Thursday, November 29, 2012

Cranberry Almond Bark

Looking for a sweet, crunchy holiday treat?  Cranberry almond bark is almost as easy to make as it is to eat!

8 cups white chocolate
1 1/2 cups roasted almonds (if you can't find roasted almonds buy regular baking almonds and roast them yourself)
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Spread almonds in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 10 to 15 minutes.  Make sure you don't burn them.  Let cool.  Chop coarsely (it's OK to have some whole almonds).

Line two cookies sheets with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate over hot water.  Stir in almonds and cranberries.  Pour mixture into parchment paper lined cookie sheets.  Chill.  Break into chunks and enjoy!

Monday, November 26, 2012

1 Chronicles 29:11 - Who's Running This World?

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.  Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom.  We adore You as the one who is over all things.” 
1 Chronicles 29:11 (NLT)

Does God really have power over all things?  Consider a few headlines from this week…

  • “Israel Intensifies Attacks Despite Peace Talks”
  • “$2M in Christmas Toys Missing from Salvation Army”
  • “Body of Turkish Ex-Leader Shows Signs of Poisoning”
  • “At U.S. Public Meeting Fights Over Prayer Drag On”
  • “Bomb in Damascus Refugee Camp Kills Four”
  • “Child Soldiers On Front Lines of Congo Conflict”
  • “Radio Host Calls Montreal Jewish Population Annoying”

Injustice screams in bold capital letters from newspaper and internet headlines.  It infiltrates our backyards – murder on our city streets, teenage prostitutes in the down town core, babies on the streets with homeless parents, meth labs, grow ops…I could keep going but I don’t think I need to beleaguer the point.

This past weekend I was visiting my step-mother in Manitoba where we attended her church, MacGregor United.  It was a traditional worship service and I enjoyed the older hymns as a change from contemporary worship music.

I found the words from the hymn, “This Is My Father’s World” particularly encouraging…

“This is my Father’s world.  O let me ne’er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father’s world: the battle is not done:
Jesus Who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav’n be one.”

At times I find myself doubtful about who’s really running this world and I ask hard questions.  “Does God know what’s going on down here?”  “Does He care?”  “Has He given up on us?”

I find hope though when I read scripture verses like 1 Chronicles 29:11, and sing the reassuring words from hymns like, “This is My Father’s World”.

Yes, God knows!  Yes, He cares! No, He hasn’t given up!

Evil still roams over the earth BUT this world is GOD’S kingdom.  We may not see it.  At times we even find it difficult to believe.  But regardless of what we read in the headlines God still is in control. 

The hymn says, “Jesus Who died shall be satisfied, and earth and Heav’n be one.”  We’re still on the front lines of the battle but we know the outcome. 

Jesus already conquered sin and death and one day evil and injustice will be a thing of the past.

Things To Think About:
Do we have reason to hope despite the dismal daily headlines?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty.  Everything in the heavens and on earth is Yours, O Lord, and this is Your kingdom.  We adore You as the one who is over all things.”  1 Chronicles 29:11 (NLT)

Monday, November 19, 2012

Psalm 118:24 - Difficult Rejoicing

“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

In psalm 118 the psalmist rejoices over the things God has done for him.  Sometimes rejoicing comes naturally.  Other times it’s as foreign as eating chocolate covered cockroaches.  We can’t summon up the enthusiasm or energy to even attempt to rejoice.

Some days are difficult from the time you open your eyes in the morning to the time you close them at night.  There are many reasons for difficult days.

Maybe you’re grieving the loss of a family member or friend.  Maybe you’re feeling the effects of the chemotherapy or radiation treatments.  Maybe you’re desperate to help a depressed teenager.  Maybe you’ve lost your job and feel you’ve let down your family. 

I think of this verse, “this is the day that the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it” when I sing Matt Redmond’s worship song, “Ten Thousand Reasons”.  Think about these words…

The sun comes up, it's a new day dawning
It's time to sing Your song again
Whatever may pass, and whatever lies before me
Let me be singing when the evening comes…”

What incredible lyrics!  On the grey days when I don’t feel like rejoicing there’s a prayer I need to proclaim.  Whatever happens during the day, I pray that at the end of it, I’ll still be able to say without a doubt, “God is good”.   I pray that I’ll be thankful for His presence and provision throughout the day.

