Storm Watch!

“And He arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.” Mark 4:37 KJV  

Trials and tribulations come with life, that’s just part of living.  Various circumstances, disappointments and downright disasters can move in on us when we least expect it. Like a weather front that quickly blows in, life’s surprises can knock us off-balance.

We find the strength to get up and get through when we have faith in Who lies beyond our grey skies.

Our Son can dry up the rains. Our Son can displace the fog. He breaks through our clouds and illuminates the dark.

When it looks like our trials are never-ending, our Son is ever-present!

And just as our God is always there, our storms won’t always remain. Storm systems move. They can not last for very long. Even those that loom on the horizon aren’t always what they seem.

Predicted rain may fail to fall. Potential storms become false alarms. Inclement weather may fizzle without warning.

When we trust in Him, dark clouds don’t steal our peace and joy. 

With God, we can not only weather our storms but grow because of them.



Weed Control!

Weeds come in endless varieties and thrive in the most extreme conditions. How is it that weeds grow with little effort when what I actually plant takes forever to grow?

Jesus illustrated a great parable in chapter thirteen in the book of Matthew. This story is about a farmer whose enemy sowed tares (weeds) among his wheat. The servants came to him and asked if they should pull up the weeds. Instead of the master saying “yes” to the servant’s request, the master says, “No, let them stay where they are.”

The servants were instructed not to gather up the weeds lest the wheat seed be uprooted with the tares. The master allowed wheat and weeds to grow together until the time of the harvest, at which time the good wheat would be separated from the weeds.

We often derail our ability to produce a good harvest because we give far too much attention to our weeds.

How many times do we uproot or abandon potential harvests because we give “weeds” our attention leaving what we “planted” to fend for itself?   DSC_9420 (2)

Our personal weeds are often distractions. We should follow Christ’s example and put our emphasis on what we are trying to grow instead of what we are trying to kill.

Often when you strive to reach a goal that will bear good fruit, you come up against obstacles that appear out of nowhere. Have you ever had to defer your own betterment because of sudden demands of family members? Have you allowed the desire for new employment or education to die because situations” come up?

The closer you are to reaping a harvest, the more tares you will find in your “garden.” As the potential harvest grows, so do the weeds. We must be wise and recognize when we should leave certain distractions alone! Sometimes, we just have to learn to work around them.   DSC_9461 (2)

This may be a different approach to tending your “garden” but this may also give you a different result!

Your weeds may be irritating, but they don’t have to be deadly. Don’t allow a few weeds to kill your dreams!


Getting Through to Get To…

Moses led the Israelites through the Red Sea before they were free from Egypt. Joshua led the same people through the wilderness before they saw the Promised Land. Jesus endured the crucifixion before He would then take His seat at the right hand of God the Father. Life requires that we go through to get to!

Everyone has trials and tribulations, each of us our own cross to bear. Sometimes we feel so overwhelmed that our issues loom larger in our minds than they should. This skewed perspective often diminishes our hope for the future. To maintain faith, patience and perseverance we must realize the journey is just as important as the destination.

Enduring the miles builds strength and stamina for the runner. It is the burn of the muscles and the strain on the lungs that makes the body stronger than before.

We so often focus on obtaining our goals that we dismiss the necessity of the journey required to meet them.  We are increasingly persuaded by today’s media to expect what we want when we want it.

God’s best just doesn’t happen that way.

The bigger the blessing, the more it is going to take to realize it. You must gain more training, experience and knowledge in preparation for God’s best for you. Surely God can give us our blessings immediately without all our effort, but very few of us are mature enough to properly receive and appreciate them without first going through what is necessary to bring them to pass.

Patience perfects us. Trials mature us. We get stronger when we go through the fire. Only by enduring the fires of life can God burn out the impurities that lie within us.

Sometimes the heat is overwhelming, and we feel we can’t go on but God’s faithfulness lifts our fatigue. His hand heals when life beats us down. Our hope for tomorrow comes when we seek His face. True success comes when we dare to keep going not in our own ability but through faith in His.

Trials will surely come and we may stumble, fall, and even find ourselves crawling on hands and knees. Just keep moving.

Whatever you are facing is only temporaryGod’s love for you is forever.

“Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls,” Hebrews 12: 2-3 NKJV

Faded Flowers

“Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength faileth.” Psalms 71:9 KJV

As I was looking at the remnants of my hydrangeas, one in particular caught my eye. The flower was no longer the fresh sweet pink it had been upon blooming many weeks ago. Instead, it was faded and speckled but still it had a beauty all its own.

It made me reflect on how many times we casually toss things aside or fail to appreciate people after the “newness” has worn off. The joy and excitement of new love at its onset often fades as years wear on and relationships weather everyday routines and obligations.

We often don’t appreciate things and people in their “less than new state,” failing to recognize a different beauty that has changed from what was to what it is now. How is it that the blessings we ask God for and receive, we so can easily make the last of our priorities or quickly dismiss in search for the next new “thrill?”

The excitement of parenting quickly gives way to the responsibility and time required to do the job properly.  Friendships are often neglected when the fun times are few and far between. When the butterflies of new-found love are long gone, can you appreciate the great qualities, faithfulness and reliability of your significant other?

Relationships are never perfect as they are composed of imperfect people, but often our flawed (not destructive!) relationships are more satisfying than having none at all. Too many times we stare at the flaws instead of being in awe of the perfect people for us that God has allowed in our lives.  DSC_0022

I challenge you today to look at the people and relationships in your life with a fresh perspective. Even though things and people may not be what they once were, they may still be beautiful in new and different ways.

Appreciate the home you have as if you’d once been homeless. Appreciate the people in your life as if you almost lost them. Make a deliberate choice to appreciate the blessings you have now instead of looking back on what once was or even what can be…

View that same old job with a gratitude that it’s still there! Look at the house in need of repair not with disdain but as a place you really can call home. Your kids may not be perfect (and who is) but at least you’ve gotten them this far!

Like a car when the new shine wears off, dependability should be celebrated instead of longing for that new car smell. Love the people and things in your life for getting you where you need to go, coming along for the ride, or for simply being available and being there.  Why wait until a time of loss to appreciate what you have right now?

New isn’t always better. There is more to be said for faithfulness, dependability, and long-lasting love than for the glitz and glamour of the latest and greatest whoever and whatever!

Contentment doesn’t necessarily breed complacency; it can instead allow you peace and joy for where you are now, your personal journey and the people and things you’ve been blessed with along the way.

Family, friends, good books, and wine. Some things are better with the passage of time.

“To every [thing there is] a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” Ecclesiastes 3:1 KJV

Abide in The Light

“Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.

He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.

But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.”  1 John 2: 8-11 NKJV

He Makes All Things New…

“Therefore, if anyone [is] in Christ, [he is] a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new,” 2 Corinthians 5:17 NKJV

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 NKJV

 There are times in life when we can all use something new. The trials of life can leave us thirsty for the renewing Spirit of God to come upon us, change us and often deliver us even from ourselves.

There is a tendency for regret, old ideas and misconceptions to prevent us for seeing with spiritual eyes the new things that God would do with us and often through us in what we usually perceive as ordinary and mundane lives. Sometimes we are so busy reminiscing about what was, we blind ourselves to the potential of what can be.

Thankfully, God can replace our old opinions, biases and lingering doubts with inspiration and revelation. The seed of a dream we may have forgotten or deliberately buried, God can resurrect into something beautiful.  new buds

Often the key to receiving the transformation we desire is a willingness to change. God can do the impossible with us, yet often that first step toward a new beginning is recognizing when what once worked, no longer works! We often linger in dead religious acts that are void of His presence or even dead relationships when the anointing of God has long moved on.

The birth of a “new you” usually requires death to the very things that hold you back. Bad habits, wrong mindsets and negative influences allow us to remain comfortably where we are instead of moving forward with God.

Receiving a new heart and a new spirit requires that we bury those things that harden our hearts. Fear, regret and anger are a few things that keep us from experiencing God’s best. It’s not that we earn our blessings but we most certainly can block them with our very thoughts and deeds.

A hard heart is rarely kind. A bitter or envious spirit seeks to take, not give to others. We all have qualities that we could do without, things we need to improve and remove. What we are unable to accomplish in our own strength, Christ is more than able!

Just as putting on new clothes gives many people a renewed sense of self by changing the outward appearance, God can do so much more on the inside which enables us to make a real difference in our daily interactions with other people.

Seeking God’s Word and His wisdom changes us on the inside and outside. This not only blesses us, but prepares us to bless other people.  DSC_9938 (2)

If you are seeking a change in your life, feel “stuck” where you are or your faith has faded, try God!

Renew your relationship with Him.  He will reveal more of Himself to you. He will also reveal more of you to you! Seeking God’s Word and His wisdom allows us to find our true selves.

It’s not what we see in the mirror. It is not what others say about us. The titles we may hold, jobs we do, accolades and accomplishments eventually fade away. But with God, we can continually die to our old selves and be transformed into the people He created us to be.

And what could be better than that?

“and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4 23-24 NKJV

Goal Oriented!

“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 

I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you.” Philippians 3 13-15 NKJV

Everything Has a Purpose!

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to [His] purpose,” Romans 8:28 NKJV

I was walking toward the front of my house this morning when this visitor caught me by surprise. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t doubt there are snakes around my house. They are pretty common here in Georgia. However, I don’t usually see one lying about so casually in the middle of the day all out in the open. Where is a hawk when you need one!

My oldest son came downstairs as I was going to get a can of hornet spray (crazy, I know) and try to kill it shoo it away. Cam wants to become a vet so his first response was “let me see it!” So we stepped outside the front door and sure enough the snake is still there. It had not moved. One inch.

As I’m clinging to the can of Raid, Cam looks at me and says, “You shouldn’t kill it. They eat rats. Don’t kill it just to kill it.”

I’m proud of him yet annoyed that of all the things I’ve taught him, he chooses to remember that one tidbit as I’m thinking to myself where is that shovel?

We look a bit closer and the snake apparently has just swallowed something.

This black racer or king snake or whatever it is reminded me that the things we often like the least in life serve a valuable purpose. Some of the very hardships we would choose to do without teach us the most. It is often the painful, ugly and difficult experiences that make us better people.

For some of us it takes an illness to find out how strong we really are. Disappointment teaches us humility. Compassion is often a byproduct of pain. God often allows the “ugly” people and circumstances in our lives to bring about a better outcome. We just have to look and think beyond what we see to how God can use it.  DSC_9534 (2)

Some people now working in their “dream jobs” never would if they hadn’t  first gotten fired elsewhere. Our enemies can often push us toward our Savior and His blessings when nothing else will do it! Sometimes the very things in life that seem to push us down actually propel us forward.

Then there are other times when a frustrating inconvenience later turns out to be life-saver. The flat tire you discover before work spares you from a fatal accident. Running late because of your kids keeps you out of harm’s way. The car that was sold out from under you later turns out to be a “lemon.”

We don’t always have to understand how or why? Trusting God is enough.

Sometimes the best route is not the most direct route. Our God knows what we need and when to get us where He wants us to go. His provision in Biblical times was often unconventional and miraculous. It is no less so, today.

So, if you are plagued with doubts or a situation looks hopeless, turn to God and trust Him. God can do the impossible!

He’s just going to do it His way.

This Memorial Day…


As we celebrate a long Memorial Day Weekend here in the States, let us be mindful of those whose sacrifices allow us the freedoms we have today. Take time to remember those who serve, have served and especially those who gave their lives that we may enjoy the blessings we so often take for granted.

“The memory of the righteous [is] blessed,” Proverbs 10:7  NKJV