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 not the law of religion nor the principles of morality that define our highways and pathways to God; only by the Grace of God are we led and drawn, to God. It is His grace that conquers a multitude of flaws and in that grace, there is only favor. Favor is not achieved; favor is received. ― C. Joy Bell

The grace of God – THE UNMERITED FAVOR of God – is bestowed upon us like manna from Heaven.  As we pray and seek God’s will for our lives, He keeps blessing us with His matchless grace.  We don’t earn God’s grace – and couldn’t if we tried.  Praise God for His gifts in your life today!

And as grace is free, so is it sure. Nothing can change, or alter, or turn away sovereign grace.  – Alexander Whyte

In 1997, Philip Yancey, an American journalist and editor-at-large for Christianity Today, wrote a wonderful book called What’s So Amazing About Grace? which contends that people crave grace and that it’s central to the gospel of Christ.

As the book examines the role of grace in Christianity, it also states that many local churches have ignored grace, instead seeking to exterminate immorality.  It includes stories from the Bible as well as anecdotes from Yancey’s life.

If God’s people choose to ignore God’s grace and take on a more worldly view of sin, declaring that there is no sin – it’s a sad state of affairs indeed – and sinful in itself.  The fact is, we do sin, and we need God’s forgiveness and we’re dependent on the amazing, wonderful, miraculous GRACE of our Lord.

The most popular hymn of all time is AMAZING GRACE.  Why?  Well, I imagine that it’s because the grace of God – the unmerited favor from our Lord – brings a tear to the eye of every child of God.  We know what we deserve, yet God has chosen to bless us because He loves us so much.  As God gives His wonderful grace to us, we must be careful to give Him praise in return.

May God’s wonderful and amazing grace be with you today.  Aren’t we thankful for it?  Pass the Kleenex.    🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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“For David says of Him, ‘I SAW THE LORD ALWAYS IN MY PRESENCE;
FOR HE IS AT MY RIGHT HAND, SO THAT I WILL NOT BE SHAKEN.  ‘THEREFORE MY HEART WAS GLAD AND MY TONGUE EXULTED; MOREOVER MY FLESH ALSO WILL LIVE IN HOPE;  BECAUSE YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.  ‘YOU HAVE MADE KNOWN TO ME THE WAYS OF LIFE; YOU WILL MAKE ME FULL OF GLADNESS WITH YOUR PRESENCE.’  – Acts 2:25-28

Our focus today is on verse 26:

“Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue exulted; moreover my flesh also will live in hope;  – Acts 2:26

Is your heart glad and your tongue exulted???  Are you living in HOPE today?  If your answer is YES, let God know why.  So many times we know we have joy and hope from the Lord, but we forget to be grateful and thankful to God for it.

Praise God today for the blessings in your life.  The book of Acts is called that because it’s about the acts of the Apostles.  Part of putting feet to your faith is being honest with God in good times, bad times and everything in-between.

Are you living in the land of HOPE?  This sermon was preached in 2014 – but the meaning is still the same.  I HOPE it will be a blessing to you as it was to me.

Have you taken your life, and the fact that you have had the opportunity to live it a good long while – for granted?  Today’s post is a reminder to let God know you appreciate His blessings and that you acknowledge that it is HIS grace and mercy that has brought you this far.  He has a wonderful plan for your life – so live your life with renewed strength and courage.  God has good things in your future and mine.  Live in the land of HOPE because that is God’s will for you.  🙂

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

tl-2-14-valentines-day-2So many folks are lonely on Valentine’s Day.  Today’s post will be less about the romantic side and much more about the reality that – YES – GOD LOVES YOU!77-flavors

a-blessing-from-goda-gift-for-my-soula-piece-of-heavena-prince-for-gods-princessa-song-of-loveeveryday-rewardsfourteen-years-of-lovegod-sees-our-possibilitiesgods-grace-makes-strong-loveheartsjohn-3-16kiss-and-make-upkisses-from-heavenlive-like-youre-lovedmr-rightmy-valentine-to-godthankful-for-my-husbandthankful-for-my-wifethe-invitationthe-same-spirit

to-be-a-bridewithout-his-loveI hope the poetry today from Lucinda Berry Hill has been a great reminder that God really does love you.  He gives us the best gifts possible as we live our lives for Him.  God gives us friends, family and other people to love and care for.

