Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
The apostle Paul was imprisoned for preaching the Gospel of Jesus. His calling from the Lord was unique and significant. He had urgent and important messages to convey and write about. Reading through Philippians 4 recently, I was struck by a few verses that Paul took the time to pause and write: “I plead with you Eudia and I plead with you Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with…the rest of the fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.” Philippians 4:2-3
The disagreement between these siblings in the Lord was causing division and disunity, so much so that Paul wrote about it in this public letter. The NIV Study Bible note indicates that Paul’s handling of the situation is a model for us. He did not take sides. Rather, he encouraged other believers close to these women to promote reconciliation.
In Christian marriages, we ought to pay special attention to these commands of the Lord.
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Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Here is her recipe for Southern Peanut Butter Dip:
Now, back to our regularly-scheduled post of Award-Winning Dip Recipes.
Above: Lucille and Buddy
Lucille won for Most Unique Appetizer Dip
Below: Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball by LauraAbove: Shannon, Me and Laura. Laura won for Favorite Dessert Dip.Click here for Laura's recipe for: Chocolate Chip Cheese Ball
So, those were our four Award-Winning Dips from our First Annual SerenDIPity! All of the dips our guests brought were delicious, creative and fun!
© 2010 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.
Friday, March 19, 2010
"He who loves a pure heart and whose speech is gracious will have the king for his friend."
More pictures coming soon! And congratulations to TONYA who will be receiving the Kari Jobe Worship CD!
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Happy St. Patrick's Day! Are you wearing GREEN today?
St. Patrick's Day is a pretty big day in our home. Jim and I both have some Irish heritage, with my mom being 100% Irish and Jim's dad being partly Irish. And this Irish Lassie was born on St. Patrick's Day! I had green birthday cakes my whole childhood (except one year when I asked my mom for a Philadelphia Flyers Ice Hockey Team cake). St. Patrick was a missionary and shared the Gospel of Jesus faithfully! It's fun sharing a day with Pat!
Our young Lad and Lassie are wearing green today. We made Irish Soda Bread yesterday to enjoy today. It's an Irish kind of day!
Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive!
Enjoy your day today! Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day!
Oh my heart is so humbled and touched. My dear friend, Wendy Blight, just blessed me so much! Thank you, Wendy. I just saw your post as I am finishing this one. I am humbled. May HE bless you to overflowing!
"Your statutes are my heritage forever; they are the joy of my heart." Psalm 119:111
Gabrielle and her dear, lovely friend Emily
Monday, March 15, 2010
“…find out what pleases the Lord.”
Ephesians 5:10 (NIV)
1 Timothy 2:1-4 – Live Peaceful and Quiet Lives in All Godliness and Holiness
“I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
Proverbs 15:8 – Prayer
“…prayer of the upright pleases Him.”
Colossians 3:20 – Children Obeying Their Parents
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
Hebrews 11:6 – Faith in Christ
“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
Psalm 69:30-31 – Praising God’s Name in Song and Glorifying Him With Thanksgiving
“I will praise God's name in song and glorify Him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD.”
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 – How We Live
1 Thessalonians 4 -- Living to Please God
"Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit. Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.”
1 Timothy 5:3-4 – Helping Widows, Family and Those in Need
“Give proper recognition to those widows who are really in need. But if a widow has children or grandchildren, these should learn first of all to put their religion into practice by caring for their own family and so repaying their parents and grandparents, for this is pleasing to God.”
“Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way. As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food] is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
The Blessings of Pleasing God!
Ecclesiastes 2:26: “To the man who pleases Him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness…”
Psalm 37:23-24: “If the LORD delights in a man's way, He makes his steps firm; though he stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with His hand.” Woo hoo!
Proverbs 16:7: “When a man's ways are pleasing to the LORD, he makes even his enemies live at peace with him.” WOW!
Dear Lord, by Your grace, strengthen us to live a life pleasing to You. Keep our hearts humble and teachable that we may yield continually to your Holy Spirit. Thank you for the beautiful promises and blessings of a life that pleases You!
Friday, March 12, 2010
A few weeks ago, my husband and I were enjoying a lovely dinner date chatting about all kinds of things when he leaned toward me and said, "Honey, can I ask you to please pray about something?" I love when my husband asks me to pray about something specific for him. It brings us closer, and it is a privilege to pray on his behalf. Praying for our spouse's specific prayer request deepens the intimacy of our hearts. I love it. With excitement I responded, "Yes, of course, you can ask me to pray about something for you!"
This, however, was a different kind of prayer request. This was not a prayer request for my husband really. It was a prayer request that would require my heart to change...completely.
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Wednesday, March 10, 2010
For some reason, my brain believes I am still in my twenties and that I would be able to negotiate staircases with these shoes. I am not sure I'd even be able to negotiate level ground! Yet, my forty-something feet are wistfully daydreaming about these gorgeous shoes.
(Does this qualify as a mid-life crisis?)
Just enjoying a little silliness here today. Have a wonderful wistful Wednesday!
What are you wistfully daydreaming about today?
"But my eyes are fixed on you, O Sovereign LORD..."
Monday, March 8, 2010
I am doing a little Bible study in the book of Proverbs with my friend, Wendy Blight. Just last week I read chapter 3, including verses 21-22. These verses are also in my Family Prayer Journal as this is a daily prayer of mine for Joshua and Gabrielle (and for me and Jim, too). I pray daily that our cherubs always have sound judgment and discernment. For truly, sound judgment and discernment will be life to them.
Reading these verses last Monday and then being presented with this beautiful ornament for my neck by my daughter the following day was just a sprinkle of blessings and encouragement for this momma's heart from my Heavenly Father. He knows the cries of my heart for my children. Our cherubs have stolen my heart. I pray their hearts are stolen by His perfect love.
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Holly is a 2-year old West Highland Terrier whose owner needed a new home and family for her. We hope that we honor our commitment well to that precious woman by giving Holly a loving, caring home.
Josh and Brie are having a ball. Jim just gave Holly her first bath as a Sloan. I just blew dry a doggie's hair for the first time!!! (Holly's previous owner did that and suggested we do, too.) As I type, Holly is flying by my feet chasing a ball. Occasionally while going through the kitchen, she slides across the tile floor. Life here in the Sloan Home changed monumentally on Friday. And the children's hearts are joyful and rejoicing in the Lord.
(My pictures of Holly aren't great....will post more another day. My camera battery was not cooperating!)
"How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom You made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures." Psalm 104:24
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
"To blog or not to blog, Lord?" That was my question to the Lord last week. "Establish the work of my hands and heart daily, Lord." I asked the Lord to reveal His answer to me. I wasn't sure how He would, but I knew He would.
I was first inspired to blog by my sweet friend Heather's beautiful family blog. I love going there to read about her family. Her blog is peaceful and refreshing. I had enjoyed a few other blogs, too, but Heather's first inspired me to begin "Joy In The Truth" with my husband's enthusiastic thumbs up. (Now that I have been in Bloggityville for a while, I have met some very nice friends here.)
So, why do I blog? Two simple reasons:
1. To share how God is working in my heart and life and in the hearts and lives of my family. I love seeing God at work in other's lives. God is alive. I love to sit with a family member or friend or talk on the phone and hear how God is working and transforming hearts. I can't help but proclaim His name and goodness. "I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise Your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol Your name for ever and ever. Great is the LORD and most worthy of praise; His greatness no one can fathom. One generation will commend Your works to another; they will tell of Your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on Your wonderful works. They will tell of the power of Your awesome works, and I will proclaim Your great deeds." Psalm 145:1-6
2. To remember our journey as a family with our Faithful God. "Remember your journey...that you may know the righteous acts of the LORD." Micah 6:5
Last week I was asking the Lord if Joy In The Truth was still on His agenda for me. I feel no pressure to blog. As I feel led by Him, I write and share. I have no platform. I have no agenda. I am simply His.
While some graciously say there has been much encouragement and fruit for His glory from this computer screen and keyboard, blogging also leaves us vulnerable. Criticism, judgment in general and judgment of motives happens. When it occurs within the Body of Christ, it can be especially painful.
Humbly before the Lord, I am certain that He alone knows the motives of our hearts. He alone refines and purifies. I am so thankful for those truths. "I know, my God, that You test the heart and are pleased with integrity." 1 Chronicles 29:17
"...acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you..." 1 Chronicles 28:9
"Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." 1 Corinthians 4:5
So, last week I was asking the Lord, "To blog or not to blog?" Is it important? Is Joy In The Truth making a difference at all? His answer came at 2:41 AM yesterday morning. (I was asleep, but I awoke at 5:15 AM to this e-mail, which left me in jaw-dropping awe of God's goodness....again!!!!!!!) This e-mail is from a sister in the Lord at my church. She and I met when our cherubs were in the same class a few years ago at the Christian academy under the umbrella of our church, which I have attended for 25 years. I admire this woman, who is a wonderful wife and the mother of several blessings. She loves the Lord with all of her heart, she stays on the narrow road, and she isn't shy about challenging me (or others) to stay on the narrow road that leads to life. I like, appreciate and applaud a woman like that! With her permission, I am sharing this testimony, keeping her name anonymous.
