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

IF

Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. -1 Chronicles 22:13

David knew that it takes total dedication to please God – obeying with every fiber of our being (22:19). This requires both right decisions (good judgment), and right attitudes (strength, enthusiasm, courage). It isn’t enough to understand what God wants; our hearts must be totally dedicated to Him. Jesus told us in Luke 9:62 that if we let ourselves be distracted from the work He has called us to do we would not be fit for the Kingdom of God. David wanted his son Solomon to carry out God’s plan in building the temple. But, to do so would require removing all the distractions that would pull him away from doing the job wholeheartedly. David encouraged Solomon to be devoted to the LORD and obedient, or his accomplishments would be meaningless. We too must shed all the baggage and worldly distractions that hinder us from following God to our fullest potential. If we do, we too will have success.

LORD: Your decrees and laws are the ultimate plan for my life and today I choose to be careful to observe them. Just as You told Moses to be strong and courageous, I too must heed this command for my life. Help me to not be afraid as I walk this road with you by my side. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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CHICKEN AND BLACK BEANS (crockpot)

4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (15-ounce) can or 1 pound frozen corn
1 (15-ounce) jar salsa, any kind
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese

Put first 4 ingredients in crockpot. Cook on high 4-5 hours, until chicken done. Add cream cheese and heat until melted. Serve over rice or with tortillas.

IF

And if you walk in my ways and obey my statutes and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life. -1 Kings 3:14

Solomon had taken over as king, replacing his ailing father, and more than anything he wanted the will of God in his reign. One night the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream where God told him to ask for anything from Him. Solomon responded humbly that what he wanted was a discerning heart to govern his people, and to distinguish between right and wrong (1 Kings 3:9). God was pleased with Solomon’s request and told him that He would not only bless him with what he asked for, but He would also give him a long life. But, for this to happen, Solomon would need to be obedient to the Lord. God is also pleased with us when we sincerely seek Him and pray for godly wisdom and discernment. God’s promises were true then for Solomon, and they are true for us today. But, they are conditional. God has already done His part; now we must do ours and walk in His ways and be obedient to his statues and commands.

Thank you Lord for providing me with a discerning heart and wisdom to know right from wrong. If I am obedient, Your blessings are mine. Thank you! In Jesus’ name, Amen

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TEX-MEX MACARONI CASSEROLE

8 ounces elbow macaroni
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
1 green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 package taco seasoning
1 can nacho cheese soup
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups shredded Mexican blend of cheeses

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain and set aside. In large pan brown ground beef; drain. Add onion and bell pepper; cook until tender. Add garlic, taco seasoning, soup, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, and half the cheese. Cook, stirring until blended and bubbly. Add macaroni; mix and pour into greased baking dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake 10-15 minutes, or until bubbly and cheese melted.

IF

“I am about to go the way of all the earth,” he said. “So be strong, act like a man, and observe what the Lord your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go and that the Lord may keep his promise to me: ‘If your descendants watch how they live, and if they walk faithfully before me with all their heart and soul, you will never fail to have a successor on the throne of Israel.’ -1 Kings 2:2-4

When King David was old and about to die he gave a charge to his son Solomon who would succeed him as king over Israel. David was a strong man of valor and dedication to his Lord, and he wanted this for his son, also. David knew that Solomon would have his share of dealing with troublemakers in his kingdom, and the new position would not be for a weak and wavering individual. Solomon was a young man and had not fought in the battles in which David had fought. Solomon was rather soft in his ways, and David wanted to make sure he would not vacillate in his position of authority. Solomon was to realize that he had a calling and thus a stewardship from the Lord as king over God’s people. This was a huge responsibility that every king needed to come to grips with before the Lord. Each of us as Christians also has a calling and thus a charge before the Lord for our lives. If we, like David’s charge to Solomon, are strong and follow the decrees God has set before us in His Word, we too are promised prosperity in our lives.

Thank you Lord for calling me to be strong and unwavering in my walk with You. I offer myself daily to the council of Your Word. Help me in my weak times to be strong and courageous in keeping Your decrees. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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3-INGREDIENT BAKED CHICKEN

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 package Italian salad dressing
½ cup brown sugar, packed

Combine dressing pack with sugar. Coat chicken well with mixture. Put in well-greased baking dish and sprinkle with leftover mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, basting every 15 minutes.

