Sunday, April 23, 2017

Amazing Grace ~~ Grace Greater Than All Sins

God's grace is not an excuse to sin, but rather a reason to love and serve Him more faithfully.

We hear the word grace a lot. There are hymns that we sing about grace: "Amazing Grace", "He Giveth More Grace", "Grace is Flowing", "Wonderful Grace of Jesus", and so on. Well what exactly is grace? Grace is unmerited favor. Perhaps you may know someone that has shown you grace. I can't think of a better person who shows endless grace than our Lord. None of us deserve grace -  we are all sinful human beings greatly in need of a gracious Saviour. But God did send His only Son, Jesus, to earth to be the payment for the sins of all mankind. He's our great Saviour! God shows grace to every person on earth by not doing to them what justice would require. By way of example, if you were to go 70 mph in a 20 mph school zone, you would be expected to go to court. A judge would be present and you, as the guilty person, would have a chance to defend yourself. It would be silly to say to the judge, "Judge, I know I went speeding through that school zone when the lights were blinking and buses were dropping children off at school, but I don't steal or murder. I'm a pretty good law abiding citizen. Please excuse my speeding, and let me go free without paying any fines." Well, justice would require that you pay an exorbitant fine, and if this was your second or third time committing this offense, you may even lose your license. Of course the judge would not just excuse your inexcusable and reckless driving. He would declare you as guilty. Imagine, then, that another person steps up and says, "Judge, I will pay the penalty for this person." You would be freed from condemnation and declared innocent. In a similar way, we are all like that person who broke the law. Romans 3:23 says, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" We will all stand in front of the perfect and holy judge one day, and it will be too late to receive grace from Him. No one will be able to say, "I've kept the ten commandments, I've helped communities of people in Africa, and I've given thousands of dollars to notable charities." God will not say, "Okay, you were a really good person. Go ahead and enter into heaven." No! Justice would require that the sinner pay for his/her sins by spending eternity separated from God in Hell. No matter what you have done in the past, your good works cannot and will not save you. But there is good news! Just like that person in the story who paid your fines for speeding, Jesus did the same thing for all of us. He died on the cross and offers free salvation to everyone who is willing to accept it. Ephesians 2:8-9 states, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Jesus became sin for us, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."
 If you accept God's grace and salvation now, one day when God is judging everyone, you'll be able to enter into Heaven and spend eternity with Him because your debts have been paid in full by the blood of the perfect, sacrificial Lamb. There's no one righteous enough on this earth to earn God's love and grace by doing any amount of good works. That's why He had to send His spotless Son as the payment for our sins. And because God has extended His grace to us, Christians should find that reason enough to love and serve Him even more. 
You may have heard this song before, but I think it's fitting for this post. 
"Paid In Full". If video doesn't load, click here


Here's a short little video I thought you would enjoy called "The Good-O-Meter." :) If video does not load, click here.
Remaining faithful in the Savior,
Ashley


Sunday, April 16, 2017

We Serve a Risen Saviour

I serve a risen Savior
He's in the world today. 
I know that He is living, 
Whatever men may say. 
I see His hand of mercy;
I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him
He's always near. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. 
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! 
You ask me how I know He lives? 
He lives within my heart. 

In all the world around me 
I see His loving care, 
And though my heart grows weary, 
I never will despair;
I know that He is leading,
Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing 
Will come at last. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! 
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way. 
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! 
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart. 

Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian,
Life up your voice and sin
Eternal hallelujahs to Jesus Christ the King!
The hope of all who seek Him,
The help of all who find, 
None other is so loving, 
So good and kind. 

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? 
He lives within my heart. 

This song is such a great reminder that we love and serve a Saviour who has risen and is alive! Romans 1:3-4 "Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:"

1 Corinthians 15:13-20
"But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept." 

Because Jesus conquered death by rising on the third day, our faith has a solid foundation. 

Isaiah 25:8 "He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away off all the earth: for the Lord hath spoken it." 

Isaiah 53:12 "Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." 

Romans 5:10 "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."

1 Corinthians 5:21- "For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead." The first Adam sinned and now death has been passed upon all men. The second Adam, Christ, brought life by rising from the dead. Alleluia!  And one day, death will be destroyed and life will reign for ever because Jesus Christ is eternal. 
1 Corinthians 15:26 "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."

1 Corinthians 15:54-56 "So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grace, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

We have a sweet promise in Revelation chapter 1 that says the Lord is he that liveth, and was dead; and now he is alive for evermore. 

Hope you had a blessed resurrection Easter Sunday as we rejoice in the living Lord! 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

New Baby Ducks

A happy hello to you, friends! 
Guess what? We have some new pets at our house...4 of the cutest, 
fluffiest ducklings! 


