A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We have inexpressible JOY…  you know what the world is asking right now???  They’re asking, “How???  Why???”.  Those who do not accept Christ Jesus and His precious Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not understand inexpressible joy.  It’s only by accepting Christ Jesus by faith into your heart and life that you can experience a joy that can not be explained.  It’s better felt than telt…  because I can’t explain it with words.  Words are not adequate – but true faith in the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus is how we experience His amazing joy, love, grace, and mercy.  And He rewards us with these things because He longs to have a relationship with His creation.  He wants to love us and for our love and faithfulness in return.  Sometimes our faith gets tested…  major big time!

You know about the fires in California, right?  Take a look at this photograph – everything around it is in ashes, but this cross still stands!  What a wonderful reminder that no matter what is being destroyed in our lives, Christ and His cross can never be destroyed if they are in your heart and life!  When I saw this picture, my eyes filled with tears and once again I prayed for the folks there whose homes are being destroyed.  May they have the joy of the Lord along with His strength and wisdom through this situation.  I pray God will bless them with everything they need – and I pray that God will bless with some wants as well.

We don’t follow a list of rules and get zapped by lightning if we step out-of-bounds.  We are obedient to God because we love Him and are so thankful for the horrific sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross at Calvary.  He took the sins of the world – past, present, future – on His shoulders!  We are saved from an eternity in hell.  There is a reason we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds.  As the years go by and we see His marvelous works in our lives, we just love and trust Him more and more!  This is how we get the inexpressible, undeniable, precious JOY of the Lord.  What does the joy of the Lord do for us?  Why do we cherish it so much?  Well, a verse comes to mind:

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  – Psalm 28:7

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  It sounds like a GOOD thing to me – doesn’t it sound like a GOOD thing to you?  No matter what is going on in your life, the Savior of your soul can be trusted to make a way and provide answers.  The way and the answers may not be in your time, but believe me when I say, there will come a time when you look back and say, “Oh, now I understand God’s timing in that situation!”  That’s why the longer you trust God, the stronger your faith gets.  You’ve seen so many ways God has helped you in the past – so you know without a doubt that He has all the problems in the present and the ones coming in the future under control.

I’m assured that whatever comes along in my life, God and His precious Holy Spirit will pour out His love, peace and joy on me.  When we are fully trusting in the Lord, it’s not a superficial happiness that we’re given, but it’s joy that lasts in our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  That’s why it’s called inexpressible – and to the world, I would go further and say they think it doesn’t exist.  Ah…  but if you know the Lord, you know better!

I want to show you a photo of JOY!!!  This is Madi, and I hope her middle name is Joy, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t..  If I ever get to meet her, she will be JOY to me!  She’s such a bright, shiny star and lights up any room!

I’VE GOT THE JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY DOWN IN MY HEART! DOWN IN MY HEART TO STAY!

Have faith, children of God.  Keep praying and keep showing the world the joy that God gives you to share.  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This ol’ world doesn’t feel peaceful right now, does it?  What is your idea of peace?  If I was to ask you what you think of when I say the word PEACE, what would you say?  Is peace the absence of conflict?  We hear so much talk about inner peace these days.  I guess the question I have about that is…  where is the source of your inner peace?  Do you gain inner peace by sitting cross-legged in the center of a tranquil atmosphere with your hands up with thumb and fingers held in a certain position, as you chant and empty your mind of everything?  Is that the way to obtain peace?  You do know that at some point, you have to stand up and get back to your real life, right?  Yeah – that’s the problem.

What if I told you that when God raised Christ from the dead, He left us a fantastic gift?  Of course, when Christ, the Son of God walked on the earth – He was there and available to the people, which was wonderful.  God is so good to us, because after He raised Christ from the dead, He left us His precious Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit of God is our source of peace!  He is our source of hope and joy, love and He is our conscience!  We pray to God, through Christ – for help from His sweet Holy Spirit.  Peace really IS an inside job!  That’s why Christians can say we are IN the world – but not OF the world.  Yes, we have to stand up and get back to our lives too – but we know without a doubt, our source of peace will always be with us.

On this second Sunday of Advent, may we be reminded of the peace within us – and be thankful to God for it!  God’s Holy Spirit, given to us by God Himself so we would not be left alone once Christ ascended to Heaven, will help us be more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We will have the fruits of the Holy Spirit as we lean more on Him in prayer and by reading Scripture from His Holy Bible.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  – John 14:27

I have a question – and maybe someone reading this blog can get an answer for me.  Do you remember when Sean Hannity ended his show by saying LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED – ???  Why did he stop doing that?  I mean, I don’t care if he quits throwing the football around – but I really was bummed when he stopped saying LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  Sean, if you’re reading this (yeah, right – he reads my simple little blog.  LOL!) – we need to hear your words of comfort once again.  Please start saying that to us again.  I don’t know if it helps anyone else who watches your show – but it helps me.

