A SUMMER OF PSALMS

Someone asked me if this verse means that we are supposed to have our devotion time early in the morning.  Well, I’m not big on mornings, which explains my dependence on massive amounts of caffeine.  I don’t think the Lord minds if we do our devotions at night.  Often I enjoy devotions at night when I have the house to myself.  I like to have it quiet when I read and write.  During the morning hours it’s too hectic most of the time, and I’m often interrupted with other things.

I believe that “Early will I seek You” means that we acknowledge God and His Lordship in our lives first thing when we wake up.  That, of course, does not take the place of our alone time with God.  That’s also the time when we sit down with our Bibles and a cup of tea or coffee, and God speaks to our spirits.  It’s a time to study God’s Word and pray.

The thing is, we say Good Morning to God, right?  We pray when we get up in the morning, thankful that God woke us up and we were able to get out of bed.  From there our day progresses, but we still pray without ceasing in our minds.  God has our attention while we do whatever we are obligated to do in this life on earth.

This world is a dry and thirsty land.  We face all sorts of adversity from people who don’t understand Christians or their beliefs – and usually don’t want to.  Even our Vice President was labeled insane for praying.  I’m still praying that God will save Joy’s soul in a Damascus-like conversion (like the Apostle Paul), because if God got ahold of Joy, can you imagine what a force she’d be for the right?  It’d be quite a sight to see.  She’s such a strong-willed person.  It’d be so great!  Right now she’s gained the whole world but lost her soul.  I’m praying that she will gain Christ and win others for Him.

Since we live in a desert land on earth, God knows we need to spend some time alone with Him every day.  I don’t feel as strong or confident if I miss my time with the Lord, do you?  He wants us to study His Word and pray, but that is for our benefit, not His.  He’s just as strong whether we show up or not.  We are the ones who need that time with Him.  It’s a gift we give ourselves.  🙂

 

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Father May I?

The mercy of our God is bigger than any sin you commit!  No matter how far you’ve strayed away from the Lord Jesus Christ, He is able to forgive and forget your transgressions IF you will ask Him.  You can be assured of salvation for eternity right now.  It’s not easy to follow Christ because you must take up His cross in your life.  Standing up for your faith and speaking your mind about your Christian beliefs is probably the most difficult thing one can do, but we have Christ by our side helping us every step of the way.

Will you trade your worries and cares for the Lord’s great mercy and grace?  You can experience His love, peace, and forgiveness of sins.  Just turn all the junk and your burdens over to Him.  Then give Him praise and glory because you have begun a brand new journey that is surrounded with faith in Christ Jesus!  God Bless you extra-special good as you start your new walk!

The word EVERYTHING is all-inclusive!  When God’s Word says everything, it leaves nothing out.  You could interchange the word WHATEVER because again, there is nothing excluded.  You can pray to the Lord about anything on your mind.  He wants to hear from you!

There is nothing that is off-limits with God.  He knows all about it to begin with, you know!  Even though He already knows, He still wants you to talk it over with Him.  Maybe you need advice.  Maybe you need forgiveness.  Maybe you just need to be heard without having something fixed.  He knows that too!

God, through His Son Jesus Christ, hears every prayer we pray.  He will lift every burden from you and act on your behalf.  He is not a disappointment.  He loves you so much!

Last week we were ready to put our spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake.  You know, sometimes I get a little anxious when I am in the kitchen because I’m not what you’d call a cook that’s comfortable in the kitchen.  I’m awkward with a knife and I’ve peeled my own fingers with the potato peeler a few times.  I have other talents, but none of them are chef-related.  I’m not a chef – pampered or otherwise.  LOL!  

So as I put the spiritual chocolate chip cookies in the oven, I’m calling on my Father today, asking, “Father May I please use Your special timer so my cookies don’t burn?”

Dear Heavenly Father, I tend to get anxious and uptight when I’m expected to do things I’m uncomfortable doing.  I need Your timer to make sure these cookies do not get burned.  If I don’t have it, I could easily get distracted – especially when I put in the last batch.  I’m not sure why I always burn the last batch, except to say I do get tired by then.  I lose interest and if I don’t have a timer to remind me to get them out of the oven, pretty soon the smoke alarm does that job!  So, Lord please keep me focused on the task at hand.  I want my spiritual chocolate chip cookies to be pleasing to You!  Thank You in advance for helping me.  In Jesus’ Holy and matchless name I pray, Amen.

As we pray more and stress less, God will help us be our spiritual best!  His love has no limit and He wants to help us succeed in life.  We know that He has a place already prepared for His own in Heaven – so He’s seen to it that we are taken care of in the afterlife as well.  What is there to be anxious or upset about?  🙂

Father May I?

