Thankful for the Bloom

Bloom as you were planted.
There used to be large swatches of wheat fields by my house long before the houses came. I loved listening to the wind blow through the kernel filled tops as I walked through them. These fields taught me the day to day reality of the seeds parable.
One day, I stopped and examined two wheat stalks standing side by side. They were planted in the same rich soil, soaked in the same amount of sunshine, and received the same amount of rain as they stood next to each other.
Yet, despite all this sameness, each stalk had different kernel amounts! Why? The seed, not the elements, determined their final tally.
Mark 4 tells us that the seed is the Word of God or Jesus. He determines what will be produced in our lives as we listen to and follow Him. Here, then, are a few takeaway truths from this parable.
First, be thankful for who He made you. You are a valuable wheat stalk in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10). Your Father made you who you are for a reason. Thus, He will use you to touch lives, make healthy Jesus disciples, just as He made you. So bloom as you were planted and thank Him for it today.
And second, stop looking around at how He made others! You are not someone else for a reason as well. Therefore, instead of complaining about who you are not, start thanking Him for who you are in Christ. Bloom as you were planted and thank Him for it today.
The Father paid a heavy price, the life of His Son, to make you who He made you to be. Be thankful for it by blooming as you are planted.

Trust Me

Who is more important than what.
A good friend of mine recently sent a video of a 20 year-old French woman, who recently rode the largest wave ever ridden by a woman – 70 feet! My friend said it would scare her beyond belief to do it.
I texted back, “I bet that surfer would be scared of the places you’ve gone!” You see, my friend is a nurse, who has gone to dangerous places to bring medical care. She heard Jesus say, “Do you trust Me?”
On the latest phase of my Jesus journey, I’ve heard Him repeatedly say, “Do you trust Me?” My first reaction was, “Obviously Lord I don’t or you wouldn’t be asking me that question!”
When Jesus told Peter to get out of the boat on that stormy night, He was saying, “Do you trust Me?”
My friend, Peter, and myself were at different places in our Jesus walks. What might have scared one, wouldn’t bother the other. The what is not important. The who you are trusting is.
Are you playing it safe today or hearing Jesus say, “Do you trust Me?” Are you content with where you are at or hearing Jesus say, “It’s time to ride another wave?”
My friend and I have learned so much about ourselves and our God because we’ve trusted Jesus and gone where He said to go. Easy? Not a chance. Worth it? Words can’t describe it.
I challenge you to take your God-given skills to places others won’t or can’t, but Jesus is asking you to go. And guess who will be standing right next to you?
You know Who.

Rocks, Rocks and More Rocks

“The good news is this: your feelings aren’t your God. Your God is your God.” Rosaria Champagne Butterfield
This is the Desert of Paran in southern Israel. It’s the same visual the Israelites had as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land.
What do you see? Rocks, rocks and more rocks, right? How about quite literally tons of opportunities to see your God work?
In Isaiah 44:8, God Himself calls Himself a rock. Guess where the first time the word for rock was ever used? Yup, you guessed it. It was during the Israelites hike through the desert. Moses was told to hit a rock and water would come gushing out.
Israel had been walking in a very barren piece of real estate, seeing rock after rock after rock when they became thirsty.
Instead of continuing to enjoy their journey with their Provider, the God who just wiped out the world’s super power using many of nature’s tools (hail, bugs, etc.), they focused on their feelings of thirst and complained about God’s lack of provision.
Jesus has taken me on a very arduous journey where all I could think about was getting through it, rather than enjoying it. I’ve been counting down the days when it would be over!
The Spirit showed me that my focus has been in the wrong place – on the rocks as obstacles to get over or around rather than as opportunities to see my God provide the strength and ability necessary to cross this desert. He called me into it. He has gotten me this far. Relax and enjoy your God, Chris. He will get me through it.
How about you, where is your focus today – on the rocks or what your God can do through those rocks?
Let your praise increase as you experience your God do what only God can do; thus, increase your Jesus story that others need to hear.

Eliminate Excuses

It is not ok to fail, but it’s not the end of the world either.
Have you ever, when asked to do something new or at least something you are not good at, come up with an excuse or given yourself an out going into that activity so in case you failed you don’t feel bad?
In other words, you go into the activity already saying it is okay to fail. And through your readymade excuse, you’re trying to soften the blow so that if failure does occur you’ve given yourself a reasonable explanation why it is okay you failed.
These readymade excuses are what the Bible calls “arguments”, the reasons or justifications for what we do that go against the truth of what Jesus is trying to grow into our lives.
Keep this in mind, though, failure hurts you, no matter the reason for it or the outs we give ourselves. All sin destroys our lives. All our bad choices led us away from Jesus, The source of life, joy and peace.
So, if Jesus wants to change an area of our life to make us more like Him, our excuses only give us one fallback position – our repeated bad choice. Thus, we lose.
Now, having said that, we don’t need to fear failure. Failure is not the end of the world because Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, will finish the job.
Live with no excuses or fear. Let us show our love for Jesus through trusting Him enough to start out in faith, not excuses, and to keep getting up if we fail, by faith.
Our lives will be transformed, something the world desperately need to see.