Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy 2018 | New Year, Homemade Soup and The Quest

Today is my day off. I don't get many of these. The weather is super cold and calls for homemade soup. My boys seem to be hungry every other hour these days. Quick meals that I don't have to pay much attention to are ideal. I want to be able to throw the ingredients in and continue with my day, currently my best attempt at being productive. So, Italian Meatball Soup (recipe below) is what I'm serving for lunch. The boys love this soup and often have second and third helpings.

John hiding under his baby quilt. Bless him. 

I'm in the process of doing a few things right now. One being taking down Christmas decorations and the tree (insert sad face). We like the real trees because it makes the house smell good. The status of our tree is now bare and stiff. I chucked it outside, hoping that the garbage men will take it tomorrow. (Update: they did not take the tree. Hmmm...)

Julian is such a good helper, especially when he saves me from going dizzy while walking around and around this tree ten times to wind up the string lights. 

Excuse the low resolution iPhone image. Our ornaments from our big and little trees. 

Italian Meatball Soup: 

- 4 cups of chicken broth

- 24 oz. jar of pasta sauce (I used 3 cups of my leftover spaghetti sauce. I always make big batches 
                                           and freeze.)

- 1 cup of frozen mixed vegetables

- 1 cup of mini pasta of your choice (I used half small shells and half datellini)

- 12 frozen fully cooked meatballs (I use turkey meatballs)

1. Combine and boil broth and spaghetti sauce. 

2. Stir in the remainder of the ingredients. Boil on medium-high for about 10 minutes.

3. Serve with Parmesan or shredded cheese.

4. Enjoy!

Now, on to The Quest. I haven't written or shared here on the blog in a long while. My plan is change that this year. Recently, I posted on my Instagram feed about a reading plan by Beth Moore called The Quest. This is just a shortened version of her 6 session Bible Study. If you ever have the opportunity to take part in a Beth Moore Bible Study, please take advantage of that opportunity. She KNOWS how to dig deep in the Word of God and make it relatable. The Spirit just speaks through her. Today is the first day of the reading plan. This study was written to encourage dialogue with God and to grow in intimacy with Him. Beth Moore uses questions to lead this conversation with God. So, what questions have you had for God? Have you felt comfortable giving those questions a voice? How about waiting for or even seeking the answer to your questions? Five questions are posed for today's reflection:

1. Where are you? (Genesis 3:9)
2. Who Told you that? (Genesis 3:11)
3. What are you seeking? (John 1:38)
4. Why are you afraid? ( Matthew 8:26)
5. How much more...? (Luke 11:13)

She warns: "The effects of this excursion will not exceed your honesty. They will go exactly as deep as you are true. Nothing is off limits except dishonesty." So, how HONEST have you been with yourself? About WHERE you are, whether in circumstance or location? Maybe your location is the predicament? Maybe your spiritual health is failing, maybe your attitude is? Be honest about the evaluation of yourself (Romans 12:3). She encourages honesty with God because He already knows. Try not to point fingers blaming someone else for where you are. That's difficult isn't it? It causes us to look inward at our own hearts, decisions we've made. This is, after all, where everything flows from, the condition of our hearts. Our words, our thoughts, our actions and our beliefs. If our hearts are in turmoil, everything else in our life will be too. Only LOVE can save us. 
The question that really stood out to me during today's reading was, "WHO told you that?". 
Close your eyes and imagine God is siting across the table from you with His hands lovingly placed on top of yours. He has just asked you these questions...how do you respond to Him? Where do you start? Wherever it is you remember when things went wrong or turned in a tumultuous direction. Try starting there. HOW did you end up here, in the wilderness, angry, riddled with anxiety, wondering where your help is. Your Help is right there with you. He is listening to you answer His question and He wants to respond to you with His Truth. 
The only way to combat lies is with truth. The only way to penetrate darkness is with light. What do you have to lose? Start answering the questions and then be ready to hear His answer. Ask Him to clear your mind of opposing thoughts that threaten to distract you from intimacy with Him. 

Who usually spreads lies, deceives, manipulates, accuses and confuses?

I have to remember WHO God is and WHO I am in Him. Then, I have to remind myself that the enemy disguises himself as an angel of light; he is a master at counterfeiting. He can make a lie look like a truth. He can make a really bad decision look good or feel good. Scary. We can have discernment to know the difference when we daily walk in love with God. While honesty is at the table here, there was a time when I was completely blinded by the control that the spiritual chameleon had in my life. Above, I wrote down the places where he has accused and deceived. The Lord knows that I have been duped a time or two, or fifty, or more...and the accuser goes before God reminding Him what a mess up we are. THANK YOU JESUS, when we are in Christ, 
He remembers our sin NO MORE. He looks down on us and sees the blood of Jesus. My name is engraved in the palm of His Hands. Thank you, Lord. I love you.
Intimacy with God is so important to our souls that our thought life depends on it and vice versa.
 Knowing truth reminds us that we are not hopeless or helpless, that we are redeemed, that grace is poured over our heads (Psalm 23:5) and God's banner of love is over us (Song of Solomon 2:4). Luke 8:17 promises us that we can be sure that anything that is done in the dark, any secret, any wrong doing will be brought to the light. It will be revealed. James 1:5 says that when we ask God to give us wisdom, He gives generously! God is LIGHT (1 John 1:5) there is NO darkness in Him. 
Lord, remind me who I am to you. You are so faithful (Psalm 117:2).

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