Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pie in the Sky: Reflections on deliciousness


This morning I used my second crust for a Quiche Lorraine. It was fabulous and I've had to exercise an extreme amount of self-control not to eat the whole thing by myself. It's a fabulous recipe and as promised, here it is.

Ingredients:

Pastry for 9-inch pie
8 slices of bacon, chopped
4 green onions + spinach
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese,
divided
6 large eggs, beaten
1 cup whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash of red pepper
Dash of ground white pepper
Ground nutmeg

Instructions:

  • Fit piecrust into a 9-inch quiche dish; trim excess pastry around the edges. Prick bottom and sides of pie crust with a fork. Bake at 400 degrees for 3 minutes; remove from oven, and gently prick with a fork. Bake pie crust for 5 more minutes.
  • Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat until browned; add chopped green onions and spinach and cook one more minute. Drain well, and sprinkle evenly in pastry shell. Top with 1 cup cheese, set aside.
  • Combine eggs, whipping cream, salt, nutmeg, red pepper, and white pepper. Pour mixture into prepared crust and top with remaining cup of cheese. Sprinkle quiche lightly with additional nutmeg.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until set. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Shakespeare said it best: A Reflection on Love

Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O, no! it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests and is never shaken.
Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI

What true and beautiful words. I've been in romantic love, I think, three times and none of them have ever come to fruition. But one thing I know for certain, that after the initial sparks of fireworks and light and pounding hearts caused mostly by endorphins, a different sort of love must take over if the relationship is to be long lasting, 'til death do you part. This sort of love is not the all consuming flame, but the burning, constant embers. It is a decision, a choice that says, "I am tied to you and you to me, no matter the consequences." To give up and give in when passion has cooled is a sad, sad thing indeed, but to persevere through toil and turmoil from without and within is unconditional, divine. It's a love we tend to share more with our friends and family than with those we have made lifetime commitments to, though we should have it amidst that circumstance as well. It is agape love, the kind of love God alone is perfect at. "Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:7-8. This kind of love is completely dependent on a decision, rather than emotion. If God can love us in this way, while we were still scoffing and spitting at Him, how much more should we love others. I realize I may be off point a little here, starting with the love a man and woman share in marriage, but I think that in the end it is God's agape love that makes it possible for marriage to last. It is His love for the couple, their love for Him, and their agape love for each other. The sparks of romantic love might fade away, but true and lasting love, agape love, stands forever.

Pie in the Sky: Reflections on the Power of Food

One of my favorite things to do in the world is cook. When I worked at a church in Houston, our staff took a cooking class with our very own local foodie and the bonding time was incredible. I have so many great recipes and stories from our time together... and maybe a few extra pounds. The point is, cooking brings people together. It's history, relationship, learning, making mistakes, and of course creativity and delicious food. Yesterday, having heard for a long time that a good family friend made the best pies ever, I went to learn her ways. And here are the results.
Working on her own apple pie after helping me with mine.

Cutting around the edge of the pan.
My left over dough that will be made (hopefully) into a quiche.
The finished product!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

S.W.I.N.O.'s


You've heard of R.I.N.O.s, Republicans In Name Only, well, here I'm going to talk about S.W.I.N.O.s, Star Wars In Name Only. For the past few days my dad and I have been watching some of the original Star Wars series, starting with Empire Strikes Back and ending with Return of the Jedi, and, as usual, this sparked much discussion about episodes 1, 2, and 3 (Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith). In my opinion, the best thing to come out of these movies, aside from some cool fight sequences and CGI, was the scathing reviews and a whole slew of jokes surrounding bad dialogue and inconsistencies. These movies are what my family refer to as S.W.I.N.O.s. The main problem with these movies was that George Lucas directed them. True, he directed the original Star Wars, but afterwards gave that role to Irvin Kershner and later Richard Marquand. How can I blame Lucas? Well, consider the fact that both Ewan McGreggor and Liam Neeson are wonderful actors, then watch them as Obi Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn (Yeah, bet you didn't realize that was Liam Neeson's name in the movie. I had to look it up). Both are fairly stiff and lame. Don't even get me started on Natalie Portman and Hayden Christiansen. Painful at best.

But as I was saying, one of the best parts about the movies were the scathing reviews and jokes that developed after each movie premiered. I wish that I still had some of the articles that I read during that time, but suffice it to say I've never laughed so much in my life. What I can share is one of the jokes my family shares in regards to this movie. My personal favorite is a particular phrase that is repeated often in our house hold. After explaining to young Anakan Skywalker about midi-chlorians, we discussed how a normal child would have reacted to this idea. In my mind, I always saw a terrified expression crossing his face as he sprinted back into the house yelling, "Mom, this guys says I got bugs in my blood!" Seriously, what kid would think it was cool to be told that there were critters inside of him that connected him to some strange force. Think about it. Maybe it sounds much more entertaining in person (after all, intonation is rather difficult to get across in writing) but you get the idea.

I hate to be cynical, after all, the original movies are so fun, and I know that if you're looking for logic in sci-fi you're probably barking up the wrong tree, but they are just so fun to poke fun at. So what did you think of episodes 1, 2, and 3? Good? Bad? Ugly? Any funny stories? I'd love to hear them!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Laughs



For the record, I believe this would probably be a great waste of resources and not particularly nice, but the picture still made me laugh. Please, no one take offense. =P

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Foundations

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,[72] that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from theconsent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absoluteDespotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."


Remember to vote!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reflection on Suffering: Elisabeth Elliot Rocks my Socks Off

"Nothing can reach us, from any source in earth or hell, no matter how evil, which God cannot turn to His own redemptive purpose. Let us be glad that the way is not a game of chance, a mere roll of dice which determines our fortune or calamity-it is a way appointed, and it is appointed for God's eternal glory and our final good."

