Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Cost of Our Silence {Book Review and Giveaway}




   Wow! That is my word for this book. I know I requested to review this book thinking -"This might be a little dry but it sounds like an important message for our day." I was so pleasantly surprised to find this book super interesting and also filled with facts that I can use as I write and as I talk to others. This book taught me a lot about things that have gone on in history to bring our nation to the place it is today (I learned the background story of "Roe v. Wade" - things I never knew before) and it told me a lot about what is going on right now. A lot of those things could have left me feeling a little (no a LOT) depressed) but instead the author David Fiorazo did a great job of sharing scriptures and encouraging us to go forward from here. That we need to be unafraid, willing to tell the truth and to encourage others to learn God's truth as well.

   There is so much I would like to share from this book. I have little post-it-notes sticking out of my copy all over the place - things that I wanted to share with you. I am not going to be able to do all of that in this post as the book is 313 pages and so I simply cannot cover it all but I will share a little. Meanwhile I would recommend finding this book to read for yourself. If you are a Christian in America this book is for you. You can find it on Amazon. It is available in paperback and e-book.

  Mr. Fiorazo starts the book out by talking about the Christian heritage of our country. For me, a lover of history, this was quite interesting. One of the neat quotes from this section was by Jonathan Edwards. It is: "Resolution One: I will live for God. Resolution Two: If no one else does, I still will."
This is something that is so important to have decided in your life. In this day when less and less people will stand up for what is right we need to have the commitment that even if no one else will live for God - I still will!

  One thing that is very interesting about this book is the explanation of how this turning of our country to the un-christian principles that it now holds has been happening for years. The evil that is going on now did not happen overnight. It happened slowly while for the most part Christians have failed to stand up and say - "This is wrong!" Already in 1928 the Presbyterian Church of the United States rejected these beliefs:

  • The divine inspiration of the Bible by the Holy Spirit and the inerrancy of Scripture.
  • The pre-existence, deity, and virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
  • The satisfaction of God's justice by the crucifixion of Jesus Christ (substitutionary atonement)
  • The bodily resurrection, ascension, and intercession of Christ.
  • The historical reality of Christ's miracles.
These beliefs are central to Christianity and to what the Bible teaches. It is absolutely amazing to me the a church that professes to be Christian should say that they don't believe these important doctrines.

  As we look at history it is amazing to notice the similarities between what happened in Germany under Hitler's leadership and what is happening in America today. The similarities can be pretty scary. I had recently been reading another book on WW2 history and had already been noticing similarities so reading what is written about it in "The Cost of Our Silence" just confirmed what I had already been noticing.

   Beyond sharing the history of our nation and how the decline has happened "The Cost of Our Silence" also goes into detail about Judicial Tyranny (explaining how the judges have started ruling from the bench and doing things that they aren't supposed to do), Abortion, The Rebellion against God Ordained Marriage, the War on a Biblical Worldview, Common Core and our Eroding Educational System, Witchcraft/Satan Worship and how that is being spread in our country and more. Mr. Fiorazo gives us details on some of these things that can help us to be more informed about what is going on and be able to speak more knowledgeably to others about why these things are wrong and opposed to the Truth of the Bible.

   Some of the things I really appreciated about this book is that though the author speaks very openly and clearly against sin he also explains very clearly that we are still to love (and share God's love with) the sinner. We are to hate sin but realizing that we are sinners too, we should love the sinner. Another of the things that I appreciated was that though he points out the horrors that are going on in this world he doesn't do it in a depressing way that makes us just want to run away and hide. He talks about them and then prompts us to go forward and do something about it. To be willing to speak out against sin and also to remember that we need to look at everything with an eternal perspective.

   Here is a quote that I especially like from this book: "Since we have received and accepted the gospel, we must reject the world because the two are in opposition to each other. This can present a problem for many of us. If we love Jesus, we will obey Him (John 14:15), but if we love the world, we will end up following anything else except Him. Because this temporary earth is passing away and we are faced with an eternity that will not wait, the choice should be clear."

