He doesn't leave you behind

He wont leave you behind.jpg

Have you ever been stuck behind a slow-moving tractor? Not fun. Especially if you're trying to get somewhere and the ticking clock is not in your favor! 

How about life? Have you ever been stuck behind in what seems an insurmountable situation? 

And while you're stuck behind it, you feel...

unable to move,

unable to change,

unable to get away from it all.

But while you're there, while you feel as if everyone is far ahead of you, there's one that will not leave you behind. One who's been there at every single of your beginnings. One who can speak into your fear, your disappointment, your failure, your discouragement, your weariness, your anxiety, and dissipate them as he walks each step, no matter how slow they may be, that you are taking towards the place where you need to be. 

God doesn't leave you behind. 

So as you find yourself stuck behind that 'truck of situations' life has so unkindly placed in front of you, turn up the radio a little louder and sing a tune of praise to the top of your lungs because...

"He's the one who doesn't leave the ONE behind." 

Watermelon Salad with Orange Vinaigrette

So I love watermelon! I can eat a whole watermelon by myself and before my son graced us with his cuteness, I used to be able to do just that. I'm not gonna lie, I used to wish he would dislike watermelon like his daddy but Alas! he loves it so I have to share. :) 

A few months back I went to a restaurant that had a watermelon salad on their menu. My first thought? "Watermelon is just fine the way it is. Don't ruin a good thing please!" But being that I love watermelon so much I decided to still give it a try, and well, I was hooked! Now I order it whenever I can but as not all restaurants offer it I decided to try my own. 

Now, there are many many variations of this salad. Some put red onion, some have it with arugula, some like it with mint, and some drizzle it with a balsamic reduction (which by the way is delish!) And I've had some with sunflower and pumpkin seeds and some with beets, and I have to say they are good! Side note...BEETS...yeah, I know. If you don't have good memories of this root veggie let me just say, some chefs have done a great job at awakening its charm in some delicious salad recipes. You may have to give it chance sometime!

Anyhow, here's what I did. Hope you like it!

INGREDIENTS

ORANGE VINAIGRETTE

3 tbsp white wine vinegar or similar (I use Trader Joe's White Moderna Vinegar - it's like a white balsamic)

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 tbsp honey

2 tbsp parsley

Salt (to taste)

WATERMELON SALAD

4 cups watermelon chunks

1 cup of feta cheese crumbled or diced (I also use queso fresco, has a milder, less salty flavor)

1-2 tbsp mint finely cut (or to taste - if you like a stronger mint flavor use 2 tbsp)

1/4 cup walnuts roughly chopped (or to taste)

OPTIONAL: 1/2 Small red onion (thinly sliced)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. For the Vinaigrette: Combine all ingredients, whisk and set aside. 

2. For the Salad: Combine the watermelon chunks, mint, walnuts (and onion if using it) in a bowl. Drizzle vinaigrette over it, toss in feta (or queso fresco). Garnish with parsley. 

Enjoy!

Crockpot Pork Carnitas Tostadas

Have you ever had tostadas? I fell in love with them when I first bit into one back in the day when I lived in Mexico for a couple of years. Why do I love them? Well, for one they are delicious and they are so versatile. You can have tostadas with ground beef or chicken or crockpot pork carnitas like I did for dinner last night. The carnitas recipe is so easy and so delicious! I make it and have 'plantain' nachos night as suggested by the creator of this recipe and then use the leftovers for sliders, in tacos, over a southwestern salad. I mean the possibilities are endless! :) Trust me, you won't be disappointed!

FOR THE TOSTADAS YOU WILL NEED

  • Crockpot Pork Carnitas (this is a paleo approved recipe and it's amazing!) FYI: I cook it for 7 hrs on low. Once done, I take the meat and shred it with two forks in a baking dish, then I pour the juices from the crockpot on top of the meat. 
  • Refried black beans (see recipe below)
  • Creamy Chipotle Sauce (FYI: If you're like me and you don't like things super spicy then simply add more mayo and lemon/lemon juice)
  • 1 Pack of Tostadas
  • Garnishes: Guacamole (here's a simple recipe), diced tomatoes (you can also use pico de gallo), lettuce (optional), cilantro (optional). 

