A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I challenge you to name one thing in this world that never changes.  Time’s up!  Did you think of anything?  No, you didn’t – neither did I.  Everything changes…  EVERYTHING!  The foal in the photograph above is now a beautiful full-grown mare.  Living beings are born, they thrive and do what God intended, then they die and go back to God.  It’s the way God planned it.  The Bible tells us that our time is in HIS hand.  So you see, we don’t need to worry because God has us in His hand all the time.

God never changes.  His laws don’t change.  His justice doesn’t change.  His unending love never changes.  His peace is real.  The joy and happiness He bestows on our lives can only be described as dependable.  It’s honest and there’s no hidden agenda.  If He puts a rug on the floor in front of me, then asks me to stand on it, I know without a doubt He will not pull it out from under me, causing me to fall.  Can you say that about any person on this earth?  Get real – of course, you can’t!  

This body of mine has changed from the time I was in my twenties.  Anyone who is honest will say a great big AMEN to that!  These chan.ges are a huge challenge – but God’s got me, so I’ve got this!  

Changes are inevitable in this life, but it gets dangerous when we as people try to “overrule” God.  Do we rely on our wisdom more than we seek God’s laws?  We simply cannot say that some behaviors are not sinful when God has already said they are.

When pastors are motivational speakers instead of providing instruction and direction according to God’s Word, it’s not a favor to us poor sinners – any of us.  We all need to hear and know God’s truth – all of it.  I don’t hate anyone and care for everyone’s eternal soul.  For Pete’s sake, I’m not perfect and I don’t judge anyone.  God offers redemption for ALL through His Son’s death on Calvary’s cross.  He offers forgiveness for sin – any sin – take your pick.  They’re all alike in God’s eyes.  

Change.  God causes the seasons to change.  He helps sinners to change.  We find Christ, learn what He wants for us, and turn from whatever is not pleasing in His sight.  He patiently helps us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Our lives can be so rich and full of Christ when He’s in the center of it.  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is stone heart syndrome?  Well, a stone heart can come from many sources, and certainly in this world filled with mean people, it’s easy to see how a person can have stone heart syndrome.  How many times can a person be hurt before their heart turns to stone?  Well, as a wise person once said…  that is up to the individual.  You can choose to take the hurt and save it and let future hurts add to that one until they stack up and the heart turns to stone.  But the better choice is to let go of the hurt.  How?  Pray and cry out to God.  Tell Him everything, holding nothing back (He knows it all anyway).  Ask Him to take your hurt… every bit of it.  

They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”   Acts 16:31

Once you’ve rid yourself of all the pain and the hurt, ask God to give you something much better.  He will because He loves you so much!  He wants to give you a longing for the things He longs for…  the fruits of HIS precious Holy Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23  

Regardless of education or experience, it’s true that only God can change your heart – from a heart of stone that keeps others at arm’s length, to a heart of flesh that has genuine compassion and a sense of empathy for other people.  God loves people more than anything.  We should too.  It’s not a quality that comes easily for some of us.  I’ve found that there are ministries for we introverts too.  When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, just one word came to me.  Encourage.    

Do I have to encourage others in person?  Well…  no I don’t.  I can encourage through social media – in my groups and on my pages.  I can encourage with a card or a phone call.  I don’t skype, but that’s certainly another way to encourage someone.  We all need encouragement once in a while.  I’m just so thankful that God can use me in that way for His glory!

Let His truth transform you.  Let His words conform you.  Let His Spirit indwell you.  Let His love restore you.  Kick the hurt to the curb and allow the Lord to give you His joy, peace and love.  Find Him and hold Him close because He will never fail you.   🙂

 

1 JOHN 2:18 ON 2/18

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Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  – 1 John 2:18 

If you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen the different posts about the personality traits of people who have blue eyes, or green eyes, or brown eyes, or gray eyes.  Well, regardless of your “eye personality”, the Bible tells us we are to “watch and wait”…  in other words, stay alert to what’s going on around us.  We’re to know false teaching when we hear it, and we’re to have discernment from God’s Holy Spirit to spot false teachers when we see them.

It sounds like a tall order, but remember, we’re not in this alone.  If we ask our Father in Heaven, in Jesus’ name, to give us wisdom to discern – He surely will answer that prayer for us.  God’s not in the business of playing “gotcha” with his children.

I would remind you today that evil does not appear suddenly with great strength.  It’s subtle and eases its way in – because it wants to fit snuggly in with all the good around it.  Not to frighten or cause paranoid responses, but this is the reason we are to be alert to our surroundings.

Counterfeit money looks so real, doesn’t it?  It looks like the genuine article – but if you knew it was not real, would you try to pass it?  If you knew the teachings you listened to were false, would you still listen to them – or do you want to continue having your ears tickled?

The true teaching of God from His Holy Bible is never going to make us feel comfortable with the way we are.  We will always be challenged to grow and change – we will be interested in a mature relationship with the Lord and with others.  We will always want to be improving and getting better – the more close we get to God.