Sent: Tuesday, March 02, 2010 2:41 AM
Good early morning, Sharon - I hope that all is well with you!
The LORD used the experience that you shared about giving food to the homeless woman (that was posted on your blog a while back) to provoke me unto good works for HIS Glory.
I want to share my story with you:
My mom got her rotator cuff surgically repaired on Friday. I was in the waiting room for an unexpected seven hours... :O I did my Bible study, read a lot of Gigi Graham's book 'Weather of the Heart', and prayed for all kinds of things and people.
The LORD used this time of Bible study and prayer to prepare my heart for something that happened closer to the seventh hour: A man whose wife was being operated on (by the way, this was all in same-day-surgery) was asking about how much longer he had to wait until he could see her. The receptionist told him it would be a while so he could go eat some lunch and then come back. He responded that he used the last of their money to buy his wife a new bra and nightgown that she wanted in preparation for the surgery that day. He continued to say that he was used to not eating (skipping meals) and that he would go and get a soda for lunch. Then the man left. As soon as he left, I went up to the receptionist and asked 'Did that man just say he doesn't have money to eat food?' She confirmed that I had heard correctly.
The HOLY SPIRIT then filled me. I felt shaky and my heart was pounding, however I raised my hand to see how bad I was shaking and it was very steady to sight. I knew that the LORD was directing me to give this man money to eat in HIS Name. Remembering the post on your blog, it was as if GOD was reminding me of that as my example as to what to do here.
I wrote a note on scripture lined paper that said, 'JESUS wants you to eat. HE loves you!' I put into it $20 (which by the way, again confirmed that this was from GOD...I never have cash with me, let alone that much). I actually wrote the note twice because I was so nervous. I waited and waited for that man to come back...not knowing if I would be called back to my mom in the process thereby missing him completely. I encouraged myself that if this was truly from the LORD, HE would make our paths meet at just the right time so I didn't need to anxiously wait for this man.
In that time of waiting, I talked myself out of this whole thing a couple of times. I played out scenarios where the man would get upset at my attempt to help him, or get angry that it was in JESUS' Name (especially since he was with another man who seemed unfriendly, and actually gave me a VERY not nice look before any of this took place...).
So the man finally came back. When he did, he had two ways to walk to where the other man was sitting: he could either walk past me or around another bend. He took the bend... In fear that I would miss the opportunity to be the Hands of JESUS, I called out 'Sir!' but he didn't look back. I didn't call out again. I just sat there continuing to doubt that this was from the LORD. About five minutes later (which felt like five hours), this man and the other man he was with got up to take a walk and they were passing right in front of me...
I took my note and handed it to the man saying, 'This is for you.' He looked confused, took the paper and started to walk away. A few steps later, he turned around and smiling said to me, 'What is this?' I responded, 'It's for you.' He thanked me and went on his way. I saw him again in the recovery area, as I was sitting with my mom and he was finally going back to his wife, and we met eyes, and he smiled and thanked me again. Oh, and by the way, I overheard him in the waiting room speaking about his kids, so this was a man with a family...
I was so humbled that the LORD would use the likes of me to meet a need in someone else's life. This man would not stand out as someone you would quickly help... He was not 'refined' in his speech or dress, his teeth needed dental work, he had tattoos and earrings, and of course, there was that not nice looking friend by his side...but how I was overwhelmed at GOD's Love for this man...as a parent who loves his child because they are his... I praise GOD for what happened and pray that that man would get saved - that a seed would have been planted...
I thank GOD for your faithfulness and example which encouraged me during this time.
Tears streamed down my face as I read this. I prayed for this man, his wife and his friend. I prayed for their salvation and eternal life. I prayed for my friend and her mom. I thanked God for her obedience unto Him.
I also thanked the Lord for His answer to my prayerful question. Yes, for now anyway, we believe Joy In The Truth is still on His agenda for me. May it always bring glory and honor to Him and may it never dishonor any person.
"I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name I will lift up my hands." Psalm 63:2-4
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Above: Chocolate Mousse Dip (by Nick & Cathi)
Ser-en-dip-i-ty [ser-uh n-dip-i-tee]
1. an unexpected desirable discovery
2. a pleasant surprise
Here's how the invitation read to our "SerenDIPity" this past Saturday evening:
In high school, I received Jesus into my heart. The youth group I attended called their retreats “A Serendipity”. Serendipity has since been one of my favorite words and it brings warm memories to my heart.
Jim and I are now putting a new twist in the word SerenDIPity!
A party of appetizers and desserts – all with DIPS!
