Friday, April 26, 2013

Waging War in the Storm

Recently a storm arose that was much like those pop up thunderstorms we experience in the heat of summer. You know the kind I’m talking about: you know what conditions trigger it, you sense it coming, and if you get caught out in it, the downpour may just ruin a good pair of shoes?

Well, this storm was like that, only it was spiritual in nature and had the potential to ruin exceedingly more than a pair of shoes. The conditions (stressors, uncertainties, obligations, etc.) were right for a perfect storm and I could sense something, a spirit, was lurking and about to take hold. As the “clouds” rolled in and the “storm” was upon us, I prayed, called for help and began to see the storm blow over and praise God, sooner, rather than later, the sun shone brilliantly.

In those moments when the storm had passed and the sky was still clearing, I had the blessing of some much-needed quiet time alone with my Lord. He’s been telling me to remember where He’s led me and how He’s loved me throughout my life, and in looking back to really remember His activity, I pulled out an old journal and began reading through the pages and remembering the days, weeks, months and years. As my quiet time was ending, I came to an entry from the beginning of 2010. I sensed that there was something more for me in reading through that entry, something new for me to see or hear. The first words I wrote on that particular day were 2 Chronicles 20. I opened my Bible and saw where I had written the words: Battle Plan to Fight Satan. The following verses of scripture were underlined and numbered with the steps in the plan.

I didn’t record who taught this lesson, but I am grateful for the notes I have from it. As a reminder to myself for the next trial and maybe for someone else who is in the midst of a difficult situation, these are some steps from Jehoshaphat’s prayer in 2 Chronicles 20 for waging war in spiritual matters.

1.     Look to God.
                    He set his face to seek the Lord… (vs.3)

2.     Call for help.
                   …and proclaimed a fast …and all the cities came to seek the Lord (vs.4)

3.     Remind God who God is.
Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? (vs.7)

4.     Cry out to God.
We will stand before this house and before you – for your name is in this house – and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save. (vs.9)

5.     Name the promise.
…you have given us to inherit. (vs.11)

6.     Confess our weakness and need for God.
For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (vs.12)

7.     Listen.
Listen…thus says the Lord to you… (vs.15)

8.     Hold fast to what God says.
Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s…You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf… (vs.15b,17)

9.     Worship God.
Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground…worshipping the Lord…(vs.18)

10. Faith in God establishes you.
Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets and you will succeed. (vs.20)

11. Give thanks to God.
Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever. (vs.21)

vs.22 – And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the enemy.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:12

One of my favorite authors has said, “Satan will get others to do to you what he wants to do to you”. In other words, we have a very real enemy who seeks to steal from us using tactics of blame, shame, busyness, failure and deception…he will entice us to heap condemnation on ourselves or on others. But, we have a hope and promise that we can stand firm as Jesus takes back all that satan has stolen from us.

Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent. – Exodus 14:13-14

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Allergy-Fighting Honey Mustard Chicken Salad

Spring is here and I am more than thrilled for warm temperatures, but the thick coating of pollen all around has left me sneezing, with a scratchy throat, and suffering from watery eyes and itchy ears. In an attempt to fight these seasonal allergies with the most natural remedies, I did a little research and found that allergy symptoms (from what we breathe in, eat, or touch) occur when the immune system overreacts to the substance and creates inflammation in the body.

Since I can’t completely avoid the pollen causing these bothersome symptoms, my first thought at this news was to make sure I am eating anti-inflammatory foods as much as possible. So, what am I eating?

  • Probiotic-rich foods like Amasai, SueroViv and sauerkraut
  • Wild-Caught Alaskan salmon and walnuts, both high in omega-3 fats which are great for reducing inflammation
  • Raw local honey which helps the body build up resistance to the pollens that are causing these unwanted symptoms
  • Ginger, an anti-inflammatory powerhouse
  • Fresh fruits, particularly those high in vitamin C (oranges, strawberries, lemons) which acts as a histamine blocker and apples which contain quercetin that helps stabilize the cells, reducing the reaction to allergens
  • Fresh veggies, particularly green veggies (kale, collards, spinach, watercress, beet tops)
  • Magnesium rich almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

In an attempt to create a delicious lunch that would also provide maximum allergy relieving benefits, I looked around the kitchen and came up with an Allergy-Fighting Honey Mustard Chicken Salad. I’m feeling better already!

Allergy-Fighting Honey Mustard Chicken Salad


1-2 Chicken Breasts, boiled and shredded
1 Cup Celery, chopped
1 Granny Smith Apple, peeled and chopped
1 Orange, peeled and chopped
¼ Cup  Pumpkin Seeds, toasted


1 Lemon, juiced (about ¼ cup)
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Stoneground Mustard
1 Tbsp Raw Local Honey

Mixed Greens

I like to toast the pumpkin seeds over medium low heat in a pan on top of the stove.

Combine all ingredients for salad in a large bowl. Whisk dressing ingredients in a small container and pour over salad. Stir until well combined. Serve over mixed salad greens for a refreshing meal.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Word Works

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. – 1 Thessalonians 2:13

Towards the end of last week I felt stressed, worn, and downright discouraged. I knew the very thing I needed most was time to pray, read God’s word and listen for Him to speak to me, yet I couldn’t didn’t find the time to do so until late Saturday afternoon. My turning fully to rest in Him began with a decision to play a DVD that my Mama Mae (grandmother) sent to me earlier in the week. The DVD is of a lady who visited the small-town Alabama church my Mama Mae attends. On the DVD, the lady shared her testimony and as she did, she spoke out the word of God. I shed tears (I’m a crier) and laughed and praised God right along with her. My mom described her best as a “cheerleader for the Lord”.  By the end of the DVD I felt as though much of the weight had been lifted off of me. The word was working as it was spoken out and as I saw it lived out in the life of a sister in Christ.

I spent the remainder of the daylight hours on a long run where I talked, cried some more and poured out my heart to God.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle…This I know, that God is for me. – Psalm 56:8

Then, as I read over the verses my small group at church would be discussing this morning at church, I stopped at 1 Thessalonians 2:9 – For you remember…

Over the last couple of months, God has been speaking two words to me: Remember and Wait. He has been reminding me of his goodness and blessings, how He has led me and protected me and provided for me in ways I never could have imagined. And when I think I know the way and want to run ahead, He gently reminds me to wait for Him. I want so much to see His glory and to see Him do far more abundantly all that I can ask, think or even imagine (Ephesians 3:20) that I know when He tells me to wait, it is for my good.

Blessed is the one who is not offended by me. – Matthew 11:6

I once heard this verse explained: the hand of God is directing divine purpose and blessing in the life of the one who does not let the perceived activity or inactivity of God cause her to stumble.

When the issues of the day appear to be against me, I can trust in a God who loves me enough to send His people, His Word and His Spirit to renew and refresh me, who is directing divine purpose and blessing, who is using all of these things for my good and His glory, whose word is alive and powerful.  The word works. When we read it and receive it as coming directly from God, it has power to cut through the negative thoughts, the doubts and the worries and the Word has the power to fill us up, give us strength, settle our minds, and bring us into a peaceful rest. Praise God!

The word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of joint and marrow of soul and spirit and discerning the thoughts and intentions of man’s heart. – Hebrews 4:12