Finding Hope in the Seed of Honor

Honor is a seed sown inside of each of us. How we nurture and tend to that seed within every season and every step of our lives will determine what that seed produces.

From that seed, fruit can be borne. The fruit might be integrity, determination, humility, servitude, fairness, courage or trustworthiness.

If not properly nurtured along the way, resentment, revenge, selfishness, arrogance, dishonesty, maliciousness or wickedness may be what is produced from this seed that, at one time, had so much potential.

My friends! Choose honor. Bear fruit. I have to remind myself to do the same.

The path of honor is rarely straight and easy, but it is a path of peace, of joy, of contentment and of opportunity…opportunity for rewards that serve to better self, family, community, and Kingdom with what really matters in life.

What do you see around you?

Do you see the seeds of honor?
Do you see the fruit of the seed?
Do you see a harvest that honors, collects and gathers for a greater purpose?
Do you see rotted fruit that once had much potential?
Do you see the seeds of destruction?

If my life is anything like yours, we’re seeing every bit of it…even in places where we’d expect to find the opposite.

What can we do?

Look carefully,
plant carefully,
harvest carefully…
and do it all very prayerfully.

 


 

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Celebrating the Abundance of Success

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Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


The harvest is great, but the workers are few.
So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest;
ask him to send more workers into his fields.
~ Luke 10:2

The Comparison Trap:  Week Four, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

Our faith is so important. 

We’re challenged at almost every turn by negativity, hardships, death, or a lack of hope. When we aren’t, we struggle with thinking that the good stuff—like love, success, opportunity, joy, hope and praise—are in limited supply. Because of this kind of thinking, we often grab onto what we can, and we hold tight, not wanting to share it.

“The harvest is great, but the workers are few.”  Part of our faith is not just sitting back and letting others make a way for the harvest, but it is us going out and into the world to be one of those who brings the message to others. There is work to be done.

There is enough work to go around, but there is also enough hope, happiness, success, love and praise to share with others. When we can do that without the soil of comparison, we help to prepare for the harvest.

Sandra says, “Seeing a friend win at something doesn’t diminish your shot at success.”  She continues, “There is enough to go around; in fact, there is so much to go around that today’s verse reminds us our prayer should really be for more friends to find success putting their gifts to use for God.”

When we celebrate the successes of others, it doesn’t take away from ours. When we offer praise to others, it means we’re willing to think of them and recognize what they’ve accomplished. When we see others using their God-given talents and gifts, it should encourage us toward the purpose of our faith.

I tend to think that we’ve got a better shot at success when we’re willing to celebrate the success of those around us. I think the same about love, joy, peace and hope, too. Our faith is so important. Are you ready to be a worker in the harvest? See you in the field.


 

 

 

 

The Worthless Pursuit of More and More

CT.3-4
Photo and artwork belong to ComparisonTrap.org

This is the continuation of an earlier post about a Bible study in which I’m facilitating and participating.


Then he said to them, “Watch out!
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed;
a man’s life does not consist in the
abundance of his possessions.”
~ Luke 12:15

The Comparison Trap:  Week Three, Day Four… Some of my reminders and my takeaways from the daily devotional include:

“We live in a world of accumulation,” begins Sandra.

We do. We crave abundance, and it’s almost scary how often we can catch ourselves thinking of more, more, more.

Sandra goes on to share the verses after the Scripture above. It’s a parable told by Jesus in Luke 12:16-21:

“The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest.   17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’  18 Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain.   19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’  20 But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?  21 This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.’”

There are a few things to note from this parable, outside of the obvious sense of greed and desire to have more:

  • Verse 16 tells us the man was rich and yielded an abundant harvest while he was rich. Apparently, God had blessed the man. Whether or not the man was a “good” man is irrelevant; God had still given him a gift in the form of abundance.
  • Verse 18 tells us what was said by the man. Do we read of him giving thanks?  Of acknowledging God for the abundance given to him?
  • Verse 19 tells us what the man desired from his abundance. Does this show his desire to live for God?  For others?  Or only for himself?
  • Verse 20 gives us some of the answers to these questions. God calls him a fool. Just in case you are wondering…fool basically means fool in the original language. God wasn’t impressed with what the man decided to do with the blessings God had allowed the man to accumulate.

Sandra’s devotional Challenge for Day Four was to mark some boxes designating some of our abundance.