God’s will is at the center of everything!  There are control freaks in the world who will balk at the notion, but it’s true – they are not in charge.  Go sulk in the corner if you resemble that remark.  I’m joking.  Sit in the front row right in the middle if you resemble that remark!  😀

The Lord wants us to pray because we love Him.  To pray is a choice we make and not just something that Christians do from 11 a.m. till noon on Sunday morning in a building with a steeple.  We pray – and we keep the lines of communication open all the time.  One prayer we all pray every day is “Father, please forgive me.”

We can be confident because our God is faithful.  By confidence, I’m not talking about self-assurance, but a steady peace within that comes from the knowledge that God is in control and it will be okay when it’s all said and done.  How do we obtain that steady peace in our lives?  We take time for prayer – even if those prayers are groanings.  Some prayers are not prayed in words, but God understands them.  He knows our thoughts, our intent and He counts our tears as we pray.  It’s His will for you to pray.  Is it your will to pray?  Let God hear from you today!

Well – we have some spiritual cookie dough waiting for us.  Let’s see…  we have used God’s wonderful sifter to sift His strong flour into the batter bowl.  Last week, we added some of God’s chocolate chips (and ate another handful for good measure) so our cookies will be sweet.

It’s time to use God’s powerful mixer so our dough is mixed together well.  There – that should do it.  God is such a good Father.  As we put the little spoonfuls of dough on our greased cookie sheet, He lets us lick the beaters and the batter bowl.  I must admit, that’s my favorite part of baking!

Dear Lord,  We are nothing without Your mighty power.  It’s as simple as that.  You are our everything and we need Your power in our lives.  Our spiritual cookies would be too lumpy bumpy without a powerful mixer.  So it is with our lives as we strive to serve You.  We know that there are temptations to sin at every turn.  We also know that in Your mighty name we are more than conquerors!  You are the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  Help us to remember that in You we can do all things!  In Jesus’ mighty and powerful name we pray, Amen.

Next week as we finish our May emphasis, “Father May I?”, we will finish baking our spiritual cookies.  Our spiritual chocolate chip cookies.  Oh, I’m looking forward to them, aren’t you?

I have one more link to share with you today.  You may have heard, there was a Royal Wedding yesterday.  I think I saw a few posts on facebook – like maybe a hundred or so…  anyway, if you didn’t get a chance to listen to this sermon, I hope you’ll click on this link and listen to it.  Have a blessed week!  🙂

https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/speaking-and-writing/sermons/power-love-bishop-michael-currys-sermon-wedding-prince-harry-and

 

 

 

 

Father May I?

In this portion of Scripture, we’re told to do three things:  ASK, SEEK, and KNOCK!  Isn’t it interesting that ASK comes before the other two?  I wonder why?  Let’s find out.

Some of you are parents, right?  Who am I kidding – all of you are parents – I’m the weirdo with no kids.  Sigh.  Anyway, let’s say your child wanted something from the ice cream truck.  The music sounds as if it’s getting closer and closer…  the pressure’s on to grab a dime – or, probably a dollar these days!  But – you’d like for your child to actually ASK PERMISSION for the ice cream before going out to see how close the truck is to the house – wouldn’t you?  It’s at the very least common courtesy and respectful to parents.

God’s our Parent…  He’s our Heavenly Father.  Apply the same scenario to Him.  Well of course we’re not going to ask for ice cream.  At least I don’t think we will.  But before we seek anything in this life, we should pray about it.  We may seek a job, a spouse, a house, a mouse or a new car.  God cares about where you are and what you want in life.  He wants to be included in your decision-making.  Actually, He wants to be instrumental in your decision-making!  He can straighten paths…  I mean – He is so creative that way!  He’s the Creator of the universe and everything – so yeah – He is creative!

Once we have ASKED, we SEEK.  That is when God does such cool stuff.  I don’t want to make it sound like a name and claim because I don’t believe that way.  I just mean that circumstances can turn on a dime and you know without a doubt it’s because you ASKED before you SOUGHT.  God is God and if the desire of your heart is within His sovereign will – He wants it for you.  He works on my behalf.  He works on your behalf.  If God is for us, who can be against us!  Amen!!!

So we have SOUGHT.  Now it’s time to KNOCK!!!  Don’t knock like a timid little door-to-door sales rep his first day on the job.  Knock like a BOSS and radiate with confidence!  Why are you confident?  Because you have ASKED and SOUGHT.  You know in your heart that God is already where you are and preparing everything to work for your good!  You serve a God who not only knows the past and the present – He knows your FUTURE as well.  What calm assurance and confidence that gives me!  I’ve gotten through many job interviews by reviewing all these facts in my mind.

