Featured post

Traveling through the Holy Land Israel-153 Fish by Lake Tiberias

by Catherine Wilson – Published 1/15/2023

Pastor gave a devotion at Lake Tiberias where he stated that this was the place of John 21. The following is not necessarily from him, but a mixture of thoughts I had from visiting the site.

Seven Disciples went out fishing (John 21). What a curious thing.

“Why were they fishing?”  Pastor asked.  My mind began to race.  They were supposed to be spreading the gospel not fishing.  After all, Jesus had died and was resurrected.  There was a period of time before Pentecost that the disciples of Jesus were hiding.  Peter had denied Jesus 3 times for fear of persecution.  Maybe they were afraid of persecution and were afraid to spread the gospel. I gave the disciples the benefit of the doubt.  Perhaps they were just hungry and needed to feed everyone.

But, why were they out fishing?  Perhaps they had lost confidence in the gospel and went back to what was familiar to them.  They needed a little encouragement. Something extraordinary was about to happen.  They would have an encounter with their Risen Lord.

Jesus called out to them “Children? Have you caught anything?” Jesus was on the beach and made a fire and was cooking fish.  When they told him no, he told them to put their nets on the other side of the boat.  Then they caught so much fish they were not able to haul it in.  When the fish were counted, there were 153 fish.

Pastor mentioned that every word in the Bible is important and numbers mean something when you are studying the gospel.  The Jewish people would have understood what 153 meant.   

He stated that 153 to a mathematician is the sum of all integers from 1 to 17 and is sometimes depicted as a triangle. (I’ll tell a personal experience about this at the end.)

To a Jewish person, in Hebrew, every letter has a number attached to it.  The sum of the letters for 153 is  “Ani Elohim” or ”I AM G_D.”  Jesus was declaring and possibly reminding the scared apostles that He is God.  Although the tasks at hand to take the gospel to the entire world seemed overwhelming, the great I AM would be with them.

I find it curious that only 7 of the disciples were there.  Seven is the number of perfection and completeness.  Perhaps it was a reminder that God completes them.  He provides food and everything they would need for the ministry.  I chuckle when I think of the words, “Children have you caught anything?” He expected a negative answer.  God said, “Follow me.  Put the nets on the other side of the boat and I will provide.”

The pastor encouraged us to pick up a stone from Lake Tiberias as a remembrance of being there that day.  I walked up to the water’s edge of Lake Tiberias and low and behold, there was a triangle piece of pottery at my feet.  It reminded me of the mathematician’s idea of 153.  I believe God was telling me, “There is your stone.”  I picked it up and put it in my pocket.  When I got back on the bus I pondered what God was trying to teach me.  I think the lesson is this:

Things in this life aren’t always logical like a mathematician’s triangle.  Things don’t always add up.  We may never know why bad things happen to good people. When you place your faith in Ani Elohim, the great I AM, there is a new logic:  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 ESV Ani Elohim will provide everything you need for life’s journey, just like the abundance of fish.  Certainly they couldn’t eat all 153, so they shared them along the way, telling others of the extraordinary story of seeing and dining with the Risen LORD.

.

Photo by Roman Pohorecki on Pexels.com
Advertisement
Featured post

Traveling through the Holy Land of Israel – Riding a boat on the Sea of Galilee

by Catherine Wilson published 1/14/2023

Our next stop on our itinerary was a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee.  It was a brisk January morning, but the sun rays were reaching through puffy white clouds.  It was a little windy out on the lake but we were dressed warmly for it. I was mesmerized by the green coastline and found myself pondering that this small area was where some of the apostles and founders of Christianity were born and raised.   They were fishermen and ordinary men. They weren’t much different then me.  It melted away any fears that I may have of ministry.

We arrived at the boat dock and waited for “The Faith Boat” to dock and the group that was on it to disembark. I knew we were in for a treat when people came from the boat saying, “You are going to love this.  What a blessing.” We got on the nicely manicured wooden boat.  The owner explained that God has blessed his business. He owns the Faith boat, the Hope boat and he just purchased the Love Boat.  He sang “love boat” to the same tune as the old TV show and we all laughed.

Our tour guide explained that the Sea of Galilee has other names that you might recognize in the Bible: Lake Tiberias, Kinneret or Kinnereth.  It is the lowest freshwater lake on the earth.  It’s fed by underwater springs, but its main source is the Jordan River.  The beautiful lake is 13 miles long and 8 miles wide and is shaped like a harp.  I had pictured this sea to be like the Atlantic Ocean, but not so.  It was a good-sized freshwater lake.

As we left the dock, contemporary praise music played over the loud speaker.  The Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes  “Blessings” song was heard.  I was caught up in the lyrics about the blessings “May His favor be upon you and a thousand generations. “  I began to pray for my family and for the generations to come.  I prayed that they would have the faith in an Almighty God that I enjoyed in my lifetime. I felt the Holy Spirit in my soul.  I felt as if the Holy Spirit looked with favor upon me and indeed would bless my family.  We are a needy people …oh face it.. we’re a ‘hot mess’ most of the time, but the Lord would be ever-present and give favor. 

I had me a little worship time on the Sea of Galilee.   I am so undeserving of His salvation, of His favor, of His presence and of His love.   I thanked Him for all of the above.

We sang praise and worship songs with the owner who also sings professionally.  He sang some of the verses in Hebrew.  It was a reminder to me that the Gospel of Jesus is sang and spoken in many nations and many tongues, but it all began in that area of Israel.

 I looked out to the coastline and the area suddenly became smaller to me – more intimate.  I saw Tiberias and Capernaum and I realized just how small of an area Israel was.  When reading the Bible, I pictured these cities many miles apart, like across the United States.  I was shocked to see how close these towns were situated.  They were within a half hour walk. 

It’s overwhelming to think that the gospel began in that small area with a dozen men and the power of the Almighty God.

I loved the Sea of Galilee.  It was probably my favorite part of the trip.  I felt the blessings and peace of God more than anywhere else. This is where Jesus walked on water. This is where miracles happened. This is where he interacted with local people and fishermen.

