Monday, September 26, 2011

Cooking lessons

I love when the seasons change...leaves turning colors, crisp fall breezes, fires flaming in the fireplace...and, best of all, pumpkin pie. My family loves pumpkin pie. So the first cool week in September, my mom and I made a double recipe of pumpkin pie. She rolled out crusts on one end of the kitchen while I mixed the filling on the other. It brought back memories of when we made the pies last September, and I carelessly flipped open the can of pureed pumpkin. My mom ended up finishing that pie since I promptly wrapped my finger in lots of band-aids. It wasn’t a big cut, but it was deep–deep enough for me to see a scar on my knuckle when I opened the can this year.

Ever since that pie last year, I have been very careful to follow my mom’s instructions when I’m cooking. Instead of opening and dumping cans as if I was competing in the international Rubik’s cube championship, I very carefully pry the lid open. That scar is enough to remind me not to be careless with sharp edges. I used to think my mom’s warnings were a little too cautious...after all, you can slide a finger over the sharp edge of a can without getting cut, so why waste time opening a can so slowly? But once I actually felt the consequences of being careless, I understood the importance of slowly working with sharp objects.

Isn’t it funny how we are so prone to thinking that we’re the ultimate authority on everything? Like Liesel said in Sound of Music: "I’m sixteen years old and I don’t need a governess!" Even respectful Christian teenagers can unintentionally get that attitude. It’s not that we’re trying to be disobedient, but we just assume we know more than our moms and dads do. And, what’s worse, we sometimes act–not that we would ever say this–like we know more than God does. No, we’re not out murdering and stealing in our free time, but what about getting angry at siblings or thinking we inherently deserve the biggest slice of pie? Our anger is not righteous indignation, and if you think you deserve anything–! We just don’t get it. When God gives us commandments, it’s for our own good! He doesn’t make up rules for the sake of rules; God gave us commandments that our for our good and His glory. But then, when we act like we’re smarter than He is, God sends us a reminder that He is infinitely wiser than our little finite minds. He sends us pain as the consequences of our foolishness. Now we remember that He knows better. As C. S. Lewis said once said in The Problem of Pain, "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

Pain is God’s megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

If we would only listen to those whispers in the pleasant times, we could avoid so much pain! But God is sovereign, and He plans our pains to make us grow.

Revelation 3:19–As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A Christian's praises

O God, my exceeding joy,
singing Thy praises uplifts my heart,

for Thou art a fountain of delight,

and dost bless the soul that joys in Thee.

But because of my heart’s rebellion

I cannot always praise Thee as I ought;

Yet I will at all times rest myself

in Thy excellencies, goodness, and loving-kindness.

Thou art in Jesus the object of inexpressible joy,

and I take exceeding pleasure in the thought of Thee.

But LORD, I am sometimes Thy enemy;

my nature revolts and wanders from Thee.

Though Thou hast renewed me,

yet evil corruptions urge me still to oppose Thee.

Help me to extol Thee with entire heart-submission,

to be diligent in self examination,

to ask myself

whether I am truly born again,

whether my spirit is of Thy children,

whether my griefs are those that tear repenting hearts,

whether my joys are the joys of faith,

whether my confidence in Christ works by love

and purifies the soul.

Give me the sweet results of faith,

in my secret character, and in my public life.

Cast cords of love around my heart,

then hold me and never let me go.

May the Savior’s wounds sway me more than the scepter of princes.

Let me love Thee in a love that covers and swallows up all,

that I may not violate my chaste union with the beloved;

There is so much unconquered territory in my nature,

scourge out the buyers and sellers of my soul’s temple,

and give me in return pure desires,

and longing after perfect holiness.

(This prayer was in my church bulletin; there is no name after it, but I think it is from the Valley of Vision or another Puritan prayer book)

Monday, September 12, 2011


BUSY busy busy busy BUSY busy busy busy

Have you ever watched The Widow’s Might? If you have, you probably can hum along the melody to the "Busy" song. Soon after the townspeople beginning whispering "busy" and listing off their chores that must be done, the lone cowboy comes riding up. And then he sings (I forgot to mention–it’s a musical) the "Apathy" theme.

That is a bad description of the song, but it should give you the idea.

Business often leads us to apathy. You get so busy, you just don’t care too much about anything other than your busyness. Lately, I’ve been going around hearing "BUSY busy busy busy" in my head, while I’m going through a mental checklist: Write the paper and do the reading. Solve the problem and practice piano. Learn the verses and study 2 Peter. And then, the little cowboy (who I normally call my conscience), comes on stage and starts saying, "Apathy!" And I sigh, and try to get my priorities straightened out. I’m doing lots of good things; it’s not that I’m busy wasting time! But you can be apathetic even while you’re studying the Bible. You know how the conversation goes. It’s been a long day of school and you just sat down to study, and then your mom comes in and says,

"Are you busy right now? Can you help me in the kitchen for a few minutes?" You groan inwardly and attempt to smile outwardly. It’s a rhetorical question. Yes you are busy, and yes you will help.

"Um, sure...I was just reviewing a bunch of verses before I finish my homework." You try to say it cheerfully, but somehow a mildly sarcastic edge creeps in.

And I do help her for as long as she needs your help, and then, I dash back to the cards. Do you get the picture? I’m giving my mom the minimum. That’s apathy. I’m busy keeping up with everything else, so something is going to fall by the wayside.

By now, we’re all trying to keep up with a full school schedule, music or sports, church activities, and additional Bible Bee material. Talk about being busy! Maybe you’re even working part time and watching even more time get eaten up. You try so hard to do everything, but you just can’t keep up. Family time and helping around the house slips by unnoticed as the "busy apathy" sets in.

The purpose of the blog is to encourage each other and keep each other accountable in our studying...don’t get so busy with your studying that you become apathetic to your family!

Colossians 3:23-24–And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, 24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

P.S. I know I have written several similar posts about busyness recently, but it is something with which I struggle. I apologize if my writing is somewhat repetitive!