Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Can You Do?

If you are considering participating in the Isaiah Challenge, but don’t need to lose weight or stop smoking, I still want you to ask yourself what you can do.  Those who are participating for a weight loss challenge are giving up extra’s such as soda and chips and giving the funds they would have spent at say, Sonic, and helping the needy.  But many of you who have read about the Challenge don’t really have those little “addictions” that you need to give up.  So, what can you do?

I had a mom tell me that she has switched her baby over to cloth diapers in order to save for her Isaiah Fund.  Think of how much money a family spends on paper diapers.  When my children were young it was about $12 per week . . .so on average about $50-60 a month.  Perhaps that $50 can now buy a coat for a little boy who’s family cannot afford to buy one this winter.  (May I also say that cloth diapers are a MAJOR hassle; so this is truly a sacrificial gift). Again I ask, what can you do?

Do you spend money out at the movies?  For a family of five that’s about $30, not including snacks.  What if you spent $5 at Hastings to rent a flick for home-viewing and then made some microwave pop-corn?  Perhaps the $25 could help a single mom purchase milk, eggs, peanut-butter, banana’s, bread, etc; ensuring her children don’t go to bed hungry tonight.

My family usually does rent a few movies for the weekend.  What if we went to the library to check out some freebies instead and then gave that weekly $5 to our Isaiah Fund?  Could the $40 saved in the 60 day challenge pay to keep water on for an injured worker who can’t make bills for his family this month?

Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, 'Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? 39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' 40 And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.'


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Bazaar Pumpkin Cake

My last few blogs have been rather "intense" so I thought I would take a break from the heavy stuff and keep this one on the light side. . .pun intended.   Here comes the holiday season and I, like everyone else, am faced with two months full of parties and family meals full of sugar, fat, and a whole lot of carbs!  All wonderful for the palate but not so good for the waist line.  Believe it or not I LOVE THE FLAVOR OF THE HOLIDAYS . . .and no,  I don't eat tofu turkey or carob candy.  Having said that, I am also not willing to add the proverbial 5 to 10 holiday pounds each year.  So how the heck can you stick to healthy eating and enjoy your holidays?  Learn to alter your cooking . . .

This year my first "holiday" gathering is for the First United Methodist Church Bazaar.  I volunteered to help with the baking and was given the task of Pumpkin Spice Cake.  Apparently everyone follows the same recipe.  After looking over the official recipe (which contains 3 CUPS OF SUGAR!!!!) I have decided to go against the flow and make my own healthier version.  (Imagine that).  Instead of calling this "Sugar-Free Pumpkin Cake", because then no one would eat it, I present you with:

Bazaar Pumpkin Cake

½ cup plain or vanilla soy milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup applesauce
1 cup Baking Stevia
2 teaspoon molasses
1 can (15-oz.) solid-pack pumpkin
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup spelt flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a Bunt pan and set it aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the soy milk and vinegar and set aside (this will start to solidify weirdly, it’s all good).
  3. In a large bowl, cream together the applesauce, stevia, and molasses until well blended.
  4. Add the pumpkin and vanilla and mix well or beat until incorporated, then stir in the milk & cider vinegar mixture and mix/blend until smooth.
  5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the AP/Spelt flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and all four spices.
  6. Add the flour mixture to the pumpkin batter about one-third at a time, incorporating after each addition.
  7. Scrape the batter into the greased Bunt pan and bake for about 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  8. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack. Then invert and remove the cake from the pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Whoever said you can't have your cake and eat it too?  Just remember MODERATION!

Happy Holidays. . .more recipes to come!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Well. . .a deep subject

Well. . .as my husband always says: “well is a DEEP subject”!  Today I was reading in John 4 about Jesus and His encounter with the woman at the well.

