Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Not Much Has Changed

"In the days of the early church, the declaration 'Jesus is Lord!' was a seditious and blasphemous rejection of the emperor's authority, and they killed Christians for saying it. Today, the declaration, 'Jesus is Lord' is an intolerant and bigoted rejection of pluralism, and the world reviles us for it."

What is the Gospel?
Greg Gilbert

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mountain or Maze?

"Many who urge that all religions do lead to God offer us the image of a mountain, with a number of routes going to the top. It does not matter which route you take: any of them will get you to the top. I want to offer a different analogy. What if the real situation is like people trying to find their way through a maze? There are lots of routes that bring us to a dead end and fail to get us out of the maze. There is just one way through.

Michael Green
But Don't All Religions Lead to God?

The Questions of God

I've long been intrigued by the idea of God asking a question.

When we ask a question, it's often to get information. What's the temperature today? What time will you be home? Who's going with you? Where do you think you're going, dressed like that? Okay, that last one was more of a statement, but you get the idea.

But when God asks a question, it's never to get information. The reason is obvious: He knows all things.
So why does He ask anything?

Let's take a look at the questions of God in the first few chapters of Genesis.

"Then the LORD God called to the man and said to him, 'Where are you?'" Genesis 3:9
"And He said, 'Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?" Genesis 3:11
"Then the LORD God said to the woman,'What is this you have done?'" Genesis 3:13a

Why did He ask this? Didn't He know where Adam was hiding, and why? Of course. He asks to see if Adam will admit his wrongdoing, much as a parent does when they catch their child doing something wrong. We see what they've done, i.e. broken a vase or hurt their sibling, and yet we ask, "What have you done?"

That's the idea behind His questions. They are all asked to see if Adam and Eve will confess. I also think there's some sadness and disappointment behind the question, like when you see your child do something they shouldn't have done, especially after you've told them of the consequences if they did it. "Didn't I tell you not to bounce on the bed or you'd hurt yourself?"

A similar idea is found in Genesis chapter four, when God confronts Cain. He gives him a chance to make things right. He has not yet killed his brother. God asks him why he's sad and angry. He can still do the right thing and come to God with a pleasing sacrifice in the way God prescribed, instead of trying to come with his own best efforts. He gives Cain both a second chance and a warning, as parents often do.

"Then the LORD said to Cain,'Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen?" If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.'" Genesis 4:6,7

God tells him sin wants to control him, but he must control it. The same word is used when God curses Eve. He says "Yet your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you." Genesis 4:16b It's not talking about sexual desire, because that isn't a curse, but a blessing. It's talking about her desire to control in the marriage relationship, as she just did by making the decision to take the fruit without consulting her husband. Now he will rule over her, and the battle of the sexes, which began in the garden, has been in effect in every relationship since, with power struggles within marriage. But I digress.

The next time God talks to Abel, he has already killed his brother. God comes to him and asks a question He already knows the answer to,

"Where is Abel your brother?" Genesis 4:9
"He said, 'What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground." Genesis 4:10

So from even these few examples, we see that God is asking questions, not to obtain information from us, His creatures, but to interact with us, to fix our relationship with Him, or to judge us and remind us that we are indeed the creature and He the Creator.

Blessings and Trials

December 27, 2010.

