A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Some people refer to the evening meal as dinner, but in our house it is called supper.  So in this portion of Scripture, the word sup simply means that Christ Jesus will have a personal relationship with all who accept Him into their hearts and lives.  Don’t we have some of our best conversations around the supper table?  I know in our family we do.

Today is the official first day of spring, and while you’d have a difficult time convincing some in the eastern part of the United States of that…  it’s true.  Soon we will be seeing all things new.  Flowers will bloom, birds will sing their sweet songs, and new life will be evidenced all around us.

I can’t think of a better time to begin a relationship with God through His Son, Christ Jesus.  Cast off all the old ways and take on His wonderful new ways of thinking and living.  He wants the very best for you, and will be in your corner throughout your life.  I began a walk with the Lord on my 13th birthday – on April 2, 1974 – and was baptized the next Sunday.  There’s never been a bit of regret in my mind and Jesus just gets sweeter every day.

Begin a new life in Christ if you haven’t already.  If you have, take this opportunity to praise Him for all the many blessings in your life.  I praise Him today for working ALL things for my good!  He really can take a mess (let’s face it – life can get messy) – and turn it into something that’s nothing less than a miracle!  He is awesome in my life – He is life!

Do you hear Him knocking on your heart’s door today?

You know, there is not a door knob on the side Jesus stands on – He cannot open your heart’s door and walk in…  you have to invite Him in.  I hope you will ask Him into your heart and life today.  Accept His wonderful love beyond degree, peace that passes all understanding, joy unspeakable, endless hope, and the blessed assurance that one day when this life is over, you’ll just be getting started with Him in eternity.

He’s a prayer away.  Let’s pray:

Dear God, I want to be a part of your family. You said in Your Word that if I acknowledge that You raised Jesus from the dead, and that I accept Him as my Lord and Savior, I would be saved. So God, I now say that I believe You raised Jesus from the dead and that He is alive and well. I accept Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I accept my salvation from sin right now.  I am now saved. Jesus is my Lord. Jesus is my Savior. Thank you, Father God, for forgiving me, saving me, and giving me eternal life with You.  In the name of Jesus I pray, Amen!

Have a lovely spring – enjoy the newness all around you.  If you prayed this prayer, I’m so happy for you.  Enjoy your new life in Christ!  🙂

 

1 JOHN 2:18 ON 2/18

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Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  – 1 John 2:18 

If you’re on facebook, you’ve probably seen the different posts about the personality traits of people who have blue eyes, or green eyes, or brown eyes, or gray eyes.  Well, regardless of your “eye personality”, the Bible tells us we are to “watch and wait”…  in other words, stay alert to what’s going on around us.  We’re to know false teaching when we hear it, and we’re to have discernment from God’s Holy Spirit to spot false teachers when we see them.

It sounds like a tall order, but remember, we’re not in this alone.  If we ask our Father in Heaven, in Jesus’ name, to give us wisdom to discern – He surely will answer that prayer for us.  God’s not in the business of playing “gotcha” with his children.

I would remind you today that evil does not appear suddenly with great strength.  It’s subtle and eases its way in – because it wants to fit snuggly in with all the good around it.  Not to frighten or cause paranoid responses, but this is the reason we are to be alert to our surroundings.

Counterfeit money looks so real, doesn’t it?  It looks like the genuine article – but if you knew it was not real, would you try to pass it?  If you knew the teachings you listened to were false, would you still listen to them – or do you want to continue having your ears tickled?

The true teaching of God from His Holy Bible is never going to make us feel comfortable with the way we are.  We will always be challenged to grow and change – we will be interested in a mature relationship with the Lord and with others.  We will always want to be improving and getting better – the more close we get to God.

I have a pastor friend who will not preach from any version of the Bible but the King James.  Now, I have different versions – an NIV, the MSG, and even a GOOD NEWS FOR MODERN MAN.  Once in a while he mentions that he won’t read or preach from anything but King James.  I get it – I really do.  I think we look at different versions to try to glean some deeper meaning sometimes – but he sticks with the “original” – (and yes, I know it’s not really the original, but I don’t know any other way to describe it).  We don’t want to fall for less than the God’s honest truth – even if it’s by accident.  Remember…  our enemy is sneaky.

