Category Archives: Spiritual

“Made in the image”…

… “of God.”

Those words struck me as I listened to my Bible app this morning.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 1:27 KJV

At times I’m too familiar with profound truth and I pass by without allowing it to time to steep.

Thankfully, this morning, God’s Word caused me to ponder.

Do I really understand what incredible gift God gave mankind when He created us in His image?

No other creation has this, just humans.

Being created in God’s image is an incredible gift, do I cherish it in myself?

Do I cherish it in others?

Have I not been heedless about my attitudes and actions towards others, disregarding they are made in God’s image?

With the damage of sin, which mars and twists what God created as good, it’s difficult to look on others and think, “They are created in God’s image”.

Misunderstanding, judgement, disgust, hurt, envy, and strife seem to come so much easier than respect and love.

No wonder God told us, from the beginning, not to sin.

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
Genesis 3:1 KJV

And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
Genesis 3:6 KJV

Even now, we easily become ensnared into evil through the work of the enemy and the desires of the flesh.

But God!

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
John 3:16‭-‬17 KJV

God created mankind in His own image.

And it was good in the beginning.

But we chose sin.

So, God came as a man, to save all who would believe.

Wow.

People are sinful and God’s original goodness seems so scarce, but neither of these things change the incredible value God has placed on each and every human life.

We were created different from the animals.

We were created unique, even from the angels.

And my tiny understanding of God’s love for us should direct my attitudes and actions with regard to others.

Especially, since I was given the gift of salvation through Christ Jesus and as His follower, I have a responsibility to live in such a way as brings glory to God and the truth of salvation to others.

Not revering the creation above the Creator, but rather loving my Heavenly Father so much, that what He values I value.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for reminding me that all mankind is unique and created differently from any other creation. Lord, please continue to teach me how to value others, while still holding fast to Your truths and not falling into ignoring sin or passing it by as unimportant. Lord, You value Your people too much to allow them to do what is harmful and sin hurts us deeply, it separates us from You. Lord, please help me to have Your perspective, to understand Your will, and to walk with love and wisdom and truth. Lord, You alone, are our Savior and I praise Your holy name! Amen.

Which side?

As I was watering the vegetables this morning, I realized I’d taken sides.

For every circumstance, there are two ways to see it, for the follower of Christ.

One side is the perspective of the flesh, where pride, fear, doubt, and selfish ambition cause any of the these: a lack of peace, self-pity, worry, striving, envy, covetousness, anger, or even despair.

From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members? Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James 4:1‭-‬3 KJV

The other side stands in the truth of scripture and praises God, no matter the outcome.

Job 1:21 NKJV — And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.”

Romans 8:28 KJV — And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

As believers in Christ Jesus, we can walk through suffering or joy, disappointment or encouragement, tragedy or blessing with steadfast faith in Jesus and the salvation He gives.

Philippians 4:12-13 NKJV — I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We can cling to scripture and trust God.

Job 13:15a KJV — Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:…

Last night was a bit rough.

I had a migraine, my asthma was a bit troublesome, and my heart is hurting for others experiencing great difficulties, despite all this my heart sang a song from Sunday’s worship throughout.

It was still with me when I got up and went slowly outside.

It was as I praised God for the water, the garden, and our children who were doing my chores for me, that I realized I’d chosen sides.

Continually worshipping God had enabled me to see things through His blessings and hold to His truths.

Choosing to worship has meant choosing to side with Christ and resting in His direction, protection, and Sovereignty.

As I trust God for His plan for my day, I’m going to continue to praise Him.

What have you chosen?

I pray it’s trusting in the Lord Jesus with all your heart and worshiping Him through thick and thin.

Philippians 4:4 NLT — Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for teaching me the blessings of worship and a heart stayed upon You. Lord, there are many who are walking through extreme trials and tribulations just now. My heart aches for the hurting. I know You feel even more than I. Please touch them where they are. Please comfort them in their sorrow and remind those who follow You, that this world is not their home, but You are preparing a place for them in Heaven. Lord, for those who have yet to know You, who have not chosen to follow, please shine the light of Your truth into their hearts and minds. Unshackle their thoughts from lies and unbind their hearts from the snares of the enemy. Please reach those who need You the most and bring them to Yourself. Lord, I know scripture is clear, some will always reject You and Your gift of salvation. How that must break Your heart, it does mine. Lord, thank You for dieing for each and every one of us. Thank You for loving us so much. May my life bring glory to Your name. I love You, Jesus. Psalm 122:1 KJV — A Song of degrees of David. I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD. Amen!

