Love: Power to Change the World!

Are you a believer in Jesus?

If so, here is a verse to challenge your status quo:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

John 14:12

Here a flat statement in the scripture of Jesus’ purpose:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

Do you suppose Jesus’ works, spoken of in John 14:12, might be associated with His stated purpose? Can you imagine any aimless works of the perfect Son of God?

Do you want to know what the works of the devil look like? See Romans 1:18-32

How can we have the power to combat this evil onslaught?

Consider this – God is sovereign. By that, I mean that He is bound only by His own word and his own nature. He cannot violate His own nature or His word and still be the God described in the Bible. I do NOT mean, as some do, that the sovereignty of God decides everything. I believe He has given us free will. One reason is that love does not function under coercion. When the scripture says we are made in His image (Genesis 1:26), we might understand that God has free will and He made us after the same pattern. How might we know? The strongest scriptural evidence I can cite is 1 John 4:8, which says that God is love. That is, love is his very nature. I believe He gave us free will that we would not be precluded from relating to Him in love. However, we misused our free will and followed a twisted lie about Him instead of having faith in His perfection. This choice gave the devil access to the things we were given to rule over in the beginning (including our selves). Can you say “diabolical plan”? We continue to reinforce that capitulation every time we choose to operate in our “own” will, instead of God’s revealed will. (Matthew 7:21, 26:39) We all know from painful experience the difficulty in subjugating our stubborn self will.

But God… provided a solution to our dilemma. Jesus went to the cross and voluntarily bore the penalty of our sin. If we can accept the completeness of this selfless act and lay down our impotent self efforts, we can find freedom:

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36

The power to operate in freedom comes from the indwelling Spirit of God, whom Jesus sent:

Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:7

How can we know if the Spirit of God is indwelling and we have yielded to Him (rather than continuing to habitually yield to our “old man”)?

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

Galatians 5:22-23

Remember that free will? Here is some really good news:

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:9

I believe 1 John 1:9 is talking about transgressions of the believer who has lapsed into “walking in the flesh” or the unregenerate part of our nature, instead of the part of us that is saved (the Spiritual part, look back at John 14:17). Further, we don’t have to contest the free will of others to defeat the works of the devil in ourselves! All it really takes is to recognize we are displaying traits in the list in Romans 1:18-32 and not the ones in Galatians 5:22-23. If we do, we can pray something like: “Father, I am walking in the flesh again and not in the power of Your Spirit. Thank You that Jesus has paid the price of His life to break that bondage! Please help me to consider myself dead to these things, but alive to your Spirit. I want to do that which is pleasing in Your sight!”

Do you want to make some real change in the world?

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 18:19

A Few Entries from My Gratitude Journal for Thanksgiving

I am grateful for my life, Jesus! I am full of joy at being able to talk to You!

Thank You Jesus for the wildlife on the way this morning! Turkey, pheasant, baby bunny, killdeer, an awesome display of Your creativity!

Thank You for the victory You purchased at great cost over the enemy by Your faithful and loving sacrifice on the cross!

Thank You Jesus, for overcoming on our behalf!

Thank You for purchasing my freedom! I love You!

Thank You Jesus for deliverance from the darkness and the invitation to walk in the light with You!

I know our relationship is gratifying to me and I feel blessed by Your love. I don’t suppose I have thought much about You being grateful for it. Thank You for showing that to me!

I am grateful for the beauty of the tall pines in my view this morning! Your creation is marvelous, a testimony to Your magnificence!

I am grateful that the muscle I pulled in my back is getting better, that by Your stripes I am healed!

I am grateful that we are justified as a gift by Your grace; that redemption is in You!

I am grateful for the Winter solstice; that the physical processes of the seasons were established by Your limitless wisdom and that with You there are never unintended consequences to take You by surprise.

Thank You for Your wise provision! I Love You!

I Am the Truth

He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. Deuteronomy 32:4

Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. Psalm 25:5

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom. Psalm 51:6

He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Psalm 57:3

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. Psalm 60:4

Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O Lord God of truth. Psalm 31:5

And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Luke 23:46

Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps. Psalm 85:7-13

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these. Mark 12:30-31

How we need you in us! Let us testify to Your Truth by every word and act. Amen

Power that Works

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Ephesians 3:20

I am awed, really, how God is faithful to reinforce the messages He is strengthening in my life. This verse in Ephesians is a mighty example. I tend to get discouraged when I try to communicate truth I find helpful into the lives of friends who are engaged in self-defeating thought patterns and clearly suffering. I am dismayed when it seems my attempts fall upon deaf ears and the troubles of my friends persist. I find myself feeling that there is something I have failed my friend in; some way I have let him down. I stumble into the same trap that Moses did when he argued with God that he wasn’t articulate enough to carry the message (Exodus, chapters 3 & 4).

