Friday, August 17, 2012

Daily Proverbs 17:3 - Some heart tests can only be administered by the Great Physician...

I am not a fan of tests, hon. At all.

Well, that's not entirely true. I actually love tests. I love passing tests, to be exact. As a child, as a teenager, and as an adult, I like being tested and proving knowledge or skill on a subject. I like being certified and proven. I like the feeling of accomplishment and the feeling of self-worth that comes with ACE-ING whatever subject/test/skillset I need to and  that "pride" that comes with it. THOSE tests, I love. THOSE things, I can handle.

I don't like unfair tests. I don't like when friends test you "to see what you'd do or say" in a situation. I don't like when lovers or partners "test you" to see if you'd be unfaithful, to see if you'd speak behind someone's back or if you'll tell the truth to someone. FYI, I've not failed those kinds of tests. I can honestly say I have never cheated on anyone, or had to lie to a loved one or partner. I have been tested by them. I have been tested on fighting and (somewhat) failed those kinds of tests. I've had a partner hit me. I failed that test because I hit back. I shouldn't have (probably), but I did.

But what about your heart? Doctors perform tests to assess your health and your body's current status. They run electrocardiograms, they run stress tests, they run blood tests... There are endless ways to assess yourself and your current situation. But what about your heart?? What about you soul? What about your mind?

#DailyProverbs 17:3 "Gold and silver are tested by fire, and a person's heart is tested by the Lord."
God gives us tests. Trials. Tribulations. They seem unfair, they seem unnecessary, and they seem harsh. And they are of the above. Some tests are unfair, but life isn't fair. Some tests are unnecessary, but a lot of things in life are unncecessary. Some tests are harsh, but life can be very harsh. These things help to refine you. Do mold you. To train you. Training can be painful, seem unfair, and harsh... but the other end of training can be wonderful, when you are ready to be tested, when you are ready to be certified and proven. Don't begrudge the training, the pain, the hardship, for it is those very things that help to refine and purify and create a more valuable, strong, and beautiful piece of art.

The fact that God tests us, fairly or otherwise, is a fact. That's "just the way it is..." whether we humans like or agree with it or not. And there is a wisdom in that. This concept and school of thought is nothing new. It may not sit well in today's advanced and more "even and level playing field" society, but the fact remains: There is a God. He tests his people. His people pass or fail and learn from those tests and become ultimately better. The concept is simple really...

There are several times in various scriptural writings where God and his testing is compared to metallurgy, or where God is compared to a metallurgist or silver-/gold-smith:
Psalms 66:10 "For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried."  So, this is obviously a metaphor taken from melting and refining metals; And what SHOULD be obvious is that the afflictions and trials of various kinds are represented as a furnace where ore is melted, and a crucible where it is refined. And this metaphor is used especially to represent cases where there is doubt concerning the purity of the metal, the quantity of alloy, or even the nature or kind of metal subjected to the trial. Directly correllated is that God is said to try His people that He might know what was in them; and whether they would keep His laws, word, and testimonies: and ONLY then, according to the issue at hand, his conduct towards them would be made clear and appropriate for His people.

1 Peter 1:7 "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" This epistle is addressed to believers in general, who are strangers in every city or country where they live, and are scattered through the nations. These are to ascribe their salvation to the electing love of the Father, the redemption of the Son, and the sanctification of the Holy Ghost; All possessions here are stained with defects and failings; still something is wanting: fair houses have sad cares flying about the gilded and ceiled roofs; soft beds and full tables, are often with sick bodies and uneasy stomachs. All possessions are stained with sin, either in getting or in using them. Gold does not increase by trial in the fire, it becomes less; but faith is made firm, and multiplied, by troubles and afflictions. Gold must perish at last, and can only purchase perishing things, while the trial of faith will be found to praise, and honour, and glory.

Isaiah 1:25 "And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin:" Dross may shine like silver; but it's not silver. It's not pure. Wine that is mixed with water may still have the colour of wine, but it's not wine and it's not as good. It's not as strong. It's not as pure. Matthew Henry said, "Those have a great deal to answer for, who do not help the oppressed, but oppress them." I know that as "MichaelK", I have much to answer for and we, as humans, may do much by outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the influences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the worst captivity, the worst slavery. The refining power of God is a blessing, regardless of the process. Why? Because by the process of the trials of God, and the burning away of our "dross" and the taking away of our "tin", we are set free from the prisons of our birthright, being born into sin and slavery to that sin.

