Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe Wednesday: Meat Potato Quiche

Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). In a baking pan, stir together:

  • 3 cups coarsely chopped raw potatoes
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil

Press evenly into pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown. Remove from oven. Layer on hot crust:

  • 1 cup grated cheese
  • ¾ cup meat (ham, sausage, chicken, hamburger etc.)
  • ¼ cup chopped onion

In a bowl, beat together:

  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • pepper

Pour egg mixture onto ingredients. Return to oven and bake about 39 minutes or until lightly browned. (You can also put corn flake crumbs mixed with butter on top.)

-Jessica S.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Guess what....

Today is Esther's birthday!! 

♥ ♥ ♥

I hope you have a wonderful year...filled with the joy of Jesus and His blessings. I love you! 

Ways Esther has blessed me... always looking to Jesus, even in hard times.
..being encouraging to me, and to you all here. Without Esther, JOJ wouldn't be here! me inspiration for writing, when I'm drawing a blank. ;-)
...just the little things we've talked about in our phone conversations...I always love those! =) 
...challenging me in my walk with the Lord.
...her joyful spirit.

How has Esther blessed you? Share in the comments below, and don't forget to wish her a Happy Birthday!! ;-) 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Unbelief and Forgetfulness

I’ve recently been reading though Kings and Chronicles, and while Elisha is my favorite prophet so far I think Elijah falls a close second (beside Isaiah). One story in particular hit me hard this time through—it was the story of the widow who Elijah lived with for several years during the years of famine (read the story for yourself in 1 Kings 17:17-24).

Elijah and the widow. (Image courtesy of Picture is in the public domain.)If you’ll remember, Ahab was king of Israel at this time, and because of his wickedness God sent a famine on the land of Israel. After warning Ahab of the coming famine, Elijah escaped into the desert, by the brook Cherith. He lived there until the brook dried up, at which point the Lord told him to get to Zarephath. You’ll remember how, once arriving at Zarephath, he met a widow and lived with her and her son (on miracle food!) for quite a while. Without him going there on God’s command, that widow and her son would have died—when he arrived, she was planning their last meal!

Then, after he had settled in, the widow’s son died—a tragic loss. Especially considering the fact that this son was her only son, and with him dead it meant no income for the household (or very little, anyway—and I’m not considering the fact that there was a famine going on), and no one to continue the family name or keep the family inheritance. All her hopes for a better future were dashed. And who did she blame it on? Elijah.

What have I to do with thee, O thou man of God? art thou come unto me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son?” (1 Kings 17:18)

One version says, “What do you have against me, man of God?” She was questioning him, almost seeming to doubt that he was there for a good reason after all. She could have been saying, “What have I done? I don’t deserve this! Have I offended your God and that’s why my son died?”

Elijah praying to God, begging for the life of the boy. (Image courtesy of Picture is in the public domain.)

Then she continues, even more accusing: “Did you come t o remind me of my sin? Did you come to kill my son?” (paraphrasing mine) She had obviously completely forgotten the fact that if Elijah had not come, both she and her son would have been dead long since. Instead of being thankful for the Almighty’s intervention in saving her and her son, she was charging Elijah with bringing more misery down on her head.

Ah, isn’t that how we are, all too often? Forgetting the wonderful gifts God has given us in the past—those times when He stepped in at the last minute to help us, having someone give us that word of encouragement that pushed us through our day, and the many other things that He does for us each day? We are so forgetful of His goodness! And so prone to believe that yes, while He did it back then He won’t be able to come through and do it now!

Surprisingly, this time Elijah didn’t blow his top like he did other times. With gentleness, he said, “Give me your son.” Picking him up, he carried the boy to his bedroom and laid him on his bed. Then he prayed, stretched himself on the boy three times, prayed again, and the boy came back to life. Picking up the child again, he brought him down and gave him to his mother saying, “See, your son is alive!

