What a Savior!

Adam and Eve were filled with shame, fear, and they went into hiding. After being tempted and going against God’s plan for them, they faced the consequences for their actions.  God asked questions to help them understand their behaviors.  Of course God knew why, when, and how, but He wanted to make sure they understood. There was a time, in which, they were naked and unashamed.  Now, they stood before each other completely exposed and filled with shame.  God’s heart was filled with anguish, and after justice, He covered them with the first animal sacrifice.  He made clothing to cover them from animal skin.  The first sin.  The first sacrifice.  The first merciful act of our God toward man.

God’s very nature is to cover us with His love and mercy.  Whenever my soul feels downcast, or my vulnerabilities and sins exposed, God reminds me of Jesus–the ultimate and purest sacrifice!

Is God asking you questions within your prayer time, or Bible reading to help you understand a better way?  Is He providing a way for you?  Covering you?  Take notice and follow Him.  The enemy would have you stay in hiding.  God is calling you out to forgiveness, freedom, and His love!

Mary Did You Know

Psalm 95

Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

Today, if only you would hear his voice…..

We loved that last part of the passage as a family and prayed to “hear his voice!”

As the rain falls outside on this Christmas Eve morning, I hear the voice of God in my heart……

“It is well!”

May we worship the baby born in Bethlehem many years ago, and our Savior, who continues to bend down and reach out to His people…..

JESUS

GOD IS WITH US!

Below is a video of the song Mary Did You Know.  The story of Christmas….

Impelled

The Holy Spirit had impelled him to go to the Temple that day; and so, when Mary and Joseph arrived to present the baby Jesus to the Lord in obedience to the law, Simeon was there and took the child in his arms, praising God. Luke 2:27-28

How often are we impelled by the Spirit to go, do, say and a series of events takes place that our world calls coincidence, but God reminds us that He is at work–at work in the seemingly smallest of details. For God to accomplish Simeon’s dying blessing–to see God’s anointed King–much took place thousands of years before, and minutes leading up to the event. Mary and Joseph’s obedience, the timing of the impelled visit, the arrival of the couple to present the baby Jesus all provided the moment in which Simeon could hold the child in his arms and praise God!

Anna, a prophetess, was there fasting and praying–“She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she also began thanking God and telling everyone in Jerusalem who had been awaiting the coming of the Savior that the Messiah had finally arrived” (vs.38)

Anna, never left the temple, but stayed there night and day worshiping and fasting, for over 80 years.  She came along just as…..

I’ve used that expression before, or something like it.  “I just happened upon…..”  “Just as I was about to leave……”  “You’ll never guess what happened…..who I saw…….”

To be at church on Sunday and hear this message about Anna and Simeon was no coincidence.  God had many little and big events leading up to my sitting in the chair with my family to hear Pastor Mark Jordan preach this message.  In fact, I had been listening to ChangedLives.org radio sermon on “Christmas Is For Children” the day before.  Pastor Mark shared that Christmas/Christianity is not BEHAVE! but

BEHOLD! Our lives changed….

Anna and Simeon beheld the Christ child and they were forever changed. Anna, after many, many years of waiting LEFT the temple to share the good news that the Messiah had FINALLY ARRIVED!

This Christmas may you come to Christ like a child, BEHOLD the living God, and be forever changed.

“We all live off his generous bounty, gift after gift after gift….This exuberant giving and receiving, this endless knowing and understanding–all this came through Jesus, the Messiah.” John 1:16-17 THE MESSAGE

http://changedlives.org/radio

Above is the link to an amazing message:  Christmas is For Children

I appreciate the historical perspective, the simplicity of his voice, and the gentleness of the music and message.

 

 

Wild Salmon Burger (Ninja Style)

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Ingredients 16 oz. boneless, skinless salmon, frozen for 30 minutes, cut in chunks

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1 1/2 tsp. dijon mustard

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1 tbsp. lemon juice 1 egg, beaten

1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper

2 green onions, cut in half

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

2 tsp. olive oil

Instructions

Place one-fourth of the salmon, mustard & lemon juice in the bowl and pulse blend until chopped.

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Add the egg, salt & pepper, and green onion, and the rest of the salmon and blend until combined, but chuncky.

Remove the blade carefully.

Hand stir in panko crumbs.

Shape mixture into 4 burgers. In a nonstick saute´ pan, heat oil over medium- high heat.

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Add salmon & cook until golden outside & cooked through, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve on buns with lettuce, tomato & red onion. – See more at: http://www.ninjakitchen.com/recipes/search/0/all/44/wild-salmon-burgers#sthash.WVStnV8G.dpuf

 

Personalized Note:  We doubled the recipe but still had to do it in two separate batches. We did not have panko bread crumbs, but Progresso, plain bread crumbs, worked well.  We served without rolls, but had bread available for those who desired more of a sandwich style.  We had Dijon mustard and capers available for toppings.

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Cooking healthy with my honey!

