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I am always amazed how fast the day goes by. Where does the time go?? I have such grand ideas every day, and every day I run out of time before run out of "to do's". Today, I had grand ideas of crafting, sewing and cooking a wonderful meal. But, as usual, life got in the way. The meal I planned was a slow cooked meal, and as the afternoon dwindled away, I knew that was not going to happ
en. So, plan B was what worked, and it was delicious, I must say. Faith was my lovely assistant, and if you do not have one of those, (a lovely assistant) you really should get yourself one. They are wonderful to have, and I think everyone should have at least two. I myself have 5. That way, if one is busy, there is always someone to help me out.
But I digress. I want to share our Lebanese Meatballs. I got the recipe from the Whole Paycheck's (otherwise known as Whole Foods). I love that store! But I usally spend way more there than anywhere else. But I do use their coupons, so I save money, too. Last time I shopped there, to buy the meat for this meal, I saved $37 by printing coupons off their website. I felt like one of those 'extreme couponers'! I won't mention that I spent $400.00! But I digress again.
Back to the Meatballs. They were supposed to be Kababs, but I could only find one of our skewers, and it was starting to rain, so the grill was out of the question, so I pan fried them in my wonderful cast iron skillets. Which is something else everyone should have. I don't know what I did before I got them last summer from my sister. But I digress yet again. I do that alot.
Anyhoo, here's what we did:
(I did not think they were very lebanese tasting, but they were good!)
You will need: Ground Beef (I used grass fed, but any kind will do), an onion, parsley, allspice, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and olive oil.
|First, we grated the onion into the ground beef. I used 2 lbs of meat and 1 med. onion.|
|Then, we added 4 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, 1 tsp. allspice and cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 3/4 tsp. salt, and about 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper.|
The you do the fun part: mixing it all together. We started with the spatula on the left, but quickly realized that the hands would be far more fun. And we had to make meatballs by hand anyway, so we dove in. As we were mushing it all together, Faith said, "we should put some cheese in the middle". I had some feta, so I cut it into cubes and wrapped the meat around it. They were especially delicious! Great idea!
So...I was thinking last night (could be a dangerous thing...me thinking) about why we suffer. That got me thinking about why, if God knows everything, did he create satan? I mean, if he knew that he was going to screw everything up, why didn't God just skip it? Then there would have been no "fall", no sin, no sacrifice of his son, and perfection everywhere.
But he did it anyway. I kind of imagine him creating lucifer like God spinning him out of light with tears in his eyes and heaviness of heart. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew the temptation that was going to occur in the garden, and what the results would be. He knew that sin would enter his perfect world, and ruin everything. And I am sure it broke his heart knowing that he would have to sacrifice his son to redeem his creation.
So why did he do it? He could have just decided to eliminate the problem before it began. That would have secured the eternal perfection and uninterrupted relationship with him forever. Is sin what he wanted for us? Did he revel in the notion that we would have to scrape and struggle to make a life on the earth without his presence? I think NOT!
As I pondered this, God showed me that he had a specific purpose in our struggle. He knew exactly what he was doing and chose it because he wanted to prove his love for us. Think about that a moment. Let it wash over you and sink in for a moment. God went ahead and created satan so he could prove his love for us. He let him run with the distruction of the beautiful world he created and let him reak havoc with our lives because He knew WE would need proof of the depth of his great love for us. Proof that included the life and death of his only son. He knew we would not choose to love him if he did prove his love for us first. It would have been indentured servitude. Blind obedience. Not Adoration and unbridled, grateful LOVE.
I imagine God, Jesus and the Spirit discussing the matter before creation. Would it be worth it? Some would choose not to believe; not to return to the God who sacrificed everything for them. But some would realize the truth and turn in gratefulness and embrace him with more than everything. Some would struggle and never see their hardships as anything other than horrible and deny his very existance. They would shake their fists and harden their hearts, turning away in disgust; blaming God and never seeing the true cause and greater purpose in their pain.
But some, realizing there is nowhere else to go, would turn their face toward heaven and cry out, "You alone are God! Deliver me from myself! I am tired of doing it my way. Though my situation may not change, I will recieve your love and return to you. Open your arms for me and let me be held in them. " And that changes everything.
As I look at my Jasmine vine in my garden, and read Psalm 85, I think of a parallel--
Israel, God's chosen ones had gone astray. They had wandered from God. They had once again stumbled in their own way and followed their own choices down a weary, well-worn path of sin. David cries out on behalf of his people: 5. "Will you be angry with us always? Will you prolong your wrath to all generations? 6. Won't you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?" My jasmine, if left to itself will wander around; it is not a well-trained vine. It grows every which way and looks very scraggly. It can actually do itself and other plants around it harm when it trails off. It can starve itself and strangle other plants in the process with its wild runners. My job, as the gardener is to train it and cut off anything I deem as harmful.
I think, we here in America have gotten a warped view of God. We view him as a power hungry overlord ready to dole out rules and restrictions just because he wants us under his thumb of authority. If we would get back to the point where we realize that he loves us and that we need his ways to keep us from harming ourselves and others, then we could once again enjoy the freedom of Gods' love and blessing. If my jasmine vine got angry when I pruned it and refused to let me train it onto the tree where it is growing, I would have to pull it up and burn it. What is Gods' choice with us? We must turn as Israel did and cry our to him, submit ourselves to his care and allow him to prune and shape us. We should remember that he loves his creation and knows how to care for it best, and love him with all our hearts in response. 8."I listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying, for he speaks peace to the faithful. But let them not return to their foolish ways. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, So our land will be filled with his glory."