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Monday, April 25, 2011

#39 - Finished!

This past weekend was a bit odd... in a good way. I stayed in Chapel Hill for Easter instead of going home. Although it was sad to be away from my family, I got to partake in some things that I wouldn't have gotten to if I would have gone home - a Good Friday service, SummitKids, Easter lunch with an awesome family from church, and Maple View! Going to Maple View Farm was on the 101 things to do list and now, with great pleasure, it can be marked off.
Even though it appears to be in the middle of nowhere, Maple View isn't far from Chapel Hill at all. Luckily that means I will be going back ASAP.
Since it was a first time treat, Taylor & I went all out with two scoops of ice cream in a waffle cone.
Excited... and slightly crazed.
I got one scoop of Carolina Crunch (their signature flavor, which is very rich and caramely) and one scoop of double chocolate (basically frozen brownie batter). Needless to say, I couldn't finish the whole thing. 
Taylor got one scoop of cookies & cream and one scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough. The cookies & cream was amazing and the chocolate chip cookie dough was really creamy. Since they make the ice cream with real cream, it has a great consistency and flavor, but its really rich. Two scoops of creamy ice cream and a homemade waffle cone is a lot, as evidenced by the crazy picture.
In addition to ice cream, we bought cream (for coffee) and milk. It is hands down the best milk I've ever had. Same for the cream. You have to pay a deposit for the glass bottle (for the milk) but after your initial deposit, you can bring the glass jug back and get another bottle of milk without having to pay the extra fee.

Maple View has the best homemade ice cream (and dairy products) I've ever had, which is saying something. I'm counting down the days until I can go back!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

God Working for Our Good?

One of the most popular Bible verses people (Christians and non-Christians) quote is Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose (NIV). Perhaps the most popular way to quote this verse is in a truncated form: "In all things God works for our good." The reason why this verse is thrown out so much is pretty obvious - who wouldn't want to have a sugary sweet reminder that the creator of the universe is constantly working for our good!? But that's not what the verse says - Romans 8:28 doesn't say, against what's popularly quoted, that God will give us magical experiences and spiritual warm fuzzies all the time, working those things for our good, so in turn we should love him. No! Instead, this verse says that God will work all things (not just the good things, but probably some pretty bad & ugly things) for the good of those who love him and who have been called according to his purpose. The last part of the verse, the condition, is what's so often left out of graduation gifts and Christian tote bags. People don't want to believe that there's a stipulation to this seemingly magical good-working.

In my experience, this verse has been the most applicable to some pretty bleak situations, not sunshiney, mountain top experiences. God has used the worst, most painful situations in my life for good, shaping and molding me along the way (although, while I was in the midst of these situations I would've never expected them to actually be used for good).

I realize my interpretation of this verse is rather depressing - for people who love God and are devoted to him, he uses the worst things in their life for good in his time. However, anyone can make good things yield good things. The concept of turning horribly bad things into beautiful things intuitively doesn't make sense - proving its something that only God could do since he is all-powerful and ever-present.

So rather than flippantly quoting this verse (or any scripture really), keep in mind the full context surrounding the verse. Romans 8:28 is a beautiful verse to quote because, for people who love the Lord, it shows that God can use any thing or any circumstance for good - which gives great hope!