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Monday, January 26, 2015

Seeds of Faith




It snowed yesterday. The rowdy wind bent the stark, bare trees. It’s howling could be heard inside my cozy house. Another month to endure before signs of Spring awaken. 

I liked winter once, when I was a kid. There was sledding, snow forts, and snow days. Now it wouldn’t hurt my feelings if I never saw a speck of snow again.

I miss my front porch, flowers, butterflies, gardening and cookouts. I’ve been dreaming more about them since I received my seed catalogs. They started arriving by the end of December. I smiled hugely when I opened the mailbox and saw the beauties. 

I order my first seeds this week. Yes, I’m one of these serious gardeners. I work on my garden plan every year. I even have a garden journal to record anything of importance that happens in my veggie or flower gardens. It is a passion to me. 

I tried growing potatoes for the first time last year. Every week I would hill up my rows and water during a dry spell. It was a thrill when the sprouts peeked through the ground. And oohh, the joy I felt when I dug into the hill and pulled out numerous potatoes. They were so yummy with the green beans I picked. 

Have you felt that joy when the seed you so lovingly planted and nurtured came to life before your eyes? 

I never cease to be amazed by the miracle of how one seed buried into the ground produces so much. Out of one little potato I harvested so many. 

 Never discount what a seed can produce. I don’t understand the science of how it all goes down. But I have faith as I plant and tend to the seed that a harvest will come. 

Jesus said this about seeds in Mark 4: 26-29: "This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.  All by itself the soil produces grain--first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the grain is ripe, he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come."

Years ago I was praying passionately for my unsaved husband. The Lord gave me this verse to encourage me to keep planting the seeds of faith. 

It can be so disheartening when it looks like the seeds you planted aren’t coming to life. But I want to assure you that even though there seems to be no progress and you don’t understand how it can happen, God is working. 

Don’t bail out on God. Plant those seeds. Nurture the seeds, keep praying. 

He answered my prayer. The seed did come to life. My husband did give his heart to Jesus. And I believe He will do the same for you.  He always does more than we can ask or imagine! 

There will be a day when joy will expand your heart as that seed bursts to life before your eyes. You will be amazed at what God has done. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

"Blue Monday, Blessed Monday"



Today is known as Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year. The holidays are over, the bills are coming due and perhaps we are trying to get rid of a few extra pounds. Not to mention Spring is still afar off, and we are afflicted with snow and cold. 

I suppose I have much to be depressed about this morning. My Colts lost, football is over, I’m not feeling very well today and I have to go back to work. Oh, I could wallow in self-pity today. But the truth of the matter is that I’m a very blessed person. I need to live out what the scripture says:

“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5”18 

In spite of how I feel, I have to “Count my blessings” so to speak. What is the alternative? A vivid example is in Numbers 11:4-6.

“The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!  We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

We read this and say, “Wow, these people are so ugly and ungrateful.” 

Are we any different? Don’t we act the same way sometimes? We are surrounded by God’s blessings. We enjoy His hand on our lives. And yet, it isn’t enough? Rather sobering isn’t it? 

In the past year, I’ve read Ann Voscamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts”. My ladies group did the study together. It changed my perspective. I’ve kept up a gratitude journal and it caused me to keep an eye out for His many blessings, big or small. It stimulated a thankful spirit.

Yes, it is Blue Monday, and I don’t feel particularly blissful and carefree. But it’s also another day I walk with His Mercy and Grace all around me . “This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Beloved, count your blessings today and you’ll find it’s a blessed Monday. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Steps




The river has been crossed.  The mighty hand of God brought you here on the other side. You are in the land of new beginnings now. But instead of advancing into the Promised Land, you linger on the shore. 

You shield your eyes and gaze into the unknown. New challenges have begun already.  

For the first time no manna appeared this morning. It has always been your food supply.  Now you will have to find your own nourishment. There are new lands to take possession of and fortified cities to conquer. 

You are uncertain where to go from here. Yet you know that you can’t stay here. God has greater things for you. He desires a deeper faith, a closer relationship. He wants your heart. 

He said, “I will give you every place where you set your foot.”  But that first step is so hard. You are at a new level of faith now, more dependent on Him. As you take your first steps into the Promised Land, you will find Him faithful who made the promises. 

He said to you, “Is it not I who brought you here? Be strong and very courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” 

Remember, He brought you here. And he certainly will not abandon you here. You will find in every new challenge, every new step, that He provides new Grace and fresh strength to meet it. 

Are you still lingering at the river? Go, take your first steps into what He promised you. Don’t look back. You’re not meant for the shoreline, but you’re an overcomer! 

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  Ephesians 3:20

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Not One!


A crisis of faith is how I describe it. Not exactly life threatening, but enough to shake your faith a bit. You begin to question what previously was ironclad and unshakable. You didn’t flinch under duress before this. But what was easy now seems so difficult.

Now the voices of doubt harass. Fear creeps in and you begin to wonder. “Am I in denial? Is my head in the sand? Why keep believing when my check account mocks me? When the washing machine dies? When my husband may lose his job?”

But what is the alternative? Worry myself sick? Wallow in gloom and doom?

I went through a crisis recently. I say through literally, because once again the Lord has a way of encouraging us doesn’t He? And I found the lift I needed in His Word. 

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites stood at the brink of the Jordan river. On the other side was the Promised Land. It was theirs, but God didn’t merely hand it to them. They had to take it by faith. 

But first they had to cross the raging torrent. This was not a “lift a staff and the waters parted” miracle. They had to step into the river by faith and trust God would do the rest. 

They didn’t waver, but strode forward stepped in and then the water dried up. Their next steps were on the Promised Land. Now they had to take ahold of what God gave them. 

Beloved, perhaps this past year you have experience a crisis of faith. Maybe you are in the middle of one at this very moment. Are you wavering at the river? At the verge of what God has promised you? 

Keep moving forward and let God take care of the river. Step into this new year and into what He has promised you. 

Has He not promised and will He not fail? I urge you, don’t turn back now. What will you miss if you quit now? 

I leave you with a passage in Joshua that encouraged me: 

So the LORD gave Israel all the land he had sworn to give their forefathers, and they took possession of it and settled there. The LORD gave them rest on every side, just as he had sworn to their forefathers. Not one of their enemies withstood them; the LORD handed all their enemies over to them. Not one of all the LORD's good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. Joshua 21:43-45