A Summer of Psalms

If I read one more article or series of articles about how to be happy, I’ll go cross-eyed permanently.  Every writer on planet earth thinks they know the “secret” of happiness.  Here’s my take on all that…  first, it is not a secret!  It’s in the Bible for all to see, if they’ll take a moment to read it.  Second, it’s not a mystery, this thing called happiness.  God wants to help us be happy.  So, relax in the LORD and you most certainly can be happy.  It’s not difficult – it’s not as complicated as people want to make it.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the conduit, the go-between, the bridge, between fallen man and perfect God.  Through Christ, we can have a wonderful relationship with Almighty God (isn’t that a humbling thought?)  Believe it because it’s absolutely true!  Accept the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved and your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever.  It’s not written with disappearing ink.

There is joy in this life and real happiness, hope, and peace of mind and spirit.  Having said all that, I should add that this does not guarantee a life that is free of trials and tribulations.  This happiness the Bible speaks of is not magical.  In this life, we all have a set of challenges.  The great advantage Christians have is the Lord Himself!  He is in our corner as we’re fighting in the ring.  He has everything we need to fight the good fight!

There are some really tough circumstances in this journey called life, aren’t there?  I watched my mother accept a folded flag at my father’s funeral and didn’t think I’d ever seen a lower point in life; however, I could find joy and peace even in that situation because I knew my father was safe in the arms of Jesus and not in pain anymore.  I also knew that my mother was leaning on those same strong arms for her solace.  We hurt – oh, for sure; but, we knew that God through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit would be with us while we mourned.

I clung to the Lord when my mother passed away fifteen years later.  There are people who say that my faith is nothing but a crutch, but guess what?  I could name some real crutches in this world, and my faith is not one of them.  To trust a loving and forgiving God Who will never change His mind about anything – a God on Whom I can depend brings me comfort!  Things change at a rapid pace in this ol’ world (and it seems they change faster as we get older) – but my God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I love that about Him! 

I find great assurance and stability in the notion that I don’t have to chase after the latest fad or gadget that the rest of the world has to have.  I’m less than impressed with the rich and famous, and in fact, I usually feel sorry for them.  To have your entire being wrapped up in things is very sad.  I know that happiness has nothing to do with owning the biggest and best toy.  Everything in this world is going to decay and turn to dust.  Everybody in this world will die and do the same.  Your relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit is the only path to true happiness.  It is no secret what God can do!  Oh, that should be the title of a really great song!  Wink – I know, it already is!  Silly me.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.  – Martin Luther

It’s only because of Christ and all He’s done for us that we have eternal life.  His grace is the key to our salvation.

Adam’s sin resulted in death for all who are in him, but Jesus Christ’s obedience in going to the cross resulted in justification of life for all who are in Him. Adam’s sin was credited to all his descendants, but Christ’s righteousness is credited to all who are His descendants through faith in Him.  – Stephen J. Cole

We don’t earn eternal life – but we humble ourselves with grateful hearts before the cross of Christ.  We rely upon His grace and mercy in our lives and for our afterlives.  We can make Heaven our home forever if we believe and claim His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.

Yes, Adam sank our spiritual ship, but God has thrown a life preserver to us. His name is Jesus! What Adam did was the worst thing that ever happened, but what Christ did was the best thing that ever happened.  – Keith Krell

Grace is free to us but very costly to God. – Keith Krell

Even at our worst God loves us.  – Jerry Cosper

God’s the only One who could possibly provide the perfect sacrifice for the horrific sin of man.  As much as we want to think that being a “good person” is enough to earn life in Heaven one day, it’s just not true.  Without the cleansing blood of Christ, we cannot be saved.

We’re not keen on being represented by Adam, but the truth is, if any of us had been the first man, we would not have done anything differently.  The fact is, sin is in this fallen world – but the good news is the gospel of Christ!  He died on Calvary’s cross and that is the only hope for fallen man.  Believe today on Him and you will be saved.  🙂

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR DAY

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 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.  I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—  I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”  – John 17:20-26

Our Lord prayed for His believers to be as ONE.  He wants us to be united as He and His Father in Heaven are ONE.  It’s no secret that America is more divisive now than it’s ever been.  If you can imagine a way to divide us – we’re divided.  Age, race, weight, height, religion, and on and on it goes.  God’s not pleased and Christians should lead the way in healing the scars.  The healing begins with prayer and studying God’s Word.

Read your Bible and pray.  That’s what it takes to be a true Christian.  – Harold McKay

My friend Harold also told me another “secret” to success as a Christian.  He said as long as you’re sincerely praying for someone, there’s no way you can hate or even dislike them.  In life, if we could just learn to pray for those who irk us in life instead of fighting back – it’d be wonderful.

Of all the famous quotes from Dr. King, this is my favorite:

mlk-quoteIn this world, we are “beholden” to one another.  We’re fools if we think we’re not.

