Posts by April

Remember Who You Are

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possessions, that you declare praises

of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:6

remembering-who-you-are-in-christ

Remember Who You Are

Remember who you are. Growing up in a minister’s home, these words were often to spoken to me as I would go out with friends or when I would be out with my family. Those spoken words meant behave yourself, use your manners and know that people are watching you.  In other words, my identity and reputation would be defined by my actions and by the words I would say.

Fast Forward

In 1987, I became a mom to a precious little boy named Drew. As I began to raise him and send him out, I soon heard my mom coming out of my mouth as he would leave the house. Remember who you are I would say to Drew as he would head out the door.  These words were spoken even more often as he began to drive, date and do more things without Jim and I around.

One evening, Drew asked why we kept repeating this phrase before he would leave the house. Jim and I explained that when he is out and about he is representing our home and what we stand for and what we don’t tolerate as a family. We also explained that we live in a small town and chances are we will know where he had been before he got home. Yes, we did know where he was and who with before he returned home on several occasions. Jim and I also explained that it is important of being mindful of how one acts and what one says because it also shows his  heart  condition and what he believed.

Drew is now grown with his own family. He and his wife have just had a  precious baby girl, Campbell over a month ago. As Jim and I watch Drew and Megan with Campbell, we can’t help not only hear the words of what we said to Drew as we raised him but also the voices of our parents are even stronger. The words, remember who you are seem to be even louder for me these days.

Conforming

"The cross before me, the world behind me."

“The cross before me, the world behind me.”

As of recent Jim and I watch very little “new” programs on television. Just last night the television was on and we had tuned into a sitcom we thought would be entertaining. After about five minutes into it, we looked at each other and said, what is this world coming to? As we spit these words out of our mouths, we looked at each other and there was a moment of silence.

Jim and I began to talk about how the world is so much different from it was when we were growing up. We were both born in the mid 1960’s, grew up in the seventies and graduated high school in the early 1980’s.  Back then our grandparents thought the world was going crazy.  Yet, I look back now and see how much simple life was than it is now.

It seems we have forgotten who we are, whose we are, what is right and as Christians we are facing intolerance of our faith. Not only are Christians facing intolerance of their faith but they are facing  pressures to conform to this world.  As I write this I am reminded of Romans 12:2

Do not conform to this pattern of this world

but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

Turning From The Faith

daniel-in-the-lions-den

This past Sunday in Sunday School. We looked at Daniel 1:1-7. In this passage we learn of how God has handed King Nebuchadnezzar Judah.  In the process of this siege,  Nebuchadnezzar has ordered for the  young men from the royal family and noble families of the Israelites to be brought to serve in his court. The qualifications of these you men were they had to be   good-looking and who would most likely conform to his instructions and way of life.

It was the King’s plan to change these young men to conform to his rules, his lifestyle and to forget who they were meaning to take God out of their lives. Nebuchadnezzer expected these young men to bow to his gods. He went as far changing the names of these young men.  Their current names were names that represented God thus the need to change their names.

Through this process, the King ran into a snag. The snag was Daniel. Daniel refused to conform to the King’s ways. He refused to eat the same food as the King and to bow down to the King’s gods. As you read the book of Daniel, you will see where God showed up, used Daniel to turn the King’s heart around.

There Will Be A Day

keep-watch

In my NIV Life Application Bible, Matthew 24’s sub heading is Jesus Teaches About the Future.  In the beginning of this chapter, Jesus comes out of the temple and the disciples call Jesus over to admire structure of the temple. They are impressed with the architecture. Yet, Jesus tells them the building is only temporary. As Matthew 24 continues Jesus warns the disciples ( including us) about there will come a time of false prophets, deception, Nation will rise against nation, and there will be famines. Jesus went on to explain to the disciples that they and we as Christians will be hated because of Him. Then in Matthew 24:13 he says what I believe is the most pivotal and important phrase, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Standing Firm

stand-firm-in-faith

It seems these days there is so much going on. People doing things out of greed, out for themselves, no concern for fellow-man, and manners seemed to be a thing of the past. I see families against one another and the list goes on. If you are on any type of social media you see such things every day. Our television shows and news also reflect this culture that has been created.  Thus, all the more reason that we as Christians need to stand firm in what we believe. Each morning when we rise,  we  need to pray for wisdom, guidance and discernment. Just as Daniel stood firm in his faith we must stand firm in ours.

Remember Who You Are

cropped-girl-looking-at-the-moon2.jpg

Yes, as a child my mom would remind me each time I left the house to remember who I was and how my actions spoke loudly to those I would encounter. Today, as I go out and about my business, I realize even more so the importance of remembering who I am and who I represent. I don’t just represent my personal home and family but I represent God’s Kingdom.

1Peter 2:9 tells us that we are a chosen people and  a royal priesthood.  Each one of us  made the decision to step out of darkness and ways of the world to step into the light of Christ and represent His kingdom.  It is my prayer as we go through the Christmas Season that we remember who we are and whose we are and that our words and actions demonstrate who we stand for and what we don’t stand for.  Let there be no question of who we are in this world.

Christmas Memories

Christmas Blessings

 

The Corners Don’t Have To Be Perfect

Thoughts From The Porch

christmas wrapping tutorial 059 “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Dawn Gibson is a blog writer that have followed from the time I began to write. One of the first blogs I read of her’s was in 2010 called Gift Wrap Envy. In this post she shares how the time has come to wrap her Christmasgifts but does not look forward to the task.  Apparently, gift wrapping is not her specialty and worries that the packages won’t be perfect. She is like me in wanting that perfect Norman Rockwell Christmas! Yet, in the end of her post, she resolves that she will wrap her gifts to the best of her abilities and will get nothing but pure joy out watching the expressions of those who will unwrap the gifts…

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First Things First

Thoughts From The Porch

There is a picture of a tear that has been going around on Facebook that says; “ever have a memory to roll down your cheek?” I recently had one of those moments. For me, it was hearing the song,  Don’t Blink and not some Christmas song that caused this gal’s dam to break.

tear

As I listened to Kenny sing about how life goes by so fast, I reminisced on Christmases past. As I reminisced, I looked about the family room and other rooms of little reminders of not only Christmases past but of those who have had a special influence and place in my life and heart.

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 In the picture there are four items that represent Christmases  past and the meaning for Christmas for me. The first item is the train under the Christmas tree. Growing up it was  a tradition  for Dad to set up the train under the Christmas…

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Things To Remember

Thoughts From The Porch


christmas listIt is that time of year again where we have multiple lists that we are checking off. These lists include added items to the usual grocery list, baking list, gift list, party list and the lists go on. You cannot imagine having yet another list. Yet, I am going to give you a list to remember this Christmas Season.

Things To Remember:

Stop.

We all have to just sit down and rest at some point and time.

Take a deep breath.

It is in those deep breaths we can relax and inhale the joy and love of God into our souls.

Look at all that is around you.

Give thanks to God for the daily gifts that surround you.

Remember to keep it simple in the gift giving. 

The most cherished gifts are not the most expensive but the ones where thought and love were put into them.

After all…

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Making Your Christmas List

Thoughts From The Porch

While visiting my family over Thanksgiving a few years back, I asked my brother’s wife, Chris if the boys had made their Santa list. In response, she said; “surprisingly, no.”  I was taken back that my nephews had not made a list this year. Typically, they have a list and some sort of Star Wars theme is in the mix. But, all that had been asked for was a bathrobe by my younger nephew, David.

My nephews…Nathan on the left and David on the right

Chris and I began to talk more about Christmas, gift giving and what Santa was like when we were kids. Of course the old Sears Christmas Catalog as well as the Montgomery Ward Catalog was included in our conversation.  I must say Chris had one up on me with the Montgomery Ward catalog. Our home was strictly Sears. In our recollection of childhood Christmases, we shared…

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“Bind My Wandering Heart”

Bind My Wandering Heart

Heart

Above all else, guard your heart,

for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free from perversity,

keep corrupt talk from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead,

fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful thought to the paths for your feet,

and 

be steadfast in all your ways.

Do not turn to the right or left,

keep your foot from evil.

Proverbs 4:20-27

This morning as my husband, Jim was getting ready for work the news was on the television. As we listened to the headlines of the events that happened in the last twenty-four hours, Jim just shook his head and said, “this world has absolutely gone crazy.”  I could not agree with him more.

As I thought about the headlines from the morning news and as I scrolled through (and these days I mean scroll!), the old hymn, Come Thou Fount came to mind. The lyrics, bind my wandering heart” kept playing over and over in my head.

In an era of what is wrong is right and what is right is wrong, no regard to human life, and  people caught up in the “what’s in it for me? syndrome, we have to be more intentional of keeping our eyes focused on God.  The left and right are the temptations that we face. Thus the lyrics, bind my wandering heart are asking God to protect us of the temptations of the world and to seek the path that leads to eternity and gives God glory. 

I encourage you as you witness the chaos of the world, that you listen to  this hymn and to repeat the lyrics to yourself.   Then, I encourage you to seek God, invite God into your day, ask him to protect you from the dangers and temptations of this world, and direct your footsteps/decisions. May the desires of your heart be not of the world of chaos but the desires that brings praise and glory to God.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your path straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

The Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

Be completely humble, and gentle, be patient, bearing with one another with love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.   Ephesians 4:2-6

Over the last week, I have been participating in a photo challenge through social media. Each day there is a category of which a photo is to be posted. For example, one day it was “bloom” and I posted a picture of a rose bud in bloom from my yard. As each day passes there is a new category.

One particular day the category was stone. I scanned through my photos trying to find a picture that would be unique but yet fit the category of stone. I had many nature pictures of rocks and various other pictures of buildings/churches that fit into the category of “stone.”

Through my scrolling, I came across this picture of The Pink Chapel I had taken in St. Simons, Georgia several years back.  The building is made of stone and with the Spanish moss I thought this would be something unique to share not thinking about the story behind it. So, I posted the picture with appropriate tags for this photo challenge.

Then, it happened.  There were “likes” for this picture and then the organization that was hosting the photo challenge commented back, ” Wow! What is the story behind this chapel.” It was then when I had second thoughts about what I had posted.  Yes, this is a chapel but a chapel with a very sad story.

Teardrop

The more I thought about the story and shared the story with the organization the more I questioned my sharing the picture. Yet, as I prayed about it and thought it through, I came to know even more how God can use ALL things to get his message to his people. Thus, after many re-writes on the response on instagram to the comment, I shared an brief explanation of the Pink Chapel’s story.

The Story of the Pink Chapel

The Pink Chapel

This chapel was built in 1838. It got its name from the pink lichen that grew on the walls and surrounding area.  Just like other historical places on St. Simons Island it has its own share of ghost stories, myths/folklore. Some of the untrue stories include that it was a place where slaves were beaten and some stories claimed it was a place for devil worship. However, these stories are far from the truth regarding the chapel.

 In 1838 there were two families, the Wylly family and the Hazzard family. Col. William Hazzard owned the West Point Plantation. His brother, Thomas owned Pike’s Bluff Plantation. There was another plantation called The Village that adjoined Col. Hazzards property.  John Wylly was the owner of the Village Plantation.  Both of these families were members of Christ Church.

