A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Has God given everyone at least one gift?  You know, I think we sometimes look at what God has given us and make the paralyzing mistake of comparing our gifts or talents with those of others.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do – he would like nothing better than to see you paralyzed, believing that somehow your gift is not good enough for God’s use – so you just sit back and let someone else serve instead.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that.  I think it’s satan’s favorite pastime. 

Another sad scenario is when some people in the church begin to compare and pit two similarly gifted people against each other.  I’ve been in that situation and I can’t think of anything that is more hurtful and damaging to a soul – it’s what the Bible calls A STUMBLING BLOCK.  When I hear people tell me that they think I’m better at (fill in the blank) than someone else – I try to stop it in its tracks!  We’re not in the church to be playing AMERICAN IDOL – which, by the way, is a terrible name for a program (have the producers not read the Old Testament)?

Churches are filled with lost souls who have been saved and redeemed by a loving and kind Savior.  None of us deserve salvation, do we?  We’re all just trying to serve Him the best way we know how – and it’s because we love HIM – not because we’re in some church competition with anyone.  Always encourage people to use their gifts to serve.  If there are 15 pianists in your church and you think some are better than others (which, I mean – duh – there will be some better than others)… encourage each and every one of them – period.  No comparisons…  no mention of how good one is or how not so good another is – no!  God gave all 15 pianists TALENT and wants them to use that gift to further HIS kingdom.  The church needs to buy a clue and quit copying the world – stop it! 

My eyes were opened when I was part of a Southern Gospel group years ago.  We traveled as a caravan around Kansas and Oklahoma, playing concerts along the way.  I was never more unhappy and unfulfilled than I was then – it was honestly a reminder of the old BATTLE OF THE BANDS.  I just wanted to go home and play piano in my home church, where I thought the people who knew and understood me would forgive a sour note here and there.  I wasn’t cut out to perform – that’s not who God made me to be.

We serve the Lord with the best we have to give – no matter what gift He has given us.  There’s a place to serve the Lord – for all of us.  There should be room for every gift without being compared to anyone else.

I’ve said this time and again…  but I will say it again – it’s not about us anyway.  It’s about God, His grace, mercy, love and promises to us.  What we give back is our response to all that He’s done for us.  We go and tell and share because He commands that we do that.  We use the gifts from His hand to that end.  That’s what it’s about.  We teach, pray, study, and serve others with the light we’ve been given from God through Christ Jesus!

Even if you think one person is better at (fill in the blank) than another…  please don’t voice that opinion.  It’s the most hurtful thing that a person can do and is a stumbling block.  It may seem that you’re encouraging the one – which is okay – but don’t do it by discouraging the other.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and it’s so hurtful when you’re the one who doesn’t quite have what it takes like the other person does.  People have stopped using their gifts because of that very thing.  It’s just not a good idea to compare people’s gifts.  Let’s just be thankful that people are willing to volunteer their time and share their talents.

Serve to spread the gospel in any way you can.  We don’t keep the gospel of Christ tucked safely away and say…  “Yay – I’m saved – that’s all that matters.”  The word gospel means GOOD NEWS – and it is to be shared.  If there is a way for you to share with a gift that God gave you…  then it’s what you should do!  🙂

 

 

Advertisements

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (18)

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  – Isaiah 40:30-31

This is one of my favorite passages of Scripture.  What a wonderful promise from our Lord – that all we need to do is hope in Him for our strength to renew!  While the world is chasing addictions of all descriptions…  God’s people are hoping in Him.  He’s the One we cling to and put our trust in.  How do we hope in the Lord?  What does that mean?15878639_1869321693312292_2119133539_n

HOPE – just four little letters, but it’s packed with power!  When we make a choice (yes, it’s a choice) to place our trust and faith in the promises of God – with unwavering belief that HE IS ABLE and HE WILL – (not He might or wow, I don’t know – maybe) – that, ladies and gentlemen, is HOPE.  It’s belief on steroids.

