Monday, August 25, 2014

So Much Ter Be Done

I have been too busy to blog much lately. There have been so many different areas that need my attention and concentration — and that is life. :)

I am enjoying the life that God has given me - whether things are going great or poorly. I'm alive and that is worth rejoicing about. I hope you, my cyber friends, are enjoying the life that God has given to you.

We must be careful not to put our wants, likes, and desires as our main focus. We'll always see areas of our life that don't match some or all of our desires and dreams. The world promotes the idea of living for your dreams, shooting for your dreams, you should be happy, you deserve the best, etc., etc., etc. And there's nothing wrong with having goals and plans and pray God will bless us. But the treasure of my heart is not here on earth and never will be.  It's with the Lord:
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Matthew 6:19-21
But godliness with contentment is great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6
If you have someone who loves you, you are blessed abundantly. If you have food, clothing and shelter, you are quite rich. If you have the Lord living within you, you are heir with Christ! That is where my treasure is - it is with Christ. What we do, let us do it for him.

Do those dishes, make that bed and fix that dinner in gratitude. Thanking God for your life and for the people he's put in it. You're not 6 feet under. We're here and our value is in how we are useful to God. We're useful to God when we are useful to others. :)

The Lord showed us by example that we are to serve one another when he wrapped himself in a servant's cloth and washed the feet of his disciples. A lowly servant's task.

Walking in the light, abiding in Christ means treating others around us with love and patience and kindness and going that extra inch or mile. It's what we're called to do and we do it for the Lord.

If you are weary of life, or tired of the mundane, get alone with the Lord and let him fill your cup.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Philippians 3:7-8

Have a blessed day in Christ!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Choices and Being Perfect

Today will be filled with choices. Choices can become tiresome and sometimes I wish I didn't have to make SO many choices. What to fix for breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day. Choosing how to spend free time. There are many delicate areas of life where choices can feel excruciating to make. But still, they must be made. We're never free from choices. They are relentless.

The choice of what to say and not to say and what to do and not to do are what really count. We can't count our good intentions. If someone meant to say thank you or meant to send a birthday card, or meant to help you with something ... or or or ... we all know that it is only what is done that matters. 
Only what actually transpires. 

A lot of trouble begins from wanting to control other people and circumstances going on around us or in the world at large. But we typically don't want to control the one thing we can control, and that is ourselves. But God calls us to do just that.

Phil 4:5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 

It's funny how we get the two reversed isn't it? God expects us to control our responses.  How we react to life, people, situations, and most importantly, to His commands is huge. 

But God actually goes further than this and commands us to be perfect

To understand what perfect means, the Bible actually defines the term.  The King James Bible has its own built-in dictionary and by studying the context where a particular word is repeated, we can understand the definition of that word.  

The word perfect is interesting to me.  It's elusive, like the sky. We can see it in God's creation to an extent. Taking into consideration the curse and the fall, I still see the perfection of God in his magnificent creation every single day. His perfection is astounding.

I've always found it amusing when people are compelled to explain why they aren't perfect. Like they'll actually say, "I'm not perfect, but" or "well nobody's perfect" etc.  It reveals that subconsciously they know that perfection IS the standard. God's standard. They know they should be perfect, but have failed to be so. They have fallen short. (Romans 3:23) As we all eventually do. I just find it curious that some people find it necessary to actually acknowledge it out loud. 

Below are 30 of the 94 places where the word perfect appears in the King James Bible. It would be beneficial to look up and read them all, but I'm just using these because I thought they were the most pertinent to this subject.

People and Perfection

Genesis 6:8
Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.

Genesis 17:1
And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.


Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Psalm 37:37
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright:
for the end of that man is peace.
 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together:
the end of the wicked shall be cut off.

II Corinthians 13:10
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

God's Perfection

II Samuel 22:31
As for God, his way is perfect;
the word of the Lord is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

Psalm 19:7
The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:
the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

Matthew 5:45
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

The Perfect Heart and Way

II Samuel 22:33
God is my strength and power:
and he maketh my way perfect.

I Kings 8:61
Let your heart therefore be perfect with the Lord our God, to walk in his statutes, and to keep his commandments, as at this day.

I Kings 11:4 
For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods:and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father.

I Chronicles 28:9
And thou, Solomon my son, know thou the God of thy father, and serve him with a perfect heart and with a willing mind: for the Lord searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts: if thou seek him, he will be found of thee; but if thou forsake him, he will cast thee off for ever.

