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.  🙂

IRON SHARPENS IRON – FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

IRON SHARPENS IRON

Yesterday I told you what I do not want to be – a stumbling block.  Today I’m going to focus on what I do want to be – an iron sharpener!  This year my goal is to bring out the best in everyone – including myself!  You’ve heard of friendships where the two or three just keep “feeding” off each other and getting funnier and funnier, right?  I love it when that happens – even if it’s off the wall and silly.  If I can be the friend who makes others laugh and spew diet Dr. Pepper out of their nose…  what can I say?  It’s my mission in life and when that happens, I can say mission accomplished!  My work here is done.  You’re welcome!

Real life is stressful and often awkward and uncomfortable.  Should friendships be the same way?  I really don’t think so.  There’s nothing worse than spending time with someone you want to escape from – and you spend the whole time hunting for the nearest exit and plan the escape in your head.  Let’s face it…  those are the friendships you have to re-think.  You just do – and yes, it’s sad.  Some people are not meant to be in our lives for the rest of our life.15822977_1868319833412478_4287722067523972073_n

Thank you, Lucinda – for keeping me polished!  I’m so glad that God allowed our paths to cross!

For those friendships that seem destined to be, how can we be an iron sharpening friend?  I’m glad you asked.  Here are a few ideas:

  1. Pray for your friend – and for your friendship.  If your friendship is covered in prayer everyday, it will be strong and won’t crumble over petty things.  I tend to be upfront and honest in friendships because I appreciate those qualities in my friends.  One day I was feeling especially envious and a bit jealous of a friend’s success when I did not seem to be gaining ground with my project.  I told her about it, knowing that she would appreciate my honesty and candor.  She helped me by first of all praying for me – and secondly, she started pointing out some positives that I had missed somehow.  She knows if the shoe was on the other foot, I would have done the same for her.
  2. Cherish the friendship because God designed it.  Review the start of your friendship once in a while.  Let your friend know that you appreciate what she brings to the friendship and how much better your life is now because of it.  Praise God for the way ministry grows and matures when Christian friends work together.  Ask God to impress on you and guide you to the next project.  It’s amazing and wonderful how God brings your separate work together as one very large witnessing tool.  Be thankful when others are helped by your ministry – thankful of course to God, but also to each other.  Don’t take friendship for granted.  Friends don’t grow on trees.  Most of my friends would think that visual was hilarious.  I also imagine they’d imagine me hanging by my tail like a monkey, with a banana in my mouth (I have to be eating – well DUH!)
  3. Communicate as clearly as possible.  A friend and I were chatting on facebook not long ago about this.  We agreed that messaging on facebook is more challenging than talking face to face because there’s a lack of facial expression in the communication.  Then we joked about using emojis – or really over-using them – in an attempt to let others know that we’re smiling 🙂 or 😀  or that we’re loving what they’re saying <3.  Of course, when I’m talking there’s always the popular – I’M CONFUSED.  :-/  Yeah – I really use that one frequently.
  4. Don’t try to fake it.  God knows everything about everything, so it makes no sense to keep anything from your friend in the Lord.  It’s a temptation to keep the “downer” stuff to yourself so you don’t bring her down too – but if you do, you are robbing her of the opportunity to lift you to God in prayer.  Maybe you’re going through something that you don’t even feel like you can pray about yourself.  I’ve been there and I’m sure you have too.  Let your friend know what’s up so she can pray for you.  It is a privilege and an honor to pray for a friend.  Don’t let silly pride keep you from asking your friend to whisper a prayer for you.

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We eventually get where we’re goin’ – together.  I want to be an iron-sharpening friend.  I hope you do too.  Let’s all work together to sharpen some iron in 2017!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

When Jesus walked this earth in human form, what was the last act of good will and fellowship?  It was THE LAST SUPPER.  Jesus ate with His disciples and attempted to explain the drama to follow, though they understandably did not comprehend what they were hearing.  I’m not quick to judge them – I’m not sure I’d “get it” either.

What have Christian churches considered tradition since the beginning of Christianity?  It’s a POT-LUCK DINNER.  Everybody brings a covered dish (preferably with food inside).  We stand in line after the church service, tummies growling and eyes enlarged as we carefully examine the good stuff we have to choose from.  We communicate and laugh and if somebody says they forgot or they think they should not stay – we talk ’em into stayin’ anyhow, right?  We tell them there’s plenty of food.

