John 18:11 Accepting What God Gives

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Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” John 18:11

The disciples were in a garden and had just finished praying when a group of soldiers and leaders came up to arrest Jesus. Peter tried to defend Jesus and cut off a servant’s ear with his sword. Jesus rebuked him saying that He needed to drink the cup His Father had given to Him.

People love to accept gifts that are good gifts. The definition of good gifts, is gifts that are usable, helpful, makes a person feel good and are pleasurable. They are eager to accept these gifts because they are usually what the person wants.

There are many times that a person gets a gift that he really does not want. Such as a child getting a pair of socks for Christmas. The child wanted toys more than clothes. The child is very disappointed with the socks, because it is not what he desired.

Adults get the same way. They will get some gift that they really did not want. Although most adults don’t complain out loud, they do mumble under their breath at not wanting it.

Believers in God have the same problem. God gives things to people all the time. Sometimes those things are physical things, other times it is situations. When the good things come in, people are happy. They like when they get great favor, a pay raise, repairs done, a healing, the needed sleep, and other ‘good’ things.

However, along with giving ‘good’ things, God also gives, what appears to be ‘bad’ things. There are times of sickness, breakdowns, job loss, persecution, hatred and more. As with Jesus getting arrested, these things appear to be bad.

The important thing to remember is that God only gives you what is best for your life. God will not give you anything that will not be for your benefit. Even the bad things can be for your benefit.

When a bad situation happens, it is time to turn to God for strength and direction. It is not a time to fight back and complain of what is happening.

Trust God that He knows what is best for your life. So accept all things that He puts in your path. Do not accept only the good and reject what appears to be bad. With God, all can be used for good.

I pray today that you will see God giving you all that you need; that you will trust God’s provisions; that you will seek God’s strength in tough times; and that you will give God thanks for everything.

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Renewed Life

As I was preparing my garden for the fall planting, I had to remove some of the dead plants from the spring planting. Most of the plants had completely dried up and died. The main reason for that was back in June, we had some devastating rain storms and animals getting into the garden eating most of the plants. After that point, I just let the garden go, not really expecting any more.

Two of the plants that were both eaten down and blown down by the winds and rains, were my tomato and green pepper plants. I had already received a good number of green peppers from the pepper plants, so I was not really concerned about them.

However, with the tomato plants, I had not received any tomatoes by that point. There were many growing, but were still green. I was very disappointed at the loss.

As I said at the beginning, I was beginning to remove all the dead plants. When I got to the green pepper and tomato plants I was surprised to find out that neither set had died. Over the last week I have already pulled about ten green peppers and have several dozen more just about ready to be picked.

For the tomato plants, there were many flowers on them about ready to produce a tomato. There were also a good number of green tomatoes already forming. Within the next two weeks some of the tomatoes should be ready for the picking.

I was very excited about the life these plants had. It was a renewed life, after what I thought was a confirmed death sentence.

Thinking about my garden made me think about life. Often we go through life and hit some devastating event in our lives. We think that everything is over and nothing more can happen. These events can be a death of a loved one, loss of a job, sickness, injury, or some other great event. Other times it can be smaller events, but still just as disappointing and discouraging.

Believers in Jesus do not need to give up as though life is over.

When Jesus died, He was placed in a grave for three days. It looked like life was over and the battle was lost. However, after three days, Jesus rose again with a renewed life.

I do not know or understand how Jesus was able to come back to life. All I know is that God did it in His great power.

I do not understand how my green pepper and tomato plants survived. I do not know how they had a renewed life. Again, it is only by the power and grace of God that they survived.

You may be going through or just went through some great struggle in your life. You may feel like that life is over, all joy is gone, that there is no more hope left.

Jesus wants to give you a renewed life. He wants you to live again for all eternity. Look to Jesus and trust His power in your life. Allow Him to fill you up with His life. Live a renewed life.

Your life is not over yet. With this renewed life, you can produce thirty, sixty, or hundred fold the fruit God has placed in your life. God has more in plan for your life, if you will let Him do it through you and not give up.

