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!  🙂

 

 

Advertisements

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

No matter how little you’re able to do, you can pray.  Pray for what, you ask.  I’m glad you asked.  Suppose an ambulance zoomed by your house.  Would you pray for the person or persons who are in crisis?  It’s important that we are tuned in to the activity around us because God wants us to care for others, even if we don’t know their names.  He knows their names and that’s all that matters.

Kindness is no virtue, but a common duty.   – Frederick Greenwood

Have you ever felt God prompting you to make a phone call to a friend?  Do you tell Him you’ll do it later?  Chances are your friend needs to hear your voice right then… so don’t put it off.  Pick up the phone and call.

Sometimes things happen in the world – and we feel so helpless, wondering what we can do to make things better.  When God gives me words to write – words of encouragement – I try to get them jotted down immediately.  Our words have meaning, and they have the power to make a change.  Inject the super power of God, and they will surely make a difference!

Be an obedient and observant child of God in your corner of the world.  There are so many people going through life wearing blinders.  They see the road in front of them, knowing only where they are headed – not concerned about anyone else along the way.  How sad! 

I often think of Shirley Temple, the bubbly, curly-headed blonde who took audiences to happy places, away from their bleak reality.  Christians should do for a hopeless world what Shirley Temple did for a generation of people living through the depression era.  If you are a Christian and you sit on the Gospel of Christ like it’s a special little secret just for you and a select few, then shame on you!  Shirley’s mom used a special word to turn on her little girl’s charm – that word was SPARKLE.  When Shirley heard her mom say that – she knew it was time to give it her all.  Does God need to come down here and whisper in your ear?  Do we need to hear the Almighty say SPARKLE to us today?

Let’s say He’s done that…  now do good, be kind, and SPARKLE for the Lord!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Has God given everyone at least one gift?  You know, I think we sometimes look at what God has given us and make the paralyzing mistake of comparing our gifts or talents with those of others.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do – he would like nothing better than to see you paralyzed, believing that somehow your gift is not good enough for God’s use – so you just sit back and let someone else serve instead.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that.  I think it’s satan’s favorite pastime. 

Another sad scenario is when some people in the church begin to compare and pit two similarly gifted people against each other.  I’ve been in that situation and I can’t think of anything that is more hurtful and damaging to a soul – it’s what the Bible calls A STUMBLING BLOCK.  When I hear people tell me that they think I’m better at (fill in the blank) than someone else – I try to stop it in its tracks!  We’re not in the church to be playing AMERICAN IDOL – which, by the way, is a terrible name for a program (have the producers not read the Old Testament)?

Churches are filled with lost souls who have been saved and redeemed by a loving and kind Savior.  None of us deserve salvation, do we?  We’re all just trying to serve Him the best way we know how – and it’s because we love HIM – not because we’re in some church competition with anyone.  Always encourage people to use their gifts to serve.  If there are 15 pianists in your church and you think some are better than others (which, I mean – duh – there will be some better than others)… encourage each and every one of them – period.  No comparisons…  no mention of how good one is or how not so good another is – no!  God gave all 15 pianists TALENT and wants them to use that gift to further HIS kingdom.  The church needs to buy a clue and quit copying the world – stop it! 

My eyes were opened when I was part of a Southern Gospel group years ago.  We traveled as a caravan around Kansas and Oklahoma, playing concerts along the way.  I was never more unhappy and unfulfilled than I was then – it was honestly a reminder of the old BATTLE OF THE BANDS.  I just wanted to go home and play piano in my home church, where I thought the people who knew and understood me would forgive a sour note here and there.  I wasn’t cut out to perform – that’s not who God made me to be.

We serve the Lord with the best we have to give – no matter what gift He has given us.  There’s a place to serve the Lord – for all of us.  There should be room for every gift without being compared to anyone else.

I’ve said this time and again…  but I will say it again – it’s not about us anyway.  It’s about God, His grace, mercy, love and promises to us.  What we give back is our response to all that He’s done for us.  We go and tell and share because He commands that we do that.  We use the gifts from His hand to that end.  That’s what it’s about.  We teach, pray, study, and serve others with the light we’ve been given from God through Christ Jesus!

Even if you think one person is better at (fill in the blank) than another…  please don’t voice that opinion.  It’s the most hurtful thing that a person can do and is a stumbling block.  It may seem that you’re encouraging the one – which is okay – but don’t do it by discouraging the other.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and it’s so hurtful when you’re the one who doesn’t quite have what it takes like the other person does.  People have stopped using their gifts because of that very thing.  It’s just not a good idea to compare people’s gifts.  Let’s just be thankful that people are willing to volunteer their time and share their talents.

Serve to spread the gospel in any way you can.  We don’t keep the gospel of Christ tucked safely away and say…  “Yay – I’m saved – that’s all that matters.”  The word gospel means GOOD NEWS – and it is to be shared.  If there is a way for you to share with a gift that God gave you…  then it’s what you should do!  🙂

 

 

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?  🙂

EPHESIANS 5:21 ON 5/21

TL 5-21 EPHESIANS 5-21

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.  – Ephesians 5:21

I’m such a believer in proverbial iron-sharpening!  What does that mean?  It’s the support of Christian brothers and sisters that propels their ministry, forwards my ministry and most importantly pleases our Lord.  We submit to one another because we love Christ first of all – also because our friends who are like-minded love and revere Him too.  It goes beyond positive thinking or random acts of kindness.  We’re friends in Christ and we minister together – with a common goal and purpose. 

Submission is not understood in our world today.  People today see being submissive as a definite sign of weakness, when in reality, as a child of God, it’s a choice we make because Christ did so much for us and we are workers together for His sake.  If we keep the proper perspective and focus on Christ and the sacrifice He made for us, it is possible to submit to one another.  We get that it’s not about us – it’s about Him.

We must be mindful to submit to one another and not make it one-sided.  We never want to make our friends feel as though they are doormats to be thrown on the porch for our feet to be wiped on.  I have learned it is not necessarily the wrong thing to say NO to anyone.  I am human, a fact that my Savior is all too aware of…  and there will be times when my ability to submit and support may be hampered due to a physical  limitation or even mental exhaustion.  I used to be afraid to let the flaws be known.  Now I’m not a bit shy about asking for prayer support – and for a postponement.  To avoid burnout, it’s important to view this as a marathon, not a sprint.  It’s a lifestyle, not a phase of life.  We are committed to our Savior forever.

While the context of this verse is directed toward behavior in a family unit, it’s true that the body of Christ needs to adopt similar attitudes and behaviors, don’t you agree?  God’s children have so many reasons to sing for joy – whether it is on pitch or not – strong or weak voice – it makes no difference!  I’m not dense enough to think the Christian life is all singing all the time – we are not always singing and are sometimes crying for any number of reasons.  Regardless of our circumstances, we should be always giving thanks to Christ for His sacrifice – and showing reverence to Him – and do our best to help in ministry and have others help in ours.THINK ABOUT JESUS

There’s a sign on the door at Planet Fitness – it says, “Check egos at the door”.  In other words – don’t think you are either better or worse than anyone else.  Wouldn’t it be great if the body of Christ had that attitude too?  We’re all on the same side – the side of Christ.  We all work for Him.  We’re all on the same team.  Think of what could be accomplished if ego got checked at the door.  Think about Jesus.

As His children we should first and foremost promote HIS glory!  It’s so easy to lose focus and make it about ourselves.  We really are so human but God knows that – and that’s why we need to get on our knees and humbly ask forgiveness – then try again.  I love do-overs and I’ve had a lot of them.

Iron-sharpening, ego-checking and do-overs.  I’m so very thankful that Jesus understands me!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL PHOTO MONTH

TL MAY IS NATIONAL PHOTO MONTHAuthor Lucinda Berry Hill and I have had such fun with photos through the years!  We are always on the lookout for that one special picture that will compliment the latest writing, whether it be a poem or a prayer.  WHAT MY CAMERA CAPTURESThe perfect photograph enhances the thoughts we want to convey.  Sometimes we don’t need an actual photograph, but a nice background in soft hues to accent our words.NOW I VOW

Most of the time, I see a photo that triggers a thought and God impresses me to write.  On rare occasions the words come first and I hunt a photo after the poem is written.

It’s fun to write a special poem for a friend or family member.  I like to write special poems for my friends on facebook using photos they post.  ALL THINGS NEW

A GOOD TIME TO SMILELucinda has great friends who graciously let us use their work for poetry designs!  This poem happens to be about smiling for a photograph.  We love Stephanie’s photography!

 https://www.facebook.com/StephanieGuierLPhotography/?fref=ts&__mref=message_bubble

I'LL MEET YOU AT THE BANQUETMarian Poppy Ballestero has graced Lucinda’s poetry from time to time.  She uses such vibrant colors in her artwork and she captures moments from the Bible and brings them to life!  We appreciate her so very much!  Thank you, Marian!   https://www.facebook.com/Inspirational-Paintings-By-Marian-Ballestero-1087234674632050/?fref=ts&__mref=message_bubble

A WORKING BOUQUETOur sweetheart artist, Candy Waters, is an inspiration to us!  She captures our hearts with interesting shapes and vivid colors.  God has given her a very special talent indeed!  Thank you, Candy, for sharing your gift with us!  Please visit her facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/candywatersautismartist/?fref=ts&__mref=message_bubble

A HUG SHOWS KINDNESS LIVESI’ve had fun using Lucinda’s own photos on her poem designs!  Isn’t this a cute picture?  If this poem doesn’t bring a smile to your face and make you want to go hug someone, your sense of obligation needs a tune-up.

Lucinda’s poetry has inspired me every day!  To see more of her poetry and purchase her books, please visit http://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Flucindaspoetry.webs.com%2F&h=gAQGT-fnf

If you are a Christian artist or photographer and would like your work to be featured with poetry or prayers, please message me on facebook with information.

https://www.facebook.com/linda.palmer.399041

If you’d like to read more of Lucinda’s poetry (and mine), please LIKE our facebook page!  https://www.facebook.com/poetryformysavior/

https://www.facebook.com/poetryformysavior/

It’s been a great adventure designing posts for our facebook pages and groups!  It’s amazing how God opens doors when we wait on Him!  🙂