A Flower’s Life

Let’s look at the life of a flower and how it reaches the beautiful blooming stage that we all enjoy. Before we plant flowers, we need to cultivate the soil and prepare it to receive the seed for ultimate growth. If the ground is too hard the seed won’t take root.

Seed Stage: Every seed holds a miniature plant inside that needs the right nutrients to begin new growth. Some seeds are still capable of growth after many years if they are properly kept.

Germination: A seed in the earth will need warmth and water in order to grow. Some even need light at this stage. The seed will absorb water to split the outer shell, opening it up to a transformation as it begins to sprout a stem. The tiny root begins to push its way down as it begins to grow. According to an article I read, seeds have different needs; some need to go through a fire in order to sprout while others go through the stomachs of animals.

Growth: When the leaves begin to form, they convert energy from sunlight and water along with other nutrients to use as food. As the root system uses the food to continue to develop, anchoring the plant into the ground and uses root hairs to absorb water and nutrients. The stem is used to reach toward the light as it sends water and food to the roots and leaves. Then the buds begin to develop to later produce the beautiful blooms we so enjoy.

Reproduction: As the bud forms, it has a tiny but complete flower inside it. Over time, the bud opens and blossoms into a mature flower.

Pollination: Flowers depend on insects, birds, animals, wind, and water to carry pollen from flower to flower. Without pollinators, they couldn’t produce more seeds or new plant life. Even flowers that can’t produce their own pollen, rely on and benefit from other plants during the cross-pollination process, resulting in stronger plants.

Spreading Seeds: This is the final stage which is done in many ways. The wind can scatter the seeds, the fur of animals can carry the seeds to other locations, humans, water, etc. But once the seeds fall to the ground, a new plant life cycle begins again.

Consider the God-given design and the little details that take place for a flower to grow, bloom and thrive. Now think about how we are designed. Cultivating the hard ground to prepare it for the seed is like God cultivating our hearts- if it is still a hard and stony heart, the seed won’t take root. It must be rooted in fertile soil and be fed the right messages of His truth to grow to the full potential.

The roots send nutrients up through the stem so it can stand firm to produce the bloom. We also need to be rooted deep in the word to be fed and stand strong against the enemy to produce the kind of fruit that is pleasing to the Creator.

The flower needs the light of the sun to flourish just as we need the light of the Son in our lives. When we bloom where we are planted God can use us no matter where we are if we are standing tall and looking to Him. He provides the living water of the Spirit to nourish us and help us grow to our full potential, into the beautiful bloom He created us to be.

If we surround ourselves with the right pollinators (Christian friends) we can have a better chance of growth. At times in our lives when we are not able to self-pollinate, we have others to lift us up and help us through to the other side. It has been said that we are the average of the friends we hang out with the most. In that case, we need to find friends who are like what we want to become. Otherwise, we will be taken over by weeds and smothered and eventually wilt.

There is a full- complete flower inside all of us waiting to bloom in the light of Christ’s love. Some of us go through the fire to get there, everyone goes through different experiences that lead us to Christ. But it is our life experiences that helps us relate and we can share our story to help others, by spreading the seeds and message to lead others to Christ and ultimately the Kingdom.

Matthew 3:18-32

(Parable of the seeds)

(Reference: https://www.avasflowers.net/the-stages-of-the-flower-life-cycle)

Finding Favor

The Bible defines favor as ‘gracious kindness’; approval from a superior; a special privilege granted. (See also grace)

This has been on my mind a lot lately. What does it mean to have favor with God? Does God’s favor come in material things or in our gifts and talents and how He uses us? I think some people use it incorrectly and assume if someone has been able to purchase nice things, cars and a big house, they have found favor with God. I don’t believe God’s favor comes in the form of material things. He tells us to lay up our treasures in Heaven – not in earthly things.

I believe that the Lord’s favor comes in His perfect timing and not always when we are doing everything right. We always fail to measure up. He does it when it pleases Him. To bring glory to His name. To show others who He is. We know that grace is a gift and we can’t earn it, it’s the same with favor. God bestows His favor on who He chooses.

He saved me from a tragic car accident- not because of who I was but because of who He is. I am who I am today because of Christ and His grace. He uses us to show others who He is and point them to Christ- to glorify His name.

