It’s Not an Even Trade

Whether you’re a believer in Jesus for 50 years or 50 minutes, you know this, you’re life HAS to change. The Lord requires nothing less. As a matter of fact, He requires ALL. He gave His all for you and me. It cost Him everything. 

You must trade-in your old life.

The ladies at Buried Treasures Home, where I once served, have a term called “couch surfing.” This is what addicts do when they are homeless and going to wherever the drugs are. It’s a hard reality to hear.

As horrible as this is, they tell me an addict has to be ready to change; otherwise, they will get pulled back into this destructive life. They tell me it is vital to remove old places, people, and things that supported their lifestyle. That’s not an easy decision. It costs them their old life, which at the time seems a risk.

Not all people have such a dramatic choice to make, but it is the same choice, none the less. The decision to follow Christ is a daily one, and it also requires choices, some of which seem tiny and inconsequential. These may be some of the most important.

He said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

You learn to love the Giver and not just His gifts.

You learn to embrace the narrow road, not just in outward behavior, but in your heart.

At a recent fellowship dinner, someone said, “Keep your foot on the narrow road and keep reading your Bible. The wide road may look attractive and have pretty flowers, but if you get too close, the bugs will come out!”

There are many descriptions of what can happen on the wide road. But keeping your eyes on Jesus is a daily walk, and it’s not an even trade. No, the Lord Jesus already paid it all. Any sacrifice you make to follow Him is worth it and doesn’t compare to His sacrifice. Not even close.

You get way more from this trade. You get His gifts. Things like:

Peace

Protection

Joy

A plan for your life

Direction in decisions

His intervention in your circumstances

Forgiveness

A body of believers become family

Provision

His Word to read and depend on

His faithfulness to you

and so much more.

So, where is your commitment today? Half-hearted is no heart. The Lord demands all because HE gave it all for you. Again, any sacrifice on your part, although He often honors it, is still nothing compared to Who He Is and what He’s done.

It’s not a list of dos and don’ts. It’s about your heart.

You get far more walking closely with Jesus than walking casually by Him.

There is no comparison. It’s not an even trade.

 

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“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” 2 Chronicles 16:9

Dear Faithful Father, the narrow road can be uncomfortable at times but is a place of protection. Help me to want to take the narrow road always, but to choose it each day. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

©Valerie Rumfelt

When One Chooses

12037941_428656370678839_1604878299138529356_nGod has a way of plucking people from the worst circumstances and setting their feet on a rock to serve and praise Him. Ethel Waters is one of millions to have this redemptive experience.

Some of you may remember the Billy Graham Crusades televised years ago. I wrote a blog here sharing my thoughts about those crusades as I remembered Billy Graham.

Ethel Waters was often a guest singer. Many had no idea of her story. Born in Pennsylvania in 1896, she was a product of a disparaging childhood. She made her way past the bar rooms to Broadway and achieved worldly success as a singer and later in the movies.

An Emmy nomination would make her the first black woman to have this honor. But greater things than this were in store for her. Worldly success would pale as she would find God and live the last 20 years of her life devoted to His service. The Billy Graham Crusades put her God-given talent in front of millions, and finally it would be used for eternal purposes until her death in 1977.

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A sparrow is not the most beautiful bird God created. Its size is usually about 5 inches, and its coloring is brown and other neutrals. Not impressive at all, and yet, God created sparrows for a purpose. There are lessons to apply, and I think Ethel Waters did.

“His Eye Is on the Sparrow” is one of her most popular songs. Charles Gabriel and Civila Martin wrote it, but Ethel Waters brought it to life. You can watch her sing it here.

Thank God for her life. Once redeemed, it was well lived for God’s glory. If you search her on YouTube, you will see a demonstration of her legacy. The views of her songs are evidence of God spreading His story through her story.

Ethel Waters, proof a horrible beginning doesn’t necessarily mean a bad ending. She used the time in her later years to serve the only One who can bring light from darkness, hope from despair, and glory to the only One who can save us from ourselves. God gives us the dignity to make the choice.

