A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-16

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

Happy birthday to my daddy in Heaven.  I was thinking about all the great things he taught me and how many times I wish I could have another conversation with him.  I’d like to share part of a Father’s Day writing with you today.

Thank you, Daddy.  Thank you for showing me what it means to have a good work ethic.  Thank you for teaching me how to barter when I don’t have money.  I know growing up, we didn’t have more money than time, but there was always time for laughter, for listening, and for love.

Even though you built houses for a living, ours was the best one of all – not because it was more fancy, but because the love within those walls turned that house into a home.  I remember sitting in front of the TV in the family room listening to you laugh at some show.  I wanted to memorize that sound and tuck it in the back of my mind so I’d never forget it.  All I have left is that tape in my head… and I play it over and over again.  I would give so much to hear you laugh for real just one more time.  But you know what, Daddy?  One day I will…  yeah, I will.  – Linda Palmer

It’s always my intent to be a balcony person on this blog – an encourager and a cheerleader to folks – but I won’t be fake and pretend that everything is just peachy keen all the time, just so others will think well of me.

I believe there are moments when we are all balcony people AND basement people.  I believe that we sharpen one another’s iron – at all times.  I don’t believe that we are exclusively balcony or basement people.  I believe we are God’s children – and there are HIGHS and there are LOWS because we are all very HUMAN.  God knows us, and I don’t think it’s bad to admit that I’m not on the mountaintop every single day.

If and when I’m having basement moments…  I appreciate the balcony people who come along and encourage me in those times – but I also appreciate the basement people who are not ashamed to admit they’re struggling a bit.  If God puts a basement person in my path, it’s probably because He wants me to help them.

That’s what we do…  we help those who are going through a rough patch.  I help you…  you help me.  Iron sharpening 101.

We all want to be balcony people – encouragers – cheerleaders – energizers – affirming.  I’m no different – but if we’re honest, we’d admit that we all need someone to give us encouragement – cheer us on – energize us – and affirm us – once in a while.

The Bible tells us to sharpen one another’s iron – it’s a give and take – one day I encourage – and another day – I get encouraged.  It’s my intent to encourage and uplift others, using the wonderful Word of God; however…

If I have to be on a mountaintop 24/7 as I write this blog, maybe I’m not doing what I need to do.  If you expect this humble writer to be on a mountaintop 24/7, sorry to disappoint you.  If I’m not on the mountaintop, it does not indicate that I lack hope or peace in my life.  It just makes me human.  I won’t apologize for being human.  I won’t judge you for being human either.  🙂

 

JAMES 1:22 ON 1/22

tl-1-22-james-1-22

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – James 1:22

This portion of Scripture leaves little room for doubt.  Little or no explanation is necessary, as it is self-explanatory.  It’s a bit like the old Nike ad…  JUST DO IT!

Do It

If Jesus asks you To serve water at a wedding, Get the cups.

If He invites you to Meet Him on the lake, Step out.

If Jesus tells you To feed 5,000, Start breaking bread.

When He tells you to Go and preach the gospel, Open your mouth.

When Jesus tells you To let your light shine, Shine it for all.

When He tells you to Pray for your enemies, Drop to your knees.

When Jesus tells you To worship the Father, Lift up your voice.

When He tells you to Give to the poor, Dig deep.

Lucinda Berry Hill, from week 23 of Coffee with Jesus

We can study, listen to sermons and memorize Scripture until the cows come home, but if there aren’t attitudes and actions backing all of that up…  it’s just wasted time and effort.  Faith without works – is dead, so we see later in the book of James.

James was the half-brother of Jesus.  He witnessed the Lord’s resurrected body, then became one of the leaders of the church at Jerusalem.  After Peter’s miraculous release from prison, he singled James out (Acts 12:17).  James made the deciding speech at the Jerusalem Council (15:13-22), and Paul called James one of the pillars of the church (Galatians 2:9).