There are times when we are trying to achieve a blessing by our own strength or by the ways of the world, God may have to cripple our self-sufficiency to make us trust Him more. We see this in Genesis when God causes Jacob’s hip to render out of place- then He had to submit to God and trust Him. I feel this was what happened to me with my accident. I had gone as far as I could on my own, trying to control things myself, hold tight to things I needed to let go of. God showed me favor by saving my life but He used this accident to show me He is in control; not me. It took this to jolt me awake and make me pay attention to what He was doing in my life and made me trust Him more.

Noah found favor with the Lord because he walked in close fellowship with God. He is an example of righteousness, obedience, courage and faith. The closer our relationship with God and the more we use what He has given us the more we will receive.

Favor goes hand in hand with blessings, which can look very different depending on the circumstances at the time. Do you think accepting a ride with a stranger in the middle of a bad part of town is a blessing? I didn’t either, actually it was one of my greatest fears at the time. But to the homeless woman I was shadowing, who had a broken foot, it was one of the greatest blessings she had in a long time. We can’t look at what others have or don’t have and say they aren’t blessed or have more things and say they have more favor than us. Each person has his own journey. You never know what led them to where they are today. I came through the fire to get where I am. Not everyone has the same experience or journey but we all have the chance to live close to God and follow Christ. We all have unique gifts and talents to be used to help others and glorify God. So don’t look at your neighbor and think they have it all, I wish I was her. She is already taken. Be you. You do it better than anyone. Let God lead and see where He takes you.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and he will give you everything you need. Luke 12:31 (notes: Life is not measured by how much you own.)

…to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. Luke 19:26

The Truth in a Nutshell

Let’s get straight to the point. God is bigger than ALL of this! Anything to the contrary comes from a place of fear and panic and is nothing but diabolical.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God has always provided. He will continue to provide and protect His people. This is the same God who shut the mouths of lions. God is not the author of confusion and chaos.

Let us be the calm in the storm. Let us sing praises to His name and be grateful for the little things we usually take for granted. Don’t drink the chaos Kook-aid, ya’ll. (I am pretty sure that is a long, lost proverb.) We can be smart, stay safe and not be fearful.

No matter what happens, God is with us. We can trust Him with the outcome. Share this truth with someone today who might need a word of encouragement in the middle of the storm.

When this is all over, go on that trip you’ve been thinking about for years, take the leap of faith and do that thing God has been nudging you to do, get out and enjoy God’s creation in nature, see other parts of the world…start marking those items off your bucket list. If you don’t have a bucket list, it is an excellent time to make one.

Be kind. Share with others in need. Show love. God’s got this…and us!

By faith these people overthrew kingdoms, ruled with justice, and received what God had promised them. They shut the mouths of lions, quenched the flames of fire, and escaped death by the edge of the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength. They became strong in battle and put whole armies to flight. Hebrews 11:33-34

#ThrowbackThursday

Hidden Treasure

Too much fun not share again…this trip was in 2018.

Tucked away deep in the hills of North Carolina, I found a gem called “Sapphire.”

In and out of down pours, half the day, I traveled the treacherous curvy roads in search of the Brook Trout Inn. Nestled in the side of a mountain, the quaint little inn was friendly and welcoming.

Just like home away from home, they provided all the necessary ingredients and appliances to make yourself some breakfast in a cozy sitting room off from the main lobby.

I chose this location because it was nearby the fly-fishing excursion I had planned for the next day. A guided wade trip on private waters led by Headwater Outfitters.

My helpful guide, Chris, supplied all the necessary equipment including the awesome waders and boots. All I had to do was show up. The weather was a bit threatening with storms the night before. But, the morning of my trip, the sun was breaking through the trees hitting the water with a brilliant glow, as I maneuvered the slippery rocks, with one hand on my guide’s arm, like an usher leading me to my seat at the theatre.

The play was magnificent as the rainbow trout put on a show just for me. What a thrill to set the hook on a 20-inch trout and have it leap out of the water making a big splash as I reeled him in. Once the hook is set, the trick is knowing when to reel and when to let it run with the line while keeping the rod high and bent until Chris swooped him up in the net.

He agreed to one photo before leaping back in the murky waters to warn his friends of my arrival. Looks as though I caused quite a stir, so we moved up stream to find another hiding place.

