Mmmmmmmmmm…..There’s just something about curling up with a good book, a cozy quilt, and a cup of hot cocoa. Dreamy right?
Unless you’re dieting.
That dream comes to a screeching halt the moment you check the nutrition facts.
If you want to wait for a cheat day to indulge, that’s OK, but if you are like me, you want it when you want it.
1 1/2 c Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 c Stevia
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
Add almond milk to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Turn off heat and stir in stevia and cocoa powder. Stir until smooth. Let cool. Enjoy!!!
Calories – 55
Fat – 5g
Carbohydrates – 6.5g
Dietary Fiber – 3.5
Protein – 2.5 g
Y’all it’s not often that I post about a company. Especially not one the size of AT&T but this is one of those times that I feel the need to.
For those of you that know me, you know that I am proud to be from Good Ol’ Rocky Top!!! I love everything about East Tennessee. The people, the mountains, the football (I bled orange and white even in the Kiffin days) but I have never been so proud to be from the mountains of East Tennessee as I am right now.
On November 28th, 2016, East Tennessee changed forever. Our beloved Smoky Mountains burned taking Gatlinburg and part of Pigeon Forge with it.
Overnight an entire ecosystem and economy was wiped out.
Families have lost their homes. Families have lost loved ones and pets. People have lost their jobs. All of this a month before Christmas.
Hearts are broken.
Lives have been shattered.
But I am so proud of the people of East Tennessee that my heart swells!!! Let me give you some reasons why:
We have faced disaster like this generation has never seen. Gatlinburg is a huge part of the East Tennessee economy and ecosystem. But instead of looting, rioting, and bringing more destruction, Tennesseans have pulled together.
Our governor has made every allowance for people who’s jobs burned.
Donations and volunteers began to pour in immediately.
Area restaurants and lodging establishments have provided free meals and rooms to firefighters and evacuees.
I see farmers on Facebook offering up pastures for displaced livestock. Animal shelters are moving to fairgrounds. Veterinarians working around the clock to care for these animals.
Nurses, doctors, respiratory and x-ray techs volunteering at the hospitals. I am just so proud!!!
Firefighters, EMT’s, and police officers have come from all around and worked tirelessly to battle the inferno. God bless them beyond measure!!!
I have seen different people praise the Lord on national news. Do you have any idea how wonderful it is to see people from my beloved state stand in front of a CNN news camera and praise God on national media and request prayer in the midst of this devastation? I am so proud.
Tennesseans have united in the wake of this disaster. Hearts are turning back toward the Lord. People are praying. It is my sincere hope and prayer that this sparks a revival in East Tennessee the likes of which has never been seen. I know that there will be lost souls saved during this time. Praise God for sending rain!!! I hope people are lined up on the banks of lakes, rivers, and creeks to be baptized in the name of Jesus (even though most churches do have baptistries). God tells us in his word that He will give us beauty for ashes and I know that Tennessee will be stronger than ever because of this and to God be the Glory!!!
The amount of love people are showing during this time is a wonderful example to this nation of what unity and compassion looks like. The enemy may have used the evil heart of man to start this fire ( a man was witnessed flipping matches in the Chimney Tops) but God is using it for good. God is using it for His Glory and I praise His name for it!!! Evidence of this was found while a man was helping clean up at Dollywood. He found this burned Bible page in…of all things…a puddle of water.
****Special Note****If you are reading this, I do ask that you pray. Especially for a man named Michael Reed. He got separated from his wife and 2 daughters during the evacuation and is beyond distraught because he can’t find them. He has no idea if they are alive or not. Please pray that this family is reunited. There are others as well but I don’t have those name. The Lord knows who they are so please lift them up as well and please use #prayforgatlinburg to show your support during this time.
Dear Christian struggling with anxiety and depression,
You’re not alone.
I know what it feels like to struggle.
I know what it is like to feel the pressure in your chest, not be able to breathe, and shake to the point you can barely hold on to a glass. I know what it’s like to have your head spin like a top and your mind whirl to the point that you can’t seem to formulate a single thought.
I know what it feels like to have a bone deep exhaustion you can’t shake no matter how much rest you get.
I also know how the enemy can use this against you. The condemnation you feel because we are told not to be depressed. Not to be anxious for anything. Not to worry.
Oh trust me my dear brothers and sisters, I know.
I have struggled with this for 20 years and I love the Lord with all my heart. Jesus is my all in all. My everything. But I still struggle. The good news is that we aren’t the only ones and we are told God’s grace is sufficient.
Ahhhhhh that precious grace!!!
In the 12th chapter of 2nd Corinthians, we read about Paul’s thorn in the flesh. All we are really told about this is that it was a messenger of Satan and that God’s grace is sufficient. My anxiety and depression is a thorn in my flesh. God’s grace is sufficient for me too. It’s also sufficient for you too!!! And like Paul, it’s in our weakness that we are made strong. I know it doesn’t feel that way but it’s true.
