Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SPRING INTO ACTION

 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  – Ephesians 4:32

It’s a calling from our LORD…  be light, salt, kind, loving, forgiving and tenderhearted.  Nobody wants to be tenderhearted because that means you are also vulnerable.  It hurts to make yourself vulnerable because to open yourself up to others has no guarantee of success associated with it.  God never said that being obedient to Him would result in automatic joy or happiness.  Does that mean it’s not worth doing?  No.  Does it mean that we won’t need to walk away from the ones who hurt and disappoint us sometimes?  No.  Is it a sin to walk away?  No.  It’s probably a sin to give up and not try again.  The sin is to quit trying.

We have to rely on God to help us forgive – and forgive as quickly as possible.  Forget?  Well…  not really.  It’s like you sort of tuck it in the back of your mind.  You don’t want to dwell on it, but you don’t want to forget completely so you aren’t that stupid again.  I don’t need to keep hitting my head against the same post over and over.  That’s just an insane thing to do!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  I refuse to do anything remotely insane ever again.

Does that mean I don’t forgive past wrongs?  No.  I need for others to forgive me – and frankly, I need God to forgive me – so I will absolutely forgive others when I feel I’ve been wronged.  This ol’ world needs more kindness and less anger-driven violence, to be sure.  If you allow hurt feelings to fester and get infected, it affects all aspects of your life.

How can we shine for God and serve Him if there’s a cloud of hurt hanging over our heads?  We just have to ask God to help us through those hurtful times and be what He wants us to be!  I want to be light, salt, kind, loving, and yes…  even tenderhearted.  It doesn’t mean we are door mats.  It doesn’t mean we are stupid enough to walk back and take more.  We’re not.

We can conquer the hurt we encounter in this life with help from God.  We can conquer the hate we encounter in this life with help from God!

Are you ready to spring into action – and throw kindness into this wicked world like it’s confetti???  Instead of deciding to merely DEAL with the hurt in our lives, let’s trust God to help us HEAL from church hurt and other disappointments along life’s way so we can effectively SHINE for Him!  When we live in the complete freedom that Christ bought for us, it makes Him smile and it makes us whole!  🙂

 

 

 

It’s Easter Sunday

He held my sins in His hands as the nails were pierced through… wow!  So many thoughts come to mind, but it humbles me to think that Christ suffered such pain and disgrace for me.  I need a Savior – I’m the first to admit it.  To say thank You just seems insufficient and unimpressive.  I understand now that the Lord doesn’t want fancy words.  He wants my life to reflect my relationship with Him.  Actions really do speak louder than words.

What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ mean to you?  When God raised Christ from the dead (yes, He was dead – not stunned), He paid our sin debt!  There is no greater love than that!  This means that through Christ, we are able to claim complete VICTORY!  God doesn’t do anything halfway.  The price is paid, and all we have to do is claim the victory.  Accept the sacrifice He made at Calvary and live like the blessed child of God you are.

We are blessed and even though temptations and yes, sin sometimes gets in the way – we know that Christ will help us get total victory over all of it.  He didn’t save me just to leave me standing in a cold, dark place.  He saved me to guide and direct me closer to Him.  We will mess up sometimes – whoppers of messes sometimes!  But we know whatever comes along, the sacrifice that Christ made for us is greater than our sins.

Should we linger on the sins we’ve committed?  No.  Satan would like nothing better.  Lingering on the sins is polarizing!  Ask God to forgive your sins – and keep moving, leaning on Him to help you out of sin and closer to Him.  Trust that God forgives you and move on.  There’s not a thing you can do about yesterday.  Just make tomorrow better with God’s help.

Jesus Christ is ALIVE – ready to help us live in total VICTORY!!!  Will you seek Him?  There’s not a sin He can’t forgive.  There’s not a temptation He can’t overcome.  Plea the blood of Christ over it, know it’s covered, go on to the next thing.  Praise God for the victory through the resurrection of Christ!  Hallelujah! 

Not that I want to mention April Fool’s Day and Easter in the same sentence…  but someone challenged Lucinda to write a poem about it.  And, well…  she nailed it!  Take a look at this:

Isn’t that great?  There’s no FOOLIN’ about it!  Happy Easter, everyone!  🙂

 

 

 

 

It’s Palm Sunday

I love the hymns of the church, and I don’t apologize for saying it.  Call me old-fashioned, but I miss hearing some of the more traditional music in the church.  The truth is, if we’re praising King Jesus with our whole hearts, the style of music is really pretty petty, Amen?  It’s bad enough the U.S. government is acting immature – the church needs to rise above and grow up.  There’s room for the new styles alongside the old.  Just praise King Jesus!  It isn’t about you – it’s about HIM.