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We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive, is also devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I vote for LOVE and FORGIVENESS as a Christian nation in 2017!  May we strive for unity in America this year.  Let’s make God smile.  🙂

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDOn the ninth day ‘fore Christmas we are to pray for peace in our hearts and thank God for His Amazing grace.  How badly do we need the peace that God gives – peace that passes all understanding?

TEN DAYS FORE CHRISTMASWhat songs come to mind when we think of peace?  I have several favorites, but the best one is this:  https://youtu.be/547e7uoNPcw

Even if there is conflict and anything but peace around us, we can still have God’s peace in our hearts.

https://youtu.be/OwhDPGMZicU

I’m reminded that Jesus is the anchor during the stormy times – He’s our solid Rock when everything around us is shaky.  https://youtu.be/3ot1h7k2vig

THE BIRTH OF PEACELET'S PRAY FOR PEACEIt’s difficult for me to wrap my mind around the concept of terrorism – serving a god who wants you to kill those who do not share your beliefs.  To me, that is the definition of intolerance.  Christians would like to share our faith, but whether you accept God’s grace or reject it is ultimately your decision and we respect you regardless.

I believe my life is in God’s hands – and that’s the best news of all.  https://youtu.be/PuargQgY7GA

Let the peace of God reign…  let it reign!  🙂

Lord,

Please bring peace to my heart.  Sometimes my life seems clouded with so much doubt and anxiety.  I’ve come to a fork in the road and don’t know which way to go.  I know I can’t stand in the middle of the fork in the road, lest I get run over.  I can’t just stand still for fear of choosing badly.  Make me brave.  Help me be open to all the possibilities that come my way.  Show me which road glows with Your joy and happiness.  When my judgment is clouded bring me into Your sunshine and remove my worries and doubt.  Make the pathway bright and let me know it’s right for me.  Then help me walk it with integrity and courage.  Your love is with me always and that’s the only truth that needs to be understood.  Hold me in the palm of Your hand and carry me on my life’s journey to a place that is peaceful and tranquil.

I pray all of this in Christ’s Name,

Amen.

Let there be peace on earth – and let it begin with me…  🙂

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDAwe…  today is the tenth day ‘fore Christmas – and what does Lucinda’s poem tell us to do???  We are to THANK GOD FOR HIS AMAZING GRACE.  We’ve talked a little about being thankful already, but to thank God for His grace is the best thankfulness of all.

TEN DAYS FORE CHRISTMASWhat is your favorite song about God’s grace?  The most popular is AMAZING GRACE.  I think it’s probably also the oldest, which goes to show that traditional hymns are timeless.  So many artists have recorded it – but my favorite will always be Judy Collins.  https://youtu.be/CDdvReNKKuk

He looked beyond my fault and saw my need – and I praise Him for that.  https://youtu.be/5JFQNAJTRXE

THE VIEW FROM THE INN

My friend used to tell me she wished she could have been a bird in a tree in Bethlehem on that special night.  I asked her what kind of bird she would have been – and she laughed and said she didn’t know what kind of birds live in that part of the world – but she was sure there were birds there – and she wanted to be one of them.  It’s funny that some conversations you never forget – and others you can’t remember.  That’s one that will stay with me for the duration.

Let’s be thankful for God’s Amazing Grace.  Nothing you are doing there is more important than seeking Christ, God’s only Son.  All of your shopping and baking and planning and decorating can wait until you have taken the time to thank God for sending Jesus as He did – born in a manger for all of humanity.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (2)

OBJECTS IN MIRROR
In Nazi-occupied Holland, 13-year-old Jewish diarist Anne Frank and her family are forced to take refuge in a secret sealed-off area of an Amsterdam warehouse.  They took with them a strong faith that everything would be alright.

Why are morning devotions so important? I mean, I don’t tell my husband I love him every morning, but he knows I do. Doesn’t God just automatically know that I love Him too? Sometimes I think we look at the concept of devotions the wrong way. We think it’s for God, but guess what? It’s for our benefit. It’s something we do for ourselves.

God already knows the standard – He IS the standard. He never changes and He never moves. We, on the other hand, do the hokey pokey, turn ourselves around and change is as constant in this world as can be! Do we need to be reminded of God’s standard? Ya think???

I can only speak for myself, but some mornings it’s difficult to look at myself in the mirror. Aside from the ten hours of sleep in which I toss and turn and who knows what else, which makes me look funnier than a circus clown, I see other things. I see the imperfections in character. The bad things are magnified in my reflection. I need to read God’s Word. I need to be forgiven, restored, assured that I am as close to my heavenly Father as I can possibly be.

We may argue that those negative things are amplified in the mirror because our enemy makes them larger. That may be the case, but regardless, I still need to meet with my Savior every day. I prefer to meet with Him in the mornings, but I understand a work schedule and how difficult that can be. I’m not critical of anyone who does not have morning devotions. For me it just gets my day off to a great start. I need Jesus. I need His love. I need His wisdom. I need His assurance and His strength.

A large cup of coffee and God’s love through His Son, Jesus.  As I study His Word and lean on Him it strengthens my faith.  It’s going to be a great day!