Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday

Spy Wednesday is an odd name for a day during Holy Week or at least it seems to be for me.  There is no secretive or symbolic meaning.  It is just what it says it is about – a spy or traitor among Jesus and a His followers.

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Judas, we all know, was the one that betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin.  Luke 22:3-6 tells us:

“Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.  And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”

Did you realize that Satan entered Judas?  Of course, Satan always has his hand in bad things.  He uses people.  Twists words and situations around until evil doesn’t sound bad.  He is the master deceiver.

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Did you ever wonder why the Sanhedrin decided on paying Judas thirty pieces of silver?   In the Old Testament, Exodus states that the price for a slave that accidentally dies by an ox is thirty pieces of silver.  The Sanhedrin were paying the price of a dead slave to Judas for his deception.  It was an insult to Jesus that they thought Him worth only what a dead slave was.  Obviously Judas thought that, also.  Our Redeemer and precious Savior, whose value is beyond measure, was sold out for the price of a dead slave.

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There is something else that happened on Holy Wednesday.  It is the anointment of Jesus at Bethany.  Scriptures tell us that while Jesus was at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.  It was made of pure Spikenard.  She anointed Jesus with this expensive oil and dried his feet with her hair.

Matthew 26:6-13:

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

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Judas did not approve of this at all.  He thought the oil should have been sold and the money put in the treasury for helping the poor.  Satan used Judas’ love of money to gain a foothold in Judas’ life.  Don’t let that happen to you.

I hope today’s blog has blessed you and given you a little more insight into Wednesday of Holy Week.

 

Holy Tuesday, Jesus Teaches in Parables

Tuesday the disciples walked back by the fig tree from yesterday that Jesus cursed. It was now withered and dead. Jesus used that to teach them about faith, true faith. A person or nation that does not produce fruit for God (do His work) will wither and die all the way down to its roots. The tree had leaves so by first sight it looked like it was producing. A closer look revealed no fruit. Then Jesus cursed it so it withered and died.

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Are you producing fruit? Are you leading people to God? Helping them find salvation? Does the light of Jesus shine through you? Are you loving, kind, selfless, good, joyful, and have the fruits of the spirit? Don’t wither away. Grow tall and produce fruit. Increase in your faith. Flourish in your love for Jesus. You will be amazed at the things that will happen when you believe and have faith!

“Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” Mt. 21:19

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“Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Mt. 21:21-22

They returned to the Temple and the religious leaders were upset at Jesus for establishing himself as a spiritual authority.  He had a large following now. Jesus evaded the traps the leaders set for Him with their questions.  He scolded them in Matt. 23 and compared them to tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people.

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Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives and told them parables about end times and His return.  Those who wait for the Master’s coming—the wise and faithful servant (Matthew 24:45-51), the five wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and the good servant who uses his resources wisely (Matthew 25:14-30) are a few of the ones.

Do you remember any of these parables from Sunday School or Vacation Bible School?  The point is to have faith and be ready for Jesus.  He is coming back just like He promised.  When?  Well, that is not for us to know.  We are just supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice.

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Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

Easter is rapidly approaching. We are at the ending stages of Lent.  It is the time to turn our hearts and minds to Jesus and His journey to the Cross. Being raised in a Christian family Easter was much more than egg hunts and baskets for me. It was Resurrection Sunday.

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I remember my maternal grandmother teaching me the Easter story over a cookie recipe one year. The cookies are good, but the story has stuck with me for decades.  Memories made in the kitchen are priceless and stay with people.

You might want to do an activity like this for yourself, children, grandchildren, or kids’ group. The message might just plant a seed that will grow into a bountiful harvest. Sometimes a visual makes the Easter story a little more memorable, too. Years down the road they might be recalling time spent with you and lessons from your kitchen.

Mammaw’s Forgotten Easter Cookies

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

2/3 c. sugar

1 c. nuts

pinch of salt

1 tsp. white vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place pecans in resealable plastic baggie. Crush pecans into small pieces with a rolling pin. Read John 19:1-3

“Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged Him. And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on His head, and they put on Him a purple robe, And said, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and they smote Him with their hands.”

