A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

 Forge the chain, the chain of imprisonment determined for them.  How long should a city wait and watch as bloody crimes take place – and the city gets more and more violent – and scary for the innocent citizens?  When should the authorities finally declare that the chain should be made?  Regardless of the lawlessness around us, and the disregard for others – or life itself – God is the final Judge of it all.  I don’t know about you, but I find a great deal of comfort in that truth.

Our God is love – but He is also the most fair of all Judges!  He will decide when the chain should be made – and He will determine who is bound and who is free.  Believe me when I say the freedom that God grants is the greatest freedom you can experience!  Did you know that once you ask God through Christ to forgive your transgressions, He not only forgives them, but He FORGETS them?  We’ve all heard the expression FORGIVE AND FORGET.  Sadly, the forget portion of that rarely, if ever, applies to other people.  But your Lord is willing to forgive and forget.  So – when the enemy of your soul tries to slap you in the face with your wrongdoings – and you ask God to forgive you for them again…  God’s going to say, WHAT SIN ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?  Isn’t that wonderful?

When we see others causing havoc around us, we need to stop in our tracks and pray for them.  Nobody is beyond God’s reach – and He knows the motivation behind their actions.  It’s not up to us to say MAKE A CHAIN.  We can’t count anyone as hopeless, because God is the only HOPE they have – and He’s ready to help them when they’re ready to ask Him for help.

I’m not suggesting that laws should not be followed and observed.  I am saying that being violent toward those who are starting violence is not the right solution.  There’s one more old saying I’d like to throw out there for pondering…  Two wrongs don’t make a right.  Being violent against a violent person is stooping to their level, don’t you think?  I’d rather take the violent person to my Father in prayer.  Only God knows their heart and mind.  He knows the motivation behind the act.  Let’s pray for the troubled in our midst.  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you heard a Christian say they regret inviting Christ Jesus into their heart and life?  Neither have I – and I don’t imagine I ever will.  We make hundreds of decisions daily, but that is the only decision that will matter beyond this life – what will you do with Christ Jesus?

Sin is fun…  for a season.  It makes your heart beat a little faster and there’s a bit of danger involved and so much risk.  Get caught and you could lose everything.  How much do you want to gamble away?  Even Christians sometimes listen to the enemy when he says it’s not going to really hurt anyone and there’s no risk involved.  It’s a lie.  Be on guard against his lies and ready to tell him to get away in the name of Christ Jesus.

There’s a time when every Christian has to stop playing church, walking the fence, dabbling in the things of God – and get real.  That’s what it means to count yourself DEAD to sin.  Don’t even go there.  Put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6) and make your faith real.  Until you do that, you may be fooling many people – but you know you’re not fooling God and you’re actually breaking His heart.

Once you know that you know you’ve made a decision for God and God alone – get baptized – get washed clean and live for Him.

To be truly ALIVE in Christ is the best!  Once you’ve put all your past sins on the altar and asked God to forgive them, He will – and He remembers them no more (it’d be nice if people would forget, wouldn’t it?)  Sometimes it’s difficult to forgive yourself for your past sins, but think of it this way…  if Almighty God says He’s going to forgive and not bring it up ever again, who do you think you are to hang on to those sins of the past?  You have to forgive yourself and it’s not easy – but if you ask God to help you, He’s faithful to help you forgive yourself.

Once forgiveness takes hold, you can be ALIVE IN CHRIST!  That’s the best life because it’s honest and simple.  Sin keeps us in chains, but life in Christ sets us free!  No lies to have to remember, no sneaking around doing something you shouldn’t be doing, no more drama… just freedom and joy in Christ forever!  🙂

 

 

MATTHEW 6:15 ON 6/15

TL 6-15 MATTHEW 6-15 ON 6-15

But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  – Matthew 6:15

It would be good for all of us to remember that our Father will judge us with the same mercy, or lack thereof, that we judge others.  Ouch!  The greatest commandment we’re given is to love God and love each other.  We’re to be quick to forgive and that’s not always easy to do.  I believe God wants us to learn forgiveness not for the other person, but for ourselves – to maintain our peace of mind.

As we get older it becomes easier to forgive because we realize that it’s just not worth it to carry the burden around.  We quickly give it to God because we know He can surely handle it better than we can.  Once we forgive, we move on and we don’t turn around.  Just keep walking…

If we harbor a spirit of unforgiveness, it complicates and compromises our daily walk with God.  We need to be released from inner anguish and anger in order to receive the healing we need from God – and the only way that can happen is through forgiveness.  God doesn’t want anything to stand between us and Him.  Inner anguish and anger certainly qualifies as something that would get in the way of our relationship, don’t you think?FORGIVENESS

God loves us more than we can begin to comprehend, and He has a wonderful plan for us, but if we continue to let unforgiveness get in the way, He can’t work in our lives like He wants to.  I want to be forgiving so God can work in my life.

