A SUMMER OF PSALMS

Both the north and south poles can be reached by beginning travel in the opposite direction.  Talk about meeting yourself coming and going!  If you continue straight travel north long enough, you pass the pole and begin to go south.  So why, then, cannot one travel eastward and have it eventually become westward?  The answer has to do with the position of the earth on its axis.  It’s tilted 23 degrees, but the poles are still at the top and bottom – the north pole and south pole.  Our planet is spinning on the north/south axis.

This is another example of what I call MIRACLE SCRIPTURE PASSAGES because there’s no way folks in Bible times knew all the cool stuff we know about earth and its axis and all that – didn’t they think the earth was flat?  The Bible truly is the inspired Word of God – creator of everything and the One who knows how it’s all put together.

Which brings us to east and west.  These two never meet!  I’m so very happy to say that my God throws my sins into the sea of forgetfulness and they are remembered no more!  He throws them as far as the east is from the west, and that’s a long, LONG way!

Sin is what separates us from our kind and loving Heavenly Father.  When Christ came to earth to live as a human, and subsequently bleed and die on a cross for the sins of every man, woman, and child past, present, and future, God knew we were not going to tow the line, hit the mark, be perfect – because we are human beings – we are not little gods.  We needed and need a Savior.  We were and are in big trouble without One.  God doesn’t send anyone to hell – we were and are sending ourselves – but it doesn’t have to end that way.  If we place our faith and trust in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus – we can have eternal life with Him forever in Heaven when this life is over.

Being saved does not make you perfect.  Being saved does give you a blessed hope in a world that sure could use hope.  Jesus is the only hope for mankind.  We’re just flesh and blood and we need a Savior who is more than that.  Jesus is more and He sits at the right hand of the Father right now.  You know, He doesn’t even know when He’s going to get the nod from Father God to come back for His own.  God’s the only one who knows the appointed time.  Yes, we see the signs of end times – all around us every day!  We know it’s going to be soon.  I don’t want you to miss it.

Ask the Lord to forgive you of sins you’ve committed, and things you may have omitted as well.  Ask Him to live in your heart and mind today.  Make Heaven your eternal home.  Ease your heart and mind of burdens and the horrible guilt associated with them that you don’t have to carry for the rest of your life.  Believe in the only man who ever died for you.  Salvation is yours right now.  What are you waiting for?  When you are forgiven by God through the shed blood of Christ, it is the most freeing feeling!  God wants to take your sins away and throw them as far as the east is from the west.  🙂

 

Father May I?

The mercy of our God is bigger than any sin you commit!  No matter how far you’ve strayed away from the Lord Jesus Christ, He is able to forgive and forget your transgressions IF you will ask Him.  You can be assured of salvation for eternity right now.  It’s not easy to follow Christ because you must take up His cross in your life.  Standing up for your faith and speaking your mind about your Christian beliefs is probably the most difficult thing one can do, but we have Christ by our side helping us every step of the way.

Will you trade your worries and cares for the Lord’s great mercy and grace?  You can experience His love, peace, and forgiveness of sins.  Just turn all the junk and your burdens over to Him.  Then give Him praise and glory because you have begun a brand new journey that is surrounded with faith in Christ Jesus!  God Bless you extra-special good as you start your new walk!

The word EVERYTHING is all-inclusive!  When God’s Word says everything, it leaves nothing out.  You could interchange the word WHATEVER because again, there is nothing excluded.  You can pray to the Lord about anything on your mind.  He wants to hear from you!

There is nothing that is off-limits with God.  He knows all about it to begin with, you know!  Even though He already knows, He still wants you to talk it over with Him.  Maybe you need advice.  Maybe you need forgiveness.  Maybe you just need to be heard without having something fixed.  He knows that too!

God, through His Son Jesus Christ, hears every prayer we pray.  He will lift every burden from you and act on your behalf.  He is not a disappointment.  He loves you so much!

Last week we were ready to put our spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake.  You know, sometimes I get a little anxious when I am in the kitchen because I’m not what you’d call a cook that’s comfortable in the kitchen.  I’m awkward with a knife and I’ve peeled my own fingers with the potato peeler a few times.  I have other talents, but none of them are chef-related.  I’m not a chef – pampered or otherwise.  LOL!  

So as I put the spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven, I’m calling on my Father today, asking, “Father May I please use Your special timer so my cookies don’t burn?”

