Saturday, December 13, 2008

Stuff

Lately it seems all of my time has been spent: sorting, organizing, cleaning, losing, mending, tidying, dusting, donating, getting out, putting away, making, searching for, learning to use, cooking, eating, filing, accounting for, getting, storing, shredding, recycling, finding, losing again and disposing of --stuff. (Not to mention persuading my husband to do some of the same with his stuff.)

So what did we do today? We went Christmas shopping for more! –(Thankfully not all of it for us :-)

I know I’m blessed to have it. After all, much of the world doesn’t have enough.

But is it possible we have too much?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The real robber


“Watch out for robbers,” friends joked before our vacation at “Robbers’ Cave State Park.”

We didn't really expect to meet any. It had been many years since the cave in the park had been used as a hideout for old time outlaws.

There was one kind of robber that nearly ruined it for me though. It wasn’t a flesh and blood robber and I can’t blame the location. In fact I brought this robber with me all the way from home. It’s called: worry.

The first few days I was so wrapped up with worry I could hardly enjoy the beautiful place or the time off. What a waste!

It had dogged my steps for days before the trip too. So much so that I had been too distracted to remember to bring my hiking boots (I felt pretty silly since hiking was our main planned activity).

It may sound strange but what finally helped was the thought that all that stuff I was worried about would still be there waiting for me when we got back home. Meanwhile I could just forget about it and enjoy my escape from ‘real life’ and all its worries.

I got to thinking though. Why wait until our annual vacation to live worry free?

Wouldn’t it be better if I could live worry free the rest of the year too? If worry could rob me of my ability to relax and enjoy the beauty of our vacation spot, maybe it was robbing me of good stuff at home too. If I didn’t worry so much during normal life, maybe I could really relax more and enjoy the breaks and time off I had there too. Maybe I wouldn’t get so tired and depressed. Maybe the rest and refreshment I got on our vacation would last more than a few days. Hmm…

Philippians 4:6 & 7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”












Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is it just me?

“Feed your pet like you feed your family,” trumpets the colorful two-page ad in this month’s Reader’s Digest. “If you consider your pets to be furry family members then a certain dog or cat food is the perfect choice.”

Made with the finest natural ingredients, this holistic pet food—[whatever that means], has high quality protein, whole grains, garden vegetables, and fruit-- [grains, vegetables and fruit? Cats are carnivores!]. This “all natural” food also has vitamins added—[hmm… that doesn't sound very natural.] And it contains no animal byproducts**

You can feed the feline members of your family “all this wholesome goodness for less than $1* a day (*more depending on their size and number, a lot more if you have 40+ cats like one family I know of. It doesn’t say how much to feed the dog…if you need to know maybe it’s too much.)

Not so long ago, if someone was said to feed their pets as well as they do their family, people would shake their heads in disgust and assume they were either abusing their family or overindulging their pet.

I was also struck by the number of ads and images in the magazine of people food that could be called “junk food”: chocolate pudding; jumbo sized candy bars; cereal made into chocolate caramel crunch; cookies; blueberry muffin flavored cereal; Bologna--maybe that's where the animal byproducts went; and not to be left out, a picture of the Democrat donkey wooing a “super voter” with a box of chocolates.

Maybe, I thought, we are feeding our pets better than we feed our families. It’s no wonder we need the products that are advertised to help with weight loss, heartburn and diabetes.

Then I saw a tiny black-and-white ad for Children Incorporated, “Third World poverty in America. Children are deprived of basic necessities right here in America. For less than $1 a day, you can change that. Your help is desperately needed.”

Yes, I think we are feeding our pets better than our family.

**“animal byproducts” according to
their website are: "lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, blood and more." --[Dogs and cats would happily eat these if given the chance and so do hungry people in many places. Of course in many places hungry people happily eat dogs and cats too!]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Seed Company on GodTube.com

I just heard about a new page on GodTube.com that features the work of The Seed Company.

Follow this link to see these inspiring videos: http://www.godtube.com/theseedcompany

The Seed Company was formed by Wycliffe Bible Translators back in the 1990s to help accelerate Bible translation around the world. The Seed Company connects financial donors and prayer partners with national translators who are translating the Bible into their own or another language in their own country.

Nearly 2oo million people still have no part of God's Word in a language they can understand.

To learn more and see how you can get involved check out the above link or go to their website: http://www.theseedcompany.org/

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pray for India

Violence continues to escalate in India, according to Mission Network News (MNN), and is not expected to end any time soon.

According to The Voice Of the Martyrs , "On August 23 in Orissa State, widespread violence erupted against Christians following the assassination of World Hindu Council leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati. Despite evidence indicating that Maoists are responsible for Saraswati’s murder, several Hindu militant groups have blamed Christians," contacts said. "As a result, Hindu militants have launched attacks on Christians throughout the state, setting buildings on fire and beating and killing believers in at least 12 districts."

The MNN article, posted yesterday, states: "Remarkably these attacks have not swayed the faith of Indian Christians." They are ready to die for their faith and are confident that God will use these attacks to bring more people to Christ.

Please intercede in prayer for our brothers and sisters in India.

For the complete articles go to:
http://www.persecution.com/topStory_indiaOrissaState.html
http://www.mnnonline.org/article/11737

Monday, October 6, 2008

God's Word having an impact

I got this notice in my email today. I am a bit snowed under with about 100 emails after being away for a couple of weeks, so I almost filed it without watching the video. But I'm glad I changed my mind and watched it. It is really moving and inspiring:

"The Seed Company [an affiliate of Wycliffe Bible Translators] has recently added a new video to their website. It's a bit long, 8 minutes, but it's really FANTASTIC! I can guarantee that you'll be moved, and it will reaffirm how important it is to be a part of bringing God's Word to the ends of the earth. If you have a few minutes free, check it out at http://www.theseedcompany.org/media/gamo-partnership
(once there, click on either the black window or the little "play" button below the black window). What an amazing thing to see the Word of God changing people's lives!"

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are we all crazy or what?

Today the Today Show offered more advice on how to get through these tough economic times. In between sound bites about the importance of cutting back, we were hit with ads for all sorts of “must haves.” Everything from a plaid wrap for the dog, a sweater longer than some dresses I've seen—I guess you could economize by making it double as a dress--To “Igor” a new animated film for kids that looks more like a must miss.

Are we all crazy? It seems almost schizophrenic. “Schizophrenia”—a mental disorder characterized by separation between thought processes and emotions; distortion of reality; fragmentation of the personality; hallucinations; delusions and bizarre behavior.

