Monday, July 4, 2022

Happy 4th of July!



Happy 4th of July, friends! As today marks the 246th year of America becoming a nation, I have so much gratitude in my heart. 
Gratitude for: 

*the blessing of being born and living in the United States of America. 

*the privilege to attend church weekly. I was talking to a friend from China, and she told me she attends the underground church. The underground church doesn’t mean the believers literally meet under the ground, but that their church is not registered with the state/state recognized religion, so it’s kind of a secret. What a blessing Americans have that we can choose to go to a church that believes and preaches the Word of God, and aren’t forced to go to one that is run by the government. 

*being able to publicly witness and pass out tracts. I don’t often think about this, but when my Chinese friend and I saw some people out witnessing along the street, she was amazed because in China, a person would get arrested for doing that. I am incredibly thankful Christians can spread the gospel of salvation without fear. 

*holiday celebrations and fireworks. 💥 Even though I’m sadly not getting to see any fireworks, I still love them! 

*so many freedoms we enjoy.

*America being founded on godly principles and the Bible. 
Psalm 33:12 says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.” Anyone can look through the history of this nation and see God’s blessing on it. As long as a nation keeps the Lord as its God, it will be blessed. But sadly, America has been rejecting the Lord and embracing false gods. Satan is doing his best to get rid of the Lord as the god of this nation, and the effects are devastatingly sad. 

*patriotic music! Speaking of which, here’s one for you to enjoy. 
If you’re viewing this post on your email and the video 
doesn’t show, click here

How are you celebrating today?  🇺🇸 🎇 

love,
Ashley






Monday, May 30, 2022

Happy Memorial Day

 


I am so thankful for this day that is set aside for us in the United States to pause, remember, and be thankful for the personal sacrifice thousands of men and women were willing to pay for freedom.  I am reminded that freedom is not free for a nation to enjoy -- it comes with a price. The flag flies free because of their sacrifice, and may we never forget.

I am also reminded that a Christian's freedom in Christ is not free either. It came with the sacrifice of God's only Son, Jesus, and how grateful I am for his willingness to lay down his life for me.  

I hope each of you have a blessed Memorial day! 

love, 
Ashley

"By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." ~ Hebrews 10:10



Monday, April 25, 2022

Three Crosses Woodcraft

Three Crosses Woodcraft's website is officially live!!!!! 

You may remember from this post that Deborah was starting up her business making and selling cutting boards. She has been working so diligently on starting up her business, and now you can shop Three Crosses Woodcraft. She also makes surfboard necklaces and rolling pins. There are some new, beautiful cutting boards available that you definitely need to check out. :)  On the website, you can sign up for emails/alerts when new products become available, and you can also follow her instagram page.

I am so proud of Deborah and all the hard work she has put into this business. She ships items all around the country and even internationally. If you live locally, she will deliver your products to you. Feel free to share with friends and family and on your social media pages.  Click here to check out the new website and see all the awesome products that are available. 


In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine, a wondrous beauty I see, 
for 'twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died, to pardon and sanctify me. 


Sunday, April 17, 2022

Happy Easter!!!

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.         ~1 Corinthians 15:20

Hebrews 7:24-25: "But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them."

Happy Easter!!!! It is awesome that there is a day set aside where we especially reflect, remember and give thanks for the resurrection of our Lord. His resurrection is so vital because without it, we would have no hope of eternal life. 

Crown him the Lord of life, who triumphed o'er the grave,
Who rose victorious to the strife for those he came to save. 
His glories now we sing, who died, and rose on high, 
Who died eternal life to bring, and lives that death may die. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I will praise my dear Redeemer, his triumphant pow'r I'll tell, 
How the victory he giveth over sin, and death, and hell. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I know a fount where sins are washed away, I know a place where night is turned to day;
Burdens are lifted, blind eyes made to see; There's a wonder working pow'r in the blood of Calvary. 

I have a Saviour, he's a faithful friend, one who is with me, will be to the end. 
He, now in glory, intercedes for me. 'Twas his precious cleansing blood that once flowed on Calvary. 

