A SUMMER OF PSALMS

America is about to celebrate another birthday!  Time and again throughout Scripture we are reminded that God is strong and we are not.  We are constantly urged to lean on Him, not only when we feel weak, but at all times.  Our Lord is not to be a last resort, but a first resource!  May we always turn to Him first instead of waiting for a situation to reach a breaking point or a crisis level.

Sometimes we think we’re just pluggin’ right along on our own, don’t we?  It seems like we have a pretty good handle on everything – but then WHAM!  Life has a way of turning very quickly.

We’re told to glory in the Lord and rejoice as we seek Him!  If you are doing that, then you won’t be stressed out about how to deal with this problem or that one.  You’re trusting in God because you know that He will work your problems out for you.  I know that God’s solution will be much more creative than any idea you would come up with.

This seeking must never cease–the more we know the more we must seek to know.  – C.H. Spurgeon

It seems as though we’re to pray without ceasing and seek without ceasing, doesn’t it?  Actually, the two go together.  You can’t really be in constant communication with the Lord without a desire to know Him.  I just want everything that God has for me.  If He wants me to have something, I want it too.

Here in Kansas, we’ve prayed for rain!  It’s been so hot and dry all summer.  Our prayers were answered last night.  My friend John caught some footage of the beautiful rainbow that followed the stormy weather.

Isn’t God good???  He still promises not to flood the earth ever again – and has kept that promise for a very long time!  He’s good to His people.  May we seek His presence continually!  May we bless Him at all times!

A wise teacher once told me that we make time for the ones we care most for.  How can we claim to belong to God and want Him to be the Lord of our lives and not carve out any time for Him?  For some reason, we just put God on a little shelf and tell Him to sit there while we go off to do other things.  I guess those other things mean more to us than our Heavenly Father does.

We need to hear His voice in ways He tries to communicate with us.

He is there with you.  He will not leave you nor forsake you.

God will be the Lord of all or He will not be Lord at all.  There is no gray area.  It’s an all or nothing choice.  Bless God, America!  🙂

 

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It’s Palm Sunday

I love the hymns of the church, and I don’t apologize for saying it.  Call me old-fashioned, but I miss hearing some of the more traditional music in the church.  The truth is, if we’re praising King Jesus with our whole hearts, the style of music is really pretty petty, Amen?  It’s bad enough the U.S. government is acting immature – the church needs to rise above and grow up.  There’s room for the new styles alongside the old.  Just praise King Jesus!  It isn’t about you – it’s about HIM.

With all my heart, I will praise the LORD.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Psalm 34:2

All who are helpless…  the more we learn about our Lord, the more we realize that we are helpless.  Listen means stop talking.  Hear His Word and let it pierce your heart and mind.  Ponder what His Word is saying to you.  Pondering does not require conversation.  Ponder means to think – just leave it in your brain and let it wander around a bit.  Ponder.  Some people would call it over thinking.  I say nope – I’m pondering.  If pondering was good enough for Mary (the mother of Christ), it’s sure good enough for me.

To be glad means we should accept the joy that God wants to give us.  Remember, joy is not dependent on circumstances like happiness is.  I can be happy that the snow has melted, but if there is snow on the ground, I can have the joy of the Lord and rejoice in Him all day long.

One of the best parts of being a Sunday School teacher is helping kids get ready for a play.  There’s nothing more cute in the world than watching little ones in a Christmas or Palm Sunday / Easter play!  So sweet!

If you’re a new follower to this blog…  last Palm Sunday, Lucinda Berry Hill and I wrote a story about Daisy’s colt.  Check it out: https://hearthungerblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/daisys-colt/

In my experience, I have learned one thing…  when you line the kids up, you only give palm branches to the kids in the FIRST row – for obvious reasons.  Yes, you guessed it…  the kids in the second row will start bopping the kids in the first row with the branches.  Take that one to the bank.  It’s gonna happen!  LOL!  Why, yes, I did learn that the hard way – and it’s so much easier to give them the palm branches than to ask to have them back.  Tears and screaming…  sigh.  No – not them… – ME!

