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Friday, April 06, 2018

Prone to Wander Phone Cases




"Prone to wander far from thee," the song says, and if we are honest with ourselves, we would admit that our hearts are prone to wander far from God at times. When the cares of life overcome us, we can take comfort in knowing that God understands and He is ready and willing to bring us back to Him. To remind us of His love and steadfast presence, Prone to Wander LA has created the beautiful phone cases you see in the pictures above. The company Prone to Wander takes its name from the hymn "Come Thou Fount," and it exists to bring God's word to us "in the little things we carry, wear or see everyday." These phone cases fit nicely on my iPhone 5 or any phone around that size.

You can win one of these cases by entering the giveaway here: https://www.blessedfreebies.com/p2wgiveaway.html or you can use the entry form below:


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Friday, March 30, 2018

The Power of the Cross

 My mother loved reading and she encouraged me to read a lot when I was a child. I always enjoyed the books she read to me and had  me read back to her, but one thing I didn't enjoy was the story of the crucifixion which she had me read one Good Friday. I remember hoping that when Jesus was arrested there would be a happy ending like most of the stories I read, that Jesus would not be crucified. But of course, it didn't end that way, and I wept inconsolably.

Today, even as an adult and a Christian, I no longer weep when I think of the cross, but as I reflect on Jesus's crucifixion, my heart fills with horror and sorrow for what He endured for you and me.The pain, the agony, the shame was more than we can ever imagine. However, I know now that the cross was God's plan of redemption for mankind, and that He, and Jesus, agreed on that plan before the foundation of the world. And so instead of the cross being a symbol of shame, it became a symbol of power and victory.

 Everyday cares and concerns may cause you to feel like you are bearing a cross. When you do, remember the cross. Remember that Jesus bore it all for you. Your sin and mine has been wiped away because of the cross. Jesus could have chosen not to go to the cross, but instead He prayed, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Matthew 26: 39). Jesus died on the cross, but death could not overcome Him. In the same way, we who believe in Him  have the victory because of the cross.  Sickness, poverty, death all have to bow to the power of the cross. Halleluiah!

Would you like to know more about the cross and what it means for mankind? I have written a short story that you can read in less than an hour. It's called For God So Loved. It won an honorable mention in a Writer's Digest contest. You can  get it free from now until Monday 3/2/2018. Just click on this link.. You will not only get my book but also your choice of other Christian-themed books for your Easter reading AND a chance to win a $25 gift card. Enter this giveaway now.

God bless

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Florida's Latest Tragedy




Celebrate His Love
To help you get your mind in tune to the Easter season, I am inviting you to join an exciting giveaway taking place right now until Easter. It's called Celebrate His Love and features several Christian-themed books that you can pick up for FREE. And when you enter the giveaway, you also stand a chance to win a $25 gift card. My ebook, For God So Loved: The Story Behind Easter, which won an honorable mention in a Writer's Digest contest is on the list. So please get your FREE books and invite your friends to do so as well. God bless you.

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"The righteous cry out, the LORD hears and he rescues them from all their afflictions. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted, saves those whose spirit is crushed. Many are the troubles of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him from them all. Psalms 34: 18-20 These words were quoted by Senator Marco Rubio of Miami, Florida a few hours after a newly-constructed bridge at Florida International University (FIU)collapsed, killing and injuring several people. This is the second major tragedy to hit the sunshine state in about a month. Even though I don't know anyone who was affected, the tragedy hit home as FIU is my alma mater.

When the unexpected happens, how do we cope? Can we pick up the pieces and move on?

In this season of Lent, we may do well to read the account of what it must have been like for Jesus's disciples following His death. To say they were devastated is an understatement. Their Lord and Master had been taken from them and crucified. Executed in the most inhumane way possible. And, as far as they knew, Jesus had done nothing wrong. In fact, He'd only done good. Healed the sick, fed the hungry, raised the dead. Why hadn't he raised himself? Or prevented the Roman soldiers from killing him?

The disciples could make no sense of this horrible tragedy.

But that day on the road to Emmaus, two of them did what should be done when we experience a tragedy:

1. They talked about it. "Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them;" Luke 24: 13 - 15

2. They reached out to Jesus. "As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them" (v 28- 30).
In our grief and pain we may not think of the needs of others, but these men extended their hospitality to Jesus - even though they didn't recognize Him - and invited Him to stay with them as it was late in the day.

3. They took care of themselves. Jesus joined the disciples at their dinner table.  When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them(v 30).
During a tragedy, we may find it difficult to eat, but we must make the effort. Going without food and drink can cause your body to weaken and collapse under the strain.

4. They stayed together. "They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together" (v 33). When you are going through the stress of a loss or any form of tragedy, you may be tempted to isolate yourself, but this is the time when you need the companionship of trusted friends and relatives.

5. Pray. We don't see the disciples praying in this chapter, but we know that they prayed a lot. "They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers" (Acts 1: 14). Prayer, Bible reading and fellowshiping with others will give you the encouragement to get through this trying period.

We all experience tragedy at some time, but when this occurs, we can draw on the resources that God has given us and look to Him who is "our strength and refuge."

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Billy Graham's Legacy

I was not born in America but I grew up listening to the evangelist Billy Graham every Sunday. My mother would serve lunch at the exact time that "The Hour of Decision" weekly broadcast came over the radio, and we would all have lunch while listening to the evangelist. Even though I was too young to understand his message, his earnest voice struck a chord in my young heart that would impact my life for years to come.