With all my heart, I will praise the LORD.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Psalm 34:2

All who are helpless…  the more we learn about our Lord, the more we realize that we are helpless.  Listen means stop talking.  Hear His Word and let it pierce your heart and mind.  Ponder what His Word is saying to you.  Pondering does not require conversation.  Ponder means to think – just leave it in your brain and let it wander around a bit.  Ponder.  Some people would call it over thinking.  I say nope – I’m pondering.  If pondering was good enough for Mary (the mother of Christ), it’s sure good enough for me.

To be glad means we should accept the joy that God wants to give us.  Remember, joy is not dependent on circumstances like happiness is.  I can be happy that the snow has melted, but if there is snow on the ground, I can have the joy of the Lord and rejoice in Him all day long.

One of the best parts of being a Sunday School teacher is helping kids get ready for a play.  There’s nothing more cute in the world than watching little ones in a Christmas or Palm Sunday / Easter play!  So sweet!

If you’re a new follower to this blog…  last Palm Sunday, Lucinda Berry Hill and I wrote a story about Daisy’s colt.  Check it out: https://hearthungerblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/daisys-colt/

In my experience, I have learned one thing…  when you line the kids up, you only give palm branches to the kids in the FIRST row – for obvious reasons.  Yes, you guessed it…  the kids in the second row will start bopping the kids in the first row with the branches.  Take that one to the bank.  It’s gonna happen!  LOL!  Why, yes, I did learn that the hard way – and it’s so much easier to give them the palm branches than to ask to have them back.  Tears and screaming…  sigh.  No – not them… – ME!

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song: Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name; Show forth his salvation from day-to-day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; But Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts.  Oh worship Jehovah in holy array: Tremble before him, all the earth.  – Psalm 96:1-9

Grab a palm branch and try to resist the temptation to bop your neighbor with it.  It’s not a Christmas gift wrap tube, ya know.  That’s what I used to tell the kids – lol.  One time, I even brought some leftover Christmas gift wrap tubes in to the church so the kids could just get it out of their systems before I gave them the branches – that’s actually a better solution – and I even had fun!  We had a bee-bopping good time in the fellowship center.

I have a special surprise for you!  My friend, Geri Ehrlich, wrote the sweetest children’s story and I want to share it with you today.

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The Broken Wing – by Geri Ehrlich, March 2018

One day, a small boy found a baby bird caught between the branches of a tree.  He quickly freed the trapped creature, but could see that her wing had been broken.

Over the next few weeks, the boy tended the bird and soon her wing was healed and she broke out in joyful flight, fluttering her wings as she encircled her new friend, bringing great delight to the boy.

For many days, the boy and the bird laughed and played under the tree that had trapped her a short time ago.

One day, the boy grew tired and fell asleep.  The bird also grew tired – of watching him sleep, and flew off to new adventures.

Soon, far away from the one who rescued her, she became trapped again.  But, this time, it was a net – not a branch that hindered her freedom.  Suddenly, a big, rough hand tightened around her delicate body.  She was torn from the net, placed in an iron cage, and taken even farther away from her boy.

When the boy awoke, he frantically searched for his friend, but she was nowhere to be found.

After many years, the boy grew to become a man.  As he grew, his heart grew sick for want of the little bird.

Then, one day, a pigeon happened by and took pity on the man.  She listened as the man told her of his long-lost friend.

So, the pigeon, determined to find the bird, took flight in search of her.

At last, the pigeon found the bird – locked in a cage, high in a tower.  When the little bird learned of her sick friend, she pushed, shoved, and pried at the bars.  They would not move.  The pigeon tried to free the bird by pecking at the lock.  And even though the lock had begun to rust due to the bird’s many tears, the lock would not budge.

Sadly, they both knew that the little bird could not be freed.  So, the pigeon flew back to the sick-hearted man and told him what she had seen.

Meanwhile, the little bird was left to cry alone in her cage.

The man was sad to hear that his little friend was locked away.  He longed to go to her, but his weak body kept him from even getting out of bed.

For many days and nights, the pigeon carried messages between them.  Each time, the lock was tried.  And each time, it would not budge, leaving the little bird to cry alone.

But, after a while, and with much crying, the lock rusted through.  The little bird struggled to twist off the latch and she was free!

