Category Archives: Amazing Grace

“Christianity” by Reinhard Bonnke

Standard

10-31-14 Trunk Or Treat 046

By Reinhard Bonnke

“Christianity…

Has an unconditional…

‘WELCOME’

Above its doors…

For the storm tossed…

The broken in spirit…

And the inadequate….

It is the arm of God’s love…

Thrown around those…

 Who have given up on themselves…

Or been given up by the world…

And don’t have what it takes….

If you would believe…

You would see the glory of God…

 John 11:40

Christ causes us to make it…

We, who otherwise would never make it on our own…

In the Gospels…

We see Him coming open-faced and with open‑arms…

To Him…

There were no nobodies…

Nor riffraff…

No social rejects…

He came for lost sheep…

Plus, to women…

Who were treated as sub-species in some eastern countries…

Even as they are now…

Christ gave honor…

Jesus said,

‘I always do those things that please Him [the Father].’

John 8:29

What had He seen the Father do?

He had seen Him stoop over the wretched tribes in Egypt…

Those Israelite‑nobodies…

Expendables…

God picked them up…

And made them great!

Jesus did the same…

He chose fishermen…

Not princes…

To be His ambassadors…

The Gospels again and again…

Show Him meeting the unwanted…

And giving them a place…

His outreach to the discarded…

Is a moving part of the Gospel story!

Jesus is with the ‘lost’ and the ‘last’…

The lost He finds…

And to the last He says…

‘The last will be first.’

Matthew 20:16″

Amen!

10-26-14 Fall Festival-Amaiah's Shower 118

Something In The Water???

Standard

Our symbol of faith in Jesus…

And obedience to Christ our Lord!!!

He said, “I’ve been where you’ve been before.
Down every hallway’s a slamming door.”
No way out, no one to come and save me
Wasting a life that the Good Lord gave me

Then somebody said what I’m saying to you
Opened my eyes and told me the truth.”
They said, “Just a little faith, it’ll all get better.”
So I followed that preacher man down to the river and now I’m changed
And now I’m stronger

There must’ve been something in the water
Oh, there must’ve been something in the water

Well, I heard what he said and I went on my way
Didn’t think about it for a couple of days
Then it hit me like a lightning late one night
I was all out of hope and all out of fight

Couldn’t fight back the tears so I fell on my knees
Saying, “God, if you’re there come and rescue me.”
Felt love pouring down from above
Got washed in the water, washed in the blood and now I’m changed

And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water

And now I’m singing along to amazing grace
Can’t nobody wipe this smile off my face
Got joy in my heart, angels on my side
Thank God almighty, I saw the light
Gonna look ahead, no turning back
Live everyday, give it all that I have
Trust in someone bigger than me
Ever since the day that I believed I am changed
And now I’m stronger

There must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water
Oh, there must be something in the water
Oh, yeah

I am changed
Stronger

I’m free.

10-5-14 Prime Serious Steak 052

Matthew 3:11
“I baptize you with water for repentance,
but He who is coming after me is mightier than I,
whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Acts 22:16
“And now why do you wait?
Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins,
calling on His Name.”
Matthew 28:19
“Go therefore
and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,”
Amen!!
I’m changed…
I’m stronger…
I’m free!
Thank you, Jesus!!
 

Lay It Down…

Standard

At the Cross where your Freedom’s found!!!!

7-13-14 VBS-Golf Course-Walk 003

Matthew 11:28

“Come to me,

all you who are weary and burdened,

and I will give you rest.”

Problems???

Sorrows???

Hit rock bottom???

Smile! 

Pray!!! 

Stand up straight! 

Breathe!

Problems…

Can’t keep you from living now!

Shake ‘em off!

Lay ‘em down!

7-13-14 VBS-Golf Course-Walk 112

At the Cross where your Freedom’s found!!! 

Stand up!

March on! 

Be strong!

Don’t give up! 

Don’t get caught up in your feelings!

Time for laughter!

Time for pain!

Time for doubt!

Time for faith! 

Believe you can find the strength…

To get back up on your feet! 

Lay it down!

Don’t hold on so tight! 

Freedom’s found… 

When you let God take over the fight!