I have a hope, my Lord will surely come, all his redeemed ones shall be gathered home. 
With him in glory evermore to be, then we'll praise him for the blood that was shed on Calvary. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I know that my Redeemer lives! What comfort this sweet sentence gives!
He lives, he lives, who once was dead; He lives, my ever-living head!

He lives triumphant from the grave; he lives eternally to save;
He lives all-glorious in the sky; He lives exalted there on high. 

He lives, all glory to his name! He lives, my Saviour still the same. 
Oh, the sweet joy this sentence gives: I know that my Redeemer lives! 

~~~~~~~~~~

And can it be, that I should gain an interest in the Savior's blood? 
Died he for me who caused his pain, for me who him to death pursued? 
Amazing love! How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me! 

He left his father's throne above, so free, so infinite his grace! 
Emptied himself of all but love, and bled for Adam's helpless race. 
'Tis mercy all, immense and free, for o my God, it found out me! 

No condemnation now I dread; Jesus, and all in him, is mine;
Alive in him, my living head, and clothed in righteousness divine. 
Bold I approach the eternal throne, and claim the crown, through Christ my own. 

Amazing love, how can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me!
Amazing love, how can it be, that thou, my God, shouldst die for me!

~~~~~~~~~~

Hebrews 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;"

~~~~~~~~~~

Hallelujah, Christ arose! Because he did, we do not have to fear death, and I am so grateful for that. 
How are you celebrating today? I’d love to hear in the comments. 



Rejoicing in the Lord, 
Ashley


Friday, April 15, 2022

Teltelestai - It is Finished.

 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finish: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”  - John 19:30

On Sunday we will celebrate the resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. However, without Christ’s death, there would be no resurrection. After Jesus said “it is finished,” he died. Jesus' death was vital because without the shedding of blood, there is no atonement for sins. I don't know about you, but I appreciate so much the ramifications of Christ's death. I am so thankful for his statement of, “It is finished.”  Immediately afterwards, the veil of the temple was torn. Matthew 27:51-52 says “And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened: and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,” With Jesus' death, the old covenant of the law was abolished, and the new covenant was issued in.  The veil that separated man from God in the temple was torn. Believers now have free access to God. Hebrews 4:16: "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."  Some ramifications of teltelestai, it is finished, are: 

    - The death of Jesus no more required there to be a temple for the people to worship God in. Our bodies are now the temple of God. 1 Corinthians 3:16 says: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” And 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

    - No more sacrifice for sins was needed. Hebrews 7:26-27: "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." Jesus was that perfect and complete sacrifice that paid for sins once and for all. Now when a person gets saved, he should offer his body continually as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Romans 12:1 says: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”  And Hebrews 13:15-16 say: “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praises to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.”  

    - No more priests going to God on man’s behalf were required. 1 Peter 2:9 - “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:” We as children of God can go directly to our father with Jesus ever interceding for us, and what a sweet privilege that is.

Here's a lovely song called "It Is Finished" about the salvation Christ has made available. 

Long ago I saw my Savior bearing shame upon a tree;
Then my heart was touched with sorrow, for I saw he bled for me.
It is finished, loud he cried; Oh what love for me he died. 
In my stead he bled on Calvary; once for all Christ rescued me. 

Lo, the sky was veiled in darkness; Suddenly trembling shook the ground
As the angry crowd was jeering, mocking Jesus all around. 
It is finished loud he cried; Oh what love for me he died. 
In my stead he bled on Calvary; once for all Christ rescued me. 

Then my Savior called to heaven as I saw his love anew, 
O my Father, please forgive them, for they know not what they do. 
It is finished, loud he cried; Oh what love for me he died. 
In my stead he bled on Calvary; once for all Christ rescued me. 

Free salvation now he offers; take his gift, oh, hear his plea;
On the bloody cross behold him, join his shout of victory. 
It is finished, loud he cried; Oh what love for me he died. 
In my stead he bled on Calvary; once for all Christ rescued me. 

Up Calvary's mountain one dreadful mourn, walked Christ my Saviour, weary and worn;
Facing for sinners death on the cross, that he might save them from endless loss. 
Blessed Redeemer! precious Redeemer! Seems now I see him on Calvary's tree; 
Wounded and bleeding, for sinners pleading, blind and unheeding, dying for me! 

