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A Rafter of Turkeys

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Matthew 6:33 ESV

A friend of mine is raising turkeys. She has about twenty maybe a few more. They are funny creatures very energetic, inquisitive, and loud. I never thought about the intelligence of a turkey but honestly, I never thought they possessed very much but since she has been raising them my attitude has changed.

            

  Early one morning my friend was beginning her day when she noticed that the turkeys were much louder than usual. In fact, they also seemed very close. Leaning across the table she peered out the window to see her front porch was full of turkeys. There were turkeys across the porch some on the swing, the railing, and chairs. She went to the door and stepped out. As she looked at them, they all looked up at her expectedly. Afraid that something might have gotten in their enclosure, she headed out across the yard, the rafter following.  Everything was in place except the food dispensers were empty. The turkeys stood all around her watching.

She got busy filling the dispensers and as she did the turkeys filed into the enclosure one by one and began eating breakfast.

              A few days later, the same thing happened again. This time it was because they were anxious to get on with the evening feeding. Again, my friend immediately went out to take care of their needs.

              As she related this story to me, I began to think about how often we will go to other sources to have our needs met rather than to God. We ask our friends, co-workers, family, even a stranger. We ask the doctor for a pill, the bartender for another and nothing is accomplished. The pain, anxiety, confusion, and worry is still there. And the problem. We need to be more like these turkeys. They knew exactly who to go to and they went right to the front door boldly.

              You have front door access to God. He is there waiting for you to seek him. Rather than focus on earthly advice and temporary fixes, seek the kingdom of God.

Typist for Jesus

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It’s all in the Timing

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)

I have a schedule in the mornings.  I let out the dogs and the chickens, start the coffee, get in the shower and so on.  I leave at precisely 7:15am.  No earlier or later because from where I live that puts me in lesser traffic by the time I reach town. Today however my eldest came by with my grandbaby.  The day care was closed so my other daughter had agreed to watch her. So of course, we talked she had coffee the grand needed some attention and I obliged.  By the time my daughter left I was running well behind my schedule. And that irritated me….a lot. 

              We all have our little rituals, schedules, list and plans and we do not like them messed with by anyone. So, when God has a different idea or an alternate plan for us, we do not always accept it so easily. I am not a patient person. Once I make up my mind to do something, I want to do it now. I find myself in trouble quite often with that attitude.

              Waiting on the Lord and trusting his timing is not easy. However, the Lord can see your future because after all before you were born, he had a plan for your life. God knows what is coming and he knows what is best for you.

              When researching a verse to go with this story, I choose Psalm 27:14.  I choose it not just because it fit but mostly because first the writer begins and ends the sentence with “wait on the Lord” and second because it is ended with an exclamation point. Obviously our writer knew we needed to be told not once but twice to wait. Waiting on the Lord is not easy, and it does take courage. Courage to ignore the nagging whispers, whispers of doubt and fear. Courage to not listen to other people. Courage to simply wait.

              Now is the time to be trusting God, listening, and courageously waiting on the Lord. Be patient and trust that his timing is the best for you. It is all in the timing. His timing places us exactly where and when we should be to achieve his Will in not just our lives but others that he has strategically placed in our paths. Whether we want to be or even realize it, God’s plans are not just for us but others as well. Our friends, family, children and even strangers are influenced by us.

              Is there a decision in your life right now that you are struggling with? Trust in the Lord to guide you in this decision. Pray for direction. Look expectantly for his answer.

              Wait for the Lord!

              Typist for Jesus

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Don’t Reel It In

I cry out to God Most High,
    to God who fulfills his purpose for me. Psalm 57:2

I took advantage of this weekend to get some yard work done.  I will admit yard work is not a favorite, but I love the way a yard looks after some TLC.  I was weed eating the ditch when I noticed my machine was making a lot of noise, but the weeds were not going anywhere.  I flipped the weed eater over and there was just about one inch of green cord sticking out. I tugged at it, bounced the bottom on a rock and twisted the cartridge. Nothing helped.  My daughter came up the hill and asked what was wrong. I relayed the information, and she took the weed eater and removed the cartridge.

