Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Your need vs. God's need

"Come, for all things are now ready." - Luke 14:17

It is easy to admit that people have a lot of needs. But have you ever considered, what does God need?

We definitely could say that we have lots of needs, but so does God!

Over the winter break, I've been reading a short book entitled, "God's Need and God's Goal" by Witness Lee. Only after three and half chapters, this book has been immensely enlightening and enjoyable.

This verse, mentioned above, is a declaration of God saying that everything is ready and a call for us to come. In order to understand this, we firstly must see God's need and realize that it is greater than man's need as portrayed numerous times in the Bible.

One example is in Luke 15 with the prodigal son who left his father's house and squandered his living. There are two needs in this story, the son's and the father's. The son had worn garments, was hungry, thirsty, and filthy. The father had prepared the best robe, a ring, sandals and a feast for his son. Although the son needed the things prepared for him by his father, the father needed his son to partake of the things he prepared even more so.

Something that really touched me was that when the prodigal son returned home, there was a robe, prepared by the father, waiting for him. The son wasn't waiting for the robe or even expecting it, but robe was waiting for the son. Likewise, God has prepared everything for us and like the father, needs man to partake of all that He has accomplished and prepared for us.

So what does this mean? God needs man!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Peanut butter truffles!

This winter break, I am spending a couple of weeks back in West Texas with my sister and her family! She is expecting her second baby girl December 24th. So I planned my trip to hopefully catch the big event :)

awesome cake someone made for the shower!

Today was her baby shower so we decided to make truffles for the occasion. I have made truffles numerous times in the past, but always the same kind with the same ingredients, strictly following the recipe. However, the way I handle food preparation and the way my sister handles food preparation are very different. On one hand, I am more by the book and like to follow the recipe's every last detail. My sister, on the other hand, being more "free-spirited" is known to make up recipes as she goes. But to my surprise, in spite of her haphazard methods, she can deliver some very tasty dishes. I always look forward to visiting her with the anticipation of eating her yummy food. :)

Although I was weary of how the truffles would turn out, they ended up coming out different from what I expected, yet wonderfully delicious. Of course, this is thanks to my sister's improvisation skills which were handy when unexpected things came up.

Here's what you need:

1) A package of Oreos

2) 1 1/2 packages of cream cheese

3) some type of chocolate that can be melted down (we used mini Reeses cups)

4) roasted peanuts

What we did:

First, using a food processor (or a large ziplock bag and something hard to pound it with) crush all of the Oreo cookies.

Then mix the cookie crumbs in with the cream cheese. Once mixed thoroughly, form about 1 inch balls and set on parchment paper on a baking sheet. (This part can be done the night before or even days in advanced) If done in advanced, store balls in Tupperware in the refrigerator.

If done the day of, place baking sheet in refrigerator to allow the balls to cool and harden and begin melting chocolate. We used the double boiler method because the condition of the chocolate we used wasn't too great, but if you use melting friendly chocolate, a microwave is much quicker.

Then dip the balls in the melted chocolate using two forks, letting the chocolate drip through the spaces and then place the chocolate covered balls back on the parchment paper. This is where it can get tricky. If you use Reeses cups, like us, the consistency of the chocolate might not be the best. We ended up having to use some elbow grease and actually manually spread the semi-solid chocolate around the balls by hand. This, of course, is not ideal, but we had to make it work.

Then, originally we intended to grind up the roasted peanuts in the food processor to use as a garnish on the top of the truffles. However, after seeing the not so pleasant appearance of the rubbed on chocolate spread, we decided to just roll the entire ball in peanut bits to just cover up any unevenness.

the finished product!

And that's about it. Although, they didn't turn out how I pictured them, they were still a hit and very yummy. They kind of looked like those Ferrero Rocher candies, but a chocolate peanut version. The cool thing about truffles is that you can really change up the filling and outside to meet your fancy. As long as it's sweet and dipped in some sort of chocolate, they will still turn out delicious.

kind of similar...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Bind Your Donkey to the Vine

It's that time of the year again... finals week! Though I would have to admit that I'm naturally a very anxious person, especially when it comes to classes and school work, I've been seeing more and more that there is no possible circumstance or situation where we are not able to enjoy and rest in the Lord.

too bad learning through osmosis isn't effective

Yesterday, the ones that help with the Bible study I attended this semester with Christians on Campus had a supply station for the students. Not only did they supply us with study snacks and treats, but they also supplied us with much more than physical nourishment. There was a short reading on "Ceasing from Labor and Resting in the Enjoyment of Christ's Life." How timely was that for me!

