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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Love can be hard work

Love for Enemies


27"But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. 30Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31Do to others as you would have them do to you.

32"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. 33And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that. 34And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' lend to 'sinners,' expecting to be repaid in full. 35But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. 36Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful

So I recently had this situation in which I was falsely accused of being shady. This hurt my feelings. I replied with grace pretty easily through the work of the Holy Spirit in my life. Praise the Lord.
Then, the accuser did more accusing. And it really really hurt my feelings, especially since I had already gone out of my way to illustrate just how much on the up and up I am. And when I went to respond, it was A LOT harder to follow Jesus' command in the above chapter. And I have something that I could write right here, and it would be a really funny jab at one of the accuser's shortcomings. But.I.am.not.going.to.write.it. Because there is a still small voice gently prodding me toward being a gracious person.
 
I have a bit of practical advice to share. Write what you think would be an appropriate response. DON'T SEND IT. Then, read it the next day and see if it reflects God's love. Because, as I was just reading in a magazine called Above Rubies, "a few words spoken (or written, in my case) hastily under provocation can cut the cords of influence that bound their hearts to ours."
 
That's really all I have to say about it. Loving your enemies is a lot harder when you actually do it (as compared to just reading it and nodding). LOL.
 
Love.
 
Joce
 
 
 
 

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sourdough Bread...because God loves us and wants us to be happy

Sourdough Bread

2 T sugar (I use only one)
1/2 C olive oil (or melted butter)
1 t salt
1 1/2 C warm water: 105F-115F
6 C flour
1 C sourdough starter
3 t butter, melted

Combine the sugar, oil. salt, water, flour, and starter.Stir. Form into a ball. Place in greased bowl. Cover with a clean tea towel and let stand overnight.
The next morning, punch dough down and divide into thirds (or halves for bigger loaves). Knead each piece on a floured board 8-10 times. Grease loaf pans and turn each loaf over once to coat. Cover with tea towel and and let rise in pans until doubled in size, 4-5 hours. Preheat oven to 350F. Bake the bread until the crust is nice and golden brown, about a half an hour. Remove from oven and brush each loaf with 1 teaspoon of melted butter (Or rub with the end of a stick of butter.). Let cool on wire racks.

from: The Amish Cook at Home by Lovina Eicher.

XOOX
Joce

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To do today

Read the Bible.
Pray to God.
Go to town to the park to play with other MOPS mommies.
Make Cheese.
Crockpot roast
Weed more carrots
Get out 12 months clothes for Jessup.
Finish crochet block for Blankets for Haiti.
Go to Prayer Shawl meeting at church.

Lots of other small tasks that are always on the list, but don't actually make the written list:
Milk the cow, feed the baby, clean up clean up clean up, take a nap, etc.

There's a bit of what I am up to.

XOXO
Joce

Friday, June 11, 2010

Nancy Pelosi...still a goat

So, I couldn't get this little clip to embed, but you can follow the link if you want.
Nancy Pelosi simply astounds me.
XOXO
Joce

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something stinks

Francis Chan says, in Crazy Love, this:
         I wrote this book because much of our talk doesn't match our lives. We say things like, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," and "Trust in the Lord with all your heart." Then we live and plan like we don't believe God even exists. We try to set our lives up so everything will be fine even if God doesn't come through. But true faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God's fidelity to His promises.

A page before that we writes:
      My suggestion as you think, make decisions, and discern how God would have you live is to ask yourself, "Is this the most loving way to do life? Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?" I urge you to consider and actually live as though each person you come into contact with is Christ.

I copied these words here because I agree with them so wholeheartedly and do not think even if I took the time that I could write them more succintly. So now, I will just expound on his words a bit.

I feel bad about the example established Christians set for new Christians. This is a real life example. If you recognize yourself in this example, give me a call. A person I know came to Christ a few years ago. God made a HUGE difference in her life. Because some Christian ladies cared enough about her to make her feel welcome at a church-y thing. And then, she came to know GOD! Which is awesome. That will totally be a star in their crown in heaven. Jesus is psyched.

But then, those Christian ladies gave her a bad list of what is important. They, through the way they live their lives, modeled their "Christian" priorities. And she sucked it right up. Here's the list: nice house, 3-4 kids, minivan, tasteful clothes, healthy weight, extra-curricular activities for the kids (soccer, ballet, etc.) , financial responsibility, college education, and the list goes on. Those are not bad things. But they are a wrong focus. We should not live in such a way that a new Christian comes to believe that that is the POINT.

