Daily Walking with God

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Plant City's First Baptist Church

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Lessons from My Kitchen

IMG_7627   “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,…But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 7”

Oh, and you thought I was done with this series, didn’t you?

First of all, I want to thank you for your encouragement throughout this mini-series of Lessons from My Kitchen.  I received a text from a friend the other day and it just made my day.  I asked her if I could share, and she agreed.  Here’s how this bit of encouragement transpired:

My friend texted and sent the following pictures:

“I’ve been following your blog and love your Lessons from My Kitchen.  It’s helped me, and I catch messages in the weirdest places!!  The pics are from my son!  I was upset with something he was doing while mowing, and when he walked away he realized that he had upset me.  The next think I know is I get this message from him (see photos).  I hugged him and told him to leave it.  We left it there for a day before finishing mowing the yard.  Lessons from my Yard!”  Can you see it?  He mowed, “I love you”.

I love it!  “Lessons from my Yard”, that is definitely a great place for God to reveal something new to you.  Thanks for sharing.

Lessons from my yard youLessons from my yard ILessons from my yard heart

 

I always find God speaking to me in and through the various avenues in life, and hope that when you read Soakinguptheson.com that you will be encouraged to open your eyes and allow Him to speak to you in often unusual places.  Success!  I would LOVE to hear your stories as to where God has spoken to you lately via everyday life.

Now, for today’s lesson:

Yes, I’ve touch on family already in Clutter or Treasures, but I can’t help but feel surrounded by family love in my kitchen.

We lived close to my maternal grandparents.  I would walk through the woods or ride my bike or ATV to my Granny and Grandpa West’s home almost daily.  So many wonderful childhood memories come to mind when I think about all the visits to my grandparents’ home.  Fishing and feeding the massive fish in their pond, climbing the wickedly curved trees, getting eggs from the chicken coop, playing football with my brother’s in the yard, playing cards with my granny, having grandpa cut the crust off my PB&J all while he could cut it into four pieces, piddling in my grandpa’s barn, crawling up in granny’s lap to do word-searches, etc.  Oh how the list could go on.  Their home was small, but overflowing with love.

The two items pictured, that are proudly being displayed on my kitchen wall, are treasures for me.  My granny would make homemade chicken-n-dumplings using the rolling pin, and my grandpa made the intricate woodblock cutting board. My eyes are filled with tears of joy and precious memories now just thinking about my late grandparents.

Granny and Grandpa were Christ followers.  They loved the Lord, and raised their children and grandchildren to do the same.  I’d love sitting next to them in church and resting my head on her “fluffy” arms, and getting either a piece of gum or a butterscotch candy from my grandpa. I am imagining their smiles now.  They adored having family around them.

I remember a little chalkboard that granny had hanging beside her phone in the dining room.  For the longest time she had Joshua 24:15 written on it for all to see. And then, in 1987, nine years before her Homecoming to Heaven, she wrote “I love each and everyone but most of all I love my Lord and Savior most”.  I would have that hanging in my kitchen too, but my sweet momma has it displayed in her home (I call dibs on it, momma.)

granny's chalkboard9:58:42 AM

Yes, anyone who visited their home knew that they served the Lord.

How about you?  Can others tell that you and your family serve the Lord when they see you or come into your home?

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 a couple more “Lessons from My Kitchen”.

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

 

 

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

 

 

on“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 5”

To you this may look like a cluttered corner, but to me it reminds me of a few treasures.

I treasure my friends, family, and faith.

Each day I am reminded of my treasures when I am standing in my kitchen.  In this illuminated corner I can be reminiscent on my treasures:

Friends:  My dear friend, Susan, gave me the “A friend loves at all times. Proverbs 17:17” cross décor years ago.  By now there are ingredients splattered and stained on the cross.  But each time I go to wipe away those food blemishes away, I smile at knowing that Christ did exactly that.  In Psalm 51:2 we read, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  Jesus did.  He does.  He will.  Thank You, Lord, for washing me and making me whole.  Thank you, Susan, and so many others, for being my treasured friend(s), I do love you!

The nautical plaque hanging on the jar of shells reminds me of the precious relationship I have with my friend, Theresa.  We have been blest with the opportunity to travel this great earth together.  Whether by sea, land, or sky, we have learned valuable lessons together, about each other, and about our Creator.  1 Chronicles 29:11 reads, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty. Everything in the heavens and on earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as the one who is over all things.”  The Lord Almighty created this planet for us to take care of and discover.  His beauty is incomparable.  Thank you, Theresa, for the bond we (and our families) have, and I treasure you and the many discoveries we learn together about God’s wonders.

Family:  The story of the jar of shells pictured can be read here:   Broken Seashells .  This collection of seashells by Cole is a priceless reminder that we are all broken and special to God.  I learn life lessons in all sorts of scenes in life.  A lesson discovered through my son’s eyes is one to be valued.  In Psalm 51:17 David pens, “The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.  You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.” 

