Mardi Gras (A Christian Celebration Even Pagans Participate In)

The celebration of Mardi Gras dates back to medieval Europe and yes, it is a Christian celebration.  Mardi Gras actually begins on January 6, known as King’s Day or the Feast of Epiphany.  King’s Day is the recognition of the Magi’s visit to baby Jesus which is considered the physical manifestation of Jesus to the gentiles.

The Mardi Gras, you probably know best, is usually called Shrove Tuesday or Fat Tuesday.  The day before Ash Wednesday.  Shrove is the past tense for shrive and means to hear a confession, assign a penance, and be free of sin. Mardi Gras is the French word for Fat Tuesday.  Because this was the last day you could eat meat and other items which came from animals; i.e. butter, eggs, cheese, and fat.  Pancakes are usually the main meal on Fat Tuesday.

In the United States the celebration usually starts the week or weekend before Fat Tuesday and continues until Ash Wednesday. I am not sure the early Christians meant for Mardi Gras to evolve into the raucous partying and the porn-like, carnival parades and actions we see today.  In my opinion, Mardi Gras celebrations today are akin to an alcoholic going on a drinking binge and then picking a day to stop drinking.  Until the same time next year, when the bingeing starts all over again.

The partying stops on Ash Wednesday which is the day signaling the beginning of the Lenten season. The sign of the cross is done on the forehead, using ashes, during the Christian worship service. This is to show humility and remind us of our own mortality. Ash Wednesday ashes come from the ashes of the palm leaves from the previous year’s Palm Sunday church service.  Which are blessed and considered holy.

Then begins the Lenten season. The Lent season is about remembering Jesus’ journey into the desert where He had to resist Satan’s temptations for 40 days. During the Lenten season some Christians still fast, reflect, and pray concerning their own sins and Jesus.  Most Christians today give up something they hold dear to them;  like chocolate, television, Facebook, social media, swearing etc.

It is a good time to break bad habits and realign your life in Christ again.  The Lent season ends on Easter with the remembrance of the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Since moving to Texas, and becoming a member of a Baptist church, I find I miss my ashes and Lent season of reflection. Because I have always considered Easter as my real New Year, not January 1.  Baptists are not into the ashes on the forehead and such. Maybe because it started with the Catholic religion. No, I am not Catholic either.  I have been Presbyterian almost all of my life.

This year I do plan on participating in Ash Wednesday and the Lent season.  No, I am not leaving the church we attend either.  We love the people and the Pastor. But I will probably attend one of the nearby churches who do Ash Wednesday and the Lent season of services.

What will I give up for Lent?  I am seriously thinking about sugar.  It is my one huge nemesis!  I am a Southern girl who loves her sweet tea and a little coffee with my cream and sugar. Giving up sugar will mean giving up things with sugar in them too, like Reese cups.  Ouch that hurt.

When I stop and consider that Jesus gave up His life so that I can live forever, sugar should  not be a big deal.

So, if you go to a Mardi Gras parade and/or party, please take time out to reflect on why we can even have a Mardi Gras!

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

Our Allies Are Spying on Us, Michael Flynn Communicated With A Russian, And President Trump Has Conflicts of Interests…Oh MY!

I was surprised to find myself unable to read an entire Newsweek article concerning the one time communication between Michael Flynn and a Russian official based here in the United States. The article pointedly moved on to discuss the fact that our European allies had intercepted conversations and documents concerning President Trump.

These unseen documents and unheard conversations concerned his relationship with Russia, his business alliances, and our Nato allies.  All expertly woven together to suggest our Allies are apprehensive about our country’s ability to honor our agreements. And that there could be a conflict of interest for President Trump, which would impede his ability to run the country.

As I tried to digest the excessive amount of information at one sitting, I found myself a little too stuffed.  Hence the reflux which I am still suffering from now, while trying to swallow all of the innuendoes;  or as the reality show housewives would say…throwing some shade.  This article had enough shade to cause a chill to fill the air.

Now I do understand the NATO alliance and that we are joined at the hip with these other countries, which insures peace for each of us. Or so they say. But, are we really allies when we spy on each other and then disclose the information found to the world? Where is the trust?  I believe a reclassification of terms is called for here and instead of allies the word should be frenemies! The definition would include this statement, “We cover your rear end, if it benefits our rear end.”

Then I came to the one sentence in the article which hammered my nerve of disgust and ceased my reading! Here it is for you…

“These sources spoke on condition that they not be identified because they were not formally authorized to disclose the information.”

Really?

If you have not been formally authorized to disclose the information isn’t that the same as keep your mouth shut!

Or was this one of those permission granted to aid the start of whispers of mistrust, with cables connected to jumpstart the rumor mill and initiate fear?

No wonder we don’t believe journalists any more. Because they appear more like a brood of witches stirring the cauldron  and cackling at their immense talent to blow smoke in our eyes.

Well, I have a warning label for the articles where the sources have to remain anonymous.

