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Fruity Facts on Faith,

Genesis 12:1-3 The Message (MSG)

Abram and Sarai

12 God told Abram: “Leave your country, your family, and your father’s home for a land that I will show you.

2-3 I’ll make you a great nation
        and bless you.
    I’ll make you famous;
        you’ll be a blessing.
    I’ll bless those who bless you;
        those who curse you I’ll curse.
    All the families of the Earth
        will be blessed through you.”

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When we give to God, how do we give?  What heart do we operate with?  Are we giving to just get something? Out of obligation? It’s the right thing to do?  Because the Bible or our pastors say we have to?  What if we just gave with a heart of faith believing in outrGod for the harvest?  We have to look at giving as a process of building faith.  First we need to plant seeds in faith that they will grow whether it be into a certain ministry or our personal lives.  Secondly we need to tend the seeds by praying in faith that they will grow and produce a harvest.  We have to believe in our seeds.

This may seem silly to some but God had me look up some facts about fruit:

Sunflowers:  1 flower produces 1,000 to 2,000 seeds and takes 80 to 100 days to harvest

Pumpkins:  1 gourd produces on average 3,900 seeds and takes 75 to 100 days to harvest

Mustard Seed:  1 plant produces 8-10,000 seeds and takes 60-90 days to harvest

Peaches:  1 peach, 1 pit, tree and 1 tree produces on average 925 peaches which takes 3 years to harvest

Cherry:  1 cherry, 1 pit, 1 tree averaging 7,000 cherries but takes 3 to 4 years to harvest

Apples: 5 seeds per apple, 5 trees averaging 700 apples, however 4 to 5 years to harvest

(I feel the apple tree takes the most faith to plant because it takes so long to produce fruit, plus I thought it was cool that 5 is the number of grace (seeds) and 7 in the number of completion (700))

Whether the harvest is immediate like the sunflowers and pumpkins or years down the road like the trees, we still need to see it as provision from God.  God started the multiplication process in Genesis 1:11-13 and He will continue to multiply our seeds because its a part of His creation and what is in the Word, God has to provide.  So when we accept the truth that multiplication was started by God we need to take the truth of the seed and plant it.  We have to believe in God’s multiplication process and decide how big of a harvest we desire and plant accordingly.

We need to come to the realization that sometimes it takes time for the return to happen. Take for example my husbands new truck that is blue-book valued at $6,000 but he got it for $3,000 with no issues….he has no idea which seed of faith he sowed to receive that..to me that was an apple seed.  And example of a sunflower/pumpkin seed harvest would be that sometimes we sow a seed and the return does not come as we expected.  Think about apples and the multitude of ways you can get it:  apples, applesauce, apple juice..ect.  Sometimes we sow a seed and it comes back to us how God sees fit not how we want it.

Final example is a mustard seed harvest.  One Sunday night my husband was deciding how much to put in the offering and he felt to give all that he had on him which would leave us with no money until Monday afternoon.  He did and that SAME night he received a card from someone thanking him for doing the sound for a funeral and it had MORE money in it than he just gave.

So what can we do with all of these fruit facts?  One:  plant seeds…we have to do something in order to activate a harvest.  In Genesis 12:1-3 Abraham had to give up his country in order for God to fulfill His promise to him, all we have to do is give up our offerings as seeds to God, trusting Him with our finances.  Secondly we have to pray over our seeds, like I saw in the planting of seeds some took as little as 60 days while others took up to 5 years to harvest, pray until we see something happen.  Thirdly, we have to trust God with our seeds and believe in His promises.

If we look in Genesis 15:5 we see how God teaches Abraham multiplication with the starts and again in Genesis 22:17 with the grains of sand.  We have to believe that God will do what He promises in His Word.   We need to believe that what we sow will produce a harvest simply because His Word tells us this is truth and God does not go against His Word.  In conclusion, it is up to us to have enough faith to believe in the multiplication process and to decide in our hearts that we serve a God who will multiply any seed we sow accordingly to His plan and purpose for our lives.

“Offerings are the spices that give you the fullness of life”

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What? No Lasagna or Spaghetti????

Instructed by the king, they set off. Then the star appeared again, the same star they had seen in the eastern skies. It led them on until it hovered over the place of the child. They could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
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It’s that time a year again when everyone is running around last minute trying to find the perfect gift for everyone they know.  Some are spending money they really don’t have to spend and others are wondering where they will even get the money in the first place.  Others are finding themselves in depressions because they don’t have anyone to even spend Christmas with.  How did this holiday season get so out of hand?  Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. I love the colors and lights.  I love the decorated trees and the presents under them.  But in reality is it just a cover up?
This may be a little raw for some to read and it may seem kinda on the sad side of things, but this is a blog about my real life, so here it goes.  For the several years in my first marriage we just scraped by ALOT.  Our children did not always have the newest of things or the latest contraption but I can assure you, Christmas was their time of year.  Feeling guilty for all of the things we could not get during the year, we over did it on Christmas.  We would spend our whole pay check plus any bonuses on Christmas..not leaving any finances for bills.
Did the kids have a great Christmas?  Sure did.  Did all of those “things” really mean anything in the the long run?  What my family needed was a year full of love not a one day show.  I look back at my dysfunctional past and I just want to scream!  I feel like we robbed our children of a true representation of a family.  I sometimes wish I could go back and change things and then I realize it all happened and nothing can change the past, we can only move forward.
So now, we don’t make a huge effort on Christmas to get gifts.  We have a set amount to spend and that’s it.  But one thing we do have still is each other.  We have good memories and bad and that holds us together.  It really caught me off guard this year when I forgot a very important tradition.  I called my daughter and suggested that we do Chinese for dinner this year and I heard her disappointment when she simply said, “What? No lasagna and spaghetti this year?”  How could I have completely forgotten a 19 year tradition?  I still remember when Alex (my son) was four years old and I had made lasagna and garlic bread for Christmas Eve with a beautiful candle lit dinner.  We were about half way done with dinner and he piped up and said, “Mom, can we do this every year?”
So every year since we have had lasagna and spaghetti ( the spaghetti started when Alex was about 12 and suddenly didn’t like lasagna) and I can’t believe I almost forgot this year.  But what does this say?  It says it really wasn’t about the overload of presents all along, it was about being with family and enjoying the little things which didn’t cost much.  It was about feeling loved, accepted and valued.
I pray each of you had a wonderful Christmas no matter how you celebrated.  I pray that all have seen Jesus this year in some way shape or form.  I pray 2015 will be a year of many blessings and grace!  

