April 23, 2017

Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal Dish

Happy New Year, everyone!  For me, the new year is a time to reflect on change, on growth, and on being grateful for all that you have.  If you haven’t heard, we are coming to the end of Girlfriends Coffee Hour.  I hope that in the years we’ve been sharing recipes here at At Home With GCH, you’ve seen something you might want to try; that you’ve experimented a bit in your kitchen and gone outside your comfort zone; and that you thought about cooking as a way to serve God by using the time and talents He gave you.  I have certainly enjoyed challenging myself to come up with new recipes each week to introduce to you, and getting to chat a bit with some of you in the comments section.  Even though GCH is ending, my cooking (and blogging) will continue, and I hope you will find me on Facebook to chat about food and share recipes with me!

For my last entry here on At Home With GCH, I present to you:  Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal!  As usual, I read over several recipes, made a few changes, and came up with something to call my own.  This was easy to make, and serves 6-8 for a hearty breakfast.  You can also make it the night before and reheat portions in the microwave.  This is a great way to start your day (or your year).  Bon apetit, my friends, and God Bless!

Apple Spice Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:

  • coconut oil or butter for greasing your baking dish
  • 2 apples, chopped (no need to peel)
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup nuts, divided – Try walnuts or pecans.  I used whole almonds and let the kids crush them with my meat mallet!
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • vanilla yogurt, to serve

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325*F.  Grease your baking dish – mine was an oval dish, but you can use a deep 8″ or 9″ Pyrex.
  2. Spread the chopped apples in the bottom of your dish.
  3. Mix together the oats, sugar, 1/2 cup nuts, raisins, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
  4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and vanilla.  Stir in the oat mixture, then stir in the melted butter.
  5. Pour the oat mixture over the apples and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of nuts.   Bake for about 45 minutes.  You want the oatmeal to be set and the top a bit golden and crusty.  Serve warm, with a big spoonful of vanilla yogurt on top.

Explore, experiment, enjoy! — Dana


To view even more of Dana’s unique recipe, you can visit her at Frugal Girlmet!

He Is Good…He Is True

encouragementbloggraphicromans15This post is from 2013. I love looking back and seeing how faithful God has been. He’s never once let me down. And now, 2 years later, I can still say that He is good and He is true and He is always with us. I pray that you too will see all His goodness and glory in the upcoming year! God bless you…

Rejoice in our confident hope.
Be patient in trouble,
and keep on praying.
Romans 12:2

A verse for the new year, don’t you think? As I look back on 2013, I see God’s hand in all of it. I cannot imagine a day without Him, really, and I don’t want to. This year has been challenging for sure, yet my faith has grown by leaps and bounds. There have been times of scarce resources yet God has provided loaves and fishes. My children have not gone hungry and there has always been a roof over our heads. The Lord is so good.

Kyle started a new job this time last year. He has been on the road for most of 2013 and had a lot of time with His Creator. I have had the privilege of watching God grow and mold him into the husband and father that He intended him to be. The marriage that almost ended has been completely renewed  and restored to an even more magical and Spirit-filled marriage, and love for each other is greater than ever. We found a church home and a group of wonderful godly people who love us for us and accept us just the way we are, but love us too much to let us stay content. How amazing when God puts people in your path that actually speak truth to you and help you grow spiritually.

I’ve watched my children grow spiritually through some pretty hard things. But, isn’t that how God works? It’s through the tests and trials that our faith grows and we realize that with God we can do anything. They have seen God do the impossible, too. As much as I would love for their lives to be easy, without hardships and heartaches, their character and faith and relationship with Him grows out of the dark and murky soil.

I wouldn’t change anything. God is good and all He gives is good. We cannot see the big picture so we don’t see how all these pieces fit together. But God does—and He puts the tapestry of our lives together. I love that I can look back with a smile knowing that He WAS  in control; I love that I can step into next year knowing that He IS in control. What would I do differently? Nothing!

