Herbal Cocktail Webinar Opportunity

HerbalCocktailWebinarOpportunity

Herbs are one of the many gifts to us from God. Herbs provide healing, health, immune support, and well-being.

Learningherbs.com is host to a healthful bounty of herbal information. They are offering two free sessions this Thursday, July 30th. Visit the webinar website to register.

https://explore.learningherbs.com/webinars/herbal-cocktail-happy-hour/.

Kathy’s Buckwheat Date Muffins

RecipeFridayKathysBuckwheatDateMuffins

Buckwheat muffins are my current favorite healthy snack. I like to add chopped dates, but you can substitute any fruit you like: raisins, currants, dried cherries or cranberries… Hm, I’m thinking even chopped apples would work.

These muffins are gluten-free, egg-free, and dairy-free. Depending on your tastes and dietary restrictions or freedoms, you can substitute other flours; you can use an egg instead of the flaxseed and water; you can use dairy milk; and you can use melted butter instead of the olive oil.

Flours: Oats are naturally gluten-free, as is buckwheat. Check your sources, or read the label: many times oats, especially, are processed in facilities that also process gluten ingredients. If you are gluten-sensitive, make sure your flours are indeed gluten-free. I have also made these with sweet white sorghum flour (also gluten-free), and they turned out well. Other gluten-free flour options: millet, coconut, almond, quinoa, and cassava.

These have a nice, chewy texture. You may substitute maple syrup for the coconut palm sugar; the dough will be a bit less stiff. Also, I haven’t tried it yet, but I think adding some molasses would be tasty. If you use liquid sweetener, add it to the “wet bowl” instead of the “dry bowl” ingredients.

Ingredients:

The “wet bowl:”

  • 2 heaping tablespoons ground flaxseed (measure, then grind) mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup non-dairy milk (oat, rice, coconut, almond, soy…)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped dates

The “dry bowl:”

  • 1 1/4 cups oat flour
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/3 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon pink himalayan salt
  • however much cinnamon and nutmeg you like

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
In a small bowl, add ground flax seed (and the water), milk, oil, and dates. Whisk together to mix completely.
In a medium-size bowl, add flours, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk any lumps out.
Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients; mix together just until moistened. (This is a stiff batter.)
Divide batter between 12 muffin cups.
Bake at 350° for 20 minutes.

These freeze really well.

Jesus Deals Gently with Our Sin

JesusDealsGentlyWithOurSins

My devotions were in Mark Ch 9. This is the Transfiguration chapter, in which Peter, Paul, and John witness some of the glory of Jesus as He speaks with Elijah and Moses. When they come down from the mount, they encounter the rest of the disciples with a father and son. The father asks Jesus if He can cast the demon out of his son (quotable quote: “I believe! Help Thou mine unbelief!”). The disciples later ask why they couldn’t do the task themselves, and Jesus answers, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.” (Mark 9.29)

This is some pretty powerful stuff the disciples are witnessing and doing and talking about.

Then, there they are, walking along. They arrive at their destination, and Jesus asks them, “What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?” (v 33)

The disciples don’t answer. Verse 34 says, But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

The disciples were immediately convicted. They knew they had done wrong. They knew that Jesus knew. Their pride was hanging out all over the place.

Look how gently Jesus handles their sin:

35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. 36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, 37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

They’re still not getting it, evidenced by what John says next. He changes the subject!

38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.”

Jesus lets him change the subject, and answers wisely and gently. But then He brings the teaching back around to His initial probing: (v 43) And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea… He continues giving illustrations as to how it is better to cut off that which causes one to sin, than to sin, than to be cast into hell, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

He closes, wrapping up His lesson on pride in verse 50, “Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.”

Jesus mentions twice in this chapter (once with just the three disciples, and once to all of them) that He is going to rise from the dead. They don’t answer Him, or ask what He’s talking about; they’re afraid (v 32).

Jesus lays some pretty heavy stuff on these men. He knows their hearts; he knows they have pride and sin in those hearts. But He chose them, and He works to soften those hearts. Just like He chooses us.

As you read through the gospels, notice how differently Jesus speaks to His chosen ones than He does to the Pharisees and Scribes (Matthew 23.27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.).

It’s not that Jesus doesn’t love every person He ever created; He does! But He knows whose hearts The Father has chosen to soften; He knows just how to speak to each of those hearts to guide us and direct us to His glory and our peace. He knows His sheep, and He knows that His sheep hear His voice.

Listen to Him.

Jeremiah 10. 23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. 24 O LORD, correct me, but with judgment; not in thine anger, lest thou bring me to nothing.

Isaiah 40. 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Rethinking Peace

RethinkingWhatPeaceMeans

Peace may not be what you think it is. It is not the index and middle finger raised, with or without a smile. It is not everyone accepting each other as they are; it is not tolerance. It is not remaining silent just to “keep the peace.” It is not forcing onto others what we think is right (even if we are right).

eiréné: one, peace, quietness, rest (from eirō, “to join, tie together into a whole“) – properly, wholeness, i.e. when all essential parts are joined together; peace

Peace is when we are one with God; when God has joined all the parts together to make us whole. In the beginning there was peace because, in the beginning, there was God. God was whole, He was the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In His peace, He created man, and man had peace with God – man was whole.