Be strong and take heart, all you who HOPE in the LORD.  – Psalm 31:24

If you ask anyone in the world, they will most assuredly tell you that hope is an emotion.  They will tell you they FEEL hopeful.  How sad!!!  No wonder those of this world more often than not FEEL hopeless.  Real hope has nothing to do with emotion.

2

Real hope flies in the face of adversity and bad hair days!  It says, “In SPITE of the circumstances that surround me, I still hang on to HOPE.”  Why?  Because we as Christians have hidden the amazing WORD OF GOD in our hearts and minds.  We don’t always know why things happen, although we know all things work for the good for us.  We know WHO we put our faith and trust in – no matter what’s going on around us.3

Hope is a choice…  a discipline…  it brings with it a peace that passes all understanding.  If you want to buffalo some folks – be at peace in the midst of a storm.  That confuses people faster than anything!  NOT that our goal is to confuse others…  it’s just a funny side effect.loading-my-basket

I have a friend who recently lost her husband.  I am so proud of her!  She has absolutely no signs of hopelessness whatsoever.  She has picked up the pieces and made some adjustments to make things easier for herself.  None of that was easy for her, but with God’s help, she’s done it.  She knows WHO holds her hand in the good times and in the worst of times.

I want that kind of HOPE in my life!  She rocks and has been more of a role model than I think she realizes.  What an encouraging friend she is!

Hope is the key element to surviving any crisis.

“For I know the plans I have for you, ” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”  – Jeremiah 29:11

While I have you here…  can I just tell you a really funny story about this verse?  On M-W-F I go to the gym.  It’s about a 4 mile trip one way.  I have to drive by a donut shop – yeah.  On their sign out by the street, they put the name of the store and underneath it says JEREMIAH 29:11.

God impressed upon me two schools of thought – and one was especially funny.  Of course, the first thought was that the verse was there to say that God planned for that family to open a donut store – and if I buy a donut it will help to prosper them.  That’s probably the meaning most would take from it and the true meaning.

Then God seemed to think I needed a good laugh.  The thought popped into my head that maybe the family donut shop was saying that if I buy one of their donuts – that’s God’s way of prospering me.

Um…  yeah – that’s a stretch – but it sure tickled me!  I really don’t think that buying a donut is God’s way of prospering me.  LOL!

I could hope it is…  but I think that’s called hoping against hope.  HA!

hope-2Anyway, hope is crucial to the Christian life.  HOPE because Jesus loves you.  HOPE that God is at this very moment working out a Heavenly solution to an earthly crisis in your life.  HOPE that your future is in HIS very capable hands.

Those who HOPE in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, the will walk and not be faint.  – Isaiah 40:31

In 2017, let’s choose HOPE in the LORD.  Let’s soar, run, walk…  and not faint.  🙂

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING #GivingTuesday

tl-11-29-national-day-of-giving

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35

All you have to do is watch television…  any channel – choose one, to see the faces and hear the voices of people in need.  Charities are taking to the airwaves like never before, keeping their cause near and dear to our thoughts and hearts.  These days it’s not just human beings, but animals too.  I love animals (and humans most of the time), but how do we know which charities are best to contribute to?

Charitable giving is what this day is all about.  On the heels of Thanksgiving, when we are thankful for our many blessings – and on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when we save a ton of money on things, the idea is to give back today.  That savings you realized, you could choose to bless someone, whether 2-legged or 4-legged, with the money you saved.

We all tend to support the causes that are closest to our hearts – and that’s only natural.  I support causes in my mother’s honor and ones that she would find important.  I can’t tell you what charities to support any more than you can tell me – but if you are in doubt about whether your dollars are being used wisely, I have a suggestion.  Pray about it.  I believe if we ask God what is best, He will guide us.

Also, click on this link:

https://www.charities.org/charities?gclid=Cj0KEQiAperBBRDfuMf72sr56fIBEiQAPFXszTdIkCQTJGxbaV3p1f3WjCcA6Q1oQNDcE96jHDn4D9MaAoLB8P8HAQ

This is a charity search engine that will let you know if an organization is legitimate.  A generous soul does not have to be a blind one – or a dumb one.  It’s sad to think there may be bogus charities out there, but they do exist.  People do desperate things to get money!

