Thursday, January 1, 2015

2015 New Year's Resolutions

New Year's Resolutions - we don't always keep them, but we do always make them!!  After all - it's tradition!  I really do try to set myself up for success in this area, but, well, you may notice a few in this list that were in last year's. 


Here are a few of my REAL Resolutions for 2015: 

  1. Read my Bible every day.  Yes, this is one I make every year and always mess up on somewhere along the way...several somewhere's along the way to be perfectly honest.  So, here we go again...lets try this thing again.  
  2. Fast and pray for my family, my church and my community.  When my children were very young, and before they all made professions of faith, I fasted one day out of every week for them, for their salvation, and for any situations that arose to which I had no answers or idea how to handle.  Somewhere along the line I seem to have gotten caught up in this game of life and got too busy for it.  Sad.  Too busy to pray to the One for whom we live?  To busy to ask for His leadership and blessing in the lives of the people I love the most?  Sad.  My sisters, these things ought not so to be!! 
  3. Equip my children with the things they need to serve the Lord.  Things like Bible knowledge.  Why we do what we do.  Where we find "Scriptural backup" for it.  How to deal with people and/or not deal with things that are simply not worth the time and offense.  Again, this is where prayer and fasting comes in....  Only God knows what is in store for each of my (your) children, and only He can let us know what they each need to be equipped with for the life He has chosen for them.
  4. Essential Oils!!  Ok, in all honesty, this was one of last year's resolutions too.  I did learn about them and get familiar with them last year, but I finally took the plunge and jumped in!!  So excited to learn more about them in 2015!!  (And, yes!  You know it!  I'm planning to share it all with you right here at Hidden Treasures!!)
  5. Fermenting Foods - we started a bit of this last year, but as I said, things got busy and I fell off the bandwagon here too.  Things are still pretty busy, so I might take a while getting into this one, but stay tuned.  Come May or June I'll be fermenting anything and everything I can get my hands on. 
I would love to have you share your New Year's Resolutions in the comments below, or you can go to my Facebook Page and leave a comment!  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

A Reason for Me (and you!!)

Have you ever wondered why you even exist?  Why on earth we’re all here on earth?  This is a question most of us will ponder at least once in our lives.   We live, we eat, we grow, we learn, we get, we die, and it starts all over with the next generation.  What since does it all make?
There really is a reason....
Genesis 1:1 - In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 
Genesis 2:7-8; 15 - And the
Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And the Lord
God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 
Genesis 3:8 - And they heard the voice of the
God walking in the garden in the cool of the day:

God made everything for His glory.  He simply spoke and things came into being.  When He was finished speaking He looked at all of it, and declared it good.  According to these verses man was created to walk with God.  Adam and Eve had a job to do in the garden.  They had a life together, but the real reason they were made was to honor and glorify God; to make Him happy. 

Man, however was not forced to be only good.  He was given a choice.  He could love God and do right out of that love, or he could do his own thing and bring sin to the perfect world.  (who wants forced love?  Wouldn't you rather someone love because they want to love you?)  Adam and Eve chose to eat the one fruit in the garden God told them not to eat.

Their punishment was banishment from the garden, hard work, and eventually physically death.  They would still be able to walk with God, but not as before.  They would still enjoy the presence of God, but not in the perfection of the garden.  Their relationship was forever changed. 

Later, we find Abraham who was declared to be “the Friend of God”!!
James 2:23,
And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

Think of that!  Abraham was God’s friend!  We can be God’s friend too!

We know that God is our Friend.  He gave His only Son to die for us.  He provides for us.  He loves us and takes care of us. We know all these things about God.  To have a relationship with someone you must get to know THEM not just ABOUT them!
The Question is: Are you God's Friend?Sometimes we think we know God because we’ve grown up in church and/or we know all the Bible stories.  We’ve memorized verses we know the books of the Bible in order, and we know all kinds of fun facts about the Bible.  But none of that proves a relationship WITH Him.  Do we truly KNOW Him??
Acts 4:13 – Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. 

