A Great Team

Paul’s Ministry Team

Dear Journal,

My family and I recently read through the book of Acts chapter 20.  This chapter talks about Paul’s third missionary journey. The chapter continues after Paul left Ephesus. He was almost killed by a mob there which was gathered together by an evil man named Demetrius- a silversmith who made idols.
In chapter 20, Paul leaves Ephesus and goes to Macedonia. This is what caught our attention in the chapter: a ministry team. Verses 4-5 of this chapter tell us about the team members.

Generally, we tend to think that Paul traveled mostly on his own and did ministry on his own. But actually, the apostle had a whole team of fellow ministers with him. So my family and I decided to do a background check on these people :) We found out some interesting facts about them.

Paul had a great team with him of faithful, godly people. They helped him in different ways.

Some went to prison with him. Others delivered Paul’s letters and messages to different churches.

Others, (like Luke) kept a kind of journal of their mission trips and wrote the book of Acts.

I’m sure they prayed with him, encouraged him, and evangelized together with him. Their team was one great team!

So my dear readers, I decided to make something special for you! Something about this team.

Click on the link below to open the PDF file…and make sure you zoom in by clicking the ( + ) sign. That’s the optimal way to read it.  It’s really worth your time… not because I made it- I just put together information from different sources.

Paul’s ministry team

Then leave a comment and let me know what you learned- or think!

In Christ,

Discover the benefits of Hazelnuts


Guess what people? I have a major writer’s block right now. Unfortunately, despite the temporary (psychological) impediment, I must write. Because this particular article is among a collection of other posts that I’m writing in advance and pre-scheduling for my blog. I’m preparing for the “long days ahead” when I’m in school and don’t have an ounce of time to spare writing more elaborate posts on my lonely blog. So when you’re reading this I’m probably taking an exam. Or studying for an exam. Or right after an exam, and preparing for another exam. Because that’s what you do when you’re a student.

So I think I was craving some chocolate-y nutella when this blog post idea came to mind. I started wondering about the health benefits of hazelnuts and it dawned on me that among all the nutrition and health articles I read, and on all the “natural” blogs out there, nobody really promoted the qualities of these charming little kernels. So I took it upon myself to bring these classy beauties into the spotlight.

Some Background on Hazelnuts

There are various names for hazelnuts. The name “hazelnut” comes from the Old English hæselhnutu, Dutch hazelnoot, and German hasselnusz. The Anglo-Saxon root word “haesel” supposedly means headdress. Hazelnuts are also called “filberts” (French origin) after the holiday of St. Philbert since the hazelnuts would be ripe around the time of that holiday.

The nuts grow in green clumps of about 4-12 nuts, and are about the size of acorns. After 7-8 months of ripening, they turn that beautiful hazel color and are ready for collecting.

Hazelnuts were cultivated since ancient Chinese civilizations; the Romans also used hazelnuts, and they were popular in the Middle East as well. So it isn’t really precisely known where they originated.

It is said that hazelnuts were introduced to the United States in the 1700s by David Gernot, a Frenchman who started a hazelnut grove in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. Today, Oregon and Washington states are among the top producers of hazelnuts in North America.

(Willamette Valley River)

Even President George Washington had a special interest in hazelnuts. The first commercial nursery was started up by Robert Prince in 1737. The nursery cultivated American hazelnut trees and imported “Barcelona” hazelnuts trees from Spain. After Washington visited the nursery, he liked it so much he made sure it was safely guarded during the Revolutionary War.

So there you have it, some background info and history on hazelnuts! Now on to the eating part, shall we?

Culinary Uses of Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are used in a variety of ways in many dishes.

From the obvious delicious Nutella…

to chocolate with hazelnuts…

to hazelnut truffles and praline…

to hazelnut coffee flavor, like hazelnut latte…

to hazelnut flour…

and hazelnut oil…

and even hazelnut soup…

Hazelnuts are used in any dessert imaginable, from cookies to cakes and cereal. They’re canned, made into paste, or mixed with other nuts, and surprisingly there’s even hazelnut liquor.

If you want to make your own home-made nutella, there are a variety of recipes floating out on the internet, especially pinterest. I want to try this one.

Now don’t start licking the screen after looking at all those delicious ways you can use hazelnuts. Wait till I tell you the benefits of hazelnuts- then you’ll always have an excuse for indulging in a little too much nutella (or hazelnut latte for that matter).

