Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! – 2 Corinthians 5:17
The word therefore refers us back to verses 14-16 where Paul tells us that all believers have died with Christ and no longer live for themselves. When we choose to follow Christ and become obedient to His will and ways, our lives are no longer worldly; they are now spiritual. Our death is that of the old sin nature which was nailed to the cross with Christ. It was buried with Him, and just as He was raised up by the Father, so are we raised up to walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Our new self hates the sin that once held us captive. No longer are we slaves to sin, as we formerly were (Romans 6:6-7); but we are new creations in Christ Jesus (Romans 6:11-12).
Heavenly Father: Thank you for the new life You gave to me when I made the choice to serve You as my Savior and Lord. Where I once followed the desires of my flesh, I now follow after You. Help me to remain in willful obedience to You, all the days I am alive. Thank you! In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
CAULIFLOWER “MAC” AND CHEESE (low carb)
½ teaspoon salt
1 large head cauliflower, cut into small florets
Vegetable oil spray
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces cream cheese, cut into small pieces
1½ cups shredded sharp Cheddar
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Cook cauliflower in microwave or stove-top until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well; pat dry with paper towels. Put cauliflower in sprayed 8×8-inch baking dish. Bring cream to a simmer in small saucepan; mix in cream cheese until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese, salt, pepper and garlic; mix until cheese melts. Pour over cauliflower and stir. Top with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake at 375 degrees until browned and bubbly.
If anyone does not love the Lord – a curse be on him. – 1 Corinthians 16:22
To love the Lord means to be obedient to His Word (John 14:15). It means to follow Him wherever He leads, do whatever He asks, and trust Him in every circumstance. This takes a conscious decision and results in not only reaping the benefits of Kingdom Life here on earth, but it establishes for us eternal residency with Jesus. To not love the Lord and follow His commands results in acquiring the wrath or curse of God. The end result of this curse would be to spend eternity in Hell (2 Peter 2:4). This is discussed in many Scriptures because Jesus wants that none should perish and go there (2 Peter 3:9). We can love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). He sent his Son Jesus Christ to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds (John 3:16). However, if we refuse his kind offer to forgive us, we will suffer His judgment (curse) against us.
Wonderful Lord: Thank You for paying the price for my freedom to be saved and spend eternity with You. Burn within me a desire to share Your love with others so they too may have a chance to love You and avoid the curse. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
MEXICAN CASSEROLE (easy)
1 pound lean ground beef
2 cups salsa
1 (16-ounce) can chili beans
1 (15-ounce) can or 1 pound frozen corn
1½ cups tortilla chips, crushed
2 cups sour cream
1 (3 7/8-ounce) can sliced black olives
¾ cup chopped green onions
1 cup diced tomato or 1 (15-ounce) can drained
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
Cook beef until done, drain. Add salsa, beans, and corn; cook 20 minutes without lid. Spread chips on bottom of casserole dish. Spread meat mixture overtop; then spread sour cream over that. Top with olives, green onion, and tomato. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle cheese overtop. Return to oven for 5 minutes or just until cheese starts to melt.
By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. – 1 Corinthians 15:2
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and begin a new life of service and obedience to Him, it doesn’t end there; but this is just the beginning. As believers, we are to yield to the entire Word of God and submit without reservation to its authority. This means holding firmly to the Scriptures, trusting in its promises and teachings, and heeding to its warning. If we do these things, the Apostle Paul says we are saved. If we do not hold firmly to the Gospel and merely say we believe, but have no evidence to prove it, Paul says we have believed in vain. To believe in vain would be the same as being a hypocrite and simply confessing Christ with our mouths, and not with our hearts. May we remember Christ and His resurrection always and hold to the message given to us by our Lord.
Thank you Father for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that instructs me to live a life of honor to You. Help me to remain strong always and hold firmly to the teachings of Your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
CROCKPOT CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 cups whole green beans
5 -7 medium red potatoes (quartered)
1 package dry ranch dressing mix
1 package dry chicken gravy mix
½ stick butter
½ cup water
Wash and place green beans on one side of crockpot. Place potatoes on other side and chicken in center. Mix dry mixes together and sprinkle over chicken. Place butter on top. Slowly pour water on vegetables (not on chicken). Cook on low for 6-8 hours until chicken totally done.
…if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord’, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
– Romans 10:9
Our hope is anchored in our relationship with the living Lord. That’s what it means to be saved. The word lord is often used when it is part of a bigger word such as landlord or warlord. But when Lord is applied to Jesus it is not restricted in any way, nor is it confined to any place or scope of influence. That’s why no one can call him Lord, except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:3). To call Jesus Lord is to acknowledge that He is God manifested in human flesh. It means more than just speaking the words, but living under His lordship. For, as Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21).
