A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Yesterday we talked a bit about faith.  Today I want to continue with this portions of Scripture and talk about baptism, which is an outward expression of an inward work done by God’s Holy Spirit when we’re saved.  My baptism was sort of funny – my pastor was a sweetheart, but he was even shorter than me when I was 13 years old – and I’m short!  I remember having some fear that he wasn’t going to be able to get me back up out of the water.

Now…  you have to understand – I have a horrible fear of water.  I know it’s irrational – but when I was about 7 years old, my dad decided that I was going to learn to swim – and he got tired of trying to teach me – so one afternoon he threw me in the deep end and thought I was going to figure it out.  I didn’t.  I sunk like a stone!

So, knowing that this slight built, short man was going to be in charge of keeping me from drowning…  well – it left me less than confident.  I know Brother Clopp (yes, that’s his real name) had probably done hundreds of baptisms – and I wasn’t going to back out because I knew that if I did drown, I’d be okay – I mean…  I was saved, so…

I know some would recommend that I just skip it – saying that God would understand.  I just felt like I had to be baptized.  It must be an important step because even Christ felt He should be baptized.  It must matter – and most  people understand the significance – when you go under the water you are symbolically ridding yourself of your old life – your old self is gone – and as you come out of the water, you are a new person – and I can’t explain it – but that’s really how it feels!  It’s like you are clean and forgiven and life will never be the same.

I’m so very thankful that whosoever means me too!  Believe on the name of Christ and you’ll be saved.

We’re washed and covered with Christ – then there’s water baptism…  an outward symbol representing the inward work.  🙂

 

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON – FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

IRON SHARPENS IRON

Yesterday I told you what I do not want to be – a stumbling block.  Today I’m going to focus on what I do want to be – an iron sharpener!  This year my goal is to bring out the best in everyone – including myself!  You’ve heard of friendships where the two or three just keep “feeding” off each other and getting funnier and funnier, right?  I love it when that happens – even if it’s off the wall and silly.  If I can be the friend who makes others laugh and spew diet Dr. Pepper out of their nose…  what can I say?  It’s my mission in life and when that happens, I can say mission accomplished!  My work here is done.  You’re welcome!

Real life is stressful and often awkward and uncomfortable.  Should friendships be the same way?  I really don’t think so.  There’s nothing worse than spending time with someone you want to escape from – and you spend the whole time hunting for the nearest exit and plan the escape in your head.  Let’s face it…  those are the friendships you have to re-think.  You just do – and yes, it’s sad.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives for the rest of our life.15822977_1868319833412478_4287722067523972073_n

Thank you, Lucinda – for keeping me polished!  I’m so glad that God allowed our paths to cross!

For those friendships that seem destined to be, how can we be an iron sharpening friend?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pray for your friend – and for your friendship.  If your friendship is covered in prayer everyday, it will be strong and won’t crumble over petty things.  I tend to be upfront and honest in friendships because I appreciate those qualities in my friends.  One day I was feeling especially envious and a bit jealous of a friend’s success when I did not seem to be gaining ground with my project.  I told her about it, knowing that she would appreciate my honesty and candor.  She helped me by first of all praying for me – and secondly, she started pointing out some positives that I had missed somehow.  She knows if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done the same for her.
  2. Cherish the friendship because God designed it.  Review the start of your friendship once in a while.  Let your friend know that you appreciate what she brings to the friendship and how much better your life is now because of it.  Praise God for the way ministry grows and matures when Christian friends work together.  Ask God to impress on you and guide you to the next project.  It’s amazing and wonderful how God brings your separate work together as one very large witnessing tool.  Be thankful when others are helped by your ministry – thankful of course to God, but also to each other.  Don’t take friendship for granted.  Friends don’t grow on trees.  Most of my friends would think that visual was hilarious.  I also imagine they’d imagine me hanging by my tail like a monkey, with a banana in my mouth (I have to be eating – well DUH!)
  3. Communicate as clearly as possible.  A friend and I were chatting on facebook not long ago about this.  We agreed that messaging on facebook is more challenging than talking face to face because there’s a lack of facial expression in the communication.  Then we joked about using emojis – or really over-using them – in an attempt to let others know that we’re smiling 🙂 or 😀  or that we’re loving what they’re saying <3.  Of course, when I’m talking there’s always the popular – I’M CONFUSED.  :-/  Yeah – I really use that one frequently.
  4. Don’t try to fake it.  God knows everything about everything, so it makes no sense to keep anything from your friend in the Lord.  It’s a temptation to keep the “downer” stuff to yourself so you don’t bring her down too – but if you do, you are robbing her of the opportunity to lift you to God in prayer.  Maybe you’re going through something that you don’t even feel like you can pray about yourself.  I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too.  Let your friend know what’s up so she can pray for you.  It is a privilege and an honor to pray for a friend.  Don’t let silly pride keep you from asking your friend to whisper a prayer for you.

iron-sharpening-sheep

We eventually get where we’re goin’ – together.  I want to be an iron-sharpening friend.  I hope you do too.  Let’s all work together to sharpen some iron in 2017!  🙂

MAY IS CREATIVE BEGINNINGS MONTH

TL MAY IS CREATIVE BEGINNINGS MONTH

It’s time to start a new hobby or learn that craft you always wanted to master.  How great would it be to help kids at summer camp this year with crafts?  There are also some senior centers that encourage creativity and they would surely appreciate help from volunteers.CREATIVE BEGINNINGS

Wow – Lucinda captured so many creative possibilities here!  Painting walls, flower arranging, writing, music, woodworking, yarn work, painting on canvas.  Isn’t the important message the fact that it’s a new day and we get another chance?  That’s the part I like the most!  🙂

What factors should be considered as you consider the endless possibilities?  I think my first question would be, how much will this project cost?  If you’re on a shoestring budget like me, you don’t want to have to buy a whole bunch of materials or equipment.  Let’s face it, there’s a possibility that you either won’t be good at it or you may not enjoy it like you thought you would.  If you don’t have a lot of money invested, you won’t feel so guilty about walking away from it.

It’s not limited to crafts – being creative could be something as simple as committing to workout three times a week.  Creating a healthier you is definitely a creative beginning.

Have you ridden a horse?  You never know if you’ll enjoy it until you try!  Many places offer riding lessons that aren’t too expensive.

Do you have an interest in music?  Maybe you’d like to be musically creative and take some piano lessons.

Some people have a real eye for photography.  Maybe it’s time to buy a good camera and start taking those great shots.  Choose a subject to photograph and focus on it – (no pun intended).

Count the cost for your creativity and make sure it’s something you have an interest in (or think you do) When you’ve decided what to do, schedule the activity and buy the items you’ll need to be a success.  We should make creativity a sort of second nature in our lives because it keeps life more fun!  When we use our imaginations to troubleshoot our way through challenges, it’s so much more interesting.

Even if you’re on the fence about what to do, find some friends (partners in crime) to try it with you.  If the new activity doesn’t work out for you, at least you’ll have your friends to giggle with you – and really that’s all that matters.

One May I thought it’d be nice to learn sign language.  There was a class at a local church, so I got a couple of girlfriends to go with me – and sadly, I was not good at sign language, but since I didn’t dive in by myself, it was fun anyway.  I had my friends to laugh with.

Your Creative Beginnings month project may be the start of something very exciting in your life – or if you decide to help children learn something new – or help senior citizens learn something new – you may make some very good friends for life.  The influence you have on others may not seem like much to you, but it may mean the world to them.

Ready…  Set…  BEGIN!  🙂