What’s it all About?

“I go late because I don’t like the music.”
“I don’t like how our preacher seems to preach the same message every week.”
“I want to make my kids happy. They want a church with a better youth group.”

I’m pretty sure that, after decades of actively serving God, I’ve heard it all. There’s one big problem with all of these statements – the word I. Want to know a secret – that isn’t a secret? Church isn’t about us, what we want, or what we like.

I mean, seriously. Do you think every Israelite man wanted to make the trip to Jerusalem to worship as they were commanded to do? Man is the same throughout the ages, so I’m pretty comfortable saying, “No.” Some of those men didn’t want to make the trek to Jerusalem just as surely as many men today don’t want to make the trip to church on Sunday morning. So why did they go?

Because they knew it wasn’t about them, that it was about God and the worship He deserves as God. No matter how many miles they had to walk hauling livestock for sacrifice, no matter how much they hated crowds and noise, no matter how long they would have to wait in line, no matter if they knew going in that they wouldn’t enjoy themselves at all…IT WASN’T ABOUT THEM.

In 1 Cor. 12:18, we are told that God plants us in the church as He wills. We want to pick and choose our churches like we select our food at a buffet. God wants us to attend the churches He has selected for us. And yes, we may at times disagree with His choices.

We may think the church is too far away, we may not like the music at all, we may resent parents letting their kids be noisy in service, we may feel we could have found a better sermon on TV… None of that matters. What matters is that God has told us, “Here. This is your spiritual home. LIVE in it.” If He hasn’t told you that, didn’t lead you to the church you’re in, go talk to Him about it. Now.

If He did lead you to your current church, He put you there for at least one reason. Just like a good gardener studies soil content, sunlight, and other factors before setting a prized plant in the ground, God carefully selected where He planted you. If you dislike things about where you are, don’t whine about it to the other plants or, worse yet, try to dig up your own roots and move. Talk to Him about it.

You may well – probably will – be surprised by what He has to say. He may be pointing out needs in the church that He wants you to help meet. He may be working on expanding your horizons of what you like. He may point out that you don’t eat only two meals a week and shouldn’t rely strictly on your pastor for your spiritual nourishment. He might simply explain that it’s time you get over your self because church isn’t about you at all.

It’s about Him. It’s about bringing our week-wearied bodies to the sanctuary as a sacrifice of worship. It’s about lifting our hearts to Him in worship and praise whether the song is a hundred years old or ten minutes old. It’s about intentionally ignoring distractions and focusing on what He is trying to say to you – not only through the sermon, but through every part of the experience.

When we shift our focus off ourselves and whether or not someone in pre-worship fellowship took the chocolate-covered donut we wanted, and turn it to the One who is the whole reason we are on this planet in the first place, our walks with God will change radically.

THAT is what it’s all about!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

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Is That Legal?

The answer is, “Yes.”

It’s also a gift from God that the devil has done his best/worst with to make Christians stay away from it.

It’s CBD oil, and before you get antsy let me say that, if you’ll ask my husband’s primary care, he will be delighted to tell you that Jack has come off several medications since we put him on it. CBD (cannabidiol) is a tremendously beneficial part of cannabis plants (Yes, hemp and marijuana are both cannabis). It is NOT THC, which is the part of marijuana that makes you high; and CBD oils contain no more than trace elements of THC. CBD counteracts THC, so those traces can’t affect you. And, again, it is legal throughout the US. I first picked it up in the health food store down the street from my house.

I’ve been considering blogging about it for a while, because of the tremendous strides Jack has made medically in the past year or so that he’s been on it. I kept putting it off, but then our local health food store went out of business. (Where’s that eyes-wide-open emoji?!)

That was when I realized just how serious I am about it. I am careful about all of his prescription medications, and I consider this to be every bit as important as the ones the doctors have put him on. I’m not kidding, people. He’s come off of blood pressure medications, Metformin, Humalog, and an antidepressant triad he was on. Yes, he’s still on several medications, but he is doing better than he has in many years. In fact, he recently started occupational therapy again with a therapist he used two years ago, and she is completely blown away by where he is today; it’s like she’s working with a totally different man.

So, when the store I’ve been going to closed down, I got online and started researching – to find that the CBD world is huge and can be terribly confusing. I have a budget, and some of the great oils I found are totally outside of it. I finally narrowed my options down and researched a few specific companies before settling on one that offers not only what looks like an excellent CBD oil that meets my quality criteria, but several very promising CBD-based products as well. I placed my first order yesterday and we shall see.

This company, CTFO, also offers a unique opportunity – the chance to sign up as either a customer or associate for free while (as either) earning commissions on the purchases of those you refer. I’ve been referring people to my local store for years and benefitting nothing but satisfaction, so I decided I might as well to refer them to “me” now. If you’re interested, just click the link below and check it out.

http://tammycardwell.myctfocbd.com/

I’m so happy I found this company, and look forward to seeing even more improvement in Jack since it appears that this oil is considerably better, even, than what we’ve been taking (Yes, me too. I started taking it for brain fog when I realized how much more clearly he was thinking.). I’ll keep you posted!

VITALLY IMPORTANT: I AM NOT MAKING ANY MEDICAL CLAIMS!!!! All I’m doing is telling you what CBD has done for Jack. There is always a possibility that his dramatic improvement in so many areas could be a result of something else. I’m guessing you know how likely his PCP and I believe that to be.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Airing Dirty Laundry

If you’ve never hung clean laundry out to air dry in the sun, you’ve missed a unique satisfaction. As a kid, few things were as pleasant as the smell of clothing and sheets that had just come down from the line. Everything was crisp and obviously clean and fresh. I loved it.

