Bigger Isn’t Always Better

Just sitting here thinking about how things have changed since I was little.

I’m originally from a small town in Indiana called Knox and Grovertown. They are only separated by a bridge if I remember right. But back then, and it has been a long time, things were simpler.

ImageWhen we wanted to do something fun we would go outside and play. My grandparents had chickens, pigs, ducks, horses and whatever else. They lived off the land pretty much. So if we were hungry my grandparents went outside to kill either a chicken, duck and pick the veggies from the garden. They had a huge one. So we never went hungry.

Things weren’t very sanitary where my grandparents lived. We had no running water, used outhouses and walked around barefooted. They would dump whatever garbage they had in a hole, quite literally. Eventually it became a mound. We didn’t have hand sanitizer or anything to protect us for the millions of germs that had to be lurking around every corner.

What got me thinking on how things has changed is McDonald’s of all things. When we go to a restaurant, we are use to get portions that are enough to feed a number of people. My friend Lisa and I were talking about how an actual serving for an adult would be the size of a kids meal. We were satisfied and happy.

ImageNow, we are living in an up-sized world. Drinks are 44 oz or so. And many drink a number of them a day and there are unlimited refills. We have buffets where you can eat all you want and at times the belt has to be loosened. There are appetizers before meals, because many restaurants don’t want you sitting there idly and being impatient. Plus they make a lot of money off of these appetizers that are in itself a size of a meal or two. After 15 minutes of snacking, drinking and chatting with friends, here comes the main course. Which is most of the time a large serving. No wonder we are becoming larger around the waistband. We are eating enough for 4 people in one serving. Then comes the desserts. Yep, you have to have dessert. It’s UN American to not have a bowl of ice cream, pie Ala mode or cheese cake.  And the apple cobbler with ice cream at Cracker Barrel is to die for. But way big… I won’t go into the whole how much frat and calories there are in this one meal.

In my family we only had a soda once a week and we had to share a can of soda. We never had TV dinners. My dad did once in a great while for lunch, but that was it. If we were thirsty we drank water or we had Koolaid at meal times. Never at after 6 pm and we always had something for breakfast. Even if it was just toast and milk.

ImageAll of these thoughts ran through my brain as I was ordering my grandson a Kids Meal at McDonald’s. In JJ’s Kids Meal he gets 4 chicken nuggets, milk, apples and a toy.  In this picture it shows the fries too, but he doesn’t like them. He doesn’t like fries. And then the rest of us order and then I realize that we are so conditioned to bigger is better that we are all getting bigger and not better.

But this is my Epiphany for the day and it all came about because Lisa and I were talking about McDonald’s and how much a serving really is… Thank you Lisa, now I think I should be ordering Kids Meals, lol… Which may be better and a smarter choice.

Our Christmas and Easter

This is the first year that we did our Christmas and Easter together. Overall it turned out really good and everyone seemed happy with what they received. There was way too much food and not too many left overs. Which is a good thing, lol. We did invite friends to our dinner and it was nice to see they enjoyed their meal. We always invite friends to dinner on Christmas Day, so why not now?

My daughters and their families came over after church and we all opened gifts. It was just like Christmas, but at Easter. Many of the gifts were Christ centered. Since we don’t do the whole Easter Bunny and Egg thing, they did receive little book bags filled with fun things that were all Christian oriented. I guess our family does things a bit different from most. Christmas and Easter are the most important days of all the holidays. We don’t really worry about the other ones. For me they are just too commercialized and the candy and flower shops are the ones benefiting.

We don’t really do Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Valentines and all the others. If my husband is home we may go out. Since he is a truck driver, we just do whatever. So when I told my husband and kids, they weren’t really shocked that we will do Christmas at Easter. I don’t think that Christ would have minded. And it was nice to focus on Him instead of all the other stuff. Even though by looking at all the gifts, you would have thought we bought out the toy store, lol. Because we had our Christmas at Easter, we were able to get great deals and closeout deals on Christmas items. So I saved a bundle doing it this way and it was less stress for everyone and our pocketbooks.



Why Do We Go to Church?

whychurchOh man! This may be one of those topics that may cause me to get on my soap box.

When I go to church, my thought isn’t on much other than going to church and listening to the Word of God. We sing songs to the Lord and we praise God. Nothing else should be more important than Worshiping God!

But that isn’t always the case for so many. It drives me bonkers that people complain about the stupidest things and forget why we are at church to begin with. Now, granted my mind can get distracted and I have my moments. But why is it that some people can’t just go to church and worship God? If they are paying attention to all the other distractions and minor things that have nothing to do with praising God, then they are not at church for the right reason. I think they should re-evaluate why they are going to church!

1399029_654614197915457_1636608812_oI have had many times when I would complain about the music, the organ which I can’t stand and other things. Then one day I guess it was God saying that I wasn’t there to worry about the stupid things that get in the way of learning more about Him. I was there for Him. And since I’m not big into the old-time hymns and love contemporary praise and worship music, I guess that kinda set wrong with me at first. Besides if I want to listen to my style of music I have the rest of the week and for an hour or so on Sundays, I can pay attention to why I really am at church.

I guess what I think is that we are very blessed to be able to worship God in a way that others can’t. Some of the missionaries our church sponsors have to hide because they will be killed. Some are living in areas that have never seen missionaries and have very little. The church they go to have no air, no doors and only a roof made of tree’s. And what get’s me is that they don’t complain about what they don’t have or if things aren’t just right. They are happy to worship God no matter where they are at. I wonder how many would stop going to church here in the states if they had to go to church like the Fowlers with Christian Missionary Fellowship do in Ethiopia!

Why we should go to church.

  • To grow in the knowledge of the Bible, God’s Word…
  • To hear the voice of God…
  • To be loved and encouraged…
  • To have fellowship with Jesus Christ…
  • To love and encourage our fellow Christians…
  • To pray for one another…
  • To promote the Gospel…
  • We sing praises to God for His goodness…
  • When we go to church faithfully, we are witnessing to others.
  • We are one in the Spirit…
  • We become closer to God…

Call me wrong or off base, but it seems to me that there are a lot of reasons to be going to church that are much more important that the trivial things that we focus on. I don’t care about what color the walls are or if there is a light coming through a window. If there is a light, maybe it is the light of God. So I say, go ahead and shine Your light.

There are more reasons for going to church and why it is so important. The main reason to go to church is that God knew how important it would be for us. That is why He commanded us to go.

The Birth and Resurrection of Christ

IMG_7862This Sunday is Easter Sunday. Christ rose from the dead and He IS ALIVE.

At our house we are doing things a bit differently. Not only are we celebrating the Resurrection, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. We are Celebrating Christmas and Easter this coming Sunday. Gifts are handed out, tree is decorated and we will remember why Christ came to save us and we will celebrate that He is ALIVE. I know it sounds kinda weird, but that’s OK. I will be posting pictures of all the happenings after Sundays Celebration.

Since Christ wasn’t really born on December 25th, I don’t think He will have a problem with us celebrating on Easter Sunday. You will find people and historians that believe Jesus was born either in the spring or the fall. I don’t know when He was born, but I know without a doubt that He was born. But here is my thoughts on this and one reason we are doing Christmas and Easter together. I do want to cover a little bit about why Christmas and Easter is the most important of all observances to many Christians. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think many feel this way.

When we read Luke 2:7-8 we read, 7 “And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”

Ok, so here are my thoughts. Shepherds would not be in the fields in December. According to Luke it would suggest that Jesus could have been born in the early summer or fall. It is very cold in Judea during the month of December.  There is a really good article on that goes into a lot of details about the birth of Christ and when it could or would have been. Here is the link for that

risenchristFor many Christians, myself included the most important holiday on the Christian calendar is Easter, which commemorates the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I think it is very important to remember that Christ died for my sins and all of mankind’s sins. Jesus was the atoning sacrifice.

We will all die physically unless Christ comes again while we are alive. Our death is not sufficient to atone for  our sins because atonement requires a perfect, spotless sacrifice.  Jesus, is the only perfect man who is blameless and without sin. He came to offer the pure, complete and everlasting sacrifice to remove, atone, and make eternal payment for our sin. Jesus was the sacrificial lamb.

The suffering and the glory of the coming Messiah was foretold in Isaiah chapters 52 and 53.  When we accept Jesus’ payment for our sin, His perfect and blameless sacrifice washes away our sin and restores our right standing with God. God’s mercy and grace provided a way for our salvation. There is nothing we can do on our own that will save us.

Only through Jesus Christ can our sins be forgiven, thus restoring our relationship with God and removing the separation caused by sin.

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

I just want to close this post with this thought.  it says in Romans 5:10, “For since we were restored to friendship with God by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be delivered from eternal punishment by his life. (NLT).”

When we accept and believe in Jesus Christ our sins are paid for, and we no longer have to die an eternal death. We receive eternal life though Jesus Christ.  And this is why Jesus had to die. And this is why we need to remember why He died for us.

Jesus Rode in on Donkey

Today at church my mind was wondering in a few different directions. First it is Palm Sunday.

ImagePalm Sunday commemorates the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.
Palm Sunday is one of the most important days in my opinion when it comes to remembering what Christ did for us on the cross. Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, and marks the beginning of Holy Week, the week of events leading up to Jesus’ death

First off, one our young ladies Samantha Tommer sang a beautiful song by Nicole Norderman. This is one of my favorite Easter songs and comes in right after Ray Boltz’s “The Hammer”. I will include a link to both of these songs in case anyone wants to hear them. Today I also thought about another

After this is about the time my mind got wondering. The reason I say that is because the air conditioning wasn’t working right and it was more than warm in my opinion. Some of the older ladies may differ with me. Pastor Ray goes to turn the air down, since I he was hot too. I wasn’t focusing too much on that actually. What I was focusing on was that they turned the lights down and opened the doors to let a cool breeze come in. You may be wondering why this got my brain to wondering, which isn’t hard to do.

