Looking for Life

We been living in our house nearly three years now. I’ve loved learning how to do gardening. I work with plants and flowers. When the kids are a little bigger I hope to have a vegetable garden but I want them to help me and feel the fruit of their labor. Until then I just work with the flower garden. The front of our house faces east and catches very little sun. With where the trees sit and how the overhang of the house is it’s usually dark in the flower beds in the front. Yet this is one of the places I wanted to look the prettiest. It’s the part everyone sees from the road.

Last year I transplanted three or four hostas from the backyard to the front. Only one of them lived well. The others didn’t make it through the summer. I’ve tried planting many different kinds of flowers. I was very hopeful for this spring to see something green, anything green, popping through in front of the house. To my delight my flowers started popping up in the backyard flower bed. Yet nothing came up in front. Finally I set it in my mind that nothing was going to come up. Even the hosta that survived last summer had nothing coming up. I decided to make the best of it and throw some rock in the flower beds and stick some flower pinwheels in there and call it good. It would be better then the dirt eyesore I was seeing. I wasn’t able to get in the yard to work for a couple of weeks. Then I went outside and noticed some little green sprouts poking up through the ground.hosta I was SO excited! Now even the hosta from last summer is coming back. What I thought was dead is now green and coming to life. Just think that all this time, in the ground below, these little seeds were waiting and growing. At just the right time they made themselves known to us.

It makes me wonder what things in my life should I be more patient with. Are there things in my heart I’ve been wanting to throw the towel in on? Or maybe I’ve already considered them dead, yet unknown to me seeds are growing. Seasons are changing. In perfect timing the things I’ve been praying for and promises I’ve been holding on to will show signs of life. Just because I see nothing on the surface doesn’t mean nothing is going on. Every flower and plant has their season. Every promise God gives will happen. We should keep the gardens of your hearts watered with the word of God. Don’t call things dead just because you see nothing and everything seems to be going opposite of what you heard God tell you. Remember when God called Moses to ask Pharaoh to set the people free? Things were worse for the Israelites then they were before God spoke to Moses. The people were mad at Moses. Yes Moses continued to press on in obedience to God and God fulfilled every promise He gave to Moses. God set His people free and everyone around the Israelites knew the power of God was at work for them.

Sitting here this Easter Sunday reminds me Jesus can bring life to ever area of our lives we think is dead. The power of God is still at work for His people. Will we believe it or call His promises dead and throw rocks over them?

Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here. He is risen.
Luke 24:5-6

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An Even Greater Price

IMG_5657Every year when our tax returns come back we try to take care of some things we put off because we don’t normally have the money. This year it was my teeth. I’ve been putting off my dental work for over a year. At the first dentist visit my husband came with me because we knew we would have to make a plan for what we were going to take care of. The dentist went over the condition of my teeth and the cost of it. We decided to take care of most of it, if not all of it, over several visits. So I saw the end bill but I knew some of it was urgent and needed to be done. My husband wasn’t worried about the money and I just wanted my teeth fixed.

The next two visits my husband came with and took care of the bill. The next time I went he couldn’t make it. I can go alone but I get REALLY nervous going to the dentist and it’s comforting when he comes with me. Before I went I asked him how much he thought the bill would be so I wouldn’t be shocked at the dentist office. He told me and I’m glad I asked ahead of time. I think my jaw dropped. “Is it always that expensive?” I asked him. He said it was and that we are even getting a discount for paying upfront. I was amazed he was okay with this. There’s so many other things we could do with that money. Get clothes we need or pay some medical bills. I told him I didn’t have to go. They got the very urgent teeth. Maybe I should just stop going. My husband wouldn’t hear of it. He said I needed it done and he wants to take care of me. He’s right, I need to get these done so they don’t become as urgent as the others were. When I realized there was no arguing with him I just stood there in shock. I was amazed how calm he was. I was touched he wanted to take care of me like that. If you wanted to be picky he is the one working to get this money. He doesn’t see it that way. He said it’s both our money. I’m so thankful he’s like that. I felt so honored, respected, protected and loved that he would give up that money for my teeth.

As I pondered on this the next day I felt the Lord say to me there is someone who paid an even greater price for you. “Yes,” I thought, “Jesus paid His life for me.” Paying your life…. That’s something I can’t even grasp very well. I tried to set the thought aside but it quietly kept coming back. Jesus only lived 33years. That’s not very long. Yet that was God’s plan from the beginning. Not just what was “allowed”. This was the plan.