Sean Hannity has a facebook page – go to it and ask him to start ending his show with those words again.  Let him know we miss hearing it.  When you enter your comment, there will be a message that says that basically the folks who “filter” through his mail will read it – so I don’t know if it will help to give him several messages – but hey – it’s better than doing nothing – at least I think so.  😉

My facebook friend, Brenda Sue Adams, took this sweet photo of her granddaughter, Aylen. Doesn’t this just say it all? Let’s all strive for PEACE ON EARTH and GOODWILL TOWARD MEN. Peace to you and yours always! ❤

Have a Merry Christmas!

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO MEN.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I love Christmas so much, especially as a Christian!  As far as I’m concerned, Christmas lasts all month-long and rightly so since we have so much to celebrate!  We need a whole month to celebrate the reason for the season, Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior!  God’s plan was for His Son to be born in a lowly manger, to be the path to salvation and everlasting life for every one of us.  If that isn’t the greatest HOPE of Christmas, I don’t know what is!

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.  – 1 Peter 1:3-5

There are so many situations that have happened in our world that can attempt to steal our hope.  We need to keep a firm grasp on Jesus’ hand and remember that He is the source of all the hope in our lives!  Let’s start encouraging one another with words of hope from God’s Word.  Let’s begin praying for one another, asking that God send bundles of hope into daily situations.  We don’t know what’s going on in a Christian friend’s life.  Most of us like to keep all the negative things happening in our lives to ourselves – we don’t want to be a “downer” to everyone else.  We should never assume that everything in our Christian friend’s lives is going well just because we’re not told differently.  Let’s ask God to heap blessings on one another!  The blessings from our Lord are the hope we count on every day!

I refer to Christian friends, but you know what?  I have some non-Christian friends as well – and whether they like it or not, I pray for them too!  God hears and answers our prayers.  He knows the intentions of our hearts and He knows the thoughts in our minds as we pray to Him for all people.  His desire for us is to love Him and to love each other.

 

I want to share this truth with you:  In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.  I offer these words of encouragement to you so you can find hope on this first Sunday of Advent.  Because of Christmas, there was an Easter.  Because of Easter, there is eternal HOPE – and He holds us and cherishes us so much!

Let’s celebrate hope on this first Sunday of Advent.  Ask Jesus to hold to you tightly and show you HIS HOPE!  He loves you and wants to do that for you.  ❤

 

 

FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the fourth Sunday of ADVENT.

I so want to know PEACE more than anything…  peace on earth, peace in families, peace in the workplace, peace in traffic, peace on social media.  I just want PEACE.  When did people forget how to agree to disagree without sparking a debate in the process with as much tact as a bull moose?  I’m just asking…

Is there hope for peace in our lifetime?  There is definitely HOPE for PEACE…  and the source of both HOPE and PEACE is Christ.  Apart from Him we are not able to live in peace and we won’t have hope.

Lucinda reminds us that the PEACE that God gave us will never run out.  Aren’t we thankful?

the-name-of-peaceFor so long we’ve seen photographs of stables and have just thought of the visual – I don’t know about you, but I never thought about the stench in the manger.  When I read this I thought, “I need to design this one, not with Advent candles, but with a photo of a Nativity scene.”  I wanted us to have the photo to look at as we think about just how lowly it was for the King of Kings to be born – there.peace-prayer

He came to bring us peace – it’s a peace that passes all human understanding.  If you try to explain it to a non-believer because they won’t get it.  They won’t grasp the concept of going through turmoil in life with God’s peace on the inside.  It will seem so strange and weird to them.  But to those of us who know the Lord – we know that peace, don’t we?  We know how God has brought us through rough patches in the past and we are confident that He won’t let us down now – or in the future!  I pray that as we go and tell others the good news of Christ, they will understand with spiritual eyes as we do.  🙂

 

 

THIRD SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the third Sunday of ADVENT.

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.  – Psalm 98:4-9

Though the arrangements of this familiar Christmas carol have changed through the years, the message is still crystal clear – THE LORD HAS COME – JOY TO THE WORLD!  Everyone from the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Mariah Carey has recorded it…  and is it any wonder???  Everyone loves to sing about the hope and JOY that came down to earth on Christmas night.

