EPHESIANS 6:12 ON 6/12

TL 6-12 EPHESIANS 6-12 ON 6-12

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  – Ephesians 6:12

Today’s post serves to remind us that the hurdles before us, the hoops we are expected to jump through on a daily basis, have nothing to do with anything but the power of this dark world and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.  Doesn’t that make you feel better?

What is a struggle?  An opposition.  Does evil oppose good?  Well, yes – the last time I checked, it did.  A struggle is a contest.  I’ve read the back of the Bible and guess what?  It’s a contest that’s already won.  A struggle is a fight to be sure.  Who fights on your side?  Christ Jesus does!  Be on the right side.  Does a struggle produce conflict?  Yes, it usually does.  But stay the course and let prayer be your constant companion in the midst of the conflict.

A struggle is an endeavor to do right in a world that wants nothing to do with right.  To struggle is to exert resources every day along with prayer without ceasing to our God who never fails.

We encounter in our struggles – sometimes God puts others with similar beliefs and mindsets in our path.  We see that as a real blessing!  Sometimes He puts people who are quite dissimilar in beliefs and mindsets in our path.  We see that as a challenge and we pray even harder for the right words and actions so our witness is not blemished.

Have you ever had a skirmish in your struggle?  I have – and that’s when the prayers reach a point where you’re constantly asking for direction on a moment by moment basis.  When there’s a skirmish in your struggle, it’s easy to say or do the exact wrong thing!  Does that ruin your witness?  Yes, sadly – it does.

When we clash during a struggle, we have to stay in a constant attitude of prayer so we don’t crash and burn!  We don’t have the answers, but we know the One who does!  We don’t know what the future holds, but God does.  We’re at a disadvantage during a struggle because we don’t see the way out – but guess what?  God does.

Struggling against forces we can’t even see takes the power of God’s Holy Spirit.  When we try to struggle without Him, it can take a significant toll on us physically and sometimes emotionally.  A Christian in the midst of a struggle who has stopped praying is defeated.  I’ve met them and so have you.  I don’t want to be one and neither do you.

Our struggles are not fun – but they do make us stronger in our faith when we come out the other side!  Remember that there’s not actual hand-to-hand combat; that’s what God’s Holy Spirit does for us.  The battle is His when it’s all said and done.  Trust Him and be still.  Pray and read God’s Word.  Find His peace as you pray for His way out.

When we struggle, it could be as small as a clash of opinions on facebook, or as big as a major medical issue.  Whatever we face, we know we don’t face it alone.  We know that God is there.  We just have to keep praying and studying His Holy Word, the Bible.  Evil will not win.  Let’s encourage one another with these words as we struggle along together in this life.  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

Most businesses have a Mission Statement.  It basically answers the question, “Why are you in business?”  “Why are you here?”  A good Mission Statement explains more than just what you do, it explains why you do it.

I saw this posted (no, I didn’t make it up – wish I had).  There was no name on it, so I don’t know who to give credit to, but oh this hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it.  Some days it’s so easy to lose sight of why you do what you do.  This puts it in perspective.

CHURCH is my COLLEGE.
HEAVEN is my UNIVERSITY.
JESUS is my PRINCIPAL.
THE HOLY SPIRIT is my TEACHER.
ANGELS are my CLASS MATES.
THE BIBLE is my STUDY BOOK.
TRIAL & TEMPTATION are my EXAMS.
WINNING SOULS are my ASSIGNMENTS.
PRAYER is my ATTENDANCE.
CROWN OF LIFE is my DEGREE.
AND PRAISE & WORSHIP is my MOTTO.

What an amazing MISSION STATEMENT!  Like all Christians, I’m aware that there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain, but in this classroom of LIFE, what subjects should we focus on?  What should be our major to get the CROWN OF LIFE degree?

I haven’t lived a long time (well, over half a century – wow, that’s depressing)…  but the longer I live, the more important I believe it is to major in LOVE.  God’s perfect AGAPE’ LOVE.  It is impossible to love like that without God’s Holy Spirit at the helm of your heart, mind and spirit.  It definitely does not come naturally – um…  nope!

It’s so sad that in our world, God’s Agape’ Love is so misunderstood because our society has twisted love and sex together.  Can we not love without sex?  It’s ridiculous – of course we can!  We are here to learn to love God and learn to love people.  To learn all that, we need to attend class – we need to pray for God’s help, guidance and His will to be done in every circumstance and situation.  Attend in prayer and ask the teacher to teach you…  God’s Holy Spirit will give you wisdom, strength, courage and amazing love to deal with difficult people.

