30 THINGS I LEARNED LIVIN IN Louisiana

DISCLAIMER: This is a reprint! It just seemed like the day for remembering my days in Louisiana… But, then all this holds true for Mississippi, too. We  Southerners are just plain folk who like a good time and a little tea with our sugar :D

1) A possum is a flat animal that sleeps in the middle of the road.

2) There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 of them live in Louisiana . 

3) There are 10,000 types of spiders, and all 10,000 of them live in Louisiana .

4) If it grows, it'll stick ya. If it crawls, it'll bite cha.

5)  Onced" and "Twiced" are words.

6) It is not a shopping cart, it's a buggy.

7) "Jawl-P?" means, "Did y'all go to the bathroom?"

8)  People actually grow okra and eat it . 

9) "Fixinto" is one word. 

10) There is no such thing as lunch. There is only dinner and then there is supper... 

11) Iced tea is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you're two. We do like a little tea with our sugar. 

12) Backwards and forwards means, "I know everythin' 'bout you.
 
13) The word "jeet" is actually a phrase meaning, "Did you eat?" 

14) You don't have to wear a watch, because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see... 

15) You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH 'em.  

16)  You measure distance in minutes.

17) You switch from heat to A/C in the same day. 


18) All the festivals across the state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect, or animal.

19) You know what a "Dawg" is.

20) You carry jumper cables in your car - for your own car. 

21) You only own five spices: salt, pepper, Tony Chachere's, Tabasco , and ketchup

22) The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local gossip and LSU football....

23) You think that the first day of deer season is a national holiday.

24) You find 100 degrees "a bit warm."

25) You know all four seasons: Almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas. 

26) Going to Walmart is a favorite past time known as "Goin' Walmartin" or "off to Wally World." 

27) You describe the first cool snap (below 70 degrees) as good gumbo weather.

28) Fried catfish is the other white meat. 

29) We don't need no dang Driver's Ed . . . . If our mama says we can drive, we can drive.

30)  You understand these jokes and forward them to your Louisiana friends and those who just wish they were from Louisiana!!!!!

The Seven Crowns We Receive


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I did a lot more digging using the Hebrew and Greek lexicons. Then, I taught this study to my Thursday Morning Bible Study class. Wow! When I updated it with more in depth research you won't believe what I found. There are more than 7 crowns that we receive. Isn't that amazing? There's several crowns of the same type, but of different kinds. There is also a crown of insolence... and yes, Christians can wear this crown.

This has been such a popular post, I decided to use my updated notes and write a book.

