A SUMMER OF PSALMS

Both the north and south poles can be reached by beginning travel in the opposite direction.  Talk about meeting yourself coming and going!  If you continue straight travel north long enough, you pass the pole and begin to go south.  So why, then, cannot one travel eastward and have it eventually become westward?  The answer has to do with the position of the earth on its axis.  It’s tilted 23 degrees, but the poles are still at the top and bottom – the north pole and south pole.  Our planet is spinning on the north/south axis.

This is another example of what I call MIRACLE SCRIPTURE PASSAGES because there’s no way folks in Bible times knew all the cool stuff we know about earth and its axis and all that – didn’t they think the earth was flat?  The Bible truly is the inspired Word of God – creator of everything and the One who knows how it’s all put together.

Which brings us to east and west.  These two never meet!  I’m so very happy to say that my God throws my sins into the sea of forgetfulness and they are remembered no more!  He throws them as far as the east is from the west, and that’s a long, LONG way!

Sin is what separates us from our kind and loving Heavenly Father.  When Christ came to earth to live as a human, and subsequently bleed and die on a cross for the sins of every man, woman, and child past, present, and future, God knew we were not going to tow the line, hit the mark, be perfect – because we are human beings – we are not little gods.  We needed and need a Savior.  We were and are in big trouble without One.  God doesn’t send anyone to hell – we were and are sending ourselves – but it doesn’t have to end that way.  If we place our faith and trust in God’s only begotten Son, Jesus – we can have eternal life with Him forever in Heaven when this life is over.

Being saved does not make you perfect.  Being saved does give you a blessed hope in a world that sure could use hope.  Jesus is the only hope for mankind.  We’re just flesh and blood and we need a Savior who is more than that.  Jesus is more and He sits at the right hand of the Father right now.  You know, He doesn’t even know when He’s going to get the nod from Father God to come back for His own.  God’s the only one who knows the appointed time.  Yes, we see the signs of end times – all around us every day!  We know it’s going to be soon.  I don’t want you to miss it.

Ask the Lord to forgive you of sins you’ve committed, and things you may have omitted as well.  Ask Him to live in your heart and mind today.  Make Heaven your eternal home.  Ease your heart and mind of burdens and the horrible guilt associated with them that you don’t have to carry for the rest of your life.  Believe in the only man who ever died for you.  Salvation is yours right now.  What are you waiting for?  When you are forgiven by God through the shed blood of Christ, it is the most freeing feeling!  God wants to take your sins away and throw them as far as the east is from the west.  🙂

 

Advertisements

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (16)

I’ll tell ya, John is MUCH more brave than I am!  If something is hidden, I tend to just let it be…  you know, like the Beatles taught us to do so long ago…  😀

I have so many fears…  too many to list here, actually.  The top of that list, however, would have to be SNAKES!  I don’t care if they are deadly or not – it makes absolutely no difference to me.  They’re slimy and slithery and they’re sneaky and…  well – there’s a reason God turned the devil into one – jus’ sayin’…

My theory is that nothing that is hidden can be very good.  If something has to hide, it must be either illegal, immoral (does morality matter to anyone anymore?), or just plain bad news.  This video got me to thinking about different ways to face the things or places in our lives that are hidden.  We can ignore them or we can face them head on and chances are, they will not be so scary or spooky to us once we’ve encountered them.

Fight or flight???  I’m big on FLIGHT.  I don’t think it’s always been the best choice, and I readily admit, it’s the path of least resistance.  I hate to face opposition.  It’s easier to just agree or ignore – but to actually stand up and say I disagree with someone – then explain clearly and boldly WHY I disagree – well, no I’m not good at it.  In college I opted for Interpersonal Communication because I didn’t want to take Debate.  That was such a weird class.  But I digress…

I want to be better at charging into the hidden forests in my life.  As with everything, it’s a process that begins with a single step.  I’ve found that facebook is an excellent practice field.  It doesn’t take long at all to find people talking about a subject and offering advice and opinions that I completely disagree with.  There was a time I’d just think, “Oh I’m not getting in THIS mess.”  Now, I speak up – well, I don’t actually say anything…  LOL.  It’s facebook – I type my opposing views.

Sadly, while I’m in the thick of the hidden forest, the language tends to get not only offensive, but rude and completely obnoxious and uncalled for.  Once again, with God’s help, I type that I don’t believe just because I disagree with a viewpoint, I should have to read verbal vomit.TRUST FOR STRAIGHT PATHS

As Christians, we like a peaceful life in a little corner where we can sing praise and worship songs all day long.  The fact is, there are times when we have to go into a hidden forest – face something or someone who is offensive to our morality and our value system.  We must be willing to sharpen our debate skills, while also keeping in mind that we’ve all come short of God’s glory – none of us have arrived and none of us ever will.  It’s only by God’s miraculous GRACE that any of us can stand.  Without HIM and HIS sacrifice on Calvary – we’re nothing – and I mean NOTHING.

While the world is twisting and turning with every whim that comes along, we trust God to make our paths straight.  We long for simplicity that is a life lived in Christ.  We know that He will provide for us and that He will hear each prayer we pray.  We are never alone and that gives us such comfort – comfort that the world considers weak.  I once asked a co-worker, “I lean on God to help me.  Who do you lean on?”  Without hesitation, she boasted, “I lean on myself!”  I didn’t say anything else, but as I walked away I muttered under my breath, “Okay…  good luck with that.”

Join me today in praising Jesus Christ for the sacrifice He made for all of mankind on Calvary – for HE IS WORTHY of our praise!  🙂

PSALM 1:6 ON 1/6

PSALM 1-6 ON 1-6                                

For the LORD watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.  – Psalm 1:6          

As I spend time in prayer for America, my mind goes back to this portion of Scripture.  When it comes to situations and circumstances beyond my control, I have to leave things in the very capable hands of God.  Sometimes it seems as though the wicked are winning in life, doesn’t it?  God says their way will perish, so I have to believe that my faith and trust in Him is not in vain.  I will gain heaven one day for eternity, and in my mind that’s a win.  The rest of the stuff on this earth will all pass away.  Eternity with Christ is the goal.

In 2016 I’m going to strive even more to be righteous and the person that God wants me to be.  I want all of God’s blessings.  I don’t want to be the chaff that blows from the grain when the wind blows.  I pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit in my daily life this year.

HEAVEN'S WAITING

The wicked have a choice to change, and I pray they will before it’s too late.  The blessings from God are only for the ones covered by the blood of Christ.  He died for everyone on Calvary.  My Salvation cost Him His life.

 The righteous.  They that endeavour righteous living in themselves and have Christ’s righteousness imputed to them.  – Thomas Wilcocks, 1586.

The world sees righteous living as a sort of lifestyle that implies that the righteous think they are “better than” others.  I’m not sure where that perception comes from, but I suspect it’s an impression that makes the enemy of our soul laugh with glee.  I assure you it’s a misconception.  As I said, Christ paid the ultimate price to save everyone.  It makes all who trust Him better by virtue of faith, but not better in the sense that we think we are superior in any way.  You can receive Him as your Savior today.  Just ask Him to come into your heart and life.  He loves you and has a great big heaven waiting for you!  🙂

      

              

MATTHEW 7:22 ON 7/22

TL MATTHEW 7 22 ON 7 22

 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’     – Matthew 7:22

I’ve read this portion of Scripture with a more personal implication.  Did I not play the piano for church services every Sunday and in Your name did I not write poetry and blog posts?  When it hits home, some days I have to say …  ouch!  I have to drop my pride, stop in my tracks, bow my head and let the Lord know that I know it is NOT about me.  It’s all about Him…  His love, His mercy, His grace, His peace and His wonderful love.  I deserve hell but because of His sacrifice on Calvary (and nothing else), I get heaven.  It’s about His mercy, His grace, His love.

I PRAY BEFORE I PLAY

God knows our hearts, minds and motives.  Do we do what we do for Him – or is it for attention from others?  We should do good deeds, to be sure – however, to lay the whole weight of our salvation upon what we have done in Jesus’ name instead of Jesus Himself – His sacrifice, where our salvation comes from, we are missing the mark.  It’s dangerous to put our trust in all the works we do in Christ’s name instead of Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary’s cross – the only way we will be assured of eternal life with Him in heaven.

It’s never been about us – and it’s always been about Christ Jesus.  He suffered on the cross and willingly sacrificed His life for all of us.  That is where our focus needs to be.  If we lose sight of that and get all wrapped up in ourselves, it’s time to ask forgiveness and begin again.

This is probably one of the most important passages in the Sermon on the Mount.  I don’t think anyone misses the mark on purpose.  Sometimes we get caught up in the “doing” and before long, it’s about us instead of Christ.  The devil wants to work on our ego, our accomplishments, our good works…  he eases Christ out of our minds and away from our focus – but outwardly, it looks like we’re doing the right things.  But doing the right things with the wrong motive…  um…  why bother?

Keeping God through Christ the center of our lives in an ongoing process. It cannot be done once and then forgotten. We have to keep choosing God, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.  But I want Him to know that I know…  it’s all about Him.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (15)

O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.  – Psalm 4:2

REPENT AND RECOVER

Very few of our churches sing the old hymns anymore.  This will make me sound like an old lady, but I like the old hymns.  I know there are some congregations that have a “blended” service – and try to include a few hymns, but those are becoming fewer and further between.

Fill their faces with shame; that they may seek thy name, O LORD.  – Psalm 83:16

This morning I drove over to QT to pick up some coffee (they make better coffee than I do – and I can afford it).  I had a CD playing – one that I burned from favorites on the computer.  As I left the driveway, I heard Brad Paisley sing “The Old Rugged Cross” live at the Grand Ole Opry.

The wise shall inherit glory: but shame shall be the promotion of fools.  – Proverbs 3:35

The Lord spoke to my spirit as I listened to the beautiful words in that old hymn.  He said, “Do you hear it?”  I said, “Hear what?”  He impressed on me that I should listen for the word SHAME.

1 On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,
the emblem of suffering and shame;
and I love that old cross where the dearest and best
for a world of lost sinners was slain.

Refrain:
So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,
till my trophies at last I lay down;
I will cling to the old rugged cross,
and exchange it some day for a crown.

2 O that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,
has a wondrous attraction for me;
for the dear Lamb of God left his glory above
to bear it to dark Calvary. [Refrain]

3 In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,
a wondrous beauty I see,
for ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,
to pardon and sanctify me. [Refrain]

4 To that old rugged cross I will ever be true,
its shame and reproach gladly bear;
then he’ll call me some day to my home far away,
where his glory forever I’ll share. [Refrain]

United Methodist Hymnal

What I’m about to say will sound like a statement filled with judgment – but it is not, believe me.  I prayed about this subject before I started writing.  I’m pointing my thumb at myself – my fingers are not pointing to anyone else!

If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.  – Hebrews 6:6

Feeling shame is an important part of learning the difference between right and wrong.  I wonder if the church has lost sight of that.  The Bible speaks about many shameful acts that were committed in the past and instructs us on what we should know about it.

What is shame?  According to Webster, shame is:

a feeling of guilt, regret, or sadness that you have because you know you have done something wrong

ability to feel guilt, regret, or embarrassment

dishonor or disgrace

Certainly a large part of being a Christian is praise and worship to our Creator, Lord God and King of our life – Jesus Christ.  This is the focus of praise and worship music in our churches today.  And there is a place for it.

