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
Recently 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 Schroeder is the Pastor at St. George Community Church in St. George, Utah
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.
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
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.
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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
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.
I want to give you the heads up on this post. It is a vent and some may think my words are harsh.
I don’t know about you, but this last week when yet another shooting happened in Florida killing 17 innocent lives. It’s becoming the norm to turn on the TV and hear about a mass shooting happening somewhere. There are all kinds of people from different walks of life that are great at saying something needs to be done. And yet, as one student said in Parkland, Florida at the high school where her friend died from being killed said that in a week, people will resume their lives and people forget.
The other day I was listening to the KLOVE radio station in my car. This woman calls in and she is a teacher. She was commenting on how people were saying that they are tired of people saying that they are in their prayers and thoughts. They wanted action. They wanted something done. They want their loved ones back that was shot and killed before they could even live their lives. This caller was right that we need to get on our knees and pray for our country, our world and those families who have lost loved ones.
I totally agree with her. Maybe not in a week, but people will resume their lives as if nothing has happened all the while waiting for the next mass shooting to be televised on all of the news channels. Newsweek Article on what some of the students shared and they had and have every right to feel this way.
People say all the time that it isn’t going to happen where we live. None of these kids or parents thought that when they went to school that their kids wouldn’t be coming home alive. A couple of weeks ago, 2 young lives were lost because of someone just wanted to kill. Then in November at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs people were going to church to worship the Lord and 26 people lost their lives. The day after the massacre in Florida one of the schools in my area had someone use spray paint on the outside of a school with the words “ISIS is Coming” and they took down the American flag and replaced it with the ISIS Flag. Click here to read about it on St. George News. There have been copy cats around the country. Something needs to be done. It can happen anywhere at anytime.
When the gentleman on CNN shared his feelings as he broke down in tears, I felt as if the world is going crazy. This is what he said on air and I just broke down myself because I feel the same way… Here is the link to an article that shows this interview and he is so right..
Philip Mudd – “I have 10 nieces and nephews,”Mudd said before his voice broke. “A child of God is dead. Can not we acknowledge in this country that we can’t, we cannot accept this?” “I can’t do it, Wolf,” he said. “I’m sorry, we can’t do it.”
Then there was a mom who was speaking from her heart and her words that were filled with anger and tears are words that should speak to everyone. This is what she said and I totally agree with her. Click here to watch the video and read more about what she said.
A mother (Laurie) furiously asks President Trump to “please do something” about guns. She had just made funeral arrangements for her 14-year-old daughter, who was killed in the Florida shooting.
I have seen so many comments and posts from people from all over the world who seem to think they have the answers. Some thinks it is about gun control, others about mental illness and a wide range of ideas. Then you have the ones who say it isn’t the guns that kill, it is the evil person. I do agree with that, but there has to be more. I don’t think there are any easy answers to this. I hope and pray that those who have been directly impacted and victimized can somehow bring about change. Change is needed. In what ways, I have no idea.
One post I did see on Facebook today while I was doing church stuff was an image that had pictures of parents in Parkland. Florida and on the image it said that there were 18 shootings in 2018 alone. Someone made the comment that it wasn’t that many it was only whatever number she said. Really! One shooting and murder is enough and to use the word ONLY upsets me. Tell that to the parents who had their children murdered and it was ONLY this many shootings. Click Here to learn more about these victims and tell the parents, that ONLY this many shootings or murders happened. If they were your kids, what would you want to hear.
I don’t understand why someone would need an AR-15 to protect themselves. In my opinion those types of guns should only be used by those who are protecting our country and our community. I don’t know why it is so easy for people to get their hands on these weapons and how people and teenagers can buy them before they can legally buy a lottery ticket, cigarettes or a beer.
I am beyond upset over how our government feels they need to politicize this and how our children’s lives are worth bringing about change. It isn’t about if a person is a Democrat or a Republican. It is about lives. How many times do we have to hear about gunmen entering schools, churches, movie theaters and concerts? This shouldn’t be about who a person votes for because this should be about lives.
Something needs to be done and it seems as if people and the government has their phones and hearts on mute. Standing there behind a mic isn’t going to change anything! Standing there giving a thumbs up and smiling for the cameras isn’t going to change anything! Blaming the Democrats or the Republicans aren’t going to change anything!
Today on CNN, they had a Town Hall Meeting with students from Stoneman Douglas High School are demanding changes. People can say all day long that CNN is fake news and such. I don’t really care what people say about CNN. When they did this town hall with the students who survived the shootings, I think we should be listening to them. They lived through this and families have to figure out how to live without their loved ones.
