A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When God calls a person to do a job, He is very sure of Himself and knows who He wants and why.  There are people in history whose lives leave me smiling because there’s no doubt in my mind that God was right smack dab in the middle of their circumstances – working!

Did you know that Moses didn’t want to be a leader?  He argued with God about it – no, no don’t pick me!  I can’t be a leader ‘cuz see, I have this stuttering problem and it’s really going to slow Your plan down.  Well…  we see here what God had to say about that!  It didn’t do Moses much good to argue with God.

Helen Adams Keller was born in 1880.  She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. Oh, did I fail to mention that she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree?  Her life story has been the subject of at least two very popular movies that I know of – both starring Patty Duke, if I remember right.  Helen’s life seemed hopeless at first, didn’t it?  If a person ever offered hope and inspiration to the world…  it was Helen Keller!

Cornelia ten Boom (Corrie) was born in 1892.  She was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.  She and her sister and father were imprisoned in a concentration camp for their actions.  Corrie’s sister, Elisabeth ten Boom (Betsie) was born in 1885.  While incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp, she died at age 59.  Corrie and Betsie’s father, Casper ten Boom died just 10 days after being imprisoned.

Corrie ten Boom’s famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.  My dad bought the book for me, and in 1976 he took me to see the movie.  Did God use Corrie and her family?  I believe He definitely did – and that story still serves to inspire people all over the world.  My dad said at the very least, it reminds us of what we never want to see again in the world.  It also reminds us that no matter what the world says to do…  as Christians we are obligated to obey our God and do the right thing to honor Him.

If we will place our frail an imperfect selves in God’s very capable hands, trusting that He will work in and through us for His glory, we will be amazed and may even inspire others in the bargain.  I wonder if Moses had flat refused God – if he would have ended up in the belly of a whale – ???  Or…  maybe a camel or something – ???  Oh, it’s a good thing he was obedient, I think.  Yeah.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I look forward to spring for so many reasons, but I think my favorite one is that we will start grilling hamburgers outdoors!  I don’t mind turning the stove on when it’s cold outside because it heats up the kitchen; however, in the spring and summer I’d rather not cook indoors because, well, it heats up the kitchen.

How many hamburgers do you eat at one time?  There’s no right or wrong answer – it’s not a trick question.  The calorie police are all at the donut shop – so don’t weigh your answer.  Be honest – do you have one hamburger, or maybe a few?  What is your portion of ground beef on a bun?

I’m a career dieter…  that is, I’ve been on one meal plan or the other since I was about five years old.  I was the poster child to represent the one who could not climb the rope in P.E. class.  I’ve learned lessons through the years – the primary one being – you must use portion control when you eat anything – no matter what diet you follow.

When it comes to spiritual portions…  there’s never too much of God’s Spirit!  I’ll tell you, if I eat too many hamburgers (or anything, for that matter), it will show up fairly quickly.  When I depend on God to be my portion – every moment of every day…  it shows up also, but in a positive way!  He is so faithful to me, and I depend on His love and kindness to renew my soul – over and over again.

It’s taken a lifetime, but I’ve learned to rely less on the portion control in a diet, and more on the PORTION that is the Holy Spirit of God.  I’m not as quick to pick up a cupcake to deal with stress like I used to.  I choose to take a deep breath and seek God when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  It’s His will for my life – and it’s a healthy and good way to deal with stress.  The Lord is my portion…  and there are no calories or carbohydrates to count.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Great is HIS faithfulness!  Strength, hope and happiness are all from His loving hands.  Best of all…  He gave us pardon from all sin!

Most parents want the very best for their children.  As much as they want to do for them – and be for them, you can imagine how much more our Heavenly Father wants for His children!  If we understand God as a loving, kind, and protective Father, then we understand that He always has our best interest in mind.  That’s why sometimes we are forged in fire – it’s also why sometimes we feel a warm Heavenly embrace.  He knows whether we need to be kicked – or kissed.  Tribulation works patience, and patience will work experience, and experience a hope that leaves me unashamed.

God is merciful to us.  He’s patient when others would give up.  His mercies are new every single morning.  Each day begins a clean slate – and aren’t we thankful?  I can think of a lot of days I’d like to forget forever – days when I was less than stellar and more dense than I imagined I ever could be.  I’m just so human sometimes.  But God loves me and He helps me regain the courage I lose.  My best is what He requires – His best is what I’m so thankful for.

