How Do We Tend our Garden

The Lord feeds the birds of the air and gives us our daily bread. I am reminded of these truths these summer days whenever I sit out in my backyard and do just that…sit. Sit and watch the birds as they fly from branch to branch devouring their daily meals.  The orioles find the dishes we fill with grape jelly every day, the cardinals the sunflower seeds I scatter and all the while, He reminds me of how He fully satisfies us, knowing our every need.

Our role, if we desire satisfaction, contentment and peace is to seek the Lord and find Him just as the birds seek out their food. We seek, pursue, go after Him with all our heart and He is waiting ready to be found. He knows the way to our hearts!

The Lord desires to reveal His heart to ours so we cleave to Him becoming wholly His and walk ably in the way He has prepared for us.

When we have felt the sting of words or actions, we hurt and the tendency of our flesh is to (want to) lash back or seek retribution in some way. But our Lord? He calls us to walk a higher walk by living the love life and sowing seeds of righteousness.

Our job becomes that of learning how to tend our garden.

It is in the hard and hurtful experiences we learn how to tend our garden by showing love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and purity of heart. His words of truth telling us who we are, Whose we are will become our daily bread. We can choose to forgive and harbour no grudges so we can face the (perceived) offending party with grace.

When our words and actions are motivated by love we are sowing seeds of righteousness and the Lord promises we will reap according to loving kindness and mercy.

Hosea 10:12 is speaks loudly to my spirit in these days,

Beloved, sow for yourself according to righteousness, uprightness and right standing with Me. Don’t allow circumstances to rob you of the blessing of obedience and reaping according to mercy and loving kindness. Allow that uncultivated ground to be broken up, for it is time to seek Me, to inquire for and of Me and to not look at what you see in the natural.  I want you to walk in My favour. I am with you to teach you of righteousness when it is hard and unnatural for you. I want to rain down upon you My righteous gift of salvation.

When ‘stuff’ happens in our relationships, we need to not be afraid to communicate with one another and take a first step in breaking up the barren and hard ground between us so life grows. This is the garden that we tend.

We ‘tend’ the garden, we don’t just rush in and step all over the little shoots of life with no regard. This is why holding our peace is so important. Its easy to rush in when we are all upset and hurt and just make a mess of what could become a beautiful garden, what is a beautiful garden even in the small beginning stages.

When we ignore the hurt and harden our hearts toward the other person, the ground separating us is dry and barren, rocky soil where nothing good can grow.118

The ground needs watering from the Well of the Word of Life. How we tend our garden will determine the seed that is planted. When we sow according to love we will have love seeds to plant so life flourishes. These seeds become available to us when we have spent time in the presence of Jehovah Shalom.

The seeds aren’t just tossed to the ground like so many wild flower seeds. The seeds are held as the  ground is prayerfully prepared and then planted with love, grace and mercy. Someone has to take the first step in cultivating the ground when misunderstanding has caused an offense to want to lodge in our hearts.

Our hearts are the ‘lodge’ of Christ, the ‘lodge’ of our hearts is where He abides and there is only room for His love.

As we hold fast, holding our peace and waiting upon the Lord, we are holding fast to love and mercy, to righteousness and justice. The peace of God will rule our hearts, will be the umpire of our hearts as we move towards the other with grace, peace, mercy and love.

The Name of the Lord is a Strong Tower and when we, His beloved, run into it we are saved. Saved to become wholly His with nothing lacking and every good and perfect gift within reach.

When we run to the Lord when we been hurt, as much as we try to ‘hold or keep’ our peace, His greater Peace, the very Presence of Jehovah Shalom overshadows us and becomes the essence of our peace. His peace, like a balm soothes our wounded soul and directs our thoughts into the Word of the Lord.

As much as the Father delights in us as we lean into Him, I believe we capture His attention and He is riveted upon us when we are willing to walk out into the deep with Him.

Our steps of obedience show Him we are willing to walk with Him in a place not yet ventured.

Lord, in my weakness, You are my strength. In Your High Tower not only am I safe, but I am made strong. Father, I have concentrated my gaze upon the safety in the High Tower and have not contemplated the being made strong. God, transform me so Your Word runs deep. Deeper than ever before Lord and I ask that You show Yourself strong on my behalf as I make decisions pleasing to You and speak words that are upright, righteous and in right standing with You. Father, how I long for the consequences of my words to bear good fruit because I have planted good seed.

Thank You for unveiling Your word in our Secret, Sacred Place and for letting me see as You do.  Thank You for showing me why I felt hurt and then showing me another picture of where I stand in You, of who I am in You as Daughter of the Most High King. Nothing can remove me from this place. Nothing. No weapon formed against me can prosper if I hold my peace!

Thank You for renewing my weak nature by the strength and power of Your love words as I bind myself to Your words. Teach me discretion and wisdom so that the words of my mouth are like deep waters. Your deep waters, God so that the wisdom of my words is like a gushing stream and fountain of life whose waters sparkle with freshness, purity and the giving of life.134

Teach me daily Lord to walk in the ‘so thats”~ Your plans and purposes!

