Happy Thanksgiving

 

This year I am thankful that we have the opportunity to glorify God’s name. The Bible says, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come…”. Revelation 14:7. But how does one give God glory, He is already glorious.  I searched and found some texts that show some of the ways we can glorify Him.

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“Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me…”  Psalm 50:23


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“Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John 14:13


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“I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do.” John 17: 4


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“O LORD, You are my God; I will exalt You, I will give thanks to Your name; For You have worked wonders…” Isaiah 25:1


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“… whoever serves is to do so as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified…” 1 Peter 4:11


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“… glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:20


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“My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:8


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“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16


hundredpercent_featured “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31


hand-1549399_1920 “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more… to the glory and praise of God.”  Philippians 1:9-11


Since the bible instructs us to glorify God, this Thanksgiving, I invite you to…

“… magnify the LORD with me, And let us exalt His name together.” Psalm 34:3

by our loving words, thoughts and actions.

 

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Gluten Free Thanksgiving Entree

There are a growing number of people who are gluten free. If you are one of these people and also eat a plant based diet there are times, like holidays, when what is on your plate is not as appetizing as what is on other people’s plates. Well this is the last year for that!  Here is a gluten free recipe for a Thanksgiving entrée that even meat eaters will love.

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Gluten Free Bread Stuffing

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1 loaf multi grain gluten free bread, cut into small cubes.

1/2 teaspoon each chopped fresh rosemary, thyme and sage

2 cups celery chopped small 

1 cup thinly sliced onions

2 tablespoons olive oil

  1. Take the cut bread and bake it on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The bread should be well toasted and firm, but not too hard to chew. In the meantime begin step 2.
  2. Put the oil in a small pot, add the celery and cover.  With the heat at medium-high let the celery get hot enough so it begins to sweat. Stir in the onion.  Lower the heat and continue cooking covered until the vegetables are soft, but not turning brown. Stir the vegetables occasionally.
  3. Add the toasted bread cubes to the sautéed vegetables and stir to mix.
  4. Cover the pot and let it sit off the heat for at least 30 minutes so the bread gets soft from the steam coming off the vegetables.
  5. If you feel that the bread is not getting soft enough, you can drizzle small amounts of vegan chicken seasoning that has been mixed in water, until you get your desired softness.

 


Thanksgiving Roasted Portabello Mushroom

Marinade

3 tablespoons sesame seed oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons McKay’s Chicken Style Seasoning, Vegan

2 large portobello mushrooms, prepared

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Prepare the mushrooms by cutting off the stem and taking the black fins off with a spoon. Next score the bottom of the mushrooms about 1/8 inch thick into the flesh.

Make the marinade by putting the sesame seed oil, lemon juice and vegan chicken seasoning into a small bowl and mixing together.

Put the prepared mushrooms into a gallon sized freezer plastic bag and pour the marinade on them. Remove as much of the air as possible and seal the bag. Move the marinade around so all sides of the mushrooms are coated. Let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.Take the mushrooms out of the marinade and fry the tops for 5 minutes. Fry them in what ever amount of marinade is left on them. You can add some more marinade if necessary so they don’t stick to the pan, but you don’t want to have greasy mushrooms.  Fry on high heat to get a light crusty top on the mushrooms.

IMG_0548Bake the mushrooms on a rack that has been put in a cookie sheet. This will allow the mushroom liquid to drop down into the cookie sheet and not make the mushrooms slimy. Bake for 5 minutes on each side. Take them out and serve them on top of some gluten free stuffing.Garnish and serve.

 

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Coconut Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

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Thanksgiving’s menu is about tradition. This is how I traditionally serve sweet potatoes on this holiday. The recipe takes the ordinary casserole with marshmallows and jettisons it to up to a different plane. I have served these many times and the reaction is always the same.  “Wow, those sweet potatoes are really great!  Can I have the recipe?” I originally shared the recipe before Thanksgiving 2015, but traditions are about repetition.  So here it is again. I hope it becomes part of your holiday tradition.

1 – 2     medium fleshed orange sweet potatoes, thinly sliced

1 can   coconut milk

1/2 cup  raw cashews

2 tbsp  cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp  vanilla

1/2 tsp  salt

Put the sliced sweet potatoes in greased muffin cups.  Stack the slices above the level of the top of the cups.  This will give the top layer of slices crinkled edges.  Blend the rest of the ingredients.  It is alright to leave some small cashew chunks.  They will give the dish additional texture.  Slowly drizzle the coconut milk batter into the muffin tins until they are full of liquid.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Let them cool 5 to 10 minutes to make the potato cups easier to remove from the pan.

