1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-13 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/1co.13.4-13.niv
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:14 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/psa.139.14.niv
“And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/mat.10.30.niv
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” John 14:1-3 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.14.1-3.niv
“Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” John 14:5-7 NIV https://www.bible.com/111/jhn.14.5-7.niv
Pruning is necessary for tomato plants to produce the most fruit. We searched for the best way in the flood of information out there in the world about gardening! Some people have everything down to perfection but there is still always something new to learn. Our world is full of information right at our fingertips! So we picked a few and read about why it’s important to prune! Our plant looked great to me! I thought, “why would I want to cut away all the green!” It was lushly green with yellow flowers everywhere! I was sure it would produce a tone of tomatoes. I didn’t want to ruin it! In life, it usually seems good to be involved in so many good things, but becoming too busy can lead to a bunch of half-done jobs not done to your fullest abilities. Multitasking can become like sucker branches in our life. It’s doing more than God wants us to do each day by putting our energy in many different things. Then you will end up not give your attention to what God’s purpose is for you to do first. We need God who is the gardener of our life to prune us of things that we are unaware of that will lead us astray. These things cause us not to produce good fruit for His Kingdom!
Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches! We need to stay connected to Jesus! Pruning a tomato can reveal so much Spiritually. It is a very uncomfortable process because a lot of times we want to hold on to what God wants to take away from us. It’s interesting during our time of COVID, how much energy and time we took chasing what we used to do! Change can be difficult and letting go is hard. Especially, when you don’t want to let go of what He wants you to let go of! Ephesians 2:8-10 (NIV) “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” However, what God has for you is not only better but good and it was planned long ago. It not about being busy doing a lot of good things. It about abiding in Jesus and trusting God! God is the gardener of my life who cares and loves not only me but all of you too! He loves every person so very much! His plans are good even when everything is a mess! God is the gardener! He is the one who cuts away and prunes our life so we produce more fruit for His Kingdom!
It’s amazing when you read something a hundred times and the Holy Spirit reveals something new to you! It might not be exactly when you read it? It might be when you’re pulling weeds, at work or doing something with your kids when something suddenly made sense about what you read earlier! As we prune our tomato plants, God reveals to me how important it is to allow Him to prune my life. All of us can easily get caught up doing everything that is put in our path. It’s like chasing shadows throughout the day! That is why God’s words are alive and active. Hebrews 4:12-13 (NIV) “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” We need to be grounded in truth by reading scripture and hiding His word in our heart so we don’t sway doing this and that! 1 John 5:19 (NIV) “We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.” I pray Father God, Is this from you? is this your will for me and my family today? I am your! I pray this right in the mist of unexpected events that show up in my day! When you trust in God, you can hold onto His understanding knowing that He works All things out for good for those who are called according to His purpose. This is why I pray for His will in unexpected opportunities because some are from him and some are not! I wholeheartedly search for His ways for my life, and the more I abide in him the more I see opportunities differently! God who knows All and is in all does not change like shadows! We need to stay connected to Jesus because He is the Vine and we are the branches. You are rooted in truth! We can’t do anything apart from him on our own. If we remain in Him he will remain in us. As we abide in truth that only comes from Jesus who is the way the truth and the life! (John 14:6) We glorify God when we do a few of the things to our fullest ability rather than many things half done. When we depend on God, we look for his ways and not our own!
The sucker branches on the tomato plant would be like things that hinder you in your day or Added activities or opportunities that keep you from God and family. They are beautiful, green and full of flowers but they produce no fruit! It took nutrients from the branches that did produce fruit. I found it interesting that the energy went into growing these sucker branches, instead of producing more fruit. But God never asked us to be busy! The kind of busy that sucks the life out of you and your family. Before you knew it, you had done so many good things but your family grew up! However, busy with responsibilities is different from added activities that keep you from God and your family. I learned when my older children were younger that becoming too busy can lead to a lot of half-done jobs not completely done to the fullest of your abilities! It’s like the flowers start to bud, but wither and die because all the energy is going into another beautiful green sucker branch! This didn’t produce fruit or bring God glory! You’re tired and miss the most important part of what God has in front of you, your family!
