Were You There?

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With Easter coming up, I can’t help but think about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the lamb of God.  Have you ever heard the song “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”  

Here is a little history on this song. 

An African-American spiritual that probably predates the Civil War, “Were You There” was first published in William Barton’s Old Plantation Hymns (1899). The spiritual’s earlier roots include a white spiritual known in Tennessee as “Have you heard how they crucified my Lord?” Additional stanzas are available from oral and written tradition:

Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?”

Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?

Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree?

Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they laid him in a tomb?

Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when He rose up from the dead?

As I prepare my heart for Easter Sunday I can’t help but feel a humble and undeserving. I was talking to my friend Jennifer Harris about the movie, “Passion of the Christ.” It is the one staring Mel Gibson. When I went to see the movie, I was prepared, or I thought I was. I heard about the 11 minutes where Christ was beaten with a cat of nine tales. I was prepared for a number of scenes. However, there is one that I wasn’t prepared for. I tried watching the movie again and I had a meltdown all over again.

Mary at crossThat scene was after Christ was taken down from the cross. He was being cradled in the arms of His earthly mom Mary. As she cradles Him, she holds his limp body and stares towards the audience. She didn’t say a word, but it was as if her eyes pierced my soul.

I don’t know if others felt the way I did. But, without words she stared off and said that it is because of me that her Son had to die. He didn’t do anything to deserve death. He never sinned and yet He was killed as if he committed the worst unpardonable sins. It was if I was the one holding the hammer in my hands and driving the nails into His hands.

There is another song about the Crucifixion of Christ. The song is called “The Hammer”. The first time I heard it and watched the video, it immediately brought tears to my eyes. I felt as if I was there with the hammer in my hand. Every time I struck the nail it was as if my sins was the hammer and I kept hitting the nails over and over as tears stream down my face.

Listen to Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

Ray Boltz singing “The Alter/The Hammer/Feel the Nails

I was in the crowd
The day that Jesus died
And as He hung upon the cross
His mother cried

I saw the crown of thorns He wore
The stripes upon His back
The water and the blood ran out
And then the sky turned black

My mind was filled with anger
My heart was filled with shame
This man brought only healing
Who could bring Him pain

Why does it seem the strong
Always victimize the weak?
And suddenly I found myself
Standing to my feet

 

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1 Peter 1: 18-21 –  For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.  Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.

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He is the Lamb of God. So at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, John the Baptizer’s words invite us to “Look!” and see the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” All that is required of us is to open our hearts, listen and keep watching, then we will see the Lamb.

 

 

Preparing for ChristEaster

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Since I have been away from Facebook and thinking about the importance of the birth, death and Resurrection of Christ, I have been reminded of the unconditional love God has for us. I’m also reminded that the power He has over death is more than a colored Easter Egg or candy that is shaped like a bunny.  Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and He overcame death by rising on the third day.

Most people who knows me personally knows that our family celebrates Christmas and Easter on Easter Sunday.

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Springtime is one of the most beautiful times of the year. Not because of flowers blooming and such, it’s because Easter reminds me that Christ is alive and how blessed I feel. The trees are blooming, birds are singing and new life is everywhere you look. Easter also reminds me that the problems I have faced in the past and continue to face are small when I take into consideration of eternity, my problems are temporary.

Every day Christ provides me with all of the things that I need or want. There are times when He provides for me that isn’t exactly what I want lol. He does that for everyone if you only ask. He gives us all the strength we need to get through another day. He blesses me with awesome friends, family and more. I don’t always understand His ways, but I know that He understands me, even when I don’t understand myself. He knows my every thought, desire and hopes. As my heart and mind prepares for Easter, I know that His love for me and everyone else is deeper than I will ever be able to understand.

The-Debt-We-Owe-GodJesus Christ paid the ultimate price when He died on the cross. He paid the penalty for my sins. He died for you and everyone else. I have made countless mistakes and it seems as if I keep making the same mistakes over and over again. I can’t save myself. I’m my own worse enemy. Jesus Christ knows what is on my heart and He knows what my imperfections are. He knows the sins I have committed. And, yet, He loves me despite of all of the things I have done wrong.

2 Corinthians 5:21  (NIV) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

Christmas and Easter are the only holidays I celebrate because they remind of why I am a Christian. When I focus on Christmas and Easter, it helps me keep my eyes open so I can see the path that is laid out in front of me.  I have found that celebrating Christmas and Easter together, it helps me stay focused on Christ, not the world.

in-the-arms-of-jesusI don’t know about you, but I know for myself that it is hard to see God’s promises when I’m going to trials and hardships. It’s hard to see God while we are suffering from diseases and illnesses. It’s hard to see God while we deal with the loss of someone who is close to us.  What I have found while going through these times in our lives is that God uses His believers to bring us back to where we need to be. He brings us through these trials by wrapping His loving arms around us and comforting us.

Since I have limited my time away from Facebook and refocus on Christ during Lent, it has allowed me to open my heart up to those who are going through difficult times. I’m reminded that I can count on God’s love, light and peace during the hard times in my life. As I journey through life, I’m striving to honor God and to do whatever it is that is God’s Will.

