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A Sure Thing

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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.

John 10:10

I have never been a sports fan.  Football, basketball, NASCAR, whatever, I have just never got caught up in it.  I personally have nothing against it.  In fact, most of my friends enjoy one type or another.  However, it has never appealed to me.  One reason, beside my lack of interest, is that I never knew which was a potential winning team.  Because let’s face it, who wants to back a losing team? I know I don’t want to be wearing the jersey of a loser.

            Unfortunately, right now, many of your friends, family and neighbors are backing the wrong team.  They have gotten caught up in the hype.  There has been some convincing arguments from our enemy circulated.  It’s easy to get confused.  How do you know what is truth and what is a lie?

            There is a lot of misinformation going around in the media and in our communities.  The best way to sort through the information that is getting batted around is to look at how the message is presented.  God will never use coercion, bribery, shame, threats or fear in His revelations.  That is a tactical move by the enemy to elicit fear and control.  Look back over history, fear is the most used tactic to force people to comply and “fall in line”.   Fear is one of the biggest motivators to all life whether human or animal. We fear death, injury or the inability to sustain life.  

            As you read articles, listen to the news, converse with employers and medical representatives, pay attention to what is being said, how it is said and what emotions it evokes.   If threats, coercion, shame, bribery and especially fear is being used, be sure it comes from your enemy.  He has one goal and one goal only to steal, kill and destroy. Our enemy will shame you in thinking that your choices are silly and that you lack cognition to make these choices yourself.  The enemy will promise you things to entreat you to comply.  The enemy will threaten your ability to function financially and socially.

            Do you trust God? Do you trust in the Blood of Christ?  It’s time to take your place on the scrimmage line, it’s time to decide what team you are on.

Typist for Jesus

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Get Up Off Your Samsonite

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 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. John 9:4

I drove past a bus stop yesterday. It was not for a city bus, but rather a travel bus. I noticed as I sat at a red light, that all these people were sitting on their suitcases. They just sat there, playing on their phones, and staring off into their thoughts. As I took in the sight, it made me think of how some Christians are doing the same thing.

Many Christians today seem to be sitting on their luggage and wait ing on the bus to Heaven. We hear so many claiming that ‘Jesus is coming,’ and, ‘Time is near.’ Yet a good deal of us have packed it in and are sitting on our suitcases.

Now is not the time for Christians to be sitting on the Samsonite, it is time to get up and get about our Father’s business sharing the Word. Put your luggage up, you have work to do!  Jesus is not here yet! There are people dying and going to Hell.  They need Jesus and the only way they will hear about Him is if you them. 

This world is in trouble, there is corruption, murder and unspeakable things happening all around us.  However, you as a Christian have a responsibility to this world.

A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 13:34-35

Notice in these two verses that “love one another’ is repeated three times. It was repeated so you would understand the importance. We cannot afford to just quit. Now more than ever, we need to be loving the unlovable. Feeding the hungry. Clothing the naked. Bringing warmth to the cold. Sharing Christ. The night has not come and there is plenty to be done.

It is still day so get up off you Samsonite.

Typist for Jesus

Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables

Excerpt from Mustard Seed, Modern Parables© Available on Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com and Walmart.com

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Sowing Good Seed

Sowing Good Seed

Matthew 13:24-30

The Parable of the Weeds: 

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25 but while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds[a] among the wheat and went away. 26 So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. 27 And the servants[b] of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, “Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30

There is a strip of land between my neighbor and me.  Every time it rains, water rushes down, bringing dirt, rocks, and debris into my driveway.  The landlord threw out grass seed many times, but the seeds were washed away or eaten.  One day on a whim, I threw out wildflower seeds and covered it with grass clippings.  In just a few short days, the wildflowers began to grow and quickly filled the slope with lovely yellow, white and an occasional purple bloom.  Grass also began to grow, and the area began to flourish. It was not long before weeds began to pop up between the flowers.  As the weeds multiplied, the flowers decreased, and the lush area began to look a bit scrubby.  I tried to do some weeding, but the roots of the weeds and wildflowers were intertwined.  Pulling the weeds damaged some of the flowers.  So, I left them to grow together.

