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.  🙂

 

MATTHEW 6:21 ON 6/21

TL 6-21 MATTHEW 6-21 ON 6-21

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

Some portions of Scripture require a bit of explanation, but others are fairly straightforward.  Today’s Scripture reminder is self-explanatory and wow…  so TRUE! 

A wise pastor once made a statement from the pulpit that has stayed in the back of my mind.  This was his reference Scripture.  After reading it, he looked up as though he was trying to decide whether to go ahead and say what he was thinking – and finally said, “If you want to know what is the most important to a person, take a look at their finances.”  You could have heard a pin drop in that sanctuary.  I know we were all thinking about where we had written checks that last week.

Obviously, we all wrote checks to pay for our normal bills – mortgage, vehicle payment, groceries, trash, electricity, gas, etc.  but there are those other expenses that are not needs – but wants…  those are the entries in our check registers that really tell the story of what means the most to us – and there were some folks who just had to say…  OUCH!

It’s not my place to check you and it’s not your place to check me – but it is God’s Holy Spirit’s job to point out where all of us could do better.  Where do you spend most of your treasure?  That is where your heart is – it’s what matters the most to you.

MAN’S TREASURE

from week 16 of the popular book COFFEE WITH JESUS by Lucinda Berry Hill

A man was working in a field.

He came upon a treasure.

He admired it for a while,

The value, beyond measure.

He hid it in the field again,

Impossible to find.

Then left for home for the night,

The treasure on his mind.

He started selling all he had:

His house, his car, his clothes.

He sold his favorite pastime pleasures.

He sold everything he owned.

His family warned him not to go;

They said they’d turn from him.

His friends said he’d lost his mind.

He said good-bye to them.

He took the cash that he’d earned,

Back to the field he went.

To buy the field with treasure hidden.

For him, the gift was meant.

He went inside the treasure,

Came out clean and pure.

His dirty ways, his ugly past

Were gone from him for sure.

The treasure gave him wisdom,

Strength, and comfort too.

It gave him peace he never had,

A joy he never knew.

If he had to do it all again,

Give up all he had around,

He’d sell it all, joyfully,

For God, His treasure found.

To purchase Lucinda’s book, COFFEE WITH JESUS, please visit her website:  http://www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com/

I would just challenge you to figure out what your wants are – and pray about where the things of God are ranked.  What you discover may surprise you.  It may be that changes need to take place, or you might decide that your treasure and your heart are already focused on God’s work.

Let’s take a look at the entire context of this portion of Scripture:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you is darkness, how great is that darkness! No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.  – Matthew 6:19-24

Who do you hate?  Who do you love?  What do you support with your treasure?  It matters to God.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (3)

I believe the book of James is probably the most difficult book in the Bible to read – not because the words are difficult to pronounce, and there are not any weird names to learn.  It’s difficult because it hits us right in the heart and mind.  The words are so clear – there is no room for misinterpretation, is there?  We get warm fuzzies when we read the book of Psalms, and we feel accomplished after we read through all the begets in some books – but James.  I read it and all I can say is…  OUCH!

The good news is, Jesus paid the price for all our sins long ago, and when I break God’s law (even the stuff found in the book of James), I have the privilege to ask almighty God through His Son, Jesus, to forgive me for my sins.  But I’m nobody special because the same opportunity is available to all who have accepted Christ Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior.

A LEAF IS A LEAF IS A LEAF (from Week 27 of “Coffee with Jesus”)

From a small bud

Grows a leaf.

It could be big.

It could be small.

It could be red, green or yellow.

But no matter what color,

Shape, or size it may be,

It is called a leaf.

 

It is the same with sin.

Whether it’s my sin,

Your sin,

Or the sin of a brother,

It is called sin.

We shouldn’t look at another

And think our sin isn’t as big;

Our sin is still our sin.

It is our wrong.  It is our debt.

It is our sin.

There is no sin too small

That doesn’t need confessed.

And there is no sin too big

That God can’t wash away.

 

Author Lucinda Berry Hill

www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com

There is not a sin worse than any other sin, although as humans we are tempted to say that one is worse than another.  The Ten Commandments are all equal and they all apply to us.  It’s easy to think of one as more or less significant, but in God’s eyes, they are really all the same.  And here’s a newsflash…  it’s not my job to keep track of your sins.  I know that may come as a shock – but nope…  really, I have enough on my plate just keeping up with my own transgressions.

