Monday, 31 January 2011

Barbecued Kebabs and Tandoori Bread

Sometime back I stopped by a roadside kebab shop to take photos and buy some of Haji 's delectable food.

These are called seekh kebabs - barbecued over a charcoal fire. He had a table fan on to stoke the fire. Haji had just opened shop for the evening.

The kebabs are wrapped around iron skewers.

They used to be very spicy and hot but these days they have toned down the spices and chillies - customer request I suppose. I like that.
My late Aunt Marjorie used to make excellent seekh (skewer) kebabs at home . She used to also sell them at church, school and charity sales.

Next to Haji 's eatry is a shop selling freshly baked Tandoori bread (rotis - flat bread like nans). This is the earthen tandoori oven.
Whole wheat dough shaped into balls and rolled out like thin pizzas.

The rotis are stuck to sides of the hot oven where they take a few minutes to bake.
Tandoori bread goes well with all kinds of non-veg food and curry.

I took these photos with my cell phone - they are not very clear.

I like to read blog improvement posts to learn how I can better my blog . I found this entry by Michael Hyatt helpful - Anatomy of an Effrective Blog Post

Don 't know whether my posts are effective or not.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sunday Blessings - Four Days in Heaven

Many of us lost our dear ones last year. I bid farewell to senior relatives and family friends too. Max Lucado 's article focuses on the heavenly perspective. Be blessed reading it.

When Death Becomes Birth
by Max Lucado

You, as all God’s children, live one final breath from your own funeral. Which, from God’s perspective, is nothing to grieve. He responds to these grave facts with this great news: “The day you die is better than the day you are born” (Eccles. 7:1). Now there is a twist. Heaven enjoys a maternity-ward reaction to funerals. Angels watch body burials the same way grandparents monitor delivery-room doors. “He’ll be coming through any minute!” They can’t wait to see the new arrival. While we’re driving hearses and wearing black, they’re hanging pink and blue streamers and passing out cigars. We don’t grieve when babies enter the world. The hosts of heaven don’t weep when we leave it.

Oh, but many of us weep at the thought of death. Do you? Do you dread your death?
Is your fear of dying robbing your joy of living? Jesus came to “deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying” (Heb. 2:15).

If Scripture boasted a list of the famous dead, Lazarus would be near the top. He lived in Bethany, a sleepy hamlet that sat a short walk from Jerusalem. Jesus spent a lot of time there. Maybe he liked the kitchen of Martha or the devotion of Mary. One thing is for sure: he considered Lazarus a friend. News of Lazarus’s death prompts Jesus to say, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep, but now I will go and wake him up” (John 11:11).

And now, four days after the funeral, Jesus has come calling. Literally calling, “Lazarus, come out!” Can we try to picture Lazarus as he hears those words? Heaven-sent Lazarus. Heaven-happy Lazarus.

Four days into his measureless days. By now he’s forming fast friendships with other saints.
King David shows him the harps.
Moses invites him over for tea and manna.
Elijah and Elisha take him for a spin in the fiery chariot.
Daniel has promised him a lion of a Bible story.
He’s on his way to hear it when a voice booms through the celestial city.
“Lazarus, come out!”
Everybody knows that voice.
No one wonders, Who was that?
Angels stop.
Hosts of holy-city dwellers turn toward the boy from Bethany, and someone says, “Looks like you’re going back for another tour of duty.”
Lazarus doesn’t question the call.
Perfect understanding comes with a heavenly passport. He doesn’t object. But had he done so, who could have faulted him? His heavenly body knows no fever. His future no fear. He indwells a city that is void of padlocks, prisons, and Prozac. With sin and death nonexistent, preachers, doctors, and lawyers are free to worship. Would anyone blame Lazarus for saying, “Do I have to go back?”

But he doesn’t second-guess the command. Nor does anyone else. Return trips have been frequent of late.
The daughter of the synagogue ruler.
The boy from Nain.
Now Lazarus from Bethany.
Lazarus turns toward the rarely used exit door.

The very one, I suppose, Jesus used some thirty earth years earlier. With a wave and within a wink, he’s reunited with his body and waking up on a cold slab in a wall-hewn grave. The rock to the entrance has been moved, and Lazarus attempts to do the same. Mummy-wrapped, he stiffly sits up and walks out of the tomb with the grace of Frankenstein’s monster.
People stare and wonder.

