A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  – Matthew 3:1&2

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John the Baptist had a definite purpose on this earth…  it was to proclaim that the time to repent of sin and turn to God, through His Son, Christ Jesus – is NOW!  Guess what?  Every follower of Christ has the same purpose.  We are here to share the gospel – the good news – of Jesus Christ.  It’s our reason for living and our purpose on this planet.

I have a unique way of learning Scripture and enriching my relationship with the Lord.  I grew up in a generation that was smitten with theatre – but I had a great interest in religious themed theatre…  namely, “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  Every time one of those shows was playing, I did my best to get tickets and take a group of friends to see it.  I love the music in both plays.  I still listen to those soundtracks in the car – and sing with them at the top of my lungs!  It makes God smile – and sometimes He laughs too.

This portion of Scripture gets me singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from “Godspell.”

What can I say?  You either watch this and wonder what kind of crazy person is writing this blog…  or, like me – you see a sea of symbolism in every frame.  I cried as I watched it – because I saw people ditching their STUFF and running to the fountain.  They knew that whatever they were hanging on to would not be needed – because Christ is all they need.  One woman kicked off her shoes – I love it!

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Did you see the guy standing on the banks – on the sideline – not getting in the water?  He’s the doubter – he’s the one who is almost persuaded.  He’s the one we’re ministering to most of all.  We love to sharpen the iron of brothers and sisters – and it’s a lot of fun to do that – but we really want to encourage the ones standing at the side – watching – dry – still hanging on to their stuff, because in the world stuff is very important.  In the world it’s frowned upon to jump into fountains.  Isn’t the world boring?

Will you kick off your shoes and jump into the fountain?  Come to Christ just as you are – He cares about you – not your handbag or shoes – not your new hairstyle – none of that matters once you find Jesus.  🙂

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (14)I was sitting in the waiting room at my doctor’s office the other day.  A million thoughts ran through my mind because it was so quiet except for the sound of a bubbling fish aquarium.  I don’t have a cell phone and I won’t touch a magazine in a waiting room because I don’t want to pick up germs.  Think of it logically…  who goes to the doctor?  People who are sick go to the doctor.  If they read the magazines in the waiting room and leave germs on them.  It’s cold and flu season…  ’tis the season…  fa la la…  need I say more?

So I watched the fish swimming around with not a care in the world.  I observed a mother with her small child, an elderly man struggling to walk with a cane, a young woman with her nose stuck in a book she brought with her and a teen scrolling through his phone.  I see that a lot in waiting rooms – tweens and teens with their phones.

There were no pleasantries exchanged among us.  Have you ever felt lonely in public?  It’s a strange sensation that makes you feel as though you’re almost invisible.  You know you’re physically in the room, but when you receive no smiles, no nods, no acknowledgement whatsoever, it’s as though you don’t exist.  Everyone is so busy with their own task at hand – interacting with a child, moving from point A to point B with a cane, reading or texting on a phone.

Have you ever wondered if you’ve exceeded your SELL BY date???  I mean, really – when we’re children we have such promise and we’re blessed with great eyesight and quick, rhythmic fingers and we set the world on fire.  Suddenly, we are two beats behind and wondering what the heck happened!!!

Is there a place for me in life?  Would anyone notice if I was not here?  Do I have anything to contribute to society that makes a difference to anyone?  These are not questions of self-pity or self-loathing, but questions from a heart that desires a sense of purpose.

There is a special place in life that needs my humble skill,

A certain job I’m meant to do which no one else can fulfill.

The time will be demanding, and the pay is not too good.

And yet I wouldn’t change it for a moment – even if I could!

There is a special place in life, a goal I must attain,

A dream that I must follow because I won’t be back again.

There is a mark that I must leave, however small it seems to be.

A legacy of love for those who follow after me.

There is a special place in life that only I may share,

A little path that bears my name, awaiting me somewhere.

There is a hand that I must hold, a word that I must say.

A smile that I must give for there are tears to blow away.

There is a special place in life that I was meant to fill.

A sunny spot where flowers grow upon a windy hill.

There’s always a tomorrow and the best is yet to be,

And somewhere in this world, I know there is a place for me.

It seems the older I get, the less useful I become.  Some of it is by choice, I admit.  I keep remembering when I was twelve years old – how everyone encouraged me to play the piano in church.  The church encourages the youth to serve and make the older people feel unnecessary in service.  I don’t understand.  Do we not need to feel useful as we age?  Do we not need to be encouraged to be a part and serve?  I keep hearing that there is not a retirement age in church service.  Talk is cheap.  It sounds like lip service.