I’m hoping something will happen. I don’t know what can or will happen, but when parents send their kids to school, they should be safe from gunmen. It isn’t just in high schools. Think about Sandy Hook! Think about the young child who was randomly shot playing on a playground. What did these kids do?
While I have no guns for my own personal reasons, I feel that people have a right to protect themselves and their families. They have a right to hunt for food. But, why do people have to have assault rifles? Teenagers and average people don’t need AR-15’s or bump stocks.
I’m glad I took 40 days off for Lent from Facebook because it has gotten ugly. There are people on both sides politically that are literally spewing hatred through status updates, images of hate for either party. I am beyond tired of the whole “snowflake” terminology. I’m beyond tired of hearing people who say they love others and are good Christians and yet they spew hatred for anyone who doesn’t agree with them. In their minds, it is either the way I see it or you are wrong and you should rot in hell. Yes, these are comments from those who profess to be “GOOD CHRISTIANS”!
It’s not all Christians who are saying these things, but I know so many personally who are and they mean it. By stepping back from Facebook and comments from those who say they love the Lord and yet they wish anyone who didn’t vote for Trump to go straight to Hell, then I really wonder where their faith really is. I have deleted and blocked a number of friends that I have known years because of the hatred they have for anyone who isn’t a Republican. I did not vote for Trump. I have never regretted it and he will never get my vote. When I had a seeming close friend of mine from my church tell me that I’m obviously not a Christian or I would have voted for this fine upstanding man of God. I just about wanted to puke.
Everyone has a right to vote for the person they choose. But, when our world has gone nuts and people are spewing hatred from behind a computer monitor, then they don’t need to be in my life. I wrote in my vote for Kasich since his values were closest to mine. Yeah, I know I threw my vote away, but here in Utah, it doesn’t count anyhow. People can tell me all day long that it matters, but it doesn’t. If it did, 3 minutes later our state wouldn’t have gone to Trump. Votes don’t count.
I’m sorry that this is turning into a rant. I am upset and angry that these things are going on in our world. I 100 percent agree that God is the only answer for our country. He is the only answer for our world. I hope these students in Florida are able to make something happen. I hope they step up and bring hope to thier school, communities and world. These students are tired and they want things done and not just lip service. There seems to be a whole lot of that going on in our world.
Morals in our country which I always felt that was for the most part what the Republicans represented. I don’t think so. I have seen to many ugly comments and actions from both sides. There was a program I was watching years ago about church and state being seperate. I know there isn’t a law about people at church speaking about politics. But, I do think there is something about pastors and church leaders backing one person or another. I told my husband that if there came a time when our church turned into a Sunday political platform, I would no longer be going to whatever church it is.
Like I said, everyone has a right to feel the way they do. But, when it comes to downright hatred for anyone who doesn’t vote for whatever politician, then I have no need to go there. I think that Satan has been rearing his ugly head more and more. He must be having a party over all of these things going on in our world.
But, this blog is giving me a headache because I am getting overly upset and angry over these school shootings. Something has to be done. Obviously our politicians have their head in the sand. Like I said earlier, God is the only answer and I hope and pray that students and victoms of violence can get their voices heard. I’m sure people will be butthurt over what I have said and I don’t really care.
The shooting rampage in Parkland, Florida is different. They are mad and they want action and they want it now. I can see these students being proactive. I hope they can make a change.
I never really thought much about Lent and why it is important to give things up for Lent? I always thought it was more of a Catholic kind of thing. But, I do think there are some important things to remember when giving up for Lent. I do want to point out that if someone wishes to observe Lent, they are free to do so. My reason for doing Lent this year is because I have found myself not spending enough time studying the Bible and praying. It isn’t a time to be boasting about what you are giving up or trying to earn brownie points with God. God’s love for us could not be any greater than it already is. Lent is a good time for Christians to reflect, repent, and pray as a way of preparing their hearts for Easter. Since at my house we do our Christmas at Easter, this is a good way to prepare my heart, reflect, repent, and pray for whoever or whatever God puts on my heart. For those who choose to observe Lent it is a personal choice. I think only a few years I have observed Lent. Usually when I did it was because I really needed to focus on Christ more. This is one of those years I feel I need it the most. I have many friends who don’t know what Lent is. I didn’t either. But, when I was watching the movie “War Room” I made a conscious decision to spend more time in prayer and to spend more time studying the Word of God. Life happened and I was spending less and less time. It wasn’t because I didn’t have the time, I have a lot of time. But, I was spending all of my time doing unimportant things. Facebook is great for many things and I love that I can use it to witness to others and share the Word of God.
