Substitutions Encouraged

**Orginally published in The Christian Online Magazine, February 2013**

 

Many of you are already aware of the healthier options that exist in the culinary world, but just in case you need a refresher (because I know I forgot easily), I’ve decided to share a list of common food choices that have healthier alternatives. Browse through the list and see if there is anything new for you to try and let me know how those New Year’s Resolution recipes worked out for you (just click on “Temple Maintenance” to view past articles as well as leave your comments)!

Celebrate this Valentine’s Day with wise food choices–keeping your heart healthy and serving God by maintaining the temple He entrusted to you.

“’I have the right to do anything,’ you say—but not everything is beneficial…Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received of God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:12&19

Meals/Main Course Items:

First Choice: Ground Beef (Hamburgers, Sloppy Joes, Tacos…etc.)

Better Choice:Organic Grass-fed Beef (no fillers, hormones, or chemicals used)

Best Choice:Lentils and Black Beans (Veggie Burgers, Bean tacos, Sloppy Joes…etc.)

 

First Choice:Loaded Baked Potato

Better Choice:Mashed Potatoes

Best Choice:Mashed Steamed Cauliflower

 

First Choice:Traditional Pasta Noodles

Better Choice:Rice Noodles

Best Choice:Whole Wheat or Quinoa Noodles

 

First Choice:White Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, or Cereals

Better Choice:Whole Wheat Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, and Whole Grain Cereals

Best Choice:Sprouted Grain Breads, Bagels, English Muffins, and Cereals (i.e. Ezekiel™ brand)

 

First Choice:Flour Tortillas

Better Choice:Artisan Tortillas (Black Bean and Corn, Whole Wheat, Blue Corn and Flax…etc.)

Best Choice:Sprouted Grain Tortillas

 

First Choice:Jar Spaghetti Sauce

Better Choice:No Sugar Added Jar Spaghetti Sauce

Best Choice:Home Made Spaghetti Sauce (Organic Canned Tomato Sauce, Crushed Tomatoes, Tomato Paste and Spices/Herbs)

 

Snacks Items:

First Choice:Cake (Chocolate, Devil’s Food, Yellow, Vanilla…etc.)

Better Choice:Fruit/Veggie Breads (Zucchini Bread, Carrot Cake, Banana Bread…etc.)

Best Choice:Fruit/Veggie Bread with Substitutions (see below)

 

First Choice:Apple Slices, Grapes, Iceberg Lettuce Salad

Better Choice:Oranges, Bananas, Carrots, Mixed Salad (Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce)

Best Choice:Tomatoes, Fresh Organic Berries, Organic Leafy Lettuces (Spinach, Kale, Arugula, Radicchio…etc.)

 

First Choice:Chips

Better Choice:Popcorn

Best Choice:Raw seeds or nuts

 

First Choice:Candy Bars

Better Choice:Fruit Snacks (i.e. gummy bears)

Best Choice:Dried Fruit (i.e. dried pomegranates)

 

First Choice:Soda

Better Choice:Sparkling 100% Fruit Juice

Best Choice:Sparkling Water

 

Ingredient Substitutions:

First Choice:Eggs

Better Choice:Egg substitute (i.e. Egg Beaters™)

Best Choice:Ground Flax Seeds and Water (1 Tbsp. ground flax to 3 Tbsp. water)

 

First Choice:Vegetable Oil

Better Choice:Coconut Oil

Best Choice:Applesauce

 

First Choice:Refined Sugar

Better Choice:Agave Nectar or Organic Raw Sugar

Best Choice:Stevia

 

First Choice:Chocolate Chips

Better Choice:Baking Nuts

Best Choice:Dried Fruit, Raw Nuts and Seeds

 

Dips/Dressings:

First Choice:Store-bought Creamy Dressings (Ranch…etc.)

Better Choice:Store bought Italian or Vinaigrette Dressings

Best Choice:Home-Made Italian or Vinaigrette Dressings (Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Vinegar and Spices…etc.)

