He Still Saves

He Still Saves

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I’ve been “saved” since I was a small child.  Ever since one fateful night at the kitchen table, I have known that upon my death, I will spend eternity in Heaven.  Over the years, I subconsciously came to believe that because my salvation was complete, I didn’t need to hear the account of Christ’s sacrificial death.  I was saved from Hell, and that was enough.

But sometimes the battles of this early life are overwhelming.  The enemy’s attacks are ferocious and devastating.  That is when I must recall and claim the victory that Christ won when he rose from the dead.  I must “sing above the battle strife ‘Jesus saves.'”  He still saves.

Sometimes, Often, I don’t claim this victory.  I listen to the enemy’s lies and fall to his schemes.  I think that I must save myself from the trenches.  Before long, I am shadowed with a gloom of justice, and my heart craves mercy.  That mercy can only be found in Christ’s victory over the tomb.  Jesus still saves.

Yes, I only need to place my faith in Him one single time in order to be saved from eternal separation from God and damnation in Hell.  Nevertheless, I need daily faith in Jesus to face the struggles of the world.  I need a constant Friend and a daily Rescuer.

So give the winds a mighty voice…

Let the nations now rejoice…

Shout salvation full and free…

This our song of victory:

Jesus saves!

And He still saves.

WIAW – Snackin’ Sunday

WIAW – Snackin’ Sunday

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Once again, I am sharing my spiritual and physical food by linking up with Jenn (peasandcrayons), Laura (sprint2thetable), Arman (thebigmansworld) and Meghan (cleaneatsfastfeets) for What I Ate Wednesday.

This week, I am showing a full Sunday of eats.

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Spiritual Food:

This week, my church elected a new pastor (which means that neither the old pastor nor the new pastor preached).  Instead, the president of my college spoke in my church’s Sunday morning service, and he shared a message that he had recently given in a school chapel service.  Although I had heard the sermon before, there were some applicable truths.  Using Acts 9, he urged the church to be a congregation of “Barnabas”s–Sons of Encouragement. After Saul’s conversion, Christians were still afraid of him.  Yet, Barnabas rescued him.  Barnabas saw the life change he had experienced and encouraged the disciples in Jerusalem to accept Saul.  Later, in chapter 13, Barnabas accompanies Saul on his missionary journeys.  This story does more than show us the importance of being an encouragement to others.  Each of us need to find a “Barnabas” to hold us accountable and keep us spiritually on track.  Even Paul, who is considered a spiritual giant, learned from the humble friendship of Barnabas (compare Acts 15:36-41 and 2 Timothy 4:11).

God does not expect us to live in solidarity;  He created companionship and community.  Whether it be a family member, friend, teacher, co-worker or fellow-blogger, have someone to regularly encourage you and check your spiritual health.

Physical Food:

My Sundays are pretty simple, and this one was no different.  I wake up like a normal school day so that I can take my time getting ready.

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This week, The Oatmeal Artist’s weekly theme is red.  I tried to make a beautiful apple peel rose on my cinnamon peanut butter oatmeal, but I was not too pleased with how it came out.

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I snacked my way through the morning: a pumpkin square after my run, another pumpkin square as “dessert” after breakfast, and a graham muffin right before I left for church (with hopes that I would make it through the whole service without getting hungry…it didn’t work🙂 ).

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I ate lunch (stew with rice, grilled vegetables, yogurt with granola, and a super-ripe banana) in the college cafeteria. This isn’t a typical Sunday lunch for me, but I don’t know what a typical Sunday lunch actually is.

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Before choir practice, I ate a plate of my mom’s meatloaf, blue potatoes, and butter beans with corn that she sent back to school with me after a quick trip home on Saturday afternoon.  Originally, there were red potatoes too, but I got hungry while working on schoolwork, and I ate all of the red potatoes around 2 o’clock.

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Dessert was a cereal bar topped with peanut butter because I am classy :)  (Side note: I go through about 2 jars of peanut butter a week, so I taste-test a lot of brands. This was my first sampling of Peter Pan Simply Ground.  It was good, but it will never compare to The Best Nut Butter I Have Ever Tasted).

