Victory in Jesus

Yesterday, as I was sitting in the car, my mind began to wonder. Sometimes when that happens it’s a good thing, a creative idea will come to me or I’ll remember something I had forgotten. Other times, when my thoughts drift off, they’ll jump onboard the “Fear/Anxiety Train.” Unfortunately, I was on my way to the plush cushioned seats of Worry.

So that’s where I was mentally.

As my eyes glanced at the radio, I noticed what song had started to play…”No Longer Slaves” by Bethel. Just to give you a quick preview, the chorus of this song says:

I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

From my mother’s womb
You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

Yeah, pretty awesome. I started to sing the words and the Spirit reminded me of something really awesome. Are y’all ready?

The same power that raised Jesus from the dead, lives in us! Like, WHAT. I think many times we gloss over this, or don’t understand the actual meaning. But y’all, the power that raised our Savior from the grave? That brought him back to life? LIVES IN US.

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you,” ~ Romans 8:11

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth,” ~ Acts 1:8

It made me feel so empowered! And I could feel my fear being washed away as I meditated on this thought. Life can be really hard, and once in a while it’s wise to remind ourselves of whose we are. Children of the Most High. Princes and princesses of the King of kings. Creations of the Bright and Morning Star. Co-heirs with Christ (aka God of the universe). Friend of God.

And because of that, we have the privilege of being the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). God’s Spirit, to those who believe, resides in us. We can live in the victory of Jesus’ death and resurrection! We are truly free! In the life of Jesus, we have complete confidence of triumph. When we go through trials, struggles, pain, and suffering, let us remember that at the end of the day, in God, we are victorious! As Paul said, “perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9).

Perhaps you fight battles that no one knows, save for yourself and our Lord. Maybe you’re struggling with something that you think no one can possibly understand. Or it could be that right now your life is going perfectly. Everything is coming together exactly as you thought it would, and you couldn’t be more excited! Whether or not you find yourself in a season of waiting or one of great joy, let us never forget that in our Savior, we are VICTORS. CONQUERS. OVERCOMERS. WARRIORS.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:57

As we celebrate this fourth of July, remember where the true freedom lies. Between biting into a juicy hamburger and dipping your glistening silver spoon into a bowl of cold, soft ice cream, do not forget the high price that Jesus paid. When you watch the fireworks explode in beautiful displays of red, blue, and white, thank God for saving us from a lifetime of misery and sin. He set us free, and His freedom is the most valuable kind. Because even if the world goes to hell, the government crumbles, and everyone is in a panic, as Christians, we can still stand tall and say with confidence that we are free.

We know the truth and we have been delivered. Let us never forget the priceless gift of being a Child of God. We are free.

~ Southern Dreamer

Resurrected King ~ Part 2 of an Easter Story

***Author note: similar to biblical fiction, I am writing portions of this as if it were a novel to be read. I have pieced together how it could have occurred to the best of my ability. As far as I have researched, nothing I have taken the artistic liberty with, contradicts Scripture but please understand, that some parts I have had to assume or think of how it might have happened, in order for the writing to flow better. Take it with what you will, but obviously my writing is not the Word of God, only something written by a daughter of the King, trying to do His sacrifice justice***

“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it,” ~ Matthew 28:2

Mary Magdalene, Salome, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James (*there very likely could have been others, but these are the specific names given in Scripture, across the four Gospels*) went to the tomb of Jesus. Their hearts were heavy and weighted with sorrow at everything that had occurred. With them, they had spices in order to finish the burial preparations, which had to be left undone because of the Sabbath.

“Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” questioned one, turning to look at her companions for an answer (Mark 16:3). However, they were as much at a loss for a solution as she. Even still, they continued on.

They walked towards the tomb, grieving and remembering all that Jesus said. Sweet-smelling flowers greeted them when they entered into the garden (John 19:41), bringing in an aroma of life and hope that was desperately needed. Since they had left before dawn (Luke 24:1), there was barely any light to guide their way, and as such, the women made sure to walk with caution. As they approached, an earthquake caused the ground to shake and tremor! (Matthew 28:2)

What can this mean? thought one of the women, wondering what a second earthquake in only three days could signify.

And as the earthquake occurred, an “angel of the Lord descended from heaven” and rolled back the stone! He had white clothing, shining brilliantly.

The guards were terrified, and in such a state of fear (surely, they thought, death is near!) that they, “became like dead men” (Matthew 28:4). An entire troop of Roman guards reduced to a lot of unconscious men!

Image result for women at the tomb of JesusEntering into the tomb, the women expected to see the body of Jesus. The small amount of light that was able to enter into the grave, allowed them to see something shocking. Linen cloths, used to wrap the body, were folded neatly – with the face cloth in a separate place from the others (John 20:6-7). His body was no longer there!

Outside the tomb, Mary Magdalene wept. And looking within the burial, she saw two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been.

“They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus,” ~ John 20:13-14

“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” asked Jesus (John 20:15).

Image result for women at the tomb of Jesus

Because of the early hour, it was difficult to see because the sun had not fully risen. Thinking him to be the gardener, because of the tomb’s location, Mary replied, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Saying this, she turned back towards the inside of the tomb, where an angel had begun to speak. Tears still splattered down her cheeks, grief very much real.

“Do not be afraid for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Why do you seek the living among the dead? Come, see the place where he lay. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise,” said the angel (*taken from both Luke 24:5-7 and Matthew 28:5-6*).

Then, a single word caught her attention. Her name. “Mary.”

Turning back around, Mary realized that it was Jesus. Alive! Right before her! The last time she had seen him, he had been brutally whipped, beaten, and nailed to a cross. Red had painted his skin in crimson. She had watched him die…and now, here he stood! “Rabboni!” (John 20:16)Image result for women at the tomb of Jesus

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17).

The other women came out of the tomb, minds racing with this information. Their hands shook in astonishment, bodies trembling from the magnitude of it all (Mark 16:8). In a mix of emotions, each woman was filled with both fear and great joy from all they had heard and experienced (Matthew 28:8).

As they came out, Jesus greeted them.

Eyes wide and some, if not all, filled with happy, overwhelming tears. They came closer, bowing and touching his feet in worship. Oh the joy! To see him again! How wonderful, how marvelous.

