SPRING INTO ACTION

 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  – Ephesians 4:32

It’s a calling from our LORD…  be light, salt, kind, loving, forgiving and tenderhearted.  Nobody wants to be tenderhearted because that means you are also vulnerable.  It hurts to make yourself vulnerable because to open yourself up to others has no guarantee of success associated with it.  God never said that being obedient to Him would result in automatic joy or happiness.  Does that mean it’s not worth doing?  No.  Does it mean that we won’t need to walk away from the ones who hurt and disappoint us sometimes?  No.  Is it a sin to walk away?  No.  It’s probably a sin to give up and not try again.  The sin is to quit trying.

We have to rely on God to help us forgive – and forgive as quickly as possible.  Forget?  Well…  not really.  It’s like you sort of tuck it in the back of your mind.  You don’t want to dwell on it, but you don’t want to forget completely so you aren’t that stupid again.  I don’t need to keep hitting my head against the same post over and over.  That’s just an insane thing to do!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  I refuse to do anything remotely insane ever again.

Does that mean I don’t forgive past wrongs?  No.  I need for others to forgive me – and frankly, I need God to forgive me – so I will absolutely forgive others when I feel I’ve been wronged.  This ol’ world needs more kindness and less anger-driven violence, to be sure.  If you allow hurt feelings to fester and get infected, it affects all aspects of your life.

How can we shine for God and serve Him if there’s a cloud of hurt hanging over our heads?  We just have to ask God to help us through those hurtful times and be what He wants us to be!  I want to be light, salt, kind, loving, and yes…  even tenderhearted.  It doesn’t mean we are door mats.  It doesn’t mean we are stupid enough to walk back and take more.  We’re not.

We can conquer the hurt we encounter in this life with help from God.  We can conquer the hate we encounter in this life with help from God!

Are you ready to spring into action – and throw kindness into this wicked world like it’s confetti???  Instead of deciding to merely DEAL with the hurt in our lives, let’s trust God to help us HEAL from church hurt and other disappointments along life’s way so we can effectively SHINE for Him!  When we live in the complete freedom that Christ bought for us, it makes Him smile and it makes us whole!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!  God bless you – and thank you so much for reading my blog and following it.  How will you bring the New Year in?  How will you welcome 2018?

I think making resolutions is alright; however, there is far too much pressure put on a person, don’t you think?  I mean, how long is this list going to be?  If I’ve smoked for 30 years and I resolve to quit this year – then add to that a resolution that I’ll lose 30 pounds (all in one day, right?) – and oh, don’t forget, we need to pay off ALL our debt this year (that’s done in one day too, I’m sure.) 

I don’t dig the resolution thing because to resolve to stop every bad habit you’ve had for most of your life…  ugh – not so much.  It’s too much pressure.

Here’s another idea.  How about choosing ONE WORD that describes the attribute you most want to ask God to increase in your life this year?  I’ve taken the liberty of suggesting some possible WORDS you may want to embrace and pray to have enhanced in 2018.

I have a facebook friend who lives in the U.K. (don’t you love facebook???) – we chatted about this very subject a few days ago.  In her country, they have organized gatherings for senior citizens, which I think is a very good idea!  Social interaction is so vital to mental sharpness and let’s face it – we’re so much happier when we have friends and meet with them on a regular basis.  I told her in the U.S. we have things like The Red Hat Society, but I was not aware of a country-wide organized social gathering for seniors.  Compassion like Christ had – it extended to all people of all ages!  All people need the love of God, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  ❤

I get uncomfortable when I feel as though I’m losing control.  Is that human nature?  I don’t know – probably.  Giving your ALL to the Lord is not easy, and it’s never done just one time.  At least, in my life it’s never been done just one time.  It’s a daily commitment to hand everything to God.  It doesn’t matter how large the issue is, or how small…  hand it to God.  Give it to Him and trust Him with it.  Surrender to Him – and be obedient to Him.  He really does know best.  ❤

LOL – I was just fighting with my laptop (stupid thing!) – somehow, the screen got small and I couldn’t get the cursor to the place you click to make it regular size again.  Now, I ask you…  why would they put the icon over there where you can’t even reach it when you need it?  I think elves make these things – not rational elves either.  Anyhoo – I try to have more patience with human beings than I do with electronics.  Maybe we all need to pray for more patience in the coming year; and we will be careful to give God the glory for times when patience wins!  We really are nothing without Him.  ❤

