Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Jesus + nothing=everything

 

There is nothing you can do to earn His love.

No works.

No deeds.

No being a “good person.”

There is nothing you can do to make Him stop loving you.

Not your past.

Not those things you are ashamed of.

Not those things you feel guilty about.

You are loved completely, thoroughly, and unconditionally.  

Just because you are you.  

It’s that simple. 

Jesus + Nothing = Everything

Samaritan Ministries : Christian “Health Insurance”

Samaritan Ministries : Christian “Health Insurance”

If you are like most families in the United States, you fall into 2 categories:  1.  You don’t have health insurance because it’s so expensive OR 2. You are paying a CRAZY amount of money for health insurance each month.  Either way, you are probably hoping and wishing that there was another option.  And guess what?  There is an alternative.  And I think you just may love it.  It’s Samaritan Ministries, an alternative to traditional health insurance.

First, let me tell you a little bit about our family and why we chose to use Samaritan Ministries.  We are a family of 4:  me and my husband have a 16 year old son and a 12 year old daughter.  Say a prayer for me, the teen and tween years are full of unique challenges!  My husband and I have been self-employed for 20+ years.  We have always done our own thing.  Right now, my essential oil business is our income.  Being self-employed, we don’t have the luxury of having an employer paid health insurance plan.  But, from what I hear from many of my friends, employer sponsored plans are pretty much a thing of the past unless you work for the government.  Of course, if you are a Congressman, you have it made.  But I’m not gonna go there.  #scam

Prior to joining Samaritan Ministries, we purchased our insurance through Humana.  Our deductible was $7,000 a year for each person and our monthly rate had increased to $1,700 a month.  Seriously, is this crazy or what!?!?   Folks, this is A LOT of money.  In addition, we simply don’t go to the doctor very much.  I’m passionate about natural health and alternative medicine.  That’s my thing.  We practice prevention and handle little issues on our own.  We also prefer to see naturopaths, chiropractors, and alternative doctors.  These are not generally covered with traditional insurance programs.  So, basically, I was giving $1,700 away every single month.  But, hey, at least I wasn’t being fined by the Affordable Healthcare Act.

I heard about Samaritan Ministries from a friend and began to research.  Friends, I am a HUGE researcher.  That’s how I’m wired.  I’m the person that reads the 1 star Amazon reviews before purchasing anything.   I didn’t just research Samaritan Ministries, I also looked into other alternative companies such as Liberty HealthShare and Christian Care Ministry (Medi-Share).  I studied the website, interrogated customer service, and spoke to my friends who had used Samaritan Ministries.  After sharing my research with my husband, we knew that Samaritan Ministries was a good fit for our family.

Is Samaritan Ministries health insurance?  No, technically, it is not health insurance.  It’s actually a share program.  Our monthly share is $405 (for a family of 4).  Each month, I write a check to an actual family to help share the cost of their medical needs.  When a family has a medical bill, they submit it to Samaritan Ministries.  Samaritan, in turn, divides the bill up among participants.  So I’m not writing a check to a corporation; I’m sending money and prayers to the actual people who need it.  Truly, this is a joy.  It is such a blessing to be able to help other believers in their time of need. Writing a monthly check to Humana was a burden; writing a check to another family is a pleasure.

Samaritan Ministries Review

To help you make a more informed decision, here are a few frequently asked questions:

  • Is this legal?  Yes, it is.
  • Will I be fined by the Affordable Care Act?  No, health share ministries are exempt.  No fines!
  • Is there a deductible?  No.  There is not but needs under $300 are not shared.   When the need goes over $300, the amount from $300 to $250,000 is shared.
  • What if my medical cost is over $250,000? There is an additional  program, Save to Share.  This will allow you to share medical expenses above $250,000.
  • Am I limited to certain doctors?  No.  You pick your own doctor.  Always.
  • What if I need a second opinion?  Go and get it.  Remember, you pick your own doctor.
  • Are alternative doctors and chiropractors included?  You may request that alternative treatment be shared.
  • What are the member requirements?  You must be a professing Christian who attends church regularly and agree to abstain from  drug abuse and sexual immorality. You must also be accountable to a church pastor or leader.
  • What about pre-existing conditions?  Pre-existing conditions are not shared.  Some pre-existing conditions may be eligible for Special Prayer Needs.  Needs that fall outside of guidelines will often be posted and members can send donations as they feel prayerfully led.
  • Is pregnancy included?  Pregnancy costs will be shared.
  • How long has Samaritan Ministry been around?  Since September 1994.

Our family has been involved with Samaritan Ministry for over a year and I can only say great things about this program.  I am super passionate about this ministry and all the do to bring believers together and bear one another’s burdens.  It’s such a beautiful thing.

