NATIONAL POETRY MONTH

TL - APRIL IS NATIONAL POETRY MONTHGentlemen, if you really want to do something special for your lady, take her to the park, sit on a bench together and start reciting poetry to her.  Okay, I see you rolling your eyes at me – hey, I tried!

April is National Poetry Month, so of course this blog has to celebrate!

I love a poem that says what my heart feels.  It puts into words all the thoughts and feelings I have.  This poem fills the bill:

When I say, “I am a Christian”

by Carol Wimmer

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not shouting, “I’ve been saved!”
I’m whispering, “I get lost!
That’s why I chose this way”.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I don’t speak with human pride
I’m confessing that I stumble –
Needing God to be my guide

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not trying to be strong
I’m professing that I’m weak
And pray for strength to carry on.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not bragging of success
I’m admitting that I’ve failed
And cannot ever pay the debt.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I don’t think I know it all
I submit to my confusion
Asking humbly to be taught.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I’m not claiming to be perfect
My flaws are all too visible
But God believes I’m worth it.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I still feel the sting of pain
I have my share of heartache,
Which is why I seek His name.

When I say, “I am a Christian”

I do not wish to judge
I have no authority…
I only know I’m loved

Lucinda Berry Hill has written poetry that connects with people.  She writes from the heart and is so open and honest.  Have you ever wondered what her first poem was???  It so happens I have it – right here….  yep – you saw it HERE first!  😉  She wrote this in the summer of 1976 after making a traumatic move from her home state of New York, leaving family  and friends at 12 years old – to Pennsylvania.  APRIL IS POETRY MONTH - THIS IS LBH'S FIRST POEM. I HOPE WE MEET AGAIN

BLESSINGS FROM PAIN

MY PEN-PALGLORY TO MY PARTNERShe also wrote 2 poems that were created using titles from both her books, “Coffee with Jesus” and “A Second Cup with Jesus”.BE BEAUTIFUL YOU ARE GOD'S CHOICE

FINDING HOME WITH A GOD OF ALWAYS

Poetry describes a situation you find yourself in and will hopefully spark something in others that makes them say, “Oh, I’ve been there too” or “That was surely a GOD thing!”  I wrote a poem that did just that a few years ago.  Hope you relate to this:

CONVERSATION ABOUT HEAVENApparently, I’m not the only one who has experienced this!  The first time I posted this on facebook, it got close to 100 LIKES and several shares – it blew me away!  🙂

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NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

TL 3-18 NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

I’ve lived on this planet for nearly five and a half decades…  and believe me when I say I’ve had my share of AWKWARD moments!  With every one of them, I’ve learned to shake it off and move on as I laugh (and pee a little…)  sorry – TMI.

There’s a reason that Taylor Swift’s song, Shake It Off resonates with the masses.  We’re all too human and that means we are not perfect, which means that at times we are all awkward and experience awkward moments.  The good news is – our awkward moments in life are not life-altering.  We know that God works ALL things for our good – and by all, I mean – ya know… ALL! 

That’s why we must not give up – on anything!  We have to remember that every day will not be filled with roses and violin music!  If it was, we’d have precious little to share in the way of life experience – let alone, things to look back on and have a hearty laugh!  Some things make us more human, and the humanity is the part that we all have in common.  It makes us more relatable to one another.

So, with a humble heart and blushing cheeks, I share my most awkward moment in ministry.  I wouldn’t trade this day for anything, yet I definitely would not like to relive it either.  :-/

I GUESS IT'S TRUE

Being part of ministry in any capacity is never a waste of time.  Remember the words to the old hymn…

Only one life, so soon ’twill be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.

There can be – shall I say, “awkward moments” along the way.  We know that God leads the way and He gave us many safe trips for sure!  Awkward moments happen though – with people and situations.  :-/

From the mid 1980’s through the mid 1990’s, my husband and I were part of a gospel quartet.  We spent time traveling around and ended up in a small town in Kansas for a Sunday evening service.  I decided to wear blue jeans and a tee-shirt for traveling, certain that there would be a place to change my clothes.

