CARE GROUP MEETING 7/20/2006
Tracing back to the bad seed
While I was in my garden pulling weeds one morning, I was reflecting on God and just kind of having a “chat” with Him. I saw a rather tall, robust looking weed, and began to tackle it. I had learned to pull carefully, as the root often goes deep and I did not want it to break off. As I began to tug at this, I realized that the root did not go very far down, but it actually traveled along a few inches under the surface of the ground. It was far enough below that the only trace of it was the part sticking up at the end, but not so far that I could not tug it out. I kept gently pulling, and as I did, I worked further and further down my garden. I finally got to the “root” a couple feet away! At this point, the plant did go down deep and I had to be very careful to tug at it and get all of it out.
This root was very firmly planted. The seed was down deep. Not only that, it had worked its way along under ground with absolutely no evidence of its presence whatsoever. The “evidence” of this bad seed did not pop up until it decided to emerge a few feet down from where it began. As I pondered and marveled at this, God began to speak to me.
Often we experience things in life that seem to have no meaning at all. Something suddenly happens, and we ask ourselves, “What brought that on? Where did that come from? Why did that happen?” We look at the situation, and it just does not seem to make any sense. It can also be equated to someone suddenly bursting out in anger, for no apparent reason. They had actually been simmering for some time, but kept it inside, hidden, until finally it emerged.
God was showing me that often, the bad seed is planted much earlier. We may not see the evidence of it for some time. Things happen, life goes on, and then suddenly, this “bad seed” emerges. It sometimes makes no sense to us. What we need to realize is that often the root of the problem or the situation or the trial actually goes far back. Often it stays hidden from sight for some time. Often the seed was originally planted long ago. This seed got planted, began taking root, and began moving along, underneath, building strength, and keeping tucked away. Finally, one day it erupts.
We must be very careful about planting these “bad seeds.” It may not seem like there are any immediate consequences, but that does not mean they will never show. And often, we may not even be the one that planted these bad seeds. They may go back generations. Sometimes the seed that is causing trouble now was planted in our childhood. It got buried deep and we pushed it down deep. And then something happens in our adult life that triggers it, and before we know it, we are struggling with issues that just make no sense to us whatsoever.
The only thing that holds us back from receiving all the blessings God has for us are hindrances. Some of these we bring on ourselves. Some of these we directly cause, and some of these we indirectly cause.
We need to remember that Jesus came so that we can have ABUNDANT life. The enemy wants to steal, kill and destroy. He will use any foot hold he can get, any weakness he can find, any bad seed that was sown, to try to work his way into the situation and stop us from receiving all that God has for us.
The awesome thing is that through faith, we will be delivered. When we don’t understand a situation, all we need to do is take it to God. He will equip us with what we need to get through it. The awesome thing about our Father is that:
He knows how much we can handle and won’t allow one bit more He will allow us to go through some things to strengthen us He will always give us the way out
The Fig Tree Withers
18Early in the morning, as he was on his way back to the city, he was hungry. 19Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.
20When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.
21Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, 'Go, throw yourself into the sea,' and it will be done.
22If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."
Just as Jesus cursed the root of the fig tree (the one that did not produce), we need to find our root and curse it so that it no longer produces. As long as it is still there, it will pull energy from us. It will feed off of us. It will cause us trouble.
What did Jesus do? He spoke it! He told the fig tree that it would never produce again. The fig tree needed to die at the root. We must speak against the root of whatever is causing us trouble. We must rebuke it. Jesus goes a step further and tells that we must have faith and NOT DOUBT. He says that we must first believe, and then we will receive. We must also to be sure that we are asking in accordance with God’s will. Through faith, we will always be delivered.
One way for us to get victory over these trials and situations in life is to be a DOER.
The Wise and Foolish Builders Matthew 7:24-27
24"Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
We must speak into it. Jesus always spoke the miracle. We must allow it to be birthed inside of us.
Also remember that God always precedes us, and when we face anything, we must allow Him to precede us (let Him be in control) so that we can walk in the anointing.
