Sunday

The Quiche that Makes Friends (Recipe Included)

If I asked you for five well-loved recipes that have been part of your family for years, what would you list? Grandma’s pot roast? Aunt Nenie’s jello salad? Cousin Jane’s chocolate gravy and biscuits? My list would include Linnea’s Baked Beans, Mom’s Potato Salad, and several crock pot staples: Cranberry Chicken, No-Peekie Stew, and Spicy Beef Dip. 

One recipe in my file, however, has done more than feed my hungry family. It’s helped me make friends. I call it Lori’s Quiche. 

I discovered the magic of Lori’s Quiche decades ago when I wanted to invite a new gal I’d met at church over for lunch. I was in the throes of mothering young children, and a normal lunch usually consisted of PB&J or mac and cheese. Not wanting to serve either to my (hopefully) new friend, I leafed through my collection of recipes looking for something nicer. 

To further complicate matters, it was the day before pay day. A run to the grocery store to pick up unusual ingredients was out of the question. I’d have to pull something together with items from my fridge and pantry. That’s when I remembered the quiche recipe I’d scribbled down. 

It wasn’t called Lori’s Quiche then. That came later. As I scanned the list of ingredients, I realized I had everything I needed to throw it together. Eggs, milk, flour, cheese, mayonnaise, and a frozen pie crust. 

That day I made a broccoli and cheddar quiche. My new friend loved it. A young mom herself, she was thrilled to have something hot, savory, and adult. In the years since, I’ve tried a dozen variations—ham, veggie, shrimp, seafood. I’ve even made a Mexican version with hamburger and tomatoes. 


Because the recipe calls for mayonnaise instead of heavy cream like most quiches, I don’t have to plan ahead to make it. I can pull staples from my fridge and have it in the oven in less than 15 minutes. It’s perfect for the spur of the moment opportunity to extend hospitality, take a meal to a sick neighbor, or bring a dish to a luncheon or potluck. 

It even freezes beautifully. Many times I’ll make two. We eat one and stick the other in the freezer, ready and waiting for the next outreach opportunity. 

Since its debut with the gal from church, Lori’s quiche has opened the door to many other friendships. About ten years ago a lady who’d been visiting our Sunday school class had knee surgery. I offered to bring lunch. My quiche and the accompanying visit launched a friendship we continue to enjoy today. 

I’ve served my quiche at ladies’ brunches, baby showers, and church potlucks. I’ve delivered it to new mothers and sick neighbors. As I type this post, I’m looking forward to having lunch with a neighbor who’s recovering from cancer treatment. She’s been the willing guinea pig for several variations. 

One day I invited her over for lunch and realized I’d used the last frozen pie crust and hadn’t replaced it. Since I’d already promised to make quiche, I tried yet another variation—crustless quiche. I combined the ingredients, sprayed a generous coating of Pam on a pie plate, and poured it in. The result was a delicious, gluten-free version I now call Lori’s Frittata. 

If you’re looking for a way to make friends, minister to others, and enjoy delicious food, give my recipe a try. Then prayerfully look for someone to share it with. 

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sin. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling" (1 Peter 4:8-9).

Now it’s your turn. What’s your friend-making, ministry-minded go-to recipe? Leave a comment (and share the recipe if you’d like) in the comments below. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online to leave a comment. 



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Wednesday

Don't Get Sucked In by Conversational Undertow

 I wonder how many people were swept away by the deceptively-calm water of the Columbia canal before the city posted warning signs about its dangerous undertow? 

One? Two? Ten? 

I’ve never felt inspired to wade into the murky water, especially after city officials posted a second sign: Alligators May Live Here. 

While I have enough sense not to swim into questionable water, I’ve sometimes been sucked into a conversational undertow that’s almost as dangerous. Negativity, gossip, criticism, foolishness, and unwholesome talk can carry us downriver as quickly as a fast-moving canal. 


Negativity 

Negativity is subtle. It usually begins with an observation. “Sure is cold today.” Then it grows. “I hate cold weather.” 

And it spreads. “I do, too. As soon as it turns cold, everyone gets sick.” 

Then someone else chimes in. “Yeah! I got the flu so bad last year I thought I’d never recover. I wish people would get the flu shot. People are so selfish and inconsiderate.” 