Sprinkle salt into egg whites. Read Luke 23:27, 33

“And there followed Him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented Him.”

“When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified Him there, along with the criminals—one on His right, the other on His left.”

Put vanilla into a bowl. Read John 19:28-30. “After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, ‘I thirst.’ Now there was set a vessel full of vinegar: and they filled a sponge with vinegar, and put it upon hyssop, and put it to His mouth. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, ‘It is finished’ and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost.”

Right now this mixture doesn’t look yummy. Add sugar slowly. Read Psalm 34:8 and John 3:16.  “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in Him.”  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Beat with mixer until frothy and add cream of tartar. Then beat on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Add in vanilla close to the end. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3.

“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto Him, ‘Rabbi, we know that Thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with Him.’ Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto parchment paper lined baking sheet. Read Matthew 27:57-60.

“When the night was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus’ disciple: He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered. And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and departed.”

Place cookies in the oven, close the door and turn the oven off. Read Matthew 27:65-66.

“Pilate said unto them, ‘Ye have a watch: go your way, make it as sure as ye can.’ So they went, and made the tomb sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.”

Go to bed. Read John 16:20 and 22.

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”

“And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.”

In the morning open the oven and take out the cookies. 

Read Matthew 28:1-9.

“In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the tomb. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, ‘Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and, behold, He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him: lo, I have told you.’ And they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word. And as they went to tell His disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, ‘All hail. And they came and held Him by the feet, and worshipped Him.”

When you bite into the cookies notice they are hollow inside, empty, just like Jesus’ tomb.

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St. Patrick’s Day Musings and Recipe

Well, top of the mornin’ to ya and Happy St. Patty’s Day! ‘‘Tis the day everyone claims to be at least a wee bit Irish,  What about you?  Are you really of Irish decent or just Irish today?

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A sea of green will be flowing everywhere today because most everyone wears green clothes, Irish or not, on this day. It is the day many foods turn green on purpose.  Even the river in Chicago turns green.  This is also the one day of the year that we all put a “Mc” or “O” in front of our surname and become Irish. Yes, it’s St. Patrick’s Day!

St. Patrick was a soul saver. IMG_1716A soldier for the Lord.  That is what we are really celebrating.  He used a three leaf clover to teach people about the trinity.  St. Patrick turned thousands of hearts, minds, and souls to the one true God.  Now, doesn’t that sound like cause to celebrate!  I think so, too.

It isn’t about having things green and being Irish. No fictional little leprechauns with rainbows and pots of gold were there.  This is about celebrating the vast number of Druids, pagans that were saved and became Christians.

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Irish are supposed to be lucky among a lot of other things. You’ve heard of the “luck of the Irish,” right? Hmm, I am not sure about that. Well, I guess you could say the ones that met St. Patrick were lucky, or could you? Was it luck that drew them to St. Patrick or something else?  Perhaps the Holy Spirit.

Do you believe in luck? Do you think there is gold at the end of the rainbow? Personally, I don’t really believe much in luck or leprechauns. Maybe if I keep losing when playing a game I say I have bad luck, but outside of that I don’t put belief in luck. My faith and trust are in Jesus. He is the one that guides and directs me just like He did St. Patrick.

When I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, He was the Way or rainbow to my riches. I followed Him. My gold happens to be where Jesus prepared a place for me at the end of my earthly life – in Heaven. IMG_3600That is where my heart is, too. In Heaven the Bible says there will be beautiful streets of gold.

My saved loved ones will be there. There will be no more sickness, no more death, no more tears. My Savior, Jesus, is there. Our Almighty God, my Maker, is there. Talk about hitting the jackpot or pot of gold! That is everything I could ever want. Wow, no riches can compare to that. None. So what about you? Where is your pot of gold?

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:19-21.

