Planting Seeds… J.R. Miller

 

All our thoughts, words, and acts are seeds. They have in them a quality which makes them grow where they fall, reproducing themselves. This is true of the good we do. The mother’s teachings enter the mind and heart of her child as mere germs; but they reappear in the life of the son or daughter, in later years, in strength and beauty, in nobleness of character, and in usefulness of life. Not only is this strange power in the mother’s words; her acts, her habits, her tones of voice, the influences that go forth from her life, are also seeds, having in them a vital principle. Where they lodge, they grow.

You never can lose your mother. She may die, and her body may be borne out of your sight, and laid away in God’s acre. You will see her face and hear her voice no more; no more will her hand scatter the good seeds of truth and love upon your life’s garden. But you have not lost her. Your mind and heart are full of the seeds which fell from her hand along the years. These you never can lose. No hand of death can root them out of your life. They have grown into the very tissues of your character. They reappear in your habits, your dispositions, your feelings and opinions, your modes of thought, your very phrases and forms of speech. You never can lose your mother; the threads of her life are woven inextricably into your life.

~J.R. Miller

The Seeds We Scatter

Through Jesus

 

You know, sometimes we just don’t feel like praising God.  The drain’s clogged, your kid has poison ivy, a black snake is eating your chickens’ eggs, what you plant doesn’t grow, the kids track dirt or whatever in, the car won’t start, the air conditioner is broken, it can be any number of things.  There’s always going to be something, isn’t there?  It’s just one thing after another.  Ever wonder why? 

We truly have had a rough time for the last few years.  BUT GOD has brought us through every single trial.  In fact, He has shown himself so faithful, I just don’t get as upset or angry or worried as I used to.  I know that most of the things I worry about are out of my control.   They are totally in God’s control.  He WILL take care of the problems one way or another.  My job is to pray and let Him be in control. 

So we pray, we give it all back to him to carry, and we praise the Lord even when we don’t feel like it through Jesus!

 

 

Is This Blessing Realistic?

“May God be with you and bless you,
May you see your children’s children,
May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness
From this day forward.”

This is a traditional Irish blessing. It’s a wonderful thought and wish.   We most emphatically want God to be with us and the ones we would bless.  We most emphatically want God to bless those we would bless.  In fact, we most emphatically want God to fulfill all of this for those we would bless.  Is it realistic though?  Is it really the way God works?  I think not, at least not all of it all of the time.

Sometimes I think that we try to boss God around.  After all, how could He know what’s best for us?  We’ve got it all figured out in our minds.  We know how life should be.  It should definitely include for richer, in health, and living long.  Pain should be minimal or non-existent.  We shouldn’t know unemployment, bills we cannot pay, friends or spouses that betray us, children that rebell, mice in the house, ants, clogged sinks, cars that won’t start, lost library books, and all such things.  We would have lots of friends; we would be beautiful and thin; our hair wouldn’t go gray; we would always have money in our pocketbooks; life would be perfect, or would it?

What need would we have for our Creator God?  Would we even acknowledge Him let alone worship Him?  Would we not be setting our own lives up as idols?  Would we not worship self?  Would we grow in grace, mercy, or compassion for others if life were perfect in our own eyes? 

What if our lives are perfect right now?  Not that everything in them is perfect, but what if God is perfectly working in our lives through our circumstances and through other people in our lives to bring us closer to Him?  What if losing the job and not finding another is really a way of drawing us to Him?  What if the arthritis, the heart attack, the pain or the cancer are ways to draw us to Him?   After all, where else can we really go for help?  Do I think that God is causing all of this?  No.  I do think that God allows things to happen that will cause each of us to seek him with diligently with heart, mind and strength. 

