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! 

 

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)POSITIVE PLAN #3 for me is to listen carefully to others before I speak.  It’s the highest form of respect to hear others – not just sort of listen and immediately begin to speak.  We all want to be heard, especially by friends and family.  Would I be writing a blog if I didn’t want to be heard?  Well…  probably not.

To speak and to speak well are two things.  A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks.  – Ben Jonson

Miscommunications can be avoided and hurt feelings are not as likely to be an issue if the people interacting are actually hearing one another before they speak.  I want to show more respect for my family and friends this year.  This is also helpful advice for those in the workplace.  We have relationships with employers, co-workers, vendors and the all important clients and patrons.  If we have good relationships with one another, regardless of the circumstance, it has a direct impact on the bottom line.

LISTEN BEFORE YOU SPEAKMost of us have a tendency to think of what we want to say while someone is trying to talk to us.  It’s not necessarily a bad thing to do that, but if you can focus more on listening to their contribution to the conversation and less on how you are going to respond, it would be a better idea.

Here’s a reason to listen intently…  you may actually LEARN something!  Yeah – it’s true.  What a concept!

I’m not suggesting that we ignore what’s being said to us on purpose.  I think it’s human nature to think ahead about what we’re going to say in response.  We don’t want to say anything that will sound stupid, so we scrutinize our response to ourselves to make sure it sounds reasonable and logical.

Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.  – Doug Larson

Listening on purpose doesn’t happen naturally, rather it’s a learned behavior.  Fortunately, with God’s help we can re-train our automatic method of communicating and make it more effective.  Great bosses are good listeners and a pleasure to work with and for because those employees feel they are heard and understood; more to the point, employees believe the boss takes a genuine interest in what interests them.  It’s an all around good relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (18)

PRAY WITHOUT CEASING

When I talk to my friend, sometimes she begins expressing the things she’s thinking out loud and very loudly in an effort to drown out whatever it is that I’m saying. Sometimes this is funny, but most of the time it makes me sad and feel as though what I have to say does not matter. I know she probably does not even realize she’s doing it. It’s okay.

I have a heavenly Father who listens and speaks to me in turn. He hears my entire thought. He answers my prayers and never wants to have a shouting match with me. What I have to say matters to Him. What I think and how I feel matter. He loves me and cares about me because He knows me better than I know myself. He created me!

When I gave my heart to the Lord some 40 years ago at the tender age of 13, I had no idea it would be such a great journey! I would not go back and change a thing! In this time, Jesus has become my very best friend and prayer has become a refuge for me. I don’t feel so alone or so unheard because there is a constant conversation going on between my Lord and I.

The value of consistent prayer is not that He will hear us, but that we will hear Him.  – William McGill

No matter where I am, no matter what I’m doing, The Holy Spirit and I are communicating! Some people refer to that small voice as conscience, but it’s more than that. If you have not accepted Christ into your heart and life, it is the Holy Spirit speaking a need for you to come to a saving knowledge of Christ. If you have accepted Him into your heart and life, then it is Him letting you know every moment of every day what is best for you.

Even in the most difficult times, you can rely on God’s Holy Spirit to help you. Sometimes he calms the storm around you, but most of the time, He uses that storm to make you stronger and calm your spirit. I hope in this new year you will listen to that small voice and obey Him. May you decide to pray without ceasing. It is the best conversation you will have throughout your lifetime. ❤

THANKS LIVING DAY 32

 

TL THANKSGIVINGPRAYER ABOUT FRIENDS

My Lord is near me all the time.  What sweet assurance that is – and more so as time goes on.

There’s an old saying among Christians – to get to heaven, you gotta be paid up and prayed up. That’s always bothered me a little because God loves a cheerful giver and that doesn’t sound like a cheery attitude to me. It sounds less like love and more like duty. If we love the Lord we will do as we should because we love Him, not because it is mandatory. Some people think if they do more paying and more praying, it counts for extra credit in the after life. Um… nope – don’t think so, however, if you do extra credit work, it is not in vain because it ultimately helps you in your life here on earth.

Today I am thankful for God’s patience with me. He has forgiven me so many times, and He forgives quickly and completely. I need to be as good at forgiveness as God is! I want to be. I fall down and He picks me up and dusts me off and sets me back on the path. Thank You, Lord for being so good to me. You teach by example how we should treat others. Help me to do better.

In God’s Holy Word, The Bible, Jesus used a familiar phrase when speaking to people. He said, “He who has ears, let him hear.” He also used similar phrases that mean the same thing. All told, He tells His sheep to listen to Him 15 times in Scripture! I think He wants us to listen!

So today Lord – I thank You for being patient with me and I pray You would help me use those ears You gave me to hear You.

I’m so thankful for friends who really pray for me.  Please pray that God won’t give up on me. I pray that God will keep picking me up and setting me back on the path You want me to be on.