You’ve Been Here Long Enough

I love rereading Deuteronomy and the beautiful words of the Lord that it’s time to move on.

I read these words in my twenties when I was literally breaking camp to leave the mountains of North Carolina to attend graduate school. It was time to break camp, advance, and take possession of the new territory God had for my life. 

We read this in chapter 1: The Lord our God said to us at Horeb, “You have stayed long enough at this mountain. Break camp and advance into the hill country of the Amorites; go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore he would give to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them.

Something about this God who tells you when it’s time to move on made my heart sing.

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Today

I remember a quote from Frederick Buechner in his book The Longing for Home: 

“In the entire history of the universe, let alone in your own history, there has never been another day just like today, and there will never be another just like it again. Today is the point to which all your yesterdays have been leading since the hour of your birth. It is the point from which all your tomorrows will proceed until the hour of your death. If you were aware of how precious today is, you could hardly live through it. Unless you are aware of how precious it is, you can hardly be said to be living at all.”

It’s fascinating to think of how precious today is!

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Passed Down

My older friend passes down her sourdough bread starter that’s at least 30 years old. She’s teaching me how to feed it  and then make weekly loaves of delicious bread.

I feel connected to ancient rhythms and ancient wisdom. Perhaps, 30 years from now, I’ll stand here with grandchildren to teach them about my bread.

 

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Learning to Scale Up

This summer, I’ve been cooking for a group of 25 people as part of our Cru Grad Summer Mission. I’ve learned to take my recipes and scale up. 

When you realize that your’e doing the same old little thing, just on a bigger scale, your work becomes manageable and less stressful. You simply need larger pots and containers, but essentially, it takes the same amount of time to make one lasagna as several in terms of time spent cooking ingredients.

Some of our scaled up recipes this summer have been a big taco salad, meatball subs, Javanese Chicken, chili bowls, and lasagna. It’s been fun cooking for a crowd!

The taco salad was close to this recipe (I was helping my friend cook using hers!). We served it with Mexican Cornbread.

The meatball subs were made with frozen meatballs in a crockpot with jarred spaghetti sauce. We served them on hoagie rolls with provolone and swiss cheese. Chips and brownies on the side.

Any chili recipe works in the crockpot, but we served it as a “chili bar” with bowls of rice, corn chips, onions, cheese, and sour cream.

For the lasagna, we love the Pioneer Woman’s recipe. We served this with breadsticks and caesar salad.

And that’s how we’ve been cooking for a crowd!

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I’ll Be Your Sunshine

Today, I find the rare Monotropa uniflora, also known as ghost pipe, Indian pipe, or the ghost plant.

The ghost plant contains no chlorophyll; it cannot take energy from the sun. It depends upon photosynthetic trees nearby for energy. Since it doesn’t need the sun–but desperately needs those that do need the sun–it tends to grow in the darkest, murkiest underparts of the forest. These that I found enjoy a rare bask in the sunshine, but this sun provides absolutely nothing for them. They don’t know how to use the sun. 

I examine the ghost plant and look around. So many plants become her sun. So many others feed her when she lacks that thing inside that makes her independent and able to take what she needs. With no chlorophyll, she’s designed for dependence on those who know the sun and produce that energy naturally.

When I meet certain people in certain dark times in their lives, I remember the ghost plant. Perhaps they come near because they need a little sunshine, and we’re so blessed to have all we need, even too much.

Stay right here. We’ll be your sun.

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“I have made you and I will carry you.” Isaiah 46:4

In my daily routine of reading the psalms, I forget the beauty and precious promises of Isaiah. As I turn there today, I find this gem that makes me laugh because I have recently found more and more gray hair. 

The Lord says in Isaiah 46: 3-4 that His people are the ones “whom I have upheld since you were conceived and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

I think about this gentle, tender God, the One who upholds us and carries us as He has from our childhood till now. I think of the promise of His carrying us as we age. It’s a beautiful picture. I think of myself in His arms, gray hair and all, perfectly carried. 

And I remember how, 16 years ago, I cried from exhaustion with a newborn baby. A wise woman approached me and quoted Isaiah 40:11: “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

She said, “He is carrying you. Do not worry.”

He carries us.

The Lord carried me then, and He carries me now. He will carry us into the futures we cannot see.

 

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Stand with Wisdom

When I think of the way people communicate on social media, I find my stomach in knots. It may seem smart, but it never seems wise.

I read James 3: 17-18 this morning:

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

Let us stand as voices of wisdom.

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A Life Goal: Psalm 112

As I read Psalm 112 this morning, I note so many worthy aims. The psalmist writes:

Praise the Lord.

Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
    who find great delight in his commands.

Their children will be mighty in the land;
    the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in their houses,
    and their righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
    for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
    who conduct their affairs with justice.

Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
    they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
    their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
    in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
    their righteousness endures forever;
    their horn[c] will be lifted high in honor.

10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
    they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
    the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

I think of these behaviors that I pray God develops in me and my family:

Blessing comes to those who fear God, who love His commands, who live gracious, compassionate, and righteous lives. Blessing comes to the generous and to the just. What I love about Psalm 112 is the extraordinary promise that this kind of living sets you up to “have no fear of bad news” and to never be shaken! Can you imagine? What a life! I pray this morning that the Holy Spirit produces in me this gracious, compassionate, God-fearing, and God-loving spirit at all times.

I think of all the bad news that could come today and all the things that might shake me. I don’t have to worry about anything because God gives a steadfast, trusting heart. He allows everything that happens to us to work for our God and His glory, so nothing, really, harms us.

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Always John 15

I examine John 15 to note the characteristics of abiding:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.  If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

I think about God’s work of pruning as we abide, of producing fruit, and of answering prayer. Is there any other way to live than this?

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