A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I challenge you to name one thing in this world that never changes.  Time’s up!  Did you think of anything?  No, you didn’t – neither did I.  Everything changes…  EVERYTHING!  The foal in the photograph above is now a beautiful full-grown mare.  Living beings are born, they thrive and do what God intended, then they die and go back to God.  It’s the way God planned it.  The Bible tells us that our time is in HIS hand.  So you see, we don’t need to worry because God has us in His hand all the time.

God never changes.  His laws don’t change.  His justice doesn’t change.  His unending love never changes.  His peace is real.  The joy and happiness He bestows on our lives can only be described as dependable.  It’s honest and there’s no hidden agenda.  If He puts a rug on the floor in front of me, then asks me to stand on it, I know without a doubt He will not pull it out from under me, causing me to fall.  Can you say that about any person on this earth?  Get real – of course, you can’t!  

This body of mine has changed from the time I was in my twenties.  Anyone who is honest will say a great big AMEN to that!  These chan.ges are a huge challenge – but God’s got me, so I’ve got this!  

Changes are inevitable in this life, but it gets dangerous when we as people try to “overrule” God.  Do we rely on our wisdom more than we seek God’s laws?  We simply cannot say that some behaviors are not sinful when God has already said they are.

When pastors are motivational speakers instead of providing instruction and direction according to God’s Word, it’s not a favor to us poor sinners – any of us.  We all need to hear and know God’s truth – all of it.  I don’t hate anyone and care for everyone’s eternal soul.  For Pete’s sake, I’m not perfect and I don’t judge anyone.  God offers redemption for ALL through His Son’s death on Calvary’s cross.  He offers forgiveness for sin – any sin – take your pick.  They’re all alike in God’s eyes.  

Change.  God causes the seasons to change.  He helps sinners to change.  We find Christ, learn what He wants for us, and turn from whatever is not pleasing in His sight.  He patiently helps us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Our lives can be so rich and full of Christ when He’s in the center of it.  🙂

 

Advertisements

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

a-commentary-from-the-heart-36

It is always His will for me to seek His will.  – Charles F. Stanley

A pentimento (plural pentimenti) is an alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent.  ❤

Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.  – Proverbs 3:6

Our lives are a canvas, and we paint each and every day.  We read our Bibles, pray, and paint.  The colors and textures vary, but there are times when we have to stop, repent, and let God start painting over everything on our canvas with brand new, bright, vibrant colors. ❤

Have you sought God’s will for your life?  When we allow God to be the Artist, it changes how your painting will look.  ❤

I’m absolutely hooked on making memes – designs – for my groups and pages on facebook and for this blog.  While that certainly does not take the same kind of talent as painting, some of the concepts can be applied.  Pentimento is common in my designing.  If I want to pop in a different photograph or if I need to correct a mistake (oh, surely that never happens – HA!), I just open the current work in my program and select the elements I want to use – then cover up the old elements with new ones – then voila’ – I have a brand new design.  ❤

Such is life – we make changes along the way – we tweak things here and there…  things such as losing weight to improve health, or changing hair color for whatever reason; however, as we seek God’s will for our lives, there are times when we have to do more than tweak.  We have to allow God to make significant changes.  God’s brush covers everything we need covered with His precious blood.  That’s the ultimate pentimento.  ❤

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (17)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  – Psalm 34:18

Would you think it odd if I said in 2017 I want a broken heart?  I think the term means something different in the world than it does in this context.  I want a broken heart and a contrite spirit within me.  I want the Lord to be close to me.  He can’t help me on a daily basis if I keep getting in the way.

The broken heart, and the contrite spirit, are two essential characteristics of true repentance.   – Adam Clarke

I think the world sees contrition as a kind of low self-esteem or self-loathing.  While it is me saying that I’m less and Christ is more, it also acknowledges God’s power – His control, in my life.  A heart has to be broken and a spirit has to be contrite for a soul to repent – otherwise, one just goes through the motions.repent-and-recoverWe repent when we are first saved – and we repent for the sins we commit (yes, we will commit sins – being saved doesn’t make us perfect).  We can run this race with minimal scrapes and bruises if we will remain broken-hearted with a contrite spirit.