 

First Choice:Ketchup, Mayonnaise

Better Choice:Reduced Fat Cream Cheese or Sour Cream

Best Choice:Mustard

 

First Choice:French-Onion Dip

Better Choice:Salsa

Best Choice:Home-made Guacamole Dip (Fresh Avocados, Salt, Pepper, Garlic and Lime)

© Rebecca Aarup

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is an author and freelance writer. She is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters online women’s ministry, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of publications including The Secret Place (Judson press), Evangel (Light and Life Communications), and Mustard Seed Ministries. She just released a new Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

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New Year Resolution Recipes

**Originally published with The Christian Online Magazine, January 2012**

 

The holidays are over and we’ve all probably had a few too many slices of pie, sugar cookies, cups of pumpkin spice lattes, and sweet and sticky candy canes. So, to lighten things up I’ve decided to share a couple of my favorite whole-foods recipes. These ingredients are healthy, natural (meaning they grow from the ground, not in an industrial plant), and delicious. They are easy to manipulate around the foods you like so you can personalize each one to your individual tastes.

Both of these salads keep well in the refrigerator, and make satisfying snacks or meals. They are great on the go, or at home, and relatively easy to make. I’ve also made both of these items for church events with excellent feedback. (As the resident vegetarian, I usually volunteer to make gluten free/vegan dishes to offer at events where most of the foods are sugar and carb laden.) The best part is no one can ever tell they are “healthy”! Go ahead, give it a try and see for yourself.

•Fruit “Salad”

One fresh pineapple

One pint of strawberries

Five clementines (they look like miniature oranges)

Two small containers of berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries…etc.)

The juice of one pomegranate

This “salad” is super fresh, easy, and delicious. Simply prepare the fruit (washing) and chop it up to the desirable size and toss it in a bowl. The juices from the pineapple, clementines, and berries will mix well together, and no other “sweetener” is needed. (However, for some fruit salads honey or agave nectar makes a great healthy sweetener.)

To juice the pomegranate: put the pomegranate seeds in a sandwich sized plastic bag, seal tightly. Gently roll over the seeds with a rolling pin to retrieve pomegranate juices. Cut a tiny hole in the corner of the sandwich bag to drain the juice into the fruit salad. Adds an extra special punch of flavor!

This fresh fruit cocktail stays good in the fridge (if it lasts that long) for several days and makes an excellent, vitamin rich, energy boosting breakfast or after-dinner desert.

•Veggie-Pasta Salad

One box of veggie pasta (I use Eating Right™ brand made with vegetable puree)

OR

One box of quinoa pasta (gluten free option)

OR Mix half-box veggie pasta with half-box quinoa pasta (this is how I make mine)

Four stalks of celery

One bell pepper (any color you choose)

One large cucumber

One large tomato

½ medium onion (I use red onions, but any onion you like will work fine)

Dressing:

One cup vegan (or regular if you like) Italian dressing **

¼ cup vegan mayo (or regular if you prefer)

One tablespoon Dijon mustard

One tablespoon dill weed

½ teaspoon sea salt (or regular works fine)

Freshly cracked pepper, to taste

Cook pasta as package directions indicate, meanwhile, in a large bowl mix the dressing ingredients together with a whisk.

While pasta cooks, chop veggies into desired size, and add to the dressing, mix together.

Once pasta is finished, rinse under cool water until pasta is cooled off; then add pasta to veggies/dressing mix. Stir well and it is ready to go! This pasta salad is so fresh and delicious, and keeps well for several days in the fridge. My husband likes to eat it with chicken for dinner, but it can be eaten on its own as a meal or a snack.

**Home-made Italian Dressing

One cup of vinegar (any type is fine: wine vinegar, rice vinegar, etc…)

1 1/3 cup of olive oil

Two tablespoons of water

½ tablespoon garlic powder

½ tablespoon onion powder

½ tablespoon agave nectar (regular sugar can be used, or honey)

One tablespoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon ground black pepper

¼ teaspoon dried thyme

½ teaspoon dried basil (fresh is even better!)

½ tablespoon dried parsley (fresh is even better!)

One tablespoon salt

Pour all ingredients into glass jar or bottle and shake well. I like to use old pickle jars or even Tupperware if that is all I have laying around. I can’t say for sure how long this keeps in the fridge because it has never gone more than a week in my house before being used!

(For more home-made, money saving ideas visit http://www.pennilessparenting.com)

*Are you on Facebook? I would love to connect and find out how these recipes worked for you. Click here to visit my Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/aaruprebecca or here for twitter: www.twitter.com/undivided_heart

© Rebecca Aarup

Even the Pomegranates Cry Out

Chop. Chop. Chop.