REFRIED BLACK BEANS RECIPE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 can of black beans (rinsed and drained)
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic chopped
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock (vegetable is fine too) 
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt to taste

PREPARATION

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil and then saute onions for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute another minute. Add beans, paprika, chili powder and cumin and cook for another 5-6 minutes. Mash the beans to the way you want them and then add the chicken stock (or stock of preference). For smoother refried beans, add them to food processor and blend until you reach desired consistency (add more chicken stock if the beans are a bit too dry). 


TOSTADA ASSEMBLING

  • Spread a layer of black beans on a tostada.
  • Top with pork carnitas.
  • Add lettuce (if using) and diced tomatoes (or pico de gallo)
  • Add guacamole.
  • Drizzle with creamy chipotle sauce.
  • Enjoy!

Repeat as many times as your little heart desires! I won't judge, they are too good to just eat one!

 

Foodie Pinspiration

Foodie Pinspiration Feb2017.jpg

Hello friends! I had to share another round of delicious recipes found on Pinterest. I tell you! Seriously, you need to give these a try! Enjoy and happy eating!

Maple Mustard Sausage Bites

We've made these a few times already. Took them to a Christmas party and everyone was loving them! The best part? Easy, easy, easy!!! Take them to your next party or just make them for yourself! :) Get recipe at Crumbs & Chaos.

Roasted Vegetables & Italian Sausage

We have this meal often at our place! If you don't have butternut squash and for some weird reason don't like brussels sprouts then you can substitute. I've tried it with sweet potato as well and have done it with just one vegetable as well. As long as you use a vegetable that will take the same amount of time to cook as the sausage. I used Trader Joe's chicken sausage so you can get creative with that too. Also, I have made a vinaigrette to pour over the sausage and veggies before and it makes it that much more delish! Find the recipe at Foodie with Family.

Coconut Lime Chicken

Oh me...oh my! This one is so good AND for my friends that have certain food restrictions, this recipe is dairy free, gluten free and paleo! Just have it with some rice and you're set! You can make this Baked Brown Rice recipe while you cook the chicken. Easy, peasy! :) Get the recipe at  A Saucy Kitchen.

Parmesan Zucchini & Corn

Have you ever sat there in front of the fridge trying to figure out what side dish to serve with your the rest of your meal? Well, here's a simple and easy and super quick one for you. It goes great with chicken and fish. I've even had it without the cheese and it is still delicious. Find recipe at Damn Delicious.

Music Monday :: Smile!

Yesterday the hubby spoke at church about being contagious...but not the spread-the-germs type of contagious. He was talking about the attitude-atmosphere-changing type of contagious.

"What is in you is contagious. Your spirit/attitude can be contagious. What are you passing on when you enter a room?" -Alex Penduck

And so, with that challenge in mind, I want to challenge us as we began this week to pass on more smiles and less of the attitudes that bring down the room. Let's be the ones that spread the good in this world! Things like joy, compassion, love. So as you get ready for the day, the week, remember...

"And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It's your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it." (Col. 3:14)

And you can begin by giving out a simple smile...not just cause you may be in candid camera but because no matter what's going around you, a smile may not only lift your spirit, it has the ability to lift others too! :) And this song may just help give you the little push you need to do just that! :) 

Smile away my friend, be contagious!

What Keeps Us Going

Today is the last day of the first month of 2017! 

Wow!

Time flies, doesn't it? Christmas seems like it was forever ago. Life is back to 'normal' (whatever normal is) and that can be different from week to week, sometimes from day to day.

So here I am, sitting down at my dining room table as snowflakes are trying to cover my lawn and while doing my daily soul feeding I was reminded of what my husband has been teaching in church this whole month based on Hebrews 11:1,

"Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see."

