Thursday, February 28, 2008

citrus garlic ginger chicken

Due to popular request, I have decided to post my "citrus garlic ginger chicken" recipe- yep, it's a mouthful! This is one of those recipes where you just kind of have to figure out how much of everything suits you. I don't measure, so these are rough estimates. Feel free to change the amounts to taste.

What you will need:
2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Quart-size plastic storage/freezer bags
5 Cups Orange Juice (approximately)
3-4 Tbsp Garlic, finely chopped or minced
3-4 Tbsp Ginger, finely chopped or minced
Steamed Rice for plating

Put each chicken breast in it's own plastic bag (I use the quart size) and pour enough orange juice to cover the breast. Add 1 Tbsp Garlic and 1 Tbsp Ginger to each bag. Let marinate in the fridge for an hour or two (or overnight if you want). Heat a skillet on medium with a little vegetable or olive oil. Place marinated chicken breasts in skillet (don't pour any marinade in). Lightly salt and pepper each side of chicken. Cook chicken for 7-10 minutes, then turn over, add remaining Garlic and Ginger, and cook for additional 7-10 minutes. Towards the end of cooking, pour in 1/2-3/4 Cup Orange juice and let it reduce to a thick liquid. Remove chicken from pan and let rest on cutting board while you add a little more orange juice to the sauce. It will be thin. Slice chicken and serve over steamed rice. Drizzle sauce over top. Enjoy!

worry not

We often talk of having unwavering faith in the Lord, but is that really so? For me, I have to work hard everyday to give my life to the Lord. I have to remind myself every morning to thank God for the day before, and praise Him for the day to come. I know that I am nothing without the faith the Lord gives me. I wonder how often man forgets about what it really means to follow Christ.

Too often we try to take our lives into our own hands. It’s no wonder, with how our society functions. Everything is “me, me, me!” and “now, now, now!” and “go ahead, get yours!” We are literally bombarded with messages that tell us to rely on ourselves and nobody else.

We try to take matters into our own hands, and we worry about the outcomes of our actions. We do not put our trust in God and allow Him to guide us through life. We try to make God conform to our will, instead of submitting ourselves to His will.

There is evidence that we lack faith if we are unable to rely on God:

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. 40 He said to his disciples, "Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?"” – Mark 4:39-41

Salvation has set us free of the fear of death, the fear that unbelievers have. God’s love is perfect love, and in it we have nothing to fear.

“For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."” – Romans 8:15

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” – 1 John 4:18

“So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” – Hebrews 13:6

We have such an awesome God, why would we ever fear the things of the world? Who can hurt us, who can take away our salvation? We fear the Creator, but we do not fear what he has created. We must humble ourselves and realize that we cannot control life, that we can do nothing without the Lord. We must give up our troubles to Him and learn to follow His instruction. Nothing else matters when we compare it to eternity and the awesomeness of the God we serve. Praise Him!

“25‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

what are you afraid of?

Alright, Christian, own up- what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of getting the bills paid, of offending people, of causing others to stumble? Does death scare you? Are you worried about your salvation? Are you afraid of God?

As Christians, we are to put our trust in the Lord, and let him guide our lives. We should be living according to the Bible, and not our own selfish, depraved desires. So often I see Christians living in fear of everything but what they should really be afraid of. I think that this passage sums it up pretty well:

“But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” -Luke 12:5

We have lost our fear of the Lord today. We call ourselves Christians and play the part on Sundays, but then go home and live for ourselves for the rest of the week. We talk the talk, but we do not live the faith. What is wrong with us? Where did we go wrong?

I think that every heretical view of the Bible starts with a low view of scripture. Since all scripture is God breathed and inspired, that low view of scripture is really a low view of God himself. People have made God in their own image, and it’s not hard to figure out why. How much nicer is it to have a god that approves of everything we think and do! It sure would be nice to have a god that is a big softie, who doesn’t ever punish, but always loves. I guarantee that the aberrant views we see are a direct result of people not fearing the Lord as they should.

