The Gift of Forgiveness

“I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven — for she loved much” Luke 7:47

Even when we can’t forgive ourselves, God has given us the great gift of HIS forgiveness. That is why the Proverbs 31 woman was able to laugh at the future. Whatever it is you can’t forgive yourself for, consider that you are carrying a needless burden. This is true whatever it is, whether the way you have treated others, or even going into debt.

If God has forgiven you, how can you do less?

Because God has forgiven us, we have the obligation to be like Him and forgive others. The Proverbs 31 woman spole wisely and kindly to others. No doubt, she was able to do this because she had forgiven them any wrong they may have done to her.

Pray about it. Ask God to take it and bless it and use it for His glory

Apple Pie Cookies

10646783_765116360194303_2017958922026398513_n


Is there anyone who doesn’t love apple pie? And the tantalizing scent of cinnamon at this time of year …!!!

1 Box of frozen Pillsbury Pie Crust (2 sheets per box)
Approx. 1 Can of Apple Pie Filling (just enough for a thin layer)
Approx. 1 Cup of Caramel Sauce (just enough for a light coating)
1 Egg
2 tbsp. Cinnamon/Sugar
1 tbsp. Nutmeg
Flour for sprinkling
A round cookie cutter

Lay out a sheet of Pie Crust, sprinkle it with flour and slightly roll it out, to increase its surface area.
Pour some of the Caramel Sauce (Just enough to coat the crust) onto the crust and evenly spread it around, creating a thin layer of caramel.
Coarsely chop the Apple Pie Filling into small pieces.
Top the caramel layer with a layer of the chopped up Apple Pie Filling, making sure not to add too much pie filling.
Roll out the second sheet of Pie Crust the same size as the first sheet, and slice it into strips.
Create a lattice crust (just like on a pie) for the top of the pie filling. Create your lattice on top of the actual filling, as if it were a pie.
Dip your cookie cutter into some egg wash and cut out your Pie Cookies.
Brush the tops of them with some egg wash and sprinkle them with the Cinnamon Sugar and Nutmeg.
Place on a baking sheet and bake them at 350 degrees for approx. 20-25 minutes, until they’re golden and firm. Let cool.

If the Proverbs 31 Woman Lived Today, She’d Be Called Selfish…

Yet this woman was blessed by her children, praised by her husband, and is included in the Bible as an example to all women!

The Proverbs 31 Woman had a profitable business: she sold belts that she made herself, and from the profits she was able to plant a vineyard. This would have been costly, requiring the land to be purchased and then terraced, a wall built, a winepress hewn from stone, the soil turned, and a watchtower raised. We are told that she planted the vineyard with her own hands, but she must have hired help to do the rest. 

Sitting as an elder was likely a volunteer position. Among his other duties, the Proverbs 31 husband would be teaching God’s laws, judging court cases, and upholding the peace of the village. She freed up his time so that he could serve his community.

Financially, they were well off and had servants so she didn’t have to work to support the family. Modern wives often work from financial necessity. Although critics claim that this sends the message that the husband is unable to support his family, it is sometimes quite the opposite. Many men (and women too) have talents and abilities that do not pay well in money but are still valuable. To imply that a man’s worth is based on his salary is insulting to his character. These wives are showing that they value their husbands, and that they are taking their role as a life’s partner seriously.

The difference was partly cultural: in Old Testament times, businesses were home-based; in fact, this was the norm up until the Industrial Revolution. Yet, her sewing and vineyard took up a great deal of time, and there is no mention of the children suffering as a result. That’s because she balanced her time and energies, putting the emphasis where it mattered most at any given moment.

Proverbs 31 and the Divorced Woman

I recently received an email from a reader whose marriage was headed for divorce. She was worried for herself and her children, and concerned that she could no longer live Proverbs 31. This is my response to her…

God raised marriage to the dignity of a sacrament, a sacred sign of love and unity between yourself and your spouse, the Church. He gave married couples the grace they need to live together in love and harmony. Jesus decreed that marriage was to be a livelong commitment. 

Yet, sometimes that grace seems out of reach for you and the one you once loved and married. Your love has vanished, your marriage has faltered and your children have certainly been harmed. At times like this, pray that God will teach you both how to regain what has been lost, to change all that can be changed and to accept whatever cannot be changed.

It may not be God’s will that you be restored to a life together. Ask God to keep you from regret, resentment and fear. Ask for His divine mercy upon your children, your spouse and yourself. Pray that the problems that led to this situation may be the occasion for growth in both of you, and will lead you to greater respect for each other, mutual pardon and deeper faith.

Don’t think that God is punishing you. God doesn’t punish. He loves us unconditionally and He knows we’re all imperfect. And don’t punish yourself. It wasn’t meant to be, that’s all. Don’t give up. God loves you and you need to have faith and trust in Him. Things work out for the best, and someday you will look back and understand why things happened the way they did. Stay strong and remember that God loves you and is always with you. That is what living Proverbs 31 is all about!

That Dreaded Word: Miscellaneous

If there was ever a danger in organizing our homes, it’s the box or drawer we label “miscellaneous.” It is so often another word for “I don’t know what this is but I’m keeping it anyway.”

That said, there are many necessary objects in our homes that are used only occasionally, and that would be best stored in drawers or boxes, rather than out in the open. if these items are small enough to store with other, although unrelated, items, it might be better to have a miscellaneous drawer or box, BUT ONLY ONE!

The key here would be to keep it organized, and to purge it once it gets full. Naturally, you will attach an inventory to the box so you can see its contents at a glance.

Shopping for Bargains

The second part of Proverbs 31:18 i the New Living Translation says, “she watches for bargains.”

In today’s terms, that would mean shopping sales and using coupons, which many of us already do. But if you can find a spot for a pantry, you can go an extra step. A basement corner, and unused cabinet in your kitchen, or even a spot in a spare room might do. Dave and I live in a condo, and after much thought we decided to use a closet in our dining room. Having extra food on hand will allow you, like the Proverbs 31 woman, to have “no fear of the future.”

Once you have the pantry set up, fill it slowly every week. As you shop you will be purchasing food to use during the upcoming week. This is your “needs” shopping. As well, you will see items on sale that you know will be used in the near future. That is your chance to stock up, put them in your pantry, and no have to pay full price for them when you need them. If you have coupons or if you get bonus points on store loyalty programs, so much the better.

The Truth about Easter

Image

A week after Easter, I am still seeing references to a supposedly pagan origin related to Ishtar and I want to set the record straight.

The Burney Relief, also called Queen of the Night Relief is currently housed in the British Museum in London. It originates from southern Iraq and is nearly 4,000 years old. Ishtar was the Goddess of love,war, fertility and sex. Her symbols were the lion, the gate and the eight-pointed star, not the bunny or the egg, as many are trying to point out.

The only languages in which the name for this holiday sounds like “Easter” are English and German; in most other languages it comes from the Greek word Pascha, which comes from the Hebrew Pesach, meaning Passover. Ishtar is pronounced “Ish-tar”, not “Eas-ter.”

Constantine didn’t “change Easter.” He did, however have a role in deciding when it would be celebrated each year. Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (both of which follow the cycle of the sun and the seasons). Instead, the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established the date of Easter as the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) following the March equinox.

Some claim that Jesus’ resurrection was celebrated to coincide with fertility festivals which occurred then. The truth is, the resurrection coincided with the time of the Passover. They early church in the east celebrated it at the same time as Jewish Passover. The western church started celebrating it the Sunday of the first full moon after this, and so it would never be celebrated on the vernal equinox.

The Christians of Mesopotamia made a practice of dying eggs red in memory of the blood shed by Christ when he died on the cross. In other words, eggs dyed red were symbolic of the Crucifixion, not the Resurrection. In later traditions the egg is also a symbol of the empty tomb.

The “Easter Bunny” is first mentioned in a writing by French doctor and botanist Georg Franck von Frankenau titled About Easter Eggs in 1682. Later in the 1800′s, German immigrants brought the tradition of hiding eggs for the children to the United States. The story was that the bunnies were responsible for hiding the eggs. It was just a fun thing to do with the children, not some pagan sex and fertility rite.