This morning in Wisconsin its VERY cold! -18 as this moment. But its a spectacular day, This is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it! Sometimes when I am focused on the things that I am grumbling about, I miss the most beautiful things. God is a good God! Even in the winter times of my life. Not just the actual winter but the times when I am in a Spiritual winter too. I need to change my focus and turn my eyes toward the Son!
Sometimes I wonder what it means to realy love your neighbor. I can be kind but does that mean I love my neighbor? In Mark 12: 30-31 “The Lord said the greatest Commandments is love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” When I love my neighbor am I also telling my neighbor about Jesus? Is being kind to your neighbor just good enough? Will my neighbor know that I am being kind because of Jesus? or do I actually need to say Jesus loves you! Man I struggle with this! Where is the line between just kindness? Is doing random acts of kindness good enough? What about not random acts, but purposefully being a kind person always? How do people know I love Jesus just through my kind words? Or kind actions? I have these neighbors that I come in contact with on a regular basis and often they need something and I try to help them out as much as I can because I want to be kind and thats what Jesus wants us to do. Colossians 3: 12 reminds us to ” Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.. How do I go from being just a kind neighbor? Just a nice lady next door? How do I say you know this is more than just kindness? I am being kind because I love Jesus and I want you to know Jesus! How do random acts of kindness actually tell a person more than your just a kind person? If you bought coffee for the person that was in line behind you or your in the McDonald’s drive-thru and you pay for the car that is behind you isnt that an act of kindness and generosity? But how do people know that it’s more than just an act of kindness?
Lord Jesus please give me the words to pass along Your message to tell others it is because of the change You have made in my life that has given me Your love for others. That I love them because You love them. Jesus give me the courage and the boldness to share with my nieghbors Your great love! Forgive me Jesus when I have not told others about You!
Act 4:29 “… Grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your word with all boldness..”
My friend was recently sharing with me how sometimes she gets discouraged because she has shared the gospel with others and doesn’t see any results. God calls us to be seed planters. To tell others about Him, then He does the work. Sometimes we might never see the end result till we reach Heaven! This story I made up is just an illustration that helps me remember I wont always see the quick growth in a new believer. Most times faith is a long growing process and takes many many years.
A small boy was at school and the teacher was telling his class about an exciting seed they would be able to take home and plant in their yard. The class worked hard on coloring paint sticks so they could mark where they were planting the seed. When it was time to go home the teacher handed out the seed. He thought this a funny looking seed with a hat on it. His friend that lived next door also recieved a seed. Upon arriving home he excitedly shared with his parents about his seed. They also became excited about the seed. He had a very large back yard and his parents helped him decide where it should go. Carefully they planted the seed and placed the marker so he would remember where to water it. His young friend also planted his seed near by. Every morning before school the young boy would happily run outside and water the spot marked out for his seed. After a week he was getting discouraged that his seed hadn’t sprouted yet. He still continued to water it only now, every other day. A few more weeks go by and still nothing. Summer was in full swing and the little boys had forgotten all about the seeds. Now about 8 weeks after he had first recieved the seed, his parents told him they where moving away to a new town. The boy as he grew had many trials though out his growing life. Some were so very difficult he felt as if he had been scarred. 35 years pass, the boy, now a man takes his wife and young son back to where he had lived as a boy. The house is for sale. As the family is walking around the place and checking things out, the son says “Daddy look at this very big tree! It will make a great place to play on and under.” The man, looking around, told his wife, ” Isn’t it funny what you forget as a kid, I dont remember the trees in this neighborhood.” The wife loves the tree and says it is the best part of the yard and so happy the house comes with such a shade tree with large branches. As they walked around the mighty tree the family looked at one side. Sometime when the tree was younger and still growing a storm had come along and scarred it. But the tree had kept growing and was a very large beautiful tree. With amazement in his voice the little boy says, “Look daddy, somebody put this stick in the middle of our tree”. The man tried to get the stick but realized it has grown into part of the tree. After a closer look the stick suddenly seemed very familar. The man is reminded of many many years ago, a painted stick and a teacher that had shared a seed with a young boy. It dawns on him THIS is the evidence of the seed the teacher had given to him! As he looks over the tree and thinks back on his life, he sees the scarred branch and thinks about how this tree is similar to his own life. Grown up now with some scars but still thriving…..
The man never saw the growth in the tree untill he had walked away for a time. He didn’t even see the growth of the seed in his friends tree until he returned home. When we plant a Godly seed in other peoples lives we might not see the evidence for many years, but its still there.
An acorn seed when planted actually grows it roots first. It can take anywhere from 8-10 weeks before a spout even comes up. Then it takes about 30-40 years to grow up. Looking at an oak tree root system it is deep and very spread out almost as far as the canopy of the top of the tree.
1 Corinthians 3:6-8
“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants the seed and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will eachbe rewarded according to their own labor.”