Outside my window...cold, -10C. Only a dusting of snow for Christmas.
I am thinking...this Christmas week has been good and bad. Good because everything went well for our Finnish, Canadian and Jamaican Christmas dinners. I even attempted to make mashed potato snowmen, but without an ice cream scoop, they ended up looking more like poodles. Bad because two of our relatives were in hospital this week with serious health issues. My husband's sister had emergency surgery a few days before Christmas, but was home in time to join us on boxing day. My sister's boyfriend, who is 52 had symptoms of a stroke a week ago; slurred speech, weakness on one side, and falls, but they ruled that out and found a brain tumour in his frontal lobe. We don't know whether it's benign or malignant yet, but they say it's inoperable because it's so deep. He'll start radiation in the new year, but right now the neurologist is on holiday, and his symptoms aren't much better.
I am thankful for...the blessings in our lives. I love my family. It was good to be together for a few days.
From the kitchen...leftovers, of course. Three big meals will do that.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey top and a grey cardigan.
I am reading...The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble. I scored three new books for Christmas.
I am hoping...my sister's boyfriend will soon get treatment and see some improvement.
I am hearing...the train.
Around the house...my eldest just texted me that she arrived safely in Kansas City, Missouri. She went with three dozen others to a Christian conference. They went last year as well. My youngest is having four friends over for dinner this evening. They're cooking it themselves. She's a chip off the old block. My husband and I had our morning coffee in the hot tub today. A light snow was falling on us. It was a nice way to wake up.
One of my favourite things...Christmas.
Some plans for the week...I just finished six nights off, but now my husband is off for the week. Bad planning. I'm working Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. It should be quiet at work since the O.R. is closed this week. Only chemo patients. I'm of Wednesday night and we may have friends over. Friday night we have our usual Providential dinner, games and watchnight service at church. I just thought it would be nice to have a come-and-go open house on New Year's Day for anyone who wants to stop by. I'll have food on all day from noon to ten p.m. I checked with the boss and he's fine with it. We've been doing a lot of entertaining in our house this year. It's been fun. God has blessed us with this house so we have to share.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Countdown to Christmas

December 20, 2010.

Outside my window...cold and dark. I never have been a fan of winter, in spite of the fact that I was born in Finland and raised in Northern Ontario. I could easily be a snow bird, or live some place tropical. I wouldn't even mind spending Christmas under a palm tree...but I digress. Tomorrow is the shortest day of the year, and then it will begin to improve.
I am thinking...I like having both girls at home. I enjoy their company and I love to hear them laugh together. My eldest asked for a book by the Puritans for Christmas, and my youngest wants us to make a donation to International Justice Mission on her behalf, in lieu of a gift. See why I love them?
I am thankful for...the C&C Christmas banquet going so well. I'm a micro-manager, and I don't usually like help in the kitchen, so for me to have nine people cooking, and also to not have been able to do any prep-work ahead of time, so they could learn by doing, was difficult for me. And of course, there were a few glitches, but we worked through them. I think they came away with an appreciation of how much work goes into meal preparation, especially a fancy seven course meal. It was a practical application to our lesson on hospitality last month. I posted the talk and the menu and recipes below.
From the kitchen...two homemade pizzas. One with pepperoni, bacon and onions, the other with sun-dried tomatoes, herbed goat's milk cheese, red onions and fresh basil. I call that second one a hippie pizza. It was pretty good, though.
I am wearing...jeans, a purple shirt and a grey sweater.
I am reading...Tomorrow we Die, by Shawn Grady, a suspenseful thriller about a paramedic.
I am hoping...to get my last few gifts bought. We're not really buying many gifts this year, but the ones we are getting are big purchases. We bought my mother-in-law a t.v. and my mom winter tires.
I am hearing...you know...the train. It's Monday and I'm on my way to work.
Around the house...this is an organized Christmas, in spite of taking on so many new things. I've been enjoying the past two months and sharing our new home. We've walked through the snow to the hot tub several times already.
One of my favourite things...entertaining guests.
Some plans for the week...I only have to work one night, then I'm off for six. Unfortunately, my husband has more time off after Christmas, but at least we're off for Christmas and New Years' together. We're having Finnish Christmas at home on the 24th, then we're hosting two men from church on the 25th, who don't have anywhere to spend Christmas, and then we're having Jamaican Christmas at my mother-in-law's on Sunday after church.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Dinner Party Menu and Recipes

1. Amuse-bouche: baked cherry tomato on basil leaf
2. Appetizer: crab croustini
3. Soup: Carrot and Dill Soup
4. Salad: Mixed greens and strawberry salad with cider dressing
5. Pasta: Angel hair pasta with Crimini Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce
6. Main: Chicken breasts stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese,
basmati rice, glazed carrots, asparagus.
7. Dessert: Individual Trifles


Orange-Sherbert Punch

2 cans frozen Orange Juice
2 tubs Orange sherbert, softened to room temperature
1- 2 litre bottle of Sprite
May garnish with orange slices and mint leaves.

