Monday, April 6, 2020

Cookbook Comfort

"...for your Father knows what you need before you ask him" (Matthew 6:8 NIV).

Looking through cookbooks is always like being on vacation for me. I also like to watch exercise videos. Sometimes that's as far as it goes––looking and watching. Smile. We all need to cook or have someone cook for us. Neither can we live without moving––a form of exercising without realizing we are exercising daily. Moving––that's the kind of exercise I like––walking, bending, scrubbing floors, and washing windows. But, one Sunday in church, I learned a different type of exercise––a life-changing exercise.

During this hard time for all, it's good to remember how God has taken care of us over the years and present-day included. Last week, God encouraged me through my cookbooks. Many memories leaped off the pages and flooded my soul with the hope that He will take care of me now, too.

To not mislead you, I do bake but just not using all those fancy recipes. I have my favorites––like carrot cake and apple pie and cinnamon rolls. I use the same recipes every time and for many years now. Maybe because I teach little girls and teens to cook and bake, I keep it simple. And, I am an active person, just not an exercise guru--far from it. I also have exercise classes with my girls––keeping it simple also.

Where is this story going, you ask? It started when I began moving cookbooks from one location to another. As I looked at each one, I realized how many cookbooks I have from churches––churches that support our ministry. In each cookbook are recipes from beautiful Christian ladies (and men, too) who not only inspire me to cook but also to emulate their godly lives.

While visiting a long-time supporting church one furlough, we saw Jesus through these ladies and all the people who call this church home. We'd been trusting God for supplies to ship to Bolivia to start classes for underprivileged kids––this was before computers and printers were available in Bolivia. God had supplied ten computers to ship by the time we showed up for the Sunday morning service at this lovely church.

After sharing our vision for our ministry, we shook hands at the door after the service. One sweet church member leaned over, and in a low voice, said, "Do you have printers for these computers?" No, we didn't. We hadn't even thought that far ahead, but God thought of it. Then, surprising us said, "Well, you do now." God had supplied printers before we prayed for them. He knows our needs.

Without even realizing, my husband and I exercised our faith by going step by step with Him to provide for the ministry he'd put on our hearts. We knew we wanted to give computer classes to children with no opportunity to learn the technology of the times but somehow not seeing the need for printers also. But God! Yes, but God was a step ahead of us. We'd stepped out in faith to follow Him and do His will--teaching underprivileged kids in remote parts of Bolivia. We exercised our faith, and He provided all we needed––even printers we hadn't yet asked to be provided.

God will supply what we need. And He already knows what we need before we ask. He will do that now, too, in this pandemic. God has used our classes to bring children to Him. Let's pray many will open their hearts to the gospel message during this world-wide pandemic. And, that a cure will be found soon.

Are you exercising your faith?

What is God doing for you today even though you haven't asked Him?

The church in this story has a pastor who is a super cook––we know because he's cooked for us every time we are home on furlough. (He even allows us to fall asleep on his sofa.)
Thank you, Pastor Barry!

Hash Brown Pork Bake

From Pastor Barry's kitchen:

2 c. (16 oz.) sour cream
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 pkg. (32 oz.) frozen cubed hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 c. cubed pork
1 lb. process cheese (Velveeta) cubed
¼ c. chopped onion
2 c. crushed cornflakes
½ c. margarine, melted
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3 green pepper rings

In a large bowl, combine sour cream and soup. Stir in the hash browns, pork, process cheese, and onion. Transfer to a greased 3 qt. baking dish. Toss cornflake crumbs and margarine, sprinkle over the top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 F. for 50 minutes. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. Bake 10 minutes longer or until bubbly. Garnish with green pepper rings or parsley. Yield: 8 servings.

And, we also visit with a family of this church who opens their home and Amish dining room table to us. There is always a delicious home-cooked meal served with love. They are faithful workers in the church and a blessing to all who know them.

Pigs in the Blanket (Easy Way)

From the kitchen of Jean and Marty:

1 large head of cabbage shredded
1 lb. hamburger
1 chopped onion
½ c. rice (uncooked)
1 (15 oz.) tomato soup
1 (15 oz.) tomato juice
½ c. water

Put cabbage in casserole dish. Brown onion and hamburger. Mix rice, soup, juice and water. Pour over cabbage. Do not stir. Cover and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 F.

