Monday, July 27, 2015

Love Conquers Fear

by Andrew Wommack

Read John 9:6-27

John 9:27 "He answered them, I have told you already, and ye did not hear: wherefore would ye hear it again? will ye also be his disciples?"

This man showed great courage in confronting these religious leaders. Even Peter later backed down for fear of this same group of men (Lk. 22:54-62). Certainly one thing that gave him this boldness was that he knew what Jesus had done for him. And even beyond the physical healing, he knew that Jesus had healed him because He loved him.

It's our security in the Lord's love for us that gives us the strength to face rejection from others. As Proverbs 28:1 puts it, "the righteous are bold as a lion." The antidote for fear of men is a large dose of the love of God.

One of the greatest truths of the Bible and one of the hardest to comprehend, is that we are the objects of God's love. God didn't just pity us or feel some sense of moral obligation to save us. He saved us because of His infinite love for us (Jn. 3:16). An experiential understanding of God's love is the key to being filled with all the fullness of God (Eph. 3:19).

Paul prays in Ephesians 3:19, that we would experience the love of God which passes mere knowledge about it. How can we know the love of God if it passes knowledge? This sounds like a contradiction. It's not. The knowing is experiencing it. The end result of having understanding and experiential knowledge of God's love is that we will be filled with all the fullness of God. God's love is the key that opens the door to everything that God is. God is love (1 Jn. 4:8).

It's not just a casual acquaintance with God's love that we need, but an intimate understanding and experiential knowledge of the depths of God's love. Just as a tree's roots provide stability and nourishment for the tree, so our revelation of God's love is the foundation upon which everything else we receive from God is built.

Visit Andrew's Website.

Is Bleach Sickening Your Household?

From Rodale News

There's no denying that bleach kills germs. But whether it's keeping your family from getting sick may be an entirely different matter altogether. Children who live in homes cleaned with bleach may be more susceptible to respiratory and other infections, according to research published in Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

"The bleach might be fine at killing the virus on the surfaces in the home, but the bleach makes the children more susceptible to exposure to the virus, which is most likely outside the home," says Susan Sumner, PhD, Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech.  Read the entire article.

Another Resource Article: 
Bleach vs. Vinegar to Kill Germs

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10 Tips for Gardening with Arthritis

Gardening has a multitude of health benefits. Since most people find enjoyment in gardening, they do it regularly without any coaxing or aiding in cardiovascular health, strength, and flexibility. One’s immunity is also boosted as skin soaks in vitamin D from the sun and healthy bacteria and microbes from the soil.

Gardens are full of a variety of textures, smells, sights, and sounds which have been known to reduce stress and promote relaxation as it stimulates the brain and aids in better mental health.

Lastly, we cannot forget nutrition and all the amazing vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are provided to us when we consume all the fresh produce we harvest. It’s no wonder that gardening appeals to the young, the old, and everyone in between.

In some of our lives there comes a time when illness, injury, arthritis, or even disease affects our physical capabilities in the garden.  Read the entire article.

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Five DIY Tips for Pet Parents (Video)

by Dr. Sarah

Few things are more important than the health and well-being of your companion animal.

For new pet parents, emotional connection does not necessarily translate into knowing the best way to take care of pet kids. Well, that’s all about to change.

In the latest episode of Pet Talk, Dr. Sarah reveals the top five do-it-yourself items for your list of honey-do’s for pets. This episode is also a great refresher course for long-time pet parents, too! Keep your companion animal healthy and happy.  Watch the video now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

See Faith as a Seed

by Clint Byars
Forward Ministries

Human consciousness began in a place where things grow. God originally placed mankind in a garden. Not just any garden but a perfect garden. Everything that was needed to survive and thrive was already in bloom. The only task was to tend the garden and grow humans.

This is the way of God’s spiritual kingdom as well. Everything is supplied, everything is in bloom and Jesus says the kingdom is within us. You are expected to walk by faith and experience the fruit of that spiritual garden in abundance. The key to seeing spiritual kingdom fruit is faith.

