Archive for February 2010

“Garden Fever”

February 11, 2010

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23

I have a fever. No, I’m not sick. I’m just afflicted by this fever every year about this time. I’ve got gardening fever. It’s a forerunner of spring fever. But it comes a little earlier, about the time the seed catalogs start to arrive, the days are getting a little longer and the “fever” starts to set in.

I enjoy looking at those seed catalogs. They are filled with pictures of bright yellow ears of corn, luscious red strawberries and watermelons – some the size of a small car! It warms me up a bit just to look at those pictures. Then my mouth begins to water as I imagine that corn roasted on the grill until the shucks begin to scorch, then pull them back and bite into that juicy, sweet … well, you get the idea.

But, the whole process begins with planting the seed. Those pictures, and the imaginations they provoke, will do little to actually feed anyone. It’s kind of hard to eat a picture of a juicy strawberry! You’ve got to plant to see the fruit. You’ve got to invest in order to reap the harvest.

We have opportunities to plant seeds every day. Seeds of love, joy, peace patience, well you see the list in the verses above. Some seeds sprout and produce fruit quickly, others take a bit longer. In the same way you may see the fruit of your efforts quickly in some cases, it may take awhile in others. But, unlike our vegetable crop – it’s never too early to plant these seeds. And the reward is even sweeter than that fat juicy red strawberry!

My prayer for you this week is that your eyes will be open to opportunities to plant those seeds into the life of someone. And, that someone else will plant in your life as well.

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Living Life in the Zone by Kyle Rote Jr. & Dr. Joe Pettigrew

February 8, 2010

The subtitle for this book is “A 40 Day Spiritual Game Plan for men.” And, it delivers on the promise. Of course, like any plan, to be effective it must be implemented. But, it does follow a very logical and well designed lay out. The book is divided into sections dealing with each area of a man’s relationships; his wife, his kids, his friends, his work and his future. You may look at the list and ask – “what about God?” Good question, and the answer is He is addressed in each one of the areas mentioned. He is not compartmentalized into a just for church or Sunday’s only category.

Each chapter is divided into several sections including the:

  • Coach’s Corner – the issue is candidly addressed
  • Game plan – what the Bible says about the matter
  • Playmakers – examples of personalities who demonstrate the characteristic addressed (or demonstrate the lack of it)
  • Time Out – questions to personalize the issue
  • Today’s Assignment – how to apply what has been discussed

This book is not a heavy weight study, but it is one men can relate to, and benefit from – if applied.

It would make a good gift for any married – or soon-to-be-married man. Due to the emphasis on marriage and children, I’m not sure a single guy would relate to it that well.

(I will be posting a few of these book reviews as a member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger Program J

Encouraging Words

February 5, 2010

Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. – Proverbs 16:23

I read a story recently about a bunch of tiny frogs. It seems they decided to arrange a climbing competition. Their goal was to reach the top of a very high tower. As the event began, a large crowd was gathered to see the race and cheer on the contestants.

When the race got underway, few in the crowd believed that any of these tiny frogs would reach the top. Comments were heard such as: “Oh, it is way too difficult!” “They will never make it to the top!” or: “Not a chance they will succeed. The tower is simply too high!”

The little frogs began collapsing one by one…. except for those, who in a fresh tempo, were climbing higher and higher. The crowd continued to yell, “It’s too difficult! No one will make it!”

Now, more frogs got tired and gave up…but one continued higher and higher and higher. This one tiny frog refused to give up!

At the end everyone else had given up climbing the tower, except for the one tiny frog who, after a big effort, was the only one to reach the top. Then all of the other frogs naturally wanted to know how this one frog managed to do it? One of them asked the winning frog how he had found the strength to succeed and reach the goal?

It was only then the losers learned the secret, for the questioner had to shout to get his answer. The winner was deaf and couldn’t hear all the discouraging remarks!

You know, in a very real sense, we sometimes find ourselves in that story. At times we are the observers watching someone else strive to go further, do better, accomplish more. But, how often have you caught yourself thinking – and then saying – he’ll never make it. She won’t be able to do that.

Think now of the times when you were the one striving for that goal. Hopefully, there was someone there who encouraged you, prodded you along with “pleasant words.” Sadly, too often that isn’t the case.

You have the opportunity every day to be an encourager to someone, maybe your child, a co-worker, a friend or a neighbor. Think of someone you can do that for today.

In your own life, don’t listen to those naysayers and pessimists. When you know you are doing the right thing, think: God and I can do this!

There is an old saying which says, “Don’t tell God how big your problems are. Instead, tell your problems how big your God is!” That’s true for you and it is true for those around you.

Is there someone in your life who has been an encouragement? Do you recall a time when you were tempted to give up and an encouraging word kept you going?