The Bacon Press in the background is one that my mom used when I was young.  The “press” in this family heirloom reminds me of 2 Corinthians 4:8-10, “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.”

The adorable little diddies on the far right are not from a blood-relative, but they belonged to my sister-in-law’s mother.  When her mom passed away, I didn’t want to let these treasures go.  I hope that when Jan visits my home and sees these items my kitchen, that she recalls sweet memories of her family.

Faith:  My faith is evident in all the items in my “cluttered corner”, and through the thoughts that go through my mind when I view them each day.  I even have a sign above my kitchen door that reads:  Faith * Family * Friends * Forever.

IMG_7628

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

flowers in my kitchen“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 4”

Have you ever asked/dropped the hint/told someone how you wish they would send you flowers? But then, when they do send you flowers, you’re like, “Well, I had to ask for them.”  Or “It would have been more meaningful if they would have simply done it on their own without me hinting.”  Well, I used to think that way.

Many moons ago, I was having a pity party for myself because I thought I should have received some flowers.  So I marched down, okay….drove, to my local super market and purchased a bundle of three for $12 flowers for myself.  When I came home, I had so many flowers I cut them and scattered them in vases around my home.  My mood was immediately elevated and satisfied.

I’ve been purchasing my own flowers ever since.  These flowers generally last about a week and a half or two.  I’ll walk into my family room, bathroom, kitchen, bedroom, game room, wherever, and get a smile on my face when I would get a glimpse of the beautiful flowers.

Now, I don’t want to insinuate that my husband doesn’t bring me flowers.  Just recently he surprised me with roses delivered to my work.  Even though the florist wrote that they were from Jim and not Tim.  We had a good laugh about it.  My man rocks!

There are a plethora of facts to back up how flowers elevate ones mood and is good for the soul.  Here is a sample I found from inbloom.info:  “Studies have been conducted to prove the effects of flowers on a person’s emotional and behavioral state, and each study was able to show just how beneficial to a person’s emotions and feelings flowers are. In fact, flowers are linked to immediate happiness of a person, and even to a person’s mood in the long run, which relates to a person’s overall satisfaction towards life. That’s why flowers are linked to alleviation of stress, lifting of a person’s current spirit, and easing away depression symptoms and anxiety.

But don’t just take “man’s” word for it; see the importance of flowers to God:

*When Solomon build God’s temple, we read many times where God instructed Solomon to engrave flowers:

“The inside of the temple was cedar, carved with gourds and open flowers.”  1 Kings 6:18

On the walls all around the temple, in both the inner and outer rooms, he carved cherubim, palm trees and open flowers. Verse 29, and again in verses 32 and 35. (It is noted in various other places in the bible as well.)

If God can see the importance of having flowers in His home, then by golly so can I.

*When I gaze at the flowers, it reminds me to not worry.  God’s in control:

“And why do you worry about clothes? Look at the wildflowers in the field. See how they grow. They don’t work or make clothes for themselves. 29 But I tell you that even Solomon, the great and rich king, was not dressed as beautifully as one of these flowers. 30 If God makes what grows in the field so beautiful, what do you think he will do for you? It’s just grass—one day it’s alive, and the next day someone throws it into a fire. But God cares enough to make it beautiful. Surely he will do much more for you. Your faith is so small!”  Matthew 6:28-30

*Most importantly, the flowers in my kitchen remind me that:

“The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”  Isaiah 40:8

Yes!  Things will change in your life.  Flowers will fade with wither away.  God does not nor will not change.  His word is true yesterday, today, and forever!  Amen.

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

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”.

 

qu“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 3”

When you come to my house one thing is for sure, you will find a bowl of M&Ms®  waiting for (or tantalizing) you on my kitchen counter.

Just last week my sister-n-law (Wendy) and niece (Marie) from Georgia joined Holly, my mom, and me at the beach for “Girlie/Cousin Love Time” weekend. When my niece, Marie, walked in the door, she looked at the bowl of M&Ms® on counter and said, “Yes!  There’s Aunt Stephanie’s trademark.” I wasn’t even in my own kitchen, but the “trademark” still comes with me.

Trademark…That’s it!  According to the dictionary the definition of trademark is a distinctive mark or feature particularly characteristic of or identified with a person or thing.  So I guess that one could say the bowl of M&Ms® on my kitchen counter is like a characteristic of me.

When I hear the word characteristic my consciousness automatically, biblically, goes to Galatians 5:22-23:

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

So maybe the next time you start enjoying a bag, handful, or just a couple of M&Ms®, maybe you’ll associate each color with a characteristic:

Red:  Love

Yellow:  Joy

Blue:  Peace

Orange:  Patience

Green:   Goodness

Brown:  Faithfulness

Pink:  Self-Control (Ok, so you may only see this color during Valentine’s Day, but, hmmm…that sounds like a good time when some folks may need to have some self-control…just thinking, for those of you not married.)

