city on a hill

USA – Are We Still a “City on a Hill”?

In 1630, a ship called Arbella came across the Atlantic and landed at what is now known as Boston. Rev John Winthrop was a passenger along with those whom we know as the Puritans. While still on board, he gave a sermon, called “A Model of Christian Charity“, which was a challenge to the people that they would create a new nation that would be “a City on a Hill” – a light to the world. Winthrop’s sermon expounded that America was divinely purposed by God to “hold world-historical importance”. Their success would only come with “the commitment to a higher cause and the dedication to God”. [Perry Miller]

No politician had turned to this sermon as the origin of America by quoting it until Perry Miller wrote about it in 1960. Then nearly every president to hold office quoted this one thing – We were to be a “City on a Hill”.

Winthrop’s sermon gradually became the key text defining and explaining the development of American literature from its origins to the present day. By 1979, this text opened and anchored The Norton Anthology of American Literature, the most dominant anthology on the market. Countless students still read it today.

How America Became “A City Upon a Hill” | The National Endowment for the Humanities (neh.gov)

But Are We Still a City on a Hill?

We may be still a city on a hill that the world looks to for many things. But what are we pointing them towards? I fear that somewhere along the way, we have left God in the dust. We have returned to our idols and selfish desires.

Sometimes I feel like the weeping prophet, Jeremiah.

    … my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,

    because the Lord’s flock will be taken captive.

Jeremiah 13:17

I look at how far the United States has fallen. My heart breaks at how we have turned away from God in so many ways. We have allowed sex, greed, pride, entertainment, and more to become our gods.

I was reminded while reading Jonathan Cahn this week that there is still hope. Cahn has been writing for years now on The Harbingers, the warnings that God has been sending us. Even before 9/11, God has been telling us that we have turned away from Him. But as He has always promised…

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:!4

The Call is to Christians

Notice that God is not speaking to the sinners here. He is calling His People, the Christians to humble themselves, pray, seek His face. You and I need to get serious about the fate of our country.

city on a hill

We need to:

  1. fall on our faces in prayer.
  2. pray for Christian leaders who will take a stand against sin.
  3. call on our country to pray.
  4. pray for all our leaders that they would turn to God as well.

It’s our only chance for survival.

Cahn points out in his book, Harbinger II: The Return, that it is not too late… yet. Time is short but prayer and fasting have saved this country in the past. It can happen again if we get serious about revival.

Were you aware that the union army was struggling to win until Abraham Lincoln called our nation to prayer?

And that very day, the tide began to turn.

Another Call to Prayer in our Nation’s History

There was another time since then that our nation was saved because the president called the nation to prayer. I remember my parents saying that this president had delayed the coming judgment on our country. Ronald Reagan called us to prayer.

I said before that the most sublime picture in American history is of George Washington on his knees in the snow at Valley Forge. That image personifies a people who know that it’s not enough to depend on our own courage and goodness. We must also seek help from God our Father and Preserver.

Abraham Lincoln said once that he would be the most foolish man on this footstool we call earth if he thought for one minute he could fulfill the duties that faced him if he did not have the help of One who is wiser than all others.

Ronald Reagan, 1982 New York Times
Reagan - city on a hill

Read Reagan’s complete speech in the New York Times

Focus on the Good

Eric Metaxas reminds us in His book, If You Can Keep It, that we must look for the good and stop focusing on all the wrong. We need to be proud of our nation. Love of our Nation needs to take precedence again. Between social media and the news, we are only hearing about the wrong things that have happened or are happening. What if we were to focus on the good things?

Like with our children, if we are constantly saying, “You are bad”, “You won’t amount to anything”. It is likely that they will indeed not amount to anything.” This is not to say that we don’t correct the wrong. But we need to find the good things and brag on those things. Then likely a child (or a nation) would begin to believe in themselves and begin doing more good.

Love not Hate

We need to love our country and the good things it has done. It’s not to say that we are perfect. No! The Preamble of the Constitution says,

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble of the constitution

“… to form a more perfect union”.

That is, that we would work to make things better and better; not necessarily PERFECT but more perfect. When we realize that we are doing something wrong, we do what it takes to make them right. I am proud of how far we have come when it comes to slavery, racism, democracy. I am proud of how our country has gone and fought for the freedoms of others in other nations. We have done many things right. And we have led the way towards establishing justice, tranquility, and liberty. Like no other country… EVER.

We are Blessed

Psalm 33:12  a city on a hill

God has blessed this country immensely. We have been a “city on a hill” leading the way for so much good. But we have turned and now are leading the way in the wrong direction. (family values, abortion, greed, pride, selfishness) The Bible says “Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.” As a nation, we are failing to keep God as our Lord. I fear there is little time left. We need to get humble, get praying and get right with God before it is too late.

Maybe God will hear and forgive us once more.

