Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Rick Warren's Post

Wanted to share this with you because it is so wonderful! Here it is...




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By Rick Warren — Mar 23, 2016

Devotional image from Rick
Warren


“By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14 NIV).
Millions and millions of Christians around the world celebrate Easter every year. But for far too many of us the story has become boring and rote. We have the basic facts down. Jesus was arrested. He was crucified. And three days later, God raised him from the dead.
Yet we miss something very important. We miss what turns Easter from a one-dimensional holiday to a multi-dimensional, life-transforming way of life.
We miss that the story of the Resurrection isn’t just Jesus’ story — it’s our story as well.
You see, you are a part of the Resurrection. Jesus’ death and Resurrection didn’t just prove there was life after death. The Resurrection proves you can have life after death, that there’s life beyond your grave.
Jesus says, if you trust in him, death becomes a transition, not an ending point.
One day your heart will stop. That will be the end of your body. But it will not be the end of you. God made you to last forever. That’s why you often have a feeling there’s more to life than this. Jesus made this amazing promise in John 11: 25-26: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die” (NIV).
That’s quite a promise! Jesus proved he could do it by resurrecting himself. Otherwise, we would have no reason to believe it. If Jesus hadn’t died on the cross and been resurrected more than 2,000 years ago, you would have zero chance of getting to Heaven — no hope of the afterlife and no eternal life.
The Bible says, “By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also” (1 Corinthians 6:14).
As Easter comes our way this year, that’s a truth to hang our lives upon. It’s great news that Jesus rose from the dead. But what turns that truth from black and white to living color is that one day — if you trust in him — he will raise you from the grave, too.
That’s the promise of Easter.

Monday, February 29, 2016

A Wonderful Version of The Widow's Mite by Mary Ann Riensche, as present in Mountain Wings

The following is a wonderful story that illustrates well the story of the Widow's Mite in the Bible. As Christians, we are supposed to tithe a certain portion of the money we make each month to a worthy charitable organization. However, for the contribution to be effective, it must comes from a person's first fruits. In other words, it must be given before you give out anything--be it for groceries, utilities and other necessities and it should be given out freely.

The Widow's Mite is a pure example of why we need to give. Giving should come from the heart, be given freely and be given to promote God's goodness and greatness. I hope you enjoy the story, for it is beautiful and so true!


For the last 18 years, I have been a public health nurse in my
county. About 17 years ago, I was caring for an elderly poor
widow.

At Christmas time, I turned her name into the adopt-a-family
program. She was chosen by a local church.

They delivered clothes, food and personal items. She saved all
of the presents and opened them in my presence on December 24.
This was her Christmas and she was sharing it with me because I
had turned in her name.

She also gave me a card with a brand new $5 bill inside. I knew
she didn’t have this kind of money. She told me that she saved
quarters all year long and walked downtown about two miles one
way to trade them in at the bank for the $5.

She was so pleased she could do this for me.

I knew she would be so offended if I refused. I took the money
and left her home. I drove about four blocks away and pulled
over and cried for the next 15 minutes.

I had taken the widow’s mite.

It was all she had and she gave it to me so willingly.

She’s been deceased for several years now.
I will never forget her.
I still have the card and the $5.00 bill.
I just can’t spend it.
It seems wrong somehow.

Another note. A friend forwarded MountainWings to me about one
year ago. I have enjoyed your e-mails so much. Please use the
enclosed check any way you need. It is not the widow’s mite.
Thanks so much for your wonderful words each day.

Mary Ann Riensche
Jesup, Iowa

From The Mountain:
The amount of the enclosed check?
$50.00
Exactly ten times the widow’s mite.


Copyright 2016



Saturday, January 30, 2016

Vaentine's Day: the Greatest Love of all!

It's almost Valentine's Day and that means love. Of course, many will think of their sweetheart on Valentine's Day and that is normal and quite lovely. We all love to express love to our spouse, friend, boyfriend and girlfriend. However, there is one who loves without judgment or conditions and that someone is Jesus!

