A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (14)

You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  – James 2:24

Once again we hear from the no-nonsense half brother of Christ.  We all know that good works is the result of strong faith in Christ Jesus.  As we lean strongly on Him every day, He shows us avenues of ministry along the way that we can either choose to follow or not.  When a person comes to a saving knowledge of Christ, they are justified.

Our works have nothing to do with our salvation – for that was taken care of by our LORD – he hung on the cross and died to save us – nothing we do can save our souls – we need to accept HIS sacrifice on our behalf.

Does James contradict Paul?  NO.  The apostle Paul was talking about eternal matters while James is referring to earthly matters.  We don’t have to do good works to get to Heaven – but doing good works is something we want to do because we have faith and a desire to serve the Lord.  How do we serve Him?  We serve other people.  We are His hands, His feet.  We put feet to our faith.  God loves a cheerful giver…  it’s about more than money.

I can talk about having great faith all day long, but until I put some feet to that faith, it’s just lip service – am I right?  Doing good won’t save my soul, but I still want to do good – be kind, and act on my faith.  🙂

ROMANS 10:9 ON 10/9

TL ROMANS 10 9 ON 10 9

 If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  – Romans 10:9

https://youtu.be/a5V6xqc0RkE

We live in a society that thinks it is ENTITLED to everything.  We deserve everything for doing nothing.  We put in very little effort or none at all.  That tiny word “IF” really bothers some people.  IF they have to put forth one iota of effort, forget it – they don’t want it.

When it comes to your eternal life, don’t you think it’s worth investing some time, talent and treasure?  The Savior of your soul, Christ Jesus – He invested more than you ever will.  He willingly gave Himself – literally – painfully – lovingly.  So, IF you think the conditions are too strenuous or too demanding, I suggest you take a look in your Bible at the account of Christ’s crucifixion.  You know, if He had not followed through (and by the way, He most certainly would not have had to), where would you and I be?  We would be lost for all eternity – and that’s not a thought I like to dwell on for very long.  Eternity is forever…  jus’ sayin!

We should be praising God and humbly thanking Him every moment of every day for the sacrifice He made so that we could have life everlasting in Paradise!  So many think they have found Paradise on this earth, but just wait…  the best is yet to come!  Sometimes I envy my family because they are already there.  I’m still stuck down here where there is anything but peace!

I guess God’s not done with me yet.  I guess I’m still here to write about God’s plan for man.  His plan for our salvation and eternal life.  Life forever with the Savior of the world.

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… So I will declare with my mouth that JESUS IS LORD and believe in my heart that God raised Christ from the dead and He now sits at God’s Right hand!  I believe that one day I will be in Paradise, Heaven, God’s perfect place where there is no war, no racial tension, no financial concerns, no sickness, no pain, no more separation from loved ones and no more death!  In God’s Heaven there is joy, peace, contentment, wellness and one dandy reunion with loved ones – and we get to cast whatever crowns we’ve gotten in this life at the feet of Christ – which is totally cool.  It’s ALL about Him because if it were not for Him…  I wouldn’t be there!

Who would not want that???  I guess those who have a problem with that little word…  IF.  🙂

MARK 3:31 ON 3/31

MARK 3 31 ON 3 31

WALKING

I’ve been thinking about family lately.  Holidays make us remember good times with family, don’t they?  Those memories become treasures and more precious as time goes by.  But who was Jesus’ family?

Then Jesus’ mother and brothers arrived. Standing outside, they sent someone in to call him.  – Mark 3:31

If we go on to read through verse 35, we are reminded of the importance of family.  It’s such a confidence booster to know you have these folks in your corner, ready to help you heal after a bout in the real world.  To have family is a real blessing, especially if you are surrounded with supportive people who love you no matter what.

Husbands and wives who stand together against all odds.  Parents who truly love and support their children, and children who know how to honor and cherish their parents.

The traditional family unit is becoming increasingly rare.  Couples who live together before marriage or divorce after marriage, often leaving innocent children in the middle.  What kind of example does that set for children?  They don’t believe that love can last for a lifetime between two people and end up very skeptical about relationships in their own lives.  They also wonder if, since mom and dad no longer love each other, if they stopped loving them.

It may seem like a hopeless situation, but there is a family where love and support is available to everyone and relationships won’t end.  In Mark 3:31-35, Jesus lets His earthly family know about His “true family”.  Of course, his physical family was His mother Mary, step-father Joseph, brothers James, Joses, Judas, Simon, and His sisters.  Not that He did not value His physical family and care for them, but He considered His true family those who follow His real Father.

Remember, even at the age of 12 Jesus knew Who His real Father was.  He let His physical parents know that He had to be about His Father’s business.  He knew His real Father was God.

His disciples were part of Jesus’ family because they worked alongside Him and sought to do the Father’s will.  In the 7th chapter of Matthew we are reminded that whoever does the will of the Father are in turn recognized by Him.  In the 11th chapter of Luke we are told that they are the ones who are truly blessed.

So, the family Jesus treasured most was His spiritual family.  A spiritual family acknowledges God as our Father.  He listens to our prayers, provides every need throughout our life and beyond, and forgives our sins.  God also delivers us from temptation when we ask Him to do so.  Christians get to call Jesus “brother” and we are many times referred to as “brethren” in Scripture.

We depend on God’s Holy Spirit to protect and defend us.  He makes intercession for us and keeps us out of harm’s way.

Could you imagine what it would be like to plan a family reunion for the family of God?  How many should we plan for?  Um…  well…  lol.  There are so many of us!  So many congregations, all with their own theology but with the same basic belief that Jesus was born of the virgin Mary, raised as a human, yet He was always the Son of God, part of the Holy Trinity.  He healed the sick, raised the dead, performed miracles.  God sent Jesus to suffer and die for the sins of the world.

We have family in heaven and will be reunited with them one day.  Physical family ties are severed at death, but Jesus’ spiritual family looks forward to an eternal inheritance.  This family will endure through eternity!

The true family of Jesus does not suffer from divorce or death.  Because of God’s wonderful love, Jesus was sent to atone for the sins of the world.  If you believe with your heart, you are a part of this large family.

My physical family is so small, but the larger family – the family of God, is loving and supportive.  I pray that you have received Christ through faith and baptism.  This spiritual family will last forever.  🙂

HOMEMADE BREAD DAY

TL 11-17 HOMEMADE BREAD DAY

11-17 FOR THE LOVE OF BREAD

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Today we celebrate HOMEMADE BREAD DAY!  There is not a better scent in the world than freshly baked homemade yeast bread!  Awe – it is so wonderful!  Unfortunately, it is chock full of carbohydrates, so I don’t bake bread very often.  😦

Frankly, I am intimidated about baking bread.  I did find one link that makes it look so simple – I may try to make homemade bread yet!

http://www.thesimpledollar.com/homemade-bread-cheap-delicious-healthy-and-easier-than-you-think/

Years ago I was part of a circle of friends at Park City Nazarene Church.  These women would not have had to take me in, but they did – with open arms!  I met with them to do crafts.  I’ve slept a lot since that time – I think we quilted – but don’t quote me on that.  What we did is not as important as the fun and laughter we shared while doing it – does that make sense?

Carolyn opened her home to us and never met a stranger.  Her hospitality was amazing and I cherished her friendship.  These were my husband’s friends – I was the stranger – but not for long! 

One day at the quilting bee, we were discussing what heaven would be like – because as the song reminds us, here on earth we can only imagine.  But we like to think about it because although we don’t know many things for certain, we trust that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for each one of us – think about that – He is preparing a special place – just for you.  Your place will not be like my place.  Just to think about the building materials He uses makes my head spin!  Streets of gold – solid gold???  We use asphalt down here – imagine what kind of materials he uses to build mansions!

I smile when I think about that day – I’ll never forget the look on Carolyn’s face.  It was as if she had transported herself to the pearly gates.  She had a look of longing on her face – I watched her and I think there may have been a tear welling up in her eye.  She gently smiled and said, “My corner of heaven will smell like freshly baked bread!” 

You know, I believe it probably will.  When I get to heaven I want to see Jesus first.  But I think then I’ll visit Carolyn’s mansion and enjoy some freshly baked bread with her.  Breaking bread in heaven will be so great, won’t it?  ❤

HEBREWS 12:28 ON 12/28

HEBREWS 12 28 ON 12 28

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe…  – Hebrews 12:28

When I read that passage of scripture, I thought, “Wow – what a great New Year’s Resolution!”  I mean, what could be better than to resolve to be more thankful and worship God acceptably with reverence and awe???

It seems to me that once the proper emphasis is put on all that, everything else will fall into its rightful place.  You may think that sounds too good to be true, but don’t dismiss my theory so quickly.

When our hearts and minds are on Christ instead of our problems, we are fully trusting Him to work it all out, right?  So, if we’re trusting the Lord to take care of the day-to-day, then it will all fall into place, right?

If we could just do that one thing, it would be the best resolution because by our act of faith we are letting Christ know that we trust Him for everything.  Well, you don’t think I chose the book of Hebrews just because I wanted to tell the joke about coffee, did you?  You do know that the man is supposed to make the coffee in the household – because the Bible says He Brews…  yeah – ok.  Talking Tom likes coffee…

Anyway…  what a great reminder that we are receiving a kingdom that is unshakable!  It’s not made by human hands.  We sure can’t say that about this place, can we?  I hear bad news almost daily that makes me wonder how much longer things will stay together.  But the kingdom of God is solid and eternal.  It is where we are headed, so we need to realize that we are children of the living God and start giving Him all the glory and honor and praise He deserves.  Let’s find the awe in awesome again.

We are not abandoned.  We are not orphans.  We are more than conquerors in Jesus’ name.  Let’s go into 2014 with praise for God on our lips and a testimony in our heart to share with those who need to hear it.  😀

 

 

 

BEST FRIENDS DAY

TL 8-15 BEST FRIENDS DAY

 Things are never quite as scary when you have a best friend.  – Bill Watterson

If I have to dress in my best clothes, style my hair and put make-up on before you come to my door, we are probably not best friends.  If I have to work for a solid week cleaning my house to prepare for your arrival, no, I don’t imagine we are best friends.

The one I can relax with, be my sloppy self with is my best friend.  And my best friend feels just as comfortable around me.  It’s funny because when we’re tweens we learn how to socialize.  We have slumber parties and make cinnamon bread in the oven and sit around chatting all night long.  Even at that age we knew who we could be “real” with and who we had to wear the mask around.

“You’re the average of the five people you associate with the most.”  A wrestling coach told this to me in high school.  I’ve never forgotten it.  – Tim Ferriss

It’s sad that a mask has to be worn sometimes, but it does.  We all have them and wear them when we don’t feel comfortable around a person or group of people.  I was blessed to be a band geek.  I got to hang out with the coolest girls in our Junior High School and most of us went on to High School together.  Nobody felt like they had to put on a mask.  For us it was all about music.  We played it, enjoyed it and didn’t think about anything else.

Best friends share common interests.  They can chat until the cows come home because that spark of interest is there and they have just as many questions as answers.  It’s easier to be yourself before life gets so competitive, but even as we got older we stayed sweet.  That’s what best friends do.

I had a very good friend in my eighth grade English teacher.  She and I would spend many lunch hours talking about literature, art – and yes, music.  She helped me so much with my dyslexia.  I knew how to sound words out, but she went a step further and taught me how to strengthen my sight through exercises for my eyes.  You can train your eyes to some extent although dyslexia is a sort of trickery of the mind.  I don’t mind having it because it has lit the fuse of my imagination every day of my life.

Best friend: someone you can only stay mad at for so long because you have important things to talk about.  – Author Unknown

I’ve always made friends with older people.  Teachers, other kid’s parents, the librarian, the school bus driver.  I’m so much more comfortable conversing with older people.  Experts in child psychology will tell you that an only child tends to communicate better with older people because as a child they were subjected to adult conversations.  It’s true, I sat with my mom and aunts many a sunny Saturday while my cousins went outdoors to play.  Mama dressed me in frilly dresses and I wasn’t about to go out and get it all dirty.

The other day I was counting up all of the girls named LINDA that I was friends with – and the tally is 14.  My life has been touched in some way by 14 other LINDAs.  Hmm…  interesting.  I recently got in touch with a LINDA friend from High School via facebook.

Most of my LINDA friends are Christians.  You know when Jesus is in the center of any relationship it makes it extra-special.  He is my best friend – and yours too.  With that knowledge, those masks don’t stay on very long.  We’re just sisters in Christ, thankful for His love, mercy and matchless grace in our lives.  ❤