A SUMMER OF PSALMS

America is about to celebrate another birthday!  Time and again throughout Scripture we are reminded that God is strong and we are not.  We are constantly urged to lean on Him, not only when we feel weak, but at all times.  Our Lord is not to be a last resort, but a first resource!  May we always turn to Him first instead of waiting for a situation to reach a breaking point or a crisis level.

Sometimes we think we’re just pluggin’ right along on our own, don’t we?  It seems like we have a pretty good handle on everything – but then WHAM!  Life has a way of turning very quickly.

We’re told to glory in the Lord and rejoice as we seek Him!  If you are doing that, then you won’t be stressed out about how to deal with this problem or that one.  You’re trusting in God because you know that He will work your problems out for you.  I know that God’s solution will be much more creative than any idea you would come up with.

This seeking must never cease–the more we know the more we must seek to know.  – C.H. Spurgeon

It seems as though we’re to pray without ceasing and seek without ceasing, doesn’t it?  Actually, the two go together.  You can’t really be in constant communication with the Lord without a desire to know Him.  I just want everything that God has for me.  If He wants me to have something, I want it too.

Here in Kansas, we’ve prayed for rain!  It’s been so hot and dry all summer.  Our prayers were answered last night.  My friend John caught some footage of the beautiful rainbow that followed the stormy weather.

Isn’t God good???  He still promises not to flood the earth ever again – and has kept that promise for a very long time!  He’s good to His people.  May we seek His presence continually!  May we bless Him at all times!

A wise teacher once told me that we make time for the ones we care most for.  How can we claim to belong to God and want Him to be the Lord of our lives and not carve out any time for Him?  For some reason, we just put God on a little shelf and tell Him to sit there while we go off to do other things.  I guess those other things mean more to us than our Heavenly Father does.

We need to hear His voice in ways He tries to communicate with us.

He is there with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.

God will be the Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.  There is no gray area.  It’s an all or nothing choice.  Bless God, America!  🙂

 

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Father May I?

God’s will is at the center of everything!  There are control freaks in the world who will balk at the notion, but it’s true – they are not in charge.  Go sulk in the corner if you resemble that remark.  I’m joking.  Sit in the front row right in the middle if you resemble that remark!  😀

The Lord wants us to pray because we love Him.  To pray is a choice we make and not just something that Christians do from 11 a.m. till noon on Sunday morning in a building with a steeple.  We pray – and we keep the lines of communication open all the time.  One prayer we all pray every day is “Father, please forgive me.”

We can be confident because our God is faithful.  By confidence, I’m not talking about self-assurance, but a steady peace within that comes from the knowledge that God is in control and it will be okay when it’s all said and done.  How do we obtain that steady peace in our lives?  We take time for prayer – even if those prayers are groanings.  Some prayers are not prayed in words, but God understands them.  He knows our thoughts, our intent and He counts our tears as we pray.  It’s His will for you to pray.  Is it your will to pray?  Let God hear from you today!

Well – we have some spiritual cookie dough waiting for us.  Let’s see…  we have used God’s wonderful sifter to sift His strong flour into the batter bowl.  Last week, we added some of God’s chocolate chips (and ate another handful for good measure) so our cookies will be sweet.

It’s time to use God’s powerful mixer so our dough is mixed together well.  There – that should do it.  God is such a good Father.  As we put the little spoonfuls of dough on our greased cookie sheet, He lets us lick the beaters and the batter bowl.  I must admit, that’s my favorite part of baking!

Dear Lord,  We are nothing without Your mighty power.  It’s as simple as that.  You are our everything and we need Your power in our lives.  Our spiritual cookies would be too lumpy bumpy without a powerful mixer.  So it is with our lives as we strive to serve You.  We know that there are temptations to sin at every turn.  We also know that in Your mighty name we are more than conquerors!  You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Help us to remember that in You we can do all things!  In Jesus’ mighty and powerful name we pray, Amen.

Next week as we finish our May emphasis, “Father May I?”, we will finish baking our spiritual cookies.  Our spiritual chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, I’m looking forward to them, aren’t you?

