Marigold or Rose?

 

     Vanilla Marigolds  cropped-good-as-gold.jpg  

  

Psalm 73:1 – 3

“Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold.  For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

 

I planted a new flower bed in my backyard this spring. I worked on the flower bed for days because I wanted to plant 6 new roses, which I did, but along with the roses I planted some marigolds. Five of the roses I planted died and the one that is still alive is struggling but the marigolds are thriving and blooming like nobody’s business.

I’m sure if my one struggling rose could talk it would be angry, envious and jealous of the marigolds. If that one rose had eyes, it would be sick of seeing vanilla colored marigolds blooming and taking over the space that was meant for the rose.

Here’s the deal; marigolds are perennials, they die after their blooming season. They do not have longevity of live. They are here, blooming and looking beautiful one season and in the trash the before the next season is over. On the other hand, roses are annuals; they live and bloom for years. I have some roses that are almost 20 years old. As long as I can keep my one surviving rose alive during the winter season, it will live and bloom next season and for years to come plus, the rose will get stronger as it lives through the winter seasons.

My marigolds are like the rich wicked people in this life; oh, they are living well now, they are wealthy, rich, attractive and carefree…today, but how about long-term? Those of us who are in Christ are like the rose; we may be struggling, but we have been promised abundant life in this age and eternal life in the one to come. The wicked don’t have those promises to lean and depend on.

It is easy to see the arrogant wicked people and feel the pang of jealousy or envy but we can’t allow what we see in them to cause us to lose our hope in God. We can’t allow their seemingly carefree life to cause us to think our goal of keeping our hearts pure before the Lord is in vain (Ps. 73:12 – 14).

We must remember that there is more to live than just money, fame and fortune. There is love, peace, joy, contentment, integrity, honesty, hope and truth, all found in our relationship with God through Christ Jesus.

You and I may cry out, “Lord, why can’t I have just a little of their money?” But, they may be crying out, “Why can’t I have peace of mind?” See, we only see the outside of the situation; we only see what the camera shows us, we can’t see their hearts but it’s not about what we see, it’s about a relationship with God and believing, even when we’re struggling, that long-term God will always be true to His promises to us.

“For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.” II Corinthians 1:20

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Out of the Box

Created Chosen Called

August 12, 2015

Genesis 1:26

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

When I purchase a rose for my garden, I have a plan. I know where I’m going to put the rose, the nutrient levels I need the soil to possess and how to feed, water and protect the rose until its root system stabilizes in its new environment. I have a plan that the rose doesn’t know anything about.

The rose is shipped to me in a plain brown cardboard box. There is nothing in the box with the rose except other bare root roses that I may have purchased at the same time. If I purchased a single rose, it is in the box by itself.

I can only image how the rose must feel when I plant it in its new place. It goes from being in a dark empty box without soil or water into an open air space with at least six hours of sunlight, soil, vitamins and food. What a shock to its fragile system!

I’m sure if my roses could complain they would. They have probably become use to living in the dark bareness of the box but, in order to live, the rose must have the sun, soil, water and food, things that the roses can’t get while in the box. So, they may have become accustom to living in the box, if they stay there, they will die.

Yes, God does the same thing to and for us. You and I ask God for growth; financial, spiritual or personal growth so we can do more, have more or become more for the Kingdom of God. He answers our prayers and responses to our request. He begins to move us from our dark and confining boxes to new places where we can grow. And what do we do? We complain!

We wanted to grow where we were, in the confines of the boxes we have put ourselves in! We don’t want to change, we don’t want other things to change, we don’t want to do anything different, and we just want to grow where we are. Sorry! It doesn’t work that way!

God did not create us to be confined to dark, lifeless boxes. He created us to live in His Son and in the sun. What does that mean? It means God created us to live our spiritual lives in the light, soil and be feed by the life of His son AND to live our natural lives in the abundance here on earth. God never designed us to live in lack or less than. Neither in this life nor the one to come.

In order for us to grow, God has to move us to a place where the totality of who we are can be used and displaced as we experience new things. God is taking out of our boxes because He wants us to live and not die in the dark empty lives so many of us are now living.

Yes, it’s time to come out of your box!