Nobody knows how to make good relationships into better relationships like the followers of Christ.  I believe that most people here in Wichita still believe that America is a Christian nation, founded on the values and principles of Christianity.  We love, we mentor, we pray for everybody (except maybe ourselves) and yep – we EAT TOGETHER.  We break bread and with true concern for our fellow person – we communicate and laugh and with a sincere heart, we try to listen to the views of everyone and come up with solutions when there is any conflict.  THAT is what we do.

I could not be any more proud of Wichita right now.  While race relations are escalating across the country, in Wichita, our officers are taking a cue from the Christian community around them.  They are meeting with the group Black Lives Matter at a cookout.  Food – the breaking of bread (and hopefully some hamburgers inside – and hot dogs) along with meaningful dialogue, communication on both sides which includes some listening – real listening, and I hope and pray some moments of levity – laugher perhaps.  We need to initiate some conversation that leads to some answers – not for one side or the other – but answers we can all LIVE with.

We all need to LIVE to our greatest potential – because LIFE is a precious gift and not to be carelessly taken by anyone.

Let’s all have conversations at a cookout.  Christ knew how to talk with His crew about serious stuff.  Christians know all about making good fellowship into great fellowship.  Please America…  stop the violence.  Instead, let’s have a real conversation at a cookout.  Talking, listening – and FOOD.  🙂

PROVERBS 8:13 ON 8/13

TL PROVERBS 8 13 ON 8 13

To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  – Proverbs 8:13

The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom, isn’t it?  If ever there was a time in history when America and the world could use some wisdom…  well – I believe it’s now!

Have I mentioned that I am not perfect lately?  Well, I’m not.  I’m just a human being who leans heavily on my heavenly Father.  Fearing the Lord is to hate evil.  By fear, it’s not saying we should quake in our boots and hide behind tree trunks.  Fear means to have a reverence, respect, honor and awe of God.  Think about where your power comes from…  it really is awesome and awe-worthy!  This kind of fear is always tied to our obedience of Him.

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God doesn’t dig pride and arrogance.  Well, if you are too dependent on yourself, why would you depend on God?  Think about it.

God cannot look on sin – He just can’t.  Evil behavior often leads to something worse than the behavior that started it.  Evil behavior takes you down a one-way street with nowhere to turn around.  Eventually you may hit bottom, but it’s usually a short trip to the bottom.  Know this, however, that anywhere on the trip you can call out to Jesus Christ and He will be there for you.  He can and will help you out of the pit of self-destruction.  You’ll have to make changes, but the rewards will be so worth it.

A sweet pastor’s wife once told me that when people use profanity, they lack the intelligence to make a better choice of words.  That has stuck with me through the years.  God’s last name is not dang it…  or worse.  God is to be honored, respected above all and reverenced.  Anything less is a disgrace and sin.  Ask Him to forgive you for using His Holy name in vain because you will be held accountable for it if you don’t.

I want to be free of pride, anger, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  And if I may make the following statement:  I want my next president to be free of these things too.  I want a president who seeks guidance from God.  I want a president who is wise in decision-making.  Some diplomatic decisions need to be made not out of anger or arrogance – but with the wisdom that only comes from his or her higher power…  God.

Self-sufficiency does not impress this voter.  Self-made people are not what America needs right now.  Haven’t we been under the leadership of one who is self-made already?  Do we want more of that?  Let’s keep praying about this.  Who does God want in the White House?  Let’s consult Him about it.  🙂

 

 

MATTHEW 7:22 ON 7/22

TL MATTHEW 7 22 ON 7 22

 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’     – Matthew 7:22

I’ve read this portion of Scripture with a more personal implication.  Did I not play the piano for church services every Sunday and in Your name did I not write poetry and blog posts?  When it hits home, some days I have to say …  ouch!  I have to drop my pride, stop in my tracks, bow my head and let the Lord know that I know it is NOT about me.  It’s all about Him…  His love, His mercy, His grace, His peace and His wonderful love.  I deserve hell but because of His sacrifice on Calvary (and nothing else), I get heaven.  It’s about His mercy, His grace, His love.

I PRAY BEFORE I PLAY

God knows our hearts, minds and motives.  Do we do what we do for Him – or is it for attention from others?  We should do good deeds, to be sure – however, to lay the whole weight of our salvation upon what we have done in Jesus’ name instead of Jesus Himself – His sacrifice, where our salvation comes from, we are missing the mark.  It’s dangerous to put our trust in all the works we do in Christ’s name instead of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross – the only way we will be assured of eternal life with Him in heaven.

It’s never been about us – and it’s always been about Christ Jesus.  He suffered on the cross and willingly sacrificed His life for all of us.  That is where our focus needs to be.  If we lose sight of that and get all wrapped up in ourselves, it’s time to ask forgiveness and begin again.

This is probably one of the most important passages in the Sermon on the Mount.  I don’t think anyone misses the mark on purpose.  Sometimes we get caught up in the “doing” and before long, it’s about us instead of Christ.  The devil wants to work on our ego, our accomplishments, our good works…  he eases Christ out of our minds and away from our focus – but outwardly, it looks like we’re doing the right things.  But doing the right things with the wrong motive…  um…  why bother?

Keeping God through Christ the center of our lives in an ongoing process. It cannot be done once and then forgotten. We have to keep choosing God, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.  But I want Him to know that I know…  it’s all about Him.  🙂

 

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (7)

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Thank you, Veterans

On this day in 1782, General George Washington created the Purple Heart.  The Continental Congress had forbidden General Washington from granting any promotions or commendations to recognize merit.  Washington felt strongly that some token should be given, so his general orders established the Badge of Military Merit.

It was not until the 20th Century the name of the badge became The Purple Heart.  The entire design changed except the shape – it remained in the shape of a heart.  In the center of the purple heart is a profile of George Washington to honor him for creating it.

Why purple?  Why not blue or green, or my favorite color – yellow?

Obviously, yellow stands for cowardice, so…  that color is automatically eliminated.  Does it matter that purple was chosen for this great badge of merit?  I think so.

The color purple combines the calm stability of blue with the fierce energy of red.  It’s a color known for royalty, nobility, pride, peace, devotion, grandeur, dignity, wisdom, creativity, and power.

A moderate shade of purple can brighten a mood, calm the mind and nerves, enhance the sacred and bring about a general state of confidence.  I always feel more confident when I wear dark purple.  In fact, when people ask me what they should wear to a job interview, I suggest they buy an eggplant suit and accent it with a bright white shirt.  It lets your perspective employer know right away that you are confident in your abilities.  I have an “interview” suit, and yes, it is eggplant purple.  I got any job I wanted in that suit and an updated resume.

If a hue is too bright, it suggests you are wealthy and gives an air of royalty.  That is not an impression you want to give at a job interview.  That would leave the perspective employer thinking you don’t really need the job – that you are independently wealthy and think you are a little better than everyone else.

Choosing a hue that is too light can have the opposite effect.  It can make the perspective employer think that you are flighty, absent-minded or not serious about getting a job done.  A light purple is delicate.  If you are interested in romance, light purple is a perfect color.  It conjures up nostalgia and whimsy.

If the purple is very dark it can convey feelings of depression, gloom, sadness and frustration.  Again, this is not a good vibe to give to a prospective employer.

Mauve is just pink trying to be purple.  – James Abbott McNeill Whistler

Yes, a moderate shade of purple is the perfect color for the purple heart.  Brave acts of heroism should be honored in some small way.  We appreciate our military and the purple heart is just one way to let them know how much we hold them in high esteem for the sacrifices they make to ensure our freedom here in the United States of America. 

 

 

 

 

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS

TL MERRY CHRISTMAS

The birth of our Savior is a prime example of humility.  A feeding trough for a bed and hay for sheets – yet God exalted Him as only God can, with angels singing and a bright star to guide simple shepherds and wise Magi – to bow down and worship Him.  You cannot be humble on your own.  The moment you try, the pride of being humble takes over and you lose.  Ask the Holy Spirit of God to help you develop an attitude of humility.  It’s not about thinking less of yourself, but it’s about thinking of yourself less.  Let God’s Spirit guide you.

God has led His people through example from the beginning. The fact that we are made in God’s image serves as testament to that. The written Word of God, The Holy Bible, serve as a road map for Christians everywhere. One thing I learned when I was very small – God don’t like ugly. It’s not good grammar, but it’s not supposed to be. The emphasis is on the word “ugly”. Ugly attitudes or an attitude that exudes pride or haughtiness of any kind are not tolerated by God. He deals with that sort of thing in short order.

It’s interesting to me that men had no room for the Holy family, but God made the birth of His Son quite special in spite of what men did. God is God – and that’s why I love and praise Him for my whole life. He has everything under control, no matter what stupid things men do. Laws can be passed and we can be forced to put up with the immorality around us, but we just look up – and there is God. We know He sees what we are going through and what is going on in our midst. He keeps us in the safety of His strong loving arms no matter what is going on around us.

A CHILD AT CHRISTMAS

Take a deep breath and be thankful that your Lord is in control. I’ve read the back of the Book and it’s going to be okay. Walk humbly with your God. Be a shining witness to those around you and tell them MERRY CHRISTMAS! My Savior was born on Christmas and I’d like to tell you about Him so He can be your Savior too! ❤