In God’s Garden – In His Timing

Image

Let us not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up.” Galatians 6:9-10

Weed flowers come a dime a dozen. They don’t really need much of anything to take root, and they spread quicker than a wildfire. But a beautiful flower garden is a rare expression of structure, maintenance, planning, discipline, discernment, etc. It does not grow by itself, but it is the product of a continual process of cultivation, sowing, harvest, pruning, cultivation, sowing…Skip any part of this process, and you will find yourself in a weed bed. What is most mysterious about a beautiful flower garden is the transformation that takes place in between seasons – the time period where the ground is bare – pruning has just taken place. Does the gardener sit out for a season? Does he decide to rest and let the bed to what it may – lying dormant? For sure not. No gardener, who truly takes joy in his flower garden, could forsake it in the process of the transformation. Instead, the barren ground is scoped for left behind obstacles to later hoped for life. Then, seed is again planted, watered, groomed…and the process starts over.

Life, and the choices we make, are very much like the weeds and the flower garden. There are only two types of choices – HIS WAY THAT IS GOOD = flower garden or satan’s way that is bad = weeds. It is easy to choose when you spell out the choices like this. However, there are problems in the flower garden too.

You see, in the flower garden of GOD’S WAYS, HIS ACTIONS, HIS DEEDS – things that are full of HIS LOVE and ARE GOOD – there are many, many obstacles to the growth of these seeds HE has planted within each of our hearts. Just like any other flowerbed, there are pests, soil issues, hydration issues, temperature issues, and predators. The same is with the process that is taking place in our lives as GOD transforms us from a forsaken lot of weeds into a beautiful, flagrant, unique, and peaceful flower garden for HIS People and Chosen to enjoy. Life, itself, is the world we live in, relative to where GOD has placed us physically – this is the plot of land where the garden abides. All the things that stand in the way of that piece of land being fertile and abundant with GOD-LIFE, ZOE, are the traps and circumstances of the enemy because he has come to steal, kill, and destroy. Paul tells the Believer, who should already be in the practice of doing good, to stay in that garden and endure even the barren seasons; tend the garden as it needs; stick to it – because sticking with it guarantees the promise that we will get what we have sown. Choose not to plant a seen on barren ground. See what shoots forth in the absence of the good seed. For not too long before one weed breeds a wilderness.

We are in a constant process of sowing and reaping in the garden of life GOD has placed us. Hopefully, that garden is overseen by ABBA. Because the truth is – the laws of the universe never change. GOD said what you sow – you will reap. Certainly uproot, slash-and-burn that which is not good because it is not springing forth from GOD. But if you’re already in the flower garden, stick to it. GOD will bring everything it needs in due season. Just do your part and maintain the garden.

 

 

Do not grow weary little heart.

Do not grow tired nor faint.

When doing what’s best for others –

do what Jesus did; be a Saint.

 

For in due season, you will find

that your endurance wins a prize

because while doing good for others –

you will find you’ve changed their lives.

 

For in doing good, GOD IS ABLE,

to use our very hands and feet –

to serve, to love, to disciple,

to teach, and to give to everyone we meet.

 

Along life’s path, you might grow tired.

You might feel beat up and abused,

but remember that’s how JESUS felt

when HE was truly being used.

 

And like a seed, HIS actions were

planted all across the world.

2012 years later,

still transforming lives of boys and girls.

 

HE chose to stick beside HIS FATHER,

and endured the seasons as they came –

cultivating miracles –

the dead, the blind, the lame.

 

Everywhere HE went, HE reaped

the fruit of what HE had done.

Because of HIS OBEDIENCE,

HIS LIFE touched everyone.

 

Still, up on a tree,

HE faced a gruesome and awful death.

HIS BODY WAS BROKEN; HIS SIDE WAS PIERCED;

THE SAVIOUR EVEN WEPT.

 

HE never grew weary in what HE did,

even when HE took HIS last gasp.

