A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’  – Acts 13:22

Happy February!  This is the month when hearts are seen everywhere – heart-shaped candy, heart-shaped cards, heart-shaped everything – actually that is valentine-shaped, because as we know, an actual heart is not the same shape as a valentine.  ❤

We could talk about valentines, but this is not the valentine hunger blog, it’s the heart hunger blog.  The heart is the seat of everything – thoughts, attitudes, emotions and ultimately, actions.  David was made king and was a man after God’s own heart – wow.  Was David a perfect man?  Oh no.  Was he forgiven and allowed to move on, having learned some very painful lessons?  Oh yes.  Our God is a God of second chances.  If you’ve been a Christian for any amount of time, you know that one thing for sure and for certain.  ❤

We fall down – we get up.  The saints are just the sinners who fall down and get up.  ❤  We don’t have to be perfect, and in fact it is not possible for us to be perfect.  But we believe that God will help us when we mess up so much that we are ready to give up.  That is how David came to be known as a man after God’s own heart.  ❤

Nothing we accomplish is done on our own.  We give God all the glory and honor for every success in life.  If it seems all you are doing is going around in circles and getting you nowhere, ask God to help you.  He will take the heavy load you bear and make a clear path for you.  God has a plan for every life, and He will help you find yours.  ❤

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Isn’t February, the month of heart-shaped everything, the best time to find out about the heart of our God?  We know from this portion of Scripture that He recognized David as having a heart like His…  I can’t think of a better compliment, can you?  I want to know more about God’s heart and strive to have a heart just like His, don’t you?  ❤

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON – FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

IRON SHARPENS IRON

Yesterday I told you what I do not want to be – a stumbling block.  Today I’m going to focus on what I do want to be – an iron sharpener!  This year my goal is to bring out the best in everyone – including myself!  You’ve heard of friendships where the two or three just keep “feeding” off each other and getting funnier and funnier, right?  I love it when that happens – even if it’s off the wall and silly.  If I can be the friend who makes others laugh and spew diet Dr. Pepper out of their nose…  what can I say?  It’s my mission in life and when that happens, I can say mission accomplished!  My work here is done.  You’re welcome!

Real life is stressful and often awkward and uncomfortable.  Should friendships be the same way?  I really don’t think so.  There’s nothing worse than spending time with someone you want to escape from – and you spend the whole time hunting for the nearest exit and plan the escape in your head.  Let’s face it…  those are the friendships you have to re-think.  You just do – and yes, it’s sad.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives for the rest of our life.15822977_1868319833412478_4287722067523972073_n

Thank you, Lucinda – for keeping me polished!  I’m so glad that God allowed our paths to cross!

For those friendships that seem destined to be, how can we be an iron sharpening friend?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pray for your friend – and for your friendship.  If your friendship is covered in prayer everyday, it will be strong and won’t crumble over petty things.  I tend to be upfront and honest in friendships because I appreciate those qualities in my friends.  One day I was feeling especially envious and a bit jealous of a friend’s success when I did not seem to be gaining ground with my project.  I told her about it, knowing that she would appreciate my honesty and candor.  She helped me by first of all praying for me – and secondly, she started pointing out some positives that I had missed somehow.  She knows if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done the same for her.
  2. Cherish the friendship because God designed it.  Review the start of your friendship once in a while.  Let your friend know that you appreciate what she brings to the friendship and how much better your life is now because of it.  Praise God for the way ministry grows and matures when Christian friends work together.  Ask God to impress on you and guide you to the next project.  It’s amazing and wonderful how God brings your separate work together as one very large witnessing tool.  Be thankful when others are helped by your ministry – thankful of course to God, but also to each other.  Don’t take friendship for granted.  Friends don’t grow on trees.  Most of my friends would think that visual was hilarious.  I also imagine they’d imagine me hanging by my tail like a monkey, with a banana in my mouth (I have to be eating – well DUH!)
  3. Communicate as clearly as possible.  A friend and I were chatting on facebook not long ago about this.  We agreed that messaging on facebook is more challenging than talking face to face because there’s a lack of facial expression in the communication.  Then we joked about using emojis – or really over-using them – in an attempt to let others know that we’re smiling 🙂 or 😀  or that we’re loving what they’re saying <3.  Of course, when I’m talking there’s always the popular – I’M CONFUSED.  :-/  Yeah – I really use that one frequently.
  4. Don’t try to fake it.  God knows everything about everything, so it makes no sense to keep anything from your friend in the Lord.  It’s a temptation to keep the “downer” stuff to yourself so you don’t bring her down too – but if you do, you are robbing her of the opportunity to lift you to God in prayer.  Maybe you’re going through something that you don’t even feel like you can pray about yourself.  I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too.  Let your friend know what’s up so she can pray for you.  It is a privilege and an honor to pray for a friend.  Don’t let silly pride keep you from asking your friend to whisper a prayer for you.