I seem to have the best God-moments when I’m feverishly hacking away on a helpless piece of food, trying to work out my anger. It has come to be a habit. We fight—I cook. It’s how I wrestle with my emotions, think, pray, and take several deep breaths while annihilating a target other than my spouse.

“Ok, God, I know what you said in 1 Corinthians 10:13, I’ll never forget that verse…but, I’m starting to think You enjoy taking me to the edge of what I can handle.”

Chop. Chop. Chop.

Silence.

“Ok, You’re not talking. That’s ok, I have plenty to say…”

If God could get frustrated, I am sure I’d be His number one cause of irritation. “Oh, here’s Rebecca again, whining like it’s the end of the world. If only she knew how bad it could really be, maybe then she’d be grateful.”

Of course, I know God isn’t really thinking that towards me, in fact, what He is thinking about me is too mind blowing to comprehend. For example, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit—the fruit that will last.” (John 15:16)

Oh, and speaking of fruit? Yeah, I was carving up several pieces of fruit to make a fresh fruit salad while conversing with God in a less-than-humble way.  He never spoke to me in those heated moments, not audibly at least. But He did find a way to cut through my incessant ramblings of self-pity.

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing God in nature—all facets of nature from animals to the weather to food. My social media friends are well aware of this due to the multitude of pictures I post of the food I’m cooking, the clouds in the sky, or my dog acting exceptionally cute. Creation is beautiful, and in it I am made aware of God’s presence in the details.

Slice. Slice.

285-Pomegranate

 

And then it opened and my breath was taken away. As the crimson juices ran over my fingers and the seeds spilled out my thoughts were interrupted. “Oh, Lord, it’s so beautiful! It’s like a honeycomb giving birth to rubies!” And for a second I was so captivated by the gorgeous intricacies of that pomegranate that my self-centered complaints were replaced with worship and gratitude.

How could I ever doubt a God who took so much time carefully designing every piece of fruit to not only taste good, but look good as well? But doubt I do—and often. It’s so easy to forget in the heat of the moment. To forget all things good and grateful and focus on the ugly and distasteful.

Fortunately, God is not surprised by any of this. He knows what I will say, how I will react, and whether or not I’ll confess it. He knows I will continue to grieve His spirit unintentionally when I allow bitterness to take root, and He knows the exact moment I will fall on my knees and give it all to Him and choose peace.

When my voice fails to speak of His love, surely the pomegranates cry out in my place.

“My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.” Psalm 63:5  

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profilepic3Rebecca Aarup is a health columnist for The Christian Online Magazine, a contributing writer for Encourage 365, founder and creater of S.E.R.V.A.N.T. Sisters, and has written devotionals/studies/articles for a variety of other publications. She just released her latest Bible Study The Word: Six Lessons from Psalm 119 which is available as a free download on her website or in print form from Amazon. Beyond writing, Rebecca is a wife, home-schooling mom, and Bible student at Liberty University. She lives in Glendale, Az with her husband Chris and 5 year old, Samantha.  You can read more from Rebecca by subscribing to her blog (it’s free) and following her on twitter and facebook.

Dear Critical Christian….

Dear Critical Christian,

I was so delighted to hear your request to understand my purpose in your life and the life of other Christians. I will address a few issues you seem to have recurring trouble with, and offer suggestions to help eradicate those feelings.

Critical Christian, I realize the family around the corner may appear to be in constant financial distress, but please try to refrain from suggesting the wife get a “real” job. What you may not understand is she is doing exactly what God has called her to do by raising her children at home and teaching them as instructed in Deuteronomy 6.

Critical Christian, I know the music is a bit loud every week at church but your mind may be put at ease through demonstrating your acceptance and understanding of your Pastor’s worship decisions. Reading 1 Timothy 6 will prove beneficial in this area. If it seems more than you can bear, you could consider a different congregation with the more aesthetically pleasing sounds you prefer.

Critical Christian, I understand you hold personal convictions regarding the use of alcohol, but I must refer to Romans 14. The family across town may not hold the same convictions as you. Just as you believe going to the theatre is perfectly fine while they choose to not own a television or view any secular media. Each person is subject to God equally, and will answer for their choices. Pointing fingers at everyone else’s decisions is tiresome work and I wouldn’t want you to get an ulcer.

