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Monday, September 26, 2011

Topic No. 5 – Modern Christians and the 10 Commandments


Do I need to obey the Ten Commandments?
Has God's law changed? What does Jesus Christ expect Christians to do about the Ten Commandments?

Answer:
Jesus explicitly shows that our obedience must include obeying the Ten Commandments.
"Now behold, one came and said to Him, 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?' So He said to him, 'Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.'
"He said to Him, 'Which ones?'"
In answer Jesus listed a number of the Ten Commandments as well as a summary statement:
• "You shall not murder."
• "You shall not commit adultery."
• "You shall not steal."
• "You shall not bear false witness."
• "Honor your father and your mother."
• "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (
Matthew:19:16-19).
Obedience to God begins with accepting the Ten Commandments as the permanent standard for our values and behavior. But our obedience must extend beyond just keeping the Ten Commandments.
Jesus also said: "Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill [from the Greek pleroo, meaning to 'fill to the full']. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled [from a different Greek word, ginomai, used in the sense of 'come to pass'].
"Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew:5:17-19).
Sin is disregarding, refusing to do, what God tells us to do. Jesus tells us He had no intention of annulling or abolishing God's commands and that anyone who presumes to teach that is in grave spiritual danger.
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This week, we’re going to explore Commandments 1 through 5 and how these commandments apply to you as wife, mother, and grandmother. 

(Next week, we’ll finish up with Commandments 6 – 10.)

No. 1: "Nothing and No One Comes Before God."


"You shall have no other gods before me."

We all know what happens to someone who falls off a building or some other height. The law of gravity carries with it a severe penalty. It is one of the laws of nature. We do not doubt its existence, yet we cannot see gravity. We only see its results. The Law of God - the Ten Commandments - acts in the same way. We only see the results when we break it. These commandments were given to protect man from the pain and suffering he will surely experience in this physical life by disregarding or failing to appreciate them. What does the Bible say?  You must do more than profess God and Christ.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21).
It is deceptive to believe that belief in God is sufficient to put you in favor with God. Believing alone is insufficient; you must act upon what you hear.
Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devil also believes, and trembles. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jas. 2:19-20).
If you put your own desires above the commands of God, you are deceiving yourself.  You are NOT truly worshipping God.  You are worshipping yourself.  You must practice what God requires of you!  Those things in your life that are more important than God are your idols.  Set them aside.  Your idols include all of your desires and passions that get in the way before God.
Here are some modern-day examples of idolatry that may take place in your home:
·         You don’t pray to God on a daily basis, but you’ll watch TV on a daily basis.
·         You don’t read God’s word (your Bible) on a daily basis, but you’ll read Facebook status updates on a daily basis.
·         It’s Sunday morning and you’d rather sleep off the party headache from the night before than get up, get dressed, and attend a church service.
·         You spend your time making your outward appearance beautiful, but you forget that God wants you to be beautiful on the inside, first and foremost.
·         You are more concerned with what you see in the mirror than you are with how God sees you.
·         That new car you’re driving is a status symbol to everyone who sees you driving it.
·         You spend $100 a month on newer, trendier clothes, but you find it difficult to help a neighbor in need.
·         You think that getting closer to the Lord is something only obsessed Christians will do.  You’re more comfortable praying occasionally than in getting on your knees and really talking with the Lord.
·         You take your children to the latest cinema theater at least twice a month, but you haven’t taken them to church in years.
·         It’s more important that you fit in a social event than it is that you fit into Heaven.
·         You’ve read a commandment of God’s but you feel that your situation is different and therefore doesn’t apply to this command.
·         You’re raising your hands in church as you sing, but you’re secretly very pleased with your latest acrylic nail job instead of really singing the words to God.
__________________________


Questions and Answers to Share:
1.    Name one area you struggle with idolatry in your life or in your family. 
2.    Do you want to grow closer to the Lord, or are you happy where you are in your Christian walk?
3.    Name a way that you can improve your relationship with God on a daily basis.
4.    How can you show your children/grandchildren/family members that God is THE most important person in your life?
5.    Find one scripture from the bible, different than those quoted above, that speaks of idolatry.  Write it out.
6.    How can your KOTH partner pray for you in regards to idolatry and the verse, “you shall have no other gods before me”?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Topic No. 4 - Positive Parenting (And Grandparenting, Too!)

