A Summer of Psalms

God will not deal with you the same way He deals with me.  Whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, the LORD will accomplish what concerns you.  You can have friends close by, go on a rant, beat on your desk and make a dozen whiny posts on facebook – but if you want something accomplished in your situation, you need to hit your knees and talk with your Shepherd.

I’m a sheep too – I have issues!  I’m raising my hand – I’m raising it really high!  I HAVE ISSUES!  I have concerns and people, I have some problems.  Even with all that baggage, I have a God who loves me and cares enough to not only hear my prayers but bring comfort and courage and build character in me as He helps me through my difficulties.  I can see the works of His hands along the pathway my life has taken.  I trust His answers to all the questions I have in life.

If I had a recording of my life and played it back, I could detect exact moments in that movie where I knew for a fact that Jesus intervened and helped me.  I’d take my little red laser pointer thing and circle certain parts of the movie and say, “I prayed for help in this situation, and God came through!”  Knowing the Lord makes my life richer and I place my total confidence is in Him.

His strength has made my soul undaunted.

I love that lyric in this song!  Not only do I love the Lord for helping me, but I love Him for being so patient and kind to me while I was going through some self-inflicted painful times.  We do bring some of our pain on ourselves by doing stupid sinful stuff.  In the beginning, I thought God was really angry at me after that and I could never be made “right” in His sight again; however, I eventually concluded that it was the enemy who wanted me to think that – and give up.  

Now, when I think back, I believe God was weeping for me during those times.  I had strayed so far away and I knew it but didn’t know how to find my way back home to God.  Once I stopped behaving so horribly, it was amazing how quickly it was put under the blood of Jesus and God forgave me!  I haven’t looked over my shoulder.  I keep moving forward, knowing that Jesus is my Lord and there’s no longer any known sin between my Lord and me.

If you have known sin in your life, it’s getting in the way of a relationship between you and God because you see, He’s perfect and cannot look upon any sins.  It’s His desire that you repent of your sins and ask Him to forgive you of them.  To repent just means to turn away from the sin and turn toward your loving Savior, Christ Jesus.  He will come into your heart and life and save you, just like He saved me.

To be saved means you will have a personal relationship with Him and live in Heaven with Him when you die.  You see, just being a good person in this life is not enough.  Your name must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Only Jesus can save you, through the blood He shed on Calvary.  A Holy God won’t accept a sin-filled soul.  I hope and pray you will accept His pardon and trust Him to help you with your issues today.  🙂

 

 

Father May I?

In this portion of Scripture, we’re told to do three things:  ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK!  Isn’t it interesting that ASK comes before the other two?  I wonder why?  Let’s find out.

Some of you are parents, right?  Who am I kidding – all of you are parents – I’m the weirdo with no kids.  Sigh.  Anyway, let’s say your child wanted something from the ice cream truck.  The music sounds as if it’s getting closer and closer…  the pressure’s on to grab a dime – or, probably a dollar these days!  But – you’d like for your child to actually ASK PERMISSION for the ice cream before going out to see how close the truck is to the house – wouldn’t you?  It’s at the very least common courtesy and respectful to parents.

God’s our Parent…  He’s our Heavenly Father.  Apply the same scenario to Him.  Well of course we’re not going to ask for ice cream.  At least I don’t think we will.  But before we seek anything in this life, we should pray about it.  We may seek a job, a spouse, a house, a mouse or a new car.  God cares about where you are and what you want in life.  He wants to be included in your decision-making.  Actually, He wants to be instrumental in your decision-making!  He can straighten paths…  I mean – He is so creative that way!  He’s the Creator of the universe and everything – so yeah – He is creative!

Once we have ASKED, we SEEK.  That is when God does such cool stuff.  I don’t want to make it sound like a name and claim because I don’t believe that way.  I just mean that circumstances can turn on a dime and you know without a doubt it’s because you ASKED before you SOUGHT.  God is God and if the desire of your heart is within His sovereign will – He wants it for you.  He works on my behalf.  He works on your behalf.  If God is for us, who can be against us!  Amen!!!

So we have SOUGHT.  Now it’s time to KNOCK!!!  Don’t knock like a timid little door-to-door sales rep his first day on the job.  Knock like a BOSS and radiate with confidence!  Why are you confident?  Because you have ASKED and SOUGHT.  You know in your heart that God is already where you are and preparing everything to work for your good!  You serve a God who not only knows the past and the present – He knows your FUTURE as well.  What calm assurance and confidence that gives me!  I’ve gotten through many job interviews by reviewing all these facts in my mind.