Some days the truth of God’s word seems like anything but the truth. Some days grace feels like a lie. I get it. I really do. If you’ve never felt this way, drop to your knees and Thank God because you are a rare breed.
But the truth IS the truth. God’s grace IS sufficient. Christ IS our strength. He IS our ever present help in time of need. He IS our strong tower. He IS refuge. And no matter how alone we feel, He really WON’T EVER LEAVE OR FORSAKE US.
Some days I really have to think of God as my Father and myself as a child and just spiritually curl up in His lap and rest. I really go to the Father as a child because I feel as weak as one.
I have my own business. I make hand painted signs. Some days I shake to the point I can’t even hold a paint brush. Some days I am so exhausted I can barely move. A bone deep, aching exhaustion but my Father promised to work all things together for the good of those of us that love Him and are called according to His purpose. I don’t know always understand it but that’s ok because I totally believe it.
B and I were driving home this morning and I got to thinking about the 1st Christmas I spent in this house. Underneath my tree was a present. A bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey. The following New Year, that bottle of Jameson was drank and I thought about the person I was then. I will not divulge all the sordid details. My Mammaw may read this and I don’t need her to have a heart attack. Just believe me when I say that recalling that season of my life showed me just how gracious God really is and how He really won’t leave us. Trust me, He would have been justified in turning His back on me then. Oh I get sick thinking about the person I was then. Gaagggggggg. But then I think about just how far He has brought me and that if His grace was sufficient for me while I was that hot mess, it’s definitely sufficient now.
Some things that help me when I am overwhelmed with anxiety
The gifts of God are many but one of the most precious ones is the command to rest.
“For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7
There’s a powerful, ancient biblical practice called fasting, and when I say powerful, I mean POWERFUL.
There are 3 different kinds of fasts and for legal purposes, I am letting you know that aside from the Bible, the reference I am using for this is The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. Consider this my citation.
The first type is an absolute fast. This is the type of fast Moses went through on Mount Sinai. During this type of fast, you abstain from both food and beverages including water. If you are thinking about this type of fast, you BETTER BE CERTAIN IT IS HOLY SPIRIT INSPIRED. This type of fast can only happen safely if God is in it. You cannot safely do this in your own strength.
The second type is a normal fast. This is where you can drink water but not eat. Again, if you intend to do this type of fast for any length of time, make sure you are Spirit led because a fast should never hurt your body.
The third type is a partial fast. This type is a restriction of food or certain types of food. Even though you are allowed to eat, it is no less powerful. This is what The Daniel Fast is. This is the one I use most often. I have done a normal fast for short periods of time but if I know I’m going to be fast for an extended period of time, this is the one I choose unless God tells me otherwise.
I want to stress that the purpose of any fast is to put our flesh in subjection to the Holy Spirit, experience spiritual growth, personal revival, destruction of strongholds, and true freedom. . This is NOT a diet even though you may lose some weight and it is NOT a way to get God to do what you want.
Fasting makes absolutely no sense to our natural minds. There is no exact scientific formula for it. No mathematical equation. But, I can tell you this, God honors it when the purpose of it is to deny the desires of our flesh and draw closer to him!!! This is a power that can’t be explained, only experienced. I am closer to God now than I’ve ever been in my life (even though I’m not as close as I want to be) and it is because of fasting, prayer, and obedience.
Every. Single. Time. I have fasted with the purpose of having a stronger relationship with the Lord and overcoming sinful behavior, amazing things have happened. My most amazing testimony to date happened during a fast. I quit smoking. You can read that amazing story here. I wasn’t seeking to quit smoking during that time but God blessed me beyond measure with the destruction of a very powerful stronghold. I mean complete destruction. Yoke cut. Gone. Demolished. Obliterated. Never to be worn again. And I love to tell the story. I love to tell of the power of God.
Here’s somethings you need to make know before you start a fast:
1. Check your motive – do your desires line up with the Word of God? Are you seeking less of you but more of Him in your life? Are you willing to exchange food for prayer? Are you doing this for God’s glory or your own? Make sure this is for the express purpose of drawing closer to the Lord and being renewed.
2. Expect spiritual warfare – I STRONGLY suggest that you become familiar with the 6th chapter of Ephesians and make sure you are suited up during this time because I can promise you that enemy forces will launch a full-on attack during this time. I am telling you now so you can make sure you are battle ready. The attacks can come on the flesh but most of the time, they come in our thoughts. Keep 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 on hand too.
3. Don’t talk about it – And if you do, make sure it is with humility. If there is even a hint of pride when you talk about it, even a hint of wanting recognition for, keep your mouth shut. You are defeating the purpose. It is one thing to tell certain people to pray for you during this time or to let people know on an as needed basis so they don’t question why you aren’t eating or aren’t eating certain food, but it is quite another to brag about it. Don’t tell people you are fasting just so you can seem super spiritual, uber religious, and get a pat on the back. If you do this, all you’re gonna get is a pat on the back from people who really can’t do much for you instead of a HUGE blessing from a loving God who can do all things. Read Matthew 6:16-18, Isaiah 58:3-7, and Luke 18:9-14 for the do’s and don’t of fasting. Don’t be a Pharisee. Guys, I know I sound harsh right now, but I promise you, it is out of pure love for you and because I DO NOT want you to forfeit your real reward due to pride. You won’t be rewarded if your draw attention your fast.
