Blooming With Truth

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

No photo filter could portray to you the heavenly aroma of my beautiful roses! Our music teacher cut them fresh out of her garden for us and they are intoxicating! Of course this reminds me of something Scriptural… 

The gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) are quite similar at surface glance and yet it is in mining their differences that we unveil astounding revelations. See if you can catch the difference in the following two verses that depict the same event… 

Mark 1:11 (NIV) And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Matthew 3:17 (NIV) And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

If you didn’t catch it, the difference is found in the audience! In the first verse the Father is speaking to Jesus, in Matthew the Father is speaking to the crowd, about Jesus!

Oh how I LOVE this because there are times I need affirmation directly from God and it doesn’t matter who else may know or hear. Other times like Psalm 43:1 (NIV) declares, Vindicate me, my God, and plead my cause against an unfaithful nation…. sometimes we need Him to stand up for us in front of others. By God’s amazing grace He does both, and we serve a God who understands the need for both!! 

No matter how hard I try, I cannot give you the total experience of my roses through a simple photograph. You must be able to go deeper than what the eye can see. …The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) 

Don’t drag your sins behind you with ropes of lies (Is. 5:18) rather be set free by the God who TRULY SEES YOU, loves you, speaks Truth to you, over you, about you, AND is willing to meet you in the need only He can see. 

Allow your life to take bloom in the Truth of His hand and you too (like my roses) will become an intoxicating aroma; the aroma of Christ that fills the air everywhere for others to truly get to know AND experience Him too (2 Cor. 2:14)! 

Join me this fall in Bible study! redeeminggrace991@gmail.com

Next Steps

Photo by Akshaya Premjith on Pexels.com

Worry can’t add an hour to your life but it sure can steal one! How often have we spent precious moments of nonrefundable time worrying about the next life step?! Whatever, wherever, however we are to take it, or even IF we are to take it, and if we are, WHEN?! 

Recently my mom wisely reminded me that if I am walking in relationship with the Lord and casting all, continually at His feet, then I really don’t need to worry about any “next steps”. God will faithfully reveal it when it’s time for me to know it; I just need to be obedient to step into it, when He does. This reminded me of John 2.

In John chapter 2 Jesus and His mother were attending the same wedding celebration when no small problem arose; the wine ran out. Jesus’ mother, Mary, wisely went to Jesus with the problem. His response seems like a hard “no”, actually Mary even gets a reason!! Maybe you have prayed and received a “no” on occasion too. If so, you know that “no’s”, don’t always come with immediate explanations! Often we are to just trust His response (yes or no) to be what it always is, best. 

In John 2 Mary tells Jesus there is a problem and Jesus tells her no, it’s not His time. At this point many of us would have just gone back to our designated seat on the wedding table seating chart and told the other guests at the table we tried. How often do we use the excuse “I tried” to stop persevering in our effort to pursue God’s plan and purpose for our lives in any given moment?! Well not Mary! She didn’t sit down on an, “I tried”. Mary heard a “no” but discerned (with wisdom that comes by way of walking in relationship with Jesus) a call to faith that is always preparing for the miraculous!! 

When you have been in relationship with someone for long enough you can discern when they say one thing but maybe mean something else. Mary heard Jesus say it was not yet His time and she decided He just needed more ready and willing servants! John 2:5 finds Mary instructing the servants to do whatever Jesus tells them. This act on Mary’s part reminds me of what Jesus said in Matthew 9:37-38 when He states the harvest is great but the workers are few so we are to ask God for more workers!! Mary didn’t sit down that day on an, “I tried”, but rather counted herself among one of those willing and ready workers! Not only that but she knew where to gather up more like minded servants for Jesus, so she did! Which brings me to Matthew 13:58 in Jesus’ hometown where many miracles were left undone! Why?! Because of their lack of faith!! 

Dear one, faith is always preparing for the miraculous. Mary didn’t know what the next step would be. However she did know the need and she knew Who to bring the need to; she knew Him well enough to not give up faith that He would move in one way or another in her situation. Mary held a holy and reverent fear of God so she wisely didn’t lay out her plan and solution for the perceived wine problem. She left it at His feet and stays willing to be available for wherever, whatever, whenever, however He would choose to stand by her in this, for she knew He wouldn’t leave her alone. That was enough for her to remain faithFULL in all the “next steps” that seemed so uncertain. “Next steps” don’t have to seem daunting when you know Who steps next to you, always. 

