01.16.19 Church is Hard, by Arianna Freelen

I sat in a meeting. The discussion was heated. The conversation heavy.

Hearts were burdened. Chests were puffed. Sorrow, pain, arrogance, curiosity, humility, fear, courage, and forgiveness sat together in a single room.

As I looked around the church, I just kept thinking—

Church is hard.

Church is hard for the person walking through the doors, afraid of judgement.

Church is hard for the pastor’s family, under the microscope of an entire body.

Church is hard for the prodigal soul returning home, broken and battered by the world.

Church is hard for the girl who looks like she has it all together, but doesn’t.

Church is hard for the couple who fought the entire ride to service.

Church is hard for the single mom, surrounded by couples holding hands, and seemingly perfect families.

Church is hard for the widow and widower with no invitation to lunch after service.

Church is hard for the deacon with an estranged child.

Church is hard for the person singing worship songs, overwhelmed by the weight of the lyrics.

Church is hard for the man insecure in his role as a leader.

Church is hard for the wife who longs to be led by a righteous man.

Church is hard for the nursery volunteer who desperately longs for a baby to love.

Church is hard for the single woman and single man, praying God brings them a mate.

Church is hard for the teenage girl, wearing a scarlet letter, ashamed of her mistakes.

Church is hard for the sinners.

Church is hard for me.

It’s hard because on the outside it all looks shiny and perfect. Sunday best in behavior and dress.

However, underneath those layers, you find a body of imperfect people, carnal souls, selfish motives.

But, here is the beauty of church—

Church isn’t a building, mentality, or expectation.

Church is a body.

Church is a group of sinners, saved by grace, living in fellowship as saints.

Church is a body of believers bound as brothers and sisters by an eternal love.

Church is a holy ground where sinners stand as equals before the Throne of Grace.

Church is a refuge for broken hearts and a training ground for mighty warriors.

Church is a converging of confrontation and invitation. Where sin is confronted and hearts are invited to seek restoration.

Church is a lesson in faith and trust.

Church is a bearer of burdens and a giver of hope.

Church is a family. A family coming together, setting aside differences, forgetting past mistakes, rejoicing in the smallest of victories.

Church, the body, and the circle of sinners-turned-saints, is where He resides, and if we ask, He is faithful to come.

So even on the hard days at church—

The days when I am at odds with a friend, When I’ve fought with my husband because we’re late once again. When I’ve walked in bearing burdens heavier than my heart can handle, yet masking the pain with a smile on my face. When I’ve worn a scarlet letter, under the microscope. When I’ve longed for a baby to hold, or fought tears as the lyrics were sung. When I’ve walked back in, afraid and broken, after walking away.

I’ll remember, He has never failed to meet me there.

Church is a body, a family, a place to love God and love others through our struggles!

I love MY church!!

 

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12.28.18 When God Created Woman

When God created woman he was working late on the 6th day…….
An angel came by and asked. “Why spend so much time on her?”
The lord answered. “Have you seen all the specifications I have to meet to shape her?
She must function in all kinds of situations,
She must be able to embrace several kids at the same time,
Have a hug that can heal anything from a bruised knee to a broken heart,
She must do all this with only two hands,
She cures herself when sick and can work 18 hours a day.”
THE ANGEL was impressed “Just two hands…..impossible! And this is the standard model?”
The Angel came closer and touched the woman
“But you have made her so soft, Lord.”
“She is soft,” said the Lord,
“But I have made her strong. You can’t imagine what she can endure and overcome.”
“Can she think?” The Angel asked…
The Lord answered. “Not only can she think, she can reason and negotiate.”
The Angel touched her cheeks….
“Lord, it seems this creation is leaking! You have put too many burdens on her.”
“She is not leaking…it is a tear” The Lord corrected the Angel…
“What’s it for?” asked the Angel.
The Lord said, “Tears are her way of expressing her grief, her doubts, her love, her loneliness, her suffering and her pride.”
This made a big impression on the Angel,
“Lord, you are a genius. You thought of everything.
A woman is indeed marvelous.”
The Lord said, “Indeed she is.
She has strength that amazes a man.
She can handle trouble and carry heavy burdens.
She holds happiness, love and opinions.
She smiles when she feels like screaming.
She sings when she feels like crying, cries when happy and laughs when afraid.
She fights for what she believes in.
Her love is unconditional.
Her heart is broken when a next-of-kin or a friend dies but she finds strength to get on with life.”
The Angel asked: “So she is a perfect being?”
The Lord replied: “No. She has just one drawback
She often forgets what she is worth.”

To all the beautiful women I’ve known in my life!  May God Bless You All!

