Inspirational

A Day in the Blueberry Patch

A Day in the Blueberry Patch

By Reverend Sharon J. Jolliff

I set out for the day to go blueberry picking. The day was a beautiful day.  No chance of rain and the temperature was just right.  The first place I went to was closed due to ripening.  Fortunately, my next choice was right around the corner.  With my hat, ice cream buckets, belt, phone with music and ear buds in tow I headed to the front to see where the best place to pick for the day was.  I explained what type of berry I was looking for.  The worker assured me there were plenty of berries in this certain area of the patch.  I would have to look up and under the leaves as most people pick at eye level.  With all the information I needed I headed to my spot.  As I was about to go in, an elderly couple with their grown daughter was coming out with empty buckets.  I inquired as to why no blueberries?  “There aren’t any, and if there are they are sour!” they responded.  I asked if they had looked up higher and under the leaves.  There was no consoling. They were not satisfied with the fruits of the patch.  So they snorted and huffed and got into their vehicle and drove away.

Determined to finish what I had set out to do that day, pick blueberries, I entered the patch with great anticipation yet a little reservation.  Strapped with a bucket around my waste I found a spot and began to look up and into the bushes pulling out handfuls of berries.  I would then move on to the next bush pushing aside branches, lifting leaves and finding ripe berries.  Within one and a half hours I had both buckets full.

Of course with anything I do I have to have a spiritual analogy to go with the task at hand.  As I’m picking berries, I’m listening to worship music, singing, and praying.  I hear the Father God tell me, “Picking these berries is like digging for the Word of God.”  In the book of Proverbs 2:7 it says, “He hides away sound and godly Wisdom and stores it for the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with Him); He is a shield to those who walk uprightly and in integrity.” (Amplified)

With each berry I found I was reminded of how searching the Word of God and seeking its wealth of healing and restoration is work.  Don’t get me wrong, berries were not just falling into my bucket.  I had to reach, at times, deep into the bushes and lift up branches and leaves at times only pulling out a couple a ripe berries.  Yet as I did this time and time again, I was filling my bucket.

Unfortunately, a lot of Christians are like the older couple leaving the patch with no berries.  They look at the outside of Word of God and if it not in plain daylight they stop short of receiving what God the Father has for them in His Word.  They refuse to push in, look up and glean what is in front of them.  They want the Word to already be picked for them, washed, and at times pureed and fed to them so they can easily digest it.

Psalms 119:103 says, “How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”  Psalm 27:8 in the Amplified says, “You have said, Seek My face [inquire for and require My presence as your vital need]. My heart says to You, Your face (Your presence), Lord, will I seek, inquire for, and require [of necessity and on the authority of Your Word].”

Colossians 2:3 tells us that “In Him all the treasures of [divine] wisdom (*comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God) and [all the riches of spiritual] knowledge and enlightenment are stored up and lie hidden.”

I challenge you to get into the Word of God, pull out the treasures that God the Father has for you.  There are many.  His desire for you is wholeness of spirit, soul, mind, will, emotions and body.

Inspirational

Spring of Hope

Spring of Hope

Ahh, spring time! The birds are singing, the warmth of sunshine on your face, green is coming forth from the ground, and many colors are showing forth. Quite the contrast with winter, at least in the North. With the on slot of spring comes yard work and lots of it if you have a large yard. Today was the day to get out there and start uncovering the flower beds, removing the old debris left from the previous year. As I began uncovering and raking the old away I could see signs of new life, growth. Remembering what each one looked like last year hope springs up in me and I worked harder to prepare the beds for the new season.

Bent over pulling the old dead leafy plants away I hear the voice of the Father God speak and say “You have to pull and get rid of the old so the new can spring forth and become strong in your life.” I knew what He was speaking of.

The Apostle Paul tells us in the book of 2Corinthians 5:17 from the Message Bible that “Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” This is such great news! I don’t know about you, but for me a lot of times I see the “old”. I am reminded of the old life through friends, family, my own mind, circumstances. Just have an old song come on the radio and I’m right back in the past at times!

Colossians 3:1-4 New Living Translation
Living the New Life
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

To get my eyes off the past, dead things that were a part of my life I have to put my eyes on Christ remembering that I am not a part of my former life but my life now is in Christ. This is no easy feat. There are some things in my past that still want to haunt me. And to be perfectly honest some things in my past had to come with me. The difference is that the dead does not have a hold on me. Reading on down in the chapter of Colossians, Paul goes on to say what we should put off…things that we would know that we need to leave behind, but he goes onto to tell us other things we need to put off. At times, the second list is what get me! Paul doesn’t want us left naked. He tells us in Colossians 3:10-11 “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” And further in verse 14 Paul tells us to put on love, God’s love.

Romans 6:6-7 New Living Translation
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”

Christ’s death on the cross enabled me that when I say yes to his life, my life, past, should not control me. Because I am in Him I am free from it’s power. The King James says it like this:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Verse 11 says:

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The word alive in that scripture means, living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same ups on the soul. Just like the new life coming up in my garden they are full of life and all that they need to be strong plants, we are in Christ alive, full of life in God.