Dear Heavenly Father, I tend to get anxious and uptight when I’m expected to do things I’m uncomfortable doing.  I need Your timer to make sure these cookies do not get burned.  If I don’t have it, I could easily get distracted – especially when I put in the last batch.  I’m not sure why I always burn the last batch, except to say I do get tired by then.  I lose interest and if I don’t have a timer to remind me to get them out of the oven, pretty soon the smoke alarm does that job!  So, Lord please keep me focused on the task at hand.  I want my spiritual chocolate chip cookies to be pleasing to You!  Thank You in advance for helping me.  In Jesus’ Holy and matchless name I pray, Amen.

As we pray more and stress less, God will help us be our spiritual best!  His love has no limit and He wants to help us succeed in life.  We know that He has a place already prepared for His own in Heaven – so He’s seen to it that we are taken care of in the afterlife as well.  What is there to be anxious or upset about?  🙂

Seek Him

The last thing a Christian woman wants to be is unequally yoked.  No…  not an egg yolk, silly!  Yoked…  hooked together.  Till death do you part can seem like a life sentence in San Quentin if you’re pulling the wagon with the wrong partner!

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  – 2 Corinthians 6:14

I didn’t learn this until I was older, but now I know – as long as I keep my hand in God’s hand, He will set me on a joyous journey and my path will be straight.  The first time I saw this quote, I literally cried – it’s so true.  When I was younger and immature, I didn’t think about this at all.  Back then, I can’t say my heart was hidden in God – so there’s the first problem, eh?

How can a non-Christian man understand a Christian woman?  He can’t.  He may try, but all of his suggestions and solutions would be gleaned from the world, not from God’s Word.  Prayer?  He would not be a man of prayer.  Where does his strength come from?  If not from God, then from the Wall Street Journal, I guess.  Most Christian couples pray together, so…  that leaves you alone to pray – by yourself.  Soon you would feel resentment at having to bear the spiritual burden alone.

He could be of a similar mind to you in every other sense and still not make the cut.  He could vote a straight political ticket, be a non-smoker, go to the gym three days a week, drive a car made in America (wait – are there any cars made in America anymore?) – anyway – unless he is a believer in Christ Jesus…  nope – sorry – he would not be the man for a Christian woman.

If two Christian people can just come together and look to the cross of Christ Jesus – together.  Show devotion to Him – together.  Praise Him – together.  Seek His face and His grace in prayer – together.  Then…  they are equally yoked and the wagon’s pulled without one partner feeling strained or resentful toward the other.

Christians are not perfect people…  we embrace grace – God’s wonderful, amazing grace!  It’s as simple as that.  We need a life partner who wants that same thing in life.  We wilt and die without it – marriages end when God is not invited in.

If a woman will keep her heart hidden in God – the right man will know he needs to find God before he can get to know her.  Two people yoked together should be looking in the same direction – that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We don’t want to think that there are modern-day Pharisees in this world, do we?  Sadly, there are some that think they will get to God’s wonderful and glorious Heaven in some way that has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.  Some think that a family member in Heaven can put in a good word for you with God…  well – that won’t work.  The ONLY way to Heaven is to place your faith and trust in Christ Jesus.  He willingly sacrificed His life on a cruel cross – for you and me.  If you were the only one on this earth, He still would have died so you could be saved.  Believe in Him and you will be saved.

God refers to His children as sheep in the Bible sometimes.  I don’t know much about sheep, but I know they need a shepherd to guide and direct them.  The shepherd keeps the sheep safe from harm.  Some people don’t want anyone, including the Lord, to tell them what to do – they resent it.  Those who walk with the Lord are comforted by His loving care.  He doesn’t want to hold us back from success.  He opens doors along the way – on the path to success and real joy in Him.

I want to go into the pasture through the open gate, don’t you?  Besides, have you ever seen a sheep jump – I mean, other than when you’re counting them in bed as you try to get to sleep – ???  They are really not jumping creatures.  I don’t think they can hop over that fence.  Sometimes when I encounter a person who thinks they can get to Heaven some other way, I think – “How dare you spit in the face of my Savior!”  Honestly – think about what He went through to save mankind.  For anyone to think they can get to Heaven while completely ignoring the plan that GOD set forth for us…  that’s just dumb and a bit unsettling to me.  Our Savior, Christ Jesus, is great!

