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!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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!  🙂

 

 

Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Not all preachers stand behind a pulpit on Sunday morning at 10:45 am and again at 6 pm.  Anyone who claims the name of Christ is to be sharing the good news of His gospel with others in any way possible.  Sometimes it means writing a blog post every day, feeling humbled in your heart and a bit jumbled in your brain because of dyslexia.  God can use what I write though – not because it’s so riveting and exciting…  but because it’s what God wants me to write.  A wise writer once told me that I need to share what I write whether I think it’s good or not because God knows somebody who needs to read it.  He’ll make sure what I write gets seen by the right people.

Have you ever seen someone get reproved or rebuked by someone with patience?  It’s rare that a person can actually do that because there’s usually some degree of emotion involved and sadly, it’s generally anger.  But I got to witness a pastor reprove and rebuke someone on his staff once and by the time he was finished, I felt as if I’d been in the most wonderful class ever on diplomacy and tact.  I knew that God’s Holy Spirit was guiding every gesture he made and every word he said.  He got the point across and there were absolutely no hurt feelings and he didn’t have a bit of damage control to worry about.  Thank God! 

To exhort means to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.  It can be dicey to do this, but there are times when it’s necessary.  Again, if we will take time before rushing in to seek God’s Holy Spirit and let Him guide our words and actions, it’s amazing how much better things will go.  Nobody wants to hurt feelings, but when there are differences of opinion, rather than knock heads together as you’d do in your own wisdom – ask God to help you as you negotiate a compromise in the situation.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  There’s a blessing waiting for you if you’ll do things God’s way.  Have you read the story of Jonah?  I rest my case. 

I keep thinking about that last phrase…  with COMPLETE patience and teaching.  That’s impossible to do in our own strength!  The natural man has nearly zero patience.  If you don’t believe me, drive around downtown Wichita at 5 pm on any weeknight.  Horns honk and fingers flip…  um, exercise.  Yep – road rage…  the struggle is real, folks.

God gave His all for me – He just keeps on loving me.  He hasn’t given up on me, so I need to hang in there with others.  Only through God’s Holy Spirit can we develop COMPLETE patience and teaching.  It’s a preacher’s job to lead by example and while yes they’re human (we do get that) – but like every Christian who has been a Christian for a number of years, there should be that desire to be patient with the congregation.  Is it easy?  Nope.  Is it possible with God’s help?  Yep.

Today is the first day of CONSIDER CHRISTIANITY WEEK!!!  I hope you will accept Jesus into your heart and life today.   If you are a Christian, don’t forget to share your faith with someone this week.   

Well, 2 Timothy 4:2 is my birthday verse.  I’m 56 years old today – woo-hoo!  I wrote a silly little poem from my silly little heart.

I really do love the rain.  I loved it more before I wore glasses because the rain messes my lenses up – but I still love the rain.  I can remember having snow a couple of times on my birthday, which I’m not a big fan of – one time I had to cancel a birthday party because we had so much snow.  That was a major bummer all the way around.

You know I love donkeys, right?  Well – if you didn’t know before, now you do.  Look what I found…

Keep sharing your faith wherever you go, and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you have COMPLETE patience and teaching with everyone.  Just plant the gospel seeds.  The world won’t be forced with an iron fist and we can’t yell anyone to the altar.  We just have to love folks and pray for them.  🙂

 

 

DANDELION DAYS

TL 5-6 DANDELION DAYS

Here’s a link for you to look at if you’d like to know more about this event.

http://www.dandelionday.org/

My favorite color is yellow – I suppose because it makes me feel happy.  In our neck of the woods, the puffy little yellow flowers are called weeds, but this event celebrates and protects dandelions!  I hope you’ll take a look at the link because it looks like they are gearing up for some serious fun.

I just finished designing a cute poem by Lucinda.  It’s about…  you guessed it – DANDELIONS!  I have to share it today.PUFFY GOLDEN FLOWERSHow much do you know about dandelions?  Well, beginning with the bad news, 30% of America’s water supply is spent watering lawns in an effort to keep non-native grasses green and weed free.  Pesticides are applied to kill off dandelions and other weeds as well.  Dandelions are common weeds that can harm your lawn’s growth by establishing deep roots in the soil.