IF

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. (If you do) Then you will be prosperous and successful. –Joshua 1:8

To meditate means to think about, mull over, or ponder something. In the Hebrew it means to mutter. So, if we mutter God’s Word over and over to ourselves, our actions would more than likely line up with what God is instructing us in the Book of the Law (the Bible). Reading a short devotion in the morning, or going to church on Sundays is not enough. God instructs us to think about or ponder over the Truth of His Word both day and night. Why does He want this for us; does He not think we have anything else to do? It is because of the vast amount of love He has for us, and His desire to see us prosper and be successful. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2), but obedience brings us favor in His sight. We must be careful to stay close to our Lord and not give the devil a foothold into our lives (Ephesians 4:26-27). If we meditate on the Word of God, and are careful to do everything written in it, victory in Jesus will be ours.

Thank you God for providing a plan and purpose for my life. If I want to call myself a Christian and live a life of success and honor, I must meditate on and obey your Word. Help me Lord to put You first and follow your instructions. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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HOMEMADE RICE A RONI

½ cup spaghetti noodles, broken into 1-inch pieces
¾ cup raw (uncooked) white rice
1 (14½-ounce) can broth (chicken or beef)
2 tablespoons butter

In skillet, sauté broken noodles in butter until light brown. Add rice, stirring until noodles are darker brown. Add broth; simmer until liquid absorbed and noodles and rice are tender (about 15 minutes). For extra flavor, a small chopped onion and 1 teaspoon dried parsley may be added when rice is added.

IF

If you carefully observe all these commands I am giving you to follow – to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways and to hold fast to him – then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations larger and stronger than you. –Deuteronomy 11:22-23

Moses repeated what he had said in the previous verses of chapter 11. Once again, the Israelites were encouraged to obey God’s Word. If they were loyal to His covenant, they would possess the country, because God would force out all the other nations. Just as Moses told the Israelites to observe all God’s commands, we are also to do the same. Our hearts must be filled with the Word of God. We will not do good if we don’t have godly thoughts, good affections, and good principles in our hearts (Psalms 119:30). Sin not only tends to shorten the days of man, it also shortens the days of prosperity. God said He would bless the Israelites with an abundance of all good things, if they would love Him and serve Him. If we love the LORD and walk in His ways, then we too can depend on His provision for our lives.

Thank you Lord for your magnificent grace and mercy on my life. Even when I don’t obey Your commands, You continue to love me. I repent of my disobedience and rebellion, and ask for help to hold fast and walk in Your ways. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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CHINESE CHICKEN WINGS

3 pounds chicken wings
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Mix all ingredients in a large zip-lock bag; marinate in refrigerator 8-12 hours. Pour into baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour, turning once.

IF

So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today – to love the LORD your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul – then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. –Deuteronomy 11:13-15

Moses compared Egypt to the country that God had promised to the Israelites. In Egypt, people had to get water from the river Nile to water their crops. They dug channels that took water from the river, and these channels led water to their fields. This brought good crops. In their new country, the Israelites had to depend on God for the rain. If they obeyed Him, the rains would come, and they would have good crops. If it did not rain, the crops would not grow, and then there would be no food. The people did not follow God when Elijah was alive. As a result, there was very little food for three years. Jesus said the kingdom of God and his right ways must be the most important things to us. If we seek Him first and His righteousness, God will see that our needs are met (Matthew 6:33).

Dear Lord: I love you with all my heart and soul, and want to be found faithful by being obedient to your commands. Continue to rain on my life and help me to always seek you first. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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HONEY LIME CHICKEN

3 tablespoons lime juice or juice of 1 lime
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

In a shallow container, combine first 5 ingredients. Add chicken and marinate 3-4 hours, occasionally turning. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until chicken thoroughly cooked. Turn chicken after 30 minutes of cooking. Serve with rice.

IF

Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. – Exodus 19:5

God told Moses to speak these words to the Israelites, His chosen people. God’s covenant is a pledge or agreement of obligation that He made for His people to follow. Even though God loved them and wanted to pour out His blessings on them, they had to prove their obedience and gratitude to Him. God delivered them out of Egypt when they were held captive, and all He wanted in return was their love and obedience. The same is true for us today. Just as the Jews had to follow the covenant God made with them, we too must be obedient to His Word. God did His part by sending His Son to give us pardon for our sins. If we hold to His teaching, we will be His disciples and be set free (John 8:31).

Father: Your Word says I will know the truth and be set free if I hold to your teaching. That is the desire of my heart, and I ask you now to forgive me of my sins and be my Lord. Help me to be obedient to your Word so I might be a good disciple and lead others to follow after you also. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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PARMESAN BAKED PORK CHOPS

4 boneless pork chops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

Combine last 4 ingredients on a plate. Rub pork chops with oil and then coat in cheese mixture. Press mixture into pork chops to cover well. Line a pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. Place pork chops on pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, until pork thoroughly cooked.

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