Thursday, December 27, 2012

Why I am Voting "NO"

On January 15, 2013 the county where I live in (Lyon) will be taking a vote on whether to allow the selling of alcohol in its stores, gas stations, restaurants etc. As a Christian, I want to express why I will vote "NO" to the selling of alcohol in the county where I live.

First of all, I want to strongly state that alcohol in itself is not a sin (Psalm 104:14-15). Jesus' first miracle was turning water into wine, providing the guests with more to drink.(John 2:1-11). Solomon in his writings in Ecclesiastes (9:7) recommends to us to eat, drink and be merry and even Paul recommended Timothy to mix some wine into his diet to help with his stomach. (I Timothy 5:23). My flesh wishes that Jesus never drank, but the Scripture is clear, Jesus drank wine as did most Jews who were not under the Nazarene law. He was even called a drunkard and glutton by those that hated Him (Matthew 11:19) (Just for clarity's sake, He wasn't either of the two.)  Therefore, we must see and admit that alcohol is not a sin, to do otherwise is to twist Scripture.

That being said, God has given us many gifts for our enjoyment, one of them being alcohol.  Unfortunately, man being the sinful being he is, will always twist and pervert the gifts that God has blessed us with. Always!
 The prophet Jeremiah mentions man's heart as being sick and deceitful (17:9). Jesus tells us that out of our heart comes evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, and adultery (Mark 7:21). Even in sin we were born (Psalm 51:5)! Paul elaborates and restates certain parts of the Psalms and parts of Isaiah that say that there is NOT one good person (Romans 3:10-18) Not one! Therefore, we must agree that man is inherently evil. That man does not err on the side of good, but on the side that is bad. Making alcohol legal isn't going to make man a better person, he can't become better in himself. None of us can, it is only through Jesus' blood that man is made righteous (Romans 5:9) Even if our intentions are good, man will always find a way to rebel against God and pervert that which is good.

God knows us, even more than we know ourselves and that is why He has constructed boundaries regarding His gifts.When it comes to food, God warns us not to make our stomach our god (Phillipians 3:19). When it comes to sex, Jesus commands that it be between one man and one woman (Matthew 19:4) and for our enjoyment. The book of Proverbs advices spouses to enjoy each other (5:19) and even Paul (a celibate) advices married couples not to go too long without sex (I Corinthians 7:5) and let us not forget the whole book of the Song of Solomon. So again we see that God has given us good things to enjoy but we see that man has made it into a mess. With food, we see the rising of disease and obesity, the enslavement of people on diets and the weariness of counting calories. With sex, we see struggling single mothers, disease, heartache, abortion, homosexuality, incest, rape and loneliness. With alcohol, we see the rise of violence, depression, loneliness, spousal and child abuse and suicide. We take what God has given us and twist it, thus adding to our pain and suffering. We take the things that are meant to give us a taste of His glory, and make it our god. We allow the creation to take the place of the Creator.

God's Word warns us plenty of times of the outcome of drunkenness (Galatians 5:19-21). Jesus warns us of the trap it is and ties it with depression (Luke 21:34). It takes away understanding (Hosea 4:11), impairs our judgement (Isaiah 28:7), it brings poverty (Priverbs 23:20-21), and sadly it keeps us from inheriting the kingdom of God (I Corinthians 6:9-10).

But I want to add another warning the Bible gives clearly and it is to those that do not have a drinking problem like me. Paul speaks about this in I Corinthians 8 and 10. In these passages Paul is talking about food or drink sacrificed to idols and the freedoms found in mature Christians. (This is perfect example for me because I am very strong when it comes to abstaining from drinking alcohol, but pathetically weak when it comes to over-eating) As a mature Christian, I am free to eat and drink and to enjoy God's gifts, but NEVER at the expense of my Christian brothers and sisters. Just like my thinner Christian sisters (with no eating disorders) shouldn't make it easy for me to sin with food by telling me to eat and eat and be merry; I shouldn't either make it easy for my brothers and sisters in Christ when it comes to drinking. As a mature Christian I need to worry about the good of others before I think of myself. (I Corinthians 10:24) - In other words, me being able to buy my beer after mowing the lawn is not as important as helping my Christian brothers or sisters who struggle with alcohol. We don't invite a struggling glutton to a buffet, just like we don't invite a struggling drunkard for a drink. (Romans 14:21) It is hard to see the weaknesses of others and it is very easy to be selfish, but again Paul warns us to watch out for the weak and if we cause them to sin, that that sin is a sin against Christ. (I Corinthians 8:12)

