Saturday, February 27, 2010

Clay balls

I was going through my emails only to find this one I received over a month ago...and since it is more blessed to give than to receive, I decided to share it (emphasis mine)

A man was exploring caves by the seashore. In one of the caves he found a canvas bag with a bunch of hardened clay balls. It was like someone had rolled clay balls and left them out in the sun to bake. They didn't look like much, but they intrigued the man, so he took the bag out of the cave with him. As he strolled along the beach, he would throw the clay balls one at a time out into the ocean as far as he could.

He thought little about it, until he dropped one of the clay balls and it cracked open on a rock. Inside was a beautiful, precious stone! Excited, the man started breaking open the remaining clay balls. Each contained a similar treasure. He found thousands of dollars worth of jewels in the 20 or so clay balls he had left.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Roots are the route to fruit(s)

We've talked a bit about Trees - let's look at the 2 ends of the trees...
the root and the fruit(s).

It goes without saying that a tree without deep roots won't last very long. As they say, the higher the house, the deeper the foundation needs to be.

Closely tied to that: the quality of a tree/plant's fruit is totally dependent on the quality of its roots - it's a linear relationship - there are no shortcuts to this principle.

I like the way the Bible puts it:
Isaiah 27:6 - In the days and generations to come Jacob shall take root; Israel shall blossom and send forth shoots and fill the whole world with fruit [of the knowledge of the true God].*

Isaiah 37:31 - And the remnant that has survived of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.* Note that it is only those who have "survived" that can take root and bear fruit. Believe it or not, we're wired to last!! We have everything we need inside of us to overcome all that happens outside of us. Like Joyce Meyer puts it, we must all discover the "power of one". Of course the "power of one" is based on the fact that greater is He that is us than he that is in the world" - we got the Power on our side.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Are you still clay or clay that's stll?

The answer to this question depends on your WQ (see Beryl's posting on "The Willing Woman" in December 2009)
Do you know this song?
Have Thine Own way Lord, Have Thine Own way
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay
Mold me and make me after Thy will
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Did you know that a woman wrote this hymn? I always thought it was written by Jim Reeves – he was one of my mother’s favourite Christian musicians - and we listened to this song so many times that it's etched in my memory.

A bit about the author before we continue:
In 1902, Adelaide A. Pollard, a Bible teacher and hymn writer was hoping to go to Africa as a missionary, but found herself unable to raise the needed funds to make the journery (sic). Greatly discouraged, she attended a prayer service one evening and as she sat there, she overheard an elderly woman say "It really doesn't matter what you do with us, Lord, just have your own way with our lives." The elderly woman inspired Pollard and she contemplated the story of the potter from Jeremiah 18:3 and upon her return home that evening, wrote all four stanzas before retiring for the night. ** I’ve chosen the first stanza as it ties in with what we’ll be talking about shortly.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The Fern and the Bamboo


In the last couple of months I have been following Sapphire's new-found interest in trees with interest (new-found...). A few years ago (precisely in September 2006), while going through a trying period in my life, I stumbled on an article titled "The Fern and the Bamboo", after reading it I was encouraged and promptly sent it to Sapphire. She read it and sent a reply "Thank you for encouraging me too...really beautiful piece"...

I will like to share the article with all you wonderful women and pray that you will find encouragement as well.

Here goes...
One day I decided to quit...I quit my job, my relationship, my spirituality.... I wanted to quit my life. I went to the woods to have one last talk with God.
"God", I said. "Can you give me one good reason not to quit?"
His answer surprised me.
"Look around", He said. "Do you see the fern and the bamboo?"
"Yes", I replied.

"When I planted the fern and the bamboo seeds, I took very good care of them. I gave them light. I gave them water. The fern quickly grew from the earth. Its brilliant green covered the floor. Yet nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
In the second year the fern grew more vibrant and plentiful. And again, nothing came from the bamboo seed. But I did not quit on the bamboo.
"In year three there was still nothing from the bamboo seed. But I would not quit. The same in year four.
"Then in the fifth year, a tiny sprout emerged from the earth. Compared to the fern, it was seemingly small and insignificant.

But just six months later, the bamboo rose to over 100 feet tall. It had spent the five years growing roots. Those roots made it strong and gave it what it needed to survive. I would not give any of my creations a challenge it could not handle.

"Did you know, my child, that all this time you have been struggling, you have actually been growing roots? I would not quit on the bamboo. I will never quit on you.
"Don't compare yourself to others." He said. "The bamboo had a different purpose than the fern. Yet they both make the forest beautiful.
"Your time will come", God said to me. "You will rise high"
"How high should I rise?" I asked.
"How high will the bamboo rise?" He asked in return.
"As high as it can?" I questioned
"Yes." He said, "Give me glory by rising as high as you can."

I left the forest, realizing that God will never give up on me. And He will never give up on you.

Never regret a day in your life.

Good days give you happiness; bad days give you experiences; both are essential to life.

--Author Unknown

Three trees in the house of God

10 days ago we talked about why 40-year olds are not "old". In fact, you're only as old as you feel - which is why some 20 year olds act and look like they are 80 years old and some grand-parents look ready to have more children - not that I will encourage them to.

Well, 10 days ago we said that we agree with the wise (unknown) person who said:
“Forty isn't old, if you're a tree.”

Let’s look and learn from the attitudes and attributes of the three trees God likens us to.

