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

To Do What is Right

To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than sacrifice.    

~ Proverbs 21:3

What does it mean to do “right and just” in God’s eyes? As believers, we must have a passion to please God in our love, devotion, praise, lifestyle, and be willing to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to Him. We are not to conform to the ways of the world but must be different because we have been renewed and transformed by the shed-blood of Jesus. God desires our mercy on the lost more than He wants our sacrifices. If we offer our time, talents, worship, and our offerings to Him, they are unacceptable if we are not living according to His Word. Verse 27a says, “The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable.” To do what is “right and just” is more than going to church on Sundays, or offering our time and talents to Him. It is living according to His will, supporting righteousness, and taking a stand against evil and every perverse form of wickedness. We are to imitate Christ by following Him, serving Him, and living by and being filled with the Spirit. This is what is acceptable and pleasing to God.

Father: Thank You for Your Word that teaches me how to live. Show me the areas of my life that aren’t pleasing to You, and help me put them aside. It is Your will  I want to know and none other. What an honor it is to imitate Your sinless life and follow after You. As I strive for righteousness may You be glorified in all that I say and do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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CHICKEN ENCHILADA SOUP

1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chilies
2 cups chicken breast, cooked and shredded
1 can (14-ounce) can beef broth
1 can (14-ounce) can chicken broth
1 can (10 ¾-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
6 flour tortillas
3 cups grated Cheddar cheese

Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil. Add all ingredients, except tortillas and cheese, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer one hour. Cut tortillas into ½ inch strips; add them and cheese to soup. Simmer uncovered 10 minutes. Serve.

Wine is a Mocker

Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise. ~ Proverbs 20:1

A mocker is one who doesn’t believe and a brawler is a troublemaker, an antagonist or a warrior. Obviously, the Psalmist here is talking about the use of fermented drinks and the evil and dangerous effects they have on a person. Many argue whether wine, socially drank or in small quantities, is acceptable for the Christian. What does God’s Word teach? In the Old Testament (yayin) the Hebrew word for wine referred to unfermented grape juice and was not condemned. But, fermented wine (shekar) was forbidden by God. The priests of Israel who were in office had to abstain from all types of wine, and to not comply meant the death penalty. Why did God forbid it? The effects of intoxicating wine are never good. They lead to drunkenness, immodesty, mockery of God, indiscretion, addiction, family tragedies, and all types of sin and immorality. The first mention of wine in the Bible is connected with the drunkenness, sin, and shame of Noah. Because of the evil effects of fermented drink, God requires total abstinence as the high standard for His people. (Leviticus 10:9; Judges 13:4-7; Proverbs 31:4; Numbers 6:3; Proverbs 23:31; Romans 14:21; 1 Thessalonians 5:6; 1 Timothy 3:3; and Titus 2:2) are just a few scriptures to support this. In the New Testament Jesus and His disciples drank unfermented wine and used it at the Last Supper. Fermented wine is not the product of the vine, but only is the pure fresh juice from the grape (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18). Just as unleavened bread (uncorrupted with fermentation) had to be used, so did the wine (fruit of the vine) have to be unfermented (which represents the incorruptible blood of Christ). Even at the wedding of Cana, where Jesus performed His first miracle, the wine He miraculously made was unfermented, pure, sweet fruit of the vine. The wine of Biblical times was freshly squeezed grape juice, preserved grape juice, juice from dried grapes, wine that was made from grape syrup and water, or if it were fermented or even unfermented, it was stored diluted with water at a ratio up to 20 to 1. If fermented wine were served, it was considered barbaric, defiling, and the rabbis were unable to bless it. Christians were even more cautious about the wine they drank as they did not want to go against God’s Word. Shouldn’t we today want to avoid every possible trap set by the enemy to drag us into an eternal Hell, and comply fully with God’s requirements for a higher standard of living?

Dear Lord:  You are good and only good things come from You. I praise and thank You for the mercy and love You pour out upon Your children. Thank You for giving me the strength and power I need to live a victorious life for You.   Convict me of the things I need to change in my life so that You would be honored and glorified. Help me to live my life so others might see You in me and also want to know You as Savior and Lord. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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How great is God that He should bless my life with only good.
Help me Lord to please You and do only things I should.
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TAMALE PIE

1 package Jiffy corn mix
1/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 package taco seasoning mix (divided)
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 can (14 3/4-ounce) cream style corn
1 can (4-ounce) green chilies, drained
1 pound ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1 can (10-ounce) enchilada sauce
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Optional additional toppings:  Salsa, guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheese, cilantro, lime wedges

Combine muffin mix, milk, egg, 1-1/2 tablespoons of taco seasoning, pepper, corn and green chilies.  Pour into greased casserole dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, brown ground meat; drain. Add onion to meat and cook 5 minutes. Combine cooked meat with remaining taco seasoning and enchilada sauce.  Pierce top of cornbread with fork several times.  Spread meat mixture on top.   Sprinkle with cheese.  Bake an additional 20 – 25 minutes. Serve with additional toppings as desired.

