~~ Devotions and recipes for God's hurried people ~~

Do Not Fear

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  ~Isaiah 41:10

We are encouraged by these words and our fears are lessened, especially if a storm or some type of trial is in our midst. Israel was in captivity and God spoke these words through Isaiah so the people would know that He was with them and knew exactly what they were enduring. At times, we may feel all alone and wonder if anyone really cares. The pressures of life are overwhelming and whether it is a financial, physical, spiritual, family, or any type of circumstance or affliction, God wants to lift our fears and discouragement and help us. His hand is strong, willing, and able to see us through any ordeal or threat from the evil one. God’s will is that His people do not live in fear, but in victorious faith and trust in Him. We should be dependent on God’s presence to be with us in the best of times, and in the worst of times. His tenderness and compassion is available when we admit that we no longer can conquer the battle ourselves, but are ready for His help. In humility, we must cry out to Him for forgiveness, and then receive His counsel and comfort. God’s hand is strong and His love is everlasting.

Dear Heavenly Father:  I praise and thank You for Your willingness to provide strength when I am weak and comfort when I am in the midst of a storm. Help me Lord to trust You more and to reach for Your strong hand when I feel like I am falling. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Do not fear or be dismayed for I am here with you.
Look to Me for strength and help in everything you do.
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SHREDDED CREAMY CHICKEN

2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
2 (8-ounce) blocks cream cheese
2 (1-ounce) packets dry Ranch seasoning
8 ounces bacon, cooked crisply and crumbled

In slow cooker combine chicken, cream cheese, and Ranch seasoning. Cook on low 6-8 hours or on high 4 hours, until chicken shreds easily. Once shredded, add all ingredients and mix. Stir in crumbled bacon. Serve warm on buns. Serves 6.

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.     ~Isaiah 40:30-31

Much of our weakness comes from our impatience and misuse of priorities. Only those things that bring glory and honor to God will nourish our souls and bring them the proper rest they need. We must give top priority to our daily relationship of seeking the Lord’s face. There are so many things that press in on us from every side but we cannot let them rob us of our time with the Savior. It is in these daily times of drawing upon the eternal store-house of God’s resources that we are given the strength to live for Him. If we want to face our circumstances victoriously, if we want to live for Jesus successfully, if we want to find the strength we need to keep going in the difficult times, we must spend time waiting upon the Lord. To wait is to hope. In fact, in the King James Version, the word hope that is used in this verse in the NIV, is wait. This is the secret of new strength. It is the main thing we need to do. Are you tired and weary? Focus on Christ; read His Word daily; and hope in Him to give you that inexhaustible strength that only He can give?

Dear Father:  You are my strength, refuge, and shield. I am not over-whelmed or dismayed when circumstances come and I am faced with the perplexities of life. You are my God and I believe that You will uphold me with Your righteous hand. Your love for me is great and when I wait on You and look to You as my source, You are faithful to meet my every need. For this I thank you.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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When I wait upon the Lord for strength, I know I will not fall.
In Him is everything I need; He is my All in All.
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CHEESE RICE CASSEROLE

1½ cups cooked rice
1½ cups American cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup bread crumbs
½ cup warm milk
½ green pepper, minced
1 teaspoon parsley

Combine all ingredients and put in a greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 35–40 minutes.

Perfect Peace

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. ~Isaiah 26:3

The Word of God tells us that in the last days anxiety, perplexity, and confusion will reach a climax. What we see in the world today is a result of unbelief and compromise of God’s Word. It is the result of spiritual adultery and serving the god of self. Each of us is born with a sinful, selfish nature to please our fleshly desires, and without a total surrender of ourselves to God, we will always be anxious and unsettled. When our courts struck down the Word of God as the authority of this nation, when our lawmakers no longer had to take an oath stating they believed in the Lord Jesus Christ before they could hold public office, and when humanism started being taught as the religion of our nation in the schools, we began to see a continuous decline of peace and morality. Confusion, restlessness, and unbelief resulted. True peace and true freedom from anxiety can only be found when we die to self and live in total submission to Jesus Christ. As long as we serve the god of our self, we will remain in a state of confusion, anxiousness, and dissatisfaction. What does it mean to be kept in perfect peace? It does not mean that circumstances may change, but it does mean that we have hope as we continue to live in the same confusing world but with the peace and reassurance that God is in control, no matter the circumstances. Our hope and trust come from the Lord, knowing that He will supply our every need. If we do our part and keep our minds focused on Him, God will do His part to grant us peace, tranquility, and calmness to every storm in our life.

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for the peace and assurance that no matter what the circumstances may be, You are in control. As I believe in You, walk with You, talk with You, trust in You, and serve You, my faith grows and the gates of hell cannot prevail against me. You bring calmness to every storm, and hope for every situation that arises in my life. Forgive me when I don’t keep my thoughts turned toward you, and the result is fear and confusion. You are my Rock and my sure and firm Foundation.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Anxious and despairing, many walk in fear.
But if we keep our minds on God,
His presence will be near.
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CHEESY BUFFALO CHICKEN DIP

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese
½ cup blue cheese salad dressing
½ cup Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
½ cup crumbled blue cheese or mozzarella cheese
2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Place cream cheese in deep dish pie plate; microwave 30 seconds to soften. Whisk in salad dressing, hot sauce, and blue or mozzarella cheese. Add chicken and stir until well mixed. Bake in oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is all melted. Serve with cut up veggies, chips, or crackers.

The Lord Gives Us a Sign

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” ~Isaiah 7:14

When we hear these words our thoughts immediately turn to the Christmas story and birth of our Savior. God spoke this to Isaiah over seven hundred years before Jesus was even born. The king who was ruling Judah at the time of this prophecy was Ahaz, a wicked and unbelieving man. During Ahaz’s reign, God permitted the kings of Israel and Syria to attack Ahaz and place his capital, Jerusalem, under siege. God wanted Ahaz to turn to Him for repentance and help, but Ahaz instead formed an alliance with the king of Assyria. God then sent Isaiah to encourage Ahaz to look to the Lord for help; but Ahaz refused. Isaiah warned him not to place his hopes in man, for if he refused to believe God, God would save his kingdom, but Ahaz would still lose his throne. Isaiah even encouraged Ahaz to ask God for a sign to prove these things were so, but Ahaz stubbornly refused. It was under these circumstances that God, through Isaiah, spoke the words, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign.”  

The Lord knew there were believers in Judah who were frightened and wondering what would become of them as they faced enemy attacks. God wanted to reassure and encourage them to entrust themselves to Him in the midst of that difficult situation. In the same way, God wants us to entrust ourselves to Him in the midst of our trials and troubles. He wants us to know that we can count on Him, for He is a faithful God and Savior. Our God does not want us to live in uncertainty and with fear. Rather, He would have us proceed in life with the same confidence the Apostle Paul possessed who was able to say, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31b). God truly wants us to trust Him to meet our needs.

Dear Heavenly Father: You so graciously continue to love us, in spite of our stubbornness and disobedience. Thank You for that unconditional love and for sending Your Son to represent Love in action. Forgive me for my disbelief and sin and help me to put my faith in You, forever and always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Lord thank You for Your Son, Who came to be my Guide.
Help me look to Him each day, that with Him I’d abide.

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EASY CHEESY CHILI DIP

1 (8 ounce-package) cream cheese
½ cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 (10.5 ounce-can) chili
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Put all ingredients, except cilantro, in a bowl and microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, until cheese melts. Stir every 30 seconds. Sprinkle with cilantro. Serve with crackers or chips.

Here Am I. Send me!

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ~ Isaiah 6:8

Isaiah was in the holy temple when he had a vision of God seated high on a throne while Seraph angels worshiped Him from above. In the face of God’s utmost holiness Isaiah saw himself as an impure and sinful man. After he cried out to God for forgiveness one of the seraph-angels flew to him and touched his lips with a live coal from the alter saying that his guilt is gone and sin forgiven. It was after Isaiah was made clean that he was able to hear the voice of the Lord saying, “Who shall I send?” When Isaiah answered the Lord, “Here am I. Send me,” it was then that he was commissioned as a prophet. Just as Isaiah obeyed the call to tell the people about God and His redemptive power, so are we commanded to go into all the world and teach the people to be obedient to the Lord and become His disciples. If we don’t go, then who will?

