Dearly Beloved (Poem)

Dearly Beloved
Love letter from Abba
Written August 29, 2010

By Erin Lamb

Dearly beloved.
I am here,
in your place of waiting,
where uncertainty,
can crowd out your peace.
It is I,
Who holds you together,
My love gathering every piece.
Every piece of joy, of hope,
of your sought after dreams.
It is I Who will knit them together,
initiating change,
and cultivating creativity.
Dearly beloved,
it is your heart I long to hold tenderly.
My heart is aching,
for you to know that I will be near,
I will be here,
I will not let you go.
I long to dream with you,
set your inspiring dreams to flight,
turn your tears at midnight,
into a leaping joy in the daylight.
Like springs of fountains flow,
so My love for you overflows.
Not simply on your sunny days,
but on the days of wind and rains.
My love for you,
out spans the limits of time and space.
It stretches wider than the ocean floors,
and My unmerited favor, far greater,
than your mind can fathom or believe.
You will never reach beyond the borders,
of My love.
It is higher than the heavens,
wider than the span of all the galaxies combined.
There is no love,
that will ever out love Me.
My dear, sweet love,
My heart beats a rhythm that only,
your heart can dance to.
Let My love,
move you to dance,
move you to delight,
set your soul to flight,
for in My heart you are one that I love,
the one that I adore.
Dearly beloved,
you are the one,
that I care for.
No matter the distance,
you feel between My heart and yours,
I am nearer than you know.
I am the whisper in the wind,
the morning dew,
that refreshes your soul.
I am the sun,
that brightens your day,
the cloud cover to be your shade.
I am the rain,
that waters the garden of your heart,
bringing abounding love and grace.
My precious one,
you are not without hope,
not without a reason to rejoice.
You have a hope in Me,
the One who can swear by My word,
My promises will never fall apart.
I am Faithful and True,
hold My promises close to you.
Lay your burdens on My chest,
Find deep comfort and rest.
Most of all,
let your heart and mind,
cling to the promise of love,
knowing that I will never leave or forsake you!
You are,
My dearly beloved.


The Garden of Gethsemane

The Garden of Gethsemane

Gethsemane- the olive grove just outside Jerusalem where Jesus was before His betrayal and leading to the cross.

Have you ever wondered how Jesus could live His entire life knowing that He would have to die and still live purposefully. I have. That phrase “live like you were dying,” takes on a whole new meaning when you know how and when you will die. He knew all along that He was the sacrificial lamb being led to the slaughter. He knew He would be betrayed and denied. However in the garden He came to terms with it, the crucifixion. It was there He sweated drops of blood, His heart crying out “Father please take this cup from me, nevertheless your will be done.” Jesus got something we fail to understand, complete adherence to God’s will, no matter how painful leads to glory. We often try to forfeit Gethsemane and the cross. We try to get past our will being nailed to a cross and go straight to sitting at the right hand of the Father. We want the glory, without the pain. Jesus knew the only way to live was in full submission to the Father. The result, our salvation, our atonement, and our reconciliation to God. Love hung on a cross and died, and rose with all of God’s Glory.

Where were His friends? The disciples? The people He had loved and served? Where was His community on the night before His death? They were sleeping. He asked them to pray and they were sleeping. Have you ever gone through a hard time, the worst time and ended up with God alone? Your friends were too busy, too tired, or just not able to be there. I have. It’s in those times we can see God in a way that we never have before, as our everything. Sometimes there is no person there to comfort, to encourage, to help, to pray. Sometimes you lay in a puddle of your own tears and all you can do is moan. That is when you hopefully recognize Who is and what is your source. I have had countless nights with Him in tears, in agony, in my own Gethsemane. I will not say it’s the same as Jesus. I have not had an actual cross to die on, but I have buried a parent, faced sickness/illness alone, mourned the death of relationships, and had my will crushed to live according to His will. I don’t enjoy this place, my own garden, but nevertheless, His will be done. I must die to self, so that He can be glorified.