There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.  ~Proverbs 14:12
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way.  ~Isaiah 53:6
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.  ~James 4:17

There are many of us walking in a way which seems right but in many instances we have allowed our own feelings or the influence of others to lead us down the wrong path. We feel that our ideas and the way we live are right, or at least “okay” with God. But let’s examine our current path. Are we living mostly for ourselves? Do we value material possessions more than we should? Do we seek recognition, success, and power? Did we start on the right path only to stray away on a yellow brick road which leads to danger? Are we depending on our own wisdom, our own ideas, our own convenience, or our own preferences? Whether in our families, workplaces, church gatherings, or anywhere else, we can’t do what we want to do, when and how we want to do it, and expect good outcomes. It must line up with the Word of God or the end will lead to death and destruction. If we are on the path that pleases God, when trials and temptations come, we can lean on the promises of God and stand firm in our conviction that… “I know Whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:12b

Heavenly Father: You are the Holy and Majestic One, and I praise You today with all that is within me. You made a way for me that is right and leads to eternal life with You. Help me to know Your way and to stay on the right path each and every day. Guide me with Your Holy Spirit to make right and holy decisions that would honor You. When trials come may I remember Your promises that are true and powerful and guard my life from death and destruction. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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There is a way that may seem right, but death comes in the end.
If God’s Word we do obey, then blessings He will send.
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RICE KRISPIE CHICKEN

6 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup butter or margarine, melted
2 cups Rice Krispies, crushed

Dip chicken in melted butter, then in cereal to coat. Place on foil lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Pour remaining butter over chicken. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until tender and golden brown. (Add onion, garlic, chili powder seasonings as desired).

Making Plans?

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” ~ Proverbs 16:9

Making plans is a very normal and necessary part of life but it’s vital that they ultimately line up with the Word of God. It’s easy to submit to God’s will when our plans are unfolding in the manner we desire. The true test of our faith is if we are able to submit to God even if He isn’t carrying out our plans the way we think He should. Sometimes God’s plan for us turns out to be something we didn’t ask for, don’t think we deserve, and don’t really want to do. King David set an example for us when his infant son died after he had prayed so hard for God to spare his life. David ended up accepting this and continued to faithfully worship and serve His God (2 Samuel 12:19-20). The frustrations of our plans and desires can bring grief, doubt, disappointment, anger, confusion, and hardship. But, if our motives and deeds are right, and according to God’s Word, then He, the Master Planner, will determine what is best for our lives.

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for caring about me, my life, my plans, my decisions, and even my struggles. Guide me with Your Holy Spirit so I might understand Your Word and know Your will for my life. I want my thoughts and plans to always line up with Yours. Forgive me when I act on my own accord and don’t consider what You want for me. May You be glorified in all I say and do.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Plans conceived within my heart are sometimes not from God.
But He’s the One I want to please while on this earth I trod.
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REUBEN CASSEROLE

1 (28-ounce) can sauerkraut
2 cups Swiss cheese, shredded
½ pound corned beef, chopped
½ cup Thousand Island dressing
¼ cup mayonnaise
Party rye bread
2-3 tablespoons butter, melted

Rinse and drain sauerkraut; place in bottom of a greased 1½-quart baking dish. Mix together dressing and mayonnaise. Top the sauerkraut with half of the cheese, then half of the dressing, all of the corned beef, then the remaining cheese, and remaining dressing. Bake at 350 degrees until it starts to bubble (about 20 minutes). Top with rye bread slices; brush with melted butter.  Bake 10 minutes more.

“My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.” ~ Proverbs 6:20

God is the creator of the family. He made Adam and Eve and gave them the ability to bear children. They were God’s first family. Not every family has both parents at home, raising the children together; not all married couples have children. But, because God created the structure of the family we should trust His workmanship and creativity enough to follow His plan for our lives. Ideally, it is best when both parents are serving the Lord and are in unity concerning the training of their children; but this isn’t always the case. Each of us has hind-sight of times we rebelled, were disrespectful, and disobeyed our parent’s instructions. We thought they were trying to ruin all of our fun, but the truth is…they were merely using the wisdom they received from their predecessors and wanted to see us spared of the consequences that come from making unwise decisions. Hopefully, we will all use the wisdom we have acquired in our lifetime and remind our children and grandchildren of the importance of obeying God and those in authority over them.

Dear Heavenly Father: Thank You for Your wondrous works and for the family You created for me. Show me ways that I might be a blessing to them so they might see You in me. Forgive me for the times I rebelled and did not listen to my parent’s commands and teachings. I was wrong in wanting to do my own thing and yet they loved me in spite of myself. I desire to follow after You, and if it means receiving instruction from others, then help me to accept it and change my life accordingly so that You would be exalted in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Thank You for my family Lord; each one You gave to me.
Show me how to do my part, Your love that they would see.
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APPLE CRISP

6 large apples (about 2½ pounds)
2 cups flour
¼ cup water
2 cups packed brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 cups rolled oats
1 ¼ cups (2 ½ sticks) melted butter

Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples; combine with water and lemon juice. Pour into 8×8-inch baking dish. In a bowl, combine oats, flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add butter and stir to make a crumbly mixture. Spread topping in an even layer over  apples and bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and browned. Serves 8.

