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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Snowy path
Snowy path
We had the deepest snow of the season yesterday.  We often share photos of our walk along our favorite trail across from our home. Here's a spring photo of the same trail which is located here (google map).

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Note: Today's message was primarily written by Brooksyne.

"Taste And See"

"O taste and see that the LORD is good:
blessed is the man that trusteth in Him"
(Psalm 34:8).

Cinnamon Spiced Nuts
Spicy Mixed Nuts by Candlelight

Recently I was going about my nightly duty of picking up things left out in the kitchen before retiring for bed.  The dim light under our range hood was sufficient enough for me to see what needed cleaning. There was a paper plate on the table with what appeared to be a couple of leftover spicy nuts and crumbs from the nut mixture.  I make up large batches of these mixed nuts and give them out to people often referring to these nuts as my "nut ministry".  I assumed that Ester had gotten into the mix I keep in the freezer and failed to clean her plate.  Since I really like these nuts this would allow me to eat a couple nuts without getting into the larger batch for which I am tempted to eat too many.

I carried the plate with me into the dark hallway and started munching on the nut that I expected to be an almond, cashew or perhaps my favorite which is a brazil nut.  When I bit into the "nut" I didn't find it to be spicy, sweet or nut flavored at all.  Instead it tasted like a dried out, flavorless biscuit.  It tasted so awful I knew I'd gotten hold of the wrong thing.  I dashed for the trash and spit it out immediately.  Then I headed for Ester's bedroom with the paper plate in hand.  "Ester, what did you leave on this paper plate?"  "Mom, that was Roxie's dog biscuits.  She chewed some of them up but those are the leftover crumbs."

Needless to say I felt quite foolish and Ester had a great laugh following my untasty debacle.  I couldn't judge the larger crumbs to be from dog biscuits since I had falsely assumed (hoped) them to be nuts.  The dimmed light didn't help matters, but the taste was all I needed for my palate to discern the difference between people food and dog food!

In a much more important test of discernment many people have wrong assumptions about the Lord Jesus.  They've based it on faulty teaching or unanswered prayer (as they saw it).  They've observed the hypocritical lifestyle of so-called believers, the failure of an earnest believer, or had little exposure to the Bible or genuine Christianity. Some envision Jesus to be a killjoy or One who disapproves of all that's fun in life.  There are various and assorted reasons that make people refuse to taste the good things God has for His creation. 

Matthew Henry comments on Psalm 34:8 in this way:
David would have us to join with him in kind and good thoughts of God. "O taste and see that the Lord is good."
(1) We must taste that He is a bountiful benefactor, relish the goodness of God in all His gifts to us, and savor the sweetness of them. Let God's goodness be rolled under the tongue as a sweet morsel.
(2) We must see that He is a beautiful Being, and delight in the contemplation of His infinite perfections. By taste and sight we both make discoveries and find satisfaction. Taste and see God's goodness, that is, take notice of it and take comfort in it.

Peter enjoins us to discard those attitudes which lead to one's spiritual malnourishment (malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander).  Instead we are to seek spiritual nourishment, "like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good" (I Peter 2:1-3).

Some people feed on controversy, dissension, or juicy gossip.  As believers, let us feed on the goodness of the Lord as we load up on His delightful provisions that He has invited us to taste and savor.  Let us taste of God's goodness each day so that we are encouraged both in the best of times and the worst of times to trust in Him. 

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily Prayer:  Father, whet our appetite for spiritual food that brings sustenance, growth and experience as we partake of the Bread of Life.   May our hearts hunger for the wonderful promises, provisions, and principles revealed throughout Your Holy Scripture.  As we regularly feast on these nourishing nuggets we become mature and strengthened so that we can trust You in times of famine.  Keep us tasting and keep us trusting.  In Jesus' name we pray.  Amen.

Nuts on cookie sheet
Cinnamon Spiced Nuts

Makes about 10 Cups
(Above photo is the nuts after they're stirred in the egg white coating and spicy mix,  before they're baked.)

Ingredients: 2 Egg Whites, 1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon ginger, 2 Tbsp. Vanilla or Almond Extract, 1/2 tsp. ground cloves. 6 C. mixed salted nuts (2 #), 1 tsp. ground nutmeg, 1 1/4 Cups Sugar, 1 tsp. ground ginger
1) Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Grease or spray vegetable spray in a large shallow baking pan or spray on parchment paper (jelly roll pan works great.) 
2) With a fork beat egg white and extract together until foamy. 
3) Thoroughly coat six cups of nuts with egg white mixture (best tool   for this is clean hands.) 
4) Mix sugar, cinnamon, ginger, cloves & nutmeg together in bowl.  Thoroughly stir coated nut mixture with spice mixture and spread nuts onto the large baking pan. 
5) Bake 30 minutes stirring after the first 15 minutes.
6) Allow nuts to cool thoroughly before removing from pan to a shallow bowl.  Nuts will become crisp when cool.  Break apart large clumps and enjoy.  For long storage nuts easily can be frozen. (If you want to use a time saving method:  Mix several Ziploc bags of the measured sugar and spices together and store for quick future usage.)

Note: Any nut mixture or single nut variety may be used such as peanuts, pecans, walnut halves, almonds, cashews or brazil nuts.  The salted are best. If you use unsalted you may want to add 1 tsp. salt.   (You may also want to add craisins, raisins, or yogurt covered raisins to your nut mix – Yum, Yum!  I dry fruit on my dehydrator so I occasionally add banana and pineapple to the nut mix.  It adds yet another texture.)

This is a great gift to scoop in a sealed bag and put inside a mug or cup that has an inspirational message on the outside.  Beware - you'll get some folks hooked on these great-tasting nuts!

Brooksyne's Additional Note:
 Stephen didn't know about my dog biscuit sampling until he read today's message. I couldn't bring myself to tell him since I've laughed repeatedly about his goof that took place about twelve years ago.  I found a recipe for making dog biscuits and baked up a batch for our dog, Penny, at the time.  I used cookie cutters in the shape of a bone and had them cooling on the kitchen counter. Stephen is in the habit of walking in the house and helping himself to whatever I might be preparing foodwise.  He whoofed the biscuit down before I could explain and said, "What kind of cookie is this?  It tastes terrible as he went to spit it out."  I would venture to say that readers who have pets in their homes have probably had a sampling or two of dog food without realizing it until after their sense of taste kicks in.

Today's Suggested Music

and Supplemental Resources
(Click on the link to open and play. In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Taste and See That The Lord Is Good"  Words with tune   A hymn neither of us had ever heard before but found the melody to be very enjoyable and easy to learn.

"Oh Taste and See That The Lord Is Good"  Video  A song from a group in Kansas City, where I grew up. The church goes by the abbreviation IHOP (International House Of Prayer)

"Taste and See"  Video  An old Petra song with interesting lyrics (Petra was a very "contemporary" group about 25 years ago!)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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