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Why can't all followers of Jesus just come together around scripture?

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.


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Unpainted Toes and Other Ways to Suffer in Prayer

Did you click on my post because of the title?  Give me a minute and I’ll explain.

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.

Fasting is a Spiritual discipline that I am interested in but am NOT an expert on.  From what I understand in scripture, people withheld food from themselves in order to pray.  I guess there is something about suffering that focuses the mind, and lets Jesus know that you are serious.

But couldn’t fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray?  Does it have to be just food?  Several years ago a beloved uncle was in the throws of cancer.  He was riddled with it,  and there was nothing left to do but pray.  I found myself forgetting to remember him on certain days that I was consumed with my job and life. I DIDN’T WANT TO FORGET!   So I devised a plan.  I stopped painting my toenails.  Hear me out y’all.  In my part of Texas we wear sandals all the way up until winter.  When I look at my toes, it makes me happy to see shiny, bright colors staring back at me.  When they are not painted I cringe.  (I know some of you are laughing…me too)  These unpolished toes reminded me to pray.  Not only that, but it reminded me that while I was living a perfectly healthy life, someone I loved was in agony.

Couldn't fasting be any pleasure we voluntarily abstain from in order to pray? How about unpainted toenails? Free printable with out of the box fasting ideas.

 

And now, another person I love is in agony over an ongoing job situation.   I should be praying for him daily, but I became frustrated when my prayers seemed tiny and brief.  I wanted my prayers to be as big, and bold as my love.  So I devised another fast,  especially for this situation.  I will continue this fast until a conclusion is reached.  Since this fast is current, I will keep it private for now.

Jesus gave specific  instructions for fasting.

 “And when you fast, don’t make it obvious, as the hypocrites do, for they try to look miserable and disheveled so people will admire them for their fasting. I tell you the truth, that is the only reward they will ever get. But when you fast, comb your hair and wash your face.  Then no one will notice that you are fasting, except your Father, who knows what you do in private. And your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.   Matthew 6:16-18 NLT

Did you notice that Jesus says WHEN YOU FAST.  Not IF you fast.

Other ideas for long term fasting are:  television, computer, phone activity (you could use it just to take calls),  coffee (taking it black when you don’t usually would be a great fast), sodas,  makeup, jeans, earrings, nail polish, even taking a different out of the way route home from work would be a great reminder to pray.  Anything that could purposely cause you inconvenience.   And by the way, if you recoiled when you read one of these ideas, and said to yourself you could never give up that particular item…I hate to tell you, but THAT’S the one you should go for first!  It’s all about suffering y’all.  Click here for Long Term Fasting Ideas printable PDF.

All of the above are long term fasts.  There are times when immediate abstaining from food fasts are more appropriate.  Big decisions, upcoming surgeries, safe travels, marriages are a few examples.  In scripture there were times when fasting was done with a group.  Once my sister and I fasted and prayed for a immediate need in her family.  And on a side note, EVERY time I have abstained from food to pray I have received deep, powerful insights from the Holy Spirit.  He is working with you, n sync with you while you suffer in prayer…bringing your groans to the Father.  (Romans 8)

Be creative with your fasting y’all.  Think outside of the box and become powerful prayer warriors.  Blessings!

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The Internet makes it so easy to give to those in need and so fulfill scripture. Read more about why I donate to GOFUNDME, and my outside of the box giving strategy. Millennials who do not go to church, but follow Jesus, should consider these ideas.


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Why I Donate to GOFUNDME

Christianity and Culture:  Online Giving

The Internet makes it so easy to give to those in need and so fulfill scripture. Read more about why I donate to GOFUNDME, and my outside of the box giving strategy. Millennials who do not go to church, but follow Jesus, should consider these ideas.

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This is why I give …

The thief must no longer steal. Instead, he must do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. Ephesians 4:28 HCSB

Look y’all, this scripture has a cause and effect conjunction clause right in the middle.

The Internet makes it so easy to give to those in need and so fulfill scripture. Read more about why I donate to GOFUNDME, and my outside of the box giving strategy. Millennials who do not go to church, but follow Jesus, should consider these ideas.

