Fear Not – Fear vs Faith

A few weeks ago, I gave a brief devotional at our departmental weekly prayer time. Because the constant barrage of local, national, and international news seems focused on raising our fear level, whereas God has called us to faith, Crystal suggested I share this message with my team and I am posting it here as well.

What is Faith? … Hebrews 11:11 –Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (ESV) How do we show faith? James 2:14-26 teaches we show our faith by our actions. How about Courage and Bravery? They are tied to actions as well.

As I evaluate actions, acting in faith is acting without fear, where acting with bravery is acting despite fear. Both are important but they are different. To act in faith is to act without fear for oneself because of a full trust in our God and His Savior.

An Australian singer/speaker/author, Aliki Flodine, summed up some related thoughts in her book Fine Lines as: On the surface, faith and bravery look similar. The difference is below the surface. There’s a storm under bravery and a calmness under faith. I’ve gone through seasons of bravery and it is hard work keeping up appearances. The battle keeps raging, and the butter knife achieves nothing. Faith doesn’t necessarily remove the obstacle or end the battle, but faith puts a sharp sword in our hand to cut through layers of burden, doubt, fear and the enemy’s lies. Faith grows when we find out what God is really like. It is found in the Bible and it’s found in the character and person of Jesus. The search for understanding and faith will slowly disband the exhaustion of bravery. That’s freedom. Easy? No. Achieveable? Yes.

Here are some examples of the World’s view of courage:
Nelson Mandela — I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear
Oliver Wendell Holmes — Courage is about doing what you’re afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you’re scared. Have the courage to act instead of react.

For the record, I think Mandela’s and Holmes’ definitions are closer to bravery than courage. But in either case, neither really offer a true biblical view. The biblical definition of ‘bravery’ is more along the lines of not showing fear even if you are afraid, whereas when God tells us to be courageous, in most cases it is stated as ‘take courage’ or ‘take heart’ which infers it is something outside ourselves, whereas in our culture, courage comes from within. I.e. “dig down inside and find your courage” or something like that. Stated in another way, a truly courageous act would be one that happened by faith, not by bravery.

Today’s bravery or world definition of courage is substituted as a cheap form of faith. Bravery is what the world refers to most when referencing courage. And when the world does refer to faith it refers to “blind faith”. ie Trust without any knowledge. While many times we need to have faith without the full knowledge, we almost always have some knowledge. And that knowledge of God and His work enables our faith to grow. Conversely by not having fear because of a firm trust of Christ, we will see amazing things happen.

Jesus said with a mustard seed size amount of faith a mountain could be moved.

Therefore, if your calling is to be where you are and the calling has come from God, what do you have to fear?

Now, let me make a case for when bravery may be appropriate. Sometimes, we may be afraid, but have a small amount of faith in God coupled with bravery to get us past our fears and into action. Next time we face a similar challenge, we will have less fear as our faith based on knowledge has grown. And thus we move toward a fully faith filled life.

To sum up: faith is in opposition of fear.

One last thing I want to mention briefly, the Bible does point to a proper place for fear and that is fear of God. But this fear is a different type of fear than what I have been talking about which has more in common with terror. The fear of God is more of a true proper respect for the ultimate authority above Creation who holds our eternal existence in His hands.
Remember perfect love casts out all fear! Walk today without fear because God, who is by definition perfect love, has called you.

Questions for reflection/discussion:
Where is your faith hampered by fear?
What difference would it make if you didn’t fear?
Where are you acting in bravery instead of faith?

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Vegan Soy-Free Allergen Friendly Rotel Dip

In honor of this weeks’s big game between the (supposed) top two NFL teams, I created a wonderful Rotel dip for our family. Definitely superior to last year’s attempt so time to post it. The recipe shares some with our Cheeseless cheese like Pasta Sauce.

Enjoying the Cheeseless Rotel Dip

Enjoying the Cheeseless Rotel Dip


2/3 Cup Nutritional/Savoury Yeast Flakes
1 Tbs of ground Mustard
1 Tbs Arrowroot Powder
1 tsp Xanthan gum or Sunflower Lecithin
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder (optional – people in house divided on taste and smell of this addition)
1 can of Coconut Cream*
1/4 cup dairy free, soy free margarine (Earth Balance in USA/Nuttelex in Australia)
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 can Rotel

Combine the yeast flakes, xanthan gum/lecithin, arrowroot powder, mustard, turmeric and salt in a pan. Give it a good stir with a whisk to mix it up real well. Then add the can of coconut cream. Using a whisk stir until near boiling. As it looks like it is going to boil it should be thick enough. Reduce the heat and add margarine and garlic. Stir till margarine is all melted and integrated. Next add a can of Rotel. (You may want to drain about 1/3 of the liquid off the Rotel before adding). Keep on a low heat to make sure it is heated throughout.