You can find this and other recipes in my book Satisfy Thy Mouth.  More than just a cookbook, it is a resource which explains how health changes are possible without the struggles most people face.  Buy your copy today and enjoy this and other delicious plant based recipes for the holidays or read it online at our Free Online Library

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Layered Water

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I often forget drinks when hosting a holiday meal, they seem so unimportant when compared to all the amazing food that has to be cooked.  Here is a wonderfully stunning recipe. It is sweet and tart. And the best thing is can be prepared a few hours before you plan to eat and just left to sit on the dinner table until the meal is ready.

Into a clear 16 ounce glass, place the following ingredients in order. Do not stir the ingredients or move the glasses too much. The goal is to get everything to remain in layers.

  1. 1 teaspoon Old Orchard Cranberry Blend Frozen Concentrate.
  2. Fill the entire glass with crushed ice.
  3. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
  4. Using a spoon pour water into the glass until it reaches 1 inch from the top.
  5. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon pomegranate seeds on top of the ice.
  6. Decoratively place a 3 – 4 inch rosemary sprig into the glass.
  7. Let the ice melt.
  8. The drinks will be ready to serve when the ice is mostly melted. The time it takes will depend on how warm it is in the room. It took about 2 hours in our 70 degree room.

 

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We are Adopted Children

This post is in honor of National Adoption Day, which is every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.


We were born strangers and orphans, yet God adopted us.

adoption-1057639_1920He said “…I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters…” 2 Corinthians 6:18

He is “…a father to the fatherless…” Psalm 68: 5, 6

In Him “…the fatherless find compassion.” Hosea 14:3

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans…”  James 1: 27


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“Those who accept Christ… are not left as orphans, to bear the trials of life alone. He receives them as members of the heavenly family; He bids them call His Father their Father. They are His “little ones,” dear to the heart of God, bound to Him by the most tender and abiding ties. He has toward them an exceeding tenderness, as far surpassing what our father or mother has felt toward us in our helplessness as the divine is above the human.”

 

adoption-177427_1920“Christ loves the heavenly beings that surround His throne; but what shall account for the great love wherewith He has loved us? We cannot understand it, but we can know it true in our own experience. And if we do hold the relation of kinship to Him, with what tenderness should we regard those who are brethren and sisters of our Lord! Should we not be quick to recognize the claims of our divine relationship? Adopted into the family of God, should we not honor our Father and our kindred?”  The Desire of Ages, page 327


I am grateful to the Warner family for sharing their photos with me.

 

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Let Me Serve You

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There was a time, when my children were in their teens, that I disliked them.


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I disliked their arrogance.

I disliked their entitlement.


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I disliked their work ethic.

I disliked how they ‘took advantage of me’.


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I loved them, but I disliked a lot about them.


Being a homeschooling family meant that I was with them almost 24/7, so there were lots of opportunities to be upset with them. My bad character reacted negatively with their teenage stuff and like the woman in proverbs, “I tore my house down with my own hands.” Proverbs 14: 1

I thank God that he let me realize my response to their behavior was creating more problems than their attitudes. Because of that I prayed and prayed for help. And God gave it in a very strange way. He inspired me to ‘serve’ them. “For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

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So, I literally started serving them. When they irritated me, I would serve them their food at the next meal. Since our habit was eating buffet style, they found it strange.  

 

“Why are you serving my food? ”

“Oh for no reason, I just thought I would serve you and make you happy.”

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Dishing up their food became therapy for my irritable spirit. I first started offering their food to them hiding a resentful heart, but as I continued acting out this principle, my feelings changed. Soon the things that had bothered me, didn’t. I actually served them their plates in love.

It is strange how doing something because the bible says so changes us. Choosing to do them good strengthened a spiritual muscle that I was able to exercise when they were doing things that vexed me.

After a while, I confessed my tactic. They were surprised.

“All those times you served our food, you were actually frustrated with us?”

“Yes, but God changed my heart and now I serve you just because I want to.”

