Faith Like Honey

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

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I recently pulled out a bottle of honey and noticed it had begun to crystallize. I dipped my spoon in anyways and it quickly adhered. However, it was so thick the spoon wouldn’t lift out, but as I placed the jar in a pan of warm water it soon softened back to it’s normal yummy consistency.   As this little morning event transpired I was drawn to a spiritual parallel.

Faith is like honey! It is a substance that is thick, it changes anything it touches, it draws things to it, it only requires a small amount to achieve its effect and it is addictive in its flavor.

Faith requires only one thing – that we believe. With honey we must believe it is sweet before we reach out to taste it; so it is with Faith.

Once we believe, faith is ignited and begins its transforming effect.

As we have looked at honey’s qualities so should our faith qualities parallel. Our faith in Christ should also be deep and thick – a relationship that has substance. A substance that transforms who we are and everything we touch. Our faith should be contagious – drawing others to us. Our faith should be sincere not pushy or overly sweet in its presentation, but full of love. Our faith should be addictive both to us as well as those around us.

This transforming effect isn’t something we can “work at” but just is – as we walk by faith not by our sight. Our love of Christ and desire for his presence will ignite our mustard seed faith and produce a tree of faith that will draw into our lives all that the Kingdom of Heaven has for us, just like the honey sucked in my spoon.

How is your faith consistency? Is it rich and thick? Is it crystallizing?

If it is rich and thick then keep it flowing and watch the transformation around you. As you dig deeper into His presence it will keep flowing, it will draw others and its addictively sweet flavor will fuel your desire and love for His presence more and more.

However, sometimes we carry our faith through years of life without using it. Like the honey, it becomes crystallized, thick and unusable. But, just like my honey; it only takes a little warming to adjust its consistency. Our faith can be re-warmed by simply stepping back to the place our faith began – the feet of Jesus.

II Cor. 5:7 (ESV) for we walk by faith, not by sight.

I John 5:4-5. (ESV) For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world – our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

A Muddy Mess

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This time of year brings a lot of rain to the Pacific Northwest and along with it comes mud! My long-haired dachshund loves to help in the yard and if my hands come into contact with dirt he believes I have given him automatic free reign to dive in too. His 2-inch legs quickly dig a hole that engulfs him head to tail. His passion and love for digging at this time of year brings about a soggy muddy, yet ecstatic wiggly mess.

     So what does that have to do with the spiritual?

 We are rather the same. Our passions and desires can quickly find us covered in mud, even those that are good, profitable and enjoyable.   If we allow those passions to run ahead of God’s plan for our lives we can quickly feel overwhelmed, frustrated and well, rather muddy. We have become distracted from what He desires for our life.

If your passions and desires run you into that place where peace has disappeared – stop – step back – refocus at the feet of Jesus. Don’t keep digging in the mud.

Just as a warm soapy bath awaits my little muddy buddy sometimes we too need a quick cleansing. That is easily found when we look back to the cross of Christ and wait in His presence. Suddenly all the mud is washed away and peace reigns. We enjoy the bubbles and abide in a promised place of rest as we trust His leading not our own.

John 15:5 (ESV) I am the vine; you are the branches.  Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

Training For Battle

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     This week was full of military training maneuvers that made themselves known in my home. Hour after hour the floor shook, my dishes rattled and my anxious dachshunds barked – and more then once did my own gasp escape and heart rate jump. But, today I was pondering the natural and spiritual of the training process; the training is necessary in both arenas.

     Training for battle is required for a positive outcome!

   In the natural, our military must be prepared at all times, willing and ready to obey a call in an instant as well as prepared for the job at hand. Each has a place to strategically move to and work from. Without training maneuvers the ability to instantly produce a needed outcome would not occur.

     In the spiritual it is similar. We are encouraged to be ready in season and out, to put on the armor of God, to keep alert and be watchful for the enemy’s tactics. The difference? We are not to fight under another mans armor, to fight on our own behalf, to even use our own words in the warfare. BUT – to know that the battle’s outcome belongs to the Lord. We are to stand, stand firm in faith! We are to pray in the spirit at all times – not using our own words to accomplish the battle but knowing HIS words will deliver.  Our aim in all areas of the conflict is to bring restoration and peace – and this aim must come from a place of love.

     The battle is not our own but HIS!

      HOWEVER – we must fight!

     We fight against the spiritual forces that surround, infiltrate and overcome our minds, our environment, our physical bodies and our daily lives. So how do we do that? It is all about being trained and ready for battle – knowing the place to move to and work from at the right time, and that training is found as we wait in HIS presence. When we are trained for battle the outcome is one of victory!

A Gorgeous Bouquet Surrounds Us!