So what are my hopes for the new year? For starters, I don’t want to take one step that He does not ordain. And what is the best way to hear what He says about our future? We go to His Word. His promises always come true and His word is more valuable than any amount of money.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect,
but I press on to make it my own,
because Christ Jesus has made me His own.
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own.
But one thing I do; forgetting what lies behind
and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward
the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:12-14

‘Forgetting the past,’  ‘pressing on toward the goal,’  ‘for the prize,’  aren’t these amazing words?!  And the prize is the the call on your life—an anointing on your life from your Father.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17

You are a new creation, the old has passed! 2013 has passed, there is nothing that can be done about it now. If wrong has been done, then we repent, ask forgiveness and move forward, right? And that is all that is required. We are forgiven. Grace is ours for free! And there’s more…

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness and (spring) rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:18-19

This is actually our family’s life verse. He does make a way in the desert—He always has and He always will. When there seems to be no way, He makes a way. Jesus is The Way.  John 14:6 says, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

Friends, if you don’t know Jesus…and don’t know the way to the Father…please read these Scriptures and pray them back to Him. All you have to do is ask Him to come in to your heart and live forever. Then read His Word and begin the most important and amazing walk of your life.

 

Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name and you are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
Because you are precious in My eyes, and honored, and I love you,
I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life.
Fear not, for I am with you;
I will bring your offspring from the east, and from the west I will gather you.
Isaiah 43: 2-5
(to read the context of these promises, click here: Isaiah 43:1-28 )

He has called you by name and you are His!!

Praise the Lord, He will walk into this new year with you and you will start fresh. You have an empty slate, a fresh start…a do over, if you will. All your steps are ordained and He will go before you and make a way for you! Oh…how He loves you and can’t wait to do life with you this year. So let’s take a deep breath, and take His hand and step on into the new year….

Let us pray: Dear God, our Father, thank You so much for this past year, for our successes and failures, for our victories and for trials, for keeping us safe and for loving us always. You are an amazing God, and even the rocks cry out to You. You are our Abba Father, our Daddy, we can crawl up in Your lap and forget the world. Thank You for going before us and making a way for us in the wilderness. Thank You for the fresh springs in the desert and for giving us the victory before the trial. Lord, as we walk in to this new year, I pray Your hedge of protection be around us and our families. Provide all we need, Dear Jesus, and keep us close to Your heart. I’m excited to see what;s in store for us this year! For it’s in Your name we pray, amen!

Who Am I

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

Over time You’ve healed so much in me, and I am living proof
That although my darkest hour had come
Your light could still shine through

Though at times it’s just enough to cast a shadow on the wall
I am grateful that You’ve shined Your light on me at all

Who am I, that You would love me so gently
Who am I, that You would recognize my name
Who am I, that You would speak to me so softly
Conversation with the Lord Most High…who am I

Oh, “Amazing Grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now am found. Was blind, but now I see”
And the more I sing that sweet old song, the more I understand
That I do not comprehend this love that’s coming from Your hand

Grace, grace; God’s grace
Grace that will pardon and cleanse within
Grace, grace; God’s great grace
Grace that is greater than all my sin

Lord, Who am I, who am I
Lord Who am I, who am I

Point Of Grace
written by Nathan and Christy Nockels

 *   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

In Jeremiah 31:3 we hear God tell us of His love.

I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore with lovingingkindness I have drawn you.

We also are reminded of God’s love in Psalm 36.

How precious is Your steadfast love, O God!
The children of men take refuge
and put their trust under the shadow of Your wings.

As well as in 1 John 4:9-10.

In this the love of God was made manifest among us,
that God sent His only Son into the world,
so that we might live through him.
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us
and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

Oh, the incomparable, unconditional, amazing LOVE that God has for us!  Throughout the Scriptures we are reminded over and over of God’s love for us!

And, in spite of our actions at times, God is always faithful and keeps His promises. Whether we ever believe them or not. Think about the children of Israel…they knew of God’s promise to lead them, protect them, guide them, feed them, guard them. But they were so often disobedient to His simple commands.  As such, because of His compassionate and abiding love for them, God had to help them to learn…as He will with us, too.

