FALL IN LOVE WITH JESUS

The Light of Life… I like the sound of that!  Most of us take light for granted, don’t we?  We just flip a switch and Voila‘!  Instant light!  You know, light not only aids us in seeing what we’re trying to do, but it provides warmth too.  October in Kansas means that we won’t turn down a little warmth with our light, that’s for sure!  Our Lord is not only the light on our path, but He is also the wrap we wear on our shoulders as we walk.  He keeps us safe and warm!

May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within… ~Irish blessing

Light and warmth are welcoming to us.  You might even say we’re drawn to them.  You know, the other night I was walking up my driveway toward the front door and caught a glimpse of my green banker’s lamp glowing through the office window.  The green shade made the light particularly soft and more alluring.  I thought, “If I didn’t live here, I’d want to visit because this looks like a house where friendly people live!”   I was drawn to the soft green light!

When I think of this Scripture, a song comes to mind that I heard Aretha Franklin sing:

Walk in the LIGHT… beautiful LIGHT.  We’re goin’ the distance!  Jesus, the LIGHT of the world, will guide us through and provide warmth when our hearts are tempted to grow cold.  It’s a cold and harsh world we live in, but we are called to carry HIS light and warmth to others.

Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space.  It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe.  It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished.  ~Michael Strassfeld

What a wonderful analogy to describe Christ as the Light of the world!  He gave His all for us; became sin in our place even though He lived a sinless life.  Praise His name for He is worthy!

When our hearts are heavy and our bank accounts are anorexic, we find joy, peace, love, strength, courage, grace, mercy, and hope in the Light of the world, Jesus Christ, our personal Savior.  He loves us like no other.  Even if the world turns its collective back on you, He never will!  

He never changes.  His laws are the same and His love is everlasting.  Lean on Him for answers to life’s toughest questions.  He is LIGHT and WARMTH.  🙂

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Yes, I know this is not Sunday – LOL!  I’m interrupting this Friday the 13th, which is typically seen as the worst day you can possibly have, to bring you some GOOD NEWS!  But first, let’s review a few things that historians have claimed:

They claim that Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of Knowledge on Friday the 13th.  They also say that the great flood began on Friday the 13th.  And finally, the builders of the Tower of Babel started their work on – you guessed it – Friday the 13th.  And what about the New Testament?  Well, it’s notable that there were 13 people present for Christ’s Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, the day before Jesus was crucified on Good Friday.  Now – was that a Friday the 13th?  I think not.

One Friday the 13th, I was watching a telecast of a sermon by Joseph Prince.  I don’t like to say I have a favorite TV preacher, but I enjoy listening to him.  He interjects interesting facts – and on this Friday the 13th, I was not disappointed.  Let’s take another look at this verse in Hebrews:

Let us go forth therefore unto HIM outside the camp, bearing His reproach.  – Hebrews 13:13

Well, the obvious thing is that this is the 13th Chapter and the 13th verse.  Joseph Prince also pointed out that there are 13 words in this verse – but wait, it gets better.  The word in the center of this verse is HIM.  I l LOVE THAT!!!  So, what is that take away?  If we have HIM, do we have to dread Friday the 13th as the world does?  NO!  No, we do not!  

I vowed that I would point this out to everyone here on the blog the next time we have a Friday that falls on the 13th.  I want to promote the positivity that belonging to Christ brings!  He brings His children joy, peace, love, and all the fruits of His Spirit.  Lucinda wrote a neat poem about Hebrews 13:13.  I know you’ll like it!

I wasn’t able to find the sermon by Joseph Prince, but Hebrews 13:13 means even more to me since I saw this sermon.  I hope you will watch with receptive hearts and minds.

So…  let’s keep the positive side of Friday the 13th in mind, and throw away the other stuff.  Oh, I do want to leave you with something that I think is HI-larious!  Frankly, this is what comes to mind when I think of Friday the 13th:

Isn’t that funny???  I’m rollin’!!!  😀

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Folks in this world are knocking themselves out to stand out somehow – they want to succeed and rise above for all different reasons, be it fame, money, or just to feed their ego.  Christians have a different take on things – we want our God to shine through us – so that He may receive all the praise and the glory – and if there’s money, well – we share that too.  There’s a reason why we point to the sky and say, “All the glory belongs to Jesus” when we are complimented or recognized for accomplishments.  It’s not about us – it’s all about HIM.

Andrae’ Crouch wrote over 300 songs, and every one of them pointed to Jesus Christ.  Billy Graham called brother Crouch the greatest hymn writer of our age, the modern-day John Wesley,  What a wonderful talent this world lost – but how much more wonderful Heaven became, right?

We live by a simple acronym – Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last.  JOY!  If you’re doing something other than showing others your Savior…  you should re-think your strategy.  Pray it through and get it straight.  I don’t say that to be mean, but to help.  If you have a living testimony to Jesus Christ, who is very much alive – then you have more JOY than anyone else.

