Thursday, January 28, 2010

male and female He created them

so God created man in his own image,
   in the image of God he created him;
    male and female he created them.
 - genesis 1:27

this verse keeps running through my mind of recent.  it is so exciting and humbling to think about the fact that God himself hand crafted men and women in his own way for his own purpose.
but the thing that strikes me is that it says "male and female he created them".  if God created the two different sexes, should we not let him define what that distinction should be, and what the purpose for that distinction is?  in other words, should not the bible be our sole text for understanding this, rather than pop psychology, oprah and dr phil?

the bible has plenty of verses on what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, yet they are often avoided or go untouched by christian leaders who want to blend in with pop psychology.  but i will let them speak for themselves.

"To the woman he said,

   'I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
    in pain you shall bring forth children.
 Your desire shall be for your husband,
   and he shall rule over you.'"
-genesis 3:16

 "And to Adam he said,

  ...'cursed is the ground because of you;
    in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
   and you shall eat the plants of the field.
By the sweat of your face
   you shall eat bread,
till you return to the ground."
-genesis 3:17-19
"An excellent wife who can find?
   She is far more precious than jewels.
The heart of her husband trusts in her,
   and he will have no lack of gain.
She does him good, and not harm,
   all the days of her life...
She rises while it is yet night
   and provides food for her household
   and portions for her maidens"
-proverbs 31:10-12, 15

"But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever." 
-1 timothy 5:8 [the use of "he" implying to husbands/males]

"Strength and dignity are her clothing,
   and she laughs at the time to come.
She opens her mouth with wisdom,
   and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
She looks well to the ways of her household
   and does not eat the bread of idleness."
-proverbs 31:25-27

"[wives] let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious" 
-1 peter 3:4

"Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered."
-1 peter 3:7

all of these passages are addressed to wives or husbands.  

i'd like to hear your thoughts... what are the implications for single people? 

simply tasty: hummus among us

mmm... hummus.

quite possibly my most favorite snack.  delicious with pita chips, baby carrots, celery sticks, tortilla chips or spread on a sandwich. not only is it delicious, but also healthy: full of protein, fiber and healthy fats.

the problem with hummus is that they waaaaaaaaaaay over charge for it at the store.  like, 4 bucks for a tiny little 6 oz tub... i can easily finish one of those in a single sitting!  there is nothing expensive in hummus- its mostly made of beans which are one of the cheapest foods on the planet.

that is why i discovered how to make it homemade.  and i have continued to made it because it literally takes about 3 minutes to make- throw it all in the food processor and push "on"! since i started making it at home i have never bought it prepared. 

one thing that scares people away from making homemade hummus is the one strange sounding ingredient- "tahini". tahini is ground sesame seeds... basically like peanut butter, but sesame seeds.  these days, most regular grocery stores carry tahini (check either next to the peanut butter or in the middle eastern food section), but you will most likely get the best price at a specialty mediterranean or middle eastern food store.  buying a jar of it is a good investment because you will make 15 or more batches of hummus from each jar, and it will be fine sitting on your shelf for years.


1 can garbanzo beans (or 2 cups home cooked garbanzo beans)
2 Tbsp Tahini
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 peeled garlic clove (or 1 tsp garlic powder)
1 tsp ground sea salt
cumin, pepper and/or red pepper flakes to taste

put everything into a food processor and mix until smooth.  optional: for smoother, creamier hummus add water a tablespoon at a time until hummus reaches desired consistency.

sprinkle the top with paprika when serving to make it look delish!

Friday, January 22, 2010

watch it.

this video made me cry.

it also made me look forward to a blessing like eliot in our lives.

