A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Carry PEACE in your pocket.  If only we’d all do that, what a difference we’d see in this ol’ world.

I’ve known so many beautiful souls.  I’ll bet you know a few of them too.  The most wonderful thing about them is, they know they aren’t beautiful souls because it is their sheer determination to be nice or good.  They are beautiful souls because of their personal relationship with Christ Jesus.  They know that He gives them the ability to be compassionate, humble, kind, meek and patient.  God is pleased when His children are obedient, and even more pleased when He gets the credit – the glory – for it.

Lucinda has posted a verse about kindness every day – as part of Lent – she’s not giving something up, rather she is giving something – kindness.  What a wonderful idea!  I like it.  I thought this one was particularly nice for today’s post.Notice what words are used…  FILL, SHOW.  You mean these attributes don’t just magically appear once we’re saved?  Does a Father just automatically offer good gifts if their children never speak to him or offer some sort of effort in a relationship?  Well…  not usually.  Our Heavenly Father wants us to ask Him for what we need to be Christ-like in our lives.  We ask for His compassion, His strength, His mercy and then we ask Him to show us where these things need to be shown the most.

I’m not righteous in myself – nobody is.  It’s all about the LORD and nothing about me.  If there’s any redeeming qualities in me – I praise Him because it’s definitely not my nature.  If I was left to my own devices, I’d probably be the least patient person in the world.  I do literally have to ask God to help me when I’m standing in a long line or feel that twinge of impatience coming over me.  Part of it is because I have so much pain when I stand for long periods of time – but some of it is just that human nature wanting to come through.  God’s the only one who can keep it under control and surround me with His way – and His way is so much better.

 

 

 

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O HOLY NIGHT

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For it is written, “Be Holy for I am Holy.”  – 1 Peter 1:16

O Holy Night was not a song at first, but a poem.   In 1847 it was written by Placide Cappeau, a wine merchant, mayor of the town, and an occasional poet, who was asked by a parish priest to write a poem for Christmas mass.

It most certainly was a blessed Holy night, when Christ was born.  You might say, it was the birth of Salvation.  Actually, that’s exactly how Lucinda referred to it.the-birth-of-salvation

The birth of Christ was just the beginning – for Him and for mankind.  He came to offer us more than we could imagine – and surely more than we deserve.  He came – He gave – He made the ultimate sacrifice for God’s creation.  Was it easy?  No it was not.  I cry when I read about how He prayed and sweat drops of blood in Gethsemane – no it was not easy!  He asked His Father if there was some other way – some easier path that could be taken to save man.  He would not have had to willingly give His life for us.  He could have said no and gone back to Heaven with mankind lost for all time.  He chose to take those nails and die for us.

Heaven’s Lamb is worthy of all honor and praise.  Let’s celebrate that most Holy of nights.

She’s only 7 years old!  Isn’t that great???  When I was 7 I was playing in mud puddles…  true story.

A birth of joy, peace, light, love, hope and everlasting life for you and me.  If that’s not a good reason to give praise and worship to the King – then I don’t know what is.  He came to earth as a baby, was raised as a human, was ultimately given a death sentence and was tortured in a horrific manner before being hung on a cross.  He went through with it – because He loved us.  He loves you more than anyone ever has or ever will.holy-night-prayer

Is living a life of holiness too much to ask?  It’s probably the least we could do in return for all He went through for us.  He wants us to live for Him and to love one another.  With His help, we can do that.  🙂

 

 

 

NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER

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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!  🙂

HEBREWS 10:10 ON 10/10

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We have been made holy through the single offering of Jesus Christ’s body – Hebrews 10:10

Am I holy because of anything I say or do?  NO!  Anything I am or strive to be is because of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.  My holiness is all about Him and has nothing to do with me.  Whatever is in my heart which is holy, or whatever influences are brought to bear upon me to make me holy, is all to be traced to the fact that Christ became obedient unto death, and was willing to offer His body as a sacrifice for my sin.