People can tell when we’ve been with Jesus – when we’ve TRULY been with Jesus!  Friendship goes both ways.  A friendship with God is not different.  What do we do for Him?  Are you HIS friend?  Do you walk with Him daily?  Do you talk with Him?  Do you trust Him with more than your salvation?  Do you discuss everyday activities and decisions with Him? 

To be God's friend we must simply...
Put our faith into action!

Hebrews 11:33 – Who through faith...obtained promises…

We can be included in the “Hall of Faith” by simply having our prayers answered (obtaining promises)!! 
Our prayers are not answered because we are good at praying.  They are answered because we have a Faithful God who wants to answer our prayers! 

Why do we doubt that He will answer when He promised He would?  We read the stories in the Bible and marvel because God did such wonderful things, but the truth of the matter is that God is still God.  We serve the same God Abraham, Esther, and Moses served.  We serve the same God that walked on water and died on the cross.  He’s the same yesterday, today and forever, so why do we think those wonderful works are a thing of the past?  He can do the same things in and through us! 

Just as Adam and Eve, we can walk with God.  We can spend time sharing every part of our lives with Him.  We can talk to and tell Him every detail of our lives.  We can put our faith into action by praying and seeing results!  We can be God's friend!

Photo Credit

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Developing a Friendship With God

The Bible refers to Abraham as "the friend of God", in James 2:23.  And, what did he do to deserve this title?  The whole verse says, "And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God." 

Plain and simply, Abraham believed God.  That's all!   (I can do that!)

More about Abraham's friendship with God - Hebrews 11:8-13 & 17-19

Developing a Friendship with God

I can tell you my name and my favorite color.  I can tell you the title of my favorite book, and the chores I dread.  I can tell you my favorite food, and my birth date.  I can tell you all kinds of things about myself, but until you spend time with me, you will never truly know me!

You can even do things for me.  You can get my groceries, walk my dog, wash my dishes or clean my house, but you still won't KNOW me! 

It's the same with God!  We can DO (or not do!) things for Him all day long.  We can follow rules and obey laws.  We can know that He will save us and protect us.  We can know that He created the world in 7 days and that He will provide all our needs.  We can know that He is in control.  We can know that the Bible is His Love Letter to us.  We can know that He died on the cross to forgive sins.  But, until we truly KNOW Him, we will never have a relationship, or a FRIENDSHIP with Him!

Did you know it is possible to be a Christian and yet not have a "friendship" with God?

How do I get to KNOW God?  Here are a few ways:

  1. Read His word!  Schedule time out of every day to meet in your "secret place".  (It doesn't really have to be a secret place - just a special place!)  Forget about reading 7 chapters every day so you can say you read the whole Bible through in a year.  Just read the Bible until you "hear from Him".  Read until you have something to meditate on for that day.  Read until you run out of time.  Read until you love reading and can't wait till it's time to read again! 
  2. Find God's promises and claim them for yourself!! 
  3. Find a "life verse" and refer to it every time you need to be encouraged! 
  4. PRAY about everything!  It has been said that "every failure in life is a prayer failure."
  5. Keep a prayer journal - keep a running list of all the prayer requests that God answers for you.
  6. Keep a list of all the things God provides for you and your family, and refer back to it every time you need to be encouraged!  You'll be amazed at the things God has done for you and you'll be reminded that He "came through before" and He can do it again.
  7. Tell your children and your friends when He provides or blesses you.
  8. Sit quietly after you've finished your Bible reading and wait on God.  You'll be surprised what He has to say in those few moments of peace and solitude. 
  9. Give God all the honor and glory for anything good that happens in your life.  Don't forget to look for God's blessing in the dark times, too!  
  10. Put your faith into action!!  Act on what you know!  Don't just KNOW God's promises!  Claim them!  Obtain them!!  Live every moment of the day conscious of His presence with you.
What an awesome thought to think that the Creator of everything would want to be YOUR Friend!!  