In our world, forgiveness is seen as weakness.  To forgive another person for wronging you is probably the most difficult thing to do and is, in my mind, a sign of great strength.  Some people think that you have to let the person back into your life after forgiving them – and again…  no, you don’t.  You forgive, but you’re not a fool – just keep walking.  Actually, there are some situations where you do need to allow people back in your life – but in those cases you need to set some ground rules with them so they don’t mess with you again.  An example would be family members.  You really can’t walk away from them, but they can hurt you badly.  Make it clear that you won’t tolerate it again.  Of course, we know that we are to forgive as often as necessary, but making sure they know the rules will hopefully be enough to take care of the problem.FORGIVING AND MOVING ON

God didn’t create doormats.  We’re not on planet earth to be walked on by others.  Being taken advantage of for our kind nature is not what God had in mind for any of us.  By the same token, God didn’t create us to walk around with a chip on our shoulder either – just waiting for the next person to come along and knock it off and start a fight.

There is an in-between there, and it’s found in a solid relationship with God.  If we understand our purpose for living – to share Christ with others – then we understand that no matter what happens in life, our Lord will provide a way of escape from it, and we have to be ready to face it, work through it, walk away from it and let it go.  Some of us don’t get much practice, and some of us get a great deal of practice.  Regardless, we need to know how to forgive and by God’s grace – forget it.  If we don’t, God can’t forgive us.  If you needed to find motivation to forgive, there it is.

Today and every day this is my prayer:

Father, please help me to forgive completely so that You can forgive me completely.  Help me to embrace all the good stuff and the good people You have placed in my life, and completely release the ones who have caused pain in my life.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

I STILL BELIEVE AS I GRIEVE

In the fear of the Lord there is strong confidence, And His children will have a place of refuge.  –  Proverbs 14:26

We all know there are five stages of grief:

  1. DENIAL
  2. ANGER
  3. BARGAINING
  4. DEPRESSION
  5. ACCEPTANCE

WAITING WHILE I WAIT

I can’t forget the loss.  Am I supposed to forget???  I keep asking, “What’s next, Lord?”

Here’s the deal…  about the time I’ve reached acceptance and think, “I’m gonna be okay”, something happens and I’m suffering a setback of sorts.  Maybe this is God’s way of keeping me humble.

It may not help that I’m still living in the city I grew up in, but  I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.  If I were to leave Wichita, I think I’d feel like a fish out of water for a very long while.

Yesterday I was driving to the Walmart and had a little time to kill.  I decided to drive by my childhood home.

As I slowly crept down Charles Street, so many memories came to mind, starting with the street itself.  I remembered a dirt road.  For the first three or four years of my life, our street was dirt.  Then I noticed that the barbed wire fence around our neighbor’s field was gone.  John had 3 horses in there for years.  We had an apple tree in the back yard, so the horses got to eat apples once in a while.  I enjoyed feeding them!

Mom and dad had a non-fruit bearing, flowering crab apple tree in the front yard – only it DID bear fruit – and boy was it a mess; however, along with the messy crab apples were the most beautiful dark pink flowers!  I remember my mom in the yard with a rake picking up the crab apples every year.  The raking would begin around late August or early September.  I guess that struck a chord inside.

Then I lost it – I just lost it – again!  When does that stop happening???  The floodgates opened over a memory about crab apples???  Seriously???

The answer from God seems to be, “Bloom where you’re planted”.  So, here I am!

Am I stuck, or is the enemy trying to make me feel that way?  Is it bad to bounce from one stage to the other?  Some days I do just fine, but I guess I set myself up for a relapse.  How can I ignore the house where I grew up?  I was just a few blocks from it and decided to go visit some memories.  Maybe I need to visit so I don’t forget.  Yeah, like I could ever forget…  not gonna happen.  🙂

1 JOHN 4:16 ON 4/16

1 JOHN 4 16 ON 4 16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  – 1 John 4:16

Aren’t you so thankful for the love of God?  We can’t always depend on friends or loved ones to have unconditional love – but God understands us when no one else does.

Hurt people hurt people.  That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation.  Break the chain today.  Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness.  Greet grimaces with smiles.  Forgive and forget about finding fault.  Love is the weapon of the future.  – Yehada Berg

Yesterday a “friend” on facebook disapproved of an opinion I had.  It’s no secret that I’m a conservative Republican and there are certain hot topics that push my buttons.  I’m not a fan of socialism at all.  My parents lived through WWII and I’m well versed on the benefits of living in a free nation.

My “friend” told me she thought I was hard-hearted and didn’t think my opinion was very Christian like.  Sometimes “friends” can be downright judgmental and cruel.  It’s funny that a person who does not know the real me (we’ve never met) has the nerve to say those things.  Well – I think she completely misunderstood what I was saying – but we know misunderstandings happen between friends – sadly, even between Christian friends.

Those comments really hurt me and I asked God to help me be kinder and softer – and I asked Him to help me forgive and forget.  The faster I can do that – the happier I will be.  God knew what I was trying to say on my timeline – and I guess that’s all that matters.  Should I not voice an opinion on facebook?  Sometimes when I bite my tongue, I almost bite it in half!  Believe it or not, I’ve shown great restraint!

I don’t think it’s wrong for me to have an opinion about the direction our country is going in.  If we just stay quiet, does that help?  Has it helped so far?  We all need God’s strength and His comfort.  His light and His guidance.  The future frightens me and I love liberty and freedom.  I see it slipping away bit by bit and oh yes – that scares me.  And yes, I know God is in control.

