"So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time [IN DUE SEASON] we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit." Galatians 6:9. Use the talents and gifts God has given you and REJOICE in the harvest.
“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us“— 2 Corinthians 4:7
As we enter the Thanksgiving season, I am reminded of legacy. Thanksgiving is traditionally a time of remembering family and the blessings we have. Taking time to remember those blessings can be the challenge. We are so busy with every day life of errands and work and school that we may miss the everyday blessings that God has provided for us. Little things done today, impact the events of tomorrow and ultimately the next generation. But what are we passing on? Are we so overwhelmed with the cares and struggles in our lives that we are missing the blessings? Are the things we are passing on things that last for a moment, a season, or eternity? Are they truly treasures? Are we taking time to unearth the blessings in our lives?
“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” —-2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Sometimes we need to hold on to our treasure as the waves crash around us.
It is only then we realize what we are holding onto, what is deep and buried just under the sand, what comes not from ourselves but from Jesus and our relationship with Him,—- is the true treasure.
Are we passing on–how to have peace amidst the storm… love when faced with adversity…. perseverance to stay the course…joy that comes from God that gives us strength to see joy amidst the everyday struggles and routines… grace for the moment…
To take the time to count our blessings may mean digging away the sand that is keeping it hidden and allowing the waves to wash away the rough edges to make it smooth. We may not recognize the treasure for what it is. We may only see the tip or the edge. It may appear broken and insignificant, but God sees the treasure and the blessings that is beneath. If we allow Him, Jesus has the power to slowly move away the sand and wash away the dirt and reveal the hidden treasure that was there all the time. True treasures transcend our lifetime. True treasures lay a foundation for our children to stand on and build upon. True treasures and blessings come not from us but from what Jesus has done for us and within us. The power is from Jesus and not from us.
I love Easter. To me it is the first hint of spring. Of new life, of a new promise. To me, Easter is not a celebration of bunnies and chocolate, but the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Knowing the end of the story it is easy to celebrate. Jesus is risen and the tomb is empty, our sins have been forgiven. Amen! It is easy to forget the sacrifice that Jesus made, the shedding of His own blood for our sins. My husband reminded me that sacrifices in the Bible were pretty gruesome stuff. The Romans perfected crucifixion to be excruciatingly painful. In fact the word “excruciating” was a word originally used to describe the pain of crucifixion. I have been a Christian for long time, but studying the cross and Jesus’ sacrifice for us, opened my eyes again to the mercy and love God has for us. So I thought I would share some of what God has shown me about the cross. I am not a theologian, just a mother of three with a love for Jesus and His word. I am calling these thoughts:
Resurrection Eggs for Adults.
(Resurrection eggs are plastic eggs filled with a symbol of the Passion Week. Each day your child can open them and read a scripture and learn about events leading up to the Resurrection of Christ).
My prayer is that you enjoy these posts, but mostly you will grow in deeper understanding of Jesus for the blood of Jesus is one of spiritual weapons along with the name of Jesus, and the Word of God. It is our firm foundation that everything else rests.
When we think of the cross, what do we think about? Blood, cross, Jesus, sins, love??? Probably all of the above and more. The cross is pivotal in many ways. Historically it divided time, BC and AD. Spiritually it unites us with God. Ultimately it is a picture of unconditional love. To understand the cross, you need to understand Covenant and the importance of the blood.
“For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that make an atonement for the soul” Leviticus 17:11.
Life is in blood. In our bodies the blood supplies nutrients, removes impurities. It cleanses. The sin that came with Adam is passed down with the blood. God had given Adam a choice and he chose to give it to Satan Genesis 3:15 but God said that He would send someone to bruise his heel or to bruise his authority. Jesus is that sacrifice. He took the authority so we could have victory not just in heaven but here on earth. He overcame the devil (Revelations 12:11).
“We have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”– Ephesians 1:17
“We are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ.”–1 Peter 1:19
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Ephesians 6:13
With a house full of testosterone, I have learned to appreciate a good war movie every now and then. They remind me that you can have courage under fire and strength when you need it. (FYI…..Although my husband tries to convince me that Braveheart is a love story, I am still not convinced). Recently, I was watching this movie where the combat team is highly specialized and they are on a secret covert mission during WWII. The introduction goes through each man and gives their name, rank, expertise i.e. John, Lt, sniper; Frank, Col, leader; Bill,Lt, knife expert; Joe, night vision; Sam,demolitions, etc. All have been on multiple missions and all have been highly decorated for success and bravery under fire.
Then we get to the last one,Bill, RADIO MAN.