“Here’s the problem.  The cord was hung up on this and holding it back from releasing.”

                I returned to my task.  As the grass flew, I found myself thinking about what she said. “the cord was being held back”.  Because the cord was unable to be released, it made the weed eater ineffectual. There was a lot of noise, but nothing was happening.

                There are many things in our lives that may hold us back from realizing our potential and fulfilling God’s Plan for our lives.  Sometimes it is other people, we may blame circumstances, but I believe it is mostly ourselves that hold us back. It is the fear of ridicule, fear of failure, unable or unwilling to take the risk, finances, or lack of confidence. Whatever it may be, we seem to forget that if God has placed a desire, a talent, or a mission within you, he has already taken care of all the issues you are worried about. I struggle with this myself probably a lot more than I should. I worry about being ridiculed or not having the money to do something and I worry that some people will think I am crazy. (Actually, several already do)

                It is easy to be bold when our peers are cheering us on.  It is easy to speak out when our message coincides with popular ideas. However, when we speak the truth and share Christ with others outside our circle it is not as easy. When we act while using the Bible as our guide, not everyone understands or appreciates our reasons.  So, we hold back. We reel it in, and we render ourselves ineffectual.

                Jesus dealt with the same issues during his life and ministry. He knew he had mission; he knew it when it was just 12 years old and boldly announced to his family in the synagogue, “I must be about my Father’s business”. (Luke 2:49) Jesus did not allow his human side to be held back, he walked in faith.  During his ministry he did not carry food or an extra cloak but rather depended on the Lord to provide. And boy did God provide, feeding over 5,000! (Matthew 14:13-21)

                So, as you read this, you may be thinking well that was Jesus of course he had faith and God made his way. I am just somebody, somewhere doing something.  I get it.  However, God has given you a mission.  God has a plan a design and he is eager for you to step up and accept it. Stop reeling it in, let it out and get to it.

Will it be easy? Absolutely not.

 Will everyone like what you do or say?  Absolutely not.

Will all your family and friends support you? Absolutely not.

 Will Jesus walk it with you? Absolutely.

                Typist for Jesus

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Practice Makes Perfect….Eventually

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

When I was in the third grade, I was forever getting failing penmanship grades. I missed some spelling words, not because they were misspelled but because they were illegible. My grades were suffering which meant I was when I brought home the report cards. I was always in a hurry and had other things to do and having to take time to sit down and write things out was frustrating.

One day my mother gave me ten cents and told me to go to the office and buy a tablet and bring it home. I was to practice writing every night after my schoolwork. It was misery. One Saturday afternoon after chores and cartoons were over, I was stuck in the house because it was storming. Bored with toys and games I picked up the tablet and began to doodle. I wrote my name, my full name, my cat’s name, brother, and mom and dad. Slowly, at first and then a little faster, I started to form the cursive letters.

Within a few weeks, my teacher sent home a note congratulating me on my much-improved penmanship. By the year end, I had an A and a little award for best penmanship. I find even now that writing whether in a journal or a Seed, is comforting. I still like a simple No 2 pencil.

Part of practicing something is more about learning control than anything else. By doing repetitive motions your ability to control your movements steadily increases until you are in control. It is the same principle in many things. Controlling a car, your spending, thoughts, and your emotions.

Part of practicing something is more about learning control than anything else. By doing repetitive motions your ability to control your movements steadily increases until you are in control. It is the same principle in many things. Controlling a car, your spending, thoughts, and your emotions.

Self-control takes time, practice, determination, and patience. The Word tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7 that we have been given this power but only if we choose to nurture it and practice it consistently. It takes discipline. It is easier to let our emotions lead, sometimes exciting but once the situation has passed, we must deal with the aftermath.

You have been given the power of love and self-control are you using them to glorify God and show others to Christ?
Typist for Jesus

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Fruitless

“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. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. John 15:5-6

There is a gentleman in my neighborhood that a grape vine. Every year he prunes it, ties the branches up and really puts a great deal of work on it. Despite all his work, his vines never produce. Year after year, there are no grapes.  He blames it on the birds or deer, he claims the neighbors steal them or the neighborhood kids eat them. He always has a reason why there is never fruit.

              Many of us are like this man in our spiritual lives. We rely on ourselves; we make a good show of all we do.  We are quick to boast about what we have done and as quick to blame others when it doesn’t work out.  But we have forgotten the most important thing.  We have failed to rely on God. For anything in our lives to be truly fruitful it must be through God.

              There are several references to wine in the Bible. In fact, 256 times.  Wine was not just made from grapes but from dates, figs, and pomegranates. It was consumed as part of the regular diet, during celebrations and weddings. Wine was even used for medicinal purposes and gifted as a symbol of blessing. That is why grapes, wine and the vineyard are used in parables because everyone was familiar with the process. Within this chapter, (John 15) Jesus repeats several times that He is the vine and we the branches.  One may wonder why Jesus repeated the theme. In Jewish learning the process of rote or repetitious learning was principle. The average mind requires the reiteration of truth before it can make that truth its own. By repeating “I am the Vine and you the branches”, Jesus is emphasizing the relationship between Jesus and the Christian.

              The vine is connected to the root system and its function is to nourish the branches. The branches are the conduit through which the vine expresses itself. Grapes do not appear on the vine or the trunk.  Only the branches bear fruit and that fruit is a direct result of the vine’s nutrients. The vine is the source of life.

              Jesus is the source of life for all that choose him. Without him there is no life. Only through Christ can the branches, Christians, flourish. Does your life produce fruit? Can those around know that your fruit comes from the spiritual relationship that you share with Jesus?  Or, like my neighbor, are your branches barren?  Has the relationship grown cold? Or maybe you are trying to do it all yourself and not relying on Jesus.

Jesus said:  apart from me you can do nothing. 

Typist for Jesus

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Air Locks, Black Holes and Spontaneous Combustion-

Taking Rogue Thoughts Captive

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We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:1-6

READ 2 Corinthians 10:1-6  I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am humble when face to face with you, but bold toward you when I am away!— 2 I beg of you that when I am present I may not have to show boldness with such confidence as I count on showing against some who suspect us of walking according to the flesh. 3 For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. 5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, 6 being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.

I have been sharing with you my struggle to forgive and release my anger toward situations in my life that have directly affected me physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  As I continue to turn to the Holy Spirit and the Word, I want to continue to share what I learn. We are well armed and fitted with what we need to face the tough seasons in our lives. We will always face difficulties in this life, it is the lot of humankind but knowing and trusting in God to help you navigate through the trials makes the difference between defeat and victory.

The battle begins in our minds.

              Our minds often determine our end.  By not controlling my thoughts, I became more angry, more bitter and blinded. I would run the scenarios or something someone said in a loop in my mind and as I did so I became more agitated. Allowing myself to indulge in this “created” internal argument provided strongholds for my enemy to get his foot into.  Then with that stronghold over me, I fell further into depression and anger.  The scenarios were not real, they were manufactured in my mind to feed my anger and push me further from God.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh.

 To some this may seem incredible, however how many times have you allowed something someone said to you fester in your mind? How many times have you allowed what happened at the family dinner to gnaw at you until you are so angry with that family member you aren’t talking to them anymore? And they have no idea why!  What about something said to you against your faith in God and you turned in your mind rather than presented it before God for understanding? We do it everyday on grand and small degrees and we let those imaging run free producing fake emotions, perceived injuries and sparking anger.