I have a pastor friend who will not preach from any version of the Bible but the King James.  Now, I have different versions – an NIV, the MSG, and even a GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN.  Once in a while he mentions that he won’t read or preach from anything but King James.  I get it – I really do.  I think we look at different versions to try to glean some deeper meaning sometimes – but he sticks with the “original” – (and yes, I know it’s not really the original, but I don’t know any other way to describe it).  We don’t want to fall for less than the God’s honest truth – even if it’s by accident.  Remember…  our enemy is sneaky.

We don’t know the hour when Jesus will return to earth to snatch up His children.  Let’s not be found sleeping in a stupor instead of learning and growing and maturing under true teaching.  🙂

 

 

HEBREWS 10:23 ON 10/23

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Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise.  – Hebrews 10:23

Shared with permission.

My parents and I were living in a refugee settlement in Vienna after we left the former Soviet Union.  Everything was uncertain, scary, and pretty terrible.  This didn’t stop my dad from announcing one day that we were going to visit the opera house in Vienna.  I thought playing tourists was ridiculous – we had no money, no citizenship, and no home.  “We don’t know if we’ll ever be back here again,” my dad said.  “Life is short.  It’s stupid to sit here and wallow in our troubles.”  Now I realize…  he’s right.  – Nataly Kogan

When our president said that he would fundamentally CHANGE the United States, a cold chill went up my back.  Part of me thought, “Well, maybe I’m just getting old and this is not as bad as I think it will be.”

This is not a political blog, but having lived under the leadership that promised HOPE AND CHANGE, I’m really just praying that in 2016 we get FAITH AND TRUST.  I want to be able to trust that those who lead my country are on my side.  It’s time for a change from hope and change.

Faith is not about finding meaning in the world:  there may be no such thing.  Faith is the belief in our capacity to create meaningful lives.  – Terry Tempest Williams

How many people can you really trust?  Do you have to use both hands to tally it up, or will one hand suffice?  If you are having to take your shoes and socks off to count up your trustworthy peeps, you are blessed indeed!

In this verse, we are told to HOLD TIGHTLY WITHOUT WAVERING TO THE HOPE WE AFFIRM.  Does that mean the hope and change in America?  I really don’t think so.  It’s referring to the eternal hope we have found in our LORD, Jesus Christ.  He is the same yesterday, today and forever.  It is a comfort to know that He has everything under control.

But this verse goes on to remind us that GOD CAN BE TRUSTED TO KEEP HIS PROMISE.  It is important to remember that even when we can’t trust our government or some people in our life – God can be trusted to keep HIS promise.  Every single promise He makes He will keep!  This includes His promise of eternal salvation for anyone who comes to Him and confesses Christ is King of Kings and Lord of Lords, accepting Him into their hearts and lives.

At salvation, we become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. This means everything the Father bestows upon the Son, we will receive with Him. The Lord has sealed these gifts for us by the Holy Spirit and reserves our treasures in heaven.  – Charles Stanley

The times we live in are frightening, but we do not have to be polarized by our circumstances.  We cannot afford to stop dreaming, stop living and stop loving because the world around us is a scary place.  Find a way to hang on to God and trust Him to keep His promise.  In the meantime, live your life to the fullest because your life is in God’s hands and in His keeping.

We can’t make people change, but when we change, others may change.  – Gretchen Rubin

I think in this day of uncertainty we need to know there is a God who understands our fears and sees every tear we shed in the privacy of our room.  Lean on Him because He can be trusted.  🙂

ZEPHANIAH 2:3 ON 2/3

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Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.  – Zephaniah 2:3

 How careful should we all be to seek peace with God, before the Holy Spirit withdraws from us, or ceases to strive with us.  We are living in the day of Grace right now.  If you have been on the fence – thinking about getting “right” with God – now is that time, because our Lord Jesus is coming back soon to snatch up His own.

I don’t debate the whole pre or post tribulation – if God wanted that to be a big deal He would have made it crystal clear.  I know some post tribulation believers think it’s all spelled out in Matthew, but regardless – it’s best to just be ready no matter what!  It’s more important to be ready than to debate whether God’s children will have to endure the tribulation.

Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.  – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

These days it’s not easy to be a Christian because man is constantly changing the rules.  Even the rules are being tweaked in some churches to “fit and accept” certain sinful desires.  Beware of false doctrines in the last days.  Now more than ever we need to remember that God and His rules in the Holy Bible never change.  We can claim to be progressive and diverse and any other description you can dream up – but the truth is that God’s Holy Word is the final authority forever.  By the same token, God is the only judge of man.  Man is not to judge – ever.