That’s what’s been happening with me the last few months.  Lowell’s long-term unemployment and under-employment, our inability to pay bills, my pneumonia, and some other problems in our life have absolutely driven me to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  I am reading the Word almost compulsively.  I must read it daily.  I want to read it often.  I am not really interested in reading anything else.  This from a woman who reads fifty or more books a year.  This year I’ve finished two, I think.  God is changing me.  He’s changing the way I think.  He’s changing how I view my salvation and my Jesus.  It’s all good.  I’m finally beginning to really believe “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28 and “I can do everything through him who gives me strength”.   Philippians 4:13.   

Bad circumstances bring us closer to our good God.  Run to Him.  He is our strong tower in times of trouble.  It’s not that He will do all we ask; but, if we give ourselves totally to Him, He will help us to pray truthfully, Thy Will Be Done.

Growing in Grace and Trust,

Laura

An Unusual Topic for Me…

It all began in Genesis. 

Of course, it did!  I was just going to read a chapter or two ahead of our Pastor who was and is teaching in Genesis.  Then, I thought, maybe just a few more chapters.  The next thing I knew, I wanted to read more and more.  I even read through the Books of the Law and all the books right up to my current chapter, 2 Chronicles 9.  Periodically, as I was reading, I came across a word that I didn’t understand.  It was concubine.  I kind of got the gist of what it was and didn’t have a dictionary handy; so, I would just read on.  Well, today, I looked at the on-line version of Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. 

Here’s the definition as copied from the on-line version at www.1828-dictionary.com

concubine

 n. [L., to lie together, to lie down.]

1. A woman who cohabits with a man, without the authority of a legal marriage; a woman kept for lewd purposes; a kept mistress.            2. A wife of inferior condition; a lawful wife, but not united to the man by the usual ceremonies, and of inferior condition. Such were Hagar and Keturah, the concubines of Abraham; and such concubines were allowed by the Roman laws. 

Wow, I thought it was some old testament thing that didn’t happen anymore.  I have known many concubines!  I wonder what they would say if they knew that they fit the definition?   If they were called by the title concubine?  Think of how common it has become for men and women to live together, to cohabitate before marriage.  In some circles, it’s even approved and encouraged.  God forbid!  In fact, God has forbidden it! 

In the beginning, there was Adam.  God saw that it was not good that he be alone.  God made one woman to be his wife, Eve.  Eve and no others!  That’s God’s perfect plan. 

Many women have fallen into the trap of living together or doing other things prior to marriage that ought not to be done.  Perhaps they realize that they have sinned and are perhaps still sinning.  It’s not too late!  God is a god of forgiveness.  That forgiveness and new beginning comes through shedding of blood.  Jesus Christ, God’s one and only Son, shed his blood on a cross to pay for our sins. 

Jesus Christ shed his blood so that we can approach God as righteous.  That happens when we repent of our sins.  We are truly sorry and promise not to do it again.  We also have to trust in Jesus as our Savior. 

1 John 1:9 states, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 

My friend, perhaps you have fallen into this type of sin at some point in your life.  You can be cleansed.  You can be forgiven.  You can.  Do it now.  Then, trust it to be under the Blood of Jesus and go and sin no more. 

Just something to think about….

Laura

Doing It at Wal-Mart

Don’t be afraid.  What can happen?  So what if you get caught?  Do you think anyone will be shocked?  Maybe.  But you know, I’m sure He shocked quite a lot of folks Himself. 

A couple of nights ago, I was walking through Wal-Mart with my friend Ellen.  We saw a friend and stopped to talk.  She was rather unsettled because she’d just learned that her husband was going on a business trip out of the country the next morning.  Very short notice.  We talked and encouraged.  Then, right there in front of God and everyone, I did it!  I prayed!  No one panicked.  God heard and my friend was blessed and encouraged.  

A little while later, we were passing the electronics department.  I overheard a lady telling her co-worker that her foot was really hurting.  I walked on by; then, I stopped.   It was clear that she needed prayer.  Was I going to obey God and pray with her?  The Holy Spirit gave me the boldness to turn around and ask her, “May I pray with you?”  She eagerly said yes and told me the problem.  I prayed with her right then and there aloud.  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.  Faith also comes by hearing someone pray for you in in faith.  I hope that faith was imparted to this lady as well as healing power from God through Jesus Christ.

If we don’t start doing things like this now, how will we have the courage to do them when things get tougher for Christians?

Just Something to Think About…

Laura

Verdict Changed

Israel had been going their own way for awhile.  The Philistines had captured the Ark of the Covenant and had recently returned it to the Israelites.  Interesting story there…boils sores and misery, read about it in I Samuel 5 and 6.  Seems no one wanted to keep it because it brought trouble to the Philistines no matter which town it went to.  The Philistines sent it back and it was kept at Abinadab’s house and his son Eleazar was consecrated to guard the Ark.

Fast forward to chapter 7.  Twenty years later, the people of Israel mourned and sought after the Lord.  That is when Samuel sacrificed and sought the Lord for the people. 

“And Samuel said to the whole house of Israel, ‘If you are returning to the Lord with all your hearts, then rid yourselves of the foreign gods and the Ashtoreths and commit yourselves to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.'”

Samuel did, they did, and the Lord did.  Of course, not much later, the Israelites were falling away from the Lord’s will again.  Much like you and me.

What struck me about this story, as I read it this morning, was it’s application to us, His people today.  I found myself asking myself if I truly am seeking God with my whole heart.  Am I committed to the Lord and serving Him only?  Sadly, I can think of times even today when I not only was acting in the flesh but justifying myself as well.  It’s that old pointing the finger thing that started with Adam and Eve.  Does it justify my sinful feelings and thoughts?  No.  Alas, I’m not judged by how someone else is treating me but by how I respond.  Today, the verdict is guilty

Thankfully, I’ve got someone else who served my sentence before I even committed the sin, before I was born.  His name is Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah that Jewish people looked forward to for so many years.  Because of Jesus, I now have a new verdict– not guiltyHe took my guilt and was crucified and resurrected.  He paid the price for me.  I only need look to Him and faith and believe.  I need to return and commit, repeatedly if need be.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.  If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”  1 John 1:8-10

I think I need to spend a bit of time in prayer now.  What about you?

Laura

Thankful for the Sacrifice that Changed my Verdict

Lower Incomes and Loss of Employment

Many of the writers of the blogs I’ve been reading as well as many of my readers are facing uncertain times.  Many are facing lower incomes or loss of employment.  It is frightening.  We ladies like our security.  We like our comforts, whatever they may be.  We like knowing that the bills will be paid, that we can buy groceries, shoes for the kids, whatever we need, and a few extras. 

Over the last five years my husband went from $60 K job to now working part-time for less than $300 a week.  He’s looking for full-time work and has been for months.  Our reality has changed dramatically.  Life doesn’t look like I thought it would or even like I’d like it to; but, I’m getting so much closer to God through this.   God has provided in amazing ways.  We were able to move to a caretaker’s cottage and take care of a country estate four the absentee owner in return for rent.  Money has come from unexpected sources with perfect timing.  Just yesterday I was thinking of some things that our children need.  I have no way of providing those things.  Today, an envelope arrived with no return address.  It was filled with cash.  Yes, cash.  There was an envelope with the children’s names and an envelope with Lowell and Laura on it.  Praise God!  We can buy wood so we can keep warm!  The children need shoes.  We can buy them!  Praise God!  God is so faithful to take care of us.  God bless the sender, who obviously sent it in faith.

My point in sharing this is that you can survive.  You’ll have to learn some new skills, learn to be content, learn to make do; but, you can do this.  You have to lean into God and get that Word hidden in your heart.  Talk to Him.  He is great at showing you every bargain if you talk to Him all the way through the store and ask Him to show them to you.  God bless you through this!
I’ve written a lot about what God’s done over the last couple of years.  Although I write on WordPress now, I have a list of my best writings on the top of my old blog, http://harvestlanecottage.blogspot.com .  You might take a look.

Blessings upon blessings to you!

Laura