Young people are encouraged and old people are forgotten…  left sitting at the sidelines as though they are no longer useful.  My fingers are arthritic and my eyes can’t tell a natural sign from a sharp anymore, but it’s my prayer that God will find something for me to do for Him.  For now He seems to want me to write.  I will do what I’m able to do.  I will continue to write until He tells me to stop.

Of course, I can pray – I will always pray.  If I can’t be on the front lines anymore, I can sit on the sidelines and watch…  and pray! 

God has a wonderful plan for your life – and mine.  May we seek His will and way this year!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

The LORD is never a disappointment!  His counsel is concise and clear.  His love is perfect and He is patient and kind.

WHEN YOU LIFT MY SPIRIT

Have you ever paid a large sum of money to attend a conference with the hope of coming away a more enlightened (maybe even smarter) individual?  I see you nodding in agreement.  Now, how many times have you gone to the seminar and been given an exercise in futility?  Oh, you’re still nodding!

We’ve all been there.  We have our notebooks, booklets and intend to soak up every bit of knowledge we possibly can.  We leave the building with more questions than answers and a notebook full of doodles we could have drawn while watching a daytime drama on television.

Isn’t it frustrating to pay money for something and receive nothing?  It’s especially bad when you’re in a forum that discourages questions from the peanut gallery.  You feel as though you just have to sit there and keep listening to the fingernails scratching the chalkboard.

Several years ago, I was at a lecture by a brilliant speaker, Nido Qubein, who said, “If you’re in the presence of a true expert, you will understand everything they say.  If you don’t understand what someone is saying, they are not an expert.”  Often when we don’t understand what someone who is claiming to be an expert is saying, we tend to blame ourselves.  Now my filters are simple.  I cut people off if they don’t make sense.  – Julie Morgenstern

Honestly, sometimes you are better off using google – or at least not any worse off.  Who are these so-called “experts” that seem to speak fluent confusioneese?  It seems to me if a person is a true expert in their field, they should be equipped and informed enough to break the information down into palatable bites for those of us who are anxious and have the desire to learn.

A student is not supposed to know more than the teacher.  With that basic fact in mind, teachers should be prepared to present lessons in easy to understand, simple language with illustrations for those of us who tend to learn visually (pointing to myself).  Wink!  😉

BOXING DAY

TL 12-26 BOXING DAY

12-26 BOXING DAY EVERY DAYBoxing Day last year:

Today in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other former British commonwealth countries, they are celebrating a legal holiday known as BOXING DAY!  It’s also known as St. Stephan’s Day because churches opened their collection boxes to the poor.   The holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

 During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.   – JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

In the Middle Ages, members of the merchant class would take boxes and fill them with food and fruits to give to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate.  Servants worked on Christmas Day, so the day after Christmas they would be given a day off to celebrate.

 Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  – Seneca

Today Boxing Day is celebrated by filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and doing volunteer work.  Monetary donations to various organized charities are also common.

If Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, Boxing Day is celebrated the next Monday.

We are told in the Bible that the poor will always be with us.

  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.  – Mark 14:7

Sometimes people use this verse as an excuse to withhold charitable contributions because they argue that it will do no good – the poor will be with us always.  I think the actual point Christ was making was that He would not always be amongst man on earth in human form.  Yes, the poor will be here, just as the rich people will be here.  Whether we are rich or poor, we have choices to make.  We as individuals will be held accountable for the choices we make.  It all comes down to what we believe is the right thing to do and what we are taught is the right thing to do.

God smiles on His children who share.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  –  2 Corinthians 9:7

We give in secret.  Give quietly and shhh…  don’t tell.

 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  –  Matthew 6:4

THE FAMILY ACROSS THE WAY

While I believe alms refers to the tithes  and offerings given to the church, the same application should be made to charitable giving.  Here in the U.S.A. we don’t celebrate Boxing Day, but we still need to keep in mind that not every family had a Merry Christmas!  We (and I’m pointing to myself too) need to try to find those who are struggling and help them if we possibly can.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make Boxing Day a day of giving to those less fortunate?

I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love.  Giving… puts our focus back where it belongs – on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.  – Stephen King

People have all sorts of motives for giving (tax breaks, bragging rights, getting on someone’s good side), but remember God knows the heart and the motive.  I have a personal belief that once you are praised by people or receive any payment or compensation, you lose your reward from God.  Humility has to be a key element of real giving – be humble and quiet.  God knows and His reward is sufficient for your life and His blessings will sustain you.  He gives the best rewards, doesn’t He?  To my friends celebrating Boxing Day – have a wonderful day!  🙂

 

I like the idea that God has a box packed with everything I will ever need – don’t you?

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx