A few months ago, I had an experience which affected me profoundly. It was my birthday. I went for a run down to the waterfront and sat for a little while on the beach looking out at peaceful waves lapping the shore. Since it was my birthday, I was in a bit of a thoughtful mood, reviewing my life and the events of the past year. I began thanking God for each blessing he had given me and all the good things in my life.
As I did so, something began to shift inside me. I suddenly realized I had been very ungrateful lately, disgruntled and upset about certain things I felt I should have that I didn’t. Instead of focusing on the many blessings I did have, I had been choosing to focus on the things I didn’t. I allowed those things to fill my view and depress my mood so that I was unhappy about my life. But when I began to praise God for the good things I did have, I suddenly realized I actually had a very good life and many, many things to be thankful for.
Gratefulness or ingratitude, contentment or unhappiness, are all a matter of perspective. I can be content with the many blessings God has given me, or I can choose to focus on things I think I should have but don’t. The first way is a way of light, peace, and happiness; and what’s more, it accords with reality. The second is a way of darkness and unhappiness, and buys into the lie that God hasn’t given me everything I need or isn’t good to me. Same life, two totally different perspectives that change everything about how I feel and what I see.
The apostle Paul urges us to “give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thess. 5:18) That’s something I’m still working on when it comes to circumstances I outright don’t like. But it's something I want to be better at.Comments: 0
I’ve been struck very strongly recently by the fact that there are two possible, radically different ways to live. We each have the choice—I have the choice of which way I will live. This is a very personal conviction, so I’m going to write this as if I’m writing it to myself, which I am.
The first way is simply to live for myself. To spend my time, money, thought, and energy only on my own life. To work toward accumulating the things that I want, the things that I think will make my life better and more comfortable. To work hard to preserve the things that I have and to gain more and better things. To use my time solely to do things that I enjoy, not directed toward the good of anyone else. To spend my money only on me and things that I want.
In this first way, my only goals are my comfort, enjoyment, well-being, and gain. I seek to get more money and things, and I preserve them only for myself. My sole consideration when making a decision is, is this something I want? Is this something that will benefit me and further the goal of improving my life? I am the only consideration, my well-being the only purpose.
It doesn’t take much work to live like this. This is the default, the way we are all inclined from birth. It’s my natural inclination as well.
Jesus told a parable that cuts to the core of my inclination:
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:13-21)
In this parable, Jesus exposes how foolish this way of life is. No matter how much we accumulate in this life, we can’t take any of it with us when we die. Living as if this life and our material comfort in this life are all that matters, is to foolishly ignore the fact that we all must die, that we will face God’s judgement for how we’ve lived and used the resources he’s given us, and that eternity is forever.
In light of those considerations, the only way of life that makes any sense is the kind of life that Jesus continually calls us to: to give up ourselves, our comfort, our riches, our lifestyle, our time, our money, our energy, our love—in short, our lives—for him, his kingdom, and for others.
In this second way of life, nothing is considered ours. Everything is God’s. We hold it with a loose hand. We are willing to give it up, whether it be our time, our comfort, our money, or our possessions, to serve him and serve those he’s called us to love. We are generous with what he’s given us. We don’t seek to preserve our lives but to lose them in order to keep them eternally. We don’t fuss and grieve when we lose material possessions, because we know we have a better and lasting inheritance in heaven (Hebrews 10:34). We willingly accept a lower standard of life if necessary in order to further the gospel.
This strikes at the heart of our Western materialistic, secular culture, which teaches us that we “deserve” a high standard of life and urges us to continuously accumulate more and better things; and at the heart of mankind, which naturally seeks its own well-being above all else. Jesus teaches us that contrary to our natural inclinations, “Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39)
I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, I desire to be “rich toward God” and not toward myself, because that is all that is going to last forever. I don’t want to foolishly live as if this life is all there is, and I want treasure in heaven waiting for me when I die.Comments: 0
One of my friends is a fairly new Christian. She recently remarked that she didn’t like reading the Old Testament, and when I asked why, she said “God just seems awfully angry.” I replied with something profound like “hmm”, and the conversation went on from there.
