A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.  Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.  Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.  Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.  Then I will teach transgressors your ways, so that sinners will turn back to you.  Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, you who are God my Savior, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.  Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise.  You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
    you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.  My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.  – Psalm 51:7-17

David asks God to forgive him with a broken and contrite heart.  You know, once you have experienced forgiveness from Almighty God, you are obligated to be forgiving toward your brothers and sisters.  Forgiveness is a part of being a man or woman after the heart of God.  ❤

We don’t just forgive others because we’re supposed to – we forgive for our own peace of mind.  What possible good does it do to harbor ill will toward anyone?  It just festers and gets ugly inside – and it ruins your good humor and your good health.  For Pete’s sake – forgive.  It may not change them, but I assure you – it will change you.  It will lighten your heart and your outlook on life.  ❤

If you can’t imagine forgiving someone, think of this…  they are going on with their life and not even thinking about it, more than likely.  Why shouldn’t you?  Why let that unforgiveness take up valuable space in your heart and not pay rent?  Get rid of it.  Give the bad feelings to God.  He can take care of them.

Is it easy?  No, it isn’t always easy.  Sometimes you can’t forgive toxic people until you walk away from them completely.  I was in a situation like that.  I was hurt so badly that I couldn’t imagine hashing it out with that person – so I walked away.  I didn’t leave a note or a message of any kind.  I was so upset and there was no hope of resolution.  I have no regrets about it at all.  My peace of mind was restored and my life improved immediately.  If I were to see that person, I’d still not offer any explanation for my action.  I did what I did with a clear head and a very clear conscience.  God does not expect us to stay with toxic people.  We walk away and pray for them from a distance.  ❤

Ideally, we should try to work things out with folks and pray for one another.  Did you know that once you start praying for a difficult person in your life, you are not able to dislike them anymore?  It’s true.  God is bigger than all our differences as people.  ❤

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Forgiveness is one of the hallmarks of a mature Christian.  If we want a heart like God’s, we need to be forgiving.  Our Lord has been so willing to forgive us, hasn’t He?  Can we be any less forgiving of others?  ❤

 

 

 

ZEPHANIAH 2:3 ON 2/3

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Seek the Lord, all you humble of the land, you who do what He commands.  Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.  – Zephaniah 2:3

 How careful should we all be to seek peace with God, before the Holy Spirit withdraws from us, or ceases to strive with us.  We are living in the day of Grace right now.  If you have been on the fence – thinking about getting “right” with God – now is that time, because our Lord Jesus is coming back soon to snatch up His own.

I don’t debate the whole pre or post tribulation – if God wanted that to be a big deal He would have made it crystal clear.  I know some post tribulation believers think it’s all spelled out in Matthew, but regardless – it’s best to just be ready no matter what!  It’s more important to be ready than to debate whether God’s children will have to endure the tribulation.

Humility is to make a right estimate of one’s self.  – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

These days it’s not easy to be a Christian because man is constantly changing the rules.  Even the rules are being tweaked in some churches to “fit and accept” certain sinful desires.  Beware of false doctrines in the last days.  Now more than ever we need to remember that God and His rules in the Holy Bible never change.  We can claim to be progressive and diverse and any other description you can dream up – but the truth is that God’s Holy Word is the final authority forever.  By the same token, God is the only judge of man.  Man is not to judge – ever.

HIS LOVE IS EXTRA-LARGE

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He died on the cross – one time – for everybody.  You may think you’ve sunk too low or gone too far – but that’s not true.  No matter what you’ve done, it’s not too late to ask forgiveness with a sincere heart and make a U-turn!  He loves you so much and I hope you will do that today.  I don’t want anyone to miss heaven.  I want everyone to be there.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.  – Psalm 4:2

REPENT AND RECOVER

Very few of our churches sing the old hymns anymore.  This will make me sound like an old lady, but I like the old hymns.  I know there are some congregations that have a “blended” service – and try to include a few hymns, but those are becoming fewer and further between.

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.  – Psalm 83:16

This morning I drove over to QT to pick up some coffee (they make better coffee than I do – and I can afford it).  I had a CD playing – one that I burned from favorites on the computer.  As I left the driveway, I heard Brad Paisley sing “The Old Rugged Cross” live at the Grand Ole Opry.