I won’t lie – 2017 was one rough year for me!  I won’t bore you with the details.  My poor facebook friends have been subjected to the deets every step of the way.  Suffice to say…  I was stuck in bed with a bad back for about seven months!  It’s a humbling experience.  I would see the ads for Laser Spine Institute and just cry and cry!  I wanted to get my back “fixed” so desperately!  I’d struggled with sciatica for decades!  I finally had surgery on November 8th of this year.  But God is good because it was not a traditional surgery – it was the less invasive surgery with the less than 1″ incision.  That was the kind I prayed I could get!  That’s the kind they advertise on TV.  But my insurance would not have covered the procedure at Laser Spine Institute.  They covered it – the very same type of procedure – here in Kansas!  It’s a God thing – and I praise Him for His faithfulness to me!

I no longer have that shooting pain going down my leg!  It went away immediately – and once my incision healed and my back stopped having spasms, I was back to normal!  I’m still on restriction – can’t lift more than 10 pounds, no bending and I can’t dance the Twist yet…  but I can walk with no pain!  I walk now – so much and so far – you wanna know why?  Well, silly…  because I CAN!  During this time, my sweet friend Diane sent me this very special angel.  She is so beautiful!  She is in my “she shack” (it’s like a man cave, only for women).  She shines brightly and reminds me that there is always HOPE no matter what!  Thank you, Diane, for your kindness to me!  ❤

I’m reminded of an old hymn (hey, I was a church pianist for 50+ years, give me a break!)  The words say, “Faith is the VICTORY that overcomes the world.”  Victory is not attached to our circumstances – we are victorious no matter what!  Why?  Because we have FAITH which produces VICTORY and our faith is in Christ – and what did He do?  He overcame the world!!!  Past tense – it’s a done deal!!!  All we have to do is ACCEPT His gift!  Accept the sacrifice He made on Calvary so long ago for all mankind.  ❤

When my mama was here, I always talked with her, either on the phone or in person.  I couldn’t imagine a day without her.  Of course, I’ve been forced to embrace or at least accept a new normal since her death in 2004.  The really cool part about talking with the Lord every day is that – He’s not going to leave or die or whatever.  I know that God’s there, through His Son, Christ Jesus.  We talk nearly every day, and we talk about big stuff and small stuff.  He just wants me to keep Him in the loop, so to speak.  Just as my parent wanted to hear from her daughter every day, my Heavenly Father wants to have a conversation with me every day.  May we all seek His face every day in 2018.  ❤

I believe that there are times when God will allow a rough patch in our lives in order to make us more grateful for our lives when they are better again.  He doesn’t lead us around bad things, He holds our hand and leads us right through them!  It’s easier to be grateful when everything is going well and we don’t feel pain.  I’m the first to admit that… but I’ll also proclaim that there is always, ALWAYS something to be thankful for.  I remember when I was lying in bed back in April 2017 – and I heard a robin sing.  I remember thinking, “Lord, if I was busy somewhere else, I probably would not have noticed that bird singing.”  I thanked God for the serenade from that robin!  It had been a very long, quiet winter – and when you finally hear a bird sing, there is a sudden rush of HOPE that pours over you.  ❤

Years ago I was invited to a lecture about communication in marriage.  I wasn’t thrilled about going because quite frankly, I had just gotten divorced and didn’t think the subject applied to me.  I thought I’d walk into this church and there would be lovey dovey couples sitting all over the place.  Does that seem like an environment I’d be happy in at that time?  Exactly.  I was like, “OK, let’s get this over with…”

I should have recognized that God was preparing me for the next chapter of my life.  I could not believe the wealth of knowledge I gleaned from that lecture!  It was awesome and well worth the time it took from my life.  It actually changed my life.  And I really didn’t see that many couples there – and as the evening progressed, I frankly didn’t notice because I was paying attention to the lecture.

I learned that listening is the most important job in conversation.  Listen – and use body language to show the other person that they have your undivided attention!  Lean forward and make eye contact.  Really listen…  wow.  You mean I can’t just start jabbering and expect the other person to do all the listening?  I was shocked!

That night changed my prayer life as well – I do less talking and sometimes I don’t talk at all.  I just focus on the Lord – lean forward and make eye contact (oh, I wish) – but I always want to incline my ear toward Him.  Always. 

Here on planet earth, we restore all sorts of things!  In an effort to recycle things, we save them and love them back into usefulness!  What an accomplished feeling we have when something old and rusty looks showroom new again!  Cyber high-five to all the restorers reading this post today!

