Tag: grow

May 26 Help me stay connected

wine-berries-694198_640

Father, thank You for making it so easy to understand:

“You are the vine, I am a branch.”

Even I can see how that example plays out.

I have seen branches broken off of trees and bushes after a storm, or ones I have cut off to prune or shape a plant.  When they have been severed from the plant, they die.  They are no longer attached to the system that delivers nutrients from the ground and water, or sunlight that cause growth and sustain life.

So it is with me in my relationship with You.  I am a part of You, connected to You.  From You, I receive what I need to grow and sustain my life.   In You, I can lead a Christian life and bear fruit.   Apart from You, I no longer bear fruit, and will wither.   Impress on me how to stay connected, Lord.  Your Word remaining in me is one way.  That means I need to be reading it, studying it, even memorizing it to keep it “in” me.  Obeying what You tell me, is another way I remain in You.  And loving others is another.

Father give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word.  Help me set aside time each day, and be excited to spend time hearing from You.  Let Your Words rattle around in my mind so that I think about them even after I read them.  Increase my understanding when they direct me to do something, or stop doing something.  Do not let me be distracted or dissuaded from obeying what You say.  And let me show Your love to others in my actions, my words and my attitudes.

Thank You for teaching me how much I need You and depend on You for my very life.  Thank You for using examples I can understand and put into practice.  Amen

John 15:1-17

 

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May 22 Make me a seed

sunflower with seeds“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed.  But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

I love this picture!

Once again, an illustration that the people of the day would have understood intuitively.  I am not a farmer, but I have planted a few things.

When I put a kernel of corn in the ground, it produced a cornstalk with two ears with many rows of corn kernels on each ear.  Had I dug under the stalk to find the original seed kernel, it would not be found.  It grew into the new plant.  How it looked when it was put into the ground, changed as it gave it’s energy to the new plant.

Same thing when I planted peas and sunflowers.  I took a recognizable seed, the part we eat, and it was transformed into a new plant.  The pea, into a vine with many pods of several peas each.  The sunflower seed, into a giant sunflower with a disk of hundreds of seeds.

So, I believe, it will be with me.  Lord, make me a seed that produces a hundred-fold harvest of new seeds.  Take my words and my actions and let them reproduce, inspire, encourage and enlighten people.  Let them draw unbelievers to You.  And let believers be strengthened.

I can be the seed, Lord.  But only You can choose the type of soil, provide the rain, the sunshine, the nutrients that are needed to bring the harvest.  May the harvest You bring forth from my seed, bring glory to You and to Your name.  Amen

John 12:24

May 15 Faith like David

picture by Malcolm Gladwell

painting-david-and-goliath

 

Father, let my faith be like that of David.

As a child I learned of the battle of David and Goliath.  I have seen it reenacted in pictures, on felt boards with paper figures, in Claymation, live with children or adults in costume, and in movies about the Bible.  I think most people know of it as it has been referenced in many tv shows, movies, and news stories to describe any underdog fighting an overwhelmingly huge giant, whether in sports or business, countries or individuals.

In three main ways, I ask that You would grow my faith to be like David’s.

1 – He was able to look beyond himself.  He did not just take Goliath as a personal threat the way the soldiers did, but recognized someone in defiance of You.

Like most people, I interpret things in light of how they affect me, or my family.  That limits the scope of the solutions I can perceive.  It puts the focus on me to find a solution that I can perform.

David saw an affront to You, making it Your battle.  “Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God?”

2 – He trusted that You had already prepared him for the battle.  “When a lion or bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it, and killed it.”

And because of that, was able to turn from pressure to do what others suggested – the armor, helmet and sword.

I trust that You have already brought circumstances into my life to teach me how to deal with things.  And that this has prepared me for what is to come.  You have already intentionally, purposefully, given me spiritual gifts, talents, abilities, and experiences to make me who I am.

Help me use those things instead of feeling like I have to conform to what others expect of me.  Give me confidence in Your preparation for whatever battle I face.

3 – He voiced confidence in You and gave You the glory for the victory even before it happened!  “…but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty.   This day the Lord will hand you over to me…and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel.”

My confidence is not always so certain.  Sometimes I even try and do things with as little notice as possible, so if I fail, it won’t reflect badly on You.   This is another way I focus on myself, and what I can do.

Help me see that the battle is Yours.  And You can conquer all Your enemies!  You will attain the victory!

