Posted in Faith

Are You Fearful, Or Just Scared?

When I was a child, my mother firmly believed in spanking and never had any problems in bringing about a swift judgment. It was never unfounded though, because I deserved every spanking I ever got. I could be a very stubborn, hard-headed and just plain, downright mean child.

knew what would bring about her wrath though. It was never a mystery, and she didn’t just wake up in the morning and decide that she was going to change the script and decide that she was going to be more lenient or less lenient. Her rules never changed, and that was something I could count on.

It didn’t matter if I had lied to her, got into something I wasn’t suppose to or set my little sister up to be the fall-girl in some master plan of mine, I knew it was going to be the switch or her very own hand that would, “get me in the end” so to speak.

If she found out!

That was my weakest mental facility as a youngster, say, still in elementary school. I somehow believed that I could do these things I knew that I wasn’t suppose to do and get away with them, if I did them away from the watchful eye of my mother. As a grown woman with my own children, I now know why she seemed to be everywhere and could come out of nowhere at – for me – the absolute worst possible time.

Like the time when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I thought I’d give cussing a try. I was in the living room one Saturday morning and Mom and Dad were still sleeping soundly, or so I thought. My little sister and I always got up early to watch cartoons, with a bowl of cereal, and they would sleep in late because they could and deserved to do so. Thinking I was fairly safe, being a good way from their bedroom door, I gave some of those grownup words a spin and, BAM!, there she was! It was, effectually, the last time I used those words for quite some time.

Over the years, I learned that she only said what she meant, and meant what she said. Strangely enough, I have never to this day needed any kind of therapy, I’ve never been impaired in my mental facilities because of it and I do not hate her for giving me a good whipping when I needed it. 

I love my Mother, and I love the fact that she wasn’t afraid to lay that chalk line out for me, because I needed it. She always likened raising a child to planting a sapling tree. She said that if you plant that sapling and leave it to its own devices, it will bend and sway with every wind and weather situation and would grow gnarled and bent. She went on to say that once that tree was grown, there would be no straightening it, because that “growing up crooked” has scarred it for life.

But, she said, if you take that same tree and plant it, putting braces around it and tying it up, forcing it to grow straight and tall, that it would. And again, once it became a mature tree, it would still be straight, tall, strong and able to withstand the harshest weather. And she would liken that to the verse in the Bible that says, Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6. 

She said that to NOT train a child in what is right and wrong is a horrible injustice on the child who will grow up without respect, self-control and an idea of what to do verses what not to do. The Bible clearly tells us that, as parents, we have a job to do with the children we are given. And it is certainly not to let them do as they wish all the time.

Having grown up that way myself, I can say that I feared my Mother’s righteous judgment. It scared me to think of what she would do if I disobeyed her. It wasn’t the kind of fear that you have for a stranger or someone who hurts you without reason. I think you, even those of you who weren’t strictly disciplined as children, can agree, there are varying degrees of fear and there are different ways in which fear can be represented in your mind by certain people.

The fear I had of my Mother was the fear that if I did something wrong, I would get a spanking. I knew that I would, and I knew what she considered wrong. And, as I said, I’m thankful that she raised me in such a way because I feel like it shaped me as a human being. That’s not to say that I didn’t get into other troubles. I did. All the while knowing what my Mother would think of it, what she did think of it, and I still attempted to do things without her knowledge.

But that fear was always there!

I have said all that to preface what I’m about to say about the many times the Bible tells us to “fear the Lord”. I have heard people say things like, why would we want to serve a God that we are scared of? What kind of God must He be to want us to live in fear all the time? How can He talk about loving us and turn right around and say that we should fear Him?

Well, think about what I’ve just said about my fearing my Mother. She didn’t instill that fear in me in order to make me succumb to her every whim because it made her feel more powerful. She didn’t let me know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she would tear my rear end up if I did the things I knew I shouldn’t do just to be mean, hateful or harsh.

She did it because she loved me. She did it because she knew that, if she let me do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, that I would grow up disrespectful and rude, with a feeling of entitlement that I had no right to. She did it because she wanted me to become more than that, and everything that I could be. She had high hopes for the little one that was trying to raise right.

And so it is with God, our Heavenly Father, Who loved us enough that Jesus came to walk in flesh, among His very creation, and died a sinless death on a cross for the sins of all of us! He knew that His own Law dictated that sin has a price that must be paid. It is a righteous and real price, and we have been warned of the consequences. That same fear that kept us from doing what we knew we shouldn’t as children, knowing the righteous judgment of a parent, is the same kind of fear that is spoke of, time and again in Scripture….

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord:
Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.
And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the Lord is his treasure.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
The Bible is full of MANY more examples and explanations to this very thing that I am talking about. The fear of the Lord. He made His Law and, in the Old Testament, we saw that we as humans would never be able to stand up to it on our own. God saw the same thing and sent Jesus as our “once and for all” sacrifice, that meant we wouldn’t have to live perfect, because we are incapable of it. We will fail, fall and ultimately allow our flesh to destroy us from the inside out. 
I’m thankful to have that fear, of knowing wrong from right, at least as much as He has revealed to me thus far in my life. It is my constant prayer, day and night, that if there is anything I am not in His line of thinking with, that He would reveal it to me clearly so that I can see the error, fix it, and continue on in HIS way and HIS will for my life.
I don’t want to be on the wrong side of His wrath because I know what it can do, and I know what the end result is. He has already told us in His Word, and we MUST fear Him in such a way that we turn from our sinfulness and accept the gift of Jesus’ death on the cross, and what it meant for us.
Jesus even told us plainly, Himself:
And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Posted in Faith

Political Correctness and Holidays

I’ve seen a lot of it lately. You probably have too, if you subscribe to certain social media platforms. People from all around the globe proclaiming, “This person gladly says Merry Christmas!” or “Christians don’t say Happy Holidays, they say Merry Christmas!”