Hebrews 4:11 AMP "Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, [a]the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses]."

The garden of God’s kingdom is in full bloom, we can pick that fruit and eat of his promises because we have been translated into that kingdom in Jesus. But this happens by faith. Faith is not just believing in something you can’t see or waiting for something to happen.

Faith recognizes that God has given us all spiritual blessings already and expects those blessings to be evident in our physical lives. The only thing that hinders those spiritual fruits from bearing in our physical lives is worry, deceitfulness of riches, cares of this world and lust of things.

Faith see the eternal reality and is convinced that it’s more real than what we can see. Faith doesn’t look at the promises in God’s word and wonder when they’ll happen, faith knows they’re a spiritual reality now and speaks the amen unto manifestation because those promises are actually already present in a very real way…in Christ.

Faith is less about mystically discerning a message from God and more about believing and yielding to what he’s already done in Jesus.  The process of manifestation depends on the condition of our hearts toward God, not the condition of God’s heart toward us.

Romans 5:1 "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

Faith puts us in the realm of grace from which we fall when we’re in our own efforts. Faith is action, not to earn but to possess. Just as the children of Israel had to go forward into the land trusting God would would go before them, we do the same. The land is ours and faith sees it through.

Remain hopeful in God.

Check out this message which expounds on these ideas (at the bottom of the page).

Natural Tools for Overcoming Addictions

by Steven Horne

When most people think of addiction, they immediately think of serious addictions to substances like drugs and alcohol. Historically, in fact, addiction has been defined as a physical dependence on psychoactive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, opiates and other drugs.

However, the definition of addiction has been expanded to include psychological dependency on things such as pornography, sex, comfort foods, gambling, Internet surfing, gaming, social media, watching TV, shopping, work, exercise, etc.

Simply put, when we can’t stop a behavior that is damaging to ourselves and others, it is addictive.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine has described addiction as “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

Or simply, addiction occurs when there is a compulsive or habitual need to repeat an experience in order to try and feel good. The addiction may be mild or severe, socially acceptable or unacceptable.  Are You Addicted?

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The Smartest Bird in the World

If someone calls you a birdbrain consider it a compliment!

Birds are among the smartest animals in the world. The smartest of the smart are in the Corvidae family -- crows, ravens, jackdaws, jays, nutcrackers, magpies, choughs, treepies and others. 
American Crow in Backyard
Louis Lefebvre, a behaviorist at McGill University in Montreal who is studying bird intelligence, has developed a test for gauging bird IQ. It's based on how innovative birds are when faced with different challenges. 
His winner for smartest bird of all is the American Crow (also called the Common Crow). Many other researchers agree, and people who have experienced the challenges of keeping crows away from crops, birdseed and trashcans may not be surprised by this.

Crows (Corvus brachyrhynchos) are second only to humans in intelligence -- even smarter than apes in some research tests.  Read the entire article.

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Go Wild With Native Gardening has a beautiful area on their site featuring The Nature Conservancy and Native Gardening. It includes a Native Plant Finder where you click through 4 quick questions about your garden and it provides you with a short list of native plants.

Want to see how others are using native plants in their yards, schools and other urban settings?

There's a series of videos showing you how to plant a rain garden in two days, what types of plants are best if you want to attract wildlife to your yard, what a picnic would look like without bees and other pollinators, how one school created a school garden they use as an outdoor learning laboratory, and much more. Dive in!

About The Nature Conservancy from their website:

"The Nature Conservancy is the leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people.

We address the most pressing conservation threats at the largest scale. Thanks to the support of our more than 1 million members, we’ve built a tremendous record of success since our founding in 1951:

We've protected more than 119 million acres of land and thousands of miles of rivers worldwide — and we operate more than 100 marine conservation projects globally.

We work in all 50 states and more than 35 countries — protecting habitats from grasslands to coral reefs, from Australia to Alaska to Zambia. See where we work.