And on, and on, and on. Before you know it, everyone within hearing distance is grumpy. 

Philippians 4:8 provides the antidote: “Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” 

Gossip 


A writer once said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth has time to lace up its boots.” This is certainly true with gossip. Even in Christian circles. 

Sometimes gossip springs from a root of truth and genuine concern. “Mary and her husband separated last week. We need to pray for them.” If we add unnecessary details not required to fuel our prayers and share them with those who have no business knowing them, the seeds of gossip find fertile ground. With every retelling, the facts get fuzzier and the truth blurs until the story resembles a thrice-removed cousin at a family reunion. 

We can avoid getting trapped in the undertow of gossip by asking these questions: Is it true? Is it kind? Does it need to be said? Very little can make it past this filter, and what does bears no resemblance to gossip. 

Speak “the truth in love,” Ephesians 4:15 exhorts.

Criticism 

Criticism often hides behind efficiency. “If she’d do it my way, we wouldn’t have this problem.” We focus on the ten percent that’s bad about a situation, instead of the ninety percent that’s good. Criticism in a home, office, or church spreads faster than a stomach bug in a daycare. It sucks the joy out of a room, elevates the negative, and dismisses the positive. 

The cure for this harmful spirit is gratitude. Thanking God for every good gift fills our hearts and minds and elbows out critical thoughts and fault-finding words (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

Foolishness 

The biblical description of foolish talk involves more than just silliness. A fool by God’s standards is a person who acts as though there is no God. Their speech is filled with statements like “I have bad luck,” “It’s karma,” and “I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.” 

Foolish talk of a more serious type says, “God’s mad at me,” “God doesn’t want me to be happy,” and “God doesn’t hear my prayers.” 

Psalm 14:1 spotlights the source of this conversational undertow: “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” The cure is a solid understanding of God’s character, based on His Word. When we acknowledge there is a God, surrender our lives to Him, and study His Word, we’ll find that less and less foolishness comes out of our mouths. 

Unwholesome Talk 


We need only turn on our televisions or watch a movie to hear more unwholesome talk in an hour than our grandparents heard in their lifetime. I’ve often wondered why we invite television shows with cursing and vulgarity into our homes when we’d never tolerate a real person using such language in front of our spouse or children. 

Even Christians get drawn into our culture’s coarse and vulgar way of speaking. What goes into our ears often finds its way out of our mouths. We joke about things that used to be private. We use salty language and questionable slang. We use one manner of speaking at church and another with friends. 

“You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived,” Colossians 3:7-8 says. “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.” 

One friend who’s determined to stop cursing has memorized Bible verses like this. She recites them to herself several times during the day. When she slips and uses bad language, she apologizes to the person listening, confesses it as sin to the Lord, asks forgiveness, and recasts her sentence, substituting a silly word for the vulgar one. She’s learning to master her tongue instead of letting it master her. 

The Conclusion of the Matter 

Like the undertow at the Columbia canal has the power to suck unsuspecting swimmers down the river and into the rapids, conversational undertow can carry us into dangerous relational waters. If we heed the warnings in God’s Word and stay far from the edge, we need not fear. Instead, we can embrace the challenge of Ephesians 4:29: 

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” 

Now it’s your turn? Which of these conversational undertows do you struggle with the most? What steps are you taking to change? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment. 



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Sunday

Why We Should Never Stop Applauding Our Nation's Military Families

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For 30 years my family lived in the shadow of one of the largest military training bases in the country, Fort Jackson, in Columbia, South Carolina. I've attended church with, lived beside, and educated my children with those who serve in the United States Army. I've formed deep friendships with women whose husbands have served in Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

But it wasn't until my daughter married a United States Naval officer that I truly began to understand the deep sacrifices these men, women, and families make on behalf of our country. 

We should never stop appreciating our military because of what they give and what they give up. 


What Our Military Gives

The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) website published the following list of ways the U.S. Army changes lives in America: They provide medical assistance in impoverished areas, food and humanitarian relief, security at embassies and other locations, policing in volatile areas, natural disaster relief, law enforcement, and piracy and drug interdiction. 

The US Navy-Marine Corps-Coast Guard team helps keep the seas open and free. “The world’s oceans provide shipping lanes for commerce and cargo to move unmolested from their places of origin to the Amazon warehouse or small business or Wal-Mart in your home town,” the AEI website explains. 