..and take every thought captive to obey Christ

Your mind is strong and you, only you, can determine what you allow to play in your mind. When imaginings raise up causing paranoia or doubt, and sinful thoughts take that thought and cast it out.  I literally imagine myself ejecting it from an airlock.  A friend of mine drops her’s in a black hole. It doesn’t matter how you imagine it leaving your mind as long as it does.  Wad it, trash it, sweep it, set fire to it whatever but bring that thought under submission and cast it out. You cannot be in obedience to Christ if you allow these thoughts to occupy your mind unchecked. You leave yourself vulnerable and allow the enemy to seek out strongholds in your mind to use against you.

 For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds.

Typist for Jesus

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Refrain from Anger

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Refrain from anger and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. Psalm 37:8

I have spent the last three months angry. This anger has permeated every part of my life, my relationships, my health, my writing, and my relationship with God.  When I tried to pray my anger got between the Lord and myself. I was snappy to my family and friends. Every time I ate the heartburn would keep me up most of the night. Anger bled into frustration and that morphed into depression. Many days I laid in my bed staring at a blank wall gritting my teeth and churning inside. It is a terrible thing to admit and put into words.  But there it is.

              Anger is not a sin; it is a perfectly natural and normal thing that we all experience. The problem is when we allow anger to grow, and we react out of anger. Once we do that, we are vulnerable, and our enemy uses that opportunity to enter our hearts. An angry heart taints everything it touches and our relationships.  Especially our relationship with God.

              There is no place in your heart for anger. Once you accepted Jesus as your savior and invited him to dwell within you there is no room for it. I let it in and that crowded out Jesus and the Spirit. Anger is loud and because of it we often cannot hear the Savior’s voice.  I am thankful that our Lord is forgiving and patient with us. Though I embraced that anger, Jesus never left my side and the Spirit continued to minister to me. When I think of the situation, I become angry again, but I immediately repent and drop it at Jesus’ feet.  Over the last few weeks those opportunities for anger have lessened and my desire to hold on to it continues to wane.

              We do not have control over the things that others do, but we do have the choice to decide how we react to their actions.  We can embrace anger, or we can choose to refrain from it.

              Typist for Jesus

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I Am the Typist for Jesus

And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Matthew 5:40

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              I haven’t written a Mustard Seed in a couple of months.  I had just about decided that it was time to move on to something else. After nearly ten years, I was pretty sure that it had run its course. I had not received a call or even an email asking why there had not been recent publications. No one has asked so no one must be reading them.

              Last night, I decided that I would discontinue the Mustard Seed. I told God that since no one seemed to even notice they had stopped then there was no point. It was a very sad moment for me.

              Today I got a phone call.  “Hey, I haven’t seen a Mustard Seed in a while aren’t you writing them anymore?” I explained the situation to this young lady.  She seemed disappointed to hear that I was discontinuing publishing the Seed. Before I could say anymore her husband called out from another room. “Hey, sorry to be eavesdropping but I heard what you said and immediately I heard “as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.” God says to tell you, that even if only one person is reading, you need to be writing.  I think you need to pray and make sure that is what God wants. I think He wants you to keep writing.”

Well, I cried after that call and not just a little. I had swollen eyes and snot bubbles all over the place. My daughter came in and was in a panic for a moment wondering what I was going on about. That husband had a message for me, and he delivered it with an authority that I knew exactly where it came from.  He and his wife ministered to me and renewed my desire to get back to the keyboard.

We have the ability and responsibility to minister to one another and should never shy away from obeying God when he speaks to us about another. The Holy Spirit spoke to this man and he obeyed.  I am very grateful for his willingness to be an instrument for God.

I’ve been called to minister to others with the written word, so I better get to writing.  I hope you will join me on some new adventures this year. Maybe invite some others to read along.

I am the Typist for Jesus.

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Unveiled

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

              There were times while on my Egyptian Adventure I would have to pause and give myself a little pinch. Sometimes I was in disbelief that I was in Egypt and privileged to see some of the most amazing sites on earth and through history. One of those moments was when I was in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo.