The trout wasn’t the only hidden treasure I found that day. I saw a blue heron gracefully soaring above the tree line. A dragonfly floated by to say hello just as a mayfly landed on Chris’ arm. As we hiked around the trail to dip back in another area of the river, a swallowtail caught my attention.  

I would have loved to taken photos of the swiftly flowing water crashing over the rocks under the canopy of trees, but I was sort of preoccupied with fishing and not falling, so I didn’t chance taking the camera with me.

What a blessing to be out in nature and experience God’s beauty and creation as I mark another one off the bucket list.

The day before my trip I woke with this in my thoughts: “Search for Me throughout your day like hidden treasure.”

Protection

As I was driving to work one morning, focusing on the road in front of me, a car horn blew from somewhere nearby and it startled me. I began to think about all the distractions we have as we go through life every day that keep us from focusing on the path ahead of us.

Our car provides protection to surround us in case someone hits us. The seatbelts are designed to provide extra security if something did happen.  What if we didn’t have these protectors in our life to guard us against the potential harm that could come to us?

I began to think of it like the armor we need to put on every day to protect us from the enemy. God’s armor is our protector from potential disasters. He surrounds us with His protection if we are putting on His armor every day as precaution.

The seatbelt could be the belt of truth – the more we are in His word the more we know His truth and can guard our hearts against the lies of the enemy.

Our body armor is God’s righteousness. For shoes, we are to put on the peace that comes from the Good News, so we are fully prepared. In addition, He says to hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.

He says to put on salvation as our helmet and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God with us every where we go. We are to stay alert, so the distractions of this world don’t get us off course from the path He has set before us. We are to keep our focus on Him and seek the kingdom above all else.

That is the only way we can deter the enemy and deflect his lies.

(Ephesians 6: 14-18, Matthew 6:33)

Faith Floats

Doubt sinks ships, but faith floats and carries us to the other side.

If we let our faith be our guide, there is absolutely nothing to fear.

At a time when I needed to rely on my faith to carry out what God had put on my heart, God pointed me to this scripture.

Hebrews 11:1-40 (V1) Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.

There are thirteen verses that begin with “It was by faith….” If I counted right throughout this chapter in Hebrews. the word “faith” is mentioned at least 21 times. I had to read every one of them before I got it. He wanted me to have more faith. To trust Him fully and be obedient without fear, seeking to do His will in all things.

We need to be a tree- unmovable in our faith. Deeply rooted in God’s truth.

If we rely on our faith – He will see us through. We’ve experienced what He has done for us and enjoyed a new life – now we can rest on His promises for an even better life ahead. If we remain faithful- we will receive everything we need.

I sometimes think about the things I entrusted to men in my past. Those are the things I should have feared. Yet I trusted them. I can see now where that got me. The things God asks of me are no comparison. So why should I fear Him? I know the things God is asking are good and lead to righteousness. I just need to have complete faith and trust in a God who changed my life.

Not only do we need knowledge of His truth, understanding of His word, discernment and wisdom but once He gives us all these things, we must put our faith into action.

We need to get off the bench and get in the game.

James 2:26

Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.

Masking the Truth

I can relate to the raccoon on some level. I wore a mask in public for many years. Hiding truths in our lives can be like wearing a mask. We are masking the lies of our secret lives.

Anytime we feel we have to wear a mask in public and we are living in fear of someone seeing the truth about us, it is a huge red flag that we need to change things in our life and face the reality of who we are in private. If that doesn’t match up to who we are in pubic, it’s time for an evaluation.

I’m claustrophobic so the thought of crawling on my belly through a dark cave and running into cobwebs or worse, is suffocating.  But, that is what I did for many years by letting the truth of who I was in that season of life keep me in fear, in the dark, hiding from my truth and afraid to be seen or asked any questions. It was icky, like walking a massive cobweb that you can’t shake off.

I say in season, because at our core, that is not who we are or was meant to be. But sometimes we are in a season of life where we are allowing the world and the enemy to win the battle. We might not know how to fight the battle yet. But God will help us. He is the One person we can’t hide the truth. Even if we are very good at masking it to others, God knows our hearts and everything about us. I learned the hard way how miserable it is to live two lives. We may get away with it on the surface – but we are the ones it truly hurts. Being honest with God and ourselves brings honor and an integrity that leads to ultimate joy and peace.

Once we are free, we can stand up right and walk a straight path unafraid of the truth. That is a freedom beyond words that I am so grateful to receive.

“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32