A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:  The old has gone, the new is here!  – 2 Corinthians 5:17

In 2017, let’s be NEW!!!  Let’s be renewed creations in Christ.  Much like the yearly closet cleaning we do in our homes, let’s do some cleaning of our attitudes and actions.  Have you slipped on doing daily devotions?  there’s no time like NOW to start up again?

If there is one thing I’ve learned on my weight loss journey, it is…  if you mess up, don’t beat yourself up about it – just do better tomorrow!  Eat what you should, move when you should and do the right things.  It’ll be okay – it really will.

good-things-that-god-brings

Feeling guilty or shameful is counter productive.  Move forward and do better.  Yesterday is gone.  There’s not a thing you can do about yesterday.  Move toward tomorrow.  The future is waiting – and your Bible sets on the coffee table.  Just go pick it up and read a passage today.  Keep a journal if you want to.  You know, there are now journaling Bibles available.  I keep a notebook journal, but I think journaling is a helpful tool.5

If there are things you need to throw away, throw them away.  Attitudes, actions, chocolate.  Whatever it is – God knows and that’s good enough.  It’s sure none of my business.  Toss what you need to toss to get right with the Lord again.  Ask Him to forgive the sin and ask Him to help you stay away from it in the future.  We all mess up, but God is faithful to help us when we humbly ask for it.7

Once you’ve handed all of the old to God…  turn and walk away.  Put your hope and trust in God’s ability to clean up your act.  You’ll assuredly be tempted again because the enemy is still busy, but God is stronger and with His help you can resist temptation.6

A new year…  that’s great, but how much greater it is when we pair it with a renewed relationship with the LORD!  I pray God’s richest blessings on your life this year!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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I had an amazing opportunity to attend a WOMEN OF FAITH conference in my hometown.  To describe the wonderful energy in that place would take every word in the dictionary!  It was definitely a highlight in my life and I felt so blessed that my very good friend saw to it that I got a ticket.  God makes my path cross with so many great people!

I was standing in the line for the restroom (well, of course I was – duh!)  I was not eavesdropping on purpose…  really I wasn’t.  I could not help but overhear a conversation between the lady behind me and her friend standing behind her.  Then I heard it – OH MY GOD!!!

I cringed…  I hear it in the “WORLD” all the time – and I deal with it because that’s what has to happen.  I’m not a baby – I know there are ignorant people in the world who don’t know they are offending a real person.  More than offending actually – taking His name – His Holy, Righteous, Name above all Names…  IN VAIN.  It’s a COMMANDMENT – one of the BIG TEN, in fact.THOU SHALT NOT

I expect ignorance OUT THERE – but I was IN HERE – in this meeting with WOMEN OF FAITH.  I wonder if people in the church remember that we’re supposed to be DIFFERENT than the ones outside the church?  Yes, I did think for a split second that maybe it was a non-believer who was invited by a believer – in hopes that she would come to know Jesus as her personal Savior.  That certainly could have been the case.  I hope it was – and I hope she did.

It just seems like so much of the world seeps into the church instead of the other way around.  It’s difficult to have to live IN this world and not be OF it.  Things slip out – oh I totally understand.  When they do, God’s Holy Spirit checks us – we repent and we go from there and do our best to keep it from happening again.  God is quick to forgive our transgressions – even when we take His most Holy Name in vain.

It’s just scary to think that the OMG has found its way into the church – and when it’s said there is no shame – no remorse – no regret.  Just because the world accepts it, doesn’t mean that God’s people should accept it.

I try to say OH MY WOW…  I get very strange looks when I say OH MY WOW…  but oh well.  I sorta kinda hope it catches on inside the church doors… because people of GOD don’t need to be saying OMG – we can say LOL all day long – but adopt the OMW.  Seriously – we need to be separate from the world – give it a try – you might like being different.  OH MY WOW!!!  🙂

 

ROMANS 8:1 ON 8/1

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Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.  – Romans 8:1-2

There is not a promise in God’s Word that encourages my heart more than this one.  There is no longer any condemnation!  Forgiveness of sins and the ability to finally let go of shame and regret means one thing – I am free!!!

FREEDOM

But why is this verse here?  It begins with the word therefore, so we need to back up and see what this verse is there for…  let’s look at the last part of Romans 7.

 So I find this law at work:  when I want to do good, evil is right there with me.  For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members.  What a wretched man I am!  Who will rescue me from this body of death?  Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!  So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in the sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.  – Romans 7:21-25

If we’re honest, we admit facing the same struggle – some days more than others.  Remember the cartoons with the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other?  :-/

Here’s the deal…  if you continue living in sin, you are a slave to it.  No matter what type of sin it is – you’re bound to it.  The only real freedom you will ever experience in your life is through Jesus Christ.  He loves you and wants to set you free from the chains of sin.

