Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Easter and My Momma

I'm so thankful that it's not just Easter morning that presents an opportunity to remember that Christ is risen. Every day we have the choice to live out the joyous Easter message.  I love celebrating holidays, but honestly, it's hard to avoid getting bogged down by the whole Easter package partly because we live in a society that says holidays should look perfect and vogue, shiny and colorful, stunning and impressive -- with magazines, blogs and television shows constantly reminding us.  The Easter package I grew up with as a child, the one that my mother lived out very humbly, was not the Easter we see today. For my mother, the Easter message of love and forgiveness was served up family style to each guest sitting around her table. Every one of our neighbors who had no place to go was there.  She pulled out the special linens and her china with a centerpiece of tasty homemade white Easter cake sitting on a pedestal decorated with green dyed coconut for grass and jelly beans as a symbol of life.  We had this every year.  Even though my mom entertained beautifully, she did not entertain perfectly. When I was a child my Mom wasn't tempted by all of the glitz we are exposed to today. There was no HGTV so she didn't have much to compare her "style of entertaining" with.  This is where beautiful and imperfect come in.  We struggle and fight to look good -- for our families to look especially beautiful on Easter morning, for our food to be gourmet, for decorations and tablescapes to be over-the-top and impressive. I'd say we might be a bit prideful about it all, myself included. But putting this Easter package aside, we have to remember what really draws people together on that day. Is it really Easter bunnies and egg hunts and delicious brunch food and chocolate? Or is it the true message of genuine love and authenticity that we have when we put impressing aside and choose to bless others?  Christ's death and resurrection (the true Easter story) wasn't "pretty" or "hospitable." It was nothing but authentic and real, offering the total gift of Himself and resulting in our ultimate freedom.  Lysa Terkeust says it beautifully in her new book Made to Crave, "We label ourselves and soon lose our real identity to the beaten and bruised fragility we call 'me.' We compare, we assume, we assess, we measure, and most times walk away shaking our heads at how woefully short our 'me' falls when compared to everyone else. How dangerous it is to hold up the intimate knowledge of our imperfections against the outside packaging of others."  So I would like to encourage everyone to put the Easter packaging away this year and to simply relish the kind of hospitality my mother taught me many years ago.  Let’s be authentic this year.  How about it?
Blessings to All, Karen

Monday, March 30, 2015

Holy Week Service at Wedowee First

Today I did something I have never done.  I preached a sermon that was broadcasted on the radio.  I know...not a big deal...but it was for me.  I was the kick off speaker for the Holy Week services at Wedowee First Methodist.  This is the first time I have ever been asked...and since it was Spring Break I could do it.  I think I wrote a total of four sermons and kept throwing them out.  God kept pushing me to this scripture...and I kept telling him that was not the scripture I wanted to use....Guess what?  God won.  So if you were listening to Eagle WELR in Roanoke on Monday at 12:05 then you heard me.  My scripture lesson came from Luke 19:41-44. 
There is a certain time of year that has always perplexed me.   It is a time that shouldn’t….but it does….I am speaking of the weeks of Lent and the Holy Week.   For some strange reason, I have had to defend the fact that these observances are remembrances for all Christians to reflect on what Christ has done for us.  I want to focus today on the eight days that are comprised of Palm Sunday and this week.  The days that fully embrace Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Day.  The days that can be summarized in two words:  Holy Week.  Christians everywhere gather to remember what Jesus has done for them that they could never have done for themselves!  So what does each day mean?  Well, yesterday, PALM SUNDAY: is one of the most dramatic of days, as if it celebrates both the joy of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem and his rejection and crucifixion.  Jesus comes riding in on a donkey as if to say, "HERE I AM, THE LAMB OF GOD, ON MY WAY TO THE THRONE BY WAY OF THE CROSS. WILL YOU CHOOSE ME AS YOUR LAMB, AS YOUR SACRIFICE, AND THROUGH THAT SACRIFICE, AS YOUR KING?"  But unfortunately, they didn’t quite get the message and they began stripping palm branches off the trees and began laying them in the pathway of Jesus shouting "HOSANNA"  which means "SAVE US NOW!"  They wanted Jesus to be their political leader instead of a spiritual Savior. They wanted to be saved politically from Rome.  This one misconception of who Jesus really was is why, in LUKE 19:41, Jesus wept over Jerusalem because they just didn’t get it.   They missed the whole point entirely.  We celebrate Palm Sunday because we “get it” and accept Jesus because He is,,,The Messiah.  We know that Jesus is truly the sacrificial lamb that took away our sins and we rejoice and shout "HOSANNA" because He saves us spiritually.  MAUNDY THURSDAY:  is derived from both Latin and French words meaning “a new commandment.”   Maundy Thursday is a day of remembrance and celebration of the final supper Jesus shared with his disciples.  This is the life-altering event that took place because it instituted for us a new covenant that would provide redemption.  Jesus established this for us and we call it Holy Communion, the Lord’s Supper, or the.  Because of what took place this night in the Upper Room we can celebrate the Passover Meal as a memorial of the sufferings and death of Christ.  We therefore use bread and grape juice as symbols of Christ’s body and blood.  These symbols of bread and juice are representations of our redemption and a token of love and union that Christians have with Christ and with one another as the body of Christ.  But don’t forget that Holy Communion was not the only thing that happened on Maundy Thursday night.  Nearing 2:30 in the morning in an olive grove called Gethsemane, a group of Roman soldiers were lead by Judas….the disciple. What a sad turn of events took place under the concealment of the night’s darkness.  Jesus….betrayed by one of his own….the rest scattered….Peter claiming he would go to his death with Jesus….betrays him….not just once….but three times…and then weeps the rooster crows.  Judas returns the coins and commits suicide.  JESUS IS CONDEMNED. BARABBAS IS SET FREE. HE GOES HOME AND JESUS GOES TO THE CROSS.  GOOD FRIDAY: Good Friday is a solemn remembrance of what took place upon the cross of Calvary between the hours of  9 and 3.  It is also a time to recount the last seven phrases spoken by Christ…..from the cross. 





 "I AM THIRSTY" (JOHN 19:28),


Jesus was a scapegoat….he had to be taken outside the city walls to die….That place was Golgotha…The place of the skull.  He carried the sins of the world on his shoulders, he is nailed to the cross, abandoned by the Father…and left to die.  Jesus dies on the cross, his work fully complete, and the need for sacrifices are no more.  That is why we refer to it as Good Friday.  HOLY SATURDAY: As the body of Christ rests within the tomb, the church continues in prayer and fasting….we find ourselves waiting with the women at the Lord’s tomb.  This is a time to meditate on the redemptive suffering and death that Jesus has just endured for us sinners.  On this day, as the crucified body of Jesus remains in the tomb, let us anticipate the dawning of the third day when he promised to rise again in newness of life. 

EASTER: Easter morning is an occasion of great joy and renewal.  Christ has risen!  There is even more good news Good News    because Easter is not just one particular Sunday in April. Easter is actually a season which is also known as the “Great Fifty Days.” It begins Easter Eve and continues through Pentecost. During this time we joyously and festively celebrate the resurrection of Christ, the ascension of Christ, the giving of the Holy Spirit on the very first Easter and the Day of Pentecost.  We can now celebrate the promise of eternal life and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.  We can rejoice knowing that after Christ died and rose again, God became accessible to all who come to him through Jesus’ sacrificial death. Because of Easter the veil has been torn and we can enter the very presence of God.  PALM SUNDAY, MAUNDY THURSDAY, GOOD FRIDAY, HOLY SATURDAY AND EASTER DAY.  Go, remember, celebrate, and embrace all that God has done, through His son, Jesus, for your redemption and salvation. Amen and Amen!


A Hearts Disguise

About The Book:  A Heart's Disguise (Thomas Nelson, March 2015)
In the aftermath of the Civil War, a young woman searches for her lost love at the edge of the West.  The Civil War has destroyed Sarah Montgomery's marriage before it's even begun.
After Sarah receives word that her fiancĂ©, Rand Campbell, has been killed fighting for the Union, her brothers and ailing father persuade her to pledge herself to Ben Croftner---despite her strong misgivings. But when Sarah finds out that Rand is in fact alive---and that Ben Croftner knew it---she indignantly breaks off the engagement and goes in search of Rand.  But Ben Croftner does not take rejection lightly---and a single woman with a sick father makes an easy target. When Sarah is abducted by her treacherous fiancĂ©, Rand finally comes to her aid . . . only to reveal that he has been posted at Fort Laramie, Wyoming, and intends to take her there as his wife.  But could Sarah leave her dying father's side for the love of her life? And what plans are forming in the jealous heart of Ben Croftner?
Purchase a copy: 
About The Author:  Colleen Coble has sold over 2 million novels worldwide. Seagrass Pier, the third installment in her acclaimed Hope Beach series, marks a new highpoint for emotion and complexity in Coble's addictive brand of romantic suspense.Find Colleen online: website, Twitter, Facebook
My Thoughts On The Book:  I LOVE reading Colleen Coble.  A Heart's Desire was no exception.  Coble is an amazing author who makes her characters leap off the page.  I really enjoyed this book! I am a huge fan of books set in this time period and Coble really made the bad guy hateable.. It was a very quick read and I could not put it down once I began.  I was sad for the story to end buy delighted since it is part of a series and there was a preview of the next book to come.  This first story in the series is just shy of 100 pages long and since it is a series the story will be continued.  The story was so very good and if you are a fan of western era, Civil War historical romances, and Colleen Coble then you need to read this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Litfuse Publications and Net Galley as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

The Reality of Palm Sunday

Mark 11:1-11 is my scripture text this morning.....

It was something new and exciting. A parade was forming. Everyone started to run to see what was happening. The people started to stretch necks to see over the person in front of them. The young children crawled between the legs of the adults to see if they could gaze upon what was happening. Then everyone saw it! A man riding upon a donkey, and there were people racing in front of the man on the donkey throwing palm leaves and clothes in the path of the man and the donkey. People started to shout "Hosanna, Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" The crowd that gathered along the way started to catch the excitement, and they began to shout and run along side of the parade.  As they were running, some in the crowd turned to another and asked, "Who is the man? Why are we shouting our Hosannas? Is he a king?" And the other turned and said, "Yes, we think he is a king, the King of the Jews, see he is riding on a donkey as it says in scripture that the Messiah would come."  And the two of them ran off with the crowd caught up in the excitement of the moment. 
And we can be like that too, caught up in the excitement of the moment as seen in the following:  "A young man walked up the sidewalk toward his home late one Friday afternoon and was greeted by his two children. They laughed and bounced with more than the usual amount of excitement.  "Daddy, Daddy, " the three-year-old started to say, "There’s a. . . " Whumpf! The five-year-old stuffed his palm vigorously across the three-year-old’s mouth. The three-year-old wrenched free, eyes still sparkling. "Daddy, Mommy and Jason and me have got a. . . " Whumpf! The hand closed across the mouth again, followed by these firm words from the five-year-old. "Sarah, if you don’t keep quiet, Daddy’s going to know there’s a surprise party inside for him!"  After a moment of awesome silence, the five-year-old flushed. Dad artfully pretended not to have heard a word. He hugged both children and, laughing together, all three raced into the house. "  The young children could hardly contain themselves with the excitement of the moment. They knew something exciting was going to happen and they could not hold it inside.

When the people in Jesus day saw him riding into Jerusalem that day, they knew that something exciting was happening. They knew that Jesus was riding as the Messiah would, and they thought they knew what that meant. They thought it meant they would be free from the Romans, they thought it meant that Jesus was going to be their King. So they got caught up in the excitement of the moment and celebrated, rejoiced at the picture which was forming in their mind’s eye. There it was….a picture of a king who would save them,  a picture of a nation reborn, a picture of a people who would be free to be a mighty nation again. So they celebrated, they danced down the street, they shouted Hosannas!!  It was a giant street party!  How exciting….wouldn’t you have loved to have been there?

And then… just a few short days later,… that same crowd… cried, crucify him, crucify him. They learned that the picture which was developing in their mind’s eye what not the picture that Jesus was painting for himself.  The dreams of that Palm Sunday were soon turned into the stark realities of the betrayal,… the trial… and the crucifixion.   Their dreams were paraded down the streets of reality.  The reality of the situation was Jesus was not the kind of hero they hoped he would be. Jesus was not the kind of king to lead an earthly army. Jesus would not deliver the Jews from the Romans. Their dreams of who Jesus was turned into the reality of Jesus as a heavenly Messiah which they could not understand. Even Jesus… as he rode into Jerusalem wept for his beloved city, as it says in Luke’s gospel, for he knew the dreams of this day would turn into the reality of pain, death, and suffering.  During the week that followed this great triumphant ride into the city, Jesus spoke of the realities of who he was.  Remember, he cleansed the temple. He told of the temple’s demise, he told of the coming of the Son of Man.  In a sense he shattered the dreams of the people that day.  He told of the reality of was to come. The reality of death.

The crowds of Good Friday turned against Jesus for one reason because he didn’t fulfill the dreams they had of him the Sunday before. Jesus had them see the reality of who he was, not an earthly king, but a heavenly king. He was not a warrior who would come to destroy the Romans. But Jesus was a warrior who would come to destroy death. He shattered the dreams of the people. He gave them a taste of reality   and for that the people turned against him.  Jesus was painting a picture of a suffering Messiah. A Messiah who would suffer for the sins of the all people.   And the people cried crucify him because they could not understand that he was to be the suffering Messiah.  They cried crucify him because Jesus did not fulfill their expectations. They cried crucify him because Jesus had let them down. They cried crucify him because they wanted a warrior king who would lead them into battle.  Jesus was the lamb who was to be sacrificed!  The people missed the point and they were angry. What about us. Do we get the point?

Or are we like the boy in the following:  A bunch of kids, one summer afternoon, we involved in a pee-wee baseball game. When one little guy came up to the plate, he looked over to the coach for a signal. The coach signaled to sacrifice bunt. The little kid promptly proceeded to take three big swings and strike out. The coach ran up to him afterwards and said: "Didn’t you see me give you the signal to sacrifice?" "Yes," the boy replied. "But I didn’t really think you meant it."

But I didn’t really think you meant it. Is that how we react to Jesus. We really don’t think you meant to be the suffering Messiah. Are we like the crowd way back then, still wanting Jesus to be a conquering, warrior! Or? Or do we get it. Do we understand?  "Do we understand that instead we get a Messiah who gives us power all right, but it’s a whole new kind of power, it’s THE POWER OF SUFFERING LOVE!  It’s a power that looks me in the eye, forgives my sin, my fear, my anger, my resentment, my prejudice!  It’s a power that didn’t assert itself over and against me, but died for me! It’s a power that sets me free from all of that which is within me that dehumanizes me and others!  It’s a power that loosens my grip on all of my expectations and even allows me to see Christ’s face in the least and most lowly on this planet!  It’s a power that relates in grace, and invites me to join with him in being one of his special grace givers.  It’s a power that assures me I don’t need to be afraid of suffering, self-giving love, because it’s the only way I will ever fulfill my humanity, and find my purpose, and experience true joy and peace."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote:  "God allows himself to be edged out of the world and on to the cross....and that is the way, the only way, in which he can be with us and help us....Only a suffering God can help."

The crowds on that first Palm Sunday wanted a Warrior King, but Jesus came as a suffering Messiah. Jesus came as one who would die on a cross for the sake of human kind.  The crowd missed the point. The crowd thought they knew but did not.  So….What about us? Do we get it? Is Jesus the suffering Messiah for us? Or are we still looking for a Warrior King who will turn the world upside down?  Do we see Jesus as the suffering Messiah who did turn the world upside down for our sake and continues to shape the world with his love and grace?  (pause)…..A parade gathers, we see Jesus coming, but what do you see?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

I Love A Parade

My Scripture today is:   Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!" Mark 11:9-10 (NIV)

I love a parade! How about you?  Have any of you ever been to a parade?  There is something about it that really gets my heart to pumping. We often have parades to celebrate special events such as Christmas, Homecoming, New Years Day, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day.   Sometimes we have a parade to honor an important person who has come to our town.  This morning I want us to imagine that we are watching a parade. Our city is honoring the very first astronaut from our city to ever walk on the moon. I will describe the parade and when the astronaut passes by, I want everyone to wave their flags and blow their noise makers. Let's practice blowing our noise makers to make sure they are working. Okay, everybody blow! Wow! That was great. Now, get ready, because the parade is about to begin.

Listen...I can hear the band. It is leading the parade and behind the band there are floats carrying a lot of important people...our congressman, our senator, and the mayor of our city. As they pass by, we smile and wave. Finally, here comes the astronaut, our hero! The crowd cheers, waves their flags, and blows their noise makers! (Wave and blow on the noise makers.) Then as the parade moves on down the street, the sound of the band fades away in the distance. It is over. The celebration is over.  All that is left are the memories, and the confetti in the streets.  That is a little bit like something that took place in the city of Jerusalem about 2000 years ago. A king was visiting their city. People lined the streets of the city hoping to get to see the King. The King came riding on a small donkey, and as he rode through the streets of the city, the people waved palm branches and shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!"

I'm sure that you know who that King was—it was Jesus. Today is Palm Sunday. Today we remember the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the people cheering and waving palm branches. It was a day that marked the beginning of a week that would see Jesus cheered, then arrested, tried, beaten, and put to death on a cross. But as that week came to an end, another week began just as the previous week had begun, with a celebration. I can hardly wait until next Sunday!



The Canterbury Sisters

About The Book:  In the vein of Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, a warm and touching novel about a woman who embarks on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral after losing her mother, sharing life lessons—in the best Chaucer tradition—with eight other women along the way. Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage. Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.  Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
About The Author:  Kim Wright is the author of Love in Mid Air and The Unexpected Waltz and has been writing about travel, food, and wine for more than twenty years for many magazines, including Wine Spectator, Self, Travel & Leisure, and Vogue. She has twice won the Lowell Thomas Award for travel writing. The Canterbury Sisters is her third novel, and she also ballroom dances competitively. Kim lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
My Thoughts On The Book: To be short and sweet about this book it is a must read. I did not read it in one sitting.  I read it in pieces so I could ponder each story. This is the kind of trip I think I would love to take.  If there is not a travel agency out there who does this....there should be.  I am an English teacher by trade and I love Canterbury Tales.  It was one of my favorite books when I was in school.  This story is a fresh approach at a classic tale and Kim Wright has hit the mark.  I loved the characters and I loved their stories they shared on their journey. This book is a reminder that sometimes it is all about the journey.....not necessarily where you are going....but the trip itself.  Loved this book!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this e-book free from Net Galley  Publications  as part of their Book Review Blogger Programs. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you!  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last Hodge Podge of March Madness

Hello Hodgepodgers!  You know the drill...hop back here tomorrow and add your link to the party by clicking here and going to Joyce's blog.

1. This coming weekend is Palm Sunday, which marks the beginning of Holy Week. Do you celebrate Easter in your home? What was your favorite Easter tradition as a child?  I am a pastor, married to a pastor....we have Spring Break next week....Frank and I are both preaching at other churches for Holy Week.  We have always celebrated Holy Week.  When I was a child...and even now...the Maundy Thursday service and Sunrise service were my favorite events.  
2. George Weinberg is quoted as saying, 'Hope never abandons you, you abandon it.' Agree or disagree? Share your own thoughts on the word hope.   I agree. 
3. Weigh in with a yay or nay on the traditional Easter candies. A solid milk chocolate bunny? Cadbury Creme Eggs? Peeps? Reese's Peanut Butter Eggs? Jellybeans? Coconut Cream Eggs? Of the candies listed, which one would you most like to find in your Easter basket? Yes to all of the above except for the Coconut Cream eggs.  Yuck!  As a child I was allergic to chocolate so I never found any of those wonderful chocolate things in my basket....but there were always peeps and jelly beans.  Love them still today.
4. When did you last feel 'like a kid in a candy store'? The last time we visited Frank's sister, Ann in Greenville and went to Mast's General Store.  They have barrels and barrels of old-fashioned candies.  I thought I had died and gone to candy heaven.
5. What's something you know you do differently than most people? Does that bother you? Does it bother other people?  I hold a crochet hook unlike anyone else.  The lady that taught me to crochet goes nuts and is constantly correcting my hold.  I also hold a pencil weird.
6. Palm Springs CA, Palm Beach FL, or the PALMetto State...of the three mentioned, which sunny spot would you most like to visit right now? Which have you visited at one time or another?  I have been to all three.....I grew up in West Palm Beach, FL so I have been to Palm Beach many times.  I would love to go to Palm Beach today......and stay at the Breakers.
7. If you could change the length of a day would you lengthen it or shorten it? Tell us why.  I would do neither.  I think 24 hours in a day is just enough to either get something done....or not do anything at all.
8.  Insert your own random thought here. Today is National Pecan and Waffle Day....who is up for some pecan waffles for supper tonight?  I love waffles for supper.  Here is my favorite recipe:
  • 3/4 cup pecans
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus more for brushing and topping
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening, melted and cooled
  • Maple syrup, for topping ( I like to heat mine a little bit)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pecans on a baking sheet; bake until toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool, then chop. Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees F.
Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk the egg, milk, buttermilk and vanilla in a separate bowl until combined. Stir the egg mixture, melted butter and shortening into the dry ingredients until just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.)
Preheat a waffle iron and brush with melted butter. Ladle some batter into the iron (about 1/2 cup, depending on your waffle iron); sprinkle with 2 tablespoons toasted pecans. Cook until golden brown, then transfer the waffle to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining batter. Top the waffles with butter and maple syrup.  Bon Appetit!

Monday, March 23, 2015

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining.......I Know I Am!

I am not from Alabama, but I have lived here long enough to know a great deal about it and be proud to live here.  There are things people have said to me over the years about being from the South and it really gets my goat.  I found this great site that had 20 of what I deem the "stupidest" comments made about the South and just had to share it with you.  Hope you enjoy it....and maybe learn a little from it

1. Isn’t Alabama All Backwoods?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Rick McCoy Facebook
Kind of. Once you get past all the pristine beaches and the cities and buildings, museums, science centers, art galleries, and towns…Yeah, there are some woods around.

2. But Aren’t The Beaches All Oil?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Alabama Gulf Coast Facebook
Yes, there’s oil everywhere. In fact, you probably shouldn’t come here. You would hate it.

3. So, I Guess You Really Like Football?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
“Like?” One does not simply “like” football in Alabama. Football is a way of life for Alabamians. And when you hear “Roll Tide” it has nothing to do with laundry.

4. Why Alabama Doesn’t Have A Pro Football Team

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Business Insider
Alabama is so busy cheering Roll Tide or War Eagle, there’s no time for that silly NFL stuff.

5. What’s With All The Houndstooth?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: YouTube
If you have to ask, you wouldn’t possibly understand. But it’s classy as heck, isn’t it?

6. Is Sweet Home Alabama The State Song?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Quick Meme
Nope. A lot of people love it. A lot of people don’t. And there’s nothing official about it. But there’s always someone around excited to turn it up.

7. What’s Muscle Shoals And Why Do They Have The Swampers?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
The Swampers are the heart of Alabama music and The Shoals is where some of the greatest music ever made gets made.

8. Isn’t Alabama Super Religious?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: imgur
Well, yeah. A lot of it is. But don’t worry. The devil is too busy dealing with Northerners to worry about you.

9. Alabama Must Be Filled With So Many Uneducated Hillbillies

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: The USA Travel
Ummm, does the acronym NASA mean anything to you? Alabama has more science in its pinky finger than most other states could only hope for. Does your state have a Rocket City? Did it help send Neil Armstrong to the moon?

10. Wait A Minute, Space Camp Is REAL?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Space Camp Facebook
Yep, Space Camp is real and it’s right here in Huntsville. But it’s not like every kid grows up in zero gravity environments. It costs a pretty penny to go. But those who get to are living the dream.

11. Alabamians Aren’t Country, They’re Genteel

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Tumblr
All those Southern charms – the good manners, respectable nature, sometimes backhanded politeness, and old fashioned traditions, that’s what makes Alabamians what they refer to as “genteel.” Not country.

12. Pork Is Actually An Anagram For Conecuh

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Plan To Plate
If an Alabamian has cooked you up some sausage, you can bet good money that it’s Conecuh sausage.

13. Texas Doesn’t Have The Best Barbecue

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Hello Giggles
Whoever told you such a ridiculous lie is no friend at all. Everyone knows that Alabama’s barbecue is where it’s at. And Archibald’s where you go to experience the real stuff with the locals, not the silly tourist stuff.

14. Are Those Biscuits Made From Real Cat Heads?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
The Cat Head Biscuits? Yes, that’s really what they’re called. But fret not, no felines are harmed in the making of these doughy delights. The consensus seems to agree they’re called Cat Head Biscuits because they’re the approximate size of a cat’s head.

15. Biscuits Are Not Complete Without Sausage Gravy

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
The only proper kind of gravy to enjoy with those Cat Head Biscuits here in Alabama is sausage gravy. Don’t let anyone serve you anything different. And seriously, it tastes better than it looks.

16. Bless Your Heart Isn’t So Much A Blessing

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Meme Generator
Chances are, you just got called an idiot without even realizing it.

17. Ha-Ha-Ha, Alabamians Can’t Drive In Snow – Good One!

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Pinterest
Wait, no it’s not. It’s a tired old joke. Alabamians don’t need to apologize for not being masters of the snow. No one expects someone from Canada to know how to surf. Get over it.

18. No, Mardi Gras Started In Alabama, Not New Orleans

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Alabama Gulf Coast Facebook
Okay, the Mardi Gras thing can’t be ignored so it makes its way on the list. Especially because it’s a little crazy that so many people still don’t realize that Mardi Gras first began and still thrives in Mobile.

19. What’s A Moon Pie?

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Gallery Hip
It’s a chocolate covered marshmallow pie that are thrown off Mardi Gras floats along with beads and subsequently hoarded. A lot of people make a big deal out of them, but they’re not such a big deal outside of Mardi Gras.

20. You Talk On A Mo-Bull Phone, You Visit Mardi Gras In Mo-Beel

30 Things People From Alabama Are Tired Of Explaining
Source: Tumblr
If you do go to the real Mardi Gras, know how to pronounce the city properly for the love of Moon Pies.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Why God?

I want to ask you some questions this morning…..the first is…..

Why does God allow trials in our lives?

My scripture text will be coming from John 12:24-25

Chippie the parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problems began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang, and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said "hello" when "ssssopp!" Chippie got sucked in. The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie -- still alive, but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then, realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any compassionate bird owner would do . . . she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the pet with hot air.

Poor Chippie never knew what hit him. A few days after the trauma, the reporter who’d initially written about the event contacted Chippie’s owner to see how the bird was recovering. "Well," she replied, "Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore -- he just sits and stares."

It’s hard not to see why. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over . . . That’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

The second question this morning is……?

Do you still have a song in your heart?

You see there is one of two things you can do when trials, tests or tribulation comes your way:

1. You can become bitter -- Like Chippie

· So easy to do – it is our natural way of handling problems

· Even as Christians we are full of ourselves and especially during trails in our lives.

· This is when your fears, hurts and negative thoughts mull over and over in your mind, you’re constantly thinking of it and in the same time you looses God’s love.

· There is no longer a song in your heart.

· Measured by worldly standards your feelings might be justified but it is not by God’s standards.

Heb 12:14-15 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;

Or you can choose to:

2. Absolutely delight yourself in the Lord and know that He is in charge of your Life.

· You can keep your song in your heart even when the going gets tough! · This was Paul and Silas choice when they we’re in the Jail.

· The word says that they were singing!  They were only doing what the following scriptures are saying:

James 1:2 tells us:  My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;

3. Knowing [this], that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Look at v3. trying of your faith

James is saying here that our faith is tested.

This answers the questions:…Yet we still find ourselves asking….

· But why is this happening to me?

· Why do bad things happen to good people?

Let’s look at a couple of Case Studies….Number One

Deut 8:2-3 -And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, [and] to prove thee, to know what [was] in thine heart, whether thou would keep his commandments,... And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knew not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every [word] that proceed out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.

Two things we learn here:

Trial time -- wilderness – they were in dessert, and it was a lonely place.  Have you noticed that if you’re in a trail how people tend to leave you?....alone?  Why would a loving God allow the Israelites to dwell 40 years in the dessert.

1 . To humble thee:  No thing in life that make a person so humble than trials.  When we realize that we can’t do it on our own, we look up….because we need the Lord.   The Israelites wouldn’t have made it without the Lord.

2. To prove thee, to know what was in thine heart.  What comes out if I shake you?

Case Study Two: is found in Psalm 107:25-30.  For he commanded, and raised the stormy wind, which lifted up the waves thereof.  26. They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.  27. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.  28. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses.  29. He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  30. Then are they glad because they be quiet; so he bring them unto their desired haven.  The Lord is dealing with fishermen here but we can apply it to our lives today.  Notice a few words that reflect today’s life.

1. Stormy wind, which lifted up the waves thereof. They mount up to the heaven; they go down again to the depths  Who of you has ever felt like that?  One-day things seem normal in your life, and then the next day the wheels come off.  Interesting how it starts with the wind.  What was Jesus reaction on the boat in the storm with the disciples?  He rebuked the Wind and the waves calmed down.

2. Their soul is melted because of trouble.  I’ve seen people like this; in fact I have been there.  People who bite their finger nails, etc.  What did all of this teach them?  Back verses 28-29. Then they cry unto the LORD in their trouble, and he brings them out of their distresses.  29. He makes the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.  To pray.  It is kind of funny how much energy people have to pray,… when they’re in trouble.

Case Study Three comes from Psalm 119:69,71,75:  69. The proud have forged a lie against me: [but] I will keep thy teachings with [my] whole heart.  71. [It is] good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy law.  75. I know, O LORD, that thy judgments [are] right, and [that] thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me.

Has somebody ever gossiped about you?  Were you the victim of a lie?  Why does it happen to you?  Why is the Psalmist happy?

This is why…..Verse 69 says…..[but] I will keep thy teachings with [my] whole heart.  Not just a little section….ALL of it!  71. [It is] good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy law. The Lord is trying to teach us to keep His law.  ALWAYS!  Not just when it is convenient.

So, the Lord let things happen in our lives to:

          Humble us,

          Test us, see what’s in our hearts

          Bring us back to prayer

It is, however, hard to be humble if you’re proud.

Pride is the sin that destroyed our fellowship with God.

The only way to stop pride is to die in ourselves.

People we need to take today’s scripture more serious.

Your view of trials will change if you die in yourself.

I want to leave you with one final story….Like a lifesaver who spotted a men in trouble in the water. There were other people nearby who urged this lifesaver to jump in straight away. He didn’t. The man in the water was fighting furiously to stay above the water. The crowd grew angry, they shouted at the lifesaver, but he waited. After a few minutes, when the man in the water started to get weak, he jumped in and saved the man’s life. The angry people asked him why he waited so long before jumping in. He replied that if he had jumped in earlier that the man would have drowned them both out of panic. He waited for the man to get weak. So he could save him.  It is the same with us, The Lord is there waiting to help you, But, you need to die first in yourself and let Him do His work in your life.