“I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant.
Separated, you can’t produce a thing.
Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon.
This is how my Father shows who HE is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.
John 15:5-8 MSG
Jesus says, “A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.
I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them. This is because he works for pay and has no concern for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.
Harvest & Harvesters: Then Jesus went to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness. When He saw the crowds, He felt compassion for them, because they were weary and worn out, like sheep without a shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”
I wanna write about balance & the importance of avoiding extremes.
Ya know i think a lot of people’s discomfort & what makes them someone who is unpleasant to be around is their own self-righteousness & dedication to thinking they are right & Everyone else is wrong.
It’s one thing to be confident in what you believe and another thing to force that on others.
It is one thing to share & another thing to shove.
Now, having got that off my chest I want anyone reading this to know I fully believe in Christ, His Word & i try my best to live in His ways, follow His teaching & even after 50 years i am still learning & as was pointed out to me in ECCLESIASTES we all need to make sure we have a balance in our lives, never letting service shut out our own family & loved ones as well as not letting anyone, including ourselves shut out God & our loyalty to Him.
There needs to be a balance & in this post i am expressing what God’s Word has also laid on my heart about that balance & the dangers of extremes in my life.
Yes i am sold out to Christ but that doesn’t mean by any means i am going to short sell others on knowing The Real Jesus Christ & all He really was, is & will be while accepting the fwct that everyone will accept that or be on fire for Him.
Here is the portion of Scripture from ECCLESIASTES:
I have seen everything during my [fleeting] days of futility; there is a righteous man who perishes in [spite of] his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who lives a long life in [spite of] his wickedness. Do not be excessively righteous [like those given to self-conceit], and do not be overly wise (pretentious)–why should you bring yourself to ruin? Do not be excessively or willfully wicked and do not be a fool. Why should you die before your time? It is good that you take hold of one thing (righteousness) and also not let go of the other (wisdom); for the one who fears and worships God [with awe-filled reverence] will come forth with both of them. Wisdom strengthens the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city. Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who always does good and who never sins. Also, do not take seriously everything that is said, so that you will not hear your servant cursing you, for you also know that you too have cursed others many times. I have tested all this with wisdom. I said, “I will be wise [independently of God],” but true wisdom was far from me. Whatever has been is far off, deeply remote and exceedingly mysterious. Who can discover it [for it is beyond the grasp of man]? I turned around and directed my heart to know, to investigate and to seek [skillful and godly] wisdom and the reason for things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness [leading to stupidity and recklessness]. And I discovered that [of all irrational sins none has been so destructive in beguiling one away from God as immoral women for] more bitter than death is the woman whose heart is [composed of] snares and nets, and whose hands are chains. Whoever pleases God will escape from her, but the sinner will be taken captive by her [evil].
ECCLESIASTES 7:15-26 AMP
Acceptance has taught me that there is a bit of good in the worst of us and a bit of bad in the best of us; that we are all children of God and we each have a right to be here. When I complain about me or about you, I am complaining about God’s handiwork. I am saying that I know better than God. –from Alcoholics Anonymous pg. 417.
Perhaps another helpful post is “My Acceptance Letter” realizing & remembering that God is in control of it all and everything, even the extreme things are as God is allowing them to be, including the past, right here right now and the future.
The phrase, “You suck” has always been a way for people to express how displeasing someone is.
I recall a youth leader clarifying that certain things and some situations, “SUCK DIRT!” Like a vacuum who’s job it is to collect dirt off the floor.
Using this phrase could be offensive to some i am sure, however, there is no denying the fact that in this life there are going to be things & people who try to suck the life out of things, out of us, but the good news is, Jesus Rocks, the oposite of sucking!
I recall around 2013 i heard of a group that used the phrase, “I suck without Jesus.”
Acknowledging that He is the only good, righteousness I can possess & the only way to possess it is for His Spirit to possess me.
The great thing is I have His Word as instructions as well. That backs up what He tells me in my heart, what He convicts me of personally.
Now, moving into the subject of making this my prayer I refer to how Christ explains how we should go about asking Him to rock our world & be our King, our Master.
