Saturday, January 29, 2011

Keep your eyes on the Prize!




Keep your Eyes on the Prize!


10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5...

The count down is on!  The fireworks are in place!  The party poppers are ready!
The HERSHEY GIANT CANDY bar lies on the counter, awaiting its final destination!!!

In less than 12 hours, our 21-day Daniel Fast will be complete.  As the time is drawing nigh, temptation grows...but it is easier to resist, because I know my wait will soon be over, and it will taste so much better knowing I can eat it with a guilt-free conscience! 

Until now, I had to hide all the chocolate in the house so I wouldn't have it staring, glaring me in the face.
But today, the Hershey's bar sits where I can see it everytime I walk through the kitchen. 
So, I can keep my EYES on the PRIZE


Now, though I will thoroughly enjoy every scrumptious smidgen of my long-awaited treat,
that isn't the real prize I have my eyes set upon...

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.


Philippians 3:12-14, 18-21
Not that I have already attained it, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.  Brethren, I do not count myself as apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
For many walk...that they are enemies of the cross of Christ:  whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame--who set their mind on earthly things. [But] Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.





He has broken down walls from the past.  He has shown me His call for what's ahead.  He has convicted me to put away all the gods in my life that take my time and focus away from Him.  He has revealed to me that what I put into my life, is what will come out.  He has renewed in me the eagerness to meet Him daily at His Word to see the promises He has given us.  He has given me a hunger to fill my hunger and a future that is bound by the cross.

What revelations has God given you during your fast? 



I rejoice with you...He is a mighty God and worthy to be praised!









 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Borrowed

Have you ever had a friend borrow something that they did not return to you in the same condition they received it?  I remember a time I lent a book to a friend and when I got it back, the pages, with no explanation or apology, were wavy and brittle as if it had fallen overboard the ark during the great flood!   I didn't complain, but the book was really going to be difficult to use thereafter, so I ended up purchasing another one.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are a temple of the Lord, not our own.  They have been bought with a price

We belong to God, therefore we are living in borrowed bodies!  What a shame if we don't take care of them and present them as my friend did my book, unable to be used by Him.  What a shame if God has to say, I cannot use you as you are, I need to purchase another...

Christ purchased our pardon on Calvary's Hill.  He dwells within our flesh.  Are you taking care of the temple He has lent you making it a good home for Christ? 

Through this fast, God has brought me conviction, healing, understanding, affirmation, and a new sense of what it means to be purchased.  He paid the price to dwell within this temple that He has lent to me.  It is my job to take care of what I am borrowing!


What are you doing to keep your temples strong, healthy, and ready to be used?  Commit today to live a healthier lifestyle so that when God calls you to the task, you will be ready! 



Physically, Spiritually, Emotionally, Mentally, let us be actively training to present ourselves before Him for use in His Kingdom.

Peanut butter waldorf wraps



Peanut Butter Waldorf Wraps

4 Whole Wheat Tortilla Wraps
2 Apples chopped
2 stalks of celery chopped
2 bananas sliced
1 c raisins, golden raisins, or craisins (your preference) 
1 c mixed nuts
peanut butter

Spread layer of peanut butter on each wrap.  You may eat cold or warm in microwave for 10 seconds each.
Line center third of the wrap with fruit and nuts.  Roll wrap tucking in one end.
Enjoy!  Makes a Great Breakfast!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Behind the make-up

I was reading today of a famous wrestler that covered his face before each match with black and white face paint as a signature of intimidation towards his opponent.  In his book, though, his tough-guy act was unveiled when he confesses that "behind the make-up" the real wrestling in his life was in the spiritual rink with God. 

Oh, the pretty pictures we can paint as women...the masks we can wear. Subconsciencely, we, too, try to intimidate the opponent, AKA the other women looking in on our lives for a glimmer of hope that their house isn't the only one messy and their kids aren't the only ones burping at the table. We love to look like we gracefully have it all together on the outside, but if we were honest, we would admit we are dying inside...working ourselves to death to cover the real wrestling match we all go through...measuring up to the world's standards of the perfect woman in the perfect marriage living in the perfect home with the perfect kids all perfectly serving in the perfect church.   

