Mornings with Jesus are back! A little later than usual this season, but better late than never!
Recently, I walked through some difficult seasons of wrestling, and in one of those seasons, the following verse and passage really spoke to my heart. I hope it does the same to you. And well, who doesn't love some Cinnamon Caramel Hot Chocolate? Check out the recipe below!
So go make your favorite hot chocolate, grab a blanket, curl up in your favorite spot, and keep reading for a little faith encouragement this morning.
The Passage: Hebrews 12:11
"No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."
Our prayers move the heart of God.
Did you know that?
Sometimes those prayers come after a difficult season, not before. Some of those prayers are born out of poor decisions we have made, out of trials we are suffering, out of circumstances that bring us back to the Lord or circumstances that shed light on sin. Prayers that bloom out of important lessons. Training that brings us strength. Training that grows peace in the very depths of our soul. Training that builds faith that could not be built quite the same under other circumstances.
These prayers not only move the heart of God. They change us.
And there is not one of us that cannot be changed.
Yes, discipline, training, trials, they are painful, oftentimes VERY painful. But what happens when we turn to a Mighty God out of our own stubborness and willfulness, or out of a painful is situation, is change. A change that glorifies our Father, our Creator, our Teacher.
Let's look at Manessah, in 2 Chronicles 33, who became king when he was 12 and did evil in the eyes of the Lord. I think it is probably safe to say that our list of transgressions aren't quite like his....
- he erected altars to the pagan idol Baal
- he bowed down and worshiped the starry hosts and actually built temples to them in the Lord's temple
- he rebuilt the high places that his father had demolished
- he sacrificed his own children in the fire
- he practiced divination and witchcraft
- he led the people of Judah astray...so much so, that they ended up doing more evil than the nations that went up against the Israelites - you know, the nations God destroyed.
Now, we might not be sacrificing our children or practicing witchcraft, but we certainly do sin at times, often we can have our own "idols", and sometimes we can be like Manasseh in this regard:
When God spoke to Manasseh and the people of Judah, they didn't listen.
Sometimes we don't listen either.
So, what did God do? He brought up Assyria against them. The commanders took Mannessah prisoner. They put a hook in his nose. They shackled him. They took him to Babylon.
And there in his captivity and his distress, Manasseh sought God's favor. The Bible tells us Manasseh humbled himself before God and prayed.
And his prayers moved the heart of God.
Manasseh's prayers, a man who murdered his own children, who openly and defiantly brought idols into the Lord's temple, who led God's people to become worse and worse...those prayers moved the heart of God.
And Manasseh changed.
He was eventually brought back to Jerusalem. He then got rid of all the foreign gods, removed the idols from the temple, rebuilt the wall, restored the altar of the Lord, began offering fellowship and thank offerings, and told Judah to serve the Lord.
Trials, suffering, discipline, they all lead Manasseh to seek God, humble himself, and pray. They do the same for us. And in those seasons, those times, our prayers - though sometimes we may feel they go unheard- DO move the heart of God. Those prayers, prayed through humility, start to change US. And we then begin to take down our own idols, we restore fellowship with Jesus, we start to rebuild our faith, we become thankful, and we start to serve the Lord with our whole hearts.
Yes, no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it does produce a harvest. A harvest that brings righteousness and peace for those who allow themselves to be trained by it.
Whatever season your in, whatever trials you are facing, whatever suffering is knocking at your door, whether it is discipline or something that has just happened to you, there is a lesson that can be born out of it all. Will you allow the training to begin? Will you allow it to humble you? Will you fall to your knees in prayer?
Today, let's take a moment to reflect and move the heart of God with our prayers.
Check out the recipe below!
Cinnamon Caramel Hot Chocolate
- your favorite cup of hot chocolate
- ground cinnamon
- caramel sauce
-chocolate chips (milk or dark chocolate), if desired
-marshmallows, if desired
1. Make your cup of hot chocolate the way you that you usually do.
2. Add a pinch of ground cinnamon, a spoonful (or two) of caramel sauce, and 1/8 cup of milk chocolate (or dark chocolate) chips if you want a richer chocolate taste.
3. Mix well and heat if not already hot
4. Add a cinnamon stick.
5. Top with marshmallows and a sprinkle of ground cinnamon if desired.
6. Sip and enjoy!
Your can find more Mornings With Jesus here:
There is one meal I will never forget.