16 I will bring the blind by a way they did not know; I will lead them in paths they have not known. I will make darkness light before them, And crooked places straight. These things I will do for them, And not forsake them.
Listen to these words:
He will bring us by a way we did not know. Often, He takes us down a path we would not even think to go down. How often have you tried to do it your way, and it turned into a big mess? Think about decisions, finances, relationships, etc. Planting a bad seed could simply mean making a bad decision. We may not see the consequences right away, but they do show up in the future when things don’t work out in a situation.
He says He will light the darkness before us. When God precedes us, we walk in His Light. Otherwise, we are just groping in the dark. Have you ever felt like you are walking blindly into something?
He says He will make the crooked places straight. When I was a cross-country runner, I remember that when we had to go through the courses, we would come into some rough terrain. The paths were crooked and bumpy. It slowed me down. But when I hit the straight ways, I could pick up speed. I could see where I was going. I could see obstacles long before I approached them. God does this for us in life. He makes the way straight so that we can see where we are going!
Finally, He tells us that He will do these things and He will not forsake us. That means God is always with us!
Some words of encouragement—ALL miracles require some type of obstacle first. Otherwise, how could we experience the miracle? Quit focusing on the obstacle, and start focusing on your miracle! Take authority over it!
We must be careful not to let the garden become over run with weeds. Think about your own garden and the weeds that pop up. If too many weeds are allowed to take root and grow, they begin to draw from the nourishment of the flowers and the fruit. You have heard the expression that weeds can “choke out” a garden. They begin to hide the beauty of the garden. Don’t let too many “weeds” in your life begin to clutter it up. Don’t allow them to “choke out” the life that is in you. Take it to God and ask for His help to “weed out” your “garden”. With God, ALL things are possible. Through Him, you can do ALL things. Notice, the Bible says “All”. Take your troubles to God, and clear them out so that your spirit is well nourished, and your beauty can show for all to see! This will allow you to produce good fruit!
Love and Light'
CARE GROUP MEETING 7/6/2006
~From fear to FAITH!~
What is your OS (operating system) From fear to FAITH!
Matthew 7: 24-26
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.”
15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
John 1: 1-2 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.
1 John 5:7 For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.
*Build your foundation on rock:
The first scripture tells us we must build a foundation on rock. If you build your foundation on sand, what happens? It will eventually be washed away, as there is no firm foundation. Note that in the next scripture, Peter is not the rock that Jesus is referring to. Peter’s name means rock, but Jesus uses a different word for rock the second time, suggesting that though Peter is a part of the rock (an important part!), he is part of something much larger. Jesus is the Rock. It is also important to note here that Jesus explains that only through God has this been revealed to Peter.
*Now look back at John 1. Read it carefully. Who is the Word here? The Word was there in the beginning WITH God. This is Jesus! He was there from the very beginning, even before Moses and David and the prophets and others wrote the OT. This is said again in 1 John. Here, Jesus is referred to as the Word.
*Put it all together-In the first scripture, we are told that we must build our foundation on rock. Jesus is the Rock! And then we are told that Jesus is the Word! Because Jesus is the Rock and Jesus is the Word, our foundation must also be in the Word. When we put our foundation in the Word, the Bible tells us that the gates of Hades shall NOT prevail against it! (meaning our foundation will strong enough to withstand this, since we are founded in Christ and ground in the Word).
This is the KEY to being able to stand through anything. With a strong foundation in the Word, we can withstand any trial, any temptation, any storm, any spiritual battle! Jesus, who IS the Word, will get you through whatever you may be facing.
*We can take this further:
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
*The Word of God must dwell in us. When it does, you will gain much, including wisdom in handling every day situations, as well as the “big stuff”.
Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
*God’s Word distinguishes between the natural (in the flesh) and the spirit. It exposes what is in our hearts.
*You must have it IN you, before it can come OUT of you. As you make decisions daily, hundreds or thousands of them, you must have a strong foundation grounded in Christ, and therefore in the Word, to help you manage these decisions.
