Season of New Beginnings

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.  – Romans 5:18

If all we look at is the original sin, life looks so hopeless, doesn’t it?  But as we see what Christ did on Calvary, we see that there is hope for renewal and real change in behavior and lifestyle – for everyone who accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior!  I like the sound of HOPE, don’t you?

This portion of Scripture celebrates freedom for every Christian.  There is finally good news that we can have eternal life because of what Christ endured to pay the price for our sins – past, present, and future.

If we put blinders on and see just the one original sin, we’re likely to lack vision regarding our own life.  Salvation does not guarantee that we will never sin, and the truth is, that ol’ devil will mess with a Christian more than a non-Christian!  When we do get tangled up in the weeds, we do have hope for better days ahead.

Sin is only fun for a season, and be sure it will find you out one way or the other.  When it does, turn back to God, seek His forgiveness and the forgiveness of those you wronged here if possible.  Move out of the ruins and walk in God’s beautiful light.  Nobody knows your heart better than He does.  He can and will help you get your act together again.

It’s almost May and the April showers are nearly a thing of the past.  As the May flowers start growing around you, don’t you want your life to be heading in the right direction?  Discover a new life that will not only make you happier, but be pleasing to God as well.  That’s what matters – pleasing our Heavenly Father.  Let Him pick you up, dust you off, and set you on His straight path.

Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.  – 1 Corinthians 15:22

New life.  That sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?  Why live under the death curse, among the weeds and the waste, when with Christ, you can have a new life?  He loves you so much and wants to give you His peace, joy, love, hope and eternal life.  Walk out of the ruins and into His loving arms.  He will make you a beautiful flower!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

In the whole Bible there is hardly another chapter which can equal this triumphant text.  – Martin Luther

It’s only because of Christ and all He’s done for us that we have eternal life.  His grace is the key to our salvation.

Adam’s sin resulted in death for all who are in him, but Jesus Christ’s obedience in going to the cross resulted in justification of life for all who are in Him. Adam’s sin was credited to all his descendants, but Christ’s righteousness is credited to all who are His descendants through faith in Him.  – Stephen J. Cole

We don’t earn eternal life – but we humble ourselves with grateful hearts before the cross of Christ.  We rely upon His grace and mercy in our lives and for our afterlives.  We can make Heaven our home forever if we believe and claim His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.

Yes, Adam sank our spiritual ship, but God has thrown a life preserver to us. His name is Jesus! What Adam did was the worst thing that ever happened, but what Christ did was the best thing that ever happened.  – Keith Krell

Grace is free to us but very costly to God. – Keith Krell

Even at our worst God loves us.  – Jerry Cosper

God’s the only One who could possibly provide the perfect sacrifice for the horrific sin of man.  As much as we want to think that being a “good person” is enough to earn life in Heaven one day, it’s just not true.  Without the cleansing blood of Christ, we cannot be saved.

We’re not keen on being represented by Adam, but the truth is, if any of us had been the first man, we would not have done anything differently.  The fact is, sin is in this fallen world – but the good news is the gospel of Christ!  He died on Calvary’s cross and that is the only hope for fallen man.  Believe today on Him and you will be saved.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (2)

And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins.  – Mark 2:22

So much of what we read in Scripture is what my grandpa called common horse sense.  Aren’t we thankful for that?  What if God’s Word was completely over our heads?  Wouldn’t that be fun during devotion time?  I’m glad that I don’t have to consult with Franklin Graham about every portion of Scripture I read, aren’t you?

I’m the first to admit my knowledge of wine is limited…  that is to say, you could fill a thimble with what I know about it.  I know there are red ones and white ones, and I think I know that red is for pasta and red meat, and white is for fish.  I think I know that – don’t quote me.

Back in Bible times, wine was what they drank – I always heard it’s because the water was not fit to drink.  We’ll go with that.  I just don’t drink because – well – for one thing, those drinks at restaurants are expensive – it’s frankly not a huge religious rule with me – more of a financial one.  Water is more healthy and it’s free.  There ya go.

