A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. – 1 Peter 3:15 & 16

Have you ever noticed when someone is asked to give a testimony, they break out in a cold sweat?  Actually, I’m describing my dad – he had a very humble and private walk with the Lord.  He didn’t make a big deal out of it, and he never wanted to testify.  If he was put on the spot, beads of sweat formed on his forehead, not because he didn’t have a story, but because he didn’t like to speak in public.

I think it’s funny now, looking back…  my parents had me in front of the congregation playing the piano before I was in junior high school.  Would either of them done anything on the platform?  I doubt it – but there I was – and there I’d stay for several years.  I’m glad they pushed me though, because the experience I gained at a young age taught me many valuable lessons.  From my unique vantage point, I got to see a few things.  I remember thinking, “I want to be like that person” – or…  “I don’t want to have an attitude like that person.”  We all do that in our youth, but doing it while seated at the piano in choir practice was special somehow.

We are to have a story and be ready to share it when it’s time.  Have you ever heard someone testify and seem to be almost angry that others are not coming to the Lord and repenting of sin as they think they should?  Sometimes your testimony is less about the actual words you say, and more about the attitude behind the words you’re saying.

A gentle quiet spirit that exudes thanksgiving and gratitude makes a much better impression than beating your hand on the pulpit and screaming.  Nobody ever scared anybody to the Lord – well, except the movie A THIEF IN THE NIGHT.  I think the whole youth group went forward and confessed every little sin after that movie was over – even putting chewing gum under the pew.  No, I didn’t do that…  but I found some once.  Eeeewwww.  It was a pew in the back of the church – it didn’t take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out who did it.

Every one of us has a different vantage point in our walk with Christ.  We see things from different places.  I sat at the piano and watched as a tween – maybe you sat in the choir and observed – or in the back row.  Sometimes I wished I could have been a normal kid and sat in the back row – I envied them a little bit.  The point is, we all have a story of our walk – past and present.  The walk I have with Christ is so much deeper and richer today than it was when I was saved at thirteen.   That’s what the world needs to hear – and that’s the truth of it.

Sometimes a testimony is painful to share.  That’s when we rely on God’s help to give us the right words to say.  As we listen, it might hurt, but we rely on God’s help to give us compassionate hearts and minds as we hear their story.  Christ reaches down to all of us when we’re in a state of disarray – and that’s putting it mildly.  We’re unsaved and without hope without Him.

I’m reminded of an Andre’ Crouch song called I’VE GOT CONFIDENCE.  With God helping us every day, we can have confidence and assurance that things will be alright no matter what the case may be – !

Don’t be afraid to share your testimony, your story, your faith.  If you’ve got it, flaunt it, spiritually speaking!  LOL – well, you know what I mean.  I’ve got CONFIDENCE…  God is gonna see me through.  🙂

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.  – 1 Corinthians 3:7

I’m the first to admit that winter is not my favorite season.  Some of my friends think it’s the bees knees, but no – not me.  I’m simply tickled to see spring peeking around the corner, although here in Kansas we had a remarkably mild winter.  I’m not complaining! 

There’s nothing like that first time in the garden in spring!  Gardening just makes one feel so close to nature and more alive somehow, doesn’t it?  This portion of Scripture is not talking about literal gardening though – it’s talking about spiritual gardening.

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Who’s doing the planting?  All of us, as God’s children, need to be scattering “seed” – that is, sharing our faith, at every given opportunity.  It seems when I hear the word WITNESSING, my knees begin to buckle – but if I’m told to share my faith – that’s really more natural and makes me more comfortable.  Just tell your story – that’s about it.  I was blind – but now I see.  That is scattering seed.  It’s not complicated – but so often we make it so.

