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

If Your Enemy is Hungry

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head and the Lord will reward you. ~ Proverbs 25:21-22

Human nature would tell us to “pay back” those who have hurt us, while God’s Word says to do the opposite. Why should we want to come to the aid of that one who wronged us in some way? Maybe it was a simple thing like being pushed back in line by someone or being cut off the road. Or maybe it was as serious as murder, kidnapping, or rape? Is there a level or degree of hurt that was done to us for what we should forgive and show love? Romans 12:14-21 tells us to bless those who persecute us, and not curse them. The Apostle Paul encourages us to live in harmony with one another and to not repay anyone evil for evil. We are to do what is right in the eyes of everybody and not take revenge for anything anyone has done to us. The second part of this verse tell us that doing these good things to our enemies will cause their heads to burn or make them think about what they did and be convicted. It’s not always easy to reward those who have hurt us, but God’s Word says we should. Not only will it cause convicting effects on our offenders, but the Lord will reward us for our kindness to them. And, once again, God is glorified!

Dear Heavenly Father:  Because of Your forgiveness for those who crucified Your Son, so am I able to forgive and do good to my enemies. Forgive me when I hold grudges and unforgiveness towards those who have hurt or offended me is some way. Help me to rely on Your strength to pardon their evil-doings to me or my family. Because You have asked me to be kind and loving to these ones, I believe that victory will be mine. Thank You for teaching me to live and love as You do.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Help me Lord to show respect and kindness to that one,
Who did me wrong, that they might change, and turn to serve Your Son.
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CHEESY GARLIC BISCUITS (like Red Lobster’s)

2 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup milk
½ cup (2 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese
¼ cup butter, melted
¼ teaspoon garlic powder

Mix Bisquick, milk, and cheese together until a soft dough forms. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Mix garlic powder with butter and brush over warm biscuits before removing from sheet.

Come, Let Us Go

“Many peoples will come and say, ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob. He will teach us His ways so that we may walk in His paths.’” ~ Isaiah 2:3ab

Isaiah is reflecting here on the future glory of God’s kingdom on earth, associating it with Mount Zion, a sacred mountain where the holy temple was located.  Israel is portrayed as a light to all the nations that will gather there.  The house is the temple of God and looked at as a place of refuge, strength, and peace.  Though this vision is prophesied for a time when God will rule and reign over all the earth, it is important that we who proclaim to be citizens of His kingdom respect these inspired scriptures for our lives today.  Each of us as believers should be overzealous about attending our house of worship so that we might be taught the ways of the Lord.  One day soon all the nations of the world will desire to go up to that holy Mountain of the Lord where Jesus Himself will teach the world of His ways.

Dear Heavenly Father:  What a day that will be when we will all worship You together on Your Holy Mountain. Thank You for the Hope that You are in a hopeless world, lost in sin and depravity. Help me Lord to do my part to teach others about Your righteousness and grace. Forgive me when I complain about going to church when it is there that I am taught about You and trained for Your service.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Come and go with me up to the mountain of the Lord,
Where there we’ll learn His ways.

Together we will worship God, and give Him all our praise.
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CASHEW CHICKEN CASSEROLE

2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 cups water
1 cup reserved chicken broth
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 tablespoons soy sauce
6 green onions, chopped
4 cups cooked rice
1 cup cashew nuts

Cook chicken in skillet with 2 cups water until done. Reserve 1 cup of the liquid. Remove chicken and dice into 1-inch pieces. Add broth, both soups, and soy sauce to skillet; bring to boil. Add green onions, cooked rice, chicken, and ¾ cup nuts. Mix well and pour into a casserole dish. Top with remaining nuts. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

“’Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord.  ‘‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…’” ~Isaiah 1:18ab

Many times throughout His Word God so graciously invites us to “Come.” Matthew 11:28 says, “Come to Me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” Mark 1:17 says, “Come and follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” The invitation is made but it is up to us whether or not we accept or reject it. God in His infinite wisdom and knowledge calls us to reason or carefully think about the condition of our hearts and lives. When we sin it leaves a stain on our souls that can only be removed by the cleansing power of Jesus. But, that just doesn’t automatically happen. We must recognize that we have the sin and then come humbly to God and ask Him to forgive us through the shed blood of His Son Jesus. When we do that our sin is not only forgiven but the stain on our souls is totally removed. As we live our lives in total submission to the Lord it is then that we are able to walk in freedom of sin and celebrate His grace, forgiveness, love, and hope of one day being with Him forever.

