Monday, September 21, 2020

Discussion: Lies


I came across this earlier this evening and started thinking about it. Is it possible to lie without speaking? Is a lie a story that is not true? Or is it any form of deceit? Dishonesty can be very tricky. What are your thoughts? I'd love to hear, and you can comment below.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Inseparable

Inseparable. 

Incapable of being separated, parted, or disjoined: inseparable companions.

Psalms 85:10 - Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other. 

An inmate at a California prison recently told me they had been asking people within the prison (correctional officers included) a question: if they had to choose peace or righteousness, which would they choose?

They relayed that the majority, if not all of them replied "peace." This inmate has repented and been baptized in Jesus' Name while in prison and is currently seeking the Holy Ghost -- and has a lot of time to study and think. "I don't understand why they would choose peace over righteousness," they said. They went on to explain that if you have righteousness, the end of that is peace. Righteousness brings peace, ultimately. I agree, and it got me thinking and looking at some Bible verses. It seems to me that righteousness and peace are pretty much inseparable. 

Isaiah 32:17 - And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

James 3:18 - And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Psalm 72:3 - The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.

Living right truly brings peace. You may have troubles and trials, but if you are living uprightly - that is, in right standing with God, you can have peace in the midst of the storm. Knowing that you are right with the one who holds your very life in His hands brings peace like nothing else can. Peace and righteousness simply go together hand in hand. 

Romans 14:17 - For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

This also made me think of another pair in the Word of God: mercy and truth. Mercy and truth are pretty much inseparable in the Scripture! If there was no truth, why would there be a need for mercy? And if there was no mercy, I don't see how truth could prevail. Mercy and truth are mentioned together in Genesis, the first book in the Bible. (See Genesis 24:27)

Psalm 25:10 - All the paths of the LORD are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

Psalm 57:10 - For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.

Psalm 61:7 - He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

Proverbs 20:28 - Mercy and truth preserve the king: and his throne is upholden by mercy.

Righteousness and peace, and mercy and truth -- two amazing, inseparable pairs. 

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Lima, Peru, 2020

 Returning once again to the beautiful country of Peru this year was such a blessing for me. This was my 4th time spending time in Peru, so it is now quite a familiar place to me, as I'm sure you can imagine. It was great to see friends again that I hadn't seen in quite a while, visit with them, and pray together in the altar. It was also great to have 4 friends accompany me! Courtney, Allana, Cara, and Jackie made this trip such a blast; we made memories that will last a lifetime. If you look on my sidebar under "other bloggers", Cara's blog is listed there. She's a great poet and photographer! 

Our first full day in Lima, which is the Capitol of Peru, we were able to do some sightseeing. A brother from the church was kind enough to drive us up to a lookout point where we could see the coast of Lima and get some pictures. It was beautiful and so nice to sit up above the city, feeling the sea breeze and simply taking it all in. We did sightseeing throughout our stay in Lima, and here are a few pictures of our adventures.

                                                           South American coastline
                                                                  Myself and Cara

We saw a little planetarium closeby our lookout point and had to stop and take pictures! The stretching clouds backdropped by a soft blue sky seemed to be the perfect background for the planetarium. Cute little place!
                  We were able to tour some ruins one day that were left in the city of Lima
While in Mexico in December 2019, Cara and I bought matching huaraches and took a picture of them on our feet with the Mexican coast in the background, accompanied by the Raspados we bought (I'll make a Mexico post later). We decided to make it tradition when we travel together, taking pictures in our huaraches in different locations in the world. This was the second one we took, overlooking Lima. Hopefully next time we will have some zebras and huts in the background...Ha! Cara took this picture.
We also went to see the changing of the guard at the Presendital Palace in Lima. This was right around the elections in Peru, which sometimes results in political unrest. As we were watching, a riot broke out behind us. It dispersed pretty quickly, but we got to see some action that day! Maybe it was just to prepare us for the ongoing riots of 2020 in our own country. (Photo creds: Cara)
The National Convention was preached by Elder Kenny Godair this year, and what a conference it was! The ordination service, the sweet moves of the Holy Ghost in the altar, the kids seeking God so tenderly; it was beautiful. 
Elder Nix, a true servant. Leading by example, he washed the feet of the ministers being ordained. It was humbling to see. What a pure spirit! (Photo creds: Cara)
                               Johnny and my brother, Paul praying together in the altar
       Taken from the platform during choir. Us girls were invited to join the choir and were able to learn some new songs in Spanish. I'm not sure why, but sometimes songs just seem so much more beautiful when sung in Spanish!
      The Holy Ghost broke out during the preaching and some of the ministers began to shout and praise God in the altar. You can't trade moments like these for anything in this world!
Sis. Godair taught a ladies session and Sister Nix translated. Two sweet, awesome ladies! I enjoy being around them both.
                                         We went to Sarcletti a few times. Such tasty food!!
                     This is Lomo Saltado, a traditional Peruvian dish. SO good! (Photo creds: Cara)
                       Sam, mi sobrino Peruano! He's grown so much since I last saw him. 
A view of the street taken from (I believe) the second or third story of the church. (Photo creds: Cara)