Traditional Irish St. Patrick’s Day Dish

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Irish Colcannon, an Irish Treasured Dish

1 lb. potatoes peeled white or unpeeled red potatoes
½ lb. bacon (cut into small 1-inch squares)
1 T. Kosher salt
6 cups thinly sliced cabbage (approximately a head)
6 T. butter (four for the cabbage and two for the potatoes)
½ cup whipping cream (or milk)
Fresh parsley chopped finely-a few sprigs will do
A large onion, chopped
5 or 6 scallions or a clump (handful) of chives
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Wash potatoes and peel if you’re using thick skinned.
Cut the potatoes in quarters and place in a large pot of boiling water.
Add the Kosher salt. Boil for approximately 25 minutes.
Stick one of the potatoes with a fork to see if they’re cooked. They should be tender and easy to penetrate with the prongs.

Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat.
When they’re finished cooking, add 4 T. butter.
Add the cabbage and onions.
Sauté the cabbage mixture until almost done, with the onions translucent and cabbage a bit crispy. Some people prefer to cook the mixture until everything is soft. It just depends on whether you like a bit of crunch or not. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

Drain the potatoes and add the butter and cream or milk, mashing it to silky smoothness—unless you left the skins on, then almost silky smoothness.

Add the onion, cabbage mixture and salt and pepper to taste.
Serve hot. Enjoy this Irish classic dish.

 

 

 

Put Christ back in CHRISTmas

The most wonderful time of the year is fast approaching.  Is it one of your favorites?  There are lovers of Christmas and then there are the Scrooges.  In fact, throughout the Advent Season, we could even find that we switch from one to the other.  Oh my!  Isn’t that a dreadful thought?!

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Christmastime is one of the most delightful times for me.  Just thinking about Jesus being sent here to be our Savior bring tears to my eyes.  I never get weary of listening to Christmas hymns.  Today I absent-mindedly hummed and half sang “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while I did paperwork.  That isn’t even my “go to” Christmas song.  Usually “Mary Did You Know” is first on my mind.

I am a consultant for Pampered Chef and do my parties on Facebook.  Like in-home parties we, too, play games.  One of my popular this year has been to name something that has to do with Christmas starting with A, the next person takes B, and on through the alphabet.  As I totaled points for the door prize drawing, I reviewed the answers.

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The results were about 50% Christian answers and 50% secular.  The letter J brought words Jesus, Joy, Jingle and Jolly.  S gave Savior, Star, Santa, and Stockings.  Every one of the reindeer were mentioned, but I don’t remember seeing Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, or Bethlehem.

What about your list?  When you think about Christmas do your thoughts immediately turn to the first six letters in that word…..CHRIST?  Maybe this world has pushed Him back from the front because of the hustle, bustle, and commercialism of today.  Don’t let that happen.

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This is the season of love and miracles.  God gave us all a miracle, His Son, our Redeemer.   That is the biggest, best present anyone has ever given you and me.  Hmmm, what have we given Him in return?

For me, I am going to try to keep more CHRIST in Christmas.  Play more hymns, read more scripture and Christian based books.  I have decided “do not stress and show grace” is my motto.  Without stressing out, I am a much nicer person.  Not only do I get grace from Abba, but I will in turn give it to others.  Everyone deserves grace.  People are more important than some of the silly things that upset others.

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Okay, so our focus will be on Jesus and helping show Him to others this year.  Even if we are playing a game or singing a song, we can easily do this.  A former minister once told me if I kept dripping little drops on someone eventually they would get wet.  Are you game?

Take Christmas back.  Give it to Jesus.  It is His birthday and so much more we are celebrating.  Spread joy, love, grace, and His light.  Let’s shower drops of Jesus on everyone.

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Giveaway and Book Tour The Unannounced Christmas Visitor

My Review:

I really enjoyed this short novel.  It might not have had hundreds of pages but it was packed with powerful messages that stayed with me.  This contemporary Christian fiction is an eye-opening book that I would recommend to everyone.

