Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Instructions for Moms - Part 2

Last week we talked about humbling ourselves and recognizing that we can't be good mothers on our own. This week we will continue with Part 2 of the series.

-Part 2-

But, you can through Christ because He is sufficient

What does sufficient mean? The dictionary definition is: enough, as much as is needed.

Colossians 1:15-20 to me gives the best description of Christ’s power. Listen for all of the powerful descriptions of Christ.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Does that sound sufficient? Do you think he might have the strength we need to get through the day? Do you think we could trust Him?

Philippians 4:13- I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Or 2 Corinthians 12:9- My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

His grace is sufficient for me. His grace is enough. His grace is as much as I need. His power (which is more than enough) is made perfect in weakness—does that sound like humility—admitting your weakness?

Colossians 1:11 - May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance, and patience with joy.
That's a lot of power! The God who created the universe and was able to conquer death is offering to strengthen us. In Paul's prayer to the Ephesians he says, "that you may know...what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe." (Ephesians 1:18-19)

So when we do humble ourselves to God and ask for His strength the end of Colossians 1:11 says that we will have endurance and patience with joy...not just patience, but patience with joy! That's not going to happen when I rely on my own works or strength to do what the Lord has called me to do in mothering my kids. They are lucky to get patience out of me, but patience with joy?! That can only come from God!

2 Corinthians 3:4-5 - Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, who has made us competent...
Here Paul is telling the Corinthians that through Christ, God has made them competent to be a minister of the gospel-a hard job to say the least! So is mothering. He didn't put his confidence in himself. We can't rely on ourselves to be a good mother. He doesn't do his job in his own strength. I know I can't do this job in my own strength. I've tried...It's not good! He knows he is not sufficient for the job. We are not sufficient for this job. His confidence is in Christ's sufficiency. Our confidence needs to be in Christ's sufficiency.

Christ is the answer.

Next week....So seek Him with all of your heart!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Oven Ham Sammies

I've made a loaf version of this type of thing before, but this was definitely easier and I really liked the taste of using the King Hawaiian Rolls. They are a cinch to prepare, can be made ahead of time and I would probably double the recipe next time because everybody loved them!

Oven Ham Sammies
adapted from tasty kitchen

8 oz deli ham
6 slices swiss cheese
1 package King Hawaiian Rolls (12 count)
5 T melted butter
2 T finely chopped onion
1 t poppy seeds
1 t ground mustard

Slice rolls.
Fold one piece of ham and place inside roll. Top with half a slice of cheese and replace top of roll. Continue with rest of rolls.
Mix remaining ingredients and spoon over sandwiches.
Let set for 30 min - overnight.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Instructions for Moms - Part 1

Motherhood is a high calling. The Bible tells us to teach and discipline and nourish and protect and love and prepare our kids. The responsibilities of motherhood are many and demanding and if you are doing them well, tiring, repetitive, challenging, and it can all easily become weary and discouraging. I’d like to offer you some instructions found in scripture that can be applied to anything, but through these series of posts I will apply to motherhood and I hope you find it encouraging.

-Part 1-

Be humble and recognize that you can’t do it on your own

Even the most organized, best-intentioned, and well-prepared mom will quickly realize after a few weeks into motherhood that even she is frustrated and tired and things aren’t going the way she planned them to go. The sooner you can admit your limitations, your shortcomings, your sin, your pride and acknowledge your dependency on God and your need for Him, the sooner you will find joy and delight in mothering.

In Isaiah 66:2 we read- This is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.

God looks to the one who is humble. And he promises blessings to those who are humble.

Matthew 5: 3-6 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.

These are promises of God. Do you believe them? When you are humble and truly broken in heart from your sin do you not feel God the most? If you are truly hungry to do what is right, will God not fill you? Humble yourself. Ask God to stir the desires of your heart towards Him.

In his book Humility: True Greatness, C.J. Mahaney defines humility as “honestly assessing ourselves in light of God’s holiness and our sinfulness”. And the opposite of humility is pride. Pride is “when sinful human beings aspire to the status and position of God and refuse to acknowledge their dependence upon Him”. No one is immune to the affects of pride. Mahaney says, “It’s not if pride exists in your heart; it’s where pride exists and how pride is being expressed in your life.” In what areas of your life, as a wife and mother, are you contending for God’s supremacy? Mahaney also spends some time in his book explaining ways he has found to cultivate humility and weaken pride. His first suggestion is to begin your day acknowledging your need for God. Here's an excerpt from his book:

How we begin our morning so often sets the tone for the day. I am convinced that the most decisive time of our day is very often our first waking moments, because they color everything to come.