When we knock…  the door will be opened!  Now, sometimes things don’t go exactly the way we imagine.  But keep in mind that just because I didn’t get that particular job…  God is already in my future – so He knows which job I should have!  HE knows!  That’s good enough for me!

 

Last week we started making spiritual cookies.  I’m not going to explain it all again – if you want to refresh your memory, take a look at last week’s post.  We used God’s special sifter to sift the special flour of strength into the dough.  Today we’re going to add a few chocolate chips to make our cookies sweet!

Dear Lord, We know that Martin Luther advises us to use fewer words for a better prayer, so today we simply ask “Father, may I?”  May I please have sincerity that comes from You?  May I please have some chocolate chips in my spiritual cookies to make me sweeter?  We ASK for this most important of ingredients in Jesus’ precious and matchless name, Amen.

We’ve ASKED.  Now we SEEK then KNOCK.  Don’t be scared.  God’s already there!

I have a special treat for you today.  My friend and Christian brother, John Minton, just made a new You Tube video!  Yay!  Just in time for Mother’s Day!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FyYVARhoGQqY&h=ATPel3zJVEL-dffn-NOCtd1IA3eUy-xNImhvJIf4-HN4rmdCcZpVzm1pPDAtDjsFeQ_C1iyDHtFu2jRCKAFTD5m9SFRoMWaBH54fmVPZL17pObDK5Gw2n72tNdh5gyFC3oWs

Have a BLESSED week!   🙂

 

SPRING INTO ACTION

 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.  – Ephesians 4:32

It’s a calling from our LORD…  be light, salt, kind, loving, forgiving and tenderhearted.  Nobody wants to be tenderhearted because that means you are also vulnerable.  It hurts to make yourself vulnerable because to open yourself up to others has no guarantee of success associated with it.  God never said that being obedient to Him would result in automatic joy or happiness.  Does that mean it’s not worth doing?  No.  Does it mean that we won’t need to walk away from the ones who hurt and disappoint us sometimes?  No.  Is it a sin to walk away?  No.  It’s probably a sin to give up and not try again.  The sin is to quit trying.

We have to rely on God to help us forgive – and forgive as quickly as possible.  Forget?  Well…  not really.  It’s like you sort of tuck it in the back of your mind.  You don’t want to dwell on it, but you don’t want to forget completely so you aren’t that stupid again.  I don’t need to keep hitting my head against the same post over and over.  That’s just an insane thing to do!  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result.  I refuse to do anything remotely insane ever again.

Does that mean I don’t forgive past wrongs?  No.  I need for others to forgive me – and frankly, I need God to forgive me – so I will absolutely forgive others when I feel I’ve been wronged.  This ol’ world needs more kindness and less anger-driven violence, to be sure.  If you allow hurt feelings to fester and get infected, it affects all aspects of your life.

How can we shine for God and serve Him if there’s a cloud of hurt hanging over our heads?  We just have to ask God to help us through those hurtful times and be what He wants us to be!  I want to be light, salt, kind, loving, and yes…  even tenderhearted.  It doesn’t mean we are door mats.  It doesn’t mean we are stupid enough to walk back and take more.  We’re not.

We can conquer the hurt we encounter in this life with help from God.  We can conquer the hate we encounter in this life with help from God!

Are you ready to spring into action – and throw kindness into this wicked world like it’s confetti???  Instead of deciding to merely DEAL with the hurt in our lives, let’s trust God to help us HEAL from church hurt and other disappointments along life’s way so we can effectively SHINE for Him!  When we live in the complete freedom that Christ bought for us, it makes Him smile and it makes us whole!  🙂

 

 

 

Fresh Start

What if I invited you to my house for lunch and decided to serve a salad.  I have every imaginable kind of dressing available to choose from.  I have wonderful homemade lemonade to drink.  I covered the dining room table with nice clean linens and set it with my best silverware and dishes.  I have cloth napkins beside each place setting.  You walk in and stagger back a bit because you are so impressed!

Then after we say the blessing over our little lunch, I bring the big bowl of salad to the table.  You are expecting to see a beautiful green salad with vine-ripened tomatoes and crispy rings of red onion.  Everything else has been so clean and fresh, why wouldn’t the salad live up to expectations?

