Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Transforming Power Of Prophetic Worship



Today’s devotional in the Love Expressed series is about prophetic worship.
Prophetic worship is meant to allow God’s reflection to be seen in us so that others may respond and come to know him.  It is speaking, singing or acting under the inspiration of the Spirit of the Lord which, in turn, shows our complete surrender in worship to GOD.
Prophetic worship is a way to live life so that God’s heart, words and voice are made obvious to those around us.  We see this kind of worship in the psalms of David.  The Lord was his passion and he expressed that passion through instrument and song, lifting his voice to GOD who is the source of all things. 
Worshiping God in a prophetic way can change the heart of the worshiper.  Samuel said the following to Saul about a supernatural worship experience: "You will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with a stringed instrument, a tambourine, a flute, and a harp before them; and they will be prophesying. Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you and you will prophesy with them and you will be turned into another man." (I Samuel 10: 5-6). This passage of scripture is a picture of prophetic worship as well as a demonstration of the power that is released through the prophetic.
Prayer is the key in hearing God’s voice and His Spirit when moving in prophetic worship. Prayer is our vital line of communication between us and our Heavenly Father.   Eliminate the distractions in your life that keeps you from hearing HIM. Open your heart to Him so that you are able to receive and experience the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in your life.
Choose to be a prophetic worshipper.  Declare your love for GOD in ways you never have before.  We all have the ability to hear the voice of God.  Allow Him to permeate your worship. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Strengthened Affection



Today’s devotional from the Love Expressed series is entitled Strengthened Affection.
Are you constantly growing deeper and reaching higher in your faith? Or have you become complacent-carelessly content and comfortably inactive-in your relationship with Christ? 

Sometimes Christians fall into a rut. They seem to be going through the motions of being a Christian without genuine feeling.  Gradually, their love for the truth diminishes and they grow content with the knowledge they’ve already obtained. The result is that they end up not having a hunger and thirst for the word of God.

What are you holding on to that is preventing you from drawing closer to God?   There are lots of reasons we become complacent in our walk with God. We get caught up in our own agendas, the daily routine of work, family, church, etc. GOD gets put on the back burner for a little bit, just until we get a handle on what we’ve got going on. Or maybe some sin gets in the way.  

The good news is that God loves you dearly and He wants to give you the absolute best.  Don’t settle for just getting by in your relationship with Christ. Rejoice in your relationship with Jesus as your Lord and Savior.  Make HIM a vibrant part of your life and make it a priority to soak in his word. 

Monday, January 28, 2013

How To Take Charge Of Your Difficult Day


 
Today is day twelve of daily devotions in the Love Expressed Fast.  Today’s devotional asks us to reflect upon crisis moments in our lives and your response to these moments.  Few would disagree that worship is important when we face difficult times, but is worship your normal first response? 

It is easy to worship God when the sun shines bright. It is easy to worship God when the bills are paid. It is easy to worship God when things are going well. What about during the hard times?  If you have some terrible thing happen, do you say thank you to God for it?

 There are times when worshipping God does not come easy because the difficult things in life overwhelm us and threaten to overtake us. We do not need to attempt to hide our sorrow and pain from Him when we come before Him in such circumstances. He knows our innermost thoughts.  Trust in GOD and know that He will use all things for eventual good. 

When I look back over my life it is quite clear that all the hardship in my life has formed me into who I am today. I have grown more mature, more spiritual, and wiser because of the many difficulties that I have experienced.

Are you going through a difficult time right now? If you are, what kind of attitude do you have? Is it a good attitude, one of thanks and praise to God, or are you ungrateful, cursing and complaining to God, blaming him, and ignoring the test? It is hard to go through tough times and have a good attitude. We can do it if we go on the strength of the LORD. Alone, we will become bitter, hard, ungrateful, and, in the end, in a place where God doesn’t want us to be.

It's Official - We Will Be Part Of The Super Bowl Half-Time Show!!!!




I've been wanting to announce this officially for days but I have been waiting for our NFL background check to come through.  Well now it's official.  I was one of 50 lucky fans that was selected for an on-field experience during Beyonce's Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show performance seen by millions of viewers around the world.

I submitted photos of specific poses such as head bops, toe taps, jumping, and more. in order to win this exciting prize which includes a trip for two to New Orleans, $500 spending money, the opportunity to attend a private Pepsi Party, and of course an on field experience during the half-time show.

This is another one of those "Only In Sweepstakes Moments" and my husband and I are so very excited about this win.  I can't wait to share our experience with you.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Forty Years After Roe vs. Wade


Today marks the 40th Anniversary of Roe vs. Wade and in the time since this decision, 55 million unborn babies have died through abortion.

