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

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.

I Know the Plans

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah told the people of Judah that after seventy years of captivity God would deliver them and restore their lives. Even though they had turned their backs on God many times, He did not abandon them. Instead, He had plans to bring peace and prosperity to those who separated themselves from the people who wanted nothing to do with God. The Lord wanted them to know that no matter what they were going through, He was still in control. God is sovereign and works out His purposes, at times even using the evil plans of evil men. He redeems our suffering and our trials and uses them for His glory. We have the promise from Jesus Himself that He is with us, having overcome the World. Every believer can have peace and the confidence in God’s sovereign control of all events. As we do, God will give us peace. No matter what the circumstances may be, we are aliens and strangers here and our hope is not in this world. Rather, our Hope is Jesus Christ! So delight in Him; seek His face and know the peace of God.

Heavenly Father:  There are times when I am weary and discouraged, but You are there loving, forgiving, and bringing me hope. Give me faith to not waiver in my trust of You and may I  have courage to press on and not give into circumstances and feelings. Thank You for loving me and for giving me a bright future in Christ Jesus. In His Name, Amen.

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Great plans God has in store for me; in Him I put my trust.
Knowing that He cares for me; to serve Him is a must.
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FOIL-PACK CHICKEN DINNER

1 can cream of mushroom soup
1¾ cups water, divided
1 package (6 ounces) Stove Top Stuffing Mix for Chicken
6 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves
4 slices of thin sliced smoked ham, chopped
1½ cups sliced fresh mushrooms (optional)
1½ cups frozen peas (green beans or carrots okay)

Mix soup and ¼ cup water; set aside. Combine stuffing mix and remaining 1½ cups water; spoon evenly onto center of each of six large sheets of heavy-duty foil that have been greased or sprayed. Top each with one chicken breast. Cover evenly with ham, mushrooms, peas and soup mixture. Bring up foil sides. Double-fold top and both ends to seal each packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside. Place packets on baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Remove packets from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Place one packet on each of six plates; cut slits in foil with a sharp knife to release steam before opening.

No Shame?

“Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 8:12

The people of Judah lived in sin and disobedience to God’s Law. The leaders of that day made things worse because they distorted the Word so severely that the people believed they could live any way they wanted without any condemnation. They eventually abandoned any desire they once had to serve God, and showed no shame for their sin. Just because they thought there would be no judgment for their sin didn’t mean that one day the Almighty would not come and be their Judge. There are many of us today who believe the same way the people of Judah did, and no longer feel a sense of conviction or shame for disobedience to God’s Word. We become desensitized to the blatant sin and immorality that is all around us and no longer blush at nudity, profanity, or illicit sexual scenes in movies, magazines, or on TV. Many churches have accepted sin and sugar-coat it so to not step on any toes or offend anyone. The Apostle Paul warned us in Romans 1:24-32 that if we continue to reject the Holy Spirit’s conviction concerning sin, our souls will eventually become hard and unable  to be converted. We must come to God, through the redemption plan that He gave us in His Son Jesus, while there is still time.

Dear Heavenly Father:  Please forgive me for my sin. I want nothing else but to live for You and be found acceptable in Your sight. Show me ways and help me to do my part to bring morality back to this nation. Thank You for Your Holy Spirit Who convicts me when I am tempted. You are a wonderful Lord and I thank You for redeeming my soul. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Convict me Lord of sin and shame; let not my heart grow cold.
Help me live to honor You, as in Your Word I’m told.
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HOT CHICKEN SALAD CASSEROLE

4 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup Miracle Whip
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can sliced water chestnuts
1 cup chopped celery
½ cup slivered almonds
1-2 tablespoons grated onion
1 cup cooked rice
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
1 cup Corn Flakes
1 stick butter, melted

Mix all ingredients except for last two. Pour into a greased casserole dish. Combine corn flakes and butter; pour overtop. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes until bubbly.

I Cannot Keep Silent

“Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me; I cannot keep silent.” ~Jeremiah 4:19a

God called Jeremiah to minister to the sinful people of Judah. He had a very sensitive and broken heart for the lost and often wept before the Lord on their behalf. Though he was a lonely and rejected man he was one of the boldest and bravest of all the prophets. Because of his deep compassion and burden for those who rejected God, Jeremiah was often called the “weeping prophet.” He often expressed his grief and loyalty to God by weeping and whaling before Him. Jeremiah knew that God’s judgment would be upon the people if they didn’t repent, and this deeply saddened him. The sorrow and agony he felt because of sin, idolatry, and rebellion is also what we should feel for those who are without Christ. The very thought of people being destroyed by sin and spending eternity in Hell should be enough to cause our hearts to pound with agony and our lips unable to be kept silent of proclaiming God’s Word.

Heavenly Father:  You have called Your children to take the Good News of Your love and grace to a lost and dying world. Without You they have no hope. I repent of the times in my life when I held back and did not proclaim Your Truth to those who You placed in my path. Help me Lord to be stronger with my testimony and witness so that You would be glorified in the lives of those once lost. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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My heart is heavy for the lost; their souls I want to win.
That they might follow after You, and rid their lives of sin.
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EASY CHEESY MEAT LOAF

1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
¾ cup quick-cooking oats
¼ cup finely chopped onion
1 egg
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon parsley or oregano
½ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 (8-ounce) package mozzarella or Cheddar cheese

Combine all ingredients except the cheese; mix well. Divide the mixture into thirds. Pat a third portion into the bottom of a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan. Cover with half of the cheese. Repeat layers, ending with the meat mixture. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees.

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