Devotionals · God's Word · OneWord365 · Pondering

Decrease – One Word 2021

“Decreasing” has NOT been what I have been doing this month. I seem to be “increasing” and barely recognizing that Christ is in my life lately. Definitely NOT the way I anticipated I would be headed almost half way through 2021. My growth in Christ is backwards.

I have been seriously pondering a major change in my life in the very near future. I have been praying. I have been reading God’s Word. I have been quiet before Him. Or so I thought.

But amidst the ways God wants me to go, I have been researching the change, dealing with banks, looking into options, sorting through things. Doing STUFF! All of the stuff I do before making a change. So when Lisa (@ Lisa Notes) posted that the 21st of May was coming up, time to link up our One Word 2021, I had not even thought about my One Word. Not even once! So today is the 22nd of May and I am typing these words of how my month has certainly looked to God while I have ignored this whole desire which I had purposed from the beginning of this year.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30

Today, the 22nd of May, is the day I married Kenneth 28 years ago. He went to be with the Lord almost three years ago on June 7, 2018. We had just celebrated our 25th anniversary as he was dying from cancer. We knew his death was imminent and very soon, by his condition. We just did not know the exact date and time, of course. Only God knows those facts. The doctors had originally given him 7-10 days in mid-January, 2018. God had blessed us with these months instead of days, for which we were so grateful. We felt that God knew we needed this time together. Kenneth helped me prepare to be living alone…how I needed to care for our house, what tools I needed to keep, and which ones I should sell on eBay, which ones were to garage sale. He was so fine to prepare me like that. We prayed together and we shared spiritual Truths together. Oh, the time was so sweet. I am ever grateful. At this moment, my eyes have welled up with God’s little wet blessings that go into a bottle in Heaven. I am humbled by this day, these memories and my sweet Kenneth. I miss him so. So very much!

And these memories draw me back to the One Who saved me. I know that one day I shall see my Lord and dear Kenneth for we both know our Jesus the Christ. And He is the One to increase…not me! Thank You.

May His name endure forever,
His fame continue as long as the sun!
May people be blessed in Him,
all nations call Him blessed!

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
who alone does wondrous things.

Blessed be His glorious Name forever;
may the whole earth be filled with His glory!
Amen and Amen!
Psalm 72: 17-19

I seek to be found with humility today. He is my Lord and my Lord forever.

Of the increase of His government and of peace
there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over His kingdom,
to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 9:7

I seek to be on my knees praising God in all His glory and releasing all of this STUFF that it would only be minutiae for me while God handles it as I obey Him.

He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32

I know that You, Lord, are handling it all, only that I let You. May I be as small as the mustard seed and may Who You are in me show to be that tree. May I be so tiny and You be just so vast, Christ.

Lord Jesus, I seek Your forgiveness in trying to handle things myself. You have allowed things to go differently that I had “planned” or had “hoped.” You are showing me this day that You have this in Your hands. You also have me in Your gentle and yet strong arms. You reminded me of my beautiful marriage with Kenneth and how we sought to depend upon You in so very much. Thank You, Lord. You are guide me. You know my heart. Thank You for Donna’s words last night on the phone, especially her sweet words at the end, that I will entrust my plans, my life to You. Thank You for caring about her and drawing her back to be near You. I am ever grateful for Your Love. I lay this whole change at Your feet, my Christ. I want to be obedient to Your call upon my life. If I am to change, You will make it so and if not, You will make it so! You love me no matter what I do for which I am so thankful. May I continue to learn to decrease so that You increase. I desire others to see You in me and not me in me. In the Beautiful and Increasing Name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

John 3:30: photo/graphic @ Pinterest

Psalm 72:19: photo/graphics @ Pinterest

Isaiah 9:7: photo/graphic @ Knowing Jesus

Mustard Seed on fingertip: “page not found” for photo

Devotionals · God's Word · Pondering

Perishable to Imperishable Seeds

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Bluebonnets, Indian Paintbrush, Indian Blankets…so vivid and lush in the Texas Hill Country this past week.  The peak of wildflower season here…we decided to venture there for a few days.  It was beautiful.

