Flowers are Coming Back

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  – Revelation 22:12-13

Maybe it’s just me, but winter seems to linger and last forever!  My friend Kelly is a gardener.  She has had her seed packets since February and posted one cold winter day that she is going to have to wait two more months to plant her seeds.  It’s excruciating, this time between winter and spring.  Here in Kansas, even when spring is officially here, we still have rain and chilly temperatures.  We don’t trust anything we plant to be protected before May.  Winter is the longest season – and we have no choice but to be patient and wait for warmer weather.  But the watchword is…  ANTICIPATION!  We prepare, then we wait!  

Sometimes I’m tempted to feel the same way about the second coming of Christ.  I want the Lord to hurry up – but He reminds me that not everyone is ready for His return.  It makes me feel selfish, to be honest, but once that feeling passes, I realize that it’s just a reminder that I need to get to work!  The Gospel is something to be shared, not hoarded.  Our Lord wants everyone to be ready to make Heaven their eternal home!

Remember the Great Commission?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20

I like the last part of this portion of Scripture:  I am with you always, to the very end o the age.  Do we know when that will be?  Nope.  Nobody knows except God Himself.  Even Jesus won’t be privy to that information until it is time!  So, while we’re waiting for the end of the age, we need to be busy in whatever way we can, sharing and caring for the lost souls around us.

Revelation says that Jesus is coming quickly.  I’m sure you think as I do…  “You call this QUICKLY” – ???  We’re not questioning God – we really aren’t.  We’re just saying that the time between Christ’s resurrection and His second coming to earth has been a very long winter…  but we wait with anticipation, knowing that one day the proverbial spring will arrive and we will be enjoying the most beautiful garden we’ve ever seen.  The best news of all is that, we’ll never have to endure another winter again!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received. ― C. Joy Bell

The grace of God – THE UNMERITED FAVOR of God – is bestowed upon us like manna from Heaven.  As we pray and seek God’s will for our lives, He keeps blessing us with His matchless grace.  We don’t earn God’s grace – and couldn’t if we tried.  Praise God for His gifts in your life today!

And as grace is free, so is it sure. Nothing can change, or alter, or turn away sovereign grace.  – Alexander Whyte

In 1997, Philip Yancey, an American journalist and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, wrote a wonderful book called What’s So Amazing About Grace? which contends that people crave grace and that it’s central to the gospel of Christ.

As the book examines the role of grace in Christianity, it also states that many local churches have ignored grace, instead seeking to exterminate immorality.  It includes stories from the Bible as well as anecdotes from Yancey’s life.

If God’s people choose to ignore God’s grace and take on a more worldly view of sin, declaring that there is no sin – it’s a sad state of affairs indeed – and sinful in itself.  The fact is, we do sin, and we need God’s forgiveness and we’re dependent on the amazing, wonderful, miraculous GRACE of our Lord.

The most popular hymn of all time is AMAZING GRACE.  Why?  Well, I imagine that it’s because the grace of God – the unmerited favor from our Lord – brings a tear to the eye of every child of God.  We know what we deserve, yet God has chosen to bless us because He loves us so much.  As God gives His wonderful grace to us, we must be careful to give Him praise in return.

May God’s wonderful and amazing grace be with you today.  Aren’t we thankful for it?  Pass the Kleenex.    🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Traditionally, we observe these events in the life of Christ on Passion Week:  His triumphal entry, His last supper, His death, burial and resurrection.  What is Easter all about?  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR!  God raised Christ from the dead on the 3rd day – and He sits at God’s right hand.  There’s something else that happened before Christ ascended to Heaven…  He left us the greatest gift – His Holy Spirit – the comforter and our guide through this crazy life.

The Holy Spirit of God is filled with goodness and wisdom.  God wants us to be kind and quick to forgive one another.  It’s only with His help that we can do these things.