Faith is a journey. A journey that is often challenged by unwanted elements along the way. At times it will hasten us to walk through peaceful trails with amazing landscapes, the sound of a calm stream and the chirping of birds. Other times we'll be nudged to embark on journeys that will take us through rough terrains. Sometimes during this journey, the view will be crisp and clear, filled with a warm sunshine and beautiful summer blue skies while the next day we may encounter a rainstorm, perhaps a snow storm, a killer cold front, and as if that wasn't enough, a heavy fog moves in and obscures  the already limited view we had prior to its abrupt arrival. It is at these times when faith is the hardest to uphold because we feel breathless from the journey thus far and our vision is tired of trying to see beyond the disappointments. 

Faith often fights to remain constant in our lives and rise above the elements of the broken world that surrounds us. It is in the rough terrain that our faith is tested and it is also there where it can crumble but never forget that it is here also when our faith has the capacity to break through the unexpected, the harsh, the ruthless, the inconceivable. It is when we find ourselves in this very place that we must stop at the tracks and let not our sight but our faith drive us. It is at this moment, when our vision is focused on what we CAN see, that we must fight to focus on the unseen, the things of eternal significance. This is not about ignoring the reality we face or pretending it's not there for "Faith is not something that goes against the evidence, it goes beyond it." (Allister McGrath). 

So when faith seems to be at our weakest point, let's stop long enough to remember the ones that have gone before us, like those mentioned in Hebrews 11 such as Abraham, Sarah, and Noah. Those who have gone through it and whose faith remained through it all. 

"The issue of faith is not so much whether we believe in God, but whether we believe the God we believe in." - RC Sproil

Sight will often deceive you but faith will never fail you. When your sight is threatening your faith remember that the one you are placing your trust in is the God that can do the impossible. 

"It's what [and who] we trust in but don't yet see that keeps us going." (2 Corinthians 5:8)

 

 

Make Space

How busy has your day been? Your week?

I don't know about you but for the last month and a half it's been a go, go, go for me. Too many 1am-2am bedtimes for my taste.

What do you do when you look at your calendar and realize all the stuff you have to do? How do you deal with busyness? How does it affect your mood? How does it affect those around you? 

If you are like me, there comes a time when, if you are not careful, all the busyness will affect how you treat others, how long your temperament fuse is, and sometimes it can even skew your perception of things and mess with body and mind.

It's easy to get busy. It's easy to fill up our schedules with all these stuff that we consider 'good'. But just because something is good doesn't mean it should find its way to our oh so precious calendars. 

Some time back I had to reevaluate how I handled business because here's the thing, some weeks and months are going to be busier than others and I needed to be able to accomplish it all without neglecting the things that are key for my faith and daily life. I was once challenged to ask myself these questions:

"Am I too busy to have a relationship with God?"

"Am I too busy to have a relationship with other people?"

I had to take heed of God's promise... "seek the Kingdom of God above all else and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need" (Matthew 6:33).

Key words here, ABOVE ALL and EVERYTHING. Above all refers to all those things that try to steal every minute away from me. And, If by EVERYTHING God meant the whole caboodle then this means I can't disregard the importance of making space for Him in my life no matter what my day, week, month look like because He'll take care of me.

Whatever your calendar looks like today, do this

Make space for God.

Many have been the times when I've gone day after day with busy schedules that don't allow me to make space for God and more often than not, I end up mentally exhausted and I find myself complaining more, stressing more as well as more agitated. Somehow, when I carve space to silence myself before God, I find renewed perspective, hope, inner strength. I can think more clearly, I am more prudent in making wise decisions, I love others better. I like me better. :) 

Make space for relationships with others. 

Why? Because if you were intended to be on your own God wouldn't have placed you in a world with billions of others earthlings. Because He's always intended for us to have community with those around us and this not only includes your immediate family and friends, it also includes your church community, "Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit, but let us encourage one another..." (Hebrews 10:25).

Make space for you as well because taking care of you (your body, your mind) goes hand in hand with making space for God and others. It will take you even further!

How do you make space in your life for God, relationships and to take care of yourself? I'm always up for growing in this area! 

 

 

 

Worries into Prayers

Praying this for friends today...

"Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life." (Philippians 4:6-7)

Listen :: Five Minute Friday

Have you ever stopped to listen to the silence?

The silence of someone's loneliness? Pain? Cry? Depression? 

This type of listening goes beyond the physics of sound. 

