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.  🙂

 

 

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THESAURUS DAY

TL 1-18 THESAURUS DAY

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I suspect I’m not the only writer who lands in a word trap, or maybe more of a word merry-go-round!  It’s when it dawns on you that you have used certain words or phrases over and over and…

Where would any writer be without the Thesaurus?  Yes, is does sound like some sort of dinosaur, but it is, in fact, the best friend a writer has.  Today we honor the man who came up with the brilliant idea to write this wonderful book.  Today is THESAURUS DAY!!!

Peter Mark Roget was born in London, the son of a Swiss minister.  He studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh, graduating in 1798.  Both his father and his wife died young, and his uncle, Samuel Romilly, committed suicide in Roget’s presence.  He struggled with depression for most of his life.  His work on the thesaurus arose partly from an effort to battle depression.

Roget retired in 1840 and around 1848 began preparing for publication a catalogue of words organized by their meanings.  It’s first printed edition, in 1852, was called THESAURUS OF ENGLISH WORDS AND PHRASES CLASSIFIED AND ARRANGED SO AS TO FACILITATE THE EXPRESSION OF IDEAS AND ASSIST IN LITERARY COMPOSITION.

LOL – can you imagine getting all that on the front cover of a book?

During his lifetime the work had twenty-eight printings; after his death it was revised and expanded by his son, John Lewis Roget (1828-1908), and later by John’s son, Samuel Romilly Roget (1875-?).

http://youtu.be/dkAxg9HSNw8

It’s an example of how something so helpful can come from an otherwise troubled mind and heart.  God can make something good out of the worst of circumstances.  I hope Mr. Roget found peace and knew Jesus by the end of his life.

Writers everywhere thank you, Mr. Roget, for your Thesaurus.  Nowadays, we don’t have to tote a Dictionary and a Thesaurus around with us because there are apps on our computers!  That makes life so much easier – and saves us much lower back and knee pain.

I’m fascinated with words and enjoy learning new ways to express my thoughts.  For instance, I’ll bet you thought GOBBLE was a sound you make to imitate the sound of a turkey at Thanksgiving, didn’t you?  Well, there’s more to it than that.

There are many ways to partake in a meal:

If your appetite is slight, then you might peck and nibble, but if you’re famished, you’re more likely to gobble. This word, which means both “to eat hastily” and “to make the throaty cry of a male turkey,” is thought to be from the word gob, which is slang for mouth. Both definitions could be fun to try out at the dinner table or in a new poem about Thanksgiving.  Hmm…

Yes, I know there are ten months until Thanksgiving – but you will remember, right?  😉

 

 

MATTHEW 10:28 ON 10/28

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Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.  – Matthew 10:28

Several friends and acquaintances of mine have recently been diagnosed with terminal illness.  I feel such sadness and heaviness in my heart for them – but I never know the right words to say.  I think back to the time when my dad had terminal pancreatic cancer.  He was dying and we all knew it.  I tried to remember what it was like to be on the other side of the situation – as a family member.  I don’t remember a lot of what people said – but I remember more of what people did.  It was the same thing when my mom passed.  People shared of themselves – they shared light and love when I was a mess.share-light-love

Everyone was kind and encouraging to me – but a few people actually DID things and I remember that.  When my daddy died, a sweet lady in our church not only sent flowers, she included a little ceramic pumpkin for me to keep after the flowers died.  I let her know I thought that was real nice of her.  When my mama passed, even though there were not that many people coming to our house, our pastoral family went above and beyond the call of duty to provide sandwich stuff!  Oh my we did not go hungry!  I remember my sister-in-law and brother-in-law washing dishes and thinking that was so kind of them.

If our loved one knows the Lord, we know they are going to be alright.  We know that they are going to Heaven where everything is just right.  The soul does not die – but lives on – but the family that is left…  well, they are left here to figure out how to begin a new “normal”.   I always ask God how I can help them do that.  I ask God, “What can I DO for them?”

When families suffer loss and are at their lowest, isn’t that when Christian folk can shine the light of Christ in their lives in a very real sense?  Words are fine, but actions are better and make more of an impact on their lives.  After a loss, everything is fuzzy when you’re trying to listen to kind words.  Most of the talk just flies over your head.  You hear what people are saying, but you’re just so grief-stricken, you can’t process what’s being said.

So – how do you avoid hell and make Heaven your eternal home?   Open the closet door where you keep the secrets and sins.  It’s not easy to show God what is inside your closet.  Think about this though – He already knows about it, so…  who do you really think you’re foolin’?  We are so human – but the good news is…  He is so GOD!  If you ask God, through His Son, Christ Jesus, to forgive you of your sins – He is faithful and just to do it.  Trust Him for the rest of your days – and for the time when this life is over.

whats-in-your-closetI pray that you know the Lord as your personal Savior.  This life is brief and these bodies are so very frail and fragile, aren’t they?  I also believe we are living in the last days (I see some of you rolling your eyes) – yeah, I know I’ve said it before – but I’m going to say it again.  Be ready, for you know not the hour.  Did you know that Jesus doesn’t even know?  He’s waiting for the Father to tell Him when to come get us outa here!  It would be selfish for me to say I hope it’s soon because many are not ready – and He doesn’t want any to perish in hell.  He wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and ask Him into their hearts and lives.  THEN – only then will the peace of God wash over you and your life will never be the same.  The peace of God surpasses all understanding.  I hope and pray you know HIS peace in your life.  🙂

TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA

TL 7-1 THROUGH 7-10 TEN DAYS OF PRAYER FOR AMERICA

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LOVE is something that has been really messed up and mixed up in our society.  No wonder we have a country that is confused and seeking something real.  True love is best when it is agape love.  That is God’s perfect love and the love He wants us to have for each other.  It’s way cooler than brotherly love, and that’s pretty cool.  Agape is from the Greek.  There’s not a word in the English language that even comes close to it.  Agape love involves faithfulness, commitment, and an act of the will. It is distinguished from the other types of love by its lofty moral nature and strong character. Agape love is beautifully described in 1 Corinthians 13.

Hmm…  there we go with the morals and character again.  I sense a theme here, don’t you?

You know, in a good marriage, this is the kind of love that will go the distance.  Everything else fades, but this love that stems from an act of the will – a daily choice to stay committed to the one you chose to be with so long ago…  that’s the ticket.

We need more of that not only in marital relationships, but in friendships and interactions with others in our country and around the world.  Goodwill, benevolence, willful delight, faithfulness, commitment, act of the will…  all of these are possible from the source of agape love, God.  Everything God does flows from His love.  That is His nature.  It’s not natural for us to have that kind of love, but we can if we love through God.  He’s happy to help us love the unlovable and the unlovely.

Agape love is always shown by what it does.  Have you ever noticed that a human kind of love involves a lot of talk and empty promises?  It gets old, to be honest.  But agape love is about action!  Don’t just say you love someone – show them!  Remember, we are the undeserving recipients of God’s lavish agape love.  What did He DO for us?  Yeah – exactly.

God’s agape love is not based on feelings, but it’s an act of the will – a decision – a choice.  It’s a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own.  It can only come from its source – God.  Because of God’s love toward us, we’re able (and equipped by Him) to love one another.

Today let’s pray for the United States to become more…  well – united.  Mutual respect and agape love will go a long way to make us better citizens.  Stop the hate, start the love, America!  Accept everyone where they are and let God take them where they need to be.  Pray for one another and be kind.  No one ever accepted the Lord after being beat with a Bible.  Share, yes…  but then back off and let God do the rest.

I hear a lot of four-letter words, and most of them I wouldn’t repeat if you offered me a Milky Way to do so.  But wow, what if we were loving, kind and respectful of one another?  That would be life-changing and would change our country!

The word LOVE shows up 310 times in the KJV, 348 times in the NASB, 551 times in the NIV and 538 times in the NRSV.  I think it’s important to God, don’t you?

What’s your favorite verse about love?  Here’s mine:

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  – 1 John 4:8

Let’s pray for God’s agape love to be in our midst:

Dear Heavenly Father, We pray that Your agape kind of love be in our hearts and souls because You are love.  Help us to express love to others through actions more than words, along with goodwill, benevolence and a willful delight to put the welfare of others above our own.  We’re so tired of division in our country and pray that Your love be in us and will be contagious, making us a Christian nation once again.  You showed Your perfect love to us by sending Your only Son to earth to die on Calvary’s cross so we could be saved.  May we show agape love to others.  We can do that only with Your help.  It’s in the precious and matchless Name of Christ Jesus our Lord we pray, Amen.