Heavenly Father: You are the Lord of my life and all my hope is in You. There is no one nor anything greater than You. I confess with my mouth and believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
CHICKEN POT ROAST (for 2)
2-4 chicken breasts or thighs (with or without skin)
3-4 red potatoes, quartered
4 carrots, peeled
1 onion sliced, quartered
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon rosemary
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon pepper
Arrange chicken, potatoes, onion, and carrots in greased baking dish. Pour chicken broth overtop. Sprinkle with seasonings. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Uncover; turn vegetables and bake an additional 15 minutes.
If God is for us, who can be against us?
– Romans 8:31
Through His word, God has revealed many things that will help us pass the tests of faith, but perhaps the simplest and most fundamental of all is the realization that God is on our side. We are His children; He is our Father; and He is always with us and He is always for us. Though He allows us to face difficulties and stressful situations throughout our lives, it is to teach and train us to be mature Christians. Romans 5:3-4 says, “More than that, we rejoice in our suffering, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope.” God is our Creator, Savior, Deliverer, Defender, Friend, and so much more. If God is for us, there is no one or no thing that can rise up against us. Praise His Holy Name!
Father God: Thank you for the honor of being your child, knowing you are always for me. My desire is to praise you all my life, in the good times and in the bad ones. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
GARLIC LEMON ROASTED ZUCCHINI
1 large or 3-4 smaller zucchini
2 Tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 small lemon (1 teaspoon)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
Cut zucchini in half and remove large seeds. Cut in half again, and again, making thick wedges. Place on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil. In a small bowl stir together olive oil, lemon zest and garlic. Brush olive oil mixture on zucchini (getting some of the garlic/lemon zest on each piece). Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for 11 – 15 minutes.
Jesus said: “You are my friends if you do what I command.” – John 15:14
With great authority Jesus spoke this profound statement. Not only is Jesus our Maker (John 1:1) and deserves our utmost respect and obedience, He is also our Friend. His friendship, though, is conditional and dependent on our decision to accept His friend-request. In order to be His friend we have to do what He says. A friend is one who is attached to another by affection or esteem. Friends are companions, confidants, and comrades. Jesus goes on to say in verse 15: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” But to be called a friend of Jesus, we must first be born again (John 3:3). Once we’ve established a relationship with Christ and have repented of our sins, we are Jesus’ friends. If we do whatever we please and flout His commands, our friendship with Christ is broken. He continues to love us, but friendship must be mutual.
Wonderful Savior and Friend: What a privilege it is to say that I am a friend of Jesus. Thank you for that honor; I am eternally grateful. Help to always make decisions that follow what You have asked of me in your Word. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
4 cups zucchini – grated
1 small onion – chopped
3 tablespoons butter, melted
3 eggs – beaten
½ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 cup breadcrumbs
1 cup Cheddar or Provolone, grated
Combine all ingredients except cheese; spread in a greased 9×13-inch baking dish and top with cheese. Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until center is set
If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.
– John 15:10
Christ is the focus of the Father’s love and we are instructed to pattern our lives after Him. As are all the other “ifs” in the Bible, this is a decision that falls within our jurisdiction. We can choose to obey what Jesus tells us and reap the joyous benefits of eternal life with Him, or ignore what He has to say and pay the penalty of our sin. Jesus tells us in verse 11 that the reason He tells us to obey His commands is so His joy may be in us and that our joy may be complete. This is a serious issue if we truly meditate on what Christ is saying. To not obey God’s Word means to be separated from the Father’s love and have no communion with Him. So, how does one stay in the Father’s love? We are told to read God’s Word and do what He says to (John 14:23). If we do, we will remain in our wonderful Father’s love.
Heavenly Father: Thank you for showing your love to us in your Son Jesus. Thank you Jesus for showing us how to love our Father by obeying His will and honoring His Word. I choose this day and forever to live in obedience to your will. Please receive my actions, my words, and my thoughts as my offering of praise to you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
6 ears fresh corn
¼ cup butter
3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour blended with 1 tablespoon water
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¾ cup milk or half and half
Cut corn from cobs; scrape with sharp knife to get pulp and juice. Melt butter in large pan. Stir in corn and juices, 3 tablespoons water, and sugar. Cook until corn tender. Stir in flour-water mixture, salt, and pepper, blending well. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly. Cook about 2 minutes longer. Do not boil.