Love, without strings attached

Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/06

Love, without strings attached

Ephesians 5:2 NKJV

In America you will sometimes see cars with bumper stickers announcing that their child is an “honor student” at a particular school. And while we all feel good about the successes of our children, two potential problems can arise. First, there’s a natural irritation on the part of parents whose kids struggle or are less gifted. One mother put this bumper sticker on her car: “My kid can beat up your honor student.” A second problem arises when the pride of the family is riding on the shoulders of an immature child. Your child is not designed to handle that level of pressure! They need to know that they are loved and accepted because of their own unique worth. John McKay, the great football coach at the University of Southern California, had a son who was also a successful football player on the USC team. When an interviewer asked Coach McKay to comment on the pride he felt over his son’s accomplishments, this is what he said: “Yes, I’m pleased that John Jr. had a good season this year. He does a fine job, and I’m proud of him. But I would be just as proud if he had never played the game at all.” Great answer! His son would not lose his father’s respect if the next year brought failure and disappointment, because his place in his father’s heart was secure and independent of his performance. That’s the kind of love your children need from you. “Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us.” Christ’s love is not performance based; it’s unconditional, unbreakable, and unending. Yours must be too!

Soul food: Isa 45-48Matt 12:38-50Ps 120Prov 3:33-35

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CURRIED PILCHARD SPAGHETTI

Woumarie

Ingredients
400g can Lucky Star Curried Pilchard Cutlets
400g spaghetti
80g reduced fat feta cheese, crumbled
Tomato Sauce
Canola oil for frying
2 onions, finely chopped
10ml (2 tsp) chopped garlic
5ml (1 tsp) ground coriander
5ml (1 tsp) ground cumin
2.5ml (½ tsp) cayenne pepper (optional)
410g can chopped tomatoes
Milled black pepper
Brown sugar

Method
Tomato Sauce: Heat a few drops of oil in a non-stick pan and fry the onions and garlic until lightly browned. Sprinkle in the coriander, cumin and cayenne pepper and allow to sizzle for 30 seconds. Pour in the tomatoes and season with pepper and a pinch of sugar. Cook briskly, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes until the sauce thickens slightly. Roughly flake the pilchards in their sauce with a fork, add to the tomato sauce and heat through. While preparing the sauce, cook the spaghetti until tender in boiling water. Drain in a colander. Place spaghetti into warm serving bowls and top with the pilchard tomato sauce. Sprinkle with feta and serve with salad.

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God has already gone before you

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/05

God has already gone before you

Deuteronomy 31:8 NIV

Are you feeling anxious today because you don’t know what you’re walking into? Israel was going into a good situation, the Promised Land. They had just come out of a bad one: a back-breaking, soul-destroying, hope-extinguishing 430 years of slavery. Now they were going to be free to own their own homes, raise their own families, work at jobs they liked, and be well paid for it. But the Promised Land wasn’t problem-free. There were enemy strongholds that had to be conquered one by one, and it would take time. “The Lord your God will drive out those nations before yo u, little by little. You will not be allowed to eliminate them all at once, or the wild animals will multiply around you” (Deuteronomy 7:22 NIV). Question: Is this a similar situation to the one you find yourself in today? You’re embarking on a new relationship, a new job, a new ministry, or an unfamiliar area where you don’t have all the answers? And because you don’t know exactly what’s involved, you’re anxious? Don’t be! Here’s the word for you today: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you…The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Deuteronomy 31:6-8 NIV). Carry these promises with you. And when your confidence starts to falter and your faith fluctuates, read them, stand on them, and count on God to honor His Word.