99 Balloons from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

simply tasty: cinnamon sugar pita chips

a few years ago i was introduced to stacy's pita chips.  if you have tried them, i am sure that you will agree they are extremely deliciously tasty.

the problem is, at about $5 per bag, they aren't something i felt like i could indulge in very often.  furthermore, they are made with white flour, which i try to avoid in favor of whole grain flour.

recently, i discovered how to make pita chips at home and ever since i make them all the time.  this is aided by the fact that i was fortunate enough to find an international market by us where i can get 6 large whole grain pocket pitas for 99 cents (amazing!!!).

the method of making pita chips is very similar to the tortilla chip recipe i shared a few days ago.  it only takes 5-10 minutes to prep, and i bet you wont be able to resist them the minute they come out of the oven!  cinnamon sugar pita chips are one of my favorite sweet treats, and they never last very long whether i make them just for our house or for a hang out time with other people.

cinnamon sugar pita chips

whole grain pocket pitas (very important to make sure they are pocket pitas... ie they are hollow in the middle when you split them open)
canola oil or other vegetable oil
cinnamon sugar (the amount that you need will vary depending on how many pitas you use, but a good ratio is 1/2 T cinnamon to 1/2 cup sugar. i prefer raw sugar but regular white sugar will work just fine.)

take a knife and cut the edge of each pita and separate the two thin sides from one another.

with a pastry brush, liberally spread oil on one side of the pita half.  cut each pita into bite-sized pieces and put onto a cookie sheet.  sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

bake in the oven at 325 for 20-30 minutes, or until chips are stiff and beginning to brown.


variation:  if you want a savory snack similar to stacy's simply naked, use olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.  these are delicious dipped in hummus!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

simply tasty: homemade salsa

now that you have made tortilla chips, what can you dip them into?  salsa of course!

i like this recipe because it is so easy to make… you just throw everything in, process it, and voila, a tasty salsa comes out!  furthermore, homemade salsa has much more flavor than store-bought, and has more vitamins and fiber, since it hasn't been cooked.

no guilt about eating this tasty snack.  as a friend pointed out to me once, salsa is just chopped veggies, so its practically like a salad!

as for the cost effectiveness of this recipe, it really depends on how much you pay for the ingredients, since fresh produce varies greatly in price through the year.  i would say that this whole recipe will cost you on average $2-3 to make, and yields as much as about 2 jars of store-bought salsa.

Homemade salsa

5-8 roma tomatoes
1/2 white onion (or 1/4 yellow onion)
1/2 bunch of cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper w/ seeds, stem removed 
1-2 Tbsp of white vinegar
1-2 Tbsp of olive (or other) oil
1-2 Tbsp of lime juice
several dashes of salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin and liquid smoke

roughly chop the tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and jalapenos (the pieces can be pretty large, the food processor will do most of the work).  add these to the food processor, along with all of the other ingredients.
process until smooth.

note that only the first 4 ingredients are very necessary, the spices and other additives just enhance the flavor, and could be left out if you don't have them on hand.

if you tell people you made both the chips and salsa from scratch, they will be amazed and think you slaved in the kitchen all day. in reality, it took you under 30 minutes to make both! :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

happy birthday to my hubby!

my husband turns 28 today!  in honor of his birthday, i want to share with you why he is a great husband and gift from God:

  • because he is passionate about God's glory
  • he love to read and study the scriptures
  • he cares about God's truth
  • he patiently loves me and tenderly serves me
  • he is passionate about raising our children to be disciples of christ
  • he understands and seeks to live out biblical manhood, and helps me to be a biblical woman
  • because whenever we are around people, they are always asking to touch his muscles. 

happy birthday alex!  i love you!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

simply tasty: recipe series

if you know me, you know that i love to cook and bake.

there are many reasons for this.  first of all, i really enjoy the act and art of preparing food, and it is generally a great stress-reliever in my life.  since i am the type of person that really needs to see tangible results to be motivated, cooking is perfect because the results are pretty much immediate (as soon as its done cooking) and always delicious.  secondly, it is a God-given part of my role as a wife (good thing i enjoy it!).