Jesus not only faced this time alone, He walked to the cross willingly. He didn’t fight, demand His rights, or even retaliate. He was mocked, laughed at, denied by His close friend Peter, betrayed by His disciple Judas, and He still said “Father not my will, but your will be done.” Have you ever been betrayed, sold out, mocked, laughed at, denied, afflicted? Have you ever had the vision God gave you ridiculed due to lack of understanding from those around you? If so then Jesus knows your suffering. Even though they persecuted Him, He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” People may not understand your pursuit of what is holy. They may not support you, love you, help you, encourage you, stand up for you, or be there for you. They may mock you, laugh at you, spit on you, betray you, deny they even know you, but keep on going! Those closest to you may fall asleep during the times you need them the most, they may be the ones to betray you or deny you. This isn’t about them. This is about you and God. Forgive them and stay in the will of God.

You have a date with destiny. It isn’t about you, or them, it’s about the Glory of God being revealed in you. God has a plan for you, a date and time for you to be transformed, renewed and changed from the inside out! Don’t miss out on His Glory (the awesome splendor of God, His astounding beauty, His goodness). Please don’t forfeit Gethsemane for comfort, for the praise of people, for complacency. There is more in Him! Pick up your cross and follow Him. If you find yourself alone with God it is the best place you can be. If you find no friends, no comfort in this world, dig into God and dig deep. He is there and there is something glorious on the other side of the cross. It is not just to bless you, but the entire world through your obedience to Him.

You are in my thoughts and prayers! Most of all you are loved.

Finding the Beauty in Suffering

August 17, 2010

“He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed, ” Isaiah 53:5.

“The sufferings of this world are not worthy to be compared with the glory that will be revealed in us,” Romans 8:18.

Jesus was a man who was familiar with suffering. The cross was not His only encounter with pain and suffering. He was rejected, despised, hated, His friends left Him alone when He needed them the most, He was betrayed, He was denied, He was falsely accused, He was mocked, beaten, scorned, and those who should have loved Him did not love Him. He laid down His rights and His life for the benefit of the world. He was and is perfect yet He is often denied true devoted love. He is often the one blamed when life doesn’t turn out the way we want. He is often the one doing the pursuing, actively looking to bless, yet He does not receive the same love or devotion in return. His love and sacrifice for all of mankind is beautiful.

So where is the beauty in our suffering? First let me say I am not talking about abuse, poverty, sickness, or saying we should seek to suffer (do things on our own that lead to suffering). I am not saying God is out looking to cause suffering. Suffering occurs as the result of sin and the fall. We suffer because of sins committed against us, the sins we commit and from simply living in a fallen world. I do not have all the answers as to why God doesn’t prevent certain suffering.

I am addressing certain types of suffering. There is a suffering for the sake of the gospel. There is a suffering that accompanies dying to self. There is a suffering that comes when we have to pick up our cross, wait on God or suffer through trials.

Suffering for the sake of the gospel leads to an eternal reward. Many of us don’t realize there are people all over the world being persecuted for their faith. Jesus was persecuted, Paul was persecuted, we too may one day face the same persecution. Will we deny Christ and withstand the temptation to compromise? The great thing is that this time on Earth is limited, the suffering will end, our time with God goes on forever.
We will spend eternity with God, no suffering and no pain. That sounds beautiful.

Suffering also pushes to the surface everything that is in us. If there is pride, impatience surfaces and the questions of why me. We expect God to stop the suffering and make us feel okay. We don’t want to go through the fire, we want to lay on the beach soaking up the rays. We don’t want the fruits of the Spirit that deal with patience or long suffering. We want the love, the peace, the joy and sometimes the self control. However we want to skip those fruits that crucify the flesh. How dare God make us uncomfortable? Well if Jesus suffered then we should expect some times of suffering. What if God is more concerned with our character? What if He is more concerned with our becoming more like Him, than our comfort? He is patient. He is long suffering. He is beautiful.

If we invite God into our suffering He pulls out those things that surface that are not like Him. He also strengthens the parts of us that are like Him. If we let Him, we die to self and Christ is glorified. When patience is allowed to have its perfect work, the light of God shines through us. We model Him and that reveals the Glory of God. His Glory is marvelous.