But for the sake of being real, honest, raw and transparent, I had to ask myself,

"Who am I, behind the make-up?"

I wrestle.  I struggle.  I fail.  I don't measure up.  I get angry.  I don't get it all done. I say things I shouldn't. I stumble... DAILY! 

Yet, somehow, I still remain in the center of God's affection.  He sees me au naturalle, completely unveiled, to the deepest core of my innermost being... He sees me, behind the make-up...and He loves me still.  He sees me in all my failure and all my shame...and though its a wonder He can look at me at all,  He still sees me beautiful. 

 I will never be the perfect wife, mother, homemaker, and by far, do not have the perfect testimony...But I do serve the perfect God who measures me only by the stretch of His arms and how I am embraced by them. 

Who are you behind the make-up? Do you wrestle with being real?


 Embrace the measure of the Man as His arms reached from one nail to the other.  He is the only One who sees your true beauty and because of Him, it is flawless.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Ants on a Log

Need a yummy snack?  Try this quick and easy Daniel Fast friendly treat!

Celery
Peanut Butter
Raisins (I prefer the golden raisins)

Spread peanut butter on celery sticks and stick raisins on top.  I can hardly make them fast enough for my kids, too!  Enjoy!

Do I trust Him?

Palms sweating...heat rising...nerves fluttering...thoughts in my mind swarming...

Anxiety.

Confrontation.

I am sick with worry.

Over circumstances I cannot control.

Oh, Lord grant me serenity!

And He gently strokes my cheek, the way a Father does, and says,
"Child, serenity has been there all along.  You must take hold of it and cling to it, instead of grasping at vapors that dissappear in the wind."

"Why do you worry over what I am in control of?  Am I sovereign, truly sovereign?  Wrap yourself in My sovereignty.  Lean on My understanding.  Take My hand and let me lead you.  Don't question My ways, rejoice in them.  You speak to Me as if I don't know what is going on... Not one sparrow falls without My allowing it.  Search for Me in what is happening...Haven't I proven Myself worthy of your trust?"

But, God, my children...
"They are My children."

But, Lord, my heart...
"You said you gave it to Me?"

But, my understanding...
"My ways are not your ways."

But, my pride...
"Hmmm, yes, now we have a problem.  If you are going to follow Me, then I have to lead.  Let Me reign over you.  Less of you, more of Me.  Die to yourself, let Me live in you.  You must serve Me or your pride, you can't do both.  Choose this day, whom you will serve."

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. 
"Then trust in me, also.  With everything.  Lay it down.  Your life belongs to Me.  I will not forsake you." 

"For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans for good, not evil, to give you a hope and a future. When you pray, I will listen.  You will find Me when you seek Me, if you seek Me with all of your heart.."   Jeremiah 29:11-13




"All of it!"




Do you wrestle with things going on in your life that you can't control?  I often lay things down to Him in my intimate moments, but turn right around to pick them back up and carry them around in my pocket.  I am so thankful that His Word in Psalm 55 assures me that when I "Give my burdens to the Lord.  He will carry them.  He will not permit the godly to slip or fall."



 Lay your burdens down with me this moment.  Release them.  We have a God who hears.  A God who answers.  A God who knows.  A God who Reigns.  Let go of what is holding you back from Him. 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Here am I, Lord...Send Me

I cannot comprehend the distance, the way of life, the culture.
It is too different from anything I've experienced. 
I cannot imagine how God could use me.
I am too little, too inadequate, too hungry to feed a crowd so big.
I cannot explain the fire that burns within me.
It is too rampant to question, too strong to ignore.
I cannot argue with His call.
It is too clear...too definite.
I am left with no arguement, no excuses, no doubts.
Fear causing me to tremble, the unknown causing me to waiver...
I lay it down at the altar...
And with His voice echoing around me
I can hardly breathe...
But I manage through the tears that have overflowed my cup
He rids me of myself and in my fullness I commit,
Here am I, Lord...Send me.
May it be done to me according to Your Word.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Homeward Bound

A boy running with his dog

Last night, I sat with my three year old and wept like a baby as we watched the Disney movie based on the book, The Incredible Journey, about three furry friends who find their way home to their masters after being dropped off at a relative's during their family's vacation.  The movie was appropriately titled...Homeward Bound.   There was a Golden Retriever, wise and experienced in his ways; a Sassy, himilayan cat, charming with her sarcastic wit and independence; and a frisky bull dog who thought he was bigger than the world. 

