Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be shaken but endures forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore. Psalm 125:1-2

I just want to encourage you today.

Don’t give up. Be steadfast like the mountains.

Continue to persevere in doing good, serving The Lord, and following His ways.

I know there are times when the world or even friends and family will persecute you for your stance or actions in the name of The Lord, but let it discourage you.

Don’t be shaken.

Continue to trust in The Lord.

Our Father will surround you with His strength, presence, protection, and blessings. He is all you need.

The Supplier of our Needs

Good ole Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “need” as “a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism”. The KJV Dictionary states the Bible defines “need” as “to compel To want; to lack; to require, as supply or relief.” There is such a sense of urgency in the KJV definition, don’t you think? I can totally relate to the Biblical definition of “need”.

Lately, I’ve been struggling with needing a lot of relief. I’ve been trying to balance all of my duties as a wife, mom of 4, homeschooler, church volunteer, all while trying to help my family financially through this blog and our family business, Treasured Sparrow Designs. It’s much more than one can bear, and there are days when I am simply exhausted. In fact, I’ve been feeling pretty guilty about not posting more on this blog…

However, I have a Father who knows my need and is the Provider of my needs or relief just as He provides for the birds of the air, lilies of the field, and bees of the garden. If He carries them, how much more will He carry me. In fact, He has lifted me today through His Word and I’m forever grateful for this relief:

Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Matthew 6:25 Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?

Matthew 6:32-33 For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Psalm 37:4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 40:17 As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!

Psalm 23:1 A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Philippians 4:11-12 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

Proverbs 10:3 he Lord does not let the righteous go hungry, but he thwarts the craving of the wicked.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap!

This is an interesting looking trap isn’t it? It’s brightly colored, ginormous, and even though is clearly a trap, it looks almost like a huge toy on a playground. No matter how interesting it looks, it is still a trap. If something sets it off, it is going to get crushed.

The enemy is constantly trying to tempt us with fun and intriguing things. Lately, he’s been trying to lure me into his trap. He’s been trying to get me to give up and give in. There are days, when I’m so weary of doing what is good and right that I am almost willing to fall face first into that trap.

I am tired, exhausted, burned out, weary of being fighting for what is right…of being peculiar. It seems like the influence of the world is constantly pulling at my family and friends. The enemy is using the pull of popular culture and society to try to pull me and my loved ones down into the trap.

As a parent, I set rules and boundaries for my family to keep them grounded in God’s word and family values. However, there is the constant pull from television, radio, magazines, books, and other people who contradict those values. There is even the pull from within to be complacent or lazy by spending more time watching tv than reading the Bible. Electronic devices are addictive and have more temptations than we can possibly count.

Televisions and devices can be turned off, unplugged, or even taken away to prevent temptations. Relationships are another story. Well meaning friends and family just don’t understand why I don’t want my television on 24/7. They think we are being too conservative or sticks-in-the-mud for not allowing our children to watch popular television shows. They say everyone watches it. It’s just things they see every day on the street. What’s the difference? They don’t understand why we set time limits and curfews on devices.

First of all, just because things happen in our world every day does not mean we should inundate our children with those activities. We shouldn’t desensitize them to them, making them believe that the immoral and reprehensible are the norm. Think about it–murders happen out on the street every day, but we don’t sit our children down on the street corner in front of criminal activity with a bag of popcorn and a soda and call it family entertainment. That’s essentially what we are doing every single time we turn on the boob tube.

We are called to be a peculiar people. We are NOT called to be like everyone else, to fit in, to become the social norm. This is, however, what the world will tell you. If you are like me, you struggle for so long pulling toward God in this tug of war against the enemy. He pulls so hard and for so long and he even sends those closest to you to roll their eyes, argue, and entice you to give up the fight and fall into the trap.

I have to be honest with you. I am soooo tired of pulling on the rope trying to keep my loved ones on God’s side, and I am sure you are too. BUT as The Lord has reminded me lately a little hard work and dirt from digging in my heels is a small price to pay compared to falling into the trap, especially when I think about the fact that my loved ones will fall into the trap with me.

We have got to stay diligent and consistent. The cost of giving up is too great. I just want to encourage you today to remain godly “peculiar”. Don’t let the enemy make you feel like you are alone in the fight. You aren’t alone. There are so many of us out there who are freakishly conservative as the world may call us.

We are called by God to be a peculiar people–peculiar in how we are entertained, peculiar in how we treat and respect others, peculiar in our speech, thoughts, and actions, peculiar in how we wisely we spend our time. The enemy wants us to believe being peculiar is strange, weird, and complicated. Guess what? It is all of those things, but at stake is the eternal destination of ourselves and our loved ones. There should be no question as to where we stand. Hang in there. Do not fall into the fight. You are not alone. Keep moving closer to God.