We address threats to conservation involving climate change, fresh water, oceans, and conservation lands. Learn how we're responding."

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 7/15/15

View This Post on The Website.

  The Nature In Us Newsletter - 7/15/15  
  by Donna L. Watkins  

Some people believe God makes people sick, but that's not what Peter taught in Acts 10:38:
 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him."

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Hello Dear Friends!

Who's Looking For Who?
Isn't this photo a hoot?!  My friend, Charlene, in California sent it to me.  Here's 2 intelligent men with binoculars and 1 that climbed on top of the truck to see any wildlife that might be passing by.  

The driver doesn't even seem to be paying attention to anything.  I would think he was the "safari guide" and has seen it all.  

And look who is also watching wildlife ... I wonder if the lion was still there when they turned around to get back in the truck?  Sometimes I'm so intent on looking farther up and out in my back woods that I miss what's right in front of me staring at me like it's saying, "Hey Lady!  I'm right here for you to photograph."

Makes me think of how often we are looking "out there" for the Lord to respond to us when He is within us all the time.  Somebody said, "That's why you bow your head when you pray .... so you can look at Him."  The Lion of Judah, ever vigilant, has your back covered.  Trust and Rest in Him!

Gardening - You don't need a gigantic backyard to grow a thriving and bountiful garden. In fact, just a few containers on the ledge of a sunny kitchen window or on the balcony of a small apartment can be home to a garden of succulent fruit, aromatic herbs and hearty vegetables.

Nutritional powerhouses such as baby kale, spinach, and wheatgrass not only grow easily in containers but also produce several cuttings once they're planted. These vegetables are a good choice for indoor gardening newbies. Imagine the luxury of walking only a few steps to your kitchen windowsill to trim a few kale leaves off for your morning power smoothie.

The possibilities are endless – think creatively when it comes to planting in small dwellings. Is your great grandmother's heirloom china taking up too much cupboard space? Fill an old teacup with loose potting soil to plant small green succulents or aloe vera plants.  Get some great ideas in this article.

Nearly 40% of the contiguous U.S. is now in drought and gardeners are starting to feel the pinch whether by law or social media shaming. But a lush garden in drought conditions is achievable — and can be as simple as watering plants early, using mulch, and choosing the right species.  More plants than you might think do pretty well in drought conditions including beans, melons, tomatoes and squash. Focus on these plants for your summer garden and avoid brassica vegetables like kale, collards, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower that tend to be gluttons for water. Save these vegetables for the cool seasons of fall and early spring when rain tends to be more plentiful.  Read more.

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Young Male Deer With Fuzzy Antlers
View More Deer Photos
Critters - We've had a lot of deer around this year.  We saw one doe (female) that had 2 fawns with her.  This young male deer has been spending quite a bit of time with us.  

There's an area in the front corner of our property that is rather perfect for places for deer to lie.  He likes it there.  You can see the flattened places where they lay, especially since we've had rainy weather pretty regularly for weeks now.  

So, I see this growing little guy around many times during the day.  I love to see their fuzzy antlers.  Makes me want to go over and rub them.  Having the small frog pond that we do has been a real draw for wildlife.  Water is more precious than anything to them and the birds.  We have birdbaths, of course, but some of the species just like drinking from the pond.

We have a young Red-sholdered Hawk born again in our habitat.  That means more food sources are needed and since they remain in our habitat it's not good news for the frogs or the birds.  Oh what a delight Heaven will be when the animals don't have to eat one another.  The Red-shouldered Hawk in the photo has one of our frogs from the pond in its talon.  

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Red-shouldered Hawk with Frog Lunch
View More Hawk Photos
Once the young are out of the nest they wander nearby sitting on branches, strengthening those wings to be able to fly high in the sky, and calling out to the parents for food. I guess it's their way of staying in touch with their next meal. Shouting, "Here I am! I'm hungry with all this exercise." 

Oh my!  After about 15 straight minutes of the squawking, I'm about to scream myself.  It's the most irritating sound when it's repetitive.  Listen to the first song option if you'd like to hear it.