What if I didn’t remove the old dead plants of the previous year? Would my plants come back up? They would but it would be a struggle. The old would hinder the light from getting to them. But when I removed the old I could see the new life coming up. I think I heard them say, “Thank you!” It’s hard work getting the flower beds looking good for the summer. But it is so worth it as I look over my gardens and see the beauty in the summer.

So it is in our walk with Christ. In Christ we are new creations, the old is dead, but not always gone. That’s what we now work on in our walk with Christ, ridding our lives of the old dead things. As we do we give way for our new life in Christ to come forth and bud, bear fruit, and be all that we are to be in Him. Put in the work to make your “garden” the beauty it is meant to be. Have fellowship with the Father God, have a vital devotional life, fellowship with others who are on the journey of cleaning up their “gardens”, listen and do what the Father God is asking of your and watch what will happen.

The thing is the seed was always there to come forth, it just needs a little help from you to take care of it and be sure the dead is gone and watch it spring forth!

image

Inspirational

What ‘Cha Thinking About?

 

What ‘Cha Thinking About?

As I was running the other day with pain in my legs and back and not really wanting to run, God the Father spoke this to me, “You are further down the road physically than your parents were at your age.”  With that encouragement I picked up my feet, took a few deep breaths and picked up the pace.

Richard, my husband, and I attempt to take care of our selves. We are active, try to eat right – well we don’t always succeed at that- but we try. I believe that 80% of the battle is in our mind and attitude. If we can keep these areas straight we’re almost there!

The Apostle Paul wrote in the book of Philipiansimage 4 verse 8 that we are to think on these things….things that are true, honest, just, pure,lovely and of good report.   The Word of God, my friend, is the only thing I know that fits those descriptions.

So when I’m feeling down, discouraged, depleted, I need to look at what God the Father has said about me.

Here’s one thing He has said about you:

Jeremiah 29:11-13
“For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and           not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.”

 

 

Please leave a comment and like and share! 🤓

 

 

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Spring of Hope

imageSpring of Hope

Ahh, spring time! The birds are singing, the warmth of sunshine on your face, green is coming forth from the ground, and many colors are showing forth. Quite the contrast with winter, at least in the North. With the on slot of spring comes yard work and lots of it if you have a large yard. Today was the day to get out there and start uncovering the flower beds, removing the old debris left from the previous year. As I began uncovering and raking the old away I could see signs of new life, growth. Remembering what each one looked like last year hope springs up in me and I worked harder to prepare the beds for the new season.

Bent over pulling the old dead leafy plants away I hear the voice of the Father God speak and say “You have to pull and get rid of the old so the new can spring forth and become strong in your life.” I knew what He was speaking of.

The Apostle Paul tells us in the book of 2Corinthians 5:17 from the Message Bible that “Anyone who believes in Christ is a new creation. The old is gone! The new has come!” This is such great news! I don’t know about you, but for me a lot of times I see the “old”. I am reminded of the old life through friends, family, my own mind, circumstances. Just have an old song come on the radio and I’m right back in the past at times!

Colossians 3:1-4 New Living Translation
Living the New Life
“Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.”

To get my eyes off the past, dead things that were a part of my life I have to put my eyes on Christ remembering that I am not a part of my former life but my life now is in Christ. This is no easy feat. There are some things in my past that still want to haunt me. And to be perfectly honest some things in my past had to come with me. The difference is that the dead does not have a hold on me. Reading on down in the chapter of Colossians, Paul goes on to say what we should put off…things that we would know that we need to leave behind, but he goes onto to tell us other things we need to put off. At times, the second list is what get me! Paul doesn’t want us left naked. He tells us in Colossians 3:10-11 “Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.” And further in verse 14 Paul tells us to put on love, God’s love.

Romans 6:6-7 New Living Translation
“We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.”

Christ’s death on the cross enabled me that when I say yes to his life, my life, past, should not control me. Because I am in Him I am free from it’s power. The King James says it like this:
“Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin.”

Verse 11 says:

“Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The word alive in that scripture means, living water, having vital power in itself and exerting the same ups on the soul. Just like the new life coming up in my garden they are full of life and all that they need to be strong plants, we are in Christ alive, full of life in God.

What if I didn’t remove the old dead plants of the previous year? Would my plants come back up? They would but it would be a struggle. The old would hinder the light from getting to them. But when I removed the old I could see the new life coming up. I think I heard them say, “Thank you!” It’s hard work getting the flower beds looking good for the summer. But it is so worth it as I look over my gardens and see the beauty in the summer.

So it is in our walk with Christ. In Christ we are new creations, the old is dead, but not always gone. That’s what we now work on in our walk with Christ, ridding our lives of the old dead things. As we do we give way for our new life in Christ to come forth and bud, bear fruit, and be all that we are to be in Him. Put in the work to make your “garden” the beauty it is meant to be. Have fellowship with the Father God, have a vital devotional life, fellowship with others who are on the journey of cleaning up their “gardens”, listen and do what the Father God is asking of your and watch what will happen.