Benefits of Hazelnuts

Dioscorides, a Greek physician, pharmacologist, and botanist wrote about the stupendous qualities of hazelnuts:

“It cures chronic coughing if pounded filbert is eaten with honey. Cooked filbert mixed with black pepper cures the cold. If the ointment produced by mashing burnt filbert shells in suet is smeared on the head where hair does not grow due to normal baldness or to some disease, hair will come again.”

  • Hazelnuts are high in magnesium which is great for cardiovascular health and muscle strength, function, and bone formation.
  • They also contain large amounts of B vitamins vitamins B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and B9 (folic acid), which help keep the nervous system functioning in tip top shape, increase memory, reduce stress and depression etc.
  • Are you looking to control your cholesterol? Well, hazelnuts are your friends because they contain lots of oleic acid which raises the HDL cholesterol and lowers the LDL cholesterol.
  • Any pregnant blogging ladies out there? Hazelnuts are champions in folate content (they beat all the other tree nuts in this quality).
  • Hazelnuts are one of the best sources of manganese and copper.
  • Plagued by frequent UTIs? Hazelnuts contain proanthocyanidin a flavonol, which reduce risk of UTI and even blood clotting.
  • Hazelnuts are in the “elite” group of tree nuts, cause not everyone has the coveted vitamin A, which helps the immune system, promotes good vision, and great skin.
  • Hazelnuts even have 86% of the Recommended Daily Allowance of Vitamin E, another great skin vitamin.
  • They’re a great source of fiber and energy.
  • And the list could go on…

Cosmetic Uses of Hazelnuts

  • Hazelnut oil is rich in Vitamin E which is good for the skin and used for reducing scars.
  • It is used in massage therapy.
  • Hazelnut oil does not go rancid easily, so it can be stored for a long time- thus it is used in many cosmetic creams, lotions and soaps.
  • According to Dioscorides, Hazelnut paste can help cure bald spots.

Other Interesting Facts

Hazel and willow wood would be used to make Coracle boats in Wales, England, Ireland and Scotland.


There is a type of hazel tree which is used in landscaping because it has a very unique appearance. It is the Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, or more commonly called “Harry Lauder’s walking stick” or the “Corkscrew Hazel”.  The branches of this tree are naturally twisted and turned, and looks like it came out of a creepy horror movie…but apparently people like that.

Did you enjoy this post? Please extend your appreciation by “liking”, leaving a comment, and sharing with your friends on social media. 










(You) Write My Blog Post

Check- check…one, two, three. Ahem.

Salutations dear readers! Today we’re doing something new. I’m handing over the microphone to you!

That’s right.

Instead of me writing a blog post, you will be the authors of this article. How will that work, you say?

Well, it’s quite easy, and there is room for a lot of creativity and fun! You can let your imagination run wild. All you have to do is to comment on this article, and complete the following writing prompts with whatever you want to write about yourself.

I’m really excited to see what you will come up with! So let’s see how many people want to be bloggers today. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Here’s an example: (I am… a very strict mathematics professor.) Yeah right.  


I was….

I am…

I wish…

I save…

I always…

I believe…

I love…

I’m thankful…

I hope…

I know…

I admire…

I look forward to…

I dream…

How to find out God’s will

This is a follow-up post to “Should Young Ladies Stay Home or Attend College?

Whenever there are major life decisions to take, it’s natural to look for guidance, for advice, or some assurance that we’re making the right choice. But the type of advice we get depends on who we’re going to for counsel. As believers we should keep in mind that our very lives are dependent on the Lord. So we have to align our choices, lifestyles, and direction of life with His will.

But how do we know God’s will? How do we know whether our actions and choices are influenced by fluctuating emotions or are wise decisions directed by the Lord? It seems hard to discern God’s will when we often get mixed messages from church or other spiritual leaders.

As a daughter of a pastor, after many occasions of listening to teaching on this topic, I wanted to share some essential steps to finding out the will of God for your life or for other decisions you are taking:

Live a godly life

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, And He delights in his way. (Psalm 37:23).

Living a life of practical holiness is the first prerequisite to finding out God’s will. It ensures that communication between you and God is open. It keeps your spiritual eyes and ears attentive to His voice and leading. If an individual is not in tune with the Holy Spirit because of a life of worldliness or even sin, then you can imagine that person will not be able to find out God’s will.

Be diligent in studying the Word

Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. (Psalm 37:4)

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples(John 15:5-8).

Waiting to hear a voice speak from heaven, or waiting for God to drop the answer right in your lap are obviously not ways to find out God’s will. How then does God speak?

The Bible is God’s spoken Word to us. In the past, in the Old Testament God would communicate His will through prophets, dreams, and visions. Today in the church age, He does so through His Word. The Scripture contains all that God wants us to know about Him and His plan for our lives. When we delight ourselves in the Lord, when we abide in His Word, then He orders our steps. He opens doors. He leads us.

The Bible is the first place the believer should go when seeking to know God’s will. Of course that doesn’t mean opening up the Bible to a random page, reading the first verse that catches your eye and concluding that is God “speaking” to you. Studying God’s Word implies daily dedicated reading, book by book, chapter by chapter, in order from beginning to end. It implies pondering on the truths of Scripture. It implies praying that the Holy Spirit will reveal things from the Bible in your daily reading and give you a specific verse or a deeper understanding of the passage, which will apply to your current situation. When we demonstrate faithfulness to the Word of God, He will reward us. And we will know His will.

Take it to the Lord in prayer

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6)

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26)

God speaks to us through His Word, and we speak to Him through prayer. It is the most powerful tool we have as believers. We can tell the Lord anything and everything that is on our mind. There are numerous verses that tell of the importance of prayer. Many times, prayer is also coupled with fasting when we fervently desire for God to act in our behalf.

Consult with godly trustworthy people 

Listen to counsel and receive instruction,That you may be wise in your latter days. There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. (Proverbs 19:20,21).

If you are still under your parents authority you should seek their counsel, follow their instruction, and share your heart with them. Young ladies who are not blessed with believing parents should seek to find older, godly people to counsel with such as a pastor’s wife or a woman in the church who is an example of faith. Then ponder on the advice given and it should line up to things you received from the Lord through His Word.

Trust the Lord

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6).

I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord! (Psalm 37:13,14).

After taking all of the above steps, the final and hard thing to do is trust and wait on the Lord. God doesn’t always give us an answer when we expect, but He will. And when He does, then there is so much joy in knowing that yes- you are in His will!

To exhort and take to heart

Note: Re-posted from May 3, 2011.


Isn’t that bouquet of flowers beautiful?

My younger sister gathered it from the garden, while another sister (Abby) took a picture of it. I just felt it would fit well in this post where I’ll share some beautiful nuggets from God’s Word that I recently read. Isn’t it true that while you read the Bible, you find things that are just as beautiful as a bouquet of flowers?

Well, that’s just what I found one morning as I read my Bible from 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. Here is the collection of verses that I especially felt were exhortations for me that day, and I hope you will find them useful too:

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Do not quench the Spirit. Test all things; hold fast to what is good.
Abstain from every form of evil.

Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely;
and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”

(1 Thessalonians 5:16-24)

The beauty of reading God’s Word, is that the Lord Himself reveals things to you if you are truly interested in delving in!
As it says in Jeremiah 33:3 “Call to me, and I will answer you, I will show you great and mighty things which you do not know.” Or again in John 16:13 “But when He the Spirit of Truth comes, He will guide you into all truth.
The word all in this verse is important. God is the source of all wisdom, so as children of God we have access to His goodness and wisdom, through the Holy Spirit! All we have to do is pray and ask Him to reveal things to us!

So I was so happy when the Lord showed me a few interesting connections while reading the verses above. Allow me to share it a bit with you all.

Firstly, all things in the Word have to be taken in context. It’s rule #1 when in Biblical interpretation (that I learned from my dad who is a pastor). Otherwise, many errors can come up.
So we have to keep in mind this was written by Paul to the Thessalonians. That church was worrying about the end times, thinking that the persecutions they were going through are signs that they are taking part of the tribulation, and wondering if the “Day of the Lord” or the Day of Judgment had come.

Secondly, I realized these verses are not placed here haphazardly…but in a certain order and chronology which is important.
It starts with “rejoice always“.

How important that is for us as believers! We have to remember to rejoice in the Lord, otherwise we would be as those of the world….worrying about the circumstances around us as if we don’t have a God in whom we trust! But we are humans, and we do forget….that was one thing I was reminded to take to heart. Rejoice!

But the sentence does not end there. A comma follows with the words “pray without ceasing”.
That means that in the midst of this dangerous world we have to remember to rejoice while interceding in prayer. We see that it is equally important as rejoicing, but since prayer is a difficult thing, we are sustained by rejoicing in the Lord.

Then we are told “in everything give thanks” . We should not forget to start our prayers with thanksgiving, because joy comes as a result of a thankful heart, and that “is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
We see the verse immediately following that says “Do not quench the Spirit”. Taken in context, it can mean that we can quench the Spirit by an ungrateful heart….mumbling and grumbling. Of course it also implies other attitudes as well.

