Thursday, April 14, 2011

This is what happens when I have a semi-clean kitchen...

I bake! 

These are so easy to make.
  • Roll out a package of puff pastry into a 10x10 square, cut it into 4 squares.
  • Put dollop of pie filling of your choice (I chose E.D Smith apple and cherry - yes I made two packages worth!)
  • Put on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  • Brush them wish one egg lightly beaten
  • Put in preheated 400F oven for 15 minutes
  • Turn down to 350F for 20 mins until filling is warm and bubbling
  • Take out and enjoy
  • Drizzle with lemon icing (2 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tsp lemon juice)
They turned out really good, every time I make them they get better each time - imagine that!
Tomorrow making "Candy Bread".

Friday, April 08, 2011

Mark 13 -

My days have been very heavy the last week, and it all came to climax this morning.  Last night I had the honor of doing photography for the funeral of man in our church- John Williams.  I wrote about it on my photography blog here.

   It seems quite fitting to talk about Mark 13.  Things are starting to heat up and the Pharisees are looking for ways to kill Jesus.  So Jesus is starting to have serious talks with his disciples and prepare them for a time when they won't have him around.  In Mark 13:1 it says...

"As he walked away from the Temple, one of his disciples said, "Teacher, look at that stonework! Those buildings!"
 2Jesus said, "You're impressed by this grandiose architecture? There's not a stone in the whole works that is not going to end up in a heap of rubble."

This impressed on me the message that get your priorities right.  I have these dreams of traveling to Europe and taking in the grand landscapes and wonderful architecture, but really landscape can change so fast these days and architecture can crumble and fall - World Trade Center for instance.

  How fast the tsunami came and swept away a third of Japan last month, and along with it I'm sure alot of people's dreams.  Jesus knew that one day all the grand architecture they were looking at would be buried under the ground one day.  I'm excited that I'll have a chance to see all these ruins, but I'm positive that it will be nothing compared to what it once was. 

It's scary to even write this, because I remember when there was time when this was the stuff that movies were made of. Have you noticed how everything seems to escalating? Since about 1998/99 the movies are more apocalyptic - weather patterns are increasingly more violent. How quickly 9/11 came and turned our world upside down.   And with 2012 coming so close, people are wondering if this might be the end.  

This is what Jesus has to say..

5-8Jesus began, "Watch out for doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, 'I'm the One.' They will deceive a lot of people. When you hear of wars and rumored wars, keep your head and don't panic. This is routine history, and no sign of the end. Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. But these things are nothing compared to what's coming.

 9-10"And watch out! They're going to drag you into court. And then it will go from bad to worse, dog-eat-dog, everyone at your throat because you carry my name. You're placed there as sentinels to truth. The Message has to be preached all across the world.

 11"When they bring you, betrayed, into court, don't worry about what you'll say. When the time comes, say what's on your heart—the Holy Spirit will make his witness in and through you.

 12-13"It's going to be brother killing brother, father killing child, children killing parents. There's no telling who will hate you because of me.
   "Stay with it—that's what is required. Stay with it to the end. You won't be sorry; you'll be saved.

This totally got me thinking - I had to even reread this.

Do I have the guts to stand up for Jesus?  

What if it really came to that?  We - I take forgranted our religious freedom.  I have tried for many years to be ignorant of the persecution that is going on in the world, but no matter how hard I try, it is still happening.  For instance this sad.  Seeing those two girls at the beginning of the video made me think of my girls.  

21-23"If anyone tries to flag you down, calling out, 'Here's the Messiah!' or points, 'There he is!' don't fall for it. Fake Messiahs and lying preachers are going to pop up everywhere. Their impressive credentials and dazzling performances will pull the wool over the eyes of even those who ought to know better. So watch out. I've given you fair warning."

There is so much that I could say about this topic - in fact I will probably do a whole post about it. 

 24-25"Following those hard times,

   Sun will fade out,
      moon cloud over,
   Stars fall out of the sky,
      cosmic powers tremble.

 26-27"And then they'll see the Son of Man enter in grand style, his Arrival filling the sky—no one will miss it! He'll dispatch the angels; they will pull in the chosen from the four winds, from pole to pole.

 28-31"Take a lesson from the fig tree. From the moment you notice its buds form, the merest hint of green, you know summer's just around the corner. And so it is with you. When you see all these things, you know he is at the door. Don't take this lightly. I'm not just saying this for some future generation, but for this one, too—these things will happen. Sky and earth will wear out; my words won't wear out.

 32-37"But the exact day and hour? No one knows that, not even heaven's angels, not even the Son. Only the Father. So keep a sharp lookout, for you don't know the timetable. It's like a man who takes a trip, leaving home and putting his servants in charge, each assigned a task, and commanding the gatekeeper to stand watch. So, stay at your post, watching. You have no idea when the homeowner is returning, whether evening, midnight, cockcrow, or morning. You don't want him showing up unannounced, with you asleep on the job. I say it to you, and I'm saying it to all: Stay at your post. Keep watch."

So good news for all those scared about 2012.  The most important thing is that Jesus says that, "the message has to be preached in all the earth."  That means when every people group has heard the message, then Jesus will come back to get his bride.

 Last weekend my pastor talked about this, and his take on it is not just every people group - as in nations, but different groups of people.  We as humans group with people of like interests.  And that Jesus will come back when every kind of person and interest has had a chance to hear about Jesus.

 I'm encouraged more than ever to keep writing this blog, because if I can be a light in anyway I want to be.  We are called to be salt and light.  To not hide, but to proclaim the message of a risen Saviour.  I don't want to be found asleep, worrying about things of this life, I want to be found doing the things of my Father.  And if I get called to heaven early, I pray that my life will be of some impact.

  I have made peace with the first question, do I have the strength to stand up for Jesus?  I think I do, and pray that I don't have to be tested in this.   I'm mature in my Christian walk to know when God is speaking to me and I had the feeling of not obeying.  So when He asks me to do something - even if it is hard or awkward (which it usually is) that I would rather do that, than have that awful feeling in my stomach wishing I could stop time and turn it around.  To me that would be Hell, trying to put that behind me and forgive myself.  I'm sure Peter had to go through that when he denied knowing Jesus not just once, but three times!

But I have one question for you.

 What will you do with Jesus? 

 Will you ignore Him and pass it off as a fairytale or just a story, or will you take it seriously and make Him number one in your life? The Bible says all you have to do is love the Lord with all your heart, your passion and strength and you'll be saved.  

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Jesus loves Gays.

Ok, I was going to write about the End times, because that was what yesterday's reading was about, but I keep coming back to this in my writing, so I will let it run it's course.  So here it is.

 But this is not really related, but I have to say it.  I was watching Glee tonight and it was a rerun.  I was kind of excited about it, because it was about Jesus...well "grilled Cheesus", but then as the episode went on, it was written from the view that why wasn't God there when, this person's mom died, and why did God let this person's sister be born with down syndrome and why did God allow this one guy be "born gay" and all his "followers" (notice the quotations..) tell him that God didn't want anything to do with him if was gay.  It made me mad because this was written from someone who was obviously hurting, and didn't see when God was reaching out them.  People want all the answers and they want the now.

     But like a wise man I know once said, "...Maybe we are asking the wrong questions.  It's not why are all these bad things happening, but, 'what can I do to help?"'  I know that God created us perfect with no sin, and He gave man dominion over the world and handed it back to us to take care of it. God doesn't go back on his word and it has to run it's course.

WE let sin into the world and with it comes disease and suffering. 
WE are responsible for global warming - not God. 
WE are responsible for the garbage and all the plastic floating in the Ocean that is killing millions of birds - NOT God.  
We are responsible for killing millions of species by our selfishness and lack of concern for the environment - NOT God. 

    Sin is SO aweful, that it took drastic measures to deal with it.  Someone had to DIE, and THAT my friends, is why God sent Jesus.  He didn't create the mess and He certainly didn't have to clean it up, but He wanted to.  He was willing to clean up our mess knowing full well what was involved and He, Jesus lived his life fully aware with unwavering focus on what His life was about.   

We think we are so much more intelligent, but we are killing ourselves with all the chemicals and technology.  They come out with new medicine and then have to recall it because they find out 30 years later that it causes cancer.  Man, does not know everything.  It is hit and miss with us.  We have to use scientific method to get any sort of success - but God, HE just has to speak and there it is. He doesn't have to read up on how to use something, because He is the Creator-He created it.  Six days to create the world and one to rest - I think He did pretty good don't you?  We're still discovering some of the things He created.

Ok, back to persecution.  I just have one more thing to say on this, God loves gay people.  It's true.  His heart is so full of compassion for them.  It makes me mad when I hear of someone hating in the "name of God".  The term totally contradicts itself, because God is Love.  What is really happening is that a modern day Pharisee is hating on a Gay person - and that is not what Jesus stood for AT ALL.  He was in their face (pharisee's), and challenged them many times.  If Jesus was here today, He would be saying this....

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor." Matthew 7:1-9

  So if you are gay and your reading this, seriously take another look at Jesus-the REAL Jesus.  Not what you've heard about Him, NOT what people have said - Find out for YOURSELF.  You will be pleasantly surprised.  I personally love the gay people that I've met -seriously.  I wish they weren't hurting so much-they are so broken inside. I wish I could take all the pain away, but I can't.  I know someone who can though. Jesus.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

One in a million

This is such a beautiful song, and the message goes very much along with what I've been feeling the Spirit is saying to me. Be the answer.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Mark 10 - Loosen your grip - stockpile your treasure in Heaven.

I read this yesterday during my bible study and this is the passage that stuck out to me.  It's worded a little different in Mark as opposed to Matthew.

17As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, "Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?"

 18-19Jesus said, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, don't cheat, honor your father and mother."

 20He said, "Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!"

What came next got me and made me ponder to make sure that I didn't miss a thing - I even re-read it a couple times.  

 21Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him! He said, "There's one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me."

I can imagine Jesus pausing and taking the man in.  Studying him, looking him in the eye, to make sure he was for real.  

