I took this photo on a trip to Seattle, Washington. The mountains and clouds leave me in awe of creation. God is great and reigns over all of creation. Everything.
He created it for us because he loves us.
He also forgives us when we ask. Why? Because he wants a relationship with us. God is also just. So when we draw our last breath, all that matters in that moment is that relationship with God. Do you acknowledge Christ? Jesus’ words are clear. If you have not acknowledged Christ, he will not acknowledge you.
Just before the pictured verse above, in Luke 12:4-5, Jesus is talking to his disciples about the Pharisees and says, “I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.”
Can’t you hear Jesus’ punctuated words? “Yes, I tell you, fear him.” It brings shivers. However, he follows that with an unwritten “But …” that leads into the pictured verse. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Sparrows were cheap sacrifices — of very little worth. However, God doesn’t forget even one. So how much more is his love for us that he even knows how many hairs are on our heads? And he follows it with the beginning of a promise of his love, “Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.
“I tell you, whoever acknowledge me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God.”
Jesus is going to stand up and claim you as one of his own. It’s a promise. You are sealed as his.
“But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God.”
Your words and choices matter in this life. If you proclaim Jesus, he will proclaim you. If you don’t, you should fear the one who will throw you into hell.
And even if you have denied Jesus and spoken against him in your life but then acknowledge him, you will be forgiven. “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven …”
And then there is the “but …,” the hitch. “… but anyone who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.”
That’s heavy. That’s real. I like this explanation from Focus on the Family about what blasphemy of the Holy Spirit is: “The sin of ‘blaspheming the Holy Spirit,’ then, is essentially the sin of rejecting Christ.
“What’s more, the ‘unpardonable’ nature of this sin has less to do with punishment than it does with the hardening effect of the sin itself. ”
Here is the link if you want to read more: https://www.focusonthefamily.com/family-q-and-a/faith/blasphemy-of-the-holy-spirit-and-the-unforgivable-sin
In this life, words matter. Choose wisely.
Jesus loves you. Jesus died for you. Jesus rose from the grave and conquered death for you. And Jesus is coming back again — for you.
God loves you. God sent his only son to die for you. He resurrected Jesus and sent the Holy Spirit to live in believers. He will judge us in the end. Only those who believe Jesus is the one and only son of God who died for the sins of the world and was resurrected will be saved from hell.
How often are we that blunt?
But isn’t that what we’re charged with as Christians? Ultimately, in the end, isn’t THE message of salvation, of God’s love for us, what we are supposed share with the world?
I am guilty of not doing that. I’ve been a believer since I was a child. If someone asks me about Jesus, I’m happy to talk about the Lord, his mercies and salvation. But do I preach the word? Do I get out of my comfort zone and approach people with the Good News? No, I do not.
I try to live my faith openly. People who know me know I love Jesus. But for those of you who don’t see the Scriptures booklet on my desk or who see me at church, what have I done for you? Nothing.
Let’s change that.
In Matthew 19:26, Jesus says, “… with God all things are possible.”
I believe that. So let’s see where God leads.
Prayer: Thank you God for your Son, who died for the sins of the world for all generations. Thank you for loving us. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit. And please bless those who are reading. In your name we pray. Amen.
Sweet Carmel snores and dreams of chasing rabbits. #lovemydogs
I’ve not spent a lot of time traveling around our neighbor to the north. No, I don’t mean Canada. I’m talking about Michigan. Yep, a northern Indiana girl my whole life and I can probably count on two hands how many times I’ve crossed the northern state line.
A couple of weeks ago, my family and I took a vacation up to Hillman, which is just west of Alpena.
For those of you who don’t know where Alpena is, hold out your left hand. See the top of your index finger? That’s about where Alpena is located.
Anyways, we spent the week in a one-room fishing cabin, less than a stone’s throw away from a large lake. We had our own dock that we could launch our kayaks from. Or in our case, fish from.
The winds were a little too strong for a newbie kayaker as myself, so I stayed on shore with my daughter. We fished and fished and fished.
The Mr. decided to brave the waves.
It was relaxing. Every once in a while, it’s good to leave the mad pace of work-school-responsibilities-social media, and vacation in a spot that has little if no phone reception. Our cabin had access to Wi-Fi, but my phone kept losing the signal.
The three of us enjoyed sleeping in, grilling, campfires and, oh yeah, fishing every single day.
We did leave the cabin one day for a trip to the Mackinac Bridge and St. Ignace. I had been to Mackinaw and Mackinac once before when I was a teenager. The bridge is indeed a wonder.
My husband drove us to St. Ignace while hunting for this little pasty shop out in the middle of nowhere, Lehto’s Pasties. That’s all that is sold there, and my goodness, their pasties are huge! The tender, flaky crust pockets a full meal of beef, potatoes and onions.
We stopped at a state rest park along Lake Huron and ate, feeding the seagulls the few morsels we had left while laughing at their antics.
And yes, we got pulled into the tourist trap area of Mackinaw City. But it was fun strolling around, eating fudge from Kilwin’s and looking at some of the shops that had not been there 30 years ago.
When we drove back to the fishing cabin, we took the lake view drive along U.S. 23. Not a lot of Lake Huron was visible because of trees, but when there were breaks, the view was stunning. We could see small beach strips that led out to beautiful green water before entering the deeper blue parts of the lake.
What surprised me most was the lack of people. I don’t know enough about that particular area to explain why there weren’t people out enjoying the sun and waves, but it definitely sparked my curiosity.
I really enjoyed our excursion into northern Michigan and I’d like to see more. I’ve been to Traverse City and found it equally pretty and I’ve been to Sault Ste. Marie, but that’s the extent of my travels in the northern region.
Like I said, I’d like to see more — especially the lighthouses. Perhaps next year we travel all the way to Whitefish Point and stop in for a visit at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
Thanks for the adventure, Michigan!
Sheila Selman is regional editor and digital content editor for The Goshen News. Follow her on Twitter at @sselman_TGN or on Facebook at Sheila Selman Journalist.
One of my favorite places in the world is Martin Branch in Mousie, Ky.
What’s the attraction? Peace and family history.
Mousie itself is off the beaten track. I bet no more than 500 people live in town and nearby hollows and branches. Mousie has a post office, a park, an elementary school and a volunteer fire department. It used to have a little store and a gas station/convenience store, but those are just vacant buildings now. I am hoping a local entrepreneur will reopen them.
Just outside of “downtown Mousie” is Martin Branch. You drive down a single-lane road that you cannot even see from the main route. You’ll pass by homes still owned by the Martins, the Campbells and the Huffs. But as you get into the hollow, it’s mainly owned by Gibson family members. Not all of them have Gibson as their last names, but they all descend from the same person, John P. Gibson.
We still aren’t clear if John P. purchased the land, or if it was his son (my great-grandpa) Ezekiel Gibson. My grandpa, Van Gibson, owned a good chunk of the mountain, which he left to his children. My dad is the only one who still lives there. Dad’s uncle Carl and his late uncle Junior own most of the rest of the property.
Even our Gibson family cemetery is located there.
I love visiting, taking hikes and picking shoestring, or whatever else happens to be in season. One of my favorite things to do is just to sit outside, watch the birds and relax. The sound of the creek rushing, water flowing off the mountain and into dad’s frog pond and the birds singing soothes my soul. Well, until the frogs start. They are so loud you cannot think.
Each year, my family takes a trip back to our hometown of Ligonier, Indiana, to visit Fashion Farm.
Along with a variety of pumpkins and mums, Fashion Farm is home to Fantasyland and a restaurant.
Fantasyland is all about what you can contrive with pumpkins, gourds and some ingenuity. This year’s theme is Superheroes. Some of the annual displays are still there: the hall of presidents, including this year’s candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton with an empty seat bearing a question mark between them; Dolly Parton; and Snoopy.
Plenty of Marvel Comics superheroes fill the dried corn stock-lined path, along with a few villains. But the everyday heroes — firefighter, police officers and even basketball players — receive their own due.
Alas, no journalists defending the first amendment made the cut.
After visiting Fantasyland, wander on out to a couple of mazes and the old jail, which is a cell from one of the city’s old lockups.
But before you leave, don’t forget to buy some homemade pumpkin doughnuts and pumpkin ice cream. Trust me. You will love them!
After what seems to be the 50th snowstorm of the year…
No exaggeration — we haven’t seen the ground since December —
I got to thinking that despite polar vortices, this winter hasn’t been all that bad.
I got to see Casting Crowns …
I met and interviewed Darren Julien of Julien’s Auctions — super nice guy!
I found out my daughter is on the high-ability end scholastically.
I got to play with the dogs in the snow.
I saw snowbows …
And best of all, I got to spend time with my two favorite people …