James 1:12 NIV, it says, Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

I don’t know how people make it through life without hope. He gave his life so I can live. That gift is something I can never repay. My hope and prayer is that I will never forget what He has done for me. I hope I never forget to thank Him for being there for those that are in my life.

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We are all saved because of Christs sacrifice. My sins are washed away because of Christ. I have overcome death because you payed the price by dying for me. You died so that anyone who asks can be saved. I look forward to the day when I take my last breath here on earth and wake up and see you.

I found this Easter Prayer or Blessing on a website and I want to share this with you and close this post with it. I don’t know who wrote it.

May the celebration of resurrected life bring new hope to your being. May the victory over earthly death turn your eyes to the promises of heaven. May the empty tomb help you to leave your sorrows at the foot of the cross. So that God’s hope, promises and forgiveness reign in your life forever.

Have a happy Easter.

 

“Christ is Risen!” “He is Risen, Indeed!”

 

This blog post was written by Pastor Ray Schroeder at St. George Community Church. He is one of our guest writers here at Senseless Ramblings of the Mindless.  

THE COMMUNICATOR

APRIL 2018

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

“Christ is Risen!” “He is Risen, Indeed!”

the-resurrection

This is the joyful shout and response of Easter morning. Interestingly, this year Easter falls on April Fool’s Day. However, the resurrection is no joke. It is the absolute truth. The resurrection of Jesus Christ in a physical body is so important that the Bible says without it our faith is in vain and we are still in our sins. We must constantly and committedly lift up the truth of Jesus’ resurrection to a world that thinks it is of no consequence or ignores it completely.

There are two factors that constitute the truth of the resurrection: the empty grave and the appearances of Jesus after his death. We know that Jesus was completely and totally dead on the cross. After the initial whippings and physical torture he endured he was then nailed to a cross and a soldier punctured his side with a spear. Blood and water rushed out which is a sign of cardiac failure. Let no one tell you that Jesus was not completely and totally dead on the cross. He was dead.

Then Jesus was buried for three days before arising from the tomb. No one was present at the actually moment of his resurrection but when the women arrived at the tomb on Sunday morning it was empty. Romans and Pharisees tried to spread the story that His body had been stolen but no dead body was ever found.

Then Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene and to the other Apostles and finally to more than 500 believers at one time (1 Cor. 15:6). Many of whom were still alive at the time of the writing of the books of the New Testament and who could have verified to anyone that they saw the risen Lord Jesus. He told his disciples that he was not a ghost and to touch him and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones (Luke 24:39).

Jesus-Is-AliveNo rebuttal to the resurrection has ever been proven. The body was not stolen or hidden. The tomb was empty. Jesus appeared physically to his disciples and it was not simply a vision or a spirit. This is the great good news of Jesus’ resurrection. It’s true! And because of Christ’s resurrection we know our sins are forgiven and we have eternal life. Our great and blessed hope is that we, too, shall be resurrected and we shall be changed to be like him.

Also, because of the resurrection we can be assured that every Word of Jesus is true and every word of the Bible is true. Jesus believed all of the Bible and He believed it in a literal fashion. Because Jesus rose from the grave I believe the earth was created in six days. I believe Jesus was born of a virgin. I believe that Christ ascended to heaven in the same resurrection body and that He is coming again in that same body. Praise God for the resurrection! Let’s spread the Good News reminding everyone that this is no April Fool’s joke. This is the glorious truth!

My love be with you all in Christ,

Pastor Ray

Dogs in Heaven Part 2

This blog post is long. I tried to cut down how many words I used. Thank you for reading it.  This is one of those topics that is very near and dear to my heart. This post is dedicated to all of you have knows that dogs aren’t just dogs, they are family members. I will be doing the final part of this blog that has pictures of four-legged family members that have done over the bridge and some are still with us. If there is anyone who would like to add a picture of their 4 legged family member to that page, let me know. It is going to be a showcase of beloved pets that are still with us and those who have made it to the Rainbow Bridge.

Click Here to view a video about the four-legged family members we have rescued.

12.11.14-Pope-Francis-Says-All-Dogs-Go-to-Heaven1This is the part two of are “Dogs In Heaven?”  I have to say right off the bat that I totally believe that pets will be in Heaven. I don’t think they will be there in the same way they are here since I wouldn’t think they would be owned by anyone. They would be there to be enjoyed by all. I don’t think we will have to train them to walk on leashes or tell them to not pee on the furniture or the other dogs in the house.  In my house the most used saying is. “Henry, don’t pee on Jasper”and “Henry, don’t pee on Parker!” Now, the question is, what does the Bible say about pets in Heaven?

I belong to a number of rescue groups and over the years I have experienced many losses when it comes to my dogs going to Heaven. I have put together a few videos about some of the dogs we have rescued and dogs that people have thrown out or wasn’t as cute as they think they should be. Dogs have such a short life span compared to humans, so it is a difficult emotion to deal with when it comes to the time when our four-legged family members cross over.

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This is Maverick in the back and Maddie. She passed away 3 or 4 years after we rescued her. She was super sweet and died of cancer.

As a friend of mine lost his family members Anna and Bart, it’s hard to not think back to those times when Brandie, Maverick and Maddie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I know this sounds bad, but I have loved all of our four-legged family members, but there are some I was just closer to and broke my heart.

Last week as I was taking my bath, I was listening to some Christian music and some studies that a friend loaned me to listen to. As I was listening to the music, I was looking at Jasper. I have been noticing that he is having a harder time seeing. I have to turn the lights on so he can see the door is open or that it’s OK to go into the room. If the light in the hallway is off, he will wait at the door waiting for me to open it, even though it’s open. Once the light is turned on, he will go into the room. Then, he is getting a lot of grey. I couldn’t help but think about how he may only have a few years.

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Jasper was rescued because his previous owners said he shed too much so they were going to take him to a high kill shelter

I rescued him, so I don’t know how old he is. I’m guessing he was about 3 yrs old when I got him. I have had him for 6 yrs or so. During my bath time, my heart was breaking since I could tell he is having a hard time. I couldn’t help but cry over the thought that in a few short years, he too will be crossing over the Rainbow Bridge.

Now to the point of this blog post.

Will Our Pets Be in Heaven With Us?

Anytime I think about if my beloved family members will be there, I’m sure I’m not alone when I ask about if they will be in Heaven. This is one question that many Christians and people of faith have asked over the years. I’m no different. There are many opinions when it comes to these questions.

  • “Pairs of all creatures that have the breath of life in them came to Noah and entered the ark.” – Genesis 7:15
  • “God wishes other creatures besides humans to be included in the plan of salvation.” – St. Francis of Assisi
  • “One day we will see our pets in the eternity of Christ.” – Pope Paul VI

There are many Christians who believe that God will allow our pets to be in Heaven after they die and they will be with us for eternity. But, there are also those who feel that none of our four-legged family members will be there when we get there.

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Brandie Muffins- Over the Rainbow Bridge

I have been studying this topic for some time and I have talked to a number of pastors. When my previous pastor was at our church before he retired, I asked him what his thoughts were on the subject. I just lost Brandie and I was distraught to say the least. I didn’t realize how upset I was and angry that she was gone. I asked him if he thought Brandie would be in Heaven. When I asked him thought, I worded it this way, “do you think Brandie is in Heaven? If you don’t think she is in Heaven and that God doesn’t think dogs should be in Heaven, then I don’t want to talk to you about it.” I pretty much put of anger those him that if he didn’t think my Brandie would be there, then I will no longer talk to a pastor who doesn’t feel that she would be there.

Pastor Dean told me that while the Bible doesn’t say that our four-legged family members will be in Heaven, there are verses that can give us some clues and answers. Pastor Dean pointed me to Genesis 1:26-28. I don’t think I would have accepted any answer if that answer meant that our four-legged family members wouldn’t be there.

God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom (Genesis 1:26-28).

namingtheanimals.jpgI have no doubt that animals were created for our enjoyment and use. Even though the Bible doesn’t say if there is life after death for animals since they don’t have a soul. I have gotten into some pretty heated debates over that topic.  There are those who say that animals were created by God for a specific purpose. For example, cows are for hamburgers and steaks. You have pigs for pork chops, bacon and Jello. They say that the purpose for animals is full filled on this earth, and not in Heaven.  In my thought, if animals aka our four-legged family members make us happier in Heaven, I would think there would be a place for them.

Isaiah’s description of the peace of God’s future kingdom where he says that “the wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox” (Isaiah 65:25). Heaven will lack nothing that is good and that will bring glory to God

My life has been enriched because of my four-legged family members. Dogs and other animals have many purposes. Not only are they there to love us unconditionally, they also save lives. How can there not be a place for them in Heaven considering everything they can do and want to do. They don’t ask for anything in return.

I have many bad days and no matter how bad my day is, my dogs lift my spirit and they make me smile. Well, unless they are peeing on each other lol. As I walk through the door and it doesn’t matter if it is 5 minutes or 5 hours, our dogs makes me feel loved and missed. How can there be no place in Heaven for dogs or other animals when they demonstrate such love and compassion? In my personal opinion, I can’t imagine Heaven without dogs or other animals. The only animals or creepy crawlers that I hope aren’t there is snakes, spiders, roaches and wasps. I know they have a purpose, but, I would prefer them to NOT be there lol.

I wish people/humans had the kind of love that dogs have. I think God gave us dogs and other animals as examples of how we should be and how we should treat each other.

My thoughts on why dogs or animals will be in Heaven.

Dogs love us unconditionally and are considered “mans best friends. They are always loyal and trusting.  I could be having one of the worst days and just at the end of my rope. For example, a number of years ago, I went to my Dr. I was sick of living at the Dr’s office and all of the life changing diagnosis’. My neurologist let me know that I was having another bought of Guillian Barre Syndrome and I would have to go back into the hospital. I will be doing a blog on Guillian Barre Syndrome since it is awareness month.

