Gluten Free & God Seeking

Sunday, March 11, 2018

From the Life-Study of Ezra - How God Used a Gentile King to Fulfill His Purpose

     God is the sovereign ruler of every country. You can see this again and again in the Old Testament.  When the Israelites repeatedly disobeyed God and worshipped idols, He first raised up the Assyrians to capture the Northern Kingdom of Israel.  Then when the Southern Kingdom didn’t get the message and they fell into idolatry, God raised up the Babylonians to burn the temple and tear down the walls of Jerusalem.  They left only the poorest people of the land; the rest they hauled into captivity.

    The prophet Jeremiah foretold that they would be in captivity for 70 years (Jer. 25:11).  In the book of Daniel we see that God had led him to pray three times a day for Jerusalem. And just like clockwork God worked through that prayer to stir up Cyrus the King of Persia’s heart to issue a decree to let the Israelites return and rebuild their temple. 

Ezra 1:1-3 Now in the first year of Cyrus the king of Persia, so that the word of Jehovah by the mouth of Jeremiah might be accomplished, Jehovah stirred up the spirit of Cyrus the king of Persia; and he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom and put it also in writing, saying,
      Thus says Cyrus the king of Persia, All the kingdoms of the earth has Jehovah the God of heaven given to me; and He has charged me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah.
     Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him; and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and let him build the house of Jehovah the God of Israel--He is God--who is in Jerusalem.

     In verse 5 it says that God stirred up the leaders of the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Levi to return to Jerusalem.  It’s touching that the first thing the people did was rebuild the altar of God and offer burnt offerings like Moses had commanded the people in Exodus (Ezra 3:2-3).  By keeping the Feast of Tabernacles and offering the daily burnt offerings, the worship of God which had been lost for 70 years was finally recovered!
      In chapter 3 of the Life-Study of Ezra  Witness Lee talks about the difficulties the Israelites encountered rebuilding the house of God.  Mostly they were frustrated by the people brought in to Samaria by the kings of Assyria and Babylon.  These people even hired counselors to frustrate the rebuilding of God’s house throughout all the days when Cryus was king (Ezra 4:1-6).  They even got King Artaxerxes to issue a decree that stopped the building work.  But God wasn’t stopped; He raised up King Darius to support Cyrus’ decree that the house of God be rebuilt.   Finally in the sixth year of his reign the house of God was dedicated (Ezra 6:15). 

At the end of chapter 3 Witness Lee ties this in to the  situation among believers today:

Today very few believers care for the building up of a proper local church in their locality as the house of God.  This means that God is kept homeless. He does have a home in the heavens with the angels, but He needs a home with the humanity of His heart’s desire. God wants to have such a house. …through such a house God will have His kingdom (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1995, Print).

It amazes me that the story of captivity and the return of the Jews to rebuild God’s house is a parallel of what God is doing among His believers today.  What I see here is it's important for God's people to cooperate with God when He stirs up our spirit. What would have happened if Cyrus hadn't made a decree?  What would have happened if none of the Israelites had responded?   

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Favorite of the Irish - Mulligan Stew

This week I read a St. Patrick's book to a kindergarten class, and it mentioned Mulligan stew.  I remembered seeing that recipe in my Come & Dine church cookbook. I never tried it because it looked a bit different with Vienna sausages and cheese. Mulligan stew includes meat, potatoes, and vegetables, and I learned that you can add pretty much any kind of vegetable to it.  I've never made it before, but I plan to try it out this next week.

  In my recipe they made hamburger into patties and cooked on top of the vegetables.  So I checked about three websites to compare it with others.  Here is my outcome--I added a few more ingredients, and cut out the sausages and the cheese! 


1.  Prepare veggies:
(1)  Cube 2-3 russet potatoes
(2)  Cut 2-3 carrots into 1/2" slices
(3)  Chop 1 onion
(4)  Cut 2 ribs of celery in 1" slices
(5)  Mince 2 cloves of garlic

2.  Prepare meat:  My church recipe calls for ground beef, but I also saw recipes for 1 pound of cubed stew meat.  You dredge this with 1/4 cup of rice flour and brown it in a Dutch oven with the onions and garlic.

3.  Then add 20 oz of beef broth.  You will need enough to cover the vegetables so you may need to add a bit of water to it.

4.  Add spices:  Add 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon of thyme.

5.  Let this simmer for 40 minutes.  Then add the potatoes and carrots and let simmer an hour or more.  Add 1 cup of peas during the last 30 minutes.

Serve with homemade biscuits.

List of My Favorite Soups, Chili & Stew Recipes

Grandma's Favorite Beef Stew  (My mother-in-law's delicious recipe!)
Just Like Home Ukrainian Borscht   (A Polish student  said this tasted like his mom's!)
Mouth Watering Italian  Sausage Soup   (This is my friend Debbie's recipe)

This is the Best Gluten Free Minestrone Soup!   (A recipe my son modified)
Mexican Fiesta Chicken Soup   (A recipe I got years ago from a Mexican cookbook)
My Thanksgiving Turkey Soup  (My very own special concoction!)
Gary's Incredible Gluten Free Arkansas Gumbo  (Given to me by a Bible study friend from Arkansas)
Jeannie's French Market Soup  (A friend from when my kids were little)
Southwest Turkey Soup  (From my Syre School cookbook)

Northwest Salmon Chowder  (From my Heritage School cookbook)
Almost Like Ivar's Clam Chowder (From my Come & Dine Cookbook)

Bean & Legumes
Vi's Best Chili  (A  friend's great recipe)
Bethany's Crowd Pleasing Tortilla Soup  (One of my daughter's friends special soup)
Country Style Lentil Soup   (From my Heritage School cookbook)
Kathy's Texas Chili & Chips (From my Come & Dine cookbook)
Spicy Cuban Black Bean Soup (From a store recipe card)
Marilyn's Make It From Scratch Chili  (From my mother-in-law)
Lisa's Red Lentil Soup - From my friend Lisa

Downright Delicious Potato & Kale Soup  (From my daughter-in-law's family cookbook)
A Great Fall Soup - Make it From Scratch Corn Potato Chowder  (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
French Pumpkin Soup  (From my Heritage School Cookbook)

Chinese Chicken Soups  - Bok choy chicken, chicken & spinach, and chicken & cabbage (Modified from Internet search by our Chinese students)
Make Your Own Gluten Free Chicken Pho!  (Modified from a newspaper article)
Gluten Free Chinese Hot Pot  (Modified by a Chinese student)
Chinese Egg Drop Soup  &  Chinese Egg & Tomato Soup  (Modified  from a student's recipe)
Vegetarian & Gluten Free Tom Yum Soup (A delicious Thai soup) 
Deluxe Miso Soup (Kenchinjiru)   (Adapted from Internet search)
A Thai Mom Teaches Me How to Make Tom Yum Kung  (A student's mom's recipe)
A Vietnamese Cooking Lesson - Lien's Vietnamese Sweet & Sour Soup  (An International student's aunt's recipe)
Cooking Beef Pho for Vietnamese Students  (Modified Recipe)
Asian Curried Chicken Soup  (From my Come & Dine church cookbook)
Rose's Very Own Recipe for Chinese Beef Bone Soup  (from Rose my friend from Taipei)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

From the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles - How Did Watchman Nee & Witness Lee Take a Stand for the Truth?

     It’s not easy to take a stand.   Especially when you’re being mowed down by people’s ridicule. In chapter seven of the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Chronicles, Ezra, and Nehemiah Witness Lee shares about a time when his coworker Watchman Nee took a stand for the truth concerning the assurance of salvation. 

Out on a trail with our grandkids
     He relates that when the missionaries first came to China, they did an excellent job translating the Bible, preaching the gospel, and teaching the Chinese people.  But they didn’t make the matter of the assurance of salvation very clear.  That might be surprising to you because about a hundred years have passed, and today this truth is very clear, largely in part because this truth was published in the booklet The Assurance, Security, & Joy of Salvation. 

     But I read that back in the early 1900s the missionaries laughed at Watchman Nee when he shared that believers can have the assurance of salvation.  They thought he was proud to say that people could have this certainty. Because of Watchman Nee’s speaking though, thousands of Chinese people believed this truth.  And today millions of Christians all over the world have been blessed by the stand he took. Witness Lee states that since that time several other truths have been recovered, like the truth concerning the New Jerusalem.  I learned on pages 46-47  of chapter 7 that Witness Lee's speaking on this matter was influenced by other men of God:

Very few Bible teachers have written anything about the spiritual significance of the New Jerusalem. Among these few are a German teacher from long ago named Tersteegen and our dear friend T. Austin-Sparks, whom I regard as the last of the inner-life teachers.  Like Tersteegen, T. Austin-Sparks saw that the New Jerusalem is not a physical city but a sign with a spiritual significance. Brother Sparks pointed out that the spiritual things concerning God, Christ, and the church are mysterious and that God uses signs to reveal the truth regarding such spiritual things. We took his word and still hold to it (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1& 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah & Esther. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1995, Print).

     The first verse of Revelation even states that God made  things known to the Apostle John by signs.  And a lot of the meaning of the signs were even given to John by the Angel.  For instance, the seven lampstands refer to seven churches in Asia, and the Lamb signifies Christ as the Redeemer. Because of this, surely the last sign in this book which is  the New Jerusalem  must also have spiritual significance. 

So what does the New Jerusalem portray?  In chapter 13 he gives this awesome statement about the New Jerusalem: The consummation of the Bible is the New Jerusalem—divinity mingled with humanity. Divinity becomes the dwelling place of humanity and humanity becomes the home of divinity.  In this city the glory of God is manifested in man, brightly and splendidly (page 89).  In both the Life-Study of Revelation and  chapters 29-44 of God's New Testament Economy he speaks extensively on the spiritual meanings found in the New Jerusalem.  These writings have opened my husband and my heart to understand what John was saying. I'm really thankful that both of these men of God were faithful to stand for the truths that God made real to them! 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

GF Old School Wackie Cake

This is a cake that was popular back in the day.  I remember this cake when I was in school.  For all I know we might have made the same cake that my daughter's home ec class made 20 years later!  Anyway I needed a quick cake today, and when I saw this recipe in my daughter's old home ec cookbook a few weeks ago, I decided to give it a try! 

My husband was my assistant, and I love it when we get to bake together because it doesn't happen that often.  He needs to have explicit step by step directions of what to do, so it takes a little more time, but definitely worth it.  

GF Wackie Cake - Serves 9

1.  Put the following ingredients into an 8 x 8 baking pan:
(1)  1 1/2 cups of gluten free flour
(2)  1 cup sugar (I used 3/4 cup)
(3)  1 teaspoon baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
(4)  3 tablespoons of cocoa

2.  Make four holes in the flour and then place in each hole: 
(1) Hole #1  6 tablespoons of olive oil (or the oil of your liking)
(2)  Hole #2  1 tablespoon of vinegar
(3)  Hole #3 1 teaspoon of vanilla
(4)  Hole #4 1 cup water

3.  Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly with the liquid ingredients by making figure 8's in the pan until everything is thoroughly mixed. 

4.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.  Check with a toothpick to see if it is done.

5.  The recipe says you can frost it if you desire.  And that it's a good cake to make while camping and that you can cook it over the hot coals.  I might try that this summer.

Gluten Free German Apple Cake   (From my grandmother)
You Won't Believe It's Gluten Free Carrot Cake (From my daughter's husband's grandma--whew)
Judi's Super Moist Gluten Free Chocolate Cake    (From a church friend)
Judi's Gluten Free Orange Chiffon Cake    (From a church friend)
Marilyn's Spectacular Gluten Free Oatmeal Cake   (My mother-in-law's specialty!)
The Best Gluten Free Black Bottom Cupcakes   (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Delicious Gluten Free Rhubarb Cake   (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
Grandma's Gluten Free Applesauce Cake   (From an Internet search--tastes like my grandma's!)
Old Fashioned Gluten Free Banana Cake   (From my grandmother)
Rosie's Gluten Free Pineapple Upside Down Cake   (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
Overwhelmed By Your Bumper Crop of Zucchini? Try Claudia's Gluten Free Chocolate Zucchini Cake!   (From my former neighbor Claudia of 12 years)

Scrumptious Gluten Free Blackberry Cake   (From a friend)
Decadent & Gluten Free German Chocolate Cake  (From my Come & Dine church cookbook)
Debbie's Delicious Hot Water GF Chocolate Cake   (From my Come & Dine cookbook)
Debbie's Less Oil Carrot Cake (Made Gluten Free!)   (From my Come & Dine cookbook)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Israel's Roller Coaster History in 1 & 2 Kings

   The history of the children of Israel is a lot like a roller coaster. Every time they plummeted, the Bible shows us it was because of their idolatry. I was thinking about this, and I wonder if it's because so many churches are full of statues and pictures that this doesn't shock us so much anymore.  But it should because it's a big deal to God.  In fact, the first two commandments are concerned with idolatry:

     I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the slave house;
      You shall have no other gods before Me.
      You shall not make for yourself an idol, nor the form of anything that is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water beneath the earth.
     You shall not bow down to them, and you shall not serve them; for I, Jehovah your God, am a jealous God,...     Exodus 20:2-5A

Family walk
     We know from the account in Exodus 32--which is the meanwhile back at the ranch account of what happened back in the camp when Moses was up on Mt. Sinai so long.  Aaron made a golden calf because  the children of Israel supposedly made him do it (See Exodus 32:23-24).  In one fell swoop the Israelites had broken God's law before they had even received it.  The footnote from my Recovery Version on verse  4 of this chapter is very enlightening. Aaron made this calf in the name of Jehovah, and he even offered offerings to it in the way God had ordained. 