There is no doubt that I had a sovereign appointment to be in Israel. I thanked Jesus for sharing His childhood home with me.  The area is beautiful and peaceful. It is delightfully ordinary.  Seeing it reminded me that only Jesus can take the ordinary and turn it into something extraordinary.     

Featured post

Traveling through the Holy Land of Israel- First Time seeing the Sea of Galilee

by Catherine Wilson published on 1/14/2023

After visiting the 6000 year old Roman ruins of Beit She’an, we headed toward the Sea of Galilee for a lunch at David’s Harp Restaurant.  It is situated on the northern coast of the Sea of Galilee. I fell in love with the Sea immediately.  The hues of blues of the sea were met with the silhouette of darker blue hills in the background. Lush date trees were planted on the restaurant property and you knew you were in a beautiful place. It was blanketed in peacefulness. I couldn’t believe it.  I was having lunch near the Sea of Galilee where Jesus frequented!

I could understand why it is mentioned in the Bible. Several towns were located on the coasts of the Galilee. There was a flourishing fishing industry in the time of Jesus and so he was familiar with fishing on the Sea of Galilee. One of our hotels that we stayed at was in Magdala located on the sea of Galilee. Magadala in Greek means “the place where fish are salted.” It was fun to think of Jesus as a boy holding a fishing pole. His earthly family were carpenters, but perhaps they fished a little, too. The Sea of Galilee was a beautiful place to do that.

David’s Harp staff extended their hospitality to us when we arrived. We were given a choice of chicken, a whole fish with the head, or fillet of fish.  All at my table chose the fillet of fish that was delicious. We were also served wonderful fresh Mediterranean salads and hummus.   The owner served us Turkish coffee and bird nest baklava for dessert.  It was a sweet ending to a delicious meal.

At no point in our trip did we allow “the grass to grow under our feet.” It was a quick meal and off again to visit more sites and have more adventures. I could have stayed in that place a long while and walked to the sea.  From our table out the glass wall of windows, we could see wooden boats gliding along the sea.  I knew that the next day we would be on one of those boats, so my sadness to leave the place subsided as we moved on to the next place on our itinerary.

I climbed on to the tour bus with my group while thoughts about the Sea of Galilee came to mind. The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus walked on the water (John 6:19-21), calmed a storm (Matt 8:23-26) and miracles with catching fish occurred (Luke 5:1-8). The Sea of Galilee is where Jesus called the apostles to ministry. In Matthew 4:18-20:

“While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them. “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”

Here I was, near the sea of Galilee. I looked out the bus window as we ambled along the winding roads to Capernaum for our next destination.

Would Jesus call to me as he did with the apostles? Jesus has a plan and purpose for all of our lives. My mind knew that, but my heart was alerted that He may want to speak to me. I prayed a prayer under my breath just like Samuel did so many years before (I Samuel 3:10), “Speak Lord for your servant hears.”

Photo by Stephan Seeber on Pexels.com
Featured post

Handel’s Messiah Debuted in Controversy – 3 Spiritual Lessons I Learned from the “Messiah”

By Catherine Wilson published 11/30/2022

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God answered my prayer to sing the Messiah

I have always loved listening to or singing the Messiah.  In high school for Christmas, the choir sang a couple songs from the piece.  We performed it at a local beautiful old church that had stained-glass windows and great acoustics.  While singing the song “For Unto Us a Child is born,” besides getting what I call holy goosebumps, the words resounded in my heart. I settled my account and believed that Jesus indeed is the Messiah. As the words of the chorus state, Jesus is truly my Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and my Prince of Peace.   Since that time Isaiah 9:6 has been my favorite Bible verse.

Decades later, it was on my bucket list to sing Messiah with a large choir and orchestra because of that experience. One day I prayed, “God, if you can find me a choir that sings the Messiah, I will join and sing it as praise to you.” About one week later, God miraculously answered that prayer! 

I was chatting with a salesperson at the jewelry counter of a local department store.  I told her I loved to sing in choirs.  She said, “I sing in a community choir that specializes in singing Handel’s Messiah.”  My ears perked up as if God himself was speaking.  I told her I was interested and she wrote down information about the choir.   Eight months later, she was surprised to see me show up at tryouts and join.  When we performed it, I sang with all my heart as an offering to the Lord. I could barely withhold the tears of joy.

In our practices, the choir director shares historical facts about Handel’s Messiah, not necessarily from a religious viewpoint .  It’s a community choir not affiliated with any church.  The controversial things he spoke about peeked my interest and sent me to research.  I pondered the music and the times that it was written. I learned some spiritual lessons along the way.

Psalm 96:3 “Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous works among all the peoples!

In 1742, the debut of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah” was controversial in the religious community.  This Oratorio on the life of Jesus Christ as the Messiah was entrepreneurial and progressive.   Many Christians thought that sacred (church) music should be kept in the church and not performed in the theatre.  Handel was a master at writing operas and had written many during the years before Messiah was written.  Opera attendance was not allowed during lent by the established church, so it opened shortly after Easter.  Handel had an idea to write a different kind of opera.  He would write an opera that had no costumes or acting, but it would convey a Christian message.  He began to write sacred music into oratorios, large musical compositions for choir, orchestras and soloists.  It was a brilliant idea. His goal was to make money of course, but what a smart way to share the gospel. In our time, we are always looking for ways to reach out to share the message of Jesus.  Who would think that in Handel’s time, Messiah would become as controversial as it did? 

Should God’s Word be performed in theatre?

In my mind, I can see a well-meaning, proper woman of 1742 with a bonnet and glove-covered hands. She holds her hand to her mouth and gasps, “What is the world coming to?”  Others of her time would hold their nose in the air and say that their sanctified eyes would never view the worldly program. 

Then I see more forward-thinking woman with their gloved hands and bonnets who embraced the new way to view the scriptures. They welcomed the oratorios that were like a breath of fresh air and presented the gospel of Jesus Christ in a new way.

The soloists in Handel’s performances were also controversial.  The performers were modern actresses of the day, much like we might compare to Hollywood stars.  One of these popular stars was going through a scandalous divorce.  Many curious people came only to watch her.  The traditional religious community was judgmental and full of anger. 