Put in a bowl and start dipping those chips. Enjoy! Leftovers can be refrigerated, heated up and put on pasta perhaps with some peas and meat of some sort. Like we did.

We hope your family loves it as much as we did.

If allergic to Coconut, I would suggest substituting 2/3 of the same amount of acceptable dairy substitute and double the margarine.

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Chicken Pesto Cream sauce over GF Pasta

OK. So this is not entirely allergen friendly as Jaden can now eat Pine Nuts. It is still Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free and Egg Free. Pine Nuts could be made optional and it would still be delicious.

The other day we harvested a plethora of sweet basil leaves and I thought we should do something with them. So I googled a pesto recipe and made some Pesto. Basically I substituted Nutritional (Savoury) Yeast Flakes for the Parmesan Cheese in this recipe: http://bonnieplants.com/cooking/fresh-basil-pesto/ and then stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a couple of days. The pine nuts were ground so fine that my kids didn’t notice them. I want to try and make it with some roasted chickpeas to see if that provides a nut free version with a little more protein in it.

Here is what I prepared:

Chicken Pesto Cream sauce over GF Pasta
1 Can of Coconut Cream
1/4 cup Soy Free Margarine such as Earth Balance Soy Free (USA) or Nuttelex (Australia)
1 heaping tablespoon of Arrowroot Powder (cornstarch would likely work too)
1 tsp of Darifree (optional)
Homemade Pesto sauce from http://bonnieplants.com/cooking/fresh-basil-pesto/
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1-2 TBSP Oil (Canola, Grapeseed Oil) for stir frying chicken
2 lbs (1Kg) of GF Pasta (Orgran or Ancient Harvest Quinoa pastas are what we use most)

Salt and Pepper

Fill a large pasta pot with water and add some salt and put on stove to boil for the pasta.

Cut up Chicken Breasts into bite size slices/chunks.

Put Coconut milk into a pan and heat, add Arrowroot, Darifree and Margarine and wisk over med-high heat to boiling. The Arrowroot should thicken when nearly boiling. Will take about 10 minutes. I had a child stir often while I worked on the rest. Once thickened add the Pesto sauce and keep on low.

Fry/Stirfry chicken in cast iron skillet or wok over high heat using oil and some salt and pepper until a golden/orange color starts to develop on the surface of the chicken.

Add the cooked chicken to the Pesto Cream sauce and keep on low. Add salt and pepper to taste (or add at table).

Add the pasta to the water to cook, removing it at the lower estimate of the cooking time.

Using a large serving bowl place about 1/3 cooked and drained pasta with enough Pesto Cream sauce to thoroughly coat the pasta. Add 1/3 more pasta and sauce, stir and repeat for remaining pasta.

Set the bowl in front of your family for immediate positive reactions.

This got a 6 out of 6 Keller family rating and requests for repeats.

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Wow – An Egg-free and Soy Free Omelette – This is amazing!

I was intrigued about making an Omlette for Jaden. I googled Vegan Soy-Free Omlette and found a recipe at:
http://triumphofthelentilblog.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/one-year-of-triumph-of-the-lentil-a-giveaway-and-soy-free-vegan-omelettes/

It was absolutely amazing. Everyone liked it a lot. The only change I did was I took about a teaspoon of flax seeds and put them in the coffee grinder and then added to the recipe. I think the first time I added some powdered Darifree also. Perhaps not. I will try it next time for sure.

Again, I say try it. It is really good. I think I can imagine some other recipes using scrambled eggs to use a variation of this recipe!

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When I Could – YouTube Video Release

The day has come….
No not THAT day that is mentioned in the video, but the day that the video is released.

Here is the video for When I Could which has a dedicated page on this site.

Or you can watch it straight away right here.

This is a message for Christians, not Non-Christians.

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Orgran better in our Cake Recipe

Well, now that we have returned to the USA, I can definitively say that Orgran GF All-Purpose Flour works better in our Cake Recipe than Bob’s Red Mill.  Don’t get me wrong, Bob’s Red Mill GF All-Purpose Flour is nice, but Orgran is much better for this recipe. (Bob’s Red Mill flour makes or at least used to make better pancakes than the Orgran products.)