Critical Christian, I know you feel bitter about the success of the family next door, but I would like to point out they have worked hard for more than three decades to attain what they have. They did not win the lottery but saved and sacrificed most of the time to make ends meet. Their hard work paid off, and now they enjoy the fruits of their labor as well as generously sharing their goods with their neighbors.  Be assured if you work hard, be a good steward of God’s blessings, make wise choices and generously give to those in need as God leads, you too will reap great rewards. I cannot promise your reward in this life on earth but can assure your reward in the Kingdom of God will be great. Matthew 25:14-30 illuminates this principle well.

Critical Christian, I sympathize with your ill feelings towards the family across the way and their poorly behaved children. I understand they are loud, rude, and often troublesome. I thought you may want to know that despite appearances, their parents have recently given their life to the Lord. As new believers they are uncertain how to apply Biblical principles. It may be good to remember you never really know what’s going on behind closed doors, and it’s probably best to focus on your own family and training your kids as commanded in Deuteronomy 6. As you understand my work in your life to a greater degree, you will be given opportunities to share it with other believers.

Critical Christian, my time is running short and there are many others requesting my presence in their lives, so I must end this letter.  I pray you come to a perfect place of peace, letting nothing offend you as is written in Psalm 119:165.

Love God’s law with all your heart and serve Him with gladness. Memorize Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 and practice it always.

Preach truth with your life always more than your words, for your life will validate your words.

Read Matthew 5-7. Study Matthew 5-7. Invite the Holy Spirit to live Matthew 5-7 in your life daily.

You may also enjoy reading words of wisdom in James 1:20-26.

Finally, Critical Christian, remember that to speak the truth in love first requires a heart of love. Any words of truth from a heart divided will certainly fall on deaf ears. You may consider memorizing Ephesians 5:1-2 as well.

Study Jesus and His example, for he and I are intertwined as one. There is no greater demonstration of my work than through His life and message.

A final warning: your experience of me may be hindered if you become deceived with your fleshly desires or the Enemy’s lies, so keep in fellowship with the Father always. John 15 explains this well.

The best advice I could leave with you regarding my work in your life is found in 1 Peter 5:5-10. Clothe yourself in humility and my presence will pour over your life continuously.

Sincerely,

Grace

Pruned to Bloom

Once upon a time there was an old grape branch; it had been growing in the vineyard for a long time. One day a new branch was planted in the next row. The younger branch grew, developed more branches, and bore fruit.

Taking courage one hot summer day, the young branch looked up at the old branch and said in a squeaky voice, “It must be great to have people travel from miles around just to taste the sweetness of your fruit.”

The old branch nodded.

Feeling encouraged, the young branch continued, “I have been talking with the other branches in the garden, and they say yours is the sweetest fruit.”

The old branch smiled.

“When I grow up, I want to be just like you! How can I have sweet fruit like yours? I’ll do anything you say.”

As the old branch looked down on the young branch, he remembered the day when, as a young branch himself, he had asked an old branch the same question. In his baritone voice, he gave the young branch the same answer he had received years earlier: “Be willing.”

The young branch mused in frustration, Be willing? I tell him I’ll do whatever it takes to have sweet fruit, and all he can say is “Be willing”? Then he turned to another branch and began carrying on what he felt was a meaningful conversation.

Each day there was constant chatter in the vineyard as the branches shared the latest gossip and wasted the hours away by comparing the sweetness of their fruit. The young branch knew there was no other place he’d rather live.

One cool autumn morning, the young branch was awakened by the sound of the old brown, weathered gate opening. As he looked at the end of the row, in stepped the gardener. Normally when the gardener came to visit, the vines would clap their leaves together and shout with delight. But something unusual was taking place that day. A hush swept over the garden. The young branch glanced over at the old branch, who didn’t seem to be disturbed; so the young branch directed his attention back to the end of the row.

The gardener stopped by the first branch in the row; the young branch was sure he had come to compliment his friend on her fine growth. But watching intently, he saw the gardener bend on one knee, reach into his back pocket, pull out what looked like sharp scissors, and move toward his friend.

Instinctively the branch at the end of the row pulled her leaves back, and the young branch hear her plead, “No, no, why are you doing this to me? Haven’t I been sweet? Didn’t I bring honor to the garden? Please, please, don’t do this to me!”

Before the young branch could blink, his friend lay on the ground except for the nub. The young branch turned to the old branch and asked in a low, fearful voice, “What’s happening? Why did the gardener do that?”

The old branch did not respond.

The young branch strained to understand and then blurted out, “Oh, I get it! We thought the gardener liked that branch, but he really didn’t like her.”

