Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Years Eve 2009

This really should have been a few days ago, but sadly I am not always as organized as I should be.

First some recipes:

Sauer Kraut Casserole.

1 large can of Sauer Kraut
2 packages of sausage
5 tablespoons of mustard powder.
2 tablespoons of caraway seed.

Slice the sausage thin. Mix everything together and bake or microwave until hot. If baking, I suggest 350 for about thirty minutes. Cover with foil before hand to avoid browning.

Sauer Kraut is popular in Germany and in parts of the US where German immigrants settled for New Years Eve.

Black eyed peas

2 cups peas (soak overnight before cooking)
1 hambone
2 jalapeƱos
Salt and pepper to taste
Dash Worcestershire sauce.
Chopped onion and cilantro (optional)

After soaking, cook for about an hour and a half. Add water as needed. Add cilantro in last 10 minutes. Add onion in last 30 to 5 minutes depending on how well you wish them to be cooked.

Both these recipes are considered good luck for New Years. Blacks in Central America also consider it good luck to be in church on New Year’s eve. Of course we as Christians know that we don’t have good luck from any of these, but that God will bless us as we obey him (and withhold the blessing if we don’t. For that reason it is important to line our lives up with his will.

Some people make resolutions for New Year, and some of those are good, but most are forgotten before January is done. Personally, I think the best thing to do on New Years is to see where you came from, where you are now, and plan for the future. As Christians, we know the future is not ours to see, but we should still plan for it. We should have certain goals, and should be aiming at those goals. Some of these goal we will look at again as we come into pre Lent, but for the secular year, we should be checking carefully in these times on our management of time and money. In both of these the first things we need to look at is God’s portion. You show me how you spend your time, I will tell you if you are really a Christian. Sunday definitely should be set aside for God and for family. Hopefully you are a member of a church which still has morning and evening Sunday services. Go to both. Ditto for Wednesday services or Bible Studies if available. Time for family prayer, spousal prayer and private prayer time are also important as well as studying God’s word. Look at where you are on these, and seek improvement. The time is there if you put God first. (I might not in passing, that I came up from Honduras to vacation one year. Of course there were no funds for this, so I worked at a car wash. I told the guy I would not work on Sunday, and he respected that. For some strange reason, even though I was the only one not working on Sunday, I always managed 40 hours or more per week, something that the other guys rarely managed. God respected my commitment to him.)

Aside from church, and Bible study, Sunday is a good time for family time. Pic Niks, hiking, bike riding, monopoly, whatever are good family activities. We always have leftovers Sunday lunch so no one has to cook, and after sunset we fix something simple (our family keeps Sunday Sabbath from sunset to sunset as Jesus did.) We don’t buy anything, or go to movies or knowingly do anything that would require anyone to have to work to serve us, so as to keep the Sabbath. Many young people today have no opportunity to go to church on Sunday anymore because they end up working on Sunday.

God must come first though. We have a habit of allowing other things, which may be good in an of themselves to be gods in our lives. Some time should be set aside for exercise, but it should not consume us. How much time do you spend playing tennis, or soccer, or golf. These are all good things, unless we allow them to be gods in our lives. I have seen the same thing with volunteer fire fighters. That becomes their god. So always be careful how you spend you time.

Money of course is the other big one. The Bible tells us the tithe is the minimum standard. I have found that when I am tithing, things have a way of working out, despite the amount of money I have. We also need to plan our use of money. Car and other major repairs. Money saved up for house repairs, money saved up for if a job is lost. We need to always be prepared, especially in these precarious times. Do we really need a four bedroom house? Or a brand new car? Spouses should sit down and think about these things.

Also of course teach your kids about wise use of time and money. Either a regular allowance or report card money or both. I know of one guy who gave his kids (starting in jr. high) money to buy their own clothes for a year. He didn’t help them, and they learned to make the dollar stretch. One of his sons was stunned when he realized that his prom tux had to come out of that money too, and found a perfectly good tux at Goodwill. It is not enough to tell the kids, we have to show them as well.

We might think about a vegetable garden too. If you are in the south or southwest, you might even want to start know. Cauliflower, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, spinach, swiss chard and beats all grow well in cool weather. Cabbage and everything mentioned before it, but especially broccoli takes a light freeze well. Cilantro and parsley grow well in cool weather, as do some spices. We have thyme, parsley, and oregano that all took a hard freeze and still growing well. If you live further north, think about what you can plant and when.

By the way, for tonight, egg nog, smoothies, banana milk shakes are all good. Pray for a good year to come, and especially pray for the church, and for the leadership of the country and your state. After we ahve finished praying and making noise, we watch movies.

May God bless you this year to come.

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