A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

How can such a large tree (if indeed it is a tree) come from such a tiny seed?  We’re told that faith the size of a mustard seed is large as well.  I don’t know whether anyone wears these anymore – but my mom and dad gave me a necklace that held a single mustard seed.  It was my high school graduation and I was anxious about leaving all the things that were familiar.  That little mustard seed went with me to college and beyond.  It meant so much to have that reminder as my companion.

I am small – but HE is so big!  In this case, however… I believe the example of the mustard seed was used for a couple of different reasons:

  1. The Lord wants us to know that Heaven is so much – not only larger than we can possibly imagine – but also He wants us to rest assured that it is so much better than we’ve ever known down here on earth.  On one hand, we’re urged to share our faith everywhere we go – but on the other hand, we’re invited to bask in the greatness of what Heaven will be – a place like we’ve never known and cannot imagine because our finite minds are not able to imagine – but our hearts long for…
  2. The kingdom of heaven is at its fullest in Christ. That is why wherever Jesus went, the sick were healed, demons were cast out, and the dead were even raised. Because none of those things exist in the kingdom of heaven and Jesus walked in such a way that He brought heaven to earth. He passed this authority on to his disciples, telling them to do the same thing. And He wants us to have an abundant life, which would require complete surrender to Jesus and the Holy Spirit (which would mean that God’s domain/kingdom is expanding in us). So, we too, are called to expand Christ’s kingdom on earth preaching and teaching His wonderful Gospel – reminding others that His kingdom is at hand.  We don’t know the day nor the hour of His returning – but until that wonderful day, we can try to imagine our Heavenly home – but that’s all we can do – we can only imagine. Thank you so much for joining me for this week’s Bible study!  Have a blessed week in the Lord!  🙂
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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you thought about what it means to be a Christian?  I’m sure we all know the automatic definition that we were taught from childhood – Christian means “little Christ” – and that’s true.  Here in Proverbs we’re given a recipe for good clean livin’ – but I will say these things are not easy to do at times.  So often we have to seek God’s help so we can be the kind of person our Lord wants us to be.  He loves us so much and wants to be our guide.

If we can learn to fear less and have stronger faith in our Father above – that’s the key – trusting completely in Dr. Jesus – believing that He has every situation under control.  God has been so faithful to me in every circumstance I find myself in – so why would I stop now?  His ways are the best ways, and so I will keep looking straight ahead at Him, waiting for His help.

God is more reliable than any GPS…  does your compass or GPS know the future?  God knows what’s going to happen before it happens.

I want to be on HIS side and in His boat – don’t you?  I may need to walk on water sometime – and yes, Lord, I’ll try to have faith to look at You instead of looking at my own feet.  God is my source for all the power and strength I’ll ever need.

While I’ve been down with sciatica (actually, this is the lowest I’ve been in quite a while), I’m trying to feed my mind with positive God-centered things.  Yesterday I watched “God is For Real”.  I love that we’ll get to meet our children that were miscarried – and I love that nobody in Heaven needs glasses – oh, and that everyone is young in Heaven!  I really like that!  If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  🙂

http://www.heavenlive.org/

I believe little Colton Burpo’s story – everything he talks about aligns with Biblical principles as far as I can see.  I know the book & movie have been out for about 3 years, but the story gives me chills every time I read it or see the movie.

Please keep me in your prayers.  I’m not able to walk far right now or sit up straight.  Sciatica is such a weird thing – there are days when the pain is just awful – then there are days that aren’t so bad.  It’s just a low point, but I’ve learned to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him for healing and to provide answers to my questions.  🙂

EASTER

I have exciting news!  I’m going to start posting a weekly blog post beginning today!  I’ll be covering more Scripture verses and give you an opportunity to study it for yourself for a week.  Obviously, John 20:6 is the Scripture about the resurrection of Christ – HE AROSE!!!  Without the resurrection of Christ, Christmas would be meaningless.

Today we have joy, peace, and HOPE that was not possible before God raised Christ from the dead!  Aren’t we thankful for what Jesus did for us on Calvary and beyond?  When the stone was rolled away and God raised Christ from the dead…  salvation’s wondrous plan was done.  All that’s left is for us to believe and with faith, trust that God through Christ has us in His very capable hands – and with His Holy Spirit, will help us navigate our way through.