Besides several statistics that speak of the rise of violence, theft and abuse that spring forth from alcohol (all of which is spoken of in the God's Word. For other references see: Proverbs 20:1, 23:29-35, Isaiah 5:22; I Corinthians 5:11; many more)  We must be our brother's keeper and not make it easy for man to indulge in their sin. Habakkuk 2:15a tells us: "Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink". That verse then mentions how that is like pouring our wrath over them so we can see their nakedness (or their debauchery) and laugh at them.

Are there people out there that are responsible drinkers that just want to enjoy life differently than me? Yes, of course. But the Christian cannot use the defense, "Why should I suffer because others do not know how to drink." On the contrary our mind should be, "I would rather suffer not being able to drink because others don't know Him the way I do".

That is why I CANNOT knowingly  look the other way and vote YES, knowing that I have provided a stumbling block to others.

If alcohol remains illegal to sell, I will praise God and continue to try to be a light to this dark world. If alcohol becomes legal to sell, I will praise God and continue to try to be a light to this dark world. Either way alcohol will not affect me, but it is not about me. It is about Him first and others second. We are all accountable for our actions. I pray that the Holy Spirit leads you in your decision on whether to vote yes or no on the selling of alcohol.

I leave you with this passage in Ephesians 5:18-20:
 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,  making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,  speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Filled with Him (not wine), :-)

Anna






Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Skit - Axe and You Shall Receive






I couldn't find a good Thanksgiving skit, so I decided to make one up. Feel free to use this skit and if you do, let me know how it went. Just please remember to give credit where credit is do. God bless. 

A good verse to read at the beginning is:
 Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. ~ I Thessalonians 5:16-18







Axe and You Shall Receive
Written by Anna R. Tobey

Characters:
             Pilgrim
             Turkey 1
             Turkey 2
             Turkey 3
             As many other turkeys as you like. They are all background turkeys and don't have speaking parts,   they just make turkey noises.

Props:
             Axes
             Handkerchief  for Pilgrim to blow his nose
             Some leaves for turkeys to forage

Stage Set Up:  This skit takes place in the woods where a Pilgrim is hunting turkeys with an axe to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner. 

SKIT BEGINS: 
Left side of Stage: Turkeys gathered together in group. All are foraging and making silly turkey noises. The extra axes are hidden behind the group of turkeys.

Right side of Stage: Pilgrim walks slowly towards the turkeys. He is holding his axe high ready to strike. Make this part suspenseful taking one step at a time very slowly.

Pilgrim: (accidentally sneezes) Ahhhh Ahhhh Ahhhh Chooooooooo!

Turkeys immediately stop making noise and look towards pilgrim

Pilgrim: (sheepishly) ohhhh ummm hello!?!

Turkeys are all staring silently, just blinking

Pilgrim: Uhh . . . . What a beautiful fall day! Don’t ya think?

Turkeys continue to stare. One of them finally answers.

Turkey 1: What are doing here?

Pilgrim: Nothing. What are YOU doing here?

Turkey 1: (sarcastically) Foraging

Pilgrim: Great! I hope you guys have been eating a lot!

Turkey 2: Why?

Pilgrim: Oh no, um, no reason. It’s just good to be fat!

Turkey 2: Why?

Pilgrim: Umm, gee, I don’t know. Just cuz. You know, just in case you need to feed someone.

Turkey 3: That doesn’t make any sense

Pilgrim: (yells in excitement) It does for me!

Turkey 3: What?!

Pilgrim: Nothing, nothing. Can you guys turn around?

Turkey 2: Why?

Pilgrim: Because you’re just so cute and I can’t do this if you’re looking at me!

Turkey 2: Do what?

Pilgrim: (Yelling) KILL YOU!!

All Turkeys: GASP!! (one faints)

Turkey 1: (surprised)You want to kill . . . .us?

Pilgrim: YES!

Turkey 2: But . . . but, why? (fainted turkey gets up)

Pilgrim: Because I want to eat you!

ALL Turkeys: GASP!! (same turkey faints again)

Turkey 2: But . . . but why?

Pilgrim: Because it’s Thanksgiving and that is what we do!

