Fresh Start

What if I invited you to my house for lunch and decided to serve a salad.  I have every imaginable kind of dressing available to choose from.  I have wonderful homemade lemonade to drink.  I covered the dining room table with nice clean linens and set it with my best silverware and dishes.  I have cloth napkins beside each place setting.  You walk in and stagger back a bit because you are so impressed!

Then after we say the blessing over our little lunch, I bring the big bowl of salad to the table.  You are expecting to see a beautiful green salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and crispy rings of red onion.  Everything else has been so clean and fresh, why wouldn’t the salad live up to expectations?

As I’m walking toward the table with the huge bowl, I start to apologize and explain that I had to use the lettuce and spinach that I bought a few months ago, and the tomatoes had some signs of spoilage, but I peeled all the white stuff off, so they should be just fine.  If the onion rings look a bit slimy, don’t worry about it.  😉  

Once you got over the shock and confusion, I’m betting the excuses to leave would be flowing like water!  Um…  I forgot to feed my pet gazelle – I really need to GO!  My house would be cleared out before you know it!

Everything was so right – but the salad was not FRESH!

As we entered into 2018, did we do so as the same spoiled and stale people we were in 2017?  Did we ask the LORD to make us new and give us a fresh start? 

Let’s break this quote down a bit.  A key word in the first part of the quote is APPEAR.  Some circumstances do seem insurmountable.  They seem irreversible.  Absolutely true!  Some really are, such as divorce, addiction, and loss through death.  I’m here to remind you that even the WORST circumstances can be made better through a relationship with Christ.  He can take anything and make it better.  The pain is not going to leave, but if you will give it to Him, it’ll surprise you because He will help you cope so much better.

And, let’s be honest.  Some circumstances that were not pleasant are brought back to our minds by the enemy of our souls.  Those are the ones we need to give to God and ask Him to take the pain away.  Thinking about them over and over will not change the outcome.  Putting them under the blood and telling the enemy of our soul that he will not win – that will set us free!

Father,  I pray that we will hand our difficult circumstances to You right now so You can give us a FRESH start.  We know that pain will not go away completely, but we know that You make all things new, and You specialize in making our lives better.  As we turn our hearts and lives over to You, I pray You will touch us and begin to do miraculous things, and as You do, we will be careful to give You the praise and glory!  We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Do whatever YOU gotta do to get through.  Yes, Lord!  We need to say that prayer every day, don’t we?

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.  Let it GO!  – Chonda Pierce

So true!  In my life, 99% of the stuff I drive myself crazy trying to understand is stuff that the devil has tempted me to think about – again.  It’s always stuff that can’t be changed no matter how often it comes to mind.  I’m convinced that it doesn’t just come to mind – it’s put there by the devil to drag me down.  We’ve got to learn how to take those thoughts captive and say:

ENOUGH, DEVIL!  I’ve put this under the precious blood of Christ – and you need to quit putting it back in my mind.  Go sit on a tack and leave me alone!

We can do that, you know.  There is a reference in the book of Luke, but also one in Matthew where Christ is talking to Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  – Matthew 16:23

As earnest as Peter was trying to be, Christ knew that he was going to betray Him!  He knew that the devil was being a stumbling block to Him.  In this same way, we are to hold thoughts captive and hand them to God – let them go, saying,

“Get thee behind me, satan, in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.”

It’s okay to call him on the bad thoughts he dumps in your mind.

Then invite the light of Christ in to your mind.  Sing songs of praise to Him and pray with a smile on your face!  Make your day all about Him!

Ask Him for a fresh start – each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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New Soul

I want a new soul – a soul that is more kind, more compassionate, and more obedient to God.  The opinion that others have of me pales compared to the opinion that God has of me.  I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into your rest.”

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  – Matthew 16:26

What good is a new year, a new beginning, if we don’t have a change?  Consider that the change does not have to be physical.  Yes, that’s what we see in each other – but what about a change of soul?  I know you probably don’t think much about your soul…  that invisible part of you; but what if I told you it’s well worth taking some time this year to ask your Heavenly Father what He would like to see changed in you.  There’s always room for improvement – in all of us!

A new soul…  a heart and mind like that of Christ Jesus, our Lord!  What does that look like?  It looks like moving forward in truth and right living, at whatever pace you can.  It looks like doing your very best in the face of difficulties that could slow you down.

Since New Year’s Day I’ve read and heard so many people teaching us how to be successful either financially or in our appearance.  It’s amazing how often we see these articles or hear these advertisements – but we don’t see or hear anyone emphasizing the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy soul.  Is any amount of money worth losing your soul?  Can a person lose all the weight they need to lose and still have an unhealthy soul?  Of course!

