A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a great verse for Palm Sunday, isn’t it?  We all need to be reminded how this journey called Christianity is supposed to work.

We are to love one another – because Christ loves all of us.  Does that mean we always see eye to eye on everything?  No, it doesn’t.  It does mean that we show respect for one another, whether we are shown respect in return or not.  We’re responsible for our own behavior – not anyone else’s.  If each of us would do our very best to show the love of Christ, wouldn’t this world be a better place?  I think it would.  What if we were all a place of REST for each other? 

I love this poem in particular because this is exactly what God’s children need to be for one another.  Sadly, it often becomes a case of using instead of nurturing.  Sometimes we just need a friend in Christ to talk with about everyday things.  It may seem unproductive to some, but you have no idea how much it means to the one who needs to be heard and helped.  It’s sometimes a matter of letting a friend know that you are praying for them.  If we can listen more than speak and pray more than fret…  we’ll be a good representative for our Savior.

Here’s what we’re not – PERFECT.  God is perfect and only with His help can we love perfectly.  People – yes, even Christian people…  can be frustrating sometimes – yes, I can frustrate others too.  Here’s the deal – if we can just understand that our brothers and sisters in the Lord are imperfect human beings just like us – and if we can just be quick to forgive one another – which, again…  I’m not great at doing…  but I’m working on it – that is when we will love perfectly with Christ-likeness.  I hope others have forgiven me for mistakes I’ve made against them.  I try to forgive them as the Lord wants me to.  That’s how Christianity works, and it only works with Christ in the center.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you to look at my post on 4/5.  The story DAISY’S COLT, written by Lucinda Berry Hill and myself, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero is there.  If you have a little one in your life, it would be great to read this story to them.  Have a nice Palm Sunday!  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  – Titus 3:4-7

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The hope that every Christian has hinges on what Christ did – it has nothing to do with us, except for the fact that we’ve come to believe in Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary – just as we are.  Our righteousness is not even almost good enough, but God’s grace and mercy are what we place our faith and trust in.  That is why we have the hope of eternal life, but we hold on to the Lord because we love Him above all else.

I want to show you something I found on my facebook newsfeed.  I was taken aback a bit when I first saw it – and then I read the article and decided that this guy has a pure heart and pure intentions – he really wants people to see Easter in the right way – so look what he did at this FRED’S store in Tennessee…

http://www.gracecentered.com/freds-store-displays-easter-crosses-mr-pibbs.htm

Every day in this world we watch people backstab and hate each other, but it’s the duty and joyous privilege of God’s children to love one another.  Why?  Because once we realize that Christ has delivered us from our miserable condition by HIS mercy and free grace, and has given us HIS precious Holy Spirit – we understand that love is the cornerstone of our faith.  Without love, it’s a lie.  God is love and He wants us to not only love Him, but love one another as He loved us and sent His precious Son to this earth to live and die for our sins.

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How will you share your faith today?  Maybe you can do it through your job – in creative ways when you stock the Mr. Pibb…  or maybe as a retired secretary, you want to start writing a little blog that shares faith, hope, and love with others.  There are so many ways to share your faith – but one thing is for sure – if you feel God’s Spirit prompting you to share your faith in some way, you will be miserable if you don’t do it.

Christ is the fountain from which the precious Holy Spirit flows.  It’s only through Him we are able to teach and mentor others with patience and prayer.  What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit in our lives each day.  Because we have Him, we can practice true love and kindness in our daily walk.  Think about it…  His love and His grace have such great power to change a human heart.  Commit the lost to Him and be patient as you share and teach.  Remember His timing is not our timing.  Never give up on anyone because the Lord did not give up on you.  🙂

 

 

 

MARK 1:27 ON 1/27

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The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”- Mark 1:27

Every Bible verse brings a gospel song to my mind.  What can I say…  I’m a Southern Gospel  musician – so is it really a big surprise?  This portion of Scripture reminds me of a song from 1977 by The Rambos called, “He was the Talk of the Town”.

There’s a line in that song…  skeptics called Him a devil…  interesting to call one Who gives orders to impure spirits a devil.  Hmm…  it’s been a tactic of the enemy since the dawn of time to put a spin on the truth.  Sadder still is the fact that so many folks bought the spin!  Some folks are still buying the spin.  Sigh.  We need to be so careful to have ears to hear the real truth – God’s truth.

