A time to Break Down…..A time to Build Up

A time to Break Down…..A time to Build Up

A time to kill and a time to heal…..A time to break down and a time to build up. Ecclesiastes 3:3

If  you have kids or a dog you can relate to this picture!

Dog and pillow

This dog is dealing with ‘fall out‘!

Fall out occurs when something explodes and debris scatters everywhere. It is the lingering effect of something radioactive or result of consequences. Something that looks strong and all put together is suddenly broken apart. Pieces fly in all directions.

Past hurts, rejection, disappoints leave ‘fall out’ in our life. When these occur we usually pick one of the following options. 1) We can run in all directions trying to put the pieces back together without success. Like this dog we want the soft, cozy, safe bed back in one piece, but how?? 2) We wish we could have a “do over”. We wish we could tear things down and rebuild from scratch pretending it never happened. 3) Or, maybe, we try to rebuild it ourselves with our own plan and tools, only to have a storm suddenly wash it away like castles in the sand.

Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain. Psalm 127:1

God always has a plan.When He created the earth, He had a plan. When He told Noah to build the ark, He had a plan. When He told the Moses to build the tabernacle, He had a plan. Jesus had a plan. He wants us healed physically, emotionally, mentally. He wants us strong and whole. 3 John says “I wish above all things that you prosper and be in good health even as your soul prospers.” God is the ultimate creator, builder, architect. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth….” Gen 1:1. God always has a plan.

For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:17.

Learn to enjoy the process. With building and restoration comes healing and renewal. Sometimes the healing and restoration  process makes a mess. When you redo a room,  there is sawdust everywhere from sanding out the rough areas and patching holes. It doesn’t look like much, but a good builder always keeps the blue prints with a vision for the finished product. Jesus, the master builder, has a plan for your life. Jesus did not cause the bad things in our life to happen, but Jesus will take our ‘fall out’ and turn it into a work of art. 

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6

Enjoy this song by Jason Gray as you allow God to make your life new:

Jason Gray– I am New

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:11.

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

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Have you had anything to ‘explode’ or ‘something’ in your life?

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A Time to Love….A Time to Hate

A Time to Love….A Time to Hate

A Time to Love and a Time to Hate…A Time for War and a Time for Peace. Ecclesiastes 3:8.

A time to love and a time to hate. Hmmm. So there is a time to hate? This was confusing for me. How many times have we told our children and ourselves not to have ‘hate’ in our hearts. Leviticus 19:17 says ‘ Do not hate your brother in your heart.’  I have seen the result of this in the town my mom was raised in. In the town there is a railroad track that runs down the middle of it. Jimmy Stewart in the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, said that the sound of a train was one of the three best sounds in the world. My grandfather would have had to agree with you. He was a railroad man. He loved trains and delighted in taking my sister and me to the little park and ride the train that was there. If there was a model train displayed, he took us to watch it go around and around through the miniature mountains and  small towns with figurines waving at the train as it chugged past. The railroad provided for his family and brought goods to the town and helped the town grow. The railroad also divided the town in half geographically and in the minds of the people. Proverbs 10:12 says ‘Hatred stirs up dissension.” That has certainly been the case here. Praise God, today He is bringing unity!

What does ‘hate’ mean?

‘Hate’ is a word that gets thrown around easily. I hate cleaning the bathrooms (when will boys ever hit the toilet, thank you very much!) I hate it when it is pretty and sunny and then rains when we go on vacation. I mostly hate it when I see people settle for second best. I hate it when people do not rise to their potential that everyone around them sees they have, but they don’t. I hate it when people can believe something for others but not believe it for themselves. I had a friend say once it is easy to believe for blessing for a business that blesses a ministry or for a ministry that is blessing other people, but not for their own family. Why not, does God not love their own family any less? Anyway, I digress. If God says there is a time to hate then maybe we need to find out what God hates.

First of all the word ‘hate’ in Ecclesiastes is the Hebrew word ‘sane’ it means to hate as in the case of an enemy; to despise, to turn against. In researching commentaries on this I found that some believe this was a ‘hyperbole’ or exaggeration. Others that it is not talking about  heart attitude but rather a ‘distancing or separating’ . Regardless, there definitely seems to be a time when God says to distance, separate from things.

What are we to hate then?

In Proverbs 6:16 the same word is used for hate.

“These six things the Lord hates, indeed, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look [the spirit that makes one overestimate himself and underestimate others], a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that manufactures wicked thoughts and plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who breathes out lies [even under oath], and he who sows discord among his brethren.” (Amplified version)

What I don’t see on the list is race, politics, geographical region, income level, etc. With all the latest political talk the word ‘hate’ is easily thrown around today , but are we talking about the outside of the person or the inside. Interesting that the seventh one, the one that is an ‘abomination’ to the Lord, is ‘he who sows discord among his brethren.’ God is a god of unity.

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, Flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”(Psalm 133, Message version)

Some say they are over 40 things listed in the Bible that God hates. Forty in the Bible is a number for chastisement, not judgement. It points to action of grace leading to and ending in revival and renewal. So  even if there are things God hates, His ultimate desire is to ask forgiveness and receive the His grace and have revival and renewal in our lives.

“As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:1-10, NIV)

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God made us to love and do good works. I think God hates  things that go against His nature and  against the good plan He has for each of us. If anyone has kids you know what is like to want the best for your kids. You don’t want to see them hurt, let down, disappointed, getting second best. God sees us the same way. He has things planned for us, good things. The things God hates are things that keep us from experiencing those good things, they keep us from having joy, peace, love, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith,  righteousness, and truth. (Ephesians 5:9, 22). If liking things that God hates is going to keep me from these things, keep me from the good works Jesus has planned for me, then I am going to start hating some things. Unfortunately, I don’t see cleaning bathrooms on the list God! Oh well, need to get over that one.

Here are some helpful links:

 http://www.biblestudy.org/bibleref/meaning-of-numbers-in-bible/40.html 

http://www.charismanews.com/opinion/34323-take-a-biblical-stand-at-the-polls

photo from www.freepik.com
photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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Besides cleaning bathrooms, what is on your ‘hate’ list?

A time to Mourn…..A time to Dance

A time to Mourn…..A time to Dance

A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Ecclesiastes 3:4

It is OK to mourn, there is a time for that. Mourning is for a season and has it’s place. Let the season run its full course, but don’t stay there. Learn to dance in the rain. You may be mourning the death of a loved one or the death of a dream. Learn to dance. Learn to take eyes off of self and put them on God and others. When you dance you are free to embrace another. When you dance you are moving in rhythm in tandem with another. You are following a beat not your own but the music’s. There is a time when we need to embrace Jesus and move where He is moving. Allow Him to lead you. All Him to guide you through the music He is orchestrating. Jesus will guide you and lead you, sometime fast and sometimes slow. If you will yield to Him and you will be in rhythm to His music and not your own.  Allow  Jesus and the Holy Spirit to do their perfect work. He will turn our wailing into dancing (Psalm 30:11).

Jesus wept. John 11:35

We know Jesus wept. (John 11:35). The people didn’t see what Jesus did. They did not have the spiritual insight to see that Jesus could heal (John 11:37). Jesus did not allow His emotions to prevent Him from acting. There is a time for weeping and a time for laughing but the two do not cross over. (Unless of coarse you laugh so hard you cry!) When they do crossover, there is emotional instability. Success in your life and in your relationships depends on emotional stability. Emotional stability allows you to overcome failures and look to the next opportunity.

Don’t stay parked in failure. Don’t stay parked in misery.Don’t hold onto offenses. Don’t hold onto shortcomings.

Be as Paul who fixed his eyes on what was eternal (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Timothy 2:10) Paul used athletes as examples (1 Corinthians 9:24) because of their ability to focus, their self-discipline, their ability to learn and adjust, their ability to live up to what they had attained and press on for more. For example, when athletes miss the mark, they put it behind them, learn from it and move on. A trainer once told me that you can lift more than you think you can. Press on. In Colossians 1:10-13, we find that God will “strengthen you with His power according to His glorious might” and the result will be patience, endurance, and joy. The joy of the Lord is your strength. Not your joy but the joy He puts inside of you. Joy that is constant despite circumstances. The Lord will stand at your side and give you strength (2 Timothy 4:17). Once when I was going through a hard time and was about to loose strength. I told God I was done in, but God reminded me that it was alright because He never tires. God will give you a spirit of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) Self-discipline in the Greek  means ‘sound mind’ or ‘self control.’ The Holy Spirit will make you emotionally stable to handle whatever situation you are facing. During the process, give thanks (Ephesians 5:20). Listen to His voice and act on it. Pray and spend time with God. It is OK to cry.Lay it at the cross. then get up and say, ” OK Jesus what now. Here I am” . After Jesus wept, He healed.He raised Lazarus from the dead.He can raise you!

Weeping may remain for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” Psalm 30:5

 

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photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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When was a time you ‘danced in the rain’?

A time to Plant ….. A time to Uproot

A time to Plant ….. A time to Uproot

A time to be born and a time to die, A time to plant and a time to uproot. Ecclesiastes 3:2

For some reason I have had a hard time putting this one together. I don’t know why. I grew up with gardens. My sister and I were in charge of  sowing the seeds as dad made the furrows and tilled the ground. Hours were spent gathering the harvest, and preparing it for the freezer or table. I still wince when I think about husking corn and finding a worm, yikes! I have the muscle memory to snap beans in my sleep! The work was worth it. Come winter, we had fresh corn and vegetables on our Thanksgiving and Christmas table.

What kind of seed are you sowing? What kind of harvest are you looking for?

What I learned from this is that to reap something good, you have to first plant something good. If you miss the time to plant, you will miss the time to harvest. Some may be looking for a harvest and they have not planted a crop yet. “Remember this, whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7) In Colossians 1:6 we learn that “the gospel is producing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all truth.” Fruit comes from the inside out. You cannot produce healthy good fruit that last for eternity on your own. Only being led by the Holy Spirit and not by your own selfish desires will you produce fruit that is eternal. (Galatians 5:16-26)

What kind of soil are you planted in? What kind of fertilizer are you spreading in your heart?

In Hebrew, the word here for ‘plant’ also means to ‘establish, put down roots’. “So, then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” (Col 2:6-7) In order to reap an abundant crop, you need strong roots that can nourish the plant and the fruit it produces. You need light, water, and good soil . The Israelites had planted themselves in Egypt, the land of sin and idols, and it took God 40 years to replant them in the soil of the Promise Land. Planting in good soil and uprooting weeds takes courage and strength. There may be rocks and boulders that need to be cleared. God told Joshua three times to “Be strong and of good courage.” (Joshua 1:6,7,9). Think of the American settlers heading west. When they reached the prairie, they did not know how to develop it. Would anything grow? They kept going west to where there were trees, something familiar to them. As a result, the Midwest was one of the last areas to be settled. Today, the Midwest is known as the “Breadbasket” of the US. You may have areas in your heart and life that the ground has become so hard and barren that nothing can grow. Like the prairie, there is a crop of coarse grass and stickers. You don’t know where to begin or how to clear it for an abundant harvest.  Or maybe you are going for what is familiar. It may seem easier to hide some things and not face them.This will only last a short while, for God desires abundant crops in all areas. Remember it takes work to clear land. It means doing something different.

What needs to be cleared? What needs to be uprooted? Are we watering what needs to be watered?

We may not know what to do with the land God has given us. We may not know, but God knows. Somethings may have to die in our hearts and lives for others to live. God has the nutrients and  resources for an abundant crop. When you add the Holy Spirit and the blood of Jesus to your land that God has given you, the land will flow with milk and honey. Come to Him in prayer and lay them at the cross. When you allow God to fight your battles and clear your land, your heart, then you will see that there are things already there that have been planted. Things that are good. They were being choked out by the weeds in our life. There may be areas in your life that you have been trying to tend, weed, water, etc. but only in your power. If you just trim under your own power, it will come back with a vengeance. We trimmed a vine that my kids affectionately called ‘Plantzilla’. We thought it is gone. We were soooo wrong! It came back greener and more wide spread then ever. We didn’t get the roots. Only the Holy Spirit can pluck up from the roots.  Allow the Holy Spirit to pluck up areas in your life that are crowding out the crop that God is planting. ‘Pluck up’ or ‘uproot’ in the Hebrew means to ‘render useless for battle’.  Jesus already is the victor over the things that are waging war against us. On the cross, Jesus rendered them useless in our lives. (Romans 5:6-17) God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy spirit, whom He has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (Romans 5:5-6)Maybe you  have built walls around your gardens. Don’t worry the Holy Spirit has a ball and chain that is capable of crashing down walls. God brought down the walls of Jericho for Joshua and the Israelites. He is capable of bringing down the walls of your heart.(Romans 8) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us ….” (Romans 8:26)You will need to tap into the living water of Jesus.When you allow the Holy Spirit to do the watering then you will reap a harvest that lasts. Like Jesus told the woman at the well, you need living water that you will not thirst again. (John 4:4-13) Situations, things, people, work are not the problem. Not having a relationship with Jesus is the problem. God blesses the land as result of the relationship. (Romans 6:1-14) Think eternal. God does. Look for the bumper crop. Remember there is a “time to plant”, don’t miss that time and in so doing miss your harvest.

For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2:9-15)

Helpful Links:

http://www.joycemeyer.org/articles/ea.aspx?article=three_characteristics_of_humility

http://www.cbn.com/stepstopeace/index.aspx?intcmp=EVAN0017

 

Easter Garden

 

Here is a picture of an Easter garden our kids made. Easy to do with a planter box, clay pot and some stones. We used pansies and begonias in the garden.

 

 

 

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photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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What kind of seed are you sowing? What kind of harvest are you looking for?

 

A time to Search….. A time to Keep

A time to Search….. A time to Keep

A time to search and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep and a time to throw away. Ecclesiastes 3:6

When I read this, all I could think about was sorting out the closets. You know how it is… 3 piles labeled “keep”, “give away”, “trash”. I guess it could refer to the closets in our hearts. It can also refer to relationships with others and our commitments we have made. The first part of the verse is sometimes translated ‘get’ for ‘search’. It is a verb which means action. In other words things are not going to be handed to us. The closets will not clean themselves.  It can also mean to seek the king’s face as for a petition, request. We may need to seek the King, Jesus, face and find out what we need to keep, give away, trash. We will not be able to do it alone, we need Jesus and we will need the Holy Spirit. Cleaning out the closets of our heart can take time. If we don’t take regular inventory then it will get where you can’t open the door without stuff falling out, we can’t find anything, things get broken and lost.

What are you keeping that you need to throw away and what are you throwing away that you need to keep in your life. It is just as bad to throw away what is important as it is to keep what needs to be thrown away. The word ‘keep’ means to guard, treasure, protect. Are you protecting, guarding and treasuring in memory what God has put in your life and inside your heart. Are you like Mary and pondering all these things in you heart? Are you treasuring the pearls that are inside of you or are you throwing them away to swine? Throw away means to cast away, to shed. Allow God and the Holy Spirit to show you  how to shed the things in your life that are taking up space that could be used by a treasure.

What we do with our time and focus shows where our heart is.

We invest time into what we care about and into what is important to us. If you have something you value you will invest time, money and energy into it. This applies to relationships as well as things. The question is whether you are investing in relationships that are mutually edifying and causing growth either in the other person or in you. You may need to love a person at a distance. Some relationships may just need to be shed. Seek the Holy Spirit to show which ones bringing destruction into you life and family. It doesn’t mean that you don’t pray or love the person. You just don’t allow the destructive relationship to come and steal what you treasure.  Sometimes we keep what we need to toss. Take inventory of the relationships and the commitments in your life. Are they edifying? Are you edifying to others? Are you the best person for this commitment? Are they furthering the kingdom of God?

Remember we are organizing the closest of our heart and lives– keep, throw away, give away.

Is this  thing, no matter how good, taking time and energy that could be used to keep, guard, cherish the treasures God has given me? Am I trading best for good? Set priorities in your life. I number mine. God first, spouse second, etc. I then put my commitments into the same priorities and choose those  commitments based on where they rank on my list. Remember when you say ‘yes’ to something you are saying ‘no’ to something else. Make sure what you are saying ‘no’ to is low on the priority list.  If you continually neglect thing high on your priority list in order to do things that are low on the list, then you will have a garden of weeds in your heart and in your relationships and commitments. Make sure what you are saying no to is not one of your treasures.

The Closet

 

In case you are wondering…..after a  month of looking, trying to get motivated, planning……  I finally cleaned out that closet. Took a while, like many of us I had too much in a small space and had many things that did not belong. Wish I had taken a ‘before’ picture. You could not walk into it at all. The next question is how long will it last. Three kids, a husband and a dog…..hmmm…

 

 

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33.

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photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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What are you keeping that you need to throw away and what are you throwing away that you need to keep in your life?

There is a Season……..

There is a Season……..

TO EVERYTHING there is season, and a time for every matter or purpose under heaven

Ever read this in Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. At first glance one senses the desperation of the author. What does it all mean? Do we just go through life without meaning or influence? Or do we embrace the seasons in our life and allow God to make them something that will endure and will produce fruit in season. If we give God our circumstances He will use them to develop within us a heart that is strong with roots that go deep.(Psalm 1) One that is not tossed to and fray but is content regardless of the circumstances. A heart that beats steady to the word of God which gives you strength (Phil 4:13). Praise Jesus that some things only last a season! Rain and storms last briefly but they pound much needed water in to the ground to the roots for plants to grow strong and tall with fruit abundant. Sunshine and pleasant weather bring life and energy to leaves and fruit, but too much and the fruit will shrivel and dry out. My prayer for you is the same as Paul’s prayer to the Colossians:

“asking God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God , being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:9-14.

I don’t know about you but I always struggled with timing in my life. I usually say that God makes things happen in my life in His time just to remind me who is in control (It is not me!) But through this I have learned to embrace the waiting times, the happy times and even the sad times. I have many times prayed, ” Lord let me be like Mary who pondered all these things in her heart. Let me treasure these things for they are fleeting. Let me learn from them and allow them to grow into the fruit that You desire.” Many times the fruit catches me be surprise. God’s presents are always better than our own. I picture myself as that tree by the water whose roots go deep (Psalm 1). Water seems to represent the Holy Spirit. I have learned to allow the Holy Spirit to calm my fast paced mind and lead me to the truth. I take comfort in the fact that the “gospel is producing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you (me) since the day you (I) heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth. ” (Colossians 1:7-9) In other words ‘God isn’t finished with me yet!’ Thank goodness.( I know my husband and kids are rejoicing). The same is true with everyone of us. My desire for this blog to be a place of encouragement for others who are looking at their season in life and are thinking, “Why God  or Where are you God or Need an idea here Lord?” I welcome comments and other words of encouragement as well. I pray that we will

delight in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night. (We will be) like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” (Psalm 1: 2-3)

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photo from http://www.freepik.com

 

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How are you embracing your season of life?