Turkey 1: What is Thanksgiving?

Pilgrim: (sighs) It’s a time when we remember to tell God what we are thankful for.

Turkey 1: What does that have to do with us?

Pilgrim: I don’t know. It’s only once a year. Come on! Turn around!

Turkey 3: (disbelievingly and shaking his head) So you are only thankful . . . ONCE . . . a . . . year?

Pilgrim: Well, um. No. I mean, yes. I mean, I don’t know.

Turkeys: (all turkeys begin making disapproving noise) tsk tsk tsk

Turkey 1: (scorning) And you kill a turkey as a sacrifice to your once-a-year-thankfulness. I would figure that God (pointing to Heaven) doesn’t like to be thanked only once a year.

Turkeys: (turkeys begin making disapproving noises again) one yells out “AMEN!!”

Turkey 2: Maybe you need to think about this more. Look at us, we are thankful EVERYDAY to God. (Pilgrim looks down in shame)

Turkey 3: He provides for our food (Pilgrims slumps more)

Turkey 2: Our shelter (Pilgrim slumps more)

Turkey 1: Our baby chicks (Pilgrim slumps to his knees)

Turkey 3: (righteously) Thankfulness is what we do everyday, not just once a year.

Turkey 1: And we certainly don’t KILL anything to celebrate our thankfulness.

Pilgrim: (still on his knees, covers his face and begins crying and loudly speaking) You’re right! All of you!! I’m sorry little fat turkeys! Only once a year do I celebrate with thanksgiving. (determined, blows his nose, and stands up) I will go home today and count my blessings. God blesses me EVERYDAY and I’ve never even thanked Him.

Turkey 2: Don’t worry little Pilgrim. God is a forgiving God. Go home and love Him

Pilgrim: (sniffing) Can . . .can I get a hug?

Turkey 1: Of course! (smiling and opens arms wide) (then seriously) Just put the axe down first

(Pilgrim puts axe down and then goes over to hug Turkey 1)

Pilgrim: (begins to cry hysterically)

Turkey 1: (petting the pilgrim’s head) There, there. Don’t worry about it.

Pilgrim: I am so ungrateful

Turkey 1: Yes, yes you are, now go and make things right with God

Pilgim: I will little fat turkey. (looking to the sky) I will.

(Pilgrim runs jubilantly towards the exit)

(short pause, Turkey 1 goes over to pick up axe)

Turkey 1: (turns around and faces the turkeys) Works every time! (Turkeys separate to reveal a stack of axes.Turkey 1 goes over and places the extra axe on the stack)

Turkeys: (start making their turkey noises again)




Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Case for the Real Jesus by Lee Strobel - Book Review



I have now read all of Lee Strobel's "case" books. Like the others, "The Case for the Real Jesus" is set up as a dialogue between the interviewer (Strobel) and the interviewee.

This one was by far a lot easier to read than "The Case for a Creator" or "The Case for Christ". "The Case for Creator" was a really tough book to read because of the amount of scientific and biological information. Strobel interviews super intelligent men that are bordering geniuses in their fields and some of the jargon is hard to grasp. So it was a breath of fresh air that "The Case for the Real Jesus" wasn't so tough to read.

This book combats a lot of new questions that have lately arisen within the past couple of years regarding Jesus. It also helps in rebutting against post-modernist and universalists.






Here is a list of the 6 challenges Lee Strobel stresses in his book:
 1. "Scholars are uncovering a radically different Jesus in ancient documents as credible as the four Gospels"
2. "The Bible's Portrait of Jesus Can't Be Trusted Because the Church Tampered with the Text"
3. Part 1: "New Explanations Have Refuted Jesus' Resurrection"
    Part 2: "The Cross Examination"
4. "Christianity's Beliefs about Jesus Were Copied from Pagan Religions"
5. "Jesus Was an Imposter Who Failed to Fulfill the Messianic Prophecies"
6. "People Should Be Free to Pick and Choose What to Believe about Jesus"

If you have asked your self any questions regarding the statements listed above, then this book is going to help tremendously.

