Next stop on my trip around the globe is Portugal. I’m continually amazed by how little I know about all of these countries (and I will forever be apologizing to my history-loving dad about that).
Portugal sits on the western most edge of Europe, on the Iberian Peninsula, with the Atlantic Ocean on its eastern border and Spain to its west. It is the oldest country in Europe, having the same borders since 1139! However people have been living there (and fighting over the land) since 711. The Muslim Moors from North Africa settled in this area first, but were forced out by Christian armies (let’s talk about that later). Portugal was also a super power when it came to world exploration, and was the world’s first global empire.
Ruled by dictators for much of its history, Portugal transitioned to a democratic republic in 1974 and it joined the European Union in 1986, which helped strengthen and stabilize its economy. The major cities are known for their nightlife, and the country itself is home to the oldest bookstore, the longest bridge, and one of the oldest universities in Europe. That bookstore will be added to my bucketlist (Anna from Wander Wisdom has a bunch of other interesting facts on her site about Portugal). Side note, there seem to be some really beautiful bookstores in Portugal - check out another one here.
Now a word about Christian armies pushing out Muslims in the 8th century. A quick justification for this would be to say that people make mistakes. But sometimes (probably almost always) that answer feels like a cop out, especially to those impacted. Religious wars are a part of history so we might as well try to learn something from them. The people fighting in religious wars are very often fighting to uphold their own values. And certainly the Bible contains lots of examples that would seem to support holy wars. But those examples come from the Old Testament and, though God is the same in the Old and New Testaments, there are important pieces of the puzzle that weren’t placed until the New Testament (namely, the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ). God’s justice played out in an entirely different way in the New Testament in that Jesus absorbed all of the wrath aimed at the decay of unrighteousness and passed on freedom and worthiness in God’s sight to those that would believe in him. Because all of God’s wrath was spent on Jesus, I don’t think we can make a case for these so called “holy wars” anymore – and by that I mean any “holy war” fought in an A.D. time period. God no longer calls on his people to judge and destroy pagan nations. Instead he tells us to love them, serve them, even suffer their judgment of us so long as we keep loving them and holding on to our faith in Christ and God’s Kingdom (1 Peter 3:8-9, 3:15).
Also, I offer prayer points in this section for these different nations and I don’t want that to be confused with a “holy war” mentality. Like I said, followers of Christ are called to love people both inside and outside our religion. When we pray for people outside our religion to come to know Christ that’s not our way of manipulating their faith or forcing ours on them. We simply believe fully in the triune God of the universe and that the only way to true peace, rest, joy, and salvation is to believe in his Son Jesus Christ whom took our punishment and gave us his righteousness so that we can be set free from sin and death. Wanting other people to believe this too is just one way we love people – we care for and about their souls!
Ok, now for prayer points. Operation World has a bunch, but I’ll just list a few here:
- Christianity is the most prominent religion in Portugal, however that doesn’t necessarily mean there is true faith. Pray that there would be unity amongst the Christian churches and that true faith in Christ would grow and flourish.
- Portuguese is the fifth most spoken language in the world. Pray that the Portuguese Church would grow passionate about using that to their advantage and seeking the lost among the many, many people they can easily communicate with around the world!
- Pray for the younger generations in Portugal. This group is often spiritually neglected, and I would venture to say (if they’re anything like the youth I know, and the youth I was) they’re prone to ambivalence when it comes to spiritual things. Pray that the Holy Spirit would light a fire in their souls to seek God, know him truly, and to love and follow him fiercely.
History – check. Prayer – check. Food – comin’ at ya.
I found my recipe for this week at FitSlowCookerQueen and let me tell you it is a new favorite! I had forgotten how much I love my Crockpot and I now question why I’ve been using my stove/oven so much lately this Texas summer. Seriously, go try this recipe today – you won’t be disappointed! Shannon of FitSlowCookerQueen creates healthier versions of her favorite recipes and, as her blog title suggests, uses her slow cooker as her sous-chef and most helpful cooking companion.
Piri-piri is apparently Swahili for chili peppers, so you know this dish is spicy (although if you Google translate that, piri-piri means “two thirds” in English). I don’t do spicy so I left out cayenne. My Peruvian aunt told me that ginger is good for allergies, and I’ve got plenty of those, so I included the ginger and a little extra black pepper, for a tiny bit of spice.
- 2 lbs chicken
- 2 tsp ghee (optional)
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- ¼ cup lemon juice (takes about 2 lemons)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 Tbsp white vinegar
- 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil, avocado oil or evoo
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp ginger
- salt & pepper to taste
- Optional step: Heat ghee in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken & brown a few minutes each side. Remove from skillet and set aside.
- Place sliced onion in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add chicken on top.
- Mix together sauce ingredients.
- Pour sauce over chicken.
- Top with lemon slices.
- Cook HIGH 2-3 hours or LOW 4-6
I served mine with lentils and roasted sweet potato chunks - the whole thing reheats well also!
This dish smells and tastes fantastic and the slow-cooker component will leave your hands free and kitchen relatively clean, both things any cook can appreciate. Hope you enjoy!
- “12 Interesting and Fun Facts About Portugal.” Wander Wisdom, wanderwisdom.com/travel-destinations/Interesting-Facts-About-Portugal. Accessed Sept. 2017.
- “All About Portugal.” Visit Portugal, www.visitportugal.com/en/sobre-portugal/biportugal. Accessed Sept. 2017.
- "Livraria Lello, Portugal's Most Beautiful Bookstore." Atlas Obscura, http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2015/02/18/livraria_lello_in_porto_portugal.html. Accessed Sept. 2017.
- “Piri-Piri Chicken.” Epicurious, www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/piri-piri-chicken-359750 . Accessed Sept. 2017.
- Portugal, National Geographic Kids, kids.nationalgeographic.com/explore/countries/portugal/#portugal-olive-trees.jpg. Accessed Sept. 2017.
- “Portugal.” Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portugal. Accessed Sept. 2017.