A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

Happy birthday to my daddy in Heaven.  I was thinking about all the great things he taught me and how many times I wish I could have another conversation with him.  I’d like to share part of a Father’s Day writing with you today.

Thank you, Daddy.  Thank you for showing me what it means to have a good work ethic.  Thank you for teaching me how to barter when I don’t have money.  I know growing up, we didn’t have more money than time, but there was always time for laughter, for listening, and for love.

Even though you built houses for a living, ours was the best one of all – not because it was more fancy, but because the love within those walls turned that house into a home.  I remember sitting in front of the TV in the family room listening to you laugh at some show.  I wanted to memorize that sound and tuck it in the back of my mind so I’d never forget it.  All I have left is that tape in my head… and I play it over and over again.  I would give so much to hear you laugh for real just one more time.  But you know what, Daddy?  One day I will…  yeah, I will.  – Linda Palmer

It’s always my intent to be a balcony person on this blog – an encourager and a cheerleader to folks – but I won’t be fake and pretend that everything is just peachy keen all the time, just so others will think well of me.

I believe there are moments when we are all balcony people AND basement people.  I believe that we sharpen one another’s iron – at all times.  I don’t believe that we are exclusively balcony or basement people.  I believe we are God’s children – and there are HIGHS and there are LOWS because we are all very HUMAN.  God knows us, and I don’t think it’s bad to admit that I’m not on the mountaintop every single day.

If and when I’m having basement moments…  I appreciate the balcony people who come along and encourage me in those times – but I also appreciate the basement people who are not ashamed to admit they’re struggling a bit.  If God puts a basement person in my path, it’s probably because He wants me to help them.

That’s what we do…  we help those who are going through a rough patch.  I help you…  you help me.  Iron sharpening 101.

We all want to be balcony people – encouragers – cheerleaders – energizers – affirming.  I’m no different – but if we’re honest, we’d admit that we all need someone to give us encouragement – cheer us on – energize us – and affirm us – once in a while.

The Bible tells us to sharpen one another’s iron – it’s a give and take – one day I encourage – and another day – I get encouraged.  It’s my intent to encourage and uplift others, using the wonderful Word of God; however…

If I have to be on a mountaintop 24/7 as I write this blog, maybe I’m not doing what I need to do.  If you expect this humble writer to be on a mountaintop 24/7, sorry to disappoint you.  If I’m not on the mountaintop, it does not indicate that I lack hope or peace in my life.  It just makes me human.  I won’t apologize for being human.  I won’t judge you for being human either.  🙂

 

GALATIANS 2:20 ON 2/20

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I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.   – Galatians 2:20

The first step toward understanding the narrow path that we’re called to walk is understanding Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  In the 20th verse we read that there should be Christ-centered living.  Our Savior lives in us and we live by faith in Him because he loved us and gave His life for us.

Paul emphasizes how life with Christ is so much better than life under the law.  The law could not make men righteous before God, yet in Christ they were made righteous.  By dying to self and embracing Christ, clinging to Him rather than cold, empty law…  they were able to rise to a new spiritual life as they fixed their eyes upon the cross of Christ.

The “old man” – dies to self and the old sin nature – and is given a life of close and intimate communion with God through Christ Jesus.  Faith in self turns to faith in Him, His way, His peace and His love.  We rely fully on Him for pardon, righteousness, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation.

In Paul, the old law lost its power and ceased to influence him.  That means that he declared himself divorced from such things as the LOVE of money, the PRIDE of life and the DOMINION of hateful and evil passions.  These things that are so meaningful in the world around us, ceased to influence him – and were also crucified with Christ.

While we still live in these bodies of flesh, our spirits are renewed and recharged daily by the Lord.  We’re not given a pass from sufferings, grief or loss in life – but we know that our Lord is there to help us through them.  🙂

 

 

 

REVELATION 2:19 ON 2/19

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 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.  – Revelation 2:19

I don’t pretend to understand the book of Revelation; however, I do speak and read English, and this looks fairly cut and dried to me.  There is a comfort in knowing that GOD knows – He knows it all.  Not everyone feels comforted by that fact – but I do.  Does that make me weird?  I don’t know – maybe.

Think about it – God knows your deeds, your love, faith, service and perseverance – and that you’re doing more now than you did when you first started your journey with Him.

God knows…  and if I said only that much, it would be enough.  He knows the good, the bad and the ugly.  Any effort to hide anything from Him is in vain.  So now that we’ve established that God knows – the ball is in your court.  What will you do with that information?

You’ve not gone too far in the wrong direction to make a U-turn in the right direction.  There is only one unpardonable sin – and that is rejecting Christ as your personal Savior.  Everything else (and I do mean everything) is negotiable.  If you need to have a heart to heart with the Father, He’s ready to hear from you.  It’s not too late until you die.

From the moment we receive Jesus into our hearts and lives, growth begins.  It’s continual and provides God’s own strength and courage along the way.

Can growth be stifled?  Yes, it can – but it would be the will of the person, not the will of the Father.  It’s always God will that we grow some every day.  He wants us to be mature in our walk with Him.

Their works had been recently more numerous and praiseworthy even than they had formerly been.  This tells me that it’s important to strive to do better deeds – not necessarily more deeds – but better ones.  Sometimes it’s a matter of having a forgiving attitude or be quick to pray for one who has hurt or wronged you instead of reacting badly.

Although this passage goes on to talk about the bad things going on in the church of Thyatira, our focus today was on the positive aspects – (vs. 19).

We can’t rest on the works (NOT that we are saved by works – clearly we are not – works are an outpouring of our love for Christ) of the past.  We need to keep growing in attitudes, actions and let the Lord strengthen our faith and resolve more every day.  🙂

 

 

 

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