How good is it to know that the Lord is sovereign, that the suffering we face is not random and pointless, but part of a good God's plan. I could not worship a god who was not responsible for the pain I often face, a god who looks down and weeps because he wanted to stop the hurt in my life but can't. That is a weak and powerless god, one that I would even call pathetic, and he would deserve no one's praise. The God of the bible is both omnipotent and good, therefore we know that there is method behind what seems to be the madness of this world. Our job, then, is to seek His guidance through our own trouble, and to be there for our friends in the midst of theirs. "Mourn with those who mourn" (Romans 12:15) which generally means simply being silent and listening (not to respond as Job's friends, who spent more of their time accusing him of sin than they did listening to his frustrated questions). The last thing we should do is to try and "defend" God by saying that He did not want a certain trial to happen. This robs Him of His power and leaves us suffering pointlessly. Rather, praise God that He has a plan though we may not see it now, and run to Him when everything seems to be falling apart.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Funny Post: Living in "the Country"


There are many perks of living in "the country" (a.k.a. Fulshear). It's pretty quiet, there's not a whole lot of traffic, you can see the stars with a startling clarity at night, and it's absolutely beautiful. But sometimes, every so often, nature gets just a little bit too close. Like last night. I can't say that my perspective is the best, after all this story is really second hand, but I think you will appreciate it none the less.

Considering the wonderfully cool weather we have been experiencing in the Houston area for the past week or so, my parents have been leaving their windows open at night to let in the breeze. Great idea, right? Well... around one in the morning I awoke to the faint smell of... skunk. I was still partially asleep and could not decide whether or not I was dreaming so I decided to roll over and ignore it. Little did I know, things were not quiet as simple as that for my parents down stairs. This morning when I got up I went to eat breakfast with my mom in her room and noticed it was much cooler than the rest of the house. With a smile she informed me that they'd left the windows open again last night, but that things had not ended well. Apparently, that faint smell of skunk that slipped up stairs came from their room. Sometime in the middle of the night, around one I expect, my parents had been shocked from sleep by a skunk attack so bad that they had to shut the windows and fumigate. Ok, maybe not, but it was bad. Neither of my parents got much sleep after that.

Now I don't know if this kind of attack was initiated by a single disgruntled skunk, or a band of terrorist skunks, but either way I seriously doubt there will be many more nights of open windows for my parents. Unfortunately, while closed windows will guard against such stink bombs, I highly doubt it will save my mother from the chorus of frogs that have been keeping her up these past few months.

Dear nature, please allow my parents a good night sleep tonight, and register all complaints with my department of animal/human relations.

signed,

Courtney Lott

How He Loves Us: Reflections on Suffering

David Crowder does a version of this song, but today I was informed that John Mark Mcmillan is the original writer. I looked up the lyrics and listened to his original recording and it completely changed the meaning of the song to me. This song is a declaration of God's goodness and love amidst the trial of losing a loved one. I am in tears as I write this and I think it is because of how much I need to be reminded that trials and suffering do not happen because God is apathetic towards our cause, but rather because of His great love for us. Like iron sharpening iron (Proverbs 27:17), so the trials we face sharpen us to be better tools for the kingdom. In a society where we are addicted to comfort, we all need to be reminded that it is actually good for us to suffer. As Downhere says in their song 'Last Amen,' "Somewhere in the grand design, it's good to be unsatisfied, it keeps the faith and hope a little more alive."

How He Love Us

Verse 1
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Pre-Chorus:
And oh, how He loves us so,
Oh how He loves us,
How He loves us all

Chorus 1:
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Verse 2:
We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Find More lyrics at www.sweetslyrics.com
Chorus 2:
He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Oh how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Verse 3:
Well, I thought about You the day Stephen died,
And You met me between my breaking.
I know that I still love You, God, despite the agony.
...They want to tell me You're cruel,
But if Stephen could sing, he'd say it's not true, cause...

Chorus 3:
Cause He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us.
Whoa! how He loves us.
Whoa! how He loves.
Yeah, He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves us,
Whoa! how He loves.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Winds of Change

I love the change of seasons. Now before you crack a joke about how Texas doesn't actually have seasons, realize that to me, a girl who has lived in Texas most of her life, even the slightest drop in temperature is quite an event. There is something comforting and exciting about new weather, especially the sort of weather that anticipates the best holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's that warm fuzzy feeling, the rush of excitement that comes in knowing that good food, friends, and family are soon to come. I even rather like Halloween when I can avoid the more demonic points of the candy filled celebration, and love learning the history of the reformation. But there is a kind of change that I tend to rebel against, change I did not ask for, change that rips me from my comfortable little spot rather than warming my insides. This sort of change, while unpleasant, is most likely far better for me that the more enjoyable kind, though I despise to admit it. This sort of change tests my faith in God. It asks me if all of my talk about knowing that He is both good and sovereign is really my core belief or just a lot of head knowledge. It is so easy for me to explain to my students that the God of the universe is wise, that He works all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28) when I am happy and comfortable, but the true test comes when I lose security like a job, find myself feeling a little lost and directionless. These are the times where God asks me to live out my own words, to die to myself. So though I may feel that this uncomfortable change is some form of torture, and that I am a victim, what I know is that it is because God has the best plan for me that I might be stretched. "O Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your words are trustworthy, and you have promises these good things to your servant." 2 Samuel 7:28 God has promised His children good things. This does not necessarily mean financial wealth, health, and happiness. In fact, it means something much better than all of that, a life that will be shaped by the good God of the Universe. And when the shadows of this life have been lifted, we will see His great plan woven like a tapestry before us, the whole picture quite clear, and we will rejoice together as the body of Christ, made beautiful by Him and for Him.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sister Site!

