Monthly Archives: October 2013

10/30/13

Pruning

tree-pruning_1526669c[1]

A devotional from Dr. Bill Bright with Campus Crusade for Christ

A Greater Harvest

“He has already tended to you by pruning you back for greater strength and usefulness by means of the commands I gave you” (John 15:3).

My friend was in the process of pruning his vineyard, and it appeared to me – in my limited knowledge of vineyards – that the pruning was too severe. Only the main stump remained. I inquired, “Why have you pruned the vine back to just the main stump?”

“Because,” he said, “that is the way to ensure that it will produce a greater harvest. Otherwise the nourishment flowing up through the roots would be dissipate in keeping the vines alive. It could not produce the maximum number of grapes.”

It is my regular prayer that God will keep both me as an individual and the movement of which I am a part well pruned that we may not waste time, energy, talent and money producing beautiful foliage with no fruit. Our subjection to that pruning can be either voluntary or reluctant. How much better is it for us to invite the Lord to do the pruning than to have the pruning forced upon us over our protests.

The best possible way to cooperate in God’s pruning is to study His Word. Memorize and meditate upon His truths, obey His commandments and claim His promises.”

 

We had crape myrtles in our front yard at the home I grew up in, and I remember every fall Mom would cut them back. Way, way back. I remember cringing a bit after she completed the task because the shrubs looked so sad, so barren, and almost dead. But in the spring, oh in the spring, they were glorious with their bright fuschia blooms! 

Our faith is like those crape myrtles. We need pruning each season. The pruning is tedious, difficult, painful at times, and we are left depleted. Depleted of ourselves, our own foolishness, and ambition, so that He may fill us up and we bear much fruit according to His perfect will and not our own.

So, I ask you. What are the areas in your life that need pruning? What needs to be cut away and redeemed?

So many areas of my life need to be cut back so badly. So many areas to be redeemed and healed.

Pray for pruning.

Ask Him to fill you in that emptiness.

May His will be evident in our lives and we bear much fruit to give Him glory! Amen!

 

 

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10/28/13

Hot Chile Corn Dip + Lovin’ my Small Group Ladies

I believe I have mentioned it in a previous post, but I am about 8 weeks into a new women’s small group associated through the church I attend. And they are awesome, awesome ladies who love people, love to fellowship, laugh, talk, and eat (love that about them for sure), but most importantly want to spend time together in God’s word, discerning His will, and knowing Him more. I am honored to be part of these women’s lives on a weekly basis, and am blessed to have them as part of mine as well.

Each week, one of us is entrusted to bring snacks. These snacks consist of 1 salty item and 1 sweet item. Salty to remind us to never lose our saltiness in this world we live and sweet because, well… we like it. No spiritual metaphor there.

This past week was my week and I decided to try out a new recipe from Pioneer Woman.

Hot. Chile. Corn. Dip.

That screams warm, spicy, fall flavors to me and I couldn’t want to make it and share it with my girls.

Hot n Spicy Corn Dip Recipe

*slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman recipe from Food Network show

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups frozen corn
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and diced finely
  • 1 medium onion, small diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and small diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and small diced
  • 2 cans diced green chiles
  • 1 1/2 cups grated pepper-jack cheese
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Tortilla chips for serving

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. {If baking immediately}

 2. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, jalapenos, onions and green and red bell peppers. Cook for a few minutes, until the onions are translucent and peppers are softened.

Onions & peppers 1

Is there any better smell in the world than onions and garlic sauteeing in butter?

Verdict still out on that one.

Then, continue to cook until peppers and onions get great color on the outside. A nice, caramelized light brown color.

onions & peppers 2

onion & peppers 3

Add the chiles and corn and stir over heat for about 1 minute. Take off the heat and set aside. add corn

3. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the pepper-jack, the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and stir until combined. Add the corn mixture and stir to combine thoroughly.

creamy 2

pour in bowl 1

pour in bowl 2

mix it up

It’s tempting to pull out a spoon at this stage and start eating, but be patient!

4. Pour into a small baking dish that has been generously sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and bake until bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes.

 casserole

top with cheese 1

top with cheese 2

Serve warm with tortilla chips or pita crisps.

spread 3

spread 2

* Another great thing about this recipe is that it does not have to be baked immediately! Spread the corn mixture into the pan, cover with foil and refrigerate up to 48 hours. Then top with remaining 1/2 cup cheese and bake when ready to serve.

 

Not too keen on spicy? Here are a few tips to making this dip a little more user-friendly:

  1. Use 1 seeded jalapeno instead of 2 {I stand by using at least one; jalapenos are not that spicy when you deseed them and take the white membrane out.}
  2. Want to eliminate jalapenos all together? Try adding a poblano pepper in with the bell peppers and onions when sauteeing. They have a milder, sweeter, and smokier heat that a jalapeno. It may be more palatable.
  3. Use Monterrey Jack Cheese or Mexican Blend cheese rather than Pepper Jack cheese.

 

I just love make-ahead dips! And trust me when I say, you will love this dip!

 

“And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.” –Hebrews 10:25

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