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When What You Have is all You Need

Could you imagine making a promise to God the way the Psalmist does when he promises to keep the Words of the Lord?

I think that is just really bold and brazen of him to stand before the Lord and make that promise with all his heart.  But he doesn’t quit there, he goes on to say he has been seeking His favor also with all his heart and asks Him to be gracious to him according to His Word.

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Hearts Set on Obedience

I have been reading my new Message Bible, reading it as one who thirsts for water.  It is causing me to drink deep from the well.

I love the new translation, the unfamiliar wording gives such a different, practical perspective.

Psalm 119:57 really has me thinking.

Because you have satisfied me, God, I promise to do everything you say.

Wow! Such a tall order for us to fulfill.  We want to make sure, before we make a vow like that to God we can keep our word and live our everyday lives according to what He has said.

Not only is that a tall order, it puts us in a quandary. Do we even know all that God has said so we can keep our promise?

Most of us have a general, good idea.  We know He tells us to love our enemies, bless those who persecute us and love is the fulfillment of the Law. We also know there is so much more-like dying to our natural behaviours and attitudes, when we live in them we cannot live in harmony with His Spirit.

Sometimes it is so hard to love, to bless and to be motivated every day to obey. Some days I catch myself being critical or short tempered.  You may catch yourself gossiping or ________. The blank is yours to fill in!  We are all so different and yet the Lord requires the same thing of each of us.

Micah 6:8 tells us clearly the Lord requires of us that we act justly, we love mercy, and we walk humbly before our God.

The Lord satisfies us not because we are obediently conforming and doing everything we are supposed to.  The Lord satisfies us because it is part of what He has already DONE!

Psalm 103:1-5 excites me!

Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, bless His holy name!

Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits; who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction, who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is restored like the eagle’s.

Our part is that we bless His holy name.  All that is within us is to bless His holy name.  When we feel grouchy, anxious, fearful, full of dislike for someone, all of those negatives must yield, turn and bless the Lord.

So that means yes, I admit to being impatient and grouchy, anxious and fearful.  My spirit man wants to walk in obedience to the Lord and she is going to win, she is going to overcome and triumph because she is going to not consider those negative qualities, open her mouth and begin to bless the Lord.

God then can begin to fill my mouth and His Word will be the good thing with which He satisfies me.  Our declarations of faith, triumph and victory give God room to move into action in our lives.

Our declarations are not the power source; the power comes from the wind of Holy Spirit as He busies Himself with our every step, bringing redemption.

I can almost hear the whoosh of His wind as He crowns me with His loving kindnesses and then spreads His tender mercies upon me.

 Truly, the Lord is our portion and He will help and support us.  We will learn His ways and what pleases Him; we will walk rejoicing within the boundaries of the hedge of God’s Word and discover we are free. Free to love, free to discover who He created us to be and freed to walk in the plans and purposes He has for us and live out of the Kingdom’s treasuries. (Beckoned by the King)

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Refreshed and Beautiful

The story in Acts 3, tells us of the lame man carried to the Beautiful gate of the temple each day in order to beg alms from those entering the temple to pray.

Alms are charitable gifts, gifts of compassion given to the poor. The giver is showing mercy and compassion and people think he is tender hearted.

How many times had he sat there and how many times had Jesus passed him by? The Bible does not tell us that – but it does teach us that we must recognize and honour the sovereignty of God; the One who rules the universe and yet knows every secret place of all hearts.

We must also see that, even as God is Sovereign, our times are in His hands.

Psalm 31:14 -15 But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God, my times are in Your hands”

There is no escaping the reality of unpleasant circumstances at some point throughout our lives and we usually get to the place of understanding later rather than sooner, that God actually uses these for our growth and to show us our even greater need of Him alone!

Of course, Jesus would have seen him begging; He would have seen and been fully aware of his helpless condition as he sat there by the gate.  Yet it was no ordinary gate for Ezekiel 43:1-4 speaks of how the glory of the Lord came into the house by the way of the gate facing toward the east, the Beautiful Gate.

The lame man was setting himself up to be filled with the Glory of God and I do not think he fully imagined what was about to happen to him!

The lame man had positioned himself to receive, but so far, he had not understood the depth of his need.  Yes! He was lame and therefore had need of financial help.  He was lame, not blind or deaf and surely would have been aware of the talk surrounding the miracles of Jesus.

Now that he knew Jesus had been crucified, perhaps, he felt it was too late for him to receive…  Or perhaps, as he begged, he mulled the idea of the Risen Christ around in his head… Surely, he had seen and recognized Peter and John as two men who had been with Jesus...

Little did he know that by asking for a gift of charity that he would receive an even greater gift given in the fullness of love.  The Spirit of the One who is tender hearted and compassionate toward all of His creation now dwelt within Peter and John.