Right after they opened the doors and the breeze was going through I kept thinking about Jesus’s triumphant entry into our church. I was curious if maybe Jesus didn’t want to have us focus on the heat as much as He wanted us to come to church and the Holy Spirit was the gentle breeze that seemed to cool things down. I may have to relisten to his message because my thoughts were on what if Jesus were to walk through our doors or coming through them on a donkey? What if Jesus came today and that cool breeze was the beginning of His appearance at church. Or maybe the Holy Spirit wanted to remind us of the peace and His victory because of His death and His resurrection.

When Jesus rode in on a donkey and having his way paved with palm branches is a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Zechariah (Zechariah 9:9). Way back when in Biblical times, the custom called for kings and nobles arriving in procession to ride on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; those who rode upon them proclaimed peaceful intentions. The laying of palm branches indicated that the king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph.

As church proceeded and I resigned myself to the thought that Jesus wasn’t going to come riding into the church on the back of a donkey, I realized that Christ was already there. And for me at least, the cool breeze and the doors open was a way of saying to “come on in, all is welcome and Christ is present.” Now, my guess is that many may just being thinking it was just a breeze that was cooler than they wanted it to be and they couldn’t read the words in the Bible. Maybe, just maybe God didn’t want the air conditioner to work and He wanted to be our cool breeze in a heated desert.

Links to video’s and Easter Songs…

Lean Not on Our Own Understanding!

1947785_438162936287494_464308161565628042_nJust yesterday I had this person on my friends list comment on a picture I posted about God’s NOT Dead. I’m not sure exactly if he is a person of faith, agnostic or an atheist. But the question he presented me with was “I change my mind when presented with new evidence. How about YOU?” He posted an article about this and I have to say that it was way over my head which of course I didn’t understand or grasp what so ever. But I can totally grasp my faith in God.

Now, I’m the kind of person that can change my mind on a lot of things depending on what it is about. There are countless things that we don’t know or understand. Everyday is a new lesson presented to us.

There is always going to be a way to look at things from a different view. I’m the kind of person that likes to learn and sometimes my curiosity has gotten me into a whole boat load of trouble. But I still learned from those experiences. I am also the kind of person who wants to be right all the time. I don’t know anyone who would want to be wrong all the time.

When presented with information and someone can back up what and why they feel a certain way, then I have been known to change my mind. Although there is one thing that will never change. And that is my faith in God. Through my own life experiences I know without a doubt that God exists. Now if I didn’t have my personal experiences and a heart that is set on God, then yeah, I would be able to have my mind changed.

I do think it is interesting to learn about other faiths and about life in general. Like I said earlier, we are learning everyday. How can I better understand those around me if I’m not willing to learn more? I can’t! But at the same time, I feel that I need to make sure that my faith is strong enough for those times I encounter those who beleive in a God or no God at all. How can I know what and why I believe if I’m not grounded in my faith?

religion-vs-faithFaith is different than religion. I’m pretty sure we are all religious about something. One of the things I’m religious about is turning my computer on to watch Once Upon a Time on Sunday evenings. Many are religious about going to church each Sunday. But going to church isn’t going to save the person.

When looking online for the meaning of faith and religion I came across this and it was a simple way to put it. Faith is all the elements that we touch God with, in our minds or through circumstances. It is mainly GOD communicating to us. Religion is all the things mankind attaches to that communication; buildings, leaders, statues, and rules of worship. For those who want the technical term and meanings, I included those below.

Meaning of Religion:

The outward act or form by which men indicate their recognition of the existence of a god or of gods having power over their destiny, to whom obedience, service, and honor are due; the feeling or expression of human love, fear, or awe of some superhuman and overruling power, whether by profession of belief, by observance of rites and ceremonies, or by the conduct of life; a system of faith and worship; a manifestation of piety; as, ethical religions; monotheistic religions; natural religion; revealed religion; the religion of the Jews; the religion of idol worshipers.”

Meaning of Faith:

Belief; the assent of the mind to the truth of what is declared by another, resting solely and implicitly on his authority and veracity; reliance on testimony. 2. The assent of the mind to the statement or proposition of another, on the ground of the manifest truth of what he utters; firm and earnest belief, on probable evidence of any kind, especially in regard to important moral truth. Faith, that is, fidelity, — the fealty of the finite will and understanding to the reason.

There are many religions out there and I do believe that you need to have faith of some sort when it comes to joining and participating in church activities, missions and so on.

