Jesus' "Best Man"

Jesus' "Best Man"

jesusbestmantitleIN ANCIENT Jewish tradition, there was a specific order things were done. First, a covenant was made between the groom and the prospective bride’s father. Then the groom left the betrothed for an unspecified period of time, while he prepared a place for him and his bride to live. When it was ready was determined not by the groom but by his father. When all was ready, the father would tell the son, “Go and get your bride!”
Before Jesus was taken up to heaven, he told his disciples, “I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go, I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am, you may be also.” (John 14:3)
Now, an interesting thing happened when the place was ready. The bridegroom returned for his bride, often in the middle of the night when she was not expecting him. His best man came with him and announced the groom’s arrival with a blast of the trumpet and calling out to the bride. He would call her name and make her aware that the time was NOW!
What will happen when JESUS returns for His Bride, the Church? He will be accompanied by His best man, the archangel, Michael. 1 Thessalonians 4:16 says “The Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trump of God.”
So who is this archangel? The only archangel spoken of in the Bible is Michael, and he has several duties. One such duty is to stand up for the people of Israel, as Daniel was told by An Angel when he met him on the riverbank in Babylon. He is the General of the Armies of God, and a mighty warrior. He is referred to by name three times in the Bible, and the last time is during the end times.
Here’s the thing. Since there is only one archangel, then it must be Michael who returns with Jesus to gather His bride unto Himself so that we may be where He is. What will Michael shout? Perhaps he will call us each by name, announcing that our Groom, our Lord, has returned for us. Will you be ready?

How to Pick a Dog Breed

How to Pick a Dog BreedI admit it.

I’m somewhat of a breed snob.  I prefer a purebred over a mixed breed, although I have shared my life with several mixed breeds that I loved deeply. There are so many interesting and intelligent breeds and I wish I could own them all! But how do you figure out how to pick a dog breed that’s right for your family?

I have a special way of going about finding a dog, when I’m in the market, which happens about every seven toimage ten years. We like to keep two dogs, an older one and a younger one, and right now we have a Miniature Pinscher and a Toy Australian Shepherd, respectively. Mac, the Pinscher, is a rescue that we got when we came back from living in Ukraine a little over seven years ago. We originally rescued a pair; our older female, Tosh, passed on two years ago. (Did you notice their names were Mac and Tosh?)  We bought Bella, the Aussie, when she was just eight weeks old. (Update: Bella went on to the great beyond in 2016. She was just three years old, and died from lymphoma. I really miss her!)

Here’s how we go about it when we want to pick a dog breed we’d like to own.

First we spend a lot of time just looking at diffimageerent breeds on the Internet or in books, and if possible, take in a dog show or (preferably) an agility trial or two. The shows allow us to see many dogs close up and talk to their owners about the breeds. Then we make a list. Here are the questions you want to know:
1. How does this breed do with kids (if you have them in your life)?
2. How much room does this breed require? Could it live in an apartment if that’s where you live?image
3. How much exercise does it need? Are a couple of daily walks enough? Daily runs?
4. How destructive is the breed when left alone? Does it need companionship, and if so, could a cat work?
5. How is the dog with other animals?
6. How is the dog with strangers? Is it protective of its family? Would it be likely to bite a stranger?
7. Does this breed bark a lot? Dig? Climb fences (yes, some breeds are champion climbers!)?
8. How much grooming is involved, and could you do it, or would a professional be necessary?
9. What and how often does the  breed need to be fed? Twice a day? Three times?
10. How easily is this breed trained? Would it require a professional trainer?

Make a list.

Now, armed with the answers to the breeds you liked most, make a new list. On this one, you are going to rank those factors in terms of importance to you, and assign each a value. For instance, if you have children in your life, being good with kids will rank higher than grooming. Give double points for those things you will not compromise on. For me, it’s biting. I will not own a dog that bites, no matter what the provocation. I have grandchildren, and my dogs must be willing to tolerate little ones poking and prodding, as small children invariably do.
Once you’ve tallied up the points on each breed, you can begin to see which one is more likely to fit within your lifestyle. As we’ve gotten older and no longer have kids at home, I have more time for grooming and training, so those elements are not as important as they were when my kids still lived at home.
Follow this method and you can be sure that the breed you pick will be one you can live with. Disclaimer: individual dogs within a breed are different from each other, and there is always the off chance that you might get a dog that doesn’t fit the stereotype of his breed. So remember: when you get a dog, you are making a commitment to him for his lifetime, not just until you lose interest or he becomes more of a chore than you expected. If that’s where you are, please… Get a hobby instead!
 

Christian Passover Decorating!

Christian Passover Decorating!

