A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Hate is such a strong word, isn’t it?  As Christians, we’re taught we should never hate anyone, yet that is the word that is used in this portion of Scripture to describe how non-Christians will feel toward Christians.  We’re told that this hatred is not because of us, but because of the One we serve.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  That’s why we need to try not to take this hatred to heart – we need to remember that Jesus still loves us and we need to keep striving for the prize – because we have reason to rejoice in the end, for in the end we gain Heaven!  Remember, there is still a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  It’s not personal when we are hated – and we need to get tough skinned, wear blinders and keep being the people we’re supposed to be.

Even when the world seems to be against us, God is pleased!

Speaking for myself – it’s really one more reason why I have to stay in God’s Word and shun other things.  I have to stay in touch with what the Lord finds acceptable and pray that He will help me be the person I need to be.  You know, I saw a post online the other day, and it fits perfectly with this subject:  We’ve all had moments when we feel misunderstood and abandoned by others.  We have to remember what Jesus went through to secure our Salvation – that puts all of our rough patches in perspective, doesn’t it?  I’ve not been abused like He was!  God is good all the time, even when people are not good.  We are commanded to go into the world and preach the good news – so we plant seeds of hope everywhere we go!  That’s all we have to do – what happens after that is up to God!  That’s how I look at it.  I do my part and God takes care of the rest!  

So there you have it!  If we will trust God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be our guide as we stay strong and endure in the faith, we will be saved and make Heaven our home one day!  God’s never going to steer us wrong.  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I doubt that we need to review examples of living according to the flesh.  It’s sad to see people get caught up in fast living, only to crash and burn in the end – sometimes literally.  Why does God want us to kill fleshly desires when they seem so attractive sometimes?  The answer is simple:  HE LOVES US!  He loves you and me so much – and He knows that those temptations are dangerous to our bodies and souls.  God wants to protect us – body, mind and soul.  We can’t overcome these things alone.  It’s only through God’s precious Holy Spirit that we can turn tail and run away from harm’s way.  He’s not trying to keep us from having fun!  He’s trying to show us a better way to live – and if we belong to Christ, we need to run into His arms and ask Him to show us His way of life.  Only with the Spirit’s help can we make wise choices.A relationship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit means that we have everything we need to avoid sin and win.  Of course, we have a free will to choose either way – right or wrong.  Nobody has always chosen the right – nobody that I know, anyway.  We’re not perfect all the time, but we know that if we choose badly, we can turn from that bad choice and ask our loving Heavenly Father, through Christ, to forgive us and forget our transgression.

One day I was driving home from work in a terrible rain storm.  I took an unfamiliar route because I was sure the regular route was flooded.  As I drove, I prayed aloud in the car, asking the Lord to protect me.  I was frightened, but confident that God would get me home safely.

There were not many cars on the road I took, which I thought was strange, but I forged ahead.  When there is water on the road, it’s difficult to gage how deep it is – or the condition of the street below.

The next intersection was full of water – the flash flooding was catching up with me… I felt led to make a left hand turn and go to the street just south of the one I was on.  I made the turn and ended up on a street that was a bit elevated and the water was running off.  I had a straight shot home.  I sang praise & worship songs and thanked the Lord for helping me get home.

I was curious about the flooded intersection where I made the turn.  I went back to look at it, and found there was a very large pot hole – and had I kept going straight, I would have gone in the hole and would probably have water in the car.

When we live life waiting for the next big thrill with no regard for the God who just wants to protect us, we end up being a slave to the very thing we thought was such fun at first.  I don’t understand why some folks think that Christians don’t have fun.  We have such fun – it’s just a different kind of fun.   God protects us and His Spirit helps us stay away from sin because all sin does is cause harm.  God doesn’t want us to be harmed – He wants us to be free!  And so we are.

Free from the law…  oh happy condition.  Jesus is mine, oh precious redemption.

A LIFE OF FREEDOM IN CHRIST…  it can be yours!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

This is a verse that is familiar to Sunday School teachers because at some point we work with kids to memorize it.  Some say this verse disproves the concept of the Trinity, but I don’t think it does.  I still believe in the three in one – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Paul is addressing the question whether there’s more than one God because a pagan said there was.  On behalf of Christians everywhere, he’s affirming that there is only one God, creator and ruler over the wide universe!  The fact that he didn’t go on to say anything about the Trinity does not mean it doesn’t exist.

