To sleep in a storm

What does it mean to sleep in a storm? To have an unshakeable faith, that even in the toughest of times, your peace remains firmly anchored in Jesus.  
To have no fear of what you cannot control, and relinquish it to Him, is probably one of the biggest things I am learning to do in my christian walk. Because when I do ‘let go and let God’, I have found that God loves to show to me how mighty His power is. There have been countless times where circumstances beyond my control have been lifted to Him, and He has answered my prayers in ways I could never have imagined.

Where He has aligned the wayward stars and the orbiting planets to perfectly encompass all that I had feared, and all that I had spent sleepless nights over, and made it all make sense.

That’s what He does. It’s His specialty, and it’s up to us to let Him do it, His way. 

When we try to fix it on our own, we will never be able to truly fulfil our needs; and it’s then that we sleep with two eyes open in the midst of belting down rain and harrowing thunder, and it feels like waves of uncontrollable strength rolling beneath and overcoming us in floods of distress. I have been there, more times than I care to admit, but the alternative is a thousand times better. It’s admitting to God that we cannot do it on our own, and that we need Him to takeover. It’s realising that we are limited in our strength, and that there is someone bigger, mightier, and more willing to take the worries off our yoke. 
Matthew 8:23-27 KJV

And when He was entered into a ship, His disciples followed Him. And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but He was asleep. And His disciples came to Him, and awoke Him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And He saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then He arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey Him! 
Why do we put limits on God? Why do we not let Him show us what He can do in every aspect of our lives, to the fullest? Prove to Him your faith by giving Him your worries, and letting Him calm your storm, for even the winds and the sea obey Him – because it’s time to peacefully sleep. 

Home Time

Two words.

That’s all it took for our parents to send “grief” and “agony” to our young hearts. As a child at the playground, having the time of our lives, the thought of going home was like pure torture, it felt as though they killed our soul. There may have been tears, sulking, stomping of the feet, gripping on tighter to the swings, and quite possibly a very public and embarrassing tantrum.

Our parents would have threatened to leave without us, they would get in the drivers seat, close the door and start the engine. We feared for our lives that they may not have been bluffing. So we quickly ply open our fingers from the swings’ ropes,  and make our way to the car for a very solemn ride home.

These are the thoughts that run through my mind when I think of the words: “home time”. To leave something so enjoyable and fun as the park, to go back to the “boring” home was grevious to say the least.

But our Father in Heaven will come to take us home soon. But when He comes, there won’t be sulking tears, but rather tears of joy; there won’t be stomping feet, but steps of love to the Father’s arms; our hands won’t be gripping to this earth, but reaching out to grab His; and we won’t hesitate to follow Him home, because we know that’s where life begins.

John 14:2-4 KJV

 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so , I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

The second advent will be the most joyous occassion, and I can’t wait to go home.

In Good Company

John 15:17-20

“These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hate you. Remember the word that I said unto you, ‘The servant is not greater than his lord’ if they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”

There will be those who accept the truth you present, and there will be those who don’t. They will hate us for it, but we are in good company, because Jesus was also despised for presenting the truth, and shedding light that exposes sin.

Colossians 4:5-6

“Live wisely among those who are not believers, and make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

But we need to strive to make the most of every opportunity that God gives us. It is by no accident that we come across the people that we do. Be kind and loving in your conversations, so that others can see that you are different to everyone else.

We are to be in, but not of the world.

1Peter 2:9

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light” 

We are not called to blend in, and neither did Jesus blend in and conform to worldly ways when He was here on Earth; and if we are persecuted for this, we are in good company.

Patience is a virtue 

Recently I have been looking more into the importance of being patient. What it means for me, and how to better apply it to my everyday life. 

1 Corinthians 13:4 says that “Love is patient”, but what does that really mean?

 Does it imply that I wait in a long line at the supermarket without complaining (this includes in my thoughts)? Does it mean that I’m more tolerable to people and their different ways? Am I to wait patiently for my pay to come into my bank account before I buy something that “I just HAVE to have!!” (when really I don’t)? 

I think patience encapsulates all of those things and more. For the bible says that “Love is patient” and we know that “God is love”. Therefore God is patient. He is the most patient one of all, and He is waiting on us, just as we should wait on Him, and others. 
As hard as it is to be patient with others, we must, because if we can’t wait on others – how can we ask God to wait on us, and to be patient with us? 

