Looking for Fruit… Part 2

I want to continue sharing this month about my adventure in gardening.  As I mentioned last month, I have been gardening in my City Picker’s Gardening wagon for 2 years now.  I have been very excited almost every day as I am able to harvest vegetables. As I told you last month, I couldn’t help but believe that our Lord is pleased when He sees His children producing the fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5, love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, meekness, faithfulness, and self-control.

As Paul Harvey would say, here is the rest of the story.  I bought a hot pepper plant at the same time as my City Picker’s plants, however I decided to plant it in a different container.  I was careful to use the wonderful Miracle Grow Mix with the great nutrients.  After a few weeks I went out each day to check my hot pepper plant. To my surprise, I noticed that it had no peppers, not even a hint of a pepper.  I decided that the greenery was getting so big that I should transplant it into a larger container. Once again expecting some sign of the fruit it should be producing, not a trace.  I fertilized it just like Neal Sperry (our Texas authority on all gardening) said to do.  I watered, I pampered, NO PEPPERS. The green plant now is huge, but still no sign of anything resembling a pepper to harvest. Just a big fat green plant. Can you feel my frustration and disappointment?

I now want to share of another fruit of the Spirit found in John 4:35, “Behold I say unto you, lift up your eyes and behold the fields that are white unto harvest.”  Matthew 28:19a, “Therefore go and make disciples!” I can’t help but wonder if our Father in heaven might be saddened and disappointed in our lives when His blood bought children just sit in our comfortable churches getting fatter and fatter as we learn more information and enjoy our many, many activities, while our neighbors, community, state, and the world are going to hell in a hand basket.  Just a thought!!

“People need the Lord! Every day they pass me by, I can see it in their eyes, empty people filled with care, headed who knows where. On, they go through private pain, living fear to fear. Laughter hides their silent cries, only Jesus hears. We are called to take His light to a world where wrong seems right. What could be so great a cost for sharing Life with one who is lost?

Part of the Lyrics to “People need the Lord,” by Steve Green

Joy,

Phyllis

 

Looking for Fruit!

Last year during the Covid shut down, my son, knowing how bored I would be isolated at home, bought me for Mother’s Day a City Pickers Garden container.  It is about 24” X 20” container with wheels.  It was perfect after filling with all the growing ingredients to make my 2 okra plants, 2 bell pepper plants and 2 squash plants grow and produce vegetables. It was fun. This year I decided again to grow vegetables in my City Picker’s Garden.  Each morning I go to the patio to water my little garden.  It brings a smile and excitement to my heart when I see the fruits of my labor ready to harvest.

This morning as I went to check the plants, I was reminded of Galatians 5:22-23 in the Bible that states: “The Fruit of the Spirit is: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control.” I think we can certainly say, that is Jesus personified.  We know, this heavenly fruit is only produced in and threw a believer by the power of the Holy Spirit. That life that is totally surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.

I cannot help but let my imagination wonder if each day our Heavenly Father might be looking for that Heavenly Fruit in His beloved children.  You see, Jesus labored much on that old, rugged cross for you and me. Our Heavenly Father has watered us with His Word, filled our hearts with faith to believe, and has empowered us with His eternal power.

Oh, how wonderful it is to bring joy to our Heavenly Father’s heart when He sees love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness and self-control being lived out by His children.

Joy

Phyllis

BE A BIRD WATCHER!

Every where we turn there is bad and worrisome news. At times I confess, I get caught up in all the worries that the world news is telling me!  Yesterday as I was sitting on my patio watching the birds flying and landing in the yard, seemingly without a care in the world, I was reminded of what my heavenly Father tells me in His Word about His care for His children!

Matthew 6 tells us God’s perspective on WORRY. (I have taken part from verses due to space)

Verse 25: I tell you, STOP being uneasy, anxious, and worried about your life.

Verse 26: Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow or reap or gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father keeps feeding them.  Are you not worth more than they?

Verse 27: And who of you by worrying can add one unit of measure to your stature or span of your life.

Verse 28: Why should you be anxious about clothes? Consider the lilies (bluebonnets in Texas), they neither toil nor spin.

Verse 31: Therefore, do not worry!

Verse 32 Your heavenly Father knows well what you need.

Verse 33: Seek FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things will be given to you.

Why should I be discouraged,

Why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart be lonely,

 And long for heaven, heaven and home,

 When Jesus is my portion, My constant Friend is He,

Oh, oh, oh His eye is on the sparrow  and I know he watches over me.

Let not your heart be troubled, His tender Word I hear

And resting on His goodness, I lose my doubts and fear;

Though by the path He leadeth, but one step I may see;

HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, AND I KNOW HE WATCHES OVER ME! By Civilla Martin & Charles Gabriel

Joy,

Phyllis

 

Good News!

I am sure that you have heard of “the bad news bears.”  Nowadays seems all we hear is, “doom and gloom.”   Guess what?  I have some “good news!” God almighty is still in control.  He delights in showing Himself strong and in control in seemingly out of control, bad situations.