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Romans 10:9-10

 

 

 ©Valerie Rumfelt

 

 

 

 

Truth in a List

12240313_434190853458724_1848317120572943722_oA few years ago, I was teaching children who had no idea who Jesus is. I was desperate to help them understand my love for Him and His word. I wanted to pass on some core ideas because I didn’t know how long I’d be with them. An urgency to share what I knew led to this list.  I thank the Lord, through His precious Holy Spirit, for giving these Truth Sentences to me. These are core truths for all Christians. My hope is these help as you teach young children, whether yours or someone else’s. Teach the truth.
I see these being used in children’s Sunday School classes, Mission classes such as Awana or Royal Ambassadors, Acteens, Girls in Action. Perhaps a child can earn a certificate for memorizing the list.

I know at Buried Treasures Home where I serve, the ladies receive a valued certificate for the memorization of these Truth Sentences.

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Here are other ways for you to use them:
*Repeat them in the car while you run errands with your children or grandchildren.
*Work on one each night before bedtime with older children.
*With young preschoolers, go over the concepts while they take their bath or at the breakfast table
*Use these as a project with a couple of friends. Start memorizing the concept and verse and meet once a month to check your progress with each other.

You will be amazed at how these truths change your world view. You will begin to see these concepts play out in your life. Once you have them, you can share the reason for the Hope in you. Your confidence about who God is will flourish.
Let me know in the comments or send me a message telling me how you plan to use these Truth Sentences.

A Free Printable of these sentences is here: Truth Sentences 1119

Truth Sentences

Jesus is God. John 1:1

All the Bible is true. John 17:17

Jesus never sinned. Hebrews 4:15

The Bible is God’s Word. Psalm 119:11

All Scripture is God-breathed. 2 Timothy 3:16 & 17

Jesus is God’s Son. John 3:16

Jesus never changes. Hebrews 13:8

The Word of God is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12

Truth Sentences Printable

He Died for Me

This poem is based chronologically on portions of Matthew’s Gospel.  I wrote this as Easter approached a number of years ago.

photo-1434077471918-4ea96e6e45d5He died for me?
How can that be, that Jesus chose to die for me?
Nailed to a tree, unjustified.
His blood applied. What news! That Jesus died for me!

He knew His purpose, He knew the Plan.
God would come in the form of man.
To live with us and dwell with us.
For me, for ME? He died for me.

The joy before Him, He endured the cross.
He suffered and scorned its shame.
Left without a friend, obedient to the end.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

Foretold in Isaiah,
Spoken for by John.
Baptized in the Jordon, the sky would open,
The Father had spoken and the mission had begun.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

Tempted by Satan, proved faithful by Scripture,
He preached repentance and called His disciples.
He healed the sick so I could see.
This Jesus, yes Jesus, He died for me.

untitled.pngSpoke from a mountain and told of the fountain,
The life we could have in Him.
Love the lowly, avoid adultery.
Be salt and light, and love, peace and mercy.
Stay free, live free. His mind always on me.
This Jesus, merciful Jesus. He died for me.

Give it all away, pray and forgive,
Store up treasures where one day you’ll live,
Don’t worry or judge. Ask, seek and knock.
Enter the narrow gate and stay close to the flock.
He’s prepared a way.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

No houses on sand, build a solid foundation.
Have faith, be healed and let His glory be revealed.
Be devoted and follow, let Him calm your storms.
No sacrifices needed, only a heart turned towards.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.

The workers are few, the LOST are many.
Pray to the Lord for more help.
He wants to save, let’s pray today,
for our families, friends and enemies.
He loves them all, we don’t understand.
This Jesus, unfathomable Jesus, He died for me.

He calls us out every single day,
Go, tell, and be sure to pray.
Love in my Name, and do all for Me.
I promise to provide and give rest when you’re weary.
Keep my Sabbath, stay faithful in meeting.
Your strength comes in numbers, love one another deeply.
His plan is good, better than your own.
This Jesus, Son of Man, He died for me.

