Filed under Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
We have Tony Reinke to thank for these “Men Can Fix Anything” pictures (more to come next week!).
As he rightly observed, words are not needed…
Nicole for the girltalkers
We have Tony Reinke to thank for these “Men Can Fix Anything” pictures (more to come next week!).
As he rightly observed, words are not needed…
Nicole for the girltalkers
Sunday concludes our 28-day challenge for the 5 O’Clock Club and the FAM Club. As of today, we have 959 members of The 5 O’Clock Club and 378 members of The FAM Club. Even if you didn’t participate in the challenge, you can still join the clubs at any time.
It’s been so exciting to hear from so many of you about how God has given you grace in your times of meeting with Him and in praying for your family. Please continue to share your testimonies for the encouragement of us all. You can submit a testimony for the clubs, and we’ll post them periodically as well.
Whatever growth in grace we’ve experienced this past month, may God receive all the glory!
“We glorify God, when we give God the glory of all that we do. So when we have done anything praiseworthy, we must hide ourselves under the veil of humility, and transfer the glory of all we have done to God.” Thomas Watson
“Lord…all that we have accomplished you have done for us.” Isaiah 26:12
(Friday Funnies coming later today)
(UPDATE 2/26:Links are fixed!)
My three little guys enjoy competition. Actually, truth be told, they LOVE to win. Games in our home are quite loud, filled with much laughter, and well, more then a few opportunities for sanctification!
Recently our good friends, Don and Trish, passed down some games their children had outgrown. One particular game, Hands Down, has become a new family favorite.
Hands Down is a simple card game, easy enough for my 6 year old to understand and yet competitive enough to intrigue my 10 year old. It’s perfect for a family night, or if you’re snowed in (like we’ve been a lot lately!) or looking for something to keep your kids busy.
If games could talk, this one might ask to be sent back to its original owners. Hands Down arrived in pristine condition—all pieces assembled and box fully intact. It had enjoyed a peaceful existence. But it has not fared so well in our home. The box is already damaged and I’ve had to tape some of the cards back together.
But hey, that’s life at the Chesemores!
A reader, also named Nicole, sent in this FAM Club testimony:
Today has been such an amazing day. As a matter of fact, this week in general has been the highlight of my walk with the Lord (besides my conversion).
I am always asking the Lord to reveal himself to me, “Lord show me who you are, show me your glory.” I really believe the Lord has answered those prayers many times, but I haven’t always been paying attention.
On this 28-day FAM Club challenge, I am just in amazement of what the Lord has revealed to me. Its amazing what fasting does—this week I have been so sensitive to so many things in my life due to this time of discipline and prayer.
Just last night, as I was fighting away hunger pains and trying to go to sleep, I begin to pray for my family, calling some by name, some not. About 30 minutes later, I get a text around one o’clock in the morning from a cousin I was just praying for! She begins to share with me how she is running from the Lord and really wants to become a Christian. I am in awe. The Lord hears my prayers!
I know every case may not work out in this way, but mine did. The Lord revealed himself again, except this time I was so focused on prayer and fasting, that I was sensitive to pay attention. I shared the gospel with her again and invited her to come hang out with me and another young girl whom I meet with for Bible study.
It was neat to see her today, I have not seen her in 8 years! I shared my testimony of what my life was really like before Christ and even heard her story of wanting to walk with the Lord and not knowing how to let go of all of her competing loves. Oh, please pray she would be set free by knowing the truth—that God can change her, she can’t change herself!
We spent hours talking, even after Starbucks was closed. God has indeed reminded me that His arm is not to short to save. He has a plan for my cousin’s life. I can’t wait to watch it unfold!
At eighteen months, my sweet baby MJ is “coming into her own.” Theologically speaking, the doctrine of sin is on full display in her little life. Despite a limited vocabulary, she has no trouble communicating her demands or displeasures. Screams will suffice.
