Gluten Free & God Seeking

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Do You Know What the Goal of Spiritual Growth is in Colossians 2:19?

   Human and spiritual development are a lot alike.  I'm sure God's responsible for that.  Just like we begin our human life as infants, we begin our Christian life as infants in Christ.  And as strange as it would be to see a 50 year old baby, it would be just as strange for us not to grow and mature over the years of our own Christian life.  But what causes this spiritual growth?

     In Chapter 51 of the Life-Study of Colossians Witness Lee clarifies that true Christian growth is not about us acquiring more doctrinal knowledge. Colossians 2:19 gives us a window into what it's about: And not holding the Head, out from whom all the Body, being richly supplied and knit together by means of the joints and sinews, grows with the growth of God.  

     And then in Chapter 52 he talks about how we need personal spiritual growth for the sake of the building up of the Body of Christ.  I've heard it said many times that the age of spiritual giants is over because God's ultimate goal is to obtain a corporate Body that expresses  and represents Him (Genesis 1:26). For this growth to take place, the most important thing we need to do is eat!   That shouldn't surprise you because it's the same way for your human life--see how far you can go on just one meal. On pages 456-457 he talks about how this all hinges on our taking the time to be with God, listen to this:
Likewise, if we do not receive what comes out from Christ as the Head, the Body cannot grow. Holding the Head is, therefore, equal to begin rooted in Christ as the soil….As we daily take time to eat food, we should daily take time to absorb the Lord, take time to assimilate the riches of Christ. Our contact with the Lord should not be rushed. If we are in a hurry, we shall not be able to absorb much of His riches. We need to allow adequate time for prayer. This will enable us to absorb more of the riches of our God.    ….spend more time in your spirit to adore the Lord, to praise Him, to offer thanks to Him, and to speak to Him freely. As you fellowship with Him in this way, you will absorb His riches, and He will add more of Himself into you…..Only God can give growth. In my ministry the most I can do is to plant or water.  I cannot give growth to anyone, for I cannot give God.  Only God can give you Himself….God Himself is our food, and we need to seek Him as His dining table, where we need to take time to eat Him slowly. Then more of Him will be added into us. This addition of God into us is the growth He gives (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print). 
At the end of this chapter he connects Colossians 2:19 with Ephesians 4:15-16 "…according to the operation in measure of each one part, causes the growth of the Body unto the building up of itself in love."  He points out here that these two verses show us that the Body of Christ is depending on us to grow!  Each day we all need to spend time alone with God so that we can grow, and this growth is what will help the Body of Christ grow and be built up. 


You can listen to excerpts from the Life-Study of Colossians given in 1979 on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee. The commentary is excellent. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Colossians:

What is God's Will in Colossians 1:9?
What is the Stewardship of God in Colossians 1:25?
What is the Hope of Glory in Colossians 1:27?
Have You Seen the Mystery of God in Colossians 2:2?
From the Life Study of Colossians - Have You Seen the Mystery of Christ?
The Great Mystery in Ephesians & Colossians
From the Life Study of Colossians - What is God's Intention for Your Life?
From the Life-Study of Colossians - Why Pray?
How Does God Get the One New Man in Colossians 3:10?
How Do the Believers Grow in Colossians 2:7?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Spunky Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins

   Muffins are so good! I try to make some every week.  And I'm always on the lookout for recipes or trying to revamp old ones.  I had a recipe in my school cookbook for Sassy Cinnamon Muffins, but when I made it gluten free it didn't come out right.  So when I bought a bag of gluten free flour from Trader Joe's I noticed there was a recipe for apple cinnamon muffins, and I wondered if I could salvage that recipe by mixing the two together.  

   By the way I like shopping at Trader Joe's because they are such a great gluten-free friendly store--besides having an incredible array of gluten free foods,  they put "g" labels on their shelves to help find them.  And they also provide a handout of their gluten free foods.  

    So this morning I decided to try this other recipe out! I added the cloves from my Heritage recipe, and as I compared them, I noticed they were very similar.  The only main differences were my school recipe used sugar in place of the agave and no applesauce. 


 Spunky Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Muffins


1.  Prepare dry ingredients - In a large bowl put:
(1)  2 cups of gluten free flour mix
(2)  Stir in leavening & spices:  1 t baking soda, 1 t cinnamon, 1/2 t cloves, and 1/2 t salt. Next time I'm going to add 1 t of pumpkin pie spice!


