Saturday, March 11, 2023

March 11, 2022

I'm looking forward to Heaven, but I can't wait to live in the New Jerusalem under the rule of King Jesus! Imagine cultivating a garden and having your plants flourish without bugs and disease. Last night I spent an hour spraying my citrus trees because some bug was causing the new leaves and some old ones to curl up. Then my peas, which are newly sprouted, have bites out of them! The other day it was the squash! I thought I could control the pest by companion planting, but that's not happening yet. Oh, and it started raining as soon as I finished applying the pest control! Now, I don't know if I should use it again or wait. I'm not going to cry about the rain; we've needed it; that was the first time my vegetable garden has gotten watered by God. 

I've mentioned this a few times, but my word of the year is "persevere." I couldn't be more sure than I am right now that I heard God correctly. Thankfully the things I must persevere through are not that harsh so far. Because we are grafted into God's family, our labor is only temporary, but we must persevere until God calls us to eternity. If you are struggling through a rough time, hold on tight to the promises of God. You will see its end and will one day rest from striving.

Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God's kindness to you, provided you continue in his kindness. Otherwise you too will be cut off. Romans 11:22

Friday, March 10, 2023

March 10, 2023

Roxie is one of the cows that live on our property. She is very gentle, and I love to pet her, but she has skills that other cows don’t have; she can open a gate. And though that might be good for a cow, it isn’t good for the farmer. One day, I found her outside the fence and had to put her back. We still have a few cars left on the property from the auction in December; we have fence panels around them, so the cows don’t hurt them. Yesterday, I was working in the garden when I caught a glimpse out of the corner of my eye that didn’t make sense. Somehow Roxie had broken into and was standing next to one of those cars. I’m unsure why because there’s not much grass in there. All I could figure was that she wanted to be on the tarp that had blown off the car. She thought that tarp was something special. I climbed in there with her and backed her out. 

We are like Roxie because we are gentiles, and the tarp is like Jesus. God chose the Jewish people, but he drew in the gentiles to become sons and daughters when they rejected him. Lucky for us, God taught us to open the gate, and like Roxie standing on the tarp, we are standing on the promises of God.

Then Isaiah is so bold as to say, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.” But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.” Romans 10:20-21

Thursday, March 9, 2023

March 9, 2023

My dad encouraged me to plant some peanuts in my garden. He gave me some dried-up peanuts in the shell and told me to carefully take them out of the husk without removing the papery skin on the outside of them because, without that skin, they wouldn’t germinate. Because the seeds are so big, I thought they would take a while to emerge from the ground. However, to my surprise, they came up rather quickly and broke the ground as they began to sprout. I had to look it up online because the soil looked like it was rejecting the seed because there were peanuts on top of the ground. In the middle of the peanuts were tiny green leaves beginning to unfurl. I guess that’s how all seeds germinate, but because of the size, God allowed me to watch the magic of the dead seeds coming back to life and multiplying. 

Here’s my takeaway; the papery skin is like Jesus; you don’t want to die without having him. He is the key to the Kingdom! You must believe with all your heart that God raised him from the dead and confess with your mouth that he is Lord. And another thing, you must die to yourself, like the dried-up peanut, so when you are firmly planted in Jesus, like your water baptism, you emerge from the ground and produce more. How many of those peanuts will be eaten, and how many will be saved for seeds? More will be eaten than saved. Thank God that he made you a seed!

because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

March 8, 2023

A couple of months ago, I went shopping and found the perfect flooring for my house. However, the price was astronomical! I want my entire house to have the same flooring throughout, but there are areas where wood should not go, like the bathrooms, kitchen, and laundry room. I started thinking about my washing machine overflowing, accidentally scratching it, and how I would feel after spending so much money on it. It didn’t make sense to have something so beautiful and have to worry about ruining it; I want to be comfortable in my home, not fearful. We looked around again and found a tile that had a similar look to the wood we picked, which would solve my problem of the wet areas, and I wouldn’t have to worry as much about ruining it, plus the cost was much more reasonable. 

There are many things we have a choice in, and hopefully, we make good decisions, but only some are our choices. God is very clear when he says he will have mercy on whomever he pleases. He chose us! Some people will never accept the things of God because he has hardened their hearts. Why? Because he is God and can do what he pleases. Are you taking your salvation for granted? He picked you out of the many; how do you show gratitude? Do whatever it takes to strengthen your faith and trust in him, and become grateful that God chose you.

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Romans 9:16-18

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

March 7, 2023

We need some rain! This pollen is ravaging my sinuses and lungs. I’m in a quandary because the weather is beautiful and calls me outside to enjoy the springtime flowers that are busting out everywhere, but I should stay inside where I’m safe from the dusting. 

There is a parallel in the spiritual world to this dilemma. The enemy will dangle in front of you something sparkly and beautiful to draw you into his world, giving you the sense that it’s godly when it’s only a trap that will cause you to sin. We must discern the difference between good and evil because not everything bright and beautiful is of God. We must learn to listen to the Holy Spirit’s quiet voice that requires us to be still to hear it. Unfortunately, we reside in Satan’s kingdom, where he rules in the darkness, so we must maneuver through it carefully. Though he is trying to kill us like pollen, we must armor up and be ready for daily battles. We need fresh rain to wash the pollen into the ground and the living water that is Jesus to cleanse the earth of madness. 

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:5-6

Monday, March 6, 2023

March 6, 2023

My squash plants have already begun blooming, and I can see tiny squash all over them. I am concerned about some of them having silvery leaves. Though the plants look pretty, I looked up the condition to see if I should be worried about them. According to the University of Kentucky, my squash has been invaded by the silver-leaf white fly. They lay their eggs on the underside of the leaf, and the larva eats the leaf from the inside, making it look silver. I can either order tiny wasps and turn them loose as a natural but expensive remedy or spray them with insecticide. It’s still early in the season, so if they become ruined, I can replant them. It’s disappointing, especially since the garden seems to be progressing so well. Whatever I do to handle the pest, their feasting on my plants will not deter me! 

This analogy is a prime example of how Satan works. He plants tiny thoughts in your mind to get you thinking negatively. It could be anything; something you saw in an advertisement, a comment made, something you read, or just about anything. Then it begins eating at you until he convinces you that you are not worthy. You look pretty on the outside but are torn apart on the inside. Use some scripture as pest control and tell Satan to get behind you! Don’t forget that Jesus took care of all that when he died on the cross and rescued you from the fire. You died to sin and are hidden within him, which makes you worthy.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:37-39

Sunday, March 5, 2023

March 5, 2023

I enjoy driving my car. One of my requirements in a vehicle is that it must have a V-8 engine. I like having pickup on takeoff because I live in a congested area and don't want to get killed pulling out onto the roadway. However, there is another reason for wanting a V-8 engine, speed! I have no intention of breaking the law when I drive, but something within my flesh enjoys getting where I'm going at a high rate of speed. Don't get me wrong, I know the speed limit, but I choose to let my flesh overtake me when I'm behind the wheel of my car.

Would I be speeding if the law hadn't set boundaries on how fast I could drive? No. I wouldn't even know I was speeding. Because the law sets the rules, I know I'm a lawbreaker; I can't help it; my flesh overtakes me. Think of the Ten Commandments; we wouldn't know we were sinning if God hadn't given the law, but he did,  and now we know we are sinners. Death comes to those who sin, but because of Jesus, we do not have to pay the price for our sins. After getting a ticket, I will slow down for a while, but then my flesh will overtake me again, and off I go, speeding to my next destination. That analogy is Romans Chapter 7 in a nutshell. 

For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. Romans 7:22-25