Saturday, May 29, 2010

Going green is good

I believe most of us know that the colour green represents life...there's even more to that. We recently talked about the health benefits of green and other bell peppers. There are green benefits all around us.

Some of us may be blessed to have had bitter leaf, ugu, spinach, collard green and/or bok choy as part of our diet - and they are all green - I guess that's obvious. It goes without saying that most if not all green (leafy) vegetables are good for us - must be why most good mothers insist that we "eat up all our veggies." 

Did you know that "leafy vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories?"*

I remember when I was pregnant for our first child, my doctor recommended that I crush ugu leaves and drink the "green" water to increase my blood level. Ugh - drink green water? Well I did - I drank as much as I could and included it in my meals too. Needless to say, it paid off. Now that was a couple of years ago.

Now, I've decided to keep "going green". Now I'm on to green tea...ugh!!! I know, that's how I felt the first time my pastor's wife suggested I try it.

I resisted it for quite a while and now I've decided to try it and look into it some more. I wonder if knowing that more ladies are "going green" with me will help me stay the course. In intend to stay the course regardless...you're welcome to join me.

I read that in addtion to helping with weight loss, drinking green tea helps prevent: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, high cholesterol levels, cariovascular disease, infection, impaired immune function and much more. I even read that it helps with acne - cheaper than astringents too.

I guess the bottom line is that going green is good...so let's all go green and live healthier and happier lives. Invite a friend to join you...

Sources:
* http://www.vegetarian-nutrition.info/updates/benefits-of-green-leafy-vegetables.php
For more on leafy green veggies also see:
http://lowcarbdiets.about.com/od/lowcarbsuperfoods/a/greensnutrition.htm
http://www.vegetables.co.nz/nutrition-green.php
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vegetables-and-fruits/index.html

For more on green tea, see:
http://chinesefood.about.com/library/weekly/aa011400a.htm
http://www.greentearesource.com/

Friday, May 28, 2010

What can you do for you?

A few days ago I heard an interesting conversation, more like the beginning of a conversation, that got me thinking. One person was saying to the other: "What can I do for you?" and before the response came, the person continued, "Or should I say, what can you do for you?" Now that puts an interesting spin on things.

In reflecting on the second question, I've been asking myself: "What can I do for myself?" Or to put it in context, "What can I do for myself that I've been expecting others to do for me?" As I type, some examples run through my mind - I'll share one.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living sacrifice or leaving sacrifice?

We've talked a bit about sacrificial giving and sacrificial living - I want to approach this form a slightly different angle. Our brother Paul said (emphasis mine): I appeal to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.* (Romans 12:1)

It's so easy to talk about how we should be living sacrifices whose sole aim to do whatever the Lord directs, whenever He directs, to/for whomever He directs and however He directs - well I hear about it in sermons too. But is it really that easy to be a living sacrifice? I say talk is cheap, walk costs.

My heart desire is to be wholly available to God. This refrain puts it nicely:
Lord, I'm available to You,
My Will I give to You, I'll do what You say do
Use me Lord, To show someone the way
And enable me to say:
"My storage is empty, (and) I am available to You"**

So stop here and ask yourself: Are you a living sacrifice or a sacrifice that goes and comes based on convenience? It has been said that the problem with living sacrifices is that they leave when they see the fire coming?

You know in being truly available to God, there will be trials - in fact He promised us fire and waters: "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you.. (Is 43:2 - NKJV)

There will be times when you will be persecuted, even in the church, for being available to God - hang in there, don't leave the altar because of the fire. There could also be times when the needs of the ministry seem like they will drown you, don't look at the waves - keep looking at the Lord. 

I've said this to some of my friends - we're wired to outlast the blasts of the enemy. He knows that if he can get us off the altar often and long enough, we will not achieve our full potential and purpose in God. And if we don't pay the price, we cannot expect to receive the prize.
I'll say to you what I say to myself - be a living sacrifice not a leaving sacrifice - gold is not any good until it goes through the fire...

