Do You Microwave or Marinate?

Maybe I should be in the kitchen deciding what to fix for dinner this evening and not sitting at the computer microwave (MF)deciding what to blog.  Do I want to microwave or marinate either one of these tasks?  If I wait long enough to decide, I will definitely have to microwave our dinner, and I am not sure microwave speed will  result in the best blog I could write.  Our society today wants a quick fix (via microwave) for everything, including food and faith.  When we do not get what we want when we want it, we become upset with ourselves and with God.

Okay, I decided to leave the computer and head to the kitchen.  I found a marinade recipe that I put together and then marinade (MF)placed pieces of chicken in it to marinate for the next six hours or so before I grill the meat for dinner.  Marinating is a method of letting meat set in a brine of vinegar or wine or apple juice along with herbs and spices to add flavor.  It also helps to tenderize some cuts of meat.  It took a little time to prepare the marinade and it also required forethought because now I must let the food marinate for several hours.  Is it worth the time and effort?  I think so.  By dinnertime, I will definitely be glad! 

 As I was working in the kitchen, I began thinking about what to blog.  I realized there were some similarities between my two tasks for the day.  Just as some forethought and preparations were needed for our dinner this evening, forethought and preparations will benefit my blogging.  You, my Reader, and I will both reap the advantage of my thinking before I type.

I see a spiritual lesson that can be learned from microwaving and marinating as well as a cooking lesson.  When Istudy (MF) am reading God’s Word, I need to meditate upon the words or marinate in the message I read.  In order for me to get the most from my quiet time with the Lord, I must let the words of scripture seep into my spirit so they can become a part of me and influence how I live.  Most likely I will not remember what I read or be able to apply it to my life if I just read a chapter of the Bible quickly in order to say I took time with the Lord that morning. Microwaving God’s Word just does not work!  However, marinating is the way to go.

Below you will find the recipe (including apples, of course!) for the marinade for chicken or pork chops that I prepared earlier today.  By the time you, my Reader, are reading about my experiences it will be another day.Tea (DT)  Maybe I can entice you to try this recipe for your dinner this evening.  Then while your meat is marinating, why don’t you make yourself a cup of tea? You will encounter both microwaving and marinating while making a cup of tea.  You can use the microwave to get a cup of hot water in a hurry, but then you need to let the tea bag steep (or marinate) in the hot water so that the water can take on the flavor of the tea.  Now sip your tea (You want to add a few ice cubes to have iced tea since the weather is getting warmer.)  while you meditate upon a few verses of scripture that I have listed below.

Chicken with Apple Marinade
6 chicken breasts or pork chopsChix BBQ (DT)
2/3 c. apple juice
1/3 c. oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1 small onion, minced
2 tsp. dried rosemary
1/2 tsp. salt

Place meat in a single layer in a glass dish.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the meat.  Cover and let meat marinate in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours.  Turn occasionally.  Grill meat until fully cooked.

Scriptures for Meditation 
Each time the pronoun “you” or “yours” is used, it refers to the Lord.Bible Meditation (PD)

I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds. – Ps. 77:12
Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. – Ps.119:27
Oh, how I love your law!  I meditate on it all day long. – Ps. 119:97golden apple #2(MF)

Joyfully,
 Cheryl

MEMORIAL DAY: i remember

oklahoma(Reader: I wrote today’s blog a week before I planned to post it and now I feel like I need to add a preface to what I want to share.  i remember has additional meaning for me since the tornado hit the Oklahoma area, especially the town of Moore,  this past Monday. Reader, you and I need to remember to pray for the people who have lost family members and homes and so much more.  The one thing they have not lost is their faith in God and their ability to help each other.  As Memorial Day arrives in Oklahoma, many people will be saying i remember with their own personal stories.  May “i remember” not only be a phrase but an action for each of us regarding those affected by this natural disaster.  May each of us say i remember with the people of Oklahoma today, Monday and many days to follow.  Now, the following is what I wrote for this week.)

