A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Why did Paul address this?  At that time, the world had rejected the one true God.  Heathens had turned to idols instead, and as a result, the most horrific sins were part of everyday life.  The Jews had not done any better – they largely ignored Paul’s messages and practiced the ideology that if it feels good, do it.  Sin is no respecter of persons and is more of a human thing than a Gentile versus Jew thing.  None of us can stand before a just God, boasting about how righteous we are.

Sometimes a passage comes along that I need help to explain fully – this is one of those.  Please take time to watch this video.  Let’s understand the term THE LAW – which I think means the law of Moses.  Well – take a look at this.

Mere law by itself has no cure for the sinful condition of man.  Heaven had the only remedy for the sin of man – the gift of the sinless Christ Jesus, who freely offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin on behalf of all who, through faith, are willing to receive the redemption provided.

In our day and age, not all law is based on God’s Word – most are, but not all.  A Christian will follow God’s law before man’s law – but keep in mind the greatest command God gave us was to love.  I can’t imagine that love will ever be outlawed. It would be so sad if it was – and scary.  We embrace the good and shun the evil because it’s what makes God happy.  We’re law-abiding in society because it’s right, but we mind God because we love Him.

Most of man’s laws are good and in accordance with God’s Word, so we uplift and enforce them.  We definitely believe in God’s laws and will obey them.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …   – Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Today is the 63rd day of the year.  Can you believe how quickly this year is going?  Wasn’t it just yesterday we were celebrating New Year’s Day?  Did you make resolutions?  How are they going?  Maybe you just want to go to sleep.  Yes…  that sounds nice, doesn’t it?

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This portion of Scripture reminds us that there is a season and a purpose for everything that happens in life.  It’s not really about the day you’re born or the day you die, but it is about the time in-between.  That dash on the tombstone really speaks volumes.

How do you spend your time, or more to the point, who do you spend it with?  People are here for each other and spending time with another person is never a waste of your time.

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We were put here to be a source of encouragement and support for one another.  I think it makes God smile when we are kind and loving – even when we’re funny.  Does God have a sense of humor?  Hmm…  well, I think He does!  How would we recognize a sense of humor if He had not instilled it in us?

Today’s post is to remind us (yes, me too) – we have 302 more days left in 2017, and we need to be more mindful of how we manage our time and who we spend time with – and how uplifting we are for others.  You’re welcome!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 And this is the promise that He has promised us—eternal life.  – 1 John 2:25

God is not a man – so He never goes back on any promises He makes.  If you have not heard anything positive yet today…  you just did!  If nothing has given you reason to smile yet today…  this should.  God will keep every single promise He makes to His children!  You can take His Word to the bank – you can bet that His promises can be trusted.

What has He promised us in this portion of Scripture?  He’s promised us eternal life!  We have hope if we are a child of God – that even when this life is over, the best is yet to come!  I’m looking forward to it – not that I’m in a hurry to die – it’s not like that.  I’ll get to Heaven when God says it’s time, for He has stuff for me to do here.  But it’s a comfort to know that I don’t have to agonize about what lies beyond this life.  There’s a peace and an assurance that I’ll be alright because I’ll be with my Lord.  There’s no better place to be.

This promise of eternal life in Heaven is for all who have repented of their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with all their heart, soul and mind.  Those who lead a holy life will one day live with God in Paradise.  We can’t base the promise on intellect or strength or any other sort of measure – believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.

This is good news!  This is hope for anyone who is feeling as if there is no hope.  God has made provision for us and today He is telling us that we may rest in the assurance that we will live beyond this limited time on planet earth – in Heaven – with Him.

I’m reminded of an old hymn – Blessed Assurance.  I know – I’m old – but I still love the old hymns of the church.

So…  today if you are needing a reminder as you continue your Christian walk…  if you need to be uplifted, empowered and injected with some positivity…  here ya go!  Be strong and keep the faith.  The best is yet to come – God says so!  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.  – Proverbs 27:17

Happy birthday to my daddy in Heaven.  I was thinking about all the great things he taught me and how many times I wish I could have another conversation with him.  I’d like to share part of a Father’s Day writing with you today.

Thank you, Daddy.  Thank you for showing me what it means to have a good work ethic.  Thank you for teaching me how to barter when I don’t have money.  I know growing up, we didn’t have more money than time, but there was always time for laughter, for listening, and for love.

Even though you built houses for a living, ours was the best one of all – not because it was more fancy, but because the love within those walls turned that house into a home.  I remember sitting in front of the TV in the family room listening to you laugh at some show.  I wanted to memorize that sound and tuck it in the back of my mind so I’d never forget it.  All I have left is that tape in my head… and I play it over and over again.  I would give so much to hear you laugh for real just one more time.  But you know what, Daddy?  One day I will…  yeah, I will.  – Linda Palmer

It’s always my intent to be a balcony person on this blog – an encourager and a cheerleader to folks – but I won’t be fake and pretend that everything is just peachy keen all the time, just so others will think well of me.

I believe there are moments when we are all balcony people AND basement people.  I believe that we sharpen one another’s iron – at all times.  I don’t believe that we are exclusively balcony or basement people.  I believe we are God’s children – and there are HIGHS and there are LOWS because we are all very HUMAN.  God knows us, and I don’t think it’s bad to admit that I’m not on the mountaintop every single day.

If and when I’m having basement moments…  I appreciate the balcony people who come along and encourage me in those times – but I also appreciate the basement people who are not ashamed to admit they’re struggling a bit.  If God puts a basement person in my path, it’s probably because He wants me to help them.

That’s what we do…  we help those who are going through a rough patch.  I help you…  you help me.  Iron sharpening 101.

We all want to be balcony people – encouragers – cheerleaders – energizers – affirming.  I’m no different – but if we’re honest, we’d admit that we all need someone to give us encouragement – cheer us on – energize us – and affirm us – once in a while.

The Bible tells us to sharpen one another’s iron – it’s a give and take – one day I encourage – and another day – I get encouraged.  It’s my intent to encourage and uplift others, using the wonderful Word of God; however…

If I have to be on a mountaintop 24/7 as I write this blog, maybe I’m not doing what I need to do.  If you expect this humble writer to be on a mountaintop 24/7, sorry to disappoint you.  If I’m not on the mountaintop, it does not indicate that I lack hope or peace in my life.  It just makes me human.  I won’t apologize for being human.  I won’t judge you for being human either.  🙂

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.  – Romans 12:10

There are two kinds of people – and I’ve known and loved both kinds.  Some people walk into a room and say…

HERE I AM!

Some people walk into a room and say…

THERE YOU ARE!!!

There are two ways you can display a basket.  It’s true – and you can tell a lot about a person by looking at the way they display their baskets.

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I’ve been to the Longaberger Homestead 3 times and we’re planning another trip soon.  While there, I’ve made a couple of baskets and learned a bit about basket weaving.  The baskets are made from the bottom up.  The one helping starts the base – so it will have a stable foundation to set on.  When you get to the top, the person helping usually pretty much takes over because making the collar of the basket is tricky.  When the final piece of wood is put on the collar, they give it a haircut.  They snip it on each side and on the end.

When you display your basket, you can put the side of it with the haircut where you see it or where others see it.  It’s not the prettiest part of the basket, but it has to be there.  See what I mean?  Those who display the haircut side where they see it more than others do – well, they put more importance on what others see than on what they see.

It may seem like a small thing – but it’s a bit of basket psychology to tuck away in the back of your mind.  Oh yeah…  it’s a thing!

Of course it’s about more than baskets – it’s about how we treat others on a daily basis.  Meeting needs, first of all in our own households – then out from there.  Showing honor and esteem to others more than ourselves is not about punishing ourselves – it’s just about being more kind to others.  Simple nice actions and random acts of kindness can go a long way toward making others feel honored.

For example, let me challenge you to thank a person in uniform for their service the next time you see them.  Any uniform – no matter what the job is.  Ah…  you’re realizing how many people wear uniforms in their jobs now, aren’t you?  Good!

Seriously…  so many people in uniforms wonder why they bother some days because they don’t feel honored – heck, they don’t even feel wanted most days.  A simple “Thank you for your service” goes a long way.  People need to be recognized for what they contribute to the world.

Law enforcement officers need our encouragement more now than ever.  Our military needs encouragement more now than ever.  If your trash man wears a uniform – go out next week and thank him for doing such a good job!  Even if he doesn’t – do it anyway.  I wouldn’t do that job – eeeeewwww.  Bugs and stuff.  Ugh – no.give-a-lift-when-needed

HONOR is not a word we hear much these days – and certainly not a concept we’re familiar with.  That needs to change – and it can change one person at a time.  Will you be part of the change for the better?  🙂

 

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH

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In violence we forget who we are.   – Mary McCarthy

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When I say “domestic violence”, what pops into your mind?  Husbands or wives being abusive to their partner, right?  Well, you may be surprised to know – that’s not always the dynamic.  Domestic violence is one family member abusing another family member, regardless of what that relationship is.  These wonderful SURVIVORS of domestic violence shared with me what most encouraged them in their journey.  It’s my prayer that anyone reading this will find hope for the future if they’re experiencing domestic violence.

Barb says a portion of Scripture boosted her self-esteem:14608161_1824641337780328_725756438_n

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One sister in Christ quoted this Scripture to me one day and ever since then I clung unto it and wow, my self-esteem boosted.  – Barb

Lucinda recalls:14516464_1824635784447550_1713161907539005853_n

I remember crying to my mom one day, ‘Why won’t God get me away from him?’  And my mom gave me the best answer ever, ‘He’ll help you but you have to do it.’  – Lucinda

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a-gift-from-the-pastfear-1131143_1280Love is not physical abuse.  Love is not expressed with fists.  There are constructive ways to channel anger.  Go to the gym.  Take a drive.  If you feel the need to hit something – leave.  Walk out the door and hit something.  No person deserves to be beat by another person.0c90cc5fdae9eef26a71b8f5f28eb131

Love is not emotional or mental abuse.  Putting a significant other down verbally does not make you better than them.  People expect to see outward signs.

Linda’s lesson:

It’s literally been decades since my abuser was around, but I didn’t wear scars on the outside.  My scars are all emotional and live inside.  Even after all these years I still second guess so many things.  There’s a voice inside my head – and it’s not my voice – it’s his voice…  telling me I’m stupid, ignorant, fat, or some other derogatory name.  Nothing’s ever right about me and  he tells me I screwed something up again.  Love that again thrown in there…  don’t you?  When I hear it these days, I call it what it is… the voice that lied to me.  I call it by its name and I tell the Lord to make it go away in Jesus’ Name.  God is good because He makes the voice leave.  It doesn’t stay gone, but when I ask God to make it leave – it has to go! – Linda

983866_330028463863441_8939621389547744056_nAlthough this poem was written for a wacky holiday in March, my mind was on a day long ago when I finally got away from a person who abused me.  It’s amazing, but the situation seems “normal” until you get away from it.  It’s like waking up from a nightmare.  While you’re in it, you cope the best you can.  Once you wake up, you realize that your situation can be so much better – if only you have the courage to stay awake and trust God for the next step.  Today, I love the color purple and I embrace these rules in my house and will not settle for less because God loves me and lets me know I’m worth loving.  rules-of-this-house

As we walk this land of broken promises and dreams we have visions of better things in our lives that have yet to come. Keeping your eyes and heart on God and His plan for your life will keep you focused. – Linda

Samantha reminds us of this truth that helped her:14699901_1827900347454427_475316969_n

People cry, not because they are weak.  It’s because they’ve been strong for too long.  – Johnny Depp

The tears we cry for them are real.  Sometimes all we can do is cry and pray – the prayers are not always words either.  God hears those prayers too.  Aren’t we thankful?

Every time I prayed and asked God to show me the way, He would put my abuser in jail.  And every time I cried for weeks afterward.  Took 3 times of him being locked up before I finally understood what was being said to me.  It’s time to let go. – Samantha

Christina adds:

The abusers never blame themselves, they always blame the victims and try to make them feel deserving of the bad treatment.  One thing I learned is never to blame myself for the abuse.  And to forgive myself for any choices of a poor relationship that leads to such.  I blamed myself for years for having the wrong dad for my kids and even though, we got free from him in 2000, and my kids thankfully by God’s intervening did NOT have visitation with him, still there are hereditary traits, especially in my son!  The behavior and addiction problems and anguish is there.

You can raise kids up in church and feed them God’s Word; however, they do come to an age of accountability where they choose to follow or deny God.

For awhile I questioned where I went wrong.  God showed me in His Word, the sins of the child are no longer held against the parent, nor the sins of the parent held against the children.  That was comforting to me, as it gave me a sense of freedom.

One thing people experience though, is many places of shelter can be cruel or stressful – and some charge.  I’ve had some literally make me wonder what the difference was in the abuse.  This is one reason many victims go back – because of no sense of real freedom.  Many are financially bounded.  Many get misjudged for keeping the people or person in their lives but each situation is different.

For instance…  although my son does not know my location, he is still my son.  He will remain on my friend list.  I let him know that I love and forgive him no matter what.  But, I cannot trust him.  It actually helps to be honest if there’s a safe way to do so.

As far as the guy I tried dating – that had many problems and red flags.  He was a greedy, angry soul who didn’t know how to treat women.  At first, he put on an act of this Godly person.

He wanted to rush things…  I’d warn anyone to be careful about someone rushing.  He wanted me isolated.  It was as if he was working together with my son to keep me from my doctor appointments – and I wasn’t allowed to use his truck – yet he wanted me to marry him.  Um…  NOPE.  I made up my mind years ago to never be treated like property and never be controlled again by anyone.

