Stubborn Weeds

It was a beautiful mid spring day in New Hampshire, a totally different atmosphere from the snow of just a week ago. I was itching to get to my flower beds as it looked like weeds were taking over. I got my gloves and pruning shears and started to work.

On my hands and knees, I began pulling up plants and grasses that I did not want in my garden. Some came out with very little effort, while others I struggled to remove.

Smaller vine that is everywhere in my yard!

One vine in particular gave me a lot of grief. It seemed the more I pulled on it, the harder it held on and the root system went several inches under the soil and ran in more than one direction.

As I continued to pull, I noticed the vine had several off-shoots that I was eliminating as I pulled on this main root.

I’m not sure if the vine is bittersweet or Japanese hops, but I do know that it grows over everything, creating a barrier so sunlight cannot get through to the plants trying to grow in its’ shadow. It intertwines with other plants, climbing up their branches, and choking the life out of them.

After several hours, I had removed most of the plants I did not want to grow. I was amazed at how that one main vine looked like individual plants, but the root system underneath was actually attached to many plants growing on the surface.

Sin in our life is like that, a thought or group of thoughts within us that leads us to say or do things contrary to God and His Word. Groups of thoughts or behavior that stem from one main sin. They may look like it is only one “problem” area, but others are attached to it. We think they are helping us grow, but they are strangling us.

Choking out other plants as it entangles and grows over them

I think of how God must feel when He is pulling the roots out of the sins I am carrying, thoughts about myself & feelings that I don’t want to let go of.

I am sometimes uncomfortable when God is pulling the weeds out of my heart. I think I need them, and what harm can a little weed here or there do? 

They are strangling the Kingdom fruit He wants to produce in and through my life.

Some of the roots of continued sin in our lives can be very deep, similar to the vine I was describing.

Let’s look at pride as an example. The dictionary definition of pride is “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.”

“The Bible defines pride as arrogance, haughtiness and conceit. Pride emphasizes self over others, and it rejects God’s greatness. It leads to destruction.

Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride leads to destruction and arrogance to downfall.”

Root System

Pride is a big “weed” with deep roots that sprawl across our lives and grow other weeds on the surface. It is hard to uproot and does not like to be disturbed or pulled out. If we are to walk in the ways of Jesus, pride has to go and take along with it, the off -shoots that hide within its root system.

What other weeds grow along or stem from pride, you may ask? How about lack of empathy or indifference, wanting control or manipulating others, stubbornness (just like those weeds I was trying to pull out) and defiance, to name a few.

When God starts His “weeding” process, it can be quite painful. sometimes when He starts with one sin, He pulls out others that grow from it. But it is worth it, He is shaping us to be like Jesus, our perfect example.

When I was done with my weeding, my plants were standing tall, unencumbered, and free from the life-choking tentacles that were killing them. Just like you and I, as God continues to weed away our sin, we can be free to grow as He leads, and bear fruit.

Conform or Transform…

What does it mean to conform? A few definitions I found are “to act in accordance with the prevailing standards, attitudes, practices, etc. of society or a group.” “To adopt the form of those around you.” It is a verb, therefore it is an action that describes what we can do. We can conform to something.

What are some ways we conform? Maybe to house rules as we are growing up. Maybe to a new space as we go off to college or to an apartment. Maybe it is to another person we marry, and live with that has ways different from ours. Maybe we conform to a new schedule as we take on a new job or opportunity. There are many ways that we conform to people, places and rules on a daily basis. Most of the ways we comply may not harm us,  but God warns us about conforming to the world in Romans 12:2

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and pleasing will of God.”

The opposite of conform is to depart, vary, disagree, dissent and rebel, to name a few. What is the “world” that this passage is referring to? We have to live here on earth, in this world, right? There are rules that everyone must obey. What should I disagree with or rebel from?

The “world” in New Testament teachings comes from the word *kosmos, “an orderly arrangement, i.e. decoration; by implication, the world (in a wide or narrow sense, including its inhabitants, literally or figuratively (morally)):–adorning, world.”

It also means—and we need to pay attention to this—“the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ, a source of moral corruption, a danger to the spiritual health & life of Christians.”

The leader of all the chaos and moral corruption is none other than Satan and his demons. He tries to lead us astray. He tries to fill us with rules that are against God, Satan then manipulates people to turn them into immoral laws that contraction God’s Word.

Romans 12:2 goes onto say that not only must we not conform, but we must transform. Transform is also a verb. Something that requires our action. It means to make a thorough or dramatic change in the form, appearance, or character of (especially for the better). It is to change, renew, reshape, or reorganize. I like these two definitions, to turn upside down, to stir up.

As Christians, we need to be careful not to be dragged into the false lull of doing “What everyone else is doing”. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong, no matter how many are participating in it.

We also have to stand up to laws that are against God and against life. We need to take a stand. We cannot afford to be silent. But how can we be transformed?

