Monthly Archives: January 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

Literally.  I went outside to get the mail today and it was so absolutely beautiful that I had to take a walk around our apartment complex.  It was sunny and warm and just perfect.  During my walk, I discovered that our community has a playground with swings, so I stopped by to swing for a few minutes.  This walk was so refreshing and such a nice break from staring at the computer screen as I scour the web for job opportunities, rack my brain for great action verbs for my resume, and endlessly re-edit cover letters, that I felt compelled to come back to my computer screen and blog about it.  🙂

I hope you feel just a little refreshed reading this.

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Floods

“As the deer pants for streams of water,

so my soul pants for you, O God.

My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.

When can I go and meet with God?

My tears have been my food

day and night….

 

Why are you downcast, O my soul?

Why so disturbed within me?

Put your hope in God,

for I will yet praise him,

my Savior and my God.

 

My soul is downcast within me;

therefore I will remember you…

Deep calls out to deep

in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers

have swept over me.”

Psalm 42

 

I never quite understood the “deep calls to deep” part with the waterfalls and waves and breakers.  But, as I was reading this beautiful psalm the other day, I was struck by how that section could connect with the opening verses: “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.”  The author’s soul is downcast and he doesn’t feel the presence of God.  He desires God’s presence as the deer desires streams of water.  But God’s presence doesn’t come in streams of water; it comes in waterfalls.  It comes as waves and breakers sweeping over the author.  It comes as a flood.

O God, come flood our lives with your presence.

 

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Paprika, Coffee, and Oregano

For Christmas, we gave my father-in-law a jar of homemade barbecue rub.  I got the recipe from Real Simple.com and we gave it to him without trying it, so we were a little apprehensive when they invited us over for dinner last night and served pork marinated in the rub.  But, it was delicious!  I thought I’d share the recipe in case you’d like to try a new rub on your grilled or baked meats!  The recipe yields 1 1/3 cups, but if you’re adventurous and ok with not being precise, I think you could guesstimate how much of each ingredient you should put in to a smaller amount of rub and it would still turn out great.  We felt it was a little paprika-y, so next time I make it, I’m going to try reducing the paprika a tad.  So, without further ado, I give you The Recipe!

Big Batch Barbecue Rub

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup paprika
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 3 tablespoons ground coffee
  • 4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoons black pepper

Directions

1. Combine the ingredients and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 months.

2. Instructions to include with your gift: Up to 2 hours before cooking, coat 2 pounds of chicken, beef, pork, or seafood with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sprinkle with 2 to 4 tablespoons of the rub. Cook as desired.

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Power and Wisdom

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Greeks, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”  1 Corinthians 1:18, 22-24

Paul is always talking about the cross and Christ crucified.  And I think we should follow suit.  This is a lot easier for me to do when I think about the incredible truth behind Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.  This truth, displayed in passages like 1 Corinthians 1:18-24, grips my heart, my mind, and my soul and produces in me awe and worship.  My prayer is that it would for you too.

Paul says that the cross seems ridiculous to those who are perishing, those who are against God and have hard hearts toward him, but to us who are being saved, the cross displays the power of Christ.  He expounds upon that further, saying that he and his partners in ministry preach Christ crucified, in which Christ, his crucifixion, and resurrection are revealed as not only the power of God but the wisdom of God as well.  This got me thinking, how do the events of the cross display these things?

Christ crucified displays the power of God in that Jesus, as God, was able to command angels and creation, but chose not to.  He says in Matthew 26:53-54, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?”  Jesus has the power to save himself, and he also has the power of self-control and obedience to God.  He knows the cross is the way God has decided to offer forgiveness, redemption, and new life to humans, and he has the power to submit himself to the torture, abuses, and death of the cross.  He also has the power to love so unconditionally that he would be willing to die for us in such a painful and humiliating manner.

Another display of power in the cross is in the event that happened afterward: Jesus Christ rose from the dead.  In doing so, he proved that he was more powerful than death and sin.  He conquered these things that hold power of us.  We have such a propensity to sin that Paul says we are slaves to sin (Romans 6:16-18).  But Christ crucified and resurrected has freed us from that bondage and we can live rightly.  He has the power to choose good every time, and through his power, given to us by the Holy Spirit, we too can choose righteousness instead of sin.  He has also given us power over death, because after we die physically, our souls are resurrected and we live in heaven, in God’s presence.  This takes the sting and the fear out of death (1 Corinthians 15).  God is more powerful than anything, even death and sin.  This gives even more confidence to Romans 8:31 “If God is for us, who can be against us?”  And even more assurance that He is worthy of our complete trust, faith, and surrendering of our will and desire to live for ourselves.