JOel 2:14 a city on a Hill

A Call to Repentance

12 “Now, therefore,” says the Lord,
“Turn to Me with all your heart,
With fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.”
13 So rend your heart, and not your garments;
Return to the Lord your God,
For He is gracious and merciful,
Slow to anger, and of great kindness;
And He relents from doing harm.
14 Who knows if He will turn and relent,
And leave a blessing behind Him—
A grain offering and a drink offering
For the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion,
Consecrate a fast,
Call a sacred assembly;
16 Gather the people,
Sanctify the congregation,
Assemble the elders,
Gather the children and nursing babes;
Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber,
And the bride from her dressing room.
17 Let the priests, who minister to the Lord,
Weep between the porch and the altar;
Let them say, “Spare Your people, O Lord,
And do not give Your heritage to reproach,
That the nations should rule over them.
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’ ”

Sincerely from a God-loving Patriot,

Mandy

Learn More About the Founding of America

at AMERICAN REWRITTEN

Other Resources

If You Can Keep It by Eric Metaxas

Harbinger II: The Return

Wallbuilders

Teaching American History

National Endowment for the Humanities

Why We Need to Honor our Historical Heroes

History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.

Sydney J. Harris

Education About our Heroes is Key

When I was in elementary school, we talked about the founding of our nation, our great presidents and leaders, and their character and devotion to liberty. I read and soaked up every biography I could get my hands on. It was important to know about the people that were responsible for building this country. My grandparents’ teachers took it a step further. They memorized speeches and poetry about our nation. My grandmother could quote many of these even just before her death at the age of 85.

You might say, “big deal! What does that matter?”

We are so Forgetful

The big deal is that if we don’t know where we came from we will tend to forget the good and repeat the bad. I’ve been studying the festivals of the Israelites. Erin Davis says in her book, 7 Feasts, “we all have spiritual amnesia, but there is a cure” (Psalm 103:2) I guess it has to do with the carnality of man. We just tend to digress instead of improving and learning from the mistakes of the past (our own and our ancestors).

Thomas Jefferson implied in the Preamble of our Constitution, that there was work to be done. That indeed, still here in 2021, we must work “to create a more perfect union”, always improving. Looking at where we came from and determining that we will not return there. We must do better. But we cannot do better if we are constantly wiping out and erasing the areas that need improvement.

Learning from our Past

In ancient times, empires would blot out anything bad that happened. (This is why there is no record of the Hebrews being in slavery in Egypt. It ended up bad for them; so it was blotted out of the history books). Our culture has been consistently working since the 1960s to blot out of our history books anything they don’t like. To the point that we aren’t really getting much history at all.

It is important for us to look at our past, the good and the bad. Then celebrate what we did right and learn from what was done wrong. Where wrongs were made, we remember to not do that again. We won’t remember in the future if we tear down statues and rename streets and buildings. We must leave them as a reminder. And when we see these statues we tell our children about the mistakes and how were are trying to not repeat them ever again. If we don’t teach our children they won’t even understand enough to tell their children.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

― Ronald Reagan

Inspired by a book!

  • The above is inspired by Eric Metaxas’ If You Can Keep It. A must-read for all Americans. It should be required reading for studying the beginning of our Nation. You know George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But how many of these people are you familiar with? George Whitefield, Alexis de Toqueville, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Cincinnatus, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, William Wilberforce, Squanto, Joshua Dewey. There’s more, but you can learn about all of these in this little book about our republic. You do know that we are a republic, not a democracy, right? Eric also has several biographies on these great heroes.

Teach Your Children Well

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,

And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Psalm 78, NKJV

The Psalmist instructed us to teach our children even the dark things in our history. To tell our children the good and the bad. He was speaking of how the Israelites rebelled many times against the Word of God, but God forgave them and blessed them. This isn’t to imply that we teach our children they can do whatever they want and God will overlook it. No, God allowed them to suffer because of their wrongs, and then He drew them back to the fold of righteousness. This is what we should not forget.

Too many of us have let this all fall into the schools’ responsibilities. This we cannot do. We must teach our children at home as well. I don’t necessarily mean you should homeschool (though I am an advocate). I mean the important things should not be left to the schools. Teach your children to be patriotic (love their country) and to have good character. The schools will expose them to their literature. We should be reading biographies and historical lessons at home and discussing them around the dinner table. Teach your children to think things through and not just believe what they are taught. The Bible even warns us to test our pastors to make sure what they preach is biblical. (I fear most of us don’t go home and “fact check” our pastors.)

Get Involved in What Your Children Are Learning

We can’t leave the education of our children to the schools alone. We must get involved. Here’s a thought, read your child’s required reading along with them and discuss them. Family time can be learning time, too. Be more selective in what movies you watch as a family and the books you read together. There is a lot of educational help online. I once received a weekly email with a story from history to read and discuss. Homeschool websites are available even if you don’t homeschool. Homefires offers a monthly page of videos and books to use that correlate with each day in history.

You can stear them into developing discernment and creating their own beliefs and attitudes. When my children were young, we enjoyed reading about heroes. Even adult books can be read together in small snippets which children can understand when you are reading together.

A few useful books

The below are books part of a series of biographies called The Sowers Series

Other Heroes I have written about

This blog carries many stories of heroes of faith, especially women.