Also, “Do not despise prophesies. Test all things…”  The Bible is filled with prophetic utterances. We must take them to heart, and in this context it means that of the end times and the Rapture when Christ comes to take us in heaven! So we must not get too caught up with our plans here to the extent that we dislike reading about the Coming of the Lord in the Bible. Yet this verse is immediately followed by “test all things”.
We should not be gullible and believe every preacher/religious leader out there- since there are many false prophets in the world. We should test all things against God’s Word. If it doesn’t line up with the Bible, then we should discard it and “hold fast to what is good.”

Interestingly, the next verse says “abstain from every form of evil.”  So if anything seems dubious and sinful/evil  (a book, a movie, a game, an action or circumstance) we must remember that we must abstain from every form of evil and honor the Lord.

Finally after the exhortation comes the promise of God’s blessing and sustaining hand that will carry us through all this:
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
See here how the “coming of the Lord” is brought up again? All the exhortations are in reference to how we should live our lives in view of the Rapture.

It ends with the assuring promise of: “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.”


Christ in every book of the Bible and how it applies to our “modern life” – Part 1

Christ is Messiah the King, of Hebrew descent.
Application: Our salvation was carried out by God through a Jew of the genealogy of David, as far as Christ’s human nature is concerned. Make sure you have a good grasp of the Old Testament, and hold the Jewish nation in high regard.

Christ is the prompt slave of God in everything He does.
Application: Many Christians have become slaves of the world, fashion and materialism, not to mention the encroachment of sin in their lives. Where is the honest and passionate service for God today?

Christ is the perfect Man.
Application: Facebook has become a gratifying source for maniacal and sinful curiosity about the personal lives of fellow humans. Luke displays the unique personality and ministry of Christ from birth to ascension. Are you interested in that?

Christ is the God-man.
Application: The Gospel of John is simple and deep, but it is way over the heads of the devotees of social media.

The risen and exalted Christ works through the Holy Spirit to expand His church around the world.
Application: Are you involved in evangelism or church planting guided by the Spirit and untainted by marketing methods?

Christ is the author of our justification, sanctification and glorification according to God’s sovereign call for salvation.
Application: Romans is foundational for the theology of salvation in the New Testament. If you neglect Romans, you will be a shallow and anonymous church member.

I Corinthians
Christ is our wisdom, justification, sanctification and redemption.
Application: Like many of the carnal Corinthians back then, many evangelicals today are arrogant, materialistic, over the head in pornography. A significant number are un-regenerated. A careful reading of 1 Corinthians can bring drastic changes.

2 Corinthians
Christ is the comforter during deadly trials, the sustainer of the saints under spiritual attack, and the indescribable gift of God.
Application: The real Christian life is not a mall experience. The multitude of spiritual attacks makes Christian life impossible without Christ’s direct intervention.

Christ frees us from the bondage of the law. Christ is the Seed of Abraham.
Application: Law and grace are incompatible with each other. Christ replaces the law. The Seventh Day Adventists are the contemporary judiazers who intend to bring believers under the bondage of the law.

Christ is the spiritual head of the church, above every occult and spiritual hierarchy. He brings unity among the Jews and Gentiles in the church.
Application: The life of the church is supernatural; it cannot be replaced with programs, marketing strategies, or humanistic concepts.

Christ is the supreme example of humility.
Application: True humility involves going through certain humbling experiences, otherwise it is just empty talk. Christ will purposely bring us through humbling situations in order for us to learn humility.

Christ is preeminent in redemption, over creation, in the church, in death and over demonic hierarchies. He is the fullness of God in human form. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Him.
Application: Christians have no need of philosophy, adventist teachings, charismatic experiences, mysticism, asceticism, or an unhealthy obsession with angels. Or any other form of human wisdom.

1 Thessalonians
Christ will come to rapture the church.
Application: The hope of the Church is not to overcome the Great Tribulation, but rather to be raptured before that will occur.  

2 Thessalonians
Christ returns with the church to defeat the Antichrist.
Application: Chapter two of 2 Thessalonians contains the most exact chronology of the events relating to end times. Only ignorant or wrongly motivated readers will fail to understand the doctrine of rapture in 2 Thessalonians.

1 Timothy
Christ is the mediator; He is God manifested in the flesh. He exemplifies the mystery of godliness. He is the ransom for all.
Application: Godliness is His work in us, not our own product. All who are involved in ministry must be examples of godliness.

