A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I will never be perfect in this life, and guess what – neither will you.  We are all a work in progress, but at least it is progress which indicates we continue to learn lessons and grow stronger in our faith.  My 50 something mind does not resemble my 20 something mind.  I’ve matured and I see everything so much differently than I did 30 years ago.  Why?  Because I’ve finally allowed the Lord to work in my life.  In my 20’s I was not very good clay.  I was stubborn clay!  Nobody could tell me what to do, and they certainly could not tell me I was wrong about anything!

These days it’s different.  Yes, I could be wrong about most anything.  I want to do my best for the Lord and now my motives and actions are in sync.  It’s amazing how things change once you hand your whole life over to the Father’s hands.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only light that leads to eternal life in Heaven.  Once you hand it all over, you receive His joy and peace, which is better than anything this world has to offer.

I grew up in a church that believes in eternal security – once saved, always saved.  As an adult I attended other churches that taught that salvation can be lost.  I never argued the point one way or the other, but always thought if a person was to backslide that far, perhaps their experience with Christ was less than genuine to begin with.  Just a thought.  I’m not judging that person, just discussing a possibility.  I pray that salvation from the Lord is not so easily lost.  How awful to feel so insecure, wondering if your name is still written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I don’t think there’s an eraser on God’s pen.

Human beings mess up.  We do.  It’s not an excuse to keep messing up… but it’s not a reason to beat yourself up for mistakes made decades ago either.  Put your mistakes – sins – under the blood of Christ, then do better!  You have a choice to be a bitter person or a better person.  Be better – do better.  Be the person you wish you would have been to begin with!  Let God help you.  He’s faithful and He will not fail you.  Let Him be the strength of your heart – even if your heart is less than strong.  He will be your strength and your song.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Season of New Beginnings

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  – Romans 5:18

If all we look at is the original sin, life looks so hopeless, doesn’t it?  But as we see what Christ did on Calvary, we see that there is hope for renewal and real change in behavior and lifestyle – for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!  I like the sound of HOPE, don’t you?

This portion of Scripture celebrates freedom for every Christian.  There is finally good news that we can have eternal life because of what Christ endured to pay the price for our sins – past, present, and future.

If we put blinders on and see just the one original sin, we’re likely to lack vision regarding our own life.  Salvation does not guarantee that we will never sin, and the truth is, that ol’ devil will mess with a Christian more than a non-Christian!  When we do get tangled up in the weeds, we do have hope for better days ahead.

Sin is only fun for a season, and be sure it will find you out one way or the other.  When it does, turn back to God, seek His forgiveness and the forgiveness of those you wronged here if possible.  Move out of the ruins and walk in God’s beautiful light.  Nobody knows your heart better than He does.  He can and will help you get your act together again.

It’s almost May and the April showers are nearly a thing of the past.  As the May flowers start growing around you, don’t you want your life to be heading in the right direction?  Discover a new life that will not only make you happier, but be pleasing to God as well.  That’s what matters – pleasing our Heavenly Father.  Let Him pick you up, dust you off, and set you on His straight path.

Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  – 1 Corinthians 15:22

New life.  That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Why live under the death curse, among the weeds and the waste, when with Christ, you can have a new life?  He loves you so much and wants to give you His peace, joy, love, hope and eternal life.  Walk out of the ruins and into His loving arms.  He will make you a beautiful flower!  🙂

 

 

 

 

Fresh Start

What if I invited you to my house for lunch and decided to serve a salad.  I have every imaginable kind of dressing available to choose from.  I have wonderful homemade lemonade to drink.  I covered the dining room table with nice clean linens and set it with my best silverware and dishes.  I have cloth napkins beside each place setting.  You walk in and stagger back a bit because you are so impressed!

Then after we say the blessing over our little lunch, I bring the big bowl of salad to the table.  You are expecting to see a beautiful green salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and crispy rings of red onion.  Everything else has been so clean and fresh, why wouldn’t the salad live up to expectations?

As I’m walking toward the table with the huge bowl, I start to apologize and explain that I had to use the lettuce and spinach that I bought a few months ago, and the tomatoes had some signs of spoilage, but I peeled all the white stuff off, so they should be just fine.  If the onion rings look a bit slimy, don’t worry about it.  😉  

Once you got over the shock and confusion, I’m betting the excuses to leave would be flowing like water!  Um…  I forgot to feed my pet gazelle – I really need to GO!  My house would be cleared out before you know it!

Everything was so right – but the salad was not FRESH!

As we entered into 2018, did we do so as the same spoiled and stale people we were in 2017?  Did we ask the LORD to make us new and give us a fresh start? 