Whether you’re a new mom, a seasoned mom, or a grandparent, this topic is for you!

Parenting isn’t for sissies.  It can be the toughest job in the world…but it can also bring you the greatest fulfillment.

Here are nine steps on how to enjoy your children (or grandchildren) more, and have more fulfilled relationships with them.


Nurture Your Child's Self-Esteem
Kids start developing their sense of self as babies when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression are absorbed by your kids. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.
Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud; letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavorably with another will make kids feel worthless.
Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like "What a stupid thing to do!" or "You act more like a baby than your little brother!" cause damage just as physical blows do.
Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your kids know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them, even when you don't love their behavior.
Catch Kids Being Good
Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that much negative guidance, even if it was well intentioned?
The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: "You made your bed without being asked — that's terrific!" or "I was watching you play with your sister and you were very patient." These statements will do more to encourage good behavior over the long run than repeated scoldings.
Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders and are often reward enough. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behavior you would like to see.
Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline
Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviors and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults.
Establishing house rules helps kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting, name-calling, or hurtful teasing allowed.
You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time out" or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. You can't discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.
Make Time for Your Kids
It's often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren't getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they're sure to be noticed that way.
Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a "special night" each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a note or something special in your kid's lunchbox.
Adolescents seem to need less undivided attention from their parents than younger kids. Because there are fewer windows of opportunity for parents and teens to get together, parents should do their best to be available when their teen does express a desire to talk or participate in family activities. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicates caring and lets you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways.
Don't feel guilty if you're a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember.
Be a Good Role Model
Young kids learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents. The younger they are, the more cues they take from you. Before you lash out or blow your top in front of your child, think about this: is that how you want your child to behave when angry? Be aware that you're constantly being observed by your kids. Studies have shown that children who hit usually have a role model for aggression at home.
Model the traits you wish to cultivate in your kids: respect, friendliness, honesty, kindness, tolerance. Exhibit unselfish behavior. Do things for other people without expecting a reward. Express thanks and offer compliments. Above all, treat your kids the way you expect other people to treat you.
Make Communication a Priority
You can't expect kids to do everything simply because you, as a parent, "say so." They want and deserve explanations as much as adults do. If we don't take time to explain, kids will begin to wonder about our values and motives and whether they have any basis. Parents who reason with their kids allow them to understand and learn in a nonjudgmental way.
Make your expectations clear. If there is a problem, describe it, express your feelings, and invite your child to work on a solution with you. Be sure to include consequences. Make suggestions and offer choices. Be open to your child's suggestions as well. Negotiate. Kids who participate in decisions are more motivated to carry them out.
Be Flexible and Willing to Adjust Your Parenting Style
If you frequently feel "let down" by your child's behavior, perhaps you have unrealistic expectations. Parents who think in "shoulds" (for example, "My kid should be potty-trained by now") might find it helpful to read up on the matter or to talk to other parents or child development specialists.
Kids' environments have an impact on their behavior, so you may be able to modify that behavior by changing the environment. If you find yourself constantly saying "no" to your 2-year-old, look for ways to restructure your surroundings so that fewer things are off-limits. This will cause less frustration for both of you.
As your child changes, you'll gradually have to change your parenting style. Chances are, what works with your child now won't work as well in a year or two.
Teens tend to look less to their parents and more to their peers for role models. But continue to provide guidance, encouragement, and appropriate discipline while allowing your teen to earn more independence. And seize every available moment to make a connection!
Show That Your Love Is Unconditional
As a parent, you're responsible for correcting and guiding your kids. But how you express your corrective guidance makes all the difference in how a child receives it.
When you have to confront your child, avoid blaming, criticizing, or fault-finding, which undermine self-esteem and can lead to resentment. Instead, strive to nurture and encourage, even when disciplining your kids. Make sure they know that although you want and expect better next time, your love is there no matter what.
Know Your Own Needs and Limitations as a Parent
Face it — you are an imperfect parent. You have strengths and weaknesses as a family leader. Recognize your abilities — "I am loving and dedicated." Vow to work on your weaknesses — "I need to be more consistent with discipline." Try to have realistic expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your kids. You don't have to have all the answers — be forgiving of yourself.
And try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once. Admit it when you're burned out. Take time out from parenting to do things that will make you happy as a person (or as a couple).
Focusing on your needs does not make you selfish. It simply means you care about your own well-being, which is another important value to model for your children.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: June 2011