Cherry Tomato Amuse-Bouche

1 cherry tomato per person
1 basil leaf per person
Olive oil
Shaved Parmesan

May be made with the cherry tomato fresh or baked.
Cut a small slice off bottom of tomato so it won’t roll. Slice top off as well.
Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and thyme.
Bake for 10-15 minutes at 375 F.
Arrange basil leaf on spoon.
Place tomato on top of leaf.
Sprinkle with Parmesan.

Crab Croustini Appetizer

Toast thinly sliced bread in oven until golden brown. (I prefer Calabrese
Brush with olive oil or butter.
Mix artificial crab, finely chopped, with
1 scallion, finely chopped, and
1-2 tubs chive and onion cream cheese
Spread crab and cream cheese mixture onto toasted bread.

Carrot Dill Soup

2 lb carrots, finely chopped (wash, but don’t peel them)
1 lg. onion, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
¼ cup margarine or butter
8 cups chicken stock
¼ fresh dill, reserve extra for garnish
¼ cup table cream (18%)
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Salt to taste

In a large sauce pan, sauté, onion , carrots and celery for 8-10 minutes.
Add stock and dill, bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until tender.
Puree soup with hand blender.
Stir in cream, white and cayenne pepper.
Salt to taste.
Garnish with fresh dill.

Mixed Greens and Strawberry Salad

This recipe can be made with baby spinach as well.

1 pkg spinach or mixed greens
1-2 lb sliced strawberries
1/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ tsp. paprika
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder or onion flakes
1 tbsp. poppy seeds
3 slices red onion, chopped
Sliced, blanched almonds (optional)

Combine everything but the strawberries, mixed greens and almonds.
Blend with hand blender.
Pour over spinach and stawberries just before serving.
Top with almonds.

Angel Hair Pasta with Crimini Mushrooms in a White Wine Sauce

Set salted water to boil for pasta.
Wash and slice crimini mushrooms into thin slices.
Sautee in pan with olive oil and butter.
Add thyme and parsley.
When mushrooms are browned, add white wine to cover. You may use chicken stock
instead of wine.
Reduce until wine is half of what you added.
Add 1-2 cups of half and half cream.
Season to taste.
Set aside.
Boil angel hair pasta.
Strain pasta.
Add mushrooms and sauce to pasta in a bowl.
Grate parmesan cheese over it.

Basmati Rice

Measure 1- ½ cups basmati rice into covered, microwave safe dish.
Measure 3 cups water or chicken stock.
The general rule for rice is to double the amount of water to rice.
Salt to taste.
Microwave covered, on high for five minutes. Reduce heat to power level 5 for
15 minutes.
Scoop rice into small container and invert it to plate it next to the main dish.

Chicken Breasts with Feta, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Onion Marmalade Sauce

Thawed boneless, skinless chicken breasts.
Sun-dried tomatoes
Crumbled feta cheese
Dried oregano
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Onion Marmalade (recipe to follow)

Between plastic wrap, pound out chicken breasts with kitchen mallet to ¼ inch
In a bowl, cover tomatoes with 1/2 -1 cup boiling water; let stand for five
minutes or until softened. Drain well and puree in blender or food processor
with olive oil, oregano and feta cheese until smooth.
Divide among chicken breasts, spreading evenly and leaving a ½ inch border.
Roll up from long side. Tie with string. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
In a non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over med-high heat. Brown chicken on all
sides, 7-10 minutes. Bake at 375 F for 10 minutes longer or until no longer
pink inside. Transfer chicken to another dish. Return skillet to stove over
medium heat, add stock and boil for 3 minutes or until reduced by half. Stir in
onion marmalade and cook for three minutes.
To serve, remove string and cut each breast diagonally into three slices. Place
about ½ cup sauce on each plate. Fan chicken breast over sauce.

Onion Marmalade (with Chicken)

Olive oil
2 red onions, thinly sliced
Balsamic vinegar
Granulated sugar
Dried thyme
Dried sage

In large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Stir in onions, vinegar, sugar,
thyme, sage and salt; cover and cook for five minutes. Reduce heat to low;
cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes until completely softened. Uncover
and let cool.

Glazed Carrots

Boil 2 lb pkg. of baby carrots.
Strain carrots.
On stove in pot, with burner turned off, add ½ cup water, 4 tbsp. butter and 12
tbsp. brown sugar.


