What the Cross Represents…

He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed.

1 Peter 2:24 New Living Translation (NLT)

I received these earrings to review. I know I post a lot of reviews here… most of that is required for the product reviewing hobby I’ve developed (I hope you’ll continue to bear with me as I try to incorporate other content), but they help me to keep the content updated more frequently and usually lead to some deeper sort of reflection for me.

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When I looked at these, beyond the baguette stones and the solid construction, the lyrics to the song below came to mind.  This album came out when I was in middle school and my mom played it all the time.

I didn’t mind though. I loved it. This was one of the songs that was very personal for me. I think it was around this age that church became more than a “place to go” for me.  My salvation became VERY real and I would often reflect on the kind of love one had to have to sacrifice His “only begotten son” for a world of people.

At this point, my nephew had been born and I loved him with all of my heart– I didn’t know that a love like that could exist. To see a person that you’ve never known before and love them instantly– and want the best for them. It blew my mind.

So when I thought about that kind of love and asked myself if I would be able to give his life to save the world. I just cried. I’m crying now (I’m more of a softie than most people realize 🙂 ).

It really IS a powerful question to ask yourself: Think about the person you love THE MOST in this whole world. Then ask yourself if you could give his/her life to save the fate of the rest of the world? Could you do it?

I sometimes think we can hear altar calls so often that we can become numb to what that sacrifice REALLY meant and just HOW personal it was.

He did it JUST FOR ME.

He did it JUST for YOU.

He did it with EACH  and EVERY one of US on His mind.

When I look at a cross– be it a pair of earrings, in a church, or a photo on a wall — That is what it means to me.

Just for Me ~ Donnie McClurkin
What does the cross of Jesus mean?
It’s more than songs we sing, yeah
Much more than that emblem on your chain
But it means I’m free, yes from the chains of slavery
And the blood that shed won’t let my sins remain, oh my
Upon the cross my Saviour died, the Lamb was crucified
Showed us love that this world had never known
Oh what love, divine so divine, true a love you’ll never find
So that we might live, love came and died alone, Hallelujah

Well the Cross will always represent the love God had for me
When the Lord of glory, Heaven sent gave all on Calvary
He did it just for me, just for me, Hallelujah

 

There are lots of different ways to pray the prayer of Salvation, but I wanted to leave one here if you’ve yet to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and feel a stirring in your heart after reading this post.  This is from one of my favorite prayer authors, of the book Prayers that Availeth Much.  You can reword this to make it more personal, but this is the general overview.

Prayer To Receive Jesus as Savior and Lord

Father, it is written in Your Word that if I confess with my mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in my heart that You have raised Him from the dead, I shall be saved. Therefore, Father, I confess that Jesus is my Lord. I make Him Lord of my life right now. I believe in my heart that You raised Jesus from the dead. I renounce my past life with Satan and close the door to any of his devices.

I thank You for forgiving me of all my sin. Jesus is my Lord, and I am a new creation. Old things have passed away; now all things become new in Jesus’ name. Amen

Light It Up

“Light it up. Light it up. Let the world know that JESUS LIVES!…”

Something as simple as a set of balloons brought those lyrics to mind.

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I received these glowing LED balloons to review and I really like them. You simply pull a tab to light up the LED bulb and inflate the balloon by mouth or helium tank just as you would with any regular latex balloon.

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If you’ve been following my blog for any period of time, you know I’m a big kid at heart. Balloons are one of those simple joys in life. I love how this item takes something that is classic and introduces a new twist and with an energy efficient element that will last for hours at a time.

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My husband was the first person to really get me to become a fan of LED products. He’s an engineer and will quickly explain the difference between a standard bulb and an LED bulb… Don’t get him started on television sets. You’re in for a full blown lesson.  I’m thankful though, times like these are when I realize how much I’ve benefited from what he’s shared with me as God uses those moments to minister to my heart in a whole new way.

In this instance, me looking at these balloons also made me think back to the first time my husband explained the technology behind an LED TV and how it was better than a standard TV.

Have you ever made the transition from a standard definition television to a High Definition, LED TV?  Stay with me here. Do you remember the first time you turned on your new TV and that moment when you saw the screen “light up” and how you could see the difference in the image clarity and overall picture?

That’s how our walk should be with Christ.

We are new creatures… but we are creatures that are constantly evolving. We should be going from GLORY to GLORY in Him.

I may have accepted Christ when I was 12 years old, but there should be a new definition to who I am in 2016. My light should be becoming more efficient. My “model” should be constantly evolving and showing the world what God will do with a surrendered and sincere heart. And when there is an fault with the current model, I should look to the author and finisher of my faith and do the work necessary to correct the error.

Just like these balloons are a new technology or a new evolution of a former thing… so should we be.

Matthew 5:16 New Living Translation

In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.


2 Corinthians 5:17-21 New Living Translation

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him.  For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation.  So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”  For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God.


 

A Sense of Comfort

Have you ever noticed how something as simple as your favorite pair of jeans or leggings can bring you a world of comfort?

Now imagine how you’d feel if you lost all of your worldly possessions.Jeans

That’s reality for many residents of Louisiana right now.

For my husband it brought back memories of Hurricane Katrina. For me it brings back memories of my first flood experience. It was almost  5 years ago, to the day. My apartment was spared, but my car was under several feet of water.

It’s one of those things you never forget. It’s a crushing blow to your mind and spirit, but it is also a true lesson about the things that matter in life– health, strength, your family– and simply being alive.

When I received these leggings to review, I thought I would be giving them to the clothing drive at my church or maybe to one of the youth, but I’m including them in my collection of items to donate to the local relief efforts and I pray you’ll find it in your heart to support them as well.

 
Yes, they’re cute. Sure, they’re trendy, but now they mean something much more– they can be a small sense of comfort– a step to returning to normality for a child who just lost all of her new, back-to-school clothes. A single pair of jeans or an individual donation may not change everything, but they can be a start.

My local ministry will be coordinating relief efforts. If you are unable to give items directly, you can use this link to give a monetary donation.

Scriptures for Encouragement:

For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18)

“God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.” (Psalm 46:1)

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lam. 3:22-25)

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Cor 1:3,4)


Coming Up: International Day of Peace Action Week (September 18 – 25, 2016)

There’s been so much going on in Louisiana over the past few months, and it has been a lot to process.

I’ll be taking part in the International Day of Peace Action Week next month and speaking more about my personal experiences, my individual reflections, and some of the activities taking place across the State, Nation and World. Please check back for more updates.

Thanks for reading!

Weeding My Garden

This has been a hard, long, week. Filled with lots of emotional highs and lows. The biggest low being the loss of my husband’s grandfather.

I didn’t know him as long as others were blessed to, but I got the chance to experience a grandfather as an adult and that in itself was a special gift from God.

He wasn’t just my husband’s grandfather. He was my Grandpa Sterling.

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