Nobody will ever love you like the GOOD SHEPHERD!  His love is true and it lasts.  Praise HIM for all His amazing blessings!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Has God given everyone at least one gift?  You know, I think we sometimes look at what God has given us and make the paralyzing mistake of comparing our gifts or talents with those of others.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do – he would like nothing better than to see you paralyzed, believing that somehow your gift is not good enough for God’s use – so you just sit back and let someone else serve instead.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that.  I think it’s satan’s favorite pastime. 

Another sad scenario is when some people in the church begin to compare and pit two similarly gifted people against each other.  I’ve been in that situation and I can’t think of anything that is more hurtful and damaging to a soul – it’s what the Bible calls A STUMBLING BLOCK.  When I hear people tell me that they think I’m better at (fill in the blank) than someone else – I try to stop it in its tracks!  We’re not in the church to be playing AMERICAN IDOL – which, by the way, is a terrible name for a program (have the producers not read the Old Testament)?

Churches are filled with lost souls who have been saved and redeemed by a loving and kind Savior.  None of us deserve salvation, do we?  We’re all just trying to serve Him the best way we know how – and it’s because we love HIM – not because we’re in some church competition with anyone.  Always encourage people to use their gifts to serve.  If there are 15 pianists in your church and you think some are better than others (which, I mean – duh – there will be some better than others)… encourage each and every one of them – period.  No comparisons…  no mention of how good one is or how not so good another is – no!  God gave all 15 pianists TALENT and wants them to use that gift to further HIS kingdom.  The church needs to buy a clue and quit copying the world – stop it! 

My eyes were opened when I was part of a Southern Gospel group years ago.  We traveled as a caravan around Kansas and Oklahoma, playing concerts along the way.  I was never more unhappy and unfulfilled than I was then – it was honestly a reminder of the old BATTLE OF THE BANDS.  I just wanted to go home and play piano in my home church, where I thought the people who knew and understood me would forgive a sour note here and there.  I wasn’t cut out to perform – that’s not who God made me to be.

We serve the Lord with the best we have to give – no matter what gift He has given us.  There’s a place to serve the Lord – for all of us.  There should be room for every gift without being compared to anyone else.

I’ve said this time and again…  but I will say it again – it’s not about us anyway.  It’s about God, His grace, mercy, love and promises to us.  What we give back is our response to all that He’s done for us.  We go and tell and share because He commands that we do that.  We use the gifts from His hand to that end.  That’s what it’s about.  We teach, pray, study, and serve others with the light we’ve been given from God through Christ Jesus!

Even if you think one person is better at (fill in the blank) than another…  please don’t voice that opinion.  It’s the most hurtful thing that a person can do and is a stumbling block.  It may seem that you’re encouraging the one – which is okay – but don’t do it by discouraging the other.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and it’s so hurtful when you’re the one who doesn’t quite have what it takes like the other person does.  People have stopped using their gifts because of that very thing.  It’s just not a good idea to compare people’s gifts.  Let’s just be thankful that people are willing to volunteer their time and share their talents.

Serve to spread the gospel in any way you can.  We don’t keep the gospel of Christ tucked safely away and say…  “Yay – I’m saved – that’s all that matters.”  The word gospel means GOOD NEWS – and it is to be shared.  If there is a way for you to share with a gift that God gave you…  then it’s what you should do!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is faith?  Well, there is a particular definition that I learned from the time I was very small.  It’s a verse I have had memorized for years!

That’s not the version I memorized as a kid – I know the King James version:

 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  – Hebrews 11:1

We’re to have this faith – this confidence in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are to be assured of that which we do not see.  We walk by faith – and not by sight.  We can only be God’s child by faith.

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.  – Helen Keller

Just as time away from the gym can show fairly quickly on the scale, time away from God can show fairly quickly in our lives.  Some folks refuse to have faith while others say they do, but they don’t take the time to exercise it.  Something in the name of this video caught my eye – it says, Allow Me, I Will Heal Your Soul” – and that’s significant – we have a choice to allow the Lord to help us or not.  We’re given the free will to make the choice for God or against Him.

God wants to give you opportunities today.  Will you trust the path He has for you to walk, or will you ignore Him and go your own way?  Work that faith out a little bit…  think about the substance of things HOPED FOR – expecting in your heart to see the evidence of THINGS UNSEEN.  Why are people so surprised when God answers their prayers?  Maybe it’s because they didn’t think their faith was as strong as it really is.  Just a thought.

