FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

The Light of Life… I like the sound of that!  Most of us take light for granted, don’t we?  We just flip a switch and Voila‘!  Instant light!  You know, light not only aids us in seeing what we’re trying to do, but it provides warmth too.  October in Kansas means that we won’t turn down a little warmth with our light, that’s for sure!  Our Lord is not only the light on our path, but He is also the wrap we wear on our shoulders as we walk.  He keeps us safe and warm!

May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within… ~Irish blessing

Light and warmth are welcoming to us.  You might even say we’re drawn to them.  You know, the other night I was walking up my driveway toward the front door and caught a glimpse of my green banker’s lamp glowing through the office window.  The green shade made the light particularly soft and more alluring.  I thought, “If I didn’t live here, I’d want to visit because this looks like a house where friendly people live!”   I was drawn to the soft green light!

When I think of this Scripture, a song comes to mind that I heard Aretha Franklin sing:

Walk in the LIGHT… beautiful LIGHT.  We’re goin’ the distance!  Jesus, the LIGHT of the world, will guide us through and provide warmth when our hearts are tempted to grow cold.  It’s a cold and harsh world we live in, but we are called to carry HIS light and warmth to others.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  ~Michael Strassfeld

What a wonderful analogy to describe Christ as the Light of the world!  He gave His all for us; became sin in our place even though He lived a sinless life.  Praise His name for He is worthy!

When our hearts are heavy and our bank accounts are anorexic, we find joy, peace, love, strength, courage, grace, mercy, and hope in the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, our personal Savior.  He loves us like no other.  Even if the world turns its collective back on you, He never will!  

He never changes.  His laws are the same and His love is everlasting.  Lean on Him for answers to life’s toughest questions.  He is LIGHT and WARMTH.  🙂

FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

There’s just something about fall…  we want to spend more time in the house nesting, baking, pumpkin spicing EVERYTHING!  We get out long enough to enjoy a tailgate party and watch a football game – but even then we’re snuggled up in a stadium blanket.  It’s time to slow down and rest.  Are you weary and burdened?  Jesus says He will give us rest!  We can trust that promise to be true because Jesus doesn’t lie.

The bright summer had passed away, and gorgeous autumn was flinging its rainbow-tints of beauty on hill and dale.  – Cornelia L. Tuthill, “Virginia Dare: Or, the Colony of Roanoke,” 1840

It’s about time for me to change from plain cotton sheets to cotton flannel sheets.  They’re so soft and comfy and surprisingly cool.  I used to think they would be too warm, and I’d end up too hot at night, but that hasn’t been the case.  They’re perfect for the fall and winter months.

As I begin counting my blessings this year, at the top of my list is the way Jesus brings sweet rest to my weary and burdened spirit.  Along with the theme of rest, I will include the set of new flannel sheets on the bed.  The house is slowly transforming into a warm and cozy oasis from a cold and cruel world.  Isn’t that what home should be?

[T]hat old September feeling… of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air…. Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year’s mistakes and failures had been wiped clean by summer.                 – Wallace Stegner

So many people get the urge to do a deep cleaning in the spring – we’re bombarded with magazine articles about spring cleaning.  I’ve always been prone to do my deep cleaning in the fall.  Don’t ask me why, but I have more energy and the spirit seems more willing, and if there’s one thing I know about myself – I have to strike while the iron’s HOT.  I know that energy won’t last.

I say a little prayer, then I’m off to the races, cleaning out closets and cupboards, scrubbing and mopping, sweeping and dusting.  When I’m finished, I’m more than ready to ask Jesus to give me that rest He promises.

When I was younger, I spent a lot of time out shopping and fighting off the crowds of people so I could find some bargains.  I had people to buy gifts for, so I was part of the crazy rat race!  These days, I opt for a warm spot, hot tea, cozy slippers, and a laptop.  It’s a blessing to have a time of rest and renewal.  The older I get, the more I appreciate rest.

What’s at the top of your blessing list?  🙂

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

The “T” is allowed in the word COMMIT.  The “T” is allowed in the word TRUST.  The “T” is most definitely not allowed on the end of the word CAN.

