Legacies

Legacies

by Renee Schultz

April 3, 2017©

So far, this week has begun with so much reflection.  There is quietness, at times even silence.

There’s always going to be a level of sadness for those who have loved ones who’ve gone on to Heaven before us.  There’s always going to be a longing for the things they brought to our lives.  We miss the times we laughed, cried, and fought through together.  We miss the pleasure of their successes, and the successes we enjoyed with their help.

We know we will see them again, that is our promise and our hope.  But it doesn’t make the waiting any easier (sometimes)–unless we find ways to honor them, and carry on in a way that brings integrity to what they’ve sown into us.  This week, I might find myself in some moments that are emotional.  I might find myself laughing, or crying, or just being quiet.  If you are out there having the same kind of week I am having, then in those moments, know that I am praying for YOU as I walk it out.  But also know that I treasure YOUR prayers for me as well.  Let us find hope, encouragement, strength, and peace in each moment, knowing that nothing, no one we have gained or lost in this life is without purpose in the Hands of our Father God.  Always remember:

“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow”
~James 1:17

Remember that these loved ones were gifts in our lives, meant to bless, teach, and bring us to the life God chose for us.  Submit every moment, every thought, and every emotion.  He knows and has experienced them all so we could find comfort, assurance, and yes, even joy as we press on and continue in the time we still have, to leave an impression on those who will follow US.

What will you leave with them?

#legacy
#seedsoftreasure
#Jesusismine

Seeds of Christmas

Seeds of Christmas

by Renee Schultz

December 22, 2016©

The enemy knows his time is short, and wants to destroy God’s people. This is why Christians need to find their strength IN HIM… not their own ability. My fb feed has been splattered with posts of so many who are hurting and struggling. I’ve had to sometimes (seemingly) helplessly watch my biological, spiritual–and yes! Even my fb family, endure such overwhelming hardship and trial. We’ve ALL been there. My heart is sometimes so heavy for them. But we STILL all have choices. We can pray.  We can show love. Some of us can even provide monitory or physical help.

We’re all facing something, and God wants us to be strengthened and to grow, both in and from these trials. He wants us to be victorious in life! He created us to SUCCED! We need to learn this and pursue it, because in the earth, it’s NOT going to get better.

I sense a lot of people, even those who have identified themselves as Christians for a long time, have grown weary from the things of life. Maybe they have forgotten that no matter how big or small, we all have something to offer, and an assignment to fulfill. This is supposed to be a time when the Love and The GOOD NEWS of God is shed abroad from and into the hearts of men.

 

Life and death happens. There IS sadness around us. Jesus told us there would be. But THIS is the time of year for US, Especially BELIEVERS that represents the HOPE and the answer to ALL fear, ALL sadness–All Adversity we can EVER face as humanity. We were CALLED to be the Light. We were created in God’s image, and we were given NEW HOPE when He sent His Only Son to us in human form, yet being Perfectly God. He deserves to be represented by those He came for!

 

How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, Ant says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”  ~Isaiah 52:7 NASB

 

#betheLight

#Jesusismine

Finding Happiness (The Perfect Gift)

Finding Happiness (The Perfect Gift)

by Renee Schultz

December 14, 2016©

Being happy does not come from people or what they can do for us.  Though people can do nice things for us and it makes us FEEL happy, we can’t gauge our happiness on just that.  Sometimes we have to find happiness by CHOICE.  Happiness doesn’t come from material things or even from relationships.  If it did, divorce wouldn’t happen to wealthy people who seemingly have everything!

Happiness is something that takes work, because it requires putting others first.  It requires taking responsibility for those who depend on us.  It’s taking responsibility for our OWN shortcomings, and making changes in order to be a better person.  It requires grace and forgiveness.  It requires loving anyway, with persistence.   Yes, it’s a two way street…but if we ALL did it; we would not have to waste our time blaming others for our UN-happiness.

What?  You say this is impossible?  Well, here’s how it works… Happiness is just a by-product of what we REALLY need.  In order to be a “happy” person, we need to be “JOYFUL”.  Joy happens when we seek the Kingdom of God!  Yes, when we SEEK it…because the Kingdom of God isn’t lost!  It’s always been there, and it’s FREE!  But, we have to look for it.  God’s Word says that the Kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and JOY in the Holy Spirit.  He also tells us that when we seek FIRST the Kingdom of God, ALL else will be added to us!  The Kingdom of God is choosing to do things GOD’S way.  We can’t do what God does on our own.  In order to do that, we need His help.  We accomplish it by having a relationship with HIM, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  We won’t find “happiness”, until we enter into that ONE relationship that can change EVERYTHING!

Jesus tells us that we will have trials while living in this world, but not to fear because He overcame the world (trials) by His suffering, death, and resurrection.  He tells us that the enemy (the devil) comes to only to steal, kill and destroy!  But HE came to us as a man AND as God, so we could have life–and have it ABUNDANTLY!  He WANTS us to be blessed, healthy, and yes… HAPPY!

God created us because He desired our fellowship.  He created us for relationship, for Love, and to help one another.  He created us ON purpose, WITH purpose!  When we realize our need for HIM, and accept The Gift He sent in Jesus Christ, we find that relationship.  We finally fill that place in our heart that sent us out seeking that “happiness” that seemed so hard to find.

Do you want to be happy?  You can!  You will, once you look in the right place!  God has EVERY answer to your pursuit of happiness.  He gave us His Word.  He gave us Jesus, and HE is the Gift that will end our search!  He will give you righteousness.  He will fill your heart with peace, and that will bring you Joy!  Once you have Joy, you will always find happiness! It will always come from within you!

If you’ve been blessed by this blog, feel free to share with someone!  If you find yourself wondering how to have the Joy spoken of here, this is the right time for you to experience it!  It comes from simply inviting Jesus Christ into your life.  If you ask Him, He will show you the way.  Trust Him today.  Call on Him, and then watch and see how your life will be changed forever!  It’s the best decision you will ever make!  He truly is the PERFECT GIFT!

 
“For a child will be born to us, A Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His Name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”  ~Isaiah 9:6

 
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

#seedsoftreasure

#Jesusismine

Following the Heart of God in Loss

Following the Heart of God in Loss

by Renee Schultz

December 1, 2016©

 

I’m sharing some thoughts, because someone else may need to ponder on them, too…

It’s been a long while since I’ve posted here in my blog.  So much has taken place over the last few months, and I have found myself challenged, overwhelmed, and stretched as I continue to persist in maintaining that in everything, God has my best interest at heart.  With that said, these are my thoughts:

I read something today that placed a big read check on my heart.  As I was reading, I was reminded how often, when taken at face value, something can seem so profound yet, when we give it more thought, we see how easily our hearts can be deceived!

The text said, “Not everyone in your life deserves to know the REAL you” 

As I read these words, I thought, NO!  We should never be anything but who we are.  God would have us be wise in whom we share with, yes; but we should always be true to ourselves, and to whom He made us.  Others may not be able to accept who we are, but that’s when we have to ask God if they should continue to be a part of our lives, or not.  Everyone we meet is there for a purpose, if we walk with and trust God, but sometimes they’re only there for a season.  Not everyone will understand our calling, and not everyone will be willing to go the distance with us, and that’s ok.  We have to be so careful not to acquire a victim mentality over someone leaving our lives, or someone who discovers their OWN calling that takes them in another direction.  Everyone deserves to know us, as we REALLY are, because we also have a purpose for being a part of THEIR lives, and we may never know that purpose until we stand before God!  The Bible says that there will be treasure in Heaven, and what we do here determines what treasure we store up!

Next, the text said, “Believe what your heart tells you, and don’t be afraid to do what makes you happy.”

