My daughter made a delicious prime rib roast for Christmas Dinner and I brought home one of the rib bones. I had soup on my mind!
I first made this soup many years ago for our Christmas Eve extended family gathering. Soup and sandwiches were on the menu and I was already making creamy Oyster Stew for my daddy, so I wanted something with a hearty brown broth. The recipe was in a commercial cooking textbook I had, but I've changed it over the years.
It is important to note that you can start the soup with any roasted beef scraps. I used this beautiful bone that still had plenty of meat on it. Roasted is the key because it adds important flavor. The other ingredients you need are sliced potatoes, onion, celery and caraway seeds, onion and garlic powder.
Begin the process by gently reheating the rib bone (with plenty of meat and a little fat still attached) in a soup pot. If you are using left over pot roast or if your bone doesn't have enough fat on it, you might need to add some olive oil to the pot.
Peel and slice 6 potatoes. Add just a handful of the slices to your pot and fry the potatoes. Add a sprinkle of the onion and garlic powders to the potatoes. Add a quarter of an onion, sliced, to the pot. After the potatoes and onions have browned, add the rest of the potatoes to the pot. Frying these ingredients adds a wonderful sweet and nutty caramelization flavor to the soup. It is an important step.
Add 6 cups of water to the pot; add a rib of celery chopped; salt and pepper and 1 teaspoon of caraway seed. I add a sliced turnip to my soup, and if you feed turnip haters, they will never know it is in this big pot! Let the soup simmer for an hour. Test the flavor of the broth and if you need to add beef base or mushroom base, add it. I also like to add a handful of fresh or dried mushrooms in the last ten minutes of cooking. I add them at the end so they don't cook away. You can see three stages of cooking in this photo.
If I were serving this soup as a dinner party course, I'd probably garnish the bowl with a drop of sour cream and a sprinkle of fresh parsley or chopped chives. It is heavy enough to be a nice meal in itself, though and for Saturday is Soup Day, it usually goes right from the pot to a bowl and to the couch in front of the television!
Hope you try it. Do it your way and make your own version. I'll be sharing with a couple blog parties, so make sure you click through and visit those sites, too.
Luke Chapter 24
In this final chapter of the Gospel of Luke, we read about the resurrection of Jesus. God’s power gives Him new life so He could communicate with His followers and others.
The women went to the tomb, hoping to dress His body with their herbs and oils, but found the tomb to be empty. They wee astonished and when two angels appeared to them outside the tomb, they were told that Jesus had risen.
Jesus encounters two men walking to another town and he listens to their conversation, which was about what had happened to Him. The scripture says that they did not recognize Jesus until he sat with them at their table to eat.
Jesus then visited with His disciples, who did not recognize Him at first. When they finally did recognize Him, they were reluctant to believe that it was actually Him. He reminded all these people that what He had taught … that all the things told in the Old Testament had to happen. That He had to be killed, so He could be resurrected and ascend to Heaven. Everything else that occurs can only happen after these events happen. Jesus left their presence saying Peace be with you.
The Disciples and the women returned to Jerusalem to tell what they knew. The message of Jesus … salvation through the forgiveness of our sins … is to be told around the world and it began that day in Jerusalem.
In twenty-four chapters, Luke tells us everything we need to know about the life and the message of Jesus. Luke leaves us with the knowledge that God is great and merciful and that we should thank God for the gift of his Son. The Jesus Movement continues.
My take-away from this chapter is that I should not be surprised that people struggle as they come to salvation. The followers of Jesus … people who had been with Him through His ministry … couldn’t believe their eyes when they saw Him after He had risen. He had told them over and over what was going to happen. It had been prophesied and was written in the Old Testament, but they clearly did not believe Him. Finally, they believed and could share the news.
Let’s look at meals for Dr. Luke. He really did seem to enjoy weaving his writings around meals. On this Christmas Eve, as you read my post, search “Easter” in my blog and you’ll see several posts about my family’s Easter Dinners.
A couple dozen people have followed these blog posts about the Gospel of Luke. Some have sent me text messages and others have sent emails telling me that they needed to have this to read this season.