Once seed is planted…  who waters them?  Well, God sends the right people along to do that.  It could be any of us, really.  Again, watering seed is like sowing it – you just keep sharing your faith and be there to answer questions, read Scripture, and pray with folks.  Sometimes you share and get a door slammed in your face.  That’s okay because you did what you’re supposed to do.  If someone’s not ready, you’ve still planted a seed.  I might add, this is a big reason we should do our best to avoid being a stumbling block to those who are still on the fence.  We have to be so careful – we don’t want anything we say or do to be the reason someone does not come to a saving knowledge of Christ Jesus.  I don’t have to remind you what God said about those who are stumbling blocks, do I?  No – that’s for another blog post.grow

Do we make the seeds grow?  NO WAY!  I can’t save anyone – this blog can’t save anyone.  Belief on the Lord Jesus Christ…  that can save everyone!!!  I pray it does.  How different our interactions with one another would be if we were all more kind, gracious, and sweet.  It would be so beautiful if every seed would flourish.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

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In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  – Matthew 3:1&2

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John the Baptist had a definite purpose on this earth…  it was to proclaim that the time to repent of sin and turn to God, through His Son, Christ Jesus – is NOW!  Guess what?  Every follower of Christ has the same purpose.  We are here to share the gospel – the good news – of Jesus Christ.  It’s our reason for living and our purpose on this planet.

I have a unique way of learning Scripture and enriching my relationship with the Lord.  I grew up in a generation that was smitten with theatre – but I had a great interest in religious themed theatre…  namely, “Godspell” and “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  Every time one of those shows was playing, I did my best to get tickets and take a group of friends to see it.  I love the music in both plays.  I still listen to those soundtracks in the car – and sing with them at the top of my lungs!  It makes God smile – and sometimes He laughs too.

This portion of Scripture gets me singing “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord” from “Godspell.”

What can I say?  You either watch this and wonder what kind of crazy person is writing this blog…  or, like me – you see a sea of symbolism in every frame.  I cried as I watched it – because I saw people ditching their STUFF and running to the fountain.  They knew that whatever they were hanging on to would not be needed – because Christ is all they need.  One woman kicked off her shoes – I love it!

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Did you see the guy standing on the banks – on the sideline – not getting in the water?  He’s the doubter – he’s the one who is almost persuaded.  He’s the one we’re ministering to most of all.  We love to sharpen the iron of brothers and sisters – and it’s a lot of fun to do that – but we really want to encourage the ones standing at the side – watching – dry – still hanging on to their stuff, because in the world stuff is very important.  In the world it’s frowned upon to jump into fountains.  Isn’t the world boring?

Will you kick off your shoes and jump into the fountain?  Come to Christ just as you are – He cares about you – not your handbag or shoes – not your new hairstyle – none of that matters once you find Jesus.  🙂

 

GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN

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How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’  – Isaiah 52:7

I’m going to step out on a theological limb here (say a prayer for me, I usually play things pretty safe)…  I’m going to say that this Christmas carol is less about the birth of Christ, and more about what you and I are called to do in our day.  Yes, I know the lyrics talk about the birth of Christ in every verse, but – the refrain clearly is talking to us in the here and now – it says GO & TELL.

Refrain:
Go, tell it on the mountain,
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, tell it on the mountain,
That Jesus Christ is born.

Go Tell It On the Mountain was compiled by John Wesley Work, Jr. and dates back to at least 1865.  He was the first African-American to collect African-American gospel songs, which was no easy task because most of it was never written, but passed by word of mouth from plantation to plantation.  If he had not continued this quest to preserve the songs, we might not have this great song today.

This African-American spiritual song has been sung and recorded by both gospel and secular artists.  Since the original lyrics celebrate the Nativity of Jesus, it is considered a Christmas carol.

So, what’s the message for us today?  As Lucinda reminds us, it is to TELL THEM.  Tell them about the real meaning of Christmas!

tell-themGO AND TELL…  tell of the light you see…  as bright as that star that shone over the manger in Bethlehem.  Tell of the peace Christ will give and the love He will give as they give Him first place in their life.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRAYERS & WISHES FOR THANKSGIVING

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I’m thankful for the internet. I’ve been able to reach so many people with inspiration. Not just with selling my books via my website, but also with sharing things online. I have made some really good friends, and really good acquaintances. It’s not what I’m most thankful for but it is one of many. – Lucinda Berry Hill  www.lucindaspoetry.webs.com

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Surfing the internet is a bit like driving a car.  There are streets here in Wichita that I literally avoid because they are just too rough.  I opt for a smooth ride…  call me crazy.  We all know that making wise choices on the internet just makes sense and usually keeps us out of trouble.  There are all sorts of speed bumps, and there are fake people all over the place.  On facebook alone there are people who take military photographs and use them to create false facebook accounts.  I admit, it took me a while to catch on to that, but I’m so much more careful than I used to be.  Today I decline many friend requests, especially if we have no common friends.

It’s sad and scary on the internet – but it’s also a wonderful tool for ministry!  I can post little rays of God’s love and His Word every day on pages like AMERICA, BLESS GOD and POEMS & PRAYERS FOR MY SAVIOR.  It’s such a blessing to share encouragement in groups like A SECOND HELPING OF WELLNESS…  WITH A DASH OF HUMOR & A PINCH OF FAITH and I’M A BASKET CASE.

A journey of a thousand sites begins with a single click.  – Author Unknown

God gives us choices because He created human beings – not robots!  Free will…  it’s not a curse, but a gift from our Creator.  If for any reason we choose unwisely, we need to know that God will forgive and allow a U-turn.  We just have to make that U-turn and not look back!

Let’s pray for courage and wisdom to use the internet to SHINE for Christ:

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I wish you safe surfing with no creeps on your facebook account.  I wish you many friends and acquaintances along the way.  May you have wisdom from God to choose good sites and stores to visit on the world wide web.  There are good things, but please remember there are also bad things.  Please be cautious and careful as you surf.

I’ve been blessed to minister via the internet since 2012 with blogs and through facebook.  It’s a real pleasure to design and post Scriptures, poems, sayings and quotes that uplift and encourage others!  May God bless you through something on the internet today.  🙂

 

BRING YOUR BIBLE TO SCHOOL DAY

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http://www.bringyourbible.org/

http://www.bringyourbible.org/know-your-rights/

Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.  – 1 Timothy 4:12

rotating_banner_number5It’s not easy for any of us to voice our faith to someone unfamiliar with it.  It helps to say a prayer and ask God’s Holy Spirit to help you.  He’s there and will make it better – you’ll be surprised.  Then be sure to thank Him for His help.  🙂

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More than 300,000 students are planning to take their copies of the Good Book with them to school on Thursday in an observance known as “Bring Your Bible to School Day.”
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I believe the time is short to share our faith with others.  Are there classmates who are struggling and need to be introduced to the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ?  Maybe on this day, you will be the one to help them.
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In so many public schools, prayer’s been banned and religious freedom is under attack, but the folks at Focus on the Family with Dr. James Dobson have hosted the national event, Bring Your Bible to School for the past several years.  I hope you will participate and show others that you are not ashamed of the gospel – the good news!tumblr_mepvo05n0e1qk4nc3o1_500

rotating_banner_number4As believers, we can’t be impatient and hit others in the face with our faith, so to speak.  When Jesus was speaking to people, He was compassionate and patient.  Let’s face it, most of us are not big on patience (yes, I’m raising my hand high).  To be loving and patient with lost people is the nicest gift we can give them.  Notice I didn’t say we give them a “pass” from making a decision for Christ – I just said we are to be longsuffering, as our Lord is.  Is it easy sometimes?  Uh, no.  Is it worth it?  You bet.

You know the best friend of all time…  why would you not want to introduce your friend to others?  When we get to Heaven, remember – God will not ask us how many cool toys we had.  He will ask us how many people we introduced to His Son, Jesus. 😀

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It can be scary to share faith with others, but take a deep breath, say a prayer and be amazed at how God will open doors for you.image-2Isn’t this a cute little Bible?  I like those owls – they represent wisdom!  😉bringyourbiblevideoscreenshot

Plan to put your Bible in your backpack today!  Let your friends see that you are God’s kid.  🙂

 

 

ROMANS 11:29 ON 11/29

 

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For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  – Romans 11:29

There are tangible gifts that God gives us for a season – gifts that are not eternal, but temporary – we don’t understand why we have to lose these gifts / blessings, but we have to accept God’s plan and know that He will sustain us no matter what.

Paul has looked through a telescope to get a glimpse of just how big God is, and he invites us to take a look for ourselves.  The gifts in this verse are not tangible, they are special and spiritual gifts from God – His free grace, having to do with the spiritual and eternal welfare of the souls of men.  Once we accept Christ into our hearts and lives, these things are ours for eternity and will never be taken from us – they are without repentance – immutable and unalterable.  God will never revoke them or take them away from us once we’ve accepted them.  Why?  Because God never changes and He is faithful to love and care for His own at all times.  There are no degrees or shadow of distinction.  His grace stands immovable and reliable.

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Because God’s will is sovereign and He never changes – we can rest in and rely on His promises.

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How many things are reliable in this world?  Not many…  in this life people make promises and often don’t keep them. 

God’s call on your life is forever – He will never take it back.  The gifts and abilities that God gave you are yours to use for Him.

Once you walk through the door of Salvation, you belong to God for eternity.  He will never sever that relationship with you.

Walk through the door, shutting the door behind you.  Use your God-given talents and abilities to glorify your heavenly Father.  He will help you find a ministry if you ask Him.  🙂

MATTHEW 10:14 ON 10/14

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Whoever doesn’t receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.  – Matthew 10:14

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How much time, talent and treasure are you prepared to spend on a person when their eternal destination is uncertain?  When is it time to stop trying and walk away, shaking the dust off your feet (or sneakers) as you leave their house?

I struggle with this because I’m an eternal optimist!  I don’t believe God gives up on anyone…  ever – so therefore, who am I to give up?  But then I see this verse and I’m reminded that not everyone is going to accept my message.  I might add, in this modern age, very few will accept it…  sadly.

There’s a commercial playing on TV that reminds me of this Scripture – an advertisement for Choice Hotels:

https://youtu.be/EZVxDzDUXNY

Or there is this one – I’ll post it just as soon as I quit laughing – it’s so funny…

https://youtu.be/YtvFhC1vmDo

Just a quick note…  I had that job – and I think I remember that guy picking on his toes – I think he was in the cubicle next to mine.  Yeah…  what a memory!

But when we are doing our best to share the gospel with others, how do we know when it’s time to stop?  I often wonder if I stop too soon.  Once in a while I wonder if I lingered too long, though.  How do we know?  I mean, this is their soul hanging in the balance – ya know?  It’s important to stay long enough – but to know when to walk away.

There are entire groups of folks that I cannot even begin to talk to – they know who they are.  Atheists, for example, usually don’t receive me, let alone hear what I have to say.  I always leave a conversation letting them know I will pray for them.  They don’t accept that either, but they can’t stop me from praying for them.  When I walk away, I am not angry or discouraged.  I’m sad.  I pray that someone gets through – at that point it’s all I can do.

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I think as long as people are open to hearing me, I’ll keep sharing my faith.  It may seem like a painfully obvious answer, but I think it’s the right one.  A few times I have received a sort of intercession from the Holy Spirit that lets me know I need to leave it – it’s like He’s telling me that this person is not “ready” to accept Him yet.  It has only happened a few times.

