Gardening the Soul

Gardens do not thrive unless two things happen… 1. You put effort and resources into it, and 2. God works on and blesses it.

The same is true of our soul. When you feel dry or wilted or flooded inside, not thriving spiritually, it is never (unless it is a test) that God is not doing His part. It is far more likely we are not putting in the effort or resources. For example, not reading our Bible, not participating in church, not serving, not praying. Spiritual growth is not a one way effort, it is a relationship with almighty, loving God. No relationship is healthy without effort from both sides. And when the effort is mutual, it is beautiful and thrives.

So, if you tell me you are going through a dry patch or feel overwhelmed or lack luster spiritually, I will remind you to humble yourself and do your part because God always does His.😄❤

It Takes Purposeful Effort

Being a Christian requires purposeful effort. So does being a jerk in many cases. So does running a marathon. So does accomplishing anything praiseworthy. But to hear Father God say “Well done, good and faithful child”, we have to decide to commit purposeful effort into pleasing Him. That includes learning what pleases Him via the Bible, prayer all the time, and meeting together with other Christians for help and encouragement with both of those. It is easy to be lazy, requires very little effort and no purpose. But actually committing is a big deal and a lot of purposeful effort will need to be utilized to get into good habits and stay in close, maturing relationship with our loving God. And eternally- speaking and even right now, that is where we need and want to be.❤

Who We Are (Deep Stuff)

My husband and I just had a deep conversation (not unusual). We were discussing who we as human beings are, what we are made of, and what changes in our life. And here is our discussion and thoughts summed up. Here goes:

We (people) are comprised of these parts, in this order:

1. Physical body

2. Our mentality and thought processes.

3. Our soul.

4. Our spirit.

When we are born and as long as we remain immature, we stick with thr physical selves, which can be selfish and always is taking care of staying alive and wants and needs. As we grow and hopefully mature in life, we develop and give prominence and power to the mentality, a higher function which considers others around us also and consequences, memories, etc. Then as we further mature and develop, we give prominence and power to our soul, where we have a greater idea of who God made us to be and our connectedness to the spirit, with built in personal identity in the bigger picture of God’s kingdom. And the highest goal of maturity and growth and development is to give prominence and power to the spirit in intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit/Source of Goodness and Love.

We can screw this up by opening the spirit to evil spirits inadvertently and ignorantly (or willingly) via the physical or mentality. We can and so screw it up by remaining immature.

How do we shift to the goal of spiritual prominence and connectedness to the Holy Spirit/Good/Love? We read the Bible and pray and start to incorporate its values into our lives until we can be humble enough to let God transform us and shift us to this new form. And when it happens, it is beautiful.😄❤

Complete is Mature & Balanced

People try to balance right and wrong. As if doing more good than bad saves your eternal soul. This is a ridiculous, ludicrous notion and here is why. Who determines what is right and wrong and which is better and keeps tabs on which you do in what column? See the ridiculousness of it? It is laughable. Even if you get right and wrong from the truth of the Bible, there are sometimes extrenuous circumstances and that God searches the heart, intent and motivation as much as what we do. So who can be more right than wrong by those high standards? You see how flawed that thinking is?

What God calls us to is perfection. But what He means by that is complete and mature and balanced. He wants us saved by the blood and resurrection power of Christ Jesus, which is a free gift in response to a humble prayer for it. Then we are saved. No right and wrong balanced, we are saved and secure for eternity with Him as long as we keep our humble prayer for salvation our heart’s desire. And no strings are attached, it is our gift. The complete maturity and balance (of eternity thinking and now thinking) comes after that as we live our lives focused on Him, maturing, growing, learning and studying truth, serving, appreciating, worshipping, praying, etc. As we strive every minute, every day, every thought or goal to be a follower of Christ Jesus, we become more like Him and eventually take on His likeness and focus and perspective. That is the perfection God calls us to. He takes us as we are, loves us, blesses us with the free gift of salvation, then trains us to be so much more for n our benefit and His kingdom’s benefit. And this is His will for us all. He loves us that much! How amazing is that! How perfect is He!❤❤❤

A Life Lesson From Carrots

Our carrot harvest was small. Lots of carrots were there fully matured but tiny. Half of them were too skinny to eat of any use at all. Of the half that were edible, only a few had reached their full potential. I realized what I did wrong. I did not thin them and planted the seeds too close together. I let them be comfortable.

