Gluten Free & God Seeking

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Why Did Nehemiah Charge Ezra to Read the Bible to the People in Nehemiah 8:1-8?

     Reading the Bible changes us.  If you don't think so, try it for six months or a year.  I know it's true because I've been reading mine for over 40 years.  And for sure God knows this, and that's probably why He put it in Nehemiah's heart to have Ezra read the law of Moses to all God's people (Neh. 8:1-8). 

     In chapter 3 of the Life-Study of Ezra and Nehemiah Witness Lee uses the term reconstitution to help his readers understand what God was doing within the hearts of His people.  Because they had been in in Babylonian captivity for 70 years, God's people had a Babylonian constitution.  I saw why this mattered when I read this statement on page 18:  

 "The constitution of a person provides the foundation for the constitution of a nation"

In order for God to regain His testimony on the earth again, God's people had to be reconstituted with the word of God.  I highlighted a lot of parts of this chapter because Witness Lee shares so much about why we need to read the Bible.  I found these excerpts on pages 17-18 very helpful and inspiring: 
God's word reconstitutes us.  We all have our own kind of disposition and habitual behavior, but God is able to reconstitute us through His word.  This is why we need to read the Bible.  God's word gradually changes our mind and our way of thinking.  The word of God is one with the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). When the word of God works within us, the Spirit, through the word, spontaneously dispenses God's nature with God's element into our being. We may not even be aware that such a dispensing is taking place within us. By this way we are reconstituted.....In order for God's people to be His testimony, they had to be reconstituted with the word of God. Under Ezra and Nehemiah the returned people of Israel were collectively constituted by and with God through His word to be a nation as God's testimony (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of Nehemiah. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1995, Print). 

I saw in a new way that it's not a small thing to read the Bible every day.  Try it and see. 

Other Posts from the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, & Esther:

From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles - How did Watchman Nee & Witness Lee Take a Stand For the Truth?
From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles - Why Did God Make Man in His Image?
From the Life-Study of Ezra - Why Did Ezra Return to Jerusalem?
How Did God Use Nehemiah's Aggressiveness in Nehemiah 2:20?

Monday, May 14, 2018

Summery Lemon Chicken

A few weeks ago I needed a simple chicken recipe.  So I thumbed through my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook and saw this recipe for lemon chicken.  It looked simple enough, and that's what I needed after a long day.    

I used lemons I had picked from my dad's tree and squeezed into every spare space in my suitcase.  I don't know if it was my dad's organic lemons or this recipe, but it was so tasty!   I'm definitely going to make it again.

Summery Lemon Chicken - Serves 4 to 6

1.  Prepare chicken:  
(1)   Rinse and trim the fat off 4 chicken breasts (I used thighs). 
(2)   Then put them into an 8 x 8 greased baking pan.
(3)   Sprinkle them with salt and pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.

2. Melt 1 cube of butter (I usually half the fat) and pour it over the chicken.

3. Thinly slice 1 lemon and place them over the tops of the chicken. 

4.  Bake the chicken at 350 for 40-45 minutes. 

 List of other chicken recipes on this blog:

Authentic Chinese BBQ Chicken  (From my friend Rose)
Gluten Free Soy Sauce Chicken   (Modified from Internet search)
Tasty Gluten Free Filipino Chicken Adobo  (Modified from Internet search)
Gluten Free Sweet & Sour Chicken (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Make Your Own G.F. Teriyaki Bowls  (Something I came up with combining some of my recipes)

Italian & Greek:
Chicken Souvlaki   (Marinade for chicken from my son-in-law)
Gluten Free Chicken Cacciatore With Peppers & Mushrooms  (Modified from my mother-in-law)
Delicious Gluten Free Chicken Parmesan   (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
My Son-in-Law's Own Recipe for Greek Chicken
Delicious Chicken Florentine Lasagna  (From my church cookbook)

Pollo Guisado (Mexican Braised Chicken)  (From a church friend in Phoenix)
Belizean Chicken, Black Beans & Rice, and Belizean Coleslaw  (From my daughter's family)
Make Your Own Chicken Burrito Bowls (From a collection of my recipes)

American Favorites:
Amazing BBQ Chicken    (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
The Best Gluten Free Oven Fried Chicken   (From my sister-in-law)
Fantastic Gluten Free Chicken Kabobs  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Great for Summer BBQ - Lemon Rosemary Chicken Legs  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Curried Mushroom & Apple Chicken  (From my church cookbook Come & Dine)
The Best Homemade Chicken BBQ Sauce  (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
A Gluten Free Twist on Tarragon Chicken - From my  church Come & Dine cookbook
Saucy Chicken 
Chicken & Mushrooms in Wine Sauce   -( From my church Come & Dine cookbook)
Our Family's Fall Favorite - Chicken & Zucchini Casserole with Gluten Free Biscuit Topping - -( From my church Come & Dine cookbook)
Blackberry BBQ Chicken - A Tasty Sauce You'll Have to Try! (Off a package of blackberries)
Ray's BBQ Chicken - (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)
Country Style BBQ Chicken - (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)

Chicken Casseroles
Chicken Divan  - From my Come & Dine Cookbook
Chicken Pot Pie - A combination of 3 different recipes!
Savory Chicken Mornay - From my  church Come & Dine cookbook

Sunday, May 6, 2018

How Did God Use Nehemiah's Aggressiveness in Nehemiah 2:20?

Although the temple was rebuilt and God's people were hearing God's word, the walls and gates around Jerusalem were still not repaired.  This is where the book of Nehemiah comes in.  He was a cupbearer to the king. When he heard about the situation at Jerusalem,  it both shocked and saddened him.  One day the king noticed it and asked him what was going on.  Nehemiah took this opportunity to ask the king to send him back to Jerusalem to build the walls so his city would not be in peril and shame.
My cherry tree
In  Nehemiah 2:17-20 it talks about how the neighboring Ammonites and Moabites were not too happy with this turn of events.  They harassed the Israelites continually by slandering them and instigating false witnesses to give an evil report (Neh. 2:10; 3:7-8; 6:1-14). 

Why was this such a big deal to them anyway? I've learned from my reading the Life-Study of Nehemiah that the city of Jerusalem with its wall represents the kingdom of God which protects the house of God and  allows God to carry out His interests on the earth.  So it mattered a lot that the wall got rebuilt! 

In chapter one and two Witness Lee emphasizes over and over we see Nehemiah's aggressiveness;  he didn't let things happen, he made them happen: You can see that in this verse: The God of heaven Himself will make us prosper; therefore we His servants will rise up and build. Nehemiah 2:20

On page 12 of chapter 2 Witness Lee talks about how Nehemiah had a bold and strong character and had the virtue of aggressiveness:
All who have been used by God through history have been aggressive persons.  For example, both Paul and Martin Luther were very aggressive.  Brother Nee also, even though he was a gentleman, was very aggressive.  Nehemiah surely was an aggressive person....He had a burden to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. His aggressiveness was very much used by God....In our reading of the book of Nehemiah, we need to pay attention to Nehemiah's aggressiveness.  Although he was  a common man, a servant of the king, he was aggressive to volunteer himself to God and to his burden concerning the building up  of the city.  He was also aggressive in making his requests known to the king.  When the king asked him about his sad face, he spoke to the king in a bold, aggressive way about his burden for the city of Jerusalem.  It is important that we see this in the Word....In typology many persons were temporarily used by God according to their natural capacity and natural virtues to signify something spiritual.  An example of this is Nehemiah and his aggressiveness, which was a virtue in his human conduct. (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry. 1995, Print). 
Nehemiah and his men took their building work seriously.  They were stationed on the wall 24/7.  Some of them even held a tool in one hand and a weapon in the other!  At the end of chapter two he closes by saying that it's important to see that because Nehemiah was an aggressive persons who  trusted and loved God, the holy land, the holy temple, and Jerusalem  he even became the representative of God on earth.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

JoAnna's Dilled Garbano & Cherry Tomato Salad

Don't let the name of this salad make you go what?! And then not try it.  This is a light side salad that is a great accompaniment for your BBQ chicken, beef kabobs, or salmon.

This salad comes from my Come & Dine church cook book, but I ate this salad at JoAnna's house years before she submitted it for this cookbook.  I didn't use garbanzo beans that much in my cooking  so I found this salad both delightfully delicious and different. 

Dilled Garbanzo & Cherry Tomato Salad

1.  Prepare vegetables:
(1)  Rinse 1pound of cherry tomatoes and cut in half.
(2)  Mince 1 rib of celery
(3)  Optional: 1 green onion diced (I added and it was a great addition!)

