1. Sowing Seed
When I mentioned to my Uncle Larry that I had tilled my garden, he replied that I must be getting ready to plant some turnips. Well, I hadn't thought about it, but I do like turnips, so I went to Hills Farm And Garden store to get some turnip seeds. I asked the woman there what else I could plant with them, because as much as I like turnips, I don't need that many turnips. She showed me a gallon jar that was labeled, "Mixed Greens" and included two types of turnips, radishes, mustard and some other things. I bought the seeds and sowed them in the garden, and now I am waiting for them to come up as I pray for rain. As I thought about planting these mixed greens, I remembered that I had seen a poem about lettuce and turnips and decided that since I talked about "Tators" several years ago, you know, Hesi-tator, Agi-tator, Ro-tator, and Sweet-tator, it might be interesting to look at "Mixed Greens". Lettuce see if we can find some Spiritual lessons as we turnip our heads to God and mustard up some courage for what He has in store for us. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." (Galatians 5:25)
2. Gardening God's Way
Before God created man, He planted a garden. "And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.... And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it." (Genesis 2:8, 9 & 15) I can only imagine how beautiful the garden was, and how wonderful the food tasted as it was picked any time Adam and Eve were hungry.
I searched and found the little poem that made me think of using the "Mixed Greens" as our theme. I could not find who wrote it, but I wanted to share it with you as we begin our new gardening season.
"Gardening God's Way"
Plant three rows of peas:
Peace of mind
Peace of heart
Peace of soul
Plant four rows of squash:
Plant four rows of lettuce:
Lettuce be faithful
Lettuce be kind
Lettuce be obedient
Lettuce really love one another
No garden without turnips:
Turnip for meetings
Turnip for service
Turnip to help one another
Water freely with patience and cultivate love.
There is much fruit for your garden.
Because you reap what you sow.
To conclude our garden
We must have thyme:
Thyme for God
Thyme for study
Thyme for prayer
Thyme for each other
Thyme for friends
3. Peas - Peace of God
As we begin our garden of Mixed Greens, let's start with our three rows of peas.
Peace of mind - "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3)
Peace of heart - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." (John 14:27)
Peace of soul - "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Thessalonians 5:23)
I have combined these because we can only find peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul through faith in Jesus Christ. This peace can come only from God. "Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." (II Corinthians 1:2) When we accept God's gift of salvation, we receive the peace of God, which the world can't know. " And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:7) Through His love, He forgives us of our sin and casts it away, lifting the guilt of the past and giving us a new future of hope, joy, and peace. In addition to the peace of God, we have peace with God. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2) We have peace that we will be with God throughout eternity, with Him in our heavenly home. So, if you are searching for peace of mind, peace of heart, and peace of soul, you only have to look to God. Because only the peace from God gives us the peace of God and with God.
4. Squash The Bad Attitudes
When we look at the rows of squash in our little poem, we see that each of these examples can be very destructive. Gossip, indifference, grumbling, and selfishness can tear families and friends apart and break down the testimony of our churches.
Squash gossip - "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth. As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire; so is a contentious man to kindle strife. The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly." (Proverbs 26:20-22)
"And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not." (I Timothy 5:13)
Squash indifference - "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:" (Revelation 3:15-17)
Squash grumbling - "Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer." (I Corinthians 10:10)
Squash selfishness - "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house;.. " (Proverbs 15:27)
We need to squash out this bad behavior and replace it with love and kindness.
"29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." (Ephesians 4:29-32)
When I was helping Mom paint we talked about how much easier it was to get it done by working together. I was painting next to the ceiling and the trim with a brush while she was rolling the walls. During the times I painted alone at my house, it seemed to take forever to get a room done. Painting is one of many things that goes much faster when you have help. As we continue with our Mixed Greens garden, we come to lettuce. I hope to spend several days with this because there are so many verses that encourage us to work, worship, and walk together as they extend the invitation, "Let us..." It is often a greater joy to be an "us" or "we" than to be alone as an "I" or "me". We can begin with praise to our God. "O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together." (Psalm 34:3) There is a movement in our country now against the name of Jesus, so it is more important than ever that we "magnify the LORD" and "exalt His name together." Let us continue to lift us the name of Jesus so that the lost can see that He is the Lord of Lords and King of Kings!
6. Let Us Worship
We had a Bible Club in high school and one day a girl told me that her family did not go to church and they worshipped at home. I am glad that we can worship any where and any time. And although the Bible Clubs may have been taken out of our schools, and students may not be allowed to pray openly, God can't be taken out of a heart that has invited Him in. And we can pray and worship Him any place and any time. We can worship God where ever we may be and I am thankful that I have worshiped God at home, and even in the car while I am driving down the road. And I am thankful for my church! I enjoy going to church where I can worship God and spend time in fellowship with my Christian brothers and sisters. I can joyfully say with King Daivd, "I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the LORD." (Psalm 122:1) God is our Creator and He alone is worthy of our worship and praise.
"3 For the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the deep places of the earth: the strength of the hills is his also.
5 The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the LORD our maker." (Psalm 95:3-6)
I want to close this devotional by saying that every knee shall bow before the Lord. People may ridicule those who claim to know the Lord Jesus, but one day they will see Him as He is, the Almighty God and everlasting King.
"9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Philippians 2:9-11)
7. Let Us Sing
We talked about magnifying the name o the Lord, and we also looked at joining together in worship. Today we see another way to praise the Lord, and that comes with the invitation in Psalms 95:1, "O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation." The book of Psalms is filled with verses that were sung, so it is not surprising that many of the Psalms tell us to sing unto the Lord. The Bible tells us of God's creation singing. God asked Job where he was "When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?" (Job 38:7) God created the birds to sing. "By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches." (Psalm 104:12) One day the trees will sing. "Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the LORD, because he cometh to judge the earth." (I Chronicles 16:33) The full time jobs of some of the Levites was singing praises to God. At least once the singers went before the army and the enemies were defeated. "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten." (II Chronicles 20:21-22) Paul and Silas sang while they were in prison and the doors were opened, and the jailor was saved and his household. "And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them." (Acts 16:25) Did you know that the Lord rejoices over us in singing? "The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." (Zephaniah 3:17) With all this singing, I want to look to the Psalms again and say, "While I live will I praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto my God while I have any being." (Psalm 146:2)
8. Let Us Go With The Lord
Our encouragement today is for those going through storms.
"22 Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him." (Luke 8:22-25)
In verse 22 we see that Jesus said, "Let us go over unto the other side of the lake." The disciples listened to Jesus. They did what He said. They got in the ship with Him. And the storm still came. A bad storm that filled their ship with water. They "were in jeopardy". Sometimes we go through storms when we are right where the Lord told us to be. We don't have to jump ship or leave Jesus behind to go through storms. We can find ourselves in jeopardy even when we are in the same boat with the Lord. As we continue with our lettuce verses, let us continue to do the things the Bible tells us to do. Let us go where the Lord leads. And let us strengthen our faith through the storms, because Jesus is still in control. Mark 4:39 tells us, "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." The Lord is able to give us peace, even during the worst storms.
9. Let Us Consider One Another
We had our Sunday School Picnic Saturday afternoon and it was a beautiful day. I enjoyed spending time with some of the best people I know. I have been going to Pine Grove Baptist Church for around 30 years and many of the people at the picnic have been there even longer than that. It is a joy to worship with them and fellowship with them during special times like this. We just had our Youth Jubilee in July and the people at Pine Grove work and prepare meals for the young people that come in. God has blessed our church with some very special members. My verse today is found in Hebrews 10:24. "And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:" It is so good to be a part of such a considerate and loving family of Christians.
10. Let Us Be Thankful
As we drove to church Sunday we passed four new signs near our house. The signs were created by two members of Hopewell Friends Church in Asheboro, NC and were made for Easter as a witness for Jesus' saving grace. People continued wanting the signs even after the Easter season and when I checked their web site it shows that over 8,000 of the signs have been sold. I am planning to get one for my yard the next time I go to Asheboro. We have so much to be thankful for! Jesus gave His life for us, and He has promised never to leave us. He provides our needs and gives us joy and strength to carry us through each day. And He has gone to prepare a place for us in heaven to be with Him throughout eternity. Thanksgiving is just ahead, so let's start practicing now and say, "Thank you, Jesus!" "Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms." (Psalm 95:2)
11. Let Us Reason Together
We know that God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to die so that our sin could be paid for and we could be forgiven. "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:8) Have you ever thought about that great love? God is all knowing, and all-powerful, yet He wanted to fellowship with us and it was so important to Him that He made a way to lift us up when we fell. We have all sinned. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) And Jesus died to lift us up! Have you listened to His call and accepted His gift of salvation? He is pleading, "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." (Isaiah 1:18) What can wash away my sin? Nothing, but the blood of Jesus!
