Ending the Culture of Comparison and Competition

pexels-photo-110440If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 1 Corinthians 12:17-18

There is too much at stake to waste time making worthless comparisons and competing against gifts and for gifts we were not given by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:8). While comparisons and competitions are happening, a world is dying without Christ. For this reason, it is important to end a culture of comparisons and competitions in the body of Christ. Everyone in the body of Christ was graciously given a spiritual talent, a gift of the Holy Spirit, that He felt you should be divinely endowed with for ministry. How then do you reject something so purposefully given? How do you interrupt God’s work by not using the talent that suits you, your setting, and the season? Understand that we cripple the body when we as members of the church, the body of Christ, refuse to be the part of the body we were assigned and when we seek to exchange our part for an unintended one. It is like putting on a dress that is too small and hoping that despite the fact that it does not fit, that it will be flattering. Similarly, a talent not intended for you will not fit you no matter how hard you try to make it work. When we refuse to use our assigned gift, we undermine God’s work because the body part we represent is lacking fulfillment. Since the outcome of both making comparisons and competition in the kingdom is the weakening of God’s mission for the church, both ideas serve one master well—the enemy. The enemy’s divisive schemes disrupt unity and progress. As women, we can intercept the enemy’s plan by embracing how fearfully and wonderfully we have been made and by ending the culture of comparison and competition through stewarding the gift we have been given to serve others (1 Peter 4:10). Instead of making comparisons and competing, celebrate variety in the use of similar gifts and God’s work being fulfilled through diverse gifts. When we get back to our purpose for existing, to bring glory to God with our lives, we will then receive our gift, stir it up, and use it willingly, offering it up as an act of worship as opposed to questioning what we have been assigned and desiring what someone else has been given. How will you steward your gift and encourage others to do the same?

 

 

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HEALTH and HEALING POWER

blood-pressure-1573037_640Dear friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, just as it is well with your soul. 3 John 1:2

Wellness is relative. Not only is it the direct result of something that is intentionally done to make it so, but it also means different things to different people. However, one thing we cannot deny is that when it comes to one’s soul, one’s body, and one’s overall welfare, it is best to take care. The Great Commission and other glorious purposes for which we were created are carried out in the body we have been given. Therefore, our bodies are to be maintained with care in order to fulfill our purpose within them. When we consider the truth that it is a form of honor to care for our bodies as it is the temple of the Holy Spirit, we should (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The origin of illness is linked to the moment sin entered the world. I believe that one of the reasons that the enemy attacks our bodies is because we are to carry out great works for God within the bodies we are suited in. He attacks our physical bodies and he attacks our mind. But God, sent us a Savior that, beyond the sacrifice of his life for the saving of our souls, took stripes for the healing of our bodies. That is why we can believe without a shadow of doubt that, by his stripes, we were healed (Isaiah 53:5). This healing was secured over two thousand years ago! So, we do not have to feel defeated by any diagnosis by any doctor because the Great Physician has a proven record of performing miracles that confound even the most doubtful doctors. God’s report always trumps man’s. We have a right to healing, it is our bread as children of God (Matthew 15:26), meaning we are entitled to it. How will you support your own health and walk in the healing that is your right?

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The Call to Purity

white-rose-478243_640The Call to Purity is not merely a call to maintaining our bodies until marriage or salvaging what remains of it if we have already given ourselves away to someone other than our future husband; the bigger, more resounding call to honor a loving, caring father that intends to protect our bodies and our hearts. See, the world uses protection to safeguard against pregnancy and diseases, but above that our loving, caring Father in heaven, protects our hearts, and there is no pill for that, no pill that can repair the damage done when you receive word from your doctor that you have a sexually transmitted disease (STD), no pill that can heal a broken heart after unfaithfulness, no pill that will cure any sense of regret for not saving yourself for your one day husband. God’s love, care and concern is not just for you, but also for your future mate; He tells us in Hebrews 13:4 to keep the marriage bed undefiled.

Purity is not something we arrive at naturally in part because of our own fleshly desires, lack of the fruit of of the Holy Spirit to exercise self-control, and also because of outside influences. Society does not consider waiting to be a normal practice or even an option. It may feel good now, but there are consequences for our decisions that we have to endure later. Just because we serve a forgiving God doesn’t mean we do not face the consequences of our actions and our reckless or risky behaviors. According to Oswald Chambers, purity is something far too deep for me to arrive at naturally. But when the Holy Spirit comes into me, He brings into the center of my personal life the very Spirit that was exhibited in the life of Jesus Christ, namely, the Holy Spirit, which is absolute unblemished purity. Therefore, we just need to admit that we cannot do it alone, we must rely on the Holy Spirit to enable and empower us. How will you answer the call to purity?

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Piña Colada Green Smoothie

Makes 2-3 8oz smoothies

Ingredients

3 cups Coconut Water or water
½ cup coconut milk
2 bananas, sliced
2 cups pineapple, cut into chunks
2 large handfuls spinach or kale
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed/ or chia seeds
3 tablespoons of coconut flakes

½ cup ice cubes

Directions

  1. Add the liquids first, followed by the softest fruit–banana, then pineapple. Next, add the greens, followed by the flaxseed/ or chia seeds, and coconut flakes (you may reserve a tablespoon of the coconut flakes to garnish over the smoothies). Add the ice cubes.
  2. If using a blender with variable speed, blend slowly, then speed it up and blend on the highest speed. If the blender does not have variable speed, blend on the highest speed offered.
  3. Pour smoothies into your smoothie cup and garnish with reserved coconut flakes. Enjoy!