Together, the testy trio journeyed over the rushing rapids of the river and through the thicket of the dark woods...battling mountain lions, bears, and porcupines.  They got the best of themselves in their curiosity and pride, instinctively found one another after being separated, and  pulled each other out of pits with encouragement and determination. It truly was an incredible journey.  But, in the end, the three friends came out of the fire, undamaged from the circumstances, yet not untouched by the experiences...and they run to their masters, and their masters run to them in a heartwarming homecoming.

Joseph comes to mind.  Thrown into a pit and sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused of rape and confined to prison, forgotten by his friends.  Even in his position of prestige, he was confronted constantly with his past...and God's plan.  Throughout the story in scripture, five words are repeated, "And God was with Joseph."  In the midst of the hurt.  In the midst of the pain.  In the deepest pit, in the darkest hour.  Even when he was treated unjustly, right to the throne of Egypt..."And God was with Joseph." 

Throughout our incredible journey, God is near.  When we are rejected, mistreated, misjudged, and restored, God is with us.  He is bound by His Covenant, "I will not leave you nor forsake you."  He loves us when we are unlovable and holds us when the world leaves us broken and alone.  He is daily in our presence...but are we in His? 


What experiences on this journey have caused you to wonder, "Is God with Me?"  Do "pit" experiences cause you to draw closer to Him, or to question Him with bitterness and pull away? 


No matter what the circumstances, you can fill in the blank with your name:  "And God was with ________"



On this Incredible Journey, are we Homeward Bound running to our Master?  He greets us running with open arms...come home to Him.

Grilled Pineapple and cashew-steamed Broccoli




Fresh pineaple, sliced
chopped scallions (About 1/4 c)
1/2 c cashews
1/2 c golden raisins
Broccoli
Brown Rice
1/2 Green bell pepper seeded and sliced
1/2 red bell pepper seeded and sliced
1/2c portobello mushrooms sliced



Grill sliced pineapple, mushrooms, peppers, and scallions in a grill pan over med heat for aprox 10min.  Peppers should be tender, but not limp.  Steam broccoli, cashews, and raisins in steamer for aprox. 10min.  Prepare rice as directed on package.  Serve cooked fruits, nuts and veggies over rice.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Damaged, but not destroyed



Broken...

...in God's Word it appears over and over again.  People are broken out with disease, vessels must be broken because they have been defiled, hearts are broken...even Christ's body, broken.

All coming back to one common denominator...God's commandments...broken.

As I look back on the times in my life when I have been broken, sin has surrounded the circumstance that has left me Shattered Before Christ.

When we become children of God, Satan cringes with envy for our souls.  He wants us for his own and when we reject his tyranny, he burns with jealousy.  And when he can't have our souls, he will go next for our testimony.  Trying to defile the vessels that God has claimed for His temple...leaving us broken.

A broken vessel cannot carry Water...

But we have a God that offers restoration...healing.   A God that can take the broken pieces of our lives and in the power of His Almighty Hand, El-Shaddai can bring new life and make the pieces whole again.  Satan may damage the vessel, leaving wounds that only God can heal...but he cannot destroy what God has marked with the seal of the cross.

You see, when Jesus fed the multitudes, the bread was offered and broken.  And then it was used to feed thousands. (Matthew 15)  As Christ hung on the Cross, He was broken...and offered Himself to save the World.  When we are broken and offered up to Him, our gift also is made beautiful and multiplied.

What times in your life have you been broken by your sin or the sin of others?  How has God redeemed the broken pieces of your life and restored you to His glory?



