A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We don’t want to think that there are modern-day Pharisees in this world, do we?  Sadly, there are some that think they will get to God’s wonderful and glorious Heaven in some way that has nothing to do with a personal relationship with Christ Jesus, God’s only begotten Son.  Some think that a family member in Heaven can put in a good word for you with God…  well – that won’t work.  The ONLY way to Heaven is to place your faith and trust in Christ Jesus.  He willingly sacrificed His life on a cruel cross – for you and me.  If you were the only one on this earth, He still would have died so you could be saved.  Believe in Him and you will be saved.

God refers to His children as sheep in the Bible sometimes.  I don’t know much about sheep, but I know they need a shepherd to guide and direct them.  The shepherd keeps the sheep safe from harm.  Some people don’t want anyone, including the Lord, to tell them what to do – they resent it.  Those who walk with the Lord are comforted by His loving care.  He doesn’t want to hold us back from success.  He opens doors along the way – on the path to success and real joy in Him.

I want to go into the pasture through the open gate, don’t you?  Besides, have you ever seen a sheep jump – I mean, other than when you’re counting them in bed as you try to get to sleep – ???  They are really not jumping creatures.  I don’t think they can hop over that fence.  Sometimes when I encounter a person who thinks they can get to Heaven some other way, I think – “How dare you spit in the face of my Savior!”  Honestly – think about what He went through to save mankind.  For anyone to think they can get to Heaven while completely ignoring the plan that GOD set forth for us…  that’s just dumb and a bit unsettling to me.  Our Savior, Christ Jesus, is great!

Nobody will ever love you like the GOOD SHEPHERD!  His love is true and it lasts.  Praise HIM for all His amazing blessings!  🙂

MATTHEW 10:20 ON 10/20

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 For it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  – Matthew 10:20

Sometimes it’s a good idea to back up and read what is before.  So let’s go back to verse 16:

 “I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.  On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”  – Matthew 10:16-20

If ever there was a time when Christians are the proverbial sheep among wolves…  it is now.  Of all the prayers I pray these days, the most important prayer of all is the one that says, “Father, please speak through me.”  The wolves are real – and they are everywhere (yes, they’re even in the church, sad as that sounds).  It’s time we as Christians pray for God’s wisdom in our lives.

Have you ever been ready to say something on your mind, but when you open your mouth, something completely different comes out?  I can’t tell you how many times that has happened.  I’ve also at times said something and it’s as if what I said was not heard – and later I feel so grateful to God that what I said was not heard.  That is how God’s Holy Spirit protects me every day.my-shepherd

I believe that in these last days, God’s people will experience miracles – probably large ones, but definitely small ones.  We need to begin to recognize how His Holy Spirit takes care of us – and keep thanking Him for His protection.  Remember that He will speak through you – but you need to ask.

We have a wonderful Heavenly Father, and His Holy Spirit is with us and wants to help us if we’ll just ask.  We can be shrewd as snakes and innocent as doves.  Shrewd does not mean rude.  Innocent does not mean ambivalent.trust-for-straight-paths In these last days, we need to lean on God’s Holy Spirit more and more.  He wants to guide and direct us along a straight path.  We need to want Him to do so because He knows what we need more than we do.  Beware…  there are wolves.  We are sheep – and God is our Great Shepherd.  We can trust Him to guide us along. 🙂

 

 

 

HEBREWS 10:10 ON 10/10

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We have been made holy through the single offering of Jesus Christ’s body – Hebrews 10:10

Am I holy because of anything I say or do?  NO!  Anything I am or strive to be is because of Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection from the grave.  My holiness is all about Him and has nothing to do with me.  Whatever is in my heart which is holy, or whatever influences are brought to bear upon me to make me holy, is all to be traced to the fact that Christ became obedient unto death, and was willing to offer His body as a sacrifice for my sin.

AN ADDED GIFT

Some denominations refer to being holy as being “sanctified” or they call it “second blessing holiness”.  When God makes someone holy, it means that the person belongs to God in a special way.  He separates them from other people, for Himself.

It’s God’s will (desire, plan) for people to be holy.  In Hebrews 10:10, these people were once God’s enemies.  They did many wrong and evil things against Him.  But now God has saved (rescued) them, so they have become His people.  He has separated them so that they belong to Him in a special way.

In biblical times the sacrifice of animals made God’s house holy.  Then a better a more glorious sacrifice has made God’s people holy.  Of course that sacrifice was the death of Jesus Christ, God’s Son.  He carried out God’s will to make His people holy.

Animal sacrifices happened often.  The priests’ work was never complete or perfect.  Because of the single complete and perfect sacrifice of Christ, we live in a state of grace and mercy.

The sacrifice of Christ makes unholy people holy.  Because of Christ’s death on the cross and subsequent resurrection, we are separated and belong to God in a special way.

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I’m so glad I’m one of Jesus’ sheep, aren’t you?  Baa…  😉

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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BECAUSE GOD IS LOVE

Would it be okay if I shared a little about our visit to Ohio for our anniversary a few weeks ago?  We spent a night at THE ORCHARD HOUSE in Granville, Ohio, a Bed & Breakfast about a half hour from The Longaberger Homestead.

The Walden Room
The Walden Room at THE ORCHARD HOUSE

There was great significance in choosing this room for me.  One of my favorite authors is Henry David Thoreau!  Obviously, my husband put a great deal of thought into this trip.  It was perfect!

