Is That A Flower Or A Weed? Who Knows? I Guess I Might As Well Go Ahead And Cut It Down Just In Case.

Few people can trim and landscape another person’s lawn without destroying at least some plants which the owner purposely set out and fondly values. This is especially true when the owner loves flowers, but the trimmer finds no delight in horticulture.

When a person appreciates the beauty of blossoming flowers and the satisfaction of caring for living plants, she will carefully choose, locate, and plant both perennials and annuals, so that her garden plots remain in bloom from early Spring till late Fall. She will energetically water these beds to prevent the beloved plants from wilting due to dehydration. She will carefully weed the beds to keep her flowers from competing with unwanted weeds for nutrition. She will continue this practice for many years, establishing several permanent beds.

Then one day, the time comes when someone else must mow the lawn and tend to the beds.  That someone else may appreciate the beauty of the flowers while they are in bloom, but he may not be able to differentiate between the emerging blades of a cherished perennial, and that of a distained grass.  He may not be able to differentiate between the broad leaves of a Holly Hock and that of an emerging gypsum weed.

That’s when difficulties arise for both.  The one envisioning the beds to be as beautiful as she once kept them, and the other not knowing for sure how to accomplish that goal.

Spiritually, the Bible clearly teaches us that we are to be our brother’s keeper.  We christians are to help one another become untangled from the world. We are to bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:1,2). If anyone goes back into the world, we are to do our best to restore that person, thus saving his soul. (James 5:19-20)

In essence, we are to try to help one another remove the spiritual weeds from our lives, and to cultivate the spiritual flowers which make our lives beautiful.

But this is often difficult. Because many times there are disagreements about which actions and attitudes constitute flowers and which ones constitute weeds. One person may have purposely planted and lovingly nurtured an action or attitude for years within his life, believing it to be a beautiful, fragrant flower, while his brother may deem the action or attitude to be an obnoxious weed.

God has given us a difficult task.

So, what do we do in such a case?

Carefully read God’s word together.  Lovingly speak God’s word to one another.  Then allow God to aid each person to identify the flowers and the weeds within his life. Allow God to empower each person to remove the unwanted spiritual weeds from his life.

When we go beyond this, and forcefully try to “weed” another person’s life for them, we may destroy their flowers as well.

“All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) ESV

“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7) ESV

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Our Words Tell More About Us Than Our Words Tell About Others

Unprompted words display a man’s heart more clearly than any of its other random manifestations.

I sat down next to a man I did not recognize at a communal-type table in a small diner. We were the only patrons in the business. We exchanged introductions. I recognized his name as being that of the father of a couple of sisters that attended the same school I did over 40 years ago. The girls were several years younger than me, so I did not personally know them; I knew their names and faces.

I asked the man if he was indeed the girls’ dad. He assured me that he was. I then asked him how they were doing, and where their lives had taken them.  He proudly told me about the girls’ accomplishments, and included the accomplishments of a third sister I did not know existed. All the girls had moved to urban areas and had done well professionally.

We sat silently for a few moments.

Then out of the blue the man said, “The first two girls carry quite a bit more flesh now than they should. The third one has kept herself in pretty good shape, but the older two have let themselves go.”

I nervously laughed, thinking about the 30-plus extra pounds I now carry. But I also took my first good look at him. Although he showed the signs of age, he remained slender and wiry, not having that paunch that so many of advanced age develop.

His words and his physique betrayed at least a portion of his treasures. Looks and body conditioning play a major role in the man’s life.

I also took a good look at myself. What had my words manifested about me?

When we think about our verbal interaction with others, we need to ponder what our words tell others about us, especially strangers? When we feel a need to begin or extend a conversation, what subject does our heart prompt us to broach?

Do we initiate conversations about money and the economy? Do we talk of the world news? Do we try to discuss our opinions concerning the current state of our nation? Do we talk about others? If we speak about another person, especially a loved one, what do our words say about our respect for that person?

Jesus said, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 ESV), and “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart.” (Matthew 15:18 ESV).

Want to display your heart?

Just start talking. Your priorities will soon be evident.

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If I Could Only Have a Do Over. I’m Sure I’d Get It Right Next Time.

Our 9-years-old granddaughter moved her finger over the black screen and a multicolored line appeared. She continued to draw lines on the screen until she had ornately written her name. With one push of a button, the screen cleared itself and became blank once more. The next series of screen touches became a work of stick figures and block letters. It too became history with the touch of a button.

Erasable drawing pads have been popular throughout the years. The Etch-O-Sketch could be shaken to make an image disappear. The black wax pad covered by a sheet of gray film and etched with a plastic stylus could be erased by pulling the film away from the wax pad. Then there was the plastic framed electromagnetic pad that could be erased by sliding a bar across the drawing surface.

Each of these – from the wax pad to the high-tech electronic screen – have accomplished the same goal. They each have allowed the user to express themselves in some way, then to erase the expression and start over. From their respective popularity, it is apparent that children and adults of every generation desire the ability to express, evaluate, erase, and edit anew.

Spiritually, Jesus gives us the ability to have our slate wiped clean and to start anew. This has been Jesus’ drawing power for centuries. By his blood, our sins can be washed clean, and although we may have to deal with the earthly, physical consequences of our sins, the eternal guilt is forever forgiven.

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” (1 John 1:7) ESV

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What Do You see In a Person? Do You See What Christ Sees? We Will See What We Have Trained Ourselves To Search For.

A hunter can spot a turkey, deer, or groundhog in the middle of a field a half mile away, many times while the hunter is driving down the highway at 55 MPH. Other people only see dark spots, if even that. Why?  The hunter is looking for game.

A fisherman can see fish, sunken logs, algae, and fish beds underneath several feet of water, while others only see the reflection of trees and the sky on the surface of the water. Why? The fisherman is looking for fish.

A real estate agent or investor can spot a potential business investment in a line of rundown shacks and buildings, while others only see eyesores that need to be destroyed. Why? The agent or investor is looking for future potential rather than historical failure.

A salesman sees everyone he meets as a potential new or repeat customer, while others only see them as friends, acquaintances, or strangers. Why? Because he is looking for people who have a need which his product can fulfill.

A disciple of Christ who has truly taken on the likeness of his teacher views everyone he meets as a valuable human being who needs Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Why? Because that’s how Jesus viewed every person in the world. He saw them as wayward sheep who needed a shepherd, lost children trying to find their way home, and sinful souls which needed saving.  For Jesus, every soul demonstrated a need which only his blood could fulfill.

May we ever be disciples of Christ, viewing ourselves and our fellow man through the eyes of Jesus.

“For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10) ESV

“He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2) ESV

“And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome, but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.” (2 Timothy 2:24-26)

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