Flowers are Coming Back

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to each person according to what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.”  – Revelation 22:12-13

Maybe it’s just me, but winter seems to linger and last forever!  My friend Kelly is a gardener.  She has had her seed packets since February and posted one cold winter day that she is going to have to wait two more months to plant her seeds.  It’s excruciating, this time between winter and spring.  Here in Kansas, even when spring is officially here, we still have rain and chilly temperatures.  We don’t trust anything we plant to be protected before May.  Winter is the longest season – and we have no choice but to be patient and wait for warmer weather.  But the watchword is…  ANTICIPATION!  We prepare, then we wait!  

Sometimes I’m tempted to feel the same way about the second coming of Christ.  I want the Lord to hurry up – but He reminds me that not everyone is ready for His return.  It makes me feel selfish, to be honest, but once that feeling passes, I realize that it’s just a reminder that I need to get to work!  The Gospel is something to be shared, not hoarded.  Our Lord wants everyone to be ready to make Heaven their eternal home!

Remember the Great Commission?

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  – Matthew 28:18-20

I like the last part of this portion of Scripture:  I am with you always, to the very end o the age.  Do we know when that will be?  Nope.  Nobody knows except God Himself.  Even Jesus won’t be privy to that information until it is time!  So, while we’re waiting for the end of the age, we need to be busy in whatever way we can, sharing and caring for the lost souls around us.

Revelation says that Jesus is coming quickly.  I’m sure you think as I do…  “You call this QUICKLY” – ???  We’re not questioning God – we really aren’t.  We’re just saying that the time between Christ’s resurrection and His second coming to earth has been a very long winter…  but we wait with anticipation, knowing that one day the proverbial spring will arrive and we will be enjoying the most beautiful garden we’ve ever seen.  The best news of all is that, we’ll never have to endure another winter again!  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

If a farmer were to hoard grain in a time of famine or when others are in dire straits, people would naturally not only think badly of, but would probably talk about in less than glowing terms.  If that same farmer chose to sell the grain for a fair and reasonable price, those same people would think better and bless he and his family.  We can translate the grain into the gospel of Christ.  Our Lord did not come to earth to save just you or just me.  Of course, if you or I were the only one on the planet, He certainly would have – but what Christ did for the world was…  well – for the world!  We are not to have the attitude that we’ve found the way to salvation, so there’s no need to share the good news.  We should be willing to share at every opportunity God gives us!

Why is it important for God’s children to share the joyful news of salvation with others?  Because it’s part of God’s plan for us to take as many others with us to Heaven as we can.  Friendship evangelism is the most effective way to help others hear the good news of Christ.  His life, His death, and His resurrection.  The Roman Road is a road we should travel several times in our lifetime.  It not only teaches a new child of God, but it reminds His older children of where they are and where they came from.  It’s a humbling exercise to be sure.  We have so much to thank God for, don’t we?

So what’s in it for God’s children?  It’s all a part of not only our growth, but a command we’ve been given from the Lord Himself:

I’m not a soul saver – that’s God’s job through Christ’s sacrifice.  No, I can’t save anyone, but I can share my testimony and show others how they too can be saved.  We sow seeds – sort of like Johnny Appleseed, I guess.

These men enriched themselves by the starvation of their neighbors.  That was back in Solomon’s day.  Today, of course, we have laws to protect from such things, but this can still apply on a spiritual level.  None of us should be just scooping up all the blessings of God and not giving anything back.  That doesn’t please God, does it?  We most certainly should go and teach, preach, baptize, and make disciples.  God’s Word in action is a bread we can break with the spiritually starved lost.  Let’s review the points of Spurgeon’s sermon:

Let’s make God’s Word available to all people everywhere, in a language that they understand.

Let’s keep the Gideon Bibles in hotels and motels, and in all places we possibly can.  I’ve heard countless stories of how people read the Bible just in time before going through with suicide.  It’s important that the Christian Bible be available to all.

