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Spaghetti Sauce

4 Jul

I wanted to write something tonight. I really did. I wanted to write something profound, something amusing and winsome, something worthy of a link from ‘the’ Tim Challies. That’s the only reason I care to write, really. But I got nothing.

It’s technically Wednesday now, so I shouldn’t actually be posting anything, since I’m infringing on Amy’s day… my apologies, Amy. But lest all you avid readers out there should think I have disappeared forever, I shall at least post a recipe. Don’t we all need a good spaghetti sauce recipe?  I think we do. So if you don’t already have a fave, try this one out. It’s kind of a mish-mash of my own recipe with some ideas from Mel’s version.  Bon Appetit!

Spaghetti Sauce

1 tbsp or so of olive oil
1 large onion, diced small
1-2 red peppers, diced small
1 green pepper, diced small
1 carton fresh mushrooms, halved and sliced (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp red pepper flakes
2 lbs lean ground beef
2 (28 oz) cans diced tomato, pureed with immersion blender
½ cup tomato sauce
¼ cup brown sugar
3 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1 ½ tsp thyme
2 bay leaves
1 pinch or so of fennel seeds
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and peppers (and mushrooms if using) and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and sauté until fragrant. Add ground beef and season lightly with some salt and fresh ground black pepper. Cook until browned and drain slightly if necessary.

Add tomatoes and the rest of the spices. Add more salt (1/2 to 1 tsp) and pepper, and allow to simmer for about 1 hour, over low to medium heat.

Feel free to add a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar and a large handful of parmesan cheese at the end. I sometimes do, sometimes don’t.

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Perfect Peace

29 May

Lately, I’ve been troubled in my thoughts regarding my youngest daughter and her speech development. I’ve basically fretted to the point where I’m convinced she needs therapy and will struggle for life. My husband thinks I’m crazy. For two days now though, my thoughts have been consumed with this. I’ve been short with my other two children as I read article after article on this topic on the internet, and as I keep pushing Madalyn to practice her words.

Peace has not reigned in my home nor in my heart.

The instance above is not unusual as of late. Something or other has been disrupting any peace that I think I might have in a given moment. It may be due to some unnecessary pressure I’m putting on myself, like those photo albums, or perhaps, warranted guilt over my sin.

It may be because my ‘To Do’ list is longer than ever and my time available to accomplish things gets shorter with every passing second. It might be that I’m striving after things that the Lord hasn’t seen fit to give me, or I’ve been stressing about a lack of personal abilities and gifts.

Sometimes I worry about whether I’m doing enough for my children, whether or not I’m being a “good” enough mom. Am I enjoying them enough? Am I feeding them the right foods? Should I make more from scratch? Should we go organic? Should I read to them more? Are they smart enough? Am I shepherding them appropriately?

Other times my mind is barraged with questions regarding my role as wife or with my other household responsibilities.  Am I serving my husband enough?  Am I being financially conscious enough with my spending?  Should I spend more time on the budget and see where we can save more money?  What about being eco-friendly?  Oh no.  I should try making homemade yogurt again so we can cut down on the containers that we waste. I need to help save the earth.

My mind and thoughts have been pulled in a million directions lately, swirling around with questions and potential but inadequate solutions.

Do I sound a mess?  Are you getting a feel for the chaos and frantic state of my insane mind? I just read over what I wrote in this post so far.  I think my husband is right.  I’m most likely crazy.  Maybe I just need to get uncrazy.

Well whether or not I am, I’m definitely headed in that direction, because that’s what happens to us folk who constantly fill our minds with this stuff.

Thankfully, my husband was praying the other night during our small group and he quoted Isaiah 26:3, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”

The Lord caused these words to grip my heart and captivate my mind.  Peace, for those whose minds are stayed on Him.  Peace. Not chaos.  Not fretfulness.  Not worry.

In some sense, many of my questions and concerns may seem like legitimate things to be concerned with, especially if I didn’t just list them all at once. After all, I need to be wise in my actions and walk in a manner worthy of my calling. However, my lack of peace clearly indicates a deeper heart issue.  A mind that is not stayed on my Lord.  A mind that is preoccupied with figuring out how to live without looking at Jesus. A heart that ultimately does not trust the author and finisher of my faith.

