Feb 15

Monday Recipe

2010 at 2:51 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Homemaking | Recipes

buttermilk rollsWe 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.

Feb 12

Friday Funnies

2010 at 8:09 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Friday Funnies

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!
calvin cartoon

See you Monday,

Janelle for Mom, Nicole, and Kristin

(HT: JT)

Feb 11

“Give not up thy prayers”

2010 at 1:17 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Prayer | The FAM Club

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!

Feb 10

How Do I Find Time to Pray?

2010 at 4:04 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The FAM Club

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!

Feb 9

How Do I Pray for the Unsaved?

2010 at 5:54 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Prayer | The FAM Club

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

Feb 8

Snow and More…Snow

2010 at 8:02 pm   |   by Janelle Bradshaw Filed under Fun & Encouragement | Girltalkers

We had a record snowfall here in the Washington, DC area this weekend. Two feet of snow fell from Friday to Saturday. Just look at my vending machine! They are saying that we haven’t had this much since 1922.

The plow didn’t make it to our neighborhood until last night so we have been hibernating since Friday. Other than the 12 hours when our power went out, we had tons of fun. Eating was our chief activity. I’m so glad we live in an age where we know the snow is coming beforehand: plenty of time to stockpile good food!

Even when the power was out, we made the best of it—trying to imagine that we were camping (without heat, electricity or running water, that’s practically what it was!). We used snow to boil water on the gas grill for coffee and huddled around in blankets laughing and talking. It was a fun memory (especially now that the heat is back on!).

Crazy thing is, they are calling for more snow tomorrow. I’m just grateful that our street is plowed so that I can get to the grocery store and restock before it hits.

We’ll be back tomorrow with more talk on the new clubs.

coke machine snow

Feb 5

Friday Thoughts

2010 at 8:27 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under Biblical Womanhood | Gospel

It’s been such an exciting week here at girltalk! We now have almost 800 members of The 5 O’Clock Club and over 300 members in The FAM Club. How encouraging to join with so many of you to rise early to seek God and pray and fast for our families!

We’ve published a few 5 O’Clock Club testimonies that will spur you on in your efforts to rise early. And by the way, today is the last day we’ll choose every 28th member to win a Starbucks card, so if you haven’t already, sign up by midnight tonight.

More encouragement for you club members coming next week, but today we want to take a detour from our “club talk.” There’s an article we don’t want you to miss. This past week, Albert Mohler shared a story, “Adopted for Life….and in Death” that deeply affected us all. It’s a reminder to continue to pray for the people of Haiti, even as the tragedy fades from the public consciousness. And it is a powerful picture of the grace of adoption we have received through Jesus Christ.

For the girls,

Feb 4

Fighting Laziness & Pursuing Holiness

2010 at 5:35 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O’Clock Club | The FAM Club

This morning we received an email from one new club member, Kristin. Here’s a snippet:

Today is the second day for me in the 5 AM Club. By God’s grace, I have not hit the snooze yet, and that is a HUGE deal for me…seriously. I was so excited about this club that I sent out the idea to the women at our church. As of now, we have 17 college girls that are joining the club and waking up early to meet with Jesus. Praise God! It’s so encouraging to know that there are women all over the place fighting against laziness and pursuing holiness. Thanks SO much for initiating this club!

“Fighting laziness and pursuing holiness” might seem to be getting harder as the week goes on. The snooze button never looked so inviting as it did this morning!

We’re not sleep experts, but in our experience, you’re at the most difficult point right now. The initial adrenaline has worn off and your body is rebelling against the change. But our experience (again, we’re no experts) is that if you push through, it will get easier soon. Your body will adjust to the new routine. In the meantime, we recommend an extra long nap or an early bedtime!

But just because rising early (or fasting) is hard, doesn’t mean we can’t do it or that it isn’t worth it. J. Alec Motyer explains in his comments on Philippians. 1:9-11 Read it carefully. Then read it again:

“And this is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.”

“Our obedience, discipline and hard graft are not insignificant or optional. On the contrary, they are the God-intended context for growth. But something else energizes the growth till the fruit is ready for harvest: all is done through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (verse 11)….In this setting the daily task of obedience remains hard, but not fruitless. We are often neglectful, frequently failing, ever inadequate; yet the end is secure, for God is at work.”

