Celebrating Advent – The Prophet’s Candle, The Candle of Hope

Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. This week’s candle is called the Prophet’s  Candle, and it represents the hope God gave to His people with the promise of the coming Messiah.

 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-2

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus.

Mathematically speaking, here are the odds of any one person fulfilling these 300+ prophecies:

  • 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
  • 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
  • 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Providence at it’s best!

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for Davida righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

Jeremiah 23:5-6

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Prayers We Didn’t Expect to Pray

I am still fasting from blogging during our church’s 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting, but I felt led to share this story. Just over a week ago, my 4 yr old nephew, John Michael, went in for a CT scan after weeks of headaches. The following morning he was undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. We are thankful that the mass is non-cancerous, but we are truly blessed to know that prayers were lifted up to the Lord from all over the globe! Here is a post from Caring Bridge that my sister-in-law wrote just a couple of days ago, and I knew I needed to share it with you:

A week ago today I handed my little boy over to a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses.  All of my common sense said I should have lost it. But I can truly say that I experienced a peace that passes understanding. For six and half hours, we waited while they worked with skilled hands on our precious boy. I am so thankful for those of you who came to the hospital and prayed and those who prayed from afar. We felt your prayers. God used Dr. Smith and his team to heal my little boy. It is hard to believe it was just a week ago. This week was long and hard but the Lord sustained us. There were moments yesterday where it felt like things were almost ‘normal’ (whatever that looks like)

Overall we had a great day- we did lots of resting. John Michael even played a little bit and worked on his walking. He is ready to be back to normal but I know it will take a while.

Mark is putting up a fence in the backyard so I don’t have to worry about our puppy Lolly getting out. I also know that physical work is part of his therapy in dealing with all this. I know for me this caringbridge site has been a huge help so I know the need to do something.

Please pray for all our strength to return, for peaceful nights- JM is a little off with night and day because of all our time in the hospital, and pray for COMPLETE HEALING! We are so thankful for all your prayers.

My prayer is that during your time of prayer for us that God draws you to himself. I am thankful that I serve a God who sacrificed himself for me. I know that there isn’t any kind of pain that I feel that He hasn’t experienced.  I pray you know this God. We love you all.

Follow ’40 Days of Prayer & Fasting”

The other day I said I was fasting from blogging (and I still am except for this quick invite). If you would like to join me as I follow my church’s daily prayer and verses, ‘like’ First Baptist Church of Indialantic on Facebook, and you will see each day’s prayer posted.

My Daily Bread

This daily bread I am writing about is not whole wheat, oat, whole grain, or rye. I am speaking of God’s Word. Today my church began 40 days of fasting and prayer. Fasting consists of giving up something and replacing the time you spend on that activity with seeking the Lord through prayer and reading the Bible. I feel that God has led me to fast from blogging which saddens me in a sense because I love to share all that I learn about health and nutrition with others. But I am excited as well as I know that God will speak to me and move around me as I focus more on Him. So for the next 40 days, I will be praying for my marriage, my children, my family, my church family, my children’s schools, my friends, my country, and anything else the Lord places on my heart. And I will be delving more deeply into His Word. I pray that all my readers will continue to strive to stay active and eat clean so you can serve and love others to the best of your ability, and so you can be a shining example to others around you! I look forward to writing again on November 21st- just in time for all those holiday recipes, tips, and encouragement!

This is the Air I Breathe

God’s Grace at Ground Zero

The testimony of Sujo John is just one of many stories of God’s presence in the midst of the 9/11 tragedy. Read or watch his story at I am Second.

 

A Friend, Not a Statistic

Statistically speaking, there are approximately 400,000 deaths each year in America due to obesity. That’s about 2000 people daily that die too soon and are robbed of enjoying life to its fullest. This number is sometimes hard to grasp until it hits close to home. Tonight we will say goodbye to our friend, Ron. Last month, Ron entered the hospital with various complications mainly due to obesity, and he lost the battle this past Friday night. But he is not a statistic to us. He was a friend, a loyal youth worker, and a dedicated church member that would serve anytime, in any way. He was on the road to lose that weight- working out, beginning to change his diet, and even trying out for The Biggest Loser. But this epidemic got him before he could conquer it.

During both Bible Study and church service yesterday, God reminded me of how He is a God that is all-inclusive.  The God of Abraham, Issac, and Jacob is the God that extends the invitation for salvation to each and every person who has and will be born on Earth. The God who chose the Jews to be His people, is the God who chose to use Rahab, a pagan prostitute and Ruth, a Moabitess, to bring forth the Messiah, Jesus. They recognized that God was who He said He was, and they chose to worship and follow Him. God never desires anyone to be without Him. He purposely ensured that everyone had a way to Him and His kingdom- through the blood of His son, Jesus. Jesus proclaimed that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but through him. (John 14:6) I often hear nonbelievers say that this “one and only way” thinking is narrow-minded. I beg to differ. There is no linear thinking or selfishness in sacrificing one’s life (as Jesus did) or sending your only son to the cross (as God the Father did) in order to pave the path to eternal life for each and every person who has rejected you (as we all have rejected God).

