Daily Walking with God

January 2018
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Walking in the Word

Plant City's First Baptist Church

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I enjoy baking homemade chocolate chip cookies.  My friends love for me to bake them too. Sometimes there’s nothing better than a fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookie and a glass of cold milk.

The other day my friend celebrated his 50th birthday.  We’ve been celebrating his birthday each day, all week, while we are on vacation.  (I could get used to this idea.) After one of the birthday dinners at a restaurant in the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon, the server didn’t bring out your typical one slice of birthday cake or ice-cream for just the birthday boy.  Oh no, he transported out of tray of tall glasses full of cold milk and warm chocolate chip cookies for all sixteen of us! Yummy!  That’s my kind of restaurant.

What would you think if you were expecting a cookie filled with chocolate morsels, but to your surprise there was only one morsel in the cookie? You would most likely look at it with disappointment.  It reminds me of the potato chip slogan, “Betcha can’t eat just one”. No, when we want a chocolate chip cookie, just one morsel won’t do.  Fill’er up please.

Sometimes gossip is the same way.  Today in Proverbs 18:8 it says, “Rumors are dainty morsels that sink deep into one’s heart.”(NLT) or in the NIV it reads, “The words of a gossip are like choice morsels;
they go down to the inmost parts.”
Gossip can be addicting.

Not only can it be addicting, but it is wrong.  Here are a few verses to confirm how God is against gossiping:

Leviticus 19:16, “Don’t spread gossip and rumors. Don’t just stand by when your neighbor’s life is in danger. I am God.”

Proverbs 20:19, “A gossip goes around telling secrets, so don’t hang around with chatterers.”

James 3:5-6, “It is the same with our tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it can boast about doing great things.  A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. 6 The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. It spreads its evil through our whole body and starts a fire that influences all of life. It gets this fire from hell.”

Here are a few pointers:

·         Be careful what you say.

·         Stand up for others when someone is talking wrongly about them.

·         Don’t associate yourself with rumor spreaders, or be one yourself.

·         Gossip can not only affect the one who you are talking about, but yourself. You don’t want to be known as someone who is not trustworthy.

Now I’m not saying don’t eat that scrumptious morsel-filled cookie.  Just don’t indulge in gossip that is like choice morsels that go down to the inmost parts.  You might find some “weight” on you that will hold you back on a freeing life.

Blessings to you all!

July 20

choc chip cookies balanceLife is about balance.

So today I had a protein shake for breakfast and two chocolate chip cookies for lunch. Isn’t that balanced? Okay, probably not the smartest of eating choices I’ve made, but it sure was yummy.

As I read through Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 balance is key. I’ve felt like I’ve experience many of these “a times” over the past few weeks.

For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. A time to be born and a time to die.   A time to plant and a time to harvest. A time to kill and a time to heal.   A time to tear down and a time to build up. A time to cry and a time to laugh.   A time to grieve and a time to dance. A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.   A time to embrace and a time to turn away. A time to search and a time to quit searching.   A time to keep and a time to throw away. A time to tear and a time to mend.   A time to be quiet and a time to speak. A time to love and a time to hate.   A time for war and a time for peace.

God called a dear friend home and we celebrated his life this week. It was…his time to die.

We’ve started the demolition process on our home renovation and have already started rebuilding. It is…our time to tear down and build up.

Seeing a loved one pass and our only daughter begin college, has been a time to cry. Yet hearing stories of the past and hearing stories about new beginnings have also given us a time to laugh.

Grief is in many hearts right now as our country suffered another terrorist attack and many friends have had to say good-bye to loved ones, but there WILL BE a time to dance. Healing is a process.

Embrace. Ahhhh, embrace your loved ones now! You’ve got to make time for embracing before the phase of turning away occurs.

Sometimes you just need to be silent, be still, and just simply pray. Then other times there’s moments when godly wisdom is needed to be heard.

Love conquers all. Make time for it.

