Friday, August 27, 2010
This is a piece I wrote a while ago...I'm getting ready to write Part II, so I thought I would first share Part I with you and see what you all think. Comment if you please!
Part I of the Hate Journey
I hate prostitution. Unknown to me before I began absorbing an understanding of God’s heart for justice was the bitter evil of this “business transaction”. Never before had I let the gravity of selling a woman's sexuality for a monetary price move my heart as deeply as it should have. That is, never before I began the mystifying journey of knowing God’s heart better.
Seeking out the heart of the Lord can be a dangerous thing. For when I began to seek out his heart for justice, I soon discovered that there are things in this world I’m called to hate. There are injustices all around me I need to detest and get angry about. Growing up in a home where anger was not an appropriate emotion to express, it was naturally a bit foreign to me. I had to wrap my mind around the fact that our world is a filthy, fallen place.
God can not be around sin; it is his antonym. Therefore, he hates sin. What? God hates? I thought, “This is altering the way I view my Creator. He’s beginning to wear a lot more skin.” There exists a particular evil which I believe breaks the heart of our Lord and this evil is prostitution. So how did these thoughts of seeking out God’s heart, learning to hate sin, and catching on to the hate-frenzy for prostitution come about?
Slumdog Millionaire helped me to be immensely disappointed in and dissatisfied with the world. What an incredible movie and what a tragic portrayal of man! Seeing this film was just the beginning of my voyage.
Good News about Injustice, by Gary Haugen is a remarkable book telling of numerous stories where injustice is currently being fought. Reading this book for a class which I was less than thrilled about, I did not expect to be changed. After all, the tiring phrase, “this book will change your life!” is hard to take seriously. I can’t handle that many life-changing reads. So, Good News about Injustice did not necessarily change my life, but it did transform the way I view our righteous God. Haugen, in this selection, describes why God hates injustice in an easy-to-cotton on way:
“If we had to see it [injustice] and hear it every day like our God does, we would hate it too. To understand where the God of compassion has been is to begin to understand God’s passion for justice. Justice, for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, is not a good idea, a noble aspiration, a theoretical satisfaction or an impersonal principle-it is his beating heart. He is the ‘man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering,’ who weeps with those who weep (Isaiah 53:3; John 11:33-35)” (81).
One can probably understand by now why my mind was made up about God’s heart for justice after reading a whole book full of statements and sentiments similar to the above. Shortly after, the Lord led me on a remarkable trek, which was this: praying that the nations of the world would hear the name of Jesus. Operation World was the “life-altering” (how I can’t stand to use the other phrase!) book this time. Organizing the countries of the world in alphabetical order and offering its readers a prayer guide for each day of the year, Operation World is a “to the ends of the earth” miracle, really. Before getting my hands on this guide, there were countries (not to mention hundreds of people groups) of which I had never heard. What an outrageous experience it was to knock on the Lord’s heart daily for a year, asking him to send his people, to move hearts, and believing that the King of the World allowed my prayers to move him.
When I arrived at the section on India in June, I wept. One of the major prayer requests for the nation of India was, and still is, an end to child prostitution. There are over seven million child prostitutes in India alone. When I read that number, the word staggering came to mind. Staggering, overwhelming, confounding; I was a wreck! Praise the Lord I wasn’t very emotionally stable as I journeyed through prayers for India because I’m not sure that statistic would hit me the same now. I got on my knees for more days than I could count that summer and cried out for the girls in India; for a physical and spiritual release of these beloved girls who were trapped by sinful men in acrimonious brothels.
Here’s where I get to the unsettling part. What do I do with this information, this passion? I’ve learned to hate injustice, to know God’s heart better, to pray against prostitution, but is that it? I want to go to them, but I know now is not the time. I’ve sat in this frustrating place for a while. But, what I do know is this: the Lord is faithful and good and he will finish the good work he began. My expedition is not over and there is no need for unrest in the unknown.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
This Saturday, my friend Marianna and I went to the LA Flower Market. What a beautiful place to be! We left early, got a bit of coffee to go, did not hit traffic (gasp!), paid our $1 entrance fee, and drooled over the pretty pretty eye candy.
I decided I'm getting my wedding day flowers from this place. The selection was huge, all the flowers were discounted, and everything was fairly fresh. I also decided I LOVE greenery.
Nan said, "I already knew that about you. You're green." Hehe.