When I see this lush green tomato plant full of branches, I can see why it’s not producing fruit. I can see the energy being drained from the plant causing it not to grow to its fullest potential. Each sucker branch took valuable nutrients from the main part of the plant and fed the sucker branches first! In life, it might be that the least important tasks are done first, sucking the energy right out of you before the most important things are done. What are the sucker branches in your life that keep you from God and family? When you by putting God first and then your family. We will be filled with joy and peace as we depend on God to unfold our day. Unexpected this will come but we will have the strength from God to do it to our fullest ability. God says let your Yes be Yes and your No be No anything else comes from the evil one! It’s ok to say No! Matthew 5:37 (NIV) “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” His ways are above our ways and his thoughts are above ours! I pray Father God, Is this from you? is this your will for me and my family today? I am your! In Jesus name Amen! 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (NIV) “But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.”
I love how all through the Bible you can see each story come alive as if it were happening today. I read in Exodus 17:8-13 (NIV), How every time Moses’ hands came down because he got tired, they started to lose the battle! Arron and Hur went to the top of the mountain and noticed Moses was struggling to hold his hands up. They went to support Moses so his hands would remain steady until sunset. They held his hand up! Exodus 17:12-13 ( NIV) “12 When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. 13 So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.” They were “Unified” working together as one, not overpowering each other. Because they worked together with Moses, they won the battle over the Amalekites with a sword. When our sisters and brothers are struggling in life circumstances, we have an opportunity to use the gifts and talents to help and support them! God never planned for us to handle circumstances in life alone. I noticed they never took the staff from Moses, instead they brought him a stone and put it under him and held up his hands together, Hur on one side and Aaron on the other.
Something new always comes to light every time I read scripture. Two things really stood out to me the most, first they didn’t just watch him struggle hoping everything works out, and second they didn’t just take over the situation by removing the staff from his hands! God is revealing His heart for us as family! We are stronger together then we are alone. We can keep going when life is hard as we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God! He will lift us up! All Through scripture we can see how everything fits perfectly together and how God designed us to be in relationship! Ecclesiastes 4:9-11 (NIV) “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
God will supply you everything you need to accomplish what He has given you to do. Just when you feel like you’re not able to hold on any longer, God will bring in a sister who speaks “life” in your life, or a brother who encourages your husband and sons! Just being present and available speaks more than words can say! Sometime the weight of the world can leave you speechless and God will bring in those people who will pull up a stone to sit on or a tool to fix your truck! Aaron and Hur didn’t just sit and watch Moses struggle to hold up the staff. They didn’t just sit there waiting to see, like it was a movie, hoping it turns out good for them. They got up and took initiative and did what God intended for them to do. We are His hands and feet. 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV) “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.” We are to use our gifts we have received to serve others. Our purpose isn’t to sit and watch! It’s to do good for God and everyone around us! God moves through us and works in us. God’s purpose for every person using the gift and talents he gave us is for loving God and everyone around us. God’s purpose is beautiful and because we are His masterpiece, all of us are apart of it since the very beginning! We are teaching and leading our children. They are learning from you as you live out what you believe. Living out what God says in scripture about what it looks like to deny yourself for someone else.
God has everything worked out for all of us already! I never knew my van would unexpectedly quit for good, but God did. In advance, God had a vehicle worked out! God is so amazing and even when we can’t see everything, He shows himself in big ways through sisters and brothers in Christ! When you find yourself broken down on the side of the road, a brother in Christ comes along and towes you home before the heat of the sun dehydrates you into dust. The way we lift each other up is using your gifts and talents for God! Acts 4:32 (NIV) “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. It reaches our children at a heart level as hands-on experiences teach the most.They are our future generation and are soaking in our examples from our reactions. They hear your every spoken word but most of all they are imitating your unspoken words (body language). Your children know every expression on your face and know your body language better than words. So, unspoken words are more powerful than the words you say because they speak first! My kids showed me that as they ask me, are you ok? Our actions need to speak as much as our words. My sons saw and experienced what we are supposed to do for each other.
