Monday, December 20, 2010

Sacrificial Gifts

I'm not a deep thinker, and I'm certainly not qualified to teach anyone anything, but this just jumped out at me today. Not groundbreaking by any means, I'm sure.

People often quote Philippians 4:19 when someone they know is experiencing hardship:

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

But I've never heard anyone give the context when they offer this as comfort:

14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. 15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only. 16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again. 17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit. 18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. 19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. 20 To our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Amen.

Paul's reassuring the Philippians that God would supply their needs after they have given sacrificially to his ministry. No, we don't earn God's grace or favor, but he does expect us to give. Anything we have is part of "his riches" anyway. We worry about the future and hoard our money and resources, forgetting that he can easily provide more if we find ourselves in need. I think saving is wise and responsible, but we shouldn't do it out of a sense of fear that we won't have enough, or at the cost of keeping it from someone else who needs it more. Christ gave sacrificially. He gave his life.

I'm sure it's more complicated than that. I don't know. Just thinking about it today.

Oh yeah, I also tend to forget about that little "to God be the glory" part at the end.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies

I got this recipe several years ago off of a bag of mint-flavored Hershey kisses. My favorite cookie to make during the Christmas season. Lovely and minty and wicked easy. Unfortunately, they don't make mint-flavored solid chocolate kisses anymore, but this is still pretty wonderful with the newer mint truffle kisses. I suppose they'd be good with plain kisses too; they just wouldn't be minty (I tried them with candy cane kisses and didn't like them as much, probably because of the crunchy bits).

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies

2 sticks butter or margarine
2/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 cup cocoa
48 mint truffle Hershey kisses
powdered sugar

Heat oven to 350. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in large bowl until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa. Gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Mold scant tablespoon dough around each chocolate, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool about one minute. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving, if desired. Makes about four dozen (I usually get just a little over three dozen out of it).

Minty chocolate-y sugary goodness.

BBQ Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

I don't remember where this recipe came from, but my dad used to make it a lot for parties and I got it from him. Easy appetizer that's super yummy. I can only make it when there's a party; otherwise I could literally eat the entire pan myself (well, maybe I'd give Damon a couple). That much bacon is probably not so good for you.

Barbeque Bacon-Wrapped Water Chestnuts

2 cans whole water chestnuts (6-8 oz each)
1 lb. bacon
1 c. brown sugar
1 c. ketchup
a little mustard (dry or prepared)

Drain chestnuts. If some are large, you can cut in half. Cut bacon in quarters (though the next time I make this, I'll probably do thirds as quarters didn't wrap completely around the chestnuts). Wrap chestnuts with bacon pieces and place in 9x12 pan close together.

Aren't they cute?

Next, broil until bacon starts to brown and remove from oven. Insert toothpicks through bacon into chestnuts to hold together. Drain grease.

Mix ketchup, brown sugar and mustard together and spoon over chestnuts. Heat through in oven before serving.

-to drain grease gently, tilt pan and dip out with spoon at one end.
-bacon may shrink a little in broiling. Toothpick together as best as you can.

Sorry I don't have a picture of them finished. They disappeared too quickly.