Friday, August 23, 2013

Stir Fry Fajitas ------Fearing Things Other Than The Lord

The Food Stuffs: 


Have a frying pan ready and a place to chop your veggies. If your chicken is not precooked, boil it until cooked through. Same with the rice. My measurements are for a meal for two. Other than that, this recipe is very simple and quick!  


-1/2 Cup Chopped Bell Pepper (try other varieties of peppers add for more flavor!)
-1/2 Cup Chopped Broccoli
-1/2 Cup Chopped Snap Peas
-2 Chicken Breasts (small ones are fine,) cooked and chopped into bits
-2 Cups Cooked Rice (brown is better)
-1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
-1/8 Cup Taco Sauce (choose your own heat)
-1/8 Cup  Worcestershire Sauce 
-A pinch of Garlic
-A pinch of Taco Seasoning
-A couple of soft tortillas
-A little bit of shredded cheese

Cooking Instructions:

1.Combine the three sauces in a frying pan, turn heat to medium.
2. When the sauce is warm, add the dry spices (adjust sauces and seasonings to taste, of course!)
3. Add the chopped vegetables, stirring them into sauce until lightly coated. 
4. Toss in the chicken bits, stirring them in as well.
5. Heat the rice separately. 

Putting It All Together:

1. When all of the components of the meal feel warm to the touch, warm your soft tortilla shells slightly.
2. Place tortillas on plates, and pile on the rice.
3. Spoon the meat and veggie mixture onto the rice, adding sauce on to your liking.

Topping It Off:

Sprinkle some cheese on top of that mess! Fold up your tortilla and enjoy! 


This meal does not have to be very hot! Just slightly warmed on the stove is fine (just be sure your chicken and rice are cooked through.) The variability of temperature and spiciness makes this a great summer time meal. 


Thoughts on Fearing Things Other Than The Lord

"The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction." -Proverbs 1:7

I am skilled at fearing things. Fear comes very naturally to me. Yet fearing God is by no means easy for me- for one, because God is good. There is a lot out there that isn't good that I find myself fearful of. So fear often rules me. I find myself fearing things like failure and rejection. I also find myself fearing things like joy, hope, or...surrendering things to the Lord. These things are good, but I fear them too.

This probably marks the beginning of a sort of "series" on fear simply because the subject is one which I continually find myself being pointed toward and befuddled by. It seems the Lord is working in me to change some of my notions about fear. 

As I begin considering the things that I fear that are "other" than the Lord, I find myself trying to name what fear actually is. I've heard people say that the Bible doesn't actually mean "fear the Lord." The Bible just means "to respect" Him. Though I'm no Bible scholar, I don't buy that. To respect Him as above and beyond myself is certainly a component of my fear of the Lord...but that just isn't the whole deal. We have to be on guard against over-simplifying.

The dictionary definition of fear is all about the condition or state or being afraid...for reasons like real or perceived threats. In Hebrew, the common word for fear relates to having reverence for, being in terror of, not exceeding, and to consider as religion (taken from an online concordance on

In my personal experience...these make sense. When I fear something, I am:

1. Conditioned by being afraid of the threat of whatever it is that I fear. 
2. Reverent of what I fear. I treat "it" as special, beyond me, and independent of all else.
3. Terrified. How terrified I feel of my fears -they strike words, power, and much else out of me! 
4. Careful not to exceed my fears. I love this point. When I fear something, I don't push the boundaries of "it," I don't go far from "it."
5. Seeing what I fear as what I follow, obey, and live in relation to. "It" becomes my religion, my self-definition.

Maybe it isn't pretty...but these are indeed things I should "be" of the Lord. I should be afraid of the threat of God. What is the threat? Being separated from Him. The reality that I was born a sinner, and, apart from Jesus Christ, I am dust and will never be anything more. I will meet my end, it will be unimaginably awful, and I will deserve it. That is threatening, that is scary. And the God of the universe allows it to be that way -dare I say- created this world, these people, myself...knowing this. That is scary. And it should be. I need to recognize who I am in the face of this threat. Praise the Lord that I can stand before the threat and point to Jesus Christ as my savior.

