Sticks, Gold & Life

There’s something I’m learning about people.

They’re sort of like sticks.

Allow me to explain.

The climate and surroundings of a person have the potential to utterly destroy them, to the point of sapping the very life from their being, or to cause them to flourish beyond their wildest dreams.

Imagine a stick.

Snapped off from its only source of nourishment, it has lost its only purpose in life: to be a conduit for more life.

Unless someone identifies a glimmer of potential in it, it will lay on the compost pile, awaiting slow disintegration.

Enter the gold digger {someone determined to search for the gold in something/someone rather than highlight the obvious dirt…as expanded on here).

My husband rescued said stick from certain doom this spring, when he discovered we were short of stakes to mark the vegetable rows.

Into the dirt went the little stick.  Surely dead, but still able to be used for something relatively important.

{Goal accomplished}

But then…

the climate was right…

the surroundings were right…

and the nutrients needed for survival were present.

Slowly that hopeless little stick started to become a tree, surging once again with life.

Just look at that baby {it was completely bare when it went in}!

People are just like this stick.

If we are only willing to take on the ‘job’, we get to be the soil, the nurturing, life-giving plot in which someone is ‘planted’.

We have the potential to spur on tremendous growth and inspire greatness in the lives around us.  All the while, maturing and developing ourselves.

Isn’t that something?

What a thrill to know we have the ability, the power if you will, to so profoundly impact the people who, by no coincidence at all, are in every circle of influence we come in contact with.

I want to speak lifesow life…invest life into my husband, my children, my sisters, my friends, the overwhelmed single-mom down the road, the frazzled, down-trodden sales clerk at Meijer.

And I can.

I just have to be willing to look outside of my comfortable little world of “self” and look for opportunities to search out the gold in others, looking for ways to encourage them, lift their chin, speak life over them, and love them.

It’s a deliciously “dirty” job…but we’ve been called to it and equipped for it.

So, how about it…

Wanna be soil?

by Joy McMillan, Simply Bloom

Planting Seeds of Character

I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
John 5:15

Webster defines character as: moral or ethical quality; good repute; qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity.

I define it as ‘what you do when no one is looking.’

Every night, when I pray with the boys before they go to sleep, I ask Jesus to help them to do the right thing, even when no one is looking. I want Carson and Chase to be men of good character.

And those seeds have to start taking root, today. They have to be boys of good character and then teens of good character to grow into men of good character. It won’t happen overnight. And they won’t just wake up one day, when they are 30 years old and be moral men.

And it won’t happen on their own. They need God’s guidance, and our constant nurturing.

Bobby has started a garden. He’s turned part of our back deck into his own little flowering domain. He has herbs and vegetables and fruits growing. He even spent the day screening in his section of the deck, so Zeke can’t get into his plants and eat them.

Bobby is spending a lot of time with those seeds. He’s watering them and he’s protecting them and eventually, they will produce good fruit. But it will take effort and care.

Just like our little boys. What we put into them today – will produce a fruit later on. And with God’s help, those little guys will be strong trees of good repute!

Father, you give us so many examples in our daily life, to learn how to walk in your ways. Thank you for the lessons … always the lessons. And Jesus, thank you for blessing me with a family that I love so very much. And nope, we’re most certainly NOT perfect, but you love us anyway. Lord, thank you for the good seeds that are growing inside of Carson and Chase. Nurture them Lord and let them produce a harvest for you!

I Love You Jesus.
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God Bless You!

Love,
Joyce

My Life In 30 Seconds!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pY6cDRzpzPs

The Jesus Way

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them saying.
Matthew 5:1

Jesus had been sharing His message for about a year when He took his followers up onto the side of a mountain to give them some words of advice.  They had been living the way of the world … now it was time for a change.  Time to do things The Jesus Way.

Jesus said:

  •  The meek would inherit the earth, and the pure in heart would see God.  His followers were to be a beacon of  light to a dark and dying world.
  • Getting angry at a brother was not acceptable … forgiveness was not an option.  Adultery, divorce and oaths were not cool and we need to learn how to turn the other cheek and love not only our friends, but also the ones who treat us wrong.
  • Give to the needy, but don’t make a show of it … pray to God simply … give him the honor and praise that only He deserves. Fast for God … not man.
  • Don’t put your store in things … things will come and things will go.  Put your energy into heaven, your rewards will be eternal.
  • You can love God or money … but not both.  Money isn’t the root of all evil, but the love of money is where the trouble starts.
  • Don’t spend today worrying …  let today be today. 
  • Don’t judge others … period.
  • Ask … seek … knock.  these are action verbs.  Do something.
  • There is a narrow gate into heaven … and a broad gate to destruction.  Choose the narrow gate for life eternal with Him.
  • A good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.
  • If you do these things you are wise and your foundation strong.

