Saturday, October 30, 2010

Fall Family Fellowship 2010

It's that time of year again and I'm making my traditional recipe. I'm waiting for the chocolate to cool so I don't scramble the eggs :). Indelible Grace is giving me something to sing to and I think the chocolate it cooled, so I'm off! Here's the recipe. Enjoy!

Caramel Pecan Fudge Brownies
Fine Cooking recipe: November 2008

For the Brownies:
6 oz. (12 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into half-inch pieces; more softened for the pan
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. table salt
3 3/8 oz. (3/4 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 oz. (1/4 cup) natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarsely chopped (OPTIONAL ;)

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9x13-inch baking pan.
Put the butter and chocolate in a medium heavy-duty saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs until well blended. Gradually whisk in the sugar and then whisk vigorously until well blended. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture, vanilla extract, and salt. Whisk in the flour and cocoa powder until blended. Stir in the pecans and then scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing it into an even layer with a spatula.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it, 20-22 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and, if necessary, gently press down and puffed areas with a spatula to make the top level. Let cool about 5 minutes.

For the Topping:
Make the caramel first:
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water

Fill a cup measure halfway with water and put a pastry brush in it; this will be used for washing down the sides of the pan to prevent crystallization.
In a heavy-duty 2-quart saucepan, stir the sugar, lemon juice, and 1/4 cup cold water. Brush down the sides of the pan with water to wash away any sugar crystals. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan, until the mixture starts to color around the edges, 5-8 minutes. Gently swirl the pan once to even out the color and prevent the sugar from burning in isolated spots. Continue to cook until the sugar turns medium amber, about 30 seconds more. (Once the mixture begins to color, it will darken very quickly, so keep an eye on it.)

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream -- the mixture will bubble up furiously. Once the bubbling has subsided, add the butter and gently whisk until completely melted. Whisk in teh vanilla extract and salt. Pour the caramel topping over the brownies, using a spatula to spread it evenly over the entire top Let the brownies cool on the rack for 45 minutes and then refridgerate until the caramel topping is set, at least 1 hour.

For the Garnish:
5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 Tbs. heavy cream
1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped

Combine the chocolate and heavy cream in a small saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate unto a small piping bag fitted with a 1/8-inch plain tip. (Or put it in a small zip-lock bag and seal the bag. Using scissors, snip off a corner of the bag to make a small hole.) Drizzle the chocolate over the brownies in a zig-zag pattern. Sprinkle the choppedd pecans over the top. Refridgerate until the chocolate is set, about 30 minutes.

Served chilled or at room temperature. (Well-covered brownies will keep at room temperature for up to 2 days and in the refridgerator for up to 5 days.)


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Poem

I just finished reading this on another blog and had to post it. It gets better and better as you read it. May it prove a blessing to you today, whatever your trials and perplexities. He is gracious even in the waiting.

Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried;
Quietly, patiently, lovingly, God replied.
I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate . . .
And the Master so gently said,"Wait."

"Wait? You say wait?" my indignant reply.
"Lord, I need answers, I need to know why!"
Is your hand shortened? Or have you not heard?
By faith I have asked, and I'm claiming your Word.

My future and all to which I relate,
Hangs in the balance, and you tell me to Wait?"
I'm needing a 'yes,' a go-ahead sign.
Or even a 'no,' to which I'll resign.

You promised, dear Lord, that if we believe,
We need but to ask, and we shall receive.
Lord, I've been asking, and this is my cry:
I'm weary of asking! I need a reply.

Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate,
As my Master replied again, "Wait."
So I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut,
And grumbled to God, "So, I'm waiting . . . for what?"

He seemed then to kneel, and His eyes met with mine . . .
And He tenderly said, "I could give you a sign.
I could shake the heavens and darken the sun.
I could raise the dead and cause mountains to run.

I could give all you seek and pleased you would be.
You'd have what you want, but you wouldn't know Me.
You'd not know the depth of My love for each saint.
You'd not know the power that I give to the faint.