“He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness.” II Corinthians 9:10

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You Were Chosen

Picked out

 

Matthew 22:14

For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

When I chose a rose for my garden, I don’t pick it based on one characteristics of the rose; I pick it based on the totality of the rose. So not only do I pick a rose based on its color, I chose it on how the blooms are going to look. Will the blooms have lots and lots of petals or just a few?  I chose it based on the fragrance; is it lightly fragranced or is it heavily fragranced?  Does it smell like honey or does it smell like a traditional rose?

I also look at the type of leaves the rose is going to have. Will the leaves be bright green and shiny or will they be a matted green? I also look at the stem of the roses; will they be long-stemmed so I can use the rose in a single rose vase or will they be short stemmed so I can use them in an arrangement?

So you see, everything that the rose is goes into my decision-making process of whether or not I’m going to plant the rose in my garden. Yes, each facet of the rose is important, but one piece without the others doesn’t make the rose what it really is. It is the totality of the rose plant that makes the rose what I want in my garden.

God does the same thing with us. When God chooses us to do a particular assignment He chooses us based on the totality of who we are; our temperament, the things that we’ve gone through in order to bring us to the place where we are now, our looks, our background and upbringing. All these things make us who we are and are the reasons God chooses us for our assignments.

Unfortunately, all too often we look at ourselves through the eyes of the world system and only see what we think the world sees when it looks at us. The world system says over and over again, we have to be super model thin in order to be considered worthy of being called attractive. The world system says we have to be rich or famous in order to be counted amount those whom others should listen to. The world system says we have to be educated with the right type of degrees and from the right schools or we’ll be outsiders and not allowed to join them at the popular table. But, no matter what the world tells us, it does not stop God from doing what He’s going to do and it shouldn’t stop us from doing what God has assigned us to do.

If God has given you an assignment, and He has given us all an assignment, what the world system says about you doesn’t amount to a hill of beans. When God gave each of us our assignments, He has already measured the totality of who we are and He knows we can successfully complete the assignment.

The world system only knows the labels it has placed on us. God knows who He created us to be.

 

“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.” I Corinthians 1:27

 

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The Same but Different

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James 1:13 – 15

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

I have a dozen roses in my front yard. I basically care for each of them the same way; I feed and water them at the same time, clip them when they need it and make sure the soil nutrient levels are correct. I care for them equally.

My Double Delight rose, which is pictured above, is right at my front door because it’s beautiful and has a strong honey sweet aroma. When you walk up to my door and Double Delight is in bloom, the last thing you smell before you come into my house is the sweet fragrance of the rose. YUMMY!

The problem with the Double Delight is it is susceptible to black spots and yellow leaves. It is so susceptible to the disease that I have to pay special attention to the rose all summer because if I allow the disease a little room it will destroy every leaf on the Double Delight and defoliate the rose completely.

Right next to the Double Delight I have the John F. Kennedy rose; which is beautiful too but in a very different way than the Double Delight. The John F. Kennedy rose is not susceptible to black spots or yellow leaves but, Japanese Beatles LOVE the John F. Kennedy but they don’t really care for the Double Delight. So, even though the two roses are sitting right next to each other in the garden, they have too different challenges that I have to content with in order to keep them alive and healthy.

It is the same way for us in the Body of Christ. We have been engrafted into the Body of Christ by His redemptive blood and His finished work on the cross. We have been made spiritual siblings and yet, we are all tempted and drawn away from God by our own temptations.

What tempts you to turn away from your relationship with Christ may not bother me at all and what tempts me may not cause you to think about it twice. You see, just like my roses, we are individuals with different challenges, needs and desires. Coming to Christ doesn’t make us clones, it makes us saved. We are still the people we were before our salvation.

Our struggles are the same, our issues are the same, our aptitudes are the same, and the things we are susceptible to are the same. The difference is how we handle the struggles and the issues. The difference is how we handle the temptations. We are all the same; we all have struggles, issues and temptations but we are all different in how we handle them. None of us have any room to throw stones at someone else.

This is why we can’t judge someone else’s walk in Christ. We can’t judge how God is using them, or not, when or how. We don’t know all the particulars in that person life. Only God knows that and He is the one that directs the steps of us all.