We see that in the Bible, people are blessed and they live in fear of the Lord:

“Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened; and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord.” – Acts 9:31

In fact, it appears that salvation is linked with the fear of the Lord:

“Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” – Acts 10:35

“Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” – 1 Peter 1:17

Even in the end times, people will fear the Lord. It is completely linked with worship:

“He said in a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water."” – Revelation 14:7

“Who will not fear you, O Lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed."” – Revelation 15:4

We, as Christians, need to get back to the Bible and do what it says- fear the Lord, because His is the only opinion that matters in this life and the next. We must remember that we answer to Him alone. We will give an account for our entire lives, and He will decide where we go. This is why we rely on Him for our salvation, and we need to be certain that we are truly saved.

So, do YOU fear the Lord?

Monday, February 18, 2008

value in biblical role for women

I am constantly and sadly surprised that so many women devalue their roles as wives and mothers. People are very involved in freedom and equality, and I believe the family unit suffers because of it. I have to question what Evangelical feminism does for godly families.

First, I am not referring to any family in which the husband believes he needs to lord over or completely control his wife. A godly family does not involve abuse in any way. The husband fully relies on God and His Word, and he is the spiritual leader. He follows the examples set forth in the Bible regarding treatment of his wife and children. He is willing to sacrifice as Christ did.

People want to hash out the Greek in 1 Timothy, to try and say women should hold any position of a job that they choose. They have a tendency to call any man who believes women should stay home with children chauvinistic and any woman who believes the same antiquated. If the need arises, can God use anybody He chooses to do His will? Of course; however, He gives clear instruction about the structure of a family.

We see from the beginning that woman was created for man, to be a helpmate and complete him. God first offered animals to try to fill the void, but none would work. So along came Eve. Then we have the fall, sin entering through man and not woman because Adam was responsible for Eve. We have the curse, that woman’s desire shall be for her husband and he shall be the head. Some will say that the curse was destroyed when Christ died on the cross, but we still live in a fallen world. Women still have pain in childbirth. The curse passes away when we have reached heaven.

In the Old Testament we see the dedication of men to God, and the wives’ dedication to their husbands. Proverbs 31 is always an excellent example of a woman’s priorities. She cares for her family first, and then does things in addition. I doubt there is any woman today who could accomplish so much. I also enjoy the reference to the Old Testament in 1 Peter 3. We gain insight into how a woman should act. She should be pure, reverent, have inner beauty, have a gentle and quiet spirit, and be submissive to her husband. Sarah’s dedication to Abraham is mentioned, that she obeyed him and called him master. Now, in today’s society it may seem strange to call a husband “master” but we have to see past the foreign concept and to the relevance of the term. The wife makes herself vulnerable and puts all trust in her husband by calling him master, and the husband takes this very seriously. He provides for and protects her, loving her as Christ loved.

In today’s society, where we are told that self is the most important thing, women find it difficult to submit as the women in the Bible did. We can’t imagine fully surrendering to our husbands, to trust them to do God’s will. What does this say about us? Jesus said to Peter, “Ye of little faith…” when he could not walk on water. Women often sink when they try to put their trust in their husbands. It is not just an issue of surrendering to the head of our family, but to God’s will. It is not man’s instruction but inspired writing that tells us how to act.

Too conservative, you say? Yes, by today’s standards it certainly is. The world does not understand why we would want to follow a God that puts one gender over the other in authority. Why, I ask, do we want to follow the sinful and depraved world we live in? We are transformed by the Holy Spirit when we live in Christ. We are set apart from the world. Our bodies may still be a part of it, but our minds are with Christ. We do not seek to please others, but God.

I have been attacked by women for desiring to be a stay at home wife and mother. They seem to act like I’ve lost my mind. Feminism used to fight for women to have the right to do whatever they chose, but now it only supports women who choose to take what was traditionally a man’s role in society. As a result, more and more women are leaving home and filling full-time jobs that continue to reduce the time they spend with their families.

People often assume that a mother must become bored staying at home with her children. I don’t see how. A full time job outside the home is redundant, and you are stuck in a specific role. There is not much variety in what you do. At home, a woman is a wife, lover, mother, cook, teacher, housekeeper, chauffeur, counselor, role model, decorator, etc. There is no shortage of variety in the role of a stay at home wife and mother. Contrary to common belief, there is much more variety at home than there is at an outside job.

