A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In nearly every church I’ve attended, there was a SINGSPIRATION service on the 5th Sunday night of the month.  So, today we’re going to have one too.  If we were all together in a room, I’d have you prepare to give your testimony in a POPCORN TESTIMONY time.  Since we can’t do that, you can just think about the time when you gave your heart, soul, and mind to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.  OH, HAPPY DAY!

I know – it’s a really old song – but hey – it’s good!  This passage of Scripture does tell us to sing a NEW song – although I highly suspect that has nothing to do with the age of the song – lol.

As Christians, we don’t always live on the mountaintop.  This song has helped me in times of trial so many times.

God didn’t want Heaven without us.  Ponder that for a minute or two…

Sometimes the praise just overflows in the strangest places…  I GO TO THE ROCK.  Dottie Rambo’s timeless lyrics resonate even though the great lady is no longer with us.  I know she’s already heard WELL DONE from the Father – but now I want to tell her THANK YOU!

I’m more than convinced that some of the children in my Sunday School class had never heard Christian music in their home.  Every song they learned in our class was the only exposure to Gospel music they’d ever have.  I was so careful to teach the kids just a few songs that I knew they would remember when they needed it.  It’s amazing what God will bring to your mind when you need praise on your lips!

Giving kids a happy beat and the Gospel truth is a good thing, eh?

Even though we call the 5th Sunday service “Singspiration”, not everyone sings.  Some of the people read aloud a short story or poem they’ve written.  It’s that way in our Singspiration blog post.  Lucinda has written something perfect for us about this Psalm.

So, go INTO the world…  praising the LORD all the way!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We have inexpressible JOY…  you know what the world is asking right now???  They’re asking, “How???  Why???”.  Those who do not accept Christ Jesus and His precious Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not understand inexpressible joy.  It’s only by accepting Christ Jesus by faith into your heart and life that you can experience a joy that can not be explained.  It’s better felt than telt…  because I can’t explain it with words.  Words are not adequate – but true faith in the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus is how we experience His amazing joy, love, grace, and mercy.  And He rewards us with these things because He longs to have a relationship with His creation.  He wants to love us and for our love and faithfulness in return.  Sometimes our faith gets tested…  major big time!

You know about the fires in California, right?  Take a look at this photograph – everything around it is in ashes, but this cross still stands!  What a wonderful reminder that no matter what is being destroyed in our lives, Christ and His cross can never be destroyed if they are in your heart and life!  When I saw this picture, my eyes filled with tears and once again I prayed for the folks there whose homes are being destroyed.  May they have the joy of the Lord along with His strength and wisdom through this situation.  I pray God will bless them with everything they need – and I pray that God will bless with some wants as well.

We don’t follow a list of rules and get zapped by lightning if we step out-of-bounds.  We are obedient to God because we love Him and are so thankful for the horrific sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross at Calvary.  He took the sins of the world – past, present, future – on His shoulders!  We are saved from an eternity in hell.  There is a reason we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds.  As the years go by and we see His marvelous works in our lives, we just love and trust Him more and more!  This is how we get the inexpressible, undeniable, precious JOY of the Lord.  What does the joy of the Lord do for us?  Why do we cherish it so much?  Well, a verse comes to mind:

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  – Psalm 28:7

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  It sounds like a GOOD thing to me – doesn’t it sound like a GOOD thing to you?  No matter what is going on in your life, the Savior of your soul can be trusted to make a way and provide answers.  The way and the answers may not be in your time, but believe me when I say, there will come a time when you look back and say, “Oh, now I understand God’s timing in that situation!”  That’s why the longer you trust God, the stronger your faith gets.  You’ve seen so many ways God has helped you in the past – so you know without a doubt that He has all the problems in the present and the ones coming in the future under control.

I’m assured that whatever comes along in my life, God and His precious Holy Spirit will pour out His love, peace and joy on me.  When we are fully trusting in the Lord, it’s not a superficial happiness that we’re given, but it’s joy that lasts in our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  That’s why it’s called inexpressible – and to the world, I would go further and say they think it doesn’t exist.  Ah…  but if you know the Lord, you know better!

I want to show you a photo of JOY!!!  This is Madi, and I hope her middle name is Joy, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t..  If I ever get to meet her, she will be JOY to me!  She’s such a bright, shiny star and lights up any room!

I’VE GOT THE JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY DOWN IN MY HEART! DOWN IN MY HEART TO STAY!