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For as long as I can remember, I have eaten a bowl of ice cream every Sunday night.  Our church had a prayer service tonight instead of our typical worship service, and it went a little late, so I knew that just ice cream was not going to satisfy my hunger.  I topped the bowl with peanut butter and protein granola…and then I ate some a lot more peanut butter and granola (imagine about 4 oz. of peanut butter and 1.5 cups of granola) because I was still hungry. (Side note: don’t try to save money by buying Aldi-brand strawberry yogurt and protein granola [their regular granola is fine, though].  It is worth the extra $2 for Breyer’s and Nature Valley.   Trust me.  I learned the hard way).

Before bed, I ate an undisclosed number of pumpkin bars. Hint: Pictures don’t always tell the whole story 😊

 

Questions for you:

  1. What did your pastor preach about on Sunday?
  2. What is your favorite nut butter?
  3. What foods do you always buy name-brand?
  4. Bonus question:  I ate oatmeal at every meal today.  Can you find the oatmeal in the supper that I ate before choir practice?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Banned Books Week

Top Ten Tuesday: Banned Books Week

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Everyone who loves reading has done it.  We stay up well past the time that we should go to bed just so that we can enjoy one more chapter of our current book. Sometimes these books are stealthily hidden beneath blankets and read with flashlights so that parents will not know what we are reading.

This week, the American Library Association is honoring “banned books,” which are books that have been outlawed for various reasons including language, morality, religion, and illustrations. In my opinion, every book worth reading has been banned for some unnecessary reason.  Also, banning books only serves to stimulate a child’s curiosity and build their desire to read the book.

Below are my favorite banned books, the reason that they were banned, and why I loved them.

  1. The Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum – People claim that it supports pessimism and has no literary value. I love The Wizard of Oz because it taught me how to think imaginatively and beyond concrete reality.
  2. The Bad Beginning, by Lemony Snicket – I will be the first to admit that Snicket’s books are disturbing.  However, Snicket is one of my favorite authors because of his unique tales and unprecedented vocabulary-teaching ability.  Besides, Snicket is not even a real person, so can we blame him for being bizarre?
  3. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain – Mark Twain has been called racist, and there is foul language in the book.  Nonetheless, this classic tale teaches history and loyalty.
  4. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – Some parents do not like that the series includes “coming of age” topics and homosexuality.  I loved the series because I could relate to Alice as a teenage girl.  Yes, the book did include “secular” content, but we live in a secular world.  As Christians, we should be in the world;  we should know what is happening around us.  However, we are not of the world, and we will not agree with everything that the world promotes.
  5. The Giver, by Lois Lowry – The Giver includes violent misdeeds such as euthanasia and infanticide.  However, it is also a story of love, breaking the status quo, and bravery.
  6. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George – Violence and offensive language are the two main reasons that certain adults have tried to censor Julie of the Wolves.  I appreciate Julie’s bravery, the story’s adventure, and George’s attention to culture.
  7. A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein – Silverstein tends to be sarcastic and sassy.  One of his poems says, “If you have to dry the dishes, And you drop one on the floor, Maybe they won’t let you Dry the dishes anymore.”  Parents saw this as promoting disrespect and disobedience.  I happen to love Silverstien’s dry humor.

  8. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C. S. Lewis – After reading this book, parents worry that their children will become disobedient and mischievous for the sake of adventure.  Christians also criticize Lewis for animalizing Christ.  On the contrary, Lewis wrote Narnia as a metaphor of Christ’s suffering, not a sacrilegious attack.
  9. If I Ran the Zoo, by Dr. Seuss – The country’s view of ethnicity was vastly different in the 1950s when Dr. Seuss wrote this book.  That is why he included the line about helpers who “all wear their eyes at a slant.”  My family spent quite a lot of time at a few different zoos when I was younger.  Basically, my brother is Gerald McGrew.
  10. Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park – Like so many other child heroes, Junie tends to be bratty, disobedient, and rude. However, these well-intentioned books simply seek to tell the story of childhood from the perspective of a first-grade girl.  Let’s be honest–what child isn’t bratty, disobedient, and rude at times?  The key is that parents should use the book as a way to discuss proper behavior with children.