This news is so calming to me.  Their lives were just as messy as our lives are today! Christians have argued over similar things throughout time.  It’s a little sad that it’s been over 300 years later and we still haven’t learned a thing.

This is the age-old controversy that is still debated today.  Should the Word of God be performed in theatrical style? Should songs that sound like the current secular best seller list be sung? Many of our churches have theatre seating.  Some start-up churches actually hold services in movie theatres in the community. I hear good people debating or saying, “It feels more like church in the buildings with pews and stained glass windows.”   

Where do you stand on that subject? ….traditional or classic only, or a bit of the modern world in the service?

I am not judging or claiming either way to be faulty.  I love to sit in a clapboard church with wooden pews as much as the next person.  I love stained glass windows and hearing an actual church bell ring.  But, I also love to sit in a theatre-style church in a darkened room with a contemporary band on stage.  As long as the motives are to glorify God, it doesn’t matter where the Word is proclaimed. Isaiah 42:8 states “I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.”

There are 3 Things God taught me through rehearsing and singing the Messiah

As I look forward to singing the Messiah in this coming Christmas season, I reflect on many things this experience has taught me:

  1. God delights in answering our prayers.  I made a simple request to be in a choir that sings the Messiah.  God gave me the desire of my heart.
  2. God desires to hear our praise.  He fulfilled my dream and allowed me to sing to His glory.  No matter where you are in life, praise Him! Whether you are singing the Messiah with a choir or “Jesus Loves Me” with a child, just praise Him.
  3. Don’t judge others in their performance preferences or styles of worship.  I am always humbled at the thought that the Holy Spirit can take words of classical music to speak to hearts of people.  He also, speaks to many through the music of a modern praise band, Christian rapper or traditional church choir. He is God and can use anything to speak to others.  

The Messiah has brought joy to many generations since it was written and the popularity of it hasn’t waned. It still saddens me to think that people argued about the Word of God.  How foolish Christians must have seemed to others in the world.

It’s a Christmas tradition for many families to attend a performance of Handel’s  Messiah.  I hope that you can attend a performance or be a performer and worship Jesus Christ the Messiah during this Christmas season.

 I wish for you this Christmas season that Jesus becomes your Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.

Featured post

Chaos and Calm

Photo by Edwin Pu00e9rez on Pexels.com

Luke 8:23-24 ESV “.. and as they sailed he fell asleep. And a windstorm came down on the lake, and they were filling with water and were in danger. And they went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we are perishing!” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and the raging waves, and they ceased, and there was calm.”

Hurricane Ian devastated Florida in September 2022. Over 100 people were killed. It wrought destruction as it moved up the coast through the Carolinas. As I watched the news from afar in the safety of my Midwest home, I fretted and prayed for my friends that were in the hurricane’s path.  As reports from them came in, most had left the area.  Some had slight damage to their homes.  One friend that was visiting me showed a video made by a family member that stayed during the storm. I watched it and along with flooding, the palm trees swayed and bent down with the wind. You knew the wind was there because you saw it’s effects, but you couldn’t see it.  All I can say is, for something you cannot see, it caused a lot of damage, heartache and pain! 

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Arial views created by satellites were stunning showing circular patterns of winds moving across the face of the earth.  These awe-inspiring photos show the interesting anatomy of a hurricane.  There is an eye in the middle of the storm.  It can be from as little as 2 miles to as big as 200 miles across.  Just outside the eye is the eyewall.  The eyewall is the most dangerous part of the storm and have the strongest of winds.  As you move outward from the eyewall the wind strength depletes greatly. People in the hurricane’s path experience both the eyewall and eye areas as the storm passes.   How intriguing it is that the two are right next to each other: Chaos and calm. 

Sometimes in life I feel the same way.  Chaos is causing destruction about me.  The winds of confusion are wailing around me, but inside I feel calm.  I know that Jesus is there, just like the eye of the storm and things are going to be all right.  

This reminds me of the story of the time the apostles and Jesus were on the sea and a storm came up (Luke 8:22-25). Many were experienced fishermen and certainly had seen storms on the sea before. Jesus was calmly asleep. He had no worries. The storm didn’t take him by surprise. He is God after all and controls all things. 

They were experiencing a storm that must have been severe.  At first the apostles thought, “We’ve got this.”  But then waves began filling the boat and they were in danger of sinking.  They woke Jesus up and cried, “Master, we’re perishing.” Jesus knew where the storm was coming from. He knew all about it.  With the same words that he used in creating the wind and waters in the book of Genesis, He rebuked them.  He ordered the winds and waves from chaos to calm.

Mark 4:39 ESV “And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”

In the Eye of the Storm

Perhaps you are in the eye of the storm – that place of great calm.  Life has been hectic and chaotic for so long, but now Jesus has moved you into the calm area of the eye of the storm.  I’ve never been in the eye of a real hurricane, but they say you can look up and see beautiful stars or blue skies and sunshine.  Be grateful for those special times of blessing and grace.  Look up and bask in His favor.

In the hurricane

Maybe you’re in a hurricane of life.  You are in the “eyewall” and in the most dangerous, stormiest time you have ever seen.  Life circumstances leave you struggling against the wind.  Jesus knows all about it.  Like the apostles, you think you could take care of it on your own, but now you know that’s simply not true. You need help.  Cry out to Jesus, “Master, I’m perishing.”  He can change the chaos to calm in your life. 

Winds are a natural part of life

Life is a series of storms and quells, strong winds and gentle breezes.  Look to Jesus who is waiting for you in the eye of the hurricane.  He is ready to calm your fears and soothe your anxieties.  Just call on the Master who is able to calm any storm

He will receive the glory, just as he did with the apostles:

Mark 4:41 ESV “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?””

Jesus is just a Heart‘s Cry Away

I’ve weathered many life storms.  I know the answer to that question in Mark 4:41.  He is Jesus, the one who is able to calm all my fears. He’s always just a call away to turn chaos to calm.

Featured post

My Bible’s Hidden Secret

by Catherine Wilson posted on 9/25/2022

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

“Mom, I’m home,” my son John said as he entered the door.  The door slammed behind him, making a grand entrance after getting off the school bus. I was in the kitchen peeling carrots for supper.