Suffering can deepen our dependence on God. I went through a time where I was ill for long periods of time. I have never felt so alone in my life. During that time I learned that if God was all I had, He was all I needed. There were countless nights of tears, aching, sorrow and grief. But for the first time in my life I met Him for myself. There is a difference between hearing about someone and encountering them. I encountered God. He began to speak. I began to listen. Our relationship deepened. My understanding of His comfort and compassion grew. I fell deeply in love with Him because He was the only hand I had to hold. I will never forget those times. I needed someone and He was there. He is always there for me. I need Him more than any other human being. I couldn’t lean on myself, so I learned to lean on Him. Having deep intimacy with God is beautiful.

Suffering weakens our flesh. It weakens our independence and crushes our pride. The flesh wants comfort, pleasure, happiness, easy times, and mountain top experiences. The flesh wants its way and demands that the rest of the world falls in line. When we suffer we are faced to see ourselves as we are-helpless, weak, and in need of someone to rescue us.
He is there with arms wide open saying “Come to me all who are heavy burdened and I will give you rest.” He is there to bring wisdom, comfort, and to shower us with His love.

A beautiful soul is one submitted wholly to God. A beautiful life is one lived in complete devotion to Him, whether we get our way or not. A beautiful heart is a heart connected to His. A beautiful spirit is one filled with an abundance of His Spirit. If we want to walk in His Glory, then there will be some suffering that will occur. Pride, selfishness, and the works of the flesh will have to be pressed out. We (our carnal nature) must die so that He can live fully in us.

When trials come I pray you and I dig in deeper with Him, through prayer and in fellowship. I pray our hearts wouldn’t faint or grow weary. Just as a potter molds his/her clay, I ask that God would shape us and mold us. I pray He would press out everything not of Him. May He look at us and see a clear reflection of Himself. Whatever you face, you are loved. God is in the fire with you.

What I’ve learned About God through Gardening (Part 2)

Painting of a Rose (2010)

One of the struggles in life is to keep from being too busy. Every gardener knows that you must water, prune, and attentively care for the garden. However there are more elements that need considered. Since I have been busy (yes I admit it) my plants have grown out of control! The jalapeno plant has grown completely out of control. Since they have not been plucked they are turning red (super hot) and some may even rot on the vine. That happens also in our lives when we are getting all we need but refuse to share. Our vines are bowing over because they are so heavy with fruit. If we do not recognize we are blessed to be a blessing, our fruit begins to rot. Everything given to us is not for us. God wants to bless someone else.  My cilantro, which I was super excited about, not only grew super fast, it bolted. Because I was not willing to harvest it, it grew fast, died, and re-seeded itself. In our spiritual walk if we keep getting filled up, yet never pour out, we die. We turn inward. The focus becomes self. A plant can die from the fruit not being harvested and there is no room for more fruit.

Let’s talk about roots. Roots are important to sustain life, they are like our veins carrying much-needed nutrients. They can run deep, so deep beneath the surface that it takes a long time to pull them up. There are several problems that can arise with roots: the problem of being root bound, roots that don’t run deep, and deadly roots. I have several plants that are root bound. That means that they will not grow much larger. We want to grow. We want to thrive, but complacency and being comfortable has left us in a place where there is no room to soar to higher places in God. We aren’t using our gifts. We aren’t serving others. We are just watching the other plants grow and wonder why we aren’t moving. I don’t recommend abandoning where you are. However if you feel like you are pushing against a brick wall and know there is more, ask God for it. He may have another place for you. He may have a new area for you to serve. He may be calling you to a new vision. You never know, ask God.

Roots that don’t run deep are a big problem in the garden. When a storm comes, the plants are easily uprooted and blow away. These plants have no stability, no firm foundation, and they are not as healthy as the other plants. Spiritually we need to have good roots and for those roots to run deep. What are those good roots: love, faith, hope, truth, faithfulness, peace, the Word of God, relationship with Jesus, and relationship with other believers. If our roots don’t run deep when the storms come we will be plucked out and blown away.