I wrote these because I needed to write them this season. Christmas is not an easy holiday for folks who have things going on in their lives … things that cause them to have trouble finding the Christmas spirit. We know who we are. If reading my posts helped in any little way … I’m glad.
I think the overall take-away from the Gospel of Luke … in the big picture of life and living … is to be assured that what we experience in this life was carved in stone at the beginning of time. That is hard to imagine that God planned all these things for us … the good and the bad. I don’t dwell on it, but I believe it … and I believe that everything that happens really does happen for a reason. I also believe that we might have to get much older and wiser to discover the reasoning, if we ever do!
I’m also certain that the birth of that little Baby in that stable in Bethlehem was a glorious miracle that launched a movement that changed the world. We probably need to be reminded of that these days, but we can be assured that in the midst of all the political bitterness … in all the evil and danger we see daily … there is a Heaven. I’m not sure where it is … maybe up there, may right here in another dimension, but it is a place waiting for us, when the right time comes.
We should celebrate Christmastime all year long. I think I do! Merry Christmas!
This chapter tells of the crucifixion. A group of people take Jesus to Pilate and they continue to accuse Him of stirring up the people and not paying taxes. Pilate told them he couldn’t find a reason to punish Jesus. When Pilate found out that Jesus was from Galilee, he sent him to Herod, who was responsible for Galilee. Herod couldn’t find a reason to punish Jesus either, so he went Him back to Pilate.
The charges against Jesus were that he was a revolutionary; that he incited people to not pay their taxes; and that he claimed to be a king (and Caesar was the king).
Pilate wanted to release Jesus. It was the custom to release a prisoner every Passover season. But the vicious crowd made the choice. They asked that Barabbas be released and that Jesus was crucified. Jesus was beaten in a way that made Him so weak that He should have died quickly, once hung on the cross, which He was expected to carry to Calvary. Simon carried the cross for Him. I don’t need to describe the details of the crucifixion, but in the Gospel of John, Jesus says says of His life that no one takes it from Me, but I lay in down of Myself.
Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Those words spoken by Jesus at the end are probably examples of a prayer He said all through His ministry. How many times did He face adversaries?
Jesus died on the cross. Joseph of Arimathea asked to have His body so He could be buried in his tomb. Then everyone rested on the Sabbath.
My take-away from this chapter takes me back to something I’ve written previously. Everything was carved in stone since the beginning of time, one of my dad’s favorite phrases. He believed it and I believe it. This tragic horribly sad story of crucifixion had to happen. It was a part of the plan.
It may seem a little strange to be reading about the crucifixion two days before Christmas, when we celebrate the birth. Several years ago, I stood next to a man watching our community’s Holiday Lights Parade, as floats went by us. One of the floats was built in two parts. The front was the Nativity and the back was Jesus hanging on the cross. This man was aggravated that anybody would put that on a float for Christmastime and I told him I thought the two events were connected. He scolded me. This man is attempting to run for a seat in Congress. That seat is currently filled by a man with strong religious roots, so I don’t think my parade-watcher stands a chance of winning!
One year, Joe and I wanted to celebrate the Feast of Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve. The Feast finds its origins in Italian-Catholic traditions pertaining to fasting on the day before the Christmas Day Feast. We were just interested in the food and I started cooking at about 2:00 in the afternoon and we ate fish seven different ways throughout the evening.
Follow this link to one of our favorite ways to prepare fish!
This chapter details the takes us to the Last Supper. Passover is being celebrated and Jerusalem is filled with lots of extra people who had heard Jesus speak, so they came to the city expecting great things. Jesus told the disciples to find a place to have their Passover meal and gave them exact instructions on finding that location.
The priests were afraid of Jesus and the impact He had on the people. They were afraid of their own population. They were looking for a way to capture Jesus and bring him to what they believed was justice. This is where Satan and Judas come in. Judas was a disciple, but Jesus knew that one of the twelve would betray him and He said so. The disciples looked around trying to decide which of them was the culprit. The priests paid Judas and Judas did the job.