Susanna Wesley

Elizabeth Elliot

Honey for a Child’s Heart includes an extensive bibliography of books listed by age and ability

legacy link-ups

It’s Your Turn

Are you writing about heroes? They can be from the past, your family, the Bible. We want to read what your have written. Link-up with us for the Month of June.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Celebrate His Promises


My heart remains true and is awed by Your words. 
I celebrate because of Your promise, 
like someone who discovers great treasure. 
I despise and abhor lies, 
but I love Your law. 
Seven times every day I praise You 
because of Your right rulings. 

Psalm 119:161-164 The Voice

Homesick & Heartbroken

It was my freshman year in college. I was 500 miles from home and looking forward to a long weekend home for Easter. I was packed to go and even had riders to share the cost. I woke up Thursday morning for my last day of classes and there was snow on the ground. I received a call from my father in Wisconsin. He strongly suggested that I not come home because the weather between Kentucky and Wisconsin was pretty severe.

I was so heartbroken. I had had a long year fighting homesickness and I really wanted to go home. Dejected, I went to my first class. Being at a Christian college, the professor always opened class with prayer. That is, he always asked a student to pray. That morning, he asked me to pray.

I wondered, “How on earth could I pray?” I was so disappointed that I was not going to be able to go home. We all bowed our heads…


“Lord, thank you

for the beautiful snow…”


I’m not sure what else I said. I was shocked to hear myself say it. Certainly, I was not thankful for the snow. It was the cause of my demise.

Psalm 119 Celebrate his promises
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Thankful in the Midst of Trial

It’s hard to be thankful when you are in the midst of trials. Your mind is so centered on your trouble, you can’t really think of anything else. But maybe praise and thankfulness are what helps ease our mind. Maybe it is what helps us make it through. Could it be the way to keep from spiraling down into despair is to continually have His praises on our heart and our mind?

This celebration of His Blessings may very well have been the beginning of a wonderful Easter weekend. I was invited to go to Georgia instead. I visited with a friend AND my aunt and Uncle.

Celebrate His Promises

 Soon after the start of my chronic pain. I was introduced to the writings of Ann Voskamp. You have probably seen to droves of Thankful posts on Facebook during November. When I realized that this came from Ann, I decided to read her book, A Thousand Gifts.   I was challenged to list three blessings every day for an entire year. That was the beginning of the return of smiles in the midst of the pain.

It truly does make a difference to begin listing the things for which I am grateful.

As the women’s director, I challenged all the ladies at church to take the Joy Dare with me. Several did it along with me. One couple shared with me several times how not only did the Joy Dare make them stop and think of things they were grateful for, but also, gave them laughter. The prompts weren’t always easy to find answers to, but they would laugh trying to think of ideas. What a blessing!

Psalm 119 Celebrate His Promises

You have probably seen these Joy Dare prompts on Facebook. Go download them and begin your own journey to joy today! It will change your life as it did me and my friends. And as it did for Ann.
Notice again the last line of the scripture above. The Psalmist says he gave praise to God SEVEN TIMES A DAY.

Wow! Seven times. I know I’m behind.

Join me and Celebrate his Promises!

Tybee Island, GA

My Journey with Chronic Pain

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How to Have Confidence That God is Enough

How can we know in our hearts that God is enough

Life is hard.  It’s tough. And it’s definitely not fair. 

God is Enough

Life seems to be tearing so many of us apart inside. Somehow, we must learn that our God is enough for all our needs. I know in my own life, that God’s graces are the only thing that has brought me through. In recent years, I have been fighting auto-immune diseases that are causing me great pain. But through it all, God’s graces have been enough for me. (My story was written several years ago HERE.. However, I am planning an update of that series beginning in May.) 

Certainly, there are times that I am discouraged  

I wonder how much more I can bear, but then if I get my eyes back on Jesus and His graces, He carries me through. Just like the poem, “Footprints” says when things are the toughest, that is when Jesus carries me! Then when we look back, we can say as Jacob did, “God was here, and I didn’t even know it!” (Genesis 28

God is Enough Genesis 28:16

One of the Best Gifts from God is Faith 

One of God’s greatest graces to me has been the gift of faith. Thankfully, through every trial, my faith has pulled me through. I have been able to rest in his sheltering arms to get to the other side of the mountain. 

You can take a test to find your spiritual gifts and find that faith is not your strongest gift, but we all have a bit of faith. 

To begin with, we have enough faith to believe that God exists. 

Secondly, we took the step of faith to believe He sent His Son to pay our debts. 

And now we just have to grow that faith until we have a victorious life. Just as the hymn by John H. Yates says… “Faith is the Victory that Overcomes the World!” 

The Apostle Paul told Timothy that his mother and grandmother had the gift of faith and that he (Timothy) had the same gift and he needed to “fan the flames of that gift“. (2 Tim 1:6). We need to work at building our faith. When God gives us a gift, He plants the seeds in our lives and we must do our part to make them grow. He often places us in situations that make our faith grow IF we take the right actions. 

Let’s consider some actions that will grow our faith. 

F – Fear Not 

(or worry not, or fret not, or doubt not, you fill in the blank) (2 Timothy 1:5-14) 

God is Enough 2 Timoty 1:6
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Paul continued in verse 7,  “God has not given us the spirit of fear and timidity, but the spirit of power, love and self-discipline.”  We have to use that self-discipline to stop worrying and start believing the God can work it out. God saved us and he has brought us through so many things already. We need to lean on those facts, rather than worrying about the future (which, by the way, we have very little control of). 