We can rest in God’s faithfulness.  We can rely on God’s guidance.  We can always know that tomorrow is a new day…  filled with brand new mercies from our Heavenly Father. 

It occurred to me that this passage says that God’s love is STEADFAST – it could have just said that God loves us – but it didn’t.  God’s love is described as steadfast.  Would you describe human love that way?  No, me neither.  God’s not going anywhere – His love is with you to stay – you can bet on it.

Tomorrow will be filled with brand new possibilities, new goals to meet and God’s blessings to boot!  Wake up, get up, make up and share God’s best with everyone you meet!  I know you can do it!  God’s got this!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-35

And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.  – Acts 13:22

God brought David from a shepherd boy to a great king, and called him a man after His own heart.  As we explore the heart of man, we need to ask a few questions:

  • How do I know I’m truly converted?
  • If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from my life, how long would it take me to notice?
  • How much alone time do I spend with God?
  • Do I practice obedience in the small things God gives me to do?

Every person who has a heart after God’s heart must walk with the assurance that they are truly converted.  Going to church every week and following the rules put forth by the church does not necessarily mean a person’s heart is converted.  Jesus must be your personal Savior and not your religion – those are two separate and distinct things.  ❤

When Christ was ready to ascend to Heaven, He left us the most precious gift of all…  His precious Holy Spirit!  Would you notice if He went away?  He will never leave you unless you tell Him to (who would do that?) – but seriously, how self-sufficient are we?  Scripture tells us to lean on Him and not on our own understanding.  The world would call Him a “crutch”, but I have a different take on it.  God’s Holy Spirit knows the future – I can’t think of a single “crutch” in this world that has that knowledge – I know some that claim to, but none that really do.  ❤

Devotions are not just about opening your Bible and reading two verses, marking your place and checking it off.  That’s certainly a start, but there’s really more to it.  There’s nothing wrong with following a prescribed outline such as Through the Bible in a Year, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll fall behind and feel guilty about it.  It’s better for me to let God’s Holy Spirit lead me to the things I need to see, read, and possibly write about.  ❤

When the Lord leads you to it, He most certainly will lead you through it.  Do you balk or do you obey?  Or, like me, do you sorta balk and stall, then obey?  Some changes are so scary, but if we will be obedient in the small things, God will trust us with the bigger things.  I mean, David started as a shepherd boy…  and what if he had not been obedient – first in the small things – then…  well, he ended up being a king!  ❤

I don’t necessarily want to be a king – but I sure do want to have a heart after God’s own heart.  One day I want Him to say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.”  ❤

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.  – Psalm 31:9

God has shown mercy to us more times than we can count or probably recall.  I wonder if there are times He is merciful to us and we don’t acknowledge it.  Regardless of what’s going on in our lives, we need to remember that God is good.  Life is not always going to go smoothly.  We will be distressed and feel weak with sorrow from time to time.  Grief over the passing of loved ones is a very real part of life, but we must not place blame on God for what we feel.  ❤

I don’t know a person who has “arrived” to the point where they separate their trials and temptations with how they’re feeling; however, I do know some pretty wonderful Christians who know how to feel what they feel without losing their grasp on their faith in God through His Son, Christ Jesus.  They see their circumstances – and they see their God.  Instead of telling God how big their circumstances are, they tell their circumstances how BIG their GOD is!  Ah-ha!!!  Now see…  that’s the kind of Christian I wanna be.  ❤thankful-still

Yes there will be some rough waters – but God’s grace and mercy in your life are there to help you through them.  Ask God to adjust your sails and set you on the right course.  I’ve never sailed, yet I’m using this analogy…  interesting.  I’ve heard some folks say you have to adjust your own sails – no – ask the Father to do it.  He’s more than happy to help you with that.  Lean and depend on His wisdom and His power because – hey – He knows the future.  Do you know the future?  I don’t.  ❤

We are blessed with God’s precious grace and mercy as we travel through life.  It’s not always smooth sailing (again with the sailing) – but I’ll tell you – the ANCHOR HOLDS.  I love that song and that truth.  ❤