The meal was prepared … and in one of the commentaries I read … the author suggested that Luke really liked to include meals in his text. He did! Of course, this meal is most important. Jesus continues to teach the disciples how to get along without Him. He details the significance of the bread, symbolizing his sacrificed body. He discusses the cup, symbolizing his blood. This establishes what we know today as the Lord’s Supper or Communion, an act that strengthens our connection to Christ. “In remembrance of Me” is the key.
While this is happening, the disciples are arguing about who will be in charge when Jesus is gone. Jesus tells them that authority comes from service. Jesus also tells Peter that he will betray him three times, and Peter does indeed. Peter doesn’t want to be connected to Jesus, fearing his own life. Jesus tells Peter that Satan has him, but that he will return to Jesus and that upon his return, Peter will strengthen the Jesus movement.
The story plays out. Jesus goes to the Mount of Olives to pray. He returns to find his disciples asleep. A group, with Judas at the front, comes to arrest Jesus. He is tortured and humiliated and the trial begins.
My take-away from this chapter … aside from the importance of re-energizing our spirit through the Lord’s Supper … is that there is a Judas and a Peter in everyone’s life. They exist in our circles of friends, in clubs, in church bodies, in places of employment, everywhere. How do we handle those kinds of people? I encountered one just this week … a Judas. This individual will sacrifice everybody on her team to make herself look especially good! I haven’t decided exactly how I will interact with her in the future! I will probably attempt to give her some motherly guidance and encourage her to be a member of the team and praise the team as a whole and not herself individually.
I’m happy to have learned that Luke liked to include meals in his text! I think there is strength in mealtime. Families and friends communicate better around food! Celebrations always include meals at our house. Enjoy this link to one our special celebrations for Phoebe!
In this chapter, Jesus warns his followers about the fall of Jerusalem, but the chapter begins with yet another of my favorite childhood stories. My daddy had to explain what a widow was and why it was so important to understand that she gave all the money she had … even though it was very little money. He explained that her gift was more important because it was all she had. I was probably five years old.
Going through this Gospel has really made me reminisce about all the people who helped raise me in church! Mother and Daddy did a great job teaching us and teaching other children, too … but I had some wonderful Sunday School teachers. I distinctly remember a teacher showing us two pennies in a little basket that we passed for our offering. She told the story explaining the importance of the widow’s gift.
Jesus talked about how the temple was going to be destroyed and how Jerusalem would fall. Of course, nobody wanted to hear that, so they asked Jesus when this would happen. He further described that many false messiahs would come and claim to be Jesus. He warned his followers not to be fooled by them and not to follow them. He told them that all the wars and earthquakes and famines would come and would be frightening, but that they had to happen. Jesus wept for Jerusalem because He knew what was going to happen, even though it would be another 40 years before the city was destroyed.
Jesus told them that there would be signs of His second coming and he shared the parable of the fig tree, using it as an example. The tree buds and summer is near. Fruit is coming. He said that in the same way, signs would predict the second coming.
Jesus is in Jerusalem, knowing exactly what is going to happen to Him. He is trying to prepare His followers in the best possible way. His instructions were simple. Be prayerful and be ready, always.
My take-away from this chapter is also simple. Always be ready! In old age, my dad would make me so angry when he would say he was ready … that he had more on the other side than he had on earth. I couldn’t imagine life without him and I couldn’t imagine that he really felt that way. Now that I am an orphan child and all the people who loved me unconditionally are on the other side, I understand! I’m far from ready, though! I have lots to do.
This has become one of my favorite wintertime recipes!
Roasted Butternut Squash
4 cups cubed raw butternut squash
2 Tablespoons orange infused canola oil
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
Place the squash on a heavy baking sheet. Drizzle the oil over the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Slice the orange and lay it over the squash. Roast at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until the squash is tender and slightly brown on the edges. Remove from the oven immediately and serve warm or at room temperature. Olive oil may be used instead of canola oil and if you don’t have orange infused oil, squeeze the juice and sprinkle the zest of an orange over the squash before roasting.
Time was drawing near for Christ to see the cross, and the leaders were drilling him and asking him lots of questions. They wanted to know by who’s authority he spoke and taught. They wanted to know who gave him the right to throw the money lenders out of the temple.
He answered them with a question, asking if the baptism of John was from men or from Heaven. They debated their answer, but told Him they didn’t know. They considered John a prophet and they did know, but they were after one thing: to trick Jesus.