So all these years later, sometimes I like to serve my adult children their plates of food.  When I do, they grin and ask, “Are we irritating you?” I am so grateful the Lord took a problem I could not solve and changed it into a happy memory.

“You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness.”  Psalm 30:11


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The Obsession

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He walks down my street every day.  He carries a white shoulder bag as he carefully takes his Seven – Five – Seven – Two – Nine – Seven steps.  Between each series he pauses and it is obvious he is counting seconds as he waits to begin his march again.  Sometimes he pretends to be busy with something other than the routine.  He will check his watch, look at flowers or adjust something in his bag.  He proffers the appearance of a leisurely stroll, but the overmastering purpose is clear.  He is a captive to the ritual.

The third time I saw him do this I realized his saunter was more than a constitution.  I saw it was constitutional; a deep-seated or inherent process that possessed him.  And since chaos scares me, I saw him as a threat.  But months have gone by and summer is over and today he is walking in a cold autumn rain.  Water is pouring into his shoes from his pant legs, his hat and coat are soaked, and I wondered, “What will he do when it snows?”  But I know the answer.  He will worship with zeal.  He will parade down my street in the midst of lake effect snow and count out his Seven – Five – Seven – Two – Nine – Seven steps.  I feel so sorry for him.  I wish I could free him from slavery.  But I realize he finds a kind of freedom in the daily drill.  It keeps his demons at bay.  So even though he is a slave, he is free.  The ritual affords him the ability to cope.  Within its borders he is protected from anxieties that incapacitate him.  Without it, darkness would possess his soul and he could not survive.  So in a sense his faithfulness to the obsession keeps him alive.

I am sorry to say I am not as steadfast as that man, but I want to be.  I want to be obsessed with Him that keeps me free through storms.  I want to study and pray and worship Christ; for He is my freedom.  And like this serial walker, I want to be a slave.  I want to be captive to God.  For He destroys all my demons.  He calms my soul.  I know there is a heaven to hope for, but today there is a liberty to live out.   For I was born to be free (Galatians 5:13).

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“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” Galatians 5:1 

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500 Years Later

I originally posted this blog on May 5, 2016, but I thought I would post it again in honor of the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses.


 

martin-luther-bannerMartin Luther changed the world. His accomplishments are more than the 95 thesis. He translated the Bible into German. The words he used in the translation changed the vernacular and culture of the German people. He wrote songs we still sing today. He improved education, shifting it from training students to be replicas of their masters, into teaching them to think for themselves. His contribution to our society was not just the spiritual freedom he championed. What he did touches all parts of our lives

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I once read a Roman Catholic document from his era that called his movement the “great rebellion”. Whether what he did was reform or rebel, one thing is certain, his work would have been obscure had he not stood on the shoulders of other men. One of these men was John Wycliffe (1320 – 1384). Wycliffe effectually stated that the only reliable guide to truth is the Bible. He also said that every man is capable of understanding its salvific teachings, without professional church-men explaining it. On May 4, 1415, he was declared a heretic and all of his writings were banned. Thirteen years later his bones were exhumed, burned and the ashes thrown into the River Swift. The whole of his life work and his remains were thought to have been swept from the face of history. But John Wycliffe is considered the Morning Star of the Reformation. His work in England was built upon and culminated in the Great Reformation in Germany. Wycliffe, like Luther after him, was a transitional person. He catapulted history in a new direction. And he, like Luther was great.

There are times I think about my life and I see that my origins, my mistakes and my rebellion have left scars on me and those I love. I wish I could go back and do things over with the knowledge I now have. I am sure we all feel that way sometimes. But I can’t go back and live my broken childhood over. And the poor choices I have made are cemented in history; but today I can start my own reformation. I can be a morning star. I can be the transitional person in my ancestry. Today, my marriage can be better than my parent’s. My children can be raised in a better home than where I grew up. Today, I can make decisions that will change the course of history. Today, I can prepare the way for someone like Martin Luther to start a revolution that will topple family woundedness in an entire nation.

But sometimes thinking about the past can leave me discouraged about the future. Well, I choose not to wallow in “what-ifs”. I have decided that if I can’t go all the way up the mountain of change, I will go as far as I can with Christ; and once there deposit my children on an escarpment where no one in my family has ever been before. And hopefully they will carry on and be transitional people too.

“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.…” Phil 3:13, 14

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Avinu Malkenu

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This Jewish prayer is sung on the Day of Atonement, which is celebrated from October 29 through the thirtieth this year.  This festival falls on the first month of the Jewish civil calendar.  Because ancient Jews had both civil and religious calendars the month of September – October is sometimes considered the Jewish New Year, even though the religious new year occurs in the spring.

This Biblical holiday is the most important feast for Christianity.  Although we usually focus on Passover, which is Easter, the Day of Atonement is actually our great expectation.  Like all Biblical feasts this one is a story that describes Jesus and His ministry. During Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, the high priest, who represented Jesus, removed the record of all sin from the camp.  This feast tells us what Christ is doing for us today.  And so with that in mind I share this prayer with you.  May you be blessed with its fulfillment.

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Hear our prayer.


guy-2617866_1920 We have sinned before Thee.


family-2517894_1920 Have compassion upon us and upon our children.


dove-2680487_1920 Help us bring an end to pestilence, war, and famine.


no-hate-2019922_1920 Cause all hate and oppression to vanish from the earth.


love-2647700_1920 Inscribe us for blessing in the Book of Life.


calendar-2626675_1920 Let the (civil) New Year be a good year for us.

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The Wedding Dress

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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about God’s romance with us and how we need to get dressed so we can go to the wedding supper with Him. This week I want to discuss the wedding garment. The bible says, God expects us to wear specific wedding attire. “She was given clothing of fine linen, linen bright and pure. For the fine linen she wears is the righteous acts of the saints.” Revelation 19:8.

The clothing is symbolic.  It represents the righteous acts of the saints. The phrase, righteous acts, actually comes from a Greek word which is defined “an ordinance, a sentence of acquittal or condemnation, a righteous deed” (Citation).  This word has a legal component.  It is a judgment given either for or against a person.  It echoes the work done in the Biblical feast of the Day of Atonement.

Like all Bible feasts, the Day of Atonement, is a story that describes some of the work Jesus does in our behalf. During Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, judgment was made acquitting or condemning ancient Israel. Each person was supposed to confess his sins, believing that God would blot out the ones they had repented of. These sins had to be blotted out because a catalogue of forgiven sins was archived in the blood that had been sprinkled in the sanctuary. Every day the blood was put on various parts of the temple and the stains kept a historical record of sin. The rituals on the Day of Atonement erased them.  By the end of the day any person who had not confessed all their sins was exiled.

How does that translate to us? Well, we are God’s people just like ancient Israel was.  And we are to believe Christ blots out our sins from the heavenly archives.  Actually, the story of the judgment in the Day of Atonement is mentioned in the New Testament.   Revelation 14: 7 says, “Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come…”  Daniel 7: 9, 10, 22  expounds on it. “As I looked, thrones were placed, and the Ancient of Days took his seat… and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him… the court sat in judgment, and the books were opened… and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High…”

This special day is a wonderful time in Bible liturgy because in it we are acquitted and no record of our wretchedness remains because “as far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.”  Psalm 103: 12

This year the Day of Atonement is celebrated October 29 – 30th.  Let us enter this heavenly holiday with our sins confessed, and confident that Christ removes all our failures so far away from us that they can never be found.


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Not Lobster Bisque

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I love the ocean and having lived most of my life in New England there are certain things that feel like autumn, like the colors on the trees changing, the bright smell of frost in the morning and beach cookouts.  In the fall, most of the sun worshipers are gone from the shore and only those in love with the surf remain. One of the romantic things of autumn beach combing is the food.  People in Massachusetts love seafood and lobster is their prime choice.

Now, lobster is not a healthy thing to eat.  Not only is it a living creature, but it eats the filth at the bottom of the sea.  The old saying, “You are what you eat.” is true.   And since lobsters eat sea muck, they are mucky too. So for those of you who still want to have a beach cook out, bring the side dishes and leave the lobster in the ocean.  Roast your red potatoes, grill your corn and try making this Not Lobster Bisque ahead of time. To be honest, it does not taste like lobster, but it is healthier than lobster and it tastes really good.

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Not Lobster Bisque

2 stalks celery

2 medium carrots

1 small red onion

2 medium leeks

3  garlic cloves

2 roma tomatoes

1 tablespoon olive oil

Clean and cut all the vegetables; then pour the olive oil on them.  Put in a pan and roast them in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes, then stir them.  Roast another 5 – 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.  Take the vegetables out of the oven and let them cool a little.  Put them in the blender and add:

1 1/2 cups  vegetable stock

2 1/2 teaspoons kelp powder (if your store does not carry kelp powder in a bag, you can substitute nutritional kelp powder capsules.  If so, use 13 capsules.  Open them up, sprinkle the powder on the stock and throw the capsules away.  Kelp powder is not as obscure as you may think.  I find mine at Walmart).

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce

1 – 2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning, or to taste

Blend all the ingredients until it is smooth.  Heat through and serve.


 

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  • Not Lobster Bisque
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It Is Time To Dress

statue-adam-eve-garden-eden-581805-printWe often look at biblical love stories to find out how we should behave in relationships and this is right. We should dwell on Adam and Eve.  Their Edenic love story teaches the ideal. We should study Abraham and Sarah. They exemplify a love that overcomes obstacles. Reading about Isaac and Rebekah inspires us in believing God’s providence can bring romance out of nowhere and at any age. And we could mention Jacob and Rachel, David and Bathsheba and others. But we seldom look at the entire bible as a love story. Still, that is what it is. Humanity is Christ’s bride. (Isaiah 54:5). And the whole bible from beginning to end is the world’s greatest love story. It is the tragic, yet beautiful saga of God wooing His bride.

Adam-and-EveAt the fall, mankind severed his relationship with God. And from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22 we see God trying to restore it. At first the Lord focused on a single family.  Abram’s family was chosen as the one through whom He would bless humanity. The plan was for Him to marry Abram’s descendants and through them bring salvation in the birth of His Son.  In Exodus the Lord courted his future bride.  In it we see the suitor find the girl and rescue her from a bad situation.  He provided for and protected her. He did great feats in her behalf and finally swept her off her feet, taking her away from a toxic abuser. In chapter 20, the Ten Commandments were promises they made to each other.  From this beginning one would hope they lived happily ever after.

The relationship had problems right from the start. But none of that failure was God’s. He was the great romancer. He was the perfect suitor, husband and the best of friends. He loved His bride flawlessly, yet she broke His heart every chance she got. He declared, “What could have been done more to my vineyard (bride) that I have not done in it?” Isaiah 5:4.  But despite His perfect love, the relationship was a total bust.

children-652270_1920Like the fractured personality of a person with dissociative identity disorder, Christ’s fiancee became two women.  The Lord Himself  divided her, not because she was mentally ill, but because she was rebellious.  Judah and Israel became twin sisters in a relationship with the same Man. After a while, Israel refused Him completely and He divorced her. He embassy-2052553_1920continued trying to make things work with Judah, but she followed in the example of her sister. “Have you seen what faithless Israel did?  She went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and she was a harlot there. I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a writ of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and was a harlot also.”  Jeremiah 3: 6 – 8.  With anguish these verses recount the abuse He took from His beloved brides. But the story did not end there.

copper-1649649_1920Judah did not only follow in her sisters footsteps, she went further. “Men give gifts to all harlots, but you give your gifts to all your lovers to bribe them to come to you from every direction for your harlotries. Thus you are different from those women in your harlotries, in that no one plays the harlot as you do, because you give money and no money is given you; thus you are different.” Ezekiel 16: 33, 34. In an effort to save His fianceé from self-destruction, God took a break from the relationship and sent her to Babylon.  There she had the opportunity to remember where she came from. She was supposed to recall her original captivity in Egypt and appreciate how God had rescued her. And for a time she did. She straightened up her act and after 70 years of being separated, she was brought home.

If this was a hollywood movie, the story would end here and the couple would live in peace. But reality is never like the movies. Judah had not really changed. She actually just went undercover. Instead of flagrantly abusing her boyfriend, she complied with the expectations of the relationship, but underneath she still hated everything He stood for. bride groomCenturies went by and finally, Jesus came to give her His blood as the engagement gift. And instead of treasuring Him, she killed Him. There was nothing left for Him to do. He divorced her and chose her cousin, the New Testament church, to be His future wife.

This new relationship is fraught with difficulties too, but this time Jesus will get to take His bride home to His father and consummate the relationship. He longingly waits for the wedding feast. It is a wonder to me that He has chosen us.  It is a greater miracle still that He allows us to have power over His heart.  I hope to hasten the ending to this epic story by being faithful to our excellent Lover and getting ready to go home with Him. It is time to dress, so He can have His dream come true.

