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Monday, January 23, 2012

Trending challenge....#30thingsaboutme

1. i spent part of my life as an agnostic soft-boiled atheist and now am a certifiable Jesus freak, although opposed to most mainstream religion.

2. 16 years ago i married my high school sweetheart nathaniel, whose name means "gift from God", while i have doubted the truth in that at times (LOL;), i know and believe he truly is my gift from my creator.

3. I believe greed & the desire for materialistic things are leading to the demise of our society.

4. As a child I dreamed of owning my own dance studio and producing lavish theatrical performances. Even though I gave him no credit at the time, God fufilled this dream for me & I spent nearly ten glorious years having an awesome time living the reality show"Dance Moms" BUT- I wasnt like Abbey Lee Miller (I dont think;). I am eternally grateful for the opportunites I had to share my love of the stage with so many truly wonderful students.

5. I long to be "off the grid", hate filing taxes, and reporting to the government anything about my life & whereabouts.

6. I have  homeschooled both of my boys for the last decade, except for the two years my oldest spent w/ the throngs of other children having their minds warped by the public school system (he did love it;). They now both continue to be  unschoolers opposed to societies dictates and into questioning reality as well as authority.

7. Watching my Grandmother descend into the misery of Alzheimers has been the hardest thing I have ever had to endure.

8. I love to take naps & eat. Gluttony & sloth are my favorite sins.

9. While I was a bleeding heart liberal feminist who marched on Washington more than once - my family likes to remind me(and think its funny) that I am now a conservative (ouch) and no longer a supporter of the "feminist agenda". I still get my news from Amy Goodman/Democracy Now - thats gotta count for something. 

10. God has blessed me with lifelong friends that are such wonderful counterbalances to who I am. Philippians 1:3

11. I love Mexican food, my husband loves mexican women.

12. I'll tell you I'm an orphan, after you meet my family.(Name that tune! My chosen theme song;)

13. I am proud & grateful that my sons have lived in the same home for 17 years with parents who are not divorced.

14. I have made grave errors & choices in my life, God made my name Grace for a reason.

15. Both my son Benjamin and I are aspiring authors, he is writing a horror novel about an ex preist who exorcises demons & chases vampires, I am working on my Grandmothers biography/a book about her faith (&mine).

16. I hate to leave my house & am a little agoraphobic. I have no problem standing on a stage & talking or dancing in front of thousands or managing a room of 90, but sometimes the idea of the grocery store is just too much. I am a paradox.

17. I believe we are living during the most important time in the history of the world.

18. I struggle most with unforgiveness.

19. I love watching television;History Channel, OWN,TBN, TCT, CNN, MSNBC, LINK, UCTV, FREESPEECH TV...the list goes on & on.

20. I am registered Libertarian; please defend my borders - deliver my mail & butt the heck out of my life, thanks.

21. When my sons were born i suffered from a condition known as pre-eclampsia. Nick was deprived of oxygen at birth, had an apgar score of 1 and according to doctors was'nt supposed to make it through his first night. On the third day of his life we were told by a very prominant neonatologist that he was a miracle of God. For my second child,I was induced due to blood pressure / blindness & organ failure and delivered a miraculously healthy Benjamin at 27 weeks, he weighed in at 2lbs 12 oz- he is now 15years old -approaching 6 feet rapidly and just tipped the scales at 200#. He is as he is named "the son of my right hand".

22. I intend to travel and live out west at somepoint, to get closer to my Dad & retrace my Grandmother's steps across this country.

23. I have always loved libraries.

24. I enjoy wearing red shoes. 


25. I dance  & sing loudly in my kitchen almost every day.


26. I love the book "Forbidden mysteries of Enoch:fallen angels and the origins of evil".


27. I have Rh negative blood & that makes me part of the weirdo 15% of the population, but I've got great green eyes!


28. This past summer I moved to an island, gave up everything I knew and struck out into uncharted territory (to mainly serve lobster). I've been  looking at a fabulous view every day since. 