We know that 410 US 113 (1973), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Cout  on the issue of abortion but how much do you know of the "Roe" behind this famous case?

Norma McCorvey, the Roe in Roe v. Wade had a difficult life. She was a high-school drop-out who had run away from home and been sent to reform school.

Attorneys Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee were looking for a woman who wanted an abortion, but did not have the means to obtain one.  Enter Norma McCorvey.

Norma McCorvey has made it clear that she did not consider herself an unwilling participant in the Roe v. Wade lawsuit. However, she felt that feminist activists treated her with disdain because she was a poor, blue-collar, drug-abusing woman instead of a polished, educated feminist.

It should be noted that McCorvey never did have an abortion.  She gave birth to her child, whom she put up for adoption.  In 1995, Norma L. McCorvey revealed that she became pro-life and is now a vocal opponent of abortion

If pro-abortionists are mainly concerned with the health and safety of women, why do they fight so hard against medical standards as legitimate out-patient surgery clinics?  Please watch the video 3801 Lancaster to learn about the Philadelphia Women's Medical Society disaster, and the cover-up by state and local oversight agencies.

Kermit Barron Gosnell was an American doctor in Philadelphia who ran two multi-million dollar abortion practices. After a controversy nearly a year earlier, Gosnell was arrested in January 2011, charged with eight counts of murder: one patient who allegedly died under his care after a botched abortion, and seven infants supposedly born alive whose spinal cords Gosnell allegedly severed with scissors.  A grand jury recommended charges of murder against Gosnell and several of his employees.

We cringe at the stories consisting of dirty coat hangers with women bleeding to death because of screaming rightwing radical, yet made of these "safe" clinics are not so safe after all for women.  In a recent study of the twney abortion clinics in Virginia, not one walked away with a clean report card.

Documents show one or more had expired medications, dried blood on recovery recliners, chemicals stored with "clean" supplies, rust on machines, and reusable equipment not properly cleaned.

An abortion clinic in Muskegon wa recently described as a "filthy mess."  There were eight alleged violations of the city’s fire code -- including containers of hazardous materials not stored in cabinets -- centered on what appeared to be generally poor housekeeping for any type of medical clinic. 
This includes garbage piled up next to a procedure table along with unsterilized surgical equipment

In Pennsylvania, several abortion clinics closed rather that bring their clinics up to standards when inspections conducted after an 18-year hiatus discovered massive deficiencies.



Let me be clear, I do NOT look at women who have had abortions as being evil!  They are human beings who, like myself, have human frailties and weaknesses.  I have several friends who have had abortions that are dear, dear friends.  They are not bad people.  I have no right to judge them because to do so would require me to remove the plank from my very own eyes. 

Many, perhaps most, abortions are done by girls and women in unfortunate circumstances who don't really want to but don't know what else to do. They are pressured by a husband, boyfriend, or family member to end the pregnancy.

Some women are very ambivalent about getting aborted but do go ahead. I've actually known women who have shaerd this with me.  Those around her told her  that the abortion  wouldn’t bother her. Abortion is not an easy decision to make and some women experience lasting grief, or more rarely, depression.

I have many questions and I'd like you to consider the ones I have on this subject

*  Why don't more women consider adoption rather than abortion? 
*  Is it really fair to arrest women who have had abortions and have them serve jail time?
*  What is best way to educate women (and men) on how to avoid unwanted pregnancies?
*  Should a woman be allowed to have an abortion for absolutely any reason, such as sex selection, selective reduction, or job promotion? If not, when not?" 
*  If a pregnant woman and her unborn child are murdered, do you believe the criminal should face two counts of murder?
*   Why is it that the very people who say the government should stay out of abortion are the same ones who want the government to pay for them? 
*  How is it that an fetus is human, but not a ‘person’?
*  If an unborn child is part of the mother’s body.  then why does it have a completely different genetic code and often a different blood type? How do you explain the fact that it has it’s own immune system?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

10 Star Challenge Oz The Great And Powerful Sweepstakes

starbucksoz

Yes I'm still keeping my vow to give up Starbucks for this month and once again I'm faced with yet another temptation.  This time it's not just for a FREE drink after ten drinks but you are also entering to WIN a trip for two to the Los Angeles premiere of Disney's Oz The Great and Powerful.  

So once again I will share the information with you so you can take advantage of this offer.  

Earn 10 Stars at Starbucks by January 29th and you'll receive a free handcrafted beverage. Your free drink coupon will be loaded directly on your Starbucks Card account once the challenge is complete and the winners have been identified. All winners will receive an email with additional redemption information. 

NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN THIS SWEEPSTAKES. A PURCHASE WILL NOT IMPROVE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING. "10 Star Challenge Oz The Great And Powerful" Sweepstakes starts at 12:01 am (PT) on Sunday, January 20, 2013 and ends at 11:59 pm (PT) on Tuesday, January 29, 2013. Only open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, eighteen (18) years of age or older as of date of entry. There are two (2) ways to enter: a) My Starbucks Rewards members must opt-in to participate in the 10 Star Challenge via their online account on starbucks.com/account. Entrants who enroll must earn 10 stars to obtain one (1) entry into the "Oz Sweeps." All My Starbucks Rewards entries must be received by 11:59 pm (PT) on January 29, 2013 to be eligible. 

Send your name, address, day and evening phone numbers, email address, and your age to ozsweepstakes@gmail.com with the subject line "10 Star Challenge Oz The Great And Powerful Sweepstakes." You will be entered into the sweepstakes one (1) time for each submission received by 11:59 pm (PT) January 29, 2013.Regardless of the method(s) of entry, only one (1) entry per person will be accepted for this sweepstakes. 




Saturday, January 19, 2013

AMERICAN GIRL® MAGAZINE TURNS 20 AND ANNOUNCES NATIONAL COVER CONTEST!



"This January, American Girl®, an age-appropriate alternative to teen magazines, celebrates 20 great years of inspiring, motivating, and encouraging girls to dream big dreams. “From the start, American Girl has always been about celebrating our readers,” says Barbara Stretchberry, executive editor of American Girl.  “We’re excited about turning 20 and look forward to a whole year full of birthday surprises for our readers!”

The January/February 2013 issue kicks off the magazine’s yearlong birthday celebration with a special Cover Contest. Girls ages 8 to 13 can enter to win a chance to appear on the cover of the 2013 Best of AG special issue of American Girl. The contest centers on friendship, and to enter, two girls can submit the story of their unique friendship. One pair of friends will be selected to appear on the cover. Entries must be postmarked by February 28, 2013. For more information, visit www.americangirlmagazine.com beginning January 1, 2013.

In keeping with the birthday theme, the January/February issue also features fun party ideas like creating your own party by mixing and matching our tips, ideas for frosting a cake, and true birthday tales from American Girl readers. As a salute to the past 20 years, the magazine includes fun facts about American Girl and its readers, a “Then and Now” section that looks back at how girls’ lives have changed over the past two decades. In addition, the issue includes all of the American Girl favorites from stories of real girls to advice for girls’ biggest “Help!” questions.

In a culture that often pressures girls to grow up too quickly, American Girl remains committed to serving the developing interests of girls by affirming their self-esteem, celebrating their achievements, and fostering their creativity. And, with over 1,000,000 pieces of reader mail received since 1993, the magazine has proven itself a valued forum of advice and entertainment for its readers.  As one former subscriber writes, “I am 19 years old, but I was a HUGE American Girl fan when I was younger. The magazine was a significant, inspirational part of my childhood that showed me how to become a confident young woman. Now that I’m older, I am using that confidence to follow my dreams.”

American Girl magazine is available nationally in retail bookstores and on newsstands, as well as by subscription through the American Girl catalogue. Call 1-800-234-1278 for subscription information."

Disclosure: I was sent a sample issue of this magazine from the folks at American Girl.  

Friday, January 18, 2013

What Is Church?


Be sure to drop by Gateway Church which conducts 17 services at 4 locations across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.  

Robert Morris is featured on the weekly television program, The Blessed Life. He is the author of ten books including The Blessed Life, From Dream to Destiny, The Power of Your Words and The God I Never Knew.

This sermon is part of the Love Expressed Series.  I am currently observing the Love Expressed 21-Day Fast and participating in the Love Expressed Devotional.  Today's devotional is:



All Together Now

Today’s devotional in the Love Expressed series was about being united in the Holy Spirit
While there is one Church in Christ some have been trying to divide it since the first century.  Division in the Church comes when we cling to our differences instead of seeking unity through the Holy Spirit.   A church of mature believers however, is united in vision, living in harmony with one another, and heading in one direction to both share the gospel and walk the narrow road to heaven.
Fellowship with the Spirit is so important because we are united to Christ in the bonds of the Holy Spirit. The path by which God's grace comes to us from the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is our advocate within who interprets the desires of our heart and the will of God.
Being a unified body does not mean we live out the same calling.  Christ has given to the church some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. 
Our fellowship in the Holy Spirit is of utmost importance because is through the Holy Spirit that we are united with GOD’s Heart and therefore with each other. His resources are unlimited, inexhaustible, and His power is invincible. He gives us the power to do the will of GOD.
 Ordinary Christians become empowered in the Spirit of God.  Commit to worship the Lord and connect to the Holy Spirit on a daily basis. Ask GOD to teach you how to live a life of humility in the sample that Jesus set for us. 
 
