Steph’s Recipes: SLOW COOKER POT ROAST

Slow Cooked Pot Roast is perfect for a cold wintry day meal

Slow Cooked Pot Roast is perfect for a cold wintry day meal

I pull this recipe out and make it in the winter.  I keep the ingredients on hand for one of those cold wintry days that demand a hot stew with meat that melts in the mouth smothered in gravy.

SLOW COOKER POT ROAST

3.5 – 4 pound pot roast with bone in

10.75 oz. can cream of mushroom soup

1 envelope dry onion soup mix

4 large carrots, cut into slices

2-3 potatoes or 4-5 red potatoes or 2 lg sweet potatoes, cut up

2 Tbsp Herbs de Provence

¾ tsp salt

Fresh ground pepper to taste

 

Put meat on the bottom to fit slow cooker.  Add potatoes and carrots. Then pour soup with 1 to 2 cans of additional water (makes great gravy!) and dry soup mix and Herbs de Provence on top.  Salt and pepper to taste over all.  Set on high for 5-6 hours.  Or set on low for 6-8 hours.  The meat should pull apart with a fork when done.

This is a very flexible recipe, so one can add other vegetables or additional potatoes for all the good gravy. A spring of rosemary is also popular for taste and garnish.

 


12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute – Part 2

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute

Matthew 5:44 quotes Jesus as saying, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  That’s as difficult order.  We continue here with 12 ways to pray for those who persecute Christians.  To catch up o the first 5 see 12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute – Part 1

6.         Ask for Power of God to be more powerful than their grip on circumstances.  Ask for the knowledge of God’s power to grow in us to the point of certainty. God partners with people who believe in Him to do the impossible.

7.         Ask God to put a desire in our persecutors to seek different systems. The need to persecute often stems from economic or political or religious systems that are out of balance and not growing. People who are unhappy with systems can make poor decisions, especially in groups.  Pray that God will implement a different system to exist where God’s principles or love and justice reign supreme.

8.         Pray that God exposes any lies of their underlying belief system to the persecutors.  There are so many proven principles that are worth striving for.  Education of the people is a good thing.  It prospers nations.  Education helps societies gain health by educating people about washing hands with water, eating good foods, cleansing wounds, etc.

9.         Pray for God to show us what our role is in systems that move toward chaos.  It’s common to feel that there’s nothing that can be done.  That may be true.  But ask God to not let a victim mindset become part of any thinking process.  Simply praying activates God.

10.       May God use testimonies of His action points to give hope to the oppressed.  Because testimonies of deliverance offer hope to the physically and spiritually tormented..  Testimonies of God’s power give belief that change is possible.

11.       Pray for the courage and ability to continue to operate in the fruits of the spirit behaviorally.  Galatians 5:22-24 spells out the fruits:  “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”

12.       Pray for a new perspective in our current circumstances. Ask God to shift our thinking to eternal glory verses  “our light and momentary troubles.”  2 Corinthians 4:17.  Paul’s perspective shift focused on the eternal weight of glory. It’s a secret recipe.  Ask God to show us both the seen and the unseen things that bring glory.  This provides endurance for the journey.


When in Drought, Pray for Rain

"Ask the Lord for rain in Spring"  Zech 10:1

“Ask the Lord for rain in Spring” Zech 10:1

California’s governor declared a state of emergency in 2014 because of drought.  Now official, the land needs snow and rain.

Droughts date back through the centuries.  The Bible records several drought scenarios. It offers several reasons for drought over a region. Often lack of rain linked to times when people sinned against God.  This example from 1 Kings 8:35-36 exemplifies.  “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because they have sinned against You, when they pray toward this place and confess Your name, and turn from their sin because You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven, and forgive the sin of Your servants, Your people Israel, that You may teach them the good way in which they should walk; and send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people as an inheritance.” (NKJV)  Sin has become so prevalent that the direct link to drought feels muffled.