7d7835c6b9a20a228387f51ffa5d7530As I was going through all of the paper work and signing the papers that I brought home, I was visibly upset. My dogs and one of them was Brandie, came up to sit by me. She put her head on my lap and her eyes met mine and she comforted me. The dogs we have now are the same. How can God not have a place for them when they demonstrate unconditional love, loyalty, faithfulness and trust? These traits are things that all of mankind should be doing. Every relationship in life has to do with unconditional love and trust

Another question that many ask when it comes to dogs in Heaven is,  do pets have a soul? Do you need a soul to get into “heaven”? I had to do some research on this instead of just going on “what I think”.   

One of many things you can think about when it comes to pets in Heaven is that they are part of God’s creation and God said “they were good. Since He said they were good, I can’t say that animals won’t be there. We do know that God is just and that when we get to heaven we will find ourselves in complete agreement with His decision on this issue, whatever it may be.

Genesis 1:25 – God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Isaiah 11:6 – The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.

I may be interpreting Genesis wrong, but those who boarded the Ark of Salvation wasn’t just Noah and his family, it was all living creatures that were welcomed, even snakes and spiders, yuck.   In Genesis it doesn’t say only those who are super smart, or speak correctly will be there, it says All living creatures were welcome aboard, including Noah and his family’s pets.

There are some that feel that pets lake the ability to reason in the same way we do, but they don’t lack the ability to love humans in the same way. I have listed some of the ways dogs and other animals have made our lives easier.

Service/Therapy and Assist people on the job 

justice1Dogs have the ability to detect a wide variety of allergies all work to improve the lives of their human companions and allow them to live more independently. I know a number of people who have service dogs for their children or an adult that is under their care. I have witnessed how huge the difference is when it comes to alerting someone who a seizure is about to happen.  Dogs aid those who have psychiatric disorders, mobility problems, autism, PTSD or hearing/blindness disabilities.

Search and Rescue

  • Their ability to smell  human scent allow them to track the air as well as the ground and locate people, both living and dead.

Guarding/Watchdog/Police and Detections

  • Dogs can be used to guard just about anything and anyone. One of the most popular breeds that are used by the military and law enforcement agencies are the German Shepherds and Belgian Malinois. Dogs are used to keep soldiers and their surroundings safe.
  • Dogs use their keen senses of smell to detect everything – from bombs to bedbugs to contraband in prisons (such as cell phones!).
  • Police dogs can play many rolls including enforcing public order, detection, search and rescue and cadaver detection.

If dogs are able to provide these types of services and be such a benefit to man kind, why would there not be a place for them in Heaven. These very special creations are wonderful gifts from a loving God to bring joy, laughter and warmth into our lives. When I think about the saying, “heaven-sent”, I truly believe they are.

Alzheimers-Pet-TherapyI have spent a lot of time in the hospital and when someone brings in a therapy dog or other animal, the people’s faces light up. They begin smiling and sharing stories about what kind of dog, cat or other animal. Many hospitals and care centers will bring therapy dogs. For those who are on hospice and are on a memory unit that treats patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s, the dogs roam from room to room freely.

Anytime I was in the hospital and my husband or daughters brought in my Brandie Muffins, it made my day 1000 times better. Not only my day, but others that were on the same unit that I was in just loved her. She would walk up to people and rest her chin on their lap. She has never been trained. I know that God was the only One who trained her and brought her into my life.

For many people, myself included, when I lose a pet, I feel a great deal of grief. Some people have said, it’s just a dog, get over it. I can tell you that when people have said that to me, it didn’t go over well. In my opinion a dog is not just a dog. They are family. There are many who have never been able to have children. They feel the loss just as much as if they lost other family members. I have experienced a loss of family, friends and pets, and it seems to me that a loss is a loss, grief is grief, and love is love.

I can’t even begin to wonder what heaven would be like if no pets were allowed there. I stated earlier that I’m sure dogs wouldn’t be on leases and they wouldn’t be property. If there is going to be lions laying down with lambs, then why wouldn’t there be dogs.

noahI mentioned before Noah’s Ark.  If God instructed Noah to enter the ark with his sons, wife, and your sons’ wives along with every living creature into the ark so they may remain alive with them.

They are to be male and female. From birds according to their species, from domestic animals according to their species, and from everything that crawls on the ground according to their species —two of everything will come to you so they may remain alive. For your part, take some of the edible food and store it away—these stores will be food for you and the animals. Noah did all of this, precisely as God had commanded.

Genesis 6:19-22 it says,

 You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you. Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.  You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” Noah did everything just as God commanded him.”

I may be wrong on this, but if animals weren’t created to be fully enjoyed by Adam and Eve and humans, then why would God have created them in the first place. He would never have created them if there wasn’t a greater purpose for them.

The question about if dogs will be in Heaven has been a long time question and the Bible doesn’t specifically say they are there. Bible theologians and scholars also agree that there isn’t anything that says they are there or not there.

