Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Get Ignited

Definition of IGNITE

transitive verb
1: to subject to fire or intense heat; especially to render luminous by heat

2: to set afire; kindle; to cause (a fuel) to burn

3: to heat up; excite ; to set in motion; spark

intransitive verb
1: to catch fire

2: to begin to glow

Are you luminous from God glowing in you? Are you burning with passion for the Lord and His Word?

Many of us Christians are fat with the Word through small groups, sermons, and Bible studies--but there is no heat in us for putting it into practice--feeding the hungry, clothing the poor, and actually telling them about Jesus Christ. If we believe the whole gospel, this is what we are called to do as Christ-followers. So how do we stir up this passion? Can we? How can we begin to glow for Christ and His purposes?

Our focus must move from us and how comfortable we feel sitting in our favorite pew at church; to Christ --who will move us out of our comfort zone. He will require sacrifice --remember the story about how he told the rich man he had to give up all his posessions to follow Christ? And how he told the man to leave his dead father without a proper burial to follow Him? What are you holding on to--your wealth, your pride, your comfort, your food, your anxiety, your unforgiveness--God will challenge you in those areas. When we surrender all of ourselves to Him--which is an on-going process --as we daily surrender ourselves to focus on who He is--His character, His attributes--we will know more of Him. He will ignite our passion for Him. And we will desire Him above all else and it will catapult us into action for Him. The only way that we are going to be ignited for Christ and His purposes is if we know Him and He transforms us. He will work in us through His Holy Spirit. He is our Counselor, our Convicter, our Guide. The Holy Spirit is what burns in us--who makes us alive, who compels us to act to go beyond our comfort zone on His behalf. May our hearts be ignited in Christ --may people want the Christ in us who sets us aglow.

Monday, February 14, 2011

my prayer to God

written December 15

I am challenged during this heaviness to put on a garment of praise. To exalt the one who we celebrate during this season. I am challenged with some new thoughts and priorities. To put family first. To finally surrender my eating habits and my comforts to the Lord--to be purified from the inside out to come forth as gold. God has confirmed more than once that I need to change my diet--it came again today from the nurse at the Dr’s office-who said that she had PMDD and was told by her Dr. to journal about her eating, her moods, her stress level-and to get off of any kind of caffeine, coffee, chocolate, and to not do anything extra around at that "time of the month" to maintain stability in herself and her home. I had heard the same thing from a friend--that God showed her she needed to get off of tea, coffee, etc. --and sugar. Lord I know its time to surrender this to you. To offer these things up as a sacrifice of praise to you and a new commitment to living a life of obedience and holiness. To journal and write about my journey with PMDD.

At the same time God is challenging me to be more disciplined --to go to sleep early enough to wake up and have a quiet time with Him. To be in His Word --to start my day off right. With this will come less rushing and craziness with the kids in the morning. I am challenged with thoughts of home schooling the children. To get to the basic roots of living a life of simplicity --of calm, of life on life training. Even challenged with the thought of returning to the land that Jason loves and living, farming, schooling there--living the real life of simplicity and seeing what God does. Lord I give all these thoughts to you. I submit my whole self--body (physical--eating, exercise), mind (mental, my thoughts and desires), my soul (my emotions, my will), my heart (spiritually--to set my mind on what is eternal rather than what is temporal.)


I praise You Lord. I exalt you. You are Almighty God. King of Kings and Lord of Lords. All sufficient, all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful. An ever-present help in times of trouble. You are Faithful and True. You are Jehovah Jireh, my Provider. You are Jehovah Rapha, my Healer. You are the great I Am. The One who was, and is, and who is to come. You are Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are the Author and the Finisher of my faith. You are my deliverer, my redeemer, my counselor, my friend, my revelator. You are my love, my husband, my knight in shining armor. You love me with an everlasting love. You are my comfort, my protector, and you wrap your loving arms around me with a holy embrace. You are holy, pure, steadfast; you make a way out of no way. You are El Shaddai, El Elyon, Adonai, Jehovah Sabbaoth. You are the victor, the mighty warrior, you are mighty to save, nothing is impossible with you. You are worthy, holy, beautiful, glorious, magnificent, radiant, and in you there is no darkness. You hold the world and each heart in your hand. You lift me up and carry me in your righteous right hand. Nothing can separate me from your love. You are Lord of all. You are the prince of peace. You make me lie down in green pastures, your banner over me is love. You make me lie down and sleep in peace for you alone Lord keep me safe. You are my safe haven, my strong tower, the lifter of my head. You are worthy of all praise. You are Christ in me the hope of glory. Holy holy holy are you Lord God Almighty. You sing over me with love. Hallelujah. Praise you Lord Jesus.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daniel Fast Friendly Banana Bread--Delicious!

One of the things I miss while on the Daniel fast is baking. So I thought I would try to create something I could bake that was Daniel fast friendly. I love banana bread so here is my Daniel Fast Friendly Banana Bread recipe (this is modified from Jessica Seinfeld's Banana Bread recipe in her book, Deceptively Delicious. She uses eggs, sugar, regular flour, and cauliflower puree, all of which I have substituted here):

1 & 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup date honey (see below)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
2 cups banana puree (about 4 ripe bananas--see below)
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 2-quart pyrex dish with oil.

