How Does Your Garden Grow?

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This past year have you appreciated nature in all its glorious full bloom?   Whether viewing meadows with abundant wild flowers or our own garden with pansies, lavender, and roses, we have seen that God has given us so much to enjoy.  But have you thought about the kinds of growth that God loves to see in His children?  God wants to teach us to be calm, even-tempered, to restrain our rising annoyance or anger, and to endure past the crisis.  This is called patience, a character quality bringing a vast array of know-how and equipping us for the trials of life.  “…for when your patience is finally in bloom, then you will be ready for anything, strong in character, full and complete.”  James 1:4b

One of the hardest experiences is finding yourself in the midst of unhappiness or suffering.  That is when we need patience the most.  There will always be times when we cannot control the events of our life or the responses of others.  God’s path sometimes leads us to places we would rather not go.  At these times we should remember what a loving God we serve who will reward us according to our walk of trust, wherever it may lead.  “You need to keep on patiently doing God’s will if you want him to do for you all that he has promised.”  Heb 10:36   Job is a great picture of the persistent believer.  He is recorded as one of the “…examples of patience in suffering… a man who continued to trust the Lord in sorrow; from his experiences we can see how the Lord’s plan finally ended in good.”  James 5:10, 11  Let us, like Job, believe that God is equipping us for the long haul.

Throughout our life we exercise patience as we wait for eternity with Jesus.  Till then the Heavenly Gardener is teaching us to cultivate a life that produces spiritual growth.  Our spiritual growth is life transforming, changing us and those around us.  What a joy to know the Gardener’s hand is on us every moment of the day.  Among the many flowers that grow and blossom, are you nurturing the practice of patience?  “…let patience have her perfect work.”  James 1:4  Now is the time to ask, how does your garden grow?

Click here to read another bloggers insights on the challenge of submission.

Click here to read Kristen’s thoughts about waiting on God.

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Kaboom!

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Who is God?  He is the Creator Ruler and for His children, He is life itself.  “…The man who finds life will find it through trusting God.”  Rom 1:17   In our world, God is not given the proper place of honor and esteem that is rightfully His alone.  “We should give God the same place in our hearts that He holds in the universe.”  Anonymous   “Tell the nations that Jehovah reigns!  He rules the world.  His power can never be overthrown.”  Ps 96:10

It’s so amazing to know that God has everything under control.  Our burdens are never too much for God to carry and our problems are never beyond His understanding and ability to solve.  Everyone has many difficult questions about life, perhaps too many to count.  “I had a thousand questions to ask God but when I met Him they all fled and didn’t seem to matter.”  Christopher Morley   One day when we stand before God we will be overcome by His incomparable beauty, wisdom, and perfect justice.

America, our beloved country, how far have we fallen?  Do we really believe we can leave God behind and still expect to succeed?  “What fools the nations are to rage against the Lord!  How strange that men should try to outwit God!  … ‘Come let us break His chains’, they say, ‘and free ourselves from all this slavery to God’.  But God in heaven merely laughs.  He is amused by all their puny plans.”  Ps 2:1, 3, 4  We trust God because in His perfection He is able to accurately judge all mankind.  “He will judge you with perfect justice for everything you do.”  1 Pet 1:17   All His judgments are spot on.  His laws are established in love and provide great mercy for our weaknesses.  Perhaps the greatest reason to honor the Almighty God is that He provides a way to escape our perpetual bent toward self-destruction.  “…God called you out of the darkness into His wonderful light.”  1 Pet 2:9

Life can be like maneuvering through a large mine field.  Without direction from the One who knows all the dangers, “Ka-boom!”  Today, will you seek to truly value the sweet and powerful name of God?  May He grant you the personal revelation that you can’t live apart from Him.

Click here to read another blogger’s inspirational thoughts about seeing God.

Click here to read another blogger’s insights into trusting Jesus.