We don’t know the hour when Jesus will return to earth to snatch up His children.  Let’s not be found sleeping in a stupor instead of learning and growing and maturing under true teaching.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  – Matthew 6:21

If treasure is defined as money, then your heart (attitudes & actions) will be focused on making money.  Have you defined your treasure?  I think I’ve always pretty much assumed that treasure referred to money in this passage of Scripture, but now I realize it is not necessarily so…  what if your treasure was…  fast food???  What if your treasure was…  your child or another member of your family you hold dear?  ❤

No, stay with me here…  treasure is defined as:

noun:

1.  wealth or riches stored or accumulated, especially in the form of precious metals, money, jewels, or plate.
2.  wealth, rich materials, or valuable things.

3.  any thing or person greatly valued or highly prized:

This book was his chief treasure.
verb (used with object):  treasured, treasuring.
4.  to retain carefully or keep in store, as in the mind.
5.  to regard or treat as precious; cherish.
6.  to put away for security or future use, as money.
It is not sinful to treasure precious memories with loved ones – I want to make that clear; however, if that overshadows your relationship with God, it’s sin.  Anything that takes up more of your energy than the things of God…  it’s coming between you and the Lord and the priority needs to change.  Our God is a jealous God and always wants to be in first place.  Our hearts are to trust and delight in Him.  ❤
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Define your treasure.  All sorts of interests and activities can possibly become more of a treasure in our lives than they should be.  Ask God to “check” you about it.  I can’t tell you what you’re putting in first place, but I sure do know Who can.  Wherever your treasure is (and it’s different for every person) – there will your heart (attitudes & actions) be.  ❤
Jesus loved everyone, but His ultimate treasure was His Father, God.  He knew from whence came His power, His glory, His everything – just as we as God’s children do.  ❤
Don’t assume that treasure refers to money.  Treasure is anything that holds a special place in your heart.  You can’t separate your treasure from your heart because there is such passion associated with the treasure in your life.  Maybe your treasure is money – but let me remind you that money, while a necessary evil in this world…  will mean nothing in the afterlife.  We’ve all heard the old saying, “You can’t take it with you.”  Make sure your treasure stays tempered with the stark facts of reality.  Only what is done for Christ will last – those things will follow you into Heaven.  Chew on that for a while.  ❤

 

 

 

WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAY

TL 5-31 WHAT YOU THINK UPON GROWS DAYFinally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honorable, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think about these things.  – Philippians 4:8

THINK ABOUT JESUS

In case you think that positive thinking is a new thing…  take a look at this Scripture in Philippians, written so long ago by the Apostle Paul!  We’re encouraged to think on the following:

  • THINGS THAT ARE TRUE.  There isn’t much truth to be found in the world today, is there?  If you follow politics at all, you know how often the subject of dishonesty and crookedness comes up.  Sadly, we know more about what truth does NOT look like than what it does look like.  What is true – what do we need to think about and focus our attention on?  Glad you asked.  The same Bible written so long ago is the inspired Word of God Himself.  It is what we trust without question.  We make decisions after consulting it and praying to our God through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior, the only One we can depend on completely.  A true thought is one that aligns with God’s laws and ways.
  • THINGS THAT ARE HONORABLE.  Honor is not a word we hear much anymore.  Do people in our world today know what it means?  It is a thought worthy of reputation; a thought that deserves respect or esteem. An honorable thought is what is right while transacting business, but it embraces also much more, and means that the Christian is to show respect to all the venerable and proper customs of society, when they did not violate conscience or interfere with the law of God.
  • THINGS THAT ARE JUST.  A just thought is one that “squares” with God, with your neighbor and with yourself.  It agrees with God’s justice and His righteousness.  It’s not judging, for only God is a judge for humanity – rather it is a thought that never gives up and holds out hope for everyone, for we know that’s what Jesus does.  He wants everyone to come to Him for saving grace.  Whosoever surely meaneth me…  and anyone else who will come to Christ for salvation.
  • THINGS THAT ARE PURE.  A pure thought refers to the state of mind and behavior of the body.  We need God’s help to achieve all of these, but in our day and age, to have pure thoughts is not possible without God’s Holy Spirit.  The moral standards these days do not lend themselves to chastity, but that does not mean that God accepts less than His best from us.  God gave you one mind and one body.  He wants HIS best for you.  He does not want you to settle for anything less.  He wants to help you develop pure thoughts and pray for the right relationship in His perfect time.
  • THINGS THAT ARE LOVELY.  A lovely thought is productive and positive in its intention.  It’s born of a good clean way of living and proper code of conduct.  It has to do with a temperament check that God’s Holy Spirit is happy to perform on His children if they ask Him to.  Think of it this way…  if we are children of a patient, loving Heavenly Father, how does it look to others if we are sour, crabby or irritable?  How confusing that must be to them!  It’s not helpful and does not reflect well on Christianity to find fault with everything, is it?  Keep your temper in check – better yet, ask God’s Holy Spirit to “check” it.  He will.
  • THINGS THAT ARE OF GOOD REPORT.  If you got a bad report card, would you show it to all your friends and family?  Of course you wouldn’t!  You’d possibly want to hide it from everyone.  But thoughts that are of good report are ones that you are anxious to share with others because they are ones that are beneficial for your fellow-man.  I’m sure we can all think of charitable institutions that are highly regarded and of excellent reputation.  These began with a thought of good report!  These thoughts are born of a sense of not only charity, but of courtesy, kindness, and respect.

Paul knew he couldn’t possibly hit on every single sort of thought a Christian should have, so he added that if any thought holds virtue or is worthy of praise – think on these things.

Negativity equals negative thinking – and that keeps Christians in neutral.  If we ask God’s Holy Spirit to help us, He will help our thinking be so much more positive – which equals productivity – and that keeps Christians pedaling forward, praising God along the way and being the positive influence on the world that God intended us to be!

The best part of all this is, if we ever feel as though we’re falling short of God’s best thoughts (and we all have fallen short) all we have to do is ask God, through Jesus, to forgive us and put us back on track.  He is so faithful to do that for us because He loves us so much!  🙂

 

EASTER

TL 3-27 EASTER

Tomb, thou shalt not hold Him longer;
Death is strong, but Life is stronger;
Stronger than the dark, the light;
Stronger than the wrong, the right…
– Phillips Brooks, “An Easter Carol”

JOY

HALLELUJAH!!!  Herein lies the HOPE of every Christian on earth!  Jesus was raised from the dead by God and now sits at His right hand.  When He ascended into Heaven, He left His precious Holy Spirit to help us navigate this tricky life.  That’s the GOOD NEWS of Christianity – but guess what?  The news gets better…  that same Jesus that died for our sins, was buried and raised by God the Father will one day soon be told to come back to earth to snatch His own so we can live eternally in Heaven with Him!

What a surprise we got today when we found EASTER SNOW on the ground.  I had to write a new poem!

A LOVELY EASTER SNOWAnd here’s an old poem about the cutest little Easter bonnet ever!  EASTER BONNET

There is not one negative fact for me to report, therefore, I have no reason to be anything but positive!  God is love…  God sent Christ to be love incarnate…  Christ willingly gave His very life because He loves us… God raised Christ from the grave and He LIVES!!!  That same Jesus IS coming from the eastern sky one day soon to take us home forever.  So, make an Easter bonnet from a paper plate, a strand of ribbon and assorted baubles.  Apply a bit of lipstick and blush (coordinating colors with your Sunday best, of course) – and BE JOYOUS!  The outward appearance is not the most important part – but the JOY of the LORD flowing from within is essential.  😉EGGS OF LIFEI asked a pastor once what the difference is between happiness and joy.  He said that happiness is dependent on external conditions or situations and joy is not.  For example, if it’s payday and the sun is shining and I haven’t had problems with my co-workers, I could very well be happy, but not necessarily filled with joy.  A deeper, more meaningful and constant state of mind and spirit is joy – the JOY of the LORD from God’s Holy Spirit, to be precise.  Whether skies are sunny or stormy, this deep settled peace and joy from Him keep me floating on faith.  Sails of grace, mercy, love and hope on God’s vessel are enough.  Just enough.  That knowledge makes me joyful.