AN ADDED GIFT

Some denominations refer to being holy as being “sanctified” or they call it “second blessing holiness”.  When God makes someone holy, it means that the person belongs to God in a special way.  He separates them from other people, for Himself.

It’s God’s will (desire, plan) for people to be holy.  In Hebrews 10:10, these people were once God’s enemies.  They did many wrong and evil things against Him.  But now God has saved (rescued) them, so they have become His people.  He has separated them so that they belong to Him in a special way.

In biblical times the sacrifice of animals made God’s house holy.  Then a better a more glorious sacrifice has made God’s people holy.  Of course that sacrifice was the death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  He carried out God’s will to make His people holy.

Animal sacrifices happened often.  The priests’ work was never complete or perfect.  Because of the single complete and perfect sacrifice of Christ, we live in a state of grace and mercy.

The sacrifice of Christ makes unholy people holy.  Because of Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, we are separated and belong to God in a special way.

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I’m so glad I’m one of Jesus’ sheep, aren’t you?  Baa…  😉

ROMANS 7:18 ON 7/18

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For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.  For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.  – Romans 7:18

WILL JESUS BE THERE

 

Christians are not robots.  We are not “programmed” to be perfect (um…  no!)  God made each of us with a free will.  When we choose to accept God’s Holy Word, it will help us live a good life, and hopefully we will use the gifts from God’s Holy Spirit, such as discernment and wisdom to make good choices.

We know that we can’t do right without help from our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It’s only in His power and strength that any good comes forth in our lives.  If we really have a desire to please the Lord, we need to pray without ceasing for His guidance.  It really is all about Him and has nothing to do with us in our own power.

Will sin continue to be our master as we walk through life?  Why would we want it to be?  There’s a better way to live – with the best Master.  Once we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ, His grace covers our lives and we have a true desire His will and way of holiness as we walk with Him through life.  We have a sincere delight for God’s law and the holiness which it demands.  Once we are cleansed within and made new, we want to live our lives His way – the best way and in our minds – the only way.

Even though every human being is born with a carnal nature that is sinful, the blood of Christ covers that sin, God forgives our sins and the Holy Spirit performs supernatural surgery to pluck out that sin nature that we’re born with, leaving us with a brand new attitude and way of living that is full of joy as we walk a path filled with peace because we live under His law and we place our heavy burdens at His feet.  Once those burdens are lifted, it’s like a spiritual spa day – every day!  🙂

 

NATIONAL RESPECT DAY

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9-18 DON'T GO SAYIN' DAT

Most people in my generation have, or more than likely had, a sock monkey. Most of those sock monkeys were made by our grandmothers, am I right? My granny LaVella made my sock monkey, but I am sad to say it went by the wayside at some point. I guess I just grew up and lost track of it. This guy hasn’t lost track of his sock monkeys – take a look at this collection!

In these days of uncertainty, why is it we look back on the days that seemed so much better, safer and more secure? Those days filled with simple joys and simple, homemade toys – like sock monkeys? Well, it’s easy to long for something you used to know because it made you feel better than you feel now.

Security is a funny thing. We take it for granted until it’s taken away. When I was a very small child, my sock monkey went everywhere with me. At some point, apparently something else became a better form of security for me and sock monkey went by the wayside.

I know my faith will never be replaced with anything better. My security in this life is found in my Savior, Jesus Christ. The last time I checked, no one else willingly died just for me – but He did. God loved the world so much He sent Christ, His only begotten Son, to die just for us.

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. – 1 John 2:2

Have you ever wondered about that word… propitiation? I used to like to say it just because I thought it sounded really cool and theological (I know, GEEK, right?) – but have you ever actually looked it up?

Propitiation: an atoning sacrifice. Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Wow. The only reason I can make heaven my home is because He chose to die for me – to be an atoning sacrifice – for me. Nothing I have done, am doing, or will ever do is enough. It’s about Christ – period. I am safe and secure in Him. ❤