Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Serpents and Savior

I am currently doing a study in the Book of John.  In my study this week, I had to read the very familiar John 3:16.  I noticed in the margin of my page that I had written Numbers 21.  As I tend to forget what my notes actually mean, I turned to the Old Testament out of curiosity.

In the 21st chapter of Numbers, Moses is leading Israel out of Egypt.  In the previous chapter, Aaron has died so this means that Moses has been leading Israel on this journey for some time now.  God has already provided Israel with manna bread (bread from heaven, described in Numbers 11:7) to eat at this point and the people of Israel continue to complain about their circumstances as they are being led to The Promise Land.  Let's also keep in mind that they have a pillar of cloud leading them by day and a pillar of fire leading them by night (Exodus 13:21) to show them that He is always with them.  Just sayin'.  

There is a lot that happens through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers where God shows His gracious provision* over Israel and His righteous wrath.  But for our sake let's just stick to Numbers 21- specifically 21:5-6 which says: And the people spoke against God and against Moses, "Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness?  For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread". 

Wow, that's some nerve, right?  God provides them with this sweet bread from Heaven and they call it worthless.  As a result of their selfishness, God sends down serpents which bite the people and many of Israel died.  Israel, thankfully, realize that they have sinned against God and ask for forgiveness.  So, the Lord tells Moses to make a bronze serpent to set on a pole and whoever is bit just has to look at the serpent in the eye and will not die.   Do you think there were any people among Israel who refused to look at the bronze serpent to be healed?  Who maybe thought it was a dumb idea and refused to do it out of pride?  Do you think anyone tried to search medicinally/scientifically instead of just obeying God's simple command and ended up dying because of it?  
We can clearly see that God always provided for Israel because He loved them so much.  If they had repentant hearts, He was quick to forgive and provide a way out, an escape, a savior of sorts.  

Let's now look at how this ties with John 3:14-15.  And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 

God provided a bronze serpent attached to a pole as a way for Israel to trust in their God.  It was a simple way for the people to put their trust in Him that He would save them from death. But, that wasn't enough for God.  He wanted to provide a Savior for everyone, whether it's from a snake bite or the tragedies of this awful, decrepit world.  The only way He could do that (note the word "must" in the scripture above) is by bringing down His Son as the ultimate sacrifice to die as an innocent lamb who is led to the slaughter, covering our sin with His blood, so that we might live.  (John 3:16)  Not only live, but live eternally with Him.  God has already provided the "serpent", we just need to come to Him with a repentant heart and put our trust in Him.  It's that simple.  

Isn't it awesome that God's provisions are so simple?  So, why do we hold back?  Why do we not lay it all down before Him?  

I urge you to search your heart, find out what is holding you back.  Is it pride?  Fear?  Anger?  Hurt? If this post stirs something in you, please don't push it away.  There is a void in us all, something we feel is missing, that can only be filled by God's love.  We are all a result of sin and in need of a savior.  He's there waiting for you.  Just look Him in the eyes with a repentant heart and you will spend eternity with Him.  He simply provides.  God will always provide for those who love Him. 

*Definition of provision: noun
a clause in a legal instrument, a law, etc., providing for particular matter; stipulation; proviso.
the providing or supplying of something, especially of food or other necessities.
arrangement or preparation beforehand, as for the doing of something, the meeting of needs, the supplying of means,etc.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Busy little Bee

When I posted my last entry regarding the caramel disaster, I had intended to also post the other events that had gone on this past weekend.  Firstly, I really had the desire to do a movie-themed-meal weekend.  I was only able to do meals from two different movies but I think it would be fun to revisit that activity.

The first meal was from Spanglish.  Some of you may know that I've already made this meal before and have posted pictures...maybe on my LiveJournal many moons ago?

Unfortunately, the bread I bought sort of shrank as it cooked so it doesn't look exact to the one Adams Sandler "made" in the film.  I'm pretty sure I have all of the ingredients right.  I paused the movie to see the layers.  Yes, I'm a huge dork.  Layers: Some type of white melted cheese on one piece of bread.  (I used Provolone) Then lettuce, tomato, once over easy egg (that's just how I like my egg to be cooked), small bacon strips (it looks like on the film that it was the already cooked bacon but I used the real stuff), and mayonnaise.  