I hope you have a wonderful weekend as you remember the death of Christ on your behalf. 

love, 
Ashley

Hebrews 10:12 "But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;


Monday, February 14, 2022

Encouragement for Your Heart from the Bible ~ How Firm A Foundation!

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent word!
What more can he say than to you he hath said, to you who for refuge to Jesus have fled? 

"Fear not, I am with you, o be not dismayed, for I am thy God and will still give thee aid;
I'll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand, upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.

When through the deep waters I call thee to go, the rivers of sorrow shall not overflow;
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless, and sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.

When through fiery trials thy pathway shall lie, my grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply;
The flames shall not hurt thee; I only design thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.

E'en down to old age all my people shall prove my sovereign, eternal, unchangeable love;
And then, when grey hairs shall their temples adorn, like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.

The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose, I will not, I will not desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake, I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake!"


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 

Psalm 37:28  "For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off."

I wanted to share something beautiful that thrills my heart every day, and hope you find encouragement in it as well. :) This hymn, "How Firm a Foundation," is one of my favorites and one I have sung many times. But I recently learned something that gives this song a greater depth of meaning. The final words of the last verse, "I'll never, no, never, no, never forsake!" come from the last half of Hebrews 13:5: "...for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." If you count the negations in the song, there are 5. Never, no, never, no never. However, in the Scripture verse, there are only 2 negations: never and nor. This is where the interesting part comes in. 😊 I'm learning koine Greek, the language the New Testament was written in, and this is what Hebrews 13:5 actually says in Greek: οὐ μή σε ἀνω, οὐδ' οὐ μή σε ἐγκαταλίπω. "I neverever would detach you from me, nor would I everever abandon you." There are actually 5 negations in this text: οὐ, μή, οὐδ', οὐ, μή. Isn't that so neat?! This is such a comforting and lovely thought, that God will never temporarily walk away from us nor will he ever permanently abandon us.  

 "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;"  ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Other refuge have I none, hangs my helpless soul on thee;
Leave, oh, leave me not alone, still support and comfort me. 
All my trust on thee is stayed, all my help from thee I bring;
Cover my defenseless head with the shadow of thy wing. 

Thou, O Christ, art all I want; more than all in thee I find;
Raise the fallen, cheer the faint, heal the sick and lead the blind. 
Just and holy is thy name, I am all unrighteousness; 
Vile and full of sin I am, thou art full of truth and grace. 

Plenteous grace with thee is found, grace to cover all my sin;
Let the healing streams abound; make and keep me pure within. 
Thou of life the fountain art, freely let me take of thee; 
Spring thou up within my heart, rise to all eternity. 

~~ from hymn "Jesus, Lover of my Soul"


I hope you have an awesomely wonderful week, and happy valentine's day! 😀

love in Christ,
Ashley

 "How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of they wings." ~ Psalm 36:7

"In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." ~ 1 John 4:9


Monday, January 24, 2022

Do You Have Buttons?

The last few months of 2021 I spent learning about anger and how to handle it properly. I was in an unpleasant circumstance which was not easy to deal with, but in hindsight I am so thankful God placed me in that situation because he taught me a lot through it. Perhaps you have heard people use the phrase, "he/she pushes my buttons." This means that the person is probably short fused, their emotions are as breezy as the wind, and they get angry quickly. I’m not talking about righteous anger, or the anger someone feels when they have been wronged. Anger is an emotion everyone experiences and in itself is not wrong. However, it can become sin if we fail to practice self-control and let it get out of hand.  As followers of Christ, we would do well to not even have any "buttons" in the first place that could easily get pushed that cause us to become angry. The Scriptures have quite a bit to say about the topic of anger. Let's look at a few verses. 

 Proverbs 14:17 - "He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated."

Proverbs 14:29 - "He that is slow to wrath is of great understanding: but he that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly."

Proverbs 15:1 - "A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger."

Proverbs 15: 18 - "A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife."

1 Corinthians 13:5 ~ talking about love: "Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil:"

