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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Fresh Words

fresh words

“Don’t let even one rotten word seep out of your mouths. Instead, offer only fresh words that build others up when they need it most. That way your good words will communicate grace to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 The Voice

What are rotten words? Words that come out of anger, rage, malice, slander, fear and are filthy. Wicked.  Lies. Evil. Deception.

What are fresh words? Words full of grace, encouragement, truth, love, compassion, gentleness, humility and meekness. Wholesome. Beneficial. Confident. Even bold.

I have heard lots of sayings that allude to the proportion of time that we should speak versus listen.  As in, “We have two ears and two eyes and one mouth for a reason.  Use them proportionately!” I used to find this amusing but now I just recognize it as truth.  Our words have the power of life and death in them.

Some of the things that are associated in scripture with fresh words: life, keep from trouble, sweet like honey, hope, wisdom, peace, love, instruction, healing, love life and to see good days. What we speak has the power to build someone up or tear them down.

Lord, do not let even one rotten word seep out of my mouth. I pray that my words will be Your words spoken in love.

Colossians 3:8, 4:6; Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 15:4, 18:21, 19:5, 21:23

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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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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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The Comforter

the comforter2

“But look at this: You are still holding my right hand;
You have been all along.” Psalm 73:23 The Voice

God is so faithful. So faithful I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. I am so thankful that He will never leave me or forsake me.  I am so thankful that He will always be there holding my hand.  What an incredible visual!

I can picture a large warm strong hand holding mine. It feels so secure. If I stumble the grip is strong enough to steady my feet. If I’m afraid, I’ll feel protected.  I won’t be alone.  Never alone.

Sometimes I forget that He’s always with me.  Sometimes I act as though I have to handle everything on my own.  That is a big lie!  That is not what God has promised.  Satan wants us to feel alone and isolated in order to deceive us.  It’s a smooth move until we figure it out.  Once we realize the power and authority we have in Our Father that is always holding our hand, the gig is up.  God is our refuge. Our Shepherd. Our Rock and our salvation.  Of whom shall we be afraid?

Father, thank you for Your love that abides with us and in us!

1 Corinthians 10:13, Hebrews 13:5, Matthew 11:10, John 14:13, Psalm 27:1

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Peace

peace

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 NIV

I have read that faith is a fight.  I believe that is true.  It is a fight to hang on to the promises of God in spite of circumstances and what we see happening around us. This peace supercedes everything.  As I learn to release more to God to manage my life, it leaves me with more peace.  More joy.  It’s settling.  There have been days when I had an agenda all lined up with tasks to complete for the day, check list in hand.  From my perspective, it would be a good, productive day.  Occasionally, I have had the sense that God had other plans.

If I retreat to listen quietly, my plans shift sometimes.  Sometimes it results in a luxurious day that I would have missed if I had rushed to my list.  One day in particular, I had my list and everything already loaded into my car to run errands.  I was actually looking forward to it.

Then I heard a still small voice that was calling me to a much more gentle plan for the day.  It included rest, reading, sipping on hot tea and a long luxurious hot bath.  It was a warm, snuggly day inside. I had to deal with a few twinges of guilt and wondered if I was being selfish.  Then I thought of how excited I get when my daughter decides to spend a day home with me.  It doesn’t have to be full of activities.  I just enjoy being with her.  What I discovered is that God enjoys days like that with us too!  We get so caught up in staying busy that we forget about forging a relationship with Him.

I threw the checklist away for the day.  I took a nap.  I took a long hot bath. I read and sipped hot tea while bundled up in a snuggly blanket.  I sat with my Father that day and enjoyed His company.  There are many days that I can run around and do errands.  Just not today. Today I decided to stay home and spend it with Him.

Lord, I pray I pause to savor and enjoy the moments I can steal away to just be with You.

Psalm 29:11, Isaiah 9:6, John 16:33, John 14:1-3, 6-7

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Building Relationships

building relationships

“3 Wisdom is required to build a house; understanding is necessary to make it secure. Knowledge is needed to furnish all the rooms and fill them with beautiful treasures.” Proverbs 24:3-4 The Voice

For me, this house is not a physical structure. This house is symbolic of relationships with people. I have many people in my life. I am to be wise with them. Be careful with people – not in a fearful way. Treat them with care. They are not disposable. I sometimes have discarded people as though they were unimportant. Regardless of what might be happening at any given moment, each person is very important to God. I am never to lose sight of that.  Always seek to see them through God’s eyes.  All things with all people have a specific purpose. I do not know what that purpose is. So I will continue to seek God in everything I do. Loving God first so that He can show me the way.

Father, continue to teach me your ways. Show me how and when to be Your hands and feet and speak Your word.

Proverbs 24:3-6

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