You'd not learn to see through clouds of despair;
You'd not learn to trust just by knowing I'm there.
You'd not know the joy of resting in Me,
When darkness and silence are all you can see.

You'd never experience the fullness of love,
When the peace of My spirit descends like a dove.
You would know that I give, and I save, for a start,
But you'd not know the depth of the beat of My heart.

The glow of My comfort late into the night,
The faith that I give when you walk without sight.
The depth that's beyond getting just what you ask,
From an infinite God who makes what you have last.

You'd never know should your pain quickly flee,
What it means that My grace is sufficient for thee.
Yes, your dearest dreams overnight would come true,
But oh, the loss if I lost what I'm doing in you.

So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see,
That the greatest of gifts is to truly know me.
And though oft My answers seem terribly late,
My most precious answer of all is still "WAIT".

~Russel Kelfer

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spurgeon, Pour Our Tea

I just read this on another blog and was encouraged so much by it. So, allow Spurgeon to pour you a cup of tea this evening. He's from Britain, after all, it's bound to be a good cup, right? The Gospel is even better!

"Give us help from trouble." Psalm 60:11

When we come before God in the hour of trouble, remembering His great goodness to us in the past and therefore thanking Him, we should have faith enough to believe that the present trouble about which we are praying is sent in love. You will win with God in prayer if you can look at your trials in this light: "Lord I have this thorn in the flesh. I beg You, deliver me from it, but for now I bless You for it; for although I do not understand, I am persuaded there is love within it. Therefore, while I ask You to remove it, as it seems evil to me, yet it may to Your better knowledge be for my good. I bless you for it, and I am content to endure it as long as You see fit." Is not that a sweet way of praying? "Lord, I am in want: Be pleased to supply me; but meanwhile if you do not, I believe it is better for me to be in need, and so I praise You for my necessity while I ask You to supply it. I glory in my infirmity even while I ask You to overcome it. I triumph before You in my affliction and bless You for it even while I ask You to help me in it and rescue me out of it."

Monday, October 18, 2010


Good evening,

Just a note: I started a post on my trip to New York but am waiting to complete it because I need to get permission from Mrs. Miller to post pictures of her cute kids on the internet. Depending on her answer, I will finish the post with or without tons of Brieyn pictures.

In the mean time, go enjoy the crisp fall air, lovely changing leaves, and traffic that really does sound different.

Blessings to you in Christ Jesus,


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Summer Highlights

Good Evening,

Before I left for New York I fully intended to leave you with a slide show of our week together in July/August. Unfortunately, after letting the video upload all night, I woke up on the morning I was leaving for New York and discovered that for some reason (probably my lack of techno-savviness) the upload was unsuccessful. And now, 3 months later, I'm not feeling the urge to upload every picture (aren't you glad?), like I always do right after the fact. So, here are some highlights from...

My Graduation Party

(look! socializing)

Our Time At the Freeman's House

(it was so good to finally meet you, Anna Leigh!)

(The Knit Whits from Geneva OPC)

(freshly picked and arranged flowers and cups of coffee and tea made for a very fun afternoon. This was the highlight of the whole week for me.)

(playing Bananagrams and drinking tea)

Our Annual Photo Shoot 2010

Next up....the New York trip. I'm trying to catch up on my blogging :)

Another Sweet Reminder

Here is another precious letter from Miss Ruth Bryan. Anyone in the mood of a cup of tea? Pull up a chair to the tea table and let Miss Bryan sweeten your tea.

My very dear Miss,
In the precious Name which is above every name, I come to inquire--Is it well with you? Does the vine flourish, and the tender grape appear? (Song 6:11) and do you find the savor of the Beloved's ointments give a very good fragrance? Is Jesus increasingly precious, more than ever desirable? Is He, in your esteem, better than rubies, and all the things that may lawfully be desired not to be compared to Him? Is the Holy Spirit sharpening your appetite for this Bread of Life, so that with more ardent longings you are saying, "None but Jesus!" When He is in the right place, other things will be so; it is His rising in the soul that makes them sink to their proper level. And oh! He is so worthy, so suitable, so altogether lovely--we cannot prize Him too much, or hold Him too fast, or lean on Him too heavily. My highest praise of Him is far below His worth; but through rich grace, I, a vile sinner, have tasted and handled of this precious Word of life, and found such blessed benefit, such soul-invigoration, that I want to set others longing for these royal dainties!

