PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

TL 12-1 PREPARE YE THE WAY OF THE LORD

Pray for the person you dislike the most.  Wow…  is that a tall order, or what?  Well, if it was an easy task, would you need to bow before God and ask for the guidance and the words to say that will make both you and them have a better day???

Uh-huh…  that’s what I thought.  So, before you pray for them, pray for the right words and the right attitude.  Without a good and pure intent, your prayer will most certainly be in vain.  But you knew that already, didn’t you?

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Most of us will not admit to having enemies, but let’s keep it real – there are folks that we just don’t connect with.  Those are usually the people who we “try” harder with – it’s a tendency to bend over backwards with them – and sometimes that works.  Other times you just wonder if you could have spent your time in a more productive manner.

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Why is it so much more difficult to pray for those we dislike?  Well, when we pray for friends and family, there’s a natural sense of compassion toward them.  We don’t really have to depend on a lot of grace from God when we pray for those we love and genuinely care about.  Those who are less than lovely – yeah – we need a lot of grace from God.  That’s why we have to prepare our own heart and attitude and motive meter first.  God knows when we’re just going through the motions – in order to do what we’re supposed to do.  He knows – you can’t fool Him – not even almost.

There are so many people in our world today with such hate in their hearts.  I’m so tired of it and it makes me so sad.  What if we just decided to pray for each other and let God handle the rest?  That’s where I am on the matter – I just want God to help me love more and pray more for others.  To hate someone takes so much energy – and it’s negative, unproductive energy.  Ain’t nobody got time for that!  I hate hate, ya know?  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (31)

I got dogged for writing about HALLOWEEN yesterday.  I was called a sympathizer for the devil, uncommitted to Christ and a false witness for God.  Well, say what you will of me – but I was raised in an age of innocence when going door to door saying TRICK-OR-TREAT was a wholesome, albeit calorie laden activity.  I was not raised to have anything to do with darkness, I assure you.  When I was a kid – it was all about the candy, homemade popcorn balls and Mrs. Guffy’s famous Ghostie cookies.  THAT’S ALL it was about.  Now…  can we move on because boy do I have a testimony FOR THE LORD that will give the devil a BIG BLACK EYE!

You know I’m diabetic.  I try not to make a big deal out of it, but I’ve been a type 2 diabetic since 1994.  I’m all too familiar with the dreaded HIGH blood sugar, but hardly have a LOW.  Yesterday, however, I was battling low blood sugar!  Since I’m diabetic, we chose not to buy any Halloween candy because we don’t have that many children in our neighborhood who actually Trick-or-Treat door to door.  They get together and go to the mall.

So I’m thinking, “Oh great!  I could legally have a candy bar – and we don’t have any!”  I try to keep glucose tabs in the house or gel, but I didn’t have either one.  Everything in our house is diabetic-friendly.  We don’t even keep a smidge of sugar here.

I hate low blood sugar – I can’t think straight and I feel as though my insides are just going to fall apart – some of you can relate.  I drank a little buttermilk and ate a piece of bread.  Usually bread or a carbohydrate will raise it up.  It just was not working.

Then I did something really radical…  I PRAYED.  Don’t laugh…  but I asked God for a candy bar.

I want you to know that God can use ANYTHING and ANYONE to provide.  He used the fact that it was Halloween to help me out of a real bind.  There are little girls across the street (we call them our angels).  They occasionally bring nice little gifts to our door – ring the doorbell – and RUN away!  It’s so cute!

I’m not joking – about 2 minutes after I sincerely asked God to help me out – the doorbell rang.  We opened the door, and there was a bucket full of snack-size Milky Way bars.  Attached to the bucket handle was a mylar balloon with a happy face on it!  A sweet card was stuck in the side of the bucket.  Our angels came through!

So…  for those who think my post yesterday was somehow evil – you know what?  You don’t really know me, do you?  Isn’t it amazing in this day of faceless, impersonal cyber communication, we feel we have the right to completely judge a person for sharing a few precious Halloween memories from a bygone era???  Really???  Well, shame on you!

When I was a child – I enjoyed the day, the candy, the popcorn balls and Mrs. Guffy’s famous Ghostie cookies.  I refuse to apologize for the post.  I won’t.  God’s Holy Spirit has not checked me about the choice – and He won’t because He understands the MOTIVE behind what I wrote.  All you see is a kid in a costume.  I see myself and my dad having so much fun with my mom’s make-up and jewelry – trying to look like clowns!  Shame on anyone who would wag their finger at me for sharing childhood innocent fun!

I love the Lord with everything in me.  I intend to serve Him in any capacity I can no matter what circumstances I find myself in.  I wanted to share this special example of GOD’S FAITHFULNESS and HIS PROVISION in my life.  Thank You, Lord!  🙂

1 JOHN 4:16 ON 4/16

1 JOHN 4 16 ON 4 16

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.  – 1 John 4:16

Aren’t you so thankful for the love of God?  We can’t always depend on friends or loved ones to have unconditional love – but God understands us when no one else does.

Hurt people hurt people.  That’s how pain patterns get passed on, generation after generation.  Break the chain today.  Meet anger with sympathy, contempt with compassion, cruelty with kindness.  Greet grimaces with smiles.  Forgive and forget about finding fault.  Love is the weapon of the future.  – Yehada Berg

Yesterday a “friend” on facebook disapproved of an opinion I had.  It’s no secret that I’m a conservative Republican and there are certain hot topics that push my buttons.  I’m not a fan of socialism at all.  My parents lived through WWII and I’m well versed on the benefits of living in a free nation.

My “friend” told me she thought I was hard-hearted and didn’t think my opinion was very Christian like.  Sometimes “friends” can be downright judgmental and cruel.  It’s funny that a person who does not know the real me (we’ve never met) has the nerve to say those things.  Well – I think she completely misunderstood what I was saying – but we know misunderstandings happen between friends – sadly, even between Christian friends.

Those comments really hurt me and I asked God to help me be kinder and softer – and I asked Him to help me forgive and forget.  The faster I can do that – the happier I will be.  God knew what I was trying to say on my timeline – and I guess that’s all that matters.  Should I not voice an opinion on facebook?  Sometimes when I bite my tongue, I almost bite it in half!  Believe it or not, I’ve shown great restraint!

I don’t think it’s wrong for me to have an opinion about the direction our country is going in.  If we just stay quiet, does that help?  Has it helped so far?  We all need God’s strength and His comfort.  His light and His guidance.  The future frightens me and I love liberty and freedom.  I see it slipping away bit by bit and oh yes – that scares me.  And yes, I know God is in control.

At times like this I’m reminded of this familiar verse:

God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, or sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way. If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.  – Unknown

Unknown sure does write some good stuff!  It’s a shame we can’t give someone credit for those wise words.  They are so true!  Because God loves us so much, He will help us do better and be better.  I still don’t think it’s right for Christian brothers and sisters to browbeat each other into “submission” – that’s not our job.  Instead, we need to pray for one another – even when we don’t agree with each other.  God can deal with each of us so much better than anyone else.

Look, nobody is perfect – and I’m like at the very TOP of that imperfect list.  I do my best to be kind and loving, and if something I say doesn’t come across that way, I do apologize.  I hope you will forgive me.

YOUR VICTORY IS WON

On Easter we celebrated the resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  He is our example and He is the one who will help all of us be better human beings.  Criticism from other Christians really doesn’t do much to help anyone.  But God – and God’s patience, His guidance and His love – will stay with each of us – forever.  He will make me better.  I listen to His gentle prodding.  His Holy Spirit helps me, comforts me and sustains me.

It does my heart so much good to know I’m not the only conservative in the country.  I’m in good company!

We drove around in an old Pontiac…  towing a one-wheel trailer.  We weren’t itinerant:  It wasn’t The Grapes of Wrath, but it wasn’t uptown either.  It gives you a sort of conservative background, being raised in an era when everything was scarce.  – Clint Eastwood

Well – we had an old 1968 Chevy – when I got my driver’s license, mom and I shared the car.  I drove to school and when I got home, she drove to the grocery store.  We were not a wealthy family – and yes, when material possessions are scarce, you appreciate and take better care of what you have.  People make me feel like I have to apologize for that – and no, I won’t.  I’m so very grateful for all I have.  Today I don’t want for anything because I know what it’s like to have nearly nothing.

Shouldn’t we be adult enough to discuss political differences without name calling? If I have a political opinion that you don’t agree with, don’t poke at my standing with the Lord!  That’s not cool.  I’m praying for your enlightenment on the matter.

The day the Lord created hope was probably the same day He created Spring.  – Bern Williams

To the sister who wants me to grow a more tender heart:  you really don’t know me – but instead of criticizing and judging – try praying for this ultra-conservative Republican Christian.  I need it – I really do!  Wink!  😉

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON
ASSUMING
I grew up in the northern Himalayan region of Kashmir.  My grandfather would take all his grandkids for walks in his apple orchards, where he would pick apples that had been tasted by a bird and carve off the opposite side to give to us.  I once asked, “Why would you not offer the ripe-looking apple untouched by the bird?”  I felt he was such a miser that he wanted to sell the “good” apples instead of feed them to his grandkids.  He rolled his hand over my head affectionately.  “The bird would only eat one that is sweet, so I pick the best for you,” he said.  “Never assume; always ask.”  This is my mantra in my personal and professional life.  – Khurshid A. Guru, MD
There are boundaries  in friendship.  Most of them remain unspoken and are respected, but once in a while the invisible line gets crossed, resulting in hurt feelings, heartache, and misunderstandings.  My dad used to say when you assume, you make an ass out of that person and out of yourself.  Actually, it goes like this:
When you assume you make an ass out of you and me. – Oscar Wilde
Straight from the donkey's mouth!
Straight from the donkey’s mouth!
Have you noticed that friendship (or marriage) can get so comfortable, you assume you know what your friend (spouse) is thinking?  We’ve all made assumptions about those closest to us.  I’m not one to eat the same meal over and over.  My husband learned a long time ago that he cannot assume I will want broccoli pork every time we eat Chinese food.  I enjoy variety and he knows it’s a good idea to ask me what I’m in the mood for.
Do you worry about the future?  It’s easy to get sucked into a negative mindset if you watch the news often.  Now, I am not saying you should not be aware of the current events in your home town, city, state or country.  I am suggesting that those negative assumptions that certain horrible events will take place should quickly be handed over to Jesus.
It occurs to me that if I’m struggling with negativity, I should be able to share my fears with my friend and be gently reminded that God is in control and He has a plan.  I hope I’m the kind of friend who can do the same.  I’m glad we can pray for one another about the fears and anxieties we feel from time to time, aren’t you?
Assuming you know what your friend thinks or wants at any given moment is akin to taking that friendship for granted.  We should never assume we can speak for a friend or spouse.  If anyone asks if my husband would be willing to do something, I let them know that I do not speak for him and suggest they ask him.
It’s wise to remember that we may not be treated by a friend or spouse the way we treat them.  God did not create robots, He created human beings.  Even friends or couples that have been together for years know that they should not assume a preconceived action or reaction.
How refreshing it is to hear a movie star declare that they are just a person.  It happens so rarely!
I’m Joe Citizen.  I’m a movie maker, but I have the same feelings as the average guy out there.  – Clint Eastwood
More awareness and less assumption will set us on a happier path with our loved ones and friends.  It’s a path that will lead to fewer hurt feelings and more mutual understanding in the long run.  🙂
 

HAPPY EASTER

TL EASTER

(4) HAPPY EASTER FROM THE STEEPLE

You never saw Him, yet you love Him. You still don’t see Him, yet you trust Him—with laughter and singing. Because you kept on believing, you’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation. – 1 Peter 1:8-9

You’ll get what you’re looking forward to: total salvation.

We were not there to see the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord, yet we know without a doubt that He was raised from the dead and sits at the right hand of His Father. And yes, we trust Him with every moment of our lives. We laugh with Him and sing praises to His wonderful Name!

But I am certain that he who will take up my cause is living, and that in time to come he will take his place on the dust. – Job 19:25

I know – I am certain. On that point Job desires to express the utmost confidence. We need to have that same level of trust about our God’s plan of salvation.

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. – 1 Corinthians 15:20

The firstfruits of them that slept? Well, just as the sin in the garden of Eden made us all sinners, Christ’s resurrection assures that all who accept His saving grace will rise at the appointed time. When Christ comes back to earth for His children, the dead in Christ will be risen from the grave, go to heaven to live forever with the Lord in heaven! And yes, heaven is for real (you knew I’d have to make reference to the movie, right?)

