“Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies it remains a kernel of wheat. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” John 12:24
To produce much fruit a seed must die. Unless it is buried in the ground it will never produce more fruit. If we continue to worry about ourselves and all we need and want, we will not be very productive. God knows all that we really need. He is always meeting those needs. Without needing our help. We need to come to a place where the things of the Father, advancing his kingdom, is more important to us than our wants. When we put his needs first, he will take care of our needs. He has taught us the principal of sowing and reaping. Whatever we sow is what we will reap. If you decide to plant corn, you don’t sit around wondering what will come up. If you are kind, you will receive kindness. If you are patient, then others will be patient with you. If you are harsh, then you probably won’t be treated patiently and kindly. I have a friend who served as a sergeant in the army for 30 years. He is used to barking commands and demanding action from his men. Back in the real world this is not how things get done. He doesn’t seem to understand why he is always treated harshly but he continues yelling. Demanding what he wants. We need to desire to be like Jesus. What would Jesus do in this situation? He never had to raise his voice or be rough. He did everything out of love and compassion. All his Father would want him to do. He did it all perfectly. He also spent time with his Father in prayer, which gave him the strength he needed to do it all. If he needed help then we can accept help. Happy people aren’t always grateful, but grateful people are happy people. To be happy, start naming things that you are happy for. As I pray, I remember how I was taught, always use ACTS. Pray Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and then Supplication. As I state my needs I need to be thanking him for things he has already given me and adoring who God is and his might and his faithfulness. I may need to ask for forgiveness for things I should not have done or said. Remember God knows you best and his desire is to bless you if you are totally following him. Be sure to thank him for his goodness and he will continue to bless you.
Do you want to be happy and blessed?
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:20 NIV
We are so loved. How much? Well let me try to tell you. At one time the world was formless and void. All was dark and there was nothing. God wanted something very special and we were on his mind. Someone who could love him, respect him and enjoy all he is. He began by creating things we would need and want. Every detail was thought out in advance. it had to be perfect and to be able to sustain us for thousands of years. It would fulfill so many needs. He made man as much like him as he could. Able to communicate, think, reason and understand. Not just to exist, but to really live. To leave a legacy for future generations. Everything he made was special just for us. Unique and different plants and animals. Things that we could enjoy but that we could learn about and discover gradually. He walked with the man at first enjoying his companionship, and all was as it should be. No death, no evil, and no wickedness. But we were given the will and freedom to make our own choices. Something an imperfect people will screw up in time. God told man to do only one important thing , but Satan used that one simple thing to put a wedge between us and God. The tree of life. There were tons of different trees all around, yet that wasn’t enough. We always seem to want what we shouldn’t have. Might be missing something. Well from the day that sin came into the perfect garden God had to banish man from the garden. But God did not give up on us. There would be a way for us to be together again and many years later this plan was perfected. Jesus was born on earth to a poor, young couple and began to show us what love really was. He was born for one reason and that was to redeem us. Where we could be perfect once more and he could spend eternity with us. This is how much we meant to him. Though even though we were all messed up sinners his son would come to earth and live a perfect life showing us just how to be perfect and love all. But being human he would understand all we go through, yet still not sin. Then he would willingly be arrested, ridiculed, beaten and murdered for us. Dying in our place he would sacrifice himself for all mankind. What a price. But he did it gladly just imagining that day years away when so many who had accepted this priceless gift would be together with him forever. In a place that was perfect. No pain, no tears, just joy continually.
Do you understand how much he wants you?
We all seek peace and the only true peace is from God so hear are some of what he says about true peace.
God speaks so much about peace and isn’t that what we all really need. If we just listen he tells us very plainly that he wants that for us and just how to have it. I remember at one time thinking how awful it would be to live in an old folks home. But God has shown me that it’s not where you are but how you react and the people you are around. It helps completely knowing God is right there with you and he is the one of ultimate peace. I’m not homeless but I have a huge family here that loves me and I am truly at peace with that now. I love my life.
