A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a great verse for Palm Sunday, isn’t it?  We all need to be reminded how this journey called Christianity is supposed to work.

We are to love one another – because Christ loves all of us.  Does that mean we always see eye to eye on everything?  No, it doesn’t.  It does mean that we show respect for one another, whether we are shown respect in return or not.  We’re responsible for our own behavior – not anyone else’s.  If each of us would do our very best to show the love of Christ, wouldn’t this world be a better place?  I think it would.  What if we were all a place of REST for each other? 

I love this poem in particular because this is exactly what God’s children need to be for one another.  Sadly, it often becomes a case of using instead of nurturing.  Sometimes we just need a friend in Christ to talk with about everyday things.  It may seem unproductive to some, but you have no idea how much it means to the one who needs to be heard and helped.  It’s sometimes a matter of letting a friend know that you are praying for them.  If we can listen more than speak and pray more than fret…  we’ll be a good representative for our Savior.

Here’s what we’re not – PERFECT.  God is perfect and only with His help can we love perfectly.  People – yes, even Christian people…  can be frustrating sometimes – yes, I can frustrate others too.  Here’s the deal – if we can just understand that our brothers and sisters in the Lord are imperfect human beings just like us – and if we can just be quick to forgive one another – which, again…  I’m not great at doing…  but I’m working on it – that is when we will love perfectly with Christ-likeness.  I hope others have forgiven me for mistakes I’ve made against them.  I try to forgive them as the Lord wants me to.  That’s how Christianity works, and it only works with Christ in the center.

Before I go, I’d like to remind you to look at my post on 4/5.  The story DAISY’S COLT, written by Lucinda Berry Hill and myself, with beautiful illustrations by Marian Poppy Ballestero is there.  If you have a little one in your life, it would be great to read this story to them.  Have a nice Palm Sunday!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

To some, it’s a comfort that God our Lord is living among us.  We find peace and serenity.  To others, it’s a thought that brings feelings of dread and fear.  Why?   Well, I’ll try to explain it with a story you can relate to.

We had a little dog – she was a mixed breed, but a tiny little thing.  She was a puppy when I was a baby.  I loved on her like crazy, but once in a while I loved on her a little too much – hugged her a little too tight.  She never snapped, never growled or showed any indication of meanness toward me or anyone in my family.  We all knew and respected each other – we were family.

Our friends, the Ingram’s, came over to visit one brisk winter evening.  Just before people came over, my mom would take the cover off of Lady’s chair (yes, Lady had her own chair).  When Ellis tried to sit in Lady’s chair, she started growling and snarling at him.  Of course, my parents scolded her and apologized to Ellis and told him to go ahead and sit there.  Lady was put in the back bedroom for the rest of the evening.

From that moment on, Ellis and Lady had less than an amicable relationship.  I guess you could say they basically tolerated each other for the sake of those around them.  I don’t think they ever really made up.

It’s a bit like that if you don’t know the Lord, I think.  He’s not yours, but it’s okay if He lives with others – but you sure don’t want Him.  Maybe you’re afraid He’s going to bite you or snap at you (the proverbial lightning strike).  I wish you’d make up with Him.  You can by believing that His Son, Christ Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  He is mighty to save and strong to deliver you.  Only then you can read this portion of Scripture with a smile on your face and real confidence in your soul.  He will calm your fears and wipe away all your tears.  I hope you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and friend today, because today – it’s you.

Of course, today is St. Patrick’s Day!  I wish you a happy and safe one.  Two reminders for the day – don’t drink green beer and drive…  and don’t text and drive.  Stay safe.  Everyone knows that Christians don’t believe in luck, but we do believe in getting into the spirit of a holiday.  Lucinda wrote a cute poem about luck.  The Luck of Us All. 

Enjoy the day responsibly.  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON – FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

IRON SHARPENS IRON

Yesterday I told you what I do not want to be – a stumbling block.  Today I’m going to focus on what I do want to be – an iron sharpener!  This year my goal is to bring out the best in everyone – including myself!  You’ve heard of friendships where the two or three just keep “feeding” off each other and getting funnier and funnier, right?  I love it when that happens – even if it’s off the wall and silly.  If I can be the friend who makes others laugh and spew diet Dr. Pepper out of their nose…  what can I say?  It’s my mission in life and when that happens, I can say mission accomplished!  My work here is done.  You’re welcome!

