God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

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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! 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

What is stone heart syndrome?  Well, a stone heart can come from many sources, and certainly in this world filled with mean people, it’s easy to see how a person can have stone heart syndrome.  How many times can a person be hurt before their heart turns to stone?  Well, as a wise person once said…  that is up to the individual.  You can choose to take the hurt and save it and let future hurts add to that one until they stack up and the heart turns to stone.  But the better choice is to let go of the hurt.  How?  Pray and cry out to God.  Tell Him everything, holding nothing back (He knows it all anyway).  Ask Him to take your hurt… every bit of it.  

They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you and your family will be saved.”   Acts 16:31

Once you’ve rid yourself of all the pain and the hurt, ask God to give you something much better.  He will because He loves you so much!  He wants to give you a longing for the things He longs for…  the fruits of HIS precious Holy Spirit.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.  – Galatians 5:22-23  

Regardless of education or experience, it’s true that only God can change your heart – from a heart of stone that keeps others at arm’s length, to a heart of flesh that has genuine compassion and a sense of empathy for other people.  God loves people more than anything.  We should too.  It’s not a quality that comes easily for some of us.  I’ve found that there are ministries for we introverts too.  When I asked the Lord what He wanted me to do, just one word came to me.  Encourage.    

Do I have to encourage others in person?  Well…  no I don’t.  I can encourage through social media – in my groups and on my pages.  I can encourage with a card or a phone call.  I don’t skype, but that’s certainly another way to encourage someone.  We all need encouragement once in a while.  I’m just so thankful that God can use me in that way for His glory!

Let His truth transform you.  Let His words conform you.  Let His Spirit indwell you.  Let His love restore you.  Kick the hurt to the curb and allow the Lord to give you His joy, peace and love.  Find Him and hold Him close because He will never fail you.   🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We don’t want to think that there are modern-day Pharisees in this world, do we?  Sadly, there are some that think they will get to God’s wonderful and glorious Heaven in some way that has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.  Some think that a family member in Heaven can put in a good word for you with God…  well – that won’t work.  The ONLY way to Heaven is to place your faith and trust in Christ Jesus.  He willingly sacrificed His life on a cruel cross – for you and me.  If you were the only one on this earth, He still would have died so you could be saved.  Believe in Him and you will be saved.

God refers to His children as sheep in the Bible sometimes.  I don’t know much about sheep, but I know they need a shepherd to guide and direct them.  The shepherd keeps the sheep safe from harm.  Some people don’t want anyone, including the Lord, to tell them what to do – they resent it.  Those who walk with the Lord are comforted by His loving care.  He doesn’t want to hold us back from success.  He opens doors along the way – on the path to success and real joy in Him.

I want to go into the pasture through the open gate, don’t you?  Besides, have you ever seen a sheep jump – I mean, other than when you’re counting them in bed as you try to get to sleep – ???  They are really not jumping creatures.  I don’t think they can hop over that fence.  Sometimes when I encounter a person who thinks they can get to Heaven some other way, I think – “How dare you spit in the face of my Savior!”  Honestly – think about what He went through to save mankind.  For anyone to think they can get to Heaven while completely ignoring the plan that GOD set forth for us…  that’s just dumb and a bit unsettling to me.  Our Savior, Christ Jesus, is great!

Nobody will ever love you like the GOOD SHEPHERD!  His love is true and it lasts.  Praise HIM for all His amazing blessings!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

It’s been a rough week…  physically and mentally exhausting!  We recently changed internet providers and have been unable to have the secondary account (that would be my account) added.  The account with our previous carrier has been suspended since the Friday before Labor Day.  I’ve been without access for a few weeks.  I think I’m experiencing a form of internet withdrawal.  Is there a support group for that?  I don’t think so, but I may start one!

Last Thursday a tech from our new provider came to set up our security system.  I asked if he thought he may be able to help me get that secondary account set up so I can get on the internet train once again.  He proceeded to tell me that he recently graduated from college with a degree in computer – and my countenance brightened immediately!  Hope renewed, I pointed out my sad little laptop and told him to have at it.

He asked if I had a Gmail account and I said I did (thinking that I definitely did NOT remember my password!)  He got my computer to use google chrome instead of internet explorer – and left the google logo where you search – displayed.  So…  I have a google logo where there once was Cafe Mahjong!  Is this progress?  Well…  maybe.

I was disappointed and a little angry.  They guy left and I’m still up a creek without a password.  I was actually shaking and I cried a little bit.  Does that help?  NO!  I calmed down some and went back upstairs, believing I’d play Bejeweled 2 for the rest of the evening.  Once I had calmed down, I looked at this passage of Scripture.  The words WISE, WISDOM, BOAST and KINDNESS, JUSTICE and RIGHTEOUSNESS jumped out at me.

Have you ever just got real with God?  I mean – at the end of yourself – at the end of whatever boasts you hear from others who claim to have the ability to help – at the end of it all?  I prayed that God would just calm my anxious thoughts, dry my tears and bring alternatives to my mind.  If God is ready and willing to do anything for us, it is to impress us with alternatives!   We serve a God with so many ways of solving problems – any problem!  

God told me to talk to Lucinda.  He often tells me to talk with her!  Did I do that right away?  No – because Linda pride gets in the way…  I sat and argued and asked God to just tell me what I should do – He said NOPE – you need to talk to Lucinda.  So…  I got on facebook and shared my frustration.  She made it all better when she said – CAN YOU SET UP ANOTHER ACCOUNT?