A sweet lady gave them to us today along with a baby pool, and it's such 
fun to watch them play in the water. I held my finger over the water
hose and sprayed it into the pool. One baby duck in particular
sat down under the spraying water and tried to drink it...oh, it was so cute
to watch. {smiles} Here's a couple videos of them playing in the pool. 
video
If you're viewing this on email and videos don't appear, 
video
I'll share more pictures of them in the future as they grow.  :) 

Hope you have a godly, fantastic day! 

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

A Sweet Little Tea Cup Exchange

A cheery hello to you!
Stephanie from the Enchanting Rose blog hosted the tea cup and mug exchange last month, and my mother, sister, and I  had the pleasure of being a part of it. :) Through the exchange, you have the opportunity to make two new friends by sending a tea cup or mug package to one person, and a different person sends a tea cup or mug package to you. A dear girl, Janae, whom I have had the pleasure of writing, was so sweet and sent me the most loveliest box of items...

Isn't the tea cup lovely? I've never seen one quite like it before. Not only is it dishwasher safe, but it's also microwave and oven safe. :) 

I want to say thank you to Stephanie for hosting the exchange and for all the work you do in putting it together.

If you would like more information about the exchange, click here. The next one will be in September or October, and I hope you will join the fun.  :) 

 I also wanted to let you know that there are some new items in my Etsy Shop, so I hope you hop on over and take a look at them. :)

May you all have a good and godly rest of the week!


Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: 
they shall walk, O Lord, in the light of thy countenance.
~Psalm 89:15

Until next time, remain blessed.
~Ashley

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Cause and Effect of Sin

Sin will take you farther than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay, and cost you more than you want to pay. ~Ravi Zacharias 

In the beginning, God created a perfect world. He also created two perfect people, Adam and Eve. When God told them not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan came and tempted Eve by making her doubt what God had said. Sadly, she ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and then persuaded Adam to eat from it too. Not only had they disobeyed God, but also were banned from the garden lest they should eat of the tree of life and live forever in their sinful, fallen state. Since Adam and Eve sinned, every single person born on this earth is born a sinner. Romans 5:12 says, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned."

There are many bad results of sin, but the worst one is spiritual death which is separation from God. When Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, the close bond of fellowship they once enjoyed was broken. God had to kill an animal to clothe them. Their sin had to be paid for by an innocent, perfect sacrifice. Before a sinner becomes a Christian, they are separated from God because of sin, and destined to spend eternity in Hell. Just like Adam and Eve, our sin had to be paid for by a perfect sacrifice. God's remedy was that Jesus would become a man, as 2 Corinthians 5:21 states: "For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." 
His blood and righteousness covers our unrighteousness, and if we accept by faith the payment for sin which has already been paid, we can live in Heaven with Christ for eternity.

Sin is enticing and addicting. It can even be pleasurable for a season. It's like a Venus Fly Trap. To ants, small bugs, and insects, Venus Fly Traps look enticing. They smell good. When an insect lands on the blades, (the blades are the trap) the plant's triggers go off, and the blades close, preventing the insect from escaping. That's similar to how sin works. It looks attractive, but once a person is in sins's grasp, it's difficult to free themselves from it. It's also similar to leprosy. Once a person has contracted leprosy, it slowly eats away at the person from the inside out, causing a slow, painful death. Sin will do that as well. It will eat you from the inside out and destroy your life. That's why the blood of Jesus was shed - to free humanity from the horrible grip of sin. Jesus is the Savior of the world! 
Photo Credits: My Daddy

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Jesus Cares

Does Jesus care when my heart is pained too deeply for mirth and song;
As the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long?
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; 
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares. 

Does Jesus care when my way is dark with a nameless dread and fear?
As the daylight fades into deep night shades, does He care enough to be near?
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief; 
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares. 

Does Jesus care when I've tried and failed to resist some temptation strong;
When for my deep grief I find no relief, tho' my tears flow all the night lone?
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares. 

Does Jesus care when I've said "goodby" to the dearest on earth to me,
And my sad heart aches till it nearly breaks - Is it aught to Him? Does He see?
O yes, He cares; I know He cares, His heart is touched with my grief;
When the days are weary, the long nights dreary, I know my Savior cares. 

I just love these pensive words of this sweet hymn. In Hebrews chapter 4, the writer says "For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feelings of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we, yet without sin."
Isaiah 53:3 tells us that "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not."
Jesus came to earth as a man, and he experienced sorrow, pain, distress, and grief. How comforting is the thought that Jesus is touched with the feelings of our infirmities, and He knows what it feels like when our hearts are grieved, when a loved one dies, when we find no relief for our deep grief, and when the days are weary and the long nights dreary. Our loving Savior, Jesus, always cares. But not only does He just care about what you're feeling or going through, He also takes care of us and has promised to never leave or forsake His children. 