Christians can’t change lives, but we can point to the ONE who can!  The most beautiful part about letting God’s light shine through your life is – HIS light does not depend on OUR circumstance.  It doesn’t matter if I’m having a bad day – because I know God is not.  I can depend on HIS JOY in my life all the time.

Have you ever met someone who wakes up in the morning, stumbles to the coffee pot for their first cup, sits down at the dining room table with the newspaper and reads their horoscope to see what kind of a day they can look forward to?  What kind of life is that?  God promises us ABUNDANT LIFE…  not wait and see life.

Lean upon the ROCK – the very large ROCK – Christ Jesus.  Get up in the morning and do a little calypso to the coffee pot (have someone make a video for facebook) – grab your coffee and your Bible – and read from Psalms!  Get some of God’s precious promises under your proverbial belt.  Take those promises with you throughout your day.  When God opens a door for you to share a promise with someone else, be obedient and do it.  Don’t be afraid to share your faith – especially when you KNOW that God wants you to.  He’s got this – it’ll be okay.

Live in God’s Son Shine!

Oh – and I won’t be making a video of my calypso to the coffee pot.  Watching a Baptist dance just isn’t a pretty sight.  Have a great day in the Lord.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

To some, it’s a comfort that God our Lord is living among us.  We find peace and serenity.  To others, it’s a thought that brings feelings of dread and fear.  Why?   Well, I’ll try to explain it with a story you can relate to.

We had a little dog – she was a mixed breed, but a tiny little thing.  She was a puppy when I was a baby.  I loved on her like crazy, but once in a while I loved on her a little too much – hugged her a little too tight.  She never snapped, never growled or showed any indication of meanness toward me or anyone in my family.  We all knew and respected each other – we were family.

Our friends, the Ingram’s, came over to visit one brisk winter evening.  Just before people came over, my mom would take the cover off of Lady’s chair (yes, Lady had her own chair).  When Ellis tried to sit in Lady’s chair, she started growling and snarling at him.  Of course, my parents scolded her and apologized to Ellis and told him to go ahead and sit there.  Lady was put in the back bedroom for the rest of the evening.

From that moment on, Ellis and Lady had less than an amicable relationship.  I guess you could say they basically tolerated each other for the sake of those around them.  I don’t think they ever really made up.

It’s a bit like that if you don’t know the Lord, I think.  He’s not yours, but it’s okay if He lives with others – but you sure don’t want Him.  Maybe you’re afraid He’s going to bite you or snap at you (the proverbial lightning strike).  I wish you’d make up with Him.  You can by believing that His Son, Christ Jesus died on the cross for your sins.  He is mighty to save and strong to deliver you.  Only then you can read this portion of Scripture with a smile on your face and real confidence in your soul.  He will calm your fears and wipe away all your tears.  I hope you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and friend today, because today – it’s you.

Of course, today is St. Patrick’s Day!  I wish you a happy and safe one.  Two reminders for the day – don’t drink green beer and drive…  and don’t text and drive.  Stay safe.  Everyone knows that Christians don’t believe in luck, but we do believe in getting into the spirit of a holiday.  Lucinda wrote a cute poem about luck.  The Luck of Us All. 

Enjoy the day responsibly.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.  – Psalm 98:1

If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone say, “I can’t sing” – I’d be so rich!  If God gave you a voice, sing to Him a new song – not because you have a good singing voice – but because He has done marvelous things!1

Has He blessed you in your life?  Is He worthy of praise?  If you answer yes…  you gotta sing His praises!  If you aren’t comfortable singing in front of people, that’s okay.  Hop in your car and pop in a praise and worship CD – and sing along!  Just don’t close your eyes, cuz…  ya know…  you’re driving.2

I had a praise and worship cassette tape that I walked to for many years.  It had a song on it that was based on this Scripture.

You know what I’d love to see happen???  I would absolutely LOVE to see a Christian Planet Fitness.  I like working out – except for the music.  The new techno-babble “music” that is played is not particularly inspiring while I’m walking on the treadmill.  I know – earbuds and an ipod…  well – yeah in a perfect world I could do that.  Trouble is, it’s not a perfect world and I don’t have earbuds or an ipod.

I have a cassette player and headphones.  That’s how far behind I am.  If you think I’m gonna walk into Planet Fitness with my Walkman and headphones – you are cray cray.  Ain’t happenin’!

beautiful

Let’s start the new year by singing to the Lord!  Sing to Him a new song – a joyful noise – it may be off-key or out of tune, but I don’t see anything in the Bible that says it has to be perfect – just joyful.  🙂

 

 

 

BLUE CHRISTMAS

tl-12-8-blue-christmas

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.  – Matthew 5:4

Blue Christmas services include an emphasis on candles, with people in the congregation invited to come forward and light a candle in memory of someone or to mark an event in their lives. Some will say words out loud, others in silent prayer. Candles are also sometimes lit as prayers or Scripture readings are recited.

