What Kind of Soil Are You?

Luke 8:5-8 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the air ate it up. 6 Some fell on rock, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still, other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Luke 8:11-15 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God, 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing, they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”
These passages should make us stop and look inward. So many people who are going through the motions of belief. There is no fertile soil for the crop to grow. There are a lot of people who simply do not and will not believe the gospel, and these passages tell us exactly what happens. The devil our adversary comes and before anything can take root he snatches the seed (word of God) from their hearts. There was no time for the seed to settle and begin to grow. The devil is always out stalking his prey, looking for those he can trip up, steal from. He is crafty in his approaches. These people are (Path) people of the story.

We next move onto the Rock people. In this case, the seed falls on the rocky ground. These people hung around Jesus, followed him and listened to what he said, like many people today, they come to church, sit on the pews, hear the word, enjoy “church folk ” and move on. It isn’t that they do not believe it is true, they simply choose not to act on it, therefore leaving them in an unsaved condition. It isn’t enough to be joyful in the hearing and know it is true if we do not act on the truth.

We then move to people who are “Thorn Patch” people. These are the ones who hear the word, they know it is true, but life hands them worries and challenges that steal and kill the seed that they had received. The lure of materialism chokes out what they have heard. They have no room for God because of all the other junk that they have and worry about. Their lives are so full that God is left out and never thought about. They cannot see their need for him.

Lastly, we come to the “Good Soil” folks. These are the ones who have heard the word and received it with gladness. They follow Jesus no matter what life hands them. Through trials and testing, joy and sorrow they persevere and continue in the faith. Life cannot do anything to them to make them turn away from the life-giving salvation found in Jesus. Theirs is genuine faith, with roots that run deep into their hearts and souls. These folks hear the word and it stays with them, growing, shaping and growing them as they traverse this life with all it gives them. And as they continue in the faith not only does the seed (word) grow, it becomes this huge crop. Their foundation is sure, their hearts are steady, their faith unwavering.

So, what kind of soil are you? I pray you are the fertile soil, you have heard the word and believed and your roots are deep and watered often. (Read and pray)
Maybe you find yourself in one of the other categories, today could be the day of salvation for you. Look deep into your heart, do you believe, or are you simply going through the motions of a believer, church attendance, or maybe you think that just being around “church folks” will cut it, sadly my friend that is a lie? No one else can save you, it does not rub off on you if you hang with the right crowd. No one can repent of your sins, no one else can ask Jesus into your heart. This is a very personal act that you do alone. The place is not important, your sincerity is! And Jesus knows if you are sincere. Nothing you do can save you, it is not about being good enough or doing a certain act to be saved.

Jesus took our sin on the cross, we could not save ourselves. He was sinless and became sin for you and I.

Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your (heart) that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 ” For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

God’s Tools

As I was reading my Bible study, I came across the passage where Joseph was making himself known to his brothers (Genesis 45:4-8) who had sold him to some Ishmaelites as a slave because of their extreme jealousy of him, and his father’s love for him. Sometime later he was taken to Egypt, where he was rapidly promoted and eventually found himself a servant in Potiphar’s house.

 

His brothers had intended to get rid of Joseph, they had put blood all over his robe, and told his father he had been attacked and killed.  They never thought they would see him again.  Can you imagine being so filled with jealousy that you would sell a loved one to strangers with no thought to their well being?   Their actions were not only unloving but right down cruel and evil. Imagine the pain their father felt when he heard the news. His grief was great.

 

It is interesting how God used Joseph, and was with Joseph in every moment of his captivity. He put him into positions of power and prospered him. Yes, he was also put into prison after being falsely accused of trying to sleep with Potiphar’s wife, but even then, scripture tells us that God was with him, and put him into a position of authority as the prison administrator. Joseph was in prison a long time, he could have whined and complained, but instead trusted God and pointed others to God in the things he did. He was asked to interpret some dreams and he quickly said that he alone could not, but God could. Because of this ability, he eventually was released from prison to interpret Pharaoh’s dream.