Have faith, children of God.  Keep praying and keep showing the world the joy that God gives you to share.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s been a rough week…  physically and mentally exhausting!  We recently changed internet providers and have been unable to have the secondary account (that would be my account) added.  The account with our previous carrier has been suspended since the Friday before Labor Day.  I’ve been without access for a few weeks.  I think I’m experiencing a form of internet withdrawal.  Is there a support group for that?  I don’t think so, but I may start one!

Last Thursday a tech from our new provider came to set up our security system.  I asked if he thought he may be able to help me get that secondary account set up so I can get on the internet train once again.  He proceeded to tell me that he recently graduated from college with a degree in computer – and my countenance brightened immediately!  Hope renewed, I pointed out my sad little laptop and told him to have at it.

He asked if I had a Gmail account and I said I did (thinking that I definitely did NOT remember my password!)  He got my computer to use google chrome instead of internet explorer – and left the google logo where you search – displayed.  So…  I have a google logo where there once was Cafe Mahjong!  Is this progress?  Well…  maybe.

I was disappointed and a little angry.  They guy left and I’m still up a creek without a password.  I was actually shaking and I cried a little bit.  Does that help?  NO!  I calmed down some and went back upstairs, believing I’d play Bejeweled 2 for the rest of the evening.  Once I had calmed down, I looked at this passage of Scripture.  The words WISE, WISDOM, BOAST and KINDNESS, JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS jumped out at me.

Have you ever just got real with God?  I mean – at the end of yourself – at the end of whatever boasts you hear from others who claim to have the ability to help – at the end of it all?  I prayed that God would just calm my anxious thoughts, dry my tears and bring alternatives to my mind.  If God is ready and willing to do anything for us, it is to impress us with alternatives!   We serve a God with so many ways of solving problems – any problem!  

God told me to talk to Lucinda.  He often tells me to talk with her!  Did I do that right away?  No – because Linda pride gets in the way…  I sat and argued and asked God to just tell me what I should do – He said NOPE – you need to talk to Lucinda.  So…  I got on facebook and shared my frustration.  She made it all better when she said – CAN YOU SET UP ANOTHER ACCOUNT?

Well – suddenly it was ALL BETTER!  I didn’t have to remember the password – or click on “forgot password” knowing that I didn’t have a working email address for them to send a code to!  I’ll just start all over again!  The weight of the world was lifted and I thanked God for such a good friend (even though right now I’m pretty sure she’s laughing through tears!)  It pays to trust God’s way of problem solving instead of trusting your own wisdom – or your college degree.

When we know God, we will not be stranded without the tools we need to solve problems.  Sometimes, the tools He uses is a friend – so don’t be too proud to be obedient when God tells you to seek assistance from a friend.  We need to remember – friends who are true friends will understand!  Friends are KIND.  Lucinda has always gone above and beyond for me.  I’m so thankful that God let our paths cross.  I’m cryin’ again, girl.  ❤

We really are here to help each other – the body of Christ.  Don’t let pride keep you from being obedient to God – and get the help you need in the bargain.  I hope and pray I’m as good a friend to Lucinda as she’s been to me.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Traditionally, we observe these events in the life of Christ on Passion Week:  His triumphal entry, His last supper, His death, burial and resurrection.  What is Easter all about?  We serve a RISEN SAVIOR!  God raised Christ from the dead on the 3rd day – and He sits at God’s right hand.  There’s something else that happened before Christ ascended to Heaven…  He left us the greatest gift – His Holy Spirit – the comforter and our guide through this crazy life.

The Holy Spirit of God is filled with goodness and wisdom.  God wants us to be kind and quick to forgive one another.  It’s only with His help that we can do these things.

We are loved by God – and are to be loving and kind to one another.  As we rely on God’s Holy Spirit to help us, we can accomplish so much as we plant seeds along the way.  It’s so nice to make friends with like-minded believers, knowing that no matter what, you can go back to the fact that you both have God’s Holy Spirit and can work anything out as you rely on Him for guidance and direction.

It’s nearly impossible to talk about God’s Holy Spirit without mentioning the fruits of His Spirit:

Does that mean that we will be perfect?  Um…  nope.  Does it mean that we can love perfectly?  Well, as we live by God’s precepts that certainly could and should happen.  If we will lean fully on God’s Holy Spirit, we can have some beautiful attitudes and be a blessing to others.  We want the fruits of the Spirit to be clear in our lives.  God’s more than happy to reveal to us how that can happen.

If you could imagine a pyramid in your mind – sort of like the food pyramid (which seems to be changing with every diet that comes along).  The good thing about this pyramid is that it never changes.