God understands our prayers when they don’t make sense.  When all we can do is cry and mutter and sputter…  God gets that because He sees our heart and knows our intentions.  Why?  Because He loves us so much.

As God loves us, we are to love one another.  Husbands and wives pray for one another and protect one another.  Real love cannot exist apart from God – He’s in the center of every good relationship.

God not only sends special angels into our lives, but sometimes He even sends them back again if we forget to take notes the first time!  – Quoted in The Angels’ Little Instruction Book by Eileen Elias Freeman, 1994

Special angels???  Well…  sure – why not?  Billy Graham calls angels, “God’s secret agents” and we all need as much help as we can get, don’t we?  And yes, we should take notes the first time – but often we don’t, so they have to come back again.

God loves us, but sadly we don’t recognize some of the ways He shows His love toward us.  When was the last time you were driving and had a close call – nearly had a crash – but at the last second you stomped on the brake and everything turned out okay?  Did you thank God for that mercy, or did you congratulate yourself and pat yourself on the back for having such stellar ability behind the wheel?

When was the last time you were awakened by the song of a bird outside your window and thanked God that it was that instead of the blare of a train or a siren of some sort?  These little blessings often go completely unnoticed and God gets no credit or praise or even recognition for His attempt to show His love toward us.

Every blessing we receive regardless of the size is God’s way of showing His love toward us.  If we fail to show gratitude for the little things, surely we should not overlook the reason we are saved…  the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, God’s Son – on our behalf.  It’s only because of His death, burial and resurrection that we are able to make Heaven our home when this life is finished.  God has surely shown His marvelous love to us in big and small ways.  Happy Valentine’s Day. 🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I love You, O Lord, my strength.  – Psalm 18:1

I have pity on anyone who does not know God’s love.  Apart from God, there is no love because God IS love.  I get tickled when I read articles that say to keep the love alive in your relationship or marriage, you should do this or do that.  They never suggest such things as Bible study or prayer.  Heaven forbid that we should bond with the Maker of love as we bond with one another, eh?  ❤

This verse is short, simple and to the point.  David tells God that he loves Him and acknowledges Him as his strength.  Sometimes the shortest prayers we pray are the most important ones.  Short, sweet but complete is often best.  ❤

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  – Psalm 116:1-2

God created humans to have best friends – it’s as simple as that.  He wants us to have conversations with Him – lots of them!  Pray without ceasing – and no, that does not mean you spend your entire day knelt down in the living room – but there are days when you feel that need – and it’s okay if you do.  But most of us just think pray our way through the day.  Wow – did that rhyme or what?  ❤

It’s more of an attitude of prayer that goes with us as we live our lives each day.  The Lord does not mind if we multi-task, and He certainly welcomes it when we come to a place where we ask Him to help us through sticky parts – and what is sticky for one is not sticky for another.  We’re all different.  ❤

Don’t laugh at me…  but I say a prayer when I’m driving as I head for a 4-way stop.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do at a 4-way stop, but there’s 2 different kinds of people you meet without fail:

1) the person who doesn’t think they really have to stop – they do the rolling stop thing – like that’s all they have to do.

