Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole

It's almost New Year's Day!  That means lots of people will be starting a new diet plan or maybe restarting a diet plan that didn't go so well in 2020.  I'm more of a calorie counter, eat less, move more kind of person but my husband likes the keto friendly lifestyle.  I'm not a nutritionist (not even close) but I do like to find or create keto friendly recipes for my husband's benefit.  We have 4 adults living here so when I cook, I like to cook a lot at one time so we have plenty to go around and then I can freeze the leftovers.  Earlier tonight, we enjoyed an easy hamburger casserole.  I made this hamburger casserole in a 9X13 inch casserole dish like this one.  I don't know the exact protein or carb numbers but the ingredients are all keto friendly.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole

*Before we get started, you should know that neither Oster, Hormel, or any other brand mentioned in this post contacted me about writing a review of their products or mentioning their products in a post.  This is not a sponsored post. 

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole

First, you'll need these ingredients:

2.5 Pounds of Ground Beef

1 Medium/Large Onion, Chopped

2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder

4 Ounces of Cream Cheese

1 Tablespoon  Worcestershire Sauce

Hamburger Seasoning to Taste

Salt and Pepper to Taste

One Package of Bacon 

4 Eggs

1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream

2 Tablespoons Mustard

2 8oz. Packages of Triple Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Pickles - Whatever You Like

Now for cooking instructions with photos:

First, pre-heat your oven to 350.  

Then, place ground beef and onions in a skillet. I LOVE my new tabletop electric skillet. I'll tell you about that shortly. Cook the ground beef and chopped onions until the ground beef is cooked thoroughly and the onions are soft.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Cook ground beef until the meat is cooked thoroughly and the onions are soft.

If your meat is not 90% lean, you will probably need to drain the excess grease after the meat and onions are cooked.

After draining your excess grease (if needed), add in the hamburger seasoning, salt, pepper, garlic, cream cheese, and Worcestershire sauce.  Cook a little longer until the cream cheese is melted.

Once the cream cheese is melted and all the ingredients are well blended (this smells soooo good), spray a 9X13 inch casserole dish with Pam cooking spray.  Then, spread the meat mixture into the bottom of the casserole dish and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a microwave (or fry it if you don't like the precooked kind) according to the package instructions.  I used the whole package.

Let the bacon cool enough so that you can handle it.  Tear it into pieces and sprinkle over the meat mixture in your casserole dish.  

You can opt to layer your favorite hamburger pickles over the bacon.  I saved ours for later.

Set aside. 

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Sprinkle cooked bacon over the cooked hamburger meat mixture.

In a separate large mixing bowl, combine eggs, heavy whipping cream, mustard, and one 8 oz. package of triple shredded cheddar cheese. Mix thoroughly.  Then, pour the mixture over the meat/bacon in the casserole dish.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Mix together the eggs, heavy whipping cream, mustard, and cheese.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Spread egg, cheese mixture over the meat mixture in the casserole dish.

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.  Then, remove from oven.  Sprinkle the second 8oz. package of triple shredded cheddar cheese mixture over the top.  

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Sprinkle the second package of triple shredded cheese mixture over the dish.

*Side note about the triple shredded cheddar cheese:  You don't have to have the blended cheeses.  In fact, I usually add them separately (4 ounces of sharp shredded cheddar and 4 ounces of white shredded cheddar), but just today, I found a package of blended white cheddar, sharp cheddar, and mild cheddar cheeses.  I thought this would be better so I used it instead.  I like it because the cheeses are already blended. You just poor the whole thing in.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole Triple Cheese Mixture
Finely Shredded Triple Cheddar Cheese from Kraft

After sprinkling the second package of triple cheddar cheese on top of your dish, place it back in the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the shredded cheddar cheese topping is bubbling and turning light brown around the edges.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Doesn't this look delicious?

Allow the dish to cool for about 5 minutes.  Then, you should be able to cut it into servings.

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
You should be able to cut a minimum of 15 servings in a 9 X 13 inch casserole dish.

So yummy!

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
I hope you like cheese!  This dish tastes so good. 

I chose to leave our pickles out of the main dish because not everyone here likes them and those who do prefer different kinds.  My husband likes spicy dill pickles.  I prefer sweet pickle relish which isn't really all that keto friendly so we enjoyed our pickles off to the side.  

This recipe was a big hit so we'll be making it often.  As I enjoyed my serving, I thought of another ingredient that would make this even better - tomatoes.  I think it needs fresh cut tomatoes or perhaps I'll add a can of Rotel next time.  I'll do that soon so stay tuned.  I'll let you know how that goes.  By the way, you can use less cheese if you want.   We have no shame.  We love our cheese.  LOL

Now, about that skillet!

