Can The Christian Band Mercy Me Get Any Better?

OH YES THEY CAN!  Their new album, Lifer, is amazing, incredible and so uplifting!  Having a bad day? Then go to YouTube and listen to the audio versions, or better yet go to iTunes and just buy it.  I pre-ordered Lifer and received teaser songs one at a time and then bam! The whole album.

Most of the time, when I get a new album, there are maybe 5 or 6 songs I really like.  Rarely do I like all of the songs on an album.  Lifer is one album that I love all of the songs.

The song “Even If” is a good reminder that Pastors, Praise Leaders, and Church teachers, get up on stage every Sunday and lift us up.  It does not matter what has been happening in their lives or the struggles they may be going through.  Have you looked at your Pastor as a human being with the same temptations as the rest of us fallen beings? We are men and women, male and female traveling through this time together for God’s reason.

OK, I won’t tease you too much.  The song I am putting on my site is called “Grace Got You.”  Now, I am going to stop writing so I can start dancing to the song.

God Bless You!

 

Baby Jesus and Moving (Just Bobbin and Weaving My Head)

Well, I finally found my book on Anne, Jesus’ grandmother.  I was sure I packed it in one of the office boxes, but I could not find the book.  Must have been bobbin and weaving my head in the wrong direction, because my husband looked into the box and pulled the book right out.  Isn’t it always that way.

Last night I began reading the book on Anne again.  In this section she talked about how the people must have felt when they held baby Jesus.  We parents know exactly what new baby love feels like.  It comes with a multitude of emotions triggered by smells, sounds, and snuggles.

The author described a feeling of greatness and love that was overwhelming to the point of  dropping them to their knees. Because I have been blessed to have been in the presence of Jesus, I have my mere human description.  I wrote the next paragraph in an earlier blog post called, “The Sweet Fragrance of Love.”

The shirt smelled fragrant, but not overpowering; warm, gentle, pleasing, and full of love.  The next breath I breathed deeply into my lungs.  My body was filled with the warmth and love of the fragrance. I was so happy, with a happiness that comes from another dimension.  And I knew it was Jesus!

Yes, I know what it feels like to be in Jesus’ presence, but to have held Him as a baby…my mind cannot fathom the immense feelings that would pulsate through my body.  Love, greatness, peace, joy and words our English language does not contain would be some of the descriptions. And the fragrance…a baby is soft, and powdery but this would be a scent designed by the angels, which would fill your body, mind, and soul. A scent never known to man, only made for our Savior.

In 2 Corinthians 2:15, we are told, “For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are saved and those who are perishing.”

Now I am overwhelmed! Jesus made my own aroma so good that I smell like Christ to God.  And you and everyone else too, even those who are not saved.  Love?  No, we do not have a human word to describe this kind of emotion.

Jesus’ time as a baby is gone and we don’t have the opportunity to hold Him.  But Jesus takes every moment we give Him to hold us!  Don’t have a little time for Jesus today?

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

Real Courage According to Atticus Finch

One of my favorite books and movies of all time is the movie “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  The main character Atticus Finch is a gentle man with firm beliefs and he lives his life according to those beliefs. It has been said the man who played Atticus in the movie, Gregory Peck had those similar qualities.

My own admiration of Atticus comes from a concrete pillar lodged deep inside of me.  One that stands firm in my own beliefs and causes me to stand up for what I think is right, even if it is an unpopular stance to take. Which over my life has, at times, caused me great heart ache and pain.

In “To Kill A Mockingbird,” Atticus states what the concept of real courage should be.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand.  It’s when you know you are licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.  You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

Anyone, even a child, can pick up a gun and shoot it.

But few, can stand firm in the muck and mire of this world, knowing their cause is lost and still pursue it to the end.  Somewhere along the way, we quit, move on to the next eye-catching  escapade of the moment.  Why do diets fail and New Year’s Resolutions stay unresolved?  Lack of courage to see it through to the end.

Jesus knew He was licked from the start but, He knew that in the end, we all would win.  Jesus knew the horror He would suffer at the cross and yet He continued to the end. Jesus knows a love so great for us that it is never-ending.  And there is nothing we can do or say along the road of life which will change Jesus, even until our very end.

Another part about Atticus’s courage is seeing.  One must demonstrate this courage in all they do, for people to understand the depth of such courage.  Jesus was the same with His actions speak louder than words.  And never believe this was a mushy courage, this was a courage stronger than titanium.  Nothing whitewashed but firmly, purposefully stated and done.

Truly,  Jesus and Atticus knew a courage beyond the mere human’s definition of courage.