So this is the bouquet I chose to assemble. It's made of a large purpling cabbage, light green cones, and white spray roses. What a joy to have fresh flowers around on a sweltering Saturday in August!
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Do you ever have those days where you feel unmotivated toward and unenthused by just about everything? This post will be choppy.
I have only 2 more free "summer days" before school starts. That makes me a little panicky.
My bedroom is in shambles because I attempted to get things orderly and beautified last night...but lost momentum.
Shamu (my car) is low on coolant. What the heck do I do about that?
I feel completely appreciated for the things I do, but quite under appreciated for who I am. My character is lacking encouragement and acceptance.
Are my 5:00am calls to prayer for Muslims really working? I don't even remember what I muttered before I rolled back over to go to sleep today.
CERTAIN websites are consuming my time...namely, facebook. Why do I care so much again?
As I spouted this list off to the Lord, laying on my bed last night all pathetic-like, I knew something wasn't quite right. "Do everything without complaining or arguing"...? Nope, I have not been fulfilling this Biblical instruction. I then read this passage:
"Then there came a voice from above the expanse over their heads as they stood with lowered wings. Above the expanse over their heads was what looked like a throne of sapphire, and high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD. When I saw it, I fell facedown, and I heard the voice of one speaking." -Ezekiel 1:25-28
Oh yeah, I'm supposed to be on my face. I confessed being so self-absorbed and discontent. But here's the good news: God still cares about the things that concern me! We have a loving God who knows how to take care of us well.
Summer is not my source of joy, he is. Shamu will get coolant, facebook is not the devil, and my room will get cleaned. Most importantly, God appreciates my character.
If you can relate with my choppy, itchy mood, be encouraged.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Wednesday the 11th marked the first day of Ramadan, a 30-day period of prayer and fasting in the Muslim world. I am no expert on the origins or specifics of Ramadan, but have learned quite a bit by reading articles on the subject. I encourage you to educate yourself as well! Since I've recently returned from Turkey, a most-certainly Muslim nation, my heart for the Muslim world is beating extra loudly these days. I asked the Lord how I should pray for Muslims during Ramadan and this idea struck me: to set my alarm clock at the five times a day which correspond to the Muslims' five calls to prayer. Each time I hear the alarm, I pray for Muslims around the world. There has been something so valuable about praying for Muslims as they pray (at least as they pray in my time zone).
I found a cool website (http://islamicfinder.org/) which gives the exact times for calls to prayer in your own city...since those specific times were a little difficult to remember, I rounded my times of prayer to: 6:15am (yeah, I go back to bed after this one!), 1:00pm, 4:40pm, 7:40pm, and 9:00pm. I have also subscribed to a blog (http://ramadanprayer.blogspot.com) which sends me daily prayer points... today, we pray for Syria.
My prayers, my love for Muslims, and my glances toward the Lord are weak...but I believe with my whole heart that he allows my prayers to move HIS heart. So I keep praying. I hope that this short time of spiritual discipline will help shape me into a more aware and caring Christian. If you have never prayed for Muslims, or if you have been looking for a way to contribute to their being reached by the gospel, please pray today. Here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKJ3skGZpuI) is an example of the beautiful call to prayer heard by Muslims 5-6 times a day throughout the world. As you listen to it, would you pray?
Reading the prayer points from my source today, Habakkuk 2:14 was given to us. It reminded me of one of my favorite songs by Justin Rizzo:
Your glory will cover the earth
As the waters cover the sea
The earth will sing your praises
Forevermore your kingdom shall be
Peace, my friends.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
I've lately been intrigued by well-structured sentences.
Here are a few I have read recently (soak 'em in!):
"Anne hoped she had outlived the age of blushing; but the age of emotion she certainly had not."
-Jane Austen (Persuasion)
"All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be."
"The universe rings true wherever you fairly test it."
-C.S. Lewis (Surprised by Joy)
"This is staggering and humbling on a multitude of levels, and our gratitude is truly boundless."
-Sara Joy at blog.joellives.com
"His face that hitherto may have been strange and intolerable to me is transformed through intercession into the countenance of a brother for whom Christ died."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Life Together)
"On the very rare occasion that I hear a baseball game floating from someone's radio, I am instantly in your home where baseball games so often provided a quiet, steady soundtrack to our summer days."
-Megan at sortacrunchy.typepad.com
Here's to good writing!