The Bible also encourages man to pray to God for relief from drought.  He sends the rains in response to prayer.  James uses Elijah’s prayers to emphasize that fervent prayer accomplishes much.  He reminds us that Elijah was a man, just like us.  The New Century Version of James 16b-18 reads, “When a believing person prays, great things happen. Elijah was a human being just like us. He prayed that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years! Then Elijah prayed again, and the rain came down from the sky, and the land produced crops again.”  James makes it seem fairly simple.

Zechariah 10:1 gives us the “how-to”  pray for rain.

“Ask the Lord for rain in the spring,
for he makes the storm clouds.
And he will send showers of rain
so every field becomes a lush pasture.” (NLT)

Let us join together in our prayer for rain.   The union of two or more adds the power of agreement to gain God’s attention.  “Again, I say to you that if two or you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for hem by My Father in heaven.”  Matt 18:19.  So let us join our fellow brothers and sisters praying for rain.


12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute – Part 1

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

Pray for Those Who Persecute You

12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute

There are various groups of people who don’t like Christians.  Sometimes this is religious persecution, sometimes it’s individual persecution, and sometimes it’s cultural persecution.    There Bible says to love for our enemies. Matthew 5:44 quotes Jesus as saying, “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.”  That’s as difficult order.  Nonetheless, here are 12 ways to pray for those who persecute Christians:

1.         Pray our persecutors will be part of the coming worldwide revival.

Revival is when many people come to know the Jesus as their Lord and Savior.  It usually reflects a geographic region.  Currently, people come to the Lord in groups of one or two. There is a day coming when whole cities come to know the Lord – in a day.  Whole family units will come into the kingdom. Entire neighborhoods, entire cities, entire regions will come to know the Lord – in a day.  When this happens, volume will take out many objections.

2.         Pray boldly for a new truth standard.  May that truth standard be God’s truth standard.  Nazi Germany got entire countries to act as if Jews were the problem.  Stalin killed Christians right along with the Jews.  Many innocent, law abiding people were killed.  These facts that people believed were not truth. Pray for truth to be the standard of the land.

3.         Ask God for a new ways to see those who persecute as people and not mindless followers of “a way” or “a system.”  Ask God for persecutors to see people as individuals created by God with a purpose.

4.         Ask for a new heart to see our persecutors as loved by God.  Ask God for His love of these people to be deposited in our hearts.

5.         Pray that fear shifts to respect for one another.

For the next 7 points,  see  12 Ways to Pray for Those Who Persecute – Part 2


Image Criteria – Who Says a Woman Should Weigh 125?

God Likes The Way You Look Exactly As You Are

God Likes The Way You Look Exactly As You Are

The Lord has been dealing a lot with me lately about various criteria standards.  One category for review is self image and beauty.  Growing up in Los Angeles, there was a lot of emphasis on looks.  It felt like there were “good” looks and “bad” looks.  For hair color in my family, being blond was better than being brunette.  Preferences are just that: the preferences of someone.  God makes many natural hair colors and He calls them all good. The advertising world gave us the slogan, “Blondes have more fun.”  Obviously, this is an advertising slogan.  People with all hair colors have fun.  Fun is something one creates and enjoys.  It’s not dependent on a hair color.

Next was the size of the bustline or the waistline or the hipline, and the shape of all three.  Hourglass figures are best.  I was closer to average, and certainly not magazine material.  It took years to realize that God made us all different sizes and shapes for His enjoyment.  From the design plan, He likes us all unique.  We’re not all supposed to look just like anyone else.

God designed us also for the enjoyment of our future spouses.  It’s not all about me.  If God wasn’t interested in pleasing magazine editors with my looks, then I shouldn’t be either.  I have the looks I need to fulfill all that God wants me to do.  The question is, “What did God design for me to do in life?”  Asking this as a question of God brings much better results than telling God He made a mistake by not making me look a certain way.

As part of the design plan, God makes our bodies adjust and accommodate the changes that come with age.  We are responsible for keeping our bodies healthy and in shape as best we can, recognizing this doesn’t look the same in each person. Even the medical world puts ideal weights in categories with ranges.  Working with our bodies while attaining desired goals compliments what God gave each of us.  Further, ask God for his opinion of our goals and ask what His goals are for us before setting up extreme objectives.  Balance brings the best results. God will help us attain what He wants for our lives.  Invite God into the plan and let Him be a help.

