Have you seen the commercial about being “nose blind”? People become use to smells and do not notice them anymore. I think we can do the same thing with things we see. We walk right past something and do not see/ It might be something you see everyday and you just become accustomed to not seeing. It could also be that you walk by it and choose NOT to see. Jesus heals people in order that they might see. In the Bible we read about literal blindness that is healed by Jesus. Luke 18:42-43 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. “Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.” Can you imagine how marvelous it was? To not be able to literally see, you cry out to Jesus, and you can now see? We too need to cry out to Jesus to have our blindness lifted. Lord, lift our blindness to the needs of children in the world. Lord, lift our blindness to someone being suppressed, told they are not good enough. Lord, lift our blindness to the needs of older adults who go unseen in our country, Lord, lift our blindness to help where you are calling us to help. A new school year starts in a few days...maybe the Lord is calling you to help with something in the schools. To see the needs of children or pray for the needs of children. Everyday people come out of the hospital with horrible news. News they never expected. Maybe God wants you to sit in the lobby and pray for people. Give them hope. Everyday people are tired, hungry, and lost. Call Turning Point or Project Help so that you can help with the tired or hungry. Let’s train ourselves to see people, starting now. I think God is calling us to this. Matthew 25:40b ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ Seeing the needs around us is living in agreement with God’s words!
Good morning! Does it feel like a good morning? What does a good morning even mean? Well we awoke this morning, that is a good thing. So what determines your “good”? For a lot of us “good” is based on how we feel physically. Wake up with limited aches and pains and life is good. For others of us, wake up and if it is a day off ...yes, that is a GOOD MORNING.
What if we live in a way that each morning is good? Not based on external forces. We do not base it on weather, on others, on the tasks at hand. What if we live in such a way that internal forces do not determine our good? I woke up with aches and pains, still can be a good morning. I awoke to a heart headache, the day may have pain or a slower start but can still be good.
I tend to suffer from forgetfulness when it comes to all the blessings in my life. Are you with me? I awake to news that is bad...forgetting the news does not entirely hold my destiny.
Lamentations 3:23 “Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. “
GREAT is God’s faithfulness. Pause and reflect on the blessings and faithfulness you have seen in your week. For me it was safe travels. I am in Dayton, Ohio as I write this for my MDiv program and I have made it safely to and from the home I am staying in and then to school and appointments. I have been able to talk to family and friends daily. I see God’s faithfulness in providing for little and big needs. I see God’s faithfulness in for providing for my family while I am away.
Every morning we can awake and complain. Complaining is a natural response. Complaining and listing all that is wrong sets a tone, not a tone that is great but a tone for sure. OR we can arise and notice the gifts that are there every morning. For us early birds it is the sun cresting through trees, the birds coming alive with song, and the dew glistening in the sun...this is blessing and faithfulness. For those of you that arise later the warmth of a risen sun, the gift of shadow on a road that displays the season we are in, or the gift of a slow steady start.
I begin my day with prayer and scripture. On days that I rush from this to that or make something else a priority I miss the mercies He provides in His Word for me and that intimate time of conversation. Take time to appreciate and enjoy this day that the Lord has made. Take time to go to his word and discover His faithfulness and mercies in His word and intimate time with Him.
Take time to enjoy the faithfulness and mercy of the Lord.
Making Room to Grow
“Other seeds fell among thorns that grew
up and choked out the tender plants.”
Jesus, Matthew 13:7 NLT
Several years ago, while Debi and I were serving at Cromwell UMC, we planted marigolds along both sides of the sidewalk leading from the street to our front porch. I have always liked marigolds because they are bright yellow and being a colorblind guy I can easily distinguish the color of marigolds. (They also seem to be a pretty hardy flower.)
This particular year after planting the marigolds, Deb and I didn’t do much with them for a few weeks and then we noticed that they really weren’t growing like we thought they should. Upon closer examination we noticed that the grass from the yard had encroached on the area in which we had planted the marigolds. The grass was actually threatening to take over the flower beds where the marigolds were planted.
Now there is nothing wrong with grass when it is in the yard but we didn’t want it to take over the flower beds. So, Deb and I went to work one day pulling up the grass in the flower beds. It took some work and some time but when we finished the flower beds looked a lot better.
Also, something happened that I hadn’t realized would take place. (Confession: I really am not much of a gardener.) The marigolds began to spread out over the flower bed and grow like never before. What we had done was that by weeding the flower beds alongside the sidewalk we had made room for the marigolds to grow.
Jesus, in the parable of the Sower & the Seed, reminds us that there are things in life that can choke out the spiritual growth that God intends for us. Jesus said it this way when He explained the parable to his disciples…
“The seed sown among weeds represents the person who receives the message, but all of life’s busy distractions, his divided heart, and his ambition for wealth result in suffocating the kingdom message and prevent him from bearing spiritual fruit.” Jesus, Matthew 13:22 TPT
So here is a question for you. What do you need to weed out of your life in order to grow into the person God wants you to be? It may be something that is bad, that is destructive to you and those around you. It maybe something not bad in and of itself (like the grass in the marigolds) but it is taking too much of your focus away from God and the Kingdom.
God’s great goal in our lives is that we grow in our relationship with Jesus and our knowing how to walk in His ways. In order see God’s goal for us realized we do need to make room to grow. The Master Gardener ((Father God) can and will make clear to us what needs to be weeded out or pruned back in order for us to grow.
What is true of us as individuals is also true corporately. God’s intention is for us to grow together as a church. The problem is that we try to do so much and our focus is so broad that we can miss the truly important. As a church, we can fail to make room to grow.
May all of us be making room to grow! May this be the best growing season we have ever experienced in knowing Jesus more and more and learning to walk in His ways!
In my mind one of the most powerful chapters in all of Scripture is Romans 8. Here are a few of my favorite verses from this chapter…
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” v. 1-2
“So, you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, ‘Abba, Father.’”
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example,
we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the
Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be
expressed in words.” v.26
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” v. 28
In the last part of chapter 8 in the New Living Translation the phrase “...for us” appears several times. I noticed this the other day while having my devotions. Here are the verses…
“What shall we say about such wonderful things as these?
If God is for us, who can ever be against us?” v.31
“Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up
for us all, won’t he also give us everything else?” v. 32
“…for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us,
and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.” v. 35
Know this today and remember this God is for us!!! God is for you!!! The story of Jesus shows that God is for us, not against us!
Sisters and brothers, if God is for us what does it matter who is against us! Because God is for us, may each of us live wholeheartedly and passionately for Him!