Yesterday, while my car got its oil changed, I read an article on ways we can, not only save money, but even earn a little extra too. It did have some good ideas; one however, made me wonder. It said to start a blog, about anything, put ads on it and watch the money come in. It seems ludicrous to think that we are supposed to start a blog for the sole purpose of helping ourselves through these tough times by encouraging other people to spend money on things they don't need, no doubt making it more difficult for them to get through these tough times. Is that crazy or what? It's like a drug rehab program raising funds by selling illegal drugs.

Of course there’s nothing illegal or immoral about ads on blogs; I’ve occasionally wondered if I should have them on my blog. But do people actually fall for them? They’re like urban blight. I try not to even look at them when I’m on-line. So if none of us fall for them because we are cutting back? How long will companies go on paying people to put them on blogs?

After finishing the article, I turned the page and saw a full page ad for… I kid you not… the ugliest baby monkey figurine I have ever seen (thankfully it’s the only one I’ve ever seen.) Hand-painted. Complete with diaper. “Only $19.99 plus $6.99 shipping and handling” I don't remember if it said they are a limited edition, but I sure hope they are-- very limited. Who would buy such a thing? Talk about blight. It didn't look anything like the cute baby monkeys at the zoo that I wished I could take home with me when I was a kid. I wouldn't put one of these things in my house if you paid me. Well maybe if you paid me… a lot. But only if I could hide it in a drawer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

9 Reasons to Laugh

Did you know that collar stays can be funny?

I didn’t either until I heard Dave Lieber teach at a writer’s conference this weekend. In his class on using humor to get our point across, he said it's possible to find humor in just about anything. Even collar stays.

Dave got us laughing as he told how he met a guy from Boston who was here in Texas on a business trip. He could hardly believe how panicked the guy was because he had lost a collar stay and couldn’t get another one at the hotel gift shop.

Dave, in an amazing act of self sacrifice gave the guy one of his own, but only after extorting a promise that when the guy got back to Boston he would tell everyone how nice Texans are. (Dave thought this part of the story was especially laudable and ironic, considering what he, a Yankee from New York, had endured when he first moved here.)

The story tickled me because my husband regularly loses his collar stays, but he doesn't notice. I collect them thinking he might want them some time, so far he never has. But then he’s Australian, and a computer programmer. Australians are a different breed. They probably wouldn't know a collar stay if it poked them in the eye. And computer programmers must have invented “casual day.” In fact, every day is “casual day” to them.

Speaking of humor... Proverbs 17:22 says that, "A cheerful heart is good medicine." If that isn't enough proof that a good laugh is good for you...

Theresa J. Borchard says in “9 Ways Humor Can Heal,” that humor can:
1. combat fear
2. comfort
3. relax
4. reduce pain
5. boost immunity
6. reduce stress
7. spread happiness
8. cultivate optimism
9. help communication

News flash: Did you know you can even get engraved collar stays?! Incredible! Who would have thought.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Tutu on the Bible

Here's a great quote for Bible translation from Bishop Tutu:

"If you want to keep people subjugated, the last thing you place in their hands is a Bible.
"There’s nothing more radical, nothing more revolutionary, nothing more subversive against injustice and oppression than the Bible."

Follow this link for the entire article:
http://www.christiantoday.co.uk/article/bible.has.power.to.free.poor.tutu/21378.htm

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Making our Mark

Today I discovered that two whole intrepid phrases I wrote succeeded in getting past our editor and swimming all the way upstream into publication. Imagine that, two whole phrases! I was so thrilled I highlighted them in yellow.

If I keep at it, by Christmas two whole salm… er.. sentences may succeed in getting published.

Salmon must be born optimists. If they weren’t there wouldn’t be any left.

They swim upstream against strong currents and rapids, sometimes hundreds of miles, and along the way encounter dams, waterfalls, anglers, bears, uncertain stream conditions, and habitat degradation. Many of them die on the way…

All this so they can return home to spawn.

Then most die. (A few actually live to do it all again next year, they're called "iteroparous"--are they the lucky ones?)

We writers have a lot in common with salmon. They have to face bears and waterfalls; but we brave editors and publishers.

And like salmon we have an inner urge to keep going and never give up. We leave little pieces of ourselves, even if only in journals or on scraps of paper, in hopes they will develop into full-sized articles, like salmon only a few actually do. But we, and they, keep trying hoping that the world will be a better place because we left our mark.

Check out this video of salmon braving a waterfall. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYnipsg5Sco&NR=1

To learn more about these amazing creatures go to:
http://www.globio.org/glossopedia/article.aspx?art_id=26
http://www.blm.gov/education/00_resources/articles/Columbia_river_basin/posterback.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salmon
http://www.washingtontourist.com/salmon/journey/glossary.html

Monday, August 25, 2008

Take refuge in Him

This morning after fretting for a while about some of the crazy things that are going on in the world and this nation, I read Psalm 5. Verses 11 and 12 caught my attention:

11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
12 For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield."

Amazing! The Psalmist isn't telling us to simply trust God and don't worry too much; he is actually telling us that even in the middle of the craziness of life we should "be glad" "sing for joy" and "rejoice." How can we? By loving God and taking refuge in Him.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Incredible Forgiveness


Yesterday we had the delightful opportunity to meet Gladys Staines, widow of the Australian missionary, Graham Staines, who was brutally killed in 1999, along with sons Philip and Timothy, by a frenzied mob of anti-Christian extremists.

I was shocked by this tragic event and deeply inspired by how she and her daughter Esther were able to forgive the attackers. Could I have done the same, I’ve wondered?

I was quite excited when I learned that Gladys and a friend would be visiting our area and wanted to meet us (they attend a church in Australia that prays for us and our work). Before they arrived I rushed around like the proverbial chicken, crabbed at my husband for the dirty bathroom and worried that the lunch I had planned was too simple for such a great lady.

But her friendly unassuming manner soon set me at ease.

They wanted to hear about our work and Gladys told us about the leprosy mission that she is still involved with. Her late husband, Graham, began ministering to lepers and other outcasts in India in 1965. Gladys joined him in the work when they married in 1983. After Graham and their sons were killed, she and their daughter, Esther, continued living and ministering in India for several years. Currently they are living in Australia while Esther studies to be a doctor. Gladys still makes frequent trips to India to assist in the work. Their testimony of forgiveness has had a tremendous impact on many.

