Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you heard the expression, “Garbage in, garbage out” – ???  Well…  there’s a flip side to that expression that is much more positive.  How about “God’s love in, God’s love out” – ???  If we study God’s Word and think on His precepts…  what will shine forth from our lives?  It doesn’t get better than that, does it?  When we focus on His love – we will SHINE!

Everything in life begins with a thought – good or bad.  Again with the choices, right?  God gives us free will – it’s what He wants for us – and it makes Him so sad if we choose to think bad thoughts, scary thoughts, or live a stressful, worry-filled life.  The Lord wants us to live an abundant life – and lean fully on Him.  God’s so much wiser and bigger than we are – and He knows our thoughts – and He knows that every action we take begins with a single thought.

Choose to think on His goodness, His grace, His mercy and His wonderful love.  These things are praiseworthy – and God is worthy of our praise.  Virtue…  good report…  pure…  lovely… think on these things.

There’s one other thought I want to share about thoughts…  God can read them – but the enemy of your soul cannot.  Since the devil can’t read your thoughts, it’s a good idea to not verbally express some of your thoughts.  Once you speak your thoughts out into the air where satan can hear them…  he can use them against you.  Just one last thought about thoughts.  If you have a thought that you don’t want satan to hear…  take it captive and start praying!  Ask God to turn that thought around – He can help you turn it into something positive and praiseworthy!  Satan can’t work with anything positive that comes out of your mouth.

I like this song – it really grows on you!  When you sing the words of Scripture, it makes it easier to memorize.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I think we all agree that God gave us a brain to think for ourselves, right?  There are so many denominations and we need to look at the core values of the church and compare them with God’s Word.  There’s never going to be a perfect church – the church is people, and people are imperfect.  God is perfect – He is the standard by which we measure the place we go to worship Him.I’ve been in congregations that don’t believe exactly as I do – but there are times when a person has to make allowances and, while not adopting the parts that I disagree with, show respect for others because as long as the whole Bible is preached, I can be a part.

Not every minister preaches the whole Bible – they are known as false prophets and ear ticklers.  If every sermon you hear makes you smile and giggle, chances are you are listening to an ear tickler – which is not helping you grow in your faith.  Unless you are challenged a little along the way, you will stagnate and stay immature.  Some churches just want money, which is sad because the goal of those in God’s house should be to help one another spiritually, not bilk them of their finances.

It’s okay to tithe to your local church – but if you feel pressured to give until it hurts, you may want to rethink that.  Finances are such a personal thing, but we do know that all we have comes from God’s hand.  If the Lord had not given you the ability to work for what money you get, you wouldn’t be able to work and that would be bad.  We give our first fruits to God because we’re so thankful to Him for His provision.

We can’t expect to find a perfect church, but we need to hold the beliefs of the church up next to God’s Word and make sure it’s a Bible-believing congregation that has godly priorities and is focused on outreach in the community.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Why did Paul address this?  At that time, the world had rejected the one true God.  Heathens had turned to idols instead, and as a result, the most horrific sins were part of everyday life.  The Jews had not done any better – they largely ignored Paul’s messages and practiced the ideology that if it feels good, do it.  Sin is no respecter of persons and is more of a human thing than a Gentile versus Jew thing.  None of us can stand before a just God, boasting about how righteous we are.

Sometimes a passage comes along that I need help to explain fully – this is one of those.  Please take time to watch this video.  Let’s understand the term THE LAW – which I think means the law of Moses.  Well – take a look at this.

Mere law by itself has no cure for the sinful condition of man.  Heaven had the only remedy for the sin of man – the gift of the sinless Christ Jesus, who freely offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin on behalf of all who, through faith, are willing to receive the redemption provided.

In our day and age, not all law is based on God’s Word – most are, but not all.  A Christian will follow God’s law before man’s law – but keep in mind the greatest command God gave us was to love.  I can’t imagine that love will ever be outlawed. It would be so sad if it was – and scary.  We embrace the good and shun the evil because it’s what makes God happy.  We’re law-abiding in society because it’s right, but we mind God because we love Him.

