Green Eggs and…Italian Sausage?

Yep, you heard me correctly. This morning I made green eggs and Italian sausage sausage for breakfast. Not ham. Hot Italian sausage. And by green I mean pureed spinach and green onions. We’re too cheap green to use commercial food coloring. Green onions are a staple at our house anyways, and Zoey loves spinach. Here is a picture of my little leprechaun scarfing down a buttered bagel half between bites of green egg.

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My bagel half, of course, was smothered with cream cheese, and topped with the green eggs and a side of sausage.

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If you haven’t had a fried/scrambled egg atop a cream cheesed bagel, you must try it pronto.

Ze hu, folks! (That’s Biblical Hebrew for “that’s it,” didn’t you know?) Zoey and I are off to search for a pot of gold – gotta pay for those Relient K tickets somehow. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, friends!

ps. Stay tuned for a later post on how throw a first birthday party for even the youngest of rockers.

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2.3

I’ve recently been investing my time in searching for Bible verses that instruct how to be a virtuous wife. This is because I will be marrying my fiancé, Zack Groff, on the 15th of this coming May and I want to be prepared for the attitude, mindset, and customs I’ll need to adopt within the following weeks (and keep improving upon and adding to essentially my whole life!) I know it is not too early to take on some aspects of that role now, so I can be improving upon and mastering them as the wedding date draws nearer. I have yet to explore in depth the instructions on how to be a virtuous wife found in the Old Testament, so I will mediate only on those I’ve found in the New Testament for now.

Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands….let the wife see that she respects her husband (Eph 5:22-24, 33b).

love their husband and children to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not reviled (Titus 1:4-5).

Let the marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous (Hebrews 13:4).

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust….[For] when Christ was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him to judges justly.…Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives – when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. For this is how the holy women who hoped in God to adorn themselves, by submitting to their husbands (1 Peter 3:5).

A virtuous wife submits (4) to their husband and is subject to him. She is loving and respectful (2). She is self-controlled and kind. She is pure (2) and keeps the marriage bed undefiled. She holds the marriage in honor among all, but keeps her spirit gentle and quiet. The most repeated command is submit, and the second most are respect and be pure. In this way a wife is honorable both to her husband and God. For this she will be loved by her husband and seen precious in the sight of God.

2.2

The holy affection Edwards speaks of that I’ve been working on lately is compassion. There are people in my life that I find very hard to have compassion towards, and thus am praying that God renders in me a compassion for them. There are two main convictions of mine that produce my lack of compassion towards these people: my mentality towards them and their offenses.

1. Mentality

Many times my feelings towards someone are bolstered by my mentality towards them. I am judgmental towards them and thus my feelings about them exist accordingly. These judgments are, more often than not, based on their appearance – the clothes they wear, their hair color, even the people they surround themselves with. I place the person under a stereotype and will stubbornly keep them there until they have gone out of their way to prove my judgments about them wrong. And most of the time they person never has a change to prove them wrong because we may have never exchanged one word in our lives! This, clearly, is very unloving, and, let alone, unfair. When I catch myself giving someone the “once-over,” I try and stop myself and ask God to replace my critical heart with a compassionate one.

2. Offense

Sometimes I convince myself that a person’s offenses – whether actual sins or not – give me reason to not have compassion towards them. They’ve either done something wrong or simply something I didn’t like and I feel the need to withhold compassion from them. They may be sad or frustrated and I think, “Well they deserve it, they’ve done such-and-such!” However, this is very unforgiving and even hypocritical. How many times can God say that I’ve wronged him and yet He still loves me? Too many to count! We are instructed to “be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). When I catch myself withholding compassion from someone, I ask God to remind me of how much he loves me despite my disappointments and short fallings.

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I have bolded the descriptions that are relevant in my life.

ACCORDING TO JOHN THE CROSS
The 7 Capital Sins
He Who is on the Wrong Path:
He Who is on the Right Path:
Pride is content with his growth

desires to teach and not be taught

condemns others who aren’t as spiritual

wants others to see how spiritual he is

fears confession will ruin his image

seeks inner peace and not to please God

counters pride with humility

thinks little of himself and his work

focuses on the greatness and deservingness of God

realizes how little he can do for God

keeps his treasures secret

Greed becomes discontent with what God gives him

attempts to gain (more) spiritual consolation from books and works

focuses on the affect, not the substance of devotion

attaches himself to and place too much value on particular religious objects, holy places, or other visible things

set his eyes on God rather than outward things or inner experiences

allows all pleasures taken away so that his soul may be purified

Luxury experiences profound temptations and finds himself powerless to prevent them

gives himself over to impure physical pleasure

becomes lax in or gives up on prayer

fears impure thoughts and thus is agitated with them and becomes distracted

allows God to quiet the flesh, silence the devil, and diminish fear
Wrath is anxious and frustrated when delight ends

thinks loss of joy is a result of something he has or hasn’t done

strives to be “a saint in a day”

makes various resolutions to be more spiritual

is patient and waits for God to give them what they need

seeks spiritual meekness

Gluttony becomes addicted to and strives to obtain more of the spiritual sweetness of devotional life

subdues the flesh with great acts of submission, lengthy fasts, and painful penances

work their own will and thus grows in vice rather than virtue

does things for themselves rather then God and thus becomes weary

focuses on the feelings he gets from his devotional life rather than the incomprehensible, invisible and unfelt grace of God

focuses on the incomprehensible, invisible and unfelt grace of God

grounds his spirituality in perseverance, patience, and humility

Envy is not pleased to hear about others’ spiritual growth

makes his chief concern praising himself

prefers to have himself considered as “the most spiritual of them all”

Sloth becomes weary and abandons with spiritual exercises when consolation is lacking

becomes angry when feel they are called to do things that don’t fit their needs

loses interest in God because they measure God by themselves and not themselves by God

is too weak to bear the “crosses” given to him to help him grow

1.3

Some persons may indeed try to abdicate their life, disowns their spontaneity, seek security by “conforming” to what is outside of them. But they don’t actually escape life or their responsibility for it. They only succeed in appearing “wooden,” unlively. We may know what to expect from them, but we have as little delight in them as they do in themselves.