By the renewing of our mind, our thoughts, our ideas. We can read God’s Word and seek Him…Seek an on going relationship with Him as we learn His character. We can pray & ask for His wisdom to be discerning in who to vote for and things to research in our laws and government. We can ask Him for the strength to make our voices heard and He will give us the strength to carry out His purposes.

Father God, Help me not to let this world squeeze me into its’ mold, but may I allow You to transform me from the inside out as I meditate on and apply Your Word to my life. May I be able to discern Your will and make the correct choices that You want me to make to follow & fulfill Your purpose through me & to make a positive difference to around me. Amen.

*https://www.bibletools.org//index.cfm/fuseaction/Lexicon.show/ID/G2889/kosmos.htm

Your Love Letter

Have you ever gotten a love letter? When someone took the time to tell you how much you mean to them. Do you remember how excited you were you to read the words from someone who loves you!

I was out walking with a friend today and along the path, I saw this heart shaped rock. I call this a God wink, when He draws my attention to things in nature that make me aware of how much He loves me! He loves you too!

Maybe you know this, or it may come as a surprise…But you and I…we have a love letter that was written to each of us. It is called the Bible, or God’s Word.

Right from the very beginning as recorded in Genesis 1, God talks about all He created, including us. In Genesis 1, after each day of creation, God looks at His work and He says it is good. Look closer on day 6, (Genesis 1:31). After God has created you and I in His own image—He says,“it is very good.” When He created us, He tells us that in His job of creating us—we are very good. Not “kind of okay” or “maybe I should have done this or that”, not “oops.”  NO, He says His creation is very good!

His love letter is full of instruction and guidance. This love letter is like no other. It is a written to a daughter or son by your Father. Your Heavenly Father. A perfect Father, with perfect love for us. No human knows the depth of us, only God knows all.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works. And that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You. When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would be more in number than the sand; when I awake, I am still with You.” Psalm 139:13-18 (NKJV)

Wow, the Creator of the heavens and earth thinks about you and me. His thoughts about us are so many they cannot be counted. We are wonderfully made. We are not an accident or a mistake. We are alive at the precise moment and place that our Creator has willed. You are on earth at exactly the right time, created with the exact features, personality and skill set that He designed. We are His workmanship.

In Ephesians 2:10 of the New Living Translation (NLT), we are called “God’s masterpiece, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand.”

No accidents, everything we are and even what good works we do is prepared by God beforehand.

“But the very hairs on your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:30 (NKJV)

Again, I say, WOW! I am in awe of how close He is connected to us.

There are many more things that God longs to tell you if you open your love letter.

I have a favorite anchor verse that I would like to share with you, John 3:16. See how much you are valued.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (NKJV)

In His love letter to you, God tells you what it cost, what He gave to show how important you are, how loved you are, how valued you are.

He gave His Son Jesus to die for us. Sounds like the end of the story…Nope!

On Easter morning…Jesus rises from the dead! Overcoming death, darkness and the grave to set us free!!

During times in your life when you are feeling overwhelmed, overlooked, under appreciated or unloved, or if someone is saying you have no value…open God’s love letter. If you want to have a relationship with the Creator of all, your Father, open your love letter. If you are unfamiliar with the Bible, may I suggest you read in the book of John.

Until next time, May God bless you as you seek Him.

Find me on YouTube at Tami Bemis Cole

Light in the Darkness

“For You will light my lamp; The LORD my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, By my God I can leap over a wall.  As for my God, His way is perfect. The word of the LORD is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” Psalm 18:28-30

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Just like the dawning of a glorious new day, God will light our way in this troubling & challenging time. Whatever giants we are up against and whatever walls we need to climb over to get out of this valley.

We have a God who gives us the strength to overcome. His Word is sure & true. He is our shield!  We certainly need a shield around us, protecting us now more than ever…against this virus going around and in all of our situations in life. We need someone we can trust.

We all need security, a solid reason to hold on, to know we will get through this.

We do not have to fear. David says in this Psalm, “For by You, I can…By my God, I can…”  For by YOU GOD, not by what we can do ourselves…but by believing & praying to the ONE Who is ALL POWERFUL!

I can, you can get through this, in His strength & direction…We will get through this.

Hold on, Trust Him and come under His protection, His shield. way is perfect. It may seem like chaos right now, but God is well aware of what is going on and He is working out His plan…His Perfect Plan.

My heart’s Desire

As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.” Psalm 42:1 ESV

I want it to be my heart’s desire to want to know God more. I sincerely want to want that.

Do you remember the song, As the Deer? Such beautiful words and condition of total surrender of heart.

“You alone are my strength, my shield
To You alone may my spirit yield
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

As the deer panteth for the water
So my soul longeth after Thee
You alone are my heart’s desire
And I long to worship Thee

You’re my friend
And You are my brother
Even though You are a King
I love You more than any other
So much more than anything

I want You more than gold or silver
Only You can satisfy
You alone are the real joy giver
And the apple of my eye”

I ask myself these questions. Why is it so difficult? Why do I not put Him first. Why is my walk so lukewarm most of the time? Why can I not stay focused on Him?

He is so worthy.

“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:11 (ESV)

I have a poor excuse. Life gets in the way and I don’t take time with Him. I don’t take time to sit at His feet and listen. I forget how awesome He is. I forget His Majesty.

My heart needs to put Him first. Time in His Presence is what I need. I want to hang on His every Word. I want Him to be my heart’s desire.

Sitting by the ocean watching the waves calms my soul and helps me to focus on the Majesty of God. I’m working on making Him the desire of my heart. How about you?

A beautiful day by the Ocean in Aruba

As the Deer written by Martin J. Nystrom. As the Deer lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc, Capitol Christian Music Group

Do Not Fear

“Fear not for I am with you; Be not dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. Yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

A great verse in times that challenge us…most recently with the corona virus concerns but also all the other troubles you & I have going on in our lives. This verse is so much more than just a great verse to speak. It is a truth we can anchor ourselves to and hold on. As a child of God, He has promised us, His children, to help us, to hold us up and has given a command for us to not live in fear. He wants us to trust Him, no matter what is going on.

We have an enemy in this world, his name is Satan and he has an army of demons (fallen angels) that are forever causing trickery, confusion & chaos. He is of the darkness. He deals in crooked paths, lies and death. He wants you & I to live in fear & anxiety. He wants us to turn our focus from God onto himself. He wants to be god of our lives.

If you do not call Jesus Christ Lord & Savior of your life, then Satan has full authority over you and you are in bondage.

But do not fear. The second you ask Jesus Christ into your life, the enemy no longer has control. You have been set free! You belong to God and He will help you. The problems in life may not all go away but you can receive strength & peace amid the problems. You also receive a forever home in heaven!

“For God is not the author of confusion but of peace…” 1 Corinthians 14:33 (NKJV)

“This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5 (NKJV)

JESUS says in John 14:6, I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through Me.” (NKJV)

So very different from what Satan has to offer…he deals in crooked paths, lies and death. They may seem good at first, but like an apple left out in the sun, it soon becomes rotten. Jesus gave His very life to set us free.

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36 (NIV)

You may not agree with or understand this information. I do not speak on my authority but on the truth of God’s Word. Search the Scriptures for yourself. Don’t live your life in fear for one more minute. If you want to know more about how to become a child of God, here are some verses that will help you understand the why & how:

First, admit that you are a sinner, that you have done wrong things, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23 (NIV)

Ask for forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (ESV)

Next, you must believe in Jesus as your Savior. He was innocent, yet He died on the cross in your place to pay your sin debt and give you eternal life. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one & only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (NIV)

Next, believe in Him, become adopted into His family. “Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John1:12 (NIV)
Confess that He is Lord of your life. “Because you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9 (ESV)

Lastly, choose to follow Him daily.” Then he [Jesus] said to them all: “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23 (NIV)
If your heart is ready to invite Him into your life, all it takes is a sincere prayer like this:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, I have done wrong things and I ask You to forgive me. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen

If you prayed this prayer for the first time, let me be the first to welcome you into God’s family! I would love to hear from you, email me at AnchoredInHim7@gmail.com. I encourage you to find a Bible preaching church and share your decision. Walk together with other believers and find encouragement on your journey!

Calm in the Chaos

In these times of uncertainty, we can remain calm.

I know that we need to take this virus seriously and be cautious. I am not in any way belittling the effects this can have on the health of any of us, especially those with a compromised immune system…but we do NOT need to panic or be fearful.

We can react in two ways:

  • A) We can listen to the media hype and join the chaos & confusion OR
  • B) We can look to God, adjust our sight off of the confusion, leave the feelings of fear, panic and uncertainty and TRUST God—with God there is PEACE, CALMNESS and REFUGE.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 14:33 (ESV), “For God is not a God of confusion but one of peace…”

We can make a difference to those around us, a much greater difference than we realize…by our attitude, by our action or lack of action.

In Experiencing God, a Bible study by Henry Blackaby…on page 159 of the workbook, it says, ““No one can sum up all God is able to accomplish through one solitary life that is wholly yielded, adjusted and obedient to Him!”

Our faith is most clearly demonstrated by our actions.

Let me ask you a question…with all this Corona virus concerns going on…what are you DOING? How are you reacting? A or B?

We have the opportunity now more than ever to be aligned with God, to be obedient, to be alert to the needs around us, especially to the elders of our population, to be the hands & feet of Jesus…to be the voice of calm in the chaos, to be the helping hand in all the grasping & pushing.

I choose option B. Let us work together… look to God, adjust our sight, leave the feelings of fear, panic and uncertainty and trust God—Let us offer His LOVE, His KINDNESS, His COMPASSION…the HOPE of Him to those around us.