Preaching should be understood clearly.  Talking over people’s heads is a waste of everyone’s time.  May we speak and write for the average person.

Let’s give importance to answering God’s call on our lives.  In our day, there are so many distractions.  Never in history have there been so many distractions in our lives – most of them to amuse ourselves in the form of entertainment.

Christ crucified must be the sum total of any sermon or lesson in Sunday School.  His blood sacrifice is the fundamental truth we need to teach and preach (and write blog posts).

May there not be a lack of love in our ministry and in our witness.  Love is the greatest of all.  Preachers, teachers and blog writers will be held accountable if any of their listeners or readers should perish.  Cover all you do with much prayer, and pray for those you want to reach.

Labor passionately for the spread of the gospel to all men.  Support missions at home and abroad.

Watch for an opportunity to express kindness and love to someone else every day.  Don’t be thoughtless or too wrapped up in yourself to pray for others.

Help those who speak up for Christ.  Consecrate your money for those who minister at home and abroad.  As we give to missions, God gives to us.

God rewards those who do His work with an easy conscience.  He gives them peace of mind and heart.  When we place jewels in His crown and palm branches in His path, that is the ultimate reward for doing His bidding.

He who dares to run the risk is not only unwise, but goes against God’s way.  Will you share the gospel with your neighbors, or hoard it?

Jesus went about doing good.  Do we have the right to think we can do less?  Don’t withhold grain from your neighbor.  Let’s all live in peace till God takes us home.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MARK 1:27 ON 1/27

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The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”- Mark 1:27

Every Bible verse brings a gospel song to my mind.  What can I say…  I’m a Southern Gospel  musician – so is it really a big surprise?  This portion of Scripture reminds me of a song from 1977 by The Rambos called, “He was the Talk of the Town”.

There’s a line in that song…  skeptics called Him a devil…  interesting to call one Who gives orders to impure spirits a devil.  Hmm…  it’s been a tactic of the enemy since the dawn of time to put a spin on the truth.  Sadder still is the fact that so many folks bought the spin!  Some folks are still buying the spin.  Sigh.  We need to be so careful to have ears to hear the real truth – God’s truth.

Jesus taught with authority!  He knew Who He was and where He came from – He knew He was sent on a mission to seek and to save the lost.  Not everyone believed His teaching, but some did.

So it is when we teach today.  Not everyone will listen to the teaching of Christ.  Is that a reason to stop sharing His good news?  No, it isn’t – and we are commanded to go and preach – go and teach – go and share – go and love.  We’re given what we need to minister – and there are many ways to minister to others.  Not everyone writes a daily blog, but it seems to be the way God has opened for me.  There are creative ways to tell others about the Lord and what He has done.  Ask Him and He will open a door for you.

If you’re a prayer warrior…  send up a few for this humble blogger, okay?  I appreciate every one of them!  ❤

I’m so thankful that Christ came to earth and lived among us.  He was completely God while becoming completely human.  Don’t ask me to explain that – but that’s the truth.  He preached with authority from His Father, God.  He loved as no one before Him or after Him ever did.  Every battle he fought was spiritual in nature – and praise God – He won them all and He will win every one in the future.

There’s nothing of a spiritual nature in your life that God through Christ can and will not overcome for you.  That’s the truth – the real truth – no spin.  🙂

 

 

 

 

PRAYERS & WISHES FOR THANKSGIVING

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I’m thankful for the internet. I’ve been able to reach so many people with inspiration. Not just with selling my books via my website, but also with sharing things online. I have made some really good friends, and really good acquaintances. It’s not what I’m most thankful for but it is one of many. – Lucinda Berry Hill  www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com

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Surfing the internet is a bit like driving a car.  There are streets here in Wichita that I literally avoid because they are just too rough.  I opt for a smooth ride…  call me crazy.  We all know that making wise choices on the internet just makes sense and usually keeps us out of trouble.  There are all sorts of speed bumps, and there are fake people all over the place.  On facebook alone there are people who take military photographs and use them to create false facebook accounts.  I admit, it took me a while to catch on to that, but I’m so much more careful than I used to be.  Today I decline many friend requests, especially if we have no common friends.

