LUKE 5:31 ON 5/31

LUKE 5 31 ON 5 31                           

Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”  – Luke 5:31 

I’m going to take this opportunity to discuss an issue.  When I attended church at a building with a group of people, I often heard this about church attendance:

You are not too bad to come in.  You are not too good to stay out. 

Ugh…  sometimes it is just a matter of not fitting in or feeling like an outcast.  It’s not about too bad or too good…  it’s about being a puzzle piece that tries to fit into the wrong puzzle.  I’m a puzzle piece without a puzzle.  I’m leaning on Dr. Jesus to help me find the right puzzle.

Dr. Jesus is on-call 24/7 for all the sick.  All who need His love, care, compassion and Salvation.

When your soul was saved by Jesus, did anything change?  That’s a question I’ve heard time and again.  Did you get wings?  Well, yes – in a way you probably did get wings – in your soul.  Dr. Jesus did that for you!  The moment you gave your life to Christ, you felt lighter and wanted to smile all the time.  You looked the brightest you’ve ever looked.  I know – me too!

Dr. Jesus does more than save souls – He keeps them safe and filled with joy!  He does a better job than the tea tree oil in Herbal Essences Tea-Lightfully Clean Shampoo!

Healing of hearts, souls and minds…  Dr. Jesus is interested in us.  He cares about our lives and wants to help us.

Once Dr. Jesus has helped us, it’s up to us to let others know He wants to help them too.  If the thought of witnessing makes you break out in a cold sweat, you’re not alone.  It really comes down to sharing the best thing that’s ever happened to you – with someone else.  Suddenly it’s not as scary.  Dr. Jesus will help you.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN 5:30 ON 5/30

JOHN 5 30 ON 5 30

By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.  – John 5:30

Not my will but Thine…

Christ is once again asserting Himself as the Son of God.  If He saw the importance of seeking His Father’s perfect will, what makes us think we don’t have to find out what God wants us to do?  For people of God the judgment must be just, because it is not one of an isolated will, but one in accord with the eternal will of God.

ALWAYS

I’ve heard people ask, “How do you know what God’s will is?”  I know, right?  Wouldn’t it be nice if God would write a message in the clouds – make it very clear to us what His will is?  That would be great – if we could just pray and ask what He wants us to do and then get a little personal message in the sky with the clear, precise answer.

Well – sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

There are so many variables involved.  We have free will – and some people think that’s a bad thing, but here’s the deal.  God wants to have a relationship with us, but He will never force us to love Him or pray to Him.  He loves us so much that He gives us the ability to choose to accept or reject Him.

When our hearts are so full of ourselves…  our pride, our ambition and love as the world knows it, there is no room for God’s Word, God’s voice or God’s will.  He cannot abide in us until we make Him more important than ourselves.  Only then can we seek God’s will for our lives.  He wants the best for us, but we need to get out of His way so He can work in us.

If we choose to make our judgments according to God’s Word and His will, doesn’t it make sense that we acquaint ourselves with what that may be?  If we spend some time every day reading the Bible and praying, then we will have more than a nodding acquaintance with right, wrong – good, bad.  We are given boundaries to protect us – believe it or not, those THOU SHALT NOT’s are not there to keep us from having fun.  God wants the best for His children.  He really does.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.  – 1 Corinthians 15:57

REFLECTIONS

Why are there so many mirrors at the gym???  UGH!!!  I used to think there were mirrors so I would feel guilty when I caught a glimpse of my body – but no, the mirrors are there so you can check your form – how you execute the exercise.  If an exercise is not done with good form, it can (and will) cause an injury.

As there are mirrors to check our form while using workout equipment at the gym, God puts mirrors in our path once in a while so we can check our spiritual workout – our motives and attitudes.  They allow us to weed out any toxic behaviors as we see ourselves next to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  This is how we get the victory as we live.

Through God’s Holy Spirit and His Word, we are able to look in spiritual mirrors (yes, they are full-length).  As Christians we need to keep the lines of communication open with the Lord and be very familiar with His teachings by reading Scripture every day.  This is the only way we can keep our lives in check and know without a doubt we are reflecting the love of Christ to others in our realm of influence.  Use the mirrors – check your form.