MEMORIAL DAY:  i remember observing this day as a child much differently than we celebrate it today.  We were up early in the morning so we could get to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of loved ones before the special Memorial Day Service was held in the cemetery.  With flowers and wreaths on most gravesites and small flags waving in the breeze over the graves of military men and women, the cemetery was a beautiful sight.  When I was in the school band, we always marched from the high school auditorium, through the town, and up to the cemetery.  We would march to the beat of the drums until we entered the cemetery grounds and then the drummers would only keep beat by quietly tapping their sticks on the rim of their drums.  It was a solemn and sacred ceremony.   As a band, we played such songs as “Nearer My God to Thee.”  Names were read of all those who had served in the military and were now buried in this particular cemetery.  One of the pastors of a local church gave a message, the Gettysburg Address was spoken,  and taps were played by a trumpeter. During the rest of the day, other relatives who had come to place flowers on the graves of their family members might stop by our home to visit.  It was a day of remembering not only military heroes but also family members who had died.

Memorial Day (MF)MEMORIAL DAY:  i remember this day historically as being a day set aside to honor those who died serving in the United States Armed Forces.  According to Wikipedia, Memorial Day started as an event to honor Union soldiers who had died during the American Civil War.  It was inspired by the way people in the Southern states honored their dead.  After World War I, it was extended to include all men and women who died in any war or military action. This holiday was originally known as Decoration Day and the current name did not come into use until after World War II. This commemoration used to be held on May 30, regardless of the day of the week, until 1968.  Personally, I do not want to forget the true meaning of this day nor do I want to forget the lives that have been lost for the freedom of the United States of America!

communionMEMORIAL DAY:  i remember another life and sacrifice as I reflect upon the meaning of the holiday we will celebrate on Monday.  The life I am referring to is the life of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice I am referring to is Jesus dying upon the cross for the forgiveness of oursins making it possible for you and me to have everlasting life.  Luke 22 records the Last Supper that Jesus shared with his disciples before His crucifixion and the meaning he gave to the bread and the wine at this Passover meal.  Luke 22:19-20 says, “And He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’  Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.’”  This is the way Jesus wants me to remember His purpose of coming to earth, and He wants me to do this as a memorial. However, these words are not only for Memorial Day, but anytime that I celebrate communion with the body of Christ.

 MEMORIAL DAY:  i remember these solemn and sacred ways of remembering memories.  It saddens me to see how selfish I and our nation have become towards the observance of Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, as it was formerly known.  Yes, it should be a federal holiday because it is a time for our nation to honor the living and the dead of our military forces.  However, Memorial Day has become less of an occasion of remembrance and more of a reason to have picnics and do outside projects. The fact that the date of observance has been changed to the last Monday of the month and not on the day of May 30 shows that we are more concerned about the convenience of a long weekend off from work or school than a day to give thanks for those who have put their lives in harms way to protect us and our nation.  It also saddens me as to how complacent our nation has become towards what Jesus has done for us personally and as a nation.  If we believe what we say in our Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag that we are “one nation, under God,” then we need to remember what God has done for us and allow Him to still lead our nation.

So, my Reader, how are you going to celebrate Memorial Day, May 27, 2013?  I hope you will take time to remember the true meaning of this day.  Remember the lives that were lost for you and our nation.  Remember the lives of loved ones who have gone before you and have set an example for how we are to live our lives today. Remember the best example set forth through the life of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice He gave so that you and I can live not only today but eternally.

Happy Memorial Day!golden apple #2(MF)

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Try for Tri – Part 3

My Reader, last week I took a break from my Trinity Trilogy to honor our moms for Mother’s Day.  This week, for the last time, I am still thinking about the amazing concept of the triune nature of our God.  The first two weeks I dealt with the makeup of the Trinity, but today I am thinking about how God speaks to us concerning relationships  through the nature of the Trinity.  (If you have not read parts 1 and 2 or want to review what has been talked about, take time to scroll down to the entries for April 24 and May 1.)

