Yoke


hand-to-the-plow

By G. P. Avants

“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11: 30

 

 

Got it.

The work ahead

Is plan to see.

“If it’s meant to be,

It’s up to me.”

(That’s what they tell me.)

The Plow

I grab the plow,

My back I bow,

Flex and bent

All day

From beginning to end.

Yet when I view

The fruit of my labor,

My field looks no different

Then the unworked one

Of my neighbor.

Not a dent did I make

From the sweat of my brow

Yet tomorrow’s the same

Though I know this will grow.

 

hard-work-plowing-rich-collins

This isn’t a one-man job.

No, in fact it’s one made

For man and his God.

Pulling together

Not grasping at odds.

That silly idea

Doesn’t sound so bad

Right now.

So, I take Him

At His word.

 

MDG : Seed : Plowing a field and sowing seeds in Ethiopia

Pull and strain,

Sun or rain,

Alongside the Lord.

A heavy load

Looking behind,

When all is done;

The field is plowed

The work of God

Is done.

Man in wheat field

Posted in christ, companionship, discipleship, endurance, Growing in the Lord, healthy, Holy Spirit, Jesus, labor in the Lord, Passion, patience, Peaceful, perseverance, renewal, rest, Soil, Strength in crisis, togetherness, Uncategorized, wisdom, work, yoke | Leave a comment

Giddinessness


Hand Holding

Surely then you will find delight in the Almighty and will lift up your face to God.” Job 22: 26

Have you ever stopped and pondered about how a couple had the courage to first hold hands or share their first kiss? There is a giddiness that defines the early relationship that will never be the same, or can it?

I have heard that relationships go through ups and downs. We go through good and bad, wonderful blissful moments, and times you really wonder why life is full of blah. Hey, wasn’t there something in our vows that mentioned loving each other through everything life throws at us?

Romantic

A year or so ago we went to a marriage enrichment Bible study. One of the things that stirred my heart was the phases that a marriage goes through. We have that honeymoon stage and the slipping into comfortable times. We do get use to each other because we spend so much time together day in a day out. You hear so many people who get bored or frustrated with their marriage and call it quits. They say the feelings aren’t there anymore.

epitrepeis

The thing about feelings is that they go through phases too. We don’t always feel in love to be in love. It is a commitment that we said we’d uphold. You know what helps me when my feelings are flighty? I remember that all relationships are based on friendships. Yes, we all have to build on a friendship and then it can blossom into something more if it’s meant to. I think like most people, I don’t throw out friendships when I am not feeling like a friend. There are so many reasons why I’m off my game but, none are pressing enough to throw away a friend. They are too hard to find, why would I flippantly cast on off?

Refreshed-In-Morning-African-American-Couple-The-Trent-700x468

My wife is my friend. That’s how I started and I that’s part of the foundations we build our love on.

I also don’t dump family when we don’t agree. You don’t always get to choose our family but, we do choose how we respond to them. I don’t plan on cutting off my family even if we are disagreeing.

Family

My wife is family. She and I have history, children, a home and all that goes with it. Again, its precious and it was by grace. Why would I want to throw that away?

I don’t think we will ever be giddy in love any more. We both have matured and grown into other people. However, we can still grow and learn how to keep things alive. I can slow down, do less, make more time for us, and choose to love even when I don’t feel it happening. Of course, it’s a fight to have a healthy marriage but, one that’s worth fighting for.

I-Like-You-And-I-Think-About-You-A-Lot-re40800DC0033

Just to put it in perspective, we aren’t tapping into our own strength to make this relationship vibrant. Nope, we are bound with the Lord in our center. Whenever we doubt that our relationship will work, we need to remember its Him, not us, that produce the love we need.

The state of giddiness, what I like to call “giddinessness.” Is it something that can come back? If it can I think it’s something worth trying. With God nothing is totally impossible, right?

Rose

 

Posted in companionship, Emotional health, family, fellowship, friendhip, God's Kingdom, Good Character, hope, love, marriage, Passion, responsibility, Social health, spiritual strength, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rotten Fruit


Bad Fruit

By G. P. Avants

“We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live in an honorably in every way.”