Italian relatives. Do you have them? If you do, you probably understand. This meal was set before us by my Grandfather's cousin. And it wasn't just A meal. I don't remember how many courses there were, but I do know we sat at the table ALL day and into early evening. Course after course after course. There was time to rest inbetween (in which light desserts and snacks were served), but then another course would come out - homemade ravioli or other filling pasta dishes. And when I felt full and couldn't eat another bite? I'd hear "manjia, manjia". And I would find some way to stuff a little more food into my belly so I didn't offend my hostess. And by the very end of that "meal", when the best dessert came out....I couldn't eat a bite of it....
Life can kind of be like that array of Italian food and one long meal.
Displayed in front of us are these things that we "fill" ourselves up with. Some of them good, and some maybe not so healthy. And when we start feeling like maybe we don't have any room left for more of the world, there is a voice that says, "manjia, manjia" (eat!eat!) - eat more of what the world has for us. And so we do. Perhaps because we don't want to miss out, maybe because we think it will satisfy, and sometimes because we don't want to offend anyone.
But what happens when we "eat" so much of the world that our "bellies" become stuffed, we have no room left for Jesus. We save Jesus as the dessert instead of the main course. We feast on everything else, and then try to squeeze time with Jesus in at the very end. Oftentimes, we then find ourselves too tired, too overloaded, too drained, or too stuffed. Just like I couldn't take a bite of that delicious dessert in front of me, we find ourselves not able to partake in the peace and comfort and relationship that can be found in Jesus.
So this season, when we are planning meals, gathering with family and eating all those filling foods...take a moment to stop. Sit at the table with Jesus first. Eat a meal with Him. Take in the bread He is offering you and satisfy your hunger.
I don't want to run out of room for Jesus, and I doubt you do either.
"Give us today our daily bread."
"Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
Want to dig a little deeper into Jesus being the Bread of our lives? Look up the verses below!
Scroll on down to see my fall tablescape this year for our family Sunday suppers....
Note: Designing tablescapes is one of my FAVORITE things to do, but don't let having the "perfect" setting stop you from having friends and neighbors over! The important thing is to make a place at the table for those whom you will bless with food, and community, and encouragement and love.
Each fall for the past few years I have been searching for just the "right" pumpkin plates and finally found them at Pier 1 (not an affiliate). I liked pairing them with old glasses I had (the brown ones) and the yellow glasses that I had found years ago at Goodwill.
I am so glad you meet me here and spent some time at the table with me. May you fill your plate of life with more and more of Jesus. And whatever season you are in right now, take time to invite someone to your table...let them know there is a place for them.
For more of the "At The Table" series, click below!
For those of you who were not able to sign up in time for the 2019 spring devotional series...here is a little snippet I wanted to share with you from "Day One".
I hope it blesses you!
(From Day One of the "Breaking Chains" Email Devotional Series)
The Caged Bird
The Passage: Acts 16:22-23 NIV
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.
Sometimes we are wrongly accused, and sometimes rightly so...
by what we have done
what we didn't do
what we could never do
what we should do
what we want to do
what we feel
what we have suffered
what we have done to cause others to suffer
Those accusations and sufferings, from ourselves and from others, are often the prisons in which our chains are eventually fastened to.
Jesus tells us in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."
The real thief is not the one who is being flogged.
The real thief steals hope. Steals freedom. The real thief is the one, the thing, that throws us into the prison...
Did you know that many birds that are caged have clipped wings so that they cannot fly? Many of those that are bred to be sold, have their wings clipped at an early age. Their wings are often trimmed and cut in a certain way that causes unbalanced flight. It not only keeps them captive to their perch but also ends up teaching them not to rely on their wings.
Maya Angelou wrote a poem called, "Caged Bird". A few lines of this poem really stood out to me:
"The caged bird sings
with a fearful trill
of things unknown
but longed for still
and his tune is heard
on the distant hill
for the caged bird
sings of freedom."
The caged bird.
We can be that caged bird, can't we?
Caged. Imprisoned. Flogged. Beat. Before the chains are even put on.
Longing for something, perhaps unknown, to break us from the prison we are in.
Longing for a freedom our heart tells us exists, but perhaps seems out of reach.
That longing exists because we believe the lies.