Deadly roots yield bad fruit.  We talked about bad seeds. Often those seeds turn into bad roots that yield bad fruit. Bad roots when they are allowed to grow for long periods of time take a long time to uproot. Also the longer they are allowed to be there, the more painful they are to uproot. Roots of rejection, fear, desperation, hopelessness, low self-esteem and low self-worth, hatred, anger, lust, pride, selfishness, deception, greed/gluttony these roots once they grow deep begin to intertwine with any good roots.  They deplete the soul of goodness. Good roots support the plant. They supply what it needs and grow as the plant grows. The longer my plants are allowed to dwell in the soil, the harder it is to uproot them. The more we dwell with God, remain in His word, fellowship with Him, the more difficult it is for us to be uprooted. Bad roots are stubborn and if all the roots aren’t removed, when harvest time comes, there are little remnants of the plant that should be gone. I can’t plant anything in its place until all the roots are removed. Old bad roots crowd out new plants. Often God wants to plant something beautiful in the garden of our souls and there are so many bad roots, there is no room for the goodness of God. Often we can’t receive the goodness of God because our bad roots are crowding Him out.  Often we try to deal with the bad fruit instead of looking to God to dig up the bad roots.

So I pray that we share what we have and live selfless lives. I also pray that we allow the master Gardener to pull up any bad roots and nourish all the good ones. Happy gardening my friends.

Commentary on “A Woman’s Worth (Poem)”

He makes everything glorious (beautiful)! Those are the words that ring in my head. God makes everything beautiful and with a purpose. What makes something valuable is that there is an intended purpose for it. What makes it an item of worth is that the person who made it values it and has a purpose/use for it. Things that we don’t value we don’t use or don’t see a need for. God values everything He made and has a purpose for all that He has made. He longs for relationship with us, the ones He made for His glory. Each person he made has a divine purpose and great value.

I see women compare themselves to other women, put themselves down, and define who they are (their value, their worth) from so many things other than God. It makes my heart sad. I know from my own walk that when I don’t see myself the way God does, all these nasty lies about what make me valuable creep in. Then what occurs is what I call “stinking thinking.”  I warn you that “stinking thinking” can lead to a roller coaster of self-pity, self-criticism, pretty much everything where we are the center and God is not. It’s an ugly roller coaster and at the end you want to vomit. At the end you and I have missed out on enjoying the life God paid to give us. I can’t be anyone other than who I am. If I don’t love myself or believe what God has said, then I am miserable. I can’t get away from myself….Hold on……I just took a moment to laugh (picturing trying to escape myself).

If I listened to other people I would never even like myself. I modeled for a while and I think it is the place where you acquire thick skin or some kind of disorder. People critique you as their job. You hear things like “If only you were a little taller, can we change your hair color, eye color, can we hide this, tape this, modify this, this pic is awesome, this one is a mess…..” So you learn to be okay with you or you are constantly a mental and emotional mess. Even in the church there can be scrutiny, “When are you going to get married? What is wrong with you? We need to get you a man”? Seriously! I am not deemed valuable by my marital status or the way I look or even by what I do. I am valuable because God says that I am. My goal in life is to know Him, be filled with His love, love people, and do whatever He calls me to do. I love me, because God loves me. I accept myself, because He accepts me. I say He is far more (can we take that to a million times smarter) intelligent than I will ever be.  Also He never lies, so trusting Him with what He says is in my best interest.

Yes I want to be the best me that I can be, but I would rather live a life so submitted to Him so that He shines through. I would rather accept my place in His heart and show others they have a place in His heart too. I am far more concerned with showing, displaying the love of Jesus than being the most beautiful charming person in the eyes of man. Beauty is fleeting. I desire to have a heart that is beautiful and for every person I meet to see His love, His kindness and His goodness. I am already accepted and loved, but in response to that love I want a heart like His.

So no matter what you look like, your marital status, your bank account size, your dress size, your age, your family, fill in the blank, you are valuable to God. You are significant to Him. You have a special place in His heart. No one can take your place in His heart. You are loved! Not for what you do or what you have, but because He made you and God doesn’t make junk. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Muah 🙂

What is Love?

Flower-Hunter Valley Australia

I will not tell you that I am the most knowledgeable person on the topic of love. I am simply connected to the One who is. God is love. I could end there, no more to say, except God is love. However, if we dig a little deeper we find that we can all have a different idea of what love is.

I know there are things that I love. I love flowers. I am mesmerized by them; the colors, shapes, the way they respond to light (opening and closing), the way they smell. They put a smile on my face. I sketch them, I paint them, I often stop to inhale their fragrant aroma. I imagine that Heaven smells like a variety of floral arrangements. I love many things, meaning I am captivated by them, but is that truly love? Or is that only admiration, a tickle in the emotions that leads to moments of happiness.