I still begin with the premise that God is 3 in 1 as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Once again I think of Genesis 1:26 where God says “let us make man in Our image.”  I see complete cooperation among the three persons of God.  There is no sense of independence or jealousy. Here is perfect union of 3 in 1 without domination by any part of the trinity. So, by His example, what is God showing me?  I sense God is relaying to me that if He functions in unity, so must I.  My human nature is to be independent, but God desires me to be dependent.  By God’s design, I am to be dependent upon Him and upon the other people He places in my life.

 cherries-3When you look at the image for this paragraph on the right of your computer screen, what do you see?  Do you describe this as three cherries or as a bunch of cherries?  If you answer “three cherries,” you are thinking independently.  If you answer “a bunch of cherries,” you are thinking dependently.  My Reader, our tendency to think independently may be one of the reasons why it is hard for you and me to understand the concept of the Trinity. God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit blend their actions so well that it is hard to see where the function of one person ends and another begins.  There is just perfect embodiment in all respects.  In regards to the image of cherries, how do you perceive yourself?  Are you a single cherry on a tree trying to produce fruit by yourself? Or, are you one cherry held together with the other people God has placed in your life (the other two cherries) by the fingers of God (he stems of the cherries)?free rope

 Ecclesiastes 4:12 says a cord of three strands is not easily broken.  This verse is often used in the context of the relationship of husband, wife and the Lord.  However, I think it can be applied to any relationship between two people with God being the third strand. Dependence is not a lack of strength, but actually it increases strength. (Here again we have a model of the trinity.)

In his book I AM – The Unveiling of God, Steve Fry further develops this concept.  He states, “Dependence is not weakness; it is owning up to the reality of things.  It is an absolute reliance on God based not on our need alone, but on God’s design in demonstrating his glorious power.” (p. 252) He also goes on to say that such a “dependent personality” produces a person refreshingly freed from a preoccupation with himself.  He even says, “God cannot show himself powerful to those who feel adequate and whose confidence is in their own abilities.” (p. 252)

The primary reason God created you, my Reader, and me is because He desires relationship and fellowship with us.  In JTRINITY#4ohn 17:21 and 22 Jesus prays for believers asking, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.  May they also be in us.”  Jesus is asking for a relationship of intimacy between God and mankind.  Now, I once again think of the triangle image of the Holy Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Then I think of the triangle image of the trinity within mankind of body, soul and spirit.  If I place these two triangles on top of each other (a symbol of oneness and relationship), a star is formed. It is not just any star – it is the star of David!  The star of David is a Jewish symbol and the Jewish people were God’s chosen people of the Old Testament. Here is a visual example of God’s plan for Himself and His people.  Perfect unity; perfect relationship. I was provided with an image by Symbolic Living that depicts what I was sensing the Lord was revealing to me.  You can see this image on the left of your computer screen with this paragraph.

Unity and relationship with God and all of mankind is still God’s desire. May we be reminded of this each time we see an example of the trinity. 

Let me close with one last scripture found in I Thessalonians 5:23&24 NIV.  Underlining is my choice.
May God, himself, the God of peace, sanctify you though and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless
at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.”

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Challenge for the week: Take time to deepen your relationship with the Lord and/or with another person He has placed in your life.

Question for you: Have you enjoyed the series of blogs on a specific topic or do you prefer each blog to stand alone?  I would appreciate your comments.  Thanks for taking time to respond! 

Who Is a Mother?

(Reader – There is one more blog in my trilogy of “Try for Tri” which will appear next Wednesday. This week I wantfree OK Mom to take time to honor our mothers.)