 According to the Word of God, we are told to guard our hearts, as out of it flow the issues of life.  As humans, our hearts can easily be affected by the experiences we face, to the point where we are convinced into despair and hopelessness.  That is why we should never allow our hearts to lead us, but rather we should lead our hearts according to Truth.  We can only do this with the help of God, and ONLY after we have CHOSEN to allow what HE says to abide in our hearts.  If we allow our hearts to lead us, the choices we make will not always be for our good, or even the good of others.  It’s a dangerous thing to trust a broken heart, if we haven’t submitted that brokenness to God!  He is the only one who can take our experiences, good AND bad, and turn them into something that eventually brings us blessing, and ultimately brings HIM glory!

Today, I would encourage you to remember this:

In our lives, people will come and go.  They will prove to be lasting friends who stand by us and stand UP for us.  There will also be those who will have their own ulterior motives and agenda.  We should always be led by God in the circles we travel.  We should always surround ourselves with others who are “like minded”, morally and spiritually, those who will motivate us to move forward in our gifts and calling, and also those WE would motivate as well.  The Word of God says that “iron sharpens iron” (Proverbs 27:17).  God wants us to encourage others, and the only way we can lead others to Truth, is to be honest and true to whom we are…who HE created us to be!

We should never be afraid to allow others to see who we are, because we never know what they have gone through, what they are struggling with, and how God will use US, when we allow Him, to bless them through to the next level He has for them!

I hope this blesses someone to trust Him today, to heal their heart and encourages them to call on Him in their need.  His love can reach the darkest of hearts!

 

“This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope.  The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  There are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.”

                       ~Lamentations 3:21-23

 

 

 #Hisloveenduresforever

#seedsoftreasure

#Jesusismine

Shine Your Way Through

Shine Your Way Through

by Reneé Schultz

September 17, 2016 ©

 

God wants us to be a living example of Him, whether in triumph, trial or tragedy.  Being an example of Him isn’t just about what comes out of our mouths, but also what we do in each moment.  We never know just who is taking inventory of our response to life, but be assured, people WILL notice.  When life is “good”, it’s easy to rejoice.  It’s easy to celebrate, and share our happiness with others.  But what about when life takes a turn we weren’t expecting, or more importantly, a turn we just didn’t prepare for?

One thing I’ve noticed is that life keeps going on around us, whether we are in good times, or tragedy.  But when tragedy hits our lives, it’s easy to feel alone.  We see others, and find ourselves wondering if anyone else is facing trials as we are.  Sometimes we can feel so isolated that it seems no one else is aware, or that they just don’t care.

I’m thankful today, for knowing the Savior, who is no stranger to the trials of life…or even the torture of death.  I’m thankful that I can run to Him for shelter, for comfort, and for peace.  I look back on my life before my relationship with Him, and I know I would have chosen such a different way to find escape from the parts of life that don’t “feel good”.  Before Jesus, I might have done just about anything to avoid dealing with my situation. I think most of us can relate to the terrain of that road.  It involves temporary comfort, maybe even numbness for a time.  But the problem is, once we get to the end of that road, there we are again, alone with ourselves, having never dealt with the problem, its root, or the healing process.

The things of this life can be unbearable, that’s no joke!  We were never meant to carry burdens that are a result of sin, of a broken world, or the corruption of the human race.  In the beginning, we were made perfect in a perfectly made world.  When Sin entered this world, it came through deception.  It has woven its way through history and wants to take root in our lives every day.  But we have been given a way of escape.  Jesus Christ is the lamb who was slain at the foundation of the earth.  It’s our CHOICE what we will reflect with our lives in any situation.  We can live in the deception of hopelessness, or we can choose the Hope in Christ that never disappoints.

He promised to never leave or forsake us.  He is true to His Word, which is His Character, and we have to know by faith, that He makes everything good, and brings purpose in all circumstances.

Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

~Matthew 5:16 (NASB)

 

#seedsoftreasure

#Jesusismine

Blessed to Be Blessed

Blessed to Be Blessed

By Renee Schultz

September 10, 2016 ©

I always hear how we should love more, and how we should show grace to people. I know that life is short, and that we have to let people know that they are valuable, and that God loves them right where they are. I know I have fallen short of that many times, just like the next person. But here’s something more to think about.  If you have been raised in a conditional atmosphere, as I was, you will understand this, and I pray you will be encouraged by what I am about to say.

I have been blessed with so many people who have encouraged me along the way. I have been told I am beautiful, that I am multi-talented, and that I am artistic. I have been told that I am encouraging, and people tell me how much my life and words have caused them to keep pushing them forward. Now, I know that without Jesus Christ, there would be no good in me. He changed my heart, and because He forgave me of so much, I can love BIG…and I do! I have so much to be thankful for in my life. So, I have to say this, not only to myself, but to anyone else who may need to hear it…and DO it!

So many times that someone has given me a compliment, or told me that I have blessed them in one way or another, I have dismissed their appreciation. I have made faces, or shaken my head when they tell me I am beautiful. I have possibly made people feel that their thank you was unacknowledged, not meaning to, but in sincere humbleness…mostly because in the past, I have not known how to receive thanks from others. In the past, I didn’t feel like I was good enough to be a blessing to someone else!

I’m watching someone I love come to the realization that they have influenced so many people. I’m watching them being blessed with prayers, thanks, appreciation for their influence in people’s lives…and yes, even money! They never felt like what they did made a difference in anyone’s lives. Now, in their time of extreme need, they have seen people come forward who they never expected to, telling them what an example they have been to them. They are expressing deep love and admiration for the way they have lived their lives. They are completely amazed at the amount of love has been out there for them…and I am sure they are filled with the deepest gratitude for this display of God’s care for them through people!

Please know that I am NOT telling people we should boast on our good works, or that we should be arrogant about doing good things.  Outside of Christ, nothing we can do is ever worth anything.  I’m just saying that when someone says “Thank You” to you for something you’ve done for them, don’t take their thanks lightly! They needed you, and you met that need…and you please God! Be filled with His joy, because He used you. It’s an honor to be a blessing! It causes you to want to KEEP blessing others!  Personally, it causes ME joy when I can bless someone else!  When someone tells you that you are beautiful, understand that they see beauty that God created! Your beauty was intended, and anything God intends should never be taken lightly! God wants you to know who you are in Him. He isn’t ashamed of your beauty… when He created everything, He said, “It is good”! Sometimes I think we don’t find joy in life, because we don’t comprehend or consider God’s law of reciprocity, which is not only a money thing!

So, here’s the point:

YES! Do these!

>Love sincerely, without hesitation!

>Serve humbly, doing your very best!

>Give more, without counting the cost!

BUT, also,

>BE loved knowing that God’s love ALWAYS comes back to us!

>BE BLESSED, because God always blesses a cheerful giver

>RECEIVE, knowing the promises of God.

May the Joy of the Lord be your strength today, and the blessing of knowing He rewards those who diligently seek Him, because even when we aren’t paying attention…others surely are!  It’s good to know we’re blessed to be a blessing, but it’s OK to understanding that in blessing others, we will be blessed!

 

 

Give, and it will be given to you. They will [a]pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”                                                                                                                                                                     ~Luke 6:38 (NASB)

#seedsoftreasure

#Jesusismine

 

A Call to Love

A Call to Love

By Renee Schultz

August 22, 2016 ©

 

How long is long enough to hold a grudge?  How much time do we take to make people pay for their mistakes in life, or the things they’ve done to us?–And have we thought about by taking this plan of action, what repercussions we will bring on ourselves or our families? These are questions I found myself asking in the last few years.

 

As have all of you, I have been through some potentially devastating things in my lifetime.  We all have a story (or more).  I have had the choices I referred to above and I admit, I’ve lived in those choices!  I’ve lived with anger and revenge, and yes, bitterness in my heart!  I’m just being REAL right now, because I know this is for us ALL!