    But this is a mixed up worship. We see it here and we see  the Israelites worshipping calves  again in 1 Kings 12:25-33 when  Jeroboam set up two calves in Bethel and Dan so the Israelites in the north wouldn't go back to Solomon's son King Rehoboam and worship in Jerusalem. . All because he didn't want to lose his kingdom.  And it says in verse 30 that those Israelites worshipped these calves. What were they thinking?!

     I learned from reading the Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruth that the Israelites got ensnared by the nations that surrounded them in Canaan, and many of them fell into pagan idolatry. And it's not like God didn't warn them.  When Moses was speaking to the Israelites on the plains of Moab right before they entered Canaan, he told them:

     Beware that there is not among you any man or woman or family or tribe whose heart turns away, even today, from Jehovah our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations,...
     Indeed all the nations will say, 'Why has Jehovah done this to this land? Why the burning of this great  anger?
     And they will say, It is because they forsook the covenant of Jehovah, the God of their fathers, which He made with them, when He brought them out from the land of Egypt.
    ...And they went and served other gods and bowed down to them,...
     ...And Jehovah plucked them off their land in anger and in burning wrath and in great indignation, and sent them to another land, as they are this day.'   
                                             Deuteronomy 29: 18, 24-25A, 26A, 28

     So as I was reading the chapters in the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings it's one roller coaster drop after another.  Some of those kings were so vile that God sent His enemies in to judge them.  And I learned that He also gave them prophets like Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah,  and Isaiah to warn them.  But just like us they don't always listen to God.  And it seems even God had run out of ultimatums, and that's when God sent the Assyrians to capture the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Babylonians in to take Southern Kingdom of Judah into captivity. 

    In chapter 23 of the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings Witness Lee says that of the 41 kings of Israel 30 were evil, and on page 157 Witness Lee points out that in the book of Jeremiah God tells His people that the root cause of their idolatry is that they forsook Him as the fountain of living waters (Jer. 2:13).  What I get from all of this is if I ever start to  feel dizzy by the world and other things claiming my heart's attention, it's time to get off! Because God  doesn't want us to be on a roller coaster in our relationship with Him.

List of Other Posts on 1 & 2 Kings:

Taking a Look at Solomon's Prayer in 1 Kings 8:48
Elijah & the Showdown on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 17
How Does Elisha's Ministry Parallel the Lord's in the Gospels?

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Homemade GF Chewy Granola Bars

Pretty much everything is packaged today.  Sometimes it takes all the fun out of cooking because then you have to compete with this fancy chocolate coated granola bar that has half the nutrients of your homemade not so glitzy looking bar. Since I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2007, I have learned to make almost everything I eat from scratch.  And now that my naturopath has me on a dairy free diet, I am experimenting again with switching things in my recipes.  So far so good. 

Anyway this recipe comes from a home ec notebook that one of my daughters got in junior high. That was definitely back in the day, just about 1998.  And today you hardly see a home ec class in middle school or high school.  Who would ever have thought that they would have ever phased home ec out of the school curriculum.  The home ec room was like a safe haven, you were guaranteed at least an A or  B.  And back in a time when schools didn't have vending machines and didn't let kids eat in class, home ec equaled free food in the middle of the day! 

So here's her teacher's granola bar recipe.  And granola bars aren't like cookies--they allow for a lot of variation. 

Homemade GF Chewy Granola Bars -  Makes 2 dozen

1.  In a large bowl combine well the following ingredients:
(1)  1 cup of firmly packed brown sugar (I usually make this 3/4 cup)
(2)  1/3 cup of peanut butter
(3)  1/2 cup light corn syrup (I like to use agave syrup)
(4)  1/2 cup of melted butter (I always use a little less, and lately I've been trying to substitute coconut oil for butter to reduce my dairy intake)
(5)  2 teaspoons of vanilla

2.  Then stir in the following:
(1)  2 1/2 cups of  gluten free rolled oats
(2)  1/2 cup of flaked coconut
(3)  1/2 cup of sunflower seeds
(4)  1/2 cup of raisins
(5)  1/3 cup of flax seed or almond meal
(6)  2 T sesame seeds
(7)  Optional:  1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or carob chips

3. Press this mixture evenly into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. 

4.  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until light brown.  Cool completely and then cut into bars.