The cross also displays the wisdom of God.  God made a way for both justice and mercy, rightful wrath and grace.  No one seeks God (Romans 4:10), no one is righteous (Romans 4:10), all have sinned (Romans 4:23), and all have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 4:23).  The consequence of sin (not seeking God, not being righteous, falling short of the glory of God- all different ways of saying the same thing) is death (Romans 6:23).  As much as we try to deny this, it is reality.  God set up these consequences when sin entered the world.  All sin leads to death.  As an aside, God punishing sin is actually to be desired, because we don’t want sin, evil, and injustice to be able to go on forever.  Human trafficking, the sex slave industry, murder, betrayal, selfishness- we all truly want these things to be punished and no longer allowed to exist.  Because of this reality, God’s perfect justice demands death for our sin.  In other words, our sin condemns us to death.  Yet, God also desires to show mercy and compassion (Micah 7:18-19, Psalm 145:8).  So, in his wisdom, God designed that Jesus Christ, the perfect, righteous God-man, would take on our sins (“be sin for us,” as 1 Corinthians 5:21 put it) and experience the punishment for sin.  God would take his wrath out on sin in the person of Jesus Christ.  In exchange, he would show us mercy and grace by giving Christ’s righteousness to us as we believe in the truth of this exchange.  The cross allows justice, wrath, and punishment of sin, as well as mercy, grace, and compassion.  And guess which part we get?  None of the punishment, ALL of the mercy, grace, and compassion!  How wonderful!

And the cross is God’s wisdom because he knows that our cold and stubborn hearts are melted and changed only by the free gift of unconditional love and grace.  Things like rules, peer pressure, and cold logic cannot truly change us.  God in his wisdom, gives us new hearts and makes us a new creation, so that we can change from the inside (2 Corinthians 5:17).  This ability to change is made possible by Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

Though this is a long post, it is definitely not comprehensive of the ways Christ crucified displays the incredible power and wisdom of our God.  I hope that we continue to look for and think about more ways in which we see this truth.  And I pray that this truth causes praise and adoration to well up in our hearts for our great God!

 

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Check Out this Mini Bar!

My husband and I just checked into our hotel for the week and I am absolutely blown away by our mini bar.  We opened our refrigerator to find it chock full of beverages, only some of which are on the counter in the photo above!  We had to take them out to put in our dinner leftovers.  This is what it looked like before we cleaned it out:

And just so you know, I added up the costs of all the items and discovered that if we caved into the pressure and consumed everything, this temptress of a hotel would charge us $255.  Can you believe that?

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War Eagle

As I mentioned in my previous post, I went to visit my cousin, Laura, at Auburn University on Thursday.  I had a really great time seeing her dorm, touring the campus, and eating lunch downtown at Big Blue Bagel (delicious homemade bagel chips)!  One Auburn tradition is for students and fans to roll Toomer’s Corner in toilet paper after football victories.  Since Auburn just won the BCS National Championship game on Monday, Toomer’s Corner was still rolled!  Laura said they usually power wash the TP down, but because it was so cold they were afraid it might freeze.  I thought it would look tacky, but it was actually kinda pretty!  It looked a lot like snow:

I really enjoyed my visit to Auburn.  I got to spend some great time with my cousin and see the school she and her family love!

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The Magic City

We spent last week in Birmingham, AL, which was nicknamed “The Magic City” back in the late 1800s because of its large steel industry.  This history is remembered by a cast iron statue of the Roman god Vulcan at his forge.  It was crafted for the 1904 World Fair in St. Louis and it now sits atop Red Mountain in Birmingham.  There is a park and museum around it that tells of Birmingham’s industrial history.  Visitors can climb to the observation deck that goes part-way up the monument, but it was closed the day I went (maybe because it was 22 degrees and there was ice on the ground?).  There’s also a great view of downtown.

I meant to go to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute and the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, an African American church that was bombed in 1963, but I didn’t make it there.  I’m sad I missed out on some opportunities to learn about and reflect on both some dark and some bright moments in U.S. history.  Part of the reason for my not going was the ice and snow Birmingham received on Sunday night (I spent all day Monday in the hotel).  The other part was babysitting 6 month old twin boys on Tuesday and visiting my cousin at Auburn University on Thursday (post on that coming soon)!

On Friday I enjoyed the morning at a local coffee shop called O’Henry’s Coffees.  They have great ambiance and yes, great coffee.  And isn’t that a cute picture ganked from their website down there?  Finding local coffee shops and settling down for a couple of hours to read is one of my new favorite hobbies.  And you thought I was an extrovert!  🙂

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