I don’t think there is going to be a direct answer to this question. It will have to be something that we just have to wait and see. I hope and pray they are there.  While we are living here on earth, we won’t know that answer nor answers to most everything else. People have asked me what is the one question I would like to ask God when I get there. As I think about that question, I would have to say that it wouldn’t be important since I will be there. I will be so overwhelmed by just standing before Christ, that no question I have here on earth will be important.

Because He is our Heavenly Father who has nothing but our best interests at heart and wants nothing more than to show us how much He really does love and care for all of us. If there is one other verse that I would hang my hat on for the argument that our pets could possibly be resurrected for us, it would be this verse:

“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withheld from those who walk uprightly.” (Psalm 84:11)

In closing I want to say that animals such as dogs and cats are very special. The way they were created, how different they all look, how they all have different personalities, and how they all add that extra element of love and surprise into our lives. And again, God already knew all of this before He even created us.

I believe God created millions of animals and creatures before He even created us. He knew how much we would really love, enjoy, and appreciate some of them.

Time Well Spent Away From Facebook

1334798069075_1885439A couple of weeks ago, Lent started and I decided to give up Facebook for Lent. I still do things on there that has to do with church things or if someone needs me. But, I don’t surf the pages and spend countless hours on reading stupid things or viral videos.

Since I have been working at doing things that are focused on Christ more during the 40 days of Lent. Tonight I have been watching a couple of shows on Pureflix.  As I select the movies, I am finding that there is a theme to what I’m watching. Not an intentional theme, but a God directed theme. That theme is Forgiveness.

Normally I have CNN or MSNBC News on. I like to keep up with what is going on in the world, but it has also taken up to much time like Facebook and I am frustrated. So, while I was asking God about what it was that I needed to watch or listen to, whether, it is Christian Music, audio tapes that my friend Sue lent me or Christian shows.

I was meaning to post the blog about if dogs will go to Heaven and I have a feeling that this is what I should be posting instead and just postpone that one for a couple of days.

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Tonight I turned on Pureflix, which if you want to try it out, just click on Pureflix and you can get a free trial. I wasn’t sure on what I wanted to watch. I figured I would let God lead me to what I needed to watch and what message I needed the most. I do that with the Bible too. I open it up and where it lands, I read that. Sometimes that isn’t a good thing. One night while I was preparing to read a chapter, I was not appreciating the verses it was opening up to were these particular ones. It was a number of years ago, but I remember them since God was obviously trying to tell me something. Which is why I’m including these verses in this post.

  • Proverbs 12:22  Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who act faithfully are his delight.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9-10  Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Proverbs 13:5 The righteous hates falsehood, but the wicked brings shame and disgrace.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17  Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

I was really relieved when I finally came to 2 Corinthians 5:17 lol.

7777_Faith's Song_lgAs God directed me to what I was going to watch, listen to or study, I came across a show called “Faiths Song”. It is about a young girl who is a Christian. She lost her mom and dad in a car accident and had to move into the city to live with her aunt and her husband. The husband was angry and bitter. He hated God and blamed God for the loss of his infant baby.

But, at the end I was emotionally spent. I always thought I forgave myself and have accepted forgiveness from God, but I realized I am still dealing with guilt that I know I don’t need to carry. I know what the Bible says and I know that God forgives.

To many, it would seem like small things that I carry, but Satan uses those small things and builds them into bigger things. What I just typed is going to be in the blog. But, I was and still just dealing with that. I have talked to other Christian friends and even past pastors about the whole forgiving myself since God has. They have said I’m just being silly and that of course God forgives me.

During this 40 days of lent, I have intentionally made it a point to listen to what God is saying and where He is directing me. Before my family moved to Utah, we lived in Phoenix. I never thought twice about swearing or dropping F-bombs. When I was younger I played with the Ouija Board. My grandma told me to never even touch one. I should have listened and not played with it when I knew better. There are so many stupid things in my life that I have done and have had a hard time forgiving myself.

When the husband in “Faith’s Song” finally went to a church he felt as if he didn’t deserve forgiveness and that it was too late. As he was talking and they were praying, I was blubbering all over the place. I get that. My sins may not seem like a big deal or they aren’t anything big. But a lie is a lie and a sin is a sin. If those lies and sins prevent us from getting closer to God, then something needs to be done.

265321f95e1f7336d0b019b0d2ea3096I can’t help but wonder how many people who goes to church each week have the feeling that they can’t be forgiven. Anything can be said and people can seem strong on the outside, but when Satan reminds us every day that we are horrible and that God doesn’t love us, then something needs to change. The only answer I can think of to defeat these moments of guilt that Satan is embedding in our hearts, minds and soul is to get on our knees and pray. Allow God to forgive us all and accept that forgiveness. I have to say, it is easier said than done.

Today, I did turn on the news for an hour or two and on the news, they were talking about Hope Hicks. She works with Trump in the White House. Anderson Cooper made a comment about the white lies that she admitted to when it comes to covering up things for Trump. When Anderson Cooper said “it doesn’t matter what color the lie is, a lie is a lie.” Shoot, now I have Anderson Cooper stating an obvious fact.  I wasn’t prepared for that message from of all of the places CNN lol. But, there it was.
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So, now that, that show is over. I once again asked God what I needed the most since I had Pureflix still on. Of all of the shows that kept popping up is “Heaven” with Billy Graham. Egads, this is going to be a long night lol. I wasn’t going to do a blog post tonight since I was doing part 2 of the dogs in heaven thing. Maybe there will be a message in this show “Heaven”. By the way, we should show both of these shows at church.

