Tending God’s Garden

Summertime has always been such a wonderful time of year to point the kids to God. Just being surrounded and immersed in His creation, you can’t help but feel loved, by Him while at the same time be in complete awe of Him and all He has made. I love using the trees, the sky, flowers, animals, birds, etc. to point the kids back to their creator. There is one part of nature, however, that serves as an excellent reference to sin… WEEDS!

Now I know everything God created can be used for good. But for the purpose of using weeds as a teaching tool, they work perfectly. Just like sin, they grow when fed. But often, they grow even more when ignored. Just like sin, they often look pretty at first, but when you get real close and touch them, they will prick your hand. Have you ever seen a field of dandelions? It’s actually quite beautiful… but if you try running through a field of dandelions with no shoes on, it will be painful! Not only that, but once the dandelion seed is spread, it becomes a very ugly bunch of tall stems… and of course, but then, the damage is done. We have also all seen the remnants of a weed infested garden. What beauty used to be there gets choked out and it’s often impossible to see that beauty anymore.

When picking weeds, I always tell my kids, “You have to get it by the root or it will come back!” And isn’t that the truth for sin as well? If we don’t get to the root of the sin and make sure we have completely rid ourselves of it, it will come back… sometimes worse than it was before. Matthew 5:29-30 is one of those hard verses to digest. “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” This is saying that just like a weed, we need to get to the root of our sin or it will keep coming back. We are redeemed through our heavenly Father, but that doesn’t mean we can keep doing whatever sinful things we want. In John 8:11 after Jesus had saved the adulterous woman from being stoned to death, His last words to her were, “Go now and sin no more.” Yes we have a savior. Yes, we have been forgiven, but we are still expected to tend His garden because if sin takes over, it will choke out God’s beauty within us.

What do you do to prevent weeds from growing in your garden?

Please see Theresa’s websites: www.animocards.com and www.facebook/animocards.com

Is Jesus In Your Head or In Your Heart?

There is a difference between Believing in Jesus in just our Head and Believing  in Jesus with our whole Heart. Therefore, I would like to challenge the cliché, “Once Saved always Saved”! I believe this a true statement when the belief is in the Heart. When we truly accept Jesus Christ into our hearts (Romans 10:8-10), we can now say… “Once Saved, One OBEYS!
How do you determine if you have a Head or a Heart belief? It is simple when we look into God’s Word. Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, that you will know them by their Fruit.” (Matthew 7:15, 16) This distinction is not just for prophets but holds true for every true believer in Jesus Christ.

Jesus said, “Every good tree bringeth forth good fruit but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.” In other words… when Jesus is in your heart, the Fruit of His spirit will be evident in your life.
Matthew: 7:21-23 states: Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he who doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils and, in thy name, done many wonderful works? 23) And then I will profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me you workers of iniquity.

So, what is this Fruit to which Jesus is referring? It is found in Galatians Chapter 5: 19-24.

A Head Only Belief produces the works of the flesh:
• Adultery
• Fornication
• Uncleanness
• Lasciviousness (revealing an overt or often offensive sexual desire)
• Idolatry
• Witchcraft
• Hatred
• Variance (Person who causes division)
• Emulations (Jealousy)
• Wrath
• Strife
• Sedition  ( an overt conduct or speech inciting people to rebel against authority of a state or monarch)
• Heresies
• Envying
• Murders
• Drunkenness
• Reveling and such like…
A Heart Belief produces The Fruit of the Holy Spirit:
• Love
• Joy
• Peace
• Longsuffering (Patience)
• Gentleness
• Goodness
• Faith
• Meekness
• Self-Control

This Good Fruit is not all manifested at the moment we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, but the process  has now begun to allow His Spirit to teach us and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Will we make mistakes, Absolutely, but it should be mistakes and not Willful Premeditated Sin? When we do make mistakes. We REPENT. True Repentance is to recognize that we have disobeyed God’s Word, be broken and sorry about it, have a change of mind and turn away from it.
Satan is the Master Deceiver, he has people thinking just because they say they believe in Jesus Christ and attend church they can sin and just ask for forgiveness. This is not so according to Hebrew 10:26-31 (Please Read!!!)

The parable of the Ten Virgins in my opinion is a great example of a Head and Heart Belief. All ten believed that the Bride Groom was coming, but only five believed with their whole heart and were PREPARED. The Jewish Rabbis believed in Jesus/Messiah and they Crucified Him, Judas believed and he Betrayed Him. The Devils believe, and they Tremble.
What sets us apart from an ordinary confession Of Jesus Christ is the condition of your Heart. I am urging all of us to seek and Love the Lord our God with all our Heart, Soul and Mind. Then and Only then will we fall in Love with Jesus Christ and choose to walk in His ways and Live by His Standards clearly outlined in His Word! He will never deny a Heart that truly hungers and thirsts for Him.

