Friday, April 25, 2014

More Excerpts from Our Life on the Farm

We were up at six this morning so that we could weed the corn before it gets to hot. It's funny how the weeds that we passed over last week are now a foot and a half high, neck and neck with the corn. But I was speaking with a friend yesterday who is a farmer's wife. And she was telling me that while many crops can endure some weeds, corn will NOT yield a harvest if the weeds are bad.

It's not unlike our faith really. The "weeds" of sin tend to choke our faith, making us fruitless. The things we "pass over" while purging our lives of sin can quickly spring up and become huge contenders for our souls. Sin that seems small and insignificant can very soon begin to consume our thoughts making it impossible to "rise above". The only remedy is to rip those "weeds" out. That is why it is important to root out the things that cause us and others to stumble while they are still small. And it is a continual task.

With so many who are farmers and gardeners in the world, it is no wonder that Jesus used the parable of the seed to communicate these lessons in life.

Still, there are those of us who love to garden, who sometimes fail to grasp the importance of weeding our spiritual lives of sin that will threaten to choke us and rob us of our very worth. Because in our pride it can seem small, and insignificant in our minds and we fail to care about the damage it could do.

Imagine how beautiful we would be if we would just rid ourselves of the "life sucking weeds" of our faith, those little sins that grow up unnoticed until one day, they overtake us and we are no longer seen as children of God but a "patch of weeds" that needs to be dealt with immediately lest they go to seed and spread to the rest of the garden and destroy it's beauty.

I don't know about you, but this image makes me cry.
It is sad to think that the faith of a child of God could become so corrupted by the weeds of sin that others would have difficulty discerning wether he/she is actually a child of God or not.

I want to be clearly and easily distinguishable as a Christian. I do not ever want to allow sin to hide or hinder the fruit of my faith. And I never want to allow those sneaky weeds of sin to creep up and overtake me.

God help me, because I am flesh. And like in a garden those weeds of sin tend to grow faster than my faith. But if I can put my roots down deep in my Savior and drink deeply from the source of life itself, my faith will endure and being indistinguishable will not be an issue. And maybe one day, I will be a beautiful and fragrant flower to behold in the garden of God's children and my seeds of faith will spring up in the lives of others. :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

A House of Unity

Lately I've been more and more filled with praise to God for the blessing of my family.

Psalm 127:3-5 "Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!"

We are a family of nine sharing a little house and abundant lives. Our "quiver" is full! I love this life!

What I think is amazing is the fact that we have nine different personalities, nine different senses of humor, nine different temperaments and nine different wills, yet we're all able to live and work together daily in so much joy and unity with each other that the size of our family is not a burden nor a hardship. I give glory to God for this gift, because I know that the reason there is harmony in our home is because HIS will presides over each of our hearts.

God has given us instructions on how we are to live with each other. Unity is a prized blessing for the church. But often unity is a difficult thing to grasp, whether it is in the home or the church. What we've learned in our home is that there can be joy in submission to each other according to the rolls each family member has.

God has set in place different rolls and responsibilities of each member of the body of Christ both in the home and in the church. The varying gifts and callings of the children of God are given for His glory. And when each person plays his roll and uses his gifts in humility to serve the body, the striving and the contending will diminish and harmony will be something that is easily attained. But when there is a lack of submission there always will be a lack of unity.

Those of you who have been blessed with children probably (and hopefully) understand the concepts of authority, discipline and submission very well. A child can not rule the home...unless pandemonium, strife and chaos are readily acceptable. That is why appropriate and timely discipline is commanded, yet always with a view to grace and mercy. That is also why rolls of authority and responsibility are to be undertaken with great seriousness.

Parents are responsible not only for loving their children but also for modeling and teaching in matters of faith, holiness and humility as well as academics and life skills. When parents stop at love and fail to undertake the rest of the responsibilities of raising a child, the harmony of the home becomes a figment of the imagination, a mere longing of the heart that seems to good to be true. And the gifts of unity and peace in the home are lost.

The same is true for the church. Responsibility and submission to our calling and position is a must for unity to be had. But like in our home, where no one is made to feel inferior to anyone else and everyone is treasured for who they are and the gifts they have, we recognize that there are still different rolls to be played and submission to each other in humility is a daily calling.

Where there is unity there is great joy. It is a blessing of much worth in the eyes of God.

Ephesians 5:21 "Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ."

Philippians 2:3 "Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves."

Friday, April 11, 2014

Live Such Good Lives

2 Timothy 2:16 "Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly."

It is unfathomable to think that anyone would be ok with "becoming more and more ungodly". For those who have known the love of Jesus I am certain the thought of this would grieve their hearts. Only the ungodly are ok with becoming more and more ungodly.

2 Timothy 3:13 "evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived."

What would it be like if those who are called by the name of Jesus came out from among the evildoers and impostors by refusing to "indulge" in what makes us more and more ungodly? What would it be like if instead of entertaining gossip we refused to give occasion for the name of Jesus to be mocked among us?

"Live such good lives among the unbelievers that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us." 2 Peter 2:12

Friday, April 4, 2014

Have a Blessed Day

Scripture. Coffee. Silence. Sunshine. Can the day get any better? What a blessed life!

"My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up."

Just the though of the many tangible blessings we have causes me to rejoice in God's provision. But even more of a blessing is the knowledge that each day God delights to reveal Himself to us, even drawing close to us as we draw close to Him.

"He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him."

"Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you"

"The LORD confides in those who fear him; he makes his covenant known to them."

Whatever this day brings with it, we know that God holds each of His children in the palm of His hand. And nothing will come to us, unless it first passes through His hands. But our joy today is to know Him, to seek Him and to rest in Him, no matter what.

Have a very blessed day!

God is the Master Artist

"Time is the brush of God, as He paints His masterpiece on the heart of humanity." Ravi Zacharias

I love this thought. I've always thought of God as the Master Artist. We can see it in all of creation from the complexity of the human body to the stars in the heavens. But with the hearts of men, his master piece is still a work in progress. Until we take our last breath we have the opportunity to be a part of the great unveiling of God's glory.

Like one of the greatest stories ever written or told, or one of the greatest movies ever to play in theaters, History is real life art depicting the story of God's love and patience with His creation.

Each of us plays a roll in His Great Story. What character do you or will you play? How will God's story in you play into the rest of the story? And how will your character affect others in His story? Will you be the one others are rooting for because of your kindness, love, generosity, perserverance, selflessness, honor, truthfulness, nobility and faithfulness? Or are there things in your life that you would do better to set aside?

I'm speaking of things that expose a person as the "bad guy" in the story. You know what I'm talking about, right? The bad guy is always the liar, deceiver, backstabber, naysayer, gossip, jealous, envious, untrustworthy, faithless, cowardly, out of control, evil doer who would rather cling to his own evil way and blame others than come under the command to love others as he would love himself.

Honestly, if we consider the command of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves what do you think that would look like? Would there be gossip? Would there be false testimony? Would there be neglect? Would there be abuse? Would there be temper tantrums? Would there be cheating, gossiping, lying or slander, hurtful words spoken, hatred, malice, conniving or contriving? Not one of these "qualities" is ever associated with the "good guy" character in a story. These things are always associated with the "bad guy" that no one is rooting for, the one that causes everyone to hold his breath and wait for justice to be had at the end of the story.

What roll do you play? What roll do you want to play? You are the masterpeice...and God is willing to paint in you the story of a "NEW CREATION" if you are willing to repent and turn to Him. Like the "bad guy gone good" at the end of a story, anyone can repent and be redeemed. And in the end that person always captures the hearts of and becomes endeared to the audience because of his character's miraculous transformation.

You could be that guy. :) Way cool!

"If any man is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone, the new has come." 2 Corninthians 5:17