So when Mom shared this quote with me the other day, I had to smile—and thank God for the transforming effect of the gospel:
“Oftentimes parenting can feel like a battle. And the “enemy” is your two-year-old who’s just thrown their dinner on the floor (again); or your fifteen-year-old, who’s just slammed the door on you (again). But still your job is to show them what our Father in heaven is like. Yes, they need to learn to live under authority. But they also need to learn of a God who welcomes His enemies, loves His enemies and gives His life for his enemies.” (Gospel Centred Family by Tim Chester and Ed Moll)
As you march toward mothering battles today, may God give you grace to welcome, love, and give your life for your little (or not so little) “enemy”—as Christ first loved and gave Himself for you.
When we suffer, our first question is often “Why?”
Why me? Why this? Why now?
These are the questions Karen Sunday wanted to ask when she was recently diagnosed with cancer. But her husband, pastor David Sunday, encouraged her to ask some different questions:
Who are you, Lord?
What do you want to teach us about Yourself?
How do you want to use us for Your glory?
Read about this pastor’s loving counsel to his wife in the midst of severe suffering. And please pray for this godly couple.
May God give us all grace to ask these God-glorifying questions.
The Right and Wrong Questions to Ask When You Get Cancer
On Suffering and Asking Who, What, and Where—Not Necessarily Why
Two of my friends—Kimm and Kim—both sent me these funny pictures…
Have a grace-filled weekend!
Carolyn for my daughters
This lady is getting ready to enter a public toilet in Houston…
Now that you’ve seen the outside view, take a look at the inside view…
It’s made entirely out of one-way glass! No one can see you from the outside, but when you are inside, it’s like sitting in a clear glass box! Now, would you? Could you?
Next…A Painted Bathroom Floor
Tenth floor of a high-rise building…
Imagine you are at a party…
And then you have to visit the bathroom…
You open the door…
Now remember, the floor is just a painted floor!
Would you be able to walk into this bathroom?
This is a ceiling mural in a smoker’s lounge…
It’s birthday weekend here—Caly turns 4 on Saturday and Jack turns 7 on Sunday. (Funny fact: all three of our “oldests” were born in February—Andrew turned 10 just two weeks ago.)
Speaking of birthdays, I recently discovered that I’m one of the only moms in America who does not know how to make elaborate, theme cakes for her children’s birthdays.
I really thought it was just my super-artsy friends (and Chef Duff on the Food Network) who made Cinderella’s castle with turrets and a drawbridge or a life-sized Washington Redskins football helmet. But apparently, most moms can design, bake, and decorate their child’s cake of choice, no problem.
This was news to me! You see, I never had a fancy cake growing up. Mom—God bless her—tried her best. She even took a cake decorating class. But as she laughingly says—“it just didn’t take.”
So, like her mother before her, she decorated our cakes with edible candy letters that said “Happy Birthday!” with extra letters for the name, and little stars you could put candles in. We thought it was great. We didn’t know we were missing anything.
Being less artistic than my mother, I never even thought about making a fancy cake for my children—until last year when my son overheard that another kid was getting a “Thomas the Train” cake for his birthday (the things they pick up at church!).
So, I went to the grocery store bakery and blew half the birthday budget on a cake with an icing track and real trains. It was beautiful. And easy. And expensive.
This year I’m actually going to try this Lego cake. That’s because all I have to do is cut some big marshmallows in half, ice them, and stick them on top. I can handle that. I think. (I hope Jack still likes legos when he’s eighteen!)
But if the lego thing doesn’t work out, I can always rely on the edible candy letters, like my mother and grandmother before me. Because really, do I harbor deep-seated regret that my mom never made me a Strawberry Shortcake cake for my birthday? Not a bit.
We received this exciting and funny email from Erin today and just had to share it with you. Read to the end if you (like me!) have trouble getting out of your warm bed each morning:
As a mom to 2 small children, I have been consistent at one thing for the past few years, and that is struggling to spend time with God. It has been a constant source of frustration and guilt for me, as I have focused on my lack of a quiet time and not the goodness and grace of a loving God. I have even attempted the 5 o’clock club before and failed miserably because of my motivations and dependence on myself.
Well, this time has been very different for me. I began rising early to spend time with God in January, so when I saw that your blog would be focusing on this for February, it was truly confirmation for me that God was drawing me into deeper communion with Him. I cannot tell you how thankful I have been for the accountability and encouragement of your blog over the past few weeks. I have more than enjoyed my times of rising early everyday and I am so thankful that God has given me His grace in this area.