God who is The Great I Am, brought Moses a rock to sit on through Arron and Hur. This represents Jesus is the Rock in which we stand a sure foundation. Also, They held up Moses’ hands until sundown. They came to support and help Moses. God sent them to help Moses accomplish God’s plan for them to win the battle. They didn’t take the staff out of his hands. Instead they supported his hands. We need to know that it is not what I can do on my own, but how we work together to point each other to Jesus! They brought Moses the rock! Jesus is the cornerstone! It is about Unity in the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:4-6 (NIV) “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. 5 There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6 There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.” God gave all of us unique abilities and skills to point others to Jesus.
I’m so thankful for our sisters and brothers. God is amazing because we can see His mighty hands at work in unexpected ways. Our younger generation is learning from these life experiences and will begin to notice when a need exists. God shows us through scripture how we are not meant to do life alone! The enemy wants to single us out and isolate us from relationships within the body of Christ. We need to be alert and sober minded by keeping our lamps full, and abide in Jesus! God wants his children to be united in Him! Hebrew 10:23-25 (NIV) “23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. We need to keep spurring each other on to keep going in life and not to give up on doing good for each other especially in hard times! When we workout out salvation with fear and trembling! It means we must pick up our cross all day long, deny ourselves what we think is best by dropping what we think is important and lift up our sister and brother in Christ. It will surprise you on what God says is important and what we think is important. We need God to show us by asking for His will and to give us eyes to see and ears to hear. The world is busy and has so many wonderful things to do and experience. But, what God has for you is beyond our human understanding! We need to live with a Kingdom mindset for God’s glory! When changes in your plans come suddenly, we can Glorify God the Most when we unit together to lift each other up.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
Revelation 4:11 (NIV)
“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things,
There are so many reasons why I love Gardening! It’s exciting because you grow as you learn something new. Gardening is exciting because you explore new veggies and fruit while facing new challenges like soil conditions, weeds, disease and insect invasion. The best part about gardening is doing it with my children as they learn right beside me. I especially love it when they make new discoveries of their own. They love playing in the dirt with homemade garden tools or daddies tools from his toolbox. We grow tomatoes every year but needed more to make spaghetti sauces. We heard about how you need to prune your tomato plants by removing the sucker branches, so they would produce the maximum harvest.
We started researching the best method to prune the tomato plants. Also, what is a sucker branch? Who knew you needed to prune tomatoes like a fruit tree? We were overwhelmed with the flood of information out there about the subject of pruning. We wanted to learn about it now and not a year later! It amazes me how easy it is for us to learn about something new! The world is full of information right at our fingertips! So, I said to my kids, we are on a mission looking for the best way to prune a tomato plant! I also mentioned we need to find out what a sucker branch is?” Before I finished my sentence, I heard, “Hey Siri. “ what is a sucker branch?” Guess what happened next? Siri answered! Our kids can ask their devices anything! It seems so easy and I wonder what this could look like in the future. Would they accept the answers and trust their apps like google to get them information? However, talking to Siri makes me question the source Siri get it’s answers.
It is awesome and easy to find information but also not so awesome because the search can mislead people or keep them from digging to learn more! I know the subject is about looking up information about caring for your tomato plant, but wondered if people might start depending on Siri to ask about God! You can know what the Bible says, but it’s the Holy Spirit that reveals the hidden things of God that He freely give to those who believe. We cannot get answers about Jesus from a machine! Only through the Spirit of God that we can understand the things about God! 1 Corinthians 2:6-16 (NIV) This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” We are to follow the Holy Spirit as He guides us into understanding through the living words of God.
Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform to the pattern of this world,” The patterns of the world would be to look for answers about God through human understanding. Instead, seek God through Scripture by sharing what you read and listen to your sisters and brothers in Christ. My favorite is listen to church and sharing notes! God speaks to us in relationship with one another and this is how we become strong in Jesus. It’s through Scripture we will be transformed by renewing of our mind because God’s words are alive and active (Hebrews 4:12)! Romans 12:2, continues saying, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.” We cannot depend on the information from the world because it changes constantly through the ages. But, we can depend on God who is always the same and never changes. Scripture is our spiritual filter as it strains out lies from the world while the solid truth remains! 1 Corinthians 3:16-23 (NIV) “Do not deceive yourselves. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become “fools” so that you may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written: “He catches the wise in their craftiness” 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
This also made me think about our younger generation, and how they would be affected, spirituality, if they depended on apps or Siri to ask questions about who Jesus is and the Bible! Also, asking their devices instead of each other. All of us like quick ways to do things but our relationships will suffer if we skip steps! Most of all, our relationship with Jesus. John 15:14-15 (NIV) “You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Jesus is our friend! We aren’t meant to do life alone! We need to stay connected in All seasons. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches! We need God to help us as we stay United In the body of Christ, the church, to keep us on the straight and narrow path! Matthew 7:13-14, (NIV) “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.
The information from the internet is useful when looking up how to prune your tomato plant or find out what is a sucker branch. It could be so very useful and save us so much time for many different things. However, We just need to be careful about depending on the internet by looking for questions about God or the Bible! Some information out there is false and will lead you astray. It could stunt your growth or even worse it could mislead people into believing a lie! This is why we need to read the Bible and ask questions. We need to keep our lamps full and keep watch because you don’t know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:1-13). Even the Elect could be deceived! Matthew 24:24, “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25See, I have told you ahead of time.” A half truth is still a solid lie! So we need to stay in God’s word by not looking to the left or the right fixing your eyes on Him! God shows himself everywhere and in everything. We will not be snatched out of God’s hands! John 10:27-30 (NIV) “ 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30I and the Father are one.”
I looked forward to the garden when I got home! I could not believe how much the garden grew in a short amount of time! It seems a lot can happen when your back is turned! Wow, Matthew 13:24-26 (NIV) came to my mind in a deeper way! “Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. 26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.” My children wanted to help with weeding while I was gone, but I explained just keep flooding the garden and don’t worry about weeding until I get back! It was early in the season and it was hard to see what was a veggi or a weed. When I got home, the garden looked like an ocean of weeds! The chickens got lost in the thick cover of the tallest spiky weeds I had ever seen. The weeds were as tall as my hips and shoulders. I decided to flood the garden with water and in the pursuit to find anything edible growing in the garden, I decided to carefully pull the tall weeds out one at a time! Suddenly I noticed one of the roots appeared orange. So, I gently peeled the weeds and dirt away like an onion to see why the roots were orange. I was surprised to find a perfect carrot completely encased by weeds! We need God’s living water to flood us to removes the weeds that try to entangle us! When we are filled with Him, we continue to grow even when the weeds try to pull you down. The weeds will lose its grip on you! It also reminds me of why the wheat and the weeds grow together. Matthew 13:29-30, (NIV) No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.I really wish I took a picture but it was one of those moments you just can’t capture on camera! I took a picture of the carrot. I’m thankful God wants not one person in the whole world to perish because he loves and cares for everyone so deeply In 2 Peter 3:8-10 (NIV) “8But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.10But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” 7Let the wicked forsake their ways
It reminds me about what Isaiah explains about how we need to seek Him while He can be found. Isaiah 55:6-9 (NIV)” 6Seek the Lord while he may be found;call on him while he is near and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. 8For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. 9”As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
The time is short and we should take every opportunity to sharing the Good News about Jesus in love! Galatians 6:10 (NIV) “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” When we love all people who don’t know God’s love yet, they will be drawn in. Jesus will change how you see everyone and your focus will change too. It is the Holy Spirit inside you that helps you see everyone through a different perspective by focusing the inward qualities of the person and magnifying them, so they can see it too. Some people are so hurt that all they see is the lies about themselves and their mistakes. When all of God’s children come together being like minded in Unity in Christ, pouring love into people who can’t see their value yet, they will not only see their value but believe it. It’s the same Spirit in All of us. We are are God’s Masterpiece including every person! All are made in God’s image and are beautiful, special and have a purpose! The Holy Spirit searches all and knows the heart of all people! The Holy Spirit knows exactly how to lead us to reach people who can’t see how much they are loved by God. It’s only by our actions by living out what you believe, and how you react in situation and circumstance that are beyond your control. This will reach the broken hearted. A lot of hurt people believe a lie about themselves and are lead by how they feel. When there is Less talk and more walk through life circumstances, people who have heard the talk about God and who Jesus is, will see the evidence of who Jesus is in your life! It will be how you live your life going through similar circumstances as they are. God will guard you and reveal exactly what you needs to do or say.
