Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Holiday Celebration Recipe

Here come the holidays. Anticipation and trepidation dance like sugar plums in my head. I love the holidays. It is a great time to focus on blessings, celebrate with family and strengthen the bonds of friendship. Although I consider it taboo to do any Christmas decorating before Thanksgiving, this year I’m going on a trip and I want to come home to Christmas so I’ve broken the rules and started the transformation to celebrate Jesus.

As much as I love the holidays, I hate how little discipline I have when it comes to enjoying the scrumptious goodies I wait all year to eat. YUUUMMMMYYY! I can taste them all now. Pecan pie, dressing, caramels, fudge, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls. Oh, stop me, I’m gaining weight just thinking about it.

I’ve been thinking about how to negotiate a five day vacation, joining in family meals and sharing homemade treats while successfully curbing the wild horse that wants to run to the feed trough and gorge myself! I've become painfully aware of the careless ways I waste calories. Since my worst eating habit is grazing, I could be in real trouble. I never seem to remember eating things when it is one little bite at a time all day long. To help myself this year, I’ve created a recipe to keep me on track.


Mix one large portion of right priorities. Be intentional. What I want most is to celebrate God for who He is and what He has done for me and Jesus who came in such a beautiful and intimate way. Focus on that, not the food.

Stir in an ample supply of water. Water satisfies and fills calorie free. Drinking a full glass of water before meals will dramatically cut consumption.

Add only a dash of extra treats. Remember consuming careless calories hurts me and makes me feel defeated. Feeling defeated triggers extra eating. Extra eating makes me feel defeated. . . Get the cycle?

Divide the recipe in to four parts. Enjoy any of the foods I want, but cut the portion to half or even a fourth.

Let ingredients rest to develop the bouquet. Savor the taste slowly, let it linger. Feast on the sight and smell of food, not necessarily the taste of food itself.

Allow time to let the mixture rise until double. Find activities away from the table with family and see how multiplying that time can be.

Bake until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Invest in others. Look for ways to edify them and watch the barriers fall away. Aligning my priorities to God’s cleanses the soul. A cleansed soul is satisfied.

Taste and see that the Lord is good.
How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.
Psalm 34:8

I would love to hear your ingredients to add to the holiday celebration feast.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I did something completely ridiculous tonight. I came home to find my daughter watching a movie I plan to see. It was near the end and I detest knowing the end of movies. I'm telling you if I haven't seen it, don't you dare give away the plot!

I intentionally went to another room to avoid the spoiler. Realizing I could still hear the characters, I closed the door and made noise. I'm serious, reveal the ending and I don't want to waste my time with the rest.

Reasonable behavior? It might be. Until I think about all the times I've asked and pleaded and contrived to get the end of stories in my life out of God. Yep, completely ridiculous.

Tug Of War

Ferocious winds blew all week. Before that it had only been windy a day here and a night there before a balmy reprieve would return gifting days all the more worth savoring knowing they might be the last. The gentleness of fall strains against the power of winter. As if on borrowed time, a tug-of-war teeters undecided, but fall will succumb and winter will emerge victorious.

I planned for one of those balmy days to get my last outdoor job finished. Digging cannas. It's a big job and the only time of the year I don’t like the towering, showy flowers. But I know they must be dug because cannas will not survive the winter outdoors. They will die.
Now, my balmy reprieve has been snatched away by days of foreboding winds capped by a cold, soaking rain. I don’t know if I will get another chance to save my cannas for planting next spring.

My grandfather has lived an incredible 96 years and now he is in a tug-of-war. He slowly weakens as his life here on earth retreats. Some days are sharper than others. Processing information sometimes requires more energy than he has. Other days he recalls minute details I can’t even remember. I’ve watched the tug-of-war and waited for opportunities to help him in battle with the inevitable-winter. He has been a four-term State Senator, a pioneer in his industry, he even oversaw a prisoner of war work camp during WWII. But he does not know Jesus. Winter is tugging and he will not survive.

The foreboding winds slammed into reality last week when he fell and broke his hip. Surgery, a hospital stay then back to the nursing home. He never knew what was happening or why. Just like what happened to my grandma, but she never returned. Feeling that it had been snatched away, I prayed for a balmy reprieve.

