A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I will never be perfect in this life, and guess what – neither will you.  We are all a work in progress, but at least it is progress which indicates we continue to learn lessons and grow stronger in our faith.  My 50 something mind does not resemble my 20 something mind.  I’ve matured and I see everything so much differently than I did 30 years ago.  Why?  Because I’ve finally allowed the Lord to work in my life.  In my 20’s I was not very good clay.  I was stubborn clay!  Nobody could tell me what to do, and they certainly could not tell me I was wrong about anything!

These days it’s different.  Yes, I could be wrong about most anything.  I want to do my best for the Lord and now my motives and actions are in sync.  It’s amazing how things change once you hand your whole life over to the Father’s hands.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only light that leads to eternal life in Heaven.  Once you hand it all over, you receive His joy and peace, which is better than anything this world has to offer.

I grew up in a church that believes in eternal security – once saved, always saved.  As an adult I attended other churches that taught that salvation can be lost.  I never argued the point one way or the other, but always thought if a person was to backslide that far, perhaps their experience with Christ was less than genuine to begin with.  Just a thought.  I’m not judging that person, just discussing a possibility.  I pray that salvation from the Lord is not so easily lost.  How awful to feel so insecure, wondering if your name is still written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I don’t think there’s an eraser on God’s pen.

Human beings mess up.  We do.  It’s not an excuse to keep messing up… but it’s not a reason to beat yourself up for mistakes made decades ago either.  Put your mistakes – sins – under the blood of Christ, then do better!  You have a choice to be a bitter person or a better person.  Be better – do better.  Be the person you wish you would have been to begin with!  Let God help you.  He’s faithful and He will not fail you.  Let Him be the strength of your heart – even if your heart is less than strong.  He will be your strength and your song.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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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

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

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)I joined a gym.  I didn’t want to go to a gym where Barbie and Ken dolls strut their stuff all over the place and make people like me feel like a fat speed bump.  After careful and prayerful consideration, my husband and I landed at Planet Fitness.  I like the NO CRITICS signs and especially the LUNK sign that says if you drop weights or judge another person, you are a LUNK.  There are also signs around that say THIS IS A NO JUDGMENT ZONE.  Other signs say YOU BELONG.  Please LIKE their facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/Planet.Fitness.Wichita.KS.Maize/?fref=ts

Even though I don’t feel comfortable in my own skin quite yet, I feel comfortable there – I know I will reach my goals in that kind of environment.

We have been consistent so far, and I’ve not gotten discouraged at all, so I plan to continue this lifestyle for the long haul.  For the first time in such a long time, I feel hopeful about weight loss and finally FINALLY getting my health back!  I have hit the wall…  I have no choice.  It’s either get healthy or pay over $400 a month for the rest of my life to take insulin.  I’d rather pay the gym and do the work.  I can do this – I WILL do this!  I have to do this. 

I have to share what happened on June 3rd.  As I said, there are signs all over the place.  They also have TV’s mounted in the center of the gym so you can watch any station you choose.  There is a PF TV that shows music videos and the PF advertisements in-between videos.

As I was walking on the treadmill I looked up at a sign on the PF TV that I knew should have said, DON’T FORGET TO SPRAY DOWN THE EQUIPMENT.  I know you’re going to think I’m off my rocker, but I promise you, when I looked up at it today, it said, DON’T FORGET TO PRAY.  That’s all – the “S” was too far to the left of the screen to be seen, and the rest of the message was too far down and off the screen completely.DON'T FORGET TO PRAY

Did anyone else see it?  I don’t know.  Did God mean for anyone to see it but me?  I don’t know.  I saw it though and obviously He meant for me to see it.  All I know for sure is my God is so good and so creative!  If He wants to remind you to pray, He’s gonna find a way and do it.

Tears came to my eyes.  If I had been among my own kind – my own “tribe”, I would have said, “HEY, LOOK YOU GUYS!!!”  Obviously, I was not among my own kind, so I showed great restraint and kept walking, wiping tears that rolled down my face (maybe others thought it was sweat).  I had to look up and smile, because for whatever reason, my God cared enough for me to remind me to talk with Him today.

It’s not a hassle, it’s not too time-consuming, it’s not a problem to converse with Him.  Call me crazy (go ahead, I’ve been called worse, believe me) – but at the moment I saw that sign, it was like God was letting me know He really looked forward to our daily conversation, and He would miss me if I didn’t show up.  I love that He loves me and wants my company!  Remember the song that Larnelle Harris sang called “I Miss My Time With You” – ???  Yeah – like that.  ❤

I’m loved, I’m protected and I’m heard by Him!  How many people on this ol’ earth can you say that about?  Most people just wanna talk and never listen.  God hears me – He always listens because He is a gentleman.  When I’m done talking, it’s His turn to talk to me.  I gladly listen, study His Word and look for signs everywhere I go – even the signs at the gym!  🙂

 

WALK ON YOUR WILD SIDE DAY

TL 4-12 WALK ON YOUR WILD SIDE DAY

Steph_AIGA_Holiday_Poster_2small_versionIsn’t this a beautiful design?  This was created by graphic designer, Stephanie Fong (http://www.jsfong.com).

