1 Cornithians 13

LOVE

1 Corinthians 13

13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

13 And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

 

Matthew 22:36-40

36“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”

37Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

 

I don’t know about you, but, for me, this is the toughest part of being a Christian. I know that I am a new creation in Christ Jesus and that I am to live a sanctified life. But this issue of love, well that’s formidable. If I can just master this skill set, then I’ll have it made.

I think about all the people who have wished me ill and try to imagine myself loving them. That’s about as hard as forgiving them. And when I read 1 Corinthians 13 I am shocked and dismayed because I feel I’ll never love anyone.

“Love suffers long and is kind.” Okay, I can do that. I am longsuffering and I have been kind, in fact I am kind to most everyone I meet. I’m more of a closet hater. I have opinions about everything.

“Love does not envy.” This one I have failed at. I see people who have things that I used to want: success, health, wealth, a nice house, a new car. This one I might catch myself in every now and again but it isn’t a lingering problem.

“Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.” I’m good here. I don’t think highly of myself and I don’t go around showing off or thinking I’m better than anyone else.

“, does not behave rudely,” Here I am challenged. My mental illness gets in the way sometimes and I might say something in a rude tone, or I just might say something rude, period. So this I have to work on.

“, does not seek its own,” I take this to mean selfishness and I am sure that I am guilty of this one. For the most part I am a generous man and have given people the shirt off my back – I even gave a couple my only vehicle (a van) so they could have a roof over their heads. I felt good doing it too. And I was homeless at the time, so this was a big deal for me. But, do I seek my own end in things. I’m sure I do.

“, is not provoked,” This is a big one for me. I am easily offended and when I was not on my meds, I jump at the chance to clean someone’s clock. I am too easily provoked, for sure.

“, think no evil.” Well, that ends it, I think evil thoughts all the time. Whether it’s some stupid idiot who pisses me off, or some dumb acre on television who is whining that he/she doesn’t get enough respect from the law or other people, I just immediately think ill of them. Politics sure bring those people out of the woodwork and I buy into it every time.

“does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth” “They got what they deserved” That has come out of my mouth many times. I tend to not think like Christ, instead, I am vulgar, wishing people would come to the realization that they screwed up. And I wish that they get a huge wake-up call in hopes that they would change their behavior. But what am I doing? I’m professing to be better than they are by suggesting that I don’t need a wake-up call.

“bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” Nope. Not me. I don’t have that endurance. I am skeptical of everybody. I don’t trust anybody. I have only one hope and that is that the story of the cross and the empty tomb are real.

So my scorecard shows that I have A LOT to work on. Thankfully, I am bought and I have God on my side. His love never fails and He is oh so patient with me. I fall and fail time after time, but as long as I keep getting up and trying to change my ways, I can have peace. I know that there is nothing I can do to win salvation, so I don’t worry about that, I know I’m saved and that gives me peace. I just have to keep trying to live up to the standard so that Christ can live through me.

Maybe one day I will be able to say that I have loved my neighbor as I love myself. Until that day, well…

A Hard Night for Joy

Lately, I haven’t felt very joyful. Depression does that to you. The Psalmist begged “restore to me the joy of Your salvation and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” ….I feel that I am there – empty, needing Him to restore my happiness. Needing Him to pour out His Spirit on my lowly heart. It’s been difficult to look people in the eyes for fear of exposing my ambivalence towards them. There is nothing that garners my interest. No Bible study, no sermon, no tv show, no music, no meal, nothing. I could care less about any of it. I guess I should reconsider that. Music helps. But it is only Christian music that gives me hope. I think of the message within the song and I imagine myself glorifying God – with all of my being. But it is only a dream. I am not worthy of His love. I am damaged goods. Why should He care? Why should I care?

By one account, there
04 Faith
are are 192 references to “joy” in the Holy Bible. In the Old Testament it is almost always related to the Lord, Our God while in the New Testament it is split between the birth of the Messiah and the joy the disciples received from the fervent belief of the newly saved. Nowhere did I find a reference to anyone struggling to have joy. It is just something that is not imagined. Joy is the product of belief and hope. The belief in the coming of Christ and the hope of salvation. I have both – Christ is my savior. But mental illness is not addressed in the Bible. Not that I’ve found. It just assumes everybody has their faculties about them. So what do I do when confronted with despair?