Heavenly Father:  I have rebelled and been disobedient at times but You are always faithful to bring me back to where I need to be.   Thank You for caring for me enough to remove my sins, to blot out my transgressions, to take on my pain, and to forget the wrongs I have committed. Because of Your love, I am washed clean and made white as snow. Thank You Father for doing this for me.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Though my sins were as scarlet they now are as snow.
With His blood I’ve been washed and forgiveness I know.
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SANDWICH SOUFFLE

Soft margarine or butter
8 slices white bread (remove crusts)
4 slices ham
2 slices American cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt and pepper

Spread butter on both sides of bread. Make 4 sandwiches with the ham and cheese. Place them in a buttered baking dish. Beat together the milk, eggs, and salt, and pepper. Pour mixture over sandwiches and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1-2 hours. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes. Serves 4.

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong; learn to do right! ~ Isaiah 1:15-16

Prayer is conversation with God. It is pouring out our souls or beseeching the Lord with our supplications in an effort to know, seek or draw near to Him. Prayer must be sincere, humble, reverent, and with a sense of submission to the divine will of God. We pray in Christ’s name when our mind is the mind of Christ and our desires the desires of Christ – when His words abide in us (John 15:7). In prayer, we praise God for His goodness and righteousness and thank Him for blessings received. But there are times when God doesn’t hear our prayers. Psalm 66:18 tells us that the Lord will not listen to us if we cherish sin in our hearts. To cherish sin means there is something in our lives contradictory to God’s will that we will not relinquish. But, if we confess our sin (admit to God that what we are doing is wrong and against His will), and renounce it (abandon it), He will forgive us and hear our prayers (1 John 1:9). God instructs us to stop doing wrong and learn to do right; then He will listen. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says it so well: “If my people who are called by my name will humble them-selves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

Heavenly Father:  It is because of Your love and grace that I am able to have pardon from all my sin. Thank You for the awesome God You are and for allowing me the privilege of being Your child. Forgive me when I do wrong things and help me to make good and right choices. Strengthen my weak areas and show me how to turn from the wicked ways of the world and be a godly witness to others. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Help me Lord to do what’s right each day that I’m alive.
Show me how to live my life for righteousness to strive.
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HEARTY BEANS AND DOGS (quick and easy)

1 pound ground beef
6 hot dogs cut into ½ inch pieces
4 slices bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
½ cup chopped onion
1 (28 oz.) can Bushes Baked Beans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons BBQ sauce (optional)

Brown bacon and pour off most of grease. Add ground beef and cook until done; drain. Add hot dogs and onion; cook until onions are tender. Add can of beans, brown sugar and BBQ sauce; simmer 5 min. Serve with your favorite bread, corn bread or crackers.

His Banner Over Me is Love

“He has taken me to the banquet hall and his banner over me is love.”
Song of Songs 2:4

Contrary to the book of Ecclesiastes when King Solomon wrote it at the end of his life, the book of Songs was written early in his life when he was king of Israel. It is a wedding song that he composed about his love and marriage to his bride, a lovely Shulammite maiden.   The Holy Spirit inspired Solomon to write this book so that we might recognize the joy and dignity of human love in marriage. God wants us to know that marriage should be kept pure, wholesome, and beautiful. The descriptive language used in Song of Songs is sensuous but demonstrates the pure and chaste emotion and romantic love that is sanctioned only between a bridegroom and his bride. Hebrews 13:4 tells us that marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral. The love spoken about in the book of Songs is genuine and monogamous, saved only for one another. It is truly a gift from God. Just as the love of the bride and bridegroom is a beautiful example of a perfect union of a man and a woman, so is the quality of love between Christ and His bride, the church. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband” ~ Revelation 21:1-2.