Getting up early to sit at Jesus’ feet is hard, but not fruitless. We may fail, but the end is secure: God is at work. So let’s persevere in this “context for growth” to the glory and praise of His name!

Feb 3

How to Stay in the Clubs

2010 at 12:20 pm   |   by Carolyn Mahaney Filed under The 5 O’Clock Club | The FAM Club

So it’s day three of the 28-day challenge. How’s it going? Are you on your third cup of coffee and thinking about getting an espresso machine? Is your stomach complaining so loudly you can hardly hear yourself pray?

Do you wonder how you can keep this up for 28 days, much less a lifetime?

John Piper explains how, in his comments on 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12:

“To this end we always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling and may fulfill every resolve for good and every work of faith by his power, so that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Paul prays for us—and I pray for you even as I write this—that God will “fulfill every resolve for good” that we have. This means that it is good to have resolves. God approves of it. It also means that our resolving is important, but that God’s enabling us to “fulfill” the resolves is crucial. Paul wouldn’t pray if God’s help weren’t needed. “The heart of man plans [resolves!] his way, but the Lord establishes [fulfills!] his steps” (Proverbs 16:9).

But it matters how we resolve. When Paul says, “every resolve for good and every work of faith,” he is not describing two different acts. He is describing one act in two ways. It is a “resolve for good” because we will it. It is a “work of faith” because we depend on Jesus to give us power to fulfill it. That’s how we resolve—by faith in Jesus.

So Paul says that the fulfilling of the resolve is “by his power.” That’s what we are depending on. That’s what we are looking for when we resolve. We are looking to Jesus who promised to be with us and help us. “I know that through . . . the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance” (Philippians 1:19).

We are praying for YOU that God will fulfill these resolves for good and that you would depend upon Jesus’ power to do them. So, I guess we know how things will turn out. We’re confident that, by His power, you can stay in the clubs!

Feb 2

Thanks for Joining Us!

2010 at 4:52 pm   |   by Nicole Whitacre Filed under The 5 O’Clock Club | The FAM Club

When we called each other at 4:45 am yesterday morning to prepare to open the clubs, we didn’t know what to expect. “What if it flops and no one signs up?” we wondered.

“And why do we always launch new stuff so early?” Janelle asked in her groggy morning voice (I wish you could hear what she sounds like at 5 am!). No one answered her.

I mean, if you didn’t know better, you might think we were trying to sabotage our own blog. Why else would we start two clubs with such unappealing membership requirements as less sleep and less food, and then kick them off at 5 O’Clock in the morning?

But you all began to sign up before 5 O’Clock! We tried to keep pace—accepting each request as it came in; but we soon fell hopelessly behind and the site was so overwhelmed that we could no longer access the management page. By late afternoon our site designer came to the rescue, and accepted your requests in one large batch. We are working hard this morning to add the newest members.

As of right now, The 5 O’Clock Club has over 600 members and The Fam Club has over 250—and both are growing! (By the way, you’ll notice the names are sorted alphabetically, but we have a record of the order of signup and will be contacting the Starbucks card winners shortly.)

What’s exciting to us is not that we have a lot of names on our rolls, it’s what your eagerness to join these clubs represents—your hunger for God’s Word, your passion to grow in prayer, your longing to see the lost sinners in your family come to Christ, your awareness of your desperate need for God’s grace, your determination to sit at Jesus’ feet each morning.

These themes echoed throughout your comments. We wish we could post them all here, but our site—already creaking under the heavy load of traffic—simply doesn’t have the space. But here’s how a few of our fellow club members answered the questions:

“Why do you want to join The 5 O’Clock Club?”

To join women from around the world in pursuing godliness in this discipline of rising early and sitting at His feet.

To help me get a spiritually healthy habit started and doing it together makes it that much sweeter

I have three little ones who seem to be conspiring to wreck my quiet time in the mornings: a nursing baby, who wakes up at a different time each day, and two preschoolers who are making a rocky transition to sharing a room. I want to get up earlier so that I will be able to meet with God for a few minutes, at least, BEFORE I begin nursing the baby and intervening in the hey-get-out-of-my-bed arguments.

