A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We have inexpressible JOY…  you know what the world is asking right now???  They’re asking, “How???  Why???”.  Those who do not accept Christ Jesus and His precious Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not understand inexpressible joy.  It’s only by accepting Christ Jesus by faith into your heart and life that you can experience a joy that can not be explained.  It’s better felt than telt…  because I can’t explain it with words.  Words are not adequate – but true faith in the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus is how we experience His amazing joy, love, grace, and mercy.  And He rewards us with these things because He longs to have a relationship with His creation.  He wants to love us and for our love and faithfulness in return.  Sometimes our faith gets tested…  major big time!

You know about the fires in California, right?  Take a look at this photograph – everything around it is in ashes, but this cross still stands!  What a wonderful reminder that no matter what is being destroyed in our lives, Christ and His cross can never be destroyed if they are in your heart and life!  When I saw this picture, my eyes filled with tears and once again I prayed for the folks there whose homes are being destroyed.  May they have the joy of the Lord along with His strength and wisdom through this situation.  I pray God will bless them with everything they need – and I pray that God will bless with some wants as well.

We don’t follow a list of rules and get zapped by lightning if we step out-of-bounds.  We are obedient to God because we love Him and are so thankful for the horrific sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross at Calvary.  He took the sins of the world – past, present, future – on His shoulders!  We are saved from an eternity in hell.  There is a reason we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds.  As the years go by and we see His marvelous works in our lives, we just love and trust Him more and more!  This is how we get the inexpressible, undeniable, precious JOY of the Lord.  What does the joy of the Lord do for us?  Why do we cherish it so much?  Well, a verse comes to mind:

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  – Psalm 28:7

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  It sounds like a GOOD thing to me – doesn’t it sound like a GOOD thing to you?  No matter what is going on in your life, the Savior of your soul can be trusted to make a way and provide answers.  The way and the answers may not be in your time, but believe me when I say, there will come a time when you look back and say, “Oh, now I understand God’s timing in that situation!”  That’s why the longer you trust God, the stronger your faith gets.  You’ve seen so many ways God has helped you in the past – so you know without a doubt that He has all the problems in the present and the ones coming in the future under control.

I’m assured that whatever comes along in my life, God and His precious Holy Spirit will pour out His love, peace and joy on me.  When we are fully trusting in the Lord, it’s not a superficial happiness that we’re given, but it’s joy that lasts in our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  That’s why it’s called inexpressible – and to the world, I would go further and say they think it doesn’t exist.  Ah…  but if you know the Lord, you know better!

I want to show you a photo of JOY!!!  This is Madi, and I hope her middle name is Joy, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t..  If I ever get to meet her, she will be JOY to me!  She’s such a bright, shiny star and lights up any room!

I’VE GOT THE JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY DOWN IN MY HEART! DOWN IN MY HEART TO STAY!

Have faith, children of God.  Keep praying and keep showing the world the joy that God gives you to share.  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I love You, O Lord, my strength.  – Psalm 18:1

I have pity on anyone who does not know God’s love.  Apart from God, there is no love because God IS love.  I get tickled when I read articles that say to keep the love alive in your relationship or marriage, you should do this or do that.  They never suggest such things as Bible study or prayer.  Heaven forbid that we should bond with the Maker of love as we bond with one another, eh?  ❤

This verse is short, simple and to the point.  David tells God that he loves Him and acknowledges Him as his strength.  Sometimes the shortest prayers we pray are the most important ones.  Short, sweet but complete is often best.  ❤

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  – Psalm 116:1-2

God created humans to have best friends – it’s as simple as that.  He wants us to have conversations with Him – lots of them!  Pray without ceasing – and no, that does not mean you spend your entire day knelt down in the living room – but there are days when you feel that need – and it’s okay if you do.  But most of us just think pray our way through the day.  Wow – did that rhyme or what?  ❤

It’s more of an attitude of prayer that goes with us as we live our lives each day.  The Lord does not mind if we multi-task, and He certainly welcomes it when we come to a place where we ask Him to help us through sticky parts – and what is sticky for one is not sticky for another.  We’re all different.  ❤

Don’t laugh at me…  but I say a prayer when I’m driving as I head for a 4-way stop.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do at a 4-way stop, but there’s 2 different kinds of people you meet without fail:

1) the person who doesn’t think they really have to stop – they do the rolling stop thing – like that’s all they have to do.

