ROMANS 8:31 ON 8/31

TL ROMANS 8 31 ON 8 31

https://vimeo.com/72511831

Have you read “Rise:  Even Death Can’t Stop Me”, by Frank Thomas?  If you feel your life is hopeless and there is no chance for you, I recommend this book.  God is in the business of turning lives around.  Trust Him with your future – today.

I'M GOD'S SOMEBODY

If God is for us, who can be against us?  – Romans 8:31 (b)

Do you need a shot of encouragement today?  This is one of those verses that acts just like a dose of pure adrenaline!  Just focus on that one short verse for a minute or two.  The God of the universe is for you!!!  He is on your side as you navigate the twists and turns of this journey called life.  If that doesn’t make you feel fantastic, I don’t know what would.

As much as I love the familiar verse Romans 8:28, I especially appreciate the Scripture that follows it – as it reads in The Message:

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.  – Romans 8:31-39

There is one word that comes to mind when I read this – and re-read it.  COMFORT.  This is a hug from God Himself.  You can say what you want about comfort foods…  but I’ll take my comfort Scripture over your comfort foods any day and twice on Sunday!  You should feel fantastic today, Christian, because God is for you!  🙂

Advertisements

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE

Would it be okay if I shared a little about our visit to Ohio for our anniversary a few weeks ago?  We spent a night at THE ORCHARD HOUSE in Granville, Ohio, a Bed & Breakfast about a half hour from The Longaberger Homestead.

The Walden Room
The Walden Room at THE ORCHARD HOUSE

There was great significance in choosing this room for me.  One of my favorite authors is Henry David Thoreau!  Obviously, my husband put a great deal of thought into this trip.  It was perfect!

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.  —Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”

He was not only a philosopher and poet, but he also embraced a sort of civil disobedience and there’s something about that…  well, it appeals to me.  :-/
Driving from Kansas to Ohio was in itself an accomplishment.  We were weary from travel and ready to move around.  Sitting in one spot except for the occasional potty break at the truck stop makes my old bones stiff and sore.
As we drove up to The Orchard House, I could not help but notice the long, narrow drive leading up to the house.  I think the last time I saw a driveway like that was in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County” I knew this would be a very romantic evening from that moment.
There are twelve acres, most of it wide open spaces, perfect for walking and talking – and holding hands.  On the back of the property are farm animals to see.  We found goats, chickens and one sheep with a ton of wool and very long horns.  There was also an alpaca with the funniest little smile.
 We meandered toward the front yard and discovered an apple tree.  I guess that’s why it’s called The Orchard House.  The apples were green and not fit to eat, but I did find a horse in a field across the driveway who seemed interested in eating it.  Somehow I get the impression I’m not the first person who has fed him an apple.  It’s as though he was just standing there waiting for the notion to occur to me.
As the sun was setting in Ohio, we sat in comfy wooden chairs in the front yard.  It’s strange, the house was full, yet it was as though we were the only people there!  It was so quiet – all I could hear was the sound of locusts.  That’s not something I’ve had memory of hearing since I was a kid.
I felt as though we were being a bit Thoreau-like in our journey.  Our hearts and minds were open to every new sighting.  Maybe we were just so grateful to finally be outside instead of stuck in the truck – traveling.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.  – Henry David Thoreau
Inside the house there were all sorts of good things waiting for us.  In the dining room there was a glass footed cake plate with a lid, filled with slices of homemade banana bread!  There were little conversation spots throughout the house where we could sit and watch TV or just talk.
The atmosphere invited us to relax and breathe.  To be honest, shortly after the sun set, it invited us to crash and sleep!  But isn’t that what we need to do after driving so far?
I enjoyed looking at the lovely antiques and soaking in the sense of calm around me.  I packed my laptop and took it to the room, but to be honest, if I would have taken it out it would have ruined the vibe – so it stayed packed up! 
 Breakfast was amazing!  Every Bed & Breakfast has their own specialty, and the special recipe at The Orchard House is Sweet Potato Hash.  It is sautéed onion, red bell pepper and diced sweet potato (skin on), with African spice.  It is so addictive and very healthy!  We have made this recipe for breakfast, lunch and sometimes supper so many times since we’ve been back home.  Along with the hash we were given a farm-fresh fried egg and thick-sliced bacon.  Ah…  it was so good!
I’m reading Walden again…  it’s better than ever now that I’ve been to The Orchard House.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (2)

DINNER AT EIGHT

 

Call me a square…  I just don’t care!  I love old movies!  Is it so surprising that one who wears vintage clothing and does not dig modern movies with profanity and other non-important additions should enjoy a flick from more innocent times?