“Something smells good,” he said.

Hazy steam lined the edges of the windows and the aroma of yeast rolls rising was in the air.

“You don’t usually make “grandma rolls”, John said, “Except sometimes on Sunday.”

I had the day off work that day and making “grandma rolls” sounded therapeutic.  The truth was that I had been thinking about my mother a lot lately and thought it would be nice to make her recipe.  She had died of cancer when I was twelve years old, before I had even thought about marriage or children, or that I would end up a single parent. So many times through the years, I wished I could talk with her about all that was happening in my life.

John coming home from school that day sent my memory back to when I did the same thing. I came home from school when I was his age.  I would yell, “Mom, I’m home!” Her dinner rolls would be rising. It was a great feeling of security and happiness to come home and greet her.   Even though she was cooking, she would chat with me about my day.  Although I can’t be home every night with my family’s hectic schedules, I try as often as I can to cook dinner and chat with my boys. 

Mom was always there.  She was a great mom and good person, but one aspect of her life kept nagging me.  Will she be in heaven when I get there?  We went to church as a family growing up, but did she understand and believe that Jesus was “one way, truth and life.” (John 14)

Someone shared the gospel with me after I was married and I eagerly prayed and asked Jesus into my heart.  That was when John was just a baby. Mom had died before I made that change in my life.  I didn’t remember having any conversation with her about Jesus and it nagged me in my mind whether or not she was a believer.  She was a good person and attended church regularly so people would say, “Of course she believed in Jesus.” My heart and mind didn’t rest and I wasn’t convinced.

As a child, my entire family went to church together faithfully each Sunday and we were involved in church activities.  Our denomination taught that you were allowed into heaven by doing good works.  We didn’t read the Bible.  We were told the Bible was too complex for laymen to understand. 

Each night the family gathered together to pray.  These were all good deeds, but had anyone told her that Jesus died and rose again and that you had to believe in Him for eternal life?  Had mom heard the gospel? I mean had she really heard and understood it?  There was no way of knowing for sure because she was gone and I couldn’t ask her. I was distraught about it and prayed that if God could tell me that she was absolutely in heaven, could He please let me know.  

I had been thinking about mom all day, again.  So, I decided since I was off work, I would visit my Dad and ask if I could borrow the old family Bible. He told me I could and I brought it home with me.  It was thick and the cover was made of maroon leather with a raised gold pattern.          

I placed it aside because I had to make supper for my boys.  My mind was preoccupied with anticipation of what was in the family Bible.  When the dishes were finally cleared away, I sat down near the coffee table.

I stroked the cover gently and felt the raised markings.  I smiled as I remembered sneaking into the forbidden area of my parents’ bedroom to feel the markings on this same Bible as a child. I opened the Bible on the coffee table to the center where a ribbon marked the center.  My mom’s writing in the center of it had neatly written dates of her wedding.  Listed also were births and baptisms of my brothers and me.

As I lifted the Bible to turn pages, a piece of paper that was yellowed with age fell to the floor. 

I picked it up and became excited. I recognized my mother’s perfect handwriting.  A list of Bible verses were written on the paper.  The first one was John 3:16, next John 3:17.

Those verses were memorized long ago, but I had to see if the family Bible read the same as my Bible.  I leafed through the onion paper pages edged in gold and turned to John 3:16 and read aloud, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  I fervently read the next verse, because truthfully, I had never paid attention to that verse.  I read John 3:17: “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

“She heard,” I thought, “She knew.”  A burden lifted off my shoulders. The other verses were grouped into two sections.  There were verses explaining hell and the other section were verses describing heaven.  This was a deep Bible study that she had done.  Most amazing to me is that God had mom write that list of verses, knowing that over 15 years later, her daughter’s heart would be searching for peace.

Maybe when I arrive in heaven and walk in the door, she will be baking her wonderful sweet rolls.  When I see her, I’ll say, “Mom, I’m home!”

Photo by John-Mark Smith on Pexels.com
Featured post

5 Ways to Leave a Spiritual Legacy

by Catherine Wilson published 9/9/2022

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I smelled the perfect red rose in my garden.  I smiled as I thought of the person that gave me the rose bush.  I hadn’t spoken with her in over a year.  I resolved that when I finished my gardening, I would give her a call.

I looked over my flowers lovingly and was reminded why I call it my legacy garden.    Many have shared perennial plants with me over the years.  The rainbow of hues in my garden is a result of the gifting of many people.  Most are no longer here but have passed on to their eternal home.  Some of the gifters were friends for a short time, coming into my life for awhile, and then moving on to different places.  I think of them when I garden. My father planted a purple maple tree in a small cup for me and repotted and nurtured it until it was a couple feet tall.  He gave it to me and I planted it.  Now it’s a large tree and when I look at it, I remember my father.   My garden flowers bloom year after year and I feel a connection to the ones that gave them to me. 

I thought about what kind of legacy I would give my children and grandchildren.  I wasn’t thinking about flowers or material goods, but spiritual matters.  Although a garden legacy is fun and a material legacy is important, a spiritual legacy is much greater.

God commanded the children of Israel to create a remembrance for the next generations in Joshua Chapter 4.  God parted the Jordan River to allow them to pass over while on their journey to the Promised Land. Each tribe was to pick up a rock from the river bed when they were crossing. Upon arriving at the other side of the river, they were to stack them up. This way, when their descendants saw it and asked questions, the answer would be that it was a memorial to the day when God brought them out of Egypt, across the Jordan and into the promised land. 

In Joshua Chapter 4:6-7 it says “that this may be a sign among you. When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.”

It’s important that we leave a spiritual legacy for our children, so that when hard times come, they know to depend on Jesus for help. Here are five ways to leave a spiritual legacy:

1. Lead by Example

Your loved ones will catch on to faithfulness as they see you faithful to a group of believers. Connecting to believers in a church community or small group setting is important as you navigate life’s ups and downs.  Leave a legacy of connecting with others.

