A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In 1975 my thinking about suffering in life was challenged in a profound way.  A film depicting the Ten Boom family during WWII called “The Hiding Place” was playing at a local theater.  Once I saw it, Corrie Ten Boom became my favorite person on the planet.  I’m thankful to everyone involved in the film.  Nobody understands why my favorite movie is about such a horrific time in history.  Well, I suppose it’s because this film taught me about adversity in life and how to react when bad things happen.

We don’t like to think about storms, do we?  And yes, I guess this movie could be considered a “downer” to some people, but I walked away with the thought that if Corrie Ten Boom was able to lean so heavily on God and trust Him to see her through something so unbelievably evil, then I can trust Him for any bad situation I find myself in!  I was not depressed after watching it – I felt a peace and a hope that God is sufficient for any circumstance in life.  He is and always will be enough.

One day a psychologist friend asked me how I’m able to function in life.  We had talked a bit about how bumps in the road of life can affect us in negative ways as Christians.  The first thing people notice about me is that I don’t have children.  They become uncomfortable at that point.  Nobody knows what to talk about with me because the “go-to” subject of any conversation is kids.  How old are your kids?  What school do they go to?  It’s the most predictable conversation people have when they meet for the first time.

But when they ask if I have children and I say no, they’re at a loss.  They have no idea what to say next.  Once in a while I hear, “Oh, then you probably have fur babies then, right?”  Well, yes I did – but we lost our fur baby a while back.  Sometimes I just smile or nod yes to save face.  I don’t want two pity pauses in the conversation.

I was chatting with a friend recently and the subject of childlessness came up and I said something to the effect that I felt like a freak.  She said, “It stinks.”  It’s true – it does!  There’s not a thing I can do about it, but it does!  Sometimes you just want someone to acknowledge the fact that something stinks, ya know?  I felt better after she said that – I felt understood.

When I was younger, it was difficult to be around the women my age who were having children.  I kept thinking it would get easier as I got older, but now those same women have grandchildren and no…  it’s no easier to deal with that either.

The Bible says that children are a reward… which makes a childless person wonder if they are being punished Everyone’s quick to tell me that’s not the case, but that’s not how it feels.  One of my friends told me that the Lord may have saved me from worse heartache because perhaps a child of mine could have had serious health issues or something like that.  Well – I guess that could be true too.  I just don’t know – but I have to trust God.  He knows what He’s doing and I need to accept it.

God does surround me with songs of victory.  He helps me cope with all kinds of loss.  I can’t really explain it except to say I know in my soul that God’s helping me.  When it storms and I’m tempted to give up, I hear that sweet song of victory and I know it will be okay.  The Lord is with me.  Oh, and even though Corrie Ten Boom is no longer alive, she’s still my favorite person.  🙂

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SPRING INTO ACTION

 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  – Ephesians 4:32

It’s a calling from our LORD…  be light, salt, kind, loving, forgiving and tenderhearted.  Nobody wants to be tenderhearted because that means you are also vulnerable.  It hurts to make yourself vulnerable because to open yourself up to others has no guarantee of success associated with it.  God never said that being obedient to Him would result in automatic joy or happiness.  Does that mean it’s not worth doing?  No.  Does it mean that we won’t need to walk away from the ones who hurt and disappoint us sometimes?  No.  Is it a sin to walk away?  No.  It’s probably a sin to give up and not try again.  The sin is to quit trying.

We have to rely on God to help us forgive – and forgive as quickly as possible.  Forget?  Well…  not really.  It’s like you sort of tuck it in the back of your mind.  You don’t want to dwell on it, but you don’t want to forget completely so you aren’t that stupid again.  I don’t need to keep hitting my head against the same post over and over.  That’s just an insane thing to do!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  I refuse to do anything remotely insane ever again.

Does that mean I don’t forgive past wrongs?  No.  I need for others to forgive me – and frankly, I need God to forgive me – so I will absolutely forgive others when I feel I’ve been wronged.  This ol’ world needs more kindness and less anger-driven violence, to be sure.  If you allow hurt feelings to fester and get infected, it affects all aspects of your life.

How can we shine for God and serve Him if there’s a cloud of hurt hanging over our heads?  We just have to ask God to help us through those hurtful times and be what He wants us to be!  I want to be light, salt, kind, loving, and yes…  even tenderhearted.  It doesn’t mean we are door mats.  It doesn’t mean we are stupid enough to walk back and take more.  We’re not.

We can conquer the hurt we encounter in this life with help from God.  We can conquer the hate we encounter in this life with help from God!

Are you ready to spring into action – and throw kindness into this wicked world like it’s confetti???  Instead of deciding to merely DEAL with the hurt in our lives, let’s trust God to help us HEAL from church hurt and other disappointments along life’s way so we can effectively SHINE for Him!  When we live in the complete freedom that Christ bought for us, it makes Him smile and it makes us whole!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Hate is such a strong word, isn’t it?  As Christians, we’re taught we should never hate anyone, yet that is the word that is used in this portion of Scripture to describe how non-Christians will feel toward Christians.  We’re told that this hatred is not because of us, but because of the One we serve.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  That’s why we need to try not to take this hatred to heart – we need to remember that Jesus still loves us and we need to keep striving for the prize – because we have reason to rejoice in the end, for in the end we gain Heaven!  Remember, there is still a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  It’s not personal when we are hated – and we need to get tough skinned, wear blinders and keep being the people we’re supposed to be.

Even when the world seems to be against us, God is pleased!

Speaking for myself – it’s really one more reason why I have to stay in God’s Word and shun other things.  I have to stay in touch with what the Lord finds acceptable and pray that He will help me be the person I need to be.  You know, I saw a post online the other day, and it fits perfectly with this subject:  We’ve all had moments when we feel misunderstood and abandoned by others.  We have to remember what Jesus went through to secure our Salvation – that puts all of our rough patches in perspective, doesn’t it?  I’ve not been abused like He was!  God is good all the time, even when people are not good.  We are commanded to go into the world and preach the good news – so we plant seeds of hope everywhere we go!  That’s all we have to do – what happens after that is up to God!  That’s how I look at it.  I do my part and God takes care of the rest!  

So there you have it!  If we will trust God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be our guide as we stay strong and endure in the faith, we will be saved and make Heaven our home one day!  God’s never going to steer us wrong.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I confess:  I am an ID (Investigation Discovery) addict – a closet addict – well, former closet addict.  Now the world knows!  Seriously, I see people make the worst decisions of their lives on this network – and end in ruin.  You don’t have to look very far to see examples of chattering fools who are living in the fast lane and crashing into brick walls at a young age!  When you live in the fast lane with no compass, it never ends well.  People who take the lives of other people always think they’ll get away with it – and they never do.

No fast lane for me, thank you!  It’s not because I think I’m better than anyone else, but because I have chosen to listen to God through His Word.  He knows what I need and exactly when I need it.  We have choices to make in life – and I choose a slow, steady, joy-filled life – with God in the center of it.  I love His Word and His ways.  I’ve been teased about my beliefs by others, but so what?

When this verse says ACCEPT COMMANDS, does that mean we listen to anyone who gives a command?  I don’t believe it means that.  God gave us an ability to discern good from bad, and you can bet that there will come a time when you are commanded to do something that goes against God’s Word and His ways…  when that happens, choose God’s way.  I’m not going to jump off a cliff to my death if I’m commanded to do so.  Um…  nope.

Of course, the commands in God’s Word are there for us to obey.  If we are wise, we won’t balk at them, but work throughout our walk with God to embrace His ways.  We learn that His ways will keep us filled with His joy and we know that Jesus loves us and wants His best for us.  If we are wise, we want His best too.

In the end, remember that God’s going to prevail.  Why would we not love Him and His ways?  He wants to help us with every aspect of our lives – the big things and the small things.  God is love and He loves you so much.  His Son, Jesus, died on a cruel cross just for you.  His commands (not just the ten) are there to protect us.  I hear so many say that the Ten Commandments are there to keep us from having fun.  Not true – they’re there to help us stay out of trouble.  I need all the help I can get.  Just sayin’…  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 Forge the chain, the chain of imprisonment determined for them.  How long should a city wait and watch as bloody crimes take place – and the city gets more and more violent – and scary for the innocent citizens?  When should the authorities finally declare that the chain should be made?  Regardless of the lawlessness around us, and the disregard for others – or life itself – God is the final Judge of it all.  I don’t know about you, but I find a great deal of comfort in that truth.

Our God is love – but He is also the most fair of all Judges!  He will decide when the chain should be made – and He will determine who is bound and who is free.  Believe me when I say the freedom that God grants is the greatest freedom you can experience!  Did you know that once you ask God through Christ to forgive your transgressions, He not only forgives them, but He FORGETS them?  We’ve all heard the expression FORGIVE AND FORGET.  Sadly, the forget portion of that rarely, if ever, applies to other people.  But your Lord is willing to forgive and forget.  So – when the enemy of your soul tries to slap you in the face with your wrongdoings – and you ask God to forgive you for them again…  God’s going to say, WHAT SIN ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  Isn’t that wonderful?

When we see others causing havoc around us, we need to stop in our tracks and pray for them.  Nobody is beyond God’s reach – and He knows the motivation behind their actions.  It’s not up to us to say MAKE A CHAIN.  We can’t count anyone as hopeless, because God is the only HOPE they have – and He’s ready to help them when they’re ready to ask Him for help.