The old branch responded, “No, that’s not true. In fact, what you just saw the gardener do proves he loves that branch.”
“Oh. I knew that. Let me try again. We thought that branch’s fruit was sweet, but it really wasn’t sweet.”

“That branch’s fruit was sweet.”

“Okay, okay; I know the real reason. That branch did something wrong, so the gardener is punishing her; he’s just not telling us why.”

The old branch answered. “The branch is not being punished. Listen carefully-your friend is being pruned. Not because she was trying to do things wrong, but because she was trying to do things right. Not because her fruit was not sweet, but because the gardener wants it to be even sweeter.”

“But that doesn’t seem fair!” protested the young branch. “Just look at her. She’s been cut down to the nub. Now all the people who come to taste the sweetness of her fruit will laugh and judge the branch.”

“Only those outside the garden who don’t understand will laugh and judge the branch.”

“Only those outside the garden who don’t understand? That branch didn’t understand! Did you hear her say, ‘Why are you doing this to me?'”

The old branch was quiet for a long time and then responded slowly, “Unfortunately, what you’re saying is true. It’s one thing when people outside the garden don’t understand, but when those inside the garden-especially the ones being pruned-don’t understand, it causes a lot of confusion, disappointment, and pain. Those branches down at the end of the row will have to listen to your friend murmur and complain until she blooms again.”

The young branch proclaimed, “Well, you don’t have to worry about being pruned. You have the sweetest fruit int he garden!”

“I want to be pruned.”

“You what? It must hurt, and you’re going to look funny.”

The old branch chuckled and replied, I must admit it’s quite uncomfortable. You see, my young friend, I know I look good to you, but I have a fungus growing on my underside that no one can see. if it remains, it will deminish the quality and quantity of my fruit. No, when the gardener comes to prune me, I won’t pull my leaves back. I’ll lift myself high in the air to make his job easier.”

Trembling, the young branch responded, “I don’t understand.”

With compassion the old branch replied, “Did you see that branch the gardener just tore off and threw over the fence? It didn’t belong in this garden at all and will be burned in a fire.”

“Wow!” exclaimed the young branch.

“When the gardener comes to prune you, remember that the gardener only prunes the branches that belong to him, which makes it an honor. He doesn’t prune you because you’re trying to do things wrong, but because you’re trying to do things right. It’s not because you’re not sweet, but because he wants you to be sweeter. And always remember, my young friend, the very fact that you’re being pruned means you will bloom again.”

Just then the gardener stopped by the old branch, and the young branch saw the old branch raise his leaves high in the air. He heard a snip, and the old branch lay on the ground except for the nub. Then the gardener turned to the young branch. His leaves were shaking, and tears rolled down his side, but with every ounce of strength he raised his leaves high in the air. He looked up into the gardener’s face and said, “Kind and gentle gardener, I’m willing.”

P. Bunny Wilson, (Becoming God’s true Woman)

I Wanted A Piece Of Fruit; God Gave Me A Smoothie

For the last few days all I have been craving is a good piece of fresh fruit. That doesn’t sound so complicated I suppose….except for one little hitch. I can’t afford to go buy one little piece of fruit right now. It’s not that I don’t have food in my house, or that I have a puffed out bloated tummy like a starving child in Africa. No, I am well fed. It’s just a tough time for us, and right now we have no grocery budget, and have to make due with what we have in the cabinets. None of that happened to be fresh fruit or any type of fruit juice. *sigh* Ok, not the end of the world, I can drink some water and pretend.

