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

The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him when he disobeys, and the wickedness of the wicked man will not cause him to fall when he turns from it. -Ezekiel 33:12

God is faithful and fair when it comes to judging His children. In this verse we are told that those who once lived righteous lives but fall back into sin will be held accountable for their sins, should they die without repenting. But, if they do repent and turn back to God they will be forgiven. We cannot count on our former acts of righteousness to save us, but repentance is foremost to salvation. On the other hand, if a wicked person, living a sinful disobedient life, turns away from his sin and asks God for pardon, He will surely forgive them.  This happens through the free gift of salvation in Jesus Christ and God remembers their sins no more. God wants our relationship with Him to be present, future, and forevermore. We must examine ourselves daily and ask Jesus to cleanse our hearts and make us pure before His eyes.  1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will purify us from all unrighteousness.”

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for the gift of salvation in Your Son Jesus. Cleanse my heart today of any unrighteousness and unconfessed sin. It is You I long to serve and not the things of this world. When I struggle with certain areas of my life send Your Holy Spirit to walk with me so that I might become strong and not give in to temptation. May I be renewed each day and assured of my eternal home, forever with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Help me Lord to live for You, and turn from evil ways.
That I might surrender all, and serve You all my days.
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SCALLOPED CHICKEN

3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
2 cups chicken broth ( bouillon cubes okay)
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cups cooked rice
3 cups cooked chicken
8 oz. package fresh mushrooms, sliced
½ cup slivered almonds
1 (4 ounce) jar pimientos, drained (optional)
* 1 cup buttered bread crumbs

Melt butter over low heat; add flour and blend well. Add chicken broth, milk, salt, and pepper. Stir constantly over medium heat until thickened. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and spread half the rice on bottom. Top with half the chicken, half the mushrooms, half the almonds, and half the pimientos. Pour half of sauce over top. Repeat layers and top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. * (Pulse 3-4 slices of bread in a food processor to make crumbs. Melt 1-2 tablespoons butter and toss with crumbs).

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Made to be Watchmen

Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. ~ Ezekiel 33:7

God instructed Ezekiel to be a faithful watchman and warn the people about the forthcoming judgment of God, if they didn’t turn from sin and obey His Word. We are all called to be watchmen and have the responsibility of telling others about the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. God said if we don’t then we will be accountable for their blood, should they perish without knowing Him. If we warn the lost and they refuse to accept the plan of salvation then their blood is on themselves and we are not held accountable. Matthew 28:19 tells us to go into the world and make disciples of all peoples, teaching them to obey everything that God’s Word commands.

Dear Heavenly Father:  It is a privilege and honor to know You and share Your plan of salvation with others. There are times though when I am timid and reluctant, therefore, don’t follow through with my responsibilities of being a watchman. For this I ask You to forgive me. Strengthen me and guide me with Your Holy Spirit to be bold when sharing Your Good News. May I feel compelled to speak about Your love and grace to those who don’t know Your Son as Savior and Lord. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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A watchman for Your house O Lord is what I want to be.
Taking Jesus to the world so they might be set free.
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TEX-MEX MACARONI CASSEROLE

1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, chopped
2 packages Taco seasoning mix
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
2 cups water
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup frozen corn
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies, undrained (optional)
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

Partially cook meat in skillet; drain. Add onion and cook until meat brown and onions tender. Add all other ingredients except for cheese.  Cover and cook for 12 minutes or until macaroni tender, stirring frequently.  Add cheese and stir.  Serve with sides of sliced olives, lettuce, tomatoes, sour cream, or salsa, as desired.  Serves 6-8.

 

 

A Heart of Flesh

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God. But, as for those whose hearts are devoted to their vile images and detestable idols, I will bring down on their own heads what they have done, declares the Sovereign Lord. ~ Ezekiel 11:19-21

These words were spoken by God through the prophet Ezekiel concerning the people of Judah who had been taken into Babylonian captivity. They had rebelled against God and were sent away out of their home-land as a judgment from God for their sin and idolatry. A remnant of these people was being returned to their land. Because of their change of heart, they would remove all the vile images and detestable idols that were there and worship the one true God. Ezekiel prophesized that God would pour out His Holy Spirit on these people and empower them to live according to His will and Law. We also have the same Spirit of God to give us the wisdom and strength we need to live as God’s Word tells us. When we accept His plan for our lives by inviting Jesus to be our Savior, we are eager to abandon our old lifestyle and beliefs and follow after the decrees of the Lord. Our hearts of stone become hearts of flesh and we are forgiven, restored, and renewed by the love and grace of the Sovereign Lord.