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We eventually get where we’re goin’ – together.  I want to be an iron-sharpening friend.  I hope you do too.  Let’s all work together to sharpen some iron in 2017!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When Jesus walked this earth in human form, what was the last act of good will and fellowship?  It was THE LAST SUPPER.  Jesus ate with His disciples and attempted to explain the drama to follow, though they understandably did not comprehend what they were hearing.  I’m not quick to judge them – I’m not sure I’d “get it” either.

What have Christian churches considered tradition since the beginning of Christianity?  It’s a POT-LUCK DINNER.  Everybody brings a covered dish (preferably with food inside).  We stand in line after the church service, tummies growling and eyes enlarged as we carefully examine the good stuff we have to choose from.  We communicate and laugh and if somebody says they forgot or they think they should not stay – we talk ’em into stayin’ anyhow, right?  We tell them there’s plenty of food.

Nobody knows how to make good relationships into better relationships like the followers of Christ.  I believe that most people here in Wichita still believe that America is a Christian nation, founded on the values and principles of Christianity.  We love, we mentor, we pray for everybody (except maybe ourselves) and yep – we EAT TOGETHER.  We break bread and with true concern for our fellow person – we communicate and laugh and with a sincere heart, we try to listen to the views of everyone and come up with solutions when there is any conflict.  THAT is what we do.

I could not be any more proud of Wichita right now.  While race relations are escalating across the country, in Wichita, our officers are taking a cue from the Christian community around them.  They are meeting with the group Black Lives Matter at a cookout.  Food – the breaking of bread (and hopefully some hamburgers inside – and hot dogs) along with meaningful dialogue, communication on both sides which includes some listening – real listening, and I hope and pray some moments of levity – laugher perhaps.  We need to initiate some conversation that leads to some answers – not for one side or the other – but answers we can all LIVE with.

We all need to LIVE to our greatest potential – because LIFE is a precious gift and not to be carelessly taken by anyone.

Let’s all have conversations at a cookout.  Christ knew how to talk with His crew about serious stuff.  Christians know all about making good fellowship into great fellowship.  Please America…  stop the violence.  Instead, let’s have a real conversation at a cookout.  Talking, listening – and FOOD.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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https://youtu.be/-eFuPZkNIuQ

Wednesday, September 23rd was the annual event, SEE YOU AT THE POLE.  It’s my understanding that most schools take part, or at least allow Christian young people to gather around the flag pole to pray.  Apparently, for 2 years in a row, one school did not participate or even allow their kids to engage in prayer around the pole.

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SEE YOU AT THE POLE - ALONE IN PRAYER

Would you have had the courage to do what this child did?  I honestly can’t say that I would have when I was nine years old.  Can the staff at school tell a child they cannot pray by the flag pole?

Note to all who want to squash religious liberty in America:  you’ll never EVER have the power to keep us from praying to our God.  You can’t take that away from us!  Religious liberty in America is under attack…  just as sure as radical Islam wants America dead, there are those here on our soil who want to see the freedoms of Christians depleted, i.e. eliminated.  What do you think would happen to the blessings from God that America has enjoyed up to now if that happened?  Do you care?

If you admire this sweet girl for taking a stand against the status quo, please share this poem on your facebook wall, blog, twitter or wherever people will see it.  Even though a school does not “allow” activities for Christians, guess what???  We pray anyway!

They all met together and were constantly UNITED in prayer.   – Acts 1:14

The only way our young people will develop good morals and values is if the parents teach them.  Our schools today have absolutely no interest in having prayer or saying the pledge of allegiance.  Things have sure changed since I was in school.  It used to be that honoring the God of the Bible and pledging the American flag mattered.  What has happened to us?

Then we wonder why kids grow up to be what they grow up to be…  hmm.  We really are a sum total of our experiences in life.  Knowing God from a young age is the greatest experience of all.  Prayer is the greatest privilege we have as a Christian.  Shame on any school that would deny a child of that!

You know, we are so much more tolerant of other religions.  I saw a recent episode of Watter’s World on The O’Reilly Factor – he was interviewing Muslims and asked the question, “Do you think Sharia law should override the American Constitution?”  In my mind I thought, “Surely they realize that here in America the Constitution comes before any religious laws.”  I was shocked when most of them answered yes – they thought Sharia law should be the law of the land – meaning America.