“Over 90% of world trade by weight is transported by sea, including almost all commodities necessary for the basic operation of the global economy.” 

You thought most of our goods travel by long-haul tractor-trailers? The rigs we see on the roads every day usually carry freight that traveled to the US by sea. 

Do you enjoy surfing the internet? Thank the Navy. Ninety-nine percent of global communications flow through undersea fiber optic cables. Not only does the Navy protect what’s above the water, it also protects what’s beneath it. 

US Navy presence in the South China Sea contributes to economic stability in one of the fastest-growing regions of the world. Its presence in the Persian Gulf contributes to the low oil prices we’ve enjoyed for the last few years. Its global presence helps limit piracy, thus ensuring lower prices for the goods we buy every day. 

What Our Military Gives Up 

A Normal Family Life 

How would you feel if you kissed your spouse goodbye and knew you wouldn't see him or her for six, nine, or twelve months? During that time your baby will learn to walk, your 5-year-old will complete his entire kindergarten year, and your teenage son will learn to drive—without them. Deployed members of the military sometimes miss their babies’ births, children’s graduations, and best friends’ funerals. 

Depending on their assignment and job description, some members of the military are separated from their families for anywhere from three to twelve months at a time. “Many of these people spend as much time away as at home,” the AIE website states. 

And while technology like email, texting, Skype, and Face Time helps them stay connected, communication is often spotty or non-existent. If a sailor is out to sea or patrolling hostile waters, their ship often experiences internet outages or limitations, meaning no email or Facebook messages come in or out. Days or weeks pass before sailors are allowed to communicate with their loved ones. In the meantime, their families wonder, worry, and pray . . . 


Separation takes a heavy toll on marriages and family relationships. Loneliness and boredom are often a military spouse’s constant companions. On overseas assignments, depending on where a serviceman/woman is stationed, their spouses may be prohibited from working, thus adding to their isolation. 

Unfamiliarity with language and culture make even the simplest tasks, like driving or grocery shopping difficult. Although married, military spouses often act as both father and mother to their children, shouldering the responsibilities of both partners when their spouses are away or unavailable. 

Comfortable Living Conditions 

I'm confident our United States Military does its best to provide soldiers and sailors with the best possible living arrangements, but because of the nature of their assignments, conditions are often harsh and Spartan. As Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz said, "There's no place like home," and deployment assignments are no place like home. 

From the heat, sun, and sand of the Middle East to the artificially lit, cramped quarters of a destroyer's belly, members of the military often live in close proximity with few creature comforts. Their assignments sometimes involve around-the-clock shifts with no days off. 

Traditional Worship & Spiritual Guidance 

As of 2011, the military has approximately 2,900 chaplains. Ministering to 1.4 million active duty military personnel, they conduct worship services, provide counseling, lead Bible studies, and support members and their families. These chaplains are hardworking and dedicated, but there just isn’t enough of them to go around. 


Servicemen/women sometimes go for months without being able to participate in a chaplain-led corporate worship service. Larger naval ships may have an assigned chaplain, but smaller ships usually do not, especially on long patrols. For other branches of the military, lack of easily accessible spiritual advisers, combined with long work hours and scarcity of quiet space, makes it challenging to maintain spiritual focus, especially while deployed. 

The Absence of Fear 

 One of the greatest gifts our military gives us is the ability to live free from fear. We worship unmolested and travel freely from one part of our country to another. We live, shop, work, and play without worrying about stumbling upon an IED or getting caught in the crossfire of two warring factions. While we know that terrorism and terrorists exist, we rest in the confidence that God and our military stand watch over us. This is a great gift. 

Ironically, the same servicemen and women who enable us to live without fear face fear every day. Those in combat situations wonder if they’ll make it home. 

Their families do, too. 

Those who serve in support roles know their job performance can either protect or endanger the lives of their comrades. Soldiers and sailors man their posts, filter intelligence, and stand the watch, willingly putting themselves in harm’s way for the sake of those at home. 

Some pay the ultimate price and give their lives to protect us. 

Today, November 11, is Veterans Day. 