2. Prepare liquid ingredients - in a small bowl put:
(1)  2 large eggs
(2)  1/2 cup milk or alternative (I use coconut milk)
(3)  1/2 cup oil (I use olive oil and no it doesn't overpower my baking!) and 1 t vanilla extract
(4)  1/2 cup agave

3.  Stir in egg mixture into the flour mixture and just stir to combine.



4.  Put batter into greased muffin tins and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.



Other Gluten Free Baking & Desserts on This Blog:

Breads: 
Gluten free and Low-fat Banana bread
Fall Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Delicious Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
My Favorite Gluten Free Cranberry Nut Bread

Cakes:
Gluten Free German Apple Cake
You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Judi's Super Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Judi's Gluten Free Orange Chiffon Cake
Grandma's Gluten Free Applesauce Cake
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake
Awesome Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Cake

Cookies:
Gluten Free Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
The Best Gluten Free Recipe for Snickerdoodles 
Gluten Free Rocky Road Brownies
Mark's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies - Made Gluten Free!
Judi's Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin & Coconut Cookies

Cornbread & Rolls:
Beth's Amazing Gluten Free Cornbread 

Crisps & Pies:
Lena's Rhubarb Crunch (A crisp with a gluten free top and bottom crust!)
Delicious Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Ginger's Outrageous Apple Pie


Desserts with Fruit:
Sensational Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Muffins:
Banana Nutty Muffins
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins
Toni's Outrageous Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Puddings:  
Baked Coconut Pudding
Tangy Lemon Pudding

Sunday, April 6, 2014

How Do the Believers Grow in Colossians 2:7?

   
  With spring here again I'm thinking about gardening.  This time of year never ceases to amaze me.  After winter's freezing temperatures, it's simply beautiful to see purple crocuses pushing through the earth. And my fruit and ornamental cherry trees are all in bloom--shades of pink and white waving in the spring breeze. 

   Now I'm looking forward to my annual trip to get my garden  starts.  With all the beauty that spring brings to the earth, it doesn't surprise me that this is also a picture of my own spiritual growth.



   Paul tells us this quite clearly  that we are God's farm in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9. Then as I’ve been reading through the Life-Study of  Colossians, Witness Lee has been expounding the different passages there about growing (1:10, 12, 28; 2:7, 19).   I’ve been seeing in these chapters of this Life-Study that many of these believers  were struggling with philosophies, religious observances, and ascetic practices. 

    Because of that  Paul  used this same metaphor of being a plant to remind  them that they were planted into Christ not Greek or Jewish culture.  Colossians 2:7 talks specifically about that, Having been rooted and being built up in Him….   In the chapter he says that Paul  was encouraging these believers to focus on absorbing Christ so they could grow. 

    Whenever I gather vegetables from my garden, I’m amazed that  small seeds can produce such big vegetables.  As you can see here some of my grandkids were pretty intrigued with watching things grow in my garden!  So just like plants have root hairs, this verse makes it evident that we also have spiritual root hairs that take in nourishment from God's word, from our times ofprayer, and from fellowship with other believers, etc.

  I found the exposition on this verse in Chapter 47 of the Life-Study of Colossians very helpful in understanding Colossians 2:7: 
  For us to be built up does not first mean that we are built up in the church, the Body. It means that we are built up in the Lord and experience an increase of stature....First we are rooted in Christ as the all-inclusive Spirit, and then we grow up in Him. We build ourselves up by growing up. Our being built up depends on our assimilating into our being the riches of Christ as the soil.  Having assimilated these riches into us, we shall grow and be built up…. Our growth depends on how much nourishment we assimilate into us by being rooted in Christ (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print).
 At the end of Chapter 47 Witness Lee talks about how we need to exercise our spirit in order to be more deeply rooted in God. And just like physical exercise is critical for human growth, spiritual exercise is imperative for our spiritual growth.  At the end of this chapter he says that's why Colossians closes with Paul exhorting the believers to persevere in prayer!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Nut Cake

