Sunday, August 19, 2018

Isaiah 7

We had a guest speaker (Dr. Todd S. Beall) this Sunday who spoke on Isaiah 7, and it was really encouraging. We started with reading Matthew 1:18-25, which seems random to read in August but it references the prophecy given in Isaiah 7. Here are the notes!

God's Plans vs. Our Plans
Isaiah 7:1-25


  1. A crisis of faith and God's reassuring promise (7:1-9)
    • Israel/Syria wants to replace Judah's King Ahaz. God says it won't happen.
  2. An unbelieving king (7:10-12)
    • God commands Ahaz to ask for a sign. Ahaz says no.
    • A fun thought: if God gave you an incredible promise and told you to ask for a sign, what would you request as a sign?
  3. An amazing sign of deliverance (7:13-16)
    • A miraculous conception (7:14a)
      • pregnant virgin, referenced in Matthew 1
    • A comforting name (7:14b)
      • Immanuel - God with us. The miracle of the incarnation.
    • A promise of deliverance, both now and in the future (7:15-16, 8:5-10)
      • the threatening countries would be deserted when the Child is born
  4. A reminder of the foolishness of man's ways (7:17-25)
    • Ahaz's hired army of Assyria would devastate Judah
Conclusion
  1. Can we fathom God's plans and God's ways?
    • maybe my short-sighted plan is good enough => BAD IDEA
  2. Do we trust God, no matter what?



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Hershey's Gold Review

Alternate title: My quest for Hershey's Gold.
I forgot where I first saw an ad for Hershey's Gold, the new candy bar from Hershey's, but it seemed tasty and I was intrigued. I thought I'd pick up a bar if I saw it in a store while I shopped.
And then I started watching the Olympics. I am a fan of Speed Skating and Apolo Ohno but those commercials are pervasive (granted, not annoying, just repetitive). I then decided I needed to try this new candy bar. And thus began my/our quest (I got my husband to help me).
I added the candy bar to our grocery list, so Mark looked for it when he was at Wegman's. He looked in the candy aisle and in the checkout area, but alas he did not see it anywhere! It was a sad day, and slightly puzzling because we do not live in a rural area and we expect to be able to find any food we desire. I know, First World Problems.
The next time we were out, we were by Target so we looked there. Alas, another strikeout!!! Where is this candy???
I then made it my quest on President's Day, as I ran errands, to find this candy bar. My first stop was Walmart, and there were some empty areas on the Hershey's shelf in the candy aisle but none of the tags mentioned Gold so I was sad. I looked in the checkout as I was checking out and still didn't find it. WHY.
I needed some fresh groceries so I went to Aldi's and didn't expect to find Hershey's Gold and I was correct - no Hershey's Gold there but I did get a load of fresh produce for under $8 which was cool.
My last stop of the day (unless I didn't find Hershey's Gold at which point I'm not sure where I'd look) was CVS. I looked all over the candy aisle and NO GOLD. I was sad. I decided to just check the front checkout and GOLD GOLD GOLD THEY HAD GOLD so I bought a bar.
We planned to try the bar that night, but we had a very filling dinner so it just sat on the table. The next evening, Mark was out but I opened the bar and limited myself to one three-piece chunk (the bar is interestingly perforated) and somehow I was able to keep myself to that limit.

IT IS DELICIOUS. If you like caramelized creme, peanuts, and pretzels, this is the candy bar for you! If you are expecting chocolaty goodness, look elsewhere - this bar is not chocolate. But this bar is different, it's sweet and salty and has some crunch and I would like more places to carry it!!!

I would like another piece but alas, when Mark came home, we broke off one three-piece chunk at a time and shared it but we ate the whole thing. Do I want to know how many servings are in this? I dare to look and WOOHOO it's a two serving bar so we are good! I won't look at the nutrition facts because seriously people, this is a candy bar.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

James chapter 1

We had a guest speaker, Jim Schuppe, do an excellent series on James. Here are my notes from the first three sessions - I found them rewarding and thought I'd share.