Saturday, August 7, 2010
Today marks the end of what was supposed to be a quick little food series! Aha, dessert...
Whenever people ask me what I like for dessert, I reply with something like: "Well I like a lot of things, but don't bother wasting my time with anything other than chocolate!" Seriously, it's that big in my life. I got it from my mom!
So for dessert today, I have created a GIANT peanut butter cup. It's pretty simple. Line the bottom of a cupcake paper with chocolate chips and melt in the microwave 30 seconds at a time. Put that in the freezer for 20 minutes. Then add a glop (which is about a tablespoon) of peanut butter and microwave for 30 seconds. I would again recommend the freezer for 20 minutes, but adding chocolate to the top of the hot PB works too. Once chocolate is added and melted, stick the entire creation in the freezer for at least 10 more minutes so the cupcake paper comes off without de-shaping your treat.
Serve with a glass of milk and don't forget to lick your fingers.
Thursday, August 5, 2010
As promised, it is time for me to share a fabulous dinner idea with you all. Unfortunately, I did not take a pic of this one, but I did make it with my own two hands. Dinner was inspired by...TURKEY! This was our dinner menu:
Köfte (Turkish meatballs made with ground lamb)
While in Turkey, my favorite dinner was Köfte with potatoes because the Pansiyon at which we were staying made great homemade dinners and this happened to be their specialty! Let me tell you, it was comfort food at its finest. So I looked up a recipe for this Turkish treat online and found one that called for all things I had on hand. The recipe called for ground beef, but I decided to use lamb instead. The extra fat is so worth it in this dish!
For the salad, I cut up garden fresh cucumbers and tomatoes. In Turkey, we actually ate a lot of salad with lettuce, but I also saw this cucumber and tomato combo served quite often and decided to improvise with it. I noticed while in that sun-scorched land that the special ingredient in their salad was dill. So, for the dressing, I used an olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and dill mixture. It was so tasty!
Rice pilaf is another recipe I looked up online. I noticed Turkish rice was much more moist and salty than the Asian rice I'm used to. I learned this is because it's often toasted and seasoned before being cooked in chicken broth. Flavor is delivered plentifully with these added steps.
I shall not pretend to be an expert on Turkish food at all...as you can see, I didn't really teach you many tricks. I would, again, recommend looking up recipes for these (and other!) Turkish dishes online. The keys to Turkish food are: fresh ingredients and snuck-in flavor whenever possible. Though I may not be an expert in the kitchen, I can sure school you in the dining room when it comes to this Mediterranean cuisine! I'm great at eating.
Monday, August 2, 2010
I haven't been around for about a week... the house has been a bustling place, as we're getting ready for my brother, sister-in-law, and their little one to move into the guest house for a while. I've also been contemplating in the back of my mind what to write about in regards to the mid-afternoon snack issue. I realized that I don't really like to cook in the afternoon. I'm usually quite busy with something, possibly stressed out, and hitting a wall because of the 3 o'clock slump (some may call it "getting hit by the tired stick"). So what is my typical mid-afternoon snack? Something with serotonin-inducing carbs and fat in it; something (oh no) packaged!
So there you have it, I'm not perfect! Ha, like you didn't know that. But on a more serious note, realizing my lack for creativity in the afternoon cooking club scene gets me to thinking about my many flaws. Now I am not one who encourages people to make a list of their imperfections because the confidence I've gained in life has been a result of doing exercises just the opposite. BUT, I'm a vain human and it's really good for me to (every once in a while) think about the things I'm not good at. It helps in my constant journey of trying to stay humble before the King. Here ya go:
I have really terrible hand-eye coordination.
Though I claim to be a non-picky eater, I can't stand brussel sprouts or spicy peppers and am very high maintenance about peanut butter.
Emotionally, I am a mess without the healing power of Jesus (really in every aspect I'm a mess without him, but I've needed him in special ways with this department).
Putting myself "out there" with friends is sometimes scary; I'm afraid of a lack of reciprocation.
I'm not a very good driver and...
I had to take Algebra I twice in high school!
Ok, I'm not writing this list for reassurance... I know my validity lies in Christ alone. I'm simply reminding you all that though what you often see from me is a neatly packaged and articulate piece of writing, I am not perfect, have never been, and will never be.
So NEXT TIME I'll share a really fun dinner idea with you. For real!