“The world is full of so-called prayer warriors who are prayer-ignorant. They’re full of formulas and programs and advice, peddling techniques for getting what you want from God. Don’t fall for that nonsense.
This is your Father you are dealing with, and he knows better than you what you need. With a God like this loving you, you can pray very simply. Like this:
Our Father in heaven, Reveal who you are. Set the world right; Do what’s best— as above, so below. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil. You’re in charge! You can do anything you want! You’re ablaze in beauty! Yes. Yes. Yes. Matthew 6:7-13 MSG I’m realizing more & more that right now, in this life, I am part of His Kingdom & therefore will continue to be part of that Kingdom under His rule after I die, for His Kingdom is eternal. When I painted these words on these rocks I was so proud & knew it would be a grand reminder that “Jesus RockS and satan Sucks!” When the paint dried i realized that I forgot the “s” after the word rock & after the word suck!
Then i realized, it’s a personal prayer more than a statement.
Especially when I was a teenager I had to distinguish the difference between love & lust and i figured the best source to define love was God’s Word.
So, I went to His Word & looked for Love & what God says Love really is.
1st Corinthians 13 gives us the best definition.
Next time you say, “I love you” consider what love really is.
Next time a loved one mistreats you read 1st Co. 13.
Next time you feel unworthy of God’s love consider how much He loves you & what He has don’t in order to show you His love.
May we find, experience & express THAT 1st Co. 13 type love.
Song by Petra, “Love”
on Amazon Music
Love is patient, love is kind No eyes of envy, true love is blind Love is humble, it knows no pride No selfish motive hidden inside Love is gentle, makes no demands Despite all wrong, true love still stands Love is holy, love is pure It lasts forever, it will endure
[CHORUS] Love knows when to let go Love knows when to say no Love grows in the light of the Son And love shows the world that the Son of Love has come
Love is loyal, believes the best It loves the truth, love stands the test Love is God sent in his Son Love forgives all we have done
In this world where hatred seems to grow True love goes against the flow And becomes so hard to show
In this world where push turns to shove We have strength to rise above Through the power of His love Lord, we need to know the power of Your love
Fixing my eyes on Jesus The Christ, not renting space in my head to others, counter acting miss use of Holy Scripture with what God really says & means; these are the things i battle, not flesh & blood, and the way i fight is with HIS Word as my sword, all the while making sure i have on the armour He gives.
My love for Christ is no secret. My love for art, music & writing is also prevalent to those who know me. So I use those blessings as a means to help me counteract the doubt, confusion & struggles in my own mind.
For me a very helpful tool is to write verses from God’s Word with permanent marker or paint pens on stone.
Here are a few rocks i decorated with all this in mind…
Using this verse i wrote one of each attribute of God that i need to keep my mind fixed on & reminded of:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
Philippians 4:8 NIV
Reading the above blog post went perfect with the verse of the day:
“How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the path of sinners, Nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord , And in His law he meditates day and night.”
Psalms 1:1-2 NASB http://bible.com/100/psa.1.1-2.NASB
As many already know I am disabled. My legs just don’t work right and yet Spiritually speaking I walk with Christ & follow him.
Give Walk Like a Man a read (just click on those words & let it click with you).
Day 4 of the @YouVersion Plan “Pray Like This“. Blended so well with the story I wrote about a li’l frog named Charlie. In this fictional story I depict a simple frog who is living a luxurious life style. How unlike a lowly frog huh? However, as the story goes along our main character, Charlie, finds out all his needs are met, but only after having his former lifestyle sunk.
Although this story is fictional I wrote it from my own perspective of learning that when I lost some things in my life that I treasured I found greater value in things God provides.
I’ve broken down the prayer Jesus teaches several times and in my own prayer life I break it down regularly. It helps me when I focus in on each section & todays portion for this post was a deeper confirmation that not only God provides but that I need to acknowledge that provision.
Here is the reading from @YouVersion: The Provision of God
Jesus next instructed us to ask God to “give us today our daily bread” (Matt. 6:11).
This week we see Jesus make a transition to personal petition. When we ask God to give us our daily bread, we’re acknowledging some important facts about who God is and who we are. In His Model Prayer Jesus next told us that we should ask God to give us today our daily bread.