John 4: 6 Now Jacob's well was there. Jesus therefore, being wearied from His journey, sat thus by the well. It was about the sixth hour. 7 A woman of Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give Me a drink." 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Then the woman of Samaria said to Him, "How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. 10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water." 11 The woman said to Him, "Sir, You have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep. Where then do You get that living water? 12 Are You greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, as well as his sons and his livestock?" 13 Jesus answered and said to her, "Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life." 15 The woman said to Him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." 16 Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." 17 The woman answered and said, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You have well said, 'I have no husband,' 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly." 19 The woman said to Him, "Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship."
Most of you have read this story many times and I know it holds many vantage points.  Today I am going to use it to discuss the deep well of our own “issues”.  In this story we see Jesus make an offer.  “Come to Me and I will give you a wellspring of life”.  (Angela’s paraphrase).  The woman is interested and asks where to get this water.  Jesus now does something interesting; He digs deep into her “well” by asking a personal question.  He knows this woman has an ongoing issue with the men in her life.  He knows she is not married.  He knows there is an empty well here that needs to be filled with Him. . .the Life Giving Spirit.  The woman responds as most of us would when confronted with one of our deepest issues.  She changes the subject.  She shifts from the question He asked and the offer He presented to a discussion on worship.  He has jut offered her a well of ETERNAL LIFE but she can’t deal with the conflict, exposure, pain, etc, surrounding her empty well. 

Aren’t we all the same way?  We all want the good stuff.  We want life everlasting and world without end, amen. . . But are we willing to allow the Lord to expose our weak areas, our addictions, our pain, our emptiness?  When He brings these things to our attention, do we change the subject? 

I work with clients all the time who have food addictions they want to cover up with the next diet trend.  They don’t want to “deal” with whatever has caused the addiction in the first place.  (Subject change please, let’s put a band-aid on that gaping wound and move on to something else.)  Nothing in our life can change unless we answer the hard questions the Lord asks us, whether our empty well is a food addiction, anger, lust, adultery, etc.

I have the honor of speaking at First Baptist Canyon on November 8th at 6:30pm in the ministry center.  The topic will be “Overcoming Food Addiction” but the principle applies across the board.  Hope to see some of you there.

John 4:10 Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Poverty to Greatness

Have you ever felt like you were on a swinging pendulum?  That’s the kind of weekend I had.  Yesterday I was able to share with several groups about the Isaiah Challenge during some Navigator Poverty Training seminars.  I got to listen to a new friend of mine speak with earth shaking passion about the needs in my local community.  I heard about families that don’t have soap to bathe with, much less running water for a hot shower.  I heard about a “lazy” father who gets up at 2am to catch a 3am bus to drive him to his 5a.m job so that he can provide for his family.

So the pendulum then swings to Sunday morning church.  My pastor is doing a financial series.   “Earn all you can; Save all you can; Give all you can.”  It is a great series.  He is speaking to a room filled with middle to upper class people.  We all ate a hot breakfast.  We all took a hot shower.  No one caught a 2a.m bus.  We all have on our “Sunday Best”.  Our Pastor challenges us in our giving.  He says that God would not have us save all we can to hold it in our “First National Trust Fund” forever. . .we might as well be throwing it into the sea.  God gave us HIS finances to steward for HIS KINGDOM.  Our Pastor challenges us to give God our very best.  My mind wandered to our local food and clothing outreaches.  How many times have I gone through my closet and donated the things that I never wear.  You know, the old stuff that’s out of fashion.  Of course I then pat myself on the back for giving it instead of selling it in a garage sale.  What if I gave my best?  What if I decided to “clothe the naked” with my brand new pair of designer jeans instead of my old faded throw-aways?

Pendulum swings again.  Now I am teaching a Sunday school class.  Not just any class, but the Crusaders.  The Crusaders are all between 70-90 years old.  This group of people is called “The Greatest Generation”.  I talked to them about Noah who was called a “righteous man”.  I talked to them about his descendants.  One of which is named NIMROD meaning rebelliousness.  NIMRODS domain is Babel.  A city of people who wanted to build for themselves; they wanted a kingdom; they wanted a lofty tower.  I likened the “Greatest Generation” to Noah; and NIMROD to my generation.  We are filled with self.  We have ipads, iphones, fancy cars, closets filled with clothes, and rich indulgent foods, we sit in houses with re-fridgerated air!   When we are depressed we take medicine.  When we want something we charge it!  So I asked our “Greatest Generation” to pray for us.  When the Great Depression came they pulled together.  They ate beans and moldy potatoes for months.  Some of them walked miles to get food for their children.  When neighbors were in need, they shared what they had.  This is the point when I saw the pendulum move back to center.  God gave me an “ah-ha” moment.  The weekend all ties together right here in the center of the pendulum.

“The Greatest Generation” was named so for a reason.  Most all of them understand what it means to be in poverty.  They lived it!  What brought them from poverty to greatness?  They understood the message my Pastor wanted to get across today.  Give to those in need!  Give out of a generous heart.  Don’t hoard things here on earth.  Store your treasures in heaven.  That attitude brought my grandparents generation out of the Depression and into Greatness.  Can that happen for us?  If you are participating in the ISAIAH CHALLENGE I want you to consider if you are sacrificially giving your best.  Have you been giving up your sodas so that a child can have running water again?  Have you taken a meal to that family whose daddy heads to work at 2a.m?  The ISAIAH CHALLENGE is about much more than physical weight loss; it’s about becoming spiritually healthy.  Moving our mindset from NIMROD into NOAH.  I challenge all of you to give out of your best and not out of your leftovers.  That is what will move us from spiritual poverty into spiritual greatness!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sit With The Rabbi

Today in my bible reading I came to the story of Mary and Martha.  This is one that seems to stump many people.

Luke 10: 38 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 39 And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me." 41 And Jesus answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. 42 But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

We see Martha diligently serving; doesn’t the scripture teach us that, “the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven is the servant of all” ( Matthew 9:35)?   So what is going on in this story?  I certainly can’t claim to solve all theological questions on this passage, but this is what the Spirit spoke to me on this subject.

  Let’s start with one of my classic “health” metaphors. 

At the gym I see all sorts of crazy exercise going on.  I see women who are barley lifting more than a feather worth of weight (totally ineffective).  I see men who are lifting so much that they are out of alignment and in serious danger of injury (such as a back injury or torn rotator cuff).  I see people working muscle groups in random order without an ounce of method to the madness.  These are all people who have great INTENTION but will get very little results and very likely do more harm than good.  Why?  They need to take the time to have someone instruct them!  (Might I recommend a TRAINER!!!)  Listening to and following the instructions of a good trainer will get the results you are after.  How much weight can you handle?  Are you set up in proper form to prevent injury?  Have you arranged your workout in a way that it is effective? 

Okay so let’s put that into our story of Mary and Martha.  Martha is the person in the gym who is trying to do things on her own.  Her motivation to “work-out”, AKA serve; is correct.  BUT Martha has not taken the time to first listen to a good trainer (aka Rabbi, aka JESUS).  Mary has remembered what comes first.  Sitting at the feet of her Rabbi.  He knows how much weight she can handle.  Have you ever felt overwhelmed and bogged down?  Perhaps you are carrying weight you were never intended lift on your own.

Matthew 11: 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

A trainer is there to give you a “spot” when the weight get’s too heavy.  Isn’t that also what our Great Rabbi does for us? Perhaps your life is out of alignment.  How will you get things back on track if you don’t first take the time to sit with your Rabbi and listen for His instructions.

Proverbs 3:6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.

 Perhaps if life feels out of order and chaotic then you need Him to bring order so that what you are doing is effective.  When the earth was without form and void, the Spirit of God began to bring order to the chaos. 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

The same way a trainer brings “order” to an ineffective workout, the Lord brings order to ineffective things in our life.  If life feels too heavy, out of alignment or ineffective, learn to sit at the feet of your Rabbi.  THEN you can serve and be effective in life.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Two Paths

Last night I watched the first of the presidential debates.  I will be risky here and go ahead and say I am a supporter of Mr. Romney.  My personal convictions are that he holds the principles our great nation was founded on, and his path leads to restoring that.  I saw passion in his eyes and the spirit of the Lord resting upon him last night.

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

While I am very encouraged about last night’s “victory” I am also concerned.  We as a people cannot put our trust in any man to save us.  (The only Man who can, already did!).  We must not grow prideful or arrogant.  It is not a time to fall asleep but more than ever this should be the time to be sober, prayerful, and repentant. 

As a health trainer I have many people who come to me to “fix” there health problems.  Many of them think that just hiring a trainer will magically make them healthy.  “I have a trainer so I should be losing weight. . .even though I am still eating garbage and only giving “half -*$$” efforts at the gym”.  Hiring a trainer won’t make you healthy or fit if YOU are not willing to do the work.  NEITHER CAN electing a conservative president restore our nation to godliness if “we the people” don’t repent and return!

When I take a new client I pretty much set the path before them and call on them to choose.  I believe that is what God is calling us to do in this day and hour.  How will we answer that call?

Deut 30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;