There are so many things that we can concern ourselves with in this world, so many good causes, so many needs, so many activities or hobbies, so many things we can fear, and we can work ourselves into a tizzy thinking about it all.

In his abundant kindness, my gracious heavenly Father reminded to fix my eyes on Him, to fix my eyes on Jesus.  And when I’m doing this, the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and my mind, and all those things that I’ve been so absorbed with “will grow strangely dim”.

Cinnamon Rolls

22 May

These are my most favouritest cinnamon buns ever!  My sister-in-law had the idea to use this buttermilk biscuit recipe as the base for these rolls.  Pure genius.

Since we’ve been doing these rolls, I have seen different versions out there using a biscuit base, so these are not novel, but in case you’ve yet to try them, you should definitely do it.  Right this second. These are probably the best version that exists, in the whole entirety of the entire world.  😉

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
2  ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 tbsp sugar
½ cup butter, cold, cut into small cubes
1 cup buttermilk

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
3 tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and sugar in a mixing bowl.  Using two knives, a pastry blender or your fingers, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Add buttermilk all at once to dry ingredients and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently eight to 10 times. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 10 x 12 inch rectangle, about a 1/3 inch thick.

In a separate bowl combine brown sugar, softened butter and cinnamon until a paste-like, spreadable consistency is achieved.

Spread onto rolled dough.  Roll up like a jelly roll.  Cut into 1-inch to 1 ½ inch pieces.

Lightly grease a pie plate and place cinnamon rolls cut side down into the pan.

Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes or until tops are lightly browned.

GLAZE:  Using approximately ½ cup icing sugar, add enough milk (small amount, it goes far) to make a thin glaze. Drizzle over cinnamon buns when they have cooled a slight bit.  Just a slight.

Enjoy!

A Living Picture

8 May

I opened a Google document shortly after the birth of my first daughter.  My husband gave me the idea to start recording some of the cute things that Susannah did and any milestones that she reached. Good idea, honey.

I have some friends who opened up an e-mail account for their first son when he was born, so they could write e-mails to him as he grows up. So sweet.

I know some people who do yearly scrapbooks of their kids, or have kept perfect baby books, documenting anything and everything about their children. Awesome.

I have heard of those crafty folk, who make lovely quilts for each of the children, something they can keep forever that will hold meaning and memories.

I’ve read about people that write letters to each of their children on their birthdays, recording their love for the child and their prayers for them. What an encouraging, beautiful treasure to have.

Facebook shows me all the fancy new maternity pics that people are having done, and then these nifty month-by-month photos of the new babies.

Pinterest bombards me with so many amazing ideas of things I can do with my children, for my children, or about my children.

And the list goes on.

All of these things are so neat and so great, but you know what, I’m basically having an anxiety attack over here thinking about all the things that I did not do for my children.  The maternity photos? Umm…no, didn’t really want to have pictures reminding me of what I looked like 50 pounds heavier. But maybe I should have? For the children! To preserve the memories! What have I done?!

The month-by-month photos? Missed that boat with Susannah. It wasn’t even invented then. Forgot about it with Caitlyn, and then I attempted it with Madalyn, but I just couldn’t seem to make it work. Now I don’t know what they looked like at each stage! And I can’t even present them with a cute little book so they can compare themselves to their children. Cue the hyperventilation.

The Google documents that I started for my girls….well let’s just say that Madalyn’s is a little sparse by comparison. She apparently doesn’t do anything cute, or reach milestones.  I went to write it in tonight, out of guilt, and then I started panicking over all of the things I’ve neglected to record.

Now what’s the point of this post? Truth be told, I actually had no idea as I started writing, I just knew I was feeling tons of guilt and failure when I thought about writing anything to do with motherhood. I could only think of all the things I’ve wanted to do, attempted to do, and have failed to do adequately. I could think only of all the things these other children will have growing up, that my girls might have liked but won’t have.

But as I wrote, by the Lord’s grace, and by my husband’s loving instruction, I was humbly reminded, that these so called “failures” are not failures at all. Not even close. Oh, I definitely fail as a mom, so often, but these things that I am stressing about, they are not failures and I have no reason to feel any guilt over them.

