Thursday, July 23, 2009

Does Jesus feel welcome in our homes?

An old friend of mine has got me to thinking about Lazarus, and his sisters Mary and Martha. They are mentioned several times in the gospels, and were very good friends of the Lord Jesus. They lived in Bethany, which was located just about two miles from Jerusalem.

This is the Mary who anointed Jesus with expensive ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair. This is the same Martha who toiled in the kitchen, complaining to the Lord that her sister had left her to do all the work. Both sisters expressed the tiniest smidge of doubt when their brother Lazarus had died and Jesus showed up four days "late," so they thought. It makes me smile when I think of how I can relate to these very human people!

With all their quirks, these three, Lazarus, Mary, and Martha, had a home in which the Lord Jesus felt welcome. Several times when Jesus was in Jerusalem, pressed by crowds, selflessly ministering to people, teaching those who would listen, and being wearied by hypocritical Pharisees asking pointless questions in order to trap him with his words... we see Him at the end of the day, resorting to Bethany to rest in the house of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.

What was it about these particular people that made Jesus feel welcome in their home?

I think, first of all, they were humble. Humility is willingness to yield. Humility is the absence of pride. When humility hears a Word from the Lord, it says, "I will obey." Jesus could recognize pride immediately, and always rebuked it. No doubt Lazarus, Mary, and Martha must have been humble people.

It follows that they were also obedient. Jesus said, "If ye love me, keep my commandments." A simple thing, even if it is easier said than done sometimes. There is no clearer demonstration of our love for God, than our obedience to Him.

Due to their obedience, I believe they were people who lived a holy lifestyle. Holiness is very underrated these days, and many preachers never preach about it, because it makes people uncomfortable. "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [lifestyle]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."

Lazarus, Mary, and Martha were not without their flaws, as we have seen. But I think the key to having a home where Jesus feels welcome is found in our heart attitudes. We should be aware of our shortcomings, willing to listen to His Word, and ready to yield and make changes as He deems best.

An attitude like that is like a big, cheery sign on the door that says, Jesus is welcome here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Picture post!

This post is going to be a little bit random, but it includes a few shots of my parents' visit, as well as some photos from around Guatemala. Enjoy!

Shopping in the market. Strawberries were less than fifty cents a pound!

Checking out the chickens..

Busy in the kitchen one morning.

At the Iglesia Bautista La Esperanza.

Going shopping near downtown Xela.

Mom & me at a restaurant in Antigua. I {heart} my mom!

Hospital Privado in Quetzaltenango, where we took Dad to have blood work done while he was here. (Doctor's orders.) See the smile on his face? That's relief that it wasn't so bad after all! ;o)

Artwork in the market.

A park in Parramos.

These are the pilas, where women come to scrub their family's clothes over stone surfaces, rinsing them with the water you see. Most homes here have their own pila, including mine. It really comes in handy for big clean-up jobs and for scrubbing stains or rinsing mops. But as for my laundry? I'm so blessed to have a washing machine! :o)

This is Oscar, our weasel - er, Dog, I mean.

This is Mom & Dad at the airport. Sad day!

Here is one of the pieces of Mayan stoneware dug up by a neighbor of ours. Many pieces of ancient Mayan artifacts are kept and preserved by the government and/or in museums, but who knows how much pottery and statuary are in the homes of the people who find them? Some of them appreciate the history and take care of it, like this fellow does. I want one!

Jocote marañón, a fruit brought up from the coast. Notice the strangely-shaped "stem"? That contains what you know as a cashew nut!

Woman in Guatemala City.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Food on Fridays ~ Scrumptious Oatmeal

(What's with the broccoli? you might be thinking. That is Ann's button for the Food on Fridays she hosts on her funny, informative, and very clever blog. Go check it out!)

Getting back to Scrumptious Oatmeal, but posting a photo which will evoke more appropriate olfactory memories...

(much better...)

Maybe you wouldn't normally put the word "scrumptious" before "oatmeal". But be it ever so humble, oatmeal doesn't have to be boring!

Because it is so nutritious and CHEAP, we eat it for breakfast a few times a week, which could get monotonous were it not for a few tricks which I will share forthwith.

Method #1: Put your pan on to heat, adding a heaping spoonful of butter to melt. When melted, add your measured oats and stir to coat with butter. Continue stirring, allowing the oats to toast until you smell the wonderful aroma filling your kitchen and making your stomach growl. Then add the measured water and salt. Stir and cook until done.

Method #2: Cook the oats according to directions, then add one or two cubed bananas, a little vanilla, and a handful of chopped nuts, and brown sugar. Banana Nut Bread in a Bowl!

Method #3: Melt butter in your pan, then throw in a peeled, cored, and chopped apple. Saute the apple pieces until they soften, then add the oats, water and salt. Cook until the oats are done, then add cinnamon and brown sugar to taste.

Note: Packages of oatmeal always instruct you to boil the water, then add the oats. I've always wondered why? I end up with lumpy oatmeal when I do that, no matter how furiously I stir while adding the oats to boiling water. So I stir the oats into cold water, then bring it to a boil. Works for me!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

What's wrong with being just a wife and mother?

I have heard so many negative things lately about the roles of wife and motherhood.

"It's boring.... I'm not making any real contribution to society.... There's more to life than being a mother.... I've lost myself and don't even have my own identity anymore," et al.

Assuming that some of my readers are hearing the same voices, I just wanted to encourage you all, especially you stay-at-home mothers, myself included, with some Truth! Yes, this is a pep-talk for me, too.

First of all, our biggest problem is allowing those negative attitudes to infiltrate our minds and affect our own outlook. Boredom is a state of mind, and if a woman sits at home dreaming about being "on the outside" or fantasizing about being someone else's wife, guess what? She is going to get bored with reality, become discontent with her life, and start wishing for a way out. Next step after that is looking for a way out, and Satan will be right there with an opportunity! The best ways to avoid boredom is 1) choose to like what you are called to do, and 2) don't settle for "good enough". Work at making your home your dream-home, and I'm not just talking about the house!

Being a good godly wife and mother is the highest fulfillment of God's purpose that a married woman can attain! Anyone who doesn't believe me needs to refer to the principle of First Mention and go back to the book of Genesis. When asking the question, "Am I really doing anything worthwhile?" one should also ask, "Am I fulfilling God's purpose for me?" In order to answer that one, we need to determine what we were created for, and the answers are found in Genesis.

God said that it was not good for man to be alone, and decided then and there to create a helper suited to the man's needs. (Genesis 2:18-25) She was to be his partner, his intimate friend, companion, co-laborer, helper, lover, and sharer in the joys and sorrows of life! This was Eve's God-ordained purpose in life, and so it is ours as well. This is what we were created for, and to "lose" ourselves in this purpose is not loss at all! Rather, it is to "find" ourselves in God's will, to experience all the joys of being in His favor, and experience true fulfillment.

Being wife and mother are full-time occupations. Do not allow anyone to belittle your high calling, making you think there are bigger and better things that you should give your attention to. We cannot rise above what God has called us to do. There is no better thing to devote ourselves to than to what He has created us to be!

So take courage, ladies, and block those negative voices from your minds and hearts. They are a tool of the devil to discourage you and distract you from your holy purpose. Take up the distaff with a firm hand, and rejoice in the task God has given you. It's a holy work we can do in Jesus' name!

A final word...

"I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan." I Timothy 5:14,15

"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed." Titus 2:4,5

~WHEW!~ I needed that...