Most of man’s laws are good and in accordance with God’s Word, so we uplift and enforce them.  We definitely believe in God’s laws and will obey them.  🙂

 

 

 

HEBREWS 11:1 ON 11/1

tl-11-1-hebrews-11-1-on-11-1

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  – Hebrews 11:1

faith

I think sometimes we memorize verses and can spout them off without pausing…  but do we stop and think about what they mean?  We should.  Just because you have memorized 1,000 Bible verses and can say them by heart – well, that doesn’t mean that they are necessarily imbedded in your heart – see what I’m saying?

This is one of those verses that most church-going young children are taught to memorize – one of the first verses we are required to commit to memory.  Hopefully, as it’s committed to memory, it’s also imbedded in the heart.

I’ve observed that frequently where we see the word FAITH – the word HOPE is not far away!  Coincidence???  I think not.

The book of Hebrews is meant to show us how Christians should live.  We should be radical in our belief, willing to take risks and love in a sacrificial manner.  As we read on, our confidence in God’s promises should deepen and our hope remain steadfast in God alone.

There are two key words in this passage – (1) SUBSTANCE and (2) EVIDENCE.  Only by faith are we able to see the invisible fingerprints of God on the things He has made…  by that, I mean the beauty, order and awesome greatness in creation and in our daily life.  These are the evidence that God is in control.  Through faith we can clearly see God’s fingerprints everywhere!

Non-believers see but are blind to what they’re seeing – and they don’t see fingerprints – God’s or anyone else’s.  Without FAITH, we can’t recognize the significance in a given situation.  If true faith is on board and we are open to the leading of God’s precious Holy Spirit, we see and trust God for answers instead of calling the psychic hotline on TV.

We read God’s promises and have faith that God will walk with us today, of course.  The comforting news; however, is that He will be there at the end of this life and the beginning of eternity.  I love this poem by Lucinda:

into-our-future

We walk by faith – not by sight.  When we cannot see physically, we understand by faith.  It’s a spiritual act that sees the fingerprints of God.  It’s not a matter of BELIEVING HARDER…  that’s worldly thinking and known as wishful thinking – it goes in the file along with the tooth fairy, cupid, little green men and Santa Claus.

OK – I didn’t really want to go there…  but I will.  FAITH DOES NOT CREATE WHAT WE HOPE FOR!  That’s stinkin’ thinkin’ and false teaching and preaching.  That name it and claim it, God is a vending machine theology is so far off base.  That is not to say we cannot CLAIM the promises of God – that is perfectly fine.

Faith is a SPIRITUAL PERCEPTION of God’s promises.  What promises, you ask?  I’m so glad you asked!

Here ya go!  http://www.bibleinfo.com/en/questions/how-many-bible-promises-are-there

There are SO many promises from our loving Heavenly Father are just waiting for you.  Read through these verses and pray.  Prepare to be amazed at how God will work in your life.  He’s faithful when we exercise our faith.  It’s true!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

Father, we yearn for the satisfaction that only You can give. Help us discard the things that leave us empty and thirsting, and exchange them for the satisfaction of the living water You offer.  – Bobby Fulks

thirst

Been prayin’ for a shower???

Have you felt thirsty lately?  You take more time to workout at the gym.  Nope, that isn’t what you needed.  You take more time to relax and watch television.  Huh…  nope, that didn’t help either.  You are just thirsty and something is missing.  Then you decide that it’s time to take a little road trip – surely that will do the trick.  You know what?  Your thirst is still not quenched.  Now you’re beginning to get a little ticked off – and frustrated.

You sit quietly in your living room, wondering what it’s going to take to fill that longing inside.  You try some of that flavored carbonated water they sell at Walmart for 68 cents a bottle.  Nope…  that’s not the kind of water that will satisfy the kind of need you have.  You walk into your study – and there you see your old friends – your Bible and favorite devotional book.  It dawns on you that you’ve got the bookmark stuck on the page that says April 16th.  Well…  it’s not April 17th today, is it?  You haven’t opened the book or your Bible for a while.

It’s a special kind of water you need…  God’s LIVING WATER.  His special water – filtered through the Holy Ghost filter with letters in red spoken by Christ Jesus Himself.

thirstyDid you read the last stanza???  DON’T IGNORE YOUR SOUL, WATER IT AND SEE.  What good advice.  We run toward all sorts of things we can see with our eyes, convinced that those are the things that will satisfy.  Maybe those things make us happy for a short while, but the happiness is short-lived and the feeling of longing for something better is back.

