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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Inspiring, and Reflective - Dug Down Deep

"What makes it difficult for us to see the truth about God, I think, isn't his overwhelming immensity but our overwhelming self-centeredness." 

The most common view of teenagers (and possibly most adults) today is a "Moralistic, Therapeutic, Deism".  This means they think that if they are good, God will reward them.  They think that God's primary reason for existence is to make them happy.  And last but not least, they believe God is distant and uninvolved in our lives.  Kind of like we are in charge of where we're heading and God is along for the ride; like He has no influence or should have no say in what we do.

Joshua says J.I. Packer also goes on to point out that although God is personal, He's not finite like we are.  "Like us He's personal; but unlike us, He is great."  I think sometimes we lose fact of this.  While we can approach the Lord in prayer, I think we're often in a bad sense like a child.  For instance, my son sometimes think's God is a genie in a lamp there to grant his next wish.  We did not instill this in our son, yet it's there.  I think because he knows God can do anything, he can expect to be able to ask for anything.  For instance "Dear God, help me get a ds and have the best day, and help me to get ice cream.  Amen".  Do I love the sincerity of him realizing that God is all powerful?  Absolutely!  But my son is only a child and when He's older will someday realize more of the awe that comes with knowing the Lord.  He will know that God knows the desires of His heart but if he were to stand in the presence of the Almighty God, he would not be asking for ice cream and video games.  I think as adults we may sometimes or often have that same view.  God is a genie in a lamp to us.  And, when He doesn't answer us like we think He should, we get upset and angry with Him.  Let me reiterate what Joshua was saying...God is infinite, we are not. "...we are not the center of the universe, God is.  

"God is near, but we've made Him small - so small that we can carry Him around in our pocket like a good-luck charm."  The funny thing about this is that He's the one holding us.  He's the one who is up on high caring for us.  What an amazing God we serve.   

In chapter 4, Joshua talks about A. J. Jacobs, an agnostic man who thought he'd live out all the rules in the bible, including levitical laws for one year.  I will say there was a bit that made me chuckle because it just seemed silly.  But what had me thinking in awe was first of all, this man read the entire bible in 4 weeks.  I got me thinking about how as Christians, how much do we read God's word?  To many of us, reading the whole bible in a year even seems daunting.  Yet this man who didn't even care about God - didn't love God - read it in 4 weeks.  That's humbling.  He also took to following all the laws of the bible, yet how often to our tongues go unbridled, what about those little white lies?  Are we setting ourselves apart?  If someone met you on the street for the first time, would they have even the slightest clue that you just might be a Christian?  In this chapter he also talks about the question people often ask, "When I pray, does God hear me?"  When what we should really be asking ourselves are the following...

Am I hearing God through his word?
Am I listening to Him?
Am I trembling before his word?

How often do we figuratively burn God's word like Jehoiakim (Josiah's son) physically burned the prophecies brought to him?  Josh shows us this similarity in our lives every time we choose to go against God's word and what He has for our life.  It reminds me of another book called The Anatomy of Secret Sins. This book talks about how we sin in our lives and sometimes don't even realize it.  May we pray to God and ask Him to deliver us from our sins; those known to us and those that aren't.

Later on in the book, Josh talks about his father and the life he had before he surrendered his life to God.  After his father was saved, the first question he asked God was what should he do and he felt God saying "Go home."  I have experienced things that most people will never experience in their lifetime and I did so in just a couple years time.  I remember when I finally realized I needed the Lord as my savior.  I asked Him what I could do for Him and how I was to do it.  The crazy thing is that the first thing I did was go home.  I've always said that there was no reason for me to go back home to my parents many states away other than because of God.  What an amazing God we serve!