Now THAT is something to celebrate!

What is the goal of the Christian life? Isn’t it to know Christ and to be more like Him? If we don’t do that, then Christ died in vain.

I gave up all that inferior stuff so I could know Christ personally, experience his resurrection power, be a partner in his suffering, and go all the way with him to death itself. If there was any way to get in on the resurrection from the dead, I wanted to do it. – Philippians 3:10-11

Have you given up all that inferior stuff?

I thought there were Easter EGG hunts today – but this little gal is hunting golf balls!  LOL!!!

Too cute!  Happy Easter!!! 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART (16)

A DIFFICULT PRAYER
Some prayers come so easily. The prayers of thanksgiving just sort of flow in an effortless fashion. Thanking God for the bounty He provides is so easy! Praying on the behalf of those who are ill is not even that hard. The prayer of repentance is a bit more difficult because that is hitting mighty close to home. There’s one even more difficult prayer to pray and that is the one that says, “Lord, change ME.”

Everyone has an ego. I don’t care who you are, there is some degree of ego. We don’t like to think that we are the problem. We like to think that we live our lives in such a way that we are the contributors, the do-gooders and the peacemakers. The fact is, sometimes it is not the other person who needs the adjustment, but sometimes… it’s me. I need to change an attitude or a behavior or something.

It’s true, and it’s painful. No matter what relationship it is, work, church, school, even more personal relationships like marriage or a sibling or a parent – sometimes we need to pray “Lord, change ME.”

Without going into detail, I know for a fact that little three-word prayer works. God takes that heart-felt prayer and performs what I consider to be a real miracle with it! And, the funny thing is, the more often you pray it, the easier it gets to pray it! That ego just begins to shrink and there’s a sort of attitude “shift” that takes place. The other person gets viewed not as a problem, but as someone who you need to understand better. In order to understand where they are coming from, you need God to tweak your sense of understanding toward them. LORD, CHANGE ME.

I love how God works and the prayers He uses. It’s our willingness to let our ego shrink and accept the fact that we need an attitude adjustment from God that allows God to do the work. Once that concept becomes clear, it’s not a difficult prayer to pray. At first, it’s probably the most difficult prayer you’ll ever pray. Don’t give up, just try it and see if God doesn’t perform a real miracle for you too. ❤

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

IRON SHARPENS IRON

I'M AN ODD PUZZLE PIECE
Where would I be without those crazy people in my life I know as my friends? Loneliness is not a path that anyone should walk. Being alone is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The friends I bond with the fastest are the ones who relate to the road I’ve walked. It’s just natural that like-minded people become fast friends. Sometimes I think it’s sad that we have bonded because of awful situations we’ve faced, but there’s a sort of healing that takes place when you realize that the worst is over. The scars will never go away, and maybe that is a good thing. The scars keep us more wise for future choices and help us not make the same mistakes again. But knowing that someone knows and understands where you’ve been, and is there to help you get to where you want to go – is priceless.

Who is at the center of all relationships?  Christ, of course.

Who can know God’s counsel,
or who can conceive what the LORD intends?
For the deliberations of mortals are timid,
and unsure are our plans.
For the corruptible body burdens the soul
and the earthen shelter weighs down the mind that has many concerns.
And scarce do we guess the things on earth,
and what is within our grasp we find with difficulty;
but when things are in heaven, who can search them out?
Or who ever knew your counsel, except you had given wisdom
and sent your holy spirit from on high?
And thus were the paths of those on earth made straight.  – Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14-17

As I look at my group of friends and see God’s Hand in those relationships, it occurs to me that when my friends are going through rough times, I am usually sailing in relatively calm waters. When the storms of life and raging on me, my friends are usually sailing along just fine. We really do need each other for love and prayer support. That’s what friends do for each other.  It’s that iron sharpening thing.  Who is our best friend?

It’s my prayer that the poems or blog posts I write will speak to someone and encourage them. When God impresses me to write something, I don’t question it – I just write. He knows who needs to read it and He will work with them through it. I believe that if you have stumbled upon this little blog, it is not an accident. God leads us where He wants us to go!

HAPPY PILLS
Oh – and… pass the HAPPY PILLS! We share those too, don’t we???   Wink!  😉