1 JOHN 2:18 ON 2/18

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Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  – 1 John 2:18 

If you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen the different posts about the personality traits of people who have blue eyes, or green eyes, or brown eyes, or gray eyes.  Well, regardless of your “eye personality”, the Bible tells us we are to “watch and wait”…  in other words, stay alert to what’s going on around us.  We’re to know false teaching when we hear it, and we’re to have discernment from God’s Holy Spirit to spot false teachers when we see them.

It sounds like a tall order, but remember, we’re not in this alone.  If we ask our Father in Heaven, in Jesus’ name, to give us wisdom to discern – He surely will answer that prayer for us.  God’s not in the business of playing “gotcha” with his children.

I would remind you today that evil does not appear suddenly with great strength.  It’s subtle and eases its way in – because it wants to fit snuggly in with all the good around it.  Not to frighten or cause paranoid responses, but this is the reason we are to be alert to our surroundings.

Counterfeit money looks so real, doesn’t it?  It looks like the genuine article – but if you knew it was not real, would you try to pass it?  If you knew the teachings you listened to were false, would you still listen to them – or do you want to continue having your ears tickled?

The true teaching of God from His Holy Bible is never going to make us feel comfortable with the way we are.  We will always be challenged to grow and change – we will be interested in a mature relationship with the Lord and with others.  We will always want to be improving and getting better – the more close we get to God.

I have a pastor friend who will not preach from any version of the Bible but the King James.  Now, I have different versions – an NIV, the MSG, and even a GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN.  Once in a while he mentions that he won’t read or preach from anything but King James.  I get it – I really do.  I think we look at different versions to try to glean some deeper meaning sometimes – but he sticks with the “original” – (and yes, I know it’s not really the original, but I don’t know any other way to describe it).  We don’t want to fall for less than the God’s honest truth – even if it’s by accident.  Remember…  our enemy is sneaky.

We don’t know the hour when Jesus will return to earth to snatch up His children.  Let’s not be found sleeping in a stupor instead of learning and growing and maturing under true teaching.  🙂

 

 

FROM MY HEART TO YOURS

tl-from-my-heart-to-yoursFebruary is a rough month for me – I’ll just admit it.  It’s a time when I remember a lot of happy times that I’ll never get back.  My mom’s birthday was the 15th and my dad’s birthday was the 21st – just a week apart!  I always baked a heart-shaped cake for my mom – and put pink or red icing on it with little red-hot candies.  We never had fancy celebrations, but we had each other and that’s what really mattered.  I can’t remember any of the gifts I gave her, but I remember the love in the room while she opened each of them.  ❤

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My dad loved German chocolate cake – and I’m not a baker – so to the boxed cake aisle I’d go to pick up a mix and some icing – although I’m not sure you can call that icing – I suppose it is…  that coconut concoction.  LOL!  Dad’s cake was a simple 9×13 sheet cake – I never made a cake that had to be stacked – I’m practical – and if that puppy had to ride in the car with me – it was going to be a sheet cake!  ❤

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Dad’s Birthday 2-21-85

I have memories recorded on 8mm film – which a few years back I had put on DVD.  There’s no sound, but I can read lips just fine.  I remember every word, even though I can’t hear their voices.  I can’t hear their voices…  but I will hear them again.  I’m not without hope – nope. 

I’ve made a sort of study out of this grief journey.  This blog is one manifestation of my grief experience.  I hope it’s made me more empathetic to others, if nothing else.  When people you love die, you don’t have anywhere for that love to go anymore.  This month I went out to the cemetery and replaced the flowers – but there were no hugs, no smiles, no warm greetings.  Thankfully, there was no snow, or it would have been colder still.  There’s nothing quite so cold and, well, dead…  as a cemetery.  Without faith to sustain, it would appear that it’s all over and there’s no hope.  Ah, but there is faith – there is hope.  I’m not without hope – nope. 

One of these days my Savior will come for me and all who have asked Him into their hearts and lives.  Whether I have the opportunity to live out a full life and die – or get snatched up and fly away…  it really doesn’t matter because I’m going to see Christ face to face.  These memories I hang on to for now…  well, I won’t need those anymore.  I’m not going to pretend to know exactly what lies ahead – but I trust God, through my Savior – and whatever it is…  it’s okay by me.  ❤

Here’s what I do know.  I will see my family again – and it’s going to be great because there will be hugs, smiles, and warm greetings – and we will never have to say good-bye again!  ❤

A Prayer for the Grieving

Lord, please come sit with me today. I need you now as I’m so sad. My heart can’t take much more. Just let me feel again. God, please heal my broken heart. In the quietness, I feel closest to you. Help me to serve others despite the pain. Let peace and love surround all who grieve today, tomorrow and always. I trust you to carry me through this long journey of grief and pain. Thank you for allowing me to share the life of my precious loved one. Please give me comfort in my pain, your love to see me through, and your strength to keep me going. Amen.