That longing exists because we believe we are stuck on our perch.
We forget the promises.
Our wings are clipped.
The "real thief" clips our wings, to unbalance our flight;our faith. Trimming here and there, impressioning upon us the message that we can't fly. That we are stuck on our perch. That our wings cannot be relied upon.
And there is truth to that. Why? Because our own wings will never make us fly or break us out of the cage or the prison we are in.
But the good news? We are not birds. We are not bound by physical wings that cannot be grown back. We are not bound, because we have other wings that are not our own. No, we are not birds. We are children of God. And we are given new wings. And those wings are Christ.
The prisons in our own lives, whether a place you spend a little or a lot of time in, or a place you visit when no one is looking...there is nothing of God there, friend. Rewrite the message your clipped wings have taught you.
True freedom comes with truly believing with our hearts that Christ's redemptive work on the cross covers all we have done or will do- ALL of it.
True freedom comes when we believe that we are not who the world says we are, or who the thief tries to convince us we are, but rather we are who Christ says we are.
So if you are there, just thrown into a "prison" of this life; wings recently clipped, or if you have been awaiting trial there on your perch for quite some time...I hope you will join me again tomorrow as we dig a little deeper into those chains that get fastened in those prisons...
Today is the day to no longer let the thief steal what Christ has already given you: new wings, freedom, and a way to break the chains
Believe and know the promises each of us are given...
Begin to write them on your heart today.
We are promised
God will fight for us
God gives strength to the weary
Those who hope in the Lord will soar on wings of eagles
God helps us
We are not alone
God's love for us cannot be shaken
God's Word is not chained
2 Timothy 2:9
There is release from darkness for prisoners
When we submit ourselves to God, and resist the devil, he will flee
God forgives and purifies us when we confess our sin
1 John 1:9
When we pray He hears us
2 Chronicles 7:14
The Lord goes before us
We are loved
We will be free indeed
*If you would like to sign up to receive future devotional studies, click below!
The next devotional series starts in October-more info to come soon.
Fear. We all know it. We all experience it.
Is it standing in your way today? Is it there alongside you? Are you ready to say goodbye to it?
Whether you have some fear in your heart right this moment, or if you will ever fear in the future, let me send a little encouragement, because I know fear well.
Fear and I have been good friends.....
Years ago, late at night, my house was intentionally shot at.
That specific night, I had decided to sleep on the couch instead of my bed. I woke up to the loud bang of bullets spewing into our bedroom, my bed, the basement, and our car. My daughter, two-years-old at the time, lay asleep on the other side of my room in her crib. I praised God that day (and still do) that I wasn't in that bed and that the shooter didn't target my daughter's room instead. But despite praising Him, fear settled in.
Fear comes in so many forms and in so many ways, but when fear settles in, it is hard to remove it.
So, yes, fear and I got to know each other really well.
After that incident, fear walked out of the house each day with me.
Fear looked with me around every corner.
Fear helped me scrutinize every car that drove by or slowed down in front of my house.
Fear slept with me each night, keeping me from sleeping in my bed. It told me to no longer let my daughter sleep alone. Told me it was safer for us to sleep on the floor, keeping myself in front of her, my back to the outside wall.
And fear was right there when we sold that house.
I'd like to say fear and I ended our friendship when we sold the house, but the truth is fear was my friend before the shooting, and would be after as well. Because what I feared greatest was being vulnerable. Even vulnerable with God.
Especially vulnerable with God.
I feared letting our God, who knows my every thought anyway, know that I even had fear. Like He didn't already know....
I feared letting God take over.
God. You know, the one who created the heavens and earth. The one who is completely faithful. God, the one who sent His Son to die for me, and for you, because He loves us that much. Our God....with the mightiest of hands, the greatest of plans, the ultimate triumpher, the Great I Am....I feared Him taking over. The truth is, I think every fear I ever had stemmed from that. Because for some reason, my flesh wanted control and thought I knew best. I had built, what I felt, were impenetrable walls around me. Walls to keep the fear out. When in reality fear lived inside them.
And I am not the only one that has been friends with fear.
We all experience it. We fear...
Of not being enough
and so much more....
Fear, it makes us reluctant to step into our calling, to love fully, to have peace, to remember we are God's children. It stops us from fully embracing freedom in Christ.
