Weeds and Seeds

The Old Farmer’s Almanac email that PR31 received last week said it’s time to start planting veggies outside where we live. Now some would consider us “Coca-Cola Cowboy” type country folk, but we kind of feel like we’re farmers because live on four acres in a wooded… we are now raising chickens… and we have a garden plot that is about 25′ by 25′.

Now, you may think the almanac is a joke, and that there are more scientific methods, but if the almanac says it, that’s good enough for us. So, this week we got out the tiller, hoes and rakes, and we got dirty.

The ground had laid fallow since last year’s summer garden. Grass and weeds had crept in and hidden our beautiful soil. But the boys and I were determined to fix that. We did the initial tilling and pulling to get the ground turned over. Surprisingly, it was in great shape and didn’t require as much work as we expected. We will go back, pull more turned over grass and weeds out. Then we will till in some fertilizer to prep the ground. Rows will be mounded, pathways left to be able to navigate the future garden. Shortly thereafter, seeds will go in that beautiful black and brown plot. And we will wait.

That garden isn’t a whole lot different from our lives. Left alone for almost any length of time, weeds of stress… fear… doubt… and worry can creep across our hearts and minds, sucking the nutrients of joy and peace right out of us. If that has happened to you, it’s time to pull the weeds. Take some time for introspection… spend some time in God’s Word and talking with Him. See which priorities have gotten out of whack, or which disciplines have been allowed to slack. Put the guards back up. Keep a rake and hoe handy. Get a shovel if necessary. Just pull those weeds. You can’t grow the good stuff with them in the way.

Then plant seeds of faith in your heart and mind. Find some Scriptures that remind you of who God is and of all the good things He has in store for you. Find a great quote that builds you up. Write them down or print them out. Or do like we do and create a piece of home decor with them on it, then place it somewhere prominent so that you see it every day. Don’t just plant a few seeds either. Plant plenty of seeds of faith in the garden of your heart and mind. Nurture them, and soon they will grow.

As the seeds grow and spring up, the weeds may try to come back, but they will be much easier to spot and much easier to keep pulled. Soon, you will see blooming and productive plants, and memories of that weed-covered plot will fade away.

This is God’s spiritual almanac message to you today… It’s time to pull the weeds and plant the seeds!


Fears, Doubts and Concerns

I picked up an old journal this morning. The house was still quiet. The sun was just rising. It was just me… a great cup of coffee… and the Lord.

The great thing about keeping a journal… especially about spiritual things in your life… is that you can speak to your future self. Or maybe I should say that God can speak to you again with truth that transcends time. As I flipped through the pages, I came across so many moments in my life when the Lord spoke to my heart and mind so clearly. He spoke just what I needed at that moment. And the truths that fit some of those situations fit my current circumstances.

Although I feel at great peace in life at the moment, one of those entries in one of those journals seemed to be a great reminder. In fact, it seemed so good that I felt someone else might also need to be reminded today.

It was short… and simple… yet profound and steadying. It was the voice of my Heavenly Father whispering to my soul. And this is what I sensed Him saying…

I simply have two words for you today to answer all your questions and calm all of your fears/concerns– Trust Me.”

Whatever you’re facing today… whatever you’re going through… no matter how tough the situation may look… Trust God. You can count on Him. I wrote that entry in my journal about 15 years ago. It was true then, and it still is today. That’s because God never changes. He is completely trustworthy.

Got questions today? Trust God. He’s big enough to handle your questions, and He has all the answers.

Concerned about something in your life today? Trust God. He can fix any problem, and He has all the power and resources you might need.

Two words… Trust Me.

For All My Friends Who…

It seems like I have so many friends who are struggling and battling tough situations in life right now. Some have lost a marriage… others a ministry… still others their health. Some long to see a hurt healed… some long to hold their own baby… some long for companionship. And it breaks my heart.

So for all my friends who are suffering and struggling tonight, know this…

1) You are not alone. Jesus said He would never leave us nor forsake us. He is walking through this tough time with you.

2) You will win if you stick with Jesus. He said that we would have trouble in this world, but we should be of good cheer because He has overcome the world. He knows what it takes to come out on top, and He will help you do exactly that.