HE just kept on doing good for everyone,

til HIS BODY breathed ITS last breath.

Just when the clouds grew dark,

and the season seemed to wan,

ELOHIM – THE AWESOME GOD –

spoke HIM to LIFE again.

 

For soon enough, in due season,

JESUS reaped the fruit –

leaving salvation available to everyone

who chooses HIS pursuit.

 

Do not grow weary, little heart,

while doing good you find yourself at odds –

with life, with people, with circumstances –

just keep your eyes fixed on GOD.

 

Keep doing what HE tells you to.

Stick to what is pure and right.

Do it when it’s easy –

do it especially when it’s a fight.

 

For some seasons show really difficult –

even the sun, the wind, the rain –

nothing seems to want to help –

we wonder if life will ever come again.

 

But Galatians six, verses nine and ten,

promises to every Believer,

that if we stick doing what is good,

we will become the receiver

 

of the promise of an inheritance

beyond what anyone can imagine –

a life with YESHUA,

and full understanding of HIS PASSION

 

for sticking to doing what is good

and staying in the season where HIS FATHER had HIM planted,

for staying fixed upon HIS FATHER’S WORK,

and on HIS WORD alone always standing.

 

You see, my dear little one,

the fruit you’ll reap once you’ve endured a season –

will change your life and those around you –

beyond your ability to reason

 

or fathom to realize

just exactly what you had done

til you stand beside the FATHER

beholding each and everyone

whose lives were changed because they watched

the seasons you had endured –

not growing faint, though tired at times –

still always going forward.

 

Keep doing good, my little one.

Please do not grow weary…

no matter how difficult this life might get,

no matter how bad or dreary.

 

For I promise you will reap the seeds that you have planted,

when you find yourself before the KING OF KINGS,

and you will understand it all –

the pain, the hurt, life’s sting…

 

was all a part of the process

of growing fruit in GOD’S GARDEN

and shedding it upon all the hearts

that the enemy had hardened.

 

 

Advertisements

The Sacrifice of a Contrite Heart

Image

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit – a broken and contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.” Psalms 51:17

How ashamed King David must have felt once he had realized the magnitude of the sin he had committed with Bathsheba. He was a man after GOD’S very heart; yet, he had hands guilty for adultery and innocent bloodshed. There are countless examples of episodes of corruption, human nature, and sin throughout David’s life – from the shepherd boy who slayed Goliath and on throughout his reign as king. However, in Psalms 51, David releases a prayer of repentance, and within verse 17, the reader can find one of the most intimate passages that reveal a pathway to GOD’s heart. To know that this Psalm was written before the birth of CHRIST – before the plan of salvation based on THE ONE TRUE SACRIFCE – makes IT all the more magnificent! You see, throughout the OLD TESTAMENT, one can find passage after passage depicting the grueling rituals that took place as priests fulfilled the OLD TESTAMENT requirements of sacrifice; yet, it is interrupted with a song from a broken king who realizes there is no sacrifice great enough to offer THE MIGHTY ONE once you have sinned against HIM. David orchestrates a hymn of humble repentance – understanding the depth of his transgression, he presents to God – not human offerings, but a humble and broken heart, fully aware of the magnitude of his err. David’s heart became fully aware (contrite) of his sin. He realized the utter separation he faced from HIS FATHER because of it. “Contrite” stems from the Latin word “contritus,” meaning ground to pieces…wow, can I relate!

I have too often, sometimes reluctantly, sometimes not, found myself in the same predicament as David. Proud in my accomplishments, basking in my recognition. Then, plop – on my face in the middle of my stinking sty – once again, facing sins of my flesh, sins of my heart, strongholds…too often, my heart inflates, and I am overcome with my self-awareness – understanding there are possibilities I might be able to get around the consequences of my errors. Then, the HOLY SPIRIT convicts me. I realize that my heart no longer belongs to me; it was crucified with CHRIST; IT IS HIM WHO lives through me.