Heavenly Father:  What an awesome Savior You are! Even though You knew that Your children would rebel and sin against You, You still created and loved us. Thank You! Forgive me and reveal to me if there are any detestable ways in my life that would disgrace Your Name. Show me ways I might change so that others would be anxious to know the God I serve. Thank You for taking my heart of stone and turning it into a heart of flesh. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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A heart of stone is what I had, before my Savior came.
And then I gave my heart to Him, and now it’s not the same.
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IMPOSSIBLE CHEESEBURGER PIE

1 pound ground beef
1 cup chopped onion
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
½ cup Bisquick baking mix
2 eggs

Cook ground beef 1-2 minutes; drain. Add chopped onions and cook until meat done and onions tender. Add salt and spread into a greased 9-inch pie pan. Sprinkle with cheese. Mix together the milk, Bisquick, and eggs until blended. Pour on top of beef mixture. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes or until knife inserted into center comes out clean.

 

You, O Lord, reign forever, Your throne endures from generation to generation ~Lamentations 5:19

In the beginning was God, and always will He be. Though nations, rulers, leaders, and all who have any authority at all, have tried to destroy the Word of God from going forth, He continues to reign forever in the hearts and lives of those of us who know Him as Savior and Lord. When we have endured life and its struggles, disappointments, and hurts, our hope is affirmed in knowing that God is with us forever, infinitely seated high on His throne.   He is wise and holy, just and good, unchangeable and unmovable, mighty and strong, and all-sufficient and almighty. God is our Provider, Our Healer, and the Lifter of our souls. He is our Savior and our Redeemer, and He reigns forever and ever, now and forever more.

Dear Father in Heaven: You are the One, the Holy and anointed One – great is Your Name in all the world. I praise and honor You as my Savior and Lord. No matter what the circumstances may be in my life, my heart is encouraged by knowing that You are there, seated on Your throne. Forgive me when I take my eyes off of You and allow discouragements to steal away my hope. Help me Lord to trust You more, knowing that You are, and forever will You be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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You O Lord forever reign; Your end will never be.
Seated high upon Your throne, one day for all to see.
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WHITE BEAN SOUP

2 (15-ounce) cans navy beans, drained and rinsed
2 (14½-ounce) cans chicken broth
1 cup water
1 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¾ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
½ – ¾ cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded

Combine beans, broth, water, onion, and garlic in a large pan. Add chicken, spices, and chilies. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. If thick soup is desired, remove lid from pan and cook longer. Pour into bowls and top each with shredded cheese.

Let us examine our ways and test them, and let us return to the Lord.
~ Lamentations 3:40
You came near when I called You, and You said,Do not fear.”
~ Lamentations 3:57
O Lord, You took up my case; You redeemed my life. ~
Lamentations 3:58

Judah had been destroyed because of God’s judgment on their wickedness and rebellion. The prophet Jeremiah expressed his deep emotional pain and grief as he lamented for the people of that nation. He knew that the God he loved and served would be fair and just while dealing with the sin and depravity of the people. Jeremiah urged them to examine their ways, repent, and turn back to God. Because Jeremiah had so much compassion for the lost, he too repented and sought after the Lord. He believed God would show mercy to those who looked to Him. We must also search our hearts to see if there is any unconfessed sin, and turn to God for repentance and restoration. He loves us and hears us when we call. He knows all about us, and in spite of that, has taken our case and redeemed our lives.

Dear Father in Heaven:  You are the great Redeemer of my life and I thank You for the hope that is in You. Please forgive me for those areas of stronghold in my life, and show me how to walk in truth and freedom from those things. Thank You for Your Son Jesus who has heard my cry and has taken my case before You. There, because I seek You and Your will for my life, You have redeemed me and restored my life. For this, I thank You and praise Your Holy Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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You heard me when I called Your Name, and told me not to fear.
If I seek Your will and way, I know that You’ll be near.
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STOVE TOP STUFFING MEATLOAF

1 cup finely chopped onions (about 1 large)
¼ cup Zesty Italian Salad Dressing
2 pounds lean ground beef
¾ cup ketchup, divided
1 (6-ounce package) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for chicken
1 cup water
2 eggs
½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (optional)

Sauté onions in salad dressing in a small skillet until they tender. In a bowl, mix onions, salad dressing, meat, half of the ketchup, Stove Top stuffing mix, water, and eggs. Place in a 13 x 9-inch dish and shape into an oval loaf. Spread the remaining ketchup over top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour, or until thoroughly cooked. Sprinkle with cheese and bake an additional 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope; Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.” ~ Lamentations 3:21-23