“Nice fronts, no insides”

This isn’t a facade, but rather a stunning cathedral in Chester.

Unable to attend church, I enjoyed being online Sunday morning and afterwards I enjoyed watching another service from a different church.

In his sermon, Pastor Bill Butterworth, “The Reality of Commitment” on Stonebriar Community Church YouTube page, tells a story about visiting a Holly Wood set.

Pastor Butterworth told of a moment when his driver encouraged him to go inside one of the buildings, and he quickly saw that once inside there’s nothing, just dry land.

The host of his tour, had spoken to Pastor Butterworth after re-emerging from the facade.

“Nice fronts, no insides.”

Pastor Butterworth said those words are ones he will never forget and they stuck to me as well.

It actually brought to mind two men in the Bible we studied in Sunday school.

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8:18‭-‬22 NKJV

These two men, in their own time, would have looked startling different, yet sadly, they are very similar.

First, we see a scribe, someone other Jews would pay attention to.

He speaks boldly.

Matthew 8:19b NKJV — ‘Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”’

This scribe sounds like a devoted follower, but Jesus’s response tells us something more.

Matthew 8:20 NKJV — And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

The disciples were there, so was a large crowd, Jesus had just commanded them to prepare to leave across the water, when up steps this scribe proclaiming he will follow.

But what is missing here is Jesus’s calling.

Jesus doesn’t respond to the scribe with a hardy welcome and an invitation to join, instead he gives a parable.

The missing piece comes when we look at how the scribe identifies Jesus, he called him “Teacher”.

He recognized Him as a person who taught, but not as the Son of God, therefore this scribe’s boast was hollow.

He may have looked extremely holy to those around him, but Jesus knew there was nothing on the inside.

The second man is a disciple, but for some reason doesn’t want to get in the boat and cross over with the Lord.

Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
Matthew 8:21 NKJV

Again, Jesus’s response tells us a great deal.

But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
Matthew 8:22 NKJV

Luke records this slightly differently: “Jesus said unto him, ‘Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:59-60

Other passages in scripture clearly show Jesus being deeply moved by the death of someone.

In both cases He raises them from the dead. (Luke 7:12-15, John 11:1-44)

This seemingly callous response from our Lord Jesus leads us to see there was something lacking from this man.

Jesus’s response tells us invitation was given, but for some reason, this man was wanting to put off the call till a different time.

Neither gospel records more on either the scribe or the disciple.

One was a religious person who had the honor of copying God’s Word, not a small thing, and the other had the honor of being called by Jesus, but neither seem to have been anything more than nice fronts.

Which is sad.

Nothing on this Earth will last save the souls of people and the only soul which is allowed to enjoy eternal life is the one who puts their trust in Jesus Christ, surrendering themselves to His lordship.

Let us take the warning from these two men in the Bible.

We must do far more than look good to others.

Rather, we need to be thriving inwardly in relationship and obedience to Christ Jesus our Lord.

Psalm 119:10-12 NKJV — With my whole heart I have sought You; Oh, let me not wander from Your commandments! Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You. Blessed are You, O LORD! Teach me Your statutes.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for this warning about hypocrisy. Lord, I don’t want to be a facade, I want to be as true inside as outside. I want to live a life of devotion. Please help me to walk with integrity, even when I’m alone. To be honest and humble within, admitting my sins and repenting before You. Lord, please restore those areas which I have allowed to slide, that I might not grow indifferent to Your commandments, but rather that I be faithful in all. Lord, thank You so much for Your Word, Your way, and most of all, Your salvation. I love You, Jesus. Amen.

Always learning

As I was out doing chores this morning, I noticed the rising Sun lighting up this part of the yard.

The picture doesn’t do the reality any justice, so I walked over and snapped one of the flowers.

Everything about this was a blessing to my heart.

