A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When God calls a person to do a job, He is very sure of Himself and knows who He wants and why.  There are people in history whose lives leave me smiling because there’s no doubt in my mind that God was right smack dab in the middle of their circumstances – working!

Did you know that Moses didn’t want to be a leader?  He argued with God about it – no, no don’t pick me!  I can’t be a leader ‘cuz see, I have this stuttering problem and it’s really going to slow Your plan down.  Well…  we see here what God had to say about that!  It didn’t do Moses much good to argue with God.

Helen Adams Keller was born in 1880.  She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. Oh, did I fail to mention that she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree?  Her life story has been the subject of at least two very popular movies that I know of – both starring Patty Duke, if I remember right.  Helen’s life seemed hopeless at first, didn’t it?  If a person ever offered hope and inspiration to the world…  it was Helen Keller!

Cornelia ten Boom (Corrie) was born in 1892.  She was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.  She and her sister and father were imprisoned in a concentration camp for their actions.  Corrie’s sister, Elisabeth ten Boom (Betsie) was born in 1885.  While incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp, she died at age 59.  Corrie and Betsie’s father, Casper ten Boom died just 10 days after being imprisoned.

Corrie ten Boom’s famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.  My dad bought the book for me, and in 1976 he took me to see the movie.  Did God use Corrie and her family?  I believe He definitely did – and that story still serves to inspire people all over the world.  My dad said at the very least, it reminds us of what we never want to see again in the world.  It also reminds us that no matter what the world says to do…  as Christians we are obligated to obey our God and do the right thing to honor Him.

If we will place our frail an imperfect selves in God’s very capable hands, trusting that He will work in and through us for His glory, we will be amazed and may even inspire others in the bargain.  I wonder if Moses had flat refused God – if he would have ended up in the belly of a whale – ???  Or…  maybe a camel or something – ???  Oh, it’s a good thing he was obedient, I think.  Yeah.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Has God given everyone at least one gift?  You know, I think we sometimes look at what God has given us and make the paralyzing mistake of comparing our gifts or talents with those of others.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do – he would like nothing better than to see you paralyzed, believing that somehow your gift is not good enough for God’s use – so you just sit back and let someone else serve instead.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that.  I think it’s satan’s favorite pastime. 

Another sad scenario is when some people in the church begin to compare and pit two similarly gifted people against each other.  I’ve been in that situation and I can’t think of anything that is more hurtful and damaging to a soul – it’s what the Bible calls A STUMBLING BLOCK.  When I hear people tell me that they think I’m better at (fill in the blank) than someone else – I try to stop it in its tracks!  We’re not in the church to be playing AMERICAN IDOL – which, by the way, is a terrible name for a program (have the producers not read the Old Testament)?

Churches are filled with lost souls who have been saved and redeemed by a loving and kind Savior.  None of us deserve salvation, do we?  We’re all just trying to serve Him the best way we know how – and it’s because we love HIM – not because we’re in some church competition with anyone.  Always encourage people to use their gifts to serve.  If there are 15 pianists in your church and you think some are better than others (which, I mean – duh – there will be some better than others)… encourage each and every one of them – period.  No comparisons…  no mention of how good one is or how not so good another is – no!  God gave all 15 pianists TALENT and wants them to use that gift to further HIS kingdom.  The church needs to buy a clue and quit copying the world – stop it! 

My eyes were opened when I was part of a Southern Gospel group years ago.  We traveled as a caravan around Kansas and Oklahoma, playing concerts along the way.  I was never more unhappy and unfulfilled than I was then – it was honestly a reminder of the old BATTLE OF THE BANDS.  I just wanted to go home and play piano in my home church, where I thought the people who knew and understood me would forgive a sour note here and there.  I wasn’t cut out to perform – that’s not who God made me to be.

We serve the Lord with the best we have to give – no matter what gift He has given us.  There’s a place to serve the Lord – for all of us.  There should be room for every gift without being compared to anyone else.

I’ve said this time and again…  but I will say it again – it’s not about us anyway.  It’s about God, His grace, mercy, love and promises to us.  What we give back is our response to all that He’s done for us.  We go and tell and share because He commands that we do that.  We use the gifts from His hand to that end.  That’s what it’s about.  We teach, pray, study, and serve others with the light we’ve been given from God through Christ Jesus!

Even if you think one person is better at (fill in the blank) than another…  please don’t voice that opinion.  It’s the most hurtful thing that a person can do and is a stumbling block.  It may seem that you’re encouraging the one – which is okay – but don’t do it by discouraging the other.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and it’s so hurtful when you’re the one who doesn’t quite have what it takes like the other person does.  People have stopped using their gifts because of that very thing.  It’s just not a good idea to compare people’s gifts.  Let’s just be thankful that people are willing to volunteer their time and share their talents.