I’ve heard so many sermons about this passage of Scripture.  We know that Peter was a bold sort – a fisherman by trade – we might call him rugged, unpolished, a diamond in the rough.  He’s the sort who speaks before thinking and ends up having to apologize later.  That may sound familiar to some.  LOL!

For this week, I want us to think about 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

I was taught that a verse that begins with THEREFORE needs to be investigated further.  We need to know what came before this verse, so we know what it is THERE FOR… so – verse 15 says:

As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  – 2 Corinthians 4:15

It’s not that I’m against doing all I can to preserve myself outwardly – believe me.  I don’t welcome these crows feet around my eyes at all – but I try to call them smile lines to keep it positive.  The question really is, does your outward maintenance mean more than your inward maintenance?  So much mental struggle could be helped if we’d just put as much importance on studying God’s Word as we do on spa days for the outward body.  Let’s face it, when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask me how many spa days I took (which I could count on one hand) – but He will ask how many times I shared the gospel of Christ with others.

True Christianity is about living a balanced life.  God gave us one body and one soul, along with a great owner’s manual, if we’ll take the time to read it.  The Bible teaches us so much about ourselves and how to care for body, soul and mind.

I had a friend who always tried to put things together without reading instructions.  It made me crazy!  He’d end up with extra pieces – or needing pieces, then scratched his head because he couldn’t figure out how that happened.  Really?

Have a wonderful week and leave this blog some love if you like it.  Thanks!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Do you know a control freak?  Maybe you ARE a control freak.  Who determines what you will do today?  I think sometimes, especially here in America, we’re so accustomed to being FREE and having that FREE WILL in living, it’s easy for us to believe we are in complete control of every aspect of our life.

Some people think if they hit the gym every day and pulverize some veggies to replace home cooking – they will somehow hang on to youth and vitality in life.  You do know that even America’s toughest trainer will one day grow old, get weak, and die, right?  There comes a point when we will all be dependent – and that scares some people.

Now, that’s not to say that we just curl up and give in…  I’m sure not a fan of that either.  God wants us to be happy and healthy and take care of ourselves – and He doesn’t mind if we are independent as we live our lives – He just doesn’t want us to be detached from Him.  He created us because He wanted someone to talk with – and through prayer, we talk and listen to our Heavenly Father.  Do you ever wonder though – why does God want to be my friend?  What is so interesting about me that He should care?  I don’t know the answer, but I’m sure glad He does care, aren’t you?

Oh I like that devotional so much!  I use a lot of those old sayings, because I learned them from my parents – lol.  I don’t think it’s a bad thing to say them as long as we know that they are old sayings – and NOT the gospel truth from God’s Word.

Isn’t it sad when people ignore God until they need something – or get in a bind?  God wants to hear from us on a regular basis – and He wants to hear about laundry day just as much as He wants to hear how much money I need.  He always wants to hear praises to Him – He inhabits our praise!  We love and praise Him all the time, whether there are needs to share with Him or not.  Every day is Thanksgiving in a Christian’s life.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

A couple of things happen once you accept the living water that Jesus offers…  first, you no longer feel thirsty – the void has been filled and second, you just have this overwhelming need to go tell somebody about what you’ve found!  That’s just what happens.

Mrs. Clopp was the sweetest little lady and the wife of our pastor at the time.  I have no idea why my dad had his camera in church that day – but I love that I have this picture.  This reminds me of the time when the Lord washed my sins away and I started a new life with Him.  That Sunday evening I was baptized…  I know – again with the WATER!  Our salvation and baptism only happens because of God’s grace through Christ – and the blood that Christ shed on the cross at Calvary.  What a great thought to ponder on this Good Friday!  God loves us so much – I hope you know Him too.

I’ve probably mentioned this before, but I think my love of rain stems from this experience.  It usually rains on my birthday, and I’ve been known to go outside and dance in it.  Water is so cleansing and everything smells so clean, fresh and new after a gentle rain.  I know that the water is symbolism, but it represents a very real work that happens inside.

No matter what happens in my life, how much I fall or fail or get into sticky situations…  I have this time to revisit.  God was there – I was there.  Life gets messy sometimes and I am so far from perfect, believe me, but I know there is forgiveness waiting from the Lord as I move forward.  I could have let things make me bitter in life, but I chose to learn the lessons and let them make me better.

Dance in the Living Water that comes from God.  Remember that you may fall or fail or get into sticky situations…  but your GOD will never fail you – ever!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Traditionally, we observe these events in the life of Christ on Passion Week:  His triumphal entry, His last supper, His death, burial and resurrection.  What is Easter all about?  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR!  God raised Christ from the dead on the 3rd day – and He sits at God’s right hand.  There’s something else that happened before Christ ascended to Heaven…  He left us the greatest gift – His Holy Spirit – the comforter and our guide through this crazy life.

The Holy Spirit of God is filled with goodness and wisdom.  God wants us to be kind and quick to forgive one another.  It’s only with His help that we can do these things.

We are loved by God – and are to be loving and kind to one another.  As we rely on God’s Holy Spirit to help us, we can accomplish so much as we plant seeds along the way.  It’s so nice to make friends with like-minded believers, knowing that no matter what, you can go back to the fact that you both have God’s Holy Spirit and can work anything out as you rely on Him for guidance and direction.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about God’s Holy Spirit without mentioning the fruits of His Spirit:

Does that mean that we will be perfect?  Um…  nope.  Does it mean that we can love perfectly?  Well, as we live by God’s precepts that certainly could and should happen.  If we will lean fully on God’s Holy Spirit, we can have some beautiful attitudes and be a blessing to others.  We want the fruits of the Spirit to be clear in our lives.  God’s more than happy to reveal to us how that can happen.

If you could imagine a pyramid in your mind – sort of like the food pyramid (which seems to be changing with every diet that comes along).  The good thing about this pyramid is that it never changes.

God’s Holy Spirit is at the TOP of the pyramid.  No surprise there.  At the other two corners are you and another person – any person you come in contact with.  God’s Spirit gives love, comfort, power, peace, wisdom and the ability to control things like temper.  Because He’s given us these things, we are able to share them with others in our lives, with evidence of the fruits showing through in the process.

Remember that the Lord did not leave us here as orphans to figure out how to live.  He has everything we need to live an abundant life…  if we’ll just ask Him to help us.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

“The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for.  We can cure physical diseases with medicine, but the only cure for loneliness, despair, and hopelessness is love.  There are may in the world who are dying for a piece of bread, but there are many more dying for a little love.  The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality.  There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”  – Mother Teresa, (A Simple Path:  Mother Teresa)

If the love of the Lord reigns supreme in our lives…  it can’t help but show in our lives and flow in our attitudes and actions.  Is His love perfected in you?  Only Christ can love perfectly, as we know – but making it a priority to love like He does is important.

The other day I heard my husband knocking on our front door with a sense of urgency.  I was confused because the door was obviously unlocked, so why was he asking me to let him in?  I grabbed the door knob and pulled…  to no avail.  The door was stuck!  No matter what I did, the door would not open.  Once he came in the house through the garage door, he started working on the door with graphite.

Just as the graphite fixed the front door so it would work properly again…  God’s love perfected in our hearts, minds and lives is what shows a lost and dying world the Savior – and that the love they desperately seek in all the wrong places can be found – in Christ.  As Mother Teresa reminds us…  people are lonely, desperate and feel hopeless much of the time.

If we stay connected with God in the way we should – and make an effort to connect with others with the graphite that is God’s perfect love…  what a difference we can make in this hungry world.  Without that graphite, the door of your heart can get stuck and the world doesn’t see the love of God in you.  As Christians, we need to show folks where love – real love – God’s love – His eternal hope, peace, and presence – can be found… at the foot of the cross.

We all have a heart hunger – and some look for the love they need in the wrong places.  I won’t review all the ways people seek love in this world…  but there is a cross-shaped hole in every heart, and that place can only be filled with this one piece of the puzzle.  The cross-shaped piece, shown to the world by one who shares with His perfect love.

The cross of Christ reminds us that Jesus showed perfect love to all of us.  His perfect love in our hearts and minds is what helps us to show true compassion for one another.  Instead of hammering a brother or sister, try expressing your point of view with love and kindness.  My mom used to say you get more flies with honey…  that’s not from the Bible – well, it’s not a direct quote from there anyway – but it’s a good precept to keep in mind.  🙂