If there is anything that you fear today, write this on your heart: Fear is not from God. (2 Timothy 1:7)
Let me repeat that again. Fear is not of God. But do you know what is of God?....
Strength. Forgiveness. Healing. Love. A Spirit of power. Courage. Hope. A future.
When fear lives alongside us, we miss out on being a part of that redemptive piece of work in God's great plan that we are being called to. And to be a part of that, my friend, is such a great blessing. To be a part of that is what we are called to be. To be a part of that is what we were created for.
Standing at the foot a mountain, on the verge of a battle, the edge of the unknown, or behind a closed door...we have a choice. A choice to keep fear in our circle of friends. Or to tell fear he is no longer welcome there. A choice to replace fear with God's Word. A choice to believe that God is truly with us. A choice to trust Him.
God is bigger than any fear. He is bigger than that fear standing in our way right now. And what God has waiting for us when we say good-bye to fear? It's greater than we can imagine!
Whatever house fear is keeping you in, step out of it. Stop sleeping on the floor.
Let God fight for you today.
Tell fear to find a different friend.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
"When I am afraid, I put my trust in you."
This is the last "Mornings With Jesus" for the season (but more recipes return in fall!).
Normally, I share a promise from the New Testament along with a hot chocolate recipe, however, today, it was on my heart to share an important command Jesus gives us. A command to love. Love God. And love one another.
So grab your favorite mug, try this recipe (or file it away for later), curl up in your favorite spot, and while sipping your warm morning drink, soak in this precious passage...
When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus said...
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 NIV
Love your neighbor.
Loving God will be a whole other post. But today, my heart is focused on loving your neighbor.
Notice, Jesus doesn't say love those who look like you, talk like you, believe what you do, live like you do, go to your church, have the same social status, have certain backgrounds, or even have similar cultures. He simply says your neighbor.
He doesn't refer to a certain race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or social status. He doesn't refer to those with few mistakes or many.
No, Jesus just says "your neighbor".
The definition of a neighbor is a person living near or next to you. A person that is next to another. Essentially, a person around us, in our midst. Physically, and in today's world, I believe that means virtually as well.
I wonder how well we are doing that?
This verse has been on my heart greatly as it breaks for all the violence, hate, anger, and unkindness I see on the news and even in my own community. It breaks for all the negative, demeaning, and hurtful comments that abound on social media as well.
So not only do I ask, how are "we" doing with loving our neighbors well, but how am "I" doing this? I encourage you to ask yourself the same.
Jesus came for everyone of us. EVERY ONE OF US.
Even that person you disagree with.
Even that person who hurt you.
Even that person who is different than you.
Even the hard to love.
We are called to love. Love in the image of God. Love those who around you.
Love one another.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
We can spread love by talking about it, yes. But the best way to spread love is in action. To demonstrate our love for God is to actually put that love into action. The action of loving His people. The action of loving one another. The action of loving our neighbor. Even the unlovable one.
So I challenge you today. And tomorrow. And the next day and the next.
Smile at a stranger.
Do something kind for someone who is different than you.
Go out of your way to say "hi" or speak to someone that you have seen before but never spoken to.
Introduce yourself to those who are sitting alone.
Speak words that are not laced with anger or unkindness.
Help someone who may need a meal, or a driveway shoveled.
Be a part of a conversation that starts change rather than one that builds more walls.
Have coffee with old friends. Listen.
Stretch your comfort zone to love your neighbors.
Our neighbors are all around us. Let's love them well. By doing so, it is one way of loving God. By doing so, when asked how well we are loving our neighbor, we can say, "better than yesterday".
Then love one another.
"And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them."
1 John 4:16
Irish Creme Hot Chocolate
1 cup milk
Hot chocolate mix (your favorite mix)
1/8 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup Irish Creme creamer (more or less to taste)
Whip cream (if desired)
Sprinkles (if desired)
1. Mix your favorite chocolate mix with your cup of milk.
2. Warm on the stove top or in the microwave.
3. Add the chocolate chips and Irish Cream creamer. Mix in until chocolate chips are completely melted. Warm a little more if needed.
4. Top with whip cream and sprinkles (if desired)
5. Sip and enjoy!
For more hot chocolate recipes....
You can follow my pinterest board "Hot Chocolate and Jesus"....