When I offer to share my faith, it’s not because I think I’ve somehow “arrived” and you need to catch up with me (oh pleeeeeze)…  not even close.  I just want everyone to know Christ as their personal Savior and make heaven their home one day – that’s all.

Dear Lord, I am a sinner and I need Your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sin. You did what I could not do for myself, and in humility I accept Your gift of grace. Help me to live a life that is pleasing to You.  In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

As we’ve discussed in the past, nothing in this world is going to fill that place in your heart except the love of Christ – that hunger in your heart, or HEART HUNGER can only be filled by Him.

If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.  But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers.  For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.  For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.”  If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a law-breaker.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful.  Mercy triumphs over judgment!  – James 2:8–13

Today’s reminder is for all of us to show more MERCY and less JUDGMENT.  I need it, you need it, and I know with God’s help through Christ Jesus, we can do this.  When we show mercy to others, God is pleased and we sparkle and shine for Him!  🙂

JUST PRAY NO! WORLDWIDE WEEKEND OF PRAYER

TL 4-23 & 24 JUST PRAY NO! WORLDWIDE WEEKEND OF PRAYERPrayer:  A constant conversation between God and His people through God’s Son, Jesus Christ.  We humbly bow with particular needs on our hearts and minds concerning the United States of America.  We ask God to protect the unborn.  According to Hillary Clinton, the unborn have no RIGHTS under the constitution.  Aside from speaking to her moral fiber, or lack thereof, it begs the question, CAN the constitution ever be amended so that the unborn could have RIGHTS in America?  I don’t have the answer to that question.  I’m not a scholar or a constitutional expert by any means – I’m just a simple child of God who knows that murder is sin, and abortion is murder.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for giving me life.  I know that nothing destroys life more than abortion, yet I continue to rejoice in the fact that You have conquered death by the resurrection of Your Son, Christ Jesus.  I promise to do everything I can to end abortion and commit myself to speak up, write, and never be silent or passive on behalf of the unborn.  I will be active in the pro-life movement and never stop defending life.  Please lead America back to the values it once had, with You in the center of every decision made from the Whitehouse to the local courthouse.  We need to be a country that embraces liberty and justice – especially for our most innocent – the unborn!  May we speak up for them in good conscience because it pleases You.  Lord, through You may America make provision in the constitution that will protect the unborn so they will not be murdered anymore.  We thank You in advance for what You will do.  Help us to hang on to our faith because You perform all sorts of miracles every single day.

We pray this in the matchless name of Christ our Lord, Amen.

We pray for NO MORE HATE.  We pray for peace in our land, in our time.  We pray that God gives us everything we need to STAND UP TO THE WORLD.  While there is so much hate growing all around us, we keep praying and trusting that God will help us.STANDING UP TO THE WORLD

We know as the time gets closer for our Lord to return to earth for His own, things will get worse.  I know I sound very doom and gloom, and I don’t mean to be a downer.  Here’s the good news…  God’s children have a powerful ally in the Lord.  We have a tool called prayer, and it’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and for each other as we lean on Him to guide us down life’s winding narrow pathway.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

We all make choices in life, and with those choices come consequences – good or bad.  It’s interesting that on this day in 1933, Adolf Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany.  We all saw how that turned out – a very bad consequence – for everyone.

Hitler ruined that mustache for everybody. [I]t’s an interesting mustache, and now nobody can wear it…  – Larry David, Alec Berg, David Mandel, and Jeff Schaffer

Also on this day in 1948, Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated.  Such a peace-loving individual whose life influenced countless others – definitely a good consequence – for everyone.

Let’s make good choices in life that lead to good positive consequences.  You may think that what you do with your life is nobody’s business.  It’s only true to a certain extent.  A person who is determined to self-destruct almost never keeps their plan to themselves.  What you do with your life will eventually affect others in your family or your circle of friends.CHOOSE YOUR ROAD (2)

It’s interesting that there are almost no references or quotes from Hitler, but I see Gandhi quotes everywhere.  The world needs to be influenced by good, peace-loving people.  We want to hear what they have to say so that we are encouraged on our journey.

An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  – Mahatma Gandhi 

There are no common traits between Hitler and Gandhi except they both lived as men on this planet.  The compare portion of my essay would almost certainly be the shortest part of the paper.  They were born, they lived, and they died – one by his own hand because he was about to be found out and one much more innocent – at the hand of an assassin.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in an clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness.  Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.   – Mahatma Gandhi

Why are the guilty left to injure others and the innocent killed by assassins?  God has the answer – I sure don’t.  :-/

 

 

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

TL OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.  – Unknown

I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life.  This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome.  We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through.  I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life.  It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.