My goal from the start was to get one load of laundry done and spend 45 minutes to an hour, reading, praying, etc. Getting the laundry done has been HUGE for serving my family. It is no longer a constant source of irritation…now it is a constant source of excitement.
I could go on and on about how meaningful my time with God has been (much more so than having the laundry done) but that would literally take several days. I am so grateful for what He has been showing me and the desire He has given me to pray for my friends and family. I am 31 years old, and can honestly say I have never experienced such a sweet time with my Savior! I am so, so, so, so grateful!
One more thing…I wanted to share something that has actually helped me get up in the mornings…it’s rather amusing! One of the hardest things about getting up, to me, is how cold it is! Getting out of a warm bed into cold air is no fun! I found myself wrapping up in a blanket every morning, but that often got in the way of folding the laundry or reading. Well, as sort of a gag gift, my husband bought me a Snuggie! I know, I know…A SNUGGIE?! BUT…it has been fantastic…I love getting out of my warm bed into my warm snuggie…what a fabulous invention!!! The only downside has been folding laundry filled with static while wrapped in a Snuggie…there have been a couple of times where I felt like I was being electrocuted…I guess that’s good if you’re having trouble waking up!
I included a picture of me in my Snuggie. I would have preferred pink, but my husband got blue…I think it is because secretly he wants to wear it, too!
“How do you keep going with these disciplines when it is tough?” Dawn asked us last week:
“I really wanted to try it out but circumstances have only served to discourage me. The alarm waking my 3 year old so I spend the whole ‘quiet time’ is spent trying to settle him and stop him disturbing the others, then both we both have a harder day because of the extra tiredness. How do you keep on? I am convinced it is a good thing but feel like I am letting my whole family down because I am tired and so discouraged. Sorry just wonder if I am the only one who can’t work it out.”
You certainly aren’t the only one! All four of us know exactly how you feel! With small children, it is hard to do anything consistently. The only thing predictable about our days is that they are unpredictable! But here are a few ideas (all from Mom) that we’ve found helpful:
1. Change What You Can – Small, practical changes can make a big difference. Consider potential solutions like buying a quieter alarm clock or placing it where the kids are less likely to hear it. I’ve even set my phone alarm to ring and vibrate and then slept with it under my pillow! My husband and I have run “tests” to see what noises in the house (walking on hardwood, flushing toilet, opening closet) sound loudest in our kid’s rooms. And training our children to read books on their beds until a set time each morning has made a huge difference. However, some problems aren’t so easy to solve, that’s why it’s good to…
2. Have a “Plan B“ – If your ideal plan doesn’t work out, have a back-up plan in place. Plan “A” might be to meet with God before the children wake up; but if you’re up half the night with a sick baby, you need sleep in the morning! Plan “B” may be to read God’s Word and pray during your children’s naptime.
3. “Do What You Can”- If both “Plan A” and “Plan B” fail (which may happen often with small children!) then do what you can. Read this great story from Donald Whitney about how one mother’s hunger for God’s Word led to some creative solutions. Liberating and inspiring!
4. Try Again Tomorrow – Even if you only rise early two times each week you are doing more than if you never tried at all—that should encourage you!
5. Preach the Gospel to Yourself – This will lead to joy. God is not more pleased with us on the days we rise early or less pleased with us on days when we sleep late. We are accepted and approved because of Jesus Christ.
Finally, as Mom is fond of reminding us: this is a season. It will pass all too quickly and the three year old who wakes up early will be a thirteen year old who you can’t get out of bed in the morning. Until then, remember that God’s grace is more than sufficient (2 Cor. 12:19). He daily bears us up, and promises that “as your days, so shall your strength be” (Ps. 68:19, Deut. 33:25).
We girltalkers have a weakness for homemade bread, and we are always on the lookout for new recipes. Mom recently discovered Buttermilk Refrigerator Rolls and they’ve made regular appearances at dinner ever since. These soft and chewy little guys are, well, what can I say? Scrumptious!