I’m in need of a bridge. My realization of the gap between who I am and who GOD desires me to be crushes everything I know. I fall to my knees, genuinely broken. Now I know, again, that I am not enough. My attitude, my thoughts, my desires, my actions – everything becomes ground to pieces under THE AUTHORITY and THE STANDARD of THE WORD OF GOD. I become truly contrite and absolutely aware that I am in need of a savior. JESUS becomes THE BRIDGE.

When we cross THE BRIDGE GOD has provided – between our proud heart and a broken humble life in need of God’s redemptive power, HE never turns HIS back. GOD doesn’t ask us to burn incense, sacrifice animals, or drink human blood. HE offers us HIS SON. Once we recognize that – how can we be anything but broken and contrite?

How many times have I messed up –

found myself in need of YOUR grace?

Instead of falling on my knees in repentance,

I just tried to save face.

I brushed off the tears of disappointment

and just rerouted my direction –

instead of seeking the sound of YOUR VOICE

and receiving YOUR gentle correction.

LORD, so many times that I screw up –

I overlook the depth of the consequences I face;

I fail to realize how bad it could be –

if not for YOUR WONDERFUL GRACE.

My heart’s in dire need of a tune-up;

I’m afraid it’s missing quite a few screws.

Instead of trying to be my own mechanic,

IT IS YOU, LORD now WHO I choose.

I’ve ground every gear hidden inside of myself;

I’ve tried everything I know how;

I keep finding myself in the same places;

I’m in need of a new shifter now.

Carve out the erosion of sin in my heart –

cut away everything that isn’t helping it run;

take the whole thing out, if YOU must, GOD;

I’m willing to become completely undone.

I’m broken in two from the fact that

I had forgotten YOUR WORDS from the start –

when instead of obeying what YOU had requested,

I gave in to my old heart.

That sinful nature, I choose to lay down –

the pride, the lust, and the want –

I give it all to my Heavenly King

and become transformed by HIS SON.

HE takes my heart of humility;

HE takes all of my brokenness;

and turns it into fertile ground –

which HE then IS ABLE to bless!

Words Sticky Enough To Cling To The Soul

Image

Kind words are like honey; sweet to the body and healthy for the soul.” Proverbs 16:24

When I was a child, I often remember quietly reciting, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Usually, it was after I had received a tongue beating from one of numerous kids that would tease and bully me throughout my adolescent years and on through high school. Even in college, I remember chanting it while closing my eyes really hard…as if both together would make the words magically stop and vanish the imprint that had been made on my heart – band-aid the slice mark it had just made across my mind. But, no matter how many times I said that little riddle, no matter how hard I clenched my eyes closed, the words of the riddle were never as loud or as effective as the words that were used to crush me emotionally.

The enemy has studied us since the moment of our conception. Since his job is to steal, kill, and destroy – this explains why he often finds cheap ammunition through the mouths of unaware sleepers. These seemingly unable to explain enemies that pop up all throughout our lives to recite all of the very same lines of torment. They are unaware of what they have done before they can reach the pause in their sentence, or put the period on the last sentence in their stone-throwing-monologue. Unknown to them, are the very plans the enemy has for their words – to spiritually assassinate anything good in our lives, anytime he will be able to get us to remember those words.

Yes, words are very powerful indeed. We understand this to be simple when we are on the receiving end. But 38 years later, I’m not that little kid anymore. I can remember the words; I can recall the emotional impact; I can see the imprint it has left on my personality. Although, I don’t think I’ve heard some of these same accusations since I was a teenager, they still hurt just as real and intense. The enemy brings them back to my memory at just the right times in my life – like the wax to seal an envelope – like the hit that scores the winning point – he provides the words as evidence to drive home the points he tries to infiltrate my mind with…

But then, I recall THE WORD. Every lie is bombarded with the healing ointment of SCRIPTURE. Satan screams, “sinner;” CHRIST screams, “saved.” Satan screams, “unworthy;” CHRIST screams, “price already paid.” Satan screams, “worthless;” Christ screams, “priceless.” You see, louder than the words that were used to try and break my spirit and rob me of the future Christ has for me – echoes HIS VOICE – HIS WORDS – HIS TRUTH. THESE WORDS override anything else I hear, if I choose to listen. THESE WORDS that usher in life, healing, restoration. THEY cheer lead me through the valley; THEY issue promises; THEY utter hope and the guarantee of a good future.

