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Over the past few years my blog has been visited by people from all over the world. Very few know me, or of me, they simply are looking information concerning the Bible and discover my blog. After many years of intense study and teaching, I've come to believe we are vulnerable to misguided and incorrect teaching if we don't understand for ourselves the teaching of God's Word. My 'hot buttons' are - grace, sovereignty, exhortations and sanctification. If you understand these basic principles of Scripture, and apply them to daily life, you will understand what it means to have peace, joy and absolute security in any circumstance.

Monday, August 29, 2011

HOPE and CHANGE

My book, Blogging God’s Word: Seeing Ourselves Through God’s Eyes is available in paperback at www.crossbooks.com/bookstore, or www.amazon.com

And by the end of September will be available as an E-Book.  I’ve been enjoying reading it.  Yes, I know I wrote it, but God teaches us anew each day.
Goodness, we’ve had a wild weather week-end on the east coast of the United States!  A lot of disruption, power lost, flooding, wind damage, even loss of lives.  We have family scattered along the Atlantic side of the states – from North Carolina up to Connecticut, and believe me, they were hoping for change!  Our daughter and husband who live in lower Manhattan were asked to evacuate last Friday, August 26th as their apartment complex rests on the shores of the Hudson River.  It sometimes amazes me how quickly order can be restored from a state of chaos.  Losing power for a long time is traumatic for those of us who are accustomed to all the luxuries of the twenty- first century!

“I sure hope you change” I said as I stood in the doorway of my husband’s office and surveyed the boxes, books and files piled everywhere.  “This is a mess!” I declared.  It’s going to take more than ‘hope’ to change his ways.  I remind myself that this is his space and it can be as he wants it, but the truth is I’ll try and effect some change to bring about what ‘I’ think is good and acceptable.  I believe my real concern is that one day I’ll have to deal with his office on my own, and it’ll be overwhelming.  Actually, this is the only messy area of my husband’s life, I’ve seldom had to clean up after him and it is he who keeps our kitchen in reasonably good shape despite my cooking adventures.  Now that I’ve brought up cooking - so many have asked me for this cookie recipe, that I’m going to share it with everybody.  I know, this isn’t a cooking blog, but showing love is Biblical – LOVE IS AN ACTION WORD and sometimes making a batch of semi-healthy cookies is the perfect way to show someone you care.  This particular cookie is good because it contains no flour, only oatmeal, and so easy to make.  The recipe was handed down to me from my mother.  You know, one of those ‘Mom recipes’.

CRISP OATMEAL COOKIES
4 cups oats  (quick oats O.K. to use)
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup cooking oil (vegetable/canola oil)

Mix the oatmeal, brown sugar and oil together in a big bowl.  Let stand for 8 hours, or overnight.  Then blend the rest of the ingredients into the oatmeal mixture. 
2 eggs – well beaten
½ teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of almond or vanilla flavoring
Optional – add raisins, dried cranberries or chopped nuts – about 1 cup

Grease, or use parchment paper, on a cookie sheet, drop dough by teaspoonfuls, bake at 325 – 350 (depending on your oven) for 13 – 15 minutes. Cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.  
NOW, let’s get back to ‘hope and change’.  We so often want people and circumstances to change in our lives.  Psychologists will tell us that ‘the only one you can change is yourself’.  I don’t think that is completely true.  Do you?  What have you NOT been able to change, even about yourself?  Just like a broken appliance, when we need ‘fixing’, we need to go back to the manufacture – our Creator. God Himself!  So often we’re seeking the ‘blessing, rather than the blessor’. 

I never open the Bible that I’m not reminded that all we have, or don’t have, is in God’s hands.  Our security and peace comes from knowing God is sovereign.  King David, the author of the Psalms we love, is writing in I Chronicles 29.  Gifts for the magnificent temple being built by David’s son, Solomon, were being gathered.  These gifts were given “freely and wholeheartedly” (I Chron. 29:9) by those who loved the Lord.  In David’s prayer of praise, vs 10 – 13, he tells us God alone has…..
“….the greatness and the power, wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things.  In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”

It is never because of our own strength that change occurs.  It happens when we go to the source of change.  In this same passage, vs. 15, David says, “Our days on earth are like a shadow, without hope.”  This is depressing!  What David is pointing out is that frustration and futility come from self-effort.  The apostle Paul also learned that we need to be plugged into a source of power in order to experience hope and change in our lives.  Flipping back to the New Testament, look at II Corinthians 12: 7 -10 – this was written after Paul was given a vision of heaven.  Jesus speaking….”My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  So, Paul concluded, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me……For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  The power source is the Living Lord, Jesus Christ! 
Knowing this truth is like removing a heavy backpack that has been weighing you down, keeping you from who you want to be.  It’s too heavy of a burden for us to carry alone.  The good news is that the Lord doesn’t expect us to.  He wants us to set that burden at HIS feet.  If our hope is in God, then we can know that any change we experience in life will evolve from His eternal plan – for He does not change, Hebrews 13:8. 

Once I get my arms around this truth, I can have a portion of peace about my husband’s office.  I can take the problem to the source of change and let Him deal with it.  Of course we always want to tell the Lord how and when to fix the problem.  I want ‘change’ in my time and done my way!  We usually don’t have success until we step back, remove the backpack, give it to God and trust Him for the perfect solution! 
If any of you make these cookies, let me know how you like them!
Thank you Lord for being such a personal God so intimately involved in our daily joys, sorrows and frustrations.  Please inspire my husband to get his office in order by October 1st.....if it be Your will.