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St. Augustine “grass”

Galatians 6:1 – “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”

Have I ever told you how much I detest St. Augustine grass? For me, it is no more than a glorified weed. We have it in our yard and I do believe it is on a mission to overtake the world. 

You see, this “grass” has tentacles that reach out and invade everything. It has sprung up in our bushes. It has overtaken our rose bushes. I believe it would attempt to destroy the house if given the chance. It is invasive and terrifying if you think on it long enough. When you go to pull out one “weed” you see in your bushes, that “weed” keeps going until you feel as though you are pulling out half the yard! It is maddening.

As I was facing this battle the other day, God reminded me of sin. Sin is a lot like this “grass” that I have in my yard. It may look nice and people may want you to take care of it, but in truth, you need to get it as far from you as possible. Sin invades. Sin takes over. Sin reaches out and deceives you into thinking it is just one tiny thing when in reality, it has taken over all parts of your life, if you let it. Sin is invasive and terrifying if you think on it long enough. 

However, we aren’t to be judges of people we see overtaken with sin. No, we are supposed to go alongside of them and show them a better way. We need to realize that we are none too high and mighty to escape the clutches of sin. It is only by the grace of God that we ourself have not been overtaken. Sometimes it is difficult to go up to that person you see ravaged by sin. We want to stay away lest we would be accused of such wrongdoings.

But Jesus wasn’t like that. He went to the overtaken. He reached out to them. He showed them a better way. And aren’t we supposed to be more and more like Him? Aren’t we supposed to be that light in a dark world? Aren’t we supposed to plant the seed and make disciples? We can’t do that if we are sitting back judging others.

So let me encourage you today to be that living testimony that people need to see. Don’t steer away from those who need Him the most. And don’t let the tentacles of sin overtake you. Be on your guard and listen to the Holy Spirit convicting your heart of unrighteousness. And for Heaven’s sake, pull some weeds! Happy Friday!

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Bearing the burden

Galatians 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

It seems to have been a common theme this weekend- bearing one another’s burdens. As I sat here this morning finishing my Bible reading, I wrote out my prayer requests. It was really long this morning. We have several at my church that are definitely standing in the need of prayer. 

You know, when you read this verse, it can be taken a couple of different ways. One way is to see that we need to come alongside and physically assist others that need help. There are plenty of people that need this type of action. They need food or financial assistance or help with a loved one or something like that. They literally need a helping hand. 

Another way to see this verse is through the eyes of prayer. Prayer is an amazingly powerful tool that we have readily at our fingertips 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That means there is no time, no place, no circumstance in which we cannot pray. Even in places where prayer is frowned upon or illegal, you can still pray. Speaking from the heart can never be tamed or squashed. We all know and have people in our life that need prayer. 

So, what is keeping us from bearing another person’s burden whether physically or prayerfully?

Ourself. That is the only reason. Our selfishness and self-absorbed behaviors keep us from bearing one another’s burdens. We get so wrapped up in our own life and perceived needs that we block everyone else out. 

God has brought us together for a reason. He sees a need in my life that only you can fill. And He sees a need in your life that only I can fill. We need to be diligently and fervently bearing one another’s burdens – in whatever way is necessary. 

This week, choose to see and open your heart to someone else’s burdens – and share your own. We all need prayer – let someone know how they can pray for you today. And if you are in need of some physical assistance, ask for it. Your brothers and sisters in Christ are there for you. You just need to say the word and allow them to bless you and be blessed themselves by helping bear your burden. 

The Schoolmaster

Galations 3:24-26 – “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

Tomorrow I, once again, begin my job as schoolmaster. Some begin that job today. For me, one more day of freedom. 

In these verses, the schoolmaster is like the ones taking the children to school. The schoolmaster doesn’t educate the children. He/she had the responsibility of taking the children where they can learn. 

In the Old Testament days, the law was given to bring people to God. It was given to show them their sin and bring them to the One who can cleanse them from their sin. 

Today, we have faith. Believing in Jesus Christ brings us to the One who can (and will) show us our sin and teach us right from wrong. The Law is still important in principle. It shows us so much about Jesus and His sacrifice. It shows us what should be important in our life. It gives us basic, common sense rules that are applicable to every one always. But, we have to remember that we live by faith. We walk in faith. 

The Old Testament people anticipated and believed in the coming of the Savior. We, in New Testament times, look back and believe that Jesus is the Messiah and the Savior that the Old Testament people anticipated. It’s all still faith, just from different perspectives. One needed the Schoolmaster and one needs the Holy Spirit. 

So, as the schoolmaster season approaches, remember this – the Law is important to remind us of the principles of Godly living, but it is faith in Jesus Christ that will bring us into eternity with Him. 

John 15 – Part 1

John 15:1-3  – “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”

John 15 came to my attention 3 different times yesterday. So, I took that as God trying to get my attention regarding what He had to say in these verses. I’m going to try to do a mini-series on these verses. So, let’s do this!

First of all, let’s look at the relationships here. There is a relationship between Jesus and the Father – the branch and the gardener. The responsibility of the Gardener is to care for the plants – to feed and fertilize them, prune and protect them and to monitor and enjoy the fruit that the plants produce. The plants responsibility is to be submissive to the will of the gardener and to bear fruit. 

Here is the deal – Jesus is the vine and we, his followers, are the branches. (We will get to that verse at a later date. It’s actually verse 5.)   Without the vine, the branches cannot produce the fruit. When the branches are not producing, they are removed. (We will get to that at another date too! So much to look forward to!) The branches that are producing are pruned so that they will bring forth even more fruit. 

