Have you ever had freedom cake? I just did! With it’s great flavor and unique patriotic colors its like fireworks to me! Actually not just me but so many others! My friend Michelle stated ” It’s like Heaven in my mouth!” Travis said “Theres a sweet side to Independence day!” By the way theres a Freedom Concert happening on July 3rd! Check it out & Get your tickets at Compass Cafe’! Tickets enter you into a raffle for a chance to win a 4 wheeler!
I read the sweetest little book the other day. The Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook by Stephen Elkins is a wonderful book for your little ones, or your friends’ little ones, or your neighbors’ little ones…whoever!
There are 40 stories in the book that highlight a particular trait of Jesus. The stories are titled “Jesus was Faithful”, “Jesus was Thankful”,” Jesus was Obedient”, etc. Each story starts with a Bible verse, nothing too complicated or lengthy so it’s easy for children to understand. Then there is a short story section that explains the Bible verse a little more and how it relates to the title of the story. The next section of the story is titled “Jesus in Me” and correlates the Bible verse to everyday situations that your children will encounter. Next comes a written prayer that you are encouraged to pray with your child. The last section of the story is a “To Be Just Like Jesus…” and offers practical ways your children can emulate to be just like Jesus!
Illustrated with endearingly cute characters (think Precious Moments but without the teardrop eyes), this book encourages parents and children to interact with the lessons being taught. Questions are encouraged and the reading you do with your child must be active, this is not a “go to sleep” read. The language is simple and at times funny so your kids can stay engaged and not get bored. The book is meant for 4-7 year olds, but you can also easily include younger members of your family. I read to my godson who is 2 years old and he liked the pictures a lot. It’s never too early to start instilling the values and traits that Jesus exemplified.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers. All opinions are my own.
Even on a bright sunny Saturday morning in New York City, there are still places to go & plenty to do! The travelers commuting that morning didn’t realize that Jesus would stop them right in their train tracks from just having another ordinary subway ride. Just as if Jesus would let them continue their weekly routine without making Himself known someway…. He will!
On Saturday morning, that way was through a group of evangelist consisting of different ages & special gifts. They rode the tracks with boldness as they qued the entry music for Jesus. He is the Savior of the whole world & indeed a soon-coming King! These people prepared the way by testifying about the deep hard things in their lives that was triumphed by Jesus! Testimonies ranged from depression, alcohol addiction & dying in the ICU. These situations were so impossible to get out of but they stand…
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Source: Choose Today
John 1:43-50(NKJV) The following day Jesus wanted to go to Galilee, and He found Philip and said to him, “Follow Me.” Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” And Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward Him, and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no deceit!” Nathanael said to Him, “How do You know me?” Jesus answered and said to him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” Nathanael answered and said to Him, “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus answered and said to him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.”
In the passage proceeding John 1:43-50 Jesus had just recruited Simon Peter and his brother Andrew and was headed to Galilee. He found Philip and said “Follow Me.” Well Philip wasn’t going alone so he goes to Nathanael and says that he’s found the Messiah, the one Moses and the prophets wrote about. Philip mentions that Jesus is from Nazareth and Nathanael, perhaps scornfully, replies “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip then tells him to come and see for himself. Then Nathanael meets Jesus and Jesus knows him already. Nathanael wants to know how He knows him. Jesus tells him that He saw him under a fig tree before Philip called him. Nathanael then professes his belief in the Christ saying “Rabbi, You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus scolds him saying, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” Jesus is saying don’t just believe based on a small thing. Jesus could’ve recognized Nathanael from actually seeing him sitting under a fig tree the day before! Jesus’ reprimand is warning against believing based on something anyone could tell you. If your belief is based on something like that, it will be short lived. Deep faith is based on seeing and experiencing the deep things of God.
The New Testament is full of references about seeing and believing. In fact John’s entire gospel is constructed around seven miracles which John records so that one may see and believe. Our current generation is a special breed of believers because although we may not have seen these same miracles yet we believe. Miracles, signs, and wonders still exist today, but many believers see or recognize them after coming to Christ. Let us be vigilant about observing such miracles today so that we may increase our own faith and witness to others through these signs.
Check out my guest post on the Lift Off blog!
Ever felt singled out for being single? Singles get the short end of an already short stick in contemporary society. You’ll pay the most for health insurance, you’ll pay an arm and a leg in taxes, AND you’ve got to buy birthday presents for each one of your coupled up friends yet they give you ONE gift on your birthday…it sucks. Today I want to remind you of two very important people in history who were single and changed the world drastically. Let me introduce you to Jesus and Paul! The Scriptures make it very clear that both men never married. So why is there such a stigma against singles? Churches need to affirm singles and not make singles second-class members unless they want to make Jesus and Paul second-class members of Christian tradition. HopeNYC does this by providing Lift-Off!
