What’s Sourdough? + Cinnamon Rolls

When I was a child, our neighbor man had a bread machine and we were his guinea pigs for trying the bread. One day he made us a loaf of sourdough bread. I thought it was the nastiest bread I ever had. Now when I’m given white bread, I’m like, “Where is the flavor?”
What was the difference? The bread he kindly made for us was called sourdough, but that was nominal. It was made by dumping a package of “stuff” in a machine. The bread my mom makes is also called sourdough but it is made from natural wild yeast.
Sourdough is the oldest form of leavened bread in the world. Wild, live yeast is floating in the air and can be caught with flour and water and become your sourdough starter. That is used to make amazing, flavorful bread, waffles, English muffins and many wonderful foods. Because this yeast is a natural creation of God, it is better for our bodies and gives us great nutrition.
Enjoy the following recipe and feel free to ask how to get your own sourdough starter!

Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls

Makes 24 Cinnamon Rolls

1 C. Active Sourdough Starter
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 C. Sugar
1/3 C. Butter, melted & cooled
2 Eggs
1/4 C. Milk, warm
1 tsp. Yeast
3-4 C. Flour

Filling:
Butter
Cinnamon
Brown Sugar

Mix together first 5 ingredients. Add yeast to warm milk and let sit until foamy; about 5 minutes. Add to sourdough mixture. Slowly add flour until you have a soft ball that is not sticky. Knead until elastic. Let rise in bowl until double or all day. Roll dough out and spread with soft butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Roll tightly up length wise, and slice into rounds. Grease pans and place rolls in. Cover and let rise overnight. Bake at 400F degrees for 12-15 minutes. Spread with your favorite icing and enjoy!

This is our favorite cinnamon roll recipe, as it stays super moist! – Damarus


The Invisible Sin

Gossip is a huge word.

What exactly is gossip?

Isn’t it just an unimportant little thing?

Is it really a sin?

Has it put it’s clutching hands about our lives?

Let’s start with the definition of the word gossip.

gos•sip

/’gäsup/

casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not confirmed as being true

Oxford Languages

Ok! Some of us may look at this definition and think whoa, that steps on my toes a little harder than I thought it would. That is a great definition of gossip though!

How often do I find myself walking down those paths?

Do I tell everyone the news I know?

Do I add things to stories to make them more interesting?

Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace into the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

Here we are told that not only are we to not talk bad about others but to actively encourage others with our mouths. What a contrast!

An hypocrite with his mouth destroyeth his neighbor: but through knowledge shall the just be delivered.

Proverbs 11:9

He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is a fool.

Proverbs 10:18

That verse states it pretty strongly!

So if the Bible talks a lot about gossip and states very clearly that it is a sin then why is it such a problem in so many Christian circles? I don’t know the answer to this myself although I will give a few of my ideas, so please comment below why this is such a problem and practical ways that we can stop it!

I think one of the reasons gossip is so common is because it comes so naturally. We as people love to know things. It gives us a sense of power. Also, lots of people on this earth also love to talk. So when we have a lot of people who like to know things, a lot of people who like to talk, and a lot of people who are doing interesting things there is most likely going to be a lot of gossip!

Another reason gossip isn’t stopped is because we don’t pause and think about our gossiping habits and when we do we often don’t see gossip as the serious sin it is. Recognizing gossip can be difficult as we like to spread news in the form of “prayers requests” or “concerns,” trying to disguise it to look godly.

One more is that we don’t like to admit when we gossip. We think oh, it’s totally true so it’s not gossip. Well, as we saw in the definition above, gossip is simply talking about others. What we’re talking about may be totally true, but if it’s someone else’s private affairs, it’s wrong!

And then there’s the other side of the issue. Listening to gossip without stopping it is just as bad as actually doing the gossiping. This is where it comes the closest home for me.

Therefore, to him that knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

James 4:17

What I take from this verse is that if we know what we should be doing, yet don’t do it, we’re straight up sinning. So if I listen to someone gossip and don’t stop them, I’m sinning.

Keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking guile.

Psalm 34:13

Wow! Life would be a lot simpler if we all just obeyed that simple verse!

Written by Kinza

Abide

Abide

by: Belinda Keller

“Abide in me, and I in you.” John 15:4


“Abide in me, and I in you.” John 15:4
January came and I read this passage. The concept of abiding grabbed my attention. I realized that I was good at trying to bear fruit, but not at abiding. I felt led to choose this word as my focus for the year. I didn’t know what it would hold. I’m beginning to see now.
I wrote it in my journal. I posted it at my kitchen sink.
The questions came to me and I pondered.
I peppered my friends with them. Wanting to know –
Can I bear true fruit if I’m not abiding?
Is it possible to think I’m bearing fruit but really not be?
Can I get so distracted trying to “do” the fruit thing that I forget to “be” connected?
What does it mean to abide?
Will I face doubt and anxiety and fear if I am abiding?
“…He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit:” v.5
It is a promise. Clear and concise. I like that. It gives me peace.
But still the question of abiding…
I realize again how stuck I am on doing. Can abiding be something I do?
An action to check off or a posture of my heart?
If it is the posture of my heart, then it means where I turn every day for –
direction,
grace,
peace,
rest.
I believe abiding means that even when anxiety and doubt raise their ugly heads and grip me in their grasp, I can turn my heart towards my Father and find rest in His truth.
It means that I still have purpose and value when the doing is stripped away because abiding comes first. Circumstances can hinder me from bearing fruit like I think I should, but abiding cannot be taken away with sickness or anything else.
I can always choose to turn towards the Vine – even if all I can muster is a feeble “Jesus, I need you. I will trust you.”
I can choose to believe the promises even when I don’t feel them.
Abiding means I will bear fruit (v.5).
Abiding means His words abide in me (v. 7).
Abiding means I can know that He will hear and answer my requests (v. 7).
Abiding means I will glorify my Father (v. 8).
Abiding means I keep the Father’s commandments (v. 10).
“…every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” (v. 2)
Abiding does not mean that I will not be purged (v. 2).

Then the question comes –
What is purging?
I believe purging is different from being cut off. Purging is what happens to the branch that IS bearing fruit.
But does purging mean taking away the bad only?
Does He ever take away good fruit?
I believe He does. Just look again at verse 2.
The one that has good fruit gets purged. Why?
To bring forth more fruit.
So sometimes He asks me to let go of the good and takes it away so that His best can come?
Yes.
And it is excruciating because it was good.
I wanted that fruit. I thought it was worth keeping.
It’s hard to see how something better can come.
I know.
It’s early spring right now.
The purging is fresh and my soul feels barren.
Naked.
Fruitless.
Stripped of all I had put my energy into and thought was good.
It was good. At least, it was fruit.
Can I still abide in Him even in this?
“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” John 15:11

Thank you Belinda for sharing this with me, and allowing me to share it with others! It was a blessing and encouragement. May Jesus continue to be close to you.” – Damarus

Mother Appreciation Banquet

Recently we youth girls hosted a tea party for the moms in our church. We wanted the evening to be relaxing and encouraging for our moms so we all worked together to make fancy little sandwiches, soup, salad, an assortment of desserts, and of course, a variety of tea! Most of the credit goes to two of our youth girls who headed all this up and planned everything.

-THE DECOR-

-THE PREP-

-THE PARTY-

Compiled by Ginger

How to Face Criticism

This post was written by a family friend of ours, Jen Yoder. She is the author of a creative writing curriculum, Creative Word Studio. I did this in school and am very impressed with the quality of it! Feel free to contact her on their website.