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Sneak Attack

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Have you ever felt loneliness grab you in a half nelson and throw you down on the mat?  It’s a sneak attack that catches you when you least expect it.  Even though loneliness is common we cannot dismiss it lightly because the pain can linger and limit our ability to function in even small ways.  We need people.  We need someone to talk to about what concerns us.  “Share each other’s troubles and problems…”  Gal 6:2   Jesus did not send out his disciples alone.  Sadly, there may often be times when we do not have a special person to share our heart, our life.  We can know that in those times someone is waiting for us and wanting us.  Loneliness doesn’t need to have the last word.  “It is this very loneliness that throws him back upon God.  His inability to find human companionship drives him to seek in God what he can find nowhere else.”  A. W. Tozer

God uses loneliness to accomplish His purposes in our lives.  God can use anything for good.  He seeks to develop His wonderful character within us through the ordinary experiences of life.  Those isolated times are the perfect opportunities to develop friendship with God, leading us to find friendship with one another.  Our God teaches us how to truly care for one another, how to forgive, how to let the new nature control us, how to have discernment, and how to keep our minds at rest in a troubled world.  “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee.”  Is 26:3   We often struggle to keep emotionally balanced because of needing more meaningful connection with others.  It would help if we saw life through God’s perspective.  “…God doesn’t count the value of our days as man does.  In His eyes a bedridden believer in a nursing home still has a purpose and a calling from Him.  You can be sure that if you are breathing, the Lord still has plans for you.”  Charles F. Stanley   So whether it’s your great smile, a card, a call, or a sweet surprise you can move a life from aloneness to togetherness.

All of life is a journey.  Some destinations we arrive at quickly, others take us long seasons of traveling.  Take heart, God may be finishing up your traveling papers right now for the next part of your amazing journey.  Let’s not forget to take someone with us and nip loneliness in the bud!

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Click here to read another blogger’s insights on attitude.

Going Out With Joy

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              Friends, we need a deep down strength for living each day.  As believer’s, our passion and strength comes from the joy of knowing Jesus.  “…for the joy of the Lord is my strength.”  Is 12:3   This joy is like an eternal fountain of water which never fails to spring up when we lift our cup for one more drink.  This is our Christian inheritance, raising us from walking in human weakness to being mighty in spirit.  We advance knowing that Christ’s joy-filled strength will always be there to back us up when the going gets tough.

                Believers, we must partner with Jesus in order to increase our capacity for joy.  We greatly increase our joy by diving into God’s Word without delay.  “Your words are what sustain me; they are food to my hungry soul.  They bring joy to my sorrowing heart and delight me.  How proud I am to bear your name, O Lord.”  Jer 15:16   Have you felt lately the tremendous pride and joy in bearing the name of Christian?  In this time of growing disfavor from the world around us, it is sometimes easier to remain comfortably behind the scenes.  May we not forget who is the supplier of everything we have generously received throughout our lifetime.  “You have let me experiences the joys of life and the exquisite pleasures of your own eternal presence.”  Ps 16:11   Another way to increase our joy is by simply trusting.  We know that we are in the capable hands of a mighty Savior who has given us every reason to trust in Him.  We cannot rely on our feelings, experiences, or desires but we can trust the proven love of Jesus.  “…though not seeing him, you trust him; and even now you are happy with the inexpressible joy that comes from heaven itself.”  1 Pet 1:8     Now attitude is everything.   Choosing to be humble and teachable enlarges our capacity to have more joy.  “The meek will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.”  Is 29:19   Lastly, when we listen and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives we will be given greater joy.  “But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us, love, joy, …” Gal 5:22 

              The apostle Paul reminds us that Christians everywhere are in the midst of a great and terrible struggle.  (See 2 Cor 1:3-11)  We are challenged at every turn to seek the Savior who continues to save.  As we are about the business of living our lives may we take this wonderful blessing into the work place, the church, and the home.  “For you shall go out with joy…”  Is 55:12

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Click here to read another blogger’s insights on God healing broken heart’s.

Click here to read about the incredible joy of the many blessings our Father has given us.