Planting a Seed

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“Why doesn’t God make us love Him?” my son asked.  “God wants us to choose Him and choose to love Him.  It wouldn’t be love if He forced us to do it.” I tried to explain.  “Well, good thing everyone loves Him.” he stated “so they can go to Heaven.”  Of course, I had to explain that not everyone loves God.  My son was so perplexed by my statement he couldn’t even respond.

He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Thessalonians 2:14

I certainly understand his confusion.  It is very difficult for me to comprehend how some choose to cast God aside and deny His existence, power and authority. After all the gifts the Lord has given me and the way He has touched my life with blessings, forgiveness, love, compassion, miracles and His presence.  I find myself unable to leave His name out of any conversation I have.  God is so much a part of my life.  I have allowed Him in and let him seep into every fiber of my life.  Leaving God out of a conversation would be like leaving out the fact that I am married and have children.

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31-32

As Christians we are to share the Gospel and spread God’s Word to those we come in contact with. However, I think sometimes the most powerful way to do that is not through words or conversation, but through actions and the way we live our lives.  I pray that you will allow God in to penetrate your heart, life and mind.  Doing so will cause such a great change in your relationships and actions that others will have no choice but to ask, “How do you have such peace and confidence?  How do you handle the fear without collapsing?  How do you handle the crushing blow of disappointments?”  Your reply may shock them, but it will plant a seed that will begin to grow and hopefully flourish into a beautiful belief in our Lord and Savior.

He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

All I Need

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I picked up my daughter, put her in my lap and started hugging and kissing her.  She said, “Ahhhh, this is what I need every second of the day.  I have been trying to figure out what  I need and this is it. ”

Do you ever have those days?  Days when things seem just a little off-center and you can’t put your finger on what’s wrong or what you need to balance things back out.  There is only one solution, one way to bring your life back to center and put your feet firmly back on the ground.  Call upon our Lord and Savior, our friend.

My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you’ve been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You’re deeply rooted in him. You’re well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you’ve been taught. School’s out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving. Colossians 2:6-7  The Message

God wants us to come to Him for all our needs and desires.  In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. Ephesians 3:12 We can not be separated from Him. Romans 8:35  He is waiting for you, waiting to give you all you need, waiting to fill the void you can’t explain and make you complete in Him. Colossians 2:10

You don’t have to search or wonder any longer.  You are a child of God with access to His wisdom and love.  Open the door and let Him in. Crawl into His lap and allow Him to cover you with His love.  He adores you.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.  Luke 12:6-7

Religion vs. Relationship

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For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

We have all heard the expression that Christianity is a relationship not a religion.  I agree with this statement 100%.  You can’t develop a relationship without spending time with someone daily and getting to know their characteristics, personality and heart.

I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. Psalm 135:5

That is why I believe learning to see God at work in your everyday life is so important.  Once you begin to notice Him around you everyday you feel His presence and you want to get to know Him more.

Seeking Him becomes a priority.  It is important to read the bible because that is where you learn about God’s character.  When you understand who He is, what His promises are and what His heart desires for you – you will begin to crave more time with Him.  These two very important things (studying scripture and feeling His presence) coupled with prayer or conversations with God will take you to another level in your walk with Christ and closer to discovering His purposes for you.

I don’t remember the movie, but I remember Eddie Murphy was the main character.  He said, “If lovin the Lord is wrong, I don’t wanna be right!”  Well, that pretty much sums it up for me.  How about you?  Are you ready to dig a little deeper . . . take the road less traveled . . . stand on the mountaintop . . . and lay it all down before the One who created all things?

“You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.” Revelations 4:11

Stuck in the Muck

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“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.”  Isaiah 38:17

The word “pit” is mentioned many times in the Bible.  It can mean: abyss, chasm, hell, grave, tomb, well, hole, gorge.  You get the picture.  In the above scripture, depending on which translation you read, it means:   Pit of death, pit of destruction, nothingness pit,  or rotting pit.  It doesn’t really sound like a place we would choose to go, but sometimes we do.

It is easy to fall into a pit of despair, self-pity, worry, fear or defeat, but we must pull ourselves out and “enjoy the light because God has redeemed us from going down to the pit.” (Job 33:28). Don’t get me wrong, I have been in plenty of “pits” in my life.  In fact, sometimes I just tell my friends, “I am in a pit today, but don’t try to get me out.  I am down here and I just want to stay for a day or two.  I have having a drink and hanging up some wallpaper. In a few days I promise to come out.”  We all get a good laugh out of it, but telling them where I am is important because they will hold me accountable and will check in on me to make sure I make an exit.

“He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.”  Psalm 40:2

Are you stuck in the muck?  How long has it been?  It may have only been a few days or it may have been for a while.  You may have skipped the wallpaper and be working on a full renovation.  Make a decision today.  Don’t invest your time and energy in the “pit”. Pray right now that your Father in Heaven will give you the strength and direction to pull yourself out.  Tell a friend about your decision and ask them to check in on you to make sure you are staying on the right track.

I asked my son how he got so smart.  “Cause, my Daddy taught me.”, he replied.  If we would just rely on our heavenly Father, He will give us what we need to climb out and be with us every step of the way.  He will teach us, direct us and guide us as we overcome the “pit” we have fallen into.

“Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me.”  Psalm 69:15

Wisdom & Stature

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After His birth, you don’t hear much about Jesus until he is 12 and travels to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover and gets lost (or so His parents thought).

“Why were you searching for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he was saying to them.  Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Luke 2:49-52

I wish there were more stories in the Bible about Jesus when He was a little boy.  I have so many questions.  After Jesus broke a dish or drew on the walls, did Mary always remember He was the Son of God & handle the moment with patience and grace?  Did she ever forget He was God’s son and raise her voice in frustration? Or was Jesus, even as a child, God’s perfect son and never ran into a moment He required discipline?

I wonder why God left out the stories of Jesus’ childhood.  I would love to know what kind of parents Mary and Joseph were.  Certainly they would be the greatest of role models when it came to parenting.  Would their adventures in parenting put us all to shame or encourage us to strive to be the best parents we can to our children.  Even if our children are not the son or daughter of God – we are all His children.

Because these stories were left, out we can only speculate about Jesus’ life as a toddler and the parenting strategies that Mary and Joseph used.  But, we can look to the Bible for examples of what to teach our children.  As parents, teachers, or mentors should take the job seriously and strive to model Godly lives to the children around us so that they grow in wisdom and stature as Jesus did.

It has given me great joy to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as the Father commanded us. 2 John 1:4

See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. . . Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. Deuteronomy 4:5, 9



Bold

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We were back to school after a nice long vacation. Everyone was having a difficult time adjusting back into the “routine”.  We woke up on Tuesday morning running late, husband with a fever, muddy shoes that had to be cleaned before we walked out the door and barely made it to school before the late bell rang.

Whew, I thought.  I had dropped off one child and had one more to go before I could take a breath.  When from the backseat I hear, “Mommy, let’s talk about Jesus Christ our Savior.”  (I’m not kidding!  That is a direct quote.)  Talk about a jolt back to reality.  It was like someone shaking me and saying, “Get it together, girl.  Focus on what’s important.”

His direct and very bold statement was so refreshing – so clear.  I wonder how many time we miss the opportunity to be bold and direct with those around us?  How many times we try to solve their problem(s) for them or offer our personal advice instead of pointing them in the direction of the ultimate solution – our Savior Jesus Christ.

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. Luke 11:8

It isn’t easy to be bold with those around us.  Sometimes, we know the correct direction to point them in [God’s] but we choose not to.  Are we embarrassed, feel like it is the easy way out, don’t think He is a good enough solution for them, or just forget He is in control?  I think the answer varies depending on the day, the situation and the person with whom we are talking to.

After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Acts 4:31

Regardless of the circumstances, as Christians, it is imperative that we look up to our Lord and Savior and that we point others up to Him as well. Pray for him to fill you with His Holy Spirit so that you have the courage, obedience, and knowledge to speak boldly about His awesome and mysterious ways.

Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 28:31

Uncharted Waters

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Recently, I found myself in a strange situation.  A situation I had never encountered. Both of the strong, “go to” people in my life where down.  The two I have  always counted on to lift me up, keep things moving in a positive direction and just be there.  They were both facing situations in the their lives that were dragging them down and were barely able to keep their heads above the rough waters that seemed to raging around them.

I was in uncharted waters and I felt completely inadequate to handle either situation.   It was paralyzing.  I felt so helpless.  Just able to sit, watch and pray.  That [prayer] never feels like enough, does it?   In the tough situations, we usually want to take action and fix the problem!  Satan loves nothing more than to fall prey to these thoughts.

You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you. Nehemiah 9:6

It has been a terrific reminder that I am not in control and that I AM inadequate.  God is the capable one.  He alone.  In fact, He does not even need my help.  He may choose to enlist me in a certain situation, but He does not have to.  He alone is Lord.  Coming to terms with this can be difficult when you are watching those you love experience a confusing or painful time.

Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior,and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O LORD, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O LORD.  Good and upright is the LORD; therefore he instructs sinners in his ways. Psalm 25:4-8

God is enough.  Our faith and hope should be in Him alone!

Prayer is enough!  In fact, prayer is one of the most powerful tools God has given us.

Lean on Him and let Him take you through the uncharted waters of life.  There is no better captain!