In hopes of actually pursuing private dance instruction and a means of income, I built a website! It's not very pretty right now, but then I'm not much of a web designer, but it does have a really cool application where you can book appointments online. Yes, I am quite easily amused. Check it out! I am working on getting pictures and more info up but for now, here it is!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Belated: Reflections on September 11


Ecclesiastes 3

A Time for Everything
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Our prayers should remain with those who lost and our eyes should remain on the One in whom we put our trust. Whatever we do, we should not forget.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Comments

I want to take this time to thank everyone for their encouraging comments. However, there is one thing I would like to request: please write them in English or Spanish if you can, otherwise I don't know what you're saying! Again, thanks for reading!

Courtney out

Thursday, September 09, 2010

More on Ballet Instruction

For anyone interested, I am prayerfully considering getting certified to teach dance. At the moment I'm not entirely sure of the best place to get said certification, but I know it will at the very least give those paying me to teach their kids peace of mind. If anyone has any advice I definitely welcome it, and I always appreciate prayer. It's not something I ever thought I do but after teaching my first class on Wednesday morning I fell in love with it! Feel free to leave comments or shoot me an e-mail if you're interested!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Three Posts in One Day? Now That's Excessive...


Ok, so it's been a little ridiculous today with my ridiculous amount of posting, but I keep thinking of things to write. Heck, I don't even know if anyone is reading today! But it seems that the rain, as usual, has sparked my creative juices. This particular post isn't exactly creative, it's more asking for advice/advertising...sort of. As I think most of my readers know, I lost my paying job about a month ago and have since been volunteering for my church in Katy. As much as I love what I'm doing the lack of income has forced me to move back in with my parents and watch my money like a hawk whilst looking for a paying job. My heart is torn as I want to do the work here, but know that survival requires money, at least this side of heaven. One thing I've thought about more than once is the idea of tent making. Yes, I want to make tents to support myself. (Pause for effect) What? You don't believe me? Ok, so I don't actually want to build tents, but the idea comes from Paul. You know, the dude blinded in the road by his experience with Christ? Anyway, one of the way Paul supported his ministry, aside from the support he got from the church, was to make tents (Acts 18:1-3). The problem I have is my oh so marketable degree in Creative Writing. Yes, I would love to write a book and get published, but let's face it, that's not something I can bank on at the moment. However, because of this degree I have a very good eye for editing and so here is my semi-advertisement: if you need something edited send it my way. I have no idea what I should charge for this service and might just resolve to say 'donations appreciated' but perhaps in future I'll have a price. My second form of tent making came as a bit of a surprise. One of the moms at the church was taking her kids out of their ballet company and wanted me to teach them. So over 17 years of dance has paid off! I'll need to study up as it's been a while since I learned the terms, but that will keep me busy, and idle hands are never good. In the meantime, I'll probably be looking for other ways of supporting myself and I am always looking for suggestions! So tell your friends and neighbors that if they'd like to support a poor youth worker and they need someone to edit their writing, the writing of their children/dog/cat whatever to send it to lott.courtneyinator@gmail.com. Donations greatly appreciated. :-D

The Burning of the Quran: Reflections on Matthew 5 and Romans 5:8



I don't claim to know the true intentions of this church and I don't claim to never act foolishly myself, but the folly of this action makes me very, very sad. If our purpose is to advance the kingdom of God then we would be wise to show love to the world around us and not stir up pointless trouble. The truth is offensive enough in itself without our help.

"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect." Matthew 5:43-48

We have to earn the right to be heard, and this is really not doing the trick. In all things we have to remember that "God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8

1 Corinthians 8:9 and Acts 16:3: Reflections on Freedom

"Paul wanted to take [Timothy] along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in the area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek." Acts 16:3

For the past month or so, I have been doing a study of Acts. This was very exciting for me because I am trying to read all the way through the bible and finally finished going through all the gospels. Acts is such a neat book because it chronicles the beginnings of what we would call the Christian church. Through out we see God building up His church, and that He uses very flawed people to advance His kingdom, which is quite a relief for me the more I understand how truly flawed I am! In one of the recent passages I read (Acts 15) the apostles were dealing with the question of circumcision and whether or not they should require Gentile Christians to have the ritual performed. Their conclusion was that there was no reason to burden their new brothers in this way because it was not necessary for salvation. In fact, Paul goes into great detail in Galatians and his other letters about how salvation is based on faith and not works. So when I got to Acts 16 where Timothy (a Gentile/Jewish believer) gets circumcised I was initially confused. Why, after all of that discussion about not requiring Gentile believers to have this done, does this young man get circumcised? Is this just a contradiction? A typo? In light of 1 Corinthians 8 I would say none of the above.

What first clued me into their (Timothy, Paul, and Barnabas) reasoning was the context: "because of the Jews who lived in the area." On their journey, these men would encounter a great majority of Jews who they would be witnessing to. At first I thought about how very little Paul seemed to care about what others thought and how he even reprimanded Peter for avoiding his Gentile brothers at one point because they hadn't been circumcised, but then I remembered 1 Corinthians 8. This particular passage deals with eating food sacrificed to idols, something Jewish law would have condemned. Paul tells the church in Corinth that "food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do." Moreover, he reminds them that "an idol is nothing at all in the world, and that there is no God but one." Therefore, eating such food would have no true, eternal condemnation for them. But then he adds a stipulation, which I believe answers my question regarding Acts 16. Paul says, "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your freedom does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if anyone with a weak conscience sees you who have this knowledge eating in an idol's temple, won't he be emboldened to eat what has been sacrificed to idols?...Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall."