Willard, The Spirit of Disciplines, 60

Upon reading this I could help but think of a good friend I have. This describes him to a tee and it makes me incredibly sad. He is the kind of person Paul would describe as “dead in trespasses and sins, following the prince of the power of the air, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, a child of wrath” (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Like Paul in respect to the Colossians, I “pray for him asking that he may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9-10). And yet I admit that I fall short. When I say that I pray for him I mean that I pray when I feel like it and even then I know not what to say to God. Sometimes I settle for simply wishing something and thinking, “Oh, he’s God, he knows my thoughts, let them be a prayer.” And yet I must intercede for this girl, this child of God, and pray on him behalf daily as Paul did for the Corinthians. Thinking about him and wishing that he be saved is not enough. I must pray that when I talk to him about Christ that he speak through me and give me the words to say. I must ask that he grant me success in getting through to him and that he may open him eyes to know the truth. I must hand him salvation over to Christ, for it is he who can grant it, not I. “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins,” (James 5:20) but he who saves him has saved him in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I must remember that it is not I that can save him, but he.

And with this, I pray dear Lord that you do save him. Use me if it be your will and if not shut up my tongue that I may not lead him more astray. Give me the strength to have patience with him and be gentle and loving. Let me not deceive him but tell him truth, that he may believe it and be saved. How much more do you want him to be saved than I do! He is your child, whom you love and cherish.. May all the angels in heaven one day rejoice when he comes home to you. Please, Lord, let that day come and let it be near. Let him not lose hope, give him strength to get through each day, forgive him of his sins. Lead him not to temptation, but please, dear God, deliver him from the evil one. No one can snatch him from your hand once he allows you told scoop him up into your arms. No one, Lord. Cast away from him those who tempt him to deny you, place him in a surrounding where people love him and care for him and who will pray for him daily, interceding for his salvation. Remove the veil from his eyes that he me see you and know the truth when he hears it. Please, dear God. This will not be the last time I pray for him. You will be hearing from me again. I pray all of this in Jesus’ name, Amen.



1.2

A “spiritual life” consists in that range of activities in which people cooperatively interact with God – and which the spiritual order deriving from God’s personality and action. And what is the result? A new overall quality of human existence with corresponding new powers.

Willard, The Spirit of Disciplines, 67

Let us unpack that kind of new power a lively spiritual life entails.

Where this power is derived from:
The power of reconciliation (Romans 5:11)
The power of unity (Romans 15:5)
The power of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 2:4)
The power of God (I Corinthians 2:5)
The power of the cross (I Corinthians 1:17-18)
The power of grace (Ephesians 3:7)
The power of the resurrection (Philippians 3:10)

What this power allowed us to do:
The power to forgive (Matthew 18:22-23)
The power to demolish strongholds (2 Corinthians 10:4)
The power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesians 13:18)
The power to know love that surpasses knowledge (Ephesians 13:19)
The power to stand your ground (Ephesians 6:13)
The power to be transformed (Philippians 3:21)
The power to love (2 Timothy 1:7)
The power to self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
The power to persevere (James 1:12)
The power to have your good purposes filled (2 Thessalonians 1:11)
The power to have everything we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3)

The kind of power this is:
The power that is made perfect in weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9)
The power that is like the working of his mighty strength (Ephesians 1:19)

This power is given to those who believe (Ephesians 1:19). And those who are faithful in that belief will receive the crow of life (Revelation 2:10). How do we have that faithfulness? By leading a spiritual life characterized by discipleship.

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Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of God’s overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil.
-Dallas Willard

Nondiscipleship costs abiding peace…hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances.
I know what it’s like to live without peace, without hope. Rewind two years, three months, and you get a me void of peace, void of hope, void of life. I was at a time in my life where peace was seemingly unattainable and I was suffering greatly both from that falsehood and the reality it offered – the reality that in the midst of my anger, bitterness, and depression I had somehow lost hold of my Jesus. He was someone I saw other’s enjoying, trusting in, but not myself. The point at which I’d lost hope in finding peace I couldn’t remember. For days, weeks, months, I was lost in a peace-less trance, slave to brokenness. I was undeniably in the most discouraging of circumstances. And then I remembered in whom I could hope to bring me back to the peace I once knew. Jesus Christ, my Savior, had always been waiting for me wake up.

Once I realized I’d lost all hope and peace, I decided to get back on track and find every encouraging verse in the Bible containing the words “hope” and “peace” and write them out on cards. For days I reviewed these verses, let them infiltrate my skin, seep into my soul, and fill my heart with life again.

It’s no wonder a life without discipleship will lead to something so morbid. We humans are a strange kind. Without constant reminder of the light, we forget about it and focus on the darkness – that ghastly, cheating darkness that lures us in before we even realize we’ve succumbed to its call. We need a fog horn to rouse us from the stupor, a hard shaking of the shoulders, a blow on the head, a knocking out of the knees. How wonderful is the light that we’ve left! Remember that glorious feeling that floods through your veins and produces a glow from your innermost parts out to the world.

That constant reminder when need can only be received in daily discipleship. The forces of evil are strong, and only strong soldiers can withstand. So with hands, heads, and hearts held high, let us surrender to the One who sustains – the Peace-giver, the Lover, the Faithful, the Powerful, our Hope, Jesus Christ.