Manna (Bread of Life): Part 1

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The people of Israel spent forty years in the wilderness. This huge body of people travelled a land with all but the most meager of resources. So, God provided!

Exodus 16 reads:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for that day. In this way I will test them and see whether they will follow my instructions.  On the sixth day they are to prepare what they bring in, and that is to be twice as much as they gather on the other days.”

So Moses and Aaron said to all the Israelites, “In the evening you will know that it was the Lord who brought you out of Egypt,  and in the morning you will see the glory of the Lord, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we, that you should grumble against us?”  Moses also said, “You will know that it was the Lord when he gives you meat to eat in the evening and all the bread you want in the morning, because he has heard your grumbling against him. Who are we? You are not grumbling against us, but against the Lord.”

Then Moses told Aaron, “Say to the entire Israelite community, ‘Come before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling.’”

While Aaron was speaking to the whole Israelite community, they looked toward the desert, and there was the glory of the Lord appearing in the cloud.

The Lord said to Moses, “I have heard the grumbling of the Israelites. Tell them, ‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”

That evening quail came and covered the camp, and in the morning there was a layer of dew around the camp.  When the dew was gone, thin flakes like frost on the ground appeared on the desert floor.  When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

Moses said to them, “It is the bread the Lord has given you to eat.  This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone is to gather as much as they need. Take an omer for each person you have in your tent.’”

The Israelites did as they were told; some gathered much, some little.  And when they measured it by the omer, the one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little. Everyone had gathered just as much as they needed.

 Then Moses said to them, “No one is to keep any of it until morning.”

However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell. So Moses was angry with them.

Each morning everyone gathered as much as they needed, and when the sun grew hot, it melted away.  On the sixth day, they gathered twice as much—two omers for each person—and the leaders of the community came and reported this to Moses.  He said to them, “This is what the Lord commanded: ‘Tomorrow is to be a day of sabbath rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord. So bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. Save whatever is left and keep it until morning.’”

So they saved it until morning, as Moses commanded, and it did not stink or get maggots in it.  “Eat it today,” Moses said, “because today is a sabbath to the Lord. You will not find any of it on the ground today.  Six days you are to gather it, but on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will not be any.”

Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” So the people rested on the seventh day.

The people of Israel called the bread manna.It was white like coriander seed and tasted like wafers made with honey.  Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Take an omer of manna and keep it for the generations to come, so they can see the bread I gave you to eat in the wilderness when I brought you out of Egypt.’”

While the above passage is rather lengthy, it nonetheless has several really useful lessons. The Hebrew children grumbled despite the miraculous rescue from Egypt.  Their minds were on their bellies.  In associated passages they moaned about missing the food they had in their bondage. Numbers 11: 5 reads, “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost–also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic.” Are we much different? Do we get caught up in the immediate rumble in the tummy, or any other “immediate urge,” rather than being thankful for what we have been blessed with?

But God responded to their grumbling, not with vengeance, but with providing for the need. He sent quail and manna. All the people had to do was collect the food they needed from what was deposited around their camp. They hadn’t asked for it, but their complaints were heard and catered for.

Jesus in His model prayer calls on us to be more direct (and yes, more reverent and respectful). Matthew 6: 9 to 11 guides us with the words, “‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread . . . .” Rather than moaning and complaining we are called to ask for our daily bread. Chapter 7, verses 8 and 9 continue this theme: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?”  Put simple, if we ask He is faithful in His loving kindness to give.

But there is a third lesson here as well. Notice in Jesus’ prayer that we are to ask for “daily bread.” Like the Israelites of old, we are to make “bread seeking” a daily act. We need to keep our lines of communication with the giver open.  We shouldn’t rest of the lazy approach of  “well I asked for that yesterday.” Look at the similar attitude of the Hebrews. “However, some of them paid no attention to Moses; they kept part of it (the previous day’s bread) until morning, but it was full of maggots and began to smell.” Okay, the analogy is a little weak in that God honours our prayers (including past ones), but the application is still good.  We should seek His blessings in prayer daily.

The people were sustained by God. He provided not just food, but life itself. I will expand on this theme of the “Bread of Life” in the second part of this study.

Padre

We Shall Be Waiting

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photo by Davide Cantelli via Unsplash

We wait; our time will come.

They have turned their backs to us, faces irresistibly drawn to the flickering screens which dart from site to site, with a similarly ephemeral grasp on “truth” and “the new idea.”

But this too shall not last, it will pass and “grow old;” and when the electronic moment has passed, we shall be waiting to once again share our knowledge and to enlighten souls.

