A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Traditionally, we observe these events in the life of Christ on Passion Week:  His triumphal entry, His last supper, His death, burial and resurrection.  What is Easter all about?  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR!  God raised Christ from the dead on the 3rd day – and He sits at God’s right hand.  There’s something else that happened before Christ ascended to Heaven…  He left us the greatest gift – His Holy Spirit – the comforter and our guide through this crazy life.

The Holy Spirit of God is filled with goodness and wisdom.  God wants us to be kind and quick to forgive one another.  It’s only with His help that we can do these things.

We are loved by God – and are to be loving and kind to one another.  As we rely on God’s Holy Spirit to help us, we can accomplish so much as we plant seeds along the way.  It’s so nice to make friends with like-minded believers, knowing that no matter what, you can go back to the fact that you both have God’s Holy Spirit and can work anything out as you rely on Him for guidance and direction.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about God’s Holy Spirit without mentioning the fruits of His Spirit:

Does that mean that we will be perfect?  Um…  nope.  Does it mean that we can love perfectly?  Well, as we live by God’s precepts that certainly could and should happen.  If we will lean fully on God’s Holy Spirit, we can have some beautiful attitudes and be a blessing to others.  We want the fruits of the Spirit to be clear in our lives.  God’s more than happy to reveal to us how that can happen.

If you could imagine a pyramid in your mind – sort of like the food pyramid (which seems to be changing with every diet that comes along).  The good thing about this pyramid is that it never changes.

God’s Holy Spirit is at the TOP of the pyramid.  No surprise there.  At the other two corners are you and another person – any person you come in contact with.  God’s Spirit gives love, comfort, power, peace, wisdom and the ability to control things like temper.  Because He’s given us these things, we are able to share them with others in our lives, with evidence of the fruits showing through in the process.

Remember that the Lord did not leave us here as orphans to figure out how to live.  He has everything we need to live an abundant life…  if we’ll just ask Him to help us.  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15 & 16

Have you ever noticed when someone is asked to give a testimony, they break out in a cold sweat?  Actually, I’m describing my dad – he had a very humble and private walk with the Lord.  He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and he never wanted to testify.  If he was put on the spot, beads of sweat formed on his forehead, not because he didn’t have a story, but because he didn’t like to speak in public.

I think it’s funny now, looking back…  my parents had me in front of the congregation playing the piano before I was in junior high school.  Would either of them done anything on the platform?  I doubt it – but there I was – and there I’d stay for several years.  I’m glad they pushed me though, because the experience I gained at a young age taught me many valuable lessons.  From my unique vantage point, I got to see a few things.  I remember thinking, “I want to be like that person” – or…  “I don’t want to have an attitude like that person.”  We all do that in our youth, but doing it while seated at the piano in choir practice was special somehow.

We are to have a story and be ready to share it when it’s time.  Have you ever heard someone testify and seem to be almost angry that others are not coming to the Lord and repenting of sin as they think they should?  Sometimes your testimony is less about the actual words you say, and more about the attitude behind the words you’re saying.

A gentle quiet spirit that exudes thanksgiving and gratitude makes a much better impression than beating your hand on the pulpit and screaming.  Nobody ever scared anybody to the Lord – well, except the movie A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I think the whole youth group went forward and confessed every little sin after that movie was over – even putting chewing gum under the pew.  No, I didn’t do that…  but I found some once.  Eeeewwww.  It was a pew in the back of the church – it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out who did it.

Every one of us has a different vantage point in our walk with Christ.  We see things from different places.  I sat at the piano and watched as a tween – maybe you sat in the choir and observed – or in the back row.  Sometimes I wished I could have been a normal kid and sat in the back row – I envied them a little bit.  The point is, we all have a story of our walk – past and present.  The walk I have with Christ is so much deeper and richer today than it was when I was saved at thirteen.   That’s what the world needs to hear – and that’s the truth of it.

Sometimes a testimony is painful to share.  That’s when we rely on God’s help to give us the right words to say.  As we listen, it might hurt, but we rely on God’s help to give us compassionate hearts and minds as we hear their story.  Christ reaches down to all of us when we’re in a state of disarray – and that’s putting it mildly.  We’re unsaved and without hope without Him.

I’m reminded of an Andre’ Crouch song called I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE.  With God helping us every day, we can have confidence and assurance that things will be alright no matter what the case may be – !

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony, your story, your faith.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spiritually speaking!  LOL – well, you know what I mean.  I’ve got CONFIDENCE…  God is gonna see me through.  🙂

 

 

REVELATION 2:19 ON 2/19

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 I know your deeds, your love and faith, your service and perseverance, and that you are now doing more than you did at first.  – Revelation 2:19

I don’t pretend to understand the book of Revelation; however, I do speak and read English, and this looks fairly cut and dried to me.  There is a comfort in knowing that GOD knows – He knows it all.  Not everyone feels comforted by that fact – but I do.  Does that make me weird?  I don’t know – maybe.