Dear Heavenly Father:  Thank You for the sanctity of human life and for showing us the loveliness of a pure and wholesome relationship. Thank You for the hope I have in knowing that one day You will return for me, Your church, Your bride. I want to be ready and adorned to meet You. Forgive me and cleanse me of all my sin so that my heart and soul is beautifully adorned and prepared to meet You. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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My love for Christ is real and true, with Him I want to be.
He’ll return to take me home, for all eternity.
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ONE PAN CHICKEN AND POTATO BAKE

4 bone-in chicken pieces
4 large potatoes, cut into wedges
¼ cup Zesty Italian Dressing
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh parsley, chopped (optional)

Place chicken and potatoes in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Pour dressing over chicken and potatoes; sprinkle with cheese. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees or until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, as desired.

Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter; Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil. ~ Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

Throughout the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon shared his perspectives and random thoughts on man’s futile attempt to find purpose and meaning. Nothing or no one, outside of a relationship with God, could fill the void in which each of us is born. To pursue happiness, through any means, other than God, he called life “under the sun”(Ecclesiastes 1:3) and was considered as meaningless (Ecclesiastes 1:2). Solomon, with his wisdom and wealth, had experienced it all and now in his old age had come to the conclusion that man’s only duty is to fear (love) God and keep His commandments. He called this life “above the sun.” Though he was somewhat intense and cynical in his description of the perplexities of life, Solomon truly wanted to warn the young to not waste their lives as he did but instead prepare for death and judgment by seeking God, the only One who gives us grace, joy, salvation, and eternal life.

Dear Heavenly Father: Because of You I have peace and joy in my life. Thank You for Your compassion, mercy, love, and grace, even when I am unlovely and undeserving. You see everything I do and are my Judge. Forgive me when my deeds are evil and contrary to Your Word and show me ways to change so I might follow after You more closely. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Fear God and keep His ways; this is His will for me.
God is Judge of all my deeds; there’s none He doesn’t see.
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TACO CRESCENT RING

1 pound ground beef
1 package taco seasoning
½ cup water
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 pack crescent rolls
Shredded lettuce
1 chopped tomatoes
5 green onions, chopped
1 avocado, diced
1 cup sour cream
Salsa

Brown ground beef; drain. Add taco seasoning and water. Simmer about 5 minutes until most of moisture is gone. Add cheese and set aside. Place crescent roll wedges in a circle, wide side of wedge towards middle, on a cookie sheet. Point ends toward the outside. Place the ground beef on crescent rolls and wrap pointed ends of rolls around meat mixture so  it forms a ring. Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and place on a large platter. On the inside of ring, place lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and avocados. Cut into wedges and serve warm with a dollop of sour cream and salsa.

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under heaven. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:1

In Solomon’s effort to understand the true meaning of life he sees that good times and bad times come to us all. It doesn’t matter if we have health, wealth, or success, these words are for every person, in every place, in every circumstance. God has appointed the times and seasons, the events of our lives, the happy and the sad, the easy and the difficult. On one hand this can cause us worry or sadness but on the other hand it should bring hope in knowing that God is in control. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan to prosper each of us and give us a hope and a future. God’s will is that none should perish and that all will know His Son Jesus as Personal Savior. With that in mind, if we are doing our part to live according to His will and obey His Holy Word, then it should bring us peace and joy to trust God with every area of our life.

Dear Heavenly Father:  I praise You for the wonderful plan You have provided for me. Thank You for accepting my pardon and making it possible for me to trust You with every area of my life. Because Jesus is my Savior and Lord, I know that my life is in Your hands. Nno matter what comes my way, You are in control and worthy to be praised. Forgive me for my shortcomings and sin and help me to be a better witness of Your saving mercy and grace.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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In Your time Lord, in Your time!
Forever may I walk with you, and know that You are mine.
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CORN PUDDING

½ cup flour
1 teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 cups white whole kernel corn (if using frozen, cook or microwave until partially cooked)
4 large eggs
4 cups milk

In a lightly buttered casserole dish, combine flour, salt, and sugar; mix in corn and butter. Beat eggs and add to milk. Stir into corn mixture. Bake in 450 degree oven for 10 minutes.   Remove and stir with fork, trying to disturb the top as little as possible. Return to oven for 10 minutes. Remove and gently stir again. Return to oven for 10 more minutes or until top is lightly browned and pudding firm.

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