We live in a day when people take bits and pieces from this teaching and that teaching and sort of cook up their own blend to live by.  If this Eastern philosophy sounds good and right, we adopt it.  If this Christian teaching sounds right, but this other one is too rough to adopt, or more likely, seems to go against the flow of popular opinion, we reject it.

Would you go to a gym and hang sheets or curtains over the mirrors so you couldn’t judge your form while working out?  I used to think the answer was YES – but now that I know why the mirrors are there – (to help me do things correctly), my answer is NO – of course not!

Use the spiritual mirrors that God has provided through His Holy Spirit and through His Word.  These mirrors are available to Christians so we can be better and more like Christ.  🙂

 

 

MATTHEW 5:28 ON 5/28

MATTHEW 5 28 ON 5 28

 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.  – Matthew 5:28

It’s not easy being the “token Christian” in the workplace.  Along with 100 other women, I was  confined to my own tiny cubicle for eight hours a day, with a fifteen minute break in the morning and fifteen minute break in the afternoon and a half hour for lunch – I needed some coping mechanisms to deal with every possible contingency.  My coping mechanism of choice was prayer – and a lot of it.

I used to pray, “Lord, please bless this cubicle.  Let those around me know You through me.”  It was a simple prayer, but highly effective.  It availeth much. 

Friday – payday had finally arrived!  I got paid every two weeks and was especially looking forward to this check.  Like most people, I had plans for this money and it involved paying down some credit and loosening the grip financially just a bit.

My brown bag lunch was in the refrigerator (just one more way of economizing), but I got a phone call shortly before lunch time.  It was a co-worker inviting me to have lunch with her.  From the sound of her voice, I could tell there was something on her mind and she wanted to talk.  I agreed and put my brown bag back in the fridge.

Since we only had a half hour, we walked across the street to the fast food restaurant.  We had hardly got settled with our salads when she blurted out – “I can’t take it anymore!”  There were tears welling in her eyes.  Tons of possibilities came to mind – was she unhappy at work?  Was she having a problem with a co-worker?  A boss?  ME? 

I attacked the latter first – “Do you have a problem with me?,” I asked.  She sort of laughed and let me know that it wasn’t me.  She said she knew I was a Christian and would pray for her.  I nodded in agreement as I listened.  She explained that her husband had looked at porn on the computer a lot and that he was now beginning to put posters up in his garage.

She said, “Do you know how that makes me, as his wife, feel?”  She felt like she was not enough – and would never be enough for him.  She explained that her husband wanted her to  have all sorts of reconstructive surgery to make her look better – more like the fantasy women he was looking at all day long.  She was in tears and understandably so.  Sadly the couple had two teenage children who were exposed to this immature and selfish behavior.

All I could do was listen and pray for she and her family.  We prayed that day before going back to work.  I pray for them every day – still.

I’m reminded of the fact that pornography destroys the family unit.  It’s evil and more to the point – it’s make-believe!  It’s not grounded in any kind of reality.  Real life is not a perfect body and sex on demand.  At the risk of sounding like a prude – I’m glad there’s much more to life than that.  🙂

 

 

NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

MAY IS NATIONAL SALSA MONTH

Homemade Salsa

  • 2 cups chopped tomatoes (or a combination of tomatoes and fresh peaches, nectarines, mangoes or grapes)
  • 1/3 cup chopped yellow or white onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 jalapeño or serrano peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt

Put all ingredients into a bowl, toss well and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Per Serving:Serving size: about 1/2 cup, 25 calories (0 from fat), 0g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 3g sugar), 1g protein

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Most condiments are either high in sugar (also known as high fructose corn syrup) or sodium.  Most of us attempt to strike a balance between those two extremes so we don’t make our blood sugar or blood pressure unhappy.

Thankfully, there is one condiment that has not affected either my blood sugar or blood pressure – salsa! 

Everyone in my realm of influence seems to like hot salsa, but I quickly admit that I can’t handle heat.  For me, it’s got to be mild salsa.  One of our favorite Mexican restaurants serves a mild salsa that is too hot for me!  They know me and know they will have to cool the salsa down – yes, they laugh at me – but I don’t care.

Because salsa is such a healthy alternative, I use it in some rather unconventional ways:

  • Baked potatoes taste so good with salsa on top instead of fattening butter
  • Mix salsa with mayo to save some serious calories before dressing up your burger
  • Try mixing salsa into your scrambled eggs
  • Salsa is a great veggie dip.  Have you read the label on your favorite dip?  It’s crazy!

