Tuesday, October 23, 2012

If You Need Abundant Mercy

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus the Messiah from the dead" (1 Peter 1:3).

Have you felt inadequate lately? Unworthy? Have you felt like your life is a hopeless mess, or you've failed too much and are too far gone?

Have you wondered if you will ever get past that sin-hump and grow to new heights with Jesus? Have you wondered if you're really His, or if He really loves you, or if He could possibly have any use for you?

Good news: Our Father has an abundance of mercy, and He has begotten us not to despair, but to a living hope. How - what foundation is there for this hope?

He raised Jesus from the dead. From the dead! A God who can raise the dead can heal the sin-sick, can change the leopard's spots, can melt the heart of stone, can do anything!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Appreciating Women

Women are half of God's image.

"And Elohim created man in His own image;
in the image of God He created him;
male and female He created them" (Genesis 1:27).

Every person on this planet matters to the Father, and that includes women. So this month, as we're thinking about breast cancer awareness, remembering loved ones lost to the disease, encouraging the women in our lives to be careful, and generally "painting the town pink," let us remember also the women of all ages, around the world, who face deadly dangers of all varieties, like these little girls in India.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Celebrating Happy Days


It wafted up from the cafeteria, and my feet followed its strains out the door of art history and down the zigzag steps to the side of the hall, where I joined the crowd of a couple hundred students smiling while peering over the railing.

Down there in our own beloved cafeteria, bereft of the typical tables and chairs with laughing groups of students huddled over laptops, textbooks, and TV dinners - down there a ring of people surrounded the spacious, spontaneous dance floor where a score of individuals flowed danced to the Cupid Shuffle!

I looked around quickly - was there anyone I knew well enough to talk into joining the dance? I couldn't go by myself, not in front of all those people, but maybe if there was one person . . . but there wasn't, so I shrugged and immersed myself in the watching. Aahh, the joys of dance parties! =)

An international student from Africa joined us at the railing. "What?" Her face expressed confusion as she gestured toward the dancers.

"They're dancing, just for fun." I smiled.

"For fun," she nodded as she turned back to gaze at them. A few moments later, "What are they celebrating? They are just having a happy day?"

I laughed and nodded, full of the jubilance of the moment.
"A happy day, yes."

What further reason do we need in order to celebrate?
It's a happy day!
Let's dance.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Yahweh to Abraham

Can you make a star? I can!
Can you make a baby? I can!
Can you crumble walls, with your fist, to the ground? I can!
Can you fill wounded souls with jubilant sound? I can!

Can you see the heart? I can!
Can you love the dark, crazy? I can!
Can you take the world's swords, remake them for plowing? I can!
Can you unite the world's sects, make them peaceful and bowing? I can!

Can you feed the birds? I can!
Can you heal the dying? I can!
Can you wash the earth with fire or a flood? I can!
Can you wash your heart in the river of My blood? I can!

Can you do the impossible? I can!
Can you change the unchangeable? I can!
Can you make the faithless an army of soldiers? I can!
Can you remain faithful after generations are over? I can!

And I Am.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Old Bertha's Death (among others)

It's sad, but true - Bertha died yesterday. The good news is that she may come back to life shortly. Bertha is my car, lovingly named by a middle school volunteer at camp this summer. If you had the privilege of watching my car try to climb a little hill, you'd understand. =)

So anyhow, yesterday I was on my way to a 9:00 appointment when all of a sudden a "bird" started "chirping." Then lights came on; smoke began ascending; and just as I pulled into an available driveway, the steering wheel locked up. Isn't it great that the driveway was right there?

I got out and lifted the hood, but of course had very little idea what I was looking at. It turns out my cell phone was dead, too; and the owners of the driveway were away from home. Well! So, after leaving a note, I walked the remaining thirty minutes to my appointment through the invigorating morning air, arriving in time to have a five-minute discussion - that's all the time it needed to take, and it was a very satisfactory chat.

A friend's cell phone connected me to my parents, and soon my dad picked me up and we took a look at my car. He noticed the serpentine belt was missing, so we spent the next few hours fixing it. (I would have taken pictures, but my camera batteries were dead.) Finally we got it fixed, only to find out that there was a bigger problem. Lol.

So there Old Bertha sits . . . idle . . . dead. Come back soon!

Update: she's back! I'm so thankful. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Easy Hot Chocolate for One

This recipe is flexible, so tweak it till you find what you like best! 

Measure one cup of milk
Powdered milk works, too, if that's all you have.
Add one to two Tablespoons of sugar,
one to two Tablespoons of cocoa,
1/4 teaspoon vanilla,
and a pinch of salt. 

Stir till somewhat smooth, then microwave for about a minute and a half; stir a little more, and enjoy! =)


Saturday, October 6, 2012

On Judging People by Their Emails

A click of the mouse opened an email from a stranger, and my eyes followed the paragraphs full of large words, many in ALL CAPS and accompanied by a plethora of exclamation points!!! The words were crisp and stern, offering commands like "You must" as well as severe warnings like "Make sure . . ." and "I will make no exceptions." There were at least three separate emails on the same subject and containing basically the same message.

Dutifully setting up the necessary appointment and leaving in plenty of time to arrive punctually, I couldn't help but wonder what I was getting myself into. What kind of person was this? Obviously someone very stern and strict. Perhaps even mean. I expected a little old lady with those typical "teacher" spectacles and a shrill voice. Or maybe a large middle-aged professional with a condescending manner.

After parking my car, I took a sip of water and smoothed my hair. All the doors said, "Please use main entrance," so I kept walking around the building until I opened the glass door and entered an empty lobby. Passing through, I found empty hallways with doors and numbers. Finally, tucked away in a little corner - there it was.

The door was open, so I walked inside and peeked around to find an elderly woman at a desk. "Hi! I'm here for an appointment?"

What followed was a very helpful session with the sweetest, most peaceful and well-mannered woman I've ever met, which just goes to show that you should never judge a woman by her emails.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

"Worst Day of My Life"

Imagine having to be the bearer of bad news to a little child.
Imagine if you were that child.

Today, bad news was borne and received - bad news that is good news too; but the goodness doesn't cancel out the deep, lasting pain of the hurt. And so the women who bore the bad news say, "This is the worst day of my life."

Then they turn around and look at me through teary eyes, and they ask, "So - you still want to do this?" And I look back with a hurting heart and say, "yes," but inside I'm wondering how I can. . . .

How must the Father feel as He looks down at all us little children in our pain, knowing the good He's going to make out of it but knowing also that the pain is still real? Does His heart ache? Do His eyes water as His Son's did at Lazarus' funeral? Does He long, as these women did, to wrap His arms around each of us? Are we broken enough to let Him in?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Yay for Feedback!

Today is a very special day - a first - a day I've been eagerly awaiting for some time. What happened? 

My art history essay came back full of notes. 

That's right - the teacher critiqued my paper!
This has never, ever happened before, and it feels like I waited forever while teachers glanced briefly over my papers for good grammar and decent points and arbitrarily passed out A's. This world of rigorous college I've entered is a world full of so much potential for learning, and I'm super excited! 

A heartfelt "thank you" to the teacher who took the time to really read my paper and give constructive criticism so future papers can be better.