So, I turn on Pureflix. All of the shows on Pureflix are Christian and family oriented.

Heaven is only a half hour, but it will be one of the best spent 30 minutes. Shoot, you can spend more time clicking on viral videos and get nothing out of it.   This short documentary is described as inspiring real life stories intertwined with never-before-seen footage of Billy Graham talking about heaven. You can watch this show on Pureflix. Pureflix has it where you can get a free month and you can check out the site. It is the best $10.00 I have spent.

If you don’t have or want to sign up for pureflix, there is a website with the documentary on.

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We never know what we truly believe until it’s a matter of life and death. Billy Graham, along with a firefighter and a young woman forced to face the reality of death, share the Gospel message, and what really happens when we die.  You can watch it for free on their Website

church21If there is anyone who reads this blog and needs to talk to someone, I can direct you to my pastor or I can with you and for you if you like. I know many wonderful prayer partners.  You can check out my churches website St. George Community Church. My pastor is Pastor Ray Schroeder and there is contact information on the page.

At the end of Heaven, they have it where you can pray the sinners prayer. Many times people will recite it and not really know what it means.

The two shows that I watched tonight was about accepting forgiveness for our sins and fully believing and knowing that God forgives us of our sins. I felt I needed to touch a bit on the Sinners Prayer and what the sinners prayer is.

Saying the sinners prayer isn’t just words. When the sinner which I am a sinner, this prayer is to God and when it is prayed, it means that they are admitting that we are a sinner.  If I were to just say it just to say it, and not admit that I need God and that I can’t do it alone. I need God to forgive me for my sins. We all need to be forgiven and we are all in need of a Savior. We can’t do it ourselves. I can’t do it myself.

One of my favorite websites to go to when I need answers about the Bible is gotquestions.org. I could easily copy and paste what the sinners prayer is. I will just direct you to their website and if you have any other questions, maybe you will find the answers you need.

What is the Sinners Prayer? 

The first aspect of a sinner’s prayer is understanding that we are all sinners. Romans 3:10 proclaims, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one.” The Bible makes it clear that we have all sinned. We are all sinners in need of mercy and forgiveness from God (Titus 3:5-7). Because of our sin, we deserve eternal punishment (Matthew 25:46). The sinner’s prayer is a plea for grace instead of judgment. It is a request for mercy instead of wrath. Read More…. 

Be Active Witnesses to Jesus Christ-

This article is written by our guest writer Pastor Ray Schroeder of St. George Community Church.

A NOTE FROM PASTOR Ray Schroeder:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ

4047-sharing hte gospel_edited.630w.tnRecently this country experienced another tragic shooting in Florida at a high school. There are calls to do something more than ‘just pray.’ People want tangible results that bring about change and which limit the shootings we seem to experience more and more. Yet, we need to remember the world in which we live is a fallen world filled with sin. Even at the birth of the Savior in Bethlehem sin raised it’s ugly head as Herod killed the infants under two years of age. Sin is the cause of evil and Satan will deceive anyone he can and enlist him or her in his evil plans. On the cross we see sin and Satan trying to do their worst to the Son of God only to be defeated by the resurrection on Easter morning. What can we do to be an active partner in this fight against sin and evil?

As we approach Good Friday and Passover on the final weekend of this month our minds should turn to contemplating and meditating on the death of our Lord and Savior on a cross. In this is love, that God sent his only son to be an atoning sacrifice for us, and to give His life that we may live. By his death He paid the price of sin and he calls all sinners to repent and believe in him for everlasting life that begins as soon as one turns to Christ.

The thing the church is called to do is to lift up Jesus Christ and call all people to repent and believe in Him. And, yes, we are to pray. But that’s not all. We are to be active witnesses to Jesus Christ. One of the most frightening phrases a police officer can hear coming over his radio is ‘active shooter.’ We, as born again Christians, need to become active witnesses. We can no longer be passive witnesses for Jesus Christ, thinking that people will come into the church and be saved if we just open the doors. No, we must reach out to the community about us, to the stranger, and call them to faith in Jesus Christ.

I know it’s hard. I struggle with witnessing myself. I can always find a reason not to bring up the subject of Jesus with someone. We all have a number of excuses that all seem valid as to why we are not active witnesses. But if the troubled youth (or the troubled person of any age) is not reached with the gospel of Jesus Christ, then satan will use him for his own evil ends. There is no in-between. We can no longer sit inside the four walls of our church building and think the people who need Jesus will come to us. We must go to them. Church isn’t simply about increasing membership or adding on to the building or creating more programs inside. Jesus calls us to seek and save the lost through the work of the Holy Spirit. What will you say to Christ when He asks you what you did in the war against evil?