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.  – Proverbs 3:35

The Lord spoke to my spirit as I listened to the beautiful words in that old hymn.  He said, “Do you hear it?”  I said, “Hear what?”  He impressed on me that I should listen for the word SHAME.

1 On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

2 O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. [Refrain]

3 In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. [Refrain]

4 To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share. [Refrain]

United Methodist Hymnal

What I’m about to say will sound like a statement filled with judgment – but it is not, believe me.  I prayed about this subject before I started writing.  I’m pointing my thumb at myself – my fingers are not pointing to anyone else!

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  – Hebrews 6:6

Feeling shame is an important part of learning the difference between right and wrong.  I wonder if the church has lost sight of that.  The Bible speaks about many shameful acts that were committed in the past and instructs us on what we should know about it.

What is shame?  According to Webster, shame is:

a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment

dishonor or disgrace

Certainly a large part of being a Christian is praise and worship to our Creator, Lord God and King of our life – Jesus Christ.  This is the focus of praise and worship music in our churches today.  And there is a place for it.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.  1 Corinthians 15:34

Today is a gentle reminder that the Holy Spirit of God wants to speak to hearts about sin as well.  It’s His job to convict and speak truth.  Believe it or not, the Bible talks about shame 128 times (NIV version).

Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear hymns, the Holy Spirit speaks through them.

I wonder if we’ve committed the lyrics of these old hymns to memory, but have somehow become calloused to the meaning of the words – to the point we no longer allow God’s Spirit to speak to our hearts.

It’s just a thought.  God’s Spirit reminded me that with sin comes shame – then I need to repent and turn from it – and keep walking in the way He wants me to.  🙂

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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YOUR STRENGTH
I invite you to join me to PRAY FOR AMERICA this week. I will fast as I can, but definitely spend a great deal of time praying. An awakening needs to take place in this country – big time!

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

I’m saddened by the recent stream of scandals in our government. It’s scary that there have been no consequences for some very bad actions. Most people under the age of 24 are more interested in the World Cup than their own country’s issues. I conducted a little experiment on facebook out of curiosity. I asked my friends to voice their opinions about Benghazi and there were some definite lines drawn from the responses I received. I have many friends who have knowledge and are informed about current events, but they were all over 30 years of age. My friends who are younger than 30 were either uninformed, or did not know what I was talking about! I actually had a few ask me to explain. How can young people be so out of touch???

I was in Jr. High School during the Watergate scandal. Of course I’m a current events as well as a history buff, but I was probably better educated about that scandal than most kids my age. This STRING of scandals (can you keep up)… is fascinating to me. It’s frustrating me a lot, but fascinating at the same time. Frustratingly fascinating.  Let’s pray!

Let’s all pray for America this week! I hope in the near future, the U.S.A. will once again be the great nation it once was! I pray that God will bless her and protect her. We need God in America again!  🙂

National honor is national property of the highest value. – James Monroe, first inaugural address, 4 March 1817

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Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen
– George Washington’s prayer for America

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I believe Jesus died on Calvary’s cross for everyone. The church is not a country club, special place for those who have arrived, or a building where you have to speak Bible-eeze to enter.

The church is made up of humans who have come to the end of themselves and decided to ask the Lord Jesus to take over. We’ve said

“I’m done trying to control everything. I know You have wisdom and strength when I am unwise and weak.”

Jesus, God’s only Son, died on the cross for everyone. There is not one sin that cannot be forgiven. No one has gone too far into sin – God’s wonderful grace can reach the most vile sinner. We not only believe in Jesus, but trust Him with our lives.

The church is the great lost and found department.
– Robert Short

You know, some folks think they are not good enough to walk into a church. They think they have just blown it completely with God and there’s not a chance that they could be accepted by Christ. It’s not true. The enemy of your soul is the one telling you that.

Others think they are too good to walk into a church. Well, that’s not true either. That’s a dangerous attitude to tote around with you. One Bible verse comes to mind when I think about that:

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. – Proverbs 16:18

As long as everything you do is for God’s glory and not for your own, there will be no destruction and no painful fall.

Walking into a church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than walking into a garage makes you a car. That’s not an original thought – I borrowed it – from someone – can’t remember who said it – but it stuck with me.

What I’m saying is, true Christianity is in your heart. It’s not what church you go to or how many church activities you take part in. Here in Wichita we learned that lesson when BTK was finally apprehended. The man was a “well-respected” member of a local church. He used that to “hide” his evil from others.

