Aug 31, 2017
Aug 17, 2017
Psalm 131 English Standard Version (ESV)
Song of Ascents. Of David.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
2 But I have calmed and
quieted my soul,
like a weaned child
with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, hope in
from this time forth and
English Standard Version (ESV)
Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016).
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News
Aug 10, 2017
We all been there. Someone is trying to explain something to you and after going through an explanation you respond with; “I don’t get it.”
And, so, with all of the confidence of an American Ninja Warrior trying to run up the “warped-wall” one more time, they take another shot at it.
And you respond once again; “I still don’t get it.”
And they respond by trying to explain it to you again and you end up being even more confused and dazed; or was it the other way around…
So how do you feel? Lost, confused, ashamed, stupid, wondering what is wrong with me…all the above?
The problem is that much like anything else that is explained to us, we don’t always grasp what is being said simply because we don’t always have the same vantage point as the one who is trying to teach us or explain something to us.
In Luke 18:31-33, we read a story when Jesus is telling His disciples for the third time how He is going to die and then be resurrected.
These are men who had been with for three or more years. These are men who were with the greatest Teacher to have ever walked the earth. These are men who at any time could ask Him anything! These are men who were hand selected to be a part of His team…
And Jesus is trying to make another attempt to get them to understand something very important.
“Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be delivered to the Gentiles and will be mocked and insulted and spit upon. They will scourge Him and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again.”
And yet, as we will read, after all the teachings and all of the time that they spent with Him, they still don’t understand what He is talking about.
V.34 “But they understood none of these things; this saying was hidden from them, and they did not know the things which were spoken.”
After all of the teachings and all of the time that they spent with Him, even they still don’t understand.
I guess that means that we also are qualified to be a disciple of Jesus Christ; right?
Yes….But, let me remind you, the problem is that much like anything else that is explained to us, we don’t always grasp what is being said simply because we don’t always have the same vantage point as the one who is trying to teach us or explain something to us.
I like how Oswald Chambers puts it:
God called Jesus Christ to what seemed absolute disaster. And Jesus Christ called His disciples to see Him put to death, leading every one of them to the place where their hearts were broken.
His life was an absolute failure from every standpoint except God’s.
But what seemed to be failure from man’s standpoint was a triumph from God’s standpoint, because God’s purpose is never the same as man’s purpose.
This bewildering call of God comes into our lives as well. The call of God can never be understood absolutely or explained externally; it is a call that can only be perceived and understood internally by our true inner-nature.
The call of God is like the call of the sea— no one hears it except the person who has the nature of the sea in him. What God calls us to cannot be definitely stated, because His call is simply to be His friend to accomplish His own purposes.
Our real test is in truly believing that God knows what He desires. The things that happen do not happen by chance— they happen entirely by the decree of God. God is sovereignly working out His own purposes.
If we are in fellowship and oneness with God and recognize that He is taking us into His purposes, then we will no longer strive to find out what His purposes are.
As we grow in the Christian life, it becomes simpler to us, because we are less inclined to say, “I wonder why God allowed this or that?” And we begin to see that the compelling purpose of God lies behind everything in life, and that God is divinely shaping us into oneness with that purpose.
A Christian is someone who trusts in the knowledge and the wisdom of God, not in his own abilities.
If we have a purpose of our own, it destroys the simplicity and the calm, relaxed pace which should be characteristic of the children of God.
So the next time that you find yourself in a quandary because you don’t understand, remind yourself that you may not be seeing the fuller picture.
Remind yourself that you are in great company and let the Lord take you to place of retelling you what you need to know as you once again say; “I don’t understand.”
Aug 3, 2017
It is very simple to make your own fresh pasta: Combine flour and salt on a flat surface and make a well in center. Whisk eggs, milk, and oil in a bowl until well blended; gradually pour into the well in flour mixture while mixing with fork or fingertips to form a ball of dough.
Place dough on a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for about five minutes, adding more flour to prevent sticking if necessary. When completely mixed, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest.
After about fifteen minutes, unwrap dough and knead briefly on a lightly floured surface. Using lightly floured rolling pin, roll out dough to about one-eighth inch thick. Let the dough rest for about fifteen minutes or until dough is slightly dry.
Press dough gently with hand and cut into strips of desired width with sharp knife. Carefully unfold the strips.
Dry the pasta for an additional fifteen minutes for soft pasta, and for at least one hour for hard, dried pasta. If you want to use it in the future, place the pasta uncovered in a dry area for twelve to twenty-four hours, turning it a few times.
After the pasta is completely dry, place it in an airtight container or zipper-lock plastic bags so that no moisture can affect it.
When we want to use the pasta, we (once again) place it in salted hot water to make it soft again. And then when it is cooked, we drain all of the extra water away leaving us with only the portion that has any use.
Seems like a lot of steps that are either adding water or taking it away (drying) just to make and use pasta!
Pondering this, I thought this is so much like how the Lord uses us for His work. The pasta serves as an image of waiting through seasons that don't make sense.
Seasons where it seems as though we are being mixed up and flattened and then made to rest.
When we reach the point at which we are used to the resting, He flattens us once again; sometimes adding water and sometimes adding flour; depending on what we need to become the right mixture to be shaped into what He has determined us to be. And then He makes us rest.
And, again, when we get used to the resting, He once again continues to mold and shape us until He is satisfied with the outcome. And then He makes us rest.
In time, when the rest has removed all of the unnecessary elements that will cause us to deteriorate or rot, He places us into storage...And we sit and rest once again until His appointed time.
When we reach the point at which we are used to the resting and have even given up on ever being used, He takes us out of storage and prepares us for service by placing us into situations which don’t make sense.
Oftentimes we have become hard and cold and inflexible as we have lost our understanding of who we are and what we were created to do.
In these places or seasons, the temperatures will increase and all around us may become turbulent as His perfect plan is accomplished and once again we become soft and useful for His work. Salt will be added to give us flavor as it penetrates into our very being and causes us to be changed.
And just when we have become used to the temperature, He drains all of the unnecessary things that surround us; leaving us exposed as the vapors of what had been escape us…
It is then, in this final stage that we have fully become what He had created us to be and we are consumed and poured out as we give glory to His Holy Name.