I once heard someone say if you are not growing, you are dying. This has stuck with me. Especially in my walk with Jesus. I had written a post on bread and water and it relates to this subject.
I have been told by friends that I can grow anything. My response is that it is one of the gifts God has given to me and also that not everything I plant grows. A few years ago I was able to attend a Feast of Passover with a group that I have grown to love. These brothers and sisters in Christ join together from different states across the United States. One who had come from Florida had brought some grapefruits from the tree they had growing at home. I saved some seeds from the fruit that had been given to me. I did not know if they would grow and planted one of the seeds in one of my pots not knowing if it would grow. I was so amazed when I first saw it sprout. It continued to grow. It became a little to big to keep in my apartment and had planted it in my flower bed outside of my apartment and watched it grow even more.
I know winter is coming around the corner and I will have to cover it in plastic so that it will be able to survive to cold season. I have been caring and watching this tree grow and the lessons God has taught me using this tree grown from a seed. I have recently saved a seed from a plum, which I had to break open to get to the seed from it’s hard shell. I have planted it in a small pot and was so happy to see it sprout. I water it and keep next to my kitchen window. It is only about an inch now, but it is still growing.
Right now I look at both of these and think about how my prayer life has grown. I have learned much about prayer but I have still so much to learn and share. These trees are not yet at the stage in their life that they can bear fruit, but with time and care they will get there. Just because I have yet to see the fruits of some of my prayers does not mean that the answer or the fruits will not come. I just have to wait. Letting the roots grow deep as the trees grow reaching upward. Just as my prayers lift up those whom I pray for. As my prayers grow, I grow closer to my Savior and to my Heavenly Father and His Holy Spirit.
Recently I have felt weak and felt like I have gone into a dark place, but looking at the seed I have recently planted and seeing the tree that had been grown from another seed, I am reminded that the seed had to go into the ground (soil in a pot in this case) before it could grow into the light. So just because I cannot see the light right now does not mean it is not there shining down on me as I am rooted and growing just beneath the soil. For I am planted in the good soil and His fruits will be produced in my life.
I pray to grow deep and closer to You, and know that you are with me even when darkness surrounds me, Your light is shining upon me with Your favor, and that you are growing me to bear Your good fruits that will be shared with others. That Your purpose for my life is to live for You.
I have recently lost two people I care deeply about with a very short time of each other. I know death is a part of life, but this does not bring comfort when someone you love has passed away. I also understand that there is nothing a person can say to take away the pain of your loss. It has been years now since my mother died of a stroke, but time did not take away how much I still miss her. Now a woman who has been like a second mother to me is gone. Another person who I had worked for over ten years, had also been a friend and father figure. I had left his funeral to visit Mary, and within a short time of coming home from visiting her she was gone. I am grateful for the time I had with both of these amazing people. Yet I still miss them. I am glad that I was able to spend time with Mary in the days that preceded her passing. I had not had the ability to do the same with my Mom, since she had died suddenly, so the time with Mary was very special. Doc had closed shop and moved away, so news of his death was shocking. At least his memorial was held here, and I was able to spend some time with his family.
I was blessed of these wonderful and loving people. Loosing them in such a short period of time is hard, but I am still alive, and they will not be forgotten. Life is a special gift that we should cherish what time we get to spend with each other while we are still here, because like it or not it does come to an end.
So call a loved one, or better yet spend time with them.
I recently had a word given to me to give to someone I knew who had asked me to pray for their situation. They have since told me that I should share this word. They believed that this word could help another, as it at helped them. So I will share it but not the persons name or situation.
This is the word that I had received;
‘You have had someone hurt you. This pain was not caused by their actions but because of what they did not do. You feel hurt and are disappointed. Their actions did not live up to the words the spoke to you. They made a commitment and they failed you. I know exactly how this feels. You cannot count the numerous times per day people who have committed their lives to Me, that have turned back to the world the second they have a problem. Instead of turning to Me, they return to doing things as the rest of the world does.
The second troubles come you want to turn and walk away and say that it is no big deal. I want you think about what would happen if I gave up on you that easy. If I turned from you every time you disappointed Me, hurt Me, or even cheated on Me, etc…. Every time you have been hurt, I have been hurt. Every time you were rejected or abused, so was I. Now multiply your pain by an infinite amount. What you go through with others, I go through too. I don’t give up on you. I will never leave you or forsake you.
Yes you have been hurt by these people, but can you see now how I feel? Can you see how much I love those who have hurt and wronged Me? You may be the only one who is bringing my Light into these peoples dark world. Don’t give up on them. They have never met anyone to show them my love before and they do not know how to react. The spirits operating in their lives are don’t want to let go. Yet My Light can drive away the darkness in their life. You carry this Light within you, like a lantern in a dark world. Let them learn of my Love through you. Another might now show them this love. Remember Love is patient, and love is kind and it also long suffering. ‘
To put it in other words. God puts up a lot with the mistakes we make, the pain we cause and He does not give up on us. There are bad relationships that we have to escape, because they can and will cost us our life if we don’t leave. This message is for those of us who have been slighted in any way that hurts us, we need to remember the pain of a Father who sent His Son to pay the price for those pains. How much pain Jesus suffered for our sins. We sometimes will have to let go of people who we cannot help and will only continue to hurt us and themselves. Yet our first reaction to pull away at the first sign of trouble we should rethink. Sometimes God will use these people to teach us, smooth out our rough spots like sandpaper.
This grapefruit tree, which is still a sapling, was grown from a seed from a grapefruit given to me a few years back. It had come from a tree that was growing in a friends yard back in Florida. I kept a few of the seeds after I had eaten the fruit and thought I would see if the seed would grow. To my surprise a few weeks after I had planted it in a pot did I see a sprout. To my amazement it continued to grow over the past few years. This spring I thought it was time for it to be planted in the ground. Living in an apartment I had not planned on planting it in my little yard, but when I had seen that the bush outside my door had died over the winter I thought it was good as time as ever.
I have grown many plants from cuttings and had even been able to grow an avocado tree from a seed but this is my first attempt of growing any kind of citrus.
This is an orange tree that was also grown from a seed that I planted.
I love watching things grow. It lets me know there is still life no matter how dark things may be at times. They also let me see growth. For one to truly live we need to grow, not just physically but spiritually. Jesus gave us the parable of the sower and the seed.(Matthew 13:1-23/Luke 8:1-15) I have grown plants and trees from either cuttings or seeds, they have both needed to be planted in order to grow. They have also needed to be cared for, if I wanted them to grow.
There are things in our lives that grow that are not plant life. I gave birth to a beautiful daughter, who then had her own child. What God had blessed me with has been fruitful and had given birth to a child who will grow up and some day give her a grandchild. Now there are other things we grow, relationships are one of those things. How we grow in these relationships depends on the care and nurturing we give to them. We do this not only by the words we speak but by are actions as well.
We are not judged by our words alone but how we live. If we live in love we grow in love. Others see how we live, if only for a brief moment a stranger can be effected by how we act and speak. These are the seeds we plant without thinking about. Yet these seeds are just as important as the close relationships we have with family and friends. Simple acts of kindness can impact people in ways we may not see or realize. These are seeds we may not nurture or see the fruits of but they can grow and the next person may be the one to nurture and cultivate what we have planted.(1 Corinthians 3:6 Contemporary English Version / I planted the seeds, Apollos watered them, but God made them sprout and grow.)
I look forward to seeing this tree grow, and possibly produce some fruit. This will take time and over that time I look to learn even more and do some growing myself.
Today I have been thinking about the Dead Sea. Many tourists travel to it because of the high mineral content and the buoyancy caused by the salt volume. This is supposed to have healing qualities, but it is the name that is stuck in my mind today. Water flows in but it goes no where and this is to be the reason why for the high salt and mineral content. This sea is called dead because it cannot support life. Water continues to flow in but then it under the sun it evaporates. I wonder how many of us are like the Dead Sea? His spirit and blessings are flowing into us, but what are we doing with what He is giving to us? Works do not produce faith but faith should produce works.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.(Read James 2:14-24)
Think about the parable of ‘the servants and the talents. Matthew 25:14-30. In this parable three servants are each given talents. The amounts varied, but it was what each servant did with what was given to them. The first two increased their talents, but the third one buried his talent and it produced him nothing. It is with this servant that the master was not pleased. This servant lost his talent and it was given to the first servant. This parable too, reminds of the Dead Sea. I want to be like the first two servants and do something with what God has entrusted to me.
Even though I have faced many trials and abuse in my life, I know He has been with me through it all. He kept me going when I there was nothing I could do. When I felt hopeless He gave me hope. He did not create me for the pain I have lived through but that pain inspires me to help others who are in pain. I don’t want to wallow in my self pity, but share that even when everything in the world is coming against you, He never leaves you and His love is limitless. For all that He has done for me I want to do whatever I can to be there for others. I want to be a vessel that He uses, not one that sits on a shelf collecting dust, and I don’t want to be a dead sea. Receiving but doing nothing with what He has given to me. I want to be more than a hearer of the Word, but a doer as well.