Peace is what prayer and Christ gives. There will be a time for tranquility.

Life is about balance.

Whatever season you find yourself in right now, remember that it’s just a season. This too shall pass.

Oh, and make time for chocolate chip cookies. (*wink*wink*)

I pray that you will enjoy soaking up THE SON every moment of each day. –Stephanie

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This is my "Welcome" sign that hangs in my kitchen.

This is my “Welcome” sign that hangs in my kitchen.

“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 6”

My home is not pretentious, but comfortable.  I desire for all who come to our home to feel welcomed and at ease.

I am unable to find who the originator of the following quote was, but I like it…“May all who enter as guests leave as friends.”  True!  That’s how I feel about our home.

In Romans 15:7 we are told, “Christ welcomed you, so you should welcome each other. This will bring honor to God.”  I know that I try daily to honor God in all that I say and do.  Do I always succeed?  Most likely not, but I try.  Furthermore, this sentiment of honoring God is confirmed throughout the bible.  Read these two common and powerful verses:

*“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”  1 Corinthians 10:31

*“Everything you say and everything you do should be done for Jesus your Lord. And in all you do, give thanks to God the Father through Jesus.Colossians 3:17

We should welcome others because that honors God.

So welcome to my kitchen, and welcome to my home.

You know that you will have a bowl of M&Ms  waiting for you.  There may be even some banana bread or homemade chocolate chip cookies. I’m sure I can have some sweet tea waiting for you as well.  And we will always have good conversation and laughs intertwined.  If you want to come and just have some prayer… come on!  This kitchen counter has been surrounded in prayer daily. Welcome.  Welcome to my kitchen.

You know who is standing at your door, knocking, waiting for you to “welcome” Him in?  Jesus.  If you haven’t invited Him into your heart/home yet, what are you waiting for?

Remember… Look around your kitchen and ponder on what others may say about you.  Turn it into a God lesson.  I hope you stay tuned for more “Lessons from My Kitchen”.

I pray many blessings and much joy for you! Have a wonderful day. – Stephanie




Billie Jo loves my chocolate chip cookies. So when I saw this card, I had to get it make her a big cookie for her birthday. BTW, did you read where Eric is learning to crawl again???? This is such exciting news!!

“Never praise yourself. Let others do it.”  Proverbs 27:2

I want to boast about two wonderful women whom I got to spend time with this past week to celebrate our birthdays.

My cousin/college roomie/dear friend, April, is a smart woman.  I remember when we roomed together at The University of Central Florida she graduated college with her degree in accounting in THREE years.  But now, raising three awesome and loving children, she just graduated again with her degree in Nuclear Medicine something or other. I am so proud of you and your dedication, April. Did I say Nuclear Med?  Wow!

Billie Jo, after probably the most interesting year of her life, God has totally equipped her with the fruit of the Spirit as she has had three of her grandchildren living with her, and Eric, the eldest, has improved tremendously since his near-death drowning. (Other journal entries regarding this situation.)   Because of Billie Jo’s dedication, commitment, and love, this precious child is learning to crawl, talk, and just live again, all with a big smile on his face.

Both of these ladies are strong Christian women who have always known to put their trust in God, but through certain life situations over the past few years have truly lived the life of trusting in God, and have done it well.

I could sit here and give praise to so many people.  But earlier this week I had begun typing these words about my dear friends, but the right scripture didn’t present itself to coincide with my bragging.  Well, today it did, so I am using these two ladies for my “Praise Page”.  (Hey, that sounds like a great idea…a “Praise Page”. Hmmmm. Look for this page soon to appear on Soaking Up the Son.)

I don’t know about you, but I feel so much better when I boast about others instead of self. May God receive ALL the glory!

Blessings and God’s abundant love to y’all.

My post from Saturday, June 8, 2013:

Take a little walk through my day with me:


The scene from the backporch.