1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27:  Brothers and sisters:
As a body is one though it has many parts,
and all the parts of the body, though many, are one body,
so also Christ.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body,
whether Jews or Greeks, slaves or free persons,
and we were all given to drink of one Spirit.
Now the body is not a single part, but many.
You are Christ’s body, and individually parts of it.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

David’s Uncontrollable Sweet Tooth



Today’s Love Expressed devotion is about being a person after GOD’s heart.

There is no higher compliment than to be described as a man or woman with a heart after GOD’s heart but what does it mean to be a person after GOD’s own heart? It means your life is in harmony with the Lord. What is important to Him is important to you.


If we want to be men and women after GOD’s heart, we must spend consistent time alone with Him.  Use you alone time to commune with GOD.  Prayer is not just supposed to be monologue; it's supposed to be dialogue. Tell Him everything and ask Him to reveal things in your life that are a hindrance. Also, allow GOD to speak after you're done speaking.


Reading God's word allows you to strengthen your faith in GOD. The Bible tells us exactly who God is and what He requires of us. Read scripture prayerfully, asking GOD to reveal Himself and to show you your own heart, with a view to obedience.  

Submission to GOD’s will and obedience to his desires is how we demonstrate that we are a person after God's own heart.  Practice obedience in the small things He gives you to do so that GOD can guide you to whatever, whenever and however He wants you to do. 

Having GOD’s heart is not necessarily caring for the poor, fighting social injustice, evangelism, prayer, worship, marketplace transformation etc, etc, etc although all of these will probably be included in it.  He’s looking for deeply spiritual, genuinely humble, honest-to-the-core servants who have integrity.

GOD seeks those who worship Him.  Learn to adore GOD and marvel at His love in your time alone with Him.  Passionately pursue GOD in every single aspect and moment of your life so that you may become a person after GOD’s heart.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Honest Worship


Today’s devotional in the Love Expressed series is about expressing your heart honestly and openly as you worship GOD.

It is natural for human beings to praise the things they delight in. We praise our children, our favorite sports team, as well as a good meal.  The real question is how we are to express our delight in the Lord? 

God doesn't want His love for you to be at a distance, He wants to be with you.  He wants you to express your love with truth and sincerity. If you write, write, if you draw, draw, if you sing, sing, if you craft, craft, whatever way you know how never deny yourself the emotions God gave you.

Read the Psalms and you will see that King David lays bears his soul for the entire world to see. He held nothing back, the good, the bad, and the ugly flowed out of him.  David worshiped GOD from a place of open honesty.

Submit your joys, successes, frustrations and failures in prayer so that you can you blossom into the full potential God has for you.  

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

God’s Favorite Song


Today’s devotional in the Love Expressed Fast is about having a relationship with GOD.
 
The greatest blessing in life is to be in a loving, supportive, communicative relationship with GOD.  God wants you to be involved with him forever and you can begin your personal relationship with GOD the moment you accept Jesus Christ as your Savior.   

No relationship has ever been built without faith. The same is with GOD. We have to believe that God will always be there for us if we are truly ever going to start a relationship with him.

It’s pretty difficult to form any relationship without contact.  The same is true with God we can’t start to form a relationship with Him unless we have contact with Him, spend time in His presence.  We should pray to Him, read His word, and meditate on verses in an effort to get to know Him better.

Worship is an important way to stay connected and plugged into your relationship with GOD.  Take time to put church, worship, Bible study and prayer into your weekly schedule.  Worship with others or alone, or practice both.

GOD loved you so much so that He sent His Son to die for your sins.  He longs for us to be committed to Him. Take time to develop your relationship with God and reap the rewards it brings.

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Feel A WIN Coming On!!


Here’s a question for my fellow sweepers.  Have you ever entered a sweepstakes or a contest and just knew you were going to win?  This may sound crazy but it’s actually happened to me on more than one occasion.
A few years ago I entered a sweepstakes for a trip to Scotland.  I remember seeing the sweepstakes listed and just as I read the prize I just knew I was going to win it.  I was so certain I actually looked up the hotels that were listed as part of the prize.  Still I was surprised when I actually did win.
Another time I entered a sweepstakes that had a grand prize of a trip to California to meet the star of a show and go on a behind the scenes of the show.  This sounded very exciting.  The only problem was I didn’t read the rules.  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea m√°xima culpa.  I was certain I would win but within moments of entering I caught myself felt an urge to go back and actually read the rules.  Turned out the sweepstakes was only for nurses and I am NOT a nurse.  Oh well I said to myself.  I only entered once I probably won’t win. 
Wouldn’t you know it, I did win and I felt like a real fool having to explain that I hadn’t read the rules because there was another sweepstakes for the same prize that didn’t have that stipulation.  The promotion company really was good about it and didn’t give me a lot of grief and even thanked me for my enthusiasm about the show. 
Getting that funny feeling that I’m going to win a particular prize isn’t a new phenomenon for me.   Years ago I remember learning that Phil Collins was coming to concert and one of my favorite stations was giving away skybox tickets to the show every other hour.  I was on the road about an hour and a half and I remember looking at the clock on my dashboard thinking I would arrive at my destination just in time to win.  Believe it or not that’s exactly what happened. 
I drove into the parking lot of my boyfriend’s apartment with the radio station blaring.  I shut off the car and ran up the stairs.  When he opened the door I ran past him and headed for his telephone telling him to turn on the radio as I began to dial.  On the second try the DJ congratulated me and told me I was the winner. 
I wish I could say that every time I enter a sweepstakes I could tell if I were going to win or lose. If that were true I could save myself a lot of time by not entering the sweepstakes I wouldn’t win. 
This Thursday I saw a contest sponsored by Pepsi and I just had this crazy feeling that if I entered I would win.  They were giving away 50 trips for two to New Orleans to participate in the Super Bowl Half Time Show.   To enter, visit the site and follow the directions to upload a photo. The winners were going to be chosen at random.
While I was taking a photo of my foot tapping that funny feeling came back over me.  I felt I was going to win something.  I didn’t want to get too excited but I just couldn’t shake that feeling that I won something.
Two hours later I had a knock on the door.  It was the UPS guy.  I figured it was something my husband ordered but I was wrong.  One of the boxes was something I had ordered with a $25 gift card I had won.  The other one was very light and at first glance a mystery. 
Inside the box was a large white envelope that contained a certificate congratulating me about winning a $100 GC for Dallas Cowboys .  Talk about coincidences.  This must be what  I was expecting.  Mystery solved.

The GC came from a second chance sweep I entered through a scratch-off ticket from the Texas Lottery folks.  That's actually the second time I've won from one of their scratch-off games.  A Redskin's fan myself, I must say I'm probably going to wind up giving this  as a Christmas gift. 

Monday morning I came home from my walk to find a message on my phone.  It was from the people at Pepsi letting me know that I was a potential WINNER.  I will know if I'm a winner once I pass my background check.
So what's included?  Each grand prize includes a trip for two to New Orleans, Louisiana to participate in the Pepsi Super Bowl Halftime Show and attend a private Pepsi Party. The prize includes airfare, hotel, admission to the Super Bowl Half Time Show Practice, Super Bowl Half Time Show, and to the Pepsi Private Party, and $500 spending cash.

Now if I could just have that feeling I'm going to win Powerball. 

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Living Worship


Today’s Love Expressed devotional is about living your life as a living sacrifice to GOD.   Being a living sacrifice means that you are willing to let God take the reins of your life and lead you wherever He may lead you to be a tool that He can use!
How can you present yourself as a living sacrifice? You do it by rejecting the sinful nature and fully accepting Christ and his ways.
Romans 12: 1-2 and 1 Peter 1: 15-16 both touch upon holiness and not conforming to this world's standards but being transformed by the renewing of our minds. Basically 1 Peter 1: 15-16 mentions being "holy". Holiness is a separation from sin which means we are to sacrifice our fleshly desires so that we can be holy or set apart. We do that by rejecting everything that is against God and his standards.
We live our lives as a living sacrifice when:
  • Our love is genuine
  • We hold fast to what is good and do not abhor evil
  • We love everyone with a brotherly affection
  • We outdo everyone in honoring others
  • We are fervent in spirit
  • We serve the Lord
  • We rejoice in hope
  • We are patient in tribulation
  • We constantly pray
  • We contribute to the needs of saints
  • We are hospitable
  • We bless those who persecute us
  • We live in harmony
  • We associate with the lowest
  • We are not arrogant
  • We do not repay evil for evil
  • We are peacemakers
  • We do not seek revenge
  • We feed and take care of our enemies
  • We overcome evil with good
Unless you have tried to live God's way instead of your own way, you will never know the power and peace and joy that come from God's way of life.  Make yourself available or dedicate your life to God as a living sacrifice! 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

You Become What You Worship



Today’s devotional in the Love Expressed Fast deals with becoming what you are consumed with.  

Whenever we admire people or revere thing to the point that you give it the same reverence reserved for GOD it keeps us from receiving God's love and compassion.  Ask yourself, is GOD my first priority or have I allowed something other than God to be your first priority?

