Saturday, June 27, 2009
It doesn't take much of that kind of heat to bake your plants and to undo all the hard work you put into cultivating your flowers and plants. So the only alternative we have is to water relentlessly. Most gardening experts say you need to water once a week to a depth of one inch. Well, let me tell you that you can water to the depth of one inch today and 2 days from now, you will need to water again in this heat.
We have a very large yard...almost 2 acres. Now all of that is certainly not in flowers... a large part of it is yard...which is my husband's territory. But I do have quite a few beds that are all around the edges.
When we built our house in 2003 my husband installed a sprinkler system into the flower beds around the house. They worked great that first year, but as the plants and shrubs have grown he has continually had to re-adjust the sprinkler heads. I finally gave up on the front bed as it never seems to get the right amount of water or in the right place. The outer beds throughout the edge of the woods and around the shop all have to be watered another way as they do not have the sprinkler system.
Several years ago my husband devised a way to hook the sprinkler heads that you usually stick into the ground into a car jack so that we could move them around from bed to bed. Ingenious as it was, they are still heavy! The other alternative is to use a hose and keep lugging it back and forth from place to place. Neither way is fun.
The carjack sprinkler system is the easiest, no doubt, because you can set it and leave it. However, I began to watch how the water was thrown around and as I sat and watched it one day, I surmised that not much water was really getting to the depth of one inch. So I decided to conduct a little experiment. I took several Cool Whip bowls (better know here as Mississippi Tupperware) and placed them throughout the area being watered just to see how much water actually accumulated in them. Just as I suspected, it was about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch, and that was after at least an hour of watering.
You see the problem with sprinklers is that it just throws enough water out there for it to "look" wet, yet not enough for it to really soak the ground. So the flowers lap that up in a few hours and the next day when the sun comes out, they bake again, starved for lack of water.
Some people are like that. They go to church on Sunday to get their weekly "sprinkling" of the Word. The preacher sprinkles a few words on them, they feel good for having gone to church and then they leave, never to pick up their Bible again til the next Sunday and the next sprinkling. During the week they get pummeled because they are all dried up for lack of the Word.
The only way for the Word of God to really take root in your heart is for you to soak in it, or as Max Lucado says "marinate your mind in it". The Word is designed to change us from the inside out. God promises that it will not return void. But, if we do not take the time to read it, to meditate on it, to soak in it, if you will, it will never do us much good.
When my garden only gets sprinkled, the flowers begin to wilt, leaves curl up, the ground begins to crack open and they will fail to produce any more flowers. If all you are getting in your life is a weekly sprinkling of the Word, your life will also be dry and will not produce the fruit God intended for you to produce. So, what kind of Christian are you? A soaked one or a sprinkled one?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Just the sound of it evokes feelings of warmth, love and security.
A familiar saying truthfully declares that anyone can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Daddy.
In scripture, the term "Abba" is our modern day equivalent to "Daddy". It is a more intimate word than "Father". It is the term Jesus used for God, the Father. It is the term He invites us to use as well for He longs for us to have that intimacy with Him.
There are three very important men in my life who are all daddies.
The first is my husband, my life partner of 36 years. I cannot imagine my life without this man. My heart is at home with him. He has stood by me, been faithful to me and loved me unconditionally all these years. I have been blessed beyond measure to be married to him.
Not only has he been a wonderful, faithful husband, but he has also been a terrific daddy. When I play the videotape in my mind of him as a dad, I see one constant that stands above all else. He was always present in their life. From the moment they were born, he was there. I can still see the huge smile that lit up his face as each of his children were born, how he tenderly held them in his arms, how proud he was of them. I recall how he got down on all fours to play with them when he would come home for lunch in those early days of our marriage. He played with his children at every stage of their life. He coached them in sports, he cheered for them on and off the field. He never missed a game or a cheer competition in all the years that they were in school. Yes, he was and still is, always there for his children. They know their Daddy loves them, is for them and will be there ….no matter what. How that blesses my heart!!
