A SUMMER OF PSALMS

We used to sing that chorus every Sunday of the world!  I remember looking out at the congregation as we sang – and people were smiling!  It’s very difficult to sing that chorus and not feel joy!  Have you thanked God for this day?  Will you rejoice and be glad in it?

So, when a Sunday School teacher is late getting to church because her curling iron accidentally melted her hair clip and she had to find a replacement at the Dollar Tree on the way to church, and she feels all bummed and stressed out and knows she won’t have time to set her classroom up the way she planned to, does that mean she is not rejoicing and being glad?  Well…  yes.  Yes, it does.  And yes, that really happened.  You can’t make that up!

How about those times when you’re sitting in church service trying to concentrate on the sermon, but you keep thinking about all the paperwork that is waiting for you at work on Monday morning?  Oh, don’t tell me that’s never happened to you.

This verse does not tell us to dwell on anything that happened last week.  It doesn’t tell us to think about things that haven’t even happened yet – but will next week.  This verse is saying THIS is the day the LORD has made.  Today.  Now.  Present.  Live in this moment and rejoice in it.  Yesterday is over and tomorrow isn’t promised.  Leave all the rest of the days where they belong and rejoice.  Praise God because He inhabits our praise.  He delights in our praise.

We rejoice because of the blessings of grace, peace, pardon, righteousness, and salvation.  None of these things have anything to do with us, and everything to do with God.  He gives us His grace.  He is our peace.  He offers us pardon.  He is the root of righteousness.  He alone is the path to salvation.

This is the day the LORD has made.  Here.  Now.  Rejoice and be glad in it.  Look in the mirror and know that you’re seeing salvation from the hand of God.  You have to feel joy when you realize that truth!  🙂

Advertisements

Father May I?

The mercy of our God is bigger than any sin you commit!  No matter how far you’ve strayed away from the Lord Jesus Christ, He is able to forgive and forget your transgressions IF you will ask Him.  You can be assured of salvation for eternity right now.  It’s not easy to follow Christ because you must take up His cross in your life.  Standing up for your faith and speaking your mind about your Christian beliefs is probably the most difficult thing one can do, but we have Christ by our side helping us every step of the way.

Will you trade your worries and cares for the Lord’s great mercy and grace?  You can experience His love, peace, and forgiveness of sins.  Just turn all the junk and your burdens over to Him.  Then give Him praise and glory because you have begun a brand new journey that is surrounded with faith in Christ Jesus!  God Bless you extra-special good as you start your new walk!

The word EVERYTHING is all-inclusive!  When God’s Word says everything, it leaves nothing out.  You could interchange the word WHATEVER because again, there is nothing excluded.  You can pray to the Lord about anything on your mind.  He wants to hear from you!

There is nothing that is off-limits with God.  He knows all about it to begin with, you know!  Even though He already knows, He still wants you to talk it over with Him.  Maybe you need advice.  Maybe you need forgiveness.  Maybe you just need to be heard without having something fixed.  He knows that too!

God, through His Son Jesus Christ, hears every prayer we pray.  He will lift every burden from you and act on your behalf.  He is not a disappointment.  He loves you so much!

Last week we were ready to put our spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake.  You know, sometimes I get a little anxious when I am in the kitchen because I’m not what you’d call a cook that’s comfortable in the kitchen.  I’m awkward with a knife and I’ve peeled my own fingers with the potato peeler a few times.  I have other talents, but none of them are chef-related.  I’m not a chef – pampered or otherwise.  LOL!  

So as I put the spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven, I’m calling on my Father today, asking, “Father May I please use Your special timer so my cookies don’t burn?”

Dear Heavenly Father, I tend to get anxious and uptight when I’m expected to do things I’m uncomfortable doing.  I need Your timer to make sure these cookies do not get burned.  If I don’t have it, I could easily get distracted – especially when I put in the last batch.  I’m not sure why I always burn the last batch, except to say I do get tired by then.  I lose interest and if I don’t have a timer to remind me to get them out of the oven, pretty soon the smoke alarm does that job!  So, Lord please keep me focused on the task at hand.  I want my spiritual chocolate chip cookies to be pleasing to You!  Thank You in advance for helping me.  In Jesus’ Holy and matchless name I pray, Amen.