Why not take a moment to thank God for the men and women who died while serving in our country’s armed forces? Then go a step further. Write a note, send a Facebook message, or make a phone call to someone currently serving in the military. Thank them for their service. Then thank their families. The men, women, and children who keep the home fires burning are perhaps the greatest unsung heroes of them all. 

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). 






I hope you enjoy this stirring video tribute to our veterans. If you're reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and view the video. 



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Wednesday

"Lord, give me eyes to see." A Hurried Person's Prayer

It was Andrew’s first wedding, at least in his remembrance. He’d slept through a few as an infant, but now, at age two, he was all in. Wide-eyed and curious, he noticed every detail. 


His mother, my daughter, was the matron of honor. His sisters, the flower girls. Daddy was occupied with his six-week-old brother, so Andrew and I were a couple. My job was to keep him happy, entertained, and quiet.

He watched the opening procession carefully, waiting for his mother to walk down the aisle. As each bridesmaid processed, he looked them over carefully. 

“Is that Mommy?” I asked. 

“Mo.” 

“How about that lady?” 

“Mo.” 

When his mother appeared, his face split into a toothy grin. “Der Mommy. Pretty!” Then he noticed her bouquet. “Fwowers!” 

“Aren’t they pretty?” I said. He nodded enthusiastically. 

Next came his sisters, solemn and angelic in their white tulle dresses, dutifully scattering paper hearts on the damp grass. “Uh-oh,” Andrew said, noticing the “litter” they’d left behind. 

After all had taken their places and the officiate began to speak, Andrew added his commentary to the man’s words. 

“Birds!” he said, pointing to the trees above us. “Squirrel?” he asked, noticing a movement in the tree tops. In his quiet-but-not-so-quiet voice, he pointed out an airplane, a helicopter, and a “weaf.” 

Fearing that he might be distracting the other guests, I gathered him up and slipped from the last row. We stood at a distance at the back of the garden. 

“Wook! Gigi,” Andrew said. Oak trees made a canopy overhead, and fat acorns dotted the ground. Like a gambler at a slot machine, he gathered his treasure and stuffed his pockets full. 

He wandered behind a bush, then came running back. Grabbing my hand and tugging, he pulled me toward the bush. “Gigi, come!” Cautious about what he’d discovered, I stepped gingerly between the shrubs. Andrew’s idea of “interesting” is vastly different from his sisters’. Bugs, rocks, and frogs top his list of fascinating specimens. 

But not this time. 

“Wook!” he said with a flourish. “Fwowers!” 

Sure enough, he’d found a bush covered in pink blossoms much like the bouquet his mommy had carried down the aisle a few minutes earlier. “Pretty,” he declared with a smile, and I agreed. 

Reflecting on the day, I thanked God for the opportunity to see the world through Andrew’s eyes. Without his help, I’d have missed the wonder of the afternoon. His invitation to slow down, look closely, and ponder was a precious gift I’ll not soon forget. 

Ever wonder how much we miss because we don’t stop long enough to see? 

Solomon, the wise man of Israel, declared, “He has made everything beautiful in his time,” (Ecclesiastes 3:11), but we can only appreciate this beauty if we stop and look. 

Father, help us slow down, look closely, and ponder deeply. Enable us to see the wonder and beauty of your creation. Lift our hearts in praise to you, the Creator of it all. May we never be so busy that we fail to recognize your fingerprints on our world. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. 

Now it’s your turn. Do you struggle with being so busy that you fail to notice the simple things? What helps you slow down and appreciate God’s creation? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online and leave a comment.





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Monday

A Prayer for Our Soldiers

 Despite living in the shadow of the largest training base in the country, I didn’t often think about the military. I was grateful, in a general sort of way, for the “sacrifices they made,” but I seldom thought beyond the surface about what those sacrifices were. 

Because I sometimes met their spouses and children at church or in the community, I knew military personnel are sometimes separated from their families. But I never understood all that entailed. I knew “soldiering” came with its own set of dangers, but my superficial knowledge of the risks our military undertakes every day on our behalf was cursory, at best. 


All that changed when my daughter married a member of the United States Navy. Instantly I became eager to learn as much as possible about life in the military. My son-in-law was in the middle of his first tour of duty and was out to sea as often as he was “home.” 

Even “home” had changed. No longer was it in the next city, or state, or even across the country. Home for him and my daughter was a rented house in a foreign country half a world away. 