Exodus:  God’s children were in Egyptian captivity with no deliverer, an impossible situation? …GOOD NEWS, God through Moses delivered them, parted the red sea so that they walked on dry land to cross over to safety and provided every provision that they would need on their journey.

Daniel 6:   Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den with no way out, impossible situation?….GOOD NEWS, God stopped the mouths of the lions and saved Daniel. The Savior saved His servant.

Matthew 1:   Jesus was born of a virgin, impossible?…GOOD NEWS, all things are possible with God.

Matthew 14:  When there were no provisions, with five thousand hungry men, plus women and children and only 5 small loaves and 2 fish with which to feed them, that’s impossible?…..GOOD NEWS.  Jesus multiplied the fish and bread, then all were fed with 12 baskets left over.

Luke 24:6:  Jesus was crucified and in the grave for 3 days, an impossible situation? …GOOD NEWS, “Up from the grave Jesus arose,” and God raised Him from the grave so that we could experience salvation and have new life with God eternally!

I could go on and on.  I think the problem is that we have been reading and listening to the wrong source (the boob tube, the social media mess).

As children we sang the little song, “The B I B L E is the book is for me.” Let us get back to the book that has all of God’s promises, of Jesus Christ, our Savior. Now that is GOOD NEWS folks!!!

Joy

Phyllis

PRAYING FOR YOUR FAMILY

 As we begin the New Year, we all try to set some goals and resolutions for the new year.  For me it is seems to always involve, “no more sweets,” or exercising more. Most of us don’t do too well at keeping them.  I would like to suggest that we add one more very important priority. This is one we really need to keep. It is praying for our family like never before. The world today has so many evil obstacles in their lives.  The devil is like a roaring lion trying to kill, steal, and destroy. So much of our time is spent on other things that I am afraid we tend to neglect, or at least are inconsistent in taking them to our heavenly Father in prayer.  If we really believe that God hears and answers prayer, then we must PRAY.

  1. Learn to pray God’s will.
  2. Faith Praying: Matthew 6:10 “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is being done in heaven.” Find out what the Lord has in mind for your family and join the Father in praying His will. Psalm 36:9 says: “In Thy light, we see light.”  Which means that we must be in God’s Light ourselves as we seek to know how to pray for our family.
  3. Promise Praying: We must be led by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. Match our speech with God’s promises. 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding YES.  And through Christ our AMEN ascends to God for His glory. NLT

 

  1. What can I expect when I pray?
  • He hears: Psalms 40:1 “I waited patiently and expectantly, and the Lord heard my cry.”
  • He speaks to His children: “My sheep hear my voice”: John 10:27.
  • “The Lord will fight for you and you shall hold your peace and remain at rest…..your God who goes before you, will Himself fight on your behalf.” Exodus 14:14

What have you found to be the greatest impediment to praying consistently for your family?

Galatians 6:9 “Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Oh, Father my desire for my family is taken from Psalm 27:4, that they may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of their lives and gaze on the beauty of the Lord and seek Him.

Joy

Phyllis

White as Snow

“Come now, let us reason together. says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” Isaiah 1:18a

Today I was in my art studio painting a dog portrait.  As I felt like I had not gotten the picture exactly right, I began to take alcohol and a Q tip to remove the acrylic paint from the areas on the canvas that needed changing.  I noticed that no matter how much scrubbing, there was some paint that never came off completely.  What ends up happening is that after it dries, I just try paint over the smug. Most of the time it covers, but I know that there is still a messy place under the finished painting.

I wonder if that is what we do sometimes spiritually.  The Bible is clear that we all sin (make mistakes.)  Instead of confessing that sin to Jesus, we try to get relief of the guilt by trying to forget it or just paint over it by trying to do better the next time. If we could just remember that we as God’s children have access to Jesus, our Savior that died and shed His blood on that old rugged cross, that we might be forgiven and have a new clean canvas.  By confessing our sin.      1 John 1:9 says that He is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

What can wash away my sin?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

What can make me whole again?

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

     Oh! precious is the flow

     That makes me white as snow,

     Nothing but the blood of Jesus!

Nothing can my sin erase

Nothing but the blood of Jesus

Nought of works, ‘tis all of grace_

Nothing but the blood of Jesu. (written by: Robert Lowry 1876)

Joy

Phyllis

Together

My heart grieves over the anger we are seeing and how divided we are as a nation, and even the people of the Church of the living God. The enemy has done his job well to cause chaos.  As I was reading the book of Nehemiah in my quiet time, I was reminded of what can happen when people from different backgrounds, skills, and opinions, set their minds and hearts to the task God has given them.

In chapter 1-3 we find that the leader Nehemiah, “was sent by God” to rebuild the wall around Jerusalem that had been broken down. He had volunteers to help. I was struck by the way the volunteers were about the work. Together the task was underway.

