Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord

do you stand out?

As Christians, we are called to be different. To be set apart, to not be conformed to this world (Romans 12:2).

We are called to stand out. But do we?

As Believers, we uphold a higher standard. No, none of the things listed below will get us into heaven. Rules and good works don’t save us. Only putting our faith and trust in Him will.

However, when we have made Jesus our Lord and Savior, we should look different than the culture. We should do things differently. Respond differently.

Growing in Him is a lifelong process, one we won’t perfect this side of heaven. But we can, with His help, become more and more like Him everyday.

Would others be able to tell the difference between us and an unbeliever?

In how we treat others? Do we have empathy and compassion? Are we encouragers? Do we serve others and treat them as better than ourselves? (Philippians 2:3).

In the way we dress?

In the way we speak? Do we use crass words? Tear others down? Use His name in vain?

In what we watch, read, and listen to? Or are our entertainment choices the same as someone who doesn’t know the Lord?

In what we post online?

In how we spend our spare time?

In our thought life? In what fills our minds? In what consumes us?

In how we deal with temptation? It is always lurking around the corner. Do we give in or pray for God’s help to stand firm against it?

In how we react when someone tells an off-color joke or mistreats others in our presence?

Unbelievers do notice our words and actions. They are listening to what we say. Watching how we conduct ourselves. Whether we…

Walk in integrity.

“Walk the walk and talk the talk”.

Talk about our faith freely or hide it.

No, it’s not easy to look different. To stand out. To not give in to a culture that tempts us from every side. To care more about living for Him and caring what He thinks than what our friends or family think.

If we’re honest, we’ll admit it’s a struggle every day. Only with God’s help through constant prayer, worship, and the reading of His Word can we become more like Him than like the world.

May we glorify Him with the words we speak, our actions, and the words we write. May we be worthy of the calling He has placed on our lives. (Ephesians 4:1)

And may we stand out for Jesus.

Before you go, check out these other posts:

11 verses about God’s unfailing love

Movie Monday: Play the Flute

surviving shingles, part 1

subscribe to my newsletter

delectable gluten free chocolate crinkles

conquering the joy zappers of life

10 ways to encourage others

Posted in Christmas, family/marriage

8 great Christmas gift ideas for wives

8 Christmas gifts for wives

It’s the all important question that has perplexed husbands for centuries…what do you get for your wife for Christmas? Here are eight excellent (in no particular order) ideas of things for all budgets that she’ll love:

1. A massage. The benefits of massage are numerous. It relaxes sore muscles, assists in stress relief, rounds out a fitness program, and improves the quality of life for those with diseases. Nearly every person can benefit from a massage.

2.  A book. Does your wife have a favorite author? Has she been eyeballing a book at the bookstore? I couldn’t not suggest a book since I’m an author myself! If your wife loves to read, but you’re not sure what book she’d like, a gift certificate from a local or online bookstore would be a great gift.

woman reading book.jpg

3. A month’s worth of housecleaning. What woman wouldn’t love a break from housecleaning if only for a month? Why not hire a cleaning service to come in for a month and lighten your wife’s load? Trust me, she’ll appreciate this, and it will for sure earn you  “husband points!”

4. A vacation…just the two of you. No, it doesn’t have to be a 7-day vacation to an all-inclusive island resort, although that would be nice (Lon, if you’re reading this, hint hint!) A weekend getaway at a bed and breakfast works too. Ask a family member or friend to take care of the kids, before sweeping your wife off her feet by planning a getaway for just the two of you. Be sure to plan this ahead of time and have the date set in stone, as life gets busy. You don’t want her Christmas gift to get forgotten.

5. Purchase a pamper kit. Choose a day and declare it your wife’s pamper day. She will be ushered first to the salon for a manicure or to have her hair done. Second, she will be treated to a no-interruptions bubble bath. That means that if you have small children, take them out for a Daddy Day while your wife relaxes. Third, she heads to the massage therapist for a much-needed massage (see #1). Fourth, take her out to a romantic dinner at a nice restaurant. Pull this off and I guarantee your Christmas will be very merry!

manicure

So, what if you’re short on cash during these strained economic times? Check out these economical suggestions that can mean so much:

6. A coupon book. You may have heard of this one before—it’s a homemade coupon book full of kind things to do for your wife. Cleaning her car inside and out would be a kind gesture, especially if the constant hauling around of children and pets has left the floor in your minivan stained and dirty. Offer to check her oil, check the tires, fill it full of gas, and wash the outside as well. Other suggestions can range from lovey-dovey romance coupons to thoughtful items (use your imagination here, guys!) There is no expiration date, and perhaps some coupons can be used more than once.

7. A promise to grow in your walk with the Lord together. Offer to pray with her and study the Word together. Plan, on a weekly basis, to put the Lord as the top priority in your marriage and watch how He changes you both for the better!