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion.  —Henry David Thoreau, Walden, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”

He was not only a philosopher and poet, but he also embraced a sort of civil disobedience and there’s something about that…  well, it appeals to me.  :-/
Driving from Kansas to Ohio was in itself an accomplishment.  We were weary from travel and ready to move around.  Sitting in one spot except for the occasional potty break at the truck stop makes my old bones stiff and sore.
As we drove up to The Orchard House, I could not help but notice the long, narrow drive leading up to the house.  I think the last time I saw a driveway like that was in the movie “The Bridges of Madison County” I knew this would be a very romantic evening from that moment.
There are twelve acres, most of it wide open spaces, perfect for walking and talking – and holding hands.  On the back of the property are farm animals to see.  We found goats, chickens and one sheep with a ton of wool and very long horns.  There was also an alpaca with the funniest little smile.
 We meandered toward the front yard and discovered an apple tree.  I guess that’s why it’s called The Orchard House.  The apples were green and not fit to eat, but I did find a horse in a field across the driveway who seemed interested in eating it.  Somehow I get the impression I’m not the first person who has fed him an apple.  It’s as though he was just standing there waiting for the notion to occur to me.
As the sun was setting in Ohio, we sat in comfy wooden chairs in the front yard.  It’s strange, the house was full, yet it was as though we were the only people there!  It was so quiet – all I could hear was the sound of locusts.  That’s not something I’ve had memory of hearing since I was a kid.
I felt as though we were being a bit Thoreau-like in our journey.  Our hearts and minds were open to every new sighting.  Maybe we were just so grateful to finally be outside instead of stuck in the truck – traveling.
This world is but a canvas to our imagination.  – Henry David Thoreau
Inside the house there were all sorts of good things waiting for us.  In the dining room there was a glass footed cake plate with a lid, filled with slices of homemade banana bread!  There were little conversation spots throughout the house where we could sit and watch TV or just talk.
The atmosphere invited us to relax and breathe.  To be honest, shortly after the sun set, it invited us to crash and sleep!  But isn’t that what we need to do after driving so far?
I enjoyed looking at the lovely antiques and soaking in the sense of calm around me.  I packed my laptop and took it to the room, but to be honest, if I would have taken it out it would have ruined the vibe – so it stayed packed up! 
 Breakfast was amazing!  Every Bed & Breakfast has their own specialty, and the special recipe at The Orchard House is Sweet Potato Hash.  It is sautéed onion, red bell pepper and diced sweet potato (skin on), with African spice.  It is so addictive and very healthy!  We have made this recipe for breakfast, lunch and sometimes supper so many times since we’ve been back home.  Along with the hash we were given a farm-fresh fried egg and thick-sliced bacon.  Ah…  it was so good!
I’m reading Walden again…  it’s better than ever now that I’ve been to The Orchard House.  🙂

MATTHEW 7:15 ON 7/15

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 Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  – Matthew 7:15

As Christians we will be exposed to imposters and need to be aware of the possibility.  How will we know when we are around a wolf in sheep’s clothing?  I believe if we will pray and ask the Lord to help us use discernment, He will.  We should always be on guard and wise because Satan will imitate the things of God to trick us.  He is a master manipulator and will lay snares to entrap those who are ignorant and heedless.  Beware of hypocritical evil-doers.

Let God’s promises shine on your problems.  – Corrie Ten Boom

If we want to persevere, we have to be vigilant in prayer.  In the last days, we know there will be those who are “ear ticklers” and folks will flock to hear them because they will not be given the entire truth of God.  They will, in fact, be deceived, believing that they are walking the narrow way when they are not.

“What do you think of God,” the teacher asked. After a pause, the young pupil replied, “He’s not a think, he’s a feel.”  – Paul Frost

It is God’s will that the church be involved in educating people with the whole truth of the Bible so we will be ready for attacks.  Christians are not to be passive and uninvolved in life outside the walls of the church building.  As we see today, controversial issues have left Christians locking horns with government laws that do not agree with their personal beliefs.

It’s my opinion that we will see these kinds of issues more as time passes.

We need to remember that Satan is so sly and will make the wrong look right.  Just because it is more accepted in society does not make it acceptable to Christ.  If we are to follow Him, we must be fortified by His Holy Spirit and ready to resist the temptation to go along with the rest of the tide of public opinion about issues that are clearly called sin by God.

Learn God’s Word – in its entirety.  Pray that God will help you discern the sheep from the wolves.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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MEMO TO THE SHEEP

A MEMO, that’s all it is. It’s just a reminder to all that we are on one side of the proverbial fence or the other. There are no such things as shoats or geep. You’re either on the Right side (a sheep) or on the Left side (a goat). There is no in-between in the eternal realm. If you are trying to ride the fence, doesn’t it get tiring trying to keep your balance? Trying to convey one sent of standards around your “Christian” peeps while you convey a completely different set of standards (or lack thereof) with your earthly peeps?

You know God knows everything, right? He sees what you do, when you do it and with whom you do it. I’m not here to preach, just to remind.

I wasn’t even going to use this poem, but today we tried out a new pizza place here in Wichita and the most interesting “music” was playing. The lyrics were “Sheep go to heaven, goats go to hell.” Did I need a more clear sign from God that this poem needed to be used??? Um… NO!

The dining experience began with the really awful music and ended with me asking for a to-go cup for my soda. I asked and the girl behind the counter (whose nose stud I could not stop looking at) informed me that she would have to charge me 53 cents for a regular sized Styrofoam cup. I gave her my best “You have GOT to be kidding me” look. She gave me her “Look lady, I don’t make the rules around here, I just enforce them” look. In a matter of seconds she said, “I can give you a SMALL cup.” I said, “Thank you.”

We won’t be going back.

A memo… a reminder… pick a side and believe with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. It’s my prayer that you are on the RIGHT. God wins!   ❤