Friday, January 16, 2009

Serious cold

Now, come on. I know some of you are cold, but let's all get a little perspective.

HT: Between Two Worlds

If God gives you time

You've got to check out the Cake Wrecks site today from the side bar to your right. The post today is one she often does which compares what people asked for from bakers...and what they actually got. Makes me feel better about my own wedding cake disaster.

Stephen Altrogge and his dad, Mark, run a blog called The Blazing Center which challenges me every day. (They are also listed to the right in the blog roll.) Today they are giving away lots of really good books for free to those who subscribe.

So, if you are saying to yourself, Subscribe? What? Again, here's a primer from Google.

One of my favorite guys to listen to is Ligon Duncan from Jackson, MS. I actually read him more than listen to him because he is one of the few that posts the entire text of his sermons online. A few days ago he blogged answering the question how to pray for your pastor. You'll really appreciate this list of ways and I know many pastors who would be humbled and grateful if we would pray for them in these ways.

Not to be outdone, I found this list from John Piper written in 1995 that answers the question What should we pray for? How about praying like the early church prayed? If this list is any indication, they took prayer more seriously and spent more time doing it than we do. See what you think.

And in the "what we really need is more time wasters" category...these are a couple of our family's newest fascinations...Eyeballing Game...and Bubble Shooter. That last one relaxes Wayne. Whatever.

Recipe Swap

We've got the seniors from TBC coming over each Wednesday of this month, so I bought some extra baking supplies so I could make the normal brownies, chocolate chip cookies, etc. to go with the salty snack. But our grocery story had an after-holiday sale on some baking goodies so I picked up some mint chocolate chips (yummy in a chocolate cookie recipe last week) and some cinnamon chips. What to do with those? Regular chocolate chip cookie recipe and just substitute?

That's why I love Google. I just inserted the words cookie and cinnamon chips and got a bunch of offering, but lots of them were comments about this recipe from a site called Stephanie's Kitchen. For those of us always looking for new, good recipes, this may be a great find. Already, I'm tempted to try the Andes Mint Cookies next week!

For now, if you like cinnamon and chocolate, I think you'll really like these. When you bite in, it's a very good, but strange taste. Chocolate...almost a spice cake taste with it...chewy...yummy. The more I eat, the more I like it! Give it a try sometime and pass on links to your favorite places to look for recipes...I'd love some new ideas.

Oatmeal Chocolate and Cinnamon Chip Chipsters
recipe by stephanie
makes 4 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 cups cinnamon chips (I found Hershey's brand)
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat 1 stick (1/2 cup) of the butter in a mixer until smooth. Add sugars and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined. In a seperate bowl, add flour, baking soda and salt and whisk until combined. Add the remaining butter (1 stick) to the flour mixture and using your hands break up butter into flour until well combined and the butter is at least pea sized within the flour. Slowly add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture until well combined. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips and chocolate chips. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Scoop onto baking sheet and bake for 12-14 minutes or until lightly browned.

Tip: I baked 2 dozen and scooped the remaining dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place in the freezer until frozen and than place in a ziplock freezer bag and bake at your own convenience! Fresh cookies any time you want!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The god of our many understandings

On my RSS feeder are a lot of blogs that I regularly check to see what's going on in the world. I'm pretty bad about keeping up with things. For example, until I got a call from a friend about some missionary friends of ours in Lebanon, I had no idea that any conflict was happening in the area...well, other than what happens daily there.

Anyway, one of my favorites is Al Mohler's. He's an unbelievably brilliant man whom God must have gifted with more hours in his day than mine has. It couldn't be that he's just smarter, more talented, more focused, more disciplined, right? Exactly. So now that God blessed him with those hours, he uses them to run a seminary, write books, preach, do conferences, a daily radio show and, of course, blog. Sigh...

I had heard rumblings about the furor Obama had caused by asking an evangelical (loosely termed) to give a prayer at the inauguration. But I hadn't heard until recently that he'd also asked an openly gay Episcopalian Bishop to do the same. Not a shock though. I mean, we all know that this is the true diplomat president. They said of him that during his days as Harvard Law that there was no one who was able to appease both sides more than Obama. He was friends with the conservatives and the liberals. Which, I'll admit, simply says to me that he stands for nothing at all.

So, I wasn't surprised to hear that he found someone to appease the left. He also got the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington to sing. Nobody's really surprised, right? Well, then, what's left that might shock us? How about a bishop from a mainstream, traditionally Christian denomination that doesn't even plan to pray a Christian prayer? Yeah. That'd do it for me. Naive, aren't I?
Dr. Mohler wrote about it today and led me to this article...The New York Times reports (emphasis mine):

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”

“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”

Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

"This will not be a Christian prayer"? Then it's not prayer at's talking out loud with your eyes closed. But I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to hear it. The god of our many understandings is very in right now. The big word is anthropomorphism. It simply means talking about God in human terms which is the only way we can. But what it comes to mean inside of us is that we make Him in our minds like us...only bigger, better, stronger, faster, more loving, more helpful, more like we want to be. He's our superhero God.

Which only becomes a problem when you read Scripture...

Isaiah 40:18...
To whom then will you liken God,
or what likeness compare with him?

To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?

