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Monday, June 16, 2014

Links to Christian websites/blogs

I thought I would share a few web links I have found encouraging and helpful:

UPLOOK is a wonderful Christian magazine. I have been encouraged in my walk with the Lord, by their scriptural articles. You can download back issues of the magazine to your mobile device or computer. They have a magazine archive from 1998 all the way to 2013. Check it out!

Another blog:
It features book reviews on different books and also great posts on biblical truth.
They have a nice list of links to other similar websites.
Thoughts on the Christian life as we sojourn together through the modern world
This website has lots of tips on technology and how we as Christians can use technology to share the gospel more effectively.
This is another writing blog. It has posts on the tabernacle and other subjects in the Old Testament.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Vessels of Honor Conference -Part 1-

I went to my first Vessels of Honor Conference in May. I had heard about it for the last couple of years and was excited to be able to attend one! This year, a friend suggested I come to it (she was going too) and the Lord worked out transportation for me to get there. The conference was held at Park University's campus in Kansas City, Missouri and I really enjoyed the weekend of stimulating conversations, fellowship, hymn sings and inspiring Bible teaching. 

You can listen to audio sessions from past VOH conferences on their website: 

I am planning (Lord willing) on doing a series of posts with my notes from some of the Bible teaching sessions. 

- General Session - Discerning the Times by Jonathan Peck
Friday May 23, 2014 

Discernment is valuable. We all should have discernment (as Christians) but if you have the gift of discernment it is discernment on steroids! 

14 And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
15 For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.
16 But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; 17 for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

-Matthew 13:14-17  (NKJV)

Spiritual discernment is given to every follower of Christ. Discernment, like the conscience, can be sharpened or dulled. 

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,
-Ephesians 1:7-9  

Mr. Peck shared about a card trick he learned from someone. He was sworn to secrecy to never tell anyone else the secret to the trick. God reveals things to us that unbelievers don't know. 

13 These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
-1 Corinthians 2:13-15 

Discernment: The ability to appraise, analyze, see a matter using the mind of the spirit 
and understand the spiritual implications for our life. 

During the Tsunami in South East Asia in 2004, when the oceans waves receded from the shore, and exposed all this sand, people were curious and walked out onto the sand. Then,  they were tragically washed away by the incoming wave. Christians can be washed away spiritually. Will I discern God's will for me in these seasons and times and obey?

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
-Romans 12:2 

Are we discerning where and why we are placed where we are, in this point of time in history?  We need spiritual discernment to choose between good and evil. 

There was a British couple visiting the Peck's town in the US. They had a neat tract with the word "Good" written on the front. But if you look closely, you can find the word "evil" hidden in the text. 

Therefore give to Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?”
-1 Kings 3:9 

And David said to all the assembly of Israel, “If it seems good to you, and if it is of the Lord our God, let us send out to our brethren everywhere who are left in all the land of Israel, and with them to the priests and Levites who are in their cities and their common-lands, that they may gather together to us;
-1 Chronicles 13:2 

Is God in this matter or not? When making plans, we should say "if the Lord wills", not, "because I will."

15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.” 
 -James 4:15  

13 And the letters were sent by couriers into all the king’s provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate all the Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, on the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month of Adar, and to plunder their possessions. 14 A copy of the document was to be issued as law in every province, being published for all people, that they should be ready for that day. 15 The couriers went out, hastened by the king’s command; and the decree was proclaimed in Shushan the citadel. So the king and Haman sat down to drink, but the city of Shushan was perplexed.
-Esther 3:13-15

When Mordecai learned all that had happened, he tore his clothes and put on sackcloth and ashes, and went out into the midst of the city. He cried out with a loud and bitter cry. He went as far as the front of the king’s gate, for no one might enter the king’s gate clothed with sackcloth.
-Esther 4:1-2

13 And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: “Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. 14 For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
-Esther 4:13-14 

God didn't make Esther the wife of the King Xerxes because she was beautiful, or because she was of a quiet demeanor, but because God had a plan for her.

Mr. Peck read some of the words from this song:

"Do Something" by Matthew West 
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down
How’s it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?”
He said, “I did, I created you”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

I’m so tired of talking
About how we are God’s hands and feet
But it’s easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It’s alright, “somebody else will do something”
Well, I don’t know about you
But I’m sick and tired of life with no desire
I don’t want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
“I’m gonna do something”

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something

You can listen to the song here:

How do we cultivate spiritual discernment? 