When we love our enemies the way Jesus tells us to do, we won’t see them as our enemy because it’s not a flesh and blood war! Our flesh sees them as our enemy but the spirit show us who they are. When you see them through Jesus eyes, and you treat them the way Jesus does, it won’t make sense in their human understanding. They will wonder why you don’t return fire when they attack, join them in complaining or why you don’t join them pointing out all the bad things happening! Instead you will listen with compassion, pray for them and love them the way Jesus would!
My neighbors came over while I was in the garden and poured out their fears and hurt about the upcoming events taking place on the land. He expected me to be in the same state of mind but I just listened. He was outraged and deeply wounded by his past and soon calmed down. God’s overflow of kindness poured out as God prepared his heart to receive. I shared about how leaving this land might mean, I don’t see a fall or winter harvest and that it was ok. I said, “I will keep planting and watering while I’m in the waiting! The new people will be blessed while we step into something new! It might be hard but God has been preparing us for the next steps and I confident it will be good. God has worked out in advance all the details and I trust Him even when I don’t see what’s next. I explained the work on this land is finished! It is ready for the people who God wants to live here. He loves and cares for them just as much as he cares for you and me! God has no favorites. I said, “This isn’t my home, but God does have something for my family in His perfect timing” I’m thankful for where we are and all the blessing God has poured into us while we were here. The valuable relationships mean more to us then silver and Gold!
When you live a life in love and look past the mess, remember God doesn’t look at the outward but the heart! 1 Samuel 16:7 (NIV) “But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” Sometimes the biggest outward messes is evidence of a miraculous change in the heart. Romans 12:2 (NIV) “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Don’t conform or join in the world meaning of love. We need to stand firm on what God says love is! I Corinthians 13:4-8 (NIV) “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies,they will cease; where there are tongues,they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.
Matthew 5:43-45 (NIV) “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Revelation 21:6-7He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
We can see God’s glory shine everywhere around us as the storm slowly creeps in! Unexpected things in life are special little gifts wrapped in watching your children swim in a lake full of birds. With every breath I take, I smell the familiar days of spending the summer trolling on the lake with my family. I loved hearing my dad get super excited when a fish hit my pole. Everything we do with our children really matters as they experience life with you! When a fish hits my line, I had set the hook and reel it in steady and fast while not giving the fish any slack! It’s amazing how what seems so small like fishing is actually huge because practicing good habits when you’re young leads to good habits as an adult! My arms burned as my dad said, “keep going, don’t give up! It reminds me of 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV) “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” It is an example of how we are supposed to be for each other as sisters and brothers in Christ when things in life get hard.