 

Pharaoh had a dream involving fatted cows and very thin ugly cows, he wanted to know what the dream meant. Joseph again told him God would give the interpretation, and God did. It was about seven years of prosperity and seven years of famine and drought. Joseph said the Pharaoh needed someone to prepare for the drought to come. Pharaoh decided that Joseph was the best man for the job, suddenly Joseph went from prison walls to palace living and was made second in the land only to the Pharaoh.

 

The dream of seven years of prosperity and seven years of drought and famine came true as Joseph had interpreted. He saved food and prepared for the seasons of famine. During this time, his father and brothers found themselves in need of food and after hearing there was food in Egypt the boys went to buy grain and other needed items.  (Genesis-Chapters 37-45)

 

 

Now we have come to the verses I was speaking about in the first paragraph, Genesis 45:4-8.  “Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.”  When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! 5 And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be plowing and reaping, 7 But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.”  Joseph could have stayed angry and refused to see the bigger picture. After all, he had been the one sold and taken away from all he had known. He was the one who had been put into prison, but Joseph saw the hand of God in it all. The bigger picture was greater and far more important than the one right in front of him, the life he was living. Yes, it seemed unfair and hard. I am sure he experienced every emotion under the sun, but he did not complain, he did his best in every situation and waited to see what God would do. He realized that his brothers were tools for God and that he too was a tool God used.

 

His understanding came to full fruition upon seeing his brothers. He knew then that God had done a great thing for not only his father and brothers but for himself.  It was a full-circle moment for Joseph. All the years of longing for his family were suddenly gone.  They came and lived in the land near to Joseph and all their needs were supplied.  God used their wicked intent for Joseph’s good, their good and his glory.  Wow!

 

Maybe you find yourself in a tough situation. It does not seem fair and more things are going wrong than right. Are you whining and complaining or are you doing your best while you wait on God? Often we want instant answers to life’s upsets. We want the valley experience to end so we can climb to the top of the mountain and survey our kingdom so to speak. The waiting can be hard, confusing, tiring and so many other emotions.  Maybe just maybe it isn’t about you only. It is rarely only about us. God’s ways are so much higher than ours and there is always a bigger picture at work. Maybe you will get to see the outcome and have full understanding like Joseph and his brothers and maybe not.  God does not owe us an understanding of his plans, but often he allows us to know or at least see glimpses of it.

 

I am in a season of waiting right now. Things seem to be dragging along at a snail’s pace. I want to make it happen on my timeframe, some days I feel impatient and then God gently reminds me to sit back, wait, watch, listen and trust him. He is God, nothing is too hard for Him and He will work it out in such a way that He alone gets all the glory, honor and praise. I am confident that the season I find myself in is not just about me. I pray daily that God helps me to wait patiently, expectantly and hopeful in all that He is doing. I know at the very moment that  He has determined everything will fall into place and the time I have spent waiting will be just a memory.  But I want to lean in close and learn while I am here. I want to do my best while waiting and I want others to see Jesus in me while I trudge through the muck and mire. I was telling someone just yesterday (Sunday) that although things are not as I want and there have been some new snags to plans, I will smile, sing and praise my heart out knowing that God has it all. After all, there is not a better way to spend my time than with Him, His word and the sweet presence of His spirit each day.

 

He will work it out…I will see the goodness of God and maybe if I am lucky I will get a glimpse of the why, if not, it does not matter, God’s ways are perfect and I can trust all that He does!

 

Blessings to you as you journey on….maybe you too are a tool God is using in the bigger picture!

Use What You Have

In Acts 9:36-41 about a woman named Tabitha (Dorcas). She was always doing good, making clothing for those in need and helping the poor however she could. She became sick and died, her body was washed and placed in a room. All the people who knew her and had been blessed by her help were crying and mourning their loss. When they heard Peter was near they sent for him and asked him to come quickly. When Peter arrived he was taken to the room where Tabitha (Dorcas) was. Everyone was showing him the robes and clothing she had made and given them, overwhelmed with grief. Peter sent everyone out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. He looked at Tabitha (Dorcas) and said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes and everyone rejoiced greatly at her being made alive.

As amazing as this story is in the raising of someone dead, I want to focus on what it was about Tabitha (Dorcas) that made her so special and loved by so many. Tabitha (Dorcas) used the talents she had been given to help in the way she knew she was gifted to make the lives of others better. She did not go look for another gift, something that maybe seemed greater to others, she simply went about using her “God-given” talents to help and show love. Have you ever desired to be more talented in another area rather than the one God gave you? We are all made unique and it takes all of us to make this world function and move forward.

There are many things I wish I could do, but the truth is I am not gifted in those areas. I am happy to help out and learn from others, but where I excel is in serving, cleaning, homemaking, encouragement & prayer. I call it the grunt-work category. It does not bring all the glory my way, I am not held up and marveled at, but I know that the gifts I bring can help in many situations. I can make someone else’s job easier by being a behind the scenes person. I love people, all people. Small, large, happy, cranky, funny, grouchy, red, yellow, black or white. It does not matter. Everyone brings something different to the table and each of us is made better and stronger by the encounter if we take the time to look and listen.

My daughter always says she likes my helping with parties because I follow directions well, I do what I am told quickly and efficiently. I do not try to talk her out of what she has planned, I just do as I am told the way I am told and try to make her job easier, effortless; and when it is all over I am the first to jump in and clean it up. Getting my hands dirty does not hurt my feelings. I always say working up a good sweat is good for you. I volunteer at my church helping in the setting up for dinners and the teardown. If I am asked an opinion I give it, but otherwise, I just do as I am told and I am happy to do it. I am a good multitasker, which is also a great help.

My gifts may not seem like they are very glamorous and in truth, they aren’t, but they matter greatly to God. He is the one who gifted me with these particular gifts and gives me the privilege to do them often. I love doing those things he brings my way and I always remember that the gifts I am are from him and I do them for him. It brings a certain amount of joy to know that my “Father” is watching and making sure my attitude and my heart are in the right place. As long as he gives me health in my body and breathes in my lungs I will do those things with my gifts he gives me to do and I will do them with joy in my heart and a smile on my face.

If you are not sure what gifts you have prayed about it. God will reveal those areas that he has gifted you in and can open up ways for you to do them. One of my greatest joys is serving my husband. I love to fix his meals, lay out his clothes and keep our home nice so that it is a haven of rest for him after a long day’s work. Maybe it seems silly to some, but I feel it honors the Lord when I honor my husband and care for those things he has given us.

I pray that if you currently are enjoying the gifts that
God has given you that you do them with a new understanding of who gave them to you, who is watching you as you do them and you will purpose to please him in all you do! You may not be brought back to life, but you will be most blessed by a God who sees and loves when his children do all he has given us to do.

Blessings!

Why We Must Be Filled

 

So often hear of those who have been among us in church or even people we know and are around. They take great pains to live good lives.  Everyone says, “hey do you know so and so, isn’t she/he a great person?” I never see her/him do anything wrong, and I never hear a bad thing come out of her mouth.  I know in the past she/he had several problems and was always hanging with the wrong crowd, but not anymore, she/he turned her/his life around. Everyone agrees “she/he is doing well.”

 

Time goes by and you start hearing little murmurings that things are not going to well anymore for this person. Not only are they back doing the things they did before, but worse things. They seem to have lost their mind and their way. Why? What happened. They seemed so determined to live a better life. They seemed to be headed in the right direction.

 

Does any of this sound familiar? I have known people like that. One minute, their lives are all apart and then they seem to be doing things write. Everything is falling into place for them and everyone breathes a sigh of relief.  And just as I applauded the good news, someone tells me of a prayer need, this person seems to have gone back into their old lifestyle or worse.

 

Well, I can tell you the why behind it and in saying that I can tell you what goes wrong, do you want to know?  Let me first give you some scriptures to think on, they are found in Luke 11:24-26 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left. ‘ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.”

 

Unfortunately, we as humans have a tendency, it is a sin tendency. We are attracted to sin. We want to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Our desires are what makes us get up in the morning. So often we want to reform ourselves. We put into practice those things that we think will help us and for a time they do. But over time we start desiring those things again and other things start looking pretty good to us, so we abandon our efforts and fall back into the same things we left and often worse things. Our efforts on our own do not last long. See, it isn’t enough for us to be emptied of evil. To stop what we are doing. There is something, someone we need to have in our hearts if we truly want a change that will last. If we want power over sin, we must have the Holy Spirit in us to do it. He does the work we cannot do. He comes in and cleans the house for good!

 

When the Holy Spirit comes in we start to see the evidence of it. When we have Jesus in us when the Spirit of God is at work these are the fruits that come from that. Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentlenesses, and self-control.  Against such things, there is no law.

24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Do you see what comes from knowing Christ and being full of His Spirit? All of these are great, but the two things that speak to the why of it are these: (self-control and crucifying the sinful nature.) On our own, we cannot do this.

 

We all want to think we are pretty good people, but the word of God is clear on who we are outside of Christ. We are sinners. We are bound for hell. We are wretched and blind.  John 15:6 “If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”

Ephesians 4:22 “that in reference to your former manner of life, you lay aside the old self, which is being corrupted in accordance with the lusts of deceit.” Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. Lastly: Romans 8.8 “and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

 

Check your heart. Make sure you know Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life.  Repent from your sins. He is the only way to heaven and the Father. We cannot be good enough on our own and it is clear that no good is in us outside of Christ. He is the way.  You will one day stand before God and you will be judged, if you do not know him, hell is your future. Think about it! When you come to Christ He forgives your sin and you are instantly a child of God, and fills you with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit begins the work of making you new. He never stops teaching us and molding us into the person God wants us to be.  The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth and will never tell us to do anything contrary to God’s word. My prayer is that you kno

Settledness…Steady…Prepared

Settle Philippians 4:4-8 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your mind in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is t, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.

 

All of us walk through this life knowing that at any moment a “storm” can come up in your life. “Storms” can take on many different forms. There are many different kinds of storms that we can encounter along our way. Financial, death, illness, loss of something dear, divorce, loneliness, prodigal children and the list goes on.  I am sure you can think of several others, nothing that is unique to one person, we all encounter things in life that are just hard, seasons of hard, where we feel they will never end and if they do will we still be intact?

 

Often, we are not prepared financially for some catastrophe, we certainly are never truly prepared to lose someone either by death or divorce. But can we be prepared emotionally, mentally and spiritually?  Can we rejoice even in the middle of our “storm”? Yes, I think we can, if it were not possible these words from Philippians do not mean much.  We are told to rejoice, not to “like” necessarily what is happening, but to rejoice anyway. What can we rejoice about? Well, we are told to “Rejoice in the Lord always.” Always means just that, good times or bad, we need to be rejoicing in the Lord.  We need to have been so immersed in the word beforehand, walking in a relationship with Jesus beforehand that when our “storms” crop up we are not tossed to and fro.

 

We need to remember that the Lord is near, probably nearer at this time than many others.  He is always near to the brokenhearted. (Psalm 34:18) How are we to handle our “storms?” We are told to offer prayers, petitions and even thanksgiving to God when presenting our supplications/requests to God. Let’s face it sometimes being thankful in a tough situation is hard, but I dare say we can start listing our blessings and find thankfulness rising to the surface. I can start with being thankful that I am a chosen child of God, I can be thankful for what has not happened yet!

 

Often we are asked to lay down our wants for God’s wants. It does not seem fair, it is not easy and a lot of the time makes no sense to those around us, but we know in our hearts what God is asking and we have to trust that what he asks is “His best” for us.  It may not look like the best by the world’s standards and it may not feel at the moment like you are getting “His best,” but I can assure you it is. When we surrender our desires, and wishes to him and truly trust that he has us, he cares, he hears, he will bring us through; that is when we experience “the peace that passes understanding.” And when we receive that peace we are promised that our hearts and minds will be guarded, kept by God himself.

 

I am in a season of multiple things going very wrong at the same time. I have done my best to lean in close to the Lord, pray and seek His counsel over decisions that have been and need to be made, all while having another “mini storm” happen in the midst of the first. I will be honest, I stopped and said, “really Lord?” I have had to surrender my ideas, my fleshly wishes to those of the one who knows best. I have had to stop my thoughts from running away with me and setting me up for disappointment. Satan would like nothing better than for me to sit down, let self-pity take over and enjoy one great big pity party, but I refuse to do it, I refuse to listen to his lies. I instead want to focus on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy. God’s got this. He has seen me through a lot of days and years, bigger struggles and stronger storms, so I can rest in the assurance that “He has me now!” He loves me and he is walking with me through each mile of “valley” time I am experiencing all the while lifting my spirits higher, my heart closer and tuning my ears to listen better.

 

God asks us to be gentle ie…balanced and steady in our storm. Even if you are going through something right now and you started rough, complaining and straining against it, it is not too late to turn your attention to the Lord, read his word, take your thoughts captive and surrender to His will. The enemy will tell you it is too late, but God is already there, waiting for you and “You can always run into His arms.”

When you do you will find “His peace” filling your soul and thankfulness taking hold.  We are told the “Victory” is assured. We may arrive with war wounds, looking pretty shaggy, but oh how awesome will the Victory cry be, and the sweetness of being with Jesus for all eternity be? No more “storms,” no more tears, no more pain, no more death…no more, just more of him all day every day without end! Now that is something to rejoice about…let thankfulness fill you now, and trust his heart for you, this too shall pass!

 

 

 

He is already there…

I was reading the other day and came across these words in
Mark 16:6-7 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter. ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
This reminded me of the many times we are told in scripture that the Lord goes before us. I needed that reminder today.

What joy and assurance these words must have given the disciples when they heard them. Knowing that the Lord would be waiting when they got where they were going. They had arrived at his burial place and found him gone, at that moment all hope must have been sucked out of them and a kind of loneliness may have suddenly fallen on them, but hearing those words must have made their hearts beat faster and joy start returning to their otherwise sad and confusing day.

I read also in Deuteronomy 31:8 “The Lord is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” And then in Deuteronomy 1:30 “The Lord your God, who is going before you, will fight for you…”

Does that make your heart feel as happy and full of joy as it does mine?
Life can sometimes roll over us like a wave in the ocean, knocking us down and digging our faces in the sand. We feel out of sorts. It is hard for us to get our “sea legs” under us. But God has told us he is with us through every trial, nothing touches us that God is not in it. And when things seem to be going in the wrong direction, we can rest assured they are going according to His plan. We may not understand it, we may not like it, we may feel we have had our fill of sand, but God…

He is already way ahead of us, He is already smoothing out our path and filling us with all we need for whatever lays ahead of us. We can rest in knowing that He has things well in hand and He has a reason for everything he does. I read in Psalm 139:5-6 these words: “You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.” God is with me through every trial I go through. He is loving, guiding, helping and even protecting me through it. It may feel out of control and I may not be able to discern his touch always, but make no mistake, He is right there with you. Every tear you shed, every hard day you have, God is with you. He has chosen these moments not to break us, but to draw us ever closer to him. We see in these moments how desperately we need him in our lives and every situation.

I am reminding myself of these truths as I walk through my rough patch of ground. I want to lean in close and listen for anything and everything he is teaching me. Sometimes we see what is in front of us and we want to dig our heels in and say no…please don’t make me, but he gently urges us to trust him and to stand up straight, gird our loins and put on our armor and walk like a soldier of the Lord as we should. Eyes fixed on him, not the problem, heart tuned to hear anything he commands and our faith, fully functioning and even blossoming all while we trudge through the muck and mire.

Sometimes all it takes for our faith legs to get strong once again is the touch and prayer of another believer. Someone to come along beside you and cheer you on, speak truth over you and listen to you for just a moment. And knowing that God has blessed me as I go…well, that is enough, isn’t it?

Maybe you needed to be encouraged as I did today, I hope you will let the Lord’s blessing spur you on and you will keep your heart and mind fixed on him knowing he is already where you are going and he also is watching your back, He is such a good God and you can trust he has your good in mind as you go, give him the glory and honor due him, wait and see what God will do!

