A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I think we all agree that God gave us a brain to think for ourselves, right?  There are so many denominations and we need to look at the core values of the church and compare them with God’s Word.  There’s never going to be a perfect church – the church is people, and people are imperfect.  God is perfect – He is the standard by which we measure the place we go to worship Him.I’ve been in congregations that don’t believe exactly as I do – but there are times when a person has to make allowances and, while not adopting the parts that I disagree with, show respect for others because as long as the whole Bible is preached, I can be a part.

Not every minister preaches the whole Bible – they are known as false prophets and ear ticklers.  If every sermon you hear makes you smile and giggle, chances are you are listening to an ear tickler – which is not helping you grow in your faith.  Unless you are challenged a little along the way, you will stagnate and stay immature.  Some churches just want money, which is sad because the goal of those in God’s house should be to help one another spiritually, not bilk them of their finances.

It’s okay to tithe to your local church – but if you feel pressured to give until it hurts, you may want to rethink that.  Finances are such a personal thing, but we do know that all we have comes from God’s hand.  If the Lord had not given you the ability to work for what money you get, you wouldn’t be able to work and that would be bad.  We give our first fruits to God because we’re so thankful to Him for His provision.

We can’t expect to find a perfect church, but we need to hold the beliefs of the church up next to God’s Word and make sure it’s a Bible-believing congregation that has godly priorities and is focused on outreach in the community.  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

uniquely-gifted

I went to the doctor yesterday to have my HA1c checked.  Three months ago it was 6.2.  This time it was 6.3 – and I was disappointed because I thought it would be lower.  While 6.3 is not bad, it means that it crept up in the past 3 months and I guess it scares me a bit.  Then my doctor reminded me that she cut out my insulin completely and cut my dose of Metformin in half.  I started to perk up some when she said that.  I’m starting to maintain a normal HA1c with no insulin and less oral meds.  Well alrighty then!  My hope returned at that point!

The doctor asked if I wanted a flu shot and I told her I did.  Those things sting like a son of a gun, but the flu is tons worse!  One of the MA’s took me to the procedure room.  She told me to hang my arm loose at my side because that would make the shot hurt less.  I did and got the shot.  It was fine.

The doctor said I needed my ears washed.  Well…  I balk at that procedure!  I had so many inner ear infections when I was a kid – always after going swimming it seemed.  I hate water in my ears!  I am such a baby while they’re trying to work – I literally shake.  I know that makes their job more difficult and I apologize – but it just feels so horrible to have water in my ears…  I think it always will.

So she put this long blue stick looking thing in my ear to scrape some wax off the sides.  She told me I have the smallest ear canals she’d ever seen.  I didn’t know whether to apologize or say thanks.  Then I felt a poke in my ear and flinched.  She seemed to be blaming me for it – she said, “When you flinched, your ear started bleeding.”  I’m like…  “OH great – please don’t burst my ear drum – I’m a musician – I need to be able to hear!”  I didn’t say it but boy I was sure thinkin’ it.  If she had not poked something and made it hurt, I probably would not have flinched – actually.

I ask you…  what on earth is the difference between her poking a little blue stick in my ear – and me poking a Q-tip in it???  They tell people not to do that, but HEY – at least there’s cotton cushy stuff on the ends of those!  I just don’t understand so many things.  I was angry and my ear hurt.  I was so done with this appointment – just finished.  This turkey was close to being cooked!

Oh but we were not finished…  no – wanted to be, but no, not done.

They needed some blood – oh joy oh rapture!  How bad could that be?  A poke – they get their blood and I get to go home, right?  Yeah…  no.

Apparently their problem with getting blood was also my fault – because I was apparently supposed to drink a gallon or two of water before the blood draw.  Well, it’s duly noted in my brain with indelible ink now…  because they poked my arm at my elbow and got nothing.  They poked the back of both my hands and got…  nothing.  They poked…  oh I don’t even remember where they poked – the point is…  if you try a few times and come up empty – you schedule the draw for another day – when I can get myself all nice and hydrated – you don’t keep poking the pin cushion!

I finally spoke up – I had been as kind and apologetic as I could be.  I apologized for my hair getting in the way of their squirt gun when she was cleaning out my ears.  I apologized for being dehydrated.  I apologized for wearing the wrong color of blush with my lipstick…  for Pete’s Sake – I’m sorry already!