Rather than looking at Acts 16 and claiming some sort of hypocrisy or contradiction, I see it as a fleshing out of Paul's belief that though we have freedom in Christ we must exercise it carefully. He knew that if Timothy remained uncircumcised it would be a stumbling block to the Jews they witnessed to, and found it far better to defer to their weakness then flaunt their freedom. So often we sit in judgement of those around us, including our Christian brothers and sisters. I do this myself on a daily basis and lately God has really been convicting me about it. I've come to the conclusion that we should always err on the side of grace, remembering what we've been forgiven and chose to forgive others. I don't mean to say that we shouldn't call sin sin or that we should live in chains; there is absolutely a time and a place to humbly confront our Christian brothers and sisters about sin and we should always remember that we are free from the bondage of the law, but our lives should always be about living in love toward one another, even if it means we have to give up some of our freedoms.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Title Change

In the past year or so most of my blog posts have been entitled 'reflections' of some sort and I came to the conclusion that the title of my blog needed a change. It's not anymore creative than my original name, but I tend to like it better. Maybe it's less cheesy? I don't know, but I hope that with this new more specific title I might be a bit more consistent. Hopefully? Maybe?

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Generous Spirit: A Somewhat Political Reflection

"Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God." Acts 10:4

Some weeks ago in my bible study, we discussed giving to the poor. The leader of the study talked about two groups of people, one that cared for the poor but did not care about scriptural reasoning behind it, and one group that tended to believe the poor were in their position because of laziness alone and did not deserve help. I found, and have always found, myself a bit at odds with this dilemma and struggling with the question of whether or not to give to the man with the sign on the side of the road. Often I'm told by my liberal friends that conservatives do not care about the poor at all, that they are stingy and far too individualistic and down right selfish. On my end I've always said that the liberal side is way too idealistic and and a bit self righteous themselves. But recently, I've discovered a far better solution to my own judgmental reactions and my dilemma regarding the poor. It most certainly is not an easy solution, nor one that I have all the answers to, and quite honestly I don't even know how to begin except on a small scale and through prayer.

My solution came with the realization that my main problem with wellfare is the fact that all it is is another form of slavery. The big government sitting on its high throne in Washington is convinced that the only way to solve poverty is to throw money at the problem, enslaving the poor by keeping them in thrall to their new slave masters. Having gone in to politics possibly with good intentions to help people (I am being perhaps overly optimistic here) these politicians are too far removed from the actual problems to do anything productive about it. (I could got into a spiel about how they are really in politics in order to gain power but I would prefer to remain somewhat naive.) The result, unfortunately, is that at the local level, the level where action could truly bring about change, people have become lazy, believing that the big government is some sort of magic genie and that if we give them enough money they can make all of our problems (including having to look at the hurting people around us on the street) go away.

Change is absolutely necessary, but the government in Washington is not the place for it. In fact, it is the Church and local charities that really need to step up. Instead of trusting those too far removed to really do anything good, we should be working to find the hopeless and the hurting, train them for jobs, feed them, clothing them, helping them physically, emotionally, spiritually, and not just assume that money will solve all of their problems (Matthew 9:36). It is a tough, painful job that will require the sacrifice of time and money and sometimes our own mental stability, but it is something we are called to do, especially as the church.


34"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'

37"Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?'

40"The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:34-40

If for no other reason, we should be reaching out to serve others because in doing so we are serving God. I see it starting in my church here in Katy, and I pray it will continue. I pray that God's kingdom will be advanced so that the world sees change, sees that we care about the whole person and not just their financial situation. But it has to start locally, and I don't just mean our hometown, it has to start in our hearts. Pray to the Lord, as I will pray, for generous hands and a gracious heart.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reflections on Grace

Being a church rat and having wonderful, Christian parents, I have lived what the world would consider a “good life”. As a people pleaser, I avoid conflict and prefer to be the doormat or the peacemaker quite often and so have been labeled a “good kid”. Though I spent most of my life learning that I was a sinner who fell short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23) and that grace was what saved me (Ephesians 2:8-9), I did not live my life as if I really understood this. The way I viewed others, especially in comparison to myself, was harsh, unfair, and unjust. But then, the Lord began to do a painful but important work in my life. I am quite certain the root of the sin that humbled me existed long before the fruit was born, but I of course made excuses for it, thinking it was quite harmless. But as the Lord would have it, that tiny seed I glossed over became a plant, humbling me painfully, showing me that apart from God’s grace I would be just as sinful as those I judged. It amazed me that sin could be used in such a way, to reveal something so essential to God’s character, but it most certainly did. It made my salvation that much sweeter, God’s mercy that much more clear, and His grace quite evident. Getting a taste of the depth of my sin did not only deepen my view of God, however, it also began to grow my sense of grace towards others. Whereas before I could not understand or sympathize with a great majority of the “sinners” around me, it suddenly became so clear that I was as in much need of grace as they were. The stories of the Pharisees not getting it when Christ told them it was the sick that needed a doctor finally broke through to me and I understood that I was alive in Christ but ill because I still needed His gracious work in my life as I worked out my salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).

Of course, that does not give me the excuse to go on sinning, rather, the grace is constantly motivating me to flee from the sin that steals my joy and interferes with my relationship with God. Because I know that through grace Christ has set my relationship right with the Father, and that He saved me to do good works (Ephesians 2:10), I want to sow to the Spirit so that I can live by the Spirit. While this is by no means easy, I know that even when I do make mistakes, that God promises to forgive us of our sins. And so as I continue to run the race, my prayer is that I will understand grace more and more daily, trusting that the Lord is good and faithful, and will continue to extend it to me until the good work He began in me is carried out into completion.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Your kingdom come, Your will be done


1 Kings 6:38 - 7:1
"He took seven years building [the temple]. It took Solomon thirteen years, however, to complete the construction of his palace."

