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Month: January 2017

Live What You Believe

Live What You Believe

I have been a Jesus follower for many, many years.  Actually, ever since I can remember.  I have attended church, Bible studies and attended a Christian high school.  I married a Christian man and have been educating my children with a Biblical worldview.  I have taught the Bible for the past four years.  Sounds like I believe in the truth of the Bible, right?

Our lives are evidence of what we believe.  I really did not give this statement much thought.  Of course it is true.  I am a Christian.  I live a “good” moral life.  I don’t swear.  You won’t find me passed out at a bar.  I am faithful to my husband.  I volunteer at church and have made meals for the homeless.  That is outward evidence of my belief in Jesus, right?

On the day I was preparing to stand and teach the statement “our lives are evidence of what we believe,” I was unprepared for what happened.  I was not expecting the knock on the door of our local produce guy.  A man from our church who brings me a box of fruits/veggies from his farm.  He was supposed to come the following day, right?

To my surprise, not only did he bring a beautiful bounty of fall produce, but he brought a question.  “Would you pray” he asked, “about going with our missions team to Nepal for 10 days and lead a 3 day women’s retreat?”  And, with that…he left.

Immediately, my excuses started running wild.  My kids will need daily transportation…meals…my husband works all the time and he can’t fill in for TEN days…I teach a Bible class that I can’t miss…I’m too needed here.  My inadequacies exploded…I have never taught a women’s conference…to a culture for which I have no understanding…I’ve never even been out of the country…I’m ill-equipped.  My fears filled my mind…what if… (fill in the blank to imagine the atrocities for Christians in third world countries).  Rationalizations rapidly surfaced…someone else who is more qualified and experienced will step forward…my mission field is here now, right?

Unbelief.  It is an issue of the heart.  My excuses, fears and doubts exposed a part of me to which I had turned a blind eye.  Partial belief is unbelief in the same way partial obedience is disobedience.  My response was an indicator of my own unbelief in the authority and totality of Jesus’ Word.  I was good at looking like a believer from the outside, but when pushed to expand out of my comfort zone, internal unbelief was first to come out.  Do I trust His plans more than mine? Do I take His Word and authority seriously or do I pick and choose parts of His Word that align with my comforts and discard the rest? Boil it all down…do I have a higher view of myself or of God?

These questions left me crashed in spiritual crisis.  Was my faith so shallow as to only follow Jesus in the comfortable and convenient?  Was I just a fan and not a true follower? Confronted with my sin, the Holy Spirit illuminated my diseased heart.  I desperately sought God’s mercy and forgiveness.   I cried out to Jesus, “Lord, forgive my unbelief…help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)  As God is eternally faithful to His promises, I found Him faithful to answer my cry.   Through the blood of Christ, I stand forgiven and free.

Christ set me free from my unbelief and He fueled my obedience.  I am now planning to go to Nepal for 10 days in the spring of 2017.  God’s Word says that He designed this task for me before the creation of the world (Ephesians 2:10).  Taking His Word as truth, I believe I was created for this purpose, to bring Him glory and to do His work.  Without Christ, I am nothing.  With Him, I find the fullness of purpose and satisfaction.    

I am sure to struggle with unbelief again.  Even for the follower of Jesus Christ, our humanity wrestles against the things of God.  But God, in His great wisdom and compassion, will continue to draw out the dross of unbelief so that I can reflect His truth more perfectly.  Oh, Holy Spirit, bolster my belief so that the next time I hear a knock at my front door, in Your strength, I will be eager to say “Here I am, Lord, send me.”  

What about you?  Do you hear Someone knocking on the door of your heart?

French Toasted Eggplant

French Toasted Eggplant

Inspired by the original recipe at empoweredsustenance.com, this creative plant-based breakfast is sure to satisfy those looking to up their veggie intake.  Not just for health-nut enthusiasts, this gluten-free, bountiful breakfast hits the spot for those weekend morning cravings.

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and sliced into ¾” slices
  • Salt
  • 4 eggs
  • ⅓ cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut nectar (or preferred liquid sweetener)
  • 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder
  • Coconut oil

Yield:

  • 15 slices

Preheat griddle to low-medium heat (300 degrees). Sprinkle salt on cut eggplant and let sit in colander for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a blender, add eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, protein powder, and coconut nectar. Pour into an 8×8 dish.

Rinse eggplant thoroughly and pat dry.  Pierce with a fork and dip each slice into batter to coat both sides. Lightly coat griddle with coconut oil.  Place slices on warm griddle and cook until each side is golden brown, approximately 7-10 minutes per side.  Enjoy as-is or top with a drizzle of your favorite topping.  Leftovers can be placed in an airtight container for up to one day.