 

Redemption in the hands of a baby: You are not alone

But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, And the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a woman forget her nursing child and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you.  See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me. Isaiah 49

God was reminding the Israelites that He will never forget them, and He will restore them–the ruins (their crumbled walls), the devastation in their land and souls.

Christmas is such a moving time to remember God’s redemption! What lies in ruins in your life?  What crumbled walls are ever before God? What aching in your soul exists only for God to see and know?

Think of Jesus’ sweet, baby hands in the arms of Mary.  If you are blessed to have a baby in your family, take their small hands and hold them, smell them, rub them against your cheek.  Close your eyes and think of the glory and majesty of God’s redemptive plan in the smallness of a baby’s hand.  The same hands that grew to work in his father’s shop as a carpenter and heal the sick were the same hands that ultimately were nailed to a cross for our eternal hope and salvation.

You are not alone.  God has not forgotten you.  In fact, you were never alone.  Your name is engraved in the palms of Jesus’ hands.  He loves you.

I read in my Matthew journey this morning where Jesus came with a sword that often turns us against each other.  He claimed that our worst enemies could potentially come from our own family. Combining this verse with a sermon from Louie Giglio I heard on the radio on the way to work, I marveled at the simple-complexity of this verse.

Louie shared that we are all influenced by our gene pool, and no family is free from troubles, but when we accept Jesus’ love, we are immediately brought into Jesus’ spiritual gene pool.  You no longer are victim, but victor!  You are on the journey of becoming more like Jesus.  Restored.  You are not alone.  Your name is engraved in the palm of His hand.

This Christmas celebrate who you are because of Christmas morning– a child of the King!  Rejoice in your spiritual heritage and the knowledge that you are not alone!

I pray you can spend time in worship:

Holy Spirit Fire!

To witness the Spirit of God burning away the chafe in life and replacing it with joy and spiritual wisdom is a beauty to behold. Especially when it is my beautiful daughter. I praise God for His love and mercy. I love you Anna !  Love, Dad (T. F. Lloyd)

Above was a comment from my spiritual birthday post from yesterday.  WOW!  The Spirit is moving, moving, moving…..

The Holy Spirit was found in the burning bush of Moses, the burning sacrifices of God’s people in the Old Testament, and now, today, the Holy Spirit cleanses us and we are made new–filled with joy and spiritual wisdom.  We place our “chafe” all the things that keep us from joy and wisdom on the altar and claim that Jesus took care of these things–IT IS FINISHED!

For sure the enemy and the world will remind us, but God has said, “It is finished!”

Habakkuk 3

Though the fig tree does not bud

and there are no grapes on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though there are no sheep in the pen

and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,

I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;

he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,

he enables me to tread on the heights.

 

Spiritual Birthday

December 13 is my spiritual birthday.  The day I made a decision to accept Jesus as Savior, and be baptized to honor this most important decision.  I was 13 years old. My accepting of His love was so sweet to me.  It was a simple prayer service in a small building (not a church), with my parents and a few others.  The simplicity will always be remembered along with the compelling and overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit in that moment.

Upon realizing this, I was determined to create a purposeful day and prayed for God to reveal new things, old things, and promises.  He was faithful.

New Things

That morning I was deeply moved by Matthew chapter 5.  Jesus came to fulfill the law and challenged us to a new way of living.  “Jesus help me to renew my mind and not conform to the world around me.”

Old Things

My spiritual heritage comes from many generations before me.  It was the faithfulness of grandparents, parents, and mentors that took the time to nurture my faith and live out their faith in front of me that made the difference.  One very special night, my parents honored my spiritual birthday with a gathering in which my mentor, Inez, was there–her physical birthday was that day, too.  I vividly remember that celebration. She has gone on to be with the Lord!

Promises

During my workout the instructor said, “Does anyone know what today is?”  I smiled.  “It’s 12-13-14. This number will not happen again for another century!”  Then from across the room someone shouted, “Yeah! And, I think a meteor shower is supposed to happen.”  Jesus and I laughed together and talked within my soul.  “Jesus, this IS a special day even beyond all these things mentioned, for a soul that will live with you for eternity brings great joy, it’s an eternal gift!  At the end, the instructor shared this quote,

“To do anything less than your best, is to waste the gift.”

Tears came to my eyes as I remembered my “new thing”–to transform my mind and not conform to the world.  ‘Lord, I want to give my best, and not waste this gift of salvation! I want to honor and obey your commandments!”

My encouraging verse this morning:

“Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ.” Philippians 3:8

We have a tendency to look back over our life and cloud celebrations with regrets, what if’s, and our past.  Oh the magnificent beauty that God is showing my soul! “Anna!  I came not only to fulfill the law, but so that you can have an abundant life!” Sin will always be with us, but God is calling us to celebrate our eternal gift that lives within us. We are souls living in a body!  Your soul is separate from the things of this world and is the very gift that you give to the world–to shine the light of Jesus in a dark world.  You are not the darkness, even if you are in the midst of suffering.  You are His and His love and light –HIS GLORY– is who you are……your gift……….

Don’t waste it!  Celebrate it!  Let it SHINE!