Annnnnd lastly, Cara and Jackie had quite the terrifying "adventure" on their way home to Arizona. They lost cabin pressure in their airplane, the oxygen masks dropped, and they had to make an emergency landing in the country of Ecuador. They were stuck in Ecuador for a day. Needless to say, it was quite a crazy experience for them. However, they did get to meet and witness to several people that were on that flight AND, they can also say that they have now been to Ecuador. Haha! Everything happens for a reason (Photo creds: Cara -- She really took most of these pictures, maybe more than the ones I gave her credit for! But we all took pictures so it's hard to remember who took what).

This is a very brief summary of the trip, just tidbits, really. But, I hope you enjoyed! As mentioned in an earlier post, please keep Peru in your prayers. Many of them have not been able to see anyone else from church, even people in their own families, for 6 months. They have not been able to gather together in the church. COVID-19 restrictions are very prohibitive in Peru, much more so than they are here. They are longing to be able to see each other again and be together in the house of God! God is able.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Catching Up - Missions Trip Pictures

 I do realize I fell off the blog bandwagon for quite some time. During my rather long sabbatical, quite a bit has taken place, though I won't even try to cover it all. The one thing I did want to share is a few recent pictures from missions trips to Peru, Mexico, and Honduras. Recent as in anywhere from about a year and a half ago to 6 and a half months ago. Yes, I got to take one amazing trip this year shortly before COVID interrupted life. When I blogged rather frequently in time past, I would often post pictures and updates from missions trips. So, here's a little peek at missions trips from more recent times.

Peru

The photos in the collage below were taken this year sometime near the end of January - beginning of February. I was blessed to be accompanied by my family as well as some dear friends: Courtney, Allana, Cara, and Jackie. They made this trip an absolute BLAST! The services at the national convention in Lima were special. The Nix family (missionaries to Peru) are such giving, genuine people. They have become like family to us, and I'm so grateful for them. It's always a treat to be in Peru.



   
Mexico

This quick trip over the border was very special to me. I absolutely love Mexico! This trip took place in December of last year and my friend, Cara, went with me. We made a lot of memories and had lots of laughs within a very short period of time. It was really neat to be able to see both Mexico and Peru together! God is doing great things in this new work in the city of Ensenada. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to go and meet these sweet people. Bro. & Sis. Villegas are great people! Maybe sometime later I'll do more posts with more pictures. Keep this new work in Ensenada in your prayers!




Honduras

I had the privilege of visiting Honduras THREE times in just a little over a year's time. December 2018, May 2019, and January of this year. The Schreckhise family (missionaries to Honduras) are dear friends of mine, more like family! Those type of friends. I always have a blast there, and I have come to know and love many of the Honduran saints. They are awesome people! The Schreckhise family are some of the hardest working people I know - real through and through. These pictures are a combination of different trips to Honduras (I think). When you do 3 trips that close together, you can get a little mixed up!




Peru, Honduras, and Mexico along with many other countries have been affected by COVID-19. Peru and Honduras have been much more locked down than we have here in the states, especially Peru. The saints in Lima have not been able to gather together in their church building in person since MARCH! It's been 6 months. Please keep them in prayer. They are longing to all be together again in the house of God. 

Thanks for reading!

Salt and Light

 My pastor was teaching/preaching recently and spoke some things concerning salt and light which I had not before considered. Jesus said "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid." (Matthew 5:14) He also said, "Ye are the salt of the earth" in the previous verse. Light does not have to touch you in order to have an effect upon you. Light can affect one even from a distance. One distant beacon of light can give hope. But what of salt? Salt has no effect on a person if it is not tasted. Salt must touch us.


In this dark world, just by allowing the Holy Ghost to shine through us in the way we behave and speak every day, we can be a light  -  even to the quiet observer or passer-by. People will take notice of the light, even if they aren't interacting with you directly. Light is powerful! One small light can impact a multitude of people. Living right, being honest, working hard, staying modest -  these are all things that will go a very long way. You better believe people are taking notice, even if they don't say anything.  But as already mentioned, not only are we to be a light in this dark world, but we are to be the salt of the earth. Unlike light, salt must touch to impact. If we are to be the salt of the earth, we must be willing to touch lives. Willing to go out of our way. Willing to visit, teach Bible studies, and pray with people. Willing to just spend time and lend them a listening ear. Willing to show them the love of God through our actions and not just our words. 


