Archive of ‘Faith’ category

A Christian Girl Walks into a Bat Mitzvah…

Psalm 133

Background Photo Source: WikiCommons

No, it’s not a joke with a punchline. I was recently invited to share in a friend’s Bat Mitzvah.

I am a little ashamed to say I have lived a rather sheltered Christian life. I grew up in a Nazarene Church. For a time during my teenage years I was exposed to what I can only describe as a doomsday Biblical Church. As an adult I attended a Nazarene Church for many years, and currently attend a non-denominational Christian Church.

There was this one time I attended Mass with my one Catholic friend. And Jewish? Well, I have eaten Latkes and Brisket…but that is as close as it gets. I read about other religions, but I haven’t had much personal experiences with different faiths other than my own.

So, when I was invite to this thing called a Bat Mitzvah, I was excited to learn more about the Jewish faith.

WHAT IS A BAT/BAR MITZVAH? It is the “coming of age” ceremony in the Jewish religion. The teen or pre-teen is considered an adult in the Jewish Community. For boys this is at 13-years-old, for girls it is at 12-years-old.

It was an honor to share this momentous occasion with these friends…even if I had no idea what they were saying because the ceremony was spoken mostly in Hebrew, with some English thrown in for us non-Jewish.

Mostly I was impress with the young lady, Sydney, at the center of her Bat Mitzvah. She spent countless months learning Hebrew. To speak in front of a room full of people, in a language she just learned…well, it’s impressive!

When most 12-year-olds are a little distracted these days, she had the determination to push forward, even when it got really hard. Maybe it’s the mother in me…I got a little teary-eyed just watching her, and she’s not my kid!

My take away from this experience is Jews and Christians have a lot in common. We may disagree on who Jesus was (and other points), but fundamentally, Jews and Christian believe and worship the One, almighty God. We both believe in extending love to one another, and our enemies. We live by forgiveness, grace, and the same moral codes.

Jews and Christians share a common heritage, after all, Jesus was Jewish. We have the same desire to have an intimate relationship with God. And, that is good enough for me.

So, if you ever have the chance to share in a religious ceremony other than your own, don’t shy away from it. I hope that you will embrace it, learn from it, and who knows, you may realize you have more in common that you thought.

Thank you my friends from allowing our family to share in your special day.

* * * * *

LINKING UP with Holley Gerth’s Coffee for Your Heart.

Older and Wiser?

AnniversaryPoladoid

When we were dating. Polaroid Frame by CZ Designs

Nineteen years.

That’s how long my hubby and I have been married.

I had a starry-eyed view of what my marriage would be at 25 years old. Being that 19 years is a long time, I am definitely older, but am I  wiser than when I said, “I do.”?

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.

Gil: Oh?

Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!

Gil: What a great story.

Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it. ~from the movie, Parenthood.

That is the speech Grandma gives Gill in the movie, Parenthood. She was talking about life being like a roller coaster ride. The same can be said for marriage.

In the beginning you are excited, ready for the ride.

You hit a few bumps and reality sets in. You realize marriage is not going to be a smooth ride, like a fairytale, despite what Disney has told you.

And, now you are freaking out a little bit, wondering what you got yourself into.

There will be bumps on the track that you didn’t anticipate, that’s part of the ride. There are hardships, illnesses, sacrifice, and tough decisions. There are ups and downs, hair-pin curves and loops that turn you upside down. Good thing you have someone next to you to hold your hand!

You may get scared because it is not the ride you expected. There may be times you want the hell off this ride!

Marriage takes love, patience, forgiveness, faith, trust, and maybe a seat belt. It’s not for the weak of heart. It’s not what you imagined. It’s not always happy days, passionate nights, or a smooth ride. It ebbs and flows with life.

Marriage is a roller coaster ride…with laughing, crying, and some screaming.

Don’t disrespect it. Don’t take it for granted. Celebrate it. Hold on for the ride.

And, if you sit back and go where it takes you…you’ll get more out of it.

 

 

Reaching the Most Unreached | myGFA

Do you wish you could be a part of reaching millions with Christ’s love?

There are people who are doing just that in small ways. I would like to introduce you to these people. August edition of Small Seeds is brought to you by Gospel of Asia and myGFA.

small seeds CORRECTED

Clara | Turned her love of sewing and her 18th birthday into a campaign for sewing machines for 19 women in Asia. Clara’s “Not Just a Hobby” campaign meant survival for those women who benefited from her generous heart. And, the best birthday gift of all is giving to someone in need. Read Clara’s story here.

