A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Has God given everyone at least one gift?  You know, I think we sometimes look at what God has given us and make the paralyzing mistake of comparing our gifts or talents with those of others.  That is exactly what the enemy of your soul wants you to do – he would like nothing better than to see you paralyzed, believing that somehow your gift is not good enough for God’s use – so you just sit back and let someone else serve instead.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen that.  I think it’s satan’s favorite pastime. 

Another sad scenario is when some people in the church begin to compare and pit two similarly gifted people against each other.  I’ve been in that situation and I can’t think of anything that is more hurtful and damaging to a soul – it’s what the Bible calls A STUMBLING BLOCK.  When I hear people tell me that they think I’m better at (fill in the blank) than someone else – I try to stop it in its tracks!  We’re not in the church to be playing AMERICAN IDOL – which, by the way, is a terrible name for a program (have the producers not read the Old Testament)?

Churches are filled with lost souls who have been saved and redeemed by a loving and kind Savior.  None of us deserve salvation, do we?  We’re all just trying to serve Him the best way we know how – and it’s because we love HIM – not because we’re in some church competition with anyone.  Always encourage people to use their gifts to serve.  If there are 15 pianists in your church and you think some are better than others (which, I mean – duh – there will be some better than others)… encourage each and every one of them – period.  No comparisons…  no mention of how good one is or how not so good another is – no!  God gave all 15 pianists TALENT and wants them to use that gift to further HIS kingdom.  The church needs to buy a clue and quit copying the world – stop it! 

My eyes were opened when I was part of a Southern Gospel group years ago.  We traveled as a caravan around Kansas and Oklahoma, playing concerts along the way.  I was never more unhappy and unfulfilled than I was then – it was honestly a reminder of the old BATTLE OF THE BANDS.  I just wanted to go home and play piano in my home church, where I thought the people who knew and understood me would forgive a sour note here and there.  I wasn’t cut out to perform – that’s not who God made me to be.

We serve the Lord with the best we have to give – no matter what gift He has given us.  There’s a place to serve the Lord – for all of us.  There should be room for every gift without being compared to anyone else.

I’ve said this time and again…  but I will say it again – it’s not about us anyway.  It’s about God, His grace, mercy, love and promises to us.  What we give back is our response to all that He’s done for us.  We go and tell and share because He commands that we do that.  We use the gifts from His hand to that end.  That’s what it’s about.  We teach, pray, study, and serve others with the light we’ve been given from God through Christ Jesus!

Even if you think one person is better at (fill in the blank) than another…  please don’t voice that opinion.  It’s the most hurtful thing that a person can do and is a stumbling block.  It may seem that you’re encouraging the one – which is okay – but don’t do it by discouraging the other.  I’ve been on both sides of that fence and it’s so hurtful when you’re the one who doesn’t quite have what it takes like the other person does.  People have stopped using their gifts because of that very thing.  It’s just not a good idea to compare people’s gifts.  Let’s just be thankful that people are willing to volunteer their time and share their talents.

Serve to spread the gospel in any way you can.  We don’t keep the gospel of Christ tucked safely away and say…  “Yay – I’m saved – that’s all that matters.”  The word gospel means GOOD NEWS – and it is to be shared.  If there is a way for you to share with a gift that God gave you…  then it’s what you should do!  🙂

 

 

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NATIONAL CRAFT MONTH

TL MARCH IS NATIONAL CRAFT MONTHI’ll begin this post with a disclaimer:  I am not crafty in any way, shape or form.  I do a little scrapbooking, but it would not win any prizes.  Mama taught me how to embroider, satin stitch and make French knots – and as a young girl I cross-stitched every Precious Moments pattern I could find on to my mama’s sweatshirts with waste cloth.  I embroidered tea towels with my mom.  She had one for every day of the week.  Scratch that…  I had one for every day of the week.  I am the one who dried the dishes.  😉

Those were the days when my eyes worked better.  It’s been years since I’ve done any of that stuff.  My arthritis won’t let me hold a needle anymore either, so it’s too much of a chore to try to cross-stitch or embroider.

I bought a Precious Moments wall hanging the other day for the laundry room.86a7504048b0dfb9495033f8d7c9c406

IMG_0002Pretend that photo is not so blurry!  Yikes – I didn’t think I was that nervous.  :-/

I do appreciate crafts so much.  I have a few hand-made quilts around the house.  The most precious quilt I have is, of course, the one my grandma and mama made.  It’s draped over Grandpa Frank’s rocking chair.  ❤IMG_0004Excuse my blurry photo – I’m not sure if it’s the camera or operator error – maybe a little of both – lol.  The quilt on the right is my very special quilt – the one on the left is one I bought at an antique store.  As you know, I really like bargains – and hold on to your hat – that quilt was $50.00.  It was in a booth that was selling everything not marked FIRM for 1/2 price!  I looked very closely – and the quilt was not marked FIRM.  It was a happy dance moment. 

I love all sorts of crafts – stained glass is so beautiful, especially when the light shines through it.  I enjoyed making my own Longaberger basket at the Homestead in Ohio.  A sweet sister in Christ crocheted me a beautiful throw for cold winter evenings.  I especially like it because I got to choose my yarn for it.

Have you been to Silver Dollar City in Missouri?  When we go there, I try to pick up a hand-made treasure.  One thing that means so much to me is my hand-made vanity from SDC.  For our 20th wedding anniversary, my husband surprised me with it!  What a sweet thing for him to do.  I appreciate craftsmanship, I suppose because my daddy was a master carpenter.  I understand the work involved from start to finish.HAND MADE WITH LOVE

Is it just me, or do you think of the person who made your gift when you see the gift?  I think of them and whisper a prayer.  There’s something so special about people sharing their talents with others.

How will you show appreciation for a crafts person this month?  🙂

DEALING WITH DYSLEXIA

DYSLEXIA WORD CLOUD

BLESSINGS FROM PAIN

I received a message on facebook from a gentleman who has a daughter with dyslexia.  She’s in elementary school and faces challenges daily.  He says it is something new every day…  joked that at least it’s not boring.  He asked if I’d write a post about my experiences with dyslexia and talk about how my parents dealt with it.

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.  – 2 Corinthians 1:3-5

Well…   we all take it as it comes – but of all the supportive things I remember my parents doing, the most important one was…  they always encouraged me to be better, but they praised me when I did my best.  I was one of the lucky ones because I was diagnosed early and got into special education in elementary school.  So many people are adults before they are told they have dyslexia.  That has to be so frustrating!

Bless my parents – they made sure that my grade school made use of my talents in music and encouraged the positives I had to contribute instead of focusing on the negatives – the spelling errors, illegible handwriting, careless errors in math, and length of time it took me to write an essay.  I have wonderful memories of playing vibes in a music class performance.  Nobody in my school made me feel stupid or inept.  My teachers encouraged my talents, and I believe it’s because my parents were involved in my education.DYSLEXIA

Parents of dyslexic children have to keep their ears close to the door of the classroom.  They have to be involved every step of the way.  My mother had constant communication with not only the teachers but also the principal and everyone else responsible for my learning experience.

It wasn’t easy…  homework was horrible!  I went to bed crying every night because I felt so stupid.  One thing I did learn early in life is that you need to resist the temptation to compete with smart kids.  Our smart kid was Karen “Blythe” Watson.  I heard through the grapevine that she is now a successful lawyer.  I’m not surprised!  Blythe was everything I wanted to be – I so wanted to be her.  I don’t know why, but I was always invited to her slumber parties and I felt so COOL because the smart girl wanted me for a friend!  Blythe had naturally curly hair – long and thick…  in the 1970’s that was THE cool hair to have!

Keep your child in a good circle of friends because that’s going to help her self-esteem.  If at all possible, surround her with the smart kids – because dyslexic kids are slow – but we’re not stupid.  It takes us longer to notice stuff – but we get there.  We are good and listening to others and catch on when we hear good ideas from smart kids.  Our problem is with visuals – perceptions – concepts.  We can learn!  We are determined to learn…  we just don’t learn the same way.

When they showed films in school – other kids were taking notes and I was wondering what they were writing down that I had somehow missed.

Even today visual learning is not good for me.  Pop in a CD (back then it was a cassette tape – LOL) – and let me listen to it a couple of times – then I grasp the concept – if I can hear it without words on a screen or pictures – I can get it.  I’m all about books on CD – love ’em! 

I used to listen to my devotionals each day – and I still hop on the computer and listen to them!  Reading weighs me down – I do read because I’m determined to overcome this disability…  I’m stubborn.  This isn’t going to win – it just isn’t.

Not every child learns the same way, and educators need to realize that.12345408_1096907133676554_2760705983542940339_n

Be your child’s biggest encouragement.  People in the world will not be kind, so it’s up to you to find your child’s strengths and offer lessons to them.  Pull the weeds – but make sure you water the flowers.  The flowers I grew were musical.  I took private piano lessons for many years every Thursday afternoon.  I’m not a great pianist – but it’s something I was pretty good at – playing music makes me feel good.

Today I’m more well-rounded and I’m a better reader than I’ve been before.  I’ve not read WAR & PEACE – but I read to entertain myself these days, which I never thought would happen.  I do still have to follow the words with my finger – I don’t think that will ever change.  My eyes tend to skip lines and twist words and numbers – so…  it does get interesting sometimes.

I hope this post helps you as parents.  Dyslexic kids are slow – but there are eye exercises that help (remember the pencil exercise – ???  Keep your eye on the lead portion as the pencil comes closer to your face…  LOL).  They said it would strengthen my eyes – I think it gave me headaches.  :-/

Let your child know that you understand their frustration and keep the lines of communication open with them about it.  If they want to cry during homework time – let the tears come.  Just cry with them and don’t make them feel worse or use a nasty tone of voice or mean words with them.  It does not help.

Encourage your child to be better than she was yesterday.  Don’t compete with others, but be more complete yourself!  Comparison with others makes us feel like failures, but if we see our lives as God sees them, we will know that He gives us gifts and talents.  Maybe I can’t do math in my head, but I can do some things that others can’t…  so if you combine my gifts with the gifts of others – how cool is that?  We sharpen one another’s iron and that makes everyone better, right?  🙂

 

 

 

 

ROMANS 11:29 ON 11/29

 

TL 11-29 ROMANS 11-29 ON 11-29

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  – Romans 11:29

There are tangible gifts that God gives us for a season – gifts that are not eternal, but temporary – we don’t understand why we have to lose these gifts / blessings, but we have to accept God’s plan and know that He will sustain us no matter what.

Paul has looked through a telescope to get a glimpse of just how big God is, and he invites us to take a look for ourselves.  The gifts in this verse are not tangible, they are special and spiritual gifts from God – His free grace, having to do with the spiritual and eternal welfare of the souls of men.  Once we accept Christ into our hearts and lives, these things are ours for eternity and will never be taken from us – they are without repentance – immutable and unalterable.  God will never revoke them or take them away from us once we’ve accepted them.  Why?  Because God never changes and He is faithful to love and care for His own at all times.  There are no degrees or shadow of distinction.  His grace stands immovable and reliable.

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Because God’s will is sovereign and He never changes – we can rest in and rely on His promises.

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How many things are reliable in this world?  Not many…  in this life people make promises and often don’t keep them. 

God’s call on your life is forever – He will never take it back.  The gifts and abilities that God gave you are yours to use for Him.

Once you walk through the door of Salvation, you belong to God for eternity.  He will never sever that relationship with you.

Walk through the door, shutting the door behind you.  Use your God-given talents and abilities to glorify your heavenly Father.  He will help you find a ministry if you ask Him.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (30)

HIS EYES

All I ever wanted since I arrived here on earth was the same things I needed as a baby; to go from cold to warm, lonely to held, the vessel to the giver, empty to full.  – Anne Lamott

If you could trade places with one person for one year, who would it be?  Maybe it would be your best friend because in your mind he / she has a better life.  Maybe it’s someone you admire and aspire to be like.  It could be someone famous who has seemingly succeeded in life.  Maybe it’s someone in your family, or your spouse.  If I could be my spouse for a year, I’d have a new appreciation for him – having to live with the likes of me.  LOL!

Do blondes have more fun?  Maybe you’d like to be a blonde for a year and find out.  Are brunettes taken more seriously and rise up the corporate ladder more quickly?  Be a brunette for a year and find out.  Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be autistic or dyslexic?  Be someone who has those challenges for a year.  As a dyslexic, let me tell you, a year is plenty of time to realize the frustrations.

Are you a boss with employees?  Maybe you’d like to be one of your employees to see just how good a boss you are.  Maybe as an employee, you’d like to be the boss for a year and find out how tough it is to be in charge.

PRAYER ABOUT USING GIFTS

Would you like to be someone rich and have money to help those in need?  Would you like to be one in need so that you appreciate little things after the year is over?  Would you like to be a great evangelist like Billy Graham?

We all have people we look up to and want to pattern our lives after.  I used to wish I could be a better musician.  I didn’t have a particular person in mind, but I knew I wanted to play the piano better than I did.

The stupidest argument to have with somebody is when you tell them what to like.  How can somebody argue with you about what you like?  “Hot sauce?”  Hey, it’s my mouth.  – Andre’ Benjamin

There are very few people who have not wished that they could be someone else at one time or the other.  We are all unique individuals with gifts and talents from our Creator.  Bottom line:  I don’t like hot sauce, but I have absolutely no problem with you eating it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if you want to.

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God loves you because you are YOU!

When we get to the point where we like being who we are and accept others for who they are, we begin to find that happy place on the planet.  We snuggle in and start to get comfortable in our own skin and in our own mind.  God loves you because you are – you!  😀

THANKS LIVING DAY 6

TL THANKSGIVING

PRAYER ABOUT LIGHT
The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? – Psalm 27:1

I’m fascinated with stained glass and Thomas Kinkade art. What do the two have in common? LIGHT.

Thomas Kinkade was known as “The painter of light”. His art portrays a warmth like no other; particularly the cottage paintings. There’s something about seeing a cottage with every light on. It indicates there is life inside. I imagine there are people who are happy with each other. I imagine many conversations going on within the walls of the cottage. I imagine that life inside a Thomas Kinkade painted cottage is perfectly laced with love, laughter and joy. The paintings draw me in with their peaceful enchantment.

I am quite fond of stained glass. It has nothing to do with the value of it. I do not have to own a Tiffany lamp to enjoy the effect. Seeing fragments of colored light filtered through a stained glass lamp dancing on a wall is the most beautiful sight. I’m reminded of the Light of Christ that we all carry in our hearts. The colors of my Light are different from the colors of your Light. We go to the same Source – but we fragment differently. It’s all of our talents and gifts from our Light Source that make us work together so well to reach the lost world for Christ!

Stop wishing you had another person’s talent or gift. God gave you the colors you have through Christ. The Holy Spirit helps you to grow and develop the Light you carry inside your soul. Concentrate on doing that instead of just wishing you had something different. If you had someone else’s Light it would not be a better Light anyway, but it would just echo someone else! You were not created to be an echo of anyone else. You are given your own colors by God so that you can praise and worship Him in your own unique style. The enemy of your soul wants nothing more than to talk you into the notion that the Light God gave you is not “good enough”. If he can persuade you to stop using your gifts and talents for God – that makes him very happy. Don’t give ol’ split hoof that kind of power over you!   🙂