29. When I'm camping in the Adirondacks, I read trashy romance novels.

30. I believe all you need is love

Friday, January 20, 2012

I thank my God every time I remember you -Phil. 1:3

"Are there people in your life that you are thankful for? We don’t think about this enough. I think that is always my biggest lesson when I am separated from family and friends, is how much we take them for granted...." - Keith Andrews
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/thankful-for-friends-keith-andrews-sermon-on-friendship-general-127566.asp?page=2
Dear Reader, I encourage you to check out the whole sermon - but here is the first part...
-j
Thankfulness for Friends
Sermon by CH(CPT) Keith J. Andrews
All scripture marked ESV: The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.


Philemon 4 reads;

4 I thank my God always when I remember you in my prayers, (Phm 4)

In the Army we know too well what friendship truly means.

It is said that when all is said and done, we at the Soldier level don’t fight for any political cause we fight for our buddies to the left and the right.

So when we think of our friends, when we pray for them do we thank God for them?

We see in this passage that Paul is writing to his friend Philemon.

Philemon was an owner of a slave named Onesimus. He is referenced beginning in verse 10. Philemon and Onesimus became believers of Christ under Paul’s preaching. 

Philemon was converted first, then Paul runs into Onesimus in prison and this letter is a letter to reconcile the two together.

We see in these first verses of the letter that Paul was close to Philemon. They have mutual friends as seen in verse 23 and he looks forward to see him Philemon again as seen in verse 22. They are friend. Paul even uses the words brothers throughout the letter.

So on one hand, we have the friendship between Philemon and Paul.

On the other hand, we have the friendship of Onesimus and Paul. Paul is willing to go to bat for this escaped slave and thief. So, Paul writes to his friend Philemon to begin the process of reconciliation.

In this letter and in this passage specifically, Paul expresses his gratitude for Philemon.

This morning, I want us to look at our prayer life under the microscope of thanksgiving. And ask the question to you; are you bringing your friends before God and thanking God for them?

Is this a pattern in your life? Or are you so focused on yourself, that you don’t have time to thank God for your friends. You will pray for them when they are sick—but you don’t take the time to thank God for them.

This reminds me of a sentence form Mathew.

Matthew 5:46

46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? (Mt 5:46, ESV)

Even the unbelievers pray for their friends when they are sick. But, we are to be different. We are not to take the friends we have for granted. We are to thank the Lord for them.

So first of all I want you to ask the question;

1. Are you thankful for the people that God has placed in your path?

This is a hard pinpoint question that only you can answer. Are you even thankful for those friends that you have.

This week I scrolled through some websites that listed what people were thankful for:

Katherine, age 9 says “ I am thankful for my mom, friends, teacher because they help me. If you ask why well here how it goes my mom helps me do my homework. Next, my friends help me when I am hurt. Last, my teacher helps me learn about things. That’s what I am thankful for. “

Christopher, age 12 says;
“I am thankful for my wonderful family!
that even includes you who reads this cause you will have a wonderful family that you love one day and in a way we are
close to each other. “...
http://www.sermoncentral.com/sermons/thankful-for-friends-keith-andrews-sermon-on-friendship-general-127566.asp?page=2

Thursday, January 19, 2012

If its a crutch, give me two.

Is Christianity Just a Crutch?

In Mere Apologetics, Alister McGrath points out that "one of the most familiar criticisms of Christianity is that it offers consolation to life's losers."(1) Believers are often caricatured as being somewhat weak and na├»ve—the kind of people who need their faith as a "crutch" just to get them through life. In new atheist literature, this depiction is often contrasted with the image of a hardier intellectual atheist who has no need for such infantile, yet comforting, nonsense. This type of portrayal may resonate with some, but does it really make sense?(2)

Firstly, it is helpful to define what we mean by a "crutch." In a medical setting, the word obviously means an implement used by people for support when they are injured. The analogy implies, therefore, that those who need one are somehow deficient or wounded. In a sense, it is fairly obvious that the most vulnerable might need support, but as the agnostic John Humphrys points out, "Don't we all? Some use booze rather than the Bible."(3) As this suggests, it is not so much a question of whether you have one, but it is more of a question of what your particular crutch is. This is an important point to make, as people rely on all kinds of things for their comfort or self-esteem, ranging from material possessions, money, food, and aesthetics to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, and sex. Rather than being viewed as signs of weakness, many of these are even considered to be relatively normal in society, provided they don't turn into the more destructive behavior associated with strong addiction. Nevertheless, many of these only offer a short-term release from the struggles of life and they sometimes only cover up deeper problems that a person might be suffering from. To suggest, therefore, that atheists are somehow stronger than believers is to deny the darker side of humanity, which is only too apparent if we look at the world around us. As McGrath explains:

"[I]f you have a broken leg, you need a crutch. If you're ill you need medicine. That's just the way things are. The Christian understanding of human nature is that we are damaged, wounded and disabled by sin. That's just the way things are."(4)

Moreover, Augustine of Hippo compared the church to a hospital, because it is full of wounded and ill people in the process of being healed.(5) As is the case with any illness, this treatment cannot begin, however, until someone has admitted they are sick or need help. There is plenty of evidence to suggest that religious belief does have an advantageous effect on both mental and physical health. Andrew Sims, former President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, writes that a "huge volume of research" confirms this, making it "one of the best-kept secrets in psychiatry and medicine generally."(6) In a culture that often seems to exalt health, well-being, and happiness above other things, this would seem to render religious belief very appealing both to the weak andthe strong in society.

Many believers testify to the transformative effect that becoming a Christian has had on their lives and this can include being delivered from some of the crutches they had previously relied upon. Yet, the idea that coming to faith is somehow either liberating or empowering is, of course, anathema to many people. Christopher Hitchens, for example, speaks of the totalitarian nature of Christianity that keeps its followers in a state of constant subservience.(7) G. K. Chesterton saw it differently, however, as he suggested that the "dignity of man" and the "smallness of man" was held in perfect tension, allowing people to have a strong sense of self-worth without becoming big-headed.(8)

Yet God clearly offers much more than this. In 1 Corinthians 12:9 it says, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." The idea of strength flowing from human powerlessness may seem counter-intuitive in today's risk-averse culture, but as Simon Guillebaud points out, "Paradoxically, our waving the white flag of submission to God's right over our lives is the key that unlocks the gate to many future victories in his name."(9) Nevertheless, as C. S. Lewis observed, people will still choose to cling on to their crutches, even though something much better is being offered to them:

"We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."(10)

It can be helpful, therefore, to reflect on what we really rely upon in our own lives and what impact this has upon us. As the blogger and former atheist, Daniel Rodgers, reminds us, we do not want to miss out on the fullness of life that God offers all of us, whether we think we need it or not:

"The truth of the matter is that Jesus never offered a crutch, only a cross; it wasn't a call to be a better person with high self-esteem or a plan to help us scrape through our existence. It was a call to acknowledge that the forgiveness we all seek is to be found in him by following him onto the cross... It's because Christianity is true that it has something to offer every person in every circumstance, regardless of their background or intellectual capabilities."(11)

Simon Wenham is research coordinator for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Europe.

http://ls.egen.net/MessageView.aspx?sid=168024349&cid=167774605&textonly=0%20
(1) A. McGrath, Mere Apologetics (Grand Rapids, 2012), 167. 
(2) Article adapted from Simon Wenham's "Is Christianity Just a Crutch?” Pulse, Issue 10 (Spring 2012), 14-16.  
(3) J. Humphrys, In God We Doubt (London, 2007), in J. C. Lennox, Gunning for God (Oxford, 2011), 24.
(4) McGrath, Mere Apologetics, 170.
(5) Idem.
(6) A. Sims, Is Faith Delusion? (London, 2009), in Lennox, Gunning, 77-78.
(7) C. Hitchens, God is Not Great (London, 2007), 232-234.
(8) G. K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy (Chicago, 2009), 143.
(9) S. Guillebaud, For What It's Worth (Oxford, 1999), 171.
(10) C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses (Grand Rapids, 1949), 1-2.
(11) D. Rodger, "Is Christianity a Psychological Crutch?" (from www.bethinking.org).

