~~ Devotions and recipes for God's hurried people ~~

Jesus – Our Ransom

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. -Mark 10:45, NIV

A ransom is something that is paid to provide for the release of someone who is held captive. Jesus paid our ransom to free us from sin, death, and hell. Throughout the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are found God’s requirements for sacrifices. In Old Testament times, God commanded the Israelites to make animal sacrifices for substitution atonement; that is, an animal’s death took the place of a person’s death, death being the penalty for sin (Romans 6:23). The Law of Moses could not save us, because of our sinful nature. But God put into effect a different plan to save us. He sent his own Son in a human body like ours (except ours are sinful). God destroyed sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the requirement of the law would be fully accomplished for us who no longer follow our sinful nature, but instead follow the Spirit (Romans 8:3-4). Jesus paid the ransom for our lives to God. That ransom was His own life, the shedding of His own blood, a sacrifice. Due to His sacrificial death, each person on earth has the opportunity to accept that gift of atonement and be forgiven by God. For without His death, God’s Law would still need to be satisfied—by our own death.

Father: Thank you for sending your precious only Son as a Ransom for my sins. To show my love and appreciation, I give you my heart. Forgive me for my sins and restore in me a pure and clean heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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BAKED CHICKEN CASSEROLE

4 chicken breasts or 1 cut up chicken
1 cup rice, uncooked
1 can cream of mushroom soup
2 cups water
1 packet onion soup mix

Place chicken and rice in baking dish. Mix together soup, water, and onion soup mix; spread over top. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Jesus, Our Rabbi

Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the king of Israel.” –John 1:49, NIV

In the Old Testament, a Rabbi was a title of dignity and respect used by Jews for those who taught Jewish values and customs. It means teacher or master. Though a Jewish Rabbi normally held a religious office, Jesus did not. So, Jesus was not an official Rabbi, but was called so because people saw Him as a teacher. If He held the office of a Rabbi, He would have been disciplined for claiming to be God. The Chief priest could not do that because he did not have direct jurisdiction over Jesus as he would have if Jesus had been a Rabbi. Jesus is a Jew, and He is a Teacher. Above all, He is the Master of the universe, and those of us who believe and receive His message will one day reign with Him forever and ever.

Wonderful Rabbi and Heavenly Father: Thank you for teaching me how to live for you, and how to be holy in an unholy world. Your Book is filled with the strength and hope I need to pursue your will for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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MEXICAN BEEF CASSEROLE

1 pound lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can kernel corn, drained
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 package taco seasonings mix
8 to 12 corn tortillas
3/4 cup sour cream
2 cans tomatoes with green chilies, drained
1/3 cup Mexican blend or taco cheese, shredded
Sliced jalapeno peppers (optional)

Brown ground beef; drain. Add onions; cook 10 until tender. Add corn, beans, tomatoes, and taco seasonings; simmer 5 minutes. Put half of tortillas in bottom of greased 9×13-inch baking dish. Spoon half of beef mixture on top; spread with sour cream. Top with last tortillas and then beef mixture. Bake at 350 degree for 25 minutes; remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese and jalapeno peppers. Cook for another 5 minutes or until cheese melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Jesus – The Prize

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:14, KJV

The Apostle Paul is using the analogy of a race to explain his intense desire to follow Christ all the way to the finish line. To press is to exert great force and Paul did not want to fall short in any area of his life. He knew that as long as he focused on the mark (his perception and understanding of eternal life with Christ) His prize at the finish line would be the crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4:7-8). Paul is telling us all to keep moving forward so Christ’s power can be released in us and His purpose fulfilled. Like Paul, we who are convinced of the prize will press to obtain it. Jesus has gained the access to glory for us. He now encourages us to come to it, pressing through every obstacle, and overcoming every hindrance (Hebrews 12:1).

Father: Today I run with you, pushing through circumstances and trials that lie in my path. Help me to shed all the excess baggage of which I have control and to run the race called Christianity clear to the finish line. In doing so, eternal life with you will be my prize. Thank you Jesus! In Your Name, Amen.

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BLT CHOPPED SALAD

4 cups lettuce, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, quartered
4 slices bacon, fried and crumbled
1 cup cooked sweet corn
1 avocado, chopped
4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
1½ tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 lime, juiced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients; toss well. Divide evenly on 2 plates. Serve!

Jesus as Prince

God exalted him (Jesus) to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins.

–Acts 5:31, NIV

This was the courageous response given by Peter and the apostles when the chief priests ordered them not to teach any more in the name of Christ. “We must obey God rather than human beings,” they said (verse 29), and proceeded in effect to preach the gospel to the priests themselves! The central theme of the New Testament is the death of Christ for the forgiveness of sins as our Savior and His bodily resurrection to be our Prince. The Greek word for Prince (archeogos) is also used in Hebrews 2:10 and 12:2, where the Lord Jesus is called the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. He is indeed King of kings and Lord of lords to us, and will one day soon be acknowledged as such by all people of all nations and times (Philippians 2:9-11).