Real life is stressful and often awkward and uncomfortable.  Should friendships be the same way?  I really don’t think so.  There’s nothing worse than spending time with someone you want to escape from – and you spend the whole time hunting for the nearest exit and plan the escape in your head.  Let’s face it…  those are the friendships you have to re-think.  You just do – and yes, it’s sad.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives for the rest of our life.15822977_1868319833412478_4287722067523972073_n

Thank you, Lucinda – for keeping me polished!  I’m so glad that God allowed our paths to cross!

For those friendships that seem destined to be, how can we be an iron sharpening friend?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pray for your friend – and for your friendship.  If your friendship is covered in prayer everyday, it will be strong and won’t crumble over petty things.  I tend to be upfront and honest in friendships because I appreciate those qualities in my friends.  One day I was feeling especially envious and a bit jealous of a friend’s success when I did not seem to be gaining ground with my project.  I told her about it, knowing that she would appreciate my honesty and candor.  She helped me by first of all praying for me – and secondly, she started pointing out some positives that I had missed somehow.  She knows if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done the same for her.
  2. Cherish the friendship because God designed it.  Review the start of your friendship once in a while.  Let your friend know that you appreciate what she brings to the friendship and how much better your life is now because of it.  Praise God for the way ministry grows and matures when Christian friends work together.  Ask God to impress on you and guide you to the next project.  It’s amazing and wonderful how God brings your separate work together as one very large witnessing tool.  Be thankful when others are helped by your ministry – thankful of course to God, but also to each other.  Don’t take friendship for granted.  Friends don’t grow on trees.  Most of my friends would think that visual was hilarious.  I also imagine they’d imagine me hanging by my tail like a monkey, with a banana in my mouth (I have to be eating – well DUH!)
  3. Communicate as clearly as possible.  A friend and I were chatting on facebook not long ago about this.  We agreed that messaging on facebook is more challenging than talking face to face because there’s a lack of facial expression in the communication.  Then we joked about using emojis – or really over-using them – in an attempt to let others know that we’re smiling 🙂 or 😀  or that we’re loving what they’re saying <3.  Of course, when I’m talking there’s always the popular – I’M CONFUSED.  :-/  Yeah – I really use that one frequently.
  4. Don’t try to fake it.  God knows everything about everything, so it makes no sense to keep anything from your friend in the Lord.  It’s a temptation to keep the “downer” stuff to yourself so you don’t bring her down too – but if you do, you are robbing her of the opportunity to lift you to God in prayer.  Maybe you’re going through something that you don’t even feel like you can pray about yourself.  I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too.  Let your friend know what’s up so she can pray for you.  It is a privilege and an honor to pray for a friend.  Don’t let silly pride keep you from asking your friend to whisper a prayer for you.

iron-sharpening-sheep

We eventually get where we’re goin’ – together.  I want to be an iron-sharpening friend.  I hope you do too.  Let’s all work together to sharpen some iron in 2017!  🙂

WORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY

TL 2-17 SORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY

Today is WORLD HUMAN SPIRIT DAY.  This holiday was started by Michael Levy of Point of Life in 2003 to promote a human spirit that lives the creative, peaceful, loving life that it was meant to live.  People all over the world are encouraged to take 2 minutes at 3pm ET to meditate and find the true spirit of freedom and peace that lives within each of us.

Of course, I’d say it would be a good idea to pray for those 2 minutes.  Be thankful to God for all the blessings He’s given you.  Thankfulness is not just for the month of November, you know!  It’s good to give thanks to the Lord year-around with a humble and contrite spirit.  That’s the way to find peace, love and compassion within.