Joshua has a cartoon section in this book called Feeding the Flesh. It was phenomenal as a visual!  I pulled over my two older children and read through the cartoons with them.  I asked them what they were personally doing to feed their flesh and then asked them what they could do to starve it.  This was a great point in the book!  He goes on to say that sanctification is a work in progress.  John Piper mentioned though that if one is not careful, it can turn into a digression if a person is feeding and not starving their flesh.  Robert Murray McCHeyne's is quoted when he said "For every one look at your sins, take ten looks at Christ".  I think it can be easy at times to dwell on the bad we've done and not look more towards Christ. 

I could write more and quote more from his book but I won't for now.  I will end in saying Joshua Harris has done a great job laying an easy to understand foundation of biblical theology.  He also has the reader ask himself many questions that he otherwise may not have thought about.  This book is very thought provoking and inspiring.  I plan to make this a requirement of reading for my teen children as they get older. 

Recommended Books for Reading:
Gospel and Kingdom by Graeme Goldsworthy
God's Big Picture by Vaughan Roberts
Spurgeon V. Hyper-Calvinism
The Forgotten Spurgeon
The Discipline of Grace by Jerry Bridges
Holiness by J.C. Ryles
The Cross of Christ by John Stott
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones
God Has Spoken by J.I. Packer

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Helping the Homeless

How many times have you driven down the road only to see someone holding a sign that says something along the lines of, "Homeless, Can You Help?  God Bless".  We've seen many signs and at times have helped in either the form of cash or purchasing food to give them.  Recently on Pinterest, I saw a bag that was full of items for the homeless.  Immediately, I fell in love with this idea.  I could help someone and not even have to question giving them cash because of possible alcohol or cigarette purchase (yes this has happened to me before).  We can have these bags ready to go and in the car any time the occasion may arise.  My hope is that whoever is in the car with me can get out, pray with the person and give them something that might make their life the slightest bit easier for a short time.  In the past, I have kept from helping others because I didn't see that it'd make that much difference.  I couldn't help as much as I wanted to so I did nothing.  Well, we've been doing something lately...not as much as I'd like/hope to, but we're doing something.

Below is a video my children made.

This is what we included in our bag.  Before it goes out, we're going to purchase a nice pair of warm socks.

Bag Items:
hand sanitizer
peanut butter crackers
wash cloth
lip balm
electrolyte drink packets
trash bag
first aid kit
gallon bag to put it all in

The total approximate price for all the above items minus the socks is just under $10.  We purchased many of these items at the Dollar Tree.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Beautiful Picture...

I do not currently own this book but I did read a quote out of it from Joshua Harris's Dug Down Deep book.

God wrote, ‘I love you’ — he wrote it in the sky, and on the earth, and under the sea. He wrote his message everywhere! Because God created everything in his world to reflect him like a mirror — to show us what he is like, to help us know him, to make our hearts sing.
The way a kitten chases her tail. The way red poppies grow wild. The way a dolphin swims.
And God put it into words, too, and wrote it in a book called ‘the Bible.’
Now, some people think the Bible is a book of rules, telling you what you should and shouldn’t do. The Bible certainly does have some rules in it. They show you how life works best. But the Bible isn’t mainly about you and what you should be doing. It’s about God and what he has done.
Other people think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but (as you’ll soon find out) most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean.
No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a Story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne — everything — to rescue the one he loves. It’s like the most wonderful of fairy tales that has come true in real life!
You see, the best thing about this Story is — it’s true.
There are lots of stories in the Bible, but all the stories are telling one Big Story. The Story of how God loves his children and comes to rescue them.
It takes the whole Bible to tell His story. And at the center of the Story, there is a baby. Every Story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a puzzle — the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together, and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

When Days Start Out Wrong

Today was one of those days.  We woke up late which wasn't bad in itself.  It seemed like a great beginning.  Then it all started.

Jon started complaining about one thing after another.  That alone can drive me through the roof.

Joshua feeds off of Jon and since Jon was upset and whining about everything, Josh was walking around like his dog had just died.  It was a very pitiful looking "woe is me" look and whine.

