Thursday, September 3 |

What Wilt Thou?

The story of a blind man receiving his sight SHOULD bring a sense of excitement, wonder, and inspiration. The truth is, however, that this brief story found in Mark 10, more often than not, is skimmed over with a sort of 'ho-hum' indifference. I mean, it's not the miracle of the loaves and fishes, is it? There isn't any one walking on water, and it certainly isn't the resurrection. These are the 'big' stories, those we deem worthy of our time, attention, and emotional response. Today, however, I have seen the experience of blind Bartimaeus with new eyes. It stirred me to indignation, which in turn melted into sorrow. In the end, my heart cried out for a miracle to be performed in my own life. 

  The passage begins with Christ walking on the road out of Jericho, where Bartimaeus 'sat by the highway side begging'. (Which of course we know was not by happenstance). He couldn't see the Lord, but he knew He was there. What a truth! He is ever present, though we may not see Him. Bartimaeus called out to Him: "And many charged him that he should hold his peace".

What?! The nerve! The nerve of those goody-goodies, who felt privileged above all others to be in His presence, with the ability to walk with and serve with Him! Oh! May our hearts be slain at the thought of being too 'good', too busy for Christ, that we miss those around us who are calling out to Him!  
"But he cried the more a great deal... and Jesus stood still". Those words give me goose bumps every time I read them. Does it not bring a tear to the eye?! Does it not make you weak at the thought that a cry from sinful, blind lips would stop the Creator in his tracks?! "And they called the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee." Those who only minutes before sternly put their fingers to their lips, with scowls on their faces and bid him be silent, now have come gracefully, kindly forward, with smiling face and outstretched hand to bid him come. The audacity! The hypocrites! But am I not as one of these, every time I put my spiritual blinders on, until such a time when Christ looks at me and says, that one over there, he needs Me?  

  "And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?". Bartimaeus' simple response was 'that I may receive my sight'. This scene burned with clarity within my mind. I put myself in this story, in blind Bartimaeus' shoes, kneeling with face bowed before the Almighty, hearing this question from His lips. And my heart said, "open my eyes Lord! Make me clean! Make me worthy! Make me Christ-like! Make me see others as You do!

  And then I wonder, how did those who attempted to mute this blind man, feel once he was healed? Were they at all convicted? By God's grace, I would've; because I am. I think this was just as much a teaching moment for the crowd, (and to us), as much as it was a miracle of sight and faith for one man. 

Help us to see others as You do. Help me to draw others to you, not because you've had to call my attention to it, but because I was already paying attention.
Fight the good Fight
With sight,

Tuesday, November 4 |

Chicken Soup

Chicken Soup 

Step 1: Cook

1 Whole chicken, skin on. Use all pieces, including the back. 
1 Whole garlic bulb, divided
3Tbs sea salt or Kosher salt
7 stalks celery, divided
1/2 bag pearl onions
3-4 large carrots
1tsp pepper
1/2 bunch fresh parsley

  1. Clean the organs out of the back piece of the chicken. Rinse all parts and place in a large pot - do not remove the skin. 
  2. Crush and chop 5-6 cloves of the garlic (do not press, as you don’t want to loose any when the stock is strained. Also, crushing brings out the oils in the garlic, which adds more flavor, as apposed to just chopping it). Set aside the rest. 
  3. Cut in half the carrots and 5 stalks of the celery.
  4. Cut off the ends and peel the pearl onions - leave whole
  5. Add veggies to the chicken, with the pepper and 2 Tbs salt.
  6. Cover with water. Simmer, covered, 2 1/2 to 3 hours; remove from heat and let cool. 

Step 2: Divide and Add

After the soup has cooled to room temp, or cool enough to be handled, debone the chicken. Throw out the back, skin, cartilage, bones, and celery. Place meat and veggies to one side and strain the broth. This eliminates any small bones. 

Cut the carrots and the remaining 2 stalks of celery into bite-sized pieces. Finely chop the parsley. Use the garlic press for the remaining garlic. Add the meat and veggies back to the broth, with remaining 1Tbs salt, (plus any additional herbs you might fancy). Let simmer an additional hour. Add S&P to taste. Serve with noodles, rice, or even over biscuits. 

Save Some Broth - 
After the broth has been strained, you should be able to set aside about two cups for use in other recipes; you can even drink it straight to boost the immune system when sick. 

Remove the fat - 
If you don’t want the extra fat in the soup, after the ‘ divide and add’ step, put the whole pot in the fridge over night. The fat can be skimmed off the next day.

Some Now, Some Later - 
This recipe serves about 10 people. If you want to portion it out, do it after the ‘divide and add’, and put into zip lock baggies and freeze. Just remember to leave enough room in the baggie for expansion.

One Final Note....

Use organic chicken. Yes, it costs more, but you’re kind of defeating the purpose of making a from-scratch, healthy, immune-boosting meal if you’re using meat filled with hormones and raised in unsanitary conditions. It’s also pumped full of salt water, which increases your risk of salmonella, and means you’re paying for the weight of the chicken AND the added weight of the water. “All Natural” is NOT organic; this is a marketing ploy. The package MUST, by law, say ‘ORGANIC’. 

Friday, November 22 |
                     How Precious!                 

"...As I wrote afore in few words, whereby when ye read, ye may understand..."
Eph. 3:3b-4a
Paul is taking for granted two things here, making assumptions about the members of the church in Ephesus ... but I'll get to that in a minute.

      My grandmother used to send letters to me. The real, paper, snail-mail, lick it and stick it letters. I loved them. I loved the feminine stationary she used. I loved her neat flowery cursive. I loved the way she unconventionally wrote her return address,  on the back of the envelope, down the side. They were quirky, full of love, and always, without fail, contained the phrase 'Ha!', at least once.

     The majority of them, as is the case with most letters I suppose, eventually made it to the trash can, but some have been stored away. One day she'll be gone and I'll never get another, but I'll always have these few. They'll always be precious to me.

You see where I'm going with this, right?

Paul, in his statement above, is not only assuming the Ephesians read his letter, but that they'd continued reading it. In fact, I'll go a step further and dare to assume that he thought they'd read his ENTIRE letter! Why would he do that? Because he knew that correspondence was precious; it was precious because it was rare. Rare 'paper', rare writers, rare love. How long, I wonder did the church hold on to those letters? I can't even guess.

Why? Why hold on to something that long? Why read it again and again and share it with others, young and old, new members and veterans? Because it was all they had. And when it's all you have, you don't take it for granted.

Not like we do the Bible. Oh! how we take it for granted! We have ALL those letters, and they're just sitting there, in our cars, on our desks, tables or other furniture, waiting to be picked up. Waiting to be shared. Ever waiting for someone to do something with it. But not right now, not today. It'll still be there tomorrow.

I've heard pastors say the Devil's greatest tool is not to tell you not to do something, just don't do it right now.

Go read your Bible. Go read it and share it. It's precious. It was written by a rare Writer, who carries for us a rare love. Don't take it for granted. Don't wait until later. Do it now.

Fight the good fight,
with the precious Word.