The prophet Jeremiah wrote the five chapters of Lamentation to express his intense sorrow and emotional pain over the tragic devastation and downfall of Jerusalem and Judah. The tragedy was a result of God’s judgment for their centuries of rebellion against Him. Jeremiah acknowledged that God was righteous and just in his wrath toward these unrepentant people, but also recognized that there was hope in the midst of their despair. Even though the people deserved their punishment, Jeremiah had hope and relied on God’s compassion and mercy to renew his strength each and every day. He wanted the people to know that if they trusted and waited on the Lord, He would restore them and give them purpose. We too become weary with the circumstances, afflictions, and disappointments of life, but God is our portion and everything we need. If we look to Him, trust in Him, and wait on Him, His mercy and love will renew our strength and hope each and every day.

Dear Father in Heaven:  My hope is in You and Your love and compassion renew my strength each and every morning. Great is Your love and faithfulness to Your children. Thank You for Your mercy and grace, and for loving me, even when I am unlovely. Please forgive me for allowing the enemy to rob me of precious time with You, and for not trusting and waiting on You to aid me in my circumstances and afflictions. I love You, my Lord, and thank You for being my portion and everything I need. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Faithful are Your ways O Lord, and new for me each day.
If I trust and wait for You, and in Your will I stay.
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BUFFALO CHICKEN WRAPS

2/3 cup Franks Red Hot Sauce
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts, sliced in long strips
¼ cup blue cheese salad dressing (Ranch may be substituted)
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese (Mozzarella may be substituted)
1 cup shredded lettuce
4-6 tortilla shells (10-inch best)

Pour 1/3 cup Frank’s sauce into a plastic resealable food bag with chicken breasts. Marinate in refrigerator at least thirty minutes or overnight. Grill, sauté, or bake the chicken until thoroughly cooked – about 20 minutes. Toss chicken with remaining 1/3 cup Frank’s sauce and salad dressing. Arrange on tortilla shells along with cheese and lettuce. Fold up bottom third of shell over meat mixture and then fold in one side. Roll up tightly and cut in half to serve.

Babylon or Jerusalem?

Babylon must fall because of Israel’s slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. You who have escaped the sword, leave and do not linger! Remember the Lord in a distant land, and think on Jerusalem.
~ Jeremiah 51:49-50

The city of Babylon was one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world when it was under the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar. Israel’s chosen people were held in captivity there until God freed them. While there, they lived ungodly immoral lives and committed every kind of sin known to man. Babylon became known as a place of wickedness and moral decay. It still represents a place of spiritual lostness in our lives today. The opposite of Babylon is Jerusalem, the city where God freed and restored the people who were willing to repent and turn back to Him. Here on earth, we have two spiritual places to be – Babylon or Jerusalem. Being in Babylon is the place where we are before accepting Jesus as Savior. Jerusalem is the place we are when we have chosen to repent and turn from sin. Jesus is the only One Who is able to lead us out of Babylon and into Jerusalem. He was appointed by God and without following Him out of our spiritual bondage and captivity, we will be eternally lost and left behind in a spiritual Babylon. The Babylonian captivity is symbolic. It simply gives a name to sin’s captivity, and illustrates human attachment to wickedness. Christianity is the only road out of Babylon. It is the only way out of sin. But where paganism (secularism) rules, Babylon remains and salvation is rejected. Jesus will return one day, after the entire world has been warned to change its ways and turn to embrace Him. He will gather all mankind into judgment for the way in which we lived our lives. The choice is ours – Babylon or Jerusalem.

Heavenly Father:  Thank You for paying the price so that I might know salvation and live eternally with You. You rescued me and led me out of Babylon and into Jerusalem. I was dead spiritually, but You restored me, and now I am alive. Reveal to me those things You desire that would strengthen my walk with You and help me to be a part of leading others from Babylon into Jerusalem.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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Jesus is the only way, to leave a life of sin.
He is the One I want to serve, so peace I’ll have within.
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CREAMY SPINACH PARMESAN (low carb)

2 tablespoons butter
1 small clove garlic, minced
1 large bunch of spinach, washed well, drained, chopped
½ cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (fresh grated is best)

Melt butter in skillet; sauté garlic for 1 minute. Add spinach; cook on medium heat, uncovered, until spinach is wilted and most of moisture is gone (about 2-3 tablespoons juice remaining). Add cream and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add Parmesan cheese; mix.

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