Starting My Garden With a Little Faith -Romans 12:3

I got a late start on my garden this year. You might say five years late. That’s about how long it has been since I gave up working hard because of my bad back. But there are new things happening now, after years of different therapies and such that I’ve tried.

And today, after bit by bit removing weeds and preparing a small space for the off chance I might be able to maintain a few plants, there are beans and tomatoes and dahlias growing in my flower beds.

Which has helped me get a little stronger. And increased strength has motivated me to tackle the entire flower bed, which has also encouraged me to adopt more plants and tubers to stretch myself even further.

Today’s photo is of a sprig from my bean plant reaching for the sun.

Here’s a closer shot. See it there, crawling up the wire? In today’s Verse of the Day, which I receive in my email, we are admonished to assess ourselves reasonably. The little bean seed wasn’t likely aware that the result of its growing and struggling and reaching would have an impact on feeding a couple of hungry humans. It’s just doing what God assigned it to do. And what I’m trying to help it accomplish.

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”

Romans 12:3 ESV

And also today, I realize that what started with what I thought might be my last solo date to the dahlia farm last Fall (driving was excruciating) and potentially wasting money ordering five lovely tubers that I might not be able to maintain, is an expression of my faith. In taking that step, I expressed hope that months later I might reach a new level of strength and productivity, and have beautiful flowers to bring into my home.

It’s okay to reach, to struggle, to try. And then rest and reach again. If you’re worried you might think of yourself “more highly” than you ought, I suggest you visit the Scriptures. That’s what helps me see everything, including myself, in true perspective.

This month my goal is publishing a blog post every weekday from the Verse of the Day. Think I’ll succeed? I’m flexing my muscles and getting ready. May we both be blessed by God’s words.

Here’s where you can sign up to receive the Verse of the Day from Bible Gateway .

When the Holiday Season is Hard – Proverbs 3:5-8

The transition from fall to winter is a gloomy time for some. In addition to the pressure of navigating the holidays, seasonal weather patterns also can make life challenging, especially for those who miss the sunshine.

For me, gray, overcast days don’t have a negative effect. I’ve loved clouds since I was a little girl, even to the point of getting excited during thunderstorms. What does mess with my emotions, though, is preparing for family events. That can make me a wreck!

Why do we repeat the cycles of past holidays when we make plans, raise expectations, anticipate joy, dread discomfort, and crash when it’s all over?

I have other struggles during this season when I find it easier to feel down. Pain that limits what I can do. The struggle for sleep – only four hours then I’m awake. Why? And a course change, once again, with my writing work.

My mother died the day after Christmas in 2019. Both blessing and hurt roll over me when I think about her passing. Family members came from miles away to comfort and support each other – I miss that. And Mom, my dearest friend, is out of reach.

There’s a lot I don’t like about this season of my life, but here’s the truth. I will trust God.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Proverbs 3:5-8 ESV

As I do any other time of the year, I put (notice the next word) all my trust in God. This requires some serious self talk on my part, rehearsing the truth of how big he is, how thoroughly he has proved his love, and how devoted he is to saving all of us.

Why are you cast down, O my soul,
    and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
    my salvation and my God . . .

Psalm 42:5-6 ESV

And in all (there’s that word again) the steps I take, I acknowledge him. I do this because, more than anything, I want to always (in all my ways) be aware that he is with me.

Then, instead of staying in the hurt, I think of my mother as she delivered what was probably her final joke.  We were gathered around her deathbed when someone mentioned Christmas gifts. In her sweet, understated way she offered,

“Well, you don’t have to get me anything.”

During my mother’s last days with us, as far as I could tell, she didn’t become stressed out about anything. She had long practiced putting her trust in God, and that was enough.

This post is to be published on New Year’s Day 2022, so instead of wishing you a happy new year (because happiness may take its time coming around), I ask God to bless you with the healing and refreshment mentioned in Proverbs 3 as you trust him in the days ahead.

Kathy Sheldon Davis

Christmas – What Charlie Brown and Linus Got Right – Luke 2:8-14

In the classic TV special, A Charlie Brown’s Christmas, Linus responds to Charlie’s display of holiday stress by reciting from the book of Luke. This year the same verses hit home for me, too. (Thank you, Linus!)

With Shaia, my youngest grandniece

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Luke 2:8-14 KJV

As a follower of Jesus for many years, I’ve encountered many interpretations, traditions and opinions related to how Christian holidays should or should not be practiced. And now, with so much of what we hear and read in the news about divisions between people, it’s easy, sadly, to separate ourselves in our celebrating as well.

But when I read the verses Linus quotes, my distress about our world is relieved like it was for his friend. For one thing, I’m reminded that God sent his messenger to declare the news to humanity that the time had come for our salvation.

Secondly, he brought good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people.

Did you catch that?

God sent good news and joy for all people. There are no qualifiers. No one is excluded. No us versus them.

The apostle Paul wrote, “The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost” (1 Timothy 1:15 ESV). We have all done wrong. We all need salvation.

My response to this, the best news I’ve ever heard, is Hallelujah, Glory to God and Merry Christmas, everyone!

by Kathy Sheldon Davis