My Neglected Plant

I received a plant several years ago after a relative’s funeral. I have been nurturing it for the last few years. This winter I am not sure what happened. I brought it in for the winter and set it down. In the busyness of my life, I didn’t nurture like I had been. One day, I looked at it and it was pretty sad. Some of the leaves were falling to the ground and the other leaves were turning brown. It was knocking on death’s door. I picked off the leaves that were brown and cut it back to where you barely saw any green. I was bound and determined I was going to save this plant. My husband wasn’t as hopeful. I watered it for the first time in months. Now I know memories don’t lie in a plant. It’s just a plant, but like my relative, I was not ready for this plant to die. I began nurturing the plant again. After a few weeks, I looked at the plant and it was coming back to life. The roots of the plant began to grow new stems and life was returning to this plant. It was green and vibrant. I am more than a little excited. 
As I thought about this, I realized that it’s the same way with our faith. Once we accept Christ, we have to nurture our faith. Just like the plant needed water and the right lighting, we need those same things in our faith.
In the story of the woman at the well, we know Jesus offers her living water. He says to her in John 4:13-14, “Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks from the water that I will give will never be thirsty again. The water that I give will become in those who drink it a spring of water that bubbles up into eternal life.” We know Jesus is the source of living water. If our faith is to be nurtured and kept alive, we must believe in and follow Jesus.
Sunlight is so important to some plants. We need light in our lives as well. “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 Reading the word daily provides us with the light that need. We need that nurturing, daily word to guide us in the way we live and the direction we take.
I have heard, strangely enough, that there are people who sing or talk to their plants. Now, I am pretty sure my plant does not want to hear me sing. But, singing praises to God will certainly help our faith to grow and be stronger. I have found in my own life, as I sing praises and listen to praise music, my faith grows stronger in so many ways. Psalm 95:1 says this, “Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.”

Praying to God and talking with God on a daily basis will most likely nurture our faith and keep it alive and vibrant. Ephesians 6:18, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”  Just as some people think it’s important to speak to their plant, it is vital that we speak to God on a daily basis to keep our faith from dying.
I was doing all the right things in the beginning, but after awhile, I began to be less nurturing to my plant. I began to lose focus on what my plant really needed. If we don’t stay focused and do the things we need to do, our faith will surely die out. “So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision – you’ll see it yet!” Philippians 3:15 The Message
If I had listened to my husband, I would have discarded the plant. Sometimes in this world, we get caught up and find our faith wavering or not as it should be. We can beat ourselves up and say, “what’s the point?” Or we can begin the process of nurturing our faith once more. It would have been easy for me to throw out the plant. Instead, I invested time and energy and brought the plant back to life. Your faith is worth saving. All it takes is a little investment, time and energy. You can listen to the world who loves to tell us,”it’s too late for you, it’s not worth saving!” Or we can listen to the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one that says, “You are worth it. Go for it! Stay focused. You CAN do this.”
It’s our choice. I had a choice to discard the plant or I could choose to keep it, nurture it once more and bring it back to life. That is what God calls us to do. Come to him and allow him to nurture you back to life. Through His word, His Son and His Spirit we can once again have that vibrant faith we had before or maybe one that is even better than before.
Are you discarding a faith that once was vibrant and full of life? Or are you willing to nurture it back to a life filled with the hope of all that God has promised for us?
My plant is a vibrant green and growing. My prayer is that your faith is vibrant and growing as we journey to the Cross during Lent.
Dear God, I know my family member is not in the plant. It doesn’t even hold memories of that person. But, you know Lord just like I wasn’t ready to lose this person I was not ready to lose this plant. Thank you for letting this be a teaching moment. As I nurture the plant back to life, remind me daily to nurture my faith so it can be vibrant and full of life. Let me stay focused on what matters. Remind me that just like this plant needed water, and the right light and even praises so do my faith. Remind me to water my faith with your words, that I follow the One true light and I sing praises daily of what you are doing in my life. Amen.