This morning God woke me up around 5:15.  First of all, let me preference this next part with this:  My mother-in-law, Jany, built this “Cabin in the Woods” with meaning, reason, and lots of love.  She had a reason for every window placing, every rock in the yard, fireplace, and steps to the porch, every plant and tree she planted, and just each little detail in her Kentucky home. I remember her telling me that she put a window right next to the toilet and one beside the claw foot tub so she could gaze out the window and look for deer, turkeys, and nature.  When I went to the restroom this morning, I opened the window blinds and gazed, just like Mrs. Jany would have done.  I saw the mist hovering over the pond surrounded by the beautiful woods.  Psalm 42:1 came to mind.  So I said in a whisper, “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God.”  I felt such a peace.

Then I glanced at the old tub and remembered that the first time Tim and I came up here with the kids, she drew me a hot bath and told me to sit, relax, and look out the window. (She always wanted others to feel comfortable.)  Well, I did just that.  I turned on the water and imagined Mrs. Jany preparing it all for me.

After my bath I grabbed my bible and went outside on the back porch, positioned the rocking chair so I could see the pond and one of the paths to the woods, curled up in my towel, and opened up my bible.  When I read Proverbs 15:15, I again thought of Jany.  It says, “Life is always hard for the poor, but the right attitude can turn it into a party.” (ERV)  Jany, being the storyteller that she was, would often recall the times of her earlier years growing up and when she and Wayne were first married.  She was poor.  I don’t believe that Jany was ever poor in spirit, but she was poor financially.  Throughout all those stories she would tell of the hard years, she always has a fun story and laughter to go with it.  Her attitude was right.  She could turn any situation into a party.  Life was rich for Jany, no matter how much money she had.

Sitting outside on the back porch was so serene.  I heard turkeys gobbling in the woods.  Wayne and Jany have many trails and meadows on their land and each hunting spot and trail had a name.  One location was appropriately named “Grandma’s Meadow”.  Well, guess where those gobbles were coming from?  You guessed it, “Grandma’s Meadow”.

The birds were singing and the sun was rising.  I texted Tim and told him how peaceful it is outside and that he should join me.  He brought his blanket, sat beside me, and had another good cry for his momma. Mornings have been the most difficult, but this scene did bring peace to him as well.

Jany had a hummingbird feeder hanging in the corner of the porch.  Well, guess what again…a hummingbird flew over and had a little drink.

I missed the photo op the morning of…but God gave me a double blessing the morning of our departure. Precious!


The time had come and we had to leave to go to the church for the KY “Celebration of Life” service. The service was simple and sweet.  One of Jany’s requests was to have a silent invitation for those who need to accept Christ as their personal Savior. (For those who do not know what an invitation is…this takes place at the end of a church service in our Baptist churches.  This is the time that if anyone wants to ask Jesus into their heart so they can secure their place in heaven, they step forward and tell the preacher that they want Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of their life.)  Well….After all the heads were bowed and eyes were closed, a man walked forwarded to make it known to all that he was accepting Christ as his personal Savior.  Who was that man?  One of Jany’s brothers!!  Praise God!! Hallelujah!!!!

Before my mother-in-law had passed away, she kept urging her brother, and anyone else who she believed she wouldn’t see in heaven, to get their life and heart right with God.  To God be ALL the glory!  Our tragedy was going to be used for God’s glory, and by golly He got it!


Scottish tradition.

Now it was time for the graveside service.  So after the bagpipes escorted out to the gravesite and played “Amazing Grace”, the preacher said a few words and a prayer, and then we all enjoyed food in the church fellowship hall. After lunch, we all loaded up in our cars to go to see uncle Jimmy baptized in a neighbor’s swimming pool.

Uncle Jimmy getting baptized!

