A SUMMER OF PSALMS

Someone asked me if this verse means that we are supposed to have our devotion time early in the morning.  Well, I’m not big on mornings, which explains my dependence on massive amounts of caffeine.  I don’t think the Lord minds if we do our devotions at night.  Often I enjoy devotions at night when I have the house to myself.  I like to have it quiet when I read and write.  During the morning hours it’s too hectic most of the time, and I’m often interrupted with other things.

I believe that “Early will I seek You” means that we acknowledge God and His Lordship in our lives first thing when we wake up.  That, of course, does not take the place of our alone time with God.  That’s also the time when we sit down with our Bibles and a cup of tea or coffee, and God speaks to our spirits.  It’s a time to study God’s Word and pray.

The thing is, we say Good Morning to God, right?  We pray when we get up in the morning, thankful that God woke us up and we were able to get out of bed.  From there our day progresses, but we still pray without ceasing in our minds.  God has our attention while we do whatever we are obligated to do in this life on earth.

This world is a dry and thirsty land.  We face all sorts of adversity from people who don’t understand Christians or their beliefs – and usually don’t want to.  Even our Vice President was labeled insane for praying.  I’m still praying that God will save Joy’s soul in a Damascus-like conversion (like the Apostle Paul), because if God got ahold of Joy, can you imagine what a force she’d be for the right?  It’d be quite a sight to see.  She’s such a strong-willed person.  It’d be so great!  Right now she’s gained the whole world but lost her soul.  I’m praying that she will gain Christ and win others for Him.

Since we live in a desert land on earth, God knows we need to spend some time alone with Him every day.  I don’t feel as strong or confident if I miss my time with the Lord, do you?  He wants us to study His Word and pray, but that is for our benefit, not His.  He’s just as strong whether we show up or not.  We are the ones who need that time with Him.  It’s a gift we give ourselves.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

If you’re a child of God, this verse offers a warm fuzzy feeling and you feel loved and protected.  If you’re not His child, it could possibly scare the hooey out of you – and for good reason.  It’s one more reminder that sitting on the proverbial fence is not an option.  You’re either God’s kid – or you’re not.  There’s no in-between.

Jesus loves you!  He does… and there’s not a thing you can do about it.

God is love, but don’t be deceived.  Our God is all-powerful and is in control of everything.  He is not a senile old man who puts up with sin and laughs it off.  He’s not going to give anyone a pass when it comes to transgression of His law!  Your earthly grandfather may do that, but the God of the universe will not.

When Jesus told the sea to be still…  it obeyed!  As I write this, I’m reminded of a song we sang in our youth group called “SEA WALKER”.  Some of you younger folk are gonna laugh, but hey…  I’m old.  LOL!

Who is Jesus?  He’s the only begotten Son of God.  He was sent by God to earth as a baby and was raised in a Jewish family.  Is there more to it?  Of course – so much more!  Without His teachings about His Father and our Heavenly Father, we would be clueless.  Without His ultimate sacrifice on Calvary…  wow – we’d be in such big trouble in eternity!  Many people have the idea that Christ HAD to die for our sins.  Um…  nope!  He could have changed His mind any time – He could have said we’re not worth His sacrifice.  Did He say that?  NO, He didn’t – and we should make it part of our daily prayer to thank Him for going through with it.

Lucinda wrote an amazing poem for today.  It’s enlightening and uplifting to my spirit!  I’m so happy to share it with you!

Jesus is our link to God, therefore, we are careful to end our prayers with “In Jesus’ name”.  If we take the time to study the Bible and get to know our Savior, Christ Jesus, we will get a glimpse at our Father God.  If we know Jesus, we basically know God.  That’s why it’s so important to study the Bible.  Study, trust and obey.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Remember the old saying, “Little pitchers have big ears?”  It’s a signal to adults that the kids are listening to you – and they don’t have a fully developed filter yet – so everything they hear will at some point be repeated.  Having kids is like having a parrot.  But you know, that got me to thinking about how it’d be nice if we all paid as close attention to what God was saying to us.  If only we listened and really had ears to hear!

The name of Jesus is POWER…  and His Word is alive in the hearts of His children.

It seems like we listen to nearly anything before we listen to the Lord and His teaching.  I know one lady who will sit and watch re-runs of The Beverly Hillbillies faster than nearly anything – and that show’s been off the air for how many years?  We all know how it ends…  it’s not really a big surprise after all this time, is it?  We all know that Jethro won’t get the girl.

Maybe it’s just me – but every time I read a portion of Scripture, the Lord shows me something I had not noticed before.  I hear some folks say they’re bored with Bible study and prayer.  I can’t figure that out – because I’m excited that I’ve learned something new – not because it makes me smarter than anyone else, but because it’s one more thing that can bring me closer to my Savior.  To me, that’s time well spent.  He died for me – I want to live for Him.  Every new thing I learn increases my faith in God and His faithfulness and goodness to me.