Cut wooden ends from asparagus. Rinse.
Steam until just tender. Do not over cook.
Add butter and almonds, or butter and Mrs. Dash.

Individual Trifles

Assemble enough dessert glasses for all guests.
Slice thawed pound cake into small cubes.
Mix vanilla pudding package according to instructions.
Mix strawberry or chocolate mousse according to instructions.
Whip 500 ml carton of whipping cream with a few spoons of sugar until it forms
stiff peaks.
Slice washed strawberries.
Open can of peaches and drain.

Assemble a few cubes of pound cake, top with vanilla pudding, peaches, pound
cake, mousse, strawberries, pound cake, whipping cream and raspberries. Shave
chocolate on top. Chill for one hour minimum.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

How to Plan a Dinner Party

How To Plan a Dinner Party

It takes a lot of hard work to make it look effortless.

Something will not go according to plan. Expect it. Roll with it.


Casual: friends for bbq
movie night
special occasion,i.e. birthday
other theme

Semi-Formal: special occasion i.e. milestone birthday or anniversary
theme: Valentine’s Day, Christmas Party

Number of People:
*Plan as if everyone you’re inviting will come, plus a few unexpected guests, so
you’ll have enough food and seating. Better too much than not enough.

*Large groups may require a larger venue or the opportunity to be both
indoors/outdoors. i.e. bbq at home. This presupposes good weather. Otherwise…

*For dinner parties, generally no more than three or four couples works best.
For larger groups, either keep the meal casual, or just serve drinks and party


*Harder to plan when you’re dealing with larger numbers. There’ll always be
someone who can’t make it. Hopefully, the guest of honour will be there,
though! Also harder for those who do shift work. Dates may need changing to
accommodate. Hopefully, the non-shift workers will be more flexible.

*May be an ethnic theme, a holiday theme, or the guest of honour’s favourite
*Can be a combination of homemade or store bought, but try to make most
*Find out about your guests food allergies/dislikes. Could be life threatening.
*Some hosts are daring and will try new recipes for the first time the day of
the party. I need to try it at least once before, so I know how it tastes, and
if I know how to cook/bake it. I once had to make a cheesecake at the last
minute as Plan B because my Pavlova flopped.

For a formal dinner party, serve:
Amuse-bouche—this is a one or two bite pre-appetizer palate teaser. It should
be tasty and visually appealing. May be served on individual spoon.
Appetizers—plan for two to three types, and 2-3 of each kind per person, if they
serve themselves or plated with about five or six bites per person.
The first two courses can be served before everyone is seated. Always be
watching that your guests have a drink.
Punch, Wine, Water, Juice, Pop.

Soup—keep it light. Don’t make a stew.
Salad—Usually with the dressing incorporated. Find out before you add it if
someone doesn’t want it included.
Pasta—Small portions are important when you are serving seven courses. You
don’t want your guests stuffed when there are still three courses to go. It
won’t be enjoyable.
Entrée—Plated or family style (see below for descriptions)

Include one or two meat, fish or poultry.
A starch—potatoes or rice or pasta.
Two vegetables—try to use a variety of colours.
*Make sure the individual parts of the meal work well together. If you have a
heavier meal, make a light dessert.


Coffee/Tea. –Specialty coffees and teas are nice.

*See sample menus at the end.

Serving Styles:


*All food laid out on a table, along with plates, cutlery, glasses and napkins.

Everyone serves themselves. An alternative is cafeteria style, where the food
is set out but one person serves it to the guests. This controls portions.

*Advantages of this style: easiest for the host, especially easier if it’s also
a potluck, where guests bring prepared food. People take only what they want
and as much as they want.

*Disadvantages of this style: may run out of something before everyone gets to
try it, if people take larger portions. Very casual, not so much about the
experience of eating.

Family Style
*Also known as Boarding house style. Adage: stretch or starve.

*More informal. Food is served in serving bowls or pots in middle of table.
Everyone serves themselves.

*Advantages of this style: People take only what they like, and only as much as
they want. The host can enjoy the meal more; less serving.

Feels like home=comfort.

*Disadvantages of this style: Doesn’t feel as special.