The LORD makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the LORD upholds him with his hand. Psalm 37:23-24 (NIV)

“Poolside”

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Ever wondered why September is the ninth month instead of the seventh like the prefix in the word “September” suggests? Or why October is the tenth month instead of the eighth like the prefix in the word “October” suggests?! 

It has to do with the Caesars. Julius thought so highly of himself he decided he needed a month. Thus we get July. Then, Augustus was not to be outdone and decided he too needed a month to commemorate himself! Thus we get August! So that is why our calendar year from September on down is two months pushed forward! 

I don’t know, maybe it was the heat during these warm summer months that got the Caesar’s all in a self-centered hot mess?! If we are not careful this same self-centered hot mess syndrome can befall us all the same, summer or not! Our cure for cool in the midst of our heated moments is found in Leviticus 23:34! (NKJV) “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of the Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. (Notice the fifteenth day of the seventh month puts us conveniently in the middle of the summer months! That is really besides the point but gotta love when God underlines a point in my heart!) 

The Feast of Tabernacles celebrates and remembers God’s provsion throughout the time the Israelites tabernacled in the desert after their release from slavery in Egypt. In fact, it was during this desert wandering that God even provided water from a rock!! (See Exodus 17:1-7) One reason God did this, in this way, was because the people were questioning His presence among them.

In your hot desert moments/seasons how easy is it to become a hot mess wondering if God’s presence and Truth still holds for you? When we are shaken on the reality of our Truth we can become like the Ceasar’s, fighting for our own will and way only to end up wayward wanderers! 

For this reason we must look at John 7:37-38 (NIV) On the last and greatest day of the feastival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Jesus spoke during this very feast of tabernacles that remembers the presence and provision of God (even bringing water from a rock), making clear He Himself had come so that His Spirit might tabernacle WITHIN us!! Becoming the ultimate fulfillment of Ezekiel 36:26 (NIV) which states, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 

By the power of His Spirit, our hot rock heart is softened, cooled, saturated by rivers of living water!!!! Water that rushes forth and cleanses, making new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)!! Dear one that’s living hope that won’t disappoint in your hot desert season! You need not become a hot mess over whatever plagues your mind, heart or even your calendar. No matter the season, you can always pull up “poolside” a.k.a. picking up the Living Water of His Word to rest in the refreshment of His presence. No matter the month my friend, you and I can always bask in the Son, “poolside”. 

© Janette Kieffer redeeminggrace991ministries.com

No Empty Seats

Photo by Askar Abayev on Pexels.com

Not that long ago two of our six children were able to attend a youth retreat that lasted for a weekend. They had a blast but this mama’s heart felt a crater sized hole in it with them missing around the family table. You might wonder why, as my house was certainly not empty with four other kiddos filling the nest! However 8 is my number and when even one is gone my heart doesn’t feel whole. 

This got me thinking about God’s heart and how He must feel knowing that EVERY human being in the whole world is His creation, designed in His image. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV) So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27 (NIV) How must His heart feel to have empty seats in church on a Sunday; around His communion table?! 

Read Revelation 5:9 (NIV) with me, And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased for God persons from every tribe and language and people and nation. With His precious blood He paid, He bought, He purchased the way into eternal paradise but we must choose Him. John 14:6 (NIV) Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 

Skip forward with me to Romans 10:13-14 (ESV) For “everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved.” How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Seems to me every Christian looking for purpose need look no further. 

In my mind I envision earth as our workplace with Heaven being our Home. Our place of work is like a giant department store in which some work in construction, some as a mom, some as a teacher and so on. Everyday before the department store opens the Manager calls a morning meeting. This is like your devotional time in prayer and in God’s Word. God (our Manager) gives us His Word, His agenda. Psalm 5:3 (NIV) In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly. Psalm 143:8 (NIV) Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.

Then just before the morning meeting adjourns, God, with an almighty clap, summons us all to huddle up, bring it in close, and as we get ready to end our devotional time with His strong arms wrapped around us, He looks us straight in the eye. With so much more love than we can even comprehend (Eph. 3:19), He underlines our ultimate purpose just one more time, lest we get discouraged or distracted. 

God says…

“It’s not about the dollar. At Home we use gold for asphalt (Rev. 21:21) so work for ultimate treasure in Heaven, where it can’t be stolen or lost and it’s worth so much more than anything down here (Matt. 6:19-21). 