I said, “Why don’t you guys get the doc to sign an order for me to go over to Lab Corp to get blood drawn…  that way you don’t have to keep trying.  And on the way over there I’ll stop at the store and get a few bottles of water and drink them.”

It was as if I’d just let the COMMON SENSE GENIE OUT OF THE BOTTLE…  she looked at me and said, “That’s a great idea!  You may just be going over to Lab Corp!”  You don’t really wanna know what thoughts were going through my mind then…  they weren’t nice.

My frame of mind was not in a good place.  The worst Monday of my work life was never this bad.  I worked in the healthcare industry in some capacity for 20 years and never have I experienced such horrific treatment.  Once when she couldn’t hit a vein, I got an earful (yes, I could hear) of obscenities.  I don’t call people on that stuff, but I consider it to be quite unprofessional.  If anyone should be cussing – hello, I’m the one feeling it.

I waited and waited.  She had to wait for the doctor to finish with another patient…  I had all day, but they didn’t know that.  But – I figure it’s better to wait for the doc to sign the order than to have Laurel & Hardy poking me with a butterfly needle all day long!

My appointment was at 9:15.  I left there at 11:25.  I was angry, hungry, shaking because I was probably having a low – or it could have been anger…  and I was trying not to cry in front of any of the folks at the doctor’s office.  When I finally got to my car…

I bawled and cried and yelled and screamed and hit my steering wheel.  I asked God WHY OF ALL THINGS HE MADE MY VEINS SO TINY, MY EAR CANALS SO TINY AND WHY I HAD TO BE A STUPID DIABETIC AND HAVE MORE PROBLEMS BECAUSE OF IT – AND WHY DO I HAVE TO GET MY BLOOD DRAWN EVERY 3 MONTHS???

Miracle #1 – I looked at the appointment card in my hand.  My next appointment isn’t until April of ’17.  It’s not scheduled for 3 months out – but for 6 months out!

I was taken aback…  and a sudden glimmer of hope came over me.  My doctor thinks I’m on a good track and trusts me to stay on it for the next 6 months!!!  This is a good thing, right???

As I drove to Lab Corp, it dawned on me that God was helping me with diet, exercise and that was in turn going to make my HA1c better.  I’m going to be okay.

My make-up was a bit messed up, but I was composed mentally as I went in to Lab Corp.  I signed all their paperwork and had no idea that God had another miracle waiting for me.

Miracle #2 – I don’t know her name and I doubt that she remembered mine, but for about five minutes in a little lab cubicle, we had CHURCH together!  She asked how many sticks they tried at the doctor’s office.  I showed her the different places and she said, “Well honey, I don’t know if I’ll get blood either but we’re just going to praise Jesus anyhow…  just praise Jesus anyhow!”

I felt a calm come over me…  a calm that I so desperately needed to feel.  It was the presence of the Lord – His Holy Spirit had been invited into our presence – and He was so welcome in that place.  She prayed for me and asked God to guide her as she worked.  There was no hesitation about it – she prayed and God heard and God answered.

She got blood with one stick…  coincidence???  I think not.

If you belong to God and you draw blood for a living…  please don’t be ashamed of your faith in the workplace.  You never know when someone like me is feeling like they’re on the brink of crazy town and may just need a phlebotomist to pray for and with her – and pray that God will guide that needle into the vein it needs to go in.  Jus’ sayin’.

When I got to the car – I cried again.  I didn’t hit the steering wheel…  I lifted my hands and let God know that I understood why I needed to go to the lab.  I needed to have church – real church.  No fancy pews, no stained glass windows.  It was a Friday at work for her and a stubborn vein day for me – but it turned out to be so much more.  Praise You, Jesus, and thank You!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

AMERICAN ARTIST APPRECIATION MONTH

TL AUGUST IS AMERICAN ARTIST APPRECIATION MONTHBalance, peace, and joy are the fruit of a successful life.  It starts with recognizing your talents and finding ways to serve others by using them.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/

CAPTURED BY A STEEPLE

Who is your favorite American artist?  My favorite was Thomas Kinkade.  Since his death in 2012, I’ve seen many works that look similar and have the “painter of light” look, but there will never be another Thomas Kinkade.

