Friday, April 18, 2014

Journal Through the Bible: Week 63 Friday

Isaiah chapter 42

Does God issue any commands?

  • Sing praises to the LORD! (verses 10-12)
  • The deaf are told to hear! The blind are told to see. (verses 18-20)

Does God make any promises?

  • The LORD will go out as a man of war against His enemies. He will triumph over them. (verses 13-15)
  • God will lead the blind on a pathway that they do not know. The light will shine in the darkness for them and the crooked paths will be made straight. He will never forsake them! (verse 16)
  • Those that trust in idols will turn back and be ashamed. (verse 17)
  • God will magnify the law and make it honorable. (verse 21) That's good because it surely has fallen into disfavor now! (Which is what verse 22 seems to say.)

Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?

  • Jesus is God's servant upon whom the Spirit is and who shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He was humble. A bruised reed did he not break and a smoking flash he did not quench. (verses 1-4)
  • Jesus is the God of creation. He gives breath to people and spirit to those who walk therein. He calls us to righteousness and holds our hand. He is the covenant maker and covenant keeper, the light of the Gentiles. He opens blind eyes, frees the prisoners. He will not give His glory to anyone or share His glory with idols. (verses 5-8)
  • Jesus is the light in the darkness. He is the one who leads on the path and makes it straight. He has promised to never forsake those of us that have been led out of darkness into His great light! (verse 16)

Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?

  • Jesus shall not fail nor be discouraged until he has set judgment in the earth. (verse 4)
  • The time is coming when God's law will be the law of all mankind. All will hear it and follow it. (verses 21-23)

Homemade Yogurt and Blueberry Sauce

There has been a lot of activity in our kitchen lately! Some of it has to do with the recent remodeling projects. (That's another post for another day.) Some of it has been experimenting with a simple way to make yogurt.

"Why?" you ask.

Two reasons:

  1. We spend wa-a-a-a-ay too much money on yogurt at the grocery store. (The Bear and I can easily put away 3 cartons a day. Even with coupons and sales we spend at least $2.50 a day or $17.50 a week since he eats 2 cartons of Greek style and I eat at least 1 of whatever style we have available.
  2. Neither one of us needs the additional bovine growth hormone that I fear might be in some of the yogurt we consume. He is a man. I am a post-menopausal woman. Enough said. The only ways I know to avoid this hormone are to buy only organic - which would be wa-a-a-a-ay more expensive than what I'm spending now - and I don't want to spend a lot of money on yogurt (see #1 above); or make it myself using non-hormone injected cow's milk. Uh, I choose the latter option.
After a bit of experimentation I have come upon a nice method for making it using equipment and supplies I already had on hand, unless you count the cheese cloth that I bought because I was out of it. Oh, and 1 carton of organic plain yogurt as my starter. (Bought on sale and with a coupon.)

My equipment: a large dutch oven for heating the milk and a pressure cooker/canner for incubating a batch. Also, 2 quart-size mason jars with lids, a funnel, a wooden spoon, cheesecloth, and a candy thermometer.

Steps for making yogurt:

  • Pour 8 cups of milk into dutch oven. (That's 1/2 gallon of milk. No matter what price you pay for your milk this method will be a whole lot cheaper than buying 8 cups of yogurt!)
  • Heat your milk to 180 degrees while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Use a meat or candy thermometer for accurate measurement. My candy thermometer does a great job helping me make yogurt but it has never helped me make good candy! My holiday fudge always turns into a disaster. Or a nice fudge sauce. Depends on how you market your product. Which is why one of our family traditions includes celebrating Christmas with hot fudge sundaes. :)
  • After the milk has reached the desired temperature it needs to be taken off the burner and allowed to cool until it reaches 110 degrees. If you let it sit too long just put it back on the heat until it reaches the desired 110 degree temperature.
  • Stir 1/4 cup of cultured organic yogurt into your warm milk. I always use a wooden spoon when making ANYTHING that uses a starter (sourdough bread, friendship bread, etc.). It is probably an unnecessary precaution since the milk is heated in a stainless steel pan, but I do it anyway because somewhere in the back of my mind is the thought that metal kills live cultures. Not sure why that thought is there. Anyway. . .
  • Using a clean funnel, pour the warm cultured milk into 2 clean mason jars. Place lids on them. These lids can be reused for each batch because you will not be sealing them to the jars.

  • Place the jars on the rack in the pressure cooker/canner. As you can see, my canner holds 5 quarts but that would be a bit too much yogurt, even for The Bear and me. Actually, it would be a bit too much for my refrigerator. Now that I know how to make this quickly 2 quarts at a time is plenty.

  • Place water in the canner so that the level is about 1/2 way up the sides of the jars. Heat the water until it reaches 110 degrees. Then turn off the stove.
  • Once the proper temperature is reached, put the lid on the pressure cooker but DO NOT add the pressure gauge. The idea is to keep the cultured milk incubating, not cooking!
  • Open the pressure cooker every 2 or 3 hours to check on the temperature of the water. If it feels too cool turn the stove on "low" for a short time. DO NOT ALLOW THE WATER TEMPERATURE TO RISE TOO HIGH! If you do, it will kill your cultures. Ask me how I know.
  • Go to bed. Really. I start my yogurt about mid-afternoon and I check the water temperature two or three times, the last time being right before I retire for the night.
  • Wake up to 2 jars of fresh, creamy yogurt!
  • I always take out 1/4 cup of cultured yogurt and place it in a separate container in the refrigerator before I do anything else. This is the starter for the next batch.