12.16.18 A quiet thought for this Sunday, by Rev. Bob Adams

Related imageA quiet thought for this Sunday, December 16th, by Rev. Bob Adams

Rescuing a climber trapped on the face of a towering cliff. Descending to a diver in trouble on the floor of the ocean. Digging out a child covered in the rubble of an earthquake. Stories of heroic rescues rivet our attention for, deep in our souls, all of us sense we are trapped and helpless, caught in the chaos around us and the rubble inside us.

Christmas is the ultimate rescue.

We were caught in the grip of unbreakable darkness with no power to bring ourselves to the light. But God, right on time, came to our rescue! He did the unbelievable, the unthinkable. He sent Himself in the form of His Son out of the glory of heaven and into the pit of our darkness. Through His own death and resurrection the Son tore a gaping, forever hole in the darkness, vaporized the darkness with the light of His glory. He then invited us to fall into His arms and allow Him to carry us through that great opening in the darkness into life and light in the Father’s love and presence.

This is the true Christmas story.

Let us worship with joy and reverence.

Thank you Bro. Bob for all the time you spent with us at Trinity preparing us for our new pastor. Your genuine Christian love and guidance is very much appreciated.  Merry CHRISTmas to you and Ms. Janice!

12.11.18 FRIENDS, by Michael J. Smith

Tuesday, December 11, 2018 – A few years ago a young girl at our church sang this song titled FRIENDS.  It was the first time I heard it and somehow I know she sang it because a friend of hers moved away.  I do not remember who she is but the song meant something to me when I heard her sing it and today when I saw Michael J. Smith sing it in this video I felt I should share it.

Here’s the song and the lyrics in case you want to sing along.  The words that speak to me the most are: “And friends are friends forever, If the Lord’s the Lord of them.”  My Christian friends will truly be friends forever even in to eternity where we will live in Heaven together with our Lord.  I am thankful I have that reassurance.  I hope you do as well. If you don’t our Lord is just a prayer away!

 

“FRIENDS” LYRICS
Packing up the dreams God planted
In the fertile soil of you
Can’t believe the hopes He’s granted
Means a chapter in your life is through
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
With the faith and love God’s given
Springing from the hope we know
We will pray the joy you’ll live in
Is the strength that now you show
But we’ll keep you close as always
It won’t even seem you’ve gone
‘Cause our hearts in big and small ways
Will keep the love that keeps us strong
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
And friends are friends forever
If the Lord’s the Lord of them
And a friend will not say never
‘Cause the welcome will not end
Though it’s hard to let you go
In the Father’s hands we know
That a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
No, a lifetime’s not too long
To live as friends
Songwriters: Majid Hasan / Sean L. Foote / Barry Eugene White / Robert Taylor / Mary J. Blige / Tom Brock
Friends lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Universal Music Publishing Group, Capitol Christian Music Group
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
Image result for friends scripture quote

11.20.18 The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything!

A lthough things are not perfect,
B ecause of trial or pain,
C ontinue in thanksgiving
D on’t even think of whom to blame.
E ven when the times are hard,
F ierce winds are bound to blow,
G od is forever able
H old on to Him, never let go.
I magine life without His love,
J oy would cease to be,
K eep thanking Him for all the things
L ove imparts you to see.
M ove out of camp Complaining,
N o weapon that is known
O n earth can yield the power
P raise can do alone.
Q uit worrying about the future,
R edeem the time at hand,
S tart every day with prayer
T o ‘thank’  is God’s command.
U ntil we see Him coming,
V ictorious in the sky,
W e’ll run the race with gratitude,
X alting the Most High God.
Y es, there’ll be good times and yes there will be hard times, but…
Z ion awaits in glory…where no one is ever sad…
THE ONE WHO KNEELS TO THE LORD CAN STAND UP TO ANYTHING!

 

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.28.18 Leave Everything In God’s Hands, from I LOVE PSALMS

How amazing to know and feel when we cast all our burdens and anxious thoughts to God? No matter what you face in life, never let go of God’s hands.

He is your provider! He is your Redeemer! He is your all in all!

Whatever life throws at you, it don’t matter, if we have taken and laid it to the Lord in prayer.

How wonderful we can bring all matters of life to our Creator! Only He can sustain you in all situations.

When all else fails, God doesn’t fail us! He will come to us and we can take comfort and rest in Him.

When you can’t see his plans and when you can’t trace his hand, Trust His heart!

He will never leave you lonely and empty. He will replace everything you lost. He will make peace with all the broken relationships!

If He asks you to put something down, it’s because He wants you to pick something greater and reveal His glory through you! His plans and ways are perfect!

Everything that God allows to come your way is always with a purpose. He uses even the greatest mistake and deepest pain to mold you into a better person!

He’s got you like He always do! Keep praying! Don’t quit.

Miracles happens every day!

So never stop believing and God can quickly make the biggest come back in your life! Trust Him!