An idol can be anything we place ahead of God in our lives, anything that tugs at our heart more that God does, such as: possessions, careers, relationships, hobbies, sports, entertainment, goals, greed, addictions to alcohol/ drugs/ gambling/ pornography, etc.  Many people are devoted to their idols. They spend huge amounts of their time, money, and efforts on serving an idol. But worshiping idols leads to hurt and destruction. 

Focus on the spiritual, not the material.  That’s hard to do in our culture. Many people put things first and GOD second. But the key to spiritual and material prosperity is to put the spiritual ahead of the material. You won’t make it to heaven worshiping things.

If you desire God’s love and forgiveness you must turn away from idols, and surrender to Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord. Then you will truly experience the compassion and love of God.
Remember, if your first priority is God, the rest of your life will fall into place

Fernbank Museum Reveals the Most Extreme Mammals of All Time


Beginning March 2, 2013, visitors to Fernbank Museum of Natural History will stand in the shadow of the largest land mammal that ever lived—the 16-foot-tall Indricotherium. They’ll peek at a Bumblebee bat so tiny, it weighs about as much as a dime. They’ll gasp at animals with oversized claws, fangs, snouts and horns. A thrilling adventure, the new special exhibition Extreme Mammals: The Biggest, Smallest, and Most Amazing Mammals of All Time places Fernbank Museum visitors face-to-face with a wondrous array of extraordinary creatures.

This fascinating exhibition explores the surprising and often extraordinary world of extinct and living mammals. Featuring spectacular fossils, unusual specimens and vivid reconstructions, the exhibition examines the ancestry and evolution of numerous species, ranging from huge to tiny, and from speedy to sloth-like.

Mammals, including humans, are some of the most fascinating and extraordinary creatures that have ever lived. Extreme Mammals offers visitors a fun and intriguing opportunity to learn how life evolved, why animals may – despite sharing some key characteristics – look and behave so differently from one another, and how there can be such extraordinary diversity within a single group.



Extreme Mammals examines how some lineages died out while others diversified to form the groups of well-known mammals living today. Highlights of the exhibition include historic taxidermy specimens—from the egg-laying platypus to the recently extinct Tasmanian wolf (also known as Tasmanian tiger)—and fleshed-out models of spectacular extinct forms, such as Ambulocetus, a “walking whale.”

Along the way, visitors also encounter an entire skeleton of the giant hoofed plant-eater Uintatherium, with its dagger-like teeth and multiple horns. They’ll gasp at the skeleton model of Puijila darwini, a newly discovered, extinct species of “walking seal” from the High Arctic with webbed feet instead of flippers. They’ll gaze at a life-size model of Indricotherium, the largest land mammal that ever lived. Visitors will be amazed by one of the oldest fossilized bats ever found. And they’ll be captivated by an impressive diorama featuring the once warm and humid swamps and forests of Ellesmere Island, located in the high Arctic 50 million years ago.


Through the use of dynamic media displays, animated computer interactives, hands-on activities, touchable fossils, casts, taxidermy specimens, and more, the exhibition highlights distinctive mammalian qualities and illuminates the shared ancestry that unites these diverse creatures.

Extreme Mammals is on view at Fernbank Museum from March 2 through August 18, 2013*. The exhibition is included with Museum admission. Tickets are $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students/seniors, $15.50 for children ages 3-12, free for children 2 and younger, and free for museum members. Value Pass combo tickets include Museum admission as well as an IMAX film, which include Alaska: Spirit of the Wild through March 14, 2013* and Flight of the Butterflies through May 9, 2013*. (*All dates are subject to change.)
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For visitor information and tickets, call 404.929.6300 or visit fernbankmuseum.org.

###

Photos courtesy of AMNH, New York.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pray For Our Nation


Did you know that during WWII there was an advisor to Churchill who organized a group of people who dropped what they were doing every day at a prescribed hour for one minute to collectively pray for the safety of England, its people and peace?

There is now a group of people organizing the same thing here in America. If you would like to participate: Every evening at 9:00 PM Eastern Time (8:00 PM Central) (7:00 PM Mountain) (6:00 PM Pacific), stop whatever you are doing and spend one minute praying for the safety of the United States, our troops, our citizens, and for a return to a Godly nation. If you know anyone else who would like to participate, please pass this along. Our prayers are the most powerful asset we have. Please forward this to your praying friends.


I found this prayer at 2heartsnetwork.org

O Heavenly Father, I know that the spirit of worldliness can creep into the Body of Christ very subtly, and before we know it, we can so easily be led astray. I pray You send Your Holy Spirit upon us, so that a moral, Christian voice can be heard and heeded by our leaders and the media.

 Cause us, as Christians, to become the standard bearers to such a degree that we can profoundly affect the morality of this nation. Turn our people's hearts to You. Open our eyes that we may see the error of our ways. Gather all Christians, Catholic and Protestant, together so that we form a united front against the wickedness and snares of the devil.

