Celebrating Memorial Day

We are celebrating Memorial Day, a special time set aside to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country. So many have fallen and will fall defending the freedoms we hold so dear. Freedom is not free. This time of remembrance brings us to a closer understanding of what the Savior experienced when he purchased our freedom with his life.

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)

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The average age of the military man is 19 years. He is a short-haired, tight-muscled kid who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy. Not yet dry behind the ears, not old enough to buy a beer, but old enough to die for his country. He never really cared much for work and he would rather wax his own car than wash his father’s, but he has never collected unemployment either.

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He’s a recent High School graduate; he was probably an average student, pursued some form of sport activities, drives a ten-year old jalopy, and has a steady girlfriend that either broke up with him when he left, or swears to be waiting when he returns from half a world away. He listens to rock and roll or hip-hop or rap or jazz or swing and a 155mm howitzer.

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He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter now than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk. He has trouble spelling, thus letter writing is a pain for him, but he can field strip a rifle in 30 seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark. He can recite to you the nomenclature of a machine gun or grenade launcher and use either one effectively if he must.

He digs foxholes and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional. He can march until he is told to stop, or stop until he is told to march. He obeys orders instantly and without hesitation, but he is not without spirit or individual dignity. He is self-sufficient.

He has two sets of fatigues: he washes one and wears the other. He keeps his canteens full and his feet dry. He sometimes forgets to brush his teeth, but never to clean his rifle. He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes, and fix his own hurts. If you’re thirsty, he’ll share his water with you; if you are hungry, his food. He’ll even split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.

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He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands. He can save your life – or take it, because that is his job. He will often do twice the work of a civilian, draw half the pay, and still find ironic humor in it all. He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime. He has wept in public and in private, for friends who have fallen in combat, and is unashamed.

He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while at rigid attention, while tempering the burning desire to’ square-away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat, or even stop talking. In an odd twist, day in and day out, far from home, he defends their right to be disrespectful.

Just as did his Father, Grandfather, and Great-grandfather, he is paying the price for our freedom. Beardless or not, he is not a boy. He is the American Fighting Man that has kept this country free for over 200 years.

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He has asked nothing in return, except our friendship and understanding. Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.

And now we even have women over there in danger, doing their part in this tradition of going to War when our nation calls us to do so. As you go to bed tonight, remember this shot… A short lull, a little shade and a picture of loved ones in their helmets.

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When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our ground troops, sailors on ships, and airmen in the air, and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and all foreign countries.

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Of all the gifts you could give an US Soldier, Sailor, Coastguardsman, Marine, or Airman, prayer is the very best one.

 

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Heaven

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No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven. (John 3:13 NKJV)

A popular movie depicts the experience of a small boy who died briefly and was brought back to life. The child went to Heaven and recounted his experiences with people there. You have probably heard or read other stories of those who had similar experiences. Many see a bright light or a loved one who comes to help them pass from this life to the next. Some talk to people in heaven before the time of actual death.

The Bible has 500 references to Heaven. Although we aren’t given the exact location, we are told Jesus ascended to heaven, which means He went up. In Isaiah the scriptures say Heaven is in the north (Isaiah 14:13 NKJV). We do know the holy place is where Jesus is living and that knowledge should be enough for believers. If He is there, it is glorious.

Heaven is high and lifted up, and divided into three parts. The first heaven is the atmosphere above the earth, or the air you breathe. The second heaven is the abode of the sun, moon, and stars or what you may call, “outer space”. The third heaven as described by Paul in his second letter to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 12:2) is the dwelling place of God. The third heaven is where you will someday dwell with Him.

God has placed in each heart the desire for eternity, the desire for heaven. People are constantly searching for the joy, peace, and security of the heavenly abode. The place where Jesus dwells. He went first to prepare a place, a beautiful place where you will live for eternity with Him.

Heaven is availaible only to those who know Jesus as their savior. Do you know Jesus?

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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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