Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Life Spent

"And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of external significance to show for the years they have wasted." ~Nate Saint, Martyr

I found this quote by Nate Saint in a prayer journal for unreached people. It's called "The Live Dead Journal." I like that, "live dead." It reminds me of Romans 12:1 where Paul urges us to present ourselves as "living sacrifices" every day--Live dead. 

Dead people are not bothered by what others think. Dead people do not chase after the pleasures of this world. They don't insist on their own way. They are no longer tempted. Dead people rest in the hands of God completely. 

Lord Jesus, help us to be living sacrifices, or to live dead.

Paul puts it this way,

"3 We live in such a way that no one will stumble because of us, and no one will find fault with our ministry. 4 In everything we do, we show that we are true ministers of God. We patiently endure troubles and hardships and calamities of every kind. 5 We have been beaten, been put in prison, faced angry mobs, worked to exhaustion, endured sleepless nights, and gone without food. 6 We prove ourselves by our purity, our understanding, our patience, our kindness, by the Holy Spirit within us, and by our sincere love. 7 We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense. 8 We serve God whether people honor us or despise us, whether they slander us or praise us. We are honest, but they call us impostors. 9 We are ignored, even though we are well known. We live close to death, but we are still alive. We have been beaten, but we have not been killed. 10 Our hearts ache, but we always have joy. We are poor, but we give spiritual riches to others. We own nothing, and yet we have everything." ~2 Corinthians 6:3-10 NLT  (highlights and underlining mine)

Can we honestly say, this is how we live?

Delicious, Healthy Chai Recipe

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Listen. Ponder.

“Listen a hundred times; ponder a thousand times; speak once.”

Turkish Proverb

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spititual Listening

"Listen to all the teachers in the woods.
Watch the trees, the animals and all the living things--you'll learn more from them than books."  
~Joe Coyhis~

To listen requires quiet--a closed mouth and focus. The busyness and noise which surround us interfere with our ability to be quiet and listen. But it's not impossible. We can learn listening skills through practice. Companies teach their employees listening and communication skills. Spiritual listening can be learned as well. 

All growing relationships require listening. Each person reveals details about him/herself, each time becoming more vulnerable, more intimate. But the other must listen or the revelation will be lost. 
God reveals Himself to us in nature, in His word and within our spirit. He listens when we speak. He knows us completely. How well do we listen when He speaks? He will reveal Himself to us if we listen.

Let's take a few moments today to quiet our words and our minds and listen. The One who created the trees and the animals has something to say to us.

 Listen, my son, and be wise,
And direct your heart in the way.
Proverbs 23:19

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Bucket List

Is it the natural characteristic of a Christian to have a bucket list? You know a list of things you want to do before you die, or "kick the bucket".

I suppose there's no real harm in it, nothing that God would consider a sin as long as the activities on the list aren't sinful. But it always bothers me when I hear it. I've wondered if I should have a bucket list, but I honestly can't think of anything I must do before I die. Sky diving or bungie jumping would certainly never see ink on my list. I was thinking about it this morning, asking the Lord if I should have one and what would please Him to have on the list. After all, He's the only One who knows what I'm truly meant to do on this Earth before I die.

So here goes . . . my bucket list:

1. To be fully submitted to God's will and effective for His kingdom (with signs and wonders following).
2. To leave behind a godly legacy.
3. To leave an inheritance for our boys.
4. To publish a number of books (novels and non-fiction) that draw readers into intimacy with God.

They're fairly generic, I know, and they sound so over spiritual as I write them, but the working out of these goals will include many smaller, more practical goals along this journey of my life.

So what's on your bucket list?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Reading is Good Therapy

A writer friend posted this on our critique group recently. It's good news for writers, but also very true. I remember C.S.Lewis said (quoting a student) "We read to know we are not alone." Reading is good therapy.

September 2011 issue of Prevention magazine displays this note on page 53:
  A Novel Therapy
Feeling lonesome? Grab a book! New research proves that relating to fictional characters creates a satisfying sense of belonging.

I pray that my fiction will not only help people to feel a sense of belonging, but a sense of belonging to God. I pray they feel His presence as they read and know that He desires a real/interactive relationship with them.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Gospel's Power

I'm challenged with Paul's words to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3. One line keeps circling again and again in my mind. "...having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof..."

Do we hold to the form, but deny the power of the gospel?

With power comes responsibility most of us don't want to carry. We enjoy our comfortable life. We want ease.

Paul encourages Timothy to suffer with him. We were called for a purpose. God intends that His people will bring His kingdom and push out the illegally, ruling authorities of the devil. Sounds like science fiction, right? But it's not. It's real. When was the last time you or I set someone free from an addiction or spoke miraculous healing to someone's body? This is God's expectation. He's already won the victory, paid the price, now we are to go make it happen.

But how? That's the question.

We can't make miracles happen. We're not God.

But we can seek Him. We can come before Him daily asking for His will to be done and offering our words, our time and our effort to Him.