When a new Christian observes a Christian with a few years under her belt, what should she see?
A new outfit or love that gives a new coat to a homeless lady?
A new hairdo or joy on your face?
A college education or peace in knowing that God uses you in your weakness?
A row of sparkling children or patience as you direct your child in how stay on the sidewalk?
A gas-effecient minivan or kindness in a old Blazer that stops for the old lady walking home from the grocery store.
A 'good steward' who sells all the kids' outgrown clothes or goodness to those who could never afford that Children's Place outift?
A well-planned financial system that ensures all 4 kids go to college without too much sacrifice or faithfulness in giving to the single mom whose oldest son is attending the community college?
A shiny sink or gentleness in teaching your children to put their dishes on the counter?
A Yoga-firm body or self-control in buying/growing and eating only what you need and giving what you saved to the soup kitchen or your extra produce to the people all those children?

I am writing about this today not to point fingers. Because, I honestly smacked my kids while I was writing this because they kept interrupting me.  Really.  And that is not gentleness (or patience or love or...). Because I can't do 'gentleness.' But the Holy Spirit can. And He does. When I let Him. But that is a whole other topic.

I am writing because that example I gave? It rips my heart out when I see that person striving for the wrong things. Things that lead her AWAY from trusting and serving God. Things that lead her to trust and serve herself under the guise of "taking care of her family."

I'll end with a quote and a question.

Quote: "Christians are like manure. Spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they really start to stink."

Question: "Which are you? The kind that reeks, around which people walk a wide swath? Or the kind that trusts God enough to let Him spread you out- whether that means going outside your normal group of Christian friends, increasing your material giving, or using your time to serve others?"

Monday, June 07, 2010

Milk A1 or A2

New Milk Article

Nice to know I have a Jersey.
XOXO
Joce

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Givers....or takers

I am reading Crazy Love again. Because now, I am taking action on some of the commands of Jesus...and it is a little scary. I have stepped out in ways that if God doesn't come through, I'll be up the proverbial creek. And, so now, instead of reading it for conviction and motivation, I am reading it for encouagement and assurance.

I have two things to share from the book. One is a scripture passage that brings me to tears. Actual tears. For those of you who know me in real life- I don't spend a lot of time crying. I actually didn't shed a tear from like age 13-19. Like, none. God (and Joe) have been working on me to be a little more open emotionally, but not to the point that I would cry while reading the Bible, and not in front of other people! It must be the Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord.
(For those of you who are curious, I start to tear up around verse 6.)

Anyway, here are the verses:
     
from Isaiah 58

2 For day after day they seek me out;


they seem eager to know my ways,

as if they were a nation that does what is right

and has not forsaken the commands of its God.

They ask me for just decisions

and seem eager for God to come near them.



3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,

'and you have not seen it?

Why have we humbled ourselves,

and you have not noticed?'

"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please

and exploit all your workers.



4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,

and in striking each other with wicked fists.

You cannot fast as you do today

and expect your voice to be heard on high.



5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,

only a day for a man to humble himself?

Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed

and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?

Is that what you call a fast,

a day acceptable to the LORD ?



6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?



7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry

and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—

when you see the naked, to clothe him,

and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?



8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness [a] will go before you,

and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.



9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,

with the pointing finger and malicious talk,



10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry

and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,

then your light will rise in the darkness,

and your night will become like the noonday.



11 The LORD will guide you always;

he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land

and will strengthen your frame.

You will be like a well-watered garden,

like a spring whose waters never fail.



12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins

and will raise up the age-old foundations;

you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,

Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.



13 "If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath

and from doing as you please on my holy day,

if you call the Sabbath a delight

and the LORD's holy day honorable,

and if you honor it by not going your own way

and not doing as you please or speaking idle words,



14 then you will find your joy in the LORD,

and I will cause you to ride on the heights of the land

and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob."

The mouth of the LORD has spoken.

And then, here is what I read today. Chan was talking about Christ's command to love your neighbor as yourself. And how most Christians, when we here about others taking that literally- we are moved. We think it is so awesome! But, we do not step out in faith and follow that command in our own lives. And here is the really sucky part (sucky because I see it to be truth):

"Non-churchgoers tend to see Christians as takers rather than givers. When Christians sacrifice and give wildly to the poor, that is truly a light that glimmers. The Bible teaches that the church is to be that light, a sign of hope, in an increasingly dark and hopeless world. Matthew 5:16 says, 'Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.'"
~Crazy Love, pp. 140

I used to be annoyed at like Kingdom Bound or whatever when Compassion International would beg and plead and show pictures and TAKE A LONG TIME before a concert trying to get people to give. Okay, okay, there are poor people far away. Now, let's get on to Newsboys.

Now, I am annoyed that people (me) (CHRISTIANS!) were not clamoring to give and save and rescue those poor starving children. How is it that for all the church I have attended, that it had not been pounded into my head: GIVE. Give yourself. Give your money. Help the poor. That's pretty much all that Jesus talked about. How did I miss that?!?

Well. I am not missing it now. I have a clear focus. As Martin Luther said, "There are two days on my calendar: this day and that day."

About Me

About Me
I love Jesus, my hubby, my 6 kiddos, my farm, good books and good food.