The thing is the seed was always there to come forth, it just needs a little help from you to take care of it and be sure the dead is gone and watch it spring forth!

Please like and share below and leave a comment. Thank you for taking the time to walk with me on this journey.

 

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The Power of Friendship

The Power of Friendship

Today a group of friends and I were able to get together for lunch. It was one of our friends birthday, and although we were not celebrating her birthday (we stopped doing that years ago!) we did acknowledge the fact it was her birthday with our waitress. Our friend was quick to say she didn’t want any fan fair from the wait crew, like singing, dancing or clapping. The waitress offered her a free dessert, which my friend graciously accepted.

During our time together we laughed, talked, almost cried, rebuked each other, encouraged each other…did I say we laughed? This is what we do when we are together. Each of us have been through life and through life again! Some of our parents have moved on to heaven. A couple of us have been through a divorce. All of us have had struggles with our children. Yet we have also encouraged and celebrated each other. Two of our friends have gotten remarried to great awesome Godly men! We were so excited for them! We thank their spouses all the time for marrying them and taking the off our hands! We challenge each other intellectually, spiritually, physically and socially. They’re a great group of friends.

We were just about to end our lunch when two tables down from us someone was celebrating their birthday. The wait crew sang, clapped their hands and danced! We all joined in! Hey, we love a party! As the crew moved away what I saw was four grey haired women who looked to be in their late 70’s. Not too old since the average age of our table was 61! I turned to my birthday friend and said “That will be us in 20 years!” We paid our bills and stood to leave. As we were leaving we stopped by the birthday table. We asked whose birthday it was. The friends all pointed to one lady. I spoke up and asked the bold question, “How old are you?” She hesitated then answer, “98.” What?! No way she didn’t look a day over 75! Come to find out all the ladies at the table are in their 90’s! And they have been friends for many years!

All this made me think, is there a link between having a good friend support and longevity? Sure enough there is. (I googled it). They have done many studies that show that having a good network of friends can help you with stress, improve your health, make you more intelligent, help you succeed in life!

Proverbs 18:24 from the Message Bible says, “Friends come and friends go, but a true friend sticks by you like family.” It’s not how many friends you have but the quality of your friends. Jesus was speaking to His disciples when He said in John 15:12-13 “This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends.”

In 30 years my friends and I will be celebrating birthdays again as we have the previous 30. I cherish their friendships. I trust them to encourage me, pray for me, challenge me and make me laugh as I do with them.

My prayer for you today is that you will cherish those friendship that you have. If you have friends that seems to always take and never give back you may want to reconsider your relationship with them. The ones that are supportive and you in turn are supportive of them, grow those relationships. If you don’t have friends, ask the Father God to bring some friends into your life that will increase you and that you can increase also.

 

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Keep Your Eye On the Prize!

Seven years ago our youngest daughter asked us to join her in a relay race.  Understand that Richard, my husband and I are not runners.  He’s a basketball  player, but I never played organized  sports.  I explained this to her but she refused to accept any answer but “Yes, we would love to run this race with you!”
I had seven months to train  for my 3 mile portion of the race.  Richard would drive me over to the high school  track and we would practice.   I would start out running one tenth of a mile then walk, and repeat for one mile.  The next time I would run further  and walk less until within a month I could run one mile.  I remember running past the local funeral home and thinking, “I remember when I would walk past you, now look at me running past you,”
Today I run past several  places that in the beginning  I had to walk.  I run past them not thinking of the struggle  I had in the beginning  but thinking of how quickly my run will be done.
The New Testament has words of encouragement  when it comes to running our spiritual race.  Hebrews 12:1 the writer tells us “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.” (Message Bible)There are those who have gone before us who are cheering  us on.  They are saying, ”You can do this! We did it, we made it!  Yes it was hard, yes there was pain, even death,  but we finished our race.  You’ve got this!” 
2 Timothy 4:7 in the Message Bible says this, “This is the only race worth running. I’ve run hard right to the finish, believed all the way.”
Be encouraged friend, you’re  not finished!  You have a race to run.  I know it’s hard, life is hard.  People disappoint, you get discouraged  but be of good cheer, you are not running the race alone.  God is with you.  Jesus has already done the work for you, all you have to do is pick up your feet and run  toward Him. 

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Help! I’m Sinking

As I sit in my living room musing over scripture to encourage myself with today, there are a couple that come to mind.  The first is found in Psalm 63, When my heart, my mind, will and emotions are overwhelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.  When adversity strikes at times it can feel like I am far from God the Father.  I have feelings of “Do you hear my cries, God!”  Anger wants to set in.  But deep calls to deep, there is a thunder that roars deep in me! (Psalm 42:7) Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God. (AMP) Psalms 42:11

….. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God. (Message) Acts 20:24