            In the Parable of the Weeds, (Matt 13:24-30), Jesus clearly tells us that weeds will invade our gardens as evil invaded the original garden.  We must contend with evil in this world.  God allows evil and good to co-exist and will until the end.   This should be an encouragement to believers, and we must not lose heart when our efforts seem hopeless.  We must deal with the reality of opposition and evil and recognize that it does not define the outcome. 

            In verse 30, “Let both grow together until the harvest”, may seem a bit counter productive however unlike God we cannot know another’s heart.  Nor do we know where their lives and choices my take them-or their potential for redemption.  God is merciful and patient. As on my little slope of wildflowers, removing the weeds now would destroy both.  Separation will come at the harvest, in God’s timing. 

Our job in the meantime, is to continue to sow good seed.  

Typist for Jesus

Edward Finds His Voice: Lessons from the Coop

Edward Finds His Voice:

Lessons from the Coop

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Mark 16:15 (ESV)

 My chicken herding friend has shared another story of her little flock.  I enjoy her stories and often I see that animals whether domestic, farm or wild, can teach us something if we are willing to humble ourselves to recognize it.

              This week is a story about a little chick named Edward.  What a distinguished name for a little fuzzy chick but I have no doubt he will grow into it. 

When you first purchase chicks you do not know if they are male or female. They are just fuzzy loud peeping tiny birds.  As they grow their individual characteristics begin to emerge.  Fuzz becomes feathers and their colors begin to change.  Recently, Edward has begun to form a comb on his head.  In addition to his emerging comb, Edward has been loosening up his voice in preparation for his barn yard crow. The first couple of vocalizations were, well I guess you could say it was a bit weak.  However, after each little raspy cough, Edward would strut about proud of himself.  Every day, Edward practiced his crow, and every day this little guy made progress.  A couple of mornings ago, Edward hopped up on top of the water dispenser, thrust out is chest, opened his beak, and let out a perfect albeit small crow. 

Edward has found his voice!!

              Little Edward at only a few weeks old is aware of his role in the coop.  He soon will be the protector of the flock and his voice will be heard in the yard and beyond. You also have a role and a voice in the world.  Often, we feel that as Christians we should be quiet and wait for someone to ask us to speak.  We worry we will offend someone.  Some of us may be afraid to speak because we fear the backlash and ridicule that we may receive if we share Christ. If you wait for this world to invite you to share your voice, you will be waiting for a long time.  If you wait for someone to ask about Jesus’ love, you may never share it.  Like Edward, you need to confidently use your voice.  Accept the role that you have been born to fulfill.  Without your voice, many in your sphere of influence may never hear that Jesus loves them and seeks to have a relationship with them. I understand your fear and I grapple with it each time I publish a Seed.  However, I fear the cost of silence more.

           

 Assume your role as a voice for Christ.  

Edward Finds His Voice: Lessons from the Coop Mustard Seeds, Modern Parables

If a little chicken named Edward can be bold and unafraid, so can we.
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You Need to Grow a Little More

never be afraid to grow

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, Philippians 1:9 (ESV)

 What is a beach side vacation without a visit to the local ice cream shop?  Well, certainly not as much fun.  So, one evening on my recent vacay, my fellow travelers and I decided to take a trip down the road for some creamy cold goodness.  We were not the only seaside guest that thought ice cream was a perfect way to end the day.  The line snaked back on itself inside the small shop.  It was evident when we entered that the four young men manning the counter were well acquainted with serving so many.  They kept that line moving and before I knew it, I had ice cream in one hand and my debit card in the other.  I paid and moved to the sidewalk to find a table.  Moments later my friend emerged, laughing.  Once everyone had sat down, she related her story.  She had gotten her ice cream and prepared to pay but was unable to see the little screen on the card reader even on tip toes.  The young man on the register held it down for her. With a playful tone and Jamaican accent, he said, “You need to grow a little bit more, miss.” 