What do you think? Are you loving the Lord with your Head or your Heart?

Jesus Followed

​“Mommy!! Mommy!!! Mommy!!!!” “I need you!” “Help me!” “pick me up!” “Carry me!” “Mom, I need you!” As moms of young children, we are constantly sought out and needed. We are constantly followed, prodded, touched and questioned. In addition to the needs, there are the fights that need intervention and the disobedience that needs to be addressed, never at an opportune time. Multiply this demand on your attention and time by the number of children you have and it can seem overwhelming. There are many days that it is simply impossible to get any alone time with God. ​
​This spring as I prayed in anticipation of my children being home from school all summer long, God gave me a vision. It was of Jesus being followed, and touched, and prodded, and questioned by CROWDS of people. All over the gospels we see this. Luke 8:41-47 and Matthew 21:12-14 are just a couple of examples of Jesus needing to pause from what He is on His way to do to help or discipline. My favorite example of Jesus being followed is Matthew 14:12-21. In Matthew 14:12 Jesus learns that John the Baptist has been killed. Matthew 14:13-14 tells us “When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” Jesus had every right to seek out God in that moment and desire to be alone, but instead of being annoyed at the crowd or asking them to leave Him alone, He had compassion on them. And do you know what happens in Matthew 14:15-21, after He welcomed the people into His “alone time”? The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. How amazing… He had compassion on them instead of sending them away and as a result of HIS unselfish response to those who sought Him out, a miracle was witnessed.
​What teaching moments are we pushing away by getting frustrated with the constant needs of our children? What miracles might God be able to perform in our homes if we were more compassionate toward our children when they sought us out and less irritated by their never-ending demands of our time and energy? What if we saw the times our kids need discipline as opportunities rather than interruptions? What if we did what Jesus did and say, “Hey, I’m spending some time with God right now. Come and join me.” The love between God and His children is such a beautiful example to us of how we can relate to our own children. As we round the corner on summer vacation, let’s see our children’s pressing needs as opportunities to share God’s truth, love, grace and service to them.

The Greatest Father in Heaven

As Father’s Day approaches, I want to say Happy Father’s Day to my Heavenly Father. The perfect Father. The love of my life. The giver of my own father.
I just want to take the time to let my Heavenly Father know that I am thinking of Him. Decades ago on Father’s Day, it came to my mind that most of us think only of our earthly father and celebrate him on Father’s Day. I am grateful for my father, one of the greatest men on earth. However, I felt a knot in my stomach, because it hit me, I wasn’t saying Happy Father’s Day to the one who breathed life into me.
From that moment on, I have always had a tender spot in my heart for our Heavenly Father. He loved me so much that He sent His only begotten Son on earth to die for my sins so that I could have a relationship with Him. In my heart and mind, I think of Him throughout the day. In Him is everything I need.
He gives me love and compassion in my heart for my family and others. He gives me a song to sing because I know, he holds my future in His hands. He promised to give me a hope and a future Jeremiah 29:11. He gives me courage and strength to accomplish tasks and take care of my responsibilities.
He helps me not to give up on those who are hurting and are mean or rude. He gives me grace. He makes me feel special because I choose to abide and walk with Him. I choose to want to please Him. My goal in life with the Holy Spirit’s help is to live for an audience of one, God. If I live to please Him, then I know everything else and what I need will fall in line.
To have security at a time when everything seems uncertain is priceless to me. I don’t have to worry about tomorrow ( Matthew 6:34). I plan, but He has the final say and I am glad about that because it takes the responsibility off of me. He protects me from the evil one (2 Thess.3:3). My life with God resembles a child who sticks close to their parent. They are protected from things around them. I believe this is what scripture meant when it says to be childlike. Most children don’t worry about tomorrow, about what they will eat, drink or wear (Matthew 6:31).
It is great to know that our Heavenly Father cares about every small or large issue in my life. I just love Him. Happy Father’s Day!

Peace and Rest

It was an unusual evening where I had been gone during bedtime.  As I arrived home, my husband informed me that my six year old son had been having nightmares and he wanted me to go into his room.  When I got to his bedside, he asked me to cuddle with him.  I climbed into his bed and he said, “Mommy, your cuddles make my bad dreams go away.”  As I hugged him tight, I couldn’t help but think of how our mother/ child relationship parallels our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  When we draw near to Him, our worries and fears are put to rest.  Just as my children seek my presence when they are scared, we should be seeking the presence of our Maker when fears arise.  When we focus on Him and His presence, He comforts us with the knowledge that this life and all its troubles isn’t all there is.  He reminds us of His promises and those promises give us hope.