And that is where we must find our own courage.  Not just courage to stand during the tough times, but courage to live our beliefs and lives through Jesus Christ every day, in every way!

The more we rely on Jesus for our courage, the more change we will see within our selves and our lives.  And the less stench of this world will ooze from our pores. So, if you are in need of courage, cry out to Jesus.

Simply say, “Jesus help me!”

And then tell Him what you need.  Start reading the bible.  The book of John is a great start and wait for Jesus to show you how to obtain your courage.  Remember everything is done in God’s timing.  He will show you when it is time for you to know.

“Be on your guard, stand firm in your faith; be courageous, be strong.”                                      1 Corinthians 16:13.

With Jesus, it is so easy to do!

 

God Bless You!

God Bless America!

 

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!

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!

 

 

The Child Called Jesus

Well, my books have finally arrived concerning Jesus’ childhood.  They are… Daily Life at the time of Jesus by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh, and The Book of Anne, The Story of the Childhood of Jesus as told by His Grandmother, by Sandy Martin Ericson.

When we think of Jesus, He is either a baby or an adult.  But what happened in the middle of His life?  The growing years when how we live and what we go through, develops who we are in life.  And what about the family God choose Jesus to be a part of and why? How did all of it influence Jesus, or did it?

Maybe I will find these answers.

But before I begin, I want to explain why I chose these two books. First is The Book of Anne.  The author, Sandy Martin Ericson, and her prologue had me hooked. Because when I read her prologue, I immediately knew this was a book all Christians should read sometime during their lifetime walk with Jesus.

The Book of Anne Prologue

by

Sandy Martin Ericson

Historians tell us the father of Mary was a successful Galilean farmer named Joachim.  Most first century farmers lived in villages and worked small, nearby pieces of land.  Like the farmer in the “Parable of the Prodigal Son,” Joachim is thought to have owned large fields in a fertile valley in the Nazarean hills.  Many parables spoken by Jesus were agricultural in nature. It is reasonable to presume he spent time amid the wheat and sheep.

Scripture tells us the holy family journeyed from exile in Egypt to Galilee, rather than returning to Judea.

This story is of the life of Jesus during his childhood years and of his family and the people around him.  It is a combination of history, geography, tradition, myth and imagination.

This then is how it might have been. Turn the page and imagine with me.

Wow, I hope you buy her book or download it on your Kindle! I don’t think you will be disappointed.

Now the other book, Daily Life at the time of Jesus by Miriam Feinberg Vamosh.  This is more of a cut and dried explanation with historical data and archeological facts.  But the way it is presented with pictures and little interesting facts; like Herod earned 1.6 million dollars a year, keeps the boredom away.  She also brings into play politics and the clash of cultures and religions, to help us realize the dynamics that were stewing in the background.

Once again, I don’t think you will be disappointed if you purchased this book also.

So with both of these books in hand, I will embark on knowing Jesus and his childhood.  Which, if possible, will probably make me love Him even more!

God Bless You!

And God Bless America!

Happy New Year!

It is January again, so get those lists out and start making some more resolutions for your next year.  We are a bunch of planners aren’t we?  With date books, note pads, calendars, cell phones, notebooks, iPads, and computers; you think we would be a nation of well executed, perfect little lives.

But we are humans, and that is why we are unlike those still paintings of perfection.  As we try to plan, organize, and execute well-meaning agendas, a little thing called free-will creeps back into our nature.  And throws a monkey wrench into the finely, perfected blueprint of our lives we designed for the next year.

Thank God for that free-will monkey wrench He gave us!  If not, we would be boring and bored! And I believe God meant for us to be individuals, not Stepford robots.

So, put aside those resolutions.  Let’s talk about something else we do this time of year.

We have finished celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.  Then we make our yearly resolutions and next we hurriedly rush forward to April. The crucifixion of Jesus. We go from celebration to saved in one fell swoop.  Woosh.  Can you feel the wind of March blowing past you?

Whoa! Pull the brake on this speeding train.

What about the in-between stuff? The January, February, and March of our lives.  Did Jesus suddenly go from baby to man within three months? No.

So, what did happen to Jesus from baby, to man, to ministry?

I would like to know, wouldn’t you?

Well, that is what I intend to find out during my January, February, and March! Not only for you, but for me too! As we get into Jesus’ ministry, probably around March,  we will pick back up in the book of Matthew where we left off before Christmas.  And then we might be able to figure out how to use this free-will monkey wrench to tighten some of our own loose screws!

Please join me on my journey of “Finding Jesus.” I can’t promise it will be perfect, but joyful, engaging, and fulfilling might be some of the words we will use.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

God Bless You!

God Bless America!