Did you know that angels in Heaven rejoice when a person gets saved?  I love to watch baptisms and imagine angels partying and high-fiving in Heaven.  I wonder if our loved ones in Heaven get to see that side of things?  I don’t know – maybe.repentence-rejoicing

Yep – that’s when the angels REJOICE!  I want a broken heart this year.  I will make the LORD my choice in 2017.  I’m giving Him first place – are you?  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

MATTHEW 10:28 ON 10/28

tl-10-28-matthew-10-28-on-10-28

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  – Matthew 10:28

Several friends and acquaintances of mine have recently been diagnosed with terminal illness.  I feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart for them – but I never know the right words to say.  I think back to the time when my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer.  He was dying and we all knew it.  I tried to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the situation – as a family member.  I don’t remember a lot of what people said – but I remember more of what people did.  It was the same thing when my mom passed.  People shared of themselves – they shared light and love when I was a mess.share-light-love

Everyone was kind and encouraging to me – but a few people actually DID things and I remember that.  When my daddy died, a sweet lady in our church not only sent flowers, she included a little ceramic pumpkin for me to keep after the flowers died.  I let her know I thought that was real nice of her.  When my mama passed, even though there were not that many people coming to our house, our pastoral family went above and beyond the call of duty to provide sandwich stuff!  Oh my we did not go hungry!  I remember my sister-in-law and brother-in-law washing dishes and thinking that was so kind of them.

If our loved one knows the Lord, we know they are going to be alright.  We know that they are going to Heaven where everything is just right.  The soul does not die – but lives on – but the family that is left…  well, they are left here to figure out how to begin a new “normal”.   I always ask God how I can help them do that.  I ask God, “What can I DO for them?”

When families suffer loss and are at their lowest, isn’t that when Christian folk can shine the light of Christ in their lives in a very real sense?  Words are fine, but actions are better and make more of an impact on their lives.  After a loss, everything is fuzzy when you’re trying to listen to kind words.  Most of the talk just flies over your head.  You hear what people are saying, but you’re just so grief-stricken, you can’t process what’s being said.

So – how do you avoid hell and make Heaven your eternal home?   Open the closet door where you keep the secrets and sins.  It’s not easy to show God what is inside your closet.  Think about this though – He already knows about it, so…  who do you really think you’re foolin’?  We are so human – but the good news is…  He is so GOD!  If you ask God, through His Son, Christ Jesus, to forgive you of your sins – He is faithful and just to do it.  Trust Him for the rest of your days – and for the time when this life is over.

whats-in-your-closetI pray that you know the Lord as your personal Savior.  This life is brief and these bodies are so very frail and fragile, aren’t they?  I also believe we are living in the last days (I see some of you rolling your eyes) – yeah, I know I’ve said it before – but I’m going to say it again.  Be ready, for you know not the hour.  Did you know that Jesus doesn’t even know?  He’s waiting for the Father to tell Him when to come get us outa here!  It would be selfish for me to say I hope it’s soon because many are not ready – and He doesn’t want any to perish in hell.  He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and ask Him into their hearts and lives.  THEN – only then will the peace of God wash over you and your life will never be the same.  The peace of God surpasses all understanding.  I hope and pray you know HIS peace in your life.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (3)On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln signed this:

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/fast.htm

Could you imagine a President of such moral fiber in the White House today?  How refreshing would it be to have a Commander and Chief with values and backbone instead of one who seems to want as much party as possible with no regard whatsoever for the country he represents and supposedly protects?

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.  – 2 Chronicles 7:14

Hmm…  a day of fasting and humility.  You know – that’s not such a bad idea, fellow believers.  Have you seen the GOP race lately?  Have you seen the horses in that race?  I rest my case.  We need God to help us now more than ever!  This is not a political blog and never will be – but as a Christian who happens to live in America, I naturally have some interest in this election season.