It isn't long, and it isn't expensive. It's here and it's available on
Author Gina Burgess
Amazon.com. It will be available in other places, too. I hope you will purchase the book, and let me know what you think! Give me your insights, discuss what you discover as you study the crowns. I hope to keep updating the book as time goes by so that many believers will know what, how, and why we have these rewards.

~~~~oOo~~~~


Paul was very fond of using The Race as an analogy for the Christian Lifestyle. To the Corinthians, he espoused this theme pointing to the victor in the race receives a crown of corruption. That was a wreath of leaves of laurel which soon withers. In fact the runner coveted the victory much more than the crown. Paul immediately points out that believers’ crowns are incorruptible, lasting forever, being the proof of victory in Christian living.

I have heard studies on “the five crowns” we receive, but there actually are more than five crowns. Believers have already received two of these crowns, which are worn daily.

Crown of Separation – the word is actually translated separation and is the Hebrew word nezer which means consecration, crown, or separation. Looking closely at Numbers 6:8 we see all the days of his separation he is holy to the LORD. It could also be termed our Crown of Holiness. We are of God. He has transformed us through Christ's blood sacrifice into a holy people.

In order to make the correlation between crown and separation, look at what the Hebrew word nezer means. It is translated crown and is used in describing the Nazarite. When we compare this verse with one written by Peter in the New Testament, we see something amazing. 1 Peter 2:9  But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven. Peter is talking about God setting us aside as peculiar people, special by divine design as well as divine purpose. The next crown we discover is just as intriguing and hard to identify.
Crown of Protection is found in Psalm 5:12 translated surround. The Hebrew word is  âṭar  and it is a primitive root meaning to encircle as for attack or protection, especially to crown either figuratively or literally. The verse reads, For it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor as with a shield. This verse tells us many things, for one God is all powerful and it is He who is our protection which is a blessing reserved for the righteous person. How assuring that promise is. The Bible tells us there are several different kinds of this crown type.

Therefore, the first two crowns are ones that we receive immediately. Just as the Holy Spirit is our engagement ring so to speak – our seal of betrothal – He is also our shield of protection and our crown of holiness, separation from this world. He is our worldly dirt repellant and shield of grace.

Crown of Insolence is first mentioned in  Isaiah 28:1. The Samaritans were thoroughly corrupted. 
The derogatory term, Crown of Insolence, stems from how the Samaritans took great pride in the work of their own hands (much like Cain did with his offering of grain). They were drunk with their pride and drunk with the wine including all the attached evils that come with that kind of lifestyle. Yes. Believers can  wear this crown especially when self becomes more important than pleasing the Father.

Crown of Incorruptibility – Is found in 1 Corinthians 9:25  And everyone who strives for the mastery is temperate in all things. Then those truly that they may receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. This could also be called the Crown of Victory. Just as the first two crowns, this crown is given to every Believer. It is the mark of finishing the race of Christian living which is victory over death and sin through Christ who achieved that victory for us. It is everlasting and will never tarnish eternally sparkling and shining reflecting the glory of Christ our king.

Crown of Rejoicing is found in 1 Thessalonians 2:19-20For what is our hope or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are you not even to be in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? 20  For you are our glory and joy. The victor of the race had a crown as proof of  his victory, Paul had the churches he had established, then supported with his letters and visits which reflected God’s glory and is a matter of much rejoicing. This crown is reserved for evangelists, missionaries, seekers of lost souls and those who bring the lost to Jesus to be saved. These do not seek glory for themselves, but consistently reflect God's glory and constantly give Him glory.

Crown of Righteousness is found in 2 Timothy 4:8 Now there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that Day; and not to me only, but also to all those who love His appearing. The Crown of Righteousness is given strictly to all who are saved because all who love Jesus’ coming are saved. Those who fear His coming or despise Him are not saved and will get the Lake of Fire, not this crown. The Crown of Righteousness will be worn into the 1,000 years of peace. Each person who believes God's testimony concerning His Son will receive this crown.

Crown of Life James 1:12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, because having been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. This is the crown that goes to those children of God who have endured the trials and temptations, learning the lessons God has set before them. Also see Rev 2:10 This is the crown that goes to those who endure many things and do not waver in their faith. Their faith has been tested and it has been proven Sincere. They love God, and they trust God. We all experience times when we suffer doubt or when we ask out loud, “Where is God?” That is not questioned here. The Crown of Life is the proof of surviving the trials, temptations and tribulations of life. Those that are common to man and those that are allowed by God in order to strengthen our Spiritual Muscles. If we did not suffer trials, our Spiritual muscles would be flabby and unable to support the skeleton of our faith. We must exercise our muscles for a healthy body and the same holds true for our souls.

Crown of Glory 1Peter 5:2 ...to the Elders... 2Shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight, not by compulsion, but willingly; nor eagerly for base gain, but readily; 3 nor as exercising lordship over the ones allotted to you, but becoming examples of the flock. 4 And at the appearing of the Chief Shepherd, you will receive the never fading crown of glory. The Crown of Glory is reserved for those who are the backbone of the church, the elders, pastors, teachers and those who are above reproach in guiding the Bride of Christ. (See 1 Peter 5:1)

Here is the exhortation: We should always be working, using our gifts toward the edification of the body. When we set on a pew hatching nothing, then we will never receive this crown. However, when we utilize the gifts the Holy Spirit bestows upon us at the very instant we are saved then we can look forward to this crown.

What will we do with these crowns, all these rewards we receive? Rev 4:10 says that we will throw them at His feet and glorify Him. Our job here on earth is to labor and be ready for His glorious coming.

All by yourself?

What did the disciples try to do under their own strength?

Sail across a lake in a storm... cast a demon from a boy... walk on water... understand Jesus's teachings...

Probably a better question would be what did they not try to do under their own strength.

Jesus made it very clear when He called them little-faiths: ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos (ol-ig-op'-is-tos) From G3641 and G4102; incredulous, that is, lacking confidence (in Christ): - of little faith.

We smile and shake our heads and say, 'How could they not have faith?'
Jesus spoke and the storm calmed, He reached out and plucked Peter from sinking in the water, He cast out the demon from the boy and the boy was well ever after that, He fed the 5000 and the 4000 with baskets of food left over. When God shows Himself in that glory, how could anyone not have faith?

How indeed.

I sit in a chair and know it will keep me from falling on the floor. I turn the key in the ignition of my car and expect it to start the engine and for it to take me where I need to go. I don't have quite as much faith in my computer as it has failed me more often than my car.

There is the key. My car, actually, has never failed me... the one I have now. Other cars failed me and one in particular I never had faith it would start. I'd always prayed and hoped it would start.

God has never failed me.

Why is it, then, I sometimes have doubts? Is it my point of reference?

People have failed me... even the ones that I never expected much from, failed me. It isn't their fault because they are human, with human natures that are imperfect. We do not have the capability to be perfect within our flesh. That is impossible. God, on the other hand, is perfect and infallable.

But... we guage God through our human-ness. We think with our finite minds and see with our imperfect vision and this is how we see God, forgetting that we are made in God's image (not the other way around) and not in His perfect nature and character. We have the potential and we will be perfect one day, just not today. Therefore, we cannot see all that God sees or know all that God knows and that makes for a very imperfect understanding of our own situations and future. It also makes for a very imperfect, and perhaps quite wobbly faith.

Here is the tricky part. God is okay with the wobbly faith up to a point. There comes a time when God expects trust no matter the cost, and trusting Him can be quite costly from a secular world point of view. Yet, it is our weakness that glorifies His strength. Our trust magnifies His name. Our frailties in concert with God's power makes the angels wonder.

God has never failed me. I have to go with what I know, regardless of the feelings of doubt, because those feelings are so fleeting. So, I put my hand in the hand of the Man that stilled the water because He kept His promises no matter the cost. How, indeed, can my faith falter?

...and the blind see (a short story)



…and the blind see.

My eyes leak tears of great sadness. The darkness has overcome the glorious light.
For hours the darkness shadowed the world and I could not see, nor no one could see. It was as if I were blind once again, but this time the whole of the world was blind with me. But, my tears are not because of lost sight, because of stumbling and tripping. The tears flooding my face and the front of my shirt are because a most beloved face is even now twisted with agony and suffering.

Why Adonai? Why give me my sight only to see this horror? I know Who it is that is groaning in great pain. It is your Son, the glorious Messiah, Emmanuel, King of Kings, Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God. And yet, He hangs there, suspended above the earth covered in blood, and dying for me. I cannot help it, I ache at that thought, and rent my clothes, heap dust on my head and cry out Abba Father. Look upon Your Son, Shaddai. Look at what they have done to Your Son!

The thorns are embedded in His skull, some protruding out below the crown. Blood has covered that beautiful face. The most beautiful sight I had ever seen was that face, a face filled with great compassion. Those of you who love Him already can imagine how marvelous for the very first sight you have in your life is His face!

He wasn’t beautiful as some think. He was actually rather plain of countenance, but He took me out of the darkness into the glorious light of His face. It was such beauty it made me faint with joy. Ah… why, you ask, was his face so beautiful? Why, because I was born blind of a blind man. I am a Jew by birth and the son of Timaeus which means unclean. I received my sight because He said my faith had made me well. I had encountered my Deliverer, and my life was changed forever. I was not only sound of body, but also on the inside. My soul was now glowing, with that glorious light. I jumped up from my spot on the side of the road and followed Him. I vowed to never to leave His side, never realizing… I did not fathom what was soon to come.

Oy vei, oh woe, woe to the world, the life is ebbing from our only hope. I looked at Him and His eyes enveloped me with such love a well could not have held it all. My heart drank and drank from that love. Even in His great agony, He smiled at me. Then He looked at the Romans casting lots for His clothes. Incredibly, He asked YWHW to forgive them for they didn’t know what they were doing. The Centurion’s stern face was melted into awe. How could One treated so, ask forgiveness for the ones who had inflicted such pain? The Centurion had encountered the King of Kings. The one who lived to serve authority had met the Highest Authority, and his life was changed forever.