 For the 30 years that I've been married and cooking for my family, I have gone through several electric skillets.  Every few years, when the one I'm using has seen its last days, my mother will give me a new one as a Christmas gift.  This year was a year to get a new electric skillet.  I was with my mother, enjoying a day of Christmas shopping, when I picked this one out.  I liked it because it has a pour spout on one corner.  Today, when using it for the first time, I realized how helpful that pour spout is.  The lid is awesome!  On two corners of the lid, there are little holes that fit in that pour spout corner so when you pour out excess liquids, you don't lose any food particles.  
Oster Electric Skillet
This pour spout feature on this Oster electric skillet is awesome!

The skillet has wider hand grips than my previous skillets.  Gripping the skillet to pour out liquids is much easier with the wider handles.  The lid has two black "pad-like" knobs on two sides.  These are called thumb pads.  You can grip the skillet while holding your thumbs on the thumb pads.  This holds the lid on securely without burning your thumbs while you handle the skillet and pour out excess liquids.  

Oster Electric Skillet Thumb Pads
You can more securely grip this skillet while holding your thumbs on the thumb pads. This prevents burns.

The inside of the skillet has a non-stick finish that is much better quality than my previous skillets.  I just love it. 

*Reminder:  Oster did not contact me about reviewing this skillet.  This skillet is a Christmas gift and I love it so much that I had to include a few good words about it.  If you think you might enjoy one of these skillets, you can get the Oster non stick electric like the one I have below.  I think you'll love it as much as I do.

Oster Non Stick Electric Skillet
If you want a great electric skillet that you'll love, you can get this one here.

Are you new to the keto lifestyle or maybe you are a keto veteran who wants new recipes? 

Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole
Easy Keto Friendly Hamburger Casserole

Don't forget to pin this post for future reference! Have a wonderful and safe New Year everyone!

This recipe is not keto friendly, but if you love pork chops, try these bacon ranch pork chops in gravy sauce.
Bacon Ranch Pork Chops in Gravy Sauce
Bacon Ranch Pork Chops in Gravy Sauce

Need a dessert idea? Try this chocolate cobbler. It won't disappointment!

Chocolate Cobbler Recipe
Chocolate Cobbler Recipe

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Jesus, Prince of Peace

Jesus, Prince of Peace
Jesus, Prince of Peace

2020 has brought us fear, isolation, and chaos.  The good news is that Jesus came to give us peace.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon titled, "Jesus, Prince of Peace."  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Jesus, Prince of Peace

For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given,
    and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this. - Isaiah 9:6-7

Peace:  Everyone is looking for it.  Many are praying for it.  Some have given up on it.  Few truly experience it.

In the passage above (Isaiah 9:6-7), the Jewish people are longing for peace in the middle of depressing times.  Isaiah 9:6-7 is a prophecy to the Jewish people.  The time was around 2700BC.  The nation of Judah, the city of Jerusalem, were desperate for peace.  Assyria had invaded them and taken over.  Later on, Babylon would do the same.  The people knew no peace.

But God! (That 's a popular phrase now.)  But God spoke of a Messiah who would come and be called Prince of Peace.  A ruler was coming who would bring peace.

The Jewish word for peace is Shalom.  The word is both a greeting and a goodbye.  Shalom means "wholeness, tranquility, fullness, serenity, harmony, and unity."

The completeness would not come until about 700 years later when and angel announced the coming peace ruler to a humble girl in a small village. 

But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.” - Luke 1:30-33

Jesus was finally here.  He was born in Bethlehem.  He didn't enter a peaceful world and three decades later.  The Roman Empire and others would brutally kill the Prince of Peace.

What did this mean?  Was this promise gone? No, God's promise was not gone.

Every generation deals with the reality of pain and confusion.  Sound familiar?  But God!  But the Prince of Peace can still be found in every generation.  We must have eyes of faith to see Him. 

There was a man who lived about 157 years ago.  He was a man who knew no peace.  He had only known sorrow and confusion.  He had been successful at one time, but then his world changed.  The bottom fell out of his life.  In the year 1963, on Christmas Day, this man sat down to write in his journal, but he had nothing in his heart to write.  He had fallen into the deepest pit.  Writing poetry had always helped him during his hard time so he sat down to write but words wouldn't come.  Then, he began to hear bells in the distance.  He began to hear church bells.  The church bells inspired him to write so he began to write a poem:

I heard the bells on Christmas Day.