 Surrender!

You’re free again!

7-13-14 VBS-Golf Course-Walk 116

This is a sermon in a song!!  

Amen!!

Psalm 55:22

“Cast your cares on the LORD

and He will sustain you;

He will never let the righteous be shaken.”

You’ve Got Mail!! Let’s Read God’s Love Letters!!

Standard

Most of the books of the New Testament are actually letters…

These Epistles contain general Christian teaching…

 And specific instructions for the congregation to which they were addressed…

Paul’s Letters to the Churches:  

 Mail…Florida Style!!

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 327

Romans 1:1-7

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus,

called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 

the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures 

regarding His Son,

who as to His earthly life

was a descendant of David,

and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power

by His resurrection from the dead: 

Jesus Christ our Lord. 

 Through Him we received grace and apostleship

to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from

faith for His Name’s sake. 

And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be His holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 288

Galatians 1:1-5

“Paul, an apostle—

sent not from men nor by a man, 

but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, 

who raised Him from the dead…

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, 

who gave Himself for our sins 

to rescue us from the present evil age, 

according to the will of our God and Father, 

to whom be glory for ever and ever.

Amen.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 100

Colossians 1:3-6

“We always thank God, 

the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

when we pray for you,

because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus

and of the love you have for all God’s people—

the faith and love that spring from the Hope stored up for you in Heaven 

and about which you have already heard

in the true message of the Gospel that has come to you.

In the same way,

the Gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—

just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it

and truly understood God’s Grace.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 304

1 Timothy 1:1-2

“Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus

by the command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our Hope,

To Timothy my true son in the faith:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 302

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

“I always thank my God for you 

because of His grace given you in Christ Jesus. 

For in Him you have been enriched in every way—

with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge— 

God thus confirming our testimony about Christ among you. 

Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift 

as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 

He will also keep you firm to the end,

so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

God is faithful, 

who has called you into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 289

Ephesians 1:3-10

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 

who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world 

to be holy and blameless in His sight.

In love He predestined us for adoption to Sonship

through Jesus Christ,

in accordance with His pleasure and will—

to the praise of His glorious grace, 

which He has freely given us in the One He loves. 

In Him we have redemption through His blood, 

the forgiveness of sins,

in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 

that He lavished on us.

With all wisdom and understanding, 

He made known to us the mystery of His will

according to His good pleasure,

which He purposed in Christ, 

to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—

to bring unity to all things in Heaven and on earth under Christ.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 098

1 Thessalonians 1:2-6

“We always thank God for all of you 

and continually mention you in our prayers. 

We remember before our God and Father 

your work produced by faith, 

your labor prompted by love, 

and your endurance inspired by hope 

in our Lord Jesus Christ.

For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, 

that He has chosen you, 

because our Gospel came to you not simply with words

but also with power, 

with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction.

You know how we lived among you for your sake. 

You became imitators of us and of the Lord,

for you welcomed the message

in the midst of severe suffering 

with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 335

Philemon 1:4-7

“I always thank my God as I remember you in my prayers, 

because I hear about your love for all His holy people 

and your faith in the Lord Jesus. 

I pray that your partnership with us in the faith

may be effective in deepening your understanding

of every good thing we share for the sake of Christ. 

Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, 

because you, brother,

have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 293

Philippians 1:3-6

“I thank my God every time I remember you. 

In all my prayers for all of you,

I always pray with joy 

because of your partnership in the Gospel from the first day 

until now,

being confident of this,

that He who began a good work in you

will carry it on to completion 

until the day of Christ Jesus.”

3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 292

Titus 1:1-4

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ

to further the faith of God’s elect

and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness— 

in the hope of eternal life, 

which God,

who does not lie, 

promised before the beginning of time, 

and which now at His appointed season 

He has brought to light 

through the preaching entrusted to me 

by the command of God our Savior,

To Titus, my true son in our common faith:

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior.”

Read your mail!!!

Happy 3rd Birthday, Beautiful, Precious Hannah…All God’s Blessings!!

Standard

5-26-14 Memorial Day-Outback 025

This was written by our Children’s Pastor…

My good friend, Marla…

About her daughter, Hannah’s birth…

Praying it blesses you!