Elijah and the widow, with the boy who was brought back to life. (Image courtesy of Picture is in the public domain.)Then, utterly astonished, she replied, “Now at last I’m certain that you are a man of God, and what you say about the Lord is the truth.” (paraphrasing mine) It took the raising of her son from the dead to show her that. She didn’t take into account the oil and flour being there each day for the months since Elijah came! Oh, how soon do we forget what God has done for us!

Unbelief. Forgetfulness. They’re really the same things, all boiled down. One is not believing that something is possible and the other is completely forgetting that something ever happened. And both are terrible. Both are things that are warned against repeatedly in the Bible.

Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.” (Hebrews 3:12)

…so are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite’s hope shall perish….” (Job 8:13)

I thought this video fit with today’s topic. How forgetful we can be!

Now it’s your turn. What is one way God has helped you lately? How has He shown Himself mighty to you this last week? Was there a time in your life recently when you knew that something that had happened was something that only our Father can do?

Let us remember His goodness, and not forget.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Sometimes I Wonder - Music Post

"Sometimes I Wonder" is a song I heard for the first time in July 2012 right after a young man's life was snatched unexpectedly from this world. As I pondered the words of the song that night, tears filled my eyes as I thought of the joy that surrounded this young man and all the believers that have gone before us and I wondered. I wondered of what heaven must be and what glory must be surrounding them.

As one reads through Scripture, one catches a glimpse of what is waiting for us, but if you are anything like me, it is more than you can fathom. 
  • No night there
  • Streets of pure gold
  • The lion laying down with the Lamb
  • No tears, pain, or sorrow there
Though only a few of the glories that we, as believers, will experience on that great day. When a loved one passes I often spend time wondering just how heaven must be for them. 

Sometimes I wonder!

I challenge you to place your eyes on the Lord as you think about the glories of heaven. When my eyes are fixed on the glories of heaven and what awaits me, so often the troubles of this world don't seem so big. Not one of us knows when our time is up and when we pass into eternity, will our loved ones wonder about the glory that welcomed us? Or with bitter tears in their eyes, will they weep because we weren't ready to meet our Saviour?

Heaven awaits you! The joys there are beyond what we can even imagine. 

3And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. 
4And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. 
6And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 
7He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. Revelation 21:3-7

Are you ready? He is coming soon! It may be tonight, or it may be tomorrow. Answer His call today.

Sometimes I wonder about the glories of Heaven. Do you wonder?

Blessings to you!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I Just Wanted to Say…

Tomorrow is Rachel’s birthday!

She decided to surprise me this way last year, and then and there I decided I’d get her back this year. :) So here it is. Neither she nor I like being made a big deal of, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to have just a little mention of the fact along the way.



I pray you’ll make many fun memories this year and have a wonderful year serving the Lord…wherever He leads.

Would you like to help us celebrate with her? I thought it would be fun if we sent her some cards. If you’d like to give her an ecard, send it to jewelsofjesus(@)gmail(.)com, and I’ll forward it to her. I’m sure she’ll be blessed and encouraged if you do!

And, as a birthday present, I thought it would be fun if we could all share at least one way Rachel has blessed our lives. I know not all of you have met her, but even through her writings I know others have been blessed.
I’ll start.

Ways Rachel has blessed me:
• Being a loving friend when I needed one who understood.
• Being vulnerable and saying “Me too!” when discussing hard topics.
• Encouraging even when I’m not being the most encouraging person on the planet.
• Saying just the right things at the right time.
• Challenging me in my daily walk with the Lord.
• Sending me mail, even though I’ve never managed to send some back (ouch).
• Being loving and caring even though she hardly knew me.

Are there ways she’s blessed you? Share below, or through an ecard!

Rachel, may you continue to grow in the Lord this coming year, and I pray you’ll have a blessed birthday and a blessed year. Your friendship means more to me than I can say, and I am so thankful God brought us together four plus years ago! You’ve been a great blessing to me.

With lots of love,

Photo Credit: “Feliz Cumpleaños!” by Deb Stgo is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Recipe: Italian Garlic Bread

...Give us this day our daily bread...Matthew 6:11...