*Amplified Bible
**Lord I’m Available To You by Hezekiah Walker


You gave my hands to reach out to man,
To show him Your love and Your perfect plan,
You gave me my ears I can hear your voice so clear
I can hear the cries on sinners, but can I wipe away their tears.

You gave my voice to speak Your words,
To sing all Your praises to those who never heard.
But with my ease I see a need for more availability
I see hearts that have been broken so many people to be free

Refrain:
Lord I’m available to You
My will I give to You, I’ll do what You say do.
Use me Lord to show someone the way and enable me to say
My storage is empty and I am available to You.

Now I’m giving back to You all the tools You gave to me
My hands my ears, my voice, my eyes
So You can use them as You please
I have emptied out my cup, so You can fill me up,
Now I’m free I just want to be more available to You.

Refrain:
Lord I’m available to You
My will I give to You, I’ll do what You say do.
Use me Lord to show someone the way and enable me to say
My storage is empty and I am available to You

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Just in...

Guess what I found last night?

You guessed right - a new resource....
I started reading it - ok not really. I flipped through and started reading it from the middle and got some nuggets which I'll share in subsequent postings.

I guess the reason for this short and sweet posting is to encourage you to get this book...
you'll be blessed - I can sense it "a book away".

Gotta to go...and find time to read the whole book.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sacrificial giving & sacrificial living

What is a sacrifice? David defined it in 1 Chronicles 21:24 - And King David said to Ornan, "No, but I will pay the full price. I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings which cost me nothing."*

Encarta defines sacrifice as: "a giving up of something valuable or important for somebody or something else considered to be of more value or importance."**

A few things to note here:
  1. You cannot take something that belongs to another person and say that is your sacrifice. For instance, if you ask someone to join you in praying (&/or fasting) for a particular reason and the person does it but you don't, you cannot say you fasted. (P.S. our pastors are not Prayer Consultants.) If you desire prayers, feel free to ask for prayers but pray as well. There's no reason why you should "go to sleep" and expect others to "stay up" praying for you. Your sacrifice should cost you something not cost someone else something. Let's read the verses that follow: And King David said to Ornan, No, but I will pay the full price. I will not take what is yours for the Lord, nor offer burnt offerings which cost me nothing. So David gave to Ornan for the site 600 shekels of gold by weight. And David built there an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings and called upon the Lord; and He answered him by fire from heaven upon the altar of burnt offering.*(1 Chron 21: 24-26) I wonder if God would have accepted the offerings if he hadn't paid for the land...hmmm

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The donkey in the well

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do.

Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well.

At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down. A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw.

With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up. Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up - sounds like a dance step!

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL :

Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt.

The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up.

Each of our troubles is a stepping stone.

We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up!

Shake it off and take a step up.

(Author unknown)

While putting this together (i.e looking for appropriate pictures), I found this interesting true-life story of a donkey rescued from a well http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=105x6931849. Obviously, when we try hard enough, we can help any and everyone in need of help. Never give up on anyone including yourself - even if everyone else has.

Your prayers and actions can make a difference in their lives and yours. God bless.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Men on Motherhood

On Thursday night, my husband and I listened to a Mothers' Day message. The message was rich - I encourage you to listen to it. In rounding up, the presiding Bishop shared some "gemstones" (as I call them) too good to keep to myself. Overnight, I appreciated how Jeremiah felt when he said: "his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones!"* I just had to share these precious gemstones.

As usual, I've added a few more gemstones and my comments are in green.

The child you pamper today will tamper with your peace tomorrow. ~ Bishop David Oyedepo – this is another way of interpreting Proverbs 29:17, which says: Discipline your children, and they will give you peace of mind and will make your heart glad. (NLT)

Teach your children to do what is right not what they like. ~ Bishop David Oyedepo – does this sound like Proverbs 19:18**, Proverbs 22:6***, Proverbs 29:15**** all rolled up in one? Sure does to me.

That best academy, a mother's knee. ~James Russell Lowell – I’m sure most of us would agree with this when we think about our mothers; the question then is: "Would our children agree with this when they think of us?" Hmmm...

