God wants our attention

In August, I began reading through the Bible in a year. I take turns reading in the Old Testament and the New Testament. At this moment, I am in 1 Kings in the Old and something struck me – not for the first time, but it struck me for the first time in a concise, simple way.

God WANTS to be known. He WANTS our attention. There are all sorts of ways that He hides and all sorts of secrets that He keeps from us, but He WANTS us to FIND HIM!

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20 ESV)

At the same time, He but knocks. He does not break down the door.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8 ESV)

While He is knocking, it is OUR responsibility to open the door – Then, He will come in.

Yet, this idea that God wants to be found, is something that I’ve thought about for quite some time. The new idea is this: God gets our attention in two different ways. He will get our attention through the great blessings that He gives to us, His great majesty, all of the good things of God OR He will get our attention through great trial and pain.

Have you ever thought of it so concisely and simply?

Here’s what prompted me to think about this idea. 1 Kings 18 contains the account of when King Ahab (King over Israel) summons the 450 prophets of Baal who contest against the prophet Elijah in calling down fire upon an offering. The prophets of Baal are unable to get their god’s attention.

“Then Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, “Choose for yourselves one bull and prepare it first, for you are many, and call upon the name of your god, but put no fire to it.” And they took the bull that was given them, and they prepared it and called upon the name of Baal from morning until noon, saying, “O Baal, answer us!” But there was no voice, and no one answered. And they limped around the altar that they had made. And at noon Elijah mocked them, saying, “Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened.” And they cried aloud and cut themselves after their custom with swords and lances, until the blood gushed out upon them. And as midday passed, they raved on until the time of the offering of the oblation, but there was no voice. No one answered; no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 18:25-29 ESV)

That was the response of the false god, Baal. He did not answer nor pay attention.

Now it’s Elijah’s turn. He fixes up the altar of God which was in ruins, prepares the bull for sacrifice, and then proceeds to saturate the wood and bull by pouring twelve large jars of water over them.

“And at the time of the offering of the oblation, Elijah the prophet came near and said, “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that you are God in Israel, and that I am your servant, and that I have done all these things at your word. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, that this people may know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you have turned their hearts back.” Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt offering and the wood and the stones and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, he is God; the LORD, he is God.” (1 Kings 18:36-39 ESV)

Now, if you were King Ahab, wouldn’t this be enough, for you to believe in the LORD GOD, rather than Baal? God’s power and might is so great.

Yet, God is so merciful, that next He speaks directly to Ahab himself, sending a prophet to speak on His behalf. Ben-Hadad (the king of Syria) is preparing to attack Israel after King Ahab has refused his demands. The prophet declares to King Ahab, “Thus says the LORD, Have you seen all this great multitude? Behold, I will give it into your hand this day, and you shall know that I am the LORD.” (1 Kings 20:13 ESV)

Do you see it? God is going to save Ahab and His people Israel, that Ahab would KNOW that He is the LORD. Sure enough, in 1 Kings 20:21, we see that Ahab overpowered the Syrians. This course of events is repeated again in the spring, as the Syrians once again attack the Israelites, yet this time on the plains as they thought the the God of Israel was a “god of the hills.” And, once again, the prophet tells Ahab, “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because the Syrians have said, “The LORD is a god of the hills but he is not a god of the valleys,” therefore I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the LORD.’” (1 Kings 20:28 ESV)

Sadly, though King Ahab and Israel are saved again, the king has not turned to God as a result of God’s power and mercy. Instead, he chooses to spare King Ben-Hadad’s life and God once again sends a prophet to King Ahab, but this time with bad news. “Thus says the LORD, ‘Because you have let go out of your hand the man whom I had devoted to destruction, therefore your life shall be for his life, and your people for his people.’” And the king of Israel went to his house vexed and sullen and came to Samaria. (1 Kings 20:42-43 ESV)

Food Storage Recipes

30 Minute Rolls

Dough can also be used for pizza crust.

•3 1/2 c warm water
•6 T instant yeast
•1 c oil
•3/4 c granulated sugar
•1 T thrive iodized salt
•3 T thrive whole egg powder (reconstituted)
•3 T additional water
•8 c thrive whole wheat flour (approximate)

1. *Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. *Use a mixer to combine warm water, instant yeast, oil, and granulated sugar. Let rise 5 minutes until bubbly.

3. *Add remaining ingredients to bubbling mixture. Mix well and roll out.

4. *Form dough into rolls and let rise approximately 15 minutes.

5. *Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown. Cool and serve.