We don’t see the wind in Kansas, but I’ll tell you what – we feel it!  The limbs on the ground are the evidence of the wind that blew them off the trees!  We see the evidence of the wind everywhere.  In the autumn, the Kansas wind blows the leaves off the trees and as we rake the leaves, we’re reminded that once again the wind came to visit.  Do you have to see to believe?  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Some people refer to the evening meal as dinner, but in our house it is called supper.  So in this portion of Scripture, the word sup simply means that Christ Jesus will have a personal relationship with all who accept Him into their hearts and lives.  Don’t we have some of our best conversations around the supper table?  I know in our family we do.

Today is the official first day of spring, and while you’d have a difficult time convincing some in the eastern part of the United States of that…  it’s true.  Soon we will be seeing all things new.  Flowers will bloom, birds will sing their sweet songs, and new life will be evidenced all around us.

I can’t think of a better time to begin a relationship with God through His Son, Christ Jesus.  Cast off all the old ways and take on His wonderful new ways of thinking and living.  He wants the very best for you, and will be in your corner throughout your life.  I began a walk with the Lord on my 13th birthday – on April 2, 1974 – and was baptized the next Sunday.  There’s never been a bit of regret in my mind and Jesus just gets sweeter every day.

Begin a new life in Christ if you haven’t already.  If you have, take this opportunity to praise Him for all the many blessings in your life.  I praise Him today for working ALL things for my good!  He really can take a mess (let’s face it – life can get messy) – and turn it into something that’s nothing less than a miracle!  He is awesome in my life – He is life!

Do you hear Him knocking on your heart’s door today?

You know, there is not a door knob on the side Jesus stands on – He cannot open your heart’s door and walk in…  you have to invite Him in.  I hope you will ask Him into your heart and life today.  Accept His wonderful love beyond degree, peace that passes all understanding, joy unspeakable, endless hope, and the blessed assurance that one day when this life is over, you’ll just be getting started with Him in eternity.

He’s a prayer away.  Let’s pray:

Dear God, I want to be a part of your family. You said in Your Word that if I acknowledge that You raised Jesus from the dead, and that I accept Him as my Lord and Savior, I would be saved. So God, I now say that I believe You raised Jesus from the dead and that He is alive and well. I accept Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I accept my salvation from sin right now.  I am now saved. Jesus is my Lord. Jesus is my Savior. Thank you, Father God, for forgiving me, saving me, and giving me eternal life with You.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

Have a lovely spring – enjoy the newness all around you.  If you prayed this prayer, I’m so happy for you.  Enjoy your new life in Christ!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Before the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus…  all of mankind was in big trouble – by that, I mean we were lost – like, unbelievably, no GPS can help us…  lost!  Until Christ took the sins of the world on Himself – there was no hope of redemption.  That would be a very sad ending for us, wouldn’t it?  But God made sure we were not left hopeless.

Christians have good news to share.  The Savior was sent to earth by His Father – sent here to live, serve, teach and be the ultimate and final sacrifice so that mankind can make Heaven their eternal home.  That is what Easter is all about.  HOPE. It’s the greatest hope imaginable.  When God raised Christ from the dead…  HOPE was born!

Each person has a decision to make regarding the Lord.  You will either accept His gift of hope or you will reject it.  It’s not my job to judge anyone (and I’m quite pleased about that), but it is my job to share my faith…  and so I do.  There’s no fence walking allowed – you will either live on one side or the other.  God is not an elderly grandfather who winks at sin, making excuses for His children.  God is love, yes – but He is also fair and just.  You can’t pretend to be His and go on living like you’re not.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He wants us to grow in our faith and share this good news with others.  Being a good person and doing random acts of kindness is certainly commendable and so needed in today’s society to be sure, but a genuine walk with the Lord is what will get you through and to Heaven when this life is over.  Keep it real and honest because you know, God knows everything.