Galatians 5:20 ~ talking about the works of the flesh: "Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies," 

Ephesians 4:2-3 - "With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."

Ephesians 4:31 - "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:"

Colossians 3:8 - "But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth."

James 1:19-20 - "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God."

1 Peter 2:21-23 - "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:"

1 Peter 3:8-9 - "Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing."


We are not ignorant of Satan's devices; we know he is out to destroy, and allowing anger to get a foothold in our life will quickly cause us to drift away from God. Being quick to get angry is a work of the flesh that needs to be crucified so the fruits of being filled with the Spirit can be evident. Longsuffering is a trait that needs to mark every Christian. So......Forgive readily. Keep short accounts. Love God, and love the brethren. 

Together let’s become better people and a little more like Christ this year by learning to be slow to wrath. 


❤️ Ashley


Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Family Vacation December 2021

A cheery hello to you!

Our family was blessed to enjoy a vacation together over Christmas, and this post is chronicling our travels. Enjoy! 

December 21st-29th, Our family took a vacation to Missouri.  Along the way we drove through several new states, Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana, as well as through the Ozark mountains. The handiwork of God is so magnificent! I never get tired of seeing the beautiful mountains and scenery. 


On Wednesday (the 22nd), we arrived in Branson, Missouri, met our friends, and saw the show JESUS at the Sight and Sound Theater. It was a phenomenal production, and if  you ever get a chance to see one of their plays, I would highly recommend it.
After the show, we joined our friends and ate at a family-owned restaurant called Local Flavor. If you are ever in Branson and looking for great food, check this place out! 






 On Thursday we planned to spend the day at Silver Dollar City. Before the park opened, we ate a yummy lunch at Ozark Mountain Pizza.
At Silver Dollar City...

You can see Sarah and my mom in this picture sitting on the right end in the third row. :) 
 
A lady was playing Christmas carols on the piano and we stopped for a bit to enjoy the music. If you’re viewing this post on email, click on this link and scroll down to listen to the video. 
 


A train ride around the park was the perfect activity for an afternoon break. The train paused for a few minutes as the gentleman in the rocker told the story of Jesus’ birth and the reason for celebrating Christmas.
At night all the lights beautifully illuminated the park.
After leaving the park at closing, we stopped for a sweet snack at Andy’s Frozen Custard.
For the time we spent in Branson, we stayed at a condo. In the picture below, the condos are barely visible on the right side of the sidewalk. A golf course was right behind the condos with a beautiful creek running through it.
 


 
 


  
 
 Friday (Dec. 24th) found us enjoying lunch and a show at the Dixie Stampede. 
 
 
 Saturday was Christmas Day, so we took the opportunity to drive around and explore. We came across Table Rock Dam and just below it is Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. The day was beautiful so we enjoyed walking along the trails and viewing the amazing riverscape.



There were several men fly fishing for trout.










 






Majestic skies and views from our drive.

 
 


You can see a glimpse of the dam here.
 
 
A breathtaking overlook scene...
 
After the drive, we girls made and decorated gingerbread houses, as is our yearly tradition. :) 
If you are ever in Branson on a Sunday or Wednesday and looking for a church, I’d recommend Calvary Baptist Church of Branson. We attended the Sunday morning and evening services and enjoyed it very much.
Please excuse the bad lighting of this picture, but here is the kitchen/dining/family room of the condo we stayed at. We left on Monday and headed toward Kentucky.
The St. Louis arch in passing. 
Monday evening we stayed in the small, quaint town of La Grange and enjoyed a delicious supper at this restaurant. This town is pretty neat with a train that runs right through the downtown on the main highway where shops are set up along the street.
Tuesday we arrived at our destination: the Ark Encounter. We girls and our mom visited a few years ago, but this was the first time our dad had been there, and it was a pleasure to see it again.  Since I shared a lot of photos in this post from the first time, here’s just a few from this visit. And of course to enlarge any photo, just click on it.
 


















 
 
 


A new Answers Center has been added since the last time we were there, and it was great to hear Ken Ham speak on the topic of Divided Nation: Culture in Chaos and a Conflicted Church. We also saw an animal show, and a Christmas concert ended our day at the Ark.

This is the view from the porch of Emzara’s Kitchen, the restaurant on site at the Ark.
 
At the zoo...


 
Thus ended a wonderful and relaxing vacation. I am so grateful to the Lord for this trip we got to enjoy as a family.   



"I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
~John 10:9-10