We got a giggle out of it.  Later that evening I thought about that statement.  Though my friend is unable to grow taller we are all capable of growing and maturing spiritually.  That is one of the wonderful things about humans.  We continue to grow, mature, and learn throughout our lives. It is the same in our relationship with Jesus.  Whether you are a new Christian or have been for many years, there is plenty of growth ahead of you.  The mysteries of his love and the intricacies of life affords years of learning and understanding.  Never stop searching the Word, never stop asking the Spirit to give you understanding and never be afraid to grow.

Typist for Jesus

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On Angel’s Wings

Parasailing in Destin, FL 2021

“For He Himself is our peace…”  Ephesians 2:14

All the check had been done and redone.  I listened to the captain and the deck hand’s instructions.  I did not know what to expect except that I would be lifted 400 feet into the air over endless ocean.  Yet before I even completed that thought, the boat accelerated, and my friend and I were lifted off the back of the boat.  Legs dangling and a scream caught in my throat, I felt my body soar higher into the sky, the boat becoming small.  Higher and higher we climbed into the blue. Every nerve ending in my body was alive, and my wrist ached from the intense grip I held on the straps.  As the tether unfurled more, I began to wonder if I was about to float off into space.  Finally, we met our maximum altitude, the climb stopped, and we simply hung in the air.  Floating, carefree, gently swaying as if on Angel’s wings. 

              Sometimes, I forget how big God is and how wonderful is his creation.  I get into the mud and mire of my life and I can’t seem to see past the problems, worries and issues.  I forget to lift my face to heaven and seek him.

              Dangling in the air above it all, there was a peaceful silence I have never experienced before.  I could see for miles endless ocean and the sharp line of the horizon.  In those seven to eight minutes, I was reminded that we need to be looking up not down.  And we need to be looking forward.

              I know that your life has many issues right now.  You are facing difficult decisions and uncertainty.  Maybe it is time to step back and look above it all. 

              Typist for Jesus

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High Road

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

I have put off writing this because frankly I did not want to tell on myself.  However, I made a promise to be transparent in sharing my experiences.  So here goes, my story of recent road rage.

              I pulled up to the stop sign.  I had just dropped my daughter off at an appointment and now I needed to rush back home and get to a zoom meeting. Unfortunately, a wreck had happened, and the right lane was blocked with police cars.  I was going to have to cross to the furthest lane and merge.  Fortunately, there was a gap in the slow line of cars, so I pulled out.  Just as I was going to join the line, a yellow older car rushed into the lane.  She had come up from the closed lane and cut me off.  I laughed and said “Wow.”  Shaking my head I craned my neck to see if maybe the next car would take pity on me.

              That is when things took a distinct and bizarre turn.  The driver of the yellow car, middle aged with large glasses and long brown hair began mocking me.

              “Wow, oh wow!  WOW! Wow…..”  She accompanied it with unflattering expressions and then punctuated it with a middle finger. And then another.

              I would love to tell you that I continued down the high road, but oh no I did not.

              The screaming, gesturing and less than Christian verbalization ensued.  An officer heard us and blowing his whistle, motioned us on. She pulled forward and I merged behind.  I admit I am surprised at what she did next.  Hitting her brakes and leaning out of the car she continued her verbal assault.  I laid down on my horn and returned likewise.  We are now in the outermost right lane with traffic whizzing by us on the right because we have reduced our speed to approximately 25 miles an hour just a roll really and the screaming has continued.  Both of us are hanging out the windows screaming, gesturing, blowing our horns and close to frothing at the mouth.  Then suddenly she whips her car into the turn lane and slams on the brakes.  I may be blind with anger, but I am not stupid I kept driving.  And while I drove, I was fussing as I headed home.  It took a couple of red lights before I had calmed enough to focus my thoughts.  It was then that I realized how ridiculous I had behaved.  Why had I engaged in this behavior?  I could have driven around her at any minute.  Why had I stayed in the lane behind her?