The best restorer of all is our Lord and Savior, Christ Jesus!  He suffered and died on a cruel cross on Mount Calvary so that our sorry souls could be restored – saved for eternity!  That’s a big deal!  He loves us so much!  ❤

In 2018, I want to be more obedient to God and His Word.  Of course, to do that, I actually have to delve into His Word, the Bible.  Since I’m not really a creature of habit – some days I’m an early bird and catch the worm and other days I stay up and am a night owl.  Depending on which mode I’m in, I’ll either do devotions in the morning or at night.  I don’t think the Lord really cares when we make time to be with Him – He just wants us to make time for Him.  ❤

I think we get GRACE & MERCY confused sometimes.  It’s really okay because it’s all good stuff – but it’s also good to know the difference.

God’s GRACE is God’s unmerited favor. It is kindness from God that we don’t deserve. There is nothing we have done, nor can ever do to earn this favor. It is a gift from God. Grace is divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration (rebirth) or sanctification; a virtue coming from God; a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine favor.

God’s MERCY is His loving compassion for us.  He doesn’t give us what we deserve, but He gives us what He wants to give us – His love.

See how close and intertwined they are?  No wonder we get them a little muddled once in a while.  ❤

I want God to forgive me of my sins – well duh…  of course I do!  But He says I have to forgive others their sins against me.  That’s the deal, so I have to forgive – no matter how much a person hurts me, I have no choice but to forgive.  And you know what?  Frankly, to carry a grudge around on your shoulders is really stupid!  They’re going merrily on their way, living their life – and they’ve forgotten all about it – and you.  So…  ditch that heavy grudge and forgive – but some things you won’t forget – and shouldn’t.  There are lessons we learn in those situations.  You want to keep the lesson, just in case you get in a similar situation again.  Therein lies the wisdom…  keep the wisdom from the situation.  Forgive the person – ditch the grudge – keep the lesson and the wisdom.  Works for me!  ❤

I want to end with this lovely poem by Lucinda Berry Hill.  It sums up what we’re talking about – making this year better in every way than last year.

We all need God’s help to learn to take the high ground instead of jumping in the mud hole with others.  May we bring a blessing to each other in 2018.  ❤

I know this was a really LONG post…  they’ll get shorter, I promise!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!  Be safe and responsible tonight!  God Bless You! 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I’m not sure why people think that destruction is a way to be heard.  Frustration, perhaps – but a better thing to do when you are frustrated is to pray.  It goes back to putting prayer in its rightful place – first place.  Make prayer your first resource instead of your last resort!  Will prayer make a difference?  I believe it does!  Will it change anything?  Yes, it will.  Prayer is an act of faith and trust in Almighty God.  It says you know without a doubt that God is in control and will see you through the difficult times.

It’s wrong to destroy property in an effort to retaliate against the status quo.  Fight the temptation to join in on such violence and vandalism.  When you’re frustrated, pray for God to intervene as only He can.  Trust in His answers in His perfect timing.  They won’t come in your time – but His.  I understand the feeling that maybe God is running late…  but the longer we live with Him walking by our side, the more we understand that God is not late – He is always right on time – never early, but His timing is perfect – always!

Keep loving and praying instead of fighting and fretting.  This is how to find the peace in your heart that God wants for you.  He loves you so much!  There was a song back in my day that I dearly loved.  A lot of my Christian friends in high school liked it too.  God bless PAUL DAVIS!  Turn it up – here’s DO RIGHT.  🙂

Only God knows why we have to endure injustice in this wicked world – but we need to trust Him instead of being part of a growing problem – it has caused division, sadly.  God wants all people of all races to be kind and love Him.  Take a look at this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Whether the advice is DO RIGHT from Paul Davis, or DON’T GO WRONG from Lucinda Berry Hill, the message is the same…  stay close to God – and PRAY without ceasing!  Keep the faith and know in your heart that God will see you through.  Trust Him for answers, and thank Him for each and every one.  🙂

MOTHER’S DAY

When this photo was taken in June, 1979, I remember how I felt.  I was on top of the world because I had graduated high school (which was an answer to prayer – trust me).  I was working my first job on campus at WSU and had so many big dreams.  Now, looking back at this photo, I don’t feel the same way.  The things that seemed so very important to me in 1979 no longer mean much.

Today I’m thankful for these memories.  I’m so thankful to have this photo and that the Kansas wind wasn’t making a mess of my hair.  LOL!  How precious little things become when we can no longer make new memories.  This picture reminds me of where I came from and what really matters in life.  This was a Sunday mornin’ in June…  and where were we headin’???  Surprise surprise…  we were headin’ for church.