thirdly, i like to cook/bake because it is less expensive and healthier than buying packaged, prepared food from the grocery store.  it is healthier because it is made without preservatives and hasn’t been sitting on the shelf for 3 months (or longer!!) before you buy it.  furthermore, you can control what goes into your food, allowing you to adjust to your own dietary needs.

it is also cheaper than buying already prepared food.  for example, a box of 6 granola bars will cost you about $3 at the store.  i can make a whole pan of granola bars (easy 15 or so) for under a dollar.  after i make them i wrap them individually in plastic wrap so that they stay fresh and are ready to go at any time when i need a snack on the fly.

i am passionate about cooking wholesome, delicious, inexpensive and healthy meals and snacks.  And I love to instill this passion in others as well (just ask my former apprentice teresa meyer!).

for this reason i am going to have a series of blogs of recipes that are tasty, easy and healthy.  our first entry will be home made tortilla chips.

one reason i prefer to make tortilla chips rather than to buy them is because store-bought fried tortilla chips are very unhealthy.  in fact they are one of the most calorie dense foods, with few other nutrients.  homemade tortilla chips are make with good fats, are lower in fat and sodium (because sea salt has lower sodium than table salt) and have the dietary fiber you need (about 15%DV in each serving).   also, they cost much less [buying pre-made tortilla chips costs about $4 per pound, give or take, depending on the brand.  this homemade and healthier version will cost you about 50 cents per pound]

Tortilla Chips

ingredients (i am not very specific with the amounts so that you can make as many or as few as you want):

1 package of corn tortillas
olive oil
sea salt (if need be you can substitute regular table salt)

drizzle ½-1 teaspoon of olive oil over each tortilla.  using a pastry brush, spread the oil evenly over each one.  stack the tortillas on top of one another, and using a large knife or a pizza cutter, cut them into fourths or sixths.

spread out the chips on a cookie sheet (use more sheets if necessary, so that the chips are just one layer thick), sprinkle with sea salt, and bake at 325 degrees, for 20-30 minutes, or until the edges begin to brown and the chips are stiff.

these can be stored in a large ziploc bag or plastic container for up to 10 days.

optional: for extra flavor, sprinkle cumin and/or lime juice over chips before baking. 


[if you make this recipe, comment and share with us what you think about it!]

Saturday, January 16, 2010

this mystery is profound... for our children

it is amazing to me that God created marriage to be a picture of Christ and the church.  even paul himself calls it a profound mystery.

i had always thought that the purpose of this was for married people themselves to understand christ better, and secondarily for non-believers in the world to get a picture of christ's relationship to the church.  two books i have read recently, however, show that one of the primary audiences for marriage is actually the children created by the marriage. [the books i am referring to are this momentary marriage by john piper and gospel powered parenting by william farley]

i had never given thought to this before.  this is both exciting and challenging.  not only do we bring up our children in the wisdom and instruction of the Lord by teaching them from the bible, praying with them, and bringing them to church, but our marriage literally displays christ and the church to them.

for us women, this means that we have the challenging God-given role to show the glory of submission.  and this is no easy task.  by all accounts, we live in a society that despises and is suspicious of authority.  our country was founded by people rebelling against the authority placed over them.  autonomy and independence are virtues upheld in america, not submission.

but if we want to raise up children willing and joyful to submit to christ, we have to model day in and out loving and joyful submission to our husbands.

in farley's words:  "the message that our marriage preaches either repels or attracts our children.  God wants your child to watch your marriage and think... 'when i think of the beauty of the gospel, i think of my parents' marriage.  i want to be part of a church that is loved by God the way my dad loves my mother.  i want to be part of a church that finds its joy in submitting to Christ as my mother joyfully submits to my father.'"

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.  In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body.  "Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
ephesians 5:22-33

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

calvin: what we must tell a man when we preach

...that he was alienated from God by sin, an heir of wrath, liable to the punishment of eternal death, excluded from all hope of salvation, a total stranger to the blessing of God, a slave to Satan, a captive under the yoke of sin, and, in a word, condemned to and already involved in a horrible destruction; that in this situation, Christ interposed as an intercessor; the He has taken upon Himself and suffered the punishment which by the righteous judgment of God impended over all sinners; that by His blood He has expiated those crimes which make them odious to God; that by this expiation God the Father has been duly satisfied and atoned; that by this intercessor His wrath has been appeased; that this is the foundation of peace between God and men; and that this is the bone of his benevolence towards them.