II Chronicles 16:9
For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly:therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.

II Chronicles 25:1
And he did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, but not with a perfect heart.

Psalm 18:32
It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect.
 He maketh my feet like hinds 'feet,
and setteth me upon my high places.

Psalm 101:2
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me?
I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes:
I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me:I will not know a wicked person.

Proverbs 11:3
Riches profit not in the day of wrath:
but righteousness delivereth from death.
The righteousness of the perfect shall direct his way:
but the wicked shall fall by his own wickedness.
The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them:
but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.

Made/Kept Perfect

Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace,
whose mind is stayed on thee:
because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever:
for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.

II Corinthians 12:7-9
...there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake:for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Philippians 3:10
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.
 Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Colossians 1:27-29
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

II Timothy 3:16-17
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 2:10
For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

Hebrews 5:8-9
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.

James 1:2-6
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.

James 2:19
But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness:and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

Revelation 2:2
Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die:for I have not found thy works perfect before God...(6) He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.


So we see from Scripture, there are few key aspects to being perfect. There is:

1) having a perfect heart toward God.

2) being made/kept perfect through trials.

3) perfection through faith in Jesus Christ.

The Lord's perfection is imputed or accounted to them that believe on his name. Our own righteousness is as filthy rags and will never be enough to atone for our personal sin. To clarify, you are only held accountable for YOUR sin. Not your father's, not Adam's, not your neighbor's. Just yours.

Ezekiel 18:20
The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die

Scriptures indicates that being perfect begins with the heart and spills out into our thoughts, intentions, understanding and beliefs and actions. When our heart is convicted, convinced and determined to follow Christ, obey his commands and walk uprightly, the mind follows. The mind is the command center. It is where our actions begin. So it is possible to behave perfectly but it takes a stupendous amount of inner control and patience to maintain it 100% of the time.

That is where trials come into play. As we mature and grow in the Lord, he is constantly perfecting us through trials. When you're going through a trial, look to Jesus. Rejoice in that you are being made perfect. Rejoice that when you're weak, his strength is made perfect in you. And that a heart that is set perfectly upon God is what he wants. Our total devotion, nothing in the way.  Just as it is with our spouse. I want to be my husband's Number one earthly priority  (God being his first). And he wants to be my number one.  When that kind of priority is met and intimacy is flowing, our marriages are in unity and in perfect peace. If/when we mess up, or make mistakes, the goal is to make our heart toward each other rebound as quickly as possible. Marriage is such an amazing and mysterious typecast of Jesus and his bride. :)




Thursday, August 14, 2014

Robin Williams

The famous actor, Robin Williams has died. It is sad when anyone dies, I think. We always wonder what their last moments were like here on earth and what their first moments are like in the hereafter.

I read that Steve Jobs' last words were, "Oh, wow. Oh, wow!" Makes you wonder.

Some die tragically, some heroically. But Robin Williams' death will never be thought of in positive terms. He chose to cast a dark shadow over it. However, he is being hailed beloved, talented and even genius. One person said, "As funny as he was, he's truly one of the all-time greats, he was even better as a person. He was even more fantastic. One of the loveliest, sweetest, kindest guys I've ever worked with. ... It's a major, major loss for everybody."

Those are all very nice things to say about anyone. 

But on August 11th, he added one trait that no one seems to be willing to admit to: murderer.  Suicide is self murder.  Premeditated, ugly, horrifying, merciless murder. And it's a serious sin. Everyone instinctively knows this. Yet those who take their own lives are typically given sympathy.

Matthew 5:21
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment.

There are so many other ways that a suffering person can utilize the life they've been given. Taking it is a flamboyant, permanent act of tantrum. Famous people have it more difficult because many of the alternatives to self-murder would undoubtedly put a major dent in their pride. But to some, apparently a dent in their pride is worse than death. A staggering thought.

So here are my thoughts...

When a person kills themselves, we think that the motive is usually some form of self-loathing, depression, severe anxiety, inability to cope with the stresses in their life, etc. Sometimes drugs, alcohol or pharmaceuticals are usually involved. Sometimes there is a mental or hormonal imbalance. In some instances, demonic influences.

But if we brush away these circumstances and uncover the heart of the matter, what we will find is sin, guilt, self and pride. Depression, drug abuse and anxiety are merely symptoms of an over-inflated view of SELF.

