Monday, January 28, 2013

Thank You For Helping The Alexander Family

Thank you so much for your kind doantions to the Alexander family! Above is a picture of what remains of their home. As you can see, not much. I did take the donate button off of the blog today, but if you still want to contribute feel free to contact me and I will help your donation get to them. God bless you!

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Chance to Help a Family in Need: The Alexander Family

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Wednesday night, the Alexander family lost their home and almost all of their belongings in a house fire.  Christopher and Darcy Alexander and their 2 teenage boys have spent the past year traveling to various churches in attempts to raise funding and support that would place them on the mission field in Budapest, Hungary.  As you can imagine, this will feel like quite a setback for them.  But we know that despite the attacks of Satan, our God is bigger.  Our prayer is that God would use this tragedy to someway help them achieve their goal.  But, in the meantime, they have a great amount of need.  Here is our chance to rise up around them and be used of God to not only pray for them, but to be a part of the answer. 

If you would like to donate (no amount is too small) please click the Paypal donate button to the right in the sidebar.  I am hoping to get all donations to them by Monday.  Please email this, share it on social networking, do whatever you can to get the word out so we can help them in a tremendous way.

God bless!


Note**if you are uncomfortable sharing via Paypal and prefer another method of giving, please feel free to contact me here or on Facebook. Paypal is a safe way to pay and in no way will I have any access to your account information if you use it. Thanks!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Keeping My Heart

Proverbs 4:23-27

My son, give attention to my words;
Incline your ears to my sayings.
Do not let them depart from your eyes;
Keep them in the midst of your heart;
For they are life to those who find them,
And health to all their flesh.
Keep your heart with all diligence,
For out of it spring the issues of life.
Put away from you a deceitful mouth,
And put perverse lips far from you.
Let your eyes look straight ahead,
And your eyelids look right before you.
Ponder the path of your feet,
And let your ways be established.
Do not turn to the right or the left,
Remove your foot from evil.

Today I am pondering the things I put before my eyes and the impact they have on my heart and mind.  What a beautiful reminder from God's Word.  Time to put aside some things that weigh my soul down and immerse it in truth.  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tomato Rice-A Healthy Alternative to Rice-A-Roni

We love Mexican food.  Not real Mexican food, American distorted Mexican food.  Tacos, enchiladas, and the like.  Since my journey to cook healthier, I have bemoaned pre-packaged anything.  Even things you but in health food stores are made with vegetable and soy oils.  Thus started the search for home made recipes to replace the Mexican rice that we all love.  Of course, it is a bit more time consuming, and I highly recommend making your own stock, but it is worth it in the end!  Here is a recipe I found for Tomato Rice:

2 Cups Chicken or Beef Stock
2 T. Coconut oil
1 Small onion, minced
1 C. Long-grain rice (organic if you can find it)
1 t. Salt
1/2 t. Ground Cumin
1 Medium tomato peeled, seeded and chopped (I skip the peeling and seeding and just chop away)
1 T. Tomato paste
1 T. Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat the stock until just simmering.  Remove from heat, cover and set aside.  Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan.  Add the onion and rice and cook over medium heat just until the onion is softened, about 5 min.  Stir in salt, cumin, tomato, tomato paste, and cook for 1 minute more stirring to incorporate.  Gradually add the warm stock, stirring to blend.  Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and cook until the rice is tender and all of the liquid is absorbed, around 30-40 minutes.  Fluff with a fork and stir in cilantro.  Serve immediately.

Invisible Bonds

"God's method of binding souls to obedience is similar to His method of keeping the planets in their orbits--that is, by flinging them out free.  You see no chain keeping back these shining worlds to prevent them from bursting away from their center.  They are held in the grip of an invisible principle...And it is by the invisible bond of
Love to the Lord who bought them--that ransomed men are constrained to live soberly and righteously, and godly."~William Arnot

Friday, March 23, 2012

Who is the Pharisee?

I've had this post rolling around in my head for a long time.  It is a delicate issue and has taken a lot of thought to be able to express in words.