As I grew older, watched his crusades on television and read about his life, I became convinced that Billy Graham was sent by God to draw people to Christ. How else could he have preached to over 200 million people all over the world and have them respond in the way they did? He never danced and pranced on stage, he didn't promise miracles, all he did was preach the gospel of Jesus Christ in a clear and simple way and invite people to "Come." And they left their seats in droves and went up to the altar to have their lives transformed by the powerful gospel message. Such was the charisma of this great man.

I chose to write about Billy Graham today, not because he passed away a few days ago, but because this is Black History month and even though Dr. Graham was not black, his influence extended to the black community as well. While he has been criticized for not taking a strong stand on racial issues and for not marching with Dr. King, it is well documented that Billy Graham refused to preach to segregated audiences in the South and even removed the ropes himself that divided the people. I think to do that in a period of racial tension that existed in the fifties and sixties was nothing short of courageous. In one account about the relationship between Dr. King and Dr. Graham, it is said that Dr. King advised Graham to continue preaching to integrated audiences and he would continue to march. This, King believed, would pave the way for him to make inroads in the South. Some say this has not been authenticated.

Dubbed "Counselor to the Presidents," Billy Graham was well known for his meetings with every president since Harry Truman. Some of these meetings took place at the White House, others on the golf course and in other informal settings, but President Barack Obama was the first president to meet with the famed evangelist at his log cabin home in North Carolina.

Whatever stance, or lack of, Billy Graham may have taken on civil rights issues, one cannot deny the impact he had on evangelism and on the lives of millions. Our society and the world owe a huge debt of gratitude to this great man.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Thoughts And Prayers

Over the past few days you may have heard the above words used several times as our nation once more grapples with another massacre, one that took the lives of 17 innocent people - staff and students.

Thoughts and prayers sound nice and they are nice -- when that is all that can be done. But in many cases, it takes more than thoughts and prayers to fix a situation.

Jesus did more than think and pray when he was faced with 5000 hungry people in a deserted place far from Mc Donald's. (Matthew 14: 15 - 21)

He did more than think and pray when the sick was brought to him. (Matthew 4: 24)

And He did more than think and pray when his friend Lazarus died. (John 11: 43)

But, you say, these are miracles. Jesus was able to do them because He was God.

True. Jesus did what He could do to show us that we need to follow His example and do what we can do.

So, I repeat what I said above: Thoughts and prayers sound nice and they are nice -- when that is all that can be done. However, thoughts and prayers need to be backed up with action.

A hungry person needs food, a sick person needs medical care, a tired person needs rest, a homeless person needs shelter. And a society besieged by gun violence needs protection.

If all we can do is think and pray, let us pray for those in authority that God will touch their hearts so they will do what needs to be done to prevent this slaughter of innocent lives.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. King's Legacy

Today we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, civil rights activist who passed away forty-nine years ago. Dr. King was not just an activist, but also a Baptist minister who displayed his Christian beliefs in his fight for civil rights by advocating nonviolence and racial equality.

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech is still hailed as a masterpiece of oratory and stirs my heart no matter how many times I hear it. One line that is often quoted and stands out for a lot of people is this: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I have a dream today!"







It is ironic that fifty-four years after Dr. King delivered that speech, this dream remains just that - an elusive dream.  Oh sure, we have made great strides. We have had an African-American president, and minorities play a great role in every sector of our society, but some people are still marginalized because of the color of their skin, or where they were born. 

But there is a saying, "the more things change, the more they seem the same." In Jesus's day, racism -and segregation - was rampant. Take this conversation with the Samaritan woman. Jesus saith unto her, give me to drink. (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.) The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans. ) John 4: 7 - 9.

The woman was stating a known fact. Jews did not associate with Samaritans, who were considered inferior as they were a mixed race. Jesus was on a mission to change all that. After He'd spoken to the woman, she went and told the people of the village what Jesus had told her and they all came out to meet Him.  

And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did. And many of the Samaritans of that city believed on him for the saying of the woman, which testified, He told me all that ever I did (John 4: 39 - 40).

The story doesn't end there. The book of Acts tells us, "When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria" (8: 14).



From that one meeting with a woman at the well, a whole nation was saved. Jesus's message is as clear now as it was then, and we have a great reminder in the legacy of Dr. King.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Dealing With Your Past

Do you sometimes feel that no matter what you do you cannot live down your past? Do you keep looking back at where you came from and think you will never get to where you want to be. That may very well happen. Someone said, the reason the rear view mirror is so small and the windscreen so big is because what happened in your past is not nearly as important as what's in your future.

God puts it this way:  "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29: 11). 

When we are in Christ, we can look with confidence to the future because He holds our future. In the Bible, there is a woman named Mary Magdalene, who seemed shackled to her past. Whenever people spoke of her, they would refer to her as the woman out of whom went seven devils even though she'd been healed and was now a follower of Jesus Christ. He saw her as a new creature, clothed in His righteousness, and so when He rose from the dead, He chose her to be the one to go and spread the good news.

Are you like Mary Magdalene today? See yourself as God sees you, a new creature. The past is over. 2017 is behind you. Learn from its lessons, but don't keep looking into that rear view mirror, or you may end up where you don't want to be. 

"Behold, I will do a new thing; now shall it spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert" (Isaiah 43: 19).

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