The author has done an exemplary job of capturing society’s views on multiple issues.  It offers food for thought and insight into many issues.  Homelessness is explored as well as motives for going to church.  Giving graciously and joyfully is addressed.  Serving others is discussed.  His story is God glorifying.  Shouldn’t every book that is classified as “Christian” bring glory to God?

The characters are relatable and believable.  Grace and Matthew, the children, are adorable.  Enoch, the angel, was riveting and I wanted to keep “listening” to him speak.  The author did such a good job with this book.  I could not put it down.

Scripture is not sprinkled throughout this book, but rather it is heavily dropped in all the way.  It took me from page one to become invested.  This is a story that should move and change everyone who reads it.  I hope to see it on the Hallmark Channel at Christmas on day.

It get a huge recommendation from me.  Everyone should read it.  I rated it 5+ out of 5 stars but wanted to go higher.  A copy was provided by Celebrate Lit but all opinions and the review are my own honest opinion.
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About the Book

Book: The Unannounced Christmas Visitor
Author: Patrick Higgins
Genre: Christian fiction/Christmas
Release Date: November 18, 2014
What if angels really did come from the most unlikely of places? That’s exactly what happens in this heartwarming story, set in a homeless community in Anywhere USA. Sent to Planet Earth by his Maker, disguised as a homeless person, Enoch was on a mission: to rescue a man whose life was slowly but steadily spiraling out of control
Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed! 2016 IPA (INTERNATIONAL PUBLISHER AWARDS) GOLD MEDAL AWARD WINNER.
Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Patrick higginsPatrick Higgins is the author of “The Pelican Trees”, “Coffee In Manila”, the award-winning “The Unannounced Christmas Visitor”, and the award-winning prophetic end times series, “Chaos In The Blink Of An Eye.”

Guest Post from Patrick

Why I wrote the book: Inspired by Hebrews 13:2, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it,” this story will stir your soul like never before, guaranteed!

Blog Stops

Lighthouse Academy, November 10
The Power of Words, November 11
Genesis 5020, November 12
Bogging With Carol, November 12
Moments, November 14
Mary Hake, November 15
Inklings and notions, November 16
Bibliophile Reviews, November 17
Vicky Sluiter, November 18
Godly Book Reviews, November 19
Texas Book-aholic, November 21
Carpe Diem, November 22
Bigreadersite, November 22
amandainpa, November 23

Giveaway

To celebrate his tour, Patrick is giving away a $50 Amazon gift card!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d5c7/the-unannounced-christmas-visitor-tour-giveaway

Praying for the Kids

As you can tell from this blog, I am a Prayer Warrior.  Praying for my family, friends, and myself is extremely important to me.  I firmly believe in prayer.  Time spent with my Maker in prayer is a necessary part of my life.  Once a day is never enough to go to God because things or prayer requests continue throughout the day.  Do you pray often, too?

I was taught the Acts Method of praying when I was young and it has stuck with me.  There is no right or wrong way to talk to our Heavenly Father.  Jesus outlined the perfect way in Matthew with the Lord’s Prayer.

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ACTS Method of Christian Prayer

  1. Adoration: Give God praise and honor for who He is as Lord God.
  2. Confession: Honestly confess the sin in your life.
  3. Thanksgiving: Say what you’re grateful for in your life and in the world around you.
  4. Supplication: Pray for the needs of others and yourself.

How do you pray?  Are there certain things you pray about each day?  I certainly do.  The main thing is the children in our family.  That encompasses the generations under mine.  Ever since my children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews (which include my cousins’ children – we are a close family) were born or little, I have prayed for them.  With a family our size I use a prayer journal to keep me on track.  It also allows me to write praises when the prayers are answered.

What would I pray?  First I asked for health, safety, and protection.  I want them to be safe from harm and health issues.  Then I prayed that they would grow to know God, be saved, and baptized.  It is my prayer that they will recognize the purpose God has for them, why He created each one.  I prayed for their future spouses that Abba was preparing them for their future lives together.  Marriage needs more than two people to survive.  It needs God in it, too.  I pray that their spouses will be Christian and that a God will bless their union.  Finally I pray that they would do their best in life and be happy.

