FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

Today I have roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot.  There’s nothing like anticipating a wonderful, warm home-cooked meal.  It takes several hours to cook on low, but it’s so worth the wait.  The meat is always so tender, and the vegetables are done just right!  I know it’s going to taste so good!  It will be done in its own time and I can’t rush it – and wouldn’t even if I could.

Vegetables are interesting but lack a sense of purpose when unaccompanied by a good cut of meat. ~Fran Lebowitz

We are to taste and see that the Lord is good!  I love the Lord because He keeps His promises!  If we will put our trust in Him, He will fill our life with blessings!  My cup of blessings overflows!  He gives me so much more than I deserve; but He blesses as He sees fit, not when I read off my laundry list of needs and wants.  God is not a vending machine.

God is not a cosmic bell boy for whom we can press a button to get things done. ~Harry Emerson Fosdick

I have so much to be thankful for.  If I started a list, I doubt it would be completed the same day.  I’d be typing on that list this time tomorrow!  As long as I keep trusting God with my life, He will pour out blessings on my life.  To be blessed is to find favor with God.  Some people think that a blessing is something you wish on someone else, like when a person sneezes and you say, “God Bless You!”  I suppose it is that, but how sad if a person thinks that’s all a blessing is!

According to good ol’ Webster, a blessing is a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness.  When we place our faith and trust in God, we can expect blessings in our lives!  This is a promise of God – and God cannot lie – and He will not break His promises.

As we place our trust in God, He blesses us and we are happy!  In the bargain, we receive the Father’s joy, love, peace, and wisdom!  Call me crazy, but that doesn’t sound like a bad thing to me!  As a matter of fact, it sounds better than the roast beef, carrots, and potatoes cooking in the crock-pot!  Only two more hours to go!  🙂

 

 

 

FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

The Light of Life… I like the sound of that!  Most of us take light for granted, don’t we?  We just flip a switch and Voila‘!  Instant light!  You know, light not only aids us in seeing what we’re trying to do, but it provides warmth too.  October in Kansas means that we won’t turn down a little warmth with our light, that’s for sure!  Our Lord is not only the light on our path, but He is also the wrap we wear on our shoulders as we walk.  He keeps us safe and warm!

May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within… ~Irish blessing

Light and warmth are welcoming to us.  You might even say we’re drawn to them.  You know, the other night I was walking up my driveway toward the front door and caught a glimpse of my green banker’s lamp glowing through the office window.  The green shade made the light particularly soft and more alluring.  I thought, “If I didn’t live here, I’d want to visit because this looks like a house where friendly people live!”   I was drawn to the soft green light!

When I think of this Scripture, a song comes to mind that I heard Aretha Franklin sing:

Walk in the LIGHT… beautiful LIGHT.  We’re goin’ the distance!  Jesus, the LIGHT of the world, will guide us through and provide warmth when our hearts are tempted to grow cold.  It’s a cold and harsh world we live in, but we are called to carry HIS light and warmth to others.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  ~Michael Strassfeld

What a wonderful analogy to describe Christ as the Light of the world!  He gave His all for us; became sin in our place even though He lived a sinless life.  Praise His name for He is worthy!

When our hearts are heavy and our bank accounts are anorexic, we find joy, peace, love, strength, courage, grace, mercy, and hope in the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, our personal Savior.  He loves us like no other.  Even if the world turns its collective back on you, He never will!  

He never changes.  His laws are the same and His love is everlasting.  Lean on Him for answers to life’s toughest questions.  He is LIGHT and WARMTH.  🙂

FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

I love Jesus because He cares about me; I mean He cares about major problems, but also He cares about the petty little problems I’m having too.  He doesn’t just roll His eyes at me and look at His iPhone while I’m talking to Him about stuff.  His eye is on the sparrow.  I know He watches me!