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for your glorious cleansing and redeeming power. I am so thankful that You chose me to serve You. I’m willing to go and tell the world about Your love and grace. Give me the right words to speak to those I meet so they would understand the real meaning of salvation. Prepare their hearts to receive and also say “yes” to Your call to take the message of salvation to their world. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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I’ll say yes Lord yes, unto Your will and way.
And tell the lost of Your great love, each and every day.
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CHICK FIL-A SAUCE

½ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
2 tablespoons honey

Whisk all together and enjoy as a favorite dip!  Keep refrigerated.

 

I Saw the Lord

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of His robe filled the temple. ~ Isaiah 6:1

King Uzziah reigned for 52 years over the nation of Israel, and during that time there was peace and prosperity among the people. But because of that, there was also moral decay and a turning away from the Lord. Uzziah, in his early reign, was humble and served God but when he became strong and famous he became proud and turned from the Lord he once loved. When he died, around 740 B.C., fear and insecurity rose up within the people. Instead of turning to God, they rebelled even more and lived ungodly lives of sin and shame. It was during this time that the prophet Isaiah rose up and proclaimed a message of God’s majesty, holiness, and sovereignty. Throughout God’s Word we are reminded over and over to pattern our lives after Him. Because He is holy, we are to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-17). This vision of Isaiah’s is a reminder to us today that though the world around us exalts sin and depravity, we who have committed our lives to Christ exalt the Lord with our praise and submission to His Word. He truly is high and lifted up and the holy exalted One.

Dear Heavenly Father:  You O Lord are Holy and Exalted and I praise You and lift You high. Thank You for loving me so that I might in turn love You. Forgive my sins and help me to live my life holy and pleasing unto You. Show me those things in my life that don’t glorify You and help me to get rid of them. When the day comes that You return for Your church may I be found faithful to Your call and ready to go. In Jesus Name, Amen

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Isaiah saw the Lord, exalted and on high.
This vision came to him, the year Uzziah died.
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CHICKEN CHEESE AND STUFFING BAKE

5 skinless and boneless chicken breasts
5 slices of Swiss cheese (okay to try other cheese such as Pepper jack, Monterrey, etc.)
1 can cream of onion soup
1/4 cup milk
Stuffing mix (garlic and herbs, or plain as desired)
1/4 cup of butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Grease a baking dish and season sprinkle chicken breasts with salt and pepper. In a mixing bowl, mix milk with the can of cream of onion soup. Add a couple of spoonfuls of the soup and milk mixture to the dish and spread it. Arrange chicken breasts and cover each one with a slice of cheese. Pour remaining soup and milk mixture over the chicken and cheese. Pour the stuffing mix over the casserole and sprinkle it with the butter. Cover the dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 10-15 more minutes or until golden brown.

If Your Enemy is Hungry

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head and the Lord will reward you. ~ Proverbs 25:21-22

Human nature would tell us to “pay back” those who have hurt us, while God’s Word says to do the opposite. Why should we want to come to the aid of that one who wronged us in some way? Maybe it was a simple thing like being pushed back in line by someone or being cut off the road. Or maybe it was as serious as murder, kidnapping, or rape? Is there a level or degree of hurt that was done to us for what we should forgive and show love? Romans 12:14-21 tells us to bless those who persecute us, and not curse them. The Apostle Paul encourages us to live in harmony with one another and to not repay anyone evil for evil. We are to do what is right in the eyes of everybody and not take revenge for anything anyone has done to us. The second part of this verse tell us that doing these good things to our enemies will cause their heads to burn or make them think about what they did and be convicted. It’s not always easy to reward those who have hurt us, but God’s Word says we should. Not only will it cause convicting effects on our offenders, but the Lord will reward us for our kindness to them. And, once again, God is glorified!

Dear Heavenly Father:  Because of Your forgiveness for those who crucified Your Son, so am I able to forgive and do good to my enemies. Forgive me when I hold grudges and unforgiveness towards those who have hurt or offended me is some way. Help me to rely on Your strength to pardon their evil-doings to me or my family. Because You have asked me to be kind and loving to these ones, I believe that victory will be mine. Thank You for teaching me to live and love as You do.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Help me Lord to show respect and kindness to that one,
Who did me wrong, that they might change, and turn to serve Your Son.
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CHEESY GARLIC BISCUITS (like Red Lobster’s)

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup milk
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Mix Bisquick, milk, and cheese together until a soft dough forms. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Mix garlic powder with butter and brush over warm biscuits before removing from sheet.

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