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.  1 Corinthians 15:34

Today is a gentle reminder that the Holy Spirit of God wants to speak to hearts about sin as well.  It’s His job to convict and speak truth.  Believe it or not, the Bible talks about shame 128 times (NIV version).

Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear hymns, the Holy Spirit speaks through them.

I wonder if we’ve committed the lyrics of these old hymns to memory, but have somehow become calloused to the meaning of the words – to the point we no longer allow God’s Spirit to speak to our hearts.

It’s just a thought.  God’s Spirit reminded me that with sin comes shame – then I need to repent and turn from it – and keep walking in the way He wants me to.  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORYTraditionally, people had to enter the church building in order to hear God’s Word preached in 1865.  That changed one day when William Booth was invited to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London.  It was a tent meeting in a Quaker graveyard.  The services were an instant success.

His popularity as a religious leader spread throughout London and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.

Drunkards, thieves and prostitutes were among the first converts to Christianity.  He preached the gospel message of hope and redemption, his goal of course was to lead people to Christ and get them involved in a church for further spiritual guidance so they could grow in their new faith.

In the spring of 1879, the newly named Salvation Army in London was very small and all the workers knew each other personally.  Eliza Shirley, a 16-year old, joined the Christian Mission and was appointed as an evangelist at one of the “stations.”  At first, her parents were skeptical.

Eliza’s father was an experienced silk weaver and sought employment in the United States.  He found work in Philadelphia and sent for his wife and daughter.  Eliza expressed her desire to begin a work in America after hearing from her father how ungodly Americans were.  She got permission from General Superintendent William Booth, and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Salvation Army came to the United States.  Eliza began the work with Booth’s blessing.  Captain Elijah Cadman, her superior officer, gave her 100 penny song books to take with her.  Little is Much when God is in it!

When they reached Philadelphia, Eliza’s mother shared her desire to begin Army work.  They walked and prayed for an affordable meeting place, settling on an abandoned chair factory.  The whole Shirley family worked together to get the place cleaned up and ready for the opening meeting.

They put up posters announcing “TWO HALLELUJAH FEMALES.”  They didn’t have any standard uniforms, drums, or any of the usual bling that attracted crowds, but people flocked out of sheer curiosity to their open air meetings.  I’m sure the words used on those posters brought out the curiosity in folks…  lol.

The police told them they couldn’t gather out on the street anymore, so they found a vacant lot several blocks away, but no one followed their march to the hall.

God has the most creative way of providing for His own.  A tar barrel fire was set by some boys on their lot.  When the Shirleys saw the lot filled with people watching the firemen, they went ahead with the meeting!  Reddy, the worst drunk in the area, walked over to the hall.  Others followed him over just to see what would happen to him.  Well, Reddy was converted and the news not only reached the local papers, but people were burning up the phone lines spreading the news up and down the coast!  For once the gossip was a good thing.

The Salvation Army was becoming a household name.  Shortly after the Reddy conversion, the Shirleys opened up another hall in West Philadelphia.  Eliza’s father was given a choice by his employer to keep his job or keep the Salvation Army.  He chose to keep the Salvation Army and lost his job.

When General Booth became aware of the situation, he promoted the Shirleys to captain and promised to send George Scott Railton to America to take charge.

Eliza’s father died in a fatal accident a short time later, but Eliza and her mother continued in the work.

Eliza married Captain Philip Symmonds.  They had four children and a good long life.

Philip and Eliza retired in Chicago.  Eliza became an ardent fan of the Chicago Cubs.

I love this part of the story…

As Eliza was on her deathbed, the Cubs were in the final games of the World Series.  She was drifting in and out of consciousness, alternately praying and asking how the Cubs were doing.

When word came that Eliza Symmonds had been promoted to glory, there was a moment of silence in the stadium in honor of this gallant lady.

https://youtu.be/3KnOfYVkCQk

Little is much when God is in it…  if you go in Jesus’ name.  🙂