We will be serving:
Miniature Crab Cakes with Creamy Crab Salsa DIP
Asiago Cheese and Artichoke DIP served with Flax Seed Chips
Fresh Fruit with Whipped Cream & Yogurt DIP
Pound Cake Cookies DIPPED in Chocolate
Here’s where the fun starts!!!
Bring your favorite DIP appetizer or DIPPED dessert!
We will all enjoy noshing on an array of delicious DIPS!
As our guests, you may win serenDIPitous prizes for the favorite appetizer and dessert!
There will be lots of other SERENDIPITIES during the evening!
Only one rule: No Double Dipping!
We hope you can join us for our First Annual SerenDIPity!
Your dippy friends,
Jim & Sharon
Below: "Philadelphia Cheese Steak" Dip with sliced Hoagie Rolls served in a Philadelphia Phillies batting helmet!! (Ken & Erika)
Below: "Chocolate Fountain"!!!! That's a party!! (by Wade & Cheryl)
Below: "Sundried Tomato and Feta Torte" (by Buddy & Lucille)
Below: Creative poem (by Todd and Jenn) in the "Spicy Dip"
Is your mouth watering yet??? It was a tasty party indeed! Our joy was hearing the laughter of our friends and feeling the warmth of sweet fellowship. Our hearts were content having so much love under our roof and in our home. We are so very thankful to the Lord. "We love because He first loved us." John 4:19
Jim opened the evening in prayer and thanksgiving to God. As we gathered in a warm home with plenty of food, we were keenly aware of the devastation being experienced around the world. We were humbled and recognized God's goodness in allowing us to come together and enjoy fellowship and food from His bounty. "Your people settled in it, and from Your bounty, O God, You provided..." Psalm 68:10
Several people asked me, "Where did you get the idea for a 'SerenDIPity'?" To some, this might sound silly and even ridiculous, but I believe it was God's idea whispered into my heart. Our hearts were to gather friends together for fellowship, to nourish friendships, and for some to begin new friendships. That is my heart. As Jim and I prayed for God's blessing, presence and favor over our "SerenDIPity", HE answered our prayers beyond imagination. Honestly, I feel kind of selfish because Jim and I (and even Joshua and Gabrielle, who were the only children there...to help serve our guests, take their coats, etc.) were so blessed. Our hearts were full and content by HIS goodness. And beyond that, He answered our prayers for our guests in so many ways. "For surely, O LORD, You bless the righteous; You surround them with your favor as with a shield." Psalm 5:12
One of our friends said she has never laughed so much and she felt like she was back in junior high school. Another friend said her stomach was hurting when she left from laughing so hard. "Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy." Psalm 126:2
I awoke the next morning to an e-mail from a friend that said: "I hope you are able to "DIP" your toes, and the rest of you, in a nice warm bath today!! Everyone was laughing and talking and just having the best time. Thanks for a fun, fun night. Jimmy's prayer at the beginning of the evening was so meaningful. A night like that was such a blessing from God."
One friend wrote: "Thank you for encouraging others to stop and nurture the relationships that He has blessed. Thank you for encouraging us to listen to His voice and the tapping on our hearts when He tells us to "tell them to bring dip, they will come".
A lovely couple shared that this was the first time in years that they were able to enjoy such fellowship with friends, other than wonderful family and co-workers. This humbled and hushed our hearts. Thank you, Lord.
Another note read: "Thanks for opening your home for a night of fun, laughs and new friendships."
Wow! Our prayers were answered in abundance!!! "New friendships" - I love that!!!!!!!
We share this to tell of His goodness. "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord." 2 Corinthians 10:17
We share this to spur one another on. "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds." Hebrews 10:24
We share this to encourage you to nourish the relationships with which He has blessed you. Ask Him to bring new relationships into your life, if that is His will. Encourage one another. "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:20-23
At first, we said this would be an annual gathering. Joshua said, "Mom, you should do this every season!" Well, I don't know about every season, but maybe a "Summer SerenDIPity" or an "Autumnal SerendDIPity". Some of our friends want to take turns hosting now, too! As the Lord leads....
At my girlfriend's suggestion (thank you, Lucille), we will be putting a recipe book together called "SerenDIPity" with recipes for appetizer and dessert dips. The book will also have pictures of all of our guests (those who give us permission) and their recipe, too! I am very excited to do this once we have gathered all of the recipes! © 2010 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.
Check back soon....we'll be posting the recipes of all the prize-winning dips!!!
Dippity-Do-Dah-Dippity-A-My oh my what a wonderful day. Plenty of dippies coming your way! Dippity-Do-Dah-Dippity-A!!!!!!