Welcome to Blessing Your Home!

Welcome! I'm so glad you're here! Please feel free to use this site as a resource for information, helpful hints and downloadable charts as well as a place to offer or receive help and encouragement.

Whether it's taking the kids to school, having a quiet chat with your husband or serving your church or community, remember that the Lord has already given you everything you need to be fully equipped to do that task well. Take each step in faith and let Him shower you with every good gift as you request it in prayer, knowing that your victory brings glory and honor to His name.

My prayer for you, dear sister, is that every day, you understand more and more the true power of the Holy Spirit in every aspect of your life!

May 24, 2011

The Incomparable Joy of Ministry

No question about it, ministry can be downright hard sometimes.  It's a battlefield, we're warned about it.   Jesus said about Paul in Acts 9:15-16:

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”

We choose to go into it with eyes wide open and hearts unshielded, completely and utterly unarmed except with the Word of God.  There can be times when it feels like all you're doing is hitting a brick wall, sometimes for days or even months and years.  Walking in blind faith, feeling your way only to the next step and totally trusting in the Lord, because if He's not in it, you don't want it.  Then you walk past a table of women at Bible study and a snippet of conversation floats to your ears.

"This is changing my life."

And I want to fall to my knees and weep with joy, with praises to God for what He has worked in a heart.  It really doesn't get better than that, this side of Heaven.  It is worth the tearstained toil of a million days just to hear that even one time.  To see the Kingdom of God invading this natural, fallen world and overcoming in victory is what we are ALL about. It's the focus of every moment of ministry, it's woven into the fabric of who we are as a body of Christ.  It's the all-in, sold-out, nothing-but-Jesus, living-in-victory, power-of-the-Holy-Spirit reality...that is OUR normal Christian life.

Praise the Lord for His good works!  He is always faithful, always loving, always working.

May 23, 2011

What Not To Wear

My daughter and I love to watch the TLC show "What Not To Wear". We get a good chuckle out of the before fashions, and are often amazed at the transformation later on. Along the way there are lots of tears, awkward moments, smiles and emotions. Women are challenged, confronted, fearful, trusting, anxious, excited...sometimes all at the same time.

Sometimes they need some new, um, well, let's just say "foundations"...you know what I mean! Sometimes they need to see themselves for who they really are, not who they think they are. Sometimes they need to dig deep and root out things that were planted long ago and are choking out their spirit.

At the end, when they reveal their new, well-fitted and well-suited new clothes, you can almost see the shadow of who they were before shrinking into vapor and drifting away like smoke. Their foundation is secure and well-supported. It makes everything they put on top of it look better, feel better, it's shaped better and falls better. Where there once was shame, fear and anxiety, there is a new confidence and joy that comes from embracing who they are. They may not be entirely comfortable, but the outside is starting to reflect the inside. Their hair and makeup complement their personality and demeanor. There is a cohesiveness to their new look that show they were intentional in their choices.

It's a lot like the Christian walk, I think.

Colossians chapter 3. Here's a picture of the "before", those embarrassing moments when we're caught unaware of being observed, indulging in some particularly ugly attire:
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all. 
And blessedly here is the hope of the "after", when we've put on Christ and we adorn the gospel:
Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 
Truly an amazing transformation! We can face life with a smile in the full knowledge of who we are in Christ, and we can look just like Jesus to this dying and unsaved world in which we live. We have the sure foundation that the God of the universe holds us in the palm of His hand, always. We can make intentional choices so that our appearance and our character reflect who we truly are, daughters of the King. We can be comfortable in our own skin, confident that the One who conquered death and hell will be our comfort, support, our guide and our helper.

Now that’s a look I really want to wear, don’t you?

May 7, 2011

Keys to the Kingdom

This week's secret mission is to clean off your keyring.  I know I've got a couple of keys on there and I don't know what they open!  It got me thinking about keys, though.  What are keys?  They're small pieces of metal (or electronic bits of data) that unlock large doors, giving you access to what lies behind those doors.  No matter how big or imposing that door or gate might seem, a little tiny piece of metal or some little bits of data allow you to pass through unhindered.

So many times in my life I've felt like I was banging on a locked door, knowing that just behind it was what I truly wanted.  No matter the size of the battering ram I used, that door was just not budging.  It frustrated, exhausted and discouraged me!  All my efforts bore no fruit at all.  If only I had a key, how easy it would have been to insert it into the lock and turn it.  Without a key, no amount of physical strength was enough.

With that key, though, I needed hardly any strength at all.

What we are learning in Blessing Your Home is that the Holy Spirit is our spiritual key, unlocking the gifts and abilities that the Lord has graciously bestowed on us to do the work He has called us to do.  The Word tells us that the Lord has given us the fruits of His Spirit,

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is lovejoypeacepatiencekindnessgoodnessfaithfulnessgentlenessself-controlagainst such things there is no law.