Heavenly Father: With joy in my heart I thank you for your death and resurrection, all for my sake. I repent of my sin and call on you to forever be my Prince and Savior. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

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BACON AND ONION FOIL PACK POTATOES

2 to 3 sheets of heavy-duty foil
1 packet onion soup mix
10-12 baby red potatoes, thinly sliced
12 slices of cooked and crumbled bacon
1 small onion thinly sliced and diced
1 cup cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tablespoons butter
Sour cream (optional)

Spray each sheet of foil with cooking spray. Top each piece with equal portions of potatoes, bacon, and onion soup packet. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to each serving. Wrap securely. Grill for 20 to 30 minutes, or may be baked in oven at 350° for about 35 minutes or until done. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve in foil; top with sour cream, if desired.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. -Hebrews 4:14

In Scripture, a priest is one who mediates in religious services, and is holy or set apart to perform those services. Hebrews 5:1-10 speaks about Jesus, our perfect high priest, and his ability to deal with all our problems of sin, ignorance, and wandering away from God. As weak sinners, we need a perfect high priest as well as a perfect victim to be our substitute. We need a perfect mediator who is both perfect God and perfect man to reconcile weak and sinful people to a holy God. We have such a perfect high priest in Jesus Christ, in whom we have eternal salvation. All our weaknesses are due to our sin. Through Adam we all became sinners and implement sin daily. For this reason, God must pour out his wrath against us. Only Jesus Christ, our perfect high priest, can save us hell-bound sinners from the wrath to come. We cannot save ourselves; by God’s grace alone are we saved. God instituted a sacrificial system in Jesus Christ, our Great High Priest.

Father God and Great High Priest: Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit with me. Help to live in the power of your mercy and grace, and to know and show love to those around me. Keep me close to your will that you may be glorified in my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen

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VANILLA PUDDING FRUIT SALAD

1 (20-ounce) can pineapple chunks in unsweetened juice
1 (3½-ounce) box vanilla instant pudding
2 (11-ounce) cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup red or green seedless grapes, halved
6 maraschino cherries, halved
2 bananas, sliced

Combine pineapple and pudding in large bowl; stir until blended and thickened. Fold in oranges, grapes, and cherries. Chill several hours or overnight. Add bananas just before serving. (May substitute or add fruit such as: fresh blueberries or strawberries, drained canned peaches, melon balls, and nuts).

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. -1 John 2:2, KJV

The Apostle John wrote these encouraging words to teach us that God loved us so much He gave His only Son as an atonement for our sins. God expressed His love for humanity by coming down to earth in the form of a man, and laying down His own human life in sacrifice to pay for our sins. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. It is Christ’s blood sacrifice that atoned or paid for our sin debt.We have all sinned and deserve to die, but Christ redeemed us by His blood. He bore our sins in His body on the cross. Jesus paid the price for our sins so God could forgive us without violating His own righteousness. If we believe Jesus is the Son of God, and are willing to turn away from sin and dedicate our lives to Him, we are redeemed. Our sins will be washed away (Acts 22:16) and we will be reconciled to God (Romans 5:10).

Wonderful Lord: Because you sacrificed your only Son to die in my place, and I chose to believe and receive your plan of salvation, I am free. No longer am I held captive in my sin, but I am promised eternal life with you. Praise your holy name. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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BAKED FRENCH ONION PORK CHOPS

2 cups French Original or Cheddar French Fried Onions

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

4 (½-inch thick) bone-in or boneless pork chops

1 egg, beaten

Place French Fried Onions and flour in plastic bag. Lightly crush with hands or rolling pin. Transfer to plate or waxed paper. Dip pork chops into beaten egg; then coat with onion crumbs, pressing firmly to adhere. Place pork chops on greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until no longer pink in center.

God Is My Prophet

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” ~Luke 7:16

Jesus is both divine and human at the same time, and occupies three main offices: Prophet, Priest, and King. As Prophet, He is ordained of God to speak forth the mind and counsel of God (Exodus 7:1-2; 2 Samuel 24:11). Though there were many great prophets in the Bible, such as Moses and Isaiah, none excel the prophetic ministry of Jesus Christ. Since the role of the prophet is to foretell the future and truths about God, undoubtedly, Jesus did this when he came to do the will of the Father (Luke 22:42), to reveal the Father (Matthew11:27) and to speak the things of the Father (John 8:28; 12:49). Moses told about the future coming of the Prophet who would proclaim the Word of the Lord with authority (Deuteronomy 18: 15-19). When Jesus began to perform his miracles, the crowds exclaimed, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world” (John 6:14). Christ’s predictive utterances were greater than all other prophetic announcements, for all his revelations lead up to the day when He will come and reign forever as not only Prophet, but as King.

Father: How unworthy I am, yet so loved and forgiven by you that yet while I was in my sin, you provided a provision for me to be set free. Your Son, the greatest Prophet of all, spoke life into my soul and gave me hope and a future. I praise and thank you for this wonderful gift. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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BAKED BROWN SUGAR SALMON FILETS

2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 salmon fillets
1 tablespoon butter, melted
4 thin slices lemon
8 teaspoons brown sugar

Pour lemon juice into ungreased baking dish; sprinkle with 1/4 cup brown sugar. Arrange fillets in dish; drizzle with butter. Bake uncovered in 375-degree oven for 15 minutes; turn. Place 1 slice lemon on each salmon fillet; sprinkle with 2 teaspoons brown sugar. Return to oven until fish flakes easily with fork, about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with juices from dish.

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