Cultivate

cultivate1280-1-560x448What is the life God desires of me? … His life, His life in me. And just what is that?

I walk with Him. I listen to Him. I know in part but one day will know in full what my life should/could have been. I pray I will walk the remainder of my life, growing more and more like Him, towards Him, each and every day.

Give ear, and hear my voice;

Give ear, and hear my voice;

give attention, and hear my speech.

Does he who plows for sowing plow continually?

Does he continually open and harrow his ground?

When he has leveled its surface,

does he not scatter dill, sow cumin,

and put in wheat in rows

and barley in its proper place,

and emmer as the border?

For he is rightly instructed;

his God teaches him.

 

How can I ‘cultivate’ this life…this life God desires of me?

  • tilling the soil
  • planting the seeds
  • watering the earth
  • keeping the weeds out and away from the new sprouts
  • harvesting the crop

cultivation

(ˌkʌltɪˈveɪʃən)

1. (Agriculture) agriculture

a. the planting, tending, improving, or harvesting of crops or plants
b. the preparation of ground to promote their growth
 
2. development, esp through education, training, etc

3. culture or sophistication, esp social refinement

How do I take this picture and make it mine?

  • The soil is me.  I am tilled up by reading God’s Word.  I listen for His instruction.  I pray.
  • The seeds are for planting; God’s thoughts, God’s Word, God’s Way are those seeds to be planted in fertile, moist soil. By knowing His Word, hearing His voice, waiting upon Him, I become the type of soil where the roots can take hold.
  • I never thirst for I have the Living Water.  Staying close to Jesus is how those seeds come to fruition.
  • The weeds, the tares, are not to get a foothold.  By staying in the Word and in communion with God allows the seeds to grow and keeps satan away.
  • Harvest time is a continuous time as the seeds are of every different part of growing that God wants for me.  He knows the possibilities in me for growthSo today, I may be able to harvest patience.  Tomorrow, I may harvest extra love.  I may also need some faith every day.  To harvest may be to serve, or to pray, or to wait, or to be gentle.  So many wonderful plants and fruits of the harvest.  Thus harvesting is ongoing and on-growing.

Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,

nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,

but dill is beaten out with a stick,

and cumin with a rod.

Does one crush grain for bread?

No, he does not thresh it forever;

when he drives his cart wheel over it

with his horses, he does not crush it.

This also comes from the Lord of hosts;

he is wonderful in counsel

and excellent in wisdom.

Isaiah 28:23-29 ESV


God uses the perfect tool for each task.  His counsel is what I need to cultivate the life that He desires for me.  His counsel calls me to pray.  He calls me to be still.  He wants my ear.  He also wants my mouth to hold fast to wait for Him.  He wants my obedience, my love, my humbleness, my honor.  He wants me in His hands like clay.
The life of God in me is, hopefully, that of respect, quietness, and gentleness.  It is that of service by His hand, not of mine, or that out of guilt.  He is the Farmer, the Potter, the Creator.  I want Him to be glorified in all I am, in all I do.  May it be so, Father God.  Amen.

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Wisdom From Above

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James 3:17

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.  NKJV

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.  NIV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere.  ESV

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.  NASB

God, the wisdom that we need is only from You.  It is not the wisdom of man nor the world.  You gladly give us this gift, if we would only ask.  If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5)  And, the treasures that describe Your wisdom, LORD…

pure:  μέν – me’n =  truly, certainly, surely, indeed; “…free from iniquity, studious of holiness both in heart and life.” (M. Henry)

peaceable: εἰρηνικός – eirēnikos = bring peace with it, peaceful, salutary; peace depends upon purity.  ” Those who are truly wise do what they can to preserve peace, that it may not be broken; and to make peace, that where it is lost it may be restored. In kingdoms, in families, in churches, in all societies, and in all interviews and transactions, heavenly wisdom makes men peaceable.”  (M. Henry)

gentle: ἐπιεικής – epieikēs = equitable, fair, mild, gentle, seeming, suitable.  “It is gentle, not standing upon extreme right in matters of property; not saying nor doing any thing rigorous in points of censure; not being furious about opinions, urging our own beyond their weight nor theirs who oppose us beyond their intention; not being rude and overbearing in conversation, nor harsh and cruel in temper. Gentleness may thus be opposed to all these.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I feel compassion in what Mr. Henry says here as it is the need to control, to be right, to act high and mighty that brings us down.  Help me to use Your wisdom when I talk to others. 

easy to be entreated: εὐπειθήςeupeithēs = easily obeying, compliant.  “…it is very persuadable, either to what is good or from what is evil.”  (M. Henry)

full of mercy: ἔλεοςeleos =  mercy: kindness or good will towards the miserable and the afflicted, joined with a desire to help them/of men towards men: to exercise the virtue of mercy, show one’s self merciful.

good fruits: καρπόςkarpos =  that which originates or comes from something, an effect, result/work,act, deed.

Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits, inwardly disposed to every thing that is kind and good, both to relieve those who want and to forgive those who offend, and actually to do this whenever proper occasions offer.”  (M. Henry)

without partiality: ἀδιάκριτοςadiakritos = without dubiousness, ambiguity or uncertainty. The original word, adiakritos, signifies to be without suspicion, or free from judging, making no undue surmises nor differences in our conduct towards one person more than another. The margin reads it, without wrangling, not acting the part of sectaries, and disputing merely for the sake of a party; nor censuring others purely on account of their differing from us. The wisest men are least apt to be censurers.”  (M. Henry)

without hypocrisy: ἀνυπόκριτος  – anypokritos = unfeigned, undisguised, sincere. It has no disguises nor deceits. It cannot fall in with those managements which the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere and open, steady and uniform, and consistent with itself.”  (M. Henry)

Father God, You will gladly give us this precious gift and when You do, may we use it as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:12: For our proud confidence is this: the testimony of our conscience, that in holiness and godly sincerity, not in fleshly wisdom but in the grace of God, we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you.

I pray that my mind and heart would stay close and tender towards Your teaching as I learn Your ways, O LORD. 

And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.  James 3:18

“And that which is sown in peace will produce a harvest of joys. Let others reap the fruits of contentions, and all the advantages they can propose to themselves by them; but let us go on peaceably to sow the seeds of righteousness, and we may depend upon it our labour will not be lost.  For light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart; and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”  (M. Henry)

Father, I pray that I would be still and ask for Your wisdom.  That I would allow Your Holy Spirit to bathe me in it and walk this world with the strength of Your wisdom in me through Your Holy Spirit.  May I be quiet and assured because I am close to You.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

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Photo:  The Fellowship Site

God of the Heavens

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft was launched January 19, 2006.  On July 14, 2015, it passed Pluto and its moons.  Pluto is 31.94 Astronomical Units (AU) from Earth.  One AU is the average distance between the Sun and Earth, about 93 million miles or 149.6 million kilometers.  “At its most distant, when the Earth and Pluto are on the opposite sides of the sun from one another, Pluto lies 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth. At their closest, the two are only 2.66 billion miles (4.28 billion km) apart.” These numbers are phenomenal numbers, beyond what my mind can wrap around.  But they are real numbers and what scientists have calculated with their knowledge and understanding.

Pluto_charon_150709_color_finalPluto has five known moons.  Charon is in the photograph with Pluto above.

planets3All of these planets orbit around the sun.  This is the solar system we call “ours.”

How much more has God created beyond Pluto?

eyes-on-plutoMan created a spacecraft that took 9 and a half years to get to its destination, arrived, took photos, sent radio signals back to Earth, and now continues outward into space.

God knows what is out there.  Man is learning some of God’s creation beyond our corner of this world.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them! 
Psalm 139:17

Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.  Deuteronomy 10:14

“But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!”  1 Kings 8:27

שָׁמַיִם

shamayim

from an unused root meaning to be lofty

the spaces of heaven, however vast and infinite

Heaven, heavens, sky

as the abode of God

alluding to the visible arch in which the clouds move, as well as the higher ether where the celestial bodies revolve

Jehovah is called the God of heaven

“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has charged me to build Him a house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever is among you of all His people, may the LORD his God be with him. Let him go up.’”  2 Chronicles 36:23

Give thanks to the God of heaven,
for His steadfast love endures forever.  Psalm 136:26

 Father God, God of the heavens, You created it all and know every star, planet, and all that is out in what we call “outer space.”  You know that there is nothing too great or small for You because it has all been formed by Your very hands.  How amazing You are, Father!  ‘Vast’ seems like too small of a word to describe all that You have made and all Who You are.  Father, thank You for loving us, these tiny creatures compared to what we are able to see through the ingenuity, intellect, and inventiveness that You have given to man.  Yet, I know that there is so very much more.  Thank You, Loving God of the heavens, for being willing to adopt me into Your family, forgiving me for my sinfulness, guiding me through the way that You have chosen for me.  I pray with gratitude and amazement to You through Your Son.  Amen. 