With this in mind, I can’t currently think of anything less satisfying that air drying, or airing, dirty laundry. First, I’d never want the neighbors to see me doing anything so foolish. Second, WHY?! Pulling it off that line would give something far from the satisfaction I got from pulling clean laundry, and even as I took it down I would know my work had just doubled or worse: Dirty laundry that has been aired is even harder to get clean because all the dirt, soil, and stains are baked in.

The same holds true on social media. It seems to me that airing our dirty laundry has become the order of the day, and I find it appalling on many levels. It flat out makes the person doing the talking look foolish and wrong, especially if later on it turns out the facts weren’t quite as they thought. Even worse, though, it can completely destroy relationships that could have been saved if the parties had come together instead of one or both airing their problems in public. And for the Christian? Frankly, it’s dangerous.

God’s Word presents the concepts of love and forgiveness repeatedly, and love in particular is something I think we truly don’t understand. One line that took me years to comprehend is, “Love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)

The full verse is this: “And above all things, have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins.’”

Who is He talking to here?

Christians.

What is He saying?

Our brothers and sisters in Christ WILL sin. They WILL do us wrong. They WILL make mistakes. They ARE NOT PERFECT no matter how much anyone thinks they should be. (The absurd belief that Christians should be perfect is fodder for another post!)

What else is He saying?

It is our responsibility to LOVE ANYWAY. It’s our responsibilty to cover their mistakes and, yes, even their sins, with love.

Example: When, as a young wife, I felt my husband had done me wrong, I did NOT go running to my mother to tell her all about it. I chose not to because I knew he loved me and I didn’t want to say something to her that would ruin his reputation where she was concerned. Instead, I took our issues to God and we dealt with things privately.

God IS love, and He expects us to work on becoming more like Him all the time. He doesn’t just ask us to love one another; He commands it. As Christians, when we’ve got a load of dirty laundry, we are responsible for making the right decision on how to handle it. Tossing it out to bake in the light of public opinion pretty much guarantees it will never be cleaned and the damage will become permanent. It is the exact opposite of what Scripture commands, and it makes us look bad as individuals and reflects poorly on the community we live in, the church.

Let’s trying cleaning it instead.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Road Closed

This has been my view several times a week for months. MONTHS! At first I thought they were allowing time for the concrete at the other end of the road to cure, then I thought they were waiting on the lights to be installed, then…

It’s been like this – just like this – for…again, I say…months. It’s paved. It’s striped. It’s got lights ready and waiting at the other end. Only God knows why this road is still closed. It’s that way in life, too. How many times have I been at a crossroads, looking at a path that was obviously ready to be traveled except for one thing – God’s great big “Road Closed” sign?Why? What reason could He have for keeping me away from that particular path? Only He knows, in truth, but I’ve learned to trust that He inevitably has a better plan in mind, a better road for me to follow. If He wants a road to stay closed, so do I. (I’m still not sure about what the city or whoever is doing here, though.)Celebrating Jesus!Tammy C

Hard to Kill

I don’t know much about palms, so when I saw how hard this one had been hit by a freeze I was concerned. A friend assured me that sago palms are hard to kill, and it would be fine. Sure enough, I noticed this past week that all this new growth had burst forth seemingly overnight.

Children of God are much like this. We’ll be hit with bad weather, and even hard freezes. There will be times in our lives when someone looking on from the outside might think we are done for, ready to be dug up and tossed. The Master Gardener knows better. He nurtures us and, sooner or later, we’ll have a burst of new life. We’re hard to kill.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

A True Gentleman

A young man I know was raised to believe a true gentleman opens the door for his wife. We laugh at times, when she is about to walk through a door with him near and we hear, “Wait,” but though I chuckle on occasion I find it precious and appreciate it as a woman.

Today in prayer, God told me to pay attention to them, that I can learn from them. I’ve been praying about a specific thing, you see, and today He told me it’s right outside the door. “When do I walk through the door?” I asked.

“When I open it for you,” He answered. “Wait for me, because you are my bride and I am a true gentleman.”

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C

Small Beginnings

There’s nothing like going public to keep you aware of what you need to be doing. Right?

Until this week, i have done nothing – no exercise – since the 5K. Honestly, i really hadn’t been doing much before, either. That has GOT to change.

I have two motivators.

Jack. I love my husband, and it’s a good thing i do because we’ve had a rough eight years and every one of the medical problems we’ve dealt with has been a direct result of his refusal to take care of himself. I don’t want anyone having to take care of me like I’ve had to care for him. Developing plantar fasciitis because you’re having to transfer a wheelchair-bound man? Seriously not cool. Thank God he’s doing so very much better; it’s taken WORK. Again, i don’t want anyone to have to work like this for me, especially not as a result of my own thoughtless actions.

God. He’s been on me a lot lately about stewardship. In the Word, my body is referred to as the Temple of the Holy Ghost. I’ve heard that verse quoted myriad times over the years, so many times it almost sounds cliche. But here’s reality. It’s true. God entrusted me with this body and He expects me to take good care of it. I haven’t been.

Starting now, i am going to do better.

My current goals are small, but I’ve learned that small beginnings are the ones you’re most likely to make. Here’s to walking into a healthy future.

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C