But that remark squirreled away in my brain, and, coupled with my recent bible reading, sparked some thoughts. This is absolutely not some great theological, exegetical, hermeneutical, scholarly paper, just my thoughts. So if you want detailed scholarly information, see elsewhere. Or just read the Old Testament.
God seems angry in the Old Testament? Why yes, yes he does. He was angry quite a lot. But why? Why was God so angry?
To figure that out, we have to look at the history of Israel. God had taken a ragtag bunch of slaves from their harsh taskmasters in Egypt, as he had promised hundreds of years before. He heard their cry, took pity on them, came down, picked Moses to lead them, did a whole bunch of big miraculous signs, including killing the Pharaoh and his army, to get them out. Once they were out, he provided for them miraculously in the desert, including repeatedly listening to their cries for meat or water or food or whatever, and giving it to them. He preserved them so their stuff didn’t wear out even though they were tramping around the desert. He brought them into the land he had promised them, a really nice land that produced abundant agricultural products, and assisted them in kicking out the people who lived there (whether that was a really nice thing or not is a topic for a different time).
God made a covenant with Israel, a solemn promise. A good modern-day illustration would be a marriage, which, despite the fact that it’s so easily and commonly broken by divorce, is supposed to be a promise that you will spend the rest of your life with this person and take care of them in good times and bad, etc etc. In fact, that’s a perfect illustration because it’s the analogy God uses: he says he’s Israel’s husband and she’s his unfaithful wife. In the covenant God promises that he will be Israel’s God and look after them and have a special relationship with them. In turn, they promise to obey him and love him and be faithful to him and not worship other gods, which is the spiritual equivalent of having an affair with someone who is not your husband. If they obey, they will be blessed: with land, with produce, with peace, with prosperity. If they don’t, they will be cursed, and eventually, they will get conquered by their enemies and thrown out of their land.
And here’s the kicker: Israel agrees to all this. They hear God speaking, telling them all the terms of the covenant, including the blessings for obeying and the curses for disobeying, and they agree. They marry themselves to God that day forever and ever amen.
And then they go out and worship a golden calf that they make themselves.
And then...the entire history of Israel. Where God does miraculous things for them, takes care of them, provides for them, just as he promised in his half of the covenant. And what do they do? They worship other gods. They oppress the poor. They are violent and unjust. They do horrific things like sacrifice their children by burning them in fire to other gods. They refuse to change their ways or worship God. In other words, they do absolutely whatever they can do to shamelessly break their half of the covenant and throw a big “nah, nah, you can’t make me” at God.
So God sends them curses he promised. He allows their enemies to come and harass them. He allows drought and famine.
And then Israel “repents”. Under the pressure of hard circumstances, they cry out to God for mercy. And what does he do? He sends it. Instead of getting sick and tired of this faithless people who have never kept their promises to him, despite the fact that he has always kept his promises to them, he rescues them. He sends a judge or a king or somebody to fix the situation. He conquers their enemies. They are all grateful and promise once again never to forget, and to worship God forever.
And then? They forget, and begin worshipping other gods, and doing whatever the hell they please. And the whole cycle begins over again, lather, rinse, repeat.
And it’s not like they can say they didn’t know. God continually sends them prophets to remind them about him. About the covenant. About what they are supposed to do and Whom they are supposed to obey. And they refuse. They kill the prophets.
So eventually, God has enough. After many many many years, he finally gets thoroughly sick of these people who don’t get it. He brings out the ultimate punishment: he allows their enemies to remove them from their land. And he doesn’t even do it all at once: it happens in stages.
I was super struck in my reading of Ezekiel how God says: “how I have been broken over their whoring heart that has departed from me and over their eyes that go whoring after their idols.” (Ez. 6:9) God has had enough. He has been patient with these people, he has wooed them as a husband woos his beloved wife, he has cared for them, he has sent prophets to plead with them, he has forgiven them again and again, he has rescued them over and over, and this time, God has reached his breaking point. He can’t take it any more.