Hannah’s Arrival

An awesome story of God working in our lives. –Marla-
“Hon…”

I called out to my sleeping husband. 

No response. 

“Hey, hon…”

I called a little louder.

“Huh?  Everything okay?”

he asked groggily.

“Ummm…yeah, everything’s fine.  Could you come here?” 

He stumbled into the bathroom. 

“What is it?”

“I’m not positive, but I think my water just broke.”

5-26-14 Memorial Day-Outback 036

This is not what either one of us was expecting.  It was 4:30 AM on June 2.  Our baby girl wasn’t due for just over another month. Sure, I had felt like she may come “early,” but not this soon!  The nursery was still a glorified storage room.   Hannah’s baby shower was not scheduled for another 3 days.  We had no clothes for her, no diapers, not even a car seat to take her home!  All of those little things we were going to complete in the next few weeks were left undone.  But there was no time to do any of that now.  We scrambled around, made arrangements for Moriah, our older daughter, finished packing for the hospital and we were on our way.

Several weeks earlier I began asking God to give me a verse to meditate on through childbirth and in those often-difficult weeks after, when I knew our lives would be changed forever and we’d be navigating through the familiar but somehow distant waters of caring for a newborn and adjusting to a completely different lifestyle on little—if any—sleep.  I expected that completely changing our schedule and routine, then going back to work, would require extra strength and a greater measure of peace from God.  So I simply made my request known to God for a verse to cling to, maybe something along the lines of “I can do all things through Christ…”  I thought about different verses, but nothing clicked.  Then one evening a passage came to me very distinctly:

 …there was given me a thorn in my flesh,

a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 

Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 

But he said to me,

“My grace is sufficient for you,

for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,

so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 

That is why, for Christ’s sake,

delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. 

For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

5-25-14 CLC & Panera with Vicky 006

 I read the passage again and thought, “Yeah, having a newborn and adjusting is a bit difficult, but I would hardly refer to it as a ‘thorn in the flesh.’  Sounds a bit harsh.”  But I knew that this was the passage God gave me, so for several nights before Hannah’s birth, I read it again and again.

Once at the hospital, the nurses confirmed that I was indeed in labor and were very sure to tell us that we were having a baby that day.  We were both in shock.  Nonetheless, she was on her way.  A few hours later, at 10:15 AM, we heard the long awaited cries of our little girl.  Due to last minute medications during labor, I was unfortunately quite groggy the first few hours of Hannah’s life.  I held her and looked at her, but failed to pick up on the little details of her appearance.  I could hardly hear the nurses’ comments as they evaluated her.  I remember one nurse asking, “Does she look like your other daughter?”  And I answered that no, she had her own distinct look.

A few hours later, as I was trying to recover, the pediatrician came in the room and brought the news that changed us forever.  He gently told me that they suspected Hannah has Down Syndrome based upon her features and her weak muscle tone.  I was in shock.  Down Syndrome?  We had no idea.  We never imagined we’d be the family with a special needs child.

When Eddie came back to the room, I shared the Doctor’s report with him.  Thoughts came rushing through our minds.  Tears flowed.  Our joy was overshadowed by grief and fear of the future.  She’ll never be like other kids.  She’ll be made fun of.  She won’t go to a typical school, have a normal social life, go to college or get married.  Hannah will always be dependent upon us.  What will happen when we’re too old to take care of her?

Since then, I’ve thought a lot about those irrational fears.  What child comes with a certificate guaranteeing that she will live a successful life, go to college, get married and be independent anyway?  I’ve never seen that certain promise at birth yet.  Our responsibility as parents is simply to give our kids our best in way of care, training, and teaching and to raise them to know and love God.  We simply encourage them to be all they were created to be.

Family came to visit and see her.  More tears.  More feeling of loss of all the little things we had planned for our child.  Wave after wave of grief followed.

It wasn’t until later that evening that I remembered the verse and certain promise God had given me several days earlier:

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

4-11-14 Mother's Day! 267

     “Oh, God, I’ve never felt weaker in my life.  I need your strength, your grace,” I prayed through the tears.