As we pray more and stress less, God will help us be our spiritual best!  His love has no limit and He wants to help us succeed in life.  We know that He has a place already prepared for His own in Heaven – so He’s seen to it that we are taken care of in the afterlife as well.  What is there to be anxious or upset about?  🙂

Seek Him

The last thing a Christian woman wants to be is unequally yoked.  No…  not an egg yolk, silly!  Yoked…  hooked together.  Till death do you part can seem like a life sentence in San Quentin if you’re pulling the wagon with the wrong partner!

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  – 2 Corinthians 6:14

I didn’t learn this until I was older, but now I know – as long as I keep my hand in God’s hand, He will set me on a joyous journey and my path will be straight.  The first time I saw this quote, I literally cried – it’s so true.  When I was younger and immature, I didn’t think about this at all.  Back then, I can’t say my heart was hidden in God – so there’s the first problem, eh?

How can a non-Christian man understand a Christian woman?  He can’t.  He may try, but all of his suggestions and solutions would be gleaned from the world, not from God’s Word.  Prayer?  He would not be a man of prayer.  Where does his strength come from?  If not from God, then from the Wall Street Journal, I guess.  Most Christian couples pray together, so…  that leaves you alone to pray – by yourself.  Soon you would feel resentment at having to bear the spiritual burden alone.

He could be of a similar mind to you in every other sense and still not make the cut.  He could vote a straight political ticket, be a non-smoker, go to the gym three days a week, drive a car made in America (wait – are there any cars made in America anymore?) – anyway – unless he is a believer in Christ Jesus…  nope – sorry – he would not be the man for a Christian woman.

If two Christian people can just come together and look to the cross of Christ Jesus – together.  Show devotion to Him – together.  Praise Him – together.  Seek His face and His grace in prayer – together.  Then…  they are equally yoked and the wagon’s pulled without one partner feeling strained or resentful toward the other.

Christians are not perfect people…  we embrace grace – God’s wonderful, amazing grace!  It’s as simple as that.  We need a life partner who wants that same thing in life.  We wilt and die without it – marriages end when God is not invited in.

If a woman will keep her heart hidden in God – the right man will know he needs to find God before he can get to know her.  Two people yoked together should be looking in the same direction – that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  🙂

 

New Soul

I want a new soul – a soul that is more kind, more compassionate, and more obedient to God.  The opinion that others have of me pales compared to the opinion that God has of me.  I want to hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant – enter into your rest.”

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?  – Matthew 16:26

What good is a new year, a new beginning, if we don’t have a change?  Consider that the change does not have to be physical.  Yes, that’s what we see in each other – but what about a change of soul?  I know you probably don’t think much about your soul…  that invisible part of you; but what if I told you it’s well worth taking some time this year to ask your Heavenly Father what He would like to see changed in you.  There’s always room for improvement – in all of us!

A new soul…  a heart and mind like that of Christ Jesus, our Lord!  What does that look like?  It looks like moving forward in truth and right living, at whatever pace you can.  It looks like doing your very best in the face of difficulties that could slow you down.

Since New Year’s Day I’ve read and heard so many people teaching us how to be successful either financially or in our appearance.  It’s amazing how often we see these articles or hear these advertisements – but we don’t see or hear anyone emphasizing the importance of maintaining a happy and healthy soul.  Is any amount of money worth losing your soul?  Can a person lose all the weight they need to lose and still have an unhealthy soul?  Of course!

There is not a job, profession, time not spent in prayer, time not spent reading your Bible – that is worth it!  There are a gazillion ways to be successful here on earth, but be careful – because some of those methods involve the exchange of your soul.  I know, you are rolling your eyes and calling me crazy – but I’m right.

I know this is really long…  but take some time and take a look at this:

Oh I really like this!  

There is one way to be successful as God’s child.  Read your Bible and pray.  Does that mean you can’t have the best of both worlds?  According to God’s Word, it’s nearly impossible for a RICH man to make it to Heaven.  It likens a camel going through the eye of a needle.  Have you ever seen a camel go through the eye of a needle?  Yeah…  neither have I.  

Once we dedicate our lives to the cause of Christ, our priorities change.  We are not interested in the same things as those who are only after earthly successes.  We want different outcomes in life.  That’s why Christians are sometimes said to live IN the world without being a part OF the world.

The soul may be the most quiet part of you, but it’s not good to ignore what your soul needs.  Your soul longs for Christ and His love, peace and merciful salvation.  Let His amazing grace be your goal in this new year!

I invite you to take a look at this sermon on Philippians 2 from Darick Jones.  I worked with his mom, Pam, for several years.  Darick makes some good points here and I know I plan to glean and grow – hope you will too.  🙂

http://www.fbcclearwater.org/sermons-2/

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  God bless you – and thank you so much for reading my blog and following it.  How will you bring the New Year in?  How will you welcome 2018?