The second man in my in my life is my son, my firstborn. My heart is filled to overflowing with love for him. I love his smile and even more the sound of his laughter. I loved the strawberry blonde hair that once graced his head and that now looks so beautiful on his baby daughter. He is a new daddy. His first child, a little girl, was born 7 months ago. I would not take a million dollars for seeing the look on his face when she was born. It was priceless. My favorite photo of him shortly after her birth is one with a single tear rolling down his cheek. Asked if she had him wrapped around his little finger, he replied, "Three times". Not long ago, he was looking at her when she suddenly awoke. As soon as she saw his face, she smiled. Her smile said, "It’s my daddy!"
And last but not least, the third man in my life is my son-in-love. Our family feels truly blessed to have this young man in our lives. We are so thankful to God for giving our daughter such a fine man. He was an answer to our prayers for her. He is kind, compassionate, fun-loving and has a smile that lights up his whole face. He is a wonderful father to his little three year old daughter. His job allows him to be home with her several days a week. That has been a blessing to both of them. He is a constant presence in her life, not an occasional blip on the radar as some daddies are. He loves her with everything that is in him and she knows it. And, he loves her mommy just as much, which is also a blessing to them both and to us!
Sadly, not every man is a good daddy. But I am blessed to have three of the best daddies in the world in my life. And today, I pray God’s sweetest blessings upon each of them! Happy Father’s Day, Larry, Curt and Josh….I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
The other day I was walking through our woods, looking at all the flowers when I spotted one of those labels and decided it was way past time to retrieve it. It had been on there a couple of years and was so faded you could barely even make out the name anymore. When I reached for it, it literally disintegrated in my hand. I mean it was just like confetti!! I was amazed. The next day I happened to be in the other end of the flower bed and saw another one I had left ,though this one had not been on there quite as long. The picture was perfect, not faded at all. I reached for it and to my utter amazement, it did the same thing....completely disintegrated into a million tiny pieces.
I couldn't help but think how very much like our lives that is. We look good on the outside, all put together, colorful, and happy. Yet the rains and wind, storms and heat have beaten upon us til suddenly we shatter into a million pieces, no longer able to keep up the facade.
God does not want us to crumble. He wants us to stand strong, to withstand the storms, clinging to Him. He wants us to put down deep roots into the soil of His love so that when the storms DO come and the heat of turmoil beats down on us, we will only grow stronger. He wants us to "be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bring forth his fruit in his season; his leaf shall not wither and whatsoever he does shall prosper." Psalm 1: 3
Those tags on those azaleas had no protection. They were exposed to the elements day in and day out. They had no source of food to maintain them. They had no one to shelter them. But we have a Master Gardener who feeds us with His Word, who tends us, who shelters us in the storm. He longs to nurture us, cultivate us and cause us to blossom with beauty for all the world to see. He wants more than just a "picture" of a flower, He wants us to be the real deal!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Some people really hate contemporary music. I am NOT one of them! I think most people who do have never really listened to the words. In their defense, I realize that in some venues, you can't HEAR the words for the music. However, if you want to hear scripture put to words, just tune in to KLOVE radio and you can awake to the sounds of the scripture, too. What a way to start your day!!!!!!!!!! Below is what I awoke to this morning!!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"A merry heart does good like a medicine."
And, just in case your heart does not feel merry today and you need a little help, let me offer you another prescription:
Truth seems to be an elusive thing these days.
When I was growing up and even in my young adult years, I never doubted what I saw on the 5:00 news or what I read in the newspaper. I assumed that it was what it was...just as they reported...the TRUTH.
However, as we've all seen in the past few years that has become a thing of the past. Our news media for the most part has become very liberal and they report what the liberals want reported, or at least they report through a liberal lens. This makes it very difficult as very critical issues are now on the table in our country. Our economic crisis, health care and our relationship with Iran and Israel are such life-altering issues that TRUTH must be sought or we will find ourselves in such deep trouble that we will never be able to recover as a nation.