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Work to make money…SO THAT you can give to those in need.

The Internet makes following this verse so easy with GOFUNDME and other organizations who take donations online.  In case you were wondering…I only give to those connected with someone I know.  And I only give to those in a real pinch.  And we always discuss and pray before we give because it needs to be God moving us.  Also we give anonymously to fulfill these words of Jesus…

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get.  But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.  Matthew 6:1-4 NLT

To let you in on our family giving strategy… we do not give our entire tithe to the local church, a portion goes into a special account at our bank,  set aside especially to fulfill this verse.    Maintaining a special account for this purpose leaves us ready to give at a moment’s notice.  Of course we don’t just give to one organization, but GOFUNDME came through for us several years ago when we were in Cambodia, desperate for funds after my son’s motorcycle accident.

One last thing for you millennials who don’t go to church anymore, but still have strong faith.  Just because you don’t drop your tithe in a collection plate, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be generous with your money.  In fact, I am praying that you find your own personal way to show your love for Jesus with your salary.   Use your imagination, and go forth…

The Internet makes it so easy to give to those in need and so fulfill scripture. Read more about why I donate to GOFUNDME, and my outside of the box giving strategy. Millennials who do not go to church, but follow Jesus, should consider these ideas.i love 2

Pictures:  +Ready to transport our son after his motorcycle accident in Cambodia. (scary times), ++A closeup of a hay bale.  Dale spend one summer stacking hay bales at my uncle’s ranch in Montana.  +++Houston skyline through the windshield of the car.  Perfect for representing wealth.

 

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Disappointed? Life not turning out quite like you planned? Heed this warning y'all! Be careful what you do next.


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Disappointed? Be Careful What You Do Next

Many people I love have suffered deep, crippling disappointments in life.  I have too.

Disappointment makes us feel like road kill on the side of the highway.  It leaves a scent that calls to the vultures of the spiritual world.   They nip at faith.  They feast on doubts.  They rip.  They lie.  But these spiritual vultures will quickly take flight when the disappointed sit up and show life.

Disappointed? Life not turning out quite like you planned? Heed this warning y'all! Be careful what you do next.

Heed this warning y’all.  Don’t linger in despair.  Don’t find comfort in misery.  Yes, life takes its turns.  It  surprises.  It horrifies.  It doesn’t quite turn out the way you envision.  But God promises that that the life He gives you will be full.  He promises peace.  How?  Through prayers.  Through THANKSGIVING.   When we are fighting off those vultures, it’s hard to focus on anything but self preservation.  Thanksgiving helps you to see God.  You have to purposely thank Him for your blessings in order to receive peace.  Scripture says so.

Disappointed? Life not turning out quite like you planned? Heed this warning y'all! Be careful what you do next.

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And that’s what we need… a guarded heart while we live.  And let’s LIVE y’all!

Blessings, Alice

Watch my video about the time we were disappointed with the loss of a job.

Pictures:  +  My small next door neighbor was outside all day celebrating his third birthday and playing with his new airplane.    ++ Taken from the car window in New Mexico on a road trip.

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Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are taking their faith very seriously? And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage...to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth. Their goal...to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity. Find out how a white cross in my community caused a peaceful protest.


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The White Cross. What a Peaceful Community Protest Means to Me.

I would love for you to watch my video before you read my post.  Go walking with me beside the Sabine Lake on the Texas coast.  Find out what my story about weed-whacking has to do with the white cross and what it means to me.

Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are  taking their faith very seriously?  And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage…to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth.  Their goal…to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity.  In their minds, Jesus followers are not only gullible, and stupid, but are  dangerous to the future of society.  Therefore, there are active campaigns all over the Internet with very logical, intelligent sounding discussions, refuting that beautiful name of Jesus.

Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are taking their faith very seriously? And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage...to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth. Their goal...to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity. Find out how a white cross in my community caused a peaceful protest.

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There is an organized society called Freedom From Religion,  that has taken it upon themselves to make sure all religious icons are removed from public property.  In one of our local parks, a white cross has stood for 45 years.  This atheist organization is pressuring the city to remove it.  Our community has responded by posting white crosses in our front yards as a peaceful protest to this request, thanks to an area business that gives these crosses out free.  I took a walk on my street and took a picture of all the crosses just on my one street.  This silent protest is happening throughout my community.

Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are taking their faith very seriously? And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage...to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth. Their goal...to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity. Find out how a white cross in my community caused a peaceful protest.

Let me tell you what the white cross in my yard means to me.

I believe that more than just torture and death happened on that cross.   Yes, it hurt physically.  Yes.  But there was something else at work there.  A burden was borne.  A great weight.  As if every man, woman, and child climbed on His bleeding back.  And once He steadied Himself with the heaviness of the world, He noticed He was alone.

Alone.

Hell.

For isn’t hell the absence of God?

This is what I believe was happening in the garden.  Not just distress over the coming pain, but absolute anguish of even one moment without His Father.  Crushed with grief over this death for billions.  Grief experienced without the tiniest fragment of sin.  Pure, beautiful, agonizing submission to His Father’s will.

The scriptures say that His Father heard His prayer in the garden, and an angel was dispatched to strengthen His son.  Have you ever wondered how the Savior of the world gets strengthened?  This is my imagination at work y’all, but I think the angels showed Jesus family pictures.

Of you.

Because after all, this cross was all about love.

Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are taking their faith very seriously? And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage...to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth. Their goal...to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity. Find out how a white cross in my community caused a peaceful protest.

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 What we do see is Jesus, who for a little while was given a position “a little lower than the angels”; and because he suffered death for us, he is now “crowned with glory and honor.” Yes, by God’s grace, Jesus tasted death for everyone.  God, for whom and through whom everything was made, chose to bring many children into glory. And it was only right that he should make Jesus, through his suffering, a perfect leader, fit to bring them into their salvation. Hebrews 2:9-10 NLT

Did you know there is a growing number of atheists who are taking their faith very seriously? And there are some passionate among the unbelievers who are using the media to their best advantage...to actively engage the world in this gospel of untruth. Their goal...to rid the world of the scourge of Christianity. Find out how a white cross in my community caused a peaceful protest.

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 Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.  Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. Hebrews 2:14-15 NLT

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Pictures:  + the controversial white cross found in one of our local parks, ++my bridal veil bush that is in full bloom.  This bush only blooms for a couple of weeks and then it is gone until next year.

Please click the DEEPER Bible study guide below or the side menu link to sign up for emails from Sanctified Tourist and receive PDF files like the DEEPER Bible study guide, to use in your pursuit of the spiritual disciplines. They will be delivered to you in a Welcome Letter. Sanctified Tourist publishes once a week and also sends a monthly newsletter at the beginning of the month. My newsletter will include friendly inspirations and personal updates on our move to Cambodia. I know your in-box is already crammed full of messages, but hopefully you will look forward getting emails from from Sanctified Tourist.

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Profanity on Christian blogs is a cultural trend that I want to make a comment on. This post is about Jesus followers...His teachers... the ones He has sent out... who deliberately chose their words and type them on the page. Then when editing, they say to themselves, "This is a good idea. I think these words will make my point."


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Since When is #@%! Holy? Profanity and the Christian Blogger

Jesus and Culture:  Profanity and the Christian Blogger

First of all, let me assure you that I have had my moments.  In a fit of anger I had said some not so pretty words, usually to my husband.  Those days, thankfully, have passed, but just so you know that this post is not about throwing out a few salty words as punctuation to overflowing emotion and then being regretful afterwards.  This post is about Jesus followers…His teachers… the ones He has sent out… who deliberately chose their words and typed them on the page.  Then when editing, they say to themselves, “This is a good idea.  I think these words will make my point.”Profanity on some Christian blogs is a cultural trend that I want to make a comment on. This post is about Jesus followers...His teachers... the ones He has sent out... who deliberately chose their words and type them on the page. Then when editing, they say to themselves, "This is a good idea. I think these words will make my point."