Father, let my fear shrink and my faith grow!  Let me look beyond myself to all You can do in and through me.  I trust in Your purposefulness and Your preparation.  Help me exemplify all this in the challenges I meet.  Amen

I Samuel 17:1-58

Apr 2 Lord of the Harvest

markus-siemens-187509

“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.”

Lord, I didn’t grow up on a farm like my father did, so many scriptural references to farming culture require research for my understanding.  I do understand that a crop is planted and cared for, grows, and when it reaches maturity is harvested in some fashion to gain the benefit of consuming it.

A pastor pointed out in a lesson, that as wheat grows, the topmost part of the stalk called the head, is where the grain is that constitutes the consumable portion of the plant.  As the individual kernels of wheat mature and ripen, they grow larger and heavier.  When the head of the stalk is heavy and bowed down, it is ready for harvest.

So also, he said, it can be observed with people…

The analogy here is that You Lord, are the farmer, the Lord of the harvest.  You plant and care for people in that You have ordained when each one of us will be born, and where and to whom.

People grow and mature also.  You “harvest” us when we are ready to accept the truth that You are the One True God; and believe that Your Son Jesus died on the cross for our sin as the only way to be reconciled to You, and confess with our mouth that we accept that reconciliation and will serve You as our Lord.  When we are reconciled to You, we can help with the harvest, bringing others to know You.

As I can now share the truth with others, there are many ways of reaching people with Your message of good news.  One thing I can look for, to see if people are ready to hear, is the same as with the wheat: when their heads are heavy and bowed down!

For many people, they must come to the end of themselves and their efforts before they are ready to accept You into their lives.   One way to recognize this, is that they will often look tired, worn out or discouraged.  It may be that all I have to do is ask how they are, or what is wrong, or if there is anything I can pray for them about, to do my part in the “harvesting.”

Father, help me be mindful of people who are ready to hear about You and how much You love them and want a personal relationship with them.  Give me the time to listen, and the words to say that will help me be an effective worker in the harvest.  Amen

Luke 10:1-4

Mar 9 The Olive Tree

olive and me

O Father, thank You for teaching me about the significance of an olive tree.  As I studied in the Garden of Gethsemane, I learned of the value of all that the olive tree stands for and produces.

 

So I pray the verses with new understanding:  “As for me, I am like an olive tree flourishing in the House of God”

As for me, Lord, may I be like a green olive tree flourishing in Your House:

May I be alive, vibrant, and growing

May I produce abundant fruit in season,

May I have long thick roots that penetrate deep into spiritual soil.

May I grow protected from harm and harshness because I abide in Your House O Lord.  Thank You that as my gardener, You tend to me personally to be sure I have everything I need to grow healthy and strong.

May I grow in community, surrounded by others, our roots and trunks intertwining like olive trees grow, without comparing myself to them, but shading them, and drawing needed shade from them.

May I draw on the strength of being in community with those You have placed around me so I can persevere and remain strong even when the winds come, leaning on others and providing stability for them in return.

May I stand in the midst of others for years and years and years to come, like the two 2400 year old olive trees in the Garden of Gethsemane.  They stood by You as  You knelt on that fateful night and prayed before Your arrest and Crucifixion.

Let me be like the olive tree that is both beautiful to look at and amazing in purpose. May others see me and see Your care, and be drawn to You through me.

As the olive tree produces food to eat, and oil for lamps, soaps for cleansing, and ointments for anointing and healing; let me be nourishment and light and cleansing and blessing and healing to those around me.

I will trust in Your loving-kindness and unfailing love for ever and ever –

Even when I am confused

Even when I can’t see Your will at work

Even when I don’t feel Your presence

Even when the world denies it

Even through tears and pain and sorrow

I will thank You for all You have done

I will hope in Your Name, for it is good

I will praise You – forever.  Amen

 

Psalm 52:8-9

Nov 3 Nourish me, Use me

Father, I am at a point where I “grieve and lament over the detestable things that are done” in my country.  Part of the problem is that people have been led astray by those who know better, and who should be teaching others what is right.

headinthesand

 

Part of the problem is that those who know, stick their heads in the sand in denial or so they will not be uncomfortable.

And part of the problem is that those who don’t know are not even searching for the truth.

I believe there will come a time when You will respond as You did in Ezekiel’s vision: with judgment.

You had all the people marked who grieved and lamented over the ungodly and detestable things done.  And then You sent “a man clothed in linen” through the city, killing anyone without the mark.

Father, take my head out of the sand!  Show me what I need to know and how to fight against things that are detestable to You.  Don’t let me live just for the sake of being “comfortable.”