The power of prayer is like turning on a light as it illuminates God’s purpose for our lives.  There is no greater connection to knowing His will other than the word.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/the-garden-of-prayer/

I adore the painting called THE GARDEN OF PRAYER.  When I sit and look at it, I’m inspired to begin yet another conversation with my Heavenly Father.  The water looks as though it’s flowing and the sunshine and shadows are placed perfectly – which we expect from all of his paintings.

Rather than set aside daily time for prayer, I pray constantly and spontaneously about everything I encounter on a daily basis.  When someone shares something with me, I’ll often simply say, ‘Let’s pray about this right now”.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/remember-me/

When I see the painting REMEMBER ME, it reminds me of the fact that nobody is beyond hope and too far gone to be forgiven and escorted into Paradise when this life is over.  It also reminds me that although there is evil in this world, God’s love and light will win in the end!

You have to expect spiritual warfare whenever you stand up for righteousness or call attention to basic values.  It’s just a matter of light battling the darkness.  But the light wins every time.  You can’t throw enough darkness on light to put it out.  – Thomas Kinkade

When my mother passed away in 2004, I decided to buy the Kinkade painting called THE BRIDGE OF HOPE.  I felt as though I was standing on one side of the bridge alongside my mom, but with a bit of HOPE I would be able to cross the bridge and have the courage to embark on new adventures on my own.  I can’t tell you how many times I have sat alone in my living room staring at that painting.  I also appreciate that it looks different at various times of day and the shadowing changes according to the weather.  Those are the qualities that make Kinkade art stand out from the rest.

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/bridge-of-hope/

Beautiful objects, ideas, even beautiful people all share the power to lift the spirits and motivate creativity while at the same time soothing the soul…  – Thomas Kinkade

There are so many more works I’d love to talk about (I could talk all day long), but I definitely want to show you one of the cottages!  I’m such a romantic at heart, and if I could afford to fill my house with these, I would.  Here’s my favorite – don’t ask me why – but it is.

Every conversation, every cuddle, every kiss and caress, even every disagreement, adds another brush stroke to the picture of home you paint with the days and hours of your life.  – Thomas Kinkade

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/friendship-cottage/

Romance makes a radiant sunrise out of every moment.  – Thomas Kinkade

If I had to choose just one of the “cottage” collection paintings (and I would – I’m not rich by any means), it would be FRIENDSHIP COTTAGE.  Maybe it’s the little pathway or the bridge…  maybe it’s the name of it, or more than likely, it’s the colors, shading and that magical way that Thomas Kinkade had of drawing you in…  it’s as if the cottage is welcoming me to go in and stay a while.  It says, “Come in and sit down.  Relax and have a spot of tea whilst the world turns, oblivious to you for now.”  Yes – I want to go there, don’t you?

The most important key to a more romantic life:  you have to be willing to pay attention.  – Thomas Kinkade

Oh, I’ve seen people try to duplicate the warmth, light, romanticism and genuine talent that Thomas Kinkade put into every painting, but they are a long way from capturing my attention or my heart.

To be romantic is quite simply to allow yourself to fall in love with life – all of life – and experience it fully, openly, passionately, and purposefully.  – Thomas Kinkade

God’s house is beautiful and nobody captured that as well as Thomas Kinkade.

https://thomaskinkade.com/art/sunrise-chapel/

Isn’t SUNRISE CHAPEL beautiful?

Beauty is found in anything that delights the senses, nourishes the soul, fires the imagination.  – Thomas Kinkade

I appreciate the colors, textures and shading in Kinkade art.  Whether it’s a print or a painting, let his work speak to your heart and soul.  Enjoy American Artist Appreciation Month.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

Most businesses have a Mission Statement.  It basically answers the question, “Why are you in business?”  “Why are you here?”  A good Mission Statement explains more than just what you do, it explains why you do it.

I saw this posted (no, I didn’t make it up – wish I had).  There was no name on it, so I don’t know who to give credit to, but oh this hit me like a ton of bricks when I read it.  Some days it’s so easy to lose sight of why you do what you do.  This puts it in perspective.

CHURCH is my COLLEGE.
HEAVEN is my UNIVERSITY.
JESUS is my PRINCIPAL.
THE HOLY SPIRIT is my TEACHER.
ANGELS are my CLASS MATES.
THE BIBLE is my STUDY BOOK.
TRIAL & TEMPTATION are my EXAMS.
WINNING SOULS are my ASSIGNMENTS.
PRAYER is my ATTENDANCE.
CROWN OF LIFE is my DEGREE.
AND PRAISE & WORSHIP is my MOTTO.