Perhaps I might think that the Lord will do His own work, and I am only meddling in vain, if I did not read in His Holy Word about "exhorting one another," and "stirring up pure minds by way of remembrance." But, as these things are there, I venture; and if by many poor attempts I may be used to stir up but one warm loving remembrance of Him, I shall be thankful. Satan is ever striving to divert the mind from this blessed Object. He will allure or alarm, he will use what is pleasing or painful, anything to keep the soul from delighting in Jesus, from looking unto Jesus, and believing in Him for life and salvation. Nevertheless, all those who are ordained unto eternal life shall believe in spite of his efforts, and all those in eternal union with Christ shall close with Him by living faith. Cords of love shall entwine, and ropes of kindness shall draw--until the poor soul is brought into conscious union with the Beloved, and can say, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me!"

Oh, the blessed provisions and securities of the everlasting covenant, which is ordered in all things, and sure! Not only are all things made ready, but the soul is made willing to receive them; the appetite given, and the required garment put on. (Isa. 61:10) The precious Savior is a free gift, and the faith which receives Him is a free gift also; the blood which CLEANSES is Heaven's royal bounty, for freely did it flow from the veins of heaven's King, and the application of it is Heaven's sole prerogative. By mercy, not by merit, do all the blessings come. This salvation is for the poor, and the poor only--and they must be stripped even of their rags! It is not enough to confess that their rags are filthy and worthless--they must be parted with, and this necessity touches very closely the heart of the 'old Adam'. But all must go, that Christ may wear the crown—that he who glories may glory in the Lord our righteousness.

How is it with you, my beloved? Are you stripped of your own righteousness, emptied, and bankrupt? If so, I hail you blessed, for "the poor have the gospel preached to them;" and it is written, "When they had nothing to pay, he graciously forgave them both." Nothing to pay! how our proud flesh does murmur and complain, and only wish that it had something to bring! But why? "He has magnified the law and made it honorable." He has endured every stripe that justice required, paying every farthing the creditor demanded, and that in Heaven's own coin, for "without shedding of blood is no remission of sin." His pure blood was freely shed that sin might be honorably remitted. "The soul that sins--it shall die." He dies, "the just for the unjust, to bring us to God;" and when at the close of His work He cried aloud, "It is finished," there was not a voice heard in heaven, earth, or hell to contradict him. Take courage, then, my beloved; we can afford to be poor with such "unsearchable riches in Christ!" All He is and has is ours, for "my Beloved is mine, and I am His." "All things are yours, for you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." He is "Head over all things to His body the Church."

"Ah! but," say you, "I want to know more clearly that He is mine. I want personal application and appropriation." Well, this is not unlawful coveting; go on longing, for this very same Jesus "satisfies the longing soul, and fills the hungry soul with goodness." You want to know your sonship? "We are children of God by faith in Christ Jesus;" faith is the manifestation of sonship, and by it we come to the enjoyment of family privileges. Living faith is the gift of God, and "faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." While Rebekah was listening to Abraham's servant, there was a moving of her heart towards his master's son, for when asked if she would so quickly leave all for him, she said, "I will go." So, perhaps, while you are hearing of the "things which are Jesus Christ's," the Holy Spirit will be kindling love and longing in your soul, bringing it to believe and venture. May the blessed Comforter speedily make you as willing as Rebekah, and work in you the same obedience of faith. She went forth, and her faith was not in vain--she found her husband. So shall you; for eternity will never unfold all the love, loveliness, and glories of our wonderful Emmanuel! Oh, I do want to know more of them here, and thus have all the things of earth bedimmed!

