2nd Blogiversary Giveaway!

Today is my 2nd Blogiversary! I am so happy I met so many great people and I just want you to know how much YOU have added to my life! Sending out a Big Thank You!

GIVEAWAY: For anyone who would be interested in winning one of the Bible Studies “Psalm One for Women on the Run,” I will be giving two away. Just leave a comment below. Comments will be open for three days, then I will put your names in a hat and draw two. Blessings to all of you!

Cover - Psalm One

 

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Psalm One for Women on the Run is available at:

Amazon – $5.95             Kindle – $1.95

BarnesandNoble.com – $5.95 

Lighthouse Christian Publishing – $9.95

Dead Men Walking

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A few days ago, a couple of my husband’s friends came to stay with us. One of them had been diagnosed about a year and a half ago with a deadly form of blood cancer. He was not supposed to make it more than about eleven months. He sought treatment and through the grace of God and medical intervention is still alive and living a fairly normal life. He is man who had a death sentence handed to him but is still here. He is literally a dead man walking.  He looks a little different than he did and has less energy but all in all, he is every bit as alive as you and me.

Most of us know someone like that, someone who was given no hope for survival but miraculously is alive today. But did you know that in a spiritual sense we have all been that person? We were all born D.O.A., dead on arrival. The Bible says that when we were born into this world, we were born dead in our transgressions and that only with God’s help can we be made alive. That’s right, unless we are given a new birth spiritually, we are all literally dead men walking.

Most of us didn’t realize we were in that state initially, but as we tried to make our way in the world we noticed something was wrong with us. We were trying to do our best but something was missing. We didn’t have what it would take, i.e. the power, to change who we were and live a life that had real eternal value. Fortunately for all of us, Jesus came to earth to provide the life-changing medicine we all needed. His death on the cross brought life to all who would choose to believe in Him.

The problem is that we don’t look like Zombies when we are in this state. We all look alive because our spiritual deadness does not manifest itself in our physical appearance. We don’t look like dead men walking but we are. We have to see beyond the physical in order to evaluate our spiritual condition. Do you need the life giving medicine that Jesus provided for you so you can have eternal life?

I know I did. I needed the Blood of Christ to cover my sins and give me new life.  What about you? Are you still a dead man walking? If so, there is hope for you. Try Jesus…He can give you new life, life that is eternal, and you will no longer be among the undead!

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.” Ephesians 2: 1-5

Temptation

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Temptation – it is as old as the Garden of Eden. We are confronted by it daily; sometimes in small ways, sometimes in life altering ways. It doesn’t come to us wrapped in an ugly bow, looking like something we don’t want to touch. It usually comes to us looking beautiful, attractive and inviting. We are usually lured by the look of it or the sound of it. I don’t know how many times people have tried to talk me into things and made them sound tremendously appealing.

“Just once,” is a phrase that comes up when facing temptation. Others or ourselves will say, “Just try it once, it can’t hurt anything.” But is that really true? The doctors’ offices are full of young people who wanted to try having sex “just once” because everyone else was doing it. Some of them end up becoming pregnant by a person they would never want to marry or father their child and they must face a life altering decision then and there. Others have gotten an STD which may or may not be with them the rest of their lives…all because they wanted to have sex “just once” with someone they met at a bar or a party.

I remember listening to a formerly successful real estate broker. She was invited to a party where they were doing cocaine. It wasn’t the first time she had been at a party where there was cocaine, but people began telling her how great she would feel if she used it. “She could work longer hours and it would give her more energy,” they said. So, she tried it “just once.” She was not immediately hooked on it but she changed her social schedule around and only began attending parties where cocaine was available. She continued to use it and eventually she was hooked on it. After she spent all of her cash, sold everything she owned and ultimately sold herself to get the drug, did she hit rock bottom and seek help. Now she talks about the danger of trying that addicting drug “just once.”

Marriage counselors’ offices are flooded with people who wanted to watch pornography “just once.” Whether men or women, after they saw the first film, they became hooked. They couldn’t get the images out of their minds and it drew them back more and more until it became more of a draw to them then their own mates. And many times, their marriages became shipwrecked on the shores of this alluring temptation.

Most of us know people who have been in these situations. We might even have been in these situations. All because of giving into a life altering temptation “just once.” Ravi Zacharias said it best, “Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay.”  

Temptation – it’s all around us. What can we do when we are faced with it? The Scripture gives us wise advice: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10: 12-13

In other words: First, don’t think you are immune to it. We all can fall into temptation. Second, temptations are common, not unique, to each and every one of us. Third, God has promised that He will provide a way of escape from each and every temptation we have to deal with. We just have to ask Him for help when we are faced with temptation and it is available. We must look for the way of escape that He provides and then take it. We must run as if our lives depend on it, for they may well.

Temptation – let’s not be deceived into thinking it will be okay if we try it “just once.” That’s a lie straight from the pit of Hell.

Bloggers International Friendship Award

This May, I will have been blogging for two years…yes, my Second Blogiversary is at hand! I have really enjoyed blogging the last two years and consider the people I have met to be one of my greatest joys.

I have enjoyed reading your blogs, hearing your heart on a myriad of matters and getting to know your joys and struggles. I have been enriched by my association with all of you. In total, I have connected with people from over sixty countries and by far, I am the richer for it.

In honor of each and every one of you, I am creating the Bloggers International Friendship Award. This Award is to be given to one person whom you have connected with from another country who has enriched your life and you truly consider this person a friend. Mine will be awarded annually…you may award yours as you please!

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My pick this year is Kavita and her Sunshiny SA blog. Kavita is a true social justice warrior and I have greatly benefited from knowing her. She shares much about life in South Africa, including its history, geography, wildlife, cities, and the social issues that people in her culture are dealing with. Today, I salute you Kavita and present you with this Bloggers International Friendship Award. May you continue to blog for years to come!

The god of Self

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A few times a year, I like to go on a fast. The fast could be for several days or several weeks. I fast various things: food, tea, chocolate, television, you name it, it might be in there. This year before Easter, I decided to fast for several weeks. A few things I usually notice when I fast became more prominent this year.

For starters, fasting sometimes can be compared to dieting psychologically. You don’t really think you are that attached to something in your life, and then Boom! You tell yourself you are going to go without it, and it seems to be the only thing that you really want. This phenomenon usually goes along with the fasting.

The first thing I noticed was that I indulge myself. If I want a cup of tea, I make it. If I want a cookie, I eat it. If I want to watch a television program, I turn on the TV and watch it. I don’t normally think of it as Self-indulgence, but when I stop doing it, my Self is not happy.

My Self wants to be catered to. It wants what it wants and it wants it now. It doesn’t like to be told “No.” It wants to be a little god and sit on the throne of my life calling all of the shots. It is strong and it is powerful and it is not easily dissuaded. If I want to kick it off the throne, it is going to take some deliberate effort and some discipline.

When I fast, I fast for different reasons. It could be to get God’s attention on a subject or it could be to get a prayer answered. This year I wanted to draw closer to the Lord. That sounds like something positive to do, but my Self, the carnal part of my nature, doesn’t like it. It wants to be in charge of my life and it doesn’t want to give an inch. This battle can go on daily and even hourly when I fast. 

I have never been successful on a fast in my own strength. The only way I have managed to give up something for a while is that I was able to do it in the strength the Lord gave me. When He was in charge, i.e. sitting on the throne of my life, I was able to continue the fast. I was able to put Self in its proper place.

The biggest takeaway I learned this year was that this god of Self is real. If I don’t want Self to be in charge of my life, I am going to have to quit indulging it so much. I am going to have to be aware of it daily and make an intentional decision to not allow it to call all of the shots in my life. Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me.”

The ultimate question for me is, “Which god will I follow…the god of Self or the God I want to follow, the Lord Jesus Christ?” 

He is Risen!

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“And Behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became as dead men. 

But the angel answered and said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for He is risen.”  Matthew 28:  2-6

Drama

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Most of us like a bit of drama…without it life becomes boring. There is drama all around us, most of which comes in the form of emotional outbursts used to get  our attention. But if you like drama, you will love the real actual drama that took place the night of the last supper. 

Jesus gathered his disciples around Him and instituted a New Covenant.  He took bread, gave thanks, and broke it, saying, “This is my body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” He then took a cup of wine, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood which is shed for you.” Christians around the world continue to repeat this ceremony when they celebrate the Sacrament of Communion. 

Immediately after this, Jesus spoke these shocking words, “My betrayer is with me at the table.” This is drama indeed. One of His twelve disciples, who had walked with Him for three and a half years would betray Him. This is the scene depicted in Leonardo Da Vinci’s painting, “The Last Supper.” The Scripture says, “Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.” 

Judas Iscariot is the villain in this scene. We know it because we have read the rest of the story. We look down on him and feel self-righteous. Peter also felt self-righteous when Jesus told him that he would be tested. He told Jesus he was ready to go to prison and even die for Him. Jesus told him that he would deny him three times before the cock crowed the next morning.

When we look at this painting or read this story in the gospels, we should not feel so self-righteous. We are all guilty of betraying the Lord and denying Him. Every time we harbor hatred in our heart, we are betraying him and everything He stood for. Every time we choose the world over Christ, we are denying Him. When we examine ourselves, we find that we are guilty, too. We realize how far short we have fallen in following Christ.

You want drama…real drama? We should put ourselves in the scene and realize our own shortcomings. That should engage us emotionally and enhance the drama of the scene that was enacted two thousand years ago. 

The Crux of Christianity

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Today begins Holy Week, the most sacred week in Christianity, the week that Christians remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. So what is Christianity about, what do Christians believe?

1. Christians believe that man is lost in sin. He cannot by his own merits enter heaven when he dies. (For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23)

2. God in his mercy sent his son, Jesus, to die on the cross for us and pay the penalty for our sin. (For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16)

3. That if we come to God and confess our sins, He will forgive them. (If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9)

4. That we must be born again. (Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3)

5. We must ask God for this new life and that He will give us the gift of His Holy Spirit. (And Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins ;and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”)

6. It is a free gift for all who will ask Him. (For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9)

This week, especially, we think of Jesus and we meditate on the price He paid for our sins. We are thankful for what He did for us and that is why Friday is called Good Friday; his death on the cross was good for the world. Sunday, the day known as Easter Sunday, is the day He rose from the dead and appeared to his disciples. We can live in victory and hope because of his victory over death, hell and the grave. This is the crux of Christianity.

May you all have a blessed Holy Week!