Trusting!! God has brought me so far in this area of my life. Moving, that was a big area of trusting! We had to trust about the right area and trust God would take care of the details. We had to commit to God and ask His will be done. Even right up to the very day we left! We had a place picked out to rent yet we still had no idea how we were going to have the money for the first months rent and the deposit we had to put down. But we knew that this was the direction God was leading us. We had been trusting God in every detail so why should we stop now. Let me tell you this was probably one of the hardest trusting God moments of my life!! The truck was all packed, the house emptied, the kids all in, stop to say good bye one more time to the older kids and we are ready to hit the road. My friend calls me, she says ‘You’re on my mind this morning, what can I specificaly pray for you this morning?’ Now that was a wonderful question! I asked her if she could pray for me to keep my courage up! That we still didnt have the money for the new rental place but that I was still trusting God knew about what details needed attention and I didnt need to worry about them. My friend prayed for me right there on the phone… Do you pray for your friends when they ask it? Then she said she had some money she had put away and felt God was gonna use that money. She asked us to stop by on our way and she had the amount we needed for the new rental place! Wow!!! God really did have the details taken care of. Right up to the very moment we where pulling out of there. This story may sound strange but its true! People say to me, I can’t believe you where gonna just move and didn’t even know how it was gonna happen. But isn’t life like that? We have no idea what tomorrow will be. Only God knows! We have to trust when we are following God’s will and plan for our lives He has the details. James 4 13-15 esv says ‘ Come now, you who say,” Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, ” If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that’ It is very hard sometimes for me to have this kind of attitude yet I still say almost daily, ‘If the Lord wills it’. How are you doing in this area? Are you committing every daily thing to the Lord? Are you living like today is for you or like today is part of Gods plan? Sometimes we, ( I especially) get wrapped up in my daily routine and forget to say ‘if the Lord wills it, I’ll do this or that.’ Proverbs 19:21esv says ‘Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it it the purpose of the Lord that will stand.’ This is all about trusting God! As I am writing this I am reminded of areas right now in my life I need to hand back over to God. Oh Jesus please forgive me for trying to be my own boss! I commit my days back to You and trust You will provide for me daily!
How about you? Are you trusting God? Spend some time reading the Bible today and praying and trusting God!
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5 NIV.
Trust in the Lord… I have heard this my whole life. But what does it really mean to Trust in the Lord? Well I am learning about this! We reciently moved from one state to another. My husband got a new job. This new job is also working with a different culture of people. Its a good thing! Just different. Right from the start of this new adventure we had to Trust with our whole hearts. The interview being on a Friday and out of state all of the family (the ones still living at home) came also. Whether he got the job or not we wanted to spend the weekend together. The first part of trusting, going where God was leading. We didnt know which direction God wanted us. My husband had 4-5 different options. Now we need to pray, which choice is better? Can we afford to move to a different state? Who will be against us if we do chose to move? Are we willing to leave loved ones especially our adult children and grandkids behind? Is this the plan God has for us? After some serious prayer time we felt peace about which option to take. Before my husband could call and confirm he wanted option 1, the company called and said it was really up to him but they felt option 1 was the better fit..but still up to him to decided and oh by the way they wanted to up the initial pay offer and would give $1000 toward moving expences. WOW we both were so amazed God gave us peace about the job and then answered some of our questions right away! Later that day as we were driving around the area looking for places for rent, my husband starts to laugh. I am confused and want to know whats going on. He said ” Did you see that sign by that mail box?” I shook my head no.” I was just thinking of all the people that will be against me moving, my mom, my current boss and fellow employees, our older children.. Anyway that sign said, ‘What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?’ (Romans 8:31)Thats why I laughed. I needed that reminder!” Oh God is so good! Lesson in trust just got a little better. Then still later that evening after driving all over the place, finding nothing to rent but that was okay because we had a few weeks before the move. We had stopped at the local grocery store. Feeling a bit overwhelmed by the idea of going home packing my house and moving in two weeks and not know where we were going and..and..and.. (You know how it goes) well I went into the rest room and into the stall and was just standing there, I took a deep breath and was having a quiet conversation with Jesus and just thought, are we doing the right thing? Is this the right plan? As Im thinking this I look up and right there on the wall in the bathroom stall was a picture frame.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,” plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29″11-13
WOW. Right there in the restroom stall God was reminding me to trust Him. My husband and I had been seeking God, we had been calling on Him and He gave us the peace to know we where doing the right thing. When we seek God He gives an answer! There is so much more to this story. I will continue to share. But I want to rememind you, seek God with your whole heart! Trust God knows what he is doing, even when we dont have a clue of the details. Read your Bible today, spend some time with Jesus!
This week I had asked my friend to be in prayer with me about being more bold in giving Jesus all the credit. To be more bold about sharing Jesus with other people. So we have been in prayer about this! After I finished talking with my friend, I went to pick up my vehicle from getting my tires changed. The fella that did the work on the tires came out and said to me, ” You must have something riding along with you on your shoulder”. I was a bit confused until he further explained.. The valve stem on my tires had broken, (in a strange way i guess) he said he has been in the tire business for 30 yrs and had never seen this. He said he did see it once with one tire and the tire was quit messed up and not drivable. He has never seen it on two tires and the tires be driveable. He was amazed I was able to drive at all. So he repeated his thought from earlier about “something riding on my shoulder”. I said no sir not “something” Jesus!! I told the man everyday I get in my vehicle and I pray, ” Dear Jesus please keep your hand of safety on this vehicle, on me and on any passengers that ride in here today” I said Jesus rides along with me!
How wonderful it is that just moments earlier I was asking my friend to be in prayer with me. We asked Jesus and he was quick to respond! When we are asking God to help us spread Jesus. He is so very faithful. I asked Jesus to help me be more bold in talking about Jesus and He answered! Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be open to you. For everyone who asks recieves; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (NIV)
Are you seeking God with all your heart? Are you asking God to do Godly things? Are you listening for what the Father is telling you? I am so encouraged that Jesus tells us to ask and He gives! Please be in prayer to open ours ears, our minds to be willing to share Jesus more and more bodly!
Jesus loves you!! Did you know that? Has somebody told you this? Has anybody told you this? It’s true, it’s very very true! JESUS LOVES YOU! Do you love Jesus?