A SUMMER OF PSALMS

This portion of Scripture came to mind a few years ago when my husband and I were catching a very early flight out of Wichita.  We aren’t frequent flyers, so we’re not acquainted with all the new rules and procedures that are in place since 9/11.  I understand the need for it, but it doesn’t make me want to fly on a regular basis by any means.

For people who know the Lord, this portion of Scripture brings comfort and assurance.  I could see where some could be a little freaked out by it – but regardless of which group you’re in, you must admit…  God knows where you are – all the time.  You can’t run from Him and you certainly can’t hide from Him.

I’m thankful for God’s guidance and His strength and support, particularly as I’m getting older and my strength is not what it used to be.  I love the Lord because His way of doing things is so much more creative than any ideas I come up with…  every time!   His way is always best and He never disappoints me!  

Have you ever been trying to figure out how to resolve an issue and as you pray about it, God just reveals the perfect answer to you?  I have!  It’s a moment when you want to sing praises to Him while doing a little happy dance!  I’m so glad His hand guides me – I welcome that guidance throughout my life.  I need His wisdom, strength, and support on a daily basis!

This is so beautiful – I have to share it with you!  Speaking of doing a little happy dance:

I wish there was a way for me to move this from YouTube up to my big screen TV so I could join them and do this praise workout!  I used to find Christian workout videos here in America – but I haven’t seen any for a long time.  😦

His strength will support us!  I think there are times we doubt that, particularly when we have weak days.  So many conditions can sap us of energy, can’t they?  Regardless of how we feel, we need to know by faith that our weakness is not the end of the story.  With humility, we cry out to God, and His strength takes over…  and aren’t we thankful for it?

Lucinda Berry Hill has written a perfect poem for this Psalm:

I’m reminded of an old song by Steven Curtis Chapman.  His Strength is Perfect.  🙂

What can Christ do through you?  I don’t know, but don’t doubt that His strength is perfect when your strength is gone.  He’s amazing in our lives!  🙂

Always Remember

Well, it’s day number 7 of 2018 – how’s it going?  My new year is fantastic!  I went in for my final appointment with the surgeon – and I got cut loose!  I’m officially mobile and getting into trouble again on a regular basis.  It’s great to be up and going again!

God wants us to know that no matter what circumstances we face, He will be by our side, take our hand and guide us through it.  There are no endings while we rely on the Lord to lead us down the pathway.  There are only endings when we decide to let go of His hand and give up.

10-11 This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.  – Jeremiah 29:10-11

Have faith in God – you know He has come through in the past – so of course, He will make a way now.  He didn’t bring you this far to leave you alone!  I love the part of this Scripture that says, “I’ll SHOW UP and TAKE CARE OF YOU AS I PROMISED AND BRING YOU BACK HOME.”  I also love the reminder that He knows what He’s doing!  I sure do need to be reminded of that once in a while.

I love this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Our God keeps every promise He makes to us.  We know our joy is not dependent on our circumstances – but it hinges on our faith in the One who is worthy!  Thou art worthy, oh Lord!  

Don’t let the enemy of your soul steal your joy because you’re focused on circumstances instead of keeping your spiritual eyes open with your physical eyes studying God’s precious Word.  It’s through His Word and the time we spend with Him in prayer that keeps us filled with His joy, hope, peace and love.  Trust your relationship with Jesus, and the sovereignty of God.

Isn’t she wonderful and encouraging?  I hope and pray we all have a wonderful 2018, and that the sovereign God that we put our trust in no matter what – will bless us beyond measure in our lives.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Something special happens in Kansas in April… it rains – buckets!  I love the rain, but could easily live without the severe weather alerts.  What if I knew there was a big green cloud coming toward my house and it was definitely going to hail.  Would it make sense to get my car out of the garage and drive somewhere?  Um…  no!  That would probably be the dumbest thing I could do, wouldn’t it?  If you see a big green cloud on the horizon – you leave the car in the garage and ride the storm out – hail and all.

How many people read this portion of Scripture without taking God’s words to heart, following His commands, or even trying to take steps to live the abundant life God wants them to live?  They back the car out and drive straight toward the big green hail cloud.  Seriously?  I shake my head in disbelief when I hear them ask why things aren’t working out.  Common horse sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden.  God wants us to have sound judgment in life, based on His principles.

When I was a kid and for whatever reason made a mistake more than one time, my dad used to say, “Buy ya books, and buy ya books…”  In other words – I didn’t learn the first time – or the second time – and he hopes that I’ll read the instructions or the directions before I mess up yet again.  God wants us to read the instructions – the basic instructions before leaving earth…  the B.I.B.L.E.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say that there’s no instruction manual on how to live life.  What do people think the Bible is?  What do they think it was written for – or who it was written for?  Our loving Heavenly Father gave us an outline – a guide – a map to follow.  Yes, the path is narrow, but we have the best Guide ever!  God left us His Holy Spirit when Jesus ascended into Heaven – He didn’t just leave us to muddle our way through life.

I also hear people say there is not an instruction manual for parents – well…  again, I’d say God’s Word is helpful in parenting.  There’s not a part of life that the Bible will not help us navigate successfully.  We have to want God’s help and guidance though – God did not make robots, but human beings with free will.  It must be our choice to seek His will for our lives.

When you walk through puddles while it’s raining, will you put rain gear on – or just get your street clothes soaking wet?  Inviting God’s Holy Spirit to help us is like adding protection to your life so it won’t get wet and fall apart.  He can renew and restore faith and is more than willing to hear every prayer we whisper – long ones, short ones – and those two-syllable prayers that go something like this:  HELP ME!  We’ve all said that one.

We read our Father’s basic instructions before leaving earth…  and we know He has a wonderful plan for us if we will trust Him with our lives.  Commit God’s Word to memory so that you know it and don’t forget it or turn away from it.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Great is HIS faithfulness!  Strength, hope and happiness are all from His loving hands.  Best of all…  He gave us pardon from all sin!

Most parents want the very best for their children.  As much as they want to do for them – and be for them, you can imagine how much more our Heavenly Father wants for His children!  If we understand God as a loving, kind, and protective Father, then we understand that He always has our best interest in mind.  That’s why sometimes we are forged in fire – it’s also why sometimes we feel a warm Heavenly embrace.  He knows whether we need to be kicked – or kissed.  Tribulation works patience, and patience will work experience, and experience a hope that leaves me unashamed.

God is merciful to us.  He’s patient when others would give up.  His mercies are new every single morning.  Each day begins a clean slate – and aren’t we thankful?  I can think of a lot of days I’d like to forget forever – days when I was less than stellar and more dense than I imagined I ever could be.  I’m just so human sometimes.  But God loves me and He helps me regain the courage I lose.  My best is what He requires – His best is what I’m so thankful for.

We can rest in God’s faithfulness.  We can rely on God’s guidance.  We can always know that tomorrow is a new day…  filled with brand new mercies from our Heavenly Father. 

It occurred to me that this passage says that God’s love is STEADFAST – it could have just said that God loves us – but it didn’t.  God’s love is described as steadfast.  Would you describe human love that way?  No, me neither.  God’s not going anywhere – His love is with you to stay – you can bet on it.

Tomorrow will be filled with brand new possibilities, new goals to meet and God’s blessings to boot!  Wake up, get up, make up and share God’s best with everyone you meet!  I know you can do it!  God’s got this!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

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

proverbs-3-56

This is one of my favorite Proverbs because it reminds me that I serve a God who can be trusted completely.  When we lean on God and His wisdom when we need to make good choices, His power when we feel so powerless, and His goodness when we feel as though nobody in our lives is good to us, it teaches us how to fully rest in Him.

trust-for-straight-pathsGod’s promises never fail and His provision is complete.  If we need direction in life, we know God is faithful to guide us in the best direction.  He wants to help us in our daily life and keep us from harm.  We don’t know the future, but our Heavenly Father does, and wants to guide and bless our journey along the way.