Let us contemplate the victory Christ has won for us on the cross and let us pray about how we and this church can become active witnesses reaching others in the war against evil and sin. Let us encourage one another and build up one another in the faith to go and seek and find. To the glory of God!

My love be with you all in Christ,

Pastor Ray

Pastor Ray Schroeder is the Pastor at St. George Community Church in St. George, Utah

St. George Community Church’s Website ,    Facebook Page 

Do Dog’s Go To Heaven? Part 1 (Brandie)

This is a bit long, but I hope everyone will read it all the way. There is a section that has links about the warning signs of diabetes in dogs. I think every dog or cat owner should read this post, if for no other reason than that. I would love it if you would read it and allow me to share my dog Brandie Muffins and how much I still love and miss her.

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Anyone who knows me knows how much I love dogs, my dogs in particular. I love almost all other pets and creatures, well, not spiders and for sure not snakes.

Genesis 1:26-28; God has a special reason and place for each of His created beings. Animals, too, have a purpose in God’s creation. Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom

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Ranger Antrim

Tonight as I was working on my churches power-point, I got to thinking about how blessed I am to have my four-legged family members in my life.  As I was doing one particular slide for Ranger Antrim, I kept thinking about if my furbabies who have gone over the Rainbow Bridge will be there waiting for me. Barbara Antrim is a very dear friend of mine at church. Her four-legged son Ranger has had a hard road to toll. He has seizures and other medical problems and has recently gone missing. I 100% believe that God protects and watches over Ranger and all of our four legged family members.

When I lost Brandie, I was devastated. I answered an ad that was place in our local newspaper around 1999 or so. We were looking for a fawn boxer and this ad stated that they had boxer puppies for $125.00. I made arrangements to go to Cedar City which is 50 miles from me. The man said he had 5 brindles and 1 fawn. My daughters and I went there to see the puppies. Almost immediately, I had my eyes set on Brandie. At the same time, I was upset when I seen Brandie.

The reason I was upset is because there are these 5 brindle boxer puppies that are all happy and yapping. When I spot Brandie in the corner of the front of the truck, she was scared to death. She was cowering down and shivering. She looked nothing like the other puppies. I knew that I was bringing her home. When I got home, I also called the animal shelter to report the guy who was selling these puppies. He brought the mom and dad, who looked nothing like Brandie and they were skin and bones. They looked like they have been beaten and starved.

Everything in my heart, mind and gut told me that Brandie was not Boxer. If she had boxer in her, it was very little. Her tail was bobbed and it looked like it was done just a few days before we got her. The man knew a week ahead that I was coming for her. When I took her to the vet to get checked out, he told me that she may have some boxer, but he was leaning towards a staffordshire terrier/boxer. Below is a comparison of what a staffordhire terrior is, a boxer and then Brandie. You will see why I think she is most staffordshire than boxer. But, that doesn’t make me love her any less.

I told him how I got her and the whole thing about how she was acting and how her siblings looked nothing like her. I got her because I felt she needed to be saved and rescued. At the time I thought I was rescuing her, but in fact she rescued me and literally saved my life a few times by giving me signs that something was happening.

Anyhow, the vet told me that there has been times when people will either pass off another puppy and say it was part of the same litter or the mother can actually get pregnant by a different dog. He explained it, I didn’t totally get it though. He also told me that she may always be very timid and afraid. He suggested that we don’t scream or yell at her. Noises and raising your hand to her made her shake and tremor like a leaf.

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Brandie Muffins –  My Sweet Girl

Because of the way I treated Brandie, which was with kid gloves. She is the only dog I had to really intentionally be quiet around, cuddle and tell her everything will be fine. Every-time I think of Brandie, I honestly feel that God put her in my life for a purpose. When I get upset, I’m very vocal. I couldn’t raise my voice around her since she would tremble so bad. I had to change my behavior to help her, which in turn helped me.

Not long after I got Brandie, I had to be taken to the hospital by ambulance. I didn’t know I was that sick though. It was her actions that prompted me to call for help. She had this thing she did. She would come up to my face and she would smell my breath. We started noticing that the only time she does this is when something is going on health wise. On this occasion, I had endocarditis. That is an infection in the heart or the lining. I spent 8 weeks in the hospital and coded a couple of times. If it wasn’t for Brandies behavior, I would have gone to bed and slept off the tiredness.

I can’t even count how many times she did this. Now, emotionally it was difficult for her and for anyone who had to watch her. She was so connected to me that she wouldn’t eat and she would just tremble. I had to call her all the time so she knew I was OK. The hospital sent me to the care center for a month or so and Brandie was able to come and visit then.

The pastor I had at the time would come and visit all the time. One of the times he came to visit, he wanted to pray for me, which is a normal thing and he would bring communion if I wasn’t at church.  During this one visit, Brandie was there with me and as he prayed, she bowed her head and rested her paw on my hand. I didn’t teach her that. That was the first time I have ever seen her do that. As soon as Pastor Ellis Keck said Amen, Brandie lifted her head and jumped on the bed and rested her head on my lap.

maverickI told my husband that I think we needed to get another dog for Brandie. He gave me a puzzled look. The reason I said that is because Brandie is so attached to me that she would starve if I was gone anywhere or in the hospital. She needed a companion for herself. So, we got Maverick who was a white boxer. Of my gosh, he is my next post. Instead of Brandie laying at the front door motionless, she began playing. She never went through a puppy stage. She didn’t play with toys or anything. She was my shadow. I knew this wasn’t good for her. So, Maverick was the answer for Brandie and she was a new dog and much happier.