I’m not suggesting that laws should not be followed and observed.  I am saying that being violent toward those who are starting violence is not the right solution.  There’s one more old saying I’d like to throw out there for pondering…  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Being violent against a violent person is stooping to their level, don’t you think?  I’d rather take the violent person to my Father in prayer.  Only God knows their heart and mind.  He knows the motivation behind the act.  Let’s pray for the troubled in our midst.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the terms speck and bolt…  Don’t try to remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye while you’re toting around a bolt.  It’s paraphrased – but short, sweet and to the point.  God doesn’t want us to judge others.  For one thing, it’s burdensome to take on someone else’s baggage and try to change them – and besides that’s not my job!  My job is to pray that God makes any changes in their life – and pray that He keep working on my life as well.  None of us have “arrived” and we never will – not until we get to Heaven.

How many of you watched the show NEWHART in the 1980’s & 1990’s?  Dick & Joanna Louden ran the Stratford Inn in Vermont.  Let’s take a look at the jury here – and the judgment.  In case Youtube takes the video down, this is episode 145 “Twelve Annoyed Men… And Women.” 

I like to “people watch” – it seems a harmless way to pass the time, and my husband would rather I sit on a bench and observe the activities of others at our local mall than spend money in a store.  LOL!  When we’re making those observations, we need to be very careful that our motives are right.  For example, if I see a young lady with tattoos, purple hair, and piercings everywhere , I should not assume anything beyond the obvious – those things are not what I like for myself, but I mustn’t say that God would disapprove, for we know that God looks upon our hearts and attitudes – not the color of our hair or how many holes or tattoos a person has.  I’ve seen some beautiful tattoos, but to be honest, I’m a coward.  I avoid needles at all cost.  I’ve actually started praying for the people I see…  I may be the only one to pray for them!  I ask that God be in their life.  It’s a short prayer – and even though I don’t know their names… God knows them!

I was raised to believe that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – there is no degree of sin – one is as bad as the other, so why judge someone when you can just as easily pray for them?  To judge a person is your bad – to pray for a person is your good – and God smiles!  I don’t want to make God sad, do you?

In this journey called LIFE, I believe we are to help one another as we can, and pray for each other always.  Even though I’m not able to do very much right now, God reminds me that I can still write, and more importantly, I can still pray.  There is power in prayer and I’m making prayer my first resource instead of my last resort!  Prayer is the most positive force in the universe.

God can do all things in my life, regardless of my limitations and pain level.  He will do great things in His perfect timing, and He hears our prayers.  it’s up to us to be patient and wait for His answers.  We know that He will make all things beautiful in HIS time.  Please send some prayers up for me, friends.  Thank you!  God knows what’s going on. ❤

When you’re tempted to judge, resist the temptation and make a conscious decision to pray instead.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOHN 10:9 ON 10/9

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 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  – John 10:9

Christ Jesus is the way, truth, life…  and the gate.  Once we have come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we have true freedom.  I’m reminded of a butterfly when I think of real freedom.  They go where they want to go…  we’re like that – we have the freedom to be everything we can be in life.  Nothing can stop us from being the best beings we can be!  Let’s find pasture – be free…  FLY!

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You exist in perfect harmony. May Your Spirit dwell in us that the world might see You, and believe.  – Bobby Fulks

We need to ditch the stigmas and labels of society.  What happened to the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  What has happened to us as a society?  I’ve decided there’s not a thing I can do about anybody else or their attitudes…  but with God’s help in Christ, there is a ton of stuff I can do to make my attitude SHINE.  I’m determined to be a shining example in a society that is clearly taking a turn in the wrong direction.

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I love butterflies because they remind us that we can change who and what we are simply by giving us the wings to fly higher and higher. Don’t allow others to clip your wings by the labels and stigmas they attach to you. Realize that you have the greatest power to change your destiny. Change may be tough but once you realize its worth there is nothing that can stop you from maintaining and continuing your journey upward.  – Ellen Sherman.

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Thank you, Ellen, for letting me share your quote and this lovely statue from your beautiful garden!  I’m so blessed to call you FRIEND.

I want to be God’s butterfly – rising above it all.  With God’s help, I’m determined to ditch stigmas and labels, knowing that God created all sorts of butterflies…  all sizes and colors!  He made each species and declared, “It is good.”  How boring would this world be if we were all the same?  What if there were only Monarch butterflies and no other species?  Ridiculous, right?  The same applies to us as people.  It’s our differences that make us so wonderful.  When will we learn that lesson?

When we learn to stop judging another person and begin to pray for them instead…  wow, what a wonderful world this would be!  Today I pray that you will fly like a butterfly…  free and unencumbered by labels or stigmas.  Instead of judging someone, judge yourself next to God’s Word.  When each of us stand before our Maker, that’s the only judgment that will matter.

I don’t know about you, but I want to hear my Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant.  Enter now unto thy rest.”  I know the Bible tells us that there will be no tears in Heaven…  but I gotta say, how could I possibly hear those words from God Himself and not weep???  I’m crying now…  pass the tissues!

This butterfly just wants to fly to her final rest knowing that all is well between me and thee…  and me and my Father in Heaven.  Vertical and horizontal…  like the CROSS of Christ – the sign of the cross.  Keep the way clear – there’s nothing between my soul and my Savior.  🙂