I was raised a hard-nosed Southern Baptist – if the church doors were unlocked, we were there.  We had Sunday School, Church, dinner on the grounds, choir practice and Training Union.  My mama was in WMU (Women’s Missionary Union) and my daddy did a lot of carpentry around the church.  One time he made a whole set of little people furniture for the Primary classroom.  He didn’t talk much, but actions speak louder than words.

What do mothers do for us?  Well, when we’re very small – they do everything for us.  I was thankful for a few things my mom taught me – there were many things, of course, but some just come to mind quicker than others.

I am ever so grateful to my mother for showing me which utensil to use at a formal dinner – and the whole napkin in the lap thing.  Why?  As it happens, I was invited to a very fancy formal dinner given by the President of WSU.  There were courses…  so many courses.  I felt as though we were being timed as we ate – because guess what?  If we were not quite finished…  our plates were taken from us!  The purpose of a dinner like that is not to eat but to socialize.

When we’re learning things from mom, it’s a natural reaction to roll eyes or wonder why we will ever need to know certain rules of society.  I’ll tell you a secret…  moms know why they are showing you this stuff.  I wish now I had not rolled my eyes so much or had teenage attitude with my mom.

My mother was a beacon – a light.  She gave me everything I needed to do what I had to do in life.  God of course guided her to teach me, and she was obedient and was the mom she needed to be.  I’m so thankful.

I want to share a Scripture with you that means so much to me.

Mothers are teachers and examples for their children.  This Scripture reminds us that we are all to be a light.  Whether we are parents or brothers or sisters – or just friends…  we have influence on others wherever we go.

Let God’s light shine through you today.  Happy Mother’s Day – to mothers everywhere.  🙂

 

 

 

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

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15 & 16

Have you ever noticed when someone is asked to give a testimony, they break out in a cold sweat?  Actually, I’m describing my dad – he had a very humble and private walk with the Lord.  He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and he never wanted to testify.  If he was put on the spot, beads of sweat formed on his forehead, not because he didn’t have a story, but because he didn’t like to speak in public.

I think it’s funny now, looking back…  my parents had me in front of the congregation playing the piano before I was in junior high school.  Would either of them done anything on the platform?  I doubt it – but there I was – and there I’d stay for several years.  I’m glad they pushed me though, because the experience I gained at a young age taught me many valuable lessons.  From my unique vantage point, I got to see a few things.  I remember thinking, “I want to be like that person” – or…  “I don’t want to have an attitude like that person.”  We all do that in our youth, but doing it while seated at the piano in choir practice was special somehow.

We are to have a story and be ready to share it when it’s time.  Have you ever heard someone testify and seem to be almost angry that others are not coming to the Lord and repenting of sin as they think they should?  Sometimes your testimony is less about the actual words you say, and more about the attitude behind the words you’re saying.

A gentle quiet spirit that exudes thanksgiving and gratitude makes a much better impression than beating your hand on the pulpit and screaming.  Nobody ever scared anybody to the Lord – well, except the movie A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I think the whole youth group went forward and confessed every little sin after that movie was over – even putting chewing gum under the pew.  No, I didn’t do that…  but I found some once.  Eeeewwww.  It was a pew in the back of the church – it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out who did it.

Every one of us has a different vantage point in our walk with Christ.  We see things from different places.  I sat at the piano and watched as a tween – maybe you sat in the choir and observed – or in the back row.  Sometimes I wished I could have been a normal kid and sat in the back row – I envied them a little bit.  The point is, we all have a story of our walk – past and present.  The walk I have with Christ is so much deeper and richer today than it was when I was saved at thirteen.   That’s what the world needs to hear – and that’s the truth of it.

Sometimes a testimony is painful to share.  That’s when we rely on God’s help to give us the right words to say.  As we listen, it might hurt, but we rely on God’s help to give us compassionate hearts and minds as we hear their story.  Christ reaches down to all of us when we’re in a state of disarray – and that’s putting it mildly.  We’re unsaved and without hope without Him.

I’m reminded of an Andre’ Crouch song called I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE.  With God helping us every day, we can have confidence and assurance that things will be alright no matter what the case may be – !

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony, your story, your faith.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spiritually speaking!  LOL – well, you know what I mean.  I’ve got CONFIDENCE…  God is gonna see me through.  🙂

 

 

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.”  🙂