What you will need:
  • 2 Tbsp. instant yeast
  • 3 cups warm water
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. white sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 8-9 cups all purpose flour 
Mix yeast and warm water. Add oil, egg, sugar, and salt, mix well. Add flour till your dough is soft, yet not sticky. Mix Well, knead slightly. Divide dough four ways equally and roll out on floured or oiled surface. Roll up lengthwise; rolls should be about 1 foot long and 2-3" wide, or as you like. Slash four diagonal slashes across each loaf. Place on baking sheets, let rise. Bake at 350* until tops are lightly golden, or approx 20 or so minutes. I like to rub the tops with soft butter.

For Herb Garlic Butter: 
  • butter, softened
  • garlic powder, or freshly squeezed garlic cloves
  • Italian seasoning
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Parsley
  • whatever you would like you add! :) 
Mix ingredients together and serve with bread. 


(Note: this is a favorite recipe of my family. If made right, the bread is so soft and yummy. :D We make it often. Hope your family enjoys it as well! ~Rachel )

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Walk With God ~ Two Encouraging Thoughts for Your Day

“In all your course, walk with God and follow Christ as a little, poor, helpless child, taking hold of Christ’s hand, keeping your eye on the mark of the wounds on his hands and side, whence came the blood that cleanses you from sin and hiding your nakedness under the skirt of the white shining robe of his righteousness.” 
Jonathan Edwards

Picture courtesy La Vista Church of Christ. Image is in the public domain.

“Since it is likely that, being men, they would sin every day, St. Paul consoles his hearers by saying ‘renew yourselves’ from day to day. This is what we do with houses: we keep constantly repairing them as they wear old. You should do the same thing to yourself. Have you sinned today? Have you made your soul old? Do not despair, do not despond, but renew your soul by repentance, and tears, and Confession, and by doing good things. And never cease doing this.” 
John Chrysostom

Friday, July 18, 2014


Some things don't change. Some things do.
People change. God doesn't.

The first thing to change is your heart. God does that - bringing you to life in Him.

After that, as Christians, we should be consciously striving to live holy lives. God is eternally changeless - so we look to the life of Christ to see what our lives should be like.

Are you, overall, changing to be more like Christ or more like the world? Moving towards godliness and wisdom or towards sinfulness and folly?
When you're making a choice, ask yourself "Is this changing me and the world around me for better or worse?".

We can't change everything. We shouldn't waste our energy trying to put an end to the annoying habits of family members. And we can't change things without His sustaining, keeping, guiding, strengthening hand of mercy.

Nevertheless, we must do our very best.

Change and decay in all around I see
O Thou Who changest not, abide with me. ~H.F. Lyte

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My favorite way to memorize scripture

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness...(2 Timothy 3:16). 

One thing I really enjoy doing is memorizing scripture. Whether a longer passage or a short verse, all scripture is beneficial to us as Christians. It's amazing how sometimes a verse I have memorized will suddenly pop into my head in the different situations of life.

I've had people tell me "I can't memorize" or "It's too hard". But I know this, that practice makes perfect...The more you memorize, the easier it becomes. 

There are many different methods people use to memorize, but today I'll share one of my favorites. It's actually kind of guessing game! :)

1- Choose a verse, passage or chapter from God's Word to memorize. You may want to read it all the way through before starting. Also pray before you begin! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

2- Find a whiteboard/dry erase board and some markers. Write out the verse on the whiteboard. 

3- Check your verse one last time to make sure that you have it correctly written out. It's challenging if you find out later that it's slightly off. :P

4- Read the verses out loud from your white board over and over, erasing one word or so each time you start over. When you get to the erased part of a verse, then you try to remember and say the missing word. Fill in the blank! :) And you can erase less or more, if you'd like. :) 

5- Once the whole board is erased and clean, say the entire verse from memory. Do you have it memorized? Practice and review it to get it mastered. (Also, you could definitely do this with paper and a pencil, but just make sure you erase it completely so you can't see what you erased.)


