Tag Archives: growth

What Does God Desire of Me and You?

God sees all. God created us and knows us intimately

Psalm 15:10

From YouVersion – Psalm 51:10

Today as I read the three passages from the Bible, (I am reading through the Bible in three years) I saw this theme.

God knows us well.

Isaiah 58:1-12

What a powerfully packed lesson. I want to read it again and again.

Today, once again, I see pride as something that God detests. He mentions those who are upset with God when an answer doesn’t come to their liking. He doesn’t like them asking pridefully, “We fasted, and we humbled ourselves, and You didn’t listen or answer.”

But they also complain, ‘Why do we fast and you don’t look our way? Why do we humble ourselves and you don’t even notice?’ “Well, here’s why: “The bottom line on your ‘fast days’ is profit. You drive your employees much too hard. (Isaiah 58:3, MSG)

But God explains that their fasting was a show when in reality they were not acting in God’s way – they exploited others, they quarrelled.

Their fast was for “show”.

And when they humbled themselves they did that in a showy way by lying on sackcloth and ashes.

What does God suggest instead?

Once again it comes back to love God and love your neighbour.

so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ 31 And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.” (Mark 12:30-32, MSG)

God wants us to loose the chains of injustice, untie chords of yoke, and set oppressed free.

Break the chains of abuse

Isaiah 58:6 Loose the chains of injustice

How can we do this?

God gives us the means.

Share food.

Give shelter.

Give clothing.

Those are the basic needs of life. If people don’t have those we need to help.

In Matthew 6:1-6 and 16-21

We are told not to brag about doing things that we feel God wants us to do. For instance, giving is important. But not telling what we give. God knows it anyway. And we are to please Him and not try to be noticed.

The same can be said for fasting. If we fast, we do it in secret too. Secret to the world – but not to God.

And having things we don’t need – storing up stuff here on earth. Instead, we are to look for those things that please God and store up them.

I love the way the Message tells us how to do these things.

“When you practice some appetite-denying discipline to better concentrate on God, don’t make a production out of it. It might turn you into a small-time celebrity but it won’t make you a saint. If you ‘go into training’ inwardly, act normal outwardly. Shampoo and comb your hair, brush your teeth, wash your face.

God doesn’t require attention-getting devices. He won’t overlook what you are doing; he’ll reward you well.

A Life of God-Worship

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or – worse! – stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. (Matthew 6:16-21, MSG) Bolding mine.

Psalm 51:1-17

Confession. This is one spot we forget. I do too. I like the ACTS way of praying because it reminds me that confession is a part of prayer.

Adoration

Confession

Thanksgiving

Supplication (praying for ourselves and others)

This Psalm has the scripture that I memorized. Make a clean heart in me, O Lord.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10, ESV)

What does God desire of me?

A broken spirit (confession)

A broken and contrite heart – seeing what God wants and not what I want.

And it talks about God knowing us – our inner beings, our secrets. 

Because He made us, He knows us. Psalm 139:13-14

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13, NIV)

He wants a humble people. Not a proud people.

What did I learn?

We must see ourselves as God sees us. That means I need to remember to confess, because what I see God sees and what I do, God sees. And I know some of the things He sees in me is not to His liking.

Our hearts have to be softened. I need to think more about others.

Humility is important. So, don’t brag about anything.

And lastly, I want to help others with the basic needs of life.

What can I do?

A few practical things to start.

Go through my closet again and getting rid of clothes I do not wear.

Pray for inspiration of how to help people get their basic needs.

Confess daily those little things that God sees and I ignore.

What will you do?

I would love to hear your decisions. If we work on this together and encourage each other, without bragging, God will see us and be pleased.

May I pray for you and me?

Lord Jesus, thank You for showing us today the way we are to live. Thank You that You see and listen to us. Help us to be humbler and in tune with Your ways. Help us love our neighbours. Help us be aware of opportunities to serve others. In Your name. Amen.

Creative Tuesdays – Amazing How Plants Grow

Creative Tuesdays – Amazing How Plants Growplants squash  copy

This is the challenge this week for Creative Tuesdays.