Their old familiar carols play.

And mild and sweet their songs repeat

Of peace on earth, good will to men.

This man was Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  As he began to write, he continued to struggle:

And in despair, I bowed my head.

There is no peace on earth, I said.

For hate is strong and mocks the song 

Of peace on earth, good will to men."

Longfellow was finally able to end the poem on a hopeful note.  The poem became as song titled "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day."

Let's give it a listen. Here is the version from Casting Crowns.

2700 years ago, people were longing for peace.  157 years ago, people were longing for peace.  Today, people are longing for peace.  

Through Christ Jesus, we can have peace.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. - Romans 5:1

In our original state, we are rebellious sinners but we are reconciled to Him through the death of His Son.

For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! - Romans 5:10

The Prince of Peace was born on Christmas morning to provide a way for us all to experience real peace with God.

But now in Christ Jesus you who previously were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall. - Ephesians 2:13-14

Through Christ Jesus, we can have peace with Him.  

Peace I leave you, My peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, nor fearful. - John 14:27
Jesus, Prince of Peace
This artwork is available here.

Christ is in us.  We have His peace in every circumstance.  Peace is not the absence of problems.  Peace is in the presence of Jesus.

The steadfast of mind You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. - Isaiah 26:3

Only through Jesus will there be peace on Earth.  Consider the last verse in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Christmas Day poem:

Then rang the bells more loud and deep.

God is not dead nor does He sleep.

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail

With peace on Earth, good will toward men. 

Isaiah's prophesy was from God and God always keeps His promises.

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” - Revelation 21:5

I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 And the city has no need of the sun or of the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God has illuminated it, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 In the daytime (for there will be no night there) its gates will never be closed; 26 and they will bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it; 27 and nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. - Revelation 21:22-27

And he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life, bearing twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit every month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. There will no longer be any curse; and the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and His bond-servants will serve Him; they will see His face, and His name will be on their foreheads. And there will no longer be any night; and they will not have need of the light of a lamp nor the light of the sun, because the Lord God will illuminate them; and they will reign forever and ever. - Revelation 22:1-5

We believe there will be an arrival of peace.

We are ambassadors of peace.

We announce Christ's peace in communion. 


Jesus, Prince of Peace

Prayer (Ephesians Series)

Prayer - Ephesians Series
Prayer - Ephesians 6:18-20
2020 . . . what a year.  For my family, God has been ever present during the roller coaster ride of 2020.  He has provided for our needs.  He has comforted us through losses.  He has shown us glimpses of what He is working on for 2021.  A new year is almost here.  Are you praying for God to use you in the year 2021?  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon on the topic of prayer.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here. 


With every prayer and request, pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be alert with all perseverance and every request for all the saints, 19 and pray in my behalf, that speech may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. - Ephesians 6:18-20

We take the battle to the enemy when we pray.

In verse 18 above, we see many "alls."  Pray at ALL times.  Be alert with ALL  perseverance and every request for ALL the saints.

1.  Pray at all times.

Do you feel awkward when you pray?  Do you struggle for words?  

Prayer is more about a condition of the heart than an articulation of words.  Be aware of all things going on around you.  Commit to praying for the needs of others.

2.  Pray with all the power in the Spirit.

Pray in the name of Jesus.  Pray like a prayer warrior.

3.  Pray for all needs.  

Pray and make pleas on behalf of others.

Prayer Figurine
This item is available here.


4.  Pray with all endurance.  

Keep alert.  Continue to make requests to the Lord, rather than praying for someone once and then forgetting about them.  On social media, we are quick to tell someone we will pray over something they have posted, but do we really pray over that situation?  How often do we type in the reply thread, "Praying" or "Prayers" or a prayer emoji or something similar but then keep scrolling?  If we tell someone we will pray for them, then we need to be sure that we actually pray for them.  I have stopped commenting that I will pray over a situation unless I can stop and pray over the situation immediately.  Then, I'll let them know I have just prayed for them.  That is just one way to solve this problem. 

5.  Pray for all the saints.

Pray for one another.  Do life together.  Worship together.  Isolation is dangerous.  

6.  Pray now.

When something comes up, pray.  Stop right then and pray.

You can't be a prayer warrior without a relationship with Jesus.  Learn more about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus here.

Do you have a relationship with Jesus?  Are you ready to be a prayer warrior?

Prayer causes change in the heart, in the community, and in the world.


Prayer - Ephesians Series
Prayer - Ephesians 6:18-20

Monday, December 21, 2020

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day: The Story Behind the Song

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow - Christmas Bells
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Image is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication. 
Christmas Bells image used under public domain license from Free-Photos via Pixabay.