Love as a child; stay on the straight and narrow.
I’ll provide your food, your rest and a bright tomorrow.
No worry for clothes or a place to lay your head.
All that is my joy to give, trust me, you’ll be fed.
Such love, such care we don’t deserve.
This Jesus, my Redeemer, He died for me.

dan-kiefer-467645-unsplash (1)He came as a babe, so lowly and small
no place for Him, but a dirty stall.
The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords
He came so I can live.
He humbled himself, our example, the Servant.
He taught us and so now, we can be fervent.
Our devotion is true and our lives shine,
All for His glory and none for mine.
Because He lives, I can live too.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for YOU.

Defeated and mocked or so it appeared.
They stripped Him, but couldn’t take His glory.
Even to the end, redemption told the story
For one who was on His side – paradise was his reward.
The curtain torn, they laid Him in a tomb, guarded by soldiers,
Oh, such doom.
But victory was coming, the women were running,
to tell that they had seen Him!
To many He appeared, even to those He loved dear,
And now He reigns on His throne above.
This Jesus, My Jesus, all for love, He died for YOU.

The day and hour is not known, but one day He will come.
For now, He reigns in our hearts and on His heavenly throne.
This Jesus whose blood was shed for me
has made my life worth living.
This Jesus, my Jesus, He died for me.untitled3.png

It happened long ago we know, and yet the truth remains.
His resurrection ever told, through the truth of His claims.
They cannot prove otherwise, His followers know it’s true,
for we are forever grateful and try to show it in all we do.
He is the Way, the Truth, the Life. He is the only One.
He’s the God of all gods and the only true Son.
It is our joy today to honor Him and bless His Name,
For we know He lives because our lives are changed.
This Jesus, the Powerful Savior, it’s Him we celebrate.

The cross was the bridge for our sin sick souls
Our hellish lives could now be redeemed.
If we know Him in our hearts, we cannot help but sing.
The One who’s closer than a brother,
The One who calls us His friends.
It doesn’t seem possible, this personal Savior.
He’ll see us to the end.

Heaven is our future, death has lost its sting.
Through generations till He comes, His truth forever rings.
The best thing that has happened is we know deep down inside,
He makes His home in our hearts and there He now abides.
No more could He have done,
His love has set me free.
This Jesus, yes Jesus, He died for me.

by Valerie Rumfelt

Mary of Bethany

Just a few days before Jesus would die on the cross for the sins of the world, there is an account of a woman who took an opportunity to worship Him. Her display was remarkable and loving and remembered throughout all time.

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John 12:1-8 is the passage. We find Lazarus hosting a dinner for Jesus. Martha is serving. Mary is near Jesus.

It is six days before the Passover Feast. Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived. Lazarus was the one Jesus had raised from the dead.

2 A dinner was given at Bethany to honor Jesus. Martha served the food. Lazarus was among the people at the table with Jesus. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard. It was an expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the sweet smell of the perfume.
4 But Judas Iscariot didn’t like what Mary did. He was one of Jesus’ disciples. Later he was going to hand Jesus over to his enemies. Judas said, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” 6 He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor. He said it because he was a thief. Judas was in charge of the money bag. He used to help himself to what was in it.
7 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. “The perfume was meant for the day I am buried. 8 You will always have the poor among you. But you won’t always have me.”

What splendid love Mary displays.

As onlookers to this beautiful story, we admire Mary because of her outward evidence of inward devotion toward Jesus. She gave all she had to worship Jesus and show her love to Him.

To Mary, Jesus was the only one in the room. She is compelled to worship Him in this precious and costly way.

Judas, the one who would later betray Jesus was in the room and opposed this act of love. Judas’s weakness was he cared only for himself. When he tried to deceitfully point out Mary’s love toward Jesus as being misguided, the selfishness and darkness in his character are exposed.

The difference between Judas and Mary is stark. Judas tried to garner favor for his position by pulling in the poor as his cover. He not only revealed his true colors but tried to deceive those around him into thinking he was concerned for the poor.