You must carefully follow every command I am giving you today,
so that you may live and increase,
and may enter and take possession of the land the Lord swore to your fathers.
Remember that the Lord your God led you on the entire journey
these 40 years in the wilderness,
so that He might humble you and test you
to know what was in your heart,
whether or not you would keep His commands.
Deuteronomy 8:1 and 2

“As we hear and believe all that God tells us—as we intentionally think these truths and begin to act accordingly—He unfolds the true personality He designed us to be.”

ChristLife, Mrs. Ruth Myers, page 60

(Oh! Don’t you just love that!)  And so we learn more of the Truth as we begin to believe what God says about us. And as we trust Him and take Him at His Word, we will begin to be freed from lies and misconceptions we have held in our hearts.

But the fact remains that we need to be diligent in reminding ourselves constantly of these Truths and promises.  One would think that, with all the many, many, many examples and proofs that God so graciously shows us about how very much He loves us, we would be convinced.  However God is equally as patient with us as He loves us. The negative images that we have allowed into our hearts can be replaced by the Truth of just “Who we ARE” in Christ.  But it takes work and effort on our part. Thankfully, we are not left to do this on our own. God can and will help us through His Holy Spirit! Remember to pray, pray, pray!

Friends, I hope that the beautiful lyrics of this song can be a tool for you to use to pray and sing your heart out to God. Your heavenly Father has MUCH to say to you…MUCH to remind you of…MUCH healing and deliverance and blessing to give to you as you seek Him!

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *

 

Romans 15:4 ~ Hope

SeekingHimLogo

{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

For whatever was written in former days
was written for our instruction,
that through endurance
and through the encouragement of the Scriptures
we might have hope.
Romans 15:4 ESV

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

This week, here on the Seeking Him devotional blog, we have begun a mini-series on the subject of HOPE.  Our devotional writers have brought light to the verse highlighted above truly bringing us ‘the encouragement of the Scriptures.’  Here are a few of their thoughts….

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

In Positive Attitude, Tina wrote about a woman in the Old Testament who had great hope…

“God gave hope to Hannah.  Hannah was barren.  She went to the temple and prayed for God to take away her shame.  When the prophet, Eli saw her praying, he thought that she was drunk instead and questioned to her. When she explained she was praying for what she requested of the Lord yearly, Eli sent her on her way, asking God to grant her request.  And God did.  She gave birth to a son, Samuel, whom she dedicated to the Lord.  She was also blessed with other sons and daughters for her faithfulness. (Click here to read this account.)

God still shows up in this way today…There is power in prayer and belief.  Within these lies our hope.”

In Hope Waits, Ahmee shared that having hope means we wait…

“Waiting goes hand in hand with hope.

Sometimes it’s a matter of seconds…sometimes it’s a matter of years.  Hope can be lost.  Hope can be found.  We can temporarily lose sight of the hope that we hold.  Hope is something that we have to focus on; something that is actually intentional.  Hope helps you keep a smile on your face when it’s raining.  Hope is a matter of perspective, but also, knowing that we are loved by the Creator of the world who only wants good for us.  With God, the hope we have has a real chance of actualizing.  Otherwise, we are just wishing for good things to happen.

God has promised us many things in His Word, and because of this it is possible for us to have hope.”

In Spiritual Hope, Ann reminded us of the hope that the Word of God gives us…

“The Word of God always gives comfort and strength.
The Word of God is an oasis of hope.

Believing the Word of God and living by it takes us from the arena of hope into faith.

And hope maketh not ashamed
because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Romans 5:5

That means hope never disappoints. The reason it does not disappoint is that the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit.  Hope is one of the three creative principles of the human spirit. They are also abiding principles.

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three;
but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13

Meaning that when all else fails, these three principles will remain and not pass away.  They are given to us and are in our spirits.  We are to choose to act on faith, to always be hopeful towards God, and to walk in love.”

In Circle of Hope, Cynda gave us a great example of how biblical hope works…

Scripture
Purpose = Instruction
Result = Hope

“The purpose of Scripture is our instruction.  The Scriptures encourage us to persevere, to endure.  They offer us comfort and give us hope. Psalm 119 reiterates how closely hope is tied to the instruction of Scripture. Look at the following verses:

Do not snatch Your Word of truth from me,
for Your regulations are my only hope.
verse 43 NLT

You are my Refuge and my Shield;
Your Word is my source of hope.
verse 114 NLT

This is the circle of hope—the more we seek God through His Word…the stronger our hope becomes; the stronger our hope…the more we seek God.  This serves us well in times of trouble.  Instead of being filled with despair, we can remember the nature of God and be filled with hope.”

