28 February 2009

brought near

When someone asks what my favorite book of the Bible is it always puts me in a quandary. How can I choose? What should I say? I could say the Psalms. But then I’d leave out Galatians. And if I say Colosians then I’d have to exclude Jeremiah. It’s just plain hard I tell you. I could just say, all if it. The Bible as a whole. But then I’d not be very honest about how difficult I find I and II Chronicles. Or even on some days, Romans. *sigh*

Today I came to Ephesians 2:12-22

". . . remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit."

Wow. At one time “separated from Christ”, “having no hope and without God”. . .

But now!! But now!! But NOW in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ!! My prayer is that this hits you smack between the eyes like it did me this morning. We have been brought near. Our sin no longer causes us to be held at arms length! The blood of Christ has brought us near! For He himself is our peace. And through Him we have access (through the Spirit of God) to our Father.

We don’t have to stand outside the door anymore. We aren’t kept on the front porch. We are invited to come inside. To come “near”. We’ve been given “access” to the Father Himself through the Spirit. No more hanging around the fringes, but walking right in and coming near. No more sitting in a corner alone and forsaken. Coming near.

What happens when a child comes “near”? Generally it doesn’t mean just standing close by, does it? Nope. It means the arms of the parent or grandparent or uncle or auntie are wide open. Arms outstretched. Reaching. Welcoming the child to run and jump into them. It’s an arm around the shoulder. It’s a hug. A warm embrace. It’s snuggling up close on the couch for a story. It’s squishing in closer on the bench at lunchtime. It’s coming for comfort for a scraped knee. It’s linking arms during a shopping trip.

It’s coming “near”. Are you feeling the closeness? I know sometimes I feel far more distant than close. But then there’s that word: feel. And I must return to what is true.

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

This is what is true. I have been brought near. Is there sin in my life that is separating me from Christ? Or have I been so busy that I’ve neglected the “nearness”? Am I so weighed down with old baggage that I’m not enjoying the “nearness”?

So for today I realize that it’s been the engagement of my mind with other things. And I’m so thankful for *one* of my favorite authors penning those words to the believers at Ephesus. Because I sure needed the reminder today.

I have been brought near.

19 February 2009

the poor mouse

So, when we arrived home after being gone for the wedding of the century, we found this bit of blessedness floating dreadfully in the toilet. Very dead. No idea about how it arrived in our toilet. 

Rather made me think of "The Boys Next Door."

"Lord, here come da rat."

And so we did what the boys next door did. We flushed it. 

17 February 2009

Quote of the day

True love is friendship - caught on fire. 
Author Unknown

William and Esther's wedding was incredible. I want to blog about it if I get a chance. And I have lots of pictures to post. But if you can't wait, you can view them on facebook. Well, ok. Here's one picture to hold you over until I can get back. :o) 

Back later. . . 

07 February 2009

Recipe of the week

Southwestern Egg Casserole

10 eggs
1/2 c. flour
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
4 c. (16 oz.) monterrey jack cheese, shredded
2 c. (16 oz.) cottage cheese
1/2 c. butter, melted 
2 cans (4 oz. each) chopped green chillies

Beat eggs. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into eggs (batter will be lumpy). Add monterrey jack cheese, cottage cheese, butter and chillies. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 x 2 in. baking dish. Bake uncovered at 350˚ for 35 to 40 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting. 

Makes 10 to 12 servings. 

I don't make this recipe often simply because it's rather expensive with the cost of cheese. But if I happen to get a really good deal on cheese, watch out!! I've discovered that you can use nearly any kind of shredded cheese in this recipe. This morning I used cheddar and mozzarella. I usually don't put the chillies in it since I have small children, several of whom abhor anything remotely hot and spicy. 

This was our standard Saturday morning breakfast at Girl's Retreat. Several girls who "never eat breakfast" weren't too impressed when I brought out the egg casserole, but they decided to taste it anyway. Guess who had seconds. After that first adventuresome year at George and Linda's cabin on Lake Superior, this casserole became a tradition. 

02 February 2009

"And suddenly!!"

Tristen has been telling stories lately. I mean “story”. Singular. He pretty much has only one story. And every time he tells it, it begins the same way.

“And suddenly. . .”

The story varies only slightly from time to time. Some things are always the same. It always has a bear coming out of the woods. And Papa always has a gun to shoot the bear.

“And suddenly. . .”

I think God likes “and suddenly” too. He can work in what looks like complete darkness to me “and suddenly!!!” Viola!! Look at what God did!! Or He can work for years. . . “and suddenly!!” Wow! What a God!

Perhaps God’s “and suddenlys” aren’t really “sudden” at all. As John Piper says, “In every situation, God is always doing a thousand different things that you cannot see and you do not know."

I’d sure like to have an “and suddenly” this week. There are places in my life that have been shrouded in darkness. God has been working there for years. I know He’s doing “a thousand different things”, but I sure can’t see them.

Patience is a virtue. And like a friend reminded us once, wait is a four letter word after all.

Two truths come to mind:

“His divine power has given us EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness. . .” II Peter 1:3


“I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever.” Ps. 86:12

God’s goal in every “and suddenly” is to bring glory to Himself. But He will also provide everything we need to wait for the “and suddenly”.
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