Binding his foal to the vine, and his donkey's colt to the choice vine, he washes his garment in wine, and his robe in the blood of grapes."
Genesis 49:11 

a donkey bound implies the reaching of its destination

In the Bible, a donkey signifies taking a journey towards a certain goal or destination. So the binding of the foal, or tying of the donkey, indicates that the journey is over and that you have reached your goal. Does is seem like most people in the world today have reached their destination or goal? Not from what I can tell. Most people in the world are traveling donkeys, still laboring and striving for a goal or destination.

As Christians, what is our goal? What is our destination? 

Our goal is the vine, and the vine is Christ! (John 15:1, 5)

Christ as our vine is our goal!

To bind our donkey to the vine means to cease our labor or doing, and rest in Christ! Christ has already accomplished everything and won the victory! There is no need for us to strive or labor! All such endeavoring is in vain. We are already in Christ!

So what does this mean for me? I'm still a student who has to take finals and make good grades in my classes. Well, what has been encouraging me is enjoying Christ in any situation. Whether it means asking the Lord to be my study buddy, or taking quick study breaks to read the Bible or other encouraging blog posts or even getting together with other believers to study, it's making all of the difference. 

"Come to Me all who toil and are burdened, and I will give you rest."
Matthew 11:28

When we come to the Lord in prayer, in His word, or with the other members of His Body, He is faithful to give us rest. 

resting in Christ is our true rest :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Running the race by faith

Something I love about having fellowship with other believers is that no matter how many times you think you've heard something or think you know what something means, you always learn and enjoy something new. Tonight, as a conclusion to a Bible study I've been attending this semester, we got together in a home to have dinner. Afterward we read Hebrews 11 and had some really awesome fellowship concerning the matter of faith.

This chapter firstly defines faith,

     "Now faith is the substantiation of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (v. 1)

In other words, to have faith is to act according to something you can't see and to hope for something in the future. Then the chapter goes through a brief history of some of the first people to follow God by faith including Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and so on. All of these ones in the Old Testament followed God by faith and were looking to the future or forward to the goal, Christ. The New Testament believers, including us, are now looking backward, towards Christ, while at the same time looking forward to the goal, which is also Christ!

Some things that were brought up tonight that really impressed me included verse 3 which says, "By faith we understand that the universe has been framed by the word of God..." This verse is so awesome because it shows that the frame of our beliefs and faith is the word of God.

How amazing is it that the universe is framed by the word of God?

Another point mentioned was in relation to verse 39 which says,

    "And these all, having obtained a good testimony through their faith, did not obtain the promise..."

This verse addresses the fact that the ones in the Old Testament who were following God by faith did not see the final goal, Christ. However, they played a part in bringing forth Christ which furthered the progress towards the goal. This was illustrated with the example of a relay race in which the baton is faith. Faith is the way we run the race. It has been passed down through the generations by the "hearing or faith" (Rom. 10:17) through the word of Christ and through the ones who came before us. This was such an encouraging picture because it showed that firstly, we aren't running this race alone and secondly, the way to run this race isn't from our own effort but through faith from God Himself.

Running the race by faith :)

Tonight was so enjoyable! I am always amazed by the freshness of the Word and of the Lord. I have previously blogged about the definition of faith, (previous blog post), and I feel like tonight's fellowship has really enriched and strengthened my understanding and experience of what it means to have and live by faith.

As a parting note and prayer, I also really enjoyed this verse from Hebrews 11,

     "But without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing to Him, for he who comes forward to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him." (v. 6)

Lord, may we be those walking by faith as the unique pathway of our Christian lives! Lord, we come forward to You and declare that we believe that You are! May we continue to be those diligently seeking You that we may be well pleasing to You!