I don’t have answers for tragedies like the one we saw unfold on a high school campus in Parkland Florida, or the horrors of sex trafficking.  I won’t always be able to give my children the answers they are seeking about the horrible things they may one day witness or hear about.  One thing I do know I can do, however, is to teach them who to go to for peace amidst the evil we see, hear about and experience.  We won’t always have answers to give our children, but we can point them to the One who can offer them comfort amidst the nightmares of life when we aren’t there.  In this life, there will, indeed be trials, but we have hope in Christ and when we draw near to Him, He will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28)

Theresa Wegner is a mother of four children.  She is a mom’s group leader and wife of the creator of Animo Bible verse trading cards.  She also creates parenting tool resources for the cards at www.animocards.com and www.facebook.com/animocards

Sacrifice: The Greater Good

 

On this Holy Week and moment, I am reflecting on the goodness of our Lord. I was raised in a Christian home and knew about Easter and The Resurrection Story, but couldn’t clearly understand the meaning of sacrifice until I got married and had children. Sacrifice: it is something you choose to give up for the greater good and the greater good is whatever pleases God. Do I decide to give time, talent and or treasure for sharing Christ with someone?

Reflecting on God’s love for us. How he sent His only Begotten Son to demonstrate what Love really means. Selfishness, self-centeredness and it is all about me doesn’t have a place for a true believer in Christ. Christ gave all so that we might experience God’s love and glory.

The words in my head, “Are you kidding me?” Resonates when I don’t want to do something someone is asking me to do. Love is a sacrifice. Love is what causes us to go over and beyond the normal way of doing things. It’s putting others before ourselves. How do you measure if someone loves you? Is it how well they treat you, respond to you or even give you undivided attention? This is how my Lord is with us when we give him our heart, mind, and soul.

Live life learning how Christ gave so others might live. We would live meaningful and purposeful lives if we could wrap our minds around this concept. What do you have to lose by going the extra mile for someone in need of love and compassion? Can you do like Christ and see beyond their faults and see their needs? I know for myself, I am still needing help in this area. I ask in prayer for wisdom and guidance so that I am not manipulated or deceived. It is for the greater good that God’s love is needed. I want to see people as Christ sees them and to respond to people that need him in their lives.

Is it your desire to be a willing vessel and available to God’s commands? Are you willing to die to self so that others may receive, know and experience God in their lives through Christ? Christ died that we may live. Isn’t it fitting for us to give our all, be an example of His love, so that others may live too?

Romans 12:2 – And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

A Man After God’s Heart

At  the Cove (The Billy Graham Training Center), one of the main points focused on the Chapel tour, is to remember,  it is about what Christ did for us at the Cross and not about Dr. Graham. He never wanted or took credit for the success of milllions dedicating their lives  to Christ. The Reverened was always quick to give glory to God and inform people it was nothing he had done.

Dr. Billy Graham was a godly example of how Christians should live and demonstrated it to the best of his ability. He would say, “All I’ve become and was able to do was because of Christ”. He led a life of integrity, humility, compassion and love for all. He wanted people to know the Gospel… His favorite scripture we are told is from John 3:16-17 (KJV)16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

As a man after God’s heart, like Dr. Graham, I want to continue to be a woman after God’s heart. I want God to bless me with the desire and passion to seek Him wholeheartedly and to reflect Christ’s love. Desiring to live a life as an intentional Ambassador for God. Dr. Graham has gone on to his glorified home and has passed us the baton. What are we going to do with it? Will we be an example on how scripture says we should live and treat one another?

Romans 10:15 ….How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

Walk In Freedom

Seven years ago, when my oldest daughter was three, we installed a fence around our backyard. We had a corner lot, so up until that point, I had to be vigilant to make sure my daughter didn’t run into the street. The day we had the fence installed, my daughter RAN the perimeter of the yard with her arms wide-open. She didn’t have to be afraid of the cars anymore. She didn’t have to fear a dog getting loose and coming into her play area. She wasn’t left wondering where the boundary was because it was made clear to her. She felt safe. I was able to give her freedom to play without me following close behind her. Within the constraints of the fence, she was FREE.
As I saw her experience the JOY that came from being given boundaries that in turn gave her more freedom, I felt God speak gently to my heart, “this is what my boundaries do for those who follow me.” Ever since that day, this has been a truth I have wanted my kids to understand fully. We live in a society that will tell our children that rules are restrictions that oppress and stunt those who follow them. As moms, we have the beautiful privilege of speaking the truth of God’s love into their lives and in doing so, helping them understand that His boundaries are in place for our well-being. His rules are not there to rain on their parade but to help them better enjoy this life He has given them. In fact, He put them there because He loves them and wants the best for them.
To best communicate this truth, it starts with how we live. Do we appear to be the angry dog behind the fence, unhappy to be there and barking angrily at all those on the outside? Or are we living out the joy that comes with having God’s fence around us protecting and giving us freedom?
Dear God, thank you for your boundaries. I pray my life would reflect the joy that comes from living within those boundaries to both my family and others you put me in contact with. I pray my children will understand the freedom that comes from obeying your Word and it will be their desire to follow you all the days of their lives. Amen.
Psalm 119:45 “I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.”