Jesus cares when we lose the mate to a sock.  As I was preparing to write this post, I wondered what the most mundane problem in life must be.  I was instantly helped with that question when I heard, “My cozy sock lost its mate.”  Did you know God wore socks?  It does seem like a small problem unless of course, that is your only pair of socks.  Maybe that’s what the Lord hears about most often from us.  At any rate, He listens and cares.  I wonder if He wears the kind with those individual toes in them?  Can you imagine?

The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you by His love; He will exult over you with loud singing.  – Zephaniah 3:17

Today I want to encourage you to pray about everything, big and small.  God does care and He is interested in all the things that you’re concerned about.  Doesn’t it hurt your feelings when your child keeps some things away from you because they don’t think you will be interested or understand what they’re going through?  God is your Heavenly Father, and He probably feels hurt when we do that to Him, don’t you think?

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.

Søren Kierkegaard

The Christian writers best ally is that of prayer.  As we confide to our Heavenly Father the day’s best-laid plans for literature creation, God has the most brilliant way of blessing our efforts with His wonderful wit and wisdom.  He adds so much more spark to anything the writer’s imagination can come up with.  Any Christian writer who has dealt with writer’s block, then prayed about it, can readily attest to that.

No, I don’t think God wears socks, but I know for a fact He has a sense of humor!  We’re made in His image and most of us have a sense of humor.  Yes, a few people are a few fries short of a happy meal when it comes to a sense of humor, but most people appreciate when something is funny.

This fall, you should be thankful for your cozy socks, and that you have both of them.  If for some reason you lose one, don’t shy away from sharing your sadness with God.  He understands and loves you and cares.  🙂

 

 

 

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

God will never change and He will never fail!  His loving-kindness is the same always!  Do you trust Him today?

When you see or hear the letters OJ, what comes to mind?  I can honestly say that ORANGE JUICE used to pop into my mind.  To some sports fans, or true crime drama fans, the name O.J. Simpson may pop to mind; however, may I introduce you to another option?  How about…

ONLY JESUS!?!

Isn’t that a great poem?  Only Jesus will do when I rise, or when I’m resting, or when I’m working!  Only Jesus will do when I’m speaking, or when I’m writing, or when I need true wisdom!  We tend to distance ourselves from everyone when we’re sick or when we’re hurting, but even if we pull away from friends and family, those are times when we need to draw closer to our Lord.

We need Jesus to keep us strong and encouraged when we are crying, or singing, or praying.  The Lord gives us words to say when we pray.  He understands those prayers that are not intelligible by anyone else.  Those prayers that are just groans, because the physical pain or mental hurt we feel is so horrible.

I love this poem!  What a blessing to have this lovely lady in my life!  Her work blesses me every day!

You know, so many people ask me if I think it matters to the Lord whether we have devotional time early in the morning or late at night.  I tell them I don’t think it’s a command that we have devotionals in the morning; however, it really is a great way to begin your day.  Personally, I think it’s best in the morning because I see my life as a living sacrifice and I want to offer first fruits.  I want God to come first and this is part of putting Him first in my life.  🙂

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

God will not deal with you the same way He deals with me.  Whatever is going on in your life, good or bad, the LORD will accomplish what concerns you.  You can have friends close by, go on a rant, beat on your desk and make a dozen whiny posts on facebook – but if you want something accomplished in your situation, you need to hit your knees and talk with your Shepherd.

I’m a sheep too – I have issues!  I’m raising my hand – I’m raising it really high!  I HAVE ISSUES!  I have concerns and people, I have some problems.  Even with all that baggage, I have a God who loves me and cares enough to not only hear my prayers but bring comfort and courage and build character in me as He helps me through my difficulties.  I can see the works of His hands along the pathway my life has taken.  I trust His answers to all the questions I have in life.

If I had a recording of my life and played it back, I could detect exact moments in that movie where I knew for a fact that Jesus intervened and helped me.  I’d take my little red laser pointer thing and circle certain parts of the movie and say, “I prayed for help in this situation, and God came through!”  Knowing the Lord makes my life richer and I place my total confidence is in Him.