When we left the church, Tim instructed Hunter (who was driving) to just follow the car that just left ahead of us.  Well, we followed it, and we were led astray.  This car wasn’t going to the baptism.  It was heading to Jany’s sister’s home to deliver some leftover food.  Tim was like, “Can you believe that out of all the cars we could have followed, we chose the one that wasn’t going to where we needed to be!”  He quickly phoned his dad and got the correct directions.

By this time, it was 2:15 in the afternoon.  Our delay caused us to perfectly time the next “Ahhh” moment.  Tim had wanted to see a deer today.  Well, “Cue deer…” a deer trotted across the country road, and Tim got his wish.

Now we started joking that Jany was in heaven saying, “Cue peaceful scene outside overlooking the pond.  Cue turkeys gobbling in my meadow. Cue hummingbirds.  Cue Jimmy making a profession of faith.  Now…Cue deer crossing the road.”

This sad day of putting my mother-in-law to rest seemed to be going just the way she would have planned it.  Let me change that, it was going just the way God had planned it.

But wait! The “cue” moments didn’t end there.

We were making a grocery list before heading into town and discussing what we were going to have for dinner.  Tim and I opened the freezer and saw three containers of grandmama’s homemade chili.  We shook our heads and said, “How perfect!  One of Holly’s favorite meals is chili dogs, and having chili is a tradition we have, even in the month of June.” This was the day before Holly’s birthday, so this meal was going to be perfect.  Grandmama was providing our dinner for us this evening from her heavenly home.  So we continued searching in the freezer and found everything we needed:  hotdogs, buns, rice, and a small bag of the last chocolate chip cookies that G-ma made. One more item remained in the freezer.  Tim told me to pull it out.  He lowered his head and said, “I know what it is.”  Sure enough, his favorite cake that his mom would bake for him…there was a half of German chocolate cake ready for the Shuff crew to enjoy.

Jany’s German Chocolate Cake and chocolate chip cookies.

There Jany goes, “Cue dinner.”

God was turning our sorrows into joy.  He was making our memories bigger than life (as her niece, LaDonna, told me would happen).

The evening ended with stories around the fire pit.

June 8th, 2013 began with much peace and confidence in the Lord, and ended with great hope.

In the midst of our sorrows, God showered us with joy.

  • You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”  John 16:20b


Oh how I hope and pray that you know and have Jesus to turn to during times of troubles.  He is our strength, our rock, and our salvation!  God will help you through your difficult time and fill you with hope and joy.

Blessings to y’all.

Jany’s remaining siblings after uncle Jimmy’s baptism. I know God and Jany were smiling down. Probably doing some dancing too.


Okay, yesterday I was saying that I am NOT the Proverbs 31 woman, but today I was giving her a run for her money. Yea, yea, I’m tootin’ my own horn.  But the scripture goes so well with the scene today.

The breakfast of champions. :)

This morning I woke up late, after staying up late watching movies with the kids.  I read the newspaper…ugh!…while eating breakfast, which was a glass of milk and two homemade chocolate chip cookies.  I’m used to waking up and reading the bible first thing, so the newspaper was not as enlightening. I’m not sure if it was because of the overcast weather we are having (God knew what He was doing when He made me a Florida girl.) or that my body is just not used to the late hours I’ve been keeping while school is on Christmas break, but I had a dull headache.  Since the kids were still sleeping (10:30am) I decided to crawl back in bed for about thirty more minutes.  I rolled out of bed around 11:00am.  Oh my! I felt like a teenager sleeping in.

I know, I don’t sound at all like the Proverbs 31 woman so far, but just wait.

When my feet hit the floor I put a load of laundry into the washer and then I started hearing three munchkins start to wake up.  Here we go….the breakfast order was French toast for my niece, grits and eggs for Cole, and Holly….not awake enough to want breakfast.  Food was prepared and the kitchen was cleaned.  Remember in Proverbs 31:15 it says, “She gets up before dawn to prepare breakfast for her household.”  Okay, so I didn’t get up before dawn, but I did prepare breakfast.