When we got to the church, we got all set up and was ready to practice to adjust the sound and so forth…  I casually looked around the small church, but did not see a restroom.  I began to panic a little and pray a lot.  I needed to put my dress on for the concert.

About that time, the pastor walked in – all smiles.  I was nearly in tears.  I was embarrassed to ask, so had my husband ask if there was a restroom.  When my husband came back to tell me – I could tell by the look on his face – this was not going to be good.  The restroom was an outhouse.  Yep – and that’s where I changed clothes.

I got ‘er done, folks!  Dignity intact, I’m happy to report.  Then we played a few more songs in the sanctuary – and noticed a scraggly old dog had walked into the church.  He decided to lay down in the aisle and listen.  We played one song – then the dog got up, turned around and walked right back out the door.  LOL!!!

My husband said…  Now THAT’S a critic!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Doing good things enriches the soul.  – Dustin James

There was a young lady standing by the roadside in 10 degree weather.  She was holding a sign that said “Homeless – anything helps.”  Dustin was prompted to go to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to buy her a cup of coffee.  He said the look on her face was priceless.

Each one of us is God’s special work of art… a painting like no other in all of time.  – Joni Earreckson Tada

The Bible tells us that we may be entertaining angels unaware.  How many times do we cross paths with angels, but miss the opportunity to entertain them because we are too self-absorbed or think we have no time?  We’ve all seen people standing by the side of the road with signs.  We’re scared to stop or to get involved because there really are some evil people in the world who use that as a rouse to attract others for their own evil purposes.

The conversation goes like this…  “I’d help, but if you give them money, they’ll just go buy cigs or booze or something like that.”  That sounds weak to me.

There are smart ways to help others…

If I’m impressed to meet a need, I make sure my husband is close by and I don’t give anyone cash.  I ask what the need is – if it’s a meal, I’ll buy it – if it’s gasoline for their car, I’ll buy it.  That’s how we give – we provide the need at hand to help them along their way.

Sometimes the person isn’t standing there with a sign.  One Thanksgiving we were at a restaurant.  When the waitress came to take our order, I felt a nudging from God’s Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know what her issue was, but God did and that’s all that matters.  We’ll never know if what we did helped, but we trust that God helped her through her issues.

WHERE JESUS IS HEARD

When God’s Holy Spirit impresses on you to act – you act – it’s as simple as that.  I believe that He guides me quite literally through my life and lets me know when I need to help someone – and He also lets me know when I need to walk away from someone.  God’s Spirit keeps me safe and helps me live the kind of life that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t apologize for my lifestyle.  I believe it’s the best life a person can choose to live.

I was so encouraged when I read Dustin’s story today.  I pray that we all stop to see the signs that others are holding up – whether they are literally holding a sign up or not.  May we be more sensitive to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in 2016.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 

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Oh admit it…  you’ve done it – I know you have!  Okay – if I admit that I just did it, would you admit you’ve done it then???  Fine…  I’ll admit it.  It’s the middle of the month and I forgot to change both of my perpetual calendars to October!  They are still on September – both of them!

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While I’m sure the perpetual calendar police won’t be visiting my house anytime soon, it still makes me crazy to think that I’ve lived through an entire half month without the calendars being correct.  You’d think someone would remind me.  Oh – scratch that…  we’re talking about a person who does not notice when I’m only wearing one earring.

I used to think it would be so cool to have a perpetual calendar – and they are sort of nice.  I must have liked it because I bought another one – a totally different kind – for the basement.  So, now I have two of them, one upstairs and one downstairs.  You’d think I would have remembered to change one of them – at least.

The time just flies by, doesn’t it?  Maybe I’m just having a difficult time keeping up with it.  I know it sounds like I’m beating myself up over it, but I’m not.  Part of me wonders if it’d be worth changing them now – I mean, I only have another half month to go – so maybe I should just catch it up again in November and be done with it.

Where did this year go?  I just keep wondering what happened to the time…  seems like yesterday we were welcoming 2015.  Welcoming and wondering if things were going to get better or worse, but knowing that no matter what, our God would be faithful to us – and so He has!

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You know, I don’t believe we have much longer to share our faith with those who don’t know Christ as personal Lord and Savior.  My granny used to say, “I feel it in me bones” – and I guess that’s how I would describe it.  We’ve been given the signs to look for in the Bible – and I suppose I just see that prophecies are coming to pass almost daily – and very quickly!  When I heard that Russia was becoming such a key player in world events, my mind went to the portion of Scripture that talks about the BEAR coming down from the North.  I have heard that preached my whole life – that BEAR is Russia!  I believe the second coming of Christ is very near.  Look at it this way – we’re one day closer than we were yesterday.

If you disagree with me that is certainly your privilege.  It’s more of a feeling deep down in my spirit than anything, I guess.  I just believe time is a-flyin’ and time is short for those of us with a purpose for ministry.  Now…  I suppose I’d better get those calendars changed – to NOVEMBER…  then I’ll be ahead of time for a change.  LOL!!!  Wink!  😉

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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https://youtu.be/rxAQZG1FWBw

Earlier in the week, I was in a bit of a funk.  Some would call it a pity party.  The weather is getting cooler, which means my pain level goes up.  Between hypothyroidism, fibromyalgia, arthritis and type 2 diabetes, it can be crazy some days.  I was praying and said, “Lord, if You would please just bring some encouragement my way.  I don’t know why I wasn’t allowed to raise children of my own, but I tried to teach other kids Your ways.  Was the time I spent being a Sunday School teacher just a waste of time?  The classrooms were upstairs in the church.  Climbing stairs was just what this body needed to do most Sundays!  Did any of those kids listen, learn and apply the principles?”  I asked God to show me that the teaching I did in my life has not been in vain.  It just felt as though it was for naught.  His plan for my life was to have no children and teach other children.  I accepted that – it wasn’t easy, but I tried to be obedient to God and His plan for my life.

It was one of those honest prayers I say sometimes with a whiny voice – you know the kind of prayer I mean, right?

I’m here to tell you without a doubt, God hears those prayers and He answers them, sometimes in short order.  God schooled me about doubting His plan for my life.  He encouraged me so much the next day.

I had to go get my pickup truck at the dealership.  Guess who works at the dealership?  One of my former Sunday School kids!  Now mind you, I’ve not taught Sunday School for over ten years and have not seen a single student since I quit.  But, this kid was not just any kid – this was the grandson of a well-respected pastor.  My husband and I were very good friends with his grandpa!

We stood in the parking lot and talked.  He’s doing well and is now raising his own family – teaching them about Christ and his children will not depart from it.  He thanked me for teaching his Sunday School class and said I was his favorite teacher.  He had no idea I needed that affirmation.

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Today I’m praising God for answering my prayers – sometimes very quickly!  I had no idea where this young man worked, but God did – and He saw to it that our truck needed service on the day when he was working.  Isn’t God good that way???

You can call it coincidence…  yeah – but you know what?  I call it A GOD THING!  🙂

JOHN 9:25 ON 9/25

TL JOHN 9 25 ON 9 25

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”  – John 9:25

I was recently called a hater – again.  Have you ever felt completely exhausted because you have been so misunderstood?  For the billionth time, whether someone else is a sinner, I don’t know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!

https://youtu.be/LJEET8cM7mM

All who have felt the power and grace of the Lord Jesus wonder at the wilfulness of others who reject Him.  So much of the negative stuff in our lives is self-inflicted.  What if we would ask God to help us before we just jump in with both feet – huh?  I’m talking to myself too.  But judgment – nah – that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about obedience to God – but if we don’t talk to Him about things, how do we know how to be obedient?

VICTORY WITH MY JESUS

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.  If you were blind and accidentally discovered that smearing sour cream on your eyes would restore your sight, would you keep that miracle to yourself?  I’m betting you’d shout it all over the place!  I would.

On a spiritual level, I’ve learned that through prayer and Bible study, our lives can be brighter and better.  I don’t want to keep that miracle to myself.  I just want to share it with anyone who will hear me.  That’s what we do when we witness.  It’s not about me saying I’m better – it’s about me saying I was once at the bottom, but when I accepted Christ Jesus into my heart and life and began to learn more about Him and His love, I was raised up from the pit and set on a solid rock to live my life in victory!

I want to share that…  of course I want to share it!  We’re all making life’s journey with different backgrounds and different challenges.  The good news (the gospel) is all about Jesus.  It’s Him and His sacrifice on Calvary which bridged the relationship between God and man.  Restoration.  Like refinishing an old piece of furniture.  I was the worst looking piece of furniture in the junk heap.  When I accepted Christ – He refinished me – restored me.

The laws are God’s, not mine.  Sin is still sin – and the Bible is still God’s Word.  This liberal upside down world does make me crazy sometimes.  When it makes me too crazy, I have to back up, breathe; close my eyes and ask God to give me the patience that He has with me.  Truth from God’s Word is hard to handle if you know you are so far away from it in your life and lifestyle.  May God bless His own as they minister.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  – John Quincy Adams

In a nutshell, God and His laws are how we measure our lives – and that’s a very high standard indeed.  So high, in fact, that nobody can achieve it.  He wants the best for us, which is why there are laws.  He wants to protect us.  God forgives sin through the blood of Jesus when we sincerely seek forgiveness.  As we depend on Him more and more, He helps us stay away from things that would cause us harm.  When we sin, He is quick to forgive our sins.  And – this is the part I LOVE about Jesus…  He NEVER brings it back up to us again – but the enemy will – like really often.  But – we can tell him to sit on a tack in Christ Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

There are two kinds of men who never amount to much – those who cannot do what they are told and those who can do nothing else.  – Cyrus H.K. Curtis

Remember that you are not a robot and should not be afraid to show initiative in life.  Don’t be scared to step out and take action, but continue to be obedient to the Lord.  God wants all of us to GO AND SIN NO MORE.  God’s Word – His desire for us.  We all need God’s wonderful love, forgiveness and a lot of mercy, for sure!  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

TL IRON SHARPENS IRON

I appreciate my online friends so much!  I let them know that I was having some technical difficulties in the kitchen due to my inability to stand for more than a few minutes lately.  It’s weird…  some days I’m just fine and others, well…  not so much.

Do you look forward to autumn?  I do (except for the pain, of course), but I especially like that our meals begin to get a little more substantial and hearty.  I’ve been looking for meals that are healthy but simple to fix.

My friends came through with a quick and easy meal.  I’d like to share the recipe with you.

FRIED CABBAGE WITH SAUSAGE (Makes 8 servings)

1 stick butter or margarine
1 small head of cabbage, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 pound smoked sausage, sliced into round pieces
1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes  (if you use Rotel it will be a little spicy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Melt butter in large skillet. Add cabbage, onion, and cook on medium high for about 5 minutes stirring to keep from sticking to pan. Add remaining ingredients, cover and simmer for 20 – 25 minutes.

My favorite question when I get a recipe that feeds an Army is…  do the leftovers freeze?  Thankfully the answer was YES, they do!  So, I imagine we could eat two or maybe even three meals, which is great!  That means I don’t have to do anything except defrost and serve!  Excellent!

Is it wrong to want to laugh when you are in pain?  I don’t think so.

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I love Christian friendships, don’t you?  Even when we’re having troubles, we just try to sharpen each other’s iron as much as possible with Christ in the center.  God sure knew what He was doing when He established friendship.  He must to this day be smiling down and saying, “It is GOOD!”  🙂