Jesus, of course, was the One present concerned about the poor most of all. The fact that Judas tried this tactic with Jesus present exposes even more about Judas’s unfavorable and repulsive character.

Mary, on the other hand, is generous in her expression of love. To be clear, it was a display. Unabashed, Mary seems oblivious to the dark character sitting near her in Judas and still displays a lavish love for Jesus using a lavish product. She is one to admire and esteem.

Jesus knew both hearts, of course, and welcomed Mary’s love and worship while penetrating the darkness of Judas with a direct command to leave Mary alone.

This story thrills me. Jesus, willing to fellowship with friends and foes alike, ready to defend the pure in heart, receives an extravagant love and appreciates the sacrifice. In only a few words, He exposes the motives and forces of evil sitting near Him in Judas.

The people in Jesus’ day didn’t understand they would soon lose Him to a brutal and sacrificial death on their behalf. Even in this passage, Jesus tells those present that He will not always be with them. They couldn’t grasp that He’d soon be gone. No matter how many times Jesus spoke of His coming death, they could not understand.

In a few days, each day leading to the Resurrection holds a different meaning. Let’s ponder Mary. This brave lady used her opportunity to worship Jesus in the face of evil.  In a few days, she would be at the foot of the cross with other women who loved Him. Let’s be like Mary, unashamed to worship the One who saved us and faithful enough to live for Him until the end of our days.

Perhaps the most striking lesson to be learned from Mary of Bethany is her unwavering devotion to Jesus. She not only followed Him; she worshipped Him. She hung on His every word. No matter what was happening around her, she never lost sight of Him. Jesus defended her pure love, and He ensures her story is told through the ages.

She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said. Luke 10:39

 

©Valerie Rumfelt

Lamb of God

It’s Holy Week. A contemplative, yet joyous week for all who believe in Jesus, trust Him with their lives, and show Him their love through obedience. This poem is one I wrote a few years ago.

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Lamb of God

 

O Lamb of God, so pure and sinless
Thank you for your love so endless.
No other could have died that day.

O Lamb of God, who paid my way
To heavens glory I’ll go one day;
To worship you in peace and love
Sweet Lamb of God, to you I fall.

Oh Lamb of God, perfect offering
Your blood flowed on that day.
But death couldn’t keep you, no.
You rose from the grave.

O Lamb of God, what can I do,
To let you know my love for you?
Live life in fellowship with me,
Do this daily and you’ll be free.

O Lamb of God who took my place
By grace, now I can see your face.
You washed me clean that day, it’s true
And now I choose to live for you.

By Valerie Rumfelt

©Valerie Rumfelt

Beets per Minute

photo-1507484467459-0c01be16726eWhen was the last time you ate beets? I don’t imagine it’s at the top of most people’s culinary favorites. I used to hate beets because my only experience with them was out of a can. Those are truly awful. My mother would have them as a side dish for dinner occasionally and they tasted like whatever I thought pennies would taste like, purely awful.

From childhood until a few years ago, all that time…no beets.

Until  a friend of ours became ill…

He decided that having a  healthy diet  would keep the cancer from developing further. One time in his home he prepared a beet salad made from fresh beets. My palate made a new memory and beets for the first time had a good place in my mind.

Recently, my husband purchased beets in a plastic container from the produce department. They were round, soaking in vinegar. Then I viewed an ad for Green Giant Frozen Beets on social media. It seemed beets were emerging. The image in the ad was of spiral cut beets. It was intriguing. Going to the store was on my list so I purchased this vegetable, frozen. Not long ago, we ate them as a side dish.

I cooked the beets as directed on the package while sautéed purple onion simmered in a pan. After the beets were cooked, I drained the liquid from them, and added them to the pan of onions. In a couple of minutes it was ready to serve. I didn’t add another thing to this mixture. It was a vivid maroon serving of 2 nutrient packed vegetables. A natural sweetness seemed to make it all palatable.

