Hello Subscribers / Readers,
I have some exciting news to share: I'm in the process of moving my website to a different host. The address remains the same and so the transfer should happen without any issues.
Please bear with me while the transition is going on. I would love to see you at my new blog. Remember, though, that the look (color, layout, etc.) of it will change quite a bit and that it will take a little while until I have transferred all the contents from here to there.
Once completed, though, it should be easier on my readers to navigate through the website and to find topics quickly.
Thank you for your patience and your understanding.
If in this life only we have hope in Christ,
we are of all men the most pitiable.
(1 Cor. 15:19 NKJV)
"Now where is your God?" is one of the questions unbelievers ask us when things get tough for us. They want to know why this is happening to us. Could it be because we have been bad? They demand an answer why the God we trust in isn't there to help us out of our troubles. They wonder why, if God exists, He is ignoring us.
Could you answer these questions? Today? Now? How about during a time while you are going through tremendous grief, pain and sorrow?
Some of us Christians seem to handle hardships better than others. Could it be because we are in denial over things that are happening to us? Or is it because we are just stronger than others? Do some of us have more faith in Christ? Or can some of us just bear a bigger load?
"My Carmen can handle even that without any doubt." I still recall these words my mom used to tell others when they asked how on earth I could face another miscarriage in my life. Oh yes! Yes, I was strong — on the outside — no problem. But with each miscarriage I lost a bit more of myself.
My mom died in 2011. We didn't have such a close relationship as I wished for, but I loved her. I thought I could get over her death in time, but the pain is still very real to me. Eight years later and I'm still thinking a lot of her. Throughout the year I remember things she used to say and some of the traditions she loved to keep.
What hardships have come along your way? How did you manage to survive and live through them?
"I'm afraid I don't see the baby's heartbeat anymore." What? That can't be! Check the screen again! But it was true... How was I ever able to deal with another miscarriage?
The cell phone slipped out of my hands, and my body sank into the chair. "Mom died." What? That can't be! I had to face reality. How was I ever able to deal with this?
Where do you go from there? What do you answer to the nagging question: Where is God when you need Him?"
The difference lies in this life only vs the hope we have as an anchor of the soul. What hope? That this life is not all there is. If it would be, so the verse says, we are of all the most pitiable. Why would anyone in her right mind trade all the eat, drink and be merry for a miserable life to live and then die and be gone forever? Why not live life to the fullest? Because there is more to it than this life.
The world doesn't believe in eternal life. So they claim that they have to make the best out of the here and now. We, however, cling to the fact that there is more to come in the future. We look forward to the day when:
God will wipe away every tear from our eyes.
There shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying.
There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.
The question remains: Where is our God now? Our God is in heaven.
No matter if all is good in life or if you are currently facing hardships, I'm challenging you today to think of this question where God is and to read and meditate on Psalm 115.
Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. Where should we look for answers? Who is there to help us decide? How will we know right from wrong? We have to draw near to God.
At times I find it hard to make a choice. What should I wear to church on Sunday? Do I pack the peanut butter and jelly sandwich or the cheese sandwich for lunch? What will I make for dinner tonight? Is there enough milk left for tomorrow, or do I have to make an extra trip to the store to buy more?
How about you? Do you find it hard to make decisions?
It doesn't end here, does it? Sometimes there is money involved. Should I buy the cheaper shoes that I can afford right now, or should I wait and spend more money to buy the branded leather ones? Do I really need a new car or will the one I drive last another two years? How much should I save each month?
And, what about the life-changing decisions? Should I go out with this guy or not? When is it okay to get married? How many children do I want to have? Should I seek a college degree or not? Where should I go to work? Do I accept a full-time job or not after getting married?
Questions after questions, and we are longing for the LORD to answer them, don't we? God is probably not telling us which of the two sandwiches we should pack into our lunchboxes. Concerning a sale, He might not give us the answer right away, and we will need to wait a little bit longer to find out whether we should buy a more expensive item or not. One of the ways God is leading us in our decisions is by sending people into our lives who will give us wise counsel. He can use a friend or sister to guide us (back) onto the right path. The best advice for us to make the right choices in life is found in God's Word. To seek it, we have to pick up our Bibles and read.
We must be aware, though, that the devil is crafty and a deceiver from the beginning. It's no mistake that he is called the father of lies. He always questions God's commands and asks us, "Has God indeed said?" If we give in and reason with the devil then the foundation on which we stand on is shaken. We have to be careful not to fall for the devil's lie. Many times the forbidden food looks so good, so ideal, so pleasant to our eyes that we desire it, reach out, take it, and eat it. The consequences are often devastating and always lead to some sort of death, e.g. death of our marriage, not necessarily death of our bodies but of our health, or the death of an important contract. (see also Genesis 3:1-6)
Yes, God's Word is still relevant today no matter if Satan continues to question it. Sad but true, we need to be aware that the original lie, Has God indeed said?, can even be found in churches at times. Its wording will be different, e.g.