The mother's heart is the child's school-room. ~Henry Ward Beecher So what’s in your heart? Remember to guard yours with all diligence because all the issues of life flow out of it. (Proverbs 4:23*****)

I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln This is a personal challenge for me, obviously he saw his mother’s prayer life and felt the energy and love emitted from it...I must do the same starting today.

Endnotes:
To watch the message I referred to, go to: http://davidoyedepoministries.org/archived-media-center and choose services on May 9th, 2010.

* Jeremiah 20:9b
** Proverbs 19:18 Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them. (The Message)
*** Proverbs 22:6 Teach your children right from wrong, and when they are grown they will still do right. (Contemporary English Version)
**** Proverbs 29: 15 - Wise discipline imparts wisdom; spoiled adolescents embarrass their parents. (The Message)
***** Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (New Living Translation)

Friday, May 21, 2010

Disciple and Discipline

Almost as a sequel to our posting in February http://sapphire-and-beryl.blogspot.com/2010/02/lets-team-up.html, the Holy Spirit has been teaching me more stuff.

As a parent, I seem to dwell a lot on having to discipline my children...it almost feels as if it is my primary role as a mother. So many bible verses are easily quoted to support this stance:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Get some colour in your diet

You may be like me...previously, when I see bell peppers I ignore them. After some encouragement and even persuasion, I tried them and found them to be tasty. So now, I'm preaching the gospel of the "colour your meal". Considering how much I like colour in my life, I've started serving them to others and the word is spreading.

It was interesting to note that they start out green and end up red...isn't that how it is for us in life? We start off toally inexperienced and naive and end up full-blooded* and hopefully totally immersed in Christ and what He did for us.

They have similar and yet different health benefits depending on their colour - likewise, it's God plan that we are beneficial to our world and ourselves at every stage in life.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Message for you

I found this piece which I've received several times but felt this is the right time to share it with us. I don't know what you're going through but God does and has this message to you:

This is God. Today I will be handling all of your problems for you. I do not need your help. So, have a nice day. I love you.


P.S. And remember...if life happens to deliver a situation to you that you cannot handle, do not attempt to resolve it yourself! Kindly put it in the SFGTD (something for God to do) box. I will get to it in MY TIME. All situations will be resolved, but in My time, not yours.

Once the matter is placed into the box, do not hold onto it by worrying about it. Instead, focus on all the wonderful things that are present in your life now.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Life is a bed of roses

Did you gasp when you read the title? I won't be surprised if you did because the common saying is: "life is not a bed of roses"...well as the legal person in me would say: "I put it to you my ladies (and lords), that life is a bed of roses and I will elaborate further..."

When people say that "life is not a bed of roses", I suspect that they are referring to a bed of rose petals. Rose petals are not the same thing as a rose...they are just a part of a rose.

Rose petals smell really nice and are attractive which may be why the saying was developed so people don't get deceived to think that life is always that "rosy".

Well, let's look at a real bed of roses and a complete rose...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Is it well or is it a well?

A lot of us are very good in quoting the scriptures. I know that when you ask so many people: “How are you?” the standard response is “It is well”. I know that this phrase originates from Isaiah 3:10, which says: “Say to the righteous that it shall be well with them, for they shall eat the fruit of their deeds.”* The Bible encourages us to say: “it shall be well” to the righteous and so many times even when the righteous is in a well, they say: “it is well”.

Thinking about someone who was actually in a well, Joseph – see Genesis 37: 23-24: “When Joseph had come to his brothers, they stripped him of his [distinctive] long garment which he was wearing; Then they took him and cast him into the [well-like] pit which was empty; there was no water in it”*

Let’s imagine for a moment that one of his brothers cared enough to ask: “Joseph, how are you doing?” Do you think his response would have been: “It is well” or “as well as can be expected considering that I’m in a well”. May sound like a play on words but ruminate on it a bit. What would your response had been if you were in his place?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Secret #4: Communication - addendum

Just going through my emails, I found some interesting stuff from John Maxwell. I like these quotes on communication and believe that they apply in our family, ministry and corporate lives.