And in case you’re concerned about that natural sweetness, the natural fiber is the barrier to slow down the travel of the sugar into your bloodstream. This is how God created our bodies and all the processes HE created are for our good.

photo-1467019972079-a273e1bc9173After looking online, there are a number of food items that can be added to beets. This list gives you a few ideas:

  • For a cold salad, a bag of spinach could be added with feta cheese and walnuts.
  • Orange slices would add be a succulent addiction. delicious and incredibly healthy.
  • Whip up a honey dressing stirring in balsamic vinegar and garlic to go on top.
  • Roasted carrots or diced sweet potato would be a colorful combination for a hot dish.

I was pleasantly surprised by this simple dish. Beets are very good for your body by being a good source of vitamin C, magnesium and can aid in cardiovascular health.

“You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” ~Margaret Thatcher

Sometimes the weekends present challenges to a healthy lifestyle and the discipline we had all week crumbles.  Maybe this blog on beets can get you refocused this weekend. As a final note,  I would recommend fresh or frozen for beets, and any other vegetable.

Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

I Corinthians 3:16

 

©Valerie Rumfelt

Art and Youth

photo-1481624362406-b7817fa45ecfIs there anyone in the Christian world who hasn’t heard of the Gideons? Their real name is The Gideons International. Most hotels today still carry a Bible provided by this Christian organization in a drawer near the bed. But they state in their mission statement that they are more than just what we see in a hotel room.

The Gideons International is an Association of Christian business and professional men and their wives dedicated to telling people about Jesus through associating together for service, sharing personal testimony, and by providing Bibles and New Testaments. While we are often recognized for our work with hotels, we also place and distribute Scriptures in strategic locations so they are available to those who want them, as well as to those who may not know they need them.

Recently my husband and I saw a different side to The Gideons International… their  youth. The youth coordinator had contacted Buried Treasures Home via the facebook page a couple months ago wanting to know if there was anything they could do for us at Buried Treasures Home. They would be in the area attending the State Gideon Convention and these young people were available to do a service project while their parents attended meetings. After some dialogue, it was decided that they would come out and paint canvases that could be used in a new building.

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They showed up today with 2 adults and a few youth and children. Coming with sweet spirits, they worked with diligence and focus.  Each of their canvases are lovely and each one took pride in what they painted for us.

Afterwards we took them on a walking tour of Buried Treasures Home.

This wasn’t a typical Saturday morning at Buried Treasures Home. For one thing, the ladies were off campus themselves serving others at the Hope Conference which is according to their website, “an educational event for cancer patients, survivors, family members and caregivers.”  You can learn more here.

Typically on a Saturday morning Clark teaches Introduction to Christianity and we have our weekly calendar meeting and evaluations. While our ladies were serving the Lord, this strong group of youth was serving the Lord at Buried Treasures Home.

Their visit only solidifies all the more the good reputation that Gideons already had in our minds.

You can learn more about The Gideons International here.

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5 Ways to New Beginnings

2a44183f-6035-47e9-8397-80952ca92f45It’s the last day of February. Did you make any resolutions at the beginning of this year? We all long for a new start, a new beginning, and we believe we will behave differently this year and achieve it. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.

At some point, I began to question the idea of making resolutions. The idea seemed empty to me. My trouble was defaulting to procrastination or losing focus. That was when goals began to mean more to me. Goals seemed to have a permanency to them, an unwavering commitment to being achieved. But even those can get self-focused, and you can climb the ladder a long time and find out it was leaning against the wrong wall.

If you are beginning to believe that your resolutions only leave you feeling hopeless, then take a look at the list below. They support the idea of doing life daily. The best way to begin is with the Lord as your Leader.

Self-discipline and determination are the keys to any success, but those traits come from the Lord, and anything started with Him is going to succeed!

  • Be focused – For the Lord GOD helps me. Therefore, I am not disgraced.Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. Isaiah 50:7
  • Be a disciple – Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
  • Be humble –  “In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning, I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” Psalm 5:3
  • Be a servant- “But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
  • Be Committed – Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established. Proverbs 16:3

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    Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness. Lamentation 3:22-23

©Valerie Rumfelt

The Power of the Call

Have you ever been puzzled by what a call on someone’s life is? If you’ve been a church goer for any amount of time, you may have heard someone say that God called them to do this or that work.  I had heard this all my life in church, but had little understanding of the meaning.

When I was in a Christian setting years ago, I asked others one day, “ What does it mean when someone has a call on their life?” That was met with silence and I knew then that I wasn’t the only one that didn’t know. However, I may have been the only one in the room at that time that wanted to know. It wasn’t long after that I received my call to missions.

Prior to this, a series of personal and deeply spiritual events had occurred in mine and my husbands lives. A Christian marriage retreat, and my husband getting laid off were 2 of the events. God used those things to lead my husband and I to question what God was doing in our lives.

It was at a marriage retreat that Henry Blackaby challenged 500 couples with this question…”Is God calling you to more than just serving in your local church as a lay person? If He is, stand up.” We’d already been having some interesting thoughts about our lives and when that question came, we could have been the only ones in the room. We both stood up and that began what we would understand to be a call to full-time Christian service. We didn’t know what we were doing. We didn’t understand it all at the time.

We were compelled.

We knew God was “calling” us.

The following weeks and months were profound in our lives as we experienced God in our life circumstances, in His Word, and other people. God was active and He had our attention.

Then there were 2 mission trips to Ukraine. Those trips were so spiritually impacting that English words seem empty to tell of how each trip delivered potent effects in our lives. The cost of following Jesus was being counted and we were attentive to His plans.

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It would be after the last trip to Ukraine that the “call” to mission came for me. This is what happened.

I was standing at my kitchen sink. That kitchen sink was home to many thoughts in those days. And that night was no different as I questioned God about calling us. Why not others? And then I got specific and named a few names of the “others”. My train of thought was that Clark and I already did so much for Jesus. We were already heavily involved in church and our lives were turned toward our neighbors and others who needed to know Him. It seemed logical to me that calling us was unnecessary since we did everything already.  It also seemed that God needed to call people who didn’t do as much and then perhaps that would get them more involved in His Kingdom work.

I felt this a good argument.

As I’m pouring out my questions to God, my turbulent spirit was interrupted when a physical pressure came onto my shoulders. Yes, I mean like a person putting their hands on my shoulders.

Then tear drops begin hitting the bubbles in the sink as tears rolled down my cheeks.

The arguing ceased and gently in my head I heard, “But would you be willing?”

That inaudible, penetrating question along with the pressure on my shoulders led me to whisper, “Yes Lord, I would be willing.”

Immediately, the pressure lifted. Peace restored.

From that point on, I’ve never doubted, wondered or questioned again God’s call on my life. I could go on and on about how this call has put glue to my feet when I wanted to leave and swiftness in my step when it was time to. I could tell you how it has calmed me when the days were desperate and how its certainty has given me peace. I could tell you how this call has become who I am and how defining it is to my life.

Is God calling you to a task or to a lifetime of mission service to Him? If you are wondering, it very well could be that He is. How will you respond?

To this end wealways pray for you, that our God maymake you worthy of His calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and everywork of faith by His power,so that the name of our Lord Jesusmay be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 1:11-12

©️Valerie Rumfelt

No Excuses Chicken

Healthy eating is a lifestyle for me. Some of you may be starting this lifestyle because of the new year. If you’re looking for an easy recipe that is healthy and satisfying, this one may be for you. I call this No Excuses Chicken because everything needed is purchased at the store and there’s no chopping and no excuses for not having something healthy to eat.

For a long time I’ve enjoyed whole wheat pasta, and chicken is one of my top protein choices most anytime! I eat vegetables often, even breakfast. This recipe passes my checklist for a healthy meal. The pictures are my actual packages and since you literally need only 4 to 5 items to make this meal, it certainly goes in the easy category.

Ingredients:

Diced Chicken

Vegetables

Whole Wheat pasta

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

Put a couple of cups of water on to boil in a pot. Add a bit of salt. Put half the bag of pasta in the water and wait for it to boil. Boil for only a few minutes. Don’t over cook. Drain pasta.

Add  a Tablespoon of olive oil to a pan.

When heated, add the diced chicken and brown. Add the veggies toward the very end so as not to over cook them.

Get a single serving bowl. Add pasta. Drizzle about a teaspoon of olive oil on it. Stir and add the chicken and vegetables on top. Enjoy.

Of course, if you’re cooking for your family, you likely would use half the bag of chicken, the entire package of pasta and vegetables.

This simple, but healthy meal has lots of nutrition, and the ingredients are easy to find. You could add beans to this, or even a white cheese like mozzarella. As is, this is low in fat, high in fiber, nutrient and protein packed meal that is long on flavor and short on time. Enjoy!

Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred. Proverbs 15:17

©Valerie Rumfelt

Perspective in the New Year

One day rolls into the next and much of life can be lived in crisis mode. But we must be sure that we aren’t reacting to some really small things in a big way. We have to conserve energy for the big things. We can’t give so much energy to the stopped up drains, traffic jams, annoying people, and have none left for the terminal diagnosis or layoff.img_1447

God is the giver of all things including perspective. This is why staying true to Him is so very important to our spiritual lives. Staying true to Him gives our lives meaning and much needed perspective. Here are some reasons to stay true in your relationship to God as this new year is here, fresh and new.

  • God sent His One and Only Son from glorious heaven to depraved earth to be with us and live with us. That alone makes Him worthy of our devotion.
  • If you’ve accepted Jesus into your life as your Savior, then every day is a good day to make Him Lord or to keep Him Lord. He is over all and in all…
  • Jesus is after your character development and He may seem cruel at times. But all He does and all He requires is loving because that’s His character. Remember? God is love. We must settle this because life is hard and as He uses people around you to build your character, you must know our loving God is loving you.
  • Jesus will not share glory. He will orchestrate circumstances that give you a choice to take glory for your own or give it to Him. He is not an ego God, but He is God and all glory and praise are due to Him. He gave all He had so that we could have a life worth living here on earth and eternity with Him. He is worthy of all our praise.
  • At the point of your choice to receive Jesus into your heart, you became a child of God. That infers that God is your Father. That means there is an ongoing relathipship. Relationships require work and lots of it. This journey with Jesus is not for the faint of heart.img_1850

So, as you keep on running the race of this Christian life, keep your faith strong and stay true to the One who has already gone before you into the year and knows what will happen in your life this year. You will need Him and so now is a good time to commit your life to Him all over again. Stay true. He is worth it and He is worthy.

“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
To receive power and riches and wisdom,
And strength and honor and glory and blessing!”

Revelation 5:12

©Valerie Rumfelt

When Suffering is in the Season

In the air, there’s a feeling of Christmas, but sometimes the reality of our lives don’t lend themselves to such a light-hearted, nostalgic feeling. This blog is for those who may be enduring something this holiday season.img_1433

We know when the holiday season is coming every year, but we don’t always know when a crisis is going to invade our lives. I’m not speaking to the self-inflicted crisis where a victim mentality springs forth. I’m talking to those walking in Christ and living for Him, but trouble comes.  Jesus Himself said to His followers in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Recently, some trouble entered my life. It was a reminder of my need to stay dependent on my Savior and to trust in Him at all times. Seeking comfort, I decided to sit down and find some verses to support me and give me spiritual sanity. I hope they will assist you if you travel in uncertainty and angst today.

  • Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance…Romans 5:3
  • Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. James 1:2-3
  • …so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father…
    Colossians 1:10-11
  • Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
  • I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
  • May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

All these verses reminded me that my suffering has a purpose.

Suffering produces perseverance.

Suffering produces peace and strength.

Suffering invites God’s inexhaustible power.

Totally contrary to my flesh and what the devil would desire, I can joyfully give thanks to God for the trial.