Maybe today you would rather take the opportunity to give on a more personal level.  Do you know someone who could use a visit, phone call or card?  Has God brought someone to mind that you need to tend to?  Before you get too busy – stop what you’re doing and make that visit, phone call or send that card!  God will bless you for making the effort.

What sort of gifts could you consider giving?

  • Does somebody need to be warm?  Give the gift of a coat, mittens or a scarf.
  • Does somebody need food in their pantry?  Give the gift of a fruit basket, box of nuts or a gift card for the local grocery store.
  • Does somebody need gas in their car to get to work?  Give the gift of a prepaid card for that.
  • Does somebody need to be heard?  Give the gift of a listening ear with a closed mouth.
  • Does somebody need help paying for medication?  Give the gift of support by going with them to the pharmacy and helping them pay for it.  Some medication is literally life-saving.
  • Does somebody need a hug?  Give the gift of a hug – at least 3 seconds.  I read somewhere that a hug has to be at least 3 seconds long to be effective.
  • Does somebody need God’s Word?  Give the gift of a new Bible – or even a gently used one.  At one time a local antique store in our city sold Bibles for a dollar.  They looked brand new.  That’s where I got award Bibles for Sunday School promotions.  Our local Dollar General has Precious Moments children’s Bibles for less than $10.
  • Does somebody need prayed for?  Well, isn’t that a silly question?  We ALL need prayers.  If we can’t afford anything monetarily, we can sure afford to send up some prayers for those who cross our path and those God lays on our heart to pray for.  And don’t forget to tell the person you’re praying for them.  It always encourages my spirit to know when someone lifts me up in prayer.

#GivingTuesday

Is it silly to pray for those people and animals in advertisements for charities?  No, I don’t think it’s silly.  Even though they don’t have a clue who I am, I know they have a need, and I know that God can meet that need.  So I pray for the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones who need help.  give

I can’t give money to every one of them, but my prayers are certainly with them.  I would add; however, that prayers are not tax-deductible.  Not yet.  🙂

 

 

 

NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH

TL MARCH IS NATIONAL CRAFT MONTHI’ll begin this post with a disclaimer:  I am not crafty in any way, shape or form.  I do a little scrapbooking, but it would not win any prizes.  Mama taught me how to embroider, satin stitch and make French knots – and as a young girl I cross-stitched every Precious Moments pattern I could find on to my mama’s sweatshirts with waste cloth.  I embroidered tea towels with my mom.  She had one for every day of the week.  Scratch that…  I had one for every day of the week.  I am the one who dried the dishes.  😉

Those were the days when my eyes worked better.  It’s been years since I’ve done any of that stuff.  My arthritis won’t let me hold a needle anymore either, so it’s too much of a chore to try to cross-stitch or embroider.

I bought a Precious Moments wall hanging the other day for the laundry room.86a7504048b0dfb9495033f8d7c9c406

IMG_0002Pretend that photo is not so blurry!  Yikes – I didn’t think I was that nervous.  :-/

I do appreciate crafts so much.  I have a few hand-made quilts around the house.  The most precious quilt I have is, of course, the one my grandma and mama made.  It’s draped over Grandpa Frank’s rocking chair.  ❤IMG_0004Excuse my blurry photo – I’m not sure if it’s the camera or operator error – maybe a little of both – lol.  The quilt on the right is my very special quilt – the one on the left is one I bought at an antique store.  As you know, I really like bargains – and hold on to your hat – that quilt was $50.00.  It was in a booth that was selling everything not marked FIRM for 1/2 price!  I looked very closely – and the quilt was not marked FIRM.  It was a happy dance moment. 

I love all sorts of crafts – stained glass is so beautiful, especially when the light shines through it.  I enjoyed making my own Longaberger basket at the Homestead in Ohio.  A sweet sister in Christ crocheted me a beautiful throw for cold winter evenings.  I especially like it because I got to choose my yarn for it.