I do recommend that this book be read by Christians that are firmly founded in their faith and love the Bible. I will be blunt regarding the 2nd challenge about the Church tampering with the text. Reading this chapter, I found out that Mark 16:9-20 was most likely added on later and not by Mark. Although, these particular verses are most likely true, they were still not written by the original author. The person who added these verses most likely thought that Mark finished his Gospel to abruptly and decided to elaborate on what else had taken place after the women saw Jesus. Granted, there is a footnote in everyone's Bible pointing out this truth, but it never registered completely as it did when I read "The Case for the Real Jesus". I also found out John 7:53 - 8:11 was also most likely added on later and not added by John. The story probably happened, but by the time it was written down it was probably already aggrandized, as most history is if written to many years after the actual event happened.

This information does not in any way prove that the Bible is fallible. On the contrary, the verses cited that are in question, do not change any doctrine or theological core. The essence of the Bible is never lost or compromised, it just adds to our knowledge of all our Bible has gone through, and how it is still an alive and authoritarian teacher.

Warnings: It can shake your faith briefly. But we must remember that all Biblical knowledge brings glory to the Father.
Pages: 277
Rating: 7.5 out of 10 stars - The book can get a little boring towards the end. The dialogue and the physical details can also get a bit frustrating.

If you would like to order this book, click here.







Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Rise of Mommy Porn

Few passages in the Bible are as graphic and sexually explicit as Ezekiel chapter 23. This chapter is full of the details of the depravity of two women - sisters, which represent the nations of Samaria and Jerusalem. I want to comment on this chapter because there is much we can learn from it given the current female movement of "mommy porn".

Chapter 23 of Ezekiel is an allegory of two sisters named Ohola and Oholibah. I found it very interesting that the names of these women derive from the word "tent" or "my tent" and it insinuates a place of worship. Both these women prostitute themselves and revel in their lust. They are used, abused, and defiled and they seem callous to what these men do to them. Ohola is spoken of first. Her children are taken from her, she is then shamed and then killed with a sword. Seeing how her sister is shamed and murdered, you would figure that Oholibah would learn, but on the contrary, she follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes even more depraved than her sister and took her degeneracy even further. Through the middle of the chapter God speaks to her and tells her what the consequences are because of her lewdness. Her children are impacted, her body is impacted, her mind is impacted, and ultimately her relationship with God is impacted. This is a chapter full of disgust, sadness, sorrow and death.


I want to focus on Oholibah now and what happens to her. I want to talk about what she does and how she ends up because I believe this allegory of this idolatrous nation, can help us understand what sexual immorality can lead to.

The story of Oholibah begins in verse 11. She sees her sister murdered and doesn't learn from Ohola's experience. She sees her children taken from Ohola. She sees the men strip her naked and then sees them run her through with a sword. As women, we have also seen it. We have seen the woman who is abused and returns to her abuser. The woman who committed adultery and shattered her family. The woman pursuing love in all the wrong places while neglecting her children. The woman addicted to sex and one-night stands, longing for a true relationship. We have seen it, but what do we do with what we see? Oholibah doesn't learn and maybe even thinks that what happened to her sister, won't happen to her. The problem is that she ends up fornicating with the same men that killed her sister! But look at verses 14 through 16. She sees men portrayed on a wall and lusts after them. Women, she is looking at pornography! She sees that they are handsome and virile and she craves them, she wants them, she yearns for them. Ladies! What are our eyes looking at? With books out like "50 Shades of Grey" and movies like "Magic Mike", the story of Oholibah rings clear. God abhors ANYTHING that causes us to lust, because what is lust but another form of idolatry. So Oholibah sees her pornography and lusts after these men. She goes after them and they in turn release their lusts on her. At first, she seems disgusted in herself. That is what one usually feels at the beginning of any sexual sin. At first it makes us feel dirty, but practice makes perfect and sooner than later, the conviction of the Holy Spirit is gone. Oholibah continues with her mess. She forgets that what she does impacts her children. She even gives up her children to false idols. Her entitlement is more important to her. She feels she deserves to feel free and liberated and it costs her her children. Then after all her fornicating, after all her sin, after she does all her filth, she goes to church - or in this case synagogue. She goes to worship God and doesn't find Him. She turns to booze and soon becomes depressed. What she thought was her liberation, ended up being her enslavement. The Lord let her destroy herself. He gave her what she wanted and released her to her sin. What is so sad about Oholibah is that she was His. She belonged to our Lord and acted like an unwanted orphan.  She is ruined and becomes desolate. She ends up being murdered also. Ladies, this is serious. What we allow ourselves to let in, impacts us.