Claire’s Church | Goal to raise $11,000 for church building in Asia. By the way, Claire is only 7-years-old! Churches not only provide a place of worship, but also is a symbol to the community of security and permanence. Read Claire’s story here.

Walker/Sali Wedding | Goal to raise $1,800 to fully fund five missionaries for one year. Although James and Rue set up a traditional gift registry, they found it in their hearts to prayerfully ask for a donation to help others too in lieu of gifts. Read their story here.

What I want you to know today:

97% of these unreached people live in an area called the 10/40 window. Yet, every $20 in the Western church, only 1¢ goes towards sharing the Good News in the area of greatest need. The 10/40 window also holds less than 1% of all Gospel literature and Christian broadcasting.

10-40window

Image courtesy of GFA

Why reach out? Because God reached out to us. It’s that Simple. It is our privilege as believers to share the Gospel with others.

How do we reach out? Over 85% of Asian countries do not allow Western missionaries to share the Gospel. However, thousands of national missionaries are committed to reaching their own people, no matter the costs.

What can you do? These missionaries need support from Christians around the world to share the love of Christ. GFA sends 100% of the money donated for work on the mission field to the designated project campaign. Nothing is taken out for administrative costs in the West.

myGFA

What’s your role in missions? I often ask myself this question. Not everyone can, or are called, to serve in the field. My mission? Bringing the Word of God to South Asia with Bibles. Can you imagine being a Christian but not having a Bible to study the Word of God?

Do you love Christ? Do you long to make a difference? Even the smallest contribution can make a huge difference in someone’s life today. That is the concept behind Small Seeds. Do something small today, and grow in compassion and faith in a big way.

START TODAY | Join the Small Seeds campaign, read about the above campaigns and join, or start your own campaign today!

Learn more about the great Unreached here.

*I am a Gospel for Asia blogger. I do not get paid for my endorsement; this is something I am passionate about writing. All information and stats are sourced from GFA.

 

About This #IceBucketChallenge for ALS

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

My favorite picture of Ron before ALS changed his life

My step-father, Ron McCormick died from ALS on July 4, 2011.

For 10 years he endured this terrible disease that is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. For many years we, as a family raised money for ALS research and participated as a team in the Walk to Defeat ALS in Colorado and Missouri, and attended candlelight vigils, but never thought about dumping ice water on our head!

This #IceBucketChallenge makes me smile. Seeing so many people getting involved with an organization that is committed to finding a cure for ALS is inspiring.

As of yesterday, (8/21/14) the ALSA has received $41.8 million in donations, as opposed to $2.1 million raised during this same time in 2013 (July 29 to August 21). ~ALS Association

There are haters out there, bashing this Challenge. Forget those people!

Anything that gets this much attention for ALS is a good thing. The more attention we bring to ALS, the better chance we have to find a cure, because cures are not cheap, people!

The following is an excerpt of a post I wrote for Ron on his 62nd birthday.

* * * * *

Ron in 2003

Ron McCormick turns 62 years old today. It’s a birthday to celebrate. He should eat lots of sugar-loaded cake. He should open presents from loved ones. He should kick up his heels, dance a little, maybe on a table. But he can’t because he was diagnosed with a fatal disease called ALS.

Ron is now completely paralyzed. He has lived with the disease for almost 9 years. Typical life expectancy is 3-5 years after diagnosis. So he has lived far beyond the “norm”. But he is tired. He is weary.

Ron in 2010

Ron in 2010

Ron has been on a ventilator for more years than I can remember (since 2003). He can’t eat. He can’t drink. He can’t swallow. He has a feeding tube. His throat has to be suctioned out continually. He can’t sit up on his own. He can’t talk. He only “talks” using a special computer. My mom and his caregivers try to read his lips but over the years that has become almost impossible. He can’t walk. He can’t hug his grandchildren. He can’t work on rebuilding his Monte Carlo. He needs 24/7 care, even though the state of Missouri doesn’t feel he “needs” it and will not pay for that kind of care. My mother is left to “fend for herself”, using whatever or whoever she can as a caregiver. Many of these people, although good-hearted, are not qualified to be this type of caregiver and they learn as they go (just as she has). With all this she also works a full-time job and takes care of Ron’s young grand kids.