Friends, if you have any questions about my review of Samaritan Ministries, please comment here and I will do my best to answer.  I’ve done quite a bit of research and truly believe that this is an amazing (and little known) resource.  Please help me in spreading the word because people need to know that there are alternatives to traditional health insurance.  Samaritan Ministries is a blessing to our family and, if you have a need, it just might be a blessing to your family, too.

If you do choose to sign up, please let them know that Stephanie Blue Crane referred you.  I’ll get a small credit for spreading the word and be very appreciative for you remembering.

 

How to Start Bible Journaling

How to Start Bible Journaling

How to Start Bible Journaling

A couple of months ago, I made a new friend on Facebook. I noticed her posting pics of her Bible with beautiful hand-lettering and bright artwork. I was super intrigued and quickly got sucked into #BibleJournal on Instagram. Go on over and search the hashtag. I dare you. You’ll be amazed. There are some super talented women out there. I quickly decided to try my hand at this beautiful form of creative worship.

Before I jump in with a how-to, let me show you a few examples of gorgeous Bible journaling.

courtesy of @shelbymaryann on InstaGram

 

bible journaling

courtesy of @RoseVignette on InstaGram

Please don’t be intimidated by this.  Even if you are not artistic, you can begin to Bible journal.  Me…I’m certainly not an artist.  This isn’t about perfection.  It’s about the process.  It’s about digging into the Word, praying, allowing God to speak to you, and putting your love and gratitude down on paper.  You can do that, right?

The Hidden Benefits of Journaling in Your Bible

As I began use my Bible for doodling, art, and creative worship, I quickly discovered the benefits.

  • I begun to LOVE my quiet time.  I actually look forward to waking up in the mornings, studying, and creating.  I have officially turned into a morning person.
  • I started to read the Bible instead of reading books ABOUT the Bible.  Big difference.
  • I began to dig deep into the Word.  I would read and re-read chapters.  Sunday mornings weren’t enough.  I wanted real depth and knowledge.
  • I started to memorize scripture more easily.
  • God shared awesome revelations. Every single day.
  • I began to love God more.  You can’t love someone that you don’t know, right?  Well, God used Bible Journaling to bring me into a more intimate relationship with Him.  How cool is that?!?!

This is an image of one of the first times entries that I did.  Emmanuel.  God with us. I used inexpensive watercolor paints and stickers.  You can also use rubber stamps, scrapbook materials, washi tape, and ephemera.  Whatever speaks to your creative little heart.  Just be you!

Bible journaling

 

How to Get Started

  • Pray.  Start off and talk to God.  He listens.
  • Begin with a favorite or meaningful verse.  Meditate on the verse as you create.
  • Start off doodling on scrap paper.  It gets the creative juices flowing.
  • Use a pencil for lettering or artwork.  Once you get your desired design, color over permanently.
  • Don’t limit yourself to artwork.  You can write notes, create outlines, or illustrate a high point.  Just make it pretty!
  • If you need inspiration, google “hand lettering” or head on over to dafont for some nifty font ideas.
  • Take your time.  This is worship.  And we don’t rush worship, right?

Tips for Bible Journaling

  • Decide if you want to write in your Bible or if you’d prefer to use a separate journal.   I have always loved writing in my Bible, taking notes, cross-referencing, etc.  Some consider the Bible holy (and it is!) and don’t feel comfortable writing in their Bible.  This is perfectly fine.  You can copy pages from the Bible and decorate them or work in a blank journal.  Whatever you do is correct.
  • If you do choose to adorn your Bible, know that the first time is the most difficult.  And how!  Embrace this and know that it gets easier.
  • Mistakes can be fixed.  Trust me on this.  Washi tape and doodles cover a multitude of “sins.” Ha!
  • Peruse Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration.  Feel free to follow me as I often post my doodles and inspiration.
  • You can purchase a journaling Bible or begin creating in your current Bible.
  • Many markers will bleed through the pages.  Be sure and test your pens and markers on back pages before beginning.  Crayola Twistables are awesome and you might have some lying around.  Colored pencils are an option.  If you want to purchase some good pens,  I’m a big fan of Pigma Mircon.

Ready to jump in?  I hope that you are!  I think you’ll love it and I KNOW that it will move your heart closer to Him.  Blessings to you!

Essential Oils:  A Prayer and Meditation Blend

Essential Oils: A Prayer and Meditation Blend

Historically, essential oils have been used to promote prayer, meditation, and in religious ceremonies.   In ancient Egypt, priests used resins, balms, and oils from plants for religious purposes.  The Vedas, a sacred book and collection of Indian hymns and texts, has many references to herb and fragrant materials.  In the Old Testament of the Bible, a holy anointing oil was used to pour on the heads of the priests as well as used throughout the Tabernacle and on it’s contents.  Oils are referenced many times throughout the Bible.

exodusEssential oils vibrate at high frequencies and can be used to strengthen prayer and meditation and as preparation for  bible study, devotional time, fasting, praise, and worship.  When using your essential oils for this purpose, pray while applying and come forth with an attitude of expectancy.  God will show up.