4. Immerse yourself in prayer and scripture – I read a book by Beth Moore once called Praying God’s Word. In this book, she talks about how the strongholds in our lives are like medieval strongholds. We can beat them with sticks, yell at them, throw rocks at them and they are still going to be there. Not because we haven’t tried but because we didn’t use the right ammunition. She tells us we need something like…dynamite. She tells us that what is more powerful than one stick of dynamite is two sticks of dynamite strapped together!!! That is prayer and God’s word combined. After reading that, I realized three sticks of dynamite would be really explosive!!! That third stick is fasting. When you fast and pray while STUDYING the word of God and praying his work back to him, you will experience God in a way you never have before and it will blow your mind. I have experienced God’s power in greater ways during these times than even the night I got saved!!!
5. Make sure you are drawing on the power of God – Guys, fasting done outside the power of God, His Word, and prayer is nothing more than a diet. Seriously. You have to want to draw closer to God and draw on his power during this time. Expect this. Even Jesus was tempted. He was the one that said the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. He was the Son of God and perfect so he resisted but we are puny little dust people (thank you Anne Graham Lotz lol) so our flesh tends to win. If you seek to draw on the power of God, He will supply it.
Finally, I am including scriptures that speak of fasting and others that are good to draw on during this time and also links to the books I have mentioned in case you would like to check them out and any others I think may help.
2 Corinthians 10:4-5
2 Samuel 1:12
2 Samuel 12:15-17
1 Kings 21:25-27
Guys, I am sharing this because I believe in it, I have experienced wondrous things during fasts, because I was asked to, and because I love you and want us all to walk in the fullness of God. Here are some links to additional resources
Radical – (especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
I was recently brought on as a contributing blogger for the blog Radical Christian Woman and since then I’ve been thinking about the word radical.
2 1/2 years ago, I thought I was so mature!! I thought I had it all figured out. I talked the talked. I could plug-in super spiritual phrases and sound all righteous with the best of them, but looking back? I was basically playing Christian. I accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior when I was 8 years and that was it. Up until 2 years ago, I went to church on Sunday and basically did what I wanted Monday-Saturday.
Obviously, I tried to avoid the “big sins” like drinking (in public), cussing (out loud in public ), not wearing the “super christian smile” (head tilted just so with an “oh how sweet expression”).
*insert a “give-me-a-break” eye-roll here*
Ugh, I’m ashamed to admit it but I was just a talker then and boy could I talk the talk. I had all the right things to say. It was like someone handed me a book called 1001 Bible Cliches and I memorized it cover to cover.
There was no room for God in my life then…I WAS TOO FULL OF MYSELF!!!
Give money? “But what about that shirt I saw that I REALLY want.”
Talk to someone about Jesus? “Why bother? No one listens anymore.”
Volunteer myself? “Ugh who has time for anything?”
Yeah I was full of something alright but it sure wasn’t the Lord.
But looking back, I can see the changes God has made in me and it fills my heart with joy!!
Give money? I’m not telling you how much I give because I don’t want your praise. I want God’s reward in secret so I will keep it a secret but I will say that I believe what the word of God says about tithing and giving so I do it now.
Talking to people about Jesus? I’m still working on this one. I try not to let my nerves get the best of me but I still struggle with talking to a stranger about the Lord. God is helping me overcome that though. But…the people I know and am around alot hear about Jesus all the time now. I’m not ashamed of the Gospel.
Volunteer myself? I don’t just mean volunteering at a shelter or soup kitchen. I mean taking the time to pour into and minister to another person out of pure love and a desire to see them live the John 10:10 abundant life. Yes, I am so there. My heart’s desire is now to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I’m not bragging, I promise. I just have this crazy love for people now that I didn’t have before.
Now, I want to be a radical Christian. I want to live that sold out life for Jesus. I want his love to come through me. I want to be so close to God that when He speaks, I know it’s Him and I don’t second guess it. I want to be at the point of instant obedience. Crazy obedience. The kind of obedience that requires radical faith, a scary faith, the kind of faith that puts you in a position where God is the ONLY solution!!
People think radical Christians are crazy!! We are crazy. We are crazy about the Kingdom of God. We are crazy about living the abundant life. We are crazy about the Gospel and the atoning blood of Jesus.
Radical Christians live a life sold-out to Jesus. He IS our King.
Looking back on the definition of radical, I am reminded that as Christians we are not to be conformed to this world and that we are supposed to be a peculiar people. If us Christians, the true, born-again body of Christ, lived as radically as we should, we would change the world.
The power to do it lives in us!!