Some writers are gentle in their attempt to help the reader along in their Christian walk.  We see their human side and find hope because we know if God through Christ Jesus forgave them, He will surely forgive us.  The Psalmist David comes to mind and the Apostle Peter comes to mind.

James is a writer who most definitely does not mince words.  I’d call him a no-nonsense writer.  He’s the one who just tells it like it is – no ands, ifs or buts.  No excuses allowed.  He’s like the spiritual personal trainer who says – “I know you’re tempted…  but so what?  resist the devil and keep going in the right way!”   He supplies the spiritual kick in the backside that makes us say – “Yep!  He’s right about that!”  He says if we’re going to talk the talk, we’d better be walking the walk.

I’ve said in the past that the book of James is a tough one for me.  It’s just the simple, brash, harsh, undiluted truth.  It’s not sugar-coated and there is no room for misinterpretation at all.  He says what he means and means what he says.  And sometimes…  ouch – that smarts.

But really…  can you imagine being the half-brother of the Savior?  I think that relationship has a lot to do with his bold and direct writing.  It’s no holds barred, blunt and to the point.  There’s no wiggle room whatsoever.  And really where outright sin is concerned, there is no wiggle room.  Sin is sin and you can’t giggle and wink your way out of it.  It’s not cute…  it’s wrong and restoration from God is the only cure.  God will forgive any sin, but you have to sincerely ask Him to forgive you.

I wonder if James ever heard, “Why can’t you be more like Jesus?” – ???  I always tell people I’m going to ask questions when I get to Heaven – I want to ask James if he ever heard that – but you know what?  By the time I get to Heaven, it’s not really going to be that important.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART1

Sometimes the choices we make are irreversible.  Once we begin walking forward, we just have to keep going and never turn around.  Those decisions are made slowly and methodically.  Make sure you give it much thought, because you know there’s no going back.  Nothing in your life will ever be the same again.  You have to ask yourself if there may be a time in the future when you’d like for things to be the way they are.  If the answer is no, then there’s no reason to stay where you are.  That’s the only time it’s okay to take action and keep walking forward.

I’ve only done that once.  I don’t care to ever do anything that painful again for the rest of my life.

I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you.  – Bobby Fulks

Sometimes decisions are made for us.  Things happen in life that are completely out of our control.  Life-altering experiences occur and that’s when we are left with our faith in God.  We hopefully have people in our lives who love us, but we know without a doubt that we have God…  and yes – He loves us.  He cares and He wants to hear what our hearts are feeling.  Even if what has happened leaves us frightened and angry and alone – He still wants to hear from us.

broken-til-the-end

Life is a little like on the job training.  We are born into this world – expected to perform at a certain level through school and receive a diploma which magically leads us to the pursuit of happiness.  Right?  Hang on, Sloopy…  let’s back this truck up.

Stuff happens in life because not only are we just human, but the people around us are… you guessed it…  human.  We all have dreams and expectations once we graduate.  We’re going to meet the right person to spend a lifetime with – we’re going to have this wonderful family together and we’ll fly off into fluffy white clouds in a classic car – like Danny and Sandy did at the end of the movie GREASE.

Have you ever seen a classic car fly???  I rest my case.  Just as a classic car most definitely will not fly, no woman could possibly fit into that leather outfit that Sandy wears toward the end of the movie.  I’m convinced that’s why most men want to watch that movie so many times.  Sigh.  I dunno – maybe it is to see the classic cars… 

Yes, life is like on the job training; however, most jobs are dull compared to the twists and turns that life takes.  When it seems your life is a rollercoaster ride, just keep in mind that Jesus sits at your side.  He doesn’t need a barf bag…  but there are times when you might need one.  Jus’ sayin’…

a-roller-coaster-ride

The common thread throughout this topsy turvy ride of life is LOVE.  Find LOVE – a connection that makes it all worthwhile.  Love here on earth, of course…  but know that you are loved completely by your LORD.  He knows you better than anyone, and He loves you more than anyone here ever will.  We need human love to hang in there.  We need God’s love to make us whole and give us purpose.

