Our Creative God

Summertime and flowers are synonymous for me. Splashes of color upon stems of green burst forth from the ground declaring the glory of God. These floral displays in gardens express the creativity of God.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Through flowers, God expresses His creativity in two ways. First, He produces posies in an array of colors. Then, He fashions multiple varieties of the same flower. God is always creating uniquely. He divulges diversity. God’s ability to finely tweak His creations is inexhaustible.

Yes, God is creative! God displays His creativity with human beings as well as with flowers.

God is an artist with paint pigments. God displays His love for color. There are red, pink, purple, orange and yellow flowers. For variety, He adds multiple hues of each vibrant color. God manifests His love for color and affection for people by creating human beings with red, yellow, black and white skin. He also allows for varying shades of each flesh tone. Some have said that God is colorblind when referring to equality among races. I prefer to think of God as loving all colors. That is why He creates us with differing skin colors. He is expressing His creativity. God is never mundane or monotonous.

God celebrates diversity through His creativity. Just as He creates multiple varieties of the same flower, He imparts a unique combination of talents and skills into each human being He creates. A myriad of abilities allow for law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, first responders, farmers, teachers, maintenance workers, lawyers, firefighters, refuse/recycling employees etc. An endless list of occupations and services fulfilled by God’s people. Exodus 35:35 says, “He (the Lord) has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.Colossians 3:23 instructs us, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Psalm 104:24 says,How many are Your works, O LORD! In wisdom You have made them all; the earth is full of Your creatures.God places potential within His people. The Lord says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.This promise is for all people no matter the color skin they exhibit or whatever job they fulfill.

Unfortunately, our human frailties have prevented God’s plan from currently being manifested on earth. However, according to Hebrews 13:8, “God is the same yesterday and today and forever.” He is still creating. God says in II Chronicles 7:14, “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

Psalm 30:5 NKJV says, “Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.Currently, our nation is weeping during a dark time. We weep over racial injustice. We weep over violent riots. We weep over loss of lives. We weep over disrespect for authority.

We desire the joy of the morning. However, joy can only come to fruition if we allow information to turn into revelation that will lead to transformation.

Romans 12:15 tells us to mourn with those who mourn and rejoice with those who rejoice. Now we are mourning. Nevertheless, may we look forward to gathering together as one body who rejoices. God created us with diversity. He has also created us for unity.

Genesis 1:27 says, “God created mankind in His own image. We are all created is His image to reflect His glory just as flowers are created to display His beauty. Let us learn a lesson from the flowers. Flowers thrive together regardless of color or variety. All plants gather in unity while displaying their uniqueness. The result is a stunning floral garden. May humanity gather together while honoring each other’s color and respecting one another’s abilities.

According to Psalm 139:14, all God’s creations are fearfully and wonderfully made. Flowers are part of God’s creation. They grow. All men and women are part of God’s creation. May we grow in our ability to reverence God and respect people.

Fathers as Builders

It is my privilege to honor fathers this week. On Sunday, we will be celebrating Father’s Day.

Fathers are builders.

God, our Heavenly Father, created the heavens and the earth. He is a builder.
Joseph, fulfilling the earthly father role for Jesus, was a carpenter. He was a builder.
A husband is the father of his children. He is a builder.

Fathers are biologically builders of families. They are also builders in additional ways.

Providing a pay check is a vital role for fathers as builders. The majority of fathers head to work most weekdays. They invest their time productively to earn a living. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a large number of fathers have struggled to build financially for their families. For many, working from home has presented new challenges. Some dads have experienced a decrease in dollars. Other fathers have lost their source of income.

However, fathers have not quit building. The “stay at home time” required by the coronavirus created opportunities for fathers to build in other areas.

Some fathers have undertaken home construction projects. Hammers and saws have replaced meetings and appointments.

Fathers have taken time to build stronger family ties. Dads have had the opportunity to interact more frequently with family members. Extra time for meaningful conversations. Time to go for family walks. Board games became popular.  Now interactive outdoor games are prevalent. 

Fathers are building deeper relationships with the Lord. Men become better fathers when their relationship with the Heavenly Father is built on a firm foundation. Jesus describes a faithful father in Luke 6:47-48. Everyone who comes to Me and hears My words and acts on them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built.