2) the person who stops and can’t seem to find the gas pedal to get going again.  I hate it when I start to go and they start to go at the same time and I’m like, “Dude, you had your chance and I got tired of waiting.”  It’s awkward squared.  ❤

So I pray, “Lord, please help this to go smoothly for me…  just help me get through this intersection without something awkward happening, please.”  ❤

This is one of my favorite poems by Lucinda.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They’re all my favorites!  I can’t choose…  but this one is really good and perfect for this topic.  ❤its-still-again

He wants to hear our prayers – even the dumb ones.  It’s part of true love.  When you’re really loved, you know the other person (or in this case, God) wants to hear from us – everything about what’s happening.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Marry someone who will suffer well with you, because there will be much suffering during the life journey.  – Unknown

DATE NIGHT

When we are planning a wedding, we often get wrapped up in the aesthetics and tend to ignore the substance.  We want the perfect flowers, dresses and décor.  It’s almost like we get to the point we’re so tired after all that planning, we say, “Vows?  What vows???”  But…  there are vows – and they are meant to be kept for LIFE.  Think about it – it’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?  Yeah – it’s meant to be.

What were those vows?  Ah…  now it’s coming back to me.

Groom: I, Larry, take thee, Linda, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Bride: I, Linda, take thee, Larry, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

Then, as Larry placed the ring on my finger, he said the following:

With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH
LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH

Love means, for better or worse, you are committed to caring for the heart of someone else. You are willing to die to yourself, to compromise, to share, to believe, to keep the promise even when it hurts.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Prepare for painful moments – painful hours – painful days.  When the times are good or worth celebrating – do it with all your might, but when you are in pain, keep those good days – those good memories – at the forefront.  Think about the good as you go through the bad.  God has every situation in His very capable hands.  Trust Him for all the answers. 

 

 

 

NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY

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11-22 AN ADOPTION STORY

I hear writers tell those who have not been writing very long (like me) that we should write about what we know.  Let me tell you, if there is a subject I could write about until next Tuesday, it is the subject of adoption! 

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Today we celebrate adoption with NATIONAL ADOPTION DAY!  The challenge I face is to share something with you today that I have not shared with you in the past – LOL!  I have let you know quite a bit about my childhood (because it was so amazing) but today I want to share my very first Thanksgiving with you – the one at Grandpa Frank and Granny LaVella’s farmhouse.  Oh, by the way, I was only 7 months old so I don’t remember a lot about it.  I’ll do the best I can with the narration.  Wink!  😉

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There is one word that quickly springs to my mind when I think about my life as an adopted kid – LOVE!  Yeah, I was an only child and maybe in some ways I was a little spoiled, but I knew the word no and I knew the checking account was not bottomless.   These people were hard-working folks and I learned to appreciate what I got.  I cherish my Granny’s homemade things more than a solid gold Cadillac.  Does anybody remember that song from 1961?  It was one of my mama’s favorite songs:

Given my mama’s love of R&B and my daddy’s love of Country – is it any wonder I am so messed up?  It was rhetorical, folks…  don’t answer that question!

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Even though they liked all kinds of music, my parents were pretty united in their beliefs and ideals.  They raised me to be comfortable and at ease around them.  I knew I could say anything on my mind without fear of judgment.  There is not a question I could ask that would make them “unlove” me.  They raised me to be a secure woman of faith.  How can I repay them?  I can’t, except to do my best to live up to the standards they set to honor them.

Now that mom and dad are gone, I’m left to live by the code of conduct they raised me with.  I never want to say or do anything to bring shame to them, but more importantly, I want to be the person God wants me to be.  I miss my folks and sometimes in the shadows, in the quiet of the evening – I think I hear them speaking to me.  I’ve had a few dreams about them and when I wake up, reality hits me in the face.

SOMETIMES IN THE SHADOWS

So…  was I spoiled???  Not so much – I was just loved.  Really really loved! 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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TODAY

The sweetest marriage proposal ever.

Life with your spouse is too short for harboring anger, resentment or regret. The issues that seemed worth arguing about when your marriage was young are suddenly not that important as the years go by. With age comes a sort of commitment and a settled feeling. You begin to really live every day to its fullest and enjoy it together.