“The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”  –Psalm 145:18

Essential Oil Blend for Prayer & Meditation

  • 4 drops of Frankincense
  • 4 drops of Melissa
  • 4 drops of Clary Sage
  • 4 drops of Sandalwood
  • 4 drops of Wild Orange

Add to a 10 ml roller bottle and top off with fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, or another carrier oil.  Pray over your blend while mixing.

 

Here is a little bit about each oil that I added.  This will give you a bit of insight as to why these oils were selected.   Much of this info was taken from an amazing resource book.   Unfortunately, because of FDA regulations, I can’t tell you the name of the book.  Crazy, huh?

Frankincense. The Oil of Truth.  Frankincense helps support a feeling of connectedness spiritually. Frankincense reminds you to feel loved and protected.  It can assist with spiritual connectedness, feeling distant from your physical or spiritual father, and battling spiritual darkness.

Melissa.  The Oil of Light.  This oil can assist individuals in receiving spiritual guidance by connecting them with their inner voice.  It helps one to feel uplifted, gives strength, and encourages inner light.  It is a very high vibrational oil.

Clary Sage.  The Oil of Clarity and Vision.  Clary Sage helps to clear darkness, discouragement, and disconnection from the heavenly Father.  It promotes creativity and eliminates distractions from the mind.  It can assist in visualizing.

Sandalwood.  The Oil of Sacred Devotion.  Sandalwood helps with prayer, meditation, and worship.  Historically, it has been used to prepare the spirit for connection with God.  It can help to quiet the mind so that the voice of the Father is more easily heard.

Wild Orange.  The Oil of Abundance.  Wild Orange inspires abundance, creativity and positivity.  It encourages one to let go of a scarcity mindset.  It encourages a giving spirit and helps to bring forth fun and joy.  Helps to calm a racing mind and promote focus.

For those who are ready to get started on your essential oil journey, click here.  Pray over this decision.  In fact, pray over which essential oil kit that is best for  you and your family.  I believe that God answers prayers and if this is right, you’ll know it!

 

(This post contains Amazon affiliate links.  I get a small commission if you purchase via the link.  I only recommend products that I trust, love, and would use for my own family.)

Are you waiting for Heaven?

Are you waiting for Heaven?

Lord's Prayer

 

You’re probably familiar with The Lord’s Prayer, right?  In fact, you might know it by heart and have it memorized.  You might have said it so many times that you can say it without thinking.  And you might have said it so much that it’s lost it’s impact.  When you say the Lord’s Prayer, do you REALLY know what you are saying?

Take a look at verse 10: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”   When you say this, you are probably focused on some future event.  Maybe you’re thinking about what heaven will be like someday.  Streets of gold and all of that.  My 9 year old thinks that there will be candy for dinner every night and she will be able to hang with our much-loved dog, Steel, who died last year.   But is this verse about future heaven?   What does it really mean?

In the Lord’s Prayer, what we are asking for is this…we are asking God for His Kingdom to come down here, where we are.  We are asking for heaven to reign on earth.   It’s not about the future.   It’s right here.  Right now.  On earth.   The Kingdom is within our own grasp.

What does the Kingdom look like? I can tell you this…it’s far beyond what you can ever imagine.  Often, our logical minds limit the Kingdom to what we know and see.  Our human minds are so small and frail.  It’s impossible for us to grasp the magnitude of God’s greatness, His love and His extravagance.  I know this much…in the Kingdom, there is no fear, no pain, no doubt, no suffering, no hatred, no bigotry, no poverty, no cruelty, no ugliness.  The Kingdom is a place of beauty, love, justice, inspiration, compassion, riches, peace, faith and goodness.   I want that now.

God is not normal.  He is supernatural.  And when the Kingdom comes down, supernatural things happen.  Expect supernatural results in all that you do…with your family, in your community, in your business.  When the kingdom comes down, we overcome our fears and reality exceeds our wildest dreams.  We don’t settle and the word “impossible” isn’t in our vocabulary.

When we pray for the Kingdom to come down to earth, we are inviting the Lord to reign in all perfection and glory.   The Lord hears your prayersHe knows your name.  Right now, invite heaven to settle on this earth, on your city, in your home.   Don’t just recite the Lord’s Prayer.  Beg it.  Plead it   And know that the supernatural will become the new normal. Expect miracles!