 Sleep came sporadically that night.  I was able to visit Hannah in the NICU just a few times before I was discharged the next day.  They had to keep Hannah due to complications arising from her prematurity.  Leaving the hospital without a baby was somehow just not right.  (And in the weeks to follow, leaving her each day left me feeling like I was never home.  Wherever I was—whether with her at the hospital or home with the rest of the family—I was never complete.)  When I walked out of the hospital the day after her birth, my heart was still heavy with the news of her diagnosis.  I was thankful to have her, but somehow still grieving all the dreams I had for her that would never be realized.

Late that evening, I found myself the only one awake in a quiet house.  Seemingly out of nowhere I felt a sudden urge to read the verses God had given me, but in the Message version of the Bible.  I don’t often turn to the Message version, but I appreciate its plain, everyday language and way of putting God’s Word into a fresh perspective.  As I opened to the passage, I was amazed at the wording:

     I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. 

Satan’s angel did his best to get me down;

what he in fact did was push me to my knees…

At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. 

Three times I did that, and then he told me,

My grace is enough;

it’s all you need. 

My strength comes into its own in your weakness. 

Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. 

I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. 

It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. 

Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer…

I just let Christ take over! 

And so the weaker I get,

the stronger I become.

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (the Message version, emphasis added)

4-3-14 golf course 165

That instant, I had peace about Hannah’s diagnosis.  I knew that her unique and special qualities had been given as a gift, and I should see them as nothing less.

A few days after her birth, I was holding Hannah in her NICU room when the thought occurred to me: I didn’t even know what her name means—I, of all people, who usually obsess over things like this.  I, the mother who long before Moriah’s arrival had researched her name and written a poem based upon it’s meaning, could not even think of the meaning of my youngest daughter’s name.  A few months before, Eddie and I had deliberated quite a bit over what to name her, and finally agreed that Hannah was perfect.  I’m sure in the process I had looked at the meaning.  But sitting in the hospital room with her, I was in shock that I could not recall something so important.  With her in my arms, I managed to get a hand free and search for the name on my phone.  When the results came up, I was in awe.

4-24-14 Walk 022

Hannah means “grace.”

“My grace is sufficient for you…”  God had promised.

4-23-14 Mandisa 015

Whatever the future holds, for every unknown challenge on the road before us, so long as I call Hannah’s name I will have a reminder of God’s promise ever before me.  His grace will be enough to meet every challenge.  His grace will carry us through the frustrations and strengthen our faith in times of uncertainty.  His grace will flow through us and enable us to show grace to those who show ignorance or even cruelty toward her.

And God’s grace will pour out joy upon us as we delight in Hannah’s adorable smile and melt in her hugs.  His grace will sing over us as we cheer her on and take pride in her accomplishments. 

3-23-14 South County Park 396

Most of all, His grace will enable us to fully enjoy the precious gift of our sweet Hannah.
Amen!!

 

Is 65 The New 45??? Gee, I Hope So!!

Standard

4-4-14 Walk-Gift 070

Happy Birthday To Me!!

I recently celebrated a BIG Birthday!

4-4-14 Walk-Gift 056

                                            (Me with Sandy and Elle!)

And I now get to show my golden Medicare “ticket” everywhere..

But, now that I’m “mature,”  I forget to do it!!

Hubby’s already on it, so I know it’s fine…

I’ll get used to it!

We already had good insurance…

Thanks to the NJ Public Schools…

My plan after college was to get married,

Teach for two years,

Have 4 kids…

Done!

But, since my son took 14 years to arrive! 

I just kept on teaching…

And, as my sister-in-law advised,

“Stay in teaching long enough to get all the benefits you deserve!!”

So, I stayed!

After 26 years, I retired…

One kid, a pension, and my health insurance…

God is good!

Because of so many years…

Of being blessed with God’s wisdom…

My years of experience…

And my mistakes…

(Thank you for “redos,” Lord!)

I’m such a wealth of information! 

Ha!

So, what do you want to know about???

Growing up in a constantly fast-talking Italian family…

With lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins???

So much fun going to church together…

Everyone talking at the same time…

Very loudly!!

With lots and lots of food!!!

Growing up Pentecostal???