 I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day:  The Story Behind the Song

I've been hearing and singing the song "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" for many years but until today, I had never heard the history behind the song.  The familiar Christmas song was written as a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Longfellow was no stranger to hard times.  

In 1835, Longfellow lost his first wife, Mary Potter Longfellow, along with the couple's first child.  In 1843, he married his second wife, Francis Elizabeth Appleton (Fanny).  The couple was blessed with six children.  In July 1861, a house fire claimed Fanny's life.  She had been sealing envelopes with hot wax when the flame from the candle caught her dress.  She died of her injuries the next day.  In an attempt to put out the fire, Henry was also seriously burned.  His injuries kept him from attending Fanny's funeral.  After Fanny's death, Longfellow slipped into a state of depression.  Then, in 1862, Longfellow's oldest son, Charles Appleton Longfellow, joined the Union Army against his father's wishes.  Charles was severely wounded in the Battle of Mine Run.  He survived his injuries but his career in the Army was over.

During his depression, upon hearing Christmas church bells in 1863, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow first wrote the poem called Christmas Bells.  Here are the lyrics.

  I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men." - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day was first published in a magazine in 1865.  It wasn't set to music until 1872.

I hope you enjoy the following version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day as performed by Casting Crowns.

Knowing the history behind the poem and its author has given me a deeper appreciation for the song.  You can purchase the Casting Crowns version of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day here.

Would you like to teach your children more about Henry Wadsworth Longfellow?  You might like the following suggestions.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day - The Story Behind the Song

This post is linked up at InstaEnouragements

InstaEncouragements Link Up

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Walk Like a Warrior (Ephesians Series)

Walk Like a Warrior
Walk Like a Warrior
We are still in Ephesians at my church.  Today's sermon title is Walk Like a Warrior.  The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.  You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here.

Our scripture passage for today is Ephesians 6:10-17.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist on the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand firm therefore, having belted your waist with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having strapped on your feet the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. - Ephesians 6:10-17

The walk of the believer leads to war of the believer.  Christianity is not a playground.  It is a battlefield.  We are at war with the devil.

Walk Like a Warrior

1.  A warrior knows his or her enemy.  

With a supernatural life comes a supernatural enemy.  Sometimes we misidentify the enemy.  Who is our enemy?  Our enemy is the devil.

Sometimes we think the people around us are our enemies.  This is not true.  The real enemy, the devil, works to steal, kill, and destroy us.  

Our struggle is with the flesh. (Ephesians 6:12)

Satan is after your mind.  If he gets your mind, he can get your life.  He can get your marriage, your family, your church, etc. 

Now the serpent was more cunning than any animal of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God really said, ‘You shall not eat from any tree of the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “From the fruit of the trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.’” The serpent said to the woman, “You certainly will not die! For God knows that on the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will become like God, knowing good and evil.” When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took some of its fruit and ate; and she also gave some to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves waist coverings. - Genesis 3:1-7

To get your mind, Satan will make you question God's Word, God's character, and God's goodness.  Satan wants you to view your life apart from God's Word as he did Eve in the garden.

2.  A warrior knows his or her equipment.

Consider the armor of God, His Word. (Ephesians 6:13)

Take up God's army, not your own.  We don't need to fight on social media posts.  We fight with God's Word through the power of Christ Jesus.  We fight with prayer.  We fight on our knees.

3.  A warrior makes war.

What lies has Satan been telling you?

Believers can make war with the devil.

Fight for your family.

Fight for your mind.

Fight for your marriage.

Read the Bible.

Memorize scripture.


Band together as Christ followers.

Walk Like a Warrior


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Halle Takes a Stand: When You Want to Fit In (Children's Book Review)

Peer Pressure.  It's something that, if we are honest with ourselves, we have all faced whether it was something as simple as pretending to like a movie you really hated or as complex as making a decision that was life altering for you or for someone else - perhaps in the most negative way - just to fit in.  We all want to be included.  No one really likes to be ignored or mocked.  Peer pressure is something we usually associate with kids but it is an adult issue too.  This book is written for children but adults could learn a lesson from it as well.  Halle Takes a Stand:  When You Want to Fit In is a good literary resource for your child's library.  Halle Takes a Stand is a story created by Jocelyn Flenders, a homeschool mom who is also a writer and editor in Philadelphia.  Jocelyn graduated from Lancaster Bible College.  Her background includes intercultural studies and counseling.  Halle Takes a Stand is part of her first published work for children, the Good News for Little Hearts series.