In the forward of the book “Burnt Alive” by Vishal Mangalwadi, et al, Gladys states:
“I have only one message for the people of India. I’m not bitter. Neither am I angry. But I have one great desire: that each citizen of this country should establish a personal relationship with Jesus Christ who gave His life for their sins. Every person should know that Jesus loves him or her, and in turn they should trust Him, and endeavor to love one another. Let us burn hatred…and spread the flame of Christ’s love.”
To order copies of the book "Burnt Alive" go to http://www.soughtaftermedia.com/books.html

or Amazon.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Good News!

Olympic gold is not the only, or even best, good news out there.

Read this inspiring transcript from Jonathan Hunt's interview with former Muslim, Mosab Hassan Yousef, who fled the Middle East after converting to Christianity.

Proverbs 25:25 says good news is like cold water to a weary soul. I hope you enjoy this bit of "cold water."

Monday, August 11, 2008

Dirt bath solution found!

I'm happy to report that we seem to have found a solution to the cat dirt bath issue: mulch. We put mulch on all the patches of what I thought might be particularly tempting dirt. It's been almost two weeks, and so far no more dirt baths!

I had already tried to clean the cat off, after the fact, with wet paper towels and brushing. Neither worked very well. Prevention is definitely better!

We used eucalyptus mulch. Probably any chunky type mulch would do the trick. Mulch is also good for improving the soil, suppressing weeds and conserving moisture.

For more on mulching see:
http://davesgarden.com/guides/articles/view/688/
http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/FEATURE/backyard/mulching.html

Monday, August 4, 2008

Christ delights in us

Jesus Christ, our bridegroom, is as delighted with us, his bride, as we are with him!

Read what the bridegroom tells his beloved,

"How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice!" Solomon's "Song of of Songs" 4:10

This mirrors what his beloved bride said previously to him in chapter 1, verses 2-3:

"for your love is more delightful than wine. Pleasing is the fragrance of your perfumes;"

Amazing! Think about it. I'll say it again. Jesus Christ, our bridegroom, is as delighted with us, his bride, as we are with him!

Notes:
1. Solomon's “Song of Songs” has been viewed in Christian tradition as an allegory of Christ's love for the church. (And in Hebrew tradition as an allegory of God's love for his people, Israel.)

2. If the use of the word "wine" in this passage does not communicate much-- or if it has negative connotations-- try thinking of it instead as anything that you think is really delicious and delightful (like chocolate, or ice cream :-); or that you turn to for comfort and escape.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Time to bathe the cat!

Our temporary cat, Sonya, has been doing her best to make sure I won’t miss her when she’s gone. Her latest ‘trick’ is to take regular dirt baths.

In desperation I went on-line to learn why and how to break her of it. I found these instructions on how to bathe a cat. (I probably won’t try it, but it was good for a laugh.) If you want a laugh; or if you need to bathe your cat, check out:
http://www.mmenterprises.co.uk/catsbath.htm

Also check out these instructions on how to give your cat, or dog, a pill. I laughed so hard I got a tummy ache. http://www.mmenterprises.co.uk/catspill.htm

Sonya's still dirty, but after all that laughing I'm feeling less annoyed. :-)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Learning Optimism

Tonight as I perused the latest Reader's Digest, this quote grabbed my attention, "jamming, like life itself, isn't about perfection but about playing through your mistakes and trusting that you'll get back on track if you just keep up the rythm." So said David Hochman in, "Music Man" on learning to play the mandolin.

It echos something I wrote in my journal this morning. "I can choose to be positive and keep trying and learning--something good is bound to happen if I do." I had been journaling my thoughts about my job. Up till then my musings had been quite pessimistic. But when I wrote this it felt like a breakthrough, because I actually believed it!

I felt energized and hopeful after that and was able to start working on a particularly difficult report that I didn't think I could do. I kept going on it and am nearly done now.

Last year I found a book called “Learned Optimism, How to Change Your Mind and Your Life” by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D. Since then I’ve tried to put his ideas into practice to help me learn to become more optimistic. Pessimism has been such a habit for so long, that sometimes it feels like uphill work. But this was an encouragement. I am learning.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shout to the Lord!

Thursday morning the song "Shout to the Lord (of Hosts)" by Kevin Prosch kept going through my head. I don't even like that song. I'm not much of a shouter, not even at football games. (note this is not to be confused with the song "Shout to the Lord" by Darlene Zschech, which I really like!)

Anyway the song kept playing on my mental radio station, especially the line "it breaks the heavy yoke...when you shout to the Lord". Since I don't recall hearing that song recently anywhere, I wondered if God might be telling me something. Like maybe I should shout to the Lord. And maybe it would help me somehow if I did.

I couldn't think what to shout. I didn't want to just make noise. So I looked up "shout" in my concordance. I was surprised at how many verses there are telling us to shout for joy to the Lord. (this wasn't even an exhaustive concordance. Later I searched for the word "shout" in the NIV's website and found 59 verses with "shout" in them.)

I looked up Psalm 47 which starts out, "Clap your hands, all you nations; shout to God with cries of joy." I read it out loud. Reading the lines "For God is the King of all the earth," "God reigns over all the nations" and "He is exalted" extra loud. Not quite shouting, but getting there. Then I moved on to Psalm 66. Felt led to stand. Even got a few "woo hoos" out. Felt kind of silly--even though only the cats could hear me (besides God I mean :). But God is worth it. Because he really does reign!!

So what happened? Did any heavy yokes break off? I don't know. Some of the "fog" seemed to clear from my brain and I did feel a little more envigorated. Of course physically it got my blood flowing faster (but I had worked out earlier in the morning and that did not make me feel the same sort of envigorated.)

Since then I've done it a couple more times. It seems like I am feeling a little more hope and confidence in God. It is interesting to note that in scripture much of the references to shouting have to do with triumph over enemies. I am reminded that through Jesus we do have the ultimate victory over the enemy. Even if things seem grim at times in this life. The enemy of course doesn't want us to remember that. Maybe that's why it's so hard to get ourselves to do things that help remind us.

Psalm 100
"Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving

and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love
endures forever;
his faithfulness continues
through all generations. "

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Overcoming fear

Lately, in addition to depression I have also been battling headaches. Yesterday Sharon C. commented that I should try rebuking the enemy in case the depression is due to a spiritual attack. So I did. I noticed some improvement. But was still struggling with the headache and depression this morning. So I prayed for wisdom to know how to battle this thing that seemed to be attacking me. 2 Timothy 1:7 came to mind. I wondered if God was showing me that the headaches were being brought on because I have been giving way to fear. So I began to rebuke the spirit of fear; depending as I did so on the authority that I have in Jesus. The headaches subsided right away. The depression also started to lift.*

Several times since they have started to return, but I have again come against the spirit of fear in the authority of Jesus' name and by the power of His blood that he shed for us on the cross.

