Saturday, January 28, 2023

January 28, 2023

The love that Christ-followers have for one another crosses artificial boundaries. Being rich, poor, old, or young does not change the flow of his love through us toward others who also love Jesus. Jesus unites us and creates a loving bond. He brings us together no matter where we go on earth. 

Let brotherly love continue. Hebrews 13:1

It’s comfortable associating with the body of Christ, but we must venture outside the confines of our camp just as Jesus did when he endured the cross. Every sacrifice you make to tell others about his cleansing blood does not go unnoticed, and those in the world who are brought in will appreciate you caring enough to tell them the truth about Jesus and his love.

So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured. Hebrews 13:12-13

The photo was from July when the crepe myrtles were blooming.

Friday, January 27, 2023

January 27, 2023

My internal clock encourages me to start preparing the soil for my spring garden. So today, I will scoop up some old cow manure and start amending the ground to have a beautiful, well-producing garden. I’ve pre-started my seeds to be ready to plant near the beginning of March. We should be past frost by then. I also bought some asparagus roots to plant and try to grow. After I got them, I looked them up to see how well they grew in Florida. According to the extension office website, they don’t produce very well, the plants do fine, but we don’t get cold enough here. The foliage is very pretty and does just fine, so I will plant them in my blueberry garden to give it some pizazz.

Gardening is good for my soul and very satisfying. It’s what God meant for me to do physically and spiritually. It’s funny that they go hand in hand. Whether you like art, music, fishing, or whatever suits your fancy, see if it also translates to an activity you can use for the glory of God. I’m sure he gave you that desire for a reason. 

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Thursday, January 26, 2023

January 26, 2023

Twelve or so years ago, my daughter and I were at a sandwich shop grabbing some lunch. She was pregnant and was close to her delivery date and had some concerns, and I had just gotten news about some medical test, so we were both worried. Two ladies began conversing with us, seeming to see the worry on our faces. Interestingly, one was pregnant, and the other was my age and had both experienced similar situations to what we were going through. They assured us that we would be fine, consoled both of us, and relieved us of our worries. We were in Brandon, a fairly small town, so we know a lot of the churches, especially the big ones, and we see many of the same people around town. We had never seen these ladies before. They told us that they went to a big church and sang in the choir, pointing towards First Baptist of Brandon, but didn’t say the name of it. We found that to be odd. Then they disappeared as quickly as they appeared. My daughter and I concluded that angels had visited us. For this reason, we must be kind to others because you never know when you might be entertaining angels. I’ve had one other encounter; you don’t forget it; they leave a lasting impression. 

Let brotherly love continue. Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:1-2

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

January 25, 2023

The earth is hot with controversy and mayhem, but not for us. We are insulated. If you are feeling the heat, pull the covering over yourself, don’t stay in it. Relinquish all control to Jesus. 

When my dogs see squirrels, they go wild! This morning, I let them out to chase them, but they couldn’t catch them because they were too fast. The squirrels were afraid of their sound, and they ran up the tree when I opened the door. The squirrels would have ignored them if I hadn’t gotten involved by opening the door, and I wouldn’t have gotten involved if the dogs hadn’t begun barking and making so much noise.

When we think about fighting a spiritual battle, we think about dressing in armor and wielding a sword, but those are just metaphors. Our battles are fought by releasing all control to God and adhering to biblical truth. There is no physicality involved. God makes it easy for us; we fight by engaging in prayer, praise, worship, and submitting to him. The enemy knows this is true, but he will make you think you must enter conflict physically. Our power is in the spiritual realm. Stay engaged with the Father; he will fight for us; we need only to be still.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 12:28-29

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

January 24, 2023

It seems that God is shaking heaven and earth. Stand firm in your commitment to Jesus and eagerly wait while God removes anyone and anything unworthy of him. Though none of us are worthy, we are seen as holy with Jesus as our cover.

At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Hebrews 12:26-27

When something is quoted in the Bible, I always like to know where it comes from, so I look it up to give clarity and context.

For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, so that the treasures of all nations shall come in, and I will fill this house with glory, says the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:6-7

We are on the right side of history, but you already know that. Stand firm in your commitment. Do not take off your armor. Stay in the fight for freedom in Christ, and God will remove our enemies as we rely upon him for our every need. Remember that our battle is not against flesh and blood but the powers and principalities of this world. According to the scriptures, he will shake them loose and remove them. 

Monday, January 23, 2023

January 23, 2023

We are privileged to know Jesus. Our strong faith in him causes others to be jealous, and jealousy can cause anger and rage in those whose character cannot comprehend our commitment to him. You know who they are by the disturbing things that they do, expecting us to either participate in their disgusting behavior or accept it. These humans are so weak in character that the devil has made a mockery out of them and considers them disposable. They have fallen for the programming that some of us have resisted. What will happen to them when the truth is revealed? Their personalities are built around the lies they believe. What happens when that lie falls apart? How do we help them once we are all released from enslavement, and these people are devastated because they believed they were right? Pray now for God to equip you with the tools needed to help these people. You won’t find them in the world, that’s where the devil is, but you will find those tools in the Bible. God has a particular path he wants you to follow. Ask him what it is. We were born for such a time as this. Our ultimate goal is to bring them to Christ, but we may need to help them in other ways. Please don’t sit on the sidelines while we clean up the mess. Participate.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1-2

Sunday, January 22, 2023

January 22, 2023

This morning, I was stumped and had difficulty coming up with a story to go along with faith. I was excited to be able to write about the kind of faith mentioned in Hebrews 11 and needed a good example. Some days, I need more faith than others and must pray for God to intervene. Then, my camera went off three times in a row. You could hear something in the background but couldn’t see anything. Suddenly, a cow sticks her head over the fence. That’s when I knew God was giving me a clue. 

Faith is like a fence for livestock; you build the fence with the hope that these enormous beasts don’t become clued in that they could easily walk right through it unharmed. We have faith that the fence will hold, so the cows don’t end up on the highway. 

With unbelief, we are like the cows within the fence, not knowing our potential power to walk through that fence and become free. 

We must practice our faith to see its results, like me this morning, not having a good story to go along with the verse. I prayed for God to help me and had faith that he would. Then the cow pops her head over the fence. I can’t make this stuff up. I’m always amazed at how faithful God is; trust him and strengthen your faith by practicing it.

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1