Lyshie got frustrated because of the boys and let them know it.

Figuring we'd move through it despite their and my frustrations, lunch time came and went.

Joshua was upset at only who knows what.  He thought he wanted what each of us were having to eat (leftovers for everyone), but when he got it, he whined some more.

All this moved on to everyone having bad attitudes, openly being defiant and being mean to each other.  Yelling, hitting, griping, scowling, picking, bumping, grumping, sneering, and jeering.  Something had to be done.  I had two options.

1. Yell at them so they could hear me over all the noise.  For anyone who has ever done that, you find it causes more problems than it solves.


2. Pray and talk calmly with my children and get to the issue at hand.

Today I chose #2.  Right now, a couple hours later we're having a great movie time together at the Kaake household.  Cuddling and smiling.

I don't always choose #2.  Sometimes I choose to be as bad as the kids and we get nowhere but bad.  But I chose #2 and we're so much better off for it.  I encourage you to choose #2 as often as you can.  Pray about it, the Lord will lead you and your emotions will take over less and less.

A great highlight for the day is when I calmed down Josh and Lyshie, then called Jon over to myself.  We talked a bit about when he treats us that way, it's also like he's treating God the same way.  When he realized how he hurt us and God, he was very repentant.  He cried tears of repentance and asked if he could pray to God and ask for forgiveness.  After He was finished, he went and apologized to everyone else he had wronged.  I'm so proud of him and so proud at the reaction of my other children.  Lyshie hugged him and told him she loved him so much and wanted him to be nice now.  Joshua hugged him, grabbed Jon's leg and said "come on honey".  lol!  He hears me call them honey a lot so he's taken to calling everyone honey.  So funny!

So's almost 2:00pm and our house is much more joyful.  Praising God for wonderful days!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Healthy Fall Recipes Made With Real Food

My sweet friends from my Health Nuts forum have been posting so many yummy looking recipes.  Here's some I want to give a try or have already tried and love.  Do you have any to share that doesn't contain wheat or sugar?

Grain Free Pumpkin Cookies by Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Roasted Pumpkin Salad by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks

Pumpkin Pudding by Diane at The Whole Gang  I've actually tried this and it's so good!  I use maple syrup in place of agave.

Rice Pudding - by me :)

Spiced Cider by me

Cream Cheese Stuffed Dates by me

Maple Mashed Sweet Potatoes - I don't remember who I got this recipe from.  I will say these are hands down amazing!

Maple Syrup Nuts

Coconut Milk Hot Chocolate by My Year Without Sugar

This is all I can find for now.  If I find more, I'll will most certainly add them.  Happy Eating!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Granny's Chicken Soup - For Cold's and Flu's

I'm getting out this old recipe to share with you all.  I've used it several times.  The only thing I don't add in is the celery salt.  I got this recipe off another site that I cannot seem to find at the moment.  Anyway, here it is.  It's not your average chicken soup recipe.  It's full of more flavor.  Below is the excerpt and health info the site I got this from.

"Down through the ages, home-made chicken soup has been valued and appreciated for it’s soothing and healing qualities when it comes to colds and the flu. I decided to investigate what it is about chicken soup that makes the ailing patient feel better. Here’s what I came up with-
‘All research agrees that chicken soup helps break up congestion and eases the flow of nasal secretions. Many say it also inhibits white blood cells that trigger the inflammatory response (causing sore throats and the production of phlegm.) Chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine- released when you make the soup. This amino acid thins mucus in the lungs, aiding in the healing process.’
When combined with nutrient rich veggies, home-made chicken soup can definitely help the healing process in those who fall prey to colds or the flu ! "

1- 5 pound organic stewing chicken
3 large onions
4 cloves garlic
1 large sweet potato
3 parsnips
2 turnips
10 large carrots
6 stalks of celery
1 bunch parsley
Hot pepper flakes- a few
1 teaspoon celery seed

Clean the chicken, put it in a large pot, and cover with cold water- about 3 - 4 quarts. Bring to a boil.