One reason I love gardening is because flowers don’t have the ability to look over at another flower and try to compare themselves, whether for better or for worse. They don’t have the ability to see what I’m doing to one plant that I may not be doing to or for them. There is no envy or jealousy between plants like there often is between people.

While we are all the same in Christ because God is not a respecter of person, we are all very different and He treats us different according to His call on our lives.

 

“But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.” Galatians 6:4

 

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No Longer Needed

 

Uprooted Grass

Isaiah 43:18 – 19

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”

 

Three more days of digging in my backyard! My back, legs and arms are all sore and I’m not done yet! The weeds are out, for now, and the roses are in place but, I have to battle the grass that I have removed and displaced.

When I decided to put the roses in the back yard not only did I have to remove the weeds, but I had to remove the grass that had been growing there for years. Unlike the weeds, the grass had been needed and wanted in that area of the backyard but now, its services are no longer needed. The grasses usefulness has run its course and it’s time for it to go.

The grass, unlike the weeds, was not a bad thing; it’s just no longer useful in the area where I planted my roses. Grass is useful in other places, just not with my roses.

This is how it is with our lives. There comes a time when things and people who were needed in our lives are no longer needed AND, sometimes, we are no longer needed in someone else’s life.

When God starts doing new things in our lives, He replaces the old stuff with new things and sometimes, He replaces old people with new people who can help us get where God is taking us or can help us mature so we can move forward to the next place God has for us. The old stuff can only keep us where we are, it cannot help us grow into the people God has for us to become.

Some people take an exception to the concept of letting go of things and people that/who are no longer useful fixtures in our lives. But, let me put it this way, if you have a friend who is still doing all the things you are trying to get away from or trying to leave behind as you press to be more like Christ, can you still hang out with them AND achieve your goal? If you have someone in your life who is happy and content with just enough to get by but you want God’s promise of abundance, can you still hold on to them AND receive your abundance?

To move out of the old and into the new takes work! To leave behind that which we have grown accustom to in order to become something more than we are today takes diligence, dedication and determination. Can we take the old with us as we change and progress in our lives and walk with Christ? The Bible states, “No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment. If he does, the patch tears away from it, the new from the old, and a worse tear is made. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the wine will burst the skins—and the wine is destroyed, and so are the skins. But new wine is for fresh wineskins.” Mark 2:21 – 22.

What do you say?

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Weeds or Roses

Good as Gold
Matthew 13:24 – 28

‘“Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.  “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’  “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.”’
For the last few days I have been working in my backyard. This year I decided to plant roses in the back portion of my yard which meant I had to removed grass and weeds from the place where I wanted to roses to go.

I hate weeds and they are always around! I had to use a small pitchfork and hoe in order to loosen the weeds so I could pull them out by hand because I needed to remove the roots of the weeds. It has taken me two hours a day for three days, to area clear the grass and weeds and, I’m not done yet.

A big problem with converting an area this has been allowed to grow weeds unchecked is the roots of the weeds have a head start over my roses. The roots of the weeds are mature and well established while the roots of my roses are new and immature. If I allow the roots of the weeds to remain in place they will overtake my roses and choke them out.

We have weeds that have been planted in our hearts and minds. Our weeds have been planted by the words of others. Then, without our consent, the weeds in our hearts and minds talk to us when we true to do something new.  Our weeds say things like; “You’re not good enough.” “You will never make it, you just aren’t that smart.” You’re ugly/fat/too tall/too short, etc.” “You can’t do anything right.” “They will never accept you.”

On and on the weeds our enemies have planted in us lie to us. YES! They lie to us in an effort to choke out God’s purpose for our lives. In John 10:10 Jesus says, ‘“The thief comes ONLY to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”’ The enemies job was to kill our lives; destroy our dreams, chock out our hope and dash our desires for greater against the rocks of their lies. Our job is to plant and cultivate God’s word in our hearts and minds, which will uproot and destroy the weeds of the enemy.

It is time to take back our land that has been overrun by weeds. It’s time to uproot the lies we have been told down through the years and replace them with the truth of God. Then and only then, will we blossom, even in the wilderness.

Isaiah 35:1-2a

“The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.  It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing…”
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