Have you been to Silver Dollar City in Missouri?  When we go there, I try to pick up a hand-made treasure.  One thing that means so much to me is my hand-made vanity from SDC.  For our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with it!  What a sweet thing for him to do.  I appreciate craftsmanship, I suppose because my daddy was a master carpenter.  I understand the work involved from start to finish.HAND MADE WITH LOVE

Is it just me, or do you think of the person who made your gift when you see the gift?  I think of them and whisper a prayer.  There’s something so special about people sharing their talents with others.

How will you show appreciation for a crafts person this month?  🙂

DEALING WITH DYSLEXIA

DYSLEXIA WORD CLOUD

BLESSINGS FROM PAIN

I received a message on facebook from a gentleman who has a daughter with dyslexia.  She’s in elementary school and faces challenges daily.  He says it is something new every day…  joked that at least it’s not boring.  He asked if I’d write a post about my experiences with dyslexia and talk about how my parents dealt with it.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Well…   we all take it as it comes – but of all the supportive things I remember my parents doing, the most important one was…  they always encouraged me to be better, but they praised me when I did my best.  I was one of the lucky ones because I was diagnosed early and got into special education in elementary school.  So many people are adults before they are told they have dyslexia.  That has to be so frustrating!

Bless my parents – they made sure that my grade school made use of my talents in music and encouraged the positives I had to contribute instead of focusing on the negatives – the spelling errors, illegible handwriting, careless errors in math, and length of time it took me to write an essay.  I have wonderful memories of playing vibes in a music class performance.  Nobody in my school made me feel stupid or inept.  My teachers encouraged my talents, and I believe it’s because my parents were involved in my education.DYSLEXIA

Parents of dyslexic children have to keep their ears close to the door of the classroom.  They have to be involved every step of the way.  My mother had constant communication with not only the teachers but also the principal and everyone else responsible for my learning experience.

It wasn’t easy…  homework was horrible!  I went to bed crying every night because I felt so stupid.  One thing I did learn early in life is that you need to resist the temptation to compete with smart kids.  Our smart kid was Karen “Blythe” Watson.  I heard through the grapevine that she is now a successful lawyer.  I’m not surprised!  Blythe was everything I wanted to be – I so wanted to be her.  I don’t know why, but I was always invited to her slumber parties and I felt so COOL because the smart girl wanted me for a friend!  Blythe had naturally curly hair – long and thick…  in the 1970’s that was THE cool hair to have!

Keep your child in a good circle of friends because that’s going to help her self-esteem.  If at all possible, surround her with the smart kids – because dyslexic kids are slow – but we’re not stupid.  It takes us longer to notice stuff – but we get there.  We are good and listening to others and catch on when we hear good ideas from smart kids.  Our problem is with visuals – perceptions – concepts.  We can learn!  We are determined to learn…  we just don’t learn the same way.

When they showed films in school – other kids were taking notes and I was wondering what they were writing down that I had somehow missed.

Even today visual learning is not good for me.  Pop in a CD (back then it was a cassette tape – LOL) – and let me listen to it a couple of times – then I grasp the concept – if I can hear it without words on a screen or pictures – I can get it.  I’m all about books on CD – love ’em! 

I used to listen to my devotionals each day – and I still hop on the computer and listen to them!  Reading weighs me down – I do read because I’m determined to overcome this disability…  I’m stubborn.  This isn’t going to win – it just isn’t.

Not every child learns the same way, and educators need to realize that.12345408_1096907133676554_2760705983542940339_n

Be your child’s biggest encouragement.  People in the world will not be kind, so it’s up to you to find your child’s strengths and offer lessons to them.  Pull the weeds – but make sure you water the flowers.  The flowers I grew were musical.  I took private piano lessons for many years every Thursday afternoon.  I’m not a great pianist – but it’s something I was pretty good at – playing music makes me feel good.

Today I’m more well-rounded and I’m a better reader than I’ve been before.  I’ve not read WAR & PEACE – but I read to entertain myself these days, which I never thought would happen.  I do still have to follow the words with my finger – I don’t think that will ever change.  My eyes tend to skip lines and twist words and numbers – so…  it does get interesting sometimes.

