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Permeating Flavors

DSCF0037Milton Vincent’s A Gospel Primer (available on amazon.com) continues to influence my daily thoughts. In the Foreword of A Gospel Primer, Mike Bullmore compares the writing and reading of Vincent’s book to preparing and enjoying a tasty meal from a slow cooker. He makes a good point; a wise reader will not speed-read this book. Instead, just as time is needed for flavors to mix well in a crock pot meal, time will be necessary for the Gospel truths Vincent shares to permeate your thinking.

Here is an example of how Vincent’s book has helped me in my spiritual growth with respect to my view of trials in life. In the past, I struggled more often than I do now with the temptation to find someone to blame for every challenge that I face. Having spent some time reviewing A Gospel Primer, I more often find myself wondering how the Gospel relates to the details of a particular challenge instead of figuring out who is culpable. Sometimes my challenge is simply a difficult circumstance involving no other human being. Other situations involve another person. In these and various other situations, I have been helped tremendously by the principles which Vincent helps his reader consider.

For example, some mornings, I awake with a stiffness or pain in my neck or back that makes the beginning of the day rather slow for me. Other times, I am clearly reminded of my physical limitations when I cannot maintain a pattern of mixing rest times in with periods of working or socializing. It seems that I can’t participate in as many activities as “normal” people can without reaching the point of complete exhaustion or a debilitating headache after a couple of days. These kinds of challenges are simply due to my living in a decaying body in a world that is cursed from sin; no particular person is to blame.

In other cases, I may need to speak with someone to work out a misunderstanding or to address a hurt between us. That is uncomfortable for me, but maintaining any relationship will, at some time, require this difficult work of reconciliation. When someone has hurt me, I tend to be quick to anger; I also have struggled for years to obey the command not to keep an account of the wrongs others have inflicted on me. Sometimes I wonder, “Why do I even have to face this? I wish I didn’t have to address this difficulty with this person!” Vincent’s Gospel Primer has helped me to switch my thinking more quickly to, “What might God be teaching me about the Gospel in this situation? Or, is this an opportunity for me to grow spiritually by exercising faith in His promises as I obey His commands?”

Whether my trials involve other people or not, I am reminded from the Gospel that God is at work in the difficulty, molding me into the image of His Son. When I am firmly convinced that God is for me, then I truly can exult in my tribulations and count my trials all joy since I know that God is deliberately designing my circumstances for the purpose of changing me spiritually to be more and more like His Son.

One day recently, I wanted to try a new way to cook chicken for Brody, and he suggested a garlic/herb combination. Starting with ideas from about.com in the Frugal Living and Southern Food categories, I came up with this recipe. We put some of the chicken on a plate with our usual black beans, rice and broccoli just for the “photo op” one evening, so it does look like a lot of chicken for one serving! 🙂 We liked the taste of the crock pot chicken, even if it doesn’t look as pretty as our chicken taco meal does! At times, our work schedules and my need for rest make the crock pot a very attractive option for meal preparation. We’re beginning to experiment more often using the crock pot with the recipes we already developed in A Recipe for Survival.

 Herb/Garlic Crock Pot Chicken

 ¼ cup water

2 lbs chicken breasts

2 tsp dried parsley

3 large sage leaves

a sprinkling of dried thyme

4” fresh rosemary

1/8 tsp ground cloves

a sprinkling of ground nutmeg

salt

black pepper

10” fresh oregano

2 garlic cloves

Add everything to a crock pot and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!Crockpot Chicken 1

Thanksgiving, Part IV: Thankful for Family, Near and Far

This Thanksgiving, Brody and I have been thankful for our family! We are thankful for how our parents and siblings have faithfully prayed for us and encouraged us through our various adventures with health challenges and the related issues that arise.

We are also thankful for our extended spiritual family through Christ. Milton Vincent reminds his readers in A Gospel Primer that we believers are given by God as gifts to one another. The beginning of his book consists of 31 “Reasons to Rehearse the Gospel Daily.” Today, I’m thinking of Reason #12: “My Inheritance in the Saints,” on page 23. Vincent shares with his readers how remembering the truths of the Gospel encourages believers to value the part other believers play in their spiritual growth in Christ. One way we participate in one another’s spiritual walk is to encourage one another with our testimonies of how the Lord sustains and guides us through difficult times. This reminds me of the Psalmist speaking of his joy in declaring God’s goodness in the assembly of God’s people. (Psalm 22:22-27.) 

I am encouraged when I remember the faith and perseverance of someone in the Bible – Romans 15:4  explains that we can have hope through perseverance and from the encouragement of the Scriptures. I also am greatly encouraged in my own faith when I hear a contemporary believer’s public testimony of God’s enduring love and faithful care of His people.

 May this example also encourage your heart as it encouraged mine!

 Thatcher (my brother) and his wife, Amy, created a CaringBridge site when they learned that their son, James Daniel, had a syndrome called Hypoplastic Left Heart. Reading their journal entries at this site will encourage you to also hold tightly to the Lord through your challenges. Take the 8 minutes to watch the video of them giving public testimony to the Lord’s sustaining grace. The video was made for their church’s Thanksgiving service and the link to it has been added to the Caring Bridge site for James Daniel. You’ll have to create a Caring Bridge site password to access the site, but it’s well worth the effort. Whatever you are facing in your life, you will have renewed faith in our God when you see how He carried them through a very difficult, good time. May His Name be praised!

 On the subject of our family connections, both spiritual and physical, here’s a photo of Mom’s Meatloaf, (page 132 of A Recipe for Survival). I derived this from a recipe Brody’s mom gave me. I usually make the recipe into two loaves, but for fun, I sometimes use the muffin tins to make Meatloaf Muffins. They’re fun to serve as appetizers!

Which Recipe did You Try First?

After you receive your book, please let me know which recipe you tried first and if you chose to adjust anything! It’s fun to experiment!

We enjoyed Quinoa Cakes for the first time in a while yesterday – they are so tasty and satisfying! I am experimenting with a new casserole recipe tonight; we are about to enjoy our supper together and see how my first try turned out.

A couple of days ago, I finally made a first attempt at converting a gluten-filled scone recipe into a gluten-free version… and we were pleased with the results. I’ll get another few taste-testers’ opinions in the next few days, and then post the recipe for you to enjoy! 🙂

Have a great day!

The Purpose of This Site

This blog page/web site is being developed to promote a new gluten-free cookbook that should be available soon.  In the next few weeks, information about the book, the author, and gluten-free issues will be added and updated and we hope the book will be available for purchase within the next couple of months.  Keep checking back to see how things develop here.