So take on the Australian attitude .. “No worries!” or 

maybe the Bahamian idea “No Problem, Mon!”   or 

the retro theme “Don’t Worry, Be Happy!” 

Choose what you may, just STOP WORRYING! 

A – Acknowledge our Concern & Ask God for help. 

Did you ever notice that the base word in “confidence” is “confide”?  So … maybe in order to have confidence, we should confide in the Lord about our fears and concerns. God wants to know about our concerns. 1 Peter 5:7 And we can have confidence that God will help us!

God is my helper Hebrews 13:6

Matthew 11 says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” 

It’s true, you know, He really does care.  #confidence #Godisenough Click To Tweet

I – Invoke Your Heart to Praise 

Invoke seems a hard word. Maybe indicating the forcing of something. But isn’t that what we must do? Sometimes praise is hard. Hebrews 13:14-15 says “let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God“. 

Continual Praise .. that means, at times we must praise the Lord, even when it’s hard. 

Even when we don’t want to. 

I am reminded of a time in college. Easter break was coming and I was so ready to get home for a few days. We woke to snow on the ground that Friday and I received a phone call from my father saying I should not come home because the roads between us were too dangerous. I was heart-broken. I went to my final class that morning with a heavy heart. We began class each day with prayer, and guess who the professor called on to pray… ME! 

I didn’t want to pray. 

What could I say to God at this moment? 

I was bummed. 

We bowed our heads and the words came from my mouth. “Thank you for the beautiful snow.” Wow! I really couldn’t believe the words were coming out of my mouth! Where did that come from? But guess what … staying at school brought new opportunities and a wonderful Easter weekend. 

I think if we can muster up a bit of praise and singing, we’ll soon have forgotten the worries and find the joy

T – Trust His Promises 

god is enough Prov 3:5,6
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We’ll never understand what’s going on in the world, but God knows. He sees the whole picture and He knows best. When you feel worries and struggles coming your way. Get into the Word

Better yet, live in The Word always. 

Memorize His promises and lean on them. 

Sadly, too many of us never pick up our Bible, open its pages and read. And those of us who do, do it way too little. There are so many ways to get the Word into your mind. You don’t have to sit down and read it anymore; now you can listen to it on a CD or MP3. You can carry a little scripture card in your pocket. You can tape verses to your mirror or your computer monitor. 

We need to memorize it. Hide God’s Word in our hearts. 

psalm 119:11 God is enough

We can’t trust His promises if we don’t know what they are. 

H – Hide in the Shelter of His Arms 

After we do the aforementioned things, we can then rest in his arms. No Worries

God’s got our back. 

He’s got our future. 

He is in control! 

I love the illustration we were given in the Online Bible Study, A Confident Heart by Renee Swope; we’re in a God Sandwich! The Psalmist said, “You go before me and follow me. You place Your hand of blessing on my head.” (Psalm 139:5) 

God Sandwich
This verse is called the God Sandwich!

That’s when we know that GOD IS ENOUGH. 

Rest in this truth today. We can rest knowing that God is all around us taking care of the details.

So How About it? Let’s Start Living By Faith! 

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

This post was inspired by the book, A Confident Heart” by Renee Swope 

Sarah Hale & our National Thanksgiving Holiday

I learned something new today. With all my education and then homeschooling my own children, I had never heard of Sarah Hale.

Sarah Hale
Sarah Hale –
Richard’s Free Lbirary

Sarah Hale is how we have a national holiday called Thanksgiving. Yeah, we have all learned about the pilgrims and the Indians getting together to share a meal after a very trying year in America.

But this tradition was sporadic at best until President Lincoln made a presidential declaration that we all stop on the fourth week of November and thank our God for all the many blessings we so often take for granted.

Thanksgiving: who's idea was it, REALLY? Click To Tweet

And who is Sarah Hale?

Well, she has likely touched your life more than you know. Sarah actually penned the words to the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. How about that for prestige? She wrote a lot of poetry, and published a book of them not long after her young husband of 10 years passed away.

She was fortunate in the late 18th century to have an education. Being a “girl”, this was not typical. After her 18th birthday, she determined to change that and started a private school to teach girls.

Sarah Hale – Poet and Editor

Dress 1851 fashion plate - Sarah Hale
Godey’s dress Fashion plate 1851

Her book of poetry led to an offer to be the editor of a women’s magazine, Godey’s Lady’s Book. Again, this was a rarity for women. She hoped the magazine would promote “the moral and intellectual excellence of women.” As the editor, she was able to influence women in many ways. in the mid 19th century she encouraged brides to wear white dresses and recommend wrinkle treatments. But it didn’t stop there.

She used her magazine to encourage other specific causes. Strongly believing in women’s education and encouraged mothers to teach their daughter’s alongside their sons. She was also an abolitionist before the Civil War.

Sarah Hale – Activist

Sarah was also an abolitionist before the Civil War, fighting to abolish slavery. Shewas also active in preserving American History. She actively raised money for historic sites such as George Washington’s Mount Vernon home and The Bunker Hill Monument in Massachusetts.

