WOW! Look What God Did for Me

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Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,
according to the power that worketh in us, Ephesians 3:20

I know many of you don’t really know me, and this article isn’t about me; however, in praising my God, I’d like to give you a glimpse of who I am and how my heart and mind works! We are on vacation, which hasn’t really happened in two years due to recitals and graduations and weddings. (My husband would remind me that we were away from home, and that’s a vacation; but I would remind him of the scheduled events and the harried pace we were keeping—not a vacation mode!) This vacation at Myrtle Beach was directed by our son and his wife’s residence in Columbia, SC. After their departure from PA in July, mama-bear was ready to see her baby cub!

As usual, I did the preliminary hunting for a place and was pleasantly surprised at the prices and selection having never been here before. Sixty miles of beach–WOW! So, we booked a place and for the first time since our honeymoon, dear hubby and I are alone for FIVE nights! And although we think of our children and grandchildren often—thinking about how much they would love this—Tom still has me to squeal with delight and act like a kid! I’m loving life!

Our room was very nice. It had a few issues, but it was clean and comfortable, and the people were wonderful; however, when our TV died and the DVD player didn’t work, we were a bit disappointed. We wouldn’t normally watch a lot of TV, but it has rained for three days straight! When the technician couldn’t get the new DVD player to work, a call came from the desk: Sorry for the inconvenience; would we rather a discount and no TV, or an upgrade? We took the upgrade, and I’m now sitting in a beautiful room with full length windows on two sides of the living room, a balcony off the bedroom, and another balcony off the dining area overlooking the pool, whirlpool, and lazy river!

Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think!!!

I just want to praise our awesome God for turning a very minor inconvenience into a beautiful blessing! Isn’t it often the case: The trials, albeit small, start stacking up, and like the “little foxes that spoil the vines” (Song of Solomon 2:15), they slowly try to steal our joy. The temptation is to pout and complain. Why all the rain, God? You could make the sun shine? We haven’t seen the sunrise yet, Lord! You know how much we love to enjoy the ocean! We serve You faithfully all year long—two years long! Who ever heard of three straight days of rain in South Carolina? Don’t we deserve sunshine?
The answer is, “NO!” We don’t deserve anything but hell! That may sound a bit harsh, but it is true. We get so focused on our little piece of the world, that we forget how big and awesome and perfect and all-knowing and all-loving our God is. He knows just what we need: three (actually, it looks like it may be four!) days of rain! Is He testing our patience? Probably. Does He want to see how we’ll react? He already knows! He wants us to see how we will react!!! I’d like to say that we haven’t been disappointed, but that wouldn’t be true. Spoiled brats!  I just want to praise Him for His PERFECT way!

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried:
he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
2 Samuel 22:31,33

LOST!

On Monday, my husband and I spend part of the morning looking for a wallet. It had been left on the trunk of a car, along with a Bible. The Bible was found—sadly in several pieces, but the wallet is still missing. I took a rake with me on my hunt to sift through the high weeds, knowing that at any moment, we would find it! We didn’t. So sad!

It was quite a diligent effort, but no matter how hard we tried to find the wallet, we couldn’t find it. I couldn’t help thinking about the parallels between my effort to find the wallet and my effort to reach the lost. How hard do I seek after souls that have not found the Savior—souls who are still lost in sin and on the path to eternal destruction?

My effort  was so diligent because I knew the hassle that would be involved in stopping the credit cards, getting another driver’s license, etc. Plus, it’s a pet peeve of mine: I hate lost things! Nothing drives me crazier than a puzzle with a missing piece! Maybe I was also driven by pride: I wanted to be the hero—the one to find the missing wallet! I’m sure love was also a driving force—my heart for the one who lost it.

What drives us to seek lost souls? Or perhaps the better question is, why don’t we have more of a burden for the lost? What can stir our hearts to have the compassion of a soul-winner? Well, if I use the list of my motivations to seek the wallet, perhaps there are some parallels.

  1. Inconvenience was the first motivator. That doesn’t really have a place in the soul-winner’s heart. If anything, soul-winning IS the inconvenience. It takes time out of my busy schedule and pulls my thoughts away from all of life’s distractions.  Having a heart for souls isn’t a “worked up emotion” that is tacked on to the end of a busy day;  it is a heart passion placed within the very fiber of a believer by God.
  2. Pride certainly doesn’t have a place in the soulwinner’s heart either, although there is no greater joy than to lead someone to Christ!  The joy of finding the wallet pales in comparison to leading someone out of the darkness and penalty of sin and into the glorious light of forgiveness!
  3. The missing piece. “Every person on the face of this earth will face eternity, either in heaven or hell.”  That’s the statement I made to my Bible students last night. What a sobering reality.  It doesn’t matter if a person doesn’t believe in heaven or hell, or if they are falsely believing in something other than the truth of God’s Word, the Bible: There is no escape for any of us. Does it stir your heart to know that a loved one will be missing in heaven? If we truly could see heaven and realize the loss which we will feel because of missing unsaved loved ones, that would drive us to speak the truth in love to those we love. And if we would get just a tiny glimpse of hell…”where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48), it would not only give us a heart for the lost–it would drive us crazy! Hell is mentioned fifty-four times in the Bible; fifteen are direct quotes from Jesus.  Some Bible scholars dance around the issue by saying that the word hell is at times translated to mean the grave; but after looking up the definitions of the different Hebrew and Greek original words, I don’t see much difference:
  • sheh-ole': Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates:–grave, hell, pit.
  • gheh’-en-nah: valley of (the son of) Hinnom; ge-henna (or Ge-Hinnom), a valley of Jerusalem, used (figuratively) as a name for the place (or state) of everlasting punishment:–hell.
  • hades: the place (state) of departed souls:–grave, hell.
  • tartaroo: (the deepest abyss of Hades); to incarcerate in eternal torment:–cast down to hell.

Just reading those definitions and looking through each Bible verse containing the word hell was a sobering exercise for me.  It certainly sharpened my focus on the urgency of getting God’s message of redemption out!

4. Love–the greatest of all motivators!  Our love for others is certainly the most effective driving force for being a     witness.  Oh, to have the love which Christ displays on every page of His precious Word!

Since I first wrote this article, the wallet has been returned!  Someone must have found it, and the postman returned it to its rightful owner.  The lost is now found! Oh, the joy.  There are still plenty of honest people in this world, but even as I write that, I wonder: Was that honest person also a true believer?  How much better to find the truth about eternity than a lost wallet!

Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle,
and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?
And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying,
Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Luke 9:8-10

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God in our schools–God in our children

XstreetGif_USAToday will always be remembered for the infamous crimes that were purposed against our homeland and the overwhelming numbers of lives that were tragically taken from us. Thirteen years later, and the images are just as real now as they were then.  The shock that such a feat could happen in America still makes us numb. As I taught elementary age children today, I realized that none of them were even born on September 11, 2001,; however, several told of cousins that had died that day!

In every class, we sang the National Anthem, not because of 9/11, but because this Sunday will commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of its writing. As is my habit, I review any words that may be unfamiliar with the students: dawn, twilight, ramparts, perilous, gallantly, etc.  We also listened to an “Adventures in Odyssey” which did an excellent job of bringing alive the story behind the Fort McHenry battle during the War of 1812.

In one class, one boy asked if we could do all the versions.  Versions?  Realizing that he meant verses, I found them and put them up on the screen.  I know it’s a lot to read, but take a moment and soak up all that Frances Scott Key was trying to say:

Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream:
‘Tis the star-spangled banner! Oh long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country should leave us no more!
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

I love teaching children!  I can get quite animated, and as I was telling the story behind the words, trying to instill patriotism into their little hearts, one little boy said, “We need to thank God for keeping helping us win,” or something like that!  Hallelujah!!!

We can try to keep God our of our schools all we want, and believe me—they’ve done a pretty good job of it; but they cannot keep God out of the heart of your child once you have taught him the truths of God’s Word and LIVED them before him!  And no matter how many times they try to dismiss any Christian influence in our history, it’s all there in black and white—even in our national anthem!

Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

  Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.  
Psalm 33:12

The Dream of Death

ID-10069943Last night was another one of those nights when I dream that I died.  It seems to be a reoccurring dream, and not one that I enjoy!  It’s not that I’m afraid of dying, I can say that I’m 100% sure that I’m going to heaven.  You may say, “Wow!  How can you be so sure?”  In this day of easy believism, and a Christianity that wears too many odd faces, one truth is still as sure as the God Who gave it to us: Jesus Saves!  I stand on the rock of His promise: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved. Romans 10:13

I admit, at rare times, I do have doubts.  Yes, I remember the night that I read a tract alone in my bedroom.  I remember ticking off the statements: 1. Do you know that you are a sinner? No problem there! 2. Do you know that the wages of sin is death and separation from God? Yes. 3. Do you believe that Jesus died on the cross for you, to take away your sins? Yes.  Have you ever asked Him to be your Savior? …That one stopped me.  I hadn’t, but I did that night.