-john calvin, from portrait of calvin

ruth: the model proverbs 31 woman

"I have much to say in this book about the final canonical shape of the OT, arguing throughout that its purpose was to provide the books of the OT with the best possible context for viewing them messianically.  Sometimes the messianic influence on the final shape is conspicuous.  In other cases, it may be merely a matter of what books are placed together and what order they follow (contextuality).  The book of Ruth does not stand between the historical books of Judges and Samuel in the Hebrew canon.  There, Ruth, whom Boaz called "a virtuous woman," is placed after the poem in Proverbs 31 that begins with the question 'Who can find a virtuous woman?'"

-from  "the meaning of the pentateuch", as quoted at my husband's blog

gospel powered parenting

i am more than excited to be a mother.  i would adopt tomorrow if God allowed.  but contrasting this desire is a seemingly endless process we have to go through before being approved as parents.  however, i am also grateful for this in between time of unknown length until God decides to make us parents.

because i am a realist [some would call it a pessimist] i know that life will get a lot harder when we adopt, which is why i really am grateful for these last few months with so much freedom and discretionary time.

furthermore, i know that another purpose of this time is to prepare us for parenting, the gravity of which has only recently been hitting me.

Gospel-Powered Parenting: How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parentingtoday i started the book "gospel powered parenting" by william farley, which i am excited about and learning a lot from.

farley repeatedly drives home the importance of the cross being the power behind and motivation for parenting.  he writes,

"in my experience, the most effective parents have a clear grasp of the cross and its implications for daily life.  the implications are manifold.  they include a fear of God, a marriage that preaches the gospel to its children, deeply ingrained humility, gratitude, joy, firmness coupled with affection, and consistent teaching modeled by parents daily"

he also lays out five underlying assumptions that should be true of our view of parenting, if we want to be successful:

  • parenting is not easy, and we will not be perfect.  [this is why we ourselves need the grace that comes through the gospel]
  • God is sovereign, but he uses means [something we will never be able to wrap our mind around].  we are completely unable to make our children christians.  but God often chooses the means of faithful parenting to bring children to Himself.
  • a good offense is infinitely better than a good defense.  many parents falsely assume that their children are saved, but dont trust the power of that salvation and instead build up a strong fort to protect their children from the world.  however, gospel powered parenting continually seeks to change a child's heart... and when their heart is changed, they wont desire the things of the world.  some defense/protection from the world is necessary, but the deeper concern is ask God to give your child a heart that is "seized by the power of the great affection".  Jesus:  "no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him" john 6:44
  • gospel powered parents need to understand "new birth".  praying a prayer to accept christ is not a new birth.  new birth is initiated by God, it is not a decision by a human being.  the new birth can be detected by its fruit... ie a life of repentance, hunger for God, and increasing holiness. "no one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep sinning because he has been born of God." 1 john 3:9
  • effective parents are not child-centered, they are God-centered.  furthermore, the marriage is a higher priority than the children.  they are willing to look different than the world.
which of these things, if any, did your parents display?

if you are a parent, which of these 5 assumptions do you struggle with?  which areas has God given you a heart of faith in?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

preach the gospel always... definitely by your words

I ask people in member interviews, "Tell me about your relationship with unbelievers." And almost constantly, I hear, "I don't necessarily try to preach the gospel all the time. I just want my life to be my testimony. I just want to share my life with people." You know what, y'all? Our lives are a mess! And when we share our lives with people--without sharing the grace of God that rescues us--we're not doing anybody any good. We're not!

--Mike Cosper, Sojourn Community Church, December 27 2009

[from here]