FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Today I have roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot.  There’s nothing like anticipating a wonderful, warm home-cooked meal.  It takes several hours to cook on low, but it’s so worth the wait.  The meat is always so tender, and the vegetables are done just right!  I know it’s going to taste so good!  It will be done in its own time and I can’t rush it – and wouldn’t even if I could.

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat. ~Fran Lebowitz

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good!  I love the Lord because He keeps His promises!  If we will put our trust in Him, He will fill our life with blessings!  My cup of blessings overflows!  He gives me so much more than I deserve; but He blesses as He sees fit, not when I read off my laundry list of needs and wants.  God is not a vending machine.

God is not a cosmic bell boy for whom we can press a button to get things done. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

I have so much to be thankful for.  If I started a list, I doubt it would be completed the same day.  I’d be typing on that list this time tomorrow!  As long as I keep trusting God with my life, He will pour out blessings on my life.  To be blessed is to find favor with God.  Some people think that a blessing is something you wish on someone else, like when a person sneezes and you say, “God Bless You!”  I suppose it is that, but how sad if a person thinks that’s all a blessing is!

According to good ol’ Webster, a blessing is a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.  When we place our faith and trust in God, we can expect blessings in our lives!  This is a promise of God – and God cannot lie – and He will not break His promises.

As we place our trust in God, He blesses us and we are happy!  In the bargain, we receive the Father’s joy, love, peace, and wisdom!  Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me!  As a matter of fact, it sounds better than the roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot!  Only two more hours to go!  🙂

 

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

If I read one more article or series of articles about how to be happy, I’ll go cross-eyed permanently.  Every writer on planet earth thinks they know the “secret” of happiness.  Here’s my take on all that…  first, it is not a secret!  It’s in the Bible for all to see, if they’ll take a moment to read it.  Second, it’s not a mystery, this thing called happiness.  God wants to help us be happy.  So, relax in the LORD and you most certainly can be happy.  It’s not difficult – it’s not as complicated as people want to make it.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the conduit, the go-between, the bridge, between fallen man and perfect God.  Through Christ, we can have a wonderful relationship with Almighty God (isn’t that a humbling thought?)  Believe it because it’s absolutely true!  Accept the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved and your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever.  It’s not written with disappearing ink.

There is joy in this life and real happiness, hope, and peace of mind and spirit.  Having said all that, I should add that this does not guarantee a life that is free of trials and tribulations.  This happiness the Bible speaks of is not magical.  In this life, we all have a set of challenges.  The great advantage Christians have is the Lord Himself!  He is in our corner as we’re fighting in the ring.  He has everything we need to fight the good fight!

There are some really tough circumstances in this journey called life, aren’t there?  I watched my mother accept a folded flag at my father’s funeral and didn’t think I’d ever seen a lower point in life; however, I could find joy and peace even in that situation because I knew my father was safe in the arms of Jesus and not in pain anymore.  I also knew that my mother was leaning on those same strong arms for her solace.  We hurt – oh, for sure; but, we knew that God through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit would be with us while we mourned.

I clung to the Lord when my mother passed away fifteen years later.  There are people who say that my faith is nothing but a crutch, but guess what?  I could name some real crutches in this world, and my faith is not one of them.  To trust a loving and forgiving God Who will never change His mind about anything – a God on Whom I can depend brings me comfort!  Things change at a rapid pace in this ol’ world (and it seems they change faster as we get older) – but my God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I love that about Him! 

I find great assurance and stability in the notion that I don’t have to chase after the latest fad or gadget that the rest of the world has to have.  I’m less than impressed with the rich and famous, and in fact, I usually feel sorry for them.  To have your entire being wrapped up in things is very sad.  I know that happiness has nothing to do with owning the biggest and best toy.  Everything in this world is going to decay and turn to dust.  Everybody in this world will die and do the same.  Your relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit is the only path to true happiness.  It is no secret what God can do!  Oh, that should be the title of a really great song!  Wink – I know, it already is!  Silly me.  🙂

 

 

 

Father May I?

Prayer is a conversation with our Heavenly Father.  It’s not as complicated as some folks want to make it.  We speak, God listens, He speaks, we hopefully listen.  Prayer is a way we reinforce truth in our hearts and souls.  It’s how we practice our faith…  we put feet – actionreinforcement, to our faith.  What if we had parents, but we were never allowed to interact with them?  Never allowed to talk, laugh, even argue with them?  That would not be much of a relationship, would it?

The best way to give Satan a black eye is to start praying to God in Jesus’ name!  Satan cannot read your mind – remember that when you pray.  If you can possibly think your prayers, it’s best.  Satan can’t get a foothold on a prayer that is from your mind to God’s heart.  He could possibly get a foothold on one said aloud.  If the devil doesn’t know what you’re thinking – he can’t possibly come up with a counter measure!  Spiritual warfare is a real thing – and it starts with humility before the Lord, with sincere heartfelt prayers.