Let’s talk about covenant relationships for a minute. Covenant…
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I am not a feminist. Ouch. That’s a radical statement in this day and age. I’m going to ruffle a lot of feathers. Women are expected to be all about empowerment. We’re expected to side with our sisters in the struggle against the man. The suffrage movement is still alive and well with women at every corner fighting for their rights. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful to the women who worked tirelessly to make the government give women the right to vote, the right to equal pay, and the right to just have their own identity. However, my rights as a woman came from my Father. He already made me to be equal to any man – the governments have just been recognizing what’s already there.
I am not a feminist in the sense that I do not want to have power over my man. I am more than happy to give my husband the reins. He is the spiritual head of my household and the head of me. You have to be a Bible-believing Christian to understand why I’m ok with that. That doesn’t mean he tells me what to do. It doesn’t mean I am a pushover or I have no voice in my own house. I’m not one of those women who fought to keep their maiden names after marriage just to keep their identity – I couldn’t wait to change mine! The Bible says clearly that a man shall leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife. Meaning he and I are one. My identity now includes him. We make decisions together, we respect each other’s choices, and we work to make each other happy.
My man is a better cook, a better house cleaner, and a better driver than me. He cooks, I wash the dishes. He drives me around wherever I need to go. He irons his own shirts, picks out his own clothes, and buys himself underwear and socks. He takes care of me and I take care of him. I daresay by not being a feminist, my marriage is a lot happier than most others out there.
Women like me are persecuted for not going along with feminist ideals. Other women try to make us feel bad because we’re not feminists. The feminist movement is all about empowerment and women doing what make them happy – my choices for my life with my husband make me happy and above all empower me to work for God’s kingdom. In the end, that’s all that matters.
Following up on my last blog where I talked about my writing talents, I know God has a purpose for gifting me in that way. It is my duty to cultivate and use that gift in a way that is most pleasing to Him. The Bible says that we must give account for every idle word. So now I strive to not let any of my words fall by the wayside – but to use them for the furtherance of God’s kingdom! One of my passions is missions. While doing missions work in Panama, I have seen what poverty in childhood is like. My heart is to reach children all over the world and show them the love of Jesus Christ. With that being said, I am pleased to announce that I have joined Compassion International’s Blogger network to highlight the needs of children in impoverished countries. I don’t get paid to do this; rather it is my distinct honor and privilege to be able to help in some small way.
Meet Judah, a beautiful, healthy little boy full of energy and life. His mama tells his story in this short video. Judah was born with a heart defect that could’ve had him hooked up to medical equipment for the rest of his life. But because Judah and his parents had access to excellent medical care and of course because of Jehovah Rapha – the Lord our Healer – Judah was healed! His name means “praise”, and by this sweet boy living his life every day, it is praise to God!
Children in impoverished countries lack access to basic necessities that we take for granted every day. Clean water, food, and medicine are all essential for these babies to grow and thrive. Think about your own child, your niece or nephew, your godchildren, grandchildren, your 2nd cousin twice removed, whoever! Think about what lengths you would go to get them anything they needed. Jesus plainly says in Matthew 25:40 ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Let us do for these little ones as Jesus would have us do!
The Lord dropped an idea for a book in my Spirit a couple of nights ago. Right when I was about to drift off to sleep the idea wafted into my mind’s eye. It was brilliant! Here’s the thing though, I couldn’t remember it the next day. Luckily, I had remembered to sleepily grab my phone and jot the idea down before I fell asleep. But I didn’t actually remember I had written it down until a day or two later when I looked at my memos. Lesson learned – write everything down!
I have been toying with the idea of writing a book since I was in 4th grade and my teacher told me I was such a good writer that I would definitely be writing a book someday. She made this statement based on a strange little story I had written about some scary monsters having a Halloween party. She thought I was ultra creative, however, many of the details I included in that story were borrowed from other stories and books I had read. I just changed some names, mashed it all up and wrote it down. That made me a plagiarist – but since she hadn’t read the same books I had, she never caught on and therefore thought I was a genius. I went to school in a time when having a computer at school was a luxury; our classroom had one station with one of those tiny Apple computers. My story had impressed my teacher so much that she rewarded me by letting me type the story on the computer and make a picture on Kid Pix (remember that??) to go with it! All my classmates were jealous and it made me feel special and important especially since I wasn’t very popular.