At times like this I’m reminded of this familiar verse:

God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.  – Unknown

Unknown sure does write some good stuff!  It’s a shame we can’t give someone credit for those wise words.  They are so true!  Because God loves us so much, He will help us do better and be better.  I still don’t think it’s right for Christian brothers and sisters to browbeat each other into “submission” – that’s not our job.  Instead, we need to pray for one another – even when we don’t agree with each other.  God can deal with each of us so much better than anyone else.

Look, nobody is perfect – and I’m like at the very TOP of that imperfect list.  I do my best to be kind and loving, and if something I say doesn’t come across that way, I do apologize.  I hope you will forgive me.

YOUR VICTORY IS WON

On Easter we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  He is our example and He is the one who will help all of us be better human beings.  Criticism from other Christians really doesn’t do much to help anyone.  But God – and God’s patience, His guidance and His love – will stay with each of us – forever.  He will make me better.  I listen to His gentle prodding.  His Holy Spirit helps me, comforts me and sustains me.

It does my heart so much good to know I’m not the only conservative in the country.  I’m in good company!

We drove around in an old Pontiac…  towing a one-wheel trailer.  We weren’t itinerant:  It wasn’t The Grapes of Wrath, but it wasn’t uptown either.  It gives you a sort of conservative background, being raised in an era when everything was scarce.  – Clint Eastwood

Well – we had an old 1968 Chevy – when I got my driver’s license, mom and I shared the car.  I drove to school and when I got home, she drove to the grocery store.  We were not a wealthy family – and yes, when material possessions are scarce, you appreciate and take better care of what you have.  People make me feel like I have to apologize for that – and no, I won’t.  I’m so very grateful for all I have.  Today I don’t want for anything because I know what it’s like to have nearly nothing.

Shouldn’t we be adult enough to discuss political differences without name calling? If I have a political opinion that you don’t agree with, don’t poke at my standing with the Lord!  That’s not cool.  I’m praying for your enlightenment on the matter.

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created Spring.  – Bern Williams

To the sister who wants me to grow a more tender heart:  you really don’t know me – but instead of criticizing and judging – try praying for this ultra-conservative Republican Christian.  I need it – I really do!  Wink!  😉

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (13)

LOOK AHEAD

The Apostle Paul… I look forward to meeting him one day in heaven! He is the one who wrote the great word pictures in the Bible. The life of a Christian is like a race, and there is a prize at the finish line. It almost makes me want to go out and try to run. Hey, I said almost!

It’s my guess that Paul was a fit person. I imagine he must have been a runner. He certainly knew how to get people excited and enthused about Christianity. He knew how to be a leader with diplomacy and tact. Even when he had to clamp down on some of the churches, he did so with the love of Christ in his heart. Every letter included Christian compassion and brotherly watch care.

We are encouraged to look ahead and leave our sorted past where it belongs – in the past. If we try to drag the past around with us it can only do one thing – weigh us down. We need to give the past to God. He knows what to do with it. He will throw it into the sea of forgetfulness and never remember it again. I wish I could forget my past as completely, don’t you?

If I could forgive and forget as well as God does, wouldn’t that be wonderful? How much faster would I run without the extra weight? How much further could I run if I didn’t get winded as easily? Would I be a better witness for Christ if I was free of the weight?

I’m encouraged by what Paul says and I will try to leave the past in the past and run with a renewed strength and purpose from my heavenly Father. Then one day, I can say along with Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
– 2 Timothy 4:7

That’s really what it’s all about.  🙂

I FORGOT DAY

TL 7-2 I FORGOT DAY

 

7-2 I FORGOT DAY

What will you forget today?  Well, don’t forget to take your medicine or exercise or anything else you need to do to stay healthy.  I have a list of things I will forget today and I’m going to share it with you.

  1. I forgot to get angry when the jerk in the SUV cut me off in traffic.
  2. I forgot to hang on to the hurt feelings I first felt when someone said something mean to me.
  3. I forgot to be negative when I was told I made a mistake.
  4. I forgot to stick my tongue out at the guy who stole the newspaper from our front yard.
  5. I forgot to be impatient with the lady standing in line ahead of me at the grocery store.
  6. I forgot to keep the extra change the clerk gave me at the book store.
  7. I forgot to break the pool stick across my knee when I lost the game.
  8. I forgot to worry about what will happen tomorrow.
  9. I forgot to be jealous of others who seem to be getting ahead in life.
  10. I forgot to get discouraged when circumstances were less than desirable.

Today I want to encourage you to hang on to God’s promises and trust Him for your future.  He is the one who knows best.  You may have a plan for your life, but remember that His plan is best.  If there’s a hiccup along the way, thank God because it probably means that He’s protecting you from something bad.

Don’t forget to water your olive tree…  LOL!!!

We don’t know the future – and that’s a good thing.  If we knew how things would go, I wonder if we’d have the courage to get out of bed every day.  It’s a challenge to wake up and get out of bed and face whatever lies ahead in life, but with God, ALL things are possible!   🙂