God's Harvest: Butternut Squash Soup

At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. Mark 12:12



I love these crisp September days when farmers’ markets overflow with ripe, autumn produce: bell-shaped butternut squash, red cabbage, parsnips, pumpkins, pears, gourds, apples . . . .


This week, to celebrate the season, I've decided to post one of my favorite autumn soup recipes. I hope that you’ll try it, and when you savor the wonderful scent that fills your kitchen while this soup cooks on your stove, remember when daylight wanes and the fields go dormant, our Heavenly Father provides for our needs.




Curried Butternut Squash Soup


  • 4 T. butter
  • 2 cups finely chopped yellow onions
  • 4-5 T. curry powder (but only if you like it spicy; otherwise use less)
  • 3 lbs. butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup apple juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • parsley to use as a garnish
  • sour cream for garnish
Directions:
In a large stock pot, melt butter; add onions and curry powder and cook, covered, over low heat until the onions are tender (about 25 minutes). Pour in the chicken stock, add squash and apples, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, about 25 minutes. Strain soup, reserving liquid, and process solids with one cup of stock in a food processor until smooth. Return pureed soup to the pot. Add apple juice and remaining reserved liquid. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through. Serve garnished with a dollop of sour cream and a bit of parsley.

My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you. Psalm 63:5

Struggling With Omniscience

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13

As a Christian, I struggle sometimes with the big God mysteries like omniscience and omnipresence. The other night while praying I caught myself thinking: If God is all knowing, then why am I telling Him what Hilma needs, or Jim, Joel, Charla, Diana, Susan . . . I pondered the idea of God’s universal knowledge. How can He know everything at once?

An image of a crowded classroom came into my head. (If you read my other blog, you know that I think in snapshots.) A teacher stands in front of the classroom. She points to a boy in the back of the room. “Ethan,” she says. “Do you know the answer?” As she stands there at the head of the class the teacher knows all of her students by name. At that very moment she knows all of their personalities and where they stand academically. She knows their educational needs and goals. It’s like that with God, I thought. Only bigger and better! We are students in His perpetual classroom.

At any given moment, God the Teacher stands before us at the head of the class. He knows each of us by name. He knows where we are in our training and what we need to reach our goals. God knows everything. There isn’t a question that He can’t answer. Yet sometimes instead of providing the answer He makes us work for it, knowing that in the process we learn to become more Christ-like.

So, if God is all-knowing, why do we have to pray for our needs and the needs of others? The answer is because through praying, we connect with the Teacher. It’s like staying after class to tell Mrs. Stapinski that you can't figure out a math problem. Mrs. Stapinski already knows that math isn't your best subject, and she knows how to help you. But to receive her help, you might have to ask for it.

1 John 3:20 says: "For God is greater than our hearts and he knows everything." Too often, I let logic lead my thinking, and I search for facts to fortify my faith. My Teacher knows that, too. When I questioned His omniscience, He knew that I couldn’t possibly understand the big picture. It’s far too complicated for a human. So, He used a simple object lesson that I could understand.

Is God really omniscient? Yes. By faith I believe that He is.

Meet Jackie Evancho

I'm adding a bonus post this week to share this amazing video with you. Listen to 10-year-old Jackie Evancho sing "Pie Jesu." From the Latin, "Pie Jesu" is often translated as "O Sweet Jesus."

This little girl is the definition of a God-given talent.


Lily and Hope

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns,
and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Matthew 6:26

When I was little, my family and I traveled to a tiny resort tucked away in a northern Wisconsin forest. You might miss the place as you drive along Twin Lakes Road. Low-hanging branches veil its entrance. A sharp right turn down a winding gravel trail leads to five cabins set near the edge of an inland lake. Each cabin has a big picture window and a sign: DON’T FEED THE BEARS. I loved the bears. Almost every night a female bear came with her cubs, and I sat by the window watching them forage and wallow in the water.

I renewed my fascination for bears this year when I discovered the web site for the North American Bear Center in Ely, Minnesota. The NABC is a non-profit organization that studies wild black bears, their role in ecosystems and their relationship with humans. The study bears wear radio collars that allow them to be tracked by a GPS system. An amazing researcher named Lynn Rogers, also called “The Bear Whisperer,” collars the bears. They trust him. “It’s me bear,” he calls to them, and they come.

On a cold January morning, a live web cam on the NABC website streamed video of a female bear, named Lily, as she gave birth to a single cub they called Hope.

Drama surrounded Hope from the beginning. In May, not long after the pair left their den, Lily deserted Hope twice. The second time they were separated for six weeks. Rogers worried. Could the cub survive on her own?

A feisty little bear, Hope always did the unexpected. Lynn Rogers and his associates tried to keep track of her as she scampered through the thick forest, and when she was big enough he fitted her with a radio collar. Rogers set out pans of formula similar to Lily’s breast milk hoping to keep her alive. Hope lapped it up. She also found food on her own, and at night she slept high in white pine trees, all alone.

Thousands of nature lovers follow the adventures of Lily and Hope on Facebook. They were relieved and thrilled when mother and daughter reunited on thier own and stayed together. As I write this, Lily and Hope glean the last of the forest’s foods and prepare to retreat to their den for winter.

Every day, Lily and Hope face drama in the forest: extreme weather changes, food shortages, dangerous predators and now hunters. It’s bear hunting season in Ely, and Rogers has tied colorful ribbons to the research bears’ collars to make them visible to hunters and flag that they are study bears. Will Lily and Hope survive to roam the forest for another summer? Only God knows the answer.

There is a verse in Leviticus 25:19, Then the land will yield its fruit, and you will eat your fill and live there in safety. I think of that as I follow the adventures of Lily and Hope. God is like Lynn Rogers, caring for us, putting ribbons on our collars when hunters threaten and providing us with formula when there is no milk. God is our gracious provider, always watching us through His picture window. And best of all, He's never afraid to feed the bears.

******




On September 12, 2010, watch a replay of “Bearwalker of the Northwoods,” a Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom documentary about Lynn Rogers, on Animal Planet.

Read more about Lynn Rogers and his research bears at The North American Bear Center website.

Follow Lily the Black Bear on Facebook.
NEW FROM THOMAS NELSON

CLICK ON THE BOOK TO PREVIEW. VIEW THE BOOK TRAILER BELOW.
FROM BARBOUR BOOKS
I'm proud to be a contributing author to the following series of humorous devotionals.
And check out my "Kid's Bible Dictionary" and pre-teen mysteries, also from Barbour.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.

See all the books in the Camp Club Girls series.
Click on the picture.
I am the author of these books, but I have not been compensated for mentioning them on this blog or linking them to the seller's website. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

By Max Lucado, Published by Thomas Nelson
Max Lucado has a unique way with words, and his children's book Hermie A Common Caterpillar is no exception. With simple text and bright, watercolor illustrations, the story of Hermie unfolds.

Hermie wonders why he looks and feels so common. Whenever he asks God why, God simply answers, "I'm not finished with you yet." Then, one day, Hermie feels very tired. He gets into his cozy, leafy bed, and he sleeps. And while Hermie sleeps a transformation takes place. When he wakes up, Hermie discovers that God has done something grand. You can guess what it is. Every caterpillar that lives to adulthood knows the end of the story.

Parents, please share this book and its powerful message with your children. We are all special because God loves us, and He has a unique purpose for our lives. Whenever we slump into feeling ordinary, we know that we have hope because . . .God isn't finished with us yet!


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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