I know many might think what harm can a movie or a book make. I have heard plenty of times that Satan's greatest weapon is to tell people he isn't real or that sin is no big deal. This is precisely what Satan wants you to think, after all a fictional book is no big deal because it's not real. Well, pornography isn’t real, but it affects our marriages. TV drama is not real, but affects our youth. Violent video games are not real, but it affects our children. Magazine pictures are not real, but they affect our self-esteem.The list goes on and on. What we view, what we see, what we read affects our heart and mind. Jesus mentions it several times when He speaks on the inner self. If you hate in your heart, it is murder. If you lust in your heart, it is adultery. If anything replaces your love for Him, it is idolatry.  If you want something that is not yours, it is coveting. What goes on in our heart and mind is excruciatingly important. So much so that it nailed Jesus to the cross.

Ladies, anyone who reads or views this kind of mess unrepentantly and calls herself a Christian is just like Oholibah. She is prostituting her mind and heart. Remember Oholibah means "my tent". What is our body and mind? It is a dwelling place of the most High.  I Corinthians 6:19 says that we are not our own and our body is His temple. 

"50 Shades of Grey" is a depraved romance novel that uses pain and torture as a means for arousal. Is this the equality that women have fought for? To be used and abused for the arousal of a man? Is this supposed to be romantic? Is this how Jesus loved His bride? Just because a woman wrote this book does not mean it is okay to read. And just like Oholibah, this filth impacts your mind, your children and above all your relationship with God.

Ezekiel 23 ends with this warning: "So I will put an end to lewdness in the land, that all women may take warning and not imitate you.You will suffer the penalty for your lewdness and bear the consequences of your sins of idolatry. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign Lord. ”

Let us learn from Oholibah and not imitate her and remember that her despair spiraled out of control when she saw the images on the wall; when she had feasted her eyes on those lewd things. Let us make a covenant with our eyes (Job 31:1) and think of pure things (Philippians 4:8). The risks and the consequences are not worth it. 








Saturday, June 23, 2012

Brave - Movie Review

Pixar did it again! Another great movie and this time the protagonist is a human and female. Yes, Merida is the defiant daughter of King Fergus and Queen Elinor. With a mop of wild red hair and a burning free spirit to match, Merida sets herself to run her own fate. Angered by her sudden betrothal and parent's search for a suitor, she embarks in making her own destiny. She defies tradition and female protocol by becoming an agile archer and ignoring proper feminine etiquette. But it is this stubborn spree that turns her kingdom upside down.

Full of laughs and Scottish wit this movie is a laugh-out-loud success. The scenery is just beautiful and the animation is fantastic! There are several times when it is a little difficult to understand the characters due to their Scottish brogue, but I think that might be the point. True to their feisty nature, there are several brawls and fights.  The movie also really takes us into their culture, including some cliches and cuisine.

The only thing that a Christian family might have issue with this movie is that there are two scenes where several rear ends are exposed. Because all the men wear kilts, maybe it was bound to happen. So yes, there are several men walking around at night and their butts are in plain sight. The other scene is of the King's red-headed, trouble-making triplet boys as they run around naked in a field, but again, it is only their rear ends that are shown and briefly. Towards the end of the movie the Queen mentions that she is "naked" under a tapestry and the King tells the on-lookers to look away. There is an older very heavy set woman that also has very low cleavage. It is not sexual in any way, she is just a rotund gal. There is a key that she hides in her bosom that the triplet boys end up getting from her and a brief close up shot of one of them diving in to get the key is shown. Also, for smaller children there is a very ugly black bear that is shown several times and one scene that includes a brutal bear fight that might be a bit frightening. There is no gore or blood though, but the bear does get hit several times with multiple arrows. True to most fairy tales, there is magic, spell casting and a witch, but nothing scary.

Overall the movie was fantastic! My daughter (4) never took her eyes of the screen. The movie has a great moral ending that we can all learn from.

Some subjects you can talk about with your children: Pride, Female and Male roles, Forgiveness, What haggis is made up of, Scottish heritage, Stubbornness, What is marriage

Rating: 8 stars out of 10
Length: 100 minutes
Rated: PG for for some scary action and rude humor

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Book Review - The Murder of Jesus

I am always amazed at the impact the Cross still has on me. To the Christian, the Gospel should never cease to astonish us. Jesus died for us while we were still sinners and that just shakes me to the core. The torture and shame that He endured for someone as worthless as me momentarily brings me to a sense of unworthiness (and rightly so); but then elates me and makes me forever thankful for His salvation. It brings the quote: "God doesn't love me because I am special. I am special because God loves me" to a heightened understanding.