I think making resolutions is alright; however, there is far too much pressure put on a person, don’t you think?  I mean, how long is this list going to be?  If I’ve smoked for 30 years and I resolve to quit this year – then add to that a resolution that I’ll lose 30 pounds (all in one day, right?) – and oh, don’t forget, we need to pay off ALL our debt this year (that’s done in one day too, I’m sure.) 

I don’t dig the resolution thing because to resolve to stop every bad habit you’ve had for most of your life…  ugh – not so much.  It’s too much pressure.

Here’s another idea.  How about choosing ONE WORD that describes the attribute you most want to ask God to increase in your life this year?  I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting some possible WORDS you may want to embrace and pray to have enhanced in 2018.

I have a facebook friend who lives in the U.K. (don’t you love facebook???) – we chatted about this very subject a few days ago.  In her country, they have organized gatherings for senior citizens, which I think is a very good idea!  Social interaction is so vital to mental sharpness and let’s face it – we’re so much happier when we have friends and meet with them on a regular basis.  I told her in the U.S. we have things like The Red Hat Society, but I was not aware of a country-wide organized social gathering for seniors.  Compassion like Christ had – it extended to all people of all ages!  All people need the love of God, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  ❤

I get uncomfortable when I feel as though I’m losing control.  Is that human nature?  I don’t know – probably.  Giving your ALL to the Lord is not easy, and it’s never done just one time.  At least, in my life it’s never been done just one time.  It’s a daily commitment to hand everything to God.  It doesn’t matter how large the issue is, or how small…  hand it to God.  Give it to Him and trust Him with it.  Surrender to Him – and be obedient to Him.  He really does know best.  ❤

LOL – I was just fighting with my laptop (stupid thing!) – somehow, the screen got small and I couldn’t get the cursor to the place you click to make it regular size again.  Now, I ask you…  why would they put the icon over there where you can’t even reach it when you need it?  I think elves make these things – not rational elves either.  Anyhoo – I try to have more patience with human beings than I do with electronics.  Maybe we all need to pray for more patience in the coming year; and we will be careful to give God the glory for times when patience wins!  We really are nothing without Him.  ❤

I won’t lie – 2017 was one rough year for me!  I won’t bore you with the details.  My poor facebook friends have been subjected to the deets every step of the way.  Suffice to say…  I was stuck in bed with a bad back for about seven months!  It’s a humbling experience.  I would see the ads for Laser Spine Institute and just cry and cry!  I wanted to get my back “fixed” so desperately!  I’d struggled with sciatica for decades!  I finally had surgery on November 8th of this year.  But God is good because it was not a traditional surgery – it was the less invasive surgery with the less than 1″ incision.  That was the kind I prayed I could get!  That’s the kind they advertise on TV.  But my insurance would not have covered the procedure at Laser Spine Institute.  They covered it – the very same type of procedure – here in Kansas!  It’s a God thing – and I praise Him for His faithfulness to me!

I no longer have that shooting pain going down my leg!  It went away immediately – and once my incision healed and my back stopped having spasms, I was back to normal!  I’m still on restriction – can’t lift more than 10 pounds, no bending and I can’t dance the Twist yet…  but I can walk with no pain!  I walk now – so much and so far – you wanna know why?  Well, silly…  because I CAN!  During this time, my sweet friend Diane sent me this very special angel.  She is so beautiful!  She is in my “she shack” (it’s like a man cave, only for women).  She shines brightly and reminds me that there is always HOPE no matter what!  Thank you, Diane, for your kindness to me!  ❤

I’m reminded of an old hymn (hey, I was a church pianist for 50+ years, give me a break!)  The words say, “Faith is the VICTORY that overcomes the world.”  Victory is not attached to our circumstances – we are victorious no matter what!  Why?  Because we have FAITH which produces VICTORY and our faith is in Christ – and what did He do?  He overcame the world!!!  Past tense – it’s a done deal!!!  All we have to do is ACCEPT His gift!  Accept the sacrifice He made on Calvary so long ago for all mankind.  ❤

When my mama was here, I always talked with her, either on the phone or in person.  I couldn’t imagine a day without her.  Of course, I’ve been forced to embrace or at least accept a new normal since her death in 2004.  The really cool part about talking with the Lord every day is that – He’s not going to leave or die or whatever.  I know that God’s there, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  We talk nearly every day, and we talk about big stuff and small stuff.  He just wants me to keep Him in the loop, so to speak.  Just as my parent wanted to hear from her daughter every day, my Heavenly Father wants to have a conversation with me every day.  May we all seek His face every day in 2018.  ❤

I believe that there are times when God will allow a rough patch in our lives in order to make us more grateful for our lives when they are better again.  He doesn’t lead us around bad things, He holds our hand and leads us right through them!  It’s easier to be grateful when everything is going well and we don’t feel pain.  I’m the first to admit that… but I’ll also proclaim that there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  I remember when I was lying in bed back in April 2017 – and I heard a robin sing.  I remember thinking, “Lord, if I was busy somewhere else, I probably would not have noticed that bird singing.”  I thanked God for the serenade from that robin!  It had been a very long, quiet winter – and when you finally hear a bird sing, there is a sudden rush of HOPE that pours over you.  ❤

Years ago I was invited to a lecture about communication in marriage.  I wasn’t thrilled about going because quite frankly, I had just gotten divorced and didn’t think the subject applied to me.  I thought I’d walk into this church and there would be lovey dovey couples sitting all over the place.  Does that seem like an environment I’d be happy in at that time?  Exactly.  I was like, “OK, let’s get this over with…”

I should have recognized that God was preparing me for the next chapter of my life.  I could not believe the wealth of knowledge I gleaned from that lecture!  It was awesome and well worth the time it took from my life.  It actually changed my life.  And I really didn’t see that many couples there – and as the evening progressed, I frankly didn’t notice because I was paying attention to the lecture.

I learned that listening is the most important job in conversation.  Listen – and use body language to show the other person that they have your undivided attention!  Lean forward and make eye contact.  Really listen…  wow.  You mean I can’t just start jabbering and expect the other person to do all the listening?  I was shocked!

That night changed my prayer life as well – I do less talking and sometimes I don’t talk at all.  I just focus on the Lord – lean forward and make eye contact (oh, I wish) – but I always want to incline my ear toward Him.  Always. 

Here on planet earth, we restore all sorts of things!  In an effort to recycle things, we save them and love them back into usefulness!  What an accomplished feeling we have when something old and rusty looks showroom new again!  Cyber high-five to all the restorers reading this post today!

The best restorer of all is our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!  He suffered and died on a cruel cross on Mount Calvary so that our sorry souls could be restored – saved for eternity!  That’s a big deal!  He loves us so much!  ❤

In 2018, I want to be more obedient to God and His Word.  Of course, to do that, I actually have to delve into His Word, the Bible.  Since I’m not really a creature of habit – some days I’m an early bird and catch the worm and other days I stay up and am a night owl.  Depending on which mode I’m in, I’ll either do devotions in the morning or at night.  I don’t think the Lord really cares when we make time to be with Him – He just wants us to make time for Him.  ❤

I think we get GRACE & MERCY confused sometimes.  It’s really okay because it’s all good stuff – but it’s also good to know the difference.

God’s GRACE is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God that we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.

God’s MERCY is His loving compassion for us.  He doesn’t give us what we deserve, but He gives us what He wants to give us – His love.

See how close and intertwined they are?  No wonder we get them a little muddled once in a while.  ❤

I want God to forgive me of my sins – well duh…  of course I do!  But He says I have to forgive others their sins against me.  That’s the deal, so I have to forgive – no matter how much a person hurts me, I have no choice but to forgive.  And you know what?  Frankly, to carry a grudge around on your shoulders is really stupid!  They’re going merrily on their way, living their life – and they’ve forgotten all about it – and you.  So…  ditch that heavy grudge and forgive – but some things you won’t forget – and shouldn’t.  There are lessons we learn in those situations.  You want to keep the lesson, just in case you get in a similar situation again.  Therein lies the wisdom…  keep the wisdom from the situation.  Forgive the person – ditch the grudge – keep the lesson and the wisdom.  Works for me!  ❤

I want to end with this lovely poem by Lucinda Berry Hill.  It sums up what we’re talking about – making this year better in every way than last year.

We all need God’s help to learn to take the high ground instead of jumping in the mud hole with others.  May we bring a blessing to each other in 2018.  ❤

I know this was a really LONG post…  they’ll get shorter, I promise!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!  Be safe and responsible tonight!  God Bless You! 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s been a rough week…  physically and mentally exhausting!  We recently changed internet providers and have been unable to have the secondary account (that would be my account) added.  The account with our previous carrier has been suspended since the Friday before Labor Day.  I’ve been without access for a few weeks.  I think I’m experiencing a form of internet withdrawal.  Is there a support group for that?  I don’t think so, but I may start one!