Many times I think that is where we stop, at admiration or the romance we see in the world. Love is what makes us happy and leaves our hearts skipping. What if love is more than what makes us feel delightful? What if love involves pain and sacrifice? What if love requires selflessness and committment? What if love doesn’t always feel good? What if love involves being uncomfortable? Of what love do I speak? God’s love. God sent His only Son into the world to save it, because of love. His Son Jesus lived a selfless life that led to a sacrificial death for all of mankind. Before the cross, in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked the Father if there was another way (if God would take His cup of suffering). In the end He said “Father not my will, but Your will be done.” He surrendered all His rights for you and for me. He was innocent, yet suffered for us. Why? Out of love. He knew without a perfect sacrifice we would be separated from Him for eternity. Love came down for you and me. Love can be seen on a rugged cross. 

I enjoy that love was not just in the words Jesus spoke, but in His actions. Woven through the pages of scriptures He points us to love. Love is truth, love is compassion, love is justice, love is not selective, love is a passionate pursuer of the human heart. Love serves, love corrects, love disciplines, love encourages, love heals. So what does that mean for me and you. Our love should mirror His love. 1 Corinthians 13 gives us some important information on the subject of love.

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.

I recognize when I forgive freely, I am walking in love. I see that when I am patient, I am walking in love. I notice that when I look for people the world doesn’t see or deem important, I am walking in love. I see the love of God on every mission trip-He rocks my view of love every time I go. I see love each time a starving person is fed or a person without clean water is given a source of clean water to drink.  I am conscious that good works/deeds are not what make us acceptable in the eyes of God (meaning He loves us despite what we do). We are saved by faith and grace alone. However, He is love and the more I get to know Him, the more I love what He loves. God loves people-every person. Everyday His eyes are searching the earth to reveal Who He is to the world. A God who is concerned with the condition of the human heart and soul. His heart is bleeding for the lost, the forgotten, the least, and those the world throws away.

So 1 Corinthians challenges my heart to view love the way God does. When I say “I love you,” what it really means is “I will sacrifice for you. I will forgive you. I will be patient with you. I will not be jealous or envious of you. I will not boast or brag. I will lay my rights aside. I will protect you, persevere with you, trust you, and keep no record of your wrongs. I will hope; I will see the best in you and encourage you to be the best you can be. I will care for you and about you. I will love you from my spirit and not my emotions. I will do what is right by you, even when you don’t do right by me. I will do right by you, even when I don’t feel like it or want to. I will listen. I will cherish you. I will seek to bless you. I will seek to honor you. I will point you to the truth and accept the truth. I will desire justice. I will have compassion. I will be kind. I will be faithful. I will feed you if you are hungry, clothe you if you are naked. I will serve.”

To love a person is a committment. It is a promise. It is more than the emotions that lead to our highs and lows. People are not perfect, so loving them can prove challenging. Often we will not feel like walking in love. Committing to loving an imperfect person can be the most challenging commitment. God has plenty of experience with loving imperfect beings. God commits His heart to ours when we invite Him in. He promises to never leave us or forsake us. His promises He will always keep. We can walk away, but He does not surrender His position as the One of love. Even when we don’t see Him, He is there saying, “I love you. If no one else makes you feel loved, know I love you.” He doesn’t stop loving. He doesn’t base His love on what we do, or don’t do, or who we are. Love is Who He is. That doesn’t mean He condones our behavior or says wrong things are right. It does not mean He doesn’t offer correction, it does mean that we have someone who will love us past our sin. We have an advocate that loves us with an everlasting love. May He wow you with His love this week. You mean the so much to Him! So get filled with His love, then give it away.

What is God Like?

I have read and heard thousands of descriptions of God. There are so many names for Him in the Bible I am not sure I could recite them all. Actually I am sure I could not recite them all. The Bible has given me such a great picture of Him. The world has often portrayed Him differently. The God that I know is very different from how He is often portrayed, aside from the biblical accounts. He has sometimes been portrayed as cold, uncaring, or out to get the world. The God I know is so kind, so loving, so eager to interact with mankind (and not so He can strike them dead for the evil things they do or say). He came to save the world. The God I know hates to see people hurt, without hope, mistreated or abused. He may not prevent all suffering (for reasons I may never know) but I do know that He cares about those who are hurting.