While some may put confidence in physical strength, wealth, or friendships, children of God know that these things can disappear.  Acknowledge His sovereignty, His wisdom, power and goodness, being careful to praise and glorify His name.  In return, God will direct our steps.  That is how we stay safe and happy in life.

We read the phrase “my son” in the book of Proverbs.  It’s like the father offering wise advice to the son.  There are uncertainties in the young son’s future, and the father just wants to save the son from learning lessons the hard way.  Of course, the son is getting bad advice in his other ear from his worldly friends – so the dad is diligent about emphasizing the importance of making wise choices in life.

By yielding the decisions of life to God, the son is saved from heartache.  He’s encouraged to trust in God with all his heart – and give God all his heart, not withholding any area of his life from the Lord.

It’s not okay to just forsake a few things that are unwise – make good choices across the board and please your God.  He wants your whole heart.  Be humble enough to understand that you are not wise enough to be your own guide.  God cares about us and our welfare.  He knows that life is challenging sometimes, but He can be trusted to guide us in the right direction and face every challenge that comes along.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety is something that many people struggle with – including me.  I’m not particularly depressed, but I have a black belt in anxiety.  God tells us what to do when we begin to have irrational thoughts and feel pressure as thoughts of the future seem to overwhelm us in the present.  We need to pray – be thankful to God and tell Him what we need.  If we will do that, He has promised to give us peace – the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.  It’s a peace that will guard our hearts and our minds in Christ Jesus.2

I’m not boasting, but my doctor has asked me for years if I want some medication for anxiety – but I have said no.  I’m going to do what Dr. Jesus prescribes.  He has seen me through and has never let me down.  I want my heart to be less stressed, less worried, less overwhelmed and less uncertain about the future.  I want a healthy happy heart that prays and is thankful for the present.  God’s Holy Spirit is the present in my present.  He’s in control of today and tomorrow.  Yesterday doesn’t matter – it’s over.  No amount of thinking or praying, for that matter – can affect yesterday.

I’m also going to cut myself some slack about my anxiety issues.  I was reminded today that everyone has some degree of anxiety about the future – it’s a very human condition.  While I know the answer to anxiety is definitely prayer, I also realize I’m human – so human.  3

So…  I’m going to make a real effort to focus on RIGHT NOW.  Dr. Jesus says to lean on Him and not on my understanding.  He already knows about tomorrow and doesn’t think it’s necessary for me to know about future events.  I’ll tell you…  right now – I’m in a warm house with a computer that works.  I’m paying my bills on time and drinking a hot cup of coffee.  I’m saying a prayer of thanks to God…  I thank Him for right now.  He is good.  He’s always been so good to me.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (26)

1
Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.  – Psalm 27:14
Wow…  WAIT???  Huh, that brings to mind my favorite word – PATIENCE.  Ugh…  sets my teeth on edge.  I’m not big on patience and I don’t like to wait for anything.  Does anyone like to wait?  We don’t have to wait for much these days.  I mean, we can shop in our jammies, so…  seriously – we’ve gotten to the point where it’s pretty much instant whatever you want.  And when I say shop in our jammies, I’m not talking about the new socially acceptable dress code at the local Walmart.  I’m referring to online shopping in the privacy of my own  home.
We’re not only to wait, but we are to be STRONG and TAKE HEART and wait.  That sounds like multi-tasking to me.  Isn’t it good enough to just wait?  Must I be strong while I wait – and take heart?  Sigh – I have to have a good attitude and wait.  This may be too much to ask of me.  Does God have a reason for the specificity in this passage?  Yes – because if we wait but have a bad attitude, we will most likely miss the big picture.  Waiting and being strong and taking heart…  will assure that we will be better people as we look back.  Once we receive what we are waiting for from God…  and if we’ve had the right attitude – faith increases and that translates into more confidence in what GOD can do in our lives!
Sometimes the strength within you is not a big firey flame for all to see; it is just a tiny spark that whispers ever so softly, ‘You got this.  Keep going.’  – Linda Lou
That inner strength is God’s Holy Spirit.  He’s the One who encourages us as we wait for His best blessings in our lives.  A strong heart that gives and shows love to others and prays, expecting God’s best with a good attitude…  it’s what I want for 2017!
If you had to choose an animal that is strong and loving – what animal would it be?  I’d have to say it’s a DOG.  So I guess one of my goals this year is to be more like a dog.  Yep.  Pretty much.  Patient, strong, loving and loyal.  I always want God’s Holy Spirit with me, helping me every day.  🙂

TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA

TL 7-1 THROUGH 7-10 TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA13578954_1779017349009394_92059644_nChristians know that they are only strong as long as they take the time to kneel…  in prayer to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.  We believe that the time we take to pray is the most important time spent in our day.  Would you try to drive your car out-of-state after it’s dinged at you to let you know it needs fuel?  Um…  nope.  You’d pull into a gas station and fill ‘er up!  Prayer is spiritual fuel for our souls.  It is essential for our spiritual wellbeing.  God wants to hear from us and He looks forward to hearing from us on a daily basis – for me it’s like a pray without ceasing thing…  moment by moment.  It’s how I roll…

God sees how the wheels are coming off our world.  He is also in control, so America, we need to stand as a united front to the rest of the world, and the world needs to see that we are strong and our strength comes from God.  The one true God.  There’s only one.

Let’s pray for peace and healing in America:

Dear Heavenly Father,  We acknowledge You in all our ways and humbly ask for healing and peace in America.  There is division like we’ve never seen before, but we know that You are watching and You are more than able to work on our behalf and heal our hurting land.  We know that in this life we will probably not all hold hands and sing Kum-ba-ya, but we pray that somehow You would show us how to combine Republican ideology with Democratic ideology so that somewhere we can find some real middle ground and common sense solutions to the issues we need to fix in our country.  We need Your wisdom, Your Word, and Your will to be done in our lives individually so that it will be done in our nation.  Help us to begin to heal instead of fighting more.  Please Lord, grant us Your peace and Your love in America.  Make us the people You want us to be and guide us as we remember the golden rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Help us to treat everyone with dignity and respect even if we disagree with them about other issues.  We want to show genuine and sincere concern for our neighbors regardless.  We can only do this perfectly with Your help everyday.  May we learn well how to sharpen iron in this journey called life.  We ask these things in the altogether lovely Name of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior, Amen.

landscape-1053346_1280 (1)hand-846092_1920hills-960126_1920hands-578917_1920hot-air-ballooning-436442_1920letters-709651_1920More peace, less war.  More love, less hate.  More healing, less hurting.  More unity, less division.  Yes, Lord, yes!  🙂

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

TL NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

AMERICA NEEDS YOU LORD

We have a day set aside in the fall to humble ourselves and give thanks for all our blessings – it’s called Thanksgiving.  But as life progresses beyond fall and we begin to shovel snow, we hang on to that feeling through Christmas as we celebrate the reason for our faith.  But winter passes and springtime comes along.  Ah – here comes Easter when we celebrate the last week of our Lord’s life, His death and resurrection.  Then we don’t have a major reminder to be grateful again for a while.  We do have another day that reminds us to be thankful for what God has done in our lives – and it’s also a day to pray for our country, for our government on federal, state and local levels.  The spring observance was established by President Harry S. Truman in 1952 as the National Day of Prayer.

I believe since this is an election year, I will take this opportunity to pray for the process.  It’s been different, to say the least.  It’s been predictable in some ways, yet there have been a few surprises.  If you enjoy following politics, it’s not been business as usual.  I wouldn’t say it’s rigged, but I’d say it’s important to understand rules that have been the same from the beginning.