I should be reverent of the Lord. He is beyond me, and beyond all things. The Lord is sovereign and perfect and that should inspire in me a reverence for His "otherness." When I encounter the Lord I should be terrified. I should be stricken, at a loss for words, and recognizing my own powerlessness. 

And then, the point I love -before the Lord, my fear should cause me to not exceed God. To not *try* to exceed God. If my life is lived fearing the Lord, I should not push the boundaries of following Him. I should not seek to go away from the Lord or to surpass or overcome the Lord. I should be within his grip. He should be my religion. The Lord should be the determinant of my lifestyle, the one I obey and follow, and the one that I live entirely in relationship with. Jesus Christ should be my guide and what I am grounded in. 

Fearing the Lord is appropriate in my understanding. Fitting, necessary, even healthy. Proverbs says that fearing the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. 1 Corinthians speaks of a different sort of knowledge, of the wisdom of the world -and it is foolishness. It is worldly wisdom that says that God cannot be both feared and loved. Or feared and followed. Or fear-worthy and good. But He is. 

For me to claim that I have mastered this notion and appropriately fear, or understand what it is to fear the Lord, would be ridiculous. But, in light of this notion of fear, I recognize that many things besides the Lord cause me to fear. 

Yet what else is worthy of such fear? And what does it mean for the soul to fear something other than the Lord? To fear the Lord, as a sum of these definitions I have explored, is to submit to Him as my master and king. 

Nothing else is worthy of such regard. Anything else that I fear is put in a position over me which does not honor Jesus Christ. A wise and kind professor pointed this out to me once in the gentle but conclusive way that people who have loved the Lord for a long time do.

I had created an independent study exploring a big question. My goal was to figure out how Christians, myself included, could possibly do good in the world apart from simply sharing the Gospel. Every turn in the search presented a new problem. And my professor pointed out that every aspect of the questions and the issues I encountered related to fear. Those who seek and serve the Lord ultimately glorify Him because they fear Him and follow Him. Fearing making mistakes, looking bad to the world, not completing a "mission," or anything else just dethrones the true king. 

That was a sufficient answer for me. Because it was truth. Yet here I am, still afraid. And...fearful of a lot of different things. I'll probably be exploring these fears and what they stifle in my soul soon. 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Little Apple Pies------Selective Sacrificing

The Food Stuffs:


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Have a bowl and a pot on hand, as well as a greased baking sheet and a flat surface to roll dough onto. Be warned that this is one of those recipes I make by sight, scent, and feel and not by measurement. None of these measurements are exact, sorry! Use your own judgement! Makes about 8 little pies. 

Dough Ingredients:

3 cups Flour
2 1/2 tablespoons Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon of Salt
1 Cup Butter (not soft!)
1 Cup Milk

Dough Instructions:

1. Place the flour in a bowl. Sift baking powder and salt into the bowl as well. 
2. Cut a cup of butter into the dry mixture with a pastry cutter. 
3. Burrow out a hole in the center of the mixture. Fill with milk. 
4. Stir until just combined.
5. Flour your hands and then mix with your hands, kneading until a dough forms. 
6. Spread the dough on a floured, hard surface. Use a rolling pin to make a nice flat dough. Keep the surface and the dough well floured so it does not get sticky and fall apart. 

Filling Ingredients:

6-8 Apples, peeled and chopped
1 Cup Sugar
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter

Filling Instructions:

1. In one pot, melt the butter over low heat. 
2. When the butter is melted, add the sugar and brown sugar. Stir until the mixture is evenly textured.
3. Add cinnamon and nutmeg until it smells good  : )
4. Remove from burner and allow to cool a little bit.

Putting It All Together:

1. Cut the dough into rough squares. The squares (don't worry if the edges aren't straight and even) should be about the size of a postcard. 
2. Using a spoon, spread the filling on the squares, creating a thin, even coat.
3. Add the chopped apples to the squares. 
4. Scoop remaining filling over the apples on top of the squares. 
5. Fold the edges of the squares up around the apples and filling, creating little pies. 
6. Press your newly made edges against the apples and sticky filling. They should stay up just fine.
7. Move each little pie to the baking sheet and bake in the oven until the dough is done. The edges of the dough will be slightly golden and the bottom of each pie should be sturdy. 
8. Place on cooling rack.