Why is it important for us to know about new wine and new wineskins?

The new wine represents the spiritual freedom of the gospel of Jesus Christ – with its fermenting energy and new life that has the power to truly transform a heart and life.  The old wine represents the old ways – the old ceremonies and rules of the Law.  This was a time when the old legal ceremonial ways were about to pass away.  It would prove fatal to try to weave the old with the new – or to put new wine into old wineskins.

In addition…  the new wine also represents a brand new baby Christian – filled with zeal and excitement about the new life they’ve been given by our LORD.  They are so driven with a desire to please the LORD…  and sadly, the older wine in the church is all too happy to dump every JOB that has to be done in the church – on their heads.  Are they ready for it?  Um…  NO!  Why do we do that?

New converts MUST be treated with gentleness and consideration.  We need to stop misinterpreting their eagerness and willingness to jump in and work for a sudden qualification to do so.  They’re not ready for the tasks that we “old wine peeps” have taken on for ions of time.  The fastest way to burn out a brand new baby Christian is to throw them into a bunch of jobs all at once.

I love the idea of new Christian classes.  I’ve not been to one, but I know they are very effective.  By the time folks are finished with that, they are usually ready to do one thing – not a whole list of stuff – just one thing – and do it well.  And just as it should be – they will progress to more things as God opens the door.  I’ve seen great new ministries begin that way.

I know the old saying – and it’s true…  10% of the people do 90% of the work.  I get it…  I really do.  But let’s think before we load a new Christian – or even a new member – down with a list of jobs.  May we pray that God will impress on us what ministries He wants for us to be a part of.

At twelve years old – after I was saved and baptized in the church, I was immediately given a Sunday School class to teach, asked to be church pianist, and play piano for the choir and for the youth group.  It’s not a complaint, for all of this prepared me for the work and ministries I’d be involved with later.  It’s more of a reflection about how we’re all quick to share the workload… and I suppose they shared it with me because I grew up in the church.  But seriously…  we need to be careful with the brand new baby Christians.

They drink milk…  they have to ease into red meat.  🙂

 

 

GALATIANS 2:20 ON 2/20

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I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.   – Galatians 2:20

The first step toward understanding the narrow path that we’re called to walk is understanding Paul’s epistle to the Galatians.  In the 20th verse we read that there should be Christ-centered living.  Our Savior lives in us and we live by faith in Him because he loved us and gave His life for us.

Paul emphasizes how life with Christ is so much better than life under the law.  The law could not make men righteous before God, yet in Christ they were made righteous.  By dying to self and embracing Christ, clinging to Him rather than cold, empty law…  they were able to rise to a new spiritual life as they fixed their eyes upon the cross of Christ.

The “old man” – dies to self and the old sin nature – and is given a life of close and intimate communion with God through Christ Jesus.  Faith in self turns to faith in Him, His way, His peace and His love.  We rely fully on Him for pardon, righteousness, joy, comfort, every supply of grace, and eternal salvation.

In Paul, the old law lost its power and ceased to influence him.  That means that he declared himself divorced from such things as the LOVE of money, the PRIDE of life and the DOMINION of hateful and evil passions.  These things that are so meaningful in the world around us, ceased to influence him – and were also crucified with Christ.

While we still live in these bodies of flesh, our spirits are renewed and recharged daily by the Lord.  We’re not given a pass from sufferings, grief or loss in life – but we know that our Lord is there to help us through them.  🙂

 

 

 

NATIONAL FROG MONTH

TL APRIL IS NATIONAL FROG MONTHAccording to fairy tales, these rather slimy creatures turn into a prince when you kiss them…  um…  I don’t know that to be a fact, but I do know that they sing out loud and strong after it rains here in Wichita!  Sometimes we refer to a heavy rain here in Kansas as a toad strangler…  but it doesn’t really hurt the frogs.  They still croak in sweet harmony when the rain is over.YOU MATTERIt’s so easy to take the sounds of nature for granted.  We hear the frogs croak, the birds chirp and the wind rustling the leaves on the trees – but do we stop to thank God for any of it?  I admit I don’t always…  but once in a while I sit outside and just take it all in, and I have to close my eyes and say a little prayer of thanks to God – I thank Him for my sense of hearing and for the familiar sounds that let me know that everything is okay in my world.Linda - Quote - Frog Jumping Day-screenshot