Finding love on this earth is so difficult.  Finding love from Heaven is so simple.  🙂

 

 

 

 

I AM DYSLEXIC… HEAR ME SCREAM

TL I AM DYSLEXICI was recently made aware of yet another trick my eyes play on me…  yeah – I really needed to add to that list.  My eyes apparently see small g’s and small q’s the same way.  Sound weird?  Oh – not to me!

I was supposed to type PLAGUE, as in the plagues of Egypt – but typed PLAQUE, which, unless I’m mistaken, is something people get on their teeth OR an inscribed commemorative tablet, usually of metal placed on a building, monument, or the like.

UGH…

Dyslexia makes writing a real challenge, but it seems like I keep finding new twists and turns.  To be perfectly honest, I’m thankful somebody caught it and told me, but I had no idea my brain was this bad.  I try to be careful, I really try.  If you are dyslexic and get where I’m coming from, it’d be great to hear from you.  I knew I had some issues, but this is a brand new one.  Getting q’s and g’s mixed up…  huh.  Great…  just great.13102822_982147601892571_6280506427244160185_n

Why does God impress upon me to write when it’s such a challenge?  Maybe it’s His way of keeping me dependent upon Him.  When things come easily, we tend to think we’re doing them in our own strength.  It’s just a theory…  but dyslexia is the most frustrating condition to deal with.DYSLEXIA

I’ll scream…  and cry…  but I’ll probably get up tomorrow and write again.  I have to believe that God’s got His reasons for everything.  I don’t know why I see things differently than others do.  If I had the power to change it, I would.  I’ve done the best job I can do and leave the rest to the Lord – so please forgive my errors because I’m so very human.  🙂

 

JOHN 9:25 ON 9/25

TL JOHN 9 25 ON 9 25

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”  – John 9:25

I was recently called a hater – again.  Have you ever felt completely exhausted because you have been so misunderstood?  For the billionth time, whether someone else is a sinner, I don’t know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!

https://youtu.be/LJEET8cM7mM

All who have felt the power and grace of the Lord Jesus wonder at the wilfulness of others who reject Him.  So much of the negative stuff in our lives is self-inflicted.  What if we would ask God to help us before we just jump in with both feet – huh?  I’m talking to myself too.  But judgment – nah – that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about obedience to God – but if we don’t talk to Him about things, how do we know how to be obedient?

VICTORY WITH MY JESUS

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.  If you were blind and accidentally discovered that smearing sour cream on your eyes would restore your sight, would you keep that miracle to yourself?  I’m betting you’d shout it all over the place!  I would.

On a spiritual level, I’ve learned that through prayer and Bible study, our lives can be brighter and better.  I don’t want to keep that miracle to myself.  I just want to share it with anyone who will hear me.  That’s what we do when we witness.  It’s not about me saying I’m better – it’s about me saying I was once at the bottom, but when I accepted Christ Jesus into my heart and life and began to learn more about Him and His love, I was raised up from the pit and set on a solid rock to live my life in victory!

I want to share that…  of course I want to share it!  We’re all making life’s journey with different backgrounds and different challenges.  The good news (the gospel) is all about Jesus.  It’s Him and His sacrifice on Calvary which bridged the relationship between God and man.  Restoration.  Like refinishing an old piece of furniture.  I was the worst looking piece of furniture in the junk heap.  When I accepted Christ – He refinished me – restored me.