Theresa Wegner is a mother of four children. She is a mom’s group leader and wife of the creator of Animo Bible verse trading cards. She also creates parenting tool resources for the cards at www.animocards.com and www.facebook.com/animocards

More In 2018

More of God is what I want. More and More of Him. Are you wondering what is going to happen to your future? Do you fear failing or maybe your life is or threatened to falling apart?  There is only one answer to security, peace and love.  His love never fails. His name is Jesus.  The more you seek Him the more you will find Him.

Seek Him with all your heart and soul (Deuteronomy 4:29).  God wants us to get to know Him. I have found out through the years of serving Him, He desired a personal relationship with me.  Jeremiah 29:13 states,” You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” This is my goal for 2018.

People go to church or serve on His behalf all the time, but feel they don’t know how or need to know Him.  Evidence you know Him- your desire is praying, reading the Bible or fellow-shipping with Him daily.  You love people around you more because as you get closer to Him, God is Love.  This is what I am striving for in my life.

Did you know there is a scripture that says, “ 21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven..23 Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:21,23 NIV)

There is a historical record in the Bible about two sisters, Mary and Martha. (Luke 10:39-42 NIV)–    “ …a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” The greater…spending personal time with Him.

In this day with so much uncertainty, we need a Savior and to know God is our helper, provider and wants us to feel safe and secure. What are you looking for in 2018 and years to come?  Maybe you need more of Jesus too. Well, we have the answer on how to know Him and it is up to us to put it into action.

I am determined to spend more time at His feet and in His Word. I believe this will be one of my best years in fulfilling His Will for my life.  How can I be so sure?  I plan on spending time with Him and knowing what He wants from me, according to the Bible. Thereby, when I need an answered prayer, I have laid the ground work to receive one.  I can call on Him having confidence He has heard my prayer, He knows me,  and will do what is in His perfect Will.

An Effective Prayer Life

As I was growing in Christ, I would go to hear my Pastor’s wife teach us how to pray and hear from God. I remember her saying, “if you take care of God’s business, He will take care of yours.” She taught us God’s work is priority. Seek first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness and everything else would be added. This awesome Lady would said ,
“The Lord will take great care of you..
We would listen to people’s testimonies of God’s faithfulness and the miracles he was performing in the lives of his people who were seeking after Him.
A wonderful Messianic Rabbi told me, “Evelyn if you stay close to the ground, you don’t have to worry about falling”. He was talking about praying humbly before God with a sincere heart. It has been the best advice ever.
There is something miraculous that happens in the spirit realm when we pray and even more so when we come together in unity and pray. The homes are more stable, the Lord gives women the desire and strength to love their spouses and children. Doors open for the spouses, He gives us all favor in the market place. Our congregations are healthier, the spirit of God flows easier, broken hearts are mended, healing of the mind and body occur.
I encourage you to go to the altar yourself in the sanctuary on a regular basis and God will honor you. Always make it a special time to be with our Lord. If your church isn’t open during the week, don’t worry…God does honor our personal time with him at home. There is just something special about going to His house.
Tips:
• In the beginning, you may sit quietly for 10 min then it becomes easier and you may go to 20, 30 or eventually an hour(s). Once you get a hold of His peace and love you don’t want that precious time to end.
• Praying with a heavy heart, PUSH- Pray Until Something Happens. Don’t leave the Altar or your prayer room until the peace and love of God surrounds you. The peace and love you sense is a measurement for you, knowing your prayer was heard. Now you can let go of the concern; knowing your Heavenly Father is in control of the situation.
• Praying without a heavy heart- I read my bible, may softly play instrumental and or worship music, sit and wait on Him. Sometimes His presence shows up and sometimes he doesn’t. I just keep being faithful going to prayer and he may surprise me and  begin speaking to my heart. I take a journal and write down the things he speaks to me. I treasure them and keep them. I plan on passing on my journals to my children’s children as an inheritance of God’s love working in my life. Knowing if they are willing to spend time in His presence, He can be with them too; guiding, directing and protecting their life.

Do you have any suggestions that work in your prayer life to share with others?