Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lemon Slice

This slice has a shortbread base, a soft lemon filling, and a crispy, meringue-like top.  It's as easy to make as it is to eat!  Enjoy!

2 cups flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1 cup margarine/butter

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan.  Mix all three ingredients together into a crumb-like consistency.  Put into pan and press over the bottom with a fork.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.  Cool.

4 beaten eggs
2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Beat all the topping ingredients together until light and fluffy.  Pour over the cooled shortbread base.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with icing sugar.  Cool and slice into squares.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursday of last week was an incredibly windy day.  It was blowing so hard I had to fight to keep my little Kia on the highway. 

But that's not what was responsible for the lump of dread curled up in my chest.  It was the thick black smoke billowing ominously on the horizon, promising devastation and destruction, that knotted fear in my stomach.

The smoke plume consumed my attention the closer I got to home.  At first I thought a new development on the outskirts of town was on fire, but as I got closer it became clear the origin of the smoke was in our neighbourhood.

I rounded the street corner and was faced with this...

The apartment complex at the end of our back lane was on fire.  It had started about twenty minutes earlier.  The fire fighters fought with every weapon they had but the enemy that evening was the wind.

Within a half an hour of taking this picture the entire complex had been burned from one end to the other.

I've never seen a fire this devastating in close proximity.  Hopefully I never will again.  I prayed for the residents of the complex and for the fire fighters; wondering selfishly if they would be able to contain it, or if our street would be told to evacuate.

A few hours later they knocked down the fire and contained it, but continued the battle until 1:00 o'clock in the morning.

A week later the building stands, a black, burnt out shell.  Demolition has started and the neighbourhood has resumed normal activities.

But what about the 60 residents trying to pick up what's left of their lives?  No one was seriously injured in the blaze, but some families lost pets, and a number of people lost everything they owned.  A life history...gone.

I can't imagine the overwhelming the sense of loss.  Where do you go?  What do you do?  Where do you live?  How do you start over?

I write this because it's a reminder of how much I take for granted.  Our home, my family, the clothes I wear, the furniture we sit on, the pictures in albums, keepsakes, memorabilia, our cats. 

These are all things we need to appreciate.  One day, with no warning, they may be gone.

The community and churches have banded together to provide support for the people displaced in the fire.  Community spirit is alive and well, but there will be much healing left to be done for the people affected by the loss.

Please pray for these families. Keep them in your hearts, and hug your spouse, your children, and your pets a little tighter tonight.

Take a few minutes and try to imagine what it would be like to lose everything you owned in an instant.  Share your thoughts by clicking on "comments" below.  The next time you hear about a tragedy like this, don't turn a blind eye.  Take action to help out.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Self-Proclaimed "Jesus Freak"

What are people thinking about me?  Do they like me?  Do you get hung up on other people’s opinion of you?  Does this affect your self-worth?

I’ve struggled with this all my life.  I’ve always been concerned with people’s opinion of me.  I try to pretend it doesn’t bother me, but the truth is it does.

One area I really struggle with is sharing my faith. 

Remember the lyrics from D.C. Talk’s Song “Jesus Freak”…

“What will people think
When they hear that I’m a Jesus freak
What will people do when they find that it’s true?”

I grew up in a small rural community in Manitoba.  There was a large Mennonite population in the community and they weren’t afraid to talk about God. 

They were frequently teased and ridiculed and I learned early in life that people make fun of you if you talk about your religious beliefs. 

This perception stuck with me throughout my teenage years.  I was an easy target for teasing and bullying, so the last thing I wanted to do was add fuel to the fire by saying I was a “Jesus Freak”.

Old habits are hard to break.  This is one that’s plagued me into my adult life.  Here are a couple of things I struggle with…

Saying grace before a meal in a public restaurant
Talking openly about my faith to someone I’ve just met

Can anyone relate to this?

This morning I caught myself again…

I arrived at work early to have quiet time to read my Bible and pray before the craziness that is “the day” set in.  I was sitting on the couch in my office with my door closed. 
Here's the problem, there’s a window running vertically beside the door, making me feel like I’m the dog in a pet store window that people stare and point at as they walk by.

I started praying but my mind tricked me into feeling as conspicuous as a plucked turkey the day before Thanksgiving!  And I work at a Christian radio station!  Other than church, where else would you expect to see someone praying?!?

Why are we so worried about what people think instead of what God thinks?

Jesus has some words on this topic that are hard for some of us to hear.

If anyone is ashamed of me and my message, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in his glory and in the glory of the Father and the holy angels.”  Luke 9:26 (NLT)

Now that’s stops you in your tracks!  What kind of relationship do I have with Jesus if I’m ashamed to admit it?  If I don’t recognize Him in my life, will He recognize me in eternity?

Jeremiah has some thought provoking words to share, too.

“…Use words truly and well.  Don’t stoop to cheap whining.  Then, but only then, you’ll speak for me.  Let your words change them.  Don’t change your words to suit them.  I’ll turn you into a steel wall, a thick steel wall, impregnable.  They’ll attack you but won’t put a dent in you because I’m at your side, defending and delivering.  God’s decree.  I’ll deliver you from the grip of the wicked.  I’ll get you out of the clutch of the ruthless.”  Jeremiah 15:19-21  (The Message)

Here God says to Jeremiah, don’t tell the crowd what you think they want to hear.  You speak what I tell you and let it change them, don’t let them change you.  And He promises to protect Jeremiah from attack and ridicule.

It’s good advice for me to remember.  What about you?  We’re here to please God, not to please people.  What people think of us shouldn’t matter nearly as much as what God thinks of us.  That’s what’s truly important!

Things To Think About…

How do you share your faith with those around you?  Are you afraid of what people will think if they know about your faith?  Are you comfortable saying grace in a restaurant, or praying in public?

Share your thoughts by clicking on “comments” below.