Weeds

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So I think I finally get it – after years of people telling me how amazing it is – I have finally experienced it for myself… gardening is pretty cool! For a while now I have often walked around my parent’s garden, and the next thing, an intense pain invades my foot and when I quickly pull it up I have a thorn (or thorns on a bad day) which need to be carefully extracted. This past Sunday Cammie and I decided to do some gardening as we are staying with my parents for the duration of the lockdown (thanks mom and dad!) My goal was to get rid of these pesky weeds which have been hindering my barefoot walks through parts of the garden – their time had come! So with garden rake in hand I began to gently pull at a visible patch of weeds and they slowly began to give way. I pulled and pulled and finally realized that I now had a bare patch of sand staring back at me.

Unfortunately while pulling up the weeds I also pulled out all the grass in that area as well… my bad! So I thought, “I must persevere! Maybe I just needed to refine my technique a bit!” Unfortunately my second attempt was no better than the first as this time I decided to throw on some gloves and tackle the task by hand with no luck. When I took time to investigate the patch where there was once grass and weeds I noticed the intricate network of roots that kept these weeds alive. To the best of my knowledge they had intertwined themselves with the grass and it would be really difficult, or next to impossible, to extract them without uprooting the grass as well.

Upon pondering on this experience I was reminded of these words by Jesus:

24 He presented another parable to them: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while people were sleeping, his enemy came, sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 When the plants sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also appeared. 27 The landowner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Master, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Then where did the weeds come from?’ 28 “‘An enemy did this,’ he told them. “‘So, do you want us to go and pull them up?’ the servants asked him. 29 “‘No,’ he said. ‘When you pull up the weeds, you might also uproot the wheat with them. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At harvest time I’ll tell the reapers: Gather the weeds first and tie them in bundles to burn them, but collect the wheat in my barn.’” – Matthew 13:24-30

In Jesus’ kingdom there are good seeds who represent His disciples and weeds who represent false believers and teachers who Satan has sowed amongst these disciples. We see that these false believers and teachers will be present with us to the end of this age and are sometimes quite difficult to tell apart from the true disciples of Jesus. What does this mean for us as disciples then? Are we supposed go out expending all our energy tracking down and ripping out all those who we expect to be weeds? No – according to this parable these people will one day have to answer to God.

Instead of going on a weeding expedition I think what would benefit us all the more is to allow the Holy Spirit to cultivate in us the evidence of His presence in our lives, enjoying the positive influence we can have on the world while being genuine disciples of Jesus:  22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control – Galatians 5:22.

I don’t know about you but I think the world is in need of a lot more of all these fruits which we have to offer!

Much love,

Luke

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He Refreshes My Soul

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You would think that with the slower pace of life during the lockdown that you find yourself more at peace, more refreshed. And yet, despite the neighbourhood being quiet, my mind has not been so. There are so many messages, news articles, Christian posts and opinions flying about that I found myself growing weary of it all.

Living in the information age, the skill we have to develop is not so much the acquiring of information but rather to be discerning in what we take in. Not all good things are good for me.

I got to thinking, how do I simplify my thoughts? How do I de-clutter my mind? I recalled the words of that old chorus:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus
Look full, in His wonderful face
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim
In the light of His glory and grace

It’s like when a camera changes the object of its focus, the background becomes blurred and no longer distracts from what is before you. Focusing on Jesus helps us to quiet our minds. He fills our thoughts and we find peace amidst the storm.

I love the way the ISV Bible translates Psalm 62:1-2

My soul rests quietly only when it looks to God;
    from Him comes my deliverance.
He alone is my rock, my deliverance, and my high tower;
    nothing will shake me.

I can understand why Jesus would often draw away on His own, during his time on earth. There must have been a multitude of concerns and responsibilities weighing down upon Him. Yet He was always at peace, for His focus was on the Father.

Psalm 23 declares:

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
   He leads me beside quiet waters,
    He refreshes my soul…

If you are weary, if your mind is cluttered, if your home is noisy and it’s difficult to find some peace, know that in Him there is rest and refreshment for your soul. Focus on Jesus and let the rest fade into the background.

God Bless

Graham

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Strong God

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We are now entering the second day of the lockdown, the second day staying at home. I can only just thank the Lord for our home, a place where I know His peace rests – despite all the noise! There are certainly far worse places to spend 21 days, and that’s what is on my mind this morning. For my family, home is a place we want to be – at least most of the time, in a push my kids would probably say their grandparents homes would be preferable! But for some others home is not a place they want to be. For them home is a place of argument and conflict, even of physical or emotional abuse. Home may be a place of loneliness. For some, these 21 days are a sentence, a prison lockdown. This is a difficult and sad reality to acknowledge.

It is in thinking of those who face this difficult situation that I read the words from Psalm 68:4-6.

Sing praises to God and to His name!
    Sing loud praises to Him who rides the clouds.
His name is the LORD
    rejoice in His presence!

Father to the fatherless, defender of widows—
    this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families;
    He sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.
But He makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.

My God is a Strong God. He is a Father to the fatherless, a Defender of the most vulnerable. He is near to the lonely, drawing them into His family where they are loved. He sets free those who are imprisoned, even though they are locked down. I will sing the praises of my God because He is able to save those who are in danger, He will heal the hurt, He will preserve the suffering enabling them to endure. Though I am powerless to help the vulnerable and afflicted, He is not. Therefore I will pray and ask Him to rescue them, to protect them, to comfort them, to set them free in their hearts so that they would fear no man.

Please join me in praising our Strong God. Father to the fatherless, defender of widows – this is God

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Small Changes

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Yesterday, despite being quite hectic, started well enough by replacing a little part in my engine. I have not invested much time into “handy man” type activities and I enjoy it when I have the opportunity to do something technical with my hands even when I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing.

So this little part (seen in the image to the right) is called a Coolant Temperature Sensor (I think), and it plays a large role in the car starting effectively and a bunch of other important stuff which I’m sure many of the mechanically minded people can tell me about. Anyway, I replaced the part and the car started! The day couldn’t have begun any better!

Cammie and I did some last minute running around like filling up with some petrol just in case we needed to get to the shops during the lockdown and on our way home my car started shouting at me! I looked down and saw that it was informing me that it was currently overheating and would probably be a good idea if I stopped before the engine exploded! The cause of all this car drama was that the new sensor I had just installed wasn’t functioning correctly. While my car was now starting just fine this new sensor was causing a whole different problem.

A Coolant Temperature Sensor (I think...)

What I got from this rather frustrating experience is that small changes can make a big impact. This one little part in the engine if not functioning properly can cause a multitude of problems and if simply changed to a functioning part makes everything work as intended. And this got me thinking – what areas of my life are currently not functioning as optimally as possible?

I must admit, with everything going on in the country at the moment it is easy to fall into negative patterns of thinking. The problem is that if we allow our minds to fixate on negativity this will lead to impacting what we believe and if negative beliefs are not challenged this can then impact how we behave. It is a domino effect – Our mind can impact our heart and our heart can impact our actions.

While doing some research on the topic I came across two scriptures which show us how making small changes in how we think can clearly impact us for the better:

2 Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God – Romans 12:2

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you – Phillipians 4:8-9

Much love,

Luke

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