Disarm the evildoers, leaving them powerless and not in control of our great nation. Inspire our media--television, newscasters, reporters, filmmakers, and celebrities--to promote a truly moral social justice and morally righteous entertainment and fashion. Be our strength when we are tempted to succumb to worldy things and ways.

Help us to lead our lives all for the greater honor and glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

This prayer comes from Catholic Online

God our Father,
Giver of life,
we entrust the United States of America to Your loving care.

You are the rock on which this nation was founded.
You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Reclaim this land for Your glory and dwell among Your people.

Send Your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation´s leaders.
Open their minds to the great worth of human life
and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom.

Remind Your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking
and doing Your will.

Through then intercession of Mary Immaculate,
Patroness of our land,
grant us the courage to reject the "culture of death."
Lead us into a new millennium of life.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Psalm For Every Occasion



Wouldn’t you know it?  Here I am on Day 5 of the Love Expressed fast and Starbucks has once again tried to lure me back into their establishment. 

This time they are offering me a bonus star if I purchase a Skinny drink, a Refresher, or and oatmeal.  If you’re not familiar with their loyalty program you can earn a free drink after ten stars.  Once again I was excited for a minute or so until I reminded myself about my Starbucks fast.

Once again I will pass this on to you because you may not have sworn off Starbucks doesn’t mean I can’t share it with you.

 Skinny drinks that qualify includes skinny vanilla latte, skinny flavored latte, skinny cinnamon dolce latte, skinny caramel macchiato, and skinny mocha. Oatmeal includes Classic and Hearty Blueberry flavor. Refreshers include handcrafted Cool Lime & Very Berry Hibiscus.

Before I talk about today’s devotional I’d like to share something my husband said to me.  He asked me if I’d ever read the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  The truth is that I had read it back in the early 90’s as part of a school improvement project. 

About a week or so ago I was praying about something that was troubling me and I felt that GOD was telling me that I have to let go of the things that are outside my sphere of influence.  I needed to work on trusting GOD completely without interjecting my own desires.   Trust me this is not always easy for a control freak like myself to do. 

Today’s Love Expressed devotional is about developing a closer relationship with GOD through psalms.

As a Christian I am searching for a closer relationship with GOD and prayer helps us deepen our intimacy with Him.  Since the God is the source of all power, drawing closer to Him and casting our cares and worries on Him will give us the spiritual strength we need, even while feeling physically weak.  Tell God your needs, fears, feelings, joys, everything on your heart.  

Devotional living, worshiping God, and enjoying His steadfast presence are all part of developing this spiritual intimacy with God. We need to walk with Him faithfully and and draw close in his lovingly embrace.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Unhinging Your Heart


 It’s Day 4 In the Love Expressed Devotional and today’s topic is about worshiping with passion. 
When we gather together as those who have been brought out of death to life by Jesus Christ, there is a reason to shout and praise God!  God uses worship to transform lives, heal wounded souls, renew hope, shape decisions, provoke change, inspire compassion, and bind people to one another.
Worship is more than music… worship is a lifestyle that honors our God who has saved us from death and released us to give back to Him a sacrifice of praise!
Let us gather in worship celebration as a way of loving God back. Be sure to bring eagerness, expectancy and commitment to GOD.  Examine your life and ask God to reveal anything that might be hindering your passion or intimacy with Him. GOD deserves nothing less than the overflow of our hearts!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

No Music Required


In today’s Love Expressed Devotional I found a story that I actually heard about just a couple of weeks ago on the radio. 

A week or so ago a female commentator was sitting in for Sean Hannity and told the story of the acts of remarkable bravery witnessed on The SS Dorchester in 1943.  The story was so incredible I had written myself a note to research it but I just hadn’t had a chance to do so.  Obviously the message is so powerful GOD wanted to make sure I heard it because I needed to hear this story of love in action. 
I’d love to share this story with you today:
Four Chaplains made the supreme sacrifice February 3, 1943 in the sinking of the troopship SS Dorchester in the North Atlantic by a German Submarine. The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, and then linked arms and, saying prayers and singing hymns, went down with the ship

One of the survivors, Grady Clark testified “As I swam away from the ship, I looked back. The flares had lighted everything. The bow came up high and she slid under. The last thing I saw, the Four Chaplains were up there praying for the safety of the men. They had done everything they could. I did not see them again. They themselves did not have a chance without their life jackets.”

GOD expressed his love in the giving of his only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to die in our place to pay the judgment on our sin so that he can give us a total pardon and complete forgiveness.  Once we accept God's forgiveness, God removes our sins and sets free. We no longer have to pay the judgment price for our sins.
Christians have been tortured and martyred throughout history. Even today Christians in other countries are being persecuted and killed. What are we willing to do for the cause of Christ?