But it was the wire basket on metal feet that God used to teach me this morning.

That wire on metal legs was brought home by my husband and I remember asking him what it was.

“No idea.”

I stood staring at the mostly black object and tried to pray.

“Lord, please show me what Your plan is for this thing.”

It was well made and didn’t have any rust or missing pieces to the wire, but someone had spray painted some very bright colors on two sides, but not in any kind of attractive pattern.

It almost looked like it had been “too close” to someone’s graffiti project.

As I looked at, it the Lord answered.

A planter.

“Uhm…I don’t know how that’s going to work…”

The wire mesh wouldn’t hold potting soil.

However, I didn’t have time to deal with it then and we moved it out of the way.

Days later I bought some Rust-Oleum spray paint and put down a board to protect the ground from paint and the paint from grass.

Because I struggle with the fumes it took me days to paint the thing, but when it was done it was much more attractive.

As I’d painted the Lord had brought to mind some extra dark green chicken wire leftover from the coop and we had some hay as well.

Once I got the planter where I wanted it in the yard, I lined it with the chicken wire and then used a large amount of hay to line that, finally I placed inside the potting soil and plants.

And this morning, after faithful watering, I was rewarded by beautiful blooms.

I doubt this item was designed to be a planter, my guess is something for sports equipment, but it had been cast off and unwanted.

Yet, God had a different plan for this and it included a cleaning, a fresh coat of paint, and being filled with something beautiful.

The lesson being, God’s ability to transform.

It’s what He is doing inside my heart every day.

He shows me something ugly or an area I’ve cast off or something I’m not utilizing, He cleans it and places His beautiful Word inside and before long, I’m surprised by blessings I never expected.

I praise God for His wonderful works to transform those things damaged by sin back into beauty.

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:1‭-‬3 NKJV

Jesus, I glorify Your holy name this morning!

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your lesson this morning. Thank You for holding me in Your ways and teaching me through Your Word and Your Holy Spirit. Lord, thank You for Your patience with me. I confess that I have been less than easy to deal with lately. I have no excuses, only repentance. Please restore those areas where I have been stiff-necked and bring about healing that I might not sin against You again in that area. Lord, You know my struggles and You understand my fears. I give both things to You and thank You for Your patience with me. Lord, please place a guard over my lips, that I might not speak unkind things. Please place Your Word in my mouth. Thank You for healing my heart and helping me to be honest yesterday. Thank You for watching over me and admonishing me when I was being self centered. Thank You for Your lessons, may I always be learning daily from You. I love You, Jesus. Blessed be Your name! Amen.

Violence

Yesterday was a strange mix for me.

Not a mix of activities, but a mix of information.

Our history class had carefully told the horrible, but true facts of the acts of those who committed violence against the innocent in opposition to the Reconstruction after the Civil War.

I’d read a blog about bullying and the horror they had inflicted upon another.

My daughter asked me about the attack on the Ukraine: why was it happening?

Earlier, I’d read that very question as the title of an article from a news source.

A thread seemed to be the same throughout.

Those causing the violence felt completely justified in their behavior.

“How can anyone think it’s okay to hurt others like this?” my daughter asked.

And the Lord answered clearly for me.

“It goes all the way back to the beginning.”

Genesis 4:6-9NKJV — So the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? “If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him. Then the LORD said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?” He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

Murder of innocent people is a direct consequence of a life in rebellion against God.

“If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

The violence being distributed is horrifying and it’s understandable why our hearts are outraged at these abuses.

For the follower of Christ it is our responsibility to stand in prayer for others.

To recognize the real truth behind this kind of behavior and to remember we have an adversary.

1 Peter 5:8 KJV — Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Although, our attention is grabbed by the people inflicting these atrocities, the battle is not with them.

Ephesians 6:12 KJV — For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

The spiritual battle is often overlooked, but the Bible makes it clear that the enemy is the one who steals, kills, and destroys.

As followers of Christ Jesus, we have hope for eternal life and a command to train up disciples in the truth of Scripture.

No time is more valuable for that than now.

Let us take up our cross daily, speak the truth in love, fulfill the calling to make disciples, encouraging, teaching, helping, and stand in the gap for the innocent, the helpless, and those who have yet to know Jesus.