Strain some of your yogurt using cheese cloth to make Greek style. The Bear likes the thicker curds of this style of yogurt. I'm not particular. 

Use the milky liquid, the whey, that results from the straining in place of buttermilk in pancake or biscuit recipes. It makes them light and fluffy!

Stir spoonfuls of homemade jam and jelly into your individual yogurt servings. I use strawberry jam, peach jam, and apple jelly. Since The Bear and I are partial to blueberry flavored yogurt I make blueberry sauce and keep it in the refrigerator near the yogurt. (Recipe below!)

Blueberry Sauce

This blueberry sauce is adapted from the Blueberry Pie Deluxe recipe found in The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan. (The whole pie is excellent, too!)

3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh or thawed blueberries
1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Add the blueberries and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture boils, thickens, and clears. Remove from heat. Stir in the butter and the lemon juice. Cool. Then refrigerate.

Place about 2 Tablespoons of the filling on top of your regular or Greek homemade yogurt. Delicious!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Journal Through the Bible: Week 63 Thursday

Isaiah chapter 41

Does God issue any commands?

  • God commands the islands to keep silence before him while His people renew their strength.
  • God commands Israel to not be afraid.
  • God commands that all prophets foretell the future and show works that may be proven. That is the only way to prove that their gods are real.

Does God make any promises?

  • God promises to be with Israel and to help them by holding them by the right hand.
  • God will give them water when they thirst.
  • God will plant trees in the wilderness.

Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?

  • Jesus is the righteous man of the east who was given the nations and made the ruler over kings. (verse 2)
  • Jesus is the LORD, the first and with the last. (verse 4) Remember that Jesus said He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end.
  • Jesus is the Holy One, the redeemer of Israel. (verses 14,16, 20)
  • Jesus is the King of Jacob. (verse 21)

Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?

  • One day all of Israel's enemies will be abolished, never to be seen again.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Journal Through the Bible: Week 63 Wednesday

Isaiah chapter 40

Does God issue any commands?

  • God commanded that Isaiah write words of comfort to His people.
  • God commanded that someone (Isaiah, perhaps? Or an angel?) Cry out to the people. (The answer that was given in response to this command is that all flesh is as grass which quickly withers away.) See verses 6-8.
  • God commanded Jerusalem to go into the high mountains and proclaim to Judah, "Behold your God!"
  • The people are told to lift up their eyes to behold who has created all things.

Does God make any promises?

  • Jerusalem was told that her iniquity is forgiven.
  • Idols will be abolished because they are nothing but the works of men's hands made out of elements that God created.
  • Earthly judges and rulers will likewise be abolished.
  • Those that wait upon the LORD will renew their strength and mount up with wings as eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.

Does this chapter teach anything about Jesus?

  • (Verse 3) The LORD, the One whose way was to be prepared, was Jesus. John the Baptist was the one who was the voice crying in the wilderness telling the Jews to prepare the way of the LORD. (See John 1:23)
  • (Verse 4) At the time of the crucifixion there was an earthquake that opened the graves of some of the saints who were then resurrected. It also tore the vail of the temple (the separation between God and man) from top to bottom. In other words, all obstacles between God and man were abolished. The mountains we could not cross and the valley of sin that separated us from God was leveled and bridged. All men have access to God through the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus!
  • (Verses 9-11) Jesus is the Lord God who will come with a strong hand to rule. He is the Shepherd that feeds His flock, leads them gently, and holds them to His bosom.
  • (Verses 12-17) Jesus is God, the Creator who measured the waters in the hollow of his hand and measured out heaven with a span as well as weighed the dust of the earth. He directed the Spirit at the time of creation. He is one that considers the nations to be insignificant compared to Himself.
  • (Verses 18-26) Jesus is the God that sits on the circle of the earth. No idol made from materials that He made can be compared to Him, the Holy One.
  • (Verses 27-31) Jesus is God. His resurrected body does not faint or grow weary. No one can search out all of His knowledge and understanding. (In other words, we never will be omniscient!) He gives power and strength to His people when they grow faint and weary.

Does this chapter teach anything about yet-future events?

  • Verse 3 has a double fulfillment. The LORD is coming again and we are to be prepared. 
  • Verses 4-5 - The valleys will be exalted and the mountains made low. There will be a time of terrible earthquakes in Jerusalem at the time of the battle of Armageddon. (See Revelation 16:16-20)  ICR has a great article about Jerusalem's earthquakes: It will be at the time of the great earthquake that Jesus will be revealed to all people (the glory of the Lord which shall be revealed as stated in verse 5).
  • Verses 9-11 - God shall rule from Jerusalem! This must be the Millennium kingdom because the Shepherd will lead His flocks that are with young. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Journal Through the Bible: Week 63 Tuesday

II Kings 20:12-21 and
Isaiah chapter 39

Does God issue any commands?

  • At the word of the LORD Isaiah told Hezekiah that all his treasures that he had shown the Babylonian ambassadors would be carried into Babylon.

Does God make any promises?

  • There would be peace and truth in Hezekiah's reign. The trouble would not come until later.

Do these chapters teach anything about Jesus?

  • The longsuffering and patience of God are shown in this passage. These are the traits that Jesus exhibited during His earthly sojourn.

Do these chapters teach anything about yet-future events?

  • Babylon is spoken of in Revelation. There is rejoicing among God's people at her final destruction. (Revelation 18)