2007 at 4:22 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Homemaking Eating and Mealtime
The following is an excerpt from an email we received yesterday in response to Janelle’s post:
Thank you for having the courage to say “gluttony” in public. I would beseech you to do a series on gluttony. I fight the battle with gluttony continually. I very much love God’s gift of food and overeat on a regular basis because I so desire the pleasure that the first bite brings me. It’s so difficult to remember that by the time I get too many bites in, I am no longer experiencing pleasure but I keep searching for it, bite after bite. I have been reading and re-reading Elyse Fitzpatrick’s Love to Eat, Hate to Eat for the last four years trying to incorporate the Biblical truths into my daily life; some moments God gives the grace and other days I choose to sin. It has been lonely because when I have tried to share some of the truths or even talked about my size I am dismissed. When a woman says she’s fat, no other woman wants to jump in and say “You’re right, can I help?” If I’ve wanted to discuss the contrast between Weight Watchers “eat what you want, as much as you want as long as you stay in your points range” vs. the Biblical idea of self-control, of pleasing God—not self, I am seen as attacking a sacred cow. I have done Weight Watchers before and I think there are lots of good things, but in my experience most people will boil down the good principles to the above idea; in addition, like anything else discernment needs to be practiced. Please do consider a series.
How I admire this woman’s humility and discernment. She takes the sin of gluttony seriously. But while benefiting from a reputable weight-loss program, she realizes there’s something more important than inches off her waistline: “pleasing God—not self.”
If we diet only to improve our appearance or reach a personal goal, we are no more pleasing God than if we indulged our every desire for food. Not eating for vanity’s sake is as sinful as gluttony for appetite’s sake. We can’t conquer one sin with another. We can’t fight selfishness with selfishness.
As the ever-insightful CS Lewis puts it:
“He cannot bless us unless he has us. When we try to keep within us an area that is our own, we try to keep an area of death. Therefore, in love, He claims all. There’s no bargaining with Him.”
Christ claims all—including our eating habits. But first, He gave all; He gave His life for us on the cross. If we repent from our vanity and our gluttony and look to our Savior, there, and only there, we will find the power and help to please God.
2007 at 4:21 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Homemaking Eating and Mealtime
My dear friend and high school literature teacher sent me the following e-mail soon after my post went up yesterday…
I looked over your recipe, and I feel that you are trying to make them sound acceptably nutritious by calling them muffins. Let’s be honest; they’re cupcakes! : )
You caught me. In my defense, the recipe really did say “muffins.” But after eating a few, I would have to agree that they seem closer to the cupcake family. You always did call me to a standard of excellence in my writing. So, in honor of you, I am officially renaming them “Janelle’s Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cupcakes.” Love ya!
Even with the “muffin” label, I’m sure the cream cheese-chocolate chip combination set off more than a few calorie alarms out there. As women we can tend to consider such decadent foods as just short of evil. But the Bible (which actually has a whole lot to say about the topic of food) has a different perspective that Mom points out in her chapter on “Self Control” in Feminine Appeal:
“God…wants us to enjoy our food. It is a gift from the one ‘who richly provides us with everything to enjoy’ (1 Tim. 6:17). If you study the earthly life of Jesus in the Gospels, you will observe that our Lord enjoyed His food! We are to receive food with gratitude and enjoyment.”
Cream Cheese Chocolate Muffins, oops, Cupcakes aren’t bad—they are a gift from God for which we should give Him thanks. But of course, that’s not all Scripture has to say. Mom continues:
“…however, we must not be given to overeating. Gluttony (excess in eating) is not a popular term in today’s culture, but it is found in Scripture and thus deserves our attention…Eating to calm our fears, alleviate stress, or overcome feelings of depression…are habits that do not glorify God. Food is not our source of help and comfort…We need to ask ourselves: Am I seeking my own glory or God’s glory with my eating habits.”
Obviously, I’ve jumped into a huge topic with a tiny little post. (Mom, Nic, Kris, I think we may need to give “self-control and eating” a series of its own soon.) But I hope these two complementary thoughts influence how you eat today: Food is a gift from God to be enjoyed. And God is eager to give us grace to exercise self-control and glorify Him when we eat.
2007 at 1:01 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
I tried a new muffin recipe this morning. After the first bite, I knew that I had to pass it along to y’all. They were "mmmm, tasty" as my nephew Liam would say. Any recipe that calls for cream cheese and chocolate chips is worth trying.
Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Muffins:
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar (I used 3/4 cup sugar, but we like ours sweet.)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease 12 muffin cups or use paper liners.
Beat cream cheese and butter together until fluffy. Beat in egg, cream and vanilla. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into cream cheese mixture until flour is moistened. Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups filling them 3/4 full.
