Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lessons from a tree & a little boy named Carter

Ok so this might appear an unusual post, but heck my life is anything but usual. A couple months back we had some nasty storms rip through where I live. What once was a mighty maple tree was now a heaping mass of tree. But there were many lessons to learn from this tree. Ephesians 3:14-19 gives us some of the lessons of my tree...I won't post the scripture here, but encourage every reader to seek for him/herself!

One of the things I noticed about this tree is that it had a tremendous root system. When it came down it didn't come down because of bad roots! Half of the truck is still standing upright in the ground. Ephesians 3:17-18 "that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you , being rooted & grounded in love may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height..." We should be like that tree...firmly and well rooted in Jesus, in love. God is the embodiment of of love and so is His Son Jesus. John 3:16 "For God so LOVED the world that He gave His only begotten Son Jesus." Did you catch that...God loved us so much He gave His Son, created in love, to be a love sacrifice for us.

The tree when it was upright and thriving had a good root system that provided plenty of nourishment for that tree. The soil must have been pretty rich for it to have gotten that big. How is your root system today? Are you firmly rooted and grounded in Christ, the good soil of which you get plenty of nourishment? Or are you rooted and grounded in this unstable world, which is not so nourishing to one's soul?

Second thing I noticed about this's hollow! Yep a good wind came along and because this tree didn't have enough substance it blew right over. It was virtually snapped in half in an odd way. But if you look at the stump remaining and start looking up into the tree it is hollow. Ephesians 3:19 "to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that you may be FILLED with the FULLNESS of God." We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit & Christ. What are you filled with today? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit, Christ, the very word of God? Or are you filled with you & what this crazy world has to offer?

Third thing I have noticed about this tree....because it's root system was/is so strong, there are shoots coming up! Yes this old tree is persevering to survive! It has a never die attitude and there are several new trees coming off of the old dead one. Ephesians 6:17-18 "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying always with all prayer & supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints." Knowing in our minds that we ARE saved and the children of God, exercising HIS word in our lives, our work place, our community....praying ALWAYS. Did you catch that...we are to be praying always, not just when we need something but always talking with the Father, persevering in this daily life to become more like Christ and to be the example of Christ to this world. Are you running the race to win the prize? Or have you given up because of a leg cramp? I may be limping at times, but I am still persevering to run this race and obtain that glorious prize! Come jog/run/or walk with me a bit!

The lessons I learned from a boy named Carter Kipp. Carter is a sweet angelic boy in California that is persevering and daily winning his battle with liver cancer. I follow his family blog daily....just click on the link and pray! Carter is barely 2 years old and although I don't know him personally and have been following his progress via this wonderful thing called the internet; I have learned some lessons from him. So this next portion of my blog is dedicated to this wonderful young warrior & his loving family. Thanks Carter & Kipp family for continually teaching me in the midst of your storm...Hugs!

The first lesson I have learned from this young warrior is not to complain. This sweet boy has a tube coming out of his chest that his parents pump medicine into several times a day. I think it is called an IV line, but heck I am no nurse. This boy has been through several rounds of chemo, been sicker then a dog, yet hasn't complained or grumbled. This sweet spirit has just tried to smile and persevere through it all. In all the pictures I have seen there has been a smile, yes a weak one at times, but a smile nonetheless.

Second lesson I have learned from this young warrior and his brother Bennett is unconditional love. Kira, Carter's mom, posts regularly Carter's progress but also how both boys are interacting in the midst of this. Carter is a loving sweet boy, who in spite of his own issues has concern for his bigger brother when he scraped his knee. Bennett has been tender and careful playing with his brother. Reading their stories shows you the love & bond these 2 have for one another...something we adults who have been hardened by the world could stand to learn again. We can learn how to be tender and caring once again for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also for the lost.

Lord, keep healing Carter, keep shrinking that tumor until it is non existant. Holy Spirit pour out your horns of healing & joy over, into and through not only Carter but this family as a whole. Let all weariness be removed from this family in Jesus' mighty name. Father open the windows of blessing & provision over this family. Father Your word says You will meet all our all of the Kipp family's needs emotionally, spiritally, physically, & financially in Jesus' mighty name. Amen

Dear reader, I encourage you to click on the link for "We Love Carter". Go read this touching blog and take up the burden of prayer for this family. If you can afford a cup of coffee, take that money and send it on to the family for financial may seem like a dollar or a few cents in your hands, but God can and will multiply it for the Kipp family's use and God's own glory.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

God's Pesticide

God has really been talking a lot about gardens to not only me but to my Pastors as well. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise considering He did speak "be fruitful and multiply" at the first of the year. We have been doing a study of the Song of Solomon and God refers to us & our hearts as His private garden, a locked garden for Him and Him alone to enjoy.

Last week's post was about planting your garden and some of the things God desires in the gardens of our hearts. Feel free to go back to read it and refresh yourself. This week was exquisite agony again as God rolled out His pesticide for our gardens.

If you remember from previous post(s) in Galatians 5:16-26 we discovered some of the bad fruit or weeds that our garden can produce if we live in the flesh. The flip side to that is 1Corintians 13....God's pesticide. I am not typing it all out....I am going to let you go read it for will do you good I promise!

Anyway to paraphrase the beginning verses talk about having gifts and doing good things but if we don't have love....God's love in is nothing and for not. Then it gets to the pesticide part....verse 4..."Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious....etc." GO READ IT...anyway if we have HIS perfect love in us and compelling us to keep moving, keep serving then the weeds or bad fruit of Galatians 5:16-26 has no place to grow.

So now I am reading Galatians 5 & 1Corinthians 13. Checking my garden and weeding as necessary. You can learn a lot about your garden by looking at a garden in the natural, then corolating it to the spirit realm. Well I must dash...happy gardening!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

How to Plant Your Garden

Good morning and Happy Mother's Day! Today's post is going to be a bit different. I have been up before the dawn reading my devotionals and putting lunch in the crock pot. Pastors are away for a much needed rest and vacation and have asked me to bring forth the message this morning. It won't be a traditional Mother's Day sermon, but it was a God inspired one. It is below, please read, enjoy and have a truly blessed Mother's Day!

How To Plant Your Garden

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over & gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land."

At the end of winter most people start thinking about 1 thing and no, I am not talking about mushrooms. They get Ecclesiastes 3:2 minded. "A time to be born, and a time to die, A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted." Specifically the time to plant, they start thinking and planning a garden. At the first of the year God called us to be fruitful and to multiply. In essence He was speaking it is time to once again to tend the gardens of our hearts.

Stacey & I have been talking a lot about our garden...the one in the natural that we are going to plant. We have been planning out what vegetables we would like in our garden. I have to admit Stacey has been a bit more pro-active about it then I, she has already bought a few plants & seeds. I, in the meantime, have been trying to get a tree out of the yard because it is covering part of where we have planned on putting the garden.

Any good gardener knows that the first thing past the planning stage to be done is to till the garden and remove all the stones in the garden to prepare the soil to receive the seeds and seedlings that will be planted. God has been tilling the gardens of our hearts lately; turning the soil and revealing the stones in our hearts. Galatians 5:19-21 Amplified reads "Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious): they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity (contentions), strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper) selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions, heresies), envy drunkenness, carousing and the like." I believe that the works of the flesh spoken in Galatians 5:19-21 are the stones God is revealing in the process of our gardens.

Galatians 6:7 "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap." Job 4:8 "Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same." We know that if we plant a seed of corn in our gardens we can expect corn. Let's look at some of the things we need to be "sowing" or planting in our hearts so God can reap and receive a bountiful harvest of fruit in our lives.

For the garden of your daily living plant three rows of peas:

The first step in a fruitful garden is in Mark 12:30 "And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. This is the first commandment." If you don't love God you won't want to even cultivate and change the garden of your heart.

1) Peace of mind - Isaiah 26:3 "You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts you."
If we keep our minds focused on God HE will keep us in perfect peace.

2Timothy 1:7 "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind." A sound mind is a mind at peace, not worried or shaken by what is going around them, but focused on God and trusting Him.

2) Peace of heart - Proverbs 4:4 "He also taught me, and said to me: "Let your heart retain my words; keep my commandments and live." We can have peace in our hearts if we hold fast to God's word and not let it be hardened with offense and strife.

John 14:1 "Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me." If we truly believe that God & His word are true, if we just trust Him we can have peace in our hearts.

3) Peace of soul - Psalm 103:1-2 "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy Name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits." When our hearts and minds are saturated with the Word of God, it leaves no room for sorrow in the soul, only rejoicing.

Plant 4 rows of squash:

1) Squash Gossip - Per gossip is defined as:

1. idle talk or rumor, esp. about the personal or private affairs of others.
2. light, familiar talk or writing, small talk, hearsay.