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“Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” Revelation 19: 7

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Stuffed Red Pepper Rolls

This is a great recipe.  It is one of my favorites and I could eat these Stuffed Red Pepper Rolls every day.  You can find this and other delicious 100% plant based recipes in my pdf cookbook: Satisfy Thy Mouth: With Good Things.

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8 medium roasted red peppers

1 batch Almond Ricotta Like Cheese

Slice the roasted red peppers on one side so that they can lay open, like a sheet of paper.  Fill the peppers with dollops of Almond Ricotta Like Cheese and then roll them like cigars.  Place them on a serving platter with the seam side down.  You may have to cut each pepper into 2 – 3 lengths so the rolls are not too fat.

Gluten free.


 

Download my free recipes:

  • Almond Ricotta Like Cheese
  • Stuffed Red Pepper Rolls

 


 

October 1 is World Vegetarian Day.  It is the national kickoff to World Vegetarian Month. Why not learn some new meatless recipes in my pdf book…

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You can purchase it here, or read at our Free Online Library.

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Blow Wind

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There’s a wind blowing on the horizon,

And it’s churning the waters of strife.

I can see them they’re quickly approaching;

They will prove who’s in charge of my life.

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Blow wind, blow wind;

Raise the waves and stir up the foam.

Blow wind, blow wind;

Fill my sails and carry me home.

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There’s a gale and it’s coming much closer,

Evil men perch their boats on it’s waves.

Merchandise and the gold that they carry;

Will be cast to the dust and the caves.

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Blow wind, blow wind,

Raise the waves and stir up the foam.

Blow wind, blow wind,

Fill my sails and carry me home.

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There’s a cyclone and it is upon me,

I am pressed by the weight of the wave.

Still I sleep in sure safety and comfort,

For I’m tied to the Mast that can save.

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Blow wind, blow wind,

Raise the waves and stir up the foam.

Blow wind, blow wind,

Fill my sails and carry me home.

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The Sixth Love Language

Be careful…

Watch your step…

Slow down…

These are warnings all parents say.

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I believe warnings are the sixth love language. They are like lighthouses that guide us through stormy seas. Revelation 3:19 says, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten…”  We admonish our children because we love them, just like God loves us.  So why is it that if we give a child $20 they appreciate it more than if we give them 20 cautions?  It could be human nature and a distaste of censure or it might be an overabundance of the gift.

What is your love language?  Some feel loved when words of affirmation are spoken.  Others feel loved with quality time, physical touch or gifts.  I feel love with  acts of service.  But if my husband started doing everything for me, that very important expression of love would become repulsive.  I think that is the primary reason why our children grow weary of the sixth love language.  We over do it.  I know I do.

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I worry and fear when I see where certain choices tend to.  I caution them because I want their road to be as smooth as possible.  Like God, I want them to have “peace, and not… evil, (I want them to have) an expected end.”  Jeremiah 29:11.  But I have had to learn to take my cue from God.  He gives warnings, it is true, but the greater part of the bible is full of promises and encouragement.  An informal source says there are over 3500 promises in the bible.  And I am sure those are just overt promises. I doubt they include promises that are couched in stories and parables.  Even without hard statistics, it is easy to see that God’s favorite spoken way of expressing love is words of affirmation.  He warns and corrects us in measure, but affirmation is poured in torrents.  And these promises are the very things that provide our ‘expected end’.

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“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature.”  2 Peter 1:4


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Adam Lived Alone

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And God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them… but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.” Genesis 2:19, 20

 

It did not take long, for that perfect mind to grasp the fundamental concept that a he needs a she.  Every mammal, reptile, bird, fish and bug was an anthropological study that said, “Society is based on him and her”.

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So though Adam worked, he knew he was alone. And after naming each pair he thought, “The next creature He brings me must be my mate.”

But it did not happen.

And what Adam did and did not do is monumental.

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Adam kept looking to God.


wood-working-2385634_1920 Adam continued in his task.


man-1838601_1920Adam waited.


magnifying-glass-479742_1920 Adam kept looking for his mate.


celibate for what Adam remained celibate.


404_love_tip-1002509-TwoByOne Adam did not defile himself.


black-swan-341583_1920 Adam did not resent that others were in pairs.