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The boxes I checked in the Day Four Challenge

I’ve visited countries where having just ONE of these line items would be living luxuriously. Some of you have lived in or served in places like that, too. Even so, the trap of comparison keeps us wanting more, doesn’t it?

We’ve been given the blessings in our lives for a reason.

We need to work harder on appreciating those blessings and using them for His purposes, as God often says something different to us than what we are willing to say to ourselves. The richness, wealth and abundance of life does not have to equate to the amount of property, the dollars in our bank account, or the possessions we tend to hold valuable.

“The accumulation of more is a worthless pursuit if what you are accumulating isn’t put to good use for God.”

The material possessions we seek and acquire can’t ever fully satisfy us in comparison to an intimate relationship with God. When we’ve been blessed by Him, it’s imperative that we focus on Him and on how He would call us to use those blessings. Let’s not be a fool.


 

Monday’s Musings — Understanding the Green Thumb

Green Thumb

Harvesting veggies from the garden is so much more fun than planting, weeding, watering and waiting for them to grow. There are rewards at each stage, but harvesting is the ultimate reward.

Without looking into the folklore, I now KNOW from where the idea of having a green thumb comes.

It comes from harvesting veggies.

When I harvested my peas, my left thumbnail turned green from popping open the pods and scraping them into a bowl.

When I harvested my Chinese pea pods, my left thumbnail turned green from snapping off the top and destringing them.

When I harvested my green beans, my left thumbnail turned green from pinching them off the vine and then using my nail to break away the top.

When harvesting my cucumbers, my left thumbnail turns green from piercing the vine before pulling the cuke from it.

When harvesting my cherry tomatoes, my left thumbnail turns green from snipping the fruits from the vine WITH my nail.

When harvesting my apples, my left thumbnail turns green from pushing the waste through the apple corer.

Harvesting has been going on for a few weeks, therefore, I’ve had a green thumbnail for a while.

The only thing that might completely remove the green hue from my thumbnail would be a manicure. However, other than an occasional buff and file, I’m not really a manicure kind-of-gal, and I still have some harvesting left to do.

I’m pretty sure that the folklore surrounding having a green thumb DOES involve the ability to grow plants well. So, hey! I will consider my green thumb an accomplishment and as a sign of the successful harvest!

Reaping a Harvest

Peas

The peas are finished.  An abundant bounty was provided and reaped.

I spent a lot of time preparing the soil, selecting my seeds, planting with care, pruning seedlings, pulling weeds and praying over what I hoped would grow. My wish was to provide healthy, organic veggies to my family and feed my interest in gardening.

At the first picking, I was like a child who had gotten into a jumbo bag of chocolate candies. Really! That’s how excited I was to get out there and pluck the pods from the vines! I was so pleased with how the peas had grown. As I was picking, I’d pop open some of the pods and taste the freshness contained within. Some of the peas were nestled in their pod in a perfect row; others were odd-shaped or off-kilter when cracked open. Some should have stayed on the vine a little longer (my yearning to pluck them got the best of me), but their sweetness was still divine.

There were a few more pickings that followed, but the bounty was less each time. My excitement seemed to lessen with each subsequent picking.

The time came to decide if I thought I’d get any more peas. There were a few flowers and even fewer flower buds, so I left the vines in place with the hopes of getting one more small crop. I did, but it was only enough for one family dinner.

Once I knew the supply was exhausted for the season, it was time to pull the vines. Have you ever grown peas before? There are an abundance of vines. Each dried pea planted is a vine grown. The vines are leafy and full. Pulling the vines led to the discovery of a tiny weed and bug menagerie living at the soil level.

With each handful of vines I pulled, I’d say a little prayer of thanksgiving for the abundance provided. (When I’m in the garden, I talk to myself, and I talk to the Lord a lot.) Cleaning out the vines, weeding the new space, turning over the soil and preparing it for the next planting was not as fun and exciting as it was when I did it for the first planting, but it was rewarding since I knew the bounty would grow with some care and nurturing.

Gardening doesn’t always turn out successfully with a single crop or even within a single season, but, overall, an educated gardener should be able to expect a satisfying crop over the span of seasons.

Life doesn’t always turn out exactly how we’d like it to in a day, a month or a year, but an invested believer can trust in that which is promised.