Things To Think About:
Are you having trouble rejoicing?  Listen to Matt Redmond’s song, “Ten Thousand Reasons” .  Pray to God and remind yourself of His provision and blessing.  Can you find a reason to rejoice in the midst of difficulty?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”  Psalm 118:24 (NLT)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Colossians 3:23-24 - The Christian's CEO


“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”  Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)

Do you struggle out of bed every morning, reluctantly drag your feet into the office, and put in a dismal day just to collect a pay cheque?  Or, do you get up anticipating what lies ahead, enjoy your work, and thrive on the challenges it presents?

Let’s be honest.  No one enjoys their work 100% of the time.  There are times in my job when I can’t satisfy my customers, I fall short of my employer’s expectations, and I make mistakes.

Last week I took a phone call from a customer who burst into tears on the phone.  She had a deadline to meet, was stressed beyond belief, and the product we shipped didn’t meet her deadline requirements.

This phone call came four hours into a fourteen hour drive.  I parked on the side of the highway, connected my laptop to the internet via a rocket stick, and did everything within my power to resolve her problem. 

Did I enjoy that day?  No!  Why did I do it?  Because it was the right thing to do for the customer!

If you’re working in a ministry role it’s fairly easy to remember you’re serving God on a daily basis.  What about those of us who don’t work in ministry?  Are we still serving God every day?

The scripture from Colossians answers this question.  Yes, regardless of what your job is…serving food, cleaning toilets, pumping gas, closing business deals, greeting customers, trading stocks…you’re serving God.  You honour God when you commit your best to the job you’ve been given.

Tomorrow morning, if you came into work and found Jesus sitting behind the CEO’s desk, what would your attitude be?  Would you complain your way through the day or would you go out of your way to do the best work possible?

When you’re constantly whining and complaining to your colleagues, what kind of message do you send about your Christian faith?  Is that how you want to represent Jesus?

If you’re a Christian, Jesus is CEO of your life, regardless of your position in the company or whose name is at the top of the organizational chart.  We serve Him by doing the best we can, where ever we are. 


We are representing Christ to the world.  A big part of our world is our daily work.  Are you giving Jesus the absolute best you can every day?  What message about the Christian faith are you sending the world by your actions at work?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.”  Colossians 3:23-24 (NLT)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

God Does JIT Prayer Response

What’s JIT?  In manufacturing JIT stands for “just in time”.  Rather than maintain large costly inventory levels, businesses prefer to work with their suppliers to ensure JIT delivery is available – enough components to fulfill customer demand without carrying excess inventory.

Did you know God practices JIT answer to prayer?  Have you been praying for something you’d like NOW but don’t see forth coming?  God sees the big picture of our lives and He knows the best time to deliver His answer to our prayers.

This concept was reinforced in our home this week.  The business my husband works for has been struggling to make ends meet for some time.  He anticipated a layoff notice sooner or later.

He started a job search in August.  In September he was interviewed by two different companies.  He’s short listed with one and is waiting for the VP to make herself available for final interviews.  The other said they had a contract position coming up and would contact him when it became available.

A week went by, then two, then three.  He contacted both companies in early October to be told the same thing – he was still a candidate, but for various reasons they weren’t ready to hire.  He continued to work and wait.

With his October 31st pay cheque he was given two weeks’ notice by his current employer.  As of November 15, he no longer has a job.

I was frustrated and angry with God.  We’ve been trying to pay down debt and with a recent commission cheque it looked like we’d finally make progress in that area. We’d been praying for a new job but nothing was moving ahead.  Now it looked like the commission cheque was going to pay living expenses instead of debt.

I know I should have been grateful.  We had money to use if my husband didn’t get a job right away.  I wasn’t grateful.  I was angry.  I had it out with God in a prayer session, venting my frustration.

Fortunately God has big shoulders and listened patiently to my rant, eventually bringing me to a place of acceptance and trust in His provision.  He’s never failed to provide and I knew we needed to trust Him now.

A few days later my husband got a phone call.  One of the companies was ready to offer him a contract position.  All they needed was a criminal check.  If everything went according to plan they’d offer him a start date of November 13 – two days before he finished his last day with his current employer.  He sent in the forms and waited.

The next day his employer changed his mind on the planned end date and told him he was finished that day – one week earlier than originally agreed upon.  Now what?  There was still no official job offer.  We had to wait and trust.

