Let me pick that up before you trip over it

This was my jaw this morning as I read Matthew 10. Let me pick my jaw up before anyone trips over it. Matthew 10 is about the time when Jesus sends out the 12 disciples. It was like a team meeting before they all went out to preach the message.

I picture them all lined up {like the picture below} with Jesus pacing back and forth giving instructions. I like to imagine all of their faces:

Look at the second guy. I think of him as saying "Are you kidding me?" That would be me.

Seriously though, my heart started racing as I read this passage. At the beginning of the passage, Jesus gives them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. Woo hoo! I would be excited about that! Then Jesus says in verse 5 and 6 "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel." Ok, I understand that.

Then it gets tough. Verse 9 and 10 "Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff." I would be the idiot to say "Don't we need to make hotel arrangements and I may need more than one pair of shoes, and I must bring some granola bars in case I don't like the food there." Jesus wanted His disciples to trust in Him alone.

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves." You're what?! We are going to get killed! I picture myself looking down the line of disciples asking them if they are hearing the same thing I am?! I really wonder what they were thinking. What emotions did they show? Did they show fear, were they about to throw up, were they excited?

"On my account you WILL be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles. But WHEN they arrest you..." Arrest me? You didn't say if they arrest me, you said WHEN they arrest me. I would be sweating now and getting dizzy. Possibly tuning Jesus out. Can you imagine the thoughts Satan was trying to put in their heads at this time? "You don't want to follow Him. You will be killed and arrested. You just stay here where you are comfortable."

"All men will HATE you because of me" Crap. "WHEN you are persecuted." Double crap. "Do not be afraid of those who KILL." Triple crap.

"Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me....anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it." This morning as I read all of this, I just prayed. "God I do not want to be scared. I want to trust in you." He replied "Brooke you are not reading all of it. Go back and read again." So I did.

"Freely you have received, freely give." I have received unreasonable grace! There is nothing reasonable about the love God freely gives! I should be excited to freely give as well!

"When they arrest you, DO NOT WORRY about what to say. At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, BUT the Spirt of your Father speaking through you." Well that takes off some pressure. God is going to give me the words to speak. He is in control.

"Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but CANNOT kill the soul." So what if you die, you are going to heaven.

"Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; YOU are worth more than many sparrows." Thank you Lord for your comforting words and love.

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before me, I will disown him before my Father in heaven." Jesus is a great reference! How amazing would it be to have Jesus as a reference? I want Jesus to say "Well done faithful servant" when it is my time to be judged. But again, He can also disown you if you disown Him.

"Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Now I am not shaking so much and I am much more comforted. Jesus did not say it would be easy. It is a huge cost to follow Him. But it is worth it and God never leaves you alone. He is always there to comfort you and guide you.

{Sorry I didn't put references on all of the scripture, but it is all from Matthew 10}


You Want me to What????

"We are never a more beautiful display of God's splendor than when willing to empty self for the lives of others." Beth Moore

"The only thing we absolutely could not survive would be the loss of God's love. And that is a loss we'll never have to try." Beth Moore

About a week ago, before I opened God's word, I prayed that God would help me focus on Him. In fact I wrote, "Father God, I am very distracted with my thoughts right now. I pray for focus and the desire to crave your word. I pray that you will teach me new things as I read in your word this morning." Boy did He answer my prayer!

Sometimes I struggle with understanding God's love and how he could possibly love someone like me. Honestly, I sometimes even doubt God's love. I know...terrible, but it's the truth. I also struggle with having a heart like God's and the desire to love others the way He does. That morning I opened my Bible to 1 John. God's love was all over the place! I read in 1 John 2:6 that "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did." I kind of smirked and thought strike 1 against me. I know I don't walk as Jesus did. Then I wondered what that meant. How exactly did Jesus walk.

1 John 2:15-17 "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world-the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does-comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." I realized that I love the world. I desire "things" of the world. This is not how Jesus walked. Matthew 8:20 says that "Jesus replied, Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay His head." Jesus did not have a nice home to live in let alone a place to lay His head. Why on earth should I, a sinner, think I deserve any more than I have already been blessed with?

God loves us so much that He calls us His children. 1 John 3:1 "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" I love the word lavished.

I read a little further down and I am told that I am to lay my life down for others. You want me to what?! Hold up God, this is not something of my nature. But that's what God's word says and that's what Jesus did. "This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down His life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." One thing I have learned is that I can't pick and choose the commands I want to follow. We are to follow all of God's commands. Matthew 5:39 says "If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also." I do not like to be wronged. And if I am, I have the tendency to make sure that person knows they have wronged me. It is so hard to be humble and turn the other cheek. But that's what Jesus did and that's what God commands us to do. You just can't argue with God's word.

He also commands us to "not love with words or tongue, but with actions and in truth" 1 John 3:18.

I absolutely loved reading 1 John 7-21! "God is love...love comes from God...God so loved us...His love is made complete in us...God loved us first...He sent His son to be the Savior of the world...we rely on God's love...God is love...there is no fear in love...we love because He first loved us!!!!" After reading all of that, God said "Brooke, do you believe me now?" I said yes Father I do! I am soooo loved! Now how can I show you love God??