It takes a stop in the tracks. 

It involves visual listening. 

It calls for attention to detail.

It pleads us to listen with our eyes, with our hearts.

But that's not natural because "we listen with our ears" we are told.

Yet, there are some cries that can only be heard with the heart. 

Like pain, which is too often endured in the silence, in isolation, without uttering any sound to the world around us.

And depression. The silent killer of those beautiful souls that are crying in silence because there's no energy left to audibly express what's eating them inside. 

Oh! That we would stop long enough to listen to each other's nemesis because all of us will one day face an inescapable agent determined on being our downfall.

And when that day comes, may someone stop long enough to listen to our silence. 

And if we ever feel that nobody is listening, may we remember that

Silent prayers ALWAYS reach the listening ears of a loving God - who, though at times may seem silent, is ALWAYS present.

So, today, stop! Pay attention. Let your heart, let the spirit, lead you. Send a card, send a text. Pray for someone. Let them know you are listening.


This post is part of the Five Minute Friday community. Today's prompt word was: Listen


Music Monday :: Have it All

Sang this yesterday at our church and loved it. And what does it really mean to tell God "you can have it all?" 

The way I look at it is that when you truly know that God can have your trust then you also know that He can have every fear, every moment of loneliness, your times of disappointment, the tears, the worries, the anxiety and every part that makes up your every day. And you know you can place your trust in Him with all those things because in the exchange you will receive faith, peace, comfort, joy, love, grace, hope. 

Will you trust God with every part of your world?

"no one who hopes in me [God] ever regrets it" (Isaiah 49:23)

Fill 'Em Up!

Back in those glorious-how-did-I-survived-teenage years, I discovered a little nugget in a Bible story. One that still sticks with me today. One I pray for every single day, one I pray for my husband and for my son. Have you read the story of Solomon? It begins in the book of 2 Chronicles chapter 1. This dude, the son of King David. The son who inherited his dad's kingdom. And God was with him as He was with his father. 

This dude had an opportunity I would like to have myself...God appeared to him one night and told him, "ask for whatever you want me to give you." I mean, really? Lord, you know where I live, if you want to show up tonight and ask me the same question, I'm game! 

So Solomon did ask for one thing...Wisdom.

Yeap! That's it. Wisdom. 

Wisdom is so underestimated.

Wisdom, that good sense of knowledge when making decisions, when speaking out. Most think that wisdom is acquired by experience, by the accumulation of knowledge or life experiences throughout many years but that's not always the case. I've met 40 year olds with the wisdom of a 20 year old and vice versa. 

Here's the thing. Solomon recognized his shortcomings and knew that they would fail him time and time again. Solomon knew he was in desperate need of God to fill up His shortcomings with His wisdom and so...he asked for it! 

Ask for wisdom everyday because each day comes with its own challenges and gut wrenching decision making situations and well, because each day you will have the option to use that wisdom or leave it by the side of the road. And do not only use that wisdom in life making decisions but make sure to apply it to your spiritual life. Learn from Solomon, don't make the same mistake.

"While Solomon applied His wisdom to political affairs he did not always applied it to his spiritual life. He knew the right way to live but he did not always have the will to do it. Solomon's many wives turned his heart away from God, which eventually let to his downfall. His wisdom failed at this point. Solomon did not turn away from God all at once or in a brief moment. His spiritual coldness started with a minor departure. Over the years, that little 'thing' grew until it resulted in Solomon's downfall." (from the One year Bible Companion)

I've come to realize how essential it is in my spiritual walk. Perhaps this is why it is mentioned throughout the Bible and that's why I can't ignore it. Perhaps that's why it tells us in James 1:5,

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you."

I've got a lot of shortcomings and I'm desperately asking God to fill them with His wisdom. 

I'm sure He'll do the same for you. Just ask.

Foodie Pinspiration

Been some time since I've posted a blog about food and well, I couldn't wait any longer! I do love my food and love it when I try a new recipe and it turns out to be delicious! But I won't lie, I've tried some Pinterest ones that totally flopped! Been there? Well, here are some recipes that I've tried more than once (if not several times) that are yummy and easy! 