It’s sad and scary on the internet – but it’s also a wonderful tool for ministry!  I can post little rays of God’s love and His Word every day on pages like AMERICA, BLESS GOD and POEMS & PRAYERS FOR MY SAVIOR.  It’s such a blessing to share encouragement in groups like A SECOND HELPING OF WELLNESS…  WITH A DASH OF HUMOR & A PINCH OF FAITH and I’M A BASKET CASE.

A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.  – Author Unknown

God gives us choices because He created human beings – not robots!  Free will…  it’s not a curse, but a gift from our Creator.  If for any reason we choose unwisely, we need to know that God will forgive and allow a U-turn.  We just have to make that U-turn and not look back!

Let’s pray for courage and wisdom to use the internet to SHINE for Christ:

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I wish you safe surfing with no creeps on your facebook account.  I wish you many friends and acquaintances along the way.  May you have wisdom from God to choose good sites and stores to visit on the world wide web.  There are good things, but please remember there are also bad things.  Please be cautious and careful as you surf.

I’ve been blessed to minister via the internet since 2012 with blogs and through facebook.  It’s a real pleasure to design and post Scriptures, poems, sayings and quotes that uplift and encourage others!  May God bless you through something on the internet today.  🙂

 

ECCLESIASTES 11:6 ON 11/6

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Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.  – Ecclesiastes 11:6

As tempting as it is to snuggle under the comforter and sleep until spring…  we can’t do that.  We have seed to sow and work for our hands to do.  As Solomon says, we don’t know if the seed will grow or die – and we don’t know if the work our hands find to do will prove to be successful – but we do know if we give up…  nothing will be accomplished.  That’s not good and God’s not pleased.bless-others

http://keepfaithrunning.com/ Check it out!

Some commentaries associate the morning to youth and the evening to older folks.  The same rule of thumb applies – we work ’til Jesus comes!  We don’t do the same type of ministry in our 50’s that we did in our 20’s – that’s just the way it is.  There are more challenges as we age, but it’s not an excuse to quit.  Regardless of your age, you can ask the Lord to open doors of opportunity for you.  There’s work to be done, and maybe you’re the one for the job.

I’ve had such fun trying new ways to minister to others.  I like to write and help other writers by making designs, guest writing and ghost writing.  BOO!  😀

So even though the days are shorter and darkness falls so much earlier now, pray for ministry opportunities.  God will give your hands work to do for Him.today-is-tomorrow

A ministry doesn’t have to be large, it just has to be sincere.  Serving others for Christ is all that matters.  If you’re singing at a nursing home or helping in a homeless shelter or whatever your hands find to do…  do your best!  Trust that God will provide the increase through your efforts.dowhat-you-can

I have friends who have gone overseas to do mission work.  Sometimes I think, “Wow…  that is really putting feet to your faith!”  But do I know how much many seeds I sow decide to grow?  NO!  I write what I’m led to write and leave the rest up to God.  Isn’t that what a ministry or a mission does, whether it’s in the U.S. or abroad?  I’m so much more contented and focused in my ministry when I stop comparing the importance of my ministry to that of others.14962614_1839527242958404_872399760063475835_n

Be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit…  and you will be amazed (and a little surprised) at what may happen next.  It may become the great adventure of your life!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)12075076_1019943578045285_2006305397285375045_nHAPPY FALL, Y’ALL!!!  I don’t know why we are always so anxious to rush into this season more than the others, but my house has been decorated for autumn for at least two weeks!  We’ve had so much rain this month, it’s almost as if we’re jumping into spring instead of fall – but it’s fall according to the calendar – so we’re going to go with that!

Today I want to ask you if you’ve ever had a “happy accident”???  Take a moment to let that sink in before you answer.  The two words don’t seem to belong together – happy and accident – do they?  Hmm…  has Linda been hitting the sugar-free apple cider a bit too much?  No…  I really do want to know if you have a story to tell about a “happy accident”.  Oh…  I said that phrase again.  Does it set your teeth on edge?  I could see where it would.

Sometimes we think our mistakes are deal breakers for life.  We can’t seem to get over them, even though the most over-used sentence in America is LETITGO.  Thanks, Reba…  we’re learning.  I’m a work in progress.  Once I ask forgiveness from God and He forgives, it makes it easier for me to forgive myself and THEN I can letitgo.

The other day I was trying to find some images, photographs, for poetry I wanted to design.  My go-to place is Pixabay because I’ll be honest, I can’t afford to pay money for the images I use here on the blog or for poetry designs.  Lucinda and I also have good friends who have graciously given me unlimited permission to peruse through their facebook accounts for photos – thank you so much to Chris Cummins, Dave Mock, Karen Tubbs Stell, Sheri Berezowecki-Lemay, Valerie McKinney, Bill Woods, Terri Boggs Rowe, Marian Poppy Ballestero, Jimmy Stone, Katrina Huckabay, Stephanie G. Lutz, Candace Waters, Pete Lord, Sam Peters, Arleen Krueger, Gina Womack, Joanna Hays and Mike Durbin.

I also want to thank Lucinda not only for her wonderful poems, but for letting me use photos from her facebook page for my poems.  🙂

I was searching Pixabay for a certain kind of image – I had a very specific type of photo in mind.  I thought I typed a certain word in the search engine – but when I double-checked, I typed a completely different word.  It took me to a subject I know absolutely NOTHING about – and I mean nothing…  SPORTS.  Every writer knows this…  you write about what you know.  Never try to fake what you don’t know to be fact.

I laughed out loud and told God, “Wow – that was a huge OOPS, wasn’t it?”  God impressed me to take a look at the images on the page – and one in particular caught my eye – then another.

It was A HAPPY ACCIDENT – I knew these images needed to be used.  I also knew that I didn’t know a thing about football.  I fought with God – and said, “Lord, I don’t know anything about this subject – there’s no way I can write anything good.”  Then I heard God say, “Lucinda does…  give this to her.”

It’s funny because when we’re obedient, God rewards us – He really does.  Once I sent the image to Lucinda, look what she did…taking-a-knee

But wait…  God’s not done.  He gave me words to use for the second image I found!teach-us-to-pray

I know the term “happy accident” is from Bob Ross…  we all know how he used to refer to the OOPS in painting as a happy accident.  Around the time all of this was happening, I also saw this interesting photo from Bill Woods and thought, “That describes what happened perfectly!  I’m going to call it a ‘happy accident’ – like Bob Ross did!”  14067573_10208342567854653_5861265440443893614_n

Photo courtesy of BILL WOODS.  Thanks for the reminder!  The timing could not have been better.

God blesses our efforts when we obey.  I love “happy accidents” because when it’s all said and done, it was not an accident at all.  It was A GOD THING.  He works differently with each of us because we aren’t robots who can be dealt with the same way – we are individuals in God’s eyes, and He works with us in just the right way.  I’m so thankful that God can make anything work for the good…  aren’t you?  🙂

 

BRING YOUR MANNERS TO WORK DAY

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We learned so much from Ernestine, didn’t we?  She taught us how to behave in the workplace…  be tough, but use humor at the most crucial time (when you actually want to beat the tar out of someone).   She taught us that we need to wake up, get up, dress up (making certain you have earrings and a matching bracelet), and show up to work on time!   We also learned that it’s okay to snort on occasion during a conversation and laugh at the appropriate time.  Thank you, Ernestine!

When Ernestine’s job phased out, they introduced her to a computer and put her in a cubicle with enough room to turn your chair exactly one half turn in two directions, but not enough room to stretch your legs out in front of you.  She no longer worked for the telephone company, but for a health insurance company.  The building was in downtown Wichita, Kansas and she worked on the 6th floor.

Wait…  that’s not Ernestine – that’s me.  Okay – we’re talking about me and my job.

How do we take our manners to work with us?  I’m so glad you asked.  I happen to have made a list.  I made this list a few years ago, long before I retired.  I’ve been waiting for the perfect time to share it – and it seems the opportunity has present itself, so…  here it is.

  1.  Whether you got up on the right side of the bed or not is unimportant…  you must begin by looking at yourself in the mirror and practicing your smile.  Good manners in the workplace begin with a good attitude, and a good attitude depends on your view of yourself.  It’s true!  If you like you, then it follows that others will like you too!  I’m not advocating the self-love, can’t get enough of myself junk that hit songs are made of these days – NO.  I’m just saying a healthy self-esteem is a step in the right direction, that’s all.
  2. Pray about the coming day.  I hear you saying, “I don’t have time for devotions in the morning – I have to get to work!”  Did I say anything about having actual devotions in the morning?  If you happen to be a disciplined person who gets up and hour earlier to accommodate that into your routine, then good for you.  For the rest of us…  pray while you’re in the shower – God hears you there too, you know!  By the same token, if you get up early enough to take a jog or a run or a skip around the neighborhood – you are disciplined enough to take care of your physical body…  doesn’t your spiritual self deserve some time too?  Jus’ sayin’…
  3. Be geared up to have a great day, but be prepared for worst case scenario.  Don’t let anything blind side you.  Remember who you are and that regardless of what happens, God loves you.  People do not always love you, but that’s not in their job description.  Let’s face it, we don’t pick our family and we don’t pick our co-workers.  These are just people who need to make money.  That’s the only reason they are there – just like you.  Don’t expect to make friends.  If you do make friends, that’s a bonus!
  4. I had a pet peeve about elevator etiquette.  If you think about this rationally, it makes sense.  When you get to work and need to get in the elevator to get to the 6th floor, it’s okay to push the button and stand there – that’s fine.  But don’t stand right next to the doors of the elevator!  If there are folks inside the elevator who want to come down to the 1st floor, they will need to have some space – give them room to exit the elevator before you get on!  For Pete’s sake, don’t just charge into the elevator right after the doors open!  It made me cray cray when someone would do that and I’d be trying to exit with some degree of decorum and integrity intact.
  5. Don’t talk about anybody ever…  gossip is not pretty in a family, in a church, or in a workplace.  It’s dangerous territory – do your best to rise above the temptation.  It is tempting because some people can make you nuts, but keep that information to yourself.  A better idea is to just pray for the ones who grate on your nerves.  Funny thing, but once you start to pray for them, you don’t dislike them so much and sometimes you begin to understand them better.
  6. It’s perfectly fine to speak cordially to co-workers, but to stand around and chit-chat and laugh and carry on is rude and annoying to others.  It’s distracting when some are trying to think about – you know, work.
  7. Be available at break time or at lunch for co-workers.  Some ministry doors have been opened to me at work.  It’s amazing how much you can share with a co-worker about your faith over a Wendy’s burger.
  8. Did you know that when you’re talking on the phone with a person, when you smile, they can HEAR that you’re smiling?  It’s weird, but it’s true.  Genuine courtesy is refreshing.  We’ve all met people who seem fake and robotic where courtesy is concerned.  Work on making common courtesy a part of who you are as a person.  With a little preparation and thoughtfulness, you can be a person with genuine courtesy.  It’s still better to give than to receive and to think of others before yourself.

So like Ernestine, we can go to work all scrubbed up and spiffed up, with our smile, sense of humor and manners on board.  Have a GREAT day!  🙂