A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

I’m the first to admit that winter is not my favorite season.  Some of my friends think it’s the bees knees, but no – not me.  I’m simply tickled to see spring peeking around the corner, although here in Kansas we had a remarkably mild winter.  I’m not complaining! 

There’s nothing like that first time in the garden in spring!  Gardening just makes one feel so close to nature and more alive somehow, doesn’t it?  This portion of Scripture is not talking about literal gardening though – it’s talking about spiritual gardening.

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Who’s doing the planting?  All of us, as God’s children, need to be scattering “seed” – that is, sharing our faith, at every given opportunity.  It seems when I hear the word WITNESSING, my knees begin to buckle – but if I’m told to share my faith – that’s really more natural and makes me more comfortable.  Just tell your story – that’s about it.  I was blind – but now I see.  That is scattering seed.  It’s not complicated – but so often we make it so.

Once seed is planted…  who waters them?  Well, God sends the right people along to do that.  It could be any of us, really.  Again, watering seed is like sowing it – you just keep sharing your faith and be there to answer questions, read Scripture, and pray with folks.  Sometimes you share and get a door slammed in your face.  That’s okay because you did what you’re supposed to do.  If someone’s not ready, you’ve still planted a seed.  I might add, this is a big reason we should do our best to avoid being a stumbling block to those who are still on the fence.  We have to be so careful – we don’t want anything we say or do to be the reason someone does not come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  I don’t have to remind you what God said about those who are stumbling blocks, do I?  No – that’s for another blog post.grow

Do we make the seeds grow?  NO WAY!  I can’t save anyone – this blog can’t save anyone.  Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ…  that can save everyone!!!  I pray it does.  How different our interactions with one another would be if we were all more kind, gracious, and sweet.  It would be so beautiful if every seed would flourish.  🙂

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NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER & REMEMBRANCE

TL 9-9 THRU 9-11 NATIONAL DAYS OF PRAYER & REMEMBRANCELet’s pray:

Dear Heavenly Father,
The Bible tells us that You understand what our hearts feel even when we are not able to utter the words that make sense.  We trust that You hear our heavy hearts right now.  We’ve made strides to move on with our lives because we don’t have a choice but to do so, but our country will never be the same.  We lost a little of our ability to trust others.  We lost much of our innocence to be sure.  The impact of that day will be a part of who we are as a nation until the day You return to take Your own to Heaven.  We continue to pray for healing on all levels for the ones who were there that day.  Please keep Your mighty hand on the ones who lost loved ones.  We know that’s a pain that never ceases, even with the passing of time.  Bless the first responders, good Samaritans and those able to lend a hand that day.  We long for real peace more now than ever before.  Lord, please heal our land and restore America as only You can.  Help us to humble ourselves before You and seek Your face as a nation.  We ask all of this in the matchless name of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, Amen.

Where to go from here?  We remember…  we pray for those who will grieve losses.  But at some point, we count the crosses along with the gifts we’re given by God.  Lucinda reminds us to Count and Grow.COUNT AND GROW

WE THANK YOU FOR THATIt isn’t easy to be thankful to God when you feel such deep pain and loss, but once you begin to thank Him for the little things…  I guess I should say, the seemingly little things, as they are not – things like waking up, being able to get out of bed, your next breath…  if you can consider that it’s God making all these things possible – and start praising Him for these things…  it’s a start to finding a new normal in your life.  Lucinda writes, “When it is beyond us, You get the glory.”  So, we know that our loss is beyond our control, but when we start to be thankful for things in our own life, God gets the glory.

We can’t do a day by ourselves but we lean on God for help.  And we thank Him for that!  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

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Friends come,
Friends go,
But a true friend is there to watch you grow.  – Florence

I LOVE how God brings people together!  Christian friends have one best friend – Jesus.  Our Lord allows our paths to cross and great things happen!  Once you tell the Lord you will live your life for Him – and He brings others who have committed their lives to Him as well into your life – it is so cool.

