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My John Piper Devotional this morning

In Faith, Hope, Love on August 20, 2013 at 8:28 am

I’m going through 15 days in the Word with John Piper (it’s been more than 15 days though 🙂 Today’s devotional was so good I just had to share to encourage my brothers and sisters out there. I hope you are drawn to nearer to Christ through this post.

The Stupendous Reality of Being “In Christ Jesus”

Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.”

2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.”

3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.”

5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.”

7. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”

8. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”

9. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.”

10. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

11. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

12. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

13. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again.

How do we get into Christ?

At the unconscious and decisive level it is God’s sovereign work: “From God are you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 1:30)

But at the conscious level of our own action, it is through faith. Christ dwells in our hearts “through faith.” (Ephesians 3:17) The life we live in union with his death and life “we live by faith in the Son of God.” (Galatians 2:20) We are united in his death and resurrection “through faith.” (Colossians 2:12)

This is a wonderful truth. Union with Christ is the ground of everlasting joy, and it is free.

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Organic Summer Salad w/ Lemon Vinaigrette

In Food on August 11, 2013 at 2:27 pm

I made an All-Organic Summer Salad with Homemade Lemon Vinaigrette that is just perfect for this time of year. This is really simple and easy. Older kids will love it and can help prepare. Tomatoes, cucumber, avocado and feta tossed with a quick lemon vinaigrette. I’m posting what I did, but because I don’t measure you won’t find how much I’ve used of any one ingredient. I use my senses- eye it, smell it and taste it as I go along. Helps the creative juices flow when preparing food (which I think is an art in itself) LOL 🙂

I used these organic cherry tomatoes (which are naturally sweet) along with small yellow and orange tomatoes. These different colors give a variety of flavor from sweet to not so sweet. I found them on sale in pint baskets at Whole Foods but you can probably get them at farmers markets too. My local grocery store only has the mini Roma tomatoes that are organic so I have to venture elsewhere to get them.
Cucumber – well, nothing surprising here…as I sliced it (about 1/4 inch thick) I also sliced it horizontally down middle so the slices were about comparable to the tomatoes.
Avocado – this texture and flavor was surprising. The mild creaminess mixed with the feta, tomatoes, tang of the dressing and crunchiness of the cucumbers was incredible. This was new for me to try in this kind of salad and I am glad I did.
Feta- well I added the crumbles to where I thought the ratio would be just right and not over powering.

Vinaigrette –
I started with some spices (21 Salute from Trader Joes, Mrs. dash or similar, ground mustard, dried minced onions, granulated garlic) and put those in the bottom of a small deep bowl. (Get your wisk!)
Then I used a very juicy lemon (had about a half and 1/3 left), squeezed everything out of it and even used some of the pulp in there.
Then I added some white wine vinegar and began to whisk it all together (and of course smell it too..the base smelled aromatic) I wanted this to be a more tangy and less oil based dressing. So I say go heavy on the lemon and vinegar and you can always add more oil if you want.
Then I added unfiltered organic extra virgin olive oil (I used the Braggs brand). This gave it a fantastic flavor and added more depth. Eye this one, whisk as you add and fast to see if you have the right ratio. This part is all about personal preference.
Add A pinch or two of salt- again whisk, taste and adjust.

Take the veggies and add them to another bowl that has room for you to incorporate…then spoon the vinaigrette over it and gently toss (I used a spoon). Place into bowls and sprinkle fresh cracked pepper over it and enjoy!!

(#organic #avocado #cucumber #feta #yellowtomatoes #cherrytomatoes #orangetomatoes – #freshsqueezedlemon juice #whitewinevinager #oliveoil #spices) #fresh #goodfood #foodie #salad

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Father’s Day reflection without my dad

In Love on June 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Long post- please bear with me as I get these feelings out. –Although I am thankful for my family, today is hard for me as I start to reflect on Father’s Day without my own dad. Life has not always been easy…being estranged from my dad for 14 years I missed a significant part of my adolescent and teenage life with him. I grew up not knowing what a father was or even supposed to be.Yet I know it was for the best with everything – I didn’t want that lifestyle he was leading to be a part of my life and I thank my mom for being the strong and brave woman she was to leave the horrible situation with absolutely nothing (barely any clothes other than those on our back) and not look back.
When everyone said he couldn’t change…he did.
At 21 I reconnected and found my dad and his side of the family (on a whim). It was rocky at first, but my dad realized the expectations I had and over the next several years we had built a great relationship. He met his granddaughter and loved her to pieces. His face would light up whenever she or I would come around. He met his son in law and loved him as his own…and thought he was a “cool dude”. To this day I can still see his smile…one that is infectious and makes everyone else light up.

My dad wasn’t perfect by any means, but he was still my dad. I remember my Aunt’s funeral, when my dad gave his life to Christ…it was one of the happiest moments of our lives. My dad wanted to change so bad- change from a lifestyle that tore our family apart. In some ways he did (stopped drinking and smoking and finally slowed down), in other ways there was so much bondage from decades of sex, drugs, smoking, drinking and so called friends that tried to keep pulling him back that a complete 180 would have required isolation in a way. But my dad knew me, he tried hard to shield his old life from me, would yell at any one who would smoke around me…even as an adult he tried to protect me.

At 29, I lost my dad. He was so very young and we were just getting started with our new life together. I had plans of having a 5yr anniversary celebration with me and the hubby and inviting my Dad. I know he would have had a good time. He was happy with the way my life turned out…I think he was pleased with the choices I made. He didn’t say it, but his smiles told it all.

Today dad, I miss you incredibly. I wish we had more time. As silent tears stream from my eyes uncontrollably I am thankful that we reconnected and i have happy memories of us. That I was able to see the better man you had become, that I can see how many good things I inherited from you (my personality,my smile, my sense of humor, your sweet loving and caring of people)
I know there was nothing I could have done to allow us more time…I cherished our last years together and look forward to seeing you in heaven.

I love you Daddy!
With all my love, Charmy

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