HIS LOVE IS EXTRA-LARGE

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He died on the cross – one time – for everybody.  You may think you’ve sunk too low or gone too far – but that’s not true.  No matter what you’ve done, it’s not too late to ask forgiveness with a sincere heart and make a U-turn!  He loves you so much and I hope you will do that today.  I don’t want anyone to miss heaven.  I want everyone to be there.  🙂

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDI know that it’s more difficult to get into Christmas because of the terrorists attacks.  Believe me, I’m very saddened that once again our country has been a target – a soft target.  In spite of these happenings, we as Christians have a HOPE – in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is worthy of our praise and worship.  He came to earth to save us and we celebrate that fact.

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Today’s goal is to take some photos of God’s beautiful creation.  I find photographs of beauty soothe my troubled soul.  Let’s take a moment today to thank God for all the beauty around us.

I need this flower in my hair - and matching gloves!
I need this flower in my hair – and matching gloves!
What a lovely shot of the sun with the snow!
What a lovely shot of the sun with the snow!
Awe... how cute are they???
Awe… how cute are they???
Will you walk toward the sun or away from it?
Will you walk toward the sun or away from it?
When was the last time you made a snow angel?
When was the last time you made a snow angel?
The allure of this photo should seem obvious... COFFEE!!!
The allure of this photo should seem obvious… COFFEE!!!
A frosty pine tree branch. Isn't that pretty?
A frosty pine tree branch. Isn’t that pretty?
Isn't this nice?
Isn’t this nice?
Alpine... wow!
Alpine… wow!
Do you ski??? Not me... I'm not even almost athletically inclined.
Do you ski??? Not me… I’m not even almost athletically inclined.
I don't know much about birds, but aren't they pretty?
I don’t know much about birds, but aren’t they pretty?
Covered bridges are so romantic - even in the snow!
Covered bridges are so romantic – even in the snow!
I like that fence - it looks better covered with snow.
I like that fence – it looks better covered with snow.
Isn't God's creation majestic?
Isn’t God’s creation majestic?
This looks so serene.
This looks so serene.

grand-canyon-981717 grand-canyon-956723Did you know it snows at the Grand Canyon???  I didn’t – but then, I’ve never been there – not even in good weather.  It’s on my bucket list to visit – and I’ll get there someday – sure hope to.

This forest is a wonderland of snow.
This forest is a wonderland of snow.
They look like crystal, don't they?
They look like crystal, don’t they?

The last ice storm we had here in Wichita was back in 1993.  I remember standing outside where it was so quiet – then suddenly there would be a loud CRACKLING noise – the sound of branches breaking off trees from the weight of the ice!  It’s a weird sound to be sure.  The folks just northwest of us had an ice storm over the Thanksgiving holiday – just in time to mess up their plans.  😦

Hopefully these photos have helped us focus on God and have reminded us that He is in control – of nature, the climate, man and the future of everyone.  May God richly bless you today.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 

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Oh admit it…  you’ve done it – I know you have!  Okay – if I admit that I just did it, would you admit you’ve done it then???  Fine…  I’ll admit it.  It’s the middle of the month and I forgot to change both of my perpetual calendars to October!  They are still on September – both of them!

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While I’m sure the perpetual calendar police won’t be visiting my house anytime soon, it still makes me crazy to think that I’ve lived through an entire half month without the calendars being correct.  You’d think someone would remind me.  Oh – scratch that…  we’re talking about a person who does not notice when I’m only wearing one earring.

I used to think it would be so cool to have a perpetual calendar – and they are sort of nice.  I must have liked it because I bought another one – a totally different kind – for the basement.  So, now I have two of them, one upstairs and one downstairs.  You’d think I would have remembered to change one of them – at least.

The time just flies by, doesn’t it?  Maybe I’m just having a difficult time keeping up with it.  I know it sounds like I’m beating myself up over it, but I’m not.  Part of me wonders if it’d be worth changing them now – I mean, I only have another half month to go – so maybe I should just catch it up again in November and be done with it.

Where did this year go?  I just keep wondering what happened to the time…  seems like yesterday we were welcoming 2015.  Welcoming and wondering if things were going to get better or worse, but knowing that no matter what, our God would be faithful to us – and so He has!

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You know, I don’t believe we have much longer to share our faith with those who don’t know Christ as personal Lord and Savior.  My granny used to say, “I feel it in me bones” – and I guess that’s how I would describe it.  We’ve been given the signs to look for in the Bible – and I suppose I just see that prophecies are coming to pass almost daily – and very quickly!  When I heard that Russia was becoming such a key player in world events, my mind went to the portion of Scripture that talks about the BEAR coming down from the North.  I have heard that preached my whole life – that BEAR is Russia!  I believe the second coming of Christ is very near.  Look at it this way – we’re one day closer than we were yesterday.

If you disagree with me that is certainly your privilege.  It’s more of a feeling deep down in my spirit than anything, I guess.  I just believe time is a-flyin’ and time is short for those of us with a purpose for ministry.  Now…  I suppose I’d better get those calendars changed – to NOVEMBER…  then I’ll be ahead of time for a change.  LOL!!!  Wink!  😉