Monthly Archives: March 2011

Simple Praise

So, this picture doesn’t directly connect to the words of this post, but I wanted to show you the mums we bought the other day to cheer up our porch!  Spring really is a great season.

On to the post.

I read Psalm 117 the other day and was refreshed by its simplicity:

“Praise the Lord, all you nations; extol him all you peoples.  For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the Lord endures forever.  Praise the Lord.”

That’s the entire psalm.  Sometimes all I need is to be called to praise the Lord because of his great love and enduring faithfulness.  God’s character is unchanging, constant, and praiseworthy, no matter what I am currently experiencing.  I pray that this kind of praise would characterize my life, as well as yours.

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Crockpot Chicken

I’ve been wanting to try out some crock pot recipes ever since we moved into our apartment back in November, and this week I finally dragged the crock pot out of its box in our laundry room where the washer/dryer would sit if we had one.  Perhaps it was overkill, but I made two recipes this week.  I know, and it’s only Wednesday.

Monday I made momswhothink.com’s Cranberry Chicken, based on a friend’s recommendation.  The recipe calls for a bed of sliced apples and onions underneath chicken breasts coated and covered in a mixture of cranberry sauce, lemonade concentrate (but I used lemon juice and a little bit of splenda), honey, tapioca, and salt.  It’s a nice mix of tangy and sweet, served over wild long grain rice.  We also enjoyed it left over for lunch on Tuesday.  And here’s a horrible picture I took of it…

I have a new appreciation for food photographers.  It turns out it takes talent after all.

And today I made a recipe my mom printed off for me from food.com that is unfortunately titled “Crock Pot Chicken W/ Black Beans and Cream Cheese….yum!” Do you guys have any ideas for a better name?

This recipe is insanely easy: 4 frozen chicken breasts, canned black beans, canned corn, a jar of salsa, and a block of cream cheese.  This time I ganked a picture from food.com:

These recipes aren’t gourmet or particularly impressive, but I was excited about trying them out this week.  I chose them partly because of their short lists of ingredients, which now that I think of it, might be part of the definition of “un-gourmet.”  Another part is probably leaving it unattended for hours in a slow-cooking electrical appliance.

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Hello, How May I Help You?

Yep, I finally started my new job!  I’m working part time as a receptionist, which fits my love for meeting and greeting like a glove.  Though I’m not fully acclimated, I do feel pretty competent after my little bit of training when it comes to the easier, more frequent things to be done.  Also, the people I work with have been really nice so far, which is a huge help.

In light of my new job, I’d like to share a little clip from another receptionist.

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Costly Grace

I recently read a book by Tim Keller called “The Prodigal God” about the parable commonly called “The Prodigal Son.”  It turns out the “The Prodigal Son” is a bit of a misnomer, or at least misses the point of the parable, because the word prodigal does not mean “wayward,” but instead means “recklessly spendthrift,” to spend until you have nothing left.  This does describe the younger son, who gravely disrespects his father by asking for his part of the family inheritance before the father was dead and who leaves home for a far off land, where he spends all of his inheritance on prostitutes and wild living, but it describes the father in the parable even more.  When the son hits rock bottom, he decides to return home and ask to be a hired hand in his father’s household.  The father sees him when is still a long way off and runs to greet him.  He doesn’t even let him apologize before he calls for a ring, the best robe, and the fattest calf for a banquet, essentially reinstating him as a beloved son.

The elder brother, as you may know, is incredibly offended by this and refuses to take part in the feast.  He becomes angry, and tells the father that he has been like a slave to his father, never disobeying him, yet he has never been rewarded with even a young goat with which to celebrate with his friends.  He feels entitled to good things and like he can control the father with his stellar record of obedience.

But he has not obeyed out of love for his father.  If that were the case, he would not feel like a slave.  In the parable, the elder brother never repents of this attitude of self-righteousness, which leaves us wanting, knowing something or someone is missing.  Here’s why:

The younger brother was brought back into the family at no cost to him, which is grace.  Grace comes at no cost to the recipient by definition, and this is a glorious thing.  But, it must come at a cost to someone.  Take for example, the instance in which a friend breaks your lamp.  You could hold your friend responsible for their actions and ask them to buy you a new one.  Or, you could show them grace and tell them they don’t have to replace your lamp.  If you want another lamp, though, you will have to pay for it.  Grace came at no cost to your friend who broke your lamp, but it did come at a cost to you, who either reads in the dark or replaced the lamp.  In the parable, the younger son received grace at no cost to himself, but someone had to pay for him to return to the family.  The grace the father showed the younger brother certainly came at a cost to the father’s reputation, but at this point, all the father’s remaining wealth technically belonged to the elder brother because it was his inheritance.  In the parable, the actual elder brother was quite angry and resentful about this.  A true elder brother, who is joyfully willing to pay to bring the son back into the family, is missing.  He is not missing from reality, however.

Jesus Christ is our true elder brother.  Whether we identify more with the younger son or the older son, the reality is, we are all lost sons.  We disrespect and do not love our Father, shown either in wild living or slavish, self-righteous obedience to religion.  Yet, Jesus Christ was willing to pay our ransom with his very life, in order to bring us back into the family.  We experience grace at absolutely no cost to us.  But it was quite costly to him.

Thank you, Jesus, for paying for the debt of my sin and bringing me into the feast of salvation!

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