It’s not about beating out the next guy for the best seat or position. Remember you already have a seat at My table, your very own seat (Eph. 2:6)! 

Don’t worry about your weakness. Remember that’s when My strength shines best (2 Cor. 12:9) I’ll always be enough of everything you need (Phil. 4:19)! 

And remember you are never alone, never (Matt. 28:20). For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Isaiah 41:13 (NIV) 

So, child of Mine, let My light and love shine through in all that you do, whatever you do! There is room in My Father’s House for all who would believe in My sacrifice in their place for the forgiveness of their sin! I desire for none to perish but for all to be around My banqueting table! So I’ve made you a vessel of My victory and overcoming Truth! Wherever I’ve placed you right now, use that gifted sphere of influence, for such a time as this and…  

GO GET WHAT I BOUGHT!” 

Dear one, can you picture it in your mind’s eye too?! 

You are equipped to go get what He purchased with His blood on the cross! How?! By sharing His Truth, His light and love everywhere you go, in everything that you do (Col. 3:23).

#noemptyseats  

Forgive & Fight

Photo by Brett Jordan on Pexels.com

I have no wrath. Would that I had thorns and briers to battle! I would march against them, I would burn them up together. Or let them lay hold of my protection, let them make peace with me, let them make peace with me. Isaiah 27:4-5 (ESV)

What “briers and thorns” are you letting grow up between you and God? Dear one, they are no match for the fire of His love for you! Take hold of His strength and make peace.

Sometimes the “fight” rages not with God, but with the cruelty of this world and yet God calls us to love our neighbors (EVERYONE is our “neighbor”) (Lk. 10:27). If we love God well, we will love our neighbors. 

Jesus set us an example while on the cross. He prayed, (even in the midst of dying) …“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”… (Luke 23:34 NIV) WOW! 

I wonder how much peace we forfeit because we are fighting with the “briers and thorns” we have set up around our own hearts, rather than allowing The Great Gardener to burn through them? 

His strength flows when we choose to forgive; forgive as He first forgave us (Eph. 4:32). Isn’t it easier to forgive if we don’t think someone truly meant to hurt us? Isn’t it easier to forgive if we don’t think the other person really knew what they were doing? It may still not be easy, but it’s easier than if we judge their motives and intentions as knowingly malicious. 

We can judge an action but we cannot truly judge someone’s motives or intentions behind it. Try as we may, we are not omniscient! Only God is all knowing and understands the depths of every motive of every heart He ever knit together (Heb. 4:13)! He alone is most qualified to judge. 

We ourselves don’t always understand why WE make choices the way WE do at times! How then can we assume the position of God and judge another to the depths we don’t even know our own selves?!! 

Let God burn the “briars and thorns” you’ve let grow around your heart. Then if you are going to fight, fight to forgive like Jesus forgave you. Forgiveness brings freedom to embrace the peace that flows from His strength; the strength that prayed for your forgiveness as He hung on the cross paying the penalty for your sin and mine.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 (NIV)

Light In The Tunnel

Photo by Brady Knoll on Pexels.com

Often in the “dark tunnels” of life we humans have a tendency to falter in faith. If you can relate, take heart you are not alone! Think of David… he had the faith to face the giant Goliath and yet falters when it comes to wimpy king Saul?!

Think of the Israelites… they had the faith to cross the Red Sea as it parted before their very eyes and yet falter when it comes to walking into a land flowing with milk and honey?!

Think of Elijah… he had the faith to face the 400 evil prophets and even call down fire from heaven but then falters at the threats from a mean girl?! 

Think of Abraham… he had the faith to leave all he knew to walk with God and yet when it came to a little famine he’s running back to Egypt, the ways of the world to solve his problems?! 

In spite of all this waffling in faith, David still gets to be the greatest king ever; the Israelites received sustenance and protection through all their wilderness travels; Elijah still gets escorted to heaven in a flaming chariot escaping death all together; and Abraham still gets to be the father of Isaac, even called the father of faith!!! God is so very faithful even when we are not!! (2 Tim. 2:13)

So… keep your eyes up, keep moving forward; it’s the only direction faith faces, for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable. Romans 11:29 (NIV) This means, since we did nothing to earn our gifts, our call, we also can’t do something to lose it. Romans 2:11 reminds us that God shows no favoritism, so the grace He showed those who faltered in faith in the Bible, is the same God who has enough grace for you. He’s beckoning us to move forward in faith, no matter how many times you have faltered in the past, in Jesus your future is always bright dear one! 

#RuntotheLight

#L.ifeI.nG.odH.oldsT.ruth 

Which Path?!

Photo by Tobi on Pexels.com

The LORD will guide you always; … Isaiah 58:11 (NIV) The question is; Will we follow?

I’m convinced in a world governed by a Sovereign God there are no accidents, no coincidences. There are God surprises and there are trials and tribulations (John 16:33). Take a look at Scripture with me… 

  • It wasn’t a coincidence that the Pharaoh’s daughter was at the river just as baby Moses was floating by; saving his life! 
  • It wasn’t a coincidence that the king couldn’t sleep and called for the record of his reign to be read, that just so recorded important information that would save Mordicai’s life!
  • It wasn’t a coincidence that certain traders were traveling by at just the moment Joseph’s brothers were going to kill him AND those traders were heading to Egypt, the very place that Joseph would save the world because his life too was spared that day!
  • It wasn’t a coincidence that Rabekah appeared to Abraham’s servant just as he was praying to find Isaac’s future bride, exceeding all qualifications! And the list goes on…

Some surprises we recognize as good and some we won’t understand as good until later (1 Cor. 13:12). Like the criminals on the cross next to Jesus, we must choose how we will walk through what we maybe wouldn’t have chosen. One criminal begged God to get him down, get him out, while the other asked God to take him up, up into a higher understanding of who He was and wanted to be to him. The latter criminal experienced paradise. God filters all that comes to us through His all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present hands, so if it’s been allowed we have opportunity to make Him proud, to bring Him glory, to have our lives count for something greater.

There are always two paths in life; one of delusion and defeat while the other is of Truth and triumph. You can’t walk on both. Don’t let your desire’s, the things of this world, the way you wish things were or had gone to dilute your discernment. Give careful thought to the path for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways. Proverbs 4:26 (NIV) 

God’s Word is our best guide, to be viewed as a release to real life rather than a rule book that ruins everything. Often Scripture may not give explicit do’s and don’ts for every “Is this sinful?” we wonder about. However if you read the illustrations through the portraits God paints in His Word you can often come to the correct conclusion to your activity in question. Ask yourself, is the path I’m on, the activity I’m engaging in, the attitude I’m taking up, the people I’m involved with… 

  • Is it wise? 
  • Is it beneficial, not only to me but to those around me? 
  • Is it profitable to healthy living? 
  • Does it reflect God’s character and glory? 
  • Does it jeopardize my witness for Christ? 

If you can answer those questions you can probably figure out if the path you are on is sinful or not. Dear one, God is good and He knows what He is doing, trust Him to lead. Go with Him beyond what you can comprehend for your story is part of His greater story and His ending we already know, is victory and triumph for all who are His!

God bless you muchly~

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. Revelation 1:17-18 (NIV)

Life Preserver

Photo by Rachel Claire on Pexels.com

A sweet friend of mine invited me to go kayaking; I’ve never been, so I excitedly accepted! It wasn’t until a bit later that I realized what a kayak actually looks like and how short the sides are that might keep you safely inside!! But then I thought to myself, “Don’t worry, remember that one time back about 9 decades ago, at girl scout camp, where they taught you how to survive in the unfortunate event of a capsized canoe?! See God has been preparing you for this moment! You’ll be fine!” This reminds me of something Scriptural of course…

Isaiah 7 finds a king freaking out down by the water where clothes were washed. I don’t know, maybe doing laundry was a stress reliever for him (I wonder if my friend would mind if I brought some laundry along to do lakeside while she preps the kayaks)?! Anyway, God meets him where he’s at and I love that Jesus never comes to us with, “What’s your problem?!” but rather with “I know that struggle. (Hebrews 14:5)” 

In Isaiah 7:9 there seems to be a Hebrew play on words: If you do not have faith (ta’aminu) you will not stand firm (te’amenu). By verse 14 God gives this king a sign to reassure him and yet the word used for “you” is actually plural!! Which means the sign of reassurance given in verse 14 was also for us!!! …Look the virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’). 