Isaiah 48:10 "Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction." We, as humans, and as (hopefully) followers of the Judeo-Christian faith, have not one thing. Not one. Nothing. We have nothing ourselves to plead with God, so why should God have mercy upon us? Really think about that and let it sink in for a minute. You, in and of yourself, have nothing to bargain with. You are born sinful. You are infantesimally small and insignificant next to God. So, what is His interest? What is your value? What can you do? Nothing. It is for HIS praise, to the honour of HIS mercy, to spare. It is God and His bringing men into trouble, that is for their better good - to do them good. God does this to refine us and to make us better. It takes time, and it takes effort, and it takes skill. The ancient silversmith could not make the fire too hot, it would burn up the silver. He could not extract and purify the silver all at once, because it would have destroyed it... So the silversmith took his time, and through process after process, refined and re-refined the silver. He takes them as refined in part only. And if God delivers his people, he cannot be at a loss for instruments to be employed.

Zechariah 13:9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God." You have to love the faith that God puts in us, as people that are fallible and ultimately so, so human. We fail. We make careers of failure. Yet, God trusts that the tests we fail, the fire and trials/tribulations we endure will REFINE us, not CONSUME us.

Malachi 3:3 "And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." Please note that he begins at the priests, that they might be lights, and shine unto others. The truth is that when God chooses people, he doesn't always choose PERFECT people, and he doesn't always work through and use PERFECT people... God has this sardonic sense of humor and tends to use people that NEED perfecting and God will use them as examples. Through their testimonies, trials, tests, failures, and ultimate successes... God uses all of it to inspire others, to reach others, and sometimes, just to be an example of what NOT to do for others...

The refining process is not an easy one. It's not easy on the original material, it's not easy on the metal, and it's a tiring and trying process on the REFINER as well. Think about that for a minute, God doesn't HAVE to care about you. God doesn't HAVE to care about your needs, and what might make you a better person. But, He does. That's why it is I am incredulous at the fact that God would take time and put in the effort on ME. When you consider that a metallurgist would have to find the silver. Silver is found in native form, as an alloy with gold (electrum), and in ores containing sulfur, arsenic, antimony or chlorineThe principal sources of silver are the ores of copper, copper-nickel, lead, and lead-zinc.

The key is to separate the precious metal from the crap. Ancient techniques used pyrolysis. That's just a really fancy way to say they "burned it." In pyrolysis, the crap products are released from the other materials by solidifying in a melt to become cinder and then poured off or oxidized. Ancient silversmiths would burn the ore/alloy and oxidize the bad stuff and then put the purified silver back into the fire. This process would occur over and over until the silversmith could see himself as a reflection in the silver. THEN and only then was it was pure enough. I love that. So re-read it, and think about it. I LOVE that. God, as a silvesmith, keeps us in the fire, and keeps working on us, and refining us, UNTIL He can see himself IN us. He wants to work with us until he can see his own reflection in our lives, our works, our beings. And that's a great comfort to know during the test!

So, while I still hate being "tested", and I still LOVE passing tests and proving myself... this is one test, trial, affliction, tribulation, and life test that I intend to pass. ツ


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Daily Proverbs 16:3 - You need a plan...

#DailyProverbs 16:3 "Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out."

I have never been one to shy away from a little bit of hard work. I was raised with a strong work ethic. Plus, it probably didn't hurt that in my family, if you wanted privileges, allowances, and freedoms - you had to earn them.

NOTE: The Proverbs I've chosen for today doesn't say, ask God to make your dreams come true. It doesn't tell you to beg God for help. It doesn't tell you to ask God to create a plan for you, to carry it out for you, or to do the work for you. It says that YOU should ask God to bless YOUR plan, so that YOU can carry it out.