I guess I just want to make sure I stay long enough.  I never want to walk away too soon – but I don’t worry about it because maybe I’m not the one who is supposed to help them pray.  Maybe I’m just the one to plant one of the seeds along the way.  I’m sure that God knows how long I’ll stay to help and I have full confidence in Him – that He will bring the next person along to plant more seeds.  That’s what we do as Christians.  We plant seeds for the lost and sharpen iron with the saved.  Don’t you love God’s plan?  🙂

PROVERBS 10:12 ON 10/12

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Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.  – Proverbs 10:12

Let’s see what the Sunday School Sheep is up to…

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I’m sure it’s happened to you too…  you get on facebook to chat with your friends and as you are browsing through the news feed, you see a post that you disagree with.  As much as you really should just ignore it and keep scrolling, you give in to the temptation to comment and maybe even leave a piece of Scripture to “defend” your position.  Well – then you see a comment that disagrees with yours and someone is calling you a name.  Before it’s over, you wonder why you didn’t just keep scrolling – and you wish you had kept scrolling.

Does God care if we say mean things to strangers?  Does He care if we call someone we don’t know but strongly disagree with a mean name?  Well…  yes, God does care.  It’s not right that they call you a name first – but it’s a good idea to take the high road and drop the name calling and move on before you fall into sin.  Try to be a blessing in Jesus’ Name.  Fight the temptation to stoop to the hater’s level and be just as hateful.  It gets us nowhere.  Let’s choose to live like we’re loved – because we are!

People are just plain mean and nasty on social media!  To be honest, it doesn’t happen to me much anymore because I don’t seek out those who disagree with me.  Most of the friends I have are adults.  If we don’t agree on issues, we disagree agreeably.  I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I try to stay out of the mud puddles – I’m not a champion mud wrestler – sorry to disappoint you.

It won’t change anyone to call them names – and it could quite possibly destroy any possibility of sharing your witness with them.  The only way to live a Christian life is to live in love.  I need to remember that hatred stirs up conflict – love draws the lost to my side.  With love and patience I can share my testimony.  It’s a story that only I can share.  No one else has traveled the path that I’ve traveled.

We are living in a time when everything insults everyone.  If we have a more loving approach toward others, it will not reflect badly on us and then we can witness.  The acceptance or rejection of that witness is up to them – but at least the door opens up instead of slamming shut and locking.  🙂

 

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY

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1-16 FREEDOM TO PRAISE HIM

 

Today we lift our hearts and our hands to our Creator in thanksgiving once again!  We do that every day to thank Him for another beautiful day, but today we add a note of thanks that we as Americans have the right to enjoy RELIGIOUS FREEDOM DAY!!!

I was reading this really interesting article in the American Psychiatric Journal…. research shows that going to church actually boosts your immune system, decreases your blood pressure, and reduces stress. It’s kind of like an antioxidant from God.   – Bones, “The Repo Man in the Septic Tank,” original airdate 2014 March 17th, spoken by the character Seeley Booth, writing credits M.Peterson, H.Hanson, and K.Reichs

Each year on this date, the President calls upon Americans to “observe this day through appropriate events and activities in homes, schools, and places of worship.”  It is the anniversary of the passage of the Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786.

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Today we should promote and protect students’ right of religious expression.  These liberties need to be encouraged by parents, educators and others who work with children.  This is not a time in history when such opportunities should be ignored or taken for granted.  If we are to reach our youth for Christ, we must be proactive and aware of the doors that open before us.

Will we dare to walk through the door today, or will we sit back and wait for someone else to let a child (or adult) know that God is love and Jesus loves them?  It not only takes a village to raise a child, but it takes the whole family of God to help that child come to Jesus.  There are many religions, but there is one God and one Son of God, Jesus Christ.  He is the One we need to show to others.

Don’t think that you as one person cannot make a difference.

Through an activity or event – (or just one on one), tell someone that Jesus made a way for them to live forever and He is worthy of praise and He can be trusted with their heart, soul and life.  Once a person catches a glimpse of the plan of Salvation, it’s amazing and exciting to watch them grow in their faith!

They won’t know if we don’t share our faith with them.  They won’t understand if they are not taught.  Your faith in God was meant to be shared.  Look around you – people need faith and hope that only God can give.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.  – John 3:16-17

Leave “religion” at the door and speak the truth of God’s Word to someone today.  That is the best way you could possibly celebrate this special day.  Jesus is my Savior, not my religion.  🙂