Why We Need to Honor our Historical Heroes

History repeats itself, but in such cunning disguise that we never detect the resemblance until the damage is done.

Sydney J. Harris

Education About our Heroes is Key

When I was in elementary school, we talked about the founding of our nation, our great presidents and leaders, and their character and devotion to liberty. I read and soaked up every biography I could get my hands on. It was important to know about the people that were responsible for building this country. My grandparents’ teachers took it a step further. They memorized speeches and poetry about our nation. My grandmother could quote many of these even just before her death at the age of 85.

You might say, “big deal! What does that matter?”

We are so Forgetful

The big deal is that if we don’t know where we came from we will tend to forget the good and repeat the bad. I’ve been studying the festivals of the Israelites. Erin Davis says in her book, 7 Feasts, “we all have spiritual amnesia, but there is a cure” (Psalm 103:2) I guess it has to do with the carnality of man. We just tend to digress instead of improving and learning from the mistakes of the past (our own and our ancestors).

Thomas Jefferson implied in the Preamble of our Constitution, that there was work to be done. That indeed, still here in 2021, we must work “to create a more perfect union”, always improving. Looking at where we came from and determining that we will not return there. We must do better. But we cannot do better if we are constantly wiping out and erasing the areas that need improvement.

Learning from our Past

In ancient times, empires would blot out anything bad that happened. (This is why there is no record of the Hebrews being in slavery in Egypt. It ended up bad for them; so it was blotted out of the history books). Our culture has been consistently working since the 1960s to blot out of our history books anything they don’t like. To the point that we aren’t really getting much history at all.

It is important for us to look at our past, the good and the bad. Then celebrate what we did right and learn from what was done wrong. Where wrongs were made, we remember to not do that again. We won’t remember in the future if we tear down statues and rename streets and buildings. We must leave them as a reminder. And when we see these statues we tell our children about the mistakes and how were are trying to not repeat them ever again. If we don’t teach our children they won’t even understand enough to tell their children.

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

― Ronald Reagan

Inspired by a book!

  • The above is inspired by Eric Metaxas’ If You Can Keep It. A must-read for all Americans. It should be required reading for studying the beginning of our Nation. You know George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. But how many of these people are you familiar with? George Whitefield, Alexis de Toqueville, Benjamin Franklin, Nathan Hale, Paul Revere, Cincinnatus, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, William Wilberforce, Squanto, Joshua Dewey. There’s more, but you can learn about all of these in this little book about our republic. You do know that we are a republic, not a democracy, right? Eric also has several biographies on these great heroes.

Teach Your Children Well

I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings of old,

Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us.

We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord,

And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.

Psalm 78, NKJV

The Psalmist instructed us to teach our children even the dark things in our history. To tell our children the good and the bad. He was speaking of how the Israelites rebelled many times against the Word of God, but God forgave them and blessed them. This isn’t to imply that we teach our children they can do whatever they want and God will overlook it. No, God allowed them to suffer because of their wrongs, and then He drew them back to the fold of righteousness. This is what we should not forget.

Too many of us have let this all fall into the schools’ responsibilities. This we cannot do. We must teach our children at home as well. I don’t necessarily mean you should homeschool (though I am an advocate). I mean the important things should not be left to the schools. Teach your children to be patriotic (love their country) and to have good character. The schools will expose them to their literature. We should be reading biographies and historical lessons at home and discussing them around the dinner table. Teach your children to think things through and not just believe what they are taught. The Bible even warns us to test our pastors to make sure what they preach is biblical. (I fear most of us don’t go home and “fact check” our pastors.)

Get Involved in What Your Children Are Learning

We can’t leave the education of our children to the schools alone. We must get involved. Here’s a thought, read your child’s required reading along with them and discuss them. Family time can be learning time, too. Be more selective in what movies you watch as a family and the books you read together. There is a lot of educational help online. I once received a weekly email with a story from history to read and discuss. Homeschool websites are available even if you don’t homeschool. Homefires offers a monthly page of videos and books to use that correlate with each day in history.

You can stear them into developing discernment and creating their own beliefs and attitudes. When my children were young, we enjoyed reading about heroes. Even adult books can be read together in small snippets which children can understand when you are reading together.

A few useful books

The below are books part of a series of biographies called The Sowers Series

Other Heroes I have written about

This blog carries many stories of heroes of faith, especially women.

Susanna Wesley

Elizabeth Elliot

Honey for a Child’s Heart includes an extensive bibliography of books listed by age and ability

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It’s Your Turn

Are you writing about heroes? They can be from the past, your family, the Bible. We want to read what your have written. Link-up with us for the Month of June.

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Losing it All ~ LEGACY LINKUP

Have you ever felt like you were losing it all? 

losing it all IG
images created in Canva.com for free

Originally Published Date: June 17, 2016, on ggmandy dot com

I Know I Have!

When fibromyalgia set in, So many of the things I loved were lost.

  • lost working with children at church. 
  • I lost supporting other homeschoolers and teaching classes, 
  • No freedom as I could no longer drive myself where I wanted to go, 
  • I lost my social life, 

However, I gained a new perspective on life

I gained an empathy for others who are ill…sicker than myself. 

I gained an understanding of the concerns and pressures placed on a caregiver. None by their own choosing (other than the promise given in the wedding vows, or that blood is thicker the water). 

and ultimately, my husband lost his job due to my illness. Which meant we lost our home, our income, our self-worth. 

We gained a new trust in God as our provider (no relying on our own abilities here.) 

The greatest thing I gained in the stillness, was time to really get close to my Creator. I now gave Him time to really speak to me and, oh, how I have grown. 

Illness can teach us what is really important in life.

We can get so busy doing stuff.

Stuff that doesn’t matter worth a flip.

Stuff that will only burn up when we stand before God one day. 

losing it all PIN

Why don’t we listen

when we read or hear God’s Word?

He says … 

Jesus: If any one of you wants to follow Me, you will have to give yourself up to God’s plan, take up your cross, and do as I do. 35 For any one of you who wants to be rescued will lose your life, but any one of you who loses your life for My sake and for the sake of this good news will be liberated. 

36 Really, what profit is there for you to gain the whole world and lose yourself in the process? 

37 What can you give in exchange for your life? 

38 If you are ashamed of Me and of what I came to teach to this adulterous and sinful generation, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when He comes in the glory of His Father along with the holy messengers at the final judgment.

Mark 8: 34-38 

He lost EVERYTHING for you and me.

Shouldn’t we lose it all for Him?

Matthew 10:39 Losing it all

Lost in Him; 

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA

LEGACY LINKUP – IT’S YOUR TURN

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Awesome Scriptures that can Trigger “feel-good” Hormones

I’ve heard that we can re-train our minds and deter some of our pain. This year, I would like to instill some “feel-good” scriptures in your minds to help fight against the drudgery of our invisible pain. I have asked fellow pain warriors to write a quick note of encouragement using scripture that helps them get through the pain. Here is the first one by my dear friend, Bettie Gilbert who has shared here on the blog before.

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for being so concerned for my health, and for asking how I am getting along.

Recently I was reminded of a Scripture Verse that confirmed what both my Physical Therapist and my Counselor had shared with me:

“Remember [carefully] the former things [which I did] from ages past; For I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like Me.”

Isaiah 46:9 Amp

Did you know that the same areas of your brain that were triggered during a pleasant experience years ago, will be triggered again just by remembering it?

My counselor offered a beneficial practice for me then, on days when I am feeling low or depressed. She said that if I would look back and try to remember better days, and to even try to think about the specific details of a good experience, then those same areas in my brain would be triggered with “feel-good” chemicals now.

My physical therapist went a step further and said that studies have found a real benefit in pain therapy when a patient can remember a time of exertion, such as walking or working out, and slowly pace out the memory as if they are “walking” again in their mind. The right-left sensations trigger those same areas in your brain to produce those “feel-good” chemicals, and even can stimulate pain relief in some patients.

Walk the Halls of Memory

So, on days when you see me feeling particularly low about the days gone by and all that I cannot accomplish now, maybe we could join in a session of “therapy” and walk the halls of our memories together. Who knows, maybe your own “feel-good” chemicals might be given a boost as you share those pleasant memories also.

Isn’t the working of our human body and brain incredible?

Truly we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” as the Psalmist tells us:

“I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.”

Psalm 139:14
psalm 139
images created in canva.com by Mandy

I am praying for you my dear loved one, as you have reached out to me. May you feel so blessed by God as He pours His compassion through you.

Your loved one in Christ,

BettieG

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curleque by Coffee at pixabay

Thank you Bettie for reminding us of these feel-good scriptures. We can always depend on you to come through with great encouragements.

IT’S YOUR TURN!

Share an encouraging post on your feel-good scripture. It can be about getting through whatever you deal with… not just pain like Bettie and I..

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Finding Purpose with Chronic Pain & Link-Up

Finding PUrpose

I’ve been struggling with chronic pain for nearly 10 years. Finding purpose is key to having a fulfilled life in the midst of pain.

One of the good things about that is connecting with so many wonderful chronic pain warriors. We have such a wonderful support community online.

One of those places is the Diamonds Conference where I met Paula Short. She recognized my blog and knew she had read some of my posts in the past. Now she knew where to find me! So she jumped right over to the blog and signed up for the newsletter. I have asked her to share a bit about her life with chronic pain and how she found new purpose.

Mandy

Legacy Link up Time! Finding Purpose through trials. Click To Tweet
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curleque by Coffee at pixabay
PAula Short interview finding purpose
photo provide by Paula

1. Share the short story of your chronic pain journey. What is your diagnosis? Share some about the journey to this diagnosis.

Paula: I distinctly remember sitting on my mom’s bed crying because my legs hurt. That was at age 9. I could never go outside and play long because I had to come in and lay down because of the pain in my legs. My parents took me to the doctor and were told it was growing pains, my parents were told then that I had anxiety. Well, the pain never stopped, it stayed with me as I aged. Then in my teen years, my pain was spreading to other areas of my body. I began getting headaches at around age 4 and having chronic diarrhea since childhood. Of course, the doctors did not say it was IBS but just a nervous stomach. I still have belly pain and IBS today, even though I take medication for it.

I spent my 20’s going from doctor to doctor each area of illness required me to see different doctors. Finally, I was diagnosed with migraines, IBS, TMJ, and at the time MS. Fast forward to my 40’s. I was then diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, degenerative joints disease, and chronic pain. Finally, in 2016 MS was ruled out as a misdiagnosis, and then I got the fibromyalgia diagnosis. I also got my diagnosis of Complicated migraines while some people get auras, I get stroke symptoms. I am told it is a rare type of migraine. It was in 2016 that I had to retire, early at the age of 45.

Losing Purpose

I was devastated to have to leave my beloved Social Work. I felt like I lost my purpose. The constant pain and daily migraines (that cause me cognitive issues) had taken over. In addition to being in pain all the time. I am always in some state of migraine; my baseline pain level is 3 during the days but can rise to an 8. Balance and mobility issues, as well as, the dreaded fatigue and fog have been an issue, causing me to be labeled a fall risk.

So Much Chronic Pain

I don’t remember what it feels like to have no pain. I can’t forget to add in I see a psychiatrist for severe anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. After three years of therapy, I phased out of counseling in August of 2019.

 Grieving and then on to acceptance. I continue with medication management now. Everything seems to get worse as I age. I take a lot of medication and prednisone is my friend. 

I don't remember what it feels like to NOT have pain. #chronicillness #fibro Click To Tweet

2. Throughout this time, how was your faith walk impacted? Did you lose faith? Get Stronger?

PAULA: While I had grown up in a Christian home and followed Jesus all my life. Looking back, I see that I was a lukewarm Christian for a lot of my adult life. It was during my 30’s that my faith began to grow. It wasn’t until my 40’s that my faith began to develop into a relationship with God. I found and still do that during my worst times it leads me to draw nearer to God. It was during self-isolation and not wanting to go out of my house that I suddenly had an awakening if you will, I had to surrender not only my illnesses but my life to him. I said,

 “God, I can’t do this on my own, every time I tried, I failed. May your will be done.” 

I am a work in progress

3. Was there a specific event that became a turning point in your faith during this journey?

PAULA: No. I really can’t pinpoint a specific event that was a turning point along my way. The best way I can describe it is since it has been a long journey, I continue to be a work in progress. If anything, this journey had led me to have a relationship with Christ. Emphasis on “relationship

4. What scripture has become a comfort for you in this journey? Why?

PAULA: But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).

 Although Jesus has not removed my physical condition his power is displayed in my weakness. It reminds me to trust and rely on God instead of myself, admitting my weakness affirms God’s strength. 

Another Scripture that I rest in is Isaiah 40:31, NIV. It gives me hope and reminds me that his promise of strength will help me rise above life’s distractions and difficulties. 

5. How do you find comfort on especially painful days?

PAULA: I remember that God is omnipresent, He is always with me day and night throughout my journey of this thing called life and illness. It brings me great comfort in knowing that. Also, I love listening to Christian music such as K-Love radio. It leads me to sing praises and worship him despite the pain. And thankfully, I am uplifted.

I love to read and prefer reading over TV, and I get creative by Bible faith bullet journaling. 

I also find great comfort in my friend that Jesus blessed me with to journey with me, my ESA dog’s a little beagle named Little. 

6. What are some things that your family and friends do that bring comfort in your pain?

PAULA: Well, that depends. My family and friends have not read about my chronic illness to educate themselves on how my fibromyalgia can affect my body and cognition. When I try to tell them how it affects me, sometimes, they listen and sometimes they dismiss or marginalize me.

They do, however, know how my complicated migraines affect me and are receptive towards me through those. Someone always goes with me to my neurologist appointments, so they hear what the doctor has to say. They are accommodating and compassionate when my migraines escalate.

My family and friends do not understand how #chronicpain, #fatigue, and #fibrofog affect me.   Click To Tweet

7. Are you involved in any ministries or community service to reach out to others with chronic pain? Share about this.

PAULA: First, I need to tell you how God gave me my purpose back. If you recall above, I said I felt like I lost my purpose when I had to retire early from my beloved Social Work. I had been thinking of blogging for a long time, my heart was, and is convicted, in sharing more Jesus.

I kept feeling a tugging. Like God was calling me for something. But at the time I couldn’t recognize for what. Then when I did, I resisted saying “But God I’m not a writer.” Well, he had plans for me, and here I am writing hence Simply Chasing Jesus was born in November of 2019.

created by Mandy in canva.com

My new purpose was sharing him. Then I began to feel that tug again, still to blog. This time Simply Coffee and Jesus were born in September of 2020. This is where I began to hone in and write more specifically on chronic illness among other new topics for me. I never considered my blogs my ministry, but pausing and reflecting on it, it really is my ministry to help others and share Jesus’ good news. 

8. Offer some words of encouragement to those who may be searching for purpose in their own chronic pain journey.

Dear friends, living with any chronic illness is rough. I know there are days when you are wondering how you’re going to make it through. I know there are days when you simply can’t function. I get it. Whether you are newly diagnosed with a chronic illness or have been a long-time warrior, educate yourself. 

Try your best to educate friends and family. Some may not understand nor want to understand and that’s okay too. There are many great websites out there about living with chronic pain and illnesses. It was just recently that I was able to connect with other Christian bloggers who have and write about chronic pain and illnesses. So, you see, it may have taken me a while to find fellowship and community with others who understand but I finally did.

Friend, there are others out there, we are out there for you. We support you; we care. You are not your chronic illness you are not your chronic pain. God chose you and called you by name. Keep digging deep into God’s word. All Scripture is God-breathed from beginning to end. The answers, comfort, and hope are there in Him. The Psalms are filled with every emotion and lament you may have. God breathed hope from beginning to end. Dearest friends pray to him with honest abandon.

 God’s got this!

God’s got you.  

Paula


Thank you, Paula for this encouraging interview. Though I don’t have as many diagnosis, I could relate to so much of your journey. Especially the “I can’t write”. But God has a great sense of humor doesn’t he?


It’s Your Turn

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Share your own post about finding purpose. (Not neccesarily though chronic pain)

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confidence

Confidence in God ~ ONEWORD for 2021

I remain confident of this:

I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Psalm 27:13

one word confidence

When you have a year like 2020, you can lose perspective on everything. I don’t want to continue living in limbo as we have most of the past year. As I prayed about my new One Word, the Lord seemed to indicate that my word should be “confidence”.

Amazingly, when I shared this with my blog partner, Michele, she said confidence was her ONEWORD as well! We are very excited about sharing our confidence with you this year. We hope you will hang around with us by signing up for the newsletter (see blue bar below) or for notifications (see top of page).

Let’s Get Started With Confidence

To start off on the right foot, let’s take a look at a few scriptures that talk about being confident.

scripture confidence psalm 27:13

This verse encourages me that even when times are tough, God is here with us. He is going to take care of us. He is a good, good Father! I have found this to be true all my life. God is good and He provides for our needs every day. We can look forward into this new year and even if things get worse, God will never leave us alone. He is in control. Look for the goodness of God this year. His goodness is abundant!

He Will Carry It to Completion

Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

God never abandons us. When He calls us to Himself, it is forever. What God calls us to, He provides whatever is needed for us to accomplish it. His Holy Spirit will guide and direct us until the day He calls us Home.

We Are Encouraged by Paul

And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.

PHilippians 1:14

We can look at the life of Paul and all His struggles and see that God never abandoned him. He always took care of Paul. This gives us confidence that we also can dare to share the Gospel. It’s an important challenge – to share the Gospel. Time is short and we must tell others about Christ so that they too can have eternal life.

We Will Not Be Ashamed

And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

1 John 2:28

I do believe that the Lord’s return is very close. We must continue to grow deeper in the Lord and share the faith. This is how we will be confident to stand before Him on judgment day.


We encourage you to find a reading plan and begin to not only read but study God’s Word. Find a good Bible App. There are so many benefits to meditating on the word. Memorize His promises so that you will remain confident in Christ.

We have taken these scriptures and created some lovely bookmarks for your journey this year. Be sure sign up for the newsletter to receive your free bookmarks.

Confident in Him;

Mandy and Michele

P.S. Sign up for our newsletter and receive printable color scripture bookmarks!

Your Turn!

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We would love to hear about your ONEWORD or resolutions for 2021.

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2021 Resolutions

New Year 2021 is here. There are many folks eagerly burning their 2020 calendar, as well as their COVID masks. I always find it satisfying to sit on New Year’s Eve and write down my resolutions for the coming year. What are some of your 2021 resolutions?

New Year’s resolutions

Where in the world did New Year’s resolutions come from anyway? Well, thanks to good ole Wikipedia, I didn’t have to search very far. According to Wikipedia the tradition of setting New Year’s resolutions is mostly us Westerners, but Europeans do some resolutions as well.

Of interest, Wikipedia also mentioned that:

  • Babylonians promised their god(s) to return items they borrowed, as well as pay their debts.
  • Romans made a promise to their god Janus (January is named after this god)
  • Knights would take the “peacock vow“- reaffirming their commitment to chivalry
  • Christians and Jews parallel each other in New Year’s resolutions as a time to reflect upon the past year’s wrongdoings by seeking forgiveness as well as giving forgiveness.

Most folks do make New Year’s resolutions. Cathrine Cho wrote the article “New Year’s resolution statistics“. In this article, she mentions a recent survey in which “of all the generations, the “Gen Z” has the highest percentage of 91.85 % participating, as opposed to the “Silent Generation” at 46.86% participation.” Personally, I’d be interested to find out what percentage of these “Gen Z” folks have successfully completed their resolution(s).

Top 10

I bet you can guess (just like Brad did) what the top New Year resolution is! Ready? DRUM ROLL… Lose weight! Let’s take a look at the top ten resolutions (in no certain order):

  • Quit smoking
  • Read more
  • Learn something new
  • Lose weight
  • Get more organized
  • Curb spending/ save money
  • Exercise
  • Spend more time with friends and family (if COVID hasn’t done that for you)
  • Travel more
  • Be more adventurous

Easier said than done

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It is easy to write down your resolutions, but much harder to follow through with them. Much of your success is going to be determined by how motivated you are. The Journal of Psychology published a study done on resolutions and found:

Resolvers reported higher rates of success than non-resolvers; at six months, 46% of the resolvers were continuously successful compared to 4% of the non-resolvers. Self-efficacy, skills to change, and readiness to change assessed before January 1 all predicted positive outcomes for resolvers.

-J Clin Psychol. 2002 Apr;58(4):397-405. doi: 10.1002/jclp.1151
John C Norcross
 1Marci S MrykaloMatthew D Blagys

Our takeaway here? We must RESOLVE to follow through with our resolutions. This leads us to ask the question “How can I be successful at following through with my resolutions?”

Successful resolutions

We can be successful in setting realistic goals for our resolutions. A great mnemonic to use is SMART:

  • S – Specific
  • M- Measurable
  • A- Attainable
  • R- Realistic
  • T- Time-Bound

A positive attitude and positive self-talk help in following through with your resolutions; making the work of achieving them enjoyable. Ask a friend to help give encouragement and be an accountability partner. Lastly, be flexible. Sometimes life hits some unexpected bumps. You may have to hold off on a certain resolution and restart it at a later date. This is not to be seen as a failure.

YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESOLUTION

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Friends, the time has come. Don’t go into 2021 without making Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. There is no person on this earth that is perfect; without sin. We were ALL born sinners in need of a savior. God sent us his only son Jesus Christ.

Jesus paid the price for our sins by dying for you and me on the cross. His death completely removed any sin from your life, giving you eternal life. You have done nothing to earn it, it’s a gift of grace. You can have the peace of knowing you’re saved by asking Jesus into your life and ask for forgiveness. Simply bow your head and pray this prayer:

The Sinner’s Prayer

Lord Jesus, for too long I’ve kept you out of my life. I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot save myself. No longer will I close the door when I hear you knocking. By faith, I gratefully receive your gift of salvation. I am ready to trust you as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for coming to earth. I believe you are the Son of God who died on the cross for my sins and rose from the dead on the third day. Thank you for bearing my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. I believe your words are true. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.

Dr. Ray Pritchard

God knows the sincerity of your heart and hears you. Be assured, that by asking him TO FORGIVE YOU (the most important part, we need forgiveness) for your sins, he has heard you and has forgiven you. Find a local pastor or get in touch with a friend who is walking out a Christian life, and they will help you get connected with a church and walk with you on your new journey as a Christian.

Some great resources on the internet are:

As always friends, here is to good food, good friends, and a great life awaiting us in eternity. Jesus is coming soon!

Michele

Resources:


It’s Your Turn

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We would like to hear about your resolutions and/or your OneWord for 2021. Please linkup with us at Legacy Link-up. And please read/share/comment on at least two other posts. Thank you. If you didn’t write about it, leave a comment.

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thanksgiving feature

Give Thanks to the Lord

“Give thanks to the Lord,

call on His name;

make known among the nations

what He has done.

Sing to Him, sing praise to Him;

tell of His wonderful acts.


Glory in His holy name;

let the hearts of those

who seek the Lord rejoice.


Look to the Lord and His strength;

seek His face always.”

– I Chronicles 16:8-11

Let’s face it:

2020 has been a ridiculously unpredictable year. It’s been frightening, depressing, and sometimes exciting. Some of the things that have happened so far in 2020 probably would have never entered our minds last year.

We would have said, “Whaaat?!”

Even so,

if you stop and think about it, there have also been many blessings.

Stop and be silent.

Think on the blessings that the Lord bestows on each of us daily.

In the words of the old hymn,

“Count your many blessings,

name them one by one.”

Count Your Many Blessings

Good health.
The joy of helping others.
A surprise visit or phone call from a friend.
A beautiful day.
A hug.
Comfort in sorrow.
Help with struggles.
A good report from your doctor.
Completing a task. Graduating.
The birth of a grandchild.
The purchase of a forever home.
A much-needed vacation.
An impromptu picnic or date with your sweetheart.
The comfort of home.
The love and support of friends and family.

Those are just a few that have come to mind.

Make your own list.

The Lord blesses us in SO many ways. Even if the world seems to have lost its ever-living mind, our Lord remains constant.

Give thanks to Him.
Call on His name.
Make His name known everywhere.
Look to Him. Seek Him always.

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

Give Thanks Along With Me!

Glenae Atchison


Mandy is sharing her thankfulness on Instagram this month. We would love for you to join us there!


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Sabbath is like a Touch of Heaven

I Sure Miss Going to Church

As we move into the 9th month of COVID-19, I realize that I haven’t physically been in church for over 7 months. I never would have thought I would find this to be true for me. Sunday Worship (Sabbath) has always been highly important to me. Now I am finding out why.

Worship services have always been the highlight of my week. Beautiful music drawing me up close to the breast of God. And teaching and preaching that enlightens my mind and heart. Friends and family. Hugs and kisses.

Family Reunions are the Best

My mind goes back to my childhood days and our yearly family reunions. What a joy! Aunts and uncles, cousins, and grandparents everywhere on Aunt Julia’s farm. Tons of hugs and kisses.

And food! Long tables of the best homemade food you have ever seen including a huge pot of Aunt Mildred’s dumplings. Towards the end of the day ice cream cones. Oh my goodness! What a day!

Church Homecomings are a Close Second

Mostly a tradition in the south, church homecomings in the churches Mike and I served had a homecoming every fall. Again, EVERYONE came out for a day of remembrance and celebration.

We started with a time of fellowship as people arrived. Maybe some breakfast food! Then the preaching! We usually invited a pastor emeritus to come and preach and reminisce. We would also bring in a gospel quartet to sing through the afternoon. Of course, this was after we ate way too much good southern cooking. My Goodness!

Sabbath is like a Taste of Heaven

taste of heaven

These reunions are just a smidgen of what heaven will be like. Think of the joy and celebration there will be! Friends and family old and new… and then all the patriarchs that we have been looking up to all our lives. We will finally have made it HOME.

I have heard that a poll was taken that found that people had a really off-skewed vision of what heaven is or what it will be like. If you want to know the truth you can read Revelation 21 for a description. It will be anything but boring. It won’t be a long boring church service. Actually, the truth is that our Sunday Services ought to be a picture of heaven that increases our desire to find our way to heaven.

Heaven will not be a long boring church service! #sabbath #heaven Click To Tweet

Beautiful Resistance an Irresistible Read

I recently was given Jon Tyson’s book, Beautiful Resistance, to read and review. It is another of those books where I found myself highlighting every page. While Jon covers a myriad of other disciplines in our lives, his chapter on the Sabbath made me realize that every Sunday should be like a taste of heaven. Just a little practice for what is to come. Never a drudgery but something we always look forward to. Here’s his taste of what heaven will be and what the Sabbath should be:

We are called to feast on beauty. To fill our hearts with painting and photography and poetry and literature and nature. We are called to feast on friendship. To enjoy the company of friends and family and drink deeply from the well of belonging. We are called to feast on God, to again “Taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8)

The Sabbath is filled with sensory delight and wonder that remind us, if even for a moment, that Jesus is making all things new. (Revelation 21:5)

Beautiful Resistance, Jon Tyson

I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

I also give my my thanks to Jon Tyson and Multnomah Publishers.



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Pain and Suffering: An Indication of God’s Love

This is Going to Hurt me More than it hurts you

Have you ever heard your parents say this to you? I can remember a time or too when it was said to me. However, it wasn’t until I had children of my own that I saw the truth in that statement. We never had to discipline our children much but when the need arose, it broke our hearts.

It’s the same with God.

pain and suffering

He loves us so much and He wants to keep us on the right path. And as we know there are times that the only way to keep us on the straight and narrow is to apply the rod of discipline.

I learned this lesson when I was hit with chronic pain in 2011. It was excruciating. But as time went by I realized that God was trying to get my attention. I was “working for the Lord” … very busy with children’s ministry and other things that draw the attention of a pastor’s wife. But in retrospect, God was saying to me, ‘Hey, you going out on your own and forgetting to rely on Me.” It was then that I turned my attention back to God. I got serious about studying His Word. And I found this statement from David.

It was good for me to be afflicted

so that I could learn your statutes.

Psalm 119:71

God Allows Pain and Suffering for Many Reasons

Certainly, God allows pain and suffering because He loves us. But there are other reasons as well. C.S. Lewis states in The Problem of Pain,

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks to us in our conscience, but shouts to us in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

Have you ever noticed that when tragedy comes, this is when people turn back to God? (At least for a while). And this is God’s purpose. .. to draw us back to Him. He did it time and again in the Old Testament. We may need to repent of sin or just develop our faith. You see, He doesn’t want us to stay infants in Christ. He wants to bring us to maturity.

Like a Shepherd, He gently guides

We, humans, are like sheep. dumb and ignorant. God places us in a green pasture and we start gobbling up the grass, never looking to the right or the left. Until that moment, when we look up and we are nowhere near the rest of the flock and now we don’t know how to get back.

So we need a shepherd to guide us and correct our paths. Just as David said in the 23rd Psalm. He allows us to go through the shadows of death, but He is right there to guide us and comfort us. He never leaves us alone.

Not long after my illness began, a friend reminded me of a wonderful book, Hannah Hurnard’s Hinds’ Feet in High Places.

a timeless allegory dramatizing the yearning of God’s children to be led to new heights of love, joy, and victory. In this moving tale, follow Much-Afraid on her spiritual journey as she overcomes many dangers and mounts at last to the High Places. There she gains a new name and is transformed by her union with the loving Shepherd.

Hind’s Feet in High Places, Hannah Hurnard

One surprising element in the book was that the Shepherd gave her a guide named, Suffering. Why would she want this guide? But the Shepherd assured her that Suffering was the best guide she could have. I have found it true as well. My pain and suffering has kept me at the feet of Jesus and caused my faith to continue to grow.

Even Years of Pain and Suffering are for our advantage

I just reached year 9 of chronic pain. LIke Paul I have talked with God about taking the pain away. But God and I have come to an understanding.

Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

2 Corinthians 12:9
2 corinthians 12:9  My Grace is all you need

You see, I have found that through my pain I have many blessings.

  • I am maturing in Christ daily.
  • Writing and blogging have been my new ministry.
  • Friendships around the globe have been cultivated.
  • I have more empathy for those who suffer.
  • Becoming an advocate for others who suffer.

I previously wrote about these things and came to one conclusion, If pain is what it takes to keep me in the center of God’s will, then …

BRING ON THE PAIN!

Mandy Signature
Savannah, GA


I would like to thank Net Galley for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. I have given my review freely and with honesty.

I agreed to review this book because of my own journey with pain. What a great reminder of the reasons God allows pain and suffering in our lives. Just as we discipline our children when the veer off the path of righteousness, God also loves us enough to direct our path on the straight and narrow.

All of us will at some time, experience a bit of pain and suffering. That is when it is time to remember that God is with us in the Furnace of Affliction and it is for our good.

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intercede

Intercessory Prayer is the Spiritual Warfare Frontlines

Have you ever known someone who could really touch heaven?

If you had a need, who would you ask to pray? My mother is like that. When Mike and I got engaged, we decided to take his two young boys and go to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving to meet my family. Mom thought how nice it would be for these young Georgia boys to experience snow. So she prayed … and boy, did it snow! You can read about another time my mom prayed and probably saved my sister’s life in my memoirs blog, Raised in a Barn.

While these stories of intercessory prayers are very good, I am also reminded of two precious ladies at our last church. Mrs. Mae Thomas was a prayer warrior. She kept a notebook where she recorded everyone she prayed for. And she recorded the answers too. (By the way, it is a wonderfully encouraging way to remind yourself of the goodness of God.) When she passed away and the family closed up her home, They found stacks of prayer notebooks with years worth of prayers and answers.

Prayer Warriors

There was another precious lady in the history of that same church. I never knew her but the people still spoke warmly of this precious prayer warrior. It is told that she had a table where she prayed and studied. On that table, was written all the names of people she had prayed for. So many that had turned away from God were pleased to later find their name written on that table.

These are just a few instances that prove the importance of intercessory prayer. Sometimes, we need to get really serious with God to bring people to Him. It can’t be just a flippant sentence, “Oh God, save so-and-so”. Intercessory prayer is found on the frontlines of spiritual warfare.

Intercessory Prayer is found on the frontlines of Spiritual Warfare. #prayer #intercession Click To Tweet

The Importance of Intercessory Prayer

We are instructed in the Bible to intercede for others. One can find many verses on intercession but the one that comes to my mind first is

 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

1 Timothy 2:1-2
interceding for others

You know, as I read this verse again, I find it interesting that it says not only to pray for them but to give thanks for them. Oh my, when you think of the people that need salvation, typically, we may not really be that thankful for them. I know from experience though that being thankful can make a world of difference. You know how prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change.

Prayer changes things, most of the time, it is our own hearts that change. #prayer Click To Tweet

OK, that was just an aside. Let’s get back to Intercessory prayer.

Come Prepared for Intercession

We do not stride into the presence of God.

Dennis Kinlaw

I recently received an article from Titus Women and it struck a chord with me. I want to share part of it with you now…

When we come to a time of intercession, we must come prepared to be in the presence of God Himself. As Dennis Kinlaw said, “We do not stride into the presence of God.” There must be heart preparation and humility. As we prepare for lifting others in prayer, here are some means of preparation for our own hearts.
 
“Lord Jesus, we ask You for these things as we come before You to pray for others.” 

Checklist for Intercession

  • A Clean Heart: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” II Cor.7:1
  • A Free HeartLet all bitterness and wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind…forgiving even as God in Christ forgave you.” Eph 4:31-22
  • A Forgiving Heart“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness spring up causes trouble and by it, many be defiled.” Hebrews 12: 15
  • A Right Spirit“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation and sustain me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51: 10, 11
  • A Yielded Will“Teach me to do Your will, for you are my God. May Your gracious Spirit lead me forward on a firm footing.” Psalm 143: 10
  • A Loyal Affection: “You alone are my inheritance, my cup of blessing; you guard all that is mine.”  Psalm 16: 5 (NLT)

*copied from Titus Women

These characteristics certainly describe the aforementioned women!



A Challenge to Intercede

I remember once being challenged to think of the greatest “Lost case” you know. The one that you think will never come to Christ; never get their hearts right and straight on the path to heaven. Then intercede deeply for them every day. You might be surprised by what God will do.

Will you join me today to pray and intercede for one person in your life? If you can’t think of anyone, how about one of the presidential candidates? Or the other myriads of people on Capitol Hill? (See 1 Timothy 2:1-2 above)

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Savannah, GA

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