I remember my grandma's banana nut cake. Light, flecked with banana seeds, and of course delicious!  When I went through my grandmother's recipes a few years ago at my aunt's house, I didn't find this cake recipe, so I went online and also checked one of my cookbooks.  One of my cookbooks said you can just use a carrot cake recipe and use 1 1/4 cups bananas in place of the 1 1/4 cups of carrots. So I am using the carrot cake recipe that my daughter got from her husband's grandmother.  Aren't those the best kind of recipes anyway? I was careful to compare that recipe to about 3 others and this is what I came up with:

Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Nut Cake


1.  Prepare dry ingredients - In a large mixing bowl put:
(1)  1/2 cup of brown rice flour, 1/2 cup of sorghum flour, and 1/2 cup of tapioca flour.
(2)  Add leavening & spices:  2 t of baking powder, 1 t of baking soda, 1/2 t salt, 1 t cinnamon, and 1 t pumpkin pie spice.
(3)  Stir the dry ingredients with a fork.

2.  Mash bananas:  In a 2-cup Pyrex measuring cup, mash enough bananas for 1 1/4 cups.  

3.  Prepare liquid ingredients - In a medium mixing bowl put:
(1)  Beat 2 eggs with 1 cup of sugar for 1-2 minutes
(2)  Then add 1/2 cup of vegetable oil  and 1 t of vanilla, the mashed bananas and beat for 2 more minutes.


4.  Combine dry ingredients with egg mixture and mashed bananas: 
(1)   Add the flour mixture slowly to the liquid mixture and beat until combined.
(2) Then add 1 cup of walnuts and beat 1 more minute.

5.  Prepare baking pan & bake:  Grease and flour a 9 x 13 glass pan. Pour the cake batter into the pan.  Run a knife back and forth through the cake to remove air bubbles.  Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

6.  When it's cool, make a cream cheese frosting for it.
Other Gluten Free Baking & Desserts on This Blog:

Breads: 
Gluten free and Low-fat Banana bread
Fall Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread
Delicious Gluten Free Zucchini Bread
My Favorite Gluten Free Cranberry Nut Bread

Cakes:
Gluten Free German Apple Cake
You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free Carrot Cake
Judi's Super Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Judi's Gluten Free Orange Chiffon Cake
Grandma's Gluten Free Applesauce Cake
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Gingerbread Cake
Awesome Gluten Free Pumpkin Spice Cake

Cookies:
Gluten Free Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies
The Best Gluten Free Recipe for Snickerdoodles 
Gluten Free Rocky Road Brownies
Mark's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies - Made Gluten Free!
Judi's Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin & Coconut Cookies

Cornbread & Rolls:
Beth's Amazing Gluten Free Cornbread 

Crisps & Pies:
Lena's Rhubarb Crunch (A crisp with a gluten free top and bottom crust!)
Delicious Gluten Free Apple Crisp
Ginger's Outrageous Apple Pie


Desserts with Fruit:
Sensational Gluten Free Strawberry Shortcake
Muffins:
Banana Nutty Muffins
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins
Toni's Outrageous Gluten Free Corn Muffins

Puddings:  
Baked Coconut Pudding
Tangy Lemon Pudding



Sunday, March 30, 2014

How Does God Get the One New Man in Colossians 3:10?

Christ died to produce one new man.  The Bible tells us that in Ephesians 2:14-15:
   
Some plum blossoms from my tree.
  
For He Himself is our peace, He who has made both one and has broken down the middle wall of partition, the enmity.
      Abolishing in His flesh the law of the commandments in ordinances, that He might create the two in Himself into one new man, so making peace. 

     It's obvious from these verses that the peace that Christ made on the cross is very powerful.  It blasted through centuries of Jewish religion and Gentile pagan living.  This peace dissolved all the differences between not only those two cultures but every kind of culture on the face of the earth today.  Now that's amazing peace!   It touched me In Chapter 32 of the LIfe-Study of Colossians that the peace Christ made on the cross produced the oneness between all the Lord's believers. 

      And in Colossians 3:10A-11 we can see how strong Paul is to point out that in this new man that the Lord created on the cross there isn't any cultural distinctions:  And have put on the new man,…where there cannot be Greek (those who favored philosophical wisdom) and Jew (those who favored miraculous signs), circumcision (those who observed Jewish religious rituals) and uncircumcision, barbarian (an uncultured person), Scythian (considered the most barbarous), slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.  All the definitions in parentheses come from excerpts from the footnotes in the Recovery Version of the New Testament.