Fear Not, My Child

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

In myself I’ve failed the Lord
Then was afraid to try once more
That fire in my soul had fled
That’s when Jesus came and said

My spirit gives the strength you need
To raise you up and to succeed
And for vision in the night
To you, I’ll give these words of light

Fear not, my child
I’m with you always
I feel every pain
And every tear I see

Fear not, my child
I’m going to be with you always
I know how to take care of
What belongs to me

He said, My child, don’t look behind
Discouragement is all you’ll find
Don’t watch the waves that roll the sea
But just focus your eyes on Me

And I will make you strong and then
Your shattered courage I will mend
And if you fall and should get hurt
Remember these eternal words

Helen Baylor
written by Carman Licciardello with Kim Boyce
*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~   ♥   ~   *
There are more than 100 records in the Bible where God spoke these words of comfort and encouragement—“Do not fear…” and “Fear not….”  A clear statement of His heart towards His people, wouldn’t you say?  But being fearful (afraid, worried, scared) is a temptation that almost everyone falls into at one time or another.  For some of us it takes determined effort to cling to God’s promises that He will always be with us and that He will take care of us.  Me…I find myself falling into this category.  Anyone else?

But we DO have God’s promises…so knowing the Truth, and acting on it, is critical to dealing with our fears and worries.  And we DO know where to find the Truth—in the Bible.  Below are just a very few…oh, there are SO many…Scriptures to hold in our minds and our hearts. Perhaps you could write them out on index cards and keep them where you can find them easily—in your Bible, or on your desk, perhaps tacked up where you can see them easily.  The point is to be reminded and to be encouraged and to ‘fear not.’

Serve only the Lord your God and fear Him alone.
Obey His commands, listen to His voice, and cling to Him.
Deuteronomy 13:4

The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear Him,
and He delivers them.
Psalm 34:7

So don’t be afraid;
you are worth more than many sparrows.
Matthew 10:31

I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.
And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don’t be troubled or afraid.
John 14:27

This is My command—be strong and courageous!
Do not be afraid or discouraged.
For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
Joshua 1:9

When I am afraid, I put my trust in You.
Psalm 56:3

In God, whose Word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
Psalm 56:4

He will cover you with His feathers.
He will shelter you with His wings.
His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night,
nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness,
nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
though ten thousand are dying around you,
these evils will not touch you.
Psalms 91:4-8

They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the Lord to care for them.
Psalm 112:7

David, who God called ‘a man after My own heart,’ dealt with much temptation to fear throughout his life.  But David was sure that his LORD was always with him, even when he was (actually) alone.  Listen to his confession of trust and confidence in his Lord:

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation—whom shall I fear or dread?
The Lord is the Refuge and Stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even my enemies and my foes,
came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, [even then] in this will I be confident.
For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter;
in the secret place of His tent will He hide me; He will set me high upon a rock.
And now shall my head be lifted up above my enemies round about me;
in His tent I will offer sacrifices and shouting of joy;
I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.
[What, what would have become of me] had I not believed
that I would see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living!
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord;
be brave and of good courage
and let your heart be stout and enduring.
Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Excerpts from Psalm 27

May we each also confess, as David did, that ‘the Lord IS my Light and my Salvation…the Refuge and Stronghold of my life’.   May we also be assured that ‘my heart shall NOT fear…and in this will I be confident’.  May we ‘offer sacrifices and shouting of joy…and sing praises to the Lord’.   I pray for each of you that you, too, will ‘wait and hope for and expect the Lord; that you will be brave and of good courage…and that your heart will be enduring’.

