Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Anger and Judgement

One of the main things that I struggle with God on is the wrath issue and how, especially in the Hebrew Scriptures, God chooses to deal with sin and rebellion... often from my perspective God seems 'mean'.
I am currently reading Amos... 

Then, last night I went to a meeting with other folks who are working to combat human trafficking, specifically trafficking children for sexThis happens in Raleigh. There were several points in the meeting where I wanted to burst into tears or hit someone. 

The sheer reality of our sin and brokenness is overwhelming.
And we are all a part of it.

I wonder if these reactions in my soul were a tiny glimpse into the heart of God. Sin leads to death... real consequences now... we can see it all around us... God intended a different reality... God wants to make things new...  

I can't even begin to understand the anger and sorrow that our creator must feel. 
Justice needs to happen. 
We need to be a part of that. 

Amos reminded the people of Israel and Judah, "Away with your noisy hymns of praise! I will not listen to the music of your harps. Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice, an endless river of righteous living." (5:23-24) 

God was pretty much telling them that if things didn't change
 they were going to be intensely wiped out.

I'm thankful that through Jesus we are forgiven already, but now we are somehow a part of God's plan for reconciliation... and Jesus will come back and judge later...? I still have a lot of questions on how all of this fits together... 

I am content with the mystery. 
For now. 

But, what I do know is that our sin is serious and its important to deal with it
Lets us this Advent Season to reflect and prepare for our Lord and King to come. 

How might we be floods of justice and an endless river or righteous living? 

Monday, November 29, 2010

My new "oranges"

I just discovered what I like to call M NEW ORANGES... 

Some of you may remember the paper I wrote about Oranges... I wrote it for my college applications and maybe another one for an essay in English class or a testimony or something like that... 

Anyways, the gist of it was... I was having one of those no good, very bad days, UNTIL... I bit into a delicious orange that awoke my senses and gave me a fresh perspective on the joy of flavor and brightened my day... 

Its the little things :) 

Then, in college I was kind of ANTI- Flowers, especially via boyfriends... so my roommates gave me a bouquet of oranges wrapped in packing paper for my birthday. It was beautiful and DELICIOUS! 

So, what could take the ORANGES place... 

Amazing Pomegranates! 

There is just something fabulous about biting into one of those seeds that brings a smile to my face: EVERY SINGLE TIME!! How did all of that powerful juice get in there? Its totally worth making your kitchen counter look like a massacre occurred to get to the beautiful pellets of delight. 

If you haven't tried one before... just do it. You will be amazed! But, be careful not to squirt the juice in your eye because according to my father in law during our Thanksgiving meal... it stings a lot!  

What little things bring you joy?? 

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Reminders of Grace

In the midst of reading through Kings and Chronicles in the Hebrew Scriptures I was getting a little frustrated and disappointed in God and the people of Israel and Judah.

Every story seemed to include destruction... smiting people for disobedience, lots of pain, seemingly arbitrary hardship, overwhelming pride, all ending in judgment... 

I was having a hard time reconciling the how the God I believe in, represented mainly through Jesus and the stories of redemption could be the same yesterday, today and forever; if these stories are true... 

Does this every happen to you? You find something out about God or life that doesn't quite make sense? You don't know what to do with it? You aren't sure if you buy the whole package?

Well, it does to me.

So, I usually just start talking to God about it... "What the heck? How do you expect me to make sense of this?"... then with a subtle act of grace the next item on my reading plan is: Jonah. 

You should read it yourself, but this cute video is another way to get the picture. 

I'm sure there are many layers and points to this story... but, for me it was simple reminder from the Holy Spirit... "I am full of Grace and desire repentance." 

I heard God saying...  

"See, I AM, the same yesterday, today and forever. I have always wanted forgiveness, I have always provided ways for people to repent and am in the business of using people, like you, my child, to make things new. You see, its not so much about the destruction as it is about the recognition of who I am and the sweetness of grace that humans encounter when they turn to me. Don't count me off... I am the same, and so are people... all forget me or push me aside, but I am longing to embrace them (and go way out of my way to provide a way for this to happen)... even for the scary ones from Nineveh, even for the self centered prophets like Jonah, even for you and your friends."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

And now a lighter one :)

I figured that since I haven't written any blogs in a while, I should go ahead and get a bunch out of the way while I am on this website ;) Don't feel like you have to read them all in one sitting!