With the Lord as the Master Builder, biological fathers will succeed as builders of families and homes. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the LORD builds the house, the builders labor in vain.Through scripture, dads obtain the blueprints and plans from their Heavenly Father.

God builds men to be fathers of faith – not just fathers of finances. Fathers who have faith firmly built upon a relationship with the Lord are able to provide positive construction and instruction for their families. The role of being a faithful father (a father full of faith) is just as essential as being a financial father for the building of a family.

Jude 20 says, “But you, dear friends, by building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit.It is interesting that the Greek meaning of “to build” is “to build a home.” Marilyn Hickey says, “One of the ways we allow the Holy Spirit to make a home within us is by praying in the Spirit.” By allowing the Holy Spirit to live in their lives, fathers are able to build better foundations and homes for their families.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines a builder as “a person whose job it is to make buildings.” Yes, fathers are builders. However, they build something more valuable than buildings made of lumber and bricks. They are builders who help shape the lives of loves ones. Their time and energy, as well as money, is well invested.

Happy Father’s Day!

The Power of a Seed

In western New York, it seemed like spring could not decide to come and stay. Now summer is almost here. We delayed planting because we did not want our seeds to shiver and shrivel up. Finally, it is warm enough for us to think about gardening and planting seeds.

Gardeners have opened packets of seeds and submerged them into the ground. Shoots of new growth have pushed their way through the soil with the promise that more is coming. Seedlings are becoming mature plants. Soon, flowers and vegetables will be produced.

I feel like packets of spiritual seeds have been offered to me. Today, we will open 3 packets of seed promises. Join me as I plant these seeds in my heart. May our understanding of seeds begin to grow.

Never underestimate the power of a seed.”
Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love.
Hosea 10:12 NLT

Max Lucado is the author of this statement in The Applause of Heaven. Lucado continues to write, “Plant a word of love heart-deep in a person’s life. Nurture it with a smile and a prayer, and watch what happens.”

James 3:18 NLT, “And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” Seeds of peace produce a peacefulness within those who have received these seeds. Right words, thoughts and actions are produced.

Jesus says in John 14:27, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” We need to remember these words today!

Recently, diverse seeds have been planted in the land of the United States. Desiring new growth for racial equality, peaceful protest seeds were planted. Unfortunately, seeds of chaos and destruction also erupted. I am reminded of the parable of the weeds in Matthew 13:24-30. Both wheat and weeds grew in the same field. Matthew 13:36-43 explains the parable. We learn that the day will come when the weeds are pulled up and destroyed. For now, let us water authentic seeds of peace with the water of the Word.

Ephesians 4:32 NLT says, “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted.” A seed immersed in the heart requires loving care to grow. Lucado reiterates that a smile and a prayer are beneficial forms of spiritual fertilizer.

Prayer is the seed for a miracle.”
As soon as you began to pray an answer was given.
Daniel 9:23

On enlivenblog, Helen Calder shares, “Your prayer holds great power. It is the seed for a miracle. Prayer precedes power.”

Daniel 10:12 NLT says, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” Such an assurance for Daniel and for us!

As intercessors, we plant many seeds in the heavenly realm. The coronavirus pandemic and the recent riots have brought us to our knees. The answers to our prayers may not be sprouting as quickly as we would like. We still do not have the evidence of fully grown plants. However, every word we pray is a seed planted in God’s heavenly garden. We may not be aware of the miracles produced by prayer seeds we have planted.
(see post  https://anappleofgold.wordpress.com/2020/04/15/miracles-we-may-be-missing/)

The seeds planted in the ground look very different from the new plants that emerge. The same is true for spiritual seeds. The words of our prayers look quite different from God’s answers. His answers always produce the best fruit.

God plants small seeds in us so He can show others what He does in us.”
He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6

Our pastor, Robert Reeves, included the statement above in a recent message. A thought or a nudge or an idea may be the small seed God plants in us.

When God plants a seed in the garden of our hearts, are we willing to help the seed grow? Will we pursue the idea that seemed to “just appear” – or will we ignore it? Let us remember the words of Zechariah 4:10 NLT. “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.