Eliashib and his brethren built the Sheep gate, next to him the men of Jericho built, next to them Zaccur built, next to him Hassenaah built, next to him Meremoth built, next to him Meshullam built, and so on and so on listing names and brethren throughout the entire 3nd chapter of Nehemiah.  I was struck by all the people of different skills and opinions worked side by side together to rebuild what had been broken down. We must keep in mind that the enemy using Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem all the while was working to get them distracted, discouraged, and divided. They had one goal, to do the task that the Lord had set before them.  The wall was rebuilt in record time.

Can we see any correlation to our chaos and confusion today?

There is strength together.  Working side by side.

I traveled with about 25 ladies in a Women’s Retreat ministry for nearly 15 years.  At the, retirement gathering of that ministry, we were sharing some of the amazing things that we witnessed during our time together. I will forever be touched that during all those 15 years, I never heard a critical or unkind word from any woman on the team.  How could that be?????

We had one purpose:  Honor the Lord, each other, and serve the people, TOGETHER!

Joy,

Phyllis

Taking the Mask off!

2 Cor 3:18 “And all of us as with unveiled faces, continue to behold as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are continually being changed into His very own image in ever increasing splendor and from one degree of glory to another from the Lord, the Spirit. (Amplified Bible)

As we have been wearing the masks everywhere during the Covid 19 pandemic that has swept our world, I could not help but think how uncomfortable it has become. My glasses fog up where I can’t see as well, my breathing is impaired, I can’t smile and be friendly with others like I love to do, and certainly having conversations and  being understood is much more difficult.

I am afraid that many times, we as Christians, wear our spiritual masks trying to hide the real condition of our walk with the Lord or the lack there of. Moses face shown with the glory of the Lord after he encountered God on the mountain, however as the days went by, the glory began to fade,  so he wore the face covering so that others might not see it fading).  Exodus 34:25-39 Could that be us?  Are we one way at home and another around other folks. Is the glory fading? What are some of the things that the spiritual mask covers?  Secret sins, ungodly TV or movies, critical spirit, gossiping, self-protection, and others that I am sure the Holy Spirit can bring to our mind.

It is time to repent and take off the spiritual masks!!!

What are we gaining by removing our spiritual masks?  We can see much more clearly the truths in the Bible, we can once again have that personal intimacy, and once again have those amazing conversations with our heavenly Father, and certainly now, we can freely breath in the breath and power of the Holy Spirit.

 And with an “open face,” we are being constantly changed from glory to glory into the image of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy

Phyllis

 

My Determined Purpose

Many years ago, I read a little book by Bro. Laurence called, “The Practice of the Presence of God.”  Bro. Laurence had devoted himself to God as a monk and lived his life praying and doing what we might call menial tasks for his fellow brothers. He states that He made a commitment to doing little things for the Lord each day and to never deliberately stray from Him.  Oh, how the Lord gripped my heart of the necessity in my life for a much deeper and more intimate fellowship with my heavenly Father! I had found my self so busy serving the Lord that I had neglected the most important, worshipping and being in His presence daily.

What does it really mean to live and dwell in His presence? In Websters 828 dictionary it states: in close view, within, a spiritual Spirit to be present.  Psalms 27:4, “One thing I ask of Thee, oh Lord, that I will seek, inquire for, and insistently require that I may dwell in Your presence all the days of my life.”

“MY PRAYER”

That I may know Jesus—

That I may__

 progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him.

That I may __

perceive and recognize and understand the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly.

That I may —

In that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection.

That I may __

 share in His suffering as to be continually being transformed in His Spirit into His likeness even to His death.

Taken from __Philippians 3:10

Joy ,

Phyllis

 

Christmas Joy!

The Christmas season is here once again.  I love the music of the season. I am one that starts listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  So I get to hear the song, ”Joy to the World” a lot.  What exactly does this word joy mean? According to Webster dictionary:  Joy: to rejoice, an emotion evoked by well- being, to have a feeling of great pleasure and delight. That is a human emotion that comes and goes with the sunshine or clouds in our lives.  Is that how we are supposed to live as Christians? Can we have a different and settled joy in our hearts and lives no matter the dark the clouds that surround us?

What is the answer? YES! If God’s Word says that we can, then we can!

Psalms 87:7 “All my springs, my source of LIFE and Joy are found in You , oh Lord.”

John 10:10 “The thief came to steal, kill, and destroy, but I came that you might have Life, and have it more abundantly.” (Agape Life, God’s Life)

In 2nd Peter the Bible states that the Lord has given us everything pertaining to Life. The question that we must ask ourselves is, “Am I experiencing the Life that has been provided to me as God’s child? Am I letting the enemy, people, circumstances, moodiness, etc. rob me of experiencing real joy, God’s Joy ?”

What to do if you are not living in that kind of joy?

  1. Be saved! John 3:16, 2. Be filled with the Spirit, 3. Feed your soul on God’s Word, 4. Decide! How do you want to live, 5. Transfer the eternal truths of God into experiential reality in our life by faith, trusting Him to keep His promises.

We now as children of God have a choice.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!