Before any major decision: Pray. Read your Bible. Wait and expect the LORD to answer.
God is never done working in our lives. No matter if we are in our 40s, 50s, 60s or 70s, we need wise counsel from other Christian women who are mature in their faith.
My mom's birthday is coming up in a few days. If she hadn't died eight years ago she would have turned 78 this year. I still miss her so much, and sometimes I wonder how different our lives and our relationship would have been if both of us would have been raised in a Christian home.
I started this website, The Christian Homemaker, with the goal in mind to teach young women about homemaking in the light of God's Word. Likewise I wanted to exchange thoughts with the older women on how we can reach the next generation.
How will the young women know if they are going in the right direction? We need to help our daughters in how to make decisions because if we don't somebody else will. The world will more than miss the mark in teaching young women about true love, hope, and faith in the LORD Jesus. A worldly oriented society pushes our daughters unto wrong paths, but it will bail out when things get tough or advice them to give into extreme actions.
To be continued...
Are there laws for the Christian on what foods are okay and what are to be avoided in his diet?
"Law" sounds so restrictive to some people, and they will avoid any discussion about it. Reminds me of a conversation we had with one of our neighbors. We were talking about the necessity of laws — in keeping order — to which he replied:
I only keep the laws that I have to keep.
But how, by whose standard, does he decide which laws he has to keep and which ones he can ignore?
One of the best books I read about healthy eating is called What the Bible Says About Healthy Living by Rex Russell, M.D. Most of my friends and family act surprised whenever I mention the title of this book. I emphasize that Rex Russell explains what food we should and shouldn't eat. They usually want to know if he refers to dietary laws found in the Old Testament. As soon as I tell them that he does they are no longer with me. Do we still have to follow Old Testament laws about what to eat or not to eat?
In his book Rex Russell does not only argue from the laws found in the book of Leviticus, but he uses the whole Bible as his book of reference. First, he tells us what went wrong after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. Then, he gives us reasons for a Health with Obedience (chapter 2). Next, he explains The Three Principles:
In the last part he lists foods and drinks that should be on our menu. Reading the book from beginning to end the careful reader will notice that Russell uses the whole counsel of God and not only the book of Leviticus as a foundation for his arguments. He reminds his readers:
Remember, I am not calling for a return to the old law for spiritual benefit; but I am asking that we recognize the health benefits in these ancient commands.
Go ahead and give it a try. Read it. You will be amazed about the common sense and the medical advice found in there. Yours and your family's health will greatly benefit from it.
You never pay attention to what I'm saying.
We have to watch our words. Unkind words can tear people apart, and they can break a marriage. As Christian women we should practice using words that are constructive rather than destructive. We need to focus on building up instead of tearing down.
It's so easy to give out, but it's hard to accept censure, isn't it? At times, we can really dish it out, can't we? But if we are attacked by harsh words we are deeply offended. Both times the problem lies in the way we handle the situation.
We often go wrong by targeting the person and not the problem. We will say something like, "You never..." or "You always..." do this or that. Think of it from the other's point of view, if someone tells you that you never or you always do this or that, aren't you offended?
A well-meaning friend threw me out of balance a while ago. She criticized one of my habits. First I was offended and went into defence mode. Then I decided to tackle the problem. I made some progress but only with baby steps. No, I'm far from avoiding this particular habit. Honestly? Each time I sense that someone shows the slightest attempt to mention it I'm thrown back to the beginning again. Did I need to hear the criticism? Perhaps. Was it okay for her to attack me and not my problem? No. Did she intentionally use hurtful words? I don't think so.
Unkind and destructive words can come out in a flash. In some cases the offended person will eventually get over it. In other cases unfit words leave deep cuts behind. By all means we need to target the problem itself and not the person. Sometimes that isn't quite as easy to do, I know. Here are just two ideas how to attack the problem and not the person:
The toothpaste problem: Are you annoyed because the tube of toothpaste in your bathroom looks the way it does - all but nice and neatly squeezed? >> Don't get annoyed at the people using it. Get a toothpast roller (also called squeezer) to tackle the problem.
The laundry problem: Tired of having to collect all the socks and shirts off the floors and out of each room? Buy a few extra popup or foldable laundry hampers. They are available in many nice colors. Put one in each bedroom. Tell each family member that only the clothes that are in the hampers will be taken to the laundry room to be washed, dried, folded, and brought back to the rooms.
