Personally, I am not a gardener but I do know the basic principles of successful gardening so that what you plant will grow. You plant the seed in good soil, water it, keep weeds away from it, and in a few weeks or months you have the flowers, fruit, or vegetables you were expecting.
So what would happen if I bought a tomato plant, for example, planted it in rich nutrient soil, but then never watered it? That would be pointless, right? We have to nourish the seeds we want to grow! This principle is the same in our prayer life, we must nourish the seed of our prayers.
When you pray for something – a family members salvation, healing in your body, restoration in a relationship, a new vehicle, the finances to go on a missions trip – whatever it may be, we must water those prayers.
I don’t mean that we need to beg God to answer us because when we do that we’re in doubt. No, when we pray we know He answers us and because of that, we nourish our prayers. We continue to thank God that whatever we prayed for is done. That His healing power has gone into our body, that the finances we need are on their way, and that that lost family member or friend’s heart is open to hear and receive His truth and salvation.
Often times we say a prayer, believe in something for a moment, but then forget to water it. Continue to lift up your situation to God in thanksgiving of His goodness and provision until you see it come to pass in your life – then praise Him some more!
Today I saw an old beat up mallet and weirdly enough, it reminded me of us as believers. The stained wooden handle was dented and covered in scratches, while the rubber head had knicks from every angle. As I looked at this used tool, I realized it was still just that – a tool.
As Christians we think that we must be perfect to be effectively used in the Kingdom of God, but God did not call us to be perfect. Just as this mallet with all of its damages could still powerfully be used, in our imperfections, we can too.
This then made me think of Paul and his past. Before miraculously coming to Christ, he zealously persecuted and killed Christians. Most of us would immediately write him off as someone God would never use, but God saw through to his heart and knew that he could be a mighty vessel for His kingdom.
Exodus chapter 4 also came to my mind, when the Lord is speaking to Moses and Moses immediately looks at himself and decides he cannot be a witness for God because he was slow and not eloquent in his speech. God then asked him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord?” (Exodus 4:11 NKJV)
Our Heavenly Father created us; He knows our strengths and our weaknesses better than we know them ourselves. Which means He knows where to place us in the Body of Christ where we will be the most effective in edifying each other and reaching the lost.
What giftings are in you that God wants to pull out, despite your mistakes or sin, to glorify Him and bring more people into His kingdom?
The devil has a plan to seclude us, make us feel like an outsider, and tell us no one else understands or is going through the same things that we are. He wants us to feel entirely alone because as humans, God created us with a desire for community and fellowship.
Sadly, even in a world occupied by nearly 8 billion people, he succeeds. When we’re having a bad day, we make a mistake, or are going through a challenging time, we often feel alone like no one cares about our situation or could help.
At that moment we have to remember we have the Spirit of God living on the inside of us, comforting us, guiding us, and loving us. John 14:16-17 says, “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
Jesus gives us a promise in these two verses concerning the Holy Spirit – that He will be our helper and will abide with us forever. We can never truly be alone because our heavenly Father is always for us and always with us.
There are definitely times in life when we feel alone and overwhelmed by our circumstances, but letting those thoughts dominate our mind can cause even bigger problems like insecurities, anxiety, or depression. Instead, turn to God in these times and remember He sent His spirit to comfort us and dwell in us.
We live in a “if i get, only then I will give” culture – to be blunt, a self-seeking, self-serving, inconsiderate culture. Is this because people have become evil and no one cares about anyone else? No. It’s because the men and women of our society are confused, broken, and insecure. They are terrified of loving others because it may not be reciprocated and they don’t want to appear weak.
It is actually seen as a strength to be hateful to other people. To prove that you’re independent and you don’t need anyone or anything because you’re strong on your own.
When I see this plastered all over social media, my heart aches because I know that really these people are hurting. They’ve been hurt in the past and as a coping mechanism they put up walls to try and show how strong they are.
People are so engrossed in trying to fill the void in their own hearts that they hurt the people around them. I’ve heard this saying many times and I’m sure you have as well, “hurting people, hurt people” sadly, it’s the truth.
Does God see these men and women’s hatefulness and scoff at them, determining they aren’t worthy of love? Of course not. He longs for us to be the disciples He called us to be, sharing His love and strength with every broken or depressed individual we can.
Be the person who goes out of their way to help someone else, give without the desire to get, fearlessly show Christ’s love to this world because if we don’t, who will?
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” ~ John 13:35
Where does your identity – your value, come from?
Is it from your career that you’ve worked hard for? How good of a parent you are? The approval and affection of others? Your artistic talent? How intelligent you are?
While working hard, putting effort into raising your children, and studying are all great things, we cannot place our value in how well we do in those areas. Sometimes things don’t go as planned, we mess up, a person that we’re close to hurts us, and if we’ve placed our worth into those people or that part of our lives then when they fail, we feel like a failure.
God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, He will always be good and He will always have our best interests at heart. He is the only secure and trustworthy source from which we can feel valued.
The devil wants us to fail and have our identities shaken, he wants us to be insecure and not know who God called us to be. That is why when we get our sense of worth from anything other than God’s word, we set ourselves up to get hurt.
When we seek God above all else and are founded in Christ and His word, no one can take away our worth or our purpose. This reminds me of Matthew 7:24-27. Although these scriptures are regarding building our lives on God’s teaching we can relate them to who we are.
Whoever places their value and confidence in God are built on a rock and whoever gains worth from the acceptance of their peers or their own abilities, are built on the sand. When the devil brings trials into our lives, all those who are secure in Christ won’t be shaken, but those who are founded upon standards of the world have their self-confidence abruptly washed away.
Build yourself up in these truths from God’s word, know who He has called you to be so you can stand firm throughout any trial or tribulation.
You are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)
You are loved and chosen. (Ephesians 1:4)
You are a joint-heir with Jesus. (Romans 8:17)
You are the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)
You are a new creature. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
At times after we’ve accepted Christ it can be hard to put
off some of our old carnal habits to be an everyday example of Christ. God
loves us unconditionally no matter how alike we are to Christ, but it is to our
benefit that we submit to His Word and Spirit in every area of our lives.
Imagine if Christ had only done the things of God that were
easy or didn’t inconvenience Him? Thankfully He did not do that, but boldly
gave His all for each one of us. So in return, what should we do?
Give our all to Him. Sometimes this means sacrificing
relationships, certain jobs or opportunities, even giving up inappropriate
shows or music.
People will say it isn’t necessary to live that way,
sacrificing particular things just because of a “religion” they’ll even say
it’s “extreme”. But it’s not about “religion” it’s about having an authentic
relationship with Jesus Christ and giving Him your all because He gave His all
Jesus easily could have decided that the path before Him was
too difficult, or that He didn’t want to stand against all of the persecution
He was receiving, but He didn’t. He knew what was at stake and He knew that we
needed Him to give us everything He had; ultimately giving His life.
You will never receive everything that God has for you when
you place Him as a second priority, or as another option if the plan you came
up with doesn’t work out. He has endless amounts of love, grace, wisdom, peace,
health, and freedom to pour out on us, but it cannot fully be given to us when
we are living outside of His guidelines.
To live a life devoted to Christ is not always
straightforward and painless. To fully trust Him with your finances,
relationships, career, and overall life takes faith and surrender. But these
are actions that God will always reward because He sees you putting Him first
and depending on Him. It may not be effortless, but it will always be worth it.
Face the persecution, surrender even the most difficult areas
of your life, and give Him all of you, because He gave us everything He had.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” ~ Proverbs 3:5-6