Mercy and compassion compelled Peter and John into action for the glorious Spirit of God knew that this was the lame man’s hour.  No longer would he sit outside the entrance to the Holy of Holies.  He would begin to live at the Win Gate!

Some lessons to take to heart….

  • God does not want any of His children to be spiritually lame.  How honest we are regarding our spiritual state will determine how much we move forward with God.  What things in our lives need to be put aside and what are some of our areas of need?  Admitting these things will take us into a place of greater intimacy with God – past the outer gates and into the Holy of Holies.
  • We apply God’s Word in our lives at whatever cost to our flesh. The lame man did not resist the spoken word, the choice was to trust and as we trust, our walk is sure and steady.  To walk is to move from one stage to the next having our roots go down deep in the soil of the Word of God.  Cultivating our heart to choose to spend time in worship and prayer and love for the Word and study of the Word causes growth in our walk with God.
  • We do not continue clinging to other believers, rather as faith is imparted to us our trust and confidence in God grows.  We no longer sit passively.  We sit expectantly and with anticipation with a readiness to receive.  We wait for the Presence of God to fall on us and when we wait, our patience is rewarded.
  • The Spirit of God reveals to us areas in our hearts where we are in need of repentance. His desire is that we experience a turning from them cleansed by the Blood of Jesus.  Repentance always brings to our hearts and souls a keen sense of refreshment.
  • Refreshment washes over our lives when we use all of our energies to walk in the ways of God.  This then brings pleasure to the heart of our Father God.  Even as the lame man was walking and leaping and praising God, so are we encouraged in the Word to have undivided hearts; loving God with all of our strength, soul, heart and being.  As we rise up and walk in the power of God, we find ourselves walking farther and farther away from the things of the world. The presence of joy, love, peace, trust and faithfulness to God will mark our lives so they are attractive to those who do not know Jesus.
  • The very Presence of Jesus in our lives ushers us into a life lived in the Holy of Holies.
  • Many times as Jesus entered the temple, He would have passed the lame man by. There are, in each of our lives, circumstances that cause spiritual lameness.  He knows our hearts, our times are in His hands and He is intimately involved with us because of His love for us.  He wants to pour the fullness of Himself into us and in His patience and tenderness, He waits for us.   He knows what causes our lameness; He knows what those deep, hidden and specific areas are in each of our lives.  It is His intention and purposeful plan to orchestrate our comings and our goings in order to meet us in those places of need.

Do you believe that? Have you met Him, face to face, heart to heart?

No longer, do we sit at the outer gate; for the Presence of God, the glory of the Lord has rested upon us and we rise in newness of life, shining with the light and glory of God for all those in our world to see! With the Spirit of God upon us and the anointing of the Lord within us, we go forward, sharing the good news of the Gospel with those who are afflicted.  We know Him as the Balm of Gilead, the Salve that brings healing and restoration to the broken hearted and downtrodden.

We speak the truth of the Word of God from our lips and the power in the Word of God sets people free from the many things that have held them captive and in bondage.

As we live our lives pressing toward the goal of knowing Jesus more and more, we become radiant lights in the midst of an ungodly society.  Our presence, because of the Spirit of God, unfettered within our lives, brings comfort, blessing and healing to others and won by one we will come to Him bringing our pile of ashes to receive a garland of grace, the oil of joy for mourning.

Jesus will create something of great beauty from the pile of ashes that we lay at His feet.

Have you experienced that something of great beauty?  I know I have!

I welcome you to leave a comment and tell me some of your story!

Held in His Palm,

Jeannie

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Servants of Grace and Mercy

There is a lot of outrage these days on Facebook about abortion.  I am one who has had an abortion. 

My heart grieves for the women who have also had one and it grieves for the shame and condemnation they must be feeling when they see all of the anti abortion posts.  And they are not sure where to turn, thinking, who will understand, who will show me compassion?

Now, do not get me wrong, I am against abortion also knowing now what it involves.

 However, I am wondering…instead of being outraged about the abortion issues, imagine the change that would take place if we chose to reach out to wrap our arms around those women who are contemplating it?  Yes, that means we will need to get out of our comfortable spot and make a heart choice to open our arms and extend them in love and acceptance; we will need to open our hearts too so that the mercy, grace and love of God is revealed through us.

I pray that we will get our hearts so wrapped up and entangled in the love of God that we see through His eyes, hear with His ears and feel with a heart that touches the Almighty’s.  May the fire of HIs love ignite us and may we burn with the passion of His supernatural love.

May compassion and mercy flow from us to touch the hearts of those we meet.  One by one, won by love, their lives will be touched, changed to love and live for Jesus.  One by one, they in turn will touch their own circle of friends.  Won by one whose life was changed by one willing to let the love of Jesus shine through.

To live and to love with God’s supernatural love, this is my heart’s desire and continual cry.  To allow my Father to minister grace through me and to be willing to be used by the Father who always leads us in triumph in Christ.  It is through Jesus that He diffuses the sweet fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Whether or not we are willing to be servants of grace and mercy is the issue our hearts need to address.

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