Photo Credit

Friday, February 7, 2014

God's Gift of Water

Water is absolutely necessary to sustaining life.  It keeps us hydrated, helps maintain body temperature, transports nutrients throughout the body, and eliminates waste.

Is it any wonder that Jesus refers to Himself as the Water of Life?  John 4:14

My Christmas gift from my husband:  A Berkey Water Filter!
Water- Essential to life

We drink water to cleanse ourselves of toxins.  But, how can we cleanse ourselves of toxins with water that is itself contaminated?

Most people don't worry...

Water is treated  to remove impurities such as e coli, germs, viruses, parasites, and harmful bacteria.  Then, minerals are added.  Fluoride is also added in most cases.

Water companies have used Chlorine for decades to purify our water because it kills harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other unwanted impurities.  They say it's the lesser of two evils.  They say it's better to have small amounts of chlorine in our water than all those unwanted impurities.

But, do we really want to feed chlorine to our children?  Even if it is the lesser of two evils?  Is it not possible to have water that is truly pure?  I would love to have water that is free of impurities and chemicals and heavy metals.

Are you worried...???

What's in your tap water?  Do you know?

How is your tap water purified?  What is added back into your water?

Fluoride?  Arsenic?  Lead?  Mercury?  Pesticides?  Chlorine?  Heavy Metals?  Calcium?

(Some of these are added back in.  Other impurities are leched into our water.  Harmful pesticides get into our water through the soil and air.) 
I know some of what's in my tap water:  ALL of the above!!  Including more than our share of arsenic!  

For Christmas this year my husband gave me a Berkey Water Filter.  

Berkey water filters use carbon filters to clean impurities out of the water.  They make different types of filters.  Some are specifically made to remove certain types of metals and chemicals.  As I said, the water in our area has pretty high levels of arsenic, so I have filters that can filter all the arsenic out of the water.

I use my filtered water for everything from drinking (obviously!) to cooking/baking and making coffee to cleaning my house!  (We have very hard water here and the calcium can ruin things like my Rainbow Vacuum or my steam mop.) 

If you're still not sure about all this and want to know more about the water in your area, you can buy a professional lab test to test your water here.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Homemade Paper Towels

Before my children were all in school, I stayed home with them.  I didn't have a job - at least not one that brought in money.  (Believe me, I had a job!!)  Since I wasn't bringing in money, I felt it was only right that I do whatever I could to save whatever money I could.  (I now work part time at the school they attend, and my income is used to pay their school bill.)

I looked for ways to cut back on spending.  One of the BIGGEST MONEY SAVERS was learning to make my own laundry detergent!!  I made it out of necessity - we couldn't afford to buy it.  Then I realized it helped us with our eczema.  Double Bonus!! 

I also cut up old towels and made cleaning rags, or "re-useable paper towels" out of them.  That was nice for a while.  Until one of mine got the flu.  (Actually, several of mine got the flu - have I mentioned we have color coded sick buckets??  Truly we do!)  So, I used my "paper towels" to clean up some messes...the ones that didn't make into those color coded buckets!  Since I no longer wished to re-use those re-useable paper towels - for obvious reasons, I threw them away.  Far, far away!

So, now, I was in a predicament.  I started buying paper towels again.  Today, I was out...again.  ...sigh...  I do hate to spend money on things that are just going to get thrown away!  (trash bags, baby wipes, toilet paper, napkins, paper towels...the list goes on.)

Well, a short story long, (yes, that's what I said!) I went to the store, and decided NOT to buy more paper least not for cleaning the bathroom with!  Instead, I bought these....

Lovely little white wash cloths!!   And, to be sure they only get used in the bathroom, and NOT on my kitchen counters, I wrote "Bathroom" on them...(as you can plainly see)!  I'm very proud of myself.  Now, I will keep a roll or two of the cheapo paper towels on hand, but only for cleaning up...sick stuff.  No more spending money on paper towels!! 