Formal Dining/Plating Food
*Each course is brought out to the guests and placed in front of them with plate
already full. Serve from the guest’s right side and remove dishes from the
left. Serve beginning with the women first, especially the guest of honour or
the oldest woman.

*Timing is essential to keep hot food hot.

*Advantages of this style: each plate can look picture perfect. Portions are
controlled by the server. Because it is so artistic and they are being served,
guests feel special.

*Disadvantages of this style: the cook is the host and the waitress. Not
usually able to get someone else to serve you, i.e. teens.

*Not as relaxing for the host since you have to be anticipating the next course.

*Table setting: extensions in table, table cloth or placemats, name tags for
planned seating arrangements, special dishes, cutlery, glasses, lighting,
candles, appropriate music, decorations, flowers.

*Do as much ahead of time as possible, i.e. clean house, put extensions in
table, shop for groceries, cut veggies, iron table cloth, make dessert, because
the day of the party is busy enough and you have to get yourself together, too.

*When you begin to prepare your meal, consider what takes the longest and count
back from when you want to serve it, add some prep time and then begin cooking
that first.

Also plan food so it will be ready for the time it will be served. This will
improve with experience. Make lists if you need help reminding yourself.

i.e. appetizers first. If they need to be hot, make sure you put them in just
before guests arrive, so they’ll be hot, and your guests will smell them when
they walk in. Keep in mind how many burners you’ll need use of, and oven
space. That’s why it’s best to prepare as much ahead as possible.

*Decide if you’ll have any activity planned, i.e. games, gifts, singing, sports,

Clean up before guests arrive, and clean as you go, putting dishes in the
dishwasher, or, if your guests have a view of the kitchen when they’re eating,
pile them into a laundry basket and get them out of sight.

*Be clear. Announce Who is invited (who is not, i.e. no children),

When it is, both date and time,

Where it will be held and a small map if the address is not easy to get to or
familiar to those invited.

Also mention if there are special considerations, i.e. parking costs or places
for extra parking.

Occasion, and if a gift is expected or not.

A date to RSVP by and a number or e-mail to

Say if the party is a surprise or not.

Dress code, if necessary.

Send the invitations by mail or e-mail.

Sample Menus:
If this makes you hungry, it’s not my fault.

1. Theme: dinner party
Style: formal dining/plated

Menu: Bacon-wrapped scallops
Cream of Leek soup
Garden Salad
Roast Beef
Scalloped potatoes
Snow Peas and carrots
Raspberry whip stuffed crepes
Flavoured Coffee

2. Theme: dinner party
Style: formal dining/plated

Menu: Sushi
Stuffed mushroom caps
Miso soup
Mixed greens with pear and feta salad
Atlantic salmon
Wild rice
Bavarian Apple cheesecake
Flavoured coffee

3. Theme: Homecooking/Sunday dinner
Style: Family style

Menu: Spinach and strawberry salad
Roast chicken/ribs
Hassleback potatoes with sour cream
Green beans/ baby carrots
Lemon poppy seed cake

4. Theme: Seasonal (summer)
Style: bbq/buffet/family style

Menu: Potato salad
Corn on the cob
Strawberry shortcake
Pina colada punch

5. Theme: Comfort food
Style: family style

Menu: Pea soup
Garden salad
Chicken pot pie with herbed crust
Chocolate cake

6. Theme: Ethnic (Italian)
Style: Family Style

Menu: Caesar Salad
Lasagna, garlic bread

7. Theme: Movie Night (Subs vs. subs)
Style: Buffet

Menu: Torpedo shrimp
Submarine sandwiches
Ice cream sundaes

8. Theme: English Tea
Style: Tea party/buffet/bunch

Menu: Scones, sandwiches with no crusts,
Canapés, crudités, pastries, coffee cake.

9. Theme: Ethnic (Greek)
Style: Family Style

Menu: Greek salad
Chicken and lamb souvlaki with tzatziki sauce

10. Theme: Ethnic (Jamaican)
Style: family style

Menu: Salad
Curried chicken
Rice and Peas
Fried okra and tomatoes
Coffee cake

Monday, December 13, 2010


December 13, 2010.