As we have watched the news of the last few days and seen what is taking place in Iran where thousands, if not millions, of Iranians are risking their very lives to protest what they feel was a tainted election, we realize that knowing the TRUTH is even worth dying for for many.
Prior to the election, Iranian government began to shut off communication to the outside world. They stopped the internet, FACEBOOK and other forms of media outlets in hopes of keeping the world in the dark to the TRUTH of what was going on. Yet many risked their lives to take photos and video and post it to YOU TUBE and Twitter became an overnight phenomenon as they used it to get the TRUTH to the rest of the world of the suppression that was going on as protesters were killed in the street.
Thankfully, nothing that drastic has taken place here.....yet. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to get to the real TRUTH, to know if what we are seeing is really the true picture or if what we are hearing is the TRUTH or just the current "spin" .
I'm afraid that the average Joe Citizen is just going about his daily life as usual, oblivious to the changes that are taking place all around him...not only here but around the world. Changes that I believe are ushering in the last days as prophesied in the Bible. It's as if the majority of the country is asleep at the wheel and I'm afraid many are going to be jolted out of their minds when the train wrecks and the world as we now know it is no more.
Sound pretty far fetched? Not at all if you read your Bible.
In Joel Rosenberg's recent book, Epicenter, he gives great light to the Ezekiel 38 and 39 passages that foretell how Israel will be attacked by a number of nations. He outlines to us just who those nations are and how they are aligned. One of Russias's allies in this attack will be Iran, who until just recent years was an enemy of Russia. Yet right now, even in the midst of all the turmoil brewing in Iran, where is Ahmadinejad? In Russia!! He is there meeting with Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev and leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to continue building a political and military alliance between Russia, China, Iran and Islamic countries in Central Asia.*
It has never been more important for us to know the TRUTH. We must be in the Word so that the TRUTH can fill our minds and our hearts. We must search out the TRUTH in the media, not just believe everything we see and hear. We must not fall prey to those who would lead us along like lambs to the slaughter. We must open our eyes and ears and be alert to the signs of the times around us, always ready to give an answer for the hope that lies within us. We also must not take our freedom for granted. We have been blessed for 200+ years, but that is no guarantee that it will always be so. If we are not careful, we may wake up one day to find that our world as we knew it is gone and something we are not going to like is in its place.
Timothy warned us " This know also that in the last days perilous times shall come........evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived........therefore preach the word, be instant in season and out of season, reprove, rebuke and exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine...and they shall turn away their ears from the TRUTH....but watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist [tell others about Christ!] and fulfill your ministry. " II Tim. 3 & 4
We must pursue TRUTH, the whole TRUTH and nothing but the TRUTH. Jesus said "I am the way, the TRUTH and the life." (John 14:6). If we follow Jesus, if we pursue Him with all our hearts, we will know the TRUTH. On the other hand, those that follow Satan will NOT know the TRUTH. For "he was a murderer from the beginning and abode not in the TRUTH because there is NO TRUTH in him!" John 8: 44.
Monday, June 15, 2009
We teach them to walk, to talk, to hold a fork, to drink from a cup, to blow their nose, to swing, to tie their shoes and a hundred other things. But, we do NOT have to teach them to sin!
We are all born with a sin nature, fallen descendents of fallen Adam. We cannot NOT sin. We are born spiritually dead, but physically alive. But when we, by an act of faith, choose to put our trust in Christ, we are made spiritually alive. We do not, however, lose our sin nature. It is still very much alive and well! The difference is that we now have a new nature as a result of our new birth IN CHRIST. The Holy Spirit has come to take up residence within us and He desires to direct our thoughts, our actions and to guide us in the way we should go.
Now, unlike before, we have a choice. We can now choose to either yield to our old nature...the sin nature...OR we can choose to yield to our new nature and be directed by the Holy Spirit.
Our 3 year old granddaughter is a strong willed child and very independent. Neither of these is a bad thing. In fact, if that strong will is trained to yield to the Holy Spirit in the years ahead, it can be a great asset. But for now, she is a typical 3 year old. When there is something she does not want to do, she has learned how to stiffen her back, cross her arms, poke out her bottom lip and emphatically say "NO!" or "I Don't Want To!"
Recently I've been trying to teach her about the verse from the Bible that says "Children, obey your parents" [and Mimi and Papaws, etc]. The other day as we were reading one of her favorite books, Peter Rabbit, I saw a great object lesson. I began to explain to her how Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail were good little bunnies because they obeyed their mother; but Peter Rabbit was a naughty bunny because he did NOT obey his mother and he got into all kinds of trouble. I went on to explain that because they obeyed, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail got to have a dinner of blackberry pie and cream whereas because he disobeyed, Peter got into all kinds of trouble, lost his clothes and nearly lost his life. Now while the good bunnies were feasting on pie and cream, he was sent to bed with some nasty tea because he caught a cold from hiding in the watering can.
Kyleigh listened intently as I explained. Then I asked her, "So, which would YOU like to be like....the good little bunnies: Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail or the naughty bunny Peter?" She thought a minute and then with an impish grin she said, "I want to be like the naughty bunny!!" The honesty of a child!!!
I say honesty because is that not exactly how many of us feel sometimes? When faced with our choices, don't we often really WANT to do wrong thing? That is our sin nature egging us on. When someone ticks us off, we immediately think exactly what we'd LIKE to say to them. It is a choice. We can yield to our sin nature and do or say what we feel like doing. Or, we can yield ourselves to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to show us what we really need to do or say. Because in the end, although the pleasures of running amuck through the garden trying to flee the gardener might give us a momentary thrill, wouldn't we really rather be home eating blackberry pie and cream ?
Sunday, June 14, 2009
We, fortunately, only had a few limbs to fall. Others had entire trees to come crashing down, while others in our neighborhood also lost flag poles. Yet that was still not the worst. We later found out that a tornado had touched down just about a mile from our daughter's home. They had a section of fence blown down, lost a tree and also had no power. Yet others in their neighborhood had sections of their roof blown off, while others just a short distance away had their entire home demolished by the storm and the 120 mph winds!
Life has been interrupted as we are forced to do without air conditioning, refrigerators, telephones and TV!! No microwaves or ovens. No power tools to do repairs.
Restaurants in the area flourished. Grocery stores were sold out of dry ice. Chain saws were buzzing and equipment stores were doing a booming business as people rushed in for saws, plywood and heavy plastic.
But the best part of all was to see neighbor helping neighbor. Friends checking on friends. Friends helping those in need find generators or places to store frozen food so it would not spoil. Others opening their home to families whose air was out.
Yes, life's interruptions doesn't always bring out the best in us. Yet for many, it does. It causes us all to stop and think for a minute about what is really important. We are made to pause and reflect upon the value of relationships over things.
Yes life for all of us had a few interruptions this weekend. For some it will be life as usual tomorrow. For others who have lost a lot, it will be some time before life is back to normal. So if you know someone who can use a helping hand, reach out and help. Tomorrow it could be YOU that needs that hand of love.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Richard Wurmbrand was orphaned early in life. He was brought up in a family with no religious background. He was raised in poverty during the days of WWI and at the age of 14 was a devout atheist. It was not just "that I did not believe in God or Christ---I hated these notions, considering them harmful for the human mind. So I grew up in bitterness toward religion."
Although he was an atheist, something always drew him to churches! He could scarcely pass a church without entering, even though he never understood what was going on or what was being said within.
Richard was sure there was no God, yet was very sad there wasn't. "I would have liked very much to know that a loving heart existed somewhere in the center of the universe" since he had very little happiness as a child. Something in him seemed to yearn for what those within the church had. One day, though still an atheist he prayed a prayer something like this,
"God, I know surely you do not exist. But...if perchance you exist, which I contest, it is not my duty to believe in You; it is YOUR duty to reveal Yourself to me".
According to Wurmbrand:
"During this time of inner turmoil, an old carpenter in a village high up in the mountains of Romania prayed like this :
'My God, I have served you on earth and wish to have my reward on earth as well as in heaven. And my reward should be that I should not die before I bring a Jew to Christ, because Jesus was from the Jewish people. But I am poor, old and sick and I cannot go around and seek a Jew. In my village there are none. Bring a Jew into my village and I will do my best to bring him to Christ.'
Something irresistible drew me to that village. I had no reason to go there. Romania has 12,000 villages, but I went to that one. Seeing I was a Jew, the carpenter courted me as never a beautiful girl had been courted. He saw in me the answer to his prayer and gave me a Bible to read. I had read the Bible out of cultural interest many times before. But the Bible he gave me was another kind of Bible. As he told me some time later, he and his wife prayed together for hours for my conversion and that of my wife. The Bible he gave me was written not so much in words, but in flames of love fired by his prayers. I could barely read it. I could only weep over it, comparing my bad life with the life of Jesus; my impurity with His righteousness, my hatred with His love...and He accepted me as His own."
I was moved beyond words as I read his story. Moved at God's amazing love for us. Moved at how He pursues us!!!!!!!!!!!!
When a heart yearns for God, He will move Heaven and earth to respond. It may be immediately, it may be days or months or years before we SEE Him move, but...make no mistake He will move! God will take those threads of His tapestry and begin the weaving process and one day the various threads of that life will come together with the threads of other lives and together they will create a magnificent piece of the Kingdom Tapestry!
Oh today, my dear friend, if things seem to be a knotted mess in your life, know this. The Master Weaver is working out a beautiful design and your life is just one of the many threads that it will take to complete it.
Bill and Gloria Gaither wrote a little song that so wonderfully expresses this:
Thursday, June 4, 2009
As I was in prayer, the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about four expectations that God’s people should trust him to bring pass. These expectations are based on absolute promises the Lord has made to us. Our God is a promise-maker and a promise-keeper!
1. EXPECT TO BE REWARDED AS YOU DILIGENTLY SEEK THE LORD. “God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” (Hebrews 11:6).
You can ask in faith for a token from the Lord to encourage and rekindle your confidence. God is always on time, and he knows you need a ray of hope and good news in your time of testing. Expect him to keep his promise to reward you now, when you are in greatest need. God cannot lie – he has said he rewards those who diligently seek him – so seek him daily. And truly believe this will be your season of great spiritual blessing.
I can think back and remember numerous times in my life when I was in the midst of a hard place or my heart was hurting, when God would send me that "token". I recall early on in our marriage my husband and I had had a quarrel one night. The next morning I left for work with a very heavy heart. My mother and I worked for the same government agency at the time, only she generally went in much earlier than me. On that particular morning, I had cried out to the Lord all the way to work. As I was walking to my desk, I met my mother in the hall. She had a beautiful bouquet of roses for me in her hand. She had no idea of the heaviness of my heart...but God did! It was if He had whispered to me "I heard you, My Child....all is well." Within just a short time, my husband phoned and asked me to meet him for lunch. All was well!
2. EXPECT TO SEE EVIDENCE OF A PROGRESSIVE MIRACLE IN YOUR LIFE. “With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27).
I have written about instantaneous miracles and progressive miracles. Progressive miracles start in unseen, quiet ways and unfold little by little, one small mercy at a time. You are now in such a miracle. Expect to see God working in mysterious ways, unseen to the human eye. This should be the season you can say, “I don’t know how it will come to pass – I don’t see much happening right now – but I believe God set into motion an answer to my prayers the very first hour I asked.”