*This will help you discern how God would want you to handle that decision
*Knowing the Word protects you from disobedience, which leads to sin and separation. All Truth is found in the Word!
*Often, we still need to turn to God for the big decisions, for guidance, and for some type of direction, but He gives us a great source to turn to in our Bibles to help us with this. This is why it is critical that you spend time in the Word every day.
THE WORD MUST DWELL IN US:
James 1: 21-22 Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. 22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Meekness-some Bibles refer to this as gentle or modest
Implanted-The word is implanted in our hearts. It will save our life.
Doers-If we become doers of the Word (live it out), we will be blessed. We must be obedient. This protects us from sinful acts that can lead to death.
John 8: 31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
*Because you remain in the Word, you will know the TRUTH
*Better decisions-we will be able to make better decisions when we abide in the Word
*Truth will set us free-we are freed from the bondage of sin, which is caused by not knowing the Word and disobedience to God’s Word
SOMETIMES THINGS STILL HAPPEN. We need our armor and sword!
Sometimes we still end up in a mess or a trial. We need to understand this scripture:
Ephesians 6: 10-20 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age,[a] against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
The whole armor of God is our protection against evil! The wiles of the devil are his tricks!
As believers satan will certainly attack. We must be prepared. It seems that more you walk in the will of God, the more you come in alignment with His Truth, the more satan wants to mess with you! You are a threat to him!
Shield-Your shield is your faith in God. The Romans carried a shield that covered most of the front of their bodies and it could withstand a lot. Our faith in God is strengthened by knowing and being grounded in His Word. This knowledge forms a mighty shield to protect you!
Sword-the Bible (Paul) tells us here that the Word is our “Sword of the Spirit”. This is our only offensive weapon! Knowing the Word intimately is what will give you the right words at the right time for that specific situation.
We must put it IN us first, before it can come out of us. Sometimes God helps us with recollection of the Word. But you must get it IN you first! This is our way of preparing for battle! Allow the Word to become YOUR “operating system”.
Love and Light, Pamela
CARE GROUP MEETING 6/15/2006
~STORMS AND TRIALS ~
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1: 2-4
Lately, it seems that many people have asked me questions regarding their trials and why God has caused them to go through such hardship or pain or difficulty. The very first thing we must remember is that our Father only gives us GOOD gifts. God does not cause our trials and storms in life. God WILL allow us to go through things in order to build our faith, strengthen us in our areas of weakness, and teach us lessons so we can help others. These are only a few reasons we might be going through a trial.
Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1: 16-17
Our Father is not double-minded. He can only give us good gifts. Good things come from Him, bad things come from Satan, who is the prince of this world. James tells us not to be deceived. It is the trick of the enemy to cause us to think we should blame God for our problems and storms.
In Genesis, God did not create diseases and bad marriages. He did not even mean for us to die! Over and over we read “and God saw that it was GOOD.” Even Satan was good when he was created. But he became prideful and was cast out. God wants the best for His children. We read in Jeremiah: For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
So why do we run into trouble?
Bad Choices-When we really look at our situation and trace it back, we can usually point to a time when we made some bad decisions that affected our outcome or put us in the path that led to the trial or storm. Most likely, we made these decisions based on what WE wanted, rather than seeking God for His will in our lives. We stepped into the flesh and decided we could handle this one on our own. Sometimes, God’s will for us is very clear, and we may have heard Him and understood it, but we did not like it. So we chose to do it our way. When we do this, we will fail. God knows what is good for His children. He knows what is best for us:
He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he. Deut 32:4
But be very careful to keep the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD gave you: to love the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to obey his commands, to hold fast to him and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul.
Joshua 22:5 "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9
Who are we to question the Almighty Father? He knows what is best for His children. Often we try to “run” from God because we don’t like what we hear, or don’t want to do what He wants us to do. Remember Jonah; God wanted him to go to Nineveh to preach. As long as he resisted, he remained in his storm. He ran away, but in the end, when he finally submitted himself to God’s will and stepped out of the flesh, his storm ended. The butterfly, in the process of emerging from the cocoon, often appears to not be making any progress. Sometimes, we feel we are not moving through our storm. Or maybe we feel like we just can’t do it anymore. During these times, we need to turn to God to make the way. Ask Him what He is trying to teach you. Maybe it is perseverance. Maybe it is patience.
Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
We need to understand that God will use our trials and temptations to work something out in us so that we can stand even stronger. We are aiming to become more Christ-like. Recently, I went through a storm in my life. This was not something I expected or really had anything to do with. But God allowed me to go through it because He wanted me to learn a quality that would help me walk closer to Jesus. It was painful to go through. I did not understand. But I endured. And when I prayed afterwards to ask God to show me why I went through this, I learned that He allowed this so that I may learn forgiveness. This was not the same forgiveness as when my children tell me a lie, or someone does a simple wrong to me. This was on a much deeper level. And in order to be more like Christ, I had to learn to forgive and forget, the same way Christ did when he was here on earth. He held no grudges. He did not remember the pain that others caused Him. He moved on. Once I understood this, I experienced complete PEACE. I felt lighter and rejoiced with God and thanked Him for the storm, because it opened up in me an entirely new thing that I had not understood before.
We must learn to die to the SELF. Paul tells us that we must do this daily. As we do this, we are able to open ourselves up to God’s will for our lives. Even if we don’t understand it, we must seek Him FIRST.
But seek (aim at and strive after) first of all His kingdom and His righteousness (His way of doing and being right), and then all these things taken together will be given you besides. Matthew 6:33 Amplified
Note that before we can receive the things we want, we MUST put God and HIS WAYS first. This means setting our own ways and thoughts aside, and seeking what God’s will is.
As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. Ephesians 2:1-2
Note that when we are disobedient, it is Satan who is at work in us. The key is to be obedient to God’s ways for us!
Sometimes we are in the midst of a storm that is not caused by us, but by someone around us. There are times when we have done nothing wrong, we have not made bad choices, but we are still going through some type of trial. We often ask God why He allows us to go through these things.
The good news is that God still will not allow us to take on more than we can handle. When Satan asked God for permission to tempt Job, God allowed it because He knew what Job could handle. And he would only allow Satan to go so far. However, God will provide us a means of escape. He will open a door when needed. He will equip us with whatever we need to get through the storm or trial. Do not let the enemy play tricks on you and try to tell you that God has left you. The Word tells us:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? Romans 8:35
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139: 7-10
God is always with us, even when we believe the lies of the enemy and feel He has left us. But it is up to us to turn to Him and acknowledge His presence. When you are in trouble, run TO God, not away from Him!
Think of the butterfly in the story we read. Before the butterfly emerges, it must first be squeezed and made uncomfortable. Trials squeeze us; they make us uncomfortable. But when the butterfly emerges, it is stronger, and it is able to fly. It has freedom. When we emerge from our trials, we are stronger. We are able to endure. We have freedom and peace.
Love and Light,
A Butterfly’ Lesson CARE GROUP MEETING 5/01/2006
One day, a small opening appeared in a cocoon; a man sat and watched for the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.
Then it seems to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could not go any further. So the man decided to help the butterfly: he took a pair of scissors and opened the cocoon. The butterfly then emerged easily. But it had a withered body, it was tiny and had shriveled wings. The man continued to watch because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would open, enlarge and expand, to be able to support the butterfly’s body, and become firm. Neither happened! In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a withered body and shriveled wings. It never was able to fly. What the man, in his kindness and his goodwill, did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening, were nature’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings, so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in life. If were allowed to go through our life without any obstacles, it would cripple us. We would not be as strong as we could have been. Never been able to fly. I asked for Strength….and I was given difficulties to make me strong. I asked for Wisdom…and I was given problems to solve. I asked for prosperity….and I was given a brain and brawn to work.
I asked for courage…and I was given obstacles to overcome. I asked for Love…and I was given troubled people to help. I asked for favors….and I was given opportunities.
“I received nothing I wanted… but I received EVERYTHING I needed.”
Love and Light
Pamela D Wilkinson