His strength has made my soul undaunted.

I love that lyric in this song!  Not only do I love the Lord for helping me, but I love Him for being so patient and kind to me while I was going through some self-inflicted painful times.  We do bring some of our pain on ourselves by doing stupid sinful stuff.  In the beginning, I thought God was really angry at me after that and I could never be made “right” in His sight again; however, I eventually concluded that it was the enemy who wanted me to think that – and give up.  

Now, when I think back, I believe God was weeping for me during those times.  I had strayed so far away and I knew it but didn’t know how to find my way back home to God.  Once I stopped behaving so horribly, it was amazing how quickly it was put under the blood of Jesus and God forgave me!  I haven’t looked over my shoulder.  I keep moving forward, knowing that Jesus is my Lord and there’s no longer any known sin between my Lord and me.

If you have known sin in your life, it’s getting in the way of a relationship between you and God because you see, He’s perfect and cannot look upon any sins.  It’s His desire that you repent of your sins and ask Him to forgive you of them.  To repent just means to turn away from the sin and turn toward your loving Savior, Christ Jesus.  He will come into your heart and life and save you, just like He saved me.

To be saved means you will have a personal relationship with Him and live in Heaven with Him when you die.  You see, just being a good person in this life is not enough.  Your name must be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  Only Jesus can save you, through the blood He shed on Calvary.  A Holy God won’t accept a sin-filled soul.  I hope and pray you will accept His pardon and trust Him to help you with your issues today.  🙂

 

 

A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I challenge you to name one thing in this world that never changes.  Time’s up!  Did you think of anything?  No, you didn’t – neither did I.  Everything changes…  EVERYTHING!  The foal in the photograph above is now a beautiful full-grown mare.  Living beings are born, they thrive and do what God intended, then they die and go back to God.  It’s the way God planned it.  The Bible tells us that our time is in HIS hand.  So you see, we don’t need to worry because God has us in His hand all the time.

God never changes.  His laws don’t change.  His justice doesn’t change.  His unending love never changes.  His peace is real.  The joy and happiness He bestows on our lives can only be described as dependable.  It’s honest and there’s no hidden agenda.  If He puts a rug on the floor in front of me, then asks me to stand on it, I know without a doubt He will not pull it out from under me, causing me to fall.  Can you say that about any person on this earth?  Get real – of course, you can’t!  

This body of mine has changed from the time I was in my twenties.  Anyone who is honest will say a great big AMEN to that!  These chan.ges are a huge challenge – but God’s got me, so I’ve got this!  

Changes are inevitable in this life, but it gets dangerous when we as people try to “overrule” God.  Do we rely on our wisdom more than we seek God’s laws?  We simply cannot say that some behaviors are not sinful when God has already said they are.

When pastors are motivational speakers instead of providing instruction and direction according to God’s Word, it’s not a favor to us poor sinners – any of us.  We all need to hear and know God’s truth – all of it.  I don’t hate anyone and care for everyone’s eternal soul.  For Pete’s sake, I’m not perfect and I don’t judge anyone.  God offers redemption for ALL through His Son’s death on Calvary’s cross.  He offers forgiveness for sin – any sin – take your pick.  They’re all alike in God’s eyes.  