–verb (used without object)
6. to talk idly, esp. about the affairs of others; go about tattling.

Matthew 13:36 "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemmed." Gossip breeds division and strife. Hearsay is inadmissible in a court of should also be inadmissible in our day to day lives. A person's view of others can be clouded by another's gossiping their own offenses, hurts and impressions.

2) Squash indifference - defines indifference as:

1. lack of interest or concern.
2. unimportance; little or no concern
3. the quality or condition of being indifferent.
4. mediocre quality; mediocrity.

Galatians 6:2 "Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Romans 13:8 "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law." Romans 13:10 "Loves does no harm to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works." We should be continually concerned & interesting in our brothers and sisters. We should be attuned to one another's needs and interested in meeting those needs. Times are vastly upon us when we will have no one to depend upon other then God and each other. Indifference also breeds strife and division.

3) Squash grumbling - defines grumble as:

–verb (used without object)
1. to murmur or mutter in discontent; complain sullenly.
2. to utter low, indistinct sounds; growl.
3. to rumble: The thunder grumbled in the west.

God gives us good examples of what not to do in His word! Remember the children of Israel....they grumbled and died in the wilderness. Remember "complain & remain, praise & be raised." Grumbling only breeds division, strife, gossip in our lives....bad fruit!

4) Squash selfishness - defines selfishness as:

1. devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others.
2. characterized by or manifesting concern or care only for oneself: selfish motives.

In Galatians 5:19 Selfishness is one of the fruits of the flesh, which, if not checked and removed can cause division, strife, jealousy and a whole host of other rotten fruits! Instead let us apply Galatians 6:10 "Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith." Look for opportunities to help one another.

Plant 4 rows of Lettuce:

1) Lettuce be faithful - defines faithful as:
1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty.
2. true to one's word, promises, vows, etc.
3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant.
4. reliable, trusted, or believed.
5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate

Psalm 31:23 "Oh, love the Lord, all you His saints! For the lord preserves the faithful, and fully repays the proud person."

Proverbs 13:17 "A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a faithful ambassador brings health."

Proverbs 28:20 "A faithful man will abound with blessings, but he who hastens to be rich will not go unpunished."

2) Lettuce be kind - Ephesians 4:31-32 "Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you."

3) Let us be paitent - Ecclesiastes 7:8 "The patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit."
1Thessalonians 5:14 "Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all." Patience, forgiveness and acts of goodness must prevail between all as Christ is patient, forgives and does acts of goodness for us.

James 5:7-8 "Therefore be patient, breathren until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer wiats for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand."

4) Lettuce really love one another - Mark 12:31 "And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Genuine love of God is followed in importance by a genuine love for people.

No garden is complete without turnips:

1) Turnip for meetings - Hebrews 10:24 "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as in the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Collective and corporate worship is a vital part of the spiritual life...remember there is strength in numbers! A house divided cannot stand...when we worship corporately the heavens open up like Tuesday night.

2) Turnip for service - If there is a job to be done, don't talk about it, step up and do it. If you see a need meet the need especially in the growing days.

3) Turnip to help one another - It has been said many times, in the days coming we will be finding ourselves relying on one another more and more. Don't be afraid or too selfish to reach out and help one another. If we can be fruitful within our own body, how much more fruitful can we be to this world?

Another important component in our garden is Thyme

1) Thyme for God - Matthew 6:33 "But seek FIRST the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." What things you ask...go back to verses 31-32 "Therefore do not worry saying 'What sahll we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly FAther kows that you need all these things." There have been times in my walk with God that I needed these and clothing. Only God knew of my need and I sought Him diligently and He brought everything I needed. Bags of clothes with tags still on them from the store...I haven't missed one single meal, He has been faithful to increase my buying power so I can feed others. Which leads me to the second Thyme...

2) Thyme for others - Matthew 5:1r416 "You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put in under a basket, but on lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." We are to share with others the Gospel of Christ and we can't do that if we don't take time for others, reaching out.

3) Thyme for friends - Again we are the light of the world. Some of our friends are "christians" some are not, but if we don't take time for others we are just a lamp under a basket. Get out of yourself and get out and help others.

Preventative maintenance of the garden calls for watering your garden with the Living Water, Christ Jesus and the washing of the word. The garden needs nutrients so it is best to use the right fertilizer & plant food. What are you feeding the garden of your heart? Bitterness, anger, resentment, offense? Feed your garden with the word & presence of God and you will have fruit like in Galatians 5:22-23 "But the fruit of the Holy Spirit (the work which His presence accomplishes) is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is not law (that can bring a charge).

Weeds are detrimental to the growth of your garden. They steal precious nutrients & water from the other plants in the garden. Proverbs 4:23 "Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life." Some weeds like morning glories, although quite pretty when they bloom, will choke out the life of the plants in the garden with them. Be mindful of what plants are in your garden and weed, weed, weed as God reveals.

Proverbs 14:30 "A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones."

Hosea 10:12 "Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Purity & Holiness

God has really been moving & shaking my world....or should I say my world as I know it. He spoke Galatians 5:16-26 to the flock I abide with but also to His bride at large. God is really calling for His bride to get real and get ready. When one does a self exam based upon Galatians 5:16-26 it can be a bit disheartening...especially if you read it in the Amplified version.

vs. 19-21 "Now the doings (practices) of the flesh are clear (obvious); they are immorality, impurity, indecency, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger (ill temper), selfishness, divisions (dissensions), party spirit (factions, sects with peculiar opinions) heresies, envy, drunkenness, carousing and the like." Now impurity isn't just could be impurity in thoughts, thinking things that are not godly like how you want to slap someone for being stupid. When you get to the bottom of all these "fleshly" qualities and how they relate to relationships in your life, it becomes painfully clear that you don't measure up once again....well at least that is what happened to me this past week. I felt mournful that I wasn't pleasing to my Lord, but also rejoiceful in the fact that even though this was a slap to my flesh God was still speaking to me. I would rather He speak and I get rebuked then Him to be totally silent and I am left wondering about my salvation and losing my relationship with Him. To be honest I have felt angry lately for what seemed no apparent reason, but when I worked my steps of anger management and got to the bottom line I found out the reason I was angry was because my flesh didn't get it's way.

Then this morning during devotional time, I got a bit of wisdom that helped. "Daily With the King" by W. Glyn Evans gave me some relief from this brick bashing I have been doing to myself...YES I am my own worst enemy! Today's devotional was titled "Flubs, Flaws & Brittleness"
"I must not be disheartened when I flub my spiritual life. A lot of my flubs are not sins, just mistakes and mistakes are the marks of immaturity & greenness." Ok I agree a bit with Mr. Evans' statement just a tad....let's be honest when you know you shouldn't do something and yet you continue on and do is sin. We can't blame it on immaturity as we were told and yet still did it. Mr. Evans goes on....
"As a disciple of Jesus Christ I must believe in progressive satisfaction. When God begins a work,the result thereof must be HIS satisfaction. His creation was very good. He viewed the work of His Son on Calvary and was satisfied. So I believe He is progressively satisfied with His work in His children, especially His growing children. This does not mean that our condition at a given moment is perfect morally, but it means that, like a potter, He is satisfied with our progress."

Again I agree with Mr. Evans' statement, but I believe He is satisfied with our progress if we are progressing. If we take what He gives us as a "course" correction, digest it and allow it to change us from the inside out. This is what I have been doing this week....examining myself with the measuring stick of His word. Searching out any roots of bitterness, anger, impurity, etc. and using His Holy Ghost weed killer on them. Am I a spotless bride yet? Heck no, but I am taking every word I hear....I grab a hold of it and I digest it. The word may or may not be for me personally, but I figured anything the Lord says either through a prophet, a prophetic word spoken in service, or something that I see in a new way in His word is something to nourish my spirit in one way or another. That is what Pastor was speaking about a bit today...taking words that are spoken and digesting them and allowing them to change you. Not to hear a word and just put it aside and then when trouble comes eat that word because it might be poisonous to you and cause more harm then good....kind of like the children of Israel and the manna.

To hear His voice, whether a word of encouragement or correction I don't care which as long as I can still hear His voice I know I will be alright. Two times in one day this past week He spoke, "I will never leave nor forsake you". It was a timely word as I hit a rough patch with my finances, the enemy tried to steal my lunch money, but I gave the enemy a black eye in turning it over to the Father for collection. God loves me. I AM the apple of His eye. He will NEVER leave nor forsake me. He might be silent in an effort for me to push in and seek Him more, but He is just a breathe and heartbeat away....closer then a brother. Big Hugs, Have a good week!