If we are really willing to sacrifice ourselves for GOD, we will see spirtual renewal in our own life, our family, our church, and our nation.  Renewal MUST begin with us. 
Be the one to lead the way – through prayer, through Bible study, through spiritual renewal. Set your love in action Let your life and your worship be more than just words.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Words Are Cheap


 Wouldn’t you know it?  The second day of my Love Expressed 21 Day Fast I received an offer to get a free tall drink at Starbucks.  For a split second I was excited until my inner conscience reminded me that I am supposed to stay Starbucks free until the 27th of this month.   That doesn’t mean I can’t pass this offer off to you. 
 Today’s devotional is about demonstrating your love for GOD.  GOD created us to be in a love relationship with Him – to love and to be loved.  GOD demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  We can demonstrate our love for Him by presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to GOD.  

One of the ways we demonstrate our love to GOD is when we pray to Him.  Prayer is a privilege and a blessing from GOD.  Our prayers may be of praise, thanksgiving, intercession, healing, seeking comfort, petitions, repentance, and every aspect of our life.
We demonstrate the love of GOD by our steadfastness and faithfulness to GOD even in the time of persecution and suffering. This means that we should never be ashamed of our faith and our relationship with the Lord while at work, at home, or in our community.

Just as Jesus was sent to this world as a message of His love, so you are to be that type person to those around you. GOD is looking for people whose hearts are fully committed to Him that He can bless and is able to use for His glory. GOD needs our time, talents, spiritual gifts, and a full heart when we serve Him.   
Make demonstrating your love for GOD a lifestyle.  Take some time today to consider all the ways GOD has expressed His love for you then respond by expressing you love back to Him. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Love Expressed


Today began the Love Expressed 21 Day Fast.  Pastor Roberts said that we should fast in the way GOD tells us.  I really put some thought into this but after I saw that my sister-in-law was going to take a break from social media I got the idea that I should take a break from Starbucks. 
Sounds dumb I know but it’s a big thrill for me to go to Starbucks every weekend and watch them make my Green Tea  frappucchino.  It’s not just about stopping for some frilly drink rather it’s the culture of Starbucks. 

When I walk into a Starbucks I listen to the trendy, soothing music, friendly baristas wait to make my tasty drink and the pastry case offers me many tempting options.  It’s definitely my selfish pleasure and in the spirit of love expressed I chose to give it up until January 27th.
Today’s “Love Expressed” devotional reminds us that people are designed to worship. The question is whom or what are you worshiping?  When we refuse to worship God we don’t stop worshiping. Instead, we put other “gods” in His place.  These other “gods” can include anything from money and power to love.  Be assured that worshiping anything other than the true God Himself will destroy you.

What does it mean to worship? 
The English word "worship" is derived from Old English worthscipe, meaning "worthiness" or "worth-ship." So in its simplest concept, worship is to give worth to something.  Perhaps we can summarize it by saying that worship is giving worthiness to the One who alone is all worthy, as an attitude of the heart, led by the Spirit and grounded in the Truth.
How should we worship GOD? 

When we worship GOD we need to give ourselves to him completely.   This means we need to give him our hearts, minds, hands, thoughts, and attitudes.  We truly worship him when  we  give up control of these things and turn them over to Him.

If we love God, we do what He says. Doing what He says is all about His word, His command, and better stated, His truth.  So express your love today and worship. 

Friday, January 4, 2013

1800FLOWERS.COM Brightened My Day - Product Review


The weather here has been cloudy and gloomy lately.  I don’t know about you but overcast days get me down.  

1800FLOWERS.com came to the rescue with my January delivery from my bouquet of the month.  This arrangement included lilies, alstroemeria, poms and monte casino, accented with variegated pittosporum, blue delphinium and green fillers. I also love the brilliant blue glass vase!  Not only is this arrangment beautiful, but it certainly brightened my spirits almost immediately. 

There are hundreds of reasons to send flowers like anniversaries and birthdays but the best reason to send flowers is to deliver a smile.  This arrangement delivered just that. 

By the way, Valentine’s Day is coming up so you should definitely consider sending someone you love the gift of flowers.  Don’t forget 1800FLOWERS has dozens of ways to give that special someone a warm fuzzy feeling this Valentine's  Day 1800FLOWERS.com! 

Disclaimer:  In keeping with the FTC 16 CFR Part 255 I would like to inform you that I received no financial compensation for this post.  I received an arrangement of flowers from 1800FLOWERS.com as part of a prize I won that included a delivery of flowers every month.  All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way.