Is it just a phase or a serious problem? Help your child cope with life's ups and downs, from dealing with divorce to preparing for new siblings. Or find out how to understand your child's behavior, whether it's toddler tantrums or teenage depression.

*         Questions and Answers to Share with your KOTH partner:
1.    How many children/grandchildren do you have?
2.    What are their ages?
3.    What issues do you struggle with the most when it comes to parenting/grandparenting?
4.    After reading this article, in what area do you see a need for improvement in your own family?
5.    How can your KOTH partner pray for you and encourage you when it comes to positive parenting/grandparenting?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Budgets and Sticking To 'Em!

Keepers of the Home – Topic No. 3: “Budgets and Sticking To ‘Em!”

Every family faces financial difficulty at one point or another.  Believe me when I say that my own family has faced its fair share of financial woes, as well.
To avoid some of the most common pitfalls in budgeting is to live within your family’s current salary/wage range…which isn’t easy when you live in a time of living paycheck to paycheck, or living within the boundaries of a single income (whether due to a layoff or whether due to your own desire for one parent to stay in the home).
Gone are the years when Americans can live off of their credit cards, stacking up the debt as they build their McMansions and drive their BMWs.  In today’s deflated economy, it’s wisest to live within your means, foregoing purchases with the high percentage-rate credit cards, and learning to downsize and think twice before making a major purchase.
As for savings, well, this is something that every household needs in order to save themselves should catastrophe of any kind hit.  But all too often, our modern families are so strapped for cash each month that just paying bills and buying groceries is a tough thing to do, let alone building up a savings account for emergencies.
So this topic is basically just about living within your budget, and some easy ways to do so.
First off, when creating a budget, you will need to know the exact amount of your family’s monthly income.  Then you will need to tally up all of your household bills and expenses.  If you’re savvy, or you haven’t fallen into hard times, your household bills and expenses will not exceed your total monthly income.
Here’s a link to an online budgeting program that will help assist you in discovering what your family’s true monthly budget is…or at least should be.  Please click the link to begin.  http://www.daveramsey.com/media/pdf/fpu_monthly_cash_flow_plan_forms.pdf
Some helpful tips on reducing your monthly expenses:
1.       Eat meals in your home.  Reduce the number of times your family eats out.
2.       Cut down on your family’s gas consumption by walking or riding your bike, or by taking public transportation.
3.       Shop at second-hand or consignment stores for clothing, furniture, etc.
4.       Sell a vehicle with a high monthly payment for a vehicle that runs well but might be a few years older, thereby reducing your monthly debt.
5.       Instead of purchasing a brand new vehicle, purchase a solid vehicle that’s at least five years old.  When you purchase a brand new vehicle, just driving it off the lot will reduce its value by nearly 30%.
6.       Take a family stay-cation versus an expensive vacation out of state.  A stay-cation would be a vacation near your home.  Take advantage of the sights and activities and museums right near your own home.
7.       Turn your air conditioning up by 5 degrees in the summertime, or turn your heating down by 5 degrees in the wintertime.
8.       Use coupons or purchase items on sale at the store/grocery store.
9.       If you buy your coffee from major chains like “Starbucks” on a daily basis, reduce this to purchases to just two or three times a week.
10.   Create a weekly meal menu for your family.  Not only does this help save you time in trying to figure out what meals to cook after a long and busy day, but it helps cut your grocery costs at the supermarket since you will be purchasing items on your meal menu only, and not haphazardly throwing items into your shopping cart.
11.   Add up the dollar amount your family typically spends on entertainment each month, and try to find ways to reduce this amount in half.  For instance, instead of going to a 7:00 p.m. showing at the cinema, try a Saturday morning matinee (which tends to be half the price).  Or better yet, rent a movie through Netflix or through Redbox, pop some popcorn, bake a homemade pizza, and spend some family time in your own home.
12.   If you are paying for cable or satellite TV and your family is strapped for cash, I highly recommend cancelling your subscription the next time renewal process comes around.  My family has not had cable or satellite TV for years, and I have found that we spend more time reading books or playing board games.
13.   Instead of purchasing expensive detergents and cleaning agents, make your own!  They simple and easy to make, are safer for your home and your family, and tend to be friendlier with the earth, too!  Here’s a link for detergent: http://www.diynatural.com/simple-easy-fast-effective-jabs-homemade-laundry-detergent/  And here’s a link for cleaning products.  http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
14.   Plant a garden.  Learn to grow your family’s favorite vegetables in your own backyard garden and save money!  If you live in the city, you can container garden.  http://gardening.about.com/od/vegetablepatch/a/ContainerVeggie.htm
15.   Turn off your lights as you exit a room.
16.   Use a laundry line to dry your clothing.
17.   Cloth diaper your child.  This will save you hundreds of dollars each year.  And today’s modern cloth diapers are cute and so easy to use with Velcro covers and pretty designs.  http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/
18.   Bake from scratch whenever you can!  Boxed and prepackaged meals are not only filled with chemicals, but they’re expensive, too!  Learn to cook meals from scratch.  Learn to bake fresh bread, either in your bread machine or by hand.  http://healthyrecipes.oregonstate.edu/stretching-food-dollars-0
19.   If you are behind in making payments on your credit cards and monthly debt, I highly suggest you seek an appointment with Consumer Credit Counseling Services in your home town.  This appointment is free and a representative will help assist you in calling your creditors to reduce the annual percentage rates on your cards and/or reduce your monthly amount owed. http://www.cccsstl.org/
20.   The envelope system:  Basically, you label envelopes according to categories such as “groceries,” “utilities,” “daycare,” “gas,” “car payment,” “tithes,” etc.  Then you place your monthly amount budgeted for these categories within the envelopes.  If you have a surplus of monthly income, this would go into an envelope marked, “extra.”  And that is the ONLY money you can draw from when purchasing extra items.  I have found that labeling an envelope “groceries” helps me stick to my grocery budget better.  Handing over a stack of cash is hard to part with, so I find that I’m a more frugal shopper when I do so.