I’VE JUST about driven myself mad trying to find the perfect, affordable way to decorate for our Seder on Passover. The problem is, there are so many ideas out there! I’m going to post a few links so you can go see for yourself, but I want to describe my table, too. (I’ll post pictures from the Seder on April 4th.) It is surely a challenge to find Christian Passover decorating!
First, I got a blue, round table cloth to fit our table. Then I bought white, round placemats to put at each place. My tableware will be my mom’s beautiful floral pieces, which are mostly pink and white, but I plan to tie it in by having a pink floral centerpiece. Next, two tall white candles, as tradition dictates. My Seder plate is one that I made myself, and is a pizza pan decoupaged with the pages of an old hymnal. The cups for the traditional foods are plastic in a floral edged shape (again, round). Instead of having just one egg on the plate, though, I’ve decoupaged white ceramic eggs with the same sheet music the tray is made from. Each person gets to keep his egg, rather than eating a roasted, boiled egg. (It is symbolic, after all!) Because our Sacrificial Lamb was slain 2,000 years ago and we no longer sacrifice lambs for the forgiveness of sins, we’ve chosen to place a wooden cross where the lamb’s shank bone would have been. (My husband’s idea!)
Anyway, here are a few places to give you some inspiration, and as I said, I’ll post pictures of our own Seder the next day.
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Martha Stewart
E-How.com
PopSugar
Table Setting Ideas

The Parable of the Blessing

imageJESUS SAT with his disciples on a hillside, teaching the crowds. There were about 5,000 men there, plus women and children. Altogether, the crowd could easily have been 15,000 or more. It was late, and they were some distance from the nearest town. Jesus had been teaching all day, and it was getting later by the minute. The disciples suggested that Jesus send the people away so that they could buy food, but the Lord said, “You give them something to eat.”
Unprepared to feed the multitude, the disciples wanted to take stock of what they had to eat, so they could bless the people. While they pondered the situation, Jesus caught the eye of a young lad with some food wrapped in a cloth. He smiled gently at the boy, and the lad looked quickly away. He had heard the disciples and knew there was no food to feed the crowd. He ducked his head and his cheeks grew red. If he gave his meal up, who would have enough to eat? There wouldn’t be enough for two, much less the thousands gathered on the hillside. So he kept his head down and refused to look again at the teacher.
To be sure, the boy had heard of the miraculous signs the teacher had done. In fact, he had actually seen somebody healed. But what had that to do with his lunch? Still the boy refused to look up.
Then he heard the disciples say, “Here, Lord. There was a lad with a few fish and loaves, but what is that among so many?” The boy looked up in surprise and saw the teacher’s face looking sadly at him. Then his eyes turned away from the startled lad’s face, and he saw the teacher look kindly at another boy, who was holding out his own measly lunch to the Lord.
“Have the people sit down in groups of fifty,” said Jesus. The boy sat with the nearest group. Soon baskets were being passed around, and one came near him. To his amazement, the baskets were full of fish and bread. His own lunch looked so small in comparison to what was being passed around.
He looked up at Jesus. The teacher’s eyes were looking directly at him, and the lad knew that Jesus could read the intent of his heart. A single tear slid down his face as the boy took a bite out of his own fish and bread. He was sure that the loaves and fishes in the baskets, while no different than his by sight, were much better. For they had been blessed by the Lord. Then he remembered what he had heard Jesus say once before. “It is better,” he said, “to give than receive.” Then before the basket could be passed on, he dropped what little he had brought into it, thankful that he could be a part of the blessing.

Coping With Stress And Anxiety

stress and anxietyFeeling stressed or anxious?

These strategies will help you cope:
Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn’t possible, be proud of however close you get.
Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.
Fitness Tips: Stay Healthy, Manage Stress
For the biggest benefits of exercise, try to include at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity physical activity (e.g. brisk walking) each week, 1¼ hours of a vigorous-intensity activity (such as jogging or swimming laps), or a combination of the two.
5 X 30: Jog, walk, bike, or dance three to five times a week for 30 minutes.
Set small daily goals and aim for daily consistency rather than perfect workouts. It’s better to walk every day for 15-20 minutes than to wait until the weekend for a three-hour fitness marathon. Lots of scientific data suggests that frequency is most important.
Find forms of exercise that are fun or enjoyable. Extroverted people often like classes and group activities. People who are more introverted often prefer solo pursuits.
Distract yourself with an iPod or other portable media player to download audiobooks, podcasts, or music. Many people find it’s more fun to exercise while listening to something they enjoy.
Recruit an “exercise buddy.” It’s often easier to stick to your exercise routine when you have to stay committed to a friend, partner, or colleague.
Be patient when you start a new exercise program. Most sedentary people require about four to eight weeks to feel coordinated and sufficiently in shape so that exercise feels easier.
 
Taken from Anxiety and Depression Association of America