I have been Ill and gone on vacation and distracted by so many things that, needless to say, my yard has run amuck with weeds. 😦
Now that I can ignore it no more I am paying the price by hoeing and raking and hauling away the spawn of my neglect. But , on the bright side, I find this labor is where I meet my God and Heavenly Father and His Spirit speaks as my mind and heart has been churning about so many things.
About the weeds of neglect and the opportunity for chaos to rule because not all the seeds in the soil will contribute to the scheme of a beautiful landscape I have in mind. The weed seeds are always there. They come at no added charge with the soil but are very costly when we enable them to grow, take root and thrive.
What we think about is very important. It becomes the notion that leads to the feeling that leads to the attitude, that leads to the words that bring life or death. Jesus said as a man thinks in his heart so is he. The Apostle Paul said to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. Allowing negative, critical thoughts to brew and mull them over creates the perfect soil for bitterness to take root. Bitterness is an ugly root that turns the soft heart to stone and leads to deaf ears to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say. The only way to get rid of this root is to agree with God about what He says about those thoughts and attitudes. That’s called confession. Simply agreeing with God. 1John1:9 says if we confess our sins God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Hanging on to wrong thoughts makes us dirty. It is wrong thinking that hardens our hearts and widens the space between us and God. As time goes on there becomes less and less room for healthy thinking and we become less and less of what God has in mind for us. The Son came to set us free. The Spirit came bringing the Father’s adoption papers. We are born again to a life of love and hope and miracles. Isn’t it time to tend your garden? It gets a lot easier when you don’t let it go to seed. “-)
Prayer: Thank you Father for your supreme patience with me. I know when I am tired I let a lot of things go that need tending. I don’t pick up my Bible and the longer I let that go the more cranky and impatient and critical and self absorbed I become. I get dirty and need You to wash me. I don’t want to be hard hearted or slow to hear You speak. Show me if I have weeds of resentment I am allowing to grow. If I have wounded anyone show me that I might ask forgiveness and repair relationships. Fill me with your compassion and kindness. I yield to Your wisdom and delight to hear Your voice!
This cool low riding classic caught my eye on the freeway. Way cute don’t you think?!
The Bible says when we receive God’s makeover everything about us changes. “If anyone is in Christ Jesus he is a new creation. Old things are passed away. Everything has become new. ” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Jesus told His disciples John baptized with water but He would baptize them with the Holy Spirit and fire. He said He would ascend back into Heaven but He would send the Comforter who would teach and lead and transform. For Disciples of Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit is God’s genetic code implanted. He called us to adoption, to be His sons and daughters and heirs to all that belongs to Him. Through Moses God revealed Himself through the Law but the law only showed how sinful we are and condemns us to judgement. It was the law that put us to death but grace and truth came through Jesus. Jesus’ blood covers our sin, pays a debt we can never pay ourselves and implants God’s engine and power to please God by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit gives us the mind, heart and will to understand God’s truth through Scriptures and the will and wisdom to do what’s right. We don’t do things perfectly. We still get distracted and stumble at times but God has provided confession, which is just agreeing with Him that we have sinned and He promises to cleanse and forgive us and restore our relationship with Him. If that car was so cool, which it truly was, how much more cool would a makeover by God be?!! Have you started your makeover?
I love seeing the befores and afters with HGTV’s renovations. They seem so quick and, ok it looks like hard work, but, how hard can it be? Well, now that I’m neck deep in renovating our thrashed rental I can tell you it is neck breaking, back breaking and heart breaking. Yes, I am being a drama queen. When I am weary my thoughts and mood turn to the dark side. But, I must say, through my scrapping, spackling, hole-filling I have had some awesome conversations with God. Starting with a conversation Jesus had with religious leader Nicodemas in his day. Jesus told Nic if he ever wanted to make it into God’ s kingdom he would have to be born again. His basic genetic code was not Kingdom friendly. He needed a rebirth. A makeover.