I have fought successfully against fear in the past and I believe I can again with God's help.

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)

*Getting past the depression seemed to require some other steps and effort on my part. I prayed for God's help. I was hoping He would just infuse me with a sudden burst of energy and joy, but instead he gave me instructions and helped me to get moving little by little. "Now stand up," when I did that, "now put your shoes on", then "now go get the mail". and so it went. Each little 'accomplishment' helped me to gain momentum for the next and the next until I was finally at my computer beginning to work on the latest report for my job. And since I had not done one for a while and felt rusty, it started again, me asking for help and God giving me instructions little by little. Until I started to get into it more and more.

I can definitely see that for the last several weeks, especially, I have been letting myself get bound up in fear about my job and writing in general. But I think that when I resist the temptation to fear that not only will my joy in my job increase but possibly even my skill and effectiveness will also increase. Not to mention my overall health and well being!

Please God, may it be so!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

negativity

I wonder if part of my negativity is because I have believed that God's holiness and righteousness is a negative, harsh, judgemental thing.

And while His holiness is uncompromising --he doesn't wink at sin. Yet it is also very much about His character of love. The fruit of His spirit is love, joy, peace, patience.... He is a merciful, faithful, good, kind God and he wants me to mirror that in my thoughts and actions. He has also told us we are not to be the judge-- He will be the judge in the end. And it will be according to His character--not mine.

Finally, brothers, 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. Philippians 4:8

Friday, June 27, 2008

depressed!

when i started this blog, i hoped to fill it with all the wonderful spiritually uplifting insights that God would show me.

But lately instead of leaping on the mountains spiritually speaking I feel more like I'm slogging through a swamp. The occasional glimmers of light turn out to be swamp gas instead of a lasting breakthrough.

Not sure what the trouble or more importantly what the solution is. Maybe just patience and time and allowing myself to rest. I have been battling infections and fluctuating hormones (sorry guys). Pushing past my feelings and getting stuff done helps a little, but only momentarily.

Maybe I should get out more, see some friends and do something fun. I have been feeling lonely and disconnected. Yesterday I went into the office (I usually work at home) I found myself not wanting to leave. It was good to be around people and to be out of the house for a while.

I am glad for God's grace and that Jesus is (still) holding me together.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Jesus holds us together

Check out this amazing short video: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_e4zgJXPpI4.

In it Louie Giglio talks about God's incredible love for us. We can trust Him because he created us and is holding us together. Louie tells about an amazing molecule called laminin that is like the glue that is holding our bodies together. He shows an image of the molecule. It's incredible. You have to see this!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Recently I made Pesto

My basil's been doing really well. To help use it up, I found this recipe for pesto . Since I already had roasted almonds I substituted those for the pine nuts (too expensive) or walnuts (I'm allergic). It was tasty. I only had enough basil to make half the recipe, but it made enough pesto to flavor a large pasta chicken salad.


It can also be used as a topping on meat, fish, poultry, boiled potatoes, toasted baguette or similar bread; or mixed in soup or other sauces--basically, any way you like!


Over the several days that I had to eat my pesto pasta chicken salad [Next time I’ll make less pasta :-)] I found myself wondering, is pesto real food? Some people love it and say they could live on the stuff; gourmet shops sell it in cute little jars; and purists argue about the “proper” way to make it. But is it nutritious? And who first thought of it ? Was it first created by a poor Italian peasant who had nothing else to make a sauce with?

So I did a little research.

The history of pesto is uncertain. It’s believed to have originated in the city of Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesto

I didn’t find much about the nutritional value of basil pesto. “The French are said to use basil to treat constipation” http://possumsal.homestead.com/constipation.html
So depending on your perspective that could be one benefit! The cheese and almonds I used would have had a bit of calcium and protein; I don’t know about pine nuts. Olive oil is considered healthful, as oils go.

But basil pesto is not the only type of pesto. I found recipes for pesto made with mushrooms, spinach or sun dried tomatoes:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_27249,00.html
and even one for broccoli pesto:
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/broccoli-pesto-fusilli-pasta-recipe.html

You can make pesto with anything that suits your fancy.

So depending on what you make it with I’d say the answer is, yes, it’s real food.

For more on the history of pesto: http://parco-basilico.provincia.genova.it/eng/Pesto_PBP.html
And uses of basil: http://www.gardenguides.com/howto/tipstechniques/herbs/indespensiblebasil.asp

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A new "guest"?


We may have a possum visiting us. At least I hope it's only visiting.

I saw it's back end disappear into the ivy by our patio this morning. That could explain why Sonya, the cat, was staring intently into the ivy yesterday.

Did you know that opossums, or 'possums' as I call them, are marsupial? My Australian friends probably knew that. One website I looked at said they are the only North American marsupial. Webster's said they are one of several American marsupials. Anyway, normally we would be glad to have an Australian visitor, but in this case...

You might think with two cats living here it would have picked somewhere else to live. Maybe it wanted to hang out with a fellow 'Ozzy'. They're both nocturnal too ;-).

No doubt it's hoping to feast on my tomatoes and squash! Speaking of squash, it's partly revived, though alot of the leaves died. (I cut off the dead ones for this picture.)



I'm happy to say that I'm also more revived. It's amazing how much better I felt after I finished writing the report my boss last assigned me. I wasn't sure I could do it, but with God's help and my Mom's prayers I did.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Burnout



I guess the heat yesterday was too much for my squash plant.


This is a good picture of how I've been feeling lately. Burnt-out.


A few weeks ago everything seemed great.

What happened?

In the case of the squash, the heat plus the small size of the container may be the trouble.


For me, it may be partly because I've been letting bitterness and discouragement creep in. I tend to believe I have to perform perfectly to be accepted--by God and everyone else. Of course I can't so then I get discouraged.

But I don't have to. God, at least, loves me and accepts me even when I'm not perfectly brilliant at everything all the time (or any of the time).

Thank you God for your GRACE! I don't have to perform to be loved by you!!


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Comments

I just learned something.

If you don't have a Google account already, [or don't know if you have a Google account already; or forgot your password; or don't know what I am talking about] and want to leave a comment, then you can just select the "name/url" choice and enter your name. Your first name or a nickname are adequate. The "url" part is optional. It's super easy. I just tried it :-).

Thanks Alyson for asking.

I'm new to this blogging thing too!

p.s. or you can select "anonymous" if you prefer. But then I won't know which one of my very nice friends left a comment...

Friday, May 30, 2008

now I'm worried about the last post :-(.

Most people said nice and helpful things when my dad died.