Soul food: Isa 42-44Matt 12:22-37Ps 108Prov 3:31-32

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How’s your marriage? (2)

 Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/04

How’s your marriage? (2)

Ecclesiastes 9:9 NKJV

Three things happen in a good marriage: (1) You get to know yourself. To grow, you must be able to look at yourself realistically, and the best place to do that is in a home filled with love. It lets you be open about your mistakes and shortcomings. It’s a safe place to fail. It creates a listening environment filled with understanding and support. The people closest to us form us. When Mother Teresa received the Nobel Peace Prize, she was asked, “What can we do to promote world peace?” She replied, “Go home and love your family.” If you want to change your world, start at home. (2) You get to know your character. A Christ-centered home not only helps form your children’s character, it strengthens yours too. Character is built on the choices you make and habits you cultivate. And since your family creates your primary environment, it influences those choices and habits. Strong families encourage us to make good choices, develop the right disciplines, and pay the price today for success tomorrow. (3) You have a safe haven. It seems like the pace of life gets more hectic every day. Driving on overcrowded roads is stressful. The workplace is demanding. The schoolyard is an increasingly hostile environment. Where can you find shelter? If not at home, then probably nowhere. Theodore Roosevelt said, “I’d rather spend time with my family than with any of the world’s notables.” His home was his safe haven in the midst of life’s storms – and yours can be too. The question is: What are you doing to make it that way?

Soul food: Isa 38-41Matt 12:15-21Ps 111Prov 3:29-30

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How’s your marriage? (1)

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/02/03

How’s your marriage? (1)

Proverbs 18:22 NKJV

If you’re over sixty, chances are you grew up in an era where you didn’t know too many divorced couples and the subject was taboo. Now your children are growing up in a world where marriages fail every day. If you don’t want yours to be one of them: (1) Learn to show your love. Psychologist William James says, “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.” And if we don’t feel appreciated at home, there’s a good chance we won’t feel appreciated at all, because generally speaking, the world doesn’t fulfill that desire. The best thing you can do for your spouse and your children is appreciate them and love them – not based on their performance, but simply because they’re yours. (2) Pay attention. The Reverend Theodore Hesburgh, President Emeritus of the University of Notre Dame, said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” And that works both ways. A successful marriage is one that can go from crisis to crisis and keep getting stronger. Commitment, not emotion, is what carries you through. If you only intend to stay married as long as you feel like you’re in love, you might as well quit now. Like anything worthwhile, a good marriage requires constant attention. (3) Protect your time together. If you feel like you ought to be at work when you’re with your family and vice versa, something’s wrong. Call a family conference and agree on how much time you should spend together. If you prioritize and protect those times, your marriage will thrive.

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Soul food: Isa 34-37Matt 12:1-14Ps 107:33-43Prov 3:27-28

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Breakfast Fritata ~ Banting

Woumarie

Ingredients:
4 Eggs
½ cup Double Cream
4 pieces Bacon
1 Courgette
½ Onion
½ tsp Crushed Garlic
Cheddar
1 Avocado
Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180C. Chop up the onion and bacon into small pieces and fry in butter with the garlic. Cut the courgette into round slices and add to the bacon and onion. Whisk the eggs and cream together and add to the pan once the courgettes are cooked. Cook on a slow heat until the egg mixture starts to set in the pan. Grate the cheddar and spread it on top of the egg, then grill in the oven until the cheese starts to bubble and go brown Slice the avocado and put on top before eating. It can be eaten hot or cold for breakfast.

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Your forgiveness is guaranteed

Your forgiveness is guaranteed

1 John 1:9 AMPC

In spite of our best intentions and efforts, we all “fall short” of God’s requirements (Romans 3:23 NKJV). So what’s the answer? “If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude and lead ourselves astray, and the Truth [which the Gospel presents] is not in us [does not dwell in our hearts]. If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformi ty to His will in purpose, thought, and action]” (1 John 1:8-9 AMPC). When it comes to God’s forgiveness, knowing is better than feeling. Here’s how God’s forgiveness works: Consciousness of sin leads to conviction of sin, and conviction of sin leads to confession of sin, and confession of sin leads to cleansing of sin, and cleansing of sin leads to confidence before God (See 1 John 3:21-22). You say, “I don’t feel worthy of God’s forgiveness.” You will never be worthy of it! God’s forgiveness is not based on your worthiness, but on Christ’s! Furthermore, God is not like your parents; He doesn’t insist you squirm and be miserable for a few days so that you will “learn your lesson” before He forgives you. That would mean you play a part in earning His forgiveness. It’s by grace, and grace alone (See Ephesians 2:8-9)! “Grace” means “undeserved favour.” So when God forgives you, honor Him by forgiving yourself and moving on.