What about you? Are you using what has been given to you to further His Kingdom, or are you sitting their collecting dust?
Many these days are anxious because of the pandemic of Covid19, that is world wide. It is effecting people of all nationalities and classes. Social media has become the main way people are keeping connected. Unless you have a job that is deemed necessary, you are basically grounded. When the stay at home orders were first being issued, one of my first thoughts were about the parallel of Passover and the Exodus. One of the things Moses had told the people to do before Pharaoh would finally release the Hebrews, was that they were to put blood on their doorposts and were to remain inside. The reason for this was to keep their first born alive. For the plague of death of every first born was coming. yet those under the blood would be safe.
Exodus 12:22-23 22 Take a cluster of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin, and brush the top and the two side posts of the doorframe with some of the blood. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until morning. 23 When the LORD passes through to strike down the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the top and the two sideposts and pass over the door; so He will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.
We are all going through a terrible time right now and the treat to life is real, so I understand why so many are afraid. This virus does not care if you are a first born, what your religion is,what color your skin is, or if you are wealthy or poor. Any one of us could get sick from this virus. If we take the necessary precautions we should be okay. Looking at the story of Exodus I do see the reason to have hope. If you are stuck staying home you could very well have cabin fever by now, and are itching to get out. If you have a full house you may want to get away just to find some peace and quiet, if you live alone the desire for company can make you want to leave the safety of your home. As much as I do not like feeling like I have been grounded, I do see the importance of staying home unless I have an important reason to go somewhere.
We need to remember these is temporary and that we will get through this. There is hope. I turn to the Word for this hope and it never lies.
Art by Julie Sheppard
Light at the end of the tunnel is not a train but the Light of Jesus Christ!
Matthew 5:43-48, and again in Luke 6:27-36, Jesus is teaching us to love our enemies. We can say the words ‘I love you’, without meaning what we say. We can say it as easily as saying “Hello”, or ‘Goodbye’. We are being polite, but we are not truly caring about the other person. Now this is where it is going to get harder, ‘Love your enemy, bless those who persecute and you’. I have tried over and over again in this area and failed miserably, so what I am writing is for myself and anyone else who struggles with this.
I have been thinking a lot about Jonah lately. He was a man God used to save the people of Nineveh. Yet he did so unwillingly. He tried to run from His purpose of giving the message of repentance to the people of Nineveh. To say that he did not like them is being kind. He wanted them to be condemned for how they lived. He had passed judgment on them and thought they deserved what was coming to them. So he ran in the other direction, and ended up in the belly of a whale, that spit him up on the shore of Nineveh. He told the people to repent for God’s judgment was at hand, and they did. This did not make Jonah happy though. He sat outside the city angry and wanting to die. Even though the people had repented and God showed mercy, Jonah had no love or mercy for the peopl of Nineveh.
How many times have we turned and gone another direction because we did not like what a person or group was living without taken the time to give the message of God’s love, and the price Jesus paid to show us how much He loves us? Yes there are those who we have shared God’s Word and love with who rejected what we had to say and even turned against us. Yet how many people do we reject? We don’t like how they dress, talk, live or their beliefs’. Is this a spirit of humility? Are we so much better than we can turn our backs on them?
There are people in my life currently that I have a hard time dealing with, from their behavior and vulgar language to their hateful attitude and I must admit that even though I have been polite, I have wanted to take a gallon of Dawn dish soap and a toilet brush to their mouth. this is not a loving attitude and I know it. I also have had people in my life that I have shared the Word of God with and His love who are members of a church who have not only rejected me but cursed me and slandered my name while living in adultery. Do I forgive the one who is attacking me personally and yet judge the other because they do not attend church? Or should I love them as Jesus loves them. It is not up to me or you to change how they live, but to introduce them to the only true love that can transform their lives as He is continuing to mold us into His image.
(In this post I have included the original post, but as I read it again I heard God speak to me and tell me that it was unfinished. So The bold print is from the original.) When your children do not listen to you and disobey you do you get upset? Of course you do. I do not know of any parents that does not care when their child does something wrong. As a parent you have rules you expect your children to follow those rules. There are the things you want them to do, and the things you do not want them to do. When they break your rules you discipline them. So why is it that when God tells us to do something or not do something we like to argue with Him, or we go ahead and do the thing He has told us not to do? He is our Heavenly Father, and we are His children. As we want our children to listen to us we need to listen to God our Father and not argue with Him and do what we know pleases Him. We are not to talk back or tell Him what to do. We do not tolerate this with our own children, so why is it that we think we can do this with God?
Growing up, talking back to any adult was not allowed, and you definitely did not talk back to my father, unless you wanted a beating. Yet are there times when we do this with God, our Heavenly Father? Do we make demands and tell Him what to do? I think we have become spoiled children at times. We have used prayer as a one-way street, with a list of demands and wants. A combination of a shopping list and a to do list.
When Jesus was asked by His disciples how to pray, He had included, ‘Thy will be done’ in His example of how to pray, and what we today call the ‘Lord’s prayer’ (Matthew 3:9-13). Later while praying in Gethsemane, He again said in prayer, ‘Not my will but Thine be done’. In both instances, Jesus the Son of God does not make demands but prayed for the will of God to be done.
It is not our own will that we should be seeking but His. How can we know His will? Let us not only hear what He tells us, but listen. Remember that prayer is communicating with God. He is not your personal genie granting you what ever you wish, He is our Heavenly Father. He wants to hear from you, but He also wants for you to listen to what He has to say. He is not your ATM machine where you put your membership card in so you can take something out. Stop for a moment and give Him your time and attention. Listen to His voice.
1 John 5:14 This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
John 10:27-28 ESV My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
Mark 4:24 ESV And he said to them, “Pay attention to what you hear: with the measure you use, it will be measured to you, and still more will be added to you.
Proverbs 1:8-9 ESV Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching, (9) for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Proverbs 7:1-3 ESV My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; (2) keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; (3) bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.
Rom 8:18 NKJV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
forgive me for complaining about my pain more than I praise you and for any time I blamed you for my suffering. I am sorry. Help me to praise you even when it hurts, to share Your love with others who hurt and are suffering. Use my imperfections to show the world Your perfect love. What the world designed for my destruction use to be glorified in me. For I understand that it is not You that hurt me or caused my infirmities. I live in a fallen world and we have all been given free will to choose do right or wrong. I know when I have been hit and abused physically, sexually, and emotionally You were with me suffering with me. You know my every wound and pain because You bore my pain when You were beaten Jesus. They mocked You, spit on You, beat You, rejected You and crucified You, and still in that moment You did not defend Yourself but submitted Your body to their punishment because You love me. On the cross You said to Your Father, ‘Forgive them, they know not what they do.’ You forgave my sins and paid my debt when I did not deserve this from You. You love me truly and You cry with me when I cry and hurt when I hurt. This pain I feel may feel like I have suffered a lifetime but a time will come when I will know that it was just a small part of my life. Yes I have been hurt and I am weak but Your love fills me and gives me hope that better days are coming. Thank You so much for loving me as I am and for taking all the mess of my life and turning it into just one of Your masterpieces.
The term ‘Toxic Relationship” can be applied to a number of relationships we may have. What makes the relationship toxic? Well there can be a number of reason to label a relationship toxic. The word ‘Toxic’ implies that it is poisonous, harmful and even deadly. A relationship is obviously toxic when you can see the outward signs of abuse. Bruises, black eyes, and broken bones, are signs you can see. What about the unseen? The emotional and mental damaged being done that the eyes do not always detect. What ever the excuse or reason that we may have to stay in these relationships, there comes a time when we need to realize that we are doing more harm than good to ourselves and to the other person. We may have the need to stay to help them, but how can you save someone from drowning when you are drowning yourself?
We need to remove ourselves from harmful relationships. This does not mean you do not care or that you have to hate them to leave. Sometimes the saying, ‘If you love someone, you set them free’, is very exactly what we need to do. Staying in a harmful relationship does neither of you any good. You could be standing in the way of God reaching that person, or they may be standing in the way of God in your life. Proverbs tells us that it is better for a man to be on top of the roof with a dry morsel of bread than in a house with a quarrelsome wife. If you are a woman or a man this is telling you to distance yourself from the one who is trying to do you harm. This could be physical, emotional or verbal, no matter what it is that is causing you harm, the only way to stop it,is to remove yourself from the picture. You would not put your hand in the fire and keep it there. If you did, more than your hand would catch on fire.
Some relationships will be restored and others will come to an end. either way you will grieve the loss, whether it is temporary or permanent. It will hurt more than ripping off a band-aide, but it is a pain you will heal. Healing is the goal in letting go of a harmful relationship. It takes courage to walk away, especially when you love the other person, and they may actually love you but sometimes the only way for the both of you to find healing is to let go.
(A personal thought – bleach is a cleaner and ammonia is another cleaning product, but you don’t put the two together. Why? If combined they produces a toxic gas that will kill you.)