Maybe i'm too paranoid to write a blog.

I feel so depressed.

It started yesterday after I said something dumb at a funeral to the bereaved husband.

It's the sort of lame-brained thing that well meaning but misguided people said to me after my Dad died. It took me years to forgive some of them. I only hope that X is more forgiving or forgetful than I was.

It would have been better if I had just kept my mouth shut.

This morning I sent him a note to apologize and hopefully offer more appropriate words of sympathy.

I thought sending the note would help me get over it and move on. Unfortunately I've now moved on to being depressed about other stuff (& I haven't gotten over it yet.)

Maybe it's partly hormones... but at the moment what I really want is to eat chocolate and watch Pride and Prejudice (the one w/Colin Firth as Darcy)

I know there are more useful things I could be doing-- email a friend, take a shower, write something profoundly spiritual on my blog... But to be honest if I had a functional dvd player I would already be watching P&P instead of writing this.

Thursday, May 29, 2008



"It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace" Hebrews 13:9

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Quieted with His Love

Zephaniah 3:17 has been a theme the last few days.

Tuesday night at small group, "D" shared how God seems to be highlighting it for him. Sunday morning before church he was reading it quietly to himself. A friend walked up and said he had a verse for D. It was Zephaniah 3:17--the very thing that D had just been reading!

I remember now that D also read it out to the rest of us later that morning during the church service. At the time I thought it was encouraging, but then I forgot about it.

This morning when I woke up at 3:30 am and couldn't go back to sleep I decided to write down all the things I was worried about. As I was writing in my journal I looked over at the facing page and saw this printed at the bottom:

"The LORD your God is with you,
he is mighty to save.
He will take great delight in you,
he will quiet you with his love,
he will rejoice over you with singing."
Zephaniah 3:17

hmm... I think God is trying to tell me something.

I sure have needed God to quiet my worry filled thoughts. But how? What does it mean that he will quiet me with His love? I think it starts with remembering and trusting that He loves me and that I can trust Him with the things I am worried about.

Any other ideas out there?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Who's Calling Please?

"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it."(Hebrews 13:2)
I read this verse yesterday and it reminded me of my crabby way of answering the phone Monday. (See "Midnight Musings").

I don't know if I've ever gotten a call from an angel. But I do get calls from strangers. In fact since we don't have caller ID everyone qualifies.

God please help me to answer as if each caller could be an angel. They are at least people for whom you died.

Unless it's a recording. I don't have to be nice to those! :-)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Daddy would have been 72 today (May 19)

Midnight Musings

Today I was such a crab. I used to hate it when my Mom turned on her sweet voice to answer the phone even while in the middle of scolding me. I always thought it was so hypocritical. I promised myself I would never do that.

But today I started thinking I need to work on my "sweet voice".

I got two important calls and both times I answered sounding like a grouch. Sigh.

And that was after I read an article by Vincent M. Newfield about being a sweet fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:14, 15)

Lord please forgive me for the times my attitude gives off a bad smell instead of a sweet frangrance. Thank you for helping me to get better as I went along.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Domestic Therapy


"Mondays are not good writing days." So says Anne Lamott in, "Bird by Bird--Some Instructions on Writing and Life."

What a relief. And I thought it was just me and my fearful, worrying, stinky attitude that was the trouble...

The first half of today I spent fretting, praying, feeling generally miserable and trying to write anyway. I did manage to eke out a little.

The afternoon was much better. Mixed in with writing a report for work, I made a pan of cornbread and a big pot of beans to freeze in little containers for later. After dinner while my husband worked outside, I baked up some chocolate chip cookie dough and took the still warm cookies to him. (He didn't seem to mind the interruption :-). And since he was almost out of 409 I made a quick trip to Walgreen's on my way to the library.

I guess you could call it domestic therapy.

On the way home I saw the most gorgeous full moon too. I wish I had gotten a picture. But this picture of my husband with Chloe and Sonya is nearly as nice! Sonya jumped off as soon as she was done eating, but Chloe stayed a bit longer. This is progress, but I have hope that eventually they'll get on his lap even without being bribed!

Oh I almost forgot, I also harvested my first squash! It's the little things that excite me :-)

A Timely Word

PSALM 34: 3-4 "Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."

This verse was in an email I got today. It really hit the spot! Thanks Lisa :-).

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Something to celebrate


Friday night the waitress asked me if I have children. I shook my head, feeling embarrassed and wanting to disappear. I had hoped to avoid such reminders of that when I planned this weekend away. After an awkward pause the waitress finished with, "well have a nice weekend anyway."

Later I thought, I should have said, "no, but I have my mother still and that is something to celebrate!"

I know I can't really escape the day. Even if I went to a far away place where they don't celebrate Mother's Day, I would still remember.

Of course I don't really want to escape remembering my Mother and the other women who have blessed my life. I have to choose to focus on what I do have to be thankful for rather than what I don't have.

So this morning I suggested we spend some time thanking God for our mothers and praying for them. We do have much to celebrate: loving mothers who faithfully cared for us as we grew up and still give of themselves in many ways; both of them are still living; both of them love God and did their best to help us to know him too.

I also celebrate the other women in my life who have nurtured me over the years. Even friends my own age. Mothering is primarily about nurturing others and helping them grow into the people God intended. We can all do that for each other.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What's Cooking?


We were recently blessed with a large #10 size can of artichoke hearts. So tonight I made Artichoke Bruschetta - yum. This is my second time to make it. This time we had it with hummus on sourdough toast.

Here's where I found the recipe for the bruschetta. http://recipes.epicurean.com/recipe/1997/artichoke-bruschetta.html

I like this brusch. recipe partly because it is very low in fat and still quite tasty. It's easy to make and doesn't need to be broiled on top ahead of time, like brusch. usually does. To keep the toast from going soggy, I put the brusch. mixture in a bowl on the table, toasted a few slices of bread in our toaster oven; and we constructed our own as we wanted them. The left-over brusch. mixture can be refrigerated and eaten later.

This time we also first spread hummus on the toast and then the bruschetta on top of that. (the hummus I made from a box mix. It was really easy and good too.) It made a nice light meal. We had fruit to finish it off.

The first time I made it we didn't have it with hummus. We just put it on the toast and sprinkled parmesan on top. It was good as a side with soup.

We forgot to use the parmesan cheese this time, but it was still good.

During dinner, H. brought up the subject of food shortages around the world. He wondered what we should do in response. I had heard that rice is more expensive, but didn't know much else.

