Archive for the ‘Jesus’ Tag

From A Seed   Leave a comment


Autumn tree with seeds.

Autumn tree with seeds.

One of the interesting things about autumn is seeing some trees prepare to drop their seeds.  Outside the window of my home office is a tree that has small berries or seeds on it.  Almost all of the leaves have fallen from the tree but these seeds hang on.  Wrapped by a soft, protective covering, I know there is a seed.  I also know that this seed will at some point fall to the ground just like the leaves of the tree.  When it falls, if it lands on soil that is accepting, the seed will be buried in the soil where it will sit over the upcoming winter.  Then if all the dynamics are correct, this seed will produce life when the warm sun of spring and the rains come.  From this new life will be the potential for a new tree to begin.  This occurs year after year with all forms of plants.  This whole process came into my mind when I looked out my window and saw the tree but it also caused me to think of its reality in human lives.

Much like the trees and plants which we see in creation, we also drop seeds throughout our lives.  Sometimes they are seeds of wisdom.  Sometimes they are seeds of values.  Sometimes they are seeds of behavior.  There are many types of seed but as we go through life and encounter others, we share our seeds with them.  Like the seed from the tree I mentioned, if the soil (the life of another) is accepting of our seed, our seed will bury itself where it may sit for some time only to be warmed and watered into new life within another person’s life.  The seed from the tree must lay somewhat dormant over the winter months and so it may be with the seed we offer to others, a period of dormancy may occur.  However, if all the dynamics are correct, it will produce new life.

This concept is symbolized in two very different ways which come to my mind today.  The first is through a song from long ago entitled The Rose which was made famous by Bette Midler.  The song speaks of a love between people.  One line from the song states, “Just remember in the winter far beneath the bitter snow, Lies the seed that with the sun’s love, in the spring becomes the rose.” The song writer wants to remind us that we can plant seeds of love which may take time before we ever see them blossom.

The other way that I have seen this concept symbolized is in the words of Jesus as he shares a parable regarding faith.  He speaks of different types of soil receiving seeds of faith.  The success of creating a healthy faith is found in what type of soil the seed lands.  You can read what Jesus says in Matthew 13:1-23.

So today I think about the patience of one who sows the seeds of life.  The sower must realize that she or he may never see if the seed takes root but must continue to sow and be patient.  I also think about being receptive to the seed which others may sow in my life.  What kind of soil am I going to be?

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Grave Clothes   3 comments


Image provided by thecherriodays.blogspot.com

Image provided by thecherriodays.blogspot.com

One of the passages in the Bible that I find great meaning in is found in the story of Lazarus’ death.  Lazarus was a friend of Jesus.  Jesus had become close to him and his two sisters.  When Jesus received word that Lazarus was very sick, he waited a few days before going to Bethany where Lazarus and his sisters lived.  Lazarus died before Jesus arrived.  Jesus speaks to the two women and cries at Lazarus’ tomb.  Then in a stunning move Jesus tells them to remove the stone covering the entrance and calls to Lazarus to come out of the tomb.  Lazarus does come out of the tomb but remains wrapped in the cloth that his body was covered with according the burial customs of that day.  Jesus then says, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”  This statement is what intrigues me the most in this passage.

I think that the reason that I am so fascinated by what the Lord says here is that it appears to be very applicable to the lives of many people, including myself.  Last month I wrote a post about removing the layers which life places on us (See “Removing Layers“).  The thoughts which I shared in that post is similar to the thoughts which the line from John 11 evokes in me.  However, I think that this line takes it a step farther than what I was referring to in the earlier post.  This line reminds me that we often get wrapped up in the garments of death even while we are living.  Beyond the concept of the resurrection after death, I believe that Jesus communicates to me in this statement the importance of removing the grave clothes while I am still living so that I may be free to live the life which God has so graciously given to me.

Over time, I have found that there are situations, settings, and individuals who seem to suck the life and the joy of life from me.  There have been many books written on the subject of toxic situations and toxic people.  Many times even after we have removed ourselves from those situations and relationships, we still wear the grave clothes that were placed on us during those times in our lives.  We need to hear the words Jesus speaks at Lazarus’ grave.  We need to remove those grave clothes so that we are free to live life.  This removal may take time or it may occur with a dramatic cutting away of sorts.  Whichever method, it appears to me that Jesus is indicating that we must do the removal.

I am confident that God has given us life to enjoy and to bring joy into the lives of others.  We all must labor but I believe that God desires us to be joy-filled.  Life is an awesome gift given to us.  I encourage all of you to remove any grave clothes you may be wearing and live in the freedom of the life which you have been so graciously given.  Live the resurrected life today; it is not just a future event for which you must wait.