God’s Holy Spirit is at the TOP of the pyramid.  No surprise there.  At the other two corners are you and another person – any person you come in contact with.  God’s Spirit gives love, comfort, power, peace, wisdom and the ability to control things like temper.  Because He’s given us these things, we are able to share them with others in our lives, with evidence of the fruits showing through in the process.

Remember that the Lord did not leave us here as orphans to figure out how to live.  He has everything we need to live an abundant life…  if we’ll just ask Him to help us.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.  – Psalm 51:10-11

There’s more to renewal than eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day and promising yourself you will go to the gym more often.  At the risk of sounding a bit introspective, may I suggest you spend some time in your prayer closet getting real with the Father?

He’s the only One who can make changes last.  He made you, so doesn’t it make sense that He knows how to make all the trash in your life get out for the rest of your life?  I don’t know about you, but that’s exciting to me!  I can be free of worry, anger, disappointment, jealousy, resentment and regret!

Give it all to God through His Son, Christ Jesus.  Don’t wait – do it now.

Make today garbage day for your life.. Round up all your worries, angers, disappointments, jealousies, resentments, and regrets. Throw them in your mental garbage can, roll it out to the street and be done with them once and for all.. Smile as the sanitation department roars away with all that junk you no longer need.. Make that change!!  – Stanley Taylor

I want God’s Holy Spirit in and with me from this moment on.

It’s fine to have other resolutions.  I’ve resolved to throw away my lonely little sock that hasn’t had a mate for about 3 months.  You KNOW what will happen when I toss it, don’t you?  The other one will show up!  It’s some sort of unwritten cruel law or something.  Those were my favorite socks!  I will mourn the loss.1

For changes that are life-altering, consult the maker of you.  Go to your prayer closet and ask Him to do a great work in you.  He’s faithful to answer your prayer and you will know when all the trash has been taken out.  You’ll know immediately – trust me.  🙂

 

SECOND SUNDAY OF ADVENT

tl-12-1-adventToday is the second Sunday of ADVENT.

When was the last time someone said, “I’d give my LIFE for you” – ???  Nobody has said it to me, but when Christ made the choice to go through with His Father’s master plan to provide a way that you and I could have eternal life, He essentially let each of us know that He would die for us.  He did die for us to save our souls.  In my book, that’s the best love of all.

On this 2nd Sunday of Advent, may we thank God for the plan of salvation, and thank Jesus for choosing to go through with it.  He wanted His Father’s will to be done, even at the expense of His pain and suffering – even unto death – death on the cross at Calvary.

the-name-of-loveThere are days when it’s not in me to love as the Lord loves.  I’m not particularly a people person by nature and cherish my alone time.  I’m an introvert I guess – but I read in God’s Word that I am to love others as the Lord loves others.  I’m to care and give and have compassion and empathize with them.  For some folks that is second nature, but I honestly have to work at it.  With God’s help I can and will obey.  I can’t do it without His help.  Why do something that doesn’t come naturally?  Because God wants me to, and it’s my way of thanking Him for all He’s done for me.advent-2-prayer

On this second Sunday of Advent, let’s try to love others the way God loves them.  Let’s keep in mind the love God has for us and pass it along.  I believe it makes God smile when we show love to someone.  It doesn’t have to be anything big.  We can just lend a helping hand or do some little thing – or it may seem little to you, but mean the world to them.

God loves us more than anyone in the world.  He wants us to show love to one another.  With His help, we can be obedient and make Him smile as we sharpen iron with encouraging words and acts of kindness.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)It’s been unseasonably warm for autumn here in Kansas, but I know that one of these days the cool crisp air will move in.  November is the month we start nesting and putting our warm throws over chairs, add spicy scents to our Scentsy warmers and stock up on sugar-free pumpkin spice coffee creamer.

While we are preparing our homes for the onslaught of cold breezes, we need to keep in mind that there are some folks who are just trying to survive – and in some cases they don’t have a home, which is heart breaking.love-in-action

I’ve read a few cool posts on facebook about how we can help the homeless without breaking our own piggy bank.  These are simple suggestions and won’t take much time, but could make all the difference for a stranger who needs help.

  • A BLESSING BAG – I read about this on my newsfeed and thought, “Oh, I need to share this idea with others!”  Fill a large plastic bag with things that will help a person in need.  I think most of this stuff can be found at the Dollar Tree store – and $1 per item is a small price to pay to help others.  Pick up items such as gloves, thermal socks, beef jerky, crackers, candy bars, toothpaste, toothbrush, floss, wipes, deodorant.  And don’t forget, many homeless people have dogs.  It’s a good idea to add some treats or a bone for them.  And children – sadly, there are homeless children.  How ’bout a small teddy bear?