We need to remember that there’s a right way and a wrong way to proceed.  When we charge off and try to be successful on our own without God’s help, that’s the wrong way to get where we’re going.  Giving the plan to God is key and makes everything so much easier for us.  We are nothing without Him and we can do nothing without His help.  In all our ways we are to acknowledge Him – only then will He work on our behalf, making our path straight and opening doors that would otherwise stay shut.

We know that it takes just a little faith to get going.  We’re told that it takes faith the size of a mustard seed.  When I was a teenager, I wore a necklace that had a mustard seed inside a glass case.  It was so tiny and lightweight, most of the time I forgot I was wearing it.

Isn’t sign language beautiful?  The main point of this Psalm is that God wants the very best for us, but He wants us to keep Him in the loop, so to speak.  He wants to be a part of our decision-making process every step of the way.  Anything we do that is not within His will and His word – it’s not good and it’s not right.  We need to do things His way according to His will.

Do we always do that?  No – speaking for myself, I’ve not.  Those are painful lessons in life – but we learn the lesson (hopefully just once), and we ask the Lord’s forgiveness and then we get up and try again and with His help, we do better.  Grab on to your mustard seed-size faith and try again!  The second part of this passage says HE WILL HELP YOU.  Will you trust God to help you find victory in your life?

Is there a lasting victory for you?  Sure there is!  Our Lord is loving and merciful and kind and strong!  He wants the very best for you and wants to help you in every aspect of your life.  You CAN because He’s going to help you!  Just share everything you do, or plan to do, with Him!  Always give HIM the glory for the successes in your life!  

Remember to pray before you plan.  Make sure what you plan to do is God’s best for you, and His will for your life (as far as you can tell).  Keep reading your Bible and pray because you want to do things God’s way.  🙂

 

 

Blessings and Miracles

Of course it’s March, and we will be hearing all about LUCK.  When you give luck the credit for something wonderful that happens in your life, you are not giving God the glory and honor for it.  I’m sure we don’t intend to slight our dear Lord at all – ever, but we should be more mindful of how we express joy for our blessings (and in some cases, miracles).  

It’s really a matter of where you place your trust, isn’t it?  Luck is such an elusive and vague thing, so why would you place your trust in it?  Luck is not higher than we are, and I’m not convinced that it even exists.  Some people think that way about God, and I think that is very sad.  I will bless the Lord God Almighty!

My faith and trust will be placed in God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  He’s all I need to navigate this life and make Heaven my eternal home!

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.  – Proverbs 16:33

 

Chance encounter… random happening… plain ol’ luck?  No.  There’s more to it than that.  Do you catch yourself saying things like…

What a lucky shot!

Wish me luck on that test tomorrow!

Only luck had kept her from getting sick too!

Good luck getting the secret ingredient from mom!

I’ll try my luck fishing on the other side.

I’m gonna take a chance and change my luck.

I’m sure we’ve all slipped and said these things at one time or the other.  If we can just think a little bit about what we’re saying, and more to the point, the implications of what we’re saying, we’d be giving all the credit for the good to God by saying:

Thank You, Lord, for helping me with that shot!

Whisper a prayer or two for me as I take that test tomorrow!

Thank the Lord she didn’t get sick too!

I’ll pray that you can get that secret ingredient from mom with no problem!

Lord willing I will catch some fish over on the other side!

I’m gonna dump the luck and say a prayer instead!

What just happened here???  The randomness and chance in the first sentences were turned into gratitude, praise to God, and prayers!  When we acknowledge God in these ways, we are letting Him know that we recognize His sovereignty and His control over everything – big and small.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.  – Thomas Goodwin

Don’t leave your life in the hands of randomness and chance.  Luck belongs at the local casino, because let’s face it, gambling is probably the most random activity human beings engage in!  Your life deserves more order and planning by God, who loves and cares for you more than you can imagine!  🙂

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

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.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a great verse for Palm Sunday, isn’t it?  We all need to be reminded how this journey called Christianity is supposed to work.