Because she made me angry. Really angry at her insults toward me.  Angry that though I was the one cut off; she was yelling at me.  Angry that she was going to make me late.  She really got my dander up!

  Anger in of itself is not a sin.  Anger is normal and natural.  It is when we lose our temper and control.  As disciples of Jesus, we have been called to love one another and live peaceably.  We cannot do this if we are allowing ourselves to lose control and lash out.  Maintaining control and our tempers make it easier to forgive and live in peace with one another.  If we have the Holy Spirit within us, then our actions should show the fruit of his work within us.  Specifically, in this case, peace, patience, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) None of which I displayed.  Often, we may feel justified in losing our temper because we have been hurt or offended.  However, we are instructed to forgive and not yield to anger or seek vengeance.

              I know that it is difficult, especially now, to maintain our tempers and self-control but now more than ever, we need to be exhibiting Christ.  We are a people set apart and how is anyone to see that or desire to accept Jesus if we are no different in our behavior and reactions than the next person.  Let’s not repay evil with evil but find the love of Jesus within us to forgive and maintain self-control.

Typist for Jesus

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Chicken Run

But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. Jonah1:3

The sudden swell of shock was quickly replaced with concern as my friend entered her garage.  She is trying her hand at chicken farming.  Well, on a small scale, she has eight little chicks.  Two of which are smaller than the others.  Because chickens are not very forgiving and never pass up the chance to peck and bully another, my friend has separated these two from the flock.  They may be little but every ounce of them is feisty.  The smaller chick’s cage was empty and as my friend looked around the garage something caught her eye.  She turned to see two little yellow streaks dart by.  She turned to scoop them up however, they did exactly what chickens do best.  They ran. Tiny little feet propelled them toward the other chickens.  Peeping and flapping, they alerted their counterparts.  Now all the other chickens were in an uproar. Flapping, peeping, and trampling one another the caged birds began to stampede too.  The closed garage reverberated with panicked peeps and flapping wings. 

            By this time my friend had ceased trying to catch them and instead watched for a few minutes as the two little ones ran laps around the other cage while the occupants ran from corner to corner following the outlaws.  Every time the little chicks attempted to round the cage their feet flew up and they skidded a few inches on their feathered butts.  Yet, each time they would regain balance and continued running.  Lap after lap, these little chicks gave it everything they had.  They had no idea where they were going or how to get there they just ran as fast as those little drumsticks could go while the peanut gallery cheered them on.

            It is the chicken’s first instinct to run and they do it very well.  It is also a common reaction for human beings.  It is also man’s first instinct is to run from God.  That may seem strange, but it is true.  People run for many reasons. They are often scared of God and afraid of what he may ask them to do or give up. For me, I went through a period when I tried to ignore God.  I happily professed my belief in God, but I never really wanted to get too close.  I was afraid that he would ask me to do something or give up something or someone.  I just did not believe I could do that willingly.

            People run away in different ways.  They, like me, may choose to keep their distance.  Others may freeze up and choose to live with small or respectable sins, believing that their sins really aren’t bad enough to be saved from.  And still other may indulge in false piety by devoting themselves to the technical issues of Christian living so that they do not have to face a personal relationship with God.  How they try to run, much like the chickens, they just end up going nowhere.   

            Fortunately, God is compassionate to those that run out of fear or the false belief they are better off without him.   We see this in the Bible several times.  Probably the most well know is Jonah.  He did not want anything to do with Nineveh and ran as far as he could.  Jonah was not alone, the prodigal son ran, Moses headed for the desert and even Peter after the Garden of Gethsemane skulked around in the shadows.  Peter “followed him at a distance” (Matthew 26:58) Peter did not want anyone to know he was one of Jesus’ disciples and when the servant girl pointed him out, he was adamant he was not a friend of Jesus.