Well, He said, "by loving Me and carrying out my commands. This is love for me: to obey my commands. And my commands are not burdensome." I love how clearly He speaks.

Being a follower of Christ is not easy. "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only FEW will find it." God calls us to get out of our comfort zone, "to cross the other side of the lake." We are to trust God even in the midst of a storm. We are to hate the world. We are to lay down our lives for others. We are to give to the needy. We are to love our enemies. This is how we can show God love and after reading about His love for me how can I not? That doesn't mean it will be easy at all. Satan will attack. But God is greater than Satan. Satan knows that "his time is short" Revelation 12:12.

My prayer today is that I will have a heart like Jesus. One that follows God and obeys His commands. A heart that doesn't see His commands as a burden.

Thank you for letting me share my heart with you today.


Tasty Tuesday: Yogurt Popsicles

Summertime calls for popsicles!! This week I made some yummy, yet healthy popsicles!

- 1 cup greek yogurt {or yogurt of your choice}
- 10 chocolate animal crackers, crushed {you can also use regular animal crackers, graham crackers, vanilla wafers, etc.}

Mix ingredients and pour into popsicle molds and freeze over night. The amount of ingredients may vary according to how big or how many popsicles your mold holds.



Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday!

The first day of summer was this week and so far I have enjoyed making popsicles, eating watermelon and hiking. It was a great week!!

1:: Homemade yogurt popsicles
2:: New welcome mat for our front door {Thank you Kohls for your $10 gift card, clearance sale and an extra 15% off! My mat was a whole $1!}
3:: Reminder that God is love
4:: Chocolate animal crackers
5:: Waterfall at Petite Jean


Tasty Tuesday: Chicken Stir-fry

One thing I love about summer is the farmer's market and all of the pretty fruits and vegetables! I know you can buy most of them all year long, but for some reason I love them more in the summer! Last week, we decided to give the grill a rest and cook a yummy chicken stir-fry.

- Teriyaki sauce
- 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into strips
- salt
- black pepper
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, stemmed, cored and cut into thin strips {we used several baby peppers instead of one bell pepper}
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 pound string beans, trimmed and cut
- 1 zucchini, cut into thick pieces
- 1 squash, cut into thick pieces
- Finely grated zest of 2 large lemons
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 tablespoons cold water

- Place chicken, salt, pepper, and Teriyaki sauce {however much you feel needed} in a large bag or container and marinate for 1 to 2 hours. In a large skillet, over medium-high heat, add enough oil to lightly coat the inside. When the oil is hot, add the chicken. Let chicken cook for about 3 to 4 minutes, turning once or twice. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
- Add a little oil to the skillet, then add the onion, bell pepper, zucchini, and squash. Stir-fry the vegetables for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring them every minute or so. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth, green beans, and salt to taste. Cover and reduce the heat to medium or medium-low, allowing the green beans to steam for 3 to 4 minutes, until they become tender. Add the chicken, lemon zest and the remaining cup of chicken broth. Stir to combine, then form a well in the middle of the skillet and add the cornstarch mixture. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook about 3 minutes, until the sauce thickens and the chicken and beans are cooked through. Serve over rice.



My Top 10 Summer Must-Haves





1:: Polar Water Bottles -I carry water with me at all times during the summer!
2:: Sugar Free Jell-O -Helps crave your sweet tooth
3:: Strawberry Blistex with SPF 15
4:: Old Navy t-shirts {only $8}
5:: Bath and Body Works Forever Sunshine lotion
6:: Maybelline Colossal Waterproof Mascara
7:: Essie fingernail polish
8:: Arbonne Bronzer
9:: Jergens Natural Glow lotion
10:: Venus Breeze razor

Five Things That Make Me Happy Friday!

I am so glad today is Friday! I started working at a summer program this week for Arkansas Counseling and it was a blast! I love working with kids and I love getting paid for playing basketball, kickball, and other fun things!

I have tried Kroger brand greek yogurt and loved it, but this week I tried Dannon greek yogurt and I loved it even more! I am now addicted!
I love a good cantaloupe!
Spent some time reading and drinking coffee in my papasan chair! I never use this chair because it is in my extra bedroom, but I think I am going to make more use of it!
Book a friend is letting me borrow for the beach!
This is what I will be doing in just a couple of weeks! Can't wait!


Tasty Tuesday: Mini Fruit Pizzas

This past weekend I made mini fruit pizzas. They were sooooo yummy!!! This is another great dessert to have during the summer!

- 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup butter, softened
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 {8 oz.} package cream cheese {room temperature}
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- strawberries
- blueberries

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and baking powder. Set aside. In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients. Roll rounded teaspoonfuls of dough into balls, and place onto cookie sheets. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Allow cookies to completely cool.
Cream cheese spread:
-Beat together cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Spread evenly over cookies.
-Top with desired fruits