God is our provider. Whether or not we recognize it, we’re dependent on Him each day to give us everything we need. When we pray like this daily, we acknowledge that God alone can fulfill all our needs and satisfy us. We also humbly acknowledge that we can’t provide for ourselves.
Jesus tells us to present our requests to God—even requests for the most basic things of life like daily bread. When we do so, we recognize not only God’s great care and power for provision; we also recognize His wisdom in providing what we need when we need it, even when that might look differently than the way we think it should. This outlook requires not only a realistic faith in the power and wisdom of God, but also a great sense of humility that recognizes our dependence on Him.
God can be trusted. We know this from our past experiences because He has given us everything we need. But we also know this because He has ultimately provided for our greatest need through the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Meekness, I fear, is a very misunderstood word in our modern culture. One of the very best definitions I have found is, “An attitude of humble, submissive and expectant trust in God, and a loving, patient and gentle attitude towards others.” Meekness is mentioned often in Scripture, but I do not remember a great amount of time being given to discussion and teaching of the word.
We find it in Zephaniah 2:3, Proverbs 16:19, and 1 Peter 3:4. God also makes several promises to those who are meek in spirit. We find those in Psalm 37:11, Matthew 5:5, 1 Peter 5:5, Psalm 25:9, and Psalm 69:32. Meekness is a correct and worthy attitude in prayer, and we learn as we study that godly wisdom produces meekness. We have examples of meekness in God’s servants in Moses, David, Ahab, Job, Jeremiah, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Stephen, and the Apostle Paul. Jesus demonstrated a kind, gentle and meek spirit, as well, but that did not mean he was weak.
I particularly like the rendering in 1 Peter 3:4: “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.”
The short definition is “mild and gentle.”
“Meek” has been a difficult root word to translate and garner all of its meaning, and it means more than we generally assign to it. Biblical meekness is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control — i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness. We find in study that the English word “meek” often lacks this blend — of gentleness and strength that is fully needed to convey its merit.
Michael Krauszer writes that we can come up with a working definition of what being meek is. “According to the Bible, meek is being humble and gentle towards others and willingly being submissive and obedient to the Lord. It is not being selfish and arrogant, loud or obnoxious. Rather, it’s having a quiet but confident trust in the Lord and being willing and able to do whatever it is He commands. In regards to how a meek person would treat others, they would definitely be humble and gentle both in their words and actions.”
Numbers 12:3 teaches, “Now the man Moses was very humble (meek), more than all men who were on the face of the earth.” That’s a pretty bold statement. Moses never trusted in himself. In fact, there are instances we can read when he was afraid to do what God asked of him because he did not think he was qualified for it. But he later came to realize that God seldom calls the qualified — He qualifies the called. Many associate meekness with weakness, and they think of an attitude that allows others to run over you because you are fearful of them. This, my friend, is not meekness. In fact, some of the strongest men who have ever lived have been meek.
Seldom do I hear the word “humble” or “meek” used that I don’t think of the old Mac Davis song “It’s Hard to be Humble.” Sports editor Chad Cooper often sang it in the newsroom in the old days on a late night of putting the newspaper to bed. The thought is that the guy is simple all together and has it going on, and when he looks in the mirror, he just has to say, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re perfect in every way.” This is probably the most distant from humble and meek we can find.
The word “meek” has been used by doctors to describe a soothing medicine, by sailors to describe a gentle breeze, and by farmers to depict a broken colt.
How meek is our spirit and our walk today toward others? Remember, true meekness is strength under control.
Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
A look around my surroundings here in Florida & I easily see lizards. A closer look and I notice a few differen Types of Lizards Found in Florida.
Here is a video I managed to do of 2 different types of lizards. They notice each other, they express themselves & I thought they were about to fight, as sometimes they do. After the vid. I’ll write a few comments…
Brown vs. Green video:
Notice how the brown one pumps his body & pushes out a sack under his chin. The light brown one (who was bright green a few moments earlier) has changed its color & puff out his sack too. An answer saying, “Hey, I see you. You see me? I’m here & you don’t want you messing with me.”