 

Rest in Faith

Rest in Faith

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Daniel read the decree and shook his head slowly.  Once again, the government had made a decree against the One True God.  According to the newest law, citizens could only pray to and worship King Darius.  “Lord,” Daniel whispered, “Is our nation too far gone?”

Years before, Daniel had began a thrice-daily ritual of praying in his window facing Jerusalem.  Despite the government’s rule, Daniel kept his appointments with God with peace

Peace like a river.  Peace that passes understanding.

As promised by the law, Daniel was punished–thrown into a pit of bloodthirsty lions–certain death.  Daniel faced the consequence with faith.  

Faith like a mustard seed.  Faith unleashed.

And–spoiler alert–Daniel lived.  God honored his peaceful obedience and faith.  God sent supernatural, unexpected salvation, and Daniel, with thankfulness, was able to rest.

Faith brings peace, calm, and rest.

Rest in faith.

 

 

WIAW #1

WIAW #1

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Every Wednesday, bloggers across the web come together to showcase their recent eats.  This link-up, started by Jenn of Peas and Crayons, is called What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) and is co-hosted by Laura (sprint2thetable), Arman (thebigmansworld) and Meghan (cleaneatsfastfeets).

Since I started blogging, I have enjoyed perusing through pictures of random meals, but I have never participated in WIAW.  One recent sleepless night, an idea occurred to me.

Deuteronomy 8:3 says, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”

I have decided to join the What I Ate Wednesday link-up in a unique fashion.  Every Wednesday (or at least some Wednesdays) I will post some snapshots of food I have enjoyed that week along with thoughts from Scripture that I have been reading–my physical and spiritual food.

I am doing this for several reasons based off of the purpose of WIAW found on the Peas and Crayons website.

  • WIAW is not about comparison or judgment. What I eat physically is not as important as what we eat spiritually.
  • WIAW is about celebrating food and individuality. First Timothy 4:4 says, “Everything God made is good, and nothing should be refused if it is accepted with thanks.”  This means that every food is good.  Every life is good.  Let’s celebrate our differences!
  • WIAW is about inspiring yourself and others. Currently, I am not very consistent with my Scripture reading, but daily journaling for this blog will hold me accountable.  I pray that my feeble thoughts about God’s Word will bring encouragement to my readers.

Without further delay, here is my first installment of WIAW.  For week one, I am posting a picture of every breakfast with what God taught me through His Word that day.

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

  • Physical Food: Banana Protein Smoothie with Granola

  • Spiritual Food: Ephesians 1

In verses 16-18, Paul prays that God will give wisdom to the Ephesians.  This verse reminds me that there are people in my life who pray for me.  It gives me hope because James 1 says that God will give wisdom to those who ask.  God knows that I need wisdom without having to ask, but He likes to hear from His children.  If I am praying for wisdom, and others are praying that I will have wisdom, God will honor our prayers.

Thursday, September 15

  • Physical food:  Cheesecake Protein Pudding with Banana and Peanut Butter (and an un-pictured glass of milk)

  • Spiritual food:  Ephesians 1 (again)

This morning I read Ephesians 1 in a different version, and the first verse struck me.  Paul says, “I am an apostle because that is what God wanted.”  Being an apostle is not necessarily what Paul wanted or what the world wanted for Paul.  I hope that when I come to the end of my life, I can say, “I was a ______________ because that is what God wanted.”

Friday, September 16

  • Physical food: yogurt with peanut butter and granola, citrus tea smoothie


(This picture shows some of the components of the smoothie before they were blended.  I also added cinnamon, vanilla, and protein powder.)

  • Spiritual food: Ephesians 2

Ephesians 2 has been one of my favorite passages for a few years, but I read it in a different translation today and saw it in a new light.  Today I truly realized my past: it’s deprivation, sinfulness, and hopelessness. But when I got to verse 4, I marveled at God’s mercy.  Because of my sin, I deserve to spend eternity in Hell, separated from God.