 

My father came from an abusive home, where he was told that he would never be anything.  He was even discouraged from pursuing a high school education, because the tradition of his family was that they work in their fathers’ and “family” businesses, if you know what that means.  He chose to go to the military, and come back and marry my mother.  He changed his name to avoid association with his relatives, but he never got over what was sometimes literally pounded into him.  He held anger and resentment in his heart toward his dad, and even when he finally addressed it, he never was able to be completely freed of what damage was done to his mind and spirit, and ultimately, his heart.  He knew the Lord when he passed away, and I’m thankful that he is in Heaven today.  But, what more could his life have been if he would have grasped on to the Love of God, and the freedom that He brings to us when we fully accept the sacrifice that was made for us by His Son, Jesus Christ!

 

My mother came from a much different background.  Born at home, she had loving parents, and a close knit Catholic family.  They all lived in one house until they married, and even my Aunt (my Gramma’s sister) lived with them and never married or moved away.  Her mother, my beautiful Gramma Rose, was the kindest most loving and forgiving woman I had ever met in my life as a child and a young adult.  But, my mother and father experienced hardship in their life together.  When they married, they moved into a house just 3 doors down from my grandparents, who purchased the house for them.  But, my mother never really wanted to live there.  She despised the house her whole life, especially because they never had the financial ability relocate.  They had many financial set-backs, and one of my brothers had serious medical problems from birth that compounded that hardship.  I watched my mother grow discontented, and eventually jealous of others’ gain.  She confessed that she would never get off of the street she was born on, or the house she hated.

 

At the end of 2010, my mother was suddenly diagnosed with colon cancer.  She underwent emergency surgery, and woke up with a colostomy bag, until she could have surgery to remove the cancer, and then had a very long recovery time.  Just when she thought she had beaten it, she found herself unable to hold down food.  After a few months of attempting to feel better, she finally went to the doctor, who found that she had stomach cancer!  She opted not to have treatment, because she was too weary to handle another surgery, and over the course of about 8 months, in April of 2015 she went home to be with the Lord.  From the time of the first battle with cancer, my mother examined her life, and made some changes.  She learned how to be thankful for what God had done for her.  She always loved God, but He became REAL to her like never before.  She made her peace with all that she had endured in her life with my father, and she wrote letters to people who she needed to make amends with.  She wrote to all of her children and grandchildren and encouraged them all in her way.  I know my mother is in Heaven today, reunited with my father.   But, again, how much more could my mother’s life have been, if she found contentment earlier on.  How much joy would she have had, and passed on to each of us along the way!  My mother’s confession became reality, and she died in the house, just as she said.  The saddest part of these two examples I have shared with you is what my parents’ choices left in the hearts of their children.  My siblings and I suffer very strained relationships, with each other, and with others outside of our family.  Though some of us recognize the need to change, we still haven’t moved forward in it, yet.  I pray that will change.

 

As I have written in earlier posts, Last October, we gave up our house.  Ironically, the house we gave up is right next door to the house my parents lived in.  When my husband and I were married, that house was available.  I had played in that house as a child with the girl next door, and the price was right.  However, the house was already about 80 years old, and so much work was needed to restore it.  We also experienced financial challenges along the way, and unfortunately, we never got ahead of the repairs that were needed.  We refinanced it too many times trying to keep it, and finally we knew we had lost the battle.  As I have also mentioned, we had lived there for 35 years.  Many memories were made there…some good…some that could have destroyed us.

 

With the passing of my parents, and the process of losing our house, I personally dealt with a lot of depression, something that I thought I had overcome for good.  The peace that came with moving from that house distanced me from memories of things that I had experienced in my life until that point.  Some of those things, I know I have come to terms with, and God has healed and restored.  Some of them, I am realizing, I am still in the healing process, and He is showing me so much goodness and mercy.  It has caused me to reflect, and to take notice of my own response to life, to people, and to circumstances.  I hope this is helping someone, and I trust that it is!