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     Recently I was on a hunt for just the right flowers to add into a few new borders in my yard and the Holy Spirit began to highlight my love for flowers.

     I love flowers – they just draw me in. From the tiny to the huge – crocus and grape hyacinths that sprout through the frozen ground in early spring to the huge dinner plate size dahlia’s, that stand in strength and presentation. The beautifully scented – freesia, wisterias and jasmine as well as the ones with no scent or even the adversely scented ones.

     I am continually amazed at the beauty and diversity that God created in such a gorgeous bouquet, all just for us to enjoy.

     BUT that’s not all. What about the bouquet he has made out of all of us? Just like the flowers he created, each flower being completely different – so are we.   Enjoying the differences in flowers is easy – but when it’s differences in people, we pull away from those who are different. Instead of pulling away, separating and isolating into the “right” groups, He has created us to be a world changing bouquet. Each of us with all of our differing sizes, shapes, and scents complimenting one another.

     Look around – spend time with those who are different from you and you will walk away smiling. Those you think are so different are pretty amazing. We were created to compliment each other – to enjoy the differences of our brothers and sisters and most of all to love each other. Take time to enjoy the human bouquet that surrounds you.

An Unexpected Interruption

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     I woke up early this morning with plans to get yard work accomplished before the heat of the day moved in but my morning plans were interrupted by an unexpected visit of three of Gods amazing creatures.

     My love and passion for nature often finds me mesmerized by the tiniest flowers that perch on top of weeds, intricate lacy spider webs and the individual trill that each bird makes; as well as the multitude of other beauties I come across. So it isn’t new for me to be aware of the beauty I find in unexpected places. However, this morning I was stunned and found myself literally holding my breath in awe as I watched the most delicate ballet erupt over my flowers.

     First one gorgeous yellow and black butterfly moved in hovering over the flowers and then the dance began. A second and then a third joined in but not just random enjoyment of their floral feast but connecting one to another. Soon they swirled around like synchronized swimmers – looping, diving, and softly fluttering. I could swear I heard music, as I stood totally amazed and engrossed in what I was being allowed to witness.

     I lost track of time as they continued oblivious of my presence. The obvious joy that this dance provided to them was contagious to watch and joy began to stir deep in my spirit as they presented this stunning ballet to their audience of one.

     But soon, as if on cue the dance was over and each butterfly flew off to different flowers leaving me with a sense of profound amazement, honored to have witnessed this intimate dance.

     The morning plans now weren’t important for God’s plan to pour out an unexpected blessing took me to a place of joy unspeakable.

     I began to contemplate what God’s “deep meaning” must be for what I witnessed and experienced today. Then as if in answer to my question laughter began to bubble up inside of me – there was no “deep meaning” it was His simple gift of love – especially for me. WOW – now that truly is a “deep meaning”!

     My day was filled with unimaginable joy because I took the time to stop what I thought needed to be done and participate in what He allowed to float into my day. My friend – don’t miss God’s unexpected interruptions of love by allowing your “to do” list to distract you from the blessings He has planned for you today.

Photo courtesy of : J.K.Sanchez Photography

“Where’s My Keys?”

 

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     “Great, they were just here, where are they?” I mumble to myself, my frustration growing as I rummage through my purse for my keys. Unceremoniously I dump the contents into the grocery cart full of my now, getting warmer by the minute, groceries. Not there, anywhere! I look in the car window and there I see them lying on the console.

     Ever been there? Keys are important in our lives for just about everything. When one goes missing we are thrown into chaos, our normal life is disrupted.

     Without a key – the exact key – all entry is unauthorized and creates damage. Breaking, prying or any way in is forceful entry. That’s not why or how keys are made to function.

     The car fueled with gas – ready to exert power to move you forward is stalled without the key. A warm house filled with electricity is ready to provide you with heat, protection and comfort within its power-filled spaces but if you can’t get through the door you still stand out in the cold.

     Likewise as we walk through the open door Jesus created we find many doors placed before us. Some are easy access and then there are those that require the exact-fit key to open.

     In the Kingdom of Heaven we often try to get in doors we don’t have access for because we are using someone else’s keys and end up with damage control instead of living and walking in His favor and freedom. Just as my car key only fits my car, my friend’s key will not work. No matter how hard I might try, her key won’t work on my door. The only solution is either to cause damage getting in or go get the right key.

     Finding the exact-fit keys that He has designated for you is a matter of going to get them. They are there for the asking!

     Remember – no one else’s key will fit! Don’t’ try to borrow one or quickly follow through another’s door that looks more appealing. He has specific ones just for you.

     Step into a life filled with keys to doors you never knew where available as you walk out the story Jesus designed for you.