What does all this mean for us as followers of Christ? It means that we need to be about the Father’s business of producing fruit. We need to be submissive to His pruning and accepting of His “nutrients” He provides for our growth. Every day, we have the opportunity to grow. It is our choice if we do or not. We go through periods of pruning. Sometimes it seems constant and other times it seems a bit spread out. But the point is that God loves and cares for us enough to pay particular attention to what we need to be the best for Him. 

As for the whole fruit thing, what does that look like? What does “fruit” look like in my life? I think it can take several forms. One is explained in Galations 5:22,23 as “the fruit of the Spirit”. These are characteristics found in our life when we seek after the Lord. Another example is the people we affect in our life. We show them the love of God by our words and our actions. I believe that being obedient is also a fruit. Choosing to read, study and pray develop the relationship we are to have with the Vine AND the Gardener. And then there is the ultimate fruit – leading someone to Christ. Could it possibly get any better or any sweeter? 

I am so grateful that God tends to the garden of my heart in a more diligent and loving way than I care for my own yard. All I do is whack away at what I don’t want, the things that are unseemly. He doesn’t stroll into my life on a hit or miss basis and start whacking. He is there every minute of every day tending and nurturing and pruning and fertilizing. He provides everything I need to grow in His light. 

The question is – Am I going to choose to grow and produce fruit today? Well…that is the prayer and desire of my heart. Now, let’s see if I will follow Him through this thing. 

Sharing your burdens

Daniel 2:17,18 – “Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and he couldn’t remember it, but he knew that it had great significance. He called his “wise men” together to test their true abilities and told them to tell him his dream and then interpret it. Sounds crazy, right? How can one expect someone else to tell them something that they don’t know and then interpret what it means? This is exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did. But none of the “wise men” could fulfill his request. So what does the King do? He decides to kill them all, every single one of them, including Daniel and his friends. 

When Daniel hears about this, he spoke with the king and asked for just a little bit of time to determine the hidden information and to interpret it. The king agreed. Now, Daniel could have gone home and stewed about what he should do, how he should approach this and on and on and on. But he didn’t. He went back and shared his burden with his friends and asked them to pray. 

Lesson to learn – God has put people in your life who are also followers of Christ for a reason – they are your support and prayer partners. Galatians 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” You see, we are commanded to be there for one another. Yes, we have our Heavenly Father on hand at all times. He is our ultimate support. Yet, sometimes we just need that physical touch. God put that in our hearts. We need that face to face or text to text support. I know that I don’t share my burdens enough. I hold them in and stew about them with the best of them. My husband usually gets the brunt end of my prayer requests. And that’s ok, that’s the way it should be. He is my best earthly friend, of course. But I have a whole line of support that I could reach out to and should reach out to. 

My point is this – let other people in on your burdens. God gave them to you for a reason. Your Christian friends are there to help you down your path. They love you and understand the burdens you have because Christ gave them to you to help you. Let them pray with you and for you. Let them give you counsel. Let them help you. True, you never walk alone when Jesus is with you but sometimes you just need a hug – and that hug should come from someone who loves you, your friend. 

My burden

Galatians 6:2 – “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

It has been a rough couple of days. I got a phone call on Sunday that my uncle had been in a serious car accident. He and the family are hundreds of miles away from me. We still don’t know if he is going to make it or not.

My heart hurts that I am not able to be there with my aunt, cousins and mom. They are all hurting. They are all scared. They are all fearful. But they are all followers of Christ. We all have Him to lean on. We know that my uncle’s life is in His hands. We are praying for a miracle. But we are also praying for His will to be done. That is a hard thing because that is admitting that maybe, just maybe, we could loose him. And that is sad.

At church Sunday night, I shared my burden, my prayer request, with my church family. And the beauty of this was that not only were prayers from my own heart being lifted to the Father, but now, they were going up all over the place. My burden had been shared with my church family. Church family is so important. We take it for granted until something like this happens and you don’t know how to handle it. We need to be more involved in church family. We don’t like to neglect our blood family, why would we neglect our spiritual family?

I know that my church family is still praying. They are continually lifting my uncle before The Lord. And they are showing their love for me by praying, calling and giving me hugs that are desperately needed.

I don’t know what will happen to my uncle. He is one heart attack away from eternity. But even if The Lord calls him home, I know that there will be rejoicing in heaven at another child coming home.

So today princess, let me encourage you to share your burden with someone. Let someone else pray for you. Let someone else help you. The blessings will abound. Peace will come alongside you. And to my church family, thank you. Love you all.

Deception

Galatians 6:7 – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.”

Deception. It is a common thing in today’s society. Sad, but true. We wear makeup to deceive those around us into believing that we have “perfect” skin. We have advertisers deceiving us into thinking that they have the best prices. We have people everywhere telling us that things are fine, no need to worry or be concerned.

Deception is everywhere. In my old 1828 Webster’s, deceive is defined as: to mislead the mind; to cause to err, to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true. This is frightening to me. I don’t like to think that people are purposefully misleading me for some benefit of their own.

Yesterday, my kids’ school had a uniform exchange. I was looking for my daughter a new skort. The school is enforcing a rule that has always been there – the skirt/skort can be no shorter than 3 inches above the knee. Reasonable, right? Well, as I was looking through the used skirts, I found 2 that had been hemmed up to be shorter. I mean, so short that the hem was at the bottom of the shorts underneath the skort! Holy Man! No way I would do that for my daughter! Why would they do that? Deception. They wanted to show off more leg than was necessary or allowed. They wanted to cause err.

So today, princess, be on your guard against deception. Don’t let any one fool you. Satan wants to deceive us all the time. He wants us to believe we are not good enough, that we don’t need God, that they Bible really didn’t say that. But don’t listen to him. Don’t let the world tell you things that could harm you. Listen instead to that still, small voice inside your heart telling you that He loves you and that he will never leave you and that He will always guide you.