Change.  God causes the seasons to change.  He helps sinners to change.  We find Christ, learn what He wants for us, and turn from whatever is not pleasing in His sight.  He patiently helps us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Our lives can be so rich and full of Christ when He’s in the center of it.  🙂

 

A Summer of Psalms

Do you remember the first Bible verse your teacher asked (more like challenged) you to memorize in Sunday School?  I do – and this is it!  Of course, I memorized it from the King James version which is:

WHAT TIME I AM AFRAID, I WILL TRUST IN THEE.  – Psalm 56:3

Not to brag, but I was the first one in the Primary class to memorize it, and my teacher gave me a brown teddy bear wearing a little gold cross.  Of course, the best prize of all was that I had started the journey toward hiding the Word of God in my heart.  You see, when you hide God’s Word inside your heart, it’s like knowing there’s a fire extinguisher handy in case there’s a fire one day.  The verses we commit to memory come to mind just when we need them most.  God is faithful to bring them to our mind if we are faithful to put the time and effort into memorizing them in the first place.  One lesson I’ve learned in this life is – if you hold up your end of the bargain, God is more than faithful to hold up His end!

I can’t tell you how many times this verse has popped into my mind.  I’ve been afraid many times.  Most of the time, it’s not like being afraid at a scary movie, but more like being unsure of an uncertain future.  Fear is fear no matter what, and to conquer a fear of any kind, we need to instill some faith!  Faith is our fear extinguisher.   There are Christians walking around who don’t even know they need a fear extinguisher!  Amazing.

Fear by its very nature is a lack of faith in God.  It means we are not trusting Him as we should, and it’s a very dangerous place to find ourselves in.  When we feel completely overwhelmed with fear and know we are short on faith, that’s when we make stupid decisions and fail to rely fully on our loving Father.  We try to get out of messes on our own, relying on our own savvy, which pales compared to the Father’s plan for handling the situation.  If we keep depending on our own abilities and ignore God’s prompting in our lives, we can end up digging quite a large hole for ourselves – and then we have to hit our knees and seek the Lord and humbly ask Him to lift us out of the hole we dug for ourselves!  I can’t be the only one who has done that, right?

Save yourself some pain and hit your knees in prayer right away.  His will and His way are best.  Ask Him to cover your fear with more faith, then trust the Lord to work it out.  You can alleviate your fears completely with your fear extinguisher!  It’s filled with faith and it works instantly – believe me!  

I’m glad I learned this verse as a child.  Of course, when I was a little girl I said it as I walked through dark places in our house at night.  I was afraid of boogie men just like every child is, and used the verse to bring comfort and ease my childish fears.

Today I don’t use it in the same way (aren’t you glad to hear that?)  But this verse has reminded me to place more trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I know there’s nothing He cannot handle.  I can sort things out because I know He sorts me out.  It’s a sorting situation, you might say.  🙂

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

If I read one more article or series of articles about how to be happy, I’ll go cross-eyed permanently.  Every writer on planet earth thinks they know the “secret” of happiness.  Here’s my take on all that…  first, it is not a secret!  It’s in the Bible for all to see, if they’ll take a moment to read it.  Second, it’s not a mystery, this thing called happiness.  God wants to help us be happy.  So, relax in the LORD and you most certainly can be happy.  It’s not difficult – it’s not as complicated as people want to make it.

Our Savior, Jesus Christ, is the conduit, the go-between, the bridge, between fallen man and perfect God.  Through Christ, we can have a wonderful relationship with Almighty God (isn’t that a humbling thought?)  Believe it because it’s absolutely true!  Accept the Lord, Jesus Christ, and you will be saved and your name will be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life forever.  It’s not written with disappearing ink.

There is joy in this life and real happiness, hope, and peace of mind and spirit.  Having said all that, I should add that this does not guarantee a life that is free of trials and tribulations.  This happiness the Bible speaks of is not magical.  In this life, we all have a set of challenges.  The great advantage Christians have is the Lord Himself!  He is in our corner as we’re fighting in the ring.  He has everything we need to fight the good fight!

There are some really tough circumstances in this journey called life, aren’t there?  I watched my mother accept a folded flag at my father’s funeral and didn’t think I’d ever seen a lower point in life; however, I could find joy and peace even in that situation because I knew my father was safe in the arms of Jesus and not in pain anymore.  I also knew that my mother was leaning on those same strong arms for her solace.  We hurt – oh, for sure; but, we knew that God through His Son Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit would be with us while we mourned.

