A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15 & 16

Have you ever noticed when someone is asked to give a testimony, they break out in a cold sweat?  Actually, I’m describing my dad – he had a very humble and private walk with the Lord.  He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and he never wanted to testify.  If he was put on the spot, beads of sweat formed on his forehead, not because he didn’t have a story, but because he didn’t like to speak in public.

I think it’s funny now, looking back…  my parents had me in front of the congregation playing the piano before I was in junior high school.  Would either of them done anything on the platform?  I doubt it – but there I was – and there I’d stay for several years.  I’m glad they pushed me though, because the experience I gained at a young age taught me many valuable lessons.  From my unique vantage point, I got to see a few things.  I remember thinking, “I want to be like that person” – or…  “I don’t want to have an attitude like that person.”  We all do that in our youth, but doing it while seated at the piano in choir practice was special somehow.

We are to have a story and be ready to share it when it’s time.  Have you ever heard someone testify and seem to be almost angry that others are not coming to the Lord and repenting of sin as they think they should?  Sometimes your testimony is less about the actual words you say, and more about the attitude behind the words you’re saying.

A gentle quiet spirit that exudes thanksgiving and gratitude makes a much better impression than beating your hand on the pulpit and screaming.  Nobody ever scared anybody to the Lord – well, except the movie A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I think the whole youth group went forward and confessed every little sin after that movie was over – even putting chewing gum under the pew.  No, I didn’t do that…  but I found some once.  Eeeewwww.  It was a pew in the back of the church – it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out who did it.

Every one of us has a different vantage point in our walk with Christ.  We see things from different places.  I sat at the piano and watched as a tween – maybe you sat in the choir and observed – or in the back row.  Sometimes I wished I could have been a normal kid and sat in the back row – I envied them a little bit.  The point is, we all have a story of our walk – past and present.  The walk I have with Christ is so much deeper and richer today than it was when I was saved at thirteen.   That’s what the world needs to hear – and that’s the truth of it.

Sometimes a testimony is painful to share.  That’s when we rely on God’s help to give us the right words to say.  As we listen, it might hurt, but we rely on God’s help to give us compassionate hearts and minds as we hear their story.  Christ reaches down to all of us when we’re in a state of disarray – and that’s putting it mildly.  We’re unsaved and without hope without Him.

I’m reminded of an Andre’ Crouch song called I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE.  With God helping us every day, we can have confidence and assurance that things will be alright no matter what the case may be – !

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony, your story, your faith.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spiritually speaking!  LOL – well, you know what I mean.  I’ve got CONFIDENCE…  God is gonna see me through.  🙂

 

 

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A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

I’m the first to admit that winter is not my favorite season.  Some of my friends think it’s the bees knees, but no – not me.  I’m simply tickled to see spring peeking around the corner, although here in Kansas we had a remarkably mild winter.  I’m not complaining! 

There’s nothing like that first time in the garden in spring!  Gardening just makes one feel so close to nature and more alive somehow, doesn’t it?  This portion of Scripture is not talking about literal gardening though – it’s talking about spiritual gardening.

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Who’s doing the planting?  All of us, as God’s children, need to be scattering “seed” – that is, sharing our faith, at every given opportunity.  It seems when I hear the word WITNESSING, my knees begin to buckle – but if I’m told to share my faith – that’s really more natural and makes me more comfortable.  Just tell your story – that’s about it.  I was blind – but now I see.  That is scattering seed.  It’s not complicated – but so often we make it so.

Once seed is planted…  who waters them?  Well, God sends the right people along to do that.  It could be any of us, really.  Again, watering seed is like sowing it – you just keep sharing your faith and be there to answer questions, read Scripture, and pray with folks.  Sometimes you share and get a door slammed in your face.  That’s okay because you did what you’re supposed to do.  If someone’s not ready, you’ve still planted a seed.  I might add, this is a big reason we should do our best to avoid being a stumbling block to those who are still on the fence.  We have to be so careful – we don’t want anything we say or do to be the reason someone does not come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  I don’t have to remind you what God said about those who are stumbling blocks, do I?  No – that’s for another blog post.grow

Do we make the seeds grow?  NO WAY!  I can’t save anyone – this blog can’t save anyone.  Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ…  that can save everyone!!!  I pray it does.  How different our interactions with one another would be if we were all more kind, gracious, and sweet.  It would be so beautiful if every seed would flourish.  🙂

MARK 1:27 ON 1/27

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The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”- Mark 1:27

Every Bible verse brings a gospel song to my mind.  What can I say…  I’m a Southern Gospel  musician – so is it really a big surprise?  This portion of Scripture reminds me of a song from 1977 by The Rambos called, “He was the Talk of the Town”.