In the Lord's prayer, Christ taught us to pray that God the Father's kingdom would come, His will be done on earth as it is in heaven. We pray it every week at my church and I attempt to pray a variation of the prayer every night before I go to bed, at least to remind myself that God has chosen me, along with the rest of His people, to be part of His advancing kingdom. But as I read about Solomon, wise King Solomon whose splendor is legendary, I am reminded of how easily I fall into placing my kingdom above Gods. Certainly I pray and I speak of God's glory, praising Him for the things He has given me, but I am so often side tracked by yearning for praise that my efforts are soiled. Motivation is as important as action, and I find myself wanting to be godly because it will earn the praise of those around me, rather than earning praise for the One who is refining me, the One who died so that I could be redeemed in the first place. I am just like Solomon and his palace, building up that which is for me rather than using all of my efforts for that which will glorify God. I am so thankful for this story, for the warning to flee from such frivolous pursuits. Like Solomon's palace, the kingdom I build will vanish one day, blown away never to be remembered, but God's kingdom is eternal, God's kingdom will carry on. My prayer is that I will work to advance His kingdom and not my own, and by His mercy and grace my motivation will begin to change.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Still Here

It's been a while since I've posted but I'm still here! The summer is in full swing and things have been quite busy. Once all the kids are out of school allowing the teachers a break our days are mostly spent with them, either going to lunch or coffee or ice cream or ridiculous midnight showings. Very little office works gets done and the days get longer. I enjoy the summer because I get to hang with kids who are often to busy to hang during the school year and even though it wipes me out and often feel I have more energy. Right now we are in the middle of a feisty game of assassins and on Monday we have to be at the airport bright and early (5:30 AM) to head to Georgia for our Jr High mission trip. My prayer is for a summer that glorifies God and wisdom for the future, my future in particular. Thanks to anyone who's been reading and hopefully I will be a little more consistent.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

For the Good


"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

"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

Why is this so hard to remember in times of trouble? Anger, bitterness, sadness, confusion all cloud our minds to the truth of God and we give into them so very easily. It doesn't matter what He has done for us in the past, how many times He has saved us from desperate situations, our emotions and our self worship blind us to the lessons we've learned time and again. As His children He will always bring us back, open our eyes to the truth, but for a little while we tend to forget. The only way to combat this emotional fog is to immerse ourselves into His word, to speak His truth, the truth, into our lives. The moment a bitter or angry thought threatens to govern us, our first reaction should be to speak His word. Hebrews 4:11 says, "For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." It has power to bring about change in our lives as the Holy Spirit brings us to understand what the Father is saying, but we must use it.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

At Any Cost

A prayer written by Betty Stam, missionary to China, beheaded in 1934 by Chinese communists:

"Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, all my own desires and hopes, and accept they will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, utterly to Thee to be Thine forever. Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou wilt, send me where Thou wilt, work out Thy whole will in my life at any cost, now and forever."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

To Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever

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"For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him." Colossians 1:16

For years I have struggled with the idea that I might never get married. I've dealt with loneliness, the lie that there is something undesirable in my make up, with bitterness, even anger. There have been times were I've "decided" that I was meant to be abstinent, times when I've feared this may actually be the case, times when I've been content, times when I've been miserable. The last few years have been particularly difficult living alone and watching nearly all of my friends get married and have babies. I've wondered if I'm being punished, as silly as it sounds, for some sin I didn't know I was committing, I've wondered if peace would ever come, or if I just had to get to a certain level of holiness before God "let" me have some great kind of love. On the other hand, I've also dealt with fear of the very thing I so desperately want. I've never been in a relationship of that sort before and frankly the idea is a little scary.

But through all of this God has revealed to me a valuable truth. My purpose in this life is not to get a husband. Shocking isn't it? Growing up in a semi-southern state it almost seems as if lots of women go to college to get their MRS degree ("Mrs." for those of you have just gotten lunch and are feeling the desperate need for a nap). As I said before, nearly all of my friends (from college and high school) have gotten married and a few are having children, and while it is doubtful that any of them actually went to school to get married, those of us who did not ended up feeling left out and secretly (sometimes not so secretly) bitter. Moreover, almost every movie or TV show that comes out touts the idea that finding your "soul mate" is the most important thing. Even in action movies there is quite often some little romance going on. It's no wonder we single women believe the lie that the most important thing is to find romantic love and be loved in return (no offense to Mulan Rouge).

So what is our purpose in life? Colossians tells us pretty clearly. We were created to serve the God who created us! Now this may mean marriage for some. He may be the most glorified by two people coming together and creating a family... but He may not. This isn't just a lesson for women but men as well. If we are not doing what we are created to do, then no romance, not even a great one, will ever fill us up. Augustine said it best: "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." Even as Christians we struggle with the restlessness. Let us seek satisfaction in our created purpose, only then will we find our rest.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Wednesday, April 07, 2010


"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:14

Ever since I was a little kid I have enjoyed running. I distinctly remember going to the high school track with my dad and jogging around it just for fun and in the second grade I even won the high honor of beating everyone in the half mile race. Throughout Jr. High, High School, and College I continued to run off and on, sometimes favoring the machines at the gym, walking, or even jumping rope. In the end, I always returned to running. As much as I enjoy running, however, I have found that having a goal,whether big or small, helps to spur me on, especially when I'm not feeling like dragging myself out of bed. My current goal is to be able to run a half marathon, but having smaller goals helps me to eventually reach my 13.2 miles. One of the biggest mistakes new runners make is looking at the ground while they run. Instead, it's good to keep your eyes straight ahead, focusing on what is in front of you and how you are getting closer and closer to the finish line. The Christian life is no different. When we focus too much on the things around us, the little troubles and trials beneath our feet, we lose our stamina and lose focus on the most important thing. Christ has gone on ahead to prepare a place for us in His Father's house (John 14:2), and that is our destination. Moreover, once we enter into eternity, we enter into the perfection he has already achieved for us. Above all we should not be disheartened by the sins we struggle with and the trials we face now, rather, we should press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Stuff My Bra...


Filled under TMI.