There is not a job, profession, time not spent in prayer, time not spent reading your Bible – that is worth it!  There are a gazillion ways to be successful here on earth, but be careful – because some of those methods involve the exchange of your soul.  I know, you are rolling your eyes and calling me crazy – but I’m right.

I know this is really long…  but take some time and take a look at this:

Oh I really like this!  

There is one way to be successful as God’s child.  Read your Bible and pray.  Does that mean you can’t have the best of both worlds?  According to God’s Word, it’s nearly impossible for a RICH man to make it to Heaven.  It likens a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Have you ever seen a camel go through the eye of a needle?  Yeah…  neither have I.  

Once we dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ, our priorities change.  We are not interested in the same things as those who are only after earthly successes.  We want different outcomes in life.  That’s why Christians are sometimes said to live IN the world without being a part OF the world.

The soul may be the most quiet part of you, but it’s not good to ignore what your soul needs.  Your soul longs for Christ and His love, peace and merciful salvation.  Let His amazing grace be your goal in this new year!

I invite you to take a look at this sermon on Philippians 2 from Darick Jones.  I worked with his mom, Pam, for several years.  Darick makes some good points here and I know I plan to glean and grow – hope you will too.  🙂

http://www.fbcclearwater.org/sermons-2/

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

Have you heard the expression, “Garbage in, garbage out” – ???  Well…  there’s a flip side to that expression that is much more positive.  How about “God’s love in, God’s love out” – ???  If we study God’s Word and think on His precepts…  what will shine forth from our lives?  It doesn’t get better than that, does it?  When we focus on His love – we will SHINE!

Everything in life begins with a thought – good or bad.  Again with the choices, right?  God gives us free will – it’s what He wants for us – and it makes Him so sad if we choose to think bad thoughts, scary thoughts, or live a stressful, worry-filled life.  The Lord wants us to live an abundant life – and lean fully on Him.  God’s so much wiser and bigger than we are – and He knows our thoughts – and He knows that every action we take begins with a single thought.

Choose to think on His goodness, His grace, His mercy and His wonderful love.  These things are praiseworthy – and God is worthy of our praise.  Virtue…  good report…  pure…  lovely… think on these things.

There’s one other thought I want to share about thoughts…  God can read them – but the enemy of your soul cannot.  Since the devil can’t read your thoughts, it’s a good idea to not verbally express some of your thoughts.  Once you speak your thoughts out into the air where satan can hear them…  he can use them against you.  Just one last thought about thoughts.  If you have a thought that you don’t want satan to hear…  take it captive and start praying!  Ask God to turn that thought around – He can help you turn it into something positive and praiseworthy!  Satan can’t work with anything positive that comes out of your mouth.

I like this song – it really grows on you!  When you sing the words of Scripture, it makes it easier to memorize.  🙂

NATIONAL GOOD NEIGHBOR DAY

tl-9-28-national-good-neighbor-day-2WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?  An earnest lawyer asks Jesus this question in Luke 10:29.  Basically, Jesus replied that our neighbor is not just the one who lives next door to us.  A neighbor is a fellow human being on this planet.  It’s anyone who shares the oxygen on earth.  Our Lord desires that we all be GOOD NEIGHBORS and show mutual respect, helping one another along the path.

hands-for-jesus

I’m certainly not suggesting that we lay the burdens of the world on our shoulders.  Nobody could handle that – it’s why we bear one another’s burdens by giving them all to the One who can shoulder and care for us, Christ Jesus.let-us-be-a-light

So how can we be a good neighbor?  Something as a monthly charitable contribution is being a good neighbor because you are helping someone less fortunate along the path.

Always remind people of their worth.  It hurts when it feels like you’re being forgotten.  That small gesture can mean a lot.  – Bobby Fulks

It means we’re not selfish and self-absorbed in our thinking, rather we consider the needs of others before our own needs.  Again, it does not mean that we do not take care of ourselves as we should.  We just share something as simple as a smile or hold a door open for someone.  It  doesn’t have to be a monetary donation.  Give creatively to your fellow-man.give-a-lift-when-needed

The denomination I was part of growing up had a place called THE GOOD NEIGHBOR CENTER.  It’s much like the Salvation Army.  They take donations and distribute clothing and other goods to the less fortunate.  Something as simple as donating to such a place is being a good neighbor to your fellow-man.plant-a-garden-of-love

