After reading a post “welcoming opinions” today, I offered up my opinion. The request was regarding Jesus, and I guess from my answer, it must have been apparent that I was a Christian, because boy did I get pounced on. Not by the original post-er but by others that were following the post. I was accused of not answering and avoiding the question but the fact is, I answered it according to my belief. The problem is, too often, people ask our opinions but unless we answer the way they WANT us to answer, then they really don’t want our opinion. Sometimes I think that’s why so often we put off praying about something. We don’t want to ask God because we don’t really want His answer. We want Him to tell us what we want to hear. We want to believe that our own opinions about things are fact, when really, Jesus is the only truth and the only way. So while I will be more careful about falling into the “what’s your opinion” trap from now on, I will also try my best to care and respect what God’s opinion is on all things and attempt to live my life for His glory. Because in the end, His opinion is the only one that matters.
Have you ever been trying to concentrate on a task while someone is standing in front of you yelling? And whether they are yelling at you or someone else, it can break your concentration and cause a mistake. This was happening to my daughter a few years ago and my advice to her was to close her eyes and ignore everything and everyone except what she was supposed to be doing. Easier said than done, but that’s all I had for her at the time…lol. But isn’t that what Satan does to us? He gets in front of us and tries to make us take our eyes off of Jesus. And we make it so easy for him to do it. He uses the news, the Internet, people, our finances, even our own family and friends. We get so wound up trying to control the world that we forget that God isn’t on the other side of our problems. He’s inside of us. We allow Satan to put things between us and God, but as long as we have the Holy Spirit inside of us to guide us, Satan has no power, because all we have to do is close our eyes and know that God is with us and He will never leave us.
Hebrews 13:5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,“Never will I leave you;never will I forsake you.”
So a little while back I noticed that I was having trouble seeing the computer screen at work. I chalked it up to a new system with smaller fonts & every day eye strain because it was worse when I was tired. I even bought reading glasses but they didn’t seem to help much. So when I quit work, it actually got better & I packed away those silly reading glasses that I obviously didn’t need. Then…a few months later, I noticed that the words in our church hymnals were getting smaller & harder to see. So low & behold, when we moved, I unpacked a box & there were those silly old reading glasses that I obviously didn’t need. But if I didn’t need them, why didn’t I just throw them away? Hmmm…maybe there’s a reason I kept them. So I put them on. And holy cow! I could see!!! I could see & didn’t even know that I couldn’t before. That’s what it was like when I accepted Jesus! Suddenly I could see and yet I had walked around blind as a bat for years & didn’t have a clue! My point is…if you have packed Jesus away because you think you don’t need Him, unpack Him and everything will become clear!
When you’re moving, you take down all your pictures and shelves. And when you’ve taken everything off the walls, you can see every nail hole. So you set about filling them in so that the new owners don’t have to see them. But no matter how hard you try, when the light hits that spot just right, you can still see the hole. You move your furniture & discover the massive amount of dust and cobwebs that have accumulated so you sweep, mop, & vacuum so that everything is clean. We do all this to remove all the ugliness. How often do we try to do this in our lives too? While…with the help of Christ…we can clean up our lives & behavior, remove parts that clutter up and collect dust, no matter how hard we work, there are still scars. Scars that no matter how hard we try to cover them, will always be visible to others. But even covered in scars, we should be thankful that we have them. Because by the scars endured by Jesus, we are healed. And with no healing we would have no scars. We would have open wounds.
I remember one day when I was packing up our old house to move. While some rooms were overflowing with boxes, others just got emptier. I began to notice that the more stuff that I removed from a room, the easier it was to hear even the smallest noise. I had a small solar operated flower in my kitchen window. When the sun was shining, it moved back and forth. This little flower had been in my window for at least 2 years and until that day I never knew that it made any noise. We are very much like a house. When we are filled up with things from the world it is sometimes hard to hear that still small voice guiding us. But when we start removing the unnecessary things and instead fill that space with the Holy Spirit then it gets easier and easier to hear what God wants us to hear.
My oldest child has the strangest habit of wrapping herself up in her sheet like a mummy when she goes to bed. It drives me crazy because I just know she’s gonna suffocate or strangle herself some day. So I can’t sleep until I make sure she’s asleep & unwrap her head every night. Because while she appears to be sleeping, it’s hard to tell if she’s breathing. It sounds awful but there’s a fairly fine line between sleep and death. Our relationship with God is very similar. So many people say they are Christians but when it comes to being an active Christian, it seems they are sound asleep. My biggest fear is that when Christ returns, He won’t find sleeping Christians but rather dead ones. Because if you want the Holy Spirit of God alive in you, you have to be alive in Him. Wake up & be revived!!!
Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who mistreat you. Holy cow!!! How are we mere humans supposed to do that?!? Especially when Satan is right there providing every blunt rude remark or reaction that we desire & calls it ‘speaking our mind’. He’s telling us to enjoy others misery and calls it karma. All this & what he’s basically saying is, “Trust me. Don’t trust God.” Because he knows that God will handle it at the perfect time and in the perfect way. He knows that by obeying God and holding our tongue and guarding our actions, we have disarmed him & his control on us. So back to my question. How are we supposed to do that? We simply let go & let God.
I’ve seen many people hurt by careless words in my life. Sometimes the words weren’t meant to intentionally hurt but sometimes they are. Sometimes they are words of judgement. Sometimes they are proudly stated because an inability to control the tongue is confused with boldness and speaking ones mind. And I have suffered from many of these same afflictions. But then I think about Jesus. And all the times that He had every right to be angry. And all the times He could’ve lined someone out with a good tongue lashing because the fact is He was ALWAYS right. But He didn’t. He always chose His words carefully. Controlling His tongue at all times. And never using His words as a weapon. Because where our tongue goes, our body follows. Just as a horse that is bridled goes in the direction that you pull the bit.
Proverbs 17:27-28 The one who has knowledge uses words with restraint,and whoever has understanding is even-tempered. Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent,and discerning if they hold their tongues.
We found a snake under our equipment shed a few years ago. We hadn’t been able to mow because of all the rain & had never really organized & de-cluttered out there since we moved. We also had an abundance of field mice that liked to eat any spilled horse or chicken feed so it was like an all you can eat buffet for snakes. It took a snake to kick us into action. My hubby cleaned & organized under the shed, I mowed as soon as it was dry enough too, and we got some cats that were happy to keep the field mice to a minimum.
Snakes only show up when there is adequate food and plenty of places to hide. Sin is much the same. When we quit feeding the desires that lead to sin…when we clean out all the clutter in our lives so that God’s light can shine into all the places we like to keep hidden, sin will not be as apt to slither in. And when and if it still manages to find a way in, cut its head off. Because there are no good sins. Plus! If you keep the clutter out & the yard mowed, it’s a lot harder to forget how green your own grass is.
I’ve been thinking about a woman I know. By the time she was around 12 or 13 she was sentenced to death. Not for any horrific crime. She was guilty of many offenses but nothing serious. She actually considered herself to be a pretty good person overall. Problem was, it was all of her own doing. She actually CHOSE the death penalty. She was approached many, many times and given the option of having her entire record wiped clean and start fresh. Each time she simply ignored the request. You would think there was some sort of catch for her to turn down the offer each time but there wasn’t. As the years rocked on & she inched closer to the point that her sentence would be carried out, she was once again approached and offered freedom and to have her entire past record wiped clean. This time she accepted. She asked the One offering, what it was she had to do for such a gift. Especially since she had made so many mistakes, forgiveness was completely undeserved and she had so foolishly turned it down so many times. He simply said, “Just follow Me.” I was that woman and I chose Jesus over death. I don’t know how many times Jesus would have offered to expunge my record and release me from the prison that I had put myself in…nobody knows. All I know is that I’m so thankful I accepted His gift before my sentence could be carried out. We are all headed to the exact same fate…sentenced to death for the same crime of unbelief….until we choose to follow Him.
We’ve been working on our property for 6 ½ years. We may never get it exactly like we want it, but we keep working which means we may always have brush piles to burn. We went out last night and the wood was damp so we put some feed sacks on it and lit it. It finally caught and burned. But even if the sacks didn’t work, I’m pretty sure Todd would’ve thrown a little diesel on it. My point is, we didn’t let a little moisture stop us from accomplishing what we went out to do. So why do we let Satan stop us when we’re trying to bring glory to God? I remember a time when, if the sun didn’t come up just right on Sunday, we would just stay home from church. If I didn’t want to keep a promise, I’d just pull out the quickest excuse…aka lie…that I could think of. Thankfully God kept adding fuel and we finally caught fire.
Why do we donate blood? I’m pretty sure that most people that give, do so because they hope that their gift of blood will save someone’s life. We give less than 30 minutes of our time to give a small amount of our blood, retrieved by a tiny needle, in completely sanitary conditions, in an air conditioned area, and then we are usually given a snack. Any questions that are asked that could be the least little bit embarrassing are asked in a room where nobody else can hear. So basically we aren’t even inconvenienced for the most part. Jesus on the other hand, was beaten, made to carry His own cross, stripped naked, and rather than a tiny needle, they used nails. And He didn’t just give a little bag of blood. He gave all of His blood to save anyone who is willing to accept Him. And because His blood is guaranteed to save anyone who chooses to receive it, He is the one true universal donor.
Awhile back, on separate occasions, I spoke with 2 ladies about gardening. One lady told me that you can’t get anything to grow in Arkansas & that she has never had anything but bad luck with gardening since she moved here. The other lady told me that we are blessed to live here because you can grow anything here. The lady that had such skepticism about gardening, has the same attitude about everything else in life. And while she will tell you that she’s a Christian, her actions tell a different story. The other lady has devoted most of her life to living for God & to helping others. You never have to wonder if she’s a Christian because her actions tell you. And while I have seen both ladies bring in bountiful harvests, I have only seen one give the glory to God. Maybe if everyone would give God the glory, then it wouldn’t matter how many veggies we grow….maybe we would appreciate that God allowed us to have enough.
(Throwback to 2014)
My hubby moved our horses to a new place today. Four of them loaded into the trailer fine but one gave him all kinds of trouble. Four of them have been loaded and unloaded pretty often. They know what to expect & that they will be safe and protected. The other one has only been hauled a couple of times. And the last time was several years ago. All she knew is that she was perfectly happy in her pasture eating grass and that she didn’t want to go into that metal noisy thing. What she didn’t realize was that the place that she was going had more grass, a bigger pond, and that she would be much happier there. I think that becoming a Christian is kind of like that. We might agree to put the halter on but when Jesus starts pulling on us we have a tendency to set back & dig our hooves in. But every time we give in & go where He leads us, we find that there is a blessing waiting for us. And eventually we quit pulling on the lead rope as hard. And hopefully by the time we head home & see those pearly gates, we’re at a full gallop.
It’s all about your line. Some may argue but I believe every parent has a “line” that their children know not to cross. However….some peoples lines are much further away than others. While some may view a particular behavior as acceptable, others would be mortified should their child behave in such a way. God gives us a line. And His line NEVER moves. It is in the same place no matter where we are. Inside of His line we are protected by His mercy and grace. Outside of it we are not. His line makes a complete circle around Him. Inside that circle, we have eternal life. Outside, an eternity of torture. But it’s our choice. Choose the circle of life.
We planted some trees a few weeks ago and they are thriving. Several of them already have fruit on them. But a couple of days ago, after a lot of rain and wind, I noticed one of them had blown over. We stood it back up & it’s still doing well. It just simply hadn’t had enough time to take root. Withstanding the wind is one of the reasons that a good root system is so important. Another is so that in times of drought, the roots can reach way down into underground water supplies and survive. Todd & I have been on a type of journey for the last few months. We have felt like God is calling us to draw closer to Him. It’s as if we feel the need to become more deeply rooted in Christ. Life is always going to have storms and even droughts. But the deeper that you are rooted in Christ, the stronger you will be.
I was eating lunch the other day & saw a squirrel in our yard. My daughter was all excited & didn’t understand why I was concerned about it. I explained that as it got closer to the back of our house, it was also getting further & further away from a tree, and that if our dog saw it, then it was going to have to be really fast to get back to safety before she caught it. Nonetheless it kept inching closer & closer until we tapped on the window & it ran back to safety. Unfortunately a couple of days later we discovered that it had ventured too far and wasn’t fast enough to get back to a safe haven before it met its fate. The world is full of things that we would like to have. If we could just get a little closer. And sometimes even when we get really close, nothing bad happens. So the next time we get even closer. And then one day, we don’t even realize that we have walked away from the only true safe haven that we have. The loving, protective arms of God. We are so enamored by the things of the world that we don’t even realize it. So when Satan attacks, it’s not because God has left us. It’s because we have left Him. And just for the record, my dog is not Satan. She just really likes to play with squirrels…unfortunately until they die.
Thought for the day. This may only happen to me, but seems like every time we get lots of rain, suddenly I find spiders in my house. I’m assuming that they are trying to move to dry ground. When it’s dry & sunny I rarely find one in the house. But you let a little…or a lot…of rain fall & here they come. Pretty sure God is up there shaking His head thinking, “Yes little spider. Why do you always wait for the rain to seek My shelter?” And it’s true! So often we think we can handle something on our own and the next think you know we are swept away, trying to keep our heads above water. But the thing we have to remember, is that even when we fail to move to God’s higher ground…even when we are being washed downstream…even when we can’t see any way out, all we have to do is ask & God will lift us from the swift waters, dry us off, and shelter is from the storm.
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 24th day I’ve been thinking about negative people. I know we are all negative at times but honestly…if we all stopped & thought about how blessed we are, we would never complain again. The communities that we complain about living in, are the same communities that come to our aid when we lose a loved one or suffer a tragedy. The jobs that we complain about, are the jobs that pay our mortgages, car payments, food and clothing. The groceries that we complain are too expensive are readily available, while there are countries where entire communities could live for a year on what we waste in a week. We are given everything that we need by the grace of God but we complain because we WANT more. We don’t need it but we want it. We are all guilty. What we need to remember is that we have to trust and thank God for allowing us to have what we do and realize that when we complain, what we are actually doing is criticizing HIS blessings. We need to humble ourselves before God and praise HIM in the sunshine and in the rain. And when we do that, flowers if faith will bloom!
There have always been bullies in the world. I’ve been trying to figure out how the cruel, mean, hateful actions of others seem to have much more devastating results more often these days than they did years ago. Part of me wonders if it’s because everything is headline news now whereas before social media, it was confined to word of mouth gossip or nasty note passing campaigns. Or maybe the results were as horrible then as they are now but we didn’t learn of suicides and mass shootings for such things because news didn’t travel as fast. Or maybe…just maybe…there wasn’t as much bullying because more kids were raised in church with biblical principles and parents were less likely to spare the rod when they misbehaved. And maybe the victims of bullying didn’t feel like they were all alone in a world full of people that hated them because they knew that no matter what, God was with them and would never leave them or forsake them because they accepted Him. Perhaps the world had more love in it back then because it allowed more God in it. Perhaps marriages succeeded more often because they were based on biblical principles rather than worldly desires. Maybe…just maybe…if we would let God back into families…back into our children…back into our government…back into our schools…back into our work….back into every portion of our lives…then maybe there would be so much love in the world that evil would cease to exist. Because evil is the absence of God and cannot exist when God is present.
I made homemade chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I’ve baked them dozens of times but I still look at the recipe so I don’t forget anything or measure wrong. Life is full of steps and measurements. There are ingredients that benefit our life and some that leave a bad taste. You can go through life not following a recipe and in turn make a lot of bad cookies or you can follow the recipe that Jesus left for you. The bible has everything you need to know. It has the recipe for a perfect life within its pages. But you have to follow it. Problem is, too often if we decide we don’t necessarily like one of the ingredients…or we think it’s gonna be too hard or too much trouble to get…so we decide to leave it out. But for an abundant life, you must follow the recipe of God’s word…just like you follow a recipe to make a good homemade chocolate chip cookie. Complete and in full.
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 18th day of May, I’ve been thinking about people’s perception of one another. Basically it boils down to this: If you want people to have a certain perception of you, then you have to live your life that way. Actions speak louder than words. You can shout to the heavens all day long that you are a good Christian & whine til the cows come home about being wrongly judged but if you ain’t livin’ it…you’re not portraying it. So…my flower of faith to you is that if you want your light to shine, you’re gonna have to step out of the darkness to let it!
I just watched a video that a school did to support someone with cancer. It was really touching & I bawled like a baby. We are so very fortunate that we live in this community. We rally together to support those with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. We pray long and hard for friends and loved ones who are fighting for their lives. We collect donations, run marathons, sell chili, have pie auctions, add them to prayer lists…anything and everything we can to support them and try to extend their earthly life. And all of these things are wonderful! But what are we doing about their eternal life? Do we pray as hard for the healing of their soul as we do the healing of their body? Do we invite them to come to church with us? Do we tell them about Jesus? The one thing that they need to have life more abundant and we fail to discuss that with them. So maybe in addition to all the wonderful acts of kindness that we do….maybe we could offer them a drink of water.
Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” John 4:9-11 NKJV
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 13th day I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. We want so badly to be everything for everybody that we end up exhausted with no time for “us”. So my flower of faith to you is, “Let God guide you to do what you can but listen to Him when He tells you to stop and glory in His beautiful creations & smell the roses.”
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 12th day of May, I was thinking how I was not as prayerful last week as I should have been and how my “excuse” was that it was such a rough week between kids, activities, and not feeling well, that I was just trying to survive it. Then it occurred to me that perhaps if I had been as prayerful as I should have been then just maybe my week wouldn’t have been so rough. So my flower of faith today is that when it’s hardest to pray, that’s when we need to pray the hardest.
While I know it’s a day early, I also know that we will be crazy busy tomorrow so I want to say happy mothers say to all the moms, mom-in-laws, step-moms, grand moms, single dads that are moms too, aunts that are like moms, mothers in Christ, adoptive moms, and anyone else who has put a child’s needs or desires before her or his own. For all those who are there for a child…not when it’s convenient…but when they have a million other things they need to do but nothing more important than being there for that child. For everyone that loves and cares for not only a child’s earthly needs but guides them on the path to righteousness because they know that it is truly the most important part of life. For all those who have not simply accepted an obligation but rather rose to the challenge and enthusiastically put their best effort into one of the most important tasks that God could ever bless us with! May God bless you all this Mother’s Day!
If you saw a train tipped on its side…hovering above a bunch of children…being held up by only a few people…in the middle of a storm…what would you do? The people holding the train up are exhausted because not only are they holding up this huge train, but they are also putting out fires, shining lights to show others the way out, helping to patch up those that make it out, trying to tend to their own injuries, attempting to keep others from sliding under… all while trying to stand firm and working to set the train back on solid ground. Would you jump in & help? Would you decide it to be an impossible situation and walk away? Would you hesitate for fear of being hurt? Would you stand back, criticizing those who are trying so hard to help because you think they are doing wrong? Would you decide to leave it up to the professionals? I can’t imagine anyone walking away & not helping…or could I? People, WE are the church. And WE ARE a train wreck! God has blessed each and every person with a gift. Can you even imagine what WE the church…WE the body of Christ could accomplish if we put God first, took up our cross, and followed HIM?!? So Sunday morning when you wake up, instead of listening to one of the 4,726,937,927,275 excuses to NOT go to church that Satan will have readily available, remember that you can either listen to him & walk on by, or you can jump in and be a part of God’s amazing grace!
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 10th day of May, I’ve been reading all the Mother’s Day statuses and opening all the sweet gifts my girls made at school for me and thinking about what it means to be a mom. God did not bless me with these girls just to have someone to love & hang out with. He put them in my care & gave me the responsibility of teaching them His word, right from wrong, self respect, self worth, respect for others, and to love and care for them as only a mommy can. And while I enjoy playing with them, watching their extra-curricular activities, shopping with them, etc…. I would rather they know God than how to make a basket, throw a curve ball, or coordinate the perfect outfit. Lord I pray that I never forget to guide our children according to Your will and that I live my life as an example. This is my prayer…and my flower of faith, to all the mom’s out there 😊
Have you ever noticed that we never worry much about having a tornado shelter or storm closet until the weather gets really bad even though we know it’s the safest place to be? When the sirens sound, it’s too late. If we haven’t taken the time to build a storm shelter, then we don’t have a safe place to go. Isn’t it the same with God? We sometimes forget to seek His shelter until the storm hits. But even during storms, His mercy and grace are available to us immediately. All we have to do is ask. No appointments…no installation fees…just immediate forgiveness… free of charge. The problem is, not all of life’s storms come with a warning siren. Some hit fast and without warning. So the question is…do we prepare for the storm before it hits, or do we take our chances and hope that we get a warning? If you chance it and you’re wrong, it will cost you everything. If you accept Jesus and repent of your sins, you will still have storms but you will receive an eternity of blessings and never ending shelter from the storm.
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 8th day, I worry about how some just can’t seem to grasp the importance of certain situations. And then I think about the shape our world is in & realize that there are soooo many that don’t see that, at the moment of Christ’a return, it’s too late. He wants us to choose Him now because at some point wether it be our death or His return, then we are out of time. I don’t think a twinkling of an eye is enough time for repentance. So that’s my flower of faith to you today. If you died today….which direction would you go? And if you’re not sure or you “think” you know…if you’re not absolutely positive….you better do some serious thinking.
(Flashback from 2013)
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 7th day of May, I’ve been thinking about how when I drive to work most mornings, I say a little prayer. Monday I had a feeling it was going to be a rough week and prayed a little harder than usual asking God to guide my actions, thoughts, and decisions. And thank goodness because although its only Tuesday, I’ve already had more stress than I usually have in an entire month! But He has not left me. In fact, He has carried me through. So when you feel a little voice telling you to say an extra prayer, it is actually God saying, “Ask Me. I can do all things.”
That is my flower of faith for you today. Never quench the Holy Spirit when He is telling you to pray and to lay your burdens on the Father.
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 4th day of May, I’ve been thinking about how all people worship something. You can probably look at your check book or weekly schedule and see what it is. And sometimes we worship things and don’t even realize that we’re doing it. Evaluate your life. If there is anything in it that is getting between you and your relationship with God, then there needs to be an adjustment made. Not all things are sinful but anything that you put before God is. I’m learning that evaluating & adjusting often is the only way to keep God first & even with constant attention, I still fail far too often. That’s my flower of faith to you today. Evaluate and adjust so that God is always first.
Flashback to 2013…
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 3rd day of May, early this morning as I woke to the sound of sleet hitting the window, and as I walked into work with the icy cold wind blowing…while my earthly body & mind were thinking, “SERIOUSLY!! 36 degrees in MAY!!!” , my spiritual mind was thinking that this is God’s way of showing us the HE is still in control. One of the hardest parts of being a Christian is simply letting go & letting God. I try so hard sometimes to handle everything that I sometimes forget that it’s a waste of time because without Him, I am nothing but with Him I can do all things. I also used to think that I should only pray about the big things but the closer I get to God, the more I realize that He wants us to rely on Him for all things. So my flower of faith today is, “Let go…and Let GOD!”
Have you ever noticed that when someone else is doing something wrong, that your fingers automatically point at them? It’s odd especially since when YOU’ve done something that you think is right, those same fingers point at yourself. I know this because for some reason, God put my fingers an arms length away so that it’s pretty easy for me to see which direction they are pointing. He’s tricky like that…lol. Unfortunately, although they are easily in my eyesight, and although He made my body with the perfect combination of muscles, nerves, joints, bones, tendons, and everything else that makes me physically capable of controlling my movements….I still have trouble controlling those silly fingers. (Don’t even get me started on controlling my tongue…one body part at a time…lol). The fact is that when I see someone on the wrong path, I need to pray for them. And when I’ve done something good, I need to give God the glory because He is the one that did it through me. In other words….it’s ok to point your fingers in all situations….as long as they’re pointing to God.
Springs abloom with flowers of faith!! On this 2nd day of May, I’ve been thinking about how it’s so important for Christians to wear their armor of God every single minute of every day. Seems like there is always someone just waiting for Christians to mess up so they can validate their excuse for not going to church with “those hypocrites”. I saw a saying a couple of weeks ago that I thought said it pretty well. It said that church is not a museum for saints, but rather a hospital for sinners. I go to church because I need spiritual fuel to get me thru the week…to be surrounded by other Christians who love and support me…to worship my Lord and Savior…but mainly because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’m a sinner and that the only difference between me and anyone who is not a Christian is that I am saved by the blood of Jesus. And here’s something to think about…if you allow a “hypocrite” to stand between you and God, they are closer to God than you are….
Spring’s abloom with flowers of faith!!
On this 1st day of May, remember that for a seed to sprout & bloom, it must first be planted. So this month, try planting seeds of love & kindness. You’ll be amazed at the beauty that God created through you.
I have spent most of the day working outside in my yar and garden.
Some of the plants I had purchased but some were simply bulbs that had multiplied and were “free” so I was transplanting them.
I took a lot of care planting the plants that cost because somehow in my mind I considered them more valuable. The bulbs pretty much just got shoved into a hole and covered up. But of course…they were less valuable.
As I was working I was thinking about a conversation I had with someone about going to church. Now first let me say that I don’t believe you HAVE to go to church to have a right relationship with God. But my question is, “How much value do you give yourself?”
You are planting yourself in different types of soil all the time. Work, home, sports, friends, relationships….the list is endless. Now…if I take the time to weed, enrich soul, carefully plant, and fertilize the plants that I consider valuable….wouldn’t you think I would do that for myself and my children?
Wouldn’t I want to plant my family in a good, fertile, soil of a church family….in a place that teaches biblical principles and holds me accountable for all other conditions that I may find myself planted in at other times?
Wouldn’t I want to plant myself and my family in soil that I know I will absorb nutrients and fuel that will help sustain me and guide me in choosing the right soil in a world that is so willing to allow us to wither and die because they don’t see our value?
God values me.
Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies.
Proverbs 31:10 NKJV
So shouldn’t I value myself? Shouldn’t you?
Heavenly Father, I come to You thankful for this glorious nation that You have allowed me to grow up in. But I also come to You ashamed at how we as a nation have failed You. We have allowed laws and personal desires to override Your Holy Word. We have allowed greed and dishonesty to run rampant. We teach our children to do their best in school, in sports, in activities…but we fail to teach them about You. We do whatever it takes to get ahead instead of doing what’s right and relying on You to fill our needs. We look to preachers who preach happy, feel-good messages, and wait to see what YOU are going to do for US instead of asking what WE can do for YOU. We may occasionally occupy a pew in Your house on Sunday but then we’re back to cussing and gossiping on Monday. We elect officials based on how we will benefit from their election instead of electing someone who will rely on You for guidance. We take a bad situation and make it worse by rioting, looting, and injuring others. We help ourselves every chance we get but how often to we help others? We condemn others for their sins but don’t see our own. We busy ourselves with our spouse, our kids, our home, with every activity that we can possibly sign up for…we’re always telling everyone that will listen about how busy we are…we are so busy that usually the first thing that we cut out of our schedule is You. We are prideful and we are boastful to the point that we allow it to separate us from loved ones. We harbor anger and un-forgiveness and hope that karma will catch up with our enemies…and sometimes even friends…instead of asking You to help them and us by changing our hearts. We are an ungodly, sinful, people. And despite all of our failures, and all our our despicable behavior, You still love us. You are still waiting for us to turn back to You. You haven’t taken down Your hedge of protection. We have walked away from it. You haven’t left us. We have left You. So I pray today that this amazing nation that You created, will find its way back to You. Because if we aren’t serving You, we are serving Satan. And I pray that everyone who reads this will choose You. All glory be to God! Amen.
**Please share if you agree. There is power in prayer!!
Have you ever noticed how a drop of water can hang suspended for what seems like forever until another drop joins it and gives it enough motivation to move? Or how you can be holding it together at a very emotional time but all it takes is seeing one tear from another person and you fall completely apart? I remember I was like that when I began to moving toward God. I wanted to, but just didn’t have the motivation. If I hadn’t been motivated by another, I may have never started moving toward God. God wants us to be that rain drop for others. He wants us to connect with all the drops that we come across in life so that we can all join together and flow toward Him in the river of righteousness.
I was reading a devotional about planting seeds and for some reason the phrase ‘seeds of doubt’ crossed my mind and it occurred to me…even when we aren’t planting seeds for God’s glory, we are still planting seeds. Whether we mean to or not, we are going to be an example to somebody. Whether it’s our children, our youth at church, our kid’s friends, nieces, nephews, neighbors, coworkers, whoever is watching us at any given moment…we are an example. So in addition to always trying to plant seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, we also need to always guard against planting seeds of doubt, hate, sadness, anger, negativity, pride, or anything else that yields bad fruit. After all, it’s the good fruit that helps our physical body to grow strong and healthy so why would it be any different for our spiritual body?
I have really been struggling with compassion and works lately. Compassion is something we all deal with at some point but I believe that God expects His children to be compassionate towards one another. I don’t believe that it means that you condone sin or allow people to walk all over you, but I believe that God wants us to have a compassionate heart. You see…you can unintentionally hurt or wrong someone, but if you feel no compassion for what you’ve done, then you have not only hurt them, but you have also tarnished your testimony even if it was unintended. I once thought that one of my “works” for God was trying to get people to come to church with me. I have since realized that although I believe attending church is important for many reasons including that it is God’s desire for us to do so, it’s much more important to get people to God and then hopefully God will lead them to the church He wants them to attend. And if it isn’t the church I go to, that’s ok as long as they are worshipping God and His Word. I believe that denominations are helpful in finding the type of worship that you are drawn to, however, I also believe that denominations are a division in beliefs and can cause a sort of competition between churches. And if the competition to fill seats becomes greater than the desire to fill hearts with the Holy Spirit, then works are dead and compassion is lost.
I’m 5’3″ tall so I’ve gotten pretty accustomed to reaching for things. How far I reach depends on how bad I want what I’m reaching for. What I’ve discovered is that if I want something bad enough, I will find a way to reach it even if I have to climb to do it. If it’s not that important to me then it is going to have to be extremely easy for me to get with minimal effort. God is ALWAYS within our reach. Yet we seem to put more effort into reaching around Him to grab ahold of the world. God will never be out of our reach. We don’t have to climb. We don’t have to jump. And we never have to step on others to get to Him. In fact, He is so close that we only need to pray to reach Him.
It’s not about the boat…
~ Thought for the Day ~
A few years ago, my husband was explaining to me how he is an emotional canoe. In other words, the least little thing goes wrong, and he flips his canoe. After thinking about it, I decided that he is actually an emotional kayak because although he might flip easily, he also rights himself fairly quickly. Whereas I am actually more like a canoe. I may not flip as easily as a kayak, but once I do, I’ve got to get everything that dumped out gathered up, dried off, reloaded, and then rest a little before I’m ready to get back in the current. And while we are both attempting to stay afloat and upright without flipping so easily, the main thing is to know that there are always going to be swift rapids in our path and we’re gonna get wet. But if we allow God to be our captain, we will remain upright and we will never sink.
19 So, then, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man doesn’t produce the righteousness of God.
James 1:19-20 World English Bible (WEB)
As I as I stand here watching my girls wait for the school bus, I once again find myself thinking about how fast they are growing up and how I wish that I could slow down time.
I snapped a picture of my girls because I know that some day I’m going to miss watching them wait for the school bus. The pic isn’t overly clear because it was so foggy, but I thought it was pretty anyway.
Fog is a strange thing. It can actually be quite beautiful. But it can also cause lots of problems and can be dangerous when you are driving because it hinders your view. It’s hard to see where you’re going. The thicker the fog, the harder it is to see. And the only thing that gets rid of the fog, is the sun.
Much like fog, sin can be quite beautiful. It can make everything look different and it can hinder our vision to the point that we can no longer see what path we should be on. And just like the fog, the only thing that can remove the sin, is the Son.
I can’t slow down time or stop my girls from growing up, just like the thickest fog can’t stop the sun from coming up. Praise God, as long as we allow Him in our life, our sin can’t survive the light of Jesus.
The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until midday. But the way of the wicked is like the darkest gloom; they don’t know what makes them stumble.