I clung to the Lord when my mother passed away fifteen years later.  There are people who say that my faith is nothing but a crutch, but guess what?  I could name some real crutches in this world, and my faith is not one of them.  To trust a loving and forgiving God Who will never change His mind about anything – a God on Whom I can depend brings me comfort!  Things change at a rapid pace in this ol’ world (and it seems they change faster as we get older) – but my God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.  I love that about Him! 

I find great assurance and stability in the notion that I don’t have to chase after the latest fad or gadget that the rest of the world has to have.  I’m less than impressed with the rich and famous, and in fact, I usually feel sorry for them.  To have your entire being wrapped up in things is very sad.  I know that happiness has nothing to do with owning the biggest and best toy.  Everything in this world is going to decay and turn to dust.  Everybody in this world will die and do the same.  Your relationship with Jesus Christ, His Father and the Holy Spirit is the only path to true happiness.  It is no secret what God can do!  Oh, that should be the title of a really great song!  Wink – I know, it already is!  Silly me.  🙂

 

 

 

A Summer of Psalms

A SUMMER OF PSALMS - 8-12 - BANNER

PSALM 120-1-2

This old lady is having a difficult time discerning true news from the fake news lately, especially on Facebook!  I see posts about how Pope Francis said this or that and I’m appalled at the idea that he could have possibly said any of it.  Well – good ol’ SNOPES.COM.  I should just check stuff out before sharing some of what I share.  I get all my friends in a tizzy and then find out none of what I’ve posted is even fact!  Ugh!  Lying lips and deceiving tongues!!!  When did people start getting their jollies by posting horrific lies about good people?  It’s horrible and I, for one, refuse to share it anymore.

I’m sure all my Facebook friends are very happy to hear that!  🙂

In this environment of fake news and made up stories, what are Christians to believe?  God’s word is clear – we are to believe the ever-loving and never-changing Book that has sustained us through the worst days of our lives – the Bible.  As we read His word and pray to Him, He is faithful to us even if we feel distressed about the lies and deceit that are all around us in this day and age.  We have to come to terms with the fact that there are people who mean to distract us from the truth – and God’s people need to pray to Almighty God for discernment!  There are fake news stories in media that at one time could be trusted because they only printed or reported the TRUTH.  That is no longer the case.

It blows my mind that there are people in the world who write false stories.  We had one thing drilled into our heads in journalism class, and that is you check sources and double-check them.  You make sure that what you are writing is real, true, factual.  Journalistic integrity is dead, folks!  We live in a society of fog now.  Nothing can be believed and everything has to be fact-checked before re-posting.  Take nothing at face value.  Their deceit means we need deliverance.  God is faithful!

The lesson for Christians today is to pray, pray, PRAY!!!  Ask God for discernment because you need it – and I need it!  It’s fairly benign in a social media setting – I mean if I share something that ends up to be false, I’ve had some conversation with my friends and end up deleting the post and saying NEVERMIND to everyone in embarrassment.  No harm, no foul (except I feel for the poor Pope.  Yikes!)  The reason I keep such a close eye on those stories is, I’m sure one of these days the story will not be fake news – and when that happens, I don’t want to be asleep at the wheel.  Does anyone else feel that way?  We know things will get worse – not to be all gloom and doom – but hey…  just speaking the truth.

The good news is, in the midst of our mess, our LORD has a message for us!  It’s our job to listen, stay alert and awake for HIS voice…  that’s the only voice that matters!  Got fake news?  Got fake friends?  Got fake anything else?  Got troubles???

Isn’t it amazing that a Psalm written so long ago can speak to our hearts and minds today?  That’s the awesomeness of God.  He was there, but He is here, and He will be there!  Omnipresent.  It blows my mind, but it comforts my mind at the same time.  Isn’t God great and good?  Yes, He is.  ALL the time!  🙂

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!  🙂