Girls athletic wear is seriously lacking in the way of pockets. I suppose that maybe some are better equipped than what I wear, but then I'm really cheap and tend to wear the same stuff for years (hence the holes in my beloved exercise t-shirts). The problem is that when I run I must have a few things, things that are absolutely essential if I want to be able to reenter my apartment complex without a lot of hassle, things like a gate key and my actual apartment key. On top of that, I enjoy running with an I-pod to add a little extra bounce to my step and while I used to have an arm band that held it in place, it somehow got lost in the shuffle in one of my many moves in the last few years. The remedy? Stuff the bras! As I wear two sports bras when I work out it's quite easy to secure my I-Pod and gate key between the layers of fabric and not have to hold everything. I admit it can be a bit uncomfortable at times and some items do shift during the flight, but it's better than gripping them in my sweaty hands and choking myself with the ear buds cord. As for my house key there is one tiny pocket in my shorts that holds it very nicely, and if all else fails I can tie it to my tennis shoes. I'm sure that all of this is much more than any of you wanted to hear, but the title came to me around mile four today and I had to share. Anyone else have creative ways to deal with necessary items when working out?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Wishing for a Taxi


One of the nice things about living in Peru was the taxi system. You could choose to walk most places because everything is fairly close, but if you had a bunch of stuff to carry, it was raining, or you were in a hurry or just feeling lazy you could flag down a taxi. In the first month or so I was there I watched as other interns haggled with prices and soon learned what reasonable rates were, what taxis you were never to take, and the routes to most of the places I wanted to go. By the end of my time there I could haggle with the best of them, normally getting what people would call the "Peruvian rate" (i.e. what taxi drivers would charge the Peruvians). Today I am wishing for a taxi. Despite the fact that my poor car has been to the shop three times (one stint for two weeks) the check engine light is on again! My mother insists that I get it in this morning because she doesn't want me to get stranded but, despite the wisdom I see in this advice, I have a few problems. 1) They live out in Fulshear, a full 35-45 minutes away from here and so, even if she drove up to lone me her car I would need to take her back. 2) I am working today, taking the Jr. High girls to the Galleria to eat lunch and ice skate. While I am using the church's suburban, I still have to drive up to the church and then back later. 3) Borrowing my mom's car would leave her stranded again.

I am very frustrated with my car right now. The check engine light has always been ultra sensitive but after being stranded (and spending an exorbitant amount of money fixing it) we don't want to take any chances. I just want the darn thing to be fixed, at least for longer than a few weeks. Unfortunately, living in a city like Houston requires that you own a car (generally speaking of course) because the transportation system isn't so great. On top of that, I pick up girls all the time, run errands, and really doubt it's safe for me to walk to work. Thankfully, both of my parents have cars and will be loaning me the truck yet again, hopefully not for too long. I just need to be praying for patience... and that I'll remember to get a temporary parking pass from the apartment complex.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Praises!

I now have both my car and computer back! Detailed stories to come but for now, let's just say it was quite an eventful time and I am very thankful to have them back!

Reflections of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

"Love is patient" ...even in traffic...

"love is kind" ... no matter the circumstance no matter the person...

"It does not envy" ... any of her married or dating friends...

"it does not boast" ... of her accomplishments...

"it is not proud" ... about anything...

"It is not rude" ... to anyone...

"it is not self-seeking" ... but rather seeks God...

"it is not easily angered"... no matter how justified...

"it keeps no record of wrongs" ... but forgives as God has forgiven...

"Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth"... no matter how painful...

"It always protects" ... everyone around her...

"always trusts" ... no matter the person...

"always hopes" ... in the Lord Jesus Christ...

"always perseveres" ... through every trial...

"Love never fails" ... even when feelings pass away.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Car Drama

For the past week or so it seems that technology or really anything mechanical has been in rebellion against me. It started with my car, Super Bowl Sunday. I was about five minutes from my parents house in Fulshear when the oil light came on. No big deal. In theory. We took it in the next morning and I borrowed my mother's car. By Tuesday my mom got the car back only to watch as the oil light turned on again. She took it back and after changing the type of oil, we attempted to drive it again. As "luck" would have it, the oil light continued to flash though we had changed the oil twice. After some discussions with mechanically minded guys I decided it was just a short but kept an ear open for any strange sounds.

I drove to Fulshear again Sunday night with no trouble, but today, as I was getting off on the Kirkwood I heard a strange clicking sound. At first I wasn't that worried, after all, it wasn't a banging, just a light click, but then I stopped at the stop light. When I tried to hit the gas again I got nowhere. No matter what I tried I was stuck. I put on my hazards (which did nothing to deter the driver's behind me from honking as if I wanted to be sitting in the middle of the road) and called Allsate, only to be informed that I was not on the policy. My mother, however, called and was given different information, that yes, I was on the policy, but I was better off calling the police because they would get there faster. Forty five minutes later my parents arrive, still no truck. We fought for another ten minutes with the Allstate people and my dad eventually walked into the Chevy place to ask for a truck. Five minutes later, just as promised, the tow truck belonging to the Chevy dealership arrived and towed my pig to the Toyota dealership across the highway (thank goodness they are close).

It was a crazy afternoon. I sat in my car for about an hour and a half watching my hazards stop working and thanking God for the blessings of the situation. Here's a little list:
  1. I wasn't on the highway when I broke down
  2. It wasn't raining
  3. It happened on my day off
  4. I had a charged cell phone
  5. A sweet lady stopped and helped me push my car up into the little driveway by the Chevy dealership.
  6. Both of my parents have cars
  7. My mom is retired and doesn't need her car for work
  8. I had a coat
  9. It didn't happen at night
So while it was a big pain in the butt, and will continue to be until they fix it all up, I did have a ton to be thankful for. Hopefully they will get back to me soon and my mom will have a car to drive again.

As for the other technological mishap? I dropped my computer last Monday and dented the side. Still waiting for the new part to come in. My thankful list?
  1. I had a protective cover on it
  2. It wasn't raining yet
  3. It still closes... sort of

In summation, always better to be thankful.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Redeeming Love


Sunday night around 4 A.M. I finished reading Redeeming Love. About my sophomore year in college I gave up on modern Christian fiction. Most of it was badly written and teetered more towards cheesy romance than actual good literature and therefore I decided not to waste my time. Besides, I reasoned, only Christians read Christian fiction, and that severely limits the witness you could have if you chose instead to simply be a writer who was a Christian. I had been told in high school, however, that I absolutely had to read Redeeming Love. It was beautiful, wonderful, amazing and so on and so forth. I hardly remember the arguments now, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I finally decided to buy the book and get down to it. I bought it because I dog ear everything I read and didn't want to destroy someone else's book. That night I was up until about 2 AM reading, almost unable to put it down. The story describes a young woman named Sarah, born out of wedlock with a father who wishes she had never been born and a mother who spirals quickly down at the loss of his love, selling her body for money until she dies on the docks in New York. Sarah is then unwittingly sold into prostitution at the age of 8 and begins a ten year struggle to survive, growing more and more hard and distrustful as time passes. The first chapter picks up with her arrival in California during the gold rush. Now called "Angel" for her beauty, the young prostitute is considered quite the commodity to the men coming back from panning gold, separated from women for extended periods of time. Then we meet Michael Hosea. Having come into town to sell the produce of his land and buy supplies, the farmer catches sight of Angel walking through the streets, guarded by a man with a gun. At this moment he receives a clear message from God: "Marry her." The story goes on to describe how Michael's love softens the hardened girl and how his faith drives her to the foot of the cross. It is the story of Hosea, the story of Israel, my story. I would recommend this to anyone, even an unbeliever as it paints such a strong picture of our depravity and God's grace.

7 Reasons Why You Shouldn't Mess with Children


Just for a good laugh.

A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales. The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small. The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale. Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible. The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah." The teacher asked,"What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied,"Then you ask him."



* * *

A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work. As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."

The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."

Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

* * *

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.

After explaining the commandment to "honour" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"

Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered, "Thou shalt not kill."

* * *

One day a little girl was sitting and watching her mother do the dishes at the kitchen sink. She suddenly noticed that her mother had several strands of white hair sticking out in contrast on her brunette head.

She looked at her mother and inquisitively asked, "Why are some of your hairs white, Mum?"

Her mother replied, "Well, every time that you do something wrong and make me cry or unhappy, one of my hairs turns white."

The little girl thought about this revelation for a while and then said, "Mummy, how come ALL of grandma's hairs are white?"

* * *

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.

"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, "There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer," or, "That's Michael, he's a doctor."

A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, she's dead."

* * *

A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."

"Yes," the class said.

"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?"

A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty."

* * *

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:

"Take only ONE. God is watching."

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.

A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples.!"

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Breaking News!

Ok, maybe not the most exciting news in the world, but for a girl who really enjoys to cook it's quite exciting: I just poached an egg. Ever since watching Julie and Julia I've been wanting to try and poach an egg but have been a bit... apprehensive. I didn't have normal vinegar so I used red wine vinegar and while it tasted a little strange it was still very good atop turkey bacon. Next challenge: hollandaise sauce!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Cooking Obsession: Goat Cheese Quesadillas

Perhaps this blog should be entitled "Goat Cheese obsession" because I LOVE goat cheese. This is a recipe I found on fitnessmagazine.com, I just added chicken!

Ingredients:

1 boneless chicken breast
1 tsp of sugar
1 tbs of olive oil
1/3 cup of chopped onions
1/2 cup of chopped spinach
Balsamic vinegar
2 tbs of goat cheese
2 HEB tortillas (because, let's face it, they are the bomb.com)

Instructions:
1. Salt and pepper the chicken and then marinate in balsamic vinegar for about half and hour. Place in pan coated with olive oil and cook on medium high for about 20 minutes or until it's cooked all the way through.

2. As the chicken is cooking, saute the onions in the sugar and olive oil until they turn light brown.

3. Set the onions aside and saute spinach in the same pan you caramelized the onions in until they are slightly reduced.

4. Cover the tortillas with goat cheese, onions, spinach and chicken, then place back in the pan until both sides are crispy.

5. Enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

If It's Christ We Believe in We Shouldn't be Confused with the Heathens

"Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come," 2 Corinthians 5:17.

One of the great gifts of a life changed by Christ is the realization that our works are not what save us. A great burden is lifted when we are made aware of the fact that because we have Christ's righteousness on our record and we no longer have to try and make our "good acts" outweigh the bad. But one of the mistakes we often make when coming to this realization is that we think, "Well hey, if my works aren't what save me then I can do whatever I want!" This, of course, is a lie. We take grace and forgiveness for granted and live lives just as we did before. Paul anticipated this argument in Romans after he explained that we live under grace. "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" Romans 6: 1-2. Now, as new creatures in Christ, we must strive to glorify God in the way we live, not because we fear losing our salvation, or we think that our good works will somehow make Him love us more, but because we want to honor Him. Thankfully, we are not left to change on our own. Ephesians says, "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."

It's no wonder the world often perceives us as hypocrites. Sometimes we take advantage of the grace of God, and live as if we have not been saved from the punishment we deserve. May we strive to glorify God in our lives, and to help the kingdom come in the world we live in. God has allowed us to be His tools in the world, now let's act like it. But let us not forget where we came from, that before the grace of Christ we were deserving of hell. Our holy lives should be tempered with the humility that comes from how little we deserve the grace we've been granted.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Powerless God I Could Not Praise

"This, then, is of faith, that everything, the very least, or what seems to us great, every change of the seasons, everything which touches us in mind, body, or estate, whether brought about through this outward senseless nature, or by the will of man, good or bad, is overruled to each of us by the all-holy and all-loving will of god. Whatever befalls us, however it befalls, us, we must receive as the will of god. If it befalls us through man's negligence or ill-will or anger, still it is, even the least circumstance, to us the will of god. For if the least thing could happen to us without God's permissions, it would be something out of God's control. God's providence or His love would not be what they are. Almighty God Himself would not be the same God; not the God whom we believe, adore, and love." Mary Wilder Tileston