I hope this post helps you as parents.  Dyslexic kids are slow – but there are eye exercises that help (remember the pencil exercise – ???  Keep your eye on the lead portion as the pencil comes closer to your face…  LOL).  They said it would strengthen my eyes – I think it gave me headaches.  :-/

Let your child know that you understand their frustration and keep the lines of communication open with them about it.  If they want to cry during homework time – let the tears come.  Just cry with them and don’t make them feel worse or use a nasty tone of voice or mean words with them.  It does not help.

Encourage your child to be better than she was yesterday.  Don’t compete with others, but be more complete yourself!  Comparison with others makes us feel like failures, but if we see our lives as God sees them, we will know that He gives us gifts and talents.  Maybe I can’t do math in my head, but I can do some things that others can’t…  so if you combine my gifts with the gifts of others – how cool is that?  We sharpen one another’s iron and that makes everyone better, right?  🙂

 

 

 

 

THANKSGIVING

Happy Thanksgiving Vector Illustration

I asked my group, A Second Helping of Wellness…  with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith, to help me think of things they are thankful for.  This is what we came up with – enough to cover the entire page!

There are more things we thank God for, of course.  Even when our circumstances look so lonely and sad from outward appearances, we can still look up to God and thank Him for LIFE.  If we are breathing, we absolutely need to be grateful for that gift.

GIVE THANKS (2)

I thought it would be nice to share some cherished verses about thankfulness.  Some are very familiar, but a few may not be ones you would choose.  In any case, please take this opportunity to read them and meditate on them today.  🙂

What is your favorite Bible verse having to do with Thanksgiving?  Let me know in the comments below.

For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chiefs of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving to God…all Israel gave the portions for the singers and the gatekeepers, a portion for each day. They also consecrated holy things for the Levites, and the Levites consecrated them for the children of Aaron.  – Nehemiah 12:46-47

Click image to enlarge

O Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; Let us shout joyfully to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the LORD is a great God, And a great King above all gods, In whose hand are the depths of the earth; The peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; And His hands formed the dry land. Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.  – Psalm 95:1-6

Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!  – 1 Chronicles 16:8

Here’s a verse I pray we all commit to memory and hold on to when we don’t think there is anything to be thankful for.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.  – James 1:17

Click image to enlarge

How great is your goodness, which you have stored up for those who fear you, which you bestow in the sight of men on those who take refuge in you.  – Psalm 31:19

There are a ton of verses I could share, but I think I smell some good fixin’s cookin’ in the kitchen.  It’s almost time to eat, I think!

We like pumpkin and sweet tater pies at our house.  What kind of pies are you eating today?  Post the answer in the comments below.  🙂

I saw something interesting on facebook yesterday as I was scrolling through the newsfeed.  So many recipes call for heavy cream, and most of us don’t keep it on hand.  Instead of making a special trip to the store, try this:

10343678_1077161175629555_6678669400172523422_nHave a great Thanksgiving – God bless you and yours!  🙂

 

LUKE 11:13 ON 11/13

TL LUKE 11 13 ON 11 13

 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!  – Luke 11:13

Right away we are reminded that we’re evil by nature.  Indeed we are, but we still know how to be good to our children.  As parents we do our very best to make sure they are well cared for, yet our heavenly Father gives His precious Holy Spirit to His children because He loves us even more than we love our kids.

Do your children have to beg for you to feed them?  Did you know that you don’t have to beg God to receive His Holy Spirit?  He wants to give His Spirit to you – and He will give it to you gladly! 

Click image to enlarge

What a timely post since we are just weeks away from the largest gift-giving time of the year – Christmas!   We do give good gifts to children, but just imagine how much more God wants to give to you.  It boggles the mind to imagine how much the Father loves us and wants to help us every day!

Whether we know it or not, we need God’s Holy Spirit in our lives to guide us down the narrow road.  In this day we think we need fame and fortune, but we need to count those crosses along the way – Amen! 

So today, with God’s Holy Spirit living in our hearts, we have all the help we need to face our challenges.  We don’t even have to be afraid of Friday the 13th…  yes, that’s today.  No worries…  God’s got this!  😉