Now it’s time to hear the good qualities:  The dandelion flower opens when the sun comes up and closes when the sun goes down.  Some folks eat dandelion salads!  They are also used for medicine and even dye for clothing.  Before the 1800’s people actually pulled the grass from their lawns to make room for dandelions and other useful weeds like chickwee, chamomile and malva.  Most people cannot name the weeds in their yard, but almost everyone knows a dandelion by sight.  Why are these puffy golden flowers called dandelions?  It’s taken from the French word “dent de lion” which means lions tooth, referring to the coarsely-toothed leaves.horse-108441_1920

Dandelions are God’s happy yellow spots dotted across pasture land.dandelion-735814_1920

dandelion-468198_1920

The First Dandelion

Simple and fresh and fair from winter’s close emerging,

As if no artifice of fashion, business, politics, had ever been,

Forth from its sunny nook of shelter’d grass–innocent, golden, calm as the dawn,

The spring’s first dandelion shows its trustful face.

Source: “Leaves of Grass,” by Walt Whitman

Isn’t the simplicity of spring a blessing?  I think the most precious thing to see is a child walking toward me carrying a wicker basket filled with dandelions.  Let’s make memories we can cherish our whole lives.  🙂

NATIONAL FROG MONTH

TL APRIL IS NATIONAL FROG MONTHAccording to fairy tales, these rather slimy creatures turn into a prince when you kiss them…  um…  I don’t know that to be a fact, but I do know that they sing out loud and strong after it rains here in Wichita!  Sometimes we refer to a heavy rain here in Kansas as a toad strangler…  but it doesn’t really hurt the frogs.  They still croak in sweet harmony when the rain is over.YOU MATTERIt’s so easy to take the sounds of nature for granted.  We hear the frogs croak, the birds chirp and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees – but do we stop to thank God for any of it?  I admit I don’t always…  but once in a while I sit outside and just take it all in, and I have to close my eyes and say a little prayer of thanks to God – I thank Him for my sense of hearing and for the familiar sounds that let me know that everything is okay in my world.Linda - Quote - Frog Jumping Day-screenshot

I’m so thankful that I grew up in the country…  we didn’t have a pond close by, but we had very deep ditches, and every year I got to watch the little tadpoles swimming around.  It seems like a simple childhood activity, but those are some of the happiest memories I hold dear today.children-767034_1920tadpoles-338627_1920It was really great to visit my grandparents on the farm in the spring…  the frogs and tiny tadpoles in their pond were fun to watch – and there were more of them.  sunbeam-292987_1920

I love to watch the little baby animals in the springtime, don’t you?  New life…  new experiences…  new hope!

Of course, we know the acronym for F.R.O.G. – it is FULLY RELY ON GOD!    Let’s keep that in mind today as we appreciate His creation – frogs! FULLY RELY ON GODBABIES IN THE SPRINGTIME

If you have children, make sure they get to see something other than the screen of their new phone.  Show them the babies of springtime…  show them the tadpoles swimming around in the pond.  The wonders of nature and the way God set things up – are amazing for kids of all ages!  I hope that today you will slow down and sit down outside…  close your eyes and take it all in.  🙂

 

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

https://youtu.be/hNDI0QolYm0

John sent me a great video!  He said this is a hidden creek 10 miles Southeast of Augusta, Kansas.  His appreciation for God’s creation makes me want to go out and plant a garden.  Okay, at the very least, it makes me want to go outside and make mud pies!  🙂

Under the giving snow blossoms a daring spring.  – Terri Guillemets

FLOWERS IN THE SNOW

It was quite a sight to see snow on Easter morning, but isn’t that just like God?  You know, when I taught Sunday School, my favorite lessons were object lessons.  Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a visual learner.  You can talk me to death, but until I see something and have it click in my own mind, talking just doesn’t do much good.  Don’t make me read boring statistics either, or you’ll lose me completely.  I believe God sent that snow to remind us that on Easter, the plan of Salvation was completed and He is more than able and willing to wash our sins as white as snow.

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.  – Romans 10:9-10

Spring is a time of renewal – a time to begin anew.  What a great time to ask God into your heart and life.  He wants to be the Lord of your life.  Let’s pray this simple prayer together.  If you already know Jesus as Lord and Savior, what a great prayer of rededication and recommitment to Him:

Lord Jesus Christ,

I know that I have sinned
and done things that have hurt you.

I am willing to turn away
from what is wrong in my life.

I want to go where you lead in the future.

Thank you for dying on the cross
so that I might be forgiven.


Come into my life this day;
Come in as my Saviour and Lord:
Come in to be with me for ever.


Thank you Lord Jesus.
Amen.