2.  In a medium sized serving bowl put:
(1)  1 15 1/2 oz can of drained garbanzo beans.
(2)  Add tomatoes and celery.

3.  Make dressing in a small bowl put:
(1) Whisk  3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of country style Dijon mustard
(2) Slowly whisk in 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
(3) Add seasonings:  1/4 teaspoon of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and 2 teaspoons of dill.

4.  Pour the dressing over the salad.   Chill for a few hours.

List of Other Salads on this Blog:

Make it Yourself Thai Peanut Dressing for Mandarin Salad  (My friend Judi's recipe)
KFC Copycat Cole Slaw   (A friend shared this with me)
Belizean Coleslaw    (From Internet search)
Antioxidant Rich Kale Super Salad  (A copycat from a deli, dressing from Syre School Cookbook)

Main Dish Salads
Gluten Free Chinese Chicken Cabbage Salad   (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Baja Salad with Black Beans & Quinoa  (A remake from something I ate at a restaurant)
Jackson Square Shrimp Salad   (From my Syre School cookbook)

Pasta & Quinoa:
Tasty Gluten Free Pasta Salad  (Something I picked up over 20 years ago!)
Vietnamese Vermicelli Salad Bowls   (From an Internet search)
Michelle's Greek Quinoa Salad   (My foodie daughter's own delicious creation!) Another Great Salad with Quinoa - Janah's  Original Quinoa, Cranberry & Feta Salad  (a recipe my daughter came up with)

Jeremy D's Sensational Greek Salad   (My son-in-law's recipe)
Grandma's Perfect Potato Salad   (Family recipe)
Rose's Refreshing Cucumber Salad   (From a Chinese friend)
A Great BBQ side Salad - Curried Pea Salad  (From my church cookbook, Come & Dine)
Dot's Easy Bean Salad  (Recipe from an  83 yr old friend of my father's)
A Great Summer Side - Broccoli Salad  (From my Come & Dine cookbook)

Grandma Marilyn's Frozen Fruit Salad  (My mother-in-law's recipe) 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

From the Life-Study of Ezra - Why Did Ezra Return to Jerusalem?

There were two returns in the book of Ezra.  In the first return God stirred up the spirit of King Cyrus to issue a proclamation, and this stirred up the spirits of many leaders to return and rebuild God’s house in Jerusalem. But sad to say after living in Babylon for 70 years, the Israelites had become Babylonian in their hearts.  

So God put it in Ezra's to ask King Artaxerxes if he would let Jews throughout his empire go back to Jerusalem.  I learned from reading the Life-Study of Ezra that because Ezra was both a priest and a scribe, he was fully qualified to reconstitute the hearts of God’s people with God’s law and statutes. 

 This Ezra went up from Babylon, he was a scribe skilled in the law of Moses, which Jehovah the God of Israel had given: and the Lord granted him all his request according to the hand of Jehovah his God upon him.  Ezra 7:6

 In chapter 4 of the Life-Study of Ezra I liked this quote on page 28, and on pages 33 and 34  of chapter 5:

Ezra realized that the first return was not perfect, not complete. He realized that there was the need for someone who was skilled in the law of God to help the people to know God not merely in a general way but according to what God had spoken.....He [Ezra] bore the totality of the heavenly and divine constitution and culture. Ezra called the people together and confessed not only his own sin but also the sin of Israel, to bring them back to the Word of God....Today we need Ezras to teach the people, to educate them, and to constitute them with the heavenly truths (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, & Esther. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1995, Print).

     What I see here is that it wasn't enough for the Israelites to just return and even rebuild the temple. They themselves needed to be inwardly constituted with the God's word so that they would truly be God's testimony on the earth.  Ezra helped the entire nation align themselves with the law of Moses in order to accomplish that. It's the same today.  This inspires me to spend time in the Bible to learn the truths and be able to share them with others, and in a small way that's why I try to summarize what I've read in the Life-Studies I read in these posts. 

     At the end of chapter 5 brother Lee says that both he and Watchman Nee spent a lot of time reading and studying the Bible so that they could become skillful in the Word just like Ezra. The burden of both of their ministries was to teach and educate God’s people with the truths in the Bible.  If you go to Living Stream Ministry’s website and click on Online Publications under E Services, you can read any of their books.  You can also purchase books from their online book store.  I've always appreciated how their books help me understand the spiritual truths in the word.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

A Northeast Classic - Blueberry Grunt

I like to pick up new recipes.  This recipe comes from a student who was working writing about his family and his recipe for a class cookbook.  I never heard of this one so it caught my eye, and I wrote it down. 