Titus 2:14 “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Romans 12:1-2 “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”

Deuteronomy 12:6 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth”

1 John 2:15 “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world”

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

The Task of Pruning our Beloved Tree

We have a massive River Birch tree in our front yard. It is gorgeous, provides much needed shade, and has been home to many precious families of birds over the years. Unfortunately, it grows so rapidly and wildly that it is taking over our yard and our home. It was planted too close to our home by the builders when they built our home 15 years ago. It has grown so quickly that it is taller than our two story home and almost half as wide as our home and attached garage. It is taking over our yard and home, and we aren’t sure what to do about it. 

Continue reading at our contributor post on Raising Homemakers here.

Take a Moment to UNPLUG!

Unplug.No more excuses. Just do it!Take time during summer vacations to unplug. Go somewhere without wifi or even phone service. We camp frequently and some of my favorite camping spots are those where we can be completely

unplugged.

Vacations are meant for uninterrupted time with family, for making memories, and opportunities for God to bless you beyond measure.

Families need to get back to the basics of reading books,

playing board games, staying up late laughing, going on long walks,

enjoying God’s creation,

discovering and learning together.Time passes so very quickly, and moments spent staring at a screen can never be retrieved. Once they are gone, they are either wasted or embraced.

We want God to bless us with miracles and abundant blessings. He does this every day, yet at the end of the day we feel empty but full of regret for the moments we let slip by us. No electronic device can give you what you long for.Think ahead to the future and what types of devices your future generations will hold in their hands. Do you want your children and grandchildren to rely on the power that drains their family, or do you want them to thrive on the power of God and leading their families, making memories, and seizing the day? You set the example. They aren’t going to do what you say. They are going to do what you do. You have to make a choice to intentionally unplug the lifeless electronics and plug your heart into your family and all of the precious treasures God has in store for you and your family. They are only young once. Before you know it, you’ll be like me: wondering where the time is going as my second child graduates high school…

Please, UNPLUG! It’s one of the most powerful, rewarding, fulfilling decisions you will ever make.

All Natural Granola Bar Recipe

Granola bars are a staple in our home.  My children think they are the perfect snack, and I do too. They are a combination of savory and sweet, are convenient for on-the-go snacking, and the can be healthy when they contain the right ingredients. Today, I’m sharing my recipe for all natural granola bars over on the Raising Homemakers blog. Visit here for the recipe.

granola bars

Shielding Your Family from This Season’s Germs

As a family of six, whenever we are exposed to viruses we try to take as many precautions as we can to prevent the spread of germs. We have our routine preventative measures, but we also employ extra methods to prevent the spread of germs. Otherwise, it is going to run its course through our entire home and can take a month or more to leave us.

One thing we do on a regular basis is keep our toothbrushes covered with those plastic covers. I use natural toothpaste that is white and my toothbrush cover is also white so when I see it looking a little dirty, it disgusts me. I disinfect and clean it often, but I always worry about germs that may be lurking on it and jumping onto my toothbrush. I mean, that kinda defeats the who purpose.
toothbrushes

Recently, I was introduced to IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields. They are made of breathable material that allows your toothbrush to dry. These sleeves simply slide down right over the head of your toothbrush. They are actually disposable, so you don’t have to take the time to disinfect them.

My children really appreciated not having to try to turn they plastic covers a certain way to lock them into place. There is no wrong side of the toothbrush shields, so they are able to just slip them over the toothbrush and go.

They are tested and proven to be effective for up to seven days, so you don’t have to use a new one each day. They are compact which makes them easy to store in our already crowded bathrooms, and they work well for travel.

I don’t know about you, but I really enjoy it when I am able to let go of some tasks and worries. It’s been nice to not have to clean my old plastic toothbrush cover. It’s been even nicer not to worry about germs that might be trapped or growing on the plastic holders and as a result all of our toothbrushes and into our bodies.

They also have mouthpiece shields that work well for retainers. My oldest wears a retainer every night. She attends college and works in the food industry. She brings home lots of germs, so having a mouthpiece shield gives peace of mind as well. Plastic retainer keepers containers can be disgusting.

I highly recommend IntelliDent Shields. If you’d like more information about them, you can contact them directly at info@toothbrushshield.com or on their website.

To prevent the spread of germs, we use preventives and immunity boosters through essential oils and other natural sources. We always keep a safe distance from anyone in our home who is sick. We make sure we keep our children home when they are sick and don’t share germs with others.  We don’t eat or drink after each other. We don’t eat off of the ground or floor. I know everyone says a little dirt never hurt anyone, but that is just disgusting. Do you realize how much animal feces and bacteria we step on outside and then bring inside our home from our shoes onto our floors. You can get hook worms and other parasites from these nasty practices and many times not know it until you become very sick. These can also be spread to your family members. Ultimately, we try to provide a clean environment for our family to prevent as much sickness as possible.

I pray you and your family practice good hygiene, take measures to prevent the spread of bacteria and germs, and that you have a healthy season!

*I have not received compensation for this post, but I did receive IntelliDent Toothbrush Shields to review.