by Sarah Langness
I’m not gonna lie: my husband and I have a pretty cute kid. (What parent doesn’t say that about their kid?) Unfortunately, though, like all cute kids, our little man doesn’t always do as he’s told. (What kid doesn’t do that to their parents?) But it brings my heart joy when he listens. When he hears me say, “No Zeke; please don’t throw your fork on the floor,” and he doesn’t throw his fork onto the floor’s collection of dropped cheerios and cheese. When he hears me say, “Zeke, can you put your toy in the basket for Mommy?” and he adds that toy to the mound of trucks already in the basket. I can honestly say that such simple things make me smile.
And ya know, I can’t help but think it’s the same way for the Lord. After all, we are His children and He has given us His Word. But He doesn’t want us to just listen. To just underline the parts in our Bibles that sound good, to nod our head in agreement at the things we like, or simply feel inspired, encouraged, or hopeful. He wants us to do.
“But prove yourselves to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.” – James 1:22, NASB (emphasis mine)
So when the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “open [my] mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate” (Proverbs 31:8), then I need to not be silent in a culture that kills more than 3000 children every day. And “doing” involves more than bringing such a sad fact to light on a blog.
When the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “let no unwholesome word proceed from [my] mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment” (Ephesians 4:29), then I better clamp my mouth shut when gossip wants to spew forth. Even if it is gossip in the form of a “prayer request”.
When the Lord, through His Word, tells me to “‘Love one another, just as [Jesus] has loved [me]” (John 15:12), then I better start showing love to my husband and son by sacrificing what I want. I better get out of my comfortable daily routine and reach out to that new mom, or to that one who’s lived down the street for well over a year.
There’s no end to the list. Practicing hospitality (Romans 12:13). Not worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). Making disciples (Matthew 28:28).
But here’s something important – so don’t bypass this or stop reading now:
I don’t do to earn His love.
I don’t do to earn a ticket to heaven.
I don’t do to be “good enough” or “better than”.
I do because I love Him.
Because doing brings Him joy.
Doing points others to Him.
“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:8-10, NASB (emphasis mine)
by Ruth Rautio
Original recipe makes 1 quart
- 1 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
- 1 (12 ounce) package frozen unsweetened raspberries
- 1 1/2 cups cherry juice
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
Bring the sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat. When the sugar is dissolved, stir in the cranberries, and cook and stir for 5 minutes. Add the raspberries, and simmer for 5 more minutes, until the raspberries have softened and the cranberries have popped.
Strain the mixture through a sieve or strainer, discard the pulp, and refrigerate the mixture for 2 hours. Mix in the cherry juice, lime juice, and orange juice concentrate, and pour the mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to directions.
Pack the sorbet into a freezer container and freeze for about 2 hours, until the sorbet is firm. Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.
by Ruth Rautio
Original recipe makes 20 mini meatloaf cups
- 2 cups coarsely chopped zucchini
- 1 1/2 cups coarsely chopped onions
- 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
- 1 pound extra lean ground turkey
- 1/2 cup uncooked couscous
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, or as needed
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Spray 20 muffin cups with cooking spray.
Place zucchini, onions, and red bell pepper into a food processor, and pulse several times until finely chopped but not liquefied. Place the vegetables into a bowl, and mix in ground turkey, couscous, egg, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon mustard until thoroughly combined. Fill each prepared muffin cup about 3/4 full. Top each cup with about 1 teaspoon of barbecue sauce.
Bake in the preheated oven until juices run clear, about 25 minutes. Internal temperature of a muffin measured by an instant-read meat thermometer should be at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
by Jonni Sliver
Over the last three months (yikes! Time goes so quickly!) I have loved visiting AFLC families all over the mid-west. The ideas behind these visits is that I could testify to what God is doing, one young life at a time, in the Miriam Children’s Home and at the same time thank so many loving brothers and sisters who have gone out of their way to bless the children through prayers and gifts. But God always has a better idea than we do and I have received much more than I have given!
During a Sunday morning service in May, in Badger, MN the offering was taken and I joined in as we sang:
“We give Thee but Thine own, whate’er the gift may be: All that we have is Thine alone, a trust, O Lord, from Thee.”
It had been so long since I had sung the offertory that I made a mistake. The last line became:
“All that we have is thine alone, a gift, O Lord, from Thee.”
Oops! The difference between a “trust” and “gift” struck me so strongly. When I receive a gift it is mine and I can do what I want with it. I can choose to give it away, to use it wisely or to lock it away for safe keeping, because it is mine. A trust is different – it doesn’t belong to me, I am holding it for the owner, using as I have been instructed. I don’t have the right to do what I want with it because it isn’t mine.
It starts really early, one of the first words out of our mouths as babies is “MINE!” and we go on thinking that all of life is about what is ours, about what our rights are, all about us. Right now, while I am visiting churches I have been driving a lovely Dodge Grand Caravan, lent to me by World Missions. Can you guess how long it took for me to refer to it as “my car”? It even has a name (Gert – which may be changed by the next driver). As I sang the offertory incorrectly I had a wonderful chance to think about every single thing that really isn’t mine, everything God has allowed me to hold for Him. Life, resources, ministry, they’re His, all His!
I have noticed that the habit of singing the offertory is more common in our smaller, rural churches than it is in the bigger urban areas. I wonder if that might, in part, be because there is something in the rural culture that reminds us every day that everything we have comes by God’s grace. This is an easy year to see it. My heart goes out to the farmers who waited all of last year for the rains to come and waited all this spring for the crops to dry! But every farmer I’ve talked to has said that this is the life of the farmer – they have no control over the rain or the sun or pests that can affect the fields. I think that makes it easier for them to understand their dependence on the Living God who trusts them with His fields!
It is good to be reminded of the basics!