Ezekiel 22:30 KJV — And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.

May it never be so again.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You for Your truth which helps us better understand why horrifying violence is carried out, it’s all the result of sin and the enemy of our souls. Lord, thank You that we know it will not always be this way. Thank You that You paid for my sin and saved me from living a life separate from You. Lord Jesus, it is so painful to know that people are hurting and killing one another, but I thank You for Your promises. Thank You for Your mercy, which stays Your judgement. Lord, thank You that we can stand in the gap for others. Thank You for Your helping the helpless, freeing the captives, and saving the lost. Thank You for Your scriptures which clearly outline not only the why of all this, but also what is to come. Lord, may our hearts remain steadfast, our feet not stumble, and our eyes see clearly, open our understanding through Your Word. Lord Jesus, I humbly lift up those who are being oppressed and harmed by wickedness. Please continue to save them and give those who stand literally in the gap for the innocent the courage and integrity they need to stand in the way of evil and defend those who cannot defend themselves. Thank You, Jesus. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your salvation. Amen.

We have reason to rejoice

1 Chronicles 16:10 KJV — Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the LORD.

It’s not enough to simply seek Him, we should be rejoicing as we do, for He deserves all glory and honor.

1 Chronicles 16:31 KJV — Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice: and let men say among the nations, The LORD reigneth.

Recalling that He made us, and His kingdom has no end are reasons to rejoice.

Psalm 5:11 KJV — But let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.

These governments and nations we now know are temporary, but God and His kingdom are eternal.

Psalm 9:2 KJV — I will be glad and rejoice in thee: I will sing praise to thy name, O thou most High.

We find both security and joy in placing our trust in God Most High.

Psalm 13:5 KJV — But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.

Jesus is our Savior and truly worthy of praise!

Habakkuk 3:18 KJV — Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation.

No matter the circumstances facing each one of us, we can choose to rejoice in God Almighty, remembering and praising Him.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word! Thank You for salvation! Lord, You are worthy of all praise, all glory. I thank You for how You sustain us and provide for us. Thank You that we can rejoice in You and trust in Your Word. This world is not the end and no matter the pain or suffering we experience here, we have so much to look forward to in Heaven. Thank You, Jesus! Amen.

A story about legacy

He wore jeans and a button up shirt.

Held an old Bible in one hand.

His grey hair and aged completion didn’t hinder his voice which was strong and pleasant.

He began with apologies.

“I don’t really feel comfortable talking in front of a lot of people, but sometimes you just have to give glory to God.”

He cleared his throat as if to steady himself and then began.

“You know we just celebrated my dad’s 100 birthday.”

This family is well known in the area and many heads moved in agreement and even some verbalized their feelings at this.

It had been such a community event the local diner had a flyer just to make sure everyone knew about the party and where it was being held.

As he continued he described the week just completed.

“You know Dad was a quiet man, private and we had all been praying God would take him home in his sleep, that he wouldn’t suffer.”

After a moment he continued.

“That’s what God did Thursday night. He took Dad in the quiet, without pain. He didn’t suffer.”

Eyes were dabbed throughout the room.

“I just wanted to say, that the gentle godly man you knew here at church was the same man he was at home.”

“He was an example of godliness in our home and our family.”

He shared the privilege of being able to care for his father the last few years and what a wonderful relationship he had with him during the end of his father’s life.

He finished by reading from Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 9:23-24 NKJV — Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, Let not the mighty man glory in his might, Nor let the rich man glory in his riches; But let him who glories glory in this, That he understands and knows Me, That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

He finished with these words because they reflected the life of his father, a man who glorified God.

Pastor preached directly afterwards about being people of integrity.

It was so fitting.

Here was an example of a man who was well known in his community and whose 100 years will be remembered by his family and others as a godly man.

A man of integrity hearts be inspired to live in such a way as to give glory to God.