Let’s break this quote down a bit.  A key word in the first part of the quote is APPEAR.  Some circumstances do seem insurmountable.  They seem irreversible.  Absolutely true!  Some really are, such as divorce, addiction, and loss through death.  I’m here to remind you that even the WORST circumstances can be made better through a relationship with Christ.  He can take anything and make it better.  The pain is not going to leave, but if you will give it to Him, it’ll surprise you because He will help you cope so much better.

And, let’s be honest.  Some circumstances that were not pleasant are brought back to our minds by the enemy of our souls.  Those are the ones we need to give to God and ask Him to take the pain away.  Thinking about them over and over will not change the outcome.  Putting them under the blood and telling the enemy of our soul that he will not win – that will set us free!

Father,  I pray that we will hand our difficult circumstances to You right now so You can give us a FRESH start.  We know that pain will not go away completely, but we know that You make all things new, and You specialize in making our lives better.  As we turn our hearts and lives over to You, I pray You will touch us and begin to do miraculous things, and as You do, we will be careful to give You the praise and glory!  We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Do whatever YOU gotta do to get through.  Yes, Lord!  We need to say that prayer every day, don’t we?

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.  Let it GO!  – Chonda Pierce

So true!  In my life, 99% of the stuff I drive myself crazy trying to understand is stuff that the devil has tempted me to think about – again.  It’s always stuff that can’t be changed no matter how often it comes to mind.  I’m convinced that it doesn’t just come to mind – it’s put there by the devil to drag me down.  We’ve got to learn how to take those thoughts captive and say:

ENOUGH, DEVIL!  I’ve put this under the precious blood of Christ – and you need to quit putting it back in my mind.  Go sit on a tack and leave me alone!

We can do that, you know.  There is a reference in the book of Luke, but also one in Matthew where Christ is talking to Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  – Matthew 16:23

As earnest as Peter was trying to be, Christ knew that he was going to betray Him!  He knew that the devil was being a stumbling block to Him.  In this same way, we are to hold thoughts captive and hand them to God – let them go, saying,

“Get thee behind me, satan, in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.”

It’s okay to call him on the bad thoughts he dumps in your mind.

Then invite the light of Christ in to your mind.  Sing songs of praise to Him and pray with a smile on your face!  Make your day all about Him!

Ask Him for a fresh start – each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

New Soul

I want a new soul – a soul that is more kind, more compassionate, and more obedient to God.  The opinion that others have of me pales compared to the opinion that God has of me.  I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into your rest.”

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  – Matthew 16:26

What good is a new year, a new beginning, if we don’t have a change?  Consider that the change does not have to be physical.  Yes, that’s what we see in each other – but what about a change of soul?  I know you probably don’t think much about your soul…  that invisible part of you; but what if I told you it’s well worth taking some time this year to ask your Heavenly Father what He would like to see changed in you.  There’s always room for improvement – in all of us!

A new soul…  a heart and mind like that of Christ Jesus, our Lord!  What does that look like?  It looks like moving forward in truth and right living, at whatever pace you can.  It looks like doing your very best in the face of difficulties that could slow you down.

Since New Year’s Day I’ve read and heard so many people teaching us how to be successful either financially or in our appearance.  It’s amazing how often we see these articles or hear these advertisements – but we don’t see or hear anyone emphasizing the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy soul.  Is any amount of money worth losing your soul?  Can a person lose all the weight they need to lose and still have an unhealthy soul?  Of course!

There is not a job, profession, time not spent in prayer, time not spent reading your Bible – that is worth it!  There are a gazillion ways to be successful here on earth, but be careful – because some of those methods involve the exchange of your soul.  I know, you are rolling your eyes and calling me crazy – but I’m right.

I know this is really long…  but take some time and take a look at this:

Oh I really like this!  

There is one way to be successful as God’s child.  Read your Bible and pray.  Does that mean you can’t have the best of both worlds?  According to God’s Word, it’s nearly impossible for a RICH man to make it to Heaven.  It likens a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Have you ever seen a camel go through the eye of a needle?  Yeah…  neither have I.  

Once we dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ, our priorities change.  We are not interested in the same things as those who are only after earthly successes.  We want different outcomes in life.  That’s why Christians are sometimes said to live IN the world without being a part OF the world.

The soul may be the most quiet part of you, but it’s not good to ignore what your soul needs.  Your soul longs for Christ and His love, peace and merciful salvation.  Let His amazing grace be your goal in this new year!