However, my lack of thinning them made them be overcrowded. They had no room to expand or grow. They needed me to disturb their comfort and move them around, separate them from their comfort in order for them to grow stronger and healthier. They would have benefitted us more had I disrupted their comfort.

This is how life is. God has to mess up our comfort a bit because we need to grow stronger, for our benefit and His kingdom’s benefit.

A comfortable life can never be the goal… growth is. A closer relationship to God, deeper roots, healthy strength to help nourish others and praise God. God would not be showing us the most love and care by leaving us alone in comfort, just as I did not show my carrots the greatest love and care by leaving them aline in comfort. Comfort spoiled the carrot harvest. Comfort spoils our usefulness.

As children of God, we need to appreciate and thank Him for the struggles He allows in our lives. Proves He loves us and wants us to grow stronger. I will be grateful and not grumble anymore to the best of my ability. God knows what is best for me and has always done that for me despite my lack of understanding at the time. He is God and I most certainly am not.❤

Flexibility and Resilience

I have a friend whose husband passed unexpectedly. Shortly after, while still in mourning, her kids and one grandchild moved several states away and abandoned her in that out of selfish pursuits of drugs. Then she lost her house because she couldn’t afford it and he had left many debts. She moved n in with her parents and was driving an hour and a half to work every day. Then she had a car accident. She mourned. I thought, “How could anyone come back from all that?”

And here is the lesson. She called me the other day and stopped by. I was braced to hold her crying, limp body yet again. But no, this was different. She found an apartment in town she could afford. She started dating, is eager to start back to work, had many smiles, focusing on her neices. And her resilience amazed me and her flexibility impressed me and I learned from her. She had Jesus. Through it all, she had Jesus and the Holy Spirit strengthened and comforted her each time she mourned. And all those things which change your life unexpectedly are opportunities to rely on God. And if you don’t have the God, the Great Healer in your life, you may never recover from that. But with God, you can be made better. And on this side of the struggle, I have to say she is more beautiful and spiritually strong in Jesus than I have ever seen her. And she is less focused on herself and more focused on God. And I wanted to share that. Love you, friend.❤

The Graceful Power of God

I confess I dislike the push of what I call “Selfish/Narcissistic Christianity” that is popular in many circles now, many churches. It is an infection of the enemy within the church, an infiltration, a parasite. Its motto is “What has God done for me lately?” And that is the selfish heart of it. And I detest it. I loathe it. I abhor it. Why the strong language? Because it wreaks of the world and the church is to smell sweet and light up the world, never be in it but set apart leading the lost to Jesus and His church for salvation. The Graceful Power of God blesses all the time, it is true, but He works in so many ways that worshipping Him needs to be the focus, lifting up Jesus Christ should always be the focus, truth must be the focus, loving service as such becomes the resulting focus. As Christians, our thinking is wrong if we are looking for God to serve us and people to serve us. We are always in the wrong if we are greedy and wanting to sit around and get blessings. The Graceful Power of God works through His pure church that wishes instead to worship and serve Him, works for His glory, lifts Him up. There is nothing worse than a whining Christian. We have to stop that. I seriously have to restrain myself from smacking the face of someone claiming to be a Christian with nothing but complaints coming fom their mouth. This should not be. We need to speak truth, be encouragers, be humble (I keep going back to that because it is the core thinking), be lights in the darkness. We have the answer to the problems people have, being salvation through and thus eternity with Jesus Christ. We need to lift that up, get the news out, help wherever we can. This is Christianity. That other garbage and selfishness is not, no matter what people say. Whoever focuses only on the blessings and not the humble obedience and worship is a liar, speaking half truths that lead people astray. Get away from them, don’t listen to a word they say. Read the Bible and pray for yourself and you will see the glorious grace of God in your life is beautiful ways! ❤