ONE PAN HONEY GARLIC CHICKEN

I've made this a few times and it is so good. The only thing I change is that I do sweet potatoes with red potatoes. One of the things I love about this meal is that it is super easy to put together AND only one pan! Win win! Get the recipe here!

ONE PAN MEXICAN QUINOA

This one pan meal is so delish! And again, SOOOO super easy! I add the avocado as a garnish on each plate! Seriously, you gotta give this one a try! Get the recipe here!

LEMON PARMESAN KALE SALAD

You may be like..."hmmm....not sure about this one". I made this one night because I had kale in the fridge and I wanted to use it and well, now it's been made a few times! Very tasty! You can find the recipe here!

EASY HUMMUS WITHOUT TAHINI

Yeap, you read it right, hummus with no tahini. Why did I even give this one a try? Well, let's see, I LOVE hummus and I wanted to make it at home but tahini is so darn expensive. So, I googled, "can I make hummus without tahini" and well, haven't looked back since! Now I will say, the key here is to peel your garbanzo beans (chickpeas) before hand. Trust me, it really doesn't take that long and it makes all the difference for a smooth hummus! You really can't go wrong with this one! I usually snack on this with sliced cucumbers and bell peppers. This yummy recipe is found here!

THE BEST PUMPKIN MUFFINS

I've made this recipe several times! When they say it's the best pumpkin muffins ever...well, I agree...so so good! Friends and hubby and son have approved and enjoyed time and time again! :) Instructions for how to make these are found here!

MESSY: THE NECESSARY BEGINNING!

Lately, I've been 'confronting' or maybe I should say, 'attacking' our closets, storage room, cabinets and drawers and doing some organizing, some cleaning, some purging. I've been finding things I think I've had for over ten years! Things I've been dragging with me in every move I've made from state to state and house to house.

Anybody can relate? 

Right now I'm attacking my kitchen cabinets and coat closet, this is what it looks like at the moment...

Here's the truth about cleaning and putting things in order...it is a SURE thing that a BIG MESS happens before things are back in place. In other words,

"...[it must get] messy in the middle [to be] gorgeous in the end" (Robin Sharma)

Isn't that what happens? There are times in our journey when we come undone by the stuff being thrown at us and it's at these times that we find it hard to find the beautiful in life. It's at these times that it seems easier to be enveloped in a cocoon than to deal with the ugly. But sometimes the ugly has to be confronted. Sometimes the ugly has to come out. And sometimes we have to deal face on with the stuff we know we should have dealt with long ago.

This means we may have to open 'cabinets', 'drawers', 'closets' in our hearts that haven't been opened in a while but we know it's about time. And when we open them up and begin to start taking stuff out it just simply gets messy...really messy...and then we remember WHY we've delayed in tackling them. But...

Sometimes MESSY is the necessary beginning to the making of EXTRAORDINARY! (Michele Cushatt)

Aah....NECESSARY!

Yes! Yes it is...because in the midst of the messy we get rid of the baggage and the weight we've been carrying for far too long and then the journey gets lighter, perhaps, even brighter. 

So why not make a mess? Why not, once and for all, allot ourselves the chance to make way for the extraordinary to invade us? 

Wherever you find yourself today, whatever it is that may need confronting, no matter what you may be facing, IT'S TIME!!!

It's time to open those compartments in your life that need some cleaning, organizing, decluttering, re-ordering.

And whatever it is you're trying to tackle, just remember, it will get messy, but don't sweat it! If you feel you can't do it alone then reach out to a friend or brother or sister or mom or dad...whoever you know will not mind making way for the messy to come out in order to pave the way for the extraordinary!

No past hurts, regrets, pain, fear should stop you from accomplishing this. 

Go on, begin the mess!

You've got this! 

 

 

 

Some can't be mommies...

Mother's day is the time to celebrate those whose love, patience, care, guidance, teachings, kisses, hugs and so many other wonderful and lovely things have marked our lives since the day we were born.

But this day of celebration is not happy for everyone. Some are dealing with the painful reminder of the one they felt inside their womb but never got to meet or kiss on this earth. Others may be dealing with having a little one fighting for their life in an ICU room. And there's also those dealing with the reminder that they can no longer hug their own mom this Mother's day.

But here's another reason...

Mommy day is a painful reminder for many because some can't be mommies.

Yes, this Mother's Day may not be so happy for all. 

Before I became a mommy, I dealt with infertility. I waited over 9 yrs to have a little one in my arms. I thought it was NEVER going to happen. And though we may not have taken the same steps along this journey, I know what you might be feeling. For those of you longing to become a mommy, remember this...

THE MIRACLE CAN STILL HAPPEN.

I became a mommy at 40, trust me, the surprise of a baby can still invade your world in the future. While you're in the waiting room, continue to pray, continue to live, and continue to hope. PRAY for God to give you strength and a still heart, especially on those days when the reminder of what you're lacking is staring you from every direction. LIVE out loud, for living fiercely will bring even more meaning to your life during this season. And HOPE. Hope because you're not alone in this journey, because others find themselves there right now and like others, a miracle may still come down knocking on your door.

YOU'RE QUALIFIED.

Being a mommy is a qualification that most any woman possesses. It is a trait that can be exercised with those you haven't even birthed. Don't let your mommy traits go to waste while in the waiting. If there's someone to be loved, love them. If there's someone to be guided, guide them. It there's someone in need of care, care for them. You're qualified to do all those and then some. While you wait for your miracle, be all these and more. It will enhance your journey. 

However, I do know that no matter what anyone may say to you today your reality is still staring back at you. You're still childless and still feeling incomplete. 

For all of you ladies in the waiting room of infertility, and for those mourning the little one you never got to hold, and all those of you tending to your precious prince or princess in an ICU room, and the ones remembering the mom you had to recently let go to heaven...

You're not alone and you're not unnoticed. Many are standing in the gap for you!

Remember that this Mother's day.

 

 

 

More Powerful Still...

I have so many dear friends going through some difficult times. For some is a time of deep emotional pain, for others a time of health battles, others are facing anxiety and despair, others find themselves at the crossroads of loss and mourning. And many of them desperately waiting for faith, prayer and hope to collide and bring about a beautiful miracle rendition.

And as I hear their stories, their pain, their sorrow, I ask myself, "what can I do?" At times, all I can do is listen and let them know I hear them and I'm here. But even more so, I know that there are situations in which only one response is the most fitting and yet,  sometimes the most overlooked or the most underused. 

Prayer.

Even though at times what to pray for exactly is not as clear, I know who I am praying to and I know that He knows exactly what they need. And here's one thing I'm certain of, 

"But powerful though our anxiety may be, the promises of our Savior-God are more powerful still" (Jane L. Fryar). 

This statement is not just some wishful thinking. I know because I read a book full of promises after promises from a God that loves us. And I know because I've seen and heard time and time again the testimonies and accounts of those who have experienced God's promises. And yes, I know, because I myself have experienced them. 

He's a God that promises peace, hope, comfort, a future and He doesn't just promises it for your today, His promises are for your tomorrows, till the very end...

"Even to your old age I am He, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save." (Isaiah 46:4)

And, if you are going through a time of despair, anxiety, trial, don't deprive someone the opportunity to pray on your behalf for you will be depriving yourself and those praying for you a tremendous blessing.

I'm praying His promises for You today because they are more powerful still.

Watch Out for Foreign Rabble!

Do you know what complaining means? The Merriam-Webster's dictionary says that complain means to say or write that you are unhappy, sick, uncomfortable, etc., or that you do not like something; to find fault. 

Keeping that in mind, how many times have you complained today alone? It's easy to do isn't it...

"It's far too hot."

"It's far too cold."

"I never get time for myself."

"My clothes are too tight."

Yes, I'm guilty of it as well. Sometimes it's easier to find fault in something or someone and 'talk' about it than it is to do the right thing. But what exactly is the right thing to do? 