2) the person who stops and can’t seem to find the gas pedal to get going again.  I hate it when I start to go and they start to go at the same time and I’m like, “Dude, you had your chance and I got tired of waiting.”  It’s awkward squared.  ❤

So I pray, “Lord, please help this to go smoothly for me…  just help me get through this intersection without something awkward happening, please.”  ❤

This is one of my favorite poems by Lucinda.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They’re all my favorites!  I can’t choose…  but this one is really good and perfect for this topic.  ❤its-still-again

He wants to hear our prayers – even the dumb ones.  It’s part of true love.  When you’re really loved, you know the other person (or in this case, God) wants to hear from us – everything about what’s happening.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.  – Psalm 9:1

No, this is not November and it’s not a Thanksgiving post…  but – in 2017 I do want a thankful heart.  I will thank God – with my whole heart, and tell of all His wonderful deeds.  I hope and pray I have done that here on my blog every day.thankful

When I think of what I’m thankful for, it doesn’t seem to be a particular thing that comes to mind, but I am so thankful to God for finding me a family when my birth mother gave me up for adoption.  I could have been adopted by awful people, but God saw to it that I was placed in a very good family.  My parents raised me in church and taught me Christian values and morals.  I’m thankful for my upbringing.

A general sense of gratitude to God for the way my life has gone – that is how I’d describe it.  That’s what it means to have a grateful heart.  Have you given thought to what God has done in your life?  Have you thanked Him for it?

My friend Terri Boggs Rowe posted a poem she wrote on facebook.  She has graciously given me permission to share it with you on today’s post.

the-choice

I acknowledge God’s role in my life – He has seen to it that I was raised well – by God-fearing parents.  He’s protected me and for that I am so very thankful.

Lucinda is thankful for the way God answers.

thankful-for-the-way-god-answersA thankful heart is a happy heart.  I’m grateful for the way His plan works and for the way it continues to work for my good.  There is always ALWAYS  something to be thankful for.  We have no right to boast about any of the good we enjoy.  It’s only because of God’s grace we have all the good in our lives.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (22)How many times do we take everyday things for granted?  I know I do that way too often and I’m trying to do better.  My new diet has turned out to be more restrictive than I thought it would be.  I miss eating fruit because most fruit is extremely high in carbohydrates.  I recently typed in some of my favorites in a carb counter online – and my favorite fruit – apricots…  are only 4 grams of carbohydrates!fruit-808336_1920

I was so happy I did a happy dance all over the house!  Hopefully that burned a few calories – 😉

It sounds silly I know, but in my world it really was a pretty big deal.

Silent gratitude isn’t much use to anyone.   – G.B. Stern

On this journey I’ve also decided that turkey bacon doesn’t taste at all like bacon.  😦  It’s okay because I’ve started eating Canadian bacon!   It is a low-carb and low calorie choice and a serving size is 5 slices!  It’s so good on an English muffin with egg and low-fat cheese.breakfast-713112_1920

Some mornings I begin the day with a protein shake.  I found whey protein powder at Walmart in chocolate flavor.  It’s so simple and quick to fix – just put a cup of liquid (I use low-fat milk) in the blender and add a scoop of powder.  It’s not very cold at that point, so I add 2 ice cubes to make it nice and thick and cold.  It also gets rid of that protein powder smell that some folks can’t get past.  It’s like drinking a thick chocolate milkshake for breakfast.  I thought I might get tired of them, but so far I really have enjoyed them!shake-677437_1920 (1)

I’m going to the gym and it’s another big praise to God – I have not injured my leg or back!  Sometimes if I try to do exercise, I mess with the neuropathy (nerve damage) and end up worse off than I was before.  I’m happy to report I’m doing well so far!  I enjoy Planet Fitness so much because there are signs all over the place like NO JUDGMENT ZONE and NO CRITICS.  I’m thinking…  exactly!  We’re all here just trying to do better, right?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.   – Thornton Wilder

The scale is moving – ever so slowly…  but in the right direction.  I pray that my appointment to get my A1c checked again in July will reflect my lifestyle changes.  I’m especially thankful to God that apricots only have 4 grams of carbohydrate each!  YAY!  Thank You, Lord!  🙂