2. Teach Our Children

The Bible says that teaching children about God will bring them peace.  In Isaiah 54:13 “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord and great shall be the peace of thy children.”  Leave a legacy of peaceful spiritual knowledge.

3. Have Fun and Give Them Loving Boundaries

Children need freedom and boundaries to grow.  It’s a delicate balance.  Within reasonable boundaries, they feel safe and loved. Where there is no freedom, they are stunted in growth. Encourage them to have fun within boundaries. Leave a legacy of creativity and freedom in Christ.

4. Pray daily for them

God delights in answering our prayers. Commit to pray for their salvation, future jobs, future spouses, churches, future ministries, etc.  Jesus and community will give them stability when life’s storms come.  Leave a legacy of a hopeful  future.

5. Keep a Spiritual Journal

Write a journal that they can find after you have passed.  I have some precious cherished notes that my parents left.  Mark up your Bible and make notes of what it means to you.  It may not seem important to them now, but it will mean a lot to your loved ones after you’re gone. Leave a legacy of precious memories.

The people of this world would like our children and grandchildren to believe that they aren’t important if they don’t have wealth, power, or riches.  This isn’t true. All are important in the eyes of God.  Sometimes God chooses to bless us with those things, but sometimes He has a higher purpose in your simple life.

The Christian Life is counterintuitive to today’s culture. Just like the varied hues of colors in my perennial garden, our children have varied hues of talents and dreams.  Leave a legacy of hope so that they beautify the world around them.  

Photo by moldy vintages on Pexels.com

Featured post

What Did Jesus look like? A Selfie with Jesus

by Catherine Wilson

Published 8/5/2022

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk on Pexels.com

We stood giggling, my two friends and me as we tried to decide whose arms were the longest to take a selfie.  With an amazing scene of the Grand Canyon behind us, it was hard to capture the beauty of it all and get all three of us in the picture. The grandeur of the canyon had me “putting my praise on,” but my mind also pondered a selfie with Jesus.  What if Jesus was there and was taking that selfie with us?  What exactly did He look like?

Jesus’ Outward Appearance – nothing special

The closest we get to see what Jesus looked like (like a selfie snapshot) is in Isaiah 53:2b ESV “he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.” The beginning of that verse states that he grew “like a root out of dry ground.” In other words, there is nothing noticeable or special. 

No details of His appearance when walking the earth is included in the scriptures.  At other times in the Bible, people were described.  It seems as if God purposely didn’t include a description of Jesus. Perhaps we would worship “the look” instead of Jesus himself.   Perhaps that’s because that’s not what’s important.  What is important is the message and inward heart of Jesus.

King Saul is described in I Samuel 9:2 as handsome.  In fact it says that there was nobody more handsome and tall.  His head and shoulders stood above all the others.  He was a fine catch for any adoring woman in Israel, except for one thing:  His inward spirit ….not so good.  His jealousy of David and disobedience to God caused huge issues.  

Guesses on Jesus’ appearance

Jesus’ appearance wasn’t described anywhere in the New Testament. Do you have a preconceived idea in your mind of what Jesus looked like? I hope I haven’t popped your bubble.  Sometimes people worship the pictures and statues that have been made of Jesus.  Please realize that he probably didn’t look like that blonde-haired blue eyed painting you saw….just saying.

Jesus was probably dark haired, dark eyes and darker skin as a man would look like from that area of Israel in that era.  Historical and archeological information from the time say that the average height of a Jewish man was between 5’1” and 5’5”.  Jesus was probably average height.  Old Testament Saul was described as a head and shoulders taller than everyone else, but Jesus was never mentioned like that. Remember the story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19? Zacchaeus had to climb up into a tree to see Jesus, so Jesus couldn’t have been really tall.  Remember in the gospels, there were a few mentions that Jesus “disappeared” from the crowd.  I always thought it was miraculous (and it could have been), but what if he just looked similar to everyone else in the crowd and the Holy Spirit blinded people from seeing Him?

Because Jesus was a carpenter, He probably had a larger build than others because of his labors.  Depictions of Jesus as meek and mild don’t situate in my mind well.  He was the oldest of other siblings and took over Joseph’s carpentry business at a young age.  (Joseph isn’t mentioned after the birth of Christ, so he may have died young).  I think Jesus was a manly individual as he took over fatherly and mentor rolls for his mother and siblings.

Archeological finds of the Jewish men in that area shows that they wore knee length tunics and sandals. Have you ever thought of what Jesus would wear if he was born in our era?  How about sneakers, jeans and a t-shirt that says “Believe!” Sorry….had to throw that in there for a chuckle.  The point is that He wore common clothes of that era.

Hair styles for men of the time were relatively short, mostly for hygiene purposes.  You can probably dispel those pictures of long-flowing hair to mid-back.

Perhaps I have now given you a picture of an ordinary person and have shaken your faith in an Almighty God.  Say it’s not so!  Continue reading.

His “outward appearance” shouldn’t matter.

God cares more about the inner person.  Remember when God chose King David? His outward appearance wasn’t anything special.  Read these words in I Samuel 16:7 “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the LORD sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart.”

Jesus’ “inward appearance” = Jehovah God incarnate

Colossians 2:9 “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”  This verse states that He is God. Although he took on human form, Jesus was present at the creation of the world.  Let us never forget that our friend Jesus is part of the Trinity that created the Grand Canyon in all of its glory. The word “God” in Genesis 1:1 is “Elohim” in Hebrew language.  Elohim is plural, stating that Father, Son and Holy Spirit were present at the creation of our beautiful world.

Seven times (ah, that perfect number) in New Testament gospels, Jesus stated that he was the great “I Am.” He stated in John 10:30 “I and the Father are one.” Make no mistake; Jesus declared that He is God and part of the Holy Trinity. Know that He is the Alpha and Omega, the Finisher of our Faith, the “I am” of the Old Testament and yet the humble and lowly Friend of this earth.  Jesus is the Messiah who was described in appearance and emotions in Isaiah 53 of the Old Testament.  He is the God/Man who died on a cross in payment of our sins because He loves us so.

May we look upon the face of Jesus with “eyes of faith” and see Him as beautiful.