Let us be people of integrity.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word and Your truth lived out. Lord, thank You for those who live godly lives no matter the circumstances. People who are honest, gentle, faithful, and full of integrity. Lord, please help me to be a person of integrity. Please place a guard upon my heart that I might not fall into sin. Please teach me Your statutes daily. Lord, let those who are called by Your name be an encouragement to others, spurring each other on to live righteously before You. Thank You, Jesus for Your blessings. Thank You for this story of a godly man and the legacy he has left behind him. May Your name continue to be glorified in those who are called by Your name. Amen.

Remind them of the truth

No matter where the path of God leads those people we love, it’s important for us as fellow followers to do a few things regularly.

Philippians 1:3-6 NKJV — I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;

We need to remember those God has placed in our lives, being thankful and praising God.

Being diligent and purposeful about our relationships.

We need to be praying for them, not just blanket prayers (safety, health, job), but seeking God for His guidance in prayer and then faithfully praying for them.

We need to remind them that God is the One doing the good work in their lives.

To exhort them according to scripture, encouraging them in their walk, and being the one who comes alongside.

Because we all need these things in our own life.

Philippians 1:9-11 NKJV — And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You so much for Your Word. Thank You for the clear direction we find in it. Lord Jesus, please help me to walk in Your Word. Lord, to remember those in my life. To be purposeful about prayer and words of encouragement. Lord, please help me to grow in love more and more in knowledge, to be discerning, sincere, and without offense. Lord, help me to be filled with the fruits of righteousness, that I might be a blessing to others and bring glory to Your name. Thank You. Amen.

8th grade Promotion

I was surprised and blessed to be asked to share something at the ceremony.

The students who were promoting had been in my class years ago and I love them.

When I realized that I would not be able to attend my heart thanked God for being asked.

But God…

Another adult involved in the ceremony asked me if I’d like to write down what I wanted to share and she would stand in for me.

Talk about a blessing!

The following is what I wrote and she shared.

To begin I am deeply blessed to have the honor to send you not only my prayers, but also a word of encouragement as you take part in stepping into the road that leads to adulthood. Not many young people realize that the four years of high school are literally the last years of learning how to hone your skills, thoughts and habits, to introduce you into adulthood.

Many people use the four years of high school to live for themselves, to indoctrinate themselves into habits and activities that are not only harmful for them, but instill abuses and addictions into their future as adults.

It is my prayer for each of you that you do not follow the wide path of the world, but that instead you look to scripture and listen and most importantly apply God’s truth to the next four years of your life and continue that habit into adulthood.

With that being said I asked the Lord what verse would crystallize what His plan for each follower of Christ is, where we could find it simply and directly lined out. He led me to Micah 6:8.

Oftentimes, when a scripture is familiar we begin to disregard it’s important especially when we have grown up from childhood hearing it quoted and not really understanding how to apply it.

I know this was true with my own childhood. I didn’t understand the importance of many scriptures that I had been raised with and memorized, but as an adult the Lord began to open my understanding and to help me learn how to apply these things to my everyday. The truths, the blessings, the direction, and the very gifts of life have been granted to me through that and I’m so thankful to my parents, my teachers, and my Sunday school for having me memorize so much scripture.

With that being said, let’s look at Micah 6:8.

Micah 6:8 NKJV — He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you But to do justly, To love mercy, And to walk humbly with your God?

Although these are simple words, the first thing it begins with is to show you what is good. Many things in this world try to tell you they are good, they are right, they are true, but we only find those things in God’s Word. Nowhere else is there true goodness without God. We must understand, that God is good and in Him we find goodness.

The Lord requires of us to do justly. That isn’t a sometimes thing and it’s not a when you want it. Simply and straightforwardly it tells us that we are to do right at all times.

Often people, become confused as to what is correct, right, and just. Scripture again is our guide and should always be the first place we look for answering questions.

To do justly is not an option with the believer. The follower of Christ should always look to do what is right in every circumstance, never compromising, never wavering, never being lukewarm.