The Ultimate Gluten Free Cowboy Oatmeal Cookies   (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Mom's Go To For Gluten Free Peanut Butter Cookies (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
The Best Gluten Free Recipe for Snickerdoodles    (From my Heritage School Cookbook)
Gluten Free Rocky Road Brownies    (From a church friend)
Mark's Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies - Made Gluten Free!   (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
Judi's Gluten Free Oatmeal Craisin & Coconut Cookies (From a church friend)
Marie's Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies (Also Great Gluten Free!)   (My friend Marie's recipe)
Bebe's Gluten Free Whoopie Pies  (From my friend Debbie)
Gluten Free Coconut Chocolate Chip Macaroons  - (Recipe on Baker's bag of coconut)
Dale's Gingersnaps Made Gluten Free  (From my Come & Dine cookbook)
Chewy Gluten Free Molasses Cookies (From my daughter-in-law's Family Reunion Cookbook)
Those Famous Neiman Marcus Cookies Made Gluten Free   (From my daughter-in-law)
Janah's Oatmeal Cookies with a GF Spin  (My daughter's recipe)
Homemade Gluten Free Butter Cookies   (From My Heritage School Cookbook)
An Old Fashioned Favorite Made GF - Hermit Cookies- Hermit Cookies  (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
A New Twist on Holiday Peppermint Cookies (You can make them Gluten Free) (From my daughter-in-law's family reunion cookbook)
Who Wouldn't Love a Cookie that Tastes Like a Brownie? GF Cocoa White Chocolate Chip Cookies - (From my daughter-in-laws family reunion cookbook)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

How Does Elisha's Ministry Parallel the Lord's in the Gospels?

    Before God took Elijah up in a chariot of fire—now that never happened before or since!—he prepared Elisha to follow him.  He was sort of like a spiritual apprentice. It’s touching to see that even though Israel was idolatrous at this time, God didn’t completely forsake them.  He used both Elijah and Elisha to help preserve His people. 

On a family walk--this is my favorite tree on the bay.

      In chapter 13 of the Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings I read something that made me think—Witness Lee stated that Elijah typifies God’s Old Testament economy, and Elisha typifies God’s New Testament economy (Think of economy as God’s plan or arrangement).  So Elijah’s praying to shut up the heavens and then commanding fire to come down and consume his offering (See Elijah & the Showdown on Mt Carmel below) typifies God’s way of demonstrating His miraculous power in caring for His people in the Old Testament.  Then Witness Lee shows through various accounts how Elisha is a type of Christ’s ministry of performing miracles of grace in life. 

     So in this chapter he  points out that the first miracle Elisha did was healing the water of Jericho in 2 Kings 2:19-22.  This can be compared this to the Lord’s first miracle of changing water into wine at the wedding in Cana. They were both used to change something of death into life--something the Lord did throughout the gospel of John.  And like the Lord who called things not being as being (Rom. 4:17) when He multiplied a few barley loaves and fish to feed thousands of people, Elisha did the same thing when he told the widow to keep pouring out her cruse of oil until the last jar she had collected was full! 

     Also in the same way that the Lord’s miracles were out of love and compassion, Elisha’s were too.  And we see this especially when Elisha brought the boy back to life (2 Kings 4:18-37) just like the Lord resurrected  both Lazarus (John 11:41-44) and the widow’s son (Luke 7:11-17). He had other comparisons that you can check out if you click on the above chapter link.

     In the closing paragraphs  of this chapter on page 94 Witness Lee speaks about the impact of Watchman Nee's ministry on him:

I received most of this light through Brother Nee.  He was the most balanced person in knowing the Bible. Through him I picked up the principle of studying the Bible in the way of life.  The Bible has been studied, interpreted, and expounded by thousands throughout the last twenty centuries.  Brother Nee studied all the interpretations and passed them on to me.  This is why the preface of the Recovery Version of the New Testament says that the footnotes contain 'the 'crystallization' of understanding of the divine revelation which the saints everywhere have attained to in the past two thousand years." If we pay attention to all the notes, we will understand the Bible through all the teachers in the past (Lee, Witness. Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings. Anaheim: Living Stream Ministry, 1994, Print).

 I've been reading my Recovery Version of the Bible (You can order a free New Testament) for over 30 years, and of all the various versions we own,  I like it the most because the footnotes are both enlightening and full of spiritual application. Take advantage of this offer!

 List of Other Posts on 1 & 2 Kings:

Taking a Look at Solomon's Prayer in 1 Kings 8:48
Elijah & the Showdown on Mt. Carmel in 1 Kings 17