Now I’m starting to get into the Proverbs 31 groove.  The hair goes up in a ponytail and the next task to accomplish was the garage.  Double ugh!!  Shoes, trash, Christmas, hunting gear, sports equipment, and socks were amongst the items that were scattered all around the garage.  The broom, Clorox wipes, and the blower became my friends for the next couple of hours. I was so proud of the way the garage ended up.  I paraded inside and told Cole, “Now, when mom asks you boys to clean the garage, this is what I’m talking about.”  I then escorted him to the now transformed garage and stood there with a smile on my face.  What did he have to say? As Cole shook his head and looked around he said. “Um hm.” That’s it! No, “Way to go, mom!” or “This looks great!”, just “Um hm.”  No problem.  I was pleased.

You know when you start one project that it often leads to another.  Well, when I was blowing out all the debris from the garage, it led me to clean the driveway and then the backyard.  I was on a roll.  No laziness for me.

The day continued with a sense of satisfaction as one chore after another was successfully accomplished.

The finished product. If you know my home, you know this is not normal. Let's see how long it will last.

Tonight I finally sat down to read the daily scriptures.  In Proverbs 31:27 I read, “She carefully watches everything in her household and suffers nothing from laziness.”  Yes!  I was that Proverbs 31 woman today.  No idleness took place from me this afternoon.

Toot. Toot.  Did you hear that?  I just “tooted my own horn”. It was all by the grace of God that I did it all with a positive attitude, a smile on my face, and a song in my heart.  I guess God was giving me another real life bible lesson today for my journaling.  Toot.  Toot.  Did you hear that?  I’m tooting the horn for The One Who is given all the glory, God.

Yesterday I challenged you to face each day with a smile.  Today I challenge you to not be lazy. 

Blessings to you.

December 29


Here we were (The Jones and Shuff families) celebrating a successul rapid run down the Deschutes River.

The other day, Monday August the 23rd to be exact, was National Hot Dog Day.  Yep, we had a “Hot Diggy Dog” Celebration at the Shuff home.  Dogs, nana’s homemade slaw, baked beans, chili, and all the fixin’s (I’m from the south, so you’ll have to get used to the slang.)  Oh, let’s not forget the homemade chocolate chip cookies, apple cobbler, gluten free chocolate pound cake, and three types of ice-cream.  Mmmm. Good friends, sweet tea, and lemonade were on the list too. Like my eldest son always says, “Ain’t nothin’ better than….”

Well, today is the Opening Day for the 2012 Summer Olympics. Woohoo!! I love the Olympics!  I remember I used to watch the gymnastics portion, then go outside, put down a long 2×4, and pretend that I was on the balance beam.  I wasn’t too shabby, especially since I was only 2 inches off the ground. Haha.  Then, swimming…. I would go to my “aunt” Melba’s pool (she had the only one in the country block) and compete with my best friend, Paula Sue.  Diving…..I think that my cousin Tracy and I thought we were the champions when we would jump into their pool.  I could go on and on with the various events that I would “compete” in, but that’s not what this journaling is all about.  (BTW, GO USA! Sorry to my foreign friends.)

Let’s get back to the other celebrations.  Tomorrow, the 28th, is National Milk Chocolate Day.  Let’s all wear our milk mustaches proud.  (Oh how I’d love for you to send me pictures of that!)

On Sunday, July 29th, you better get your pasta groove on and enjoy some lasagna because it will be National Lasagna Day.  Seriously!

My daughter, Holly, will love August.  There is a National S’mores Day (her favorite!), A Middle Child Day, Son & Daughter Day, and even a Wiggle Your Toes Day. Yeppie!

You can celebrate something different each day of the month.  Check out the family friendly website, http://www.holidayinsights.com/ , and you could have so much fun!  I’ve already saved it to my favorites on my computer.