The God I know is a God of justice. Meaning He will intervene to vindicate wrongs in our lives and in the world. I know that He will bring justice to all situations in His timing. He is not only a God of mercy, but one of justice. He is slow to anger but committed to His word. His is the most fair judge and everything He says is true. Even when we don’t understand everything He does is perfect.

He long to hear us pray (talk to Him).  He is the perfect gentleman. He has the ability to do anything, to create anything, but He will sometimes wait until He asked to step in (though not always). I picture Him eager for His kids to pray, His ear turned towards us. I have seen prayers answered that seemed impossible, not based on my goodness, but His. I will not say He is a jeanie in a bottle who gives His children whatever they want, but He is always willing to listen and do what is best for the time being.

The God I know is so intelligent that He often allows us to see only parts of who He is so that our minds are not overwhelmed. However He is not hidden or beyond human reach. He is actually reaching towards us on a daily basis and we can miss Him. I have seen He wants to reveal more of His heart, more of His character, and more of His goodness to the world. I picture Him as this loving parent looking down on His children, eagerly anticipating any movement, so He can reach down, offer a hug, a smile and whisper “I love you kid, go out there and have a great day.”  Though His ways are likened to being mysteries, His character is woven through the pages of scripture and I see them in nature every day.

He is so creative, just look around. I could go on and on about all the marvelous things He has created. If I stop and pay attention I see the brushstrokes of His paint brush in every sunrise, every sunset, and every ocean wave.

He is perfect, even when I don’t understand Him or His ways. When the woman who helped raise me (my grandmother) died from cancer, I was devastated. She carried a piece of my heart with her and even today my heart will often ache. For awhile I thought, “how could a loving God allow such grief, such pain”? My heart ached like it never had before. In a moment of grief I had the realization that His ways were not my ways. I found I loved Him for who He was and not for allowing me to have my way. It wasn’t until three years after her death that it made more sense. One she was ready to go. She felt she had done what God placed her here to do. She had already talked to God about her life. God wasn’t going to give me what I wanted and not do what was best for her. God has a greater understanding than we do. He sees all things, understands all things and some things may never make sense to me or you. Trust me in one thing He is good.

He longs for relationship, not just our rule keeping.  He is not seeking a robot He can control. The more I get to know Him, the more I want to do what is right. Not out of obligation but out of love and relationship. Have you ever noticed people who spend a lot of time together begin to share similar traits. Well, He isn’t going to become like me. I am becoming more like Him-kinder, calmer, more loving, more patient. Also when you love someone you want to do what is right by them. I often wondered why Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Since knowing Him my heart has begun to care more about those without food, clean water, people who are lonely, and loving God with my life. He already knows what I am going to do, whether good or bad. That never stops Him from pursuing a relationship with me, why? Because God is love.  He knows that our relationship will change my heart for the better and I will not be able to what is right without Him.

He is the best friend you will ever have. I know from just living life that there are times of loneliness, where you feel as though not a soul cares or understands. There are things you can only discuss with God because only He can handle what you have to say.  He can handle it all and most times He is the only One who can help. There are times when you can’t even pray, you just weep or cry. He is always there. I won’t list all the things I have walked through with Him, just know whatever you walk through He is there. Even if you don’t see Him or feel Him, He is there. He is there to comfort, heal, love and fill any void in your life. He will always love you better than anyone else can or will.

I will say Christians (myself included) are not the best representatives of what He is like. We are not perfect. We are flawed and we can claim to walk with Him and act nothing like Him. I don’t look to a person to show me what God is like. Jesus is the only one who did it perfectly and the one to look to. Please don’t be discouraged because of any bad experiences with someone claiming to know Him. 

God is love. God is not hateful, spiteful, grumpy, or out to get the world. He is not out to take all your money or make your life miserable. He is not pushing a political agenda. He is love. He is always love. He loves it when you laugh and smile. He wants what is good for all mankind, not just the people who are rich, famous, or considered socially acceptable. He cares about the people others often overlook.