Add onions, garlic, celery, parsley, sweet potato, parsnips, turnips, and carrots. Boil about 1 1/2 hours.

Add the parsley celery and hot pepper flakes. Cook about 45 min longer.

Remove the chicken (not used further for the soup- only for the stock).

Add Sea Salt or Crystal Salt and black pepper to taste.

Healing benefits of ingredients:
1. Onions - contain protein, calcium, sulfur, vitamin A, B complex, C and E. They contain sulfur compounds and have anti-inflammatory effects. Like garlic, onions have the antibiotic oil- allicin, which gives them their pungent flavor.

2. Garlic - has powerful antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties . Is being used for boosting the immune system, lowering blood pressure, assisting in treatment of heart disease, and cancer and lowering cholesterol.

3. Sweet potato - excellent source of vitamin A (beta-carotene), vitamin C ,manganese, copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. Having significant antioxidant capacities, they stabilize blood sugar levels and lower insulin resistance.

4. Parsnips - a good source of the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E, which help to boost the immune system, plus they’re a good source of fibre, which protects against colon cancer and helps maintain healthy bowels. Parsnips are a good to reduce high blood pressure, because they have a high potassium content.

5. Turnips - are rich in beta-carotene and protect mucous membranes (especially in the lungs and intestinal tract) from cancer and free-radical damage. Also high in vitamin C, indoles, calcium and other minerals.

6. Carrots - Carrots, one of the routine vegetable ingredients found in chicken soup, are the best natural source of beta-carotene. The body takes that beta-carotene and converts it to vitamin A. Vitamin A helps prevent and fight off infections by enhancing the actions of white blood cells that destroy harmful bacteria and viruses.

7. Celery - carminative, diuretic, tonic, nervine. Used to promote restfulness and sleep, celery is also excellent for relieving rheumatism and gout. Its high magnesium and iron content is invaluable as a food for blood cells. Because of its anitspasmodic properties, celery is good for all lund conditions, including asthma and bronchitis.

8. Parsley - contains two components that provide unique health benefits - 1. volatile oils-including myristicin, limonene, eugenol, and alpha-thujene. 2. flavonoids- including apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food- a food that can neutralize particular types of carcinogens (like benzopyrenes from cigarette and charcoal grill smoke).

9. Sea Salt - natural balance of sodium, magnesium and potassium- helps to lower blood pressure and promote good health. Mineral salts create electrolytes, the sparks of life- carry electrical currents to cells throughout the body. Electrolytes are necessary for enzyme production. Enzymes are responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, muscle function, hormone production, etc. Electrolytes and enzymes are linked to healthy immune function, proper regulation of bodily fluids, and adrenal health.

10. Black pepper - contains volatile oils, alkaloids, proteins and minerals. It has the following healing actions: circulatory stimulant, diuretic, cerebral stimulant, reduces infection, diaphoretic (induces sweating), astringent (tightens mucous membranes) and stimulates sinuses to drain.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mexican Rice with Chicken

We threw this together tonight for a quick and healthy meal.  Also, did you know that beans and rice when eaten together make a complete protein?

Mexican Chicken and Rice
1 tablespoon butter or oil
1 medium bell pepper, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped finely
2 medium tomatos, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup basmati rice, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
pepper to taste
1-2 cups cooked chicken, diced

1. Heat oil or butter in pan till melted.  
2. Add in peppers, onion, garlic and tomatoes and saute for 5-10 minutes or till onions are starting to get tender. 
3. Add in chicken broth, rice, chicken and seasonings and bring to a boil.  
4. Reduce heat and simmer on medium/low heat with the lid on till rice is done.  Check periodically to make sure you don't lose your liquid.  If your liquid is gone, just shut off heat and put the lid on.  
5. Serve topped with cheese and sour cream.  You can serve beans along side this dish.