But wait, there is more reason to celebrate.  “More?” you ask.  You bet!  Each day you wake up breathing, celebrate.  Every time you put food in your mouth, celebrate.  When you hold your loved one by the hand, celebrate.  If you are a Christian, celebrate big!  God loves us to celebrate with singing and dancing.  He wants us to be filled with joy.

Psalm 16:11, “You will teach me the right way to live.  Just being with you will bring complete happiness.  Being at your right side will make me happy forever.”

Psalms 47:1, Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!”

1 Samuel 18:6 “As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.”

There are more reasons to celebrate: birthdays, anniversaries, new jobs, etc.,  But let’s celebrate each day because we are given a New Day!

Blessings to you.  Celebrate big!

Oh the weeds that are in my yard have become atrocious!  Did it happen overnight?  No way.  They have been establishing themselves for quite some time.  I had been waiting for someone else to take care of them.  But… sometimes you just have to “take the bull by the horns” and do it yourself.

I worked in six areas of the yard and it didn’t take but about thirty minutes.  I probably didn’t do as good or as manicured a job as the hired yard guy used to do, but I did it and it was a great learning experience.

As I was pulling those horrific weeds from the ground it reminded me of the “weeds” I have in my own life; Myself, The sin in my life,  The junk that is in my life.

There were weeds that were easy to extract out, there were weeds that had entangled themselves into the ground and wrapped themselves onto the shrubbery that was planted nearby, and there were even some of the poisonous variety.

As I was yanking some of those stubborn unwanted plants out of the ground, I thought about some of the easy weeds in my life.  This may be eating too many chocolate chip cookies or not exercising my body enough.  These are the easy “oops” in our lives that can be changed without too much difficulty.  It will require will-power from us, but these habits are hopefully going to be painless to correct.

The “stuff” in my life that may resemble those weeds that become more grounded and entangled to my inner self will be more tenacious to weed out.  Those sins may include driving a bit over the speed limit in a specific zone, or talking about someone else “in the name of concern for them”.  Oh how these may seem not too bad when they occur, but the trouble it leads to in the end can be very harmful.  These don’t only involve us, but those we tend to affiliate with (the entangled one).  One time speeding in my car can lead to injury or even death of someone else or even myself.  One too many conversations about a friend or acquaintance and you’ve either hurt their reputation or have labeled yourself as someone not worthy of trusting with matters of the heart.

The “poisonous” sins are those that can consume me inside if not attended to.  For example, the impure or evil thoughts that may cross my mind.  Those selfish times I may be thinking “What about me?”  These can and will contaminate our lives.  I know I’ve had contamination in my life and it brought much heartache. But when I daily took it to the foot of the cross, laid it before God, cried out to Him, and humbled myself before Him, He took care of it.  God jerked those weeds out of my life and I continue to invite Him to be my permanent daily gardener.

Isn’t it interesting how we can classify our sins, but to God, a sin is a sin.

Psalm 103:3-4 (The Message) says, “He forgives your sins—every one. He heals your diseases—every one. He redeems you from hell—saves your life! He crowns you with love and mercy—a paradise crown.”
Praise God!   It is so refreshing to know that I have and serve a God that forgives, heals, redeems, and rewards me.

Whatever your sin is in your life, whether an easy oops or a poisonous unwanted plant, don’t wait on someone else to try to pull your weeds out of you garden, that won’t happen.  Get with it and get cleaning.  Call on the Master Gardener.  God is there to pull it up out the ground and replant seeds of faith, hope, and love.

1 John 1:9 (Today’s New International Version) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. Brothers and sisters in Christ let us confess our sins so that we may be purified by Him.





About three weeks ago we, The Fam, took the boat out for a day of fishing.  The first part of the day was a little chilly, so sweat pants and a jacket was the attire for the morning.  As the sun started to hover overhead, the heat began to be felt and it was time for a vitamin D boost.  The morning attire was shed, sunscreen was applied, and I was ready.  Then it happened…I saw myself. Ugh! Standing up wasn’t as bad as when I sat down.  My mid-section was not so becoming. 

