Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Prayer Boxes: An Easy Way to Pray for...Everything!

Do you ever feel like the list of prayer needs grows by the week...and maybe the day? I know that so often the "big" pressing things get the prayer time, and many other things just fall by the wayside or else get rattled off in a rapid-fire list as time constraints dictate. We have found a great solution for just such a problem!

I'm not sure where I read this idea, but I thought it was great! We have Prayer Boxes (I think the original idea was Prayer Jars). We made small cards with prayer needs written on them. I mean everything we could think of: neighbors, family members, our church, our school, our country, our soldiers, the persecuted church, missionaries...you name it. We wrote them down on some card stock (sturdy enough to be used repeatedly) and cut them out.

Then we put them in a small recipe box and wrote "Prayer Needs" on top. We labeled another box "Prayed For." Each day, we pass the box around and each person takes out two cards (pick a number that works for you), then we all have a quiet time of prayer. When we are finished, the cards go to the "Prayed For" box.

When the "Prayer Needs" box is empty, we start over! This way, everything gets prayed for on a fairly regular basis, and we don't have to feel overwhelmed-- or as if we are dropping the ball. Of course, as new needs arise, we put them in the box and add to the cards. 

Besides effectively praying for so many needs, the kids really enjoy the element of surprise each day. Something about pulling the unknown out of a box...that "ta-da" effect! They like that. And they like sharing with each other who or what they are praying about. 

And, certainly, there are many needs that we know cannot wait for prayer...and we pray for them all the time! 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ridiculously Delicious and Easy Peanut Butter Cookies (that also happen to be Gluten free!)

Here's a recipe with three whole ingredients! Share it with your kids and they may just keep you in a steady supply of delicious peanut butter cookies.

Two cups of your favorite peanut butter (regular or crunchy)
2 eggs, beaten
2 C sugar (I only use 1 1/2 and it is PLENTY sweet. But I like that the recipe calls for everything in 2's. Like Noah.)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix dough well with beaters. Of course, you may add in chocolate chips if you so desire, which we do occasionally. Or a Hershey Kiss on top! Roll the dough into ping-pong size balls with your hands. Place on cookie sheet and mash down with fork (the official stamp of authenticity for peanut butter cookies!).  Or squish it down with that Hershey Kiss idea. It's all good.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned. Scarf 'em down.

At the Intersection of Creation and Evolution: A Dream

The alliterating story below is based on a dream I had several years ago. Please contact me for permission to reproduce.

Darkness devours me.

I am enveloped in emptiness.

Are my eyes open or are they closed? I strain against this shroud of night and still see nothing.

What is this place?

An image illuminates in front of me. A large, leafy tree streaks past and vanishes.

It deserts me to the darkness again.

In a moment, more images appear. A rapid succession of snapshots and thoughts clamor before my eyes and mingle in my mind.

I see seedlings. Several supple shoots have emerged before me and then swiftly stream away.

“The first trees on earth were not seedlings”, my mind observes. “They were not created as small insignificant saplings.”

That thought is rapidly replaced with a vision of a man.

He’s maybe 30; he is muscular and needs to shave.

He fades away.

In his place I see an infant.

A tiny bundle of pink skin upon a soft blanket flickers briefly in my brain.

“Man was created with age,” is the next statement I hear. “Adam did not begin his life as a baby, he began as a grown man.”

The voice seems like my own.

The thoughts do not.

Reeling before me now is a blur of rivers, forests, mountains and even layers of the earth. It is like a movie rushing rapidly before my retina.

The soundtrack of this epic is proclaiming a peculiarly plain concept:

“The earth was created with age. Creation and evolution are not in total opposition. There is a reason that science finds the earth to be quite old: it was made that way.”

Thoughts continue to tumble through my mind; pictures parade before me. I listen in amazement to what seems to be puzzlingly profound and yet rather apparent all at once.

“Adam was created as an adult. Trees and plants were made fully grown.”

I suddenly feel quite certain that, if I were to chop down some of the trees that had been spoken into existence, I would find a range of rings running through their trunks.

“The earth was brought to life with age built into it… just like Adam. He did not begin life as an infant. The earth came into being with what it would need to sustain the life that was created. It was old when it was young. The world was
made with maturity; it was also produced with purpose.”

These thoughts are thrilling. Why had I not seen this before? It seems so simple. Obtusely obvious. Had others not observed this correlation? If they had, why wasn’t it being candidly conveyed?

In the span of thirty seconds I have been ravaged by a radical revelation. I feel the weight of its worth resting on me; it is tantamount to tangible.

I am neither a theologian nor am I a scientist. I don’t claim that the ethics of evolution are completely compatible with the Bible’s account of creation. But certainly Science can come concurrent to creation and affirm our faith with facts.

Of course, the Omnipotent Originator of the Universe is exceedingly elusive to what our mind could ever envision. Above what science could ever extensively elucidate.

Accordingly, creation is confounding too. Each diverse discovery deems it more marvelous to grasp. Many scientists have reluctantly relented to the theory of Intelligent Design.

That’s why, alongside those facts, we also need faith.

Lying inexplicably at the intersection of those two essential elements is an exceptional endowment: the intermittent insight of our dreams.