I made some cupcakes recently with the Orgran flour and took them to a party. There were 3 ladies there that all couldn’t eat gluten. They all loved the cupcakes and couldn’t believe how good they were. Even gluten eaters ate them and didn’t notice any difference between ours and a normal wheat containing cupcake. Anyway, if you have allergies and want a good cake recipe, I will stand by our cake recipe over any other GF box cake mix any day especially if you use Orgran GF All-Purpose flour.

 

 

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Diamondback lesson from God

Diamond Back Rattlesnake in FloridaI took a 5mi/8km walk through an 8700 acre / 3500 hectare park. (Being Florida and not Australia it was fairly flat.) I was wanting to pray and walk and listen for God on the trip. After about 2/3 of the walk, I really felt that God was saying some things to me. I had about three things just before this photo.
As I was walking at about 3/4 of the way through my walk, I chose to move to the other side of the trail, As I took the first or second step toward the other side, I saw there exactly in the path that I had been walking, this snake about 2/3 (give or take) of the length of the snake in front of me. So had I not made that change of direction, I likely would have been within easy striking distance of an uncoiled poisonous snake. I instantly felt that God wanted me to know that although I think that I am making a choice or change of my own, It is really He who is guiding my way.
After snapping the picture and walking 20 meters or so further, I had the thought that if God is guiding my way, why not close my eyes and see where I end up. Well that was followed immediately by the thought that “God is not a mystical Force that is guiding me and controlled by me [e.g. Star Wars], but He uses the things He gave me and gave me eyes so that I would use them. I am not to follow[put my trust in] my feelings [instincts] but to follow my God.” It is more of a partnership/relationship as opposed to me being a marionette. In other words He has given me a brain and the ability to think, but He is still guiding/protecting also. Such a wonderful paradox.
Anyway I felt cared for and loved because the God of the universe, who created more than the mortal humans can ever see, cared for me and has time for me. (He cares for you and has time foryou too.)

Diamond Back Rattlesnake in FloridaI took a 5mi/8km walk through an 8700 acre / 3500 hectare park. (Being Florida and not Australia it was fairly flat.) I was wanting to pray and walk and listen for God on the trip. The first half of the walk was fairly frustrating as I had many distracting thoughts about all kinds of things also wondering if the noises (mostly bird movements) I heard in the scrub beside me was perhaps one of the bobcats that live in the park. I stopped looking over the Econlockhatchee river. The water was black as could be from the tannins of the Cypress trees. Yet the water was nearly still, and as I looked across the water I could see the reflection of the trees and sky. At that point I prayed that even in my non perfect state that I would reflect God like the water reflected the sky and trees. I read my Bible on my phone and sat and prayed for awhile. Then resumed my walk. After about 2/3 of the walk, I really felt that God was saying some things to me. The first was the chorus “My hope is in you Lord, my strength is in you Lord, my life is in you Lord, in you, its in you…” Most of the situational lessons for me related to the map and the path and their analogies to the path of my life that God has me on.

I was 3/4 of the way through my walk, when I chose to move to the other side of the trail. As I took the first or second step toward the other side, I saw there exactly in the path that I had been walking, the pictured Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake about 2/3  of the length of the snake (give or take) in front of me directly facing me. So had I not made that change of direction, I likely would have been within easy striking distance of an uncoiled poisonous snake. (I walked around the back side of him before pulling out my phone for a picture as it just felt like the safer thing to do.) I instantly thought that God wanted me to know that although I think that I am making a choice or change of my own when it comes to my current ministry/life directional choices, it is really He who is guiding my way. That is a very comforting thing to know.

Anyway after snapping the picture and walking 20 meters or so further, I had the thought that if God is guiding my way, why not close my eyes and see where I end up. Well that was followed immediately by the thought that God is not a mystical “Force” guiding me and controlled by me [e.g. Star Wars], but He uses the things He gave me to help lead me and He gave me eyes so that I would use them. I am not to follow[put my trust in] my feelings [instincts] but to follow my God. If I choose sin, it would not be God guiding me into it. It is more of a partnership/relationship as opposed to me being a marionette. In other words He has given me a brain and the ability to think and make choices, but He is still guiding also. Such a wonderful paradox.