Even though this movie was released nearly 30 years before I was born, my favorite old flick came out on this day in 1933 and is called “Dinner at Eight”.   I hear everyone rave on about how it’s such a great comedy – and maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see it as a comedy.  It’s more of a drama to be sure since some of the subject matter includes the dawn of the talkies, divorce, aging, fading careers, alcoholism, class conflict, economic pressures, infidelity, love, financial ruin and suicide.

Based on a very successful play, I’ve gone to more than one performance at live theatre here in Wichita, but there’s just something about the movie version that draws me in.  My favorite character is Kitty.

Jean Harlow, stylishly coiffured from her lovely gowns to her platinum blonde hair, plays the role of “Kitty” with absolute perfection.  Kitty is often propped up in bed, wearing a silky white negligée, eating chocolates that she spits out when finding one she doesn’t like (I never have that problem, do you?)  She resorts to both baby talk and brassy insults in the same sentence (how does she do that?) She and her husband, Packard are always bickering.  Maybe that’s why people think it’s a comedy – she is sort of funny.

My favorite part is when Packard lets her know he doesn’t want to go to the dinner and promptly tells her:

Aw…  GO LAY AN EGG!

That cracks me up!  Get it???  Egg…  crack…???  Aw…  never mind.  If I need to explain why it’s funny, something gets lost in the translation.

I’m enamored with this era and am convinced I was born too late!  Then I am quick to reconsider when I realize that 1933 was smack dab in the middle of the depression era.  God spared me from that.  My folks lived through it – but all I got were stories from them.  It didn’t sound like it was much fun – at all.  Then there was WWII – it just kept getting more fun, didn’t it?

Dinner at Eight is an old classic that should be on everyone’s DVD shelf.  It’s cute and quirky, but still a little edgy for its time.  Wink!  😉

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

WHAT IF YOU PRAYED

Ants will not cross a line drawn with chalk. 

If a Christian disagrees with something and is opinionated, why is it wrong to take action?  If we fall to our knees and pray and are subsequently led to put feet to our faith and our convictions, why is that a bad thing?  Sometimes I express a desire to stand up against something, but instead of other Christians having my back, they tell me that I need to just stay calm and keep praying.  In other words – do nothing.

Did God not give us brains to use?  Did He not give us the gift of discernment?  If I have prayed about something and am impressed by God to put feet to my faith, why do I not get support for that?

I get so tired of the Christian army sometimes.  It really is the only army that shoots its own soldiers!  I thought we were fighting against the prince of this world, but it seems that so often we are fighting each other.  Doesn’t that make the devil laugh?  It does – and that’s not funny.

Isn’t it a better to pray for people when we think they are going off to act on something that we think may need more prayer power behind it?  I mean, if it really needs more prayer power behind it – what does it hurt to add your prayers with theirs – instead of criticizing them for taking action in the first place?

We are not ants – and God has not drawn a line with chalk that we are not to cross.  Life is messy and there is evil and wicked to fight – yes, with prayer first – but then we are to put feet to our faith.  That is my belief.  If I find out that Christians are in the midst of a fight they feel passionate about, the last thing I’m going to tell them is to back off and pray about it – when I know they began the fight with prayer.  I’m thankful for folks who jump in to affect change in the country – ultimately in the world.  Why do you think Dr. Carson wants to be president?  What if he had not got in the race?  I rest my case.

It makes me nuts when brothers and sisters in Christ tell me I’m wrong to take action against evil.  I know that prayer is the most important part of war, believe me.  It’s my belief that most people should get up and go further.  Pray – but then move!  God does not draw a line with chalk.  God’s children are not ants, or at least they shouldn’t be.  He works THROUGH His children – but if His children decide to stay in the prayer closet, He can still work – but not through you if you refuse to leave the closet.  Yes, being a good prayer warrior is a wonderful and crucial ministry, but when God tells you to act, you need to act.

God has given us able minds and bodies to take action.  So once a Christian has prayed about something, don’t be so quick to discourage them from putting feet to their faith if they are led to do so by God’s Holy Spirit.  What if we encouraged our brothers and sisters in their endeavors, trusting that they have been to the mountain and talked with God about it?   How refreshing that would be!  🙂

MARK 8:27 ON 8/27

TL MARK 8 27 ON 8 27

Jesus and his disciples went on to the villages around Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asked them, “Who do people say I am?”  – Mark 8:27

JESUS, THE I AM

Jesus decided to talk with the disciples seriously about His death on the cross in a place where they would be alone and not be disturbed.  Out of the blue, He asks the question, “Who do others say I am?”  Was He all that concerned with His reputation?  I don’t think so, because He quickly moves to a more pointed question:  “Who do YOU say I am?”  He wanted to know that His followers were going to stay with Him and share His gospel even after He was gone.

We know that the locals could not wrap their mind around the fact that Jesus was God’s Son.  After all, they knew Him as little Jesus, born to Mary and Joseph.  Other’s thought he was a great prophet, but there were many of them around.

Finally, Peter answered Him and declared that He is the Christ, Son of the living God.

I can’t make you put Christ in first place.  You can’t make me put Christ in last place.   The question is before you and me every day…  Who do you say that I am?  It’s good that the question is recorded in the Bible.  We need to answer it for ourselves.  Nobody else can answer it for you.

The decision you make regarding Christ Jesus is the most important one you will ever make.  I’m not being dramatic – I’m being honest.  Mark reminds us that the evidence is in, and each of us must choose to just be amazed and awed by His miracles, or make Christ the center of our lives.  He is the Messiah, Son of God, Savior of all mankind.

I’ll leave you with this thought…  if we underestimate Who Christ Jesus is in our lives, it takes the meaning and the power out of His life and His ministry on earth.  More importantly, it impoverishes the infinite preciousness of His death on the cross at Mount Calvary.

Ponder that today and decide Who you say Christ Jesus is.  🙂

 

 

 

ROMANS 8:26 ON 8/26

TL ROMANS 8 26 ON 8 26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  – Romans 8:26

LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES

Hands up, everyone who readily admits that they are weak.  Our ego rarely permits us to make such a bold statement, but as we’ve discussed before, as we pray there is no room for false pride or cover-ups.  He already knows what we need before we ask, so being completely forthright and honest before Him behooves us.

Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He left His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, with us before He ascended to heaven.

No, I don’t know how God’s Holy Spirit can help all of us at the same time.  No, I don’t know how He can hear each of us when we pray – and treat each one of us as though we were the only child.  My human mind cannot even begin to fathom the “how”, but my faith tells me it is so.

The concept of the Trinity is amazing to me.  I mean, what an awesome plan, to have God, the Creator and Father of us all, then send Jesus to earth to save mankind once and for all.  As though that was not enough, we were not left alone to navigate this life.  The blessed Holy Spirit helps us every step of the way!  He is the One who lends comfort when we are distressed, and helps us to pray when all we can do is weep with no audible words.  He knows our thoughts and our needs before we even bow before God the Father.

Christian, know that today you are surrounded by supernatural power from on High.  God the Father loved us so much that He gave Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice, sinless and loving.  Even when Jesus ascended to heaven, He was thinking of us.  He left His precious Holy Spirit to live in our hearts to love us and help us along.  All we have to do is ask Him for help.

No, it’s not a natural thing to be weak, but if we can just be humble before God, He will be there and the Holy Spirit will make intercession on our behalf.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (18)

My husband and I are celebrating 29 years of marriage today!

You would think that I’d be a wellspring of wisdom and filled with great advice for those younger than me.  The fact is, we are still learning as we go along.  There are a few things I have learned through the years.  I can say without hesitation:

  1. Listen more than you speak because that’s how you learn.
  2. Adopt an attitude of serendipity every day.  Every day will not be filled with excitement and fireworks!  Embrace the quiet, boring moments and appreciate what you have – on purpose.
  3. Don’t let the enemy talk you into the notion that living your life with someone else would have been better.  It probably would not.
  4. There’s not a problem in marriage that cannot be fixed.  Pray separately and together for solutions.  God wants to help.
  5. Don’t even say the word divorce.  We decided from the get-go that we would not say the “D” word to each other.
  6. Perfection is a myth in marriage.  He’s a human being and so am I.  Imperfection is our specialty and forgiveness is the key to dealing with it.
  7. You won’t change him.  Stop thinking you can change him.  Accept whatever it is that you think you can change, because it’s not going to change.
  8. We get older.  We gain new interests and grow intellectually.  We have each other for moral support through all the changes that inevitably happen in life.
  9. No matter how difficult or time-consuming your occupation is, I guarantee that the time you need to dedicate to keeping your marriage great will take much more effort and take even more time.
  10. I don’t have to be right all the time.  I’m not always wrong either.  I admit it when I’m wrong and don’t rub it in when I’m right.
  11. There are quirky behaviors that will make your mate crazy.  If it’s your goal to make him / her crazy, keep it up.  If it’s not your goal to make your significant other crazy, work on your quirky self.
  12. If you find that you are unhappy in your marriage, don’t automatically blame the marriage.  Maybe you don’t feel fulfilled within.  Take a class or join a book club.  Expand your own horizons and find your inner shine.
  13. Marriage does not come with instructions.  It is on the job training, so cut your spouse some slack and allow for learning curves.
  14. My husband and I survived having a house built.  It’s my opinion that if a couple can come through that, they can come through just about anything.
  15. Be willing to open and sort through each other’s baggage from time to time.  We all have baggage, and when you find a person who is willing to help you work on the stuff in your bag, you have really found a great treasure in that person.
  16. Take care of yourself for your spouse.  The greatest anniversary gift you can give him / her is the gift of your good health.
  17. When you are facing challenges, try to remember some happier memories.  I grab a scrapbook at times like that to jog my memory.  The photos make me smile.
  18. Infidelity is the only deal breaker!  Nobody deserves to be cheated on.  If you want out, walk out.  Everything else is negotiable and there are always concessions being made to make the other happy.  It’s not always about me.
  19. Frustration happens.  Don’t shut each other out when it does.  Talk it out.  Hug it out.
  20. Remember the vows you took.  Make them matter, no matter what.  You will work on the things that matter most.  How much does your marriage mean to you?
  21. I learned a long time ago that we have a choice to be bitter or better.  I find that better makes me and my spouse better.  Bitterness just puts a frown on my face and creates wrinkles.  Who needs that?
  22. Please and thank you are magic words and should be used liberally in a marriage and in a family.  If you request change instead of criticize or complain you will get more promising results.
  23. Silence in a marriage is not always a bad thing.  When a couple falls silent for a few miles along the way, that’s not a sign that the marriage is not good.  There are times when my husband and I will be thinking the same thing and one of us will speak – and the other will say, “How did you know what I was just thinking about?”  I love it when that happens!
  24. Find constructive ways to fight.  Bad language and yelling accomplish nothing.  Resolve conflict with logic and wisdom.  Being childish does not earn points from your spouse.
  25. Forgive…  forgive…  and keep forgiving.  Your marriage is worth it.
  26. Apply Christian love like a Band-Aid bandage!  See your spouse as Christ sees him / her.  He / she is a soul in need of a Savior.  Instead of expecting so much, give the gift of prayer.  God is in the business of healing marriages.
  27. Be comfortable with your own company.  There are times when you will be left alone.  If you are the type of person who is not comfortable being alone, work on that.  Marriage provides companionship, but it’s important to know how to be left alone as well.
  28. Routine can become a rut.  Change it up because you do not have to fix a roast every single Sunday of the year.
  29. Money matters can tear a marriage to pieces.  Keep it fair by putting both your names on everything.  Share the checkbook and limit the number of credit cards you use.  Make sure you discuss major purchases before buying.
  30. Don’t let the sun set on your anger.  That’s the best biblical advice ever!  Talk it out and stay up all night if you have to.  No slamming doors and no yelling.  Sit down and respectfully discuss it like adults.
  31. When your spouse begins to be critical, it’s never about that.  There’s usually something deeper causing the criticism.  Don’t take it personally because eventually the real issue will probably come to the surface.
  32. This house is just a house.  It’s up to the two of us to make it into a home.  The goal is not to be happily married, but to live happily ever after.  We’re not happy every single moment of every single day.  After all, this isn’t a fairytale!
  33. Sometimes there’s a split second during a disagreement when that little voice inside says, “I probably should not say that”, please, for Pete’s sake, listen to that little voice!  You can never take it back…  never.
  34. Anticipate screw ups!  It’s called life – and it happens!
  35. Keep God in the middle of your marriage.  GOD IS LOVE…  and what does any marriage need more than LOVE???
  36. Sickness, health, rich, poor…  are you in it for the long haul, no matter what?  It’s as simple as being determined to hold on and ride it out.
  37. Don’t expect your spouse to make you happy.  That’s not his / her job.
  38. Do something new.  We took some cooking classes together and it was so much fun.
  39. Share a joke with your spouse.  You may get a laugh or an eye roll – but you’ll probably get some response.
  40. Pray God’s blessings over your union.  Remember that He’s the One who brought you together.

Marriage is not easy, and it’s not for wimps or those who are squeamish.  It takes two people who are willing to hang in there and work at it, keeping God in the center.  ❤