I know, I know... that's a foreign concept in this day and age. Everyone seems to think that you are born with the right to "things" instead of being born with the right to "opportunity". I am a staunch believer that if you want to earn "things" you must make the most of your "opportunities". And growing up, that meant chores - yard work, helping out around the house, the yard, the farm, our grandparent's house... There was PLENTY to do. In return for the work, the helping, and the duty to family and solidarity, we were rewarded not only with a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs and food in our bellies... we actually were given some spending money, some freedom of choice in how to spend our time and money, and some respect. I liked the respect part best. My father, grandfather and Mamaw all treated you a little more like a grown up, and actually paid attention to what you had to say IF you ACTED like a grown up and helped the grown ups get things their grown up things accomplished. Sometimes, that would mean you had to get up before school to help in the garden. Sometimes that would mean you had to work with the animals and taking care of the yard so the adults could maintain the income-based gardens or animals. On top of all of that, there was still school, homework, extra-curricular activities AND church and social activities... That was pretty normal growing up for me. That was pretty normal with my friends and school mates and work colleagues. We all had school, we all had homework, and growing up in the country, we all had chores and work to accomplish. This ALL took careful planning, because NONE of it could fall by the wayside.

That's the key point, planning. So much of the necessary things took planning. Maintaining work, gardens, animals, school, grade point averages, and a life outside of even all of that was excellent preparation!

Why? Because today, so much of my work and projects now take planning, multi-tasking, and juggling priorities and life. One of my favorite quotes that I use relentlessly is "Plan the work, work the plan." That simply means to take time to prepare and think through the steps of what you need to accomplish, then don't deviate from the plan!!! ツ

What do YOU need to plan? What do you need to follow through on, carry out, and "work the plan" on? Ask God to give you good sense, give you patience, give you wisdom, and help you have the strength and fortitude to carry those wise, strong, plans you created out.  Good luck, and God Bless!
#JustBeingMichael ツ

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

60 Healthier Drinks for Boozing

This is a very neat article for winos and drinkers. Especially those of us that DO try to live a more healthy lifestyle!!

Just remember that the guidelines to less caloric and healthier drinks are important and that you will still be able to lose weight, be healthy, and feel great following these rules! I have already been using many of these tips and tricks for years in my own mixology and when I make drinks at home. Try these out and see if you like them...

60 Drinks For Healthier Boozing


RecipeOfTheDay: Indian-Spiced "Tater" Tots

I love to eat. That has never been something I debated, but I DO want to eat healthier and as I get older, I am also trying to get "fitter" and eat well. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important to me than ever, and it's not just about being fit and looking great. It's about feeling fit and feeling great.

I love to snack, and during downtime, or watching movies, that is something I like to do. I like the social aspect of eating with friends or family. Here is a GREAT recipe I found for tater tots that are good, and can easily be translated for healthier versions!


  • 1 1/4 pounds russet potatoes (about 2 medium), cleaned and washed
  • 1 teaspoon plus 1 1/2 to 2 cups canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon panch phoron, finely ground in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (if you have to buy it in powdered form. IF you have fresh tumeric, or tumeric you freeze and use, then freshly grated is the best...)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 2 "pinches", as I don't absolutely love the bite that cayenne gives)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt, plus more as needed
  • Cucumber-Yogurt Sauce, for dipping
  1. Heat the oven to 450°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Place the potatoes in the oven and bake until easily pierced with a knife but still firm in the center, about 35 to 40 minutes. (If you have 3 smaller potatoes, cook them about 25 to 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the panch phoron, turmeric, and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle but still hot, peel away the skin using a paring knife and discard. Shred the potatoes on the large holes of a box grater. Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl, sprinkle in the flour, salt, and cooled spice mix and stir gently until combined.
  3. Measure 1 teaspoon of the potato mixture and roll into a short cylinder about 1 1/2 inches long and 3/4 inch wide. Place on a baking sheet and repeat with the remaining potato mixture until you have used all if it and made the tots.
  4. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels; set aside. Add enough of the remaining oil to a large frying pan to reach about 1/4 inch up the sides and set over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Check to see if the oil is hot by submerging the handle of a wooden spoon or wooden chopstick till it touches the bottom of the pan—the oil should bubble vigorously. When it’s ready, fry the tots in batches of 8 to 10 pieces (do NOT overcrowd the pan), turning once, until medium golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per batch. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Serve immediately with cucumber-yogurt sauce. (NOTE: If you have a "Fry Daddy", it's okay to use that, OR - to be healthier, I have a kitchen machine that "fries" things in a vacuum and uses only spoonfuls of oil, rather than cupfuls. It's a much healther, if more expensive and involved, alternative for "frying" food for snacking. If you go that route, you save TONS on calories and oil consumption.)
  5. To freeze, let the fried tots cool, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag. Arrange in a single layer and place in the freezer. To reheat, heat the oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Evenly spread the tots in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake until hot, about 15 minutes