Anyway I felt cared for and loved because the God of the universe, who created more than the mortal humans can ever see, cared for me and has time for me. (He cares for you and has time for you too.)

Have you taken time to listen to Him? How have you listened to Him lately?

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Jaden Loved this Allergy free Grilled “Cheese” Sandwich

Well today marks another first for Jaden; a Grilled “Cheese” Sandwich. We are back in the USA now after living in Australia. In Australia there is not a dairy free and soy free cheese yet but here there is which led to this impromptu sandwich created by Crystal.
First we started with 2 slices of
dairy free, egg free, soy free and of course gluten free bread made by Ener-g with one side of each piece with some dairy free and soy free margarine. Then Crystal placed a slice of Rice Vegan brand of cheese on the bread and placed into a suitable pan on medium heat and grilled to a nice golden brown. Here are the photos.
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GF Eggfree Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Since Jaden has tested free of Pineapple allergy now and we have successfully introduced them to his diet. Well a Pineapple Upside Down Cake couldn’t be that far behind could it? It was delicious and eaten faster than we could photograph it.

Can of Sliced and cored unsweetened pineapple in juice

3 Tbsp Nuttelex
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
Handful of Maraschino / Glace Cherries (optional)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour (Orgran)
2 No Egg replacer Eggs (2 tsp / 4 Tbsp water) following directions
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Cream of Tartar
1/3 cup Lard and Nuttelex combo ( 1/2 and 1/2)
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 180C.

Drain Pineapple and reserve the liquid. Melt Nuttelex in 8”-9” round pan by placing in the warming oven. Remove and stir in the packed brown sugar and the 1 Tbsp of the Pineapple juice. Arrange pineapple rings with cherries in the middle of the holes on the bottom of the Baking pan.
Add water to remaining pineapple juice to make 2/3 cup.

Combine GF flour, baking soda, tartar, and salt then set aside.

Combine and Beat lard and nuttelex 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat till well combined. Add No Egg and Vanilla. Beat for 1 minute. Add dry ingredients and the 2/3 cup pineapple juice alternatingly. When completely combined, spread in pan on top of pineapple/cherry.

Bake for 40min

Cool 5 minutes run a plastic knife around the edge of the cake if it hasn’t pulled away from the sides of the pan then invert on a plate and serve while warm. Cut into 8 pieces.

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Cheaper in Australia

While most things in Australia tend to have price tags of 2-3 times what we see in the USA, I have found 4 things that are definitely cheaper in Australia.

1. Ice Cream Cones at McDonald’s – Australia $0.50 USA $1.19 last I remember from 2007. Others note it too such as here.
2. Emergency Healthcare – 1 trip to the Emergency Department here is about $200 and in the USA to the ER about $500 minimum in my experience. My daughter went to the doctor $70  and then had x-rays for $40 for her broken finger. The doctor was more than in the USA but the x-ray seemed like a down right bargain.
3. Mobile / Cell phone plans. This is the one that is most amazing. For a plan that allows me to call for about 400 minutes on each of 2 used iPhones and 1.5GB of data that can be tethered on each costs me $40 per month. (via iinet which uses the optus network  http://www.iinet.net.au/mobile/ ) In the USA with AT&T for 1 phone that can tether and 1 with only 300MB per month and 500 minutes to share between the phones, comes to $150 per month and that is without the SMS included that we get now too, to add that would be something like $170 or more per month. OUCH!  Ok so comparing iinet to AT&T isn’t a fare comparison. So for Telstra to AT&T the equivalent Telstra plan to my iinet plan would be $140 per month. Still cheaper than AT&T and with more than enough data on either phone.
4. Basic Private Christian School. OK this varies widely as some private schools in Australia can be $40,000 per child per year, the basic Christian Private School here tends to be anywhere to the same or half of the price as in the USA. For my comparison I choose Maranatha Christian Schools and Eastland Christian school in Orlando. In this case for 1 child the school in Australia is a little more expensive, but for 2 children the school in Australia drops below the US price and for 4 kids the price is well below the US price. Primarily this is due to the fact that the government pays around $6500 per kid to the private school instead of the $14,000 per year to the public school for the same kid. This is similar to the voucher system that Florida had proposed and that some other states have adopted. It makes sense here and it working quite effectively. Also the government gives grants to ALL schools for construction as long as the construction is for the educational part of the campus. This would reduce the tuition fee to not have construction costs factored in as much. Again this makes sense the way they have done it here.

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