“Do not be afraid,” said Jesus, “go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

~~~

I love this. Out of anyone he could have chosen, Jesus picked women to be the first ones to see him risen from the dead, and as the designated messengers to his disciples. The true greatness of this can be more appreciated, when we realize that back then, the testimony of women as witnesses was not always believed. Yet, he still chose them.

As a young, Christian woman, I’m so thankful that portions like this are included in Scripture, because it shows one example of how Jesus saw men and women – equal. He treated their witness as concrete and sound as a male’s, and in that day and age, this was uncommon.

(and maybe a tiny part of it had to do with the fact that women love to talk and he knew they would spread the word) xD

 As I celebrate Easter, I remember everything that our Savior went through – the rejections, the beatings, the whippings, the guilt and shame though he was innocent…dying on a cross. It amazes me that someone would willingly choose to do that for me. Heck, I don’t think I would do that for me; it’s mind-blowing.

Literally, I cannot compute why Jesus would do that. His unconditional love is so unlike human relationships that I find myself unable to comprehend it, and yet, I am so, incredibly thankful for his sacrifice and grace.

Let us never forget the very real sacrifice that our Savior went through, and always celebrate the fact that on the third day, death was DEFEATED and Jesus Christ rose from the grave!

~ Southern Dreamer

Darkness Fell ~ Part 1 of an Easter Story

“Die he or justice must; unless for him some other able, and as willing, pay the rigid satisfaction, death for death. Say heav’nly Powers, where shall we find such love, which of ye will be mortal to redeem Man’s mortal crime, and just th’ unjust to save, dwells in all Heaven charity so dear?” ~ Paradise Lost, John Milton 

Who will step forward? Will someone sacrifice the glories and perfection of heaven for the broken and trying life on Earth?

“He asked, but all the heav’nly choir stood mute, and silence was in Heav’n; on man’s behalf patron or intercessor none appeared, much less that durst upon his own head draw the deadly forfeiture, and ransom set,” ~ Paradise Lost, John Milton

Silence. The golden streets and tree of life. Silence. The heralds of angels and beating wings. Silence. The majesty of the Creator and the magnificence of heaven’s shining buildings. Silence.

Silence can say so much more than words.

Would anyone step in? Would someone take man’s place?

“And now without redemption all mankind must have been lost, adjudged to death and Hell by doom severe, had not the Son of God, in whom the fullness dwells of love divine, his dearest mediation thus renewed.

‘Father, thy word is passed, man shall find grace; and shall grace not find means, that finds her way, the speediest of thy winged messengers, to visit all thy creatures, and to all comes unprevented, unimplored, unsought, happy for man, so coming; he her aid can never seek, once dead in sins and lost; atonement for himself or offering meet, indebted and undone, hath none to bring: Behold me then, me for him, life for life I offer, on me let thine anger fall; account me man; I for his sake will leave thy bosom, and this glory next to thee freely put off, and for him lastly die well pleased, on me let Death wreak all his rage; under his gloomy power I shall not long lie vanquished; thou hast giv’n me to possess life in myself forever, by thee I love, though now to Death I yield, and am his due,'” ~ Paradise Lost, John Milton

All heaven silent, until the Son of God spoke. All mankind lost, until this moment.

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord,” ~ Luke 2:11

He, who had come from heaven: perfect, beautiful, joyful, now came to Earth – to be among his creation, to do what no one else could.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin,” ~ Hebrew 4:15

Instead of a throne, he sat on the dusty, dirty ground. Insects crawling beneath; an ant biting him. Instead of a crown and robes of splendor, he wore the simple clothing of a carpenter. Blisters on his hands from working with wood; a splinter finding its way into his skin. Instead of angels singing praises hour after hour, he endured the ridicule of bullies. Name-calling, excluding him from activities, causing a bleeding cheek or egg-sized knot on his head. Instead of perfection, he came to the broken world. Temptation rearing its ugly head and the battle not to give in.

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“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God,” ~ 2 Corinthians 5:21

He had friends, family. Perhaps, he had a particular pet growing up that he was fond of. Maybe a sheep that would sneak into the house when it was not supposed to, or a baby chick that cuddled up by his bedside. He celebrated holidays with feasts and great fun. He experienced the growing up pains of being a teenager; the temptation though he did not sin.

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33 years.

And then, came the end of an old world and the beginning of a marvelous grace-filled one where death is defeated.

Let’s back-track though.

The arrest of Jesus.

“Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples,” ~ John 18:2

This one sentence has so much information. We learn two key pieces of information about his arrest, that make it so much more painful. The obvious one is that Judas – someone he had taught, ate with, and spent many hours conversing about various things – betrayed him. Secondly, let’s go back to this…”for Jesus often met there with his disciples.”

Putting it in our terms, this was their “hang-out” place. The spot they went to when they wanted to talk, escape the crowds, just be friends. So I don’t think it is too overly assuming to say that this location probably had a special meaning.

“And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt down and prayed, saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling to the ground,” ~ Luke 22:41-44

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I’m not sure if it’s because only Luke records it, or if I’ve just never noticed it in the other Gospels before, but I find it so interesting that it says, “and there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him.” I wonder what this entailed. Did the angel encourage him in words? Remind him of the good that would come after? Give him something to eat or drink?

I think it is noteworthy to point out, that though the angel strengthened him…his pain did not go away. Right after, it says, “and being in agony.”

Yes, Jesus was strengthened, but his “cup” was not taken away. The struggle, the apprehension of what was to come did not leave. As the verse concludes, it becomes clear that he is under a tremendous amount of anxiousness. There is an actual, medical condition where one is under so much stress and anxiety that sweat and blood mix, creating, as Luke wrote, “like great drops of blood.”

There would still be more to come. Trials. Betrayals. Beatings – horrible, gruesome whips that came upon him again and again. Thorns – a mockery by them, shoving a crown of nature’s needles onto his head…blood pooling out. Humiliation – casting lots for his clothing, doing everything to try and destroy his dignity. Pain.

The nails. The cross. Dying the worst and most degraded form of death that could be done. How amazing of a Savior we have! I cannot compute this kind of love – unconditional, perfect, encompassing. Even as I write this, it blows my mind that someone would willingly choose to go through the most undesirable form of suffering for me.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed,” ~ 1 Peter 2:24

Guilt. Though Jesus had done no wrong, he took the weight of our sins. Can you imagine? All of history. All of humanity. Every person that has and ever will live. That feeling, that sense of shame and guilt that comes with sin, he felt. Him, who knew no sin and lived a perfect life, experienced the ramifications of sin. The consequences, though he was innocent.

Imagine the worst crime you can think of – murder, rape. And then picture yourself having to feel the guilt and shame for doing that, though you did not.

Horrible.

In every way, the sacrifice of Jesus was brutal. It was emotionally taxing – friends betraying him, mentally draining – enduring the verbal assault, physically sapping – the most horrific, pain and death, and spiritually exhausting – when God turned his face.

Let’s go back to that place, that hour.

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It is the middle of the day; there are three crosses. Because it is the Passover, travelers are passing by and witnessing this dismal sight. There are soldiers, who prolonged his suffering by giving him wine vinegar. There is his family, weeping and in anguish over what has been done to him.

12:00pm. Noon.

Instant darkness. The light from the day vanished and inky blackness took its place. There was no electricity, and no backup generators. Perhaps someone found a candle, though I doubt they had one close by. Who would have thought it would be needed at midday?

The hours ticked by, time moving slowly. Seconds turned into minutes, seeming to stretch into infinity. What had happened? Why was it pitch black at noon? Would the light return?

3pm.

“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit,” ~ Matthew 27:50

The curtain of the temple stood sixty feet high and thirty feet wide. It separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place, that only the high priest was allowed to enter once a year. At this moment, this instant it was torn in two. The separation between God and humanity had been breached.

The ground rumbled – an earthquake. Rocks were broken, split into pieces. The tombs opened up and the “bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised” (Matthew 27:52).

Jesus had died.

***will post second part tomorrow on Easter***

Love

Love: a strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

barefoot Summers - mine were dirty but not THIS dirty...as I recall??: “Mommy.”

A mother looks down at her three-year-old son. Dirt is smeared across his face, though a brilliant smile shows his baby white teeth. His once yellow shirt, is now covered in splattering’s of strawberries, purple paint, and something else that she decides is better left unknown. “Yes, sweetie?”

The toddler raises up his chubby arms – asking to be held.

She complies, settling him onto her hip.

Golden curls giving him an angelic appearance (perhaps she is biased, though, she concludes humorously, her little one would certainly be one of the most mischievous of all the angels), he wraps his arm around her neck and lays his head down with a heavy-breathed sigh. “I love you mommy.”

~~~

Love:  the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration

“No.” The college undergraduate frowns at the poor, pitiful looking faces. She shakes her head, Baby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppies! (Breeder: Chadwick Cavalier King Charles Spaniel's):: brown locks falling over her face. Pushing her red-rimmed glasses back up the bridge of her nose, she sighs. Why did they have to look so utterly adorable? Cute little cinnamon rolls…she thinks.

Two puppies, bounding over each other in their haste to get her attention, wag their tails impatiently. The smaller one’s chocolate eyes look up at her as if to say, pick me! I’m right here! The bigger one, not to be outdone, puts its white paws up on the glass – head cocked to the side as though it knew this made it look priceless.

“Oh who am I kidding?” mumbled the twenty-year-old, “I love you both!”

~~~

Love: warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

Tutu Dress Yellow Princess Belle: “Daddy.”

“…”

“Daddy.”

The father drags his attention away from the newspaper he had been reading, turning to look at his eight-year-old. She has on a yellow gown with a cut, pasted, and crayon-colored paper crown on top of her head. Sassy as always, one hand is on her hip – lips pressed tightly together. “What is it Bella?”

She comes closer, placing both hands on top of his forearm. Her facial expression is utterly serious as she leans in to whisper in a not-so-quiet way. “You’re supposed to dance with me. Since I’m the princess, you’re the prince.” Tone confident, she waits for his reply – dark eyes blinking.

He chuckles to himself – though quickly stops when he remembers how seriously she takes this. “Why, I would be delighted to princess!”

A bright grin stretches itself across her face, and she has to use every measure of eight-year-old self-control to retain the dignity of royalty. Minutes later, when the music from Beauty and the Beast drifts through the kitchen, and she is held in his arms – head upon his shoulder, her childish voice says, “Love you daddy.”

~~~

Love: a beloved person

“How could you do that?”  he yells, dragging a hand down the side of his face. What on God’s A grey and white kitten resting on its owner's bed.: good green earth had she been thinking? She could have been killed! Not to mention, that her car was pretty much totaled.

She huffs in annoyance. “It was nothing, and I am perfectly fine.”

“You almost weren’t!”

“But I am!”

“THAT’S BESIDES THE POINT.”

“WELL, I WASN’T GOING TO LET THAT KITTEN GET RUN OVER.”

He groans loudly, running a hand through his black hair. “How are you such an idiot….”

She glares furiously at him, blue eyes sparking despite the fact that a gash of blood is still dribbling onto her skin. The gray and white kitten, held securely in her arms, makes itself smaller as though it realizes it is the topic of this…unfortunate conversation. “Why do you even care!?!?”

Before he even realizes what he is saying, his mouth is already open. “Because I love you!” 

~~~

Love: an assurance of affection

senior photography. twins. laura benitz photography. senior portraits. st joseph mo. country: “I swear if they ever – ” The eighteen-year-old grits his teeth together, infuriated by the fact that some people seemed to think it was a peachy  idea to make fun of his sister. He had several choice words for them, and all one-hundred-percent of them were words that were probably better left unsaid.

His twin sister, glanced at him, sad smile on her face. “It’s fine, we’ll both be gone next year anyway.” She tucked a red curl behind her ear, the afternoon sun casting a glow onto her freckled face.

Suddenly, he wrapped her in a tight embrace. “Don’t believe them, ok? You’re the best person and friend I know.”

She nodded against him, pushing back the tears. “Thanks…you’re pretty awesome yourself,” she stated, adding softly, “I love you.”

“Love you too sis.”