The above vid. was shot after I shot the next one. Note the green one is turning darker brown within a few seconds & eyeballing a larger, much darker lizard above him.
Green turned brown:
The last vid. I shot is next. Note how bright green he is again long after being around the dark brown lizard, getting something to eat & ready to return to the green ferns where he lives.
Leaves area bright bright green again:
I’m fascinated by nature & exploring the science behind things and for me it just leads to a deeper acknowledgment to The Creator. It also helps me see some metephorical lessons/parables.
For this post, first I’ll share the info. about lizards then a deeper metephorical meaning I draw from it.
Here is info. I found and wanted to share in this blog post:When coming to Florida many people, including myself on my first visit, are amused by the scampering of lizards whenever you walk near a landscaped area. These little reptiles can be seen as a nuisance when they enter a home but overall they are a sign of a healthy landscape and offer benefits to humans. There are several species of lizards that live in the Northeast Florida region, some native and other non-native or invasive.
The most common of the native lizards is the Green Anole (Anolis carolinensis). These 5-8 inch long reptiles live their lives in trees and shrubs, changing color from green to brown based on the heat and sun and are able to climb glass and walls. However, they are not chameleons and are actually more closely related to iguanas.
The male Green Anole can often be seen displaying their pink throat dewlap, which they extend as a sign of dominance or as a mating display. One neat fact is that if grabbed onto by a predator, the tail of the anoles will break off and will regrow. They live their lives eating flies, beetles, and other invertebrates and are very common in the pet trade (I had a few growing up in Delaware).
Another very common sight in the landscape is the Brown Anole (Anolis sagrei). It is brown, often with white diamonds on its back, and has a shorter snout than the Green Anole with an orange throat dewlap. These were accidentally introduced from the West Indies in the early 1900’s and can be found throughout the state. This invasive species will compete for resources and eat the young of the green anole.
Skinks are a common variety of lizard, being mainly distinguished by their round bodies and short legs. The showy variety is the southern five-lined skink (Eumeces inexpectatus), which can be identified by five yellow lines running down the back of the body and a bright, fluorescent blue tail which fades with aged. The ground or brown skink (Scincilla lateralis) is another native skink that is 3-4 inches long and brown in color. Both of these species spend most of their lives on the ground around leaf litter and rotting logs but will climb walls and vegetation to get to food.
The Tropical House Gecko (Hemidactylus mabouia) and Mediterranean Gecko (Hemidactylus turcicus), are not native to this area and may be invasive, but little is known of their effect on native frog and lizard populations. Both of these lizards are brown in color, with large eyes without eyelids, and have large, spread finger feet. These invaders came from the pet trade and can often be found around your porch light or in garages looking for food.
Finally, one of the most overlooked and interesting of all lizards in this area are glass lizards. These lizards range in size from 15-40 inches long, are legless, oftentimes being confused for snakes. They can be identified by their narrow head, grooves running up the side of their bodies. Their movement is stiffer than snakes and are rarely seen as they spend most of their time underground or in heavy vegetation, feeding on insects.
These often overlooked members of the ecology of your yard can provide entertainment, watching the native lizards hunt, move throughout the landscape, and establish their social hierarchy. They also provide a level of pest control, eating many insects, spiders, and other potentially harmful invertebrates. If you would like to attract these lizards to your yard, provide shelter such as shrubs, trees, logs, or other hiding places along with a diverse array of flowering and non-flowering plants to bring in insects for them to feed on.
Think about this for a moment. The northern green lizard I filmed above changed its color from a very bright green to a dark brown when it moved from the green shrubs & into my shaded porch. It most likely also changed because it was excited (stirred) when seeing the other lizard. I’m thinking about this “green one turned brown”, it’s in its nature to change. It can’t help it, can’t control it. Its skin responds to internal instinct.
Until I looked it up I didn’t understand why 1 lizard was so different from the other. A Lizard is a lizard right? Can’t they all just get along? Just because they are from a different family do they have to fight or naturally not get along?
Well, the lesson for me right here, right now, is that all creatures are created equal & serve a purpose; however, each one’s behavior will vary according to their nature. Unlike humans, who become greedy & prideful, they aren’t fighting to show how strong they are they are just looking to survive and I witnessed today how they learned to share an area and both got to eat. I see & hear about humans of different races, cultures, political & religious beliefs fighting & even killing anyone who is not just like them. Our sinful nature may cause us to be prejudice & act contrary to how God wants us to be. All the more reason I need Christ to renew my nature & make me more loving, kind, forgiving & like Christ.
Jesus time & time again displayed love toward others who were consideted trash by others of a different upbringing, culture, race & heritage. Check out John chapter 4 & chapter 8 for yourself.
These civil wars, racial wars & disrespect to anyone different from us can stop. Christ has forgiven us & set the example that we should love & forgive others. Even for those that were cheering that he die he prayed for forgiveness.
We can “be” the difference and make the difference through Christ’s ability to change our perspective.
Not that we stop being human any more than a lizard stops being a lizard. Just as the green anoles changes from bright green to dark brown or other Chameleons turn even brighter colors, so also we are going to be “more colorful” at times but with Christ’s Holy Spirit living in us our nature, our trueself, our base characters will be more like Christ than we were when we didn’t know & trust HIM.
This lifestyle, relationship based, Christianity is a process of Spiritual growth. Becoming a follower is just the beginning, then it’s a matter of actually following, that is the continuance of holiness (being set apart for Christ).
Is the green lizard being a louse (like an unpleasant person) or is it just a different kind of lizard who may change its color but, none-the-less, it is still a lizard looking for food.
May we let Christ’s character, His nature, His Spirit live in us.
Also known as the Sunshine State, Florida provides habitats for lizards in its swamplands, forests and coastal regions. This southeastern state has warm temperatures year-round, which is a boon for cold-blooded lizards that maintain their body heat from external sources. Invasive lizard populations have increased since the 19th century and pose as a threat to the survival of Florida’s native lizards, which have to compete for food and habitat space.
Sand skinks, or Neoseps reynoldsi, are found in Central Florida–particularly Marion and Highlands Counties–and appear to be legless. This lizard has four legs, but they are small and virtually nonfunctional. As adults, sand skinks grow up to approximately 5 inches. These reptiles’ natural habitat are sandy areas, as their name suggests, and coniferous forests with pine trees. A sand skink’s reproduction period typically occurs in the spring.
The reef gecko, or Sphaerodactylus notatus, are only found in the islands of the Florida Keys and coastal regions of the Sunshine State. This dark-skinned gecko grows up to 2.5 inches when they fully mature. Reef geckos are primarily active at night. Humans have chances to see reef geckos under leaves and debris on Florida’s beaches; in urban areas, these geckos also live in ornament gardens. Physical characteristics include a pointy snout and boney ridges over the gecko’s eyes.
Six-lined racerunners (Aspidoscelis sexlineatus) belong in the Teiidae family of lizards; this reptilian family are also called “whiptails,” due to their long slender tails. The six-lined racerunners have dark skin with six light-colored stripes running from head to tail; male six-lined racerunners have blue bellies. Including its tail, these lizards may grow up to one foot long when they reach maturity. The hind legs of six-linted racerunners are nearly twice as large as its front legs.
Florida Scrub Lizard
One of the only endemic lizards in the state is the Florida scrub lizard, or Sceloporus woodi. This reptilian species belongs to the iguana family of lizards, although it is one of the smallest iguana species. As adults, Florida scrub lizards grow up to 5 inches. Some of the Florida scrub lizard’s physical characteristics are the spiny scales on its back and two dark brown stripes that run from head to tail. Florida scrub lizards are usually found on the state’s Atlantic Coast and near Central Florida’s lakes.
Northern Green Anole
The northern green anole, or Anolis carolinensis, is the only anole lizard native to Florida. This anole lizard is completely green, a coloration that allows it to blend into its forest habitat. Green anoles are found in South Florida sites, including Everglades National Park and greater Miami. When green anoles feel threatened or excited, their skin morphs into a brownish color. Green anoles also shed their skin on an annual basis.