In fact, the only guilt I should feel is over the fact that I am more concerned about having elaborate photo books for my children than I am about how I am showing them Christ.

As inspiring as some of these ideas I mentioned above are, we as christian moms are not called to do all of these extra things for our children. As an aside, I would probably even wager that half the time we want to do these things for our own sake rather than theirs, whether for pleasure or for self-congratulation. I know this is true for myself, at least.

On the contrary, we are called to “love the Lord our God with all our hearts and with all our souls and with all our strength and with all our minds, and our neighbors as ourselves”.  What will matter to my children is how great I make my God look, and how much they see me seeking after him and serving others, including them, because of that love.

Instead of being concerned with whether or not I can give my children picture books of themselves, I want to be committed to and consumed with giving them a living picture of a mom who seeks to live out the greatest commandment.

Called to Confess

1 May

I sat down at the computer last night to write a blog post. Nothing came to me. Well, nothing in the form of a blog post anyway. Something else came, though. It crept in slowly, cautiously, masked and disguised as something far less ugly than what was actually hidden beneath.

I’d just read a couple of amazing blog posts by a dear sister who has an ability to write and convey her thoughts and biblical truth in such a beautiful and poetic way, and although I was deeply uplifted by her words, I found myself becoming reluctant to write because my own ability is inferior to hers. She uses metaphors and language that really allows you to feel with her and feel what she’s intending to say. It’s like the words come to life! I thought, “Why can’t I write like that? Why can’t I use images like raging waters and other aspects of nature to bring my writing to life? Why can’t I find better descriptive words? Why doesn’t anything come more easily to me? Do I even do anything really well?”

I closed the computer and went to bed, attempting to preach truth to myself, while trying to understand exactly what was going on in my restless, chaotic heart. It was as though the winds of my heart were swirling in anticipation of an imminent, ominous storm. Winds of my heart swirling? What does that even mean?  Sigh. Strike that attempt at a metaphor (or is it a simile), from the record.

Anyhow, back on track. I woke this morning and decided I would just be content with not writing today and it’s okay that I’m not that great at anything.  I’m just struggling with envy, covetousness, and pride. Bad. I labelled it, and I moved on.

For some reason though, I still felt unsettled, a slight tugging at my conscience.

Well, I opened my facebook for a few minutes this morning while the kids were playing and I saw that Tim Challies is writing a couple of posts on The Lost Sin of Envy. Great. He’ll probably articulate all my thoughts way more eloquently than I can ever hope to.  I decided to give the post for today a quick read, figuring it would resonate with some of my current struggles.

And it did. And that feeling of unsettledness that I was feeling started stirring even more. Tim paints an incredibly ugly, yet accurate picture of envy and as I read, my convictions grew. I had recognized pride in my life, but somehow in my identification of it, I forgot its vileness, its disdainfulness. When I looked at my envy, my pride and my covetousness, it was almost palatable. I gave it the right name, but that’s about it. I wasn’t recognizing it for what it actually was.

I’ve always prided myself (how ironic) on being able to identify sin in my life, but so often I forget that I need to confess it. It’s as though I’ve come to equate identification of sin with confession of sin. As I read Tim’s biblical description of envy, my patient, longsuffering Father reminded me that I needed to go to Him.

I, so often, forget the value or need for confession. I’ve made my sins acceptable, not recognized them for what they really are, and I know that I’m forgiven for all of them anyway. Confession can therefore seem almost incidental—the mere dotting of an “i”.  Obviously this is patently untrue, but I know that I definitely minimize its value and necessity.

It is at the foot of the cross, as I confess my sin, where my heart engages with my God and I become reminded afresh that He is God, and I am not. It is where I am able to recall the depth and breadth and height of his love, where I see His holiness, and I once again long for His glory. As I start to confess, the Holy Spirit works, melting that layer of ice that has begun to encompass my heart. I begin to realize how offensive my sin is, how much grace I’ve received and how much more I need. I remember that I’m not called to identify my sin, I’m called to confess it, and then to mourn over it and then to battle it. To the death.

Oh God, give me grace.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Just One Of Them Days

24 Apr

This is my longest blog post.  Also, it has no point.