Now, based on the Word of God, I am a born-again believer.  You may notice that I rarely use the term Christian in my blogs.  Many claim to be Christian, as opposed to being Muslim, but that is not true Christianity.  We are not born into God’s family because our parents were Christians or because they took us to church, or because we were baptized or took communion.  John 1: 12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

I would say that most born-again believers doubt their salvation at one time or anothe. Questions like:  Did I say the right words?  Did I really mean it?  Did I believe enough? I…I…I…Do you see that all these questions concern what I did, not what Jesus promised.  I DID what He required and that settles it, but there’s more.  When I doubt my salvation, I first talk to God about it.  He reminds that He meant what HE said.  Then I do a life check: 1. Do I love to read God’s Word? Yes. Do I love to be in His house whenever the doors are open? Yes.  Do I love telling others about Him? Yes.  Does God answer my prayers?  Does He give me peace in my heart?  These are all outward fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling in me. And then I sigh a big sigh of relief. Yes!  I’m going to heaven when I die!  I asked and He came!  Praise the Lord.

Are the dreams still scary?  Yes, not because I’m afraid to die, but because I want to live!  This morning I laid in bed and just thanked God for giving me one more day!  He didn’t have to, and as much as I want to see Him face to face, as much as I want the trials of this life to be over, as much I’m ready to REST, I more ready to live!

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live;

yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:

and the life which I now live in the flesh

I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

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Beauty for Ashes

There are so many lessons to be learned in the garden.  I’d say we all have a bit of the farmer in us – who doesn’t like to see things grow?  And even if you don’t have any desire to develop your green thumb, it would be worth it to allow your kids to have a small plot somewhere in the back yard.  The lessons in diligence, persistence, and rewards are invaluable; and it will teach them how to work!  AND if you really want to teach them patience – plant carrots!

We had a late start with the garden because of Tilly’s time away in the shop, so when I planted the onions, lettuce, corn and beans, I left three rows for the tomatoes; however, later, when I started planting the tomato plants, I dug up a corn kernel!  Inadvertently, I had planted one row of tomatoes in the same row of corn/beans! DUMB!!  How can I be so stupid?!  (Actually, for me it’s rather easy!)  Now what?  Really, there was nothing to do but wait until the beans and corn showed up.

When they did, I noticed that in the other three rows, some of the seeds hadn’t sprouted, so I dug up the little plants and placed them in the empty spots.

And isn’t that just like our dear Heavenly Father?  He takes our mistakes and makes them profitable to us!  Doesn’t He promise “beauty for ashes?”  (Isaiah 61:3)  While we’re kicking ourselves for making such foolish mistakes, God has already planned how He will use our “mistakes” to show us another wonderful little facet of His great design.

So many lessons!  Doesn’t it just make you want to go out and dig?! :)

 “To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,
to give unto them beauty for ashes,
the oil of joy for mourning,
the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
that they might be called trees of righteousness,
the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”
Isaiah 61:3

Hang on!!

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him,
Master, carest thou not that we perish?
IMG_6783And he arose, and rebuked the wind,
and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still.
And the wind ceased,
and there was a great calm.
 And he said unto them,
Why are ye so fearful?
how is it that ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly,
and said one to another,
What manner of man is this,
that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Mark 4: 3-417

Years ago, I saw a picture of this verse and loved it so much that my husband surprised me with it months later for Christmas.  It illustrates the sea at both ends of the verse: The left side portrays the waters calming and the right side shows the dark clouds, angry waves, and flashing lightening.  In between them is a small first-century fishing boat being tossed by the waves; however, in the boat among the frightened disciples, is Jesus: arms raised, telling the storm to cease.  And it does.  The picture loudly proclaims in word and picture: Peace, Be Still, often just the reminder that I need for the day!

Are your days filled with tempestuous waves?  Does it seem as though life is a constant storm?  Life is not easy: it never has been and never will be until we see Jesus face to face!  Oh that will be glory for me!  But today, financial weights drag us down, conflicts in relationships toss loads of water into our little boats, children stress our nautical structures with their bent for the world.  At times, we truly feel like those disciples and ask, “Lord, we’re perishing!  Don’t you care?!”

Of course, we do know that He cares – in our heads; however, there are times when we don’t feel it in our hearts.  Isn’t that strange!  Our hearts are the very place where Jesus dwells!  He’s there!  Always there!  His Spirit never leaves us.  That’s His promise! (Hebrews 13:5b … for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.)

Jesus is in my boat!  I can’t sink!  There is NOTHING that can sink my boat!

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o’ershade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest’s shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.