I love it when collaboration mixes with divine inspiration to bring information to  the entire nation… I do – I really really do!!!  – Linda Palmer

What happens when we say YES to the Lord?  Doors open that would not have opened.  We grow in ways we could never imagine.  The more of God’s family I connect with, the better it gets.  I’ve had opportunities to help authors and artists and photographers who seek to honor God.  I’m tickled to be a helper – I really am!

I love the body of Christ.  We lift and encourage one another.  We see the best in each other and serve with the best we have to offer because we understand that what we do is not for men, but for God.  We don’t seek to please people – we seek to please God.

A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP

We are friends…  with creatures but also with other people.  Jesus is our best friend and our friendships center around Him.  People who believe that Christianity is just a religion really don’t understand the depth of our faith.  Love is the reason we do what we do and are what we are – the love of God through His Son, Jesus.

 Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to God for a faith lift.  – Author Unknown

It’s true iron sharpening when you have Christian friends.  When Christ is in the center and we leave the good times, the bad times and the in-between times with Him.  No judgments and no lectures – we just pray for one another.  We leave it all at the cross – and forgive.  🙂

 

MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION DAY

TL 1-2 MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION DAY

 

1-2 WHAT MAKES YOU

What we do online, and who we follow…  will say more about us than we could ever think to tell our shrinks.  Today, Freud would be a big data analyst, consuming all we post online as a proxy for our dreams.  – Mark Cuban

Today is MOTIVATION AND INSPIRATION DAY!!!  So let’s get busy making plans and setting goals to improve our lives.  What do you want to accomplish this year?  What changes would you like to make?  The only thing holding you back is the thought that you can not succeed.  It’s only a thought – a negative voice inside your head.  The first thing we need to do is ask God to diminish that voice and replace it with His comforting, encouraging voice!  God loves you and wants nothing but good things for you!  He wants you to succeed and will help every step of the way!

Much like setting a GPS before a road trip, we carefully, prayerfully and humbly map out a route for success.  If you already write in a journal, you will be familiar with this process.  If you don’t keep a journal, you might want to consider making it part of the planning process.  There is a sort of honesty in personal writing that comes to the surface.  It’s not for publication – but daily notes for your eyes only – and God’s eyes too, of course.

I find myself listing goals in my journal – but they are not general statements.  I’m specific about everything in my journal because I know I’m the only one who will see what I’ve written.  These resolutions, once written, remind me of the true desires of my heart – the deep conversations I’ve had with God.  Instead of writing “I want to lose weight”, I say “I will ride my recumbent bike for 30 minutes and walk on my treadmill for 30 minutes, 5 days a week”.  By being specific, and asking God to help me keep those goals before me, I’m much more likely to stick with it – and see results!

Some may disagree with this statement (and that’s okay), but I can’t look too far into the future.  I have so much weight to lose, I can’t even imagine myself with it all gone.  I’ve been obese since the early 1980’s, so this weight has been on me for a good long while.  It seems to like me very much.  I have to pick one small, short-term goal for NOW.  Once that goal is met, I reward myself (a non-food reward, such as a chair massage or facial or something).  I have to take baby steps.  In the past I’ve tried to knock myself out – and end up injuring myself in the long run – unable to do any physical activity.  This time it will be different.

Goals are dreams with deadlines.  – Diana Scharf Hunt

When you plan a journey, there are often strict timelines such as flight times, show times and check-in times at hotels.  The same is true on this trip.  Deadlines are motivating, and setting a strict timeline fights procrastination.  In the past, I’ve been the queen of procrastination.  I can sit and think about exercising – and by the time I get done with my writing and posting and socializing via the internet, it’s too late to exercise.  I’ve written in my journal for 2015, and I declare to you this day, I will take better care of myself than I have in the past.  I will relax and drink my coffee in the morning, but then I will exercise because in order to be healthy, this weight has to go!  I know you all support my decision because you care about me.  Thank you for backing me up.

