A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (12)

I spent most of the day rummaging around estate sales yesterday!  If I can find some unusual item or collectible that looks lonely and forgotten in a corner, it’s my duty to rescue it and take it home where I can then nurse it back to health with love and care.

Each sale has its own unique ambience.  When you walk in the door you immediately get a sense of whether these things were taken care of and worth taking a look at, or used, abused and ultimately thrown aside when no longer needed.

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better.  – Kristin Chenoweth

There were two sales that represent each of these scenarios.  The first was a collector’s paradise – filled with little treasures at every turn.  The second was filled with items that were obviously well used, a little abused and may not have many more miles left in them.

The odd thing I noticed was at the second sale.  It seemed every other item I saw had a large sign on it that said AS IS.  The price did not reflect the fact that there was a flaw or damage to the item.  There was a flawless price on flawed merchandise.  As I said, we expect to strike bargains, and the buyers expect us to bargain with them.

What of this sign – AS IS???  I know without a doubt that this physical body of mine has that sign on it – and maybe yours does too.  Does my soul have a sign hanging on it too?  Were any of us born without flaws of character and needing redemption?  No.  We have an AS IS sign on our souls too.

Why were we worth redeeming?  Have you ever asked yourself why God sent Jesus to save us?  Why didn’t He just let the flood wipe everything out?  He had a deep-down faith in His creation – that we would seek a relationship with Him.

He saw the AS IS sign on us but sent His only Son, Jesus, to suffer and die on Calvary’s cross.  Then rise again on the 3rd day.  We are not stuck in Saturday, weeping and mourning in our sorry state.  Once we accept Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, we are free and redeemed, washed clean by the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God.

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.  – Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord while He may be found.  He loves you so much He was willing to pay full price for you – AS IS.  He purchased your soul and wants to lovingly care for you throughout your life – and beyond.

I PRAYED FOR YOU

photo courtesy of S.G. Lutz

I’m going to take this thought a step further and submit that we should all look for the AS IS sign on each other?  I’m not suggesting that we prejudge anyone, but that we cut each other more slack.  I’m not suggesting that we whitewash over sin either; however, I would remind us that it’s not our job to change anyone.  That can only be accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit.  Here’s a great idea – let’s pray for one another, that our hearts and minds would be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit!  Doesn’t that sound like a winner???  🙂

 

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IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

TL IRON SHARPENS IRON (2)

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  – Psalm 23:4

My heart is heavy today.  I’m praying for two very good friends, both facing serious health issues.  One is in surgery right now fighting to stay alive.  Please pray with me for these two wonderful people.  They are both Christians, and that is the one thing that makes this easier than it would be otherwise.

Precious Lord,

It’s with a heavy heart I come to You.  You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love.  I have such great grief for two friends today and one may be leaving me.  I know everyone has to die sometime, Lord, but I thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know my pain and sorrow intimately.  Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow of death and for that I thank You.  Please guide the hands of the surgeons today and if it be Your will let my friend survive and thrive from this day on.  If not, hold her in Your precious arms and see her safely home to spend eternity with You.  Guard my heart and mind and let me find peace no matter what happens.  I thank You for the cross and for the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I confess that You are Lord of all and the gate-keeper to eternal life.  Grant me peace in my heart, mind and spirit right now as I wait for news.  I ask all of this in Christ’s precious name, Amen.

There are folks who I am honored to call friends.  I feel so blessed in my life to have talked and laughed and yes, cried a few times with them.  To know that they are facing such horrific health issues with a grace and courage that I’m not sure I’d have – well, it humbles me.  They hang on to the hand of Jesus with faith firmly intact, unwavering and unafraid.

KNEEL

I appreciate those who join me in prayer today.  Prayer really does change things.  Thanks!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (14)

CIRCLES OF LOVE

Doesn’t that look like FUN? It’s a good thing I’m not Jewish though… I can’t dance worth a lick and I’m a wallflower. So, there ya go.

Oy Vey! I’ll be honest, what I know about Jewish traditions and customs could fill a very small thimble. The fact remains that I find these time-honored customs fascinating and wish we as Christians had more deeply rooted traditions (other than what flavor the groom’s cake will be).

The inspiration for this poem came from an article I read about the Jewish custom of the bride circling the groom seven times. The circling of the groom is an Ashkenazi practice and is not generally part of Sephardic tradition, however, it is rich with symbolism:

1. When Joshua led the Children of Israel in the battle for Jericho, he was instructed to circle the city seven times, resulting in the walls of the city crumbling. As two people enter into marriage, they face the challenge of breaking down the “walls” that may exist between them.

2. This has been interpreted to parallel the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own “new world” together.

3. Seven circles correspond to the seven times in the Torah where it is written, “… and when a man takes a wife.”

As a Christian, the symbolism that pops into my mind has to do with the wedding rings. The gold is solid and sturdy and withstands any sort of punishment, like a good marriage does. The rings are of course circles which have no beginning and no end. It goes on forever. The Christian circle represents eternity. Marriage should not be entered into lightly, for if you go into it with the wrong one, eternity can be a very long time.

It’s outlined in the New Testament of God’s Holy Word, The Bible, that a husband is to lay down his life in sacrificial love and protection. As her loving husband is obedient, a wife naturally responds with honor and respect.

The promises made between husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between Jesus Christ and his bride, the church. Just as a husband and wife’s vow to love, honor and cherish each other will last for eternity, so will the Christian’s relationship with Christ endure for all eternity. ❤

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

TL I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE (9)

 

Gideon said to God, “If You will save Israel by my hand as You have promised – look, I will place a wool fleece on the threshing floor. If there is dew only on the fleece and all the ground is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as You said.” – Judges 6:36-37

WHEN YOU PUT DOWN A FLEECE

My parents were great people. Our family was law-abiding and church going. One day in the early 1980’s that all changed. There was a very evil split in our church and my parents decided to never darken the doors of another church. I was grown and out of the house by then, but the trauma was real nonetheless.

No one knows better than I that it’s not necessary to have your name on a church roll to have your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. My parents had not attended church for several years when my dad got sick. When he died on November 3, 1988, I had some questions about where he was spending eternity. Of course I wanted to believe he was in heaven. I suppose I should have accepted on faith that he was there.

We received the call that my daddy had passed at 3:00am (those 3am calls are never good news!) When we got home from the hospital, I decided to stay overnight with my mama so she would not have to be alone. When mama finally got to sleep, I began to earnestly cry out to God. I let Him know – my faith was not enough – I needed a sign from Him.

The next morning I went to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee for us. As I turned to look at the anniversary clock I gave my folks for their 40th wedding anniversary, I noticed it had stopped running. That clock ran well for nearly ten years and I thought it was odd that it should stop now. I think my real thought was, “Oh great!”

I still get chills when I think about it. I looked at the time on the clock. It stopped at 3:00am.

I know many scholars think that throwing down a fleece is a complete lack of faith. I know better. Throwing down a fleece to gain reassurance from God is not the same as throwing it down to discern the Will of God, as Gideon did. I know that God knows what I need and when I need it. He knew my faith was weak at that time. He knew I needed a sign to reassure me that my daddy was safe with Him. I’m not the type of person who just goes around asking God for signs all the time. I know that we walk by faith and not by sight. But God knew I needed to know. I’ve never questioned since that day that my daddy is in heaven. Thank You, LORD! ❤