It’s Monday night as I write.   You’ll be reading this sometime on Tuesday but I don’t feel like pretending it’s Tuesday morning.  Ya know? I feel like it just won’t flow the same.  So it’s Monday night.  10:08pm and here I am.

I woke up this morning, with high hopes for the day.  It was going to be a fresh start.  I’ve been struggling to be in the word, I haven’t been swimming in like a month, and I just haven’t been doing the best job managing the house.  So today was the day…a fresh start, with lots of resolutions and new ideas.

Read the bible, drink eight glasses of water, no chocolate, make homemade apple sauce with flax seed in it, try my hand at homemade yogurt, schooling with the kids, play with the kids, go swimming. Yeah, flax seed and homemade yogurt.  Shoulda suspected something was terribly wrong right there.

Well my body forgot to join my good intentions for the day, especially my head.  It just felt like it was in a cloud all day. I felt like I couldn’t really focus on anything and all that I wanted to do was crawl back in bed and close my eyes for like five hours.  Not the plan, nor an option, so I pressed on, hoping to get some energy as I checked items off my list.

So I burnt the apple sauce. Apple sauce.  Burnt it.  Maddie cried when I tried to feed it to her. Eight apples in the garbage. Scratch that plan about having homemade apple sauce in the fridge for the week.

The blog I read about making yogurt sounded so easy. It lied. Scratch that plan about having homemade yogurt in the fridge for the week.

Why am I making these things?  Don’t they sell these things at the grocery store?  Already prepared?  Right.

Well, so I wasted some apples and some milk and my time but at least I could get my exercise in for the day. Off I headed to the pool, in my new borrowed swimsuit. My other one fell apart, and I just haven’t had time to go bathing suit shopping.  Plus I hate swimsuit shopping. .

Well, I got to the pool and it was pretty packed but I managed to find a lane to swim in. I took off from the edge, all excited and ready to be reunited with my love of swimming…. and it was at this moment that I realized that my bathing suit top was a little large on me.  It’s a two piece tankini, with a skirt. My anticipation of feeling refreshed  and invigorated quickly dissipated and was replaced by  sudden panic and embarrassment. My mind began to desperately seek a non-awkward solution to this problem.

I could tie the straps up with my hair tie and tighten them?  Weird. Plus then I wouldn’t have anything in my hair to keep it back, and for some reason I chose not to wear my swim cap tonight. Flowing hair, a bathing suit with a skirt and a tankini top tied back with a hair elastic just didn’t seem like the appropriate look for some sporty swimming. I changed to the backstroke on my way back to the edge of the pool.  I don’t even know how to do the backstroke properly. Then I mustered up all my dignity and left the pool, after one clumsy lap.  Good thing I asked that lady to squeeze over so I could swim beside her.

On my way home from the pool, I convinced myself that I should go into Loblaws and buy some of the things that I’d wanted to pick up earlier that day and didn’t get to. You know, because I was too busy burning apple sauce and wasting milk. I thought I could redeem some of the day, if I just got the steel cut oats I wanted. Then I could at least make some crock pot oatmeal and serve my children a wonderful nutritious breakfast in the morning. I convinced myself that it didn’t matter that my hair was soaking wet and I was wearing sweat pants with crocs and socks and my glasses were missing half of one arm so they were sitting slanted on my face. It didn’t matter. Steel cut oats matter. I parked the car and reached for my wallet.

Oh right. I left it at home, because I locked the key in my locker the other day at the pool when I took the kids for swimming lessons and they had to cut my lock in half.  No lock, no wallet at the pool.  No steel cut oats.

Well on the bright side, I had something to write for this blog post. Take two tomorrow!

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup

17 Apr

Well, winter has come and gone (kinda, it never really came it seemed), but I’m still making some soups before the weather gets too warm! This is an easy, meaty and hearty soup and it’s mostly done in the slow cooker.

Enjoy!

