing Plan: Repentance

Happy almost November sweet friends! 

The scripture writing plan topic this month is over something we don't talk about very often: 
REPENTANCE

A child that sneaks candy, eats it all, gets caught, probably has a stomach ache, gets put in time out and starts crying is most likely sorry. A driver speeding in a school zone who gets pulled over and gets a ticket probably regrets their decision to speed. A boyfriend who cheats on his girlfriend, gets caught and all of his friends and family find out, is probably remorseful and embarrassed. Sorry and remorseful and full of regret? For sure. Repentant? Not necessarily. That's because repentance and remorse are so often confused but y'all-they are definitely NOT the same thing. 

So, what is REMORSE?  Remorse is deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed. Remorse is being sorry you got caught and being sorry for the consequences that resulted from something you did.  In the examples above, the people are most likely remorseful. Why? Because they got caught and it caused pain to themselves and/or to others. But, being remorseful doesn't automatically mean they are repentant. Remorse is just one step on the road to repentance. Remorse deals with our guilt and the consequences of what we've done. 

So, what is REPENTANCE? Repentance is sincere regret or remorse AND a turn from the sin. That's the difference. Repentance means to turn from your sin and change your behavior. Repentance involves grief and sorrow towards God because of our sin and it always, always leads to a change in behavior.

Paul explains it in 2 Corinthians 7: 8-11 which says: 
 Even if I caused you sorrow by my letter, I do not regret it. Though I did regret it—I see that my letter hurt you, but only for a little while— yet now I am happy, not because you were made sorry, but because your sorrow led you to repentance. For you became sorrowful as God intended and so were not harmed in any way by us. Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.  See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter. 

Repentance leads to change. So although remorse is important, it is true repentance that's needed. We would know that the folks mentioned above are most likely repentant if they change their behavior and didn't sneak candy, speed or cheat ever again. Repentance isn't just a suggestion. God commanded of us in the Bible, Christ preached it, and God expects it from us. Repentance involves being convicted of your sin, being sorrowful about your sin, turning away from your sin and changing your ways. 

Repentance is tough for many to understand but thankfully there are many verses about it in the Bible to help us. My prayer is that this month we focus on reading what God has to say about repentance so that we can be obedient and not just be remorseful but learn to repent and turn from our sin, just as God calls us to! 


FYI: I make all plans 31 days long so that they can be
done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.


















Monday, October 12, 2020

You Deserve a Whole Sheet of Gold Stars Printable


Every week I try to send encouraging notes to at least 5 people to remind them that I see and appreciate their hard work. This year I think it’s more important than ever because everyone seems to be working harder than ever and needs a reminder that they are doing a great job. It’s truly one of my favorite things I do each week and only takes a few minutes.

Who can you encourage today with a quick little note? Do it!


You can print out a PDF of the note I made and use HERE with four notes per page.



Tuesday, September 29, 2020

October Scripture Writing Plan: Bravery

  Happy almost October sweet friends! 

The scripture writing plan topic this month is over something we all need: 

BRAVERY

Back in April, while quarantined at home, some sweet friends and I did a devotional by Annie F Downs titled 100 Days to Brave, which I highly recommend. Each morning one of us would read the devotion for the day on Marco Polo and it was truly the perfect book for such a scary time. It was such a weird, uncertain time and none of us felt brave- not at all. What I loved about it is that in the insanity of the world we were living in, it helped us focus on the ONLY thing we can be sure of and can always, always, always, count on- God.
 
I love Annie’s description of brave:
Courage is doing things even when you’re scared. Being brave isn’t something that happens when you’re not scared anymore. Brave people don’t stop hearing the whispers of fear. They hear the whispers but take action anyway. Being brave is hearing that voice of fear in your head, but saying, “Okay, but the truth is, God made me on purpose and for a purpose.”

I’ve been doing a study on Joshua (whom I adore) and I have been in awe of how crazy brave He was! Think about it…. Joshua is following behind Moses (who was an amazing leader) and both Moses and God keep telling him to “Be brave and courageous!”. That fact alone would have had me shaking in my sandals because I know that if someone tells me something over and over again, it’s probably for a very good reason. Being told over and over again to be brave means you are going to be in some situations that require you to be brave! He’s got thousands and thousands of families looking to him to lead them across the Jordan River and into this new, unknown land. He had to feel unqualified and unprepared and was most likely doubting his abilities. But, the good thing is that Joshua knew that he didn’t have to have the answers or have it all together. God had promised him that He, God of the Universe, had it all taken care of and Joshua didn’t need to worry a bit. (If you need to be encouraged, go read Joshua because it’s full of stories where God followed through on His promises and took incredible care of His people). 

Bravery requires trusting God and stepping out in faith, even when you are scared- just like Joshua. But bravery isn’t always doing something crazy (bungee jumping or skydiving) or bold but often is doing something that makes you uncomfortable and is out of your comfort zone. Bravery is living your life according to what God alone tells you to do-putting your faith in Him and putting His plans above all other plans, even your own. It doesn’t always look heroic and sometimes it’s full of silence and waiting. Bravery isn’t about us, it’s about God and out trust in Him. 
 
I love that God’s word is full of reminders to be brave because God knew it would be something we would struggle with. Let’s spend the next month digging into what God has to say about bravery.


FYI: I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in the folder HERE.














Wednesday, September 16, 2020

I Am a Child of the One True King (and so are you!)




You can print out a copy in navy, white, or black HERE

Thursday, September 10, 2020