July 7, 2017 – Repentance
We are told that we must ask Jesus for forgiveness when we accept him as our savior, that he wipes away all our previous sins and washes our hearts and souls clean, as white as snow. All past sins are forgiven, never to be spoken of again.
Some people believe that this absolves them from all future sins as well. They believe that once their sins are forgiven, then all other sins are automatically forgiven. In a way they believe they now have a license to keep on sinning. There are others who are raised to believe that once they are baptized, as an infant, they are going to heaven whether they have accepted Jesus or not, whether they have repented of their sins, or not, whether they believe in him or not.
Unfortunately, there are different denominations that teach that this is true, that once you are saved, all your sins are automatically forgiven. Other denominations teach that if you confess your sins to someone in authority in the church, that they can absolve you of all your sins, but no man can take the place of Jesus when it comes to forgiving sin. We are to make restitution when possible and we are to ask forgiveness from those we have sinned against when possible, but only Jesus can completely wash our sins away.
We are born with a sin nature and we sin every day of our lives, sometimes without thinking and other times on purpose out of anger, resentment and revenge. We sin, not only in our actions, but in our thoughts as well, and not always on purpose, it is our sin nature coming to the forefront. It is our defensive mechanism kicking in when we believe we have been hurt or misused.
Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well “neither do I condemn thee, go and sin no more” (John 8:11). And he does not condemn us, but he does expect us to recognize when we sin and to repent of those sins. He also expects us to continue to strive to live a sinless life
He wants to know, that deep down in our hearts we truly love him and want to be obedient to him and he knows this by looking into us, hearing our repentance, seeing our sorrow over the sins we commit and our willingness to keep trying. He just wants our love and faithfulness, our willingness to learn, like little children, his ways. Today I am thankful that we are allowed that repentance of our sins.
July 8, 2017 – Beef Steak Tomatoes
I am a tomato person. I love them, all different kinds, all kinds of flavors, in many different recipes. I can remember just picking them off the plants in my moms garden, brushing them off and eating them right on the spot. I think my love for tomatoes comes from the fact that in my younger years they believed that tomatoes, citrus fruits and milk actually instigated asthma attacks, so for a very long time I wasn’t allowed to eat them. By the way I also love milk and citrus fruit too!
I have always wanted to be some kind of farmer. I have always wanted to plant and grow crops to eat, flowers that brightened the day and spread their perfume throughout the air. I even wanted chickens, which we did have for awhile in Pueblo, and I wanted fruit trees. Nothing big, just an acre or two with a few little farm animals.
I have had to settle for container gardening. Physically and medically I cannot be a farmer. I cannot dig up the ground, til the soil, sow the seed and weed the garden. I cannot spend hours in the sun and I cannot sit or stand in one position for any length of time.
So, every summer I buy a few plants and experiment with my container garden. Last year I had some unknown tomato plants that I actually nursed through the winter, a husky tomato plant that grew into a giant bush, some squash, that rotted as soon as it started producing and cucumber that was eaten by some unseen guest.
OK, so I am not the farmer I would want to be, still I continue to try. I couldn’t find a Husky plant this year so I bought a Beefsteak, figuring by its name, it might produce like the Husky did. I am trying squash and cucumber in containers on the desk. The squash has grown quite high with many pretty flowers but no squash, the cucumber plant as one cucumber that just started.
The Celebrity tomato gave me two tomatoes right away, and then nothing so I trimmed in completely down. It has grown back up and has one tomato. The Beefsteak has three tomatoes and many blossoms. It’s been that way for weeks. I have trimmed it, watered it, even talked to it, but it just slowly grows in it’s own way.
We can take lessons from many things in our daily lives, even growing plants. When I think about the Beefsteak, I wonder if I am being taught a lesson. The lesson? Slow down, take it easy, enjoy life and quit rushing around like a chicken with your head cut off, quit panicking over every little problem that pops up, try just living life instead of chasing it. Today I am thankful for the lesson of the Beefsteak tomato.
July 9, 2017 – The Blue Jay
We have had a variety of birds on our back deck the two years we have lived here. We have had several pairs of doves, Blue Jays, Cardinals and a wood pecker. We have about five varieties of sparrows and quite a few robins.
We have a feral cat living under the deck, have a few possums come and go, seems to always been one living in the garage, have been visited by skunks a few times along with all of the birds. I don’t doubt, that if there wasn’t a fence around the back yard, we would probably have deer there as well.
We’ve had a few squirrels. They come and go. Mrs. Beasley hung around for the longest time and even got to the point where she was no longer frightened by me. She’s been gone for awhile, grabbed by a large hawk or vulture, who it seems couldn’t hold onto her and dropped her in the path of an oncoming car. We miss her.
But this summer we have this one loud Blue Jay and it seems the he really likes to yell at Richard. He reminds every morning that it is time for us to feed him. He sits in the Formosa tree next to the deck and yells until we bring some food out. Of course, he will fly away when we come out, but quickly returns to right by the window to eat his breakfast.
There have been a few times that we have walked in the kitchen and he has been sitting there, looking in and making noise “you guys forgot to feed me”, he seems to be saying. So Rich will quickly mix up whatever he can find and take it out to his favorite spot.
We, humans spend a lot of time worrying about ourselves, our families and friends. We clutter our lives up with so much to do that days often fly by quicker than we want and at the end we still don’t feel that we have accomplished what we need to. There are lessons we learn every day, and maybe today this Blue Jay was reminding us to not forget the small things in life, that sometimes they are more important than all the junk we clutter our days with. Today I am thankful for our persistent Blue Jay.