This coming Sunday will be the day set aside for us to honor our mothers.  When thinking about what I wanted to blog about relating to Mother’s Day, I was reminded of a book I used to read to our children entitled Are You My Mother? by P. D. Eastman.  This is a story about a little bird who fell from his nest while his mother was gone getting him some food.  Throughout the book the bird proceeds to ask several animals and machines if one of them is his mother.  Of course, they are not.  Finally he reconnects with his mother.  His desire for and need of a mother         Happy Mother’s Day was so strong that he would have been willing to connect with  anything or anyone
 who would fulfill the mother role for him.                                                                        

free OK Mom if smallMy Reader, you and I most likely know who our biological mother is or was and we do not need to ask, “Are you my mother?”  Exodus 20:12  tells us to honor our mothers, and it also gives us the promise of long life if we do so.  So, my Reader, honor your mother today.  If you are privileged to still have your mother living, let her know how important she is to you. If you only have mom memories, let those memories honor her.

However, my Reader, have you ever asked the question, “Are you my spiritual mother?”  In I Timothy 5:2, Paul says we are to treat older women as mothers.  The women Paul is referring to are the spiritually mature women.  Just like the little bird in the story who desired to find his mother, God has placed within you and me the desire to have a Christian mom who will help provide for spiritual growth.

free OK Mom if smallI have always related to what Paul says about Timothy in II Timothy 1:5, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”  With this being my situation, my biological mom was also my spiritual mom.  However, my mother died when she was only 56 years old and since then God has blessed me with other godly women who have each been a spiritual mom to me.  These are women who have loved me and spoken words of encouragement and guidance into my life at key times.  My spiritual mom may be chronologically younger or older than I am, but she is definitely more mature in her spiritual walk.  Without these women, I would not be the woman of God I am today.  I like to take time on Mother’s Day to remember my spiritual moms and let them know how they have helped me grow spiritually. How about you, my Reader, can you identify a woman in your life who is your spiritual mother?  Choose a way to honor her this Sunday.

free OK Mom if smallNot only have I been blessed to have biological and spiritual mothers, but I am also blessed to be a biological mom to our children. Now I ask myself, “Has the Lord expanded my motherly instincts for me to be a spiritual mom to others as well?”  Do I have some godly wisdom to share with other women? If so, I must be willing to embrace this role and reach out to these children of God that He has placed in my midst. In Titus 2:3-5, Paul talks about older women teaching younger women to be reverent in the way they live. If I am to teach younger women to live reverently, my lifestyle must be an example.  I must remember that spiritual age is not calculated by the number of years one has lived, but upon the way one has lived as a woman of God.  Being an older woman from this perspective comes with a responsibility.  Now I ask you, my Reader, “Is God calling you to be a spiritual mom?”  If so, I encourage you to make a commitment to the Lord this Mother’s Day telling Him that you are willing to be a spiritual mother. Watch to see who He places into your life.

free OK Mom if smallMay 12, 2013 is Mother’s Day.  I speak to myself as well as to you, my Reader, when I say, “Take time to wish both your biological mom and your spiritual moms a Happy Mother’s Day.  Also remember to be the mother God has called you to be whether it be to your biological children or your spiritual children all year!”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Joyfully,
Cheryl

Try for Tri – Part 2

The Trinity Temple: Who?  What?  Where?

In my blog last week I shared various ways for me and you, my Reader, to better understand the concept of freetabernaclethe Holy Trinity of God. I concluded by making the comparison of my threefold nature of body, soul and spirit to that of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Today I am still thinking along the same line.  My mind wanders back to the Old Testament and the instructions God gave to men regarding the building of the temple.  Moses built the first tabernacle or temple when the Israelites were traveling to the Promised Land.  It was a temporary structure.  Later Solomon built a more permanent temple in Jerusalem.  (The details for Moses building the tabernacle are found in Exodus 25:8 – 27:19 and for Solomon building the temple are recorded in I Kings 6.  You might like to read these references for your own information.)

The primary reason I want to highlight the temple is because it has 3 distinct sections.  Hmmm, the number 3 seems very familiar to me.  I think I see an example of the trinity coming into view!  The three sections are the Outer Court, the Inner Court or the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies or the Most Holy Place.  The outer court was really the courtyard in front of the tabernacle itself.  The Holy Place was the first part of the actual building and it was separated from the Holy of Holies by a veil or curtain.  The Ark of the Covenant was kept inside the Holy of Holies where the priest entered only once a year.  The temple was considered the House of God and the further one went into the temple, the closer one was to the presence of God.  The diagram below shows you and me the layout of the tabernacle and the pieces of furniture in each section.  This diagram is labeled as Moses’ Tabernacle, but Solomon’s Temple had the same pattern.

