Sunday, April 13, 2014
Spring! Yes, today is one of those wonderful, Spring-like days, and I hope it continues, leading directly into summer. As I think about this lovely day with God's sky full of puffy white clouds, the sun breaking through occasionally, the robins hopping along the ground, flowers beginning to peek their heads through the soft ground, I can't help but think of our amazing Elohim - Our Creator God.
Think about a world with no Creator in it. How boring! How monotonous! Same-old-same-old. But, we do have a Creator. One who daily paints the sky. A different color every day. Who sprinkles the night sky with millions of stars. Who adds a splash of color to the mountain peaks. Dots the ground with flowers of many varieties, and many colors. Adds interesting animal life; some scurrying here and there. Then completes his masterpiece by creating people - amazing people, colorful people, a variety of people. He places them in various locations throughout the world to compliment his artistic showcase. And when his creation is complete, he stands back and announces - "This is very good! Excellent!"
Let's not take our beautiful world for granted. Let's enjoy everything God has placed in it. After all, he created every bit of it for us to enjoy!
More importantly, let us remember that we are His most treasured creation, for we have been created in His image. Bottom line: We are created to image God. God longs to be seen in us. We are not a "nobody" but a "somebody" because we are a reflection of God. Indeed, we are royalty, because God is royalty - The King of Kings!
You, my dear friend, are God's greatest piece of work. Ephesians 2:10 tells us this (NLT) - "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Think about this. You are a MASTERPIECE!!!! How awesome is that! Not a piece of junk. Not a worthless nobody. Not a throw-away. You are a masterpiece!!! God said so. God created a perfect YOU.
As you begin your week, begin it enjoying everything our Elohim has given to us, but most important of all, praise him that as our Creator, our Elohim, we are a perfectly created image of God, and he loves us very, very much.
2-14.5 oz. cans apple pie filling (or cherry if you prefer)
1- 28 oz. can crushed pineapple, DRAINED
1 box yellow cake mix, dry
1-1/2 cup sweetened coconut, shredded
1-1/2 cup nuts (pecans or walnuts)
2 sticks of melted butter
Preheat oven to 350. Spread pie filling over bottom of 9x13 pan. Spread drained pineapple over this. Sprinkle the dry cake mix over the fruit, add a layer of coconut, finally the nuts. Pour the melted butter over the entire cake. Bake for 1 hour, or till golden brown. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream.
Monday, December 23, 2013
(Slow Cooker Pork Chops)
As we celebrate Christmas, there are many sounds and smells that remind us of the holiday. Christmas cookies baking. Chestnuts roasting on the fire. Your favorite meal baking in the oven. Snowflakes. Christmas cards. Favorite Christmas movies. Excited children. Shopping. Wrapping. All are fun things we experience. All are good things. For me the best part of Christmas is the music. I love Christmas music. I love being in church and singing the carols; hearing the Christmas story read from God's Word. As I thought about the "sounds" of Christmas, a short devotional was born. May I share it with you?
J-oy to the world! The Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and nature sing, and heaven and heaven and nature sing.
E-mmanuel. Emmanuel. His name is called Emmanuel. God is with us. He is with us. His name is called, Emmanuel.
S-ing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; Sing, all ye bright hosts of heaven above. Glory to God, all glory in the highest. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord.
U-nto us a child is born unto us a son is given. The government will rest on his shoulders and he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity.
S-weeter as the years go by, Sweeter as the years go by: Richer, fuller, deeper, Jesus' love is sweeter, Sweeter as the years go by.
Is this your Christmas experience? Can you sing "Joy to the World" that God sent this precious Gift for you. This Gift that assures you of sins forgiven and the promise of eternal life?
Do you experience every single day that "God is with you". He is you know. His name reminds us of that. The name Joseph and Mary gave to their precious Son - Emmanuel- which means "God with us".
Is there a song of rejoicing in your heart, not only at this season of the year but throughout the year? Do you hear the angels singing? Does your heart join them in song as you "come and adore Him"? My wish for you is that you would experience true rejoicing every single day of 2014 as you adore the Christ; Jesus the Son of God, because truly He is our "Wonderful Counselor. Our Mighty God. Our Everlasting Father. Our Price of Peace".
If you know the Christ of Christmas personally as your Lord and Savior, then I trust it is your experience that Jesus does, indeed, grow "sweeter as the years go by". I cannot imagine life without him in it. No matter where my journey in life takes me, whether it is a journey of joy or sorrow, knowing that Jesus is with me truly does make the journey less painful and much sweeter.