8. Renew your wedding vows. Have you been married any length of time? How about a renewing of your wedding vows? It doesn’t have to be fancy. Enlist your pastor’s help and have a small wedding where you rededicate your lives to each other.

renew wedding vows.jpg

There you have it. Now hurry…you only have a few more shopping days left! Oh, and Merry Christmas!

 


Posted in devotionals, Growing in the Lord

Lessons from the garden

To this day, I still hear the story from the time I was a little girl and despised one of my chores – weeding the garden.

My mom tells of how she would ask me to please weed between the corn rows of our sizeable garden. I found the request difficult to digest. It was a gorgeous summer day – perfect for playing volleyball or running through the sprinkler. And I had to weed the garden?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind helping my parents and doing chores. But weeding?

An hour after I was assigned the task, my mom came outside to find me just how she had left me. “PENNY ANN!” she said sternly, causing me to jump. I had been sitting there, my little blond head tilted back and my face turned heavenward. My legs were crossed and I lounged between the tall corn rows while daydreaming about stories I would write.

My mom was further disturbed when she realized I’d not pulled a single weed. I have to admit this was neither the first nor the last time this happened.

Fast forward and today one of my most favorite pastimes is gardening. Being outside in God’s creation and admiring His handiwork brings joy to my soul and makes any day happier. I take pride in keeping my flowerbeds weed free (or almost!) I also harbor an addiction to trees.

My mom still laughs at the 180-degree change in me.

And in all these years of enjoying gardening, I have learned the following lessons from one of my favorite past-times:

1. The change in me from the days of daydreaming amongst the corn rows rather than weeding to now tackling the obnoxious weeds with zest reminds me of the change that comes over us when we become a child of God. That gift of salvation, that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that passion to live for Him. He changes us from the inside out, making us more like Him, as we surrender our lives, our hearts, and our minds to Him.

2. Being without Him is much like a weed growing aimlessly for no real purpose. Growing in Him is much like the tall proud corn stalks with their faces lifted toward heaven.

3. Our eyes can barely behold the beauty, at times, of God’s creation. Whether it be the finely formed hands and feet of a newborn baby, the vibrant smiles of those we love most, the delicate petals of our favorite flower, the rugged mountain peaks, or the vast ocean, God is a master artist. He tells us in Romans 1:20 that we are without excuse when it comes to believing in God based on what we see around us.

The squeal of a toddler, the soft wings of a butterfly, the shimmering leaves on a tree, and the fierce sound of thunder do not come by accident. There is a Hand that creates all of those things and more. Just being present in nature is enough proof of His skilled hand.

4. There will always be weeds. And there will always be “weedy” people. You know the type: difficult to get along with, harsh, unkind, selfish. The best remedy for dealing with the “weedy” people is praying for them. Tough, but it’s the best solution, not only because the Bible commands us to pray for our enemies (Matthew 5:44), but also because it’s difficult to be angry with someone when we’re actively praying for them.

Today, as I spend time tending to my flowers and trees, I’m reminded of those lessons. Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to You. May we always continue to grow in You and impact others for Your glory.


Thank you for stopping by! Before you go, check out these other posts:

the importance of new beginnings

13 verses to comfort the weary soul

thankful for the small things

surviving shingles, part 1

10 ways to help your kids choose good role models

Movie Monday: Flying High for the Glory of God: The Orville Rogers Story (movie review)

Looking to homeschool? Here are 7 things to consider

Posted in devotionals

Lessons from the garden

Penny Zeller, Christian Author

To this day, I still hear the story from the time I was a little girl and despised one of my chores – weeding the garden.

My mom tells of how she would ask me to please weed between the cornrows of our sizeable garden. I found the request difficult to digest. It was a gorgeous summer day – perfect for playing volleyball or running through the sprinkler. And I had to weed?

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t mind helping my parents and doing chores. But weeding?

An hour after I was assigned the task, my mom came outside to find me just how she had left me. “PENNY ANN!” she said sternly, causing me to jump. I had been sitting there, my little blond head tilted back and my face turned heavenward. My legs were crossed and I lounged between the tall cornrows while daydreaming about stories I would write.

My mom was further disturbed when she realized I’d not pulled a single weed. I have to admit this wasn’t the last time this happened.

Today one of my most favorite pastimes is gardening. Being outside in God’s creation and admiring His handiwork brings joy to my soul and makes any day happier. I take pride in keeping my garden and flowerbeds weed free (or almost!) I also harbor an addiction to trees. My mom still laughs at the 180-degree change in me.

Such a change reminds me of the change that comes over us when we become a child of God. That gift of salvation, that indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that passion to live for Him. Being without Him is much like a weed growing aimlessly and for no real purpose. Growing in Him is much like the tall proud corn stalks with their faces lifted toward heaven.

Thank You, Lord, for drawing us to You. May we always continue to grow in You and impact others for Your glory.