I have one more link to share with you today.  You may have heard, there was a Royal Wedding yesterday.  I think I saw a few posts on facebook – like maybe a hundred or so…  anyway, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this sermon, I hope you’ll click on this link and listen to it.  Have a blessed week!  🙂

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/sermons/power-love-bishop-michael-currys-sermon-wedding-prince-harry-and

 

 

 

 

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.   🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I’m sure we’re all familiar with the terms speck and bolt…  Don’t try to remove the speck from your neighbor’s eye while you’re toting around a bolt.  It’s paraphrased – but short, sweet and to the point.  God doesn’t want us to judge others.  For one thing, it’s burdensome to take on someone else’s baggage and try to change them – and besides that’s not my job!  My job is to pray that God makes any changes in their life – and pray that He keep working on my life as well.  None of us have “arrived” and we never will – not until we get to Heaven.

How many of you watched the show NEWHART in the 1980’s & 1990’s?  Dick & Joanna Louden ran the Stratford Inn in Vermont.  Let’s take a look at the jury here – and the judgment.  In case Youtube takes the video down, this is episode 145 “Twelve Annoyed Men… And Women.” 

I like to “people watch” – it seems a harmless way to pass the time, and my husband would rather I sit on a bench and observe the activities of others at our local mall than spend money in a store.  LOL!  When we’re making those observations, we need to be very careful that our motives are right.  For example, if I see a young lady with tattoos, purple hair, and piercings everywhere , I should not assume anything beyond the obvious – those things are not what I like for myself, but I mustn’t say that God would disapprove, for we know that God looks upon our hearts and attitudes – not the color of our hair or how many holes or tattoos a person has.  I’ve seen some beautiful tattoos, but to be honest, I’m a coward.  I avoid needles at all cost.  I’ve actually started praying for the people I see…  I may be the only one to pray for them!  I ask that God be in their life.  It’s a short prayer – and even though I don’t know their names… God knows them!

I was raised to believe that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – there is no degree of sin – one is as bad as the other, so why judge someone when you can just as easily pray for them?  To judge a person is your bad – to pray for a person is your good – and God smiles!  I don’t want to make God sad, do you?

In this journey called LIFE, I believe we are to help one another as we can, and pray for each other always.  Even though I’m not able to do very much right now, God reminds me that I can still write, and more importantly, I can still pray.  There is power in prayer and I’m making prayer my first resource instead of my last resort!  Prayer is the most positive force in the universe.

God can do all things in my life, regardless of my limitations and pain level.  He will do great things in His perfect timing, and He hears our prayers.  it’s up to us to be patient and wait for His answers.  We know that He will make all things beautiful in HIS time.  Please send some prayers up for me, friends.  Thank you!  God knows what’s going on. ❤

When you’re tempted to judge, resist the temptation and make a conscious decision to pray instead.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We wait and we seek the Lord continually.  We don’t do it just to be rewarded, but God is good to us in return, isn’t He?

As we wait on the Lord, seeking Him through prayer with diligence, with our whole hearts, He is good to protect us and provide for us in ways that are so creative.  How many times have you wondered how things would work out – and God makes a way that you would not have imagined?  It’s happened to me so many times!  His grace and mercy are given freely, and He assures us daily of our place in Heaven with Him when our life is over on earth.

Our God will never forsake us and He sees the work we do for Him.  We find His favor when we earnestly seek Him on a daily basis.  The world around us seems to be chaotic and crazy, but we believe that it’s all part of God’s big plan, so we don’t have to fear the future because we know God’s in control.  We choose God’s peace, love, gentleness and hope.

Will you choose the hope that God gives today?  Look to the Lord – the God of all answers.  He knows the future and He will guide you along if you ask Him to.