Sunday, January 15, 2012

John 3:16

John 3:16 Breakdown...
December 30, 2010 • By Channel

For God so loved - That's the greatest degree.
The World- That's the greatest company.
That He gave -  That's the greatest act.
His only begotten Son - That's the greatest gift.
That whoever - That's the greatest opportunity.
Believes - That's the greatest simplicity.
In Him - That's the greatest attraction.
Shall not perish - That's the greatest promise.
But - That's the greatest difference.
Have - That's the greatest certainty.
Eternal Life - That's the greatest possession.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Be happy now.


Be happy now.


My Grandmother Mahota was a good one for contentment. She accepted life as it came, solidly - head on, without complaint – regardless of what the universe decided to throw at her. I never recognized this quality until I was about 30, when I began to understand that it’s a most admirable trait in a person – and not a simple one for me to pull off. It’s not always easy to be content in this life, I mean c’mon – life’s not fair, other people have more stuff than me, life has been so much easier for so many, sometimes it seems the innocent and good suffer while the selfish and evil succeed, bad things happen to good people, right? Even though that may be right, it’s irrelevant. It comes down to choice, we have no control over our circumstances – but we can decide how to respond.
 Learn how to be content – it’s a gift you are giving yourself. My Grandmother had to leave school & was picking cotton as a migrant farmworker by 14, by 18 she had lost her Mother to an unexplained illness, battled through an abusive marriage & custody battle in the state of Texas, and was raising a toddler alone. These were not experiences she shared with melancholy or a defeated bitterness, what she endured gave her strength and more than that, made her GRATEFUL.
 (GRATITUDE: the first step toward CONTENTMENTJ
Grateful – for right now, this moment - To no man is promised tomorrow, so enjoy those you love today. Be happy for those who have more than you…
MATTHEW 6:31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Mahota spoke in scripture & parable; I didn’t realize this until my own adulthood when I had started doing bible study for myself. All of a sudden, I would be reading a passage & I would know it as a story my Grandma had told me or a phrase she used often. Raised with no TV, limited radio and not really a “social life” to speak of, my Grandmother and her family read the bible EVERY NIGHT. That was the book from which she learned to not only read, but how to live and be happy- IN SPITE OF WHATEVER CIRCUMSTANCES. Mahota lived an “unremarkable life” by most standards; a devoted wife & homemaker who raised a family of five, went back to work- retired from the factory after 25 years & loved to shop at the Salvation Army… but the impact she had on people was remarkable – Mahota had a way of listening to and knowing you, a patience and a wisdom that people sought out. My Grandmother lived her faith; opposed to most organized religion- she believed worship was a private experience. Some people wear bracelets that say WWJD (what would Jesus do?), well she actually did. She often told me I made my relationship with God to difficult, “He’s not that hard to understand Jennie” she would say, “The Golden rule & Psalm 23 pretty much sum it up.” J And so that’s my advice to you Dear Reader, don’t make it more difficult than it has to be, be grateful – be content wherever you are, you see- God will meet you ANYWHERE and loves you UNCONDITIONALLY…

JOHN 4:39 Many of the Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me everything I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they urged him to stay with them, and he stayed two days. 41 And because of his words many more became believers. 42 They said to the woman, “We no longer believe just because of what you said; now we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this man really is the Savior of the world.”



Sunday, January 1, 2012

NY DAY SET LIST

Cooking in the kitchen here at Littleton House to start the NY Year... the following are some selections from the soundtrack...gotta admit, this year feels pretty different already - at least the music feels like home:)

rat pack

sting: every breath u take, dont stand
boys are back in town
American band
Fortunate son, have u ever seen the rain
Stand by me,