Expecting the Unexpected

When I started this blog, in my mind it was going to be a wonderful thing where I would always be updating about how much weight I had lost and how much money I had saved while doing it.  Reality check: I gained a pound this week and I realized that my formula which calculates my debt on a spreadsheet was missing a cell and that I’m about $3,000 more in debt that I originally thought.  Shit.  Yup.

Thank goodness there’s always the fall back on God.  He doesn’t get fat or go in debt!  Plus, it’s easier to read the bible than exercise or not spend money.

Continuing the study in Matthew – a look at verses 1-13 of chapter 2.

The chapter opens up with some funny eastern astrologers asking around for directions.  This leads to me to the first observation.

God had to be chuckling to himself when he gave the heads up to non-Jewish “magi” that the Jewish messiah had arrived.  The thing is, God is not afraid to step outside of our preconceived ideas of how things should go.  He is really BIG – he doesn’t fit in our boxes, our churches or our approved social circles.  He’s everywhere and he can speak through anything.  The trick is to always stay on alert, you never know when he will sneak up behind you and whisper in your ear.

So these magi or wise men or astrologers or whatever you want to call them end up at the Jewish capital, the most logical place where a messiah/king might show up.  Big surprise – he’s not there.

I don’t want to step on any toes here, but it is my honest belief that government reform is not and should never be the end game of Christianity.  Nowhere in the Bible does Jesus tell his followers to start getting involved with politics so that they can make some real changes.  He also doesn’t tell them start political action committees or begin rallies so that the government will start forcing everyone to behave like Christians.  Real change doesn’t happen when laws are passed, it happens when hearts are invaded and people choose to live differently because they’ve experience real love.  Jesus wasn’t born into the political spotlight, he never ruled a country or even a town and he didn’t change any laws – but he turned this world upside down.

Just to clarify, I’m not saying we shouldn’t vote or that God can’t use politicians to do good things.  After all I just said he wasn’t small and that he can do and will do whatever the hell he wants.  William Wilberforce is a great example of a Christian who worked his way up the political ladder and helped to end slavery because that’s what he thought God was calling him to do.  That’s freaking awesome!

Back to the story: The Jewish religious leaders gave the easterners directions and sent them on their way.  Wait, what?  The Jewish leaders told them where they should go to find the messiah but didn’t think to go check it out too?  Huh.

The problem with thinking we’re really smart is that it makes us really dumb.  The Jewish religious leaders had all the answers.  When called on to give directions they knew right away what the answer was.  But, in their arrogance they missed the answer to the greatest question – when is the messiah coming?

When we don’t know the answers and we’re constantly going to God and asking him, we get to know him better in the process and our understanding deepens.  But, if we know the answers already then why would we need to talk to or believe in God at all?  There is more to this life than any of us know – at least that’s what I believe.  I am very aware of how little I understand about it, but it’s nice not knowing everything.  It means that each day can be an adventure – a learning experience.  So long as we don’t blind ourselves with our own arrogance, then the wonders of God and this world will never cease to surprise us.

The good news is that these foreigners finally found who they were looking for.  They give him gifts and worship him.  I like trying to imagine this.  Here are grown-ass men bowing down to a baby.  Have you even hung out with a baby?  They’re dumb, they don’t even know how to talk.  And it’s not like they could really give Jesus gifts, they had to give them to his parents because babies don’t even have the dexterity to hold stuff.

Being a follower of Christ can be a fairly uncomfortable experience.  It’s not easy trying to explain to someone that you have an invisible friend who you base your life’s decisions on.  But, Jesus never said we would be comfortable, in fact he promised it would be really hard.  I guess it’s just all just part of the adventure!  Not to mention that we live in Disney World here in the US.  Our brothers and sisters who live in the real world know what it really means to be uncomfortable for Christ.

Ok, enough holy talk.  Next post: Curry Chicken!


Matt is my man

Matthew that is.  As in the book of the bible called Matthew.  I’m so funny.  Or lame.  Let’s split the difference and call me nerdy.

Wait, why are you bringing the bible into this, I thought this was a lose weight / recipe blog?

It is, sort of, but really it’s a “getting my shit straight” blog – which means that God has to be involved because I’m no good at this on my own.  Don’t worry, the next post will have tacos in it.  Hooray!

I’ve started studying Matthew, because why not just start at the beginning?  I don’t know the bible nearly as well as I should, so I’m going balls to the wall here, as in reading commentaries and everything.

One commentary I read is from here and the other is from here.  Right now I’m reading one chapter, reading both commentaries and then I listen to my dad’s teachings from Matthew here.  Pops is good about teaching the text in a way that applies it to your life, so I figured I would glean all I could from the text before I heard what dad taught and then listen with a better understanding of how he came to those conclusions, (and hopefully I’ll start coming to those same conclusions before I listen to his teachings.)

Rather then go through and re-word everything the commentaries and teachings taught me I’ll just tell you what really stuck with me from the passage.

Matthew Chapter One:

Oh wow, you’re really getting deep here aren’t you?  Hear me out.  Matthew opens his book with a genealogy.  Boring.  I know, or at least I thought so until I read the commentaries.  In his genealogy there are several ladies listed.  Now, it was not a normal practice back in that misogynistic day to put ladies in genealogies.  But Matt did and he mentioned some really… um… interesting ladies too.  The first mentioned, Tamar, dressed up as a prostitute so that her father-in-law would sleep with her and give her a son, another, Rahab actually was a prostitute, (and gentile to boot) who God saved because she helped the Israelites destroy her home town; Ruth wasn’t Jewish and Bathsheba, (Her who had been the wife of Uriah,) cheated on her husband while he was away at war.

So, why did God choose these women for Matthew to mention?  I’d like to think that it’s because God really likes us.  He likes us so much that he chose to redeem everyone through Jesus, even women, even prostitute women!  (There are some messed up dudes in the genealogy too, but I’m a lady so I like talking about the ladies.)  It’s not just about redeeming though, he goes so far to call us mess-ups his family.  He likes us so much that he doesn’t just say, “Okay, I guess I’ll forgive you because of Jesus.”  He says, “Yeah, of course I forgive you and in fact I’m writing you in on the family tree now.”  I think that’s so cool.

Mary got an angel in her face to deliver the message that she was getting knocked-up without any of the fun.  Joseph though, who I’m sure just thought that Mary was cheating on him only got a dream.  But, it seems like that’s all it took.  I think if I were Joe I might have needed an angel in my face too.  I think he was someone who really loved the Lord though and had come to a place in his life where he could distinguish God dreams vs. bad felafel dreams.  Which makes me wonder if that’s why God chose him.  I mean, I know God chooses to work through the screw-ups all the time, but I think it would be good to strive to be more like Joe, who didn’t just get a dream, but responded to it.  God will talk to Joe through dreams several more times, and in one instance Joe gets up and responds that night.  I want to be someone that, who when God speaks, responds immediately.  Personally, I’m an internal debater.  “Was that really God?  I’m just not sure.”  But, I think if a person studies the word and keeps the communication flowing with God, well, then that quiet whisper of a voice becomes a little more real.  Theoretically.  I don’t really know, I’m not there yet.

So yeah, that’s what I got out of the first chapter of Matthew.