***Do share us how you like to save money!  I love to get as many ideas as I can!  I think we can all use them!

Thank you for visiting my page and feel free to share it with your friends!  
The more the merrier!! 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

A Request Made - A People Saved

At the second banquet, the King again asked Esther what her request was.  She could have anything she wanted up to half of the kingdom!  (Seems to me like maybe his kingdom was too much for him.  This was the third time in two days he'd tried to give her half of it!)

Esther's request: "If I have found favour in thy sight, O king, and if it please the king, let my life be given me at my petition, and my people at my request..."  (7:3)

King Ahasuerus seems to be confused at this point.  He asks Esther who would think up such a thing in his heart to do unto her?  Would someone really want to kill the queen?

Then Queen Esther answered, "The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman"!

Well, Haman's bad day just got worse!  He was probably more than a little shocked!  Remember, Esther has never told anyone that she's Jewish until now.  The king leaves the banquet in anger and takes a walk in the garden.  Haman decides this is as good a time as any to beg the queen for his life, so he jumps up, and runs over to Esther's side, throws himself down on the couch where she's eating her meal and begins to plead and beg...

While Haman is begging, the King returns from the garden and sees how he's thrown himself down on Esther.  Then said the king, "will he force the queen also before me in the house?"   I think we all understand what this means.

At this point the guards are covering Haman's face and preparing to carry him away.  Harbonah, one of the King's servants mentions the gigantic gallows that Haman had built in his back yard and the fact that he had prepared it to hang Mordecai on it.

 "Take him away and hang him on it instead!"  The king commanded.

So, Haman was taken away that very same hour and hanged on the gallows that he had built for Mordecai.  The house and land and everything that had belonged to Haman were given to Queen Esther who turned it over to Mordiecai.  When the King found out that Mordiecai was the Esther's uncle, he took the ring that he had given to Haman, and gave it to Mordiecai in stead.

But there was still a problem. There was still a decree that all the Jews would be killed on the 13th day of the 12 month.  The decree could not be changed.  When beautiful Queen Esther fell down before the king begging and crying for the lives of her people, the King decided to allow Mordecai to make a new law.   The new law said that all the Jews were now allowed to defend themselves.  They could destroy anyone they felt might be a threat to themselves and their families.

And, so it happened that all the Jews in the kingdom were allowed to defend themselves.  The ten sons of Haman died in the battle - killed by the same Jews their father tried so hard to eliminate.

To celebrate this victory, the Jews set up a new feast that is still celebrated today.  The "Feast of Purim" is a celebration of how a brave, young Queen saved her people.

Fun Facts:  

Ancient peoples of the Middle East didn't sit on chairs to eat as we do.  They rested on "couch" type things similar to a chase-lounge.   When the King returned from the garden to discover Hamman had thrown himself on the Queen, it would have seemed as though he was "forcing the Queen".

When a law was made in ancient Babylon or Persia, it couldn't be changed - AT ALL.  Not even by the King.  Once it was signed into law, it was law!  That is why the King couldn't undo the law and save Esther's life or the lives of her people.  The only option left was to allow Mordecai  to write another law that would allow a different out come to the first.

Life Lessons:

Esther did was necessary to save her people.  She trusted that God would protect her, and she did what she had to do.  God worked through her and saved His people.   The one truly "special" thing about Esther was that she allowed God to use her.  She realized that she'd been allowed to become the Queen "for such a time as this".   Beside that, Esther was a simple Jewish girl who was chosen to be the Queen of Persia.  Perhaps it was because she was more beautiful?  I'm sure the King thought so.  But, more than that, she was chosen because God had a purpose for her.  God had a plan.

What is His purpose for you?  He does have a purpose for you!  It may not be His will that you become a Queen and save the lives of hundreds of people.  In fact, I could almost say for sure it's not!  :)  But what about that little baby He gave you? Or, that child on the bus route that needs to know he's loved?  What about your neighbor?  Your co-worker?  God has each of us right where He wants us - "For such a time as this"!