PRAYER TO SEEK GODI PRAY BEFORE I PLAYThe most difficult part of being a pianist in church is playing the invitation hymn at the end of the service.  That is when God’s Holy Spirit speaks to everyone – it’s a solemn time and I was always afraid that I would do something to distract from that precious work – for I am so very, very human at times.

It’s good to celebrate the strength and courage of our human spirit – but how much better to acknowledge the source from which we glean those characteristics!  How much better our own spirits become when mulled with the precious gift from God – His own Holy Spirit, which Jesus promised us when He ascended into Heaven!

May we take 2 minutes today to bask in the warmth of His amazing love.  May we stay silent and listen to what He is saying to us.  May we willingly have our spiritual batteries recharged by Him and lift our hearts and hands in reply, letting Him know we love Him.

Join me today to celebrate the human spirit, yes – but more importantly, to celebrate the power source – God’s precious Holy Spirit.A BIG CUP OF A BIG GODIf God (and His Holy Ghost) came in a coffee cup…  hmm – interesting!  🙂

 

WRITE A LETTER DAY

TL 12-7 WRITE A LETTER DAY

 

12-7 WRITE A LETTER

I want to quickly acknowledge Pearl Harbor Day and thank our wonderful Veterans of WWII for their service.  Since I wrote about it last year, this year’s post will be about a different subject, but ironically, I will talk about my mother and her beautiful handwriting in the 1940’s.

My handwriting will never come close to the work of art that mama’s was.  As I read through the letters she wrote to my daddy while he was serving in the Navy, I can only close my eyes and imagine her sitting at her roll-top desk thinking about the man she loved and smiling as she wrote.  I don’t handle those letters much anymore as I’m afraid they will begin to crumble.  I know what is in them though and they are precious to me.

Today is WRITE A LETTER DAY.  We have all gotten so spoiled by the ease with which we can communicate electronically.  In moments we can shoot an email or send a text.  The sheer convenience is astounding – who would NOT get hooked on it?  Well, my mom was never tempted by computers.  At 82 years old, she summed up her feelings about computers:

I’ll never own one of those machines.  They will eliminate all common courtesies in life, such as a hand-written thank you note, a well thought out love letter, or the precious keepsake that is a hand-written recipe card for your mother’s favorite casserole.  – Betty Joe Turner

She meant what she said.  Maybe I’m biased (ya think?), but I think she’s right.  We have lost some common courtesies along the way.  I was thinking about the last note I sent – it was a get-well note to my best friend.  I could have whipped out a Hallmark greeting card on my computer, but I just felt led to make it a hand-written note.  There’s something about a person making it their own, with their own handwriting.  It means more.

So today, think about a letter you could, or should write.  There’s no better time than now to sit down at your desk with a pen (make sure it works), stationery and a cup of coffee to keep your brain firing as you write!

If you can’t think of anyone to write to, may I suggest that you pray about it.  God will surely bring a friend or loved one to your remembrance.  There’s probably somebody who needs to hear from you today.  Of course, if you mail that letter, they won’t hear from you today – but you know what I mean. 

Remember all the little things you learned back in handwriting class (or maybe they don’t teach it anymore) – elbow on the desk, paper slanted and hold the pen loosely so you don’t get writer’s cramps.  Don’t just write with your fingers – use your whole arm.  If you use the proper technique, you won’t get so tired.

I’ll never have the handwriting my mama had – it was really cursive – like drawing on paper.  I have a sort of write some and print some type of deal going on.  LOL!  But I keep practicing and trying to write like mama did.  ❤

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

 

NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY

TL 1-25 NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY

When the weather is cold, isn’t it tempting to make a big pot of soup or stew?  Well, in our house, it never gets eaten up in a day.  Since there are just two of us, it takes several days for us to eat it all, and we are sick of it by the time we’ve finished it.  It takes so many days to finish off the Potato Soup – ugh…

Today is NATIONAL SOUP SWAP DAY!!!  They make it clear that even though this is the official day to swap soup, it is not by any means the only day you can do it.  All you have to do is find a friend who thinks this is as good an idea as you do and coördinate, then SWAP!

I’ll make you some great German Potato Soup if you will fix me some of your grandma’s Chicken Noodle Soup.  See how simple it is?  All you have to do is find a partner (or two or three).

There are a couple of things I would suggest, just to make the whole process easier and avoid some hard feelings down the road.

  • It’s okay to make the soup in your best pot or crock pot, but I wouldn’t transport it in the same pot.  Pots grow legs and walk sometimes.  It could lead to some hurt feelings if you have to go out and buy a new one because it does not come back home.
  • Be sure you and the one you are in cahoots with share the same kinds of tastes.  If I make a mild lentil soup for you, don’t make your four alarm chili for me.
  • This can be a hoot at first, but take a break from it once in a while.  Sometimes people just want to eat something besides soup or stew.  I know it’s hard to believe, but on occasion I like a steak cooked on my George Foreman.
  • If you swap with someone and for any reason do not like, or are unable to eat what they give you, don’t tell them.  That just hurts the person and puts a strain on your relationship with them.  I’m not saying you should lie, just say, “My the stew you made was quite remarkable.”  Or, you could just say “Thank you” and leave it alone.  If you over-state, you will undoubtedly get it again…  often.
  • This may or may not work, depending on your partner.  You could plan to meet with cookbooks and make a list of soups or stews that you think you and your family would like.  Leave your list with your partner and that would ensure that you don’t get an unpleasant surprise.  For instance, if there is a recipe for Turtle Soup in her cookbook, just don’t put it on your list if you don’t want to try it.  I mean, that’s what I’d do.

WORRIES GO DOWN BETTER WITH SOUP

Give it a try this winter.  It could be a fun time and a great learning experience.  You’ll never get bored with soups and stews again!  Wink!  😉

MEMORIAL DAY

TL MEMORIAL DAY
https://youtu.be/An8ccWB7JgQ

Memorial Day is a day of reflection. It’s a day to remember those who were once here with us but now are not. We loved them and they loved us. We know we will be reunited one day, but until then, there is a void. What would my family urge me to do? God is love and love covers a multitude of mistakes. I think they would tell me to love. Just love.

As we begin our stroll through my peaceful, serene labyrinth of love, let me ask you a question. What is the source of love? Where does it come from originally? Most of you know what my answer is. I believe that God is the true source of love, and apart from Him, you are not really able to love at all. Know God – know love. No God – no love. If you know God, then I hope you enjoy this little stroll through the labyrinth. If you do not know God, perhaps you can sit down on one of the simple wooden benches when you finish the walk to rest and get to know God. Can you hear the birds singing? The gardens surrounding this labyrinth are the most beautiful I’ve ever seen and there is not a more quiet place of solace to do a little soul-searching.

It’s such a perfect day to take a leisurely stroll. There are people on the outside who are running, but we are not. We are not going to hurry, but be deliberate with each step. There is nothing scheduled in your day that is of any importance. You won’t need a watch. Take your time and seek. Seek God and find the love He wants you to have.

Read just one section at a time. When you have read the scripture, close your eyes and think about what you just read. Let the thought of it sink in and talk to God about it. You can talk to Him out loud or just think a prayer – He hears your prayer either way. Imagine you are walking, reading, pondering and praying. Let’s begin.

Love comes from God:

1 John 4:7-8 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

God proved His love for us:

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Romans 5:8 “But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Some couples seem to be real soul mates and some are polar opposites trying to find some common ground. No matter which class your marriage falls in, we are taught what love should look like in our Christian marriages. I laughingly refer to these as the “bite your tongue” verses! There are times when love in marriage is a real bear! But for the sake of unity, peace and joy with your mate, you really do have to bite your tongue!

Love in Marriage:

Ephesians 4:2-3 “With all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”

Philippians 2:2 “Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

There is sure victory because of love:

Romans 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

We are definitely instructed to love other people:

1 John 4:9-11 “In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Proverbs 17:17 “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

“Love each other deeply with all your heart.” – 1 Peter 1:22b

And finally, we are told that we are to walk the walk of love and not just talk the talk.

Make sure the love you show is genuine:

1 John 3:18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”

Have a blessed day! ❤