I do believe that if I were honest with myself, I would have to say that in terms of quantity, I can recall more words sent to destroy my life then to build it up. The enemy’s supply has never been short of people he can use to provide him the tongue to destroy the life of the Believer – total stranger, most trusted confidants, your family…so, I can remember these words endlessly – if I tried to.

But in terms of quality – in terms of real impact – it is the rare times in my life where GOD brought someone to me to speak HIS WORDS…THESE are the times more easily reminisced. THESE are the echoes in my cave. THEY are changing present circumstances, even though they were spoken in the past.

Proverbs 16:24 says, “kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” This SCRIPTURE describes the kind of words that literally transform the flavor of a person’s soul. Wow! Just think about how powerful an ingredient – able to take something bitter and make it sweet enough that a human being is better able to endure life because the words you have spoken have made it more palatable. Pretty powerful. Pretty scary in my opinion. I really wanna know that I’m speaking the right ones – don’t you? What are kind words?

GOD’S WORD. GOD’S WORD spoken at the right time, in the right season – nothing added; nothing taken away…

When our mouths become GOD’S cooking vessel in another person’s life, by allowing HIS WORDS only to fall off our tongues into the pots of life – then, HE IS ABLE to transform the most bitter of circumstances. GOD’S WORD IS sweeter than sugar, which actually dissolves on the tongue. IT IS sticky, long-lasting, and able to get all over everything – just like honey. You know what I mean – go put your hand in a jar of honey and see if it doesn’t wind up getting all over everything. Soon, everything you touch will tattle where your hands have been. Soon enough, you’ll find your walls, counters, books, everything – sticky with the residue.

GOD’S WORD spoken in HIS season is honey to a person’s inner soul…it sticks to the rib cage and to the heart. Years later, that person will find themselves getting heated up in this kitchen we call “life,” and the HOLY SPIRIT will reach back into their pantry. HE’LL pull out a jar of the sweetest things that were whispered during the darkest of seasons. HE will use HIS spoon of grace and begin to lavish that person with the thickness and reality of a honey so sweet, that they too, will soon have forgotten the bitter because of the sweet. Their souls will find nourishment; their bodies will find health; it will stick to everything – leaving nothing untransformed. And when the season of that life has changed, it will leave behind a residue that will eternally tattle THE STORY of A HONEY so sweet, that IT saved their bitter lives!

  

The tongue, though small, is still a mighty weapon indeed;

it can be quick to destroy or aid someone in need.

It can brighten up the most hopeless of any situation;

it can lead a soul down a dark path of temptation.

 

It can build up a person and encourage a heart;

it can rip someone in half and emotionally tear them apart.

The secret lies in understanding the ways,

we can use words to give life and add length to our days.

 

See, unlike wild animals that roam to and fro –

unable to express what they feel, what they know,

GOD’S given us the ability to speak –

ask questions and find the answers we seek.

 

We are able to seek HIS presence in prayer –

call out to others and know that they’re their.

HE’S given us the ability to speak death and to speak life –

add balm to wound or cut it more like a knife.

 

Yes, words are a very powerful tool,

and once they start coming, they unwind like a spool.

They come undone, unraveled, wasted so fast;

most people blow through them even faster than cash –

 

without even considering the effect that they had…

did they make someone’s day or just make them feel sad?

Did we use them like sugar to make someone’s day sweet?

Will we use them to encourage everyone that we meet?