Have you ever blown on a dandelion? I used to love to. It was so cool how the little fuzzy pieces would float away. It seemed like they would float forever. Then one day my mom told me to stop doing it because those cool fuzzy things were seeds and everywhere they landed another dandelion would pop up. I didn’t see a problem with that since it would mean many more days spent picking and blowing on them but she explained that they are weeds and that we don’t want weeds in our lawn and garden because they’re bad for the good plants. Blowing on dandelions is not much different from spreading rumors. We may convince ourselves that it’s fun…or maybe for someone’s protection…or maybe because we feel like it’s our duty to set the record straight…or maybe we think we just can’t help ourselves. But the thing is…once we blow on the dandelion, we have no control over where the pieces go. And everywhere a piece lands, more dandelions pop up. Before it’s over, we have done more harm than good. So maybe, when we find a dandelion, it would be better to spray round-up on it instead of blowing it. Because you never know whose garden or yard is going to be hurt by it next. And regardless if the rumor is true…regardless of how reliable your source is…you are the one that has to answer to God and if what flies from your lips does anything but give Him glory, then it should probably be kept to yourself.
I said, “I will guard my ways,
Lest I sin with my tongue;
I will restrain my mouth with a muzzle,
While the wicked are before me.”
Psalm 39:1 NKJV
What does our faith cost us? Once upon a time I had no problem telling someone at a ticket booth that my child was a different age to save a dollar. I saved a lot of time by paying bills while I was at work instead of at home. Oh! And just think of all that extra time I had on Sunday morning because I didn’t “have to” get up & go to church…not to mention all that money of “mine” that I saved by not tithing. So my faith has cost me some money here & there…..well actually it hasn’t! Since we accepted Christ & started tithing we are in better financial shape than we’ve ever been. Mainly because we realized that we have nothing. Anything we are blessed with comes straight from God. He is just entrusting it to us. So my faith hasn’t really cost me any money. But surely it has cost me time. Actually no! It hasn’t even cost me time. You see…because Christ shed His blood on the cross…I now have everlasting life! So when you really look at it….it’s not faith that costs. It’s the lack or faith that has the big price tag hanging from it.
We may occasionally get caught out in a bad storm but when we do, we all want the same thing. To be someplace safe. For me, I don’t think that’s ever been truer than it was one summer evening a few years ago. Running the short distance between our camper and our new home that was under construction, in a rain and wind that was so strong that I couldn’t see, sinking down into the mud to the point of losing both of my shoes, and hanging onto my youngest daughter’s shirt as tightly as I could because I felt certain that if I let go she would just blow away. The moment that we stepped into shelter, although we were shaken up, we knew that we were ok. God doesn’t promise that our path to Him will be easy. In fact, His word tells us that it is the narrow path. But it is the path that leads us to Him and His loving, safe, shelter. So when the path seems near impossible, and the wind is blowing us back, we are blinded by the rain, and we are having trouble finding our footing, we need to remember where we are trying to get to. A place where we will be safe and loved forever. And as we dig in and fight against all obstacles to get there, we need to grab ahold of as many people as we can and bring them with us.
“For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” Matthew 7:14 ESV
“Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in you my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.”
Psalm 57:1 ESV
It’s so easy for me to get disgusted & overwhelmed by the deterioration of the world’s morals & ethics. I was watching something on the news & my normal knee-jerk reaction was to blame the government. And in doing so, I heard that all too familiar still, small voice say, “It starts at home.” This country as a whole has a disease that is eating away at it. A disease that makes sin ok & calls Christians fools. The problem is…the government is not the disease. It’s the symptom. The root of the disease is in each and every home in America. It begins when we fail to make God first and foremost in everything that we do. Yes…everything. We put ourselves in first place and everything becomes about, “what’s in it for me?”. It festers and multiplies when we fail to teach our children biblical truths by living our lives as examples and showing them the path to righteousness. It spreads from home to home when we fail to love our neighbor and instead spread rumors, boast pridefully of “our” accomplishments, or look down on someone when we should be lifting them up. We can treat the symptoms and things may seem somewhat better for a little while. But it’s only when we get to the root of the disease and make Jesus Christ the Lord & Savior of our own family…my own family, that true healing begins. And then we start helping others heal by sharing God’s word and biblical truths.
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:29-31
After a few cloudy days, I’m ready for some sunshine. After a few more I feel like the sun is never going to shine again & I’m sick & tired of mud. It makes a mess of my floors. It’s a pain to put on mud boots every time I have to walk across the yard. It gets to the point that every step takes so much effort because my boots stick in the mud & I have to get unstuck before I can move forward. It’s pretty easy to lose your footing and next thing you know, you’ve fallen & are covered in mud. But even through all of this, and even though you haven’t seen the sunshine in days, you know that the sun is up there. It’s just blocked from your view. Sometimes we let things get between us and God and it blocks Him from our view. It’s not that He’s not there. It’s just that we’ve let the storm clouds of life get between us & Him. And then the next thing you know we have allowed so much sin into our life that we’re bogging down in it until we don’t think we can move forward. But even when it’s the darkest and we’ve lost all traction and fallen to our knees in the sin we’ve allowed into our life, all we have to do is ask the Son to shine into our lives and He will.