My plumb tree. What a magnificent specimen of God's handiwork. My plumb tree has taught me many spiritual lessons of God the Father's work and purposes.
Last fall I had this plumb tree pruned way back. Way, way back. As I stood and looked at the pruning I was asked what I thought. I stated that it was really pruned and maybe a little too much but that it was okay, "We probably won't get any plumbs for a year until it grows back some." It was okay, I resigned myself to it and was almost relieved that I wouldn't have to deal with a ton of plumbs that usually com from this small tree.
I went our to walk my yard a few days ago and my attention was drawn to this tree. It was suggested to me that I come closer and look at the branches and what did I think. I was truly stunned. Because the leaves are so green and the immature plumbs are so green, from a distance of a few feet more the fruit was undistinguishable from the leaves. As I drew closer I could see that the branches were inundated with fruit upon fruit, quietly growing and maturing. Wow. In a few weeks there will be a huge harvest off this little tree and I already have friends who are asking for bags of this fruit when it is mature. Of course I said. I truly did not expect any growth of fruit this year but what do I know? God knows!
It made me think of how the Lord prunes His Believers from time to time. I can seem very severe with no hope of any fruit at all. The fruit we are to produce cannot always be seen but it is still there. Now, if the tree is healthy, the fruit will be plentiful, strong, and good. Believers in Christ can also bear bad fruit out of negative attitudes and actions. This kind if fruit is good for nothing and is cut off the branch and thrown into the fire.
We must be mindful at all times about the fruit of the Spirit that we are to produce in our daily walk with Christ Jesus. Mindful, having our mind full of these thoughts of fruit produced to better the Kingdom of God here on earth, to feed the family of God, to nourish our self and others. It is expected of us or we will be cut off and thrown into the fire. Our fruit as Believers in Christ are as follows::
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Which do you choose?
The Flame of a Candle
I was sitting by my fireplace with a lighted candle on the mantle. It was in a beautiful ornate holder, that allowed the candle light to shine through. I absently watched as I sat there, peaceful and quiet in my spirit. I began to notice the flickering
and dancing motions the flame was doing. It was gentle and slow, full of rythum and grace, weaving beautifully from side to side and up and down, but it remained in its boundaries, fulfilling what it was designed to do. I was captivated by it and began to think. What was causing the motion of the flame? Why did it not just burn straight up? I didn't notice any wind or breeze around me, it felt warm and cozy. Comfortable.
I began to think of how the Holy Spirit, the breath of God, the wind of Heaven blows.
The Word of God tells us that it moves quietly, unperceptively, unless we are attentively looking and watching for it. Like a gentle breeze that simply runs its fingers over the tops of a filed of flowers or long blades of grass. Who can tell where it came from or where it went?
So my mind and my spirit sit quietly to think on these things. This is how the Holy Spirit moves in the Believer in Christ, like this slight breeze that has the power to make flowers bob and weave in and out, the fire of a candle to gently dance in its boundaries. The Holy Spirit comes gently and with permission. His assignment is to teach and guide us in the Spirit of Truth and to empower us to overcome all the slings and darts of the devil. He will give us knowledge beyond ourselves as we call out to him, and He will give us wisdom and understanding to do the right thing. Quietly and gently, from our of nowhere to our heart and spirit. How can we possible live without Him? He is the Heavenly flame within our being.
Here we are, a brand new year. What will you do with this new year? How will this new year be different for you from the last year? Good questions, points to ponder.
I believe it is a season of transition. Transition is moving forward, challenges and changes to move through. Letting go of the old and embracing the new. Even in our relationships we much continue to move forward in that relationship. We must trust and embrace new things, and be confident and comfortable with it.