See The Dieter’s Prayer


Prayers for the Parched: Lost Opportunities

The disciples slept when Jesus asked them to keep watch.

The disciples slept when Jesus asked them to keep watch.

Lost Opportunities

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”  He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled.  “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death, “  He said to them.  “Stay here and keep watch.”  Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him.  “Abba, Father,” he said, “Everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet not what I will, but what you will.”  Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “Are you asleep?  Could you not keep watch for one hour?  Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.  The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”  Once more he went away and prayed the same thing.   When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy.  They did not know what to say to him.  Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting?  Enough!”  Mark 14:32-41

Father,

Forgive me for my lost opportunities

Forgive me for not doing things because I believed the lie that I couldn’t

Forgive me the times when I didn’t try

Forgive me my debilitating insecurities

Forgive me for not recognizing opportunities

Forgive me for not following your suggestions in my inner person

Forgive me for dwelling in fear instead of love

Forgive me for blaming you for my problems

Forgive me for being angry at you for not doing something

When you were doing what you could as other people were exercising their free will

Forgive me for misunderstanding your heart

Forgive me for misinterpreting situations and missing the lessons

Forgive me my shallow fears

Forgive me for staying in the wrong job

Forgive me for not listening to my heart, and reconciling with its calling

Forgive me for not recognizing your voice

Forgive me for squandering your gift of time

Forgive me for living out other people’s dreams and wishes instead of pursuing your plans for me

Forgive me for focusing only on earthly results and love and not seeking you first

Forgive me the days lost to despair and dejection when I could have grasped your truths

Forgive me for not praying more faithfully

 

Thank you for knowing my heart’s direction, even as my actions don’t follow precisely

Thank you for the second changes in life, and third, fourth and infinite changes

Thank you for setting me aright and coaching me

Thank you for turning all these lost opportunities

Into learning lessons

And giving value to the lessons

And incorporating these very lessons into the fabric of my life

 

 

 

 


Acknowledging and Accessing More Power of God – Part 2

Lightning displays the power of God.  Photo by www.adventuremedicalkits.com

Lightning displays the power of God. Photo by www.adventuremedicalkits.com

In Part 1, we looked at Ephesians 3:21 where Paul talks about Jesus’ power at work in us.  Most of us acknowledge that there must be more that what we’ve currently seen.

One thing I’ve noticed is that the power doesn’t work exclusively to do whatever we want.  The power is available only to do what God wants.  This could change the way we pray.

Further, I believe there’s more power available when we’re fulfilling our destiny.  Figuring out and living out our destinies isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  However, once we do, God’s unlimited power if more available to us than we may realize  Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask to access more of His divine power.

There also seems to be a link as to who gets the credit and glory with what happens.  More power is released when God gets all the credit and glory for what happens.  The more impossible the feat, the more likely God gets the credit.  On the other hand, I know God answers some of my smaller prayers (for the lost earring on the street near the car) as well as life changing career move prayer requests as well as healing people.  As we see God in more of all we do, more power is downloaded in faith.  Our prayers get bolder because we known and have seen what God is doing in earth as it is in heaven.  May we all keep growing in this area, because there’s more.  Ask, seek, and knock.


Am I Bad for Eating Junk Food?

Eating Junk Food Doesn't Make Someone a Bad Person

Eating Junk Food Doesn’t Make Someone a Bad Person

We had a woman come in for prayer to the Silicon Valley Healing Rooms.  She had cancer and wanted prayer. We prayed for her.  When we asked if we could touch her back where the pain was, she said, “Sure.” We put a hand on that part of her back and it got intensely hot.  She said she could feel something happening.  The pain level in her back decreased as we prayed.

She asked if someone could visit her.  So two of our team members went to her home.  As they walked into her living room to pray for her, the woman noticed that they looked at her collection of skulls.  She immediately asked if she was a bad person for having skulls in her house.  It was her question and nothing was prompting her to ask that question.