Sweet Testifier of Jesus! O Wind Divine! "awake," and "come," and blow away the dust of earth, and clouds of flesh and sense, which seem to come between us and our souls' Beloved, revealing Him in warmer love, more manifested union, and more endeared communion. Oh, make us walk in Him!

"Closer and closer may we cleave
To His beloved embrace,
Expect His fullness to receive,
And grace to answer grace."

If for Jesus you pine, come and beseech Him for more of His love. Come, O Beloved! into the garden of our souls; breathe upon the graces of Your own Spirit there, that the spices may flow forth for Your regaling. Eat, O Beloved! Your own pleasant fruits, and give us, Your unworthy ones, to find Your fruits sweet to our taste—the fruits of Your love, of Your doing, of Your suffering! Give us to feast on Your rich fruits—to eat, by faith, Your flesh and blood, and thus live by You. (John 6:57) Say to us, "Eat, O friends! drink, yes, drink abundantly, O beloved!" for Your "biddings are enablings." Amen. (Eph. 20, 21.)

Now if there should be one drop of living water for your refreshment in this little vessel, give God the praise. To Him I commend you in love.

Your very affectionately, but in myself, very unworthy,

p.s. I send you Phil. iii.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tea Served By Miss Ruth Bryan


I have been home from New York for two weeks (tomorrow), now and still have not given you any highlights, pictures....anything! Well, you'll have to wait a bit longer. This is not the night for it. Trust me. But, by way of a post, I have been re-reading some of Miss Ruth Bryan's letters in her precious book of letters, The Marvelous Riches of Savoring Christ. I could write a whole post just on the book, but instead, I will let Miss Bryan pour the tea tonight with one of her letters that I go back to again and again. It is rather long, but most precious. Blessings to you in Christ Jesus! Goodnight!

To E. M.

How frail are we! How often reminded that these tabernacles have their foundation in the dust! "Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return;" and thus end all the pride and pomp of vain mortals. A few short days they flutter in the sunbeams of pleasure and earthly prosperity--and then lie down in their lowly bed of dust, until aroused by the voice of the archangel, and the trumpet of God. But in what likeness shall they come forth? Ah! there will be no mistake in that great harvest-day. The seed of the serpent, and the seed of Christ--will doubtless each have their own likeness. According to the sowing will be the reaping, (Matt. 13:37-39) which the Day will declare.

O my dear friend, I do more and more like to see things in the light of eternity, the light of the Spirit, which shows things as they really are, and as the Word declares them. I desire this not for the sake of judging others, but that I may judge myself daily and hourly, (1 Cor. 11:31) and not be beguiled by this deceitful and desperately wicked heart, which always pleads on the side of the old Adam, urging in time of temptation, "This is not very wrong, and that can be of no great consequence." But ah! away with it all! "There is death in the pot!"

What says the Scripture? "To be carnally minded is death." "If you live after the flesh you shall die." (Rom. 8:6,13) "He who sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit, shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting." (Gal. 6:8) I think that these verses do not refer only to the utter death of the unrenewed state, but also to such a deadness in the believer's experience as "sowing to the flesh" must bring. The truth of this I have sorrowfully proved since quickened into spiritual life, yes, since I have felt Jesus to be precious. And I have had to take to myself the words of Jer. 2:17—"Have you not procured this unto yourself, in that you have forsaken the Lord your God, when he led you by the way?"—and know the experience described in a great part of that chapter and the following one. Oh! what a picture they give of this wandering heart! But the return spoken of in chapter 3, verses 12-14, 22, is wonderful! "Who is a God like unto You," pardoning "iniquity, transgression, and sin?" for He not only calls us to, but insures our return. (Hosea 14:7) They "shall return," and they "shall revive." This is one of the new-covenant blessings, and a pledge that iniquity shall never be our ruin.