A full-time homemaker doesn't leave her home to make money, but she is out to save the family some money each month. The family's finances will not increase, but they will decrease slower than usual. In other words, less money spend will make the regular income last longer.
Following are few ideas on how to stretch your monthly resources:
What does God's Word tell us about our finances? If we would do a topic search about money we would bump into keywords and phrases like:
Don't love money. Love God instead.
God owns everything. It's all His. In 1 Chronicles we read:
11 Yours, O LORD, is the greatness, The power and the glory,
See, we don't own our money. We are stewards of it. God gives us the resources freely, but He also asks us to be wise in the way we handle them. As full-time Christian homemakers we are given the opportunity to praise and honor Him in the way we are handling "our" monthly income.
I was looking for a good recipe for making strawberry jam today. The recipes I found online were not good enough. They asked for too much sugar, water, and gelling agents. An old recipe book came into my mind. So I knelt in front of the kitchen cupboard and, after taking out most of the things, I found the old Weck® book all the way in the back. I scanned through it and found some recipes I liked. I noticed that many of these 1950s recipes were quite different than the ones we find in today's cookbooks.
The jam recipes in my old book called for less sugar, no water, and no gelling agents. I tried one of them today. As hubby walked into the kitchen he said: "It sure smells good in here." He got to taste fresh, homemade strawberry jam. He didn't miss any sugar in it. In fact, he mentioned that the jam was quite sweet. This means that next time I could use even less sugar. I'm delighted about that. There will be homemade jam on our breakfast table from now on.
Processed food contains a lot more than the original ingredient/s. It will have additives and preservatives inside. Many of these add on products are more or less unhealthy for us. If you look at the product packaging label you will discover ingredients you probably never heard of before. The question is: Are they necessary, healthy, filling?
I give you three reasons why you should consider to make food from scratch:
Now, I have to admit that baking and cooking does take time. Sometimes we will have to invest a lot of time to get the right results. Today's jam recipes will take only 3-5 minutes to complete. Making jam according to a recipe of the good ol' fashion days requires 20-25 minutes. The tasty outcome proves, though, that the right ingredients and the extra time spent are well worth it.
In Exodus 18 we find a story about Moses judging the people. Some of the issues brought before him were minor while others were major problems that needed to be solved. From morning until evening the people came to Moses asking him to settle their issues. At some point the workload became too heavy for Moses. He was not able to carry it out on his own. Jethro, his father-in-law, said to him:
Both you and these people who are with you will surely wear yourselves out. For this thing is too much for you; you are not able to perform it by yourself.
Just like Moses we tend to think we can and have to do everything on our own. We wash, hang up, take down, iron, and fold the clothes. We prepare, cook, and serve the food. We clear the table, rinse the dishes, load and unload the dishwasher. When we are running out of our own strength we try to push ourselves just a little bit further.
Just like Moses we have to listen and admit that we have our limits. We are not able to perform all tasks on our own. And we are certainly not able to do the impossible. We can't change others and we can't fix their problems for them. In fact, we ourselves are in desperate need of help so that we can and are willing to change. We have to face our hardships, and while we are going through them we are in need of someone who can not only do the possible but who is also able to do the impossible.
When the death of a loved one, divorce, drug addiction, abuse, sickness, mobbing, or any other worldy lions attack us then we are in desperate need for someone who can carry us through and make the impossible possible.
And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
What lions are you facing right now? Do you believe in the One who is able to deliver you from them?
In my last post, Tough Decisions, I shared with you a story about one of my saddest times in my life. After reading a tract about marriage, divorce, and remarriage my husband and I had to face the question of whether we could stay married or if we would have to get a divorce. This is a follow up to Friday's post.
We prayed. We asked, no, we begged, we pleaded with the LORD for our marriage.
What are you supposed to do in a situation like that? Search for articles, read books, go online for help? How about asking your pastor, friend, or members of your family what they would do? For us the dilemma started after reading what a particular denomination says about remarriage.
I will not mention the tract in details nor tell you more about that denomination. This post is not intended to refute their arguments nor to belittle their denomination.
The whole point I want you to get out of this post is: Search the Scriptures for answers. I don't mean for you to pick and choose as you please (oh, I'm very much guilty of having done that before) but to diligently search for answers in the Bible.
Searching for answers in God's Word means to be ready:
Our marriage could have ended right there. To move forward we had to accept to do whatever He would require us to do. We had to lay our marriage on the Altar of God. All glory to Him, He had plans for us to remain married.
No matter what you are facing, in all you do, seek God's will first.