Even with that incident of plagiarism, it turns out I actually was a good writer. When I got to high school I was placed in honors English classes my freshman year. In college I consistently scored A’s on papers and essays, prompting one classmate to offer me free personal training sessions if I would write his papers for him (I never took his offer, nor wrote his papers.) One professor even asked to keep one of my essays as an example for future students on how to write a perfect essay. Yet, even with the accolades, I still felt like a fraud. You see, I didn’t think I was a good writer. Maybe I wrote a little better than most people but I sure wasn’t a New York Times bestseller writer. I wondered what made me so special. What made people read my work and exclaim over it? One day I happened to come across a stack of those old writings and I read them over. Something like a light bulb went off in me because as I read them, I was impressed with what was written. And then it hit me, I wrote that!!! I know it sounds strange but as I was reading, I really was astonished that such words could have come from me. Even now, I can go back and read things I’ve written in the not too distant past (blog posts for example!) and surprise myself with what I wrote.
What’s the point of all this? I’m not introducing the book I’m writing – that may take some time. Rather I’m issuing a challenge – I’m asking you to re-examine yourself. As I can go back and take pride in my writing and see the talent that I possess, look back at the things in your life that don’t seem so special – you may find a hidden talent or gift. There are treasures in you, God put them there Himself when he formed you in your mother’s womb. What can you discover today?
When I was asked to speak at Wildfire – HopeNYC’s dynamic teen ministry service – I was absolutely terrified. At first I thought I was afraid because teenagers are just intimidating. However, when I prayed and dug deep into the Spirit I realized what I was so afraid of was not delivering the word of God in a way that was pleasing to Him. It brought to mind one of my favorite verses: Galatians 1:10 Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.
So I asked myself, “are you really getting so worked up about what these teens are going to think about you? Get worked up about pleasing God!” Romans 8:5-6 says “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”
Did you hear that? – the mind governed by the flesh is DEAD, but the mind governed by the Spirit is LIFE! So many of us are living to please ourselves and to please others. We may be living to win approval or living to gain affection. My question today is what are you living for? Are you living in the fast lane because you care about what people think? If that’s the case, where is that fast lane taking you? Where are you taking yourself? You’re driving your vehicle on a fast road through life, but again I ask, where are you going? You might find that the road leads to a dark place where depression cripples you. You might find yourself living with severe anxiety that turns your stomach into knots. You might find yourself waking up in yet another strange bed after a night of partying. You’re driving yourself to these places, but what if you had a different driver? Not a backseat driver who thinks they know better than you but a driver who would take the wheel of your vehicle and lead you to a place of rest, a place of safety, and a place of peace. I’m here to tell you there is such a driver and his name is Jesus! Someone say Jesus take the wheel!
When you say Jesus take the wheel, something happens. You’re probably used to knowing it all; in fact you’re smarter than anybody you know. You’re independent. So when you say Jesus take the wheel, you’re not in control anymore and that’s scary. But you’ll see you life begin to change. The things you cared about, the things that you knew weren’t good for you, you shun them. You will literally feel sick when you encounter them. The things that use to bother you, the things that caused you severe anxiety, now you could care less about. Those people who were your friends, the backseat drivers, who tried to take the wheel, they’ve disappeared. Actually no, they’ve just migrated to another vehicle and they’re trying to run you off the road.
I mean I get it, it isn’t popular to choose Jesus. You’re not gonna make tons of friends by choosing Jesus, in fact you’ll lose a bunch of them! But that’s exactly what the Bible says – it’s exactly what Jesus himself said in Matthew 24:9 “you will be hated by all nations because of me.” You’re gonna be persecuted and ridiculed for His name but you shall be blessed because you have been persecuted. Because the Bible also says in Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The kingdom of heaven??? Yes, the kingdom of heaven is ours! That is our inheritance because we are in Christ! Why throw it away to build our own kingdom on earth? Why throw that chance away by living a life displeasing to God!
When my husband and I first met, he drove a 1995 Honda Accord. It was champagne colored and he kept the paint job on it spotless. That car had neon lights hooked up on the inside. The lights were attached to the radio so when the music played, the lights would blink in the same rhythm of the music. He kept the rims super shiny; the tires were treated with ArmorAll regularly. He did all that because he thought that car would impress me. Meanwhile I was impressed with the driver! I’m telling somebody today to get impressed with The Driver!!! Get impressed with Jesus Christ. Get close to him! Tell Him – “Jesus take the wheel!”