Isaiah 46:5...
To whom will you liken me and make me equal,
and compare me, that we may be alike?

The repetition should make the point to us...but how about one more? And just to show you I actually read other books besides Isaiah...

Acts 17:29 (emphasis mine)...
Being then God’s offspring, we ought not to think
that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone,
an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

The issue is highlighted by the end of Isaiah 40:25 and 46:5. We make God "alike" with what we compare Him. He's like us. Which flips completely what we are told throughout Scripture. He is not the created one. We are. He is not created in our image. We are created in His. We are like small, small echoes. He, I can think...but not like He thinks. He, I can feel...but not like He feels. He moves, speaks, purposes, plans, do I...but not like He does.

We must, must be led back to an understanding of God that puts Him as definer and us as defined. He as originator and us as derived. He as the Potter and we merely clay in His hands...having the right and ownership to do whatever He wills. God speaks to us clearly from Isaiah 29:16...
You turn things upside down!
Shall the potter be regarded as the clay,
that the thing made should say of its maker,
"He did not make me";
or the thing formed say of him who formed it,
"He has no understanding"?

We have turned things upside down. We have looked at the One who made us and proclaim to Him what He will He may move...what He may feel and think. But what He really thinks is...

Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!
Isaiah 10:15

And our response? Will you join me during the inauguration next Tuesday? Pray to God. Ask Him for mercy in light of what He'll hear. Turn to Daniel 9 and read it. Get the feel for what we need by listening to him pray. And pray. Please, pray. Say with me...

But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
Isaiah 64:8

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reminds me I'm misty

Come now, you who say,
"Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town
and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"—
yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring.
What is your life?
For you are a mist
that appears for a little time
and then vanishes.

Instead you ought to say,
"If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that."

One year in 40 seconds from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

HT: Josh Harris

Updated: Has the right Scripture reference now!


I love a good sale, especially when it's on something I really love. And this is one of those. Right now at Amazon you can buy the all of the tracks of Lacrae's Rebel for only $5.

If you enjoyed the songs from this post, I promise you'll love the album. I've listened again and again. As you'll see this is for download don't actually get the CD in the mail. Think about giving up your Starbucks for a day and buying this instead.

HT: Challies

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Recipe Swap

I'm not sure what to say about this cheesecake recipe that would get across to you how incredible it is. Tangy, sweet, creamy perfection. Though my husband wouldn't agree because he's a huge chocolate fan. If you're like him then you might stick with this one. But if you like lemony goodness, give this a try. You'll love it.

Lemon Cheesecake

Lemon Curd:
Juice and peel of 2 lemons
6 Tbsp butter
1 c sugar
3 eggs

5 oz Nabisco Barnum's Animal Crackers (Should make about 1 cup.)
3 Tbsp sugar
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 1/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp grated lemon zest
1/4 c lemon juice
1 1/2 lbs. cream cheese, softened for 45 minutes
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c heavy cream

For the Lemon Curd: Grate peel from lemons careful not to remove pith. Put peel, juice and sugar in a small sauce pan. Stir over moderate heat until sugar is dissolved. Do NOT boil. Add butter and stir until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Whisk eggs and pour lemon mix over eggs. Stir well and strain back into pan with a fine strainer. Stir constantly over low heat until mix thickens and just reaches boiling point. Again, do NOT boil. Place in a container and chill until needed.

For the Crust:
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Crush cookies into fine crumbs either with a rolling pin in a ziploc bag or in a food processor. Pour into bowl and stir in sugar. Add butter and stir until evenly moistened and it resembles wet sand. Pour into a 9 inch springform pan and press down firmly and evenly over bottom of pan. Try not to get any on the sides. Bake for 15-18 min. until fragrant and golden brown. Cool pan on wire rack to room temperature, about 30 minutes. When it's cool, wrap outside of pan in two 18 inch square pieces of heavy foil and set pan in a roasting pan

For the Filling: Mix 1/4 cup sugar with lemon zest until sugar is yellow. Add remaining cup of sugar.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until softened. While mixing, add sugar mix in a steady stream and then increase speed and mix until it is creamy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed and add eggs 2 at a time, beating 30 sec. after each addition and scraping down sides of bowl. Add lemon juice, vanilla and salt and mix very briefly until just incorporated. Add heavy cream and again mix just until it's incorporated.

Scrape down sides one last time and pour into springform pan. Fill roasting pan with enough hot tap water to come halfway up sides of pan. Bake until center jiggles slightly, surface is no longer shiny and thermometer reads 150 degrees. It should take about 55-60 minutes. Turn off oven and prop open door wooden spoon handle or potholder. Allow cake to cool like this for 1 hour. Move pan from roasting pan and foil and place on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edges of pan to loosen sides of cake and cool to room temperature, about 2 hours.

Spread enough lemon curd onto cheesecake while it's still in the pan to reach just below the top of the pan. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

  • Microwave lemons for 15-20 seconds to get more juice.
  • 5 oz of cookies is 2 of the small boxes or about 75-80 cookies.
  • The cheesecake won't get brown at all.
  • You can make it the day before, but the longer it sits, the soggier the crust becomes.
  • To make cutting easier, place cheesecake overnight in the freezer. Remove about 1 hour before serving and use a sharp knife dipped into hot water and wiped clean between each slice.