Seriously thought I have back logs of journals and pictures from our recent trip to California that I want to post and some Halloween Party fun that merits some blog shout outs... I blame facebook

Anyways, I just wanted to let all of my faithful readers out there (all 5 of you) how awesome my pear, asiago, rosemary scones turned out! I am not a regular or confident baker, so when things come out just right I get really excited. I even altered the recipe just a bit and got a hint of honey on the top that just adds that extra pop to make them stand out.

From Southern Living Dec. issue:

Preheat oven to 450

  1. Mix 2 cups flour, 1 tbsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 cup finely chopped pear, 1/2 cup grated asiago cheese together in a large bowl. 
  2. Cut in 1/2 cup cold butter and mix together until it looks like the consistency of peas
  3. Freeze for 5 minutes
  4. Mix 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary and 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp whipping cream.
  5. Pour cream into flour mix and stir until moist
  6. Place dough on wax paper and form into desired square/rectangle (about 1- 1/2 inch thick) 
  7. Cut into desired sizes and place on lightly greased baking sheet
  8. Brush with extra whipping cream and drizzle with honey
  9. Bake for 13-15 minutes 
YUM! There are 8 other varieties in the magazine... I  may just try the chocolate chip ones next. 
What are you excited about making for Thanksgiving this year? 


Although I do have an overwhelming sense of Shalom & Serenity this morning... I still have a lot of questions. 

Another part of my time with the Lord includes reading scripture. For the past 6 months or so I have been doing this chronological bible study... basically where you read through the whole bible in chronological order... Did you know that its not actually set up that way? Go figure it would be confusing :) 

Well, the reading plan I got is helping by putting things in somewhat of an order for me. The bible is reading more like a narrative now. 
A story about God and God's people. 

I am loving seeing how things fit together, but boy do I have  A LOT OF QUESTIONS!! 
Some of them I am even hesitant to ask out loud.
I shouldn't still be wondering all of this stuff, right? 
Maybe I'll never know the answers... 

I have been considering starting a new blog, just about questions... I'm sure you have them too... would that be interesting? 

One question that I faced today was, "Did the folks in these times (I am currently in the middle of 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles and will be reading Jonah tomorrow) experience serenity? How? Where do I see this? Where don't I? How come? What does this mean? Anything?" 

I do find that in the Psalms, in the midst of anguish there is a sense of trust and hope. I wonder if that is a piece of Shalom shining through?? 

Serenity/ Shalom

Each morning I try to spend some time with Jesus reflecting, praying, reading and listening. Sometimes I can't shut off my brain enough to focus and other times the peace of just being still washes over me...

This morning was one of those days. 

I was given a devotional book, "Daily Strength for Daily Needs" that simply includes daily verses, poems, prayers, and thoughts from people over the centuries. There is something beautiful about connecting with women and men who have served Christ faithfully and abundantly from long before I was even around... humbling, perspective giving, and grace filled. 
Its not that a specific quote stood out to me today; rather that the Holy Spirit sent a gift of serenity to my soul. Just an overwhelming presence of peace

Then serenity prayer came to mind... 

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. One day at a time. Amen

Although, this prayer is often used for addicts and in recovery. I believe that living into this reality can wash over the anxious places of our hearts.  It prompts me to walk in confidence that nothing is too big for God or too scary to face. 

I am thankful that our Creator desires Shalom-- presence of peace-- and that in some moments we get to taste it... all things being made right around us and in us. 

This Thanksgiving Holiday take some time to embrace serenity...

Where might God be bringing you to a new level of courage and wisdom? 
Where can you find serenity in the often hectic moments of our broken world?

By doing this, we might end up tasting a bit more than turkey... we just might taste the Kingdom of God! Delicious!!