I've talked to my grandpa so many times about how believing in Jesus is the only to get to heaven. Usually, I walked away from the conversation astounded that the light of understanding still had not come on. How can truth and life fall on such deaf ears? Has God kept him alive all these years for the opportunity to give his life to Him? I don’t know. I just pray.

Yesterday, the phone rang and I heard my balmy reprieve. My grandpa asked about plans to go to a football game, detailing who was taking him and what time to be back at the home. I hung up the phone thanking God. He’s back.

I don’t know for how long. Winter is pounding on the door of his life and time is short. But, Praise God, I get another chance to share Jesus! I pray this time, the conditions will be right and he will understand. I pray he will find life in Jesus and he can live in the eternal springtime of heaven. Thank you God for granting him a reprieve. Use this time. Shape my words. Open his heart. Give him life.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Jesus Bubbles

I recently had the privilege of attending a banquet for International Cooperating Ministries. Their mission is to nurture believers and assist church growth worldwide to see people, transformed through Jesus. http://icm.org/ ICM partners with already established ministries to provide further opportunities to spread the gospel.

One facet is nurturing believers through the Mini Bible College (MBC). Translated into dozens of languages, the MBC provides a four year bible study from Genesis to Revelation. It is broadcast via radio, and an amazing hand held, solar-powered audio player along with written study materials. This study program was written by a man in a wheelchair and now his love for the scripture reaches around the world. It’s amazing how God can go where we can’t.

The second focus is giving a permanent home for bodies of believers who don’t have a church building. ICM has built nearly 5,000 churches around the world. They will only construct a building for active churches who commit to planting at least five daughter churches in their country. Although the church is not the building, their experience shows the multiplied growth of new believers when there is a focal point for spreading the gospel.

The best part of the evening was meeting Bishop Mgullu Kilimba from Tanzania. Jesus absolutely bubbled from Mgullu. I could picture the springs of living water as he told of planting more than 100 churches - and that was even before he started working with ICM. You can meet Mgullu at http://cmftz.org. He is a part of Christian Mission Fellowship. As we visited during dinner, his easy, infectious laugh reminded me what the joy of Lord really is. As he described the ministries through CMF he was so animated, I imagined him dancing as David did. Besides planting churches he helps provide wheelchairs for the disabled, medical aid missions and drilling wells or boring holes as he calls it.

Mgullu is probably close to my age and I felt small. Not because he made me feel that way, but because He is such a dynamic part of God’s plan for Tanzania. How blessed I am to meet a believer across the globe so I can pray for him and his ministry. What an encouragement it is to see how God is working all over the world by Christian ministries and believers coming together. It makes me realize what a BIG God we have and how small this earth is to Him. I want to see what God is doing and climb on board. I want Jesus to bubble.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


My family is waiting. My niece is now days away from having a baby. As each day draws closer to her due date, I wonder if it will be today. But no worry it is isn’t. It is just one more day for the baby to grow and develop and strengthen tiny lungs in the perfect world of the womb. Waiting for babies is easy, exciting and for the most part predictable. We already know her name.

Although sometimes things can to very wrong and I can’t imagine the pain of that, mostly the miracle of a new life is a joyous finale to a well-known time of preparation. Don’t I wish all waiting was like that? I would love to know the gestation period of the answer to my prayers. I could mark the weeks and days from the calendar patiently seeing progress toward the day of resolution. I would love to look forward the assuredness of holding the miracle of a physical, breathing, full of life, answer.

Why can’t I understand answer to prayer is like that? God has placed it in the womb. From seemingly nothing, He is forming the answer cell by cell. He is knitting together each tiny piece, molding the end result carefully and sequentially, never getting out of step in the process. God is building strength and growing the miracle until the appointed day the answer is ready to be revealed to me.

I don’t know the exact time He will be done with the process. There is no special day circled on my calendar. I’m not even certain my answer will come like the joy of a healthy, bouncing boy or girl. It may come with special needs or the answer may meet me with the task of laying it to rest.

But, there will be an answer. God is working in the womb of my life. I wait expectantly.