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.  ❤

to-serve-you

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?  ❤

 

LUKE 6:27-28 ON 6/27 & 6/28

TL 6-27 & 6-28 LUKE 6-27&28

 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  – Luke 6:27-28

Do you have enemies?  Do some people hate you?  Does anyone curse you?  Have you ever been despitefully used?  What is the natural response to any of these situations?  Fighting, backbiting, back stabbing, blackballing, revenge – wrapped up in a lot of emotional baggage including anger, sadness, feelings of rejection and hurt – big time hurt.

Doesn’t the natural response to this sound…  well – draining?  It sounds like it would take a huge toll on you not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.  God wants us to love enemies, do good to the ones who hate us, bless the ones who curse us and pray for the ones who despitefully use us.  God’s way is the best way.  He wants us to give it all to HIM and let it go.  Put it in His capable hands because He is able to deal with a person’s heart and soul.  He can discern motives and speak to them without interjecting emotions into the mix.  The sooner we turn those individuals over to God and pour all sorts of good out on them (which, trust me, will confuse them – it’s funny to watch), the sooner we will be free on all levels – physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally.  Freedom is what our faith is all about – and forgiveness.  You can’t experience God’s freedom without forgiveness.  Once we make a practice of handing all of that stuff over to God, we’ll find true happiness in our journey! 

THE BAGGAGE CARRIERGod is so smart – He wants to help us through life by carrying our burdens for us.  I’d definitely call a person who hates me a burden, wouldn’t you?  God knows that not everyone in life is going to be a fan of ours – or His.  Sometimes we make enemies because of our faith in God through Christ.  Sometimes we are hated because of our way of life, morals and values.  Our beliefs are not popular, to say the least…  some people don’t understand where we’re coming from.  We really don’t want to make that misunderstanding even worse by reacting to them in a way that doesn’t please our Lord, do we?  It’s not easy, but we need to remember that through Christ, we can do anything!  We won’t get it right every time, but God really wants us to do our very best.  🙂

 

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

https://youtu.be/W8QMiiNXP90

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.  🙂

 

 

MARCH IS NATIONAL COLOR THERAPY MONTH

TL MARCH IS NATIONAL COLOR THERAPY MONTH

Colors are the smiles of nature.  – Leigh Hunt

It’s yellow…  it’s happy!  Can you dig it???

If you do not feel your best in the morning and are deciding what to wear for the day, it’s tempting to find the most dull outfit in your closet, put it on and hope no one notices you all day.  Admit it, you’ve done it and so have I.

Even on the days you feel the worst, fix your hair, make up your face (don’t forget the coordinating shade of lipstick), and dress up!  It may not work immediately, but a splash of yellow to relay happiness to others or a smidge of orange to share joy will have you feeling more positive soon.  At least it will look to others like you have it together and are feeling happy and joyful.  The joy and happiness will reach you eventually – believe me.

I’ve learned so much from the ladies at the hair salon!  Every one of them is over 70 (some well over), and they dress up, make-up and SHOW UP!!!  They wear bright colors with bright lipstick and big smiles.  They may be walking with a walker or a cane, but they are never looking mousey or tacky.

What is color therapy?  Well, there is a strong bond between colors and emotions.  Some people love black because it is a secure color.  I wear a lot of black because it makes me look thinner and hides a multitude of bulges (unless it’s my black one-piece swimsuit).  Some folks hate black and see it as depressing, evil and cold.  It depends on a person’s life experiences.

My emotions can go either way when I see teal blue.  It was my mama’s favorite color.  She was buried in her favorite teal blue dress, she did a lot of decorating with teal.  She had the most beautiful fox fur coat with a teal satin lining.  Sometimes I’m okay and just smile and think back.  Other times, I have to excuse myself and go somewhere to cry and get myself together.  Color can trigger emotions because our senses are so tuned in to them.  Almost everyone has certain trigger colors that cause a knee-jerk reaction.

Have you ever had a color reading?  I did a few years ago when it was quite trendy.  It was all in fun at a women’s ministries meeting one Saturday morning.  They told me I should not wear a high collar (which I already knew) since I have practically no neck.  They also said that the color pink is my perfect color.  A pink button-down shirt works best.

The interesting part was what I should not wear.  They told me to stay completely away from white.  The quick-witted comedian I am, I had to pop off.  I said to the ladies assembled,

So, folks – if we are going to be robed in white when we get to heaven…  well, I’ll just offer up my apologies ahead of time!

The ladies got a kick out of it, but the ones doing the reading…  um…  not so much.  They were trying to be serious and I guess I blew it.

They told me that while red is usually a “go-to” color, I should walk away from red.  Apparently it brings out my rather “ruddy” complexion.  Well, we Dutch tend to have a bit of red in our cheeks, so…  I should not “go-to” it.  I should “run from” it.

I’m a Spring, so they tell me.  I’m supposed to dress in pastels.  But I think sometimes we need to dress in a way that lifts our spirits.  Splash a colorful scarf or necklace around your neck.  Wear those red shoes.  I don’t always wear pastel colors.  Today I wore an emerald-green V-neck and blue jeans with a Celtic knot necklace and matching earrings.

At some point in my life, I plan to join “The Red Hat Society”.  Now THAT is some color therapy!  I remember when mama told me that you never wear red and purple together.  Well, mom, guess what???

MARCH - THE RED HAT SOCIETY

And what of life?  Is it black and white, or are there some shades of gray?