But what makes them doubly wonderful is that the dough keeps in the refrigerator for up to one week. This means you can whip up a batch on Monday (today!) and use it for dinner (or breakfast and lunch, for that matter) all week long. Yummy and practical! You’ve gotta try ‘em!
Buttermilk Refrigerator Rolls
1 pkg dry yeast
½ cup warm water (105 degrees to 115 degrees)
½ cup shortening, melted
4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp soda
2 cups buttermilk
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand five minutes. Stir in melted shortening. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add dry ingredients and buttermilk to yeast mixture; mix well. Turn dough out on a well-floured surface; knead gently until dough can be handled. Shape dough into a ball; place in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover dough, and refrigerate until needed (dough will keep one week). Shape dough into rolls, as desired; place on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Yield: about 2 dozen.
Well, the Washington, DC area is recovering from record-breaking snowfall…slowly. But the sun and the snowplows were out today, making everyone smile.
A quick reminder for our guy readers: you only have two more days to finalize your Valentine’s Day plans. Make it good!
And girls, if you need any last-minute Valentine’s ideas, you can check out a contest we ran in ‘06 which generated a number of creative ways to celebrate the holiday (one, two, three, four, five, and six).
Returning to the snow theme, I leave you with one of my dad’s favorite comic strips, Calvin and Hobbes, and Calvin’s diabolical snowman. Imagine being that boy’s mom!
See you Monday,
Janelle for Mom, Nicole, and Kristin
Sometimes, we can grow weary of praying for our loved ones. We get discouraged, or begin to doubt God’s desire or ability to save. We must prepare for such temptations and be ready to fight for faith and persevere in prayer.
Two wise pastors are here to help! A.W. Tozer and C.H. Spurgeon remind us to look to Christ and His work in our lives to strengthen our faith:
“Unbelief says, ‘Some other time, but not now; some other place, but not here; some other people, but not us.’ Faith says, ‘Anything He did anywhere else He will do here; anything He did any other time He is willing to do now; anything He ever did for other people He is willing to do for us!’” A.W. Tozer
“Mighty to Save” Isaiah 63:1
“Christ is not only ‘mighty to save’ those who repent, but He is able to make men repent. He will carry those to heaven who believe; but He is, moreover, mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them. He is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, and to constrain the despiser of His name to bend the knee before Him….Believer, here is encouragement. Art thou praying for some beloved one? Oh, give not up thy prayers, for Christ is ‘mighty to save.’ You are powerless to reclaim the rebel, but your Lord is Almighty. Lay hold on that mighty arm and rouse it to put forth its strength…Whether to begin with others, or to carry on the work in you, Jesus is ‘mighty to save;’ the best proof of which lies in the fact that He has saved you.” Charles Spurgeon
Put these “keepers” (and other faith-building verses) where you will see them often. Regular reminders of God’s power and faithfulness will spur us on in expectant prayer!
Here’s Karen’s second question:
On a more practical note I find fasting a meal doesn’t gain me any time to pray. Meal times I usually eat with my kids (4 1/2 and 2) and even if I fast I still have to sit with them and supervise their meal - certainly not conducive to wrestling in prayer. Maybe the answer is to fast from ebay or reading a book or something similar in the time they are resting after lunch as well….
How do we Fast A Meal and find time to pray with little kids (or a busy job etc.)? We could, as Karen suggests, “fast” from something else; Janelle talked about this in her post FAM Club Qualified.
But even if fasting a meal doesn’t open up a chunk of time for prayer, it can still help us seize many moments to pray. I addressed this topic in our original FAM Club series, beginning with a quote from Ian Duguid:
“If we find that we are forgetful to pray for a particular need, fasting will remind us to pray over and over through the alarm clock of our hunger pangs! If we find ourselves short of time for prayer, fasting creates space to pray in the time we would otherwise have been eating.”
Several of you asked how to make time for prayer in the midst of busy lives. It’s great if you are able, like my mom, to take advantage of the “space” a mealtime creates to get away and intercede on behalf of your family. But for me, with small children, that’s a little impractical. I barely have time to eat as it is! And I imagine that if you are on the job or in the classroom, extended prayer time might be difficult to come by.