I miss Brandie so very much and always will. Brandie was only 7 yrs old when she died. We were living in a small area close to where I live now. She went outside to do her thing and I heard a yelp in the back yard. She fell off of the deck and couldn’t make it up the stairs. She went out healthy and when I got her inside, I noticed that her eyes were bugged out and she couldn’t see. She was stumbling. My heart was broken. How could something like this happen in the matter of minutes.

I immediately took Brandie to the vet to have him check her out. Well, the next morning, we have no Vet ER’s where I live. We do now, but back then we didn’t. I took her to the vet and he told me that it looks like she was having an episode from diabetes and her sugar levels must have been really high. I didn’t know dogs can get diabetes. He did a lot of tests and told me that she would have to have one of her eyes removed and she was totally blind in it. The other eye is iffy. He said she can still see a little, but not much more than light. He did urine and blood work on her. Her blood work showed she had some elevated levels in her kidneys, but her urine had blood in it and a weird smell.  How can this all happen so fast?  Click Here or on the picture below to learn more about the signs, symptoms of diabetes in dogs. The website will open up in a new window.

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The vet told me that I can take her to a specialist in Vegas, but he said he didn’t think she would even make it long enough to get to Vegas and the appointment. Since she would be a new patient, there was no openings for a couple of weeks. Dr Esplin sent Brandie and I home to think about what we wanted. Brandie saved my life so many times, how could I not save hers? Dr Esplin set me up with an appointment for Monday. Since I seen him on Friday, there was no openings till then.

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I prayed so hard for Brandie. I prayed for God’s will to be done. I begged him to spare her life. I needed her in my life so much.

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Eric Dodges Dog Anna – Went to Heaven recently

Recently a country singer Eric Dodge lost his dog Anna and his cat Bart within weeks of each other. I was reading his posts about the love he has for Anna and just how heart wrenching it is to lose a family member. For those who say a dog is a dog, you might as well just stop reading this post.  As he shared the love he had for Anna and Bart, I couldn’t help but think of my Brandie. Hopefully he is OK with me posting this picture of his dog Anna.

Back to the vet visit with Dr. Epslin. I did make it to the appointment. I knew before I left the house what the outcome of this visit would be for her. I so feel like I failed her. I failed to protect her. I failed to watch for signs of diabetes. The vet did reassure me that most times there are no signs. Dr. Esplin has seen most of our four-legged family members. He treated her since she was 6 weeks old. He told me in her case, there were no signs. I was emotionally spent.

I knew I had to relieve her suffering. She was in a great deal of pain. She couldn’t even stand alone so she could pee. My husband was on the road. My daughter Jessica and her husband lived in North Carolina. I had my mother in law living with us and my niece Bridgette. I didn’t tell them what the decision was.

As I drove to Dr. Esplins office, I was in tears. Not little tears, these we full on alligator tears. I was a mess and I was alone on this final journey with Brandie. I had to pull off the road a number of times because I couldn’t see the road.  I finally got to the vet with Brandie. I had so much guilt over what happened. Dr Esplin was great about giving me time to talk to Brandie and cuddle her.Brandie Muffin

Dr. Esplin was very kind and she passed over the Rainbow Bridge. In all honesty, I was ready to go with her. My husband called me as I was driving. I was sobbing heavily, my voice was shaking and I felt like I was going to pass-out any time. I’m I was hysterical over Brandie. My husband must have been worried about me because he called my daughter Jessica in North Carolina. She did call me and I’m pretty sure she couldn’t understand what I was saying. I was in the mindset of “Why Brandie and Not Me?”

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My mother in law Marjorie Divan

The ride home was horrible. It was as if my best friend died. As I walked into the front door to my home, I was holding Brandies collar and the leash. I went into my mother in laws room and told her what happened. She began sobbing along with me. Little did I know that my mother in law loved Brandie. My mother in law was not a dog person. I didn’t think she would be emotional since my mother in law tripped over her and broke her hip. But she did. I didn’t know she had made a little bed for Brandie in her bedroom. She was devastated too. I’m sure that my mother in law and Brandie are having a good time now.  Brandie touched everyone’s heart

Then I went and told Bridgette and she had a melt down too. Anyone who had the chance to meet her, loved her and she loved them. Needless to say when Brandie died, we all died a little bit as well. I literally spent days in my bedroom sobbing and not wanting to out to do anything and I didn’t want to talk to anyone.

To this day I miss Brandie. When people say that once dogs die they are dead. There is nothing more for them. In my opinion dogs will be there because God created them.

This is the first of three blogs that I will share with you all about animals, heaven and what the Bible says about animals in Heaven.