On March 3, 2014, I began a journey to take back control of my body and lose some weight. I have always been really skeptical about using weight loss programs; however, thanks to Jodie Brooks Long and Sonya Kessel I began using an It Works product called Greens to restore a proper PH balance in our bodies and to get all the fruits and vegetables that we “should” be eating everyday. When I began this journey I weighed more than I have ever weighed in my life, but, I can proudly say today that as of 5-12-14 I have lost 23 lbs and 8 inches! I have fallen in love with the It Works products and now am selling them. I am sleeping well, eating less, have more energy, losing weight, etc. If you would be interested in having similar results check out my site at: nathan34golf.myitworks.com or send me a message and I would be glad to help you become a healthier version of you! My journey is far from over, this is only the beginning!

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Yesterday I turned 30 years old! For several months leading up to this milestone in my life, I had wondered how it was going to feel. I want to share for a few moments what the day felt like. I had feared that I might feel like I had not accomplished enough, made enough money, done enough good, or pleased God enough with my life; however, the feeling that overcame me on my 30th birthday was that of Joy! God reminded me over and over of all the many things I have to be thankful for in my life! Psalms 118:24 says, “This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” God is in complete control of our days. Whether I live to be 30 or to be 100 I want to live each day that God blesses me with to bring Him glory and honor through my life! In honor of turning 30 below I have listed 30 things that I am thankful for.

1. Salvation. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior.

2. My Family. God has blessed me with the perfect wife for me, Sonya, a loving son, Micah, and a beautiful daughter, Madyson.

3. Parents. God has truly blessed me with Godly parents who instilled in me Christian values by living them out.

4. Sisters. I have the two best sisters anyone could ever wish for!

5. Brothers. Logan, Daniel, D.W., and Townsend; I know I can count on them anytime.

6. In-Laws. It’s pretty amazing to have in-laws that I love and know they love me.

7. “LOL” Youth Group. I love each member of the youth group like they are part of my family!

8. OFBC Children. Every time I see them singing from their hearts it blesses me!

9. OFBC Church Family. God could not have given me a better church family. I love each of you!

10. Extended Church Family. Having moved so many times I am so thankful for my extended church family across the country!

11. Work. I am so thankful to be able to have two jobs that I truly love!

12. Home. God has blessed us with a beautiful home; more than I ever imagined we would have.

13. Neighbors. We have the best neighbors. Scotty, Heather, Brianna, and Addison. They are more like family than neighbors.

14. God’s Grace. God has given me so much more than I have ever deserved.

15. God’s love. So thankful that I did nothing to earn God’s love and that I cannot do anything to lose God’s love!

16. God’s provision. God has always provided for our needs even when we didn’t know how it would happen.

17. God’s plan. Life is such much better when we are following God’s plan for our lives.

18. God’s forgiveness. I have failed God so many times in my life. How amazing it is to know that He will forgive me each time.

19. North Greenville University. There is no better school in the country than NGU!!!

20. Professors. I am so thankful for my professors and all I have learned and continue learning from them.

21. Extended family. I would not be who I am today without them. I love each of you so much!

22. Mountains. What a blessing it is to see the beauty that God has created.

23. Beach. My favorite vacation spot. I love spending time relaxing with my family at the beach.

24. Memories. I have so many wonderful memories that are too many to count, but I will always have the memories.

25. Music. I am not the best singer, but I truly love to sing to God.

26. The Bible. God Instructions for life. I am guaranteed to mess up the day if I don’t start with God’s word.

27. Wisdom. I have learned so many things through the years. I pray I become wiser each day.

28. Experience. So experiences are good and some are hard, but I know that God never wastes a hurt!

29. Grills. I love cooking on the grill. I love eating the food I cook on the grill even more.

30. Competition. I absolutely love to play games: NCAA Football, NBA 2K14, board games, etc.

 

*There are so many more things that I am thankful for in my life. Let me encourage you to thank God each day for the many blessings in your life. We never know when our time on earth is done. God help me to get the most out of everyday and bring honor and glory to your name!

 

Nathan Ertel

 

Please begin by reading Jeremiah 33:6-9

The city of Jerusalem and the King of Judah were failing against the invaders. God graciously gave to Jeremiah a greater understanding of His long range plan. God’s promises could only be fulfilled following the destruction. The hope of the nation of Israel was not found in escaping the coming destruction; rather, in the purification that would take place through the destruction.

