FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the first Sunday of ADVENT.

As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus, certain truths naturally surface to the top of our minds.  For me, one of the most obvious truths is that without the birth of Christ, our Redeemer and Savior…  we would most assuredly be doomed in a spiritual sense.  That would make us completely hopeless, wouldn’t you agree?

The word I want to focus on today is HOPE.  Christ came to earth as a baby, was raised in our world as a normal human, then gave His LIFE – for mankind.  That is the essence of HOPE.  It’s hope in a nutshell, you might say.the-name-of-hopeIf we as Christians really stop and think about it, we have absolutely no excuse to worry about anything!  There is a complete assurance for not only the present, but for all eternity, when we place our full trust and dependence on God.  His provision for us, physically, spiritually, in all ways – is perfect!  He really is ALL we need in this life and in the life to come.  Do you believe that?  I do!christmas-prayer-about-hope

The good thing about the HOPE we find in the Holy Trinity is that, it never fades.  HOPE from the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit is with us from the moment we accept it.  Hope is not here one day and gone the next.  As much as I enjoy receiving Christmas presents from friends and family – I know that those MATERIAL THINGS are going to perish at some point.  They will get broken or lost – they could easily suffer in some manner because they are only things.  The HOPE in my heart that comes from God is never going to go away.  And, while there are some who think that the government can somehow take their hope from them…  I do not subscribe to that belief at all.  The world did not give this hope to me.  The world cannot take it away from me!

The HOPE is Christ.  The HOPE is given to us by God.  All you have to do is receive it with a grateful heart.  I receive His gift of HOPE today, tomorrow and forever – do you?  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I had an amazing opportunity to attend a WOMEN OF FAITH conference in my hometown.  To describe the wonderful energy in that place would take every word in the dictionary!  It was definitely a highlight in my life and I felt so blessed that my very good friend saw to it that I got a ticket.  God makes my path cross with so many great people!

I was standing in the line for the restroom (well, of course I was – duh!)  I was not eavesdropping on purpose…  really I wasn’t.  I could not help but overhear a conversation between the lady behind me and her friend standing behind her.  Then I heard it – OH MY GOD!!!

I cringed…  I hear it in the “WORLD” all the time – and I deal with it because that’s what has to happen.  I’m not a baby – I know there are ignorant people in the world who don’t know they are offending a real person.  More than offending actually – taking His name – His Holy, Righteous, Name above all Names…  IN VAIN.  It’s a COMMANDMENT – one of the BIG TEN, in fact.THOU SHALT NOT

I expect ignorance OUT THERE – but I was IN HERE – in this meeting with WOMEN OF FAITH.  I wonder if people in the church remember that we’re supposed to be DIFFERENT than the ones outside the church?  Yes, I did think for a split second that maybe it was a non-believer who was invited by a believer – in hopes that she would come to know Jesus as her personal Savior.  That certainly could have been the case.  I hope it was – and I hope she did.

It just seems like so much of the world seeps into the church instead of the other way around.  It’s difficult to have to live IN this world and not be OF it.  Things slip out – oh I totally understand.  When they do, God’s Holy Spirit checks us – we repent and we go from there and do our best to keep it from happening again.  God is quick to forgive our transgressions – even when we take His most Holy Name in vain.

It’s just scary to think that the OMG has found its way into the church – and when it’s said there is no shame – no remorse – no regret.  Just because the world accepts it, doesn’t mean that God’s people should accept it.

I try to say OH MY WOW…  I get very strange looks when I say OH MY WOW…  but oh well.  I sorta kinda hope it catches on inside the church doors… because people of GOD don’t need to be saying OMG – we can say LOL all day long – but adopt the OMW.  Seriously – we need to be separate from the world – give it a try – you might like being different.  OH MY WOW!!!  🙂

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂

ROMANS 3:25 ON 3/25

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 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.  – Romans 3:25

WORDS WITH CHANGE

Have you ever stopped to consider that God willingly gave His only Son to die on the cross just for you?