Jesus uses a parable about tenant farmers and an owner of a vineyard. The owner left the vineyard in the hands of tenants. He sent one of his servants to obtain some fruit, and the tenants beat him and sent him away. This happened two more times. Finally, the owner sent his own son, but the tenants decided to just kill him. That would give them heir to the vineyard.
Jesus uses this story to tell the leaders what was going to happen to Him. Meanwhile, the Pharisees continue to try to trick Him. They sent spies in an effort to catch Him doing or saying something wrong. One asked Jesus if it was lawful for them to pay taxes to Caesar. This is where the memorable phrase comes from … “Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s” because Caesar’s face was on the money! Jesus asked them why they tried to test Him.
The Sadducees asked Jesus a question about a woman who lost her husband … then married her husband’s brother. Then the second husband died and she married another of her husband’s brothers. The questioned who she would be married to in Heaven. Well, that is a good question and I’m not sure I like the answer! The purpose is for Jesus to explain that in Heaven there will not be a patriarchal structure. Well, that still isn’t an answer for me and I’m just going to look for Joe Moore and I will expect to see my parents together!
My take-away from this chapter really pertains to that last parable. We simply don’t know what Heaven will be like. I’ve read lots of books about folks who claim to have gone to Heaven and returned to tell us about it. I believe we will be reunited with the folks we have loved on earth. I hope I meet some folks that I never met in this life, but who certainly are an important part of my ancestry. I also believe I’ll find a few dogs and a cat in Heaven because I loved them so much!
Honey Walnut Chicken Salad
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 ½ cups walnut pieces
One red bell pepper, sliced
2 cups pineapple chunks
1 cup sesame sticks
1 can cream of coconut
2 cups pineapple juice
Honey Pineapple Coconut Salad Dressing
To make six main course salads, sauté the chicken thighs in 2 tablespoons canola oil for four minutes on each side. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with pineapple juice. Bake them at 350 degrees for thirty minutes. Chill overnight, in the juice.
Glaze the walnuts by sautéing them in 2 tablespoons of the cream of coconut. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of onion powder and ½ teaspoon of chipotle powder. Transfer to a tray lined with waxed paper and let them cool.
Make the salad dressing by combining 1 cup of mayonnaise with ½ cup of pineapple juice, ¼ cup of Southern Illinois honey, ¼ cup of cream of coconut and a dash of rice vinegar.
Compose the salad by topping the greens with sliced chicken, red peppers, walnuts, pineapple and sesame sticks. Top with the dressing.
I patterned this salad after a favorite Chinese dish ... Honey Walnut Chicken ... and, of course, you don't have to use Southern Illinois honey!
This chapter begins with one of my favorite Bible stories for little children. Oh, I loved the song when I was little and I loved teaching it to kids. Zacchaeus was a wee little man! Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem and passed through Jericho. Some scholars believe that the only reason He went through Jericho was to meet Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a chief tax collector and he was a very rich man. He wanted to see Jesus, so he climbed a tree, so Jesus would also see him! When Jesus saw him He told him to get down because He was going home with him. The end of that story finds Zacchaeus admitting to his sins and Jesus proclaiming his
salvation. Zacchaeus gave money back to the poor, fourfold. Laws required that somebody who had stolen money would have to pay the amount stolen back … plus 20%. Zacchaeus did much more.
Jesus speaks in a parable about a rich man who traveled a distance to another place to ‘accept his kingdom’ and gave his servants some money to use while he was gone. When he returned, having been given a kingdom, one of his servants had multiplied his money ten times, so the new ruler gave him ten cities to govern. Another had multiplied his money five times, so he was given five cities to govern. A third hadn’t done anything with the money, so the rich man chastised him and had him give his money to the one who had multiplied his ten times.
This same rich man had rebellious citizens who hated him and said they wouldn’t be ruled by him. They were full of hate. So the new ruler had them slain. Life … being ruled by him or death. The meaning? Follow Jesus and live forever.