Hey – I’m not perfect – far from it.  You know where I got that example about the devotional having a bookmark placed in it on the April page?  I got that example from personal experience!  Life gets busy for all of us.  There is a lot of competition for our attention, isn’t there?  We have games to go to and jobs we have to do.  We have kids that need things – and grandkids that need to be spoiled.  The list is endless – but our souls do thirst if we don’t make it a priority – a matter of our WILL to set aside time to study God’s Word and commit it to our hearts and minds.taking-the-plunge

The truth is, we will be lied to in this world – by people we never thought would lie.  The only reliable place to find counsel is not social media (oh…  gag!)  It’s found in God’s Holy Word – your Bible is where you can go for counsel and honesty.  You will be filled with God’s peace and joy.  You will know His principles and gain wisdom for practical application in your everyday life.  🙂

EMOTIONAL OVEREATING AWARENESS MONTH

TL APRIL IS EMOTIONAL OVEREATING AWARENESS MONTHLife is not easy.  There are no guarantees and nothing says that every dream we have will come true.  How many coping mechanisms are available to us when we hit a speed bump in life?  Alcohol, drugs, sex, exercise (yes, it’s an addiction for some) and food.  Of all the things I’ve listed, how many of them are ACCEPTABLE by the church?  See where this is going?  Sure you do…  we all have to EAT, don’t we?  In church, food is practically a requirement to join.  We bond around it, laugh around it, listen to speeches and lectures around it and at funeral dinners, we mourn around it.

Is it any WONDER that people use food to soothe them in their lonely moments of solitude?  The struggle is real, folks – and the church condones it.  They practically encourage it.  I’m not blaming the church, rather I’m making it aware of the problem so that it might help members who may well be suffering.

I couldn’t afford counseling, but I went to Overeaters Anonymous meetings (at a church, ironically) for about a year.  I learned to identify triggers that make me want to use food for comfort instead of fuel.  I learned that in church, it is praise and prayer and focus on Christ that matters more than the fellowship around the potluck table.  Food does nothing except fuel this earthly body.  It does nothing to bring me closer to the Lord.  I get that eating around the table helps people bond – but that’s through conversation and laughter and the like.  How much food and what types of food I have on my plate is still my responsibility.

If sister Suzy fixes her famous hummingbird cake, it shouldn’t make me feel obligated to have a piece if I know that it will send my blood sugar into orbit!  That kind of psychological pressure is almost too much to bear.  People mean well – I know they do…  but you can’t wrap up a piece of cake for me to take home and eat.  It will be thrown down the garbage disposal because my health is more important than me making sister Suzy feel good.  How I wish folks understood how damaging this behavior is to one prone to emotional overeating.

There was a time when I would have taken the cake and eaten it in the privacy of my room with a tall glass of milk.  What is the definition of insanity?  Doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  Eating cake because someone could not accept the answer NO THANK YOU…  it’s insane.  I may love sister Suzy…  but she needs to respect me enough to accept the answer NO.  Leave it and don’t wrap it up and send it home with me.  It’s cruel and devastating to my health.

The most wonderful bonding experience I ever had with a church group was when we went on a bike ride.  It sounds silly, but it had nothing to do with food whatsoever – it was just fun.  We were talking and laughing and pedaling along together down the bike path.  I remember thinking, “This is so cool.”  It was – it really was.

I know why there are potlucks.  You’re not going to get people of all ages together for a bike ride.  Potlucks are a way of getting everyone in the same fellowship center – and the fact is, we all do need to eat.  I just want people to be aware of the fact that some folks are trying to avoid emotional overeating, and pushing bad foods on them is not helpful.  But I’m not as weak as I used to be.  I’m not the people pleaser I used to be.  Through those meetings and with God’s help, I’ve learned that it is ultimately my responsibility to deal with the situation.  Sister Suzy, thank you so much for this piece of cake.  What happens with it from that moment on…  that’s on me, and with God’s help, it won’t end up IN me!

Amen???

Folks…  emotional overeating is real.  It takes a long time to learn that love does not equal food.  It takes a long time to learn that eating food is not going to make anything better.  Only reading God’s Word and prayer will move mountains!  Hummingbird cake…  not so much.  🙂