I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.

Troubles almost ’whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o’er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.

~Daniel B. Towner

I hope you took the time to read all the verses. We don’t often sing all of them, but notice that each one starts with a description of the tempest and ends with the promised security in Jesus, our Lord.  Truly, we can be just assured and shocked as the disciples when (not if) the Lord rebukes the winds and tells the waves to cease…and they do!  So, just hang on and ride that thing!!

King for a Day

What would you do if you were king or queen for a day? This was the question which was posed to us in Sunday School as we study Ecclesiastes.  Wow!  The answers are endless!  My first thought was political: I’d outlaw abortion forever!  Or I’d pay off our country’s multi-trillion dollar debt! (seventeen to be exact and adding 326 billion to it every day!  That’s enough to give me a heart-attack!)

Then I thought a little more selfishly.  I’d buy an island, or a beach house in Virginia, a cabin in Maine and a castle in England!  I’d travel the world! (That would be hard to do in one day!)

But then, I thought about the spiritual needs of my family, and I thought I’d ask that their hearts would pant hard after God, that all my grandchildren would be saved and love the Lord, that our church folks would all be on fire for God…

And that’s when it hit me: It wouldn’t matter if I was the king of this whole world, had all the money and power and prestige this world could offer – none of that would improve my standing with God!!!!  That is an amazing thought!  The poorest pauper on the streets of New York City has as much power with God as the richest man on 5th avenue!  A kindergartner can talk to God with as much effect as a lawyer on Wall Street (maybe more!:))

I hope that thought is a blessing to you. Know your heavenly Father, love Him, talk to Him, and listen to Him – it will change your life.

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  John 17: 20-23

Deadly Shortcut at the PA Grand Canyon

As we headed to the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon with our evangelist friends, I was once again reminded of another visit there.  Although our canyon is nothing compared to the “real” Grand Canyon, it is still quite a site.  The deep gorge carved by the Pine Creek over billions and billions of years (just wanted to see if you were really paying attention!), and the view from the top of the gorge is truly breathtaking.  A four-mile round trip path called the Turkey Path literally zigzags its way to the bottom and trails a lovely waterfall as well.

In my teen years, while hiking back up the canyon, my friend and I decided to cut straight up and spare ourselves from some of the zigs and zags.  This was not a problem for two of the shortcuts; however, the third shortcut missed the next bend in the path and instead led us out into uncharted territory!  We found ourselves rock-climbing instead of hiking and I was really scared!  Looking straight down into the yawning mouth of that canyon made my heart stop and my arms and legs shake! Obviously, I did not die, but that incident is forever etched into my memory!

Shortcuts – who wants to waste time in our day of counted seconds?  EVERYTHING takes time, so we find ourselves reviewing the times tables with the kids on the way to soccer practice; or making that much needed return call while driving.  We fold laundry while watching TV, and keep our minds humming while doing those mundane tasks throughout the day; and then, we wonder why it’s so hard to turn off our brains when our heads finally hit the pillow!

Artisans see this world in a totally different way because they KNOW that a masterpiece cannot be rushed!  It takes time to sculpt a figure or paint a landscape or write a book! :)  Patience has been learned and past shortcuts have resulted in now understood failures!

My hiking shortcut could have cost me my physical life; and when I cut short my time with the Lord, it will also cost me my spiritual life!  We will not grow in our spiritual walk without that quiet time!  Is that perhaps why Satan fights us so to keep are triste with God? Oh, how well he knows the destruction which little or no Bible reading will produce.  Here are just a few:  WARNING, the following statements may break your heart

  1. A destroyed marriage. Marriage is so hard.  How in the world anyone can accomplish a successful marriage without a lot of prayer and Bible is beyond me!  You may say, “Well, I see a lot of successful marriages and the couple aren’t even Christians.”  Duh!  They do not have YOUR enemy!
  2. Wayward children. Is there any greater heartache for a mom or dad?  I am truly convinced that our children CAN turn out loving the Lord if we set that example before them; but why would they love the Lord if our lives are reflecting our love for this world’s treasures and counterfeits?  Sadly, we are reaping what we are sowing.
  3. Lost loved ones. Our poor testimony is convincing our unsaved friends and families that they are doing just fine without salvation!
  4. Sadness and discontent. There is nothing sadder than a worldly Christian.  He can’t be happy in the world, because his conscience won’t let him alone; and he can’t be happy with Christians because he can’t relate to them.
  5. Depression, stress, sickness… Will we ever know all of the ramifications resulting from a lack of Bible time? Not until we see Jesus.

HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE:

  • PRAY – Every time – EVERY TIME, I ask the Lord to show me what He wants me to see, He DOES! It is so awesome.  This morning, I could hardly contain myself, and I didn’t read much, but Oh, was it good!
  • Your best friend is a good study Bible: Life Application Bible, Scofield Study Bible, Thompson Chain – these are my favorites, but there are others
  • Matthew Henry Concise Commentary – you can get this for $1.99 on a kindle. Again, there are lots of commentaries. MH is my personal favorite! (Also a dictionary.  I have Matthew Henry, the Bible, and a dictionary on my kindle, so if I come to a difficult word and I’m not sure of its meaning, I just put the cursor in front of the word, and BINGO: the definition comes up! [Know that’s not much help for you less “techie” folk.  Sorry!])
  • PEN AND NOTE BOOK – write, write, write. You don’t have to be a writer to do this. :)  Start by just looking for one verse that really speaks to you and write it down.  You could also write your thoughts about it, or write a short prayer. I’m not sure why writing it down helps so much, it just does; I’m sure an educator could give you the reason.

Take a shortcut on your walk, or your other reading, or your facebook time, or your shopping.  Let the laundry go for a half hour.  It will still be there! Read your Bible.  Our kids and our world are dying for a lack of it in our lives, dear Christian!  And you are dying too.  It’s like cancer – so often, you don’t see the affects until it is too late.

 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips;

I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. Job 23:12

 

Too Much Green in My Garden?

ID-10013392 (1)“Your carrots look really good,” my mom said as she looked out my kitchen window.  Ah yes, two lacy green rows of baby carrot tops all in a straight row – nice and thick.

“Yes, I bought my seeds from the local hardware store,” I said.  “Only paid fifty-two cents for a half scoop of seeds.  That’s a quarter of the price I would pay for a seed packet and four times the amount of seeds; so I planted them really thick.”

If she looked out today, she’s say with alarm, “What happen to your carrots?”

Today, I thinned my carrots, because I’ve learned that if they are too close together, there will be no room for the carrot to grow. Now maybe it’s the Bambi Syndrome, but I hate pulling up those tiny little carrots and discarding them!  Murderer!  It’s not their fault that I planted them so thick.

While thinning them I need to make the decision as to which one stays and which one goes.  It’s not always the biggest plants that stay.  I just need to have a row of well-spaced carrot plants when I’m finished; so any plant that is too close to another, no matter how big, good, or healthy, has to go!

I couldn’t help thinking that our lives are a lot like those rows of carrots.  So many good things press into our schedules, often keeping us away from what is really important.  As born-again believers, what is most important?  Being a good worker, or being a godly worker?  Raising good kids, or raising godly kids?  Having a great marriage, or having a godly marriage?

Good things make good kids.  For example, dance lessons are a good thing; soccer is a good thing, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, 4-H, family reunions, camping, skating, working… these are all good things.  They can build character into our children and can build strong families, but when anything gets in the way of godly “things” like church attendance, our personal or family devotions or prayer time, then that good thing must go.  Our lives may look great – lots of green tops, but when the harvest time comes, will there be a carrot?  Will there be any fruit for Jesus? Do I need to “pull out” some of the good things to make room for the godly things?

“Yea, but you don’t understand.  Susie would die if I pulled her out of softball and said that she had to go to Wednesday night Children’s Club at church.”

Well, here’s the deal.  I KNOW that I MUST pull those good carrots out to get fruit, so even though I hate doing it, I did it because I wanted the fruit at harvest time.  The real question for you is, what kind of fruit do you want in your children’s lives and can you accomplish that with your present schedule?  Too often we are fooled into thinking that we’ll get the desired result of godly children even though we don’t do what God requires.  And, at the risk of being too harsh, the problem goes a bit deeper – as adults, our hearts are not really “panting” after God as the deer thirsts for water.  Can we really drink of the Word without being under the preaching of the Word or without reading the Word?

I love growing root plants.  It’s so exciting to think about what’s happening under the ground!  About six weeks from now, I’ll be out there brushing the dirt away from the tops of the carrots to see if there’s any orange coming!

As we raise our children or walk our own path of sanctification, I think we should do the same check: brush away the “cover-ups” that we may create, the false impressions that we are giving, and take an honest hard look at what’s happening under the “dirt.”  Man sees the outside, but God sees the heart.  He knows what’s truly in the garden of our hearts and in the garden of our children’s hearts. When Judgment Day arrives, will any of us regret any decision we made to draw our families closer to God?  I seriously doubt it!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.  Psalm 42:1

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