Sin demands so much of you – it is not possible to get straightened out on your own.  It takes supernatural help.  I pray that you will find a quiet place and bow your head to talk with God, in Jesus’ name.  Let Him have everything that binds you today.  He can give you a whole new attitude and outlook about your life from this moment forward.

He worked a miracle in me – and I know He can work one in you too.  🙂

 

GENESIS 6:5 ON 6/5

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The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.  – Genesis 6:5

Why would I choose such a negative Scripture?  Well, because the story doesn’t end there!  Did the Lord just throw up His hands and give up on us?  No – of course not!

Does this statement sound familiar?  “I’m a good person.  I don’t hurt people on purpose.  I don’t cheat on my mate and I pay my taxes.”  There are folks who think being good is good enough.  The truth is, every human is born with a sin nature that no amount of “goodness” within us can erase.  Every intention of the thoughts of our hearts are evil.  We have a root of evil that is bent to sin.

What is the solution to the problem of sinful nature?  When we celebrate Christmas – we celebrate the glorious arrival of the one and only perfect One – Christ Jesus!  God sent Him to live on our planet, serve His Father here – and eventually take the sins of the world – past, present, future – on Himself.  He willingly gave His life because He was the only one perfect and spotless Lamb of God worthy to erase our sins.

Once we trust Christ as our personal Savior (I didn’t say anything about religion) – it’s a relationship – at that time, we are free of guilt and shame.  I think I even lost some weight…  I can’t prove it, but I sure felt a lot lighter – 😉

SO…  even though God looks at every one of us and sees wickedness and evilness, once we are covered with the precious blood of Christ – when God looks at us, He sees His Son, Christ Jesus!

That is what I call HOPE TO COPE!!!  It’s good news for sure.  The gospel of Jesus Christ is great news for everyone.  God loves you…  pass it on!  🙂

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.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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THANK GOD FOR THE TROOPS

I’m so very thankful for the men and women who defend my freedom! Once in a while, usually around this time of year, I see a post on facebook about how the troops wearing helmets should earn more money for defending our country than a football player on a field wearing a helmet, defending a football. When I see that post I always “like” and “share” it.

This is not a political blog and I don’t want it to be political. I have to say that as an American citizen I am shocked and upset about the Veteran’s Administration scandal. Lately there have been so many scandals that I’ve gotten used to the term “scandal”. But this one is different. This one is personal.

How could they think something like this would not catch up to them? It’s obviously a last-ditch effort by an agency that is broken to begin with. In my humble opinion, they need to re-build the entire VA from the top down. Get rid of the ones running it now and start from scratch. Make it stronger and much more reliable than it has ever been. Our military personnel deserve nothing less than the best. We owe them that much.

Every day I pray for this nation. I pray for our country to turn back to God. Don’t we understand that there will be dire consequences if we don’t? Hello!

I am so blessed to be a citizen of America. I am doubly blessed to be a child of God. It is my prayer that we find a way to honor and care for our Veterans in a way that will show them how much they mean to us. It goes beyond politics to a more personal problem. Every Veteran, no matter what war they fought in, deserves the best this country can give them. That so many died waiting to be cared for is a tragedy and the VA should be ashamed of itself. 😦

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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LOOK AHEAD

The Apostle Paul… I look forward to meeting him one day in heaven! He is the one who wrote the great word pictures in the Bible. The life of a Christian is like a race, and there is a prize at the finish line. It almost makes me want to go out and try to run. Hey, I said almost!

It’s my guess that Paul was a fit person. I imagine he must have been a runner. He certainly knew how to get people excited and enthused about Christianity. He knew how to be a leader with diplomacy and tact. Even when he had to clamp down on some of the churches, he did so with the love of Christ in his heart. Every letter included Christian compassion and brotherly watch care.

We are encouraged to look ahead and leave our sorted past where it belongs – in the past. If we try to drag the past around with us it can only do one thing – weigh us down. We need to give the past to God. He knows what to do with it. He will throw it into the sea of forgetfulness and never remember it again. I wish I could forget my past as completely, don’t you?

If I could forgive and forget as well as God does, wouldn’t that be wonderful? How much faster would I run without the extra weight? How much further could I run if I didn’t get winded as easily? Would I be a better witness for Christ if I was free of the weight?

I’m encouraged by what Paul says and I will try to leave the past in the past and run with a renewed strength and purpose from my heavenly Father. Then one day, I can say along with Paul:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
– 2 Timothy 4:7

That’s really what it’s all about.  🙂