Legend of the Dogwood Tree

Dogwood

Dogwood in the Forest

 

“Then Pilate turned Jesus over to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus away. Carrying the cross by himself, he went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed him to the cross. Two others were crucified with him, one on either side, with Jesus between them.” John 19:16-19 NLT

White Dogwood

Pink Dogwood

Beautiful dogwood trees are blooming this time of the year. Some are covered with white blossoms and some with pink. The tree blooms in spring about Easter time when the Christian world turns to thoughts centered on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. A poignant legend links the pretty blooming tree with the crucifixion of Jesus.

Dogwood Blossoms

At the time of the crucifixion, the dogwood had reached the size of a mighty oak tree. The wood was strong and firm, so it was chosen as timber for Jesus’ cross.

To be used for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the dogwood. While nailed upon the tree Jesus sensed this, and in his compassion said. “Because of your pity for my suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to be used for a cross. Henceforth, it shall be slender, bent, and twisted, and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross–two long and two short petals.”

In the center of the outer edge on each petal is the print of nails. In the center of the flower, stained with blood, is a crown of thorns, so that all who see it will remember.

Dogwood Blossom

Dogwood Blossom

Now, when we observe the lovely dogwood blossoms, we are reminded of the sacrifice the Lord Jesus made for us. Blessed are those who see the dogwood and thank Jesus for giving His life for our salvation.

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Blessings in 2019

 

                          

 

Happy New Year

I am republishing this post from last year, because my New Year’s resolutions for 2019 are the same as the those for 2018.

Resolutions for 2018

1. Seek the Lord’s perfect will for my life.

2. Be content in the life He gives me and live it to the best of my ability.

3. Serve Him by serving others.

4. Spread the light of God’s Word to a dark world through ministry and writing.

6. Send Bibles and literature to pastors in the United States and overseas.

5. Write two historical fiction books.

6. Publish two books.

But King David replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on buying it for the full price. I will not take what is yours and give it to the Lord. I will not present burnt offerings that have cost me nothing!” (1 Chronicles 21:24)

The ministry continues to send Bibles and literature to pastors overseas. One pastor lives in Peru and is anxious to receive Spanish Bibles. Brother Jaime Frias ministers to patients and staff in the local hospital and has led many to salvation in Jesus.

The literature goes to Book Link, a ministry that sends Christian literature and Bibles to missionaries.

I am in the process of writing an inspirational historical novella set in 16th century Scotland. Hopefully, the present book will be finished and another set in the American post-Civil War period completed.

Learning to write historical fiction is a journey within itself. So many factors and variables must be considered in plotting, characterization, point of view, grammar and punctuation to name a few. And then the story must be historically accurate, so extensive research is necessary.

I ask myself the same question each day. “Is all this worth the time and effort?” A still small voice answers deep within my spirit, “Yes. I have a message for you to tell. Your work is an offering to me and you should give me nothing that does not cost you something.”

What are you giving to the Lord? Is your offering costing you something? He commands we give Him our best without spot or blemish. I cannot do less than I am doing. I must give Him my all.

His Unfailing Presence (author unknown)

Another year I enter, its history unknown; Oh, how my feet would tremble to tread its paths alone! But I have heard God’s whisper. I know I shall be blest, “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

What will the New Year bring me? I may not, must not know. Will it be love and rapture, or loneliness and woe? Hush! Hush! I hear His whisper. I surely shall be blest. “My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.”

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The First Gift of Christmas

By Beth Taylor

The angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them. Luke 2:9

The heavens glowed
With a brilliant light
As angels sang that first
Christmas Night.

A child is born!
The angels proclaimed.
To a lowly
Couple in Bethlehem!

He lies in a stable with a
Manger for His bed,
Wrapped in swaddling clothes
And hay for His head.

Come and worship the
One From God,
Prince of Peace,
And the Living Word.

He came as a babe
From the Father above
To forgive our sins,
And bring us His love.

Merry Christmas and God bless.
Beth and Horace Taylor

 

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Giving Thanks

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The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims who left their homes in England searching for religious freedom. They lived in a feudal society where the king and lords determined their faith and controlled their lives. They sought freedom to live and worship according to the dictates of their own hearts.

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Over half of their group died the first winter in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Sickness and death affected every family, but some survived with the help of friendly Native Americans. After the next fall harvest, the survivors celebrated a time of thanksgiving. Although grieving for the lost ones, they rejoiced with Indian friends in the New World, in their new life.

“Give thanks in all things,” the Lord says. Sometimes this is difficult while going through a storm of life, but being thankful in all circumstances will bring you closer to God.

The follow excerpt is from the novel, Through The Storm by Brenda B Taylor. The novel continues The Wades Of Crawford County saga, following Leann and Ralph through the years of making a life together and raising young children. As with all married couples, they struggled through the storms of life, but drew closer to the Lord and to each other.

Through The Storm

Click HERE To Buy

“And Sunday we’re going to church,” Ralph told his family. “We’re going to praise the Lord for making us well. I want you kids to get your Sunday clothes ready, and take a good bath Saturday.”

Katy smiled. She loved to dress up and helped Leann wash and press the family’s Sunday garments. Ralph and the boys polished the Sunday shoes and boots. The boys frowned. They didn’t like to bathe, but their mother insisted on a good bath each week with a hair washing, and sometimes in between if they got too dirty.

Bathing took a good deal of time on Saturday night, because Leann insisted each member of the family have fresh water in the tub. She filled a number three washtub with water, then heated water on the stove and added it to the washtub to make a warm bath. She put the tub in a corner of the kitchen and hung blankets around it for privacy. The children bathed first. Since there was not much privacy in the kitchen of their little cabin, Ralph and Leann took their baths after the children went to sleep.

“Do you want us to wash our neck and behind our ears, Papa?” Jesse asked.
Ralph and Leann looked at each other and smiled, trying not to laugh at their son. He was attempting to get ahead of the command Leann gave the children when they bathed. Sometimes those spots were missed.

“Yes, Jesse,” Ralph said. “Be sure to wash behind your ears, and your neck. Dirt sticks in those places when it jumps out on little boys.”

“Dirt don’t jump out on boys, Papa.” Jesse reached up to feel behind an ear.

“I don’t know about all boys, but it sure jumps out on you two.” Ralph winked at Leann.

“You’re fooling me, Papa.” Jesse went to Ralph, searching his eyes for any sign of jesting.

“I’m not fooling, am I Leann?” Ralph stared back at his little son.

“No you aren’t, and we’ll start the baths early to make sure those spots get clean.” Leann knew Jesse and Jim didn’t like to come indoors early to bathe.

“Heck!” Jim said.

“Heck!” Jesse echoed.

Ralph laughed at the boys. Leann went around the table and stood beside him, examining his hair. She smoothed a strand on the back of his head. It went well below his collar.

“Looks like haircuts are overdue. I haven’t paid close attention with everyone being sick.”
Ralph’s smile faded quickly. He disliked sitting still for a haircut more than the boys. “Oh no.”

“Oh no,” the two boys said in unison.

Katy laughed now. Leann rested her hands on Ralph’s shoulders and giggled at the expressions on Jim’s and Jesse’s faces.

“It’s real tough for us men to sit still for haircuts and then be made to take baths,” Ralph told Leann, glancing around at her.

“I can only imagine.” She gave his hair a small pull. He reached up and caught her hand.

“I’m buying us a Sunday dinner at Mrs. McCall’s boarding house,” Ralph said. “We need to celebrate getting over the mumps, and Mama needs a rest after taking care of us.”

“Thank you.” Leann gave him a hug.

The children clamored over each other, trying to hug him. “Thank you, Papa,” they said in unison.

Ralph patted each one on the head and smiled at his children. They were his joy, and a stranger asking Katy questions concerned him greatly. After ten years of having her in his home, she was like his own daughter. For the first few years she lived with them, Leann and he expected her father to return, and guarded their hearts. When Ray didn’t come back, they began to believe she might stay permanently.

“Okay family, time to get on with our work. I’m going to get as much tobacco in the barn before dark as I can. Jim, you and Jesse come and help me. Katy can help Mama.” Ralph rose from the table and put his work hat on.

Leann and Katy began setting the kitchen in order. Leann hummed a hymn from the music he and his pa played earlier. Ralph knew she was pleased they planned to attend church on Sunday after a long absence. He missed the services too.

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Because He Lives


From the Holy Bible, YouVersion

Most of us are familiar with the song, Because He Lives. The lyrics, penned by Bill and Gloria Gaither, strike the chord of hope in every person who genuinely believes that Jesus Christ lives today. Here is the chorus:

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow.
Because He lives, all fear is gone,
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living, just because He lives.

Life is worth living here and now just because Jesus lives. And the good news is that he lives in you! But what does that mean and how does it impact you on a daily basis?

The strongest impact his life brings is certainty or assurance. The question of salvation weighs heavy on the hearts of many people. Uncertainty and doubt plague their souls. They wonder, “Have I done enough?” Or, “have I been good enough?” The answer to both questions is “No!” But Jesus did enough through his death, burial, and resurrection.

Here are the facts. Since Christ was raised, he cannot die again. Paul put it this way, “death no longer has mastery over him” (Romans 6:9). Because he lives forever, every believer will live forever. These words from Hebrews should erase all doubt and fear:

“Because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:24-25).

Not only does His eternal life anchor us in assurance, He gives us a new way to live. Sin and death can no longer have their way with us. That old self was crucified with Christ, dead and buried. Because he lives, you can count yourself dead to sin and fully alive to God, no longer mastered by sin, but living through the power of grace.

The most concise statement on this new life is Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

And finally, because he lives, we no longer live under the blanket of condemnation. We have been set free from the law of sin and death once and for all by the law of the Spirit of life. We can face tomorrow with confidence and hope, knowing that “he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you” (Romans 8:11).

Assurance, freedom, and hope are yours, just because he lives.

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The Lord’s Lovingkindness

By Charles C. Pace

Psalm 42:8 Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life. Oh, how wonderful is our God…He loves us so much even though too many times we are unlovable.

Do you ever disappoint God? Sure you do, all of us in the flesh do, but this verse says “Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness” to us. That is so unbelievable in our finite minds, but it is true…How do I know that? Because in this verse God said it, so it is true, so believe it today. Today is another wonderful Lord’s day…Let’s all worship Him knowing He loves us so much that He gave us His only Son to die on the cross and rose again so that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

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The Lord Will Never Leave You

Dear Lord,

Help us to trust in You with all our hearts and lean not to our own understanding, but in all things acknowledge Your watchful care over us. Sometimes we stray into paths of unrighteousness, but help us to be ever mindful of Your love and grace.

The Lord is always with you. He never leaves. Sometimes you may become discouraged and think He has moved far away, but that premise is wrong. God never moves. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He’s only a whisper away at any given time. Cling to Him in times of trouble, don’t let go. During the dark hours are the times you need Him most, so cling hardest then.

You may have ups and downs, good days and bad days, but you are not unlike anyone else on this earth. Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NLT

Trust Him, walk with Him, and cling to Him. Jesus will never let you down.

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The Lord Gives Comfort and Peace


I woke this morning with a sore muscle in my leg and can barely walk. The reason eludes me. Maybe I over exercised or maybe I’m getting older and my body is simply feeling its age. Whatever the reason, I am reminded life is neither fair nor easy. We live in a fallen world under the domain of the Prince of This World – Satan. The reasons for cares and troubles cannot always be determined or explained. Some trials are so great they leave enduring scars that cannot be erased. The burdens seem more than some can bear. News headlines reflect the darkness and despair rampant in the world today. It seems there is no hope. The world needs a savior!

The good news is, the world has a savior. God loved you and came to earth two thousand years ago in the form of a human baby, lived, and died a sacrificial death on a cruel cross in order to save the world. He gave you a way back to Him. He gave you a way to overcome the world, to ride through the storms of life, and emerge as a champion.

 

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Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33 NKJV).

The God of the universe, who created all things and without Him nothing exists said He has overcome the world. That means He has overcome Satan. He is your hope and salvation. Through Jesus you will find peace and rest. You may not find answers to all life’s problems, but He did not promise to give answers; He promised to give peace and strength to fight the battles. Jesus did not promise a life without tribulation; He promised an overcoming life. The overcoming life Jesus promised was bought for you with His own precious blood.

God’s ways are not your ways. He allows suffering in the lives of His children to test them and refine them into the likeness of His Son. Suffering is the refining fire separating the dross from the gold. The Lord uses suffering and pain to mold and shape the character of your eternal soul. Suffering then, is an eternal exercise readying you to meet God face to face.

The Father promised in His word you will experience pain, but it is only for a season. His word says, “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5 NKJV)

In the midst of your pain, look to the Father, for He will send joy in the morning. You are more than conquerors in Him.

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Companion Bible Study for Run, Finding Friends and Handling Bullies

Bethabara Faith Ministry welcomes author Glenn Haggerty introducing the Companion Bible Study for the book, Run, Finding Friends and Handling Bullies.

“Tyler Higgins made some blunders and burned some bridges. Can he build a new life after he moves from Florida to a small northern town in the middle of nowhere? Or will he repeat his past mistakes?”

 

It’s tough being a tween or teen today, there’s so much bad stuff in our culture, and secular entertainment often offers only despair.I wrote my three book Intense fiction series for middle grade and teenaged students because I want to provide serious entertainment from the Christian worldview and to give kids hope that they too can make it through this difficult period of life. And now, I have just released my first companion Bible study!

The idea behind the companion study is to apply Biblical principles to the real-life situations in the novel, Run, Intense Book 2.  The section on finding friends includes studies on forgiveness, selflessness and prayer. The section on bullying includes 10 Biblical tips for handling bullies. All of these subjects relate to specific scenes in the novel, Run. The study includes excerpts from the novel so that purchasing Runseparately although helpful, is not necessary. Companion Bible Study for Run is designed as both a devotional for individual use,or as a group/parent/child study that includes a leader’s guide.

Companion Bible Study for Run, Finding Friends & Handling Bullies would make a great summer devotional for middle school kids and help prepare them for the upcoming school year.

Back Cover Copy

Companion Bible Study for Run–Finding Friends & Handling Bullies

Equip students to find and keep solid friendships and deal with bullies.

This 7-session study on friendships gives students tools to survive and even thrive as they observe the fictional Tyler Higgins navigate the middle school friendship jungle. Students will learn from his examples both negative and positive as the lessons focus on Biblical principles for friendships, forgiveness, selflessness, dealing with bullies and a vibrant relationship with the greatest Friend of all.

Session One—Finding Friends

Session Two—Forgiving Friends

Session Three—Facing Bullies, 10 Biblical Tips for Dealing with Bullies 1-7

Session Four—Facing Bullies, 10 Biblical Tips for Dealing with Bullies 8-9

Session Five—Facing Bullies, 10 Biblical Tips for Dealing with Bullies 10

Session Six—Sacrificing for Friends

Session Seven—Talking to God

Each student book includes scripture verses and a leader’s (parent’s) guide, with answers

Although reading the novel, Run, Intense Book 2 would enrich the study, the novel is not necessary, as each session includes corresponding chapter summaries in the appendix.

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon Kindle https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07F1JNBMT

Amazon Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/0999399454

B&N Print https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/companion-bible-study-for-run-glenn-haggerty/1128989491?ean=9780999399453

Glenn’s Bio:

Glenn has a Master of Divinity degree from Bethel Seminary. He is an award-winning author who combines his love for teaching God’s word with his passion for writing exciting fiction. In addition to the action adventure novel, Run (Intense Book 2), he has published two additional books in his Intense series, Escape (Book 1) and Chase (Book 3).  Eight of his short stories have appeared in six magazines, including Cadet Quest, Partners, Splickety, and Havok.

You can visit Glenn on his website athttp://www.glennhaggerty.com or

on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GlennHaggertyAuthor

and Twitter https://twitter.com/grhaggertyjr

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Independence Day

Image 1Independence Day, July 4th. On July 4, 1776, we claimed our independence from Britain and Democracy was born. Every day thousands leave their homeland to come to the “land of the free and the home of the brave” so they can begin their American Dream. The United States is truly a diverse nation made up of dynamic people.

Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, by the Continental Congress declaring that the thirteen American colonies regarded themselves as a new nation, the United States of America, and no longer part of the British Empire. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, fairs, picnics, concerts, baseball games, family reunions, and political speeches and ceremonies, in addition to various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States. Independence Day is the National Day of the United States.

Many brave patriots fought and died, sacrificing their all so future generations of Americans could be free to govern themselves under a government comprised of representatives elected by the people. The founding fathers based the new government on Judo-Christian values, and trust in God. Your responsibility as a citizen of this great nation is to preserve the freedom secured by the great patriots of the past and those who will continue to sacrifice for you.

“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b-32. NLT

Jesus also gave His all, sacrificing Himself so you can be free. The freedom He gives is a spiritual kind. He took your sins and nailed them to a cross. His sacrifice gives you eternal life and you will live with Him in complete freedom forever.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:36 NLT

Celebrate the freedom our Declaration of Independence gives, but also celebrate the spiritual freedom Jesus gives. You can only gain His victory over sin and death by accepting Him as your savior. Jesus will loosen the shackles binding you from the abundant life only He can give.

“The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 NLT

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