Yield: 36 rolls

Chicken Tortilla Soup ala Food Storage

2 cans diced tomatoes
1/2 cup tomato powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
6 cups water
2 Tbs sugar
3 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 cup freeze dried green chilies
1/2 cup freeze dried chicken

1. Put all ingredients in a crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.

2. Serve with toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream and tortilla chips

3. This makes a LOT.  You might want to halve it.

Apple Berry Pie from Food Storage

NOTE: I only used ONE crust (on the top) and put the other crust in the fridge.

For the Crust
2 cups Shortening Powder
1/3 cup water at room temp
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
For the Filling
1 cup Dehydrated Apple Slices
1 cup Freeze Dried Berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries etc)
1 cup water
2/3 cup Brown Sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
3 Tbs Cornstarch
4 Tbs lemon juice

FOR THE CRUST

1. Reconstitute your shortening by mixing the powder with the 1/3 cup water. The powder will float on top of the water at first. Keep mixing and you will get a crumbly texture. Keep going until you get a liquid cream. Put this soft shortening in the fridge for 30 minutes until it has the texture of regular shortening.

2. Once shortening is ready, use your hands to mix it with four and salt until it resembles cornmeal.

3. Add water and mix until combined (DO NOT knead, just mix lightly)

4. Split dough into two pieces.

5. Roll out one piece on a floured surface until dough is very thin.

6. Fold in half twice so it looks like a triangle

7. Unfold it into your pie pan and “wiggle” it down (don’t stretch or pull / push it down)

8. Tuck extra down under the edge to create a “rim” around your pan.

9. Add filling to pie pan

10. Roll out 2nd piece of dough the same as the first and place it over the filled pie.

11. Pinch the two pie crusts together with finger on one side and thumb on the other to create a pretty edge.

12. Bake at 375 (dark pan) or 350 (glass pan) for about 1 hour.

FOR THE FILLING

1. Combine apples, berries, water, sugar, cinnamon, salt, cornstarch, and lemon juice in a small pot and bring to a boil.

2. Reduce heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes. Apples will begin to break down and the liquid will turn into a thick syrup.

3. Carefully spoon mixture into pie crust.

Servings: 8

Oil Free Chocolate Cake (made with black beans)

1 box devil’s food chocolate cake mix (Aldi)
water (as called for)
instant black beans (amount of oil called for)
eggs (as called for) – use egg powder

1. Prepare black beans as directed.  If using canned beans, make sure to drain and rinse thoroughly.

2. Mash beans thoroughly.

3. Mix on medium speed beans with water and eggs

4. Add cake mix and mix as directed

NOTE: You can do the same thing with WHITE beans and a yellow cake mix.  Try substituting beans for butter in cookies, etc.

Black Bean and Corn Salsa ala Food Storage

1 cup THRIVE Instant Black Beans
1 cup THRIVE Sweet Corn
1 can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup THRIVE Green Chilies
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste

1. Cook beans (follow cooking directions)

2. In a small bowl, add corn and cover with hot water. Let sit 5-8 minutes or until corn is softened and rehydrate. Drain.

3. Mix the black beans, corn, chilies, red onion, and cilantro together in a large bowl.

4. Sprinkle with red wine vinegar, sugar, olive oil, cumin, garlic and salt.

5. Stir and refrigerate for several hours.

6. Serve with tortilla chips.

Homemade Flour Tortillas ala Food Storage  (I haven’t made these — they just seemed like something I’ll want to try!)

A couple of notes:

DO NOT let your pan get too hot.  You may even need to turn it down before you finish cooking all the tortillas as the pan will continue to heat.
DO NOT cook the tortillas for too long: 20-30 seconds MAX on the first side and 20 seconds on the second side.
Roll and cook each tortillas separately.  If you roll them all first, they will shrink and become too thick before you get around to cooking them.

1 cup. all purpose flour
1 cup. White Wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs THRIVE Shortening powder
1/2 cup+. water

1. Combine flour, salt, baking powder and shortening powder.  Add 1/2 cup water and mix. If needed, add more water a tbsp at a time, until it just comes together. I added about 3 extra Tablespoons.  You do not want the dough too dry.

2. Divide the dough and roll into 12 balls.  Let them rest for 15 minutes.

3. Take a dough ball, and flatten with the palm of your hand. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface.  (Do not use too much flour or the excess flour will burn when you cook the tortillas).  Roll the dough out very thin: it will become transparent.  As you roll it out, turn the dough a quarter turn with each stroke until it is about 6 inches in diameter.

4. Heat your skillet over medium heat: make sure it is hot before placing the tortilla on it.  Cook the first side for about 20-30 seconds, until it just begins to turn golden. Flip and cook the other side for 20 seconds. Place cooked tortilla in a ziplock bag.  This will keep it soft and warm while you cook the other tortillas.