I love Lucinda’s new poem – I think you’ll like it too.

Good guidance you will find when you listen to HIS voice.  It’s easier to hear His voice if you stay in His Word and in prayer.  Use your lips to speak and your ears to hear His word – (and some of us will use our fingers to type His blog).

If you are blessed by these words, I hope you will share the blog link with a friend.  It’s my joy to encourage and uplift through God’s Word and His Spirit.  Have a beautiful day and keep listening – with intent!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

The goal of John’s ministry was to urge folks to turn from their sins and accept Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord.  He preached baptism – the washing away of sin with water.  He emphasized the importance of complete repentance of sins.  The baptism with water is just the outward sign of an inward work and the renewal of the heart.  The inward work, of course, is done by the Lord and not through anything we do.  That is not to say our good deeds do not count or matter – they most definitely do – but in God’s eyes, it’s WHY we do those good deeds that matter most.  Our heart’s intentions are important.  Motive.  It’s about our motive.  What motivates us?  If we are in love with the Lord – His love for us and our desire to share His love through good deeds will surely be our motivation.

If we are not really holy in heart and life, our profession of religion and relation to God and His church is meaningless.  You can fool people, but you can’t fool God.  If we are to plant seeds of kindness and compassion, we must determine to meet some needs that other people have.  The two go hand in hand – it just makes sense.

A wise pastor once said, “If you don’t meet a person’s immediate need, you have absolutely no business trying to plant a gospel seed.”  We have to feed, clothe, cry with, listen to – before we can even think about introducing the wonderful good news – the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One thing to keep in mind is that if you have nothing to give, you can say prayers for those in need.  Remember, God sees your heart, your motive, and intentions.

Kindness really does count.  It matters what we share and that we care.  🙂

 

 

JAMES 1:19 ON 1/19

tl-1-19-james-1-19-on-1-19

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,  – James 1:19

I always read the book of James with a great deal of introspection.  Of all the books in the New Testament (or the Old Testament, for that matter), this is the book where it seems I fall short in my Christian walk.  I do pray that my brothers and sisters in Christ will be quick to forgive my shortcomings.

It’s not that we should not speak – or speak up – or speak out when necessary.  We just need to listen before doing any speaking at all.  I’m reminded of a famous quote:

Speak only if you can improve upon the silence.  – Gandhi

It’s human nature to want to speak up or speak out.  I’m living proof…  I write a daily blog!  It’s the equivalent of speaking up and speaking out.  I hope and pray that to those in my real life I come across much differently.  I really do purposefully listen when I’m spoken to.  I try to hear what’s being said before responding – and reply with thought and after asking God to give me the right words to say.  His Holy Spirit gives me wisdom to respond in the right way, with a proper temperament.

We need to remember that a quick temper is never an asset in character, but a liability.   I’d rather have a quick wit than a hair-trigger temper, wouldn’t you?  Isn’t it better to laugh than to get your knickers in a knot?  I think so.  A tendency toward laughter rather than anger is not only what God wants for us, but it will keep us healthier and happier.

I want to be quick to listen and slow to speak – slow to react and with God’s help I won’t over-react.  The book of James is a challenge for most of us, I think.  Love TRUMPS judgment and laughter TRUMPS anger.  Listening TRUMPS speaking and prayer TRUMPS worry.taking-time-for-peace

We have so much to learn, and we’ll never learn it all, but with God’s help, we will get better every day.  The Message says we should lead with our ears and follow up with our tongue.  It takes discipline, but with practice we can hear – really hear – and let it sink in before offering a response to what we’ve heard.  If for no other reason, we should do it because we’re told to – but remember, once those words come out of your mouth, you can’t just reel ’em back in, ya know.  🙂

 

 

GOD REST YE MERRY GENTLEMEN

tl-12-24-god-rest-ye-merry-gentlemen

Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  – Nehemiah 8:10

Today’s post is especially for those of you who wait until the last-minute to finish your Christmas shopping and preparations.  What is the message?  The message is DO NOT DISMAY!  No, that is not a word we use in everyday conversation these days, but it’s worth talking about.  To dismay is to freak out.  Don’t freak out if every little detail is not finished before Christmas Day – it’s still going to be great – trust me.  If you end up at KFC eating chicken out of a box – don’t sweat it – if you are with the people you love most in the world…  it’s good.  It could end up being the most memorable Christmas ever!

Rest…  let’s talk about rest.  Yes, we say rest in peace when someone has died.  We’re not going to rest that completely, okay; however, we need to dismay, worry, freak out less and rest, trust, rely on the Lord more.  He won’t fail to help you in putting Christmas plans together.

