But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
Flowers of the Field. One of the most beautiful and peaceful sights to behold is a field of flowers blowing in the wind on a sunny day. They seem to not have a worry in the world; and while looking upon them, you don't either, even if, it's just for a moment. We are much like them, here today and gone tomorrow with only a flash of glory while we're here. Should we spend our days worrying about the next rainfall or sunny day, or what the weeds next to us are doing? No. No, we shouldn't; for there is a master gardener who is tending to us, and our every need, not to mention He is tending to everything - everywhere too. Anyways, we should continue to reflect the beauty of who we are; made by the creator for His divine purpose; vessels of honor to bear His image, and shine His glory. Above all, we don't want to miss the opportunity, for time is fleeting. Instead we should trust upon the Lord and His timeless provision and His eternal excellency.
Made Perfect in Suffering. Jesus told us we would suffer with various trials, even tribulations, but He also added for us to take heart as He has overcome this world, with all of it's troubles. (John 16:33). He was here, he suffered in like fashion from all the afflictions we could face, and He defeated them, so we don't have to. Also, He told us we would become better people for having suffered; and that no matter how bad the situation is, we will not be held in captivity, shame nor in fear of dread. (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:3). I know that's hard to believe, at the time of troubles, when we're in the heat of the battle, but really it's true. It's not even our battle and it's already been fought. There is already a victor and He has given us the spoils. Should we continue to look towards our creator, we will find Him; we will grow in knowledge of Him. He will reveal His presence and divine purpose for all our life's circumstances. We will see that He does work all things together for our good, and His glory. You see these difficulties, help train us to look to the master gardener in our suffering. We never look so intently to find His face, as when we are in complete darkness, for He is the light.
Life's Lessons Give Us Hope. I can remember the days when it seemed as if life had nothing but shame, reproach, pain, and hardship. It seemed pointless and as if no one cared and I was all alone. There where times I wanted to give up, and I questioned if there as a God, and if He was good. But somehow, through His divine grace, He made it all better. These trials, or lessons really, taught me to look to Him as I reached the end of my capabilities. I had nothing more to give, or do, and I failed at finding true peace through all my earthly passions. The only thing that could save me was a good God, if there was such a thing. It took years, but eventually He was able to reach my darkened and hardened heart, and get me to see Him, and His magnificent glory. He walked me back through the trials, in my mind, and showed me how He was always there, and how He was working it all together. These moments which were burned into my memory, for no apparent reason, were the times He was standing there guiding and helping me, He made the imprint so He could show me years later, as we revisited it together. There He was, all along. It brought tears to my eyes to see Him, for in my darkened heart, I accused Him of wrong-doing, when He was always good. It brought me low, for I was proud in heart, but I've been humbled, and I'm now thankful for it, as it brought me joy and peace. How can that be? How can my worst circumstances be my greatest source of joy and peace? It's only possible by the working of a Master who is always tending to the flowers of His field.
I Found My Strength. Instead of running from trials, I began to embrace them, almost looking forward to them. Not because I like pain and suffering, but because I realized this is how the Lord prepares me for His honor. You see, I learned how beautiful He really is, and I wanted to reflect that beauty; I knew the only way that could happen is by burning the dross out of me, so I could be more pure and refined, more precious than silver or gold. I realized I would become a better person, if I went through the fire. Every mountaintop has a downhill slop on both sides; and if I was to get to the next higher mountain of the Lord, then I'd have to slide down the side of one, and climb the other. I went from mountain top to mountain top, as I followed my Lord, with all the valleys in between. I began to know and trust in the miracles of my God. I began to love and appreciate Him, and them. I began to look forward to the next big and awesome thing He was going to do, in my life. Each new trial was a challenge; but not against me, it stood against my God. Haha, I'd speak to that trouble and say, Wait until you see what my God is going to do to you! Then I'd wait, just as the Lord commanded. I believed and trusted in my God, for I knew He was faithful. He had delivered me many a time, even from my own failures. He can be trusted. He has become my portion, my victory song, my rock and my redeemer. I look to Him, not the weary and weak trials of this life. No, they're not nearly as awesome and terrifying as my God, but He is oh so tender, and loving, and gracious towards me. He is a terror to some, yes, He is; but to me, He is a Father. A Father rich in mercy, grace, and love. Always working to give me peace and comfort. I can face my troubles because I don't look at them, they're not worthy of my time or attention. Only my God is worthy of that, for I know my God. He is worthy of all of me. I have learned to keep my eyes upon Him, to feast upon Him. He is my strength, my provision, my protector, my all-in-all. He is so real and trustworthy that I dedicated my life to teaching others about Him, so they can find His peace in the storms of life. Instead of looking at the woes, look to what God is doing to refine you. This will teach you to find your peace so you can sleep deeply while the waters rage all around you, and the boat shakes, just like our Lord. (Matthew 8:23-27).
