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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Season of New Beginnings

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  – Romans 5:18

If all we look at is the original sin, life looks so hopeless, doesn’t it?  But as we see what Christ did on Calvary, we see that there is hope for renewal and real change in behavior and lifestyle – for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!  I like the sound of HOPE, don’t you?

This portion of Scripture celebrates freedom for every Christian.  There is finally good news that we can have eternal life because of what Christ endured to pay the price for our sins – past, present, and future.

If we put blinders on and see just the one original sin, we’re likely to lack vision regarding our own life.  Salvation does not guarantee that we will never sin, and the truth is, that ol’ devil will mess with a Christian more than a non-Christian!  When we do get tangled up in the weeds, we do have hope for better days ahead.

Sin is only fun for a season, and be sure it will find you out one way or the other.  When it does, turn back to God, seek His forgiveness and the forgiveness of those you wronged here if possible.  Move out of the ruins and walk in God’s beautiful light.  Nobody knows your heart better than He does.  He can and will help you get your act together again.

It’s almost May and the April showers are nearly a thing of the past.  As the May flowers start growing around you, don’t you want your life to be heading in the right direction?  Discover a new life that will not only make you happier, but be pleasing to God as well.  That’s what matters – pleasing our Heavenly Father.  Let Him pick you up, dust you off, and set you on His straight path.

Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  – 1 Corinthians 15:22

New life.  That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Why live under the death curse, among the weeds and the waste, when with Christ, you can have a new life?  He loves you so much and wants to give you His peace, joy, love, hope and eternal life.  Walk out of the ruins and into His loving arms.  He will make you a beautiful flower!  🙂

 

 

 

 

It’s Easter Sunday

He held my sins in His hands as the nails were pierced through… wow!  So many thoughts come to mind, but it humbles me to think that Christ suffered such pain and disgrace for me.  I need a Savior – I’m the first to admit it.  To say thank You just seems insufficient and unimpressive.  I understand now that the Lord doesn’t want fancy words.  He wants my life to reflect my relationship with Him.  Actions really do speak louder than words.

What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ mean to you?  When God raised Christ from the dead (yes, He was dead – not stunned), He paid our sin debt!  There is no greater love than that!  This means that through Christ, we are able to claim complete VICTORY!  God doesn’t do anything halfway.  The price is paid, and all we have to do is claim the victory.  Accept the sacrifice He made at Calvary and live like the blessed child of God you are.

We are blessed and even though temptations and yes, sin sometimes gets in the way – we know that Christ will help us get total victory over all of it.  He didn’t save me just to leave me standing in a cold, dark place.  He saved me to guide and direct me closer to Him.  We will mess up sometimes – whoppers of messes sometimes!  But we know whatever comes along, the sacrifice that Christ made for us is greater than our sins.

Should we linger on the sins we’ve committed?  No.  Satan would like nothing better.  Lingering on the sins is polarizing!  Ask God to forgive your sins – and keep moving, leaning on Him to help you out of sin and closer to Him.  Trust that God forgives you and move on.  There’s not a thing you can do about yesterday.  Just make tomorrow better with God’s help.

Jesus Christ is ALIVE – ready to help us live in total VICTORY!!!  Will you seek Him?  There’s not a sin He can’t forgive.  There’s not a temptation He can’t overcome.  Plea the blood of Christ over it, know it’s covered, go on to the next thing.  Praise God for the victory through the resurrection of Christ!  Hallelujah! 

Not that I want to mention April Fool’s Day and Easter in the same sentence…  but someone challenged Lucinda to write a poem about it.  And, well…  she nailed it!  Take a look at this:

Isn’t that great?  There’s no FOOLIN’ about it!  Happy Easter, everyone!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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.  ❤

 

 

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

In the 50+ years I’ve been alive and kicking, I must admit that there is very little I can explain – except to say…  “It must be God’s will.”  People are big on asking WHY about everything.  If I allowed myself to dwell on the whys in life, it would drive me crazy.  I have to believe that I’m not a mom because God intended for me to do other things.  I was not successful and very unhappy at the workplace, sitting in a chair in a cubicle – but I have to believe there were lessons God wanted me to learn.  I hope I learned those lessons and would be a better person going forward.

We’re not meant to understand things – and I’m not a person who says they will ask God questions when I get to Heaven.  I can’t imagine that any of the small stuff will matter once I get through the pearly gates!  Nothing I face in this life is going to make a bit of difference once I’m in my eternal home!  It’s a place of sweet peace and contentment.  There are no more tears – and I will smile so big my cheeks will hurt!

Life is a mystery.  Everything about life is mysterious, and God wants to keep it that way.  How strong would our faith have to be if things were understood completely?  It’s faith in God’s way and His plan that keeps us afloat in this life.  We know that God loves us and wants His best for us.  It occurs to me that He may have protected me somehow by not blessing me with children.  Who knows what the issue may have been – of course, God knows.  He knows – and that is enough for me.  That’s my faith talking.  I don’t know why, but I know Who does know why – and He’s not going to share that with me.  It’s fine.  I trust that God knows what is best for me.  I pray for His comfort, joy, peace, patience and love.

I love mysteries, as you know.  Whether it’s a book or a movie, or a program on Investigation Discovery channel, I get wrapped up in a good “who done it” – and even though I may figure it out in the first portion of the story, I still like to hear the particulars about the case.  Those mysteries get solved, and we generally learn many crucial details along the way.  God’s mysteries are not solved, except to Him, of course.  The point is, they are His to divulge or keep to Himself.  We have to accept that and place our faith and trust in Him, praising Him for Who He is.

The God who made the Heavens has made for us a way.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (18)

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  – Isaiah 40:30-31

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  What a wonderful promise from our Lord – that all we need to do is hope in Him for our strength to renew!  While the world is chasing addictions of all descriptions…  God’s people are hoping in Him.  He’s the One we cling to and put our trust in.  How do we hope in the Lord?  What does that mean?15878639_1869321693312292_2119133539_n

HOPE – just four little letters, but it’s packed with power!  When we make a choice (yes, it’s a choice) to place our trust and faith in the promises of God – with unwavering belief that HE IS ABLE and HE WILL – (not He might or wow, I don’t know – maybe) – that, ladies and gentlemen, is HOPE.  It’s belief on steroids.

Be strong and take heart, all you who HOPE in the LORD.  – Psalm 31:24

If you ask anyone in the world, they will most assuredly tell you that hope is an emotion.  They will tell you they FEEL hopeful.  How sad!!!  No wonder those of this world more often than not FEEL hopeless.  Real hope has nothing to do with emotion.

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Real hope flies in the face of adversity and bad hair days!  It says, “In SPITE of the circumstances that surround me, I still hang on to HOPE.”  Why?  Because we as Christians have hidden the amazing WORD OF GOD in our hearts and minds.  We don’t always know why things happen, although we know all things work for the good for us.  We know WHO we put our faith and trust in – no matter what’s going on around us.3

Hope is a choice…  a discipline…  it brings with it a peace that passes all understanding.  If you want to buffalo some folks – be at peace in the midst of a storm.  That confuses people faster than anything!  NOT that our goal is to confuse others…  it’s just a funny side effect.loading-my-basket

I have a friend who recently lost her husband.  I am so proud of her!  She has absolutely no signs of hopelessness whatsoever.  She has picked up the pieces and made some adjustments to make things easier for herself.  None of that was easy for her, but with God’s help, she’s done it.  She knows WHO holds her hand in the good times and in the worst of times.

I want that kind of HOPE in my life!  She rocks and has been more of a role model than I think she realizes.  What an encouraging friend she is!

Hope is the key element to surviving any crisis.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

While I have you here…  can I just tell you a really funny story about this verse?  On M-W-F I go to the gym.  It’s about a 4 mile trip one way.  I have to drive by a donut shop – yeah.  On their sign out by the street, they put the name of the store and underneath it says JEREMIAH 29:11.

God impressed upon me two schools of thought – and one was especially funny.  Of course, the first thought was that the verse was there to say that God planned for that family to open a donut store – and if I buy a donut it will help to prosper them.  That’s probably the meaning most would take from it and the true meaning.

Then God seemed to think I needed a good laugh.  The thought popped into my head that maybe the family donut shop was saying that if I buy one of their donuts – that’s God’s way of prospering me.

Um…  yeah – that’s a stretch – but it sure tickled me!  I really don’t think that buying a donut is God’s way of prospering me.  LOL!

I could hope it is…  but I think that’s called hoping against hope.  HA!

hope-2Anyway, hope is crucial to the Christian life.  HOPE because Jesus loves you.  HOPE that God is at this very moment working out a Heavenly solution to an earthly crisis in your life.  HOPE that your future is in HIS very capable hands.

Those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.  – Isaiah 40:31

In 2017, let’s choose HOPE in the LORD.  Let’s soar, run, walk…  and not faint.  🙂