My mother and I were riding a trolley on a Saturday morning in West Philadelphia.  I told her how much my first-grade teacher Miss Invernessy loved me, boasting that I was the teacher’s pet.  I didn’t know that Miss Invernessy’s own mother was riding behind us.  She heard everything.  On Monday, Miss Invernessy kept me after class.  After she told me, to my total humiliation, what her mother had overheard, I expected her to scold me for my hubris.  She said, “The important thing is that you work for yourself, not for my approval.  If you feel that doing well matters to you, you become your most loyal fan as well as your most severe critic.”  – Judith Rodin, PhD

You wouldn’t take an extended trip without first carefully packing a suitcase.  So what will you pack in your suitcase for this trip through 2015?  I plan to pack some healthy recipes and discard the less healthy ones.  I plan to surround myself with more encouraging people through online resources such as Fit 2 me, positive facebook groups and Christian resources.  I plan to respect my body more than ever and nourish it instead of punishing it.  I plan to carry optimism and laughter and toss aside depression and tears, in Jesus’ Name!

Write every day – about what?  Write a prayer to God and pour out your heart to Him.  Tell Him how you feel and what you believe needs to change in your life.  Trust that He hears and will answer your plea.  Remember that He has a marvelous plan for your life and wants only good things for you.  He wants to walk through this year with you!

Here’s some motivation, inspiration and real beauty for the New Year!  The Grand Canyon is covered in snow!

Some days may not seem good, but we can’t get stronger without those not so good days.  We grow and build character through them and become better prepared for the future.  Some people say I am a character…  hmm…  is that the same thing???  😉

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Lucinda’s second book in the “Coffee with Jesus” series is out!   To get your copy, click on the link below:

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx

 

 

MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY

TL 12-31 MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY

12-31 WHEN YOUR MIND'S MADE UP

Today we observe MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY.  A favorite Bible verse popped to mind:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  – Joshua 24:15

A man I used to work with made it a point to buy a brand-new Corvette every year.   His track record with relationships was dismal (I’m being kind) and it was a way of proving to everyone (including himself) that he was worth something.  He spent very little on any sort of social life and had been jilted by women because he was very self-centered, shallow and afraid to commit.  I had a few brief conversations with him about life, love and faith.  I still pray that he will accept Christ into his life and let Him make life brighter and more meaningful.

I’m responsible for my decisions and my actions.  Quite frankly, that is enough responsibility and some days it seems like more than I can handle.  I plant seeds about life, love and faith because a life directed supernaturally is in good hands.  Love from Christ is love that will last and will never fail.  Faith in God through Christ will always be enough to see you through.  It’s the kind of faith that will see you all the way through to heaven!  I plant – but it’s up to God to make that seed grow!

So make up your mind.  I’m reminded of a song!  Here’s your earworm for today – you’re welcome!

Once you let God’s love and His Word guide you in life, the things that once seemed so important take a back seat to other priorities.  Your focus changes completely because you begin to care about the things that God cares about instead of the things that society puts emphasis on.  It’s freedom that you can’t possibly understand until you experience it for yourself.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to begin a relationship with Jesus in 2015?  There’s no time like the present to accept HIS presence in your life!  It’s not difficult – just ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.  Accept His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.  You know, He would have died if you were the only one on the earth!  He loves you.  ❤

Well…  I’ll be dancing around the living room singing this song while I’m dusting…  I’ve got my mind made up…  😀

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

KINDERGARTEN DAY

TL 4-21 KINDERGARTEN DAY

 

There are many facets of wellness, from nutrition and positive attitude to daily exercise.  Today I want to explore wellness from a slightly different perspective.  When was the last time you – um…  played?

Yes, play – that’s what I said.  Think back.  You remember play, don’t you?  That activity you took for granted growing up and thought you would always carry with you.  Along with play comes a pleasant side effect that is sadly unfamiliar to many people – fun.