When they died, I thought I might too.  But somewhere along the way, the memories took over where the pain was once so raw I thought I couldn’t stand it.  ❤

You know, everyone in school was a bit jealous of me because I was an only child and didn’t have to “share” anything with siblings when I was at home – but let me tell ya…  there’s a flip side to being the only one – it’s lonely when you realize you’re responsible for everything.  I relied so heavily on my parents, not only for moral support, but for spiritual support.  I knew they prayed for me every day.  I miss those prayers so much.  ❤

 

FEBRUARY IS CREATIVE ROMANCE MONTH

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16507871_10208305925788410_7103125311010103263_nThis is Allyson & Jim…  and a story about one dreggy day.

So here’s the deal…  every woman is different and their needs and wants are different.  There’s a magical time in a marriage when a husband “gets” his woman…  that is, he understands her and realizes that, while she may be different from any other, that’s okay, because she’s the only one he absolutely has to get to know very well.  In the marriage vows, I believe it’s worded like this:

forsaking all others and cleave only to her.

Married people leave all others…  and cleave to one.  Forever.  It can be a long time if you’re with the wrong one – but time can fly by with the right one.

About a week ago, I stumbled upon a post from Allyson on facebook.  It was a photo of Jim.  I laughed…  it was a good fifteen minute laugh, which as everyone knows, is like doing 100 sit ups.  Okay I think it’s more like 60 sit ups, but anyhow…16708458_10206359702110139_8345702575977823596_n

The post said:

Jim wearing his geezer glasses and squatch hat because I needed to be entertained after the dreggy day I had.

After I regained my composure, I asked Ally if I could use this photo in my blog, (half expecting her to say no).  What a sport she is (and he is too, I might add)…  because they gave me permission.  To Jim I say – WELL DONE!  Does he know how to cheer Ally up, or what?  ❤

You know, young people think it’s all about the bedroom – but guess what?  As your marriage matures and deepens, it’s so much better and much more meaningful. ❤

We’ve all had “dreggy” days, haven’t we?  We need that partner in life who understands that a little comic relief can go a long way to making it all worthwhile.  Our jobs – how we make a living – that’s not our life.  The happiest couples are the ones who understand that simple truth.  I see posts from many friends on facebook – posts that reflect family fun and adventures.  Those are the families that will be okay because they know how to really enjoy one another.  ❤

I guess today I’d encourage everyone to lighten up and learn to enjoy the members of your family.  Life is fleeting and uncertain.  If you see that your significant other has had a “dreggy” day, step up and make it better!  You have that power as the life partner and soul mate to do that – you’re the only one who can!  Actually, as the life partner – it’s in your job description, if you want the truth about it.  As Nike says…  JUST DO IT!  Be the life partner who does funny stuff to make life more fun for the rest of your family.  ❤

Take the creative romance challenge…  and remember – it doesn’t have to involve much – sometimes it just takes a pair of geezer glasses and a squatch hat.  I don’t know about you, but I call that CREATIVE.  ❤

Keep posting those cute photos, you guys!  God bless you – and keep laughing.  ❤

 

 

GUMDROP DAY

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Happy Gumdrop Day!!!  I’d also like to say happy birthday to my sweet mother in Heaven.

The first thing I thought of when I saw that it’s Gumdrop Day was how my mother used gumdrops to decorate a simple, clear plastic tree-shape at Christmastime.  It was so cute!

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Gumdrops come in both fruit and spice varieties.  Sometimes the spice ones are called spice drops.  Some folks use gumdrops for decorating baked goods, gingerbread houses and other crafting.  I like to eat them out of my hand – and I prefer the spice drops to the plain fruit gumdrops.
In the U.S., three other “old-fashioned” gumdrop candies are also popular:  Orange Slices, Licorice Babies, and Spearmint Leaves.  These are larger than traditional gumdrops or spice drops.
Sometimes my mom would use the same plastic tree to put pastel colored spice drops on for Easter.
 Do I have you tempted to buy some gumdrops?  Let’s take a look at oldtimecandy.com:
Interestingly enough, these are the larger size gumdrops – I couldn’t find the smaller ones here.  I’m a little surprised since this is old-time candy.  😉
SMILE

Don’t be afraid,
Don’t hold a grudge
Just ease back your fears
And smile.
Look at a young child
and wonder what makes them smile,
Lollipops, Gumdrops, Butterfly’s?
Chocolate, Rainbows, Blue sky’s?
What makes you smile?
Sun sets, Sun rise, Blue sky’s?
Roses, Noses Kisses, love?
A Fairy Tale, A happy ending, A white dove?