I have journeyed

Through the long dark night

Out on the open sea

By faith alone

Sight unknown and yet his eyes were watching me

CHORUS

The anchor holds

Though the ship is battered the anchor holds

Though the sails are torn

I have fallen on my knees

As I faced the raging seas

The anchor holds

In spite of the storm

I’ve had visions

I’ve had dreams

I’ve even held them in my hand but I never knew

They would slip right through

Like they were only grains of sand

CHORUS

I have been young but I am older now

And there has been beauty these eyes have seen but it was in the night

Through the storms of my life Oh that’s where God proved his love to me

Christ will never lie – He will never play tricks on us – He is dependable and He wants only the best for us…  that much I know for sure.  He alone is worthy of our praise.  Praise His name!  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

MATTHEW 6:26 ON 6/26

TL MATTHEW 6-26 ON 6-26

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?  – Matthew 6:26

If you are feeling alone and forgotten today, this verse is just what you need!  We all need to be reminded that our God loves us more than anything!  In a world that seems to put less value and importance of the sanctity of human life – it does our hearts good to know that God values each and every one of us individually.

How can a great big God show such intimate and special concern for us?  I don’t have the answer to that question – but I know He does!

Our neighbors to the east have a bird feeder hanging on a metal shepherd’s hook.  They keep that feeder filled with bird food year around.  Sometimes I just stand at my kitchen window and watch the birds, especially in the wintertime.  I think of this verse and the old hymn, “His Eye is On the Sparrow”.  God provides for even the little sparrow – sometimes through folks like our neighbors.

My mom-in-love used to tear a slice of bread up almost every day to feed the birds.  She didn’t have much money, and I don’t think she ate very much herself, but she was bound and determined that the birds would not starve.  We used to remind her that God would take care of the birds, and she needed to take care of herself.  I don’t think she listened.  LOL!

It’s God’s desire to have an ongoing relationship with each of us throughout our life’s journey.  He loves us so much and cares about every little thing that’s happening in our lives.

HIS FAITHFULNESS RENEWS MEJust knowing that God takes such good care of the sparrows and cares even more about us…  makes me think that He will also cause us to soar like eagles!  With His help, we really do fly above the chaos that is life and run like an antelope without growing faint.

What’s stopping you today?  You are armed with the knowledge that the God of the universe favors you and wants to help you live life in a whole and happy way.  That leaves me feeling hopeful for the future.  🙂

GALATIANS 5:22-23 ON 5/22 & 23

TL 5-22 & 23 GALATIANS 5-22 & 23

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22 & 23

Who IS the Spirit…  the Holy Spirit of God is part of the Holy Trinity.  God is One, yet Three – and no, I don’t know how to explain it – but He is God, so He can be anyone!  There is God the Father, God the Son (in flesh, Christ Jesus), and God the Spirit.  When God the Son ascended into Heaven, He did not leave us completely alone to figure this life out for ourselves – He left us God the Holy Spirit.  We know Him as the Comforter.  As we study God’s Word, we learn that God’s Spirit brings us everything we need to navigate this crazy life.  In this world that is increasingly filled with hate, we have God’s love; in a world filled with despair, we have God’s joy; in a world of wars and rumors of war, we have a deep settled peace that the world will never understand.  God’s Spirit helps us muster up patience when most people in the world want to be anything but… and how mean can people get?  God’s Spirit helps us be kind, good, faithful, gentle and exercise self-control.AN ADDED GIFT

Why would anyone not want that supernatural help???  Does this mean we’re perfect and will never mess up?  Well, sadly – no.  I’m never going to be perfect.  There are circumstances in this world that make me downright angry, but that’s when I have to remember that everything works for good and God has everything under control.  The enemy of my soul knows how to push buttons that make my temper flare, but that’s when I have to re-focus on Jesus and remember His sacrifice so that I can live – and I want to live with the attributes or fruits of His Spirit.

