Monday, January 19, 2009

Not So Narrow, Really

When I was young, my church talked about staying on the straight and narrow. It was meant, I think, to be a warning that if I didn't terrible things would happen to me and that I had to be very, very careful to make sure I didn't mess up.

In recent readings of the Book of Proverbs, I've encountered the notion of path again. But I now have a much different, more loving and healthy view of what it means to stay on a narrow path.

Something I've been asking myself the past couple years, because my early experience with the Christian faith was so shrouded in negativity, fear, and anxiety, is this as I'm reading Scripture, "What is the most healthy, loving, wise, nurturing application of this truth?" I'm learning to look at the whole Word of God (not only the Bible) through lenses that believe that God is light, God is love, God is life (1 John).

So the straight and narrow? Instead of provoking anxiety, it actually reduces anxiety, because I know the loving parameters and don't have to wonder about all of the options, all of the rabbit trails, all of the sideshows (as Eugene Peterson puts it). I can be confident as the way is made clear of how my character needs to develop, what is given to me to do based on my interests and talents and opportunities, and how the ground of it all is in light, love, and life. Whatever isn't of those things (and the older I get, the smarter I get about what that really means and how and when I can tell it's happening), is just not on my path.

I stay on the straight and narrow not out of anxiety of what will happen if I don't, but because it's the only way for me to really live in peace as I do. I've experienced enough of what it means to actually be in communion, that I know when I'm not and I don't want to be there. So it can be as narrow as it wants, but that path is really the path to utter freedom to be real and at rest. It is more of a powerful call TO something than a dire warning AWAY from something. And the Caller is all good.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Fruit FOR the Spirit

It's a well-documented fact in psychology that people who use and enjoy their senses are more psychologically healthy. They just enjoy life more! So I decided to enjoy several of my senses by making this for this cold and snowy winter evening, and get this recipe into a form that I could access easily by putting it in my blog. Jesus told me to pay attention to the lilies and the birds, and fruit is also one of life's bestest natural gifts!

My thanks to Vicky from the Sheridan MOPS for bringing this lovely to the meeting I spoke at Friday, and then for being so gracious to pass the recipe on.

I made it tonight with a breakfast casserole for dinner and my family is happy with me. All in all, this has been a soul-satisfying experience!

The fruit is incredibly easy.

1 Large can of sliced peaches, drained

1 Large can of sliced pears, drained

1 Large can of pineapple chunks, drained

1 Large can of mandarin oranges, drained

1 can of cherry pie filling

1 jar of apple sauce

1/2 cup of brown sugar

cinnamon to taste

Mix apple sauce, pie filling, brown sugar and cinnamon in crock pot. Add fruit and mix. Cook on high for 2 hours.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

It's Already There

This morning while walking along on the treadmill and reading John 21, I saw something I haven't seen before.

Right now I'm researching for the next book I'm proposing to Harvest House later this month and one of the key passages I want to work with is in John 15. But as is so often the case with my whimsical Creator, something new emerged unexpectedly.

I was reading about the invitation Jesus gave his fishing disciples to throw their net over the right (now there's something to play with) side of the boat after having a night of no catch. His initial question was if they had caught anything for breakfast. They did as he invited them, and everyone knows the story about their haul being humongous.

But futher down was the notion that really caught my eye and my heart for the first time. As the disciples came ashore and got out of the boat, breakfast of fish and bread was waiting for them. Jesus didn't need their fish to provide for them. The fish he intended to nourish them with and serve them was already there.

The fish they had caught was not what Jesus was dependent on to provide.

It's already there.