A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received. ― C. Joy Bell

The grace of God – THE UNMERITED FAVOR of God – is bestowed upon us like manna from Heaven.  As we pray and seek God’s will for our lives, He keeps blessing us with His matchless grace.  We don’t earn God’s grace – and couldn’t if we tried.  Praise God for His gifts in your life today!

And as grace is free, so is it sure. Nothing can change, or alter, or turn away sovereign grace.  – Alexander Whyte

In 1997, Philip Yancey, an American journalist and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, wrote a wonderful book called What’s So Amazing About Grace? which contends that people crave grace and that it’s central to the gospel of Christ.

As the book examines the role of grace in Christianity, it also states that many local churches have ignored grace, instead seeking to exterminate immorality.  It includes stories from the Bible as well as anecdotes from Yancey’s life.

If God’s people choose to ignore God’s grace and take on a more worldly view of sin, declaring that there is no sin – it’s a sad state of affairs indeed – and sinful in itself.  The fact is, we do sin, and we need God’s forgiveness and we’re dependent on the amazing, wonderful, miraculous GRACE of our Lord.

The most popular hymn of all time is AMAZING GRACE.  Why?  Well, I imagine that it’s because the grace of God – the unmerited favor from our Lord – brings a tear to the eye of every child of God.  We know what we deserve, yet God has chosen to bless us because He loves us so much.  As God gives His wonderful grace to us, we must be careful to give Him praise in return.

May God’s wonderful and amazing grace be with you today.  Aren’t we thankful for it?  Pass the Kleenex.    🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.  – Martin Luther

It’s only because of Christ and all He’s done for us that we have eternal life.  His grace is the key to our salvation.

Adam’s sin resulted in death for all who are in him, but Jesus Christ’s obedience in going to the cross resulted in justification of life for all who are in Him. Adam’s sin was credited to all his descendants, but Christ’s righteousness is credited to all who are His descendants through faith in Him.  – Stephen J. Cole

We don’t earn eternal life – but we humble ourselves with grateful hearts before the cross of Christ.  We rely upon His grace and mercy in our lives and for our afterlives.  We can make Heaven our home forever if we believe and claim His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.

Yes, Adam sank our spiritual ship, but God has thrown a life preserver to us. His name is Jesus! What Adam did was the worst thing that ever happened, but what Christ did was the best thing that ever happened.  – Keith Krell

Grace is free to us but very costly to God. – Keith Krell

Even at our worst God loves us.  – Jerry Cosper

God’s the only One who could possibly provide the perfect sacrifice for the horrific sin of man.  As much as we want to think that being a “good person” is enough to earn life in Heaven one day, it’s just not true.  Without the cleansing blood of Christ, we cannot be saved.

We’re not keen on being represented by Adam, but the truth is, if any of us had been the first man, we would not have done anything differently.  The fact is, sin is in this fallen world – but the good news is the gospel of Christ!  He died on Calvary’s cross and that is the only hope for fallen man.  Believe today on Him and you will be saved.  🙂

MOTHER’S DAY

When this photo was taken in June, 1979, I remember how I felt.  I was on top of the world because I had graduated high school (which was an answer to prayer – trust me).  I was working my first job on campus at WSU and had so many big dreams.  Now, looking back at this photo, I don’t feel the same way.  The things that seemed so very important to me in 1979 no longer mean much.

Today I’m thankful for these memories.  I’m so thankful to have this photo and that the Kansas wind wasn’t making a mess of my hair.  LOL!  How precious little things become when we can no longer make new memories.  This picture reminds me of where I came from and what really matters in life.  This was a Sunday mornin’ in June…  and where were we headin’???  Surprise surprise…  we were headin’ for church.

I was raised a hard-nosed Southern Baptist – if the church doors were unlocked, we were there.  We had Sunday School, Church, dinner on the grounds, choir practice and Training Union.  My mama was in WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) and my daddy did a lot of carpentry around the church.  One time he made a whole set of little people furniture for the Primary classroom.  He didn’t talk much, but actions speak louder than words.

What do mothers do for us?  Well, when we’re very small – they do everything for us.  I was thankful for a few things my mom taught me – there were many things, of course, but some just come to mind quicker than others.

