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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

Zoom Out

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passion 2 Timothy 4:3

I got a text the other day.  It read, “little bird taking a dust bath.”  Attached was a video.  I hit play and the sounds of cheerful bird song and passing cars filled the room.  However, I did not see the little bird, in fact I saw nothing but a patch of grass.  Puzzled, I stopped the video and tapped it again and it filled the phone’s screen.  I selected the play icon and again the sound of birds and cars.  Yet, this time in the upper corner, I saw movement.  Zooming out, I saw the little bird in the upper right corner.  He was happily rolling in the dust.  I had to laugh, he looked as if he was having the time of his life. 

If I had not zoomed out, I would have missed the bird completely and thought my friend a little daft.  I cannot help but wonder how much we miss because we do not take time to look at the whole picture?

It is hard to look past what is going on in our little bubble.  We have bills, work, family, and relationships that take up much of our time and keep us distracted.  Unfortunately, allowing ourselves to become distracted and focused on our private bubbles, we miss out on important issues.  Things are changing quickly in the world around us and not all these changes are good.  We as Christians and Americans need to be paying attention.  We need to be voting, educating ourselves about the current issues in the news not just here in America but all around the world.  Most importantly, we need to use our voices and refuse to be silent. 

Zoom out and look at the bigger picture.  Our freedoms are in jeopardy and there are those that are actively working against us.  We must stand up, use our voices, and our votes. Most importantly, now more than ever in our lifetimes, we must be bold and fearlessly share Jesus.  Christian values and teachings are under attack.  Many of our Christians and churches are buckling to society’s demand of a softer, tolerant, and an inclusive approach. Now is not the time to be diluting the Word and Promises of God.

Typist for Jesus    

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Connection Lost

(Read John 16)

This past year we all have learned that there are many ways to work without being at work.  I have been working from home for almost a year now.  Pretty much if you have an internet connection you can work. 

My daughter had a doctor’s appointment and rather than taking off from work I decided I would take my laptop and continue working.  Due to social distancing, only the patient can go back so I decided to use that time to continue what I had been working on that morning.  The nurse called her back and I flipped up the top to get back to my spreadsheet.  Except there was a problem, my system was not working.  Ah, I needed to get the password from the receptionist.  I went to the desk and asked.  Unfortunately, they do not provide internet access. Without the internet my laptop was now useless and my plans for being productive thwarted.

The Holy Spirit is our connection, through prayer and daily Bible study,

we can strengthen our connection.

            It is the same in our spiritual lives, without a connection to the Father and Son, we too are lost. The Holy Spirit is our connection.  With the Spirit we have discernment, wisdom, comfort, and guidance.  The Holy Spirit is a gift from Jesus.  In the book of John chapter 16, Jesus is preparing his followers for his death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven. He knew how his followers may feel lost and unable to continue the work that he started with them.  He also knew that 2,000 years later you and I would need the Spirit to guide us in continuing the work that he has started in each one of us. In Jesus’ physical absence he sent the Holy Spirit as guide and comforter those that believe in him. We have that Spirit available to us, filling us and guiding us in the way that the Lord would have us to go.  Unlike the internet, the Spirit can reach you without a password.  Once you accept Christ Jesus as your savior the connection is made, and you no longer navigate this world alone.

            Use the gift that Jesus has left for you, to draw you nearer to him.  Allow the Spirit to teach and guide you. Through prayer and daily Bible study, strengthen the connection.

Cartoon Typist for Jesus
by Bitmoji

The best is yet to come,

Typist for Jesus

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The Best is Yet to Come

On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.”

“Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come.”

His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from twenty to thirty gallons.

Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so, they filled them to the brim.

Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.”

They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside 10 and said, “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”  John 2:1-10 (NIV)

              A friend of mine recently recommended this story to be included in my new book I am currently writing.  As I studied the characters and the circumstances that they were facing, I decided that in our current situation as a people across the globe that maybe this story should be shared now.

 As I read my mind created the scene.  It was fall in the land, that is when the weddings were preformed because there was plenty after the harvest and cooler.  The Jewish wedding feast last for five days and during that time food and wine is plentiful.  In the first verse, it states that it was the third day of the feast, that let’s us know it was serious that the wine had run out because there were two more days of feasting to go.  So that is one reason why Mary came to Jesus, she knew that he could remedy the issue. So Mary asked Jesus. Notice that Mary does not argue with Jesus or presses him, she simply tells the servants to “Do whatever he tells you.” She made her request and then left it with Jesus.