So I did a little research. Here's one article (among many) that I found on the subject. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/19/AR2008041901601.html

It does seem to be a serious and complex problem. Let's pray about how God might want us to respond. Feel free to leave comments with your suggestions. :-)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

One of my favorite things

Every April when the bluebonnets come out, my husband and I try to make time to go see them. This year we took my brother. I wanted him to see one of my favorite things about Texas.

Seeing them reminds me of my first spring here.

That winter had been harsh and cold. Everything around was brown and bleak.

My life felt like that too. The grief of losing my Dad and other stresses that year had taken a toll on me emotionally and spiritually.

That morning as I drove to work, there they were--the bluest flowers I had ever seen! Not just one or two but large patches all along both sides of the freeway. It was just stunning. They were highlighted by the sun and were even more noticeable against the dead brownness around them.

I felt like I had been given a gift.

When I got to work I raved about the amazing sight and asked Ed, my coworker, if he knew what they were. He could hardly believe I didn’t know about bluebonnets – the Texas state flower. I think he was slightly amused and more than a little pleased by my na├»ve delight.

Now every April when the bluebonnets come out I think of that morning when God brought hope alive in me again.

Follow this link to see some really great photos of bluebonnets! http://www.pbase.com/richo/bluebonnets&page=all

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I need God!

Feeling drained and in need of something.

My BB is away until Monday. It has been good to have him here with us, but it is also nice to just be us again for a few days.

My b-day is coming up, but I want to wait until he is back to go out to celebrate -- I'm thinking ribs at "Chili's" :-) yum!

Not sure what to do with my blog at the moment. Wondering if I have been too confident in myself--"I always have lots of ideas." But I am seeing how much I need God to give me the ideas.

Yesterday at ladies Bible study when we got to Prov. 16:18 "pride goes before ... a fall," E. talked about pride and that pride is depending on ourselves or others instead of God. She said humility is the opposite of pride and it is also a fruit of the Spirit. We don't get rid of pride by focusing on it, but instead by focusing on God and our need for Him.

(I just looked up the list of the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23 NIV. Humility is not listed :-( -- Funny it sounded so right when E. said it. Maybe her version reads that way... ) Anyway, maybe it isn't in that list, but I do need God. Dependance on Him is the only way to go -- all of the time!

He even said "apart from Me you can do nothing" (John 15:5)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"Indescribable" DVD

Hey check out this cool dvd a friend told me about. It's by Louie Giglio of Passion Conferences. I looked it up and just the description is inspiring. You don't have to buy anything unless you want to. Here's the link: https://www.268store.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=170

It reminds me of my Feb. 14 post titled, "As high as the heavens", about God's love.

That seems to be a theme in my life this past year or so. Maybe God knows I need reminders. I think I might even be starting to "get it".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Help!

Thanks for that last comment, Wendy. It came at a "good" time--I certainly need the reminder to trust God!

Something has come up lately that really has me fuming. A few days ago when I was praying about it I felt God said to me that I was to start thanking Him for X. I didn't really want to, but I could tell that continuing to fret and judge X was not helping. In fact it was a real bummer to have my mind filled with that junk. So I did start to thank him for X. It really did help that day. My mind was a much more pleasant place to be.

But this morning... I got into a discussion (for the umpteenth time) with J about it (the situation with X). It turned into a fight... sigh :(

Later as I was walking on my treadmill, feeling really angry and stressed, I was reminded of what God said about giving thanks for X. I was also thinking with some chagrin about our small group meeting Tuesday night. We had talked a lot about giving thanks and I told them of my little victory of a few days ago. I was so sure of myself then. I thought things were going to work out the way I wanted them to, so it was easier! (ouch)

So anyway, as I was treadmilling, I told God this morning that I could not think of anything about this problem to be thankful for. But as I kept trying I did think of a few--grudging and meager though they were. Things like "thank you God that I have not killed J yet!," and "Thank you God that you have promised to work everything out for good for those who love you..."

So what happened? Well I did start to simmer down and relax a little. And I felt less inclined to kill J.

The situation has not changed... And J has not called to apologize...

Am I happy? Do I feel like everything is beautiful? No and no.

That reminds me, I just got a new journal and on the front is the verse, "He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Ecc. 3:11)

sigh... it's the "in its time" thing I am struggling with-- How long will this one take Lord?

~~p.s. (1:20 pm)
J did call and email me and we got things sorted out between us. Thank you God! :-) The thing with X? Well that's a different story, but at least J and I seem to be walking in unity about it now. Hopefully that will continue!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Peace in the Son




Few things evoke peace like a cat basking in the sun.


This week I was starting to feel less than peaceful. Not enough time or energy for all the things that were happening... It was looking impossible, but I chose to trust God to get me through and to work it all out. And as I have done that I have felt His peace pervade my tasks. Things are getting done and I am feeling much more at peace. This afternoon I even had a few minutes to spend with the cats and to take this photo of Sonya (Chloe's "adopted" sis who we are also cat-sitting this year).

Trusting God takes a choice. An article I read today by Joyce Meyer said we can choose what we think about. It's true. Not always easy, but true.

We can also choose to trust God. It isn't automatic it does require a choice (sometimes multiple choices through the day!) but it is possible.

Colossians 3:2&3 says, "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God."

Thank you God for the peace you give. Help me to choose to trust you all the time!

Friday, April 4, 2008

It's Springtime!


This morning I was so pleased to see the pink blooms on this (fruitless peach) tree. And all the other trees have greened up too. I just love this upwards view from my kitchen window. I feel like I am looking up into heaven. (I guess the chain is a little distracting, but I look past it now)

At the momment the downwards view is not too pretty (see below). But I'm working on that.

A friend recently gave me a journal called “Ladies of the Garden” It has helpful info, pretty drawings and places to jot notes about my garden.

In it she wrote: “To all your future gardens – may they be filled with the fragrance and bounty of the life that Jesus offers us each day!”

Today after looking at it again and rereading her message I felt so encouraged and even got inspired to go work in my garden! :-) Thanks S--.


Here is a before picture of my patio garden in all of its weedy ugliness. Hopefully I will soon have a nice "after" picture to post

Thursday, April 3, 2008

If we have God...

Hebrews 13: 5

"Be content with what you have,
because God has said, ‘never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.’"

So whatever we have, or don't have, if we have God with us then we have enough! We can be content.

Thank you God!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Introducing...

videoThis is a video of Chloe. Cute isn't she? She and her adopted sis Sonya arrived last Friday. They will be here for a year while their "mummy and daddy" are home in the UK.

They seem to be happy here.... Hopefully they will soon learn to use the litter box every time......!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Rejoice!