We’re here to love God and people.  That’s about it.  We aren’t capable of doing that on our own.  Nope, we need help to be what we need to be.  Study the Bible, attend classes, listen to the teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions, take the tests and be anxious for nothing, accept help from your class mates and ace life.  Then do it again tomorrow…  and the day after tomorrow.

You thought all you had to do over and over again was go to the gym, didn’t you?  No, your spiritual fitness is dependent on a faithful habit just as your physical fitness is.  As you stay spiritually fit, remember your motto…  PRAISE & WORSHIP!  🙂

 

GALATIANS 5:22-23 ON 5/22 & 23

TL 5-22 & 23 GALATIANS 5-22 & 23

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

Who IS the Spirit…  the Holy Spirit of God is part of the Holy Trinity.  God is One, yet Three – and no, I don’t know how to explain it – but He is God, so He can be anyone!  There is God the Father, God the Son (in flesh, Christ Jesus), and God the Spirit.  When God the Son ascended into Heaven, He did not leave us completely alone to figure this life out for ourselves – He left us God the Holy Spirit.  We know Him as the Comforter.  As we study God’s Word, we learn that God’s Spirit brings us everything we need to navigate this crazy life.  In this world that is increasingly filled with hate, we have God’s love; in a world filled with despair, we have God’s joy; in a world of wars and rumors of war, we have a deep settled peace that the world will never understand.  God’s Spirit helps us muster up patience when most people in the world want to be anything but… and how mean can people get?  God’s Spirit helps us be kind, good, faithful, gentle and exercise self-control.AN ADDED GIFT

Why would anyone not want that supernatural help???  Does this mean we’re perfect and will never mess up?  Well, sadly – no.  I’m never going to be perfect.  There are circumstances in this world that make me downright angry, but that’s when I have to remember that everything works for good and God has everything under control.  The enemy of my soul knows how to push buttons that make my temper flare, but that’s when I have to re-focus on Jesus and remember His sacrifice so that I can live – and I want to live with the attributes or fruits of His Spirit.

Aren’t we thankful that our Savior did not leave us alone?  I sure am!  Speaking for myself, I need all the HELP I can get…  and God’s Holy Spirit gives me all the HELP I’ll ever need.  He’s so perfect and righteous and Holy.  He makes my life so much better and I need Him every minute of every day.  It doesn’t make me weak – it makes me smart.  🙂

 

 

 

WEED OUT HATE: SOW THE SEEDS OF GREATNESS DAY

TL 4-3 WEED OUT HATE SOW THE SEEDS OF GREATNESS DAYWho does the weeding in the garden of your heart?  If you try to weed your own garden, it might be beautiful for a while, but eventually those little hate weeds crop up again.  You’ll be doing a lot of gardening to keep the weeds away.  Hate weeds crop up because hate is a learned behavior – and sadly, it’s contagious!  We have a choice in life to either spread God’s love or spread hate from the enemy.  Did I say God’s love?  Why, yes I did.  How can we do that?  We can do that when God is the gardener of our heart.  Ah!  With His help, we can plant a garden of LOVE:PLANT A GARDEN OF LOVE

Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come. – Matthew 24:12-14

In order for the garden of our heart to endure to the end, we need to rely on our Savior, Christ Jesus, to maintain it, water, weed and feed it.  If we’ll let Him, He will give us a heart full of His love, mercy, grace and add His blessing of peace for good measure.  He’s the best gardener!  Listen to these promises:

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.  – Ezekiel 36:26-27
When He works in the garden of your heart, He takes out all the stones which means the weeds of hate will be gone.  He promises to put His Spirit within us and cause us to do the things we should.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil.  – Proverbs 3:5-7

The One removing all the hate weeds from your heart’s garden should be trustworthy and dependable.  The Lord is faithful to not only weed your garden, but lay a lovely little cobblestone pathway for you to walk on so you’ll be safe from harm.  He’s wise and wonderful that way.  I want the garden of my heart to be free of hate weeds, full of God’s love flowers with a perfect little cobblestone pathway that keeps me safe!

Once those hate weeds are out, God will help you sow the seeds of greatness!  Greatness in God!  🙂

 

 

SPIRITUAL WELLNESS MONTH

TL MARCH IS SPIRITUAL WELLNESS MONTH

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  Ephesians 4:32

Is it well with your soul?  March is Spiritual Wellness Month, and today’s post is a reminder that the God of the universe is still in control.  It’s easy to watch political programs, debates, and end up feeling – shall I say, less than optimistic – about how “things” are in America?  Christians, we have to turn our backs to the rhetoric (from the left and the right), and lift our heads toward heaven, lift our hands and pray… a prayer of acknowledgement to our GOD in heaven!

Dear Heavenly Father,

When things go wrong around us, it’s so easy to point the finger at our government and be harsh and critical.  There are proper times to reprove, but please teach us how to love and act based on Your Word rather than reacting with bad attitudes and anger.  Teach us how to walk a higher road as Christians in America and truly love as You love and forgive us.  Help us not to say or do anything that would drive a wedge in our relationship with You.  It’s so difficult to keep our political opinions in check.  We need Your grace in this area so much.  Thank You for hearing and answering our prayer.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen.

TRUST FOR STRAIGHT PATHSMy minister friend, Harold McKay, used to say, READ YOUR BIBLE AND PRAY.  Harold has been in Heaven for several years, but those words resonate with me still.  So many folks try to make it more complicated than it is.  Imagine if you were told you need to lose 50 pounds and you took everything out of your house and replaced it with a full gym.  Of course, that’s exactly what Kirstie Alley did…  but I digress.  To most of us in the real world, that seems extreme.  Most of us would get a gym membership and workout there, or we would get one or two pieces of equipment and cut down on food consumption.  That seems more reasonable and easier to do.

It’s not difficult to achieve spiritual wellness.  As Lucinda’s beautiful poem says, “Lay all things out before Him.”  It’s really that simple.  Learn as much as you can from God’s Word, the Bible.  Apply the principles and pray for God’s Holy Spirit to help you along.  He will do it.  He will definitely do it.  🙂

 

WORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY

TL 2-17 SORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY

Today is WORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY.  This holiday was started by Michael Levy of Point of Life in 2003 to promote a human spirit that lives the creative, peaceful, loving life that it was meant to live.  People all over the world are encouraged to take 2 minutes at 3pm ET to meditate and find the true spirit of freedom and peace that lives within each of us.

Of course, I’d say it would be a good idea to pray for those 2 minutes.  Be thankful to God for all the blessings He’s given you.  Thankfulness is not just for the month of November, you know!  It’s good to give thanks to the Lord year-around with a humble and contrite spirit.  That’s the way to find peace, love and compassion within.

PRAYER TO SEEK GODI PRAY BEFORE I PLAYThe most difficult part of being a pianist in church is playing the invitation hymn at the end of the service.  That is when God’s Holy Spirit speaks to everyone – it’s a solemn time and I was always afraid that I would do something to distract from that precious work – for I am so very, very human at times.

It’s good to celebrate the strength and courage of our human spirit – but how much better to acknowledge the source from which we glean those characteristics!  How much better our own spirits become when mulled with the precious gift from God – His own Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us when He ascended into Heaven!

May we take 2 minutes today to bask in the warmth of His amazing love.  May we stay silent and listen to what He is saying to us.  May we willingly have our spiritual batteries recharged by Him and lift our hearts and hands in reply, letting Him know we love Him.

Join me today to celebrate the human spirit, yes – but more importantly, to celebrate the power source – God’s precious Holy Spirit.A BIG CUP OF A BIG GODIf God (and His Holy Ghost) came in a coffee cup…  hmm – interesting!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)How ornate is the door of your heart?  How inviting is it to God’s Holy Spirit?  When we say, “Come into my heart – the door is open wide…” What does that door look like?  Is it a beautiful door with lead glass or is it more of a solid core door that never lets the light in?

door-1013706_1920

https://youtu.be/HTbJmCTqgkg

We are so blessed because before Christ ascended into heaven, He graciously left us His Holy Spirit to help us – guide us – with wisdom and mercy and love beyond understanding.  Through God’s Holy Word, the Bible, prayer, and guidance by God’s Holy Spirit – the comforter, the light in our heart – every Christian can navigate this life the way God wants them to.  I’m praising God for His protection over my life today, aren’t you?  He means everything to me! 

p32gcd4Precious Lord,

Thank You for leaving Your Holy Spirit to comfort and guide our footsteps.  You did not leave us alone and for that we are grateful.  May the door of my heart be one that lets the light of Your love shine through.  May Your love shine through me to others.  Help me to show the fruits of Your Holy Spirit… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Give me Your perfect love and the wisdom to navigate this life as only You can.  I love You and lean on Your counsel every day, Lord.  Please take my hand and walk through this life with me.  I can do nothing without You.  Please shine in my heart and help me to shine out to others. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

LET ME BRING YOUR LOVE

Christianity is about shining and iron-sharpening.  It’s about encouraging each other in the LORD…  there is so much division and hate in the world around us, but that is not God’s way!  We are called to be “apart” from the world – we are in the world, but not of the world.  Through God’s Holy Spirit we can be like Christ.  Read God’s Word, pray and watch God work in your life.  🙂