We are loved by God – and are to be loving and kind to one another.  As we rely on God’s Holy Spirit to help us, we can accomplish so much as we plant seeds along the way.  It’s so nice to make friends with like-minded believers, knowing that no matter what, you can go back to the fact that you both have God’s Holy Spirit and can work anything out as you rely on Him for guidance and direction.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about God’s Holy Spirit without mentioning the fruits of His Spirit:

Does that mean that we will be perfect?  Um…  nope.  Does it mean that we can love perfectly?  Well, as we live by God’s precepts that certainly could and should happen.  If we will lean fully on God’s Holy Spirit, we can have some beautiful attitudes and be a blessing to others.  We want the fruits of the Spirit to be clear in our lives.  God’s more than happy to reveal to us how that can happen.

If you could imagine a pyramid in your mind – sort of like the food pyramid (which seems to be changing with every diet that comes along).  The good thing about this pyramid is that it never changes.

God’s Holy Spirit is at the TOP of the pyramid.  No surprise there.  At the other two corners are you and another person – any person you come in contact with.  God’s Spirit gives love, comfort, power, peace, wisdom and the ability to control things like temper.  Because He’s given us these things, we are able to share them with others in our lives, with evidence of the fruits showing through in the process.

Remember that the Lord did not leave us here as orphans to figure out how to live.  He has everything we need to live an abundant life…  if we’ll just ask Him to help us.  🙂

 

THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY

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The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything.  – Acts 17:24-25

MERRY CHRIST-MAS!!!  I know what you’re thinking…  what a strange Christmas song to talk about on Christmas Day.  Well, I haven’t gone off the deep end…  yet.  Wait, let me double-check.  Nope…  I’ve still got it together!

This is my favorite Christmas carol – and let me tell you why.

The little drummer boy is completely fictional and not biblically based, as we all know; however, that little boy represents us as Christians.  He loves the baby Jesus and wants to give his very BEST to Him.  Why?  The passage in Acts makes it perfectly clear that Jesus doesn’t NEED anything from us, but we NEED everything from Him.  Well, he wanted to give his best because he knew to Whom he played.  We give because we love.  It’s as simple as that.  He loved us first – but we give because of love.

Today I wonder if we give our very best to Him?  In our daily lives, do others see our relationship with Christ?  Do we do for others because they are God’s children and we have a desire to be representatives of Christ to them?

I pray that every day I strive to do something good for someone – EVEN if that something good is praying for a friend.

If you had been in Bethlehem, what would you do?  Would you give Him the very best you have to give?  Just something to think about today – on Jesus’ birthday.

if-i-were-thereMy will, my life, my heart.  ❤

This song reminds me that I need to give my best to Him.  Pa Rum pa pum pum…  🙂

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

I’m going to take a little break from writing, but I will be back for the new year, refreshed and focused.  I want to give my BEST to Him…  pa rum pa pum pum.  meerkat-459171__340

This is me when I’m taking a break from writing – except I’ll have a TV remote.

May God richly bless you in the coming year.  I believe 2017 will be the best year yet!  I’m going to rest my brain and my fingers this week, but I’m looking forward to doors of opportunity opening as God leads me to exciting new writing challenges!

Let’s end 2016 with a prayer…  asking our Heavenly Father to prepare our hearts to give the best we have to offer today and in the future.

drummer-boy-prayerOne final note – but it’s important.  Thank you SO MUCH for following this blog and reading it every day.  I hope and pray that something along the way has encouraged and inspired you in some way.  I appreciate those who have followed me on Twitter and facebook.  I pray for you every day.  There are so many needs, but we serve a BIG God – He’s bigger than any problem we encounter here.  Have a wonderful week.  Look for me again on January 1st.  🙂

FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the first Sunday of ADVENT.

As we look forward to the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus, certain truths naturally surface to the top of our minds.  For me, one of the most obvious truths is that without the birth of Christ, our Redeemer and Savior…  we would most assuredly be doomed in a spiritual sense.  That would make us completely hopeless, wouldn’t you agree?