This is The Jesus Way!

Father, teach me to walk Your Way.

I Love You Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray!
Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

Hebrews 12:1,2

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God
Hebrews 12:1,2

Today I watched a football game with Bobby. I don’t usually watch football, but I had been working all day at church and I was tired when I came home, so I sat down on the couch to rest.  And that’s when I saw this football player with Hebrews 12:1,2 written on his face.  Where most of the guys just put black under their eyes, he had black and white letters under his, referencing a verse from The Bible.  And during the game, the broadcasters actually read the verse, on National TV, in front of millions of fans.  How cool is that?

The player’s name is Tim Tebow.  If you live in Florida, you know he plays for the Florida Gators.  He is an incredible football player.  He was the first player to win the Heisman trophy as a sophomore.  He has been breaking records his entire career.  And that is wonderful.

But the best thing about Tim Tebow is that he loves Jesus and he’s not ashamed to share his faith with the world.  He wears his faith for all to see! 

In a world where sports heroes are really not role models, Tim Tebow is a breath of fresh air.

Tim Tebow … You ROCK!

Father, thank you for this young man who loves you and is not ashamed to share his faith in you.  I pray for you to continue to strengthen him and guide him as he goes on with his career.

I love you Jesus!
   In Your Name I Pray,
  Amen

God’s Blessing Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org

 

Are You Listening?

 
My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
John 10:27
We have a new family member, Jack, a Jack Russell Terrier. Jack is a sweetie pie, cute as a button, the total opposite of Zeke. Jack loves to hunt, he has a field day in our yard running from tree to tree chasing whatever it is that he is chasing. He plays keep away with Zeke, they chase each other around the house, each one trying to keep the ball or stuffed animal away from the other. Jack has never had an accident, he’s not chewed up anything except chew toys. He’s a good dog. But Jack does not listen to me.

I can be calling his name and he’s so focused in on what he’s doing … he totally ignores me. I have to actually go over to him and pick him up for him to stop doing what he’s doing and look at me. Jack does not hear my voice.

Zeke, on the other hand, who has been my best buddy for over five years always hears my voice. Even when I don’t want him to hear me, he does. I cannot say one word without Zeke being at my side. Sometimes I don’t have to even speak, I can just look at him and he’ll come over and lay his head on me. Zeke loves me, he listens for my voice and the second he hears it, he responds.

Sometimes I act like Jack, with God. I am so busy running around doing my thing, I don’t hear His gentle whisperings. He literally has to put a wall up in front of me for me to stop what I am doing and listen.

I want to be more like Zeke in my walk with Jesus. I want to hear His voice, whatever I’m doing – where ever I’m doing it. I want to stay attuned to His call.

I want to be part of His flock. I want to follow HIM.

IMG_0753

Father, thank you for allowing me to see this example so clearly. Teach me Lord Jesus, how to hear your voice, no matter what the circumstance.

I Love You Jesus!
In Your Name I Pray,
Amen

God’s Blessing Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

chiliMillion Copy Give-Away.
    Will You Help?

http://www.alifedecision.org

Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass…
   it’s about learning to dance in the rain!

Throwing Stones

There is an old saying, “People who live in glass houses, shouldn’t throw stones.”  I was reading a story in John the other day where Jesus made a similar statement.  He had been teaching in the temple, when the religious leaders brought before him a woman caught in the act of adultery.  They wanted to know what punishment the woman should have.  The Law of Moses commanded that she be stoned, but Jesus came to bring repentance to sinners; to save them, not destroy them.

The religious leaders were trying to entrap Jesus, to put him between a rock and a hard place.

Jesus encouraged the crowd who were pointing fingers at this woman to look inside themselves.  He urged whoever was without sin in their life to throw the first stone.  And no one could.  One by one, they turned and walked away.  When it was just Jesus and the woman left, he asked her if anyone had condemned her.  She said, “No.” 
 
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8:11)

Jesus didn’t condemn the woman, nor did he condone what she had done.  He implored her to move on … and stop doing what she had been doing.

WOW … that is such an encouragement for me.  I don’t have to beat myself up when I make a mistake.  I don’t have to be stoned to death … I simply need to STOP – to ask Jesus for forgiveness and turn away from whatever it was I was doing wrong.

And when others mess up … I need to not throw stones … but take a good hard look at myself.

no sin

Father, thank you for this lesson.  Teach me how to keep myself clean and clear; to not throw stones at others.

I Love You Jesus!
   In your name I pray,
   Amen

God’s Blessings Upon You!

Love,
Joyce

The Choices You Make Today …
Will Affect Your Tomorrow!
http://www.alifedecision.org