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Today, I will continue to look at New Testament passages and how Jesus calls us to action. He doesn’t want us to just say “Jesus is my Savior”. He wants us to act on those words. Let’s start with Matthew 7: 24-27:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and ACTS on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not ACT on the will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell – and great was its fall!”
It is very clear in this passage that God is calling us to do more than to just listen to His word. He is calling us to ACTION. Again, it is very easy to say the words, “Jesus is my Savior”, but it is an entirely different thing to actually ACT on those words. Recall in a previous post in this Bible study where Jesus said that not everyone who says “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven. Take that with the above verse, and it becomes very clear that God expects us to act. Words without action just simply isn’t going to cut it.
Let’s look again at those evangelical preachers that say we don’t have to follow the commandments and/or say that our actions don’t matter. Again, Jesus refutes this in Matthew 15:3:
“And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”
And again in Matthew 16:27:
“For the Son of Man is to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay everyone for what has been DONE.”
And again in Matthew 19:17-19:
“If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; Honor your father and mother; also, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus has made it very clear what we need to do to enter into eternal life. Any preacher who claims that it is easy to get into heaven and/or says that we do not have to follow the commandments and that our actions in this world don’t matter is a false prophet.
As we get further and further into the New Testament, you will see that there are many, many more times, including in the letters that the disciples wrote after the gospels, where it is very clear that we must follow the commandments. This is why I ask people to open up the Bible and read it instead of relying on a preacher to tell them what is in the Bible.
Hope everyone is having an awesome day! God Bless!
“Angel” – that is the name of my beautiful kitty cat. But I should have named her “Ornery”.
She is chock full of personality, and sometimes I call her “Miss Personality”. It is hard for me to hold her and love on her because she always wants to get down and play. When I talk to her, she rolls onto her back over and over again, and she loves to talk back. In fact, she is the most talkative cat that I have ever owned. One of the funniest things that she does is when she smells something, she will open her mouth and just look at me. It is one of the funniest things I have ever seen!
When I throw a toy in the air, she jumps up so high to get it – sometimes three to four feet! I am always shocked when she jumps that high. While I write in my living room, she goes down to the first level of my townhouse and looks out the window at the birds and those who walk their dogs. She absolutely loves to do this, but every 15 minutes or so, she comes back up to “check” on me. She lets me pet her head and she rubs up against me, and then she returns to the lower level to look out the window. It is so incredibly cute!
To understand this story, I have to share my morning routine. Angel sleeps on the bed with me. When I wake up, I turn on the TV and listen to the news for about ten minutes or so, and Angel knows this, so she patiently waits for me. But if it takes any more than ten minutes, she will start to meow. Then she will jump on the nightstand and start pushing things off onto the floor. I know at that point that I need to get up and get moving.
Yesterday was Mother’s Day. When I woke up, I immediately picked up the phone and called my mom. This was different from the normal routine, so I guess it bothered Angel. While talking to my mom, she went over to the blinds and started patting them as hard as she could with her paws which made quite a bit of noise. I snapped my fingers to get her to be quiet at which point she stopped and looked at me. I continued to talk to my mom, and she went back to batting at the blinds. I gave up, got out of bed and went downstairs with her while I talked to my mom. We both laughed at Angel’s behavior – cats certainly know how to get us to do what they want!
This morning, when I woke up, Angel started to bat the blinds again with her paws. She didn’t even wait the usual ten minutes or so. I think she may have learned from yesterday that if she messes with the blinds, I will get up immediately. And that is exactly what I did! She certainly has me figured out!
Well, there is a picture of Jesus on the wall that I see every day when I go downstairs. This picture of Jesus is the same one from the book “Heaven is for Real”, and it is my favorite picture of Him. This morning, I was caught off guard as I glanced at this picture. For a split second, it looked as if Jesus was smiling….kind of as if he was about to laugh. I quickly looked back at the picture, and He looked just like He had always looked, but I knew what I saw in that split second. I smiled and then chuckled.
“Yeah, you are the one that gave her to me!” I said quietly as I walked down the steps, laughing. I then picked up Angel and loved on her, knowing that she was a gift from Jesus. I always knew that, but this morning I was reminded of how lucky I am to have this wonderful cat in my life.
Since the beginning of the year, it seems like I have been bombarded with quotes and pictures about red cardinals.
The first quote I saw was in January on my Facebook page. This quote, by Victoria McGovern, gave me great comfort:
“May you come to find comfort in and remember cardinals appear when angels are near. So go now, sit outside and drink your tea. Keep a look out for the little red bird – it is there, your loved one will be.”
This quote was accompanied by a picture of a beautiful male red cardinal in the snow. I immediately thought of my dad since he passed away in 2014, but I doubted that I would see any red cardinal since it was the middle of winter. At my home, I usually see finches or sparrows, but only in the spring/summer. It was a nice, fleeting thought, but I didn’t think much more about it.
About a week later, a friend of mine who is also an excellent writer and photographer posted a picture that he had taken that day. It was snowing, and two red cardinals, one male and one female, sat in the branches of a tree outside his window. I was stunned! I knew that this was a sign that angels were near. Again, I thought about my dad, and I told my mom what had happened which gave her great comfort.
A few weeks later, another post came across my Facebook page. Again, it was a picture of a male red cardinal. The quote read as follows:
“Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, loves leaves a memory no one can steal.”
Once again, I thought about my dad and how no one can take away the memories I have of him. I remembered how he sat me on his lap and let me act like I was driving the car. I remembered how me held on to the back of my bicycle as I learned to ride while promising to not let go of the bike (even though he eventually did). I remembered how he taught me to calculate complex math problems for my school homework. I remembered how he wrestled with me and my brother and sister on the living room floor and had us laughing so hard we couldn’t breathe. I thought about how none of these memories could ever be taken from me. I smiled.
A few days later, as I worked in my office, I looked up at my bookcase as I took a small break. My eyes immediately were drawn to a book that I had read last year – “The Gift of the Red Bird” by Paula D’Arcy. I thought about the red cardinal once again, and joy filled my heart.
Just about three weeks ago, I saw yet another post on my Facebook page. Again, it was a male red cardinal in the snow, and the quote was as follows:
“When a red cardinal appears in your yard, it’s a visitor from heaven.”
Well, I don’t have a “yard” since I live in a townhouse. But, my mom has a nice big yard, and she loves to watch the birds in her backyard. She has a bird feeder that she keeps filled all the time, and the birds come often…that is if the squirrels don’t get to the feeder first. I called her and told her what I had just seen on Facebook and told her to keep an eye out for red cardinals in her yard.
A couple of days later, I again was surprised when I saw that another one of my good friends posted a picture that she had taken of a red cardinal in some tree branches. I didn’t have a yard, but that red cardinal somehow still managed to show up. Again, I smiled and thought of my dad.
That same day, I called my mom, and her first words were “You aren’t going to believe this!” As she sat on her deck that morning, she thought to herself, “I wonder if I will see a red cardinal today.” Not long after that, a female cardinal showed up in some bushes followed by a beautiful male red cardinal. She just couldn’t believe it, but she was so comforted. I was just shocked!
About two weeks ago, I went to visit my mom, and I stayed overnight. While we ate breakfast, we talked and looked outside through the bay window in her kitchen. Suddenly, a male and female red cardinal appeared near her bird feeder. It was probably the same pair that she saw just days earlier. The first thing that I noticed is that the male was such a bright red color and was absolutely gorgeous – probably the brightest red cardinal I had ever seen. We were both quite sure they were visitors from heaven – angels that had come to tell us that we were loved.
My mom’s birthday was March 1. On that morning, as she prepared her breakfast, she looked out the window only to see that gorgeous male red cardinal. But this time, he was sitting in the crape myrtle tree next to the house. This was my dad’s favorite tree. The cardinal looked directly at her and didn’t fly away. He just sat in the branches of my dad’s favorite tree and stared at her. It was a moment that she will never forget and is one of the best birthday gifts she has ever received. This was most certainly my dad sending his love from heaven.
Always be on the lookout for these “angels” from heaven. Love is being sent our way all the time, sometimes through the most simple and innocent of ways – we just have to slow down and look for it!
Happy New Year to all of my blog followers and readers! I hope 2015 brought you many blessings and joy, and I hope 2016 will be even better.
I was so blessed to have a wonderful holiday season this year. I was able to spend time with my family, and I was also able to reconnect with friends that I haven’t seen in a while. We enjoyed wonderful meals, beautiful Christmas lights, and I even rode a camel with a good friend at a Christmas festival! We had an awesome time.
To top off all this fun, I received an amazing gift from God that I will never forget. My mom spent the night at my house on Christmas Eve, and we planned to go to the 10:30 mass at the local Catholic Church. Both of us were exhausted as we had quite a busy day on Christmas Eve, so we ended up going to sleep at around 9:30 or so. I didn’t think I needed to set my alarm as I was sure I would wake up in plenty of time to get to church.
Well, I did wake up, but it was about 5:30 a.m. That was just too early for me…lol! So, after making a trip to the bathroom, I came back to my room, turned on the light, set my alarm for 7:00, turned the light off, and climbed back into bed.
Before I go any further, I should explain a little bit about my background. My parents are Catholic, and I was raised Catholic. I even attended a Catholic grade school. Even though I don’t always attend a Catholic church (sometimes I go to a non-denominational church), I have always maintained a deep respect for Catholic faith as this has been a huge part of my life. However, I am not one who believes that a particular Christian denomination is any better than any other one (see my previous blog, “I Will Call Them My People Who Are Not My People”).
Even so, I have been given many different Catholic statues, books, rosaries, etc. over the years, and they are quite special to me. I have several rosaries hanging on the headboard of my bed, and I still pray the rosary from time to time.
On this morning after I set the alarm and turned off the light, I happened to notice that a rosary was glowing! I was stunned! Later I realized that this rosary glowed in the dark. But it was still amazing to me as I have had this particular rosary for many years, and I never saw it glow, or even realized that it glowed…until Christmas morning, 2015. What a wonderful gift from God on the day of His birth!
Smiling and at peace, I fell back to sleep. I had a dream that I was attending a church service at Nazareth Academy and College in Bardstown, Kentucky. My mom attended school at Nazareth, and I even wrote a book which includes letters that she wrote during the six years that she attended this school. In my dream, I saw my aunt Mary, my mom’s sister, and we visited for a while. Mary lives very close to Nazareth and spends quite a bit of time there.
When I woke up, I told my mom about my dream and about the rosary, and we both were amazed. We couldn’t believe that this had happened on Christmas Day.
If this wasn’t enough of a gift from God, we still received more. During the mass, the priest ended his sermon with the prayer “Hail and Blessed”. I had never heard this specific prayer before, but as I listened, my mom reached out to me and smiled. She whispered that this was a prayer that was said at Nazareth. She HAD NOT heard this prayer since her days at Nazareth…over fifty years ago!
God is simply amazing. As I have said before, miracles happen every day. For all three of these events to happen on Christmas Day is so wonderful…words just can’t express my happiness and joy. Make this New Year the best ever by giving your heart and soul to Jesus Christ!
Hail and Blessed
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.
Several weeks ago, I went to visit my mom and stayed overnight at her house. We had a wonderful time as we always do…shopping, eating out, and running errands. The weather was perfect, and we even laughed until our stomachs hurt as we watched Chevy Chase in the classic movie, Christmas Vacation.
The next morning, we decided to visit my dad’s grave. Before we left, we shuffled through a container in her garage that were full of artificial flowers since we wanted the grave to look nice for the holiday season. We found several things that we had put on the grave last year, but we were disappointed to find only one poinsettia (there are two vases on either side of the grave – see picture above). We decided that we needed to stop by Michaels to get another poinsettia.
As we walked the aisles of flowers in the store, we picked up many different flowers, but none of them really stood out to either of us. We looked at all colors but decided that red would be best. However, the red poinsettias that we saw were to big for the small vases at the grave. We looked at white ones and even blue ones, but neither of us were really happy with what we found. However, in those first ten minutes or so, we did find some really pretty stems, leaves, and pinecones that were covered with artificial snow, and they were small enough to work in the vases. But, it still needed something more.
Suddenly, my mom saw another area with Christmas flowers. We walked toward this new section, and since we were having some trouble deciding what to get, I said, “OK, Dad, show us what you want!” Both my mom and I laughed. My mom went to one end of the aisle while I went to the other. Then I saw it…one single red poinsettia with a small amount of glitter on the inner leaves. I looked closely at it, and I thought it was perfect. I picked it up, turned toward my mom, and to my surprise, she was holding and looking at the exact same poinsettia! I called to her, and when she turned to me and saw me with the same flower, we just smiled.
“I guess this is what Dad wants,” I said.
She laughed. “I guess so!”
To add a little more red color, we added a red hydrangea. Feeling quite certain that we had the perfect flowers, we eagerly went to the cemetery and decorated Dad’s grave for Christmas. When it was done, it looked just beautiful and perfect. We were both so happy and at peace. We both knew that Dad was with us that day, and we knew that he helped us to pick out the flowers.