I dreamed of a wedding of elaborate elegance,
A church filled with family and friends.
I asked him what kind of wedding he wished for,
He said one that would make me his wife.
– Author Unknown

Men are typically not into the actual wedding ceremony. My husband was no exception. The details were up to me. We had a blue and yellow wedding and I wore a blue dress with a yellow daisy corsage. If you were to ask him what colors we used in our wedding, I’m guessing he could not tell you. But that’s ok. That’s the way God made men and He made women to be very choosy and detail-oriented. Our wedding was simple – no frills. And as I watch the many “bloopers” on YouTube, I think that was a good idea!

We had our vows renewed on our 20th anniversary at Silver Dollar City. I think that was the nicest surprise he could have given me! It meant so much to know that he would marry me all over again.

There’s an old joke that is not all that funny where the husband tells the wife, “I told you I loved you when I married you – if things change, I’ll let you know.” Epic fail, guys! Your woman needs to hear it – every day! It’s not a matter of us being insecure about our relationship, but it’s more of an affirmation. I can only speak for myself, but when my husband tells me he loves me, it makes me want to try harder and it makes me smile for a really long time! There is nothing like hearing your husband tell you out loud that he loves you. He shows me every day by his actions – but hearing it… that is wonderful!

Two people for life – and God’s Holy Spirit in the middle just loving and caring for us. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I AM YOUR NUMBER ONE FAN

On this April Fool’s Day there is one thing that a good wife can do to avoid being called or even thought of as a fool. She can stand behind her man and be the best cheerleader ever!

I’ve read books and articles my whole married life. I have participated in so many Proverbs 31 Bible studies, I’m almost tempted to by a loom so I can make my own blankets so I can make it official. The perfect Proverbs 31 wife does that, right? She is the enthusiastic woman weaving and singing away because she is providing warmth for her family.

Does a good wife have to go to all that trouble in our day and time? Well, probably not. My biggest challenge is to keep my big mouth shut, but I’m just speaking for me. Maybe you struggle with some other issue. There’s probably not a perfect wife among us. We could all use a little refresher course in Proverbs 31. What is a virtuous woman? Well, that seems to be the opening question:

Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life. She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands. She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar. She riseth also while it is yer night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens. She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She strethcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land. She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children rise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman that feareth the LORD, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. – Proverbs 31:10-31

A virtuous woman is one who puts God first, husband second, children third. She is busy because she has a family to raise. She is wise enough to take a break and do something for herself once in a while, but she is faithful to her husband and dedicated to her LORD and to her family. There are three words that, if I remember right, were in my wedding vows: LOVE, HONOR AND CHERISH. Yes, that about covers the virtuous Proverbs 31 woman. ❤

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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CIRCLES OF LOVE

Doesn’t that look like FUN? It’s a good thing I’m not Jewish though… I can’t dance worth a lick and I’m a wallflower. So, there ya go.

Oy Vey! I’ll be honest, what I know about Jewish traditions and customs could fill a very small thimble. The fact remains that I find these time-honored customs fascinating and wish we as Christians had more deeply rooted traditions (other than what flavor the groom’s cake will be).

The inspiration for this poem came from an article I read about the Jewish custom of the bride circling the groom seven times. The circling of the groom is an Ashkenazi practice and is not generally part of Sephardic tradition, however, it is rich with symbolism:

1. When Joshua led the Children of Israel in the battle for Jericho, he was instructed to circle the city seven times, resulting in the walls of the city crumbling. As two people enter into marriage, they face the challenge of breaking down the “walls” that may exist between them.

2. This has been interpreted to parallel the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own “new world” together.

3. Seven circles correspond to the seven times in the Torah where it is written, “… and when a man takes a wife.”

As a Christian, the symbolism that pops into my mind has to do with the wedding rings. The gold is solid and sturdy and withstands any sort of punishment, like a good marriage does. The rings are of course circles which have no beginning and no end. It goes on forever. The Christian circle represents eternity. Marriage should not be entered into lightly, for if you go into it with the wrong one, eternity can be a very long time.

It’s outlined in the New Testament of God’s Holy Word, The Bible, that a husband is to lay down his life in sacrificial love and protection. As her loving husband is obedient, a wife naturally responds with honor and respect.

The promises made between husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. Just as a husband and wife’s vow to love, honor and cherish each other will last for eternity, so will the Christian’s relationship with Christ endure for all eternity. ❤