3) I love you… I am in your corner… and I am praying for those of you who have told me about your situations. I’m not Jesus. I know I don’t have all the answers. I know I can’t fix most of your issues. But I can be your friend. And I can encourage you. And I can let you know that, not only is Jesus with you, I am with you also. My heart aches with yours, and so I am keeping your need in front of the Lord on a regular basis.

Some of this sounds so cheesy and trite. I promise that I don’t mean for it to be that way. I mean it from my heart. And I hope you are encouraged by these reminders!

The Struggle Is Real

I was reminded today that we all seem to want to make everyone else think that we have it all together, that we don’t struggle.

That’s a lie.

We all struggle. We all face challenges. We all wonder… and doubt… and long. Then, because we do, we think we don’t match up to everyone else.

News flash… No one has it all figured out. We’re all doing the best we can.

Yes, even Christians. We may be forgiven, but we are still works in progress as we try to match up to what has been done for us.

So listen, friend, if you’re sitting there wondering if you “missed something in Sunday School” (a phrase I borrowed from a friend recently) because you thought you weren’t supposed to have those thoughts or feelings, I want to welcome you to the club of all humanity. You, my friend, are 100%… certifiably… undeniably… NORMAL!

So relax. And for Pete’s sake, could we please just be real… and authentic… and genuine with each other so that we don’t all going around feeling like failures?

Phew. Thanks. I feel better just getting that off my chest.

P. S.- If someone is vulnerable enough to open up and admit they don’t have it all together, please be kind enough to reciprocate. You might even encourage them while you’re at it. Who knows? They might even encourage you.


I love this quote…

“Long before Zacchaeus couldn’t see Jesus, the tree was planted to meet his need.”

Ficus sycomorus is the scientific name of the type tree Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus according to Luke chapter 19.  That type tree can take from twenty to fifty years to grow to its full maturity.  So it is possible that before Zacchaeus was born, that tree he climbed was planted. It also means that it was possibly planted before Jesus even came to earth as a man.

Here’s the good news we can take away from this for us today…

God already knows what you are going to need long before you’re going to need it. And He comes up with a solution to provide what you’re going to need before you even know to ask Him for it.

So you can relax now.  God has everything under control.  You’ll have what you need when you need it.

From Fear To Fun

When we first got into the pool at my sister’s house this afternoon our youngest son, Austin, did not want to even put his whole face under water.  He certainly wasn’t sure about putting his ears under water.

He has only dunked his entire head under water once before… and that was only for about a second.  It’s been a challenge he has wanted to overcome, but had not yet. In fact, at one point, he told us he just couldn’t do it.

Then today happened.

As we kept encouraging him and giving him opportunities, we could see his desire to go under water completely growing.  We practiced holding breath.  Soon, he had his whole face under.  Then he elevated his game and held his face under water to the count of 15! Then it was over his ears. Next, only the crown of his head was still out of the water.

Suddenly, it was like realization hit him & he understood that he was okay.  As that realization sank in, what he had once feared became fun.  It seemed like it happened in just a moment’s time. He was sitting on the bottom of the shallow end of the pool, completely submerged.  He would pop up out of the water and excited say, “Watch me, Daddy! Look what I can do!” And down he would go again.

Joy replaced fear.  Confidence overcame caution.    It was as if his skills instantly multiplied.  He began swimming under water.  He began twirling under water like one of those Olympic synchronized swimmers.

When we got back to my folks’ house and he was grabbing a snack before bed, Austin looked at me and said, “Daddy, wouldn’t be cool if I could jump off the side of the pool and do two backflips in the air before I went into the water?”

Who is this fish who has replaced my son?! I love to see another fear vanquished in his life so that he can enjoy the abundant life God has for him.

And what about you? What fear is it that has you held captive, preventing you from enjoying that abundant life?  What is whispering in your ear that you can’t overcome it?

Is it the fear that people wouldn’t like you if they knew “the real you?”  Is it the fear that, if you launch that business, it might fail?  Is it the fear that those who see you use your talents may not be impressed?  Is it the fear of trying something new? Or the fear of letting go of something known and comfortable?

God doesn’t create fear or cause fear in us. That’s the work of the enemy of our souls. God gives us the power we need to overcome our challenges and gives us an abundant life to enjoy as we press past those fears.

So, whatever your fears, Austin would be quick to tell you to push past them because it is so much fun on the other side. Now he’s free to enjoy something he didn’t think he was able to before. And you will be, too!  Just hold your breath and go for it!!!

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