Think about it – God knows your deeds, your love, faith, service and perseverance – and that you’re doing more now than you did when you first started your journey with Him.

God knows…  and if I said only that much, it would be enough.  He knows the good, the bad and the ugly.  Any effort to hide anything from Him is in vain.  So now that we’ve established that God knows – the ball is in your court.  What will you do with that information?

You’ve not gone too far in the wrong direction to make a U-turn in the right direction.  There is only one unpardonable sin – and that is rejecting Christ as your personal Savior.  Everything else (and I do mean everything) is negotiable.  If you need to have a heart to heart with the Father, He’s ready to hear from you.  It’s not too late until you die.

From the moment we receive Jesus into our hearts and lives, growth begins.  It’s continual and provides God’s own strength and courage along the way.

Can growth be stifled?  Yes, it can – but it would be the will of the person, not the will of the Father.  It’s always God will that we grow some every day.  He wants us to be mature in our walk with Him.

Their works had been recently more numerous and praiseworthy even than they had formerly been.  This tells me that it’s important to strive to do better deeds – not necessarily more deeds – but better ones.  Sometimes it’s a matter of having a forgiving attitude or be quick to pray for one who has hurt or wronged you instead of reacting badly.

Although this passage goes on to talk about the bad things going on in the church of Thyatira, our focus today was on the positive aspects – (vs. 19).

We can’t rest on the works (NOT that we are saved by works – clearly we are not – works are an outpouring of our love for Christ) of the past.  We need to keep growing in attitudes, actions and let the Lord strengthen our faith and resolve more every day.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

If treasure is defined as money, then your heart (attitudes & actions) will be focused on making money.  Have you defined your treasure?  I think I’ve always pretty much assumed that treasure referred to money in this passage of Scripture, but now I realize it is not necessarily so…  what if your treasure was…  fast food???  What if your treasure was…  your child or another member of your family you hold dear?  ❤

No, stay with me here…  treasure is defined as:

noun:

1.  wealth or riches stored or accumulated, especially in the form of precious metals, money, jewels, or plate.
2.  wealth, rich materials, or valuable things.

3.  any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized:

This book was his chief treasure.
verb (used with object):  treasured, treasuring.
4.  to retain carefully or keep in store, as in the mind.
5.  to regard or treat as precious; cherish.
6.  to put away for security or future use, as money.
It is not sinful to treasure precious memories with loved ones – I want to make that clear; however, if that overshadows your relationship with God, it’s sin.  Anything that takes up more of your energy than the things of God…  it’s coming between you and the Lord and the priority needs to change.  Our God is a jealous God and always wants to be in first place.  Our hearts are to trust and delight in Him.  ❤
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Define your treasure.  All sorts of interests and activities can possibly become more of a treasure in our lives than they should be.  Ask God to “check” you about it.  I can’t tell you what you’re putting in first place, but I sure do know Who can.  Wherever your treasure is (and it’s different for every person) – there will your heart (attitudes & actions) be.  ❤
Jesus loved everyone, but His ultimate treasure was His Father, God.  He knew from whence came His power, His glory, His everything – just as we as God’s children do.  ❤
Don’t assume that treasure refers to money.  Treasure is anything that holds a special place in your heart.  You can’t separate your treasure from your heart because there is such passion associated with the treasure in your life.  Maybe your treasure is money – but let me remind you that money, while a necessary evil in this world…  will mean nothing in the afterlife.  We’ve all heard the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.”  Make sure your treasure stays tempered with the stark facts of reality.  Only what is done for Christ will last – those things will follow you into Heaven.  Chew on that for a while.  ❤

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  – Acts 13:22

Happy February!  This is the month when hearts are seen everywhere – heart-shaped candy, heart-shaped cards, heart-shaped everything – actually that is valentine-shaped, because as we know, an actual heart is not the same shape as a valentine.  ❤

We could talk about valentines, but this is not the valentine hunger blog, it’s the heart hunger blog.  The heart is the seat of everything – thoughts, attitudes, emotions and ultimately, actions.  David was made king and was a man after God’s own heart – wow.  Was David a perfect man?  Oh no.  Was he forgiven and allowed to move on, having learned some very painful lessons?  Oh yes.  Our God is a God of second chances.  If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you know that one thing for sure and for certain.  ❤

We fall down – we get up.  The saints are just the sinners who fall down and get up.  ❤  We don’t have to be perfect, and in fact it is not possible for us to be perfect.  But we believe that God will help us when we mess up so much that we are ready to give up.  That is how David came to be known as a man after God’s own heart.  ❤

Nothing we accomplish is done on our own.  We give God all the glory and honor for every success in life.  If it seems all you are doing is going around in circles and getting you nowhere, ask God to help you.  He will take the heavy load you bear and make a clear path for you.  God has a plan for every life, and He will help you find yours.  ❤

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Isn’t February, the month of heart-shaped everything, the best time to find out about the heart of our God?  We know from this portion of Scripture that He recognized David as having a heart like His…  I can’t think of a better compliment, can you?  I want to know more about God’s heart and strive to have a heart just like His, don’t you?  ❤

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  – Romans 12:10

There are two kinds of people – and I’ve known and loved both kinds.  Some people walk into a room and say…

HERE I AM!

