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The Master Gardener

It’s that time of year where we walk around the property and clean up the shrubs and gardens that are done producing. It means pulling up the frost-bit tomatoes and the browned sweet potatoes. It means reshaping my evergreen before winter so the Christmas lights will look nice on it.

I love God’s incredible timing because I’m just reading through a daily devotional a page or two at a time and I started midyear, so I’m not on the correct date in my reading. However, that seems to let God bless me more in very intentional words needed at just the right time. In Abundant Life Day Book by Nancy Guthrie, she looks at the Bible verses in the photo. Then she shares how God knows how to specifically nurture me into a faithful branch in God’s vineyard. Working in the garden center, I’ve watched how some of the staff has learned over the years to read the individual plants. They know which ones need more water or less, who needs to be repotted because it has become pot-bound and is no longer taking in the nourishment needed. And they know when and what plants need fertilizer and which ones don’t. When I compare that to Guthrie’s comments, I am stunned at how closely God pays attention to the details that surround me. If I need time with Him, He may cause a slow-me-down (often one that I’m not willing to take the time to deal with, but so necessary in hindsight). He may have to prune me to shape me into what He wants me to be now and in my heavenly home. He knows what activities are sapping my energy and He will trim it away.

One of Guthrie’s comments rang very true, “God may cut out some of the activities you enjoy so that in the stillness you can hear My voice.” I cannot tell you how true this is, but many who face chronic illnesses definitely know the truth of these words. For me, that was the enjoyment I had in working with teens in youth group – teaching, encouraging, worshiping, fooling around with, attending activities … it was what seemed to be the one way God allowed me to worship and serve Him. God changed that and told me it was time to step down after about a year of dealing with RA. It was hard. I argued with God and struggled with the let down. But God in His infinite wisdom allowed me to grow during the period after working with teens. He had a lot to teach me about BEING with Him. And the more I am with Him, the more I realize I want to be with Him even more. But I struggle with “finding” – no really with “making” time for Him. I know that if I don’t He’ll have another slow-me-down to help prune me and shape me into what He wants me to be.

Pruning and cutting hurt. Sometimes pruning is a simple snip from a clippers, other times it is a hard snap from a loppers or sometime it takes a hacksaw to cut away the dead growth. Whatever it takes, I need to remember that God’s pruning is with purpose, it is never careless or just because. He has learned to read me like a book and knows whether I need water, fertilizer or pruning.

By the way, again in God’s infinite wisdom and timing, I’m working with young people in a totally different perspective by helping them as they learn how to lead others in worship. I get to spend good time with them, hearing how life is going and encouraging them in their relationship with God.

Incredibly blessed by God’s incredible timing and careful pruning ~ Faye

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Delight in God

Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.   ~   Hebrews 11:1 [NLT]

Delight yourself in the LordThis morning during my devotional time, I found myself praying something like this – Father, forgive me when I let the frustrations with what my body cannot do take over my attitudes and actions. It wasn’t moment’s later He led me to the following “It takes a radical reliance on God’s Word – specifically God’s promises about the day when the healing and wholeness He’s secured for us/me will become the reality we will see and know and enjoy.” [Nancy Guthrie-Abundant Life]

I can’t describe how I felt – awed, humbled, embarrassed, thankful, grateful. God heard my prayer and answered almost immediately – not with physical healing, but with words of encouragement.  He may not heal our diseases or solve issues here on earth, but He always hears our prayers. And better yet, He promises that He will abundantly bless us in the life to come. God blesses us with glimpses of His glory and goodness.

While walking today, I was blessed by the sunshine, white wispy clouds, and the eagle soaring above me. Later I watched a Downy Woodpecker working at the trunk of a tree. How can a bird get food from frozen trees is beyond me, but God provides for all. God’s goodness for all His creatures is a glimpse of how much more He cares for us.

Guthrie states, “To live by faith is not to have confidence that God will make everything okay for us in this life, but that He will more than make up for the pain and difficulty of this life in the next.”  What incredible assurance we have! What a precious gift from God – FAITH!

So many people today seem to be burdened with trials. When we become so focused on the things of this world – good or bad –we miss the promise from God for our future.

Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart ~ Psalm 37:4

Praying that you will enjoy seeing the blessing of God’s goodness to you today ~ Faye

This blog is linked with Good Morning Girls Link-Up Wednesday.

God’s Gracious Blessings

From His abundance we have all received one gracious blessing after another. John 1:16 NLT

Christmas is the time for celebrating, anticipating, hoping, baking, cookies, presents given and received, special worship services and parties with family and friends. The holiday season can be a wonderful time with many blessings. But for some it is a time of loneliness, stress, tension, broken relations, unmet expectations and/or loss.

As Satan tries to steal my joy during this holy season with concerns over family relationships and dynamics, I have to continually counterattack him with reminders from God’s word that God knows my hurts.

Think of it. God grieves when His creation sin. He loves us so much and yet we willingly turn away from Him.  God sent His Son to suffer, die, be rejected by his earthly family and while in the depths of hell His heavenly Father. He had to deal with loss and betrayal of friends so He could save us and give us eternal life. Jesus knows personally the pain that comes from broken relationships and sin in this world.

When Satan attacks your heart and tries to steal your spiritual JOY, make sure you turn it around – remember how much God the Father and God the Son LOVE you and understand where you are. God wants to have His children talk to Him, rely on Him, bring their hurts to Him. He will pour out His gracious blessings from His abundance.

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.   Romans 5:6-8 NLT

During the difficult times of the holiday season, I pray you will be filled with the abundance of God’s gracious blessings so that you are deeply content. Rely fully on God so that nothing can shake you.

I am blessed by a quote of Nancy Guthrie in her new book, Abundant Life Day Book.

“In the midst of the trouble and struggle and sorrow, you find yourself deeply secure, profoundly content and happy in [God.] To know [God], walk with [Him], and share life with [Him] – that is the essence of blessing.”

Praying you enjoy God’s abundant blessings of grace and peace ~ Faye

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