Topping It Off:

When the little pies come out of the oven, sprinkle with a little cinnamon sugar and/or sliced almonds. Best when eaten slightly warm with ice cream or cool whip. 


-If the folded pies aren't holding shape well, spread a little melted butter around the top edges and pinch the dough edges until they stay. 
-For crunchy crust, spread butter on the dough after five minutes of baking. It is best to pour melted butter over the little pies. 
-For easier clean up, place tin foil or parchment paper over the baking sheet. 


Thoughts on Selective Sacrificing

I love my husband, and I appreciate how much he sacrifices for me. But sometimes, I wish he would sacrifice differently. Sometimes, I notice that he doesn't have time for certain things I like (reading together) because certain things he likes (browsing the internet for odd facts and images) takes up so much time that he often has homework left to work on. A lot of homework left to work on. 

This frustrates me. It makes me feel like he is willing to sacrifice, but only certain things that he feels like sacrificing. That doesn't sound like much of a sacrifice to me. In my mind once recently, I termed this condition "selective sacrificing."

Just as I was about to snap at him over the whole thing the other day, I was trying to think of examples of his unfair and unjust behavior to call him out on. Oddly enough, many of the examples that came to mind were actually of my own selective sacrifices. Thank the Lord for bringing those to mind instead.

I sacrifice for my husband. Often I try to make sure that my sacrifices are ones I am comfortable with or have planned for eating dinner later than I desire. Or, spending less time in front of the TV to do things for him. I don't mind sacrificing my time cooking instead of relaxing (never mind that I enjoy cooking.) At times, I even sacrifice things like -wait for it- precious time reading together in order to spend more time with friends, playing the games that I like. 

Both my husband and I selectively sacrifice. So do our friends. Maybe it's a bigger trend...

The more I think about it, the more I wonder about the nature of  human sacrifice. The sacrifices I make and see people around me make often come out of a sense of exchange. If I sacrifice this for you, you have to sacrifice that for me. Then, further, we expect loved ones to sacrifice because we are entitled to their doing so. 

I have, more often than I'd like to admit, expected my husband to sacrifice just because he married me. Being his wife, I am entitled. Right? Doesn't the Bible say we own each other? It's in there, I promise! We give things up to honor each they shouldn't also honor ourselves. Or else, we aren't really sacrificing. Right?  What a mess. 

As I've thought about all of this (over-thinking, I know,) I've noticed that Christ has little to do with my thinking and feeling about sacrifice. Not when it comes to the people I love anyway. Even though I've heard that I am a giving person...that doesn't mean I give the right things or that I do so for the right reasons.

When the Bible tell us to sacrifice or give things up to honor someone, it isn't for our own gain in any way, shape, or form. Even things like "honor you parents" aren't that simple. Honor is ultimately to Christ. Like all things we are to do are ultimately to point to Christ. 

"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31.) This is an inductive statement. We are to reason that from the small, necessary things like eating or drinking, up to all of the bigger things, like making decisions and loving others, whatever we do is to be for the Glory of God. 

Colossians 3:17 says "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." 

When I sacrifice, it shouldn't  just be for my husband. It  shouldn't be for a friend. It definitely should not be in any sense for myself. My sacrifices should be, ultimately, to glorify Christ. Even further, when I want something and someone has to sacrifice for it, I should rethink my desires. Reading together is great. Doing it for my sake, especially at cost to someone I love, does not honor Christ. 

I need to be on guard that I do not selectively sacrifice because doing so is about me, not about Jesus. 

Just a Poem About Mercy...

See the heights of my worries,
That I cannot know their peaks,
So lofty are the anxieties,
Much taller than my shaky beliefs.

As tall as my mountains of worries,
As wide as the sea of my pain,
As deep as the scars have been carved in,
And my life an unknowable length,
Lord you are more,
you are the beginnings and ends,
of this canvas spread and story
we try to tell,
Lord you have reached more
Of me,
Than any of these,
Be the frame,
please place this attempt
wherever it should be

in your unthinkable, heavenly gallery.