2. In a bowl mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.

3. In a mixing bowl, mix the date honey, apple sauce, banana puree, vanilla extract, and oil. Add the flour mixture and combine.

4. Pour the batter into the pyrex dish and cook until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool. Enjoy!

FYI: I can't remember if I used 1/2 cup or 1 cup of applesauce, but I think it was 1/2 cup. I'm also not sure how long I cooked it, but made sure the toothpick came out clean. This is a darker color banana bread because its whole wheat. It's very moist. For date honey, boil 8-10 Medjool dates in a saucepan covered in water until the skins loosen. Let the dates cool and remove the pits from inside the dates. Remove the skins from the dates. Puree dates in a blender with a little of the remaining boiled water until smooth (date honey comes from Kristen Feola's book, The Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast.) For banana puree, blend 4 ripe bananas in blender until smooth. You can blend them with some of the date honey. This recipe could also use pecans, walnuts, and flax seed. It would be good with date honey or almond or peanut butter spread on top. Its also great by itself!

My God Word--JOY

My friend Kristen encouraged me to pursue God's word for me for this year. This word is one that God reveals through His Word and not through human counsel--a word to focus on and to allow God to work out in me. I prayed that God would show me His word for me this year and that He would confirm it in scripture.

As I was praying about my God word, I read an article in the magazine ParentLife (www.lifeway.com/parentlife) about teaching your 6-8 year old child how to have a joyful attitude. The author, Brian Dembowczyk, explained that we are to teach more than obedience and respect, or a mere behavioral change; but that the goal is for a child to have joyful obedience out of a right heart. He explains what joy is: (1.) that joy is commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:16. (2.) that joy is a gift from God. It is listed in Galatians 5:22-23 as one of the fruits of the spirit. (3.) that joy is rooted in Christ as mentioned in Philippians 4:4. Pastor Dembowczyk says to "help your child understand that joy is not an emotion but that it is a perspective that God gives and that she needs to ask God for it." He says one of the main ways we can please God is by having a joyful attitude. This article may have been written about teaching our children to have a joyful attitude, but it might as well have been written for me.

I have been praying about what to speak about at the upcoming Fresh Fire Retreat--how to encourage the women. It was suggested that I read Psalm 98 which is a call to celebrate with joy the righteous reign of the Lord. This led me to other scriptures about joy including Psalm 42:5 and 43:5 which both ask, "Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God." Choosing joy in spite of our circumstances.

For some time I've been reading in the Old Testament. I read in Nehemiah 8:10 "Do not grieve, FOR THE JOY OF THE LORD IS YOUR STRENGTH." This is the verse I want to explore further. This is the verse that has stuck with me. This is my verse for the year. And this is what I plan to speak on at the retreat--choosing joy and having our strength in the joy of the Lord. He turns our sorrow into joy. He is our joy!

Psalm 23:6 says "surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." The word "follow" literally means "pursue." I am reminded that God pursues us. He pursues us with goodness and love, and with JOY!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

After the Daniel Fast

My 21 day Daniel fast ended last Saturday. We had a great time of corporate prayer at our church Friday night--at the culmination of my fast. I saw God do some wonderful things during the fast. Looking back on it now, I appreciate it so much more. There was a sense of being let down when it was over--wondering what to do now. I thought I could do it forever. But I was wrong. Soon I was back to my old way of eating. Only 5 days later, I've already gained all the weight back I lost. My focus isn't what it was. I have found myself praying much less.

I miss the fast. I miss the discipline. I miss the constant communication with the Lord. I miss the Bible study and devotions. I miss meeting with my sisters who were fasting with me. I don't miss the food and how all-consuming the fast is--the part of focusing on the food. But I miss the determination I had just a week ago. I know it was God who enabled me to do it--especially when I got tired of it at the end.

In the past few days I've gotten back to letting myself eat whatever. And it has made me realize that no matter how much or what I consume, it doesn't satisfy. It always leaves me wanting more. I've struggled with this in the past with other areas of sin. God is showing me again that nothing will satisfy but Him. It is hard to be disciplined. I cannot do it in my own power. When it goes in one area of my life, other areas follow.

I'm reading in Daniel right now. He was an amazing man of God. He was brought to a foreign land and made to serve a foreign king; yet he refused to compromise. And God was always faithful to him. Daniel never let his position go to his head--he remained humble and God was glorified.

This is my prayer--that like Daniel, I wouldn't compromise. That like Daniel, I would stay faithful to God's high standards, that I would remain humble, and that God would be glorified. Its going to take discipline, in all areas of my life. What this will look like in the way I eat, I'm not sure yet. But God is still dealing with me in this area. I am wanting to do the fast again to prepare for the Fresh Fire Women's Retreat at the end of this month. I'm questioning if I can do it. I know where that's coming from. I wondered that about a month ago before I did the fast. But God...