I was reading the Easter story in the bible again the last few days. I try to do that around Easter every year. I don’t want to forget what Jesus went through for me. If you grew up in church, the Easter story can become so familiar you get comfortable with it. It’s happened to me but we should never get “comfortable” with the story of our Lord’s death. This year what’s really been standing out to me is I realize Jesus had to die for us and that’s tough enough but the beatings and mocking he had to endure have been hard for me read. He loves me so much that this was not to great of a price to pay… Amazing!! That makes me feel loved and puts me in awe. What else can I say but Thank you, Lord!

retreat cross

Waiting through the eyes of a Child

I am amazed at how much my children teach me. I learn so many life lessons through them. I can often relate to how the Lord must see us. I’ve been waiting on the Lord for some things for months now and have been growing impatient. The Lord has been highlighting in my spirit times my children have to wait for me and teaching me through them. Here are two of those recent life lessons.

My three-year-old son will often ask me for a drink or to put a movie in for him. Usually I have a list of things in my head that I’m working on. So my normal answer is, “Just wait. I’ll get it for you in a minute.” My son will wait maybe 60 seconds and say, “It’s taking to long.” The other day we went through this routine but this time when I told him to wait he said, “ It always takes to long.” I just smiled because I understand that his concept of time is on a much smaller, more immediate scale then mine. He doesn’t have the capacity to understand how time works. His impatience didn’t change anything about me. I didn’t hurry up or change my answer just because he didn’t want to wait. Instead I knew the waiting would be good for him and over time he will learn that, though the wait seems long, he will get his drink or be able to watch his movie. (I was also thinking how cute he is because …he is and I’m a little biased.)

I wonder if this is the way the Lord sees us. His concept of time is so much broader then ours. The forefathers who set up the government for the U.S. seem so long ago to us but only a short time ago to the Lord. Our short amount of years here on Earth, in comparison to all of time, is so small. I know I get impatient. I get tired of waiting on the Lord. I think I’ve been doing a great job waiting and have reason to fuss but to the Lord, it’s been just a little while. My impatience will probably not change the Lord’s answer to me. He knows waiting produces good things in me. He knows the right time for things to happen in my life. I need to trust He will do what He says He will do. I need to remember that there is a reason things need to happen in a certain order. I don’t always know the reason but I don’t need to. I just need to trust that my Heavenly Father has it all under control. Also that He always loves me.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

I was giving my kids their vitamins. My two oldest were standing in front of me waiting. I dumped several of the vitamins in my hand. As if in some hurry, my 11 year old daughter exclaimed, “I want the purple one!” I looked at my hand and realized there was only one purple one. Before I had a chance to hand it to her she snatched it out of my hand. I couldn’t believe she did that. She normally has better manners. I was planning on giving it to her and didn’t appreciate her taking it the way she did. I explained this to her and she said, “Sorry.” I knew she really was sorry. She tried to put it back in my hand to make up for it but it was for her. I didn’t want it. I gave it back to her and told her to be a little more patient next time.

Again I could see my tendencies to do the same thing. The Lord opens His hand to bless me and instead of being patient enough for Him to give it to me I try to quicken the process by my own actions. Really I should be standing there ready to receive with thankfulness. Our Heavenly Father wants to give us good things, things that will strengthen us, help us grow. Things we enjoy and things we want. Our Father is a good Father and knows what’s good for His children. He doesn’t keep any good thing back from His children. There is a timing factor though. When we wait for His timing we will enjoy it so much more then when we take things into our own hands.

If you are like me and found yourself growing impatient or have even taken this into your owns hands before the right time, don’t feel condemned. The Holy Spirit may convict you so you can change your ways and learn but never condemn you. He takes no joy in making you feel bad. Our heavenly Father still wants to give you good things. Just remember to be patient next time.

Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10a (The New American Standard version says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.”)

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength…Isaiah 40:31

purple flower

 

Did you forget about me, Lord?

In May 2013 I went to Healing Rain, a monthly prayer service for healing at my church, because I was losing weight and didn’t know why. I was having some stomach and intestinal problems and the doctors weren’t sure what was going on. As 2013 continued the Lord walked with me through that year as we made several trips to doctors to find the source of my weight loss and digestion problems. I ended up going gluten free and studying up on the foods we eat. I learned a lot about my health and was forced to take a look at the way my family and I were eating. I made the switch for my family to eat healthier and found out three of my four kids have some type of gluten sensitivity.

In Nov. I ended up in surgery for an umbilical hernia. My husband prayed right before I went into surgery that if there was anything hidden it would be found. During surgery the surgeon discovered I had another very rare hernia. It was strangulating my intestines and bowels. He also found scar tissue that was making the movement of food difficult. He fixed those things and I have since gained back 5 of the 42 pounds I lost. I’m healthy and have more energy.