As I’m walking toward the table with the huge bowl, I start to apologize and explain that I had to use the lettuce and spinach that I bought a few months ago, and the tomatoes had some signs of spoilage, but I peeled all the white stuff off, so they should be just fine.  If the onion rings look a bit slimy, don’t worry about it.  😉  

Once you got over the shock and confusion, I’m betting the excuses to leave would be flowing like water!  Um…  I forgot to feed my pet gazelle – I really need to GO!  My house would be cleared out before you know it!

Everything was so right – but the salad was not FRESH!

As we entered into 2018, did we do so as the same spoiled and stale people we were in 2017?  Did we ask the LORD to make us new and give us a fresh start? 

Let’s break this quote down a bit.  A key word in the first part of the quote is APPEAR.  Some circumstances do seem insurmountable.  They seem irreversible.  Absolutely true!  Some really are, such as divorce, addiction, and loss through death.  I’m here to remind you that even the WORST circumstances can be made better through a relationship with Christ.  He can take anything and make it better.  The pain is not going to leave, but if you will give it to Him, it’ll surprise you because He will help you cope so much better.

And, let’s be honest.  Some circumstances that were not pleasant are brought back to our minds by the enemy of our souls.  Those are the ones we need to give to God and ask Him to take the pain away.  Thinking about them over and over will not change the outcome.  Putting them under the blood and telling the enemy of our soul that he will not win – that will set us free!

Father,  I pray that we will hand our difficult circumstances to You right now so You can give us a FRESH start.  We know that pain will not go away completely, but we know that You make all things new, and You specialize in making our lives better.  As we turn our hearts and lives over to You, I pray You will touch us and begin to do miraculous things, and as You do, we will be careful to give You the praise and glory!  We ask these things in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord,  Amen.

Do whatever YOU gotta do to get through.  Yes, Lord!  We need to say that prayer every day, don’t we?

Your peace is more important than driving yourself crazy trying to understand why something happened the way it did.  Let it GO!  – Chonda Pierce

So true!  In my life, 99% of the stuff I drive myself crazy trying to understand is stuff that the devil has tempted me to think about – again.  It’s always stuff that can’t be changed no matter how often it comes to mind.  I’m convinced that it doesn’t just come to mind – it’s put there by the devil to drag me down.  We’ve got to learn how to take those thoughts captive and say:

ENOUGH, DEVIL!  I’ve put this under the precious blood of Christ – and you need to quit putting it back in my mind.  Go sit on a tack and leave me alone!

We can do that, you know.  There is a reference in the book of Luke, but also one in Matthew where Christ is talking to Peter:

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.”  – Matthew 16:23

As earnest as Peter was trying to be, Christ knew that he was going to betray Him!  He knew that the devil was being a stumbling block to Him.  In this same way, we are to hold thoughts captive and hand them to God – let them go, saying,

“Get thee behind me, satan, in the name of Christ Jesus my Lord and Savior.”

It’s okay to call him on the bad thoughts he dumps in your mind.

Then invite the light of Christ in to your mind.  Sing songs of praise to Him and pray with a smile on your face!  Make your day all about Him!

Ask Him for a fresh start – each and every day!  🙂

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I’m not sure why people think that destruction is a way to be heard.  Frustration, perhaps – but a better thing to do when you are frustrated is to pray.  It goes back to putting prayer in its rightful place – first place.  Make prayer your first resource instead of your last resort!  Will prayer make a difference?  I believe it does!  Will it change anything?  Yes, it will.  Prayer is an act of faith and trust in Almighty God.  It says you know without a doubt that God is in control and will see you through the difficult times.

It’s wrong to destroy property in an effort to retaliate against the status quo.  Fight the temptation to join in on such violence and vandalism.  When you’re frustrated, pray for God to intervene as only He can.  Trust in His answers in His perfect timing.  They won’t come in your time – but His.  I understand the feeling that maybe God is running late…  but the longer we live with Him walking by our side, the more we understand that God is not late – He is always right on time – never early, but His timing is perfect – always!

Keep loving and praying instead of fighting and fretting.  This is how to find the peace in your heart that God wants for you.  He loves you so much!  There was a song back in my day that I dearly loved.  A lot of my Christian friends in high school liked it too.  God bless PAUL DAVIS!  Turn it up – here’s DO RIGHT.  🙂

Only God knows why we have to endure injustice in this wicked world – but we need to trust Him instead of being part of a growing problem – it has caused division, sadly.  God wants all people of all races to be kind and love Him.  Take a look at this poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

Whether the advice is DO RIGHT from Paul Davis, or DON’T GO WRONG from Lucinda Berry Hill, the message is the same…  stay close to God – and PRAY without ceasing!  Keep the faith and know in your heart that God will see you through.  Trust Him for answers, and thank Him for each and every one.  🙂