The next time you’re taking a selfie image and giggling that you can’t get all of you in the scene, hold your hand up a little higher.  Jesus is always with you, standing right next to you. Get Him in that picture, too. 

Photo by Dziubi Steenbergen on Pexels.com
Featured post

Abundance of Flowers

by Catherine Wilson

Published 7/30/2022

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

A neighbor was walking her small dog and came down the sidewalk by my house.  She said to me, “Beautiful flowers!”  I told her that they planted themselves this year.  My aunt used to call the flowers that came up on their own “volunteers.” I thought that was funny.  I had lots of “volunteers” this year in my corner garden.

She said with a smile and kept walking, “You got lucky then.  They’re pretty.”

There was one tall sunflower last year that spread seeds everywhere and there was a wall of sunflowers on my fence line.  One Black-eyed Susan plant also shared its wealth and created a blanket of yellows and browns. In the middle of the sunflowers, sunbeams dappled its magic on the sparrows bathing in the bird bath.  How I loved gardens. 

 I took a deep breath and inhaled relaxation.  I grinned at the thought that the flowers were smiling back at me.  You could almost see smiley faces on each of them in your imagination. “God does a much better job of planting things than I ever could,” I thought. Then my thoughts turned to spiritual matters.

I had been working so hard to please God.  Besides working my two day jobs, I was teaching, writing, and singing in two choirs.  I tried to pay attention to all the people I love: my friends, my kids, and grandchildren.  I tried to disciple some women, too and share the love of Jesus.

I was tired.  I asked, “Am I pleasing you, God?”

The Bible verse Psalm 46:10 came to my mind, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still?  I didn’t know how to be still. Was God calling me to be still?  I stopped in my tracks in the middle of the garden.

I looked out on the beautiful scene before me.  I praised and thanked God for all I saw. The word “rest” came to mind and Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. “ 

Did God intend for me to rest? 

God didn’t expect me to work so hard that I was stressed out.  He expected me to lean into Him and allow Him to work just as He produced the flowers that I saw before me.  I understood what Jesus meant when He said in Matthew 6:28 “See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.” I wasn’t even aware of His work in my life. I was trying to do it all on my own.

There was no “luck” involved in my flower garden.

God planted an array of yellow and black flowers that matched beautifully.   

Just as with the flowers, God plants seeds of new beginnings each day in my life.  He waters my life with the nourishing word of God. He gives the increase of spiritual growth and allows me to bloom where I’m planted, beautiful to behold.

Photo by Skyler Ewing on Pexels.com
Featured post

God Speaks in Mysterious Ways and He Cares About You

by Catherine Wilson

Published 7/16/2022

Photo by Ann poan on Pexels.com

I Peter 5:7 NLT “ Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.”

What a hectic schedule I was keeping!  Being a single mom, I would get up, pack lunches and get dinner ready for the evening, get the kids off to school, go to work 8 hours, go to my college class or go to the computer lab, then come home and crash into bed after putting the kids to bed.  Then I’d repeat it all the next day. My college classes were taking a toll on my well-being as well as my family.  Every evening and some weekends I was at the college.  After about a month, I thought I was going to die and I considered dropping the class.  It was mandatory that the work be done in the lab using their systems. I remembered that my teacher warned the first night of my computer programming class, “The average student spends 40 hours in the lab, so if you can’t take it, drop this class.”

Life can be overwhelming

I was a little cocky. “I’m pretty good, I can write these programs with little lab work.”  This didn’t turn out to be true.  I was in the lab every evening and leaving my children home with my oldest son in charge.  Guilt…guilt…guilt.  I felt awful, physically and mentally worn out.  Pride bit me, too.  I prided myself that I could handle it all; I never dropped a class.  I felt as if God sovereignly placed me in all of my classes because I prayed for His guidance.  I wasn’t going to quit!

What was worse, I had worked very late doing my program that I handed in.  The program worked and made the computer do everything the teacher required.  I was very proud of it until it was returned to me with a big “E” on it.  I called my brother and confided in him that I was hanging by a thread and I wanted to quit.  He told me, “Sis, just quit.  What do you want on your epitaph? ‘She died, but she passed her programming class.’  It’s not worth it.”

Photo by Brett Sayles on Pexels.com

There’s no use in trying to hide that your angry at God, because He already knows it.

I hung up the phone and I was angry.  Angry at my situation.  Angry at God.  Hurt that I worked so hard and was rewarded an “E.”  I was feeling sorry for myself and began to tell God.  I told God that I felt He didn’t care and asked why He put me in this class.  Why couldn’t He have given me an easier teacher?

God’s Response

 I set my radio alarm clock for the next day.  I was so mad I changed the station from Christian radio to classical music.  I remember saying to God as I drifted off to sleep, “I’m so tired. You seem so far away and You just don’t care.”

My alarm triggered the radio in the morning.  I couldn’t believe my ears. My eyes flew wide open and my ears perked up.  I knew God was speaking to me.   A man stated, “Why are you so concerned with things of this world?  Why are you struggling to get ahead in this world?  These concerns just cloud your mind and keep you from God.  You should be laying your treasures up in heaven because everything in this world passes away.”

The man on the radio’s question struck me and echoed in my head, “Why are you so concerned with things of this world?”  I sat up and was puzzled.  I checked the radio.  This wasn’t Christian radio.  This was a secular classical station. Who was speaking?  Then the anchor introduced him. He was a reverend from a local church with a morning meditation.  Since when did they put reverends on secular radio? , I thought. I smiled.  When you need a little affirmation that God cares for you and hears your cries for help.  

Another message from God

Later, on my way to work, I was listening to Christian radio and I received another spiritual message.  The anchorman said, “Don’t grumble and complain about your situation you are in.  Just do all for the glory of God.”

My attitude changed and I committed to work harder in my class.  I talked with the teacher.  I worked harder…. This time for the glory of God.  By the end of the semester, I brought my grade up to a “B.” It wasn’t perfect, but that was okay.  With God’s help I was going to persevere and attain that degree. 

Photo by Valter Zhara on Pexels.com
Featured post

A Ride for a Stranger

By Catherine Wilson- Published 7/9/2022

Photo by MART PRODUCTION on Pexels.com

A Ride for a Stranger

By Catherine Wilson

Published 7/9/2022

After a stressful day at work in a Michigan government office, I left the building in a hurry to get home.  As my car edged to the end of the parking lot near the main road, I saw a very tall woman with two small children running at her feet.

“Lord, they’re going to get hit,” I said aloud.  “Why is she allowing those children to walk by the road without holding their hands?”

The woman looked tired and tattered and she yelled to the person in the car in front of me. ”Where do I catch a bus?”  A man pointed his finger out the window to a bus stop by the building and then sped off.  I pulled up and opened the window and said, “That’s not a regular bus stop. You have to call for a bus.  Did you call?”

“No,” she replied.  “I didn’t know I had to.  I’m from Louisiana and I don’t know my way around here.  I thought I would walk this way to find a bus stop.” She pointed toward a cross road.

I looked at the little children who looked back with big eyes.  “It’s quite a ways to the bus stop and the building is locked up now.”

“I have to be to the homeless shelter by 6 o’clock and it’s after 5 now.  They lock the doors and we won’t have a place to sleep tonight,” the woman said.  She had a bandana wrapped around her head. Her blue jeans were worn.

Lord do I have to help?” I asked under my breath.  “I’m in the middle of painting my living room.  I need to get home.”  I had been complaining about my home to God for a week.  In an older home, a home improvement project that should take hours ends up growing into weeks.   I wanted to be done with it.  I felt a small voice from God within me say, “You don’t need to get home.”

God was right. My three sons were away at college.  There would be nobody home except my dog to greet me.  And then I heard a voice inside me say, “Take my children.”

“Your children?” I thought with judgement. I thought it odd.  I looked at this woman who explained to me she was a dancer in New Orleans. I didn’t think she meant ballet. She was about five months pregnant and homeless.  She told me the main crossroads of the shelter.  I was familiar with it. It was at least a half hour drive the opposite way of my home and there were strict rules at that shelter for entrance time.  That particular church would lock the doors at 6 p.m. and not allow more people to come in.

“I’ll take you,” I said with a sigh.  I opened up my back door and the children scurried in without question, quite trusting of a stranger.  I was not so trusting.  This woman was bigger than me and was carrying four tote bags.  I had never taken strangers in my car before. It didn’t seem safe, but I did feel God was leading me. 

The children, a little boy and girl eagerly jumped in my car because they were tired and happy to have a place to sit.  I saw her throughout the day as they wandered in the building. They visited different departments for help.  One department gave the children coats and socks.  Another department gave them stuffed animals and coloring books.  As soon as my little compact car took off, they laid their heads against one another and sweetly fell fast asleep.

“I have never picked up strangers before, but God told me to take you,” I explained.  The woman didn’t reply. I told her that I had been a single parent for sixteen years.  “It’s difficult, but it can be done,” I said.

“I’m trying so hard,” she said.  “I need some help to get on my feet.  I made good money dancing, but there is nothing here compared to that.”

When we arrived at the church shelter, it was difficult to wake the children.  My heart went out to them as I said good-bye.  They clung to their new stuffed animal.  The little boy was so cute with his baseball hat on.

During my ride there, prayers of thankfulness filled my thoughts.  For the past few weeks I had been complaining to God about my job. The homeless woman didn’t even have a job.  I had complained about my repair projects.  Taking care of my old home was giving me gray hair with worry, but at least I had a home. I had been complaining to God about the financial burdens of being a single parent and trying to get my children through college, but God always came through with the finances, too.  Spiritually, I had grown over the past sixteen years as I learned to trust God for everything.

“This is a good shelter,” I told her.  “They will help you find a job and feed you.  It won’t be easy here, but you can do it.  Be strong…..for them.” I nodded my head toward the children.

“I’ll do my best,” the woman said.  “Thank you for the ride.  Thank you for your kindness.”

“I would like to thank you,” I said.

“For what?” she asked.

“For reminding me that God has provided for me since my children were the same age as yours.  They’re in college now.  I’m grateful.”

“I have some relatives here in Michigan.  I’m going to try to connect with them and try to live here,” she said.

“Just as this shelter will help you with food and shelter and stabilizing your life, God can do that, too. Think of God as a shelter.  Trust Him.” She nodded and walked toward the entrance. I knew she had a difficult life journey ahead. I prayed that God would lead and guide her in the right path.

As I drove home, I remembered the Bible verse: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”” All the way home, I counted my blessings.

Featured post

Finding Purpose In Your Life Through Jesus

By Cathy Wilson on May 1, 2022

Photo by Kendall Hoopes on Pexels.com

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

God has planned your life before you were even born (Psalm 139:13).  That plan includes joy and purpose! Do you believe that you have a purpose for each day?  Each day becomes an exciting opportunity as you look for purpose. In Proverbs 16:9 the Bible states “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.” Does God have purpose for us each day?  Yes, He does.  How about the monotonous times of everyday life?  Yes, God has you there, too.  How about the time when you are going on an awesome vacation? Is there a higher purpose?  Yes, in those times too, God is there.  We are to experience life in the here and now through the lens of our Creator to make a difference in the world. We were created in God’s image (Gen 1:27), for God’s pleasure (Rev 4:11) and for His glory (Is 43:7).  We were created to be salt of the earth (Matt 5:13), so let’s spread out that salt and spice up the lives of others! We were created to be light in a dimly lit world (Matt 5:14).  In Matthew 5:16 the Bible states, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.“

Trust Jesus with each day.  Trust Him with all the tomorrows.  Trust Him for the years ahead. 

FINDING PURPOSE IN EACH DAY

Each day, each step, trust that he is leading you in the path that he wants you to take. The purpose He has for you today may not be earth shattering, but may be more subtle.  An encouraging word or sharing your life happenings with someone may alter their decisions.  It may set them on the path God intended them to take. Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

Believe that every meeting, every encounter that you have with others is not coincidence but divinely appointed.  Be willing to allow Him to speak through you into each situation. Let’s face it, we aren’t always on the top of our game and aware of the needs around us, but God is. He’s never taken by surprise, even though I am sometimes.  