You know – sometimes God’s children just need to laugh.  Before it gets too far away from Easter, I want to share a poem with you.  My friend Deanna posted a photo and said it was a naked peep taking a bath in her cup of hot tea.  I thought I’d split a stitch, I laughed so hard!  How could that not become a poem?  Laughter is one of many…  gifts from Heaven.  🙂

GIFTS FROM HEAVEN

 

 

LAST DAY OF WINTER

TL 3-19 LAST DAY OF WINTER

I’m so ready, aren’t you???  Lately, I’ve been awakened by birds and sunlight streaming into my room.  Once we get past the initial shock of Daylight Savings Time, that’s when the real magic begins.  We look forward to tee-shirt weather and longer evenings.  Some of us also muddle through allergies, but it’s still worth it.HE'S STILL CREATING

In Kansas we’ve learned to approach the first day of spring with a cautious optimism.  I have memories of April snow storms!  One year I was hosting a birthday tea on April 2nd – and had to call around at the last-minute because there was a winter storm raging outside!  But I don’t feel that doubt this year like I have in years past – maybe because Easter is so early.  I think we’re safe from winter’s sneaky game this year.

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another.  The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month.  – Henry van Dyke

I took my first walk outdoors yesterday.  For starters, I survived – yay!  I wore sweats and thought that would be warm enough, but the breeze was still fairly chilly.  My ears felt a little sore when I got home, but I’m no worse for wear.  There’s something special about knowing the walks will be outside.  I don’t enjoy walking on a treadmill and find it very dull.IT'S A PERFECT DAY TO FEEL GREATOur local Lowe’s is getting all set up for spring and summer in their garden center.  Whether you plant vegetables or flowers, there’s an excitement about playing in the dirt!  Even after we’re adults, we make mud pies – oh, come on – admit it!  You still like to make mud pies!

It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want — oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  – Mark Twain

Will you fly a kite this month?  It’s been years since I’ve done that!  I used to live across the street from a popular park where people would go to fly kites.  Those are good memories.  I used to take my Sunday School class to the park to fly kites and have a picnic in March.  I made them promise to show up for Sunday School – and most of them kept that promise.GOD HAS POURED OUT HIS LOVEWe plant the seed and God provides everything that little seed needs to grow into something wonderful.  It’s true for plants, flowers and people.  When we plant the seed of God’s Word, He makes it grow!  Just keep on plantin’…  that’s what we’re here for, right?  🙂

INTERNATIONAL FANNY PACK DAY

TL 3-12 INTERNATIONAL FANNY PACK DAY

On this day in 2007, Nick Yates gave a homeless man in Portland, Oregon some fruitcake he had in his fanny pack.  So many questions come to mind – such as:

  • Was the fruitcake leftover from Christmas?
  • Who carries fruitcake in a fanny pack?
  • Why are we celebrating fanny packs?  :-/

Fanny packs are a variation on a buffalo pouch.  Buffalo pouches may also be worn on the wrist or carried on the front of the chest, hanging by a strap or lanyard.  Native Americans used buffalo pouches instead of sewing pockets into their clothing.

Shoulder bags can cause serious damage to shoulders over time and women with arthritis have a difficult time carrying handbags without experiencing pain.  The answer for many women is the fanny pack.

Fanny packs also make a great dog carrier…  well, sort of.

enhanced-buzz-13708-1246032015-1I don’t have to drive anywhere to workout, but a lot of folks like to walk at the park.  Since you have to drive to get to the park, you need to at least carry your driver’s license.  Fanny pack to the rescue!  They’re just big enough to hold a few things – like your license and a few bucks maybe.

Where will you go with your fanny pack today?

Getting through airport security is a breeze with a fanny pack because it keeps your pockets empty.  The tiny things that you pack in your full-size purse (like fingernail clippers), are easier to find.  The fanny pack is small enough to pass unnoticed and doesn’t count against your allotted carry-on and personal item.

Fanny packs are made of all different materials – I saw a leather one for $150 and nearly fainted!  There are polka dots, stripes, Hello Kitty, Captain America, and many more!  They are for both men and women.  Most run from around $10 – $40 and some are machine washable.

Here’s my favorite:il_570xN.569883429_gn7gI like birds and these colors are beautiful.  I don’t have a fanny pack, but I do have some shoulder pain from carrying a traditional shoulder bag for my whole adult life.  Some days the pain encourages me to consider buying a fanny pack.  Pain can be quite persuasive.FOLLOW ME, FANNY PACK

Whether you’re planning a flight or going to your local carnival, if you want to travel light and prevent shoulder pain in the future, consider wearing a fanny pack!  🙂

I want to remind you to SPRING AHEAD tonight!  Move your clocks ahead one hour for Daylight Savings Time!

Lucinda reminds us in this cute poem!SPRING AHEADSo, along with the rabbits, kangaroos, lemurs, penguins, frogs and dolphins – I plan to SPRING into spring!  How ’bout you?  😉