 

Or are our words more like salt – just adding more sting

to everyone’s wounds – only worsening things,

instead of speaking a blessing we curse,

instead of THE WORD – it’s the culture we rehearse?

 

Words are like honey; they sweeten the heart;

they heal broken wounds, even before the wounds start.

They suture up souls that are dying and scared;

they bring hope to the hopeless and show that God still cares.

 

Yes, our words can be a mighty weapon indeed

or we can use them to help and build a real ministry,

everywhere that we go, everyone that we see –

we can use our words to build up and bring GOD the glory!

 

How Deep is God’s Love For Us?

Image

I pray that you may know how wide, and long, and high, and deep is the love of CHRIST.” Ephesians 3:18-19

breadth” or “width” – all encompassing

length” – eternal

depth” – JESUS went to the grave

height” – JESUS sits at the FATHER’S right hand

Paul desires for us – complete spiritual maturity and three spiritual gifts:

  1. power to comprehend the incomprehensible dimensions of GOD

  2. to know and be known by the LOVE of CHRIST, which surpasses knowledge

  3. filled with GOD’S FULLNESS

Application:

I can’t imagine a love more deep and more profound than the love I have for my daughter. I don’t think a real unselfish bone in my body existed before her – as ashamed as I might be to have to admit it. Since her birth, it seems as if I’ve spent every moment consumed with my desire to show her exactly how much I care about her. When I see her struggle – whether in relationships, health, school – I am hit with an overwhelming sense of helplessness, as I realize that my love for her – as intense as it might be – is not enough to fix her problems or bring her real joy. The older Alexandra gets, the deeper my love grows for her. Understanding the depths of all the mistakes I have made while being her mom, I put myself under a tremendous amount of pressure trying to make sure she believes and understands how much I really love her. I hope my love for her sticks out more than all of my mistakes. I believe it does, but that’s still not enough to radically change her life or cover my mistakes.

But, as I read Ephesians 3, I am comforted by a prayer that Paul prays for the church of Ephesus. Paul was reaching the end of his ministry and realized that the greatest need the church had was for the knowledge of THE ALMIGHTY FATHER’S LOVE for them. Paul understood that only GOD’S LOVE could bring about radical change in the believer’s life, and the prayer for spiritual maturity in Ephesians 3 is one of the most powerful prayers a mother can confess over her children. More important than Alexandra’s confidence in my love for her, is the confidence and completion she finds in CHRIST. The most important thing that she could ever comprehend is the incomprehensible dimensions of her HEAVENLY FATHER because only THIS has the power to radically change her life. For Alexandra to know and be known by THE LOVE of GOD is more important than her ever understanding the love I have for her, because in the knowledge of GOD’S LOVE there is fullness. There is nothing in this world as complete, as encompassing, or as eternal than THE LOVE THE FATHER has for us!

 If you could take a string and stretch it all the way from east to west and back,

to contain a time line of examples of all GOD’S LOVE for me – it would still lack.

It could never have the length enough to contain all MY GOD has done –

no, it could not be long enough to tell the story of HIS SON.

If you could find a gap so wide, you’d need a bridge to cross it –

your bridge could not be long enough for GOD’S LOVE to be exhausted.

Even if that bridge could cross a valley so long and so wide,

that bridge could not cleanse your sin – or from them, help you hide.

If you wrote a tale so long, that it contained the whole story –

the pages would never be enough to tell of all GOD’S GLORY.

For the longest tale could never tell all that MY SAVIOUR’S done for me.

No, I don’t think any tale could as long as HIS LOVE be.

If you found a glass that was deep enough, it would never again be refilled –

it still would not be deep enough to hold the blood my SAVIOUR spilled.

No man-made vessel could contain – not glass or coffee cup –

could hold all HEAVEN has for me when IT is opened up.

There is nothing that can contain all the love MY DADDY has for me.

No, no vessel could be wide, high, long enough or deep!