May you be filled with the peace of knowing that Jesus always cares for you.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Baby Raccoons // Happy Birthday Lauren

Good morning and a happy Monday to you all! 

A few days ago on March 16th, Lauren and Deborah found three tiny baby raccoons by a tree. Their eyes and ears hadn't even opened yet and they were making the cutest little whimpering noises. After feeding them, mamma and the girls took them to the wildlife hospital. Later, after daddy came home, he and Deborah found two more babies, one of which was almost frozen to death. After feeding and warming the babies up with a hair dryer, we put them in a box in the garage on a heating pad. The poor little things had fleas. The next morning, Animal Control came and picked the babies up to take them to the animal hospital. Here are a few pictures of the baby raccoons I thought you would enjoy seeing.




On a different note, today is my sister Lauren's (sweet) 16th birthday! If you'd like, leave her a happy birthday wish in the comments below.  :)

Also, today is Free Cone Day at Dairy Queen so if you live by one, stop in for a free cone.

Proverbs 22:1
A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

London In The Dark Book Review and Blog Tour

Hello friends!
Today is the first day of Victoria's blog tour for her brand new book, London In The Dark, and I'm thrilled to help spread the word about her book! 
About the Book:
London, 1910.
Budding Private Detective Cyril Arlington Hartwell has a conundrum. London is being ravaged by the largest run of thefts in recent history. His hunch that it is all tied together may put him and those he loves in more danger than he could have reckoned. 

Olivia Larken Hartwell, just home from boarding school for the summer, is anticipating time with her adoring parents. She misses her absent brother, Cyril, hoping for the day he will finally come home. But tragedy strikes, causing upheaval for all concerned and changes her life in a way she never could have imagined. 

Olivia, Cyril, and their friends must bring the hidden to light, seek to execute justice, and dispel the darkness that hovers over London...and their hearts. 
 My thoughts:
In December, I had the great privilege of reading Victoria's new book, while it was still being written, when she asked me to be a beta reader. Since then I've read it two times, the last one after it was published. Let me just say Victoria has such a lovely way of writing. One minute everything is calm and everyone is happy, and the next minute you find yourself in the middle of a dangerous scene.  Though this is a very action packed book, Victoria did a fabulous job of adding a touch of humor here and there. She also did an excellent job of creating the characters in such a real, relatable way.  
After Olivia Hartwell's parents die, she goes to live with her brother, Cyril, who is a private detective. He has been absent for such a long time, his heart is cold, and he refuses to show or allow any emotions, even when his heart is full of sorrow. Cyril is involved in a mysterious case that keeps growing as time goes on. The villain ends up being someone no one expected. I won't say anymore about the plot now. You'll just have to read it for yourself.  :) 
 Even though I immensely enjoyed reading this whole book, there were a few parts that were especially good. ;) The villain ends up getting saved, Olivia, one of the main characters, gets married, and three members of a family reunite and now share a true bond of fellowship in Christ.  London In The Dark is a book of mystery, suspense, sorrow, joy, hope, and salvation. I highly recommend this book to ages 13+ and gladly give it 5 stars! 

Thank you, Victoria, for allowing me to beta read your book and be a part of your book tour. :) Congratulations on all your hard work! 

Giveaway!



Goodreads Book Giveaway

London In The Dark by Victoria Lynn

London In The Dark

by Victoria Lynn

Giveaway ends March 17, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
If you're on goodreads, you can enter the giveaway above to win a copy of London In The Dark.

Victoria is having two giveaways! The first winner will receive a signed copy of the book, a tote bag, and a mug.  

The second winner will receive an e-copy of the book and a mug.
Everyone is invited to enter. Just click here -  on this link  where you'll find instructions on how to enter. 

About the author:  
Victoria Lynn is in her 20s and if she's not writing, she is probably sewing, singing, playing the piano, washing dishes, creating something with her hands, or learning something new. She has a passion for serving her Creator, encouraging others and being creative. She blogs at www.rufflesandgrace.com about writing, fashion, modesty, her walk with God and life. She lives in Michigan with her parents and 8 siblings. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

Martin Hospitality - Book Review

Good morning friends! 

I am so excited to share this book review with you all. I hope you enjoy it! 