            God wants to have a relationship with you through his son Jesus.  He understands your fears and doubts.  He is waiting for you to stop running and turn to him. Like the prodigal son, our Father is waiting for us.  He is only a prayer away and he can hear you just like he heard Jonah underwater in the belly of a whale. And he will forgive you and love you just like he did Peter. 

Stop running to nowhere and turn to Jesus.

Typist for Jesus

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Sometimes, Life Gets in the Way

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

But Jesus said unto him, follow me; and let the dead bury their dead. Matthew 8:21-22

            I have not written in a couple weeks.  I have been busy at work and life.  There has been overtime, bills, doctor’s appointments, yards needing mowing, flower beds needing weeding, weddings, grocery shopping and well, it is exhausting just listing it all.  Everyday my “To Do” list had, write a Seed, and everyday it was left unfinished with several other items. 

            I was lying in bed thinking of what I should write this week in between all the clutter that kept filling my brain.  It was in the middle of the flurry of disjointed thoughts I remembered the verse, “Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.” 

            On initial thought, this verse seems rather callus and uncaring of Jesus.  However, on deeper reflection, it has nothing to do with funerals or family abandonment.  Rather is about making a commitment to Jesus and choosing to follow Him in all circumstances.  Whether the bills are due, or the yard has grown up to obscure the house, seeking the Lord is priority.  Jesus knows these things must be done and are important, but nothing is more important than your relationship with Him.

            Today on my “To Do”, I placed the Mustard Seed at the top.  Time in prayer, Bible reading and touching the lives of those around you are your first concern.  There will be plenty of time for the rest once you have fed your spirit and been filled with His peace. In fact, you will be able to complete more efficiently everything you need to do. 

            Just like this disciple, we find ourselves focused on the things in life that need to be done.  In essence this disciple was saying “Lord let me go home and get everything I need to do done and then I will follow you and do what you want of me.”    There will always been an inexhaustible list of things that need to be addressed but there may not always be the opportunity to answer His call.

Won’t you answer His call today.

Typist for Jesus

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Heart Condition

What is the condition of your heart?

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7

I was very pleased with my purchases. I had gotten some good deals. Smiling I reached for my receipt. The cashier leaned in, “Your senior discounts on there. Have a good day.” Her eyes smiled above a mask that had a villainous grin with exaggerated teeth. I started to protest but as I glanced at the receipt and saw the additional 10% reduction, I thanked her and left the store.

Firstly, I am not yet a senior. I do however, have quite a bit of gray sprouting about my temples. I have no doubt that this cashier chose that characteristic as her reason for assuming I was a senior citizen.

Thoroughly offended I quickly began to text my friends, giving them a similar narrative as you have just read.

As much as I was offended by the lady’s assumption, there is a relatively easy fix to hide my gray. However, there is no hiding your heart from God. God is not concerned about your grays, you clothing or your car. He is interested in your heart only. What is the condition of your heart? Do you fill it with humility, love and forgiveness or are you hiding something a bit different?

When God looks at us, he does not see the physical. Rather he looks only into our hearts. What is in our hearts influences how we chose to serve the Lord. Is your heart compassionate to others? Is it generous and merciful?

Samuel needed to be reminded that appearances mean nothing. As each of the sons of Jesse passed Samuel, (1 Samuel 16) he like most of us, was only focused on what his eyes could see and not what was hidden beneath. A man or woman’s worth is not in their appearance but in their heart.

My gray hairs may be a product of my advancing age, but what does your heart produce? How much time do you spend grooming your outside verses the inside? Take time this week to look inward and examine your heart. If people when they looked at you, saw only the condition of your heart, what would they see?

Typist for Jesus