Hebrews 13:18

 

“Eh…it’s mealy. Is that the right word?”

“Yeah, this apple is really dry. I’m more thirsty now than when I started.”

“It’s almost as bad as eating plastic fruit, blah.”

“I’m still hungry but, is all the fruit in the fridge like this?”

“I hope not.”

Yucky

Have you been there? Sometimes you have to eat something that isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. A dry orange, a wormy apple, a peach that is moldy right through the pit: these “tasty” things can ruin your appetite. However, sometimes what comes on our plate isn’t what we ordered either.

That’s life, right?

Can I go through hungry times to wait on the food only God can provide? Or do I just eat whatever I can get? Is it better to be full or healthy?

frutta fresca di stagione

In reality we eat and drink poison compared to what is to come. We are eating plastic, artificial things to satisfy a part of ourselves that really should only eat real things.

Lord, help me avoid things in life that I shouldn’t be eating. I pray to not just eat it because I think it’s the best I can get. Let me hold out for the things you give that really satisfy. Give me the right appetite for the things my life really needs. Oh, especially help me when something that smells good and looks good but, really is deceptive, lands on my plate. Keep me from taking that rotten stuff in.

75

In Jesus Name, Amen

 

Posted in Bad fruit, Blossom, eating, Fitness, God, God's Kingdom, Good fruit, healthy, Healthy Eating, Pleasant smells, Spiritual food, Uncategorized, wisdom | Leave a comment

What a Day!

Relaxing

G.P.Avants

“But beloved do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a day.”

                                                                                      2 Peter 3:8

 

Today was great! I took a day off to catch up on rest, take a bike ride, and finish up plans for the last week of school. Every once in a while it’s nice to get pressing things done and over with.

God has an amazing day coming where I think He is using to finish pressing that history has left undone. The Bible does day that to the Lord one day is as a thousand years and a thousand years as a day. When Christ returns there will be a time called “The Day of the Lord”. In that one day He will basically set everything right before the end of the story. What makes that day special is that there is no night as we know it and it lasts 1,000 years. God is the keeper of time and eternity. He is not on a rush and He won’t let one tiny thing go unfinished.

helping-hands

What a day that will be. I wonder if those who have missed out on things in this time, will be able to do it in that say? Those unfinished stories, conversations, or tasks that something kept us from might be finally completed before the sun sets on that day.  I can think about all the places I couldn’t go because of money, or the time to sit down and listen when something else has my ear. In many ways God is preparing us to step into Eternity, which last forever and is different than Time in many ways.

It’s just like God to bring history back to where it all started. I can breathe easier knowing if something doesn’t get done now, maybe it’s planned for that special day.

hummingbirds-andf-blossoms

Posted in beating stress, Change, Exercise, family, Fitness, hope, Peaceful, relaxing, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Outfoxing the Foxes

Foxes

By G.P.Avants

Catch for us the little foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards.”

                                                Song of Songs 2:15

Sure they look cute and harmless. That’s what they want you to think as they eat you out of house and home. Little things that are sly, quiet, and in the long run totally destructive. Those foxes!

In the Song of Songs, Solomon gave a lot of descriptions of life. He compared the loving relationship to the unconditional loving relationship God wants to have with us. The Lover (who is the Lord) tells his Beloved (us) to catch the little foxes that ruin his garden. The way the Lover describes the garden is like the most cherish, peaceful, and intimate places God wants to share with us.

baby foxes

Those foxes are small yet, they do their damage and things don’t grow the way they should or not at all. Little things? Can these be worries? Maybe its things in my life that I keep secretly in a closet that I think aren’t that dangerous. Is it maybe a slothful part of my life that I slip into time and time again? Bad habits? Inconsistency?

Sweet-foxes

If they are so small why is God so concerned about them? One reason might be is that they slip under the radar and systematically work on bigger things. They can be a button that when pushed, sets me off and undoes so many other good things. Isn’t Solomon the same guy who wrote about a fly can ruin the ointment?

I get irked by my son not emptying the dishwasher. I get irritated by him sitting on the computer and not getting up and doing it. I let it eat at me and I lose my cool. It turns into a fight and ruins my witness to him. If I don’t let it go it can hurt others in my household, neighborhood, and community. How’s my garden after that fox does his damage?