Beef, Barley and Mushroom Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 pound stewing beef or sirloin steak, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound cremini, white or button mushrooms, stems trimmed and caps sliced
  • 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Worcestershire sauce, a few splashes
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking barley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, toss together beef/steak, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and olive oil; season with salt and pepper, a few splashes of worcestershire sauce. Roast in oven until beef and mushrooms are browned, about 25 minutes. Transfer to a crock pot and add broth, carrots, barley and herbs. Season with more worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Cook on low for 8 hours. Top with fresh parsley, if desired.
Source: inspired by and adapted from Martha Stewart’s Roasted Beef, Mushroom and Barley Soup

The God of Nahum

3 Apr

I’ve been battling with fear a lot in recent weeks so I’d thought I’d share a bit of what the Lord has been teaching me and reminding me of, over the next few posts. This has been a consistent battle for me in my life and I wrote about the Lord’s grace to me through it, in a post on my old blog, several years ago. I thought I’d just start this topic off by sharing that experience with you.

———————–

Since I was a little girl I have struggled with fear. I still do now but to a different degree, and it has only seemed to intensify with the birth of my daughters. I’m not usually afraid during the day, but as soon as I lay my head on my pillow at night, I am plagued by fears, worries and anxiety. It is most always about evils in the world, and vivid imaginings of anything happening to my girls. Sometimes it gets bad enough that I need to wake my husband.

Well last night was no exception and I started to worry, but thankfully I was able to pray and sleep overwhelmed me quite quickly. I awoke this morning to read my Bible and I was completely blessed by my God, the God of Nahum.

In this book Nahum prophesied about God’s imminent judgement on Nineveh as they refused to repent. Known for the cruelty with which they treated other nations, God would now punish them and Judah could rejoice for this notorious people was about to fall. In the final verse of this book, after God has destroyed them, Nahum writes to the Ninevites, “There is no easing your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hear the news about you clap their hands over you. For upon whom has not come your unceasing evil.”

Now, my thoughts were neither novel nor profound, but I met with my God this morning and he gave me much comfort, and much to cling to for hope.

As I read of God’s intense anger and vengeance and wrath against Nineveh, I was so quickly and humbly reminded once again that God hates wickedness and evil more than I do. God destroyed this nation because of their evil, because he hated it! Nineveh was cruel and unrepentant and this fact did not go unnoticed by God. They seemed to prosper for a time, but God was still sovereign and God would not let them continue in their ways.

So often when I lay awake at night, my flesh tells me the lie that if God hated the evils in this world as much as me, he would not allow them at all. But when I read Scripture I see clearly that this is not the case, but is in fact quite the opposite. I may not know all the details and intricacies of God’s sovereign will, nor understand why he works the way that he does, but I know that he is good, and he loves goodness and kindness, and hates sin and iniquity.

In the first chapter of Nahum, when God’s wrath and anger are being depicted, his goodness and slowness to anger are also woven right into this picture. His anger at sin and his goodness are not separated, but are so uniquely intertwined:

“The LORD is a jealous and avenging God; the LORD is avenging and wrathful; the LORD takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.” (Nahum 1:2-3)

God’s ways are good and he is for those who take refuge in him (Nahum 1:7). By God’s grace, when I lay down to sleep tonight, the words of the Psalmist will comfort me,

“Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling” (Psalm 46: 2-3).

Nesting for Glory

27 Mar

You know that saying about Jack? The one that goes something like this….”I’m a Jack of all trades, but master of none”. Yeah, that one. We hear that and we’re supposed to think, poor Jack, he’s not a master of anything. That poor guy!

Well, that’s not me. I don’t think that about Jack and I’m not Jack. In fact, being Jack sounds pretty great to me. Sadly, I’m more like Jack’s friend. I see all the cool things he can do, and I like them, all of them, and I want to do them too. I want my cupboards to look like this, and I want to be able to decorate like this and dress like this.  So I try, quickly realize I can’t manage and then I’m sad.

So what is this? What is it in me that longs to be good at these things or even just do these things? I get so easily caught up in the hustle bustle of this world.  I look here and think “wow”, and I look there and I think, “amazing”.  I want to do that! I want to be like Jack!

There’s nothing wrong with that right? Nothing wrong with trying to better myself and accomplish more right?  Well maybe not. But maybe just maybe the problem is that I’m looking for comfort in this world to a degree that would only be appropriate if this world were all there was—if this was it.