Even bad guys (most of them, anyway) see themselves as good – they are the heroes of their own lives.  Giving them a fair chance as characters can create some interesting shades of gray – and shades of gray are also a part of life.  – Stephen King

Hey – it’s my color therapy.  Who says I have to follow the color guru’s rules?  Wink!  😉

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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WELL MASKED
The words of the heart surgeon still ring in my mind as though she spoke them yesterday.  She said:

DON’T YOU EVER CRY IN FRONT OF HIM AGAIN! I DON’T WANT YOU TO SPEAK NEGATIVELY AROUND HIM. DO NOT UPSET HIM OR RAISE YOUR VOICE TO HIM. WE CAN GET HIM THROUGH THIS, BUT IT’S UP TO YOU TO KEEP HIS SPIRITS UP FROM NOW ON. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?

Not one soul on this planet understands the pressure I have felt from that moment forward – not one. Yes, I know God gets it – we’ve talked a few million times.  If I don’t feel particularly positive, it makes me feel extremely guilty and I feel as though I have to put on this fake mask and just force myself to BE positive.  I can be positive or be quiet.

It’s not that I’m a negative person – but I’m not just all smiles and rainbows every day. I’ve just become this sort of nothing in particular – no real emotions shine through at all. I’m guarded and careful – and numb. Yes, madam surgeon – I understand. I can’t get angry or show any excitement of any kind. Yep – I get it.

So this is me. My emotions are in check and I’ve become calculated. I’m no longer the spontaneous person I used to be. I miss that person, but it’s okay.  Last week we went to a convention. I socialize in a sort of moderate way with people. I don’t talk too much and I listen when I’m spoken to. I don’t over-react to anything and I’ve been almost editing every syllable since my husband’s heart surgery.

We were sitting with friends at the hotel’s restaurant. I ordered a spinach salad and a glass of water. The salad was wonderful and quite large. I ate half and took half back to the room. The waitress came to our table with the box in one hand and the water pitcher in the other. She was trying to hand me the box and fill my water-glass at the same time – the glass spilled and the water (and ice) went right in my lap.

I just sat there. I really honestly showed no emotion. My friends were doing plenty of reacting on my behalf. I’m still walking through life with this emotionless mask on my face.  I do remember thinking, “Hey, I think I have the hang of this now.”  I mean everyone was commenting about how non-reactive I was.  Is it a good thing?  Well, good or bad – it is what it is.

The surgeon has spoken – and I must obey!

GOOD FRIDAY

TL GOOD FRIDAY

WITH TEARS FOR JESUS

It’s difficult to explain to people why Good Friday is good, but this explains it well.

It’s called GOOD FRIDAY – but somehow that just doesn’t seem to be good enough, does it?  Good just does not begin to cover it.  If you came up with the most eloquent name for this day, it would still fall short because of the deep meaning behind it.

My faith runs deep and emotions run high at Easter. This is the combination that makes me want to do more for Him and be a better Christian. I don’t strive to be better so I can stick my nose up in the air and say – “Hey look, I’m better than you.” I don’t compare my progress with anyone here. I stack it up against God’s Holy Word. How close can I be to where GOD wants me to be? That’s really all that matters when it’s all said and done.

To call this Friday GOOD FRIDAY falls so short of how I really feel about it. He took the sins of the world upon His shoulders – His human shoulders. Yes, He was divine, but He was also human. He felt every bit of the pain He suffered and the blood He spilt – that was very real too. That was love. That is the only love needed by man in this life. That is the only true love any of us will ever have! Christ provides pure grace, mercy, unchanging love and light for our journey!

I hope you will take a moment to meditate on the sacrifice Christ made for you. Watch PASSION OF THE CHRIST or JESUS today. I have both movies and will probably watch both of them this evening. If you do not know Him as your personal Savior, I hope you will turn your life over to Him. He’s waiting for you. ❤

MERRY CHRISTMAS

TL MERRY CHRISTMAS

CHRIST IN CHRISTMAS

Christmas in the secular progressive world is a lot of smoke and mirrors. It is blown out of proportion and a great deal of hype with very little satisfaction in the long run. It’s a season of tacky over-indulgence. It’s an excuse to go big and be loud and put a decoration on everything that will stand still – and a few decorations on things that won’t stand still. For example, my neighbor likes to dress her little dog in Christmas sweaters. I appreciate that she wants to keep her pet warm, but the poor baby looks as though it’s heading for the North Pole to pay Santa a visit! I have no evidence of this, but I suspect the dog has more sweaters than the owner. Hmm… what’s wrong with this picture?

Over the top decorations and happy happy happy emotions that are based on nothing. I find it interesting that non-Christians are celebrating a Christian holiday in a pagan fashion. How empty their souls must feel. What foundation is set? Oh yes, toys for children and adults alike. But the toys will break or rust. They celebrate not the birth of a Savior – but the brief moment of happiness they can bring to a child with a toy or two. It could be so much more than that, you know. Christmas for a Christian is not fleeting. For us, it is year-around because we have accepted Christ into our hearts and lives – not just at Christmastime, but for all time.

Do you want the faith, hope and love that only Christ can give you?  Would you like to recalculate your course? You can. It’s simple.

Take a moment to meditate with God’s Holy Word, The Bible. Listen to this recording of the book of Luke or read it for yourself and think about the account of the birth of Christ, the Savior of the world. Let the truth sink deep into your heart – into your spirit. Then you will understand the depth of what this Christian celebration is all about! Meditate.  Then recalculate in prayer… Christ is waiting.