I understand there is a separation between church & state.  It’s not a bad idea – seriously.  There are beliefs from other religions that I do not agree with (Sharia law in particular).  So, more than ever, we as Americans need to cling to the Constitution in order to stay free and united.

Being a Christian, however, means that we can absolutely pray to God anytime – anywhere.  The purpose of SEE YOU AT THE POLE is to provide Christian kids an opportunity to pray together.  It’s tough enough to be a kid at this time in history.  What would it hurt a school to allow their Christian kids to pray together at the flag pole?

It’s really getting crazy.  Just last Thursday a Jersey City school board meeting voted on whether they should close for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.  It would have extended the school year by another day.  There’s video of some very upset Muslims that maybe you’ve seen.

Here’s the deal.  This is America and our Christian children are practicing a faith that this great country was founded on!  To show special favor to any other faith than the Christian faith is just wrong.  Yes, America is a melting pot – we all know it is.  I remember being taught that in history class, don’t you?  It’s fine to make allowances for other folks – but let’s protect our American Christian youth.  They are precious to God – and to us.  🙂

This just in…  the school has decided to have SEE YOU AT THE POLE at a later date.  This blogger has to wonder if they would have done this if not for the brave girl who honored her God before her school?  I pray God’s richest blessings on her.  🙂

HEBREWS 7:26 ON 7/26

TL HEBREWS 7 26 ON 7 26

For it was indeed fitting that we should have such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens.  – Hebrews 7:26

As Christians, we must strive to pattern our lives after our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is so far above us in His manner, His thinking, His wisdom.  He is sinless and holy and perfect!  He has no addictions or any sinful inclination.  He dwells in us! 

He is harmless and free from all transgression.  There is no deceit in his mouth and no false motives.  He is undefiled.  He is the one we look to and keep close to us to help us be better.

Purity is not a trait that comes naturally to humans.  We need help.  Christ is our help when we face temptations and His Holy Spirit helps us when we fall.  When we ask God, in Jesus’ name, to forgive our sins, He sets us back on our feet and tells us to go and sin no more.

When we face trials and suffering in life, He walks beside us.  When we come to the end of the road, He will be there to cross over with us, hand in Hand.  His precious, nail-pierced Hand will not let go.

I used to fear judgment day.  Then I heard the most wonderful explanation from a good friend and pastor.  He said, “When your name is called on judgment day, you point to Christ and say the name Jesus.  On that day, God will not see you, He will see Jesus in you.”  I will point and say, “That’s Him.  That’s my Savior.” 

He will be with me here and He will stand beside me through the judgment.  He is exalted above the heavens because He alone is worthy of my praise.

No matter who the president is, Jesus Christ is KING!  🙂


ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

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7-23 LET'S EXAMINE HISTORY

The night is almost gone, and the day is near.  Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.  – Romans 13:2

On this day in 1967, one of the worst riots in U.S. history broke out on 12th Street in the heart of Detroit’s predominantly African-American inner city.  It began in the early morning hours and lasted four days.

It was only stopped after 7,000 National Guard and U.S. Army troops were involved.  The death toll came to 43 and 342 were injured.  Nearly 1,400 buildings were burned.  The 12th Street Riot was the worst U.S. riot in 100 years, occurring during a period of numerous riots in America.

The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, appointed by President Johnson, identified more than 150 riots or major disorders between 1965 and 1968.  In 1967 alone, 83 people died and 1,800 were injured.  Property valued at more than $100 million was damaged, looted, or destroyed.

America, we must study our history, not so we can repeat it, but so we can find a better way of solving problems.  Rioting, senseless death, injuries, destruction is not the way to solve problems.  Let’s look at the late 1960’s and see how that ended.  Do we really want the 2000’s to be a carbon copy?  Have we not learned anything from our sad history?

God’s way is to pray and obey.  If we look at God’s Word, we see that we are to lean fully on Him for guidance and be obedient to His Word.  Nowhere in the Bible does it condone violence or rioting, destruction and hate.

When will we learn that drawing racial lines and causing division are methods that get us nowhere?  It accomplishes exactly nothing and leaves people dead in the streets!  What about that is right?  God cries at these times.