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Because of God’s mercy, I have a new life.  He has “raised us up with Christ and gave us a seat with him in the heavens.”  What grace!!

Saturday, September 17

  • Physical food: Overnight Tea-Steeped OIAJ with Apple Slices

  • Spiritual food: Ephesians 2 (again…and I will probably read it again tomorrow!  It is so rich!)

Yesterday I mentioned that God’s mercy is great;  He has saved us from so much.  Today, verse 7 caught my attention.  It says that God will show us the immeasurable riches of his grace and kindness in the coming ages.  Right now, we already see insurmountable grace, but in the future, we will see His grace and kindness more fully.  That is astonishing!

Sunday, September 18

  • Physical food: Overnight oats with raspberry applesauce, Super Squirrely nut butter (honestly the best nut butter out there), and granola

  • Spiritual food: Ephesians 2 (I promise that I will move on to chapter 3 tomorrow!)

We were aliens!  Strangers!  And yet Christ loved us enough to die for us.  That is such a humbling thought.  It is hard for me to be polite to those who minorly annoy me.  Yet, Christ died for me when I rejected him.

Also, you should check out Emily’s post from Sunday.  It was great!

Monday, September 19

  • Physical food: Oatmeal with Strawberry Yogurt and Granola

My cafeteria food pictures are always ugly.

  • Spiritual food:  Ephesians 3

Dwell on verses 18-19

“I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love–how wide and how long and how high and how deep that love is.  Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love…”

Tuesday, September 20

  • Physical food: Oatmeal with Raisins and a Banana Protein Shake

Cafeteria pictures are seriously the worst…

  • Spiritual food: Ephesians 4:1-2 (I intended to read the whole chapter, but the first two verses were pretty convicting, so I meditated on those.)

“…Live up to the life to which God called you.  Always be humble, gentle, and patient, accepting each other in love.”

This morning, I am not feeling humble, gentle or patient.  In fact, I told someone that my “people meter” was full before 8:15.  But why did I feel so annoyed and impatient?  Because I was too focused on my own goals.  How could this morning have been different if I tried to help other people accomplish their daily goals instead of being so preoccupied with my own?

Questions for the comments below:

What have you eaten spiritually this week?

Do you ever stop your Bible study early to dwell on a single verse?

 

http://peasandcrayons.com/

 

 

Mango and Sweet Rice Overnight Oatmeal

Mango and Sweet Rice Overnight Oatmeal

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With fall starting later this week, I wanted to throw in one last summery oatmeal recipe.

I have only been to a Thai restaurant one time, but I absolutely loved it!  This oatmeal recipe was inspired by the dessert I ordered that night:  sweet sticky rice with mango.  The name is self-explanatory.  It is sweet.  It is sticky.  It has mango. 🙂

This overnight oats recipe is perfect for rushed mornings before school or work.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup cooked rice
  • 1/3 cup raw oatmeal
  • 2/3 cup milk (I used cow milk, but I am sure that coconut milk would be delicious!)
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs shredded coconut
  • pinch of sweetener (optional)

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a seal-able container
  • Let sit overnight
  • Eat and Enjoy!

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Personal Sweet Potato Casserole With Oatmeal Topping

Personal Sweet Potato Casserole With Oatmeal Topping

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What would Sweet Potato Week be without a recipe for sweet potato casserole?

What would Kat’s 9 Lives be without oatmeal?

You may never know the answer to those questions.

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Ingredients

For the sweet potato filling:

  • 2/3 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato
  • 1 tbs milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/16 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla

For the oatmeal topping:

  • 2 tbs oatmeal
  • 1/2 tbs water
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • sprinkle of cinnamon

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly coat a single-serve ramekin with nonstick spray
  • Mix together all ingredients for the filling and scoop into the ramekin
  • Bake for 5 minutes
  • Meanwhile, mix together all of the topping ingredients
  • Remove the sweet potato filling from the oven and top with oatmeal mixture
  • Return the ramekin to the oven and continue to bake for 15-20 minutes
  • Let cool, eat, and enjoy!

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