There are a few "buzz-words" in Christianity that are ill-defined.  One of them is legalism.  When we think of legalism in the Bible, we almost immediately think of the Pharisees.  The Pharisees were a religious group that were extremely adamant about keeping all aspects of the given law.  Despite that point, Jesus pointed out that they were lacking, or lost.  I think that the idea of the Pharisees can not only cause us to stumble, but can also divide us greatly.   We know that Jesus did not come to abolish the law, but rather fulfill it but Salvation by grace alone through faith alone doesn't give us free-license to do whatever we want to do--I think we can all agree on that!  Jesus wasn't condoning adultery when the he stood up for the woman the Pharisees dragged before Him.  He confronted their hearts (aka motives) and then dealt with her by telling her to turn form her own sin.    Like the Pharisees, we can be very focused on God's Word and what it teaches--and that's a good thing.  But like the Pharisees, we can also do it for the wrong reasons and without love.  That's a bad thing.  But there is something else is far more successful at dividing the Church: judging the heart.

A few Sundays ago as I was sitting in church listening to a sermon about the attitudes of the Pharisees, our pastor made a statement and the first thing that flashed through my mind was:  I wish ________ (insert name here) could have heard that!  I have a feeling that I am not alone.  If you tell me that you have never sat in a sermon thinking: "I wish so-and-so could hear this!" then, well, I don't believe you.  We've all done it.  I recognized the irony in my thought almost immediately and felt ashamed.  And then my mind wandered to the many times that I felt anger or "judged" by someone else's convictions.  For instance,(and please excuse me for this illustration, it simply seems to be the most obvious) my mind will say that so-and-so always wears dresses so she must be judging me for wearing pants.  Logically, that is not true, yet my sinful mind wants to convict that person of judging me when chances are, they haven't.  It is possible that this person does it because it is what she believes God desires from her, yet she doesn't see pants as wrong.   I actually know many women who believe that way.   Paul addresses this issue in his letter to the Romans.  Evidently, the Roman church was struggling with judging the convictions of others.  Notice I say the convictions....not the sins!  Big difference!  The Bible instructs us to judge sin and deal with it.  It even gives us clear instruction on how to search our own hearts before confronting the sins of others.  (Matthew chapter 7)  But it never condones judging the heart.  That is for God and God alone!  No one but God can see into your heart and know the motives for what you do.  I believe that this is what Paul was addressing in Romans chapter 14.  How beautiful it is to be able to sit alongside another believer who had different convictions than you and be in perfect unity despite it!

That brings me back to the Pharisees.  The things they did were good.  Yet Jesus, who was qualified to judge their hearts, addressed the motive behind their obedience.  Why did He do that?  Was it so that we could recognize a Pharisee when we see one?  Um,  If you have followed my logic, you will see that the only ones qualified to address YOUR heart and YOUR motives are you and God.  More than that, when we think of others who hold different convictions as "Pharisees" we committed a great irony.  Since you are not qualified to judge the intentions of others, you have labeled them with a title that you yourself deserve.  Being a Pharisee is about judging the heart.  Ouch.

I started thinking about Nicodemus.,  He was a Pharisee, yet he had a desire to know what Jesus was teaching and to know whether or not it was truth.  When I read his story, I have a hard time believing that he was that terrible of a person-Pharisee or not.  Nicodemus was the one who eventually stood up to the Pharisees and asked the question:  Does our law judge a man before it hears him and knows what he is doing?  John 7:52  Nicodemus got it.  After his encounter with Jesus, he understood what it meant to judge someone without knowing all of the facts!  Eventually, he reappears in chapter 19 providing spices with which to embalm his Savior.  He is a changed man.  Thank you Jesus for not dismissing him or giving up on him!

I have a feeling that a little bit of pride-lovin' Pharisee lives in each of us.  I wonder, however, how the Body of Christ would look if we could all do what we can to kill our inner Pharisee?  I wonder, if we could simply accept the convictions of others without feeling judged, or better yet, just sit and talk with them and attempt to understand them.  Get to know them.   I am sure it would take us moving far out of our comfort zone, but God never instructed you to even build a comfort zone!  It isn't horribly important that we all agree on everything, but the proper response to feeling conviction would be to search it out for ourselves and find what we believe to be true according to God's Word.  We also need to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us in the matter.  If we are firm enough in our own convictions, then we really shouldn't feel judged by what others believe (unless they admit that they are judging us then in reality, it is more their problem than yours!)

How different would we be if we understood that the only one we are qualified to judge as a Pharisee is ourselves?  
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