Treasure's From Life's Garden

Finding Spiritual Flowers Amongst Life's Weeds


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Fighting to Win 

In October of 2016 I started an online Bible Study. . . One that I had started before and never finished. . . Made to Crave. The group was private so we would be able to share with confidence that what we were sharing would not be seen by others. My prayer through the study was that I personally would not gain weight through the holidays . . . That I would be able to enjoy the feasts before me but not over eat. I also prayed that I would not gain through the holidays even if I didn’t lose but to be able to not have a set back would be huge. Now praying those things alone didn’t mean it would happen. Had I not prepared and planned certain events and activities then I would have failed . . .  And while I entertained nieces, cousins, and other with making pretzels and goodies . . . And oh yes I had my share of tasting . . . Because other steps were taken  . . . I can sit here today and know God honored those prayers. 

In week four of the study the guest speaker shared the importance of exercise. I knew how important it was but I had begun this journey through different eyes just four weeks prior. I began this journey to fight an autoimmune disease that is very hard to fight when one is healthy, moreless obese. I knew when the diagnosis came I had to lose the pounds in order to function on bad days. I knew I would have to build muscle mass or I would lose the functioning of it sooner versus later. I didn’t start the exercising on week four and then by then the holidays were upon us and then a quick trip to Virginia and then sick kiddos  . . . but this morning I clearly heard the Lord speak . . . “Walk.”

So today I just need to celebrate a few victories.  

No gorging through holidays. 

Enjoyed the feasts and goodies without guilt!

Still down two sizes.

And today . . . Walked two miles! It was SLOW and I had to use my cane for support the last half mile And I got to take my Valentine with me. 


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The Anticipation of Newness

My New Year’s Day began with a loud clap of thunder and bright lightening strikes shortly after 4 a.m. The husband went to the living room to sleep while cats, a hoss of a dog, and a child filled our double bed (there is no sleeping single in a double bed in this household!). My mind has not stopped since the 4:04 awakening. I scrolled through pictures and videos of celebrations on social media and found myself not getting the big deal . . . “It’s just another day,” . . .  At least that’s where my ho-hum ba-humbug thoughts were taking me. And while technically it may be just another 24 hour day . . . It truly is not  “just another day.” 

The scriptures tell us in Lamentations 3:22 and 23 that each day is a new day. That means that each new day is filled with a new hope. 

A new breakthrough. 

A new freedom. 

So today, on January 1, 2017 . . . I have not only a fresh day of hope . . . I have a fresh year of hope. The anticipation as I continue to learn new skills, the anticipation of, “what’s next” and where exactly will the Lord take this crafting thing, the what’s next with careers and education for Chris, the what’s next as I continue to seek ways to get well, the what’s next in my children’s lives and my grandchildren’s lives . . . A full year of wonder lays before me. 

A full year of hope. 

And yes, there is a gloomy fact that by the time 2017 rolls to an end, many of us will not be here. In 365 days our lives can turn up side down in the blink of an eye. My challenge to us all this year is to seize every moment possible. Tell your parents you love them. Reach out to siblings you often take for granted and rarely speak to. Embrace your children. Pet the dog on the head a few minutes longer, rub the kitty’s belly a few moments longer, and by all means, hug your spouse a little tighter. 

But above all. . . Know that you know that you know your Creator . . . 

The One who came to save us.  

The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

The only God that has ever defeated death. 

The One. 

He loves you. 

Do you know Him?

His name?  . . . Jesus.  

Oh what a great year it would be to be set free!  


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The Only One

A friend of mine sent me this devotion, just as she has been for weeks now. I’m a few days behind but day 9 brought remembrance of my first Christmas as a believer in Christ. It was new. It was refreshing. It was also a time when Kayla and I were finally in our own place for the first time in a long time. I had my first nativity scene and it was placed under the Christmas tree. Worship was amazing because the Lord had just revealed Himself to me just two months prior. Celebrating Christmas for the first time as a Child of the King. Whew! I pray I never forget that season . . .  but more importantly . . .  I hope and pray God will use me to share the story of redemption He has given me to one lost sheep . . . . that He would use me just as He used the one He sent after me. 