  The book talks of how we should feel compelled to speak. If we as Christians have the message that can change the eternity of another in a very drastic way shouldn't we tell them about it? We do we so often remain silent? Mr. Fiorazo points out "I know it can be difficult and uncomfortable to share out faith, but we have nothing to lose; the unbeliever has everything to lose."

   This book over and over again speaks of the need to get back to the Bible and God's truth that is found in it and how we need to share that message with others. I totally agree! But in light of sharing God's truth with others I do want to point out one area that this author failed to share the whole truth of the gospel. On page 41 he speaks of how God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to give His life as a ransom for us. He says by believing, confessing Jesus is Lord, and repenting or our sins, we are saved and have everlasting life with God. I believe that this is correct too except that the author fails to mention the need for baptism which is an important step in our conversion - the point where we have our sins washed away and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (For more details and scriptures that cause me to believe this check out this post.) 

 Here is another quote from the book that again points out the importance of knowing God's word: "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in you hearts to God (Colossians 3:16  
Notice the apostle Paul implies here that to have the wisdom of God and the ability to admonish others with psalms and songs, we must first allow the word of Christ to "richly dwell" within us. Believers become prone to fall for false teachings and susceptible to the cult of liberalism when we do not know the Word of God as well as we should. We can hardly expect less mature Christians to discern the error of subtle emerging doctrines."

There are so many other things that I would love to share from this book but this post is already getting quite long so I will quit for now and hopefully write more on the subjects this book brought up again soon. Meanwhile - I highly recommend reading this book.




The Exciting Part-

I have a cope of this book to give away to one of you!

If you would like to win a copy of this book please leave a comment with a way that I can contact you if you should win. I will choose a winner after September 13th and then I will contact the winner to get their mailing information and send it out to them.

I would love hearing your thoughts concerning our country, the challenges it is facing and what we can do about it? How can we more boldly share the truth with others?

Disclaimer: I did receive this book free for purposes of reviewing but all the opinions expressed are my own.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I Love Light!

 I love light. I do think an occasional walk in the moonlight or starlight (on snowy nights that always works well because the snow reflects the little light there is) can be fun but mostly I like to have things light.

 When going out in the dark a flashlight can come in quite handy so that I do trip and fall on my face. Also if I ever have to work after dark - and we have had to do that quite a bit in our house building adventure - then I am going to figure out how to have just as much light as possible. I do not like to work in the dark.

   This summer I was given the opportunity to review a little light that we have come to like quite a lot.
It is not real big as far a size - so it is easy to store away in a drawer (or a glove compartment in your vehicle or a waist pack if you are going camping) and then it fits very nicely in your hand but for it's compact size it has a pretty nice light! It is 3 1/2 inches by 2 inches and about 1 inch thick. It actually has 2 lights on it - the big one on the side or a small one at one end. By pushing the button you can change it from one light to the other to the off position. It is an LED light.


 Some handy features about this light are the hook that it has that can fold out on the back to be used. That is quite nice for camping and for using as a work light. There is also a nice strong magnet on the back. When I was using it for working I was rather disgusted that our scaffolding, the metal on our house - nothing out where I was working was magnetic so that feature didn't end up being helpful for me but I think it could be - like if you were working under the hood of a car or something like that.
One night Ken and I were pressing hard to get the siding on our house done. It had gotten dark but we needed to get more done. We had turned on our outside house lights and also brought out our big work light but still when we were working on some of the fine details up high we were struggling to see well enough to get the job done. I brought out this little light and that was a wonderful help. I was able to hook it on the eaves of the house and then move it along with us to wherever we needed it.

  This is Jonathan's favorite light to use when he needs to go out and take care of our poultry after dark. In all we have been quite pleased with it.

  If you would like to get one for yourself they are for sale on Amazon. They do come with batteries too so that is a bonus.