~~~

Love: the fatherly concern of God for humankind, unselfish loyal and benevolent, concern for the good of another, an assurance of affection.“Let Me Sing Your Goodness & Greatness In Thankfulness To Your Name. In Jesus Name. Amen”:

Psalm 116:1, “I love the Lord, because he has heard my voice and my pleas for mercy.”

“I’m sorry Lord, I should not have disrespected You like that.” Her eyes filled with tears, fear wanting to grasp hold. Why had she said that? The peer pressure…she should have been stronger. And now, what if He did not want to forgive her? Sure, she knew that the Bible said He forgives…but this? She was not certain, why would He want to forgive her when she had disrespected Him, even after He had died for her?

“You are forgiven.”

Romans 8:35-39, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. ”

He was angry. Angry at God. Angry at Him for taking his mother. How could someone who claimed to literally BE love do that? He sure as heck did not know. And he was hurt, pained, and angry over it.

“I know you are angry, but I see past that. I see to your hurt, your tears, your struggle with wanting to know why. My child, even if you do not want to talk to me, I am here with you – amidst your pain, amidst your struggle. My love is still here.”

1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.”

Stupid. Ok. Sure, she had been at school all day and then rushed to work her job after that, and then needed to complete all of her schoolwork, and maybe it was midnight…and most people would probably call it quits (or think she was crazy), but she had not read her Bible at all today. Actually. She had not read it in three days, and boy was she feeling guilty for it. Never mind the fact that she was doing her best.

My daughter, I see how hard you are working – and how much you desire to please me. Your high expectations and perfectionism are wearing you down. Rest in me and let my peace become the rhythm of your life.  

Isaiah 49:15-16, ““Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.”

He threw his books down, having just returned from work. Shaking his head, his heart felt God's love for us is unconditional and undeserved. Because He truly loved us and knew that we were worth it, He suffered and died for us on the cross. All of God's children are of importance! Trust in Him, and let Him lead the way.: lonely…empty…forgotten. He felt like no one really saw him for HIM. He was just another face in the crowd. Another number.

You are not forgotten, my son. Even if other people may pass over, neglect, or cause you to feel insignificant, you are not. You are my child, part of a royal priesthood with a legacy of brothers and sisters who have gone before you. You are mine, and I love you.

Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”

She was excited! And happy! For one, she had been surprised with an adorable black kitten with white paws (already named Mittens, of course) by her boyfriend. Yep. He was the best. Secondly, she had been praying for a while that she could manage to find a job – and TADA, this morning she had gotten the call. Today. Was. Awesome.

I love to give my children good gifts, daughter. Take care of Mittens, he has a bit of a mischievous streak.

John 15:9, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.”

For some reason, the past few days he had been feeling depressed. He shouldn’t be – by all worldly standards at least. He had a wife, two children, and a good job. What was wrong with him? “God,” he prayed, “I-I’m not sure what’s up with me lately, but I just need to know you are here.”

My son, I am here. You have been worrying and fretting over the future. Rest in my love. You are safe.

maybe I can get my brother the blacksmith to make some of these ❤ for me! #OliviaGarden #BeautyTools: 1 John 4:9-10, “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”

 

 

Family. Friendships. Pets. In our world, there are so many wonderful, different forms of love. Yet, the greatest of all of this is the love of our Savior, who loved us unconditionally without receiving anything in return and to such an extent, that He died on the cross – still knowing that many would choose to reject Him.

This Valentine’s day, let us remember the true meaning and definition of love: Jesus Christ.

Note: the definitions for “love” came from Merriam-Webster.

Christmas

As Christmas ends in all of its bright lights, Santa 🎅🏻 wrapped gifts 🎁, and loudly playing carols 🎼, let us not forget the true joy behind this holiday: Jesus.

It really is amazing how Jesus humbled Himself not only to the point of death on a cross....but that  He also chose to be born as a babe.   Think about it.:

Jesus who left the golden glories of perfect heaven to come down where imperfection is sowed deeply. Jesus who traded comfort and ease for a world of sin, pain, and suffering. Jesus who set aside His rightly given crown and wore one of thorns. Jesus who put away His heavenly robes for those of this earthly life. Jesus who was tempted. Persecuted. Deserted. Made fun of. Beaten. Spit upon. Jeered at. Ridiculed. Anxious.