This portion of Scripture tells us to pray in Jesus’ name.  That’s why we always tag our prayers with that phrase.  I remember being asked to pray aloud once in teen group – and I forgot to say “In Jesus’ name” at the end of my prayer.  I was given a tongue lashing by the teen leader afterward.  I still get scared when someone asks me to pray aloud – and if it happens to be a pastor asking me to pray – it’s worse yet and I probably won’t do it.  We really must be careful when dealing with young people as we teach them.  They are so vulnerable and the smallest thing can affect them for the rest of their lives.  Encourage young people…  they’re doing their best and we should love them for that.  Correct them in private – not in front of the rest of the class.

If we ask anything in Jesus’ name He will do it so it will glorify the Father.  So, asking God to give me a dozen donuts in Jesus’ name is probably a bad idea.  I can’t imagine that it would glorify the Father for that prayer to be answered.  God already knows what we want, but more importantly, He knows what we need!  He knows best, but He still wants us to ask.  He wants to hear from us because He loves us so much!  Remember that prayer isn’t about getting what we want.  Prayer is about getting to know God.

When I started writing the Heart Hunger Blog, I weighed a whopping 220 pounds and had a horrible food addiction.  A friend in my group, “A Second Helping of Wellness… with a Dash of Humor & a Pinch of Faith”, told me about how her husband lost 100 pounds when he embraced a low-carb lifestyle.  So many people ask me why I called this blog HEART HUNGER and the answer is really pretty simple.  There’s a God-shaped place in every heart, and nothing but GOD fits there.  We try to put all sorts of things in that place, but they don’t fit!  God is the piece that fits in the God-shaped place.

During the month of May, as we ask “Father, May I?”, I want to imagine we are baking a batch of spiritual cookies.  We already know that cookies are little carb bombs, so eating real ones would not be a good idea if we want to watch our weight, right?  So – these spiritual cookies we bake need not only special ingredients, but they need to be made with special utensils from God.

I want to use a good brand of flour for my spiritual cookies because it’s the flour that holds everything together.  I also want to use a Holy Ghost sifter to discern the words I hear and know truth from lies in this life.

Dear Lord, We’re asking “Father, May I?” this month.  We want to bake the best batch of spiritual cookies we can.  Please bless our hearts and minds with Your flour of strength so everything will hold together when it seems to be crumbling.  When we experience doubt or confusion, help us to send everything we hear through Your special sifter of discernment and read the ultimate cook book, Your Holy Word, The Bible, to make sure what we are hearing in the world is in line with what You want for us.  When we ask for anything in Your name, we know if it’s within Your will, You want us to have good things.  As we sift the flour, may we please hear from You?  We need to hear from You!  It’s in Jesus’ precious and Holy name we pray, Amen.

I love spiritual cookies.  There are no calories, no carbs, no weight gain and no guilt.  There is happiness, joy, love, freedom and peace.  🙂

 

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/

LUKE 6:27-28 ON 6/27 & 6/28

TL 6-27 & 6-28 LUKE 6-27&28

 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.  – Luke 6:27-28

Do you have enemies?  Do some people hate you?  Does anyone curse you?  Have you ever been despitefully used?  What is the natural response to any of these situations?  Fighting, backbiting, back stabbing, blackballing, revenge – wrapped up in a lot of emotional baggage including anger, sadness, feelings of rejection and hurt – big time hurt.

Doesn’t the natural response to this sound…  well – draining?  It sounds like it would take a huge toll on you not only physically, but emotionally and mentally as well.  God wants us to love enemies, do good to the ones who hate us, bless the ones who curse us and pray for the ones who despitefully use us.  God’s way is the best way.  He wants us to give it all to HIM and let it go.  Put it in His capable hands because He is able to deal with a person’s heart and soul.  He can discern motives and speak to them without interjecting emotions into the mix.  The sooner we turn those individuals over to God and pour all sorts of good out on them (which, trust me, will confuse them – it’s funny to watch), the sooner we will be free on all levels – physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally.  Freedom is what our faith is all about – and forgiveness.  You can’t experience God’s freedom without forgiveness.  Once we make a practice of handing all of that stuff over to God, we’ll find true happiness in our journey! 

THE BAGGAGE CARRIERGod is so smart – He wants to help us through life by carrying our burdens for us.  I’d definitely call a person who hates me a burden, wouldn’t you?  God knows that not everyone in life is going to be a fan of ours – or His.  Sometimes we make enemies because of our faith in God through Christ.  Sometimes we are hated because of our way of life, morals and values.  Our beliefs are not popular, to say the least…  some people don’t understand where we’re coming from.  We really don’t want to make that misunderstanding even worse by reacting to them in a way that doesn’t please our Lord, do we?  It’s not easy, but we need to remember that through Christ, we can do anything!  We won’t get it right every time, but God really wants us to do our very best.  🙂

 

EASTER

TL 3-27 EASTER

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right…
– Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”

JOY

HALLELUJAH!!!  Herein lies the HOPE of every Christian on earth!  Jesus was raised from the dead by God and now sits at His right hand.  When He ascended into Heaven, He left His precious Holy Spirit to help us navigate this tricky life.  That’s the GOOD NEWS of Christianity – but guess what?  The news gets better…  that same Jesus that died for our sins, was buried and raised by God the Father will one day soon be told to come back to earth to snatch His own so we can live eternally in Heaven with Him!