Disclaimer: I did receive this light free for purposes of reviewing but all of the thoughts expressed are my own.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

My Heart Trusts in Him

I didn't manage to get my longer "Why I Believe" post written today but I did want to share this verse:

"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, and with my song I shall thank Him."

Our Open House

 This past Friday we had an open house at our place. We were celebrating the completion (well at least mostly - there always seems to be a few little things that we remember we still need to get done) of our home on the year anniversary of the groundbreaking for it.

  We did a lot of pondering over whether we would have an open house or not. Partly we really wanted to - building this house has been a big part of our lives for the last year and a half (when you count in the clearing of the land and building the garage to live in) and we are pretty excited to have that project basically finished. Also many people had been asking us: "When are you going to have an open house?". I could also see some benefits of  doing it. It could be a very fun time to invite lots of friends over and just have a party. It could be a way to say "thank you" to our contractor and all the others that worked on our place. And one of the things that made me want to do it most is that I think relationships with people are developed better when you have spent time in one another's homes. Some of the people that we invited had never been to our house before or had never been here for a social event (they either came for music lessons or to work on our house). I like to develop relationships because it is by having relationships with others that I have opportunities to share the gospel or encourage them in their faith. Those were the reasons to have the open house.

  We also had reasons that made us question having it: It felt a little awkward - a little like bragging to say "come and see our lovely new home". I was concerned that perhaps people would feel like they needed to bring housewarming gifts which I didn't want them to feel that way. I thought about saying "no gifts please" but that seemed awkward too so we didn't. We did get some gifts (and some pretty neat ones - handmade things, plants and such) and we appreciated them very much but that wasn't why we had the party and I didn't want anybody to feel like they should do that.

  So we did have the open house. We sent an invitation with a "Thank you" to the workers a couple of them expressed a desire to come but none of them ended up showing up. We gave out invitations, e-mailed invitations and used Facebook to invite a lot of others that are around here that we knew had been aware of the project we had going on in our lives. So many of them had encouraged us, helped us, prayed for us and were patient with us that we wanted to have them celebrate with us too. I would have loved to have many of you readers be able to join us as well as you have certainly been part of the process as well with your encouragement!

  Even with all the prayer that went in to deciding whether or not to even have a party I still struggled with the concern that the party would be about us or that I would deal with pride. I had to keep praying throughout the whole process that the glory could be given to God that He would use this event for the good of His Kingdom. That I would totally trust Him no matter what the results were. Obviously I had no way to predict what sort of turnout we would have or what the weather would be so I prayed that God would just work in that so that what He wanted would happen and I could rest in that.

    God blessed that evening in so many ways! We had had really cold weather earlier that week (following a hot week) but Friday was in the 70's and beautiful. Saturday and today were rainy and cold again so we feel super blessed that Friday was so nice. We had a very nice turnout of over 80 people. We had plenty of food but not tons and tons of leftovers (planning food for a party like that when you don't know how many are coming is really interesting!), people seemed to have fun and visited well together, found others they knew or got to know somebody new.

   We had horseshoes and bean bag toss (that our neighbors loaned to us) for people to play (and they did some) and then we had thought it would be fun to have a canoe race. We had people sign up when they came and started the the race at 7 pm. We had 4 canoes and ended up with 3 heats of races plus we had all the first place winners from all the heats race to see who was the overall winner. Mike and Everett walked away with that title.
This was the first heat.

