1 JOHN 3:14 ON 3/14

TL 3-14

 We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other. Anyone who does not love remains in death.  – 1 John 3:14

https://youtu.be/zcMseb3XNPo

True love comes from God.  It’s a love that transcends all understanding.  Once you’ve experienced love from God, along with His grace and His mercy, along with His forgiveness – you must love above all – to love is to live.  To live in Christ is to see light and feel warmth from God’s Holy Spirit – then let that same light and warmth radiate from you to others.

The name of Jesus is the one lever that lifts the world.   – Author Unknown

We’re not bullet proof by any stretch of the imagination.  We are protected if we belong to Christ because He loves us so much.  When we get hurt, we have the wonderful privilege of prayer.  We can talk one on one with our Heavenly Father through Jesus.  We are told in God’s Word, the Bible, that if we will just be still and KNOW that He is God – He will fight our battles for us.  I know this is true because He’s taken on so many of my battles – physical, emotional and spiritual.

He changed sunset into sunrise.   – Clement of Alexandria

We only live if we love.  If we do not love we remain in death.  We must not hold on to the bad days we experience in life.  We need to quickly let go of bitterness and hateful feelings.  All these things do is weigh us down in life – and we aren’t really living as long as they are on board.  If we want to fly like eagles, we need to get rid of all the ugliness we are still carrying around.  How much weight do you need to lose?  Will that show up on the scale?  Well – maybe not the scales you weigh on every morning – but your heart will feel so much better and your attitude will improve immediately.  Hand all the bad stuff over to God.  He’s big enough to take it and cast it into the sea of forgetfulness.  Once it’s gone – don’t pick it back up.

The dying Jesus is the evidence of God’s anger toward sin; but the living Jesus is the proof of God’s love and forgiveness.   – Lorenz Eifert

Choose to love God – and each other – and you will learn the secret to living a joyful life.  🙂

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PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

This day’s goal does not seem that difficult – to smile and say MERRY CHRISTMAS to someone.

Maybe it’s because I’m old, but I used to hear MERRY CHRISTMAS more often when I was a kid.  Nobody thought of getting offended or being politically correct back then.  We didn’t give a hang what the government thought of what we said – or who we said it to.  I’m the first to admit we hung with like-minded people.  Our friends and neighbors were Christians and went to church – so saying MERRY CHRISTMAS didn’t seem like such a big whoop to us – it’s just what we did. 

As I got older, I became friends with people of many faiths through my workplace.  I’m still not a terribly diverse individual, but I am aware that not everyone is just like me – and I’ll add – whew – that’s a good thing.  Here’s the deal – I see every person on the planet as a soul that my Jesus died on the cross to save, whether they accept that fact is immaterial.  It’s a fact that Christ died for all.  I hope that the words MERRY CHRISTMAS do not offend anyone, but it’s what I celebrate.  To me, it’s the only reason to celebrate.

You know, the Bible tells us that if we are ashamed of Christ, God will be ashamed of us…  so – don’t be afraid to say MERRY CHRISTMAS.  Doing it with a smile is a good idea.  Yes, yes – I know it will take a great deal of preparation.  Drink your morning coffee and suck on a candy cane – it’ll be alright.   Just remember, your faith in God trumps anything the government says.  Don’t be scared to be what you are, or of offending others with what you believe.  Are they scared of offending you???  Um…  no – guessing they are not.  So, smile and SHINE!  We’re not being intolerant of other faiths, we’re just expressing our own – just as they do.  🙂

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JOHN 9:25 ON 9/25

TL JOHN 9 25 ON 9 25

He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!”  – John 9:25

I was recently called a hater – again.  Have you ever felt completely exhausted because you have been so misunderstood?  For the billionth time, whether someone else is a sinner, I don’t know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind but now I see!

https://youtu.be/LJEET8cM7mM

All who have felt the power and grace of the Lord Jesus wonder at the wilfulness of others who reject Him.  So much of the negative stuff in our lives is self-inflicted.  What if we would ask God to help us before we just jump in with both feet – huh?  I’m talking to myself too.  But judgment – nah – that’s not what it’s about.  It’s about obedience to God – but if we don’t talk to Him about things, how do we know how to be obedient?

VICTORY WITH MY JESUS

Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.  If you were blind and accidentally discovered that smearing sour cream on your eyes would restore your sight, would you keep that miracle to yourself?  I’m betting you’d shout it all over the place!  I would.

On a spiritual level, I’ve learned that through prayer and Bible study, our lives can be brighter and better.  I don’t want to keep that miracle to myself.  I just want to share it with anyone who will hear me.  That’s what we do when we witness.  It’s not about me saying I’m better – it’s about me saying I was once at the bottom, but when I accepted Christ Jesus into my heart and life and began to learn more about Him and His love, I was raised up from the pit and set on a solid rock to live my life in victory!

I want to share that…  of course I want to share it!  We’re all making life’s journey with different backgrounds and different challenges.  The good news (the gospel) is all about Jesus.  It’s Him and His sacrifice on Calvary which bridged the relationship between God and man.  Restoration.  Like refinishing an old piece of furniture.  I was the worst looking piece of furniture in the junk heap.  When I accepted Christ – He refinished me – restored me.

The laws are God’s, not mine.  Sin is still sin – and the Bible is still God’s Word.  This liberal upside down world does make me crazy sometimes.  When it makes me too crazy, I have to back up, breathe; close my eyes and ask God to give me the patience that He has with me.  Truth from God’s Word is hard to handle if you know you are so far away from it in your life and lifestyle.  May God bless His own as they minister.

Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.  – John Quincy Adams

In a nutshell, God and His laws are how we measure our lives – and that’s a very high standard indeed.  So high, in fact, that nobody can achieve it.  He wants the best for us, which is why there are laws.  He wants to protect us.  God forgives sin through the blood of Jesus when we sincerely seek forgiveness.  As we depend on Him more and more, He helps us stay away from things that would cause us harm.  When we sin, He is quick to forgive our sins.  And – this is the part I LOVE about Jesus…  He NEVER brings it back up to us again – but the enemy will – like really often.  But – we can tell him to sit on a tack in Christ Jesus’ Name.  Amen!

There are two kinds of men who never amount to much – those who cannot do what they are told and those who can do nothing else.  – Cyrus H.K. Curtis

Remember that you are not a robot and should not be afraid to show initiative in life.  Don’t be scared to step out and take action, but continue to be obedient to the Lord.  God wants all of us to GO AND SIN NO MORE.  God’s Word – His desire for us.  We all need God’s wonderful love, forgiveness and a lot of mercy, for sure!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART 35

 

DON'T TRY TO SPIN GOD'S WORD

Well – I have to admit when I first heard this I thought, “Oh, he’s quoting from the Billy Joel version of the Bible.”  Back in the day, the famous album GLASS HOUSES was one of my favorites.  It was the seventh studio album by Billy Joel, released on March 10, 1980.

Look, the bottom line is…  Christians have to be very careful when quoting Scripture from God’s Holy Word.  There is a passage in Revelation that says it all very clearly:

 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this scroll: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to that person the plagues described in this scroll.  And if anyone takes words away from this scroll of prophecy, God will take away from that person any share in the tree of life and in the Holy City, which are described in this scroll.  – Revelation 22:18-19

We need to take God’s Word very seriously and believe every bit of it.  When we think we know what “The Good Book” says, we had better look it up to be sure the passage says what we think it says.  This is an example of a failed attempt to quote Scripture that was not in the Bible, but is really an old saying – (and provided inspiration for Billy Joel in 1980 as well, apparently).

So who first used that proverb?

The proverb has been traced back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s ‘Troilus and Criseyde’ (1385). George Herbert wrote in 1651: ‘Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.‘ This saying is first cited in the United States in ‘William & Mary College Quarterly’ (1710). Twenty-six later Benjamin Franklin wrote, ‘Don’t throw stones at your neighbors’, if your own windows are glass.’ ‘To live in a glass house’ is used as a figure of speech referring to vulnerability.” From “Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings” (1996) by Gregory Y. Titelman (Random House, New York, 1996).

Now the log in my eye…  I’ve always heard it referred to as a beam, but yes that passage explaining judging and fruit inspection (they are not the same thing) is in Matthew 7:

Judge not, that ye be not judged.  For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged:  and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.  And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?  Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?  Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.  Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.  Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Of if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?  Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them:  for this is the law and the prophets.  Enter ye in at the strait gate:  for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.  Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.  Ye shall know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.  Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to me in the day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name?  And in thy name have cast out devils?  And in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you:  depart from me, ye that work iniquity.  Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not:  for it was founded upon a rock.  And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:  And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell:  and great was the fall of it.  And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:  For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.    – The Book of Matthew Chapter 7

Are we to judge if we are in sin ourselves?  No.  God alone is the JUDGE of all of us.  Are we to be wary of wolves in sheep’s clothing and observe the fruit that other people bear?  Yes!  Yes we are!   I’m thankful for the reminder that people in glass houses should not throw stones.  Thank you for reminding me that my brother’s eye has a tiny speck in it and my eye has a huge log in it.

Although we are not to JUDGE anyone, this passage of Scripture warns us to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing and inspect fruit trees so we don’t get duped.  God gives the gift of discernment to His children.  If we are wise, we will use that precious gift.  Just make sure that log or beam or whatever is out of your eye first.  My Bible tells me that I am to be aware and alert to the wolves in sheep’s clothing that will come along and try to push me off the narrow path that I’m on.  That is NOT judging!  I will vote for a Christian Republican candidate in 2016.  This is nuts.  He can nearly break our Constitution with executive action and break all sorts of laws, but we’re not supposed to judge?  🙂

Let’s recap:

Billy Joel – ALBUM – GLASS HOUSES

Released March 1980 and will eventually be forgotten.

God’s Holy Word – THE HOLY BIBLE

Timeless and unchanging – will never be forgotten.

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Any questions?  ❤

 

 
 
 

MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY

TL 12-31 MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY

12-31 WHEN YOUR MIND'S MADE UP

Today we observe MAKE UP YOUR MIND DAY.  A favorite Bible verse popped to mind:

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.  – Joshua 24:15

A man I used to work with made it a point to buy a brand-new Corvette every year.   His track record with relationships was dismal (I’m being kind) and it was a way of proving to everyone (including himself) that he was worth something.  He spent very little on any sort of social life and had been jilted by women because he was very self-centered, shallow and afraid to commit.  I had a few brief conversations with him about life, love and faith.  I still pray that he will accept Christ into his life and let Him make life brighter and more meaningful.

I’m responsible for my decisions and my actions.  Quite frankly, that is enough responsibility and some days it seems like more than I can handle.  I plant seeds about life, love and faith because a life directed supernaturally is in good hands.  Love from Christ is love that will last and will never fail.  Faith in God through Christ will always be enough to see you through.  It’s the kind of faith that will see you all the way through to heaven!  I plant – but it’s up to God to make that seed grow!

So make up your mind.  I’m reminded of a song!  Here’s your earworm for today – you’re welcome!

Once you let God’s love and His Word guide you in life, the things that once seemed so important take a back seat to other priorities.  Your focus changes completely because you begin to care about the things that God cares about instead of the things that society puts emphasis on.  It’s freedom that you can’t possibly understand until you experience it for yourself.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to begin a relationship with Jesus in 2015?  There’s no time like the present to accept HIS presence in your life!  It’s not difficult – just ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.  Accept His sacrifice on Calvary’s cross.  You know, He would have died if you were the only one on the earth!  He loves you.  ❤

Well…  I’ll be dancing around the living room singing this song while I’m dusting…  I’ve got my mind made up…  😀

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

BOXING DAY

TL 12-26 BOXING DAY

12-26 BOXING DAY EVERY DAYBoxing Day last year:

Today in England, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other former British commonwealth countries, they are celebrating a legal holiday known as BOXING DAY!  It’s also known as St. Stephan’s Day because churches opened their collection boxes to the poor.   The holiday developed because servants were required to work on Christmas day, but took the following day off. As servants prepared to leave to visit their families, their employers would present them with gift boxes.

 During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?” Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. “Absolutely,” the professor said. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello.” I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.   – JoAnn C. Jones, Guideposts, January 1996

In the Middle Ages, members of the merchant class would take boxes and fill them with food and fruits to give to servants, tradespeople and the less fortunate.  Servants worked on Christmas Day, so the day after Christmas they would be given a day off to celebrate.

 Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness.  – Seneca

Today Boxing Day is celebrated by filling boxes with food and clothing for the needy and doing volunteer work.  Monetary donations to various organized charities are also common.