Who are you telling about Jesus? Are you allowing yourself to be used for the good of the kingdom?  Remember the one He used to come after you.

Day 9

The Pharisees and scribes complain that Jesus associates and eats with tax collectors and sinners. Jesus shares a parable with them about finding a lost sheep. The shepherd’s immediate concern is for the one sheep that is lost. When the sheep is found, the shepherd rejoices. Jesus teaches us that God actively seeks out and pursues the lost until they are found. And when the lost are found, God and all of Heaven rejoices.

God is not angry or disappointed that they were missing. He rejoices and carries us home. My desires should align with those of the Lord’s… to seek the lost. To share with those who do not know the Lord. It is very comfortable to remain with the 99 sheep in the wilderness socializing, doing ministry, worshipping, and remaining in fellowship with other believers. All of those things are important, but there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 just people who need no repentance.

Do you have a heart for the lost? If not, will you pray today for a heart of compassion that aches for those who don’t know God? Will you pray today to be a part of God’s global plan to share the Gospel with all who are lost?

Father God, I thank You for pursuing me when there were 99 others in Your care. I am so grateful for the obedience and courage of all of the people that You sent to cross my path and share of Your eternal love and grace. Lord, remove any fear or hesitation that keeps me from sharing the gospel with the unsaved. Grant me opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and reach people outside of my sphere of influence. Disrupt my comfortable position with the “99″ and open my spiritual eyes so that I will notice when the “one” is missing. Lord, I truly desire to hear heaven rejoice. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Scripture
“Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story: “If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them gets lost, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety-nine others in the wilderness and go to search for the one that is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he will joyfully carry it home on his shoulders. When he arrives, he will call together his friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ In the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!”
‭‭Luke‬ ‭15:1-7‬ ‭NLT‬‬


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The Eyes of the Lord

I can’t make my convictions your convictions. But I can do is tell you what scripture says.

In recent days and even weeks I have been convicted of the posts and ridiculing that I have been a part of on social media. I easily shared a picture of deception without care for facts about what was really occurring and/or why certain things were said. I shared things that were taken out of context that I should have never shared . . .Things that were not true. Things that were hateful. While my heart was in the right place prior to the election, after the election the frustration and rage over riots got the best of me.

But then God moved in my heart.

While I personally believe any student not in class should get a zero for the day, and I believe any teacher or person of authority should be relieved of duty to allow such activity to continue, I also believe this . . . we are at war. Not against the persons they are, but this is a spiritual battle. And no, I am not saying they are evil. My goodness, satan uses Christians every day to bring discouragement and defeat and many of us don’t even realize it. My point is, the only way to defeat what is happening in our states is to stop giving the media our time. To stop sharing the ridiculous posts and false articles that are written just to stir strife and raise anxiety. I guarantee it if the media would stop reporting the riots then the riots would stop. We are feeding the riots.Our media reports one-sides stories of their opinions to keep America in turmoil. Oh I wish I had pursued my dream of being a journalist so I could report facts, even if it was against something that made me look bad.

This morning the Lord gave me a scripture that just confirmed the conviction He put on my heart . . . no sharing of ridiculous media outlets. No hateful words about other parties because whether I agree or not, they are still created by God and for God’s purpose, even if they don’t want to accept it. So know this, when you share something on social media, and I see it, I’m not praying over what you shared, I am praying for you. That God would open your eyes to how what is being shared is adding fuel to the fire, but more importantly what you are doing to the image of God when you share such harshness and untruths.

“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit, and he must turn away from evil and do what is good. He must seek peace and pursue it, BECAUSE the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.”


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One By One

More often than not we don’t truly appreciate something or someone until they are gone. I don’t want to be that way. I want to seize every moment and recognize each person as a gift that has been brought in to my life for a reason, even if just for a season.