I’m so thankful that I grew up in the country…  we didn’t have a pond close by, but we had very deep ditches, and every year I got to watch the little tadpoles swimming around.  It seems like a simple childhood activity, but those are some of the happiest memories I hold dear today.children-767034_1920tadpoles-338627_1920It was really great to visit my grandparents on the farm in the spring…  the frogs and tiny tadpoles in their pond were fun to watch – and there were more of them.  sunbeam-292987_1920

I love to watch the little baby animals in the springtime, don’t you?  New life…  new experiences…  new hope!

Of course, we know the acronym for F.R.O.G. – it is FULLY RELY ON GOD!    Let’s keep that in mind today as we appreciate His creation – frogs! FULLY RELY ON GODBABIES IN THE SPRINGTIME

If you have children, make sure they get to see something other than the screen of their new phone.  Show them the babies of springtime…  show them the tadpoles swimming around in the pond.  The wonders of nature and the way God set things up – are amazing for kids of all ages!  I hope that today you will slow down and sit down outside…  close your eyes and take it all in.  🙂

 

FARMER-CONSUMER AWARENESS DAY

TL 9-12 FARMER-CONSUMER AWARENESS DAY

9-12 THAT OL' BARN

Today the farmers in Quincy, WA are bringing farmers and consumers closer together.  Quincy’s FARMER-CONSUMER AWARENESS DAY (FCAD) started in 1981 when Dennis Higashiyama was listening to the radio. He heard a story on the Paul Harvey show that illustrated how farmers and consumers had drifted apart – leaving many people with little or no understanding about how food actually arrives on their grocery store shelves.

The farmers show off the fruits of their labor and demonstrate the tools and techniques that they use in their work.  The public has a great opportunity to learn about where groceries come from and talk to the farmers.  Through the years the even has grown successfully with tours of area processing plants and farms, displays of farm equipment, informational and commodity booths, and a farmer’s market.  There’s also a Grand Parade, a car show, cook-offs and the Farm to Market Fun Run.

I was fortunate to grow up around farmers so I appreciate the hard work involved in getting food to my table.  Sadly, all I have left of the farm is memories.  I wish I could have a piece of barn wood to hold on to, but the ol’ barn down on Granny & Grandpa’s farm is long gone now. What started out as a big, brand spankin’ new bright red barn with white trim, slowly faded into a less than attractive building with holes just large enough to let the wind howl. It held a combine and some hay for a while, then one day it blew down to the ground. By then there was no need for a barn. Grandpa Frank was gone and Granny was in a nursing home. The barn had served its purpose and collapsed from exhaustion. Poor thing.

Barn wood is very popular these days.  People just love to get ahold of something old and make it new again.

9-12 BARNWOOD

Barn wood is used for all sorts of things like picture frames and trays.

Etsy is my go-to source for what’s hot in décor. Turns out, barn wood is a money-maker. I saw a piece of subway art on barn wood for a cool $150 and a reclaimed piece of barn wood made into a church pew for almost $1,000. There were some barn wood boxes for $38 a piece and a barn wood bed for… well, you get the idea. Makes me feel sick when I think of how my family set the ol’ barn on fire and watched it burn to the ground – well, what was left of it.

I’m glad there are farmers who share with consumers in an effort to keep the lines of communication open.  We appreciate the work farmers do.

Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.  – Henry Ford

I like the idea of something old being given a new purpose. Barn wood gets re-born to live a new life. I was like an old piece of barn wood, just all used up by first one thing then another, until God found me and set me on a straight path. Then I was all reshaped and was given a new purpose in life. This ol’ barn is sure thankful to the Master Carpenter for all He’s done!  😉