 

I could sit here and quote Chapter and Verse to back up what I am saying, but I am just speaking from my heart today.  I feel such a burden to share my own thoughts and experience.  My hope is that where opportunities come to others, they may take them, and be blessed and freed.

 

As Believers, we are called to love one another, and forgive those who do us wrong.  We are called to do unto others as we would have them do unto us.  However, somewhere along the line, these principles have been distorted!  We can find ourselves loving only those who love us, and sometimes we find that who we thought loved us were the ones who hurt us the most!  So, we become offended and hold grudges.  Why should we forgive those people when they aren’t even sorry?  In turn, we then treat others as THEY have treated US, and the hurt and offense just continues!  This is where the problem comes in.  With the hurt comes anger.  The anger becomes unforgiveness, and eventually bitterness.

 

The Bible clearly tells us the consequences of bitterness.—that we cause others to stumble, and we ourselves become defiled or corrupted.  We also see an indication that when we become bitter, we become sick.  Although some may debate this concept, there are many Biblical references (and teachings), showing the root of sickness being related to conditions of the mind and heart.  It’s believed that anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, rebellion, and more, are the place where diseases begin.  I don’t know about anyone else, but in all that I have seen in my own life, I am convinced that it is important for us to avoid and remove any of these things from our lives.  I can, and I have allowed circumstances to affect my decision making and my response to situations if I am not careful!  I’ve allowed myself to hold things in my heart that should have been long discarded!  I am learning to love more, I am learning to forgive quicker, and I am learning to take a moment before I react.  Someone once told me that in situations, we can choose to REACT in the moment, or we can choose to wait, and then RESPOND.  There IS a difference.

 

A most recent situation has caused me to ponder more on the subject of forgiveness, and though I am not able to share details, I am overwhelmed.  I realize that we as humans have wasted so much time being consumed with hurt and offense.  We have shunned others for things they have done to us, holding them accountable and wanting revenge.  We have withheld charity from those we “feel” don’t deserve it, because we “know” things about them.  We have allowed others to speak ill of someone because they haven’t “done it the way THEY would”.  We hold others in judgment for these things, when we have our own issues we haven’t dealt with.  Even in the church we see this happening, and this should not be.

 

We need to realize that we were created for relationship.  We were created with the need to love and be loved.  With being human, come the following:  Issues, conflict, disagreement and potential for strife, among many other things!  We deal with cultural and racial differences, and the potential for intolerance.  Though we have a responsibility to live Biblically, and those principles are clear to Believers, there is ONE Commandment, that we are to LOVE.  When we choose to walk in love, and be motivated by love, we become more able to understand that God is our ONLY judge.  He knows the hearts of men!  He knows all of our mistakes, whether those mistakes are made out of ignorance or whether they are intentional sin.  Yet, He still loves us.  He still forgives, and He still is more than able and also WILLING to restore each and ever one of us!  He would not withhold any good thing from any one of us who puts our trust in Him.  He said that, I didn’t!  There will come a day when He WILL judge and He WILL reward, but until then, neither is our job!

 

We are called to serve God, to love people, and to bring others to Him.  If we all answer the call, think about the possibilities!

 

I pray this is a blessing to anyone who reads it.  I pray that if you are reading it, you know the God I speak of, and you are in a personal relationship with Him.  If you haven’t yet experienced this relationship, I invite you to simply call on Him.  Ask Him to show Himself to you, and teach you how to live for Him.  I guarantee, He will answer, and He will change your life forever!  That’s a promise, and He keeps His promises!

 

#seedsoftreasure

#Jesusismine

He Delights in Me!

He Delights in Me!

By Renee Schultz

May 18, 2016 ©

Two of my favorite flowering plants are Azaleas and Lavender. My mother had an Azalea bush in her front yard that bloomed with bright pink flowers every Spring, and I have always wanted to have one of my own, but never got to it. I also love the beautiful color and the fragrance of Lavender, but again, never planted it because I didn’t have the right place for it to thrive in my yard.