Jesus taught with authority!  He knew Who He was and where He came from – He knew He was sent on a mission to seek and to save the lost.  Not everyone believed His teaching, but some did.

So it is when we teach today.  Not everyone will listen to the teaching of Christ.  Is that a reason to stop sharing His good news?  No, it isn’t – and we are commanded to go and preach – go and teach – go and share – go and love.  We’re given what we need to minister – and there are many ways to minister to others.  Not everyone writes a daily blog, but it seems to be the way God has opened for me.  There are creative ways to tell others about the Lord and what He has done.  Ask Him and He will open a door for you.

If you’re a prayer warrior…  send up a few for this humble blogger, okay?  I appreciate every one of them!  ❤

I’m so thankful that Christ came to earth and lived among us.  He was completely God while becoming completely human.  Don’t ask me to explain that – but that’s the truth.  He preached with authority from His Father, God.  He loved as no one before Him or after Him ever did.  Every battle he fought was spiritual in nature – and praise God – He won them all and He will win every one in the future.

There’s nothing of a spiritual nature in your life that God through Christ can and will not overcome for you.  That’s the truth – the real truth – no spin.  🙂

 

 

 

 

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.  🙂

FREE SPEECH WEEK

TL 10-19 - 25 IS FREE SPEECH WEEK

Free Speech Week is a yearly even to raise awareness of the importance of free speech in the United States.  So far our government has not over-reached to the point where they tell me I can’t talk about God, Jesus, the Bible and Christian faith.  I wouldn’t say that’s something I take for granted, because I still read articles about the Ten Commandments being removed from the wall of a courthouse in Oklahoma – or Wichita State University removing all the Christian religious symbols in the chapel to make it more Muslim-friendly.  So, I would be mistaken to say my religious freedom and freedom of speech will never be threatened.  In my opinion, it has been threatened.  I don’t like it – go figure…  duh!  I’m offended because the core of Christianity is the death of Christ Jesus on the cross, His death, burial and resurrection is what my faith is all about – yeah – removing the crosses and pews in the chapel really chaps my hide!

Do you agree?
Do you agree?

While all people should be equal no matter what, to infringe on other’s religious rights is not fair – I’m free to say that…  and just did.

As freedom of speech is a right all American’s share, this non-partisan, non-ideological event is intended to be a unifying celebration.

http://www.kansas.com/news/local/education/article38035449.html

This is more like it
Pretty much

I’m not using my freedom of speech to unite – sorry.  I’m tired of being pushed around because I am a Christian.

There must be middle ground.  Why do Muslims have to be so offended when they see something that does not line up with their beliefs?  I mean, I have to drive past a Muslim place of worship practically every day – and yes, they drive past several churches.  But to remove the crosses and pews from the chapel at WSU to make Muslim students more comfortable???  Why can’t the Muslim students just deal with it – they are in a country that is predominately Christian.  Those crosses and pews will not jump out and hurt them.  They need to be just as TOLERANT of my Christian belief as I am of their Muslim faith.  I drive by their place of worship – I’m not going to say it offends me and demand that it be torn down.  I won’t go inside, but I understand they have a RIGHT to worship as they please – in their own place of worship.  Leave my Christian chapel alone.

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Why can’t WSU build a separate little place to pray JUST FOR THE MUSLIM STUDENTS instead of taking away all of the things the remind me of the sacrifice that my Jesus made for all the world?  If the Muslim outrage is so overwhelming – get the money from the Muslims to build it.  If we are offending them so much – give in – but don’t desecrate my Christian chapel to make it more user-friendly for Muslims!  I’m not trying to be ugly – I’m just disappointed in WSU because once again my faith is being squashed on campus.  Do Christian students not matter to WSU anymore?  We used to matter.  Maybe it’s about money.  I don’t know.  I’ll bet if I went to their homeland – they would not make such changes if I felt uncomfortable.  What is wrong with us, people???  Do we as Christians not have a backbone?  Are we just going to sit back and let this stuff keep happening?  I’m thankful that in America there is a week when I can let my opinions be known.  I’m so thankful for my FREEDOM OF SPEECH.