I've always been fascinated by the story of the Israelites in the Bible. They were slaves in Egypt but then God freed them by using a man called Moses. But soon after all the rejoicing and celebrating the Israelites turned to complaining. Oh! the complains! You can read all about it in Numbers 11. They complained about not having enough food, about not having a specific kind of food, they complained about the food they did have (which was plenty by the way, they just got bored of it). In Numbers 12 we have Miriam and Aaron complaining about the leadership God had put in place, "Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn't he spoken through us, too?" Complaining permeated across the camp. What is interesting is how it all got started!

Numbers 11:4 says, "Then the foreign rabble who were traveling with the Israelites began to crave the good things of Egypt, and the people of Israel also began to complain." The Message Bible version puts it this way: "The riffraff among the people had a craving and soon they had the People of Israel whining." Foreign rabble, riffraff, and as other Bible Versions put it "mixt mulititude". Who were these people? They were basically non-Israelites that had attached themselves to the camp. One of the Bible devotionals puts it this way, "They were the rabble that came with the Israelites out of Egypt expecting almost instantaneous fulfillment of the promise land. When the fulfillment was delayed, they became pestilent discontents. This leaven worked its way through the whole community of God's children and wrought great evil. They infected the Israelites, who quickly copied their ways."

What an example this scenario is to the importance of surrounding yourself with people that push you to be a much better human being that you currently may be. I don't like to be around complaining people, do you? I tend to separate myself from complainers. It's just energy zapping to be around people like that. And not only that, but I have noticed that if I'm around complainers, it is far easier for me to do the same. It is far easier to become unhappy, to talk about the stuff I don't like, to find fault in things and in people and talk and talk about it until somehow I feel a bit better. 

My husband was preaching about relationships in his #GETFIT series last month and he said this, "sometimes people come to you with what they see as a 'concern' but in fact, because they may be unhappy about something, in their quest to make it better (or feel better) they in fact end up looking for an ear that will join in their [complaining]. Be careful that you don't offer your ears to enable someone else's complaining or gossiping." 

The Israelites offered their ears to the riffraff and soon they began to complain too. If they would have only followed Moses' example.

The people complained to one another-and only destruction was accomplished. Moses took his complaint to God, who can solve any problem. 

Here's the thing, Moses got fed up with stuff too. Much like you or I get fed up with things that happen in the world around us. Good Lord, I probably would have reacted much more like the Israelites did if I had to lead them/deal with them. Life is not always pretty, many times is just plain ugly. And people won't always treat you the way you feel you need to be treated not will you be everyone's cup of english tea. The thing here is not that you are to be restricted from voicing your frustrations, the thing here is HOW you go about it. In Numbers 11:11 Moses was very aggravated and complained but his complaint went straight to God. 

That's a practice I want to master. I'm so not there yet, but If I don't like to have people around me that complain, that zap my energy, then I must not become one myself. In place of complaining I'd rather master the art of thanksgiving!

The antidote to complaining is giving thanks more. It's looking for those roots of good things among the stuff that is unsettling us, frustrating us.

The time is now. Time to not only watch out for foreign rabble but also from becoming one myself and it's also time to complain less and give more thanks. 

Music Monday :: Intentional

The little lad and I have been jammin' to this song in the car as we go around heading places and running errands. Every time I listen to a song for the first time I tend to pay close attention to the lyrics. When I heard the lyrics to this song I couldn't help but smile and couldn't help but lift my voice to the heavens and thank God for how intentional He's been in my life. Cause oh boy, He sure has! The message in this song is very simple:

"All things are working for my good cause...He's Intentional!"

A message found in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good for those who love God,"

God. 

He's intentional.

Deliberate. 

With Him there's no coincidence.

But I get it. Not everything in this world is good.

Illness isn't good.

Losing a loved one isn't good.

Abuse isn't good.

But God is.

And the plans He has for you and for me are to give us a hope and a future. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He's intentional. Engrave it in your mind.

And because He's intentional, you can trust that even the bad things we may be confronted with in this world, God can turn around for good. When the ugliness of this world collides with the cross what's left is the beautiful hope we have in Christ. And when our hearts collide with this hope we then begin to grasp the promise given to us in Romans 8:28.

Remember this next time you come face to face with a trial... 

Somehow, in the deepness of your situation, God is weaving a perfect, intentional, purpose.