As Jesus got closer to Jerusalem, his followers thought they were going to see something magnificent. They though the Kingdom of God would mean bright lights and bells and whistles. Instead, Jesus tells them to go find a colt and bring it to him. A king entering his city would surely ride on a stallion. Not Jesus. He rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey and the people cheered. They didn’t know what was ahead of Him, but He did.
My takeaway from this chapter could be a deep understanding of what Jesus expects from us, but it is all about Zacchaeus and how magical that story is for little children. The hand motions are so much fun. It is so easy for kids to identify with the wee little man … and the message of not stealing and returning what doesn’t belong to us is easily taught! The song writer is unknown.
Zacchaeus was a wee little man
And a wee little man was he
He climbed up in a sycamore tree
For the Lord he wanted to see
And when the Savior passed that way
He looked up in the tree
And said, 'Zacchaeus, you come down!
For I'm going to your house today!
For I'm going to your house today!'
Zacchaeus was a wee little man
But a happy man was he
For he had seen the Lord that day
And a happy man was he;
And a very happy man was he
I think if Zacchaeus had eaten his spinach, he might have been taller! Follow this link for some spinach recipes. It really is good for you! Spinach!
In this chapter, Jesus tells his Disciples again that they are moving towards Jerusalem and He describes what will happen to him. He knows the cross is in his future.
He tells his followers that they should always pray … always be in the spirit of prayer. He tells them not to get frustrated and become discouraged and stop praying. I have to say that until we learn that prayer is answered, just not always what we are expecting, it is easy to give up on praying. I’m a firm believer in the power of prayer and I am certain that the more of us who join in prayer, the better. At one point in our family, my mother was ill and her mother was ill. She had asked for prayers for her mother. Grandmother improved and so did Mother. I asked her if she realized that she had gotten better, too … and she told me that she did realize that and that she was certain that her own improvement was also a result of the prayers. She said, “people are praying for our family.” She was right.
Jesus tells a story about a woman who continued to ask a judge to avenge her. The judge was no good, but finally helped the woman because he got tired of having to deal with her. He warns us not to pray constantly because we think God is reluctant to help us. In fact, it is just the opposite. As I said earlier, God may have answered our prayer and we just don’t know it. We might need to change the way we feel about something … and that sometimes comes with continued prayers.
Jesus also tells a story about people who are self-righteous. They pray and tell God how important they are! The suggestion is that God isn’t listening to folks who talk about themselves in their prayers. Those prayers are my will be done and not Thy will be done … kinds of prayers! It doesn’t work that way! Humility is required.
People had started taking their children to see Jesus and listen to his teaching. Some of his followers didn’t like this, but He made it clear that the children should be allowed. He warned that we should never block the way of a child.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter Heaven.” This phrase is a favorite of mine! Jesus tells of a rich man who asked Him how to enter the Kingdom of God. The rich man says that he follows all the commandments and is faithful. Jesus reminds him of his wealth and tells him to share it with the poor.
The last part of this chapter is the story of Bartimaeus, the blind man. He asked Jesus to restore his sight and Jesus did so … telling him that his faith had made him see.
My take-away from this chapter is all about prayer. My belief in the power of prayer was multiplied a hundred times when I was diagnosed with cancer. I couldn’t imagine leaving this earth and leaving behind my husband and daughter. I knew what losing me would do to my parents, because they had already lost one adult child. There were just a couple weeks between the time of my diagnosis and my surgery, but during that time one of my friends told me he was spending a lot of time on his knees for me! That meant he was kneeling and praying for me! I was humbled by that. My cancer was gone with surgery. I was one of the lucky folks who didn’t require any post-operative treatments. No chemotherapy, no radiation.
After a few weeks, I came to realize exactly why that happened. Young advertising reps that I worked with had a prayer chain going the morning of my surgery. People from television, radio and newspapers in multiple states were in communication and praying for me. A group of Methodist men had a prayer breakfast especially to remember me. Friends from a Pentecostal church in a little town where I had worked met together to pray for me. Of course, my own family and closest friends were remembering me that morning of the surgery. Oh, the power of prayer.
Chapter 17 is a little easier to understand than the last one! Jesus tells his disciples that they will be offended by other people, but that they need to be forgiving. He explains that the one who creates the stumbling block or levies the offence is the one who needs to be concerned. Jesus tells them that if their brother sins against them seven times and he repents seven times … that they need to be forgiving seven times.