Last Thursday a tech from our new provider came to set up our security system.  I asked if he thought he may be able to help me get that secondary account set up so I can get on the internet train once again.  He proceeded to tell me that he recently graduated from college with a degree in computer – and my countenance brightened immediately!  Hope renewed, I pointed out my sad little laptop and told him to have at it.

He asked if I had a Gmail account and I said I did (thinking that I definitely did NOT remember my password!)  He got my computer to use google chrome instead of internet explorer – and left the google logo where you search – displayed.  So…  I have a google logo where there once was Cafe Mahjong!  Is this progress?  Well…  maybe.

I was disappointed and a little angry.  They guy left and I’m still up a creek without a password.  I was actually shaking and I cried a little bit.  Does that help?  NO!  I calmed down some and went back upstairs, believing I’d play Bejeweled 2 for the rest of the evening.  Once I had calmed down, I looked at this passage of Scripture.  The words WISE, WISDOM, BOAST and KINDNESS, JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS jumped out at me.

Have you ever just got real with God?  I mean – at the end of yourself – at the end of whatever boasts you hear from others who claim to have the ability to help – at the end of it all?  I prayed that God would just calm my anxious thoughts, dry my tears and bring alternatives to my mind.  If God is ready and willing to do anything for us, it is to impress us with alternatives!   We serve a God with so many ways of solving problems – any problem!  

God told me to talk to Lucinda.  He often tells me to talk with her!  Did I do that right away?  No – because Linda pride gets in the way…  I sat and argued and asked God to just tell me what I should do – He said NOPE – you need to talk to Lucinda.  So…  I got on facebook and shared my frustration.  She made it all better when she said – CAN YOU SET UP ANOTHER ACCOUNT?

Well – suddenly it was ALL BETTER!  I didn’t have to remember the password – or click on “forgot password” knowing that I didn’t have a working email address for them to send a code to!  I’ll just start all over again!  The weight of the world was lifted and I thanked God for such a good friend (even though right now I’m pretty sure she’s laughing through tears!)  It pays to trust God’s way of problem solving instead of trusting your own wisdom – or your college degree.

When we know God, we will not be stranded without the tools we need to solve problems.  Sometimes, the tools He uses is a friend – so don’t be too proud to be obedient when God tells you to seek assistance from a friend.  We need to remember – friends who are true friends will understand!  Friends are KIND.  Lucinda has always gone above and beyond for me.  I’m so thankful that God let our paths cross.  I’m cryin’ again, girl.  ❤

We really are here to help each other – the body of Christ.  Don’t let pride keep you from being obedient to God – and get the help you need in the bargain.  I hope and pray I’m as good a friend to Lucinda as she’s been to me.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

No matter how little you’re able to do, you can pray.  Pray for what, you ask.  I’m glad you asked.  Suppose an ambulance zoomed by your house.  Would you pray for the person or persons who are in crisis?  It’s important that we are tuned in to the activity around us because God wants us to care for others, even if we don’t know their names.  He knows their names and that’s all that matters.

Kindness is no virtue, but a common duty.   – Frederick Greenwood

Have you ever felt God prompting you to make a phone call to a friend?  Do you tell Him you’ll do it later?  Chances are your friend needs to hear your voice right then… so don’t put it off.  Pick up the phone and call.

Sometimes things happen in the world – and we feel so helpless, wondering what we can do to make things better.  When God gives me words to write – words of encouragement – I try to get them jotted down immediately.  Our words have meaning, and they have the power to make a change.  Inject the super power of God, and they will surely make a difference!

Be an obedient and observant child of God in your corner of the world.  There are so many people going through life wearing blinders.  They see the road in front of them, knowing only where they are headed – not concerned about anyone else along the way.  How sad! 

I often think of Shirley Temple, the bubbly, curly-headed blonde who took audiences to happy places, away from their bleak reality.  Christians should do for a hopeless world what Shirley Temple did for a generation of people living through the depression era.  If you are a Christian and you sit on the Gospel of Christ like it’s a special little secret just for you and a select few, then shame on you!  Shirley’s mom used a special word to turn on her little girl’s charm – that word was SPARKLE.  When Shirley heard her mom say that – she knew it was time to give it her all.  Does God need to come down here and whisper in your ear?  Do we need to hear the Almighty say SPARKLE to us today?

Let’s say He’s done that…  now do good, be kind, and SPARKLE for the Lord!  🙂