Welcome I love spring, although in our area, spring seems to have skipped us this year. We went from a very snowy April to a very hot, dry May. One of the things I love about spring is the blooms, blossoms, and returning green to the grass and trees. It’s a good thing God blesses us with so much beautiful nature to look at, because unfortunately, I think the green thumb gene skips a generation. My great grandmother was a wizard in the garden and my mom can grow anything, too. Me? Not so much. My mom will give me plants like Hostas or Hen and Chicks, promising me that I can’t kill them. Mmhhmm, maybe. One of my issues is the squirrels. We have dozens, at least, and they love our tree-filled yard, turning our landscape into their high-rise apartment buildings. When it begins to get hot and dry, they find cool shade and moisture by bedding down in my plants. So frustrating! They fling the dirt and plants everywhere as they try to make the most comfortable spot. The squirrels are only part of my problem, though. I want maximum beauty for little effort. I long for a Better Homes and Gardens-worthy yard and landscape, but I want it on a cheap budget with little effort. You can probably guess how my yard really looks, then.
Food For Thought It’s funny how so many times in life we want to put in as little effort as possible and get amazing results. I am so guilty of this, whether it be in a diet and exercise plan or with my gardening attempts. Unfortunately, we often take the same approach with our spiritual goals.
I would love to follow all of God’s commands for love, service, evangelism, prayer, study, hospitality, and encouragement. My heart says, yes, do that! My mind says, honestly, that’s a lot of work. NOT the best Christian attitude to have, right? But I really want to cultivate my faith and spiritual life. I really want to work and serve the Lord. So I have to get in there and get my hands dirty, so to speak.
When I take on gardening projects, I’m going to get messy. I’m going to have to do some heavy lifting. I’ll probably even be sore for a couple of days. I’m in for months of maintenance. But when I have blooming flowers in an array of colors and there’s more green in my yard than brown, I feel such a sense of contentment and accomplishment. I need to take the same approach with my spiritual life.
Sometimes serving God is messy and dirty. We may have to get in there and work in less-than-beautiful locations, or even with people that may fit the messy-dirty description. There may be heavy lifting involved, and that’s no metaphor. Serious heavy lifting…helping an elderly couple move to their new apartment. Loading a truck full of supplies headed for hurricane relief efforts. Unloading a truck full of groceries for our local food bank. Working on maintenance for our church building and grounds. Walking the neighborhoods around our church location to deliver needed household items to shut-ins. You get the idea. Going to church on Sundays for worship is also important. But it’s not enough, alone, to grow a heart of a servant, becoming more like Jesus. Just like sitting on my deck wishing for a beautiful landscape won’t magically grow a rainbow of hearty flowers and lush shrubbery.
Like with any beautiful garden, there is also required maintenance. Improving my spiritual life isn’t a once or twice-a-year activity. It’s not even a once-a-week thing. It requires work and care every day. You don’t have to tell me it’s not always easy! We’re all busy with life…work, kids, marriage, friends, hobbies, health and wellness needs. But just as I experience moments of tranquility while sitting among the blooms and blossoms, I get a great sense of peace when I dwell in God’s presence. I can stop and breathe in the fragrance of His word in my daily Bible study or I can enjoy the beauty of praise songs. I can water my soul and remove the weeds of my thinking by spending time in prayer with Him. If we take the time to care for the garden of our soul, we will reap many benefits, even beyond the crops of this earth.
Today’s Scriptures Psalm 1:3 (see Bible Journal sample); Psalm 96:12 (see Bible journal sample); Jeremiah 17:7-8 (see Bible Journal sample); Colossians 2:6-7
Today’s DIY Today I’m sharing my recent Bible journaling pages. I only started this creative hobby a few months ago, but I have already enjoyed it so much! (Read more at Bible Journaling…Yay or Whoa) And like with any craft or art project, some turn out better than others. I use the ESV Bible for Journaling from Crossway Publishing. The font is easy to read and there are adequate margins and spaces for journaling. I also love the embossed cover. I purchased it a few months ago for less than $30 at Hobby Lobby. You may find some inspiration for your own journaling pages here, or just another way to visualize some of our scriptures.