The Olive Tree
Psalm 52:8 - But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God; I trust in and confidently rely on the loving-kindness and the mercy of God forever and ever.*

Attributes of Olive trees:
  • It is an evergreen tree
  • It is very hardy, drought-, disease- and fire-resistant
  • It can live for very long – past 40 years – and remain fruitful too
  • Its root system is very robust and capable of regenerating the tree even if the above-ground structure is destroyed.**
Do these sound like qualities you desire to cultivate and retain? They can be yours…once you remain rooted (trusting) in God the source of your required nutrients.

Olive oil is the only vegetable oil that can be consumed as it is - freshly pressed from the fruit*** – that’s an attitude worth emulating. Olive oil is only extracted from the olive when pressure is applied to it. The olive is edible, extraction from the olive takes that olive to the next level. We must all be willing to go through pressure to get to the next level – pressure brings out the best (or at least the “better”) in us. Pressure is not desirable but it can be an asset in our becoming beneficial to ourselves and to others.

Did you know that "The olive tree has been cultivated for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, and the olive fruit"** In other words, every part and product of the Olive tree is useful – can the same be said about you, your words, work and walk?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bringing it together

As different as they are, I noticed 2 common qualities between the Lion, Eagle & Lamb/Sheep (there may be more...)

Social status
The first common thing about these creatures is they have a “social network” – they are relatable and in touch with others like them.
Lions are the only cat that live in groups – so in spite of how powerful they are, they recognise the importance of family and friends. As a side comment:  God has placed your family and friends in your life for a purpose; please never think that “you can do without them”. You don’t get much mileage in wishing for another person’s family or friends either…you have who you need to either encourage or challenge you to be who God has planned for you to be.

As part of their social status, Lionesses as the primary hunters in the lion pride work together. They work together and win together. Same principle Gail Evans had in her book: "She wins, you win". Ladies, we get ahead further and faster when we work as a team. This includes praying with and for one another. The Bible encourages us to bear,not broadcast, one another's burdens in Galatians 6 verse 2. Please note: this is NOT a call to a feminist movement.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Two reasons why you must love yourself

Valentine’s day is here again…I can imagine that some of us are expecting gifts and treats from others affirming their love for us. It’s all well and good but what’s the value in all that if you don’t love yourself and need someone else to “convince” you that you are “love-worthy”? If I can even stretch that without changing the focus of this piece, why must people wait for one day in the year to “demonstrate” their love for others? Barbara De Angelis said: “Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.” And I believe you should “demonstrate” it from moment to moment – it’s not in the gifts or treats but in the everyday treatment – how many husbands help their wives at home? How many wives help their husbands at home? I won’t go any further…at least not just yet.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lion + Eagle + Lamb/Sheep = ?

What will the answer to that equation be? Let's review what's we've shared about each of these creatures that Christians are likened to.

Jesus is both the Lamb of God and the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He also exemplified how waiting on God (like the Eagle) energised Him.

There is so much to learn from each of these creatures. I'm convinced that if you dig, you'll find many more interesting facts than we have come up with.

I'll also look into some of their common traits. For now, I'll quickly summarise 5 high points of each creature – they are not in any order. Feel free to choose your high points and/or the ones you want to or will continue to work on in your life:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Turned/Turning 40?

In chatting with a few of my close friends and my schoolmates it just hit me (& us) that we’re all approaching (or just hit/passed) the big 40. For those in or around this age, do you remember when it felt so “far out there”? It’s indeed a blessing to be alive to become (& exceed) 40.

As an aside, I was wondering what is the best day for this piece to be published and the Holy Spirit suggested the 40th day of a new decade. Well, here we are...40 days into the new year & new decade - God is sooooo good!!! Look back and I'm sure you'll have so much to thank Him for....and thank Him from the bottom of your heart.
Back to our topic...

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Word on Lions

The Bible says a lot about lions, I like these ones:
Proverbs 28:1
“The wicked flee when no man pursues them, but the [uncompromisingly] righteous are bold as a lion” (Amplified Bible)

Proverbs 30:30
A lion, which is mighty among beasts and does not turn away from any; (NKJV)

Put together, the righteous are bold as a lion and do not turn away from any...as long as they remain righteous

Being "righteous" is simply about being right with/before God. So what does it mean to "be right" with God. In everyday speak, it is "being in God's good book"...

So how can one get into God's good book?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Let's TEAM up...

Recently, I was reading Exodus 23 and this verse jumped out at me.

Exodus 23:4
"If you come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has strayed away, take it back to its owner."*

Can you imagine that God expected the Israelites to "rescue" and return animals that were straying away even if the owner is the person's enemy? I then asked the Holy Spirit what I was to learn from this...this is what He impressed upon my heart.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

It is a 2-way street

Happy New Month! Wow - 1 month gone 11 more to go...

Recently during my devotion, I read an interesting phrase (which I'll paraphrase):

The word of God tells us
what He desires us to be for Him ========================>
<======================== what He desires to be for us.

Too many times we only reach out for what He desires to be for us and don't put in any effort into what He desires us to be (for Him).  

Let's consider Psalm 23 that we shared a few days ago; to truly enjoy the benefits of having God as our Shepherd, we must be "real" sheep - now this is a good time for you to go and look at the pieces we shared on what we can learn from sheep.  

I like the way the Contemporary English Version (CEV) puts Psalm 37: 4
Do what the LORD wants, and he will give you your heart's desire.

Enjoying the benefits and best of God is a reciprocal relationship. There are some common blessings - available even to unbelievers - like air but God has His favourites. Now you know how you can become one...I pray we decide and do what we need to.

We have11 more months of this year to enjoy the harvest of God's blessings and benefits...just sow the right seeds.

God bless.