As a Believer in Christ Jesus we cannot remain the same as the day of our Salvation. We cannot remain as babies in Christ, refusing to grow up because it hurts or it is fearful of the unknown. Humans need to grow and to learn to give and produce. In our physical life this is so. We grow and change clothes from babyhood to adulthood. This is transition. My children use to have real growing pains in their shins as they grew up in height. Great pain was involved until the growing spurt was accomplished. It is the same in our spiritual life. We must grow in the knowledge and grace and mercy of Christ. We must grow in our understanding of who He is and how to truly serve Him and how to serve our fellow man. We must grow and transition into His power and His might, and what that means. We must move out of our comfort zone. Remember how the Lord told Peter to cast out his fishing net into the deep? Peter said he had already fished and got nothing, he had rolled up his net. He obeyed. He stepped out into the "deep", out into the unknown not realizing this was "the impossible with man but possible with God" area. He had such a harvest of fish that he had to share with other fishermen before his boat capsized!
Transition is scary, the unknown. It involves being "sifted". Sifting is to shake and test and get rid of all impurities or motives. There is personal sifting and there is corporate sifting. Ministries and business, homes and relationships all need sifting from time to time. You cannot have transition without sifting.
I think that as humans, as Christians, we have a tendency to think our transition
and sifting process is an attack of the devil and begin to rebuke him. Because of that thought we get in the way of what God is trying to do in our life and it becomes a mess and we become discouraged.
So, the next time God begins a transition and sifting in our life let us recognize His hand and get into partnership with Holy Spirit. Let's learn to get through it and grow up!
Stop fighting against it and bemoaning our state of being. God is doing a great work in us and for us. Let us rejoice in that; let us embrace this new year full of new processes and new things and of growth!
- Pastor Sandi
Luke 5:1-10 Peter's net into the deep
Judges 7:4 Gideon and his army
Isaiah 30:28 The nations and peoples Amos 9:9 Israel
Luke 22:31 Peter the disciple
Joshua 1:9 Joshua replacing Moses
2 Corinthians 3:18 personal, from glory to glory (level of growth, one to another)
My heart is moved in the traumas and issues occurring in my nation of America right now. The devastation is immense, almost too The multitude of ordinary people who are struggling with losses of all kinds is unfathomable to me. The question is always, "Why would God do this?" My question is ,"Why would man do this?"
I am reminded that the Word of God tells us that the rain falls on the just and the unjust at the same time. We live in a world filled with chaos and turmoil at the moment. There are ramifications for every act and we all get caught up in the same net. I believe that we Americans are living in a nation divided right now and we are not seeking resolution but our own way. It is a season of time where there is little discussion or debate, just judgement and bullying - shouting each other down. The heartbreak is of so many families enduring losses of homes, jobs, loved ones, and broken bodies.
I believe that America needs to remember what an awesome country she is and what awesome people we are who, at times of devastations, can rally together and rebuild into something good and healthy. These situations and circumstances happen to Christian and non-Christian alike, no favoritism involved. We have done this in times past, we can do it again.
One of the Kingdom of God's Laws is to "love your neighbor as yourself; to do unto others as you would have them do unto you." It is not easy to see the purpose or to understand all that is happening but I do wonder if it isn't to initiate us to come together, united in cause, to begin to heal up the division
that has been deliberately and purposefully brought into our nation. Let us rise up together as one person to make this healing possible. Let us learn to respect each other and to have discussions of our differences. So many people had stood up and become heroes in the last few weeks. Just ordinary people like you and me. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow we are the ones who need mercy and help!
We must be merciful to obtain mercy!
-Pastor Sandi Matheson
Matthew 6:7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall be shown mercy.