What an amazing MISSION STATEMENT!  Like all Christians, I’m aware that there is a hell to shun and a heaven to gain, but in this classroom of LIFE, what subjects should we focus on?  What should be our major to get the CROWN OF LIFE degree?

I haven’t lived a long time (well, over half a century – wow, that’s depressing)…  but the longer I live, the more important I believe it is to major in LOVE.  God’s perfect AGAPE’ LOVE.  It is impossible to love like that without God’s Holy Spirit at the helm of your heart, mind and spirit.  It definitely does not come naturally – um…  nope!

It’s so sad that in our world, God’s Agape’ Love is so misunderstood because our society has twisted love and sex together.  Can we not love without sex?  It’s ridiculous – of course we can!  We are here to learn to love God and learn to love people.  To learn all that, we need to attend class – we need to pray for God’s help, guidance and His will to be done in every circumstance and situation.  Attend in prayer and ask the teacher to teach you…  God’s Holy Spirit will give you wisdom, strength, courage and amazing love to deal with difficult people.

We’re here to love God and people.  That’s about it.  We aren’t capable of doing that on our own.  Nope, we need help to be what we need to be.  Study the Bible, attend classes, listen to the teacher and don’t be afraid to ask questions, take the tests and be anxious for nothing, accept help from your class mates and ace life.  Then do it again tomorrow…  and the day after tomorrow.

You thought all you had to do over and over again was go to the gym, didn’t you?  No, your spiritual fitness is dependent on a faithful habit just as your physical fitness is.  As you stay spiritually fit, remember your motto…  PRAISE & WORSHIP!  🙂

 

NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

TL 3-18 NATIONAL AWKWARD MOMENTS DAY

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  Romans 8:28

I’ve lived on this planet for nearly five and a half decades…  and believe me when I say I’ve had my share of AWKWARD moments!  With every one of them, I’ve learned to shake it off and move on as I laugh (and pee a little…)  sorry – TMI.

There’s a reason that Taylor Swift’s song, Shake It Off resonates with the masses.  We’re all too human and that means we are not perfect, which means that at times we are all awkward and experience awkward moments.  The good news is – our awkward moments in life are not life-altering.  We know that God works ALL things for our good – and by all, I mean – ya know… ALL! 

That’s why we must not give up – on anything!  We have to remember that every day will not be filled with roses and violin music!  If it was, we’d have precious little to share in the way of life experience – let alone, things to look back on and have a hearty laugh!  Some things make us more human, and the humanity is the part that we all have in common.  It makes us more relatable to one another.

So, with a humble heart and blushing cheeks, I share my most awkward moment in ministry.  I wouldn’t trade this day for anything, yet I definitely would not like to relive it either.  :-/

I GUESS IT'S TRUE

Being part of ministry in any capacity is never a waste of time.  Remember the words to the old hymn…

Only one life, so soon ’twill be past.  Only what’s done for Christ will last.

There can be – shall I say, “awkward moments” along the way.  We know that God leads the way and He gave us many safe trips for sure!  Awkward moments happen though – with people and situations.  :-/

From the mid 1980’s through the mid 1990’s, my husband and I were part of a gospel quartet.  We spent time traveling around and ended up in a small town in Kansas for a Sunday evening service.  I decided to wear blue jeans and a tee-shirt for traveling, certain that there would be a place to change my clothes.

When we got to the church, we got all set up and was ready to practice to adjust the sound and so forth…  I casually looked around the small church, but did not see a restroom.  I began to panic a little and pray a lot.  I needed to put my dress on for the concert.

About that time, the pastor walked in – all smiles.  I was nearly in tears.  I was embarrassed to ask, so had my husband ask if there was a restroom.  When my husband came back to tell me – I could tell by the look on his face – this was not going to be good.  The restroom was an outhouse.  Yep – and that’s where I changed clothes.

I got ‘er done, folks!  Dignity intact, I’m happy to report.  Then we played a few more songs in the sanctuary – and noticed a scraggly old dog had walked into the church.  He decided to lay down in the aisle and listen.  We played one song – then the dog got up, turned around and walked right back out the door.  LOL!!!