2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. “

What appears as hopeless is met by the disciples with perseverance. They forge on with expectation, “that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.” This urges me to just press on and get through this. That old adage comes to mind, “this too shall pass.” But it does not make it any easier, it just gives me cause to hope that if I should die while in this state, that I will not be judged for my illness.

If I were a stronger Christian I would possibly be able to wrap my self around the expectation that the life of Jesus might be made manifest in me at these times. At all times. I have much more to learn, to study, to pray for. My prayer life is lacking. But that is a topic for another time.

Non-dairy Vegan Chocolate Cake

vegan choco cake

This cake is so delicious you wouldn’t expect it to be dairy-free and vegan. But it is and you’re gonna love it. The recipe is so simple, just mix the dry ingredients together and then add in the wet ingredients and bake. Simple.

Dry ingredients

  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

That’s it! Now just pour the mixture into two 9 inch pans and bake on 350 for 40 minutes. Oh! And just a word of awareness – the mixture will be runny. That’s normal. It will bake up just right.

Enjoy!

Love is Everything

11Today’s message was in the Book of Galatians chapter 5. It is Paul still talking to the churches in Galatia about legalism and how Love trumps religion.

Galatians 5:1-15

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. 2 Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing.3 And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. 4 You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.

7 You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.

11 And I, brethren, if I still preach circumcision, why do I still suffer persecution? Then the offense of the cross has ceased. 12 I could wish that those who trouble you would even cut themselves off!

13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

“Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free,and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.” Paul starts out by reminding the churches that they are free from the yoke of legalism, or rules and regulations. You can’t perform your way to salvation. The Galatians were infected by a few Judaisers who came in and told them they had to be circumcised to be “good Christians” and Paul was saying “no way” you are free. Salvation is a gift. There is no amount of good deeds one can do, no amount of rules and laws one can follow to add to the salvation God has given us. Otherwise Christ died in vain. (verses 5 and 6)

Paul goes further to explain that we (children of the Living God) should not use our liberty as a license to do ill. To ignore the calling to which God has called us and instead chase after things of the flesh and the lusts thereof: greed, envy, strife, sex, gluttony, and the like. We should not use our liberty to defile the temple of Christ of which we are.

And then, Paul ends this section reminding us that Love is the end-all of all things. Love is what we should strive to embrace and embody. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and how many of us actually do that on a daily basis? Can you be honest and say that you love that co-worker who dupes everybody into doing all the work? How about that person who is always angry or how about that person who is always an ass? Do you love these people or just put up with them?

My friend, we should constantly be asking these types of questions and looking diligently into our hearts to see if there is any room for improvement. Remember, we are saved, not because we’re perfect, but because He loves us perfectly. Praise God.

 

Rouladen (rolled stuffed steak)

This recipe is so good. If ever you’ve had it, you know what I’m talking about.

01_RouladenMy mom used to cook this up as a treat once a month on Sundays. We ate German food on Sundays mostly and we were spoiled because of it. On any given weekend, we would have BauernBrot mit tomaten (German rye bread with tomatoes and chives, Kartoffelsalad (German Potato Salad), Rotkohl (Red Cabbage), and Rouladen. We were fortunate enough to live in a city with good European delicatessens around. Our neighborhood deli was “Schillers”. They had everything from Rice Candy (an Asian treat for the kids) to Pickled Herring (a European treat for anyone who ate that stuff, yuck!) LOL

The Rouladen were usually served with potato dumplings and cabbage salad whether red or green. And it was always served piping hot. I still like my food piping hot. I can always blow on it to cool it a bit. But dumplings took a lot more wind to cool down because their centers were scary hot. Wow! That hurt.

So what do we do to the steak to make it roll up? Well, good question. And in fact, we get the butcher to slice it very thin. About 1/4 of an inch is good. And you just slap on some mustard (stone ground is the best for this application, but feel free to use your favorite mustard) a piece of bacon, some onions and pickle slices and a little salt and pepper and you’re ready to put ’em in the pan. The key is make sure you brown them a bit before you add in the wine. If you cook them in the wine too long, they get tough and nobody likes tough meat.

So here we are:

The Ingredients –

  • 2 pounds petite sirloin (thinly sliced)
  • 4 large pickles (dill variety)
  • 1/2 large onion (sliced or julienned)
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1/4 cup mustard (stone ground or your choice)
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to  taste
  • 1 bottle (750ml) red wine ( I use burgundy for it’s rich flavor)

Directions:

Prep – Slice the pickles lengthwise in quarters. Slice the bacon in half. Set aside. Slice the onion pole to pole and cut into thin strips. Saute the onions in a pool of butter on medium-high heat enough to soften them up. You could even brown them.

After the onions are done, spread a healthy portion of mustard on a piece of flattened out steak. Next, place a piece of raw bacon over the mustard. Take a couple slices of the onion and lay them on the meat as well. Next, go  with a pickle quarter sideways to the meat and then sprinkle a little salt and pepper on there as well. Then roll the meat into a log and place toothpicks on either end of the  roll to hold it all together while it cooks.( If you don’t have toothpicks, a little twine will do and nicely so. Toothpicks are just less hassle.) Repeat as necessary for each piece of steak until all the steak is rolled up. If you run out of vittles to stick in the steak rolls, no worries, just roll em up with some mustard and salt and pepper and they’ll taste good too.

Now, place a large skillet on the biggest burner and put in a little oil. Turn stove on to medium. Arrange steak logs in the pan and cook until the bottom is nicely browned. Turn over the steaks and add in the wine as necessary so that the steak rolls are in 1/4″ to 1/2″ of wine.

Steak rolls are done when no red meat is visible and both sides are nicely browned. Serve with red cabbage and dumplings or mashed potatoes.

NOTE: It’s better to undercook the rouladen a little bit than to overcook them. If you have to keep adding wine to the pan, then you have to heat to high. Lower heat and simmer the logs for a few minutes.

Enjoy!

 

The Greatest Commandment

26 who-is-God

Mark 12:28-31 — The Scribes: Which Is the First Commandment of All?

28 Then one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, “Which is the first commandment of all?”

29 Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. 31 And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Friends, we need to remember to love our neighbor. Not just when its convenient for us, but always. Whether it’s the CEO who is too busy to say “hi”, or the homeless person who is always begging for money, or the jerk who doesn’t know when to shut up – we need to give love to them all.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one shot at this and we’ve got to get it right or we’re doomed for eternity. Love the Lord first. And let him help you love your neighbors.

Ramblings and Wranglings

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20 May 2016

Getting a little mixed today. Started out the week being manic and not sleeping at decent hours until last night I couldn’t sleep at all. I finally fell asleep around 7am. When I woke up, I was worn out and my elbow was in great pain. Somehow I jammed my elbow into the mattress so hard that it was very very sore and for most of the day it’s been hard for me to use my arm because it was weak from the pain in the joint.

Fast forward to tonight and I am struggling to be motivated. I am making dinner, but I don’t want to eat. I just want to drink. Water and juice get old after a while and that’s when I get into trouble. I’ve not had any soda for almost two months. And I miss it. And then, I don’t. I know it’s bad for me and there are other alternatives like juice. But as I said, juice gets old after a while. So I’m spying the empty beer bottles, imagining how good a cold brew would be.

Today I went and found my old blogs on Blogger. I haven’t done anything with them for 3 years. I would like to use their themes but WordPress doesn’t allow it. So I’ve decided to keep the Blogger blogs and link them to this account. That way I get to keep the designs I like while reaching out to a like-minded community here on WP. You see, I never did figure out how to search other Blogger blogs or find a community. That’s what WP does so well. They have the Reader where we can see each other’s blogs and we can even search for specific tags. I never saw anything like that on Blogger. So it’s a trade off – I’m stuck using WP’s themes (a very limited collection) and getting to have the community that every blogger desires. I guess I’m complaining a little, but when you are used to having options and freedom, being boxed in is a bit restrictive.

I spent all of last night learning about WordPress and how to navigate the waters of customizing the site. I’m very impressed with the whole thing. I like the “Categories” thing and how it adds a button to the top menu so people can find specific topic posts. That’s really cool. The other functions of the Menu customization took a little bit to memorize, but I think I’ve got the hang of it. It’s all a learning experience for an old dog like me. I just have to keep in mind that there almost always is a way to repair what I may have broken. I say almost always because there has not been anything I’ve found to fix the mistake I made with the Contact page. Somehow I deleted the contact form and I can’t get it back. That is one thing that WP could do they could add an “undo” button in the page editing mode.

Okay, now I’ve rambled on for a while. Time to close it up and let you all get back to what you were doing.

Till next time. Peace.

Eric

Children

Tender is the flesh

of a newborn babe

blessed is the womb

from whence it came

honored is the father

whom gave to it life

and loving is the woman

he takes to wife

happy are they

who share in this joy

for precious are children

every girl and boy