When I saw 19 people running for President, I thought, “no way – this isn’t good!”  We’re still not in a good way with a two-man race and one spoiler.  I’ll let you determine which one is the spoiler – I have my own opinions on that.

If the race doesn’t narrow more, the convention could be dicey to say the least.  We’re gonna mess around and lose the general altogether – let’s pray in unity that God will smack some wisdom into the GOP candidates, and fast!  OK, maybe smack isn’t the right term.  No, wait…  it may be the perfect term.

But back to Abraham Lincoln and legislation.  A day of prayer and fasting.  The actual day is April 30th, but he signed it into law on March 30th.  It was a time when the morals and values of Christianity were not that far away from the morals and values of Americans.  What happened?  Well, people were given the gift of free will, and chose to separate themselves from Christian values and beliefs.  They began picking up their philosophies and lifestyles from other religions – or no religion at all.

Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, had something to say about little foxes and vineyards filled with tender grapes:

Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom.  Song of Solomon 2:15

The King James version says “Our grapes are tender”.  It means that little things that seem almost harmless can be the things that trip us up along the way – like the little foxes that get in the vineyard and eat all the tender young grapes.  The little things that seem so minor can lead to the worst mess.

It seemed so innocent when people started doing yoga, didn’t it?  You do a few poses and clear your mind of everything – but if you clear your mind – of everything, even God – that makes room for the enemy to come in.  It’s true.  But what’s the harm in adopting just that one thing – can I do yoga and still be a Christian?  Some say of course – it’s just a little thing.  It’s just one little fox.  And besides, isn’t it God’s will that we have a healthy body?  I don’t argue that, but it’s not His will that you sit still with an empty mind.  He wants your thoughts to be on Him.  He’s a jealous God – He wants to have first place, or no place at all.

Colorado has legalized pot – but it’s not big deal.  Can I be high as a kite and then get behind the wheel to drive?  Sure, why not?  If you hit someone and kill them, you’ll probably just walk away with minor injuries.  You’ll be so out of it you won’t know what hit you.  Chill out – it’s just a little thing. It’s just one little fox.  And besides, there are people suffering who need pot for their pain.  I don’t argue that, but not everyone is in pain.  Those who are should not be allowed to be on the road driving so that other innocent people get hurt or killed.

Unplanned pregnancy?  Bummer – just get rid of it.  Easy come, easy go – no big deal.  Life is cheap – you can always have another baby when you’re ready, right?  Don’t let anybody take away your rights because you’ve got that power to choose – pro-choice – because that fetus…  well it’s just a little thing.  It’s just one little fox.  And besides, it’s not really a human being yet, right?  It’s not really a life yet.  I do argue that – America condones the killing of innocent life and will not receive the blessing of God until that is changed.  I don’t give a flying flip about the mother’s RIGHTS…  if you’re irresponsible enough to have unprotected sex, then guess what?  If you conceive a life – there are other options – and they are less selfish ones.  Adoption is perfect because there are people who would love to raise that child.  Be smarter about how you deal with unplanned pregnancy – sheesh!!!  Put an end to the murder of innocents – it’s barbaric and so beneath us!

Don’t be such a stick in the mud – don’t be such a square – and really, those Bible verses you quote are giving me one ginormous migraine.  And don’t judge me until you’re sure you’re perfect.

Yeah – well hold the phone…  let’s just get that straight here and now.  Nobody’s perfect.  That’s why we all need a Savior.  WHOSOEVER…  it’s you and me and everyone.  Jesus died for every one of us.  Accept it or deny it…  that’s on you.

God wants better for all of us – He can help us overcome the things we’ve tagged as little things – our little foxes – the things that can appear to be chinks in the armor.  We all get chinks once in a while – and through Christ, God can and will forgive those if we ask with a sincere heart.  There’s not one sin that God will not forgive!

But America…  seriously – we need to have a day of fasting and humility.  We need to hit our knees and pray like we’ve never prayed before for our beautiful America.  We are at a crossroads and we need God’s help!  I know we are a proud people – but we need to humble ourselves before the Almighty and turn from our sin and ask Him to heal our land.  ❤

 

 

 

 

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.  🙂