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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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

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (28)Garage sales are EXHAUSTING!!!  We’re in the midst of a community-wide sale right now.  My husband and I are just ready for it to be over…  we’re so tired.  I think the part I hate the most is digging around in the recesses of my closets for items that I wasn’t aware I owned because they’ve never been used or worn or whatever.  Have you ever seen a bamboo pole with a back scratcher on one end and a shoe horn on the other end?  Well, me neither…  but I apparently had one!  I say I HAD one because I sold it today – I no longer have it.  It can go live in the recesses of someone else’s closet for a while.

It’s a lot of work, but at the same time it’s a bit like taking a deep cleansing breath of cool mountain air.  After being surrounded by what can only be categorized as JUNK for over ten years, I’m now free to buy new STUFF to replace the old JUNK.  Of course, in another ten years that STUFF I buy now will be considered JUNK.  And so the cycle continues…

It’s fun and keeps us out of prison.

I’ll be honest, along with the work of gathering the junk, tagging the junk and organizing the junk – there is a huge sigh of relief when you have finally SOLD the junk.  When we counted up our earnings today, I looked at my husband and said, “It would have taken me two weeks working full time to make this much!”  It’s a sort of high when you see how quickly the pile of dough stacks up.

Of course, the other side of that high is the trip back to reality – when you realize you sold two recliners and now must replace them with two others – from somewhere.  It’s fun to sit on an orange crate to watch TV – for about a day.  The novelty has worn off and I really need to get myself in gear and get a new chair.

Here’s a chair similar to the one I want:

_35It’s selling on eBay for $300.  I can probably do that.  I’m not sure.  Has anyone heard of the brand POUNDEX?  See…  sometimes if I don’t recognize the brand name, I’m like…  um…  but the price is definitely not bad.  I don’t know – I’ll keep lookin’.  I like to actually sit in a recliner before I buy it – I’m funny that way.

Garage sales are exhausting – but there are rewards to follow.  We just think about the rewards.  Alrighty then…  I’m gonna go soak my feet.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH

JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH

There are stresses associated with winter, starting with the commute to work over ice and snow!  Some people don’t mind driving on ice, but I’m not in that club!  If I turn a corner and just keep turning – well, let’s just say I don’t find it amusing.  Then once you get where you’re going, there are unique stress factors depending on the day.  Stress is just a part of life, isn’t it?  How do you de-stress?SOMETHING ABOUT TEAChelmsford Tea is a wonderful place to rekindle friendships.  Just a quaint little shop, they have hundreds of blends to choose from.  They brew up a little cup of heaven – and it just melts the stress away.

https://www.facebook.com/ChelmsfordTea/

tea-party-1001654_1920

tea-party-1001653_1920

My mother’s favorite tea was Earl Grey.  I don’t particularly care for it – my tastes gravitate toward more sweet flavors, as did my Granny LaVella’s.  Right now I’m enjoying a cup of Sweet Cinnamon Orange from my favorite tea store, The Spice Merchant, in downtown Wichita.  Sweet Cinnamon Orange tastes like Harney’s Hot Cinnamon Sunset.  I’m sure Granny would share it with me…  oh if only!

http://www.thespicemerchant.com/cgi-bin/store/commerce.cgi

https://www.harney.com/harney-teas.html

When I was younger I hosted casual tea parties.  I put the kettle on and had various flavors to choose from.  Everyone picked their favorite and made their tea.  We’d sit around enjoying our tea as we talked about life in general – literature, work, family.  There was never a moment of silence, but so much laughter in my house…  making sweet memories with my friends!

Here’s my favorite poem from Lucinda Berry Hill, author of “Coffee with Jesus” & “A Second Cup with Jesus”.  A SIP, A PRAYER, A PEACE

12511717_1709602952617501_1918896943_n12507081_1709602795950850_1982825311_nPEACE

I knew my friend, Judy Janowski, author of Life is a Garden Party, would have some beautiful tea cups and teapots to share today.  Look at these – aren’t they pretty?

12511666_10206676656628829_705696226_n

12483700_10206676656708831_1855491165_n12498718_10206676656668830_2065899192_n12506928_10206676656748832_422857281_nThat last photo looks like she’s about ready to sit down and write her next book, doesn’t it???  Hint, hint, Judy!  