Lots of “You can’t do that!”

But, lots of faith, love, and strong trust in God, too!!

I learned to teach my son about all the things we can do in Christ!

And the joy we experience!

Growing up with an older brother???

“Stitches” in my side as he walked too fast on our way to school…

Joe always said my younger brother, John, and I had “piercing voices!”

Growing up with a younger brother???

Who, as I mentioned in another post…

https://godssceneryandpromises.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/oh-by-the-way-…have-any-gauze/

Slashed my lip with a snow shovel…

While  we were shoveling snow in NJ…

When I was in 6th grade!

But, we never wanted to be apart!

Praying for a sister???

My Mom was 38…

I had to have a sister…

Having two brothers was just too much…

I was eleven when Tina was born!

She went everywhere with me!

So special to me to this day!!

Amen!

God answers prayers!

Wanting to be a teacher since the first grade???

My cousin, Phyllis, who was three years older…

Lived next door…

And was always the teacher…

 I was the best student there ever was!

Dating????

Long term dating…

Too early, too intense…

I would not recommend it today!!

College and  Master’s  Education???

Let me just say…

The tassel is definitely worth the hassle…

Do your homework…

Get an education!!!

Then, ask God to give you a job you’re passionate about!

First Marriage???

Moved to Texas to live with my older brother and his wife…

Married two and a half years…

Divorced…

Came home to NJ!

Divorce???

Low, low point…

Feels like someone took a photo of the two of you…

Tore  it in two…

And ripped your heart out…

You’re deeply changed…

I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!

Second Marriage

To my high school sweetheart…

Thirty-seven years…

Through the best of the best…

And the worst of the worst…

 The key is to go through it…

TOGETHER…

That’s what marriage is all about…

Even when “LOVE” is strong…

  But, “LIKE” is not!!

Amen!

Oh,Yes…

I am difficult to live with…

More than just sometimes!!

Good quote on Facebook:
“In every marriage more than a week old,
there are grounds for divorce…
the trick is to find, and continue to find,
the grounds for marriage!!” 
Thank you, Jesus!
Amen!!
3-15-14 Billy & Cheryl 205

Ten years of Infertility???

Why me?

All my cousins and friends had kids…

But, God turned my attitude to…

“Why not me?”

And I received a miracle gift from God!

It was totally worth the huge cost and effort…

Of in-vitro…

To have our son!!!

Thank God for insurance!

Coming back to God???

Spent twenty years doing “my own thing!”

But could not fathom…

Raising my son without faith…

He loved Jesus…

Going to church…

Lively worship music…

And Veggie Tales…

And he led me back to Jesus!

Raising a great kid???

What a ministry…

To pour Jesus into your child!!!

4-11-14 to 4-13-14 Game, Outreach, RL 635

Life???

Yes, they’ll be trials…

But, always accept the Lord’s…

Joy!

Death???

So sad to lose loved ones…

But, we can celebrate their life…

Because of our Hope of Heaven…

And say, “See you soon!”

Parents???

We do our best…

So remember…

Your parents did their best, too!!

Forgive…

Don’t hold onto grudges…

Love!

4-11-14 to 4-13-14 Game, Outreach, RL 630

Friends and family???

While you can’t pick your family…

You can love, encourage, and minister to the family that God gave you!

Friends…

Chose wisely and love deeply!

Siberian Huskies???

Only God could make such a beautiful face…

My Crazy, Precious Little Girl…

Is lots of work…

And brings, oh, so much joy!!

See her Birthday post!

https://godssceneryandpromises.wordpress.com/2014/01/03/guess-whos-turning-seven/

4-3-14 golf course 162

Seeing through God’s eyes???

Is beautiful…

And difficult…

Be prepared to listen…

Be prepared to obey!

Religion???

Faith is better than no faith…

Our relationship with Jesus  is everything!

Being retired???

Not HAVING to work is soooo good…

Retirement with a pension is the best!

Ministering to others???

Accountability…

Teaching others keeps you on your toes!

Keep on going for God!!

Eternal Life???

1 Timothy 4:8

“For physical training is of some value,

but godliness has value for all things,

holding promise for both the present life

and the life to come.”

Amen!