This same Jesus who told Moses, tell them I AM sent you.

Exodus 3 14:

I AM…LOVE. I AM…GRACE. I AM…COMPASSION. I AM…HOPE. I AM…PEACE. I AM came.

 

 

Merry Christmas.

 

Judeo-Christain Foundation

“It is impossible to rightly govern a nation without God and the Bible,” ~ George Washington

george washington

Many people today are declaring that America was never a Christian nation, that it was not founded on Judeo-Christian values. And if people’s eyes are not opened to the truth, then this falsehood could become even more rooted in the minds of Americans.

John Quincy Adams said, “I have myself, for many years, made it a practice to read through the Bible once every year,” and, “My custom is, to read four or five chapters every morning, immediately after rising from my bed. It employs about an hour of my time, and seems to me the most suitable manner of beginning the day” (Letters of John Quincy Adams to His Son on the Bible and Its Teachings).

john quincy adams

Even Benjamin Franklin, who many consider to be an unbeliever, said as recorded by James Madison, “We should remember the character which the Scripture requires in Rulers, that they should be men hating covetousness.”

On November 26, 1789, during his Proclamation for day of Thanksgiving, George Washington said, “It is the Duty of all Nations to acknowledge the Providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his Benefits, and humbly to implore his Protection and Favor.”

In fact, when the war with England cut off their supply of English Bibles, Congress in September of 1777, determined to import 20,000 Bibles from Holland, Scotland, or other countries because, “the use of the Bible is so universal and its importance so great” (pg. 60, Building Godly Nations).

George Washington Carver, born into slavery just before the end of the Civil War, discovered over three hundred uses for the peanut. The story of how this came about is remarkable.

“I asked the Great Creator what the universe was made for.

‘Ask for something more in keeping with that little mind of yours,’ He replied.

‘What was man made for?’

‘Little man, you still want to know too much. Cut down the extent of your request and improve the intent.’

Then I told the Creator I wanted to know all about the peanut. He replied that my mind was too small to know all about the peanut, but He said He would give me a handful of peanuts. And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of the earth…to you it shall be for meat…I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.’ I carried the peanuts into my laboratory and the Creator told me to take them apart and resolve them into their elements. With such knowledge as I had of chemistry and physics I set to work to take them apart. I separated the water, the fats, the oils, the gums, the resins, sugars, starches, pectoses, pentosans, amino acids. There! I had the parts of the peanuts all spread out before me.”

george washinton carver

His story continues:

“I looked at Him and He looked at me. ‘Now, you know what the peanut is.’

‘Why did you make the peanut?’

The Creator said, ‘I have given you three laws; namely, compatibility, temperature, and pressure. All you have to do is take these constituents and put them together, observing these laws, and I will show you why I made the peanut.’

I therefore went on to try different combinations of the parts under different conditions of temperature and pressure, and the result was what you see.”

Peanuts

In other words, God had revealed to him the means by which to use the peanut for and in metal polisher, plastics, ink, shampoo, shaving cream, a dozen beverages, and synthetic rubber among many more.

When he testified before a committee of Congress, in 1921, the Chairman inquired:

“‘Dr. Carver, how did you learn all of these things?’

Carver answered: ‘From an old book.’

‘What book?’ asked the Senator.

Carver replied, ‘The Bible.’

The Senator inquired, ‘Does the Bible tell about peanuts?’

‘No Sir,’ Dr. Carver replied, ‘But it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and he did.'”

Another important American that believed in Christian values was Noah Webster. Father of American Education, in 1836, he wrote, “In my view, the Christian religion is the most important and one of the first things in which all children, under a free government, ought to be instructed…No truth is more evident to my mind than that the Christian religion must be the basis of any government intended to secure the rights and privileges of a free people.”

In his 1828 dictionary, “Noah Webster used thousands of Scriptural references and gave Biblical definitions, in contrast to humanistic definitions in modern dictionaries” (pg. 69, Building Godly Nations).

noah webster

Noah Webster also wrote, “The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

“Dr. Donald Lutz conducted an exhaustive ten-year research of about 15,000 political documents of the Founders’ Era (1760-1805), and recorded every reference our founders made to other sources. This list of 3154 citations reveals those writings and men that most shaped the political ideas of our founders. By far, the most quoted source of their political ideas was the Bible, 34% of citations. The next most quoted sources were from men who largely derived their ideas from the Bible (Montesquier, 8.3%, Blackstone, 7.9%, and Locke, 2.9%). In fact 80% or more of all the citations were from the Bible or Biblical thinkers” (pg. 74, Building Godly Nations).

