Wednesday, 24 November 2010

What Holds You Back


What holds you back from giving your all, or giving anything, to God? For some people, the answer might be pride. For others, stubbornness. For others, fear. For me, one thing that often holds me back is my own feelings of unworthiness and I think deep down, that is the case for most people. I feel unworthy, because of sin, because of failures, because of lack of faith and so I shrink back from seeking God and feel more and more distant from Him. Although in principle, I know that I am saved by grace and not my own works, I feel that I’ve only really started to grasp what that means in my life over the summer and it is incredibly liberating, though I’ve still got some way to go before I feel like I’ve fully absorbed what it means. The fact is we are all unworthy, we all fall short of God’s standard and nothing we can do can change that. That is why grace is so amazing – grace steps in not because we are worthy, but because we are unworthy; not because we can, but because we can’t; not because we are good enough, but because we will never be good enough. The exact ways in which we each feel unworthy differ depending on who we are and what we’ve done. But the amazing story of God’s grace is that none is counted worse than any other – we all fall short – and we can all be redeemed and saved. Grace is about God seeing that I can never be worthy, never be good enough, and coming to earth to deal with my unworthiness personally.


It is one thing to know with my head that God’s grace pays for my sin and gives me a new start. It is another to fully grasp it with my heart. Grasping it with your heart means fully acknowledging the enormity of our wrongdoing and then realising that no matter how enormous it is, it is atoned for – as Jesus said on the cross, “It is finished” (see John 19:30). I believe that it is only when we fully grasp the truth of grace in our hearts – our sin, our helplessness and yet, our redemption, that we are able to fully forgive ourselves.


“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24)


Friday, 12 November 2010

Spice Biscuits


Unfortunately, I’ve hit a dearth of funny signs, so today I’m giving you a recipe instead. When my sister got married last year, one idea we had for wedding favours was biscuits. So I set about experimenting to come up with a recipe that gave us quite firm/crunchy biscuits. In the end, we didn’t make biscuits for wedding favours, and no-one but my husband has actually tried these biscuits. But he seemed to enjoy them, so I thought I’d share the recipe today. All the ‘cup’ measurements below were made using a 250 ml mug made from clearish glass (it makes guessing the fraction measurements easier!). These biscuits seemed to store well in an airtight container and even stayed crunchy for quite a while after I made them.

What you’ll need for the biscuits:

1/3 cup margarine

2/3 cup white sugar

1/2 cup golden caster sugar

2 1/2 cups self-raising flour

1 pinch salt

2 rounded teaspoons of ground mixed spice

2 eggs

What to do:

1. Pre-heat your oven to gas mark 4 (or check online to see what that is in Celsius or Fahrenheit). 

2. Cream together the margarine and the two sets of sugar.

3. Sift the flour, salt and mixed spice into the bowl and mix into the creamed margarine/sugar (I did this with an electronic beater on a slow speed).


4. Add and mix in the eggs (again I did this with an electronic beater on a slow speed) until the mixture in the bowl looks like breadcrumbs.

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5. Using your hands, draw the mixture together in the bowl and then (when its a relatively solid mass) gently and briefly knead the dough on a floured surface. Then roll the dough (to about half a centimetre in thickness) and cut. My limited repertoire of cookie cutters extends includes only Christmas shapes, so I went for stars, which seemed for ‘weddingy’ then Christmas trees and Santa Clauses.

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6. Place the cut shapes onto a greased baking tray and bake for about 20 minutes until just browning on the edges. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack. Whilst the biscuits cook and cool, make the icing, which can then be liberally swirled over the biscuits when they are cooled.

What you’ll need for the icing:

1 cup icing sugar

1 dessertspoon vanilla essence

1 teaspoon margarine

1/8 cup + 1 dessertspoon boiling water

What to do:

Melt the margarine by putting it and the 1/8 cup boiling water into a bowl and then mixing them together. Add the icing sugar, vanilla essence and dessertspoon of boiling water and whisk until thoroughly mixed. When the biscuits are cool, swirl icing over the top to decorate them. You can do this either with a teaspoon direct from the bowl or by putting the icing into a bag and piping it out. The icing is pretty runny initially so be prepared for a bit of a mess. I found it best to put some brown paper under the cooling rack and then decorate the biscuits whilst they were still on the rack – that way stray icing ends up on the brown paper which can then just be thrown away, rather than getting icing all over a countertop. Wait a few minutes for the icing to dry and then munch away!