My Christian Alma mater sends out a quarterly alumni magazine and I noticed that a popular blogger (that I was not familiar with) had come to speak on blogging in today’s culture.  So naturally, I went to her blog to see what she had to say.  The current blog post was a rant about people who had annoyed her with stupid questions about a family activity.  At some point she felt it necessary to capitalize HOLY S***. to let the reader know, without a doubt, she was MAD.  I had assumed she was a Christian because of the title of her blog.  Y’all, after picking my jaw off of the floor, I went to investigate her ABOUT page.  Yes, she is a Christian…her husband is a pastor.  And this is not an isolated incident.  I have observed other Christian bloggers with just as much profanity.  I guess they are attempting to be relevant.

I have two points to make about this.

Teachers are Held to a Higher Standard

I think some have forgotten this verse.  Maybe their version of God is different than mine.  But from what I read in scripture, God is pretty serious about being represented well.

Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. James 3:1 NLT

This one statement should cause all Christian bloggers to pray passionately before hitting the publish button.  The theme of this passage is taming the tongue.  In essence our keyboard is our tongue. Maybe you would like to read all of James 3 here.

It is possible that this blogger’s overall theme does not involve teaching.  That her select audience is clicking to be entertained not led in deep discussion.  Christians that find themselves in the national spotlight, like the Robertson family from Duck Dynasty, or Candace Cameron from The View, are also entertaining the masses, but make no mistake they too are actively teaching the world what a Christian walk looks like.  If you have confessed to belong to Jesus in your Bio, then you are a Christian blogger.

It is impossible to write a blog without teaching.   We are light.

 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! James 3:10 NLT

I am sure I will not convince some of you that this is a big deal.  I am sure some will mark me down as out of touch.  But I can’t help myself y’all, it’s the mission of this blog to encourage holiness within our culture.

And speaking of holy…

#$%!  is NOT holy, God is!

I have heard the word Holy put in front of many not so nice words, even in front of hell itself.  It’s the culture y’all.

Profanity on Christian blogs is a cultural trend I want to make a comment on. This post is about Jesus followers...His teachers... the ones He has sent out... who deliberately chose their words and type them on the page. Then when editing, they say to themselves, "This is a good idea. I think these words will make my point."

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Maybe culture needs a review of what holiness is.  How about… perfection beyond comprehension, or purity beyond imagination?  It is the first name of the Holy Spirit.  He is what makes us holy and sanctified.  When Christians use holy in an unholy manner are they misunderstanding the Spirit within them?  Are they disregarding the unseen world, the heavenly places?  Just because we can’t see the invisible doesn’t mean our words are not effecting the unseen. I am just speculating y’all, but wouldn’t calling poop holy be an anti-prayer…the opposite of the living beings in heaven singing,” Holy, Holy, Holy?”

In the center and around the throne were four living beings, each covered with eyes, front and back. The first of these living beings was like a lion; the second was like an ox; the third had a human face; and the fourth was like an eagle in flight.  Each of these living beings had six wings, and their wings were covered all over with eyes, inside and out. Day after day and night after night they keep on saying,

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God, the Almighty—the one who always was, who is, and who is still to come.” Revelation 4:6-8  NLT

Profanity on Christian blogs is a cultural trend I want to make a comment on. This post is about Jesus followers...His teachers... the ones He has sent out... who deliberately chose their words and type them on the page. Then when editing, they say to themselves, "This is a good idea. I think these words will make my point."

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I would love to hear back from you on this subject.  Have you run across profanity from Christian bloggers?  Does it bother you like it does me?

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Pictures:  +  a forlorn looking gate to the entrance of an old oil refinery that is no longer standing. Located on the Neches River in Texas.  ++original picture of the sun setting taken on my way home from Houston through the front windshield of the passenger side.  It was HUGE that day.  +++ taken inside the chapel at my Alma mater.  Many couples love to use this chapel to get married because of the exquisite stained glass.

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