 It wasn't really fair because my fiberglass canoe is definitely the fastest canoe with the aluminum one coming in second quite easily. The rubber ones just can't really compete when it comes to speed. But it was all in good fun so some people just had to live with the results of the bad canoes.
 There was some pretty furious racing that went on! The crowd on the shore got pretty in to the races too which was quite fun. All of our family except Ken ended up getting in on the racing at one point. Aaron was in the winning canoe in the first heat and I was in the second but we were both in the fastest canoe.
 The kids also had fun in the water with a rope the boys had tied to the tree so that they could swing over the water. We ended up with some wet kids but they had fun.
 We had s'more stuff for around the campfire.
 My parents had found a couple of sturdy tables at the dump which my mom washed up good and they worked well for our party. Mom thought we could keep them but Ken thinks it looks a bit to much like we have a restaurant having 4 tables in our back yard so my brother and his wife are taking them instead. :-)
Our food didn't look to fancy though Aaron and I did make a little watermelon basket and Aaron made melon balls (watermelon and muskmelon) to go into it. But naturally I didn't manage to take a picture until the fruit was long gone. Mara in the background has just gotten in from an evening swim after the party with Ken.

  As far as food for the party I tried to figure out things that would be pretty easy and not terribly expensive as we were getting for a crowd. What we did have was:

Served outside by the grill:

  • Hot dogs and Brats with buns, ketchup and mustard.
  • Corn chips and Salsa - we made some fresh salsa with stuff from our garden and also had salsa from the store.
  • Watermelon
  • Muskmelon
  • Lemonade
  • S'mores (I had all the makings for these in a basket by the fire pit)
Served in the Kitchen:

  • Tuna salad sandwiches on rolls Mara made that morning.
  • Potato Salad
  • Cucumbers, Tomato slices (both of those from our garden), Green pepper slices (given to us- homegrown) and carrot sticks.
  • Mint Iced Tea (made from our mint and honey)
  • Borage Iced Tea (made from our borage and honey)
  • Cookies and Bars (our neighbor sweetly insisted on bringing something so she brought some very yummy bars and my mom also said she would bring something and she made cookies. Mara also made bars)
We had our time set from 5:30 to 9 pm and we did have people here that whole time which was great. 

  Obviously we cleaned to get ready for this event and we pushed hard to get as many last minute projects done as possible like putting up rock around the other egress window, putting up shelves in my office closet, making stone pillars out front (they actually aren't done yet) and more. I also tried to get a little more decorating done and we got some bathroom curtains made which was a nice thing for a time when we had lots of company. In our getting things done Aaron was pretty sure that we were making a bigger mess than we had before. Some days it did really look that way. I was so thankful for my crew of helpers (my kids) that day as they went to work with a will and we got things put together and looking pretty good.

   There were a few funny mishaps of the day....
  • I bought paper plates specially for the occasion (we very rarely use them) and couldn't find them anywhere. I still haven't found them. Thank-fully Ken had bought some for a party a while back and we had some leftovers. We used those as well as our normal plates that needed washing.
  • On my first tour of the evening (which was to some friends so it wasn't a big deal) I went in to the kid's rooms and did some last minute picking up as I gave the tour since the younger two had gone up to change and left shirts and hangers and such in places they didn't belong.
  • After everybody left that night I went into the main floor bathroom and found still sitting on the counter the cleaning spray and rag that had been used earlier that day. :-) 
  • I also discovered that I had left stuff sitting out after my working on the rock by the side of the house.
  • I stuck my camera in my pocket before the party started so that I would be sure and take pictures but didn't remember to do it hardly at all until most people had left.
Oh well, we don't run an immaculately clean house but I don't think anybody cared and we had a great time even with the little bloopers.

  Have you ever hosted an open house? Was it fun or stressful? I do know that just mentally and in prayer giving everything over to God sure helped in my outlook of the whole thing. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A Camping Trip with Windy Waters, Upset Stomachs and Way More than Enough Food

The girls and I as Voyageurs

This past week we went on a camping trip to Voyageurs National Park.

The kids saw this cliff area and promptly wanted to climb it. I found it funny that they were climbing right above a sign that said that climbing on rocks can be hazardous.
We left on Thursday had a nice drive up there and then canoes a few miles to our campsite and then we quickly made BLTs for supper. After supper we decided to go swimming as our weather was quite warm and we had been working. After swimming we decided to sit around the campfire and tell stories. At this point Jonathan said his stomach was bothering him. Before to long he was vomiting in the bushes.