He is the perfect parent. Even His discipline comes in love because He wants the best for those He loves. His instructions to do or not do something are rooted in love. He knows as every parent knows the consequences of a child’s actions. His objective is not only to save us from destruction, but to draw us closer to Himself. He knows as parent’s know that children need guidance, discipline and love. He loves every person on the planet whether they love Him or not, believe in Him or not. He despises evil acts, but loves the person. He longs to forgive us and isn’t stingy with extending grace. He is not stern or cold or unfeeling.  He is not off in the distance watching the world, not wanting to interact with the world. His heart aches to show everyone they are loved. 

So I encourage you if you don’t know Him personally to just start by asking God to reveal who He really is to you. I pray you see Him for who He really is, don’t just take my word for it. And if you have been walking with Him a long time yet you still have a disconnect with His heart I pray you too have a deeper revelation of who God is.

Thanks for reading my blog. God loves you-you my friend are deeply loved! 🙂

What I’ve Learned About God through Gardening

So this year I decided that having a garden would be something fun to do. It has been added to the list of hobbies. It ranks up there with the painting, guitar playing, writing, dancing, singing, knitting and other activities that I do not get paid for, but love.  Gardening, oh what a learning experience. I have found some incredible life lessons in my time spent tending the plants. I have encountered God in each one of those life lessons. He is in all things, all we have to do is look closely. So come with me on the journey to find God in the garden.

We reap what we sow-meaning what we plant is what comes to the surface. A gardener would be shocked to see tomato plants growing where the corn was planted. The gardener would also be horrified knowing what they planted in the ground is not what they have to harvest. Often in life I think we are shocked to see bitterness, anger, selfishness, hatred, jealousy, broken relationships, breaking through the surface of our lives. We scratch our heads and say, where did this come from? We neglect to ask ourselves what seeds are planted in our hearts. Out of the mouth the heart speaks, so if the seeds planted in our hearts are seeds of un-forgiveness, self-hatred, hatred of others, selfishness, jealousy, envy, strife, lust-that is what will break forth.  Where do the seeds originate from? It starts in our minds. That is where each seed, either good or bad is planted. What we allow to sink in and take root is what will blossom in our lives.

We reap more than we sow. The seeds we plant yield more than the small seed we planted. If we invest in what is good, there are great things that will spring forth. I love my plants and love when they are thriving. Only small seeds are planted, but if I take care of them they keep producing over and over. I sowed something small and good; I have reaped a harvest so plentiful that I have to find people to share the harvest with.

Plants need light, water and pruning. So do we. God is light. Everything good, He encompasses. He is a source of life.  Plants left inside turn themselves to grow towards the light. The plants need the light to grow and thrive. Without the light, the plants will wither and die. We need God to grow and thrive. Some plants (like ivy) will climb over any obstacle to get its light source. Would our lives be different if nothing stopped us from climbing to the light? 

Another important part of plant development involves watering. I left a plant with a friend while in Australia and we she returned it, the leaves were withered and limp. It was still alive, but looked a bit sick. The solution, water. Once the plant was watered it perked up. I liken my sick plant to the spiritual condition of the human soul. If the love of God is not being poured in, if truth is not saturating the soul, it begins to dry up. Water is crucial to life. Don’t wait for church services to meet with God or have your heart filled by Him. It is a 7 day a week drawing near to Him. He is standing there with His water pitcher saying “Here is more love, more truth, more hope, more revelation, and more encouragement. Now grow, thrive”!

The last point is the beauty of pruning, weeding and attentive care. If you have a garden you are aware that weeds will try to crowd out your beloved plants. They will attempt to rob the soil of nutrients and have the potential to kill your crop or flowers. Our weeds may be described as discouragement, deception, unbelief, or fear. Those things must be quickly uprooted before they crowd out faith, hope, and love. Gardeners care for what they have planted. They have invested in what they have sown. God is the master gardener and He is invested in you! He loves you. He loves what He has planted and wants you to grow and thrive. Not just for His own personal satisfaction.  He also wants to bless everyone around you. My greatest satisfaction as a gardener is being able to give away the fruit of my labor. I love watching my plants grow. God loves you a million times more than I love my garden. That I know for sure. 🙂