When I feel unloved or unappreciated, which doesn't happen often, I sometimes forget the one person who loves me no matter what I do or don't do. Of course, He doesn't like it when I disobey but even then, he loves me unconditionally. Now, many people love you and me when we give things to them or treat them well but how many "really" love us when times are tough and life is just plain awful?!

Well, isn't it wonderful that Jesus loves us always. In fact, he loved us even before we were born! As we grew in the womb and came out and lived our lives, He was with us when things got rough and when things went right!

In my darkest hours when I lost my mom and dad, when my husband was ill and I wasn't sure he would make it, it was that still small voice, that knowing that He was there and that I was not alone. That, my friend, is true for you, also! You are loved more than you know or ever will know!

So, when you feel down and out and feel that you are alone and no one loves you, think again! You are not alone and you are loved more than you know! Turn to Jesus, ask Him for help and guidance and He will show you the way!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Copyright Toni Star 2016

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Christianity is Changing: a Commentary by Toni Star


Christianity is changing; however, even though these words have been written before, they are disturbing.  Church attendance has dropped--not just in the U.S. but also in many countries overseas.  However, there is a rise in Christianity in many other parts of the world. In addition, some are looking at the Bible differently. Some are questioning the Old Testament and are trying to interpret its meaning by themselves.

It is important to note that many teachings of Christianity that have been solid for centuries are now being questioned such as the role of women in church, Jesus as the only way to God and changing views on homosexuality. Most importantly, many are no longer following the normal and established Christian way of living such as being married before having sex or teaching their children about God and Jesus and why they are so important in a Christian’s life. Instead, many are now accepting premarital sex, saying also that sexual abuse within the church is merely something that “happens now and then” and being more tolerant of other beliefs; such beliefs are a "slippery slope" and can water down our solid Christian beliefs. 

Keep in mind, too, that other types of faith are being more and more accepted such as alternative worship or an emerging church type of faith.

So, how are we as Christians react to react when we see our faith being watered down in our churches, on TV or in the movies? Do we look the other way and say, “Well, that’s O.K. as long as it doesn’t affect me or my family.” Or, do we say, “No, I don’t agree with this and I will either go to another church or continue stay with my church but follow beliefs that are set by God?

The decision, of course, is up to each person. From reading the Bible and praying, most Christians know and understand the importance of believing and following God and Jesus. I think, too, when we see situations where we feel a need to take a stand and can do it without being harmed, we should. Of course, this is up to the individual and of course, like Jesus we can certainly show our displeasure with how Christianity is presented by switching to another TV station, not watching a movie that degrades human beings and Christianity or staying away from individuals or groups of people who are leading ungodly lives.  Perhaps these ways are more effective.

Most importantly, as Christian writers we can proclaim the word of God and give factual information on the goodness of Christ and the importance of staying close to Him.

Perhaps one very good reason for following Christ and His Father, God comes from the following statement that was written in Revelations:

Revelation 3:15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other!



Revelation 3:17 You say, 'I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.' But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”

To conclude, Christian faith and how we proclaim and live it is up to you and me. We can either set the standard of Christianity or we can follow a path that will lead us into eternal darkness.



 

Friday, January 1, 2016

How to make Resolutions for the New Year that will last!


Much of what follows comes from Prevention magazine but I wanted to share part of what was in Prevention Magazine:
 
Instead of making big resolutions this year, begin by making small, positive decisions such as not sitting so much at your computer. For instance, instead of working hour after hour at your computer, get up every hour and walk. Walk for at least 10 minutes. When you return to your computer, sit up straight with feet on the floor and begin to work. In addition, add some exercise to your daily life such as walking to your mailbox instead of driving up to it. When out and about, instead of using the elevator, climb the stairs. Doesn't take long and you are taking small steps to better health.
 
Another small step that will help is to say "so long" to fad diets. Instead of following the latest diet fad, focus more on eating healthy. Stay away from empty calories and focus more on healthy fats and whole foods. Incorporate more salads and cereals into your diet and instead of drinking pop with every meal, drink water or water flavored with a bit of lemon juice. And when preparing food, prepare your own food with fresh ingredients.
 