God starts the process with a basic rewiring by implanting His Holy Spirit when we acknowledge we are totally unable to reach God’s standards of perfection and accept His substitute payment, His Son, Jesus, as our qualifying certificate. I have done that. I have downloaded the Holy Spirit but that is just the intro. My foundation is Jesus but I know I am still a hot mess with dings, and garbage and graffitti written on the walls of my mind and heart. The Bible says I am a new creation in Christ Jesus ( 2 Corinthians 5:17) but God uses our hard times to knock down the rough edges James 1) and His Word, the Bible, to get our thinking straight (1Peter2:2). So, back to our house reno, I am patching dings, filling holes, sanding and smoothing surfaces and through my tears I hear the Holy Spirit say this is what He is doing in my life right now. Just as I struggle with the awesome vision of one day having a wonderful, strong and amazing home, He is working together everything in my life for my good (Romans 8:28). In Jeremiah 29:11-13 God says “I have good plans for you, not plans to hurt you. I will give you hope and a good future. Then you will call my Name. You will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will search for Me. And when you search for Me with all your heart, you will find Me!” Such good news for this one in need of repair!
I give thanks and joy-filled praise to the Giver of light. You, O God faithfully surround me with your life, Your light, Your warmth, Your quiet nudging and whispers inviting me to join You in the light. In the morning I will sing. I will sing of Your love. I will sing of Your strength. I will sing of Your compassion and tender provisions for every detail of my life. I am weak and You are strong. I am worried and Your are confident. I am small and You are beyond immense. You just spoke and from Your word the worlds, the galaxies, the waters, the winds, and every living thing exploded into life. There is nothing too small or too large that You haven’t invested your time and careful thought. We, Your creation have messed things up mightily yet, knowing we would, even before You placed us in Your garden, You provided the way to restore and create an even better and more profound relationship with You. You are GOOD. You are JUST. There is no darkness or subtle motives of selfish desire in You. In our great loss of light and moral purity You entered into our darkness, filth and utter failure and embraced our humanity. You became a baby. You experienced the love of a doting mother, a strong steady faithful dad, and the animosity of sibling rivalry. You told your human mom and dad to name You Jesus because You would, in Jesus, save your people from their sins. And You did. You, all HOLY, PURE, SINLESS, LAMB OF GOD, submitted to mockings, whippings, false accusations without saying a word in Your defense, and let us nail You to a cross. On the cross You knew the pain of separation from God the Father and the Holy Spirit for the first time. You cried out “My God, why have You forsaken me?!” You cried out “I thirst!” You, the Fount of Living Water, was so thirsty because the well, the SPRING OF ALL LIFE, experienced what every living being past, present and future, experiences in their separation from the Source of life. Then You cried out “It is finished!” and committing your spirit to the Father, you died. Everything You came to do was accomplished at that moment. IT IS FINISHED!!!! At that moment the work of redemption was accomplished. The debt PAID IN FULL!!! And to prove there is no hard feelings between us and You for all Your troubles we caused You, You raised from the dead and offered, free of charge, adoption papers for us to sign. You are not a God of arm twisting and coercion. Because we chose to walk away from You and live in rebellion and disobedience, we all are subject to death. But there is a second death that is permanent and forever removes us from every kindness You have bestowed on Your creation. No light. No water. No shelter. No kind words or hope of healing. This is the future You died to free us from. I am so grateful. I am overwhelmed and say, with tears, hand me those adoption papers!!! I can’t imagine my life without light. I can’t imagine my life without hope. I can’t imagine a life without any water to quench the thirsting of my soul. And now You have rescued me. You have washed me. You have clothed me in Your light and filled me with purpose and hope. You have told me to call You Daddy and invited me to come rushing into Your arms with all my worries. O wow! I am so “lucky”.
Today is September 11. A day the whole world saw the face of the our enemy unmasked in all its show of hideous strength and vicious bravado. But there is nothing new under the sun. Our choice to believe the inconceivable lies of Satan in the garden about You, Lord God, has opened the portal to a world run amuck. But You knew long before, that mankind would be in a world of hurt and, in Your great compassion, You sent Jesus to seek and save the lost. You, O Father God, show your kindness and faithfulness with every sunrise and sunset. There is nothing and no one greater than You. Because of Jesus I bask in your approval. Because of Jesus I call you daddy. Because of Jesus I am guaranteed that I will never die the second death. If God be for me who can be against me? NO ONE!!!