Did He do that for angels?  No.  The angels were there, watching and weeping, but the work of redemption on Calvary’s cross was not to save the angels.  They understood the majesty and wisdom and goodness of God toward man.  As God provided the perfect Lamb for unworthy sinners, the angels had a bird’s eye view and watched intently.

Did He do that for Satan and his demons?  No.  They have already rejected God and see the cross only as the point where Jesus bruised the serpent’s head.  Evil sees the cross through its own eyes with its own twisted interpretation.  They do not admit defeat even then and will never declare the powerful truth that Jesus is King of kings and Lord of lords.

The one and only reason God sent Jesus to die on the cross was for your salvation.  Now it’s up to you to either accept this precious gift that was purchased with His blood – or reject it.  You were given free will by your Creator to either follow Christ or follow Satan.  There’s no in-between.

Remember, if you’re headed in the wrong direction, God allows U-turns!  – Allison Gappa Bottke

ALL BECAUSE OF GOD’S AMAZING GRACE

1.

Amazing grace O how sweet the sound,
That saved a poor sinner like me!
Though once I was lost, yet now I am found,
Though I was blinded, now I see!

2.

And it’s all because of God’s amazing grace!
Because on Calvary’s Mountain he took my place!
And someday, some glorious morning,
I shall see him face to face,
All because of God’s amazing grace.

3.

Through disappointment through danger, too,
Through labors and sorrows we’ve come!
But God’s grace has guided safely through,
And someday it will take us home!

4.

Then with the ransomed around God’s throne,
We will praise our Redeemer and King!
We will tell how his mercy for sin did atone;
Through countless ages this song we’ll sing;

5.

It was all because of God’s amazing grace!
Because on Calvary’s Mountain he took my place!
And someday, some glorious morning,
I shall see him face to face,
All because of God’s amazing grace.

Cho.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound,
And someday, some glorious morning,
I shall see him face to face,

Tag.   All because of God’s amazing grace!

God’s grace…  it’s pretty amazing, huh???  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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HIS EYES

All I ever wanted since I arrived here on earth was the same things I needed as a baby; to go from cold to warm, lonely to held, the vessel to the giver, empty to full.  – Anne Lamott

If you could trade places with one person for one year, who would it be?  Maybe it would be your best friend because in your mind he / she has a better life.  Maybe it’s someone you admire and aspire to be like.  It could be someone famous who has seemingly succeeded in life.  Maybe it’s someone in your family, or your spouse.  If I could be my spouse for a year, I’d have a new appreciation for him – having to live with the likes of me.  LOL!

Do blondes have more fun?  Maybe you’d like to be a blonde for a year and find out.  Are brunettes taken more seriously and rise up the corporate ladder more quickly?  Be a brunette for a year and find out.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be autistic or dyslexic?  Be someone who has those challenges for a year.  As a dyslexic, let me tell you, a year is plenty of time to realize the frustrations.

Are you a boss with employees?  Maybe you’d like to be one of your employees to see just how good a boss you are.  Maybe as an employee, you’d like to be the boss for a year and find out how tough it is to be in charge.

PRAYER ABOUT USING GIFTS

Would you like to be someone rich and have money to help those in need?  Would you like to be one in need so that you appreciate little things after the year is over?  Would you like to be a great evangelist like Billy Graham?

We all have people we look up to and want to pattern our lives after.  I used to wish I could be a better musician.  I didn’t have a particular person in mind, but I knew I wanted to play the piano better than I did.

The stupidest argument to have with somebody is when you tell them what to like.  How can somebody argue with you about what you like?  “Hot sauce?”  Hey, it’s my mouth.  – Andre’ Benjamin

There are very few people who have not wished that they could be someone else at one time or the other.  We are all unique individuals with gifts and talents from our Creator.  Bottom line:  I don’t like hot sauce, but I have absolutely no problem with you eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want to.

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God loves you because you are YOU!

When we get to the point where we like being who we are and accept others for who they are, we begin to find that happy place on the planet.  We snuggle in and start to get comfortable in our own skin and in our own mind.  God loves you because you are – you!  😀

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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MY SAVIOR'S CROSS

I pray for America every day. This is a message we need to hear today.

