MUST must must read

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Piggy backing off my last post, you simply MUST READ this one.  Melissa (formerly Moore) in Calcutta, India.

N.T. Wright offered a much more eloquent answer to my issues in my post from the other day.

“The cry for justice in the world, then, must be taken up and amplified by the Christian church, as the proper response to the voice of the living God.  The gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Spirit indicate that there are ways forward…Christians should be energetic in advocating and pursuing that justice for which all human beings long and which burst upon the world, in a fresh and unexpected way, through Jesus.” (N.T. Wright, Simply Christian, 228)

Slumdog & India

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I have been overwhelmed, once again, but the plight of an entire nation of people.  Once again I find myself with the saints saying, How long O Lord??  How much longer will you withhold your justice?

(caveat) I think I'm going to work backwards on this one, so starting with where I am now and then backing up to where this whole thing started.  Please be patient with me-- I am a work in progress and so is this thought process.

Most recently, India has been on my mind because one of Beth Moore's daughters, Melissa, is in India with Compassion International.  For her story, click on the "melissa in india" blog link on the left.  Were it not for the droning of the florescents in my cube to keep me aware of where I am, I would have wept at her pictures.  The last one is almost too much for me.

There have been many conversations between Melissa and the movie, but the recent interest in India was kicked off with Slumdog Millionaire.  I recognize that I am one to be very emotionally wrapped up in a movie.  I jump at the slightest provocation and rarely watch a moving movie without dreaming about it later that night.  But this one was something else altogether.  I was on my feet for a good chunk of the movie, unable to bear even being in the same room when Latika is abused (granted, it is implied but OH MY the implication was enough), when the poor child's eyes are blinded by a cruel, greedy man, or when Jamal was tortured.  This was a month ago and I still know their names.  I was told this weekend, "but it has a happy ending!"  I can't help but recognize that for so many Indian children, there is not the hope of the million dollars.  

This led me to a frantic, soul crushing discussion with Larry and a close friend.  What hope at all can I offer the children of India?  Do I truly believe that the name of Jesus is hope enough when I cannot change even their hunger?  I am frustrated with myself for even having that question.  But a that close friend pointed out to me that the justice and provision I have pictured for these impoverished children is not God's justice- it is not nearly as perfect and it is focused on the circumstances of this world.  God's justice, however, is perfect.  Beth Moore talked about how God's justice is balanced with his love.  I cannot extract or separate God's perfect justice from His perfect love.

So I have been meditating on John 16:33
I have said these things to you (about Jesus going back into heaven) that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation.  But take heart, I have overcome the world.

I do believe, and for the sake of those who are truly suffering in this world, I must believe that Jesus has already overcome the world.  They will receive justice and every blessing from the Father.  He sees them and knows them each by name.

India began to be written on my heart back in high school, when a friend sought to go to India for the summer.  She must have already known that the hope offered in the name of Jesus and his redeeming work on the cross was and is sufficient for the poor in India.  That same assurance has been preached to me again and again through the powerful witness of those who have seen God's grace bring life in India: when she returned to India, and then another friend from high school went to spread the good news, and then a couple with 10/40 Connections spoke of the movement of God there, then when a friend asked me to pray for her burden for India, then when our church began sponsoring an orphanage there that takes girls off the streets and out of prostitution and gives them a home, and now with Melissa.  If you would courageously considering opening your heart to prayer for the nations, I believe that you will find as I have that the name of Jesus IS the power and grace, the love and justice, and the profound hope for all who are lost and all who are suffering.  May it be so.

warning: this will be your favorite recipe ever

Monday, April 13, 2009

Our friend Sara introduced me to the most divine bread I have ever had in my life.  Now, if you know me, you know I love... yes, I love bread. 

It was a beautiful morning in sunny San Diego and there was an open table on the patio of Con Pane.  I was ready for a full cup of coffee and a taste of something sweet.  Pane Cioccolata called to us.  We ordered an entire loaf, still warm from the oven.  The chocolate stayed perfectly smooth with the aid of the morning sunlight.

Sound like a love story?  It is.  I invite you into your own tale: a similar recipe.