Bake in preheated oven until tops are golden, about 20 minutes.
P.S. I thought you might enjoy this picture of my girly enjoying a muffin.
2007 at 9:21 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Fun Stuff Friday Funnies
This one’s been around for a while, but if you’re a parent you’re gonna love it. (Thank you Heather!)
Enjoy your weekend,
Nicole for the girltalkers
Preparation for parenthood…
It’s not just a matter of reading books and decorating the nursery. Here are 12 simple tests for expectant parents to take to prepare themselves for the real-life experience of being a mother or father.
1. Women: To prepare for maternity, put on a dressing gown and stick a pillowcase filled with beans down the front. Leave it there for 9 months. After 9 months, take out 10% of the beans.
Men: To prepare for paternity, go to the local drug store, tip the contents of your wallet on the counter, and tell the pharmacist to help himself. Then go to the supermarket. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office. Go home. Pick up the paper. Read it for the last time.
2. Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who are already parents and berate them about their methods of discipline, lack of patience, appallingly low tolerance levels, and how they have allowed their children to run wild. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child’s sleeping habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it—it’ll be the last time in your life that you will have all the answers.
3. To discover how the nights will feel, walk around the living room from 5 pm to 10 pm carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious noise) playing loudly. At 10 pm, put the bag down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1 am. Put the alarm on for 3 am. As you can’t get back to sleep, get up at 2 am and make a drink. Go to bed at 2:45 am. Get up again at 3 am when the alarm goes off. Sing songs in the dark until 4 am. Put the alarm on for 5 am. Get up. Make breakfast. Keep this up for 5 years. Look cheerful.
4. Can you stand the mess children make? To find out, first smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer. Stick your fingers in the flower beds, then rub them on the clean walls. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?
5. Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems: first buy an octopus and a bag made out of loose mesh. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out. Time allowed for this: all morning.
6. Take an egg carton, using a pair of scissors and a pot of paint, turn it into an alligator. Now take the tube from a roll of toilet paper. Using only Scotch tape and a piece of foil, turn it into an attractive Christmas candle. Last, take a milk carton, a ping pong ball, and an empty packet of Cocoa Pops and make an exact replica of the Eiffel Tower. Congratulations! You have just qualified for a place on the play group committee.
7. Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don’t think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don’t look like that. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there. Get a dime. Stick it in the cd player. Take a family-size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seats. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car. There. Perfect.
8. Get ready to go out. Wait outside the bathroom for half an hour. Go out the front door. Come in again. Go out. Come back in. Go out again. Walk down the front path. Walk back up it. Walk down it again. Walk very slowly down the road for 5 minutes. Stop to inspect minutely every piece of used chewing gum, dirty tissue, and dead insect along the way. Retrace your steps. Scream that you’ve had as much as you can stand until the neighbors come out and stare at you. Give up and go back into the house. You are now just about ready to try taking a small child for a walk.
9. Always repeat everything you say at least five times.
10. Go to your local supermarket. Take with you the nearest thing you can find to a preschool child—a fully-grown goat is excellent. If you intend to have more than one child, take more than one goat. Buy your week’s groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goats eat or destroy. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.
11. Hollow out a melon. Make a small hole in the side. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone. Tip the rest into your lap, making sure a lot of it falls on the floor. You are now ready to feed a 12-month-old baby.
12. Learn the names of every character from Thomas the Train, Dora the Explorer, and the Wiggles.
When you find yourself singing "I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map" at work, you finally qualify as a parent.
2007 at 3:52 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Series Girltalk Book Club
“But sisters, the man who will make for you a healthy, tender, passionate, enduring, mutually fulfilling life partner is a man who prizes faith and integrity in himself and goes weak in the knees at your inner beauty too. This beauty ages well—it is an ‘imperishable beauty.’ It is this beauty that men see and appreciate as you grow through the seasons of life.” (p. 128, Doing Things Right)
Here’s a promise all the cosmetics and botox treatments in the world can’t deliver: imperishable beauty. It’s the inner beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and it only grows more beautiful as the years pass (1 Peter 3:4). It can attract the right kind of man (one with integrity of heart) and it can secure his lifelong devotion.
If you’d like to learn more about how to develop this kind of beauty (and who wouldn’t!), I’d like to recommend several messages by Mom on this topic. In “True Beauty” she exposes the ultimate futility of physical beauty and the great worth of inner beauty. “A Woman’s Beauty Regimen” is an in-depth study of the meaning of a “gentle and quiet spirit” and practical advice on how to cultivate it.
And, in case you haven’t already heard, you can now listen to these (and many other) messages free of charge at the Sovereign Grace Ministries website. We’d especially recommend the messages on biblical womanhood (of course!).
Friday Funnies soon to follow…
2007 at 12:57 pm | by Janelle Bradshaw
Would you like to see a picture of biblical womanhood—a portrait of a life lived faithfully before the Lord and in service to others in the local church? I cannot think of a more fitting image than our dear friend Madonna Aristorenas.
Madonna passed away last Friday after a six-year-battle with breast cancer. She was 39. But Madonna’s example and testimony is alive and healthier than ever. She leaves behind a legacy of passionate service to the church and infectious joy in Christ.
Carolyn McCulley penned a tribute to Madonna on her blog. There she quotes Madonna’s pastor as saying that despite her battle with cancer she had served in every major ministry in the church. In the world’s eyes, Madonna had every right to be home feeling sorry for herself, but Madonna refused. She laid aside all thoughts of self and gave her life away for the glory of her Savior. John Piper says, “If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.”
Madonna is in these words. She experienced hard things in this life and the risk was most certainly high, but she lived gladly to make others glad and her joy was full.
Please, take a moment and read Carolyn’s tribute to this most worthy of ladies. And look hard at your own life. Are you “living gladly to make others glad?” Where are you serving in your local church? How can you seek to live with an outward focus today? May Madonna’s life inspire you to honor the Lord in all that you do!
2007 at 5:33 pm | by Carolyn Mahaney
Biblical Womanhood Prayer
In difficulty, my first question is often “Why?” I can be tempted to demand an answer from God. Sometimes He makes his purposes clear: in many cases, our trials are indeed “preparation for the task.” But God is not obligated, nor does He always tell us why.
But there is another question He will always answer, as JI Packer asserts in his new book: Praying the Lord’s Prayer:
“If you ask, ‘Why is this or that happening?’ no light may come, for ‘the secret things belong to the Lord our God’ (Deuteronomy 29:29); but if you ask, ‘How am I to serve and glorify God here and now, where I am?’ there will always be an answer.”
Our Father in heaven will show us how to glorify Him, if we simply ask, ready to obey. So which question are you asking today?
“And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.” Isaiah 30:21
2007 at 4:07 pm | by Nicole Whitacre
Biblical Womanhood Living Intentionally
Last night was girl’s night out. Over dinner at a sidewalk table (for which we waited, like hungry vultures, for forty-five minutes) our conversation bounced from one topic to another. At one point I mentioned a small difficulty I am facing. My mom and sisters encouraged and challenged me and the conversation moved on. This morning, my dear sister Kristin emailed me the following quote she read in her quiet time:
"Like an astute coach or a gifted teacher, God prepares his saints for the tasks to which he has appointed them before he uses them. Moses, for example, spent forty years in the desert, herding sheep, before God called him to lead his people out of Egypt. What better preparation in patience could there have been for his assignment of leading an equally stubborn flock of people through wilderness for forty years? Similarly, David learned courage from his own experience as a shepherd. Later the one who had learned how to take on wild animals in the defense of his flock would be called upon to take on the biggest wild animal of all, mighty Goliath, in the defense of God’s flock. God knows how to prepare his people for the tasks to which they are assigned" (from Living in the Gap Between Promise and Reality by Iain M. Duiguid).
Kristin wanted to encourage me that my present difficulty is “preparation for a task.” It isn’t simply something to get through. It is a training tool—to conform me to the image of Christ and make me more useful for him.
How about you—what herd of sheep are you called to look after today? Maybe it’s a laborious task such as a full credit load at school or backed up loads of laundry at home. It’s preparation for a task. Or what about a wild animal? Is there a prowling trial in your life—physical, relational or otherwise? It’s preparation for a task.
Our astute—and, might I add, loving—coach has us in training. Let’s look to Him in faith and meet our task with courage.
2007 at 10:31 am | by Kristin Chesemore
It’s Labor Day here in the US. The guys at the family room blog have posted some thoughts which will help us to glorify God on this holiday. We hope you all enjoy the day with family and friends!
Kristin for the girltalkers
Labor Day has been around for over 100 years. For most Labor Day marks the end of summer and the beginning of a new school year. For others, it is simply a three-day weekend where family and friends have one last cook-out. Ultimately, Labor Day exists to honor all workers.
United States Labor Department defines Labor Day as, “The first Monday in September that is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
So how can we as Christians celebrate Labor Day? Here are three ideas:
1) Take time to thank those who have graciously provided for you by working day after day. Children thank your parents.
2) Reflect upon and give thanks for the many blessings of being a citizen of the United States.
3) Thank the Lord for providing your job and the financial blessings that have come to you.
And praise God that Christ completed all the work that was necessary for our salvation. When his earthly saving work was done, He said, “It is finished.”