“I will grant peace in the land, and you will lie down and no one will make you afraid. I will remove wild beasts from the land, and the sword will not pass through your country.” Leviticus 26:6
I live in such peace. Things used to really bother me, such as whining and complaining. Residents that were not all there mentally. Rules, regulations, and requirements to follow. But God has given me such understanding and compassion. 2020 is my fifteenth year here and I have been in my room since February and having my own cozy room is nice. It bothered me at first but God has worked in my life so much this year.
“The Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:26
I seldom think of this verse. God must smile when he looks toward me because the amount of peace in my life lately has gone through the roof. He is so good.
“Submit to God and be at peace with him: in this way prosperity will come to you.” Job 22:21
This is a big way to have peace Submit, seems hard but his ways are now my ways and it just works. Prosperity is not just money and things. Things don’t bring happiness. I have very little money but God supplies my every need and I am very prosperous mentally. More than prosperous. Another aspect of submission is knowing that God is good and his rules and commands are for safety and life. To submit and commit to follow his ways is huge but very liberating at the same time.
“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Psalms 4:8
I did feel nervous when Covid first started. Several people in this building have had it, but God has taken good care of me and if I get it, oh well. I still have my peace and each night as I lay down he gives me such great sleep. I know God’s got my back.
The Bible is such a wonderful book read by so many people around the world every day. It is also the most misunderstood book. It is full of some absolutely astonishing facts and well loved promises. Stories of strength and courage. But it is about completely normal people, even weak people. People like you and me who screw up often and deserve rebuke but are used in some mighty ways. People say, “Oh, that’s impossible.” But what if it is possible, what if it’s all accurate. What if miracles really do happen every day and you are missing out on some of the greatest possibilities that could ever enter your life. People have a hard time reading through the Bible from cover to cover. But by picking and choosing what you prefer you are missing so much. Fifteen years ago after my stroke I was laying flat on my back feeling a little sorry for myself. I had lost so very much in my life. I had been a mother to three beautiful daughters and happily married to my high school sweetheart. I was a pilot just for fun, going here and there wherever I wanted and whenever I wanted. My husband and I owned our very own business that did very well. But after that fateful day I wasn’t able to do much. My body and my mind were broken. Now what? A woman I knew of, and one I greatly admired, came to my door one day. I had worked with her years before. She just felt led to help me somehow. She came in and offered to pray for me and maybe read some scriptures to cheer me up. Well I had grown up in a Christian home so I could have done that for myself but I hadn’t, I was too busy struggling hour to hour. I said sure and decided to see how it went. The words were comforting and she came back a few times. I was being polite to sit and listen but I began thinking. She has since died from cancer but she gave me something special. I decided to start reading my Bible every day, I had plenty of time. I was living at home and getting some therapy but it became apparent that I was going to need way more help than I was getting, if I ever wanted to get any quality back to my life. I agreed to give a care home a chance. One with full time rehab. They would be there for whatever I needed. It was very hard being away from my immediate family and friends. I could not really talk so I was misunderstood. I was so anxious for what laid ahead of me. God speak to me! I began reading every Christian book I could get my hands on. I was searching. I met a woman chaplain who loved God. I wanted what she had. I loved hearing her speak of her and God. They were close. The more I read the more my heart opened. I met someone who came to share songs he had written from scriptures. I began learning so many scriptures and they brought such peace. I began attending church when they offered to bus me there every Sunday. It was a really great church. I met so many great people there. Even though I was broken I belonged in the special needs ministry and got to know so many other handicapped friends. We went to a special camp for a week every summer. We got to do things like normal people. Swimming, playing games, a zip line through the forest, and singing. I loved it, and went back every year. We had an opportunity to try preaching so I tried it. I was pretty good at it. I had written a book about my stroke and all I had gone through. People liked it and encouraged me to write more. Me a writer? But God has given me four books so far and this will be my fifth. I learned that God has a calling on my life to write. I was meant to be an encourager. I gave my books to anyone and everyone. My daughter told me I should have a blog to advertise my writing, so I learned about blogging and started my own. My last book was a year long devotional. I started sharing this daily with people and it was very well received. All of this taught me so much. God has shown me so much throughout. It bolstered my faith and taught me so many scriptures. My life was amazing and my love for God was through the roof. I realized how important reading all God has for us in his word is. I made a requirement of myself to start in Genesis and go completely through taking my time till I got through Revelations, then start all over. It was hard but I have been so blessed through it. I will start sharing the nuggets I have uncovered each week.