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Hubble Space Telescope – views into God’s creation –

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/hubble/main/index.html

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New Horizons –

http://pluto.jhuapl.edu/index.php

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Photo 1: NASA/JPL – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charon_%28moon%29#/media/File:Pluto_charon_150709_color_final.png

Photo 2:  NASA –  http://www.vtaide.com/png/solar-system.htm

Photo 3: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute (JHUAPL/SwRI)  http://eyes.jpl.nasa.gov/eyes-on-pluto.html

Everything About God Says Strong

psalm93_5

Last time, I wrote of God’s justice.  It will rule one day.  His day.

Your statutes, LORD, stand firm; holiness adorns your house for endless days Psalm 93:5 NIV

קֹדֶשׁ

qodesh

sacredness, holiness, separateness, apartness, set-apartness

…of God

…of things

…of places

Your decrees are very trustworthy;
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, forevermore.  Psalm 93:5  ESV

Your testimonies are very sure;
Holiness adorns Your house,
O LORD, forever.  NKJV

Your testimonies are fully confirmed;
Holiness befits Your house,
O LORD, forevermore.  NASB

The rules you set down are completely reliable. Holiness aptly adorns your house, O LORD, forever.  NET

The sure justice that is to come stands upon the solid holiness of our God.  He is Who He says He is.  He does what He says He will do.  He is faithful and trustworthy in all and everything.  As I learn to walk in the ways of the LORD, I feel that surety in my steps because He orders them.  Everything about God is just, truthful, strong, perfect.


“The Rock, His work is perfect,

for all His ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is He.”  Deuteronomy 32:4

 צוּר

tsuwr

rock, sharp edge, stone

Mighty One, Refuge, Protection for Israel

strength

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity: just and right is he.  WEB

He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.  NKJV

A rock is solid and strong.  God is our Rock.  He is our Stronghold.  He is stable.  He is upright and authoritative.  That pillar above is strong and stable.  It holds up so much.

And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.  The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.  Exodus 13:21-22

עַמּוּד

`ammuwd

column, pillar, upright, platform

God, a pillar of strength.  The pillars of cloud and fire held God.  How much stronger can anything be?

Father God, You are my LORD.  You are my Rock.  You are strong and mighty.  You have brought me from the depths of darkness and have loved me into Your Light, continuing to love me into the beauty of Your Light.  Your Son is my Savior, the Light.  I am most grateful and filled with respect for He is my Salvation.  Thank You, Father, for standing firm in my weakness.  You are my Refuge where I am protected.  I know that Your justice is perfect and will come one day to this world just as I know that Your perfect way keeps me aligned with You when I obey.  Lead me to Your Rock for it is higher than I.  You are my Stronghold.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen. 

Hear my cry, O God,

listen to my prayer;

from the end of the earth I call to You

when my heart is faint.

Lead me to the rock

that is higher than I,

for you have been my refuge,

a strong tower against the enemy.  Psalm 61:1-3

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Photo: http://www.heartlight.org/gallery/1209.html

Justice For All

Lately, I have been reading about injustices that occur toward people today as well as many years, decades, even centuries ago.  It is something that just never seems to end.  As Jesus told His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation.  But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33  Yet I want to fuss and say, “But why, LORD?  Why does this have to happen again and again?

In my dismay, God is so faithful and good.  I have been reading through Isaiah and when I turned to Isaiah 42 the other morning, God met me there.  He clearly showed me that He will right the wrongs and set this world back to His way one day.  I cannot even fathom His ways, yet I trust Him for His outcome.  He knows all that is going on and knows all that has gone on throughout the years.  He knows all.  How very grateful I am!  What a Mighty God we serve! 

Behold My Servant, whom I uphold,

My Chosen, in whom My soul delights;

I have put My Spirit upon Him;

He will bring forth justice to the nations.

He will not cry aloud or lift up His voice,

or make it heard in the street;

a bruised reed He will not break,

and a faintly burning wick He will not quench;

He will faithfully bring forth justice.

He will not grow faint or be discouraged

till He has established justice in the earth;

and the coastlands wait for His law.  Isaiah 42:1-4

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מִשְׁפָּט

mishpat

judgment, justice, ordinance

1. judgment:

act of deciding a case

place, court, seat of judgment

process, procedure, litigation (before judges)

case, cause (presented for judgment)

sentence, decision (of judgment)

execution (of judgment)

time (of judgment)

2. justice, right, rectitude (attributes of God or man)

3. ordinance

4. decision (in law)

5.  right, privilege, due (legal)

6.  proper, fitting, measure, fitness, custom, manner, plan

God has given us His Son Who is the Servant of His Father and even us.  Yes, He came to serve.  For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”  Mark 10:45  

“Justice,” under #2 above, is defined as just, righteousness, and rectitude (a few of God’s attributes).   Rectitude means: the quality or state of being straight, moral integrity (righteousness), the quality or state of being correct in judgment or procedure.  This is our God.  His justice will be to right wrongs of time immemorial.  His justice will rid all men of sin.  And His justice will establish His Kingdom, His rule, His order.

More than forgiveness of sin for each man, more than salvation from sin for each man, more than a perfect system of social order made by man, John Oswalt says God’s justice (of Isaiah 42) is “the life-giving order which exists when the creation is functioning in accordance with the design of the Lord.”  **

Father, I am so very grateful that You are my just God and rule this world, this earth.  There is to be justice once and for always.  Oh, LORD, I praise You.  I am relieved too for these concerns of mine cause me to be anxious and You tell me not to be.  Knowing that Jesus “will faithfully [FAITHFULLY] bring forth justice” gives me such a deep breath.  Knowing that Jesus “will not grow faint or be discouraged” gives me such hope, beautiful HOPE.  Knowing Jesus will finish the job, that He will consistently be strong and encouraged “till He has established justice in the earth” makes me feel peaceful, so very PEACEFUL.  I love You, Father, for this reassurance and guidance.  May I look to You in prayer and in Your Word, in quiet moments, in calming tides for You.  You are here and will always be with me.  In the Name of Your Son, I pray.  Amen. 

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Graphic:  http://www.melissademing.com/page-2/isaiahs-suffering-servant/lesson-3-isaiah-42-a-song-of-justice/

**  John Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 40-66 in The New International Commentary on the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), pg 110.

In His Arms

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Psalm 146:5-10

 Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob,

whose hope is in the Lord his God,

6 Who made heaven and earth,

the sea, and all that is in them,

Who keeps faith forever;

Who executes justice for the oppressed,

Who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;

 the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.

The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;

the Lord loves the righteous.

 The Lord watches over the sojourners;

He upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked He brings to ruin.

10  The Lord will reign forever,

your God, O Zion, to all generations.

Praise the Lord!

The Lord is over all and the only One Who can supply all our needs, provide all the help that the world just cannot supply.  With so much going on in these days we are living in, I so wish that things would be better, that people would not be oppressed, hungry, killed.  I just want us to live in peace with everyone, with all nations.  But Jesus said:

And when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.  Mark 13:7-8

…but while we live in these times, we are to remember Who is the only One Who saved us, can save us, and will come for us when the time is right.

Psalm 146:1-4

Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord, O my soul!

I will praise the Lord as long as I live;

I will sing praises to my God while I have my being.

 Put not your trust in princes,

in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.

When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;

on that very day his plans perish. 

Father God, I lift my hands to You and feel Your strong arms reach to me, this child of Yours.  You hold me closely and I am secure in You.  Father, why is there so much that feels so terribly wrong in this world?  Why is there starvation?  war? murder of innocents? fear of what others may do? chaos? kidnappings? … this list does not end, Father.  Why?  I am sad, Abba Father.  Just too much that is wrong.  But there is only one answer and that is the fall of man; evil came to live with us.  Oh, Father, Your strong arms remind me that one day, Jesus will come for us who have placed our trust in the One Who is Salvation, Who is the Holy One, and will bring us into His home where there will be no more tears nor pain. 

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  Revelation 21:4

Father, I want to stay close and feel the comfort of Your love as I am wrapped in Your arms.  I thank You for the very salvation that Jesus brought to us so that one day we will be free from all that is of this world.  I have always been sad that You felt that You were sorry You ever made man back in the early times.    

So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:7)

I sense You feel that way today.  But You know the times for they are in Your hands.  Walk with me through the remaining days of my life.  I crawl into Your arms, my Abba Father, one of your lambs.  I thank You and love You so.  In the Strong Name of Jesus.  Amen.

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