It’s true, once you mention the cross of Christ, people start squirming and get very uncomfortable. There is no middle ground – you are either a believer or you are not. Back in 1974 in a small Southern Baptist church, I felt like my legs were made of steel as I stood filled with conviction, knowing I needed to go forward but not able to move! It seemed like once I took that first step, everything became easier. Once I accepted Christ as my personal Savior, my burdens flew away and a new life started for me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it’s not a magic potion and it is not a formula for making all the bad stuff in life disappear; however, if you have Christ in your heart, He does promise to help you every day of your life. He tells us to take HIS yoke upon us. His is a yoke that we can bear. Nothing will come your way that you can’t handle with His help.

A joy-filled journey, it is one I would not change. I’ve never had a single regret about my decision to accept Christ into my heart and life. He’s been my best friend for many years. I praise Him for the blessings in my life and anxiously await the day I get to meet Him face to face.

It feels like this world is going crazy, but I just hold on to God’s unchanging hand. I’m so glad that He does not waver and His rules never change. The Bible is my road map to navigate through life. I’m so thankful for His presence and His reassurance that everything will be okay.

I hope after watching this video, you too will decide to accept Christ into your heart and life. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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THE ANSWER IS GOD...  WHAT WAS THE QUESTION

I love to hear children sing. They are so innocent and they just believe without a lot of pretense.

Maybe I really do have a childlike faith, but I believe that any answer to any question in life can be found if I pray and ask God for it. Am I over-simplifying it? Well, I find that prayer is the only way to answer some questions in life.

Let your search be for the Lord and for his strength; let your hearts ever be turned to him. – I Chronicles 16:11

It seems like I have new questions for God every day! Some questions drift from day-to-day and God will answer those in His own good time. That’s the thing about God – He does answer, but it will be in His time, but that’s okay because His timing is perfect. My timing is anything but perfect.

I seek His strength because I am so weak. I seek His wisdom because I am unwise.

Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness ! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. – Psalm 4:1

God is faithful and will answer my prayers. He calms my fears and comforts me when I grieve. He hears my prayers and knows my thoughts, my attitudes and the intentions of my heart. Nothing about me can be hidden from Him.

Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. – Psalm 107:28-30

For the most part my seas are calm these days. There were days when I was actually angry at God. I prayed for a baby and did not get one. I said prayers, but they were angry prayers filled with bitterness. I looked around at others who were given babies and I did not understand why I was denied. I still struggle with that some, but with age I have decided that my life will be different. I am not less of a person because I am childless. I am just different. God has His reasons for leaving me childless – grand-childless, etc. It’s my job to accept that. I’m left shrugging my shoulders and saying, “It is what it is – I’ll make the best of it.”

The answer is God. Prayer is powerful. You don’t have to sugar-coat prayer, and why would you want to? God knows your thoughts, your attitudes, and the innermost intentions of your heart. In this life you will hurt more than you ever thought you could. He knows you’re hurting. Be honest with God. He will see you through whatever it is you are facing. ❤

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

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MEMORIES OF CLIFFORD
Clifford loved Barney – and who could blame him?  Barney is big and purple and – a dinosaur who sings in perfect pitch.  Okay…  maybe I exaggerated the last part a teeny bit.

Little Clifford rode the church bus every Sunday. We met him when he was just 4 years old. He and his older sister, Betty, warmed our hearts and lives for two short years.

I sat with their mother in the hospital if one of the kids was in surgery. Many days I got to enjoy the kids while their mom got a break. I referred to that as my “kid fix” and didn’t mind in the least.

It’s no secret that we would have adopted those kids in a heartbeat. Of course that wasn’t going to happen because their mom was enjoying a nice fat check from the state for having them. That’s how it works, sadly. I don’t think she spent much on them really. She may have fed them, but their clothing was from the thrift store and she skated on the most thin ice she could where their care was concerned. I wish we could have taken them. But it wasn’t meant to be. We borrowed them for a while then had to return them.