We read and may ask, “Why did Jesus let him die only to call him back?”
To show who runs the show. To trump the cemetery card. To display the unsquashable strength of the One who danced the Watusi on the neck of the devil, who stood face to clammy face with death and declared, “You call that a dead end? I call it an escalator.”
“Lazarus, come out!”
Those words, incidentally, were only a warmup for the big day. He’s preparing a worldwide grave evacuation. “Joe, come out!” “Maria, come out!” “Giuseppe, come out!” “Jacob, come out!” Grave after grave will empty. What happened to Lazarus will happen to us. Only our spirit-body reunion will occur in heaven, not Bethany Memorial Cemetery.

When this happens—when our perishable earthly bodies have been transformed into heavenly bodies that will never die—then at last the Scriptures will come true:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
(1 Cor. 15:54–55)
With Christ as your friend and heaven as your home, the day of death becomes sweeter than the day of birth.
Come Thirsty
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2004) Max Lucado

Friday, 28 January 2011

Scripture Cake

Old Scripture Cake

The famous “OLD SCRIPTURE” cake. If you know your Bible well, this will pose no problems. If you don’t know it quite that well, the translation will be at the end of the recipe.
The photos are from the web.
3/4 cup Genesis 18:8
1 1/2 cup Jeremiah 6:20
5 Isaiah 10:14 (separated)
3 cups sifted Leviticus 24:5
3 teaspoons 2 Kings 2:20
3 teaspoons Amos 4:5
1 teaspoon Exodus 3:23
1/4 teaspoon each 2 Chronicles 9:9
1/2 cup Judges 4:19
3/4 chopped Genesis 43:11
3/4 cup finely cut Jeremiah 24:5
3/4 cup 2 Samuel 16:1
Whole Genesis 43:11

Cream Genesis 18 with Jeremiah 6. Beat in yolks of Isaiah 10, one at a time. Sift together Leviticus 24; 2 Kings 2; Amos 4; Exodus 30; and 2 Chronicles 9.
Blend into creamed mixture alternately with Judges 4. Beat whites of Isaiah 10 till stiff; fold in. Fold in chopped Genesis 43; Jeremiah 24; and 2 Samuel 16. Turn into 10-inch tube pan that has been greased and dusted with Leviticus 24.
Bake at 325 degrees F until it is golden brown or Gabriel blows his trumpet, whichever happens first. Bake for an hour and ten minutes. Remove from oven. After fifteen minutes, remove it from the pan. Cool completely. Drizzle over it some Burnt Jeremiah Syrup.
1 1/2 cups Jeremiah 6:20
1/2 cup Genesis 24:45
1/4 cup Genesis 18:8
Melt Jeremiah 6 in a heavy skillet over low heat. Keep cooking it till it is a deep gold, then add Genesis 24. Cook till smooth and remove from the heat. Add Genesis 18 and stir till it melts, then cool.
After drizzling this on the Scripture Cake, you can decorate it with whole Genesis.



Genesis 18:8 “And he took butter, and milk, and the calf which he had dressed, and set it before them.”

Jeremiah 6:20 “To what purpose cometh there to me frankincense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country.” (Sugar)

Isaiah 10:4 “And my hand hath found as a nest the riches of the peoples; and as one gathered eggs that are forsaken, have I gathered the earth.”

Leviticus 24:5 “And thou shalt take fine flour, and bake twelve cakes thereof.”

2 Kings 2:20 “And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein.”

Amos 4:5 “And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim free will offerings and publish them.” (Baking Powder)

Exodus 30:23 “Take thou also, unto thee the chief spices; of flowering myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half as much.”

2 Chronicles 9:9 “And she gave the King a hundred and twenty talents of gold, and spices in great abundance.”

Judges 4:19 “ And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk and gave him drink.”

Genesis 43:11 “Carry down the man a present, a little balm, and a little honey, spicery and myrrh, nuts and almonds.”

Jeremiah 24:5 “Thou saith Jehovah, God of Israel: Like these good figs, so will I regard the captives of Judah whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Chaldeans, for good.”

2 Samuel 16:1 “And when David was a little past the top of the assent, behold, Ziba, the servant of Mephiboseth met him, with a couple of asses saddled, and upon them two hundred loaves of bread, and a hundred clusters of raisins.