We can’t have a garden where we live now, but as a kid my folks grew their own tomatoes, peppers and onions to make homemade salsa.  Of course, the most traditional pairing is tortilla chips and salsa.  There are typically quite a few carbohydrates in tortilla chips, so keep that in mind.  Beyond that, have a good time with your favorite salsa dish!  Ole’!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

PAIN IS MY GIFT

What is a gift?  Most of us think of a gift as something positive and fun – maybe even fashionable!  We give and receive gifts for happy occasions like Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries.  We usually give a gift that reflects a bit of our personality.  Many times I’ve given the gift of an angel figurine because I collect angels and believe so strongly that angels surround each of us every day.

I read a quote today that really made me re-think the concept of gifts.

Pain is a gift.  It puts us in a position where we’re quicker to be desperate for God.  When we seek Him, we will find Him.  – Lauren Scruggs

Wow – seriously – pain is a gift?  Well, at the risk of stating the obvious, I’m in pain and don’t feel like it’s a gift.  LOL.

I understand the concept – when we are at our lowest, that’s when we depend on God the most.  On the mountaintops we rely less on Him.  I’m not sure why it is like that, but I suspect it’s just human nature.  When the road is smooth, we don’t drive as cautiously and we’re not on the lookout for the potholes in the road.

My physical pain will be a distant memory soon, but not everyone’s pain is temporary.  There are so many different types of pain, and they all involve different kinds of suffering.    In addition to physical pain, there is mental, emotional, and spiritual pain.

Lauren Scruggs, a beautiful model, lost her eye and hand in an accident.  She wrote a wonderful book called Your Beautiful Heart; 31 Reflections on Love, Faith, Friendship, and Becoming a Girl Who Shines.  It’s my go-to book when I’m feeling sorry for myself.  Yes, even Christians suffer from self-pity from time to time.  We’re not perfect – just forgiven.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (23)

For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills.  I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine.  – Psalm 50:10-11

FOREST, HILLS AND SKY

You’ll never guess how many ways God has made me smile, even while I wait in so much discomfort.  He’s also answered so many prayers along the way – and I’m convinced once again that He even cares about the small stuff!

We are reminded of God’s love and care continually.  Sadly, we are often wrapped up in the business of living and don’t recognize His hand in things.  It’s not that I have anything special, but I am not as busy as most folks, so I notice His hand.

I seriously had a very personal problem that needed an immediate solution – and wondered how God would work it out for me.  I didn’t doubt that He’d make a way, because praise His name – He has always made a way – but today – right in the nick of time – He fixed my problem.  Is it okay for me to say I just love it when that happens???

This is my God.  Everything that creeps around in the forest, moves in the field and flies in the air is His.  I’m very happy to say – I am His too.  I belong to the King of kings and He takes such good care of me.

Thank You, Lord, for the way You watch over me.  I’m so grateful for Your timing.  You are never too early, but You are never ever too late!  I know if I keep leaning on Your strong arm, everything will be okay.  I thank You for caring about the little things as much as the big things.

On this Memorial Day, I thank God for being God.  I thank God for America and for freedom to practice my faith.  I’m also thankful for the men and women who fight for my freedom.  All gave some – but some gave all.  We won’t forget.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

I’m always interested in new recipes that may help me along my weight loss journey.  Most people are looking for healthier ways to eat foods that are typically unhealthy.  I was tickled to see this recipe from Raymonde Bourgeois from Swastika, ON in the April / May 2015 issue of Taste of Home magazine.  It’s PIZZA – and it’s perfectly legal – YAY!!!

Spinach & Artichoke Pizza

Prep:  25 minutes

Bake:  20 minutes

Makes 6 servings

Crust:

1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups white whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 cup beer or nonalcoholic beer

Toppings:

1 1/2 tsp. olive oil

1 garlic clove, minced

2 cups (8 oz.) shredded Italian cheese blend, divided

2 cups fresh baby spinach

1 can (14 oz.) water-packed quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped

2 medium tomatoes, seeded and coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a large bowl, whisk 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, salt and dried herbs until blended.  Add beer, stirring mixture just until moistened.
  2. Turn dough onto a well-floured surface; knead gently 6-8 times, adding additional flour if needed.  Press dough to fit a greased 12″ pizza pan.  Pinch edge to form a rim.  Bake 8 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.
  3. Mix oil and garlic; spread over crust.  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup cheese; layer with spinach, artichoke hearts and tomatoes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Bake 8-10 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted.  Sprinkle with fresh basil.