Food Storage

I thought you might get a kick out of our breakfast this morning – so I was raised by a thrifty mom who taught me wisely not to waste food.  So, those yummy rolls were sliced in half this morning and made into French toast a la food storage – aka 3 Tbsp of egg powder + ¾ cup of milk (made from milk powder) + vanilla and cinnamon.  Then, I top the French toast with my homemade sugar syrup flavored with “Mapleine.”  If you’re not familiar with Mapleine, give it a try.  You can find it in the spices area near the vanilla.  My mom made sugar syrup from brown sugar – no maple flavoring – but I’ve decided I prefer the flavoring.  The recipe for syrup is on the back of the bottle – but pretty much it’s 2 parts sugar to 1 part water.  I make 1 cup of sugar + ½ cup water and just heat it in the microwave.  I store it in my fridge in a glass canning jar.

We topped the French toast with sliced fresh peaches I purchased from www.bulknaturalfoods.com – a west Tennessee family run food co-op specializing in organic/minimally processed foods.  Please check them out.  I bought a 25lb box of amazing peaches for $15 + $5 shipping.  You are not locked in to anything – you just order what you want each order you’re interested.  This would be a great way to purchase some things to can.  We could go together to buy a couple boxes of peaches and then can them.  I have a DELICIOUS peach salsa recipe that I canned last summer.

A few storage tips:

Make a list of what recipes/snacks/foods your family eats regularly and stock up on those items whenever they go on sale.  I started out by keeping a list of what the everyday price was on items at Walmart and at Aldi.  (My list of those are 2 years old and it’s CRAZY how much those prices have risen in 2 years!  Can you say INFLATION?)  This helped me to know when things were really on sale.  I’ve gotten away from shopping at Walmart and have found that when I stock up on items at Kroger when they’re on a good sale I can save money over Walmart anyway.  Also, know the prices for regular sized items (say a 4 lb bag of sugar) so when you’re at Costco you know if the 25 lbs bag is a good price.  I kept this list printed out in my wallet.  Now I use a free I-Phone app called “GROCERY IQ.”  I put in the notes section what the price was – say for hamburger or tuna, etc. so I know whether something is a good price or not.  As I’m growing older, I really notice that if I don’t write it down I don’t remember it!  Here’s my Aldi price list from 2 years ago:

ALDI PRICES 4/21/2010

 Sugar                                      2.49         (5lb)

Flour                                      1.39         (5lb)

100 cal cookies                       1.99         (5.3 oz)

Triscuits                                  1.49         (9.5 oz)

Wheat thins                            1.39         (10 oz)

Cake Mix                                .89

Extra Virg Olive Oil               3.99         (16.9 oz)

Choc Chips                             1.69         (12 oz)

Frosting                                  1.19         (16 oz)

Pecans                                    2.89         (6 oz)

Peanut Butter                         1.39         (18 oz)

Oatmeal – flavored                  1.49         (15 oz)

Tuna in water                         .49           (5 oz)

Spag Sauce                             1.19         (26 oz)

Fabric Soft                             1.89         (70 sheets)

Orange Cleaner                     .99           (32 oz)

Dishwasher Gel                     2.49         (75 oz)

Lt Sour Cream                       .89           (16 oz)

Butter                                      1.99         (16 oz)

Smart Bal Butter                    2.29         (15 oz)

Sliced Cheese                          1.99         (8 oz)

Hamburger (80%)                  2.49/lb

Hamburger (93%)                  2.99/lb

Whole wheat bread               1.19         (20 oz)

Mushrooms                            .99           (8 oz)

Black Beans                           .59           (15.5 oz)

I found this GREAT website at www.dealstomeals.blogspot.com and she is like a food storage mega woman.  So, let’s say tuna is on a mega sale, stock up as much as your budget allows – say, buy 30 cans.  Base is on the expiration date and how much your family would eat before it expires.  Watch the expiration date – I have stocked up on peanut butter and on canned evaporated milk and not used them before they expired.

Stock up on what you use – cereal, oatmeal, ketchup, mayo, oil, sugar, flour, tuna.

I’m a bit embarrassed to show you what kind of junk our family was eating a couple years ago when I made this list, but for the sake of transparency I’ll put my list here.  This list allowed us to know what to have in our “home store.”  Now that we are eating less processed food, I store larger quantities of a smaller variety of items — so rather than buying things pre-made, I make them from scratch or use more whole foods and fresh fruits and veggies.

