Weeds

weeds

“24 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” Matthew 13:24-25 NIV

As I was weeding in my yard one summer, I received insight from the dandelions I was encountering.  I started to look at them more closely and here is what I noticed:

  • From a distance they are pretty, adorned in bright colors. They can even appear to be a flower versus a weed to the untrained eye.
  • As I started pulling them, I realized how deep their roots are – deep and tough. It’s hard to get the whole root off because it breaks easily. Pieces stay that will spring up again.
  • They spread easily – insidiously. Their multiplication system is very easy – where the wind blows, the seeds go. Indiscriminate. High volume.
  • It’s also tricky. I started simply picking off the flowers, and then I saw deep down in the core other buds coming up. It was almost creepy they were so hidden.
  • They choke out healthy grass and other plants. They want all the space. They don’t cohabitate well.
  • They don’t require care or nutrients to prosper and multiply. They remind me of something so ancient – like original sin. Old and ugly. Life smothering. Steal, kill, and destroy.
  • Still green, they blend in with the grass except when they bloom (bear fruit).

I won’t dissect every point.  From a big picture level I realized this is exactly how Satan operates.  By being grounded in God’s word we are not deceived.  God’s word, time with Him in prayer, and praise and worship of our King is what nourishes us.  They are our fertilizer, rich soil and eternal water supply!

Father, let me absorb all the spiritual nutrition that You so readily provide!

Matthew 13: 1-29, John 4:7-15

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Watch In Hope

watch in hope

“But as for me, I watch in hope for the Lord, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.”Micah 7:7 NIV

I had a long season of waiting. Being still. Over a year I was still. My year consisted almost exclusively of reading, prayer, and journaling. Other things had  gradually been stripped out of my life. Some of the stripping was easier than others. Some was downright painful. When I stumbled upon this verse, the word “hope” stood out to me. In my stillness, my one desire was to be obedient and learn a new way of life. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice.  It was more of a determination to do things differently.

For years I had tried to do things my own way and that didn’t work out very well.  Now I was determined not to repeat the same patterns all over again. The “hope” in this verse was as loud to me as a thunderclap. It started as a warmth in my belly.  It occurred to me that I can be still and sit in hopefulness for what is yet to come.  I do not have to have any direction.  I can still sit quietly but hopefully. It made me want to spend the day watching Karate Kid.  It made me realize that in my daily activities, small as they might be, a transformation was taking place. A kinder, gentler lifestyle that depended on someone else for a change. A hope for something better.  So much better in fact, it required a purging of old patterns, relationships and hurts that I no longer needed to carry around anymore.

Hope was the beacon that lit my new path.

Lord help me to always place my trust in you and not myself, others, or material things!

Psalm 34:5-6, 37:7-9, 40:1-3; 1 John 5:14-15

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Revelation

revelation2
“1 The revelation from Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:1-3 NIV

The image of John receiving this message from the angel of God is a powerful one. Wow. To see and hear from God like John – that would be incredible.

So what does it take to hear from God this clearly? Be still. I think we also have to know how much God loves us in order to fully trust what we hear.  It is critical for us to know how deep and how true He loves us.

We will be tested.  We will need to stand firm, stand firm in His life and His love.  We will be faced with ugliness. Darkness will be all around us.  In those times, the hard times, we need to trust God.  Trust His love for us.

Father, help me stand.  Help me simply stand firmly next to You. Hold my hand. Never leave me or forsake me.  I know You never will because You promised.

Ephesians 3:18, Psalm 46:10, Hebrews 2:18, Joshua 1:5

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True

True2

“4 The weapons of the war we’re fighting are not of this world but are powered by God and effective at tearing down the strongholds erected against His truth. We are demolishing arguments and ideas, every high-and-mighty philosophy that pits itself against the knowledge of the one true God. We are taking prisoners of every thought, every emotion, and subduing them into obedience to the Anointed One.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 The Voice

True. One true God. Historically, true was not a word that packed a lot of punch for me.  As it becomes more and more challenging to tell the difference between pop spiritualism and the gospel, I am beginning to understand that true is a very powerful word.

True: Adjective– conforming to reality or fact; not false. Real, genuine, authentic. Sincere, not deceitful. Loyal, faithful, steadfast. Reflecting the essential or genuine character of something. Conforming to a standard. Exact, precise, accurate, correct. Legitimate or rightful. Reliable, unfailing, sure. Exactly or accurately shaped, formed, fitted or placed. Honest, honorable, upright.

As I look at these descriptions, they hold great power.  For me, it offers a word of caution.  We should be wary of things that do not reflect this description; things that are not true.

So Father, put a thirst in my heart for all things true, for all things of You.  Help me come to understand You as the One True God.  Help me embrace all the ways that You are true.  Father, I pray that I will be true to You in all things and in all ways.  Thank you for Your true and perfect love and mercy and grace.  Thank you for giving me these gifts undeservedly.  Thank you for loving me so true and unconditionally.

Matthew 6:22, 24:35; Mark 3:35, John 1:9, 3:21, 15:1

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Watch For His Works

watch for his works2

“Keep your eyes open for God, watch for his works;
be alert for signs of his presence.” Psalm 105:4 The Message

What are signs of God’s presence? It is a peace. A settling. A knowing. Sometimes it happens really quickly. It is not God’s intention for us to get bogged down in minutia.  Sometimes He just needs us to do our part and trust Him to orchestrate the rest.  We simply have to do as He asks.  His transactions are bigger, more grand and more elegant than anything we can do in our own power.  And of course a lot less stressful if we can learn to let go of our desire to control and manage outcomes.

Lord, I ask for Your help.  Do not let me overthink what You ask me to do.  Help me to simply listen and continue to move forward.  Help me to put one foot in front of the other. One day at a time.  Father, order my steps and help me to trust that You will order everything else.  You are King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  I am Yours, Father. I am Yours. I am Yours.

Psalm 105; Psalm 27

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Party On!

Dog with Birthday Hat and Balloons

1 “Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,  praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.        
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.” Psalm 150 NIV

I love music. And dancing.  I love singing.  I love listening especially to live music and savor the talent of the musician.  Worship requires participation.  Engagement.  It may look different for each individual but there is no way we can worship without engaging with God.  Worship requires relationship.  When we engage with Him, He engages with us! We get a taste of what once was in the Garden and what is yet to come in heaven. So, I want to get this party started each and every day!  I want a piece of heaven now!

Praise God!  I praise You Lord with every ounce of my being, with all that I have.  If it’s my voice, let me sing for you.  If it’s my body, let me dance for You. If it’s talent, let me use it for You!

Psalm 149, Psalm 29:9, Psalm 134:2

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Hope

hope2

“the Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.” Psalm 147:11

Hope: noun. A longing; dream.

Similar words:  Achievement     Ambition     Anticipation     Aspiration     Belief     Concern     Confidence     Desire     Expectation     Faith     Goal     Optimism     Promise     Wish

These are weighty words.  Do I feel confident placing all of them with God?  Do I trust that He loves me so much that He wants the best for me in every word listed?  What about my achievements? My ambitions?  My concerns?  My desires?

Well then do I believe His promises to me?  Can I take God at His Word?

These are big questions, but the answer is even bigger.  The answer is YES.  We can.  We can place every single one of these big words at the feet of Jesus.  God knows we are not equipped to handle that long list and the pressure, stress and anxiety that goes with it.  If we can release it all to Him as He intended and believe with all our heart that He loves us more than we can imagine, then we find comfort. We find our inheritance as a child of God. Our thirst is quenched.  We find mercy. We see God. We find peace.  We find the kingdom of heaven.

Lord, thank you for instilling hope in my heart. A hope to dream and reach for the very best that You have for me!

Psalm 147, Matthew 5:1-12; Hebrews 10:23

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