At the End of Your Life

“At the end of your life you will groan, when your flesh and body are spent. You will say, ‘How I hated discipline! How my heart spurned correction!’”
Proverbs 5:11-12

The book of Proverbs has a lot to say about sexual immorality and it’s destruction to our souls. God has set standards of sexual purity and chastity for us and He warns us against violating them to satisfy our own pleasures. The media and the entertainment industry portray immorality as the “norm” and only way to live. Many Christians will allow themselves to be seduced by the enemy’s schemes and be drawn into the world of sexual sin. Though they know it to be wrong, temptation overrules and the road to destruction is open wide. At this point, most want to hear nothing regarding the sinful decisions they have made. Rebellion and anger rises up when a caring individual tries to help them. The Psalmist warns us that one day it will be too late to turn back. We will remember the times our parents, pastors, teachers, Christian friends, or family members tried to guide us down the right road. We rebelled against their advice and merely wanted to do our own thing. Jeremiah 16:17 tells us that God sees and knows our ungodly ways and will judge us accordingly. Let’s be careful to seek the Lord in everything we do and escape sin’s terrible consequences. It will be worth it all…one day.

Dear Heavenly Father:  Please forgive me for the sin I have committed against You. There have been times in my life when I rebelled against Godly advice and correction; for those times, I am sorry. You are holy and I desire to be more like You so that when I am old I won’t look back with regret. Please help me to be humble and gracious when others show concern and try to help me. I love You Lord with all my heart.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Teach me of Your holy ways; let not my heart grow cold.
Show me how to live for You, and do those things I’m told.
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PEANUT BUTTER PIE

4 ounces cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar
½ cup peanut butter
¼ cup evaporated milk
1½ cups Cool Whip
1 (8-inch) graham cracker or chocolate crust
1/3 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Whip cream cheese until fluffy. Beat in the sugar and peanut butter. Slowly add milk, blending well. Fold Cool Whip into cream cheese mixture and spoon into pie crust. Sprinkle with peanuts. Chill until ready to serve. May also top with additional Cool Whip.

GUARD YOUR HEART

Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring (fountain) of life.
~ Proverbs 4:23

The world would think of the head or brain to be the organ of the body where our actions are directed, but God’s Word says it is the heart. Throughout the Bible there are many scriptures to support this to be true. Deuteronomy 8:5 says we know things in our hearts.  1 Samuel 1:12-13 says we pray in our hearts. Psalms 19:14 says we meditate in our hearts. Psalms 119:11 says to hide God’s Word in our hearts. Psalms 140:2 says we devise plans in our hearts. Proverbs 4:21 says we keep words in our hearts. Mark 2:8 says we think in our hearts. Mark 11:23 says we doubt in our hearts. Luke 2:19 says we ponder in our hearts. Romans 10:9 says we believe in our hearts. Ephesians 5:19 says we sing in our hearts for the heart is the center of our emotions. Exodus 4:14 speaks about our glad hearts, Deuteronomy 6:5 – the loving heart, Joshua 5:1 – the fearful heart, and Psalms 27:14 – the courageous heart. Psalms 51:17 speaks about the repentant heart, Proverbs 12:25 – the anxious heart, Proverbs 19:3 – the angry heart, Isaiah 57:15 – the revived heart, and Jeremiah 4:19 – the anguished heart. Jeremiah 15:16 speaks about the delighted heart, Lamentations 2:18 – the grieving heart, Matthew 11:29 – the humble heart, Luke 24:32 – the excited or burning heart, and John 14:1 – the troubled heart. No wonder the Psalmist warns us to guard our heart, for it truly is the fountain of life.

Dear Heavenly Father:  Thank You for giving us hearts to love You and listen to Your Holy Spirit concerning the right way to live. Help me to not allow my heart to become hardened by ignoring Your voice and instruction. Fill my heart with love and compassion for lost hearts and show me how to live my life so others would be drawn to You.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

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Guard my heart dear Lord I pray and keep me free from sin.
Help me yield my life to You and all that is within.
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ASPARAGUS CASSEROLE

2 tablespoons butter
1 cup grated Cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons flour
4 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 cups milk
pinch of salt and pepper
2 (15-ounce cans) asparagus spears, drained
1 cup breadcrumbs

To make sauce: Heat butter in pan; stir in flour, mixing well. Add milk and stir constantly over medium heat until mixture thick and creamy; set aside. Arrange half the asparagus in bottom of buttered 2-quart baking dish. Top with half the cheese and half the egg slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.   Pour half the sauce on top. Repeat layers beginning with remaining asparagus. Top with breadcrumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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