It’s not about church. It’s about asking the Lord Jesus into your heart.

Dear God in heaven,
I come to you in the name of Jesus. I acknowledge to You that I am a sinner, and I am sorry for my sins and the life that I have lived; I need Your forgiveness.

I believe that Your only begotten Son Jesus Christ shed His precious blood on the cross at Calvary and died for my sins, and I am now willing to turn from my sin.

You said in Your Holy Word, Romans 10:9 that if we confess the Lord our God and believe in our hearts that God raised Jesus from the dead, we shall be saved.

Right now I confess Jesus as the Lord of my soul. With my heart, I believe that God raised Jesus from the dead. This very moment I accept Jesus Christ as my own personal Savior and according to His Word, right now I am saved.

Thank You Jesus for Your unlimited grace which has saved me from my sins. I thank You Jesus that Your grace never leads to license, but rather it always leads to repentance. Therefore Lord Jesus transform my life so that I may bring glory and honor to You alone and not to myself.

Thank You Jesus for dying for me and giving me eternal life.
It’s in Your Holy and matchless Name I pray,
Amen.  ❤

GOOD FRIDAY

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WITH TEARS FOR JESUS

It’s difficult to explain to people why Good Friday is good, but this explains it well.

It’s called GOOD FRIDAY – but somehow that just doesn’t seem to be good enough, does it?  Good just does not begin to cover it.  If you came up with the most eloquent name for this day, it would still fall short because of the deep meaning behind it.

My faith runs deep and emotions run high at Easter. This is the combination that makes me want to do more for Him and be a better Christian. I don’t strive to be better so I can stick my nose up in the air and say – “Hey look, I’m better than you.” I don’t compare my progress with anyone here. I stack it up against God’s Holy Word. How close can I be to where GOD wants me to be? That’s really all that matters when it’s all said and done.

To call this Friday GOOD FRIDAY falls so short of how I really feel about it. He took the sins of the world upon His shoulders – His human shoulders. Yes, He was divine, but He was also human. He felt every bit of the pain He suffered and the blood He spilt – that was very real too. That was love. That is the only love needed by man in this life. That is the only true love any of us will ever have! Christ provides pure grace, mercy, unchanging love and light for our journey!

I hope you will take a moment to meditate on the sacrifice Christ made for you. Watch PASSION OF THE CHRIST or JESUS today. I have both movies and will probably watch both of them this evening. If you do not know Him as your personal Savior, I hope you will turn your life over to Him. He’s waiting for you. ❤

THANKS LIVING DAY 37

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PRAYER OF THANKS FOR SAFETY

How important is safety these days? When I was a kid we didn’t have to wear a helmet to ride a bike and we had bench seats in our car with a lap seatbelt. That was “safety” back then. I remember when mom or dad had to slam on the brakes, their right arm would automatically smack across me, bracing me! Some of you remember that too, don’t you?

We are so safety conscious these days. I can’t imagine using those car seats for kids! They look so complicated! No wonder I have to wait about ten minutes for that mom in the Wal-Mart parking lot to get her child strapped in before I can get to my car door to leave.

Have you ever been out-of-town and lost? My daddy used to tell me I could get lost in my own back yard because I am so directionally impaired – but I digress. Being lost is the most helpless feeling in the world, especially in unfamiliar territory. No one likes to be lost.

I’m not perfect – there, I said it. I won’t say it again – I didn’t stutter. Perfection is not something that will be everyone’s lasting memory of me. I’m bold and I jump in and sometimes I make a great big mess of things! I can’t tell you how many times I have “rushed” God’s timing. I do rush in – but I’m a work in progress. God is working on me and teaching me that it is always best to seek His advice before just moving on with something.

When you rush God there are consequences. God forgives the root sin when you ask Him to – but there are still consequences for the actions – and sometimes those consequences are long-term. Trust me when I tell you sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go – in the wrong direction. An old hymn comes to mind:

But I have good news. God is patient and He is waiting to help you. He knows you are not perfect but He wants to help you learn how to trust His timing instead of acting and then saying, “Okay God – now bless what I’ve already done.” It doesn’t work out so good that way. Wait on Him. Wait on His timing.

Today – I’m thankful that God always allows U-turns on His road. If you are traveling the wrong direction, just make a U-turn and start relying on God and His perfect timing. ❤