May it be so in my life and in yours!
Friday, March 29, 2013
The grab for security is nothing new, is it?
What are you grabbing for as security? It probably is an idol, isn't it?!
Thursday, March 28, 2013
When we went whole-foods, plant-based, I went looking for a decent recipe that didn't use oil, eggs, and milk. I found one that was tolerable (see here), but not one that I liked enough to make real often. Then, about a month ago, it stopped turning out. Not sure why, but it might be because I changed from honey to unrefined sugar in the recipe. But, when I went back to honey, it still didn't turn out. So, I went looking again...
Not much out there...so, I thought about how in the 1800s, the pioneers would have done it. They usually didn't have eggs or milk, and—at least according to the Little House books—sugar wasn't exactly a common item. They must have done something.
I was mulling it over in my mind and asked the Lord for a bit of insight. I believe it was an answer to prayer, because what I did tastes even better than the original eggs, milk, and oil recipe. Here's what I did:
1 cup whole wheat flour (freshly ground, of course!)For a variation, I sometimes add a small can of chili peppers. You should see the baking powder go nuts when I do that!
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup water
1/4 cup applesauce (unsweetened and home canned from Jonathan apples—an oil replacement)
3/4 Tablespoon baking powder
1.5 Tablespoons unrefined sugar
1 teaspoon flax meal (freshly ground)
1 Tablespoon water
The flax meal and tablespoon of water are used as an egg replacer. Put them both in a small custard cup and microwave on high for 10-15 seconds, or until it boils. Our microwave takes 12 seconds, but yours might be different (this works well as an egg replacer for other recipes as well)
Turn the oven on to 350°F. Mix the remaining dry ingredients together. Once the oven is preheated, add the applesauce, cup of water, and the flax meal mixture. Mix everything together well, but not too much (you don't want to develop the gluten too much). Pour the batter into a 9x9 glass pan and bake 30 minutes (if you are using metal, increase the temperature to 375°).
Serve warm or cool. We often make a tomato sauce to put over it—1 pint stewed tomatoes, half a small can of tomato paste. Then I take some dried green peppers, dried onions, dried garlic, oregano, basil, grind them all up in a coffee grinder and add it. Add enough water to make it the consistency you like. I add habanero sauce to mine...delicious!
Mocking God, killing righteous men – that is the human project. When a teacher comes with the demand that we do justice and love our neighbors, we betray Him, mock Him, beat Him on the head and crown Him with thorns, before we pack Him off to death on a cross. Naked and bleeding on the cross, Jesus suffers the fate of Jerusalem, and of Troy and Babylon and Carthage and Dresden and of every city that has ever been razed to smoking rubble. The cross exposes us as specialists in destruction. History is a waste of ruins, toppled temples, smoldering cities, corpses heaped for burning. This is what we do. That is the human project.<idle musing>
Do read the whole thing; he doesn't leave us there—Praise God!—because God doesn't leave us there
Maybe I haven't been paying attention, but this set of verses isn't among the ones the right-wingers quote...pity, that.
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
This is where Korah and company rebel; Moses' response to the initial accusation of lording it over the Israelites is to fall facedown in prayer. Eighteen verses later, when God wants to destroy the whole nation because of Korah, his (and Aaron's) response is to fall facedown in prayer. Finally, the next day, when the entire nation rebels, he (and Aaron) falls facedown in prayer.
That, my friends, is the sign of a leader. I was going to qualify that with something like "who loves his people" or "who discerns the heart of God" or "who has the heart of a prophet" or some such. But when I stopped to think about it, no qualification is needed...
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Nothing really has changed in 3000 years—except now some want to exclude women and claim that's the way it used to be...
Monday, March 25, 2013
Ain't that the truth! Lord, renew your church in our day! May we truly deserve the title of believer.
I'm wading through this book right now; it's a monster, but very interesting. Unfortunately, it doesn't lend itself to excerpts very well...
Anyway, this is a classic example of taking modern, present day society and superimposing it on the past. It will inevitably lead to skewed results. This is a problem for ANE studies as much as it is for biblical studies...
Friday, March 22, 2013
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
This is one of my favorite quotations from her book. Wouldn't it be easier if he did it that way? Of course, then we wouldn't need to rely on the Lord, would we?
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Can't get more obvious than that, can it? Jesus said he didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, so don't claim it no longer applies.
So, does that mean I think that gays should be killed? No more than I think people who commit adultery should be! They are in need of the saving grace of Jesus just as much as anyone else—no more and no less. But, just as Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery in John 8, “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (Yes, I believe John 7:53-8:11 is an authentic event in Jesus' life—I just don't believe it is Johannine.)
And, because I believe that we are new creations in Christ, I believe they can leave their life of sin. I also believe that the sexually addicted, chemically dependent, etc., are called—and enabled by the presence of the Holy Spirit—to live a life free from sin.