No true Christian wants to offend anyone on purpose.  Most of us try to walk humbly with our God and just get along with those around us – and we usually bend over backwards to make things better.  All we want is for others to let us be – leave the pews in the chapel and put the crosses back up on the walls.  If it’s a chapel for Christians – then those things are appropriate in there!  I don’t expect everyone to believe just like I do, but Christians – we need to find our voice or we’re gonna get run over!  It happened on our university campus – it can happen anywhere – trust me.  Don’t we care?

Well, I’ve had my say because I’m celebrating Free Speech Week.  🙂

HEBREWS 10:16 ON 10/16

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This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.  – Hebrews 10:16-17

Before Christ, our high priest, shed His precious blood for us, there were many animal sacrifices made under the old law.  And, it couldn’t be just any ol’ scraggly critter either.  The animal offered for sacrifice had to be spotless.  Under the old law, sacrifices often had to be repeated.  It was a necessity – done out of a sense of duty.

Once Christ shed His blood for the sins of the world, it was enough to procure for all nations and ages, spiritual pardon, or being freed from punishment in the afterlife.  Christians are encouraged to persevere in their faith through Christ Jesus.  Now we live not under the law, but under grace.  We serve Christ from a sense of love.

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That is the new covenant and no human inventions can be put in the place of the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  No other sacrifice will ever be needed.  By faith we embrace this precious gift from God.  It’s the best gift He ever gave us – if we will seek Christ and accept His sacrifice, God promises (the covenant) He will not remember our sins (iniquities).  We can go through life clean, forgiven and free.

Have you heard the age-old definition of JUSTIFICATION?  I heard this from Billy Graham many years ago.  Justification is just as if you had never sinned.  Once you know your sins are forgiven – they are forgiven forever.

 

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people.   – Jeremiah 31:33

What a difference it is to be free from the law and live a life of freedom under the gospel!  We no longer have to take a goat to the temple and sacrifice it in order for our sins to be forgiven.  Then later, have to take another goat to the temple and sacrifice it to have our sins forgiven.  The law represents duty – but then Christ willingly gave His life at Calvary.

Grace isn’t a little prayer you chant before receiving a meal. It’s a way to live. – Jacqueline Winspear

Now we live under grace…  and I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful.  The grace of regeneration, which changes hearts and lives and gives us all we need for Christian service to others.  It’s not a cold law, rather a warm invitation wrapped in God’s love. 

 

 

 

LUKE 10:5 ON 10/5

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When you enter a house, first say,  “Peace to this house.”  – Luke 10:5

https://youtu.be/a41ATFxQoW8

Chances are we will never meet in person.  I will probably never darken the door of you house.  One thing I know for sure, this world needs more blessings of peace given to people everywhere.  So, if you are reading this post today, I am entering your house through cyber space and saying, PEACE TO THIS HOUSE.

Christians take blessings very seriously.  We say a blessing over our food, our family, our finances and we believe that God honors those prayers and blesses us – shows us His favor.  He does – He really does!

Today I pray a blessing of peace to you, your house, your family and your finances.

May God lead you from death to life and from lies to truth.  May He lead you from despair to hope and from fear to faith.  May He lead you from hate to love and from war to peace.  May you experience God’s overwhelming peace that passes all human understanding.  May His peace fill your heart and home, making it a sanctuary that is calm and serene every day of your life.  May God multiply your resources and always provide all of your needs and most of your wants.  May He give you wisdom with possessions and resources.  May He impress upon you the importance of contentment in any circumstance and remind you that the things we want may not be the things we need.  May He open the door to employment for you and lead you to work that helps you grow and become a better Christian.  May God lead you in all aspects of your life and bless you in every way.

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Part of experiencing real peace in Christ is letting Him decide what we need and trusting Him to provide what we need.  So many times we carry the burden when we don’t have to.  Our talents and treasure are His to begin with, so when we let God call the shots, we experience His peace in our hearts and homes.

We trust – we obey – bow our heads and pray…  then we rest in Him.  That is real peace.  When doors open, we know it is God opening them.  When doors close, we know He has His reasons for closing them.

There’s an old song that says the world needs more love.  I believe in the world we live in, we need more peace.  PEACE TO THIS HOUSE.  God bless you today.  🙂