God promised to cleanse and forgive all of people’s sins of rebellion; this would become the foundation that the new and everlasting covenant would be established. Once this new covenant became established, all of the nations on earth would see God’s hand of blessing on the people of Israel.

1. In spite of Israel’s many failures as a nation in following God’s commands, God still says He will restore their nation.  God says He will….. Heal their wounds, give prosperity, give true peace, restore their fortunes, rebuild their towns, cleanse their sins, and forgive their rebellion.

2. After God completes this healing of them as individuals and as a nation He makes three great promises.  First, the city of Jerusalem will bring God joy, glory, and honor before all peoples. Second, the world will see God’s Grace and Goodness to His people. Finally, the world will tremble with awe at the peace and prosperity that God provides to His people. 

Just like God gave undeserved favor to the nation of Israel, God gives us that same undeserved favor on a daily basis. No matter how many times we fail God, He still desires to use us for His purposes and to give us the very best life He has to offer. No matter where you are today, no matter how many times you have failed God, no matter what circumstances you may be dealing with today remember God has graciously chosen us to be His hands and feet in the workplace. God has given us all His undeserved favor and desires to use you today to be His mouthpiece!

In conclusion, God’s grace is deeper, wider, longer, higher, and stronger than anything we could even fathom; therefore, we can have whatever we need this day in order to accomplish the God-size task we have been given. Thank you God for the grace you freely give to us. I am humbled by your love and provision. God would you help me daily to live in light of the undeserved favor you have granted me and mold me to be more like you in every area of my life. It’s in the name of Jesus I pray, Amen.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me via email at nathan34golf@yahoo.com

(From The Trenches) – By: David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

When my family and I started our company 40 years ago, we were working out of a garage on a $600 bank loan, assembling miniature picture frames. Our first retail store wasn’t much bigger than most people’s living rooms, but we had faith that we would succeed if we lived and worked according to God’s Word. From there, Hobby Lobby has become one of the nation’s largest arts and crafts retailers, with more than five hundred locations in forty-one states. Our children grew up into fine business leaders, and today we run Hobby Lobby together, as a family.

We are Christians, and we run our business on Christian principles. I have always said that the first two goals of our business are (1) to run our business in harmony with God’s laws, and (2) to focus on people more than money. And that’s what we have tried to do. We close early so our employees can see their families at night. We keep our stores closed on Sundays, one of the week’s biggest shopping days, so that our workers and their families can enjoy a day of rest.

We believe that it is by God’s grace that Hobby Lobby has endured, and He has blessed us and our employees. We have not only added jobs in a weak economy, we have raised wages for the past four years in a row. Our full-time employees start at 80% above minimum wage.

But now, our government threatens to change all of that. A new government healthcare mandate says that our family business MUST provide what I believe are abortion-causing drugs as part of our health insurance. Being Christians, we don’t pay for drugs that might cause abortions, which means that we don’t cover emergency contraception, the morning-after pill or the week-after pill. We believe doing so might end a life after the moment of conception, something that is contrary to our most important beliefs.  It goes against the Biblical principles on which we have run this company since day one. If we refuse to comply, we could face $1.3 million PER DAY in government fines.

Our government threatens to fine job creators in a bad economy.

Our government threatens to fine a company that’s raised wages four years running.

Our government threatens to fine a family for running its business according to its beliefs. It’s not right. I know people will say we ought to follow the rules; that it’s the same for everybody. But that’s not true.

The government has exempted thousands of companies from this mandate, for reasons of convenience or cost. But it won’t exempt them for reasons of religious belief.

So, Hobby Lobby and my family are forced to make a choice. With great reluctance, we filed a lawsuit today, represented by the Becket Fun for Religious Liberty, asking a federal court to stop this mandate before it hurts our business. We don’t like to go running into court, but we no longer have a choice. We believe people are more important than the bottom line, and that honoring God is more important than turning a profit.

My family has lived the American dream. We want to continue growing our company and providing great jobs for thousands of employees, but the government is going to make that much more difficult. The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law. I say that’s a choice no American and no American business should have to make.

The government cannot force you to follow laws that go against your fundamental religious belief. They have exempted thousands of companies but will not exempt Christian organizations including the Catholic church. Since you will not see this in the liberal media, please pass this on to all your contacts.

Sincerely,

David Green, CEO and Founder of Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

 

Since David Green made these statements, Hobby Lobby has won a “temporary” exemption from the new healthcare requirement. However, this fight is not over for Hobby Lobby or the other businesses being effected by overreaching government.

The First Amendment says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”