I am ever so grateful to my mother for showing me which utensil to use at a formal dinner – and the whole napkin in the lap thing.  Why?  As it happens, I was invited to a very fancy formal dinner given by the President of WSU.  There were courses…  so many courses.  I felt as though we were being timed as we ate – because guess what?  If we were not quite finished…  our plates were taken from us!  The purpose of a dinner like that is not to eat but to socialize.

When we’re learning things from mom, it’s a natural reaction to roll eyes or wonder why we will ever need to know certain rules of society.  I’ll tell you a secret…  moms know why they are showing you this stuff.  I wish now I had not rolled my eyes so much or had teenage attitude with my mom.

My mother was a beacon – a light.  She gave me everything I needed to do what I had to do in life.  God of course guided her to teach me, and she was obedient and was the mom she needed to be.  I’m so thankful.

I want to share a Scripture with you that means so much to me.

Mothers are teachers and examples for their children.  This Scripture reminds us that we are all to be a light.  Whether we are parents or brothers or sisters – or just friends…  we have influence on others wherever we go.

Let God’s light shine through you today.  Happy Mother’s Day – to mothers everywhere.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Our salvation has nothing to do with us – Christ died for everyone on the planet – not because we are good enough or worth dying for in any way – but because HE loved us!  We did not love Him – which is obvious as we explore God’s Word.  God knows we are unworthy sinners and He knows there’s nothing we can do to earn forgiveness from Him.  It’s about HIS LOVE for fallen man – and it’s about HIS unending mercy and grace toward us.

The word love is thrown around in unbelievable ways these days.  I would go so far as to say if you don’t know God’s love and the extent of it in your personal life, you really don’t know what true love is.   It’s more than feelings or emotions – which are nice, but they don’t last for the long haul.  God’s love will sustain and satisfy.  His love will never disappoint you.

God’s pure eternal love is like a warm hug – wrapped in hope, peace, joy, and truth.  If I was to define love, I’d say God’s love is the genuine article.  God always has your back because He cares deeply for you and wants the very best for you always.  He gives love with no hidden agenda and He just wants us to love Him in return.  Can you love Christ, whom you have not seen?  Do you know when the wind is blowing?  You can’t see it.

I will trust when I cannot see

When I’m faced with adversity

And believe His will is always best for me

I will trust when I cannot see.

Know that no matter what’s going on in your life, God loves you and He’s working in your circumstance to help your situation.  God loves you with the kind of love that can be trusted and you can rely on Him to keep His Word.  He loved us first – will you love Him in return?  Have a wonderful Sunday.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

How can such a large tree (if indeed it is a tree) come from such a tiny seed?  We’re told that faith the size of a mustard seed is large as well.  I don’t know whether anyone wears these anymore – but my mom and dad gave me a necklace that held a single mustard seed.  It was my high school graduation and I was anxious about leaving all the things that were familiar.  That little mustard seed went with me to college and beyond.  It meant so much to have that reminder as my companion.

I am small – but HE is so big!  In this case, however… I believe the example of the mustard seed was used for a couple of different reasons:

  1. The Lord wants us to know that Heaven is so much – not only larger than we can possibly imagine – but also He wants us to rest assured that it is so much better than we’ve ever known down here on earth.  On one hand, we’re urged to share our faith everywhere we go – but on the other hand, we’re invited to bask in the greatness of what Heaven will be – a place like we’ve never known and cannot imagine because our finite minds are not able to imagine – but our hearts long for…
  2. The kingdom of heaven is at its fullest in Christ. That is why wherever Jesus went, the sick were healed, demons were cast out, and the dead were even raised. Because none of those things exist in the kingdom of heaven and Jesus walked in such a way that He brought heaven to earth. He passed this authority on to his disciples, telling them to do the same thing. And He wants us to have an abundant life, which would require complete surrender to Jesus and the Holy Spirit (which would mean that God’s domain/kingdom is expanding in us). So, we too, are called to expand Christ’s kingdom on earth preaching and teaching His wonderful Gospel – reminding others that His kingdom is at hand.  We don’t know the day nor the hour of His returning – but until that wonderful day, we can try to imagine our Heavenly home – but that’s all we can do – we can only imagine. Thank you so much for joining me for this week’s Bible study!  Have a blessed week in the Lord!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you thought about what it means to be a Christian?  I’m sure we all know the automatic definition that we were taught from childhood – Christian means “little Christ” – and that’s true.  Here in Proverbs we’re given a recipe for good clean livin’ – but I will say these things are not easy to do at times.  So often we have to seek God’s help so we can be the kind of person our Lord wants us to be.  He loves us so much and wants to be our guide.