If that isn’t enough for you, then why Harvard College was founded should be. In 1636, New England Puritans founded Harvard College for the purpose of training ministers for the Gospel. “They thought the greatest curse that could come upon the land would be an impotent, ignorant clergy” (pg. 67, Building Godly Nations).

The original rules at Yale College, also show the importance placed on the Bible. “All scholars shall live religious, godly, and blameless lives according to the rules of God’s Word, diligently reading the Holy Scriptures, the fountain of light and truth; and constantly attend upon all the duties of religion, both in public and secret” (Annuals of America, Volume 1).

In all, out of the first 108 colleges founded in America, only two were not based on the Christian faith. 106 were.

I could go on and on about other people, events, and facts that support the claim that America was founded on a Judeo-Christian heritage, but, of course, that would be a much longer post. I hope this has opened your eyes to the truth of our country’s history. And as we celebrate the fourth of July, let us remember the brave men and women who came before us.

Happy 4th y’all!

~ Southern Dreamer

Note: All of the information (unless stated otherwise) came from Building Godly Nations by Stephen. H. McDowell. Thank you for doing all of the hard research that allows people like myself to discover it!

The History of the Candy Cane

candy canes

With Christmas in only two days (how crazy is that?), I thought that it would be appropriate to do a Christmas post. And because I love history, I decided that learning about the origins of the candy cane would suffice perfectly.

During the seventeenth century, Christians in Europe began to make use of Christmas trees as part of their celebrations during Christmas. Homemade decorations were fashioned for them – many being edible items like sugar-stick candy and cookies.

The year 1670 is when the first, actual reference to the candy cane comes into play. At Cologne Cathedral in Germany, the choirmaster bent sugar-sticks into canes in order to represent the shepherd’s staff. These solid white candy canes were then handed out to the children throughout the nativity services.

This custom of handing out the white sugar-sticks during long church services, spread all through Europe and in later years to America.

Interestingly, before 1900 there is no mention of the candy cane ever having red stripes. The person who added the signature red is still unknown, however, Christmas cards after 1900 clearly depict the striped candy. During this same century, candy makers began to add wintergreen and peppermint flavors to the favorite Christmas treat. These quickly caught on and as we now know, are favorites among most people.

The meaning of the candy cane varies, but for Christians, it has special meaning. Red represents the blood of Christ, while the white his purity. Although the shape is said to be reminiscent of a shepherd’s staff, it is also told to be the “J” in Jesus’ name.

And there you have it! The history of the candy cane. I hope y’all enjoyed learning about a bit of Christmas history and I pray that each time you see a candy cane or lick its delicious sugary goodness, you are reminded of the very great sacrifice that Jesus gave: his life.

Merry Christmas y’all!

~ Southern Dreamer

Resource:

http://inventors.about.com/od/foodrelatedinventions/a/candy_canes.htm

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas…

Hey y’all!

I am so so so sorry I have not posted in a while! Life has been pretty crazy! BUT I am back! Yay! 🙂

Can y’all believe it is already December 6? That means we have only 19 days until Christmas! Wow!

19 days Like me, I am sure all of y’all are bustling around trying to get just the right gifts for everyone on your Christmas list. The past couple of years, I have made one homemade present for each of my immediate family. And every year they love them! (Hurrah!) So, in the spirit of Christmas, here are several DIY ideas for homemade gifts.

1. “Open When…”

This is a great and easy option especially for all of y’all out there who struggle with crafts and that sort of thing. All you have to do, is grab however many envelopes you want, and at the top write “Open When…” and then in the middle you could write any of the following or make up some of your own:

– “…you need to know I love you.”

– “…you want to laugh.”

– “…you miss me.”

And of course, you must not forget to put something inside the envelope! Otherwise, the entire idea of the project falls apart.

http://dadmumbaby.com/3-diy-gifts-Christmas/

open when

2. DIY Sharpie Mug

Now if these are not the cutest little cups you have ever seen I don’t know what will be! 😉 For this enjoyable task, you will need a plain ceramic cup or mug and DecoArt glass paint markers (you can use Sharpies, however, the design will come off in the wash if you do so). This homemade item is fairly simple as well, although, you will want to have a steady hand.