    For about ten chapters in the Life-Study of Colossians Witness Lee talks about how the people in Colosse were distracted by their cultures.  Paul uses the words deluded in Colossians 2:4 and defrauded in 2:18 to describe what had happened to them.  in Chapter 41 brother Lee gives a bit of a background and says Asia Minor, now present day Turkey, was actually a melting pot of cultures and eventually it pervaded the church life there.  

   The problem he says in chapter 33 is that by default we unconsciously live out the culture we're born in.  After we're saved, we begin to meet with other believers from different cultures.  And it's only a matter of time before our cultural opinions explode, and that is probably one of the reasons there might be so many divisions out there among believers.  But God desires to gain one new man, and I appreciated this clear explanation on why:
"However, God's eternal purpose is to have a corporate people to be the Body of Christ for His expression.  But if mankind remains divided by cultural opinions, how can God's purpose be carried out? It would be impossible. But according to Ephesians 2:15, Christ's death on the cross has abolished all the cultural ordinances and differences terminating them…This very peace, the peace of Christ, is what Paul refers to in Colossians 3:15. 
AFter reading this I looked up this verse in my Bible and I was like wow this  arbitrating peace  is for the the Body of Christ:  And let the peace of Christ arbitrate in your hearts, to which also you were called in one Body,…" I never saw this before but after this verse Paul talks about letting the word of Christ dwell in us and later he speaks about persevering in prayer because all of these practices swallow up  cultural opinions.  

  As I was thinking about everything I've been reading these past few weeks on culture this sentence in Chapter 38 stood out to me:  "The goal of God's dispensation of Himself into us is the one new man (Page 322).   I think what touches me with both of these excerpts is that God's eternal purpose centers around His gaining this one new man.  You can click on the link to the radio broadcast link below and listen to excerpts from Witness Lee's training on Colossians.

You can listen to excerpts from the Life-Study of Colossians given in 1979 on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee. The commentary is excellent. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Colossians:

What is God's Will in Colossians 1:9?
What is the Stewardship of God in Colossians 1:25?
What is the Hope of Glory in Colossians 1:27?
Have You Seen the Mystery of God in Colossians 2:2?
From the Life Study of Colossians - Have You Seen the Mystery of Christ?
The Great Mystery in Ephesians & Colossians
From the Life Study of Colossians - What is God's Intention for Your Life?
From the Life-Study of Colossians - Why Pray?

Friday, March 28, 2014

Beautiful Eggs Florentine

 
   Presentation matters.  Especially when it's for a birthday breakfast.   Eggs Florentine are not only delicious tasting but they also look pretty on your plate!
 I wanted a way to make poached eggs, and found this one by Rachel Ray.  I only made a few minor adjustments to it-- some fresh basil and cheese (of course).   
 
 
 
 Eggs Florentine

1.  Line  muffin tins with slices of turkey bacon.

2.  Prepare vegetables, mix together & add to muffin tins:
(1)  Chop 1 tomato
(2)  Rinse and chop 1 1/2 - 2 cups of spinach.
(3)  Slice 2-3 green onions.
(4)  1-2 T of freshly chopped basil
(5)  Place chopped vegetables into each muffin tin.

3.  Crack a raw egg over each muffin and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
     Or whisk the eggs together with some milk, salt, and pepper and poured it into muffin tins to make individual frittatas.

4.  Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.  Add some grated cheese and cook for 3-5 minutes more.


Other breakfast recipes on this blog:


Pancakes

Fantastic Gluten Free Blueberry Pancakes

Banana Split Pancakes
Incredible Gluten Free Crepes
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Fritters
Fall Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes
Gluten Free Gingerbread Waffles
Crunchy & Delicious Potato Latkes
Tasty Gluten Free Swedish Pancakes
Protein Packed & Gluten Free Ricotta Cheese Pancakes
Family Favorite Gluten Free Buttermilk Pancakes
Amazing Gluten Free Apple Cinnamon Dutch Baby

Egg Dishes

Sweet Potato Hash With Poached Eggs

Hash Brown Egg Casserole
Mexican Migas Breakfast Casserole
Baked Zucchini Frittata
Jan's Sausage & Vegetable Frittata
Huevos Rancheros - A Fantastic South of the Border Breakfast

Cereals

Yummy Peanut Coconut Granola

A New Way to Eat Your Oatmeal - Gluten Free Baked Oatmeal

Breakfast Muffins
Banana Nutty Muffins

Bursting with Blueberries Gluten Free Muffins
Gluten Free Tremendous Pumpkin Muffins
Scrumptious Gluten Free Blueberry Scones

Sunday, March 23, 2014

From the Life-Study of Colossians - Why Pray?