In chapter 4 of the book of Luke, we see that Jesus was full of the Spirit, led by the Spirit, returned in the power of the Spirit, and the power of the Spirit was upon Him.  This is a beautiful example of walking in the reality of the Spirit!  John 3:34 tells us that Jesus gives us the Spirit "without measure".  Limitless!   John 6:63 tells us that it is the Spirit who gives life.

There is so much more....this limitless, life-giving Spirit dwells in all believers.  Yes, dwells in you!  Look at John 14:16-17.  Jesus Himself tells us:

And will ask the Fatherand he will give you another Helper to be with you forevereven the Spirit of truthwhom the world cannot receivebecause it neither sees him nor knows himYou know himfor He dwells with you and will be in you.

Acts 2:38 confirms the gifts of the Holy Spirit for every believer:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sinsand you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Beloved daughter, trust in the Lord.  He has promised that you have His Spirit within your heart.  It's ALREADY THERE.  And it is the key that opens every door.  It's the only key you really need on your keyring.

Apr 18, 2011

Welcome to Blessing Your Home, Summer 2011!

Well hi there!  I'm so excited you stopped by...come on in and I'll get a cup of coffee and sit and have one with you.

Are you a little nervous and a little excited about this study?  Me too!  I just know the Lord is going to bless your socks off as you seek more of His Spirit and power in your life.  I love how He can bring so much clarity and truth to every aspect of our lives.  What a friend we have in Jesus, 'tis true!

This first day is really my very favorite session, everyone is so full of hope, curiosity and just a little bit of trepidation.... and I am almost busting because I know that you're just on the edge of a really amazing experience.  It's like that moment on the rollercoaster when you're going up, up, up and you can't see the track ahead of you but you know the exciting part is so close!

Of course, the last day is also my very favorite session, because we can look back at the fullness of all that God has done and praise and glorify His Name.  There's NOTHING better than that, believe you me.  Every time I am amazed at how He works, He turns around and blesses me even beyond that....takes my breath away.

In between the first and the last session are all my other very favorite sessions...I'm interested in knowing which one will become your favorite.  I'm blessed to be taking this journey with you!

Your group leaders are a wonderful collection of ladies, all at a different age or stage of life, but one thing they have in common...they love the Lord with all their heart and they want to show Him and His glory through their lives.  And they want that for your life, too!  They'll become good friends, I am sure, sisters in Christ who are always willing to come alongside you to help, to serve, to praise, to encourage.  We are so blessed by these ladies' hearts for the Lord and each other, and I know you will be blessed as you get to know them well.

Well I have got to go get the last-minute details nailed down for our study tomorrow night and Wednesday morning.  Make yourself comfortable and browse some of the posts below from other ladies who have blessed their homes...and are reaping the rewards!

See you soon!

Jun 28, 2010

Lessons From My Garden

Being a native New Yorker, the idea of growing anything outdoors was a little unfamiliar, and frankly, a little scary!  Growing up in a city where nearly everything was encased in either concrete or metal, including trees, I was a little afraid of digging around in actual dirt.  I'm not a big fan of worms or bugs, either, but my love of cooking and fresh herbs inspired me to give it a try. After a couple of seasons of growing basil in pots I was ready to take the plunge and make a raised bed.  We built a small flower bed in the front of our house, and along the side we created a huge, twenty-foot-long raised bed which was to be dedicated to herbs and veggies.

Over the past years I've harvested so much more than fresh basil and a couple of tiny habanero peppers.  I've reaped lessons along with oregano and thyme.  I've tasted the Lord's goodness as well as chive flowers.  I've tended to my soul in silent contemplation as I weeded and thinned.  I wanted to share just a couple of thoughts with you, lessons from the Lord by way of my garden.

  • Sometimes we need boundaries, barriers and walls.
I learned this lesson from mint.  In case you didn't know it, mint is a voracious spreader and will quickly overtake and choke out any other plants around.  Fighting it and trying to stay ahead of it is a losing proposition.   The only real solution is to contain it.   Once I pulled the mint from my bed, there was room in there for all sorts of other useful herbs and plants, but while the mint was there, it grabbed all the space, nutrients and water that the other plants needed.  

Mint isn't a bad thing, but left unchecked it quickly turned into too much of a good thing.  Properly contained, it offered enough of what I would need without becoming an ever-spreading parasite.

Is there something in your life that tends to take over and consume many of your resources?  Perhaps you need to contain it, create some boundaries and some walls so it can be enjoyed in proper proportion.

  • You may be surprised at what you find when you start to dig.
For a Mother's Day gift, I asked my family to prepare my herb and flower beds.  Debris and overgrown plants from years past needed to be dug out and the soil tilled and turned.  In our front yard, we have a poplar tree.  As my husband and children began to dig out the old plant materials, they were astonished to find that the poplar had run a root straight through the entire bed.   This root actually went under a corner of the foundation of the house!  It was completely hidden, until they started to dig down into the dirt and it was exposed.  As they began to unearth it, they discovered that it was about as thick as a fencepost.  It had been growing there for years, completely undetected.  Left alone and hidden, nourished by the water and rich soil of my herb bed, it might have grown to a point where it actually began to push up the foundation of the house, causing all sorts of damage to the structure.