The bitterness between Col. Hazzard and John Wylly was over property lines. It seems they couldn’t even agree to disagree. Thus, bitterness tension grew between these two men.

duel two

 It got so bad that Thomas Hazzard and John Wylly were called to come to Brunswick to settle this dispute. It was decided that the dispute would be settled with a duel. John Wylly was shot by Thomas Hazzard in cold blood. Thomas Hazzard was later acquitted for this act of murder. Due to Thomas Hazzard being acquitted for the murder, the neighbors began to turn their backs on them. Needless to say, bitterness and hatred between the Hazzard and Wylly families only grew to be very intense.

The Rubber Meets The Road

rubber meets the road

The tension between the two families became so great that they would enter the church grounds through separate gates.  Over time the Hazzard family grew tired of the hostile enviroment that had been created so they decided to build their own church. Thus, the Pink Chapel was built. This was a place where the Hazzard family  and the people of the West Point Plantation and Pike’s Bluff Plantation would worship.

This  particular chapel was built out of hostility  towards a neighbor, church family members and the unwillingness to seek and extend forgiveness and God’s grace.  I told you it was a sad story.

It saddens me to think and realize that there are pink chapels being built today. Church families can’t agree on certain things. Someone has hurt/offended someone. Instead of seeking and extending grace and forgiveness, they simply store up the anger and the bitterness. A hostile environment is created instead of a hospitable environment.  They enter the building on opposite ends and doors. Then it happens one day where they have had enough and one or the other leaves to  build their own church. I can’t imagine building a church that is not out of the call of reaching out to others, and glorifying God.

heartbeat

The church is not just a building. It is a place that has a heartbeat. The heartbeat is the people within the church. As Believers, we are to love one another, encourage, forgive, seek and extend grace. It is important that we  walk the talk of what being a  Christian means.  There are times when we all are going to stumble. None of us are perfect. It is in those moments of when we stumble we need to swallow our pride and ask for forgiveness. There are times where there are those in our church family that are going to stumble. As Christians, we are responsible for helping the person back up on their feet, pray for them and ask for God’s grace to intervene.

Grace card

Have I ever  been offended? Yes, I have experienced such moments in my lifetime. It is called being human. Early on in my growing up my mom taught me what it means to forgive. No matter how bad someone hurt me I was encouraged by her to forgive them and ask for their forgiveness even if I didn’t do anything or think I did anything  to create the situation.  In those moments, I forgave and extended the hand of friendship and grace. I see those moments as life lessons.  In some situations, I received some of the greatest blessings along with the lessons. Over time, I have learned how important it is to forgive and move on. I must keep my eyes on the cross seeking God’s grace and allow him to lead.

fast pace world

Today, we live in a world that is moving at a fast pace. More and more people are looking for answers. The non-believers are watching how the Believers  act and react to one another especially within the walls of the church. I love the quote from DC Talk’s song, What If I Stumble,” The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips. Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.  That is what an unbelieving world  finds simply unbelievable. “

At this moment, I ask you if a neighbor has done something to make you angry? Is there a dispute with someone and it just seems it never will be resolved? Is there someone within the church that has hurt/offended you? Is there bitterness being harbored within your heart?

If you said yes to any of these questions, I encourage you to kneel at the feet of Jesus. Place the person (s) and/or situation(s) at His feet. Extend the grace God has so freely given you through the blood of his Son, Jesus.

surrendering to God

May we remember that the church is for the broken. It is a place where we can come and be loved on no matter our flaws, our falls or stumbles we make in life. It is my prayer that pink chapels are not built. Instead, churches are built to glorify God, aligning their footsteps with the Word of God.  The people of the church need to be living  out loud the scriptures. We must reach out to an unbelieving world and let them know that there is life eternal.  Most importantly, walk in His grace every single minute of everyday that is given to us.

restoration in Christ

How about it? Instead of building pink chapels, let’s make the heartbeat of the church even stronger so that those looking from the outside in will want to come in and  experience that wonderful joy that we receive when we experience God’s marvelous grace!

God's amazing grace

Take time to listen to this beautiful song, Forgiveness by Matthew West.

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