If we can learn to fear less and have stronger faith in our Father above – that’s the key – trusting completely in Dr. Jesus – believing that He has every situation under control.  God has been so faithful to me in every circumstance I find myself in – so why would I stop now?  His ways are the best ways, and so I will keep looking straight ahead at Him, waiting for His help.

God is more reliable than any GPS…  does your compass or GPS know the future?  God knows what’s going to happen before it happens.

I want to be on HIS side and in His boat – don’t you?  I may need to walk on water sometime – and yes, Lord, I’ll try to have faith to look at You instead of looking at my own feet.  God is my source for all the power and strength I’ll ever need.

While I’ve been down with sciatica (actually, this is the lowest I’ve been in quite a while), I’m trying to feed my mind with positive God-centered things.  Yesterday I watched “God is For Real”.  I love that we’ll get to meet our children that were miscarried – and I love that nobody in Heaven needs glasses – oh, and that everyone is young in Heaven!  I really like that!  If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  🙂

http://www.heavenlive.org/

I believe little Colton Burpo’s story – everything he talks about aligns with Biblical principles as far as I can see.  I know the book & movie have been out for about 3 years, but the story gives me chills every time I read it or see the movie.

Please keep me in your prayers.  I’m not able to walk far right now or sit up straight.  Sciatica is such a weird thing – there are days when the pain is just awful – then there are days that aren’t so bad.  It’s just a low point, but I’ve learned to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him for healing and to provide answers to my questions.  🙂

EASTER

I have exciting news!  I’m going to start posting a weekly blog post beginning today!  I’ll be covering more Scripture verses and give you an opportunity to study it for yourself for a week.  Obviously, John 20:6 is the Scripture about the resurrection of Christ – HE AROSE!!!  Without the resurrection of Christ, Christmas would be meaningless.

Today we have joy, peace, and HOPE that was not possible before God raised Christ from the dead!  Aren’t we thankful for what Jesus did for us on Calvary and beyond?  When the stone was rolled away and God raised Christ from the dead…  salvation’s wondrous plan was done.  All that’s left is for us to believe and with faith, trust that God through Christ has us in His very capable hands – and with His Holy Spirit, will help us navigate our way through.

I’ve heard so many sermons about this passage of Scripture.  We know that Peter was a bold sort – a fisherman by trade – we might call him rugged, unpolished, a diamond in the rough.  He’s the sort who speaks before thinking and ends up having to apologize later.  That may sound familiar to some.  LOL!

For this week, I want us to think about 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

I was taught that a verse that begins with THEREFORE needs to be investigated further.  We need to know what came before this verse, so we know what it is THERE FOR… so – verse 15 says:

As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  – 2 Corinthians 4:15

It’s not that I’m against doing all I can to preserve myself outwardly – believe me.  I don’t welcome these crows feet around my eyes at all – but I try to call them smile lines to keep it positive.  The question really is, does your outward maintenance mean more than your inward maintenance?  So much mental struggle could be helped if we’d just put as much importance on studying God’s Word as we do on spa days for the outward body.  Let’s face it, when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask me how many spa days I took (which I could count on one hand) – but He will ask how many times I shared the gospel of Christ with others.

True Christianity is about living a balanced life.  God gave us one body and one soul, along with a great owner’s manual, if we’ll take the time to read it.  The Bible teaches us so much about ourselves and how to care for body, soul and mind.

I had a friend who always tried to put things together without reading instructions.  It made me crazy!  He’d end up with extra pieces – or needing pieces, then scratched his head because he couldn’t figure out how that happened.  Really?

Have a wonderful week and leave this blog some love if you like it.  Thanks!  🙂