2 Timothy
Christ has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality. He brings salvation and eternal glory. He is full of Grace. Christ is a descendant of David. He rose from the dead and will come to judge the living and the dead. Christ is the center of true Bible preaching, and He is our stability in the midst of today’s great apostasy.
Application: This New Testament book enables Gospel workers to determine if they truly belong to the Lord. It also helps believers to cut any ties with the apostates in the church. Doctrinal teaching and evangelism must continue at any cost.

Christ is our blessed hope; He is glorious in His second coming. He is our great God and Savior who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all unrighteousness.
Application: Paul is very harsh with the Cretans. The same treatment must be applied to carnal contemporary Christians. True believers await Christ’s glorious return.

Christ is the object of Philemon’s love and faith, as well as the source of good which he does on behalf of the brethren.
Application: We can do good to other brothers and sisters even when we are wronged, if we do that good in the name of Christ.

Christ is superior to Judaism in its entirety. He is the greatest prophet; He is higher than the angels. He loves righteousness and hates iniquity. He is God, He is above Moses, a Priest better than Aaron, the giver of a better covenant. He is the supreme sacrifice, the author and perfecter of the faith of all believers.
Application: This epistle is addressed primarily to the Hebrews. It is like the Romans epistle in a Jewish format. Here we learn about the rituals and sacrifices of the Old Testament which have been fulfilled in Christ.

The names that James uses in reference to Christ are “The Lord Jesus Christ” and “Lord of Glory”.
Application: James confronts our elitism as evangelicals, as well as the various frictions and backbiting among church members.

1 Peter
Christ is loved by the believers though they have not seen Him. He will bring special grace when He will reveal Himself to His church. The blood of Christ is precious, Him being the Lamb without blemish and without sin, raised from the dead. Christ suffered for us in His body, He bore our transgressions, He died for our sins, and by His stripes we are healed of sin. To Him belong all dominion and glory for eternity. He is the High Priest.
Application: Because our Savior has suffered without complaining, we too are called to take the hardships and persecutions in life without too much discontent and murmuring.

2 Peter
Christ is the Savior who grants to believers a faith equal to the apostles, including all that pertains to life and godliness. He is not slow in keeping His promises. He will burn the universe and create a new heaven and new earth. He will condemn the false prophets to eternal fire.
Application: Believers should be careful not to lose their reward by allowing heretics to impede their progress.

1 John
Christ is the Word of life experienced firsthand by the apostles. He is the Son of God, faithful to forgive our sins when we confess. He is our advocate and the propitiation for our sins and the sins of the world. We shall be like Him at His coming. He was revealed to destroy the works of the Devil. He came in the flesh. He is the only begotten of the Father in His human nature. He came by the water and the blood, signifying baptism and His death on the cross.
Application: This epistle enables believers to avoid sin, antichrists, sons of the devil, and heresies. Its applicability is crucial today. True brotherly love is a major theme in 1 John.

2 John
Christ is represented here by the expression “The Teachings of Christ”.
Application: Although 2 John is a short epistle, the significance of the phrase “the teachings of Christ” is immense, summarizing three important aspects: the doctrine concerning the Son of God, the foundation of salvation, and our relationship with the Father.

3 John
Christ is portrayed here with the phrase “For His Name”.
Application: This short epistle teaches believers how to proceed when the church leadership is taken over by an apostate.

Christ is the one who holds the believers in faith, and who comes with tens of thousands of saints to judge sinners- the apostates and heretics in particular. His coming brings mercy, inaugurating eternity.
Application: The faith delivered once for all to the saints must be defended through spiritual battles, using proper research, prayer, and harsh rebuttals against heretics.

Christ is the Faithful Witness, preeminent over the dead, Ruler of the kings of the earth, the First and Last, the One who lives, the Son of God, Holy and True, the Amen, the beginning of God’s creation regarding His humanity, The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, The Root David, The Lamb, The Word of God, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Alpha and Omega, The Bright Morning Star, The One who is coming soon to judge the living and the dead.
Application: Revelation is the grand and terrifying end of all things. God and Christ are glorious in judgment. God unleashes His great power and pours His fierce wrath on the earth. Yet in the midst of turmoil throughout human history, God has His elect who are saved, sanctified, and glorified in Christ. He is the divine executioner of God’s enemies. He inaugurates the eternal state, with a new heaven and new earth. The order of the day is for us all to fully and quickly repent.


Author Credit:  my dad (theologian, apologet, pastor/author)