Wellspring devotion June 17, 2014

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Ephesians 2:8-9-“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

What a powerful verse here from Ephesians to remind us that it is through Christ we are saved. His grace is so amazing it is difficult for us to comprehend that God gave us such a wonderful gift that we did absolutely nothing to deserve. This whole concept of God’s amazing grace is a hard one to wrap our heads around in the world we live in. We live in a world where we want more, we long to do better. It is easy to think that there is something we can do to earn God’s unending love, but the reality is what we have to do is believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and accept Him as our Lord and Savior. We cannot get caught up in the trap that we can get to Heaven any other way. We do not get to heaven by the good works we do, by the books we read or by the people we hang out with. It takes a personal relationship with Christ. And we must remember not to boast about our own good works, but instead we should give all the glory to God.

When we have a relationship with Jesus, we want to do good works because we are inspired to live like Christ and love others. The Bible tells us to help the poor, love our enemies and share the Gospel with others. Instead of taking the credit for what we do, we give the praise and thanks to our loving Father. When we walk closely with the Lord we continue to grow in our faith each day and we want to live out what the Bible teaches us.

This verse also reminds us that God loves us no matter what we have done! For some people, it is hard to have faith that God loves them no matter what mistakes or sins they have committed. Our God is a forgiving God and He shed his blood to free us from our sins. Yes, all of our sins, no matter how big or small they are. When we ask for forgiveness, Christ heals our wounds and helps us walk closer with Him. If you have never taken the chance to ask Jesus to be a part of your life I encourage you to do so. There is no time like today, to ask Jesus into your heart and ask Him to forgive your sins. The God who created you and knows everything about you wants to be a part of your life. Asking Jesus to be a part of your life is not difficult but it takes courage and faith. The greatest peace of all comes from having Christ as your personal savior and He will guide you every step of the way in everything you do. He is the greatest friend we could ever ask for and He will never leave or forsake us in our time of need.

Prayer for the week: Dear God, Thank you so much for your amazing grace that saves us from our sins. Please forgive us for the times when we think we can do things on our own. Help us not to boast but to give you all the praise. Please help us to give you all of the glory in every situation we go through. It is only by faith in You that we can live our life for You focused on our heavenly home. Thank you Lord, for the wonderful gift of salvation. In Your precious name I pray. Amen.

Discussion questions:

How has a personal relationship with Jesus changed your life?

If you have not accepted Christ as your savior, what is standing in the way?

Rhubarb pudding is a treat

Last Saturday when I was visiting my friend Jen, I discovered she had a huge rhubarb patch with some very fine looking rhubarb! We picked lots and lots of rhubarb and she let me take a bunch home with me. For some reason this year, I am just loving the taste of rhubarb.

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I wanted to make rhubarb like my grandma used to make with tapioca. I have not had it this way in years but it sounded so good. As I was looking at tapioca to buy in the grocery store, I decided I did not want to buy a whole box for a one recipe and the idea came to me to use chia seeds and make a pudding. The recipe I came up with is similar to the cranberry chia pudding I shared earlier on my blog. See that recipe here. Chia seed pudding can me made with all different types of fruit so be sure to experiment and have fun!

So Sunday was my rhubarb day. I started out my morning making a refreshing rhubarb drink. This recipe came from Freya at 10 Acres Flat in our first food share box last week (read more about 10 Acres here). In her letter last week to shareholders, Freya said she was hesitant to share a rhubarb recipe because everyone around here already has a family favorite. She did however share a recipe for making rhubarb juice and serving it over ice. The recipe piqued my interest-as I had never thought of making rhubarb into a juice. So I of course, had to try it. It was tasty.

Then later in the day, I decided to try my rhubarb pudding idea.

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This is the rhubarb cooked with honey and it tastes great this way! So if you don’t want it to become the consistency of pudding you can eat it just like this. It tastes good!