The Murder of Jesus magnifies the last hours of Jesus' life and provides a lot of information of all the surrounding factors that lead to the death of our Savior. The whole book is an exegesis of arguably the most crucial point in Christian history. John MacArthur uses all four Gospels wonderfully as he unravels the story of, as MacArthur states, "the worst crime ever committed". He also provides information about the world of the Pharisees and other religious leaders. He goes into the Greek of many important words several times throughout the book in order for us to get a better grasp of what the author was trying to emphasize. Several times he does give just his personal opinion on things, but he is always clear to say that it is just that, an educated opinion.

Jesus says in John 10:17-18: "The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” This statement resounds throughout the book. The evil that was done to Jesus confounds us, but it is still easy to forget that Jesus was in control of what was done to Him. Not for one second, did He lose control of the situation.  He allowed this to happen. Jesus even told Pilate in John 19:11 who truly was in control! 


This book was a great read and I recommend it to anyone that is wanting to learn more about the surrounding factors of the trial and execution of Jesus. Because of it, I love my Savior even more for what He did for me and it opened my eyes even more to the sovereignty of God. 

Warnings: The book is not nearly as violent as it could have been. So this book is appropriate for younger readers.
Pages: 243
Rating: 8 stars out of 10
Click here to order the book through Amazon


John MacArthur included a webpage for this book. Click here to view more commentary and information about the murder of Jesus.



Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Children of Henry VIII - Book Review

I just can't get enough of this part of history! These stories are better than any soap opera just because they were true! This book covers the stories of Henry VIII's 3 children: Mary, Elizabeth and Edward; and his great-niece Jane Grey - she is also known as the "9 days queen". 
The unbelievable drama of Henry VIII did not end with his death and this book tells of the incredible events that shaped religious methodology and eventually affected every American Christian. If you own a Bible written in English, you can thank this era and the many who died to give the people the Word of God. After the death of Henry VIII, beliefs on polar opposite sides battled for the "true" religion to reign in England. Power swayed between the Church of England and Catholicism and back again. All this lead to was torture, betrayal, intrigue and martyrdom and both sides suffered. You feel sorry for every single one of Henry VIII's children as they all struggle to survive as rulers - most don't.

If you are a lover of Tudor history this is a great read. Alison Weir is an excellent writer and doesn't leave you too long bored with tons of trivial information.

One thing that I didn't like too much was that it didn't speak any on Elizabeth's reign. The book ends with Elizabeth accepting the honor of becoming Queen of England. 

You can order the book here.

I give this book 7 out of 10 stars
It is 366 pages.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

God - The Evidence Book Review

The back of this book says: Is Science Uncovering the Face of God?

I picked up this book because it sounded interesting. As a Christian, my faith is not based on science, at all. That is why it is faith. God does not need to prove Himself to me, it is innate in all of us to "know" that there is a God up there. Some just refuse to believe, and point to science as a reason for their unbelief. On the contrary, science is pointing more and more to a Designer and many scientists - because of their refusal to be lowered from their god-status - are forced to take different approaches or make things up to twist their results to their beliefs. Science to me, just brings a new dimension to my faith. I adds to my faith. It compliments it. Faith comes from hearing, not from a science book. Now can revelations in new scientific discoveries open the eyes of a non-believer, of course, but true faith is not based on science, but on who the Holy Spirit points you to - Jesus.

Saying that, this book should be read by the mature Christian. Every chapter contains information to compliment a Believer's faith. Some of the stuff in it is great! It basically proves God exists. The only problem I had with the book is that the author quotes Gandhi quiet a bit towards the last chapter, and the last chapter leaves room for a different way to get to Heaven. So please beware, Christian reader of the last chapter in the book which speaks exponentially on near-death-experiences.

Other than that, the book was great and really got me excited about the new discoveries that are pointing towards God. Other books I would recommend if this topic interests you is Lee Strobel's "Case For" books. You can start your search for these books here.

If you would like to purchase God - The Evidence click here.