Peace means standing right before God. It means that God can look upon you and accept you into His heavenly home. Peace is a clean line of communication between you and God. Peace is when God looks upon you as holy.

Man broke himself when he sinned. We all are born in sin and are broken (Psalm 51.5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.).

Jesus is our Prince of Peace. He is the only means of standing righteous before God. Jesus is the only clean line of communication with our Heavenly Father. Jesus is the only way to Heaven.

Isaiah 53.5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.

When we have peace with God, we may or may not have “peace” with our fellow man. We can act as Peacemakers (and that is our God-given task); how others receive us, and our words, is between them and God.

God’s grace is the means of peace with Him. Read the words of the hymn, Grace Greater Than Our Sin. Realize the sin inside you. Repent of it, receive salvation through Jesus Christ. Have peace with God. Then, whatever may be going on in the world around you, you will experience deep, satisfying, unalterable, unexplainable peace.

Grace Greater Than Our Sin (Julia Harriet Johnston)

Marvelous grace of our loving Lord,
Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured,
There where the blood of the Lamb was spilt.

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

Sin and despair, like the sea waves cold,
Threaten the soul with infinite loss;
Grace that is greater, yes, grace untold,
Points to the refuge, the mighty cross.

Dark is the stain that we cannot hide.
What can avail to wash it away?
Look! There is flowing a crimson tide,
Brighter than snow you may be today.

Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace,
Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see his face,
Will you this moment his grace receive?

The Simple Key to Safety and Protection

TheSimpleKeyToSafetyAndProtection

My devotions took me to Ezra 3 this morning. First to back up:

In Ezra 1: 1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying,

2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.

5 Then rose up the chief of the fathers of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests, and the Levites, with all them whose spirit God had raised, to go up to build the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem. 6 And all they that were about them strengthened their hands with vessels of silver, with gold, with goods, and with beasts, and with precious things, beside all that was willingly offered.

A contingent of Jews headed back to Jerusalem to live.

In Ezra 3, the priests, “builded the altar of the God of Israel, to offer burnt offerings thereon, as it is written in the law of Moses the man of God. 3 And they set the altar upon his bases; for fear was upon them because of the people of those countries: and they offered burnt offerings thereon unto the LORD, even burnt offerings morning and evening.

The Jewish people knew they had enemies all around, people who didn’t want them there, who scorned their God, and who wanted power over them. But the Jews remembered Who they served. They had the Book of the Law. They knew.

They knew the blessings God had promised if they would adhere to His Law (Deuteronomy 28.1). They knew the curses God had promised if His people would not hearken unto the voice of the Lord their God, to observe to do all His commandments and his statues which He commanded them that day. (Deuteronomy 28.15).

Deuteronomy 28. 1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the LORD thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: 2 And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God…. 7 The LORD shall cause thine enemies that rise up against thee to be smitten before thy face: they shall come out against thee one way, and flee before thee seven ways. 8 The LORD shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto; and he shall bless thee in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.

SO many blessings, in verses 1-14!

But then the curses, if they would not hearken unto God:

Deuteronomy 28. 21 The LORD shall make the pestilence cleave unto thee, until he have consumed thee from off the land, whither thou goest to possess it. 22 The LORD shall smite thee with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting, and with mildew; and they shall pursue thee until thou perish…. 25 The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth…. 33 The fruit of thy land, and all thy labours, shall a nation which thou knowest not eat up; and thou shalt be only oppressed and crushed always.

Pestilence, consumption, inflammation, fleeing from enemies: sound like anywhere you know today?

The people of Ezra’s time knew that, in order to receive the protection and blessing of God, they would have to bow down and obey Him. They knew that their people had refused to listen to God for centuries, and God had, indeed, taken them away captive from their homeland. They knew that, without God’s protection, they would open themselves up to disaster, disease, tribulation, and suffering. Why would they want to go through that again?

They built an altar and worshiped God, as He commanded. They offered burnt sacrifices to atone for their sins. They humbled themselves before their Almighty God.

And they continued in their obedience: Ezra 3.5 And afterward offered the continual burnt offering, both of the new moons, and of all the set feasts of the LORD that were consecrated, and of every one that willingly offered a freewill offering unto the LORD.

Are you seeking safety, protection, and peace? Humble yourself before the Lord God. Worship Him. Read His Word to find out how to obey Him. Call out to Him for guidance. Walk in obedience to Him. God always blesses obedience. He will bless you.

Ask for God’s eyes and heart to discern what His protection looks like. King David was a man after God’s own heart. He was often in the midst of danger, and he was spurred into action to go to war for God. Maybe that doesn’t look like safety and protection to many of us. But it did to David. Read his Psalms. David knew he was completely under the protective Hand of the God of Israel Who loved him. David had the peace of God that passes all understanding.

So did the apostle Paul. Paul endured beatings, shipwrecks, hunger, and thirst. But his heart was hard after God, and he knew implicitly that God had His Hand of Protection over him.

Peace with God comes with obedience. The peace includes giving our times, our circumstances, and our wills over to God, and accepting from His Hand all that happens, including death. If we are indeed obedient, we put all our trust in Him. In exchange for our obedience, God blesses us with His joy and peace.