But my hunger pains, and my sense of weakness from a lack of food are like a snooze alarm ringing throughout the day. Each time I think—“I’m so hungry” or “I want food” (which is pretty often!) I take the opportunity to reaffirm that yes, I am weak, I am powerless and that is why I am appealing to the All-Powerful One on behalf of my family members. I need food. But I need God even more. And so do my loved ones.
By the time I break my fast, I find I’ve prayed for my family members many times—certainly more than if I had not fasted. I’m grateful for the reminder.
Another FAM Club member, Esther, wrote in this week to tell us how she put this idea into practice:
I’ve never really understood how ‘fasting’ works until it was made so simple & yet so empowering when I read what Nicole wrote in ‘A Timely reminder’ on Jan 15,2008. Ever since then, I’ve been excited to fast & pray! Each time the hunger pangs come when I fast, I quickly pray “Lord, I need YOU to help (this family member) love YOU, more than I need food now.” “Lord, I need YOU to help me TRUST that YOU are able & eager to help (x), more than I need food now.” I never knew what a blessing ‘hunger pangs’ can be! They’ve served to remind me ever so persistently during the fast, that we need GOD! Here’s the good news! I’ve been fasting for my brother since then & what a joy it is to finally see the fruits! God has blessed him lately with a godly Christian brother mentor, he’s started doing daily devotions, & to me as a sister, what a joy it is because our relationship as a brother-sister has grown close! This year, I’m excited to fast for another family member. & I’ve invited my mom to join me! By God’s grace, we’ll see yet another breakthrough in HIS time.
Esther’s story can encourage us all to express our desperate need for God through fasting, and to eagerly look for His grace at work in our loved ones!
Karen sent us two great questions about The FAM Club. We’ll take the first one today:
Hi girltalkers – I have just had my first time of prayer and fasting as part of the FAM club and I have to admit to finding myself a little perplexed. I am struggling with knowing how to really pray for those who are unsaved. More than just “Lord please save so and so” which is done in 2 minutes. I know lots of verses to pray for believers but nothing much in the same vein for unbelievers.
I love your desire to pray meaningful, biblical prayers for your loved ones!
Scripture—since it is the story of God’s plan of salvation—is full of verses we can pray back to Him. Any verse that extols God’s saving power, that describes his saving work can be turned into a prayer that He would do the same, through Jesus Christ, for our loved ones.
We’d encourage you, as you read Scripture, to look for verses that celebrate God’s saving work and power, jot them down in a place where you can easily find them again, and turn them into prayers for your loved ones.
Matthew Henry has a wonderful collection of Scriptures for this purpose, and here’s a sampling of verses and Scripture-based prayers we’ve used to help you get started. We hope they inform and invigorate your prayer time for your family:
“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekial 36:26
“O God, I cannot endure to see the destruction of my kindred. Let those that are united to me in tender ties be precious in thy sight and devoted to thy glory…. Let not those of my family who are amiable, moral, attractive, fall short of heaven at last; Grant that the promising appearances of a tender conscience, soft heart, the alarms and delights of thy Word, be not finally blotted out, but bring forth judgment unto victory in all whom I love.” -Valley of Vision
“The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.” Proverbs 21:1
“But to the disciples he said, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see.” (Matthew 13:16) Do you have “blessed eyes”? The new birth is the gift of “blessed eyes.” This is what Paul was sent to do in the power of Christ: “I am sending you to open their eyes” (Acts 26:18). And once we have “blessed eyes,” we pray for the fullest use of them every day. Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law. (Psalms 119:18) Nothing is more important for joy and love and worship than the gift of “blessed eyes.” O pray for blessed eyes.” -John Piper
“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14
“Apply Your redemption to their hearts, by justifying their persons, and sanctifying their natures. Teach them to place their happiness in Thee, the blessed God, never seeking life among the dead things of earth, or asking for that which satisfies the deluded; but may they prize the light of Thy smile, implore the joy of Thy salvation, find their heaven in Thee.” -Valley of Vision
“May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations. Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you!” Psalm 67:1-2