Salt and light. I want to be both.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

If You Want a Harvest

If You Want a Harvest

If you want a harvest, plentiful, bountiful
There is seed you must sow far and wide
For there will be no beautiful flowers or fruit
‘Til the seed has cracked open and died

If you want precious oils, savory, fragrant
The process, it need not be rushed
The product is lovely and used for much good
But we forget something had to be crushed

If you want His Spirit to come live in your heart
My friend, to your sins you must die
Buried in baptism, that watery grave
Which somehow brings us to true life

In the upper room when the Holy Ghost fell
And quenched their spiritual thirst
It would have been empty, barren, lifeless
If Gethsemane had not come first

For where the will dies, is where God really works
He’s awaiting your surrender complete
And He knows how to give you all that you need
When you place your own heart at His feet

If you want a harvest, plentiful, bountiful
There is seed you must sow far and wide
For there will be no beautiful flowers or fruit
‘Til the seed has cracked open and died

Written by: Jennifer Connell ©
June 7th, 2020 

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Quarantined?

Okay, its been SO long since I've written on the ol' blog, obviously. This COVID-19 crisis along with the quarantine situation made me want to try and blog again, so here we go! I don't know if anyone really checks this thing anymore since I haven't updated it in over a year, but here it goes anyhow!

It seems like the world has flipped upside down within just the past several weeks, hasn't it? With all the changes to daily life, work, the economy, not being able to gather together with others, etc., I've been doing a lot of thinking and have also come to realize several things. I guess you could say I'm learning!

1. I've learned how much I took for granted and didn't even fully realize I was taking things for granted. Being able to have weekly church services and gather together with God's people in PERSON is something I knew was precious, but I've never been so grateful for it in my life. Sometimes it's not until we have things taken away from us that we come to truly appreciate them as we should.

2. I'm learning it's beautiful to have complete and total trust in God. Everything right now is so uncertain in so many ways, but when you're a child of God, you have His promises in your life and you know He will take care of you because you're one His own!


No matter what the church may face in these closing days of time, we have God on our side! Don't forget what's written in the book -- we win! Hang on to God and to what is right, and be faithful. I believe revival is here!

Stay Encouraged!

-Jen


Saturday, January 26, 2019

Happy 2019

Happy 2019, everyone! I realize it's been almost a year since I've posted anything on my neglected blog. I've had a few requests to post, so I'll see what I can do. No promises! Ha!

First of all, I'd like to make you all aware of a missionary friend's blog: Sarah Schreckhise! Sarah is an 18 year old missionary's daughter to the country of Honduras, which is located in Central America (for those of you who don't know). I've been to Honduras twice, and I always enjoy visiting!

Sarah has some really great things to say and, if you're interested in missions (which I hope we all are), then you will find her blog interesting and uplifting, even convicting.

www.graceinhonduras.wordpress.com



I hope to blog sometime in the near future...but we'll see. Not sure who reads this anymore, but at least for those that have requested, I will try to post some missions trip pictures from last year.


Until next time!

-Jen





Monday, April 9, 2018

Time to be Ready

Excuse me for saying "I'm back" last post....6 months ago! Apparently it's hard for me to keep up with the blog, although several times I have intended to.

Let me just say that 2018 feels different - God has been doing some amazing things and I want to be right in the middle of it. I'm excited for what God has been doing in Sunday school. Not only are we growing, but kid's are being touched by God in the altar, tears running down their face and seeking God.

I need to upload pictures, which I haven't done in a while.

God is drawing on backsliders, bringing in new souls and doing miracles. A young lady recently came to a youth group prayer meeting we had and was in the altar with her hands raised and tears streaming down her face, talking to God. Afterward she was amazed, and told us "I didn't know I could feel this good!"

If you're reading, I encourage you to get involved with what God is doing this year. Prayer and fasting, and reaching out with the Word of God is key! There's nothing more exciting than seeing the power of God work in people's lives. If you once used to be a part of this and have found yourself in a place you never thought you'd be, away from God - it's time to come home. It's time to be ready. His coming is soon and there's no time to lose.

I'll try and post more "soon"! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I'm Back!

I guess I haven't blogged for months!

At times I've had things I would have liked to have shared or written about, but I never seem to get around to it. However, there are some things I would like to share soon about Sunday School/Children's church on here soon! Quite a while back I had posted some pictures of some things people in our church have done for Sunday school, and I remember someone coming up to me at a conference earlier this year and telling me they had seen my blog and used the idea for Sunday school - pretty cool! (not my ideas, I just shared some of our decorations, etc.)

Lots of good things have been happening and when I can later, I'll have to upload pictures and share not only decoration or lesson ideas, but what God has been doing right here in our growing Sunday school. We are a home missions church that does not have sunday school rooms, so we have everyone in the sanctuary with a wide variety of ages, which can be challenging at times. But when you work with what you've got and give it your all, God will bless and help! He always does.

Not sure who all reads this, but I'll try and revive the old blog soon.

Check back soon!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Complacency

Hello, world.

I realize it has been a very long time since I have posted anything on my poor neglected blog, so I figured I would write a little something today. I would actually like to share something that someone else shared with me a while back, and I thought it was really good.

"Complacency is a blight that saps the energy, dulls attitudes, and causes drain on the brain. The first symptom is satisfaction with things as they already are. The second is rejection of things as they might be. "Good enough" becomes today's watchword and tomorrow's standard. Complacency makes people fear the unknown, mistrust the untried, and abhor the new. Like water, complacent people follow the easiest course--downhill. They draw false strength from looking back."

-Bits & Pieces (May 28, 1992), 15.

We as human beings have a natural tendency to resist change. I believe if we are not careful, we can easily fall into a state of complacency. If complacency is dangerous in the natural, it is even worse when it's spiritual complacency. Spiritual complacency can cause someone to resist going forward in God and hinder them becoming who it is that God intended for them to become in His kingdom. "Good enough" is a scary place to be, because we deceive ourselves into thinking that we are okay, when really, something is lacking. The 5 foolish virgins in Matthew 25 were indeed virgins and were waiting to be taken into the marriage, but the problem was that they didn't have enough oil in their lamps; because of this, they were rejected. This challenges me to keep my vessel full of oil (the Holy Ghost), and to continually pursue God, lest one day I hear the dooming words, "I never knew you." Today I am thankful to God for never ceasing to challenge me, correct me, and show me His amazing mercy.

Go forward in Him!

-Jen

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hello!

Hello, Blogdom!

I realize it has been 2 months since I have posted anything, which was definitely not the plan since my last post. Things have been extremely busy as of late, but I will try to start updating soon once some of the craziness is over! So, for all those that have been blog policing out there... hang in there. :)

Keep serving Jesus!

-Jen

 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Heritage



Now I know why everyone always says there is no conference like Heritage. Because there really isn't any conference like Heritage! It was my first time--so unique and special, and so spiritually focused. I'll try to share about it very soon. Let's just say that God did some wonderful things there, both in myself and in many others--things that will travel on and influence even those who were not there.

God is working in our churches in these last days and stirring young people all over the world. I awoke this morning to a somewhat jolting thought: If I am not careful, I could miss the soon Coming of the Lord. It is so important that we stay on fire for God in these perilous times when the love of many is waxing cold.

Are you ready? Praying? Looking for His coming? 

If you're not, now is the time!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Waiting

Isaiah 40:31 says, "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." 

The key to this whole verse is the word "wait." 

Many times we as human beings become impatient waiting for things in life. Things like direction and a clear answer from God for whatever we are facing or dealing with in our minds and hearts. There have been seasons in my life when it seemed as if the answer would never come, but it did. 

Upon pondering this topic, the thought occurred to me that "waiting" has a lot (if not everything) to do with being faithful and obedient. Faithful to pray, to fast, to be in the house of God, and just live for Him as we always do. Answers sometimes come in the services we least expect, or just when you reach that point where you feel like things will never change. People have missed their answer because of a lack of faith/faithfulness, going elsewhere to try and get their need fulfilled their own way, rather than waiting on an answer from the Lord.

Psalm 127:1 Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. 

When we try to do it all on our own rather than waiting on His perfect will, the results will most likely be messy, if not devastating. I can think of someone who had a need but did not wait on the Lord and was not faithful to obey their pastor. They tried to work it out on their own, and the sad outcome was eternal. I can also think of those who have obeyed and waited on God faithfully, even when it was hard and they couldn't see past the circumstance, and God has faithfully blessed and rewarded!

What about you? Are you waiting for something? Do you need an answer--direction? Help? God knows, and He is watching your faithfulness. Jesus said, "In your patience possess ye your souls." (Luke 21:19) New strength will come with the answer after you have been faithful in waiting upon the LORD

God Bless!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Happy Birthday, Dad!

 Happy Birthday to my wonderful dad!
 My dad.... the Master of steak, tri-tip, and ribs! I'm telling you, he knows what he is doing!
 A great pastor who loves people.
A family guy!

Dad,
I don't know where I would be today if not for all of your love and guidance. Thank you for everything that you have done for me. You mean more to me than you will ever know, and I will be forever grateful to you!

I love you! ♥ Happy Birthday!

Love,
Jen