I don’t know about you, but personally for me, I am the most patient person with other people. I will wait and wait without complaint, whether it be for my food in a restaurant, in line at the supermarket, etc. 

But when it comes to my close family, I’m afraid my patience has a very low tolerance. I think I expect more of them, and I expect them to think of me as someone important enough to hurry their time along for. Which I’m not, at all, but I think this is where it stems from. 

And I too expect more of them. I think “they know better!”  or “can’t they just be more like me? and be more wise with their time?” It’s really a terrible habit!! And I’m working on it, trying, day by day to improve. I think it’s working though! There have been times when I want to get mad, but I hold my tongue and bite my lip, and I just think “If this is frustrating for me, how much more so am I frustrating God?” 

Because being patient is about applying that to EVERYONE!! Not just to strangers at the checkout, not just to waitstaff at the restaurant, but everyone – including those closest to you.  

So yes, patience is a virtue, and I’m a work in progress. 

The Humble and Sweet Cousin

Since the popularity of the French Macaron has surged in recent times, the humble, and always dependable, British Coconut Macaroon has become somewhat of a background noise.

Have people forgotten its ease of making, its reliability to never disappoint on the feet (coz lets face it, they ain’t getting any!), the always sure to please the masses dish, with minimal stress? I must admit that I did, for a little bit. But don’t worry I found my affinity for them once more, when I made some at work for petit fours, last year. And boy am I glad that I did!

To be honest, I kinda do love this scrawny mountain of chewy coconut goodness, more so than its French counterpart. It’s unassuming appearance hiding all that glorious dense cloud of white coconut meringue, it’s an experience to say the least.

I did, however, jazz these macaroons up with a little drizzle of dark chocolate and a crowning of freeze dried raspberries. They added a perfect balance of bitterness and tartness to the sweetness of the macaroon (can I just say macaroon-ness).

And while it’s French cousin is basking in the limelight, I am hoping these humble and sweet relatives will make a come-back!

Layers

Winter time calls for finding your gloves and the collection of knitted jumpers that you have hidden away from the sweltering Summer sun. As much as I love to layer my Winter outfits with thermals, shirts, jumpers, leggings, tights, and jackets, topped off with a scarf (of course!), this post is about cake, my other love.

Layers upon layers of cake.

Before I start to design a cake, I think of flavour combinations that I love to eat. For example I love white chocolate together with coconut, lemon, blueberries, and cardamom. It sounds weird, but trust me, it works.

It’s not only layers of cake and ganache filling, but it’s layers of flavours that work harmoniously together, that just belong. Each on their own being delicious, that somehow become even more so when all is tasted in one bite.

It’s like layering your Winter thermals, each is warm on their own, but when layered with others, it gets even warmer! (Yes, I do realise I am comparing a delicious cake flavour profile to being warm in Winter, but I think you get my drift!)

So once I have the flavour profile, I think about how to incorporate them into cake form. Like what can be the cake, and what flavours will be in the filling, and what can be used in the decorations and also what can add a textural element.

For this sweet creation, I thought about combining flavours into each element. So for the cake part I combined lemon and blueberries; for the filling I infused the white chocolate ganache with cardamom pods (which I removed once imparted its aroma), and then I toasted desiccated coconut to sprinkle in between the layers, and as a decoration on top (along with some pretty Pansy flower petals). And for added crunch, I sprinkled some white chocolate crispy pearls, they finish off the look perfectly.

This rustic and wholesome beauty is all you need to warm you up from the insides, on a cold Winter’s day; and don’t worry about the calories, let the thermals, jumpers, and jackets hide the extra layers of love you put inside of you!

Happy eating!

The Importance of Hospitality

How often do we place so much emphasis on creating a comfortable environment for guests that we invite into our home?

We ask if they are too cold, or too hot, if the are hungry or thirsty, or if they would like a cup of tea. We clean the home before they arrive, we put out the best linen, and we pull out our nicest cups. We do all of these things, and more just to make sure our guests feel comfortable and have an enjoyable stay.

But how much effort do we put into making Jesus comfortable enough, to stay in our hearts? Sure, we cannot put on a feast, or vacuum up the mess, or even change the temperature, but we can make sure that we show hospitality to Jesus so that He does want to stay. We do this through making sure our thoughts are pure, and our heart is clean. We do this by loving Him, and by loving our neighbours as He does. We do this by getting to know Him through the bible.

