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!  🙂

It’s Palm Sunday

I love the hymns of the church, and I don’t apologize for saying it.  Call me old-fashioned, but I miss hearing some of the more traditional music in the church.  The truth is, if we’re praising King Jesus with our whole hearts, the style of music is really pretty petty, Amen?  It’s bad enough the U.S. government is acting immature – the church needs to rise above and grow up.  There’s room for the new styles alongside the old.  Just praise King Jesus!  It isn’t about you – it’s about HIM.

With all my heart, I will praise the LORD.  Let all who are helpless, listen and be glad.  Psalm 34:2

All who are helpless…  the more we learn about our Lord, the more we realize that we are helpless.  Listen means stop talking.  Hear His Word and let it pierce your heart and mind.  Ponder what His Word is saying to you.  Pondering does not require conversation.  Ponder means to think – just leave it in your brain and let it wander around a bit.  Ponder.  Some people would call it over thinking.  I say nope – I’m pondering.  If pondering was good enough for Mary (the mother of Christ), it’s sure good enough for me.

To be glad means we should accept the joy that God wants to give us.  Remember, joy is not dependent on circumstances like happiness is.  I can be happy that the snow has melted, but if there is snow on the ground, I can have the joy of the Lord and rejoice in Him all day long.

One of the best parts of being a Sunday School teacher is helping kids get ready for a play.  There’s nothing more cute in the world than watching little ones in a Christmas or Palm Sunday / Easter play!  So sweet!

If you’re a new follower to this blog…  last Palm Sunday, Lucinda Berry Hill and I wrote a story about Daisy’s colt.  Check it out: https://hearthungerblog.wordpress.com/2017/04/05/daisys-colt/

In my experience, I have learned one thing…  when you line the kids up, you only give palm branches to the kids in the FIRST row – for obvious reasons.  Yes, you guessed it…  the kids in the second row will start bopping the kids in the first row with the branches.  Take that one to the bank.  It’s gonna happen!  LOL!  Why, yes, I did learn that the hard way – and it’s so much easier to give them the palm branches than to ask to have them back.  Tears and screaming…  sigh.  No – not them… – ME!

Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song: Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth. Sing unto Jehovah, bless his name; Show forth his salvation from day-to-day. Declare his glory among the nations, His marvelous works among all the peoples. For great is Jehovah, and greatly to be praised: He is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols; But Jehovah made the heavens. Honor and majesty are before him: Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe unto Jehovah, ye kindreds of the peoples, Ascribe unto Jehovah glory and strength. Ascribe unto Jehovah the glory due unto his name: Bring an offering, and come into his courts.  Oh worship Jehovah in holy array: Tremble before him, all the earth.  – Psalm 96:1-9

Grab a palm branch and try to resist the temptation to bop your neighbor with it.  It’s not a Christmas gift wrap tube, ya know.  That’s what I used to tell the kids – lol.  One time, I even brought some leftover Christmas gift wrap tubes in to the church so the kids could just get it out of their systems before I gave them the branches – that’s actually a better solution – and I even had fun!  We had a bee-bopping good time in the fellowship center.

I have a special surprise for you!  My friend, Geri Ehrlich, wrote the sweetest children’s story and I want to share it with you today.

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The Broken Wing – by Geri Ehrlich, March 2018

One day, a small boy found a baby bird caught between the branches of a tree.  He quickly freed the trapped creature, but could see that her wing had been broken.

Over the next few weeks, the boy tended the bird and soon her wing was healed and she broke out in joyful flight, fluttering her wings as she encircled her new friend, bringing great delight to the boy.

For many days, the boy and the bird laughed and played under the tree that had trapped her a short time ago.

One day, the boy grew tired and fell asleep.  The bird also grew tired – of watching him sleep, and flew off to new adventures.

Soon, far away from the one who rescued her, she became trapped again.  But, this time, it was a net – not a branch that hindered her freedom.  Suddenly, a big, rough hand tightened around her delicate body.  She was torn from the net, placed in an iron cage, and taken even farther away from her boy.

When the boy awoke, he frantically searched for his friend, but she was nowhere to be found.

After many years, the boy grew to become a man.  As he grew, his heart grew sick for want of the little bird.

Then, one day, a pigeon happened by and took pity on the man.  She listened as the man told her of his long-lost friend.

So, the pigeon, determined to find the bird, took flight in search of her.

At last, the pigeon found the bird – locked in a cage, high in a tower.  When the little bird learned of her sick friend, she pushed, shoved, and pried at the bars.  They would not move.  The pigeon tried to free the bird by pecking at the lock.  And even though the lock had begun to rust due to the bird’s many tears, the lock would not budge.

Sadly, they both knew that the little bird could not be freed.  So, the pigeon flew back to the sick-hearted man and told him what she had seen.

Meanwhile, the little bird was left to cry alone in her cage.

The man was sad to hear that his little friend was locked away.  He longed to go to her, but his weak body kept him from even getting out of bed.

For many days and nights, the pigeon carried messages between them.  Each time, the lock was tried.  And each time, it would not budge, leaving the little bird to cry alone.

But, after a while, and with much crying, the lock rusted through.  The little bird struggled to twist off the latch and she was free!

Now, she flew as fast as she could back to her boy.  Overjoyed when she reached him, she fluttered all around him, brushing his heart with the wing he had tended so long ago.

And… then something magical happened.  The man’s sick heart began to heal.  Soon, his strength returned and he was able to stand and walk again.

This made the little bird so happy that she broke into beautiful song; fluttered about even more, fanned out her tail feathers for all to see.  Just watching her made the man’s heart burst with gladness and he, too, began to sing and dance around.

Many years have come and gone.  But, if you listen… you can still hear the melody of the man and the little bird floating amongst the tree tops.  And, if you look closely, you can still see them dancing and fluttering among the swirling leaves.

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Isn’t that sweet???  I really like it.  I hope Geri will put illustrations with it soon!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Lucinda says it all here in her poem, doesn’t she?  Before we knew God’s way of living, we all dressed in dingy duds with holes in weird places.  We were unaware of anything better until we met Christ.  He stood us up, dusted us off, set us straight on the right path.  The clothes we wore before weren’t even good enough to give to charity – they had to be burned.

We have a brand new wardrobe, thanks to the mercy and love of the Lord.  He teaches us every day about His ways and His will for us.  He loves us just the way we are, but He loves us way too much to leave us there.  It’s His desire that we grow in our faith and discover all the opportunities He sets before us – and yes, some of those are very scary – but once you give it to God and trust Him for the outcome, it gets less frightening.

Remember when God told Moses to speak to the people and Moses said, “You got to be kidding, Lord – I stutter!”  It may be paraphrased – okay – it’s definitely paraphrased heavily…  but basically – isn’t that what he was saying?  He said there’s no way he could take that on because he was disabled.  Can a dyslexic person write a blog?  You wouldn’t think so…  but God has other ideas sometimes.

Once we burn those old duds and put on the ones God wants us to wear…  weird stuff happens – weird in a good way.  Miracles happen that you would not believe – except you do believe it because you know how good God really is.

As you take on the attributes that God wants you to have, you don’t look at what is best for you, but what is best for someone else.  How can I help?  What can I pray for on your behalf?  When do you need my help?  Who can I tell about Jesus today?  Where can I share my faith?  The answer to God goes from “I can’t do that” to “With Your help, I can do anything if it’s Your will for my life.”  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-46

I love You, O Lord, my strength.  – Psalm 18:1

I have pity on anyone who does not know God’s love.  Apart from God, there is no love because God IS love.  I get tickled when I read articles that say to keep the love alive in your relationship or marriage, you should do this or do that.  They never suggest such things as Bible study or prayer.  Heaven forbid that we should bond with the Maker of love as we bond with one another, eh?  ❤

This verse is short, simple and to the point.  David tells God that he loves Him and acknowledges Him as his strength.  Sometimes the shortest prayers we pray are the most important ones.  Short, sweet but complete is often best.  ❤

I love the Lord because He hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because He bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath!  – Psalm 116:1-2

God created humans to have best friends – it’s as simple as that.  He wants us to have conversations with Him – lots of them!  Pray without ceasing – and no, that does not mean you spend your entire day knelt down in the living room – but there are days when you feel that need – and it’s okay if you do.  But most of us just think pray our way through the day.  Wow – did that rhyme or what?  ❤

It’s more of an attitude of prayer that goes with us as we live our lives each day.  The Lord does not mind if we multi-task, and He certainly welcomes it when we come to a place where we ask Him to help us through sticky parts – and what is sticky for one is not sticky for another.  We’re all different.  ❤

Don’t laugh at me…  but I say a prayer when I’m driving as I head for a 4-way stop.  It’s not that I don’t know what to do at a 4-way stop, but there’s 2 different kinds of people you meet without fail:

1) the person who doesn’t think they really have to stop – they do the rolling stop thing – like that’s all they have to do.

2) the person who stops and can’t seem to find the gas pedal to get going again.  I hate it when I start to go and they start to go at the same time and I’m like, “Dude, you had your chance and I got tired of waiting.”  It’s awkward squared.  ❤

So I pray, “Lord, please help this to go smoothly for me…  just help me get through this intersection without something awkward happening, please.”  ❤

This is one of my favorite poems by Lucinda.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They’re all my favorites!  I can’t choose…  but this one is really good and perfect for this topic.  ❤its-still-again

He wants to hear our prayers – even the dumb ones.  It’s part of true love.  When you’re really loved, you know the other person (or in this case, God) wants to hear from us – everything about what’s happening.  ❤

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (28)

Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  – Romans 12:10

There are two kinds of people – and I’ve known and loved both kinds.  Some people walk into a room and say…

HERE I AM!

Some people walk into a room and say…

THERE YOU ARE!!!