Gemma Ebworthy is eighteen, pregnant, and alone. Now that she's been evicted, she spends the night in a barn, never dreaming that tomorrow could bring kindness of a life-changing magnitude. 
The Martins aren't a typical family - even for rural Kansas. With more kids than can be counted on one hand and a full-time farm, Gemma must make a lot of adjustments to fit in. But despite their many differences, Gemma finds herself drawn to this family and their radical Christian faith.  
When Gemma's past collides with her yet again, she must begin revealing her colorful history. With every detail Gemma concedes, she fears she will lose the Martins' trust and the stable environment she desires for herself and her unborn child. Just how far can the Martins' love and God's forgiveness go?  

My thoughts: 
 Martin Hospitality is an amazing book written by Abigayle Claire, who blogs at The Left-Handed Typist
As soon as I started reading, I was captivated by the characters and by the story. Even though this book is not a mystery, I just couldn't stop reading after one chapter. 
The Martins are a family of 12, and Gemma Ebworthy finds herself sleeping the night in their barn. Mrs. Martin shows great hospitality to 18-year-old Gemma and allows her to stay several nights in their house. However, when Mr.Martin arrives home from a business trip, he is a little on edge about Gemma spending so much time with the family. Gemma had a really sad and troublesome life up until she met the Martins. She hung out with gangs, got involved with the wrong type of people and now has a little baby to care for.  With all of her misfortune, Gemma is one of my favorite characters. Josiah Martin, age 19 and the fourth oldest of the Martin children, is another of my favorite characters. When Gemma arrives at the Martin household, she is introduced to who Jesus is for the first time. After much reading of the Scriptures, she has quite a few questions, and Josiah is the one who helps answers them. He is a hard-working guy who tries to do what's right and has his mother's hospitable and kind heart. 
When Gemma's old boyfriend and father of her little baby appears on the scene and has captivated the heart of Evangeline Martin, she struggles as she tries to keep Evangeline from getting deeply hurt. 

 I appreciate the way Abigayle created the characters. They seemed "real" - especially the Martins. They were not just a "perfect Christian family" some authors portray. There was a lot of details in every single chapter, especially about the characters. You can see each person's own personality come out and there's even some parts that will make you laugh.  Closer to the end, Gemma accepts the Lord as her Savior which I was so happy about. :) 

Martin Hospitality is a beautiful story of love, hope, and forgiveness in Christ.
I give this book 4.5 stars. 
I would recommend this book to those age 15+.

Thank you, Abigayle, for sending me your book and allowing me to review it. I highly enjoyed it (I will be reading it again sometime:) ) and hope you write a sequel soon. :)

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

What Is Sweet? - Part 1

 A cheerful hello to all you friends!

I was thinking about the song "Oh, How I Love Jesus" the other day.
There is a name I love to hear, I love to sing its worth;
It sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me! 

It tells me of a Savior's love, who died to set me free; 
It tells me of His precious blood, the sinner's perfect plea. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!

It tells me what my Father hath in store for ev'ry day,
And tho' I tread a darksome path, yields sunshine all the way.
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because He first loved me!

It tells me of One whose loving heart can feel my deepest woe, 
Who in each sorrow bears a part, that none can bear below. 
Oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, oh, how I love Jesus, because he first loved me! 

What sweet words those are. Though the path we walk daily may be filled with darkness and gloom, there is sunshine in our hearts because the love of Jesus fills it up. Why do we love Jesus? Well because He first loved us, as 1 John 4:19 says: "We love him, because he first loved us." 
One part of the song is really neat. It sounds like music in mine ear, the sweetest name on earth. Think about that for a minute. As God's children, we really should delight to hear Jesus' name. It should fill our hearts with gladness and put a smile on our face. There are tons of names out there. Probably thousands. But out of all of them, the hymn writer says Jesus' name is the sweetest. Look at what the psalmist of Israel, David, said about Jesus.  Psalm 104:34. "My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the Lord." Wow. He says our meditations, our ponderings, our thoughts of God will be sweet. How wonderful is that! May we be drawing closer to God every day and be so overwhelmed and filled with Jesus' love that we learn to say, His name is truly the sweetest name we know. 

 There have been names that I have loved to hear,
But never has there been a name so dear
To this heart of mine, as the name divine,
The precious, precious name of Jesus.
 
Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know. 
 
There is no name in earth or Heav’n above,
That we should give such honor and such love
As the blessed name, let us all acclaim,
That wondrous, glorious name of Jesus. 
 
And someday I shall see Him face to face
To thank and praise Him for His wondrous grace,
Which He gave to me, when He made me free,
The blessed Son of God called Jesus.
 
 Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
And He’s just the same as His lovely name,
And that’s the reason why I love Him so;
Oh, Jesus is the sweetest name I know.