Because I love my new son-in-law, I now think about the military every day. I pray for its members. I pray early in the morning, late at night, and during the night watches when something awakens me and my thoughts go immediately to him. Perhaps the Lord has awakened me so I can pray, I think. So I pray. 

 Perhaps you, too, love a service member. Or maybe, because you’ve served in the past or know someone who has, you understand the sacrifices these men and women make to guard our safety and preserve our freedom. Veteran's Day, a day to focus our attention on those who have served our countries in the Armed Forces, is Monday, November 11.

As we prepare to honor our military, will you join me today as I pray for the men and women who serve?

A Prayer for Soldiers and Troops*

Father, thank you for the privilege of praying for our service men and women. Like Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms when he grew weary in battle, we, too, can support those we love and appreciate. Some serve far from home. We may not even know where they are, but you do. If they’re in harm’s way, protect them. Surround them with your angels like you surrounded Elijah and the children of Israel with your fiery hosts. Shield them from those who seek to do them harm. Thwart the plans of the enemy. 

Some are spiritually far away from you. Maybe the horrors they’ve witnessed have caused them to question your love, care, or even existence. Reveal yourself to them in a personal, mighty way. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, help them come face to face with the risen Christ and commit their lives to follow you. Remove whatever stumbling block that keeps them from wholeheartedly surrendering to you. 

For those who already have a relationship with you, strengthen their resolve to honor you with their lives. Connect them with other believers. Draw them to your Word every day. Answer their prayers. Use them as a beacon of hope in this dark world. Expand their witness and draw many around them into a saving knowledge of you because of the way they live. Give them courage to speak the truth unapologetically and stand for what is right, even when it costs them. Enable them to sacrificially serve others. Glorify yourself through them. 

When they are afraid, grant them your peace. Like a cool breeze on a hot day, send your quiet confidence to wash over them. In intense situations, where they must make life-impacting, split-second decisions, may their heart beat calm and steady. Don’t allow fear to draw them down paths they shouldn’t walk or situations they should avoid. Remind them to cry out to you and experience your deliverance. 

When their hearts ache with loneliness, be their constant companion. During the night watches when the world is asleep and they stand guard, bolster them with your presence. If they find their home in you, Lord, it won’t matter where they lay their head; you will be there. Prompt them to seek your presence. 

And when the communication channels are down, and they can’t call home, remind them they can always call upon you. Help them feel your presence as you walk beside them. Whether they are married or single, keep their hearts, minds, and bodies pure. 

If they are separated from their spouse, help them remain true to the promises they made on their wedding day. Protect them from anyone who tries to lure them away from those promises. Help them seek, instead, wholesome, safe companionship. Enable their love to grow stronger despite the forces that threaten it. Prompt them to invest in their marriage, doing whatever it takes to help their spouse feel loved and treasured. Don’t allow laziness, bitterness, or apathy to creep into their relationship. 

Give them the resolve to turn off, turn away, and stay away from the destructive evil of pornography. Remind them “No temptation has seized (them) except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let (them) be tempted beyond what (they) can bear. But when (they) are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that (they) can stand up under it” (1 Cor. 10:13). Help them find and take that way of escape. 

Guard their health, Father. They seldom sleep enough to feel fully rested. Be their refreshment. Multiply the effects of limited sleep and opportunities to work out. It’s hard to eat right and exercise when options are limited in the field, in the air, or on a ship. Help them make wise choices about how to care for their body. Protect them from the destructive forces of drugs and alcohol. 

Lord, you promise in James 1:7 that if we lack wisdom, we can ask, and you will give it to us liberally. Give our service members wisdom for every task, decision, and situation they encounter. Grant them supernatural insight to know when to speak and when to be silent, when to act and when to pray. Whatever they encounter, may they hear your voice in their ears saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” 

And Father, help us, those who love them, to trust you more. Protect our hearts from fear and grow our faith. Hear our prayers, as Daniel prayed in Daniel 9:18, not because of our righteousness, but because of your great mercy. In the strong name of Jesus I pray, Amen. 

Now it's your turn. Do you know someone who serves in the military or a family member of a serviceman/woman? How do you pray for them? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts. If you're reading by email, click here to visit Hungry for God online.

*This post originally appeared on Crosswalk.com.



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