A Time to Uproot

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How does your garden grow?

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


Have you ever moved to a new place and tried to get to know what plants are in your yard? If you don’t know much about plants, it can be confusing because as things start to green up in Spring it is exciting. But not everything that is green is good. Sometimes the weeds masquerade as something useful but soon they choke out other plants you actually do want. Getting rid of noxious weeds isn’t always fun. But, left unchecked, they can overtake a large area in a short amount of time.

Root them out!

And while you are in the business of getting rid of those unwelcomed guests, think about other things you might need to dig out and eliminate. Allowing things like

  • impatience
  • anger
  • suspicion
  • lies
  • resentment
  • fear
  • hatred
  • assumptions
  • selfishness
  • envy
  • jealousy
  • perfection

to be a part of your life can cause an unwanted invasion. And those things can quickly choke out the good things God wants to grow in you. Digging out this junk can be a bit of work. It takes a conscientious effort to uproot and eliminate those weeds. But doing so brings more space and freedom for the other, more Christ-like, qualities to grow and flourish.

Take stock of what is growing in your life today. Sowing seeds that produce patience, love, trust, honesty, appreciation, peace, joy, kindness, goodness, faith, mercy, and gentleness will result in an amazing harvest for you and those who are in your presence. Be deliberate about what you allow to remain in your life.

Life is too hard and too short to be growing all that ugly stuff. Be intentional about what you are growing in your heart and life. As you radiate God’s good gifts they will be a blessing to those all around you!

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV]

On the way,

Liz

A Time to Die

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A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


As a young child, I experienced a bit of trauma when my father died. I was only six years old and I don’t remember a lot about his illness or death but I do remember watching my friends have dads and wondered what that was like. Of course, because the main wage earner was not around, we experienced financial hardship. And sure my mom was exhasuted by the four of us! As I moved through different stages of life, I knew I missed out on something. But, it was simply a fact in our family and we moved forward in life.

Years went my and I married a great guy and we started having our own children. When we were pregnant with precious child #3, I started to get nervous. When my husband’s mom was pregnant with her third child, her huband died of a heart attack. I thought for sure that would be my future. Of course, I was wired for something like that since I grew up without a father in the home. My mom raised four kids by herself and I figured that was going to be my lot in life. I actually thought far more about the day I would be raising children on my own due to my husband’s death than I ever thought about my mom leaving this earth.

Moms are immortal, aren’t they?

It didn’t happen that way. Don’s still here and my mom died ten years ago. (She was the best!) And it has been so much fun to watch my kids have their dad in their lives! Watching my husband be such a great father to our kids has been a great thing. So many of the things I feared would happen, in fact, have not happened. But they were fears I simply had to face and move through.

There are days we feel like we are dying because of the agonizing heartache or the anticipation of pain or paralyzing fear of the future or the prospect (or certainty) of a challenging treatment plan. And yet, those are not the days our bodies die. We are all marching toward that final day but we don’t really know the circumstances surrounding our final breath.

We know it will come, eventually. It always does. Are you working on those things you’ve hoped or dreamed about? If you knew you had a short time left on this earth, what are the things you would focus in on and do?

Teach us to number our days,
    that we may gain a heart of wisdom. [Psalm 90:12 NIV]

I am at least halfway through my life. When did that even happen? I don’t fear death itself as much as I wonder about the pain that might be involved in the process of dying. But, no matter, I don’t know any of the circumstances surrounding my final breath.

But what if this is what I am facing in my remaining days?

  • Life without a special, precious someone
  • A difficult diagnosis
  • Financial hardship
  • Disability
  • Chronic Illness

I will cling to His promises. He is the God of all comfort. He sees the bigger picture. He knows this life is temporary. He knows and uses every trouble and trial for faith building  either in me or in others.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.        [2 Corinthians 1:3-4 NIV]

I trust that God is with me, strengthening and upholding me! And I trust He is with you too!

On the way,

Liz

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A Time to Mend

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The view from Torockó in Transylvania

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


When I think of the word “mend” I think of sewing a button on a shirt or fixing a hole on a beloved shirt. We can also “mend fences” which can be quite literal but can also refer to restoring a relationship.

It takes two to revive a relationship. Often one party is ready sooner than the other and needs to wait patiently for the other person to be in the space for rebuilding. I think it would be rare for two people at odds to both “throw down the hatchet” simulataneously but once both parties are open to restoration, God can work a beautiful, though often different, thing.

With fences, and relationships, if issues are addressed when smaller, things can be stabilized. But if there are many unhealthy situations that go unchecked over a period of time the day will surely come when the relationship cannot stand. Of course, there are some relationships that cannot and should not be mended. That takes a bit of thinking, praying, and wise counsel.

Life is short, so let’s mend fences where we can. God can help us discern which ones to restore and which ones to let go. And if you wish to repair something, remember, the other party may not share your desire just yet nor ever. Plant the seed. Extend the hand of peace. You are only responsible for your actions and that can lead you to peace even if the relationship is not one that can be restored. Even coming together to decide that the relationship is not healthy and won’t move forward is a mending of sorts and can leave you with peace.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”says the Lord. [Romans 12:17-19 NIV]

On the Way,
Liz

A Time to Speak

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Swans on Lake Balaton in Hungary.