Is there something deeply hidden in your life, growing undetected and unchecked?  Something that might be threatening the very foundation of your heart and home?  Dig it up, root it out and expose it to the light so that it doesn't flourish.  

  • What shows on the surface may be small, but there's a lot going on underneath.
I've recently realized that I don't have to buy too many seedlings.  This year, I bought three basil plants, and once they were established I take cuttings from them and root them in water to create new seedlings.  It always astonishes me that a spindly little stem and a couple of leaves can produce a huge tangled mass of a root system so quickly!  On the surface, it doesn't look like much, but oh, what mighty work is happening underwater.    I know from experience that it's important to let these roots develop and grow until they fill the little jar in which the cutting is living, because planting it in the dirt with tiny roots will overwhelm it.  It isn't yet equipped to draw the nutrients it needs from the soil.  Only when the roots are strong will they be ready to do the harder work of growing in soil.

Have you been praying for something or someone for a long time, without seeing much happening actively in their life?  Don't despair...there may be a strong root system developing.  Just keep watering and trust that the work is being done under the surface.

God is in the growing business.  It is only because of His design that plants create seeds that drop and are nourished and grow into a new generation.  He gives rain, He created bees and bugs to pollinate.  Psalm 147 tells us, He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares rain for the earth; he makes grass grow on the hills. "  Truly, the heavens declare the glory of God!  As Psalm 104 proclaims, "You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth."

Every time a plant grows, in my garden or anywhere else, it's a big miracle in a tiny package. 

Jun 17, 2010

Living Peaceably

by Renada Joy Berhow

One of my favorite Bible verses is Romans 12:18, which in the ESV reads, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all."  I love this verse because it is just so practical and realistic.  It encourages me towards Christ-likeness (live peaceably with all) while still acknowledging the realities of life (if possible).  This verse reminds me to pick my battles, and make allowances for differences in other people.  But it also encourages me to stand up for things that I think are truly important, and that being a follower of Christ doesn't mean being a doormat.  

The Holy Spirit has brought this verse to mind on numerous occasions when all I wanted to do was tell someone why they were wrong, or otherwise become involved in (and sometimes even create!) an argument that was unnecessary, and it has also come to mind in situations when my people-pleasing tendencies were leading me towards making a compromise that would not be honoring to the Lord.

This week, however, while meditating on the spiritual fruit of peace, I saw this scripture in a new light.  I have known for years that living in untidy surroundings does not bring peace; a cluttered environment leads to a cluttered mind, people become frustrated when they can't find things in the piles of stuff everywhere, and it is hard to maintain a peaceful spirit when you trip over mountains of dirty laundry or baby toys on the way to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  

It had never occurred to me that, by neglecting to maintain a tidy household, I have not been doing all that is possible to live peaceably with my own family!  "So far as it depends on you," the verse says, and the tidiness of my home greatly depends on me, because I chose to be a home-maker -- and rather than making a home that is a place of peace, I have been making a home that it is hard to find peace in.

I now have an even stronger motivation to really overcome the clutter in my home so that the Lord can work through me to provide that peace for my family, and I am so encouraged to know that the Lord can and will enable me to make my home into a haven, so that every one who walks through my door will feel the Love, Joy, and Peace that only HE can provide!

Jun 7, 2010

Finding That Which Is Lost

Our secret mission this past week was to clean out our purse, diaper bag or tote.  I know from reading our Facebook posts that some interesting and surprising things were discovered during this challenge!  It reminded me a little bit of "Let's Make A Deal", when Monty Hall would give money to people if they could find a certain object in their pocket or purse.

Then the Lord reminded me that, just like those contestants on the game show, He also wants to find a treasure.  In the very beginning of His Word, in Genesis 3:9, the Lord called to Adam, "Where are you?"  He is always seeking the lost and those who stray!  He knows that the best and safest place for His children is under His wing, and He is always calling us to Himself.  So often, though, I want to play spiritual "hide and seek".  I want to find a hiding place where I think I'll be out of His view for a while.  That might work with children, but there is NO hiding from the Lord.

I often think that the Lord must view me much like I view a three year old child...willful, petulant, supremely confident and yet completely unaware of the realities of life, danger and the world.  Just like a three year old needs a firm hand, loving guidance and confident parenting, I need that from my Lord, too.  He is always faithful to give me all that I need...even if it isn't what I might want at that moment.  His desire for me is the peaceable fruit of righteousness, and that only comes through His loving discipline. (Hebrews 12:11)

Take a moment in your personal time with the Lord today to thank Him for finding you, for keeping you and for disciplining you!