I cry too when I see the division is evident once again.  As a child of the 1960’s, it’s apparent to me that history is beginning to repeat itself, and it makes my heart sink.  Let’s come together and pray for America because frankly, with God’s help, we can be better than that!  Now that we’ve examined what happened in the 1960’s.  Let’s not allow history to repeat itself.  🙂

 

JAMES 5:13 ON 5/13

JAMES 5 13 ON 5 13

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms.   – James 5:13

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We know that we are to cry with those who weep and rejoice with those who are happy.  Have you ever felt so torn because you have one friend over here weeping and another friend over there cheering?  It can make you feel like Sybil sometimes!

Shortly after my last miscarriage, I was asked to co-host a baby shower.  It’s not my friend’s fault.  Nobody even knew I was pregnant.  By the time you are on the 5th try, you just don’t say a lot to anyone.  It was probably the most difficult thing I had to do.  I had to buck up and be the friend – happy that my friend and her husband were expecting, and make sure they had some happy memories along the way.

When you suffer loss you are better able to pray for a friend who is suffering.  There’s a sort of maturity and wisdom that you gain when you suffer.  It’s not a chip to be worn on your shoulder, although it would be very easy to do that.  It’s more of a reminder that you are aware of the other person’s situation.  You have your own pain to tap into while you are empathizing, because as we all know, empathy is more than sympathy.

We live in a society that would rather party and be happy and not be around people who are “downers” – but that is shallow thinking and lacks maturity in the Christian world.  Life is not one big party (sorry to burst your bubble).  There’s a reason we are to weep with the suffering and sing songs of happiness and praise to God with those who celebrate.

Life is messy – and it’s like a rollercoaster ride at times.  You can be trucking along, thinking everything is going at a pretty even keel – and boom!  It’s good to have solid Christian friends around when you hit bottom – and by the same token, it’s good to be a solid Christian friend when they hit bottom and need your support.  🙂

 

 

REVELATION 2:19 ON 2/19

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I know what you do. I know your love, faith, service, and endurance. I also know that what you are doing now is greater than what you did at first.  – Revelation 2:19

God knows everything.  I could stop there and it would be a profound truth we all need to hear.  God knows our level of love, our level of faith, our level of service and our level of endurance.  He also knows that we are trying to do better than we did when we first believed.

What has to come your way to make your level rise?  God loves us so much He will not leave us lacking anything we need to be the best follower of Christ we can be.  A continuous progress towards and in all good of every sort is the very law of the Christian life.

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If you read the rest of the chapter, you will see that it’s not all glowing.  But so many times in my life the news, or the “letter” I get from my Savior is not always positive.  He loves me enough to want to help me be better than I was yesterday.  He does see our strides forward and He takes notice of every one.  We are not saved by these efforts, but we are made to be Christians with a right attitude and humility toward our Lord.

Let’s all commit our ways to the LORD and strive to be even more dedicated than ever to His work.

Father! — to God himself we cannot give a holier name.  – William Wordsworth

Today let’s agree to pray for one another and bear one another’s burdens.  Let’s call sin by its rightful name and admonish and reprove it, restoring others and comforting the distressed, for it is not too late for any of us yet.  Let’s build one another up in faith as we exhort and stir up each other to the work that needs to be done.

Traveling light means trusting God with the burdens you were never intended to bear.  – Max Lucado

May we do better today than we have ever done before. 

 

 

PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DAY

TL 12-28 PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DAY

12-28 ONE NATION UNDER GOD

 

Today is PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE DAY!!!  I’ve followed the latest story of attack against the Pledge of Allegiance.  High School student, Samantha Jones, with representation from The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, is defending her right to say ONE NATION UNDER GOD.        

What a brave girl!  I wonder if I would have had that kind of backbone when I was in High School?  I know I would now, but back then, I’m not so sure.

The American Humanist Association filed a lawsuit earlier this year against the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District to remove the phrase “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance.  The AHA is representing a family who objects to the phrase being recited at one of the schools within the New Jersey school district.

Public schools should not engage in an exercise that tells students that patriotism is tied to a belief in God.  Such a daily exercise portrays atheist and humanist children as second-class citizens, and certainly contributes to anti-atheist prejudices.  – AHA lawyer David Niose

Samantha Jones goes to Highland Regional High School in Blackwood, New Jersey.  The Christian-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is defending she and the school district.  They say Samantha has the right to say “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance.