ALDIMacaroni (3)Spaghetti (4)

Penne (3)

Egg noodles (3)

Ramen noodles (2)

Spaghetti Sauce (10)

Brown sugar oatmeal (3)

Canned corn (10)

Cream corn (10)

Green beans (cut – not French) (10)

Canned spinach (4)

Canned peas (4)

Canned mixed vegetables (4)

Canned potatoes (4)

Baked beans (10)

Canned tuna (10)

Canned chicken (10)

Canned salmon (4)

Canned black beans (6)

Pineapple (4)

Tomato Sauce (8 oz) (6)

Diced Tomatoes (10)

Fruit cocktail (10)

Cornbread mix (4)

Breadcrumbs (1)

Brownie mix (3)

Flour (4)

Sugar (4)

Splenda packets (3)

Rice (4)

Beans (4)

Juice boxes (4)

Parm. Cheese (2)

Velveeta Cheese (2)

Mushroom soup (10)

Tomato Soup (10)

Cream of chicken soup (6)

Onion soup mix (2)

Pancake mix (3)

Chicken bouillon (2)

Beef bouillon (1)

Ranch dressing (2)

Blue cheese dressing (2)

Canola Oil (2)

Vinegar (2)

Family size tea bags (2)

Cheetos (2)

Stick Pretzels (2)

ALDIFat free milk (2)2% milk (2)

Margarine (2)

Butter (4)

Sour Cream (2)

Eggs (18)

Yogurt (6)

Cottage cheese (1)

Colby shredded cheese (2)

Mozz. Shredded cheese (2)

Cheddar shredded cheese (2)

String Cheese (2)

Cream cheese (2)

Amer. Cheese slices (2)

Muenster cheese (2)

Hamsteak (3)

Bacon (2)

Chicken Sausages (2)

Deli meat (3)

Frozen chicken breasts (4)

5 lb. hamburger pack (3)

Frozen hamburgers (1)

Hotdogs (4)

Corn dogs (4)

Half-gallon ice cream (2)

Lite coolwhip (2)

Hamburger buns (2)

Hotdog buns (2)

Bagels (2)

Tortillas (2)

100% whole wheat bread (2)

White bread (2)

Rolls (2)

Sweet potatoes

Bag salad

Bag spinach

Zucchini

Romaine hearts

Avocado

Mushrooms

Clementines

Grapes

Dishwasher detergent

French fries (2)

Tater tots (2)

French fried onions (2)

Saltines (2)

WALMARTAlfredo sauce (4)Brown rice (2)

Whole wheat lasagna (2)

Mashed potatoes (2)

Cereal (4)

Deli ham & turkey

Diapers – white cloud

Huggies wipes

Toilet paper

Paper towels

Big liquid hand soap

Dryer sheets

Laundry detergent

Borax (1)

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (1)

Pizza crust mix (4)

Walmart triscuits (2)

Walmart wheat thins (2)

Cheese on cheese crackers (2)

Graham crackers (2)

Granola Bars (2)

Nutty Bars (2)

Tortilla chips (2)

Laughing cow cheese

cappuccino mix

Pudding mix (4)

Jello mix (4)

Snack puddings (4)

Ketchup (3)

Peanut butter (3)

Canned corned beef hash (4)

Gallon, Qt, Sandwich ziplock bags

Plastic wrap (sam’s choice)

Alum. Foil

Frozen Pillsbury biscuits (2)

Taco seasoning (2)

Chicken marinade (4)

Frozen mixed veg. (2)

Frozen spinach (2)

Frozen California veg. (2)

Frozen stirfry veg. (2)

Pie crusts (3)

Eggs (18)

Pineapple tidbits (4)

Applesauce (4)

Chicken nuggets (4)

Chicken patties (3)

Crystal Light (4)

Totino’s Pizza (6)

FREEZE stuff!  Cheese, butter, hamburger (I buy in bulk, cook it with onions and portion it in ¾ lbs portions in quart size bags).  When your fresh fruit looks like it’s going to turn – freeze it, or even cook it and freeze it.  Costco has great prices on fresh strawberries, so I’ll buy a 4-lb thing fresh.  Then, if we don’t eat them all, I wash them, cut off green tops and freeze them whole on a cookie sheet.  After they’re frozen, toss them in a ziplock bag and you can use them individually.  Grate up zucchini, press out the excess liquid and freeze in a baggie to use for muffins.  Bananas, peaches and blueberries are great frozen – they’re great in muffins or smoothies.  We do have an upright freezer in our garage that allows us to stock up on what’s on sale.

“America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams” by Steve and Annette Economides is available at the Collierville library and had lots of great tips.

As far as using actually Shelf Reliance foods, my favorite products would include: egg powder, instant milk powder, sour cream powder, shortening powder, freeze dried chiles, carrot dices, bell peppers, diced onions, potato beads (instant potatoes), mushrooms, tomato powder, instant black beans, and hard WHITE winter wheat.

Shelf Reliance carries a #10 can of Garden Vegetable seeds.  We bought 2 cans and have been experimenting with planting one can and stored the other.  The seeds are non-hybrid and even come with a little sheet explaining how to collect and store the seeds to replant the next year.

Thanks you guys!