Walking in the Light Stumbling in the Darkness

For years my husband and I slept in complete darkness; no night light nothing. In fact, my husband insisted we have complete darkness. For years I was okay with this. I could even manage to find my way to the bathroom in the complete darkness. It seemed I was familiar with my surroundings and could fine my way around in the darkness. I felt pretty comfortable in the it. I did not need light.
However a few months back for some reason I began to get lost in the darkness. I would run into the bathroom door or I would hit the shower door or a number of other things. I would even run into the door jam. I never hurt myself, but I was lost in the darkness. I just couldn’t find my way around any more. I suddenly realized I needed a nightlight so I could find my way. With my husband needing complete darkness it was a challenge for us. We’d buy a nightlight plug it in and go to bed. I soon discovered my husband would think it was too bright and turn it off. So we’d go shopping for another nightlight with the same thing happening. We found one he could live with. It was on my side of the room, but the light was too bright for me and I couldn’t sleep. After several weeks we found a nightlight that would work and the perfect place for us to put it. It gave off just enough light for me to find my way around, but not too bright to blind me or to keep us from falling to sleep. I could find my way around the darkness and not run into things because of this light.
As usual I was thinking about how this light had changed everything. I went from groping in the dark and getting lost to being able to see in the light and finding my way around. God reminded me that was a lot like my own life.
You see before my walk with Christ became real I found myself in complete darkness. I was completely comfortable with it. So comfortable in fact I could find my way around with out any problems.
When my walk with Christ became real and I saw “the light” (sorry for the pun) I no longer enjoyed the darkness. It became uncomfortable for me. I began to realize I needed the light to help me see the dangers that might come my way in the darkness.
I didn’t realize how much danger I was in when I was in the darkness. I could easily have fallen or ran into something or fallen over something and hurt myself. Once I realized the dangers I had a choice to make. I could continue groping in the darkness and hope nothing happened or I could add some light to my circumstance and make my life a little easier. Once again, I did not know the dangers of living in sin until I experienced God’s true light.
Same way with my spiritual life. Once I walked in the light, I had a decision to make. I could remain in the light or I could walk away from it and remain in a safe comfortable place with all the dangers lurking. I chose to walk in the light and take my chances with Christ. By walking in the light, I still don’t see all the dangers that surround me, but I no longer have to worry about those dangers because Christ is walking with me. I am learning it is much better to be in the light than in the darkness.
When I was a child I was afraid of the dark like so many children are. I am not sure when the fear of the darkness left me, but I am no longer afraid of the dark; I just don’t like walking in it. Psalm 27:1 tells us, “The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid of?”  Because I walk in the light of the Lord, I know I am saved from all the dangers of this world. I don’t need to fear because I walk in the light. If I live as though Christ is my stronghold then who should I fear or what should I fear?
There are times we forget to turn on the nightlight and I stumble in the darkness once again, but I soon remember how much better it is when I have the nightlight guiding my way.
There are times in my life that darkness creeps in and I have trouble finding my way out of the darkness, but then Christ comes along and offers me His light and I find my way safely back to Him and all is good again.
Which do you prefer? Do you enjoy walking in the darkness or are you one who likes walking in the light? I hope you have experienced the light and find it more comforting than walking alone in the darkness. May God shed his light on you and may you find your peace in his light.
Dear God: I am so thankful that I have found the light and I am no longer comfortable in the darkness. I may not be able to see all the dangers even in the light, but I no longer fear them because you walk with me and you are my stronghold. May I never lose your light in my life. I never want to walk and be comfortable in the darkness again. Thank you for bringing me out of the darkness and into the light. Amen

​Three Way Switches

I love it when God gives me a phrase or a word for a blog and then before too long He gives me the
whole thing. This is one of those times. I was reading a devotion when I came across a phrase and then He shared with me what I am about to share with you. God is amazing.
The phrase went something like “don’t like your light dim”. As I was thinking about this I remembered on some of my lights in the living room I have 3 way light bulbs. I can do a little light, a bright
light and then I can really make it bright; it’s the same way over my kitchen table. If I don’t care to see too much I can turn the light on just to have some light. If I want to see things a little better I
switch it up to the next level and if I am doing needle work then I go all out and turn it all the way up. The light is bright and I can see clearly.
As I thought about this I thought that is the way I have been. When I first came to Christ I had the light in me, but it was dim. I wasn’t ready for all the brightness so I gradually turned on my light for
Christ. As I grew in Christ my light became a little brighter. There were times as I went to retreats, Bible Studies and church my light grew brighter so I could really see things clearer. In each step of
maturity our light gets a little brighter.
I have the power to choose which lighting I want in the room I am in. That’s the way I am today. I am
afraid many of us are like this. We have control over what kind of lighting we choose for our lives as
well. I have found out that when I have the light on the brightest it can be I can often see the dirt and
dust in my house; in other words I can really see the mess in my house. That’s the way it is with me at
times. Some days I just want Christ to shine His light on me, but I don’t want it to be so bright I can see the mess I have made of my life. I just want enough light for me to see by. When people go by the house they can barely see the light when it is on low, but it is visible. That’s the way it is with me when I have the lower light of Christ in my life. People can barely see it, they know it’s there, but it’s not really helping me see clearly or helping them along their path.
Some days I want to be in the Light and I want to see what God has in store for me so I turn on my
light a little brighter. Things are a little clearer to me and this brighter light often guides my path and
can help others along the way. This light helps me to see better what I am reading and how to apply it
to my life. This is where I am most of the time. Right in the middle, I don’t care to see all the mess, but I can see some of it. It’s enough light for me just to feel comfortable.
When I am doing needle work I need the light to be bright so I can actually see what I am doing and
where I am going with my stitches. When the print is small the brighter light helps me to see the words
better. I can get better directions, figure out where I am going and what direction I need to take. Yes, I
can see the mess in my house, but you know what? When I see the messy house I have a tendency to do some neglected house cleaning. That’s the way it is when I let Christ’s light shine brightly in me. When I really want the light of Christ to do some work in me then I turn up the light so bright I can see where Christ needs to do some cleaning in me. I have thought about when I turn this light on too. I often turn this light on when I am in Bible Studies or retreats, or even in church on Sunday morning. I choose to turn the light on so I can focus clearly on the word of God. When I allow the bright light to shine I can really see the mess and know it’s time for God to move deeper in me.
The three way switch is powerful. It lets us choose our lighting. The dimmer light is good for us when we first start out with Christ, but it is important to keep turning the light up a little brighter as we mature
in Christ. If we really want Christ to do some deep cleaning in us and if we really want our light to
shine then we need that bright light in us. The bright light in us helps others find their way as well.
We have the choice which brightness we want each day as we get up. We have the power to keep it low or make it as bright as we can. Which will you choose today?
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket,
 but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.
 “Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father who is in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16
Dear Lord, forgive me when I don’t let my light shine as brightly as I should. Forgive me when I just want enough light to barely see you. Those days when I am stuck in the middle remind me it’s time to turn up my bright lights so I can clearly see the sin in my life and allow you to do some cleaning. It’s my choice help me to make the right choice today. Amen.