"For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him." (John 3:16, 17) Invite Jesus into your life this Christmas to know the real meaning and joy of the season.
Slow-Cooker Pork Chops
4 1" thick pork chops
1 can cream of Chicken Soup
1 package of Ranch Dressing mix
Put Chops in the bottom of your crock pot. Spoon the soup over the chops. Sprinkle the Ranch Dressing mix over all. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low.
Sunday, November 24, 2013
(Recipe: Turkey Tetrazzini - using leftovers)
When you think of the word "Thanksgiving", what comes to mind? Do you gravitate toward the day itself, thinking of all the feasting you will be doing? All the "yummy" food you will be eating. Family and friends who will be present?
Does the story of the Pilgrims celebrating that first Thanksgiving in 1621 come to mind? Do you think of the first national day of Thanksgiving held in 1789 when President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26 to be a "day of public thanksgiving and prayer?" Do you even care about the history of this day and how we came to celebrate it?
I have to admit, I do not usually think about the history of the day. I simply know it is a day to celebrate with my family, a day to enjoy some special foods, and a day to give thanks and praise to God for his many blessings bestowed upon me and my family this past year.
With this thought in mind, and as we celebrate this Thanksgiving Day, let's do so in the context of what God says in his Word. Meditate on the following Scripture verses, and perhaps share one during your time of celebration.
Psalm 27:6b, 7 - "I come to your altar, O Lord, singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your wonders." Share the many wonders God has shown you this year.
Psalm 28:7 - "The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving." Sing a song of thanksgiving together as you gather around the dinner table.
Psalm 100:4-5 - "Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good. His unfailing love continues forever, and his faithfulness continues to each generation." Share some of the "good" things God has brought your way.
Psalm 95:2-3 - "Let us come to him with thanksgiving. Let us sing psalms of praise to him. For the Lord is a great God, a great King above all gods." Rejoice in the greatness of God.
2 Corinthians 9:15 - "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!" Thank God for Jesus.
No matter what you may be going through. No matter what heartache you may be experiencing. No matter what disappointment you may be feeling or what change of plans you may be experiencing, in all these - and more - we can thank God that he has his best plans in mind for us.
The Message states it well: Jeremiah 29:11 - "I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out — plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for."
As you celebrate your Thanksgiving Day, take some time to give thanks to God.
Leftover Turkey Recipe - Turkey Tetrazzini
1 8-oz. package cooked egg noodles
2 T. butter
1 small can sliced mushrooms
1 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. pepper
2 cups chopped turkey
1 can condensed cream of celery soup
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
Cook pasta 8 minutes. Drain. Preheat oven to 375.
Melt butter in large skillet. Saute mushrooms for 1 minute. Season with S & P. Stir in turkey, soup, and sour cream. Pour into 9 x 13 pan. Pour sauce over all. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or till bubbly.
If choose, can add crushed Ritz cracker crumbs over top before baking.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
(Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup)
Several years ago someone sent me the following "commitment" statement. I recently came across it again and was challenged by its words. I'm not sure who wrote this initially, but they are to be commended for their insight. Thank you so much. May you be challenged and encouraged as I have been again.
My Commitment As A Christian!
I'm part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus Christ. I won't look back, let up, slow down back away, or be still. My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure.
I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.
I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.
My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear. I cannot be bought, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.
I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up for the cause of Christ.
I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stop me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me - my banner will be clear!
This is the kind of victorious Christian life I desire to live - a life totally committed to my Savior. How about you?
Butternut Squash Soup
1/4 Cup chopped onion
1 Tbsp butter
3 Cups cubed peeled butternut squash
1 Medium potato, peeled and cubed
1-1/2 Cups water
1-1/2 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 Cup evaporated milk
In small saucepan, saute onion in butter until tender. Add squash and potato; cook and stir for 2 minutes. Add the water, bouillon, salt and pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until vegetables are tender
Cool slightly. In a blender, cover and process soup until smooth. Return to pan, stir in milk and heat through. Yield: 2 servings
Sunday, September 8, 2013
(Crockpot Cashew Chicken)
In John 21:15ff, Peter was asked three very important questions by Jesus. These questions were not meant to trick Peter. Not meant to embarrass him. Rather, Jesus wanted to know what was really going on inside the heart and mind of Peter. What did Jesus really mean to Peter?
After Jesus had prepared breakfast for his disciples of fish and tasty bread, he drew Peter aside and begins to question him. Question one, “Peter, Do you love me MORE THAN THESE?” This was a personal question. Jesus was testing Peter to see inside his heart. How great was his love toward Jesus. He loved his friends, but what about Jesus? Peter had spent three years with these friends. He would have done anything for them. He loved them dearly. Jesus knew that. What Jesus wanted to know was, “Would Peter do anything for Jesus? Did he love Jesus more than he loved his family and friend?
The second question he asked him was, “Do YOU love me?” Peter, how deep is your love? Will you step out of your comfort zone for me? Are you willing to die for me? Will you fight for me?” “Peter, do you really and truly love me enough to go where I send you, say what I tell you to say, live as I expect you to live, die in the manner I choose for you, all without giving objection or argument?” “Peter, does every part of you love Me?”
His third question was, “Peter, Do you love ME?” Peter, am I the most important person in your life? If you had no one else, would I be enough? Do you love me enough to trust my lead? Do you love me enough to win a lost world to Me? Peter, do you love me more than life itself?”
“Peter, is your love toward me an intimate kind of love. Only Me, and no one else?”
Without hesitation, Peter answered “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.”
Jesus then tells Peter to go out into the world and live the name of Jesus before others, sharing the Good News of the Gospel, winning lost souls into the Kingdom of God. Peter does a pretty good job of proving his love to Jesus. It was Peter who penned the words in 1 Peter 2:21, “For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.” Peter walked in the steps of Jesus.
Jesus asks the same thing of us. How do we respond? How deep is our love? How sincere is our love? What are we willing to risk for Jesus? How much of my life am I ready to surrender to prove my love? Am I willing to go where he asks me to go, speak what he asks me to speak, and share the Good News with those God brings into my path?
There is a lost world around us. The only way mankind will be brought into the Kingdom of God is if we do what we were designed to do – “Go into all the world and preach the Good News”. It may require risk. It may require sacrifice. It may result in the lost of friendships. Do we love Jesus enough to step up and step out, completely surrendering my comforts for the sake of the Gospel?
Jesus said to Peter, “Feed my sheep.” His message to us is still the same. “Feed my sheep.” Feed them the story of the Good News of the Gospel so they may leave their life of wandering and come into the safety of the sheepfold.
Crockpot Cashew Chicken
2 lbs. boneless chicken tenders
¼ cup flour
½ tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. ketchup
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp. fresh ginger
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
½ cup cashews
Combine flour and pepper. Dip chicken in this mixture. Heal oil. On medium heat, brown chicken in oil (1 minute per side). Place in slow cooker. Combine soy sauce, vinegar, ketchup, sugar, garlic, ginger and pepper flakes in bowl. Pour over chicken. Cook in crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. Add cashews and stir. Serve over rice. Makes 4-6 servings.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Must a person be “important” to be an effective minister for God? Do they need to be “well known”. We often think that unless we have a visible ministry, we really are not doing much for God. I truly believe that God is more pleased with those who minister “behind the scenes” than those who are the “players on the stage.” Think of the many people in Scripture, who have no name, and yet God placed them in the right place at the right time so they might carry on a particular ministry that only they could accomplish for the glory of God. They will be greatly rewarded – just as those of us who serve anonymously will be greatly rewarded.
With this thought in mind, I would like us to think about a few of these “unnamed” individuals that God used so mightily.
Do you know the name of Paul’s nephew who so courageously saved him from death? His story can be found in Acts 23:12-22. Paul’s nephew hears of a plot to have Paul killed. He carries this news to Paul, who asks that he be taken to the commander. The commander listens, taking this news seriously. Paul is safely led out of the prison to another location – all because ‘someone’ was brave enough to share news he had overheard. Paul’s story would have been entirely different had it not been for his nephew!
Do you know the name of the little boy who gave Jesus his lunch? I wonder why God doesn’t share this with us? Would it really matter if he had? Would the story have turned out any differently? One little boy, perhaps sitting with his parents listening to Jesus teach. It was announced that it was lunch time. The disciples encouraged people to go on their way. Jesus said that lunch was on him. Only problem, he needed some food. A little boy left the safety of his parents and went to Jesus offering him what he had. Five loaves and two fish. It wasn’t much, but it was enough. Jesus took this offered lunch, gave it back to God, and God multiplied it to feed the crowd of 5,000 plus. God used an unnamed boy to complete a miracle.
Do you know the name of the little maid who had great influence in the life of Naaman? His story is found in 2 Kings 5. Naaman, who was a great warrior and commander of king Aram’s army suffered from leprosy. Naaman’s wife had a little maid who worked for her. One day this little girl came to her mistress and said, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.” One little girl who had a great amount of faith!
These words get back to the king, who told Naaman to go visit this prophet. How the king must have loved this man! When Naaman meets the prophet Elisha, he is given this response – “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
What? Seems like an odd request. Naaman thought so too. In fact, he becomes angry at these words and stalked away. Thank God for rational people who traveled with him! They encourage him to do as he was told by the prophet. Naaman does. He goes to the river. Dips himself seven times and is immediately healed. He exclaims, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel....” One little girl, with no name, changed the course of this great man.
Where are you serving the Lord today? Does anyone know? Does anyone even care? God does. He knows exactly what you are doing, why you are doing so, and to whom you are ministering to. Keep working. The only person we truly have to please is God and the only person who really needs to know is God. I love doing things “behind the scenes” and knowing God is smiling at my service. “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” – Psalm 100:2 (KJV)
1 cup Original Bisquick® mix
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 cup sugar
1 can (29 ounces) sliced peach, drained
1 Heat oven to 375ºF. Stir together Bisquick mix, milk and nutmeg in ungreased square baking dish, 8x8x2 inches. Stir in butter until blended. Stir together sugar and peaches; spoon over batter. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until golden.
Serve warm with ice cream, a drizzle with caramel topping and a sprinkling of toasted pecans--a delicious way to dazzle your family!
Sprinkle coarse decorating sugar over the dough before baking.
Double the recipe! Make as directed, except double all the ingredients and use a rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
(Recipe: Oven roasted corn-on-the-cob)
I would like to share some “Food for Thought” with you today. Something I came across while cleaning out some old papers. The author of this little piece is unknown, but the truth of what is written is priceless.
WHY GOD CALLED YOU
There are many reasons why God shouldn’t have called you. But don’t worry. You’re in good company. MOSES stuttered. DAVIDS' armor didn’t fit. JOHN MARK was rejected by Paul. TIMOTHY had ulcers. HOSEAS' wife was a prostitute. AMOS’ only training was in the school of fig tree pruning. JACOB was a liar. DAVID had an affair. SOLOMON was too rich. JESUS was too poor. ABRAHAM was too old. DAVID was too young. PETER was afraid of death. LAZARUS was dead. JOHN was self-righteous. NAOMI was a widow. PAUL was a murderer. So was MOSES. JONAH ran from God. MIRIAM was a gossip. GIDEON and THOMAS both doubted. JEREMIAH was a bullfrog (just kidding); he was depressed and suicidal. ELIJAH was burned out. JOHN the BAPTIST was a loudmouth. MARTHA was a worrywart. MARY was lazy. SAMSON had long hair.
NOAH got drunk. Did I mention that MOSES had a short fuse? So did PETER, PAUL –well, lots of folks did. But God doesn’t require a job interview. He doesn’t hire and fire like most bosses, because He is more our Dad than our Boss. He doesn’t look at financial gain or loss. He is not prejudiced or partial, not judging, grudging, sassy, or brassy, not deaf to our cry, not blind to our need. As much as we try, God’s gifts are free. We could do wonderful things for wonderful people and still not be...Wonderful.
Satan says, ‘You’re not worthy.’ Jesus says, ‘So what? I AM.’ Satan looks back and sees our mistakes. God looks back and sees the cross. He doesn’t calculate what you did in ’88. It’s not even on the record. Sure there are lots of reasons why God shouldn’t have called us. But if we are magically in love with Him, if we hunger for Him more than our next breath, He will use us in spite of who we are, where we’ve been, or what we look like.
I pray that as Christians, we will step out of our limitations into the illimitable nature of who God is. Then our passion for God and our passion to communicate to Him will make mincemeat of our limitations.
“When Jesus heard this, he told them, ‘Healthy people don’t need a doctor-sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.’” - Mark 2:17 (NLT)
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” - Romans 10:13
Oven Roasted Corn-on-the-Cob
Place your un-husked corn on a baking sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. (baking your corn seals in the juices and flavor)
Remove from oven. Cut the large end of the cob, and peel back the husk and the silk. The silk will be easily removed. Serve with butter, S & P.