DIY sharpie

3. Gifts In A Jar

If you’re like me, and adore browsing through the DIY section of Pinterest (which is where I got all these fabulous ideas from!), then I am positive you have heard of “gifts in a jar.” This is a very versatile and simple gift to make. All you need is a mason jar, some pretty Christmas ribbon, measuring cups, and whatever ingredients you choose to put inside. The choices for this, truly are limitless! You could do a brownie, cookie, or even a cake mix (yum!). Not to mention dips and soups! Don’t forgot to attach the recipe to the jar or your recipient will be left with a lot of dry mix and nothing to do with it.

http://www.squawkfox.com/2008/12/02/holiday-gifts-8-homemade-gifts-in-a-jar-with-free-printable-gift-tags/

gifts in a jar

4. Erase Board Frames

Number four on my list of DIY ideas for Christmas gifts, could not possibly be easier! Materials needed consist of a small or medium sized frame (nothing expensive), sheets of notebook paper, dry erase markers, and some fun ribbon that corresponds to the personality of the recipient. All that has to be done is where the picture normally goes in the frame, insert the notebook paper. Then close the back and glue an adorable bow onto one of the corners of the frame. Done! How easy is that? 🙂

erase board

5. Peppermint Lotion Bars

Another neat – and good-smelling – gift, these little bars will be sure to make your mom, sister, daughter, or wife happy! As the steps for this one are a bit more in-depth than the last four, I am posting the link below for y’all.

http://edsnapshots.com/peppermint-lotion-bars-gifts-kids-can-make/

lotion bars

I hope one of these DIY gift ideas will make its way under your Christmas tree! I know I certainly will be testing one or two of these incredible projects out. I hope y’all have a wonderful week! And a shoutout to Pinterest for supplying these awesome choices!

– Southern Dreamer

*I myself have yet to complete one of these DIY ideas, so I am not completely sure whether they will work or not.

The Fourth of July!

fourth

Happy 4th of July y’all!

I am so incredibly thankful for the wondrous freedom we are able to have! We are so blessed to be able to say we live in a free country and I never want to take that for granted!

I want to start out by thanking people who are in or were in the army/military/navy/etc…THANK YOU SO MUCH! It is because of all of y’all that we can still have our freedom! So thank y’all so much! God bless all of you!

I also, would like to remind us all, of our Founding Fathers. I think it is so important for us to remember where we came from – the good, the bad, and the ugly. History sometimes isn’t pretty and sometimes it is; yet rather it be one or the other, we should learn it for what it is, not what others want us to think it is.

Here are some quotes by our Founding Fathers and my thoughts on them:

“If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent may we be led, like sheep to the slaughter.” – George Washington
This is extremely important. People should be able to say what they believe without being bullied.
“I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” – Thomas Jefferson
Ditto what I said earlier. People in this day and age get offended so easily. Not always, but in many cases, people today freak out if you have an opinion different than theirs. Sometimes, they even go to the extreme that if you don’t agree with them, then you must hate them. How ridiculous! If our Founding Fathers had, had that attitude there would be no United States of America!
“Americans have the right and advantage of being armed – unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” – James Madison
Now, I understand that we do not want shootings to happen. I don’t either. However, I would suggest that there is a deeper issue here than just gun control. I would suggest that this is a heart issue not a gun issue. If we address the real reason for what causes these incidents, then I believe the shootings will lessen. If we just observe what is on the surface, we will never fix the real problem.
I hope y’all have a great 4th of July!
– Southern Dreamer

 

Happy Father’s Day!

happy father's day

(Sorry this is a day late)

Happy Father’s Day to all the Father’s out there! Dads are so important in families, and I think we all need to let them know how much they are appreciated!

I know with my own daddy, it means a lot when he tells me I did well on something or takes time to do something with me that I like.

Although we all, or most of us, love our fathers dearly, the fact is, they are not perfect. They make mistakes, sometimes give bad advice, and at times yell. There is, however, one perfect father.

When anyone accepts Jesus as their personal Savior and believes in Him, he immediately becomes their Heavenly Father. 2 Corinthians 6:18 says,

“And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (NLT)

This is referring to when any of us accepts the free gift of salvation that Christ offers. Jesus will NEVER leave you or desert you although it is normal to sometimes wonder if he is there. Romans 8:38-39 says,

“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (ESV)

Also, although it is difficult for humans to forgive others, when we accept Christ as our Savior, ALL of our sins are forgiven. That does not mean we should continue on the path of sinfulness (I don’t mean we will never sin, I just am trying to say that we should try our very best to turn from our ways and become more like Christ), it does mean however, that we are forgiven. Colossians 3:13 says,

“Bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.” (ESV)

We all go through hard things in life, myself included. When I got narcolepsy and cataplexy, this became my favorite verse – Joshua 1:9. It says,

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (NIV)

So Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and especially the very first father – our Lord.

– Southern Dreamer