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Even though many are grown with children of their own, I continue to pray for them all.  We are never too old for prayers.  My prayer might provide the extra protection needed one day.  Intercessory prayer is important.

How long should we pray about something?  In Thessalonians the Bible says to pray without ceasing.   Prayer has no time limit.  Keep praying or P.U.S.H. (Pray Until Something Happens).

The next generation of children are included in my prayers now.  Protection and safety is a concern in this world.  Happiness is what every Mama, Gram, and Auntie desires for her little chicks.  Don’t you agree?

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After years of praying I was recently rewarded as God’s Army gained another Warrior.  Yes, a family member was baptized and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior.  I rejoiced as I know Heaven did.  There have been many more victories and each one is recorded without surprise.  I delight in knowing that we will be together in Heaven one day.

Don’t stop with your family.  There are many friends that need prayer, too.  Let’s not forget society.  The shootings and violence.  Our leaders need prayers to make the right decisions.  Our military need pray for protection.  Our nation needs prayer for so many reasons.

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If you are praying for something or someone, don’t lose hope.  It may take decades for your answer, but everything happens in God’s perfect time.  If you haven’t started praying for your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews, I would urge you to begin today.  The reward is priceless.

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I Wish I Had or I’m Glad I Did

I wish I had….  How many times have we all started a sentence with those four little words?  I wish I had gone to see her.  Perhaps, I wish I had said or even had not said that.  The list of “I wish” is endless unfortunately.

A few days ago a friend died.  It was unexpected for most everyone.  I listened to mourners and read tributes from so many people.  The majority of people started theirs with “I wish”.  “I wish I had called him instead of texted that morning.”  “I wish I had told him I loved him the last time I saw him.”  “I wish I had taken more time to talk when he called.”

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Cliche as it might sound, maybe it is time to give up the wishes and regrets.  It is time to live life doing those things.  There is a song that talks about “Live Like You are Dying”.  What if we lived like our family and friends were instead?  Would we treat them differently?  Yes, I certainly would.

My words would be much more thoughtful and kind.  I would definitely consider others’ feelings and needs.  All of the things I wanted to say would get said.  There are things I have learned thatI would share.   It would be a priority to discuss Jesus and salvation.   How will I know if I don’t ask?

Do they know that in times of sorrow, Jesus is my comfort.  He is my strength.  In Psalm 46:1, the Bible tells us “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”  This is so true.  I cannot make it a day without Him.  He shelters and strengthens me.  I draw my peace from Him.

John 14:27 gives us Jesus’ assurance that “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”  This is the “peace that passes understanding” that we sang about in Sunday school.  A pure peace is given to us by Jesus when things are in chaos.

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Scripture says  “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  That is my goal.  To make certain my family and friends have one of those mansions.  It has already been bought and paid for by Jesus.  All I can do is give them the good news and pray they accept the keys.

No more wishing for me.  It is time for action.  Live each day purposefully.  Say the “I love you” and “thank you”.  Make the phone call.  Take the time.  Go to lunch.  Share the love.  Talk about Jesus.  Say goodbye to “I wish I had” and hello to “I’m glad I did.”

What are your I wish sentences that turn into regrets instead of sweet memories?  How about doing something now instead being disappointed later?

 

Vacations are Nice, but I Yearn for Home

Have you been on vacation this year?  Most people take an annual vacation and often more than one.  Some people have a favorite spot to visit each year while others enjoy seeing new places. Me, I like both.  Seeing new places is great.  The sights, experiences, and tastes of somewhere I have never before been is an exciting adventure.  A new treasure could be awaiting me there.

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My favorite getaway is a cabin high in the Smokey Mountains with my family for the week.  I could handle that vacation at least once a year and probably more.  The majesty of God’s beautiful mountains take my breath away each time we drive to Gatlinburg.  Like a child I become excited when I see a chipmunk, raccoon, or bear off of the cabin’s deck while having coffee in the morning.

