Category Archives: Growing

Trees

I loved this reading today from “Lent for Everyone” on youversion. I continue to be drawn to the image of the tree as a representation of my own life. I was blown away by Jeanne Stevens’ comment when teaching at The Orchard several months ago. “Some people are called to be a tree, so that others can climb up on you to see Jesus.” I had never heard it phrased like that, and it has opened my eyes to many things within my own life and where God has currently placed me.

Now, this passage today, reminds me that we need to be trees planted, looking for water, so that we can produce fruit at the right time. Not in OUR time, but in God’s time.

I love how the Lord speaks to me in so many ways to reinforce that I am hearing what He wants me to hear.

Scripture: Matthew 7:1-28
Reading Plan – YouVersion.com: “When Jesus uses the image of the tree, he is drawing, as so often, on an ancient biblical picture. The first Psalm speaks of God’s true people like trees planted by streams of water, which will produce fruit at the right time, while the wicked are like chaff blown around by the wind. Jeremiah develops this picture (17.8), thinking of the tree that sends out its roots to look for the water it needs. Lent is a time when we should be doing that: sending out our roots to look for the water of life. The challenge of these verses isn’t simply one of learning to recognize true Christian teaching from false. The challenge is to become, ourselves, trees that bear good fruit, people who not only say ‘Lord, Lord’ when it suits us, but who apply ourselves to the much harder task of discerning and doing God’s will.

TODAY
Gracious Lord, draw our roots to yourself, the living water, so that we may grow strong and bear good fruit.”

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Open my eyes

For some time now, I have been amazed at the things God has been showing me. I had a hard time understanding how I couldn’t have realized some of these things before. I’ve been in the church most of my life. Why did I not understand some of the things that I am now learning to comprehend?

I recently read this great quote by Simon Tugwell:

“He has followed us into our own darkness; there where we thought finally to escape him, we run straight into His arms. Our hope is in his determination to save us, and He will not give in.”

This quote sums up what I had been going through up until the last few years. The farther I tried to run from Him, the more He pursued me. How amazing is that! Then, this passage has come to me several times over the last month, and I believe it explains why I am now seeing and understanding His word and direction so much clearer in my life.

“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them. That is why I use these parables,

For they look, but they don’t really see.

They hear, but they don’t really listen or understand.

This fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah that says,

When you hear what I say,

you will not understand.

When you see what I do,

you will not comprehend.

For the hearts of these people are hardened,

and their ears cannot hear,

and they have closed their eyes –

so their eyes cannot see,

and their ears cannot hear,

and their hearts cannot understand,

and they cannot turn to me

and let me heal them.”

Matthew 13:12-15

I often joke with my Pastor, Scott Hodge, and ask him if he sees light bulbs going off over my head during his teaching. Part of that is because he has an amazing way of speaking truth in an easy to comprehend way. He is an awesome pastor, and I feel so blessed to have his leadership and direction in my life. The other part is that the Holy Spirit speaks to me through him continually.

WHY? Because I am finally listening!!! My heart is no longer hardened and I am not running from Him anymore. I am soaking up everything He has to say to me through others and truly wanting to learn what that next step is that I’m being called to take. What an amazing difference that makes in how we comprehend God’s word.

Are you listening? Or have you closed your eyes and ears like I did for so many years?

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It’s the climb….

I love music. It speaks to me in a way that very few things do. This weekend, we watched “Hannah Montana, The Movie”. Yes, I admit it. I really liked it. (I have already had people laugh at me because of this!) However, what I loved about it is the message. I love movies that show people realizing that all of the “stuff” in our lives just complicates who we are, and we can use it to cover up who we really are and what’s most important. Sometimes, we have to get back to our roots in order to find that and understand it. Whether that is actually going there, or taking the time to understand what has made you who you are. Your story makes you who you are.

The other thing that stuck with me is her song at the end, called “The Climb”. I have heard it so many times, but I never really listened to the words. It can relate to so many things in our lives. At The Orchard, our Pastor often talks about how our spiritual life is a journey, not a destination. I can also relate to this with my marriage, my relationship with my kids, my work, my quest to get healthier, and on and on……

Here are a few lyrics from the song:

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose

Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb

The struggles I’m facing
The chances I’m taking
Sometimes might knock me down
But no, I’m not breaking

I may not know it
But these are the moments that
I’m gonna remember most
Just gotta keep doing

And I, I gotta be strong
Just keep pushing on

…..Keep on moving, keep climbing
Keep the faith, baby
It’s all about, it’s all about the climb
Keep the faith, keep your faith

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Trust

“Trust is the courage to accept acceptance.” – Scott Hodge

It is always amazing to me how God uses many different people, readings, and messages to get your attention. Lately, this has been the theme. “Trust me”, “Stop trying to do it on your own”, “I am for you”…….

I am realizing that this is an area in my life where I need to be continually reminded. I cannot do this on my own. There is NOTHING I can do to earn God’s love. I just have to accept it. I never really think that’s an issue for me. However, it keeps coming up, and then I realize that I’m putting my own view of God into my thinking, and I’m NOT trusting Him enough. It’s in all the everyday little things, as well as the big things that He is already working on, in His time.

I have never had a church like The Orchard in my life. In so many ways, it is my dream come to life. When Scott Hodge teaches, I feel the Holy Spirit speaking to me. He is using Scott’s amazing gift of speaking the truth to breathe life into my soul and to help me realize the areas that I need to work on. I often joke and ask him if he sees the “light bulb” going off over my head during his teaching, because I am constantly making connections in my own life during his sermons.

I am so incredibly grateful to The Orchard, for the steps that they have encouraged and helped me to take in my journey with Christ. I have never felt more at home, or challenged in my faith, as I do from being a part of this amazing community. I am so incredibly blessed!

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