God’s Glory shone all around us wherever we drove.  Winding Farm-to-Market roads, County Roads, and two-lane Texas Highways.  Flowers everywhere.  BUT…photographs of these flowers do not give the real carpet-effect on this screen.  Each stem stands about 6-8 inches high…some clumped together…some spread apart.  The colors are so much brighter in person.  You know what I am saying!

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A voice says, “Cry!”

And I said, “What shall I cry?”

All flesh is grass,

and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.

The grass withers, the flower fades

when the breath of the Lord blows on it;

surely the people are grass.

The grass withers, the flower fades,

but the word of our God will stand forever.  Isaiah 40:6-8

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Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for

“All flesh is like grass

and all its glory like the flower of grass.

The grass withers,

and the flower falls,

but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

And this word is the good news that was preached to you.  1 Peter 1:22-25

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As a father shows compassion to his children,

so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear Him.

 For He knows our frame;

He remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass;

he flourishes like a flower of the field;

for the wind passes over it, and it is gone,

and its place knows it no more.

But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,

and His righteousness to children’s children,

to those who keep His covenant

and remember to do His commandments.

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,

and His kingdom rules over all.  Psalm 103:13-19

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YES…these beautiful flowers were at their peak while we were there, but they will fade.  The season is now to see them at their best.  The beauty…clearly there.  God created these amazing flowers.  He created us…you and me.  We, too, will fade in these physical bodies, but if we are born again in Christ Jesus, we are of imperishable seed .  We will meet the Lord in Heaven one day.  These Scriptures tell us that God’s Word does not fade, nor does His love.

Father God, You are my All.  You are my Creator and the Love of my life.  You made these beautiful flowers for my eyes to behold.  The colors and the fragrances remind me that You are near.  Father, thank You for allowing us to get away for a few days in order to see the splendor of Your natural world.  We enjoyed it so.  You show us Yourself as we journeyed along the winding roadways of the Hill Country.  Oh, Father, You are truly Glorious.  You remind me that I am dust and am fading as I age, but You sent Your Son Who took my sins away.  I have been reborn with imperishable seed and will live in eternity with You.  Oh, Father, what a gift!  These little flowers remind me of the awesome sacrifice You made for me.  Truly, I pray, in the Name of Christ Jesus.  Amen.

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For a brief history of Mrs. Lady Bird Johnson’s beautification desires for the nation as well as Texas:

“Decades ago, Mrs. (Lady Bird) Johnson recognized that our country was losing its natural landscapes and its natural beauty. As much as 30 percent of the world’s native flora is at risk of extinction.”

Getting on the subject of beautification is like picking up a tangled skein of wool,” she wrote in her diary on January 27, 1965. “All the threads are interwoven — recreation and pollution and mental health, and the crime rate, and rapid transit, and highway beautification, and the war on poverty, and parks — national, state and local.  It is hard to hitch the conversation into one straight line, because everything leads to something else.”

Mrs. Johnson wanted to beautify the nation’s capital during her time as First Lady.  She and others did so much to make Washington, D.C., a capital city to be proud of as they filled the Mall, parks, and streets with flowers and new landscaping, refurbished run-down neighborhoods, and so much more.   She told the Society for a More Beautiful National Capital, “Over the past three years, the people in this room have produced nearly two and a half million dollars to take steps toward making this nation’s capital more livable and more beautiful. Not only is your handiwork enjoyed by the three million people who live and work in this city, it can be seen also by seventeen million visitors who come here each year, and our work has inspired other cities across the country.” 

She played a large part in getting the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 into and through Congress, although she would have liked it better if it had passed without so many amendments.  It called for control of outdoor advertising along the nation’s Interstate Highway System and other federal primary highway systems. It also required certain junkyards along Interstate or primary highways to be removed or screened and encouraged scenic enhancement and roadside development.

From the time Mrs. Johnson left the White House until she died in 2007, Mrs. Johnson never stopped desiring to beautify this country.  Mrs. Johnson and “actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes.  First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants.”  

Mrs. Johnson (and the Wildflower Center) encouraged the planting of seeds along roadways.  Many Texas highways and byways share the fruit of this labor in bright and brilliant color each Spring!