The Parable of the Growing Seed

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“He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground.

Night and day whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.

All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. As soon as the harvest is ripe, he puts the sickle to it……'”

Mark 4: 26 – 29a 

The beautiful thing about the Messiah teaching us about the Kingdom of God is that there are these illustrations known as parables to help us understand God’s reign in our lives.

I think this portion is pointing out that we have the initial work to do of preparing the soil (our hearts) but that He is the One that causes faith to grow as we follow Him.

When we follow Him, God’s kingdom lives and grows inside of us!

Lord God thank You for working in our lives. May Your kingdom continue to grow and be strong within us!

Amen and amen.

    

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

 

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In Those Valleys

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It is in those valleys where I can hardly hear You

where my thoughts overtake Your streams,

and worry blinds my eyes

to Your strength already given

it is there Lord God

that I need You to teach me,

to show me how

to let go of the noise

and listen

to the peace

You have already planted

deep within

my being.

Amen.

     

Prayer Poem and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

Teach Me Your Way

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“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth;

give me and undivided heart, that I may fear your name.

I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart;

I will glorify your name forever. For great

is your love toward me……”

Psalm 86: 11-13a

Here we see the Psalmist with a humble heart, praising and beseeching the Lord God. The Psalms so often flow easily in a beautiful way, the words seeming to speak directly into our hearts. We can often ask ourselves quietly – is my heart like this? Am I this humble?

Part of our walk of faith is asking God to teach us. In our prayer times, as we read the Scriptures, God can guide us, teach us really – about His ways. This is such a beautiful part of our relationship with Him.

And when this verse speaks of an undivided heart, this means we will have a heart for God instead of our own selfish ways, or the ways of the world that would lead us astray. Another way of saying this is He does not want us to have one foot in heaven, and one foot in hell!

Now does this mean we have to be absolutely perfect, in every way? No!! Only God is perfect. But look again at the heart of the Psalmist in these verses. Can you describe it in one word, or in one phrase? How about the word “humble”? Or the phrase “a heart that loves God”? And there it is – the key to us following Him.

Lord God Almighty – King of the Universe we praise You and thank You for working in our hearts and lives. We love You God, teach us Your ways, help us in every way to have undivided hearts.

Amen, and amen.

 

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

How I Almost Became Catholic II

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So in his early days of being Pope, Francis was doing and saying things that much of the world took notice of. I haven’t followed him lately but back then, I was thanking God for him. He was a breath of fresh air! Now keep in mind I had been in some super conservative churches for awhile and the fact that the Pope seemed very Christian, surprised me!

I had been told a lot of things about Catholicism that I found out later were simply just not true. So, then I read some of his sermons. Did you know you could do that? Again, I was even more surprised! I actually said to myself, “I never knew the Pope could write like that!” To my Catholic friends do not be angry with me, because this is what many of us go through. I was stunned to learn the Pope was a Christian.

When I started attending a Catholic Church, and several more to see what they were like, I saw no worship of Mary, or anyone else except God Himself. I saw no one worshiping statues. In fact, everyone related to God in much the same way that I did.

Along the way I did look at theology, and yes there were some differences. Some I accepted, some I was neutral on, and others I thought were questionable. However, I always found their theologians to be solid, deep thinkers, that knew what they were talking about. They seemed to have much deeper roots, and to be more grounded than Protestant theologians. Christianity did not begin in the year 1500!

Eventually I could not reconcile a few things, for example Mary being eternally a virgin. If that were the case, then Mary and Joseph were not truly married. And some (not all) I thought elevated Mary too highly, even referring to her as a queen. I thought no, I can’t do that. She was certainly special, but……

One Sunday I was in church and a man in his 40’s was joining the Church. He had to declare that day that he “believed everything the Catholic Church teaches”. I thought that was odd because every Catholic person I knew had some differences. Why would this guy be required to do more than everyone else?

So I slowly, gradually moved on. But I learned a great deal in that little more than a year. Mostly I learned not to judge others. I can have an opinion, like everyone else, and we can still respect each other. God made us that way.

And I learned that I did not have to be a fundamentalist to be approved by God. Different faith experiences were perfectly legitimate.

I wish you peace.

     

Note: I won’t be posting here tomorrow. God willing, I’ll see you next week.

Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

To Love Mercy and to Walk Humbly

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“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6: 8

Sometimes we complicate faith too much, don’t we? We often see faith as a set of rules, a religion where we do this or that. Now let me say that having rules can be very good for our health! For example, there are many reasons God says – “Don’t steal!”. And for our safety, we have traffic laws.

And yet here, and in other places in the Scriptures, we see a heart attitude, of doing right, and loving God. In this portion doing right means in His eyes, and includes how we treat others.

What does this remind you of? Well, I think of the verses about the Two Greatest Commandments, which are to love God, first and foremost, and then loving our neighbor as ourselves, which we are told is a lot like the first commandment. When we love God, we will want to do what is right, and will have humble attitudes.

If you want to see the world changed in a hurry – love your neighbors! And we must not forget to love God. Isn’t that beautiful? It’s so simple and yet so profound!

Lord God, help us to love You, and to love our neighbors! May we love mercy, and walk humbly with You! Amen and amen.

     

Prayer, Commentary and Image, Copyright © 2018, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Judging and Discerning

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“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way

you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure

you use, it will be measured to you.”

Matthew 7: 1, 2

In today’s language this means, “what comes around, goes around.” Or another way of saying it is, “you reap what you sow.” Yet in other places the Scriptures instruct us to be discerning, or to discern.

So what is the difference between judging, and discerning? Well judging, especially in this portion, seems to mean to condemn. Judging is for God to do, not really for humans, except for those in high positions of authority.

Ever known someone filled with religious pride? Pretty awful right? That’s because of the sin of pride leading them to judge, or to condemn others.

Now discerning is different, because it involves having wisdom, or insight about a given situation. Remember God’s version of wisdom is first pure, then peaceable (I love the book of James!). So when we are discerning, it is God leading us with wonderful insight!

Thank You God for leading us with insight about our lives, and the circumstances we face each day. Help us to have a humble wisdom, without the harsh, proudful aspects of judging others. Help us to be guided by You, and live for You! Amen.

    

Prayer, Commentary, and Image Copyright© 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible

Whoever Claims to Love God

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“Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar.

For whoever does not love their brother or sister,

whom they have seen, cannot love God,

whom they have not seen.”

I John 4:20

   

Strong words indeed! Yet it is clear that with this illustration God is telling us that loving each other is an essential part of our faith. If we do not love our brother or sister, then we are not following the faith, because we can’t possibly be loving God.

However, I have seen folks debate though, who is actually our brother or sister. Are they only people we know, that go to our church? Or do they have to belong to the same type of church?

I don’t think so, in fact when I read this I think of the Good Samaritan. Do you remember how he helped a man by the side of the road, that had been beaten and robbed? It is true he was called the good neighbor, not a brother, but the spirit of these Scriptures is the same.

And remember we are all descended from Adam and Eve. So, in that sense, we are all related! One things for sure, hate is never an option.

Heavenly Father, please help us to love people, and truly reflect Your love here in the earth, even when the other person is much different than we are. In Christ’s name, amen.

     

Prayer, Commentary, and Image Copyright© 2017, WalkingthroughPsalms

quote from the NIV Bible