What really interest me in this story is the servants and their unwavering obedience.

Mary walks away and the servants look to Jesus. I think they were waiting on Jesus to tell them to run into town or knock on the neighbor’s door but Jesus told the servants to fill the ceremonial jars with water.  Can you imagine what was going through the minds of these servants?  They begin drawing water out of the well and dump bucket after bucket into the vessels. Finally, six huge stone jars are filled to the brim with water.  Their task complete, once again they turn to Jesus, curious maybe a bit confused, and waited for his next command. 

Now take a moment to think about this, what if you had been the servant that Jesus told to draw out the water and take to the head of the banquet?  

Now you don’t know Jesus, but you do know that there is nothing but water in that jar and now in the decanter.  However, being an obedient servant, you take the decanter to the head of the banquet.  As this servant walked through the loud hall filled with singing, winding between the couches and guests, I can only imagine what must have been going through the servant’s mind. I have thought about that a lot since studying this passage. Was he or maybe it was a she, the gender is never specified, scared?  I think that I would have been.  Yet, these servants did what was commanded without questioning. 

  I believe that a true servant must relinquish their will and body to their master.  To do that, the servant must choose to trust the master.  That person knew that they had filled the decanter with water but they took it obediently. When the servant got to the table what a sweet relief it must have been when rich, red, fragrant wine filled the cup. 

Often, we are put in situations where we do not know what God has planned next.  God rarely shares his plans or reasons for what he does.  I find that very frustrating.  I believe that God chooses to withhold that information to cultivate trust, faithfulness, and obedience.  The servant carried the vessel of water obediently to the banquet table not knowing what was going to happen until they tipped the clay jar and wine spilled out. Do not become discouraged or scared, instead like the servants, trust the master.  Do not let what is going on around us discourage you and your faith. Continue to be obedient and faithful to Jesus. 

At the end of the passage, we see that the master of the banquet was very pleased that the best wine had been saved for the end of the banquet. “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.” 

 No matter what is going on in your life and in this world, remember that the best is yet to come.

Typist for Jesus.

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Away in the Utensil Drawer

For we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7

I love decorating for the holidays. All the glitter and shiny lights. I think I have lights attached to anything that stands still long enough. My granddaughter also loves the decorations, however at 22 months, she just wants to tear everything down, sit on it, step on it and sometimes just yell at it. I have one area that I let her do with as she pleases. It is an old incomplete nativity scene. The animals and shelter are long gone. Only two wise men, Jesus, Mary and Joseph remain. The baby Jesus is her favorite piece. The same size of her hand, she carries him close. She carries him all through the house, cuddling, cooing and kissing him.

I have found baby Jesus in the sink, dog food, dog’s water bowl, bath tub, drawers and multiple times in the floor. He has even appeared waiting in line to see Santa in my Christmas Village. She loves baby Jesus, until something else grabs her attention. Which can be anything from a toy, hunger, sleepiness and of course something she should not be messing with. (like the dog’s water bowl) Unfortunately, we are guilty of the same spiritually. Jesus is great until something more interesting or distracting comes along and then we just leave him to pursue what has grabbed our attention.

As we enter into the new year, let’s not leave Jesus behind packed up with the Christmas decorations. Instead, let’s carry him into the new year and firmly in our hearts. This past year has been challenging on so many levels not the least spiritually. I anticipate this new year will continue to test us. We cannot face these new challenges without Jesus.

Hold to Jesus. Do not allow the distractions of politics, media and personal trials to loosen your grip.

Typist for Jesus

Driven to Your Knees

       

Pray without ceasing. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

A few weeks ago, there was a fatal accident at the end of my street. Two young men lost 

their lives. A memorial of flowers and two crosses stand in front of a splintered tree. Every time I pass it a sadness comes over me.

Today as I left my neighborhood, I was detained by public works crews. They were painting fluorescent yellow on the concrete culvert and installing signs warning of the upcoming curve. Since living in this area, I had noted that the concrete was faded and chipped, and there were no signs. As I waited for the somewhat bored looking gentleman to twirl his sign to slow, I thought about how it took a tragedy to elicit change.  I also wondered how long this project had been on the schedule previously but never completed.

