Saturday, March 4, 2023

March 4, 2023

Several weeks ago, I planted asparagus. I followed the directions on the package, and they began coming up. As they grew, I realized that what I had purchased may not be enough to enjoy with a meal, so yesterday, I bought more. When you open the package, they look dead. Following the directions, I soaked them in compost tea to boost them before planting. I dug a trench 6” deep, carefully spreading out the roots, covered them with 3” of soil, and watered them in. When they peak out of the ground, I cover them with three more inches of dirt. The package said the roots were two years old, so they weren’t to be eaten until they were three. It took everything in me not to pop off their little heads and eat them immediately.

The asparagus roots are similar to what we were before we accepted Jesus as our Savior, dormant with the look of death. We received baptism, a symbol of death, and came up from the water with a new life, like my asparagus soaking in compost tea before planting. Then we are planted in the soil, like attending church, studying our Bible, and learning biblical truths. Then, just as we think we are ready to take on the world, God plants us deeper. The enemy is there waiting for us to pop our heads out so he can eat us alive, but God makes him wait until we are more robust and can engage in the battle against evil. The war is fierce, and every available soldier needs to engage the enemy now. We need to plant more roots to have fresh recruits, so keep telling others about Jesus’s free gift.

But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 6:22-23

Friday, March 3, 2023

March 3, 2023

Have you noticed that the weediest-looking trees produce gorgeous flowers? We have several golden trumpet trees, Tabebuia, on the property, and they bloom prolifically in the spring, but for the rest of the year, they look like something you would cut down. They have flimsy branches, and the leaves aren’t great; they are not much to look at except when they bloom. If you didn’t know about its springtime beauty, you would be shocked at how fabulous it looks when it decides to show off. 

Most of us are like that tree. We are regular people until God decides to use us to glorify himself. It’s like the Holy Spirit comes out of nowhere, and words come out of our mouths that we didn’t know were there. Whether he uses us to comfort someone or to bring a lost soul to salvation, he pours into us daily for such moments as this. Some people don’t even know they have the Holy Spirit until God decides to use them. That’s when God gives them a testimony they will share for the rest of their lives. 

It shows that God has a plan for everyone to show his glory, even if it’s only occasionally. Your beauty is hidden until the perfect moment when he chooses for you to bloom.

But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, Romans 6:17

Thursday, March 2, 2023

March 2, 2023

Having a plot of land to garden and toil in the soil has brought me immense joy. I feel God's blessing pouring down on me when digging and sweating. However, yesterday, he reminded me of the word he gave me for this year, perseverance! One of the types of plants I love the most is bromeliads. They are a shade-loving variety that adds color to an otherwise dark and shaded area. I had moved them to a holding area to get them out of the way of the work being done to the house. They are air plants that don't need soil to stay alive. Yesterday was the day to move them to a permanent location. I began by cleaning up the tree they would dwell under; then, I loaded some old stump grindings piled up where a tree had been. I moved four loads, shoveling and spreading, making a beautiful flowerbed. I thought I had found the perfect spot until the day wore on; that's when I realized that at the sun's high point, that area got full sun! Bromeliads cannot tolerate the sun. I had to do the entire project over again in a different spot. I'm still worn out today! Thankfully, I persevered, and that task is now complete. 

It's not always easy living in this world, and it seems more complicated today than ever. Don't get caught up in the bad news of the day. Do not give up! Persevere! We live through this time in history for a reason—people who don't have Jesus feel hopeless. But God has given us the task of reassuring them and telling them of our hope. It is worth the effort to keep another human from eternal damnation in the scorching heat of hell and give them Jesus and a shady spot in Heaven. 

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

March 1, 2023

I headed out the door yesterday to find some petunias for my garden. I started some about a month ago, but they are barely a speck in the starting soil, and I have no idea why they aren’t growing. The nursery I was hoping to get them from had closed its doors, and because I was already halfway there, I ended up in Plant City; we’re just a few miles from there anyway. I went to Lowe’s, and they had the petunias I wanted at a reasonable price. Compared to my growth-stunted petunias, no matter how hard you try to help someone grow in Christ, it’s up to them to make an effort to change and for God to promote growth. I didn’t throw them out; I planted them alongside the bigger ones hoping they would begin to mature. Sometimes an immature Christian needs other Christians to emulate; that’s why you should do your best to project Jesus in everything you do and why it’s so important to be a part of a church that adheres to biblical principles. Other people are watching, and you never want to be the reason someone becomes stunted or stumbles.

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building. 1 Corinthians 3:7-9

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February 28, 2023

Back in November, we had a bull calf born on our property. We longed to pet him. His mother was friendly and allowed us to pet her, but her baby was skittish and would never let us get close; he had not grown to trust us like his mother. The cattleman began touching him as he fed them, and he is gradually losing his fear of humans. Yesterday was the first time he stood and let Richard touch him; he even tried to chew on his hand. I didn’t want to scare him off, so I stayed in the car, watching and admiring his newly formed faith in humans. As I thought about it, I could imagine how thrilled God must be when a child of the world begins coming in closer and starts to trust him. When, after months or even years of trying to draw them in, they commit to fully trusting him with their life and accept Jesus as their savior. No wonder there is rejoicing in Heaven over a new convert; God is thrilled over their faith in him,  just like we were thrilled that the calf now allows us to pet him.

This portion of scripture is referring to Abraham:

No unbelief made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, Romans:4:20-24

Monday, February 27, 2023

February 27, 2023

We go to a small church in Brandon. It's bigger than some but smaller than the mega-churches. We are not members yet, though; for all intents and purposes, we are members of the Church as a whole because of our salvation. It's closer to home than any other that we've attended, which makes it convenient, and because it is in our neighborhood, it serves the people around us, which is good. The teaching is on target, and I like that it is expository and Holy Spirit-led and not canned. Some preachers choose to teach topically and never get into the meat and potatoes of the scriptures, so if someone doesn't study the scriptures on their own, they don't get the complete picture. Even though the church is for the congregating of the saints and we should like everyone, that's not always the case. However, Paul reminds us that it's about God, and we know that, but I find it funny that he had to remind the Romans of that truth. It shows that they weren't much different than us, making Paul's message relatable. 

What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” Romans 3:3-4

Sunday, February 26, 2023

February 26, 2023

For the past week, I’ve contemplated what I would use for tomato cages. I didn’t want something flimsy that would get all bent out of shape by the next growing season. Plus, I’m trying not to spend more on my garden than buying the produce in the store would cost. I finally decided on some rebar stakes I found at Tractor Supply to help hold up the main stem. However, I really wanted these cute arches I saw in a YouTube video made with a fence panel. I found one fence panel on the property and followed the instruction. It should be able to hold up six of my plants and will add some beauty to my garden when it’s filled with tomatoes. The directions for the arch required two people, but I was impatient and wanted to get it done right away. If I had waited for help, it might have turned out slightly better, but the arch is a little off because I think I can do everything myself. 

God has given us instructions, so we shouldn’t traverse our lives alone, or we will get it wrong or even slightly off like my arch. We must tune into the Holy Spirit and his still, small voice and stay caught up on our Bible instructions. If we pay attention, we will get it right nearly every time. 

He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. Romans 2:6-8