Military— only 6 mos.
Reason for being chosen— other guy got sick.
Location when picked— in chair at the radio on the plane.
Reason chosen— no time to pick someone else.
Do you ever feel like ‘RADIO MAN’ or woman ?
I ask God some times, “Why am I here, Now. Notexactly what I had planned, God.” I think that maybe Radio Man thought, ” yeah, in the military talking on the phone, should be easy.” He asked the lead commander what the mission was and was told “need to know” (standard military response for –just obey orders peon).Ok, now Radio Man is on a mission he wasn’t trained for or briefed on and he is getting shot at. Radio man just about gets sick right there. But the good news is, he is THE RADIO man. Which means maximum protection!
Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deut. 21:6
In God’s army, we are like THE RADIO man. We have maximum protection. We may be in a battle and not know why or how, but God always has His plan and reason. The battle will bring out fruit in our lives that can only come out under fire. This is the time where our relationship with God flourishes. It is the time where Jesus shines forth in all His glory. The battle is not ours, but His. The victory is in His hands.
We don’t need to know the mission, it will be revealed to us when the time is right. In the mean time, press into the relationship with Jesus, learn to hear His voice and His voice alone. Allow Jesus to do His perfect work in our hearts.This is a time for prayer coupled with action. Let your heart stay soft and sensitive to the voice of God. Look for the miracles amongst the battle.
Praise Jesus and ‘thanks to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Cor 15:57.
In case you are wondering, What happened to Radio Man? Well, the original mission failed and had to be changed in mid battle. As it turned out, they had to sabotage a submarine minefield that was controlled by radio signals. Guess what, only Radio Man knew that equipment. The original man chosen would not have been able to do it. As a result, the American fleet made it through. When the battle is over we will be able to look back and see that it is no mistake that we were where we were. Jesus sees the big picture when we don’t.
(FYI– the movie is Ambush Bay by United Artists, 1966)
When did you feel like ‘Radio man’ or ‘Radio woman’ and how did you receive ‘maximum protection from God’?
Princess…..Inside and Out…..Honey, Patricia, Janet, Carol
In God we Trust….four words that bring so much controversy. It is not the world we grew up in and I am sure our parents thought the same way. Songs, videos, books that praise God’s name are viewed as offensive, but when we are in a time of need, we drop to our knees…. from which comes our strength, our hope, our joy. I know we refer to the faith of our ‘founding fathers’ as the basis for this, but it goes deeper than that. It is the very core of our being. It is the empty hole we cannot fill with anything else. Since the beginning of time man has tried to fill that void with all sorts of things from money, daring excitement and adrenaline rushes (natural or man made), sexual pleasure, or just wanting to be in the best house in the best neighborhood with the best job and the best family (the idea of a ‘perfect’ life). All these are fleeting and bring joy for a season.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7
As a teenager, I learned that negative emotions can be habit forming and that joy has nothing to do with happy times or happy circumstances. Joy comes from knowing God and knowing that He is there with us always. Jesus will supply all we need physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially. As a teenager, my parents divorced and my mom and my sister and I moved to a new town. I struggled with my identity of who I was and with acceptance as most young girls do. During this time, God brought four ladies, friends of my mom, into my life, Honey, Patricia, Janet and Carol. They filled in the ‘mama’ gaps when my mom could not. What I saw in them was the power of prayer and faith in God and Jesus’ ability to fill that ‘gap’ in my life and bring true joy. Their families and children were not perfect, but their love for Jesus was. I saw a faith and determination to trust Jesus through the hard times and rejoice with Him in the good times. Their relationship with Jesus was and still is a steady anchor in their lives. I wanted that for me; a faith that expressed itself in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ. A joy that permeated to the core of my being.
Honey had ( and still does) a joy that lights up regardless. I treasure her statement, ” It is not an obstacle but an opportunity for God to overcome.”
Patricia showed me how still waters can run deep. She has integrity and showed me how to stand on principles of God and not to compromise. God has His best for you, don’t settle for anything less.
Janet, a prayer warrior (then and now), showed me where my source of strength needed to come from— the word of God, my relationship with Jesus and prayer. Through Janet, I learned that in order to be as Psalm 1 states” tree planted by the waters that produces fruit in due season”, then I needed to take time and be open and honest with God. I needed to allow the healing blood of Jesus to forgive.Our own abilities and intellect can only go so far and will only produce temporary fixes in our lives, but Jesus’ fixes are deep and permanent.
Carol showed me that Jesus is the source of wisdom and discernment, not my own mental understanding. I watched her stop many times and pray before making a decision and it didn’t matter the size of the decision. I could tell by the look on her face that she wasn’t just pondering the situation, but was saying,”Ok God, what do you want me to do?” Wisdom, understanding and discernment come from a spiritual ear and heart tuned to hear God’s voice. In order to hear God’s voice I needed to know Him and in order to know Him I needed to read His word.
Through these ‘spiritual mamas’ I learned to not dwell on my own short comings, failures, inadequacies and struggles, but instead to develop a love for God and to trust Him.” All things are possible to him who believes, ‘ Mark 9:23.Thank you Jesus for the praying ‘spiritual mamas’ in my life.
Look around for the ‘spiritual mamas’ in your life. What characteristics did they impart to you?
Jesus said, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence.’ (Matthew 22:37, message version)
Have you ever been so busy you forgot to feel? Or, if you did take the time even if it was 5 min, you took a few breaths and then you were off again. As you go through your daily list for the umphteenth time in your head, do you take the time to see what your heart is saying? Laundry, supper, pick up the kids, get golf clubs to golf practice, tennis racquet to tennis match, church early to set up coffee, call so and so, get landscaping quotes, make grocery list and the list goes on and on. We all face this every day. Then all of a sudden you hit the wall and everything crashes. You then ask, why did this happen? Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to feel. Your head crowded out your heart.
And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Revelation 22:1
Have you ever gone on vacation and come back needing a vacation? You run the kids to this amusement park, putt-putt, restaurant, movie, sporting event, etc. Finally you come home and realize: I did not walk the beach. I did not sit and enjoy the waves crashing. I walked, but was busy clocking my miles. I did not look at the sun reflecting on the water. As the light shines, crystals are glistening with every wave saying ‘Praise the name of the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.’ Somewhere along the way of doing, you forgot to praise. Your head crowded out your soul, your prayer of thanksgiving and praise.
Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths…..wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds…. Psalm 148:10
Have you ever been to the zoo and seen the animals swinging from the trees. Or just observed your own little ‘animals’ swinging from the rafters of your own house. If you have two little boys running around, you know what I am talking about. A friend of mind, Dan Breeding, is a wild animal handler. He says that animals do what they were designed to do and they do it very well and in so doing they bring glory to God.
What were we designed to do? I am sure we have many talents and abilities that God has given us to enable us to enjoy our life our earth, but what is our main purpose? Passion refers to your heart; prayer is your soul and intelligence is your mind. We were created to Love God with our whole being. Above all else we were created to have a relationship with God. When we try and fill that desire with anything else, we will hit the wall. We know God loves us, He sent His son to die on the cross for us because of the love He has for us. But are we taking the time to tell God we love Him? Are we holding back our love, passion, prayer, thoughts?
For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. 17For God did not send the Son into the world in order to judge (to reject, to condemn, to pass sentence on) the world, but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him. John 3:16,17 (Amplified)
What were you designed to do that you are doing very well?
There are two women in the Bible who I feel represent two sides of every woman. They are Mary and Martha. Mary and Martha are first mentioned in Luke 10:38-42 when Jesus and the 12 disciples decided to stop in and visit, while ‘on their way’.
Martha had a servant heart that was full of action. Mary had a devotional heart that sprang from her time at the feet of Christ. Mary and Martha were not only sisters by blood but they also had a spiritual relationship based on their faith in Christ. I grew up with Marthas, from my grandmother to my mom. But as any Martha can tell you, you need the Mary side of you to be the center point that drives you. The Mary side is the one that sits at the feet of Jesus and lays every care and struggle there. It is the part of you that cries out, “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me, ” and means it with the very depth of your being. The Mary side, the side that allows the Holy Spirit to teach and guide you, is the side that supports the Martha. Being a Martha by nature, God has brought some Marys in my life to remind me of this principle. They have been used to keep me on track. They have shown me again the joy and peace of staying close to God and having that intimate relationship that comes from spending time in the Word of God and from spending time with our face on the floor in prayer.