Define WILD…  well, skunks are wild animals.  They are cute and furry, but don’t get them riled or they will leave you with a lasting impression.  Don’t hit them with your car or you will be sorry.  There are not enough tomatoes in the world to deal with the consequences.  Is that the kind of wild you want to be today???  I don’t think so.  Don’t be that kind of wild, brothers and sisters.  That just stinks and God won’t be happy with you.  It’s better to just be good to begin with and not have to ask forgiveness for being stinky.skunk-1239764_1280Is it wrong for Christians to have a little wild streak?  Can wild be used for God’s glory?  Well of course it can!  Have you ever watched wild mountain goats?  They live in those mountains and maneuver through them like it’s just no big deal.  Is there a mountain you need to climb?  Pray for strength from God and go for it today!  Accomplish that task that you have been too afraid to begin – because you know that with God ALL things are possible!  Even if you try and fail, it’s way better than not trying at all.mountain-goats-1156056_1920

Whales are so large and majestic!  You could live like a whale today.  Did you know that only 1/2 of their brain sleeps at a time?  They have to rise to the surface often to breathe, so their brains cannot be all the way asleep.  Talk about multi-tasking!  Maybe today you will be a whale of a go-getter and multi-task like crazy – how wild is that?whale-1149826_1920

Wild geese are so disciplined!  They eat a high protein diet and are very lightweight.  Coincidence?  I think not.  They also have those great waterproof wings that keep them dry and happy.  Maybe today is the day you begin to eat a more healthy diet, lose weight, don’t let things get to you so you can fly high!  wild-geese-1148899_1920Walking on your wild side is not just about changing your outward appearance!  Of course, that can certainly be a part of it – it shows you have a sense of confidence and a new positive attitude toward your life.  But the real changes – the real walk – happens on the inside!  Let God show you how life can be so much better than ever before!  Let Him break chains of addiction and lead you in a direction that brings the glory and honor to Him.  🙂

HOLY HUMOR MONTH

APRIL IS HOLY HUMOR MONTH

We need to realize that, above everything, we Christians have the greatest reason to be joyful.  – Dr. Karl R. Kraft

Yee-Haw!  April is Holy Humor Month!!!  In case you think that Christians get baptized in lemon juice and are instantly left with no sense of humor…  I’m here to say yeah, we know how to laugh.  We’re more picky about what we think is funny, but we definitely know how to laugh!

These are from Lucinda Berry Hill:

Neal’s Story (May 7, 1979)

One night when I was putting my little brother to bed, I stood by and quietly listened while he was saying his bedtime prayers.  He said the regular prayer of “Now I lay me down to sleep…God bless Mommy and Daddy…”  Then he added, “Thank you for this day Jesus, and thank you for the mirror.”

I patiently waited until he completed his prayers, then curiously asked, “Neal, why did you say,  ‘Thank you for the mirror’?”
“Well,” he said with great sincerity, “when I look in the mirror I see me!”

Probably my most favorite joke is:

What did the 0 say to the 8?
Nice Belt!
Oh I laugh every time I think about it.  Especially because it was told to me by my 8 year old nephew and I didn’t get it at first.  Once I did I couldn’t stop laughing.
I was at a funeral for a dear old friend.  I took my 8 year old daughter with me because she was her friend too.  During the service I handed her a piece of paper and a pencil.  She soon handed it back to me with a note, “I’m not bored.”
A little boy was going home from his great grandmother’s funeral.  “Mommy,” he said, “If Heaven is up in the sky, why did they put grandma great in the ground?”
“Well,” his mother said, “they bury people in the ground but their spirit goes up to Heaven.”
He accepted that  answer very well.  A few minutes later he said, “I made a decision,” he spoke sincerely.  “When I die, my spirit’s not going anywhere without my bones.!”
We love Lucinda’s poetry, but this back story is too cute!

Reaching in a pan for a brownie, my hand came back empty.  Since there was only two of us in the house I complained to my 4 year old, ” Charlotte, you ate the last brownie!”  And she exclaimed, “But mommy they’re too much good!”  And so a poem was born and it became Week 18 of devotional “Coffee with Jesus.” OUR GOD OF TOO MUCH

HOLY HUMOR
This looks like something I would have turned in back in school:30b5b01042f550f27eb8c7222258e80d

Did you know there were rules on Noah’s Ark???  Neither did I – let’s take a look:

INSTRUCTIONS ON THE ARK

– Alligators….stop nibbling on fellow passengers.
– Flies….quit pestering the horses.
– Elephants…..shovel up your own mess, it blocks the hallways.
– Pigeons….the lions are not statues.
– Mosquitoes and bats….quit biting the other passengers.
– Myna birds….stop repeating everything you hear.
– Cows….fly swatting is prohibited.
– Lightning bugs….remember lights out at 9 PM.
– Pigs…..clean up your room.
– Raccoons….stop your midnight raids.
– Hyenas….stop laughing at the other passengers.
– Lions….quit stalking everyone.
– Vultures….stop hovering.
– Bugs….stay out of the pantry.
– Snakes….pick up your own skins and throw them away.
– Ants….bring your own picnic lunch next time.
– Hoofed animals….please tiptoe after midnight.
– Camels….no spitting at the other passengers.
– Squirrels….quit hiding nuts in the bathtub drains.
– Night Owls….keep your hooting down, it keeps the Morning Doves awake.
– Turtles….your dinners are getting cold, start for the dining hall earlier.
– All passengers…. be careful what you say around the parrots if you don’t want it repeated.

Signed,
Noah

And what of Rex???  Did he miss the boat?  Awe…  no room!76348131d21059ff9d216e16ef1d3a13

dcc344595ef9a049af08cb29a647eddcLet me guess…  the snails were the last ones to board – well, technically, Noah was, but…

True story.  My husband was on patrol one day and clocked a speeder.  He stopped the young man and asked if he knew how fast he was going.  The quick-thinking gentleman said, “Officer, you’re not going to believe this, but I hit a skunk a few miles back and I’m trying to outrun the smell.”  He got off with a warning and my husband had a great story that he told time and again.  I don’t recommend using this story – it doesn’t always work.  LOL!

If you must speed on the highway, sing these hymns loudly:

5 mph over the limit: “God Will Take Care of Me”

10 mph over: “Guide me, O Great Jehovah”

15 mph over: “Nearer My God to Thee”

20 mph over: “Nearer Still Nearer”

25 mph over: “This World is Not My Home”

30 mph over: “Lord, I’m Coming Home”

35 mph over: “Precious Memories”

25e37871fb191566e1be4c883486b993Um…  yeah.

I’m not Catholic, but as I was looking through posts on Pinterest, I spotted some outright funny stuff that even a Protestant can understand…4e139852a0da43b788476c4e29bdbd9a1e2d99737f7421763dc682454a7e67a4b9df032075f0c3718fe17970fc072c7dThis is my favorite – we should ALL be the one who makes others feel special…  sweet!fab723a436d018ea8e6ea8290fdb25c8

OH…  surely not.  Is there an initiation ceremony???

The longer I live, the more convinced I am that making a joyful noise unto the LORD is less about singing and more about laughter!  I believe God inhabits the praises of His people, but He inclines His ear to our laughter and laughs with us!  Have a wonderful joy-filled day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

EASTER

TL 3-27 EASTER

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right…
– Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”

JOY

HALLELUJAH!!!  Herein lies the HOPE of every Christian on earth!  Jesus was raised from the dead by God and now sits at His right hand.  When He ascended into Heaven, He left His precious Holy Spirit to help us navigate this tricky life.  That’s the GOOD NEWS of Christianity – but guess what?  The news gets better…  that same Jesus that died for our sins, was buried and raised by God the Father will one day soon be told to come back to earth to snatch His own so we can live eternally in Heaven with Him!

What a surprise we got today when we found EASTER SNOW on the ground.  I had to write a new poem!

A LOVELY EASTER SNOWAnd here’s an old poem about the cutest little Easter bonnet ever!  EASTER BONNET

There is not one negative fact for me to report, therefore, I have no reason to be anything but positive!  God is love…  God sent Christ to be love incarnate…  Christ willingly gave His very life because He loves us… God raised Christ from the grave and He LIVES!!!  That same Jesus IS coming from the eastern sky one day soon to take us home forever.  So, make an Easter bonnet from a paper plate, a strand of ribbon and assorted baubles.  Apply a bit of lipstick and blush (coordinating colors with your Sunday best, of course) – and BE JOYOUS!  The outward appearance is not the most important part – but the JOY of the LORD flowing from within is essential.  😉EGGS OF LIFEI asked a pastor once what the difference is between happiness and joy.  He said that happiness is dependent on external conditions or situations and joy is not.  For example, if it’s payday and the sun is shining and I haven’t had problems with my co-workers, I could very well be happy, but not necessarily filled with joy.  A deeper, more meaningful and constant state of mind and spirit is joy – the JOY of the LORD from God’s Holy Spirit, to be precise.  Whether skies are sunny or stormy, this deep settled peace and joy from Him keep me floating on faith.  Sails of grace, mercy, love and hope on God’s vessel are enough.  Just enough.  That knowledge makes me joyful.

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.   – Henry Knox Sherrill

Spiritual power…  indeed.  Let’s take that power from God with us into the world.  HALLELUJAH!!!  🙂