With everyone using electronics--TV, cellphones, ipads, ipods and other electronics--we are getting a daily overload of these machines which is  increasing our risks for social anxiety, depression, heart disease, cancer and job burnout. There is a solution and that is spend an hour or a full day without these electronic devices. If you continue to do this on a regular basis, you will be less stressed out and you may find that you don't need to be connected to them so often!
 
Another resolution that is important is to get your financial house in order. Create an emergency fund of at least $3,000 and lessen the amount you put on your credit card for this year. Also, if you aren't doing it already, pay yourself first--and do this every payday. You will be surprised how fast it adds up.
 
Lastly, contribute to a worthy cause each month. Let your contribution come from the top of what you make each month. When you freely give something of what you make, you will find that what you have left will last a lot longer. So many are in need. However, before contributing, make sure that the organization you contribute to is reputable.
 
To conclude, start this year with resolutions you can live with! Start small, stay consistent throughout the year and if you mess up now and then, don't sweat it. Just get back on it and keep going! And, reach for the stars! God put them there for everyone to see and enjoy!
 
Blessings to everyone in 2016!
 
Copyright Toni Star 2016

Friday, December 18, 2015

The McGreedys Finally had a Real Christmas!


Henry and Harriett knew that their Christmas dinner this year would be like all the others, catered!  In fact, neither one of them could recall their mother, Hazel, ever cooking a real Christmas dinner.  For years, all dinners had been brought in and it looked like once again Christmas dinner would be catered.  However, this year Harriett and Henry decided to go on a “catered food strike.”  Yes, rebellion was in the air!  They wanted a real home cooked meal and that was that!

The children spoke to their father, Harold, about getting a real home cooked meal for Christmas.  Harold shook  his head. Hazel hated cooking and made sure everyone knew it.  Harold tried to explain this to the children but finally advised them to ask their mother.  Maybe, just maybe, she would relent, he thought.

Henry and Harriett thought over their father’s advice.  After thinking the situation through, the children decided that rather than face their mother’s wrath, they would endure another brought-in meal.

Christmas day arrived.  At noon the caterers arrived.  Their mother, Hazel, sat at the head of the dinner table ready to be served while the children and their father sat on either side of the table, attentive to her needs.  The children nibbled some of the food laid out before them.  A huge cooked turkey sat in the middle of the table. It was about  20 pounds, the children guessed.  Dressing, cranberries and desert surrounded the huge turkey.  Soon, the children lost all interest in the dinner and left to watch TV.

In the afternoon, Hazel wanted to go to the Mall to see if any stores might be open so she could exchange some gifts she received.  She often didn’t like what people got her for Christmas.  Harold packed his family into their brand new station wagon and all were on their way.  He used a short cut, going down some side streets.  Henry and Harriett looked through the car windows and realized their father was driving through a bad part of town.  They became frightened and nervous.  What would happen to them if the car broke down?

“Hurry up, father!  Drive faster!” they both cried.

“What are we doing in this part of town anyway?”  Hazel asked.  “You know that this is a dangerous area, don’t you, Harold?” 

“Yes, I do, he answered.  ‘I wanted all of you to see something before we go to the Mall.”

Slowly Harold pulled into a gravel driveway and stopped.  In front of them was an old, one story brick building, all run down.

“I want the children to come with me,” he said getting out of the car. "Where are we going, father?"  Harriett was a bit anxious.  This was something the family had never done before.

“We are going to take the remains of our Christmas dinner to the people who live in this shelter.  Every year your mother orders more than we can eat and every year I bring what’s left here for these people to enjoy.  This year I thought maybe you’d like to help me.”

Hazel sat in the car listening to her husband with an astonished look on her face. She thought out loud, “So that’s where the leftovers go!”

“That’s right, Hazel.  OK kids, let’s go!”

As the children followed their father into the shelter, they saw many people waiting for them.  Never before had the children seen people who had so little to eat.  The people looked tired, poor and hungry.  All of their lives Harriett and Henry had everything they wanted.  Today their father brought them face to face with an entirely different world. 
 