Next we see that God wants us to love mercy. To truly understand that, we have to realize that it is because of His mercy that we have salvation. We can see throughout scripture times that God chooses to show His mercy to those who least deserved it. For if we all wanted to be honest, no one deserves God’s mercy. But He gives it and we need to as well. That means loving others the way God loves us, not holding bitterness or resentment. Leaving no room for offense, but choosing to love as God loves. If anyone has the right to be offended, it is our righteous God and He chooses not to. Instead He gives mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Lastly we are to walk humbly with our God. We know through scripture that it is because of pride that Satan fell. We know that it is because of pride that Eve chose to eat the forbidden fruit: she wanted to be like God. We know that throughout man’s history pride has caused people to harm others, to live selfishly, to spread abuse, pain, and injustice. And it is still wreaking havoc on the human race today. But the Bible also tells us that God resists the proud. Humility is truly something we have to work at putting on, because pride came with our sinful natures and we can hardly get away from it. Unless we are purposeful in keeping our hearts humble before God, pride will grow, hiding under a myriad of excuses.

We must realize that we are no better than any other human created, and we are far less than God Himself. Yet, He made each and every one of us in His image, in God’s likeness, and Jesus Christ died and rose again to save our souls. Those two things: being made in God’s image and being bought by the blood of Jesus Christ, makes us more valuable than we can ever imagine. Because of these things we can be humble, as well as thankful, to the Lord Almighty for His great gifts and His endless love.

It is through a truly humbled heart that we can actually find the answer to walking justly and loving mercy. It’s the final key to how we are to follow Christ daily. Surrendering our own wants and desires before Him and choosing to live for those He has placed around us every single day.

As you embark on the next 4 years, which begin right now, I pray that you will live for Jesus Christ and not for yourselves. I pray that you live for Jesus Christ and not for academics or achievements, whether it be in sports or intellectual things or even just enjoying the world that God created. Those things are good and He gave them to us, but they should never be what we live for. I pray that each of you today realizes the importance of the place in life that you are at and that you will choose to surrender each day forward into Jesus’s hands and serve Him as the bond servant that Paul spoke of in the scriptures. One who does not worry about his life, but only concern is in being an excellent servant of the Master. I love you and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to speak into your lives. Again, I’m sorry I was unable to be there in person, but God knows what is best and I trust Him. I’m sending you each my love. God bless you.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Please bless these young people with wisdom and let their hearts be opened to Your Word. Lord, thank You for allowing me to have an opportunity to reach out to them. Thank You for the blessing of my friends. Lord, You have all things in Your hands and Your ways are perfect. I praise and thank You for all Your wonderous works. May You be glorified throughout the whole Earth. Amen.

Planting faith

We finished setting seeds yesterday morning.

I took this picture because I don’t want to forget what it looks like.

I’ve found in the past that I often grow impatient with the growth of the garden and it’s wise to take pictures of each stage.

It helps me see where we’ve been and be thankful for where we are.

These sorts of “reminders” are useful in growing faith as well.

No, it’s not a photo moment, but there’s many ways to remember where God has taken us and to be thankful for where we are.

In scripture we see God instructing Joshua to build a monument.

Joshua 4:3 NKJV — “and command them, saying, ‘Take for yourselves twelve stones from here, out of the midst of the Jordan, from the place where the priests’ feet stood firm. You shall carry them over with you and leave them in the lodging place where you lodge tonight.’ ”

Joshua 4:5 NKJV — and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the LORD your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel,

Joshua 4:7 NKJV — “Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

The monument was to leave a legacy, a physical reminder of God’s faithfulness.

Because we need reminders.

Without them we grow careless and forget God.

When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel.
Judges 2:10 NKJV

Thus, God instructed the children of Israel:

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Deuteronomy 6:5‭-‬9 NKJV

Let us love the Lord with our whole heart, soul, and strength.

Let us find ways to teach them to our children, to decorate our home, to wear them as a continual reminder.

For God is faithful, just, loving, patient, kind, good, true, and in Him is life eternal.

Plant seeds of faith today, so our future generations can grow up in the knowledge and goodness of God.

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You command us to pass on the truths of scripture, because it sets us free from sin and death. It’s a gift too valuable to be forgotten. Lord, please help us to be creative and purposeful in planting seeds of faith. Lord Jesus, shine Your truth into our hearts and minds that we might weed out anything which would seek to choke our faith. Lord, teach us how to be diligent in following You and steadfast in Your Word. Lord, please keep us from evil, help us to walk straight, not turning to the right or the left. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for salvation. May our lives be fruitful for Your kingdom. Amen.