Always More to Learn

phillipians_1-6

I guess my farm girl genes surfaced once again.  Thanks to Bill and Denny and their instruction on how to start, run, and actually mow with my Cub Cadet, I was finally able to mow my lawn.  Here was an instance of “slow is better.”  Slow meant more control and a better job done.  I knew I couldn’t hurry this learning process or getting the feel of how to maneuver those two metal steering bars.  I loved the final results and I had fun on my “new toy.”

Some of you may be like me.  I have, for the most part, found it hard to ask for help.  But there are time when we need to do just that.

Also, “slow” has hardly ever been my favorite way  of doing things.  Yet,this, too, may be a necessary way to approach a problem or learn something new.  It’s also God’s way of growing us.  He doesn’t expect us to reach spiritual maturity “overnight.”  it’s actually a  lifetime procedure.  There’s always more to  learn.  He often  uses other Christians to help and teach us.  Be willing to accept their help.

“Being confident of this very thing,  that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” Phil. 1:6

 This often just takes a slow steady pace.  Don’t get discouraged.

Those Seeds

dandelions

My yard is sprinkled with yellow!  Perhaps some would say it actually looks pretty – but not really.  It’s full of dandelions. Yet, a little girl could be very happy here as she picks a bouquet for her mother.  Another could joy in cutting the greens before the blossoms come for a healthy side dish (not for me!).

From year to year those “pretty weeds” multiply as they turn to a fluffy seeded ball carried by the wind; only to produce more yellow! As I consider this, I wonder what kind of seeds are being carried by the winds in my own life to those around me.  Are they seeds of love, goodness, kindness, encouragement, or just the opposite?

I never know how far God may take my seeds, but I want them to have a positive impact.  I need the Lord’s help every day for this to happen and best thing I can do is to be in His word every day and to walk in the Spirit.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.”  Gal. 5:22,23

We can do what we can to spread good seed, but then we have to leave the results up to God.

“So then neither is he that plants anything, neither is he that waters, but God that gives the increase.”  I Cor. 3:7

All Things–for Good

all things work together for good

Most of us probably know the verse, Rom. 8:28 –

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God,  to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

We also know that all things are not good. Yet, God uses them in our life for His purpose.

Looking back at my own life for the past several years, I feel God has been preparing me through some NOT SO GOOD things, for a new ministry in my life. I recently completed some training to become what is called a doula.  It’s end of life ministry; in particular, connected with Crossroads House here in Batavia.  At Crossroads, residence are shown love and given comfort care as they come to the end of their lives.

God has brought me through the death of five of my loved ones and as care giver for three of these.  I see all of this as “working together for good,” and preparing me for this ministry at this time.  How can I say anything less than, “Use me, Lord” to minister to those at the end of their life, all for your glory?

In your own life, perhaps you are going through something that isn’t so good.  Just remember, even if it’s down the road, God may have something special ahead for you and use this “not so good thing” in your life for His glory.

Just be faithful.

Potholes

potholes

An appointment last week had me in Niagara Falls.  I thought my town had large potholes, but those streets I was on were filled with potholes and made ours look like little golf holes.  Trying to miss them while driving was almost impossible and they sure can be hard on a car.

We know the paths we take in our lives are not always smooth.  Sometimes those potholes are impossible to miss and they can be damaging to our spiritual life.  The jolts can jar our innermost being and cause us much turmoil and make us lose heart.

Life isn’t easy and we may need to slow down and become more aware of those things on our path that would try to destroy our faith.

Just remember; God doesn’t always remove those potholes, but He can and He will help us and protect us as we call on Him.  So  when you hit one of those potholes in whatever form it may be, remember we are victors in Christ. Don’t let it swallow you up.

“But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”                I Cor. 15:57

No pothole is too great for our God to get us out of, because:

“Greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.”  I John 4:4

Keep your eyes on the road ahead!  Better still; keep your eyes on the Lord.

Determination

endure hardness

In spite of the cold and wind one day last week, I was determined to go on my walk.  My body was saying I needed it.  I simply dressed warmly and then braved the elements.  It really felt good.

Am I (we) as determined to get in our spiritual exercises every day?  Reality is: the weather in our lives isn’t always pleasant.  It isn’t always easy to keep going when the storms of life hit us squarely in the face. We’d sometimes like to curl up in our chair with our cozy blanket around us and sulk in our self pity; hoping the “sky will clear” soon.

I’ve been reading a lot in the Psalms again and have been encouraged by David’s life.  He had so many discouraging things in his life; yet he was always found praising and worshiping the Lord.  Even when down, he knew where to look and that was up–and he exercised his faith and trust in God.

Let me encourage you; even if you are in the middle of one of the worst storms of your life to brave the elements, not in your own strength but in the Lord’s.  Exercise your faith and grow stronger in Him.

“…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus…..You therefore, endure [persevere] hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”  II Tim. 2:1,3

Be determined not to quit or give up because of your storm.

 

A Reminder to Myself

He will not fail you

Have you ever been disappointed in yourself because you allowed yourself to get upset, become frustrated, worried, and even angry over a situation?  Recently this was me.  A situation arose and had  me to the point of absolutely not knowing what to do.  There was no solution in sight–nothing I could do about it.  I have to admit I lost it!  Not only was I upset because of the situation, but I became upset with myself.  Why was I acting like this?  Why was I worrying?  I had to give myself  “a talking to” and remind myself that God has never failed me.  He has brought me through a lot of difficult situations in the past and He is not about to forsake me now.  I just had to place all of this in God’s hands and trust Him to work out all of the details.  Things are still uncertain, but I know my God is in control.

“And the LORD, He it is that goes before you; He will be with you, He will not fail you; nor forsake you; fear not; neither be dismayed.”  Deut. 31:8

In this is my confidence and my peace.  Perhaps this is you also. Remind yourself of the same thing.

In LIGHT of That Morning

resurrection morning

Check them out–They were just ordinary men–fishermen for the most–that was Jesus’ disciples.  They didn’t understand everything that the Lord was trying to teach them and were even lost as to what they should do after Jesus died.  It wasn’t until they saw the risen Christ, witnessed his ascension to heaven, and then experienced the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that they were truly changed and lived lives in the power and direction of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Have you ever felt like those disciples did–weak, unsure, lost as to what to do at times?  We need to remember that the “MORNING HAS COME.”  Our Savior is alive and we, as His children, can now claim that resurrection power in our lives.

                “That you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out                     of darkness into light.”  I Pet. 2:9b

“That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.” Phil. 3:10

We don’t live in darkness, but in the LIGHT of that glorious resurrection morning. Yes, we are all just ordinary people, but with our Savior we can do the extraordinary!

Our God is Alive

He Is Risen

                                    “He is not here: for He is risen, as He said.                                        Come, see the place where the Lord lay.” Matt. 28:6

Never have more wonderful, powerful, assuring words ever been spoken about the God-man, Jesus Christ. Without them Christianity would be as meaningless as all the  religions around the world.  But our God is alive!  He conquered sin, death, and the grave itself, proving there is no one like Him.

He is the only way to heaven.  His arms were stretched out on the cross as He paid the price for our sins.  Now they are stretched out and open wide saying to you, “Come, believe in Me, trust Me as your Savior.”  This could be the day you become a child of God.  Don’t let it slip away.

Have a blessed Easter Day.  Rejoice if you are already His child and remember all He’s done for you.

The Right Path

steps of a good man

Follow the leader – or in this case – follow the lead car.  That’s what we were doing Wednesday as several of us piled into cars and headed out for the church outing at Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn for a pancake breakfast.  I was sitting in the back seat watching as the road became increasingly winding.  Our driver, knowing it was only going to be more winding ahead turned onto a different route to avoid some of the curves.  Either route would have gotten us to our destination.

God knows our destination and He knows the best way to get us there.  He also gives us choices.  But He has given us the Holy Spirit to help us make those right choices.  Sometimes He allows us to go down those roads that are filled with twists and turns and other times the road may be free of those things.  Whichever way, if you are trusting God to lead you, it will  always be the right path.

“The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; for the LORD upholds him with His hand.”  Psalm 37:23, 24

Even if it is the hard way, know that God will ride with you all the way!

Walking in our Footsteps

footsteps

Driving down a side street one day following a heavy snow storm we had, I saw a father walking with his young daughter.  He was slightly ahead of her and she was carefully following and stepping into her father’s foot prints.  He eye caught mine as we both smiled.  He seemed so proud and happy.

Isn’t that what our children do–Walk like we do?  We are examples and no matter what kind of foot prints we are leaving, they will do likewise.  So, let me encourage you to be careful how you walk and where you walk.

Paul, writing to the Philippians said in chapter 3:17

“Brethren, be followers of me…so as you have us for an example.”

He wasn’t boasting by any means; but he knew he followed the steps of his Savior and that’s what makes all the difference.

When we do that, it’s good to say to our children, “My child, follow me.  This is the way to walk.”