In short, there is a multitude of ways that you can help cut costs in your family’s monthly bills and reduce the stress when bills arrive in the mail.  Learn to live a more frugal lifestyle.  Reduce your monthly debt.  Live a more stress-free life!

Questions and Answers to Share with Your Partner:

1.  Does your family currently follow a monthly budget?
2.  Name 3 ways you can help reduce the amount of debt in your home.
3.  After reading this week's topic of discussion, "Budgets and Sticking To 'Em," in what ways are you most excited to begin reducing your family's debt?
4.  What is your family's greatest downfall when it comes to sticking within your monthly budget?
5.  In what way can your partner pray for you and encourage you in regards to your family's budgeting practices and skills?
6.  How can YOU pray for your own family's budgeting practices and skills?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peacemaking In Families - Topic No. 2

Where two or more are gathered...there will be conflict!

Conflict within married couples, families, and the workplace is inevitable.  Nobody enjoys conflict, so I thought that I would study up on how to best resolve those pesky conflicts that crop up in our lives, and share them with you!

According to the book "Peacemaking For Families," there are three ways that we handle conflict in our lives.  One, we escape from the conflict and ignore that the conflict is there.  This is called a being a "peace-faker."  Two, we attack our opponent with the strength of a batallion of soldiers.  This is called being a "peace-breaker."  Or three, we maturely discuss the conflict, sometimes coming away with some pretty powerful negotiations in the process.  This is called being a "peace-maker."

Which one are you?

Basically, you can escape from conflict, you can attack during conflict, or you can hold the high ground and maintain the peace.