She wanted to promote patriotism and for decades she urged Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving by publishing poems about Thanksgiving and recipes for roast turkey and pumpkin pie.

It took decades and myriads of letters to governors and presidents to acquire this life long goal. But finally, she wrote to Abraham Lincoln. She encouraged that possibly a day of Thanksgiving would bring people together. This is when President Lincoln declared a day for Thanksgiving.

Can Thanksgiving Change Our Things Today?

Sadly, it didn’t work then to stop the inevitable. But Maybe it could for us today. No matter ifi you believe in God or not, gratitude changes things. Even if we are being today to “cancel Thanksgiving, what if we still took the time to be thankful.

Let’s count our blessings this year. And keep it up every day in 2021. If we took our eyes off of what is wrong in our world and started celebrating what is right, we would probably find that there is much more right than wrong.

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

Resources

right husband; jewel in his crown

How to Find the Right Husband

A Jewel in His Crown by Priscilla Shirer

jewel in his crown : the right husband
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I picked up this book for some insight into writing a post about self-esteem. As I expected, Priscilla Shirer is right on target. As with her preaching, she gets right to the truth of the matter and makes us look deep into our own lives. She will open your eyes to the source of your low self-esteem and actions that come from it. If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up soon.


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What I Wasn’t Expecting

I know that how we look at ourselves can obviously affect our relationships not just with friends and family but also with men who would be potential dates or husbands. I was surprised to find a chapter on finding a mate right smack in the middle of this book on self-esteem.

Having made the same kind of mistakes when it came to love interests, I found myself connecting with Priscilla. She shared how she sabotaged relationships and I realized that I had done the same thing in my college years.

We Were Made for Relationship

Today’s society will beg to differ from Priscilla’s words but she has taken her ideas straight from the Bible. Here are some truths she brought forward.

  • We’re made to be a helper.
  • God created us to be in a relationship with men.
  • Our primary purpose is to come alongside a man and assist him.

Ironically, the very thing we were created to do, the very thing we want to do the most, is the very thing that often contributes to our low self-esteem.

One reason for this is the way we prepare ourselves for relationships. Most of us don’t spend time waiting for God’s chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom. Instead, we read novels, go to movies, and get hooked on soap operas. We buy into a fantasy world, and we secretly hope that it will one day become the portrait of our lives.

A Jewel in His Crown, Prscilla Shirer
Most of us don't spend time waiting for God's chosen man by reading His Word, meditating upon His ways, and praying for His wisdom . – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthatfirstdate Click To Tweet

The Sin of Control and its Curse

God placed a curse on women. And it follows with her sin. She wanted to do what she wanted to do and she did it. Still today, we are most tempted with the matter of control. We aren’t willing to wait on God to fulfill His plan for us. So we take things into our own hands.

We chase after men rather than letting them pursue us. Men aren’t made to be “captured”. They were made to be the pursuer; to search us out and “win the prize”. When we are falling over ourselves to get their attention, it causes them to lose interest.

We are never, and I mean never, to throw ourselves at a man. – Priscilla Shirer #findingahusband #gettingthefirstdate Click To Tweet

Do We Trust God Enough?

We are often afraid that if we wait on God to bring the right man into our lives, we will miss our chance and end up alone. But God has a beautiful plan. If we draw close to God and His principles, our spiritual beauty will draw the right kind of man to us.

When it comes to taking you from where you are into the phase of life He has chosen for you, will you trust in the Lord to take you to the other side? Your destination may be a whole lot closer than you think. You need to trust Him through patient obedience as you wait on Him. Remember, you are a jewel – a jewel on layaway.

A Jewel in His Crown, Priscilla Shirer

He’s Got This Worked Out

It’s hard for us to believe, but God has this figured out. He knows exactly what kind of man you need for the right husband. You can rest easy knowing that at the right time and the right place God will bring you together. You truly can sit back and wait.

You are of matchless worth. Believe it. And rest in the fact that you are a valuable jewel saved for that one special someone. When we are always chasing after a man it is because we think we aren’t worthy enough, not beautiful enough, not desirable enough to draw that man to us on our own character.

When the Right Husband Comes Along

So as we wait on God for the right husband to come along, we need to spend our time reading His Word, meditating on the scriptures, praying for wisdom. As we grow in Christ we become more attractive on the inside and the outside to the spiritual man you actually want and need.

When someone comes along, you can look for a few specific things.

  1. He will cherish you. He will do whatever it takes to please you. You will feel like a princess. When he talks of you, it will be praise.
  2. He will be the leader in your relationship. You will have been chosen by him without you chasing after him. He will be a great decision-maker. This does not mean that you will be treated like a floormat. If he is doing #1 above, he will include you in the decision making process. He will want you to be happy with the decisions.
  3. And, of course, He will have a strong relationship with the Lord. Not because you love the Lord, but because he has made a firm choice to follow Christ. It must be real or it won’t last.

Are You Attracting the Right Husband?

  • What tendencies do you have in the way you relate to men/your husband?
  • Do you truly trust God to take you to the other side of singleness?
  • What relationships in your life need to be given to God?
  • What do you expect from men whom you choose to date?
  • Do you want to date at all? Why or Why not?
Mandy Farmer
Celebrating JEsus this Christmas

Celebrating Jesus at Christmas

I finished wrapping gifts at 3 am that Christmas morning.

too much christmas
image credit:Gerard Gellinger at Pixabay

I looked around somewhat in disgust as I realized that I had gone overboard once again… really overboard. There were gifts everywhere. And we only have two little ones. There has to be a better way to celebrate Christmas without making it all about the gifts.

Who’s birthday is it anyway?

We are supposed to be celebrating the birth of Jesus, the Savior of the World. But we are teaching greediness and debt. How can we find our way to Christ in the midst of this materialized world? I shared earlier that family advent devotions are one way that we can turn our attention to the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings.

How to Celebrate Jesus This Christmas

Celebrating Jesus
Celebrating Christmas ~ image credit: Jo at Pixabay

When I was small, I learned a little acronym for joy – Jesus, Others, You. We can find real joy if we serve Jesus first, then others, and then yourself. Let’s consider this acronym for celebrating Jesus this Christmas. 

This week I’m writing over on Lullaby Lark. It’s a short and sweet devotion to Finding JOY in Jesus this Christmas. Join me there today on her Cultivate Joy Series.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
legacy link-ups

There’s still time to share your Christmas thoughts on our Holiday Legacy Link-up

How do you create a legacy during the holidays? Link-up below.

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Thanks for participating!

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GUEST WRITERS

We are always looking for guest writers to introduce our Legacy Link-up. If you are interested in being a guest writer click here for upcoming topic ideas and then contact us to begin the process.

Mandy Farmer

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4 Gift-Giving Ideas for Christmas


image credit:Gerhard-Gellinger at Pixabay

Christmastime with littles can be so exciting. It’s so much fun to watch them opening gifts with glee. We want to do so much and it’s easy to spend too much and buy too many gifts. Yes, sometimes, we go a little overboard with it. That is why we must be careful about the traditions that we are setting into place.

Be sure to talk with your spouse about your dreams and expectations of celebrating Christmas (actually all holidays.) Trust me it is tough to pull the reins in once you start the overindulgence of gift-giving and celebrating. It’s also too easy to end up in debt up to your gills. Placing Jesus first at Christmas needs to be our main goal.

In all truthfulness, those first few years are more for the parents and grandparents than for the child. The child really has no idea what is happening but overindulgence leads to spoiled children who will always expect large amounts of gifts which become more and more expensive.

What are you giving to Jesus for Christmas?

After all, it is His birthday. We seem to more concerned about whatever it is WE want for Christmas. I think we have it all backward. We might find if we focus on doing something for Jesus during the season He may bless us beyond our imagination

Consider these Gifts

Free photos at Pixabay

As a family, select a project you can do together as an offering to Jesus. There are many established projects you can do as an offering to God and to serve the community. Check your community for ways to reach out or give some of your time. If you can’t find a local project, select one of the wonderful nationwide projects such as The Shoebox Ministry, The Heifer Project, Angel Tree Project, or check with your pastor. Your church may have projects of this type. My own church has lists of projects that need support (like digging wells, building homes) or child sponsorship.

Invite friends to a birthday party for Jesus. Select one of the above-mentioned projects and raise the money and have each donate the gifts to fulfill the need. It would be a wonderful party and you would be helping someone out at the same time.

There is no better time than during the Christmas season to teach about caring for others. The excitement of giving can be wonderful to watch as it grows year after year in the hearts of our children.

Santa or No Santa?

I personally don’t have an opinion on this one. I don’t see a problem with it other than when and how you tell them that it’s all a fantasy. Our culture is so inundated with Santa that it’s a bit hard to remove it completely from your family. If we talk about the truth about Santa from the beginning, I believe you can include Santa with a rewarding end.

Patsy over at Insta-Encouragements linked up this “Explaining Santa to your Kids” Idea on the Legacy Linkup last month. You might want to check out what she says.

Here are a couple of other suggestions:

Book Reading and Discussion

There is a day some may not be aware of… St. Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 5th or 6th in the US. This would be a great time to read a book about the tradition of Santa and have a discussion with the family. A few books that might be helpful. {affiliate links}

One note, if you do not want to celebrate with Santa, be sure to explain the reasoning to your children. Also, encourage them to be understanding and to NOT spoil the tradition for those who do.

We are the Real Santa

I loved the idea I heard just last year… You and I are Santa Claus. Have each person in the family select a person and be their Secret Santa. Chose a person who has a need and then YOU secretly give them a gift without them knowing who it was from. Read the sweet story that I read here.

Three Gifts Just like Jesus

I recently heard that some families participate in this tradition. If Jesus received 3 gifts then we should only receive 3 gifts. The three gifts are based on the gifts given to Jesus from the Wise Men, a child receives:

  1. Gold (something valuable, their greatly desired gift)
  2. Frankincense (something spiritual to help them spiritually: a Bible, a devotional, worship CD, etc), and
  3. Myrrh (something for the body: clothes, perfume, etc)

See Keeper of the Home for more explanation. If I had learned of this tradition when my children were small, we might have worked toward making this a tradition.