A Princess…Inside and Out…Crystal
One such Mary is Crystal. I lived with her and her family for a few months before I married. After having spent most of my teenage years in a home of a single mom, God knew I needed to see another side. During those months, I saw a woman who prayed for her husband and children. She had quiet times and enjoyed that time in the Word of God. She opened her home to college students like myself who needed some extra love and attention. She took things lightly and always had a smile on her face. She knew who her source of strength was. She was quick to cast her cares onto Jesus and allow His peace to flow. I know many a prayer was said over me as I struggled with that balance of “I can do it myself” and “I need to allow God to work through me:. She started her day with Jesus and it flowed through everything she did. She sat at the feet of Jesus with her whole heart as Mary did. In Luke 10:39, the word ‘sat’ (parakathezomai) means to ‘to make to sit down’. It is the only time it is used in the Bible. Mary had the same choices as Martha and she made herself choose to sit down at the feet of Jesus. Mary not only physically heard the teachings of Jesus but she also learned from what she heard. She was obedient to His voice. It was not a one time thing. It was active and continual, i.e. she kept on hearing. Mary sat close to Jesus physically and close to Him with her heart to not only hear instructions with her physical ears but to incorporate them into her very being. The words of Jesus became a part of her. Mary and Crystal were yielded to Jesus.
Martha was ‘cumbered’ with serving. Cumbered (perispao) means that she was drawn away. Her actions were good but they were drawing her heart away from Jesus. Martha was said to be doing ‘much serving’. Serving and ministry of helps were Martha’s calling. The gift of hospitality flowed in her life. How many of you invite 12 plus people over for dinner at the last minute! Martha is quickly overwhelmed and goes to Jesus and asks Him to encourage Mary to help (synantilambanomai), i.e. come alongside, share in the bearing, to take hold with another. This word is only used one other time in the New Testament. In Romans 8:24-26, it is used in reference to the Holly Spirit helping us in our weaknesses. Martha was feeling left in a lurch, abandoned, alone in her calling. But was she really? Jesus was right there. Martha was being distracted mentally when she needed to be at the feet of Jesus refreshing her mind and spirit for the calling that was so evident in her life.
“But one thing is needful; and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”—Luke 10:42
‘Needful’ comes from ‘chreia’, a noun meaning ‘what is necessary for life.’ It is used in the New Testament in reference to needs of the spirit that only God and the Holy Spirit can fill. (Example Matthew 3:14, Hebrews 7:11, Mark 2:17, Luke 5:31;Romans 12:13; 1 Corinthians 12:21-24). Mary and Crystal chose that good, joyful, excellent, pleasant, agreeable part that is ready to bear fruit in their life. Crystal, like Mary, incorporated the word of Jesus into her heart to such an extent that it ‘shall not be taken away.’
A Princess…Inside and Out…Jen
Mary was transparent with Jesus. Her heart was in passive mode to receive. As a Martha type person, I am usually not passive about anything. Then I met Jen. Jen talked about being ‘transparent’ with God. I thought I was transparent until I heard her talk about it. I heard not only the words but I saw a deeper level of relationship with Jesus in her life. Martha had a relationship with Jesus just like Mary. Jen and Mary chose to open their hearts in such a way that their very lives depended on it. Jen is new in my life. God knew I needed to meet her when I did not know I needed to. With Jen, her life depends on that open transparent relationship with Christ. With us typical Marthas, we are usually ‘capable’ people who as I like to say, ‘Get the job done.’ We need to be reminded that we can only go so far without being more transparent with Jesus and the Holy Spirit and open to the words of Jesus to change us from the inside out. I think Marthas fight this intimacy because we do not want to see what is really in our hearts. You know the areas that we keep only to ourselves. The areas that we are ‘busy’ covering up. Jen reminded me that those areas even existed. We forget that Jesus knows everything about us anyway.
It is at the feet of Jesus and on our knees in prayer and in the word of God that we choose the part that cannot be ‘taken away’.
When we sit at the feet of Jesus with our hearts open to hear and understand His word, then we are changed in such a way that we cannot return to our original state. It is here that the Holy Spirit breaks down every wall and barrier in our heart and mind., It is here that we have joy and peace, It is here that our burdens become light. It is not easy. It means making deliberate choices to spend time in prayer and studying the word of God. It means being willing to change. It means being honest with ourselves. It means as Jen says, being transparent before God. It means reaching out to serve not only physically but with your heart. The rewards are worth it. It it the Mary times that provide the oil that makes the Martha times run. Praise God for the Mary’s in my life!
As you have therefore received Christ, (even) Jesus the Lord, walk (regulate your lives and conduct yourselves) in union with and conformity to Him. Have the roots (of your being) firmly and deeply planted (in Him, fixed and founded in Him), being continually built up in Him, becoming increasingly more confirmed and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding and overflowing in it with thanksgiving….Colossians 2:6-8 (Amplified version)
Please share about the Martha’s and Mary’s in your life……
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.
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)
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.
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.
What are you keeping that you need to throw away and what are you throwing away that you need to keep in your life?