The phone rang early the next morning.  They were emailing my husband the job offer and he starts the new position in three days.  God is good!

This is just one example of God’s amazing timing in our lives.  There have been many other incidents in our lives when God answered prayer at exactly the right time.

Even though I know from past experience I can trust God, I still struggle.  I like long term planning and security.  Sometimes God doesn’t move as quickly as I’d like.  But, while God is never early, He’s never late either.  God IS the master in JIT delivery when it comes to answering prayer!

Can you think of a time in your life when God delivered an answer to prayer just in time?  Are you waiting for one now?  Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Psalm 90:12 - Life's Priorities


“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)  Psalm 90:12

Psalm 90 is attributed to Moses.  In this psalm Moses appreciates just how short our lives are in the overall “big picture” of creation.  He says if we understand this concept we will use the time we have on earth wisely.

I think Moses understands what it means to use his time wisely.  He demonstrates this as he nears the end of his life.

One day the Lord said to Moses, ‘Climb one of the mountains east of the river, and look out over the land I have given the people of Israel.  After you have seen it, you will die like your brother Aaron, for you both rebelled against my instructions in the wilderness of Zin...’”  Numbers 27:12-14 (NLT)

Moses has lived a long, productive life and now knows his death is imminent.  How does Moses respond?  Does he mope?  Does he withdraw from his leadership role?  Does he lash out at God?

“Then Moses said to the Lord, ‘O Lord, you are the God who gives breath to all creatures.  Please appoint a new man as leader for the community.  Give them someone who will guide them wherever they go and will lead them into battle, so the community of the Lord will not be like sheep without a shepherd.’”  Numbers 27:15-17 (NLT)

Moses’ first concern is the leadership of the people.  He immediately goes into succession planning mode.  He’s wants the Israelite nation to have a godly man to lead them into the Promised Land.

What does he do next?  Moses continues in his leadership role.  He addresses the people of Israel reminding them who they are, where they’ve come from and where they’re going, how they got there, and how they’re to live their lives in dedication to God.  His last act is to bestow a blessing on the people of Israel.

We can equate the verses in Numbers 27 as the equivalent of reviewing test results with your doctor, only to find out you have six months to live.  How would you react?  How would I react? 

I suspect I wouldn’t handle this news quite as well as Moses.  Moses sets an extraordinary example of how to die well, but I also like to take this as a lesson in living well. 

I don’t know how long I’ll live.  Like Moses, I’d like enough wisdom to realize life is short.  I’d like the ability to discern the important things to accomplish before it’s too late.

Are you doing things that would be most important to you if you knew how short life was going to be?  Are there dreams or goals you’ve ignored, thinking you’ll get to them “one day”? 

Are you so busy with the stuff of daily life that you don’t have time for the bigger things...
  • time with your spouse
  • time with your children
  • building relationships with friends and neighbours
  • painting
  • writing your book
  • sharing your journey of faith
  • going on a mission trip
  • spending time at the soup kitchen or homeless shelter
  • visiting your sick relative
Fill in your own blanks.  What are you NOT doing that you’d like to be?  What really matters in your life?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” (NLT)  Psalm 90:12

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lemon Zucchini Poppyseed Muffins

I thought I’d throw one more zucchini recipe out there in case some of you still have some of that prolific fall squash hanging out in your fridge or pantry.

This recipe works quite well with yellow zucchini.  If you’re going to use green, I recommend peeling it first.  Green skin in yellow muffins is a little disturbing.

Lemon Zucchini Poppyseed Muffins (Makes about 26 muffins)

4 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cups oil
2 cups grated zucchini
Juice and grated rind from 2 lemons
1 tsp. lemon extract
½ cup poppyseeds
4 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 pkg (4 servings) lemon instant pudding powder
1 ½ cups sugar

Beat eggs, milk, and oil together.  Add zucchini, lemon rind, lemon juice, lemon extract, and poppyseeds and mix together.

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, instant pudding powder, and sugar and mix together until well blended.

Spoon into muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.

My apologies to my regular readers who expected a memory verse last weekend and didn't get it.  Somehow there just wasn't enough time last week to fit everything in and I'm afraid my blog suffered as a result.  Please watch for a new memory verse post coming this weekend.