Halle Takes a Stand - When You Want to Fit In

My review is based on the 2020 version of Halle Takes a Stand, edited by Paul David Tripp and illustrated by Joe Hox.  

The Good News for Little Hearts series is based on the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation's model of help and hope.  Each story focuses on a real life issue with the goal of encouraging young readers to develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.  These stories connect the Bible to issues children often face, helping them to follow Jesus when faced with challenging circumstances.  The focal Bible verse for Halle Takes a Stand is Proverbs 29:25.

Halle Takes a Stand

 If you are afraid of people, it will trap you.  But if you trust in the Lord, He will keep you safe.  Proverbs 29:25

Halle Takes a Stand:  When You Want to Fit In

This cute but important story is about a little hedghog named Halle.  Halle is faced with challenging circumstances at school where she makes a poor decision in order to fit in with her peer group.  Halle's decision hurts her friend, Freya the frog.  When Mr. Owl, the teacher, overhears the group at lunch, he confronts Halle about her choice and sends a note home to Halle's parents.  

Halle Takes a Stand
Halle almost blames her poor choice on a classmate, but then decides to take responsibility for her own actions.  This is another lesson to be learned in this story.  

After dinner, Halle gives her parents the note from Mr. Owl and tells them what happened at school earlier that day.  Halle could have hidden the note or lied about what happened but she tells her Mama and Papa the truth.  

Halle's parents could have been angry with her.  They could have punished her harshly but instead, they discuss the situation with Halle in a way that helps her understand how her decision hurt her friend.  Her mom shares her own childhood story about a time when she was humiliated by the actions of another.  Papa shares with Halle that Jesus wants her (all of us) to walk in His example of friendship and love.

"Doing the right thing is not easy.  But the Great Book (the Bible) says that Jesus welcomes the friendless to His table.  He welcomes those who are different.  He wants us to walk in this same love." - Papa Hedgehog

Halle's parents help her see how her fear of her peer trapped her into a poor decision that hurt someone else.  They also remind her that Jesus forgives when we ask Him and then they pray with Halle.

The next day, Halle makes the right decision regarding her peer group and the friend she hurt.  Her wise choice results in a little bit of an unexpected ending.  

After the story, parents will find a section designed to help them help their children with peer pressure. There are 8 points of interest, one of which is a warning against placing our trust in the wrong person.  We should never put our peers in the place of God in our lives.  When Halle placed her peer in God's place in her life, she was trapped into making the wrong choice which resulted in hurt. This is a lesson for adults as well.  

In the back of the book, there are four perforated Back Pocket Bible Verse Cards.  Children can place these cards in their pockets so they'll have them available for encouragement when faced with challenging peer pressure type circumstances.

You might also like: Zoe's Hiding Place 

Zoe's Hiding Place

Sunday, December 6, 2020

How to Not Ruin Your Life (Ephesians Series)

How to Not Ruin Your Life
How to Not Ruin Your Life
This post is written from my personal Bible study notes taken during my pastor's sermon.  

We are still in our Ephesians series at my church.  Today's message gives advice about how to not ruin your life.  Our scripture passage for today is Ephesians 5:15-21.  We learn today that if we do not want to ruin our lives, we should not act foolishly.  We should choose friends wisely.  We shouldn't be lazy.  We absolutely do not deny the existence of God.

You are invited to watch, listen, and worship with us here. 

First, let's read Ephesians 5:15-21.
So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father; 21 and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ. - Ephesians 5:15-21
Walk carefully because you will influence those who walk behind you.

How to Not Ruin Your Life


1.  Don't be a fool.  

Fools are full of pride, but wise people are humble.  
When pride comes, then comes dishonor; but with the humble there is wisdom. - Proverbs 11:2

2.  Choose friends wisely.

Fools are influenced by other fools, but wise people choose friends wisely.
One who walks with wise people will be wise, but a companion of fools will suffer harm. - Proverbs 13:20

Walk with the Wise - How to Not Ruin Your Life
Proverbs 13:20 - This wall art is available here.

3.  Don't be lazy.  

Wise people work hard.  
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. - Proverbs 21:5

4.  Don't deny the existence of God.  

Are you being a fool?
Redeem your time.
As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years,
Or if due to strength, eighty years,
Yet their pride is only trouble and tragedy;
For it quickly passes, and we disappear.
11 Who understands the power of Your anger
And Your fury, according to the fear that is due You?
12 So teach us to number our days,
That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. - Psalm 90:10-12
How to Not Ruin Your Life

Have you ordered my book yet?

Have you ordered my book yet?
Start reading!

Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway