November 29, 2013

The Day After

November 29.  It's the day after Thanksgiving.  Thanksgiving - you know that day where we stuff ourselves (not the turkey) with delicious food, play games, visit with family and say we're thankful for the blessings of our life?  Yeah, that day.  Oh, but today's the day after, the day some people call Black Friday, and are we still thankful?

Are we truly thankful for all that abundance of scrumptious food, more than enough, when millions of people don't even HAVE enough?  Are we thankful for that running and warmed water that we showered in this morning, and the clean H2O we drank after awaking?  What about that nice, big house, and cozy, warm bedroom with a comfortable bed?  Are we really thankful for these things, or do we just take them for granted?  Oh, and I didn't mention the electric washing and drying machines to wash our abundance of clothing, those smartphones, tablets, computers and mp3 players, and those two nice cars able to take us comfortably hundreds of miles in a matter of hours.  When I think about the fact that there are people in the world that live in a house smaller than my bathroom, and don't have ready access to education and information, I look at my family and see how rich we truly are.

And we're out there on Black Friday, or now on Thanksgiving night, fighting over things we don't really need - which we probably won't even remember next year at this time - and all this on the day after (or day) we politely thank God for our blessings.

Really, what is material stuff?  Ultimately, it's just that: stuff.   And stuff that will burn in the end.   Even what is our life?  It's just a vapor, a gust of wind, here and gone in perspective of eternity.  And we waste that vapor of a life gathering stuff that's just going to burn?  People.  People, and their souls, that's what lasts forever, and that's what we should be concerned about gathering - for God's eternal kingdom.

What we should be thankful for the most is the grace, mercy and love God showed to us in Jesus' death and resurrection.  Us, poor, awful enemies of His.  And the fact that we have the resources and ability, through His Spirit, to share that love with other people.  I think that's way better than Black Friday shopping!

So, as I'm sitting here on a smartphone, typing in a warm, large house, with an awesome family, I want to thank God for everything, blessings and trials. And, I want to consciously thank Him everyday, and in every situation.

Remember, it was ingratitude that caused the first generation of Israelites out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, long before they ever saw the promise land.  Let's be thankful every day, not just Thanksgiving.  And let's remember that things are temporary, but people last forever.

November 20, 2013

Something to consider future Christians!

"Brand:  How long will you have to fight?  Until you die!  What will it cost?  Everything you hold dear.  Your reward?  A new will, cleansed and strong, a new faith, integrity of spirit; a crown of thorns.  That will be your reward."  - Ibsen

Corresponding to this, are several passages from Holy Scripture, which expound upon how much suffering comes to those who leave behind this world and cling to Jesus, alone.  But, there is also so much joy in resting in Him, and forsaking the world.  His ways are perfect, His truth worth searching out!

"For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all."
2 Corinthians 4:17 

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.”
Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
He said to another man, “Follow me.”
But he replied, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Still another said, “I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.”
Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:57-62

And let me just say, that the Scriptures are full of examples of the cost of following Jesus. Of leaving EVERYTHING to be His.  But, have I ever once regretted being His?  NO!  There is nothing better in this world, then to know that I am loved and saved by Jesus.

Doing anything for Him is my life aim.  And I think I am finally close to figuring out what that may be.  He desires a wholly surrendered life, not a partly surrendered life, because you're either all His, or you're not.

O Jesus, help me to be fully committed to You and Your goals; everyday take me closer to Your heart.  For I wish to be near it.  You are my one desire!  And I love you. :)

November 4, 2013

9 Things You Should Know About Christian Persecution {Re-blogged}

1. Christian churches around the world have set apart the month of November to remember and pray for the persecuted church, through the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP).

2. According to the U.S. Department of State, Christians in more than 60 countries face persecution from their governments or surrounding neighbors simply because of their belief in Christ.

3. With the exception of four official state-controlled churches in Pyongyang, Christians in North Korea face the risk of detention in the prison camps, severe torture and, in some cases, execution for practicing their religious beliefs. North Koreans suspected of having contact with South Korean or other foreign missionaries in China, and those caught in possession of a Bible, have been known to be executed.

4. In Syria, Christians are increasingly becoming the target of violent attacks. Catholic and Orthodox groups in Syria say the anti-government rebels have committed "awful acts" against Christians, including beheadings, rapes and murders of pregnant women. A special 'Vulnerability Assessment of Syria's Christians' conducted by the World Watch unit of Open Doors International from June 2013 warned that Syrian Christians are the victims of "disproportionate violence and abuse." They warned further that Christian women in Syria are particularly vulnerable to sexual abuse.

5. In August 2013, Egypt faced what has been called the worst anti-Christian violence in seven centuries: 38 churches were destroyed, 23 vandalized; 58 homes were burned and looted and 85 shops, 16 pharmacies and 3 hotels were demolished; 6 Christians were killed in the violence and 7 were kidnapped.

6. The bloodiest attack on Christians in Pakistan's history occurred in September 2013. Two suicide bombers exploded shrapnel laden vests outside All Saints' Church in the old city of Peshawar. Choir members and children attending Sunday school were among 81 people killed. The attack left 120 people wounded, with 10 of them in critical condition.

7. During an attack on a shopping mall in Nairobi in September, Islamic terrorists asked people for the name of Muhammad's mother or to recite a verse from the Quran in order to identify non-Muslims. One of the terrorists announced, "We have come to kill you Christians and Kenyans because you have been killing our women and children in Somalia. Any Muslims can go."

8. Four Christians in Iran will get 80 lashes each this month for drinking wine during a communion service. Ahmed Shaheed, UN special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said that it is common practice for Christians to be punished for violating theocratic laws. In the UN report Shaheed wrote: 'At least 20 Christians were in custody in July 2013. In addition, violations of the rights of Christians, particularly those belonging to evangelical Protestant groups, many of whom are converts, who proselytize to and serve Iranian Christians of Muslim background, continue to be reported.'

9. An average of 100 Christians around the world are killed each month for their faith. (Note: There are several sources that claim the numbers are as high as 100,000+ a year. In the absence of solid evidence for those numbers, though, I chose to go with the more empirically verifiable estimate.)


November 3, 2013

How true

“Without inward conversion there’s no reason to expect outward devotion.” #CalltoResurgence

November 2, 2013

6 Favorite Uses for Peppermint Essential Oil

I have come to really enjoy using Peppermint E.O., and miss is dearly when I don't have it available.  So, I decided to make up a list of my favorite uses for it.  Here it goes:

1. Air freshener ~ Add a few drops to an E.O. diffuser, and let it fill the air with the wonderful fragrance.
Fresh peppermint leaves
2. Breath freshener ~ My dad likes to carry around a bottle of peppermint E.O. as an alternative to gum or mints.  It works wonderfully to freshen up your breath.  Just put a couple drops on your tongue, and let it do it's job!
3. Mouthwash Alternative ~ Add a few drops to some purified water, and swish it around in your mouth.  You'll feel refreshed, and clean!
4. Toothpaste Additive/Alternative ~ Add a drop or two to your tooth paste each brushing, or just simply put a couple drops on your tooth brush in place of toothpaste.  It will amaze you how clean your mouth will be and feel. 
5. Breathing Aid ~ When it comes to sleeping at night, I like to have a clear nose to be able to breath through.  Well, sometimes that just isn't achievable by simply blowing your nose.  Put a few drops around your nose and breath it in.  It will clear it up almost instantly!  (If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn't recommend this - it may burn your skin.  Instead, put several drops on a cloth, and hang the cloth near your nose.)
Peppermint E.O.
6. Bug Bite Healer ~ Rub some peppermint E.O.s on any kind of bug bite: mosquito, tick, chiggers, you name it.  If your skin is sensitive, simply dilute the E.O. in some other type of oil; coconut, jojoba and olive oil work well. 

Since I've given you a list of my favorite uses, I'll now give you my favorite places to buy peppermint E.O., or any other essential oils, for that matter: Heritage Essential Oils and Young Living.  These two companies produce high quality and pure essential oils.  We've been very satisfied with their products over the years.

The author is in no way connected or funded by Heritage Essential Oils or Young Living. 

This Is Our Aim

Zechariah 8:20-23 ESV

“Thus says the Lord of hosts: Peoples shall yet come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts; I myself am going.’ Many peoples and strong nations shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord . Thus says the Lord of hosts: In those days ten men from the nations of every tongue shall take hold of the robe of a Jew, saying, ‘Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.’”