Our new President Elect has even promised to put “Merry Christmas” back into places from which it has previously been removed and many people are simply ecstatic about that.

I’m a Christian and, I don’t know about you, but I have always said Merry Christmas. There has never been a law regarding our freedom to say it, at least that I know of, even though there have been a huge number of people, from atheists to Muslims, who have been offended by our saying it.

And that is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to being a Christian. At least in my eyes.

What do we do? Do we stoop to the same level by arguing that we are offended by their lack of saying what WE deem to be appropriate as Christians? Can we expect non-Christians or those from another faith to embrace our own personal beliefs?

Let me stop right there and say that I do not believe that anyone should have the right to take away our rights based on whether or not they are offended, but are we saying that we also mean that they should do as we do?

They say that the biggest cause of atheism in America is Christianity. I don’t know, maybe somebody made that up or maybe it was supposed to be funny, but whatever the reasoning, I can certainly see where it comes from. I know that before I gave my life to God, I was EXTREMELY put off by self-righteous Christians who had no problem in telling me just how quickly my actions would send me to hell. I’ve even had some “Christians” tell me that I’m going to hell even since I’ve had a relationship with God. But I digress…

I know you’re probably quoting that quote I’ve used a million times myself that says, in essence, all it takes for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing, and that’s true in certain situations. The Bible says that there are different ways to approach people, and we should be discerning enough in our spirits to know that. If we are truly witnessing instead of just going along on our way, then we DO have a stand to take and points to make, but attacking people where they are is not the way to do it.

I don’t care if someone chooses to say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. If nothing else, it alerts me to the fact that they are either unbelievers or liberals and in either case, it isn’t the prime time to start a theological debate about the political correctness of holiday greetings.

I’m reminded of an old song we use to sing in youth services at church and at the Christian Camp where I worked. It says, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, and they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”

Will they know I’m a Christian? I don’t know. God doesn’t grant the gift of discernment to just everyone, but I know that I want to be known as a Proverbs 31 woman, having the “law of kindness” on my tongue. There are certain battles that, as Christians, we have a right to fight. The Bible also says that knowing what is right and not doing it is a sin, but I’m just not sure it pertains to picking a fight in this situation.

Either way, I intend to have just as much a Merry Christmas as everyone else  🙂  And I will certainly be saying so, with absolutely no malice in my heart against those that choose not to say it to me.

Just like always  🙂


Posted in Food

Christmas Sugar Cookies

I recently came across the greatest sugar cookie recipe I believe I have ever had the good pleasure of making.

When it comes to cookies, I am all about simplicity. I don’t like long ingredient lists or special ingredients that I don’t already have in the pantry. If I can throw it together quick, all the better for me and everyone in my house  🙂

This recipe yields a nice chewy cookie with a snap of a crunch on the outside without being “crisp”. However, if you leave them just a minute or so too long in the oven, they will be overly crisp and not very good.

Let’s just say I learn from my mistakes…

Here is what you’ll need:

  • About 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 and 1/4 cups softened soft butter
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

First, preheat your oven to 350 degrees. This is always the preface to a recipe, but with cookies, it can be of the utmost importance. If your oven hasn’t reached the right temperature when you put the cookies in, the bake time will be off and you won’t get the result you’re looking for.

Next, add your dry ingredients in a large bowl, mixing well to incorporate everything. In another bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until you have a nice fluffy consistency. Then beat in one egg at a time, making sure the first is completely mixed in before adding the next. Once those are nicely mixed, add the vanilla and mix again.

Gradually add your dry ingredients to this mixture, making sure to incorporate everything well before adding more. You might need the entire 3 cups and you might not. You don’t want your cookie dough to be too thin, but you also don’t want it too thick. Once it becomes hard to mix with a spoon, you have your desired consistency.

Wrap the dough in some plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 30 minutes. You can refrigerate it for longer if you want, it certainly won’t hurt it. But don’t take it out before the half hour is up, as you want it chilled enough to be easy to work with.

Using an ice cream scoop or a regular spoon, make walnut sized balls, rolling them in sugar before transferring them to your greased cookie sheet. For snickerdoodles, roll them in a mixture of cinnamon and sugar, or use colored sugars or sprinkles for a festive look. Flatten them slightly and bake for about 8 minutes. Remove them from the cookie sheet and place on racks to cool before serving.

This is a great cookie base for decorating, especially if you plan on using shaped cookie cutters, which can easily be done. Just roll the dough out to about a quarter of an inch thick before cutting, instead of rolling the dough into balls.

Good luck! If you happen to make these, make sure you stop by and let me know how they turned out. I know my family loved them.

Posted in Food

Stuffed Pepper Casserole – From Buttered Side Up

One of my favorite dishes is stuffed peppers. I share the same feeling as the author of this blog, however, in that the normal recipe often leaves me wishing I had less pepper and a lot more filling  🙂

This recipe is an awesome version of the stuffed pepper, that comes together easily and makes for a great family dinner. I’m also betting that it could be done in a slow cooker as well, which is how I will be trying it…just leave off adding the cheese until either just before you serve it, or as you serve it to each individual. You could also vary what kind of veggies you add in, to your specific taste.

Source: Stuffed Pepper Casserole – Buttered Side Up