Aqua:  Gentleness (Another uncommon M&Ms® color, but I like it!)

Here’s another fabulous piece of scripture about character:

“Because you have these blessings, do all you can to add to your life these things: to your faith add goodness; to your goodness add knowledge;  to your knowledge add self-control; to your self-control add patience; to your patience add devotion to God; to your devotion add kindness toward your brothers and sisters in Christ, and to this kindness add love.”  2 Peter 1:5-7

Oh, the bowl of breakfast bars…yes, they are always waiting for you too beside the M&Ms®.  Think of it as a “Morning Grab-n-Go”, just like a daily dose of God’s word to get you going.  I want to encourage you to read at least one bible verse each morning and meditate on it.  I’d love for you to include Soaking Up The Son as part of your daily “Grab-n-Go” too.  Even if a new entry isn’t posted each day, there is three years worth of material waiting for you.

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

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”.

IMG_7624“Lessons from My Kitchen:  Part 2”

You may look at that photograph and wonder, “What in the world?”  Well, if you associate with my husband for very long, you’ll discover that he loves to cook, and he purchases lots of kitchen gadgets.

Since he loves to cook, we are often chopping a variety of ingredients that are needed to bring one’s senses to a heightened satisfaction.  If you’ve chopped ingredients often enough, or even just once, you’ll soon realize that you need a sharp knife.  When you cut with a butter, dinner, or dull knife, well…it just won’t “cut it”.  So the gadget pictured is a much needed knife sharpener displayed on our counter.

When I see this knife sharpener a few verses and thoughts come to my mind:

1) “Using a dull ax requires great strength, so sharpen the blade.  That’s the value of wisdom; it helps you succeed.”Ecclesiastes 10:10

I’ve often told my students at school, “Work smarter, not harder”.  When you do anything with wisdom, especially the wisdom from God, you will succeed.

The Message Translation reads this way: “Remember: The duller the ax the harder the work; Use your head: The more brains, the less muscle.” Amen.

2) “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” Proverbs 27:17

Proverbs 27 is chock-full of one-liner-quotes.  Verse 17 reminds me how precious my friends are to me, and how friends keep each other accountable as well.  I hope you have some “sharp” friends.  I know I do.

3) “They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows.” Psalms 64:3

People can be downright cruel.  (See “Be Kind…Stop Bullying”.)  We all need to remember to think before we speak.  T –is it True?  H – is it Helpful?  I – is it Inspiring?  N – is it Necessary?  K – is it Kind?

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

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”.

 

 

IMG_7620The other day a friend of mine said, “You can tell a lot about a person when you look at their kitchen.” As I looked at her immaculate kitchen, my mind raced with opinions of what others would have to say about me and my kitchen.

The following morning while I was cleaning up my kitchen, her statement rattled through my psyche.  I began to look at different areas of the room and ponder the question, “Really, what does my kitchen say about me?”

I snapped a few photos and began to journal.  Here’s my first thought (of about ten in a series titled, “Lessons from My Kitchen”):

My fruit bowl…The basin of produce in my home doesn’t always look so appealing (much like the photo).  When I purchase these healthy items, it is with good intention. It’s one of those things that when we have no fruit, family members ask, “Do we have any bananas?”  Or someone makes the remark “I wish we had some apples.” Of course, when I do purchase them, well…you can see what happens.

So this bowl of fruit led me to believe that sometimes in life you have good intentions, things go wrong, so that’s when you “make lemonade out of lemons”.

When the bananas start to have those brown spots, I get a little giddy thinking that it won’t be long and I can just make some delicious banana bread.

When there are a plethora of apples left over from the bag that I purchased and not all were eaten, that just means that the kitchen is about to get filled with the aroma of a scrumptious apple cake.

Oh, and when you have a lemon at the bottom of the bowl and it may be past using for food or beverage purposes, cut it in half, put on in the sink disposal, turn it on, and allow the smell of lemon fill your kitchen and clean your sink. Save the other half for the next day.

Recently, I had a dear person in my life do something with good intentions.  They served well in this area of their lives for many years, and were a blessing to many.  An incident occurred, and it stunk! It really stunk.  Through these type of experiences in our lives, we must realize:  We can’t go back and change things, what’s done is done;  Let’s focus on how we are going to move forward and bring glory to God through it all;  One must seize this as an opportunity to grow closer to God and depend on Him.

Here’s one of my all time favs that I read often:  “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5:3-5

“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

“Dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” Philippians 3:13-14

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

“Great blessings belong to those who suffer persecution for doing what is right. God’s kingdom belongs to them.People will insult you and hurt you. They will lie and say all kinds of evil things about you because you follow me. But when they do that, know that great blessings belong to you.  Be happy about it. Be very glad because you have a great reward waiting for you in heaven. People did these same bad things to the prophets who lived before you.”  Matthew 5:10-12

“And we know that God causes everything to work togetherfor the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”  Romans 8:28

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