TEMPLE#2

 I now remember another scripture that will allow me to make another comparison.  Paul says in I Corinthians 6:19, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God?’

Now I body and temole link compare the structure of the Old Testament temple with the makeup of my body.  The sections of the temple are  Outer Court, Holy Place and Holy of Holies.  The parts of my body are body, soul and spirit.  As I align the design of these two entities, I can easily compare the Outer Court to my body, the Holy Place to my soul, and the Holy of Holies to my spirit.  The diagram on the left portrays a good example of this.  Just as proceeding further into the temple allows me to come to a closer proximity of the presence of the Lord, the deeper I look into my personal nature the more I delve into my spiritual nature and not simply my physical makeup. My thinking process continues and I ask, “Did these similarities just happen or was God telling me something  through these similarities?”  I know God does not waste anything, so I do believe God is revealing more of Himself to me and showing me more of how I can develop a closer relationship with Him.  If I just come into the Outer Court of the temple when I perceive myself just as a physical body, how can I proceed closer to Him?  I can move a little closer into the Holy Place if I rely on my soul and not just my body.  I can make choices with my mind, will and emotions that will allow me into the Holy Place. However, to truly enter into God’s presence in the Holy of Holies, I must focus on my spiritual nature because God is spirit.

Worship the Lord with gladness, come before him with joyful songs.
Enter his gates with Thanksgiving and his courts with Praise;
Psalm 100;2&4

In order to learn how to move within these three levels, I refer to Psalm 100.  Verse 4 begins by saying, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving.”  I thank God for what He has done and what He has given to me – here I focus on being thankful for the things God has done  for my physically:  providing food, healing, financial security, family, friends, etc.  By thanking God for what He does in the natural realm allows me to enter the gates into the Outer Court.  The last part of verse 4 says, “and His courts with praise.”  I can come into the Inner Court or Holy Place by choosing to praise God for who He is.  This involves my mind remembering the attributes and character of God and praising Him for who He is and not just for what He has done for me. For example, He is my Provider, my Healer, my Redeemer, etc.   I am surrendering my will to God’s will and allowing my emotions to love God for who He truly is.  I focus more on Him and less on me.  However, I still have one section of the temple to enter and for that I look at verse 2 of Psalm 100.  The Psalmist says, “Worship the Lord with gladness.”  When I sincerely worship God and truly sense His presence, I no longer can say anything. I am overcome with joy and awe and reverential fear.  All I want to do is feel His presence and listen for His still small voice.  I am beyond thanking Him or praising Him.  This is not about me at all.  This is spirit to Spirit.  Steve Fry says in his book I AM  (p.216) “worship is the closest in this life I come to union with my beloved; a place where I encounter my very identity; a place where I am being like my Father-God; a place where I come the closest to his character.”

My Reader, are you still with me?  I hope I have challenged you and not discouraged you.  Basically, I simply want to portray three trinity images for you:

Outer Court – Holy Place – Holy of Holies
Body – Soul – Spirit
Thanksgiving – Praise – Worship

Through these images, I wish for you to see two specific things.  First, the sacredness of your complete makeup of body, soul and spirit.  Secondly, the power of your choosing to thank, praise and worship God.

 Joyfully,
Cheryl

Challenge for the week: As you spend time with the Lord this week, do not be content to just thank and praise Him; move into true worship.

Sharing from last week:  I received one very interesting “tri” image. This reader shared the word “trifocal” and went on to say, “My tri- word is trifocal referring to a type of eye glasses but for me this can also refer to our Lord God who is near (in our heart), intermediate (all around us) and far (His kingdom extends to the ends of the earth).”