There are two ways you can display a basket.  It’s true – and you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the way they display their baskets.

a-working-bouquet

I’ve been to the Longaberger Homestead 3 times and we’re planning another trip soon.  While there, I’ve made a couple of baskets and learned a bit about basket weaving.  The baskets are made from the bottom up.  The one helping starts the base – so it will have a stable foundation to set on.  When you get to the top, the person helping usually pretty much takes over because making the collar of the basket is tricky.  When the final piece of wood is put on the collar, they give it a haircut.  They snip it on each side and on the end.

When you display your basket, you can put the side of it with the haircut where you see it or where others see it.  It’s not the prettiest part of the basket, but it has to be there.  See what I mean?  Those who display the haircut side where they see it more than others do – well, they put more importance on what others see than on what they see.

It may seem like a small thing – but it’s a bit of basket psychology to tuck away in the back of your mind.  Oh yeah…  it’s a thing!

Of course it’s about more than baskets – it’s about how we treat others on a daily basis.  Meeting needs, first of all in our own households – then out from there.  Showing honor and esteem to others more than ourselves is not about punishing ourselves – it’s just about being more kind to others.  Simple nice actions and random acts of kindness can go a long way toward making others feel honored.

For example, let me challenge you to thank a person in uniform for their service the next time you see them.  Any uniform – no matter what the job is.  Ah…  you’re realizing how many people wear uniforms in their jobs now, aren’t you?  Good!

Seriously…  so many people in uniforms wonder why they bother some days because they don’t feel honored – heck, they don’t even feel wanted most days.  A simple “Thank you for your service” goes a long way.  People need to be recognized for what they contribute to the world.

Law enforcement officers need our encouragement more now than ever.  Our military needs encouragement more now than ever.  If your trash man wears a uniform – go out next week and thank him for doing such a good job!  Even if he doesn’t – do it anyway.  I wouldn’t do that job – eeeeewwww.  Bugs and stuff.  Ugh – no.give-a-lift-when-needed

HONOR is not a word we hear much these days – and certainly not a concept we’re familiar with.  That needs to change – and it can change one person at a time.  Will you be part of the change for the better?  🙂

 

 

PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORDHow are your preparations going?  We’re not finished yet!  Today, let’s do something to serve the ones in our home.  I hear you saying you do that every day – lol!  You may feel as though you serve those in your own household every day, but I want to invite you to take a look at the chores assigned to each member of your family.

Who usually feeds the pets?  Who usually gathers the garbage to go out to the curb every week?  Who is the one that cleans the toilets?  Ugh…  lovely chore there! 

Today I want you to do a chore that you don’t usually do – just take over and do it – no pomp or circumstance – and no announcement.  Just do it.  When you are asked WHY you did it – then you can let your family member know how much you appreciate them – and their faithfulness in doing that chore on a regular basis.  In my family, that would be followed by “Don’t expect it all the time, but…” 

Click image to enlarge

Do we tend to take our family members for granted?  Well of course we do!  When the trash gets taken out to the curb – it just magically takes itself out, right?  Stuff just happens – we each have our chores and that’s how life works smoothly.  This is just a little exercise to let your family members know they are appreciated.

As we take in the life and light of our Lord, may it shine forth in our attitudes and actions toward others, but especially in our own homes…  that’s where our mission should always begin – inside the walls of our own residence.

WRAPPED GIFTSGOD WITH US…  EMMANUEL.  He is our gift of hope in these uncertain and divisive days.  He loves every life – every soul is precious to Him – every one of us matter to Him.  We need to show appreciation for one another in our homes to begin with – then others around us – and finally to those who are a little further away – then we need to show the respect and honor to others that we want them to show to us.  Wrap a gift for other people and call it respect.  It sounds so very simple – why is it such a challenge?  :-/

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Marry someone who will suffer well with you, because there will be much suffering during the life journey.  – Unknown

DATE NIGHT

When we are planning a wedding, we often get wrapped up in the aesthetics and tend to ignore the substance.  We want the perfect flowers, dresses and décor.  It’s almost like we get to the point we’re so tired after all that planning, we say, “Vows?  What vows???”  But…  there are vows – and they are meant to be kept for LIFE.  Think about it – it’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?  Yeah – it’s meant to be.

What were those vows?  Ah…  now it’s coming back to me.

Groom: I, Larry, take thee, Linda, to be my wedded Wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.

Bride: I, Linda, take thee, Larry, to be my wedded Husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I give thee my troth.

Then, as Larry placed the ring on my finger, he said the following:

With this Ring I thee wed, with my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH
LOVE, HONOR, CHERISH

Love means, for better or worse, you are committed to caring for the heart of someone else. You are willing to die to yourself, to compromise, to share, to believe, to keep the promise even when it hurts.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Prepare for painful moments – painful hours – painful days.  When the times are good or worth celebrating – do it with all your might, but when you are in pain, keep those good days – those good memories – at the forefront.  Think about the good as you go through the bad.  God has every situation in His very capable hands.  Trust Him for all the answers.