If you were still fishing, you could feel or see your pole hit when a fish struck your line! However trolling for Kokanee is different, the line always looked like you had a fish on. You would have to pay close attention to your pole because you might miss a nibble or a bit. We never knew for sure if a fish was on our line, until we brought the fish up to the boat and scooped it up with the net! Most of the time we couldn’t get the net ready in time and just flung the fish right in the boat at my dad. It was hard because we see or feel the the fish on the pole when it was on the hook. We fought the current of the water as we reeled in the fish! The boat could not stop or suddenly turn or all the lines would get tangled together! We had to stay on course by staying focused as the boat continued to move. The current is like how we are not fighting against flesh and blood. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
One unique fishing day, all of us experienced a hit on our line at the same time! However, it seemed like we were reeling and fighting to bring in this fish longer than usual. My dad said “stop” He decided he was going to reel in the fish first! When my dad pulled the fish out of the water, it looked torn up with its mouth ripped in many directions. His mouth was full of all of our hooks. It swallowed every one of them. This one fish had us fighting who would bring in our fish first. My dad recognized something different and instead of us fighting about who would bring it in first, we let go and our dad reeled him in. We knew we had to keep going but let go and listened even when we didn’t understand at the time. Normally we just kept reeling in our line at a steady speed hoping the fish is on the hook! But, the flashers never made it to the surface of the water. It reminds me how we need to be awake and alert, sober minded because the enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8-9). Most of the time when the flashers finally reached the surface of the water, we would have to reel even faster to get the fish in the boat! Competition can blind us sometimes and it can be hard to let yourself lose, but you gain so much more when you let go. My dad brought in the fish that day but we all caught it together. Philippians 2:1-4 (NIV) “1Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.“ If we never let go, and thought of ourselves, we would have never brought our fish in the boat.
This is such a valuable lesson for me looking back fishing with my family. I could not depend on what I saw when the flashers spun around shining in the sun. It looked like a fish on the line every time. If I slowed down just a little to rest, it would give the fish too much slack and it would jerk the line ripping the fish right off the hook! So, I kept going! We had to stay on courses by looking out for each other. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 (NIV) “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” We are to keep running the race all the days of our life, focusing on Jesus for His glory no matter if we are fishing, walking, pulling weeds or just driving down the road. It will be hard and you will have trouble, you will get hurt by people you love. But, stay on course and remember it’s not a war against flesh and blood. Stay focused on Jesus by loving everyone by looking for the good in all people and in every situation. The hurt can feel like the burning in your arms as you reel in a fish that might be there! We can’t see the prize yet but we can see everything He is doing around us, in us and for us! 2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” We can see in the Bible as we experience real people going through hard life threatening circumstances! They did not see how everything would work out. Just like for us, we don’t see how everything will work out but have faith knowing He has already worked it out for our good in His perfect timing! These physical training examples for me growing up helped me grow strong in perseverance even if I didn’t understand yet. I was in training at a young age by learning to listen to my father’s instruction even when I didn’t understand why he asked me to keep reeling steady and fast or suddenly stop! Most of the time He said, “keep going even if you don’t see the fish (fruit) of your labor right now” But we need to be alert and sober minded so we can hear when we are told to stop! It took me a while to understand because I was young but he kept repeating. Romans 12:12 “Rejoice in hope; be patient in affliction; be persistent in prayer.” We need to keep teaching in love and patience and live out what we are supposed to do for all people because even when we don’t see the results on the outside it doesn’t mean something wonderful is happening on the inside even more beautiful. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” My dad has no idea the kinds of lessons he taught us growing up! I would love to share with him! I’m so thankful for the blessings of being on that boat stuck in the lake for a day at a time! We spent so much time fishing for Kokanee on a big boat in a lake that seemed like an ocean. They were so delicious especially when my dad smoked them or my mom canned them! I miss those days with my family on the lake, and am so very thankful for the blessing today!
God shows Himself through people, places, and things that seem random! But, God has already set everything up for a purpose! It’s the unplanned events that seem to be the most enjoyable! I think it’s because there is no time for overthinking just allowing God to pour his love and goodness on us! While we enjoy the blessings of today! Galatians 3:26-29, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.