You have made me for eternity. I am ageing like a faded rose. One day my spirit will join You and I will see You face to face. You will give me a body made of eternal stuff. You will wipe away all my tears. I will never see illness or death or disappointments ever again. You alone lift me up with wings like eagles. You have promised to take all the loose ends in my life and create a masterpiece that will empower and release Holy Spirit grace and joy and light into this dark world. You redeem and restore and transform the unlikely into the impossibly great and awesome!!! With You, O God, all things are possible. To You, alone, belong all praise!!! Hallelujah!
Do you hear people talk Christianese and shake your head perplexed about the words, the jargon, the concepts that are thrown at you? Do you feel like an outsider when you are around some Christians like they have a private club with code words and expectations you have no clue about? That is because they are taking in KINGDOM speak. Jesus said His KINGDOM is not of this world and when He returned to His KINGDOM He sent His Holy Spirit to inhabit us, altering our spiritual DNA to forge the missing link to send and receive communication to and from God’s KINGDOM.
1 Corinthians 2:14 says the natural man can’t receive the things of the Spirit of God because they are spiritually discerned. They are foolishness to him and he can’t know them because they are spiritually discerned.
Microbes are only discerable with the aide of a microscope. The stars and galaxies in the deep beyond require telescopes to be viewed and studied. In the same way KINGDOM knowledge can be clearly understood or received only with the Holy Spirit link up through faith in Jesus.
Water is wonderful. Water is essential. But what if the occasion calls for more? Not more water but something liquid that tickles the palate, refreshes the soul, and inspires a whole lot of giggles and dancing with joy? What if all you’ve got is water and the party will fall flat if you can’t supply the joy juice? What if its not just a party but a wedding and without it the celebration will be a huge disappointment? Mary, the mother of Jesus, overheard the kitchen help saying they had run out of wine and the wedding party was just warming up. Like every compassionate mother, matters not whose children they were, she was not about to let this faux pas go without intervention so she turned to her son, Jesus, to handle it. Every Jewish mother revels in their son’s accomplishments: “My son the brain surgeon.”. “My son the world’s greatest…” fill in the blank. But Mary knew she could have introduced Jesus as “My son, the Messiah. The very king of kings, creator of all that is and foretold by prophets of old to come and save us.”. She held this knowlege deep in her heart away from prying eyes but today she felt as his mother and guardian she could ask Him to step up and handle this problem of no libations at the wedding. Jesus said not yet mom, but she turned to the kitchen help and said do whatever He tells you to do. So Jesus shook His head, shrugged His shoulders, grinned, then told the servants to fill up all their large empty clay pots with water then serve the first drink to the master of ceremonies. With the first taste the tester proclaimed in astonishment and delight “It is customary for the wedding party to provide the most expensive wine at the beginning and then, when everyone is too drunk to notice, bring out the cheeper stuff but you have saved the best til last!”.
There is so much to learn and take away in this true story. You can find it in chapter 2 of the Gospel of John in the Bible. First, as I read it this week, I was reminded of the passage in the Bible, 2 Corinthians 4:7, where the apostle Paul says we have in this earthen vessel (our bodies) “this precious treasure (the divine light of the gospel) in (frail) human vessels of earth that the grandeur and exceeding greatness of the power may be shown to be from God and not ourselves.” (Amplified New Testament)
We are stewards of our bodies. Inside we have been gifted with talents, abilities, personalities–water–that will make ourselves and others happy and encouraged and meet needs. Remembering there is nothing we posess that we haven’t received from the hand of our gracious God, there is something we all lack without the intervention of Jesus. New wine. That is the Holy Spirit Jesus pours into our very being that creates the DNA link between us and God. The Holy Spirit empowers, comforts, corrects, guides, enables us to decode God’s truths found in the Bible. Apart from Jesus there is no filling with the Holy Spirit. No new wine. The very sweet truth is I can’t manufacture new wine from water. All I need to do is come to Jesus with my earthen jar full of water and ask Him to change me from the inside with His new wine. Sweet. To God be the glory!
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