I felt God’s presence with me every step of the way. Had I been healed instantly I wouldn’t have looked at the foods we were eating, made healthier choices for my family or recognized all the symptoms in my children. Here is one instance where I can see God’s healing came through medical means but it was more of a blessing that it came that way then through divine instant healing. I think a lot of times we are looking for that instant healing and don’t understand when He doesn’t do it that why. Many times during that year I felt the Lord forgot about me. Softly, I could hear His voice reassuring me he hadn’t forgotten me. Looking back now I’m glad it worked the way it did. I hope my story can encourage those who feel forgotten to know that God not only sees you but is walking you through every step.

The same…but different

My husband has been digging his heels into studying God’s Word. In his pursuit for truth he did research on the different versions of the bible. He was looking for the versions that are closest to the original manuscripts. In his search he found people have their personal favorites. Especially those who stick with the King James version. Some of them are die hard on the King James and feel that if you use anything else, it’s flat out wrong. Those are the extreme cases.

My husband wanted to investigate more so he called up two pastors where we used to go to church. He knows these men are well educated in the Word and values their input. The conclusion was yes, there are differences in the different versions of the Bible. For the most part however, these differences are small and the message stays the same. I like how one of the pastors summed it up to my husband. He said if people are wanting to argue over the differences of wording between versions then they probably aren’t really looking for Jesus.

I see the same being true with different denominations in the Christian faith. Though there are differences among the denominations all have the same foundation. The foundation that Jesus, the Son of God, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for our sins, was raised on the third day and through Jesus’ work on the cross we can receive eternal life when we believe in Jesus.

Let me clarify that different denominations are very different then different religions. Different religions do not believe that Jesus is the ONLY way of salvation. way truth life We need to steer clear of other religions. God warned the Israelites of this over and over again in the Old Testament and Paul warns us to stay away from anyone who preaches anything other then salvation through the cross of Jesus Christ. We need to continue to take heed to these warnings.

Different denominations are basically the same with some small differences. Like those who are die hard with King James, there are those who feel their denomination is the only correct one. This has resulted in divisions in the body of Christ. Some have been painful and driven people away from Christ altogether. This breaks my heart. I personally do not like denominational walls and would love to see them fall or at least if people could stretch over the walls to join hands as members of one body. Can you imagine all the things we could accomplish in this world if we would join together! All denominations have their strengths (and weaknesses). I believe when we allow the denominations to move in their strengths the whole body of Christ benefits.

When studying the Bible I use many different versions. This gives me a clearer understanding and picture of what God is saying through His Word. We can also get a clearer picture of what God is doing and saying through His people when we encourage each other to move in our strengths. God is moving in all denominations and in every tongue. Don’t close your eyes to that just because you don’t like something about your brother or sister. We will see Him move with even greater fire when we join in unity as one body. Let’s encourage one another because the harvest is great and the workers are few. When non-christians see us fighting with each other it drives them away. There are souls at stake here. Let’s be the body of Christ.

If you are willing, please pray for brothers and sisters in Christ to see each other through the eyes of Christ. Please pray for the bride of Christ to work together at gathering the harvest.

harvest

The Good Dr.

I was sitting in the dentist chair because I have plenty of dental work that needs to be done. After my first visit there they showed me all that needs to be done. My many cavities and the severity of them. It was a bit overwhelming. Much of this you can’t see from the surface. My husband and I knew we needed to take care of it so we scheduled a visit where I would be there for two hours as the dentist went to town fixing my teeth.
So there I am sitting in the dentist chair. The dentist and his assistant are hoovered over me putting all these things in my mouth. Using different tools. At one point I thought I have no idea what this man is doing. I knew I was there to get filings but there were times I didn’t have a clue what he was doing or why. I have a very nice dentist. I could hear him explaining to me what he was doing and why but I had a dental tool going in my mouth and couldn’t make out what he was saying. There was to much rattling in my head.

Then I thought to myself, the dentist is like God. Sometimes I have no idea what God is doing. I know the general direction God and I are taking. I know the goal is to fix all these blackened places in my heart and soul. I know we are trying to fix them before they cause part of me to rot or decay. We don’t want the poison from decay filtering through the rest of my body. Yet, sometimes I have no idea what my heavenly Father is doing. I get anxious. I can hear his voice and I know He’s speaking to me but I don’t know what He’s saying because there’s to much going on in my head. I have to remind myself to just hold tight because my Heavenly Father is working and would do nothing to hurt me.
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I’ve been in a season of expectancy for the promises God has given my husband and I to be fulfilled. We know the Lord is at work but when the days grow long it’s hard to not get anxious, frustrated or depressed. It’s in those moments we must cling to the truths we know. Our Heavenly Father is a loving God, He is faithful to the end and will fulfill every promise He’s ever given to us. Even when we can’t clearly hear His voice we can be at peace knowing the Good Dr. is at work.