Serve to spread the gospel in any way you can.  We don’t keep the gospel of Christ tucked safely away and say…  “Yay – I’m saved – that’s all that matters.”  The word gospel means GOOD NEWS – and it is to be shared.  If there is a way for you to share with a gift that God gave you…  then it’s what you should do!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a great verse for Palm Sunday, isn’t it?  We all need to be reminded how this journey called Christianity is supposed to work.

We are to love one another – because Christ loves all of us.  Does that mean we always see eye to eye on everything?  No, it doesn’t.  It does mean that we show respect for one another, whether we are shown respect in return or not.  We’re responsible for our own behavior – not anyone else’s.  If each of us would do our very best to show the love of Christ, wouldn’t this world be a better place?  I think it would.  What if we were all a place of REST for each other? 

I love this poem in particular because this is exactly what God’s children need to be for one another.  Sadly, it often becomes a case of using instead of nurturing.  Sometimes we just need a friend in Christ to talk with about everyday things.  It may seem unproductive to some, but you have no idea how much it means to the one who needs to be heard and helped.  It’s sometimes a matter of letting a friend know that you are praying for them.  If we can listen more than speak and pray more than fret…  we’ll be a good representative for our Savior.

Here’s what we’re not – PERFECT.  God is perfect and only with His help can we love perfectly.  People – yes, even Christian people…  can be frustrating sometimes – yes, I can frustrate others too.  Here’s the deal – if we can just understand that our brothers and sisters in the Lord are imperfect human beings just like us – and if we can just be quick to forgive one another – which, again…  I’m not great at doing…  but I’m working on it – that is when we will love perfectly with Christ-likeness.  I hope others have forgiven me for mistakes I’ve made against them.  I try to forgive them as the Lord wants me to.  That’s how Christianity works, and it only works with Christ in the center.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you to look at my post on 4/5.  The story DAISY’S COLT, written by Lucinda Berry Hill and myself, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero is there.  If you have a little one in your life, it would be great to read this story to them.  Have a nice Palm Sunday!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you heard the expression, “Garbage in, garbage out” – ???  Well…  there’s a flip side to that expression that is much more positive.  How about “God’s love in, God’s love out” – ???  If we study God’s Word and think on His precepts…  what will shine forth from our lives?  It doesn’t get better than that, does it?  When we focus on His love – we will SHINE!

Everything in life begins with a thought – good or bad.  Again with the choices, right?  God gives us free will – it’s what He wants for us – and it makes Him so sad if we choose to think bad thoughts, scary thoughts, or live a stressful, worry-filled life.  The Lord wants us to live an abundant life – and lean fully on Him.  God’s so much wiser and bigger than we are – and He knows our thoughts – and He knows that every action we take begins with a single thought.

Choose to think on His goodness, His grace, His mercy and His wonderful love.  These things are praiseworthy – and God is worthy of our praise.  Virtue…  good report…  pure…  lovely… think on these things.

There’s one other thought I want to share about thoughts…  God can read them – but the enemy of your soul cannot.  Since the devil can’t read your thoughts, it’s a good idea to not verbally express some of your thoughts.  Once you speak your thoughts out into the air where satan can hear them…  he can use them against you.  Just one last thought about thoughts.  If you have a thought that you don’t want satan to hear…  take it captive and start praying!  Ask God to turn that thought around – He can help you turn it into something positive and praiseworthy!  Satan can’t work with anything positive that comes out of your mouth.

I like this song – it really grows on you!  When you sing the words of Scripture, it makes it easier to memorize.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Throughout the Bible we are told what we need to do in order to get good stuff from our Heavenly Father.  These verses in Philippians are a perfect example of it – we’re told if we lay aside the temptation to worry and fret and pray instead, being completely honest with our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Christ Jesus – being careful to be THANKFUL for our lives and our blessings as we present our requests to God – then, and only THEN will God respond with what???  He will in turn give to us HIS sweet peace, which the world does not understand – a peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ. 

Is this bargaining?  No – it’s not.  This is obedience as we exercise faith and trust in our Father in Heaven.  When we delve into God’s Word and realize we have a choice to stress out, freak out, go nuts – OR hand our situations over to God (being careful not to take them back)…  it’s so freeing and I’m convinced it improves physical health in the process!  When God’s peace is added to our lives – what a difference it makes!

Our problems and struggles do not have to consume our mind.  Even though God knows what we’re facing even before we talk with Him about it, He still wants us to bring them to Him in prayer.  If you’re a parent and you know your child is hurting, it’s not enough to just know your child is hurting, is it?  You want your child to come and talk with you.  God’s our Heavenly Father and it’s the same principle.  Remember, He made human beings so He’d have companionship – friendship – relationship.  It’s only right that we let Him know what’s up in our lives.