I appreciate these types of outreach services for a couple of reasons.  I lost my granny LaVella on Christmas day when I was just a little girl.  Christmas is not a happy cheery time.  I miss that sweet woman every day and it’s a shame that the timing was that way, but it’s not a loss I’ll just get over and go on.  And, I may get some raised eyebrows, but I’m just gonna say it…  Christ came to earth as a baby, an infant – and most people are really cool with that.  I have a tendency to cry at all things “baby” – and it’s not that I don’t understand things on a theological level – but at the heart level – the “I’m a woman” level…  it’s difficult to sit through a traditional Christmas program.

I used to think I just had to suck it up, buttercup.  At one time I worked with children to help them with choir performances at Christmas.  There were times I thought I’d lose it.  I’d go home and cry uncontrollably.  I just thought I had to tough things out.  All I was really doing was making things worse for myself.  Did God really expect that of me?  Did He really?

I did some soul-searching and prayed a long time about it.  God did not expect me to self-inflict pain and agony.  Nowhere in my Bible does it say thou shalt inflict pain on thyself.  I’m to love and care for people – but there are other ways to do that, right?  I’ve since found other ministries that allow me to be whole.  That’s what God wants me to be…  whole in Him.  I had to find ways to serve the Lord that are less painful on my heart and mind.

a-blue-christmas-prayer

I appreciate the Blue Christmas services.  It’s especially for people who deal with grief around Christmas.  We’re allowed to feel what we feel and as we feel, we heal.  It’s not a denial of the facts of Christmas – it’s just not rubbing our noses in it – if that makes sense.  I don’t have to sit through an excruciating reenactment of the events that took place in Bethlehem.  It’s good for people with children, and I believe it’s great for children to be involved.  I just had to excuse myself from it – before it sent me over the edge.  I’m glad I did.  I’m at peace like never before.  In a traditional setting, I always felt as though nobody understood my tears except God.  When I’m sitting with others who feel the same way I do – and some who suffer recent losses…  I not only feel understood, but I’m there to understand what they’re going through.

Please do not think I’m somehow diminishing a traditional Christmas program.  I’m not.  I would, however, encourage more congregations to be more inclusive of people who feel deep sorrow at Christmas.  I understand that it’s basically what a Christmas Eve candlelight service & Lord’s Supper is for…  but there’s something about being allowed to say your loved one’s name out loud.  Here in America we’re not very comfortable letting each other talk about a loss – or say the name of a loved one out loud.  Why IS that?  I’m just saying, you know that when someone loses a loved one – that person is going to be the only thought in their mind, right?  So, why not have one extra service at Christmas just for those who are grieving?  Why are American churches so afraid of doing that?  I guess I just don’t understand.  I would invite more churches to consider a BLUE CHRISTMAS service.  Yeah – it’s a bummer – but guess what?  Speaking as one who chooses to attend the Blue Christmas service…  it’s healing.  God smiles when His children have needs met by the church – which, if I remember right, is to be the hands and feet of Christ in ministry.  I think I remember that being the case.

Father God, Your heart beats for the vulnerable and for those who are alone. Help us to love Your people as You love them, for we are made in Your image.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This is for my granny.  She liked Elvis.  If Elvis is in Heaven, maybe they’re singing duets, who knows?  🙂

blue-christmas-prayerWhile my family is in Heaven saying Happy Birthday to Jesus…  I’ll just stay here and say Merry Christmas to you!  🙂

LUKE 9:26 on 9/26

tl-luke-9-26-on-9-26Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.  – Luke 9:26

If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “I believe in God, but I choose to keep my religion private and to myself”, I’d be so rich!  Yet – strangely enough, if I choose to share Christ with others, the target on my back gets shot at.  Oh, you haven’t noticed that target on my back?  Trust me – it’s there.

The most recent situation took place on facebook.  Most of my friends there are aware of my stance about faith.  I’m not ashamed to share it with anyone, and although I hope and pray it’s not annoying, I don’t apologize for my facebook posts or my blog posts.  I write Christian poetry – although I have written poems that are not particularly religious, I’m not going to apologize for writing what God has inspired me to write.

Apparently one of my friends didn’t get the memo.  This person ripped me a new halo about going overboard with my Christianity.  Well, long story short, it ended with unfriending and blocking.  Isn’t it sad when people can’t just let people post whatever they want on their own facebook wall?  Last time I checked, it was still a free country – so far.

It’s my belief that some encouragement is not a bad thing in our upside-down world.  Call me crazy, but a positive message of hope and love should be welcome on facebook.  Oh well…  I wonder who will be the next one to endure this person’s anti-religious rant?  I dunno – not my circus, not my monkeys.  That’s a Polish proverb – it means that it’s not my problem anymore.

I’ll just say it – nothing a human being says or does to me is going to change what I say or do.  When I’m being criticized, I know it’s really my Savior being criticized.  And by the way, this portion of Scripture has about 20 cross-references.  You know what that tells me?  It tells me that the Lord wants His children to share their faith along the way – it’s not to be held silently and hugged to yourself.  My favorite portion of Scripture on the subject is Romans 1:16.  Look it up – I’m too lazy to type it out.  😉

Oh alright – here’s a hint:  this happens to be my favorite song too.

I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. 🙂