The most important thing to remember is that no matter who the president is, Jesus Christ is still LORD!

On that note, let’s pray:

Our Father in heaven, we come before You today, acknowledging You as our Creator. You are the God of Abraham, Jacob, and Isaac, the One who established Your chosen people and through whom You gave Your Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ. You established the promised land of Israel and demonstrated time and time again that if Your people sought You, worshipped You, and obeyed You, that You would bless them with guidance, provision, and protection. But that if they turned away, then You would remove Your hand and allow judgment.

Lord, we also acknowledge that just as Israel was dedicated to You at it’s founding, that another country years later would also seek Your blessing and dedicate themselves and their land to You. The first president of these United States of America, on the day of his inauguration sought Your hand, Your guidance, and Your blessing on our new country, and the people prayed and celebrated in agreement.

In the following years, Lord, You did more for us than we deserved. You blessed us with military strength, economic strength, with inventions, medical discoveries, academic achievement and national prosperity. You lifted us up to lead the world as we proclaimed that our blessings came from You and that “In God We Trust”. Our constitution acknowledges You as our Creator and our founding fathers noted that our people should never be led without Your Word.

But as You blessed us, we eventually became prideful in our success, believing that it was also by our own hands that our nation was elevated, and that You owed us blessings and protection. In time a generation rose that became calloused toward You, Oh God, and we chose our own prideful logic above Your truth, abandoning You in our schools and ignoring You in our courts. Yet, You showed patience and mercy, and called out “Return to Me, America. Return to Me.”

But instead we embraced our sin, claiming we were Lord over ourselves. We abandoned You by giving credit to the creation of our world to astronomical chance, and began throwing out Your moral boundaries for our selfish pleasure. We oversaturated our hearts and minds on immoral entertainment until our conscience was seared, and began shedding the innocent blood of our unborn children who were an inconvenience to our lives. Yet You kept calling, “Repent, America. Repent and return to Me!”

But we responded that, “We’ve done no wrong.” And we justified our sin as our right and liberty. We chased money, physical pleasure, and the belief that we are entitled to what we do not deserve. And now we stand on the precipice of redefining what You have already called “sacred” for a definition of our own.

Lord, what You call wicked, we now call good. And we’ve now begun persecuting those that proclaim Your truth. You’ve sent warnings, allowing breaches in our security, and instability in our economy. You’ve allowed drought to begin touching our land, and civil unrest in our cities.

Lord, even the people who claim to still acknowledge You have become apathetic and complacent in our comfort. Our worship has been lukewarm and our prayers passionless. We shake our heads in shame as our nation weakens around us, instead of repenting of our apathy and inaction. Where are the people of God? Where are those that still cry out to You with broken and contrite hearts?

Lord, we deserve judgment. We deserve Your wrath, for we have sinned and sinned greatly. And we know that Your judgment starts in the house of God. Our righteousness is as filthy rags, and our hypocrisy as a cancer in our land. But we cry out to You, Lord! We have nowhere else to look but You! There is no other answer. Man cannot redeem us. Remember Your mercy! Remember Your compassion!  Break our hearts, Oh, God! Help us to love what You love, and to hate what You hate. Give us the courage to call sin what it is, and to define our lives by Your truth. Remind us of Your love for us, and call us to repentance. May every heart that knows You as Lord seek You this day! May we grieve over our sin this day; that You might show us mercy and forgiveness.

Lord, for those that heed Your words, and repent with open hearts, restore us to You. And unify those that love You. Raise up a generation that seeks You and worships You with their whole heart. Raise up a generation that is not ashamed of the gospel, and that hates to be lukewarm. Grant them faith, love, and courage to live according to Your Word, and to pray with power and to act with conviction.  Raise up leaders, Lord, who will not compromise when under pressure, or abandon You for the approval of men. Raise them up, Lord, that they may call upon Your name, and confess Jesus Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Break up the hard soil in our hearts, Lord, that You may take joy in our worship of You, and bless us again. Call us to holiness, that we would once again be the light of the world and draw all men to You. Awaken us, Lord! Rekindle our fire, and stir our hearts. We confess our sins, and we seek Your face.  Forgive us, Lord God, that we can again proclaim, “Great is Thy Faithfulness”.