Peace-fakers:
If you're a peace-faker, you are more interested in avoiding a conflict than in resolving it.  You would rather take the easy, convenient, and non-threatening way out of a conflict rather than confront it in a healthy manner.  In fact, you dread confrontation so much that you will avoid it at all costs.  Sometimes, you may be more concerned about keeping up appearances than in facing reality.  You may be in denial that a problem even exists.  However, for this type of person, relief is only temporary and the problem worsens. If you're a peace-faker, you may quit a job over conflict.  You may leave a church when there's conflict.  Or you may end your relationships over conflict.

Peace-breakers:
If you're a peace-breaker, you are more interested in winning the battle.  For you, conflict equals an opportunity to assert your rights.  You may use a verbal assault on your victim, you may have harsh criticism, become angry, slanderous, and/or full of threats.  Sometimes, a peace-breaker will resort to physical hostility.  This type of behavior only worsens the conflict.  It never repairs it. 

Most of us vacillate between being a peace-faker and a peace-breaker.  Most of us fail to find a lasting solution to our conflicts.  Most of us will lose intimacy with our family members and our spouse and grow farther apart.

But there's a better way for conflict resolution that will result in healing and strengthening of our relationships.

Peacekeepers:
To be a peacekeeper, you will need to overlook certain offenses.  Have you ever heard the phrase, "pick your battles"?  A peacekeeper will  overlook small offenses and offer immediate forgiveness following insignificant disputes.  Proverbs 12:16 says "A fool shows his annoyance at once.  But a prudent man overlooks an insult."  Proverbs 17:14 says "Starting a quarrel is like breaching a dam; so drop the matter before a dispute breaks out."  And finally, "A man's wisdom gives him patience, it is to his glory to overlook an offense."  That's in Proverbs 19:11.

For offenses that should not be overlooked, a peacekeeper will hold a loving confrontation that opens the door for forgiveness and resolution.  Jesus used this method.  "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First, go and be reconciled to your brother, then come and offer your gift.  Settle matters quickly."  (Matthew 5:23-25)

"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church.  And if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."  Matthew 18:15-17.

Finally, God commands us not to resolve our conflicts through escaping or attacking which results in bruised and broken relationships.  Instead, He teaches us how to peacefully resolve day-to-day conflicts.  God delights to work through us as we rely on His promises and obey His commands.

__________________________________

Questions for Peacemaking for Families:  (Please share with your partner)

1.  How did your parents typically respond to conflict?

2.  Do you feel these responses carried over into your life?

3.  Which response to conflict do you typically use?

4.  Think of a recent conflict in your family where you did not handle the situation well.  How did your family member fees as a result?  How did he/she react?

5.  As your children or grandchildren watch your example, are they learning to be peacemakers, peace-fakers, or peace-breakers?

6.  What steps can you take in the coming days to bring you closer towards being a peacekeeper in your family?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Topic No. 1 = Eating Healthy


For our first topic, we'll be starting off with a simple and easy topic:  Eating Healthy. 
________________________________________________

Topic No. 1 “Eating Healthy”



Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food.” Genesis 1:29

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth.” Psalm 104:14

Proverbs 23:21 "For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty.”
________________________________________

The Story of Daniel:

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king's choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.

Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, "I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king."

But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.

"Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king's choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see."

So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king's choice food.

So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.

As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams.

Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar.

The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's personal service.

As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.

And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king. Daniel 1:15-21
_________________________________


The story of Daniel is profound.  Daniel chose to forego the fatty and caloric-ridden foods of the King and instead eat a wholesome and healthy diet of vegetables and water.  The commander was nervous.  What if Daniel lost weight?  What if he became weak?  The King would not be pleased, and the commander might even be killed for this.  But the commander compromised.  He allowed Daniel this healthy diet for 10 days, after which time the commander would examine his body and determine if he should continue with these dietary restrictions.  After the 10 days were up, Daniel and his friends appeared healthier and superior to the others who were fed the King’s diet of wine and choice food.



            This week, I want to challenge you to eat more vegetables (and fruits) and less fatty and high-caloric foods.  Reach for the nuts and berries, fruits and whole grain foods, and put down the greasy chips.  Put away the sugary cereals and forego the fried food.  I want to challenge you to drink less coffee and less soda pop, less sugary juices and less wine, and drink more water. 





