Fall is here! Well, it's arrived in most of the United States, but here in Florida, we are still squatting mosquitoes. Fall usually arrives here somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but hey, I want to be ready.
Are you curious about what's trendy for 2018?
Well, sit back and enjoy the latest fashion fun. Don't worry. You can probably find lots of these things tucked away in your closet from yesteryear.
Fashion finds for Fall include leopard prints, cowboy fringe and boots, crazy color combinations, distressed denim, cropped pants with ribbed tights, lots of plaid, and cinch an oversized coat with a belt or ribbon.
Have fun trying out some of fall's new fashion finds.
God bless you.
It's so fun to set a pretty table for a special family celebration or when guests come over.
Some moms set a pretty table every night. I'm more of a "special occasion or guest kind of gal."
Let's talk about the basics of setting a pretty table.
A pretty table starts with a tablecloth or place mats with place settings laid out attractively. A centerpiece adds the perfect festive touch.
Before you set the table, stop and think about the general feel you want to create. Is this casual or fancy? Are you serving a special food? Spaghetti can lend itself to an Italian them with lots of red and green. Are you celebrating a holiday, birthday or special occasion. The birthday girl's favorite colors and flowers or the birthday boy's favorite sports team can lend it self to to choosing style and colors.
Tablecloths & Place Settings
"When will I be loved?" our hearts cry out when we are young.
We seek our one true love, believing that romantic love will fill us with happiness forever. Then we marry someone who isn't perfect and we are still seeking to be loved and appreciated.
If only our parents had loved us more. If only we had better friends. If only we had a boyfriend or girlfriend. If only our children appreciated us.
Why are we always seeking more?
We had a need inside us to be lavishly loved. Our hearts cry out for it.
We long for words, actions, attitudes from others that communicate love, kindness, warmth, and understanding. We long for others to place high value on us.
There is a problem, though. People are flawed. No one loves perfectly. No one can be our all in all.
Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
I grew up in the church, but also in the world until I was saved at the age of 16. I have regrets.
I wanted to raise my children to live wholeheartedly for Jesus so that they could enjoy purity and the freedom of purity.
That is not an easy task.
Well, my children, though they live in a Christian home and attend a church full of believers living wholeheartedly for Jesus, are bombarded by the world through ads, movies, commercials, internet, work, college, homeschool co-ops, relatives, and friends.
A year ago, my Instagram was hacked and some dirty photos were plastered all over it. Suddenly the pastor's wives page was not a safe place to be. Yikes! It took my daughter and I hours to get the site shut down. I was horrified and apologized privately and publicly to everyone I knew. I have no idea who did it. However, the reason I mention this is because after that incident, I was bombarded with pop-ups on Facebook, Amazon, and anywhere else I went on the web. I was horrified and report the "invites" to pornography. This showed me that if anyone has any contact with anything pornography-related online, whether they choose to or not, they will be bombarded with "invites" to see more.
The world is seductive and calls to our children's hearts. The world calls to my heart. How can we all stay pure in a seductive world? How can we steer our children away from moral disaster?
Where is the Battle Zone?
Hope in Jesus will never, ever disappoint.
He is faithful and unfailing.
Before I was saved, I placed my hope in so many different things, like physical appearance, attention from people, the way I acted, my dreams, my wants, etc. I was left broken and depressed each time, because, all those things failed me.
When I started following Jesus, I got new dreams and desires that weren't necessarily wrong or sinful, but it was (and has been) so easy to place my hope in those things.
And even though the desires weren't really wrong, when I placed my hope in them, I would end up feeling in despair and sadness, even brokenhearted at times.
When we place our hope in anything but Jesus, even good things, we will always end up disappointed because JESUS is the only hope that will endure and meet all our needs. He IS all that we need. He is all that will satisfy.
"And now, Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in You." -Psalm 39:7
What in the world are we waiting for if our everything is found in Jesus?
Place your hope in Him, because He will never, EVER disappoint.
In a world of flirting and sexting, does God have a right way for men and women to interact?
For the answer to that question, let's look at our Bibles. We'll take a trip through I Thessalonians 4 verses 1-12.
Paul starts out by commending the Thessalonians for walking in a way that pleases God and exhorts them to do so more and more. He reminds them that the commandment to abstain from sexual immorality is straight from Jesus, who has authority over our lives. God's will is our sanctification. (verses 1-3)
We are reminded day by day by the Holy Spirit to flee from sexual immorality and walk in purity. Sometimes its through the Word of God or conviction when we are thinking about things we shouldn't be thinking about. It is so important for us to always remember that God's will is for us to be pure, to be set apart, to be growing in holiness day by day. The world has its lies and temptations, but Jesus gives us abundant life that is far better than any trick of the devil.
In the next few verses, Paul reminds us to control our bodies honorably, as holy vessels to please God and to treat our brothers with honor, not defraud them. The gentiles who do not know God give in to feelings of passionate lust and the sinful behavior that follows it. This behavior actually takes advantage of them. We, are called to holiness instead. If we reject this instruction, we reject God, not men. (verses 4-8)
If we behave lustfully, flirtatiously, or seductively, we wrong our brother or sister, we defraud our brother or sister. It is not a compliment to treat the opposite sex in a way that is based on sexual attraction. In fact it wrongs them, causing us to sin against them. It also defrauds them--it communicates a level of commitment without a commitment. We act as if we own them (as in married couples who belong to one another) when, in fact, there is not commitment.
Instead of bringing harm to them, we want to bring genuine life to them, to lift them up, not tear them down. So how do we do that?
We are inundated in our culture with romance--finding true love is the ultimate purpose in life, at least according to Hollywood.
The Bible says something different. God says that the highest love is the love between the Lord and his adopted sons and daughters. We are part of a Forever Family when we become Christians.
While most Christians hope they will find their true love and get married, their higher love is Jesus. He is our First Love.
If we are married, we should do everything to keep our romantic love alive. In the same way, we should focus on our love relationship with Jesus, stirring up passion and devotion in our own hearts. There are many ways to do this, but I am going to concentrate on the role that our Christian brothers and sisters play in increasing our love for God.
The main reason that we have brothers and sisters in Christi is to spur one another on to love and good deeds, to encourage one another in the Lord, and to help each other grow in the faith. So how do we do that?
When was the last time you read Ephesians 2?
I read some blog posts about it last week and as it is one of my favorite passages (though really I love like every single passage in the whole book), I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. Then, during worship on Sunday, it just kept bubbling up in my heart. I had to share my burden with my church family. And now I want to share it with you.
The truth of Ephesians 2 should transform our minds and hearts. It should captivate us. It should change how we view Jesus, how we love Jesus, how we worship Jesus. And it should change how we view ourselves, our salvation, and our lives now.
Here is the truth from verse 1:
Before Jesus we were dead.
Without Jesus we are dead.
We weren’t merely sick and needed a physician. We weren’t merely in bondage to sin and needing to be set free.
WE. WERE. DEAD.
From Dead to Alive