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?
A few nights ago our dog barked all night. The next morning we discovered that she had drug a possum up to the house which explained the barking. Before that it was a dead raccoon, a mouse, and multiple turtles. Oh! And let’s not forget one of our chickens. She is so proud of herself every time despite the fact that I would prefer that she hide the bodies and leave the chickens alone! But what she wants is a pat on the head & a scratch on the belly because she has performed a great deed by protecting us from those vicious critters. But isn’t that what we do? We do some insignificant thing that we consider a great deed, spread it out before us, and wait for someone to pat us on the head for it. I know I have. And what’s sad is, I’ve even done it with God. Here’s the thing. We aren’t doing God a favor. No amount of good deeds can earn us God’s approval. I would imagine that He has probably had the same reaction to some of my “triumphs” as I have had to my dog’s. He probably would have been happier if I had simply guarded my testimony rather than barking about it and expecting for a pat on the head.
“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.
Matthew 6:1-4 NKJV
Have you ever jumped in your rig & taken off out of town only to have your fuel light come on? And it usually happens smack dab in between gas stations where it’s too far to go in either direction. How often do we get our prayers answered…get headed down the right path…only to have everything that could possibly go wrong happen? I’ve noticed that I will pray so hard about something but as soon as God answers that prayer, I put the situation on cruise control & before I know it, I’m veering off course. What I’ve concluded is that the bible says to pray without ceasing….I stop praying too soon! For some reason, I seem to think if God will give me a push & get me started then I can just keep going & going all on my own. When the fact is, God is the fuel that keeps me going and prayer is the steering wheel that keeps me on course. So next time you’ve got a personal journey and you pray for God’s direction….make sure you don’t take off without God or prayer. Because even the best drivers rarely get far without fuel or a steering wheel.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 – NKJV
How many times a day do we wad up paper and throw it in the trash? Plain, ordinary paper that gets discarded simply because it didn’t have a purpose. Have you ever made a paper snowflake? You start out with an ordinary piece of paper. You fold it up and cut little pieces out of it, and then round off the jagged edges. When it’s all unfolded, you have a beautiful snowflake. I think we are all plain ordinary pieces of paper. And unless we allow God to take us, remove our jagged edges, allow Him to remove the sin and cut away the pieces of fear and doubt, then we are just going to end up in the trash, destined to be burned. But when we accept Him and allow Him to change us and give us purpose, we go from plain and ordinary to a beautiful creation.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
2 Corinthians 3:17-18 ESV
If I ate a bowl of fruit with a few nuts, oats, and a little yogurt on Monday morning, but then ate cupcakes, candy, cookies, and soft drinks for every meal the rest of the week, I probably wouldn’t be very healthy. Not only that, I probably wouldn’t feel very good. I would be physically and mentally unhealthy because it matters what you consume.
So when I find myself or my family in this unhealthy state, do I blame the grocery store? I mean after all, they sold me all the junk food. Shouldn’t they have done a better job making sure I bought healthy food…maybe more fruits and veggies? Should I blame my stove? I mean, it should be providing me and my family with healthier alternatives shouldn’t it?
Of course not! I’m pretty sure that if my weekly diet consisted of one healthy meal and 20 unhealthy ones that I would have nobody to blame but myself. After all, I am solely responsible for making sure that what I eat will be nourishing. Because I know that it matters what I consume and it matters what I feed my family.
So why would I think that my Spiritual appetite and health are any less important? Why do we think we can consume Spiritual nourishment on Sunday morning and then spend the entire rest of the week gossiping, cussing, watching inappropriate things on television, listening to inappropriate music, and essentially feasting and filling ourselves with everything we can get out of this world?
And then when we find ourselves struggling in our relationship with God, drifting farther from Him, and watching our kids starting to make decisions that we know are wrong, who do we blame? Do we blame the church? After all, it’s their job to feed us Spiritually isn’t it? Do we blame the media? I mean, there is so much bad stuff out there telling us that wrong is right and right is wrong, it’s no wonder we’re all struggling.
IT MATTERS WHAT WE CONSUME! Whether it enters through the mouth, the ears, or the eyes….IT MATTERS!
Who chooses what we eat? Who chooses what we listen to? Who chooses what we watch on television? Who chooses what we gossip about? Who chooses who we help or who we hurt? Who chooses what we allow our kids to consume? Who chooses what we allow them to watch or listen to? Who chooses who we allow them to spend time with? Whether by word or by actions… YOU CHOOSE!!!
And it matters what you choose. Because whatever you choose to consume the most of, will eventually consume you.
“For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
Luke 6:43-45 NKJV
The longer I live in this world, the more I believe that there is no such thing as too over-protective when it comes to our children. Prepare them for the world. Teach them to listen for that still small voice of God. Teach them that Satan will always shout louder but to listen to the whisper of God. But protect them with every ounce of your being as long as you possibly can. God has placed them in our protection to raise. They are His children and He expects us to love and protect them. He doesn’t want us to just let them run around until they grow up. A plant that is placed in good soil,watered, weeded, given plenty of Son shine will grow strong. If left uncared for it will be whither and die. Don’t allow the weeds of this world to entangle your child. Protect them.
Why do we go to church and what is the church to you? Well first of all, most of the time when we ask what the church is, people say it’s a building…God’s house. The building…God’s house…is where the church congregates but it’s not the church. We are the church. We are the body of Christ. Flesh & bone…not boards & shingles. So why do we “go to church”? Well…I prefer to say the church gathers since we are the church. So why do we gather? Is it to be entertained? Is it to show the world that we’re ‘good people’? Is it to be fed? Is it to try to cram a weeks worth of God into one day? Is it because we have kids & we think they probably need to be in church? Or is it to worship God? To give God the holy reverence that He should be given? Sometimes it seems that the world has lost the point of worship. We…me for sure…can’t seem to keep that humanness in us/me from turning what should be all about God into all about us/me. And then we leave church, and think we’re good until next week. If we only spoke to our spouse once a week, what kind of marriage would we have? A relationship with God is no different. Honor Him on his day, pray and meditate on Him the other 6. And don’t try to cram A week’s worth of God into one day. Think about it…what if God thought about us, only as much as we think about Him?
I had several boxes and some junk mail that needed disposed of so I took them out to burn them. I lit the pile in several different places but noticed a napkin that I had thrown in so I lit it. Now the boxes were slow to catch fire but that napkin flamed up and within a few minutes, the entire pile was nothing but ashes except for a stick that was still smoldering and a rock that didn’t burn.
So here’s my question…what is your faith made of?
Do you believe that there is a God but you do nothing to honor Him or obey him?
Do you believe in God, sometimes obey Him, maybe even go to church, but then the rest of the week, give little or no thought to Him?
Or do you believe in God and commit yourself to the work that He has given you? Never perfect, but always striving to be a faithful servant of God. Do you study His Word, honor Him in your daily life, and wake up each day putting on the full armor of God?
If you are the first one, that believes but doesn’t honor or obey Him…you are like the napkin. When you are faced with trials and your belief is held to the fire, it will be consumed and you will be left with nothing but a pile of ashes.
If you are the second one, you believe but only on your terms and in your time, then you are the stick. You may be able to withstand the fire that this world throws at you a little longer than the napkin did, but eventually you will be overtaken.
However, if you are the third one, strong in your belief and commitment to God and the things of God…looking for ways to serve God rather than looking for how He can serve you…protected by His armor….you are the rock. Even amongst the flames, you are safe in your faith. Allowing the fire to refine rather than consume your faith.
So here’s my question….or questions. Is belief without action truly belief? Is belief without commitment truly belief? Is belief on our own terms truly belief?
I won’t answer that for you. But what I will tell you, is that I would rather stand at the judgement seat of Christ, my faith charred and covered with soot and ash, and hear, “Well done my good and faithful servant.” than to stand before Him, with no faith to show because it wasn’t strong enough to withstand the fire and hear Him say, “Depart from Me for I never knew you.”
If I’m being honest, I don’t even need to hear Him say, “Well done”. I’d be happy with, “You certainly were a handful, but you tried and I love you anyway. Come on in.”
For You, O God, have tested us; You have refined us as silver is refined.
And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’
Luke 19:17 NKJV
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
Seems like every day is a struggle between dealing with negativity & living my life with forgiveness, mercy, and love. Because honestly….deep down all I want to do when I’m around a negative person is say, “Suck it up buttercup! Life doesn’t owe you squat! You’ve had a great life even if you refuse to see any of the good & choose to dwell on the bad!” And yes…I know that is not very Christian of me. But when people allow a couple of bad things to rule their entire life and choose to use it as a sympathy card every chance they get….it drives me crazy!! But at the same time I have to ask myself, “What would Jesus Do?” Pretty sure He would handle it much better than me. I’ve tried being the positive influence but it usually backfires & I just end up angry. I’ve tried avoiding & then I feel bad. I’ve prayed….but I’m quite certain it isn’t often enough. So what do I do? I forgive and give it to God. Because the only thing that I’m completely positive about is that it’s not possible for me to soften a hard heart but God can do anything.
I’ve seen many people hurt by careless words in my life. Sometimes the words aren’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 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 get upset when a court rules against the will of the majority. We hold rallies & demonstrations when they start removing flags and statues. We pray for peace when we are confronted by acts of terrorism. We draw lines in the sand over masks! And I’m not saying we should or shouldn’t feel this way. But why aren’t we doing anything in our homes? Why aren’t we teaching our children God’s Word? Why aren’t we showing them the way and the truth? Why are we more concerned over masks than our children’s eternal salvation? Why are we teaching them hate instead of teaching them why a person’s actions against God breaks our hearts? Why aren’t we showing them to pray? Why are we trying to treat the symptoms instead of curing the disease? Why do we prepare them for fires, tornadoes, or active shooters, but we don’t prepare them for eternity? One thing is certain. Jesus is going to return. Whether we are alive or dead when that happens is not certain. But nonetheless, one way or another, He will judge us all. Have you prepared your children for that? Are you prepared?
“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
If Jesus had a Facebook account and He posted, “I’m coming to take my children home tomorrow. If you want to come with me, like this status today.”…how many people would like it? It would probably get more likes than anything in Facebook history. But what if He posted it at 11:59 pm and nobody noticed the date and time? They would probably still keep liking and sharing the post, not realizing that they were too late. Here’s the thing. Jesus is not going to post that. He’s not going to give you another head’s up. He gave us one when He left His word with us. He has given us all the warnings that we need. He’s given us every opportunity to choose Him. So it’s not a question of, “Why would such a loving God send us to hell?”…it’s a question of, “Why would we choose hell over such a loving God?” Our choice…our eternity.
Dear gracious Heavenly Father, we stand before you, a broken and fallen nation. Where we call wrong right, and the good we call bad. We know that where You are, hate cannot exist, but here we are… a nation full of hate. I pray that tonight, as so many are enjoying freedoms that You have blessed us with, that we would all remember that although we are free to choose our own decisions and actions, we are not free from the consequences. I pray that YOUR Holy Spirit would light up our souls like fireworks lighting up even the darkest night. I pray that every knee would bend, every head would bow, and every heart would be turned to You. Because we know that until You enter a heart, hate and sin can still exist. And Lord we pray that this nation will truly be one nation under You. And in all things we give You the glory!! Amen! (Feel free to share this prayer…there is most definitely power in prayer!!’
One morning a few years ago, we woke up to torn up fencing and two injured horses. Sometimes it takes a bad day to realize how blessed we are.
We went to the back pasture to try to doctor the injuries.
My horse came right to us knowing we had feed and that we were there to help her. The other horse was a little more cautious but still let us help her. But in that moment, she had two choices. She could have faith that we were there to help or she could run. She made the right choice.
We are all faced with that same choice in life. We can have faith in Jesus and go to Him or we can run. But only one choice takes us to the Healer.
If you’ve ever worked in a garden or in flower beds, you’ve inevitably had to deal with weeds. What I have noticed is that where there are more weeds, it’s a lot harder to pull them out. They not only root, but all the roots as become tangled & inner-twined. The areas that are tended to regularly have fewer weeds and are easily pulled and tilled. Once as I was working on a particularly rough area that I had neglected for awhile, I became irritated at myself for letting it get so bad. I had simply allowed myself to get so busy that the weeds were trying to take over and if that had happened, we would have either had to give up completely or start all over on our garden. Fortunately, after several hours, it was all back under control. But how often do we get so busy with the things of this world that we don’t even notice when sin starts taking root in our life? And before we know it, the roots have tangled and what would have been easily removed has now turned into a messy, time consuming, problem that we either have to face head on or risk having the weeds take over. Don’t put God on the back burner. Don’t allow sin to take over and choke out the good fruit-bearing plants that God has placed in your life. Because it’s a whole lot easier to pull a few weeds than it is to start all over.