What a surprise we got today when we found EASTER SNOW on the ground.  I had to write a new poem!

A LOVELY EASTER SNOWAnd here’s an old poem about the cutest little Easter bonnet ever!  EASTER BONNET

There is not one negative fact for me to report, therefore, I have no reason to be anything but positive!  God is love…  God sent Christ to be love incarnate…  Christ willingly gave His very life because He loves us… God raised Christ from the grave and He LIVES!!!  That same Jesus IS coming from the eastern sky one day soon to take us home forever.  So, make an Easter bonnet from a paper plate, a strand of ribbon and assorted baubles.  Apply a bit of lipstick and blush (coordinating colors with your Sunday best, of course) – and BE JOYOUS!  The outward appearance is not the most important part – but the JOY of the LORD flowing from within is essential.  😉EGGS OF LIFEI asked a pastor once what the difference is between happiness and joy.  He said that happiness is dependent on external conditions or situations and joy is not.  For example, if it’s payday and the sun is shining and I haven’t had problems with my co-workers, I could very well be happy, but not necessarily filled with joy.  A deeper, more meaningful and constant state of mind and spirit is joy – the JOY of the LORD from God’s Holy Spirit, to be precise.  Whether skies are sunny or stormy, this deep settled peace and joy from Him keep me floating on faith.  Sails of grace, mercy, love and hope on God’s vessel are enough.  Just enough.  That knowledge makes me joyful.

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.   – Henry Knox Sherrill

Spiritual power…  indeed.  Let’s take that power from God with us into the world.  HALLELUJAH!!!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35friday-706915_1280Since today is Friday, I thought it would be fun to show you some FRIDAY FACES.  If you have to ask what a Friday Face is, then you obviously have not had to endure a job you hated for a long time.  A Friday Face is that look of pure joy that washes over you when you realize that you have finally completed a week and will have two days all to yourself to do what you really enjoy doing. 

There are many weekend warriors out there – I have been in the ranks in my life.  For the most part I enjoyed my work, but there were a couple of jobs that I didn’t think I’d survive – yet with God’s help, I did.BEAUTIFYING WITH THE TEENAGER

Happiness really is an inside job!  We have choices to enjoy the ones we live with or spend time fussing with them.  I choose to enjoy my loved ones because life is just way too short (so am I, but we’ll save that subject for another post).

Here’s my FRIDAY FACE!  WHAT CAN MAN DO TO MEHere’s my FRIDAY FACE!  Bring on the weekend…  I’m sleepin’ in!BE AT REST ONCE MORELOL…  a different Friday in a different year.  🙂  Spa days are so much fun!!!

girl-453096_1920She’s just a little ready for the weekend…  I’d say so!chipmunk-pig-1182230_1920I can dig the pig in the tote…  say that five times fast… LOL!!!

feet-767045_1920During the week he wears shined shoes with an expensive suit and tie.  This weekend he will put on hiking boots and work off some stress on a familiar trail that seems to be calling his name.  This is the man he really is, not the stuffed shirt people see during the week.  By Monday he will be ready to do what they pay him to do, but he won’t think about that until Sunday night.  He’s a good man and does what he has to do to take care of his family – but he dreams of a time in life when he can live in the hiking boots and walk the trail anytime he wants to seek adventure outdoors.girl-102829_1920

She works in a flower shop all week inside a local grocery store.  Every Friday she puts a freshly cut flower in her hair, thanks God for seeing her through yet again and leaves the store with a big grin on her face, knowing that she has the weekend to recharge her batteries so she can get up on Monday morning and do it all over again.

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

Yes I know there are so many things on your mind right now.  The election and other assorted divisive issues have all of us feeling a burden like never before.  But for today – just for this one Friday…  I want to let it go – give it all to GOD – and bask in the blessings from God – on this day and in this weekend.

If you want to be happy, be.  – Leo Tolstoy

Marian’s photo reminded me that we need to take moments with our family members – and laugh – and take selfies to post on facebook!  YES!!!

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.  – Isaiah 55:9

God gave us these marvelous people to weather life’s storms with – and it’s not that we are in denial of what is happening around us, but rather it is an awakening of sorts, a realization that our family and friends – they are our blessings…  God’s wonderful gift to us.  Have a blessed and happy Friday!  Enjoy the weekend!  🙂