The Rain Makes the Flowers Grow. Without the rain, we would wilt and fall to the ground. If the sun was to shine continuously, we would be scorched in the unending heat. And how would we know the beauty of a perfectly cool sunny day, if it weren't for the occasional overcast and rainy days. And how much more can the thunderstorms of life teach us of the glory of God? When the wind is uprooting our support structures, and the waters are overtaking our comfort, and the humidity of burden makes us gasp for breath; how else could we learn how Mighty our God is? Just like the refreshing of a forest fire, for it burns off the old and brings in the new, this is what the Lord has promised, to make us anew. If we only knew how much fire our wicked hearts truly need, to be cleansed, then and only then, would we thank Him for even allowing us to live at all, and we would thank Him for all that He has done and is doing in our lives, even while the furnace is turned up seven times hotter and is waiting for us. We would know, it will only purify us a little faster.
Worries of This World. Living in the Spirit, requires that we give the worries of this world to the Almighty, and look to Him. For if we stay focused on the things of this world, we cooperate with Satan. We see in the gospel of Matthew, Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns. (Matthew 16:23). Peter was trying to console Jesus who was grieved in spirit, for the trials He was about to face. I'm certain he didn't even realize he was speaking for Satan, but rather trying to be helpful. But the truth is that he was hurting himself and others by looking at the worries of this world, instead of looking to God. Spiritual discernment requires that we constantly look to God: He will guide, teach, instruct, comfort, and lead us. When we look at our problems, instead of looking to God, we are already defeated. We must look to God, for He says, all who are heavy-hearted, come to Me, and I'll give you rest (Matthew 11:28).
It Gets Hard to Breathe and See the Lights in the Weeds. We know the farmer dropped some seeds along the path, and some of the little fellas took root, but they were shallow and among the weeds. The weeds were harsh and unkind to the little seedlings. They took over and choked the little guy out, with no regard whatsoever for them or their well-being. It was like they wanted to kill them. The little seeds couldn't fend for themselves; they were helpless in their situation. They couldn't grow any taller or faster, for they didn't have the power; they couldn't get up and move to another area, for they were helpless to move; they couldn't cause the weeds to go away, for their hands couldn't reach that far; and they were alone and helpless, as the farmer continued down the path. So right where they were, they died. They were choked out by the mean weeds and their roots weren't deep enough to save them. They were helpless against the weeds. This is us when we rely on our own strength for we can't defeat the enemy alone. We can't increase our bank account to save us from our woes, we can't make creditors stop calling from old unpaid debts, we can't make the disability or illness depart from us, we can't get others to love us or call when we need them, and we can't get the world to stop closing in on us. So we keep looking and looking at the problems; we keep thinking and thinking about them; we talk and talk about them; and we allow them to slowly but surely choke the life right out of us. Satan is ever so eager and vigilant at working to keep you down. He wants you looking at him and away from the Lord. He doesn't want you to believe in miracles, much less have them happen on a regular basis in your life. When we look at him, this is to our defeat, for we do not battle against flesh and blood and trials of this life, but against rulers and principalities and forces of darkness.
My Power is Made Strong, in Your Weakness. The more often and the faster we reach the end of our strength and ability, and look to God instead, the more God's power can work in our lives, to transform us, and to bring us peace.
Follow Me, With Cross in Hand. Our Lord said, if anyone wanted to be with Him they have to pick up their cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). They have to learn of Him and do as He did. They have to lose their life in order to find it with Him (Matthew 16:25). In the larger picture, you have to let go of everything. Hold nothing too dear, for tomorrow it may be gone. Nothing is promised or guaranteed. When Jesus said, Follow me, He meant that He would lead. We have to surrender the entirety of our lives to His leadership and control. If you accept that the Lord will lead you, then you have to let go of the worries of this world too. How can we hold things loosely in an opened hand when we are coveting the process or the direction? How is He in control when we are trying to drive the outcome? Just like the plant, we are likened to flowers of the field, and they are utterly dependent on the Lord's provision for them, and their time is short. (1 Peter 1:24). We can even look to the birds who always wake up and begin the search for worms and food, for they trust that the Lord has provided for their needs, and they didn't sow or reap, yet they look anyways, always trusting and believing. (Matthew 6:26). How much more, will the Lord provide for us, if He did not spare His own Son upon a cursed tree, but gave Him up, will He not also provide for all of our needs? (Romans 8:32).
Dear heavenly Father, we thank you that You have remained constant, steadfast in love and tender mercy towards us. Help us Father, to see You, to know You, to trust You. Give us strength to not fear or look upon the weeds that surround us. Let us maintain the joy and peace You've given us so we can rest, even while the devil rages around us. Help us to remember, that He who is within me is greater than he that is in the world. AMEN
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