The world is broken.  The world is thirsty.  No matter how broken your pieces,  He offers His cup. You maybe damaged, but in God's hands, you cannot be  destroyed.  Carry His Water.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Not forgotten


Oh, they are so pitiful when they are sick...babies.  They can't tell you where it hurts.  They don't understand why they feel this way, nor why you can't make it all better. As a mother, there is nothing that hurts worse than watching your babies hurt. 


I remember one day, as I was sitting in the NICU watching my premature twins as they slept, an unknown gentlemen came by my side and said to me,
"You never truly know the love of the Father until you have children yourself. You sit and watch your babies as the doctors poke and prod them, as they scream out because the needles hurt and the tubes are uncomfortable, yet you allow it, because you know it is what they need to make them better. That is what God does for us. He watches you now as you, in agony watching your babies suffer, cry out in pain, yet He allows the suffering, because He knows it is teaching you what you need to learn. On the cross, He watched as His Son cried out to Him, and He allowed the suffering, because He knows that was the only way for the world to be saved. That is pure love."
The man walked away, and I never saw him again...but those words still resound in my heart daily.


Matt 10:28-31 reminds me that He knows and holds all circumstances in His Almighty Hand.  
"Not one sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.   And the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  So don't worry!  You are more valuable to him than many sparrows." 
He knows...and He allows... not because He likes to see you suffer, nor because He has forgotten you in those dark moments...but to see you triumph in His glory.  To teach you to depend on Him and only Him, for He alone is Sovereign.




Do you find yourself questioning His Presence in your difficult circumstances?  Are you suffering and wondering why He won't make it all better? 






Don't look at God through your circumstances, look at your circumstances through God.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Emptied and Filled-up

A glass sits with dirty water in it...about half full.  "Put clean water in it," I say, falsely assuming they will understand to empty the dirty water first.  The clean water goes in...right into the dirty water.  And out comes the genius revelation, "But the water is still dirty, Mama!"         WOW...You don't say?   In my flesh the sarcasm crept out, but God showed me a teachable moment for both my children and me. . .

In order to get the full benefit of the water that He gives, we must first be emptied and poured out, completely.  I am learning that more and more each day with this fast. As I empty myself of the impurities of my normal diet,  I also empty myself spiritually during a time of great confession...pouring out my heart to Him that desires only to fill me. I can only empty halfway, but what He pours into my mess will still be clouded with the sin I leave hidden in my soul.  I must get rid of it all...let it go...pour out every bit to Him. 

What things are you leaving in the glass that you know need to be emptied before God can fill you?


He emptied Himself that we may be full.

Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers

Quinoa-stuffed Bell Peppers
Pronounced "Keen-wa"

1 c uncooked quinoa
2 red bell peppers
1 zuchini sliced
1 yellow squash sliced
1/2 c mushrooms sliced
1 onion chopped
1 carrot shredded
2 garlic cloves
2 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1t Italian seasoning or oregano
1 tomato diced (May substitute a can of diced tomatoes)
2c marinara or prepared spaghetti sauce (I recommend Classico fired tomato and garlic)
salt and pepper

Cook Quinoa as directed on the box. 
Cut in half and seed bell peppers.  Steam for aprox 6min or until tender but not limp.
Saute in olive oil: zuchini, squash, mushrooms, onion, carrot, tomato, garlic and italian seasoning and basil.  Mix veggie mixture with cooked quinoa. Use mixture to stuff bell pepper halves.  Heat marinara sauce and pour over peppers.  salt and pepper to taste.

Optional: Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over peppers and bake for about 10 min on 400 or until cheese is melted.

Serve with Grecian-style grilled-chicken for a delicious healthy meal!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Grilled Ratatouille

This one not only looks good, its fun to say:)))

Dressing
2 T balsamic vinegar
2 garlic cloves pressed
2 t dried oregano
1/2 t sea salt

Veggies and pasta
5 plum tomatoes cut in half lengthwise
1 eggplant cut into 1/2in slices
1 zucchini  cut into 1/2in slices
1 green bell pepper seeded and cut into quarters
1  sweet onion cut into 1/2in slices
1/4 c olive oil
1 lb uncooked whole wheat penne pasta

Combine ingredients for dressing and whisk. Heat grill to medium heat. Brush prepared veggies with oil. Start wtaer to boil for pasta. Cook pasta. Place veggies on grill.  Grill Onion 12 min, and tom. eggplant, zucchini and pepper for 6-8 min. turning once.  Remove veggies and cut into bite-sized pieces. Drizzle veggies with dressing and mix gently.