So…  you know which side of the fence you’re living on.  If you would like to meet this Generous Carpenter, it’s not that difficult.  Just have a little talk with Him.  Yes…  WITH Him.  Prayer is a two-way conversation.  Listen – trust me.  God talks back – He speaks to your heart.  Let’s pray:

Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

If you’re living on the wrong side of the fence (and only you know if you are), I hope you prayed this prayer and meant it.  I also hope that this is the first of many conversations you have with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Once you begin living your life for God, it’s a journey you’ll not trade for anything.  Putting my faith and trust in God through Jesus was the best decision I ever made.  God bless you.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

To some, it’s a comfort that God our Lord is living among us.  We find peace and serenity.  To others, it’s a thought that brings feelings of dread and fear.  Why?   Well, I’ll try to explain it with a story you can relate to.

We had a little dog – she was a mixed breed, but a tiny little thing.  She was a puppy when I was a baby.  I loved on her like crazy, but once in a while I loved on her a little too much – hugged her a little too tight.  She never snapped, never growled or showed any indication of meanness toward me or anyone in my family.  We all knew and respected each other – we were family.

Our friends, the Ingram’s, came over to visit one brisk winter evening.  Just before people came over, my mom would take the cover off of Lady’s chair (yes, Lady had her own chair).  When Ellis tried to sit in Lady’s chair, she started growling and snarling at him.  Of course, my parents scolded her and apologized to Ellis and told him to go ahead and sit there.  Lady was put in the back bedroom for the rest of the evening.

From that moment on, Ellis and Lady had less than an amicable relationship.  I guess you could say they basically tolerated each other for the sake of those around them.  I don’t think they ever really made up.

It’s a bit like that if you don’t know the Lord, I think.  He’s not yours, but it’s okay if He lives with others – but you sure don’t want Him.  Maybe you’re afraid He’s going to bite you or snap at you (the proverbial lightning strike).  I wish you’d make up with Him.  You can by believing that His Son, Christ Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  He is mighty to save and strong to deliver you.  Only then you can read this portion of Scripture with a smile on your face and real confidence in your soul.  He will calm your fears and wipe away all your tears.  I hope you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and friend today, because today – it’s you.

Of course, today is St. Patrick’s Day!  I wish you a happy and safe one.  Two reminders for the day – don’t drink green beer and drive…  and don’t text and drive.  Stay safe.  Everyone knows that Christians don’t believe in luck, but we do believe in getting into the spirit of a holiday.  Lucinda wrote a cute poem about luck.  The Luck of Us All. 

Enjoy the day responsibly.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-45

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

If treasure is defined as money, then your heart (attitudes & actions) will be focused on making money.  Have you defined your treasure?  I think I’ve always pretty much assumed that treasure referred to money in this passage of Scripture, but now I realize it is not necessarily so…  what if your treasure was…  fast food???  What if your treasure was…  your child or another member of your family you hold dear?  ❤

No, stay with me here…  treasure is defined as:

noun:

1.  wealth or riches stored or accumulated, especially in the form of precious metals, money, jewels, or plate.
2.  wealth, rich materials, or valuable things.

3.  any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized:

This book was his chief treasure.
verb (used with object):  treasured, treasuring.
4.  to retain carefully or keep in store, as in the mind.
5.  to regard or treat as precious; cherish.
6.  to put away for security or future use, as money.
It is not sinful to treasure precious memories with loved ones – I want to make that clear; however, if that overshadows your relationship with God, it’s sin.  Anything that takes up more of your energy than the things of God…  it’s coming between you and the Lord and the priority needs to change.  Our God is a jealous God and always wants to be in first place.  Our hearts are to trust and delight in Him.  ❤
the-purse
Define your treasure.  All sorts of interests and activities can possibly become more of a treasure in our lives than they should be.  Ask God to “check” you about it.  I can’t tell you what you’re putting in first place, but I sure do know Who can.  Wherever your treasure is (and it’s different for every person) – there will your heart (attitudes & actions) be.  ❤
Jesus loved everyone, but His ultimate treasure was His Father, God.  He knew from whence came His power, His glory, His everything – just as we as God’s children do.  ❤
Don’t assume that treasure refers to money.  Treasure is anything that holds a special place in your heart.  You can’t separate your treasure from your heart because there is such passion associated with the treasure in your life.  Maybe your treasure is money – but let me remind you that money, while a necessary evil in this world…  will mean nothing in the afterlife.  We’ve all heard the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.”  Make sure your treasure stays tempered with the stark facts of reality.  Only what is done for Christ will last – those things will follow you into Heaven.  Chew on that for a while.  ❤