Silly, I know.  Do you have a love affair with a certain food?  Would you mind sharing the recipe?

Camera Aperture

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I can always rely on Holly to have something entertaining to do in the middle of the work day. Today we went on a photo adventure, and I learned about something I wish I'd learned about a long time ago!

If you are using a slightly fancy digital camera, you should have an "A" setting. This is for Aperture. Try playing with it! You can adjust it low (un-intuitively this means a big number). Low would be like 16 or so. This is going to make your pictures very very detailed. It gives the camera a long "depth of field" so that a lot of your background is in focus. I really like taking photos with a high (un-intuitively this means a low number) aperture. On my camera that's about 4.5. The bigger the lense, the higher the aperture can be. This will make only one object super in focus and everything else blurred.

Everything in focus = high number, low aperture
Just one object in focus, everything else blurred = low number, high aperture

Those 2 scenarios play out like this:

Mom and I are in focus, the fountain's in focus, the people to our left are in focus, and even the tulips are mostly in focus.
Here only one dogwood flower is really in focus, causing your eye to be drawn just to that one blossom.

I'd love to hear any of your photography hints!

New Layout Addition

Monday, April 6, 2009

I wanted to call a bit of attention to the left side bar on the blog.  I realized I've been recommending a few individual blog postings lately, but I'm going to begin storing them here.  I've started off with just 3.  Be sure to check out the question I asked of Kitchn- my favorite cooking blog- on the left.  I asked them recently about how to downsize a kitchen to fit in a much smaller space.  Check it out!

Amazing Timing

Friday, April 3, 2009

Beth Moore's challenge to Scripture memorization came at just the right point in my life.  The verses I've been working on read like a journal of the last 3 months of my life.  Each one that I committed to my heart because God told me to had an Immediate effect.  Let's take a few for instances:

Deut 8:2-3 You shall remember the whole (long)  way I have led you these 40 years through the wilderness... I have humbled you and let you hunger that I might feed you with manna that you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that you might know that man does not live by bread alone but by the very word that comes from the Lord. (ESV)

This verse spoke to me because, for those of you who followed our possible move to Spain last year, I've been feeling like we're in the long way to getting to where we're going.  I did not realize that we were about to enter possibly a time of hunger.  I started memorizing this verse 24 hours before Larry found out that his work situation had changed.  We've been blessed with work opportunities in the meantime and are still being fed with manna that we have not known nor have our parents known.  We're living more and more securely on God's word for sure.  It was amazing the joy that this verse caused me to receive Larry's news with.  I knew immediately that the Lord would be providing manna for us.  It is not in my human nature to receive such unknowing well, but the Lord had already provided for me with hope in this verse.

Move onto the next one.  We have been claiming the promise of Proverbs 19:21 over our lives.  I went to Beth's site with a completely different verse in mind, but the first posting was this verse by someone else who's participating in the challenge.  I can see so much hope in this verse: for those who are always making plans, but rarely see them come to fruition; for those who like to plan but are discouraged from doing so by those who glorify the gypsy life; for those who do not yet know what direction God is leading them in.  Hear these words and receive the full satisfaction God provides in this manna:

Many are the plans in a man heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. (NIV) (or check out the NASB)

One of my core group girls had the greatest image of this: our plans are like seeds that we spread over the ground.  Some will grow, and we will know them to be in the Lord's purpose as they grow firmly.  Sometimes we will not see a plant grow from any of the seeds that we plant, but we may see the most beautiful flower grow out of the same land.  This is the Lord's purpose amongst our planning.  Be encouraged that he has good plans for you!  With a hope and with a future.

The current verse is Psalm 37:23-24.  I pray that I can claim this assurance, that God will make our steps secure and catch us when we stumble on this next path of ours.

A man's steps are established by the Lord, and He takes pleasure in his way.  Though he falls, he will not be overwhelmed, because the Lord holds his hand. (HCSB)

I would love to hear what Scripture God has or is speaking to you.  I would encourage you to memorize this.  Not for the sake of the memorization exercise, but that it might be written on our hearts and brought to mind when we need it.  Blessings on your time with the Word.