Friday, January 27, 2012

You Don't Get To


I have been an observer of my sister's mothering for some time.
She is naturally motherly.
In fact, although she is younger than I am,
I have on occasion referred to her as my second mother.
She is soft-spoken and gentle.
I... have less to work with.
Over the years, I have witnessed her intervention in her children's disputes.
(Yes, although she is a wonderful mother,
her children also display their sin, as all do.)
They fight and argue and rip things out of each other's hands.
And inevitably, I hear my sister say what I've heard from her for years:
"You don't get to do that."
"You don't get to be a jerk."
"You don't get to _____________."
It always amuses me.
Like being a jerk is allowed to some people, but sorry -- you're not in the club.

I was doing the dishes last night, thinking about that phrase,
and thinking about what Jesus commanded His friends.
"Love one another."
And I also found myself thinking about believers I know
who have been hurt by their brothers and sisters,
and are nursing their wounds into bitterness.
And feeding them.
You don't get to do that.

When my sister and I were little and fought, my mom used to say,
"You have to get along.
You have to work it out."

"This is My commandment:
that you love one another, that your joy may be full."

"Beloved, let us love one another.
For love is of God,
and everyone that loves is born of God and knows God.
And he who does not love, does not know God,
for God is love.
...He who does not love abides in death."

You don't get to do that.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Good News!


Are you among those who are alienated from God?
An enemy in your mind because of wicked works? 

Your sins made the list of redeemable offences against God.

They were paid for by the blood of Jesus,
and faith in Him wipes out the list of charges against you.

Amnesty.
Reconciliation is offered through the body of His flesh through death.
You, too, Alienated Enemy, Worker of Wickedness,
can be presented holy and blameless and above reproach in His sight.

"And you,
being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh,
He has made alive together with Him,
having forgiven you all trespasses,
having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us,
which was contrary to us.
And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross."

Now wouldn't you like to shout?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Injustice


I have dear friends who are missionaries in Eastern Europe.
A man they know has recently been convicted of a crime
for being rear-ended while he was stopped in a car.
The judge was bribed, the police reports were changed,
and this husband and father is stuck in prison for seven years.
His friends and family have been praying for him.
People like me, who never met him have been praying for him.
And he is 'guilty', and imprisoned.
I don't know him or his family, and this is very distressing.

So many times people accuse God of injustice
because the world He gave us has so much corruption in it.
But we are the ones who set ourselves up
as the Knowers of Right and Wrong.
As the judges of good and evil.
We reject His Word, His justice.
We perpetrate our injustice on the world,
and we lay the blame at His feet.

But I cannot help but think of the good company
he and his family are in in suffering unjustly.
We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses,
many of whom suffered as much or more.
The One we believed and the One we worship,
and the One we want to be found in
was crucified in the most horrendous case of injustice
this world has ever perpetrated.

Let's look unto Jesus, and run the race in front of us,
trusting that He is just, and the justifier of those who trust Him.
We are not of this world, not of these systems,
and our Home is a place of justice and truth.
Do not fail to hope in Christ, Christian.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I am Your Bondage


"O Lord, truly I am Your servant; 
I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant;
You have loosed my bonds.
I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving,
and will call on the name of the Lord."
~ Psalm 116:16,17

It's an interesting thing to think of.
I am Your bondman.
The word comes from a word for bondage.
I am Your bondage.
I am Your bondage, the son of Your female slave;
You have loosed my bonds.

Loosed: to open wide, to break forth, to let go free.
Bonds: chastisement, a halter, restraint.

I am Your bondage, the son of Your female slave;
You have broken forth my chastisement.
You have let go free my restraints.
You have let me go free of my chastisement.

I am the bondage of the Lord,
born into His ownership,
unfettered and free.

It ought to bring about a worshipful thanks.
The word for calling on the name of the Lord is also interesting to me.
It actually means 'to accost'.
It makes me think of that blind man
who wouldn't shut up in his calling out to Jesus.

And sometimes I think we lose a little
where our translation simply says 'LORD'.
The word is 'Jehovah'.
Or 'YHWH', or something so much less English-sounding
than our English Bibles tell us.
The Self-Existent.
The Eternal.
And, oh -- that just made me a whole lot smaller than I was.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

A New Soup For the New Year

I don't usually blog recipes, but feeding our families is important.
Last night we ate nachos for dinner, and we way over-estimated our needs.
It was late, we had been out shopping for hours,
and our hunger drove our frantic food preparations.
After the meal, I looked at the nachos still on the baking sheet,
and wondered what to do with them.
Leftover nachos are gross.
And there was no way I was going to throw away all that food.
Bake them in some kind of Mexican Nacho Casserole?
Didn't sound too appealing.

Soup?
Nacho Soup.
I scraped all the heaps of spiced ground turkey with onions and garlic,
cheese, tortilla chips, tomatoes, black beans,
refried beans, salsa, and sour cream into a bowl with a plan forming.

This afternoon I whisked a can of cream of chicken soup,
a few cans of milk, a can or two of water,
two chicken bouillon cubes and a can of chopped green chiles
together in my pot with cumin.
I don't know how much.
I don't think it's possible to over-cumin anything, so suit your own taste.
Once that was hot, I added part of a package of cream cheese.
When that was thoroughly melted and warmed,
I cut up the chips that were still too big, and tossed the whole mess in.
We topped it with broken tortilla chips.

Oh, my.
Everyone wanted seconds.
If I had some, I would have thrown in a chicken breast or two
and maybe another can of beans.
But it was excellent even without those.
This marks a Whole New Soup Era for me.
I may start making double our nacho needs on purpose. 

My husband took one bite and got out the camera to take a picture
so I could share it with you.

It isn't much to look at, but it's dynamite.

New Mercy and Compassions that Fail Not


I am not among those who revel in the change of the year.
I am prone to dismal forebodings.
And I am not resolute.
Or at least, I resent the expectation of resolve.
I don't like to make declarations of plans.
I prefer to simply do the things I think I ought to do.
(A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds --
and all that stuff.)

Last night, we watched the freak-out in Times Square.
And when the date changed, I thought, "Hmm. There it is. A new year. Wow."
My husband said, "Last year my work was coming to an end,
and I had no idea what we would do.
We had no money.
We hadn't even put our house on the market yet.
The Lord has been faithful to us."
It was a difficult year.
Actually, the few years before that were difficult, too.
And the Lord has been faithful to us.

I don't like changes.
They trigger anxiety for me.
But I remember that the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
His mercies never come to an end.
They are new every morning.
Great is His faithfulness.

"This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope.
It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, 

because his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
The LORD is good to them that wait for him, 

to the soul that seeketh him. 
It is good that a man should both hope 
and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD."
~From Lamentations 3

Whatever lamentation the year may hold, the Lord is my portion.
He has new mercy for me every day.
He is faithful in great ways.
I am not consumed.
He is good to those who wait for Him,
and He has shown Himself so in my life.
I will hope in Him, and quietly wait for him.

"Put on humility. 
For God resists proud ones, 
but He gives grace to the humble.
Therefore be humbled under the mighty hand of God, 

so that He may exalt you in due time, 
casting all your anxiety onto Him, 
for He cares for you."
~From 1 Peter 5

He cares for me.
And His compassions fail not.
Happy first day of the first week of the first month of the new year.
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