Oh no! Was he sick or did he go swimming to soon after eating or did he swallow water that made him vomit? As he continued to throw up many times throughout the night it did seem like he was truly sick. Before morning came his sisters had both joined him in throwing up. Lovely camping trip this was turning out to be!

  Friday was a day of relaxing. I tried to figure out as comfortable of places as possible for the girls to lay around all day - sleeping much of the time. As far as food was concerned - they didn't really want to eat much of anything so Ken, Aaron and I had way more than we needed. Jonathan did start feeling quite a lot better during the day so that was a blessing. 

We stayed around camp for the most part. I was thankful I brought a rag rug along to work on and a book to read. I read for a while with my little girl sleeping in my lap. Aaron and I did go on a little canoe ride for a while, collected some firewood and explored some other woods.
We had some pretty warm weather on our trip. Swimming felt pretty good each day.


 Our campsite was in a lovely location for seeing the sunset.

 On Saturday Aaron caught a fish before breakfast (the only one that our family caught up there to the disappointment of several). Jonathan filleted it and we added it to our breakfast.




 Saturday the girls were felling quite a bit better. Megan was able to join me on my firewood gathering expedition.
 We all went out canoeing and exploring after cleaning up from breakfast. We explored several islands which was quite fun. I challenged everybody to see how many plants and what all that they could find (and then we photographed it) that would be useful if we were in a survival situation. We can't pick plants (other than berries) at a national park but we could find them. I will hopefully share a blog post on all the edible wild things we found before to long.
 While we were out that day the wind picked up quite a bit and it made canoeing on the lake much more challenging. Megan still wasn't up to par health-wise and isn't really a strong paddler anyway so I found keeping a straight course pretty hard with the wind wanting to blow me in other directions.
 We enjoy game playing and since children were a bit less energetic than normal it was a fun thing for us to do.
Sunday morning we had our own little church service (I had hoped that maybe we could make it to a church but after realizing how far we really were from about anywhere we realized that wouldn't work) and then packed up to leave.
 We faced a pretty brisk headwind (which doesn't look nearly as wild in the picture as it really was) for our whole trip back to the van. We did a lot of riding the waves which was kind of actually fun since we didn't ever tip over.

 At the visitor's center they had voyageur clothes to dress up in. We girls (the boys didn't care to join us) had fun dressing up and then had Ken take our picture.

Some of our messages
While we were gone on our trip my sister Keren and her husband Benjamin took care of our house and birds. When we left we left various instructions plus Mara and Ken left other various messages for them on post-it notes.
 When we got back we found this on our kitchen island:
Here are a couple that we found especially funny:
 They were in response to these:
I had a not on the fridge to myself to call our electrician. But they apparently thought that note was for their benefit as well:

 All in all we had a fun trip. I am feeling super thankful that Ken, Aaron and I didn't get sick. If we would have when it was time to leave I don't think we would have been able to canoe out. We would have been stuck until we got better - it was to crazy on the water to not have strong paddlers. We feel blessed!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why I Believe There is a Hell

Hell is not a fun topic but yet it is definitely one that is discussed in the Bible. I heard (I have not checked this out for myself) that Jesus mentions hell more times than he does heaven. I am afraid that there are people out there that are not aware of the reality of hell which makes them a little casual about their spiritual life. I believe that hell is a very real and serious thing and a place that we do not want to go to at all. Here are some verses that cause me to believe that:

Matthew 10:28 "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell."

Revelation 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”

Luke 16:25 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’

2 Thessalonians 1:5-9 This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering— since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might,

Matthew 11:20-24 Then he began to denounce the cities where most of his mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I tell you that it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for the land of Sodom than for you.”

Matthew 25:31-46 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.
 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
 "Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdomprepared for you since the creation of the world.
 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 
 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
 "Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 
 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 
 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' 
 "The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' 
 "Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 
 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink,
 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.'
 "They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' 
 "He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

 "Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

Are you ready for eternity?

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