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36 NIV
God is good and he wants to give us an abundant life, but it does depend on us also. There are so many great promises in scripture. God has stored up for us more great stuff than we could ever imagine. But our behavior is important. When I had my stroke my life changed drastically overnight. One day I was an active mother of three and very independent. The next day I was 45 and living in a nursing home. I was unable to walk, talk or even take care of myself. I easily got overwhelmed and frustrated. I would cry from frustration. I couldn’t communicate very well so it was a difficult time for me and those caring for me. Now after 15 years I am a much better person and more at peace. God is a very big part of my life and I would do anything he asks of me and I try hard to get along with and enjoy everyone. So when God says persevere I understand. I used to live so differently and many of my struggles I brought on myself. Living for myself and the moment. God wants me to love and respect him. This is the fear of God and that’s important. Until we fear the Lord and will do whatever he asks, we will have struggles. But he wants to get beyond that with us. He loves us and it hurts him to see us that way but this is how we learn. He wants to lavish love on us. I am at a place now where I can see his promises being fulfilled. He is so good to me. Every person in my life is a blessing and I believe God has hand picked them just for me. Even the ones who irritate me. My children, my friends, my caregivers and nurses. I don’t take them for granted anymore. Life is short and I want them all to know how much they mean to me and to God. As my family and friends celebrated my 60 th birthday I can look back and see God’s hand on my life. It was hard at times but God has been so good to me. Way more than I think I deserve. The blessings just keep coming. My God is my greatest champion and he goes before me and with me against it all and he will make me victorious. The best is still to come.
Can you imagine all the great things God has for you?
“I am the vine; and you are the branches. if you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 NIV
This verse has so much to say about our walk with God. Who God is and how he sees his awesome plan for us. God is the one who made us and we are a part of him. We were never meant to be apart from him. Our need of him is so very important in every aspect of our lives. If we want to be all we can be, we will need to cooperate with him. He does know what is best. He has great plans for us. To be people for himself that will bear much fruit, this fruit is the traits and characteristics that will further his kingdom. We will be loving, peaceable, joyful, long-suffering, gentle, good, meek, temperate, and faithful. These are the fruits he desires to see in us. He uses the example of a grape vine for good reasons. If God is a grape vine then we are connected to him and will produce his fruits. Grape vines produce grapes. We can not decide on our own to produce something other than grapes, like tomatoes. We are to be more like him every day. He decides what we need to be and what is best for all. We also need to be connected to him. He is our power source. If we do what we want and not what he has asked us to do we will be weak, and ineffective. We need to spend time with him. A relationship with him is very important. Anyone you ever have a relationship with is important to you. You spend time with them, share, talk about the good and the bad together and become closer together all the time. Another thing about a grape vine is to be connected every day. If you are not connected to his vine, you are disconnected. If you are disconnected you will die. It may be a slow miserable death, but with no nutrients you will die. When a vine dies it is burnt up and cast away.. You don’t want to be cast off or dead do you? You are not going to be very productive if you are dead. As I was reading my Bible today I was in Deuteronomy. The Israelites had just spent 40 years wandering around in the wilderness and the whole time God was providing for them. They were brought out of Egypt in such a mighty way. Even when they faced their first struggles God was strong. Splitting the Red Sea so they walked right through, in the mud, no. They walked on solid, dry, ground. He provided water when they needed it, and food for many thousand men, women and children. They demanded meat and God sent quail. Their clothes and shoes held up for forty years and never wore out. During this time they married and had families. He kept them safe and strong. Because there was as many people after the forty years as when they began and the previous generation had all died in the wilderness. Only Joshua and Caleb remained from the original bunch. When they came into the promised land God fought for them. No matter how big or how strong their enemies were, they did not stand a chance. But he warned them to leave certain people alone. Because he had already blessed them, such as Esaus family and Lot’s family. Those who God has blessed shall remain blessed.