When we knock…  the door will be opened!  Now, sometimes things don’t go exactly the way we imagine.  But keep in mind that just because I didn’t get that particular job…  God is already in my future – so He knows which job I should have!  HE knows!  That’s good enough for me!

 

Last week we started making spiritual cookies.  I’m not going to explain it all again – if you want to refresh your memory, take a look at last week’s post.  We used God’s special sifter to sift the special flour of strength into the dough.  Today we’re going to add a few chocolate chips to make our cookies sweet!

Dear Lord, We know that Martin Luther advises us to use fewer words for a better prayer, so today we simply ask “Father, may I?”  May I please have sincerity that comes from You?  May I please have some chocolate chips in my spiritual cookies to make me sweeter?  We ASK for this most important of ingredients in Jesus’ precious and matchless name, Amen.

We’ve ASKED.  Now we SEEK then KNOCK.  Don’t be scared.  God’s already there!

I have a special treat for you today.  My friend and Christian brother, John Minton, just made a new You Tube video!  Yay!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FyYVARhoGQqY&h=ATPel3zJVEL-dffn-NOCtd1IA3eUy-xNImhvJIf4-HN4rmdCcZpVzm1pPDAtDjsFeQ_C1iyDHtFu2jRCKAFTD5m9SFRoMWaBH54fmVPZL17pObDK5Gw2n72tNdh5gyFC3oWs

Have a BLESSED week!   🙂

 

God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Yes, I know this is not Sunday – LOL!  I’m interrupting this Friday the 13th, which is typically seen as the worst day you can possibly have, to bring you some GOOD NEWS!  But first, let’s review a few things that historians have claimed:

They claim that Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of Knowledge on Friday the 13th.  They also say that the great flood began on Friday the 13th.  And finally, the builders of the Tower of Babel started their work on – you guessed it – Friday the 13th.  And what about the New Testament?  Well, it’s notable that there were 13 people present for Christ’s Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, the day before Jesus was crucified on Good Friday.  Now – was that a Friday the 13th?  I think not.

One Friday the 13th, I was watching a telecast of a sermon by Joseph Prince.  I don’t like to say I have a favorite TV preacher, but I enjoy listening to him.  He interjects interesting facts – and on this Friday the 13th, I was not disappointed.  Let’s take another look at this verse in Hebrews:

Let us go forth therefore unto HIM outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  – Hebrews 13:13

Well, the obvious thing is that this is the 13th Chapter and the 13th verse.  Joseph Prince also pointed out that there are 13 words in this verse – but wait, it gets better.  The word in the center of this verse is HIM.  I l LOVE THAT!!!  So, what is that take away?  If we have HIM, do we have to dread Friday the 13th as the world does?  NO!  No, we do not!  

I vowed that I would point this out to everyone here on the blog the next time we have a Friday that falls on the 13th.  I want to promote the positivity that belonging to Christ brings!  He brings His children joy, peace, love, and all the fruits of His Spirit.  Lucinda wrote a neat poem about Hebrews 13:13.  I know you’ll like it!

I wasn’t able to find the sermon by Joseph Prince, but Hebrews 13:13 means even more to me since I saw this sermon.  I hope you will watch with receptive hearts and minds.

So…  let’s keep the positive side of Friday the 13th in mind, and throw away the other stuff.  Oh, I do want to leave you with something that I think is HI-larious!  Frankly, this is what comes to mind when I think of Friday the 13th:

Isn’t that funny???  I’m rollin’!!!  😀

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Throughout the Bible we are told what we need to do in order to get good stuff from our Heavenly Father.  These verses in Philippians are a perfect example of it – we’re told if we lay aside the temptation to worry and fret and pray instead, being completely honest with our Heavenly Father, through His Son, Christ Jesus – being careful to be THANKFUL for our lives and our blessings as we present our requests to God – then, and only THEN will God respond with what???  He will in turn give to us HIS sweet peace, which the world does not understand – a peace that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ. 

Is this bargaining?  No – it’s not.  This is obedience as we exercise faith and trust in our Father in Heaven.  When we delve into God’s Word and realize we have a choice to stress out, freak out, go nuts – OR hand our situations over to God (being careful not to take them back)…  it’s so freeing and I’m convinced it improves physical health in the process!  When God’s peace is added to our lives – what a difference it makes!

Our problems and struggles do not have to consume our mind.  Even though God knows what we’re facing even before we talk with Him about it, He still wants us to bring them to Him in prayer.  If you’re a parent and you know your child is hurting, it’s not enough to just know your child is hurting, is it?  You want your child to come and talk with you.  God’s our Heavenly Father and it’s the same principle.  Remember, He made human beings so He’d have companionship – friendship – relationship.  It’s only right that we let Him know what’s up in our lives.