And yet, even in the ultimate punishment, God still has mercy. In the middle of terrible predictions of judgement and calamity and mothers eating their infant children, he promises that he will preserve his people even in the land of exile. He promises that he will bring them back one day. And he makes even greater promises, hints of a New Covenant, one in which his people will be changed from the inside out, so they will have hearts that want to love and obey him, that want to be faithful to him, that won’t go away from him to worship idols (like money and good jobs and social status and relationships and things like that).
So was God angry in the Old Testament? Yup, you bet he was. Why? Because his heart was broken over a people that refused to give him his due, just as a loving husband would be angry and grieved over a wife who refused to stop sleeping with other men, who refused to love and respect him, who refused to be faithful to her marriage vows and her family. Yup, that’s exactly how God felt.
So what does that mean for us today? Has God stopped being angry?
Well, yes and no.
If we’re in Jesus, then absolutely yes, God’s wrath and just judgement against our sin was hurled against him at the cross, and we bear it no more. If we have genuinely repented of our sin and put our trust in Jesus and pledged to follow him with the rest of our lives, then no, God is not angry with us.
But. And here’s a big but, and one that has to be carefully stated.
God does not hate sin any less than he did in the Old Testament. God doesn’t have any less of a desire for a faithful people that will love him, obey him, worship him, honour him, and reflect him to the world. It’s not like God decided, “OK, whatever they want to do now is fine, Jesus got that covered, I don’t care anymore. I’m going to go take a nap.”
Unfortunately, I think that’s the picture of “grace” that we get given in a lot of churches. Like once we’re a Christian, God loves us and stuff, and it doesn’t really matter anymore what we do, cause God’s going to forgive us anyway, right? Cause Jesus took care of all of that.
Uh, no. If anything, the moral code in the New Testament is FAR higher than that of the Old. You think not sleeping with your friend’s hot wife gets you off the hook? Try not fantasizing about her.
God’s ultimate goal is, and ALWAYS has been, a people that look like him. Who live like he designed us to in this world. Who love justice, mercy, and righteousness. A people who obey him no matter what. A people that the outside world can look at and go, “Oh, OK. There’s a God, and he’s like that.”
It’s just that now, God made sure that that would happen. When he puts us in Jesus, he cleanses our hearts, gives us new hearts, puts his Holy Spirit inside of us, so we obey because we want to, and because we have the power to. We worship God with our whole being.
But if we don’t? It’s not like it doesn’t matter. It’s not like there are no consequences for rejecting God or spurning this new covenant. Hebrews is all about that. Go read it. It’s about how we have been given something so much better, something REAL instead of the picture-covenant of the Israelites, and holy heck you better watch out if you reject it, because the consequences are eternal, not temporal. Take this thing seriously. Don’t think you can just indulge in sin, drift away from God, disobey, ignore him, and then play the “but I accepted Jesus into my heeeeaarrrt!” card. Won’t work. God’s playing for keeps. He wants a people who are too.
God is serious about holiness. Yes, he will forgive sin, and thank God for that. But a heart that loves him will not be thinking about how much it can sin and get away with. A heart that loves him knows how poisonous sin is, is utterly thankful to have been rescued from it, and wants to live a life shunning it because closeness to God is a far greater treasure than any momentary pleasure of sin that leaves lasting bitterness and regret (1 John 3:4-7).Comments: 0
The Good Samaritan, as it's known, may be the most famous of Jesus' parables. Even people who don't claim any Christian faith often know it.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 25-37)
I'm super convicted of this because of where I live. Toronto is a fairly big city, with its share of human drama and tragedy. Every day, it's possible to see someone in need of assistance, from small to large, from humdrum to life-changing. Because of the size of the population, it's easy to ignore these things. It's easy to pass on by, thinking that someone else will help. It's easy to be so caught up in what I have to do and getting to where I need to go that I don't stop to help someone in obvious need.
This is particularly true when the person or people in need aren't of the most socially savoury set.
