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

IF

If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. – Psalms 91:9-10

A refuge is a shelter or a place of safety. The Psalmist describes the Lord as our protector and safe haven. Life’s storms might portray themselves in any number of ways. Evil is lurking around trying to find someone or something to damage and destroy. But, when we look to God as our refuge, everything will work together for our spiritual good and benefit (Romans 8:28), no matter what the challenges may be. Though we may not be aware of the wickedness of this dark world (Ephesians 6:12), it is real. We must call on the Most High to rescue us. IF we do, our place of safety is found in the Lord.

Thank you Father for being my dwelling place and shelter in the time of storm. When I look to you as my refuge, you are there to protect me and bring me to safety. Help me to always put my trust in you. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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SWISS CHICKEN CASSEROLE

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4-6 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
¼ cup milk
2 cups herb-seasoned stuffing mix
¼ cup sliced almonds (optional)
¼ cup butter

Arrange chicken in a greased casserole dish. Top with cheese slices. Combine soup and milk; mix well and pour over chicken. Cover with stuffing mix and almonds. Drizzle with butter. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

IF

If they obey and serve him (God), they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. But if they do not listen, they will perish by the sword and die without knowledge. – Job 36:11, 12

Job was a righteous man who loved God even when Satan, with permission by God, killed his family, afflicted him physically, and destroyed all of his earthly possessions. Job’s friends searched for answers as to why he was afflicted, and a young man named Elihu also offered his insight into the meaning. He believed Job’s suffering involved God’s redemptive purpose of further purifying him. Elihu, in these two verses, says that if we obey and serve God, even in our afflictions, persecutions, and circumstances, repent of our sins, and seek God’s mercy by obeying and serving Him, prosperity will come. And on the contrary, if we do not listen and obey God, we will die in our lost state and suffer the consequences of an eternal Hell. It is always our choice to accept the plan God gave us for salvation, or say no thank you and pay the consequences of our sin. If we obey and serve God . . . the decision is ours.

Dear Lord: You are the reason for my existence and I choose this day to repent of my sin, and obey and serve You. Help me to not lose heart when trials and afflictions come my way. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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EASY CHEESY TOMATO MELT

2 ounces mozzarella cheese
4 slices of tomatoes
2 slices bread
Italian seasoning (optional)

Put tomato slices, cheese, and seasoning on bread. Broil until cheese melted.

IF

If you return to the LORD, then your brothers and your children will be shown compassion by their captors and will come back to this land, for the LORD your God is gracious and compassionate. He will not turn his face from you if you return to him. –2 Chronicles 30:9

True revival brings conviction, repentance, confession, and the conversion of sinners and recovery of backsliders. Through King Hezekiah, God brought forth both revival and reformation to Judah. He had a heart for God and wanted the entire nation to return to the Lord, reunite in repentant worship centered around the temple, and be restored to the Lord’s covenant favor. Though many mocked Hezekiah, some responded openly and humbly. The same is true today for those who witness for Christ. Because Christianity is constantly under siege in the government and in our education systems, it is getting harder and harder to publicly express our faith with others. But. . . it can and should be done while there is still opportunity. The Lord our God is gracious and compassionate and will not turn his face from those who come to Him with repentant hearts.

Gracious Lord: You are the God of compassion and mercy; daily I seek Your forgiveness and grace. Give me strength and wisdom to reach the lost in a world that frowns on Biblical Truth. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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CHICKEN RANCH TACOS (crockpot)

2 -3 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning mix
1 packet ranch mix
1 cup chicken broth

Pour both dried mixes into crockpot; add broth and mix well.  Add chicken breasts. Cook on low 4 – 6 hours or until chicken starts to fall apart.  Remove from crockpot and shred.  Serve with taco shells and toppings.

IF

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. -2 Chronicles 7:14

This was God’s response to King Solomon’s prayer concerning provisions for the people when they sinned. Though God was addressing the Israelites (His people), it is also for Christians today. To humble means to submit; so God is saying that if we submit to Him, pray with a true repentant heart, seek to be in His presence and know Him passionately, and TURN from our sin and wickedness, He will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land. True repentance is more than asking to be forgiven – it is changing our behavior. Whether we sin individually, as a group, or as a nation, we must follow these steps God gave us that lead to forgiveness. It is then that God will answer our earnest prayer and heal our land.

Heavenly Father: With a submissive heart I repent of my sin and seek your forgiveness and grace. As I abandon the wickedness in my life help me to be strong and courageous when temptation comes. I prayerfully submit my will to Yours, and look for healing for my family, my church, my country, and me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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HONEY LEMON PEPPER SALMON

4-6 salmon fillets
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon lemon pepper

Place salmon on greased baking sheet. Drizzle butter and honey over the top. Sprinkle with lemon pepper. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.

IF

I will establish his kingdom forever if he is unswerving in carrying out my commands and laws, as is being done at this time. So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel and of the assembly of the LORD, and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the LORD your God, that you may possess this good land and pass it on as an inheritance to your descendants forever. -1 Chronicles 28:7,8

God told King David that his son Solomon would take his place of sitting on the throne as King of Israel. But Solomon had a condition to meet before he could establish the kingdom God entrusted to him. If Solomon would not swerve from carrying out the commands and laws of God, his kingdom would be forever established. God warned Solomon to be careful to follow all His commands in order to possess the promises He had for him and his descendants. God’s Word is Truth and rules above anything and everything else in our lives. If we are obedient to God’s commands, He is faithful to keep His promises to each one of us.

Uncompromising Father: You deserve all glory, honor, and praise! I am so grateful to you for giving me hope and a future. Because I have chosen to obey your commands and laws, your blessings are mine to hold. Thank you Jesus! In Your Name, Amen.

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CHICKEN FAJITAS (crock-pot)

3-4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 peppers (green, red and yellow), sliced
1 onion, sliced
1 package taco seasoning mix
Flour or corn tortillas
Toppings – sour cream, cheese, guacamole, lettuce, salsa, etc.

Slice peppers and onions; place on bottom of crock-pot. Put chicken on top. Sprinkle with taco seasoning. Cook on low 6-8 hrs (or high 3-4). Shred chicken and mix with peppers and onions. Serve with tortillas and toppings.

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.

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