Story: Make this for everyone, from children to adults, this smoothie is a crowd pleaser. This is my go to smoothie whenever my niece asks, “Can we make smoothie?” I know she not only will have fun dumping all of the ingredients into the blender, but she will actually drink it because all of the ingredients (blended together) are kid approved.

 

Tip: Would you like a thicker or creamier consistency? Add more bananas, or try adding a whole hass avocado.

 

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Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink

michaels-genuine-pop-tarts130 NE 40th St
Miami, FL 33137

Michael’s Genuine Food and Drink (MGFD) is in my opinion, one of the best brunch spots I’ve had in Miami to date. I was on my way to an area restaurant’s brunch when I remembered that Michael’s has a brunch menu. Thank goodness I remembered because it was my out-of-town guest’s last day in Miami. My guest was beyond impressed and loved everything we ordered. It’s funny because we got there so late that we were constantly told that they were out of our first choice. We settled for ordering our second or third choice from their menu, but were more grateful than anything that we were still able to order brunch after the cutoff time.

Our second and third choices were just as desirable as the first, we had duck confit hash topped w/ a poached egg, served with an avocado aoili, lemon ricotta pancakes, guava & cream cheese pop tarts, 9 grain pancake, among other small plates. The attention to detail in taste is incredible which makes MGFD dishes among the best. Michael’s has the kind of midday food that brunch dreams are made of. Needless to say, I will return for brunch and will hopefully arrive on time to try some of my first choices.

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Growing in Grace


But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen. 2 Peter 3:18 grace

Growing in Grace, is the realization that you don’t start living until you are living for Jesus, not accepting him with lip service, but actually allowing God to be Ruler. Allowing your will, what you desire, to be subject to his will. As a child, I used to wonder what God’s will was for my life like it was some hidden treasure, as if it were a secret that I was not privy to. Now, I realize that it has always been at my fingertips within the pages of the Word of God, and that if I were honest with myself, I was not drawing near enough to God (James 4:8). I have always possessed the key to all of the answers, but I did not unlock the door to live the life God desired for me. Once I began to apply God’s Word as opposed to doing things my way I began to see the grace of God upon my life. It is no surprise because his ways are higher than my ways (Isaiah 55:9). Prior to Jesus, I only existed by the Grace of God. I was thriving by the Grace of God. Though I did experience success while I was not committed to Jesus, I was favored, promoted, and recognized, it was meaningless because I was empty, misguided, and was not living abundantly. Now I’m fully living the best life imaginable, the Good Life. Therefore, I can state from experience that until you are living wholeheartedly, passionately for Christ, you are merely existing, and to differ from this belief is to be exactly where I was, blinded by the enemy and as a result, ignorant to the things of God. In my youth, I wavered in part because I viewed Christianity as a religion of rules. I felt as though it was full of restrictions, I was too blind to see at that time that what I considered restrictions were protections by a caring, loving Father. I did not utilize the Holy Spirit to help teach and guide me. I was not growing at all spiritually; I was simply going to church, and trying to follow all the rules. I rarely opened my Bible outside of church, I lacked a prayer life, and I occasionally read devotionals for my age group which made me no different. I had no idea about how rewarding a relationship (not a religion) with Jesus could be. At the height of my youthful, rebellious conduct I did not even want to attend church, for me, it was a forced ritual. I realize in retrospect that my associations only contributed to my rebellion and that my friendships should have been made up of other little lights that would encourage me to live for Christ and grow in Grace (2 Peter 3:18), that could pray with me, and that would hold me accountable. As women of God, the company we keep is crucial to the level of our spiritual growth and development, because bad company has the ability to corrupt everything you stand for (1 Corinthians 15:33). Undoubtedly, I know that God used every experience that I have had leading up to me living solely and unapologetically for him for my ultimate good, and for the good of those I influence. I believe wholeheartedly as my life verse states that, “All things work together for the good of those who love God, who are the called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28).” Although I learned many things through experience instead of through listening to wise counsel, God is so good that when I “came to myself” like the Prodigal Son eventually did, I was welcomed back home with open arms by a loving Father who was not only waiting for me, he was expecting me. I found that beyond a warm welcome and restoration, God had given me beauty for ashes (Isaiah 61:3). All things, even the most painful or regrettable things are made beautiful in his time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). My life experiences have given me a beautiful story and a rich humility. I believe that without my experiences, I would not be the woman I am today. Growing in Grace is about being made and becoming all that you are purposed to be. How have you grown in Grace? Tell your story.

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Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients

5-6 Cauliflower heads cut into florets

Olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

¾ cup Greek Yogurt

1 cup Vegetable Broth or Water

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Place cauliflower on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Drizzle with olive oil and mix to coat all sides. Lightly season cauliflower with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast the cauliflower until golden brown, flipping once. Once cooled, place as much cauliflower as your blender or food processor can reasonably hold, and then process on medium speed. Repeat with any remaining cauliflower. Place mixture in a pot on medium low heat. Stir in the Greek yogurt and add half of the broth. Add more broth as needed. Serve immediately.

Notes

  1. If you are using a blender, do not over blend, as you will end up with a baby food consistency.
  2. You may substitute chicken broth in this recipe.
  3. To make this recipe more substantial, you may add 3 Yukon gold potatoes peeled/ cut into cubes; boil them until tender and then mash them and incorporate them into the cauliflower mixture
  4. Add whatever flavors/ toppings you like to this base recipe: roasted garlic, sour cream/chives, cashew cheese (vegan), regular cheese, truffle oil or truffle butter (sparingly), sea salt, fresh herbs, even roasted nuts, etc.

Story

Cauliflower “fauxtatoes” are a great alternative to mashed potatoes and they’re so flavorful; even the roasted cauliflower itself is so delicious and could be a stand-alone dish or side item. Cheers to good health!

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