The amount of preparation that we put into our physical home to ensure the comfort of our guests, needs to be a minute fraction in comparison to the effort put into creating a place of serenity for Jesus to abide in – in our hearts.

Because we all know, (well I certainly do,) the horrible feeling of not being welcomed. We would rather leave, than stay and endure the awkwardness that unfolds by the seconds. And that’s how Jesus feels, when He is not welcomed into our hearts. He does not want to stay where He is not comfortable.

Of course, our hearts cannot be perfect, but effort needs to be made to show Jesus that He is a valued member of the body. We just bring our best, and He will do the rest. Because if we fill our hearts with hate, judgement, ridicule, and so forth, Jesus will not feel comfortable enough to live there.

“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with Me.” Revelation 3:20

Jesus comes to the door and knocks, and when we don’t answer because we are too preoccupied with judging others, hating others, and self pity, He leaves. As simple as that, which is why we need to be extra vigilant to make sure we can hear when He knocks (which is all the time).

“Devotion to the work of God and sacrifice from the heart were first required in preparing a place for God.” E. G. White SR p151

This is my prayer.

A time to slow down

{This is a reminder to myself, but if you can find any help in it, then I am grateful.}

In this modern age, it is all too easy to get caught up in anything and everything. From social media, to work, to family commitments, and everything in between. And if we’re not careful, we can become too busy to spend time with God.

There is great danger in filling our days to the brim with the distractions of worldly themes, that anything godly becomes boring and unexciting.

That is why we have to slow down.

We need to take the time to talk and commune with God on a personal level. Speak to Him continually as you would to your closest friend. He already knows everything about you, so there is no need to hide  your secrets and pretend you are OK, when you’re not. The more time we spend in communication with Him, the more we get to know His voice.

We need to set aside time to spend with God, and not just on Sabbath, but every day. Because we don’t just need Him once a week, but we need Him every second, of every minute, of every hour, of every day, of our lives. It can be as simple as waking up 15 minutes earlier to spend time in prayer and reading the bible. It can be a continual conversation with God that starts when you wake up, til the time you go to sleep.

However we spend the majority of our time is ultimately what defines us. So I, personally, want to spend the majority of my time with God and to be defined as someone who walks with Him daily.

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

Is there anything more synonymous with the simple pleasure of home baking, than the humble chocolate chip cookie?

For some, it is their entry into the sugary scented baking world, where they experience the unadulterated wonder of the chocolate chips still in it’s melted and gooey state, ready to be savoured and devoured in a matter of seconds.

Speckled and dotted with little nuggets of chocolate that each burst at their seams with melted goodness; Chocolate chips is where it’s at for comforting food that never fails to perfectly decorate brown sugar cookie dough.

Letter: Part 3

And welcome back! If you haven’t already, you will need to read A letter to fishermen, Simon and Andrew and Letter: Part 2 to understand what this post is about.

However, when we don’t see God working in our lives, we can become discouraged, and the pull and attraction to go back to former ways grows stronger. It is in these moments that God is testing our strength and faithfulness to Him.

In Matthew 4:19, Jesus finds Simon and Andrew fishing, which is when He asks them to follow Him. Then for three years they witness Jesus working miracles, and blessing others. When Jesus was crucified and resurrected the absence of Jesus’ physical presence left Simon Peter at a loss. And in the time that Jesus wanted them to be strong for the Lord, and spread the gospel, Simon Peter succumbed to his old life of being a fisherman.

John 21:3

Simon Peter saith unto them, I go afishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.

When we act without God in our hearts (see 1Corinthians 13) and when knowing the truth, our actions are fruitless. In a rebellion of sorts against the three years of following Jesus, he reverted back to his old life, he thought that on his own he could satisfy his needs, but alas their fishing trip proved unsuccessful.

It was then that Jesus appeared to them for the third time and asked them yet again to do something out of the ordinary, something that a carpenter wouldn’t do:

John 21:6

And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.

With Jesus, life can be an abundance of blessings. But when we leave the fold, He will search endlessly for us. He has a plan for our lives, more than we could imagine, to make us into fishers of men. The mission field is His specialty, and there is no hiding from Him.

 

Thanks for reading, and God bless x