If I asked if you have experienced criticism in your life, how many of you would quickly tally up a mental list of times people have criticized you? We don’t easily forget those times of mental anguish we’ve experienced. Often times, the criticism we receive is in areas that we least expect it. Perhaps we have a passion for teaching younger children or reaching out to the elderly. When our noble work is attacked with someone putting supposed motives and actions on our heads, the pain feels unbearable. Criticism can also come toward our family, our youth group, our church. These moments of feeling “squashed” knock our breath out of us. Or perhaps criticism comes from being vulnerable and asking a trusted person, “How am I doing, really? What should I be changing?” We are devastated when even this trusted person doesn’t understand our hearts and has preconceived ideas. How do we navigate this awful sea of criticism?

     Criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something based on perceived faults or mistakes. It is often given verbally directly to the person, but occasionally comes through gossip trails or from body language. A discussion on criticism may feel heavy to you. Please keep reading, God can turn harm into good. 

     As humans, we find it easy to be critical of others. We know the slogan, “we are most like the people we criticize”, but it’s hard for us to actually believe it. We often think we would never stoop to such bad behavior or questionable actions. Maybe we wouldn’t at that point, but I’ve lived long enough to discover that I end up doing exactly what I criticize in other people. It’s humbling and urges me to repent and seek God’s forgiveness. 

     As “criticizers” we need to consider a few things before we breathe a word to the person, and even to others. There are exceptions if you talk to your mother or your husband about a personal issue in seeking out advice. But otherwise, keep your comments to yourself. Criticism that leaks out through friends does get around! 

     I have five steps for to think through before you offer criticism. 

  1. Do I know the whole story behind the action?
  2. Have I prayed about it for several weeks?
  3. Can I think of three compliments that I could give them before I offer criticism?
  4. Could I tell this person what I think face to face?
  5. Would God be honored by my body language, voice inflections, and words? 

     If you answer no to even one of these questions, then don’t offer any criticism. Since we normally don’t know the whole story, seek first to hear it. If you answer a “yes” to number one, then most likely your relationship with that person is strong enough to handle a face to face talk about the issue. 

     As the “criticized”, working through the emotional aftermath takes courage and humility. Trust is broken between friends. It’s easier to retreat and create boundaries. The devil likes to plant seeds of bitterness in our hearts and harass our souls with insecurities, but the story doesn’t need to end there.

     I have five steps for working through criticism that we’ve received whether it was intentional or not.

  1. Ask God to infuse your heart with His love so you can love the criticizer.
  2. Acknowledge and change the truth in the criticism and “blow the chaff (untruth) away”.
  3. Believe truth about yourself. “I am chosen, loved…by God”.  Criticism doesn’t define who you are, God does.
  4. Pray for, compliment, and remain engaged with the person who criticized you. Distancing yourself from those people and relationships often creates a bigger problem. It wasn’t Jesus’ way to ignore and walk away from people who disagreed with him or didn’t like him. Remember that the person’s critical words likely stems from not knowing the whole story.
  5. Daily lay the burden of what people think of you at the feet of Jesus.

     It’s possible to overcome the discouragement of criticism. When I see someone who is secure in Christ and in who they are, unapologetically living in freedom, yet able to take vibes from people, I am refreshed. If you sense someone is displeased with something you are doing, ask them about it. We never should be callous and insensitive to other people’s feelings, traditions, opinions, and directions especially if they are in authority over us. Instead we should always be open to growth. Chastisement from God comes through His Word, but most times through other people. It is good for us to stay humble and meek. If you are in any kind of position of leadership or influence, you will most assuredly receive criticism. Count it a blessing and strive to live peaceably with all men. 

     Plato says, “We must learn not to hold our hurts and waste our time crying, like children who’ve bumped themselves.” 

     Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectioned one to another in brotherly love; in honor preferring one another”. Verse 14 says, “Bless them which persecute you: bless and curse not.” And verse 18 says, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you live peaceably with all men.” Let’s obey these commands with all our heart.

     I know from experience criticism is not easy to wade through. However, God gives us His wisdom, His love, and His Spirit. If we “run after” the fruit of the Spirit, we will be able to overcome the negativity of criticism and live with our faces toward Jesus, ready for His return.