All the puzzle pieces will fall in its place in His time! His hands are not too short to deliver you!

Don’t look back keep focusing and fixing your eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our Faith! Amen! God bless!

Psalm 16:8 – I have set the Lord Always before me because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved!

from I LOVE PSALMS.COM

 

 

10.21.18 when life gets a bit dark, try this secret, by Ann Voskamp

Yes, our New Orleans Saints have won 5 in a row and beat the Baltimore Ravens today.

Our quarterback, DREW BREES, threw his 500th and 501st passing touchdowns joining quarterback royalty. He’s also now had a win against every team in the league including the Saints (when he was with San Diego). We’ve got the best and we love that guy!

Now for today’s post!

When life gets a bit dark, try this secret, by Ann Voskamp

For thirty spins around the sun, these nine old nanas kept a secret from their men.

They did it in the middle of the night.

When that old ball of sun sunk down low and pulled a cover of dark up over the backside of the world, those nine nanas creaked open their back doors and made a their way through the cracked dark.

They called them Drive-Bys.

They did it because of MaMaw Ruth. I had my own Grandma Ruth; I knew about women named Ruth who make clandestine meetings with grace.

“MaMaw Ruth would read in the paper that someone had died and she didn’t have to know the family,” is what one of the Nine Nanas, Mary Ellen said. “She’d send off one of her special pound cakes. She just wanted to put a little smile on their faces.”

It was a girl’s night for Mary Ellen and her four sisters and their three girlfriends, sitting around a table reminiscing and laughing loud over old times.

“We started thinking about what we could do to make a difference like that. What if we had a million dollars? How would we spend it?’ she said.

Those nine women knew it:

We’re not here to make an impression —- we’re here to make a difference.

All from the new Thanksgiving Collection

The size of our houses, our wallets, our closets, our trophy case and our cheerleading squad doesn’t make any difference compared to the size of our hearts.

And frankly: The positions that we take don’t make a difference like the love that we give.

The positions that we take don’t make a difference like the love that we give.

We may be known for many things but we will be remembered only by one thing: our giving love.

Anyone can have any size of heart they want.

Those Nine Nanas began brainstorming around a kitchen table, and it was one of the sisters who came up with the idea: start doing their own laundry instead of using the dry cleaner. They sat there and came up with a list of scrimping and saving and shaving their lives clean.

“So among the nine of us, we’d put aside about $400 a month.” 

Then came part two of the Nine Nana Plan: How do you make a difference? You make a difference — by doing things different.

You can’t make a difference by climbing the exact same ladder everyone else, by living exactly the same as everyone else, by consuming the same, buying the same, striving the same, dreaming the same. 

You can’t make a difference until you listen to the world differently than everyone else does.

You can’t make a difference until you listen to the world differently than everyone else does.

That’s what those Nine Nanas did — they started leaning in and listening at the local beauty shop or where they picked up their groceries.

And when they heard about a widow or a single mother who was in need, guess who would anonymously pay a utility bill or buy new clothes for the children?

Those Nanas would ferret out where that hurting person lived and send a package with a note that simply read, ‘Somebody loves you’ —- and the love they sent always had to come with one of MaMaw Ruth’s special pound cakes.

In the middle of the darkest night, love is always coming for you.

In the middle of the pitch black night, those Nine Nanas drove slow through neighbourhoods looking for fans stuck in windows.

“That told us that the people who live there? Don’t have air-conditioning,” Mary Ellen said.

‘Or we see that there are no lights on at night, which means there is a good chance their utilities have been turned off. Then we return before the sun came up, like cat burglars, and drop off a little care package.’

For 35 years, these love stealthers have been breaking the dark.

35 years. 9 women. 4 am pitch black. Whipping up MaMaw Ruth’s pound cakes. Sending pound cakes all across the country to people making a difference in their community. Opening up the phone book and sending pound cakes to complete strangers.

35 years of hundreds of pound cakes delivered in the dead of night — and no one being none the wiser.

There are women who do not need to be noticed out on the street corners to have their backs patted — because there are women who know those who work in the dark are the ones shattering the dark in ways those in the spotlights never can.

There are women who work in secret because they know you always make real and giving love in secret.

There are women who don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing because hands that move unbeknownst are most known by the Beloved.

That which is done in secret, that which is broken and given in secret, is a practicing communion.

That which is done in secret, that which is broken and given in secret, is a practicing communion.

Live eucharist. Practice communion. Taste koinonia.

Mary Ellen didn’t know when her husband started puzzling over the extra mileage on the car. Didn’t know when he started scratching his head over withdrawals from their savings account of not small amounts of cash. Pulled out his highlighter and started charting a path through their confounding bank statements.

Mary Ellen and those Nine Nanas just knew they had to gather their men and ‘fess up’ to what was suspected: an affair of the heart.