We are to love one another – because Christ loves all of us.  Does that mean we always see eye to eye on everything?  No, it doesn’t.  It does mean that we show respect for one another, whether we are shown respect in return or not.  We’re responsible for our own behavior – not anyone else’s.  If each of us would do our very best to show the love of Christ, wouldn’t this world be a better place?  I think it would.  What if we were all a place of REST for each other? 

I love this poem in particular because this is exactly what God’s children need to be for one another.  Sadly, it often becomes a case of using instead of nurturing.  Sometimes we just need a friend in Christ to talk with about everyday things.  It may seem unproductive to some, but you have no idea how much it means to the one who needs to be heard and helped.  It’s sometimes a matter of letting a friend know that you are praying for them.  If we can listen more than speak and pray more than fret…  we’ll be a good representative for our Savior.

Here’s what we’re not – PERFECT.  God is perfect and only with His help can we love perfectly.  People – yes, even Christian people…  can be frustrating sometimes – yes, I can frustrate others too.  Here’s the deal – if we can just understand that our brothers and sisters in the Lord are imperfect human beings just like us – and if we can just be quick to forgive one another – which, again…  I’m not great at doing…  but I’m working on it – that is when we will love perfectly with Christ-likeness.  I hope others have forgiven me for mistakes I’ve made against them.  I try to forgive them as the Lord wants me to.  That’s how Christianity works, and it only works with Christ in the center.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you to look at my post on 4/5.  The story DAISY’S COLT, written by Lucinda Berry Hill and myself, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero is there.  If you have a little one in your life, it would be great to read this story to them.  Have a nice Palm Sunday!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)Good people do live in my midst!  We’re getting ready for a garage sale later this month and spent a day preparing the garage for the tables, racks, etc.  The worst thing that can happen at a garage sale is when someone wants to buy something that you are not selling.  The solution is to cover everything that you want to keep with a tarp.

We were working in the garage when along comes our neighbor.  He’s a very pleasant man, friendly and hard-working.  He owns a farm just outside Wichita as well as a home in our little community.  He asked if our riding lawn mower was for sale.  My husband told him it was.  They worked out the details and our big -ticket item was sold.

Seems cut and dried, doesn’t it?  We get money and he gets the rider to use out on his farm.

The story’s not finished.  Here’s the cool part.

Yesterday was the open air market at our extension office.  Most of the vendors have stopped coming because summer is over.  We stopped to look around a bit, not expecting to find much.  There was our neighbor with the last of his vegetable crop – and it looked delicious, I must say.

Without saying a word, he bagged up most of what he had left and handed it to us.

He has absolutely NO idea what he did.  We have vegetables to put in our freezer for winter.  Our freezer was empty – now it’s full.  I think I know what the squirrels must feel like – collecting and filling their little homes with food for the winter months.

He told us it was a bonus payment on the mower.  We laughed.  I wanted to cry tears of joy.

But here’s the thing…  my dad had a garden every year and grew all the vegetables our neighbor does.  We’ve been buying vegetables at the market – but let’s face it, they just are not homegrown.  They don’t taste the same.

I’m sitting here now eating fried okra, crying tears of happiness.  It’s like a taste of home, to be honest.  This small gesture touched my heart and took me back home for just a little while.

This journey called life is filled with a little pain and a little sorrow, but once in a while, a neighbor does something that renews your faith in humans.  I could never thank him enough for that – not without crying, anyway.  It’s more than okra – it’s closing my eyes and going back to a late summer / early fall meal with my parents.  How do you thank someone for that?it-is-more-than-just-okra

I know it’s just a simple little story, but isn’t our life here on the planet about paying it forward?  It’s about sharing your bounty with those who are not farmers or gardeners.  Our neighbor would certainly have not had to do that.

I thank him not only for the food, but also for the wonderful memories that food sparked in me.  And as always, I’m so very grateful to God for making it all happen!  🙂

MATTHEW 10:14 ON 10/14

TL MATTHEW 10 14 ON 10 14

Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.  – Matthew 10:14

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How much time, talent and treasure are you prepared to spend on a person when their eternal destination is uncertain?  When is it time to stop trying and walk away, shaking the dust off your feet (or sneakers) as you leave their house?

