A SUMMER OF PSALMS

I challenge you to name one thing in this world that never changes.  Time’s up!  Did you think of anything?  No, you didn’t – neither did I.  Everything changes…  EVERYTHING!  The foal in the photograph above is now a beautiful full-grown mare.  Living beings are born, they thrive and do what God intended, then they die and go back to God.  It’s the way God planned it.  The Bible tells us that our time is in HIS hand.  So you see, we don’t need to worry because God has us in His hand all the time.

God never changes.  His laws don’t change.  His justice doesn’t change.  His unending love never changes.  His peace is real.  The joy and happiness He bestows on our lives can only be described as dependable.  It’s honest and there’s no hidden agenda.  If He puts a rug on the floor in front of me, then asks me to stand on it, I know without a doubt He will not pull it out from under me, causing me to fall.  Can you say that about any person on this earth?  Get real – of course, you can’t!  

This body of mine has changed from the time I was in my twenties.  Anyone who is honest will say a great big AMEN to that!  These chan.ges are a huge challenge – but God’s got me, so I’ve got this!  

Changes are inevitable in this life, but it gets dangerous when we as people try to “overrule” God.  Do we rely on our wisdom more than we seek God’s laws?  We simply cannot say that some behaviors are not sinful when God has already said they are.

When pastors are motivational speakers instead of providing instruction and direction according to God’s Word, it’s not a favor to us poor sinners – any of us.  We all need to hear and know God’s truth – all of it.  I don’t hate anyone and care for everyone’s eternal soul.  For Pete’s sake, I’m not perfect and I don’t judge anyone.  God offers redemption for ALL through His Son’s death on Calvary’s cross.  He offers forgiveness for sin – any sin – take your pick.  They’re all alike in God’s eyes.  

Change.  God causes the seasons to change.  He helps sinners to change.  We find Christ, learn what He wants for us, and turn from whatever is not pleasing in His sight.  He patiently helps us to live a life that is pleasing to Him.  Our lives can be so rich and full of Christ when He’s in the center of it.  🙂

 

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A SUMMER OF PSALMS

In nearly every church I’ve attended, there was a SINGSPIRATION service on the 5th Sunday night of the month.  So, today we’re going to have one too.  If we were all together in a room, I’d have you prepare to give your testimony in a POPCORN TESTIMONY time.  Since we can’t do that, you can just think about the time when you gave your heart, soul, and mind to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.  OH, HAPPY DAY!

I know – it’s a really old song – but hey – it’s good!  This passage of Scripture does tell us to sing a NEW song – although I highly suspect that has nothing to do with the age of the song – lol.

As Christians, we don’t always live on the mountaintop.  This song has helped me in times of trial so many times.

God didn’t want Heaven without us.  Ponder that for a minute or two…

Sometimes the praise just overflows in the strangest places…  I GO TO THE ROCK.  Dottie Rambo’s timeless lyrics resonate even though the great lady is no longer with us.  I know she’s already heard WELL DONE from the Father – but now I want to tell her THANK YOU!

I’m more than convinced that some of the children in my Sunday School class had never heard Christian music in their home.  Every song they learned in our class was the only exposure to Gospel music they’d ever have.  I was so careful to teach the kids just a few songs that I knew they would remember when they needed it.  It’s amazing what God will bring to your mind when you need praise on your lips!

Giving kids a happy beat and the Gospel truth is a good thing, eh?

Even though we call the 5th Sunday service “Singspiration”, not everyone sings.  Some of the people read aloud a short story or poem they’ve written.  It’s that way in our Singspiration blog post.  Lucinda has written something perfect for us about this Psalm.

So, go INTO the world…  praising the LORD all the way!  🙂

Spring Into God’s Word

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  – 2 Timothy 2:15

I’m not one to voice righteous indignation very often.  I do my best to be a peace-loving, joyful child of God.  But sometimes I think silence is not golden, but plain yellow with cowardice.  I must speak to something that has bothered me for some months now.  This is a taping of The View from last February:

I’m livid.  Absolutely livid.  I know the Vice President does not read my humble little blog (yeah, right) – but I want him to know that there are MILLIONS of Christian folk in America and probably around the world praying for him.  Believers support fellow believers and lift them up in prayer, Joy!  Let’s call it a PERK!  It’s actually proved to be a great blessing in my life.

It’s often through the Words of Scripture that God speaks to His children (yes, Joy – God SPEAKS to us and we’re perfectly sane, thank you very much).  I pray that one day Joy, like the Apostle Paul, will see the light!  Literally.  Paul, I’m sure you recall, experienced a very, shall we say – dramatic conversion that left him blinded by the light (Acts 9:1-31).  You’ll also recall that he killed Christians before his conversion.  What a conversion that was, eh?  If God was to convert Joy, can you imagine how great that would be for Christianity?  She could do so much good in this world with God on her side.  Now she’s just making money.  Will she take it with her to eternity?  Um…  I don’t think so.

So, Christians, it’s not a far stretch to conclude that if we do not carve out the time to read the Bible, we will not hear from our Father.  If He’s not speaking to us, how will we hear?  The answer is…  we won’t.  Of course, prayer is the other way the Lord speaks to our hearts, but the combination of Scripture reading and prayer is the winning way to know exactly what God wants you to know.

It’s a faith thing, Joy…  I really pray that one day you’ll “get” it.  It’s very sad that you get paid well to make a mockery of my faith.  If you don’t understand it, the least you can do is RESPECT it and stop putting it down.  Mental illness is a serious accusation – not to be mocked and certainly not to be used in the same sentence with Christianity.  Stop it!  Shame on ABC for letting this continue!  I refuse to watch that network – I’m done with them until they pull “The View”.  

So let’s spring into God’s Word, the Holy Bible.  We rely on our Heavenly Father to direct our paths, and there are so many verses to help us!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  – Proverbs 3:5-6   

Our own understanding of things is often more of a misunderstanding.  If we will trust God, lean on Him and submit to Him, then He will make a way for us to walk that is straight and He will keep us in His peace and protection.  God can be trusted and His promises never fail.  He will never let you down.  If you want to reap a bounty of beauty – this is where to begin!  Our Lord wants us to be discerning and wise in everything.  He wants us to search His Word for ourselves and discover truths, then apply them to our life.

If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  – James 1:5

Ask God – that means we PRAY to God.  But see, it’s not a one-way conversation.  HE GIVES GENEROUSLY to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you!  Now, that’s not to say that God is a bubblegum machine.  We don’t insert a quarter and get a gumball.  Sometimes the gumball is not the color we may have wanted.  Sometimes it’s not the flavor we hoped for.  Sometimes it feels as though the gumball got stuck in the machine somewhere – but when God doesn’t answer a prayer just the way we think He should, it doesn’t mean that His ways are not the best ways.  It means that I need to trust that His way is better than my way.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it imperative that I learn to do that?  Yes.  He knows which gumball I need and when I need it.  

So, you see, the insane thing to do is talk to God and not stop talking long enough to let Him speak in return!  Who asks a question and just keeps talking, not waiting for the answer?  In faith, we receive answers from God’s precious Holy Spirit.  Faith… it’s better felt than telt.

We ask for wisdom, then trust that God hears our prayer and is working on our behalf the second we get finished praying!  Actually – He already knows what we need help with, and I think He starts the work before we even ask for help, but He still wants us to ask.  No parent wants their child to just assume things will be done for them.  They want to be asked and kept in the loop.  We are God’s children and it’s the same concept.  He wants to be kept in the loop.

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.  – John 10:27

We need The Bible – not just to keep on the coffee table gathering dust.  Open it every day and see what God has to say through it, to your heart.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

My folks never purchased a security system for their house.  I grew up in a different time…  dare I say, it was a simpler time.  Yes, in the 1970’s we had BTK running around killing people, but I was taught to check the phone just as soon as I walked in the door after school.  My parents drilled it into my mind – they said if I pick up the receiver and the line was dead – I was to run like the wind to the neighbor’s house and call the police!
When I was growing up, a security system meant that you had an attack dog.  Well, maybe not an attack dog, but at least a dog who would bark loudly when strangers came into the yard.
Now I live in an area where we are required to have security.  It’s a good thing, and it lessens our insurance rates too.  Security in our day and age is so important.  Thieves are all around us.  They’ve always been around, but it seems they are closer these days than ever before.  Most of us not only fear the loss of our material possessions, but the loss of something as intimate as our identity.  If ever we needed services like Lifelock, it’s now!
This portion of Scripture reminds us that we need security, protection and hope!  The Lord Jesus Christ is our source of spiritual security.  He is a reliable source of strength and our hope in times of trouble.  We know that His commands to us are not only for His glory, but for our own good.  He wants nothing more than to protect us because He loves us so much.
May we seek His will for our lives as we rely completely on His protection and thank Him for the security He provides for us spiritually.  When we have the courage to do that, we will have the ability to ignore all the false voices that try to talk us out of God’s best in our lives.  The enemy of our soul would like nothing better than to lure us away from our Father and His plan for us.  As long as we delight in our Father’s ways, we will not only survive, but we will thrive because that is God’s desire for us!

I want to live life there!  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

PROVERBS 10-8 BANNER

PROVERBS 10-8

I confess:  I am an ID (Investigation Discovery) addict – a closet addict – well, former closet addict.  Now the world knows!  Seriously, I see people make the worst decisions of their lives on this network – and end in ruin.  You don’t have to look very far to see examples of chattering fools who are living in the fast lane and crashing into brick walls at a young age!  When you live in the fast lane with no compass, it never ends well.  People who take the lives of other people always think they’ll get away with it – and they never do.

No fast lane for me, thank you!  It’s not because I think I’m better than anyone else, but because I have chosen to listen to God through His Word.  He knows what I need and exactly when I need it.  We have choices to make in life – and I choose a slow, steady, joy-filled life – with God in the center of it.  I love His Word and His ways.  I’ve been teased about my beliefs by others, but so what?

When this verse says ACCEPT COMMANDS, does that mean we listen to anyone who gives a command?  I don’t believe it means that.  God gave us an ability to discern good from bad, and you can bet that there will come a time when you are commanded to do something that goes against God’s Word and His ways…  when that happens, choose God’s way.  I’m not going to jump off a cliff to my death if I’m commanded to do so.  Um…  nope.

Of course, the commands in God’s Word are there for us to obey.  If we are wise, we won’t balk at them, but work throughout our walk with God to embrace His ways.  We learn that His ways will keep us filled with His joy and we know that Jesus loves us and wants His best for us.  If we are wise, we want His best too.

In the end, remember that God’s going to prevail.  Why would we not love Him and His ways?  He wants to help us with every aspect of our lives – the big things and the small things.  God is love and He loves you so much.  His Son, Jesus, died on a cruel cross just for you.  His commands (not just the ten) are there to protect us.  I hear so many say that the Ten Commandments are there to keep us from having fun.  Not true – they’re there to help us stay out of trouble.  I need all the help I can get.  Just sayin’…  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Something special happens in Kansas in April… it rains – buckets!  I love the rain, but could easily live without the severe weather alerts.  What if I knew there was a big green cloud coming toward my house and it was definitely going to hail.  Would it make sense to get my car out of the garage and drive somewhere?  Um…  no!  That would probably be the dumbest thing I could do, wouldn’t it?  If you see a big green cloud on the horizon – you leave the car in the garage and ride the storm out – hail and all.

How many people read this portion of Scripture without taking God’s words to heart, following His commands, or even trying to take steps to live the abundant life God wants them to live?  They back the car out and drive straight toward the big green hail cloud.  Seriously?  I shake my head in disbelief when I hear them ask why things aren’t working out.  Common horse sense is not a flower that grows in everyone’s garden.  God wants us to have sound judgment in life, based on His principles.

When I was a kid and for whatever reason made a mistake more than one time, my dad used to say, “Buy ya books, and buy ya books…”  In other words – I didn’t learn the first time – or the second time – and he hopes that I’ll read the instructions or the directions before I mess up yet again.  God wants us to read the instructions – the basic instructions before leaving earth…  the B.I.B.L.E.

I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone say that there’s no instruction manual on how to live life.  What do people think the Bible is?  What do they think it was written for – or who it was written for?  Our loving Heavenly Father gave us an outline – a guide – a map to follow.  Yes, the path is narrow, but we have the best Guide ever!  God left us His Holy Spirit when Jesus ascended into Heaven – He didn’t just leave us to muddle our way through life.