12. Let Us Not Be Weary In Well Doing
Mom's floor looks really good. We worked hard to get it done and she is happy with the results. My Mom amazes me. She is twenty years older than I am and she works so hard. I am tired and weary, and I know that she is, too. I am reminded of Galatians 6:9, "And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not." I think this verse goes beyond physical weariness. I believe that the encouragement here is for us not to let our minds grow weary. Sometimes it is hard to continue to stand for what is right when it seems that those around us are falling for what's wrong. We need to stick with Bible truths and stand firm on God's Word. It is a solid foundation. We need to stay strong in our beliefs and keep on the straight and narrow path of righteousness and goodness. We may grow weary in our bodies, but we can look to the Lord for strength and He shall lift us up!
28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." (Isaiah 40:28-31)
13. Let Us Not Fight Against God
The more news I see each day, the more discouraged I become over the state of our nation. I just can't believe that I am living in a time where there is no fear of God or acknowledgment that God even exists. Even back in the times of the Bible, people knew of God and had a respectful fear of His almighty power. We are looking today in the book of Acts when Paul was taken before the counsel and we read, "And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God." (Acts 23:9) These men had sense enough to know that they could not fight against God. I was raised in church and I often heard messages "...that in the last days perilous times shall come." (II Timothy 3:2) But I never dreamed that people would have the audacity to stand against God and try to bring down Christianity and everything taught in the Bible. One day they will see God and they will fall on their faces before His Holiness. I read the book of Revelation and I know that I will live eternally in heaven, but I feel so sorry for those who are determined to fight against God. They are fighting a losing battle.
14. Let Us Turn Again To The Lord
Yesterday I voiced my sorrow and concerns about our country fighting against God. Today I want to look at what we can and desperately need to do. "Let us search and try our ways, and turn again to the LORD. Let us lift up our heart with our hands unto God in the heavens." (Lamentations 3:40-41) There is another verse found in II Chronicles 7:14 which calls us to turn back to God. "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." The politicians don't have the answers for all that is wrong in our land. The media does not have the answers. Our only hope is to "turn again to the LORD."
15. Let Us Now Go Even Unto Bethlehem
Yay! Michael and I went to Asheboro and got our "Thank You Jesus" sign for the yard. They were printed for Easter and I have seen them pop up in several places during the last few months. I believe that we are in the last days, and the time of Jesus' second coming is getting closer and closer. I want us to look back to His first coming, to the familiar passages found in Luke 2.
"15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them." (Luke 2:15-20)
The angels told the shepherd that the Savior had been born. And the shepherds did not hesitate, but said, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem..." After they saw the Christ Child they praised God and "they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child." As the Christmas season draws closer, I want to encourage you with the words of the shepherds. "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem..." And as we look toward the second coming of our Lord, let us be witnesses for Christ glorifying and praising God! I like these signs because they are a simple, but effective way, to glorify God and be a witness for Jesus, my Lord and Savior!
16. Let Us Cleanse Ourselves
Children begin playing sports as such a young age. Micah is 7 and we went to his first football game of the season on Saturday. Maggie was sitting on my lap, asking questions about the game, and I was the wrong person for her to ask because I don't know a lot about football. One thing she wanted to know was why the man kept throwing down the yellow thing. I tried to tell her that the referee threw down the yellow flag when someone did something wrong and they stopped and told them what they did wrong. She asked the same question several times and that made me think about it more. I decided that I am glad a yellow flag doesn't drop down beside me every time I do something wrong. I am thankful that all my errors aren't marked for spectators to see. But, just as football has rules and regulations, we have rules and commandments in the Bible. When we take time to read and study God's Word, the Holy Spirit will drop a Spiritual penalty flag in our heart marking the wrong we have done. When we follow God's Holy Word, we can be more like Christ and have a better testimony for others. "Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1)
17. Let Us Put On The Armor Of Light
As I was looking at more of the Lettuce verses, I came across two which are so prevalent for today. I see the news reports of groups that protest and vandalize and are so violent in their riots and I wonder how our nation could have fallen so far. The only explanation that can be given for such behavior is that they have not seen the Light, and they walk in darkness. Paul gives us three "let us" phrases in these two verses.