Aren’t we thankful that our Savior did not leave us alone?  I sure am!  Speaking for myself, I need all the HELP I can get…  and God’s Holy Spirit gives me all the HELP I’ll ever need.  He’s so perfect and righteous and Holy.  He makes my life so much better and I need Him every minute of every day.  It doesn’t make me weak – it makes me smart.  🙂

 

 

 

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

TL NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

AMERICA NEEDS YOU LORD

We have a day set aside in the fall to humble ourselves and give thanks for all our blessings – it’s called Thanksgiving.  But as life progresses beyond fall and we begin to shovel snow, we hang on to that feeling through Christmas as we celebrate the reason for our faith.  But winter passes and springtime comes along.  Ah – here comes Easter when we celebrate the last week of our Lord’s life, His death and resurrection.  Then we don’t have a major reminder to be grateful again for a while.  We do have another day that reminds us to be thankful for what God has done in our lives – and it’s also a day to pray for our country, for our government on federal, state and local levels.  The spring observance was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1952 as the National Day of Prayer.

I believe since this is an election year, I will take this opportunity to pray for the process.  It’s been different, to say the least.  It’s been predictable in some ways, yet there have been a few surprises.  If you enjoy following politics, it’s not been business as usual.  I wouldn’t say it’s rigged, but I’d say it’s important to understand rules that have been the same from the beginning.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter who the president is, Jesus Christ is still LORD!

On that note, let’s pray:

Our Father in heaven, we come before You today, acknowledging You as our Creator. You are the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the One who established Your chosen people and through whom You gave Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. You established the promised land of Israel and demonstrated time and time again that if Your people sought You, worshipped You, and obeyed You, that You would bless them with guidance, provision, and protection. But that if they turned away, then You would remove Your hand and allow judgment.

Lord, we also acknowledge that just as Israel was dedicated to You at it’s founding, that another country years later would also seek Your blessing and dedicate themselves and their land to You. The first president of these United States of America, on the day of his inauguration sought Your hand, Your guidance, and Your blessing on our new country, and the people prayed and celebrated in agreement.

In the following years, Lord, You did more for us than we deserved. You blessed us with military strength, economic strength, with inventions, medical discoveries, academic achievement and national prosperity. You lifted us up to lead the world as we proclaimed that our blessings came from You and that “In God We Trust”. Our constitution acknowledges You as our Creator and our founding fathers noted that our people should never be led without Your Word.

But as You blessed us, we eventually became prideful in our success, believing that it was also by our own hands that our nation was elevated, and that You owed us blessings and protection. In time a generation rose that became calloused toward You, Oh God, and we chose our own prideful logic above Your truth, abandoning You in our schools and ignoring You in our courts. Yet, You showed patience and mercy, and called out “Return to Me, America. Return to Me.”

But instead we embraced our sin, claiming we were Lord over ourselves. We abandoned You by giving credit to the creation of our world to astronomical chance, and began throwing out Your moral boundaries for our selfish pleasure. We oversaturated our hearts and minds on immoral entertainment until our conscience was seared, and began shedding the innocent blood of our unborn children who were an inconvenience to our lives. Yet You kept calling, “Repent, America. Repent and return to Me!”

But we responded that, “We’ve done no wrong.” And we justified our sin as our right and liberty. We chased money, physical pleasure, and the belief that we are entitled to what we do not deserve. And now we stand on the precipice of redefining what You have already called “sacred” for a definition of our own.

Lord, what You call wicked, we now call good. And we’ve now begun persecuting those that proclaim Your truth. You’ve sent warnings, allowing breaches in our security, and instability in our economy. You’ve allowed drought to begin touching our land, and civil unrest in our cities.

Lord, even the people who claim to still acknowledge You have become apathetic and complacent in our comfort. Our worship has been lukewarm and our prayers passionless. We shake our heads in shame as our nation weakens around us, instead of repenting of our apathy and inaction. Where are the people of God? Where are those that still cry out to You with broken and contrite hearts?

Lord, we deserve judgment. We deserve Your wrath, for we have sinned and sinned greatly. And we know that Your judgment starts in the house of God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, and our hypocrisy as a cancer in our land. But we cry out to You, Lord! We have nowhere else to look but You! There is no other answer. Man cannot redeem us. Remember Your mercy! Remember Your compassion!  Break our hearts, Oh, God! Help us to love what You love, and to hate what You hate. Give us the courage to call sin what it is, and to define our lives by Your truth. Remind us of Your love for us, and call us to repentance. May every heart that knows You as Lord seek You this day! May we grieve over our sin this day; that You might show us mercy and forgiveness.

