Bloom Where You’re Planted

Bloom Where You’re Planted

And I am convinced and sure of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will continue until the day of Jesus Christ [right up to the time of His return], developing [that good work] and perfecting and bringing it to full completion in you. (Philippians 1:6 Amplified Bible AMP)

On my way to the coffee shop today my husband and I were talking about our rather unpleasant circumstances. He said, “I think God is teaching me humility and patience.” And I remembered something that I heard somewhere. That if God doesn’t change your circumstances he is using those circumstances to change our hearts to be more like his. Jesus loves us and promises plans to prosper us not to harm us. Jeremiah 29:11-13 Amplified Bible (AMP),

11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome. 12 Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you. 13 Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me [as a vital necessity] and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.

God loves us so much, it’s hard to fathom. And sometimes when it feels like things are taking a long time to change or that things get worse it’s hard to see God’s love. So we have to trust that God’s got a plan and that plan is a good one. He has promised and God is good and keeps his promises. Numbers 23:19, Amplified Bible (AMP)

19 God is not a man, that He should tell or act a lie, neither the son of man, that He should feel repentance or compunction [for what He has promised]. Has He said and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken and shall He not make it good?

When God is working in his time and we can’t see his work or his hand we can rest in his promise. What should we do while we wait? The saying goes bloom where you’re planted. Give God everything you’ve got. Be the best you can be. Be enthusiastic, look for things to thank God for praise his name without stopping, be happy where you are. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Amplified Bible (AMP),

16 Be happy [in your faith] and rejoice and be glad-hearted continually (always); 17 Be unceasing in prayer [praying perseveringly]; 18 Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will].

Remember, Isaiah 14:27 Amplified Bible (AMP) “27 For the Lord of hosts has purposed, and who can annul it? And His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?”

Share Your Salt

Behave yourselves wisely [living prudently and with discretion] in your relations with those of the outside world (the non-Christians), making the most of the time and seizing (buying up) the opportunity. Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].

Colossians 4:5-6

Paul was concerned with the church at Colossae his instructions mirror the instruction Jesus gave in Matthew 5:13- 16, “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), How can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set in a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but in a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and praiseworthy, noble and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.”

In the time of Christ salt was used to preserve and flavor food. Jesus calls his disciples and Paul reminds the church to show Jesus’ love to the world. Be Salt and Light. Stand out in a crowd by being over the top joyful and kind. Make people wonder what’s up, and when they ask you why you are happy or how you can be kind you have an opening to share God. You have an opportunity to plant a seed. Stand out in a crowd. Be different. Live your bumper sticker. Let the world know that Christians are different. Show them the best of what God has to offer. Give them some fruit of the Spirit that Christians are filled with. Put the fruit to work for God. Galatians 5: 22-23, “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence) faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring charge].”

If you are a Christian you are filled with the Spirit of Christ. You can act out the fruit of the spirit. If you’re not giving out Spirit fruit start today. Choose one fruit and give it to everyone you meet. And when they ask what’s different in you? What’s changed? Be sure to tell them you are filled with the Holy Spirit. Give them salt with their fruit to preserve the eternal soul, and then give them some light as you show them how to have and use their fruit. Don’t be wasted salt to be thrown out. God wants us in the world to woo nonbelievers to him. That’s why He gave us the fruit of the Spirit and called us to be salt.

I’m a Sheep and I Like It

I’m a Sheep and I Like It

“He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers his lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11 New International Version)

When I was a young mother I clung to this verse with all my might. Knowing that God gently leads those that are with young was absolutely vital for my sanity. I trusted that this verse would keep my family and I safe. After all who could harm us in the arms of God. It also gave me confidence, the confidence to make good choices as a single mom. It gives me the feeling of being wrapped in a soft blanket and being held by God.
Can you imagine a safer more secure and comforting place to be than in the arms of God? As a mom I wanted to provide that same feeling to my daughter, so I cuddled and snuggled and reminded her that I loved her as often as possible. I am never more secure than when I am wrapping myself in this verse. Being a sheep is awesome!

Infinite Understanding

Infinite Understanding

“Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.” (Psalm 147:5, New International Version)

How great is God’s understanding Psalm 136:5 credits God’s understanding for creating the heavens, “Who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.” (NIV) This God who imagined and then created the heavens also knows and understands us. He knows us because he created us. Genesis 1:27, “So God created man after his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female.” (NIV) Psalm 103:14, promises that God knows how we are made, “…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.” (NIV) God said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you …” Jeremiah 1:5. (NIV) Isn’t it wonderful to trust that God knows us and understands us? The wonderful, powerful, and all knowing God knows us intimately.
God knows our thoughts; he knows our hurts, and our joy. God knows us and he loves us
God loves us very much. Luke 12:7 says, “Indeed the very hairs on your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (NIV)
Ephesians 3:17-19, “so that Christ, may dwell in your hearts through faith, and I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (NIV) Sometimes it may feel like we are out here on our own, but Lamentations 3:32 assures us, “Though he brings grief, he will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.” (NIV) This is how great God’s love is, according to John 3:1, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (NIV) I suppose the final word on God’s love for us is John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have ever lasting love.” (NIV)
God knows absolutely everything about us. There is nothing we could do to surprise him. And he loves us God loves us despite our propensity to wonder off on our own and sin. How wonderful to have a friend that is always there for us ready to respond with love. Which doesn’t necessarily mean that he is going to keep us from facing the consequences of our actions and choices. It does mean however that God is there with us giving us the strength and peace to handle whatever is in our lives.
I wish I could count the number of bad choices I’ve made, and I know that God was there with me through all the consequence of those choices. When I was younger God protected me as ran wild and defiant. Looking back I came through a life struggling with my parents and often being a runaway fairly unscathed. God was with me while I hitchhiked across country, and slept with strangers. Those days seemed so far away now. I survived, I didn’t thrive, but I knew God was with me and that he understood even if he didn’t bless me.
Currently, my husband John and I live with our daughter. This is a consequence of choices. Choices we both made and living with her is not ideal. God has given me reason to rejoice. As we turn toward God he is restoring us. My husband got his job back; after being fired for getting a DUI in front of his office. And although I haven’t been able to work because of serious pain from back surgery and fibromyalgia I am striving for improved health.
I’m glad God loves and understands me better than I understand myself. My goal now is to understand God.
God loves and understands us, but to build a relationship with God requires us to understand Him.

Do I Trust God (continued)

I just waited for my life to hit solid ground also known as, “rock bottom”. Once there I realized, first that self-pity is not productive. Proverbs 15:13, sets the truth of self-pity right, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (NIV) So, self-pity was wasting my time, and I wanted a happy heart. I began to ask myself, how could I get my life back? How could I get God’s blessing? The Lord blesses the righteous. Proverbs 3:33, “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (NIV) So, I needed God’s blessing.
What did I need to clean up in order to be blessed? I learned the answers in the book of Proverbs. I was full of bitterness. I was angry with God for the situation I found myself in. I was physically ill, in debt beyond what I could afford, and I being a homeless person was a possibility. To be honest none of that was God’s fault, but I was still angry and nursing my anger. Here is what I learned about being angry, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31, NIV) Easier said than done was my reaction. I was raised in a home whose motto was feelings aren’t good or bad they just are. I feel the way I feel and I can’t help it. Until I read 2 Corinthians 10:4-5,
The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ. (NIV)
So, a new thought for me, just because I felt it didn’t mean that it was good or ok or should remain unchecked and unchallenged. It is wrong, and immature to stay mad at God, and the anger didn’t serve me well. The message I took was “get over it.”
Not only was I angry there were other issues. I lacked self-discipline of any kind, I used my chronic pain not to do anything but sit on the couch and watch TV. Repeat episodes of Bones and Castle filled my day. Getting over my anger was first, but second was getting it together and getting off the couch so to speak. Proverbs 25:28, “Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.” (NIV) Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (NIV) I don’t necessarily believe that those are in order of importance. And to top it off, 2 Timothy 1:7, points out clearly that “God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” (NIV) I know that on my own power I was not going to be able to do anything about my couch potato status. So I prayed and I prayed using the actual word of God to back me up. Essentially I got on my knees and reminded God that self-discipline was a gift of God, and every day that I fail to get of the couch the next day I start over praying God’s word. I also began asking God to relieve my pain. Usually it works.
In case you don’t get it I feel I need to expound. My lack of self-discipline is also, lazy and God is crystal clear about laziness. Generally Proverbs 31:10-31 is an example of an industrious, not lazy wife. I was not that, but God is emphatic. 2 Thessalonians 3:12 compels us to, “Such people we command and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and the bread they eat.” Remember I worried about homelessness and getting my food from the food bank. And if that was not enough to convince me to make a change, Proverbs 15:19 warns that, “The way of the sluggard is blocked with thorns, but the path of the upright is a highway.” (NIV) God really wants to move me in this and so Titus 3:14 just knocks it home, “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.” (NIV) I can take a hint. I am now doing what I can do on my own and with prayer I trust God to help me do what I can’t do on my own.
I am still pretty new to the idea of praying and trusting God for my absolute and every need. So far, things are improving quickly. Although I shouldn’t be surprised I am. And generally speaking my heart overflows with gratitude and amazement at God’s faithfulness. He is helping me to get some control over my health and my day. Every day I ask God to order my day and to give me the strength and focus to accomplish what He has for me. I surrender to His plan knowing that there is joy waiting for me as I fulfill God’s plan for me.
Before I close I should answer Beth Moore’s questions. First, Do we just want the cross without the resurrection? My answer is yes sometimes. Sometimes, I get weary and I just can’t make one more change in my life even if it is at the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Second, are we trying to stuff the living and working Christ back into the tomb so He’ll save us and then just leave us alone? I am absolutely awe struck and overwhelmed with gratitude that God sent His Son to die on the cross. The thing that is convicting is the fact that He would have done that if I were the only human on earth. But, giving your life to Christ is a huge commitment and I am guilty of not wanting God to move in my life. Sometimes I’m like Jonah. Third, do we want to know ‘the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings’? Ultimately I’m an in for a penny in for a pound girl. I really do want God to control my life. I know that his way is the smooth and safe way, even if, it doesn’t seem that way at first. So Beth Moore had some great questions. These questions have caused me to think and confirm what level of God I truly want. I want the whole thing.

Love and joy,

Billie

P.S. Let me know what you think. Also, if you find this helpful or interesting please share it with others you know.

Corrected Do I Trust God

I made a mistake on my posting yesterday I gave to wrong reference for the verse below is the corrected reference.

FYI I am changing my edit process to improve the quality of my posts.

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

Beth Moore (1984), asks a great question in her book, To Live is Christ:Embracing the Passion of Paul, her question is actually three questions, “Do we just want the cross without the resurrection? Are we trying to stuff the living and working Christ back into the tomb so He’ll save us and then just leave us alone? Or do we want to know ‘the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings’?” (p. 34).

It struck me that living without allowing Christ full access to my life was really just stuffing him back into the grave, and he rose to give me the power of the Holy Spirit. I wondered, why I limit him to just his death? This led me to an even bigger question; do I trust God to be good to me? Recently I have struggled with health, and finances, I have even struggled to find a place to live. My recent past has been a painful struggle, and if God put me through that can I trust him?

Clearly, we are told to trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. (NIV) If God will make my way straight how could I be in the mess I was in? Do I trust God? Is God’s power enough to care for me? Is God unfaithful to his word? And, the scariest question of all, does God love me enough to care for me?
Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.” (NIV) And Jeremiah 32:26-27 says, “Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” NIV. Clearly the problem isn’t God’s power.

Ok, could the problem be that God is not faithful, I don’t really think that’s the problem, but let’s look and see. I need reassurance. Deuteronomy 7:9 tells it like it is, God is Faithful, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (NIV) And Psalm 33:4 assures that, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” (NIV) Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”(NIV)

I think now I need to answer the BIG ELEPHANT in the room question. The hard question with the possible devastating answer; does God love me enough? 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (NIV) Nehemiah 9:17, “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.” (NIV) David knew about God’s love and asks, “Turn O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.” (Psalm 6:4, NIV) And, Psalm 36:5 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV) So, that settles that, the problem is not God’s power, or His faithfulness, or His love for me.