 Last week I made it for my husband, and I have never made it before so I followed the recipe exactly. We were both like yum, this is so good! 

A Northeast Classic - Blueberry Grunt

1.  In a medium sized skillet put:
(1)   1 cup water and 1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup); and cook on medium high.
(2)  Then stir in 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 4 cups of blueberries.
(3)  Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce to a simmer.

2.  Mix together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl:
(1)  2/3 cup of sorghum flour, 2/3 cup of tapioca flour, and 2/3 cup of rice flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. 
(2)  With a pastry cutter cut in 3 tablespoons of butter.
(3)  Quickly stir in 1 cup of buttermilk or 1 cup of milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice/vinegar.

3.  Cook the batter over the blueberries:  Drop the dough in large spoonfuls over the blueberry mixture.  Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes or until the dough is done.  DO NOT LIFT THE LID!   It's amazing how the dough cooks up beautifully right on the stove! 

Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. 

Crisps & Pies:
Lena's Rhubarb Crunch (A crisp with a gluten free top and bottom crust!) (My daughter-in-law's mother. She's an amazing cook, which I think most of us moms become after a few years!)
Delicious Gluten Free Apple Crisp    (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Ginger's Outrageous Apple Pie    (From a church friend)

The BEST Lemon Meringue Pie with Mrs. Lauralicious Gluten Free Pie Crust  (Internet)
My Grandmother's Favorite Banana Cream Pie  (A recipe from my grandmother)
Granny's Lemon Cheesecake Squares   (From my friend Judi's granny)
Simple & Gluten Free Chocolate Cream Pie   (From my Syre School Cookbook)
Judi's No Fail Gluten Free Pie Crust    (From my friend Judi)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles - Why Did God Make Man in His Image?

     A lot of people have asked questions like why am I here? Or what is the purpose of my life?  When my husband was in high school, these questions bothered him.  Life didn't make sense to him--he couldn't settle for the philosophy that you live, work, and then die.  My husband was like--Is that all? 

Pussy willows are out again!
    When I read about why God created man in the Life-Study of 1 & Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther, it was a whole different take than what he grew up thinking.  In chapters 2, 4, and 7 Witness Lee talks about how God created man. so He could have a  reproduction. This excerpt explains what that means and is from chapter 2, pages 9 -11. 

After God finished the creation of Adam and his wife, He looked upon everything that He had made.  As He looked upon the earth and everything in it, only Adam and Eve were His delight, His "hobby." Only they could make God happy because only they were His kind.....However, God's hobby was far from complete because at that time man had only God's image and Gods likeness but not God's life and nature.  Man had God's image, but He did not have God Himself. According to His eternal plan God Himself had to become a man....Eventually after another thousand years, four thousand years after the creation of Adam, God came to be a man, conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of a human virgin (Matt. 1:20, 23). He grew up for thirty more years, but no one knew that He was God become a man, a God-man (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra & Nehemiah. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1995, Print).

      Through Witness Lee's study of both the Bible and church history he used the expression God-man to describe the two natures that the Lord possesses. As you will see in the article quoted below he wasn't the first to do that.  Way back in the second century the church fathers spoke about why the Lord became a man; this is quoted in chapter 7 on page 48:



Paragraph 1. The Son of God Became Man


460  The Word became flesh to make us "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4):  "For this is why the Word became man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God" (St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 3. 19, 1).  "For the Son of God became man so that we might become God" (St. Athanasius, De inc., 54, 3). "The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Opusc. 57:1-4).  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, pp. 115-116).

       It's obvious God isn't happy to just be a God-man all by Himself. In order to do this the Bible shows us that the Lord's divine life needed to get into man.  Later on in this chapter Witness Lee says the Lord told His disciples in John 12:24  how this would happen. Through death the Lord would be like a grain of wheat that falls into the ground and dies so that He could be reproduced into many grains, like you and me.  Doesn't this astound you? 
  Hearing and reading about this truth has helped me understand what God's goal is, and that He is using everything in my life to accomplish this goal of spreading His divine nature into me.  Knowing this has helped me understand why God has arranged so many things in my life!

List of Other Posts From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther:
From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles - How Did Watchman Nee & Witness Lee Take a Stand for the Truth?