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However, if you want it to turn out pudding consistency you can put the rhubarb and honey in the blender and then add coconut milk and blend. And then stir in the chia seeds and refrigerate for at least 3 to 6 hours. This yummy treat has been my breakfast each morning this week. It is very different from my regular breakfast of eggs or a smoothie but I am finding it keeps me full (the chia seeds are great for this and the healthy fats in the coconut milk) and it is a nice treat in the morning.

I am happy that I have enough rhubarb to put some in the freezer so I can make Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp or this pudding again when rhubarb is no longer in season.

And in less than two weeks the Worthington Farmers Market in downtown Worthington will be under way and more fresh, local food will be available!

Rhubarb Pudding

2 cups chopped rhubarb

1/2 cup local honey

3 tbsp. chia seeds

1/2 cup water

1 cup coconut milk (or any milk of choice)

In a pan cook rhubarb, honey and water on medium heat until fully cooked about 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool. Then put rhubarb mixture and coconut milk in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl (that has a lid) and add chia seeds. Stir well. Put lid on bowl and put in refrigerator for at least four hours or overnight.

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Wellspring Devotion June 3, 2014

When I first wrote this devotion (on May 4, 2014) I was not sure if I would share it on my blog. It is emotional, it is truthful and it shows me as the sinful being that I am. I quickly realized my blog is called Be Real for a reason and in order for us to grow and change and become closer to God we have to sometimes take a hard, honest look at our lives and realize where we need to spend some time. I have read this particular devotion many times since I wrote it and it is helping me stay focused on the areas I really need to work on right now. Each day, I have tried to remember to pray for the “gentle and quiet spirit” mentioned in 1 Peter 3:4.

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Psalm 51:6-13-“Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”

A few weeks ago in church, a song leader in our church read the words of this Psalm with music playing peacefully in the background. It was a day my heart was heavy and filled with sadness because I had treated people in my family poorly. I used harsh words that hurt them and I was sure not showing Christ’s love with my actions. It is so easy to take out our frustrations and pain on those closest to us and it is also where it can cause the most hurt. After a night with not much sleep, the church service on this particular Sunday could not have been more fitting for where I was. That powerful reminder that we are sinners and we need the blood of Jesus to wipe us clean and make us new again is just what I needed to hear.

Not sleeping well, being overwhelmed with sad emotions, realizing my behaviors are hurting people gave me a much needed wake-up call on that day. Sometimes we have to feel so sad about what we have done so we can take the proper steps to correct the situation.

During the sermon on that same Sunday our pastor read 1 Peter 3:4-“but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in God’s sight very precious.” Awww, how those words spoke right to my calloused heart. And I wrote quickly and boldly in my Bible. “I pray for a quiet spirit.” I even circled the word quiet spirit and wrote “Amanda needs this,” in the margin of my Bible. We are all a work in progress and for those of you who know me well you know that there are times when a quiet spirit is needed. I am so filled with passion and energy that sometimes I come off so intense without meaning to be. How thankful I am that our God is a patient God and He loves me even with all of my shortcomings. And it is only with God’s gracious help that I can begin to work toward that gentle and quiet spirit.

Right after the song leader read the above verses from Psalm, we sang “Amazing Grace My Chains are Gone.” What appropriate timing. From a very young age, Amazing Grace has always been one of my very favorite songs. When I heard it when I was young it would bring tears to my eyes and many times give me goose bumps. This Sunday in church I could not even sing all of the words to this beautiful song because I was so overcome by tears and emotions. I always said I want this song at my wedding, funeral and any other important times in my life. Apparently, this was a pretty important Sunday teaching me some lessons I really needed to hear.

Prayer for the week: Dear Lord, Help me to start each day with your everlasting love. Let your joy fill my body so I can do your will in the place where I am. Please help me to see my shortcomings and ask you for forgiveness. Give me the strength to make changes in my life so I can be more like you. When the devil is creeping into my life, help me to see his lies for what they are. And when he is attacking my life, let me cling to you and the Bible for my shield until that wonderful day when you will return. In your precious name I pray. Amen.

Discussion questions:

Do you have a daily habit that helps you remember to live each day focused on God?

Is there an area of life where the devil has been bringing you down to keep you from growing closer to God?