A good summary of the sexual life of a Christian should be celibacy in singleness and faithfulness in a monogamous, heterosexual, lifelong marriage. Anything else is a compromise and sub-Christian. That goes for adultery, divorce, and homosexuality. There is no distinction between them; they are all less than God's ideal.
Yes, there is forgiveness and restoration, so don't think I am being judgmental here. I know there are situations where divorce is the least of a set of evils, but it is still not God's ideal. I believe that is what Jesus was saying when he said Moses allowed divorce; both parties need to be willing to forgive, repent (that means transformation, not just feeling sorry), and live in love. That doesn't always happen...
Monday, March 18, 2013
The recurring theme in Leviticus is to be holy; that's a tall order, isn't it? Actually, that's an impossible task in ourselves. I'm glad verse 8 follows; God is the one who makes us holy.
I was recently reading Reality by Art Katz, a Messianic Jew (now deceased) and he pointed out that in Genesis 17:1, where before God commands Abraham to “walk before me faithfully and be blameless.” (TNIV), God inttroduces himself as El Shaddai for the first time. Here's his thought about it:
Having just introduced Himself as God Almighty [NASB translation of El Shaddai], He goes on to say in the same breath, “Walk before Me, and be blameless.” The coupling of these two phrases is perfectly logical, reasonable and necessary. To call anyone to perfection and to a walk before God requires from that one who is called a complete confidence that the God who has invited him will also supply every necessary means. That is why His almightiness is so important.—pages 119-120Food for thought, isn't it?
Friday, March 15, 2013
Hmmm...wonder why the theocratically inclined never cite this reference??? Can you say selective memory? Or, maybe it's a case of "canon within the canon." I suspect a bit of both...
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Anyway, they know me by sight now at the library. I walk in and they automatically go to the interlibrary loan shelf : ) One of the books, now out of print (but offered in electronic format by Mother Earth News) is Heirloom Vegetable Gardening. I find it delightful and informative. Much of it is oriented to warmer climates, but there are some real gems in it. This one seemed too good not to share. Try this is the crows are getting your corn crop before you:
"Soak a few quarts of dried corn in whiskey, and scatter it over the fields for the crows. After partaking of one such meal and getting pretty thoroughly corned, they will never return to it again."—Farmer's Almanac, 1864, cited in Weavers, page 141
Apparently crows have more sense than humans...
Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Check out the pronouns in those verses! "You" occurs most of the time, not the priest. You bring it (no surprise); you lay your hands on it (again, no surprise). You slaughter it—messy job! You skin it—another messy job! You wash the internal organs—a stinky, messy job!
Moral of the story? Dealing with sin is a messy, stinky job! You can't pass it off to someone else; you have to deal with it yourself&mash;with the Lord, of course; you can't make atonement for yourself! And you can't just drop a check in the offering plate or the mail.
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
I can't think of a better way to start the day!
Legalism is any practice or belief that is added to the gospel that compromises the sufficiency of Christ as Savior and jeopardizes the adequacy of the Spirit in moral guidance. Secondarily, then, legalism demands that one adopt a group’s special markers in order to be fully acceptable to God.
Legalism then is the charge against you or me, often sensed at the deepest level, that we are not accepted by God in Christ and indwellt by the Holy Spirit.
Monday, March 11, 2013
It's fairly spacious inside. One of the first times the grandkids came over (we weren't even fully moved in yet), they all wanted to bring stools into it, sit on them, and play. We decided it would be fun, so we painted the walls and are going to allow them to post their artwork. We thought about letting them paint the walls, but decided artwork done elsewhere and posted was safer : )
Friday, March 08, 2013
In October, Dave put the cabins up for sale. We had moved into an apartment in town, about ¾ mile from the cabins, in September; winterizing one of the cabins was too much work—plus if the place sold, where would that leave us? Anyway, throughout September and early October, until the cabins closed, I would ride my bike over every day and take care of things.
In November, I went down to Warsaw (and then to AAR/SBL) for 3 weeks. I wrote about that back then; you can find the first post here. Before I left, Max and Sherri, the people who own the bed and breakfast next door, Macarthur House, had made an offer on the cabins; Dave accepted it. The closing was scheduled to happen sometime in November, while I was in Indiana.
Max approached Debbie and me about continuing to work at the cabins; they wouldn't be able to keep up with all the cabins plus the bed and breakfast. In exchange for the work, we could live in the house. We accepted, but because we had a year lease on the apartment, weren't sure how it would work out. Plus, Dave and Geneva would stay in the house until at least the end of December. So, we tentatively planned on moving into the house in the Spring, paying the rent on the apartment for the last 3 months without living in it.