We ask for Your forgiveness and cleansing. We pray against those who reject Your truth. Turn their hearts to You or confound their logic. But don’t let wickedness take our land. Don’t let them succeed. Stand in their way, Lord. For America is Yours! And like Israel, may she remain undivided and in Your care. Keep our bond strong with Israel, Lord, and our leaders loyal. Or remove them from office. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. We pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior, Amen.

– Alex Kendrick

May God bless America – and may His people continue to bless Him!  🙂

BUILD A BETTER TRADE SHOW IMAGE WEEK

TL FEBRUARY 21-27 BUILD A BETTER TRADE SHOW IMAGE WEEKFor better or for worse, image matters in all things!  The image we see with our eyes translates to developing an opinion in our brain – we like, we dislike – and that translates into the decision to either want to buy a product based on looks, or not.

Today is my dad’s birthday.  Happy Birthday in heaven, dad!2-21 BUILDING BLOCKS OF DESTINY

I was thinking about all the lessons he taught me – and the importance of appearance is one of the most crucial lessons I learned.  After I graduated high school in 1979, my dad set me up with a job “staging” homes to sell.  Daddy was a talented trim carpenter in Wichita and worked for several popular builders in our area in the 1970’s and 1980’s.  Anyone with a house built in that time period probably has cabinetry that was handmade by my dad.  Ironically – the house I currently live in has pre-fabricated cabinetry and is in no way special.  😦

I’ve heard so many women make comments as they tour a staged house – they say something like, “Oh I wish my house looked this nice and clean.”  I have to laugh when I hear it because once a family moves into the house – the level of perfection automatically lowers!  If you have to live in a house, you’re not going to keep the plastic on the carpet – you’re not going to leave all the staged silk flowers where they’ve been placed because think about it – the stuff you need to store or have on hand set there instead!  A staged house is not occupied, so it’s lacking life and vitality!  I’d rather see a house that looks like it’s lived in, wouldn’t you?

Working with amazing designers and staging experts, I learned how color and texture and in some cases even the smell of freshly baked bread make impressions on people interested in purchasing a house.  One of the realtors actually brought dough with her to bake in the oven!  Triggers are different for everyone.  Some folks are turned on by sound, so we always tried to have soft music playing.  It was so soft that you barely noticed it – but it was there.  And remember, back in the late 1970’s, the big thing was intercom systems!  We liked the idea that we could push a button in the room we’re in to talk with the rest of the family instead of yelling across the house.  Those intercom systems also played music throughout the house.  I’d be curious to know if they still work today.  New construction does not offer intercom systems.  That was definitely a late 70’s, early 80’s thing.

Appealing to the senses is what marketing is all about.  Trip the trigger – make the sale.  Cha-ching! 

Sometimes I wish I had pursued that line of work because I’ve always been drawn to design, staging, and making a living space “speak” to people.  It’s important to do the same kind of “speaking” at trade shows.  Even a little touch like having a bowl of free candy available can help draw them to your booth.  The rest is up to you.  Sell your product.  Let them know why their life will be lacking without it.

Just as my dad added special extras to every set of cabinets he made, I try to add extra to my design projects or photographs so the eye is drawn to whatever I want to be noticed.  Image improvement can apply to all areas of life – personal and professional.

What can you do to build a better trade show image???  It depends on what type of product you’re selling, of course.  There are creative ways to draw a crowd and then wow them.  Don’t be afraid to try new things because when it comes down to it, it’s all about trial and error.  If you don’t try, you won’t know.  It might work!  🙂