Soul food: Isa 26-29Matt 11:10-19Ps 107:17-22Prov 3:21-24

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When you worship, God feels right at home

  Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/01/30

When you worship, God feels right at home

Psalm 22:3 NIV

The place where you live is your home, or “habitation.” So when you praise God, you’re saying, “Make Yourself at home, Lord.” Where does God dwell? He has many different addresses and one of them is “praise.” Just as we enjoy a deeper level of intimacy with those we share our lives with at home, praise creates a sense of intimacy between God and us. Just as words spoken in love and appreciation draw two people together, words of praise draw you closer to God. The New King James Bible says, “You are holy, enthroned in the praises of Israel.” Note the word “enthr oned.” The Japanese have a wonderful way of translating this. Recalling how their emperor was once carried on a throne and those around him would stop and bow down, they say, “When we worship God we create a seat, and He comes down and sits in it.” Five times in two back-to-back Scriptures we are commanded to “sing praises” to God. “Sing praises to God, sing praises! Sing praises to our King, sing praises! For God is the King of all the earth; sing praises with understanding” (Psalm 47:6-7 NKJV). When God repeats the same thing five times in two verses, it’s because He wants to be sure you get the message. You say, “But I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket.” Listen to a praise CD and hum along. The psalmist wrote, “Because Your lovingkindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your name” (Psalm 63:3-4 NKJV).

Soul food: Isa 22-25Matt 11:1-9Ps 107:10-16Prov 3:19-20

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Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Soup ~ Banting

Woumarie

Ingredients
4 Red Peppers
1 small Cauliflower
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Onion
2 cloves Garlic
1 tsp Thyme
1 pinch Chilli Flakes
4 cups Chicken Broth
1 tsp Paprika
120g Feta
Salt & Pepper To taste

Method
Preheat the oven to 200’C. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds, cut the cauliflower into florets, dice the onion and chop up the garlic and thyme. Roast the red peppers until the skins are black (You can rub the peppers with olive oil and place them skin down on a baking tray directly onto the stove top). Place them in a sealable container or a plastic bag and let them ‘steam’ for 20 minutes. Remove the skins and dice. Meanwhile, toss the cauliflower in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and place it in a single layer on a baking tray. Roast in the oven until tender and caramelised, for about 20-30 minutes, mixing once in the middle. This can also be done on the stove top in a heavy bottom pan. Heat the remaining oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the onion until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and chili flakes and cook for about a minute. Add the roasted and peeled red peppers, cauliflower, broth, paprika, salt, pepper and feta and simmer for 10 minutes before pureeing to the desired consistency with a hand blender. Serve garnished with crumbled feta and some diced peppers.

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Be devoted to Christ

 Written by Bob & Debby Gass

  2020/01/29

Be devoted to Christ

1 Timothy 4:15 NIV

One day a friend of Chuck Swindoll’s stopped by his study to “speak the truth in love” to him (See Ephesians 4:15). The man said, “I don’t think you’ll fall morally or ethically. What does worry me is that you could be tempted to let your time with God and your time in the study of the Scriptures become less and less important to you. I want to urge you, do not let that happen.” Swindoll took his words to heart and wrote down these five promises to himself. If you’re serious about being devoted to Christ, you need to make these same promises to yourself also: “(1) I promise to keep doing original and hard work in my study. Those to whom I am called deserve my best efforts. (2) I promise to maintain a heart for God. That means I will pray frequently and fervently, and stay devoted to Him and to my calling. (3) I promise to remain accountable. Living the life of a religious lone ranger is not only unbiblical, it’s dangerous. (4) I promise to stay faithful to my family. My wife deserves my time, affection, and undivided attention. Our now-grown children deserve the same. (5) I promise to be who I am, just me. To keep laughing and saying things a little ‘off-the-wall.’ To be a friend and make a few mistakes each month.” On that second promise: Being devoted to Christ doesn’t make you weird, judgmental, antisocial, or isolated from the world. No, it makes you the best version of yourself you can be – and the one God wants you to be.

Soul food: Isa 17-21Matt 10:32-42Ps 107:1-9Prov 3:13-18

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