There’s a line in that song…  skeptics called Him a devil…  interesting to call one Who gives orders to impure spirits a devil.  Hmm…  it’s been a tactic of the enemy since the dawn of time to put a spin on the truth.  Sadder still is the fact that so many folks bought the spin!  Some folks are still buying the spin.  Sigh.  We need to be so careful to have ears to hear the real truth – God’s truth.

Jesus taught with authority!  He knew Who He was and where He came from – He knew He was sent on a mission to seek and to save the lost.  Not everyone believed His teaching, but some did.

So it is when we teach today.  Not everyone will listen to the teaching of Christ.  Is that a reason to stop sharing His good news?  No, it isn’t – and we are commanded to go and preach – go and teach – go and share – go and love.  We’re given what we need to minister – and there are many ways to minister to others.  Not everyone writes a daily blog, but it seems to be the way God has opened for me.  There are creative ways to tell others about the Lord and what He has done.  Ask Him and He will open a door for you.

If you’re a prayer warrior…  send up a few for this humble blogger, okay?  I appreciate every one of them!  ❤

I’m so thankful that Christ came to earth and lived among us.  He was completely God while becoming completely human.  Don’t ask me to explain that – but that’s the truth.  He preached with authority from His Father, God.  He loved as no one before Him or after Him ever did.  Every battle he fought was spiritual in nature – and praise God – He won them all and He will win every one in the future.

There’s nothing of a spiritual nature in your life that God through Christ can and will not overcome for you.  That’s the truth – the real truth – no spin.  🙂

 

 

 

 

BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY

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http://www.bringyourbible.org/

http://www.bringyourbible.org/know-your-rights/

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  – 1 Timothy 4:12

rotating_banner_number5It’s not easy for any of us to voice our faith to someone unfamiliar with it.  It helps to say a prayer and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you.  He’s there and will make it better – you’ll be surprised.  Then be sure to thank Him for His help.  🙂

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More than 300,000 students are planning to take their copies of the Good Book with them to school on Thursday in an observance known as “Bring Your Bible to School Day.”
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I believe the time is short to share our faith with others.  Are there classmates who are struggling and need to be introduced to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Maybe on this day, you will be the one to help them.
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In so many public schools, prayer’s been banned and religious freedom is under attack, but the folks at Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson have hosted the national event, Bring Your Bible to School for the past several years.  I hope you will participate and show others that you are not ashamed of the gospel – the good news!tumblr_mepvo05n0e1qk4nc3o1_500

rotating_banner_number4As believers, we can’t be impatient and hit others in the face with our faith, so to speak.  When Jesus was speaking to people, He was compassionate and patient.  Let’s face it, most of us are not big on patience (yes, I’m raising my hand high).  To be loving and patient with lost people is the nicest gift we can give them.  Notice I didn’t say we give them a “pass” from making a decision for Christ – I just said we are to be longsuffering, as our Lord is.  Is it easy sometimes?  Uh, no.  Is it worth it?  You bet.

You know the best friend of all time…  why would you not want to introduce your friend to others?  When we get to Heaven, remember – God will not ask us how many cool toys we had.  He will ask us how many people we introduced to His Son, Jesus. 😀

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It can be scary to share faith with others, but take a deep breath, say a prayer and be amazed at how God will open doors for you.image-2Isn’t this a cute little Bible?  I like those owls – they represent wisdom!  😉bringyourbiblevideoscreenshot

Plan to put your Bible in your backpack today!  Let your friends see that you are God’s kid.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)Good people do live in my midst!  We’re getting ready for a garage sale later this month and spent a day preparing the garage for the tables, racks, etc.  The worst thing that can happen at a garage sale is when someone wants to buy something that you are not selling.  The solution is to cover everything that you want to keep with a tarp.

We were working in the garage when along comes our neighbor.  He’s a very pleasant man, friendly and hard-working.  He owns a farm just outside Wichita as well as a home in our little community.  He asked if our riding lawn mower was for sale.  My husband told him it was.  They worked out the details and our big -ticket item was sold.

Seems cut and dried, doesn’t it?  We get money and he gets the rider to use out on his farm.

The story’s not finished.  Here’s the cool part.

Yesterday was the open air market at our extension office.  Most of the vendors have stopped coming because summer is over.  We stopped to look around a bit, not expecting to find much.  There was our neighbor with the last of his vegetable crop – and it looked delicious, I must say.

Without saying a word, he bagged up most of what he had left and handed it to us.

He has absolutely NO idea what he did.  We have vegetables to put in our freezer for winter.  Our freezer was empty – now it’s full.  I think I know what the squirrels must feel like – collecting and filling their little homes with food for the winter months.

He told us it was a bonus payment on the mower.  We laughed.  I wanted to cry tears of joy.

But here’s the thing…  my dad had a garden every year and grew all the vegetables our neighbor does.  We’ve been buying vegetables at the market – but let’s face it, they just are not homegrown.  They don’t taste the same.

I’m sitting here now eating fried okra, crying tears of happiness.  It’s like a taste of home, to be honest.  This small gesture touched my heart and took me back home for just a little while.

This journey called life is filled with a little pain and a little sorrow, but once in a while, a neighbor does something that renews your faith in humans.  I could never thank him enough for that – not without crying, anyway.  It’s more than okra – it’s closing my eyes and going back to a late summer / early fall meal with my parents.  How do you thank someone for that?it-is-more-than-just-okra

I know it’s just a simple little story, but isn’t our life here on the planet about paying it forward?  It’s about sharing your bounty with those who are not farmers or gardeners.  Our neighbor would certainly have not had to do that.

I thank him not only for the food, but also for the wonderful memories that food sparked in me.  And as always, I’m so very grateful to God for making it all happen!  🙂

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. 🙂

 

RESPECT FOR THE AGED DAY

TL 9-19 RESPECT FOR THE AGED DAYRespect For The Aged Day is a Japanese designated public holiday celebrated annually to honor elderly citizens.  The holiday recognizes the contributions that elderly citizens have made to Japanese society.

I wonder how much America could learn from this tradition?  In this country it seems that our elderly are not honored, but tossed aside or institutionalized where they become someone else’s problem.  It’s so sad because our senior citizens have so much wisdom to offer.  They’d be more than happy to share with us if we’d just ask.

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Choosing to love an elderly person, whether they are family or not, is a choice.  We can choose to be impatient and irritable with them, or kind and helpful.  You could think of it this way…  if you live long enough, you’ll eventually be elderly.  How do you want to be treated?  It goes back to the Golden Rule:  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.  – Ephesians 4:32

If there’s an elderly person in your life, take some time today to show respect for them.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • A phone call shows that you care.  Let them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Send a card that says you’re concerned about their welfare.
  • Ask questions about how things were back when they were younger.  They’ll be happy to share stories.
  • Show appreciation for any special gifts and talents they have.  Compliment the most recent project.
  • Give a little present to show love and appreciation.  It doesn’t have to cost a bundle, but it’ll do so much good.
  • Plan a special outing if possible.  There’s nothing quite like an occasion to look forward to – and dress up for.  It doesn’t have to be expensive – just a nice lunch at a favorite restaurant would be nice.
  • Offer a ride to an appointment or to the grocery store.
  • Share your precious time with someone who is more than likely lonely and may need some human contact and conversation.i-must-take-time

We all just want to be respected, don’t we?  We would like to have our efforts and our contributions appreciated once in a while.  How much more would we like all that if we were older and possibly all alone?  As we age, we need even more help, but we also need common courtesy from others and wouldn’t it be great to get some respect?

Remember the old Rodney Dangerfield routine… I DON’T GET NO RESPECT – ???  Well, it’s funny as a bit, but it’s really not very funny when you don’t get respect in real life.  :-/