Now, she flew as fast as she could back to her boy.  Overjoyed when she reached him, she fluttered all around him, brushing his heart with the wing he had tended so long ago.

And… then something magical happened.  The man’s sick heart began to heal.  Soon, his strength returned and he was able to stand and walk again.

This made the little bird so happy that she broke into beautiful song; fluttered about even more, fanned out her tail feathers for all to see.  Just watching her made the man’s heart burst with gladness and he, too, began to sing and dance around.

Many years have come and gone.  But, if you listen… you can still hear the melody of the man and the little bird floating amongst the tree tops.  And, if you look closely, you can still see them dancing and fluttering among the swirling leaves.

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Isn’t that sweet???  I really like it.  I hope Geri will put illustrations with it soon!  🙂

 

 

 

God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

Even Worse Luck

I’m fighting a migraine headache – and reading this quote is not helping it!  LOL!  So, we should be glad we have bad luck because it’s protecting us from something even worse?  Hang on, Sloopy…  let me read that upside-down because it could make more sense that way.

You know, there are days when a train makes you late for an appointment, or a little family of ducklings need to cross the road and you wait patiently in your car for them to get safely to the other side.  Those are seemingly obstacles that make you late and feeling crazy…  but wait – maybe those are God’s way of keeping you out of harm’s way.

People who do luck will say it’s just worse than bad luck.  Here we go, not giving any credit to the Creator.  If I’m detained along the way, I try to take time to thank God for it instead of get all angry about it.  That is easier to do since I don’t have a job to show up for, by the way.  Maybe if those “obstacles” had not been there, something awful would have happened, such as a wreck.

The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  – Psalm 121:7

Do we believe in God’s promises?  If we do, then we must also believe that His method of carrying out those promises could include putting an inconvenience in our path once in a while to save us from harmful consequences.  Yes, He loves us enough to do that.

Luck is too random and wrapped in chance to even fathom that it has varying degrees…  good and bad – good and bad and worse than bad???  What???  Pass the Excedrin Migraine…  yeah.  

Let’s call it what it is…  God’s supernatural protection over our lives.  How about going a step further, and thanking Him for it when we recognize it?  I’m not always great at recognizing it, but I’m trying to do a better job.

I love that God keeps me safe and protects me against harm!  I claim His promises on my life and praise Him for them.

And guess what?  That is that for me too!  I think the Excedrin is starting to kick in – great!  🙂

 

 

Blessings and Miracles

Of course it’s March, and we will be hearing all about LUCK.  When you give luck the credit for something wonderful that happens in your life, you are not giving God the glory and honor for it.  I’m sure we don’t intend to slight our dear Lord at all – ever, but we should be more mindful of how we express joy for our blessings (and in some cases, miracles).  

It’s really a matter of where you place your trust, isn’t it?  Luck is such an elusive and vague thing, so why would you place your trust in it?  Luck is not higher than we are, and I’m not convinced that it even exists.  Some people think that way about God, and I think that is very sad.  I will bless the Lord God Almighty!

My faith and trust will be placed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He’s all I need to navigate this life and make Heaven my eternal home!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  – Proverbs 16:33

 

Chance encounter… random happening… plain ol’ luck?  No.  There’s more to it than that.  Do you catch yourself saying things like…

What a lucky shot!

Wish me luck on that test tomorrow!

Only luck had kept her from getting sick too!

Good luck getting the secret ingredient from mom!

I’ll try my luck fishing on the other side.

I’m gonna take a chance and change my luck.

I’m sure we’ve all slipped and said these things at one time or the other.  If we can just think a little bit about what we’re saying, and more to the point, the implications of what we’re saying, we’d be giving all the credit for the good to God by saying:

Thank You, Lord, for helping me with that shot!

Whisper a prayer or two for me as I take that test tomorrow!

Thank the Lord she didn’t get sick too!

I’ll pray that you can get that secret ingredient from mom with no problem!

Lord willing I will catch some fish over on the other side!

I’m gonna dump the luck and say a prayer instead!

What just happened here???  The randomness and chance in the first sentences were turned into gratitude, praise to God, and prayers!  When we acknowledge God in these ways, we are letting Him know that we recognize His sovereignty and His control over everything – big and small.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.  – Thomas Goodwin

Don’t leave your life in the hands of randomness and chance.  Luck belongs at the local casino, because let’s face it, gambling is probably the most random activity human beings engage in!  Your life deserves more order and planning by God, who loves and cares for you more than you can imagine!  🙂