I invite you to take a look at this sermon on Philippians 2 from Darick Jones.  I worked with his mom, Pam, for several years.  Darick makes some good points here and I know I plan to glean and grow – hope you will too.  🙂

http://www.fbcclearwater.org/sermons-2/

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.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This ol’ world doesn’t feel peaceful right now, does it?  What is your idea of peace?  If I was to ask you what you think of when I say the word PEACE, what would you say?  Is peace the absence of conflict?  We hear so much talk about inner peace these days.  I guess the question I have about that is…  where is the source of your inner peace?  Do you gain inner peace by sitting cross-legged in the center of a tranquil atmosphere with your hands up with thumb and fingers held in a certain position, as you chant and empty your mind of everything?  Is that the way to obtain peace?  You do know that at some point, you have to stand up and get back to your real life, right?  Yeah – that’s the problem.

What if I told you that when God raised Christ from the dead, He left us a fantastic gift?  Of course, when Christ, the Son of God walked on the earth – He was there and available to the people, which was wonderful.  God is so good to us, because after He raised Christ from the dead, He left us His precious Holy Spirit!  The Holy Spirit of God is our source of peace!  He is our source of hope and joy, love and He is our conscience!  We pray to God, through Christ – for help from His sweet Holy Spirit.  Peace really IS an inside job!  That’s why Christians can say we are IN the world – but not OF the world.  Yes, we have to stand up and get back to our lives too – but we know without a doubt, our source of peace will always be with us.

On this second Sunday of Advent, may we be reminded of the peace within us – and be thankful to God for it!  God’s Holy Spirit, given to us by God Himself so we would not be left alone once Christ ascended to Heaven, will help us be more like our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We will have the fruits of the Holy Spirit as we lean more on Him in prayer and by reading Scripture from His Holy Bible.

Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.  – John 14:27

I have a question – and maybe someone reading this blog can get an answer for me.  Do you remember when Sean Hannity ended his show by saying LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED – ???  Why did he stop doing that?  I mean, I don’t care if he quits throwing the football around – but I really was bummed when he stopped saying LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  Sean, if you’re reading this (yeah, right – he reads my simple little blog.  LOL!) – we need to hear your words of comfort once again.  Please start saying that to us again.  I don’t know if it helps anyone else who watches your show – but it helps me.

Sean Hannity has a facebook page – go to it and ask him to start ending his show with those words again.  Let him know we miss hearing it.  When you enter your comment, there will be a message that says that basically the folks who “filter” through his mail will read it – so I don’t know if it will help to give him several messages – but hey – it’s better than doing nothing – at least I think so.  😉

My facebook friend, Brenda Sue Adams, took this sweet photo of her granddaughter, Aylen. Doesn’t this just say it all? Let’s all strive for PEACE ON EARTH and GOODWILL TOWARD MEN. Peace to you and yours always! ❤

Have a Merry Christmas!

LET NOT YOUR HEART BE TROUBLED.  PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO MEN.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

No matter how little you’re able to do, you can pray.  Pray for what, you ask.  I’m glad you asked.  Suppose an ambulance zoomed by your house.  Would you pray for the person or persons who are in crisis?  It’s important that we are tuned in to the activity around us because God wants us to care for others, even if we don’t know their names.  He knows their names and that’s all that matters.

Kindness is no virtue, but a common duty.   – Frederick Greenwood

Have you ever felt God prompting you to make a phone call to a friend?  Do you tell Him you’ll do it later?  Chances are your friend needs to hear your voice right then… so don’t put it off.  Pick up the phone and call.

Sometimes things happen in the world – and we feel so helpless, wondering what we can do to make things better.  When God gives me words to write – words of encouragement – I try to get them jotted down immediately.  Our words have meaning, and they have the power to make a change.  Inject the super power of God, and they will surely make a difference!

Be an obedient and observant child of God in your corner of the world.  There are so many people going through life wearing blinders.  They see the road in front of them, knowing only where they are headed – not concerned about anyone else along the way.  How sad! 

I often think of Shirley Temple, the bubbly, curly-headed blonde who took audiences to happy places, away from their bleak reality.  Christians should do for a hopeless world what Shirley Temple did for a generation of people living through the depression era.  If you are a Christian and you sit on the Gospel of Christ like it’s a special little secret just for you and a select few, then shame on you!  Shirley’s mom used a special word to turn on her little girl’s charm – that word was SPARKLE.  When Shirley heard her mom say that – she knew it was time to give it her all.  Does God need to come down here and whisper in your ear?  Do we need to hear the Almighty say SPARKLE to us today?

Let’s say He’s done that…  now do good, be kind, and SPARKLE for the Lord!  🙂