Joel 2:12-14 – “Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning. Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate.
I had to look up what the meaning was for Lent and the importance. My church doesn’t do Lent, at-least I don’t think they do. I wasn’t raised doing Lent either. I came across this devotional about what Lent is and I found it helpful. Read More On Crosswalk.com
What is Lent and Ash Wednesday for?
Last weekend our church had a program called “Christ in the Passover” presentation. Click Here for Video About “Christ in the Passover”. I have been to a number of Sader Dinners (Passover). I didn’t know until the presentation that Lent actually begins on Ash Wednesday, which is today February 14th.
I also had to look up Ash Wednesday also since I also thought it was a Mardi Gras thing. The gentleman that came to our church for the presentation mentioned that Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. As I was listening to the presentation, I must have learned something lol. I did have to go home and read up on things though. I wish more people would have come to the Christ in the Passover presentation. They did a wonderful job and those who didn’t come really missed out. I was a little bit upset that more people didn’t come. My pastor made sure to do radio spots and it was in the newspaper. The couple that came lives in the Phoenix area. They had to fly out and they take free will offerings. But, this topic is for a different blog since it is a pet peeve of mine.
This is what Wikipedia says about Ash Wednesday and Lent. The link to the page is at the bottom of this blog.
Ash Wednesday is a Christian day for peace and the first day of Lent, which is six weeks of repentance before Easter. Ash Wednesday is observed by many Western Christians, including Anglicans, Lutherans, Old Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, and some Baptists. Read More…
The ashes are to remind you of your mortality. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras precede Ash Wednesday as the last day to sin before repentance. I should point out that you shouldn’t be going out and sinning intentionally.
Ash Wednesday is the beginning of the 40 days and nights Christ was in the desert which is called Lent.
During lent you are to give up something meaningful to you as a sacrifice similar to what Christ sacrificed in the desert. You give it up for 40 days as Christ did.
Lenten or “giving up” is about turning our lives over to Christ and turning away from sin. I personally think it is a good idea to set time aside for Christ. I read on crosswalk that Lent is a time that offers us an opportunity to come to terms with the human condition we may spend the rest of the year running from and it brings our need for a Savior to the forefront. Read More On Crosswalk.com
I don’t think Facebook is a sin, but it does get in the way when it comes to my time. Facebook for me is more of a distraction and a hindrance. Anything that takes our focus off of Jesus Christ is a good thing to do, even though it is just 40 days. I have been keeping track on how much time I spend on Facebook and it is a lot. I can’t 100 percent stay off of Facebook since I do my churches website, manage the churches Facebook page and I also have to get information from those at my church. If I’m on Facebook, it will be in hiding and only doing church things and things that are focused on Christ.
The idea of “giving up something” for the 40 day season of Lent sounded kind of strange considering I came from a Nazarene background. Lent wasn’t talked about at any of the churches I went to until we moved to St. George. There are many verses that speak about denying ourselves and taking up our crosses daily.
The idea behind Lent is based on Luke 9:23 “Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”.
I have thought long and hard on what it is that has gotten in the way of focusing on my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I personally don’t think we are required to take part in Lent. There isn’t anything we can do to earn our salvation… Only through the saving grace of Jesus Christ can we be saved. Lent is something that’s done in a prayerful way, and a time of renewing ourselves in Christ.
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry.Matthew 4:1-2
As I began thinking what I needed to give up for Lent and what was hindering my spiritual life, I had to ask some serious questions, pray about it and be willing to follow whatever it is that God puts into my heart. It’s important to assess what is going on in my spiritual life. It’s a humbling time or for me it was. I asked myself and God a few questions and I had to trust God in all things. These are the things I had to pray about as I prepared for Lent.
Is there material items or habits that have been getting in the way of my spiritual health?
Are there things that I am attached to that prevents me from growing spiritually?
What is it that I devote to much time doing? Or what don’t I devote not enough time doing?
When I think about the one thing that really gets in the way of worshiping Christ, it is Facebook. I spend way to much time on there and I think during Lent, which starts today, February, 14th. Facebook is the one thing that I need to spend less time on. I will still be on the computer and I can get messages through my email that I have synced. So, if people don’t hear from me on Facebook, then don’t stress or worry. It’s only 40 days.