Today I am thankful for the men and women from the past to the present that God has brought in to my life in order to make me a better person . . . those who made a difference in my life . . . whether they were used to lead me to the Lord as my personal Savior, whether they have taught me and led me spiritually to be in a closer walk with the Lord, or to challenge me to be a better person over all, or to challenge me to show grace to someone I’d rather stomp  not deal with, whether it is a person that teaches me to have space, or a person that teaches me to be obedient even when I would rather hibernate . . . . When I think about who and how and where so many of them came from it become mind boggling . . . think about it.

Who are the people in your life right this minute that you know for a fact God ordained the meeting.

Wow.

Our Lord loves us so much that He chose you to impact someone’s life.

Whoa.

Lord, I thank you for the people who have brought in to my life to grow me, challenge me, soften me, encourage me, and to be available to me. Thank you for the divine plan you have and had in their lives. Lord, open my eyes to who You would have me make a difference in this day. I love you. amen.


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The Flock

Last year my neighbor’s dog dug under my fence and killed my girls. I had hatched my Black Cochin (Happy Feet) in an incubator and we were given her back as well as two of her girls she had hatched when we moved in our house last year. So when we lost them, especially the way we did, it was hard. My heart was broken.

We started over a few months ago with a Rhode Island Red, Dominequer, and a Speckled Sussex. Our RIR decided she would fly over our 6ft fence, even after cutting her wings back, and our dogs got her.

I know, right?

We purchased three more girls a few weeks ago and were quite content, an “I don’t know, a Black Maran, and a Buff Orpington. They are between four and six months old but came from a very over crowded and unkept area so they were kept separate for several weeks. We let them meet the older girls a few days ago. It’s been a better transition than I expected.

Then I get a phone call from a dear friend. “Stacey, we are thinning our flock. I have a RIR and a fluffy butt (YES! A COCHIN!) that I need to move out, would you want them?” I could not believe it. God was returning to us a great layer (RIR)  and one of my favorites . . . a Cochin. When I told K she was so excited (my chicken whisperer lol), but asked if she had an ugly chicken too. Ugly Betty, that we thought was a hen and was actually a rooster, was hers that had to be rehomed. So she showed up with what she calls an ugly hen for K . . . but she is gorgeous. The husband that would lasso the moon for me put them in the run. It did not go well. The new girls are 1 to 3 years old. They have been fighting through the fencing with the original two so this is going to be a challenge. I’ll be doing a lot more googling on how to ease older girls into a flock that is already disgruntled.

My Cochin is a buff this time. And she is stunning. She is more stand off-ish and I couldn’t get a good picture and my video won’t upload. Can’t wait to have everyone in unison and get through this introduction phase.

 

 

 


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Agh! Another Pop! YAY!

A friend of mine is gifted in the canning department.

Me. Not so much.

I never learned and have regretted not learning from my grandmothers before they passed away.  I learn much better with the visual aids of one on one versus reading through a post but after sampling my friend’s Cranberry Apple Jam she had made using this Cranberry Apple Jam Recipe I just had to try.

My husband is such a big supporter and helper and he is very book smart so he was able to help me walk through this process of canning. We adjusted the serving containers with more four ounce jars than half pints and we reduced the sugar by half. It’s a little more tart than sweet because we reduced the sugar (he is a diabetic and I am working hard at reducing my weight), but it has a good combination of sweet and tart and a touch of cinnamon. It will be perfect spread over a bagel and cream cheese topped with the jam or even as a substitute for cranberry sauce with your turkey dinner.

 

As I was filling each jar of Cranberry Apple Jam this morning I couldn’t help but think of my grandmothers. They both made such an impact on my life in the kitchen. It’s their love of cooking and my Granny’s love to fill everyone’s bellies that always gives me comfort in feeding others. I learned once that if a person is sitting in front of you and they are hungry, they will never be able to focus on what you are truly saying if their stomach is growling. By feeding the hungry first it allows them to be satisfied physically . . . then you can move on to more pressing issues. Several years ago when I was focusing on feeding the poor, the Lord moved in my heart showing me that not only the poor are hungry.

Everyone gets hungry.

Feed the hungry . . . whether rich or poor . . . or somewhere in between.

And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40