In our recent study of the book of Esther, we saw again and again how perfect is God's timing. As I wrote a few weeks ago, God is constantly weaving his Kingdom Tapestry in our lives. He is orchestrating the very minute details of our lives and all for a divine purpose. I heard of just one such instance this week. I will let our Connecting Points leader share in his own words:
"This guy....hit me upside the head and did not even realize it when he did it. I was leaving a company to move to Omaha, NE. He gave me a going away card, and in it, he wrote something and then just put the scripture "I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength" Phil 4:13. I will never forget that, after I re-read that card, I went and looked up that scripture and read about it and it made me curious. Soon thereafter, I took that scripture to my knees and asked Christ into my life at a TOUGH time in my life. Rick, thank you for sharing that scripture with me. That little seed you planted has done incredible things in my life!"
Who would have thought God could use a simple greeting card to change a man's destiny? But you see, his friend, Rick, incorporated the Word of God into his card and that is what made the difference!! God had brought these two men together in a work setting who knows how long before. Now He was moving one out of that setting, possibly to never see the other again. But God was working the whole time!!!!!!! He was orchestrating His divine plan in the life of each of these men.
How many times have you been tempted to write a note in a card, or share a verse of scripture and then held back for fear of what that person would say or think? The Word of God is powerful, it is life-changing. And, because Rick was not afraid to go out on a limb and simply share one verse with Barry, Barry's whole life was changed!!
3. EXPECT TO ENTER INTO GOD’S PROMISED PLACE OF REST. “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God…enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:9, 11).
The recent year has been one of the most stressful for many believers. It was a year of incredible calamities, problems and trials. Now the Lord desires that you trust him to bring you into his promised rest. God never intended his children live in fear and despair. We need a reckless faith, a trust in him in the face of fear and trouble. Now is the time to lay it all on Jesus.
God wants us to rest in Him. He tells us "Come all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." Matt. 11: 28 The only place of rest is found in Him. Our burdens are too heavy for us to bear alone. He desires for us to find our comfort in Him and Him alone. We will not find rest in Oprah, nor Dr. Phil. We will not find rest in the latest best seller. We will not find rest in wealth or health or philosophies. We will only find rest IN HIM. But that rest belongs only to those who know Him, who have placed their faith and trust in Him. Do you long for rest? Do you know Him?
4. EXPECT THE HOLY SPIRIT TO BE ALWAYS “IN HIS TEMPLE.” “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).
The Holy Spirit abides in the heart of every believer. He is omnipresent throughout the world and universe. I face each day acknowledging that he is here in his temple to comfort and guide me, encourage and anoint me, to reveal the glory of Jesus Christ in ever-increasing revelations. He desires that you expect him to make his presence manifest to you, and more so each passing day.
Believe these promises. Lay hold of these four expectations, and you will see marvelous things in this season of your life.
Having a "God consciousness" will change the way you live your life. When you are constantly aware of His presence with you and IN you, it changes the way you go about your daily life. He becomes more than just the topic of the Sunday School lesson. You realize that HE, the one and only God, abides with you moment by moment. He is truly "nearer than breathing, closer than hands and feet".
Last week my mother had a really rough week. A few months ago, she had major plumbing problems that cost her quite a bit of money. Then last week, her air conditioner went out. I don't have to tell you how much one of those costs!!:( On top of that she has had to have yard equipment repaired and other expenses out of the ordinary budget.) When they A/C man said she needed a new one, it was just about the last straw. She was really down and yet she breathed a prayer to the Lord and said "God....I really could use a hug right now."
Later than afternoon, my husband stopped by to see about something for her. She told him about her prayer as he was about to leave. He said "Well I can give you a hug!!" and he did. Then as he left, he leaned out the window and said, "Granny, don't worry...we'll be praying for you and we love you!" She was SO moved that she called me to tell me how much that had blessed her. Such a simple thing, but God knew exactly what she needed. My husband thought was going by to fix a small problem. He did not know that he was the insrument God would use to answer her prayer. He is THAT personal to us!
Whatever your needs today, GOD KNOWS. Take it to Him and see if He will not pour upon you a blessing, pressed down and running over!!!!!!!!!!