Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

For those of you eagerly anticipating the release of Christopher Paolini's latest book, Brisingr:

Do not pay $27.00 (USD) by purchasing it through the main Alagaesia site. I just recently pre-ordered the book through, and guess how much I paid for it? $15.13 . For the hardcover. And another wonderful thing about - if they lower the price of the pre-order item after you've already ordered it and before the item is released, they'll charge you the lowered price. Not to mention the fact that I'm on Amazon Prime, so I get free two-day shipping. :D

Also, in case you didn't notice, there have been a few updates to the template of 'Asking the Answer.' I have added a few more blogs to my BlogRoll, firstly. 'Resolved2Worship' is the blog of a mother of 6 (four boys and two girls) who I have come to greatly admire and appreciate - I have no idea how I found her blog (it's been in my bookmarks for a while) but I am certainly glad I did. I encourage you especially to read her post "Real Life Monday" from a few weeks ago; in the second part (after the photos) she talks about forgiveness and letting go of hurt; it seriously brought me to tears (perhaps because of some things going on in my life at the moment). Anyway, the other addition is the Myspace blog of the band 'Tenth Avenue North' (they also have a "journal" page on their main site that varies a little bit from the Myspace blog). Even if you don't care for their music, I highly recommend their blog - they have a lot of really insightful, encouraging, and challenging posts (especially from the lead singer, Mike D.), plus a few quirky ones thrown in the mix. Perhaps at some point I'll post a few "guest" articles from them, but please peruse the blog yourself if you have time.

I've also added a Shoutbox. ;-) Now you can leave notes about things not relating to the posts and such (or whatever you feel like writing there).

Oh, and by the way, I watched a particular 5 hour movie with my cousin and sister a few weeks ago. *ahem* I think I can agree with the masses now and say that the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is indeed better than the newest rendition of that story (starring Kiera Knightley). Although there are a few elements and characters (i.e. Jane in particular) that I liked better in the later version. ;)

Friday, August 8, 2008

How much?

This temporary lapse in posting is not permanent, I assure you! Thanks for your patience. :)

Written the week of June 14, 2008.

"To whom much has been given, much will be required."

That verse has been in my thoughts the past few days. Of course, the above is not exactly how it goes, but that's how I remembered it at the time. It wasn't even a verse that I had happened to come upon in my Bible reading, but simply one that popped into my head and refused to leave. Almost as soon as it manifested itself in my mind, it created what you might call an "Ah-ha!" experience in my heart. Suddenly, I felt that I began to grasp, understand, and realize the verse--in a way that I had not done before. It was amazing--like God just spoke to my heart. Such a simple verse, but so important.

Anyway, almost immediately after my initial reaction (which was, in essence, "Wow!") a slightly more unsettling reaction followed--in comparison to the first, this one would have sounded like "Oh...". Upon pondering the verse, I realized something--Jesus isn't simply referring to material possessions; He's not only implying that we should use the monetary and material blessings we have been given to further Christ's kingdom (which might be one common interpretation of the parable in which it is contained). No, more is being required than that.

Perhaps this thought came to me because I happened to be preparing for a piano lesson around the same time; I'm not sure. But have you ever considered that your gifts, your talents (in addition to the aforementioned blessings) might also be the subject of the verse? That the blessing of having many Godly influences (whether it be parents, pastors, or friends) might be included? What about your opportunities? Your resources? Even your very mind? Your desires, passions, skills?

"For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more."

Ouch. When I think of all that I have been given--the immensity of my blessings, and the amount that has been "committed" to me, compared with how much I have given back to Him...How much shall be required of me, with what I have been given! How shall I ever account for it all? What am I doing to prepare for Him who has committed all these things to me? What will the balance be? Am I making the best use of all these blessings He has given me, as the first servant in that parable (I encourage you to read it over again), or am I simply holding them to return to Him exactly as they were when I first received them?

At the same time, I in no way am saying that I think we are required to work for our salvation. It is a free gift, given by Christ to all who will reach out and take it. But there is a level of accountability that I think perhaps we too often miss--for those of us to whom much has been given, much will be required. Yes, I believe absolutely and completely that God loves me no matter what I do or do not do; but should I not attempt to at least use that which He has given me in His love and grace in a way that blesses Him and His kingdom? Why else would He have given them to me? No, that doesn't mean that every single one of us is meant to be sent out into the world to do "great and glorious things" that all the world will see. Maybe what's required of some of us is much simpler. Maybe a particular gift you have been given isn't one to bring in hundreds of new believers, but is to be used for your own family--to develop, train, and bless your own children someday--or maybe it has one of a million other purposes, seemingly small and relatively unimportant to the world, but a necessary tool in God's hand. Maybe? Isn't that still giving back to Him? Developing and furthering what He has given us?

So that's what was on my heart this weekend, and I just wanted to share it with you--though I'm not quite sure that I worded it in a way that properly explains what I was trying to say...Please let me know what you think of it; does any of it ring true for you?