There is a huge difference between the person who believes in their heart and participates in an activity, and the person who does not believe and just goes along as if it is a social hour or they want to fit in. If you take away all the man made baggage of religion you are left with faith

trust[Pr 3:5-6]: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct[a] your paths.;

We aren’t to lean on our own understanding. When I read this I am taking God at His Word. And if we aren’t, then we are leaning on our own understanding. Which I have had way too many experiences where the way I see things can be distorted in many ways. But because of my faith, I know without a doubt that I can trust and believe that God will be there, even when I don’t get it. Which is quite often.

Notice: lean not on your own understanding. But without an understanding through a study and acceptance of what God has said in His Word, we are only left with our own understanding.

There is one last thing I want to add. I seen this posted on Mandisa’s Facebook page and thought it was profound on how her post flowed so well with my topic. If you don’t know Mandisa or her music, she use to be on Idol and has won awards and I love her music so much and the words always seem to be something I need to hear.

When we walk by faith—not by sight—we are #Overcomers. When we believe what our Heavenly Father says about us, what Jesus says we can do, and what the Holy Spirit Himself will do through us, we are #Overcomers. We don’t have to rely on our strength alone. Our mighty Deliverer fights our battles. Our job is to stay close to Him and let Him do what only He can! Overcomer Music Video

Defending God

godsnotdead1If you haven’t gotten a chance to go see ‘God’s Not Dead”, you should. The show is about a college student who is told if not demanded to proclaim that God is Dead, and he refuses to do that. His professor is an atheist and wants the students to get it out of thier head that there is a God. Since Josh refused, he had to prove in class that there is a God. He then decides to put God on trial and he is his defense attorney of sorts and the professor is the prosecutor. I won’t go into a lot about the movie since not all have seen it. But there is one thing that I had to ask myself. And that is, would I have the strength and ability to stand up the way Josh did to his professor? Or would I take the easy road and just opt out of the class? Since there was no way I would ever write that God is Dead.

On the way home from the movie, we were talking about this point of the movie. And it is hard to know what I would do in that same situation. I would hope I would be like Josh and stand before the class and try to defend God. Realistically I also know that debate isn’t my strong point. But I do know that we are told in Matthew 10:16-33 “When you are arrested, don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.”

I honesty can say if I had to do what Josh had to do, I would be scared to death because I’m not a public speaker. I remember at my church when we first came to St. George Community Church, they asked me to be a lay leader. I had no clue what that was. I knew that if God put it on their hearts to ask, then I should say yes. About a month later, they called me and told me that it was my month to be the lay leader. Now I ask questions, lol. I should have before. My duties meant I had to go up front, read the Bible verse for the sermon, make announcements and so on. Panic took over. I did do it, but I was in a panic the entire time. Most of the times the lay leadegodsnotdead2r took about 10 minutes. I was done in three and I was back in my seat. Now, some may have been happy since we got out of church early, lol. But I was petrified to do that. I’m fine if I’m on the same level, but not all eyes on me.

I would say that if I had to do what Josh did, I would be a coward and opt out of the class. Even though I think we all can be a witness for Christ by our words by confessing Christ before others. God wants us to speak for Him and share the gospel with others. I have absolutely no problem witnessing to others about what Christ has done in my life and what He can do in their lives. I do believe that we when we share our experience and can be a powerful witness that nobody can refute.

Most of us won’t have to stand before an professor and class to defend God. And most of us wouldn’t be arrested for our faith like Pastor Saeed and Aisa Bibi and the thousands of others in the world. But we might have to stand before others and speak up for Christ. We may have to try to explain to others why we won’t lie to cover up something that was morally wrong. I have had to stand my ground on a number of things at my work because I don’t celebrate Halloween. I ran a kids program and most of the activities in October were based around witches and other things. I chose to do harvest things instead. I had to tell my boss that I had problems with doing Halloween activities for the kids. Thankfully he understood my stand, but I had to let him know before taking that position where I was at. I also refused to dress up at work and such. So I never worked that night. It was a personal thing for me and I know many Christians that celebrate the night though harvest festivals and such.

As Christians there will come times that we need to speak up and be confident that God is with us, guiding and helping us proclaim the truth without fear. God will give us the words to say when we stand before others.

godsnotdead1sinThere was one other part I want to briefly share and that is the part where the mother to the man that is a lawyer came to visit her. She had dementia and he asked her why is it that she is the sweetest and nicest person and she is suffering the way she is. And then went on to say how horrible and uncaring of a person he is. He doesn’t understand how the God she loves could be that way. When she said ‘Sin is like a jail cell except it’s nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem to be any need to leave. The door is wide open until one day it slams shuts.” I found that very profound and true. Why would we need God if we have everything else given to us and life was easy?

Question to ask yourself: If God would give you the correct words to say when you needed them, what difference would this make in the way you live your life?