“Pollyanna” has gotten a bad rap over the years. But have you read the book, by Eleanor H. Porter? I just finished rereading it. It's hilarious and thought provoking. I heartily recommend it.

A key quote is, “if God took the trouble to tell us 800 times [in the Bible] to be glad and rejoice, he must want us to do it -- some."

And I would add, He also knows we need frequent reminders.
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again; Rejoice!" Philippians 4:4

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"Freedom of Choice Act"

Have you heard about the so-called “Freedom of Choice Act”? I only recently heard of it myself. It is a terrible thing that I feel I must speak out about.

If passed the “Freedom of Choice Act” (FOCA) will strip away all pro-life laws that have been passed and upheld by the Supreme Court over the last 35 years. Even parental notification laws and the ban on partial birth abortion would be nullified by the FOCA.

The proponents of the FOCA are working hard to fill both houses of Congress and the presidency with people who will support it. Both Clinton and Obama have pledged to support it.

Please go to http://www.nrlc.org/FOCA/index.html for more information and to see which Congressional members support it. (note: there are two separate lists one for the Senate and one for the House). We must speak out against this and make our voices heard for those who can’t speak for themselves – the precious babies who are being killed in abortion clinics every day.

And please pray. Pray like never before. Pray that the truth will win out and that God will turn back this tide of evil.

Even if you don’t live here in America you can still pray and make your voice heard before God.

Please pray!

Psalm 123:2 “…our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy on us.”

Proverbs 6:17 “…the Lord hates…hands that shed innocent blood”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Gentle Giant

I never knew giraffes were so big, or so gentle, until I saw these a few years ago at the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, TX.

When I fed one from our car window I had to reach way up and crane my neck to see its head as it bent way down to get the food from my hand. Then when the food fell out of my hand, it was so gentle, that it didn’t even bite me. It was a gentle giant. (It could also be because it was an herbivore and already well fed :-)

Lately I've been meditating on 1 Peter 5:6. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."

“Humble yourselves,” It does take humility to submit to God’s will and timing. His thoughts and ways are not ours, Isaiah says.

“...under God’s mighty hand,” His hand is so big that all who come to him in humility can find shelter there.
His hand is so mighty that he has the power to lift us up.

And He will lift us up when the time is right, because He cares!

He is like a gentle giant.

We can trust Him with our anxieties. That takes humility too. Humility to trust that he really does know what is best for us.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Free Worship Music

I just recently learned about a great Christian radio station on the Internet. AllWorship.com (http://www.AllWorship.com) is a not-for-profit ministry that broadcasts three types of Christian music: Contemporary Worship, Praise & Worship, and Spanish Worship.

You can listen to their basic service at 20 Kbps for free. If you give a donation you can get their Premium 64 Kbps Stream which gives better sound quality--not to mention helping a good thing stay on the air.

Since I'm not watching tv at the moment (see "De-cluttering my mind"), I listened to it while I walked on my treadmill this morning. It helped to while away my 30 minutes quite nicely.

I hope you give it a try.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

De-cluttering my mind

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Romans 12:2

It doesn't take many empty sources of entertainment to clutter up my mind till I can hardly think straight.

I get easily hyped up just from life sometimes. Especially when there are a lot of changes. Like now. New job, steep learning curve, need all my brain cells on tap and flying in formation for this one! New ministry (yes I'm including this blog -- I hope it is anyway). New church, which means a lot of new people to relate to. New cell group, ditto.

And in a few weeks our household will be increasing. My brother is coming to stay for an indefinite period (he got the job!). At the same time two cats are coming to stay for a year. (They belong to a friend who is going over seas for a year and can't take them with her.)


So back to the entertainment-cafeine-sugar fast. And yes that means no tv, chocolate or reading for fun. Reading the Bible is allowed! :-)

I did this for the month of January too. But the reasons then were mostly spiritual--I felt God wanted me too. And our pastor encouraged us all to fast something during that month. It was good. It nearly drove me crazy at times. But it really helped me to get my mind back and refocus my life. It also helped me to relax more - I even slept better. All of life started to feel like a meditation. It was amazing. I started getting closer to God too--that was the spiritual part. That other stuff was just a bonus.

This time it feels more like a survival technique.

I am also trying to simplify and declutter. Yesterday I tidied my office. Clutter is distracting. I didn't get rid of stuff, just moved it out of sight--does that count?

Also trying not to worry ...

And not multi task too much --eg: no reading while I eat. That was something I learned about during another high stress period. It felt like a waste of time at first but then it started to feel like a gift to myself. Meal times became a sort of mini-vacation. I don't have to justify my existence every minute of the day. I don't need to be afraid of quiet alone times. Eating outside on my patio is even nicer. Is it possible to feel seratonin levels increasing? If it is I can definitely feel them then.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Walking by faith

Lately, my life has reminded me of some of the trails we hiked in Colorado a couple of years ago. It was beautiful, but it did give me many opportunities to learn more about overcoming fear! In fact the whole five day hike seemed like a parable about learning to walk by faith.

Sometimes the trail was so overgrown with grass that we could not see it when we looked ahead. But as we took each step it would open out in front of us a little at a time, just enough to take the next one or two steps.

This memory is especially poignant to me. At the time we had been praying for wisdom to make a difficult decision. I was hoping God would give us a clear word that week about what he wanted us to do and how it would all turn out. But it seemed like God was saying that I just needed to trust and keep moving forward and he would lead us one step at a time. And he did.

There were times the trail was not visible at all and we just had to trust our maps and gps.



Other times the trail would be on the side of a steep mountain. “Death defying” was how one guy described them. I would inch slowly along, afraid to move forward or look down. My fellow hikers patiently encouraged me. They even showed me where to put my feet and acted as human guard rails when I got too nervous. (my husband felt nervous too, but he didn't tell me until later! :-)

Sometimes the path would open out wide and soft with pine needles under foot and trees on both sides to shade us. I would start to hope it would last, but then there would be a stream to cross (without benefit of a bridge) or another rocky ledge to brave.

Right at the end, when we thought it would get easy, there was another hill to climb! A fellow hiker called it “the hill that would never end!” Even the buff guys were so tired they were almost groaning.

But we made it!

Will I do it again? I don’t know but I’m glad I did it once!

I am again in a place of needing to simply trust and keep walking forward even when I can't see what lies ahead. I struggle with fear at times that I will take the wrong step and stumble and fall. But thankfully God is helping me and he's blessed me with some patient friends too who have been helping to guide and encourage me like my fellow hikers did back then.

"'For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

"If my people..."

Last night we attended a special prayer meeting about the upcoming election.