Thankful

Today is Thanksgiving Day, and I have been busy since around 6:30 am. Cooking, preparing, drinking coffee, and enjoying homemade muffins. I have a roof over my head, warm clothes on my body, shoes on my feet, and a place to lay my head at night. I am so very blessed that I cannot measure all my blessings.  My sweet husband is beside me, and I can reach over and touch him at any moment.  I have joy in my heart that this world cannot understand. Is life perfect right now, no it is not. But my circumstances do not dictate my joy, for my joy comes from the peace of knowing my Lord and Savior, and I can choose either to be happy or sad, I will choose to be happy every time.

 

I walk this earth and enjoy all these things because I have a heavenly Father that has provided them for me.  I have never done anything on my own to merit such gifts; they are all from his generous hand. He called me to salvation, and now I am his child, and for that very reason, I am supplied with all I need and more.

 

I am so very thankful for my family and time with them. I have seven grandchildren that are healthy and such a joy to be around. I have been blessed to have a wonderful husband who is the head of our home. He is purposeful in his actions and desires to love me as God has commanded him to, and he does it well. He is the priest of our home and I am always learning from him, and going deeper into scripture because of his time in the word and how he shares with me all the insights he gleans from scripture and time alone with God.  We pray together daily before we start our day and that alone draws us ever closer in our hearts and souls. He is my soul mate and friend, the head of our home and the content of my heart.

 

As I listen to the sounds of family around me my heart grows warm. But when I stop and consider that all of this has been given to me by a loving God, my heart is overwhelmed within me. My life is a gift in every way. Not because bad things have not happened, because they have. Not because I have not experienced deep loss, I have, not because every day goes great, it never does; but because I have an eternal peace within my heart and soul; a knowing that God himself directs my steps and lights my path. God himself chose me for this life I live and walks with me daily through it. If I never receive another blessing I have had mine to the full so many times.

 

I see people all the time walking around bemoaning everything.  No matter how much they have they still are grumpy, greedy and unhappy. Their joy meter is running low, thinking about counting their blessings only makes them think of all the stuff they do not have.  I have a suggestion if you woke up this morning and you are healthy…start there! If you are a child of God…no brainer… that is the biggest thing to be thankful for…start there! If you can walk to a closet and get clean clothes out…start there! Do you see a pattern here? If you stop and look around you, you can begin counting your blessings, they are right before your eyes.

 

I hope you are blessed on this day of thankfulness. I pray will lean in close and say to the Father thank you for salvation, for forgiveness for the newness of life in You.  And remember you would be nothing and have nothing if it were not for the kindness of a Good, Good Father. I will leave you with some verses to ponder as you go throughout your day. Blessings to you and A Very Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

1 Chronicles 16:34 “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.”

 

Ephesians 5:20 “Always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Man verses God

 

I had a conversation the other day that left me feeling “less than.” As I listened to what was said, some suggestions that came my way, I suddenly had this feeling of being a failure in this person’s eyes. That by the standard of the world I fall far short of the mark.  Anyone who knows me knows I am relatively simple in my likes and my needs. I do not have to have the best of things to feel satisfied and happy. My joy rests in the Lord, not in this world and the things it can offer me. I don’t go on big vacations to exotic places, I do not have the latest anything. My house is extremely modest and I drive a 13-year-old car. These are truths, just some facts about me. I am happy with my place in this world. Content with what God has given me.

 

My desire in life is to live for Jesus, even sacrificially in my choices. I know that one day I will either leave this earth through death or when Jesus returns for his children; either way, I will not be taking anything with me.  I came with nothing and I will leave with nothing.  There is a verse in Galatians that says: “Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God: Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Jesus Christ.”  I desire to live as though any second could be my last. To spread the love of Jesus to any I meet along life’s journey.  If that means I do without, I don’t have the best of things and I even struggle through this life then so be it!

 

My life may look fairly pathetic to someone who has much and can do whatever they want whenever they want. They have the proverbial “tiger by the tail.” There is another scripture found in Matthew that says: “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” I have thought much about these two verses in the past few weeks. Life has handed me a bunch of lemons, but I choose to make lemonade, and not just any lemonade, the kind that does not lose its sweetness or go bad.

To make it through this life we must keep our eyes focused on Jesus. This world will chew you up and spit you out. You will be judged and found wanting.

 

If you find yourself overly focused on the things of this world, and your attention is given to the next thing that makes you feel good, feel important you may want to take a few moments and do a heart check. Ask yourself where your focus is? Ask yourself if maybe you are living so good in this life you do not long for the next? Often people are so busy with their stuff, their trips the next big whatever that they lose sight. of where they need to be storing up their treasures. Scripture makes that pretty clear as well, it says in Matthew 6:19-21 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

 

I want all my treasure to be in heaven. I want to live in such a way that my focus stays on Jesus, even if that means living in need. Maybe getting a job and working outside of my home would bring in the extra bucks to do bigger and better things, but when I pray and seek God for the “what do you have for me,” I feel complete peace that the ministries I am involved in, even the ministry to family is where He desires I stay at least for now.  I want to be like Jesus, I want to live with an open heart and open hands. Giving and blessing and doing all in his name. I don’t want to have so much that I do not long for his return or my heavenly home.

 

Where is your focus? What keeps your attention? Could you do with less? Do you care more about your earthly home than your heavenly one? Does stuff keep your eyes spellbound?  Don’t get me wrong, if you have been blessed with much in this life, good for you! But be careful that your riches do not keep you from a right relationship with Jesus. Be sure you are not too chained to this world and all its goodies!  And remember not everyone is the same, and it does not make a person wrong or less than, it just makes them different than you.

 

I will leave you with this…Jesus did not have a place to lay his head, He lived sacrificially on this earth to seek and save His lost sheep. If the King of the world and the Creator of everything traveled light…shouldn’t we?

Better To Know

Reading through Luke, I came upon these verses, (17-21) where Jesus warns the disciples about spiritual pride.  The disciples were very excited about the power they had over sickness and evil spirits.  Demons had to flee when they rebuked them in Jesus’ name. They had seen great results as they ministered in Jesus’ name.  Jesus warned them to be careful about being too prideful. They needed to be more excited that their names were written down in heaven. Satan was also very prideful and it went to his head, he rebelled and was cast out of heaven because of his pride and desire to be like God. Jesus said in verse 18 “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”  He goes on to tell them that He has given them authority and power to perform the miracles they were doing.” (verse19) They could do nothing on their own if He had not given them the power they could not do the miracles that they were doing.

 

These verses also point us once again to the Sovereignty of God. Unless God enables us to do the kingdom work we cannot do it effectively. He by the Holy Spirit enables us to do great this for his name. This removes any sense of pride we should feel at anything we do for him. Heaven is not just for the elite, the smart ones, the prettiest or most handsome, God’s word is for everyone. We come with only our wretched selves to God. No great work here on earth can gain us entrance into heaven. We must be born-again. We trust solely in God’s grace to get us into the Kingdom, our works are nothing.

 

We all have equal access to God. The mega pastor on TV has not got a better spot in heaven or a great work they have done that has marked their spot in the Kingdom, as a matter of fact, so many of them are so caught up in self and how great they are they may find themselves hearing these words, “depart from me I never knew you.”  Scary isn’t it. To think that people walk around supposedly doing the work of God, yet their hearts are far from God.

 

We go on to read in verse 22 these words; “All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son (chooses) to reveal him.” Wow, that takes out any sense of pride that “you” decided to follow Jesus. You would not have decided to follow had he not already started the work of regeneration inside of you. You did not call yourself, you did not save yourself and you cannot keep yourself saved. No amount of good works will get you into the Kingdom of God.

 

If you find yourself giving yourself a big oh “that a boy/girl,” you may want to take time to rethink the pride you are feeling and repent. Jesus warned his disciples about their pride if he thought it important to warn them than we need to take notice and check our motives. It truly is better that your name is written down in heaven than any great miracle or work you may be able to do.

 

If you are chosen to be the conduit by which God heals another or even drives out evil, or spreads the word of God in ministry, thank him that he has chosen you to be a child of God, walk humbly through the “mine field” and “mind field” of pride and do not let yourself think too highly for it is by His power alone that you have been enabled to do such.