Do you have a porch, balcony or even just a kitchen windowsill? Chances are then at some point you’ve likely dabbled with growing plants from seed, potting flowers or even gathering herbs and so on — all the fun found in cultivating a CONTAINER GARDEN of your very own. Show us what you’ve done or what you’d like to see.

I looked back at my pictures of my garden at the very beginning. I planted these squash plants from seed directly into the garden. This year I planted my first vegetable garden in 20 years. It is called a square garden.  There is a fence because we live in wild life country. I have hungry deer and rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks and skunks.

Here are some pictures:

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First the seedlings.

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Then building the garden. Fencing came later.

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Now the harvest.

The fruits of my labour – or should I say – vegetables.

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Isn’t that crazy?

From a tiny squash seed comes incredibly large plants and big squash. I find I am in wonder of that. How does that happen. How can all that information for growth be inside that little seed?

I looked up the mustard seed parable in The Message and guess what? it changed to a pine seed. That makes more sense to use in North America.

How can we picture God’s kingdom? What kind of story can we use? It’s like a pine nut. When it lands on the ground it is quite small as seeds go, yet once it is planted it grows into a huge pine tree with thick branches. Eagles nest in it (Matthew 3:30-32, The Message).

So looking at the pine seed, squash seed or mustard seed, we see that from small beginnings can come marvelous, incredible results. Jesus is explaining that His Kingdom will grow like that. It may seem slow to us but little by little people are growing in love, and knowledge of Jesus. It is hard work.

And as I think I realize that  my faith has come from one of the 12 disciples. I think about that. How far back can I trace my faith roots? Who came into my life to help me? Where did they come from? I wonder about these things.

But I also wonder about the amazing power of creation – small seeds – big trees. (tweet this)

Thanks again to Michael at Creative Tues who encourages his group to be creative. Even though I don’t like painting plants I found this whole exercise interesting as I studied the tiny sprouts and thought about they became the big squash plants.

Janis Cox

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Janis is the author of the award winning children’s book, Tadeo Turtle, published by Word Alive Press. Available in Kindle Format, in bookstores, online and from her website. Curriculum available upon request. Janis also is a contributor to Hope Stream Radio. Join her on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

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You can find her on Facebook, and Twitter. Tadeo has his own Facebook Page.

 

 

 

 

 

60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review

60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children – book review60 Promises to Pray Over Your Children

by Roy Lessin (Summerside Press, 2012)

Reviewed by Janet Sketchley

This hard-bound gift book is a great resource for any praying parent. Each prayer is matched with a Scripture verse and a brief inspirational quote, and a green satin ribbon lets you mark your progress through the pages.

Nine sections focus prayers in the areas of blessing, protection, character, community, praise, growth, courage, purpose and knowing God. The prayers are written from a point of view that says “my children” but are easily customizable to “our” and/or “child” … or, for that matter, “grandchild” or “niece/nephew.”

I made a point in each prayer to include my children’s names, and when I reached the end of the book, I began again. The prayers apply to any age of child as well, and again, are customizable. For example, if a reader has a child who’s ignoring the Lord, instead of thanking God for a faith relationship, the reader could thank Him for desiring such a relationship with the child, and pray for the Holy Spirit to draw him/her.

I’ve long been a fan of Roy Lessin’s verse and his devotional website, Meet Me in the Meadow. His words in these carefully-crafted prayers can aid us in regular prayer for the children (of all ages) in our lives.

Amazon link 

[Review copy from my personal library. Amazon link is an affiliate link for The Word Guild.]

Janet Sketchley

Janet Sketchley facebook 180x180

Janet writes about the tenacity of God. Her novel, Heaven’s Prey, releases November 1, 2013 from Choose NOW Publishing. You can find her on her website, Janet Sketchley.

Sunday Stillness – God is behind all things growing

Sunday Stillness – God is behind all things growing

Read: Matthew 7:11

I enjoy reading Oswald Chambers. Sometimes I jot down quotes that make me think. When I look at them again – I think some more.

I jotted this quote down on July 16th. Oswald talked about rules of conduct and how we need to live. Knowing that God is behind everything will awaken us to knowing who is in control.

He [Jesus] urges us to keep our minds filled with the notion of God’s control behind everything, which means that the disciple must maintain an attitude of perfect trust and an eagerness to ask and to seek.

AshTree---oswald-Chambers

From Wikipedia – Tree

Today is Sunday Stillness.

Do you have a Scripture that spoke to you this week? Please link below. If you post to Twitter use #sundaystillness and @authorjaniscox.

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JOIN THE SUNDAY STILLNESS COMMUNITY – 
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Please check out all the places I link to during the week. Thanks to everyone who has joined Sunday Stillness. I do try to get to your posts every week but I admit sometimes I don’t have the time.

Here are my favourite links for Sunday Stillness:

The Sunday Community

Still Saturday

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http://christianmommyblogger.com

The Weekend Brew



SUNDAY STILLNESS – 1 Corinthians 3:7

Sunday Stillness – 1 Corinthians 3:7

1 Corinthians 3:7

 

Daffodils – picture taken early February in Mesa, Arizona.

Reading this passage from 1 Corinthians I am reminded – that just as God makes the plants, and flowers grow – so too He is the one who makes me grow. One may plant and another water BUT it is God who does the growing.

“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.  For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building” (1 Corinthians 3:7-9, NLT).

Looking forward to spring, seeing the new growth and new life all around me and in me.

Today is Sunday Stillness – Do you have a Scripture that spoke to you this week? Please link below. If you post to Twitter use #sundaystillness.

Read the Sunday Stillness rules if you are new here.

I would appreciate if you would link only about God’s Word. If you have a linky party that’s okay if it is about the same thing. Please no sales or prizes. I want this to be friendly but I must ask you to abide by the rules. Others want to read God’s Word – and that is what I would like the links to be about. I will take down the links that don’t follow the rules. Thanks so much.

Comments always appreciated. Linking with Jumping Tandem, and Scripture and a Snapshot.



WHO IS THIS JESUS? – sermon

Who is this Jesus?

“Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The men were amazed and asked, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!” (Matthew 8:23-27 NIV)

Based on a sermon by Harry Morgan

Small fishing Boat

Fishing on the Sea of Galilee?

After Harry set us up in the Sea of Galilee by showing us pictures of the sea, the men in a small fishing boat and showing us how that sea is about the size of Lake Simcoe, I could feel the tension of the disciples in the small boat while they were in that storm.

The storm on the Sea of Galilee

“Lord, save us. We are going to drown.”

One day my husband and I went out on Lake Simcoe in our motorboat, after coming down the quiet, serene Trent canal. We entered the lake only to find that the winds and the waves were vicious. Not being a great sea person I wanted to turn back to the calm of the canal.

Not my hubby – he set out full speed when he saw a large yacht heading across. We caught up to that boat and spent the next couple of hours following in their wake while they headed across Lake Simcoe. Believe me … I prayed. But I did stay calm.  Not calm enough to take a picture, though.

The calm of the canal

The calm before the storm.

We had life jackets available and we had Jesus. The disciples had no life jackets and were not sure of the power of Jesus.

The disciples said, “Lord, save us. We are going to drown.” They called out to him but were unsure what He could do.

Jesus calmed the winds and the waves.

That day the disciples grew in their faith. They concluded, “What kind of man is this? Even the winds and the waves obey him!”

We can use this story as a parallel to our lives. The Lord allows storms to happen so we can grow in our faith. We face a variety of storms and they do happen without warning.

Personal storms of sickness, heartache, family problems, financial stresses, depression and jobs – all of these can bring stormy emotions.

Our society itself is in turmoil – the markets unsettled; the European countries challenged; the United States still suffering from the housing and debt crisis.

And even Christ’s church is facing a storm – there is a societal shift away from “church”. Back in the 60s people asked why we were not in church? Now they ask why we go to church?

Does that mean we give up? No – we press on. We do all that we can do and leave the rest to God.

Let’s marvel at how Christ can calm the winds and the waves – how we can find peace when we trust in Him.

You might also like Trust and Calm in the Midst of a Storm.

Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.