Tuesday, February 14, 2017

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - A Heart to Heart (Valentines Day)

This photo has a very special meaning. In 2007, Jeff and I had the privilege of going to Israel. On the third day of our trip, we went to "Peter's Primacy" on a beach in Galilee. This is the location where John 21 happened. My Bible subtitle's it "Breakfast by the Sea." 

As we were walking back to the tour bus, I noticed these two rocks on the gravel beach. They looked like hearts and one having a hole in it. This is the place where Jesus had his "heart to heart" with Peter. 

In John 21, after the death and resurrection of Jesus, Peter goes back to what he knows, fishing. After fishing all night, Jesus calls out to Peter and the other disciples and asks them if they have caught anything. A familiar call, as this was what Jesus said to Peter the first time he met him. Jesus tells them to throw their nets to the right side of the boat and suddenly their nets were full.

Jesus had breakfast waiting for them as they came ashore. The key portion of this passage is the heart to heart that Jesus has with Peter. "After breakfast Jesus asked Simon Peter, 'Simon son of John, do you love me more than these? “Yes, Lord,” Peter replied, “you know I love you.” “Then feed my lambs,” Jesus told him. 16 Jesus repeated the question: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” “Yes, Lord,” Peter said, “you know I love you.” “Then take care of my sheep,” Jesus said. 17 A third time he asked him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?”Peter was hurt that Jesus asked the question a third time. He said, “Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Then feed my sheep." (John 21:15-17)

This is intimate conversation Jesus had with Peter shows the love that Jesus had for Peter, despite all of Peter's mistakes. Jesus loves us too despite all of our mistakes. All of us are born with a hole in our heart, that only Jesus can fill. It's a hole that will make you whole. Jesus loves you no matter what. The question he asks you on this Valentine's Day is "Do you love me?"

Monday, February 13, 2017

R.E.A.L. Women Devotional - Field of Weeds

We've had an unusual amount of rain this year.  Our state has been in a drought now going on six years.  We've had water restrictions for the past year and many  homeowners have removed their grass/landscaping and replaced it with plants that don't need much water.

Today, as I took my lunch break walk, I noticed this field of weeds.  The weeds were at least 3 feet in height.  Usually this lot is dry and filled with dirt and just random patches of weeds.

This reminded me of a movie back in the 80's called "Field of Dreams" starring Kevin Costner.  As I thought about the title of the movie, while looking at this field of weeds, it was a teaching moment.  The rain has been amazing.  It has greened up the hillsides that are often brown, it's cleaned the air and most importantly is getting us out of the drought.

As I looked at this field, it reminded me that along with the goodness of rain, the unwanted weeds also grow.  As we go along in life, we have dreams that we hope will come to pass.  As we allow God to reign in our life, often those unwanted issues in our lives will begin to sprout.  So much so that sometimes it can be overwhelming. Often times, we choose to let the weeds grow because "at least they are green and living."  But weeds are not the same as a true plant or tree.  Weed roots are short and suck the life out of the real plants that are trying to grow. A plant's roots go deep into the soil and eventually produce something sturdy and healthy.

Many times, we trade our dreams for the weeds, just because it's too much work to remove them.  Your back begins to ache, it's dirty, there are worms and snails that surprise you as you dig around in the dirt, but those weeds will never die unless you pull them from the root. 

This field was a good reminder to me today, that as I continue to trust God with my dreams and allow Him to reign in my life, the weeds are going to grow with my dreams. My responsibility is to pull the weeds, God's responsibility is to grow the dreams.  One of my favorite Proverbs is "Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life." (Proverbs 13:12)  It's going to take a lot of work to keep the weeds from choking out my dreams, but I'd trade a field of weeds for a field of dreams any day!