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


If you know me at all, you know that it is sometimes hard for me to discern when it is time to speak what is on my mind. I just naturally love conversation and am prone to speak in very small group settings. Sometimes the person who speaks often (quite possibly too often) might get passed by when they have something very valuable to share because their non stop verbiage is just too much for others to absorb. I think everyone has a different saturation point when it comes to words.

Allowing the space of silence in a group builds in processing time for those who can only absorb so many words. And I suspect those who benefit that extra time are also fairly thoughtful about when they might choose to speak. Maybe even too thoughtful. So it is important to create the space in friendships. families, the workplace, and other gathering times so everyone has an opportunity to speak and to be heard.

Allowing pauses in conversation requires practice. Sometimes silence can be uncomfortable.  Having a conversation is a bit like with reading a book (which is a conversation of the one sided sort): there are spaces (margins) in books that allow some visual space — allowing for a auditory space is just as important.

In a meeting, my husband is typically quiet and listens and then produces an incredibly thoughtful response or observation at the end. I have a tendency to ask clarification questions and provide feedback and thoughts throughout a meeting. I think that is because I am a verbal processor. I have to get it out in order to figure out what it is I want to say. Don can process all that stuff in his mind and then speak his thoughts very succinctly. I find it fascinating because I just don’t work that way.

Words are powerful and carefully chosen words are even more powerful. I have spent a lifetime learning that just because I think it doesn’t mean I need to share it with the world. Journaling has been an important way I have learned to process thoughts and speak them quietly, to an audience of One.

How do our words reflect our state of mind?

Have you been around someone who lashes out at every opportunity? Or around someone who speaks soothing and encouraging words? The first kind of person is hard to be around and the second type can be a balm to a weary soul. If you know someone who is very generally pretty loving but is having a moment of frustration it is good to keep in mind that they are likely having a moment. But those who are ugly, critical, caustic, impatient, and intolerant? Well, part of me has compassion for them because clearly their heart is troubled. But, honestly, the other part of me wants to run the other way. It isn’t that I never have those moments. I do. But I hope those who love and know me might allow me a small space for processing and then, when it has gone far enough, will nudge (push or pull) me in the healthier direction.

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit.  Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” [Luke 6:43-45 NIV]

In this world of pain, disease, death, and suffering it is important to share words of love and light and life. God’s Word is full of good words.

The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. [John 6:63 NIV]

Speak Life!

On the Way,

Liz

 

A Time for Everything

A Time for Everything 
Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8 NIV

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

In the scheme of life, we are all run by some sort of clock whether it is internal or external. If we live where there are distinctive seasons our activities are sometimes centered around those transitions. But even if there aren’t definite weather seasons where we are, there are seasons in life, jobs, relationships, growth, faith — you name it!

When our kids were little, we never wished they would move through stages quickly — we knew that each child had to move at their own pace and we had to let them figure it out and trust their own stride. We each have our own unique tempo. Sometimes we are attracted to those who have a similar beat and other times, knowing we need a change in pace, we find ourselves connecting with others who have a very different pulse. Sometimes I have to be very intentional about slowing down my pace because once I get going I struggle with turning my brain off to relax a bit. I am thankful for changes in pace, even though they take some getting used to. Measuring our progress by speed is useful in some ways but not in all. Sometimes the journey is more important than the destination.

I love that God has created us each in a unique way and with a unique pace. I appreciate those around me who share my rhythm as well as those who challenge my stride.

Has your regular rhythm been challenged recently? Are you frustrated with how slowly things may seem to be moving in certain areas of your life? If you allow it, God may use your new pace might bring along a new perspective and a new peace about your circumstance.

On the way,

Liz

The Judas Kiss

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. Matthew 26:48-50

Have you ever been connected with someone who flattered you with kisses (or something similar) only to have them turn on you later?

If you have ever experienced it you know it is quite unpleasant. When I have been in this type of situation I wonder where was my discernment? Why was I vulnerable to fall for something like that?

Who does that to people?

Plenty do.

But knowing that this happened to Jesus helps. Betrayal happens.

What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes 1:9

Of course, our betrayal experiences do not compare with those of Jesus but it is good to know that pain we feel – He can relate. And God can use it for a greater good.

The sooner you can forgive a betrayer the better off you will be. But just don’t expect that to be something you can do without Jesus. He is the one who makes forgiveness possible.

On the Road,

Liz

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PrayerPoints ~ Sunday, March 20th

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 16

“Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge. I said to the Lord, “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing. ” Psalm 16:1-2

There are always difficulties. Since the Fall of Man, there have been wars and disease and sin.

Theirs…Yours… and Mine.

And God continues to offer His grace and mercy and forgiveness and love. Along with those good things, He reminds us:

“Finally brothers,

whatever is true,

whatever is honorable, whatever is just,

whatever is pure, whatever is lovely,

whatever is commendable,

if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise,

think about these things.”   Philippians 4:8

Now, more than ever, I wonder where things are headed in our world. There is so much corruption, pain, illness, and death that I need to reorient my thinking multiple times a day. As Scripture says,

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

Life is hard. God is good. And God’s goodness is not dependent on my circumstances.