If Christmas falls on a Friday or Saturday, Boxing Day is celebrated the next Monday.

We are told in the Bible that the poor will always be with us.

  For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.  – Mark 14:7

Sometimes people use this verse as an excuse to withhold charitable contributions because they argue that it will do no good – the poor will be with us always.  I think the actual point Christ was making was that He would not always be amongst man on earth in human form.  Yes, the poor will be here, just as the rich people will be here.  Whether we are rich or poor, we have choices to make.  We as individuals will be held accountable for the choices we make.  It all comes down to what we believe is the right thing to do and what we are taught is the right thing to do.

God smiles on His children who share.

Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.  –  2 Corinthians 9:7

We give in secret.  Give quietly and shhh…  don’t tell.

 That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.  –  Matthew 6:4

THE FAMILY ACROSS THE WAY

While I believe alms refers to the tithes  and offerings given to the church, the same application should be made to charitable giving.  Here in the U.S.A. we don’t celebrate Boxing Day, but we still need to keep in mind that not every family had a Merry Christmas!  We (and I’m pointing to myself too) need to try to find those who are struggling and help them if we possibly can.  Wouldn’t it be a great idea to make Boxing Day a day of giving to those less fortunate?

I give because it’s the only concrete way I have of saying that I’m glad to be alive and that I can earn my daily bread doing what I love.  Giving… puts our focus back where it belongs – on the lives we lead, the families we raise, the communities which nurture us.  – Stephen King

People have all sorts of motives for giving (tax breaks, bragging rights, getting on someone’s good side), but remember God knows the heart and the motive.  I have a personal belief that once you are praised by people or receive any payment or compensation, you lose your reward from God.  Humility has to be a key element of real giving – be humble and quiet.  God knows and His reward is sufficient for your life and His blessings will sustain you.  He gives the best rewards, doesn’t He?  To my friends celebrating Boxing Day – have a wonderful day!  🙂

 

I like the idea that God has a box packed with everything I will ever need – don’t you?

It’s not too late to order your copy of Lucinda Berry Hill’s new devotional book!  Everybody needs a new devotional book to begin this new year, right?

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Click on the link below to get your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx 

 

 

 

 

WORLD PEACE DAY

TL 12-21 WORLD PEACE DAY

WORLD PEACE DAY…  we’re praying for peace.  We pray that God will take the turmoil in our world and turn it around one person at a time.  We pray that God will neutralize all hate and replace it with His perfect love.  We pray that every person will make a conscious decision to choose peaceful resolution to conflict.  With God’s Holy Spirit living in us, we can do it.

Mercy unto you, and PEACE, and love, be multiplied.  – Jude 1:2

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…. I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.   – Martin Luther King, Jr.

But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. PEACE be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.  –  3 John 1:14

 The time is always right to do what is right.   – Martin Luther King, Jr.

And one of you say unto them, Depart in PEACE, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?  –  James 2:16

Everybody can be great.  Because anybody can serve.  You don’t have to have a college degree to serve.  You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve…. You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve.  You only need a heart full of grace.  A soul generated by love.  – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Grace be with you, mercy, and PEACE, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.  – 2 John 1:3

As God’s Holy Spirit works in us as individuals, may we make a choice to love one another, and renew that commitment every day no matter what evil goes on around us.

 We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers.  Our abundance has brought us neither peace of mind nor serenity of spirit.  – Martin Luther King, Jr., Strength to Love, 1963

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  –  James 3:17

We pray for peace.

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.  – James 3:18

We must decide as individuals to let peace take root in our own hearts.  I can’t decide for you and you can’t decide for me.  I must make a choice to ask God to help me embrace peace.  I must not listen to the siren sounds around me that say there is racial tension – or that policemen profile or hate anyone.  That is propaganda.  It is hype stirred up by people who profit and take great pleasure in keeping the pot stirred. 

May we as individuals make peace – on purpose. 

THE BIRTH OF PEACE

 

If you are looking for a perfect Christmas gift, may I suggest a new devotional book by Lucinda Berry Hill?  Everyone needs a new devotional book to begin the new year!

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Click on the link below to order your copy!

http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-000952694/A-Second-Cup-with-Jesus.aspx