I know that our Hawaiian friend, Ron, is glorifying Jesus in Heaven at this moment and for every moment from here on out. He would want nothing more than for you to know the One who saved him.

The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9

An Olympic Race

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Last night, I had the privilege of leading the kids at church in a cooking lesson. I had an even greater privilege in teaching them a Bible lesson. Since the Olympics lay just ahead, I taught them about running the race…the race of a follower of Jesus. As I taught from  1 Corinthians 9, I tied in the awarding of the Olympic medals with that of striving to win imperishable “medals”- the crowns that are given to a believer for the good works done in the name of Jesus. Paul writes “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win…Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim”. As a Christian, we run with one purpose in mind- sharing Jesus with others. No earthly treasure will compare to that of a heavenly crown – a crown that will be humbly laid at the feet of my Lord and Savior and that will last for eternity.

Onto the lighter side of our time together, and continuing with the Olympic theme, we cooked up some traditional English fare in honor of London, the host city. We made shepherd’s pie and individual trifles. For the shepherd’s pie, I followed Alton Brown’s recipe. In place of lamb, I used ground chicken and for the potatoes, I used red potatoes and kept the skins on them. I left the butter and half and half out of the mashed potato topping and replaced that with reduced fat sour cream. I poured a bit of broth into the pie once everything was assembled to keep it moist and flavorful.

For the dessert, the kids sliced peaches and strawberries and used grapes to create a beautiful french vanilla yogurt trifle.

It all went well, and the meal received rave reviews! And the only one who didn’t care for the shepherd’s pie? That’s right- one of my own- Oh well!

 

 

 

 

Target Practice

I miss the mark sometimes. I aim and shoot. My arrow lands on the bull’s eye like I intended, but this bull’s eye is almost always the one labeled “SELF”. In my arrogance, I’ve changed the game by placing “ME” in the middle of the target when that small, center circle should really be “JESUS” with its encompassing ring being “OTHERS”. I’ve hit the bull’s eye, but I’ve totally missed the mark.  I am blind to the opportunities around me because the object of my affection is me.

Several months ago, God assigned me a task, and I put it off. Not sure why, but I did. I mentioned it to my girls, and Aleyah didn’t let me forget. She is a planner, a task-oriented individual so she has the makings of a great accountability partner. Last Sunday, we completed this act of service. It costs me $3 and 10 minutes. There was an immediate blessing as we simply saw the response of those whom we served. Just an hour or so later, God extended that blessing as He gave to us just what we had given away! What a lesson for my kids and for me. How many times have I (and do I) neglect to serve God and others? A simple task yielded a blessing for the recipients, my family, and for me, so I’m praying that I keep my eyes opened to what God has called me to do for others.  I’ve been reading Radical and this David Platt quote really struck me…

“What if we gave like this (referring to the widow and her mite), not because of the critical need around us, but because this kind of giving is actually what the heart of Christ in us both demands and desires ?”

My heart sank last week when a woman made a comment on how a few people who came to share God with her hadn’t bothered to help her out when she needed it. This illustrates my point of missing the mark. As a follower of Christ, I need to daily make Jesus as my focal point, my bull’s eye. There will be days that I neglect to do that as I allow  “self” to push it’s way back to the center. Jesus knew it would be a constant struggle to remove ourselves from our main focus- that’s why he commanded us to take up our cross daily. (Luke 9:23) I know there will be many more times that I am blinded to the needs around me because I’m concerned with only myself, and so I’m thankful that He is patient with me, and that He is not yet done transforming me!

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus. Phil.1:6

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July!

Enjoy this wonderful day with your family and friends!

“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth–that God Governs the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid?”
~Benjamin Franklin

May we continue to lift our country up to the Lord

The Orchestration of a Baseball Game

 

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Several months ago, Scott had the opportunity to purchase two tickets to a Miami Marlins game for their inaugural season in the new stadium. He called me and asked which date I wanted to go, and I told him to choose. He picked June 25th, and we stored that date in our iPhones. And that was that for awhile.

Two weeks ago, when I had my appointment with the eye specialist in Palm Beach (about an hour and a half south of us), she stated that she needed to see me back in two weeks as opposed to the monthly visits that I had been doing. She is only in the Palm Beach office twice a month, so what date did I have to come back and see her? June 26th!

What does that tell me? It tells me that God had orchestrated the timing of the baseball game to coincide with that of my doctor’s appointment. So a 3 hour trip down south to a baseball game was “conveniently” tied into a necessary doctor’s appointment. Scott and I booked a hotel room and had a mini-getaway! God knew that a little fun was needed to break up the mundane, a bit of R&R was a required to shake up the necessary. The game was relaxing and yummy (latin cuisine at the ballpark!) and, thankfully, the doctor’s appointment came with good news of the beginning stages of healing. Thank you to all of you who have lifted me up in prayer. They are coveted and appreciated!

One of my favorite names for God is Jehovah-Jireh: The Lord Will Provide or The Lord Who Will See To It. He is the One who takes care of our needs, and the One who also gives us gifts. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good!

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. James 1:17

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