A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I will never be perfect in this life, and guess what – neither will you.  We are all a work in progress, but at least it is progress which indicates we continue to learn lessons and grow stronger in our faith.  My 50 something mind does not resemble my 20 something mind.  I’ve matured and I see everything so much differently than I did 30 years ago.  Why?  Because I’ve finally allowed the Lord to work in my life.  In my 20’s I was not very good clay.  I was stubborn clay!  Nobody could tell me what to do, and they certainly could not tell me I was wrong about anything!

These days it’s different.  Yes, I could be wrong about most anything.  I want to do my best for the Lord and now my motives and actions are in sync.  It’s amazing how things change once you hand your whole life over to the Father’s hands.  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.  He is the only light that leads to eternal life in Heaven.  Once you hand it all over, you receive His joy and peace, which is better than anything this world has to offer.

I grew up in a church that believes in eternal security – once saved, always saved.  As an adult I attended other churches that taught that salvation can be lost.  I never argued the point one way or the other, but always thought if a person was to backslide that far, perhaps their experience with Christ was less than genuine to begin with.  Just a thought.  I’m not judging that person, just discussing a possibility.  I pray that salvation from the Lord is not so easily lost.  How awful to feel so insecure, wondering if your name is still written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.  I don’t think there’s an eraser on God’s pen.

Human beings mess up.  We do.  It’s not an excuse to keep messing up… but it’s not a reason to beat yourself up for mistakes made decades ago either.  Put your mistakes – sins – under the blood of Christ, then do better!  You have a choice to be a bitter person or a better person.  Be better – do better.  Be the person you wish you would have been to begin with!  Let God help you.  He’s faithful and He will not fail you.  Let Him be the strength of your heart – even if your heart is less than strong.  He will be your strength and your song.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless You

What IS a blessing?  Well, the kind of blessings we’re talking about today are the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.  While I’m not big on the luck of the Irish, I love Irish blessings!  No country invokes God’s favor upon others quite like the Irish!

Since it’s just one day past St. Patrick’s Day, I wanted to take this opportunity to invoke God’s favor upon you!  Fasten your seat belt…  here we go!

28 May God give you heaven’s dew and earth’s richness— an abundance of grain and new wine.
29 May nations serve you and peoples bow down to you. Be lord over your brothers, and may the sons of your mother bow down to you. May those who curse you be cursed and those who bless you be blessed.  – Genesis 27:28-29

Isn’t that a beautiful photograph?  It was taken by our friend and fellow poet, David Catherwood.

Is there a wedding in your future?  Here’s a beautiful marriage blessing:

OH…  written in the key of E…  ugh.  Good for a guitar player – difficult for a piano player.  LOL!  I could play it…  but I wouldn’t LIKE it.

Here’s a beautiful poem by Lucinda Berry Hill:

We are blessed by God and in turn we bless others.

Near Powerscourt Castle in Ireland

And last, but certainly not least – this beautiful Irish prayer.  I pray this for each of you!

I hope and pray you have a wonderful, blessed week!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

We have inexpressible JOY…  you know what the world is asking right now???  They’re asking, “How???  Why???”.  Those who do not accept Christ Jesus and His precious Holy Spirit into their hearts and lives, do not understand inexpressible joy.  It’s only by accepting Christ Jesus by faith into your heart and life that you can experience a joy that can not be explained.  It’s better felt than telt…  because I can’t explain it with words.  Words are not adequate – but true faith in the Lord and Savior Christ Jesus is how we experience His amazing joy, love, grace, and mercy.  And He rewards us with these things because He longs to have a relationship with His creation.  He wants to love us and for our love and faithfulness in return.  Sometimes our faith gets tested…  major big time!

You know about the fires in California, right?  Take a look at this photograph – everything around it is in ashes, but this cross still stands!  What a wonderful reminder that no matter what is being destroyed in our lives, Christ and His cross can never be destroyed if they are in your heart and life!  When I saw this picture, my eyes filled with tears and once again I prayed for the folks there whose homes are being destroyed.  May they have the joy of the Lord along with His strength and wisdom through this situation.  I pray God will bless them with everything they need – and I pray that God will bless with some wants as well.

We don’t follow a list of rules and get zapped by lightning if we step out-of-bounds.  We are obedient to God because we love Him and are so thankful for the horrific sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross at Calvary.  He took the sins of the world – past, present, future – on His shoulders!  We are saved from an eternity in hell.  There is a reason we should love the Lord our God with all our hearts, souls and minds.  As the years go by and we see His marvelous works in our lives, we just love and trust Him more and more!  This is how we get the inexpressible, undeniable, precious JOY of the Lord.  What does the joy of the Lord do for us?  Why do we cherish it so much?  Well, a verse comes to mind:

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  – Psalm 28:7

He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.  It sounds like a GOOD thing to me – doesn’t it sound like a GOOD thing to you?  No matter what is going on in your life, the Savior of your soul can be trusted to make a way and provide answers.  The way and the answers may not be in your time, but believe me when I say, there will come a time when you look back and say, “Oh, now I understand God’s timing in that situation!”  That’s why the longer you trust God, the stronger your faith gets.  You’ve seen so many ways God has helped you in the past – so you know without a doubt that He has all the problems in the present and the ones coming in the future under control.

I’m assured that whatever comes along in my life, God and His precious Holy Spirit will pour out His love, peace and joy on me.  When we are fully trusting in the Lord, it’s not a superficial happiness that we’re given, but it’s joy that lasts in our lives regardless of the circumstances we find ourselves in.  That’s why it’s called inexpressible – and to the world, I would go further and say they think it doesn’t exist.  Ah…  but if you know the Lord, you know better!

I want to show you a photo of JOY!!!  This is Madi, and I hope her middle name is Joy, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t..  If I ever get to meet her, she will be JOY to me!  She’s such a bright, shiny star and lights up any room!

I’VE GOT THE JOY, JOY, JOY, JOY DOWN IN MY HEART! DOWN IN MY HEART TO STAY!

Have faith, children of God.  Keep praying and keep showing the world the joy that God gives you to share.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Hate is such a strong word, isn’t it?  As Christians, we’re taught we should never hate anyone, yet that is the word that is used in this portion of Scripture to describe how non-Christians will feel toward Christians.  We’re told that this hatred is not because of us, but because of the One we serve.  It makes sense, doesn’t it?  That’s why we need to try not to take this hatred to heart – we need to remember that Jesus still loves us and we need to keep striving for the prize – because we have reason to rejoice in the end, for in the end we gain Heaven!  Remember, there is still a hell to shun and a Heaven to gain.  It’s not personal when we are hated – and we need to get tough skinned, wear blinders and keep being the people we’re supposed to be.

Even when the world seems to be against us, God is pleased!

Speaking for myself – it’s really one more reason why I have to stay in God’s Word and shun other things.  I have to stay in touch with what the Lord finds acceptable and pray that He will help me be the person I need to be.  You know, I saw a post online the other day, and it fits perfectly with this subject:  We’ve all had moments when we feel misunderstood and abandoned by others.  We have to remember what Jesus went through to secure our Salvation – that puts all of our rough patches in perspective, doesn’t it?  I’ve not been abused like He was!  God is good all the time, even when people are not good.  We are commanded to go into the world and preach the good news – so we plant seeds of hope everywhere we go!  That’s all we have to do – what happens after that is up to God!  That’s how I look at it.  I do my part and God takes care of the rest!  

So there you have it!  If we will trust God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit to be our guide as we stay strong and endure in the faith, we will be saved and make Heaven our home one day!  God’s never going to steer us wrong.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Have you thought about what it means to be a Christian?  I’m sure we all know the automatic definition that we were taught from childhood – Christian means “little Christ” – and that’s true.  Here in Proverbs we’re given a recipe for good clean livin’ – but I will say these things are not easy to do at times.  So often we have to seek God’s help so we can be the kind of person our Lord wants us to be.  He loves us so much and wants to be our guide.

If we can learn to fear less and have stronger faith in our Father above – that’s the key – trusting completely in Dr. Jesus – believing that He has every situation under control.  God has been so faithful to me in every circumstance I find myself in – so why would I stop now?  His ways are the best ways, and so I will keep looking straight ahead at Him, waiting for His help.

God is more reliable than any GPS…  does your compass or GPS know the future?  God knows what’s going to happen before it happens.

I want to be on HIS side and in His boat – don’t you?  I may need to walk on water sometime – and yes, Lord, I’ll try to have faith to look at You instead of looking at my own feet.  God is my source for all the power and strength I’ll ever need.

While I’ve been down with sciatica (actually, this is the lowest I’ve been in quite a while), I’m trying to feed my mind with positive God-centered things.  Yesterday I watched “God is For Real”.  I love that we’ll get to meet our children that were miscarried – and I love that nobody in Heaven needs glasses – oh, and that everyone is young in Heaven!  I really like that!  If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend it.  🙂

http://www.heavenlive.org/

I believe little Colton Burpo’s story – everything he talks about aligns with Biblical principles as far as I can see.  I know the book & movie have been out for about 3 years, but the story gives me chills every time I read it or see the movie.

Please keep me in your prayers.  I’m not able to walk far right now or sit up straight.  Sciatica is such a weird thing – there are days when the pain is just awful – then there are days that aren’t so bad.  It’s just a low point, but I’ve learned to keep my eyes on Jesus and trust Him for healing and to provide answers to my questions.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

I love this!  If you belong to the Lord and you know He hears and answers your prayers, why would we see God in the shadow of our problems instead of seeing our problems in the light of God’s power???  Today’s post will hopefully serve as a faith booster.  Just as we need boosters for some vaccines, we need faith boosters along the way.

We are God’s chosen and He will hear and answer our prayers.  The Lord’s people will not be ignored.  David was king by divine decree, and we are the Lord’s elect in the same manner.  Never be afraid to ask God to defend you when enemies threaten to overthrow your soul.  There is power from God that He gives us when we pray and seek His face.  When we are on our knees and at our weakest, that’s when God’s strength takes over and we become inspired and filled with faith.

The way we look at our problems matters to God.  He wants us to consider His awesome power and the magnitude of it first – and see the LIGHT of God’s power before we look at our problem.  So many times, we look at our problems and of course they seem so huge – and we doubt God’s ability to fix it, so the problem seems to overshadow the power of God.  We all know that a problem can cast a large shadow, but we need to practice seeing the larger light of God’s power through our eyes of faith.

Problems make shadows.  Shadows are dark and creepy, not to mention depressing.  It takes zero faith to focus on problems.  Everyone has them, but only those who are set apart for God know that they don’t have to make their problems the main thought in their mind.  We have faith that God’s light and power are working in our lives.  When we hand our problems to Him – we know that God is working it all out.  Does that sound like something that is depressing?  Nope – it’s the opposite – that would be the JOY of the Lord…  the joy that the world doesn’t understand.  I’m so glad I know it – and I hope you do too.  Love, peace, mercy, grace and JOY from God.  I’ll take it!  🙂