Luke 6:31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Leviticus 19:18 Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
Matthew 5:45 .....that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous
9.2.17 Unexpected Blessings
What are unexpected blessings? Do you recognize as they come? I
wonder if mankind is just too focused on his/her own agendas to really see the
amazing things our God places in our lives each day. Some of these blessings
come to us disguised as a loss or a trauma, a negative and as a
frustration. What if we truly believe God the Father is in control of our
life, as we allow Him, then we must
believe that He is aware of all things and allows all things. This is so hard
for us to do. We have our concept of what is good and what is bad. Have you
ever realized that something you thought was so terrible in your life actually
ended up being a crossroad of choice and a decision that changed the course of
your life? Even in death a new life has potential to begin. As Christ
died on that cross and His followers knew He was laid to rest, it was the
beginning of a brand new potential that the world and mankind had never known
and would never know again. His followers were distraught and fearful, full of
loss and grieving. There seemed to be no future and no purpose for them, their
loss was overwhelming. In the losses of my life I have wondered some of these
same things. As I have walked with the Lord now for many years I now have a
much better understanding and trust in Him. I have had the experience of
'seeing' how He has made new life and given new promise and hope to me through
all negative things. Even in some positive things I experienced loss of the
familiar, of friends, of comfort. As Believers we must come to the
understanding in our spirit that our God is good ALL the time and in ALL
things. He always has our benefit at the heart of all matters.
In 1 Thessalonians
5:16-18 we are told to " Rejoice always, pray without ceasing,
give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus
Romans 8:28 "And we know that IN all things
God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to
Many of my greatest blessings have come as the result of hard
times and loss. Dear Believer, do not be discouraged. Do not feel that God
doesn't care about you or that He has forgotten you or that He is angry with
you. None of that is true. Life happens, but He has promised to give us a way through
it and to bring a blessing out of it. Trust Him. Believe Him. Choose to see the
potential. Choose to grow up in Him! It will turn your weeping into
joy...... The enemy of our faith wants us to see the loss; our God wants
us to see a new potential. Remember, God IS good, and God IS good ALL the time!
-Pastor Sandra Matheson
Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is
good, for his steadfast love endures forever!
Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he
knows those who take refuge in him.
29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for
welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
It has been a fascinating few months in America. We have survived an emotional election and strong rhetoric, many differences of opinions and beliefs. So much emotion! What do we do now? We should do as we have always done: accept the outcome and move on to unite our nation and understand that in 4 years we can vote however we choose once again. The truth is, some have won and some have lost, and yet the world continues to move on.
Truth is a fine, fine line. Most of the time it is based on our personal opinions and perceptions. How many time have you hung onto your truth only to receive more information that ends up changing your truth? We must remember that not everything is as it seems to be. There is always a story and the truth will lay somewhere in between. We have forgotten that and we become so angry and so hateful towards others who do not think as we do. Why are we so threatened?
Let's make a choice, a decision, to begin to restore instead of tearing down. Let's choose to be kind instead of angry and hateful, to be patient instead of threatening. Isn't that what each of us want for ourselves? There is always common ground if we want to find it. We need maturity to do that. Let's make that choice and realize that these decisions will affect everyone, including you.
The real Truth is always found in God's Word, even if you do not believe in Him. His Word contains good, decent morals and benefits that everyone can be better from. We have no bottom line in our nation anymore, it is all up to whatever you believe and it causes us to quarel with each other. What if we attempted peace with some concessions? Let's give it some thought. Let's be adults instead of children.
- Pastor Sandi Matheson
Seasons of Time. I am impatiently waiting for Spring. I am tired of the cold and the wet, with smatterings of snow. Occasionally the sun will pop out for a day, or a period of time during the day - maybe even a few days at a time. I am delighted when I see the sun, I feel energetic and ready to do something. I am seeing hopeful buds on my trees and bushes, hope of spring and color and warmth.
Ah, it is but deceptive. I go out and it is terribly cold and crisp, not at all warm.
Do these bushes and trees know something I cannot perceive?
Isn't that how it is from time to time in our life? Something appears to be so right, so good, and turns out to be something not so good, something entirely different than what our perception indicated.
Matthew 16:1-3 "The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times." And in Luke 12:56 Jesus says, "Hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky. How is it that you don’t know how to interpret this present time?" He wants us to be able to "see" more than what we naturally see.
Things are not always as they seem to be. We cannot "see" spiritual things with our natural eyes. We must begin to discern under what is natural and believe and move in that discernment. My trees and bushes tell me Spring is close because of the buds, but my "natural" tells me it is far off because my body senses cold.
What are you discerning the times for? Do you need a breakthrough? Do you need healing, deliverance, provision, connections? Whatever you need, are you seeing with natural eyes or are you seeing "times, seasons, promises" that indicate your breakthrough is about to happen?
When we begin to pray for a change in circumstances or situations they "appear" to get even worse. We stop praying. Why? This is the natural colliding with the supernatural to bring about your answer, your change. Pray more. Pray with fervor. Pray with purpose and stand your ground. Your Heavenly Father desires to give you good things. Jesus says He came to give you life - and abundant life. Do not despair. Allow your faith to grow. Trust in Him. You have a God who does not lie, who has no favorites, who means only good for you. The only requirement is that you know Him and you trust Him. Give it a try.
- Pastor Sandi
ESV "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly."
Romans 12:2Galatians 6:9
ESV "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
ESV "And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."
Truth According to Whom?
Where do you get your truth? From the news broadcasts, from newspapers or magazines, from someone else's opinions? Truth can be subjective most of the time by what we want to hear and what we believe. Can truth be deceptive? Sure it can, It is called propaganda and is quite effective to sway a person or a nation. Throughout the world's history nations have been deceived and swayed and destroyed by propaganda, negative or positive. It all depends on what the Truth really is. Because there really is no bottom line today, only what each one of us will accept and believe, it is difficult to really know truth. The Good News is that the Great Father God of Heaven has already foreseen mankind's confusion and given the Truth in His Son Jesus Christ and through the Good News of the Gospel, The Bible.
Take time to read the Truth. Take time to read the Gospels to know who this Jesus is, and take time to read the Bible to know the Truth of things to come.
God's Word has not changed in over 2000 years + and is as relevant today as in times past. This Word covers every subject, every concern, every need man could possibly have, and gives us good healthy answers and directions to a life filled with hope and promise and blessings. Are you not tired of evil pervading your life and destroying everything you put your hand to? Are you not tired of relationships turning sour and being filled with pain and destruction? Read the love letters God the Father has taken time to write mankind, and the instructions for an amazingly good life Jesus has given to the Church. Just give it a try. What have you got to lose but pain and disappointment. Truth is very important. Let us embrace God's Truth for it never changes - no matter what is going on, no matter whose opinion is loudest, no matter who's agenda is strongest.
- Pastor Sandi
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
For the word of the Lord is right; And all His work is done in faithfulness.
He sent His word and healed them, And rescued them from their destruction.
The unfolding of Your [glorious] words give light; Their unfolding gives understanding to the simple (childlike).
My eyes are awake through the night watches, That I may meditate on Your word.
The Big Picture:
I am looking over my yard. At the moment it is dry and only beginning to come back to life after the abundance of summer sun. I can see spurts of green and the promise of a lush, green yard again. However, at the moment, what I see is a yard that is dry and brittle, it looks like straw to me; no life and no promise. I feel that this is like our lives sometimes; dry and seemingly without promise. It is hard to maintain the faith of good things to come when all we feel is being surrounded with dryness and no sign of life. It is hard to hold onto promises given and the hope that they will come true, manifesting in our lives. The transition from death and dryness to life and promise is a tedious one, one that takes persistence and patience. I am looking over my yard and trying to envision what I am hoping for, what I am expecting it to be. I have a concept, I have a dream, I have a vision within my spirit. I also realize that I must be proactive in the initiation of this vision, this expectation. What must I do? I must water the grass, pray for rain, weed and cultivate, plant, trim my trees and bushes for the promise of new growth and beautiful fruit to come. I must DO.
I think so much of the time we, as Christians, beg and pled with the Lord to bring about something He has already done. We must believe and appropriate and do our part. We must have faith that what we currently 'see' is not what will always 'be'. We see narrowly. We only see what is in front of us, what is tangible, what is in the natural. We do not use our spiritual eyes to see The Big Picture as the Lord does! He looks down and sees all the affairs of men and sees the outcome if we persevere, and if we do not persevere. I am purposing to see The Big Picture and to believe and appropriate the promises of God into my life.
We stand at the threshold of a new year, new beginnings, new changes, new opportunities, new promises. Let's take time to determine what our promises are concerning the cares of our hearts; let's determine what we must participate in to initiate the kind of change we desire; let's determine to lay down old heavy baggage; let's determine to be blessed and receive favor. Let's determine what we want as new growth and new fruit to come.
Our Lord has done all He can do for us on the Cross. It is up to us to appropriate and use the tools He has provided. Do not be fearful of changes to come, they are necessary if we want any growth in our lives. The Lord has a wonderful plan for each of us; let us embrace this plan in faith and expectation. Let us not be people of fear and hesitancy!
DETERMINE TO SEE THE BIG PICTURE.
- Pastor Sandi
Psalms 33:12-14 Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, The people whom He has chosen for His own inheritance. The Lord looks down from heaven; He sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth,…
Job 34:21 For his eyes are on the ways of a man, and he sees all his ways Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Revelation 21:5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
8.26.16 Salt and Light
How much is too much light? It is very hot at my house today and the sun is in full splendor. Every thing is bathed in sun and bright light and the heat of it is in full force. It is so bright that I need to shield my eyes to be able to see anything, or put on my sunglasses.
This concept made me ponder on the directive from Jesus for us to be the salt and light of world and what that means to me. We know that light dispels darkness and darkness is the absence of light. We know this. We know that salt is a preservative and a seasoning and can make us thirsty; and it can also lose it's flavor if left to sit and become hard. When it becomes hard, it is useless and is thrown out into the street to clean the street - it becomes abrasive and tasteless.
We need enough light to see clearly and to be aware of our surroundings, for hidden things to be revealed. We need enough salt to add flavor or to preserve our food. We need to be careful of how we use our salt and be the proper kind of container that keeps it fresh and not allow it to harden and become tasteless. Wisdom dictates we know this and can judge accordingly.
I have seen well meaning Christians becoming so dominant and so aggressive in trying to share Jesus that they literally block Him out and blast others with their own counterfeit light. It's like some of those halogen headlights that we randomly encounter at night on the roads. It is startling to me and I have to look away because they are so bright I cannot see anything else - and it concerns me that I don't hit something or run off the road. And, I am sure we have all tasted food that has been so generously salted we cannot eat it and must spit it out, or food that has no flavor to the salt at all, or salt that is hardened in the container because it has not been taken care of and we cannot use it. We should share our faith in Christ softly and gently, giving light on ignorance and salt on flavorless life. Kindly and with purpose. Slowly so it can be digested and acclimated. We should not ignore that the Gospel of Christ shared is to be 'salty' enough to make the hearer thirsty for more. We also need to be mindful that we are to be a good container that God can use and not be abrasive. No one wants to be beaten over the head with a big Bible!
Light and salt/flavor are essential to life and most people will receive it gladly, without being forced, when it is given freely and gently. You are the example. You are the container for this salt and light and you are required to be mindful of it and to care for it.
Let us be about our Father's business by sharing His Good News about His Son.
Let us learn how to be the Light and Salt in the darkness, the flavorlessness and hardness of this world, in a manner that will draw people in and make them want more - to feel loved and welcomed. Let us remember that we cannot deal with too much brilliant light all at once or too much salt all at once. Others can't either.
So, how do you give out this light and salt to those around you? Are you demanding and aggressive? Are you hard and set in your religious ways? Are you judgmental or critical? Or are you careless and uninterested, just letting your light go out or go dim and your salt to go hard and useless?
God is good. God is kind and gentle and generous. God is the same for everyone, He has no favorites. God desires that all come to Him and receive His goodness and His Life. YOU are the Jesus that most people will ever see. They will judge HIM by how YOU represent Him, once they know you are Christian. Remember. people 'hear' body language and actions more than they 'hear' words.
Let us serve Him well!
- Pastor Sandi
[ Believers Are SaltandLight ] “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven."