Sunday, March 30, 2008
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Saturday Morning Link Love: Updated!
Updated With The Newest Sermons!Throughout this past week, I have been blessed to enjoy revival meetings being preached by a man named Dwight Smith. Our meetings began this past Sunday and will be concluding tomorrow. Each night had a different theme. Monday was ladies night. All of the ladies had to bring visitors. Tuesday was Men's night. Wednesday was Sunday School night. The goal was to bring as many people from your Sunday school class as possible to the service. The person with the highest percentage was the winner. Thursday night was coworkers night and last night was youth night. The teenagers brought the visitors. We also had a gym night after the service that lasted until midnight. We played basketball, volleyball, and some made up games.
So far, we have uploaded most of the services to our church website for download. I will link to them here and update this post with the new ones when the revival meetings are over.
Update: I have now added the rest of the sermons.
The Consequences of the Resurrection
Worse than Cancer
The Man Called Trouble
Why Not Serve God Anyway?
The Test of True Salvation
Whose Pushing Your Buttons
Whose Blood Will Be Required at Your Hand?
When We Don't Do What We Should Do
An Update on The Baptist Muse ForumInterestingly enough, the Forum section here at The Baptist Muse has been picking up a little bit of steam lately. In fact I recommend you swing by, read, and comment on the thread entitled, "Is Islam A Religion of Peace?" I have been debating with a Muslim man and it would probably be very enlightening and educational to stop by and read through it.
Faith Tunes: Digital Downloads You Can Trust!Thanks to Tori, my good friend and world-famous missionary to Croatia, over at her blog, A Home Away From Home, I have discovered Faith Tunes. I love browsing through iTunes, but I can hardly ever find any music that is worth listening to. This problem is now over! Faith Music, a leading publisher of traditional, conservative gospel music has launched a new feature at their site called Faith Tunes. Now we can download great Christian songs directly to our computers and iPods. I am excited about this!
Anyways, I hope that you all have a blessed weekend. Thanks so much for stopping by The Baptist Muse don't forget to leave some comments and let us all know that you were here! God Bless.
Labels: Watchman Awards
Friday, March 28, 2008
A Change Of Ministry - One Wife's Testimony
For some people, change is never easy. A change in ministry is no different. In this post I would like to share with you my personal experience and feelings as God began to change the direction of the ministry God has for our family. I'm sure my perspective is somewhat different than what my children or husband have.
God used the verse above to help me with this transition our family is going through in more ways than one. I will explain how as I go through this post.
Another portion of Scripture is Ephesians 5:22-24 "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing."
I don't know how other wives are but I don't like change. When God called my husband into the ministry, change was not something I had given much thought. In the 13 years since that calling, we have been in two churches. The first one was for ten months and created much hurt. The second church we were at for nearly eight years. The second church has been a great experience. The people loved us and treated us well.
It was approximately a year before God confirmed what He was doing that things began to change. I noticed this change in my heart much like the change that took place before we left our home church. I truly believe that when God gets us ready for a change that He puts a separation in our hearts to make it easier for us to leave the church family that we become close to. Without that separation it would be harder to follow God.
I had always wanted to stay at the same church for our entire ministry. I know pastors who have had that be the case in their lives. I've never been one to like change. I didn't want to believe or admit that God would change our direction or our place of ministry. My husband would comment that he felt something had changed and I would try to encourage him that God was still using him and that everything was fine. The truth was that deep down I knew something wasn't right. I knew things were different.
It took close to a year of trying to fool myself and my husband before I was willing to admit that I knew God was done with us at our church. First, I told the Lord that I needed confirmation of His will. Then I needed peace. The confirmation came when my husband told my children and me that God was moving him into the prison ministry. This news scared me to death. There is security in pastoring. Security in knowing where we'd be going to church for each service. Also in knowing there would be a paycheck each month. We also knew the people we'd be worshipping with and we had become close to them.
It wasn't that I didn't trust my husband and what he had heard from God. I just had seen so many preachers think they had made the decision God wanted them to make only to say later that they missed it. After all, we had no home to go to. We had lived on the church property in a home that the church had fixed for us to live in. My husband's health hasn't been good fro some time. He'd have to get a job and find a home to buy or rent. We'd be going on deputation to get support from churches in which we didn't know a single person. All of these things were things that gave me much fear. How could I know this was God's will?
It was confirmed on a Wednesday night when my husband met with the men to tell them what he felt God was doing. I received my answer that night and also the peace I needed to know this change is God's will. When he told the men they responded by telling him they knew God was getting ready to move us out. They also felt that it would be to go into the prison ministry. When my husband told me all of this I began to cry and thank the Lord for giving me the peace and the answer that I needed.
God has been answering prayer in so many ways since He gave me that peace. God led my husband to a job that suits him that doesn't require a lot of physical activity that would affect his health too much. The job also pays enough to get a house and pay all of our bills. Then God led us to the house we would need to suit us in size and location for a price we could afford. God gave us peace about the church we would have as our sending church. He has provided the money we needed for prayer cards. He has also provided several churches that are willing to let us come so my husband can share the burden God has given us for the prisoners and his burden to try to reach them with the gospel.
God has reminded me that He is our source for everything. Those fears I had were unfounded or without cause. The devil has tried everything to try to keep us from following God's will. He has even influenced one of our children to fight against us and God in this new direction. But we know that we serve a God that is much more mighty and powerful than the devil. So regardless of what that child chooses to do we are going to go forth with God's plan and His will while praying for her to do the right thing. Other family members have shown their disagreement in what we will be doing. But like Psalm 118:8 tells me, we are not to put our confidence in man but in God.
God is sovereign and makes no mistakes. So we will go forth and do as God leads. There has been much to get through in going through this transition but there is now a peace I cannot explain.
Please pray for us as we embark on this new journey that we are beginning. It will be different from what we have known before. But God is the same no matter what. Even though our lives change, God remains the same. AMEN!!
Serving a risen Saviour
Author Info: Sister Julie is the author of Julie's Jewels, her personal blog where she writes inspiring devotionals and works to encourage believers.
Labels: Guest Blogger
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
A Burning and a Shining Light
Christ himself sang the praises of this man's life and testimony when he said, "There hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist." (Matthew 11:11) This was the epithet spoken by Christ himself and recorded in the eternal Scriptures at the tip of Matthew's pen. This is the memorial that will live on forever. Besides the God-man Christ Jesus, there is none greater than John the Baptist.
So what was the secret key to John's powerful spiritual success? What was it that set him apart from the millions of people alive during his day? The answer to these questions rests in another statement that Christ made when talking about John.
Ye sent unto John, and he bare witness unto the truth. He was a burning and a shining light: and ye were willing for a season to rejoice in his light. ~ John 5:33,35
The light of John's life was characterized by these two elements: Burning and Shining. John's life was aflame both with a burning, passionate zeal to reach others and with a boldness to preach the truth lighting men's paths back toward God.
The use of the word 'burning' in this verse is so unique. It is used in the sense of setting something on fire, of kindling or starting a fire or, by implication, of consuming. John the Baptist was the very embodiment of the modern adage 'on fire for God.'
When asked the secret of his great ability to attract large crowds, John Wesley replied simply, "I set myself on fire and the people come to watch me burn!" John Wesley had simply discovered the method practiced by another John seventeen centuries earlier and recommended by Christ himself in the fifth chapter of the book of John.
John was aflame with passion, zeal and truth. He had no reservations when it came to standing alone for the kingdom of God. He wasn't afraid. And eventually, his flaming trust in Christ would cause him to face the ultimate test of loyalty. He was 'sold-out' and 'on fire' for Christ in a way that most Christians don't even think is possible.
There is a principle in here somewhere. When you get on fire for God with true passion and zeal, Christ takes notice. So how about it? Why not get on fire for God? Why not let your light shine with the fervor and zeal of a sold-out Christian?
Friday, March 21, 2008
From the Church House to the Mission Field
My dad started pastoring Eagles View in July of 2000. When I found out that my dad was going to pastor again, I was a little apprehensive because of what our family had gone through with the previous church. We had been hurt badly by the people in the church. They would say they backed him up all the way, but behind his back, they were saying and doing differently. Since what we had been through had been my only experience as a pastor's kid, that was all I could go by.
Being at that first church (which will remain nameless) hurt my family and me in many was. I had been really upset with the people there because of what they had done to my daddy. After all, that's my daddy! It really, really hurt, but I had to learn to let go of that.
When we first started going to Eagles View, I knew immediately that they were different people. The people loved my daddy. They took care of my daddy. Seeing how they treated my daddy was a huge help to me, because it made me know that they loved him and they were going to back him up.
When I first became a pastor's daughter, I was scared to death! After all, the whole church would be watching me to see how I acted, to see what I did, and to hear what I said. I know how I had previously watched my pastor's family, and I was only nine or ten at that time. I really looked up to them. I was one of those people who held the pastor and his family up as really special people. I'm not saying they are not special, because they are, but I would have been mortified if they had done something wrong. Because of the way I looked at my pastor and his family, I just knew people were going to look at me that way, and it scared me!
Now, I am one of those people who do not share their personal feelings to others, so as far as I know, no one knew I was that scared of messing up and saying or doing something wrong. If I could just say one thing to church members it would be this: Don't expect your pastor and his family to be perfect, They do make mistakes, and they will mess up. I know from watching my Mom and my Dad, and experiencing it myself. It brings stress on the family knowing some people in the church expect them to do no wrong.
Eagles View has been the most wonderful church, the people are awesome and they love my dad. They have been a huge blessing!
I guess it was about six months ago, we noticed something within the church had changed. The people still loved us, they loved my dad's preaching, but the services were different and I sensed a separation with the people. My dad said the services lately had been dry (which I too had sensed) and that he had no liberty while preaching. I expressed my feelings to my dad about what I thought was going on, I began to tell him I believed we were fixing to leave the church sometime soon. It was then that he said the same thing: he believed we were fixing to leave as well.
It was about three months later that my dad sat the family down...for a talk! When daddy sat us down all I could think was "Uh oh, what did we do?". Ha ha ha! Anyway, daddy sat us down and began to tell us what he felt God was leading us to do. He told us he felt God was moving us into missions. MISSIONS! I knew we were going to be leaving, but I did not see this coming. This was the thought running back and forth in my mind. Daddy said he felt God was leading him to go with the Highways and Hedges Prison Ministry. He then asked us what we thought and how we felt about it.
We all took a turn telling what we thought, and when it came to my turn I told daddy that I knew we would be leaving, but I had NO idea we would be becoming missionaries. I told daddy that I was fine with it if that was what God wanted. It was about three weeks later when daddy told the church we would be leaving. I was both excited and sad...is that even possible?
Daddy's last official day as pastor of Eagles View Baptist Church will be April 27th of this year. It will be then that we will start out on full time deputation. Right now we are going on deputation part time, going only on Sunday nights...since our evening services on Sunday's start at three. We have already gone to one church on deputation, and the whole ride there I was excited, anxious, nervous, and scared all at once! But the second we pulled into the church parking lot, all of the nervousness and fear was gone! I was not nervous at all. God knew what I needed, and that was for the nervousness to go away! So I thank God for that.
Ultimately, I am really, really excited about all the traveling we will be doing, and the work that God will be doing! I am nervous about going into a new church every service and meeting new people everyday, but I know I will enjoy it!
Please pray for us, we are just starting out and have no idea what we are doing! Ha ha ha! So all the prayers would be greatly appreciated as we begin serving God as missionary's with the Highways and Hedges Prison Ministry to the prisoners in the Alabama, Florida, and Georgia prisons.
Author Info: Kristina is now faithfully serving God as a missionary's daughter and is the author of Kristina's Keepsakes.
Labels: Guest Blogger
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Newest Resources and Site Updates
Hook PublicationsWe are excited about the opportunity God has given us to produce and market Christ-honoring materials. It is a fact that people make life-changing decisions based on the books they read and the people they meet. For that reason we want to get good books and Godly music into their hands. The materials that target the youth are particularly designed to give young people an alternative to secular entertainment. Our goal is to promote Jesus Christ, the King James Bible and to change lives. To this end, we are committed. We hope you enjoy the materials that our family has to offer.
Way Of Life LiteratureEstablished in 1974, Way of Life Literature is a 31-year-old Fundamental Baptist preaching and publishing ministry based in Bethel Baptist Church, London, Ontario. Wilbert Unger is the Pastor of Bethel Baptist. The founder and director is David W. Cloud. At this web site you will find thousands of books and articles that we have placed here for the edification and protection of God's people. Be sure to check out the Way of Life Encyclopedia of the Bible & Christianity and the End Times Apostasy Database. The goal of Way of Life Literature is to stand for the truth of God's Word without compromise, to preach the Gospel, and to produce well-documented materials to strengthen New Testament churches in these apostate days.
A Team EffortAs I continue in my efforts to expand the usefulness and thoroughness of The Baptist Muse, I invite you to join with me. I welcome suggestions, ideas, or tips of any kind. If you are a pastor and you want your sermons listed, if you are a webmaster and you want your site added to our database, if you are a nobody like me and you just happen to know of a great website, sermon podcast, Christian wallpaper, or any other resource that I might be able to add to the site, then please email me or leave a comment.
Labels: The Baptist Muse Site Updates
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Sprinkling the Sweet Seeds of Friendship
I’ll never forget that summer. I was the only one from my church that went to camp that week. Everyone else was too young and would be going to primary camp. Also, no one went to camp with me as a counselor. I was on my own.
On Monday morning my pastor and his wife took me to the camp and dropped me off. They got me registered, introduced me to some people they knew from another church, said their good-byes and then left. I was scared to death.
A Frightening AdventureDuring that week of camp, there was a girl on staff named Stephanie. Stephanie’s whole family worked at the camp during the summer months and then during the fall, winter and spring they travelled around to different churches to sing as a family. Stephanie befriended me that week. She worked in the snack shop and always had a kind word and a smile for me.
In the middle of that week there was a tornado that ended up coming very near to the camp. The staff moved all of the girls into the basement where the snack shop area was located. Again, I was so scared. I didn’t like storms and this was a big one. It was a tornado!
Stephanie was working in the canteen area and she could tell that I was scared. She brought me back behind the counter with her and spent some time talking to me. She could also tell that I was very tired and that was making it worse. She went and got her pillow and her blanket and had me lay down on the floor where she talked to me until I fell asleep. When I woke up the storm was over. They said that the tornado had touched down in a few areas several miles away from the camp.
The Sweet Fruition of a Godly FriendshipBy the time Friday had arrived, I was extremely homesick and was ready to leave after breakfast. My pastor came and we left for home after the final morning chapel service. Before I left the camp, I told Stephanie good bye. When I did, she gave me a picture of her and on the back she had written me a note. I gave her my address and she promised that she would write to me.
“A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” ~Proverbs 18:24This simple childhood memory that I cherish so much has come to mean the world to me. You see, that summer, God started to teach me about the meaning of friendship. If you want to be friends with someone, I learned, you must first be friendly to them.
Stephanie and I have kept in touch over the years and are now really good friends! Now she is married and has two boys that are three and four years old. They call me Aunt Diane. Well, actually they call me “Aunt Dan.” When the youngest one was learning to talk that’s what he would call me and it has stuck with both of them.
Our relationship over the past fifteen years was sparked by her thoughtful act of kindness. And I am so thankful for her and what she has come to mean to me. Now let me ask you a simple question. Are you sprinkling the seeds of kindness so that someday you can enjoy the sweet fruition of godly friendships?
For His Cause,
Author Info: Diane Cardot a godly army wife. She is a wonderful, supportive, and loving person and I am privileged each day to be able to call her my wife.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Overcoming My Bitter Childhood Memories
My parents had adopted me three years earlier when I was thirteen. Before my adoption, I was brought up by a single father. My mother had left before I was even old enough to remember what she looked like. My dad was a heavy drinker and often very violent. He would beat me and make fun of me. To this day, I have scars on my body as a result of what he did to me.
A Struggle with Bitterness and HateFollowing my adoption, I grew to resent my family situation. I looked back on my childhood with contempt and bitterness. I despised the experiences that I was forced to suffer through. Why would a loving God let an innocent child experience such brutality and mistreatment? What had I done as a child to deserve that type of life? These questions plagued my mind. They tortured me.
I would often sit in my room, isolated from the world and from my new family. Alone. I didn't spend time with friends. I didn't talk to people on the phone. I avoided leaving my room at all costs. My mind and thoughts were consumed with the depressing memories of my bitter past. As I sat there in my room, my mind haunted me with so many things that I fervently wished I were able to forget.
Only by the Grace of GodIt was at this time that I stumbled across this verse. To my hungry father-starved soul, these words became as sweet as honey. No matter, what my family situation was physically, God wanted to draw close to me and personally fill that void! He wanted me to look to Him as the father that I never had.
"Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:" ~ I John 3:1My outlook slowly began to change as I grew to realize how beautiful my relationship with Him could be. I began to pray again. I would always begin, "Father..." Before I would even begin my requests, I would pause after that amazing word and let its meaning soak into me. Father. I grew to love that aspect of my relationship with God.
My mindset began to transform! Christ's love began to work in my life and I began to overcome my hatred for my father. My love for him renewed and was now much stronger than it had ever been as a little child before he was violent. I began to pray for my father's salvation. I would visit him often and invite him to church. God's grace is so far beyond my understanding.
It was at that period in my life that I wrote this poem. This poem is the expression of that struggle and the victory that I found in Christ. It was an expression of this new relationship that I was learning to enjoy. Oh, how sweet God is!
A Child of the King
by Nicholas Z. Cardot
Walking through life as time passes me by,
Surrounded by people who can’t hear my cry.
Living and searching for a place to belong,
I find in my heart there’s no joy, there’s no song.
Where is my place in this world of despair?
Could anyone love, or just try to care,
For a small lonely boy at the end of his rope?
Yet no help I find, no man gives me hope.
As a child with my father, we shared such a joy,
To him I was Son, his proud little boy.
My dad was not perfect, but his love I could see,
When he’d hug me real tight as I sat on his knee.
Those times that we shared, that love that we had,
Filled my heart with great pride as I called him my dad.
As my mind now goes back and I think on those days,
My eyes fill with tears and all my sight is a haze.
Things were so grand, yet how could I see,
That life would soon take my dear father from me.
I took it for granted, that time that we shared,
Seldom would I let him know that I cared.
And now that he’s gone I understand what love is,
I’d give my own life if I could save his.
I never understood what great things I had,
Until on that day I was taken from my dad.
My mother was gone; when I was young she had fled.
She lived her own life as if I were dead.
Though I’ve missed her at times and longed for the love,
Of a mother who cares, a sweet gift from above,
I’ve learned to press on, to keep going forward.
Hoping to see her, I keep walking toward,
The goals of my life as I still long to see,
The one who has power to bring great comfort to me.
I dreamed of her often, I dreamed of her much.
To look on her face, to reach out and touch,
To live my whole life with a mother to share,
My heartaches and pains and know that she’d care.
I longed for a shoulder to cry out my fears,
A women to love and take all my tears.
But all these were dreams, fantasies at best,
So yet in my heart I still found no rest.
Walking through life as time passes me by,
Surrounded by people who can’t hear me cry.
I look up to the savior, who for me gave his life,
And I know in full faith that he can calm all my strife.
And when all had forsook me, God sent from above,
The savior to guide me through his holy great love.
Now I bow down in shame as he walks by my side;
‘Tis the greatest of all who now acts as my guide.
Walking through life as time passes me by,
Surrounded by people who can’t hear me cry.
Living and searching for a place to belong,
I now find in my heart a great joy, a great song.
I’ve now found my place in this world of despair,
For Christ gave his love, much more than mere care,
For a poor lonely boy at the end of his rope,
Christ now holds my hand and gives my great hope.
A Living Testimony of God's Grace,
Labels: Childhood Memories
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Scriptural Authority for the Catholic Church
“Thus it comes about that the Church does not draw her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Hence, both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honoured with equal feelings of devotion and reverence” (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation, Chap. 2, 9, p. 682).
Questions For Our Catholic Friends
- Where in the Bible do we find Peter assuming and exercising the role of a Catholic pope?
- Where does the Bible say the early churches treated Peter in a papal fashion?
- Where does the Bible say that one man is the head of all churches?
- Where does Bible say God established a special priesthood for the churches that is separate from the priesthood of the believers?
- Where does the Bible describe the office of such priests in the early churches?
- Where does the Bible say that New Testament priests are ordained after the order of Melchizedek?
- Where in the Bible do we find a requirement that pastors be celibate?
- Where does the Bible say the apostles passed on their authority through a succession?
- Where does the Bible give standards for apostolic succession? There are standards for pastors and deacons, but where are the standards for an ongoing apostleship?
- Where does the Bible describe nuns in the early churches?
- Where in the Bible do we find anyone praying to Mary or to any other person other than God?
- Where does the Bible call Mary the Mother of God?
- Where does the Bible say that Mary is the Queen of Heaven?
- Where in the Bible do we find the teaching that Mary is sinless?
- Where in the Bible do we find the baptism of an infant who is too young to believe in Christ?
- Where does the Bible teach us that the church can identify dead people as saints and can then pray to them?
- Where does the Bible teach that a dead person can intercede for the living?
- Where does the Bible teach about purgatory?
- Where does the Bible teach that churches should use the bones of dead men in any type of religious manner?
- Where does the Bible teach that the churches used indulgences?
- Where in the Bible do we find even one example of a Catholic mass being conducted or even described? If Christ established the mass and if it is central to the Christian faith as Rome claims, why is there not one example of it in the book of Acts and the New Testament epistles?
- Where in the Bible do we find Christians taking the Lord’s supper by partaking of the bread alone without the wine or grape juice?
- Where in the Bible does Paul or any of the early church leaders teach that there are seven sacraments?
- Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing the sacrament of confirmation?
- Where in the Bible do we find the churches practicing any sort of extreme unction or last rites as a sacrament?
- Where in the Bible do we find the prayer of the rosary?
- Where in the Bible do we find that New Testament churches are to conduct elaborate rituals and ceremonies after the fashion of Rome?
- Where in the Bible do we find that the headquarters for the church is to be in Rome?
A Challenge to Return to a Biblical Faith in ChristConsider one other question. I recently wrote an article entitled "The Blood-Bath of the Catholic Inquisition" in which I posed an incredibly practical question. For hundreds of years, the Catholic Church officially sponsored the execution of anyone who didn't adhere to their belief and practice. Yet today, the Catholic church proudly totes the idea that other religions are simply alternative paths to heaven. Who was right, the church then or now?
These are two mutually exclusive ideologies and yet both have been claimed by the Catholic Church at different periods throughout history. It is most likely, in fact, that this type of dogma was a direct result of the political and civil power that the church has been able to exact over its followers. When they were able, they executed infidels. When they were not in the ruling power, they talk of peace and brotherhood. Were these doctrines created out of political expediency? Very likely. Were they created as a divine revelation from God? Very unlikely.
“And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” ~1 John 5:12-13If you are a Catholic, I don't hate you, dislike you or have any negative feelings toward you. And although I may come across as hard-hitting and straightforward, I am not trying to be 'hateful.' I am simply trying to elevate and promote the truth. I am so firm about these truths because I want you to see the errors in the Catholic Church and turn to a Biblical faith in Christ.
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” ~Ephesians 2:8,9
For His Glory,
Saturday, March 15, 2008
The Watchman Awards
A Few Comments On CommentingBefore I get started, please note the new graphic that I have added to the sidebar just above the recent comments section. You will see a puzzle of The Baptist Muse logo with one piece missing. You, my friends, are that missing piece. When you leave comments, feedback, discussion, and even debate and disagreement, you complete The Baptist Muse. Please leave your thoughts. They mean the world to me and they are important for other readers. Thanks.
Shocking California Court DecisionFirst, there is has been a shocking court decision in California this week that challenges the rights of parents to home school their children affecting over 155,000 Californian home-schooling families. Rita Vernoy at her blog, The Jungle Hut, has written a great article entitled Home Education in which she thoroughly covers this issue. Please check it out to really grasp what is going on in this situation.
The World-Famous Watchman AwardsNow let me share with you a few of the articles that I have especially enjoyed this week. If you check them out, I am sure they will be a blessing to you.
- Go Forward - This article posted at Julie's Jewels is a challenging call for Christians to forget their pasts and to overcome their fearful ideas so that they can continue a forward climb through life.
- Auto Repairs 101 - This post is a challenge to return to the Word of God for our instruction manual for life.
- Dirty Wounds - Dirty Wounds at Life of a Soldier's Wife is an amazing analogy drawn from a lesson learned from wounds received in the Iraq war. This article creates a great spiritual application.
Guest Bloggers at The Baptist MuseI would also like to make sure that you have all taken notice of the guest bloggers that have been kind enough to share their thoughts with us. If you haven't already done so, please stop by these articles and leave these folks with your comments and feedback. Let them know that we appreciate them here at The Baptist Muse. Thank you to all of you who contributed this week!
- Passion for the Things of God by my very own pastor, Pastor Philip J. Bishop.
- This Too Shall Pass by my very wonderful, talented and loving wife, Diane Cardot.
- Finding The Light In Cancer's Shadow by Kate Plourde.
Let's Tickle Your Funny BoneCheck out this great quote from presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama. I don't know about you, but this is exactly what I am looking for in the next leader of this nation.
“My friends, we live in the greatest nation in the history of the world. I hope you’ll join with me as we try to change it.” — Barack Obama
Also, here is a FedEx commercial that I love!
Labels: Watchman Awards
Friday, March 14, 2008
Passion for the Things of God
Christian, can you remember when you were first saved? Can you remember when you trusted God to supply your needs? Can you remember the excitement as you picked up your Bible and had devotions for the first time? Can you recall how thrilled you were to come to church and hear the preaching of the Word of God? Once you used to sit in church eager to hear. Now, you sit and eagerly wait for it to end. Once you used to stay and fellowship with God’s people. Now you are the first to run out the door.
Abandoning God leaves a person with a life that is empty and worthless. Where there is no service, there is no satisfaction.The fatal mistake in our churches and families is that we expect our mates and children to be totally committed to us when they and we are not totally committed to God. You, your mate, and your children will never have a true passion for each other without a passion for God.
My love for God can be traced all the way back to my teenage years. I loved God and wanted to please Him. The Lord’s Supper was a solemn time of introspection and soul searching. Church attendance was a mandate, and I was called upon to teach a Junior Boys Sunday school class at 16 years of age. My heroes were my pastors and dedicated Christian leaders. Fear, disappointment, and shame gripped my heart whenever I strayed from God. Those yearnings and desires have lasted until this very day. Where are the teenagers of today with a passion for the things of God?
How about you? Have you lost your passion for the things of God? Fall on your face before a Holy God and seek Him!The Word of God says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
Don’t lose sight of God and the power o f His guiding presence in your life. Cultivate it! Seek it!
Pastor Philip J. Bishop
Author Info: Pastor Bishop is the pastor of the Lighthouse Baptist Church in Alexandria, VA and is working to reach the Washington DC and Northern Virginia area with the Gospel.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Sure-Fire Strategies for Better Blog Content
A very large portion of my audience here at The Baptist Muse, is composed of other like-minded bloggers. Many of you find yourself somewhere along that same journey that I have been taking. Many of you want to improve your abilities to influence others for the cause of Christ through your blog.
"Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." ~ I Cor. 10:31I have, in fact, recently been receiving several requests for advice about creating a more successful blog. In this post, I am going to begin an introduction to developing just that, a successful blog. Throughout this post and a few follow-ups, I will discuss ideas for developing your content, tools to hone your writing skills, some basic design rules and guidelines, strategies for increasing readership and much more.
It is important to begin with content. Many other attributes of a blog, including design or marketing, are useless if you cannot provide your readers with quality entertaining, challenging, and informative articles. In fact, you may have the neatest design in the world, yet without great posts your readership will only be mediocre. Follow these guidelines to begin transforming the quality of your blog.
If you write it...they will come!
- Quality Grammar - When I write articles for The Baptist Muse, I often make reference to my High School grammar textbook. I keep it right near my computer so that I have easy access to it. You see, the easier your blog is to read grammatically, the more likely your readers will return. In this age of electronic spelling and grammar checkers, there is no reason to produce poorly written content. Yet many solid Christian blogs are filled with distracting errors. Don't get lazy. Take the time to take your writing to the next level!
- Fresh Content - Most professional bloggers recommend that you update your blog at least three or four times per week. If you produce less articles than this, readers feel like your site is not worth stopping at because each time they come there they only see information that they have already read. The more you update, the professionals say, the more readers you will attract.
Note: However, don't sacrifice quality for quantity. It is better to produce two excellent articles than four that are poorly written.
- Targeted Content - Choose your niche. Although I invite anyone to read this site, here at the Baptist Muse, I cater most exclusively to Independent Fundamental Baptists and I try very much to create content that will be the most helpful to people in that category. If your blog topic is too broad, then often times you will not really attract anyone.
- Creative Content - As they say in the corporate world, 'Think Outside The Box!' Or as they used to say at Taco Bell, 'Think Outside The Bun!' When you create headlines and articles that are unique and eye catching you grab the readers attention. Don't follow the same mold that everyone around you seems to follow. Be bold. Challenge people to think differently. Use personal and creative stories to illustrate your articles. Be different. The more creative you can be, the more effective your writing will be.
- Original Content - Although it is certainly alright to publish entire articles that are 'copied and pasted' from a chain email or from another website, many readers become bored with these posts. Try to limit these 'copy and paste' articles to less than 20% of your content. Most people read your blog because they want to read your original content.
All The Best,
Labels: Professional Christian Blogger
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
This Too Shall Pass
All of a sudden the squirrel was headed straight for me. What to do? Should I move or stand still like my older brother told me? I decided to stand still. I stood still and that squirrel ran straight up my leg. One minute I was standing there all calm and the next I was scared to death, screaming to get the squirrel off my leg and shaking my leg hysterically to get it off. I don’t know how long it took to get the squirrel off my leg but it seemed like an eternity at the time and it wasn’t funny at all. As I look back now, however, that is one of the funniest childhood memories that I have. I’m not sure if Chris even remembers this but I suppose that since I am publishing this I will soon find out.
Many times in our Christian lives while we are going through what seems like a dark time, we feel scared to death and want to scream just like that little girl that I was that day. We feel that there is no hope and no good that will come out of a troubled time. We often feel alone and that there is no one going through the pain with us.
“What time I am afraid I will trust in thee.” ~ Psalm 56:3We must remember to put our trust in the Lord and not rely on ourselves during the difficult times!
The dark time will pass. It may be days, months or even years before we can look at that trial where we felt so scared and wanted to scream but we will be able to see that the Lord was there guiding us through. We may even be able to laugh at it when we realize that it really wasn’t that big of a deal.
The bible tells us that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” ~ Proverbs 17:22Don’t go through your life full of misery and lack of trust in God!
For His Cause,
Author Info: Diane Cardot is the wife of the founder of The Baptist Muse.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
The Original Tale Of Two Cities
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…”
A Weak Comparison to the Original WorkThe book certainly creates a bold contrast between a real-life paradise and anti-paradise. Yet as drastic as this contrast is it doesn’t begin to compare to The Original Tale of Two Cities as was authored nearly two thousand years ago in the gospel of Luke.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments…” ~ Luke 16:22-23The contrast between heaven and hell is more drastic than an earthly novel can illustrate and yet, even though this contrast is not a work of fiction, it is seldom studied and often misunderstood. Christians live in their redeemed ignorance, blissfully ignoring the fate of those who will die without Christ.
Christians spend far too little time meditating on the fate of the lost. If Christians truly believed the doctrines taught in this chapter, they would be much more fervent about their service for Christ and their outreach for lost souls. Consider this poem that I wrote entitled ‘Heaven and Hell: The Road to Paradise.’ It portrays the Original Tale of Two Cities.
Heaven and Hell: The Road to Paradise
I dare not speak, I cannot tell,
The way of man that leads to Hell.
The flames so fierce with such great woe,
To such a place why would one go?
In that wretched place there is no light,
'Tis forever trapped in eternal night.
Where one is bound with fetter and chain,
Engulfed in fire that brings such pain.
Where in the distance one may ream,
The undying mobs unending scream.
I dare to speak, I can but tell,
The way of man that leads to Hell.
The path of a man that leads this way,
Is a life of sin, many people say.
A life of murder, lies, and rape,
As a child of some prehistoric ape,
Of life like this surely one will pay,
But 'tis not all that leads this way!
But 'tis the path of a life that's trod,
Alone! Alone! Apart from God!
I dare to speak, I'm compelled to tell,
The way of man that leads from Hell.
A place called heaven with a golden shore,
To such a place with wonder galore.
In that great place 'tis forever light,
Where I'll see my Christ with perfect sight.
Where one is free from sickness and pain,
Engulfed in wonder and eternal gain.
Where one may hear throughout the days,
The undying saints unending praise.
I dare to speak, I'm compelled to tell,
The way of man that leads from Hell.
The path of a man that leads this way,
Is a life of goodness, many people say.
A life of service, love, and prayer,
A saintly life that's filled with care.
Of life like this surely one will thrive,
But will not cause us in Heaven to arrive.
But 'tis the path of a life that's trod,
Saved! Saved! With a trust in God!
Labels: Spiritual Challenge
Monday, March 10, 2008
Finding the Light in Cancer’s Shadow
The doctor's words seemed to fade as thoughts rushed into my head. The feelings of being overwhelmed came over me and it was at that moment that the Lord reminded me of who we were. We are a child of the King and the God of Glory is still on His throne. Immediately, I felt His presence like a warm blanket! I placed my other hand over John's hand and said a short prayer in my heart, "Lord, give us strength and comfort us at this hour of need." It was as if John reaped the benefit of that plea and his hand began to let go of the death grip. We were reminded of the words that God spoke to Isaiah,
"But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, ... I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine." ~ Isa. 43:1It is at times like these that we face our own mortality. The world has no hope when they hear news of this nature. Christians, on the other hand, rest in the knowledge that we are the Lord's and He knows us intimately. He knows just when His child needs protection, comfort, and encouragement. He does not remove the trial but gives us exactly what we need at the time we need it. "He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler." ~ Psa. 91:4. The fiery trials of cancer can be like the storms on the sea but under His wing we are protected.
Yes, cancer does cast a shadow on our day-to-day lives. However, we have the blessed light of God's Word which punches through that shadow with peace, comfort, and encouragement.
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" ~ 1 Peter 1:6-7The Christian has God's Holy Word to turn to for comfort and encouragement while fighting the trial of cancer. Applying it to our lives brings glory to God!
Author info: This is a guest post by Kate Plourde, who is using her personal experience to encourage and challenge Christians with Cancer.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
What Are You Afraid Of?
The boy is terrified. Throughout the night, the boy would shiver as the cold dew settles in on him. He would hear the sounds of coyotes howling in the distance or of boar rustling through the brush. He would hear the wind moaning through the trees. He could hear all kinds of frightening sounds around him.
Finally, however, after a night of terror, the sun would climb up over the hills and the young boy would remove his blindfold. It was only then that he would discover that his father was sitting a short distance away. Although the boy had no idea, his father had been on watch all night ensuring that his son was safe.
Our Father’s Promise Is Often ForgottenIn our modern age, Christians seem plagued with a thousand sources of fear and anxiety. Much like the little boy in our story, Christians seem to hear and feel fear all around them: fear of financial ruin, fear of what other people think, fear of car accidents or plane crashes, fear of losing children or a spouse, fear of fires or tornados, fear of heights, fear of rejection, fear of losing a job. The list could go on.
“…For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.” ~ Hebrews 13:5-6Scripture exhorts us to remember that God is with us and that he desires us to be bold in our lives as we serve and love Him. God makes it clear that, despite the fears that loom all around us, he wants us to live in the peace and confidence that He will provide for us. This theme is echoed all throughout the Bible. Too often, however, Christians forget all about the guiding, protecting presence of our loving father. Christians cower in fear rather than stand with their confidence in God.
Now Personalize It: Take It To HeartWhat are you afraid of? What is it that is keeping you from turning your heart over to God? What fear or anxiety is keeping you from making things right? Are you allowing fear to cripple your effectiveness in your service for God?
Remember that David faced a giant before God made him a king!
Labels: Spiritual Challenge
Saturday, March 8, 2008
The Weekly Watchman Awards
An Updated Look For The Baptist MuseOver the past several days, you have probably noticed several design changes here at The Baptist Muse. I have expanded the main body of the page, rearranged the title and footer section of each post, removed the in-between-posts Google Adsense ads, and changed up most of the widgets in the sidebar. I'm always looking to make the site more effective in getting and keeping readers.
I have also recently added a couple of new podcasts for the resources section of The Baptist Muse. Bro. Jeff Voegtlin and his father, Pastor Roger Voegtlin, both from the Fairhaven Baptist Church in Chesterton, IN, are now offering their sermons via a podcast. Swing by our Podcasts page and check out all the preachers that are available for your iPod or mp3 player. If you know of any other podcasting preachings that I don't have listed, be sure to let me know.
And Now For The Watchman Awards...Each week, I am very pleased to bring you a short list of some of the best Independent Baptist Articles posted that week. This week is no different. Throughout the past week, several unique and inspiring posts have been written on a wide variety of issues.
- Repentance is Necessary for Salvation (Part 1) and (Part 2) - Tim Dunkin has written a powerful two part series on the doctrine of repentance. His articles are honest, straightforward, and down-right controversial. He isn't afraid to nail heretics to the wall with his clear-cut proofs from the word of God. Finally, someone who will stand for truth!
- Scars of Love - Kate Plourde recently experienced here husband being diagnosed with cancer. As a result, she has been posting articles that are designed specifically to encourage and build Christians who are facing difficult circumstances. This article, though not original to her, is a powerful and engaging work that draws a beautiful picture of God's love. It is definitely a must read.
- Exceptions Regarding Salvation - In this article, Bill Hardecker revisits perhaps the most popular verse in the Bible, John 3:16, in a way that will make you stand in awe at God's amazing love. Two thumbs up!
Just To Keep You Smiling!I found this awesome "Redneck Power Windows" video over at Kristina's Keepsakes. I laughed so hard that I almost fell out of my chair. This sort of reminds me of a room mate that I had in college. His desk was made out of scrap metal from a junkyard.
Labels: Watchman Awards
Friday, March 7, 2008
Are All Christians In A Hurry?
This kind of convenience seems to be the end-goal of every major industry. Fast food restaurants attempt to fill your drive-thru order in as little time as possible. Television networks try to provide you with your favorite TV shows according to your busy schedule through Tivo or On-Demand Pay-Per-View programming. Some stores even allow you to have your groceries delivered directly to your home. By now, your probably beginning to get the idea.
Convenience vs. CharacterMost people have been conditioned by these luxuries into what I like to call an ‘instant gratification mindset.’ People with this mindset always seem to be in a hurry. They want things now, and I mean right now! They are in a hurry to get things they want, in a hurry to make a lot of money through get-rich-quick schemes, in a hurry to see something finished that normally requires a lot of time and hard work and, last but not least, in a hurry to see results.
Years ago there was a maxim: Patience is a virtue. A few generations ago, Americans believed that the key to being wealthy was through years of hard work and a solid buy-and-hold investing strategy. Former generations of Americans avoided debt like the plague. They would never have imagined putting a new pair of shoes on a credit card since they wouldn’t have enough money to pay for them for a few more months. They saved and spent only the money they had. Theirs was a generation, not of instant gratification, but of patience. The truth in this principle has nearly been forgotten to today’s modern society.
The World's Influence On ChristianityAs America continues this downward spiral toward impatience and instant gratification, she seems to be dragging Christianity along for the ride. American Christians seem to typify these same negative character traits leading to a drastic decline in their spirituality and in their ability to positively influence the world.
Christians seem to be living their lives in such a hurry that they neglect the very activities that they were commanded to be doing. Many Christians have stopped praying because they didn’t see instant answers. Many Christians have quit soul-winning because they didn’t claim instant conversions. Many churches have compromised on music, dress, and doctrine because standing for truth didn’t bring instant crowds.
What are your thoughts? Are you one who patiently obeys and serves God or are you neglecting your responsibilities and your stand for truth because you didn’t see instant results?
Labels: Spiritual Challenge
Thursday, March 6, 2008
Freelance Chrsitian Writers: Write For Us
If you are reading this article “Write For Us” , it’s probably because you are interested in writing for The Baptist Muse. Great! :)
I would like to develop a team of writers, preachers, godly wives, Christians, bloggers, [insert title here], and of course I'm always looking for quality content to publish on the blog.
If you’re a writer and an Independent Baptist, you're looking for a place to publish your work, and you can give great advice or write a great article about life, Christianity, finances, or whatever, get in contact with me.
What I Am Looking For
Please take some time to read the posts already published, so you get the idea of what The Baptist Muse is about. I'm looking for well-written posts/articles that Christians and Americans will be interested in reading, as simple as that.
If you would like to suggest a resource for our “resources” section, please leave me some comments also.
If you’re looking to get a little more exposure to your own blog and want to get your name out there, writing on The Baptist Muse should help you do just that.
Rules And Guidelines
Here are some basic “rules and guidelines”. Common sense really. ;)
- 500 words minimum
- No images, I will add one
- Spell check before sending your post(s)
- If you’re not sure, send a sample of your work. (I don’t bite :) )
- I reserve the right to edit your post (h3 and strong tags, punctuation, grammar)
- Include a byline/signature (with 2 links max)
- No affiliate links
- No links to questionable websites
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me through my email. Please put “Write For Us” in the subject line.
Thank you very much,
Nick - The Baptist Muse
Labels: The Baptist Muse Site Updates
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Comfort the Mourning with Lies
Once everyone has moved into place, the officer takes a step back and to the side signaling to the chaplain that he may now speak. The chaplain steps forward and begins to eulogize. He speaks about the great sacrifice that this man made to earn the privilege of a burial in Arlington National Cemetery. He talks about the loving husband and father that he was to his family. Then, looking the widow right in the eyes, he begins to tell of the happiness that he is now enjoying in the bliss of Heaven since that is where he now is.
It seems, based on the account of the chaplains, that every person whom they have ever buried is now enjoying God's presence in heaven. Catholic, Jewish, protestant: They are all on the road to the same place. They are, of course, unless you believe the Bible.
Day after day, my heart is torn during these funerals. I stand trapped in the prison of my ceremonial composure, locked at the position of attention, listening to a blanket of lies in the name of comfort and help. They throw out a candy of temporary comfort in exchange for eternally confusing the theology of everyone present.
Oh, Bro. Nick! It's not that big of deal. They are just trying to comfort a family during a time of grief and sorrow. No, friends, they are perverting, on a daily basis, the truth of the gospel in that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. Salvation is not found through sacraments, through American heroism and patriotism, or through having a rabbi pray for you. Salvation is only found through Jesus Christ.
Ultimately, every white-washing of the truth and every lie that a chaplain tells to a friend or family member only helps to ensure that they do not see their need for Christ. Every compromise that is taken, every truth that is neglected can ultimately lead to eternal consequences.
Almost on a daily basis, one of the chaplains try to recruit me and encourage me to consider becoming a chaplain. Almost all of the chaplains that work in Arlington National Cemetery have sat down with me and discussed the benefits of taking that job.
The Army Chaplaincy, however, seems, much like modern evangelicalism, to be plagued with compromise and pluralism. Chaplains are not willing to take a stand for God's Word because it might offend someone or because their superiors might not approve of their actions. They are not willing to speak the truth because it may not be comfortable to hear in the Army culture.
"Consider how neat it is to have Uncle Sam paying for the work of the Lord!" a chaplain chimed in one day. "Imagine living on an officer salary and doing the work of a pastor!"
At another time, one told me that I needed to be willing to not always pray in 'Jesus Name.' He encouraged me to consider praying to 'our most gracious God.' After all, that is still praying to Christ and the father yet it won't offend someone who may be a Muslim. Besides, when Christ told us to pray in his name, he wasn't just talking about attaching some magic words to the end of our prayers. He went on to tell me that if I wanted to be a chaplain that I would have to learn a few 'tricks' like this.
They've asked me to consider the chaplaincy. I would, however, prefer to take the road less traveled. I would rather live for the truth. Here I stand. God help me.
Labels: Personal Updates
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The Catholic Church or The Bible
"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men... And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition." ~ Mark 7:7-9
The Catholic Church has blatantly replaced God's commandments with their own dogma. For us to make this strong assertion, however, demands that we back it up with clear, specific examples. Although there are many points that could be made (Luther initially came up with 95), we will restrict our list to five.
- The Catholic Church Adds Sacraments to Salvation. The Bible is very clear that there is only one way to enter into the gates of Heaven. In fact, every where that one turns in the New Testament reaffirms the simple fact that salvation is only found through faith in Jesus Christ with nothing else added or taken away.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." ~ Eph. 2:8-9
Many other verses are very clear that salvation is not found in penance or in good deeds. To quote them all would be an exhaustive study. It is always through repentance and faith that salvation is found.
- The Catholic Church Forbid Their Leadership to Marry. This point is particularly interesting to me in light of the fact that scripture specifically mentions this doctrine as heresy.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils...Forbidding to marry..." ~ I Tim. 4:3-4
"For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly." Tit. 1:5-6
Paul goes into specific detail in addressing the family situation of elders and bishops in the Pastoral Epistles, or I and II Timothy and Titus. He very clearly describes bishops as being the husband of one wife (not zero) and having children that are not unruly...not non-existent.
- The Catholic Church Baptizes Infants. In the book of acts, a young man came to Philip and after hearing the gospel he asked if he could be baptized. Pay attention to the response that Philip gave to this man.
"And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." ~ Acts 8:36-37
Philip placed one major prerequisite for this man to meet before he could be baptized. He had to have a clear understanding of his faith in Jesus Christ if he wished to stir the baptismal waters. Is it possible for an infant to meet this demand?
Also, is it even necessary for an infant to be baptized. In II Samuel 12, David had fasted and prayed for God to spare the life of his newborn child. After seven days of prayer, the child died. Immediately he stood up and began to go about his business. He had no fear about where the child was even though the child had not been baptized. In fact, he seemed very confident that the child was in heaven.
"But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." ~ II Samuel 12: 23
As I stated at the open of this article, there are many reasons that could be listed yet I have chosen only to select a few. I invite you all to post any other reasons that you may think of. I also invite any Catholics to chime in and discuss this with me as I am always trying to learn more about different faith groups regardless of whether I agree with them or not. I want to continue learning.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sickness and Sunsets or The Nasty Bug
After a lot of sleep, rest, and drinking lots of fluids, I felt tons better by Sunday night. Today I felt almost back to my normal self (which isn't actually very normal, especially since I am married to Nick). He still has a little bit of a sore throat and is starting to see that drinking a lot of fluids is the key to getting rid of this nasty bug. He has a hard head but he is slowly learning that his wife is always right! LOL!