Max suggested we talk to our landlord, Paul, about breaking the lease. Turns out that they are friends! So, hat-in-hand (so to speak), I approached Paul. He was most gracious, saying that it looked like a great opportunity for both Max and us; he allowed us to break the lease with just the loss of one month's rent. Mind you, this whole thing has been bathed in prayer and seeking the Lord. I hate breaking leases; it strikes me as unfaithful and a bad witness. I don't recall ever breaking one before...
The closing happened while I was in Indiana; Dave and Geneva moved out at the end of December. In January, we started cleaning, painting, and clearing out stuff from the cabins that had accumulated over the 20+ years that Dave and Geneva had owned them.
You'd never know by looking at my desk at Eisenbrauns, but I'm somewhat of a clean freak, as is Debbie. My desk at home is rarely messy; it might have a few open books for a day or so as I work on something, but it never gets out of hand. Anyway, we attacked the place pretty thoroughly. I spent the better part of January and half of February cleaning, dusting, vacuuming, painting, etc. No matter how good a housekeeper you are, living in a place for over 20 years allows dust and dirt to accumulate, so this is not an indictment against Dave or Geneva!
I had a good time mixing and matching the paints left in the basement to paint the walls and floor. I wanted it to be bright and cheery, as that is where the washer and dryers are. I will be spending a good bit of time down there during the summer! I ended up with brown walls for the first 3 feet (to cover the dirt and stuff that will inevitably build up), with yellow, light blue, or dark blue above that. The floor is a dark evergreen or brown. The ceilings are flat white. I like it, anyway. : )
By the middle of February, we were ready to move in...Is anyone keeping track of how many times we've moved in the last 11 months?! We're getting pretty good at it : )
Just in case you are wondering, this is the fifth place we've lived in in those 11 months. We sold the house (1) in March, moved back into “little white” (as Debbie called it) (2) for 2 months, then the cabins (3) for 2 months, followed by the apartment (4) for 6 months, and now the house (5).
We really like it. There is an enclosed backyard that has real potential for a nice garden. I'm hoping to put a hoop house and some cold frames back there. There is also a nice deck for containerized growing. And—get this!—Dave had built a shed that he used as a greenhouse! Yep, a real enclosed one with southern exposure and a real roof. He had modified it over the years to do other things, so I'll need to change it back a bit, but still... I'll try to post about all this as time goes on...
That's enough for now, but stay tuned; I'll have some pictures soon (I hope!)
Thursday, March 07, 2013
I don't know about you, but ever since I became a Christian (way back in 1972), I've heard Romans 1 used as an escalator of the increasing sinfulness of a culture. The problem with that viewpoint, is that they have to stop at Romans 1:28. But, Paul doesn't stop! He keeps going, making sure that nothing and no one escapes.
I was reading this chapter on my iPad, and the line breaks at the verse ending of 29, making gossips stand out. Recently,Ted had a good post that mentioned gossip in the context of the Sermon on the Mount. Tolle! Lege! (That means you should read it, from Augustine's Confessions)
Anyway, what jumped out at me especially was the last indictment, “they have...no mercy.” The Greek is ἀνελεήμονας, an adjective formed from the Greek word for mercy by adding what is called an alpha privative. Huh? Let's see if I can define it...OK, here's what my computer dictionary says “(of an action or state) marked by the absence, removal, or loss of some quality or attribute that is normally present.” Think deprived and you get the idea.
So? What's the big deal about that? Well, the Greek word for mercy (ἔλεος) is the word that the Septuagint uses to translate the Hebrew word חסד (ḥesed), the word for God's faithfulness/mercy/love; most translations translate it as “loving kindness.” Paul, being steeped in the Hebrew Bible would probably be thinking in those terms when he dictated this section. The word is used in one of my favorite summations of the law in Micah 6:8:
This post is getting a bit long, so I'll cut to the chase...As Christians, we have been shown mercy by God. We are called to show mercy to others in the same way, forgiving them for offenses (real and imagined!. In fact, James says “...judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful” (2:13b).
He has shown all you people what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
The question of the hour is, how often are we quick to judge others? How little do we show mercy? How often do we justify our own actions and give them a pass, all the while pointing an unmerciful finger at others?
I'm preaching to myself as much as anyone else. Sure, I could list a whole bunch of sects/people who come to mind—but doesn't that prove the very point I'm making?!
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Whoa! When did they put obedience in that verse?! I don't remember that! But it makes sense, doesn't it? Obedience flows from faith via Jesus. We obey; he empowers. Again, no transformation, no salvation... Paul starts out Romans with obedience flowing from faith. Neat!
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Isn't that the version of the gospel most want? They are fine with God-talk until you mention righteousness and self-control. Throw in judgment to come and that's just too much! People don't want to think that there are ramifications or consequences to their actions. When it is convenient for them, then they'll allow you to mention God...