It was suggested that you put the blessing bag in the trunk of your car and have it handy when you see a person who needs it.  You could also leave a bag in a gas station restroom or a restroom at McDonald’s.  Trust that God will see to it that the person who takes it is the one who needs it.

Add a note to the bag.  It doesn’t have to be long – just some simple words of encouragement such as “YOU’VE GOT THIS” – “GOD’S STILL GOOD” – “BLESSINGS” – “HOPE” – “HOPE STILL LIVES” – “GOD BLESS YOU”.

Sometimes my local drug store would have good deals that are free or almost free.  Even if I don’t use that brand or product, I’ll get it anyway and give to the local shelter.  – Lucinda Berry Hill

  • Planet Fitness has a food drive every year where canned goods are collected for local shelters.  Even if you’re not a member of the gym, you are welcome to give food.  One thing to keep in mind – and I’m probably preaching to the choir here…  but if you hate sardines, don’t give them to a shelter!  And, if you have old canned goods that you’ve not used – don’t give those either.  It’s the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.  Did you know that most people are one paycheck away from being homeless?  It’s only by the wonderful Grace of God that you have shelter and food.  Don’t give the worst in your pantry – that’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Do you knit or crochet???  Boy do I have a project for you!  Crafty women all over the country are making scarves and wrapping them around trees!  Nope – I’m not kidding!  Do the trees need to be kept warm?  Of course not – but some people may need to be much warmer this winter – especially children.  😦  Oh – and don’t forget to put a little note on your scarf.  Let people know that they are not forgotten.  ❤

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-43-17-amscreen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-42-24-am

screen-shot-2015-01-26-at-8-44-22-amWhat a labor of love!  God bless these women for what they do!  I neither knit nor crochet, but I do a lot of shopping at thrift stores, garage sales and flea markets.  I could buy a scarf and adorn a tree trunk.  Is that cheating?  Does it matter?  Nah…  probably not.

  • There is a group of women at a Baptist church here in Wichita that get together in the fellowship center once a month to sew and tie comforters for our Good Neighbor Center.  Those comforters are various sizes and colors (some are quite interesting, actually).  One day I remember using bright purple yarn to tie a quilt made of a solid bright green and a dinosaur print.  I could imagine that one going to a little boy somewhere.

Faith without works is dead.  These are some examples of the “works” we put our faith into.  It’s not that difficult to put feet to your faith after all.  We sometimes make it harder than it really is, don’t we?  🙂

MATTHEW 10:28 ON 10/28

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Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  – Matthew 10:28

Several friends and acquaintances of mine have recently been diagnosed with terminal illness.  I feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart for them – but I never know the right words to say.  I think back to the time when my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer.  He was dying and we all knew it.  I tried to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the situation – as a family member.  I don’t remember a lot of what people said – but I remember more of what people did.  It was the same thing when my mom passed.  People shared of themselves – they shared light and love when I was a mess.share-light-love

Everyone was kind and encouraging to me – but a few people actually DID things and I remember that.  When my daddy died, a sweet lady in our church not only sent flowers, she included a little ceramic pumpkin for me to keep after the flowers died.  I let her know I thought that was real nice of her.  When my mama passed, even though there were not that many people coming to our house, our pastoral family went above and beyond the call of duty to provide sandwich stuff!  Oh my we did not go hungry!  I remember my sister-in-law and brother-in-law washing dishes and thinking that was so kind of them.

If our loved one knows the Lord, we know they are going to be alright.  We know that they are going to Heaven where everything is just right.  The soul does not die – but lives on – but the family that is left…  well, they are left here to figure out how to begin a new “normal”.   I always ask God how I can help them do that.  I ask God, “What can I DO for them?”

When families suffer loss and are at their lowest, isn’t that when Christian folk can shine the light of Christ in their lives in a very real sense?  Words are fine, but actions are better and make more of an impact on their lives.  After a loss, everything is fuzzy when you’re trying to listen to kind words.  Most of the talk just flies over your head.  You hear what people are saying, but you’re just so grief-stricken, you can’t process what’s being said.