God has blessed me with author friends!  Deanna Stalnaker, author of Tea with Grandy Dee and Jesus, Me & Afternoon Tea, has been quite busy lately.  She’s in the process of writing a series of books called Women of God:  Lancaster County.  The first two books are complete.  More…  we want more.  ❤

Check out Deanna’s facebook pages:

https://www.facebook.com/deanna.stalnaker?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/teatimewithjesus/

https://www.facebook.com/KardeesAngels/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/grandydeesjournal/?fref=ts

11828622_445582042288986_2918859347990320449_nThese days, my husband and I enjoy tea and blueberry scones together.  It’s a quiet pleasure, but one that seems to make all the cares of the day just melt away…  there’s just something about tea!  We are in no danger of running out of teapots or teacups around here!  There’s always time for tea, scones, smiles and laughter.  I can’t speak for others, but in my mind, the table setting at a tea party is just as important as the tea you choose to serve.  I enjoy our own Hall Autumn Leaf Jewel Tea antique dishes.  They set a very pretty table and are particularly nice for an Autumn Spice themed tea party.

1 JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH (WITH SCONES)

2 JANUARY IS NATIONAL HOT TEA MONTH (WITH SCONES)

Tea combined with prayer help you establish a positive state of mind:

If you think you are beaten, you are.  If you think you dare not, you won’t.

If you like to win, but don’t think you can It’s almost a cinch you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost.  For out in the world you find,

Success begins with a fellow’s will It’s all in a state of mind.

For many a game is lost ‘ere even a play is run,

And many a coward fails ‘ere even his work is begun.

Think big and your deeds will grow.  Think small and you’ll fall behind.

Think that you can and you will.  It’s all a state of mind.

If you think you are out-classed, you are.  You’ve got to think high to rise.

You’ve got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize.

Life battles don’t always go to the stronger or faster man.

But sooner or later, the man who wins is the fellow who thinks he can.

Sometimes I like to enjoy tea in a present from a friend.  This mug and tea bag holder remind me of her belief in my abilities, which makes it easier to believe in myself!  I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength!  🙂IMG_0005It’s a whimsical mug and tea bag holder made by GANTZ.  I was hoping you could read it from the photo, but apparently it’s too far away – or at least it is for me, so I’ll just write it here:

CREATIVI-TEA:

YOUR WONDERFUL IMAGINATION MAKES THE ORDINARY SPECIAL.  YOUR STYLE AND ARTISTRY SHINE THROUGH IN ALL THAT YOU DO.

Every time I use this mug, I’m reminded of her encouragement as well as her daily prayers for me.  It means so much!  It also inspired this poem:

POTENTIAL I TEA

CHRISTIAN AUTHOR'S VIRTUAL TEA PARTY & BOOK EXTRAVAGANZA 2016Enjoy tea time today and pray…  know that God loves you each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING

TL 3-6 & 3-7 NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING

3-6 I'M GOING TO UNPLUG

Perhaps even more often than exchanging pleasantries, we also exchange dissatisfactions…  Two strangers complaining on a subway platform can end up cracking a smile or laughing, and though it would hardly be considered the beginning of a lifelong friendship, it is still neighborly.  – Mariana Alessandri, PhD

Today is the NATIONAL DAY OF UNPLUGGING.  For 24 hours we are encouraged to lay down all technology and do something that we are unaccustomed to…  REST!

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.   – Ovid

I am a firm believer in rest – naps – relaxing – taking a break.  So…  I am writing this post now (in January) to let you know I will be resting for the next 24 hours.  There won’t be a post tomorrow, but I will return with a new post on March 8th.

“You can always do more.  But if you do too much, they won’t get your best.”  My college roommate’s father, a third-grade teacher, told me this during my first year of teaching.  I was staying late every night and getting burned out.  He helped me accept that I couldn’t chase down every lesson idea or write sentences of explanation for each error.  It gave me the freedom to focus on interaction with kids.  That’s made all the difference.  – Sean McComb

Maybe you can catch up with a Stephen King novel.  Hmm…  if it’s dark, maybe not.

When I was a kid, I believed everything I was told, everything I read, and every dispatch sent out by my own overheated imagination.  This made for more than a few sleepless nights, but it also filled the world…  with colors and textures I would not have traded for a lifetime of restful nights.  – Stephen King

What do you need to do?  Well, I suggest you stop reading this and go REST.  Rest your thumbs so they don’t get arthritis prematurely.  Take a walk and leave your cell phone at home.  No texting.  If you turn your laptop and desktop off completely then you’ll be less tempted to check email or anything else.

Will you celebrate this time of rest with me?  Thinkin’ this guy won’t.

How much more dependent on technology are we in 2015 than we were in 2014?  Is it getting worse?  Is it a generational thing?  Well, of course it is!  When I was a kid I knew how to entertain myself with some of my dad’s old boards, some glue and some of my mom’s leftover yarn!  I used to sit for hours at the kitchen table, creating abstract works of art with these mediums!  Some of them were really quite GROOVY!  LOL!!!