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song: Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name; Show forth his salvation from day-to-day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; But Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts.  Oh worship Jehovah in holy array: Tremble before him, all the earth.  – Psalm 96:1-9

Grab a palm branch and try to resist the temptation to bop your neighbor with it.  It’s not a Christmas gift wrap tube, ya know.  That’s what I used to tell the kids – lol.  One time, I even brought some leftover Christmas gift wrap tubes in to the church so the kids could just get it out of their systems before I gave them the branches – that’s actually a better solution – and I even had fun!  We had a bee-bopping good time in the fellowship center.

I have a special surprise for you!  My friend, Geri Ehrlich, wrote the sweetest children’s story and I want to share it with you today.

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The Broken Wing – by Geri Ehrlich, March 2018

One day, a small boy found a baby bird caught between the branches of a tree.  He quickly freed the trapped creature, but could see that her wing had been broken.

Over the next few weeks, the boy tended the bird and soon her wing was healed and she broke out in joyful flight, fluttering her wings as she encircled her new friend, bringing great delight to the boy.

For many days, the boy and the bird laughed and played under the tree that had trapped her a short time ago.

One day, the boy grew tired and fell asleep.  The bird also grew tired – of watching him sleep, and flew off to new adventures.

Soon, far away from the one who rescued her, she became trapped again.  But, this time, it was a net – not a branch that hindered her freedom.  Suddenly, a big, rough hand tightened around her delicate body.  She was torn from the net, placed in an iron cage, and taken even farther away from her boy.

When the boy awoke, he frantically searched for his friend, but she was nowhere to be found.

After many years, the boy grew to become a man.  As he grew, his heart grew sick for want of the little bird.

Then, one day, a pigeon happened by and took pity on the man.  She listened as the man told her of his long-lost friend.

So, the pigeon, determined to find the bird, took flight in search of her.

At last, the pigeon found the bird – locked in a cage, high in a tower.  When the little bird learned of her sick friend, she pushed, shoved, and pried at the bars.  They would not move.  The pigeon tried to free the bird by pecking at the lock.  And even though the lock had begun to rust due to the bird’s many tears, the lock would not budge.

Sadly, they both knew that the little bird could not be freed.  So, the pigeon flew back to the sick-hearted man and told him what she had seen.

Meanwhile, the little bird was left to cry alone in her cage.

The man was sad to hear that his little friend was locked away.  He longed to go to her, but his weak body kept him from even getting out of bed.

For many days and nights, the pigeon carried messages between them.  Each time, the lock was tried.  And each time, it would not budge, leaving the little bird to cry alone.

But, after a while, and with much crying, the lock rusted through.  The little bird struggled to twist off the latch and she was free!

Now, she flew as fast as she could back to her boy.  Overjoyed when she reached him, she fluttered all around him, brushing his heart with the wing he had tended so long ago.

And… then something magical happened.  The man’s sick heart began to heal.  Soon, his strength returned and he was able to stand and walk again.

This made the little bird so happy that she broke into beautiful song; fluttered about even more, fanned out her tail feathers for all to see.  Just watching her made the man’s heart burst with gladness and he, too, began to sing and dance around.

Many years have come and gone.  But, if you listen… you can still hear the melody of the man and the little bird floating amongst the tree tops.  And, if you look closely, you can still see them dancing and fluttering among the swirling leaves.

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Isn’t that sweet???  I really like it.  I hope Geri will put illustrations with it soon!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When God calls a person to do a job, He is very sure of Himself and knows who He wants and why.  There are people in history whose lives leave me smiling because there’s no doubt in my mind that God was right smack dab in the middle of their circumstances – working!

Did you know that Moses didn’t want to be a leader?  He argued with God about it – no, no don’t pick me!  I can’t be a leader ‘cuz see, I have this stuttering problem and it’s really going to slow Your plan down.  Well…  we see here what God had to say about that!  It didn’t do Moses much good to argue with God.