For the first time in their lives, they learned what Christmas and sharing was all about.  For them, Christmas would never be the same.  They would never forget the smiles and joy of the people in the shelter.  Harriett and Henry finally had a wonderful Christmas and so did the people of the shelter!
 
Merry Christmas Everyone!
 
Copyright 2015 Toni Star

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thanksgiving at Grandma's


November, then and now, signals just one thing to me, Thanksgiving at Grandma’s.  Thanksgiving at her house was paradise!  The atmosphere of food, laughter and love was wonderful and unforgettable. 

Thanksgiving morning at our house was busy.  Mom would prepare a salad or pie; we kids would dress up in our good clothes and then go outside to play. We had to be careful not to get dirty.  Good clothes in our family didn’t come easy.  We weren’t poor but we were very frugal with money and food.  Meanwhile, Dad stayed busy in the garage checking out the old Chevy.  He’d check the oil, water and the battery and then give the tires a kick, for readiness. 

Often, I would go into the garage from time to time to see how he was doing.  Often, he found things for me to do-such as checking the oil and water and inspecting the car battery to see if was clean and water filled to the proper level. I always felt important helping Dad, especially on holidays, when there was much to do. 

Later, around 12 we all piled into the Chevy, eager for Thanksgiving dinner. We would arrive at Grandma’s, all dressed up, gifts in hand, with offerings of a waldorf salad and pie. As we walked through her door the aroma of turkey and onions would fill our senses with the joy of delicious food to come.  That first whiff of turkey and steamed vegetables was delicious!  We walked through the house into her kitchen and put our donations of food and small gifts, (often a bottle of Rum) onto the kitchen table, kiss Grandma and then go into the living room where we would sit and talk.  Later, Mom and I would return to the kitchen and help Grandma with the meal. 

It was my job to help Grandma prepare the dressing, with ingredients of butter, celery, bread, milk, and onion, then help with the progress of the turkey.  Mom would put her donations of food into the already crammed refrigerator and then prepare green beans or another salad for dinner. Inside the oven the turkey was roasting, and occasionally Grandma would let me use her large ladling spoon to baste the turkey.    Later, Grandma and I would finish preparing a pie—often apple or cherry.  I would round out the crust while she prepared the filling.  After that was done, we’d check on the vegetables and then I would set the table.   

I loved that job because she had beautiful crystal and China, with delicate pink and blue patterns on the dishes and matching pink crystal for glasses. She also had beautiful silverware that was kept in a special drawer in the living room.  I would carefully remove the dinnerware from the old ornate cabinet in the dining room and tenderly place each piece in the proper setting.  I loved how it all sparkled on the table.

The meal of Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes; real green beans, cranberries and pie filled us up till we could eat no more.  We would all sit at the large table, enjoy her traditional Thanksgiving meal and talk about the latest “Uncle Millie” or “Jackie Gleason” shows.  We all loved those shows and each of us tried to “out do” each other, with our imitations of “Uncle Miltie” or “Jackie Gleason.” The adults would later have wine or brandy and we kids would go out and play in the small backyard.  Sometimes I would deliver food Grandma prepared for an old lady across the street.  The old lady lived alone and was often too ill to prepare food for herself.  I loved doing this for Grandma, and the old lady was always happy to receive it. I took pride running this errand because I helped Grandma prepare much of the meal.

Today, I continue Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal.  I have altered some of the foods but I try to prepare most of the foods she prepared; homemade  dressing, mashed potatoes 

and pie.  Many in my family can’t attend because they live too far away.  But, those who do enjoy a Thanksgiving meal of the 50’s.  You see, Grandma’s gone, but her traditions live on in a woman from the 50’s.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a blessed day with family!
Copyright Toni Star 2015
During the holidays, check out my revision edition of Maria's Final Days! End Times are upon us and this book will help! Here is the link   http://www.lulu.com/shop/toni-star/marias-final-days-second-edition/hardcover/product-22462347.html