Outside my window...cold, cold, cold. Occasional snow. We ended up not going to London for our Finnish family Christmas gathering due to road conditions.
I am thinking...the Ladies' Christmas banquet went well. I was able to take Wednesday night off so I had enough time to get everything ready. I felt calm and relaxed, and I think the Bible study went well, too.
I am thankful for...new friends. Since we had a change in plans, we invited a new couple from church over for dinner on Sunday. It was one of those times where we just hit it off right away. I can see us becoming close friends. That's happened maybe half a dozen times in our lives. We had such sweet fellowship. Serendipity.
From the kitchen...honey garlic meatballs, home fries, baby carrots, green beans, and salad.
I am wearing...jeans, a grey long-sleeved top, and a thick sweater. I'm even wearing a silly looking black and white Elmer Fudd hat with my hood over top. I'm not a hat person, so that tells you how cold it is.
I am reading...Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff. It's a look at the funny side of faith.
I am hoping...to finalize my menu tonight for the College and Careers Christmas Dinner Party on Saturday night. I have to run the menu past them to make sure I'm not making something one of them is allergic to. We had discussed hospitality, (see the post under Bible Studies), and then they asked me to teach them how to plan and execute a fancy dinner party. So they'll be helping to cook and serve, but I'll have to be teaching as we go. I'm feeling a little nervous about it. Usually if I forget something, I'm the only one who knows it.
I am hearing...the train. At least the passengers are quiet for once.
Around the house...we went to the furniture store, cancelled our eight-month old order for the buffet/hutch, and purchased a floor model for half of our deposit. They gave us a cheque back and now we can purchase a t.v for the basement, along with an x-box game system. The buffet-hutch should arrive in time for Christmas.
One of my favourite things...surprise money, especially at Christmas time. Serendipity, again.
Some plans for the week...work four nights, prep and do the C&C dinner party, church on Sunday. Next week I only work one night, then I'm off for six over Christmas. I just finished a five day weekend, too. Not bad, considering I ran out of vacation days back in August. I love my job.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Women in the Genealogy of Christ: Part Two: Rahab


Read Joshua 2:1-24 and Joshua 6:15-25

The Bible is an honest book, stating things as they are. It says Rahab was a harlot, a woman who sold her body for money. Some people try to downplay this by saying she was just an inn-keeper. However, in those days, only men were innkeepers. In written bills of that time, the cost of the bed is listed as a girl, whose services would have been included. Rahab may have been in such a place. It was therefore natural for the spies to lodge there as it would have been the only place to stay in a small place like Jericho.

Somehow, the king of Jericho heard there were Jewish scouts in the city and called for their immediate capture. They were probably not dressed like people in Jericho. Meanwhile, Rahab had become aware of the true identity of her guests, and had hidden them on her roof under stacks of flax. Her house would have been built on the double city wall, so it would have been higher than any other, preventing it from prying eyes. The spies were safe.

Rahab misled the king’s messengers. Then, while they were searching the countryside, she talked with the spies. She told them she knew that God had given them the land. Her people had heard about the miracle God had done for them, in parting the Red Sea, and this was forty years after the fact! She said the men of Jericho had lost courage to face the Israelites because of their God.

She was a wise woman who acted in light of proper information. She used discretion in talking about them and shrewdness in hiding them. She was hoping that in light of what she had done for them, they would do something for her. “Since I have saved your lives, will you in turn save mine and that of my relatives?” She makes them swear by God because she knew then they would keep their promises.

She was sure that when the people of Israel attacked, her people didn’t have the slightest chance against them. She had heard what they had done to the kings, Og and Bashan. She asked for a sign that they would save her when their armies returned to take the city. They told her to put a scarlet cord on her window and no one who was inside with her would be harmed.

Some commentators think this scarlet cord represented her occupation. It was her ‘red light’ in the window, and therefore would not arouse suspicion. That may or may not be true; but it represented an agreement between the two parties. As soon as they left, she bound the cord. She took it seriously and didn’t want there to be any mistake.

I’m sure as the Israelites marched around the city, she checked and rechecked that it was still there and clearly visible, for her life would soon depend upon its being seen. Her faith was so strong that she was able to convince her relatives to come and stay with her. Every one of them was spared. Compare that to Lot, whose sons-in-law mocked him when he warned of coming judgment.