        Unfortunately, we are no different. Often it takes a problem, a worry, or a tragedy to get us on our knees. We are all guilty of it. Everything in life is fine and the time in prayer and in the Word becomes shortened, sometimes forgotten.

I want to make sure that I am transparent in what I am saying. Tragedy, difficulties, and worries do not come in our lives as punishment or as a result of not praying.

 We all experience these circumstances throughout our lives. I am expressing how much more would we be prepared to face these seasons in our lives if we were engaging daily with Jesus in prayer. I believe we would be stronger, focused, and faith-filled. 

Do not wait for tragedy to drive you to your knees but instead live on them.

Typist for Jesus

Faith as Big as an Ark

Let us, then, hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we have a great High Priest who has gone into the very presence of God – Jesus, the Son of God. Hebrews 4:14 (GNT)

I was back on the road again this weekend.  This time I visited the Ark Encounter and Creation Museum in Williamstown, Kentucky.  If you have the opportunity you need to visit.  https://arkencounter.com/noahs-ark/

I felt like a kid as I leaned forward in my seat to see the Ark rising out of the rolling knolls of the Kentucky landscape.  With every revolution of the car’s tires, the Ark grew bigger and so did my excitement.  I doubt you are much different from me with respect to the many questions you have pondered when thinking about Noah’s Ark.  How did Noah keep them from eating each other and what do you do with all that pooh? (yes, I went there.) There are more questions but these are my top two.

The Ark representation has been built to the specifications in Genesis. (see Genesis 6:15) It is massive, rising into the blue sky and wider than my camera can take in.  As you walk down the pathway to enter this behemoth, animal-shaped topiaries are spread out and for a moment it is like you are joining them in the march. The closer you get, the real magnitude of this feat is revealed. It was more than I anticipated. I was excited to search out and study the secrets hidden within.  

As much as I enjoyed the exhibits, amazing animatronics, and geek-out opportunities,  my mind continued to return to thoughts of what this family must have gone through during the preparation.  The Ark took Noah and his sons decades to finish and then there was the collection of animals, stores of food, and water for a vast array of beasts and themselves.  However, there was more they had to face and cope with.  I imagine the ridicule they suffered was relentless and cruel.  Daily they worked toward a goal that was of salvation yet they knew that the world was about to change forever. 

On part of the tour, there is a massive door that had been used to load rations and animals.  It towered above me.  As I posed for a quick snap in front of it, I thought about the day that this door closed and Noah and his family waited inside for seven days.  Outside life carried on.  Day after day past and the sky was as blue and clear as the day I visited.  Years of preparation and work for this moment and nothing was happening. Not one drop. Then on the seventh day, rain began to fall and the earth was swallowed by water.

Faith is hard work,  It is a daily struggle sometimes.  We see so much going on around us.  We pray and do the right thing and yet nothing happens.  To say you have faith is not enough.  You have to walk it out, live it and chose it.  Faith like so many other things, it is a choice.  A choice that you stand with and persevere through. Noah and his family chose to have faith in God.  A faith as big as an Ark.

Typist for Jesus

Stagnant Existence

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 ESV

It was terrific to get out of the house this weekend.  Since the pandemic, like most, I have stayed close to home.  However, this weekend, I took a half-day trip just an hour and a half away to a popular landmark.  I have never been, but almost everyone I know has, so I thought I would take a friend and check it out. 

The Lost Sea was discovered in 1905 by a thirteen-year-old boy.  Though the caverns themselves were well known to the Native Americans in the area, the water body was unknown until a drought exposed a small opening. Filled with curiosity, the young boy pushed his way into the opening.  A chamber filled with blackness stretched out before him. Tossing a rock into the dark, he heard the plunk of the rock hitting the water’s surface.

Extensive exploration has proved the caverns are void of life.  Today only a few bats visit the chambers that are not part of the tour. Rainbow trout, introduced in the late 1960s, is the only life that live 14 stories below the surface.  The trout were stocked in the cavern to see if the fish could find a way out to a lake or stream.  The experiment was a failure and the trout never found a way out of the cavern.

