Archives for the month of: September, 2013

You know how you stumble around in the dark until your hand finds the light?  When you flip that switch, you can clearly see where you’re going.  Then when you go to bed, you flip that very same switch and immediately love the darkness that surrounds you as you climb into bed.

Are there ever times when you wish you could flip some kind of switch in your brain?

Wildly waving my hand over here.  Me!  Me!  Me!  I want to climb into bed and flip a brain switch.  No more worrying, no more planning, no more making mental lists, no more thinking.  Please!

I know I’m not alone in my wish.

off switch

Sleep does not come naturally to me.  I envy my husband who falls into bed and is off to slumberland in ten minutes.  Unless I have run myself ragged until midnight, I can never just crawl in bed and go to sleep.

But it’s not that my body isn’t tired that is the problem.  It’s what runs through my mind.  If only *that* would go away, I could sleep!  My body is worn out and my muscles ache.  If it weren’t for my racing thoughts, I’d be out like that light!

When I was a young mom, I thought when I got older my nightly lists and worries would be gone.  WRONG!

And you’d think I would have learned the trick of turning everything over to God for at least 8 hours.

I’m not trying to discourage you from thinking things don’t get better as you get farther along in your Christian life; I’m trying to let you know that we all share similar frustrations.  And growing older in age does not guarantee volumes of answers to our problems and cares.

What I have learned, however, is that I don’t know how I would’ve contended in this world without God, my Father, to talk with each night.  What do people do who have no Abiding Spirit, no Comforter, no Healer and Creator to cry out to?

Each night as I begin to unwind in bed and turn things over to God, I try to remember to apologize to Him for searching for ways to work things out on my own.

And I tell God I’m sorry for just plain not knowing how to ask Him for the right things or even knowing *what* to ask for.  Turning over my frustrations about my own prayers and rambling thoughts and whirling brain often lets me relax enough to simply thank God for the simple things.  Simple things which I’ve been given all day long by Him, and which I’ve taken for granted.

Beginning to thank Him most often leads to that switch in my brain which turns into sleep.

Knowing that God is always “on” with no “OFF” switch is a great comfort, too.  If I wake in the middle of the night, I can turn to His forever glowing Glory and seek His “light” and see my way into his presence without stumbling.

I think that is God’s plan.

by Cindy Best

Bread. The word itself alone can bring many images to mind. Bread is the most basic of foods used to sustain our physical bodies.

The Bible has many references to bread. In the Old Testament, bread was the source of the Israelites’ survival and when disobedient, God would threaten to break the Israelites’ “staff of bread” (Leviticus 26:26).  He would also send the “bread of adversity” (Isaiah 30:20) or the “bread of tears” (Psalm 80:5).

In Numbers 14:9, we read: “And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us; their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.” On the other hand, when God promised “a land where you may eat bread without scarcity” (Deut. 8:9), He was offering them life. In Exodus, God feeds his people manna, saying, “Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.” (Ex. 16:4)

Bread conjures up images of coziness and warmth. It’s impossible not to take a deep breath upon entering a warm kitchen with the smell of freshly baked bread. “Breaking bread together” is the community and fellowship of sharing meals. Acts 2 describes the early church – “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46).

Cheese Braid

We break bread together in observance of the Lord’s supper.  “For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.  (I Corinthians 11:23-24). In Matthew 4:3, the devil challenged Jesus to turn the stones into bread during Jesus’ temptation (Matt. 4: 3) and finally in the Lord’s Prayer we are taught to pray for our “daily bread.”

The promise of Jesus is this “Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35). “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and this bread, which I will offer so the world may live, is my flesh.” (John 6:51)

Bread and the breaking of bread together is more than just a food and more than just a meal. Breaking bread around the table of fellow believers is a time for shared experiences, a time of intimacy, a time for celebrating our love for life.

by Linda Tigges

Spanish Coffeecake (a quick bread)

5 cups of flour

2 cups of brown sugar

1-1/2 cups of white sugar

Scant 1-1/2 cups vegetable oil

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Mix the ingredients together. Set aside 1 cup for topping. To the remainder add:

2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 cups of buttermilk

2 eggs

Mix together for 4 minutes and pour into 3 loaf pans.

Mix 1 cup of nuts (optional) into the reserved topping and sprinkle the mixture over the batter in the loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.

The other day I was baking, and I plopped in eggs, milk, butter, sugar, flour, salt and vanilla.  So what do you think I got out of that mixture?  A cake?  Cookies?  A sweet bread?  Maybe a cobbler of some sort?  Or even a shortbread?

Nope. In my blender I watched all the ingredients whir together and poured the outcome into a pie plate and got a custard pie, that made its own crust as it baked.

I realized, as I poured the liquid, that with those exact ingredients–in different proportions–I could have a cake.  It all depended on how much of each thing I would add, and in what form. In other words, cold butter instead of melted would mix differently with the flour.  Four eggs would be very creamy versus one or two. And the amount of sugar and flour would make a huge difference in the texture and sweetness of my creation.

Red velvet cupcake

Now, knowing me, you can imagine how my mind started whirling around like the blender blades as I contemplated this thought.

What happens when the ingredients of life are all the same, but we get different results?  What kind of mixture goes into our lives and gets poured out into a mold of our making?

We all have trouble, anger, doubt, desires, hopes and wishes…maybe despair and depression. And we throw in worship and Bible study and prayer, too!

Mix all that inside our spirit and with our individual temperaments, and what do we get?

Something nourishing, or sweet, or big and fluffy or flat as a pancake?

Interesting thought, huh?

As a new season of Women of the Word begins, a new container is available for all the ingredients of our lives.  A new chance to change the proportions of what we pour inside of us has arrived.

I hope you get a chance to think about what ingredients you wish to increase in your life these next weeks and what you wish to decrease as well.

I’m praying you will have a great time meeting old friends and greeting new ones, and that you will find God waiting to help you “mix” everything He has planned for you this year.  With Him, the outcome can only be good…delicious, in fact!

by Cindy Best

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