Sometimes life throws us curve balls. There are mountains looming in front of us we never saw coming and floods that overcome us without warning. Life is hard. But there is hope and there is purpose.
Winter doesn't appear to be winding down around here, but it is....so I am sharing this Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate recipe as one of the last "Mornings With Jesus" this season. Let it remind you of the promise below when you get stuck in life's curve balls and need some light to focus on. So read on and then go make yourself a cup of hot chocolate (or your favorite warm drink), grab a blanket, and encounter this beautiful promise.....
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."
Often, we can't see how those things will together for good, not even with our wildest imaginations.
That highest mountain? Perhaps it is not about the mountain itself, but the journey. That flood? Sometimes it may be less about our story and more about someone else's.
If we look back, we can see that God has grown us or blessed us along many of the journeys we have encountered in unexpected ways. Some lessons we may not have been willing to embrace. We may have been stubborn to learn them. Others, our hearts may have been teachable and our eyes open to the abundance of good things we have seen even in the storm.
But in some floods, the truth is: we may never see how God is working things out for good this side of glory. That doesn't mean He is not working behind the scenes. It does not mean His not walking beside us. It does not mean He is not using it for a purpose.
Take heart in this promise.
It does not say some things work together for good to those who love God.
It says ALL things work together for good to those who love God.
Whatever you are going through today it CAN and WILL be used for good!
God will use it all for His purpose whether we choose to be a part of the process or not, but when we choose to be a part of it, there is no doubt we will be changed. So offer your mountain, your flood, your storm to the Lord, trusting and knowing that it will be used it amazing ways!
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate
1 cup regular hot chocolate made with milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup peanut butter
1.Make 1 cup of hot chocolate the way you like it (I suggest making it with milk vs water).
2. Add heavy cream, peanut butter and chocolate chips (if desiring a more chocolate flavor). Stir.
3. Add whip cream on top if desired and gently stir in.
4. Sip and enjoy!
One of my favorite summer treats is a cherry chocolate milkshake, so it is no big surprise that this Cherry Hot Chocolate recipe is a favorite of mine as well! Read on for the recipe and for a little reminder, from me to you, that YOU ARE LOVED.
A Valentine's Day Message
This time of year, with Valentine's day approaching, for those of us who are single, widowed, in a troubled marriage, looking for love, or on the outskirts of a break up...we can feel a little sad, heartbroken, less than, maybe even a little depressed. Maybe even feel unloved. But let me remind each and every one of us, that the greatest love of our lives is Christ. No one will love you more. No one will love you so unconditionally. And no matter how you are feeling in this very moment, know that....
YOU ARE LOVED.
Let me repeat it again.
YOU ARE LOVED.
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
Every time you see a heart this season, see the heart of Christ in it and remember...
His love for you is abounding Psalm 86:15
His love for you endures forever Psalm 136:26
His love for you drives out fear 1 John 4:18
and nothing can separate you from His love! Romans 8:37-39
Take some time today to spend with the greatest valentine you will ever have, the One who's sweet whispers of love to you will endure and never fade.
Keep scrolling for the hot chocolate recipe, make a cup, grab a blanket, and enjoy some quiet time!
Cherry Hot Chocolate
1 cup of hot chocolate (made the way you like it)
I jar of maraschino cherries (all you will need is a few cherries and 2 tbsp of the cherry juice)
This one is so simple! Make your cup of hot chocolate the way you like it, add 2 tbsp of maraschino cherry juice (1 tsp if you like a little less cherry flavor) and mix well. Add whip cream and top with a cherry or two. Then enjoy!
For more hot chocolate recipes and faith inspiration, check out more "Mornings With Jesus" or follow my pinterest board "Hot Chocolate and Jesus".
My grandmother often gathered her friends over for a meal and for fellowship. Over the years, I heard many stories of their conversations and the time they spent together. Shortly before she passed away, I was invited to come sit at this table, too. She had her china set out and her fancy, green antique chairs were being used.
It was inviting.
It was obvious she put time into setting that table, but what lingers most in my heart is the warmth I felt gathered there.
The welcoming feeling.
The overlapping of generations that spoke to me. No matter our age-90 or 30-we were all just women. Women who need to talk, to listen, to share our stories and struggles, to know we are not alone.
We all need a place where we can be vulnerable, where someone understands. A place to have both the tough conversations and to laugh those belly laughs.