Mandy Farmer

Legacy Link-up – Your Turn

Holiday Traditions Is Now Open

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The Joy Of Including Jesus In Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching and if we blink our eyes we will find ourselves enjoying Christmas Day. But all our plans to include Jesus in Christmas will have been thrown out with the wrappings.

The way to have success is to plan ahead. My family always razzed at me because I was planning the next holiday before the present one was barely over. But the fact of the matter is that, if we don’t plan ahead, it ain’t gonna happen. So let’s talk about the joy of including Jesus in Christmas. After all, it IS HIS BIRTHDAY.

If you don't plan ahead, it ain't gonna happen. #preparingforChristmas Click To Tweet

Keeping Jesus in Christmas

Family advent devotions every night in December confirms that Jesus will not be left out of the celebration. As a child on the farm, each night before bed, we all sat around the coffee table which held our cardboard nativity set. Mom or Dad would read the devotion and we would learn and discuss one little portion of the Christmas story. It might have been about one character or maybe about a prophet from long before. We took turns being the one to add a new piece of the nativity each night until Christmas morning when we added baby Jesus.

Advent Devotions appeared a simple thing to do when I was growing up but as a parent, it seemed to be a huge struggle to make it happen. Possibly, you find it a challenge as well. Thanksgiving preparations can keep us very busy; we never think about the fact that the first Sunday of Advent happens just three days later. All of a sudden, it’s Advent and we haven’t found the creche nor the devotions to go with it.

Start Now, even if you’re late

First, let me say, “so what if you are late”. Get started and you will find it really doesn’t matter. Your children won’t remember that you missed the first week or a day or two in between. (I’m pretty sure it happened in my family.) Remember the saying, “better late than never”?

Include Jesus in your own way

Also, remember that you don’t have to do it just like your parents did. It’s a different age and a different world. Life is much faster and crazier. Try a different time of day. Enjoy the lesson during a meal. Breakfast could be the only time the family congregates together. Time management sources so do the most important things first in your day. So many Advent lessons should be done at breakfast rather than bedtime.

Possibly, it is just too difficult to get the entire family together at the same time every. Just select a time that the majority of the family is together and start. Make it clear that you want everyone to participate as much as possible and go forward from there.

Find a Way to Include Jesus

My greatest desire for the Christmas season is to be sure I have included Jesus in the season. The first way to do this is through your family devotion time. We need to find ways to include the Lord in all our activities of the season; however, Advent devotions keep Christ forefront and center every day.

Find a Creche Now

Once you have purchased one, you are set forever. Though you may want to change it up as your children grow. Start with something non-breakable and work yourself up to the beautiful porcelain display. Here’s a thought, once you have one, maybe you should store it with the Thanksgiving decorations instead of the Christmas decorations.

If you are creative and plan way ahead, you can go to a ceramics class and make your own pieces. Then purchase just the stable. I did this for my mother and we added pieces each year. Of course, this is for once your children are old enough to understand not to touch them. 🙂


For your preschoolers, purchase a toy set that they can play with. If you want the pretty set, go for it. Just purchase the playset for your toddler to enjoy.

Here are a few you might like:


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The Advent Devotions

Some nativity sets will come with a booklet of devotions. However, you may need to find something appropriate for the ages of the children. Of course, you could certainly just read scriptures and have a discussion. Here’s a Bible Reading Plan from a friend of mine.

Many free advent devotions can be found online. Or search out the myriads of books you can use. If your children are small, select a few Christmas Bible storybooks.

Children love hearing the stories over and over and that would be fine. For years, I purchased a new Christmas book every year. My children had their favorites from the collection which they still seek out when they are home for the holidays.

Advent Devotions for Families

My good friend and blogger, Bettie Gilbert, offered this free Advent devotional for families on her blog this year. She said I could offer here as well.

US Advent Devotions

Otherwise, a bit of goo-gling will certainly turn up many other possibilities. Here are a few others I have enjoyed.




Other Advent Alternatives

1) Jesse Tree Devotionals – The Jesse tree is based on Isaiah 11 where the prophet foretells the coming of Christ through the “stump of Jesse”. The lessons are the genealogy of Christ beginning in Genesis through Jesse and King David and on up to Mary and Joseph. Ann Voskamp has a wonderful book your family will enjoy, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift. {see above link}

2) Mary and Joseph’s Journey to Bethlehem – an alternative to the Elf on the Shelf using Mary and Joseph. I just learned of this idea the other day. But it sounds wonderful to me. Check it out here.

Some Favorite Christmas Books

Must Have Christmas Books
Photo credit Sobima at Pixabay

I made a habit of purchasing a new Christmas book every year. Some of these became favorites which we were sure to read every year. Others make beautiful coffee table decor. Find my list of Christmas books here.

The Best Way to Include Jesus in Christmas

Keeping Jesus in Christmas makes all the difference in how the season turns out. Focusing on Jesus during the season also keeps our hearts and minds set straight.