Helen Adams Keller was born in 1880.  She was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. Oh, did I fail to mention that she was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree?  Her life story has been the subject of at least two very popular movies that I know of – both starring Patty Duke, if I remember right.  Helen’s life seemed hopeless at first, didn’t it?  If a person ever offered hope and inspiration to the world…  it was Helen Keller!

Cornelia ten Boom (Corrie) was born in 1892.  She was a Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II.  She and her sister and father were imprisoned in a concentration camp for their actions.  Corrie’s sister, Elisabeth ten Boom (Betsie) was born in 1885.  While incarcerated in Ravensbruck concentration camp, she died at age 59.  Corrie and Betsie’s father, Casper ten Boom died just 10 days after being imprisoned.

Corrie ten Boom’s famous book, The Hiding Place, describes the ordeal.  My dad bought the book for me, and in 1976 he took me to see the movie.  Did God use Corrie and her family?  I believe He definitely did – and that story still serves to inspire people all over the world.  My dad said at the very least, it reminds us of what we never want to see again in the world.  It also reminds us that no matter what the world says to do…  as Christians we are obligated to obey our God and do the right thing to honor Him.

If we will place our frail an imperfect selves in God’s very capable hands, trusting that He will work in and through us for His glory, we will be amazed and may even inspire others in the bargain.  I wonder if Moses had flat refused God – if he would have ended up in the belly of a whale – ???  Or…  maybe a camel or something – ???  Oh, it’s a good thing he was obedient, I think.  Yeah.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Folks in this world are knocking themselves out to stand out somehow – they want to succeed and rise above for all different reasons, be it fame, money, or just to feed their ego.  Christians have a different take on things – we want our God to shine through us – so that He may receive all the praise and the glory – and if there’s money, well – we share that too.  There’s a reason why we point to the sky and say, “All the glory belongs to Jesus” when we are complimented or recognized for accomplishments.  It’s not about us – it’s all about HIM.

Andrae’ Crouch wrote over 300 songs, and every one of them pointed to Jesus Christ.  Billy Graham called brother Crouch the greatest hymn writer of our age, the modern-day John Wesley,  What a wonderful talent this world lost – but how much more wonderful Heaven became, right?

We live by a simple acronym – Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.  JOY!  If you’re doing something other than showing others your Savior…  you should re-think your strategy.  Pray it through and get it straight.  I don’t say that to be mean, but to help.  If you have a living testimony to Jesus Christ, who is very much alive – then you have more JOY than anyone else.

Christians can’t change lives, but we can point to the ONE who can!  The most beautiful part about letting God’s light shine through your life is – HIS light does not depend on OUR circumstance.  It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day – because I know God is not.  I can depend on HIS JOY in my life all the time.

Have you ever met someone who wakes up in the morning, stumbles to the coffee pot for their first cup, sits down at the dining room table with the newspaper and reads their horoscope to see what kind of a day they can look forward to?  What kind of life is that?  God promises us ABUNDANT LIFE…  not wait and see life.

Lean upon the ROCK – the very large ROCK – Christ Jesus.  Get up in the morning and do a little calypso to the coffee pot (have someone make a video for facebook) – grab your coffee and your Bible – and read from Psalms!  Get some of God’s precious promises under your proverbial belt.  Take those promises with you throughout your day.  When God opens a door for you to share a promise with someone else, be obedient and do it.  Don’t be afraid to share your faith – especially when you KNOW that God wants you to.  He’s got this – it’ll be okay.

Live in God’s Son Shine!

Oh – and I won’t be making a video of my calypso to the coffee pot.  Watching a Baptist dance just isn’t a pretty sight.  Have a great day in the Lord.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)How ornate is the door of your heart?  How inviting is it to God’s Holy Spirit?  When we say, “Come into my heart – the door is open wide…” What does that door look like?  Is it a beautiful door with lead glass or is it more of a solid core door that never lets the light in?