A few months ago. I was exiting one of the busiest subway stations on my way home from work. Going up a set of stairs, I noticed a holdup on the other side. A couple had approached the top of the stairs, she in a wheelchair, he pushing. The stairs were narrow, so it was impossible for anyone to go by them. The rush hour crowd jammed up behind them, waiting impatiently for them to clear the steps.
There was no way for her to get down the steps but walking, so she shakily stood up and slowly, gingerly, holding tightly to the banister, began to creep down the stairs. He waited behind with the wheelchair; he would have to carry it down behind her. They would then have to navigate a second, longer flight of stairs to get down to the subway track level.
I saw and parsed all of this in a few seconds. My first instinct was to help. To cross the busy flow of traffic, to go over to their side, to take her arm and walk her down, to then take her to the subway level. But I didn't. A second set of instincts, also known as pure selfishness, took over. "Oh, they'll be fine; it's too late now to stop; someone else will help them" (even though no one else was). And, I'm ashamed to admit, another, more perverse set of instincts took over as well.
You see, the couple were not sweet elderly people. They were Native and clearly street-involved, with substance abuse problems, dirty, ragged, unkempt, and unappealing. And thus my instincts judged them as somehow "less worthy" of help, as though by their own actions they had excluded themselves from human assistance and deserved to struggle with whatever problems they faced. And secondarily, just as ugly, was my fear that I would be judged by the hip, wealthy Toronto rush hour crowd if I stopped and helped those people. So I didn't. I walked on by, on my way.
Shame on me.
I did not obey Jesus' instructions that day. I was not a "neighbour" to those people. I judged them as unworthy, as the priest and Levite of Jesus' parable likely did. I selfishly put my own comfort and convenience ahead of theirs, passing by so I could get home more quickly after a long day at work.
In a big city, it's easy to become anonymous. It's easy to feel disconnected from the people around us, to feel less responsibility for their trials and difficulties. It's easy to feel "someone else will do it" or "I don't have time" or "I don't know what to do." It's easy to be completely caught up in our own agenda. But the reality is, if they're human, they're our neighbour, and we are called to help, according to Jesus.
I want to be the good Samaritan much more often, and the selfish, uncaring priest or Levite much less often. God help us all to do that.Comments: 0
2 540 ml/19 fl oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed
1 341 mil/12 oz liq can corn kernels, drained
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 large ripe avocado, peeled, pitted, and cut into cubes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
½ medium purple onion, chopped small
Juice of one large or 2 small limes
extra-virgin olive oil, a few tablespoons
salt and fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
hot pepper sauce to give it a kick, to taste
Mix everything together and enjoy!Category: Recipes Comments: 0
Gripped with longing
sudden, swift, severe
a longing I cannot shake.
I know what I'm longing for is a fantasy
which will dissipate into hard reality and leave me emptier and lonelier than before
the promise of unparalleled pleasure morphing into unmatched pain
the moment the bite of that fruit is taken.
My eyes open, the lies exposed,
nothing to cover myself with.
Help me, I need grace again
so easily I forget, so hardly I fall.
Hold me fast, and let me see
those desires satisfied in you.
You are enough. My eyes lie to me when they tell me you're not. Hold me up, fill me up; let me walk another day; scarred, battle-weary, yet still
Valentine’s Day is a day that calls up all kinds of emotions if you’re single, most of them negative. No matter how much you convince yourself that it is simply a manufactured holiday which imposes a false sense of obligation on those who are coupled to spend money and drum up a sense of romance (which it is), it nevertheless manages to make you sharply aware of the fact that You Are Single and have no one to a) celebrate the day with or b) agree to not celebrate the day with. Either would be preferable to not having the option.
The day before Valentine’s Day, I felt massively convicted about my attitude. This wasn’t totally about the hearts-and-flowers day; I’d been in a somewhat negative frame of mind for some time. However, the central sense I felt was this:
I am so much more prone to wishing that someone would do something loving for me, than thinking of how I can do something loving for someone else.