Tidbit - Pets - Summertime can get hot.  People go for ice cream, but dogs enjoy something cold also.  Frozen homemade dog treats are a refreshing break on those "Dog Days."  The phrase itself refers to the sultry days of summer.

You know what your dog likes, so here's a website that has a bunch of frozen recipes for dogs.

Bugs - I know bugs aren't the most favored critter in most people's minds but they sure have become a fascination for me.  Even as a child I thought Daddy Longlegs was a pretty cool bug simply because my Daddy enjoyed seeing them.  This is one of many of the species known as Harvestmen (what Daddy Longlegs are actually called).  They are not part of the spider family but related to it. One student of harvestman life once wrote, "A study of harvestmen is a study of legs." That's because the legs, especially the second pair, serve as ears, nose, tongue, and perhaps even as supplementary "eyes." The legs are loaded with nerves and literally thousands of tiny sense organs that lie inside microscopic slits in the legs.

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Red Harvestman Spider
Possible Leiobunum serratipalpe

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Although for the rest of the bug realm, I was terrified of any bug as a child (following the example of my mom) and into adulthood.  It wasn't until we moved to some wooded land when I was 39 that I began to appreciate the amazing design and colors of bugs.  I remember seeing my first Praying Mantis and thinking how it almost looked human with that turning head and eyes and those long feet.  Maybe a little bit like Edward Scissorhands if you saw the movie many years back.  

I realized that bugs were part of God's plan of benefits for us and I should have a different attitude toward them. Yes, I know not all bugs are to be loved. With the Fall came the evil side of all things and bugs have deviated from God's plan also.

After the Fall in the Garden, as with everything else, sin entered into the world so the "darker side" of the bug kingdom also had changes.  Disease-born and biting bugs became part of this world also.  God didn't make mosquitoes any more than He makes a deformed child.  He made everything He created with seeds that would continue to reproduce, but when those seeds get altered physiologically or scientifically things get a bit warped for sure.

Anyway, with the macro lens feature of the camera, it sure is easy to get a photo of a bug closeup and then see the many intricate details after loading it onto the computer for viewing.  What incredible designs our God has created in His Creation made for our enjoyment.  And to think that there are times when we doubt He will take care of us.  In Matthew 26:26-27 Jesus said, "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?"

All through the Bible meditation on the Word is encouraged with great benefits and blessings for doing so, and yet it's so easy for us to spend our meditation in worrying rather than on the Truth which brings hope and provision.  We have to connect in faith to receive all that has been provided for us, but instead we spend our thoughts and waking moments of the night in rehearsing what the devil has done instead of declaring what God has provided for us.  Trust and rest ... sounds so simple and yet the hard part is to enter into that rest.  We are so used to judging life by what is being seen with our own eyes and heard by our own ears.

Spiritual - Seeking First The Kingdom - I have learned how much The Word can do in my life. It truly is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12). It's not always easy to choose time with Jesus rather than doing some needed task or even some good thing, but time is not a Kingdom / heavenly concept, so time with Jesus can always be replaced during the day. I've seen that happen as if I was being given back the time with Him.  I always think of Martha when I consider the importance of time with Jesus. A devotional I get daily with my paraphrasing had this to say about Martha:

There are only two other instances in Scripture that give us information about Martha besides being so busy: that she had a brother named Lazarus and a sister named Mary. When Jesus visited their home, Mary sat at his feet to listen to every Word. Martha complained about "much serving to be done" and asked the Lord to bid her to help, but Martha was corrected by Jesus.  She had misplaced her priorities on this occasion. Later, at a supper for Jesus in the home of Simon the leper, Martha was once again serving while Mary her sister was worshiping Jesus by anointing His feet with a costly perfume.

Stuff Jesus Never Said
Martha was not wrong in serving Jesus and His disciples. Other women ministered to Jesus in this way without being corrected. Serving was a good thing, but Martha had put it in the wrong place. Her problem was priorities — not what she was doing. It was a great honor to have Jesus in her home and to be able to hear His personal words to her household. Martha should have given this the same priority that Mary did.