There you go! :) Pretty, simple, right?

Blessings to you as you memorize Scripture! It seems as I read the Word, I find more and more verses I want to memorize...I have a on-going list of scriptures I would someday, like to master. ;-)

I have also found Memverse to be very useful in reviewing your memorized verses. There are different learn features, fun weekly Bible quizzes, and much more! And, it's 100% free and nothing to download. A plus for me :D

How do you memorize Scripture? Is there a verse or passage that you've been working on recently? 
Please share in the comment box!


P S A L M   1 1 9  :  9  - 1  8 

"Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed art thou, O LORD: teach my thy statutes. With my lips have I declared all the judgments of thy mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word. Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law."

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Nine Things to Do When Taking Care of Boys

Hello, this is the long-absent Esther here. I have thought about writing these last four (or has it been more?) weeks, but somehow I never took time for it and so the long silence started. I’m sorry I didn’t write—and did miss it—but sometimes life takes priority. I do have ideas for things to write about—it’s just the writing them down that I have problems with. So I’m sorry, and I hope you’ll forgive me.

Now…onto today’s topic: Taking care of boys. I have six brothers, and each one is unique in the things he likes to do—all of which are great and beneficial to the whole family. Last night, I got to wondering what would happen if (for some unforeseen reason) they had to go spend some time at a friend’s house. Would they go crazy? Or drive a friend crazy? So I thought I’d draft up a little list for things people could do with boys (especially if they’re younger—3-6 years old or so) to keep them (or themselves) sane. Of course, some things would have to be for older boys, but I think this is a fairly general list of things anyone could do that any age would be able to participate in.

  1. Make sure you have lots of food, for meals as well as for 1-4 snacks in-between meals.
  2. Never just say “get outside!” if they’re bored. Give them something to do outside (pick up apples, feed the cat, mow the yard [that’s for older children, of course] etc.)
  3. Make sure you have an ample supply of toy animals, wooden blocks (assorted sizes, preferably), toy farm machinery, and a good assortment of cars and trucks. Bonus points if you have masking tape for making roads on the carpeted floor.
  4. Have a plan for something you can make together if it’s rainy or cold outdoors. Cookies are always a hit, and generally can be made with the help of everyone (little ones love pouring things in—especially if they get a taste now and then). Be prepared for a more-than-messy kitchen.
  5. Make sure you have an ample supply of children’s books. Ones about farming, animals, machinery, and adventures (with lots of pictures) are generally hits. Be prepared to read until your voice is past being worn out.
  6. Having several good games is very helpful in keeping them occupied (especially if they take a long time to play).
  7. You are the best person in the world if you have Lego for them to play with. Especially if you have instructions for building things they haven’t built before. They will just about be in heaven.
  8. If they are older boys, give them a hammer and some nails. Put them to work, and they’ll be happier.
  9. I suppose this shouldn’t be an option, but if all else fails, make sure you have a good supply of clean videos to watch. That will keep them occupied for a while.

I know this isn’t an exhaustive list—there are many things I could add to it. But I think it’s a general one. And this wouldn’t apply only to someone taking care of my brothers. It also applies to me, and is something I put in practice whenever needed. Brothers are lots of fun to grow up with and take care of, and it is an awesome responsibility we have as big sisters to be a positive influence on their lives.

Now—I’m curious—what would a list like this look like for sisters?

Many blessings,

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bible Bee :: What I'm learning from Jonah

I sure have been learning a lot about Jonah! That is because I have been studying that book for the National Bible Bee 2014!!

Maybe I should first start by telling you a little about the Bible Bee... :)

The Bible Bee began in 2009 by the Shelby Kennedy Foundation. Shelby Kennedy went to be with the Lord in her early twenties from cancer. She loved Bible study and memory and would surround herself with her favorite verses. She loved to serve others. She would often go to a lake or pond and throw a stone in and then say, “See the ripples? That’s how I want my life to be.” Thus the Shelby Kennedy foundation started in order to help promote Bible memory.  The National Bible Bee officially started in 2009, requiring the contestants to memorize up to 1,500 Bible verses. 