The First Black Friday

John 19:28-30

New Living Translation (NLT)

The Death of Jesus

 28 Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

Matthew 27:45
[ The Death of Jesus ] At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.

Okay, after reading the verses for this blog, you may think it strange and maybe I have my holidays mixed up, nope I am using it to make a valid point, trust me!  God showed me something today as I was trying to figure out why this man had a tent set up a day before Thanksgiving in 40 degree weather waiting outside an electronics store in anticipation of a Black Friday sale.  This really got me thinking about Christmas and all the lost truth of the season.  God showed me how our focus is way off base.  This holiday has become nothing more that a materialistic chance to get the best deals for some.  Almost every year a life is lost in the struggle to get the items up for grabs.  How have we gotten to this point when it all started in a manger in a stable in the middle of nowhere?  I just cannot wrap my mind around it.  In fact, some times getting the best Black Friday deal isn’t even for a gift that we are going to give to someone else, but for our own selfish gain.  Sorry if I am offending anyone, but this is what the Holy Spirit is laying on my heart, totally not the direction I had planned to go with this. (funny how that happens)

As I entered the electronics store, only there for information on my daughters ipod, I saw all these fabulous material things everywhere trying to grab for my attention.  As we began down an isle looking for someone to help us, we were approached by a cable television salesperson who graced us with a wonderful spiel about the newest and greatest offer that we should hurry and take advantage of.  I had to stifle a giggle as I quickly explained I had given up television watching 2 and half years ago for lent and have not returned to watching it.  The look on his face and the pause in his speech was priceless and he finally stammered to me that if I ever changed my mind to come check it out and walked away quickly.  Sometimes people just cannot understand my choice not to be controlled by tv and that is okay, I gave it up and God filled it with more of Him and I am excited about that.

Anyways, the point I am trying to convey is that material things cannot be taken with us when we leave.  We spend so much of our times “gathering” things we think we need when in reality we are just filling voids in our lives.  We think sometimes the more we have or the more up-graded our gadget is, the more popular we will become.  We fill our house with things and stuff that later end up in a yard sale after they lose their relevancy in our lives.  As we focus on collecting these material things we lose sight quickly on the importance of the non-things in our lives.  While this man is standing line for the best deal on a television or other gadget, he is missing out on precious time with family and friends.  He might miss an opportunity to make a difference in someones life.  He is missing Thanksgiving dinner which usually entails a gathering of family and friends, a chance to make real memories.  I have never been a fan of Black Friday shopping and pretty sure I never will be,  I just cannot see the sense in waiting in long lines and especially in Michigan where it is usually snowing!

Now I understand for some it is just a thrill, but let us go back to the First Black Friday for a moment and relate it somehow to present times.  On a Friday Jesus died for our sins.  The sky turned black and dark.  The earth shook.  God was showing up in a fury.  He was about to crucify His only Son to save us.  How do we repay this dark day?  By celebrating the birth of this Only Son by spending hours in long lines, traveling miles out of our way, camping out in the snow and spending money just to make someone happy.  How on earth did we make such a wrong turn?  We have lost our focus on Jesus in the process.  Let me make it real for you in my family life.  If you have read my testimony, we struggled financially because our finances went to support my husbands drug addiction and our smoking habits, however Christmas was always spectacular in our home.

We decked the house with shiny trimmings a well decorated tree.  Stockings were always filled with individually wrapped gifts.  Even the pets in the house had stockings. We would spend all night wrapping gifts only to be awakened early so they could be ripped open.  Now my husband felt that since we did not spoil our children throughout the year, we should give over and beyond our expected income to make them happy come Christmas morning.  We spent my entire bonus check every year plus our last two checks combined.  We spent ALOT on gifts for our two children.  They had every new thing out there.  Sure it was fun to them, but let us look behind the scenes for a moment.

Fights broke out between me and my husband every Christmas, I actually began to dread it.  We were broke for weeks afterwards trying to catch up as we borrowed money to get through the weeks.  Really?  Did we stop to think for a moment that all our children really needed was a loving home and a few gifts under the tree?  Every year it got worse and I am thankful now that my children are older and understand the value of the dollar bill.  I am way less stressed and much less broke!  I feel we need to get back to the reality of the season.  For unto us was GIVEN a Savior who would save us from all of our sins.  He died on a cross so that we could be free from sin forever. So this year, as we approach yet another Black Friday, what is our real reason behind the season of Christmas?  The best deal for us or the best deal we were ever offered, Jesus.