By God’s mercies & grace, your blog has been a means of grace to help me start & spur me to seek the Lord daily 1st thing in the morning… ever since then, (it’s been 1 year & 7 months already!), I’ve been enabled to enjoy doing it every morning. Praise God!

My sweet 5 AM friend Valerie and I have been alternating calling each other each week since the beginning of January to wake up and it has blessed us so much to be in the Word first thing each morning. It has definitely gotten easier and look forward to see how the Lord will continue to use it for His glory in our lives.

My husband and I have been waking together at 5 for about 2 years now. My parents made this a regular practice as well. It has been such a blessing to us in our spiritual growth as individuals as well as a couple. We want our boys to benefit from this practice as well.

I am the wife of one and the mother of ten children- ages 10 mo. - 10yrs. The Lord has been urging me to rise early for some time. This sounded like a beautiful way to encourage me to do just that. My godly mother was always such an example and encouragement in my life to get up early to spend time sitting at the feet of Jesus. Since she has gone to be with the Lord, it has been a battle to get up early with consistency. Thank you for this encouragement. God bless you all.

Because I think its good reading the Bible and I’m doing it with my Mum! (I’m seven years old)

My mom asked me to join the club along with my sister, aunts, and grandmother. I already spend time with God, but I would like to be more deliberate in my time with Him. I also think it would be great to do this together as a family.

I have three little kids- 4, 2 and 10 months. I will not get a moment to read the Bible if I don’t get up early! I have been part of the “6 o’clock club” of my own since I read your book “Shopping for time.” I used to think I would get a time to read the Bible during the day, but day after day I would not get to it, promising my self and God I WOULD do it tomorrow for sure. Something had to change. When I started getting up before my kids and enforcing the “don’t get up before 7am” rule for my early riser my bible reading got consistent and profitable! It has been a blessing ever since! For the first few months my sister called me every morning. Now my husband and I wake up together so it is easier to get up! It is my favorite part of the day. Thanks for the encouragement on this blog and for us moms to make time with the Lord.

For the encouragement of knowing others are waking up at the same crazy time that I am

“Why do you want to join The FAM Club?”

I’m wanting to enter for my four grandchildren!

To lock arms with others that are crying out to the Lord on behalf of family members.

God has called us to adoption so we have a lot of kids. Some of our kids come with special needs and also some pretty significant scars, some visible and some invisible. I want to pray for them that God will do some amazing work in their hearts that will show His glory and His work in their lives that they will be an amazing testimony of God’s grace and mercy.

I am the first Christian in my immediate and extended family that I know of and long for the rest of my family - mom, dad, brother, uncles, aunts, etc - to know Jesus in a real way!

I would desire not much more in life than to see my siblings..[five younger brothers] saved by the Lord Jesus in my lifetime

How important my role is as a mother to do everything I can to win my children’s hearts to Christ. I teach them, train them, and pray for them, but have not fasted for them. The stories that you have posted have struck deep, and what better what to get on my knees for my girls than with fasting. I hope I can keep this up until all my children are saved, and then fast for their children… so until the day I die!

My husband is not saved. We have 5 children ranging in age from 2 years old to 20 years of age. Obviously the little ones haven’t received salvation but neither have the big boys. I would love to take a day and a meal a week and spend it in prayer for them. (If not more!) My greatest hope and prayer is one day my whole family can share a love of Christ together.

words cant even begin to explain what something like this means…I just want to SEE GOD WORK in the LIVE OF THOSE I LOVE!!!!

My mother passed away in August and my father was just recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. My mother had made a profession of faith, but my father never has…I want to truly commit to praying for his and my brother’s salvation.

What a joy, honor, privilege, and blessing to be able to fast and pray for my family, my church, Sovereign Grace, and other needs I hear about. I agree with David Brainerd who wrote: “Blessed be God that I may pray.”! Thanks you four for providing this opportunity to pray and fast with and for others!

To pray for my mom.

I have been concerned about my younger brother’s salvation. He is a young teen that is in a Christian home, but I don’t see a heart that yearns for God. I have prayed for him off and on, but now I want to make the commitment to fast and pray before the Lord for him.

My immediate family has been awakened to the beauty and delight of God in Christ, but our relatives are still far off and constantly mock and ridicule us. I LONG for them to love the light and be saved! This will help me to regularly pray for them - especially my Gram, whom I love dearly.