Padre

Thank you to Sushmita Gelda for introducing me to this blog

 


You’ll find full guidelines on the TLT page – here’s the tl;dr:

  • Write three lines inspired by the photo prompt (& give them a title if possible).
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Keto Friendly Cheesecake

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I was looking to make a treat for my wife and just started with the standards her diet allows: nuts, cream, cheese, and eggs. The result – cheesecake.

Ingredients:

  • Almond Flour (Ground Almonds) 3 rounded Tbs
  • Butter 2 Tbs
  • Full Fat Cream Cheese 180g
  • Stevia 4 tsp
  • Egg 1

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Method:

Preheat oven to 200 C/ 400 F. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and mix in the ground nuts to form a crumbly paste. Use a fork and line the bottom of a small oven dish with the mixture. In a bowl beat the egg thoroughly, and then cream in the sweetener, cream cheese, and remaining butter.  When evenly mixed into a thick liquid pour it over the nut crust. Place uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 220 C for five to ten minutes so that the surface starts to caramelise but not burn.  Remove from oven, and allow to cool to room temperature, then chill.  Makes 4 small pieces.

Padre

Looking for Common Sense in Thetford

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I recently posted about the Norfolk county links with Abraham Lincoln. American history is seemingly everywhere in Norfolk, and no less so in Thetford. This former capitol of the Angles is also the home of Thomas Paine, author of the pamphlet Common Sense and an ideological leader of the American Revolution.

Paine was born in the town in 1737, and attended the Thetford Grammar School which boasts a pre-Norman Conquest founding date. He apprenticed as a ship’s stay maker, and later became an engineer building the world’s second ever iron bridge.

In Thetford there is a statue depicting Paine, quill in hand, outside of the Council Offices.

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Other locations associated with him include the Grammar School which has a plaque recognising him as one of the school’s alumni.

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photo credit: Miss G’s host nation

Paine’s childhood home is now part of the Thomas Paine Hotel which also houses  Franklin’s Brasserie. The hotel is a wonderful Eighteenth Century venue and the decor gives nods to its links with the political thinker. The furnishing are also in keeping with its period and theme and provides a wonderful atmosphere.

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The brasserie dining room is fairly small, but in no way claustrophobic. It is as nicely appointed as the rest of the hotel, and the cuisine is of high quality. We had a white fish dish and a steak, both of which were well prepared, tasty, and well-presented.

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There is a plaque here as well put in place by American forces personnel during the Second World War.

I must also note that the hotel has a personal connection to me as well, as it was the venue for my wedding reception.

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Thetford’s American links are many, but the Paine link is one well worth exploring.

Padre

 

Keto Cheese “Crackers”

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This recipe is based on a suggestion my wife found on a keto and cancer forum. It is very simple, but does take a little time. It uses individual cheese slices, to make a cracker-like snack that is low carb and very “cheesy.”

Ingredients:

  • Mature Cheddar  2 to 3 slices (or similar cheese) [I wouldn’t recommend American or other “processed” cheese slices].

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Method:

Place a sheet of grease proof paper onto a baking sheet. Preheat an oven to 150 C/ 300 F. Cut each cheese slice into 4 pieces and arrange on the baking sheet with a clear gap between pieces. Bake in oven for twenty minutes, then remove. Allow to cool slightly then slide a spatula under each piece and flip it to a clean section of the baking paper. Return to the oven for an additional ten minutes (or until crisping brown in the corners).  Remove from oven and allow to cool to room temperature.

Padre

 

Blackberry Lemonade

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I recently brought the dwarf citrus trees into the house from the garden for the winter.  This had a two-fold benefit, the first is that in the warmer environment they started to blossom again.  The second was that it allowed my easy access to picking the lemons that have now become ripe. With a few fresh lemons at hand, I returned to the tried and true lemonade as the most immediate use for them. This recipe uses the lemons to their full glory, and it was also a wonderful platform for the frozen blackberries I had in the freezer from the end of the summer.

Ingredients:

  • Lemon Juice 1 cup freshly squeezed
  • Blackberries 1 cup frozen
  • Sugar 1 cup or Stevia 1/4 cup
  • Water 3 1/2 to 4 cups (to taste)

Method:

Allow the berries to thaw and place them into a food processor with a quarter cup of water. Juice the lemons to get the cup of juice removing any seeds, but retaining pulp.  Blitz the berries until well liquefied, then strain out the seeds.  Place the strained berries, lemon juice, and sweetener into a large pan and bring to a low simmer. When sweetener is fully dissolved, and mixture is well warmed, pour into a jug or pitcher with the remaining cold water.  Chill and serve over ice.

Padre

 

Lessons in Leadership

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Much of what I know about leadership dates back to over three decades ago when I was an NCO. But each of those principles has been reenforced over the last couple of weeks when I, in my role as an Area Director for an international speakers’ club, organised and put on a humorous and extemporaneous speech contest.

It has been said that true leaders bring out the talents of others.  If this is the case, I must be one of the most outstanding leaders of this century.  While the first point may well be true, the second is ultimate exaggeration. What I did have in the past few weeks was a group of dedicated, supportive, and already talented people who were willing to give of their time and knowledge, to put together a great programme, and in so doing made me look like I knew what I was doing (even when I was still finding my way).

It is such teamwork, in which each member is working to a shared goal (in this case an entertaining and well run contest) that makes the difference.  Leaders need to remember this above all else, “it isn’t about you!” It is about the goal, and about those going on the journey with you.  Every leader is only as good as those that follow.  If you lord over, if you are “the boss” then they will not so fervently follow.  If one is not followed, then you ARE NOT leaders.

I am thankful and blessed for all who worked with me on this competition.  The success is yours! I could not have done it without you.

Padre

 

Salsa Dhal

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Here is a fusion dish which has its origins in the realm of “what’s in the fridge?”. While it may not be the most inspiring beginnings for a recipe, the end result is tasty and well worth the making.

Ingredients:

  • Red Lentils 2 cups dried
  • Onion 1 large
  • Red Bell Pepper 1 large
  • Garlic 2 cloves
  • Sweet Corn 1 cup
  • Peas 1 cup
  • Oil 2 tsp
  • Chili Paste 2 Tbs
  • Medium Salsa 2 Tbs
  • Black Pepper 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water 1.25 litres

Method:

Peel and dice the onion and garlic, and dice the pepper. In a large pan or medium soup pot heat the oil. Stir fry the veg for two minutes and then add the chili and corn and peas. Pour in the lentils, and then pour in the water. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and keep at simmering boil for about 15 minutes (or when lentils are tender). Stir in the salsa and seasoning, and dish into bowls.

Padre

Food on the Tube

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source: Wikipedia

I have to confess that I have never seen a Bake Off programme. In fact, I am not big on the competition genre at all.  As a kid I did watch cookery shows. I enjoyed the over the top showmanship of Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet. I was also later a fan of Jeff Smith the Frugal Gourmet with his low cost, practical dishes.  I even have a copy of Smith’s “Three Ancient Cuisines” book.

As an adult, I divorced myself from cooking television. In fact, at present, I don’t even have a television. But sometimes the novelty of the tube has an appeal, especially when staying at a hotel. One reliable channel seems to be ever present at virtually every overnight venue, The Food Channel. But this is not to say that I get engrossed in the ingredient by ingredient construction of Jamie Oliver or the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten.

Here is my confession, I am far more interested in Adam Richman’s Man vs Food, and Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive ins, and Dives. It isn’t the venues themselves that interest me, or the eating challenges, but the fact that detailed recipes are not given, but rather general ideas of dishes, and what ingredients “go together.” As one who likes working out my own recipes through experimentation (and trial and error which thankfully has had more successes than failures), I find the general ideas and guidelines more useful than the A + B + C = quiche format.

Food competitions (like those of dance, or just general popularity), I find to be mind numbing. For those who are fans of Bake Off, etc, more power to you (in fact I acknowledge that I might really be missing something).  But for now in Food TV-land I will stick to “ideas” rather than “formulas,” and real food rather than gimmicks.

Padre

Garlic Prawns with Cream

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Here is a savoury seafood dish which goes wonderfully with rice or mash. It also has a hint of coconut to it.  It is very easy and quick to make as well.

Ingredients:

  • Prawns (shrimp) 300 g
  • Spring Onions 3
  • Garlic 3 to 4 cloves
  • Coconut Oil 2 tsp
  • Double Cream 4 Tbs
  • Dried Parsley 1/2 tsp

Method:

Peel the garlic and sliver into fine bits. Remove any dried outer layers from the spring onion as well as the roots, and dice the onions well. In a medium pan bring the oil to a medium high heat and quickly stir fry the veg (2 to 3 minutes). Reduce the heat and add the prawns and cream, move about the pan with a spoon or spatula until warmed through, do not over cook or prawns will go rubbery. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Padre