     Why pray?  When I was Growing up, prayer wasn't a fun thing to do, especially when I had to pray something like ten Our Fathers and five Hail Marys in penance for my sins.  For years prayer was mechanical and punitive. I really didn't know what it was about.  And on the wall outside my bedroom was the quote--Prayer Changes Things, but I didn't know how.  


First day of spring picture.
   Even after I was saved, I didn't pray much.  Maybe before dinner but nothing personal. When I was a sophomore in high school though, I started talking to God.  Here's how it happened.  When I was at my grandparent's farm I used to like to walk along the fields, and at that time in my life I was going through some major life events.  With the sky spreading above me and the beauty of nature surrounding me, it just opened my heart, and one day I just started talking to God about everything. Looking back I don't even think I would have told anyone I was praying on those walks.  

    Since that time I have grown in both my understanding and experience of prayer.  There are a lot of lessons to learn here. Over the years I have learned a lot about prayer by simply praying with others. And I've been greatly helped by the writings of both Watchman Nee and Witness Lee on prayer.  A few outstanding books that come to mind are:  The Prayer Ministry of the Church and Lessons on Prayer.  And whenever a verse is on prayer in a particular Life-Study, Witness Lee  shares some practical experiences and fellowship (you'll see an example of that below). 

    I also like to journal some of my prayers. Several years ago  my friend Patty's mom showed me a shelf filled with her prayer journals.  She had been a missionary in Madagascar when Patty was little, and her mother told me she liked to record her prayers and also any answers.  Years after that when a teacher gave me a journal as a gift, I started writing my prayers in it. 

         This week I read a striking section in Chapter 39 of the Life-Study of Colossians  on prayer. Colossians has a few verses on prayer; in chapter 4 Paul writes--"Persevere in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving." Anyway in this section Witness Lee wonderfully connects prayer in Colossians to living Christ in Philippians 1:19. This verse  says, "For to me to live is Christ…."  These excerpts come from pages 334-335:
If you would experience Christ and live Him, we need to remain in an atmosphere of prayer.  Many of us can testify that by prayer we are brought into the spirit, where we are one with the Lord and take Him as our life.  This experience is so precious that when we are enjoying it, we do not want it to end…However, as soon as our time of prayer is over, much of the time we revert to our natural way of living.  We are no longer in an atmosphere of prayer. 
...When we pray ourselves into the spirit, we are one with the Lord, we enjoy His presence, and we spontaneously live Him.  Without exerting any effort, we are holy, spiritual, and victorious.  We have no problems and no anxieties.  I believe we all have had experiences like this in prayer (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Colossians.  Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1979, Print). 

A lot of times I only think of praying because I need  answers.  But I don't always see that bigger than that answer is prayer brings me into touch with the living Lord.  And like it says in this chapter we get the grace to spontaneously live or express the Lord in all the situations we're going through each day.  And a lot of my talking to the Lord I still do on my walks!  
I had to buy this a few years ago when I saw it at the bookstore! 
 You can listen to excerpts from the Life-Study of Colossians given in 1979 on The Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee. The commentary is excellent. 

Other Posts on the Life-Study of Colossians:

What is God's Will in Colossians 1:9?
What is the Stewardship of God in Colossians 1:25?
What is the Hope of Glory in Colossians 1:27?
What Does the Mystery of God Mean in Colossians 2:2?
Witness Lee - A Faithful Minister of Christ & the Church
Have You Seen the Great Mystery in Ephesians & Colossians?
From the Life Study of Colossians - What is God's Intention for Your Life?

Other Related Posts on Prayer

From the Life-Study of Matthew:

From the Life-Study of Luke:

From the Life-Study of Acts:

From the Life-Study of Galatians:

From the Life-Study of Ephesians:

From the Life-Study of Philippians:

Other Posts:
Hearing God   (From Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Vol. 18 - Tell Him)