              I stood transfixed in front of the glass case that protected the golden death mask of King Tutankhamun. Slowly, I circled the case my eyes roving over every part of the mask exploring every precious stone inlaid in his head dress, his obsidian eyes, and the detail of his pierced ears. It all fascinated me. I circled his effigy several times before, I returned to stand before the mask.  My mind raced and I was awed to think that I was staring at the face of a young man that lived 3350 years ago.  Tutankhamun reigned from 1333BCE until his death in 1323 BCE at the age of 19 years old. His exact cause of death has been the subject of many documentaries and numerous scientific tests and study.

As I pondered these things something caught my attention and I realized that I was so close to the mask, that my refection was in the gold of his cheek.  I stared at it for several seconds in awe.  As I studied my reflection, I was reminded that I am to reflect my King, the true King of all time, past, present, future and forever.  I should be reflecting him not me.  

Before Jesus died on the cross, we were separated from God by our sin. God’s people lived a life of laws and rules that they could not uphold. Because they could not, animal sacrifices had to be made to atone for sin. When Jesus died on the cross, he became the final sacrifice, the chasm that separated man was span.  The veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom and we were unveiled and therefore became like mirrors who reflect the glory of the Lord.

Life for all of us is uncertain across the globe and I admit there are times I find myself dealing with fear and anxiety. And when I do, I remind myself that I must renew my thoughts (Romans 12:2) and focus my eyes on him.  Especially now, with so many people living in despair and fear, we need to be the reflection of a loving Jesus. We cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in the fear and worry but be a beacon reflecting the hope of Christ.

What do you reflect?

Typist for Jesus

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Step Out on Dry Ground in Faith

n Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, 22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. Exodus 14:21

After several days of touring the temples and tombs of Egypt, we took a much-needed rest at a resort in Hurghada on the Red Sea.  As I stood on the balcony looking out over the stunning blue of the sea and a forest of white umbrellas, it was hard to imagine Moses and the Israelites crossing this body of water.

 The beach in Hurghada is rocky and the wind blows continually.  The water is cold but clear, and the temperature stays a comfortable upper 80’s. Yachts cruise along the coast, their flags whipping in the wind, under a seemingly endless sky. It is a perfect oasis of never-ending food, entertainment, and relaxation. Far from what it was 3,000 years ago.

 One day I ventured past the umbrellas to a platform with a metal steps that disappeared into the water. Holding the railing and stretching my eyes across the water I tried to imagine what it was like for the Israelites that night as they waited by the sea knowing Pharaoh’s army was bearing down on them.

              The Bible tells us in Exodus 14:21 that the sea did not immediately divide when Moses raised his staff, instead God sent a strong east wind that blew all night pushing the water apart and drying the ground. When you think about that, the people had to huddle along the shore, waiting. Waiting on God to prepare their way. Waiting for the ground to be dry enough to cross and the whole time they waited they knew the enemy had 600 chariots racing toward them (Exodus 14: 7). Horse hoofs thundering, torches burning into the darkness, and the warriors filling the night with their war cries.  How terrifying when you allow yourself to meditate on it.  Huddled in the darkness with the sea ahead they cannot go forward, certain death and destruction behind them they could only wait, trust, and believe.

              Our world is in turmoil and we have been driven out of the way of life we have known. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring. We spend time on our knees in prayer beseeching him for deliverance, for answers, for understanding of things that lack wisdom and we wait. Many of us are nervous, worried, and afraid. Do not give up. Hold tight, God has this. We may have been taken by surprise, but he hasn’t.

Do not live in fear but in anticipation.

Waiting for God is not easy but then it was not ever meant to be. If God responded to prayers and request with fast answers, how would we learn patience, faith, and trust? It is not easy; it never will be and that is why you must have faith in him even when you are huddled in the dark.  Trust him when the enemy is close at hand.  Anticipate the east wind as it comes to make your way. Step out on dry ground in faith and know God in still in control.

Typist for Jesus