Flowers are Coming Back

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  – Revelation 22:12-13

Maybe it’s just me, but winter seems to linger and last forever!  My friend Kelly is a gardener.  She has had her seed packets since February and posted one cold winter day that she is going to have to wait two more months to plant her seeds.  It’s excruciating, this time between winter and spring.  Here in Kansas, even when spring is officially here, we still have rain and chilly temperatures.  We don’t trust anything we plant to be protected before May.  Winter is the longest season – and we have no choice but to be patient and wait for warmer weather.  But the watchword is…  ANTICIPATION!  We prepare, then we wait!  

Sometimes I’m tempted to feel the same way about the second coming of Christ.  I want the Lord to hurry up – but He reminds me that not everyone is ready for His return.  It makes me feel selfish, to be honest, but once that feeling passes, I realize that it’s just a reminder that I need to get to work!  The Gospel is something to be shared, not hoarded.  Our Lord wants everyone to be ready to make Heaven their eternal home!

Remember the Great Commission?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20

I like the last part of this portion of Scripture:  I am with you always, to the very end o the age.  Do we know when that will be?  Nope.  Nobody knows except God Himself.  Even Jesus won’t be privy to that information until it is time!  So, while we’re waiting for the end of the age, we need to be busy in whatever way we can, sharing and caring for the lost souls around us.

Revelation says that Jesus is coming quickly.  I’m sure you think as I do…  “You call this QUICKLY” – ???  We’re not questioning God – we really aren’t.  We’re just saying that the time between Christ’s resurrection and His second coming to earth has been a very long winter…  but we wait with anticipation, knowing that one day the proverbial spring will arrive and we will be enjoying the most beautiful garden we’ve ever seen.  The best news of all is that, we’ll never have to endure another winter again!  🙂

 

 

New Habits

When I think of something working from the inside-out, my mind turns to a microwave oven!  I know – weird, huh?  Hang in there with me, I’m making a point.

Those little micro waves begin cooking in the center of whatever is in there.  Just as a microwave heats your coffee or cooks your bacon…  God works on us!  Now you feel like a cup of coffee or a strip of bacon, don’t you?  LOL!  I doubt that God sees you that way.  Nah…  pretty sure He doesn’t.

God begins His work with His precious Holy Spirit – in the center of our being – our hearts and minds.  Renewal begins to take place.  We love the things that God loves and hate the things He hates.  We have to be careful to never hate people – but behaviors we can definitely hate and refuse to participate in.

Because the enemy of our soul is still working in our world – it’s possible to slip and fall.  Even those who belong to God are to some degree vulnerable.  Actually, it seems the more you are trying to work for the Lord, the more that ol’ devil whispers in your ear – and remember – he copies everything that God does.  He’s a copy-catter!  He will do anything to get you off-balance.

God wants us to thrive in this life.  He wants us to lean on Him and learn His ways.  Remember when Nancy Reagan said, “Just Say No” – in her one woman drug campaign?  I was a young teen at the time and thought, “she didn’t go far enough.  You can’t just say no to drugs – you have to turn and say yes to Jesus!”  

There was a time when the 12-step program was centered around a faith and trust in God.  I think they tell you a “higher power” can be anything now – but it was originally all about God.  Lean on God instead of your addiction.  I’ve been through OA twice.  The second time, the leader explained the “higher power” as anything you place higher than yourself.  I wasn’t diggin’ on that, but I wasn’t the leader, so held my tongue.  I did – and yeah, it took a miracle.

Maybe your higher power is your cat…  but the only HIGHER POWER that you can always depend on to come through for you is Jesus Christ!  He will be by your side when temptations arise.

Let Jesus have your heart, soul, and mind…  let Him help you form some new habits – replacing your unhealthy and self-destructive habits.  🙂

Always Remember

Well, it’s day number 7 of 2018 – how’s it going?  My new year is fantastic!  I went in for my final appointment with the surgeon – and I got cut loose!  I’m officially mobile and getting into trouble again on a regular basis.  It’s great to be up and going again!

God wants us to know that no matter what circumstances we face, He will be by our side, take our hand and guide us through it.  There are no endings while we rely on the Lord to lead us down the pathway.  There are only endings when we decide to let go of His hand and give up.

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  – Jeremiah 29:10-11

Have faith in God – you know He has come through in the past – so of course, He will make a way now.  He didn’t bring you this far to leave you alone!  I love the part of this Scripture that says, “I’ll SHOW UP and TAKE CARE OF YOU AS I PROMISED AND BRING YOU BACK HOME.”  I also love the reminder that He knows what He’s doing!  I sure do need to be reminded of that once in a while.

I love this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Our God keeps every promise He makes to us.  We know our joy is not dependent on our circumstances – but it hinges on our faith in the One who is worthy!  Thou art worthy, oh Lord!  

Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your joy because you’re focused on circumstances instead of keeping your spiritual eyes open with your physical eyes studying God’s precious Word.  It’s through His Word and the time we spend with Him in prayer that keeps us filled with His joy, hope, peace and love.  Trust your relationship with Jesus, and the sovereignty of God.

Isn’t she wonderful and encouraging?  I hope and pray we all have a wonderful 2018, and that the sovereign God that we put our trust in no matter what – will bless us beyond measure in our lives.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is stone heart syndrome?  Well, a stone heart can come from many sources, and certainly in this world filled with mean people, it’s easy to see how a person can have stone heart syndrome.  How many times can a person be hurt before their heart turns to stone?  Well, as a wise person once said…  that is up to the individual.  You can choose to take the hurt and save it and let future hurts add to that one until they stack up and the heart turns to stone.  But the better choice is to let go of the hurt.  How?  Pray and cry out to God.  Tell Him everything, holding nothing back (He knows it all anyway).  Ask Him to take your hurt… every bit of it.  

They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”   Acts 16:31

Once you’ve rid yourself of all the pain and the hurt, ask God to give you something much better.  He will because He loves you so much!  He wants to give you a longing for the things He longs for…  the fruits of HIS precious Holy Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23  

Regardless of education or experience, it’s true that only God can change your heart – from a heart of stone that keeps others at arm’s length, to a heart of flesh that has genuine compassion and a sense of empathy for other people.  God loves people more than anything.  We should too.  It’s not a quality that comes easily for some of us.  I’ve found that there are ministries for we introverts too.  When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, just one word came to me.  Encourage.    

Do I have to encourage others in person?  Well…  no I don’t.  I can encourage through social media – in my groups and on my pages.  I can encourage with a card or a phone call.  I don’t skype, but that’s certainly another way to encourage someone.  We all need encouragement once in a while.  I’m just so thankful that God can use me in that way for His glory!

Let His truth transform you.  Let His words conform you.  Let His Spirit indwell you.  Let His love restore you.  Kick the hurt to the curb and allow the Lord to give you His joy, peace and love.  Find Him and hold Him close because He will never fail you.   🙂

 

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

I doubt that we need to review examples of living according to the flesh.  It’s sad to see people get caught up in fast living, only to crash and burn in the end – sometimes literally.  Why does God want us to kill fleshly desires when they seem so attractive sometimes?  The answer is simple:  HE LOVES US!  He loves you and me so much – and He knows that those temptations are dangerous to our bodies and souls.  God wants to protect us – body, mind and soul.  We can’t overcome these things alone.  It’s only through God’s precious Holy Spirit that we can turn tail and run away from harm’s way.  He’s not trying to keep us from having fun!  He’s trying to show us a better way to live – and if we belong to Christ, we need to run into His arms and ask Him to show us His way of life.  Only with the Spirit’s help can we make wise choices.A relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit means that we have everything we need to avoid sin and win.  Of course, we have a free will to choose either way – right or wrong.  Nobody has always chosen the right – nobody that I know, anyway.  We’re not perfect all the time, but we know that if we choose badly, we can turn from that bad choice and ask our loving Heavenly Father, through Christ, to forgive us and forget our transgression.

One day I was driving home from work in a terrible rain storm.  I took an unfamiliar route because I was sure the regular route was flooded.  As I drove, I prayed aloud in the car, asking the Lord to protect me.  I was frightened, but confident that God would get me home safely.

There were not many cars on the road I took, which I thought was strange, but I forged ahead.  When there is water on the road, it’s difficult to gage how deep it is – or the condition of the street below.

The next intersection was full of water – the flash flooding was catching up with me… I felt led to make a left hand turn and go to the street just south of the one I was on.  I made the turn and ended up on a street that was a bit elevated and the water was running off.  I had a straight shot home.  I sang praise & worship songs and thanked the Lord for helping me get home.

I was curious about the flooded intersection where I made the turn.  I went back to look at it, and found there was a very large pot hole – and had I kept going straight, I would have gone in the hole and would probably have water in the car.

When we live life waiting for the next big thrill with no regard for the God who just wants to protect us, we end up being a slave to the very thing we thought was such fun at first.  I don’t understand why some folks think that Christians don’t have fun.  We have such fun – it’s just a different kind of fun.   God protects us and His Spirit helps us stay away from sin because all sin does is cause harm.  God doesn’t want us to be harmed – He wants us to be free!  And so we are.

Free from the law…  oh happy condition.  Jesus is mine, oh precious redemption.

A LIFE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST…  it can be yours!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Folks in our day and age don’t say the word TREAD much – we say walk more often than not; however, the word TREADMILL is not only familiar to most of us, but a regular part of healthy living.  I really hate using the treadmill at the gym – but it’s honestly not because I’m lazy!  The chronic sciatica I’ve suffered with for over 30 years has held me back – I have this thing about hurting…  I don’t dig it.  My leg burns from the moment I wake up in the morning until I blissfully go to sleep at night.  I’m very happy when I’m asleep.

Through the years I’ve done different things to make it better – right after the injury I was in physical therapy for several months – nearly a year.  I was on strong pain medications but as we all know, they have unwelcome side effects.  I decided they weren’t worth it – so I weaned myself off of them and tried to keep moving.  It hurts like crazy, but I have to keep moving.

Today I have no brain fog and other effects of strong pain meds have disappeared.  I have given the issue to God.  Don’t roll your eyes at me…  it’s true.  Now I take 2 Aleve in the morning and move as much as I can.  God’s helping me, but I had no doubt He would.

A pastor’s wife once told me, “Everybody has SOMETHING.”  At first, I thought that was her not so subtle way of telling me she didn’t want to hear about my issues (which I don’t recall sharing at the time anyway).  But I put a pin in the comment and stuck it in the back of my mind.  She’s right – we’re human and we get tired, weary, discouraged at times, and close to quitting.  Then – God steps in.  He never shows up early – but He steps in – just in time – His perfect time.  I’ve found that to be true and I’ve heard testimony after testimony that bears this out.

I can’t explain how my messed up back with a burning sciatic nerve has the ability to walk on the treadmill, ride the bike, and do other machines…  it’s all God – He has given me the strength and the GOD-bility to keep moving.  I praise Him for helping me every day!

God helps us do what we have to do – but even more exciting…  He helps us do what we like to do – and most writers would say…  what they absolutely must do!  God has put such a desire within us to write, and everybody knows…  a writer WRITES… about anything, anytime, anywhere.  Put me in an elevator by myself and shut the door.  If I have a pencil and some paper (or a napkin, preferably unused, but…) – I can come up with something – it could be about the color of the buttons…  lol.  Maybe there’s a fly in the elevator with me.  Hmm…  bonus!

If you’re feeling like you can’t tread…  or walk on the treadmill…  remember, with God and His strength – you can!  Climb those mountains like a deer!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)It’s been unseasonably warm for autumn here in Kansas, but I know that one of these days the cool crisp air will move in.  November is the month we start nesting and putting our warm throws over chairs, add spicy scents to our Scentsy warmers and stock up on sugar-free pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

While we are preparing our homes for the onslaught of cold breezes, we need to keep in mind that there are some folks who are just trying to survive – and in some cases they don’t have a home, which is heart breaking.love-in-action

I’ve read a few cool posts on facebook about how we can help the homeless without breaking our own piggy bank.  These are simple suggestions and won’t take much time, but could make all the difference for a stranger who needs help.

  • A BLESSING BAG – I read about this on my newsfeed and thought, “Oh, I need to share this idea with others!”  Fill a large plastic bag with things that will help a person in need.  I think most of this stuff can be found at the Dollar Tree store – and $1 per item is a small price to pay to help others.  Pick up items such as gloves, thermal socks, beef jerky, crackers, candy bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, wipes, deodorant.  And don’t forget, many homeless people have dogs.  It’s a good idea to add some treats or a bone for them.  And children – sadly, there are homeless children.  How ’bout a small teddy bear?

It was suggested that you put the blessing bag in the trunk of your car and have it handy when you see a person who needs it.  You could also leave a bag in a gas station restroom or a restroom at McDonald’s.  Trust that God will see to it that the person who takes it is the one who needs it.

Add a note to the bag.  It doesn’t have to be long – just some simple words of encouragement such as “YOU’VE GOT THIS” – “GOD’S STILL GOOD” – “BLESSINGS” – “HOPE” – “HOPE STILL LIVES” – “GOD BLESS YOU”.

Sometimes my local drug store would have good deals that are free or almost free.  Even if I don’t use that brand or product, I’ll get it anyway and give to the local shelter.  – Lucinda Berry Hill

  • Planet Fitness has a food drive every year where canned goods are collected for local shelters.  Even if you’re not a member of the gym, you are welcome to give food.  One thing to keep in mind – and I’m probably preaching to the choir here…  but if you hate sardines, don’t give them to a shelter!  And, if you have old canned goods that you’ve not used – don’t give those either.  It’s the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  Did you know that most people are one paycheck away from being homeless?  It’s only by the wonderful Grace of God that you have shelter and food.  Don’t give the worst in your pantry – that’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Do you knit or crochet???  Boy do I have a project for you!  Crafty women all over the country are making scarves and wrapping them around trees!  Nope – I’m not kidding!  Do the trees need to be kept warm?  Of course not – but some people may need to be much warmer this winter – especially children.  😦  Oh – and don’t forget to put a little note on your scarf.  Let people know that they are not forgotten.  ❤

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-43-17-amscreen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-42-24-am

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-44-22-amWhat a labor of love!  God bless these women for what they do!  I neither knit nor crochet, but I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets.  I could buy a scarf and adorn a tree trunk.  Is that cheating?  Does it matter?  Nah…  probably not.

  • There is a group of women at a Baptist church here in Wichita that get together in the fellowship center once a month to sew and tie comforters for our Good Neighbor Center.  Those comforters are various sizes and colors (some are quite interesting, actually).  One day I remember using bright purple yarn to tie a quilt made of a solid bright green and a dinosaur print.  I could imagine that one going to a little boy somewhere.

Faith without works is dead.  These are some examples of the “works” we put our faith into.  It’s not that difficult to put feet to your faith after all.  We sometimes make it harder than it really is, don’t we?  🙂

LUKE 10:27 ON 10/27

tl-10-27-luke-10-27-on-10-27

He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  – Luke 10:27

All means all – not just whatever part of your heart, soul and strength happens to be leftover after you’ve loved everything else that competes for your affection.  It’s so easy to love the things down here, isn’t it?  They are things we can see with our eyes and feel with our hands and sometimes smell a pleasant aroma.  We all have the struggle – at some time or another.  It’s a struggle to love God more than the people, places or things that surround us.  God is a jealous God and He wants all our heart, soul and strength.

share-a-smile-and-the-wayWe love God wholeheartedly by loving each other.  It’s so cool how that works, isn’t it?  We treat each other with mutual respect and with true love – an agape’ love that shows the love of Christ.

I met a sales person today at JC Penney that helped me above and beyond the call of duty.  She was not only doing her job, but I knew that she had a genuine concern for me as a person.  Maybe she could detect my frustration with the process of purchasing drapes – I don’t know.  It really can be frustrating when you need an economical solution for odd-sized windows.  I didn’t want to have to buy custom-made curtains.  Rich, I ain’t.

Between a couple of phone calls, she gave me her undivided attention.  She was patient and soft-spoken, which gave me hope that a low-cost solution could be found.  She was doing her job, yes – but she chose to do it with an extra dose of Christian love.  We all need to love God with everything in us and love people with the love that God gives us in return.

By the time my shopping excursion was over, we were laughing and chatting about all sorts of things!  The best news of all…  she helped me solve my drapery need for an odd sized window for under $20 including tax.  I was so very pleased.  I think I even jumped up and down – but I definitely gave her a big hug and thanked her.  I said, “God bless you” and that’s when I knew without a doubt that she and I serve the same Master.  How cool is that?

I wanted to invite her to my house for tea.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I’m so thankful to God for guiding me in the right direction so I can manage my type 2 diabetes.  I’ve been committed to exercising 3 days a week and have embraced a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet.  I’ve lost 13 pounds so far and have not needed to take a shot of Levemir at night – for the most part.  My blood glucose has been consistently from 82-110 throughout the day.  I’m also thankful for the prayer support from friends on facebook and in the DOC.  Our facebook group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor and a Pinch of Faith, has been so wonderful and supportive – thank you!

I want to share some of the recipes that have made my blood glucose happy.  I wanted to wait until I knew for sure that this would work before sharing.  I’ve seen positive results, so I’m going to post them here for you.

I love Mexican food!  I was so happy to find this recipe because even though it’s a salad, it is a taco salad – and I’ll be honest – I like that “taco” part!

LOW CARBOHYDRATE TACO SALAD

Makes 4 servings, (approx. 2 cups ea)

9g carbohydrates / 31g protein per serving

INGREDIENTS:

1 lb. extra-lean ground beef

1 pkg. low-sodium taco seasoning

3/4 C. water

2 Tbs. olive oil

4 C. shredded lettuce

1/2 C. chopped tomatoes (omit if you want to lower the carbs even more)

8 Tbs. sour cream

1 C. shredded cheddar cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

With olive oil, brown ground beef in skillet.  Add taco seasoning mix with water.  Simmer until reduced.

Mix with remaining ingredients.  You can layer them in a big clear bowl – but I’m not fancy – I just mix it all up and serve.

Sometimes I pick up a little bag of Nacho flavored Doritos from the checkout line at Walmart to crush up and put on top.  Yeah, it adds a little carb, but you can add just a few for flavor.  It’s a small bag and there’s 4 servings – don’t sweat it.  I also add about 1/2 Tbs. of Catalina salad dressing sometimes.  Yes – I know…  I know.  Shh…  don’t tell.

I did say LOW carb – not NO carb, right?  😉