Faith   Leave a comment


Image provided by Brainy Quotes

Image provided by Brainy Quotes

I was led to this quote attributed to St Augustine by my morning devotions today.  I think that many individuals struggle in believing in God, Jesus, or anything which they cannot personally detect with their senses.  I definitely can relate to those feelings since in many areas of my life, I am also one who struggles with not having something concrete upon which to base decisions and actions.  However, when it comes to my spiritual life, this is not the case.

My spiritual life is based on my belief in God.  I may not be able to experience God with my senses directly, however, I have found in my life I experience God in many different ways.  One of the chief ways that I experience God is through other people.  When I receive a phone call from someone which is completely unexpected but extremely beneficial to my particular situation at the time, I attribute that to God.  When I meet someone new who brings to my life an aspect that I have been missing, I attribute that to God.

I also experience God through situations and surroundings.  The beauty of creation around me is evidence of the presence of God to me.  Experiences which I have not planned but occur and give me a different perspective, a new direction, or an affirmation are evidence of the presence of God.  Some of these situations and my surroundings go unnoticed at the specific time but upon reflection I see God.

I know that I can never say that I have heard the audible voice of God in my life.  I know that I can never say that I have felt the physical hand of Jesus in mine leading me somewhere.  I know that I can never say my eyes have beheld the face of my Lord.  However, I believe that I have heard the voice, felt the hand, and beheld the Lord’s face through others and the world around me.

My faith is based not on what I can see, touch, hear or smell but what I experience.  I experience the Lord daily!

Who Knew?   Leave a comment


One of my favorite songs this time of year came to my mind today as I was thinking about what to share on Music Friday.  So I hope that you enjoy this!

Posted December 19, 2014 by thoughtfulbeliever in Belief, Christmas, Music, Music Video

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Keep the Nugget   Leave a comment


This time of year it is so very easy to become overwhelmed.  There seems to be so many tasks to get completed.  There is a long list of activities in which to engage.  There are traditions to uphold and a hunger for some new ones.  In all the hustle and bustle of the season, being overwhelmed can lead to a distaste for the season.  Instead of having the joy of the season which we had at childhood, adults can become more eager about the end of the season.

So here is my advice…..  Reclaim the nugget of joy from which the season came into existence.  Christmas was intended to be a time of great celebration.  That celebration, as a result of great joy, was due to the realization that a child had been born many years ago.  This child was no “ordinary” child.  This child was the incarnation of our God.  This child would grow to be a man who reached out to those who had been rejected, who had brought healing to bodies and spirits, who did not only speak about love but demonstrated it in the way he lived.  This man would give the ultimate demonstration of love by willingly dying so that any punishment for sin would be erased from anyone who believed in him.  This man would defeat death through the power of the Spirit and open the opportunity for all people to defeat death.  This is the nugget that must never be lost.

So whenever you are feeling overwhelmed in your preparation for Christmas, reclaim the nugget of joy which began all of this.  Then you will still be busy and have many tasks but the joy will carry you through them.

Correct Foundation   Leave a comment


rockfoundationYesterday the Department of Transportation closed a major highway coming into our community.  The reason that they had to close the highway was because the road was falling apart due to unstable soil below it.  This road underwent a major reconstruction and paving last year and earlier this summer they were working on a section to stabilize the hillside on one side.  That section is now the area that is crumbling so the road has been closed.   This new reality prompted a conversation this morning regarding why this issue was not apparent when the reconstruction was done a year ago.  What has become clear is that there is not a correct foundation for this road at this time and it has become unsafe.

As I pondered these events, I was drawn to consider the importance of the foundation of my life.  Without a solid foundation, life can be much like the road mentioned above.  Life can begin to crumble, fall apart, and become unsafe.  As a person of faith, I was reminded of the following passage:

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27, NIV)

Jesus is speaking of the importance of the foundation upon which to build our lives.  Here Jesus is referring to his teaching as the foundation we should have in our lives.

I think that in addition to Jesus’ teaching, there are some important pieces which need to be included in  the foundation of our lives.  Jesus’ teachings undergirds all of the foundation but we can add relationships, personal care, our faith and community involvement.  We need to make sure that we have a solid foundation so that we can withstand the storms of life and not crumble under pressure.

All Is Valuable   Leave a comment


Today, as I am preparing to start my day, I have been thinking about how many times we easily cast things aside as having no value.  We look at objects and determine that their usefulness is gone and we consider getting rid of them.  We can easily do this with individuals as well.  There may be many different reasons that lead us to determine the usefulness and value of something or someone but we often jump to conclusions too quickly.

Whenever I feel like one of those being cast aside or devaluing myself, this song comes to my mind:

It just takes the touch of the Master’s hand.