"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying." (Romans 13:12-13)
Only Jesus can give us the Light that dispels the darkness. "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) And because Jesus is the Light, we are to reflect His Light to a dark world. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) Are you letting your light shine?
18. Let Us Be Content
I just took my clothes from the dryer and hung them up. (So much quicker than when I used to iron them.) I told Michael that I was thankful for the clothes we wear, and I am also thankful for the washer and dryer to keep them clean. God has been so good to me. Our verse today is found in I Timothy 6:8. "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." Do we mumble and grumble about the things we want, or are we content with what God supplies? When my son moved his family to Minnesota several years ago, and the winter temperatures dipped below 0 degrees, my daughter in law said her favorite verse was Philippians 4:11. "Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Contentment is a great virtue. Let's look back a couple of verses and see the context of our scripture. It reminds me of the wealthy man who died and someone asked, "How much did he leave behind?" And the answer was replied, "All of it." Let us be content.
"6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.
7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content." (I Timothy 6:6-8)
19. Let Us Lay Aside Every Weight And Let Us Run With Patience
I gave birth to five children and I was determined to lose the extra weight after each one. That was many years ago, and since that time many extra pounds have found me to be a good home, and they don't want to leave. I am sure the extra weight slows me down but like so many others, I have a hard time losing it. I am looking today at Hebrews 12:1-2. "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." First we see, "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us". There are things (we may not even think of them as sins) in our lives that hinder us from being the witness that we should. There may be activities that take up so much of our time they keep us from God's Word. It may be time for us to look at our priorities and focus on putting the Lord first in our lives. Next in our verses we read, "let us run with patience the race that is set before us." We are not running a sprint or dash that we can give it all we have for a short run and quit. Our race is more like a marathon that continues each morning when we step out of bed. And our race is not the same as the races our best friends are running. Some seem to be running on nice level roads while we seem to be climbing rocky hills. The writer of Hebrews gently reminds us to keep our eyes on the Lord, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." There may be days that we don't seem to make much progress, but we must be patient. There may even be days that we stumble and fall, but let us be encouraged to pick ourselves up and keep on going. The Lord endured the cross for us, and He is waiting at the throne of God watching over us. He is there to welcome us when our race is over.
20. Let Us Love One Another
I love my husband. I love my children and their spouses. I have a special love for my grandchildren. I love my Mom and my sisters and their families. I love my mother-in-law and father-in-law. I could go on and on like this. I love my Pastor and his wife, and our dear friends at church. You could probably also make a long list of people you love. But, what about the others? Sometimes people come along that we can tolerate, but we don't really like being around them. There have been people in my life that said things that hurt my feelings and they irritated me with their negative attitudes towards me and my family. Can we love those people? Well, I can remember some people that I just had a hard time being around, and do you know what I did? I started praying for them. I started praying that God would help me love them. And do you know what happened? I started overlooking the remarks they made. When I took the time to call someone's name out in prayer every day, God started making that person feel special to me. Try it. When you say your daily prayers, and you ask God to bless those you love, try praying for those who are hard to love. God might just open up your heart and give you a new understanding of what they are going through that makes them the way they are, and God is able to help you love with the love only He can give. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (I John 4:7)
21. Let Us Hold Fast Our Profession
We have looked at some great "Lettuce" verses, and today we see another thought to help us in our daily Christian lives. It is of such importance, that the writer of Hebrews tells us twice, "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith." "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession." (Hebrews 4:14) "Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)" (Hebrews 10:23) Things all around us are constantly changing. Ideas and beliefs that have lasted for thousands of years are now being questioned. It reminds me of another scripture found in Isaiah 5:20, "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" This is the day we are living in. What can we do? "Let us hold fast our profession!" Hold on to your Christian beliefs! Don't let the world convince you that the Biblical way of life is too old-fashioned and out of date to be followed today. We must stand faithful on the solid Rock and we know that we can because "he is faithful that promised." God's Word never changes. "For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven." (Psalm 119:89) Hold on to it. When the things of this world come crashing down, God's Word will still be standing, faithful and true. I close with these words from the little book of Nahum. "The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him." (Nahum 1:7)
22. Let Us Come Boldly Unto The Throne Of Grace
Today I want to pick up where we left off yesterday in Hebrews 4.