And that you will know that this is God’s heart toward you…

Fear not, my child
I’m going to be with you always
I know how to take care of
What belongs to me

Mark 5:24-34 ~ Jesus’ Words on Faith

SeekingHimLogo

{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.} 

…And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had endured much suffering under [the hands of] many physicians and had spent all that she had, and was no better but instead grew worse.
She had heard the reports concerning Jesus, and she came up behind Him in the throng and touched His garment, for she kept saying, If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health. And immediately her flow of blood was dried up at the source, and [suddenly] she felt in her body that she was healed of her [distressing] ailment.
And Jesus, recognizing in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around immediately in the crowd and said, Who touched My clothes?  And the disciples kept saying to Him, You see the crowd pressing hard around You from all sides, and You ask, Who touched Me? Still He kept looking around to see her who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done for her, though alarmed and frightened and trembling, fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth.
And He said to her, Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease.

Mark 5:24–34 AMP

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

This week here on the Seeking Him daily devotional blog, our sisters have focused on Jesus’ words on faith from this record in the Gospel of Mark…  Oh! So much to glean and to learn here! Whenever I read or hear this passage, I am immediately drawn to the thoughts and the actions of this woman.  She had FAITHand she acted upon it!

Listen to what Tina, Laura, Cynda, Ann, and Ahmee had to share earlier this week….

In Your Faith, Cynda wrote,

“I got to thinking…if Jesus came to give us an abundant, overflowing life, why aren’t we experiencing that kind of life?  I think Mark 5:34a (NLT) holds the key:

And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.

Our faith must be exercised to have an abundant, overflowing life.  Faith is based on knowing God & studying His words.  Joyce Meyer says “God’s Word is like medicine for the spirit, soul, and body.”  We must apply God’s Word and put our faith into action.  That’s what this woman did.”

Tina reminded us, in Your Faith Has Made You Free, of the courage of this woman who had faith to approach Jesus for healing.

And He said to her, Daughter, your faith
(your trust and confidence in Me,
springing from faith in God) has restored you to health.
Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed
from your [distressing bodily] disease.
Mark 5:34

“The woman had heard of Jesus’ miraculous healing power and out of her desperation, she knew she would probably die if she did not find someone to cure her…Getting the courage to touch His robe in the crowd, she knew she could get into trouble if found out.  Women were and are still thought of as property.  But Jesus did not rebuff her…He wanted her to have faith in telling her story to everyone that she was healed just by touching His robe.”

Ahmee reminded us in A Single Choiceof the importance of making choices based upon the guidance of God and God’s Word.

“A single choice can change your life for better or for worse.  Big decisions and small decisions can have catastrophic results.  The choices we make today form our habits for our tomorrows.  The choices we make today influence who will be in our tomorrows.  The choice this woman made (in this passage from Mark chapter 5) changed her life!  For twelve years—everyday—she bled.  She’d tried getting help from doctors, but to no avail.  And she had spent everything she had.   As I read this I wondered if she went to Jesus only because she had run out of other options.  Was it desperation that pulled her to Him?  Is this not so often the case, though? Regardless of why… she still made the choice and that’s the part that matters.

Choose. And make sure they are wise choices.

In Faith That Brings Peace, Ann posed some important questions regarding making good decisions to step out in faith.

“This lady knew that ‘if only I can touch Jesus’ hem of His garments…all will be well for me.’  She took a step of faith and broke protocols of that time by maneuvering through the crowd and found herself amidst the disciples (men) and touched Jesus.

On its own, it was not proper for a woman to be brushing shoulders with men; she didn’t mind what people would say about her.  All she was concerned with was that she would be healed.  I therefore urge each one of us to be a people of vision.  Let us also ask ourselves these questions below:

  • What is it that we want God to do for us?

  • How are we drawing near to Him for Him to help us?

  • How much time do we have for God?

  • Do we believe He can do it?

  • How great is He to heal us and free us from suffering?!?”

And  in Healing Power, Laura shared with us the faith in action of some folks from her home church who are endeavoring to have faith as they go through some hard times.

“One of our church members was involved in a bad car accident this week.  He was in very bad shape.  He was paralyzed from the neck down and was having trouble breathing.  The family asked for prayers….

The power of prayer and faith in God has helped this follower of Jesus to improve.  Faith and prayer is hopefully going to bring this family through this season in their life.  …However, I believe that they have faith like the woman in this record in the Gospel of Mark.  They have been praying, and he is slowly starting to improve (at last update).