Genesis 24:45 “And before I had done speaking in my heart, behold Rebekah came forth with her pitcher on her shoulder; and she went down to the fountain, and drew: and I said unto her, Let me drink, I pray thee.”


butter, sweet cane, eggs, fine flour, salt, leavened, sweet cinnamon, spices, milk, almonds, figs, raisins, water.
Would be a good activity for Sunday School or church too.
Has anyone tried baking it?
I 'd love to try.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Celebrate India - Republic Day

62 years ago India became a Republic based on justice and equality.

January 26th is celebrated with enthusiasm and patriotism all over our country. Watch the video to see the bright and glorious India

Monday, 24 January 2011

Life Sentence for Dara Singh

India 's Supreme Court upholds life sentence for Dara
New Delhi, Jan 21, (PTI) :

Dara Singh, convicted for burning alive Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons in January 1999, on Friday escaped death penalty with the Supreme Court ruling that the crime was not the ''rarest of rare'' case and upheld the life sentence awarded to him.

“In the case on hand, though Graham Staines and his two minor sons were burnt to death while they were sleeping inside a station wagon at Manoharpur, the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity,” the court said.

Dismissing CBI’s plea for death penalty to Singh, a bench of justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan endorsed the Orissa High Court’s finding that his crime did not fall under the rarest of rare category.

In its 76-page judgment, the court came out strongly against the practice of conversion. “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of ‘use of force’, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other,” it said.

On May 19, 2005, the Orissa High Court had commuted to life imprisonment the death penalty imposed by the sessions court on Singh for the murder of Staines and his sons—Philip, 10, and Timothy, 6.

Along with Dara, his accomplice Mahendra Hembram was convicted in the case.
The Staines family was burnt alive in Keonjhar district in Orissa. Staines had worked with leprosy patients in Orissa for 30 years. He and his sons were sleeping on a cold January night when a mob in Manoharpur village poured petrol over his car parked in front of the village church and torched it.

They tried to escape but the mob of about 50 people allegedly prevented them.
Singh had filed an appeal challenging his conviction and the life sentence awarded to him. The appeals were admitted by the apex court in October 2005. “In a country like ours where discrimination on the ground of caste or religion is a taboo, taking lives of persons belonging to another caste or religion is bound to have a dangerous and reactive effect on the society at large,” the court said.

“It strikes at the very root of the orderly society which the founding fathers of our Constitution dreamt of,” the bench added, while upholding the conviction and entailing life term also to Hembram of Keonjhar.

“Our concept of secularism is that the State will have no religion. The State shall treat all religions and religious groups equally and with equal respect without in any manner interfering with their individual right of religion, faith and worship.

“We also conclude with the hope that Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of religion playing a positive role in bringing India’s numerous religion and communities into an integrated prosperous nation be realised by way of equal respect for all religions,” the bench said.
Report taken from the Deccan Herald


Many people in India feel that Dara Singh deserves a death sentence for his diabolical crime.
The words of the judgement stung me very sharply. Was Dara Singh trying to 'teach them a lesson ' against 'forceful ' conversion by his extremely evil act?
Dr and Mrs Stains served leprosy patients in India faithfully for 30 years. There is no evidence that the Stains were converting people by force. A few days after the killings a Hindu radical swami visited the area where Dr Stains worked and found all Hindus there - leprosy patients being treated and rehabilitated.
Anyone else would have been frozen with shock and anger at the news of the brutal killing of their husband and 2 sons, but ains said she forgave the murders. She kept on working in Orissa Gladys Stains wanting to carry on her husband 's service.

You can read their story in the book Burnt Alive by Vishal Mangaalwadi .

The Supreme Court has given a life term to Dara Singh.
God has given him time to repent of his sin.

Psalm 11:7
For the LORD is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.
Psalm 11:6-7

Do remember to pray for Christian workers and missionaries in India

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sunday Blessings - Sound words from J.I. Packer

Dear friends , I am rejoicing in the Lord this morning. Thank you for your prayers. The weather is just fine too.
The Lord is my Shepherd
I shall not want
He is leading me beside green pastures.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Visitors from South America