Then the mom met a guy and they moved to another city in Kansas. We were heartbroken. Just like that the rug was pulled out from under us. We had to say goodbye and it was one of the worst days of our lives – or so I thought.

I was upstairs folding laundry after a long day at work. My husband was watching the local news downstairs in the basement. Life went on as usual until I heard my husband yell up the stairs, “Clifford died in a fire!” Those five words threw me for a loop. Apparently his Barney lamp was faulty and set the house on fire.

The “what-if’s” and second guessing began. What if we had pushed to adopt them? Would this tragedy have been avoided? That kind of thinking will make you crazy! I had a long talk with God about things. That baby was only seven years old. His life cut short by such a horrible accident.

I pray for Betty every day. According to the news report, she tried to go in and save her little brother. What guilt she must live with. She did her very best. I hope she is alright and finds peace. Clifford is with Jesus. There’s no better place to be.

GOOD FRIDAY

TL GOOD FRIDAY

WITH TEARS FOR JESUS

It’s difficult to explain to people why Good Friday is good, but this explains it well.

It’s called GOOD FRIDAY – but somehow that just doesn’t seem to be good enough, does it?  Good just does not begin to cover it.  If you came up with the most eloquent name for this day, it would still fall short because of the deep meaning behind it.

My faith runs deep and emotions run high at Easter. This is the combination that makes me want to do more for Him and be a better Christian. I don’t strive to be better so I can stick my nose up in the air and say – “Hey look, I’m better than you.” I don’t compare my progress with anyone here. I stack it up against God’s Holy Word. How close can I be to where GOD wants me to be? That’s really all that matters when it’s all said and done.

To call this Friday GOOD FRIDAY falls so short of how I really feel about it. He took the sins of the world upon His shoulders – His human shoulders. Yes, He was divine, but He was also human. He felt every bit of the pain He suffered and the blood He spilt – that was very real too. That was love. That is the only love needed by man in this life. That is the only true love any of us will ever have! Christ provides pure grace, mercy, unchanging love and light for our journey!

I hope you will take a moment to meditate on the sacrifice Christ made for you. Watch PASSION OF THE CHRIST or JESUS today. I have both movies and will probably watch both of them this evening. If you do not know Him as your personal Savior, I hope you will turn your life over to Him. He’s waiting for you. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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ABANDONMENT

http://youtu.be/xFSJ9o8J-Fc

I know I had a blessed childhood. I had plenty of everything and yes, I was a little spoiled in the process. My parents provided shelter and encouragement to my spirit. They made it seem like I could do anything I set my mind to! I believed that. I knew I could fly one day!

But my sweet friend I know you did not have the same life experience. You were left as a child and felt unwanted and uncared for. I cannot imagine what that must feel like! I admit, I am unable to empathize with your lot in life. Do not ask me to explain the “why” of it, I can’t. I don’t know why. I did not know you as a child, but I know that you somehow fought your way through and you are now quite successful! You have made some huge life changes that I’m not sure I’d have the courage to make. You see, I was sheltered and I don’t often leave my comfort zone to try to make life better. But you – you are the adventurer and “change” is your middle name!

 The name of Jesus is the one lever that lifts the world.   – Author Unknown

There’s just one thing lacking in your life, my friend. I want more than anything to introduce you to my Savior, Jesus Christ! I know, you think that my faith is more of a crutch than anything else, but that’s not true. The fool says in his heart there is no God. I have never seen you as a fool, but I know you have done some foolish things. We all have. I’m not judging you! I’m trying to help you. I just wish you would take another look at God’s Word, the Holy Bible. Take a look at John 3:16 and read it very slowly. Absorb every word individually and try to accept what it says to you – what God’s Holy Spirit is saying to you.

I wouldn’t write this if I didn’t care in earnest. I do care about your soul. I care about the rest of your life. I cannot fix the cruelty of the past – I wish I could. God can take your hand right now and make the rest of your life a fine journey if you will just accept His offer of Salvation.

You are the smartest person I know. You have more street smarts than I will ever have because you’ve lived on them. I just want you to know one more thing. I am on the shore. I am praying for you. ❤