Last year I tried to give up Facebook for the whole 40 days. I failed miserably. I did make it a couple of weeks. I am going to work at it and pray about it again this year. There are kinds of things that can be given up for Lent. I have heard of people who have given up chocolates or sweets. It may not seem like a big deal to me, but for those who go to chocolate as a way to sooth their emotions, it is big deal for them.
There are various things that people do for Lent. I’m hoping to be able to deal with the Facebook thing. During my time on the computer I will be focused on things I do for my church, which is a lot of computer time. Instead of being on Facebook, it will be a great opportunity to focus more on prayer, devotionals and reading the Bible. Which is something I really need to do more. I have been a slacker. Instead of opening the Bible, I just search for the answers online by googling.
What is Lent and how long does it last?
Lent is a 40-day fast, so will run up until the Thursday before Easter Sunday, March 29, which is known as Holy Thursday.
It originated as a mirroring of Jesus Christ’s 40 days fasting in the desert, where, according to the gospels, he endured temptation by Satan.
There are many websites that will give you ideas on what to give up for Lent. I have listed some of the things most people give up or choose to do. I will highlight the things I’m doing.
Give up or limit the amount of time spent on video games.
Write a letter to God each day.
Give up or limit coffee or soda. I would say that if you live in a home with a coffee drinker and they are grumbly without it, you may want to stay somewhere else. They can get grumpy lol.
Give up or limit snacks between meals.
Give up Chocolate or sweets
Spend more time with family by turning off the television or limit the amount of time spent watching TV.
Do something nice for a neighbor or someone in need
Spend more time in prayer
Give up fast food
Limit your computer time
Give up or limit your social media time.
Make a special prayer notebook and list all the people in your life who need prayers; pray for them each day. Add someone new every day.
If you want to learn more about Lent I have included some links below. One of the links is from Crosswalk.
I did a blog this last week about Dixie and Harry Myers. I took parts of this blog and used it on that blog. But, this is the complete blog and has more personal things.
One of my favorite Christian songs is the song “Thank You” by Ray Boltz. The reason why it is my favorite song is because it pretty much covers how thankful I am for the people who have and are a part of my life.
I am also a firm believer that everyone has pivotal times in their lives that has made them the way they are. Dixie and Harry Myers has got to be one of my top 5 pivotal moments. The song that perfectly describes how much the Myers impacted my life.
Our family moved to Willcox, AZ when I was in the 8th grade. That would have been right around 1978. We moved around a lot because of that. There were times when we would come home from school and the moving truck was loaded and we were gone. Usually we never knew when we would leave or why. So what are your life defining moments? When we moved to Willcox,AZ it was no different from any other place in my mind.
We weren’t allowed to talk to others about what was going on in our home. Most of the times we didn’t know why we would just pack up and leave. Talking to others about what was going on in our home was out of the question. Even to this day I watch what I say to friends and family members when it concerns my younger years.
Out of all of my siblings I was the only one that made it a point to go to church. What’s sad is that I would have to manipulate my parents in order to go to church and to some school activities. Going to church was the only thing that gave me peace and hope.
The Willcox Church of the Nazarene was about 2 miles if that from our home. Since I was in cross-country, track and field, basketball and volley ball, I would make it a point to go out and run. Basketball was not my strong point, but it was a way of getting out of the house. Going to church was the most important thing in my life.
A number of years ago I made it a point when I went to go visit my parents to stop in and see Pastor Harry Myers and his wonderful wife Dixie. I wanted to go see them so I could thank them for being there for me. The Myers family were like my family. I don’t think they realized that they literally rescued me. Their daughter Diana was a good friend of mine. I would love to see her and sit down and tell her just how much her friendship made to me.
When I went to see them, I explained to them what was going on in my home and just how much they meant to me. They both had tears running down their face when I told him how bad things were in my home. My younger sister Joyce actually had it worse than did. I had a big mouth and I would threaten my parents by telling them that I would let EVERYONE know what was going on. She was more passive and wanted to please. I won’t go into just how bad the abuse was for us because this post isn’t about abuse.
I honestly believe that God knew we needed to be saved. Because of the Myers I feel like they saved my life. Harry Myers mom Mattie Bennett would come and get me from my house. We talked about what I needed to do so I could go to church. Man, I loved Mattie. Because of her, I write poems. I wish I had some of the poems she wrote. But, she would come and get me on Sundays to go to church. I knew I couldn’t ask my parents if I could go. I had to plan an escape in order to go.