Weeds In A Garden

During the spring, I had cleared out all of the weeds in the garden and planted many types of vegetables. For a while I was able to keep most of the weeds out. At one point, some animals got into the garden and ate down some of the plants. Then we had some severe rain storms that destroyed many of the plants. This led to discouragement and caused me to cut back on the work in the garden. Along with that, there was no plants that were producing any vegetables. Why work on keeping the weeds out, if there are really no plants to protect? With that I left the garden alone for the last two months.

Over the last two weeks I had decided to start working in the garden again to get it ready for the fall planting season. Nearly the entire garden was completely covered in weeds, some of which were standing more than two feet tall. It was a nightmare to look at, and very discouraging.

I set out to start clearing the weeds out of the garden. Over several hours of work, over several days, I have cleared more than half of the garden of any weeds, most of which I had pulled by hand. In the process I noticed that my green pepper plants and tomato plants, which I thought had died, were alive and thriving. I already have pulled about 15 nice sized green peppers from the plants, and green tomatoes are already growing, much to my surprise.

As I was pulling weeds, I began to think about the garden, life and what Jesus said about weeds. Life is like a great big garden that God has planted. Jesus said that in the end God will have the angels toss out all the weeds in His garden. These are those who do not believe in Jesus, who are not serving God and producing His fruit. In our lives we are supposed to produce fruit that He desires.

Just like my garden has weeds, so does God’s garden. Seeds from weeds in other places have found their way into my garden and taken it over.

The world is hard at work planting seeds of weeds in God’s garden. The world does not want God’s garden to produce His fruit.

In my life, and everyone else’s life, there have been seeds of weeds sown. These are seeds of discouragement, unbelief, fear, hatred, greed, jealousy, and the list goes on. If left alone, these seeds will grow and take over your life, just like those seeds did in my vegetable garden.

To combat these seeds, you need to regularly work at weeding your garden of life. On a daily basis, take a look at your garden and ask God to reveal the weeds in your life.

Go before God, the master gardener, and seek is wisdom and strength to get rid of the weeds in your life. Do not allow the weeds of this world overtake your life and destroy the fruit God has planted in you.

This means it will be work. Sometimes it will be very hard and dirty work to get rid of those weeds, but it will be worth it in the end. The longer the weeds have been allowed to grow and mature and spread, the more work it will take to get them out of your garden. The longer the seeds of sin have been allowed to grow, mature and spread in your life, the more work it will take to get them out of your life.

Start today to weed your garden. Work to produce the fruit God has made you to produce. Be the great garden that God has planned you to be

 

James 5:7-8 Be Patient

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:7-8

In today’s society everything seems to be done as fast as possible. No matter how fast something is, people want it a little bit faster. Computers used to take 10 minutes to boot up, now they only take about one minute, yet it is still not fast enough for some people. Everyone complains about waiting in line at Walmart or at McDonalds because they are in a hurry. Everyone wants everything right now, not later.

James uses the excellent example of a farmer. Most people have never been a farmer, but many have tried to grow a garden. You plant the seeds and then have to wait for a week just to maybe see a little sprout. Then you must wait a few more weeks to start to see some vegetable growth. Then you must wait some more for the vegetable to be fully grown to pick. This takes patience.

If you go to that garden and start digging around to find the plant you will lose everything. If you pick the vegetable before it is ripe you, again, lose everything. Life is just like that also. Jesus said that some day He would return. He did not say when, but that it would be soon.

It is easy to start complaining to God or others about the condition of the world; or about the persecution increasing; or about the troubles occurring in your life, but James tells us not to complain and be patient. You need to look to God and remember His Word that Jesus would return for you soon. Be patient and trust God in His timing. This is not only in the return of Jesus, but also in His care for you day-to-day. Be patient, waiting for God in every area of your life. It will save a lot of worrying. Be patient with people–remember they are made in the image of God and God is being patient with you.

I pray that today God will help you to be patient; that God will give you the strength to be patient; that God will give you the peace to be patient; and that you will trust God in all of His timing in your life.