Per serving:  290 calories, 10 g fat (6 g sat fat), 27 mg chol., 654 mg sodium, 32 g carb, 5 g fiber, 14 g pro.

Diabetic Exchanges:  2 starch, 1 medium-fat meat, 1 vegetable.

For some diabetics, this may seem like more carbohydrates than you really want.  We all know that most of that is because of the pizza’s crust.  These toppings would make an awesome salad!  It might be a better plan for you to put all of these toppings in a bowl and eat them with a few crackers.

The redeeming quality of this pizza is that it is…  you know – pizza!  Eating a carbohydrate free diet is unsustainable and there are times when you just need pizza crust.  This healthy alternative is for those times.  Enjoy some guilt-free pizza soon!  🙂

 

AMOS 5:23 ON 5/23

AMOS 5 23 ON 5 23

Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.  – Amos 5:23

I served in churches of different denominations for 50 years.  I was asked to be church pianist in my home church when I was just 12 years old.  In all that time there is one unchanging truth:  No matter how well you play or how impressed people are with your ability – it means nothing if your heart is not right and your motives are not pure toward God.

You can practice until the cows come home and have every note, every rhythm perfected – but it is only noise to God’s ears if you are performing for people instead of glorifying God.

If you make your ministry too much about yourself and not enough about God, it will not only be a huge waste of your time, but God will humble you.  He will not be mocked and He will knock you down a few notches.

I PRAY BEFORE I PLAY

There will always be someone with more talent or who is just a better musician waiting in the wings.  If your heart is right with God, that’s not going to bug you or threaten your ministry.  A musician in God’s army, regardless of ability, should be on the same team.  We’re all working for the same Master – aren’t we?

Once a sense of competition or one-upmanship begins, that’s when you need to have some alone time with God and get it straightened out.  Serving God should never be like the secular music world.  This is not a “battle of the bands”!  We’re not just here to entertain the saints.  We’re here to minister to souls who may not have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior.

Keep your heart right as you minister.  If you do, your music will be a sweet sound and the Holy Spirit can use it to speak to lost souls – and to saved souls who may need to be encouraged.  I pray He never hears noise when He listens to me play.

Lord, may You hear the music I play and use it for Your purpose.  May You use the words I write and every word I say for Your good – and to help someone else.  🙂

GALATIANS 5:22 ON 5/22

GALATIANS 5 22 ON 5 22

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith…  – Galatians 5:22

Ugh – longsuffering…  that’s like…  patience, right?  LOL!

Today I jumped through a hoop, hopefully on the way to gallbladder surgery.  I had to see my primary care physician today to make sure the increase of Lisinopril is bringing my blood pressure down where it needs to be.  The good news is – it has!

Now it’s time to do a little more waiting and praying.  I have a second appointment with the surgeon on the 26th, so until then I will just keep praying that the pain will be minimal (non-existent would be better – lol) – and that God’s Holy Spirit will guide me to do what I need to do.

Faith is not without worry or care, but faith is fear that has said a prayer.  – Author Unknown

I can’t believe the outpouring of concern from my friends!  I’m humbled to have such great friends and hope I’m as good a friend.  The times you are forced to jump through hoops and play the waiting game are the times you learn more about who you are and how much your faith really means.

It gives the phrase “pray without ceasing” a new meaning – lol.  I continually pray that God’s Holy Spirit will give me the strength, wisdom and grace to get through this difficult time.  At this point, I’m practicing SPIRITUAL BREATHING.  Several times a day, I hear Him say to me, “It’s okay, Linda – just BREATHE.”

In much the same way I pray before driving my car – for traveling mercies – I am praying that I’ll be granted traveling mercies from this hoop to the next hoop.  Another week and then I will know more and hopefully see the light at the end of the tunnel.  God’s grace is sufficient.

MASTER OF MY THOUGHTS

The quest for love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness and faith continues as pain makes itself apparent.  Oh – yes I did forget one – longsuffering.  Okay – I guess I want that too – wink!  😉