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!  🙂

 

 

BE KIND TO HUMANKIND WEEK

8-25 through 31 BE KIND TO HUMANKIND WEEK

And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  – Ephesians 4:32

August 25-31 is BE KIND TO HUMANKIND WEEK!  If ever we needed to extend kindness and quite frankly, receive it…  it is NOW!  Can I get an AMEN???

A mom said YES when her daughter asked if she could wear her mermaid outfit to church.  How kind of her!  How many others were touched as a result?

GOD USED A MERMAIDSYCAMORE TREESCan a tree be kind?  If so, the humble Sycamore was kind to ol’ Zach that day when Jesus was in town!  Kind trees, and people, are more interested in the wellbeing of others in their realm of influence than they are in themselves.  After Zacchaeus climbed down from the tree, did you see it recorded in God’s Word that the tree began to boast and brag about its part of the story?  Did the Sycamore demand to be given a medal of valor?  No…  the humble little Sycamore just stayed rooted right there and felt grateful to be used by Father God in the story.THE FLIGHT OF THE HUMBLE BEEKind people are sensitive souls, but it’s better than having a hard heart.  Humble bees don’t wear their Christianity in an obvious way, but those around them know where they stand and what they believe.  They live their life quietly and walk humbly with the LORD.

TODAY IS TOMORROWKind folks keep lists.  Now, as they get older, those lists may get misplaced from time to time, but there’s always a list of tasks to do.  There’s always someone who needs to receive a call or letter – and certainly someone who needs a prayer said for them!ACCEPTANCEKindness means accepting everyone where they are.  God sees us and knows where we are and where we need to be heading.  He doesn’t point a crooked finger at us and start nagging – so why should we?ENCOURAGEMENTBeing kind encompasses encouragement.  It’s easy to say nice things to those we are comfortable around and are friends with, but what about people that you would not normally reach out to?  I challenge you to encourage someone you would not normally speak to, let alone encourage.GIVE YOURSELF SOME GRACEThis is the most difficult of all things…  know that God has forgiven you, and now…  forgive yourself.  Don’t let the devil rob you of the joy God wants you to have.  He will try to tell you that God didn’t really forgive you – because you can still remember what you did.  Well, yes – there are consequences for sin to be sure, but that does not mean that God didn’t forgive the sinful act.  Once you have forgiven yourself, you can be a more kind person to others.  That weight will be lifted and life will be so much better!SOME DAYSDon’t be afraid to take the risk…  we’ve all hidden in the ivy vine at one time or the other!  Sometimes the experience is enough to make you think, “That’s IT – I’m never going to try to be nice to anyone ever again!”  Well, just know that it’s not an attitude that comes from God.  When people stomp your heart and misunderstand your intentions, just back off and go home.  Have a good cry and pray to God for answers.  He will help you get your act together so you can get over the trauma of rejection and hurt feelings – and try again.  Folks in the world would say…  GET OVER IT AND GET ON WITH IT.  A SIMPLE LIFE

Keep living a simple life and walk humbly with your God.  Be genuine.  Be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit this week.  If you ask Him to bring others across your path, He will answer that prayer.  Be the person God wants you to be.  Put on the full armor of God, then pray and wait…  see what God has in store for you this week.  TERRI BOGGS ROWE QUOTE

My friend, Terri Boggs Rowe, not only spoke these words, but took the photo!  Is she talented, or what???  This is her husband and their daughter dancing.  Awe…  The first time I saw this picture, I have to tell you, tears came to my eyes.  How many fathers take the time to dance with their daughters?  The message here is, even in your own family…

Be ye kind.  If being kind works out for you all week long, why not make it a permanent lifestyle change?  Just a thought.  🙂

 

 

 

 

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.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!  😉

 

FORGIVE MOM AND DAD DAY

TL 3-18 FORGIVE MOM AND DAD DAY

You can choose your friends, but you can’t choose your family.  You are born (or in my case adopted) into the lives of two very human beings.  They basically commit to put their lives on hold to raise you.  You are the center of their universe, but they would not have it any other way.

All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.  – Matthew 11:27-30

So today is yet another opportunity to take all the hurt you may feel about your childhood and…  letitgo!!!  Cut those poor people some slack and forgive them!  They may not have been perfect, but they were the ones responsible for making you the person you are today.  Once you are an adult child, you have the opportunity to review your upbringing and tweak anything that isn’t right.  The ball was in mom and dad’s court when you were little, but now it’s in your court.

Are your parent’s gone?  Do you think it’s too late to forgive them?  Well, it’s not.  In AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), steps 8 and 9 are about making restitution where you can with those in your past that have hurt you, or those you have hurt.  It’s common to write a letter expressing your feelings to those persons and send it to them.

No, I don’t have the P.O. Box number for Heaven.  I wish I could share that information with you, but I’m not privy to it.  The letter is “sent” either tied to a balloon or buried in the ground at some site that is significant.  So there is a way to “letitgo” and be healed.

Twenty-four years ago, when I quit drinking, an old-timer in recovery asked, “How are you treating the world today, Paulie?”  I responded, “Don’t you mean ‘How’s the world treating me?'”  He answered quickly, “No, I mean exactly what I said.  No matter how the world is treating you, if you are caring, loving, and kind in the way you treat the world, your journey will be easier.”  – Paul Williams

I will pray that you find a way to forgive because holding on to hurt and harboring grudges does not bother them – but it kills you from the inside out!  If you had the worst parents ever, you still need to forgive them for your own sake and your own sanity.  You can’t choose your family, but you can choose to either hang on to bitterness and anger or letitgo. 

Hand your situation over to God.  Pray for the strength and courage to make restitution with your parents whether they are still alive or not.  Don’t let one more day pass with that burden on your shoulders.  Give it to God and let Him heal your spirit.  🙂

 

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.  🙂