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.   – Henry Knox Sherrill

Spiritual power…  indeed.  Let’s take that power from God with us into the world.  HALLELUJAH!!!  🙂

 

 

VALENTINE’S DAY

vintage-1171961_1280Today I’m going to post some writings about LOVE – a simple reminder that God IS Love…  and He loves you so very much!  Grab a cup of coffee and just take it all in…  ❤

THIS MOMENT

GOD'S GRACE MAKES STRONG LOVE

HEARTS

HE KNOWS MY NAMEMOURNING INTO DANCINGAMAZING LOVEI LOVE YOUJEREMIAH 31 3UNSHAKABLETHE ABC'S OF GOD'S LOVELOVEMOTHER TERESA QUOTEWHEN ALL ELSE FAILSTHE GREATEST OF THESE IS LOVETHE LORD GOES WITH YOUMATTHEW 10 311 JOHN 4 19JOHN 15 13MEMOS FROM JESUSTHE BEATTITUDESGOD LOVES MEGOD ALWAYS HASFLESH MAY FAILTHE BEST LISTENERYOU KNOW YOU'RE LOVEDI WILL NEVER LEAVE YOUGOD LOVES YOUYOU ARE RICHGOD SEES YOUR POTENTIALFIRST LOVEHIS LOVE IS EXTRA-LARGEHE LOVED FIRSTHE IS FAITHFULLOVE'S IN THE MIDDLEI SUCCEED IN YOUWHEN YOU LIFT MY SPIRITGOD THE KNITTERGOOD GIFTSLET ME BRING YOUR LOVELIFE4FALL IN LOVECOME ALONGSIDEENCOURAGEMENTGOD LOVES ME WHEN I HURTHE CRIED WITH MEHE'S WILLING TO HELPABBA DADDYGOD CAN CALM THE STORMSGOD HAS YOU IN THESE CHANGESHE WANTS TO HELPI'M GOD'S SOMEBODYHE MADE ME TOUGHERIN HIS ARMSLET ME HELP YOUWHAT JESUS SAIDCHRIST TAUGHT MEMY TREASURE BOXTHE BEST HUGBEING CARRIEDGOD WHISPERS IN THE WINDHE'S ALREADY THEREALL I NEEDGOD STARTS BEFORE MEHIS FAITHFULNESS RENEWS MEMY THANK YOU NOTE TO GODWHEN I THINK OF YOUR GRACEGOD'S AWESOME PLANGOOD THINGS THAT GOD BRINGSLESSONS FOR MY HEARTTHANK YOU GODHOW CAN I THANK YOUTHE CLOTHING OF CHRISTTHROUGH GOD'S WINDOWWE THANK YOU FOR THATI HUG MY SAVIORI SEE GOD'S LOVE IN YOUIT CAME FROM HIMWITH HIMBECAUSE GOD IS LOVEFOR ALL YOU'VE DONEKISSES FROM HEAVENYOU ARE THE POETFOR ALL YOU'VE DONEGLORY TO MY PARTNERGOD'S THEREHE DIED FOR METHANKS FOR BEING THEREDOVES OF LOVEGOD SEES EVERY HEARTGOD IS NEARWILL JESUS BE THEREIMG_0024Smile…  God loves you!  The best part of all…  He loves you 24/7 – not just on Valentine’s Day!  🙂

OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

TL OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

Take pride in how far you have come and have faith in how far you can go.  – Unknown

I had a unique opportunity to interview our favorite Christian poet, Lucinda Berry Hill about a very painful time in her life.  This post is a lesson for us because we never know the struggles that others have faced and overcome.  We don’t know why these circumstances have to be, but we most definitely know that God can and will work in our lives to help us through.  I appreciate Lucinda being so candid and opening up about this part of her life.  It’s our hope that someone will be helped or at least be assured that they are not traveling this road alone.

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SURVIVOR FIRE

Whether you think you CAN or think you CAN’T – you’re probably RIGHT!  – Unknown

ME TOO

Q: When did you first realize your situation was not good?

A:  Well, of course he didn’t start hitting me until he had me far away from family and friends.  I was barely 18 when we started seeing each other.  I was too naïve to even notice the emotional and mental abuse.

Q:  Did he ever apologize after he hit you?

A:  Oh my gosh, no!

Q:  Did you notice any particular triggers that would set him off?

A:  My “long face”.  One time we were cleaning a machine shop.  I was sweeping the floor and I wasn’t smiling while doing it, so he put my arm in a vice grip attached to a work table.

Q:  Do you believe you ended up with Stockholm’s Syndrome?

A:  Absolutely!

Q:  Could you see the hand of God working in your life along the way at that time?

A:  Only in the fact that he didn’t kill me like he threatened so many times.  He used to tell me he’d chop me up and put me in the river.  No body…  no crime.

Q:  You were away from family and friends.  Were you allowed to make phone calls or write letters to them?

A:  Yes.  He never actually told me I couldn’t.

Q:  Can you pinpoint anything that helped you through this time?

A:  Nope.  I’d say my innocence, maybe.

Q:  In the ten years of domestic violence, did you ever leave and then come back?

A:  Yup!  Twice.  But I was trapped.  When I left, I went to my mom’s.

Q:  Did he ever come to your mom’s house to take you back?

A:  Sort of.  One time he was in the area stalking me.  He left a present in my car while I was working.  I guess that was his way of letting me know he was still in charge.  The second time he came, I’m not sure what his intentions were, but I wasn’t there.

Q:  Did your mom say anything to you that made you rethink the situation?

A:  Nope.  My mom didn’t believe me when I finally told her.  We were in counseling after the fact, and she told them she thought I was the crazy one.  That’s how charming abusers can be.  No one would ever know.

Q:  What finally made you decide to get away?

A:  When I started envisioning me killing myself or him.

Q:  Would more support from friends and family have made much of a difference?

A:  Probably not much because he had me under his control.

Q:  Describe the day you escaped from him.

A:  I don’t remember the first time.  Isn’t that odd?  The second one, he was literally holding me hostage!  His sister came to pick me up while he was gone and met my step-dad halfway where she dropped me off.

Q:  At that point you were finally free from him once and for all?

A:  Yup!  Because he ended up in jail!  I’m not sure what I would have done if that had not happened.

Q:  What would you say to a woman in similar circumstances?

A:  You’ve got to leave before something happens that can’t be fixed!  He doesn’t deserve that kind of control of your life!  There is nothing out there in the world…  not loneliness, not lack of job or education, nothing that can hurt you more than he can!

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Did you catch the common word throughout the interview?  I caught it as I was asking questions…  CONTROL.  It may begin with small things.  If a man will not let you leave the house, for instance.  If he is a control freak by nature, then the tendency to want to hold you on a tight lead may come naturally.  Don’t be afraid to let him know you are uncomfortable with it.

A couple should be a team – equal partners.  Both need to feel free to speak, to think for his / herself.  When one begins to exude CONTROL – either mentally, emotionally or physically – it’s time to reassess the situation.

We love Lucinda, and we are so thankful for her testimony!  She loves God with her whole heart and writes of His faithfulness, His goodness and His grace every day!  We’re thankful that God gave her survivor fire along with His Holy Spirit.

HE MADE ME TOUGHER

I want to post a couple of websites for you today.  If you or someone you know needs help, please call these fine folks.

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.wordoflifecounselingcenter.com/

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Paint your ring finger purple.
Paint your ring finger purple.

What can you do to help?

By painting your left ring fingernail purple, the color of the anti-domestic violence movement, you will show the world your vow to end domestic violence and support Safe Horizon and the survivors it serves. In addition to painting your left ring fingernail purple, you can also show your support by spreading the word on social media with #PutTheNailinIt or, most importantly, by donating at safehorizon.org to help victims safely become survivors.

Be blessed and well today – and peace be unto you and your household.  🙂