Give Him your issues and in return He will give you His peace and He’ll work things out for you.  I’m always amazed at HOW He works things out.  No matter how many times I try to guess how He will work – I’m never right.  God is so much more creative than I am!  He’s so good to me – much gooder than I deserve, to be sure!  God is not a disappointment.  That’s not just an old hymn…  it’s the truth!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not news to anyone that stress is everywhere.  If this is news to you, let me know.  Being anxious is a reaction to stressful situations – and often times anxiety is paired with depression – which is the worst feeling in the world.  Some people choose to take medication for this not so dynamic duo – but I choose to pray – and I pray so much…  long prayers, short prayers, mega short prayers.  I pray.  It doesn’t make me better than anyone else and it doesn’t mean that my faith is bigger than anyone else’s – believe me!  It’s just the way I choose to cope.  I cope and God gives me HOPE.

God’s Word tells us not to be anxious about anything.  Let’s be honest…  we do get anxious and depressed sometimes.  Just because we’re Christians does not mean we’re not human.  Putting our faith and trust in God is not a magic fix that keeps us more calm than anyone else – but the faith and trust we put in God is a way of showing the Lord that we believe HE will make a way no matter what.

In my 56 years on the planet I’ve learned two things:

  1. Prayer works and changes things.  It does make me less anxious and less depressed without harmful side effects.
  2. God in His perfect time is never early – I wish He would be sometimes because I tend to be a little more anxious as time passes without the answer being revealed; however, as I keep praying and trusting God and His right on time way of working, I know that things will work out and often times it is literally what I would call the last minute.  What I’m saying is that God is never early…  but He is NEVER LATE!

He will guard our hearts and minds and give us HIS peace that transcends all understanding IF we will trust Him and pray about every situation that crops up in life.  I’ve found that to be true.

Prayer and petition…  give it to God in prayer and in return He will guard your heart and mind.  He will bless you with peace in place of anxiety and depression.  It sounds like a very good trade to me.  🙂

DAISY’S COLT

Today’s post is a special Children’s story for Palm Sunday, written by Lucinda Berry Hill & Linda Palmer, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero.   We are so excited to share with you our story…

DAISY’S COLT

Daisy Lou the donkey

Was tied up to a post

Waiting for her master

Right near her little Hope.

Two men had come beside them

And announced, “Daisy Lou,

You need to come with us –

There’s a job for you to do.”

 

“A job for me?  What could it be?”

Daisy thought and thought.

But soon the momma realized

The job was for her colt.

 

A journey to Jerusalem

Was what the job would be;

A ride was needed to the town

For Jesus Christ the King.

Before Daisy let the men

Lead little Hope away,

She had a few instructions

She felt she had to say:

 

“Take firm and steady steps

And always look ahead;

With your ears always up,

Listen closely to what is said.

 

Follow His directions,

Even if they don’t seem right.

Listen and obey…

You’re gonna do alright.

 

I’m proud that you’ve been chosen

For this purpose by the Lord.”

And with that, she waved goodbye

To little Hope moving forward.

 

They reached their destination

And little Hope was quite surprised;

For standing there beside her

Was the blessed Jesus Christ!

 

The man put clothes upon her back

Where Jesus took a seat;

Then they began a journey –

Little Hope and Christ the King.

 

They traveled to Jerusalem,

Where they were met with praise.

Hope was feeling honored

To be chosen for this day.

 

“Imagine such a thing!”

As she walked, the young Hope beamed.

“Instead of a majestic horse,

The King has chosen me!”

People laid out branches

In the streets that lie before them.

“Blessed is the King!”, they yelled –

They loved and they adored Him.

 

When her mission was complete,

Hope ran back to Daisy.

“I did just what you taught me,

I listened, wasn’t lazy.

To Jerusalem I carried

Our great and mighty King.

Thank you for the lessons, momma,

That you’re always teaching me.

 

Listening paid off –

The King really is quite smart.

He never once lead me astray;

Now I trust Him with my heart.

 

Jesus loves me… little me.

He used me on His special day.”

Little Hope leaped through the fields

With a giggle and a bray.

*********************************

Please do us a favor.  If you decide to print this story and share it with little ones, would you take a moment to leave us a comment below?  We love knowing that our stories are being shared!  Thank you so much.

It’s our hope and prayer that you will print this and share it with the little ones in your life.  Isn’t it wonderful that the Lord has a purpose for everything and everyone – He even had a job for a little colt named Hope.  Peace be with you today.

Oh…  I’ve made a slideshow on YouTube also!  I hope you will watch and read the story and then give it a thumbs-up and leave some love for us in the comments.  Have a blessed day and thanks in advance.  🙂

Thank you Lucinda and Marian – and I know you join me in praising God above for helping us put this together as only HE can!  With me in Kansas, Lucinda in Pennsylvania, and Marian in the U.K. – clear yonder across the pond…  you KNOW this is a real GOD THING!  We love and praise You always, our Lord and Savior, for what only YOU can bring together!  ❤