Realizing how difficult this level of loving forgiveness is, the Disciples ask for increased faith. Jesus reminds them that faith the size of a mustard seed is enough … Remember that from a previous chapter? It multiplies.
Jesus also tells His followers that serving God does not give them the right to hold themselves above those who don’t serve. He explains that we should be thankful that we are given the opportunity to serve.
Additional text about giving thanks describes the fact that Jesus healed ten lepers and only one of them turned and offered praise and thanks. He reminds us again to be thankful.
The Pharisees, as usual, are watching Jesus and quizzing Him. They want to know when the Kingdom of God is coming. Jesus tells them that the Kingdom of God is right there, in their midst.
Then Jesus talks with his followers about His Second coming. He describes that it will be a surprise, it cannot be predicted by signs. He reminds them that they best way they can be prepared is to simply always be prepared.
Reading is always more fun when you have a cup of coffee and a snack. Luke has kept me reading quite a bit in the past two weeks, so I'm sharing my favorite recipe for scones ... in case you need a snack. Follow this link Orange Scones
If you want to be confused for a few days, reach Luke’s Chapter 16! It opens with a parable about a rich man’s steward who is stealing. The rich man tells his steward to be ready to account for what he has done. The steward sees a big problem in his near future! He is going to lose his job, so he goes to all the folks who owe his master and he decreases the amounts that are owed. The steward is hoping that one of the people he has helped, will like him and hire him after he loses his job with the rich man. Hmmm?
Many Bible scholars think that we are reading contemporary ways into text describing ancient ways. If that is true, the steward might have been simply reducing the bills by the amounts that would have been his commission. I like that concept! The rich man thought his steward had been smart in the way he handled the situation,
although he continued to think the steward was not trustworthy.
In the second part of the chapter, Jesus tells about a beggar and a rich man clothed in purple who lives the high life. The beggar is named Lazarus (not to be confused with Lazarus of Bethany) and he sits at the rich man’s front gate hoping for crumbs from the rich man’s table. He is ignored.
Jesus later describes how the beggar dies and is in the “bosom of Abraham”, while the rich man is in Hades. Jesus describes the afterlife.
My take-away from this slightly confusing chapter is that we will all be held accountable for the things we do. In fact, I think our conscience holds us accountable every single day for the things we do. I have often said, “I have to look at myself in the mirror every morning” so I have to do things the right way.
I also think these parables clearly explain that all the riches we can accumulate on earth will not get us to Heaven. I think much of the work detailed in the Gospels is about exactly that. Jesus is trying to let all people know that they are worthy.
My mother was so good at explaining parables. She was also good at setting her children straight if we disagreed with her … or questioned her too much! I’m sharing a recipe for something I made just yesterday. Mother used to make these a lot for my daddy. He loved them, and so did my husband, so I made them numerous times during apple harvest season right through to Christmas … because they are red! Thank you, Mama!
Red Hot Apples
I use yellow delicious apples for these and usually prepare about 3 pounds. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Put them in a large pot and add water just to the top of the apples. Bring the water to a slow boil and cook them about 10 minutes. Remove the apples from the water, but leave the water in the pot. Add ½ cup of sugar to the water and a 12 ounce package of red hot candies. Bring the water back to a simmer and let it cook until the candy dissolves. Remove the pot from the heat and add the apples back in. There should still be enough liquid to cover the apples. Let them sit out until they reach room temperature, then refrigerate them. The red syrup will color the apples a beautiful Christmas red!
Chapter 15 is pretty concise! One scholar describes it as one parable in three scenes. Jesus points out the importance of bringing in the lost sheep. Out of ten sheep, one was lost and He went to get it. He tells the story of the woman with ten coins. Having lost one, she gets her candle and begins to look for it until she finds it. Then the third scene is the story of the prodigal son. He left his home, squandered all his father’s money and then returned home and acknowledged the error of his ways. His father accepted him, embraced him. The other son, who had remained at home and worked was upset.
Jesus shows us three ways that people are lost, and in the account of the sons, He shows us that repenting is necessary.