"He makes grass to grow for the cattle. and plants for people to cultivate––bringing forth food from the earth:" (Psalm 104: 14 NIV).

Friday, January 24, 2020

"Cookies" that Don't Rust

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, 
where moths and rust destroy," (Matthew 6:19 NIV).

My Eternal "Cookies"––I’ve known them since they were born. Some were in my Sunday School classes, some in youth group and children's programs, and most in our computer classes.Then, they became young ladies and entered my Bible and cooking classes. 

We baked chocolate chip cookies--they'd never had one. They learned many things, but most importantly, everyone accepted Jesus as their Savior. They are my eternal "cookies" that won't rust. I used God's recipe (His Word) and saw Him mold them, little by little, to His image. Finally, I watched them fly out of the nest to make "cookies" of their own that won't rust. 

This new year, I'm contemplating the things I will invest in for eternity and eliminating those things that will rust. I'm striving to share the things God has given me––flour, sugar, chocolate chips––to see them from a heavenly perspective to invest in "cookies" that last forever––eternal treasures.

Young Girls––now some are mothers

We Made Cookies

We Baked

We Studied

We Prayed

We Had Serious Conversations 

 We Laughed 

And Received Prizes

We Made Angel Dolls

My Classroom is Quiet Now
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:" (Ecclesiastes 3:1a NIV)
Some of my "angel cookies" sprouted their wings and flew on to the next phase of their lives. It was time to go; but soon it will be time for me to guide a new group in God's ways––new classes with new "cookies" will start soon.

I'm looking forward to storing up eternal treasures this new year––"cookies" that don't rust. 

What will be your eternal "cookies" this year that won't rust?

Need a lift and a laugh today?

*If you liked this post you might want to read more about eternal treasures in my article published on Heart Wings Blog. I hope it will give you a lift and a laugh today.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Step into the Future

"The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; 
he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8 NASB
David was on the run. Saul was bent on taking his life, feeling David to be a threat to his throne. Weary from the tense pursuit, David cried out to God. “Keep me as the apple of the eye,” he wrote, “Hide me in the shadow of Your wings” (Psalm 17:8 NIV).
The phrase “apple of the eye” is an idiom. At the time of David, people thought the pupil of the eye was actually a solid object (much like an apple). The pupil is at the center of the eye. It is a part of us that we instinctively protect. Asking to be the “apple of [God’s] eye” was to request that God guard him as a cherished child. He wanted the kind of protection that was akin to a chick hiding under the wings of its mother.
God is “keeping” us in the same way right now. I’m the apple of His eye, and so are you, child of God. I slip into bed every night knowing, when I wake up (Lord willing), I will step into the next day and all it will bring. None of us knows what tomorrow will entail, but we do know whatever it is, God will be with us and keep us close.
Recently, I experienced that presence and protection in an instant. It’s a known fact that seniors fear a fall because we know what the results could be—broken hips, broken shoulders, and sometimes even a fatal fall. So I am usually pretty cautious as I move around, especially steps.

But that particular day, I was anything but careful. Feeling all joyful with our new puppy in my arms, I carelessly traipsed down the stairs. Our puppy got the shock of his life when my ankle turned about half-way down the steps. I stumbled, lost my balance, and squeezed the poor dog so hard, he squealed.
A vision of an almost certain trip to the hospital danced in my head as I went down. I cried out to God to rescue me. I instinctively grabbed for the railing with my left hand, and all my weight landed on my left foot. While I sustained a serious sprain, the Lord kept me from broken bones or an even more tragic ending. There’s no question in my mind that God, in that moment, kept me as the “apple of His eye.”

Traveling this journey of life with God, we’re never alone. We’re cherished, favored, and loved beyond measure. Protected. It’s a trip of a lifetime. No pun intended––okay a little intended. It’s better than a vacation, because it never ends. Never. And, when our life on earth does end, guess what? It was only the beginning of being with Jesus forever.
We may wonder what the new year will bring, but we don’t need to doubt Who will be with us. Let’s step into the future, the new year, with confidence that we are the apple of His eye, and rejoice because God is with us always.