To have faith strong as this is a blessing to any family.  Faith this strong can bring the healing power of God to anybody.  This is what Jesus wants from us—full faith in Him.  He wants us to rely on Him.  He died for us…we should all be able to rely on Him no matter the season or the trial ahead of us.”

El Shaddai

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv

El Shaddai, El Shaddai
El-Elyon na Adonai
Age to age You’re still the same
By the power of the Name
El Shaddai, El Shaddai
Erkamka na Adonai
We will praise and lift You high, El Shaddai

Through Your love and through the ram
You saved the son of Abraham
Through the power of Your hand
Turned the sea into dry land
To the outcast on her knees
You were the God who really sees
And by Your might
You set Your children free

Through the years You made it clear
That the time of Christ was near
Though the people failed to see
What Messiah ought to be
Though Your Word contained the plan
They just could not understand
Your most awesome work was done
Through the frailty of Your Son

Michael Card
written along with John Thompson

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

We are most identified by characteristics and names that identify who we are.  For example, who I am—Coleen—can be described in many ways: wife, mom, tata (grandmother), daughter, sister, friend, worshipper, singer, baker, writer, pray-er, crafter, lover, listener, etc.  But The Great I AM has described Himself throughout the Scriptures with many names—Yahweh (YHWH), ELohim, Adonai, LORD, Jehovah, JAH, EL Shaddai….  I believe He has used these (and additional) names to graciously help us to understand more of His character.  The Great I AM makes Himself known to us through the words of His Word, as well as through His Creation, through His Spirit, through His Son our Lord Jesus Christ, through the words of the prophets—in oh so many ways!

One of my most favorite characteristics of I AM is that He IS God AlmightyEl Shaddai.  Hearing this name brings comfort and peace to my heart!  The fact and truth that Almighty God/El Shaddai loves me (and you, too!) and perfectly provides His care, provision, protection, supply of my (your!) needs is so thrilling to my soul!  The most common understanding of the title El Shaddai is “God Who is Almighty.”  There are 48 times in the Scriptures where God calls Himself by the name El Shaddai.  Let’s look at just a couple of these records.

When Abram was ninety-nine years old,
the Lord appeared to him and said,
I AM the Almighty God <El Shaddai>;
walk and live habitually before Me and be perfect.
Genesis 17:1

This is the very first record in the Scriptures where I AM identifies Himself in this way.  God Almighty/El Shaddai was about to reveal to Abram a part of the covenant He was making with him.  And this is where He promises the 99 year old Abram that he and his 90 year old wife, Sarai, would be having a son!!!  This is such a beautiful record!  (You can read the complete record here.)  Only El Shaddai could have made an eternal covenant such as this.  Only El Shaddai could have made a deadened womb to nurture life and bring forth a baby.  Only El Shaddai — God Almighty!

Another occurrence where the Great I AM is called by the title El Shaddai is in Psalm 91.  The psalmist declares,

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty <El Shaddai>.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my Refuge and my Fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalms 91: 1-2

Perhaps you, too, rejoice in your heart of hearts that El Shaddai, Who is the Great I AMloves and cares for you in the very same ways He has always cared for His people.  He is God and He does not change.

Would you share here in the comments below about this characteristic (or a different one) of the Great I AM that is important to you?  I would love to hear about it! 

 *  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Almighty God,  El Shaddai, we praise You and thank You and love You with our whole hearts!   You always show Yourself mighty on behalf of Your children!  You are our Refuge and our Fortress—our God in Whom we trust!   May we always be cognizant of Who You are…the Great I AM.  May we be excited to read of and to remember Your awesome acts and works that are recorded in the Scriptures.  May they ever and always encourage us to never doubt You, El Shaddai—You never change!  ‘Erkamka na, Adonai!’  Praying in Your Son, Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Erkamka na, Adonai! ~ translated~ I love You, Lord!

