THE CLOSER

March 23, 2011Read: Matthew 24

"No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." -- Matthew 24:36

With baseball season approaching, we thought we'd warm everyone up for our favorite time of year by talking about the closer. For those who don't know, the closer is someone who specializes in sealing the deal. See, in baseball you play until the game is over. Not the case in other sports. Take basketball for instance. There's a minute left, you're up five points and rather than drive to the basket, you run out the clock. In football, you take a knee. Soccer, hockey -- you name it. Most major sports have a way to play it safe.

I think we all have the tendency to play it safe on occasion. As Christians, we can get into a mindset of "I'm saved, I can coast, I think I'll run out the clock today." But days can turn into weeks and weeks, years. Which reminds me, in baseball, there is no clock. You don't know how long a life -- I mean -- a game can last. Thus, the need for a closer. Someone who does his best work at the end.

Recently I read that Billy Graham hopes to preach one more time before the Lord takes him home. Even though he struggles to stand, Billy still wants the ball. Talk about a closer.

Now, granted, we're no Billy Grahams, you or I. Nobody's waiting to hear our last words. Or are they? The fact that we're reading this sentence means we're still in the game and the ball is in our hands. So stay warm. We just never know when we'll be needed to take the hill.

--J.P.

5 WAYS TO GET MORE SALMON

Tired of chicken breasts? Add some heart-healthy salmon into your weeknight meal plan. Here are five easy ways to prepare this healthy and sustainable, omega-3-packed fish.

Smoked Prepared smoked salmon is a great alternative when you don’t have time to cook. Wrap around asparagus stalks for a fancy but effortless appetizer or along with a salad for a light meal.

Poached Cooking salmon in a bath of wine, water and spices infuses it with flavor while keeping it tender and flaky. It keeps the calories low, too!

Grilled Thread chunks of skinless salmon onto skewers and grill for dinner in minutes. Sprinkle with a spice rub to add big flavor without marinating.

Wrapped Wrap salmon fillets in foil packets with lemon and fresh herbs for quick cooking and easy clean up.

Seared Finely chop fresh salmon in the food processor for a tasty burger. Flavor it up with sweet pineapple and spicy chili pepper then give a quick sear in a nonstick skillet.

Tell us your favorite recipe and it just might make our next book, PrayFit Family, due out this fall. Leave your recipe in the comments section below.

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.