If I am being led astray in any area of my life, get my attention and show me how to get back on the path You want me on.  Keep me on a diet of solid spiritual food, so I can be nourished by Your Word daily.

Grow me to maturity in You.   If I am to teach, show me who and how.  Do not let me call evil good; or good, evil.  But strengthen me to speak up for right.  Even in a society that has its values upside down.

Father, You also say to “make known among the nations what You have done.”  So help me know how to speak to unbelievers in a way that reaches them with Your truth.

Lord, I glory in Your Name.  I look to You.  I seek Your face, Your strength, Your blessing, always.  Amen

Ezekiel 9:1-11; Hebrews 5:11-14; Psalm 105:1-6

May 26 Help me stay connected

wine-berries-694198_640

Father, thank You for making it so easy to understand:

“You are the vine, I am a branch.”

Even I can see how that example plays out. I have seen branches broken off of trees and bushes after a storm, or ones I have cut off to prune or shape a plant. When they have been severed from the plant, they die. They are no longer attached to the system that delivers nutrients from the ground and water, or sunlight that cause growth and sustains life.

So it is with me in my relationship with You. I am a part of You, connected to You. From You, I receive what I need to grow and sustain life.   In You, I can lead a Christian life and bear fruit.   Apart from You, I no longer bear fruit, and will wither.

Impress on me how to stay connected, Lord. Your Word remaining in me is one way. That means I need to be reading it, studying it, even memorizing it to keep it ‘in’ me. Obeying what You tell me, is another way I remain in You. And loving others is another.

Father give me a hunger and thirst for Your Word. Help me set aside time each day, and be excited to spend time hearing from You. Let Your Words rattle around in my mind so that I think about them even after I read them. Increase my understanding when they direct me to do something, or stop doing something. Do not let me be distracted or dissuaded from obeying what You say. And let me show Your love to others in my actions, my words and my attitudes.

Thank You for teaching me how much I need You and depend on You for my very life. Thank You for using examples I can understand and put into practice. Amen

John 15:1-17

May 22 Make me a seed

sunflower with seeds

 

“I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”

I love this picture! Once again, an illustration that the people of the day would have understood intuitively. I am not a farmer, but I have planted a few things. When I put a kernel of corn in the ground, it produced a cornstalk with two ears with many rows of corn kernels on each ear. Had I dug under the stalk to find the original seed kernel, it would not be found. It grew into the new plant. How it looked when it was put into the ground, changed as it gave it’s energy to the new plant.

Same thing when I planted peas and sunflowers. I took a recognizable seed, the part we eat, and it was transformed into a new plant. The pea, into a vine with many pods of several peas each. The sunflower seed, into a giant sunflower with a disk of hundreds of seeds.

So, I believe, it will be with me. Lord, make me a seed that produces a hundred-fold harvest of new seeds. Take my words and my actions and let them reproduce, inspire, encourage and enlighten people. Let them draw unbelievers to You. And let believers be strengthened.

I can be the seed, Lord. But only You can choose the type of soil, provide the rain, the sunshine, the nutrients that are needed to bring the harvest. May the harvest You bring forth from my seed, bring glory to You and to Your name. Amen

John 12:24

Sept 25 Unity and Maturity

hand-453220_640Father, the words Paul writes to the Ephesians become my prayer today. Help me “live a life worthy of the calling I have received.” Help me understand the life You have called me to. In dealing with others, help me be less self-centered and more God-centered in the way I treat people, make decisions, and respond to circumstances.

Every day, let me ask: ‘Am I living the life You died to give me?’

Toward that end, help me be “humble and gentle”. Show me how to walk away from pride, arrogance, conceitedness, and that attitude of superiority that so easily entangles me. Teach me to “be patient”, and treat people with love. When I am frustrated, let me bring that to You so You can disarm it before it becomes anger and resentment.

Father, with so many people who call themselves by Your Name, there will be differences. Help me to see past the differences that don’t matter in order to support the unifying beliefs that do make a difference. Help me use the gifts You have given me, spiritual and otherwise, to build up Your body, believers, so that we all become a mature, complete body with You as the head.

Then I will no longer be “tossed back and forth by the waves, blown here and there by … the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” Help me become so familiar with Your Word that I recognize the crafty, deceitful teachings of the world. Bless me as I make time to read and study Your Word, Your love letter to me. Reveal its meaning and show me how to apply Your wisdom to my life.

Thank You Father, that Your Word is true. That it teaches. That it encourages. And guides. And comforts. And helps me grow more and more in step with You. Amen

Ephesians 4:1-16