Let's look at them one at a time:

SIN:
Romans 3:21 - For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Sin is a deliberate act that crosses the conscience. (Conscience literally means with knowledge. Con = with. Science = knowledge.)  So sin is a willful, intentional act of wrong doing.  God holds each one accountable when they first sin with knowledge.  James 1:14 - But every man is tempted [to sin], when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticedWhich brings us to the next one:

GUILT:
Once sin enters, a person then lives in a continual state of guilt. They have sinned against God and they know it. Guilt is a powerful motivator. It has prompted every religion in the world. Christianity is not a religion, but rather is the gift of God. Romans 6:23 - For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Guilt attempts to salve the conscience. But self-atonement is a futile act in self deception. And an abominable affront to God. (More on that in a minute.)

SELF:
Old number one. Being selfish is very "natural" but it is not Godly. Selfishness always gives way to sin.  There is nothing that will kill a man so soon as having nobody to find fault with but himself.
2 Timothy 3:2-4 - For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy...

PRIDE:
Proverbs 29:23 - A man's pride shall bring him low...We were formed by the hands of God, given his breath of life and sin the first chance we get. We are debtors to whomever we obey. When we sin, we become the "legal" property of Satan, the Prince of this world. But God loved us SO much that he paid our ransom with the highest price he could pay — the shed blood and death of his only begotten son, Jesus Christ. With this in mind, what can any of us possibly have anything to boast about?  Absolutely nothing about ourselves. I can only boast of Christ and his shed blood for me. Pride is the mask of one's faults.

So what is a depressed, troubled, seething person to do when faced with the temptation to commit self-murder? 

First of all, they need to repent toward God for salvation. That is number one. There is no hope in this life or the one to come without the cleansing blood of Christ covering you. For those covered in the blood, this earth is the only hell they will ever know. For those who die without receiving the precious sacrifice of Christ, this earth is the only heaven they will ever know.

Secondly, they should make some changes in their lives. Suicide is never the answer!

I thought of ten alternatives to suicide. Chime in the comment section below if you have anymore to add.

  1. Give up your life. And I don't mean end it. I mean give it. Spend it on someone other than yourself. Make it your mission to help someone else, even if it's just one person, achieve all their hopes and dreams. Give it away. 
  2. Join the U.S. Military.  Fight for your country. Go to the front lines. At least if you're killed, it's in the line of duty and not at your own hand.
  3. Become a missionary. If you don't value living your life for yourself, pour it out for others. Let God spend you like a coin in his pocket.  
  4. Move. To a different state, or a different country. Changing where you live brings new scenery, culture and experiences along with a whole new perspective.  
  5. Change occupations. If a job is causing loads of stress, trouble or trauma, change it. No matter how hard you've worked to arrive where you are, give it up. Better to be a happy janitor than a tormented physician, athlete, movie star, politician, etc. 
  6. Downsize.  This is especially pertinent for the wealthy who are in financial crisis. Sell your expensive house, car, etc. Start a clean life. 
  7. Volunteer.  Soup kitchens, homeless shelters, orphanages, etc.
  8. Join the foreign legion.  I know nothing about the foreign legion, but it's old school. It's what people did back in the day when they had no other ideas for utilizing their lives. 
  9. Fly to Iraq. Find a way to help the refugees who fled from being forced into an Islamic state. 
  10. Become a spy.  CIA, FBI, etc.  I don't know if they'll take just anyone. But someone who is at the end of their rope might prove a useful tool.
You get the idea. The point is, quit living for yourself. Find a better life. Make your life better. Join a better cause than Planet You. For someone rich and famous, doing any of these things would require them to give up their pride. That would be totally unfamiliar territory. No telethons and charity drives here. Just total and utter abandonment of their fame and fortune traded in for peace and usefulness. 

But death is final. There is no going back. And it's not our responsibility to call the shots of when it is to be over. When an unrepentant sinner dies, the world grieves the loss of its own.  But when a blood bought saint dies, heaven rejoices at the welcoming of another citizen.

The two worlds are starkly different. They don't blend - even slightly.  It is an all or nothing fight with evil principalities and powers of darkness against the Kingdom of God. Every breath we take is a chance to choose life.  Surrender ourselves to the cross of Christ and his crucifixion. But the exchange is indescribable. Life eternal with the everlasting God. His love for us is greater than we could ever imagine. He loved us so much, he became one of us, so he could save us. Wow. Just WOW. 




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Family Begins with Marriage

There are a lot of couples who say that they "became a family" when their first child was born (or adopted). They will use phrases such as, "we are trying to start a family". But ladies, the fact is that your family started the day you wed your husband.

A husband and wife, by themselves, constitute a family. You were two, now you're one. ONE. It doesn't get any closer to that. In fact God places more unity, more familial bonds and more importance on the unity of a man and his wife (singular) than any other relationship including parenting relationships. Because children are passing through. They are a part of your family. But their arrival does not create a family. This fable is actually a notion perpetuated by the media. Talking heads. The power of the tongue, the printed news and the "experts" who elevate themselves above God's holy word.
Genesis 2:24 - Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
According to the Bible, Adam and Eve were blood relatives. Adam stated she was "bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh". He was marveling that there was now another like him because he had been the only human on earth up until her arrival. And he immediately declared that they should leave their father and mother (even though they had no "earthly parents") and the two shall be as ONE. The two of them were the first family.

So it is today. Nothing has changed in God's plan. When a man and a woman wed, a family is created. When children come along, they are added to the family.
Matthew 19:9 - And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Perhaps the misconception that a family is only complete when children are born has contributed to the rise in divorces?  Surely the watering down of the meaning and Author of marriage has contributed. A man and woman bound by Holy Matrimony should never allow anything to come between them. So remember that while your children are blessings and miracles from God, and they have your utter devotion to their care and upbringing, your family did not start with them.

It started when you said "I do".
"To keep the fire burning brightly there's one easy rule: Keep the two logs together, near enough to keep each other warm and far enough apart — about a finger's breadth — for breathing room. Good fire, good marriage, same rule" — Marnie Reed Crowell

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Summer Garden

I get so excited every morning I look out the back door and see my garden growing.



I think we might actually have a harvest this year. Originally, I had started my seedlings indoors in April. And a day or two after I transplanted them in early June, we got a unexpected hail storm.

This thing took us all by surprise on a lazy Sunday afternoon. It was the loudest storm we'd ever heard! We had to yell to one another to be heard over the noise pounding on the roof. (Which now has to be replaced.)  The balls were one inch in diameter and they demolished my newly planted seedlings. :-(  This is a shot of my son holding one of the hail balls.



My flower pots in the background were covered in "white" when the storm was over and I went and scooped as many out as possible, which must have helped because they survived.

A few days later, I bought some replacement veggie plants from Home Depot and I was delighted to find that they had heirloom plants! I got tomato, basil, rosemary, tobasco pepper, rhubarb, zucchini and yellow squash. This time my husband made some hoops from PVC pipes along the planter box and I bought some painters plastic. That did the trick. Every time it even looks like a storm is coming, we cover them up. They have grown to be nice BIG plants and they are starting to have some fruit on them!


The blue tarp at the top was what we tried using at first, but it was just too cumbersome to work with and it didn't let in any light. But I left it up there because it provided them a nice amount of shade when they were new and delicate. It also holds the hoops together nicely. Not the prettiest sight, but it works. :-)



I learned that plants also like epsom salts. Just a small amount mixed in some water and sprayed on the leaves. They love the magnesium in there I guess. But it made their leaves a deep rich green color. I am going to give them another dousing of that soon because it's been about a month since the last one.

Basil, Rhubarb (and Zuchinni at the far end)


Some tips I learned about growing tomatoes is they LOVE calcium. I ground up some clean, dry eggshells in an old coffee mill till they were a powder and put a handful in the hole and then the tomato plant on top and planted as usual. And plant them DEEP, covering the bottom two or three branches into the soil. Then once they are set, never let their above soil leaves touch the soil. EVER. This is how disease and rot spreads in them.


My zucchini plant is getting huge! I was so happy to see a bee buzzing around this morning pollinating all the flowers. :)
Zuchinni 

I also sprinkled some crushed eggshells around all the plants to ward off slugs. It's a raised planter (like 3 feet off the ground) so I doubt we'll see any slugs, but I'm ready for them just in case!

I also have some potted lobelia and petunias growing nearby that will draw some bees around so the vegetable flowers will get pollinated.




How about you - are you growing anything this year? Do you have a huge garden, acres of crops or a small planter city garden like me? Do you have any tips for me about growing container vegetables? Leave a comment if you care to share. :)