I give this book 7 out of 10 stars
It is 169 pages long

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Asado de Puerco

This is a very easy dish and is a bit on the spicy side. So if jalapeƱos are tough for you to eat, you might want to use only 4 chiles instead of the 7.  This is an authentic Mexican dish that is popular in Northern Mexico. I used, as a base, a recipe from "The Authentic Mexican" cookbook, but I did tweak it a bit. I added the flour and peanut butter to thicken the sauce. The peanut butter gave it a smoother texture and removed some of the heat. Click here to buy the book. This came out just perfect! I made some home made flour tortillas to go with it!

Ingredients:

7 Medium dried New Mexico chiles, stemmed and seeded
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2 an onion diced
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. cumin
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 lb. pork shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes
2 C water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp. flour
4 tbsp. peanut butter

Directions:
1. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat and place the chiles on the skillet. Be sure to lay them flat. Toast them on both sides by pressing down on them with the back side of some tongs. Do this for only about 2-3 minutes on each side. You will see them change colors. Then cover them with water and submerge them for about 30 minutes in the water, then drain and reserve 1 cup of the liquid.














2. Transfer the chiles, the reserved water, the garlic, the onions, the cumin and the oregano onto a blender. Blend until smooth.

3. Using the same pan, heat the oil and brown the pork cubes until they have just turned brown. About 8 minutes.

4. Add the puree in the blender to the pan and continue to cook until the sauce turns darker. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the pieces of the pork. Cook for a total time of 5 minutes or so.

5. Transfer the pork and puree mixture to a bigger pot and add 2 cups of water and salt. Bring heat to a low simmer.

6. Whisk in flour and peanut butter.  Simmer over medium heat for 1 hour add more salt if needed. Stir occasionally.




 I hope you enjoy this delicious dish!

Anna





Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Sherlock Holmes - A Game of Shadows - Movie Review


What a fantastic movie! Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law do a marvelous job in the second movie of Sherlock Holmes! If you loved the first movie, you will absolutely love love love the second one! I will even say that it is better than the first! This movie is definitely going on my Christmas wish list!

In the movie, Sherlock Holmes is dealing emotionally with facing the reality of his best friend (Watson) being married. There is also another crisis afoot and Holmes again menacingly lures Watson into another case. The cinematography is phenomenal and there are several "Holmes' views" in the movie where everything is done in super slow motion with pain-staking detail.

Of course, there are scenes that just plain crack you up and scenes where you're squirming in your seat. Thankfully the movie is free of vulgar language and sexuality.

There is a scene were Watson, at his bachelor party, becomes intoxicated. There is also another scene where both, Holmes and Watson are intoxicated. There is partial nudity scene of Mycroft (Holme's brother), walks around the house naked. His backside is shown, but there is NOTHING sexual about it. Some girls swing on some trapeziums but they are modestly dressed. There is smoking throughout the movie. There is a scene where Holmes dresses up like a woman and there are some sexual insinuations while Holmes and Watson wrestle on the ground. There is a pretty brutal torture scene where Holmes is suspended by a butcher's hook. There are several fight scenes where bones are broken.

Movie length: 129 minutes
Rating: PG-13

My Rating: 10 out of 10

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Wheat Challah Bread - Recipes

Our family just enjoys Challah bread. My son loves to smell it! I have to keep them away from this bread with yells and scolds!  I usually use this recipe with normal flour, but decided to use wheat flour this time. With the weather being a little cold outside, the smell of freshly baked bread just makes you feel all warm inside. I can't wait for my husband and the kids to come home to the smell of this delicious bread. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
2 packages dry yeast (4 1/2 tsp)
2 Cups very warm water
1/4 C sugar
1/4 C oil
4 tsp salt
3 eggs slightly beaten
1/2 C honey
7 1/2 C wheat flour

Topping:
Egg Wash ( 1 egg with 1 Tbsp water mixed well)
Sesame seeds (optional)

In a large bowl mix the yeast and water well. Add sugar, oil, salt, and eggs. Mix well. Add roughly 3 cups of flour. Mix until there are no lumps. Then add honey and mix in. Let mixture rest for about 5 minutes. Gradually add the rest of the flour (4 1/2 cups).  Oil board and hands and knead for 10 minutes. Put dough back in bowl, cover and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size. Once the dough has doubled, punch down dough and cut in half. (This amount makes two rings). Cut your half into three pieces and roll out into long ropes. Braid the ropes by placing one rope in the middle and then making an X with the other two ropes on top of the middle rope.  Braid one side down and then the other side. Pinch the ends and tuck them under. Then brush on egg wash and sprinkle sesame seeds.


Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

If you hit the bread lightly with the back of a spoon,
and it sounds hollow, it's ready!

Blessings!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

5 Signs You Are a Mature Christian

I received this list from episode 822 on wretchedradio.com. All other commentary is mine. Hope this helps your walk in your faith!

1. A mature believer has an appetite for meat.
The mature Christian has stopped drinking milk as a source of nourishment. (Hebrews 5:13). He is never comfortable in his/her faith and always desires to grow more spiritually even if it is slowly. (2 Peter 3:18) The mature Christians enjoys dissecting a verse word by word and loves to hear and read the Word. The meat-eating Christian no longer harbors jealousy, quarrels or finds his identity in anything of this world, but he/she has put those things away and has an identity that is found in Christ (I Corinthians 3:2-3; Galatians 2:20) A mature Christian knows how to defend his faith not just by the way he/she lives, but because he/she has studied God's Word profoundly (2 Timothy 2:15) He also knows to rely on the Holy Spirit when preaching, interpreting and/or teaching. (I Corinthians 2:13)




2. It is seldom that a mature believer feels offended.

Mature Christians aren't easily offended. If you call them a sinner, they know it and would probably say "and some." When someone sins against a mature Christian, that Christian's first instinct is to figure out how they can respond to the person that is offensive in a way to communicate Jesus' love for them. Paul tells us that there is no more condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1) and a mature Christian understands that, and doesn't worry about what man does to him or says about him. (Hebrews 13:6; Psalm 118:6; Luke 12:5) This Christian turns to prayer when they are emotionally or verbally hurt by another, not  resorting to the same behavior as the offender. (Psalm 109:4)  And most importantly a mature Christian understands that offenses can be used for the glory of God to expose their own weaknesses providing the Christian a way to rest in God's power (2 Corinthians 12:9) and turn something man used for evil and use it for good (Genesis 50:20)

3. A mature Christian has a conscience informed by scripture, not opinions.
The mature Christian bases his opinions and advice on scripture. He exhorts in love (I Thessalonians 5:11) and in order (I Corinthians 14:40), not ruled by his bias, feelings or emotions. When he/she needs to make a decision, they turn first to prayer or scripture. Decision-making prayer is usually lead to scripture by the Holy Spirit (John 14:26). This is why the mature Christian understands the importance of Scripture memorization. (2 Timothy 3:16; Psalm 119:11)

4. A mature Christian is humbly surprised when God uses him/her in ministry. 
A mature Christian understands that nothing they do or say is of themselves.(Jeremiah 9:23) They are honestly surprised if anything turns out right in their ministry. They know that they are faulty and sinful and dispensable and without the guidance of the Holy Spirit everything they would do, would be a "hot mess" (Isaiah 64:6). They draw their strength not from will power but from God who is their strength. (Isaiah 41:30) A mature Christian doesn't solely depend on odds, statistics, trends or numbers; but trusts that God will use even a broken man/woman for His glory. (Psalm 20:7) And the mature Christian understands that God loves using the underdog, the weak, the lowly, and the foolish things of this world in original and unique ways.( I Corinthians 1:27) (See also the life of Moses, Jesus, Gideon, Jacob, Hagar, children, the tiny mustard seed, the Samaritan woman, the leper, the tax-collector, fishermen, and the list goes on and on and praise the Lord it includes sinners like us!)

5. A tendency to give credit for spiritual growth to God, not people. 
This sign goes along with the previous sign.

You get it. You understand that you are holier now than you were a year ago not because of anything you did, but because of God working in you. You are less sinful, less agitated and more holy not because of some medicine your taking or some twelve step program, but because God is working in you.(I Thessalonians 4:1-12) And you understand that you are a work in progress. (Philippians 1:6) This makes you love the Gospel even more, because while you are still a sinner, Jesus still chose to die for you! (Romans 5:8) And because you understand the incredible show of love of God through Jesus' death on the cross, you never get tired of hearing the Gospel. (John 3:16) The mature Christian knows that without God in his/her life, they would be unrecognizable. (Romans 12:2, Galatians 2:20)


Blessings,


Anna