Turkey Tortilla Soup

A fitting final recipe contribution, I think.  When looking back through the past three years of healthy but oh-so-yummy recipes I’ve had the joy to blog here on At Home with GCH, soup recipes seemed to be my most often written.  (Makes sense, since my husband Robert loves soup more than anything!)  If you would like to review any of the others, just type ‘SoupPalooza’ into our search bar on the GCH homepage.

Now this recipe is one I have never made…but I know that many of you are fans of Chicken Tortilla Soup.   I switched it up  because I had a nice batch of homemade turkey stock…and some leftover turkey, too.  (This recipe could just as easily be made with traditional chicken and chicken broth or stock.)  And for those of you who like things spicy…simply add the whole can of chipotle in adobo sauce or a little finely-diced jalapeno tossed in when sauteeing the veggies.  Enjoy!

tkytortillasoup

Turkey Tortilla Soup

2 T olive oil
1 small sweet onion, diced
1 or 2 stalks celery, diced
1 red AND 1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, small dice
3 T chopped garlic
1 to 2 chipotle in adobo sauce, chopped (from a can)*
1 can chunky-diced tomatoes, 28 ounces
1 can tomato paste
1 can diced green chiles
5 cups turkey stock (homemade, or boxed)
2 cups corn (fresh or frozen)
2 cans black beans
2-3 cups shredded leftover turkey
garnishes:
2 cups corn tortilla chips, broken up into large pieces
1 cup shredded Monterey or pepper Jack cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 red raw onion, chopped
1 ripe avocado, diced and dressed with the juice of 1/2 lemon

  • heat the olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat
  • add the onion, celery, zucchini, and diced peppers; cook, stirring occasionally ‘til softened and just beginning to brown, 3 to 5 minutes
  • add the chopped garlic, and seasonings, and cook for an additional 1 minute, stirring constantly
  • stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, green chiles, and stock; scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any cooked-on bits
  • bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, ‘til the broth has reduced by about a third…20 to 30 minutes
  • add in the corn, beans, and shredded turkey; continue to gently simmer ‘til heated through
  • carefully taste and add s&p if needed
  • turn heat off, and let sit for 15 minutes or so; prep garnishes while you wait
  • serve soup with garnishes alongside

 ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥   ♥

God loves you!  ♥  (Don’t ever forget that!)

♥  coleen

Hebrews 13:15 ~ A Sacrifice of Praise

SeekingHimLogo

{This final week of 2015 we will be re-visiting some of my personal favorite themes on which our wonderful writers have shared with us throughout this past year.  I hope that you (as I was, too!) will be encouraged and reminded of God’s faithfulness and loving care through their inspired words.}

Through Him, therefore, let us constantly and at all times
offer up to God a sacrifice of praise,
which is the fruit of lips that thankfully acknowledge
and confess and glorify His name.

Hebrews 13:15

*  ~  ♥  ~  ✞  ~  ♥  ~  *

Oh, what encouragement I have received this week as I’ve read daily through the Seeking Him devotional!  (You, too?)  Ann, Ahmee, Clella, Cynda, and Tina have each written devotionals reminding me of the importance of offering my praise—a sacrifice of praise—to our wonderful Father God and drawing me closer to the One Who I do seek to praise and glorify!

In The Fruit Of Lips, Cynda took a good in-depth look at just what a ‘sacrifice of praise’ is and asked a really good question…along with a few answers she found.

“But why are we compelled (Hebrews 13:15) to do it ‘constantly and at all times’?  Here are just a few of the reasons I found:

  • it glorifies God and pleases Him
  • (because of) His enduring love and goodness
  • because Jesus did
  • it is our shared inheritance

But, I think my favorite reason for giving thanks is to tell others and remind myself of all He has done in my life.“

Then, Ann gave us some great reasons in Praise At All Times just WHY we praise God—

  • for what He has done (Psalm 9:11)
  • a four-fold reason— because we are “…a chosen people, a loyal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God….” (1 Peter 2:9)
  • and, as a commandment (Psalm 63:7)

She wrote, “So we are all to praise God; let us make a choice of doing so in the morning …in the afternoon …and in the evening time!”

Clella shared a wonderful translation of Hebrews 13:15 with us in Proclaim Allegiance To His Name.  She wrote,

“The New Living Translation says it this way:

Therefore, let us offer through Jesus
a continual sacrifice of praise to God,
proclaiming our allegiance to His Name.