As we entered the building I was struck by how little I, at least, have prayed about the issues that I say are important to me.

It also occurred to me that the further my political party gets from upholding the values that I and others most care about the more dependant we will be on God and His Spirit to bring about true change in peoples' hearts. If we don't expect the politicians to do anything about the problem, then maybe we will spend more time praying that God will and that he will use us to help.

"If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:14 TNIV

May it be so!

O God forgive me for my apathy. May my heart be broken with the things that break your heart. Forgive me for caring more about my own comfort than for what you want.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Celebrating God's Goodness

As I got a loaf of sweet bread out of the freezer to take with me to Ladies Bible Study this week, I thought of more and more things to take. Why not make it a party, I wondered, like I mentioned in my Feb 22 post? So we did. It was sweet--not only the treats to eat but the time of sharing too.

We went around the table and shared some of the ways that God had helped us in the past. It was so inspiring.

We could have done that without the goodies, but it did make it more special—a real celebration of God’s goodness—like a party.

As we shared a theme seemed to emerge. One lady summed it up with these words from Psalm 147:11:
“the Lord delights in those who fear him,
who put their trust in His
unfailing love.”
At the end we all agreed it would be a good thing to do every year.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Resurrection Part 3 - Life on the Edge

"And for us why do we endanger ourselves every hour?" Paul asked in 1 Corinthians 15:30.

Just being a Christian was dangerous in that time and place -- as it still is in many places. Paul and his coworkers were teaching others to become followers of Jesus Christ. So they were in even more danger.

It seems in this passage to be telling us that they did not relish life on the edge. They were not crazy nor did they have a death wish. They were normal people. They would probably have preferred to work regular hours and spend the evenings at home with their feet up.

So why did they do it? Why did they endanger their lives to tell others the good news that Jesus Christ died for our sins and on the third day He rose from the dead?

Because they really knew and believed that it is true!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Let's Celebrate God's goodness

The Ladies Bible study I attend just finished studying the book of Esther.*

It tells the story of Purim, the celebration that commemorates when Esther and Mordecai helped to deliver their people, the Jews, from almost certain annihilation at the hands of evil Haman.

Esther and Mordecai decreed that Purim “should be remembered and observed in every generation by every family and in every province and in every city. And these days of Purim should never cease to be celebrated by the Jews, nor should the memory of them die out among their descendents.” Esther 9:28

I was struck by the contrast between that wonderful deliverance and the terrible persecution that the Jewish people have suffered throughout much of their history since. What amazing tenacity to go on celebrating Purim even when enduring almost constant persecution.

Can you imagine celebrating Purim during the Holocaust for instance? It must have felt impossible. But for those who were able to, it might have helped keep at least a flicker of hope and faith alive during that tragic time.

We Christians also need to remember and even celebrate the good things God has done for us.

It is so easy to forget and then lose hope when hard times come. Or to become proud when good things happen because we forget God and think we did it.

I suggested, and the ladies agreed, that next week at Bible study we take time to share with each other some of the ways that God has helped us in the past. Maybe we should make it a party!

*The book of Esther is sometimes referred to as the only book in the Bible that does not mention God. “Jewish philosophy and scriptural commentators believe that the reason for the omission of God's name is in order to emphasize the very point that God remained hidden throughout this series of events, but was nonetheless present and played a large role in the outcome of the story. Furthermore, this lesson can be taken into consideration on a much larger scale: Throughout Jewish history, and especially in the present Jewish diaspora, God's presence has been felt more at certain times than at others. Megillat Esther (and the omission of God's name in it) serves to show that although God may not be conspicuously present at times, He nevertheless plays (and has played) an important role in everyone's lives and in the future of the Jewish nation.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim
Read more about Purim at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purim
And for an inspiring story of celebrating Purim despite persecution see: http://www.lchaimweekly.org/cgi-bin/calendar?holiday=purim1608

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As High As The Heavens

It was one of those days. My computer seemed possessed. I got so mad I ended up yelling at it and even crying in frustration.

As I sat praying and trying to get refocused, I looked down and saw the words "Proxima Centauri". I could hardly believe my eyes. Where did that come from I wondered.

Proxima Centauri is the nearest star to our solar system. It's about 250,000,000,000 miles away (or 40,000,000,000,000 km).

I learned about it last year when I wrote an article about God's love being so big that it reaches as high as the heavens are above the earth.

Did you know there are more than one hundred billion galaxies in the universe, each containing hundreds of billions of stars? In fact scientists think the universe may be trillions of light years across (one light year is 9,460,000,000,000 km), or even infinite in size. It’s just mind boggling.

Was I seeing a vision? No, it was just the label on my keyboard shelf. I don't usually have it pulled out as far as I did that day (it's a long story) so I don't usually see the label. But, I do think God was showing me that to remind me that His love is still as big as it ever was even though I didn't feel it right then.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Embrace baby steps!

It is ok to be a beginner.

Everyone is delighted to see a baby’s first steps.

As an adult, it is humbling, and can feel humiliating, to be a beginner. I feel clueless.

But I don’t need to focus on that.… Instead I can embrace the delight of taking baby steps. God sees. I am His child and He is delighted.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Resurrection Part 2 - So how would it change us …

to really believe in and understand the resurrection?

The disciples praised God continually at the temple. Does that mean we need to stay at church all day everyday? Chances are we will need to do other things now and then.

Would we go about our lives with greater peace, love and joy; and be ready to ‘give the reason for the hope we have in us’?

Hope. We would have hope. That this life is not all there is. There is a better one to come. And meanwhile, even in this life, we can trust that all things really do work together for good.

And hopefully, we would be less likely to get impatient and critical when we are held up and hassled.

Because we would have a better handle on what matters most.

We would agree with the Apostle Paul when he said:
“I consider everything a loss
compared to the surpassing greatness
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,”
Philippians 3:8 (NIV)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Resurrection Part 1 - Do we really believe in the resurrection?

“And they stayed continually at the temple praising God.” Luke 24:53

Before this they were hiding in fear. What changed? Jesus opened their minds and explained from the Scriptures about the resurrection and what it meant for them. (v.46-49)

How would it change our lives if we really believed in and understood the resurrection?

We may believe that it happened. We celebrate it once a year at Easter and sometimes sing a song about it on Sundays. But do we really believe it with every fiber of our being? When the disciples did, they were changed. They went from hiding in fear to publicly praising God. And not just on special occasions or at a big rally, but continually.

Let’s ask God to open our minds even more than He already has and help us to learn from the Scriptures all that the resurrection of Jesus Christ means for us.