So – how do you avoid hell and make Heaven your eternal home?   Open the closet door where you keep the secrets and sins.  It’s not easy to show God what is inside your closet.  Think about this though – He already knows about it, so…  who do you really think you’re foolin’?  We are so human – but the good news is…  He is so GOD!  If you ask God, through His Son, Christ Jesus, to forgive you of your sins – He is faithful and just to do it.  Trust Him for the rest of your days – and for the time when this life is over.

whats-in-your-closetI pray that you know the Lord as your personal Savior.  This life is brief and these bodies are so very frail and fragile, aren’t they?  I also believe we are living in the last days (I see some of you rolling your eyes) – yeah, I know I’ve said it before – but I’m going to say it again.  Be ready, for you know not the hour.  Did you know that Jesus doesn’t even know?  He’s waiting for the Father to tell Him when to come get us outa here!  It would be selfish for me to say I hope it’s soon because many are not ready – and He doesn’t want any to perish in hell.  He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and ask Him into their hearts and lives.  THEN – only then will the peace of God wash over you and your life will never be the same.  The peace of God surpasses all understanding.  I hope and pray you know HIS peace in your life.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Doing good things enriches the soul.  – Dustin James

There was a young lady standing by the roadside in 10 degree weather.  She was holding a sign that said “Homeless – anything helps.”  Dustin was prompted to go to a nearby Dunkin’ Donuts to buy her a cup of coffee.  He said the look on her face was priceless.

Each one of us is God’s special work of art… a painting like no other in all of time.  – Joni Earreckson Tada

The Bible tells us that we may be entertaining angels unaware.  How many times do we cross paths with angels, but miss the opportunity to entertain them because we are too self-absorbed or think we have no time?  We’ve all seen people standing by the side of the road with signs.  We’re scared to stop or to get involved because there really are some evil people in the world who use that as a rouse to attract others for their own evil purposes.

The conversation goes like this…  “I’d help, but if you give them money, they’ll just go buy cigs or booze or something like that.”  That sounds weak to me.

There are smart ways to help others…

If I’m impressed to meet a need, I make sure my husband is close by and I don’t give anyone cash.  I ask what the need is – if it’s a meal, I’ll buy it – if it’s gasoline for their car, I’ll buy it.  That’s how we give – we provide the need at hand to help them along their way.

Sometimes the person isn’t standing there with a sign.  One Thanksgiving we were at a restaurant.  When the waitress came to take our order, I felt a nudging from God’s Holy Spirit.  I didn’t know what her issue was, but God did and that’s all that matters.  We’ll never know if what we did helped, but we trust that God helped her through her issues.

WHERE JESUS IS HEARD

When God’s Holy Spirit impresses on you to act – you act – it’s as simple as that.  I believe that He guides me quite literally through my life and lets me know when I need to help someone – and He also lets me know when I need to walk away from someone.  God’s Spirit keeps me safe and helps me live the kind of life that is pleasing to Him.  I don’t apologize for my lifestyle.  I believe it’s the best life a person can choose to live.

I was so encouraged when I read Dustin’s story today.  I pray that we all stop to see the signs that others are holding up – whether they are literally holding a sign up or not.  May we be more sensitive to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit in 2016.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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There are different meanings behind the word CHARACTER.  We talk about a character that is portrayed in a movie or program on TV.  Sometimes we refer to a person as a real CHARACTER…  it’s usually not a compliment.  It’s rare these days to hear that a person has a good CHARACTER, meaning that they can be trusted and live an upstanding life.

Which one of these definitions describe you now?  No, wait – don’t tell me.  The real question is, which one of these definitions would you like to describe you in 2016?

Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.  – Cavett Robert

It’s going to sound like I’m trying to lay guilt on you, but which one of these CHARACTER definitions would Christ be pleased with where you’re concerned?  Hmm…  that puts it in a different light, doesn’t it?  I’m pretty sure He would not like for me to BE a CHARACTER – not in that way.  And I won’t be acting anytime soon, so…

There is just one kind of CHARACTER to be known as – that is to have a good CHARACTER – a good reputation, a good track record, as it were…  He is pleased when we are what we’re supposed to be as His child.

Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.  – Maya Angelou

Sadly, there are a ton of examples of Christians who put forth all the right stuff – or so it seemed – and in the end, they were not genuine in their relationship with Christ.  If we are going to claim Christ is our Savior, we need to tow the line in the relationship.  I’m not fussing at you, I’m talking to me too.

THE YEAR OF DAILY STEPS

We fail because we’re human, but we need to do our very best in spite of the times we fail Him.  God is so faithful to us and He does forgive when we ask.  In 2016, let’s put our best foot forward in our relationship with Christ and be people of good CHARACTER…  when the world sees us, may they say, “Yes, this is a little Christ…  a Christian with good CHARACTER.”  🙂