14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.
16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:14-16)
Many scriptures in the Bible tell us to humble ourselves before God, so how can we come boldly to the throne of grace and still have an humble spirit? If I disobeyed the law and had to go before a judge I would definitely be humbled. I would be afraid to face my sentence. When we look at this in a spiritual sense, we know that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation." (Hebrews 9:28) Salvation is a personal thing. Once I believed that Jesus died to pay for my sin and give me eternal life, then I asked the Lord to save me, knowing that He would not turn me away. I believe that is what the writer is saying when he says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." We can come to Jesus with the assurance that He knows our temptations, and He understands our pain and sorrow. Without this assurance we would have great fear to call on Jesus, but through the promises of God's precious Word, we can assuredly "come boldly unto the throne of grace" and we can "obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
23. Let Us Walk In The Spirit
I just walked down to look at my little patch of mixed greens, and with all the rain we have had this week, they are coming right along. Some may be two inches tall. The ground is too wet and soft for me to get in and pull the weeds (and cucumbers and lima beans) that are growing among the greens, so it really does look like a bunch of mixed greens. Today I want us to look at Galatians 5:22-25.
"22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law...
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit."
We talked about love and today we see our love grow and extend outward to include the "fruit of the Spirit." We see that as our love grows, it fills our hearts and lives with joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Just like my little mixed greens all grow together, the Spirit can blossom and bring forth all this fruit in our lives. Let us walk in the Spirit, and let us be fruitful Christians.
24. Let Us Rise Up And Build
What a beautiful Lord's day we just had! When we go to the house of the Lord, and have our hearts lifted up with the joy of good songs, and have our soul fed with God's Word through the teaching and preaching, it is a blessed day. I feel like my church is my refuge. For a short while we can rejoice in the Lord and forget all the troubles of the world. We can turn off the pull of the media and our electronic devices and focus on God's message for us. I have talked from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah many times, but I enjoy those little books and feel like they can speak to us in these troubled times. There was a remnant that left captivity and went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall and the temple. They faced many hardships and great opposition, but they did not give up. Our verse today is Nehemiah 2:18, "Then I told them of the hand of my God which was good upon me; as also the king's words that he had spoken unto me. And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for this good work." We see our country falling and in need of great repair and I want to encourage all God's children, "Let us rise up and build." Let's not give up. God still has a remnant of followers who want to seek His face. Let us strengthen our hands for His good work. We have come too far to quit now. Let's finish right! Don't neglect the house of the Lord. We can find our strength and courage to keep on keeping on when we spend time with our Christian friends and feast on God's precious Word.
25. Let Us Hear The Conclusion
We have been on our lettuce verses almost three weeks, and have looked at some great verses. Let us praise Him. Let us thank the Lord. Let us love one another. Let us hold fast our profession. So, as it is time to move on... "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." (Ecclesiastes 12:13) The wisest man who ever lived, who spake 3,000 proverbs (I Kings 4:32), when he came to the end of his life, summed it all up, "Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man." And the next verse tells us why. "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:14) God is the Judge over all. And everything we do during our short time on earth, good or bad, is seen by God. When we stop and think about this, we can understand that God is really all that matters! Let us live for Him!
26. Turn Up Our Eyes To Heaven And Lift Up Our Voices
When I walk down and look at my little garden patch of mixed greens I can smell the turnips. I am patiently waiting for them to grow and get big enough to eat. As we continue with our Spiritual Garden we see that we can turn up our eyes to God in heaven and lift up our voices when we get up out of bed in the morning. We can say with David, "My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up." (Psalm 5:3) When my children were small I realized that if I got up in the morning in a bad mood my children would fight and argue all day. If I got up and spoke kindly to them and helped them gently ease into the day, they were happy and got along so much better. It was amazing how much my attitude affected their behavior. I also learned that when I get up and begin my day with prayer, my day goes much better. God's Word can truly help us when we read it and follow it as our daily guide.