Bring the  things that you have that your already smiling at.
Family. Friends. Children. Mom. Dad.
Shelter. Food. Money.
Growth. Comfort
Love.
Just relax. And Smile.

Magean Martin

Although gumdrops are usually associated with Christmas, you can make up a batch for Easter for decorating or to have on hand for a sweet treat.  🙂

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http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/homemade-gumdrops

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

tl-2-14-valentines-day-2So many folks are lonely on Valentine’s Day.  Today’s post will be less about the romantic side and much more about the reality that – YES – GOD LOVES YOU!77-flavors

a-blessing-from-goda-gift-for-my-soula-piece-of-heavena-prince-for-gods-princessa-song-of-loveeveryday-rewardsfourteen-years-of-lovegod-sees-our-possibilitiesgods-grace-makes-strong-loveheartsjohn-3-16kiss-and-make-upkisses-from-heavenlive-like-youre-lovedmr-rightmy-valentine-to-godthankful-for-my-husbandthankful-for-my-wifethe-invitationthe-same-spirit

to-be-a-bridewithout-his-loveI hope the poetry today from Lucinda Berry Hill has been a great reminder that God really does love you.  He gives us the best gifts possible as we live our lives for Him.  God gives us friends, family and other people to love and care for.

God understands our prayers when they don’t make sense.  When all we can do is cry and mutter and sputter…  God gets that because He sees our heart and knows our intentions.  Why?  Because He loves us so much.

As God loves us, we are to love one another.  Husbands and wives pray for one another and protect one another.  Real love cannot exist apart from God – He’s in the center of every good relationship.

God not only sends special angels into our lives, but sometimes He even sends them back again if we forget to take notes the first time!  – Quoted in The Angels’ Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Special angels???  Well…  sure – why not?  Billy Graham calls angels, “God’s secret agents” and we all need as much help as we can get, don’t we?  And yes, we should take notes the first time – but often we don’t, so they have to come back again.

God loves us, but sadly we don’t recognize some of the ways He shows His love toward us.  When was the last time you were driving and had a close call – nearly had a crash – but at the last second you stomped on the brake and everything turned out okay?  Did you thank God for that mercy, or did you congratulate yourself and pat yourself on the back for having such stellar ability behind the wheel?

When was the last time you were awakened by the song of a bird outside your window and thanked God that it was that instead of the blare of a train or a siren of some sort?  These little blessings often go completely unnoticed and God gets no credit or praise or even recognition for His attempt to show His love toward us.

Every blessing we receive regardless of the size is God’s way of showing His love toward us.  If we fail to show gratitude for the little things, surely we should not overlook the reason we are saved…  the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, God’s Son – on our behalf.  It’s only because of His death, burial and resurrection that we are able to make Heaven our home when this life is finished.  God has surely shown His marvelous love to us in big and small ways.  Happy Valentine’s Day. 🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.  – Matthew 9:22

On this day before Valentine’s Day, I wanted to explore the phrase “take heart.”  What does it mean to “take heart”?  ❤

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  – John 16:33

In both of these verses, Jesus says to take heart…  in my mind it means that we are to have faith and hope.  Our heart in Scripture refers to our all really – not just the muscle that beats in our chest from the moment we are born.  ❤

For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.  – Proverbs 23:7

Does a heart think?  No, the heart in our chest does not have a brain to think.  Heart is what we are…  it’s our integrity or lack thereof.  It’s our character or lack thereof.  If we are to take heart, we are to hold on to the belief that God has a plan for our lives – and He will make everything okay when we are tempted to feel like things are spinning out of control.  ❤

Why do we place our hands over our hearts when we say the pledge of allegiance to the flag?  We are saying that pledge from our hearts and showing respect for our country’s flag.  The heart is precious – that’s why we must keep it guarded.  ❤

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.  – Proverbs 4:23

So we take heart…  keep the faith and grab on to hope in all things.  We trust that God has control over everything all the time.  He’s got this!  ❤

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.  – Psalm 29:11

heart-shape-1714807__340God not only gives His people strength, but peace.  Isn’t peace something we all want in our world, our states, our cities, our counties, our homes, and our hearts?  Speaking for myself…  yes.  Yes, I do!