That’s it!  I know what the problem is.  For one, every day….yes every day…I would have a chocolate chip cookie and a cup of sweet-tea with my lunch at school. I have this thing for sweets, especially chocolate.  That is one habit that needed to come to a halt.  I told my co-workers to tell me “No!” if they hear me ordering either of those two items.  This chic was now on a plan.

Secondly, at the beginning of the school year, my principal made us write down personal goals.  One of my goals was to walk more during the week to stay healthy. Well that goal kept getting pushed aside after I felt like I had been walking all day in the classroom.  I was ready to come home, do the “mommy/house” thing, and RELAX!  After our family fishing trip, it was time to buckle down and get busy accomplishing that goal.

Here’s where the “I’m trying” fits in. I have been trying to resist those daily cookies and tea at lunch.  I have broken down once since I set my mind to resisting.  My buddy, Brooke, heard me order the items.  She did as I asked her to do and told me “No!” But I said that I’ve been so good, I just had to that day.

My walking has been a bit sporadic, but I definitely am “trying” doing it.  Not only am I walking, but leg lifts and sit ups too. 

“I’m trying” to take better care of myself. 

Now that our town’s famous Strawberry Festival is here (Plant City is The Winter Strawberry Capital of the World), I’ll be trying to tell myself “No!” to many of the sweet treats I would usually indulge in.

Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through him who strengthens me.”

I’m trying….and I can!


Sift me, Oh Lord!

This morning I woke up with my “To Do List” on my mind.  One thing I want to accomplish today is to make some molasses cookies.   Yes, you heard it right, not chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter, or sugar cookies, but molasses cookies.  These aren’t just any ole molasses cookies though.  I’ll be using by Grandma Parker’s recipe.

You see, when I was young, I remember my grandma always making my three older brothers molasses cookies for Christmas or their birthday.  The gift box would be delivered and I’m not sure who was more excited to open it up, my brothers or the rest of us.  Mmmm, I can taste them now.

Well, all my brothers and their families are coming over to the house tomorrow night for chili, a movie, and good ole fellowship.  I LOVE my family time with my brothers!  I thought it would be a pleasant surprise if I brought back a fond memory when they smelled the aroma of the molasses cookies and enjoyed the sweet taste.  I just hope the cookies are almost as good as my grandma’s.  That will be tough to do.  Yikes!  Pressure is on now.

When I found the recipe and began reading the ingredients, the first thing on the list was 1 ½ cup of “sifted” self-rising flour.  Then, after I made my grocery list I began reading the scriptures for today.  In Amos 9:9b it says, “But it will be like someone sifting flour.  A person shakes flour through a sifter.  The good flour falls through, but the bad lumps are caught.”  How perfect!  God gave me a visual, pre-reading, so that I could relate to His word a little more.  A devotion in the making.

I know several recipes call for sifted flour.  I remember one time testing the measurement of the flour before sifting and after.  There really is a difference.  The sifted flour was much more light and airy.  When I googled “Why sift flour when baking” so that I could confirm what I thought I knew, I found this:  “Sifting flour removes lumps and aerates it so that when liquid is added the dry ingredients will be fully moistened.” (http://www.joyofbaking.com/flour.html ) Yep, that’s pretty much how the bible describes it too.

God was talking, in Amos, to the Israelites and their sinful ways.  We all need some sifting. 

After reading Amos I told God, “God shake me down!  Shift me!  Take any evilness away and leave me with Your goodness.” 

You know when you get a burden removed from you, whatever it may be, you feel much lighter and free.  That is much like “sifted” flour…aerated and when liquid is added it will be fully moistened.  Relate that to God a bit more and think about it this way:  When you are sifted, your sin is removed.  When you are filled with The Living Water (Jesus = liquid) you feel full and refreshed.

Do you want to be sifted?  I do.

Blessings to you.

December 20