Just like Martha, we get occupied with things that keep us from hearing the words of Jesus. It is easy to recognize and turn from things that are obviously sin, but even good things that we are involved in must be prioritized so that nothing takes the place of seeking first the kingdom of God.  I have to admit that it's not just the "serving" that would've had me bouncing around the kitchen, but also the things that I didn't really have to do.  

You know ... the things that make it more special.  The little details that we add to increase the time and labor and also the accolades from those who will feast from our fare.  I overdo in many areas like that.  Is it pride?  When I had all the energy in the world, I kept a super clean house.  With the heart issues I've been challenged with right now, my house is definitely not super clean.

I loved housecleaning and cooking buffet dinners and getting all the praises, but I can tell you right now they're not worth a half a cent.  My husband has taken the "housekeeper" role and kitchen duty and I can tell you that he's an incredibly wonderful man to have filled in all the areas that I used to bounce around and do, but he's not a supreme house cleaner.  He wasn't created to be so.  He's open and willing to learn, but I find myself hearing the Lord say, "Let it go."  Why should I have him working to my standard of cleanliness or perfection?  I'd rather he have more time at the feet of Jesus. 

There's also another comment the Lord brought back to me as I was typing this.  When I had in-home groups for buffet dinners or Bible study back in Alabama, one girl said to me, "I could never have you over to my house with as super clean as yours is."  I should've given more thought and importance on what God wanted me to hear out of that statement.  I'm sure us perfectionist, overworking and over zealous folks have made quite a number of people feel very inferior.  Where is the balance in being a good steward and getting into the realm of "overkill" which not only takes us away from what God might rather have us doing?

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Humpback Rocks Homestead
Blue Ridge Parkway, VA

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Travel - A couple of years ago we visited 
 Shenandoah National Park nearby and took a guided tour of Big Meadows from the Byrd Visitor Center which sits on a hill overlooking the Big Meadows area. 

We learned a lot that day and also saw how Spotted Knapweed was beginning to invade the meadow. It's on the USDA list as an invasive species. The park tours are always very informative. My neighbor, Kathy, and I did the tour of Herbert Hoover's place off Skyline Drive.  Lots of history.

If you've not traveled to Shenandoah Park or Shenandoah Valley area, you may want to visit virtually. I have a few albums of places there and on the Blue Ridge Parkway which is a continuation of Skyline Drive that turns into the Blue Ridge Parkway on the south side of I-64.

Shenandoah National Park

Big Meadows Walk and Byrd Visitor Center - Best stop along Skyline Drive with free tours.

Herbert Hoover's Rapidan Camp - Weekend retreat of the President and First Lady

Skyline Drive - 109 miles of breathtaking views from Rockfish Gap, VA to Front Royal, VA

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Donna On A Rock Ledge at Ravens Roost
View More Photos of Ravens Roost
Blue Ridge Parkway

Greenstone Trail - A self-guiding loop trail with incredible views.

Humpback Rocks Pioneer Homestead - A 19th c. homestead farm. Get a feel for life as it was then.

Ravens Roost - One of my favorite stops with amazing views and rocks.


Just a Bit Off the Blue Ridge Parkway

Crabtree Falls - Highest vertical-drop cascading waterfall east of the Mississippi River

Swannanoa Palace - Italian Renaissance Revival villa built in 1912 by millionaire and philanthropist James H. Dooley.

The Wildlife Center - A wildlife rehabilitation center with online webcams and online teaching.

Closing Thoughts - I'll end with these lovely views and dreams of distant places our hearts are drawn to.  Don't bury your dreams.  Life goes by too quickly.  Make them come true.  You really can!

Food for thought...
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." – George Eliot


God's Blessings Surround You Every Day!

P.S. Anything in here that might help somebody you know?   