The laws are God’s, not mine.  Sin is still sin – and the Bible is still God’s Word.  This liberal upside down world does make me crazy sometimes.  When it makes me too crazy, I have to back up, breathe; close my eyes and ask God to give me the patience that He has with me.  Truth from God’s Word is hard to handle if you know you are so far away from it in your life and lifestyle.  May God bless His own as they minister.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  – John Quincy Adams

In a nutshell, God and His laws are how we measure our lives – and that’s a very high standard indeed.  So high, in fact, that nobody can achieve it.  He wants the best for us, which is why there are laws.  He wants to protect us.  God forgives sin through the blood of Jesus when we sincerely seek forgiveness.  As we depend on Him more and more, He helps us stay away from things that would cause us harm.  When we sin, He is quick to forgive our sins.  And – this is the part I LOVE about Jesus…  He NEVER brings it back up to us again – but the enemy will – like really often.  But – we can tell him to sit on a tack in Christ Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

There are two kinds of men who never amount to much – those who cannot do what they are told and those who can do nothing else.  – Cyrus H.K. Curtis

Remember that you are not a robot and should not be afraid to show initiative in life.  Don’t be scared to step out and take action, but continue to be obedient to the Lord.  God wants all of us to GO AND SIN NO MORE.  God’s Word – His desire for us.  We all need God’s wonderful love, forgiveness and a lot of mercy, for sure!  🙂

 

ROMANS 8:26 ON 8/26

TL ROMANS 8 26 ON 8 26

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.  – Romans 8:26

LIFT WITH YOUR KNEES

Hands up, everyone who readily admits that they are weak.  Our ego rarely permits us to make such a bold statement, but as we’ve discussed before, as we pray there is no room for false pride or cover-ups.  He already knows what we need before we ask, so being completely forthright and honest before Him behooves us.

Jesus knew exactly what He was doing when He left His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, with us before He ascended to heaven.

No, I don’t know how God’s Holy Spirit can help all of us at the same time.  No, I don’t know how He can hear each of us when we pray – and treat each one of us as though we were the only child.  My human mind cannot even begin to fathom the “how”, but my faith tells me it is so.

The concept of the Trinity is amazing to me.  I mean, what an awesome plan, to have God, the Creator and Father of us all, then send Jesus to earth to save mankind once and for all.  As though that was not enough, we were not left alone to navigate this life.  The blessed Holy Spirit helps us every step of the way!  He is the One who lends comfort when we are distressed, and helps us to pray when all we can do is weep with no audible words.  He knows our thoughts and our needs before we even bow before God the Father.

Christian, know that today you are surrounded by supernatural power from on High.  God the Father loved us so much that He gave Jesus to be the perfect sacrifice, sinless and loving.  Even when Jesus ascended to heaven, He was thinking of us.  He left His precious Holy Spirit to live in our hearts to love us and help us along.  All we have to do is ask Him for help.

No, it’s not a natural thing to be weak, but if we can just be humble before God, He will be there and the Holy Spirit will make intercession on our behalf.  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

TL IRON SHARPENS IRON (2)

LITTLE JUST LIKE ME

As I review the life of my Savior, I’m impressed with many things that help me realize that He really does understand the human experience first hand. He was very much a human being, but we must remember that He was always divine as well.

I’ve never met my friend Jimmy Stone. He’s a friend of mine on facebook. He has taken some of the neatest photographs and I’ve been given permission to use them for poetry I write. This photo is one of his baby booties next to a pair of his father’s baby booties. The first time I saw the photo I thought, “What a unique comparison to make. What a comfort it is to know that our parents were once children too!”

When I was a kid, I didn’t really think of my parents as younger people.  It sounds weird, but I just always thought of them as adults.  Of course the truth did eventually occur to me.  Now I know that every struggle I faced growing up, they probably faced as well.

I’m comforted by the thought that Jesus walked this earth. He came as a little baby and was raised here on this planet. Even though it was in a different culture, in a time so long ago, it was still here on earth. He lived among other human beings. He felt similar emotions and had similar experiences I suppose.

Jesus is not a Savior that came down from the sky as a scary entity with fire in His eyes. He came to earth as a tiny baby. He wants to relate to us and it was the perfect plan. Well, of course it was a perfect plan – it was God’s plan!

So on this Tuesday of Passion Week, I’m so very thankful that my Savior came to this earth as a baby and lived among people for 33 years. He understands every obstacle we face because He faced them too. ❤