Pastor Bob added, “The smallest beginnings lead to incredible things. God’s growth in you is attractive to those about to give up.” Hebrews 10:24 NLT says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.

As the gardener, God plants a seed (an idea or a thought) in us. If we plant that seed (carry out that thought), it has the potential to grow and become a plant in others. In turn, they may plant similar seeds in others. The result will be an abundance of fruit produced in a garden glorifying GodJesus says in John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last.

The smallest seed of faith God implants in us can grow into something incredible. Think about the parable of the tiny mustard seed that grows to be a massive tree. Matthew 13:31-32 says, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; and this is smaller than all other seeds, but when it is full grown, it is larger than the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in it’s branches.”

In conclusion, seeds are tiny but mighty. First, never underestimate the potential power within a little seed. Secondly, let’s prayerfully plant seeds being sure that they are rooted and grounded in love. Finally, may we rely upon the power of the Holy Spirit to help these seeds grow into incredible miraculous plants that are beyond anything we can imagine. (see Ephesians 3:14-21)

Max Lucado reminds us that we harvest seeds sown by men and women whom we never knew. And, we sow seeds to be harvested by men and women we will never see.

It’s time to plant seeds!

 

 

A Rabbit’s Tale

Early this morning I watched a rabbit outside our bedroom window. First, he was voraciously eating his breakfast of grass. He stopped. Then he persistently licked his fur. I guess he was taking a bath. Next, he perked up his ears and listened intently. He was very aware of his surroundings. Finally, he picked up is hind leg and scratched behind his ear.

I am doing similar things. Before breakfast, I open my Bible for some spiritual food. Jesus says in Matthew 4:4, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.I take a spiritual shower. Ephesians 5:26 says we are washed by the cleansing of God’s Word. I perk up my ears to hear what the Lord may want to say to me. Ephesians 6:18 instructs, “Be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” All these actions are especially important this morning because, like the rabbit, I am scratching my head. I am trying to figure things out. Last night there were riots in our city and many cities across our nation.

Last night, Saturday, there were riots creating fire. This morning, Sunday, is Pentecost celebrating the fire of the Holy Spirit. Two very different scenes, yet I find some similarities.

The DEATH of George Floyd caused people to riot, loot, overturn police cars and start fires. People GATHERED to demonstrate peacefully and express their concerns in the afternoon. SUDDENLY the atmosphere changed and chaos erupted. FIRE and anger raged throughout the city streets. People were FILLED with destructive bitterness and hate. Negative POWER.

The DEATH, resurrection and ascension of Jesus Christ paved the way for the Holy Spirit to descend upon the disciples and others. In Luke 24:49, Jesus told the disciples, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” So, the disciples GATHERED in the upper room in Jerusalem. Acts 2:1-4 says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. SUDDENLY a sound like a mighty rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw tongues like flames of FIRE that separated and came to rest on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.They were FILLED with amazement and awe. Positive POWER.

What should be our response to these two scenes?

First, we are to fulfill the words of II Corinthians 4:18. “We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Then, we are to call upon our God who sent the power of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost to work in the lives of those who demonstrated negative power throughout our cities. I John 4:4 NLT tells us, “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.

Deep down, the demonstrators want justice. They want justice for the loss of George Floyd’s life. They just do not know how to achieve it. As believers, we too, want justice to prevail. Proverbs 28:5 NLT says, “Evil people don’t understand justice, but those who follow the LORD understand completely.

We must not allow our hearts to turn to rage. We must leave justice in the hands of God. The Lord declares in Deuteronomy 32:35, “Vengeance is Mine; I will repay.Isaiah 30:18 says, “For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” Paul writes in Romans 12:19 NLT, “Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, ‘I will take revenge; I will pay them back,’ says the LORD.

Back to the rabbit outside our window. He has hopped away. I am still scratching my head.

Maybe I should quit scratching my head. It will be more beneficial for me to fold my hands in prayer. Our pastor has reminded us that our words about a situation will never have the impact that our intercession will have. James 5:16 says, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” I also like the New Living Translation that says, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

So, I hop away to my prayer closet. I remember, it is Pentecost and I have the help of the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 8:26 says, “The Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know how we ought to pray, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans too deep for words.

My Reader, will you join me in prayer?