And that’s exactly why this is an issue for me. This world isn’t all that there is. And here I am attempting to store up treasures, as though it were. It’s like I’m a pregnant woman, and I’m “building my nest” in someone else’s home. 

Jack and all his abilities distract me. They make me forget that this isn’t my home. In his book, Adopted For Life, Russell Moore reminds us that this “terrestrial orphanage” that we like to think is our home is a pit compared to what awaits us. Living in North America can do that. We can forget that we’re suffering and just strive after making ourselves all cozy like here on earth.

1 Peter reminds us too that we are exiles and sojourners in this land and we have an imperishable, undefiled and unfading inheritance awaiting us in glory. The God of all grace will be there to welcome us to our true and eternal home and yet I insist on longing for more organized shelves, more than I long for that.

Maybe I don’t need to be so jealous of Jack …

Stuffed

20 Mar

I just stumbled upon an interview with some health food guru yesterday.  I have no idea who she was, but she was discussing a new method to “healthify” your life!  I think it was some crazy vegan diet, but regardless, I found myself intrigued by what she said.  This probably isn’t revolutionary, but for the purpose of my post let’s just roll with it.

The challenge/diet or whatever you want to call it, basically requires you to introduce some new things into your lifestyle, before you are required to take anything away. So for example, on day one, you would just add drinking water to your diet, a lot of it. On day two, you would then need to eat an apple and also drink your water.  On day three, you would add two tablespoons of flax seed to who knows what, and eat your apple and drink your water.

That’s as far as I listened.  I can only take so much health food talk.  From what I gathered, the point of this was that you are starting to fill your stomach on those things that take up a lot of room and that will keep you feeling full.  So by the end of this challenge you’ve added so many new things into your diet that you just don’t have room for a lot of the old ‘junk’.  You won’t feel like eating other things because your belly is satisfied. And apparently apples and flax seed and water do some special magic in that belly and make you feel full longer. Blah blah blah. Enough about healthy eating.   But to be fair, in theory, this makes a lot of sense.

Now hold that thought.

I’ve been feeling very spiritually dry lately.  Sin has been gripping me more…fear, worry, discontentment, covetousness and I’ve found myself seeking joy and peace in things that I find fun or that I like or want. Like Pinterest or cooking, or having a cleaner house or decorating my home or getting thinner.  Depends on the day.

With all of the social media that surrounds us, it’s extremely difficult not to get consumed with the myriad of ‘hobbies’ or ‘causes’ that are presented to us on a daily basis..  I see people running crafty businesses or making amazing food or fixing up their homes and I want to do all of that. I think I should, or I need to. That would serve my family wouldn’t it?  And I would enjoy it.  I’ve been hungering for these things and seeking to fill myself with them and I haven’t been satisfied.

Different things might tempt each of us, and I was reminded by John Piper in his book, A Hunger For God that “the weakness of our hunger for God is not because he is unsavory, but because we keep ourselves stuffed with ‘other things’”.  A lot of times, these are not even bad things, but because we are stuffing ourselves on them, we have no room for that which is best for us, yet we are left still wanting more.

And just like that diet above, we need to start by adding those things that will awaken our appetite and hunger for God.  We need to make sure we’re doing those things that are best for our souls.   If we’re filling up on those things, we’ll stop seeking our joy in counterfeits but we will find it, in the only true joy, Jesus Christ.

The greatest adversary of love to God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil, but for the simple pleasures of earth. For when these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is scarcely recognizable, and almost incurable…… These are gifts of God. They are your basic meat and potatoes and coffee and gardening and reading and decorating and traveling and investing and TV-watching and Internet-surfing and shopping and exercising and collecting and talking. And all of them can become deadly substitutes for God. (John Piper, A Hunger For God, 14-15)

So what are you filling up on?   I pray that God would give us an appetite for Him.  I want us to find our rest, our hope, our joy and our peace in Him alone, for our good and His glory.

Here’s a song that I love from the latest Sovereign Grace Music worship album that is on the same theme and hopefully will help you yearn for more of Jesus.

We Hunger and Thirst – Sovereign Grace Music from Sovereign Grace Music on Vimeo.