The word I want to focus on today is HOPE.  Christ came to earth as a baby, was raised in our world as a normal human, then gave His LIFE – for mankind.  That is the essence of HOPE.  It’s hope in a nutshell, you might say.the-name-of-hopeIf we as Christians really stop and think about it, we have absolutely no excuse to worry about anything!  There is a complete assurance for not only the present, but for all eternity, when we place our full trust and dependence on God.  His provision for us, physically, spiritually, in all ways – is perfect!  He really is ALL we need in this life and in the life to come.  Do you believe that?  I do!christmas-prayer-about-hope

The good thing about the HOPE we find in the Holy Trinity is that, it never fades.  HOPE from the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit is with us from the moment we accept it.  Hope is not here one day and gone the next.  As much as I enjoy receiving Christmas presents from friends and family – I know that those MATERIAL THINGS are going to perish at some point.  They will get broken or lost – they could easily suffer in some manner because they are only things.  The HOPE in my heart that comes from God is never going to go away.  And, while there are some who think that the government can somehow take their hope from them…  I do not subscribe to that belief at all.  The world did not give this hope to me.  The world cannot take it away from me!

The HOPE is Christ.  The HOPE is given to us by God.  All you have to do is receive it with a grateful heart.  I receive His gift of HOPE today, tomorrow and forever – do you?  🙂

THE BEST BLACK FRIDAY DEAL OF THEM ALL

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It’s BLACK FRIDAY…  which means different things to different people.  Some folks are all hyped up and memorizing every sale circular and online resource they can get their hands on.  For them, black Friday is about getting the best deals while keeping the store in the black as opposed to them going into the red.  That is the intended meaning of black Friday – to do your “part” to keep businesses in the black.

To others, the meaning of black Friday is quite different.  They do everything they can to not leave their house all day long because there will be wall to wall human beings no matter where you go.

I fall into a third category of thought regarding black Friday…  I believe I can tell you about the best BLACK FRIDAY deal of them all.  Please show this blog some love if you agree.  ❤

There was a Friday a long time ago…  and a man named Jesus.  Here’s what He went through just for you:

At 6am, Jesus stood trial before Pilate.  Would He had had to do that?  No, but He loves you and me.  He did it in love because He wants us to place our trust in Him.

 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer.  Then Pilate asked him, “Don’t you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?”   But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.  – Matthew 27:11-14

 “Are you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate.  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  The chief priests accused him of many things. So again Pilate asked him, “Aren’t you going to answer? See how many things they are accusing you of.”  But Jesus still made no reply, and Pilate was amazed.  – Mark 15:2-5

Then the whole assembly rose and led him off to Pilate.  And they began to accuse him, saying, “We have found this man subverting our nation. He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Messiah, a king.”  So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “You have said so,” Jesus replied.  Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.”  But they insisted, “He stirs up the people all over Judea by his teaching. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here.”  – Luke 23:1-5

Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, “What charges are you bringing against this man?”  “If he were not a criminal,” they replied, “we would not have handed him over to you.”   Pilate said, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.”  “But we have no right to execute anyone,” they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death he was going to die.   Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”  “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”  “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”   Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”  “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.  Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”  – John 18:28-37

Jesus was sent to Herod:

 On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean. When he learned that Jesus was under Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time.  When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see him. From what he had heard about him, he hoped to see him perform a sign of some sort.  He plied him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer. The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing him. Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate. That day Herod and Pilate became friends—before this they had been enemies.  – Luke 23:6-12

At 7am, Jesus returned to Pilate:

Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked him. Dressing him in an elegant robe, they sent him back to Pilate.  – Luke 23:11

Jesus was sentenced to death:

Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Matthew 27:26

 Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them. He had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified.  – Mark 15:15

But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.  So Pilate decided to grant their demand.– Luke 23:23-24

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16

At 8am, Jesus was led to Calvary:

As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.  – Matthew 27:32-34

A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.  They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:21-24

As the soldiers led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him.  Jesus turned and said to them, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.  For the time will come when you will say, ‘Blessed are the childless women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then “‘they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”  and to the hills, “Cover us!”  For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?”  – Luke 23:26-31

Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  – John 19:16-17

At 9am, Jesus was crucified.  The soldiers cast lots for His clothing:

It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.   – Mark 15:25

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.  – Luke 23:34

And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  – Mark 15:24

At 10am, Jesus was mocked and ridiculed:

Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”  – Matthew 27:39-40

In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! – Mark 15:31

The soldiers also came up and mocked him. They offered him wine vinegar  and said, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.”  – Luke 23:36-37

One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”  – Luke 23:39

At 11am, Jesus offered hope to a criminal:

But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”  Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”  – Luke 23:40-43

Jesus spoke to Mary and John:

When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,”  and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.  – John 19:26-27

At noon, darkness covers the land:

At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.  – Mark 15:33

At 1pm, Jesus cried out to the Father:

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  – Matthew 27:46

Jesus got thirsty:

Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips.  – John 19:28-29

At 2pm, It is finished:

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.”With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.  – John 19:30

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.  – Luke 23:46

3pm was the ninth hour.

black-fridayWhile you’re out grabbing up good deals on material things, please keep in mind that the offer that Jesus has to give you (it’s a gift and costs nothing)…  well, it really does offer eternal savings.  How long does eternity last?  Well…  it lasts forever, which is a very long time!

You know, I can’t remember what I got for Christmas last year.  I remember being with the one I love and enjoying his company…  but the stuff – well – not so much.  I’m pretty sure I got some great coffee and tea.  I remember that.  😉black-friday-door-buster

When I trusted Jesus with my life at 13 years of age, I remember that time well.  Jesus gave His very LIFE for me!  It was a Black Friday for Him that He chose to go through just for me.  He is my personal Savior.  I hope He is yours too.  Have a blessed day.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE LOVE ELVIS

TL 5-25 WE LOVE ELVIS

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What’s our friend John been up to???  Let’s find out!

Elvis was a phenomena and a trend setter.  Before we heard his music, there was no Rockabilly.  He advanced all genres of music so much.  I enjoyed his gospel music – I know that surprises you!  But when I read about the music that influenced him the most…  guess what it said?

Presley’s earliest musical influence came from gospel. His mother recalled that from the age of two, at the Assembly of God church in Tupelo attended by the family, “he would slide down off my lap, run into the aisle and scramble up to the platform. There he would stand looking at the choir and trying to sing with them.”  In Memphis, Presley frequently attended all-night gospel singings at the Ellis Auditorium, where groups such as the Statesmen Quartet led the music in a style that, Guralnick suggests, sowed the seeds of Presley’s future stage act:

The Statesmen were an electric combination … featuring some of the most thrillingly emotive singing and daringly unconventional showmanship in the entertainment world … dressed in suits that might have come out of the window of Lansky’s. … Bass singer Jim Wetherington, known universally as the Big Chief, maintained a steady bottom, ceaselessly jiggling first his left leg, then his right, with the material of the pants leg ballooning out and shimmering. “He went about as far as you could go in gospel music,” said Jake Hess. “The women would jump up, just like they do for the pop shows.” Preachers frequently objected to the lewd movements … but audiences reacted with screams and swoons.

As a teenager, Presley’s musical interests were wide-ranging, and he was deeply informed about African-American musical idioms as well as white ones. Though he never had any formal training, he was blessed with a remarkable memory, and his musical knowledge was already considerable by the time he made his first professional recordings in 1954 at the age of 19. When Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller met him two years later, they were astonished at his encyclopedic understanding of the blues.  At a press conference the following year, he proudly declared, “I know practically every religious song that’s ever been written.”

Elvis_How_Great_Thou_art

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7336391

HOW GREAT THOU ART is the song that sends chills up and down my spine.  I heard that before he recorded it, he had never heard the hymn.  He did his own arrangement with no frame of reference.  To me, that takes some intestinal fortitude and confidence in your ability to arrange and perform.  He had such a great talent!

On my video called “The Gospel Music of Elvis Presley”, they said that when Elvis took a break, he and his backup singers ended up around the piano, Elvis playing – and they sang gospel songs.  I believe that is the music he loved deep down inside.  It’s the only music that had real meaning.

Amen!  HOW GREAT THOU ART!  Have a wonderful day in the LORD!  🙂