Of course, it is easier for us to recognize these patterns in others than in ourselves. The things we believe that are not true and that lead us to trouble are not easy to root out precisely because our internal filter (belief system) is contaminated by the lies we believe. These beliefs seldom bear scrutiny in the light of day. They are more like an unconscious subtext running subliminally in the background. Some of them may have come into existence when we were mere “infinks”*, when we didn’t know any better.

Better, I would meditate on verses like Ephesians 3:20 until the truth of it is fully ingrained in my heart that it is God, and God alone, who is able to do exceeding abundantly above anything I would even conceive of. Meditate until I can stand without wavering upon the truth that He is already at work in me to accomplish things that are hard to believe. Impossible, in fact, in the natural realm. The believer ALREADY has the Holy Spirit dwelling on the inside. What is left is is the transforming of the mind to align with this truth (Romans 12:2). In that way – meditating on these powerful truths in scripture – these failures to grasp the truth in daily life can be rooted out. In me. In my friends. In You. In Power.

Eat your spinach, you no good infink. Eat it. EAT IT. Eat it.

Poopdeck Pappy: Robert Altman’s 1980 Popeye movie

Reasons to Rejoice!

I am grateful that You made it clear that a thankful heart is part of the wisdom of living a wise and sober life in the power of Your Spirit!

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Ephesians 4:30

That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:12-14

See then that ye walk circumspectly1, not as fools, but as wise,
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

Ephesians 5:15-20

Me: Good morning, Father!

Abba: Good morning, Jon!

Me: How are the days evil, Father, since we are also told to rejoice for this is a day that You have made? (Psalm 118:24)

Abba: I have made the day. Who else? In the beginning everything I made was “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Consider these passages and see that the evil in any day did not spring forth of My choosing:

Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

Genesis 6:5

Who devise evil things in their hearts; They continually stir up wars.

Psalm 140:2

Who with perversity in his heart continually devises evil, Who spreads strife.

Proverbs 6:14

The one who is in Christ, however, is called to His work:

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it. If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

John 14:12-17

And part of His work, in which you are called to continue, is this:

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

1 John 3:8

That is why the word in Ephesians 5:16 says “Redeeming the time”. In so far as it depends upon you (Romans 12:18), you redeem your day from evil. What depends more upon you – what do you have more control over – than how you engage the time allotted to you?

Men must choose: walk in faith in Me, in what My word has asserted is true, or cower in fear according to the lies of the devil.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

John 8:44

Compare this:

The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.

Psalm 28:7

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.

1 John 4:18

Me: Thank You Father! I love You!

Abba: You are welcome! I love you!

1 Circumspect: careful to consider all circumstances and possible consequences; prudent (Merriam-Webster.com) [Latin circum – all around, in a circle; spectat – look.]

As the Deer…

I am grateful that the creation itself tells us of You! That it speaks plainly of Your majesty, and of Your magnificent nature, that You are an infinitely competent Creator!

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

Psalm 42:1

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 1:20

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.

Psalm 19:14

I took these pictures with my phone on the way in to work one recent morning before I got to the pavement. In the this one, the deer that was leaping in the first snap is now peeking back at me over the little hill on the left.

One of the Hebrew names of God is transliterated as Jehovah Shalom, meaning God our Peace. Praise His Holy Name!

Boasting – more than annoyance

Father, I am grateful for today, for today’s opportunities, for its promise, for Your creation of it, and for Your presence in it.

This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Psalm 118:24

Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

Proverbs 27:1

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Rejoice now, wait-and-see for tomorrow? No boasting?

ABBA: Boast not of self.

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 2:8-10

Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James 3:5

Here is a list, containing reference to boasters. See what company it keeps:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:28-32

If, instead, you speak truthfully of Me and of My workmanship in your life you will unleash My power for good.

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Ephesians 4:15-16

These things apply to you as an individual. Individuals make up families, organizations (from churches to governments), to all of society. I Am able to make the difference between health & joy and rot. The choice is yours.

Me: Thank You Father! I love you!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Kingdom of God

I am grateful for Your faithfulness!

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1 Corinthians 2:14

Me: Good morning Father!

ABBA: Good morning Jon!

Me: Jesus told us in Matthew 6:33 to seek first Your kingdom. How does one do that?

ABBA: It would be beneficial for you to look at what the scripture says about My kingdom. How does one recognize it?