God doesn’t want us to worry and fret; He wants us to pray.  Why do we feel so troubled when the Lord’s own peace is ours?  Our peace comes from Almighty God!  What a blessing this is to my heart today!  ❤

With God’s peace in our hearts, we should be singing in stormy weather.  Can you sing while the thunder rolls and the lightning strikes?  If you claim today’s verse as your heritage, then surely it will cause you to sing no matter what is happening around you.  ❤

I’m praying for peace in this world, this state, this city, this county, this home and in my heart.  God is our peace and our strength in every storm.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart
    and my portion forever.  – Psalm 73:26

I’ve battled the flu this week.  Ugh…  I feel quite weak, so today when I read this portion of Scripture, I was encouraged because even though I may at times fail, yes – but certainly feel sick and weak…  My God is the strength of my heart!  He is with me and will continually provide strength and support within me.  Often when I face a blank screen to write, He helps me to say exactly what He wants us to read – yes, that includes me.  ❤

Today…  I need to hear Don Moen sing this Scripture.  ❤

As we talk about the heart this February, isn’t it great to know that God is the strength of your heart?  I’ll tell ya…  today that is what I needed to hear.  I’m so very thankful for that strength from Him!  ❤

God is a sure and firm foundation, which will bear my weight, and not sink under it.  He is the only One I can rely on because I know this body gets older and sick, it is certainly not dependable in any way.  ❤

You know, in a matter of minutes, all you have can disappear before your eyes.  Not to be a downer, but it’s true – all the things we’ve worked years to build can tumble to the ground.  No matter how educated or successful you are, there are no guarantees in this life.  ❤

The only security and safety is in God.  He is our strength when bad things happen.  He is our security when we feel insecure in this life.  He is our safety in an unsafe world.  ❤

It’s my desire to stay very near to God by faith and prayer.  He promised to become my portion in this world and in the next.  I thank Him and praise Him today for all He’s done and will do for me.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.  – Acts 13:22

God brought David from a shepherd boy to a great king, and called him a man after His own heart.  As we explore the heart of man, we need to ask a few questions:

  • How do I know I’m truly converted?
  • If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from my life, how long would it take me to notice?
  • How much alone time do I spend with God?
  • Do I practice obedience in the small things God gives me to do?

Every person who has a heart after God’s heart must walk with the assurance that they are truly converted.  Going to church every week and following the rules put forth by the church does not necessarily mean a person’s heart is converted.  Jesus must be your personal Savior and not your religion – those are two separate and distinct things.  ❤

When Christ was ready to ascend to Heaven, He left us the most precious gift of all…  His precious Holy Spirit!  Would you notice if He went away?  He will never leave you unless you tell Him to (who would do that?) – but seriously, how self-sufficient are we?  Scripture tells us to lean on Him and not on our own understanding.  The world would call Him a “crutch”, but I have a different take on it.  God’s Holy Spirit knows the future – I can’t think of a single “crutch” in this world that has that knowledge – I know some that claim to, but none that really do.  ❤

Devotions are not just about opening your Bible and reading two verses, marking your place and checking it off.  That’s certainly a start, but there’s really more to it.  There’s nothing wrong with following a prescribed outline such as Through the Bible in a Year, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll fall behind and feel guilty about it.  It’s better for me to let God’s Holy Spirit lead me to the things I need to see, read, and possibly write about.  ❤

When the Lord leads you to it, He most certainly will lead you through it.  Do you balk or do you obey?  Or, like me, do you sorta balk and stall, then obey?  Some changes are so scary, but if we will be obedient in the small things, God will trust us with the bigger things.  I mean, David started as a shepherd boy…  and what if he had not been obedient – first in the small things – then…  well, he ended up being a king!  ❤

I don’t necessarily want to be a king – but I sure do want to have a heart after God’s own heart.  One day I want Him to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  ❤

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the LORD your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.  – Joshua 23:14

The beliefs we hold dear are kept in our hearts.  We know that God will keep His word and His promises are true. ❤

Joshua’s dying words encourages us to not only listen to the teachings of God, but to know without a doubt that what He says, He will do.  Will it be in our time?  No, it will most assuredly not – it will be in God’s good time.  Most of us want to hurry God along, don’t we?  We say, “Hurry up, LORD!”  But in hindsight, which is always much more clear, we say, “Ah, now I understand why God did what He did when He did it!” 

I think with maturity comes a better understanding of God’s timing in all things.  The more of these “ah-ha” moments we have in life, the greater our understanding becomes.  Every one of these times is tucked away in our heart – for future reference.  We eventually come to believe that in the past, God brought us through – so therefore, He will not fail me now!  ❤

Joshua knew that nothing would make people see how miserable they are, so much, as to see how happy they might have been.  Those who don’t know the Lord are truly without hope in this world.  ❤

How awesome it is that the saved have the privilege to watch and pray, to trust with all our hearts in God’s faithfulness, His power, and His amazing love.  We plead His promises and follow His commandments – knowing that if we should fail (and we will), His lovingkindness and forgiveness are at the ready.  He doesn’t want us to fail on purpose, but He knows just how human we are.  We pray against temptation always and that’s how we can be happy in our hearts – in life and in the afterlife.  ❤