Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Martha, Martha...

Are you familiar with the story of Mary and Martha?  Just in case you aren't, here's the scoop.  These two women were sisters that lived in a village with their brother Lazarus (the guy Jesus brought back to life after he died) and they were dear friends of Jesus.  Martha was a little bossy and wasn't afraid to tell Jesus that He wasn't doing things the way she would do them. She does it in this story and when her brother, Lazarus, died, as well.  In this story, Jesus told Martha off in the kindest of ways, letting her know that the universe did not revolve around her.  Yep...

The story found in Luke 10:38-42 tells about Jesus being welcomed into Martha's home.  Her sister, Mary, was seated at Jesus' feet, listening to Him teach while Martha was focused on putting together a meal that would wow everyone at the table.  She was into the details and everything had to be just right (my interpretation of the situation...from personal experience...).

Well, Martha became frustrated because there was so much to do to pull off this fantastic feast and Mary wasn't helping at all.  She walked into the room where Jesus was talking to Mary and interrupted Him, demanding that He make Mary come help.  Then she inferred that He didn't care because He hadn't already figured out that Martha needed help to pull off the meal she had planned. After all, her hospitality plans were the most important thing happening at her house that day!

 I love Jesus' response to Martha's demands.  I'm sure He chuckled and shook His head as He looked her in the eye.

Martha, Martha,
you are worried and bothered
about so many things;
but only a few things are necessary - 
really only one
for Mary has chosen the good part
which shall not be taken away from her.
"Fume if you want, dear, (I imagine Him saying) but what Mary is doing is more important than your complicated plans for one meal.  I'm not going to tell her to help you, but you can plan something simple for us to eat and come join us as quickly as  you can. I would love to fill you in on what I've been teaching Mary."

There's no record of Martha's response, but I think she adapted her plans quickly and joined them.

The problem was not Martha's heart for hospitality.  The problem was that her plans for the meal became more important than her relationship with Jesus. 

My frustrations usually come when my plans and dreams become more important than my relationship with Jesus...sitting at His feet...learning.

Speaking of quick meals...

Shrimp and Cheesy Grits
Makes 2 servings

I first had this dish at the Omni Hotel in Dallas, Texas, when I went on a business trip with my honey.  It is spicy and delicious and oh so satisfying! And it only takes about 15 minutes to make.

1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk (I use almond milk)
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup organic corn grits (uncooked polenta)
1/2 cup shredded shard cheddar cheese
2 cups shrimp
1/4 lb organic cooked chorizo sausage, sliced

1.  Saute the sausage until the pieces begin to carmelize (the edges turn golden brown). Using a slotted spoon or a fork, remove the sausage into a small bowl and cover the bowl to keep the sausage warm - leave the oil from the sausage in the saute pan and turn off the heat.
2.  In a saucepan, combine the water, milk, salt and pepper.  Cook over medium heat just until it begins to boil.  Slowly, whisk in the corn grits.  Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens, turning the heat down a little if the grits start popping out of the pan.  Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
3.  Saute the shrimp in the sausage oil until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes on each side.  Turn off the heat and add the sausage back into the saute pan.  Stir to mix the sausage and shrimp. 
4.  Divide the cooked cheesy grits into two soup bowls.  Ladle the shrimp and sausage over the grits, drizzling the oil in the saute pan over the shrimp, sausage and grits. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Sinful Woman...

The story of this particular woman is found in Luke 7:36-50.  Again, it is a familiar story, but I stopped and really looked at the details of her story and how the men in the story responded to her actions. 

Let's set the stage for the story:

Who:  Simon the Pharisee, Jesus, other guests, the sinful woman (immoral woman)

What:  the men were enjoying a meal at Simon's house, this woman appears with a very expensive vial of perfume to anoint Jesus' feet, Simon assumed that Jesus didn't know who she was and that Jesus couldn't know his thoughts - but Jesus knew both!  Simon learned an important lesson that day.

When: while they were reclined at the dinner table (they didn't sit at the table, but reclined beside the table - how was that comfortable?!)

Why: the woman had heard that Jesus was at Simon's house and she wanted to bless Jesus because she loved Him for loving people like her

How:  she stood behind him, she cried so hard that her tears wet his feet, she wiped his feet with her hair then anointed his feet with her expensive perfume, she kissed his feet - and he stayed where he was and let her do what she came to do

As I was going over these facts of the story, some questions came to mind -

What had she seen and heard about Jesus that made her want to approach a famous but controversial rabbi?

Why did she bring expensive perfume to anoint him?  How could she afford such an item?  Was she a high profile prostitute with wealthy clients?

How did she have access to Simon's house and why did he not have her removed when he clearly knew who and what she was?


I love the result of her brave actions.  Jesus knew who she was, what she was.  But he also knew her heart and her love for him.  Because she took a chance to show him, he provided three things to her:


He offers the same three things to any of us who approach him with repentance and love - regardless of who or what we are, what we've done...

Sadly, I can't get any pics to upload so today's recipe (Shrimp and Cheesy Grits) will have to wait.  It's a good one, too!  I'll keep trying...

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Her son was dead...

Returning to the stories of women Jesus "saw"...

In Luke 7:11-16 we find the story of a widow who's only son had died.  In those days, this was a tragedy!  She now was going to be cast on to the benevolence of society to have her needs met...or not.

The Word says that there were lots of people with her in the funeral procession, but it also makes it clear that she now had no one else to care for her.  Well-meaning friends and neighbors get busy and forget...

Jesus could have kept on His journey, but He SAW her and felt compassion for her...a woman other people would avoid because she wasn't their responsibility.  He knew why this widow was weeping...every reason why she was weeping and said to her, Do not weep.  She probably looked at Him in shock.

But, our Jesus doesn't just say comforting words.  He does things that show us His love. 

The Bible says that He walked up to the coffin and touched it.  The men that were carrying the coffin came to a halt

Young man, I say to you, arise!

The widow's son sat up and started talking!  Can you imagine how freaked out the people were who witnessed the young man's coming alive?!  The passage says that fear gripped them all and they began glorifying God.

I LOVE the next phrase - And Jesus gave him back to his mother.  Jesus, who saw every aspect of the widow's heartache made sure that she was the first person to hold this young man in her arms.  I'm sure she felt as if her heart would burst with the joy of it all.  And Jesus did that for her...a woman who just moments before had had no one to care for her...

This same Jesus sees you and me and our struggles and hurts; our weeping...

He tells us, do not weep...because He cares for us!  Do not weep and look expectantly for what He will do...our hearts will burst with the joy of it all!

Egg Stuffed Tomatoes

I recently made this for my honey and me for a weekend breakfast.  It was pretty yummy!

Recipe found on Pinterest  from Give Recipe
Serves 3

3 large round tomatoes
3 tsp butter
3 eggs
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cut the tops of tomatoes.

 Remove all the pulp and seeds inside with a spoon. (It helps if you cut around the rim with a sharp knife first.)

Place baking paper in a baking dish and put tomatoes in dish. (I put ours in a muffin tin.  Next time, I will bake them in ramekins.)

Put 1 tsp butter in each tomato and crack one egg in each tomato.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper and herb of choice (I used oregano).

Cook for 25-30 minutes or until egg is cooked to your satisfaction.
Serve hot with toast.  It would also be good with toast sticks for dipping, if you like the yolk runny.