Find God in a Tumbleweed

By Dianne Neal Matthews

The Bible tells us that God reveals Himself to us through His creation, but what can a tumbleweed teach us about our Creator?

 

tumbleweed

An icy breeze stung my face as I stepped out of the grocery store. Glancing up at the pale sky, I thought about how this late fall weather resembled what I’d grown used to living in Illinois the past twenty-five years. Then something scratchy brushed against my leg, reminding me that I’d moved out west to high desert country. A tumbleweed blowing across the parking lot had wedged itself against my shopping cart.

That evening I decided to do a little research and was surprised to learn that tumbleweed is not one particular plant. According to this article on Wikipedia.org, “a tumbleweed is the above-ground part of any of a number of plants that, once mature and dry, disengage from the root and tumble away in the wind.” I soon got used to seeing these round skeletal objects that often get stuck against fences, fall down window wells, and sometimes end up in flower beds.

Recently on my morning walk I encountered an usually large tumbleweed rolling down the sidewalk. And I decided that God must have created tumbleweed to remind us of an important spiritual truth.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him.
Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. Colossians 2:6-7 (NLT)

Thanks to the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, God offers to forgive our sins and give us eternal life with Him. Once we accept that gift, our eternal destiny is secure. But if we want to live an earthly life of joy, peace, and fulfillment, we need to sink our roots deep down in Christ. Unless He is the foundation of our life, we can be blown around by circumstances, by our emotions, or by the world’s thinking.

The Christian life isn’t a matter of following rules or rituals; it’s a matter of guarding our relationship with Jesus. Keeping it intimate and vibrant through prayer, Bible study, worship, and obedience. Then our faith will grow strong and we’ll be grounded in Him. If we’re not firmly rooted in Christ, our life will resemble a tumbleweed—and we may get tossed around a bit.

© Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Enjoy this beautiful song that describes the security and peace that comes from living our life firmly rooted in Christ:

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Finding God Despite Moving Stress

By Laurie Winslow Sargent:

When relocating, moving stress is inevitable, but finding God with you in the midst of it does help.

 

 Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Moving from one state to another can get a little crazy, as it has been for me the past few months.  Fixing, selling, and packing up a house on one end. Living out of suitcases in a not-so-homey temporary apartment while searching for a new home.

Of course to have any of these moving problems is a blessing in itself. So many people do not have homes, so for me to whine about moving stress when I do have places to rest my head and call my own may seem superfluous to them.

Yet if you are one who has been on the same journey as me, it’s important to recognize that moving stress is natural, even if a move is for a good reason and you love where you are moving to.  It’s also critical for us to remember that when we have asked Jesus Christ into our lives, he is alongside us through our entire journey.

At so many junctures it is easy to forget that.

There are a hundred billion little decisions to make and a to-do list that doesn’t seem to end. Just when I thought our home we were selling was just right, after fixing dozens of little things from updating electric outlets to crumbling window frames, an inspector found a bat had snuck into our garage attic.

A BAT?! What a mess and expense to clean up that was. Ugh.

There were plenty of opportunities to freak out, worry, become discouraged, and snap at my teen. Plenty of times my head was so full of lists I could not see needs in others around me unless I deliberately stopped and changed my focus. Times I had to choose to not obsess over small somethings for the sake of big relationships.

When we were attempting to sell our home,  my daughter was doing a chore for me and left some of the project undone.  It would have been easy to comment on that.

But as I tried to remain focused on God and keep things in perspective, He nudged me.

Told me to ignore it.

Reminded me a buyer would really not care about that. Reminded me that my daughter was under as much stress as I was, that she needed to be loved on and appreciated, not nagged. Reminded me of what a terrific help she had been to me, as my husband had to go ahead of us to his new job. I thanked God for my daughter’s helpful and sweet attitude, even when I myself  had left things undone or forgotten things important to her.

But that was an easy attitude check, compared to one I had to make when we realized we had to sell our home at a loss.  That took a VERY deliberate change of perspective.

I had added up all we had spent on that home, including our new roof, property taxes for eight years, repairs–including bat cleanup–and our mortgage payments. Divided by the years and months we’d lived there. And realized that it was as if we had rented the entire time, although we had tried so hard to get ahead.

But then I looked out the window. I looked around me. I thanked God that we had been able to live in a lovely home instead of a run-down apartment, or worse yet, on the street. I thanked the Lord for the neighbors we had enjoyed, not just people but neighborhood deer, foxes and owls. I thanked Him for the view out our windows that I had loved every day.

And instead of frettting, I was at peace. Instead of feeling outrage, I felt gratefulness.

I praised God for all I had been given, instead of agonizing over what I thought I had lost.  And after the movers had taken away all our possesions,  we’d driven to our new state, then settled into our temporary place, we looked forward to a new adventure: with God in it.

Have you moved recently? What was one stressful thing about it you experienced, and how did God help you through that? Tell us in a comment–your experience may also help others. 

© Laurie Winslow Sargent. Laurie edits Finding God Daily, and is a multi-book author/contributor and magazine article writer. She blogs for parents at  ParentingByFaith.com and for writers at  SellYourNonfiction.com.  Join her on Twitter as @LaurieSargent

Note: email addresses are never posted with comments, and you may leave a comment with your first name only.

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Find God in a Sunflower

By Dianne Neal Matthews:

Finding God in a Sunflower

Finding God in a Sunflower: Image by Dianne Neal Matthews

A simple sunflower can teach us how to find God and help us keep our focus after we come to know Him.

 

When I go for my walk each morning, I look forward to passing by the undeveloped patches of land around our subdivision. Among the dry-looking weeds and chunks of broken concrete are a few stalks of thistle with purple blooms, an occasional patch of ground cover with tiny white blooms, and wild sunflowers.

I’m always struck by how these scattered sunflowers are standing up straight and tall and pointing in the same direction: toward the early morning sun rising over the mountains in the east. I always feel as though the flowers are reminding me of a basic spiritual truth:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

In the Old Testament, God promised that He would be found by those who seek Him wholeheartedly. Later, Jesus explained,

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

We may look for God in all sorts of places, but we’ll only find Him when we look to the Son and accept the sacrifice He made on our behalf to pay the penalty for our sins.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:2)

Even after we enter into a personal relationship with God, it’s important to keep our gaze on Jesus. If we focus solely on our circumstances, we can get discouraged. If we keep looking backward on past mistakes and failures, we’ll be paralyzed by guilt and regret.

But if we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, we’ll remember that He has already blessed us with all we need to live a life of peace, purpose, and joy. As wild sunflowers show us, the best way to have a good day is to always make sure you’re following the Son.

 © Dianne Neal Matthews. Dianne is a freelance writer and the author of four daily devotional books including Designed for Devotion: A 365-Day Journey from Genesis to Revelation. Visit her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.

Find God in a sunflower as you view these fun time-lapse video clips showing sunflowers moving with the sun:

 

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