Faith is a fixed and profound trust in God and the Word. Rahab had this kind of faith. Therefore, God took her tarnished portrait, cleansed it and hung it next to Sarah in the gallery of the heroes of faith (Heb. 11:1,30,31). These two women are the only two females in a long list of men. Rahab, like Sarah, a heroine of the faith? Yes, for God is no respecter of persons. There are no impossible cases with Him. He justifies the ungodly.

This was only the beginning. She lived in Israel, gave up her former way of life, married an Israelite named Salmon, and became the father of Boaz, who we’ll hear about in the next section. Rahab becomes the great-grandmother of King David.

Scripture doesn’t tell us the names of the two spies sent to Jericho, but the romantic in me likes to think one of them was Salmon, who eventually became her husband. I believe he was impressed with her faith in a God she had only learned about from afar. It was the original two spies who were the ones who personally retrieved Rahab and her family from Jericho.

It seems Joshua didn’t need the report of the spies in order to know to attack the city. So why were they sent? Because a sovereign God was searching out a particular woman to be saved.

The reason Rahab was protected? Because she protected the spies. Her whole family was saved physically, but only Rahab chose to continue to live among the Israelites. Only she had true faith.

Does this story promote lying under certain circumstances? That’s a question for another time.

The scarlet cord is a symbol that’s often used when speaking of how Christ is hidden in the Old Testament, woven into the familiar stories, hinted at in symbols and types and shadows. The whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments together, speaks of Christ. From the first promise of a coming Messiah in Gen. 3:15 to the Passover Lamb and the Manna from heaven, and the rock smitten to provide water for the people of Israel, to the bronze serpent on the pole, to the sign of Jonah in the depths for three days; He is there, until he appears in the New Testament in fulfillment of the prophecies of the Old Testament. He is the Scarlet Cord that saves those who believe what He says. We must be ‘in Christ’ to be safe from judgment.

“Rahab and Salmon had a son, Boaz; Boaz was the father of Obed; Obed, the father of Jesse; Jesse, the father of King David. And from the line of King David and the tribe of Judah came the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ, our Saviour and Lord.” Francine Rivers, Lineage of Grace

Being an outsider in Israel probably made Rahab a better mother-in-law to Boaz’ foreign wife, Ruth. More on that next time. Read the book of Ruth in preparation.

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Parties

December 6, 2010.

Outside my window...cold and snowy. I shovelled the driveway at our new house for the first time today.
I am thinking...I may have taken on too much. I'm hosting the Ladies' Christmas Banquet on Thursday, after working three nights. Don't know how I'll have time to clean and prep, but I gotta try.
I am thankful for...today is Finland's Independence Day.
From the kitchen...spaghetti and meatballs.
I am wearing...jeans, a red Mom sweater. That's a sweater with a built in faux shirt underneath. It's what Moms wear on commercials.
I am reading...An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers; set in first century Rome.
I am hoping... to get everything ready for Thursday. I'm also speaking on Rahab.
I am hearing...people on the train.
Around the house...we didn't make it to the furniture store to take care of the hutch situation. Maybe Friday. Both girls were home yesterday. We went to a 21st surprise birthday party for my daughter's housemate. It was held at the Oakville Country Club, which was a beautiful setting. The food was delicious and the dancing was fun. We met a nice couple and some more of my daughter's friends. I think Christians have the best parties. You can enjoy a glass of wine, but there's no drunkenness; you can have fun dancing, but no one gets stupid and hangs all over someone else. If my husband didn't have to get up at 5 a.m. the next morning, we would have stayed longer. I'm worried about my mom. She's had pain in her right side since she broke her ribs in a fall on the ice two years ago. Now she seems to have a hard lump over her liver. I hope she goes to check it out.
One of my favourite things...parties. As much work as they can be, I can't really complain that we have friends, food, health, a home, and things to celebrate. That's what life's about, isn't it?
Some plans for the week...work three nights, host a dinner, go to London on Saturday for our Finnish side Christmas party. We'll be out of town Sunday so we'll miss church, but my youngest is returning early to attend the baptisms of three of her friends. Now that's something to celebrate!