This morning we had an unexpected visit from our friends Parrot and Deva S who are missionaries in South America. They are spreading the love of Christ among youth in a Marxist ruled country. Their work is difficult but they are receiving many blessings. Deva showed me a photo of a 10 year old boy who has become a Christian and wants to be a preacher.
Parrot akka taught in a Women 's Bible School before she married Bro. Deva. She was a Bible teacher and mentor in our University Youth Fellowship. No student camp was complete without Parrot akka 's 'Practical Sessions ' in which she taught us how to assimilate Biblical truths into everyday living. She also sailed the seven seas aboard OM 's ship Logos before getting married to Bro. Deva.
God has used them among young people and marriage counselling.
Their son is a medical missionary in North India and daughter is with YWAM on the Andaman islands.
They have been home in South India several times but visited us here in Allahabad (North India) after 23 years. I wanted them over for a meal but they did not have time for that. They were returning from a trip to a country sharing India 's border which is completely closed to the Gospel.
We praise God for the lives of those who are our leaders and encouragers. Before leaving Parrot akka gave me a tube of face wash which she had brought as a gift from South America.. I was so touched.

I took some photos of them, but accidentally I had my video turned on so instead of still photos I got a 4 second video.

Let me end with this beautiful story.


"'Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him. 'Yes,' replied Jesus,
'have you never read, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise"?'"

--Matthew 21:16

Miss Miller had taught many students at the Christian school, but none so exasperating
as Jeremy. He was twelve years old, slightly retarded, and had not progressed beyond
the second grade. Miss Miller had repeatedly tried to place Jeremy in a special
class, but the boy's parents wanted him to stay with his classmates. This frustrated
her, as she had eighteen other youngsters to supervise.

After teaching about the Resurrection one day, Miss Miller gave the class an assignment.
Each child was given a large plastic egg and told to bring it back the next day
with something inside that showed new life. All the kids were enthusiastic except
for Jeremy. Miss Miller wasn't certain the boy understood.

The next morning the children arrived in class with their eggs, laughing and discussing
their surprises inside. In one egg a child had placed a flower. In another, a plastic
butterfly. One concealed a rock with moss. When Miss Miller opened Jeremy's egg,
it was empty. She reasoned that he must not have understood the instructions. Because
she did not want to embarrass the disabled boy, she quietly set the egg aside.

"Miss Miller," Jeremy spoke up, "aren't you going to talk about my egg?" The teacher
replied that it was empty. "Yes, but the tomb of Jesus was empty, too."

While the other children ran out to the schoolyard, Miss Miller stayed behind, wiping
her tears. Here she had thought it was a waste of time trying to teach Jeremy, but
all the while, he had cultivated a wisdom far beyond that of his classmates. Three
months later, Jeremy died. And those who paid their respects at the funeral home
were surprised to see nineteen eggs on top of his casket. All of them, empty.*


*This story originally appeared in Guideposts magazine.

Monday, 17 January 2011

A Telegram From God

It is indeed strange how God speaks to us -
His message can come like a telegram from across the miles- riding over ocean waves -
rolling down snow draped mountains
spiralling over bland desert sands
and echoing into monsoon forests

My friend Sita from Canada sent me a James MacDonald devotional - which I inhaled as life giving oxygen.

I asked for prayer in my last post and have been comforted by the knowledge that many of you are praying for us.
But when one enters
uncharted waters
one can feel nervous and tense.
I 've been on a roller coaster -
feeling strong and brave at one time
and weak and vulnerable at another.
I needed a shot in the arm to boost my feeble faith.
When I opened my Inbox the title of Sita 's email hit me between the eyes -FEAR IS NOT FROM GOD.
It came as a red letter message from God.
Thank you Sita

Thank you God for sending me Your Word.

Here is the precious reminder from James MacDonald. My dear friends continue to pray for us

Stir it Up!

"For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." - 2 Timothy 1:6-7

I've mentioned in the past about my love for messing around with fire. And when a fire dies down, that's my favorite part - kick it and blow on it and stir it up a little bit.

You have faith! How's that faith going? You say, "Well, it's getting a little dormant." Stir it up! Stir it up! Let's get it going. Let's fire that thing up again. You're like, "Well, James, if I really fire it up for the Lord, I've got to tell you, when I think about doing that, there is stuff that comes into my mind. Like, but what if... And How is that going to affect me at work? How is that going to affect..." Fill in the blank.

We all have times like that. Timothy was feeling that.
Listen up. You have nothing to fear. These verses in 2 Timothy really gripped me. You have nothing to fear circumstantially because God has given you power. Do you see it in the text? You have power!

A Christian has nothing to fear. Nothing. If you struggle with fear, if you are fearful about some things, this will help. That feeling of fear is not from God, it's just not.