Gathering. Community. Building fellowship.
We are called to it.
And we are called to share the table with Jesus as well.
As I share various tablescapes each month, it is my hope that you not only remember that Jesus has a place at His table for you, but there is a place at the table right here with me too! If you have a prayer need, or a subject to tackle-I'd love to know!
May this place be a warm, inviting one.
May this be a place to encourage you, not only in faith, but to reach out in hospitality to those around you. To have a place waiting for family, friends, and strangers alike. To make a place at the table to share love, friendship, and the light of Jesus with those around you. Especially those who might not have a place at any other table than the one you and Jesus invite them too!
Come take a seat here at this table month after month!
Come take a seat at the table....
Break bread over a meal,
over some coffee...
with a friend -new or old,
with a group of friends,
with loved ones,
with your spouse,
with your neighbors,
with your children.
Come to the table...
Have those intimate, vulnerable conversations,
reach out to grab another's hand and say, "I have been there. I understand",
pass down stories to future generations,
let others know they are loved and they are welcome.
Come sit at the table. There is a chair waiting for you...
Check out below, a winter tablescape that brings a little warmth into this blustery season!
This winter, at least here in Wisconsin, has been blistery, snowy, icy, freezing cold, and even rainy. And while every winter is a little different here, one thing always can be counted on-some dark, dreary days. Those days can be hard for me. Maybe they are for you too? I have found that there are two things that help me during this time. Gathering with friends and creating some warm inviting decor with candles and a few things that reflect the wintery season. So keep scrolling and I will share how I set up this winter tablescape!
(Please note: I am not an affiliate for any of the places I mention in this post, just sharing where I got some of the pieces from in case you are wondering.)
These wood chargers are so versatile. My daughter actually got them for me for my birthday this year. She knew I had been wanting them for years. I would probably use them with each tablescape if I didn't need some variety once and awhile. They bring a warm, earthy element to just about every tablescape! And just in case you are wondering...they came from World Market.
I like to switch things up a little sometimes. For this tablescape I decided to use to different style/color napkins. I orginally was just going to use the silver, but something about mixing it up, when I placed both the white and the silver napkins on the table, spoke to me. This is also a great idea if you are having a larger group of people over and don't have enough matching napkins- use two different styles to add some dimension and no one will ever know why! The silver napkins I got on clearance last Christmas at Target (do I have any Target lovers here?) and the white napkins I got on clearance (for $1.50!) at Pier 1 (Pier 1 lovers can raise your hands with me here).
The bigger white plates are just my day to day dinner plates, but the smaller white plates with the gold rim and raised snowflakes? I got those from Goodwill. I had been eyeing them up, and we they went on clearance for $.75, well, I couldn't pass that up! They fit perfectly into this tablescape.
These snowflake napkin rings are really one of my favorite winter table decor. I have had them for a few years (another treasure from Pier 1) and the way they capture the light is just stunning!
I like to mix up drinkware as well! For this tablescape, because I wanted to highlight both silver and gold, I used silver and gold drinkware. I like to use what I have to make totally new settings. Both the gold and sliver drinkware were ones I had for several years (from Target). I used gold silverware to add a little more gold to the tablescape.
When Christmas is over, I like to use some of the more neutral decor as my winter decor. Like these white trees (from world market) and these green trees with the burlap. And yes, I keep a few smaller trees (with no ornaments) lit with white lights through the month of February. This helps me on those dreary days!
I love candles. If you follow me on Instagram, which if you don't already-just click the button below, then you probably know that I have a lot of candles and light them often. These metallic candlesticks from World Market truly are my favorite! You might be able to tell because they are burned down quite a bit from usage....
This house lantern just seemed to fit as the center of this tablescape. I grabbed it from somewhere else in the house, but it has found a new home here on the table. Found it at Walmart!
Last but not least is the blanket. It adds warmth to the bench and I feel is so inviting, not to mention it matched perfectly with the table decor. I grabbed it out of my blanket bin. I rarely buy anything at full price, and this blanket is another World Market product that I waited for over a year to go on sale. It finally did!
Whether it is an inviting tablescape, a delicious meal, or just a cup of coffee, I hope, this winter (and always), you stay warm, gather often, be the light of Christ, and love others well!