A friend of our family's recently experienced tragedy. One of the young men at her church died in a car accident. In a conversation with my mother, she rationed that "God did not want it to happen." This made my stomach turn. In painful times when we cannot understand and when our emotions run high we can see absolutely no good whatever in the situation. Our human minds, small and limited, grasp only what we see and therefore we say that if God is good then He mustn't have had anything to do with this great loss. But what we do not realize, what we have difficulty accepting, is that God is both good and sovereign. For the non-church rats in the crowd, sovereign means in control. He is the author of our lives. Romans 8:28 says "we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose." This is a great comfort, for if God was just good and not sovereign, then life is nothing but chaos. The deaths and hurts and sorrows and losses would all be meaningless, with no benefit in the end. If God is good and not sovereign then I have no protection whatsoever. If God is only good and not sovereign then I have absolutely no guarantee in my salvation. Personally, the thought of a good God with no control is terrifying to me. I would rather rest in the fact that He knows the number of my days, that He has my good in mind. A powerless God I could not praise.

Ephesians 2:8-9, Reflections on Grace

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no man can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9

Last night I began to watch Prison Break. All summer the guys at the office talked about it nearly every day, and finally, after months of saying I was going to get into it so I would know what on earth they were talking about, I've begun the first season. Aside from the fact that their voices were not matching with their mouths (I am watching it on the internet, go figure) I think I'm going to enjoy it. But something struck me while I was watching it that lead to a conviction this morning. One of the characters in prison (I don't remember his name) wrote a letter to his girlfriend asking her to marry him, he then goes on to make a comment about them meeting in a conjugal trailer. My first reaction was a massive eye roll. How romantic, I thought, you're already sleeping together so what's the point? (Please note the sarcasm) This is my typical reaction when I watch TV shows or movies where characters are sleeping together outside the bounds of marriage, I get frustrated and almost always roll my eyes. However, this morning, as I was considering my reaction, I realized something very important, the people on these shows, the writers, the directors etc. are most likely not Christians. Point being? If these people are not followers of Christ, then why on earth should I expect them to act as such? When you think about it, my reaction is rather ridiculous. I'm wanting to cure the symptoms (fornication in this instance) and yet completely ignoring the disease. How foolish would it be to give a patient with a brain tumor drugs to deal with the pain but refuse to operate? We simply would not do that. What I should be doing is praying for those around me, and realize that I, myself, am under grace as Ephesians 2 says. Moreover, I must be bold in sharing the gospel to those around me rather than wanting them to simply change their ways. As Romans 10: 14 says "How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?" God has graciously allowed us to be His tools in the world, may we seek to advance His kingdom daily.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1 Corinthians 11:3, Reflections on "Equality"

"Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God." 1 Corinthians 11: 3

It truly saddens me when I hear people speak of the bible as being in some way sexist. The modern woman rebells vehemently against the idea of being created second, of being called to submit to her husband, and yet what she does not realize is how much the bible truly cherishes the female sex. Not being married, it is rather easy for me to promote the idea of wifely submission, after all, I don't have a husband I have to submit to at the moment, but I pray daily that if and when I do get married, God will grant me the strength to do so. Scripture provides extensively for women, especially during a time period where they were viewed as possessions rather than individuals, but one of the most incredible passages of scripture to me is 1 Corinthians 11.

At first glance, most modern women (who I have perhaps not so lovingly dubbed feminazis) recoil from the phrase "the head of the woman is man", and I can, in a sense, understand their reaction. It sounds as if Paul is saying women are second class citizens, that we do not share in the kingdom the same way as men, even that we are not as valuable. But if we remember to take scripture in context, if we remember to consider all the verses, we might remember what Paul said in Galatians 3:28, that "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Clearly, Paul had a very high view of both men and women. Therefore, we must come to an alternative conclusion.

This summer I taught a Junior High bible study that consisted of both boys and girls. The book we studied was 1 Peter and, not surprising, we came across the section that spoke about wives submitting to their husbands. My personal convictions aside, I knew I would need to make this accessible not only to Junior highers (who have the attention span of a teaspoon for the most part) but also to the post modern mind. However, the most important lesson I wanted to teach the was that the bible is the source of truth. I began searching through scripture to find verses that would corroborate the passage in Peter. It was then that the Lord lead me (with the help of my trusty commentary) to 1 Corinthians 11:3.

What struck me about this verse, and what I tried to make clear to the kids I was teaching, was the very end of the verse, "and the head of Christ is God." Immediately I realized the implication. Christ is God, He is equal to God (Philippians 2:6-11), and yet He submits to the Father. If that is the case, then what Paul is saying is not that women are inferior to men, or that they share any less in the kingdom. Rather, Paul is describing the roles we were created to take. Christ takes the role of the Son in the Trinity and therefore submits to God the Father, and if He can do that without losing any of His worth or value, then why can't we as women accept the idea of submitting to our current or potential husbands? The clear answer is sin, our flesh refuses to do what it was created to do (Romans 7:14-21). Thankfully, God does not leave us here, rather, He changes us, gives us a new heart (2 Corinthians 5:17), and then works with us to become more holy daily (Ephesians 2:10).

May God continue to work in our hearts and advance His kingdom.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Senior High Girls Retreat

Friday night I took the senior high girls out to my parents house in Fulshear for fun, food, and fellowship (like the alliteration?). Aside from having to drive the van through traffic at 6:15 PM through the rain, everything went really well! My parents even invited them back for a pool party when we get one put in!

Shannon, Marie, and Anna washing dishes after breakfast.

Marie and Anna... still washing.
Meg, enjoying an apple.
Shannon, Marie, Victoria and Helen after a long night of little sleep.
Alison eating a piece of Marie's birthday cake.
Victoria and Meg... Meg got no sleep that night.
Abigail, Hannah, and Shannon. I believe this was after dinner Friday night.