When it comes to love, actions really DO speak louder than words, don’t they?  😉

file000229126299bike-775799boys-838683_1280cycling-79618_1920fishing-453296greyer and sawyer 071teamwork-649498_1280Love makes the world go ’round…  but God’s agape love makes it SHINE!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROVERBS 8:13 ON 8/13

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To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  – Proverbs 8:13

The book of Proverbs is filled with wisdom, isn’t it?  If ever there was a time in history when America and the world could use some wisdom…  well – I believe it’s now!

Have I mentioned that I am not perfect lately?  Well, I’m not.  I’m just a human being who leans heavily on my heavenly Father.  Fearing the Lord is to hate evil.  By fear, it’s not saying we should quake in our boots and hide behind tree trunks.  Fear means to have a reverence, respect, honor and awe of God.  Think about where your power comes from…  it really is awesome and awe-worthy!  This kind of fear is always tied to our obedience of Him.

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God doesn’t dig pride and arrogance.  Well, if you are too dependent on yourself, why would you depend on God?  Think about it.

God cannot look on sin – He just can’t.  Evil behavior often leads to something worse than the behavior that started it.  Evil behavior takes you down a one-way street with nowhere to turn around.  Eventually you may hit bottom, but it’s usually a short trip to the bottom.  Know this, however, that anywhere on the trip you can call out to Jesus Christ and He will be there for you.  He can and will help you out of the pit of self-destruction.  You’ll have to make changes, but the rewards will be so worth it.

A sweet pastor’s wife once told me that when people use profanity, they lack the intelligence to make a better choice of words.  That has stuck with me through the years.  God’s last name is not dang it…  or worse.  God is to be honored, respected above all and reverenced.  Anything less is a disgrace and sin.  Ask Him to forgive you for using His Holy name in vain because you will be held accountable for it if you don’t.

I want to be free of pride, anger, arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.  And if I may make the following statement:  I want my next president to be free of these things too.  I want a president who seeks guidance from God.  I want a president who is wise in decision-making.  Some diplomatic decisions need to be made not out of anger or arrogance – but with the wisdom that only comes from his or her higher power…  God.

Self-sufficiency does not impress this voter.  Self-made people are not what America needs right now.  Haven’t we been under the leadership of one who is self-made already?  Do we want more of that?  Let’s keep praying about this.  Who does God want in the White House?  Let’s consult Him about it.  🙂

 

 

NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY

TL 1-24 NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY

 

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Children should be encouraged even when logic seems to dictate otherwise.  Now, I’m not saying that discipline is a bad thing, but if a child draws a picture and says that it is God – don’t scold that child for trying to express themselves with crayons.  After all, you don’t know what God looks like either, so just take a chill pill.  Jesus loves children – He REALLY loves children!  Don’t be a stumbling block to them.

People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel   – Maya Angelou

We’ve all received compliments – some are sincere and others, well, not so much.  Most of us can tell the difference, can’t we?  Empty flattery leaves us wanting to tell the person, “Just quit while you’re ahead” or “go away”.  I choose to think the latter. But when a compliment is heartfelt and sincere, ah…  it’s like a breath of fresh air!  We feel a renewed sense of hope and happiness.  If you have a spouse or friend who showers you with those kinds of compliments – hang on to those people!  They are rare in this life. I got one response to my inquiry, but oh what a great response it was:

A friend wrote a story About our friendship. Where I had always seen myself as a gray goose, she saw me as a silver swan. That changed my life and allowed me to see myself in a new way.  – G.E.

I’ll preach this until I’m lowered into the ground…  there is WEIGHT in every word you say.  Your words have the power to hurt or heal another soul.  That is why our words need to be filtered through God’s Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit of God can and will help us to choose the right thoughts, intentions and words if we will just ask Him for help. It seems to me that people are almost proud that they don’t have a filter and they are not careful about the words they choose to say.  It’s like they proclaim they are filter-less in the same breath they declare they have the right and are free to say what they want.  But that is not true freedom, for if you are stomping on another human being verbally, you are diminishing them – and what about their rights and freedoms? Isn’t it better to lift another up and have true freedom?  Freedom at the expense of someone else – that’s not freedom.  To be without the Holy Ghost filter is to be unwise and unkind.  I’ve heard some say awful things and then put their hand over their mouth with a false sense of shame and then say, “Oops – I have no filter!”  Everyone thinks that is so funny – why does everyone think that is so funny?  It’s a shame when people do that – not a false shame, a real shame! Once it becomes abundantly clear that God loves everyone, we tend to look at our thoughts, attitudes and actions with others differently.  We are each a precious child of God.  This sense of entitlement that people have nowadays is a disturbing trend.  Instead of having the attitude that you deserve good things, try helping someone else do better and guess what?  You will do better too – because God will see to it.  He blesses the ones who bless others.  That’s how it works!  We don’t do for others for that reason, we do for others because we have the mind of Christ.  What did Jesus do?  Well, He sure didn’t stand around saying He deserved more than everybody else because He was the Son of God.  I don’t read that anywhere in the Bible.  He went about doing good.

 I have found the paradox that if I love until it hurts, then there is no hurt, but only more love. – Mother Teresa

Some folks that I used to work with accused me of being scared of people.  Non-Christians often mistake my silence for fear.  What they don’t realize is that I’m praying for right attitudes, good thoughts and a window of opportunity to say the words that will do the most good.  I’m not afraid of any man – oh my…  if they only knew how unafraid of people I am!  No, I don’t just ramble and let my words fly uninhibited – nor do I intend to.  My mom called that “filter” the “Holy Ghost filter”.  She never spoke without thinking and praying over her words because she knew the truth – that every word has power whether it is negative or positive.  Words can bring blessings to others or they can crush their spirit.  I believe that the words we speak have the potential to be a stumbling block to another person. Have you read what God thinks about folks who are a stumbling block to other folks?

And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.  – Mark 9:42

A good thought becomes a good intention.  A good intention becomes a good word and a good word becomes a good deed.  You are either part of the problem or part of the solution.  That’s why every thought needs to be taken captive and every word needs to be weighed before it is said.  Once the words are out, you can never get them back.

Have a wonderful NATIONAL COMPLIMENT DAY!!!  You know what to do.  Follow the leading of God’s Holy Spirit – He won’t lead you astray. 😀

WORLD SMILE DAY

TL 10-3 WORLD SMILE DAY

There are scary things going on in the world today – so many things to be concerned about to be sure!  Today is WORLD SMILE DAY!!!  The good news today is that God loves you – and that should make you smile!

 May brooks and trees and singing hills
Join in the chorus too,
And every gentle wind that blows
Send happiness to you.
– Irish Blessing

How can you make someone smile?  Well, someone in your immediate realm of influence may need to be tickled.  That is one sure way to ease tension and get a family member to show their pearly whites!

 Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.  – Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Chances are you probably work with some grumpy morning people.  You can bounce in the door every morning whistling and wishing everyone a good morning – but just a few seconds of bad attitude can limit your sunshine supply.  For these grumpy folk, you can do some simple things like hold the elevator door, take them a morning cup of coffee or my personal favorite, a homemade cinnamon roll and a morning cup of coffee.  It’s amazing how quickly those frowns turn upside down!

http://youtu.be/XvxZuzy5TBQ

It is tempting to isolate from society these days because of health risks alone, but we must not be afraid to help someone along in their journey.  A smile seems like a small thing, but when we smile it actually improves our overall health – mental and physical.

 When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace.  – Author Unknown

When was the last time you reminded someone to breathe?  Tell them to take a deep, cleansing breath of fresh air.  Chances are you will get them to smile afterward.  Nothing feels better (especially if you are stressed) than to take a deep breath.

http://youtu.be/wAqhuajT9e4

Even Christians lose sight of the big picture sometimes.  We get just as wrapped up in the bad news all around us as everyone else – but we have a great hope in Jesus, don’t we?  That thought alone should make us smile.  That is the truth we need to share with each other on a regular basis – and the good news we have to share with everyone.

I’m here to remind you…  to SMILE!  God loves YOU!!!  🙂