Did you know that Watts actually wrote this song as a testament to the SECOND COMING of Christ – not His birth?  Ah – that puts a whole new spin on things, eh?  I know when I hear the lyrics in the future, I’ll think of them much differently.

Based on the last part of the 98th Psalm, English songwriter Isaac Watts wrote the lyrics to this uplifting carol.  It was first published in 1719 in Watts’ collection; The Psalms of David: Imitated in the language of the New Testament, and applied to the Christian state and worship.

The carol is called Joy TO the world…  but what about Joy FOR the world?  God came to earth incarnate…  FOR you and me.the-name-of-joy

joy-prayer

“The Bible talks plentifully about joy, but it nowhere talks about a “happy Christian.” Happiness depends on what happens; joy does not. Remember, Jesus Christ had joy, and He prays ‘that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.'” — Oswald Chambers

Try to find some time to reflect on all the blessings in your life.  As you seek joy this Christmas, consider that God sent His Son – joy incarnate – to the world – and for the world.  Praise God for His awesome gift.  Oh, and may I add…  praise God for His awesome gift that is yet to come!  🙂

 

SILENT NIGHT

tl-11-29-silent-night

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.  – Luke 2:4-7

Most of us grew up singing this Christmas carol.  It’s like saying the pledge of allegiance or reciting Scripture we’ve learned by heart.  The lyrics just roll off the tongue with little or no thought.  Today I want to make you think about the words of this old carol.  Why was “Silent Night” written?  Why not “Bright Night” – although early in the song it’s mentioned that all is calm and all is…  bright.

On Christmas Eve, 1818, “Stille Nacht!  Heilige Nacht” was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria.  The voices of the assistant pastor, Father Joseph Mohr, and the choir director Franz Xaver Gruber, rang through the church accompanied by Father Mohr’s guitar.  All the congregation at that Midnight Mass in St. Nicholas Church listened intently.

On all six verses, the choir repeated the last two lines in four-part harmony.  A carol was launched that would soar into the hearts of folks throughout the world.  It’s been translated into hundreds of languages and is sung by untold millions every Christmas from small chapels to great cathedrals around the world.

Keep in mind that this simple tune was written to be played on a guitar.  The effect is so profound because of its simplicity.  It’s as though as lullaby is being sung – and what better accompaniment than a guitar?quiet-time-prayer

Often our Lord speaks to the human heart in a whisper.  Why are we so surprised when it is the soft and simple song that penetrates a hard heart?  Christmas softens most hearts by its very nature because what’s more precious than a baby?  Of course, Christ was not just any child, but He did enter into our world in the same way we as humans do.  It’s the first small bit of common ground He established in order to become a part of humanity.

When I think of what He left behind to begin His mission, I’m so very thankful He decided to follow through…  from cradle to glorious resurrection – for even me.

Take a look at Lucinda’s cute poem about that silent night.

my-christmas-storyIsn’t that cute???  🙂

 

 

 

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the first Sunday of ADVENT.

As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus, certain truths naturally surface to the top of our minds.  For me, one of the most obvious truths is that without the birth of Christ, our Redeemer and Savior…  we would most assuredly be doomed in a spiritual sense.  That would make us completely hopeless, wouldn’t you agree?

The word I want to focus on today is HOPE.  Christ came to earth as a baby, was raised in our world as a normal human, then gave His LIFE – for mankind.  That is the essence of HOPE.  It’s hope in a nutshell, you might say.the-name-of-hopeIf we as Christians really stop and think about it, we have absolutely no excuse to worry about anything!  There is a complete assurance for not only the present, but for all eternity, when we place our full trust and dependence on God.  His provision for us, physically, spiritually, in all ways – is perfect!  He really is ALL we need in this life and in the life to come.  Do you believe that?  I do!christmas-prayer-about-hope

The good thing about the HOPE we find in the Holy Trinity is that, it never fades.  HOPE from the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit is with us from the moment we accept it.  Hope is not here one day and gone the next.  As much as I enjoy receiving Christmas presents from friends and family – I know that those MATERIAL THINGS are going to perish at some point.  They will get broken or lost – they could easily suffer in some manner because they are only things.  The HOPE in my heart that comes from God is never going to go away.  And, while there are some who think that the government can somehow take their hope from them…  I do not subscribe to that belief at all.  The world did not give this hope to me.  The world cannot take it away from me!

The HOPE is Christ.  The HOPE is given to us by God.  All you have to do is receive it with a grateful heart.  I receive His gift of HOPE today, tomorrow and forever – do you?  🙂