Do you know someone who is struggling?  Say a prayer for them.  It doesn’t seem like you’re actually “doing much”, but it’s not what we can do for them that really matters.  We know we serve a God who gives exceedingly above anything that we can ask or think.  That’s powerful and when we take a moment to talk to the Father on behalf of another person, that’s putting feet to your faith for them.  When I hear someone say, “I just don’t know what else I can do.  I guess I’ll just pray”…  it makes me shudder because prayer really should be our first resource instead of our last resort.

someones-burning-bushIn this political season, it’s so easy to get caught up in the fight for right.  As Christians, we really need to be careful about becoming too angry because nothing is worth going against our beliefs, values and principles.  We don’t have all the answers about how to care for the truly needy among us while still keeping taxes lower and assuring we have plenty of jobs to go around here in America.  We don’t have answers about how our life-saving medications can become reasonably priced and more assessable for those who must have them.  There are so many unanswered questions.success-begins-with-youI don’t have answers.  I’ll let you in on a secret – those running for the office of President of the U.S. don’t have every answer either.  Here’s what I do know.  EVERYBODY is my neighbor – no exceptions.  In order for America to be the great nation it once was, we NEED to get back to basics.  We NEED prayer.  We NEED to ask the God of the universe, the One who made us, to make our paths straight.  It is only as we read our Bibles and pray on a regular basis that this country will be great again and we will all be the GOOD NEIGHBORS we should be!  🙂

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

vintage-1171961_1280Today I’m going to post some writings about LOVE – a simple reminder that God IS Love…  and He loves you so very much!  Grab a cup of coffee and just take it all in…  ❤

THIS MOMENT

GOD'S GRACE MAKES STRONG LOVE

HEARTS

HE KNOWS MY NAMEMOURNING INTO DANCINGAMAZING LOVEI LOVE YOUJEREMIAH 31 3UNSHAKABLETHE ABC'S OF GOD'S LOVELOVEMOTHER TERESA QUOTEWHEN ALL ELSE FAILSTHE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVETHE LORD GOES WITH YOUMATTHEW 10 311 JOHN 4 19JOHN 15 13MEMOS FROM JESUSTHE BEATTITUDESGOD LOVES MEGOD ALWAYS HASFLESH MAY FAILTHE BEST LISTENERYOU KNOW YOU'RE LOVEDI WILL NEVER LEAVE YOUGOD LOVES YOUYOU ARE RICHGOD SEES YOUR POTENTIALFIRST LOVEHIS LOVE IS EXTRA-LARGEHE LOVED FIRSTHE IS FAITHFULLOVE'S IN THE MIDDLEI SUCCEED IN YOUWHEN YOU LIFT MY SPIRITGOD THE KNITTERGOOD GIFTSLET ME BRING YOUR LOVELIFE4FALL IN LOVECOME ALONGSIDEENCOURAGEMENTGOD LOVES ME WHEN I HURTHE CRIED WITH MEHE'S WILLING TO HELPABBA DADDYGOD CAN CALM THE STORMSGOD HAS YOU IN THESE CHANGESHE WANTS TO HELPI'M GOD'S SOMEBODYHE MADE ME TOUGHERIN HIS ARMSLET ME HELP YOUWHAT JESUS SAIDCHRIST TAUGHT MEMY TREASURE BOXTHE BEST HUGBEING CARRIEDGOD WHISPERS IN THE WINDHE'S ALREADY THEREALL I NEEDGOD STARTS BEFORE MEHIS FAITHFULNESS RENEWS MEMY THANK YOU NOTE TO GODWHEN I THINK OF YOUR GRACEGOD'S AWESOME PLANGOOD THINGS THAT GOD BRINGSLESSONS FOR MY HEARTTHANK YOU GODHOW CAN I THANK YOUTHE CLOTHING OF CHRISTTHROUGH GOD'S WINDOWWE THANK YOU FOR THATI HUG MY SAVIORI SEE GOD'S LOVE IN YOUIT CAME FROM HIMWITH HIMBECAUSE GOD IS LOVEFOR ALL YOU'VE DONEKISSES FROM HEAVENYOU ARE THE POETFOR ALL YOU'VE DONEGLORY TO MY PARTNERGOD'S THEREHE DIED FOR METHANKS FOR BEING THEREDOVES OF LOVEGOD SEES EVERY HEARTGOD IS NEARWILL JESUS BE THEREIMG_0024Smile…  God loves you!  The best part of all…  He loves you 24/7 – not just on Valentine’s Day!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

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!

Click image to enlarge

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!  😉