This is all supernatural. But it does not guarantee all angst to be gone. Enduring and persevering have elements of difficulty within them.

We can’t schedule our trials. If one is in your life this Christmas, keep your focus on Jesus and cling to Him.

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©Valerie Rumfelt

5 Reasons to Send Christmas Cards

The last week of November is here. I look at it as bonus time to get a few things finished or to get a head start before December arrives.

The tradition of sending Christmas cards is one that I love. Receiving this personal mail reminds me of faithful relationships and provides a connection to others without the use of the computer.

Whether a card comes with glitter, three-dimensional art, gold and silver letters, vellum lining, shiny graphics, embossed or just a plain card with a simple image, its eye candy for sure! There’s no doubt about it…this is happy mail! What other time of year does mail come so creatively portrayed on a piece of paper with thoughtful words inside declaring GOOD NEWS? Not just good news but THE Good News.

Although I’ve not finished sending mine, completion is very near. You might be thinking of not sending Christmas cards for the first time this year. I think even those of us who love the tradition are tempted in this way. Maybe you have so many people to send them to and it seems overwhelming. Or perhaps you think you are the only one that actually sends them anymore?

I want to encourage you not to give in to these ideas. Here are 5 reasons to send Christmas cards:

  • Real mail – People love to get it and it’s not a bill or junk mail and will be received well.
  • Remembering in prayer –  I know a family that keeps every card they receive. In the coming year they pull a card and pray for that person or family.
  • Recycled but Real – Some people keep the cards using the imagery to make other crafts. And, it’s a way to keep the REAL meaning of Christmas alive when you choose cards about Jesus!
  • Reminiscent – Each card represents a friendship and is a personal act of love. I’ve been known to keep them from year to year.
  • Reflective – Sending cards through the mail seems like it’s from another era. Keeping this tradition alive gives people a few moments in their day to reflect on the family or friend who sent them a card.

When someone makes the effort to purchase the cards, fill out the cards, and mail the cards, that is a thoughtful act! Whether you enclose a photo or a gospel tract or just your signature, receiving them is a blessing. 

There’s no other way to look at it. It takes time, money, effort, and intention to send Christmas cards. Let’s keep this tradition alive and keep sending Christmas cards!

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Sending Christmas cards is a good way to let your friends and family know that you think they’re worth the price of a stamp. Melanie White

©Valerie Rumfelt

Simple Homemade Cranberry Sauce

We’re two days away from the wonderful American holiday of Thanksgiving. Maybe you’re headed to a friend’s home or your family for the Thanksgiving feast. Are they expecting you to bring something?

The time it takes for you to pick up rolls from the store is about how long it will take to make this sauce, and it will impress everyone at the table. To say it is better than the canned product is an understatement! And, you’ll be taking something homemade to your gathering.  So here’s how you make it.
You’ll need:

1 bag of cranberries

3/4 – 1 cup light brown sugar

1 cup of water

Directions:

  • In a pot, add the water and let it come to a boil. This takes about a minute.
    Add the cranberries and cover with the pot lid.
  • Turn down the heat from high to between low to medium. You’ll begin to hear pops. This is the cranberries breaking up to make a sauce.
  • In a few minutes, stir the pot of cranberries and add the brown sugar. Continue stirring.
  • Return lid and let simmer a few minutes.
  • Then, uncover and stir. Mash any still whole cranberries and mash as you stir the entire mixture.
  • Once the mixture is reduced to a shiny, creamy sauce, then pour it into a heatproof dish.
  • Let cool and refrigerate.

Thanksgiving Day: Pull out of the refrigerator.  This will travel well to your destination and can be put in their refrigerator if necessary once you arrive.

Dear Lord, your bounty is abundant beyond measure. When I visit with friends and family this Thanksgiving, help me to share about your love. I can tell my story. No one can argue with it, and sharing stories tears down pretense. Lead the way Lord and help me to be a blessing around the Thanksgiving table this year. In Jesus’ Name, amen.

©Valerie Rumfelt