Actually, it’s something we should be doing all year long. As God instructed the Israelites long ago…

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9

I encourage you to start an Advent devotion tradition this year of including Jesus in Christmas and then continue into the New Year, focusing on Jesus every day. You will find joy in the journey.

Mandy Farmer

Your Turn … Legacy Link-Up

What are some of your favorite traditions and recipes at Christmas? Share the joy and link up below!

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4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriage Book Review

I have noticed lately that there is a lot of talk about a joy-filled life in recent years. It seems at every turn you can find someone talking about finding joy. Even the Bible is filled with references on finding joy. Got Questions says that The Bible refers to finding joy over 300 times.

As it turns out, authors Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey have found there is a scientific basis behind it all.

There is no more powerful motivator in life than joy.

Chris Coursey

Warner and Coursey discuss finding this joy in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages.


It takes a plan to achieve a joy-filled marriage

Our emotional capacity is directly proportionate to the amount of joy we have. When you have large amounts of joy, life is just better. Note here that joy is not the same as happiness as we learn in the above-mentioned article from Got Questions.

So first, what is emotional capacity? It’s the ability to bounce back after a difficult situation.

And how can I have more joy? It takes a little work but it’s really not that hard. Make a plan, just a few minutes a day for 30 days can change your whole outlook on life. Ann Voskamp shared in her book, A Thousand Gifts, that finding joy through gratitude changed her life radically. She took a few minutes a day to think of three things she was grateful for and her life has never been the same.

Chris and Marcus say we can decrease our joy gap in 30 days. Our joy gap is the amount of time between feelings of joy. The way to do this is through your own intentionality. They say if you follow the instructions in their new book, The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages and do the prescribed exercises…

“… you will almost certainly begin to see changes for the better in your marriage. If you do them for sixty or ninety days, you will develop habits that make joy the new normal in your marriage.”

OK, What’s the plan for joy-filled marriages?

I was glad to find that my husband and I have been following the plan without even knowing the plan. 🙂 We have been doing many of the things Chris and Marcus suggested and I’d say it must work because Michael and I consider our marriage joy-filled. There are four habits discussed in the book easily remembered by the acronym P.L.A.N.

  • Play together
  • Listen for emotion
  • Appreciate daily
  • Nurture Rhythm

I would say that these are quite self-explanatory. I mentioned that my husband and I feel that we have already been doing these things. Some suggestions we follow are:

  1. Going on dates. This does not have to be expensive. You don’t even have to spend money here. Take a walk. Goo.g.le “Things to do for free” in your city. You will be surprised at what you can do. Check out what we can do in Savannah. When we lived in Milwaukee, citizens could visit the museums for free on certain days. We hit these as often as we could.
  2. Listen for Emotion. Make sure when you are talking that you are actually listening to your mate. Keep eye contact. And LISTEN, don’t start thinking about your reply. Hear what they are saying to you. The book will give you some wonderful exercises to teach you to listen.
  3. Appreciate Daily. When is the last time you said, “Thank you” to your spouse? Not for the big things but the small things like taking out the garbage. Take notice when they do a small kindness and show appreciation.
  4. Nurture rhythm. This is about routine. find a routine and stick to it. Don’t continue to break the times you do have together. Michael and I always enjoy breakfast together and in the evening, we watch some tv together. These are times you have to catch up with what is happening with your spouse. This is important.

An Easy Read

You won’t have trouble reading this small book. The first three chapters explain the brain science behind it all and then how and what they have developed to helped others have joy-filled marriages.

The remaining chapters discuss the PLAN and give you plenty of simple exercises to do together. The exercises are very simple. Some of them might feel awkward at first if you haven’t already been doing them. (ie. eye smiles.) You may not be in the habit of looking into one another’s eyes but they explain how to work on it and lengthen the time.

I did get caught in the last chapter. They actually said if I was like them I hadn’t done the exercises. ha! They were right. Seriously, for us, we do these things so, in a way, we did the exercises. I would encourage you though if you need more joy in your marriage, read the book, do the exercises.

Need a more joy-filled marriage? Read the book, follow the plan, do the exercises. #joy-filledmarriages #marriage #moodypress Click To Tweet

Caution:

Men who have done these exercises faithfully with their wives have commonly reported feeling more secure and less anxious in their marriages. The same is true for women, who have reported feeling more highly valued and cared for by their husbands.

You have to be careful though. One man who went through the process wrote, “I work from home and I had to cut back on the exercises because my wife and I found ourselves in bed too much during the day and I was not getting any work done!” You’ve been warned.

The 4 Habits of Joy-Filled Marriages
Mandy Farmer

I express joy-filled gratitude to Marcus Warner and Chris Coursey along with Moody Press Publishers for providing a copy of the book. This review is my own words and not affected in any way by the publisher or authors.

Book Giveaway

Who wants my marked-up 4 Habits of Joy-filled Marriages book? You will be entered in the drawing each time you comment during November. Comment on any post during November 2019 for an entry in the drawing. Winner to be announced in the December 3 newsletter.

Speaking of Ann Voskamp

There is a free Bible Study of her book One Thousand Gifts coming up on Faith Gateway beginning November 18. Come join me to learn how to create a joyfilled-life. Sign Up Now.