Doth not all nature around me praise God? If I were silent, I should be an exception to the universe. Doth not the thunder praise Him as it rolls like drums in the march of the God of armies? Do not the mountains praise Him when the woods upon their summits wave in adoration? Doth not the lightning write His name in letters of fire? Hath not the whole earth a voice? And shall I, can I, silent be?  – Charles Spurgeon

When we praise the Lord, it’s the Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.  – John Piper

As we trust more in the faithfulness of God, we are better able to open our hearts to others.  It’s amazing how much joy fills our lives as we put all our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.  It’s my hope and prayer that we all will believe in the blessed Trinity and lean fully on the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in our everyday lives.  Remember – the more we praise the LORD in His presence, the more of His power we will see in our circumstances.  He inhabits our praise and answers all our prayers.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

I look forward to spring for so many reasons, but I think my favorite one is that we will start grilling hamburgers outdoors!  I don’t mind turning the stove on when it’s cold outside because it heats up the kitchen; however, in the spring and summer I’d rather not cook indoors because, well, it heats up the kitchen.

How many hamburgers do you eat at one time?  There’s no right or wrong answer – it’s not a trick question.  The calorie police are all at the donut shop – so don’t weigh your answer.  Be honest – do you have one hamburger, or maybe a few?  What is your portion of ground beef on a bun?

I’m a career dieter…  that is, I’ve been on one meal plan or the other since I was about five years old.  I was the poster child to represent the one who could not climb the rope in P.E. class.  I’ve learned lessons through the years – the primary one being – you must use portion control when you eat anything – no matter what diet you follow.

When it comes to spiritual portions…  there’s never too much of God’s Spirit!  I’ll tell you, if I eat too many hamburgers (or anything, for that matter), it will show up fairly quickly.  When I depend on God to be my portion – every moment of every day…  it shows up also, but in a positive way!  He is so faithful to me, and I depend on His love and kindness to renew my soul – over and over again.

It’s taken a lifetime, but I’ve learned to rely less on the portion control in a diet, and more on the PORTION that is the Holy Spirit of God.  I’m not as quick to pick up a cupcake to deal with stress like I used to.  I choose to take a deep breath and seek God when I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed.  It’s His will for my life – and it’s a healthy and good way to deal with stress.  The Lord is my portion…  and there are no calories or carbohydrates to count.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.  – Titus 3:4-7

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The hope that every Christian has hinges on what Christ did – it has nothing to do with us, except for the fact that we’ve come to believe in Christ and His sacrifice on Calvary – just as we are.  Our righteousness is not even almost good enough, but God’s grace and mercy are what we place our faith and trust in.  That is why we have the hope of eternal life, but we hold on to the Lord because we love Him above all else.

I want to show you something I found on my facebook newsfeed.  I was taken aback a bit when I first saw it – and then I read the article and decided that this guy has a pure heart and pure intentions – he really wants people to see Easter in the right way – so look what he did at this FRED’S store in Tennessee…

http://www.gracecentered.com/freds-store-displays-easter-crosses-mr-pibbs.htm

Every day in this world we watch people backstab and hate each other, but it’s the duty and joyous privilege of God’s children to love one another.  Why?  Because once we realize that Christ has delivered us from our miserable condition by HIS mercy and free grace, and has given us HIS precious Holy Spirit – we understand that love is the cornerstone of our faith.  Without love, it’s a lie.  God is love and He wants us to not only love Him, but love one another as He loved us and sent His precious Son to this earth to live and die for our sins.

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How will you share your faith today?  Maybe you can do it through your job – in creative ways when you stock the Mr. Pibb…  or maybe as a retired secretary, you want to start writing a little blog that shares faith, hope, and love with others.  There are so many ways to share your faith – but one thing is for sure – if you feel God’s Spirit prompting you to share your faith in some way, you will be miserable if you don’t do it.

Christ is the fountain from which the precious Holy Spirit flows.  It’s only through Him we are able to teach and mentor others with patience and prayer.  What a blessing to have the Holy Spirit in our lives each day.  Because we have Him, we can practice true love and kindness in our daily walk.  Think about it…  His love and His grace have such great power to change a human heart.  Commit the lost to Him and be patient as you share and teach.  Remember His timing is not our timing.  Never give up on anyone because the Lord did not give up on you.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

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.  🙂