God did NOT give you a spirit of fear.
God did NOT give you an attitude of fear.
God did NOT give you a problem with fear.
He gave you something else - POWER.

God gave you power.

The idea is that you have nothing to fear—not circumstances, not anything.

The word "power" is dunamis, from which we get our word dynamite.
It means to act and accomplish. Most often in the New Testament, it is used in close connection to the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God controlling you produces an attitude that is powerful. Here is the apostle Paul facing momentary execution. He has maybe hours or minutes to live and what does he want to do? He wants to write a letter to Timothy to encourage him.
Who does that? Someone with a spirit of power. There is nothing that can happen to you that you can't - with God's help - get on top of. I am telling you the truth. Paul faced it. Timothy was facing it. I have faced it. And in God's power, you can, too.
You have nothing to fear.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Sunday Blessings - Father and Son

This rickshaw man took his little son along for a ride while transporting me to the market.

I asked the little guy to smile but he wouldn 't - camera conscious he was.
I do hope he goes to school and his future will be brighter than his poor illiterate father
Seeing he was wearing a watch made me glad.A man like him can buy a cheap watch for about 4 or 5 day 's income.
I read the following story in a little booklet I bought recently. It teaches a beautiful lesson
In ancient Salem lived two bothers, one with many children and the other single and alone.
During harvest time they gathered wheat and put it into two piles.
One night the single brother thought,"My brother has a large family and needs more wheat than I do., I will put some of my sheaves on his pile.
One hour later the married brother woke up and thought,"My single brother lives alone and doesn 't have anyone to help him till the land.Something must be done..." and taking some of the sheaves from his store he carried them to his brother 's pile and left them there.
Next morning they were both surprised to see that both the piles were still the same.
It has warmed up since the past 2 days and now the weather is very pleasant temp is in the 70s during the day.
My church is launching on a new enterprise to help us generate funds for the upkeep and maintenance of our 200 year old property. We are a small independent flock. The ground work has been done. There are some enemies of the church who can try to foil our attempt and create mischief and trouble for us.
The devil wants us to be frightened and not take any step towards development. But we are moving forward...walking by faith and not by sight. I am reading the story of Jacob and it is encouraging to see how God was with him all the time. How Jacob prospered and was blessed.
I ask for that same favor upon our Church and campus. Pray along with us for guidance, wisdom and protection.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Makar Sankranti

When the wind is high don 't moan and groan with it, just take out
your kite and fly it.
That 's what I said to myself this morning when my helper who does a little bit of house work did not show up. She has gone to the village to see her future son-in-law who had met with an accident.
Crowds of pilgrims poured into the city for the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti and she could not get transport back because of the rush.
So I also took the morning off and had a leisurely breakfast out on the porch in the warm sun - and really enjoyed doing things differently which is my goal for 2011.

These are pictures of the International Kite Festival in Gujarat which takes place today.

January 14th is celebrated all over India as Makar Sankranti a Hindu festival heralding the harvest season. People take take baths in holy rivers and ponds in the quest to cleanse themselves from sin and gain salvation.
In my city Magh Mela a month long Hindu religious fair started today on the banks of the river Ganga at Sangam where 3 rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati have their confluence. Read more about it in THIS NEWS STORY
I took these photos from the web to show you what the bathing looks like.
This is man in search of freedom from sin and a guilty conscience.

Can the water of a river worshipped as Mother Ganga cleanse a soul from sin?
As persons we inherited a sinful condition from the fall of man.

a. To be sinful means you accept and believe error Psalm 19 ;12

b. To be sinful means you practice error. Romans 3:9-18,23
c. To be sinful means you inherited a nature that wants to sin Romans 5 ;12-21

Jesus Christ came into the world to save mankind from the curse of sin. He gave his life for us on the cross - a sacrifice for sin - the only one acceptable to God. He shed he innocent blood for us to wash away our sin.

In this video sin has been personified and given a voice. Watch it carefully. CLICK HERE TO WATCH I AM SIN

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Petshop Boys & Girls

"The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself too." SAMUEL BUTLER
A blogfriend emailed me these cute puppy photos. I wish everyone of them could leap out of my laptop right into my lap.

Today was a bright sunny day temperature was about 18-15*C. So we enjoyed the warm sun. I served lunch - rajma (red kidney beans) and rice on the veranda I also boiled some (garden harvested) sweet potatoes which I like with salt and pepper.
God is good all the sunshine and in the fog.