Lord, for those that heed Your words, and repent with open hearts, restore us to You. And unify those that love You. Raise up a generation that seeks You and worships You with their whole heart. Raise up a generation that is not ashamed of the gospel, and that hates to be lukewarm. Grant them faith, love, and courage to live according to Your Word, and to pray with power and to act with conviction.  Raise up leaders, Lord, who will not compromise when under pressure, or abandon You for the approval of men. Raise them up, Lord, that they may call upon Your name, and confess Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Break up the hard soil in our hearts, Lord, that You may take joy in our worship of You, and bless us again. Call us to holiness, that we would once again be the light of the world and draw all men to You. Awaken us, Lord! Rekindle our fire, and stir our hearts. We confess our sins, and we seek Your face.  Forgive us, Lord God, that we can again proclaim, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

We ask for Your forgiveness and cleansing. We pray against those who reject Your truth. Turn their hearts to You or confound their logic. But don’t let wickedness take our land. Don’t let them succeed. Stand in their way, Lord. For America is Yours! And like Israel, may she remain undivided and in Your care. Keep our bond strong with Israel, Lord, and our leaders loyal. Or remove them from office. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

– Alex Kendrick

May God bless America – and may His people continue to bless Him!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)I WANT TO BE FRUITFUL
Theodore Roosevelt said, “Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.” My question is; what is your star? What is that thing that can force you to go to bed late and wake you up while many are in deep sleep? What’s it that can pick you up to walk again even after a frustrating fall? What’s it that gives you a smile in times of weeping? What’s that one thing that keeps you strong and gives hope in times of hopelessness? If you have it, then you have found that star he talked about. Keep moving! For as long as you have with you the three keys to personal excellence (The will to win, the desire to succeed and the urge to reach your full potential), you shall reach your star. I know that you know what I am talking about, but knowing isn’t enough, you must apply and do. Our greatest weakness lies in giving up on God’s gift to us; you must try one more time if you’re to succeed. Believe in yourself and have faith in your abilities – for without confidence in your own powers, you cannot reach your star that God gave you as the guiding light in the darkest moments of your life.  Your talent is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift back to God.  – Mark Farouk
We are only able to grow and succeed in life as long as we stay in God’s Word and pray without ceasing.  There’s nothing we can do on our own – and by the same token, there’s nothing that God cannot do through us!  He is the Vine and we are the branches…  our own ego must go on the back burner and we must fully lean on God to guide and direct our path.  God is our guiding Light – our Star – like the star that shone over the manger in Bethlehem for the Wise Men.
WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM
If we want to be wise…  we will follow the LIGHT, the STAR that will never lead us astray.  As He shines on and in us, we shine His love and peace to others.  I love how God works, don’t you?  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)How ornate is the door of your heart?  How inviting is it to God’s Holy Spirit?  When we say, “Come into my heart – the door is open wide…” What does that door look like?  Is it a beautiful door with lead glass or is it more of a solid core door that never lets the light in?

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https://youtu.be/HTbJmCTqgkg

We are so blessed because before Christ ascended into heaven, He graciously left us His Holy Spirit to help us – guide us – with wisdom and mercy and love beyond understanding.  Through God’s Holy Word, the Bible, prayer, and guidance by God’s Holy Spirit – the comforter, the light in our heart – every Christian can navigate this life the way God wants them to.  I’m praising God for His protection over my life today, aren’t you?  He means everything to me! 

p32gcd4Precious Lord,

Thank You for leaving Your Holy Spirit to comfort and guide our footsteps.  You did not leave us alone and for that we are grateful.  May the door of my heart be one that lets the light of Your love shine through.  May Your love shine through me to others.  Help me to show the fruits of Your Holy Spirit… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Give me Your perfect love and the wisdom to navigate this life as only You can.  I love You and lean on Your counsel every day, Lord.  Please take my hand and walk through this life with me.  I can do nothing without You.  Please shine in my heart and help me to shine out to others. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

LET ME BRING YOUR LOVE

Christianity is about shining and iron-sharpening.  It’s about encouraging each other in the LORD…  there is so much division and hate in the world around us, but that is not God’s way!  We are called to be “apart” from the world – we are in the world, but not of the world.  Through God’s Holy Spirit we can be like Christ.  Read God’s Word, pray and watch God work in your life.  🙂