Some people walk into a room and say…

THERE YOU ARE!!!

There are two ways you can display a basket.  It’s true – and you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the way they display their baskets.

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I’ve been to the Longaberger Homestead 3 times and we’re planning another trip soon.  While there, I’ve made a couple of baskets and learned a bit about basket weaving.  The baskets are made from the bottom up.  The one helping starts the base – so it will have a stable foundation to set on.  When you get to the top, the person helping usually pretty much takes over because making the collar of the basket is tricky.  When the final piece of wood is put on the collar, they give it a haircut.  They snip it on each side and on the end.

When you display your basket, you can put the side of it with the haircut where you see it or where others see it.  It’s not the prettiest part of the basket, but it has to be there.  See what I mean?  Those who display the haircut side where they see it more than others do – well, they put more importance on what others see than on what they see.

It may seem like a small thing – but it’s a bit of basket psychology to tuck away in the back of your mind.  Oh yeah…  it’s a thing!

Of course it’s about more than baskets – it’s about how we treat others on a daily basis.  Meeting needs, first of all in our own households – then out from there.  Showing honor and esteem to others more than ourselves is not about punishing ourselves – it’s just about being more kind to others.  Simple nice actions and random acts of kindness can go a long way toward making others feel honored.

For example, let me challenge you to thank a person in uniform for their service the next time you see them.  Any uniform – no matter what the job is.  Ah…  you’re realizing how many people wear uniforms in their jobs now, aren’t you?  Good!

Seriously…  so many people in uniforms wonder why they bother some days because they don’t feel honored – heck, they don’t even feel wanted most days.  A simple “Thank you for your service” goes a long way.  People need to be recognized for what they contribute to the world.

Law enforcement officers need our encouragement more now than ever.  Our military needs encouragement more now than ever.  If your trash man wears a uniform – go out next week and thank him for doing such a good job!  Even if he doesn’t – do it anyway.  I wouldn’t do that job – eeeeewwww.  Bugs and stuff.  Ugh – no.give-a-lift-when-needed

HONOR is not a word we hear much these days – and certainly not a concept we’re familiar with.  That needs to change – and it can change one person at a time.  Will you be part of the change for the better?  🙂

 

 

JOHN 10:9 ON 10/9

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 I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture.  – John 10:9

Christ Jesus is the way, truth, life…  and the gate.  Once we have come to a saving knowledge of Christ, we have true freedom.  I’m reminded of a butterfly when I think of real freedom.  They go where they want to go…  we’re like that – we have the freedom to be everything we can be in life.  Nothing can stop us from being the best beings we can be!  Let’s find pasture – be free…  FLY!

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You exist in perfect harmony. May Your Spirit dwell in us that the world might see You, and believe.  – Bobby Fulks

We need to ditch the stigmas and labels of society.  What happened to the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  What has happened to us as a society?  I’ve decided there’s not a thing I can do about anybody else or their attitudes…  but with God’s help in Christ, there is a ton of stuff I can do to make my attitude SHINE.  I’m determined to be a shining example in a society that is clearly taking a turn in the wrong direction.

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I love butterflies because they remind us that we can change who and what we are simply by giving us the wings to fly higher and higher. Don’t allow others to clip your wings by the labels and stigmas they attach to you. Realize that you have the greatest power to change your destiny. Change may be tough but once you realize its worth there is nothing that can stop you from maintaining and continuing your journey upward.  – Ellen Sherman.

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Thank you, Ellen, for letting me share your quote and this lovely statue from your beautiful garden!  I’m so blessed to call you FRIEND.

I want to be God’s butterfly – rising above it all.  With God’s help, I’m determined to ditch stigmas and labels, knowing that God created all sorts of butterflies…  all sizes and colors!  He made each species and declared, “It is good.”  How boring would this world be if we were all the same?  What if there were only Monarch butterflies and no other species?  Ridiculous, right?  The same applies to us as people.  It’s our differences that make us so wonderful.  When will we learn that lesson?

When we learn to stop judging another person and begin to pray for them instead…  wow, what a wonderful world this would be!  Today I pray that you will fly like a butterfly…  free and unencumbered by labels or stigmas.  Instead of judging someone, judge yourself next to God’s Word.  When each of us stand before our Maker, that’s the only judgment that will matter.

I don’t know about you, but I want to hear my Lord say, “Well done good and faithful servant.  Enter now unto thy rest.”  I know the Bible tells us that there will be no tears in Heaven…  but I gotta say, how could I possibly hear those words from God Himself and not weep???  I’m crying now…  pass the tissues!

This butterfly just wants to fly to her final rest knowing that all is well between me and thee…  and me and my Father in Heaven.  Vertical and horizontal…  like the CROSS of Christ – the sign of the cross.  Keep the way clear – there’s nothing between my soul and my Savior.  🙂