It could start a revolution and change the way this world revolves: What if the world focused on affairs of the heart instead of spending our one life on business affairs?

Kiss open wounds. Caress the bruised back of the broken. Embrace suffering because this is how you embrace the broken-hearted Christ.

Frankly, though, the husbands had had it — they wanted in on the eavesdropping and the drive-bys and the night gift-blitzing the town.

They wanted in on writing down addresses and anonymously paying utility bills.

They wanted to deliver a pound cake and press beauty out of the world.

They wanted in on the giving and the getting joy, they wanted in on breaking a thread or two of themselves to weave strength and hope into where the fabric of society was weak and torn, they wanted in on breaking out of the emptiness of themselves and breaking into the fullness of koinonia and community.

Those 9 husbands looked at how their wives were breaking and giving themselves away — and they wanted to break into the happy abundance of all that.

Small gifts of kindness are contagious. Start a joy epidemic.

Sometimes….

Sometimes you just want to break out of yourself and break into the sacred space of the other. And that Sacred Space of the Other you seek is found when you give to the Other.

The Nine Nanas said that:

“This is our way of giving forward.” Mary Ellen nodded. “We want to make sure that happiness happens.”

The way forward —- is always to give forward.

The way forward —- is always to give forward.

Life happens. And grace happens. Gifts happen. Happiness can happen. Love gives. Live given.

I do this: bake pound cake.

Bake a pound cake and pound out of hopelessness.

Bake a pound cake made in any old kitchen — and bring it out into the dark and pound out of your pitch black and out of yourself and break the isolation.

Taste Koinonia in the middle of the dark.

The sun will rise.

This and so many inspirational articles can be found on Ann’s website at https://annvoskamp.com/

10.19.18 PAINT NIGHT PARTY at Trinity Baptist Church

The ladies at Trinity Baptist Church gathered for a PAINT NIGHT PARTY as part of our Women’s Ministry!  All the supplies, snacks and sandwiches were supplied!  Doesn’t get much better than that!

Our amazing professional artist and church member, Rebecca Bankston Willoughby giving us detailed instructions on how to paint our canvas, cross and angel.

Here’s the ladies who enjoyed this evening together creating cross and angel paintings, even without power for part of the evening!  That’s me in the red shirt at the table.

Here’s the young ladies that joined us.  Madisyn (my granddaughter), Mia, Gracyn and Ryleigh painted crosses and angels right along side us!

We had two choices. Either to paint a cross and angel for free and donate it to the Family Fall Festival next week where they will be sold in the “Country Store” to raise money for our kids camp.  Or we could buy our own work for $10.  Mine was so amazing (not) that I bought mine.  My angel actually looks like Cousin It from the Addams Family!

These are the ones that will be available for purchase at the Festival.

Yall come to our Family Fall Festival at Trinity Baptist Church 42062 Pumpkin Center Road, Hammond, LA and purchase a painting to benefit our kids program!

Come and join us October 28 @ 5:30 pm7:30 pm for a time of food, fun, and fellowship. We will have games, inflatables, climbing wall, cupcake walk, country store, selfie photo booth, hot dogs, face painting, trunk or treat (7:00-7:30pm) and many other fun things. There will also be a chili cook off benefiting the kids camp fund. Come and join us for this amazing event!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

 

10.14.18 Trinity Baptist Church’s 65th Anniversary Old Fashioned Sing Along

Sunday, October 14, 2018 – Last evening we were blessed to attend Trinity Baptist Church’s 65th Anniversary Old Fashioned Sing Along. I don’t have pictures of everyone who sang but I have a bunch.  I got so caught up in the music that I forgot to click that “take the picture” button on some of the singers.  The congregation sang several old hymns throughout the evening.  I love the old hymns and they made my heart smile to sing them again!

After the singing, young Gracyn Willoughby shared with me that she found my blog while searching the internet.  Seems I wrote about her cousin, Caroline doing something at our church and my blog popped up in the search. She thought that was neat so I told her I’d write about the singing event and she liked that!.

Here’s the photos of most of those who shared their love for our Lord through song.

Our choir sang two beautiful songs, led by Teddy Forrest!

Juanita Watts, such a pure clear voice singing Praises to our Lord

Wilson Watts sang two beautiful songs, while photos of Trinity members over the decades, were shown on the big screens

Mia Dixon accompanied by her dad Pastor Avery Dixon and brother Aiden Dixon

George Martin singing one of my favorites “I Can Only Imagine”  George sang that at my mama’s funeral.

Gracyn Willoughby, beautiful young voice

Raylea Willoughby – Our Ole Miss soon to be graduate and future Supreme Court Justice!!

Ms. Louise Traylor, one of our two remaining original charter members from 1953 when Trinity was formed.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!