Some examples of healthier food choices (poor choice = healthier choice):



Cereal for the kids = whole grain bagel with almond butter and slices of strawberry on top

Frozen fish sticks and fries = Baked salmon filet with side of wild rice and corn on the cob

Takeout pizza and pop = Homemade rigatoni with fresh side salad

Fried chicken = Baked skinless chicken with mashed potatoes & gravy, side of green beans

Bag of Doritos = Fresh-popped popcorn on your stove top or Baked Lays potato chips

School lunch of hot dogs and French Fries = Brown bag lunch of pita wrapped ham sandwich with sliced tomatoes, cucumber and cheese slice

Can of Soup and Frozen Chicken Nuggets = All-natural and low-sodium soup with grilled cheese on wheat bread.

Drive-Thru at McD’s = Drive-Thru at Subway

Name-brand store-bought bread = Bakery bread

___________________________ 

Most often, any meal at the grocery store that’s pre-packaged and heat-n-eat is full of calories, contains way too much salt for your dietary needs, and is loaded with chemicals for preserving the food.  Plan a healthy weekly meal menu and shop according to your menu.  Take the extra 20 minutes each day and prepare healthy, homemade meals for yourself and your family.  Not only will this save you money, it will be a much healthier alternative to heat & eat meals or rushing to get fast food.  Another idea is for you to bake your weekly meals on the weekends, placing them in the freezer until needed.  Or, you can double up on your recipe cooking and place the extra meal in the freezer for another time.



American food companies are loading their food products with preservatives (chemicals), as well as high levels of sodium (salt), or incorporating high fructose corn syrup and other such bad-for-you products into their packages.  Before you place a grocery item in your shopping cart this week, check the label.  You’ll be surprised to find how many of your current staple grocery items contain products that you do not want in your body or the bodies of your family members.  Remember the saying, “You are what you eat,” and imagine every item listed on that label circulating through your blood stream and the bodies of your loved ones.  Also remember that your body is God’s temple.  We wouldn’t dare desecrate the Lord’s church…the same holds true with our physical bodies.



America ranks #7 worldwide for cancer rates versus all other countries in the world.  (http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2011/jan/24/worldwide-cancer-rates-uk-rate-drops )  Why?  One of the biggest reasons is the American diet: high in calories, rich in fat and refined foods.  The worst culprits?  Fatty meats, cakes, cookies, chips, margarine, and crackers.



Below is a chart for you to record your meals, evaluate your eating habits, and make some positive food choices for you and your family.   And below the daily foods chart is a set of questions for you to fill out and share with your “Keepers of the Home” partner.  Please make sure to fill out these questions and exchange with your partner.  Pray that your partner might make healthier food choices, and encourage her with some healthy recipes that you enjoy.



Monday
Tuesday
Wednesday
Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Breakfast:




Breakfast:
Breakfast:
Breakfast:
Breakfast:
Breakfast:
Breakfast:
Lunch:




Lunch:

Lunch:

Lunch:

Lunch:

Lunch:

Lunch:

Dinner:




Dinner:

Dinner:

Dinner:

Dinner:

Dinner:

Dinner:

Snacks:





Snacks:

Snacks:

Snacks:

Snacks:

Snacks:

Snacks:







Keepers of the Home – Topic No. 1 “Eating Healthier” Questions/Answers to Share with Your Partner:



  1. Do you consider yourself a healthy eater?
  2. Do you try to cook healthy and wholesome meals for your family?
  3. What is your greatest challenge when eating healthy?
  4. What is your greatest challenge when preparing healthy meals for you and your family?
  5. What do you think is your greatest weakness in making poor food choices?
  6. How can you improve your decision-making at the grocery store when buying healthier foods?
  7. How do your current food choices and meal planning compare with those you were raised with?
  8. Do you feel the Lord wants you to be a healthier person and/or family?
  9. Name one way that you can change your eating habits for the positive.
  10. What can your Keepers of the Home partner pray specifically for in relation to healthier eating habits for you and your family?
  11. Share one healthy recipe with your partner this week.