Give Him your issues and in return He will give you His peace and He’ll work things out for you.  I’m always amazed at HOW He works things out.  No matter how many times I try to guess how He will work – I’m never right.  God is so much more creative than I am!  He’s so good to me – much gooder than I deserve, to be sure!  God is not a disappointment.  That’s not just an old hymn…  it’s the truth!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is faith?  Well, there is a particular definition that I learned from the time I was very small.  It’s a verse I have had memorized for years!

That’s not the version I memorized as a kid – I know the King James version:

 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  – Hebrews 11:1

We’re to have this faith – this confidence in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  We are to be assured of that which we do not see.  We walk by faith – and not by sight.  We can only be God’s child by faith.

Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.  – Helen Keller

Just as time away from the gym can show fairly quickly on the scale, time away from God can show fairly quickly in our lives.  Some folks refuse to have faith while others say they do, but they don’t take the time to exercise it.  Something in the name of this video caught my eye – it says, Allow Me, I Will Heal Your Soul” – and that’s significant – we have a choice to allow the Lord to help us or not.  We’re given the free will to make the choice for God or against Him.

God wants to give you opportunities today.  Will you trust the path He has for you to walk, or will you ignore Him and go your own way?  Work that faith out a little bit…  think about the substance of things HOPED FOR – expecting in your heart to see the evidence of THINGS UNSEEN.  Why are people so surprised when God answers their prayers?  Maybe it’s because they didn’t think their faith was as strong as it really is.  Just a thought.

We don’t see the wind in Kansas, but I’ll tell you what – we feel it!  The limbs on the ground are the evidence of the wind that blew them off the trees!  We see the evidence of the wind everywhere.  In the autumn, the Kansas wind blows the leaves off the trees and as we rake the leaves, we’re reminded that once again the wind came to visit.  Do you have to see to believe?  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15 & 16

Have you ever noticed when someone is asked to give a testimony, they break out in a cold sweat?  Actually, I’m describing my dad – he had a very humble and private walk with the Lord.  He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and he never wanted to testify.  If he was put on the spot, beads of sweat formed on his forehead, not because he didn’t have a story, but because he didn’t like to speak in public.

I think it’s funny now, looking back…  my parents had me in front of the congregation playing the piano before I was in junior high school.  Would either of them done anything on the platform?  I doubt it – but there I was – and there I’d stay for several years.  I’m glad they pushed me though, because the experience I gained at a young age taught me many valuable lessons.  From my unique vantage point, I got to see a few things.  I remember thinking, “I want to be like that person” – or…  “I don’t want to have an attitude like that person.”  We all do that in our youth, but doing it while seated at the piano in choir practice was special somehow.

We are to have a story and be ready to share it when it’s time.  Have you ever heard someone testify and seem to be almost angry that others are not coming to the Lord and repenting of sin as they think they should?  Sometimes your testimony is less about the actual words you say, and more about the attitude behind the words you’re saying.

A gentle quiet spirit that exudes thanksgiving and gratitude makes a much better impression than beating your hand on the pulpit and screaming.  Nobody ever scared anybody to the Lord – well, except the movie A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I think the whole youth group went forward and confessed every little sin after that movie was over – even putting chewing gum under the pew.  No, I didn’t do that…  but I found some once.  Eeeewwww.  It was a pew in the back of the church – it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out who did it.

Every one of us has a different vantage point in our walk with Christ.  We see things from different places.  I sat at the piano and watched as a tween – maybe you sat in the choir and observed – or in the back row.  Sometimes I wished I could have been a normal kid and sat in the back row – I envied them a little bit.  The point is, we all have a story of our walk – past and present.  The walk I have with Christ is so much deeper and richer today than it was when I was saved at thirteen.   That’s what the world needs to hear – and that’s the truth of it.

Sometimes a testimony is painful to share.  That’s when we rely on God’s help to give us the right words to say.  As we listen, it might hurt, but we rely on God’s help to give us compassionate hearts and minds as we hear their story.  Christ reaches down to all of us when we’re in a state of disarray – and that’s putting it mildly.  We’re unsaved and without hope without Him.

I’m reminded of an Andre’ Crouch song called I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE.  With God helping us every day, we can have confidence and assurance that things will be alright no matter what the case may be – !

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony, your story, your faith.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spiritually speaking!  LOL – well, you know what I mean.  I’ve got CONFIDENCE…  God is gonna see me through.  🙂