I am so much more prone to wishing that someone would serve me, than thinking of how I can serve someone else.
I am so much more prone to thinking of my own needs and wants, than thinking of how I can help fulfill others’ wants and needs.
In short, I am self-centred and selfish far more than I am loving and giving and other-centred.
The lifestyle Jesus called us to live is one of radical selfLESSness. Of laying down our lives to love one another, even when we feel we aren’t being loved well. Of thinking of others first, rather than ourselves. Of seeking ways to serve, not waiting to be served. Of doing to others what we’d want them to do for us. Of course, he is the primary example of this.
“But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)
“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35)
Jesus is the one who has the most right to demand to be served. He is Lord. And yet, he came as a humble servant, giving, loving, and sacrificing, and in the end, giving even his life for us.
I realized a far better way to spend Valentine’s Day than sitting around wishing that someone would do something for me, was to find someone to do something for. So I did. I went to dinner with an older lady who lost her husband about a month ago. I brought her flowers and a card. I chatted to her and heard about her husband’s final days. She was immensely grateful. And you know what? It made my day.
I’m not saying that to toot my own horn. Rather, to say that by stepping out and thinking of what might bless someone else, I was blessed. And this is not meant to be a one-day-of-the-year thing. Rather, as followers of Jesus we are called to sacrificial, self-forgetting, giving love 365 days of the year, not just to our spouse, but to everyone, especially in the body of Christ but also outside it. I’m totally convicted that that is not normally the way I live and I need to do a lot more of it.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a follower of Jesus, you’d be surprised how much you get back from thinking of and doing something for someone else, something you wouldn’t normally do. Sometimes, rather than waiting to have our needs met, the secret to joy is actually figuring out how we can meet someone else’s.Comments: 0
One of my all-time favourite teas is milk oolong. A friend introduced me to it, and I’ve been in love ever since. However, I limited myself to occasionally buying 10 grams at a time from the Tea Emporium, as it is quite pricy ($38/100g at The Tea Emporium).
Imagine my delight when I realized that David’s Tea sells Quangzhou Milk Oolong for only $24/100g. David’s employees explained to me that they bought such large quantities that the supplier had reduced the price. Perfect!
However, the more I steeped this tea, the more I became convinced that it did not measure up to the milk oolong I remembered. It had much less of the creamy flavour I recalled. And it didn’t stand up very well to multiple steepings. It became leafier and more astringent with each successive steeping, no matter what temperature or brewing time I tried. Even the hint of creaminess and floral sweetness disappeared.
So I decided to do a side-by-side taste test of David’s Tea Quangzhou Milk Oolong and The Tea Emporium’s Guangzhou Milk Oolong.
I used approximately 1.5 teaspoons of tea per cup, and brewed them for 1 minute. The water had been boiled, poured into a cup to measure it, then poured into the cups with the tea.
Here are my impressions. In summary, the Tea Emporium version won out, hands down.
The Tea Emporium’s milk oolong had a distinctly full, round, creamy flavour. The “mouth feel” I remembered. It was delicate and floral, but also buttery and rich. The flavours were balanced and harmonized perfectly, making for a unified and very pleasing whole. It’s an enchanting specialness that you can’t forget.
In the David’s version, the dominant note was a sort of sharp sweetness that tasted slightly artificial. There was also a leafy flavour, not exactly astringent but shading toward it. The full, rich, creamy mouth feel was notably absent. The flavour was much less balanced and much more one-dimensional. “Artificial” was the word that kept coming to mind, though according to David’s, it’s just pure oolong tea.
The David’s tea wasn’t unpleasant, but it simply didn’t stack up. It is a perfectly nice oolong on its own, if you don’t compare it to a high quality milk oolong. However, it’s not the same experience.
The Tea Emporium milk oolong also holds up well through multiple brewings (I normally steep it 5 times), revealing new flavour characteristics each time but retaining the rich butteriness. My favourite kind of tea, hands down.
Glad I’ve sorted that out! It’s a pity the less expensive version doesn't win. But, I guess you get what you pay for...Comments: 0
It’s an evil world. We only have to watch the news to know that. Unspeakable atrocities happen every day on a global scale.
