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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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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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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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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Faith In Action

faith in action

“So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).” James 2:17 AMP

Several years ago I really felt like God was calling me to write a piece on faith.  It was a relatively short piece that took me on an interesting journey.  What came out of a review of many scriptures was an outline that looked something like this:

  • Don’t look back
  • Eyes forward
  • Trust steadily in God
  • Hope unswervingly
  • Love extravagantly

Each area had a unique insight of its own in how it connected to the expression of faith.  There were several personal antidotes shared and many scriptures.

The scripture that really got hold of my heart was 1 Corinthians 13 in a new and different way.  It is historically referred to as the “Love Chapter.” However, what I began to see is that it also has all the components for a robust faith life.  My conclusion was this: without love we cannot walk in faith.  Love is the foundation for everything.  Just as faith requires a demonstration to be activated, love does as well.  We cannot operate in either one without interacting in community with others.

So my prayer is “Father help me to love like You believing that all things are possible, ALL THINGS are possible, with You.”

James 2:24, 26; Matthew 23:23, James 2:5, Philippians 4:6, 13

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A New Fashion Statement

A new fashion statement

“12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13 NIV

As I read these verses, I started to imagine putting each of these characteristics on as if they were articles of clothing.  A beautiful gown of compassion with a robe or jacket of kindness over it.  Gorgeous custom boots of humility.  Dazzling ear rings of gentleness and a necklace of patience.  Then my make-up would look flawless with a foundation of forgiveness.  I really had to sit with that for a while.  It sounded regal and beautiful in such a stately and timeless way.  It made me think of all the money I invest in clothes, shoes, the latest face creams and moisturizers.  Closets of clothes are all over my house!  But God’s garments are timeless, ageless classics.  They never go out of style and their beauty never fades.

Lord, help me dress in these beautiful characteristics that reflect You.  Help me wear each of them daily and with joy.  Thank you for teaching me a new way to dress for success!

Isaiah 61:10, Ephesians 1:7-8, Romans 5:5, Ephesians 2:10, Hebrews 12:3, 7, 10

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The Art Of Waiting

the art of waiting2

“13 I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. 14 Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” Psalm 27:13-14 NIV

Wait for the Lord.  What does that mean?  I’m learning.  I’m learning that to wait for someone, you have to be in close communication.  You also have to trust their word.  If I don’t ask what their plans are, I might barge ahead with my own plans.  I might get in the way of the other person’s plans. It might mean that we miss our connection entirely. Sometimes I forget to pause and check in with God’s plans for me.  I barge ahead without hesitation thinking I know best.  Occasionally I delude myself into thinking I know a lot more than I do.  I waste time and energy worrying about things He has already worked out.  So waiting is an art.  To wait confidently and gracefully with composure.  I still struggle in this area but I am learning!  Sometimes I get too wrapped up in my head and don’t rely enough on God’s voice.  So I have to go back to square one and get quiet and listen.

Father God, I’m so blessed that You are always there waiting for me.  You never leave without me. You never leave me stranded. Thank you Lord!

Isaiah 55:2-3, Ephesians 3:17-19, Hebrews 4:16, John 8:47, James 4:7-8

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