 22The man's face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

You don't hear this message too often, but how many times does God give us the opportunity to do something - jump feet first and we stop to weigh the consequences.  How tight we try to hold on to things, when God asks.  It's not to be deprive us, but He knows that He has something better.  And talking to Christians, We have so many reasons for not getting involved in church - doesn't fit in with our "schedule". 

"I can't wake up at 8 am to sing at church  - too hard on the kids."
"I can't go to church, because my kids have hockey practice at 6am "
"I can't get involved in church because I don't know anyone"

There are so many variables and excuses, but it got me thinking Jesus could have had another disciple.  We only hear about the ones that dropped everything and followed Him and didn't look back.  This is the last that we hear about this guy.  He was so close.  He put so much focus and attention into keeping the commandments, but he couldn't let go of the "things" in his life.  Are you worried that if you take the plunge that you'll be losing out?  You're so close, you've been a good person , but making Jesus #1 is just too much.  

I say we need to find out what God's priorities are and structure our life around them - even if it kills us.  Life is not just about us. Christians, stop being selfish.  Coming to church and getting involved is not just about you - it's for others.  To build relationships, and to be "Christ" to others.  Be willing to ditch your "schedule" and make a new one.  Be flexible enough that when a crisis hits that you can be there- they rarely (if ever) come with an announcement.  I'm being impressed to get rid of as much earthly "stuff" as possible and see how much I can live without.  So here's what I'm in the process of getting rid of

  • Books (I have so many books!  It will take me FOREVER to read them all because I'm such a slow reader),
  • magazines, 
  • Movie Channel, 
  • expensive makeup, 
  • expensive coffee,
  • eating out excessively
  • toys that the kids no longer play with, but we save for the day (that never comes) when we have small children come to visit.
  • start shopping with coupons and look for sales when grocery shopping - be wise with our money.
  • the dream of one day owning a big house - (this is a big one for me, as we live in a townhouse.  I'm just starting finally give that dream up to God.  Whatever happens, it's really not that important.  Though a big bathroom would be nice one day with three teenage girls.)
"Don't hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it's safe from moth and rust and burglars. It's obvious, isn't it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being."  Matthew 6:19-21

P.S.  I'm so thankful for the friends who ditched their schedules to help me out the last couple weeks.  You are amazing.  thank you.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

I'll Never Become a Christian Because...

I'll Never Become a Christian Because...

Living the God-Life

The last month while reading the Gospels, there seems to be a resounding theme - Live the God-Life, live life God's way!  Not only in my bible reading, but in what I watch on TV.  These mental images are just expoding in my head when I read.  One night my heart was heavy with things of this life, and I was even questioning God's call on my life - was I really doing the right thing by pursuing photography? And the Spirit said, "John 15...the Vine"  I memorized this verse when I was in grade school so I knew this verse well, and had meditated on it.  I opened it up in the Message Bible (my reading bible of choice).  and it said....

"I am the Real Vine and my Father is the Farmer. He cuts off every branch of me that doesn't bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more. You are already pruned back by the message I have spoken.

4"Live in me. Make your home in me just as I do in you. In the same way that a branch can't bear grapes by itself but only by being joined to the vine, you can't bear fruit unless you are joined with me.

5-8"I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you're joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can't produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

9-10"I've loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you'll remain intimately at home in my love. That's what I've done—kept my Father's commands and made myself at home in his love.

11-15"I've told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I'm no longer calling you servants because servants don't understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I've named you friends because I've let you in on everything I've heard from the Father.

And then it jumped out at me...

16"You didn't choose me, remember; I chose you, and put you in the world to bear fruit, fruit that won't spoil. As fruit bearers, whatever you ask the Father in relation to me, he gives you.

And as soon as I read the word "fruit" I thought of all the nature shows that I've been drawn to watch on Netflix where there was an abundance in these remote coral reefs where the eco systems were in tact, and not interfered by man and their chemicals, or a foreign species was brought in and threw the whole ecosystem out of balance.  I felt like God was saying that when I live my life according to his principals that can be found in His teachings, that my life will be abundant.  I was made to bear fruit and to share with others as a tree shares it's fruit to share with others. When I don't, my life gets poisoned, and I become self-centered and no good to nobody.

If you feel like your at the end of your rope, remember, that God has chosen you to be alive on this earth and there is a reason - to bear fruit.  To be alive to help others, to know who He is and have a relationship with Him and to encourage others to serve Him also.  If you don't know who He is, I encourage to find out by reading the Gospels.  Don't listen to what other people have said- find out for yourself, and make a quality decision for yourself.  I guarantee that the people that talk smack about God - don't know Him and haven't experienced His goodness.  They are so angry, and hurt and He seems to be the easiest person to blame it on.  God from the very beginning, has been all about love.  Unconditional love.  He DIED on a cross, knowing FULLY what was going to happen.  But He stood and faced everything - the excruciating pain, the suffering, because He knew that by shedding his blood it would cover the sins of humankind and bring us back into right alignment with Him.  He brought the spiritual ecosystem back to balance, so we can have Heaven's life here on earth, and in the earth to come.