I also hear people say there is not an instruction manual for parents – well…  again, I’d say God’s Word is helpful in parenting.  There’s not a part of life that the Bible will not help us navigate successfully.  We have to want God’s help and guidance though – God did not make robots, but human beings with free will.  It must be our choice to seek His will for our lives.

When you walk through puddles while it’s raining, will you put rain gear on – or just get your street clothes soaking wet?  Inviting God’s Holy Spirit to help us is like adding protection to your life so it won’t get wet and fall apart.  He can renew and restore faith and is more than willing to hear every prayer we whisper – long ones, short ones – and those two-syllable prayers that go something like this:  HELP ME!  We’ve all said that one.

We read our Father’s basic instructions before leaving earth…  and we know He has a wonderful plan for us if we will trust Him with our lives.  Commit God’s Word to memory so that you know it and don’t forget it or turn away from it.  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Not all preachers stand behind a pulpit on Sunday morning at 10:45 am and again at 6 pm.  Anyone who claims the name of Christ is to be sharing the good news of His gospel with others in any way possible.  Sometimes it means writing a blog post every day, feeling humbled in your heart and a bit jumbled in your brain because of dyslexia.  God can use what I write though – not because it’s so riveting and exciting…  but because it’s what God wants me to write.  A wise writer once told me that I need to share what I write whether I think it’s good or not because God knows somebody who needs to read it.  He’ll make sure what I write gets seen by the right people.

Have you ever seen someone get reproved or rebuked by someone with patience?  It’s rare that a person can actually do that because there’s usually some degree of emotion involved and sadly, it’s generally anger.  But I got to witness a pastor reprove and rebuke someone on his staff once and by the time he was finished, I felt as if I’d been in the most wonderful class ever on diplomacy and tact.  I knew that God’s Holy Spirit was guiding every gesture he made and every word he said.  He got the point across and there were absolutely no hurt feelings and he didn’t have a bit of damage control to worry about.  Thank God! 

To exhort means to urge, advise, or caution earnestly; admonish urgently.  It can be dicey to do this, but there are times when it’s necessary.  Again, if we will take time before rushing in to seek God’s Holy Spirit and let Him guide our words and actions, it’s amazing how much better things will go.  Nobody wants to hurt feelings, but when there are differences of opinion, rather than knock heads together as you’d do in your own wisdom – ask God to help you as you negotiate a compromise in the situation.  Blessed are the peacemakers.  There’s a blessing waiting for you if you’ll do things God’s way.  Have you read the story of Jonah?  I rest my case. 

I keep thinking about that last phrase…  with COMPLETE patience and teaching.  That’s impossible to do in our own strength!  The natural man has nearly zero patience.  If you don’t believe me, drive around downtown Wichita at 5 pm on any weeknight.  Horns honk and fingers flip…  um, exercise.  Yep – road rage…  the struggle is real, folks.

God gave His all for me – He just keeps on loving me.  He hasn’t given up on me, so I need to hang in there with others.  Only through God’s Holy Spirit can we develop COMPLETE patience and teaching.  It’s a preacher’s job to lead by example and while yes they’re human (we do get that) – but like every Christian who has been a Christian for a number of years, there should be that desire to be patient with the congregation.  Is it easy?  Nope.  Is it possible with God’s help?  Yep.

Today is the first day of CONSIDER CHRISTIANITY WEEK!!!  I hope you will accept Jesus into your heart and life today.   If you are a Christian, don’t forget to share your faith with someone this week.   

Well, 2 Timothy 4:2 is my birthday verse.  I’m 56 years old today – woo-hoo!  I wrote a silly little poem from my silly little heart.

I really do love the rain.  I loved it more before I wore glasses because the rain messes my lenses up – but I still love the rain.  I can remember having snow a couple of times on my birthday, which I’m not a big fan of – one time I had to cancel a birthday party because we had so much snow.  That was a major bummer all the way around.

You know I love donkeys, right?  Well – if you didn’t know before, now you do.  Look what I found…

Keep sharing your faith wherever you go, and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you have COMPLETE patience and teaching with everyone.  Just plant the gospel seeds.  The world won’t be forced with an iron fist and we can’t yell anyone to the altar.  We just have to love folks and pray for them.  🙂