Man is still the most extraordinary computer of all.  – John F. Kennedy

The young people were born into technology and cannot imagine having to use their own imaginations to entertain themselves.  It’s all about communication with them!  The bad news is, they don’t have much inner vision.  The good news is, we are raising great communicators!!!  That’s not a bad thing in the workplace!

What is the sound of no hands texting?  – Brandon Specktor

I’m guessing most of my followers are over 20 years of age, so maybe my plea will not fall on deaf ears.  LOL!!!  Let’s go out and enjoy the real world around us – for just 24 hours.  Prove that you can be connected with those who actually live in your world.  You may learn something you would not have learned about them otherwise, you never know.  Wink!  😉

 

 

 

PURPLE HEART DAY

TL 8-8 PURPLE HEART DAY

8-8 TEMPTATION'S TUNNELOn this day in 1782, in Newburgh, New York, General George Washington, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army, created the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver, with the word Merit stitched across the face in silver. The badge was to be presented to soldiers for “any singularly meritorious action” and permitted its wearer to pass guards and sentinels without challenge. The honoree’s name and regiment were also to be inscribed in a “Book of Merit”.
Click image to enlarge

Today I overcame temptation and wanted someone to award me with the purple heart (or something similar).  This morning I was standing at the counter in Starbuck’s looking at all the really great espresso and lattes on the menu board. I was tempted to order something other than the tall skinny mocha latte I usually get.

Here is my thought process: For nearly FIVE YEARS I have tried to be good with my diet to support my husband on his diet. But guess what? I am here at Starbuck’s and I am all alone. If I did order something more yummy than the tall skinny mocha latte – he would never have to know about it! What harm would it do? I’m the only one that would have to know!

Then my brain paused and I caught a glimpse of my reflection (profile – eek!) in the shiny glass where they keep all the decadent pastries and things – and it dawned on me. I would know. Me – and my size 16 petite jeans that I fought so hard to get into… we would know.

I’ve not had to buy women’s sizes for almost 3 years. I’ve exercised myself silly and eaten healthy and for just a moment I thought I could sneak in a 500 calorie beverage. I was tempted.

Did I sin? Praise God – NO, I did not sin! See, those “temptation tunnels” are costly! There is a toll you pay before you enter in. And – if you make a choice to go in, it gets more and more difficult to turn around in there – the passage gets more narrow and darker as you go. You aren’t aware it’s going to do that (you think Satan’s going to tell you?). You just think it’s a tunnel and you’ll go through and come out on the other side into just as much sunlight as there was when you went in.

That’s not how it works. Think twice before you pay the toll and go into that tunnel. God loves you and He will help you out if you’re stuck. There’s no other way out but through Him. Pray and ask God through Christ to help you. He wants to make a way for you.

Some people think that freedom would be choosing the 500 calorie beverage. I think the REAL freedom is choosing the right – choosing FOR MYSELF – what I know is best for me. I choose the skinny mocha latte, not because I’m forced to choose it, but because it is the best choice. I choose to follow Christ because He has my best interest in mind and HE keeps me safe and away from the tunnel of temptation. Praise His Name!  I don’t really need the Purple Heart – I just need God to keep helping me do the right thing. 🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (11)

A good-looking truck driver walked into the offices of Sun Records and the Memphis Recording Service on a Saturday night in the summer of 1953.  He paid $3.98 + tax to make an acetate record for his mother’s birthday.  Sam Phillips recorded Elvis singing “My Happiness” and “That’s When Your Heartaches Begin, ” and told his business partner Marion Kreisler something that made her write down “Good ballad singer.  Hold” in her notes.

Elvis would leave Sun for the big leagues of RCA Records by the end of 1955. But Phillips secured his place in musical history, and made a tidy profit even if it wasn’t $1 billion.

That was the beginning of an amazing singing career.  Elvis loved his mama and because he honored her, his life was blessed.

Elvis_with_parents_1958
Elvis with his parents. Army induction. March 24, 1958

There are literally dozens of You Tube videos of Elvis songs and tributes.  I invite you to visit You Tube today and listen to “That’s Alright Mama”.  What if Elvis had not wanted to honor his mother and make that recording for her birthday?  How different would his life had been?

What does the Bible tell us about honoring our father and mother?  It’s FOR it!  Pro-honor and pro-love of the parents:

 Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.   – Deuteronomy 5:16

I think Elvis honored his mother in part because he felt bad about being the twin that survived.  His twin, Jesse Garon died at birth and Elvis often wondered why he was spared.  He never wanted to disappoint either of his parents, but particularly his mama.

The Bible instructs us to honor our parents.  It does not say obey.  We are to obey them when we are young, but when we are older we are to honor.  This is a wonderful example of honor:

THANK YOU MOM

To honor is to respect with patience and as much love as possible.  That is what makes our Lord smile and makes us good children.