"Have an understanding so you don't have a misunderstanding." ~ Charles Blair

"Genius is the ability to reduce the complicated to the simple." ~ C. W. Ceran

"If a leader can't get a message across clearly and motivate others to act on it, then having a message doesn't even matter." ~ Gilbert Amelio Sometimes it's a challenge to motivate our children...

Read some more:
http://www.giantimpact.com/articles/read/communicating_vision/

http://www.giantimpact.com/articles/read/great_expectations/

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Eye-Guidance (an antidote for stress)



We (must) have all experienced times when we have looked (in a certain way) at a child, spouse, sibling or friend and they knew exactly what to say or not say, what to do or not do, or what they have done wrong. We may also have experienced receiving such guiding looks from our mothers (mostly). That is what I call Eye-Guidance. You will agree with me that following Mum’s eye-guidance reduces stress as we will definitely keep out of trouble.

I have been thinking about this lately and I remember reading in Psalm 33:18 that the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy (KJV). WHY? One reason is PROTECTION. God watches over us to protect us. Another reason, of course is GUIDANCE. Psalm 32:8 says “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye”.

Sapphire’s stress entry got me thinking about the eye-guidance principle. As a child, when we were in public, my mummy could guide us with her eyes. She could clearly indicate what we can or cannot touch, taste, smell or eat; who we should relate with and how. It was so interesting to obey and follow through with Mum’s eye-guidance as failure to do so results in grave penalties. As a mother, I have found myself adopting the eye-guidance tactics and it does produce good results. My children seem to understand it – of course the older one understands more than the younger one. So maturity affects their understanding of the eye-guidance principle.

Let’s get back to God.

He does guide us with His eyes, but this can only work under the following conditions (which hold true even in our mothers’ time)
1.There must be a relationship – the closer the better.
2.As we mature in the relationship, there will be less friction or misunderstanding of the intentions
3.The person being guided must want to be guided – in the case of the child, he/she will always look to mum when not sure of what to do.
4.This leads to the last point – our eyes must be on his face. If we do not take time to seek God’s face, we will never be able to benefit from His eye-guidance.

Of course, as in the natural, there are dire consequences for not following through on available eye-guidance. In the spiritual sense, not only do we risk God’s wrath, we also expose ourselves to the wiles of the enemy.

One sure way to reduce the pressures of life and be too blessed to be stressed is by following God’s eye-guidance. Let us all therefore be mindful of the promise “I will guide thee with mine eye”, appreciate it and earnestly seek His Face.

To stressed to be blessed?

A lot of people say they are “too blessed to be stressed”* – and that’s the way it should be. Recently, with all that’s going on in my FMC – Family, Ministry (including this blog) and Career, I feel stressed from time to time. So I started asking myself: Am I too stressed to be blessed?

What is stress? It is strain felt by somebody: mental, emotional, or physical strain caused, e.g. by anxiety or overwork. It may cause such symptoms as raised blood pressure or depression.**

You know sometimes, I feel so under pressure that I barely notice or even appreciate God’s blessings. It’s not as if I’m not aware that He’s been good to me, it’s just that I catch myself almost complaining that I have so much to do rather than have the half-full glass perspective and thank God that I’m alive and even able to do so much. While some people complain about having to go to work, you should thank God that you have a job to go to. It is so easy to get “burdened” by the weight of this world that we forget to “wait on the Lord” to renew our strength.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mothers' Day...again

I found this quote and it's challenged me:
I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. ~Abraham Lincoln

Got the following piece in an email...and you well know by now, there's joy in sharing...enjoy & God bless

Moms Are Important (by Right From the Heart Ministries)

"Her children rise up and bless her;" - Proverbs 31:28

When Thomas Edison's intelligent and sympathetic mother learned that his teachers felt he had inferior ability, she educated him at home. He said, "My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me, that I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint." A mother's love and a mother's time are vitally important to the development of a child. Just think of the ways we benefit today from the investment of time on the part of Thomas Edison's mom.

British psychiatrist John Bowlby said, "The young child's hunger for his mother's love and presence is as great as his hunger for food."

Moms, you're pulled in so many different directions today. The stress can be unbelievable, but remember that nothing is more important than the investment of time in the life of your child. God's Word tells us that when a mother does this, her children rise up and call her blessed and her husband praises her, saying, "Many women have done virtuously but you exceed them all."

I'm certainly thankful for my mom and have been tremendously blessed by her love and devotion.

"Behold children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is a reward." - Psalm 127:3

Dr. Leila Denmark, a well-known Atlanta pediatrician, said, "Every animal on earth takes care of its own until they're able to take care of themselves, except us. We have brainwashed people into thinking that there's something greater out there than being a mother."

Ellen Wilson Fielding, who left her prestigious job as book editor of the Wall Street Journal to be at home full time with her son, came to see it this way: "I felt I was going to a greater thing when I left the Wall Street Journal to care for my son." She said, "For the essence of motherhood is the acceptance of God's offer to share in the creation and development of another human being. The question was not whether the job was good enough for me, but whether I was good enough for the job."

Motherhood is the toughest, most demanding, yet most important job in the world. With the many choices for women today, let's not forget that there is no calling of God more important than being a mom.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The best place to nag

Several years ago, when I felt my mum was getting on my nerves, I felt "led" (of course in my youthful exuberance) to share Proverbs 27:15 with her. My Good News Bible put it similar to the Message, which says: "A nagging spouse is like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky faucet;"*

Needless to say, she didn't take it very nicely nor did she stop making me do things I really didn't want but now, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, I'm sure glad she did.

Back to the topic...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Opportunity

I recently listened to a message titled "The future began yesterday" and everything the preacher said was true. In talking about Opportunity, Rev. George Adegboye said:
"While the average person fears stepping out, the true believer in God fears missing out if he doesn't step out"

So I decided to look up and share some other quotes on Opportunity:
  1. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations. ~ Charles Swindoll
  2. Life's up and downs provide windows of opportunity to determine your values and goals - Think of using all obstacles as stepping stones to build the life you want. ~ Marsha Sinetar
  3. An obstacle is often an unrecognized opportunity ~ Anonymous
  4. Make an obstacle an opportunity. ~ Linda Armstrong
  5. In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity. ~ Albert Einstein
  6. The secret of success in life is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes. ~ Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes...

Happy New Month!!

You can't imagine what happened this morning...a day after the piece on Vitamins for vitality. Some would call it a coincidence - I call it a divine orchestration.

One of my children "educated" me on mangoes saying: "Mummy, did you know that mangoes are very healthy?" Without waiting for a response, he continued, "they have vitamins for adults (i.e. vitamin A), vitamins for bosses (i.e. vitamin B), vitamins for children (i.e. vitamin C) and vitamins for kids (vitamin K)."

Now that was quite a mouthful for a Saturday morning. You'd think that he mentioned vitamins for children and kids as a way to stress why he was entitled to mangoes but he didn't make any request. Well, I decided to store and ponder on it in my heart (like Mary did), dig into his "information" and of course share it on this blog. So here's what I found out:

"Mangoes offer many nutrients that boost health. Unlike many fruits, mangoes are rich in vitamin E. In addition, mangoes contain:
•vitamins A (beta-carotene), B6, C, and K
•potassium
•calcium
•phosphorus
•magnesium
•copper
•iron
•zinc
•fiber
One mango contains over three grams of fiber. Not only does fiber lower cholesterol and promote healthy digestion, but fiber has also been shown to aid weight loss."* Now the weight loss part caught my attention.

Needless to say, in going the extra mile to check out my son's "information", I've learned something new. At least now I can also tell him that mangoes also have vitamins for everyone (i.e. vitamin E).

I've also been reminded not to ignore what our children say - that way we can correct them if they have the wrong information or reinforce their desire to know more about the world around them.

Have a wonderful month ahead. God bless.
Source:
*Mango Nutrition — Health Benefits of the Mango: Nutrients in and Nutritional Value of Mangoes http://food-facts.suite101.com/article.cfm/mango-nutrition--health-benefits-of-the-mango