Saturday, March 29, 2014

Trimming, Pruning, and Cleaning Out

The past few weeks, Larry has spent several hours preparing the yard for spring.  He has had the trees trimmed and shaped to allow more fullness to the trees and more light into the yard.  Plants, bushes and ferns have been cut back and pruned.  The dead parts have been cut off, dug out, and thrown away.  Leaves have been raked, and raked, and raked again.  Winter flowers are in the beds for a few more days; then they will be pulled up, the soil loosened, and new flowers planted in their place.  New mulch will add freshness to the beds for the plants and trees.  Soon the long hours of preparation will be over and the maintenance will come into play as the grass is mowed, weeds are pulled, and the plants and grass are watered and fertilized. 

No matter what the season, God is ready and willing to help us clean up our lives as well.  Sometimes he needs to take off a few rough edges so His light can shine through clearer and brighter.  Other times he needs to help us dig up, cut out and get rid of the things that have no place in our lives.  He then helps prepare our hearts and lives for the new fruit he wants to plant, produce and take up residence.  We constantly need to be attentive to what we allow to take root and grow so that we can quickly weed out what has no business being there.  Just like the plants and grass need sunshine, water, and fertilizer to grow and flourish, we need the Son to shine on us, and feed us through worship, Bible study, prayer, and sweet times of fellowship. 

Lord, please help me be patient and persevere as you help me grow into the person you created me to be.  May I be willing to bloom wherever I am planted and be a sweet fragrance to you and others in the process.  Amen.   

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

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

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Guides play an important part in one’s life journey.  Whether you are traveling, starting a job, moving to a new location, going to another school, hiking a trail, tackling a challenging situation, learning a new skill, or needing direction, it can be beneficial to enlist a trusted guide.  Sometimes people who are blind or have other health challenges depend on dogs who have been trained to be their guides.  And with today’s technology, GPS and car navigation systems can be helpful in guiding you to or locating the desired destination.

Some thoughts on guides:
* Knowledge and experience are important qualities for a guide to possess.
* A guide who has proven himself faithful can be trusted.
* Having a guide is most beneficial when someone is willing to follow.
* For the greatest benefit from a guide, the information must be accepted, thought through, learned, and applied.
* Much excess time and frustration can be avoided with the help and encouragement of a trustworthy guide.
* When you miss the mark, be willing to recalculate, turn around, retrace your steps, or go another way.
* There will be times when you need to follow and gain experience from the guide and other times when you must be willing to be the one who informs, directs, gives instruction or points out the way.
* Be wise in the choices you make.  You may be influencing others, even when you do not know that they are watching.
* Choose a guide who is worthy of being followed.

Every day God desires to be the ultimate guide for our lives.  The one who created and knows us best wants to be the one who points the way to help us become all we were created to be.  Faith and trust in our guide should result in obedience and action.

He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalm 23:3

Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.
Psalm 25:5

He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.
Psalm 25:9

Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.
Psalm 31:3

For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.
Psalm 48:14

May the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you rule the peoples with equity and guide the nations of the earth.
Psalm 67:4

You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.
Psalm 73:24

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Treasure Hunting

From elementary school days on, I remember hearing stories about finding lost or buried treasures.  There were cartoons to see and books to read, and even parties where you followed the clues on the map to search for the hidden treasure.  A school assignment instructed the boys to draw, label, and write clues for a treasure map.

Forrest Fenn spent his teenage summers exploring and scouring Yellowstone with his brother and friends.  Now a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Fenn has taken searching for hidden treasure to a new level.  A successful gallery owner, Fenn is well acquainted with beautiful art and jewelry.  After being diagnosed with cancer and given just a few years to live (20 years ago), the octogenarian began toying with the idea of filling a chest, hiding it, and giving obscure clues of its location.  Fenn survived the cancer, found a chest and spent ten years filling it with hundreds of rare gold coins; gold nuggets; antique jewelry with, jade, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones; gold dust; prehistoric mirrors of hammered gold; along with other valuables, and then hid the treasure chest.  He is careful to say that it is not necessarily buried.  Then four years ago, Forrest Fenn self-published his memoir, “The Thrill of the Chase”, and included a poem with vague clues about the location of the more than 40 pound treasure chest, valued at more than a million dollars. When interviewed by reporter Jeri Clausing, Forrest Fenn said his goal was to create a bounty that was “valuable enough to entice searchers and desirable enough visibly to strike awe.’”  He also added that it was “mainly to get people, particularly children, away from their texting devices and looking for adventure outdoors.”  Someday, one or maybe a small group of people will find and share the treasure.

But for the ultimate treasure, God desires us to seek and find Him.  Unlike buried or hidden treasures that are found by one or a few, God’s treasure is offered to all to find.  There are clues written in the Bible.  We get a glimpse by watching and seeing where He is working and moving and joining Him in the process.  God also reveals Himself when we pray, worship, fellowship, minister, trust, and live in obedience.  God’s treasure hunting rewards are an every day celebration for all who seek Him and not just a onetime find.  And God promises that when you seek him you will find him when you seek him with all your heart.  That’s a treasure worth searching for every day.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13

My son, if you accept my words
    and store up my commands within you,
turning your ear to wisdom
    and applying your heart to understanding—
indeed, if you call out for insight
    and cry aloud for understanding,
and if you look for it as for silver
    and search for it as for hidden treasure,
then you will understand the fear of the Lord
    and find the knowledge of God.
Proverbs 2:1-5

He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.
Isaiah 33:6

 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Spring Cleaning

It’s that time of year!  I don’t know if by starting now I am hoping that spring cleaning will encourage Spring to arrive or if it will just take me longer to accomplish what I want to do this year.  With Easter coming soon, I am reminded that it is also important that I take time to make sure that I am a “clean” vessel for God to use for His kingdom’s work.  Both types of cleaning have much in common.

* Wishing that something is organized, cleaned, or made right doesn’t make it happen; it takes effort.
* Cleaning out the things that are no longer helpful or useful helps make room for the new and necessary.
* Some projects are going to take more than a few minutes to accomplish.
* Having a plan helps keep the cleaner on track.
* It is good to keep things clean as you go so that you don’t have to do a major overhaul later.
* Sometimes additional help/accountability is needed for the cleaning.
* The longer you let something build up or go, the more time and effort it will take to restore it to what it needs to be or to completely eliminate it.
* Sometimes cleaning can be tedious and time consuming, but the end result will be worth it.
* Once something is clean, it’s important to spend extra time and effort to keep it that way.

Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17

 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.
Colossians 3:5-10

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9

 “Blessed are those
    whose transgressions are forgiven,
    whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one
    whose sin the Lord will never count against them.”
Romans 4:7-8