After vacation, there’s no place like home

Vacation, an extended period of recreation spent away from home or in traveling, is nice for a time, but after it is over it is nice to be home.  Like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz emotionally repeats “there’s no place like home” and I agree.  No matter how good vacation has been, we are always happy to be home when it is over.

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My maternal grandmother often would tell me “you know, this old world is not our home.”  That was confusing to a child, but the older I got the more she explained.  Finally I understood.  Mammaw was talking about Heaven.  She would tell me her soul longed for “home” and to be with loved ones there.  When she spoke of Heaven it was beautiful and biblical.

“In Heaven there will be no sickness or pain, no tears, and affliction.  We will be whole with perfect bodies.”  She would laugh when I asked what we would do all day for eternity.  “Probably the same things we do now only better” she would brightly say and break out in song “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through.  My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue….”

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What about you?  Do you ever feel like you are waiting to go home?  This world, like a vacation, is nice for a while, but your heart is yearning for someplace better.  It is homesick.  I know I am.  Vacations are wonderful.  This world is a nice place, too, but Heaven is our home.  Our Father is there.  Jesus is there.  Our family should be, too.  We have a home there.

Gather your treasures and pack for your trip home.  What will you take?  There aren’t a lot of things allowed.  The main thing on your list should be loved ones.  Make sure you have shared Jesus and His salvation with your family and friends.  You will want to see them after your vacation or theirs.

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“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.” Hebrews 13:14

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”  John 14:2-3

 

That’s a Sure Bet! Is it Really? Absolutely!

Living close to Louisville Kentucky makes life interesting around the first Saturday in May.  The racetrack, Churchill Downs is open and so are festivities in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.  It is a two minute horse race.  There are fireworks, hot air balloons, a steamboat race, parade, style shoes, vendor booths at a “Chow Wagon”, Thurby (the Thursday before), Oaks Day (the day before), and more than I even know.  D2412375-5B81-4566-80F6-0D56C813565C

On Oaks Day there is a  Survivors Parade around the racetrack of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors.  That is touching to see.  A sea of pink with beautiful hats and smiling faces.  On the local news everything is Oaks and Derby.  They discuss the horses and if one looks like a favorite, sometimes going as far as saying it is a sure bet the horse will either win, place, or show.

Do you go to the horse races and bet on horses?  Some people study racing forms like a student before finals.  Others use the color method of choosing the prettiest silks or their favorite color.  Even the way a horse looks and acts play a part in betting.  7603B979-4416-494D-B92B-5668C32459B1Names came play a large part in it as can the jockey riding the thoroughbred.  Even asking people that work there or “know someone” for a tip is another way of deciding how to place a bet.
After placing a bet, it is off to watch the race.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  It is only if you win or haven’t bet.  If you have gambled some of your hard earned money on the horse you might not be smiling if it comes sashaying across the finish line.  Sometimes a horse wins by a wide margin while other times you aren’t sure if it’s still on the same track. 83369005-6FC6-46AD-924D-CEB84B0455B1 On television there are pictures of many clinched fists, gritted teeth, and frowns among a few smiling faces.  None of the ways people use provide a sure bet or 100% winner every time.  History shows very few people bring home the big buck instead leaving some of their own instead.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 100% guaranteed sure bet on something?  It would wouldn’t it? Everyone loves to get something they didn’t earn.  Don’t you?  Come on now, we all do.  Well, I have some great news for you today. 0CB794E2-8222-45F8-816B-3201356F5748 Yes, I do.  I have a sure bet.  You do not need to invest any money and you will receive the greatest treasure.
Do you have any idea where this is going.  Jesus.  He is a sure bet.  You can bet your eternity on Him and win every time.  Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Are you certain?  Jesus wants you and me to spend it with Him.  He loves us fiercely and died to prove it.  I can almost see heads nodding.  That love is beyond imagination.  He carries us when we are too weak.  If we are lonely He reminds us that He is always there.  He gives us what we need when we need it.  He is our way to the Father.  Do you know Him?  If not, don’t wait because it is a sure bet He already loves you.
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