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!  🙂

 

 

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Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even Worse Luck

I’m fighting a migraine headache – and reading this quote is not helping it!  LOL!  So, we should be glad we have bad luck because it’s protecting us from something even worse?  Hang on, Sloopy…  let me read that upside-down because it could make more sense that way.

You know, there are days when a train makes you late for an appointment, or a little family of ducklings need to cross the road and you wait patiently in your car for them to get safely to the other side.  Those are seemingly obstacles that make you late and feeling crazy…  but wait – maybe those are God’s way of keeping you out of harm’s way.

People who do luck will say it’s just worse than bad luck.  Here we go, not giving any credit to the Creator.  If I’m detained along the way, I try to take time to thank God for it instead of get all angry about it.  That is easier to do since I don’t have a job to show up for, by the way.  Maybe if those “obstacles” had not been there, something awful would have happened, such as a wreck.

The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  – Psalm 121:7

Do we believe in God’s promises?  If we do, then we must also believe that His method of carrying out those promises could include putting an inconvenience in our path once in a while to save us from harmful consequences.  Yes, He loves us enough to do that.

Luck is too random and wrapped in chance to even fathom that it has varying degrees…  good and bad – good and bad and worse than bad???  What???  Pass the Excedrin Migraine…  yeah.  

Let’s call it what it is…  God’s supernatural protection over our lives.  How about going a step further, and thanking Him for it when we recognize it?  I’m not always great at recognizing it, but I’m trying to do a better job.

I love that God keeps me safe and protects me against harm!  I claim His promises on my life and praise Him for them.

And guess what?  That is that for me too!  I think the Excedrin is starting to kick in – great!  🙂

 

 

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

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.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

If a farmer were to hoard grain in a time of famine or when others are in dire straits, people would naturally not only think badly of, but would probably talk about in less than glowing terms.  If that same farmer chose to sell the grain for a fair and reasonable price, those same people would think better and bless he and his family.  We can translate the grain into the gospel of Christ.  Our Lord did not come to earth to save just you or just me.  Of course, if you or I were the only one on the planet, He certainly would have – but what Christ did for the world was…  well – for the world!  We are not to have the attitude that we’ve found the way to salvation, so there’s no need to share the good news.  We should be willing to share at every opportunity God gives us!

Why is it important for God’s children to share the joyful news of salvation with others?  Because it’s part of God’s plan for us to take as many others with us to Heaven as we can.  Friendship evangelism is the most effective way to help others hear the good news of Christ.  His life, His death, and His resurrection.  The Roman Road is a road we should travel several times in our lifetime.  It not only teaches a new child of God, but it reminds His older children of where they are and where they came from.  It’s a humbling exercise to be sure.  We have so much to thank God for, don’t we?

So what’s in it for God’s children?  It’s all a part of not only our growth, but a command we’ve been given from the Lord Himself:

I’m not a soul saver – that’s God’s job through Christ’s sacrifice.  No, I can’t save anyone, but I can share my testimony and show others how they too can be saved.  We sow seeds – sort of like Johnny Appleseed, I guess.

These men enriched themselves by the starvation of their neighbors.  That was back in Solomon’s day.  Today, of course, we have laws to protect from such things, but this can still apply on a spiritual level.  None of us should be just scooping up all the blessings of God and not giving anything back.  That doesn’t please God, does it?  We most certainly should go and teach, preach, baptize, and make disciples.  God’s Word in action is a bread we can break with the spiritually starved lost.  Let’s review the points of Spurgeon’s sermon:

Let’s make God’s Word available to all people everywhere, in a language that they understand.

Let’s keep the Gideon Bibles in hotels and motels, and in all places we possibly can.  I’ve heard countless stories of how people read the Bible just in time before going through with suicide.  It’s important that the Christian Bible be available to all.

Preaching should be understood clearly.  Talking over people’s heads is a waste of everyone’s time.  May we speak and write for the average person.

Let’s give importance to answering God’s call on our lives.  In our day, there are so many distractions.  Never in history have there been so many distractions in our lives – most of them to amuse ourselves in the form of entertainment.

Christ crucified must be the sum total of any sermon or lesson in Sunday School.  His blood sacrifice is the fundamental truth we need to teach and preach (and write blog posts).

May there not be a lack of love in our ministry and in our witness.  Love is the greatest of all.  Preachers, teachers and blog writers will be held accountable if any of their listeners or readers should perish.  Cover all you do with much prayer, and pray for those you want to reach.

Labor passionately for the spread of the gospel to all men.  Support missions at home and abroad.

Watch for an opportunity to express kindness and love to someone else every day.  Don’t be thoughtless or too wrapped up in yourself to pray for others.

Help those who speak up for Christ.  Consecrate your money for those who minister at home and abroad.  As we give to missions, God gives to us.

God rewards those who do His work with an easy conscience.  He gives them peace of mind and heart.  When we place jewels in His crown and palm branches in His path, that is the ultimate reward for doing His bidding.

He who dares to run the risk is not only unwise, but goes against God’s way.  Will you share the gospel with your neighbors, or hoard it?

Jesus went about doing good.  Do we have the right to think we can do less?  Don’t withhold grain from your neighbor.  Let’s all live in peace till God takes us home.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We don’t want to think that there are modern-day Pharisees in this world, do we?  Sadly, there are some that think they will get to God’s wonderful and glorious Heaven in some way that has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.  Some think that a family member in Heaven can put in a good word for you with God…  well – that won’t work.  The ONLY way to Heaven is to place your faith and trust in Christ Jesus.  He willingly sacrificed His life on a cruel cross – for you and me.  If you were the only one on this earth, He still would have died so you could be saved.  Believe in Him and you will be saved.

God refers to His children as sheep in the Bible sometimes.  I don’t know much about sheep, but I know they need a shepherd to guide and direct them.  The shepherd keeps the sheep safe from harm.  Some people don’t want anyone, including the Lord, to tell them what to do – they resent it.  Those who walk with the Lord are comforted by His loving care.  He doesn’t want to hold us back from success.  He opens doors along the way – on the path to success and real joy in Him.

I want to go into the pasture through the open gate, don’t you?  Besides, have you ever seen a sheep jump – I mean, other than when you’re counting them in bed as you try to get to sleep – ???  They are really not jumping creatures.  I don’t think they can hop over that fence.  Sometimes when I encounter a person who thinks they can get to Heaven some other way, I think – “How dare you spit in the face of my Savior!”  Honestly – think about what He went through to save mankind.  For anyone to think they can get to Heaven while completely ignoring the plan that GOD set forth for us…  that’s just dumb and a bit unsettling to me.  Our Savior, Christ Jesus, is great!

Nobody will ever love you like the GOOD SHEPHERD!  His love is true and it lasts.  Praise HIM for all His amazing blessings!  🙂