Friends We Deplore - Trials (James 1:1-12)
1. Count it all joy - make a choice to see it as good. Thank God for trials. Don't ask why it was taken away; ask why it was given.
2. Go through the trial fully (completely). It will produce patience/endurance/maturity.
3. Ask God for wisdom. He will give it.
4. Ask in faith (no doubts). Faith is not a feeling/emotion - it is an action. 
5. Rejoice in your status change. "to those who love Him"

Terrorists We Adore - Temptations (James 1:13-20)
Five Deceptions/Rationalizations:
1. God made me this way and I can't help it (victim). See Adam & Eve - Genesis 3.
2. The Devil made me do it. Actually: 
 a. Drawn away by desires (normal, human, not necessarily bad).  
 b. Enticed (baited) - offer for wrong fulfillment. 
 c. Sin (action) - grabbing the bait.
3. It won't kill me / hurt me / I can do this and get away with it - FALSE. Many examples. God's way is best.
4. The Devil has better offers / more fun - Satan takes, doesn't give, and doesn't stick around.
5. I can do this myself - rather: 
 a. Listen.
 b. Speak truth to yourself and speak carefully.
 c. Control your anger.

Elephant in the Room We Ignore - Word of God (James 1:21-25)
1. The Word of God helps those who need salvation.
2. The Word of God helps those getting out of / free from sin.
3. The Word of God helps those who capture its words. Hang on, internalize, grasp
4. The Word of God only blesses those who obey it. No other way. Be doers, not just hearers. 

And here's a comic I drew a while ago that's related:
Aaaaaand I've misplaced my notes for James 1:26-27, which is a bummer because there is a lot in those two verses:
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." (ESV)
I found the header: 
The tasks we minimize - Religion (James 1:26-27)

And a summary of chapter two and beyond:
The millionaires we insult - racism (James 2:1-13)

The response we overlook - faith (James 2:14-26)

The instrument so difficult to play - speech (James 3:1-18). I drew some comics on this one so check out my other blog for those (will post links later).

Monday, November 27, 2017

Double Movie Review: Thor 3 and Justice League

Ok, so this review will have spoilers. I will do a super short summary where I will keep out the spoilers, then a full review where there could be some minor spoilers.

Super short with no spoilers: both are PG-13 and I would not recommend for any kids (quite a bit of violence and a little bit of language), but both get positive reviews from me for the age-appropriate audience. I'm not liking the Marvel trend of crude butt humor. I'm not a fan of romance and neither of these movies had much of that, so that was nice. I like light-hearted characters and both movies had these. I went in with too high of hopes for Thor and too low of hopes for Justice League.



Review:
Thor 3: I went in with high hopes for this one - it's Marvel; it's not GotG; it's classic characters Thor and Hulk and Loki. I was a little disappointed but overall still give this one a positive review. The negative is that Disney/Marvel is really on the butt humor trend that GotG2 started but thankfully was not nearly as crude (still kinda crude though). The positive is that it has some good humorous points, there is no romance, and Thor is just a really optimistic character.

Justice League: I went in with low hopes for this one - BvS really dampened my hopes for a DC movie and I just didn't see this matching up to WW. The good news is, they stayed off the crude humor trend, there is minimal romance, and added some really optimistic characters (Aquaman and Flash) which strayed away from the dark doom and gloom of MoS and BvS. I give this one a positive review. The scene with Aquaman and the lasso of truth was hilarious.


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Triple Super Movies Review - Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Spider-Man Homecoming

This summer there were a few major superhero movies that came out, and I watched them, and now I'll let you know how I feel about them.
Note - all three of these are rated PG-13, so when I say I recommend it, I mean for people 13 and older. Ratings are there for a reason. None of these are children's movies.