The trout live a stagnant existence.  Because there is no other life in the water, they do not hunt but depend on the tourist boats to come by with handfuls of liver pellets.  The underground lake is more like a reservoir.  It does not have a current and a smooth bottom.  Without moving water or craggy formations, the trout cannot reproduce.  They live in darkness except for a few artificial lamps.  The lights only penetrate the inky black a couple of feet. The silence of the cavern is almost deafening.  Nothing stirs.  There is no breeze or varying temperature.  It is 58 degrees year-round.   Living without sunlight, the trout have lost 25% of their eyesight and 75% of their pigmentation.  They hang suspended in 58-degree water, the vibrant rainbow skin they are named for is a ghostly gray.  They are not living but instead existing in darkness without hope of anything more. 

Life without the light of Jesus is the same.  Dark, cold,  and without hope.  Unlike these fish, you have the freedom to make choices to escape the cold darkness.  It begins with recognizing you need Christ’s love, light, and forgiveness.  He can bring you into the warm sunlight and restore you to who and what you were created to be. Do not ignore the Holy Spirit’s call but come out of the darkness.  He is waiting to remove you from a stagnant existence.

Typist for Jesus

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A Parade All My Own

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you and I will rescue you. Isaiah 46:4

I recognized the sound.  The thump and lope of a flat tire.  I coasted to the grass along the country lane.  Getting out of the car I saw that the tire was flat and coming off the rim.  It was my first time to travel this road and I had only gone a few yards when I realized it wasn’t a road made for my little car.  I should have turned around, but I thought I would just carry on and that is when I hit the pothole and ended the life of the rear driver’s tire. 

I explained the situation to my daughter and got on the phone with a towing company.   Thirty minutes later the truck backed up in front of my car. What happened next was bizarre, hilarious and unexpected.  The driver explained to me that because of the Covid-19 we could not ride in the cab with him. I stared back at him. “Well,” I began. “I can call my other daughter to come to get us.”

“So, I do have another option.” He said, a twinkle in his eye. “You can ride in the car back to the shop.”

Windows down, seat belts on, my daughter and I princess waved as we rode down the main street.  People pointed and laughed. Some stared and some chose to ignore the spectacle. I will admit it was great fun!  A parade all our own. As I was enjoying the ride and of course the attention, I thought about how sometimes in your life you just must be carried.  I had to trust the driver not only with my property but the lives of myself and my daughter. It was an unusual event in unusual circumstances. 

Today across the world people are living in fear.  The world has a common enemy. Not just of the virus that is storming every city, village, and town, but the worry about jobs, finances, health, losing a lease or home and the future of each of us and our loved ones.  Now more than ever we need hope and faith. And now more than ever, the world needs to see Jesus. That is where we as Christians come in. You may be the only example of Jesus some may see.

We keep reading the same phase in news reports and articles, “These are unprecedented times.”  These may be unprecedented times for the world, but this is no surprise to God.  Allow him to carry you through this. Share your faith and hope in Jesus. Hold fast to your faith.

Typist for Jesus

Out of the Mouths of Babes

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And (Jesus) said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3

As Vivian’s mom was tucking her in, something caught her eye.  Laying on the nightstand was the glass baby Jesus from the Nativity scene.

“There it is!” Her mother exclaimed as she picked up the figure.  “I have been looking for this.”

Vivie sat up and snatched the tiny effigy of a sleeping baby. “Mom I don’t want you to pack Jesus away.”  Furrowed brows and pouting lips conveyed her feelings.  She held the tiny figure close to her heart.

“Well, we have to put him with the Nativity scene.  He needs to be with his family.” Her mother cooed. “So, we can put the Nativity up again next year.”

“No.  I want him to stay with me!” Vivian flung herself back down on the bed and closed her hand tightly around baby Jesus.

“Ok”, her mother answered and cover her up again.

Vivie put the baby Jesus back on her nightstand and drifted off to sleep.

When my friend shared this story, I laughed and then I really thought about that little girl’s words and actions.  Like Vivian, we all should desire to have Jesus with us always.  Not packed up in Christmas decor or only mentioned on Sunday, but rather in our day to day lives.  Vivian has a desire to have and keep Jesus close to her. Do you have a desire for Jesus? Do you long to have him close?

I think we all can take a lesson from little Vivie.

Typist for Jesus