Do yo want to be one of God’s blessed people?
“And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 NIV
This one short phrase says so much. In the very beginning All was dark and there was nothing. When God said this He was well aware of our need for him. In the beginning he walked in the garden with the man and woman, sharing all he had with them. It was never about us, but everything He can do for us. He made a perfect garden, far better than any man could create. The animals he created are so beautiful and so unique, but every one of them has a purpose in this world. They are made just for the environment they live in. Whether it is warm or cold. Flat or rocky, wet or dry. I do not know how you can look at some of these wonders and not think about their creator. Jesus is the light of the world and God is light, in him there is no darkness. Without him there would be nothing. Contrary to many so called wise men, who say, “ the earth just happened in all its unique perfection and purpose.” That is so far from anything that has ever happened before and so hard to prove. We all know man is not perfect but guessing at life is hard to believe. The light of the world spoke and things happened. Amazing and wonderful things happened. Their ability for greatness and wisdom are so evident. Everything was taken into consideration. How would the plants be watered? What would we eat? In the very beginning the world was perfect. Man didn’t need clothes because the climate was moderate. Everyone, including animals ate plants and there was no death. Everything they could ever want or need was included. God has called us to be his light to the world. We are anxiously awaiting Jesus,s great return. But he is waiting for his church to stand up and be this light and be victorious. He has called us to be salt, the flavor and purifier this world needs. So many people have become complacent, thinking that the world will just get worse and it’s too late. But Jesus said continue to tell the world about him until he comes again in his glory. Tomorrow you just might change someone’s way of thinking by the love you share and they will be saved. If we just give up, who knows how many people could be saved. It can be something very simple that finally gets through to them, so continue to speak hope and love. So many people don’t know that they are loved and are important. We should never stop being light because this is a dark time. Even some who call themselves Christians just do not know the hope set before us.
What can you do to be light?
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his masters business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything I have learned from my father I have made known to you.” John 15:15 NIV
“…and again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise are futile. 1 Corinthians 3:20 NIV
It is so sad that many so called wise men and women can be so lost in their self centered thinking that they would not even consider something so much bigger and better than themselves exists. Something that could actually benefit them. Well I know no friend who will ever mean more to me than Jesus. His words are not only true, but I have never seen any fail. Something in the back of my mind plays his words over and over in my mind knowing I can never find a mistake. He can predict things that will happen a hundred years from now in the future with precise accuracy. Things that are even humanly impossible. He can say this and that will happen even if they make no sense and they somehow come to pass. He loves to make some events so impossible that we as humans can see that unless someone so completely not human steps in they could never happen yet they do. Why can we not see? God is still in control over them. That’s the irony that some just can’t get. They see themselves as important and wise but they are just clanging cymbals. And some may even have their eyes opened but most will die in their own sin. They will face the Lord after it is too late and bow before him just to spend eternity in torment. We are the ones who could say something that could change their thinking. If they only opened their eyes and realized that we only share because we really care. There is nothing self serving in sharing the good news of Jesus. Those that do it really do care. We may be a true friend by trying to share but even we are not perfect. It is easy to throw up your hands and say, “Oh well, I tried!” You just don’t deserve it anyway. They do deserve it but they just can’t see beyond themselves. They are the big picture and there is no room for anything else. I do understand. I have been so deceived in my thinking that I truly saw myself as being right even though it was warped thinking. It happens and pride is the root. In hindsight it is so easy to see but at the time, blindness happens. The more sin happens the more it takes hold and the enemy can begin to pull the wool over your eyes . It can start slowly but can continue growing as you feed it. More sin, less sight. I would say that someone that walks close to the Lord and does amazing things with God’s help. They could never walk away from him. Well anyone can lose their faith. I’ve seen it happen. Jesus will never leave you or forsake you, but you can leave him. He is a perfect gentleman never staying where he is not wanted. Just look at the state of the world. He says, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” If we continue to walk as closely as we can and do everything we can to keep that connection open I know he will too. But sin unchecked can creep in slowly. It can start with simple loneliness. Seeking acceptance and love in the wrong place and with the wrong people. A little sin here or there and we are right where we never wanted to be.
Are you thinking too wise in your own eyes?
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.“ Hebrews 13:8 NIV
Aren’t you glad we serve a consistent King? He loves us every day and he always cares. His mercies are new every morning. He promises to take care of our needs today. He tells us not to worry about tomorrow because he’s got that taken care of too. He is so good. His biggest concern is that we love. Love him and love others. To let people know he loves them no matter where they are at in their lives. When Jesus was alive on earth he was definitely one to be admired and liked. He never met anyone that he did not care about. It did not matter if they were male or female., rich or poor, black or white, Jew or Gentile. He even knew prostitutes, murderers, and thieves, but he treated everyone with love and respect. He may have put the proud and arrogant in their place but he did it out of love knowing where their lives were heading to death. He only did those things he saw his father doing so we know by seeing him we got a glimpse of God. God and Jesus both care the same. They’ve had a plan in motion from the very beginning to bring us together. There is nothing as good as family spending time together. They are always with us in this world, because this world can be a scary place. But they have made a way for us to be together forever in a perfect place where there will be no more pain. It will be perfect. We will be a family and all know each other. Everyone will be accepted and loved. Murder, hate,and wickedness will be gone. Jesus gave up his life just for us, it wasn’t easy but he saw the end from the beginning and knew it was all worth it. We are not perfect, that is not why he called us. He wanted us to be like our father and they help us to be. On our own we are just filthy rags but with his help we are jewels. He helps us be his hands and feet. Touching lives each day of people who don’t know him.
Do you know this great King?
“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, this cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Corinthians 11:24-25 NIV
Communion is a very serious matter. Not to be taken lightly. Back when Moses helped to free the Israelites from the oppression in Egypt he went through so much to see God’s power. Ten times they we’re almost freed but Pharaoh hardened his heart and God showed his power. Finally he struck down the first born throughout Egypt. The Israelites were to put blood on their door posts so that the angel of the Lord would pass over their homes while destroying the first born in all homes. Passover was celebrated regularly afterwards and what they had come through was remembered. Jesus is the ultimate Passover lamb. A pure and spotless lamb who went to his death so we could be free. When we were dying in our sins and not very lovely he loved us and died in our place. Every time we take communion we need to remember what one innocent man did just so we could be saved from sin and death. Are we doing all we can to say thank you for this selfless gift? Are we doing all we can to let others know of this gift? To be a Christian is such an amazing gift, we are saying I want to be like Christ. Each day we should look in the mirror and see that we are becoming more like Jesus. So many think that they just need to say the sinners prayer, and their insurance policy is set in place. They no longer need to do anything. That may get you thru the gates but abundance of life will not be theirs. You will always struggle to get by, and to be blessed coming and going takes a sacrifice of our own. Doing what he has asked and living life his way will open so many more doors to abundance and fulfillment. His ways are good because he is good. He only wants what is best for us, but he won’t make us do anything. It doesn’t matter how good it is. We have to want it bad enough to do what God asks of us.
Is communion just a snack to you?