When I look at my circumstances, they don’t look desirable. In fact, one could say they “suck”.  Someone told me the other day, “It always seems that bad things happen to good people. And you’re better than me because at least you go to church, and look at all this stuff happening to you. I don’t understand it or think it’s fair. You derserve better.” I suppose if I had entertained that line of thought I could have easily talked myself in to one massive pity party like I have done so many times in the past. But this time I knew it would be different. This time I had trust. This time I was not going to allow my circumstances and the storms of life to affect my attitude and spiral me into a fit of worry. Hey, if I have to live off of cereal and bread for two weeks, then so be it. I’ll live. It could be worse. In the past I would have been freaking out, wringing my hands, upset because I couldn’t eat exactly what I wanted. Upset because I didn’t know how rent was going to be paid or how needs would be met. Having major anxiety attacks and major anger problems. But this time was different. God got ahold of me. I knew that no matter what, I was where He wanted me to be, and He was my Provider. I knew I could trust Him. It might not be what I wanted (No Steak and Shrimp, God??) but it would be what I needed. So I relaxed and let God take care of it. Trusting God didn’t change my circumstances. It changed ME. That’s when the light bulb went on. This whole thing isn’t about crying out to God when I need something and watching him fix it and make my life easier. It’s about trusting Him even when my circumstances DON’T change. It’s about loving Him, praising Him, and fixing my eyes on Him even when everything around me gives me every reason to lose hope. To turn my back and complain. To say “It’s not fair!”  First God wants my undivided attention. He wants my trust in Him, and he doesn’t want that trust to be conditional based on what He is doing for me. Just think…if everything was always so grand in my life, then would I really appreciate or even notice the awesome ways God moves around me? Probably not. God isn’t just in the big things, He is all around me in the little things, in all the details. And he wants me to SEE HIM in it, and PRAISE HIM for it! Every day should be an AWESOME GOD day! Not just the days that are going well, or the successful days or the happy days. God allows these things in my life to show Himself to me in an even more intimate way. What a loving and nurturing God! He says:

“‘I will satisfy with…abundance and my people will be filled with My bounty.’ declares the Lord.'” Jeremiah 31:14(NIV)

Well, you wonder, did your awesome God give you your fruit?? Let me tell you. My dear friend surprised me with a couple bags of groceries, after a day at the park. Along with that was a bag a freshly picked oranges from one of her neighbors trees. When I brought the groceries home and started unloading them, I quickly realized that not only was God involved, but He was ALL OVER this! Every item pulled from these bags was something my family normally eats, and some were things my daughter had been asking for for weeks! Now, mind you, my friend was not aware of any of our normal eating habits, likes or dislikes. All she had was the leading of the Holy Spirit, and she followed it! As my daughter slept during her nap I took one of the bananas my friend gave us, and two of the fresh oranges. Found some ice cream in the freezer, and made myself a wonderfully delightful, fresh fruit smoothie. And as I sat there in the couch in silence reflecting on the awesomeness of my God’s provision I thought, “Hey, all I wanted was a piece of fruit, but God gave me a smoothie!”

What’s my point? Simply this: God allows us to face things in our lives to reveal Himself to us more through our circumstances and through other people. He used a friend of mine today, who I have only known for a few weeks, to greatly bless my family. Her generosity and kindness was God honoring and her faithfulness to Him is no doubt going to be rewarded. But how could she have served unless someone was in need? In the same way, all of us have needs or circumstances, and God makes us, as His children, a perfect match to fulfill those needs in each others lives. We just have to be in tune with the Holy Spirit, and be obedient to His voice. Maybe we should look at trials differently. Maybe we should take a moment to stop, and ask God to show Himself to us. What is it that He wants us to see? Who is it He wants us to help? Who is it that He may use to help us?

The bottom line is that He uses all of us to enrich each other, but ultimately He is the sole Provider, and the sole Caretaker.

“Preserve me, O God: for in Thee do I put my trust.” Psalm 16:1

Preserve-(Hebrew definition)

a prim. root; to hedge about (as with thorns) i.e. to guard; to protect; attend to…etc.-beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep(-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save, sure, (that lay) wait (for) watch(-man)

If you look at the original Hebrew definition of “preserve” you see all that it implies. We could re-phrase this verse in many other ways to understand it further, based on this definition, and therefore gain a greater knowledge of how God truly cares for us.

Mark me, O God…”

“Look narrowly after me, O God…”

“Observe me, O God…”

“Regard me, O God…”

“Save me, O God…”

“Lay wait for me, O God…”

“Be my Watchman, O God…”

“Put a hedge about me with thorns, O God…”

“Protect me, O God…”

“Attend to me, O God…”

“Be my Keeper, O God…”

He IS our Hedge, our Keeper, our Protector, our Attendant, our Watchman….He regards us, He saves us, He observes us, He looks narrowly after us….

What a God!! What is there not to trust? Even in the small things, in the big things, in ANY thing. HE IS THERE, we need to look for HIM, and He will be found. Allow Him to use your circumstances for His glory, before you throw up your hands in frustration. Ask Him to satisfy your soul with His goodness, BEFORE your circumstances change.

“For He satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness.” Psalm 107:9