Today was great. It was around 70 degrees and the sun was beautiful. When Nick arrived home from work, he wanted to get outside and do something active. I think he was tired of being cooped up. We went for a run around our neighborhood. Well...Nick ran and I rode my new bicycle. This way he was able to run at a pace that is comfortable for him and not my slow poke running pace. It was a good run and we finished up just as it was getting dark. We were able to watch the sun set. I love seeing God's handiwork in nature. It was so peaceful minus the cars driving by, but it was almost like we were alone in the country somewhere with only nature, God and each other.
Labels: Personal Updates
5 Principles for Managing Debt
This post is my attempt to share some financial principles that I have learned over the years. I have yet to pay any interest on a credit card and have, in fact, made hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars from credit cards. I am the type of card holder that the credit card companies hate! Let me teach you a few rules to live by for financial success in the area of debt management.
- Keep Debt to a Minimum! You should retrain yourself to consider all debt as bad. You should strive each month to pay off as much of your debt as possible. If the payment due is $20 then pay $30. Check this out: According to CNN Money, the average American family holds over $9,000 in debt. Wow!
"The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender."~ Proverbs 22:7
- If You Can't Afford It, Don't Buy It! Most people base their standard of living on how they see others around them living rather than on their own monthly income. In fact, I often see my neighbor complaining about his financial situation only to see him go out and buy a new car or some video games because the store let him buy it on credit. According to MSN, 43% of Americans spend more than they earn each year. This kind of buying defies logic and it will lead to absolute financial chaos!
- Learn the Difference Between Good Debt and Bad Debt! There are two element to this principle and only one exception. First, if you are paying interest, it is bad debt. A friend of mine once told me what a great deal he got on a computer. Later he made the mistake of showing me the credit card bill that was charging him over 20% in interest plus several late fees. He ended up paying nearly double what the computer was worth. What a great deal!?!
Second, if you don't have the money to pay it off, it is bad debt. Make it a rule that you will not spend more than you have in the bank. Decide that you will not charge more than you can pay off each month. If you pay your credit cards by the end of each month, they will not charge any interest at all.
The only exception to this rule is in buying a house and that is based on the faith we place in the appreciation of its value. Discounting the tax benefits, we know that over the life of a mortgage its increase in value will outweigh our loss in interest.
- Take Advantage of 0% Offers! Two years ago, I received a letter from my bank, Fifth Third Bancorp, in which they gave me three checks that I could write against one of my credit cards. In the letter, they offered no fees or interest for six months. I had an idea. I called them and asked them to increase my credit limit to $10,000. They checked my credit score and immediately approved. I took that money and placed it in an interest bearing account. Six months later, I payed it off and incurred no fees. I made several hundred dollars.
- Take Advantage of Cash Rebates! I have a credit card from Chase bank that offers 5% cash back on all purchases at gas stations, grocery stores, and pharmacies. I purchase all of my gas and groceries on this card and I pay it off every month. Over the past year or so, I have made over $500 and have yet to pay any interest or fees on this card. Look for deals like this to take advantage of.
"Don't sacrifice the future on the altar of the immediate!"
Please post some comments on this post and share with us what you think about these principles. Please share with us some of the principles that you practice in this area that I may not have mentioned or that I may need to learn.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
All the Air and Water in the World
"He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion." ~ Jeremiah 10:12I found this picture at a site entitled The Thinking Blogger. Allegedly, this is all of the air and water in the world drawn to scale and shown next to the earth. On the left, you see all of the air in the world (5,140 trillion tonnes) gathered into a ball at sea-level density. On the right, you see all of the water in the world (1.4087 billion cubic kilometers) which includes sea water, ice, lakes, rivers, ground water, clouds, etc.
At first, I thought that the water seemed way too small. After all, isn't the earth 70% water. However, I heard a great explanation. The earth is not 70% water. Stupid me. The earth is 70% covered in water. Water only covers the surface of the earth and compared to the mass of the earth it is relatively small! Very interesting.
Saturday, March 1, 2008
The World-Famous Watchman Awards
I have found some really interesting articles and series of articles this week as I have been reading through all of your blogs. I have especially been noticing some very funny content that has been very entertaining. For example, over at "You Think Too Much" by Bro. Jeff Voegtlin, there is a humor series that he has been posting on this week that is just hilarious. He has been filling it with some short, one-paragraph stories that will just have you rolling on the floor laughing. He has entitled this segment the "Stupid Series." Without trying to steal his thunder, let me just post one on here and then you need to head over there and check out the rest!
A mother calls 911 very worried asking the dispatcher if she needs to take her kid to the emergency room, the kid was eating ants. The dispatcher tells her to give the kid some Benadryl and it should be fine. The mother says, I just gave him some ant killer…..On another note in the topic of humor, be sure to check out this week's "Saturday Morning Cartoons" over at Rita Vernoy's Jungle Hut. She posted some great political humor in the form of some great images. She has a very nice montage of Sen. Clinton making some of her 'presidential' faces. There is also, of course, the wonderful tee shirt that I have posted here. You can get one of these and let the whole world know about your support. or lack thereof, for Hilary Rodham Rodham Clinton. (Isn't that how Al Rushbo always says it?)
Dispatcher: Rush him in to emergency room!
~ Stupid #9 by Jeff Voegtlin at You Think Too Much
In fact, generally speaking, The Jungle Hut is a great source for entertaining stories, informative news, and just great content. Since I'm on the subject, let me throw out one more link to an article on her site. She recently posted an article entitled "The Religion of Peace Kills Another Christian Worker." She writes in this article about the tragic execution of an American missionary in the nation of Afghanistan. That's right. You heard me, or rather, read me. American controlled Afghanistan!
As a finishing note, I found a couple of very thought provoking articles at two blogs that I really enjoy reading. Let me share them with you.
Labels: Watchman Awards
Mozilla Firefox and The Baptist Muse
If you use Internet Explorer, there is a good chance that the system will not let you comment anonymously from the main page. You can comment anonymously from one of the post pages, but not from the main page. You can also login to the Intense Debate system and you will be able to post from the main page which is actually an interesting option.
The system is designed to track people's commenting, allowing them to grow in reputation as they leave more comments and as other people vote on the quality of their discussion. You will notice the little thumbs up and thumbs down at the side of each comment. This tracking system will allow you to leave comments at other blogs that have the system installed and be able to track them all from one place.
Of course, they are just getting started, so they don't have a huge number of blogs using it yet, but they are making such rapid forward progress in their design work that I don't see why they won't continue to grow in popularity. They have a great design that is basically fueled by inviting users to critique it and make suggestions.
Firefox is a free web browser that has basically been designed by the public so as soon as people notice glitches in it, it is fixed and it automatically updates itself. I have never had a problem viewing a web page since I made the switch and I can say that The Baptist Muse looks much different between the two browsers. I am not joking when I say that the site is best viewed in Mozilla Firefox.
Labels: The Baptist Muse Site Updates