27. Turn Up For What God Has Planned For You
The ground is finally dry enough that I could pull some of the weeds from my turnips. I really enjoy my little garden and work to help it along, but I can't make it grow. I planted three kinds of pumpkin seeds and the vines ran down the yard, but not a single pumpkin grew on the vines. I hope to try again next year, maybe in a different spot of ground. Sometimes we work at something and it just doesn't work out. But we need to make sure we are on God's path and keep following His direction. We need to turn up to God with our eyes and ears open and seek His face. He does not require us to be successful, just faithful.
Several years ago I spent some time on some of our "Ups" and want to share a few of these with you today.
Look Up - "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." Psalm 121:1-2
Wise Up - "And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father's have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee," Luke 15:17-18
'Fess Up - "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:9-10
Speak Up - "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed." Romans 10:10-11
Grow Up - " As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:" I Peter 2:2
Wake Up - "This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm118:24
Lift Up - "Unto thee, O LORD, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me." Psalm 25:1-2
Cheer Up - "These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
"Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do." I Thessalonians 5:11
Don't Give Up - "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:31
Show Up - "Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." Hebrews 10:25
Lay Up Treasure In Heaven - "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Matthew 6:19-21
Listen Up - "He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches." Revelation 3:22
Time's Up - "And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer:" Revelation 10:5-6
28. The Gift Of Time
I was sitting on the couch folding towels and I could hear the washing machine sing its swishy song, and even the dryer hummed along, and I said, "Thank you, Lord." My mind went back to a time when my Mom would get the four of us up before daylight so she could take Dad to work and borrow the car. Later on she loaded our dirty clothes in the car and we piled in to go to the laundry mat. We played while the clothes washed and I don't think we complained because that was the way it was done. Then Mom piled us and the wet clothes back in the car so she could hang them out on the line at home. God has blessed us to live during a time when we have so many time saving instruments. We should have so much more time than the past generations, but many feel like they still don't have enough time. Time. Our valuable gift from God, renewed each day. How do we spend our time? How much of our precious gift do we give back to the Lord? Rich or poor. Young or old. We all waken each new day with the same amount of time. What we do with it makes all the difference.
My garden word today is "thyme". I have never had any or used any. But God has given me the great gift of "time" and for that I am thankful! I need to use all I can for Him. "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;" (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2)
29. Redeeming The Time, Because The Days Are Evil
My son and his family were coming to visit Friday night so I thought I would do a little quick cleaning. I picked up one thing and carried it to another room, where I saw something that needed more immediate attention, so I stopped what I was doing and tried to do that. I left the light on in the room I was working on so that I would remember to go back and finish. I carried something to my bedroom and saw a button on the dresser that I needed to stop and sew on, so another light was left on. What started as a quick cleaning turned into hours of working here and there and I think every light in the house was on. When I was younger I would start in the first room of the house and give myself about 15 minutes on each room, and I worked quickly and precisely to give the house a good overall cleaning. But so many things have filled my mind, some of the little things seem to get lost in there. My steps are much slower and I have to go easy on my joints with my bending and stooping. For those who wonder what I am talking about, I can sum it up with four letters... T-I-M-E. Time has taken its toll and sometimes I feel much older than my age. My thoughts today are from Ephesians 5:16-20.
"16 Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
17 Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
20 Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;"
When I think of redeeming, I think of cashing in coupons in exchange for money towards my purchase. So, with that thought, what are we cashing our time in for? Are we wasting our time, or using it for the Lord? The Apostle Paul goes on to explain how we can understand what the will of the Lord is and redeem our time. Verse 18 is self-explanatory. The next verses tell us how we can be filled with the Spirit. Notice that he says, "Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;" If we do something always, for all things, then that is all the time. I believe it is pleasing to God for us to be thankful all the time! That is one way we can redeem the time. We don't need to wait another month to give God thanks. Let's thank Him all the time!