I struggle with this because I’m an eternal optimist!  I don’t believe God gives up on anyone…  ever – so therefore, who am I to give up?  But then I see this verse and I’m reminded that not everyone is going to accept my message.  I might add, in this modern age, very few will accept it…  sadly.

There’s a commercial playing on TV that reminds me of this Scripture – an advertisement for Choice Hotels:

https://youtu.be/EZVxDzDUXNY

Or there is this one – I’ll post it just as soon as I quit laughing – it’s so funny…

https://youtu.be/YtvFhC1vmDo

Just a quick note…  I had that job – and I think I remember that guy picking on his toes – I think he was in the cubicle next to mine.  Yeah…  what a memory!

But when we are doing our best to share the gospel with others, how do we know when it’s time to stop?  I often wonder if I stop too soon.  Once in a while I wonder if I lingered too long, though.  How do we know?  I mean, this is their soul hanging in the balance – ya know?  It’s important to stay long enough – but to know when to walk away.

There are entire groups of folks that I cannot even begin to talk to – they know who they are.  Atheists, for example, usually don’t receive me, let alone hear what I have to say.  I always leave a conversation letting them know I will pray for them.  They don’t accept that either, but they can’t stop me from praying for them.  When I walk away, I am not angry or discouraged.  I’m sad.  I pray that someone gets through – at that point it’s all I can do.

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I think as long as people are open to hearing me, I’ll keep sharing my faith.  It may seem like a painfully obvious answer, but I think it’s the right one.  A few times I have received a sort of intercession from the Holy Spirit that lets me know I need to leave it – it’s like He’s telling me that this person is not “ready” to accept Him yet.  It has only happened a few times.

I guess I just want to make sure I stay long enough.  I never want to walk away too soon – but I don’t worry about it because maybe I’m not the one who is supposed to help them pray.  Maybe I’m just the one to plant one of the seeds along the way.  I’m sure that God knows how long I’ll stay to help and I have full confidence in Him – that He will bring the next person along to plant more seeds.  That’s what we do as Christians.  We plant seeds for the lost and sharpen iron with the saved.  Don’t you love God’s plan?  🙂

LUKE 10:5 ON 10/5

TL LUKE 10 5 ON 10 5

When you enter a house, first say,  “Peace to this house.”  – Luke 10:5

https://youtu.be/a41ATFxQoW8

Chances are we will never meet in person.  I will probably never darken the door of you house.  One thing I know for sure, this world needs more blessings of peace given to people everywhere.  So, if you are reading this post today, I am entering your house through cyber space and saying, PEACE TO THIS HOUSE.

Christians take blessings very seriously.  We say a blessing over our food, our family, our finances and we believe that God honors those prayers and blesses us – shows us His favor.  He does – He really does!

Today I pray a blessing of peace to you, your house, your family and your finances.

May God lead you from death to life and from lies to truth.  May He lead you from despair to hope and from fear to faith.  May He lead you from hate to love and from war to peace.  May you experience God’s overwhelming peace that passes all human understanding.  May His peace fill your heart and home, making it a sanctuary that is calm and serene every day of your life.  May God multiply your resources and always provide all of your needs and most of your wants.  May He give you wisdom with possessions and resources.  May He impress upon you the importance of contentment in any circumstance and remind you that the things we want may not be the things we need.  May He open the door to employment for you and lead you to work that helps you grow and become a better Christian.  May God lead you in all aspects of your life and bless you in every way.

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Part of experiencing real peace in Christ is letting Him decide what we need and trusting Him to provide what we need.  So many times we carry the burden when we don’t have to.  Our talents and treasure are His to begin with, so when we let God call the shots, we experience His peace in our hearts and homes.

We trust – we obey – bow our heads and pray…  then we rest in Him.  That is real peace.  When doors open, we know it is God opening them.  When doors close, we know He has His reasons for closing them.

There’s an old song that says the world needs more love.  I believe in the world we live in, we need more peace.  PEACE TO THIS HOUSE.  God bless you today.  🙂