Monday, August 31, 2009

Savoring a Cup of Tea: Of God... (part 2)

I wrote earlier about the Westminster Confession of Faith and its 2nd chapter, 1st paragraph. The 2nd paragraph expands upon the first paragraph (which was about the nature of God), dealing primarily with God's sufficiency and his independence of mankind. This is the paragraph we read in church a few weeks ago. Read it slowly! It is worth meditating on.

God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of himself; and is alone in and unto himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which he hath made, not deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting his own glory, in, by, unto, and upon them: he is the alone fountain of all being, of whom, through whom, and to whom, are all things; and hath most sovereign dominion over them, to do by them, for them, or upon them, whatsoever himself pleaseth. In his sight all things are open and manifest; his knowledge is infinite, infallible, and independent upon the creature, so as nothing is to him contingent or uncertain. He is most holy in all his counsels, in all his works, and in all his commands. To him is due from angels and men, and every other creature, whatsoever worship, service, or obedience, he is pleased to require of them.

Friday, August 28, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

You make lemonade, right? Well, when the Lord gave me pounds and pounds of green tomatoes, I've been learning to make use of them. A combination of toddlers picking what they thought were "apples," the voracious squirrels who love green tomatoes and who I'm trying to outdo, and late tomato blight (which officially, now, has decimated my entire crop of 20 plants...)--all of these factors have provided an abundance of green tomatoes.

Instead of wasting these, I figured there had to be something I could do with them (besides frying; who wants to eat 10 pounds of fried green tomatoes?!). I remembered seeing a version for green tomato ketchup in one cookbook and that started my hunt. To date, I've made green tomato bread (a real winner), green tomato cake (also good, but not any better than carrot cake), green tomato ketchup (YUM--might be growing more tomatoes next year just for this), and green tomato relish (a slightly spicy, cilantro flavored one--also worth growing tomatoes for next year). I've got enough to make one more round of the ketchup or relish. There are 7 cups of puree in the freezer awaiting more bread making.

I'm starting to appreciate more and more how easy it is for us to eat in this country. Were we pioneers, we would have to find uses for produce like this...or starve. Amazingly, in God's creation order, He's built in a cushion. Certainly there are times of famine--both biblically and in modern day periods; but, in those apparently lean and "more creative" years, His people can still eat and be satisfied. Over and over again in Scripture, there are accounts of God providing food. Over and over again in our own lives, we witness His provision. I've learned that green tomatoes not only have the same aount of lycopene as ripe, red ones, but they also have twice the vitamin C, more vitamin K, and more calcium! (Incidentally, red ones have more vitamin A, more vitamin E, and more potassium.) So, even though I'm eating a not-quite-ripe crop, I'm still getting nutritious food! I'm fascinated by the way God has designed his creation to nourish us even when we don't expect it.

The next time you head to the grocery store and pick up a jar of (red) salsa or grab a bag of lettuce or examine the bananas, remember that all of that food still comes from the hand of the Lord. We may not fight the battle to eat on a daily basis like rural folks who are subsistence farming, but we are still dependent on the Lord's care. So, thank him for your meal tonight! (You might also thank him that you don't HAVE to be subsistence farming to eat tonight.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Savoring a Cup of Tea: Of God...

My friend Sarah and I are working through The Gospel for Real Life by Jerry Bridges (I highly recommend it!!). As she and I talk through some of the points Bridges makes, we keep coming back to the nature of God. Biblical Christianity makes so much more sense, and is such a robust faith, when you start with the character and nature of God rather than examine man and his proposed sin nature. Who cares if we "sin" if there isn't a holy God in the first place? But, because God is holy (and sovereign, just, loving, etc.), then our sin becomes all the more reprehensible and his grace all the more undeserved and amazing.

Yesterday, in church, our responsive reading was taken from the Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 2, paragraph 2. The title of the chapter is "Of God, and of the Holy Trinity." Paragraph 1 is just as amazing, so I'm going to post it first. Because the Confession is a meaty document, it's worth pondering one paragraph at a time (or one phrase!). In addition, I think it worth noting that the Confession starts with the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture, thus establishing why we can go to Scripture for our doctrine. The very next thing it tackles is the nature of God--nothing else is quite as important in my opinion. As I mentioned above, the more we meditate on who God is, the more aware of our own sinfulness we will be and the more overcome by his grace.

There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions, immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the counsel of his own immutable and most righteous will, for his own glory; most loving, gracious, merciful, long-suffering, abundant in goodness and truth, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin; the rewarder of them that diligently seek him; and withal most just and terrible in his judgments; hating all sin, and who will by no means clean the guilty.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Neat Little Blessing

Ok, I thought this was really cool. On the way to the store tonight my 6yr. old said a prayer that the rain would stop long enough for us to get in the store. (It was already raining/sprinkling.) When he told me, my first thought was "God, you better be will this turn out?" Well, sure enough, the rain had stopped long enough for us to get into the store! How cool that a big God can listen to an earnest prayer from a little boy and respond. What a way to ingrain belief and the importance of prayer in their little hearts! We've had the conversation that God doesn't always answer yes, or right away (especially on things like, I really want that toy car...). But this was an unforced, on his own move and God responded.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Check It Out

I posted some breakfast recipes on full tummies this week (each day is a new recipe), so check them out if you're interested. There's also a little amusing post on children's literature on Literaritea.