Listen, what is He saying? “Eli, Eli, lama Shabachthani?” That means, My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me? Then He looked down and stared at the Pharisee standing close to the cross. Not close enough that the spatters of blood would drop on him, but close enough to hear the anguish in that voice. Much stronger than possible for One on the cross for so long, yet He would have hours yet to suffer. The stronger ones lasted for days on the cross. I think about that Psalm that Jesus had quoted. I can see the Pharisee’s lips move as he quotes the Psalm to himself.

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me, and are far from My deliverance, from the words of My groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer; and in the night, and there is no silence to Me. But You are holy, being enthroned on Israel's praises. Our fathers trusted in You; they trusted, and You delivered them. They cried to You, and were delivered; they trusted in You, and were not ashamed.

I could see him nod his head. He was remembering Abraham, and Moses, and Joshua, and Hezekiah.

But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of mankind, and despised by the people. All who see Me scornfully laugh at Me; they open the lip; they shake the head, saying, He rolled on Jehovah, let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, since He delights in Him.

The Pharisee looked around at the laughing and jeering crowd. His eyes passed over me, but stopped as one after another of the crowd cried out, “Let us see if Elijah comes to save Him.” Others wagged their heads and cried out, “You who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” The chief priests also mocked, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the king of Israel, let Him come down and then we will believe Him.”

The Pharisee paled. If this really was God, they would never have dared speak thus to Him. They would never speak HaShem the Name for fear of blasphemy. What if… Yet his lips continued to quote the holy passage written by David so many generations ago. 

For You are He, My Taker from the womb; causing Me to trust on My mother's breasts. I was cast on You from the womb, from My mother's belly, You are My God. Be not far from Me; for trouble is near; because no one is there to help. Many bulls have circled around Me; strong bulls of Bashan have surrounded Me. They opened their mouth on Me, like a lion ripping and roaring. I am poured out like waters, and all My bones are spread apart; My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue clings to My jaws;

I could see the Pharisee startled expression. Jesus had whispered, “I thirst.”

and You appoint Me to the dust of death; for dogs have encircled Me; a band of spoilers have hemmed Me in, piercing My hands and My feet.

When the Pharisee said “piercing My hands and My feet” his countenance changed to one of shock. His face turned ashen as if all the blood had drained from it. He staggered like one who had taken a mighty blow to the gut. His hand rested on his chest as if he tried to still his heart’s racing. I could see him tremble as he looked up at his King; and Jesus looked on Him with love. His lips barely moved now as he continued the Psalm.

I count all My bones; they look, they stare at Me.

In truth, his ribs were in stark relief. His arms stretched out, nails in His wrists and in the arches of his feet. When He relaxed, the weight of His whole body was on His wrists, and when He pushed up to exhale a breath, His whole weight was on the nails in His feet. His agony was unbearable to watch. With every push up with His feet, blood gushed from His wounds, mixing with the blood caked, and dried causing much misery. I ached for Him. The tears would not stop, soaking my beard and the prayer shawl I had draped over my head.

They divide My garments among them, and they made fall a lot for My clothing.

Yea, the Romans did cast lots for His clothing. The Pharisee’s countenance changed from one of hateful anger to one of haunting longing. He reached up a hand. The Pharisee had an encounter with his Savior and was changed forever.

I was crushed as an olive in the oil press. I was undone. Despair spread through His followers. A Pharisee I did not know whom I learned later was called Joseph, took down Jesus’ body from the cross and carried Him to a tomb. I watched as he and another called Nicodemus carefully washed His body then wrapped Him in spices. From the looks of it, the spices, aloes and myrrh, must have weighed a talent, or about a hundred Roman pounds. They placed a handkerchief around his bruised head and His face, then they rolled a huge stone into place.

My shoulders slumped for I heard in my mind’s eye the last words of my beloved Jesus, “It is finished.”

I stayed there for I do not know how long. I had no stomach to eat and no will to sleep for my sight had been given me and the images of the past days I could not be rid of. The Temple soldiers taking Him in the Garden, the trial of Him in the house of Caiaphas, the trial of Him in the Roman house of Pilate, the sound of the whip slashing His skin, the sound of His blood as it dripped on to the flagstones, the sound of the nails driven into His flesh, the sound of the bones as they cast lots for His clothes. It seared my mind and I could hardly stand it. Wearily, I took myself off to bed where I stayed until Sabbath. I knew then, I should thank the LORD for my sight. I gathered the few coins I had from my begging and offered them on the altar as thanksgiving. It was a bittersweet thanksgiving.

When Sabbath drew to a close, the sun had pinkened the sky, but had not yet risen, I took myself off to the tomb again. I knew He was gone, for He had told the thief they would both be in Paradise that day. I knew He spoke Truth, for He was Truth. I thought praying would help heal my grief that my relationship with my LORD was so brief, grief that I could do nothing to help Him or to thank Him for my sight.  

I stumbled and fell to my face. The earth moved just as it had the day He died. The stone closing Him in had rolled away and the soldier guards were vanished. I rubbed my eyes, for I thought they were deceiving me. Yet, there were the women, the same who had gathered that awful day, who wept and wailed. They were there before me. An angel sat on top of the stone, his smile more beautiful than the sun.

“Why do you seek the Living among the dead?” he asked the women.

Why indeed? Could this be true. Was my Beloved alive? Had He risen? Joy flooded my being. I leapt up and could not help myself, I danced. The sun peeked over the mountains and I danced as David danced when they brought back the Ark of the Covenant.

Hope beyond understanding filled my soul. I live today because a Man who is the Son of God loved me and healed me. He healed me by giving me sight which no other living, or dead had ever been able to do, giving sight to one born blind. I vowed to my precious LORD that moment that I would forever sing His praises. I would tell my story to any and all who would listen. Now, you know. I have born witness to the facts of these events. Do not sit still, but reach out to Him that was on the cross, but is no longer dead. He is alive. He is alive! He begs to you come, drink from the Living Water so you will never thirst. Come says the Spirit and the Bride, come. Let whoever desires take the water of life freely.

Inspired by a sermon preached by Walter Barnes, Youth Minister, Roseland Park Baptist Church in 2009. (c) Gina Burgess 2015.

When God Says No...

I've posted some of Alan Smith's Thought For The Day (TFTD) before, and I'm going to do it today. This one is very thought provoking because we humans have tendencies in our frailness. Alan addresses one that could potentially be dangerous...



WHEN GOD SAYS NO

     I heard a story about a young girl who wrote a letter to a missionary to let him know that her class had been praying for him.  But evidently she'd been told not to request a response to her letter because the missionaries were very busy.  So the missionary got a kick out of her letter.  It said, "Dear Mr. Missionary, we are praying for you.  But we are not expecting an answer."

     I can't help but think that that little girl summarized the prayer lives of many Christians. Sometimes we pray without expecting an answer, even though God has assured us that He does indeed hear our prayers.  David said, "I love the Lord, because He has heard my voice and my supplications." (Psalm 116:1).  But I think many of us struggle with the nagging question, "Is God really listening to me?"   Yes, He heard David, He heard Elijah, and He heard the apostles.  But does He hear me?

     How do we really know that our prayers are answered?  Sure, there are times when we see visible results.  We may pray for someone who's sick and the next week they get well.  But more often, our prayers don't produce flashing "neon" answers.  We pray for help in financial problems, and we don't see things get any better.  We pray for guidance in making right decisions, but the decisions don't get any easier.  We pray for relationships with other people to improve, but they just seem to get worse.  How do we as Christians account for that happening?  How do we explain the fact that so many of our prayers seem to go "unanswered"?

     The truth is, for a child of God there is no such thing as an unanswered prayer.  Maybe you've heard it said before that God answers prayer in three ways.  Sometimes the answer is "yes."  Sometimes the answer is "no."  And sometimes the answer is "wait a while."  It's easy to accept an answer of "yes," but what about when God says, "no"?

     Let me suggest three principles:

     First of all, we need to trust God enough to realize that our all-loving, all-powerful Father loves us and has our best interest at heart.  So when it seems that God says "no" to our prayers, we must trust Him enough to understand that there must be a good reason for it.  It may be beyond our limited ability to understand, but we must simply trust God.

     Secondly, we must not forsake God.  Disappointment is a dangerous, powerful thing.  When we get the feeling that God isn't listening to us, that He has said "no" to some prayer, we have a tendency to feel disappointed in Him.  And Satan whispers to us, "God said He loves you, but He's not here."  And if we allow that disappointment to harbor in our hearts, it can drive a wedge between us and God.  We must continue to be faithful to our responsibility before God.

     And thirdly, we need to realize that the answer may not be "no," but only "wait a while."  God always answers our prayers immediately, but sometimes there's a delay in the giving of the answer and that can be a difficult thing for us to accept.  The ability to wait for an answer is one of the marks of maturity.  Be willing to let God answer in his own time, in his own way, and in his own power.

     Many people see God as a divine vending machine in which you deposit one prayer and out pops a blessing.  But what happens when you put your money in the Coke machine and nothing comes out?  You get angry, you kick the Coke machine.  So it's not surprising that such a view of God and prayer leads to disappointment when God says no.

     I believe that we need to foster an entirely different view of prayer from that one.  Our God is the Great God of the Universe, the Creator of all things that exist other than Himself.  For us to even venture to speak to Him is presumptuous.  For us to ask Him to pay attention to our requests and then hope for Him to meet them requires bold expectation.  In fact such would be arrogance if it were not for the simple fact that God tells us to do just that.

     Looking from the proper perspective, we will not ask "What happens when God says no?" but rather "What happens when God says yes?"  That the God of the heavens would listen to us and our needs is a great testimony to His great love for us.  And it is that love that will lead Him to say no from time to time.  At those times, we must trust Him knowing that he loves us and desires what is best for us.  We must never forsake Him nor our duty toward Him.  And we must realize that what we interpret to be an answer of "no" may just be God telling us to wait a while.

     "This is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." (I John 5:14)

Have a great day!

Alan Smith
Helen Street Church of Christ
Fayetteville, North Carolina