Me: Sounds like a good idea, of course.

ABBA:

5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

from Exodus 19 (please read all)

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

Leviticus 11:45

I Am the Lord. The citizens of My kingdom are to listen to My voice, do what I say (from the heart, for what I say is from My heart and is good).

[My] throne … is for ever and ever: the sceptre of [My] kingdom is a right sceptre.

Psalm 45:6

I Am equipping them to be as I Am. In fact, if you try to be as I Am in your own strength, you will surely fail. I created you to abide in Me (John 15:7). I send My Spirit to guide you (John 16:13). Your fleshly desire to be an independent agent is of the evil one. Do not entertain his lies, which are designed to get My children to defect from My kingdom.

I Am the Truth. Those who would worship Me must worship in Spirit and in truth. (John 4:24) What is worship but acknowledging My sovereignty in My kingdom and your proper relationship with Me?

27 All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.

28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s: and he is the governor among the nations.

from Psalm 22 (please read all this Messianic Psalm)

In My Son Jesus, I Am making a way, a way for salvation available to the ends of the earth, to any who will receive Him:

28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Isaiah 40 (also Messianic – read it all, if you please)

Strength in Me is the lot of those who tarry with Me, strength not known even in the youth of men. In Me, they are changed:

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.

Romans 12:2

Such are the laws of My kingdom, written in the hearts of My children, every one doing My perfect will because it is right, not out of fear of retribution, but for love (1 John 4:18).

[My] kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and [My] dominion endureth throughout all generations.

Psalm 145:13

The decay that has entered the world and all flesh through sin is defeated in My kingdom. My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 3:2

None may enter without repentance. And the time for that is now (Joel 2:1):

At that time Jesus began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Matthew 4:17

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

The downcast shall give up their depression, for My children walk in light and joy.

“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:10

Those in My kingdom always do right, no matter the cost.

Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:19

Woe to those who obfuscates the truth, but blessed is he who shows it by word and deed.

“For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:20

It does not matter what men deem acceptable. I Am judge.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

Matthew 7:21

Lip service does not bring change, but My will is a transformation:

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

John 7:38

I say to you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven;

Matthew 8:11

I Am not willing that any should perish.

2 Peter 3:9

And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’

Matthew 10:7

Those who are after My own heart want the best for everyone and make the most of the time they are given.

Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Matthew 11:11

For even John had doubts relating to being able to distinguish between My eternal promises, the power of the Spirit, and the merely temporal things affecting the flesh.

From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.

Matthew 11:12

Those who would, enter the kingdom by seizing upon the chance with everything that is within them.

Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. Matthew

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

Matthew 13:11, 1 Corinthians 2:9

There is definitely more to the kingdom than meets the eye, for the eye has never seen the things of the Spirit.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:2-3

There are many wonderful surprises ahead!

Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field…

Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43

Beware of the deceptions of the enemy, clearing away the resulting destruction of sin requires hard work and patience. His work tends to have residual effects which have to be battled long into the future, like tares[1] shedding seeds in a field of wheat. As Jesus’ explanation to the disciples makes clear, you must endure the children of the devil with you until I come for you. My fervent desire is that some of them will listen to you, turn, and come to Me. They can be transformed from tares – which only look like wheat until they begin to produce their toxic fruit – into real wheat by My power. Do you not realize that since the fall all were sprouted as tares? Corrupt men reproducing after their kind:

[Note 1: Tares: the bearded darnel, mentioned (only) in Matthew 13:25-30 . It is the Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Palestine. – from https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/tares/]

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Psalm 51:51, 1 Corinthians 6:11

He presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field; which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.

Matthew 13:3-32

From the smallest start, work in the kingdom becomes great. I Am the Lord. Did not the Ransom of mankind spend His first night in a manger as a helpless infant?

He spoke another parable to them, “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three pecks of flour until it was all leavened.”

Matthew 13:33

Never underestimate the effect your words may have when you encourage another to seek life in the Son.

“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

Matthew 13:44-46

There is nothing in the physical realm which compares to the riches of the kingdom, which I Am.

“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet cast into the sea, and gathering fish of every kind; Matthew 13:47-51

Matthew 13:47-51 (please read)

I Am going to sort the good from the bad. I Am a righteous judge.

And Jesus said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.”

Matthew 13:52

I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”

Matthew 16:19

Even so, your body, mind and emotions will respond (transform to be conformed) to My Spirit as you bring them into subjection by your own choice.

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-4

Little children are guileless, loving, and humbly accepting their parents.

“For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves… So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

Matthew 18:23-35

Forgive. It is the way of the kingdom. All the ways of the kingdom are My ways. My nature and character are the nature and character of the kingdom. Be holy, for I Am holy. This is your kingdom calling.

Me: Wow! I had not noticed lately that Jesus had so much to say about the kingdom of heaven. Thank You Father! I love You!

ABBA: You are welcome! I love you!

Dear Reader,
Thanks for hanging in there if you have read this far! Here is an earlier post about Covid the Cat (today’s Featured Image) and how he came to be with us.

Also, if you don’t really care for the King James version of the scriptures, I understand. They take some getting used to. I am using the KJV because it is the only version that is in the public domain (not under copyright). Please feel free to follow along in whatever version you choose! I guarantee you will benefit from the comparison anyway. – Jon

Land of Uprightness

I am grateful for Your Spirit of all Truth whom you sent to guide us into all truth. (John 16:13) 

Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness. Psalm 143:10 (King James Version) 

Me: Good evening Jesus! 

Jesus: Good evening Jon! 

Me: Tell me about the land of uprightness.  Is it a place? 

Jesus: If you abide in Me and give heed to the Spirit’s guidance, it is intended to be wherever you are. Did I not come to destroy the works of the devil? (1 John 3:8) Did I not tell you to do the works that I do? I Am supporting you in this with My power. (John 14:12) 

Me: I was telling a friend on Sunday, who is already doing some journalling, that although there is much one can and should do to make oneself more receptive, there is no closed-form formula for hearing from or following You. I told him that what we truly hear from You internally, will always be in concert with what is revealed in the Bible. It seems that having memory of scripture is a big part for me, that the Spirit calls passages to mind when I am seeking to hear from You.

Jesus: If I made it a formula, it would be static and men would see no need of relationship with Me. There would be no humility or bond of loving conversation. My ways are not your ways, nor are my thoughts your thoughts, except you  yield your mind to My Spirit. Have your heard the phrase “thinking God’s thoughts after Him”? It is paraphrased from words written by Johannes Kepler in humility of his research and the revelation in My word that man is made in My image. He believed man was  therefore capable of understanding the nature of My creation because I desire it to be understood and made it plainly visible. (Genesis 1:27, Romans 1:20) I am telling you that John 14:12 is calling you to do My works after Me.

Me: How can I live up to this charge? 

Jesus: If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, you will bear much fruit, glorifying My Father, proving to be My disciple and friend. (John 15:7-8) Let My words abide in you; make their home in you, have their effect on you through obedience, fill the environment around you because they have crossed your lips from their place of abundance in your heart (Matthew 12:34). Neither let any faithless or unbelieving word take that same path. Speak love, and joy, truth and peace, hope, and trust in Me. Let not words of fear, or doubt, anger or ungratefulness dilute and pollute the power of faith. Remember the power of My word by which all creation came into being. Remember that if I had coerced man to respond to me by a formula, rather than making our relationship the way, he would not reflect My image (John 10:30). As for the land of uprightness, I Am leading you.

Me: Thank You Jesus! I love You! 

Jesus: You are welcome! I love you!

Harvest Today

Lord, I am grateful for a good potato harvest and the satisfaction of manual labor.

For the past couple of years, I have been raising some redskin potatoes in our garden. My approach has been to till in a fair amount of composted manure to prepare the plot. Potatoes are heavy feeders, so the manure really helps. I rake a shallow trench for a row in the newly tilled soil and place the seed potatoes, eye up. Then I rake the soil back over to just cover.

My approach is much easier than the common approach of placing them in a 6″-8″ deep trench; easier to plant and easier to harvest. The deep-trench method is designed to keep the potatoes covered as they grow. I followed the traditional approach three years ago and found it backbreaking work. When it came time to harvest, I damaged many trying to dig them up in the tight Iowa soil.

Potatoes exposed to the sun will turn green and be toxic. (Potatoes belong to the Nightshade family.) I avoid exposure of the tubers to the sun by deeply mulching them with clean straw or even grass clippings. When it comes time to harvest, they can be carefully exposed with a rake and digging will be minimal. The fork may still be necessary to free tubers that end up a little deeper (on their own). It is best to dig further away from the vine and pry up the soil to loosen.

I wash off any dirt that clings to the potatoes. This year, I filled the wheelbarrow with water and allowed them to soak for a couple of hours. Most didn’t require any extra cleaning.

After allowing them to dry in the driveway, I pack them in open tubs in layers of straw for storage in the basement.The straw prevents the potatoes from packing too closely together and improves storage. I usually have usable potatoes right up to planting time and can provide seed potatoes from last year’s harvest.