Dear Father,  As my Creator, You know me even better than I know myself.  Patience doesn’t come easy for me, as if I have to tell You that.  God, I’m so sorry for rushing ahead when Your hand hasn’t opened the door.  I’m sorry for complaining of boredom when being still is much more than sitting quietly.  You shape my spirit through the still and You mold my heart in the quiet.  Only then, am I ready to follow Your will.  Will You change my perspective of this season?  Will You rekindle my love anew?  For I know the wait is not without reason; may it draw me closer to You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

God bless you as you sit quietly, pray, trust and wait on Him.  🙂

 

 

IT CAME UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR

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And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…  – Luke 2:8-17

Every time I read this passage, I ask myself, “What if the angels had shown up, made the amazing proclamation, then left – and the shepherds had NOT gone to Bethlehem?”

We can get messages till the cows come home…  but if we don’t get up off our behinds and exercise our faith and take action…  what good does it do?  In Christian circles, that’s referred to as “putting FEET to your FAITH” – and it’s important to do that on a regular basis.

one-bright-night-in-bethlehemThe shepherds made a decision – a choice – to go to Bethlehem.  Of course, God knew they would, but you know ultimately God has given each of us a free will to embrace or ignore His message.  In other words, the proverbial ball is in your court, my friend.

If you read God’s Word and want to embrace it, God is sure ready to give you a brand new life through His Son, Christ Jesus.  I hope you will do that today.  It’s really simple to accept God’s wonderful gift, His Son, Jesus, into your heart and life.

Dear Lord Jesus, I know I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Guide my life and help me to do Your will. In Your name, Amen.”

Have a wonderful and blessed day.  Start flexing those faith muscles.  🙂

 

MATTHEW 10:28 ON 10/28

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Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  – Matthew 10:28

Several friends and acquaintances of mine have recently been diagnosed with terminal illness.  I feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart for them – but I never know the right words to say.  I think back to the time when my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer.  He was dying and we all knew it.  I tried to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the situation – as a family member.  I don’t remember a lot of what people said – but I remember more of what people did.  It was the same thing when my mom passed.  People shared of themselves – they shared light and love when I was a mess.share-light-love

Everyone was kind and encouraging to me – but a few people actually DID things and I remember that.  When my daddy died, a sweet lady in our church not only sent flowers, she included a little ceramic pumpkin for me to keep after the flowers died.  I let her know I thought that was real nice of her.  When my mama passed, even though there were not that many people coming to our house, our pastoral family went above and beyond the call of duty to provide sandwich stuff!  Oh my we did not go hungry!  I remember my sister-in-law and brother-in-law washing dishes and thinking that was so kind of them.

If our loved one knows the Lord, we know they are going to be alright.  We know that they are going to Heaven where everything is just right.  The soul does not die – but lives on – but the family that is left…  well, they are left here to figure out how to begin a new “normal”.   I always ask God how I can help them do that.  I ask God, “What can I DO for them?”

When families suffer loss and are at their lowest, isn’t that when Christian folk can shine the light of Christ in their lives in a very real sense?  Words are fine, but actions are better and make more of an impact on their lives.  After a loss, everything is fuzzy when you’re trying to listen to kind words.  Most of the talk just flies over your head.  You hear what people are saying, but you’re just so grief-stricken, you can’t process what’s being said.

So – how do you avoid hell and make Heaven your eternal home?   Open the closet door where you keep the secrets and sins.  It’s not easy to show God what is inside your closet.  Think about this though – He already knows about it, so…  who do you really think you’re foolin’?  We are so human – but the good news is…  He is so GOD!  If you ask God, through His Son, Christ Jesus, to forgive you of your sins – He is faithful and just to do it.  Trust Him for the rest of your days – and for the time when this life is over.

whats-in-your-closetI pray that you know the Lord as your personal Savior.  This life is brief and these bodies are so very frail and fragile, aren’t they?  I also believe we are living in the last days (I see some of you rolling your eyes) – yeah, I know I’ve said it before – but I’m going to say it again.  Be ready, for you know not the hour.  Did you know that Jesus doesn’t even know?  He’s waiting for the Father to tell Him when to come get us outa here!  It would be selfish for me to say I hope it’s soon because many are not ready – and He doesn’t want any to perish in hell.  He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and ask Him into their hearts and lives.  THEN – only then will the peace of God wash over you and your life will never be the same.  The peace of God surpasses all understanding.  I hope and pray you know HIS peace in your life.  🙂