But we don’t have to watch the news to know that. Most of us don’t make it through life without learning it on a personal level. Human atrocities happen every day, on the scale of one human being relating to another. People do terrible things to one another regularly, some that are illegal, some that aren’t. Some that are found out and stopped, some that aren’t.
If we’ve ever experienced a deep personal hurt, we may also have experienced grief, outrage and indignity that the person who hurt us may have completely escaped any form of justice. He or she may be living life quite fine, happily going along completely unrepentant, uncaring about the evil they perpetrated on us, and even seemingly prospering.
At moments like this, we may wonder, where is God? Does he see? Does he hear? Does he care? Where is his justice? Why are evil people allowed to escape, living unremorseful, unchanged, uncaring, and seemingly untouched by any form of consequence for what they’ve done? Perhaps while we or others are still suffering for it?
This isn’t a new question. In fact, it’s an age-old one, voiced over and over in the Psalms. The psalmists wrestled with God, wondering why wicked people flourished, and what he was going to do about it (e.g. Psalms 10 & 73). It’s still one of the biggest stumbling blocks to believing in Christianity: why does God allow evil? Even for Christians, it can be disheartening and discouraging and lead us to question the reality of God’s care.
Two thousand years ago, the apostle Peter addressed this very issue:
….scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. (2 Peter 3:3-10)
God’s seeming silence and inaction do not mean he doesn’t see, doesn’t care, and will not bring judgement. Rather, his motivation for delaying judgement is, quite simply, mercy. He doesn’t punish evildoers right away because he’d rather they come to repentance. He is giving them space and time to turn to him.
God is outside of time. His perspective is not our perspective. To us, the lifetime of an evil person may seem an eternity. To God, it’s the blink of an eye. He sees the end from the beginning. If evildoers don’t repent, they are going to face his wrath. But his compassion means he'd rather they find mercy.
That’s good news. We have to remember, when we cry out for instant judgement, that if God hadn’t shown us mercy and given us time, we wouldn’t be saved. If he had lowered the boom the instant we sinned, none of us would be here today. God desires the same for even the most evil person.
The scoffers Peter talks about take it the wrong way. The conclude that God’s inaction means they will not face his judgement, and therefore they can go on sinning with impunity. They don’t understand that instead, he is allowing them time to be reconciled to him. God’s silence is not weakness or ignorance. It is compassionate patience.
So he waits. But he won’t wait forever. At some point, at a time when no one knows, the books will be closed. Accounts will be dealt with. Every person living and dead will face him and give an answer for everything they did. At that point, it will be too late. No one will escape. If they have not repented before that, they will no longer be able to do so. Evil will be destroyed forever.
We can take comfort in this. Our confidence in God’s coming judgement, which will spare no evil deed, and our knowledge of his desire for mercy, allows us to keep doing good without losing heart, forgive those who have harmed us, and pray for them that they would find the same redemption we have, as Jesus commanded. We know God will take up our cause and bring justice for the evil done against us, and we can rest in that and follow the example of Jesus, who “when he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:23)Comments: 0
These are really yummy and very filling. Can be used as an appetizer, or a main course for a vegetarian meal.
- 1 540 ml/19oz can lentils, drained
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1-2 large cloves garlic, minced fine
- ½ small or ⅓ large red bell pepper, chopped fine
- ½ small or ⅓ large yellow or orange bell pepper, chopped fine
- ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
- ¼ tsp cumin
- salt and lots of fresh-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup flour
- extra-virgin olive oil
Mix all ingredients except flour thoroughly. Add flour and mix well. Cover bottom of non-stick frying pan with generous amount of olive oil and heat over medium heat.
To form patties, place heaped tablespoon of mixture on the flat side of a wooden spoon or spatula, press down, and slide into frying pan. Fry until well-browned on one side and patty holds together when turned over. Turn over and fry until browned on other side. Serve warm.Category: Recipes Comments: 0