The phase ‘proclaiming our allegiance to His Name’ popped out at me.  It sounded so different than the other translations that refer to ‘the fruit of lips that confess His Name.’  I just had to do a little research to understand what this verse is really saying.

– to “confess” God’s Name is to declare, state, acknowledge His Name
– to “proclaim allegiance” is to announce publicly, or to declare something one considers important with due emphasis, which in this case would be one’s loyalty or commitment of a subordinate to a superior.”

In Verbal Sacrifice, Ahmee brought us back to the central element in Hebrews 13:15 of ‘sacrifice.’  She reminded us of reasons we have to offer our sacrifice of praise.

“Those days when you don’t feel like giving praise are the days when praise is a sacrifice. When we praise God even in our less-than-favorable moments we are saying to Him — and those around us —

  • God is our God
  • we trust Him with our lives
  • we trust in Someone bigger than us
  • we have the Almighty on our side to fight for us”

And in Giving Thanks, Tina encouraged us to remember how abundantly blessed we are here in the USA.

“The Pilgrims were so grateful to have a land to call their own and the freedom to worship God. After such a hard crossing and a hard harvest, they decided to celebrate and praise God for what they had. Let us do the same. Continuous praise should be on our lips and in our thoughts.

Wise Men

psalmshymnsspiritualsongskjv
Three believed without a doubt
Saw a guiding light
Found Him in a lowly place
And knew He was divine
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Giving gifts of thanks and praise
They called Him a king
Feeling joy that knew no bounds
They fell down worshiping
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Surely angels still sing when someone comes so far
Traveling the distance from the depths of one’s own heart
Searching for salvation, they need not wear a crown
He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found

Letting God’s Word be their guide
They went home again
That’s where their story leaves us
And where ours begins
Wise men, wise men, wise men
Still look for Him

Allen Krehbiel
written with Trish Matthews

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn King of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:

‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of Judah,
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.

Matthew 2:1-12 NLT

As Christmas has passed and we are all cleaning up and getting back to our routines, it’s possible that we may unintentionally be leaving our focus on Jesus behind.

We say that we want to keep our minds on Jesus…but do we?

You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on You,
because he trusts in You.
Isaiah 26:3

We don’t know the details of the lives and work of the wise men, but it is fair to say that they studied the stars. They were knowledgeable enough to recognize that something new and important had appeared in the night sky. They were scholarly men who studied various literatures, which included what we refer to as the Old Testament, specifically the prophecies. We could say that they were ‘full of knowledge.’ What made them wise was how they accepted that knowledge and used it for good. With their knowledge, they wisely committed to look for…and find…the prophesied Messiah. According to the prophecies, the King of the Jews had been born; and not an ordinary king, but one so great that He was worthy of their time, their gifts, and their worship.

{Here is an interesting article from the Institute for Creation Research…}
When They Saw The Star

I know some of us are saying, “I took time out from my daily life to focus on Christmas. Now I need to get back to my family and work routines to keep things running smoothly.” God knows all of that is necessary, and He certainly doesn’t condemn that. But He also knows that focusing our hearts and minds on Jesus is important to all aspects of our lives and the lives of our family.

This story of the wise men leaves us with a very good lesson. The wise men used their knowledge to personally seek the king of the Jews, the Messiah. That is wisdom. As we “travel” into the new year, 2016, let’s make the same commitment that the wise men did. As we daily study God’s Word, we will gain knowledge of God and His plan for us. With God’s Word as our guide, we will wisely seek Jesus in a more personal way, and our very life will reflect Him. “He’s still here for all who seek and He wants to be found.”

You will seek Me and find Me,
when you seek Me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

Wise men—and women—still seek Him.

*   ~   ♥   ~   ✞   ~  ♥   ~   *

Lord, many of us have heads full of knowledge, but we know that doesn’t equate to being wise.  In this coming year, please help us through Your Holy Spirit to be more committed than ever to study Your Word, and then use it wisely to grow closer to You, more like You, and draw others to You. In the Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, we pray.  Amen, It Is So.