Join me again "At The Table", for more tablescapes, and encouragement in faith and building relationships!
We don't remember our first steps. Those first wobbly attempts in early childhood that we made to pursue a freedom we couldn't totally understand yet.
But each of us, before we could walk, had to stand....
Paul and Barnabas went to a city named Lystra. There they preached the Gospel. A man who had been lame all his life (since birth) listened to the preaching.
Acts 14:9-10 says:
"He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk."
There are times we don't feel qualified, times we fear failing, times we feel paralyzed, times we are unsure of where the next step is. And let's be honest, maybe we have experienced a time where we couldn't even put one foot in front of the other.
Maybe that time is now.
A difficulty in front of us.
A calling we don't feel equipped for.
Our confidence shaken.
Brokenness that seems despairing.
During these times, God is not asking us to walk alone! He is not asking us to walk on newly healed legs of our own strength or ability!
He is asking us to STAND UP.
Stand up in FAITH!
There is nothing the man did except have faith. It was that faith that initiated the healing.
It is by our faith, and God working through us, that he equips us for tasks ahead, strengthens our wobbly legs in the midst of difficulty, and that He begins to peel back the layers of brokenness.
Note above, the man didn't just stand up- he JUMPED up! This action of jumping shows exuberance and even expectation. When God calls us to move in faith, do we slowly get up, checking to make sure of the stability of our legs before walking? Or do we, like this lame man, take a leap...a jump...in faith...with the assurance that when we leap up, God will place our feet on the ground. That He will strengthen, and guide, and equip us?
When God calls us to walk in faith, let's not only stand up but jump!
Let us trust Him, with great assurance, to move our feet, to walk, when we thought we could not!
Because, before any of us can walk, we need to stand....
I'd love to hear how you have been standing up-or jumping up-in faith!
As always, I welcome any prayer requests that you may have.
Hope your are staying warm in this cold burst of weather! I have been curling up with a lot of blankets and hot chocolate the last week. How about you?
This week I wanted to share a fun hot chocolate recipe with you, Birthday Cake!
Two of my kids have birthdays coming up and I plan to serve this little cup of birthday love with them in the morning. And speaking of birthdays...and new years...it reminded me of being a new creation in Christ. So, I thought I would share 2 Corinthians 5:17 on this "Mornings with Jesus"....
The Mini Devo
2 Corinthians 5:17
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!"
A new year is here and 2018 is gone. As believers in Christ, our old selves are gone as well and we are created new in Christ. With new hearts.
With new hearts...and new perspectives.
Paul wrote this verse to the Corinthians, who while they were believers, were stuck in a place of continuing to judge and evaluate others on external appearance. They were influenced by the world view around them. A world view that judged outward, physical presence.
An ancient view and yet a modern view. A view that Paul says should be an old view: "So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view." (2 Cor 5:16)
Sometimes, it is much easier to remember that we ourselves are new creations in Christ, than it is to remember that our brothers and sisters are new creations as well. It can be difficult at times to remember to see others through spiritual eyes. To assess spiritual nature rather than physical nature. But as new creations, that is what we are called to do.
Our culture today, with it's large emphasis on physical appearance, can influence us the same way the culture in Corinth influenced the Corinthians. Let us remember to see others in light of the new creation and new nature they have been given in Christ.
The old is gone, the new is here! Let's make 2019 a year we look to see the newly created hearts in others. Let's make a lifetime of looking inward rather than outward!
Birthday Cake Hot Chocolate Recipe
1 cup of milk
2 ounces of your favorite white chocolate or about 1/4 cup of white chocolate chips
1/8 tsp of vanilla extract
1/8 of Butter vanilla (more or less to your taste)
Place milk, white chocolate, vanilla and butter vanilla in your favorite mug.
Mix and then warm on stovetop or in the microwave.
Add whip cream, sprinkles, top with a candle, and serve to that special birthday person!
If you have been made new in Christ, believing in Him and no longer living your life for yourself but rather living for Jesus, go ahead and serve this hot chocolate recipe to yourself as well- and remember the new creation you are!
Wife. Mother. Writer. Photographer. Child of God. Encouraging others in faith through a lens of grace and seeing beauty in the ashes.
All images and content belong to me (Blue Jean Gypsy), unless otherwise noted. You may use an image ONLY if it is linked back to this blog! Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!
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