52442db27a243 Adam did not settle for a monkey as a partner.


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 Adam did not give up hope.


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Adam did not doubt God…


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And lived fully, though alone.

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To My Grandchildren, Grandparent’s Day 2017

For Grand Parents Day, I want to share a letter I wrote to my grandchildren.  I believe it echoes the heartfelt message most grandparents want to share with their grand-kids.

Dear Ari, Gabriel, and Addy,

I am so happy I was able to see you. On Friday night when I said that listening to you sing about Jesus was the second best thing that had happened to me all year, I meant it. I have no greater wish than that you love God.

As I have been thinking about your visit, it has come to my mind how blessed you are. During my whole childhood, I wished I could have had what you have in your home. When I was seven years old, my father left our family and I saw him a total of about 8 times between then and when I got married. After he left our family, he moved to Florida and did not visit or call us on the phone. I did not really get to know him until I became an adult.

My mother worked two jobs. She worked at night as a singer in New Jersey and didn’t get home till 2 AM. She was always sleeping when we left for school and then she was at her other job when we returned from school. That meant we never got to see her. Besides that she has a mental illness that prevents her from really loving others, so I grew up without feeling loved by her. She didn’t play with us, so I learned that adults don’t play with children. If you notice, I don’t often really play. That is because, I never saw a grown up playing with a kid when I was little. But God has helped me and I play more now than in my past.

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I am so happy when I see how loving and loyal your father is. I know he will never leave you. He will always find ways to be with you no matter what life brings. He always protects you and he provides a good home and life for you. He is busy with his work, but he always makes time for you.  I have seen him do it in so many ways. He also makes things fun, by changing them into games. He listens when you have something to say. He tells you great stories. He plays with you. He encourages you to be the best you can be. You are so blessed to have a father like him, a father who loves you.

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I am especially happy when I see your mom. She does things I never did when my kids were little. Remember, I never learned to play with grown-ups when I was small, so I never really spent much time playing with my kids. But your mother takes time and plays with you. I think that is so wonderful! She colors with you and does crafts. She spends a lot of time just enjoying your company. She really likes hanging out with you.  Your mom is also a great champion. That word does not only mean the winner, like a sports ‘world champion’. That word also means, defender. A champion is someone who will always make sure no one hurts you. Your mom is a great champion for you. She will battle anyone who would want to hurt you. Many kids don’t actually have someone who will champion them. I didn’t when I was small. I am so glad that I can be confident that your mom will always be your champion. You are so blessed to have a mother like her, a mother who loves you.

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When I think of all the blessings God has given you in your parents and in your family I am convinced that He has great plans for you. I grew up a used and neglected child, and He has given me a blessed grown-up life. I did my best with my children, and their lives were better than mine; but I still made many sad mistakes; still God is using all my kids for His cause. And now I see how God is working in your lives and He has given you much more than I ever had, or could provide for my own children. I hope you will take advantage of the many blessings He has given you and live every day looking at them. Being happy is about being grateful for what we have. When we are ungrateful, we are unhappy. My sweet children, choose to be grateful and be happy.

I love you more than you will ever know, Grandma.

 

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Moses’ Prayer, part 3: I Cannot Bear It

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There have been parenting moments when I realized I could not continue being a mother.  Not because of the pain in dealing with a child’s illness or trauma, but because of my deficiency.   It has happened during the aftermath of situations in which my weakness left wounds in their souls.  In those moments, reality exposed the truth that I was unfit for the job.  The problem was I could not carry the load.  I held the expectations and as they slipped out of my hands I knew I failed my children and God.

But the failure did not come from lack of trying.  It is just that for me, motherhood is not a doable thing.  You see, from the second they are conceived these lives need selfless love.  And I have a selfish heart. The good I gave them was not sustainable and sometimes it wasn’t even good.  My narrow heart easily grew weary in well doing.  And like Moses I have said, “Wherefore hast thou afflicted thy servant?  And wherefore have I not found favour in thy sight, that thou layest the burden of all this people upon me? … I am not able to bear all this people alone, because it is too heavy for me.”  Numbers 11: 11 – 15.

IMG_0589 (1)When Moses cried that he could no longer nurture his millions the Lord said, “Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them; and bring them unto the tabernacle of the congregation, that they may stand there with thee. And I will come down and talk with thee there: and I will take of the spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee, that thou bear it not thyself alone.”  Numbers 11: 16, 17.