Well – suddenly it was ALL BETTER!  I didn’t have to remember the password – or click on “forgot password” knowing that I didn’t have a working email address for them to send a code to!  I’ll just start all over again!  The weight of the world was lifted and I thanked God for such a good friend (even though right now I’m pretty sure she’s laughing through tears!)  It pays to trust God’s way of problem solving instead of trusting your own wisdom – or your college degree.

When we know God, we will not be stranded without the tools we need to solve problems.  Sometimes, the tools He uses is a friend – so don’t be too proud to be obedient when God tells you to seek assistance from a friend.  We need to remember – friends who are true friends will understand!  Friends are KIND.  Lucinda has always gone above and beyond for me.  I’m so thankful that God let our paths cross.  I’m cryin’ again, girl.  ❤

We really are here to help each other – the body of Christ.  Don’t let pride keep you from being obedient to God – and get the help you need in the bargain.  I hope and pray I’m as good a friend to Lucinda as she’s been to me.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Just as the Bible instructs children to honor their parents and be obedient, it also has an outline for parents – particularly fathers in this case.  Think of the attributes of our Heavenly Father…  He is slow to anger, as earthly fathers should be.  He does not use severities in dealing with us – again, earthly fathers would be wise to take note of that.

Earthly fathers should do their best to work upon their child’s reason.  The old adage “because I said so” is an example of what not to say.  Children need answers to the fundamental question – why?   It’s always best to use reason so they understand where you’re coming from.

While there’s nothing wrong with setting limits and making it clear where the line is, anything less that proper and compassionate correction is wrong.  Make sure they learn about God and His love as well as His ways.  Pray for your children – and pray with them.  Show them that you practice what you preach.  Prayer in the household should be as natural as breathing.  God can change the heart, yet He gives His blessing to the good lessons and examples of parents, and answers their prayers.

Fathers who want their children to be rich and accomplished, whatever becomes of their souls, must not look for the blessing of God.  That’s not to say a child can not be successful in life – but it is to say the main interest in training up a child should be their spiritual condition.  God will lead for all those other things.  Seek Him first…  then all other things will be added.

God entrusts fathers with precious little ones.  When dads introduce their kids to the Heavenly Father, it makes God smile!  Remember – when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask you about how much money you made or how much cool stuff you had while on earth.  He does care about how you raise your children.  It’s important to show them Jesus.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Not all preachers stand behind a pulpit on Sunday morning at 10:45 am and again at 6 pm.  Anyone who claims the name of Christ is to be sharing the good news of His gospel with others in any way possible.  Sometimes it means writing a blog post every day, feeling humbled in your heart and a bit jumbled in your brain because of dyslexia.  God can use what I write though – not because it’s so riveting and exciting…  but because it’s what God wants me to write.  A wise writer once told me that I need to share what I write whether I think it’s good or not because God knows somebody who needs to read it.  He’ll make sure what I write gets seen by the right people.

Have you ever seen someone get reproved or rebuked by someone with patience?  It’s rare that a person can actually do that because there’s usually some degree of emotion involved and sadly, it’s generally anger.  But I got to witness a pastor reprove and rebuke someone on his staff once and by the time he was finished, I felt as if I’d been in the most wonderful class ever on diplomacy and tact.  I knew that God’s Holy Spirit was guiding every gesture he made and every word he said.  He got the point across and there were absolutely no hurt feelings and he didn’t have a bit of damage control to worry about.  Thank God! 

To exhort means to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.  It can be dicey to do this, but there are times when it’s necessary.  Again, if we will take time before rushing in to seek God’s Holy Spirit and let Him guide our words and actions, it’s amazing how much better things will go.  Nobody wants to hurt feelings, but when there are differences of opinion, rather than knock heads together as you’d do in your own wisdom – ask God to help you as you negotiate a compromise in the situation.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  There’s a blessing waiting for you if you’ll do things God’s way.  Have you read the story of Jonah?  I rest my case. 

I keep thinking about that last phrase…  with COMPLETE patience and teaching.  That’s impossible to do in our own strength!  The natural man has nearly zero patience.  If you don’t believe me, drive around downtown Wichita at 5 pm on any weeknight.  Horns honk and fingers flip…  um, exercise.  Yep – road rage…  the struggle is real, folks.

God gave His all for me – He just keeps on loving me.  He hasn’t given up on me, so I need to hang in there with others.  Only through God’s Holy Spirit can we develop COMPLETE patience and teaching.  It’s a preacher’s job to lead by example and while yes they’re human (we do get that) – but like every Christian who has been a Christian for a number of years, there should be that desire to be patient with the congregation.  Is it easy?  Nope.  Is it possible with God’s help?  Yep.

Today is the first day of CONSIDER CHRISTIANITY WEEK!!!  I hope you will accept Jesus into your heart and life today.   If you are a Christian, don’t forget to share your faith with someone this week.   

Well, 2 Timothy 4:2 is my birthday verse.  I’m 56 years old today – woo-hoo!  I wrote a silly little poem from my silly little heart.

I really do love the rain.  I loved it more before I wore glasses because the rain messes my lenses up – but I still love the rain.  I can remember having snow a couple of times on my birthday, which I’m not a big fan of – one time I had to cancel a birthday party because we had so much snow.  That was a major bummer all the way around.

You know I love donkeys, right?  Well – if you didn’t know before, now you do.  Look what I found…

Keep sharing your faith wherever you go, and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you have COMPLETE patience and teaching with everyone.  Just plant the gospel seeds.  The world won’t be forced with an iron fist and we can’t yell anyone to the altar.  We just have to love folks and pray for them.  🙂