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Posts Since Last Newsletter

God Wants You To Succeed

Two Focused Minutes Can Change Your Circumstances

Compost Tea for Gardening

Effects of Household Stress on Pets

Our World of Relationships (DLW)

Amish Farmers Reinventing Organic Agriculture

Keep Your Pet In Mind When Planning Veggie Garden

The Power of God's Word

Learning With Nature

The Many Uses of Patchouli

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 7/1/15 (DLW)

Previous Posts You May Have Missed  

God's Word Has No Limits

Gardening in Drought

The Real Cost of Smoking - $9,000 a Year

9 Powerful Everyday Home Remedies

4 Reasons To Get A Duck

It Gets Messy When You Mess With Things

Simple & Non-Toxic Ways to Use Essential Oils to Freshen and Clean

Breakthrough Discovery For Bats' White-Nose Syndrome

The Scoop on Grain-Free Pet Foods

Butter vs Margarine: The Big Fat Butter Lie

The Nature In Us Newsletter - 6/1/15 (DLW)

Faith as a Seed

15 Everyday Mistakes That Are Sapping Your Energy

Free Plan-a-Garden Online Tool

Will Off Grid Living Become Mainstream?

Getting Your Eyes Off The Circumstances (DLW)

New Bill Aims to Connect Kids with Nature

9 Reasons Gardening Is The Ultimate Mind-Body Workout

Pet Video: Leash Safety Made Easy

Teaching Kids Basics of Gardening is Important

Enduring Hardship

Photo Galleries

Critters & Garden Photos
Travel - USA & International
Costa Rica

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Saturday, July 11, 2015

God Wants You To Succeed

God Wants You To Succeed
By Andrew Wommack

God designed you for success. He made you to be a winner. This is true for every person, regardless of what has happened in the past. God has never destined anybody to live a mediocre life.
Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."

This verse says that God knows His thoughts toward you, and His desire is to give you an expected end. That end is promised in the Word of God. You can walk in victory like Moses. He was 120 years old, and his eyesight wasn't dim nor his natural force abated (Deut. 34:7). He actually climbed a mountain the day he went home to be with the Lord.

These things are in the Word, and God is no respecter of persons. What we have today is superior to what Moses had in the Old Testament. We can be guaranteed success. Now, I'm not saying success can always be achieved without a fight or without effort, but we were destined for great things.

God created every one of us to be something special, but I also feel that we live in a culture that has totally misrepresented true success. As a matter of fact, I looked up the meaning of the word. The American Heritage Dictionary (AHD) defines success as "The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted." That’s a pretty broad definition. I mean, some people are aiming at nothing and hitting it every time. The second definition I found is "The gaining of fame or prosperity" (AHD). I hate that definition. That is not a godly definition of success at all. Lots of people have fame and prosperity, but they do not have true success.

In my opinion, success needs to be redefined. It's not just doing something grand or big. In fact, not everybody is called to do something big. I try to get this across to our staff all the time. We have 300 people on staff here in the U.S. alone, and if it wasn't for every one of them, we couldn't do what we're called to do. They may never be the one in front of the camera, but they are still a big part of what we're doing. We really count on and appreciate those who keep our facility clean and looking good. And without the individuals who keep the roads plowed and sanded in the winter, we would be in trouble. We need all of these people to help us be good stewards of what God has given us. Their jobs may not seem as significant as others, but they are being faithful in what God has called them to do. That's what I call a success. Those who are faithful in a few things will also be faithful in much.

Matthew 25:23 says, "His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

If we are good stewards of what God gives us, He'll increase us and give us more. The way that success has been presented is not a godly concept at all. I want to encourage anyone who feels like they haven’t done much: God's got something more for you, and you can succeed. Your faithfulness will be rewarded. And for those of you who think you're awesome, I hope I can help you recognize that success is not based on all of these temporary things that will pass away. God judges things differently than we do.

First Samuel 16:7 says, "For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart."

Many people look amazing on the outside, but in their hearts, they're miserable—they don't have joy or peace and certainly don't have success. Understand this: There is nothing in this world that will minister to you or satisfy you more than knowing that you are in the direct center of God’s will.

Many of you reading this can't say for sure that you know you're doing what God has called you to do. You may love God and want Him to use you and bless you, but you don't know for certain that you're where you're supposed to be. This is one of the reasons people aren't happy and satisfied. In some cases, I believe God has given certain people a holy dissatisfaction. He's trying to stir them up. This is one of the ways God motivates you and lets you know that there's something more.

"According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is."  1 Corinthians 3:10-13

This is describing that as we go through life, we are either building with gold, silver, and precious stones or with wood, hay, and stubble. It does not say that everybody is building with gold, silver, and precious stones or that everybody is building with wood, hay, and stubble. We have a choice.

The sad fact is that many of us build things in our lives and accomplish things that aren't what God intended for us. And we count these things as a success. But one day, we're going to stand before the Lord, and He is going to put a fire to everything. It says in Matthew 12:36 that we'll give an account of every idle word that we speak. So, God will hold us responsible for every action and for every word that comes out of our mouths. Anything of wood, hay, or stubble—even if it looks good to man and conforms to the world's standard of success—is a work of the flesh and will count for nothing.

A lot of people think wood, hay, and stubble are referring to adultery, fornication, and drug addiction. But did you know that people have done things that would appear to be godly—started churches, been in a foreign mission field, and written worship —but none of it was led by God? For instance, my good friend Arthur Meintjes recently shared with me on an episode of The Inside Story that he once pastored a church and later realized he was doing it in his own strength. His life became so difficult that he was ready to take his own life. That's when God taught him grace and really turned his life around.

It doesn't matter whether the end result is good or not. God wants you to do what He has called you to do, and He wants you to do it out of His ability. I think what some call burnout is just people doing good things in their own strength and power. God's never had anybody qualified working for Him yet, so stop relying on your own ability. If you don't trust in the Lord, you can't accomplish the things He's planned for you and you won't be a godly success.

I've got a new teaching called God Wants You to Succeed, and I know it will be a blessing to you. It's time to redefine what it means to be a success. God's got a plan for your life, and it's better than you can imagine. Get this teaching and find out all that God's destined you to be.

God Wants You To Succeed - Four-DVD Album
God Wants You To Succeed - Eight-CD Album
God Wants You To Succeed - Online Audio Teaching

After all, when the time comes to stand before the Lord, we all want to hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."

Two Focused Minutes Can Change Your Circumstances

Clint Byars - Forward Ministries
How To Plant God's Word In Your Heart
by Clint Byars

Studies show that if you focus on something for at least 2 minutes, your emotions can change.

This is especially powerful when you're experiencing worry or fear. If you can concentrate on God's truth for at least 2 undistracted minutes, then the fear and worry will begin to subside and you'll begin to allow God's spirit to have his way in your life.

We know that God's spirit is always giving life to our physical bodies and His spirit is always leading us into all truth. This 2 minute exercise is just an intentional step to actually stand on the word of God as your foundation. 

Try it... read the blog post, watch the short (5 min.) video, and/or listen to the audio message on Forward Ministries website.

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Compost Tea for Gardening

Compost tea is an effective, low-strength, natural fertilizer for seedlings and garden plants. It can suppress fungal plant diseases. The tea-brewing process extracts (and in some cases grows and multiplies) nutrients and beneficial bacteria and fungi and suspends them in water in a form that makes them quickly available to plants. Making compost tea doesn't require special equipment.  Just follow these easy instructions.

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Effects of Household Stress on Pets

by Dr. Jane Bicks

Changing family dynamics can be incredibly stressful for all the members of your family, especially your pet kids. Whether the changes are happy or sad, the sudden disappearance of a ‘pack member’ can lead to all sorts of grief for dogs and cats.

If you’re anticipating a life change, or know someone who is, be sure to read Dr. Jane’s latest post. By understanding the symptoms, you will likely be able to recognize issues before they become behavioral problems.

Plus, it’s chock full of insightful tips for minimizing pet stress.  Read this Dr. Jane post now!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Our World of Relationships

by Donna L. Watkins

The Bible teaches that it is not good for man to live alone (Gen. 2:18). With email, Skype, cell phones, and so many ways of communicating you'd think that loneliness would now be eradicated. Yet there are millions who feel alone.

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Hydrangea - 'All Summer Beauty'
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Research shows information has replaced communication. People inform, they don't communicate with time spent focused on each other. But being with people has little to do with being lonely. Some of the loneliest people live and work in a world full of people. It's not being alone that makes one lonely, it's the inability to connect on a heart level that keeps us isolated in our own inner world.

Fear of rejection, trying to be like our peers, not really knowing who we are as we seek the world's acceptance, and even when gained, we find it has no satisfaction.

I had lunch with a friend a little while ago.  I don't eat out much so I was looking around at the people who were in the small cafe with us.  There was a table with a couple and a child about 2 years old.  Both parents had their "gadget" up to their face while the child wandered about.  It hit me as a futuristic cartoon or something, and yet, it was very real and present.

Interestingly, the other table had a deaf couple or at least one was deaf since they were using sign language to communicate.  I found it very refreshing.  You would think a deaf person would more likely bury themselves away in a gadget more so than others, but when you think about it, they are more likely to truly appreciate communication a lot more than most folks.  Regardless it was lovely to see "relationship" in action.

These same tendencies have isolated us in our willingness to connect with God who is our Creator, the only one who knows us to the core level, and the only one who will be with you no matter what you do. He created you and came to earth Himself to justify all of mankind because God is love.

From the time of creation, God wanted to have family to love. He came to Adam & Eve after they ate the apple wanting to reconcile with him, but Adam was afraid. Fear had entered into man with the Fall. God had to ban them from the Garden because if they ate of the other tree they would live forever and sin is not static.

Outside the Garden, God still communed with the first family. Even though one son became a murderer of his brother, God gave him a mark to protect him. Is that an angry, vengeful God that wants to make life hard? Cain reaped the natural consequences from his sin. When teenagers drink and drive and hit a tree, it's not God that allowed that to happen. It's the natural consequence of being stupid enough to drink and drive. It's also the sin of rebellion because they've had plenty of warnings. It's the goodness of God that brings men to repentance, not anger or fear.

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Cattleya aka Corsage Orchid
Conservatory Garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Consider Romans 2:4:
"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" (KJV).

"Or are you [so blind as to] trifle with and presume upon and despise and underestimate the wealth of His kindness and forbearance and long-suffering patience? Are you unmindful or actually ignorant [of the fact] that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repent" (AMP).

When we begin to develop a relationship with the Lord it always effects our earthly relationships. In the same way you become more sensitive to His voice, you will find you will become more aware of the people around you. You'll have a desire to talk less and listen more, a longing for a deeper understanding of who they are.

I John 4:7-8 says, "Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." (NIV)

Take time to study His Word. Begin with the Gospels and see how Jesus showed us the Father. He said if we had seen Him, we'd seen the Father. Did He refuse to heal anybody? Did He ever have an angry word for anybody other than the religious sects of that day who put more on outward show than on relationship?

 There is much to learn. The Bible is our Earth Manual for Living. We need to know it. And don't get confused between the Old Testament Law Covenant and the New Testament Grace Covenant.  The Old Testament was a "type and shadow" of what was to come and when Jesus came He fulfilled ALL of the Law:

"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth" (Romans 10:4 KJV).

Christ came that we might live life abundantly. "The thief comes not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10 KJV).

When you seek HIs face, you will see Him differently and your entire life will change also. How we see God has a lot to do with how we relate to and experience the world around us.

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Copyright and Reprint Information - All photos remain the property of Donna L. Watkins, but may be used with proper credit and link back to the website, Articles written by Donna L. Watkins may also be reprinted with proper credit and link back to the website,

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