The lever that lifted Moses’ burden was people who shared in his work.  Motherhood is a cumbersome proposal and every mother needs help.  It does not matter if it comes from kith or kin.  It only matters that they love her and her children.  I once had a baby sitter who helped.  Mrs. Fischer prayed for me.  She loved my sons.  She encouraged me with Isaiah 40: 31 – “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”  God put His Spirit in her and through that oblation, she helped me carry my burden.

Now it may be that you find yourself low in the ability to offer selfless love 24/7, but somewhere in your life, God has someone whom He will endow with it.  They don’t have to mother your children as often as you do, but they can share in the work.  As in Moses’ case, your help might be someone you already know, or it might be someone who is on their way.  And even if no human hand helps, God feels the weight, so “cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee…” Psalm 55: 22.  And if you know a mother, be Christ’s hand in her life. Lift her burden so the children will be well loved.  “But Moses’ hands were heavy… and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady…”  Exodus 17:12.

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“If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though (we) …are so obstinate… pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” Exodus 34:9

 

 

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Moses’ Prayer, part 2: They’re Gonna Stone Me

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Our children sometimes see us as the enemy.  Their opinion may be based on fiction, but the lie cuts deep in their soul and ours.  What are we to do when we hear…

“You are the meanest person I have ever known!”

“It’s all your fault!”

or

“You just don’t understand me!”


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I know perfectly well what I want to say.  I want to answer…

“Obviously, you do not know many people!”

“Right, the consequences of your foolish choices are my fault!”

or

“Oh, I understand you. I know you are

 not getting your way and throwing a little temper tantrum!”


But experience has taught those answers don’t help.  They only deepen the wound.  Restraint in the face of unfair accusations is the best course of action. But I have never had to face a certain complaint.  It is the one that says…

“You wish I was dead.”


I doubt many parents have had to face that statement, but Moses did…

“And the people thirsted there for water;

and the people murmured against Moses, and said,

Wherefore is this that thou hast brought us up out of Egypt,

to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst?”

Exodus 17: 3


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I can’t imagine how Moses felt when he heard those words.  If it had been me, I would have answered…

“What? I gave up a good life for you and this is what you think?

Fine, I am going home.  You can just fend for yourselves!”


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But that is not what he did, is it?  What he actually did was pray…

“And Moses cried unto the Lord, saying,

What shall I do unto this people?

they be almost ready to stone me.”

Ex 17:4


That is an amazing response.  I wish I had always run to prayer when my children had been younger.  Then I would have come back to the situation like Moses…

“And the Lord said unto Moses, Go on before the people…

Behold, I will stand before thee…”

Exodus 17: 5, 6

I would have returned to my children after prayer and been standing behind the Lord, and my children would have been in His presence.


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But I still have time and opportunity.  Although they are all adults, I know sometime in the future, my children will misrepresent me.  When that moment comes, I want to pray like Moses.

“If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though (we) …are so obstinate… pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” Exodus 34:9

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Moses’ Prayer, part 1: Take Us as Your Own Possession

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I just realized that I have been guilty of child neglect. Not the kind that is defined in wikipedia…

“Child neglect is a form of child abuse, and is a deficit in meeting a child’s basic needs…”

…but the neglect of prayer I could have given my offspring.

The kind of prayer they needed and deserved.

The kind of prayer Moses offered.

 

psalm of lament 3I have prayed… yes.

I have claimed promises in their behalf… yes.

I have spent nights in prayer… yes. (Although, those all-night prayers were only a few times and because of tragic circumstances).

But I have not prayed as I could have.

 

pc11_Israel_Wang_600I have neglected the privilege and they have lacked a need.

Oh, how I wish I had forgotten the laundry because of prayer.

Oh, how I wish I had neglected the garden because of prayer.

Oh, how I wish I had rejected business, instead of prayer.

 

pray-442560_1920But today, I choose to pray.

I will pray for my children and grand-children.

I will bring each name before the Lord and ask Him to reveal Himself to them.

I will ask for circumstances that will bring them close to His side, knowing it may be pain that does so.


Like Moses I will pray,

“If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though (we) …are so obstinate… pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession.” Exodus 34:9

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