One of my most favorite things to do is sit on our back patio with a cup of coffee reading a book. I love the sounds of the neighborhood, cars driving past, neighbors working in their yards, kids playing in the distance, airplanes flying overhead (as we type), birds chirping.. You get the idea!
We had a long hard winter in our area this year. We’ve been cooped up since October. Dreadful, and if seasonal mental illness wasn’t an issue, it very well has become one now (I can speak for myself here). As I glance around at what our harsh winter has left us, brown shrubs and bushes, dead plants, and newly budded trees with dead branches strewn through, and even more so at my own landscaped handiwork, it occurred to me, “We should prune these dead branches.” Or, “We should cut down those drying rose bushes”, because it their place will sprout new fresh growth. Only when the dead is removed can the new flourish. Can you see where I’m headed here?
The same is true for us. We are reminded to ask God to prune us. Search our hearts and remove the dead spots. (Psalm 139:23) There are spots we are not even aware of that are affecting us and rotting the good pieces it lies next too. Sometimes we need to ask God to peel us back like an onion and show us those spots that need help. If we are aware of those dead spots, we need to speak them to Him who can begin his work within us. (Phil. 2:13)
When we have dry and rotten parts of us it contaminates the good. Let’s ask Father for healing and to quench these thirsty dessert places. When we are freed from the branches that bear bad fruit we can plant our roots next to the stream of living water! (Jer. 17:8) Oh how fulfilled we will be!!
There’s a common theme of arguments made amongst people who are skeptic of Christians, or church goers in general. Some of the quotes I read are:
“It’s funny, they call themselves a Christian and claim to go to church every week, but then why would they ‘say that’ to me?!”
..And sometimes the H word is thrown in, “What a hypocrite! Why do they even go to church?”
Please, let’s jump in shall we?
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” Luke 5:31
If we were all perfect and in full glory, we wouldn’t need church or God at all. It is because we are all (emphasize ALL) sinners and fall short of the glory of God that we need grace. (Rom. 3:23). The best place for the sinner and hypocrite is IN church!! What better place for the chance to hear the Word and a seed be planted. A place where repentance and forgiveness can begin and a heart begin to change. The same way, if only healthy people saw the doctor, that means the sick continue being sick and roaming the earth unhealed, unchanged.
We praise God for his Grace. Grace on the broken hearted and broken in spirit and mind. Thank you Lord that you welcome the worst of us into your very home with open arms and are accepted beyond what anybody would allow on this earth. When we fail to recognize that every single one of us needs you, we become our own gods and it is WE who become the hypocrites. WE become the blasphemers. WE become the sinful. WE become the sick who need a doctor…
Father God, I pray for those who cannot see. Open their blind eyes Lord. (Isa. 35:5) Lest you be the mirror they need for their own reflection. Forgive those that do not know you, for they know not. (Luke 23:34) We pray blessings over people’s ignorance and foolishness. Let us not fall into their temptation! For you alone know the hearts of all, we are not the judge. In your son’s precious name, Amen!
“..blessed is the one who trusts in The Lord, who’s confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that’s sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jer. 17:7-8)
Wow! Doesn’t that pack a punch?! Re-read the above again..and perhaps again and again. Let it soak in. Visualize and picture this. It’s talking so very much about us! Where are our roots today? Have we planted ourselves in sandy soil that gives away at the slightest wind or storm? Are we amongst the rock, so unstable and too hard to dig our roots in deep enough? Or are we by the life giving waters of the stream? Many times Jesus references himself as “living water” (John 4:10). Therefore, plant your roots into Him, our life giving water that nourishes, feeds, strengthens, and protects us. If we are in Him, we will continually bear fruit. That is bearing witness to God himself. People will not see us shriveled up by the heat, but instead full of life!
Praise God for this provision! We are truly never without or left on our own. Be in Him, plant yourself in Him and be confident in His protection and provision. When we don’t do this we run the risk of shriveling up, becoming defeated. To others, instead of appearing strong and capable, we now appear weak and unstable. We become negative and pessimistic. When we are confident we shine. Remember to whom you are confident in, and your shine will be God’s glory through you.
Ask The Lord to show you what this looks like. If you’ve never experienced the cool refreshment of life giving water, pray that he leads you here. I pray over each and every one of you that your roots grow deep and mighty strong next to this stream of life. There is room for every single one of us!! Let’s put our blankets down and have a picnic here, shall we?
“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” (Rev. 3:20)
This painting hangs above our front entryway in the house. Certain I picked it up at a garage sale because I’m nostalgic for things like this, or even an old heirloom that has nothing to do with our family but at one time had everything to do with somebody else’s.
Nonetheless, notice the door. THERE IS NO KNOB! Why doesn’t Jesus just help himself inside? For obvious starters, because he can’t. We need to take the first steps to allowing God into our lives. Yes he created us, [in His own image thank you], but we were also born of sin and therefore need to become born-again into the spiritual beings He’s called us to be (John 3:3). You see, God will use all situations for good and to His glory, but it does no good if he forced you into anything. He needs YOU to trust Him. To make the conscious heart change. How great is your love when one of your children makes the right choice? Aren’t you proud? Comforted knowing they reasoned well? How great will be His glory when YOU make the decision to trust him.
Secondly, he wouldn’t want to unless the person on the other side of that door (that’s me and you) opens it to him. Our hearts, the doors, must be opened for Him to “make his home” (Eph. 3:17). Jesus would never force himself onto anybody. It’s not his nature, for he is patient, loving, kind, gentle… (Gal. 5:22-23) The Royal Law is LOVE. Love does not push it’s way into anything or on to anybody.
The next time you are wondering, “Where are you God?” “Why do I feel so alone?!” remember the door. Have you let him in?