* * * * *

This is why I give to the ALSA.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE…IT’S ABOUT FINDING A CURE. If dumping a bucket of ice-cold water on your head is the thing you are compelled to do for ALS, then go for it! I will watch your video, and applaud you. But also give money because that is really the point.

If you are like me, the idea of dumping ice-cold water on your head gives you chills, well, ALS will take your check without the ice water! Either way the ALS wins!

Because it’s time we found a cure!

Ron’s Story | What is ALS | ALSA | Walk to Defeat ALS

 

Inspiration For Your Weekend

Wizard of Oz 75 years

It’s the 75th Anniversary of The Wizard of Oz! Pop some popcorn, mix in some M&M’s, turn out the lights and have a movie night! Because, “There’s no place like home.”

Ann V Quote

Um, great minds think alike, I think. Thanks Ann Voskamp. Need some spiritual healing? Click on over to Ann’s blog this weekend.

GFA Isaiah Verse

Photo courtesy of GFA. Verse added by me, courtesy of Isaiah.

Sarah Bessey reminded me of something very important. Not that I really forgot, but sometimes we ‘turn off’ the evil in the world because our heart can’t take it. Remember what is worth fighting for, and what is not. What makes a difference, and what does not.

May you have a blessed weekend. May you look up and around and see that there is beauty around you. May you guard your heart against the evil in this world. May you pray for those who are fighting their own battle against evil.

An Open Letter to Our Elected Officials, No. 2

Dear elected officials,

It is with a heavy heart that I am writing this letter. I had high hopes for you. I had hoped that you would make good on your campaign promises. I believed you when you said you would change this country; make it better, greater, safer, stronger.

You said you could fix the health care system with ObamaCare. In order to do this the insured had to become uninsured to then become reinsured under the new health care reform. I would like you to know that it is the end of July, my husband and I have yet to receive our insurance cards under the new plan. I have spent almost nine hours of phones calls, mailing forms, taking forms to an office, sitting on hold to get YOUR new and improved plan. When I can buy a house easier and faster than health insurance, there is something wrong. Did you sign up for the same plan you forced me to? Of course, you didn’t.

You promised us safer communities for our children. Over the July 4th weekend 67 people were shot in Chicago alone. Eleven people died in one weekend! That is in Chicago, not Iraq. What are you doing for the children of this city? What are you doing to help the law enforcement combat the crime there? You post signs with #BringBackOurGirls, but where’s your #SaveChicagoChildren? Don’t you own a home there, President Obama? This is your town, right?

South American children are being exploited, abused and dying crossing the border into the U.S. You are housing these children at an estimated cost of $2.28 billion, while not allowing journalist to report the condition of the camps. You Tweet comments and hold up protest signs as if these children are not human beings. What these children need more than anything is compassion from the American people, not to be used as pawns in your political games. By allowing these children to stay in the U.S. you are a willing accomplices to more deaths. Mixed in with these children are dangerous gang members. Can you tell the difference?

You asked us, the people, to tighten our belts. You told us we must make sacrifices. You said there will be tough choices in the future. But, I ask, what sacrifices have you made? You have added to our national debt, closed government while still taking a paycheck, and taken expensive vacations on the taxpayer’s dime. Mr. President, you have taken 141 days vacation since taking office. “The typical U.S. worker at a private company gets 10 days of paid vacation and six paid holidays per year.” Do the math. Although, I believe everyone, especially you, needs down-time, you are oblivious to the cost of your expensive trips. We paid for that trip to Maui, Martha’s Vineyard and elsewhere. You owe the American people a thank you note.

You have broken your promises time and time again. The American people are tired of being thrown under the bus. We are tired of being lied to. For the good of this country, and my family, I must make some tough choices come election year. Unless you change your self-serving ways you will be asked to clean out your office. Go stand in the unemployment line that you helped create. Meet the people you should have been working for. Look into the faces of the struggling American families you promised to help. Ask them how they like the change in this country; the change in their lives.

Don’t wait until it’s too late.

Sincerely,
American Registered Voter

What to do When it Feels Like the World is Falling Apart

Okay. So.

I had a post ready for today. It is thoughts on our summer bible reading of Ephesians 5. I can’t post that today.

My heart is heavy.

I can’t post that when planes are shot down. When Hamas is raging war against Israel. When ISIS is persecuting Christians, forcing them from their homeland they have had for the past 2000 years. When girls are kidnapped from schools. When children are dying to cross the border. When war rages in Ukraine.

That’s heavy stuff.