How can you rest while you are putting the last-minute touches on your Christmas plans?  Here are some ideas:

  • Listen to praise & worship Christmas music.  There are literally thousands of artists that will reinforce positive Christmas lyrics as you’re driving from place to place today.  Don’t dismay.  Rest.
  • Have some alone time with God before you leave the house.  Ask Him to give you moments of rest along the way.
  • Everyone is different, but sometimes I stop at a coffee shop located near a favorite shopping spot.  I get a cup of something skinny and sugar-free.  I take time to sit and silently pray and have a conversation with God about how I’m feeling – pressured or stressed or happy or sad or whatever.  I love that God is up for a conversation with me anytime I need to talk.  And I try to be a good listener as well.  I feel refreshed and ready to keep going.  I’m at rest.
  • Remember ask God to help you and whatever doesn’t get done must not have been important.  Keep some verses stored up so you can recall them when need to rest and be calm.  Maybe it’d be a good idea to have some in your glove compartment in the car.

    rest-in-his-birth

I love love LOVE the line that says, LEAVE YOUR WORRIES AT THE DOOR.  What door do you go to where you know without a doubt you can leave every care on the doorstep?  I pray that my door is one where anyone can lay their stress and worry on the porch and come inside and feel more rested before they leave.

Even more importantly…  we need to leave our worries at the door of our hearts and ask God through Jesus to take our worries and cares away.  So let’s listen to this great carol.

Do me a favor and stop for a moment, take a breath and say a little prayer of thanks.  God is your strength.  Rest…  and smile.  Christ came for you.  🙂

 

NATIONAL DAY OF GIVING #GivingTuesday

tl-11-29-national-day-of-giving

In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”  – Acts 20:35

All you have to do is watch television…  any channel – choose one, to see the faces and hear the voices of people in need.  Charities are taking to the airwaves like never before, keeping their cause near and dear to our thoughts and hearts.  These days it’s not just human beings, but animals too.  I love animals (and humans most of the time), but how do we know which charities are best to contribute to?

Charitable giving is what this day is all about.  On the heels of Thanksgiving, when we are thankful for our many blessings – and on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, when we save a ton of money on things, the idea is to give back today.  That savings you realized, you could choose to bless someone, whether 2-legged or 4-legged, with the money you saved.

We all tend to support the causes that are closest to our hearts – and that’s only natural.  I support causes in my mother’s honor and ones that she would find important.  I can’t tell you what charities to support any more than you can tell me – but if you are in doubt about whether your dollars are being used wisely, I have a suggestion.  Pray about it.  I believe if we ask God what is best, He will guide us.

Also, click on this link:

https://www.charities.org/charities?gclid=Cj0KEQiAperBBRDfuMf72sr56fIBEiQAPFXszTdIkCQTJGxbaV3p1f3WjCcA6Q1oQNDcE96jHDn4D9MaAoLB8P8HAQ

This is a charity search engine that will let you know if an organization is legitimate.  A generous soul does not have to be a blind one – or a dumb one.  It’s sad to think there may be bogus charities out there, but they do exist.  People do desperate things to get money!

Maybe today you would rather take the opportunity to give on a more personal level.  Do you know someone who could use a visit, phone call or card?  Has God brought someone to mind that you need to tend to?  Before you get too busy – stop what you’re doing and make that visit, phone call or send that card!  God will bless you for making the effort.

What sort of gifts could you consider giving?

  • Does somebody need to be warm?  Give the gift of a coat, mittens or a scarf.
  • Does somebody need food in their pantry?  Give the gift of a fruit basket, box of nuts or a gift card for the local grocery store.
  • Does somebody need gas in their car to get to work?  Give the gift of a prepaid card for that.
  • Does somebody need to be heard?  Give the gift of a listening ear with a closed mouth.
  • Does somebody need help paying for medication?  Give the gift of support by going with them to the pharmacy and helping them pay for it.  Some medication is literally life-saving.
  • Does somebody need a hug?  Give the gift of a hug – at least 3 seconds.  I read somewhere that a hug has to be at least 3 seconds long to be effective.
  • Does somebody need God’s Word?  Give the gift of a new Bible – or even a gently used one.  At one time a local antique store in our city sold Bibles for a dollar.  They looked brand new.  That’s where I got award Bibles for Sunday School promotions.  Our local Dollar General has Precious Moments children’s Bibles for less than $10.
  • Does somebody need prayed for?  Well, isn’t that a silly question?  We ALL need prayers.  If we can’t afford anything monetarily, we can sure afford to send up some prayers for those who cross our path and those God lays on our heart to pray for.  And don’t forget to tell the person you’re praying for them.  It always encourages my spirit to know when someone lifts me up in prayer.

#GivingTuesday

Is it silly to pray for those people and animals in advertisements for charities?  No, I don’t think it’s silly.  Even though they don’t have a clue who I am, I know they have a need, and I know that God can meet that need.  So I pray for the 2-legged and the 4-legged ones who need help.  give

I can’t give money to every one of them, but my prayers are certainly with them.  I would add; however, that prayers are not tax-deductible.  Not yet.  🙂