I have to ask myself do I trust God? The answer was that In all honesty, I had stopped asking God for help. I had made so many mistakes. Why would God help me? And maybe when my life started to spiral I blamed God and spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t trust him to provide good things for me.

I just waited for my life to hit solid ground also known as, “rock bottom”. Once there I realized, first that self-pity is not productive. Proverbs 15:13, sets the truth of self-pity right, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (NIV) So, self-pity was wasting my time, and I wanted a happy heart. I began to ask myself, how could I get my life back? How could I get God’s blessing? The Lord blesses the righteous. Proverbs 3:33, “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (NIV) So, I needed God’s blessing.

Love and Joy
Billie

P.S. I’ll send you the rest of the story tomorrow and don’t forget to let me know what you think. Also, if you find this helpful or interesting please share it with others you know.

Do I Trust God

“…For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Leviticus 29:11 (New International Version)

Beth Moore (1984), asks a great question in her book, To Live is Christ:Embracing the Passion of Paul, her question is actually three questions, “Do we just want the cross without the resurrection? Are we trying to stuff the living and working Christ back into the tomb so He’ll save us and then just leave us alone? Or do we want to know ‘the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings’?” (p. 34).

It struck me that living without allowing Christ full access to my life was really just stuffing him back into the grave, and he rose to give me the power of the Holy Spirit. I wondered, why I limit him to just his death? This led me to an even bigger question; do I trust God to be good to me? Recently I have struggled with health, and finances, I have even struggled to find a place to live. My recent past has been a painful struggle, and if God put me through that can I trust him?

Clearly, we are told to trust in the Lord. Proverbs 3:5-6 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. (NIV) If God will make my way straight how could I be in the mess I was in? Do I trust God? Is God’s power enough to care for me? Is God unfaithful to his word? And, the scariest question of all, does God love me enough to care for me?
Jeremiah 32:17, “Ah, Sovereign Lord, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm.” (NIV) And Jeremiah 32:26-27 says, “Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah: ‘I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” NIV. Clearly the problem isn’t God’s power.

Ok, could the problem be that God is not faithful, I don’t really think that’s the problem, but let’s look and see. I need reassurance. Deuteronomy 7:9 tells it like it is, God is Faithful, “Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (NIV) And Psalm 33:4 assures that, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does.” (NIV) Lamentations 3:22-23, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”(NIV)

I think now I need to answer the BIG ELEPHANT in the room question. The hard question with the possible devastating answer; does God love me enough? 1 Chronicles 16:34, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.” (NIV) Nehemiah 9:17, “They refused to listen and failed to remember the miracles you performed among them. They became stiff-necked and in their rebellion appointed a leader in order to return to their slavery. But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not desert them.” (NIV) David knew about God’s love and asks, “Turn O Lord, and deliver me; save me because of your unfailing love.” (Psalm 6:4, NIV) And, Psalm 36:5 “Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.” (NIV) So, that settles that, the problem is not God’s power, or His faithfulness, or His love for me.

I have to ask myself do I trust God? The answer was that In all honesty, I had stopped asking God for help. I had made so many mistakes. Why would God help me? And maybe when my life started to spiral I blamed God and spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself. I didn’t trust him to provide good things for me.

I just waited for my life to hit solid ground also known as, “rock bottom”. Once there I realized, first that self-pity is not productive. Proverbs 15:13, sets the truth of self-pity right, “A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit.” (NIV) So, self-pity was wasting my time, and I wanted a happy heart. I began to ask myself, how could I get my life back? How could I get God’s blessing? The Lord blesses the righteous. Proverbs 3:33, “The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked, but he blesses the home of the righteous.” (NIV) So, I needed God’s blessing.

Love and Joy
Billie

P.S. I’ll send you the rest of the story tomorrow and don’t forget to let me know what you think. Also, if you find this helpful or interesting please share it with others you know.

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