Pour veggie mixture over pasta. Enjoy!

Ignoring the voices

MAMA, MAMA, MAMA, MAMA...I hear it a hundred times a day and sometimes, yes, I tell them I've changed my name. Over and over and over and over, until, subconsciously, I tune out the calls I mysteriously am able to discern to be unemergency related... a gift God gave to mothers.  Their constant calls are monotonous...but when I don't hear them, I begin to miss them in my heart...and wonder what those little monkeys are up to!

Though their sweet redundant calls can fray the frazzled fibers of my very last nerve, they aren't the ones I struggle to ignore.  The calls from the enemy that say, "You don't measure up" You can't suffice" "You are not worthy." "You don't deserve." "You cannot hold it together." ...constantly, echoing in my head as I strive to do His will...  those are the voices that are difficult to get out of my head.

In my weakness in the battle I have found myself in this week, I had barely enough strength to whisper His name. To call out "Sweet Jesus" was the only defense I could muster...and defense enough.  And He answers..."his echoes are evil and not meant for good."  

God Speaks: "Apart from Me, you don't measure up, you can't suffice, you are not worthy, you don't deserve, and you cannot hold it all together. But, with Me, I will sustain in you the life that I have breathed into you.  Remember my promises to you."

"You are a child of God." (John 1:12)

"You are chosen by Me to bear fruit." (John 15:16)

"You are a coheir with Me and have inherited My glory."  (Romans 8:17)

"You are a temple, a dwelling place, and My Spirit lives in you." (1 Cor 6:17)

"You are a new creation.  Your past is forgiven and everything in you is new." (2 Cor 5:17)

"You are at Peace with Me, and I have given you the work of helping others find peace with Him." (2 Cor 5:18-19)

"You are God's handiwork, created in Me to do My work."  (Ephesians 2:10)

Satan is the father of lies, a murderer from the beginning.  He does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him. John 8:44



What Lies does he throw at you that you struggle to ignore?



Replace those lies with TRUTHs bound by Calvary's blood. 
He who is of God, hears God's words...(John 8:47)


An Altar of Sacrifice

Alone with Him.
No distractions.
No interruptions.
Just me and the Lord...and the devil holding the package of Oreo Doublestuf sitting on the shelf in the pantry.
No one to tell me, "don't do it." 
No one to hide them or take them away.
No one but me and the Lord and this altar of sacrifice... my promise, my body, my temple.

Have I died to myself?  My own cravings?  My own desires? My own tastes?
When we die to ourselves, our choices must be made for Him and laid upon the altar of sacrifice.
Will I choose to give in, or will I choose to hold fast to the committment I made to serve Him with my sacrifice?

"Deny your own Love for the expression of God's love," said missionary martyr, Jim Elliot. 

Deny myself because I love Him.
Deny my cravings, because I love Him.
Deny my need for control, because I love Him.
Deny temptation, because I love Him.
Deny my own life, because on the altar of Sacrifice, He denied His.

 
As He said Himself in John 4:34, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work."

I offer my emptiness to You, Lord. 
I sacrifice a mere taste for savory morsels...You sacrificed the pure-blood life on Calvary's Cross...
May my food be to do Your will.  Feed me, Lord.








Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blogger's Block

I've had a little Blogger's Block lately...not as the Lord is neglecting to teach me...but because I am just finding myself so blown away by Him, I cannot wrap my mind around His grace sometimes.  I am speechless before His throne weeping, shattered before Christ. Broken and poured out...redeemed and surrendered...My plea is only for His will and I desire so deeply to be His vessel, broken as I am. I rejoice in the Word brought to me today...that He will restore what the locusts devoured... What hope we have!!! 

I will return soon...when the Lord tells me to write...but for now, He is saying "Stand still, for I am about to do a mighty work."

"May the Lord keep watch between us as we are apart."

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