My second meal is from It's Complicated.  Meryl Streep "made" this meal for Steve Martin in the most beautiful kitchen in the world.  I just want that house in general from that movie.  Amazing.  

Hm, the picture isn't so wonderful.  Ah well.  This meal consists of croque monsieur and caesar salad.  YUM.  Croque monsieur is swiss cheese, ham (not deli), and french bread.  Caesar salad recipe is Guy Fieri's, it's really easy and very delicious.  

Lastly, my dear friend Jenn made me a beautiful apron.  

My friends and I are starting a coffee ministry at my church and this weekend is the grand opening.  We've been brainstorming and praying about it since December and, since May, we've been researching and testing and purchasing to turn the idea into a functioning operation.  Tomorrow's the big day!  I will post pictures of the other two aprons Jenn made for us soon.  A HUUUGE thank you to Jenn for making us all look stylish while we serve others :D 

Monday, July 4, 2011

New Things, New Flings

As I posted before, this weekend was sort of a weekend of experiments with candies.  The two candies I tried to tackle were taffy and caramel.  I worked on my taffy recipe on Saturday night while watching Tangled.  I didn't really get to watch any of the movie because my eyes were glued to the pot on the stove and the candy thermometer.  Unfortunately, the taffy turned out very gooey.  The recipe I went off of said to get it to the hard ball stage when really it should have probably been closer to the cracking stage.

Then on Sunday, I decided I had a few hours to try the caramels.  I read up on it a little and a lot of people were saying to be patient with the caramel and that it could take up to an hour to reach 250 degrees.  It took TWO HOURS!  I'm not sure though, it might be my thermometer but I did the test and it seemed on a degree or two off (which I took into account).  After about the first hour I tried turning the temperature up a little which I thought could backfire on me, since I read so much about being patient, and it did.  So, here is my caramel scorching:

Here is the finished product.  You may not be able to see but it isn't as smooth as caramel is supposed to be and I blame that on the batch scorching.  

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Ambitious in Nature

I was determined this weekend to make use of the fact that I had no plans.  I was going to make candy.  After researching it a bit, I knew that it was going to be a bit time consuming, maybe a little frustrating, and certainly messy.  When I was at Target yesterday, and I told the cashier that I was going to make taffy and caramels she said, "Wow.  How ambitious of you".  I felt like she meant it in a negative way but I held my head high leaving the store.  I was determined to at least try.

So, I did.  It was pretty comical.  I yelled for James to come help me because my hands were glued with taffy and I had no way of getting it off.  It was such a mess and took so long to wrap each piece in wax paper, that I gave up after about 20 pieces.  It sure was yummy though.

I also ended up making buffalo wings for dinner.  I have never made them before so I found a recipe on AllRecipes.com (my go-to site, love it) and tweaked it a little bit.  I was really happy with it.  The sauce was delicious.  I'll be posting that on the cooking blog soon.

Update:  I don't think I've ever added to a recipe so much that I don't have to site it like I did with this wing sauce!  It makes me pretty proud, but please try it for yourself and tell me what you think.  It's not very spicy because I can't handle too much spice so that's just a warning there.  Buffalo Teriyaki Wings
Also edit on the taffy:  I've thrown it all away.  After giving out two pieces at church today, I've decided that they're just too gooey and the wax paper was sticking to them.  I'm going to try a different recipe soon.  Maybe tomorrow if I feel up to it.  

Friday, July 1, 2011

Death Eating Destroyer: Tile

The Culprit:  The Death Eating Destroyer named Tile.
The Location:  Bathroom
The Victim:  3G White iPhone

I'm so sad!  I've had this phone for YEARS! It has so many precious memories on it and though it was a bit slow and pretty unreliable, I loved it.  We went everywhere together and it has all my pictures on it and what am I going to do without it?  Yeah, sure it may have shut down when I'd try to open Angry Birds or would crash when I'd try to use Maps but it was old.  It was like a good wine, you know grows better with age and... and.... wait, what?  I what?  I get a new phone?  A brand new, shiny phone that can open Apps in seconds instead of minutes?  WHAT?!  That exists?!

See ya, 3G!