August 14, 2012
Proverbs 14:8 "Why is a clever person wise? Because he knows what to do. Why is a stupid person foolish? Because he only thinks he knows."

Sometimes, even the Bible is funny. Clever people and wise people always figure out something to do. They can figure out how to work out situations, problems, and other scenarios that - let's face it - stupid people just cannot. I am still praying for my wisdom to kick in...

#JustBeingMichael ツ

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lemongrass and Coconut Curry with Summer Vegetables

This recipe is amazing! Try it out. It's easy, healthy, and delicious!

You Can't Argue With A Fool, Fool...

So, okay... I’m continuing to read Proverbs every day, and on the days that I am truly touched, I am sharing. So, here’s today’s #DailyProverbs 9:6-9.

When most people read this chapter, the “go to” verse begins in 10. It’s the typical Fear-Of-The-Lord-Is-The-Beginning-Of-Wisdom quoted verse. Now, please don’t get me wrong, I LOVE that verse also. I try to live by that verse and I do respect and admire that verse for what it means and what it represents… But there are so many other great verses that kind of get overshadowed. Verses that are incredibly insightful and especially helpful… even in today’s society… Think of the time you spend on Social Media. Think about the times you read comments on news stories, blogs, and other sites (FB status updates, Tweets, etc…) and how people argue. They argue over minutia, over large civil issues, over religion, over race… Honey, people like to talk. People like discourse. People like debates. People like to argue. People like their own way. Sometimes, it gets your blood pressure up. Sometimes, you agree. That's part of the great human experience. Experience different things than you were taught, believe, trust, and know... and that's okay.

Proverbs 9:6 “Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding. 7 He that reproveth a scorner getteth to himself shame: and he that rebuketh a wicked man getteth himself a blot. 8 Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. 9 Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.”
But, what does all of that actually mean? What does it mean to “forsake the foolish?” What is required to “go and live in the way of understanding?” The overall statement made here is quite simple, but it’s much, much harder to actually DO and LIVE than to read and nod in agreement. We all say, “I won’t lower myself to argue with ignorance or hate.” But then we do. We say, “I think arguing on Facebook is silly.” But then we do. Honey, let me give you some great advice here: Don’t. That’s it. That’s all. Just… Don’t.

There are many issues that are hot buttons in our society today. We have on the table today issues that are regarding women’s health and reproductive issues. There are racial tension and tolerance issues that need to be addressed. There are pertinent and important LGBT issues and equality in protection, “marriage”, and the right to safety and non-discrimination. So, how do we demand that our society address the issues, without catering to any one group, addressing the concerns of all groups, and maintaining civility??? (I don’t know, but I pray every single day that God intervenes and give wisdom and patience to our leaders, our society, and ourselves…) I CAN tell you this though: Arguing with a fool does nothing for you. You end up looking foolish (verse 7). You can attempt to educate, but a fool and ignorant person will NEVER accept teaching. You can provide facts, statistics, translations, polls, and even personal experience and some WILL listen and process the information and even possibly change their ways (verse 8).

I have seen the vitriol and ignorant comments people make about races, gays, and women. Gay marriage was JUST TODAY compared to necrophilia on a local news affiliates website. Women’s health issues are being governed by men (kinda ignorant of the women to give that power over, if you ask me). Races are still feared and ostracized if they are different and inherently still causing division and derision among what SHOULD be one people bound by citizenship in our country. But, as today’s #DailyProverbs teaches us… Honey, you can’t argue with a fool, fool...

#JustBeingMichael ツ