Miracles happen every day. Just watch for them. They are all around you, and you will miss them if you’re not looking!
I hope everyone has a wonderful and miraculous Christmas this year!
I had such a wonderful dream last night. I was singing and dancing in The Sound of Music!
I danced for about twenty-five years. I started out in ballet when I was four years old. My parents told me that I moved to the beat the minute I could stand up. I remember the stories of how I would bounce to the music while holding onto the edge of the couch or table.
I continued to dance through the years, moving from ballet to jazz, modern, ballroom, tap, and even a little bit of ice skating. I also was heavily involved in choreography during my college years. Dancing and music are truly a part of my soul. Even after I started working, I would use headphones during the day as I looked through the microscope. It always seemed to put a smile on my face and even increased my productivity…all just from listening to my favorite music.
During a bible study several years ago, we were all asked to bring something that we owned which had deep meaning for us. I brought my toe shoes from ballet class. They were all torn up as they had been worn quite a bit. I explained to the other members of the study that these shoes represented one of the happiest times in my life…a time I danced almost every day.
I can no longer dance like I used to in the past. I have had three back surgeries, and I am very limited on what I can do now physically. The one thing that I miss more than anything is my ability to dance. I have thought about helping out in a dance studio…maybe behind the desk signing people into class or something like that. But this still can never take the place of actually being able to dance.
I told members of that bible study that my idea of heaven is to be able to dance again. I absolutely love the ocean…it has always relaxed me. I dream of the day that I can dance without any restriction or pain next to a heavenly ocean. I also dream of ice skating to the most beautiful music that anyone has ever heard. I dream of being able to do things that I was unable to do here on earth because I just wasn’t strong enough or flexible enough to do them…50 pirouettes without stopping, 50 fouettes without messing up, lifting my leg super high in a beautiful arabesque, being able to do the splits…all done perfectly and with no effort…just dancing, smiling, and praising God. Of course, all of my cats and beloved family and friends who have already passed would be there, and we would all be happy and smiling. All the angels would be rejoicing and singing. That is my idea of heaven.
Have you ever asked yourself what your idea of heaven is? What is your special something in life that has always brought you joy? Where can you go to find the most peace in this difficult world? Take some time today and look deep into your soul. Take time to think about what heaven will be like for you, and then whenever you get frustrated or stressed, go to that place. Remember, that is what is waiting for you if you stay in the Word and stay close to Jesus…happiness beyond all human understanding!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
As I read one of the letters that Paul wrote today, I was once again reminded that God’s grace does not give us permission to sin. I felt the need to address this topic once again.
As I watch the news and other shows, I am constantly bombarded by stories of betrayal, murder, theft, greed, etc. If that’s not bad enough, I also see some of these same people refer to God and His importance in their lives as they speak. I find this incredibly disturbing.
Paul addresses this issue over and over again in his letters in the New Testament.
“But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.” 1 Corinthians 5:11
“So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want.” Galatians 5:16-17
“The acts of sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
I would like people to think about this. Why are there so many people out there who don’t believe in God because they feel like Christians are hypocrites? Because that is exactly how some people live! Have you ever considered that because of the behavior of some of these hypocrites, others might turn from God and not be saved? Not only are these people putting their own souls at risk, but they are actually hurting Christianity as a whole because they AREN’T living according to the Bible. Yes, we all know that God forgives our sins, but the Bible also tells us that we must live in the Spirit. If we truly live in the Spirit, we cannot live in constant sin. Galatians 5:16-17 clearly states that living in the Spirit and living in sin are in direct conflict with each other. I would like to propose that not everyone who says they are Christian are truly Christian. Remember, the Bible also states that Satan himself parades around the world as an angel of light:
“For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
The Bible says many times to “not be deceived”. Know the truth about God. Yes, we are forgiven through the blood of Jesus Christ if we TRULY accept Him in our heart. This means living in the Spirit and putting aside our sinful nature. Yes, we all will make mistakes, and if we are truly in the Spirit and have left our sinful ways, we will be forgiven. Do not deceive yourself into thinking that just because you speak the words, “Jesus is My Savior” but do not leave your sinful life, that this is sufficient for God. You MUST put aside your sinful behavior, for one cannot truly believe and accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior without turning from his/her sinful life.
For those of you who are sick of seeing the behavior of so-called Christians living smack in the middle of a completely sinful life, know that this behavior is not what God is calling us to do. The best advice I can give to you is to open up and read a Bible. That is the only way to know the real truth in God.