Christian women should be concerned first with their families, second with those outside of their family, and finally themselves. God does not call us to “get yours” but to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others. If submission to your husband and “limiting” yourself to caring for your children seems like an impossible sacrifice, maybe you should be rethinking your attitude. God has asked much of his daughters. When we refuse to submit and care for our families, we are not relying on God, but on ourselves. We are to set an example for our dying world in everything we do. If we believe that God values the family, we should show that in everything we do. Whether we realize it or not, people are watching every move we make, and they will know and judge the nature of God through our actions. Let us not forsake our roles as Christian women, wives, and mothers.

the devil made me do it

As Christians we know that evil exists, and for many of us Satan epitomizes evil. We may think that apart from Satan, man would not have known evil. Certainly Satan has the ability to appeal to our fallen natures. However, I believe that many Christians give Satan too much credit.

I often hear people blaming Satan for the bad things that happen in their life. If they lose their job, lose somebody they care about, trip and fall down the stairs, some people are quick to blame it on Satan. They praise God for the good in their lives, and blame Satan for all the bad.

We must realize some things about Satan in order to put his power into perspective. Unlike God, Satan is not omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. Instead his power is limited and he cannot do anything to people without God’s permission. He can only be in one place at one time, though he may use other means to tempt people. He certainly does not know everything about the past, present, and future.

In Job, Satan had to ask permission in order to put Job through all of those trials. God limited Satan’s actions, and there was nothing the devil could do about it. He is under God’s rule, not his own.

Another thing we must realize is that Satan probably doesn’t care enough about us to personally show up and tempt us as he did Job. He is plenty happy with the depravity we already live in. In fact, he is probably quite content when we are having good times. As Jesus said, it is nearly impossible for a rich man to get to heaven. This does not apply only to those who have a lot of money, but those who are rich in their own contentment; those who rely on worldly happiness instead of the joy we find in Christ.

When we are going through hard times, we are often forced to rely fully on God, when we would normally not do so without our trials. When we are clinging so tightly to God, it is very difficult for Satan to come in and take us away.

People also assume that God would never allow us to hurt or have problems in life, that Satan is the only one who could do that. We overlook the possibility that God uses those hard times to grow us in holiness and bring us closer to Him.

And finally, in the end, Satan loses. God will crush him rather quickly, and it will be over. The only reason Satan is around right now is because God allows him to be. Satan is not somehow evading God and hiding on earth. We must remember that Satan is a created being, not a god. He is not somehow the evil version of God, but a fallen angel.

Through our life, both good and bad, we must remember that God is the one in control, not Satan. We must rely on God fully through good and bad, and trust that He will carry us through safely until we reach eternity. Why would we want to give credence to the lie Satan wants us to believe? We know how the story ends, and God wins.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

a glimpse of the dawn

When I was first dealing with the loss of Ahlai I thought of the song "Trading My Sorrows"

I'm trading my sorrow
I'm trading my shame
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

I'm trading my sickness
I'm trading my pain
I'm laying it down for the joy of the Lord

And we say yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord
Yes Lord yes Lord yes yes Lord Amen

I'm pressed but not crushed persecuted not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I'm blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
And his joy's gonna be my strength

Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning

Well, now I'm beginning to see the morning after the night. Today I got a call from my midwife, Nan, and was expecting bad news because her tone was so somber. Instead, I got the best news I've heard in a long while- all the genetic tests came back normal! They determined the umbilical cord just didn't attach properly. We are free to have children whenever we decide to. I just praise God that we are still healthy and can have healthy babies!

This has been a long, hard while for Ken and I, and we are finding new ways to know each other each day. We have had many discussions about what the future may hold for us and children, and now we have a direction to move toward. It's amazing how God can turn the worst things in life into lessons that bring us closer to Him.

My prayer is that Ken and I will still lean on the Lord as much even when we are getting back to normal and continue to communicate as we have learned to these past weeks.

P.S.- We had a little BOY