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?  ❤

 

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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

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

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

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (5)

 

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.  🙂