Fox

Show me how to catch those little foxes. Lord, I pray for wisdom to let you remove those irkings. Thank you for letting those obsessions go! I want to be able to keep my relationships green and fox-free. May you find things growing that you planted, Lord, and be happy with what you see.

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Posted in avoiding temptation, Change, foxes, God, Jesus, save from sin, Spiritual fitness, spiritual strength, temptation, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Bring Down a Giant 

Iron Image
By G.P. Avants
I am looking at a giant among men right now. It was once a mighty foe and struck fear in the hearts of its enemies. It was free, a master of its own destiny, and seemingly unchallenged by any other power under Heaven.  Those who were under the giant’s protection never had a better friend or more powerful ally. But the giant’s enemies never rested. They knew the giant’s land was bountiful and its storehouses full. They knew the only way to rob it of its wealth was to slowly weaken it from the inside out.
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They began by making the giant lazy. He was lulled into a false sense of security which caused him to lower his guard at the borders of his land.
The lure of gold and gain was their next step. The giant’s enemies were sly and got the giant’s heart more desirous of wealth then for the people he protected.
They slowly poisoned his food, got him addicted to unnatural highs, and in time brought the giant to a hazy stupor.
Iron_Giant
The people under his protection  began fighting amongst themselves. The land began to wither and produce dry tasteless food. Slowly, one compromising step at a time,  the giant’s enemies watched for a day when they could imprison the giant and make him do their bidding.
Iron_Giant_Hogarth
The giant is on his knees and his fate is uncertain. Those who love the giant are hoping this time of humbling will get him praying. No matter how big a giant or a nation becomes it will never be great without God’s strength.  Maybe, like Job in the Bible, this powerful figure had let pride and self hide  heartland. May God help US, a giant in the land, find its glory when it seeks to be one nation under God again.
The-Iron-Giant-the-iron-giant-35507330-500-210
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Posted in America, Giant, Stress, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Can I Try That?

I am dancing

“But being examples to the flock.”

                          1 Peter 5: 3

I love to see people of different races doing something together. To me this is cool stuff. Here’s an example. A young American girl befriends an Indian girl. She sees her friend do a traditional dance from her country. Her American counterpart is entranced. She asks her friend, “Can I try that. Will you teach me?” Her friend to teach her the dance. After some practice, both girls perform the dance for their families. Two different cultures share an experience and both are richer for it.

Japanese dancing

For me that’s a taste of Heaven when people learn from each other’s unique cultures. I can see people sharing things that they have learned from others. I can see those who have missed out in this life getting to enjoy things that some of us have been used to doing.  Have you heard of Asian Fusion? How about how the Vikings use to visit countries and assimilate new things into their culture? It doesn’t have to be fear to learn about other cultures.

M Culture

Yes, there are many who want to keep separate cultures apart from others. We see that in some ways with the new influence of the Middle Eastern countries into the American culture. As Americans we want to hold our values, heritage and cultures intact while allowing new influences to blend in. Is that easy?  You do the math. That is hard when some cultures are more resistant to change as well. I can hear the head-butting sound commencing. You can get a cultural impasse.

Deepavali-Dance-Classes-Resized-770x507

However, as a believer in Christ we have a whole different framework to think about. We are called to be fishers of men. Jesus said go into the whole world and make disciples. Heaven is made up of every culture on earth, yet somehow united in their love for God and His kingdom. So, no matter how much we don’t understand how different opposing cultures can blend. God does and really isn’t that who runs the show anyway?

culture-kids-dancing

Okay, this might sound a little hokey but, it’s kind of like the end of it’s a Small World ride. The different cultures have mixed up, colors, culture, and music. In Heaven this will be a reality far better than any multicultural program that we can come up with. There people not only get along they are true family richer for their distinction and diversity.

internationalschoolkids

Posted in American History, Assimilation, Biblical People, Change, cultures, discipleship, endurance, eternity, Fishers of Men, God, God's Kingdom, International Students, love, Multicultural, people, Purpose, responsibility, Social health, Spiritual fitness, spiritual strength, The United States of America, Uncategorized | 2 Comments