My husband said…  Now THAT’S a critic!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

I had an amazing opportunity to attend a WOMEN OF FAITH conference in my hometown.  To describe the wonderful energy in that place would take every word in the dictionary!  It was definitely a highlight in my life and I felt so blessed that my very good friend saw to it that I got a ticket.  God makes my path cross with so many great people!

I was standing in the line for the restroom (well, of course I was – duh!)  I was not eavesdropping on purpose…  really I wasn’t.  I could not help but overhear a conversation between the lady behind me and her friend standing behind her.  Then I heard it – OH MY GOD!!!

I cringed…  I hear it in the “WORLD” all the time – and I deal with it because that’s what has to happen.  I’m not a baby – I know there are ignorant people in the world who don’t know they are offending a real person.  More than offending actually – taking His name – His Holy, Righteous, Name above all Names…  IN VAIN.  It’s a COMMANDMENT – one of the BIG TEN, in fact.THOU SHALT NOT

I expect ignorance OUT THERE – but I was IN HERE – in this meeting with WOMEN OF FAITH.  I wonder if people in the church remember that we’re supposed to be DIFFERENT than the ones outside the church?  Yes, I did think for a split second that maybe it was a non-believer who was invited by a believer – in hopes that she would come to know Jesus as her personal Savior.  That certainly could have been the case.  I hope it was – and I hope she did.

It just seems like so much of the world seeps into the church instead of the other way around.  It’s difficult to have to live IN this world and not be OF it.  Things slip out – oh I totally understand.  When they do, God’s Holy Spirit checks us – we repent and we go from there and do our best to keep it from happening again.  God is quick to forgive our transgressions – even when we take His most Holy Name in vain.

It’s just scary to think that the OMG has found its way into the church – and when it’s said there is no shame – no remorse – no regret.  Just because the world accepts it, doesn’t mean that God’s people should accept it.

I try to say OH MY WOW…  I get very strange looks when I say OH MY WOW…  but oh well.  I sorta kinda hope it catches on inside the church doors… because people of GOD don’t need to be saying OMG – we can say LOL all day long – but adopt the OMW.  Seriously – we need to be separate from the world – give it a try – you might like being different.  OH MY WOW!!!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

Oh admit it…  you’ve done it – I know you have!  Okay – if I admit that I just did it, would you admit you’ve done it then???  Fine…  I’ll admit it.  It’s the middle of the month and I forgot to change both of my perpetual calendars to October!  They are still on September – both of them!

Click image to enlarge

While I’m sure the perpetual calendar police won’t be visiting my house anytime soon, it still makes me crazy to think that I’ve lived through an entire half month without the calendars being correct.  You’d think someone would remind me.  Oh – scratch that…  we’re talking about a person who does not notice when I’m only wearing one earring.

I used to think it would be so cool to have a perpetual calendar – and they are sort of nice.  I must have liked it because I bought another one – a totally different kind – for the basement.  So, now I have two of them, one upstairs and one downstairs.  You’d think I would have remembered to change one of them – at least.

The time just flies by, doesn’t it?  Maybe I’m just having a difficult time keeping up with it.  I know it sounds like I’m beating myself up over it, but I’m not.  Part of me wonders if it’d be worth changing them now – I mean, I only have another half month to go – so maybe I should just catch it up again in November and be done with it.

Where did this year go?  I just keep wondering what happened to the time…  seems like yesterday we were welcoming 2015.  Welcoming and wondering if things were going to get better or worse, but knowing that no matter what, our God would be faithful to us – and so He has!

Click image to enlarge

You know, I don’t believe we have much longer to share our faith with those who don’t know Christ as personal Lord and Savior.  My granny used to say, “I feel it in me bones” – and I guess that’s how I would describe it.  We’ve been given the signs to look for in the Bible – and I suppose I just see that prophecies are coming to pass almost daily – and very quickly!  When I heard that Russia was becoming such a key player in world events, my mind went to the portion of Scripture that talks about the BEAR coming down from the North.  I have heard that preached my whole life – that BEAR is Russia!  I believe the second coming of Christ is very near.  Look at it this way – we’re one day closer than we were yesterday.

If you disagree with me that is certainly your privilege.  It’s more of a feeling deep down in my spirit than anything, I guess.  I just believe time is a-flyin’ and time is short for those of us with a purpose for ministry.  Now…  I suppose I’d better get those calendars changed – to NOVEMBER…  then I’ll be ahead of time for a change.  LOL!!!  Wink!  😉