The female prayer team member answered the question this way:  “If someone eats junk food, does that make them a “bad” person?  No.  Same theory works for the skulls on the shelf.  Having skills on display in the living room doesn’t make someone a “bad” person.  It just isn’t the wisest thing they could be doing for themselves spiritually.”  There are things that one eats that aren’t good for the body.  But the body usually survives one time, two times, many times.  But there is a “cost” to the body for consistent eating of “junk food” over an extended period of time.

Regarding  skulls on the shelf in a house, which is a permanent display item, it’s not particularly wise.  Most people when doing a spiritual house cleansing appointment would suggest throwing out such items to change the atmosphere.  Most people want love, joy and peace in their homes.  This comes with the Holy Spirit, when He is invited into a home.  People who walk into a place that has the presence of the Holy Spirit will pause and notice that the place “feels” calm and peaceful.  Tokens of death don’t make a person “bad;” it’s just not a good idea.  Over time, it can lead to unintentional consequences.  Change now and set up an atmosphere that doesn’t celebrate death.  All of us can ask God in prayer if there’s anything in our homes that doesn’t welcome Him.  Our houses become beacons of light when they are filled with the loving presence of the Holy Spirit.  This honors God.


Prayers for the Parched: Lord Keep Me Praying & Heart of Stone

Prayer Releases God's Power and Wisdom into our Lives

Prayer Releases God’s Power and Wisdom into our Lives

Lord, Keep Me Praying

I am the LORD, the God of all mankind.  Is anything too hard for me?  Jeremiah 32:27

 

When we depend upon organizations

we get what organizations can do

When we depend upon what education can do

we get what education can do

When we depend upon man

we get what man can do

But when we depend upon prayer

we get what God can do!

 

A.C. Dixon

 

Lord,

Keep me praying

I thank you that we can depend on you and on your promises

 

Heart of Stone

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them;  I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.  Ezekiel 11:19

 

Father, take my heart of stone

Replace it with love

From your heart

Put a new spirit within me

Give me a heart of flesh


Family Reunions Create Opportunities to Find Common Ground

Family Reunions bring together every type of family member

Family Reunions bring together every type of family member

“How did the reunion go?”

“It went well.”

“That’s nice.”

And on to the next subject.  Beyond the niceties, why did it feel awkward at the reunion?  At one level, there were no arguments or disagreements.  There was plenty of food for lots of different people and eating styles.  There were no accidents.  There were great photos taken with lots of smiles. Everyone at the reunion was in good health.  Everyone engaged with everyone else.  Everyone arrived and left safety.

 

All these are good criteria points to suggest the family reunion went really well.  Yet, the question of wondering if everyone felt loved and included in one another’s lives remains a mystery.  I wonder what God thought of the reunion.  Was God honored or glorified in conversation?  Did family members get beyond their differences to feel accepted?  I don’t have answers to these questions because they weren’t topics we talked about for 5 days.

 

In group events, it’s often the most vocal or most controlling people that shape the structure of an event.  Is it their opinion that we “have” to have dinner by 7:00 or else?  We all accommodated kids’ schedules, time zone adjustments, organized group event start times, and flight schedules. Beyond that, we enjoyed each others’ company in smaller group conversations catching up on various branches of the family.  All this is good.

 

This reunion included people from all over the country, who work in different industries, who range in age from 7 to 82.  It was interesting listening to what each person is aspiring to do this year, what each person has on their “Bucket Lists,” and what each person values in relationships.

 

I must confess that I did a lot of listening.  I wondered what God might have added to each conversation later.  Our society creates a very politically correct worldview.  I have a lot of family members who live by what the media says is “good.”  Much of the time, this is simply a matter of different opinions.  Some people drink coffee with caffeine, some drink coffee without caffeine, and some don’t drink coffee at all.  Okay.  All are available to us.

 

Some family members don’t eat any sugar or desserts.  This choice becomes a rule in some family units.  It’s a delicate balance when one introduces a birthday cake and some children have been taught that cake is “bad” and to not eat it.  Others delight in cake.  Two differing worldviews of raising children collide.  Cake wins.