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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Last piece of cake 2/2/13
Five forks going for one small piece of cake.

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Note: Stephen was not feeling well yesterday and thus we did not post a message on Tuesday 2/5/13. Today's message was mostly written by Brooksyne.

"The Lure Of Temptation

"Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith..." (I Peter 5:8,9a).  "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).

This past weekend we had two evenings of sharing a meal and enjoying fellowship with friends. In preparation for our weekend I (Brooksyne) decided to make a Taste of Home recipe. Tirimasu Toffee Torte is a cake described by some as "a taste of heaven." In actuality the Italian word means "pick me up" or "lift me up". It is a very rich "melt in your mouth" type of cake and in this recipe I doused the four layers of cake with strong coffee and then frosted each layer with a heavy whipped cream topping. Plenty of chopped heath bars and homemade glazed pecans accessorized the frosting. I made this on Thursday as it tastes better the longer it sits so I made a family announcement that this cake was off limits, but it sure was pretty to look at each time we opened the fridge.

Rick and Rachel Caldwell 2/1/13Rick and Rachel joined us Friday night and I could hardly wait to serve the Tiramisu following dinner. Each of us thoroughly enjoyed a "taste of heaven" and Ester even had seconds. I sent home a piece with Rick for his lunch at work the next day which left half a cake. It was a perfect amount to take with us the next evening as we were to join our friends Mike and Nicole at their home for a meal and fellowship. I had offered to bring dessert and told her about the Tiramisu. She thought it a fine idea.

Folks, it's easier to resist a cake that hasn't been cut into than one that is half eaten with all four frosted layers begging you, "Just one more bite". But since we had committed the cake half I just admired it rather than eat it. It was time to leave for our dinner engagement on Saturday night so I opened the fridge to get the Tirimasu cake half. As I pulled it from the glass shelf I thought it looked smaller than before and upon further examination I was floored when I saw that the cake half had turned into the cake third. "STEPHEN!!!!" I yelled with fury from the upstairs all the way downstairs where he was getting on his coat, "HOW COULD YOU EAT THIS CAKE I PROMISED FOR TONIGHT?" I was frustrated, embarrassed and certainly unprepared for his answer. "I didn't touch it" he yelled back.

That left only one family member. "ESTER!!!! DID YOU EAT THE TIRIMASU?" I yelled toward the upstairs. She remained quiet which in our household usually indicates guilt. I called her down from the upstairs and she still wouldn't respond though she finally admitted she had a piece after Stephen and I went to bed on Friday night and one more piece early the next morning. Usually Ester does not overindulge in sweets but the sight of the Tirimasu was far too tempting for her. I should have hidden it from sight in the fridge downstairs. As the saying goes, "You can't have your cake and not eat it too" (at least that's my version).

The Tiramisu is a trivial and lighthearted story, but day to day visual temptation is a powerful tool of the enemy. There are many accounts in Scripture describing a visual temptation, either from what we see with our physical eyes or what our mind envisions. Heartbreak results for those who do not resist but rather give into temptation:
  • Eve is the first example of one who gave into temptation after she entertained the devil's dialogue that caused her to question her Creator's wisdom. In addition she saw that the fruit was "pleasing to the eye." She and Adam's disobedience brought sin, pain, and death on the world that God had made beautiful and had pronounced it to be good (Genesis 3:1-7). Everyone of us has paid dearly for their costly disobedience.
  • Achan's fatal attraction was his lust for "a beautiful mantle from Shinar, two hundred shekels of silver and a bar of gold." He was commanded not to take any of the spoils from the city after the walls of Jericho fell. But he did so and hid them under his tent. It cost him his life, those of his family members, and the brave Israelite warriors who were slaughtered by their enemies until the spoil was uncovered (Joshua 7:1-21).
  • Haman, servant to King Xerxes, envisioned himself to be "elevated above the other nobles and officials" as he plotted to kill the Jews. But in the end he was elevated 75 feet high on a gallows and hung to die from the very rope that he himself had prepared for Mordecai (Esther 5:11; 7:9,10).
There are many more instances in Scripture regarding those who gave into temptation and in every circumstance it led them in a direction they hadn't foreseen. Satan is a deceiver and he sure doesn't tell us "the rest of the story" when he dangles the temptation before us. The tragedy of falling into sin is that we not only suffer the consequences from the plunge we take, but we almost always cause innocent people to suffer along with us.

Let me close with the story of Joseph, a well-built and handsome young man, who was noticed by his master's wife. She requested that he go to bed with her. He refused, but she continued to beg him day after day. He could easily have given in since the master was gone along with all the servants. Who would have known? Yet Joseph fled her presence because he cared more about what God desired than he cared about his own desires (Genesis 39:6-20).

That's what it takes, dear friends. We must care more about what God commands than we care about our own desires. I often pray, "Jesus, bring my desires into alliance with Your own desires for my life." Obedience brings blessing; disobedience invites disaster.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, the devil communicates with us daily by tempting us to do that which displeases you. It seems there are days when he talks non-stop. But You make a way of escape as we come to You in prayer, as we search and apply the Scriptures, and as we practice self-control. We can endure temptation by keeping our hearts pure and our eyes fixed upon the future rewards that come from obeying You and walking in Your ways. Amen.

Mike and Nicole Martin 2/2/13
Mike and Nicole's posed expression after we took the glass dome off the cake platter. "Is that all you brought?" In the end we actually had one piece left over, as seen in the lead picture! And the creator of the cake had the last sumptuous bite! Of course, that would be me (Brooksyne).

Here's the link for the Tiramisu recipe.

Here's the recipe for the Glazed Pecans I referred to

Glazed Pecans
4 ounces butter (salted or unsalted), melted
5 Tbsp. real maple syrup
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. coarse salt
¾ tsp. cinnamon
20 ounces pecan halves

Blend the first five ingredients together. Carefully stir in and coat pecan halves. Heat oven to 300 degrees. (If you have it higher pecans will scorch.) Spread out on a parchment lined cookie sheet with sides. Try to spread pecans in single layer. Place in oven. Stir after ten minutes. If the pecans are pretty dry after 20 minutes remove from oven and cool. If not stir again and bake another five minutes or so until done. After pecans are cooled place in container. The pecans freeze very well. This is a great recipe for gift-giving. You can also add yogurt covered raisins or craisins, dried pineapple or other yummies to make it go further.
(Makes nearly 2 quarts)

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"To Obey Is Better Than Sacrifice (live)"  Video  Keith Green

Browser logosThese are articles we come across in the course of studying for these messages or just poking around the vast Internet. In most cases they are not necessarily related to the daily message but may be of interest to our readers. These articles will only be posted once and there will be new ones each post, assuming we come across material that we feel may be of interest. (To see previous links use the archive version.)

Ideas for family worship   What Should Family Worship Look Like?

One Super Bowl ad is especially touching, reminding us of the vital role the hardworking farmer has. I dedicate this to Galen and his son Darrel. Of course for both of us we sure enjoy the distinctive voice of the late Paul Harvey who happened to attend the same High School in Tulsa as Brooksyne although about 35 years earlier!

a message to Stephen & Brooksyne

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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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