17 If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority. 18 He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but He who seeks the glory of the One who sent Him is true, and no unrighteousness is in Him. 
-John 7:17-18 

Do we seek God, wanting Him to confirm our own desires? 
The Pecks lived in N.E. Congo in the late 90s. In the early 2000s the "African World War" broke out. Many missionaries who were connected with mission boards were asked to leave Africa for their safety. The Pecks, who were commended by non-denominational assemblies  were not pressured to leave.  Their African friends asked the Pecks, "You teach us to trust in God and then when it's dangerous you leave, why is that?" Convicting.

Discernment is cultivated by being saturated in the Word of God.

The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way,
But the folly of fools is deceit.

-Proverbs 14:8

18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their own craftiness”20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 Therefore let no one boast in men. For all things are yours:
-1 Corinthians 3:18-21 

We cultivate discernment by non-conformity to the world. If you listen to the world's thinking your lens/eyes becomes cloudy. You have to replace worldliness with something good. 
Cultivate discernment by earnestly seeking God's face in prayer. Daniel made a point to  pray regularly. 

 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the Lord through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.

Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. And I prayed to the Lord my God, and made confession, and said, “O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongs to You, but to us shame of face, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and all Israel, those near and those far off in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.
“O Lord, to us belongs shame of face, to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, though we have rebelled against Him. 10 We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God, to walk in His laws, which He set before us by His servants the prophets. 11 Yes, all Israel has transgressed Your law, and has departed so as not to obey Your voice; therefore the curse and the oath written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against Him. 12 And He has confirmed His words, which He spoke against us and against our judges who judged us, by bringing upon us a great disaster; for under the whole heaven such has never been done as what has been done to Jerusalem.
13 “As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us; yet we have not made our prayer before the Lord our God, that we might turn from our iniquities and understand Your truth.
-Daniel 9:1-13 

Don't think you are an island. Ask God's forgiveness for our country's sins. Daniel didn't put up, give up, or let up, till God answered him.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Recipe: Turkish Delight Candy


I have wanted to try making Turkish Delight for a few weeks now, I just needed to find Rosewater. We went to a local Halal meat and grocery store and found Rosewater.
So I had everything to make it. It takes about an hour to boil the candy, so if you make it, I suggest setting aside a few hours when the house is quiet and there is nothing else going on. 

My Turkish word of the day is: 
resmini ├žekmek: to photograph

                                       The Turkish Delight after setting overnight. 

    Make sure to dust your surface with powdered sugar, so it doesn't stick!
(Note: I didn't put in the red food coloring, so this is the natural color, even though it was rose flavored.) 

      After it was sliced, I shook it in a plastic bag with more powdered sugar.

The beautiful bowl is one that I bought in Kusadasi, Turkey when I visited. I think the hand-painted  details of tulips and swirls are so amazing!  

This teal blue plate is one that I made in pottery class a few years ago. I really like the blue/green colors of the plate and Turkish bowl. 

Turkish Delight 

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4.5 cups water, divided use
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1.25 cups cornstarch
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1.5 tbsp rosewater
  • 2-3 drops red food coloring
  • 1 cup powdered sugar

1. Prepare a 9x9 pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside for now.
2. Place the sugar, lemon juice, and 1.5 cups of the water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves, and bring the mixture to a boil. Brush down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, and insert a candy thermometer.
3. Allow the sugar mixture to continue boiling, without stirring, until it reaches 240 degrees on the candy thermometer.
4. When the sugar syrup is around 225 degrees, begin to get the rest of the candy ingredients prepared. Place the remaining 3 cups of water in another, slightly larger, saucepan. Add the cornstarch and cream of tartar and whisk until the starch dissolves and there are no lumps. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring or whisking constantly. The mixture will become thick and pasty.
5. Once the sugar syrup is at 240 degrees, remove it from the heat. Slowly, carefully, pour it into the cornstarch mixture, whisking until it is fully incorporated.
6. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, whisking it every 8-10 minutes, for about an hour, until the candy has turned a light golden-yellow color and is very thick and gluey.
7. After an hour, remove from the heat and stir in the food coloring and the rosewater. Pour the candy into the prepared pan and allow it to set, uncovered, overnight.
8. The next day, remove the candy from the pan using the foil as handles. Dust your work station with the powdered sugar, and flip the candy onto the powdered sugar. Remove the foil from the back and dust the top with the sugar. Use an oiled chef’s knife to cut the Turkish Delight into small squares. Dust each side of the square with powdered sugar to prevent stickiness.
9. Turkish Delight is best soon after it is made. It doesn’t keep very well, but if you want to try keeping it, store it in an airtight container with waxed paper between the layers, and dust the sides with powdered sugar again before serving.

Elizabeth's note: I found that Turkish Delight keeps well in the freezer. (In an airtight container)