Luke reminds us in this chapter that the Pharisees are still watching Jesus, closely. He is still teaching and healing on the sabbath. His grace accepts all kinds of people, and the Pharisees don’t understand that. They think that is inappropriate.
My take-away from this chapter is all about my childhood. In one of my Sunday School classrooms was the picture of Jesus among the lambs … with a lamb over his shoulders. I remember a teacher explaining that just like the lost sheep, we are all lost, but can be found. These stories Jesus told, and the illustrations that came much later, are indeed the perfect ways to teach … especially to teach children.
It is important to teach little children all the things they need to know and to do it in an appropriate setting. Phoebe was crazy about the penguin movies when she was little. Papa Joe was, too! So I had a party just for Phoebe, so she could learn more about these sweet creatures. Check out this link to the party pictures!
It is easy to read a message of “don’t be arrogant” into Chapter 14, and it is in that text. However, the most important message is that Jesus is teaching his followers … and there are many followers at this point … to go out and encourage all people … regardless of their place in society … to come to Christianity. He uses parables again to make this message clear.
Jesus doesn’t make up parables just to be telling a story. I have heard lots of people ask the question, “Why did He speak in parables that were hard to understand?” Actually, they weren’t hard to understand because He used everyday occurrences that people understood and knew about.
I love the analogy to the dinners or banquets and where you should sit. I love this because I have had friends who were guilty of assuming they were to sit at head tables, only to find themselves asked to move to another seat! I have had friends who jumped in to make sure they were in a picture, even though they didn’t have a place in that group. We call that photo bombing now and it is done in fun, but I’ve had colleagues who would make sure they got in a picture that a newspaper photographer was taking! I had a friend who threw a big party and invited a bunch of ‘hot shots’, many of whom didn’t show up. She was devastated, but if she had invited her ‘common’ friends … she would have had a crowd. I’ve also had the experience of hosting public functions where people show up who had not made their reservation. They were rude … yes … but also waiting for the best invitation to come along.
All of these things are discussed in this chapter, in the examples from Jesus. Isn’t that funny?
The Parable of the Dinner is an important message. The host invites people who don’t show up and he sends his servant out to the streets to bring in anybody who will come … the poor, the crippled, those in need. After all, there is a banquet prepared and somebody needs to eat it. The servant brings in as many as he can find, yet there is still room for more. We are to see through this story … that there is room for all ... and always more … in the Kingdom of God.
Jesus also tells his followers that they need to be ready to give up everything in order to follow him. They really have to be ready to leave a lot behind.
My take-away from this chapter is pretty simple. Salvation is open to everyone. There is no ranking order for those who accept Christ. Our life should be lived this way. We should be open to everyone, when it comes to sharing our faith. I remember an instance in my church when two little children walked down the aisle to profess salvation. Their family didn’t have much, and it was apparent by the clothes they were wearing. They had been coming to church on the bus and their parents were not attending church. I knew … as did my parents … exactly what people were thinking. The answer to the question was … “of course they could join our church” … it didn’t matter how they looked, that their hair wasn’t combed, or that their family was dirt poor.
My mother and father made sure those children were welcomed. My daddy was a deacon and never discussed what was said at the private meetings of the deacons, but I can just imagine what he had to say on this subject! Both those children grew up to go to college and they have now raised families and remained in church. We need to avoid arrogant ways!
I’ve stopped having my annual Christmas open house gathering. Without my husband, it is just not any fun! I want to share one of those gatherings, so follow this link to see it on my blog!
Persimmon Bread is one of our favorites, and if you are lucky enough to have access to a persimmon tree, you can pick the fruit right off the ground after the first freeze. Otherwise, most fresh produce markets carry a hybrid variety of big persimmons during the winter months. The flavor is the same! Sticky and delicious. Here’s my recipe for this delicious bread.
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup persimmon pulp
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Mix together the eggs, oil and sugar until creamy. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda and continue to cream the mixture. In the last step, fold in the raisins and the chopped nuts.
Bake at 325 degrees in a 9x4 inch bread loaf pan for about 70 minutes. This is a slow, low bake. The bread is done, when a pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let it cool before removing it from the bread pan.