The study requirements have changed some through the years, but the goal is still the same: to encourage young people to memorize and study the Word of God, and to encourage them to grow in their walk with the Lord. There are three age divisions, Primary (7-10), Junior (11-14), and Senior (15-18). 

This summer, thousands of young people ages 7-18 (including myself and 4 siblings), are studying the book of Jonah in-depth and memorizing approximately 60 Bible verses. This is my fourth year to compete and I have been soooo blessed! I highly recommend the Bible Bee to is a tool the Lord has used in my life.  Registration is closed for 2014, but possibly you can do it next year! :-)

After the summer level, the top 120 scoring contestants from each division are invited to the National level, which they are assigned to memorize up to 750 verses, and to study an additional book of the Bible in-depth. 

I thought that for my post today, I would share some of the many things I have been learning over the past month...when I first started, I didn't realize I could learn so much from a little book like Jonah!! :-) 

  • Jonah is categorized as a minor prophet, but that doesn't mean it is less important! ;-) It is a unique book, as it is a narrative, prophetic, and historical story with some poetry, rolled into one.
  • Jesus referred to Jonah in Matthew 12:38-41. He told the Pharisees and scribes that the 3 days and 3 nights Jonah spent in the fish was a sign of his time he would spend in the heart of the earth, at his death. (As I study Jonah, I am seeing this more and more. It's amazing how much Jonah ties into Jesus!) 
  • In 2 Kings 14:25, I learned that Jonah was God’s servant, the word of the Lord came to him, he was the son of Amittai, a prophet, and from Gath-hepher.
  • Genesis 10:1-11: The founder of Nineveh was Nimrod, a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was the great-grand son of Noah.
  • We've studied some Hebrew words for "God". A few are as follows: El is God, the strong/mighty one. Elyon is the supreme, most High, Elohim is the Supreme God. El Roi and El Shama is"the God who sees and hears".
There are sooo many other things I have been learning the past month, but hopefully you found the little I shared to be interesting. :-) Maybe, if you enjoyed this post, I will share more insights and information concerning Jonah and things relating to it in another post. 

Now for a challenge...go and read the book of Jonah yourself!! :) If you notice something interesting, or have any insights from your own personal devotions, feel free to share it in the comments below. 

God bless you as you study his word. Press On! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

Don't Put Up An Umbrella

Fancy Fonts
An umbrella is big and curved and has a spiky thingy protruding out the top. It has a handle coming straight down from the top on the inside, then curving at the bottom at the place where your hand goes. It keeps off the rain. It also keeps off the hail, too, if you have a good umbrella!

I use an umbrella. I use it to keep off the rain and to keep me dry underneath.

In our spiritual lives we can use umbrellas, too. But in this case it is not good - it is bad.

God loves to be with us and talk to us and have a wonderful relationship with us. :D However, a lot of the time we can tend to put up umbrellas over ourselves so God can't get in. He's up above the umbrella and he tries to come down and talk but we're so completely covered by the umbrella that we can't hear him. There's even a menacing spike on top of the umbrella just to try and keep God away!

God sends the rain. He sends his living water and showers of blessings down on us... and what do we do? We put up our umbrellas so none of it will reach us. Now and then a 'hailstone' (that's God trying to get through to us) will pierce the top of the umbrella and break the cloth... or the strong wind will turn the umbrella inside out... but what is our response to that? We have the rip in the cloth repaired immediately or we start using a different umbrella that is stronger and will keep the wind and rain and hail off better.

Let's not put our umbrellas up. Keep them furled, swinging lazily on your arm. Or better still, leave the umbrella at home. Let's walk out in the rain and let God speak to us and have a relationship happening. Let's splash in the puddles and enjoy it. Why trudge through the rain with umbrellas up so God can't get through to us?

Don't put up an umbrella.