Mattie made sure to come to my house about 30 minutes before church. I already knew that in order for me to go I would have to do all of my chores in order to go. It wasn’t just my chores, it was everyone’s also. I would wake up early so I could get them all done. It’s sad that a person has to lie and manipulate in order to go to church. But, it was important to me.
The reason I was able to go to church and other activities was because my parents needed to save face, so they let me go and in order to go I had to keep my mouth shut or I would be paying the price when I got home. Harry and Dixie Myers gave me more than they could ever know. Harry, Dixie, Diana and Evelyn welcomed me into their family. The same for Mattie.
When I look back and ponder the defining moments in my life, I have to because of the Myers and Mattie change my life for the better. I had no real role models growing up. I don’t want people to think that I didn’t love my parents, but the truth is that there are some people who never should have kids and they were one of them.
As I was thanking Harry and Dixie when I finally reconnected with them, they felt guilt for not seeing what was really going on. I told them a little bit and there was times that they literally saved my life. They changed my life for the better.
I told Pastor Harry that when he made the announcement that he and Dixie were retiring. During that sermon he said that he felt that his sermons weren’t helping people. I don’t know what made him think that. As I quietly sat in the pew all I could think about is how much he meant to me.
One night when my dad decided it was OK to take out a loaded gun and try to kill us all, I ran to the church sobbing. It was all a blur to me. My grandpa Davis packed up his things and was running away from home. As I ran to the church in tears, grandpa was just walking and felt numb. He didn’t know where he was going, but he was done with it all. All I could think about is that I needed to run as fast as I could to the church.
This was on a Wednesday evening. Pastor Harry and Dixie was preparing for the evening service. I was hysterical and the Myers let me into the house and they talked to me and comforted me. Pastor Harry made sure to stay with me. Dixie Myers gave me the motherly hug I desperately needed. I don’t remember much more since I was so emotional over everything.
James 1:2-4: Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
Harry and Dixie showed by example that even when we are facing difficult challenges, we can experience happiness and peace because we have made it through, even though when the hardships are painful. James made it clear that God uses all things , even negative ones in our lives to help us grow. We may not like the trials we are going through, but they are necessary for us to grow in our faith.
Dixie Myers also taught me how to be a better person. Not just a better Christian, but a mother. She didn’t realize that I was watching her. The way she was with Diana and Evelyn was ingrained in my heart and mind. I knew Cheryl, but she was at school at the time so I didn’t know her as much as Diana and Evelyn were. I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to Diana and Evelyn about how much they have both blessed me and helped me become a better person and Christian. I want to thank Diana, Evelyn and Cheryl for sharing their parents and for being friends.
I spent so much time at their house that I felt like I should have the last name of Myers lol. After that argument my parents decided that it was best to just let me go to church and the Myers. I think they were afraid I would tell people too much. Anyhow, Dixie in my heart and mind was the perfect example of who I wanted to be as a person, parent and Christian.
Diana was a good friend of mine. We spent a lot of time together and did things are church. She sang beautifully. There were times where she would meet me at the corner of my street since it was a half way point and then we would walk back to her house. Evelyn was the middle child and painted. She would also pick me up to go to church. When I seen the interaction Dixie had with Diana and Evelyn, I couldn’t help but be envious.
When Evelyn announced on Facebook that Dixie went home to be with the Lord and Harry, it was bitter-sweet. I have no doubt in my heart and mind that they are with the Lord. My heart sunk, but also rejoiced. She loved Harry and the Lord so very much. She loved her kids, grand-kids and all of those around her. When my husband and I went to Willcox so I could sit down and talk to them in person. I told her that it was because of them that I express the love I have for my own daughters. I didn’t hear that growing up. But, I did hear it from Dixie and Harry.
I am eternally grateful that they served the Lord. I am so very grateful that they took the time to show me how important it is to love those around me and to love the Lord. I don’t want to even think about how my life would be now. There is a verse in the song “Thank You” that says it all.
Thank you for giving to the Lord I am a life that was changed Thank you for giving to the Lord I am so glad you gave
When the song says ‘I’m so glad you gave”, it makes me cry. If it wasn’t for the many people who God put into my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to take the time to thank all of the Myers and Mattie for changing my life for the better. I want to thank for giving to the Lord.
Please take the time to listen to the song. When I listen to the song, I close my eyes closed and it’s as if I can see myself stranding before the Lord.
I could write an entire book when it comes to just how much love I have for the Myers Family. Harry, Dixie and Mattie will always hold a special place in my heart.