Lord Jesus, teach us by Your Spirit. Give us a willing heart.

Kind of heavy for a Thursday morning, so I'll lighten it up a bit. Check out the cornbread recipe I promised yesterday. I hope you enjoy it with your Chili or whatever you serve it with.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Winter Comfort Food

The temperature is dropping slightly here and I'm thinking about food that warms from the inside. One thing we can say about winter is that it forces us to stay home a bit more, relax and stay warm. Food is a great part of that routine. There are recipes I only use in the winter time and by fall, I'm ready to think about them again.
Here's my blog on Whole Living with a great chili recipe. I hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

God's Cultural Diversity

Isn't God amazing?

Today I'm in awe of His excellent work in creating all the different cultures in the world. I live in a very diverse area. We enjoy food and native medicinal wisdom from all over the globe right here in our own neighborhood.

In years past, we would never have had access the different styles of medicine around the world. But today, with our shrinking world due to technology, we can discover wisdom from any country on the planet. When I was growing up, the best we could do was order the National Geographic (which was great, by the way).

This morning I read an article about the benefits of Orange Peel and Orange Oil. You can read it for yourself here. I never realized that the peel of an orange can aid digestion, help fight cholesterol and many other things. This article also gives insight into the misleading advertising about Grapefruit Seed Extract. It just goes to show a little research can save a whole lot of money and help your health.

Today I thank our magnificent Father who created all cultures and from whom is all wisdom!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Speaking Truth

Speak truth in humility to all people. Only then can you be a true man. (Sioux)
Isn't is amazing how the same truth is found in many places. I find this Sioux principle is a principle in the Bible as well. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to speak the truth in love. 
"O Lord, who may abide in Your tent? Who may dwell on Your holy hill? He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness, and speaks truth in his heart. He does not slander with his tongue, Nor does evil to his neighbor, Nor takes up a reproach against his friend." Psalm 15:1-3

May I always check my heart before I speak. Even if I must speak correction or disagreement or establish a personal boundary, can I honestly say it is in love? If I can then God is pleased.  Now to work on word choice . . . but that's for another day. ;-)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Fall Apples

I love the Fall. I love apples, pumpkin and anything you can make with cinnamon. I love driving out to the country just to look at the trees dressed in autumn color. And I love visiting local orchards to pick my own apples. I've canned Apple Butter and Cranberry Apple Sauce. But this year I'd like to can Stewed Apples. I'm originally from Alabama and I remember my Nana cooking a large pot of apples on the stove. The result was heaven on a plate. Nana used a lot of sugar and I'm sure there's a way to do it with Maple Syrup or maybe just less sugar. If any of you have a recipe, I'd love to see it. Here's one I found online and below I'll put my Apple Butter recipe because it's wonderful.

Cinnamon Stewed Apples (
6 Cups chopped peeled tart apples
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1/4 Cup apple juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat 45 minutes or until apple is tender, stirring occasionally. Let stand 5 minutes

Apple Butter
8 Cups apples, chopped & peeled
1/2 lemon, zest
3/4 tsp cardamom, ground
3-4 tsp cinnamon
3/4 Cup maple syrup
1 Cup apple juice
Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, remove cover and simmer 20-25 minutes until excess liquid has evaporated. Cool slightly. Place apple chunks in a food processor and process until smooth. Mix back into the pot. Heat again if you are canning.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Walking in Beauty

There is a way of living that Native Americans call " to Walk in Beauty ". It is said that one Walks in Beauty when one has Earth and Sky in Harmony. 

 "And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature 
and in favor with God and man." Luke 2:52

Jesus commanded us to love God with all our hearts... and to love others as we love ourselves. This is pleasing to God and man. What better way to bring harmony and walk in beauty?

Friday, October 7, 2011

Morning Star/New Day

Jesus said, "I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16

Native Americans consider the Morning Star to be an important spirit, often representing courage and purity of spirit.

I'm working on a book series entitled The Morning Star Series. Morning Star will be one of the character's names, but also representative of Jesus. He is our savior, the one who brought hope for a new beginning and an eternity with God.

Most mornings, as the sun rises, I think of God's grace and how each new day is a new beginning. May this day be all He wants it to be. And may we be all He wants us to be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Sky Talk

“The Old Lakota was wise, He knew that man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”
~Luthur Standing Bear, Oglala Sioux

 This morning on my way to work, God spoke to me through the beauty of the sky. Rays from the sunrise filtered through the clouds like a long-fingered fan, as if He reached down to each one of us making our way on the road. A mile or so farther along I looked up again. The clouds seemed to be spraying slightly darker mists of water in the sky, but it wasn't raining. The sun still broke through along with blue sky in most places. As I turned off the highway, there was a small rainbow in those clouds!

I sensed God wanted to pour out his love and power again. When I saw the rainbow He spoke this into my spirit, "I will renew my promises."

Thank you, Father, for your promises and for your creation that speaks to us.