Many of you know that we gave up our home last year and we have moved into the Brooklyn Acres, where we love living, now! The person who lived in our unit before us had put in a very nice patio and walkway. ANOTHER desire of mine, but never had the chance to build at our old location, which we will love using in the Summer! He also planted some flowers and bushes, but because we moved here last October I couldn’t tell what kind they were. Well, they are now blooming AND, to my surprise and great pleasure, I have TWO PINK Azalea bushes just off my patio, AND! I have BEAUTIFUL, FRAGRANT, blooming Lavender next to the entrance of my house! I KNOW God knew I was coming here, and He just wanted to show me, once again, that there isn’t ANYTHING He won’t do for me… just because He loves me! Thank You, God, for being my Daddy, and for ALWAYS looking out for me!

‪#‎seedsoftreasure
‪#‎createdonpurpose
‪#‎createdFORpurpose
‪#‎Jesusismine

 

 

Past the Weeds to Hope

Past the Weeds to Hope

By Renee Schultz

April 21, 2016 ©

Well, spring is here!  The weather is finally getting nicer, and the signs of new life are all around us once again.  It’s time to get outside and clean up after the months of ice, snow and wind.  It’s also time, once again, to mow our lawns, prepare our flower beds, and spruce up the surroundings of our homes.  So, of course, that means WEEDS!  It’s time to get those under control so we aren’t overtaken by them once the warmer season is in full bloom, pun intended!

This past weekend, we mowed our lawn, and we also prepared our flower beds for mulching and hopefully planting some pretty flowers to make the outside of our home look as welcoming as the inside!  My daughter, my grandson and I took to the flower beds the previous resident created, and we weeded them all so we could level the dirt and get ready for the next step.  It was a tough job, but with the three of us working we got it done in a shorter time.  I was grateful to have help, or I might still be digging!

We carefully sorted through what were new sprouts of things we believe were purposely planted, and things that were obviously just weeds.  We noticed consistently as we were working in each area that we had lots of thistle weeds.  Now, thistle weeds look a lot like Dandelions, except for one thing—THORNS!  As we dealt with these weeds, and as it so often happens, I saw some spiritual parallels that I just had to share!

There are several things about thistle that make them so unpleasant to deal with.  First, as I mentioned above, the thorns.  Grasp them without gloves, or even the wrong way WITH gloves, and you will experience the consequence—pain!  While one might think the flowers are a beautiful yellow, and even a child might be inclined to gather them for a bouquet, it will not end well when they grab hold of it.  This reminded me of the concept of sin and disobedience to God in our lives.  Something that looks beautiful and inviting is not always what it seems.  When we grasp on to sin, or when we disobey God, it will always lead to discomfort or even pain, at the very least.  But the Bible also teaches us that the wages of sin is death.  So, just like the task of ridding the garden of the thistle weeds, which will eventually choke out the plants we WANT, we have to rid our lives of the sin and disobedience that will eventually take over us and destroy (kill) us.

The next unpleasant thing about thistle weeds are the deep roots that keep them so solidly implanted in the ground!  It’s imperative that when pulling the thistle, you dig under the ENTIRE root, and loosen it up in order to pull the whole weed out of the ground.  Failure to do this will only result in the weed growing back and eventually pushing its way back out onto the surface and showing itself again.  It’s also important to keep tilling that soil, and keep it free from any new growth we don’t want there.  Wow!  How true is this in our lives?  Sometimes we think we have it all under control, when BAM!  Out comes another round of that thing that we thought was gone, or something stemming from the root of it!  The Bible teaches us how important it is to completely turn from our sin, and never allow it to spring up again.  This, of course, can only happen when we keep ourselves continually filled up with the things of God found in His Word.

Another fact about thistle weeds (and even other weeds) is that when left unattended, they will spread quickly and abundantly!  We have to continually pay attention, and remove the growth of any weeds that are beginning to form, so that they don’t mature and make it harder to get them out.  But once our gardens are growing, we have to do this TENDERLY, so as not to harm the plants we are nurturing.  We will work hard, and sometimes even be physically tired and sore.  But when we do this, the plants we want will stay healthy and keep blooming the way they are intended to bloom!  This, again, is the same with us!  When we keep tending to our spiritual well being, we will be aware of the undesirable things—attitudes, emotions, habits and choices, or deceptions the enemy uses against us—and we will eliminate them.  We can only do this by allowing God to prune us, and teach, even correct us as we go.   He tells us in His Word, that he chastens (disciplines) those He loves.  He does this with love and guidance, never to harm, but to perfect.  It’s always a work in progress, but the end result is worth the time and sometimes even the pain.

The last thing I will share is something that I think is the most amazing.  I pray that if you’re reading this, you will find encouragement to press on!

As I looked at the thistle, because I had dealt with them before, I realized the task at hand.  So, I stood there for a moment, assessing the work ahead, and even wondering if I really wanted to get started!  But in standing there, I noticed something so profound, in my opinion, of course.  That thistle had bright yellow blooms on it, which as I mentioned before made it look almost exactly like the Dandelion.  Yes, its leaves were much more treacherous than the Dandelion’s, but the bloom was bright and even to some, inviting.  I thought about Eve in the Garden.  She was deceived into thinking the fruit was something beautiful, and even believing it was something she NEEDED.  Of course, we know how that ended… except God had another plan!

But here is just one more thing I noticed.  I believe God was speaking to my spirit as I noticed it, too!

Even though that thistle is a weed, and even with all of its negative characteristics, the bright yellow bloom is what attracts the bees to it!  The bee pollinates it, and gathers nectar from it!  So, because of this, it thrives, bringing nourishment and survival to the hive, and bringing life to us.  The keep the plants of the earth alive to make oxygen but also make honey that brings us health!  We NEED bees in order to breathe, and also in order to eat and live, because they cause the vegetation to multiply!

 

Am I saying that good comes from sin?  By ALL means, NO!  But, what I AM saying is that when Eve took that fruit and gave it to her husband, it was the beginning of sin.  It was the end of a perfect world, and the fall of man.  God described to them what would come of their sin.  One of the consequences was the fact that man would have to labor to tend the land…weeds were never part of the plan until that day in the garden.  Yet, in His mercy, (and maybe even a sign of what was to come), He still made a way.  He spoke of the weeds and thorns that would spring up out of the ground.  But still, He made that weed in such a way that showed His compassion for His creation!

I see in that weed, the hope that no matter how far we fall and no matter how hopeless WE think we may be, God is not willing to just let go of us.  His Word tells us that even at that moment in the garden He already had a plan for our redemption!  He sent us His Son, Jesus Christ, to walk among us, and to be just as much like us (the thorns), as He is like God (the flowers).  God sent us Hope in the midst of a fallen world, and gave us the choice of Life, or death!  We can continue to live, overcome by our own ways and into death, or we can accept the Life in Christ, and learn His ways as a follower of our Savior into eternal life.  He made a way, even when all seemed to be lost.

So, today, when you look at the things around you, and see only problems (weeds), remember the thistle, and take hope in the fact that there is ALWAYS hope!

 

 

“Behold, I will do something new, No, it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it?  I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:19  NASB

 

If you have read this blog, and never made the choice to follow Jesus into eternal life, God said that anyone who calls on the Name of Jesus is welcomed in and received unto Him.  It is no coincidence that you are reading this, as He is now offering you that choice.  If you have found yourself in a place where hope is more and more difficult to find, I urge you to take a moment.  Simply call on Him now.  Ask Him to help you believe His promises, and to lead you into hope, and ultimately, a life that has purpose and destiny.  I guarantee, if you are searching, He will show Himself faithful.  Trust Him, today.

 

#Jesusismine