Recently, I went shopping to a quaint little town that’s a bit of a drive for me. It’s what I do to get away for a moment of time when I am feeling exhausted and need a break.  Most of the time, I don’t bring friends.  It’s just a quiet time for me.  The drive is my “talk with Jesus time.”

Main Street is lined with stores.  It is full of antiques, boutiques and my favorite cupcake shop. I was enjoying my ME time, when I was snapped back to reality.  I was putting a package in my car that was parked near the sidewalk when I glanced to the storefront.  An older woman leaving the store fell and I gasped.  She stepped out of the boutique, didn’t realize there was a step and landed, sitting up on the step.  The look on her face was sheer surprise and embarrassment.  I ran to her and said, “Are you okay?”  After assessing that she really was, I helped her get up.  She was scolding herself about the incident and was being very negative in her self-talk.  I gave her words of encouragement and acceptance. I assured her that we’ve all fell at one time or another.

I didn’t quote Bible verses, even though I could have. I didn’t tell her that she would be going to hell if she didn’t accept Jesus, even though that’s a true statement.  I just showed her loving kindness.  Sometimes, that’s all God asks of us in that day: Just show up and show loving kindness.  You never know when someone is going to need a “pick-me-up.”

Sometimes we get the idea that “God moments” are only when God does a miracle.  There may be times such as those, but even in the monotony of life, God is there.  Relax in where you are. You are where you are supposed to be. 

Be ready for those “God moments.”  I call them “God Winks.” That’s where He winks at you and says “I see you.” Be ready for the time he teaches.  Be ready when you are keenly aware that what you are saying to a stranger seems so simple, but is profound to them because God is in it.

Just like when you tune a radio to a certain station to hear the desired music clearly, tune into the Holy Spirit.  Make your heart ready to speak a word in season and out of season (2Tim 4:2).

TUNE IN TO THE HOLY SPIRIT – MAKE READY YOUR HEART

Prepare your heart ahead of time:
• Seek Godly counsel: Surround yourself with people that are trying to be like Christ. Read good Christian literature. Read the Bible and pray every day. God places people in our lives to be our mentors, anchors and guides. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
• Obedience to God: If you feel God is placing someone in your path to help, don’t hesitate. Obey God and he will bless the situation. Obey God if he is directing you to use your talents for Him.
• Be in tune with the needs of others: The world is full of people in need. People may have physical needs as well as spiritual needs.
• Show a little kindness: Showing kindness speaks volumes to people and especially to strangers.
• Be willing to be involved with messy lives: Sometimes God places in our paths people with messy lives. These people seem to have many problems.

If you’re in tune with the Holy Spirit and have a willing heart, God will place people in your path. You will meet them to help them or for your personal learning experience.

TRUE JOY COMES FROM THE LORD AND HIS PURPOSE

The world seeks joy in money, power and possessions.  These are never fulfilling. Only Jesus and His purpose for others will give you a lasting joy. Jesus said, “”These things I have spoken to you that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full””(John 15:10-11).

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU BRING PURPOSE TO YOUR LIFE AND SALT AND LIGHT TO THE WORLD.

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3

Featured post

Freshly Fallen Snow

by Cathy Wilson on January 4, 2022

Photo by Kristin Vogt on Pexels.com

As a Midwesterner in winter, snow is a common word.  One thing you can be sure of, you will receive snow at some time in that season.  Some years we receive a lot of snow, other years snowfall seems to be lighter, but I never tire of the beauty of freshly fallen snow. One of my favorite times is when I am snuggled up with a mug of hot chocolate and I look out my picture window onto a beautiful scene of freshly fallen snow.  You know those special times when each branch of every tree has an inch of snow attached to it?  That happened the other day and some of the branches even had ice on them.  What a beautiful sight!               

When the storm broke, the sky was blue with puffy white clouds moving across it. The sun reflected bright light through the snow and ice.  What joy to see the beauty of the prisms of light and clean, white snow.  When I think of freshly fallen snow, I think of purity. 

Isaiah 1:18, “..though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be a white as snow;”

 In the midst of that scene of white, a bright red cardinal flew in on the scene creating a color contrast of bright red against a white background.  It left me breathless and pondering the verse in Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool. “

I am thankful that Jesus cleanses our sins by his blood.  “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22). All we have to do is repent of our sins and confess them to Jesus and He will clean us up according to I John 1:9. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

                Have you pondered lately the redemption that Christ gave us when He died on the cross? Eph. 1:7 (NIV) “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”

                Jesus died and paid the price of our redemption, so that we might be made pure, spotless, and white as snow. 

Featured post

Grow in Wisdom, Rooted in the Word of God Day and Night

by Catherine Wilson

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I bought a new rose bush for my flower gardens, choosing it for color and fragrance. I came home and soaked the rose bush roots in a bucket of water overnight until the next day when I would be planting it. My Dad always had beautiful rose bushes and he is the one that taught me to do that.

Water in the Bible is a symbol of the Word of God. Just like immersing the rose bush in water would help it to grow, we need to immerse our own roots in the words of the Bible to aid in our fresh spiritual growth. As the roots take hold, we too will be like beautiful roses with color and fragrance to brighten the world.

What’s more, the word of God is living (Heb. 4:12). God can use the Word to speak to us in an intimate way. His word is truth in an ever-changing, unstable world.

When we are rooted and grounded in faith and the Word of God, others will see it. “For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh. But her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:8)

When I planted the rose bush, I removed it from the bucket of water. I amended the soil that would surround the roots of it. I placed the rich soil in the hole where the bush would be planted. I mixed it up and filled the hole with water. I removed any debris that shouldn’t be there. My father taught me to pour water into the hole around the bush before you fill it with dirt. Then let it drain, and then fill it again.

This is much like our spiritual lives. Remove debris in the form of sinful desires or things that keep us from God. Then fill our roots with living water of God’s Word. Just when you think you have had enough, fill it again. Saturate our roots and lives with the living Word of God. It will help us to have a great foundation and protect us from the harsh weather of life.

I challenge you this year to read the Word of God each day. Water those roots and watch how beautiful you grow!

Joshua 1:8 “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”