“Be careful little eyes what you see, it’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings.”

The above quote is from the song called “Slow Fade” by Casting Crowns.  “Slow Fade” is about infidelity between a couple, but it could just as easily be infidelity between countries and anonymous sources.

Because countries never crumble in a day! And American Journalists have taken the black and white of journalism, and turned it into grey.  (More paraphrasing from the song.)

There is only one who will never lie to us, never cheat on us, whisper secrets to others concerning us, and always will have our back…God.

If you are concerned about the abundance of information coming from anonymous sources concerning our country, close your eyes and your ears.  Turn completely to God and pray.  Ask for revelation and ask Him to show you what you need to do to alleviate your fears! Because God’s answers are always true and always perfect.

I will leave you with the lyrics to “Slow Fade.”

As always…

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

Slow Fade by Casting Crowns

Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands
As darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you
That are sure to follow

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choice is made,
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It’s a slow fade, it’s a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise,
The end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises
Lead broken hearts astray

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray

Thoughts invade, choice is made,
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day

The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you’re thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It’s a slow fade
When you give yourself away
It’s a slow fade
When black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choice is made,
A price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

 

 

New England Patriots Win Super Bowl

Congratulations to the New England Patriots on winning the Super Bowl! I really thought that the Atlanta Falcons were going to win, but New England managed to pull through in overtime.

I also want to say thank you to Lady Gaga for keeping politics out of the American celebration. And for saying “One Nation Under God.”  Politics and football may divide us  in the sporting arena, but when you get down to what matters most…it is the people of America.  Skin color is only 1/8 of an inch thick on our bodies, the rest is just like everybody else!

We are Americans and we are God’s children.  Maybe a little different from the rest, but in the end we are all equal in death.

So, while you are celebrating the Patriots win, go to oneretailtherapy.com/page14 for special Super Bowl apparel and gifts.

And if you are commiserating the Patriots win, go to oneretailtherapy.com and check out the flash sales and Valentine gifts for sale.  You will feel better afterwards!

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

Super Bowl Predictions!

Being in the Houston, Texas area, I can emphatically state that the city is alive with Super Bowl fever!  And after reading the predictions from the professionals, I deem it will be a great game to watch.  Even if my team is not playing.

I predict tonight they will have the NFL Honors Award Program and that Greg Olsen will win the Walter Payton Man of the Year award.  It is an award given to an NFL player based on their humanitarian work within the community they live.

“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.” Luke 12:48

I also predict that the Falcons will beat the Patriots 31 – 27.  Gotta pull for the southern team.

But the biggest award should go to the fans.  Because it is you who actually support these teams with your attendance to the games, and the products you buy.  And in America, we can not have just a simple sporting event.  You the fans, have found a way to turn it into a charitable day too!

Super Bowl party attendees will donate food and other items, which will be given to their local food banks and shelters.  Boy Scouts will pick up bags of food left by front doors in local neighborhoods, which benefit the local food bank.  The day once known as Super Bowl has begun to be recognized as Souper Bowl!

To me that states volumes of who we are as a country.  Because we are a compassionate country.  And when Super Bowl day is over and a winner declared, Americans will find another avenue to assist their fellow-man until next year.  This is what we do and this is who we are…Americans.

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

God’s Got This, Mom!

Being a grandparent myself, I am excited to learn about Jesus’ grandparents from “The Book of Anne!”  It is only logical that if Jesus had human parents, they must have come from somewhere, so Jesus should have grandparents.

Mary’s mother and father, (and Jesus’ grandparents) are Anne and Joachim, successful Galilean farmers.  Anne was Joachim’s second wife and Mary’s mother.  No, he did not have a harem.  Their whole existence revolved around God and His word.  And from the moment you read about them, you instantly know they are a warm, loving couple. Who intentionally raised their own children to know and obey their living God.

After reading about Anne, Joachim, and Mary, I can see why God would choose them for Jesus.  Also, we know why God chose Joseph, because his blood line was royal, Kind David royal.  And Joseph was a good man, who also lived, worked, and played according to the Jewish religion.  Perfect for Mary! God knew this would be the absolute environment for our Savior.

The point at which I have stopped reading, shows Mary and Joseph preparing for their travels to Bethlehem.  Anne has arrived and she is horrified that Mary is planning on going!  The baby is due at any time and she believes this could be dangerous for both Mary and the child.  Mary is calm, and self-assured, and basically tells Anne;

“Gods got this, mom.”

Yes, Anne raised Mary to be certain of God and His promises.  And, Mary is following through with what she has been taught.  I am sure her visits from the angel Gabriel and God keeping her in the loop of things, (so to speak) provided her with a knowing courage.

But I can relate as a grandmother.

I remember before each of our grandchildren were born, I felt a grip of fear.  The main reason was because we parents are told we are to take care of our children.  And I was not in the delivery room to make sure the doctor and nurses were doing the delivery right.  This was my baby girl, who was about to have her own baby and the birth had to be a c-section.