Now, what should we always have with us near water? A life preserver!! However life preservers can be hot, itchy and uncomfortable on a sunny lake, but knowing the benefit of them and what it is potentially saving me from, I will most certainly choose to endure a bit of discomfort in lue of survival! 

The Good News of Jesus can be like offering someone a life preserver (John 3:16). However if we don’t tell them the whole story, that Jesus isn’t just an option but THE ONLY option for survival (John 14:6) then why would they endure a life with a preserver when at times it might seem much more comfortable to go without?! 

Without firm faith in Jesus, your “ship” goes down in flames. This life is the only time we get to make our choice as to who will pay the penalty for our own sin; either we will or we can take Jesus as our Savior, allowing His sacrificial blood to cover us. God honors our choice.

For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the days of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation. 2 Corinthians 6:2 

Come Get Salty

Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels.com

Wonders of real discovery are always found in the WORD (get it… W.onders O.f R.eal D.iscovery = The W.O.R.D., God’s Word, the Bible – good thing I can keep myself amused easily)! Anyways… take simple table salt for example…

Table salt is actually made up of two volatile chemical compounds. The first is a silvery white metal called sodium, also known as natrium or “Na” on the periodic table. Sodium alone is so unstable that it bursts into flame when it comes in contact with water! Kinda a problem with a mouth full of saliva wouldn’t you say?!!

Salt’s second component is chlorine, or “Cl.” When you add chlorine to water, this poisonous gas turns into a dangerous acid! Also posing a slight problem to life in general if ingested!

BUT… (Here is the wondrous part!!) when you combine chlorine with sodium, you get NaCl or sodium chloride – a stable, edible compound that we know as humble table salt.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 (NIV) 

Matthew 5:13 (NIV) states, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Even science tells me that if my life is to be flavorful, good for anything, I must be connected to Jesus!! 

Join me this fall through my newest Bible study series, T.R.U.S.T. (T.otal R.eliance U.pon S.ustained T.ruth) and we will grow in God together! The goal is to know the Father, love the Son and hear from the Holy Spirit. No experience needed, all welcome, come as you are; and with technology these days you can come from anywhere! I’ll begin teaching through the Old and New Testaments in a chronological order, and by His amazing grace may we encourage one another to see Jesus, our Living Hope, working in every page of our lives, as we find Him on every page of Scripture! 

God bless you muchly~

Email with interest: redeeminggrace991@gmail.com

You won’t want to miss T.R.U.S.T. – T.otally R.elying U.pon S.ustained T.ruth (God’s Word) to lead us into His L.I.G.H.T. because only L.ife I.n G.od H.olds T.ruth! For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light. Psalm 36:9 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. Psalm 119:18

“Should we pull the weeds?!”

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’ “‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed. “‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked. “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn. Matthew 13:27-30 (NLT) 

Tis the season for weeding! We cast our seed in late spring and eagerly await our first signs of hope filled sprouts of green. It isn’t until much later in the season that we begin to differentiate between the greenery of fresh blooms and that of pesky weeds. This reminds me of Matthew 13 and the parable on gardening… yes, there is wise advice even applicable to gardening in the Bible! (It really is the only Book anyone ever needs to own!)

Matthew 13:28 reveals over eager farm hands. “Should we pull out the weeds?” For all the “doer’s” out there this seems like a logical step for when we see weeds in our garden! However the Sower of the “seed” has much more wisdom in discerning weeds from the wheat. 

You see, when wheat first begins to sprout, it appears green just like the weeds. Wheat does not take on the golden appearance until it has time to mature. An inexperienced, yet well meaning farm hand could accidentally pull up good wheat along with the weeds! 

As the parable is explained the “wheat” represents those who have received Jesus as their Savior and the “weeds” are those that have rejected Him. Only God sees a heart and understands one’s motives in entirety (Hebrews 4:13). Only God sees one’s full potential and understands their growth cycle and timing for full maturity (Philippians 1:6); He alone understands everything beginning to end (Revelation 22:13). God alone can make a stony heart beat with Truth (Ezekiel 36:26).

God has wisely said, weed pulling is not our job. Rest assured there will be a harvest, but that is a job we need not concern ourselves with. We are to lovingly tend His “garden”, caring for His people sown in His image (Genesis 1:27). 

Who knows…

with just enough Living Water lovingly applied…

where once wound only weeds…

one day may wield wheat to our surprise! 

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4 (NIV)