     Walking out that story is all about living in His presence, listening (not striving), doing as HE directs, and allowing ALL that He has placed within you to bring glory to Him. In faith you begin stepping out when, where and how He directs. Doors (His pre-planned assignments) will present and with confidence you will use the keys HE has placed within you to accomplish the great things HE planned before you were born.

      Let’s go get our keys and move with power through those doors!

Let the Dust Disappear

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My recent rock garden project sent me on a hunt through tons of stone. All sorts, shapes and sizes waited my unearthing; and an “ah ha” moment ensued.

I was overwhelmed as I saw beauty hidden both inside and outside of what was present but unseen all around me every day, just simple rocks. As I began collecting “just the right sizes and types”, my fascination grew; they appeared to all look the same, covered in tan dust.

Once home, the washing began and the beauty emerged – all-different vibrant colors materialized. As the day continued the same process brought more wonder as I began the sorting of buckets of agates for my gardens riverbed. Again, one by one, I scrubbed away the sledge that had accumulated on them, revealing the glistening colors beneath. I was amazed by what lay in my hands.

Often God gets my attention in the midst of my daily activities and this was one of those times, with a still small voice that whispered, “They are just like you.”

Each of us are created by his hand with care and individuality, each getting covered with the dust from the environment around us, each needing a washing to reveal our hidden beauty, and each of us totally different in size, shape, colors and purpose.

We are like a chosen rock – ready to be found, ready to be washed, ready to sparkle and shine and ready to be placed into His planned purpose – His rock garden.

He created, He chose, He died for each of us before we were ever aware.

He has a life story for you that is just waiting to be revealed. The simplicity of it requires only for you to BELIEVE and say YES!

Just like the rocks in my garden – we walk under the cleansing water of Christ and become what we were created to be – our story begins to be revealed as all that glistens and sparkles materializes as the dust disappears.

Tangled Chains

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Today my jewelry box got some much-needed attention – bracelets popping open the lid, necklaces spewing from the drawers, the obvious answer – time consuming sorting.

A bundle of tangled chains required the most attention, sitting for an extended time, picking patiently, unable to tug them apart for fear of breaking the delicate links, Oh what a tangled mess.

One by one they slowly released, the first one – a heart with Jesus written on it, getting my attention as the spirit began speaking, while the second, a silver heart unraveled in my hand, one by one they now untangled, ending with a silver pearl.

We are just like those tangled chains!

Our lives filled with tangled messes, costume and precious jewels all mixed together, allowing our tangled thinking, feelings and life’s activities to ensnare us, causing the precious to become ineffective, often forever lost.

When Jesus is our number one focus, He begins the unraveling process – He gets our heart, the costume falls off and the pearl remains.

Unearthing What Treasures?

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Our lives begin the search for treasure as we gasp for our first breath, growing and learning, fine-tuning our search engine to include every aspect of life from beginning to end.

There are many forms of treasure that can be searched for, those hidden deep in the earth, laying out on top of the surface, laying on the ocean floor and those within books and lives.

Who hunts them? We all do, in one way or another. Almost all professions are in search of something, looking for treasure in hidden places; accountants, lawyers, doctors, electricians, archaeologist, ecologist, pastors and on and on it goes.

My desire is finding treasure of eternal value, life changing both in the spiritual and the natural, found in the intimate presence of God, the bible and time in prayer, hidden in his gifts and treasures that are in my life and lives I have impact on.

I love finding treasure in unexpected hidden places. One treasure that I am continually amazed by is found as I open my bible and read, having done so for over 4 decades, I find new revelations that I have never seen, even having read the same passages over and over. The bible is truly new every morning, for we are new every morning, as we listen and are led, new directions and revelation change us. However the word of God-Jesus is the same – unchanging – yesterday, today and forever BUT it is new, an oxymoron for sure.

So, my treasure hunt begins afresh every morning as I unearth his treasures.

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. (ESV)

Treasure Hunting

My love of treasure hunting must have been ignited as my sisters and I dug in the  mud, making mud pies and hoping to dig all the way down to China.  That love, being passed on to my children as we hunt for hours on beaches, looking for the best shell or the one special rock that had to come home with us, ending up in piles of memory-filled rocks that now lay embedded in concrete on our back yard path, always a reminder of those wonderful hunts.

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How does that relate?  Well, it is the beginning of the one true hunt, the one hunt that lasts throughout a lifetime journey, the one where searching for the purpose I was created to express drives me on, the one that I have found as I willingly exchanged my life for the one that Christ purchased for me.

His treasures fill each of us – let’s dig, let’s make mud pies and see how He directs us to find the best shells and perfect rocks that He has planned to use to adorn His kingdom.

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it. (ESV)