Here's the spoiler-free reviews:
Wonder Woman - Good! I liked it a lot.
Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Terrible, do not recommend at all. Just don't. If you have serious FOMO, look up the IMDB summary to get the plot overview.
Spider-Man: Homecoming - Good, with caveats.

And here's the full reviews (may contain light spoilers as it's hard to talk about something without talking about it):
Wonder-Woman - I liked this a lot. It did not glorify violence in my opinion - it showed you can be ready to fight without being eager to fight. It showed that love is greater than hate. I liked how it portrayed WWI, especially since most of history wants to just ignore WWI. I highly recommend it. Granted, it is rated PG-13 so there is some objectionable material and violence (as it is WWI) but I liked most of the characters and the line between good and evil was clearly drawn.

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 - Terrible. I did not like it at all. I do not recommend it at all. I felt embarrassed in the movie theater, actually felt like there was a mix-up because the movie was so crass and objectionable that it could not be a MCU and Disney venture. I feel it should have been rated R, especially with all the terms they used for male anatomy. The trailers were completely misleading, showing a cute baby Groot dancing around rather than the violent, foul scenes that filled the movie. There was disturbing imagery during the pirate mutiny. The main characters are not good people and the secondary characters were clearly bad people, but the movie tried to make you like them? It seems that the producer was under the impression that the end justified the means; since the characters did something good then that negates the murderous, violent, angry things they've done and will keep doing. The plot was thin at best and character development was very minimal. Crude jokes were thrown all over the place and seemed like the child that keeps saying the same thing over and over and hoping you finally laugh? There was not much redeemable in this feature. The teenage Groot scene in the credits was funny? That's about it. And I'm pretty sure I've seen that scene online so yeah.

Spider-Man: Homecoming - I liked this, but there was a lot of juvenile behavior and language. Granted, it is set in high school so that is expected (sadly). I think it showed that kids need strong adults in their life who they can confide in and trust. The main characters were likable, Captain America is my favorite, and the plot was interesting. The main character had awesome (punderful) shirts from a company that I also frequent, so that was cool. Stay for the final scene at the very end of the credits. Overall, I would watch it again. But it would be nice to have a language filter (especially if you want to watch this with your parents) (why must people use male anatomy as a colloquial insult?).

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dehydration Fix Part 2

Previously I have written about Hydralyte - I use the tablet form and it's great and travel-size and keeps me hydrated! My friend who told me about this amazing product found out that it comes in powder form and asked me to try it out. Here's my review.
So just like the tablet form, it comes in berry or orange (possibly other flavors, but these are the ones I've tried). Either flavor tastes good, but I personally prefer the orange. The packets are nice because they are single-serving (not a sleeve like the tablets) and store flat, which means you can stash one in your pocket when you go out in the sun or they can be tucked into your cooler without taking up much (barely any) space. 
Also a nice feature of the packets is that you can use them in a store-bought bottle of water (the neck of those just keep getting smaller and the tablets don't fit into most). 
In summary, I really like them and they're possibly even better than the tablet form!


Friday, April 28, 2017

1in4

I heard this statistic today - #1in4 of us will experience mental health issues.

A while ago (8 years ago) I was having a rough time. The short version is that I had my first major depressive episode and my health was declining, mainly through apathy. Did I make it through because I have an amazing family or because I have strong friends or because I have faith in God? I did (and still do) have all those things, but I wasn't reaching out. Rather, I was just going through the motions of college life while my health was shutting down. The turning point for me was one person.

There was someone (not even sure who) who saw that I was not handling things well, and they got me set up with a counselor. This person connected me to the help that I needed. Having someone to talk to, who will listen and will help you get your focus back where it should be (on God), is what helped me pull out of my spiral and get back to fully functioning.

Getting help is important, but in my case I couldn't see clearly enough to know I needed to get help. Whoever it was that got me to help is the hero in my story.

One in four people will experience mental health issues. But the other three in four can try to notice the one, and either get that one to help or be the help that that person needs. Be cognizant of yourself and of those around you.

Believe
there is
good
in the world.