I recently located some of my friends from high school, and as I speak with them as adults, my mind goes right back to our high school days – and I remember some good times with them.  We’ve all slept a lot since high school and there is a lot of muddy water under that bridge, but it is nice to have those memories of carefree living (meaning we were not financially responsible) and a lot of fun along the way.

Perhaps I’m the least mature of all my friends, simply because I was not forced to grow up at any point in my life.  Yes, I got married and have to be mature in that relationship, but since I don’t have kids, I never had milestones to really remind me that time is ticking away.  I’m basically the same person I’ve always been.  

What’s that saying, “Growing up is mandatory but growing old is optional.” – ???  I don’t ever want to grow old.  I want to be one of those old ladies who amazes everyone because I can live quite independently for a very long time.  That’s the goal.  I want to keep my independence – even if I end up living alone one day.

I wouldn’t mind being alone, but I don’t ever want to be lonely.  The two are not the same.  You can be alone and not be lonely.  I cherish my solitude – I do!  The time I spend alone is time that is not wasted.  That is my time! 

Something happens to adults along the way.  We forget how to play and have fun.  I realize that most adults call that “vacation” or “camping” (ugh) or “boating” or “sports”.  Those things are fine and good – but I think we should try to do something fun every day.

I hear you saying, “I can’t afford to do something fun every day.”  You are obviously lacking imagination, my friend.  Fun does not have to cost money.  Fun is what happens when you allow play into your everyday life!

Now you’re asking, “OK, Linda – how do YOU play?”  Alright – I am more than ready with an answer to that question – thank you for asking!

I live near a lake.  Every morning when I get finished with devotionals and coffee, I take a small bowl of grain out to the lake and feed the ducks and geese.  I know a lot of people discourage that, but it is something I have done since we’ve lived here and I enjoy it.  That is my way of connecting with nature and having fun.  Yes, the grain costs money, but it’s a minimal cost.

There is one “duck couple” that comes around every morning and demands to be fed immediately!  If I happen to be running a little late, heaven forbid, mama duck comes right up to the bench where I’m sitting and lets out the loudest QUACK!  She will get my attention and get me motivated. 

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Harry & Matilda

When I get out to the lake, the little duck couple waddle up to me and mama duck acts so innocent, as if to say, “Oh, you heard a loud quack?  Hmm…  wonder who THAT could have been, ‘cuz it sure wasn’t me!”

I’m like, “Yeah, right!”

Don’t forget to let yourself be silly now and then.  Let your inner child go out and play!  Goofing off, even with a few close friends, can put them at ease as well.  And don’t forget to hug those friends!  Hugging helps you feel more calm and close to the people you are embracing.  It’s a definite mood enhancer and actually eases physical pain!  It’s a good thing!

Smile!  I know everyone says it – but if you smile it makes you release endorphins and helps you get over a funk if you’re in one.  Studies have shown that people who give genuine smiles have lower heart rates than those who maintain a neutral expression.

Have you ever sat in a park and watched children?  What is one common factor among all of them?  Other than the fact that they are all short and wearing the cutest clothing ever, they are probably jumping around – a lot!  Try to jump up and down a few times.  That will kick-start your silliness and surely put a smile on your face!  If you hurt yourself, you didn’t do it right. 

You might want to explain what it is you’re trying to accomplish if you do this around your friends.  Don’t just start jumping up and down without warning them.  They might think you choked on a piece of food or something.  You don’t want them to start doing the Heimlich maneuver on you if you don’t ‘xplain yourself, Lucy!

I invite you to find something fun to do every day!  It can be anything – use your imagination.  Remember, it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  It does, however, have to make you smile – maybe even make you laugh.  That will lower your blood pressure and help your overall wellness.

Speaking of play – today is KINDERGARTEN DAY!!!

Friedrich Froebel started the first Kindergarten in Germany way back in 1837. Mothers are still thanking him for freeing up 1/2 days for them and giving them a break from their 5 year-old children!