Easter History vs American Easter Traditions Today

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Here is a great article I found concerning Easter, where a lot of Easter traditions originated, and how we can apply a Christian perspective.

I struggled with similar questions around Christmas. Most of Christmas is commercialized and most of my Non-Christian friends still celebrated. It’s concerning to me because this is a holiday, like Easter, which may have had the best intentions, whether they were adopted from a pagan practice or not, but businesses have materialized the meaning. The focus shouldn’t be on the Easter bunny, candy, an Easter basket, egg coloring or egg hunts. If you see that those are where your family tend to gravitate, consider reading the article here and consider incorporating more of Jesus, and less bunny.

I think that these traditions are harmless but at the same time they can be a deceiving distraction. We don’t want to get caught up in these traditions and haphazardly attend church without much more attention or thought. We should start our own traditions, where there are less gifts and candy, and give each activity a purpose. It’s important that although many of these traditions have stories which can tie into faith, the Bible doesn’t have any of these. Our focus should be the Bible. If that means completely changing your Easter festivities, so be it. I’m reevaluating how we celebrate Jesus, on Christmas and Easter, to be sure I’m not being lured into worldly customs and views.

Anyway, that’s my spiel- read the article for some history! Happy Easter to everyone :).




*Photo credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&docid=of6C_9Av1xAlPM&tbnid=oIDLgl2h2CvviM:&ved=0CAEQjxw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fhdwallpapermania.com%2Feaster-quotes%2F&ei=KtNSU–6JYKLyAS5lIHAAQ&psig=AFQjCNGHL07VybJEMRRgZGtIP5G9NMSV_A&ust=1398023320806978

FREE eBooks 04/18/14- Saved Without A Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation (John MacArthur Study), When God Breaks Your Heart: Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances, Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ

Screenshot (90)Saved Without A Doubt: Being Sure of Your Salvation (John MacArthur Study)

For over 30 years trusted pastor and teacher John MacArthur has delivered practical, Biblical insights for helping Christians grow in their own journey of faith.

Now the very best of John MacArthur’s Christian living titles have been updated to feature a fresh look and study guides for both personal and group reflection.

Am I really saved? Am I going to heaven? How can I know for sure? Every believer has wrestled with these questions at some point in their journey.Saved Without A Doubt,/i examines Scripture to uncover the truth of salvation, while addressing tough questions that can hinder our faith. Readers will develop a Bible-based theology of salvation and be encouraged to securely rest in their personal relationship with Christ.

 

 

Screenshot (89)When God Breaks Your Heart: Choosing Hope in the Midst of Faith-Shattering Circumstances

Why is God letting this happen to me?

If you have never asked this question, you someday will.

There is perhaps no greater challenge to our faith than personal suffering. For pastor Ed Underwood this challenge came in the form of chronic leukemia. Though he prayed for and believed in God’s healing, as the days slipped by and his pain became unbearable, Ed’s heart was broken by a simple realization: The God who could do anything was not helping him. Yet a revelation from God’s Word changed his heart and life forever.

In this poignant journey from tragedy to hope, Ed takes a fresh look at the story of Lazarus and his sisters—a story that explores suffering through the eyes of our Lord and His people. You’ll find comfort during difficulty, be inspired to ask for the impossible, and discover a God whose heart breaks with yours.

 

 

Screenshot (91)Jesus in the Present Tense: The I AM Statements of Christ

 

In Jesus in the Present Tense, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe explores the “I AM” statements of God—from His burning bush conversation with Moses, to His powerful reassurances to the Israelites, to Jesus’s startling claim to be the Light of the World.

 
Many Christians find themselves mired in past regrets or future fears, but the name of God itself reminds readers that God wants them to live in the present. The more readers understand and apply God’s I AM statements from the Old and New Testaments, the more they will realize God’s peace and joy. Then they will be free to live, serve, and know God more richly in the present tense—which is just where He wants them to be.

My Sunday Sermon Journal: Succeed Through Serving

My Sunday Sermon Journal

A collection of thoughts, ideas, and notes taken from a Sunday Worship Service.

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Going through Mark 10:32-45.

The obvious question we tend to ask ourselves is, “What about us? What’s in it for me?” How we measure success is directly linked to how we live our lives.

Human Nature says our success is getting what we want (Mark 10-32-37). People don’t know how to handle Jesus’ message sometimes when we realize that He wants us to assume a selfless role- a selfless position of servitude.

Human Nature also tells us that success is being elevated by others (Mark 10:43-45). We tend to feel successful when we compare ourselves (our job, money, house, etc.) to others. Or, we feel successful when we receive the verbal confirmation from others. Sometimes, we convince ourselves we’re better than other people.  It doesn’t help that our culture encourages and reinforces this way of thinking.  It shouldn’t be OUR Will but His Will which defines our success.

True Success is seeking what God has planned. God has a plan for you. We must understand our unique role on earth that our Father has laid out for us. Jesus is committed to change our thinking and it requires HUMILITY. We must obey God and HIS path, not our own. That takes a lot to put our faith into Him which ultimately means letting go of all control. Put yourself back in your place, no longer in God’s seat.

Are you ready to swallow your pride? ALL OF IT?

Another definition of True Success, which also requires Humility, is elevating others. Our purpose is not to serve ourselves but to serve others. Jesus demonstrated this on earth! Success is making others better, instead of constantly putting YOURSELF as the focus.

“I come as one who doesn’t know to the One who does.”

Watch the sermon Succeed Through Serving

Pastor: Doug Kyle
Sermon: Succeed Through Serving

Series: Reversed by the Resurrection

Aired 04/06/14

 

 *Photo Credit: http://www.v2.newcov.com/get-connected/volunteering-newcov/

GRIFFIN by M.C. Wright on SALE on Kindle! {Book Relaunch}

newimageCheck out the RElaunch of a new book series called Griffin by M. C. Wright. Apparently, there’s been a few tweaks on Amazon including a brand new book cover!

Abby Cannon discovers her recent move and new friends in Knoxville are more than coincidental. Caught in a snare weaved by a band of secretive friends, Abby seeks to untangle herself before she’s killed by the creatures who chase her. A handsome museum curator may have the answers she needs; but, he’s as evasive as her new friends. Even her ex from Atlanta seems to be involved.

In her quest for the truth, she discovers ancient myths, deception, and a death that affects her more than she ever expected. A single act thrusts her reality into a world that isn’t supposed to exist- at least not to an ordinary person. This world reveals itself to her and expects her to be part of it. Abby must choose her fate in a battle of good and evil. Either way, she knows the world as she knows it will never be the same.

====A book whose main character struggles with her identity alongside an ancient war of good and evil. Who can she trust?
Sequel Coming Summer 2014!!!

My Review: This is a great, entertaining read, for young adults. It is very clean, not preachy, and full of adventure. The Christian message is very subtle, yet there’s a distinct line between good and evil. The main character finds herself at the edge of good and evil, which is something we all face: deciding right from wrong.

It was very interesting seeing the young character battle with emotions and fears, similar to what young girls face in their youth.

The author will be coming out with the second book this summer! Check out the first book now!

Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study by Ashley Ferris- {GIVEAWAY!}

Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study By Ashley Ferris

About the Book:

Let’s explore the gift of friendship- what a devoted friendship looks like, how to handle the waiting period, and how to deepen current, valued friendships.

If you are in a season where you find yourself light on friends, I want this study to be an encouragement that this season will have an expiration date.

If you are in a place where you feel you have many friends, I hope you can use this study to evaluate the depth and purpose of those friendships.

It may spur you to take risks to deepen some already beautiful friendships. It may also help you see that there are some unhealthy ties that may need to be prayed over and potentially ended.

Finally, if you have friendships that are deep, but you tend to pull away when you are confronted, I hope you will see the value that lies before you. I pray that you will endure uncomfortable conversations with deep friends (that you know have your best interests at heart) in order to grow in friendship and as a daughter of the King.

Connect with author Ashley Ferris here:
Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Giveaway!

We are so excited to celebrate this Kindle new release with you by hosting a giveaway! Just enter for your chance to win a Kindle copy of Friendship – Four Week Mini Bible Study and a $50 Kindle gift card!

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Disclosure: Some affiliate links have been used within this post!

This giveaway is sponsored by the Becoming Press Book Launch Bloggers.

Questions For Christians Series #6: Will God Ever Give Up On Me?

I’m launching a new series called Questions For Christians. These questions are compiled from personal conversations and research from non-believers.

QUESTION:

Will God Ever Give Up On Me?

 

ANSWER:

We see in Romans 1:24-32 where God “gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts…”. Other translations may say “gave them up to…” as well. Many people feel like God abandons a person. However you would like to phrase it, God essentially, let’s go of the sinner. This is a hurtful part of Free-will. We can deny God repeatedly and refuse to obey Him. We have that “freedom”, but not without consequence.

I experienced this in my own life. God did not abandon me in the term that we understand it today. He let me go. He left me alone, no more convictions and feeling guilt or shame. He released Himself of me and He watched as I controlled my life. At this point, obviously, my life went in a fast spiral downward and in the wrong direction. I had ignored Him, denied Him, and rejected Him repeatedly.

I was in a very bad place in my life when I realized I had stopped hearing God’s voice. I had stopped caring about anything else but what I wanted. In this dark place of my life, I also realized that I couldn’t control my life and be happy. I thought I knew what I wanted and I chased things which weren’t good for me only because it was what I wanted in that minute. I realized that if God didn’t take control of my life, I would end up dead.

At this point, I starting crying out to God. He was right there. No more games, no more crying out because I needed a hand-out…this was real. When I cried out to God, He listened and He was there. I began doing things He wanted and doing things for my life which would take me out of the turmoil I was in.

There are times when God will let you follow your own path, so that you may realize how destructive we are on our own. So that we realize how much we need Him. Sometimes, people don’t go back to God and become so consumed by the sin they’re encapsulated in…but I like this analogy: God is Home. He’ll try to keep us with Him until our behavior with sin inevitably forces God to let us go. No matter where we stray or for how long, you can always go back Home.

 

*All scripture is from the New International Version unless noted otherwise.

Questions For Christians Series #5: What if someone was raised in a different religion?

I’m launching a new series called Questions For Christians. These questions are compiled from personal conversations and research from non-believers.

QUESTION:

How would someone know any better if they were raised in a different religion?

 

ANSWER:

The Bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God has set eternity in our hearts. He has given us knowledge of Him even in His creations (Romans 1:20.) Which means that God has put the knowledge of His EXISTENCE into our hearts. The reasons we do not pursue Him and grow in knowledge of Him is because of our own pride and selfishness . In Deuteronomy 4:29 we learn that God is available to us when we call!
Should we decide to seek Him, who has been instilled in our hearts, we will find Him. It’s as simple as that. God is a Just God. When people blatantly deny Him, their hearts are cold and they will not see eternity in Heaven.

 
**All scripture is from the New International Version unless noted otherwise.

Questions For Christians Series #4: Is Questioning God Okay?

I’m launching a new series called Questions For Christians. These questions are compiled from personal conversations and research from non-believers.

QUESTION:

Is Questioning God Okay?

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Answer:

Throughout the Bible, God is questioned. We can see throughout Psalms, God is questioned repeatedly. The biggest difference between how we’re questioning Him is this: Are we questioning earnestly, or are we questioning God’s goodness?
In questioning Him, we must already believe in Him and have faith in Him. It’s harmless to ask God things like, “Why did this happen to me?”, “What is the purpose of this?”, or “What do you want me to do next?” These types of questions don’t put God Himself to question but His purpose- His plans (Hebrews 11:6).

Photo Credit: http://thelegacybuilder.wordpress.com/2010/03/27/questioning-god-and-chocolate-chip-cookies/

Questions For Christians Series #3: How to discern God’s voice from Satan’s voice?

I’m launching a new series called Questions For Christians. These questions are compiled from personal conversations and research from non-believers.

QUESTION:

How to discern God’s voice from Satan’s voice?

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ANSWER:

I recently wrote an article about discerning the voice of God but I will recap briefly here. First of all, anything God tells you will never contradict the Bible. God does not manipulate, deceive, coerce or lie. It helps knowing how God feels about you, His creation, to really get a good perspective of what someone, who loves you so deeply, will say (Ephesians 2:4-5.)

Most of the time we can easily discern His voice from our own worldly desires but we are not always accepting to it. This can be difficult when we have our own plans and you convince yourself that your ideas are better. But God always knows best (Proverbs 3:5.)

Another tip to discerning His voice is to ask yourself if your “options” or thoughts will ultimately give glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31.) It can be a challenge to ask this question, especially if it’s something simple. If you’re looking to purchase something, I would say that as long as you can afford the purchase and it does not disobey God’s laws, such as what is modest and appropriate, then you should be okay. Which brings me to my next point.

If you want to go out with friends and go to a club where there will be excessive drinking and provocative dancing, this will not glorify God and it is also blatantly against scripture (Proverbs 23:20-21, Ephesians 5:18, 2 Timothy 2:22.) Putting those decisions alongside God’s Word will help you decide what is best and which “voice” to listen to.

Eventually, things will become easier and the more you familiarize yourself with God’s Word and the more you have a constant dialogue and relationship with Him, the better things will be in discerning His voice.

 

*All scripture is from the New International Version unless noted otherwise.

Does Suicide Send You to Hell?

Does Suicide Send You to Hell?
Is Suicide The “Unforgivable” Sin?

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I did a little research on a particular subject which some Christians appear to be confused about today. While I already knew the answer, I wanted to find something which had biblical evidence to support the truth to the matter and a good read that will make sense to Christians.

I came across this article and I’m anxious to share it with everyone. I know there are lots of articles on the Internet but this wraps it up accurately.

Read the article HERE.



*Picture credit: http://christianguys.org/articles/youngmen/life/suicide/