Can this lead to presumption or light thoughts of sin? Nay, verily: "How shall we who are dead to sin live any longer therein?" "Sin shall not have dominion over you;" and though the believer falls, "he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His right hand." He "knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation." He "will not allow you to be tempted above that you are able, but will, with the temptation, also make a way to escape." These are sweet promises to a trembling soul that feels it cannot stand a moment alone, and yet longs to walk in the Lord's way without stumbling; yes, to "run the way of His commandments" with an enlarged heart.

Such may be overtaken in a fault, but they will not trifle with sin. They feel it an evil and bitter thing; and if sure that they are delivered from its final consequences, they want deliverance also from its present power. This is the breathing and panting of a regenerated heart; the new creature, or new man, is "created in righteousness and true holiness," though it dwells in a leprous house. Still its aspirations are after its own element, that of holiness and love; and never will it be satisfied until it awakens with His likeness. No dead soul has these desires: they are signs of life; He has been there who says, "I have come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." Precious words to a soul that wants life "more abundantly!"

How thankful I am that you are more spoiled for the world, and that the Holy Spirit is making your conscience tender. I wish every act of conformity to the world may sting like an adder, and bite like a serpent! How cruel of me to think thus! but it is what I wish for myself. I would be as separate from the world in appearance and life, as in heart; and as separate in heart as I shall wish to be altogether when "He shall set the sheep on His right hand, and the goats on His left." Oh, we would not then have one goat's hair upon us--and yet we often tolerate them now.

Truly, we owe hearty thanks to the convincing Spirit for all His sharp rebukes. He is that faithful friend who will not allow us to sin without a reproof. Smiting is welcome from this righteous One; for it is better to sit in sackcloth and ashes under His discipline, than be a careless one "at ease in Zion." It is true, as you say, we have contending nations within, great and mighty; but the Shulamite is a company of two armies, and the spiritual Joshua says, "As captain of the Lord's army am I now come." With the Lord on our side, we shall put the foot of faith upon the necks of our enemies, and He will subdue them. Fear not! the battle is the Lord's! And though you may often feel foiled, it is to teach you where your strength and victory lie; not in any conquests of your own, but in the achievements of your Captain upon Mount Calvary. There see Him bruise the head of Satan, the captain of the Canaanites; there see your sin pierce Him; there see His Father bruise Him, and put Him to grief for your iniquities, and in your stead. Would you know what sin is, what justice is, what pardon is, what love is, what victory is? You must learn all at Calvary and in Gethsemane. I know the Holy Spirit keeps the key of those sacred places; but it is well to wait prayerfully at the gate until it shall be said, in experience, "Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven."

As to the time you have been waiting, it is nothing in comparison with the value of what you are waiting for. The first sight of your name upon the heart of the crucified One, the first beam from His precious eye, will overpay you for an age of painful waiting. To see others stepping in before you, may sometimes cast you down; and the enemy may suggest: "Jesus has no favor for you." Answer him not a word; cry to his Conqueror, "Let my sentence come forth from Your presence." Do not be ready to believe hard things of that Friend of sinners, whose heart is made of tenderness. His heart melts with love. When did He cast out a coming sinner? When did He leave a helpless lamb to the wolf? When did He refuse to deliver a distressed soul, crying, "Lord, help me!"

My hope of you is steadfast, that as He has begun, so He will finish in you the good work, that together we may witness for the dear Redeemer, that He still "receives sinners, and eats with them." You long to love Him more, and well indeed you may, for He is worthy. But do not forget—"We love Him, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) When you can by faith know and believe the love God has to you, your love will flow back again to Him. But now you are doubting and questioning it, which shows your feelings are more under the influence of fear than love. Those whom you see so warm in their love to Him have known and believed His love to them. In fact, the one is the effect of the other. "The love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit," and then it rises up again to its source. You long to look away from self; but you are like the poor woman who was bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. But Jesus will come and break your bands, and make you go upright and look upward. Oh, cry for faith; and may the Lord open to you. I commend you, my precious one, to the infallible Teacher, whose word is with power.

In Him I may take a warm adieu,