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https://youtu.be/HTbJmCTqgkg

We are so blessed because before Christ ascended into heaven, He graciously left us His Holy Spirit to help us – guide us – with wisdom and mercy and love beyond understanding.  Through God’s Holy Word, the Bible, prayer, and guidance by God’s Holy Spirit – the comforter, the light in our heart – every Christian can navigate this life the way God wants them to.  I’m praising God for His protection over my life today, aren’t you?  He means everything to me! 

p32gcd4Precious Lord,

Thank You for leaving Your Holy Spirit to comfort and guide our footsteps.  You did not leave us alone and for that we are grateful.  May the door of my heart be one that lets the light of Your love shine through.  May Your love shine through me to others.  Help me to show the fruits of Your Holy Spirit… love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness.  Give me Your perfect love and the wisdom to navigate this life as only You can.  I love You and lean on Your counsel every day, Lord.  Please take my hand and walk through this life with me.  I can do nothing without You.  Please shine in my heart and help me to shine out to others. 

In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

LET ME BRING YOUR LOVE

Christianity is about shining and iron-sharpening.  It’s about encouraging each other in the LORD…  there is so much division and hate in the world around us, but that is not God’s way!  We are called to be “apart” from the world – we are in the world, but not of the world.  Through God’s Holy Spirit we can be like Christ.  Read God’s Word, pray and watch God work in your life.  🙂

 

GENESIS 8:21 ON 8/21

TL GENESIS 8 21 ON 8 21

The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.”  – Genesis 8:21

When Noah, his family and the animals got off the ark, Noah built an altar to praise God – and God was not angry with human kind anymore.   The anger at sin which had caused the flood was now over, and there was peace between heaven and earth.

As a sign of God’s remarkable promise to mankind, He gave us the rainbow.

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A promise from God along with a sign

I love the rainbow, don’t you?  When you see it, are you reminded of God’s promise to us?  His promise to keep loving us and not destroying the earth again is important.

The rainbow is really represents God’s covenant with His creation.  It’s in the sky after a storm to remind us that He will never again destroy His creation.  We should be most grateful that we’ve been spared and God desires to draw us unto Himself instead of do away with us.

HE IS FAITHFUL

He is hopeful that we will want to draw closer to Him through His Son, Jesus Christ.  He sent Christ to earth to die on the cross – the lamb of God washes away the sins of the world.  We only have to believe and ask Jesus into our hearts and lives.

You don’t have to fix anything, just ask Jesus to come into your life and He will show you your sin and what needs fixing – and He will help you with it.  People can’t fix other people’s sin because we are not a higher power – but Christ can fix sin because He is THE Higher power!  He’s worthy of all our honor and praise.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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YOU ALWAYS HAVE MY BACK

It’s not English, but you know the song. Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us.

Behold what manner of love
The Father has given unto us,
Behold what manner of love
The Father has given unto us,
That we should be called the sons of God,
That we should be called the sons of God

There are human beings that I love very much. Some I like very much. Everyone else I consider friends I have not met yet. No matter how close I am to a person, I know they are not going to be on their “A” game every single day. Humans are moody, unpredictable and let’s face it, irritating at times. I know this because I AM one. I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way I’m sure. I don’t keep a list and I don’t keep track. It would use way too much paper and waste too much of my precious time!

This passion week I want to praise My Savior, Jesus Christ, for being my rock steady, dependable, reliable, never-changing, always loving, always forgiving, always positive, always available for a chat… best friend!

How much better do you feel after you’ve had a real heart-to-heart chat with your Savior? I know, right? How can anyone not find the time for that? It’s such a precious time for me! I’m tearing up – my God is my everything and my Savior paid a debt He did not owe! For ME! For YOU! How could anyone reject that kind of love? I do not understand.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! – 1 John 3:1

When I study God’s Holy Word, The Bible, particularly the story of Jesus at the cross, I’m in tears through most of it. I’m at a loss to comprehend the pain He suffered. What boggles my mind even more is knowing that He suffered that anguish FOR ME.

I wasn’t living back then, but He knew I’d be born and He knew I needed salvation. He always has my back!

I hope you will read the account of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection at some point this week. Consider asking Christ into your heart and life. ❤