We serve the same God Esther served.  If He can do such wonderful things through Esther, He can do just as mighty things through us!!  Are you willing to accept the challenge and allow Him to use you?? 

I do hope you will join me as I study the life of "Esther - Queen of Persia"!  I hope to delve in and discover as much as I can about her life and put myself in her shoes...or sandals??  Feel free to leave your thoughts on her life and story in the comments section below! 

In case you missed a previous posts in this series:  

Introduction: Esther, Queen of Persia 
Ahasuerus - A Party Kind of Guy
A Queen is Chosen!
Haman, the Evil

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

An Awkward Predicament

King Ahasuerus couldn't sleep. This was no accident! God was working behind the scenes!  It had been a great day.  The King and Haman had enjoyed the banquet that Ester had prepared....    (chapter 6)

The king thought on these things, and many others, but sleep didn't come to him that night.  Finally, a chamberlain was called to his room to read to him out of the books of the Chronicles of the King.  Just as it was not an accident that the King couldn't sleep; it wasn't an accident that the chamberlain read the story of Mordecai saving the King's life!

 Soon after Esther had been crowned Queen, Mordacai had over heard some of the King's guards planning to take his life.  He had quickly told the newly instated Queen Esther of the plot and she had, in turn, warned the King in Mordicai's name. Nothing had ever been done to reward Mordicai for his part in saving the King's life.

It just so happened...again...that Haman was in the outer court of the King's house at this time.  He had come to speak to the King about hanging Mordicai on the gallows that he'd built in his back yard.  When Haman was ushered into the inner court, the King asked him, "What shall be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honor"?  Haman immediately thought the King was referring to him.  Who else worked hard and served the King as well?  Who else deserved to be rewarded?  Of course the king was talking about him!  No one else was as important as Haman in Haman's mind!

So Haman thought up a plan.  It was perfect!  Exactly what he'd like to have happen to himself.  He gave the king his answer.  The king was thrilled with the plan.  "Go ahead and do everything you've just said to Mordicai, the Jew!"  The king commanded. 

Haman was shocked and not a little upset by this change in events!  Haman was forced to take Mordecai the Jew and dress him in the King's very own robe and royal crown, put him on the King's best horse, and personally march him through the streets of the city announcing loudly for all to hear,     "Thus shall it be done unto the man whom the King delighteth to honor." 

Haman was disgusted!  Now, he hated Mordecai more than ever!  He couldn't wait until the day he was finally dead.

Haman went home with his head covered, pouting that day.  He told his wife about all the things he'd had to endure that day.  While they were talking a knock came on the door.  The king's guards had come.  It was time for Esther's banquet.  At least that would go well for him that day....or so he thought....

Life Applications:

God is constantly working behind the scenes for our good!  A sleepless night, the reading of the account of Mordecai, the reward of Mordecai, and the humbling of Haman...none of these things could have been controlled or manipulated by anyone but God.  He worked them all out and together for the good of His people and in answer to their prayers!  These are proof that the things that happen to us have a purpose beyond what we can see. There is a God in Heaven who is in control!  

We should not jump to the conclusions that we are more important than someone else.  We should not expect to be treated better than others.  If someone should decide to honor us, we should allow them to do so, but we should not be looking for, or expecting it.

Proverbs 27:2 - Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth;  A stranger, and not your own lips.

Proverbs 25: 7 -  For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen.

I do hope you will join me as I study the life of "Esther - Queen of Persia"!  I hope to delve in and discover as much as I can about her life and put myself in her shoes...or sandals??  Feel free to leave your thoughts on her life and story in the comments section below! 

In case you missed a previous posts in this series:  

Introduction: Esther, Queen of Persia 
Ahasuerus - The Party Kind of King
A Queen is Chosen!
Haman, the Evil