The first daily item from my list is this: Begin your day by acknowledging your dependence upon God and your need for God. Purpose by grace that your first thought of the day will be an expression of your dependence on God, your need for God, and your confidence in God.

Sin--including especially the sin of pride--is active, not passive. Sin doesn't wake up tired, because it hasn't been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning, I've chosen to go on the offensive. I've chosen to announce to sin, "I'm at war with you. I know you are there, and I'm after you." From the moment I awake, I've learned to make statements to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I'm humbling myself before God.

This is simply a strategy for taking control of the thoughts we allow in our mind. In his excellent book Spiritual Depression, Martyn Lloyd-Jones asked, "Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?" That's profound, and it's true.

Take a moment to review and examine your pattern of thinking from yesterday. Did you spend more time speaking truth to yourself, or was most of your time spent listening to yourself? Most of us spend more time listening to lies than we do speaking truth to ourselves. And the listening process usually starts as soon as we get up. The alarm has rudely interrupted the gift of sleep, and the listening begins. As we stumble through our morning routine, we're not directing the thoughts in our mind--we're simply at their mercy. We entertain complaints about what happened yesterday or worries about what's coming today. We look in the bathroom mirror and assess the damage, then brood over how we feel. We're not in charge of our thinking. We're just there.

But instead, you can declare war on pride by speaking truth to yourself and set the right tone for the day by mentally affirming your dependence upon God and your need for Him.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, you are dependent on God and we need to seek Him to know how to mother our children.

Psalm 25:9 - He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.

Or how about Proverbs 11:2 - When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.

Oh how we need wisdom, godly wisdom as we shape our children! We can’t possibly know what is best for our kids. Humble yourself. We can’t do this on our own….

Next week...But, you can through Christ because He is sufficient-

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Berry Cobbler Pie Bars

Here is another big pan bar recipe. These are so nice when you need to feed a crowd!
These have a lemony-shortbread crust, a berry sour cream filling, and more shortbread crumbles on top! I thought they were yummy and very easy to make. Perfect for berry season which is coming up, but you can also use frozen berries, which makes this perfect anytime of year.

Berry Cobbler Pie Bars
joy the baker

Crust and Topping

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into cubes

zest of two lemons

Berry Filling

4 large eggs

2 cups sugar

1 cup sour cream

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

pinch of salt

2 (16-ounce) packages frozen mixd berries, defrosted and drained

(You can also use 6 cups of fresh berries, or 1 (16-ounce) package frozen berries and 3 cups of fresh berries)

To make the crust and topping-

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a half sheet baking pan (12×17-inch) with butter or cooking spray and set aside. If you use a 9×13-inch baking pan you’ll have thicker bars. Zest two lemons. Measure out the sugar onto a clean work surface. Rub the lemon zest into the sugar with a bench scraper or the back of a spoon. Rubbing the zest into the sugar will release oils from the zest and create a lemon scented sugar.

Combine lemon sugar, flour, salt and butter in an electric mixer fit with a paddle attachment. Beat the ingredients on medium speed until the mixture looks dry and crumbly.

Reserve 1 1/2 cups of the crust mixture to use as the topping. Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the pan. Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes until it is golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes while you make the filling.

To make the filling-

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl. Add the sugar, sour cream, flour and salt. Gently fold in the berries. Spoon the mixture evenly over the crust. You may have to distribute the berries evenly around.

Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly over the filling. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes until the top is lightly browned. Cool for 1 hour before slicing.

**If you’re using frozen berries, be sure to defrost and drain the excess liquid. Place the frozen berries on a plate in the refrigerator overnight. They’re defrosted and ready for bar baking!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Vanilla Extract

As I mentioned before, I have a ton of vanilla beans thanks to this place. They have amazing prices! I bought them because I wanted to make my own vanilla extract. It's super easy! And WAY less expensive than buying little jars of pure vanilla. And it's fun! Here's how.

Vanilla Extract

3 vanilla beans
1 cup vodka*
container with tight fitting lid

Split vanilla beans lengthwise, leaving about an inch together at the top.
Place beans inside of container and fill with vodka.
Give it a good shake and store in a cool dark place.
Vanilla is ready to use in 2 months and lasts forever. You can keep topping it off with vodka and giving it a nice shake every so often.

You can order some cool bottles from this company. They are crazy cheap and have all sorts of cool containers.

* If you want GF vanilla extract be sure to use a potato vodka such as Luksusowa.