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

Where are you going?

WHERE are you going?

Where are YOU going?

Where are you GOING?

 

Emphasis makes a big difference in each of those questions. Sometimes we don’t necessarily have an end goal in mind–we are just out and about. Sometimes it’s ok to not know the destination because, truth be told, we often think we have a place where we will end up and we are really disappointed when we don’t ever get there. Or we don’t get there the way we imagined we would.

Sometimes we strive for a goal and find we never get there because we took the wrong path or we had a misinformed goal. For example, if one grows up in a family with a lot of tension or sadness due to money struggles, one might think that amassing a lot of money will lead us to “happiness”. It rarely works that way.

Where do you hope to be and how do you think you might get there?

It is always good to think about our life’s direction in general, but the Lenten season is a great time to consider if we have strayed off the path of forgiveness, grace, mercy, love, service, prayer, kindness, sacrifice, self-control, or [fill in the blank]. Drifting away a bit may not seem so bad when we can see the road but we can quickly lose sight of the road altogether. Sometimes we need to “reset”, get re-oriented, and start again.

GOD’S WORD informs our LIFE and impacts the decisions we make.

So let’s get informed! What does God have to say? Grab your Bible or download a Bible App on your phone. Look for a verse or two you might want to commit to memory during this Lenten season. Write it out on an index card, in your journal, or make a digital image so you can have it on your phone. I would love to see your verse and if you do anything creative with it. Of course, being creative isn’t the point but pondering it is! When we take the time to read God’s Word, ponder, and pray, He changes us. And, we likely will find a new perspective on our travels–both on  where we are going and where we have been.

So, where ‘ya headed?

~ Liz

Quick note: Don and I will be “on the road” and I will be posting things as we travel. We would appreciate your prayers for a safe journey!

 

 

 

PrayerPoints ~ Tuesday, March 22nd

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Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Psalm 107

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” Psalm 107:1

Give thanks…

Let them give thanks…

Let them give thanks….

Let them give thanks…

Let them give thanks…

There seems to be a bit of a theme here in Psalm 107. Do you see it? There is quite a listing of the things that God had done for His people throughout this Psalm but I think it is most important to remember the very first verse — we give thanks to the Lord because He is good…

…even if our circumstances seem to stink at the moment.

Blessings on your day as you ponder the goodness of God!

 

 

 

Getting what you deserve

Today’s PrayerPoint ~ Getting what you deserve

Have you ever heard Dave Ramsey speak? One of his classic lines is “Deserve is a dirty word”. Have you ever thought about it in that way?

Typically the world encourages us to “Have it Your Way” or reminds you that “You Deserve a Break Today”. Do most people really need to reminder to put themselves first? Isn’t that the typical sinful nature?

Here are some titles for magazines for women:

  • Self
  • Me
  • All You
  • Allure
  • First
  • More
  • She

Notice a trend here? Buying into this mentality really wreaks havoc on our spiritual life. When we start thinking about what we deserve in the worldly sense, we start a journey on a difficult path that generally leads to dissatisfaction, depression, envy, regret, uneasiness, unhappiness, discontentment, displeasure, fretfulness, restlessness. How quickly we can become dissatisfied with our house, job, spouse, children, vehicle, friends, etc.

If we think about what we deserve in the spiritual sense, it really can put a positive spin on the way we look at others. God graciously extends His forgiveness to us and there is nothing we have done or can do to deserve it. Isn’t that Good News? Contemplating God’s graciousness to us really calls us to consider whether we are sharing that same grace with others and learn how to be content with God’s provisions.

The next time someone causes you a little grief, consider giving them something they don’t ‘deserve’ ~ give them a break, cut them some slack. Maybe they are in a circumstance where they would benefit from God’s compassionate grace and you are the person called to extend it!

8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.  9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities
.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

Expectations

It is so easy to be moved from being satisfied to dissatisfaction when we allow our own or someone else’s expectations run the show.

Not all expectations are bad. I am referring to the expectation that you will be able to pull off the unrealistic perfect family gathering this weekend! We see those photos in ads where there aren’t any dirty dishes or dust bunnies and every outfit blends or coordinates with every outfit in the photo and all of that is accented by the perfect food, makeup, and….well, the list goes on. Media and advertising have painted unrealistic and unattainable “picture perfect” moments for us to try to reproduce in our own homes.

Can you imagine how long it takes to set up those photo shoots?

And when we aren’t able to pull it off we become dissatisfied with what we have.

Don’t do it. Don’t go there.

Folks, it isn’t happening at our house. We won’t be serving perfection but we are serving love, forgiveness, mercy, and grace. We have been busy with life so we might be a wee bit tired and the house isn’t perfectly clean. We didn’t buy new dresses. We probably won’t be color coordinated but we will be enjoying one another’s company. When it is time to share the big meal, my goal is for all the food to be ready at the same time but even that isn’t always easy.

Expectations. Sometimes they kill the joy of the moment!

God sent Jesus in an unexpected way to save ordinary people like you and me. Jesus died an unimaginable death to set things right with God on our behalf. This isn’t the picture perfect situation by the world’s standards but God’s love for us is perfect, so this evidence of God’s love is perfection.

God has given you His all. Ask Him to open your eyes and heart to be satisfied with all He is and all He is doing.

Thank You, Father, for Your perfect love!

Seasons

I do love the routine of the seasons although there are some seasons I like better than others. I like the general predictability of the seasons within a year but even the “unseasonal” events make life interesting.

I have always enjoyed the seasons of parenting and rarely wished the days away. I enjoyed each moment as it came. And if I was in an ugly moment, I knew that it would change shortly. When it was a sweet moment, I savored it knowing it would also move quickly to the next.

I also enjoy the seasons of the Church Year. Today, Palm Sunday, marks the start of Holy Week. It is a very busy week at our church for the entire staff. It probably is at yours as well. There are many people putting in many hours of preparation. Pray for your pastors, musicians, janitorial staff, secretaries, bulletin designers, printers and collators. Pray for the many who will attend church only because it is expected in their family. Pray for God’s Word to be preached effectively and for many ears to hear the Gospel, pure and true.

And as you travel through this Holy Week, consider the walk Jesus took for you. Pray for a greater integration of His gifts of love, mercy, and forgiveness into your life. As His gifts pour out into your life let them flow unrestricted to those around you!

God’s Promptings

I wish I could tell you I always responded to the nudges I get from God, but I don’t. Sometimes I am too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in my life and my crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing me or asking me to do.

I can get as crabby as I want with my kids or my husband for not responding to me ~ aren’t I queen of their world? But I act so similarly when it is God requesting me to incline my ear to Him or use my hands to serve one of His beloved in my midst.

Have you had a situation when you responded to a prompt from God, not having any clue what the impact would be only to hear from someone that it was exactly what they needed at that exact moment to encourage them? Isn’t that just like God? He weaves together two lives, even if only for a moment, to bring encouragement, cheer, confirmation, and the reminder of “I see you, my sweet child, I know you are struggling. Please trust Me as I work out all the details. In time, My love. In My time, My love.

As you still yourself before the Lord with your plans for the day, invite Him to interrupt your schedule and when He asks something of you, be sure to respond! I know He knows we are only human, but if we are regularly too dense, too tired, too vulnerable, too distracted, too impatient, too independent, too wrapped up in our “own” lives and crazy situations to pay attention to what God is showing us or asking us to do then we are clearly missing the point!

If you have a story to share about God prompting you, you responding, and how someone else was encouraged in the faith, please share it! It is such a testimony to God knowing even the tiniest details of our concerns and responding to them!