I’ve been reciting the pledge since preschool, and to me the phrase ‘one nation under God’ sums up the history and values that have made our country great.  I think it’s empowering to know that, no matter what happens, I have some rights the government can never take away. No student should be silenced just because some people disagree with timeless American values.  – Samantha Jones

The following quote was published in The Christian Post:

The judge seemed focused on the case, he had prepared well, and he was familiar with the arguments of each of the parties.  He asked tough questions of each side, and it is difficult to predict the outcome, but we are optimistic that he will agree with every other court to decide this issue and uphold the pledge.  – Diana Verm, a lawyer with the Becket Fund

On this day, may we raise up this important case to God in prayer.  May God richly bless Samantha and her family and give them strength and wisdom.

The attorney for the unidentified atheist family goes on and on about his client’s rights – that having the phrase in the Pledge offends them.  The thought of taking it out OFFENDS ME – WHAT ABOUT A CHRISTIAN’S RIGHT TO HAVE THE PHRASE STAY THERE???  I’m sick and tired of everyone else’s rights coming before Christian’s rights!  This country was founded on CHRISTIAN BELIEFS AND PRINCIPLES.  If you don’t like the phrase, you don’t have to say that part – but don’t take it out because there are many (including me) who will say it regardless!  It calms my spirit to know that the God of creation has this mess of a country in the palm of His hand.  There’s no better place it could possibly be!

They already took prayer out of schools – they booted God clear off campus – and wow – that’s really working out well for us, don’t you think?  We never had shootings at our schools – but our teachers taught us to respect our Country, our elders, and our Higher Power!  It’s my RIGHT to pray – it’s my RIGHT to say UNDER GOD when I recite the Pledge of Allegiance.  Anyone who is uncomfortable can make a choice to either not say the Pledge or not say the part that is offensive to them.  There are plenty of things that non-Christians do that I’m uncomfortable with – and you know what?  I don’t make them stop – I just don’t join in.

No matter what the official outcome is, the powers that be will never force me to leave out the words UNDER GOD from my Pledge of Allegiance.  Instead of having more of a separation between church and state, there needs to be a knitting together of the two.  I’m praying for this country – now more than ever.  And – by the way, I’m praying about the part of the Pledge that follows – INDIVISIBLE.  Uh-huh – yep – I’m praying about that part too.  ❤

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I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA;

AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS; ONE NATION UNDER GOD;

INDIVISIBLE, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL.

And the verdict came in – here is an update – 2-5-15

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We need more young people like Samantha.  Well done, sweetheart!  ❤

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

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10-27 WHILE THEY WERE STONING HIM

 While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”  – Acts 7:59


On this day in 1659, two Quakers, William Robinson and Marmaduke Stevenson, were executed (hanged from an elm tree on Boston Common in Boston) in the Massachusetts Bay Colony for their religious beliefs.  They were the first Quakers to be executed in America.   They came from England in 1656 to escape religious persecution – ironically.  The two had violated a law passed by the Massachusetts General Court the year before, banning Quakers from the colony under penalty of death.

The Christian movement known as The Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, was founded by George Fox in England during the early 1650’s.  Quakers opposed central church authority, preferring to seek spiritual insight and consensus through egalitarian Quaker meetings.  They supported sexual equality and became some of the most outspoken opponents of slavery in early America.  Quakers found solace in Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and other colonies, and Massachusetts’ anti-Quaker laws were later repealed.

By the mid 18th century, John Woolman, an abolitionist Quaker, was traveling the American colonies, preaching and advancing the anti-slavery cause.  He organized boycotts of products made by slave labor and was responsible for convincing many Quaker communities to publicly denounce slavery.  Other abolitionist Quaker was Lucretia Mott, who worked on the Underground Railroad in the 19th century, helping lead fugitive slaves to freedom in the Northern states and Canada.  She was later a leader in the movement for women’s rights, including the right to vote.

 If you want to live and thrive, let the spider run alive.   – American Quaker Saying

Seriously?  Can I have a minute to let that one sink in???  Um…  no – I’m squishing the spider.  😉

I’m not a Quaker – but I like movies like Friendly Persuasion and Angel and the Badman.  To be perfectly honest, I’ve always thought of Quakers as I do the Amish.  I was surprised when I read their history and how liberal their beliefs are.  They have no central church authority and believe in true equality.  They are peace-loving folk that won’t be a part of war.

Now that terrorists are running around beheading people I wonder if that will work – but that’s their belief.

Me – I want to learn how to shoot and carry.  Well – maybe not – but I’m tempted.

Christians in America have really not known persecution – yet.  So far, we certainly have not had to give our very lives for our faith.  I’m so thankful for the sacrifices of the past that ultimately affected changes for the good, aren’t you?  They stood strong so that future generations could enjoy freedom and equality and know real joy in the Lord.  😀