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SURVIVOR FIRE

Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT!  – Unknown

ME TOO

Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?

A:  Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends.  I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other.  I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.

Q:  Did he ever apologize after he hit you?

A:  Oh my gosh, no!

Q:  Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?

A:  My “long face”.  One time we were cleaning a machine shop.  I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.

Q:  Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?

A:  Absolutely!

Q:  Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?

A:  Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times.  He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river.  No body…  no crime.

Q:  You were away from family and friends.  Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?

A:  Yes.  He never actually told me I couldn’t.

Q:  Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?

A:  Nope.  I’d say my innocence, maybe.

Q:  In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?

A:  Yup!  Twice.  But I was trapped.  When I left, I went to my mom’s.

Q:  Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?

A:  Sort of.  One time he was in the area stalking me.  He left a present in my car while I was working.  I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge.  The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.

Q:  Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?

A:  Nope.  My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her.  We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one.  That’s how charming abusers can be.  No one would ever know.

Q:  What finally made you decide to get away?

A:  When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.

Q:  Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?

A:  Probably not much because he had me under his control.

Q:  Describe the day you escaped from him.

A:  I don’t remember the first time.  Isn’t that odd?  The second one, he was literally holding me hostage!  His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.

Q:  At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?

A:  Yup!  Because he ended up in jail!  I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.

Q:  What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?

A:  You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed!  He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life!  There is nothing out there in the world…  not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!

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Did you catch the common word throughout the interview?  I caught it as I was asking questions…  CONTROL.  It may begin with small things.  If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance.  If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally.  Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.

A couple should be a team – equal partners.  Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself.  When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.

We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony!  She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day!  We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.

HE MADE ME TOUGHER

I want to post a couple of websites for you today.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.wordoflifecounselingcenter.com/

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Paint your ring finger purple.
Paint your ring finger purple.

What can you do to help?

By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.

Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household.  🙂

 

LUKE 6:22 ON 6/22

TL LUKE 6 22 ON 6 22

Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man.  – Luke 6:22

Does it bother you to be excluded from the “popular” group?  Do you think co-workers or others in your class hate you, or at the very least misunderstand you?  Well – me too, but I want to encourage you and let you know that God is blessing you while the world turns its back on you.

When we trust Christ and accept His gospel, it means there is an automatic target painted on our backs.  We have to  keep the eternal perspective in mind and remember that God’s blessings on our lives is forever and the acceptance or rejection of other people – well, it’s temporary and means little or nothing in the grand scheme of things.

Really – sometimes when we are excluded from some activities – it’s nothing that we need to be engaged in to begin with.  God really does protect His children from harm and keeps us safe.  We have to lean more on Christ when we are feeling especially left out.  By the same token, we need to pray that God will provide a safe haven with like-minded friends where we can feel accepted and loved.

Why is church so important?  It’s almost like a support group of sorts, where we are not seen as the world often sees us.  Finding a group of believers where you can feel comfortable and at ease to speak your thoughts and beliefs means so much to Christians.

While we are not to spend all of our time hidden inside the church building with like-minded brothers and sisters, it’s good to have a soft place to land after we’ve done our best to share the good news of Christ with a world that does not even almost understand what we’re talking about.

At times, we will be hated and rejected in this world simply for what we believe.  We profess, preach, teach and believe the full gospel of Christ from beginning to end.  Our Messiah came in the flesh and was the Son of God according to His divine nature, yet the son of man according to His human nature.

He walked the earth doing miracles – doing good.  He suffered, bled and died on a cruel cross as the Lamb of God – the only worthy sacrifice for the sins of every man on earth.  By the power of God He arose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the Heavenly Father.

When Jesus ascended into heaven, He left us a helper known as the Holy Spirit.  God’s Holy Spirit helps us navigate this life and do what God would have us do.

One day God the Father will instruct Jesus to come back to earth to take those who love and trust Him to heaven to live forevermore.

MEET GOD AT THE DOOR

God blesses His children – even when others make fun of us, reject us, and intentionally hurt us because of our faith.  It’s my prayer that you will notice less of the temporary hurt and look beyond to the eternal blessing from your Heavenly Father.  🙂