The day I was moving out is the day he pushed a heavy TV on me and also took back my stove he got me for a gift.  An $800 stove for a $300 balance on the car, which by the way, needs four tires, an alignment, has no heat, no air, etc… yet he drives a brand-new truck.

He couldn’t take no for an answer when I told him I would not marry him nor date anymore.  He even has his profile as “engaged”!  His best friend tried to sabotage the car the morning I was moving out.  And my sister witnessed the ugly words he had to say as well.  I may be sleeping on a blanket in a floor with no air, no heat, barely any food, but I’m free and grateful for everything.

My therapy dog is right beside me.

God is my stronghold.  I have smoke allergies and the lady that’s letting me use her floor is a chain smoker.  It’s not easy, but I keep a towel under the door and my window wide open.  We need electrical work.  There’s no hot water here, but a cold bath is still a bath.

My son is living on the streets.  I pray daily for him to turn to God and be safe and get another job.  He was fired thrice this year.

I also have to listen to a worldly TV playing at night.  It’s hard to sleep.  I don’t want to be fed filth, but I have no choice.  Actually, the shelter was worse…

At least I do have my therapy dog and I have my Christian music I can play on my phone.  – Christina

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I will throw this bit of advice in.  Never let anyone, even your most trusted friends, know where you are if you get away.  I’ve actually got a P.O. Box in a different county, plus I have people mail to another address and then that person sends it to me – to the out-of -town box!  Never leave paper trails if possible!  And go where least expected.  – Christina

Ann’s story:14639591_1828342204076908_5160058981559141237_n

All the bad, all the hurt, all the pain, all the struggle, all the hopelessness my children and I had after being abused (including my ex molesting my children) has been turned around and we now help others who have been or are being abused.  If you are being abused, please seek help and leave because life is better and you can survive on your own.  – Ann

Here’s the Scripture verse that helps Ann:

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.  – Romans 8:28

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We can make a choice to never give up.  We can decide to keep our focus and faith in God, trusting and depending on Him for all of our needs.  We don’t have to accept defeat, failure or hopelessness; we can choose faith, hope, and to keep running the race of life with patience and perseverance.  God is always with us.  Sometimes He is standing by our side, sometimes He is holding our hand, sometimes He is whispering words of wisdom, and sometimes He is carrying us through the storm.  You can choose to never give up hope!  Hope can keep you alive!  I know this from personal experience!  – Brooke

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And this from Mara:14825572_1831278580449937_1601418205_n

Safe Horizon’s PSA for 2016:

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To show your support, give to Safe Horizon & paint your left ring fingernail PURPLE.

Visit Safe Horizon on facebook.  https://www.facebook.com/safehorizon 

One last portion of Scripture I want to share:

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  – Philippians3:13&14

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Once you are on the other side of domestic violence, you can finally experience the true freedom that God intends for you.  It’s worth what it takes to break free and find a better life.

If you see signs of abuse of any kind among your friends or family, don’t stay silent.  Say something to someone.  Staying silent has never worked.  🙂

 

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

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Friends come,
Friends go,
But a true friend is there to watch you grow.  – Florence

I LOVE how God brings people together!  Christian friends have one best friend – Jesus.  Our Lord allows our paths to cross and great things happen!  Once you tell the Lord you will live your life for Him – and He brings others who have committed their lives to Him as well into your life – it is so cool.

I love it when collaboration mixes with divine inspiration to bring information to  the entire nation… I do – I really really do!!!  – Linda Palmer

What happens when we say YES to the Lord?  Doors open that would not have opened.  We grow in ways we could never imagine.  The more of God’s family I connect with, the better it gets.  I’ve had opportunities to help authors and artists and photographers who seek to honor God.  I’m tickled to be a helper – I really am!

I love the body of Christ.  We lift and encourage one another.  We see the best in each other and serve with the best we have to offer because we understand that what we do is not for men, but for God.  We don’t seek to please people – we seek to please God.

A BEAUTIFUL FRIENDSHIP

We are friends…  with creatures but also with other people.  Jesus is our best friend and our friendships center around Him.  People who believe that Christianity is just a religion really don’t understand the depth of our faith.  Love is the reason we do what we do and are what we are – the love of God through His Son, Jesus.

 Are you wrinkled with burden? Come to God for a faith lift.  – Author Unknown

It’s true iron sharpening when you have Christian friends.  When Christ is in the center and we leave the good times, the bad times and the in-between times with Him.  No judgments and no lectures – we just pray for one another.  We leave it all at the cross – and forgive.  🙂