So. What’s a girl to do when it feels like the world is falling apart?

When the chaos of the world crushes my heart.

When injustice reins and hope has been drowned out.

When I feel helpless and hopeless.

When I sit safe at home.

When there is nothing I can do but Tweet information and support for fellow Christians being killed for our faith.

When governments, the U.N. turn a blind eye.

When hashtags don’t help.

When evil runs wild, and good is hard see.

My heart needs protection. I desperately need it.

Ephesians6

Source: unlockingthebible.org

I need to put on the Armor of God, as Paul instructs us to do in Ephesians 6.

[10] A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. [11] Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. [12] For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

[13] Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. [14] Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. [15] For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. [16] In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. [17] Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

[18] Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18

Today, I will ‘put on all of God’s armor’.

Today, I will ‘pray for all believers everywhere’.

Today, I will ‘hold up my shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil’.

Today, I will ‘take the sword of the Spirit’ and ‘stand firm against all strategies of the devil.

Let it go…and Forgive Yourself.

let it go

Background photo by StockVault, text added using Ribbet

We all make mistakes.

It’s a pitfall of being human.

There are minor mistakes that we make when we are children and teenagers that we like to call “learning experiences”. The consequences aren’t very high. We learn from those mistakes and move on with our life. No harm done.

Then there are mistakes we make that take a lifetime to get over. Mistakes that have major consequences for ourselves or others. Mistakes that hurt others unintentionally, or intentionally. These mistakes have great impact and we have to live with it for the rest of our lives. And, sometimes we blame ourselves for another’s mistakes. As if we could have prevented their mistake.

Whatever the mistake, great or small, sometimes it takes time to forgive ourselves, even when we have already been forgiven. We may beat ourselves up over the situation. Dwelling on it. Playing the event out in our head, over and over. The mistake consumes us. Before long, we begin to believe that mistake defines us. We continue to punish ourselves for it.

We can’t let it go.

Forgiving others is easier than forgiving ourselves. Why is that?

The big question is how do we accept the mistakes we have made in the past? How do we stop punishing ourselves and let it go already? Where do we find hope and forgiveness?

The answer has been here all along. Forgiveness is a gift from God through Jesus Christ. God’s love is never defined by our past mistakes. He loves us no matter the mistakes. He gave us a way to let it go.

Repent from the heart and the slate is wiped clean. Simple.

Look what He did for a murderer named Moses. He turned Moses into a great and compassionate leader who lead the Israelites out of slavery. Paul, Matthew, David. The Bible is full of people who made mistakes but were forgiven anyway.

If He forgave those guys, He can do the same for you. Oh, wait. He already has.

Paul said, “I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13 (NLT).

Paul let it go.

Have you let it go? Or, have you been manipulated and controlled by your past mistakes?

Take Paul’s advice. Forget the past and look forward to the future. Give it all to God. Confess your sins, wrongdoings, mistakes.

He has already forgiven you. Now, it’s time to forgive yourself. 

LINKING UP with Holley Gerth Coffee for Your Heart, because she rocks! Please click on over and read more ladies who rock with encouragement.

A Little Encouragement from DaySpring & (in)courage

That’s a little encouragement for your weekend from (in)courage.

Here are a few of my favorite items from DaySpring with big savings. (This post contains affiliate links.)

Kind Words prints

Words Do Matter | Decorate your house with these encouraging Words Matter prints from DaySpring. Each are Buy 2, get 1 free! This new Words Matter Art Print Collection features Scripture and Inspirational quotes from the writers of (in)courage. You’ll find a selection of beautiful designs available in two different sizes, printed on high quality card stock. All Art Prints are Buy 2 Get 1 Free through July 30th with coupon code INPRINTFREE.

Dayspring-Mugs

Buy 2 Mugs, Get 1 Free! DaySpring is offering an exclusive coupon towards regular priced Mugs through October 30th! All Mugs, Teacups, Tumblers, and Water Bottles are Buy 2 Get 1 Free with the coupon code B2G1Mugs. New items have just been added. It’s a great way to get a head start on your holiday shopping.

Dayspring-BacktoSchool

Because it’s almost that time | Save on School Supplies too! Buy 5 or more school supply items and receive 30% off. From July 28-August 3, the U-NEEKS Encouragement Notes for Kids Set is available for FREE with any Back to School Purchase of $25 or more. Just use coupon code UNeekENC at checkout.

Happy Shopping from DaySpring!

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