My daughter told us of the fear that washed over her, as her husband went out to tell the families about the change of plans.  She prayed to God and within the very next moment she was filled with peace.  Everything was going to be fine for her and the baby.

“Gods got this, mom.”

Later, we found out that if it had not been for the c-section, our first granddaughter would not have made it.  The cord was dangerously wrapped around her neck.  To go through the birth canal would have strangled her to death.

“Gods got this mom.”

How many times do we tell our children to have unwavering faith in God?  But then yank it away when it concerns us.  I know I do.

If only we could borrow a little of Mary’s courage from time to time and tell ourselves…

“God’s got this!”

 

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

Woman’s March, Sorry I Can Not Help Myself!

I saw bits and pieces of the recent Women’s March in Washington, DC, and I kept telling myself, “Ignore the Ignorance!” Then this morning one my writing pads of notes was opened to some notes I had made awhile back.  Probably way before the march.  The funny part is that I did not open it to this page, it was already there.  Almost as if saying, “Well I am waiting on you to write me in your blog!”

Here I go again…

Since the day when we burned our bras and sang, “I am woman hear me roar;” he became she and she became he and we were equal!  Right?

But haven’t we always been in this together? Adam and Eve, husband and wife, man and woman, however you feel like classifying yourself.  Equal in life, equal in sin, and equal in death!

God considers us all His children, the good, the bad, and the ugly in us.  He loves us the same.  And maybe that is why some of these women felt the need to march, because deep down inside they do not feel equal.  Equally loved, and recognized for who they are inside.

Of course I have never felt the need to wear a vagina hat to prove my equality or speak in such vulgar terms to be taken seriously. If you want to be taken serious in your protests, I would suggest knowing the facts first.  Then dress for success.  Take a look at the photos of Martin Luther King Jr’s protests.  You will see suits and ties and elegant day dresses.

When you are dressed for grunge of the year or slut of the year, it is hard to see past your need for attention. Like a spoiled child rolling on the ground screaming at the top of their lungs. Most people will not give in to such a display of characters, much less take what they are saying seriously.

And this is the exact reflection of a deliberate problem which occurred throughout these past eight years…

ACTIONS WITHOUT RESPONSIBILITY!

While they have been telling you that you are not responsible, and others need to clean up your messes or pay your way; let me tell you what God says…

Galatians 6:4-5 “But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.”

Romans 14:10, 12 “For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.”

Wow, each one of us has to bear our own load! And then we have to give an account of ourselves and our lives before God.  OK, I am so, so, so, glad Jesus will be there to stand with me.  And I have not worn a vagina on my head or tried to lead others in riotous, destructive behavior.

What about you?

One more point, I would like to make. As a child of the sixties and growing up in the deep south; I do not remember a time when I have felt that I was not equal.  If I did, it was somewhere in my own mind and my own lack of courage and/or knowledge.  And if equality gives me the right to kill a baby, I don’t want that kind of equality.

 

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

 

 

Push Me, Pull You

 

Jesus was born into a world of turmoil and struggle between the Roman conquerors and the Jewish leaders.  Having pagans and Jews live as neighbors is a disaster brewing. Especially since the pagans were trying to force their beliefs on the Jewish people. And everything about Jewish life and government revolved around their religious beliefs.

Sounds like the “Push Me, Pull You” of the Dr. Doolittle story.

The Romans made Herod their regional ruler for them over the Jews.  Herod was twenty-six years old, Jewish, and made 1.6 million dollars a year. (1.6 million in our money today.) Except he was a converted Jew, so the Jewish people did not regard him as one of them. Herod could have cared less about the Jewish people and their leaders, his allegiance was to Rome.

I would be interested to see if Herod and King Henry the 8th of England were related.  They both had a gruesome way to end their marriages, so that they could marry another woman. And if killing all those children in hopes he had killed the Messiah were not enough, Herod made sure everyone would mourn when he died.  He told his sister Salome to arrest and put in jail the most important leaders of the Jewish people.  And when the news came that he had died, they were all to be killed.

So, in the middle of this demented push me, pull you type of existence, a baby was born. Not an ordinary baby either, but our Messiah Jesus Christ!

You see, what Herod did not understand was that God does not work within our human parameters.  He is bigger than everything in the universe.  Human planning will never, ever supersede God’s plans.

Even in today’s push me, pull you world; God is still here.  You hear about the middle east turmoil, and the violence throughout the world…God is still here.  Your day has been one push and pull away from sending you over the edge…God is still here.

If God can send a baby, in the middle of the vile evil which had a grip on Jerusalem,  to be our Messiah.  Don’t you think God can handle what is going on in the world and our lives today? We just have to ask Him and then we have to allow Him to take over!

Give the “Push Me, Pull You” back to Dr. Doolittle and give your life to God!

 

God Bless You!

And God Bless America!