Confused: Proverbs 3:5

PJM Rhodendron – Early Blooms

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
    and do not depend on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (ISV)

Often when I find myself confused, trying to figure out why things aren’t going my way, or things aren’t following my well-laid plans. I realize that I am relying on my understanding. Currently, the PJM rhododendron in my backyard is blooming, because autumn sunlight and temperature have fooled it into thinking that it’s spring. The spring flower bud has opened and the blooms have appeared, but it’s autumn. Often, I also get confused, not allowing myself to seek God and ask for His direction, to let Him guide me to make my paths straight. My goal is to learn to trust the Lord with all my heart.

Where are you confused, and need God to set your path straight?

Prayer: Dear Lord, teach us to trust you with all our hearts. Like the PJM Rhodendron, with its red autumn leaves and unseasonal pink blossoms, we are often traveling a confused path. Lord, we acknowledge your loving guidance and wisdom and ask You to make our paths straight. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen

Power: 2 Timothy 1:7

Orange Tithonia

I’m writing to encourage you to fan into a flame and rekindle the fire of the spiritual gift God imparted to you when I laid my hands upon you. For God will never give you the spirit of fear, but the Holy Spirit who gives you mighty power, love, and self-control.

2 Timothy 1:6-7 The Passion Translation (TPT)

Paul is writing to Timothy to encourage. It is necessary to let go of fear to feel the mighty power of the Spirit of God. To fan into a flame, rekindling the fire of the Spirit inside of us. To grasp courage and let go of fear. To hold tight to self-discipline and follow God’s path for us. To feel and share God’s love.

What fear are you ready release to let go of and let God handle?

Prayer: Dear Loving Father, We thank you for your many gifts to us. Like the bright orange sturdy Tithonian flowers, help us to be strong and stalwart in our faith. As the flowers shine and reflect the sun, teach us, Lord Jesus, to shine bright. May your mighty power propel us forward in courage, strength, and love. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen

I Will Praise You – Psalm 71:14

14 But as for me, I will always have hope and I will praise You more and more. 15 My mouth will tell about how right and good You are and about Your saving acts all day long. For there are more than I can know.

Psalm 71:14-15 (NLV)

Lord, we will praise you, more and more, for you are our everlasting hope. You are our light, our salvation, our stronghold in life. To you, we raise praises and songs of joy. We are thankful for your forgiveness, your love, and your abounding mercies. We proclaim and declare Your wondrous deeds.

How will you share the goodness of God?

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for your many blessings. Like the petals on the wild sunflower, we aren’t perfect, but you love us with your everlasting love. Thank you for your forgiveness and grace. As these petals radiate around the flower center, teach us to let our praises radiate up to you. Lord our hope rests in you. In Jesus’s name. Amen

Walk Humbly: Micah 6:8

Chrysanthemums and Coleus growing and blooming together.

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

Micah 6 verse 8 is a short and sweet synopsis of our job as Christians. We are to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Or as stated in The Message Bible, what the Lord requires of us is quite simple:
“… do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate, and loyal in your love, And don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously.” All are great traits full of love and taking God seriously wisdom for us all.

What does it mean to you to act justly?

Prayer: Dear Lord, We praise you for your grace and mercy. Help us to follow your path and walk humbly with you. Like the chrysanthemum and coleus growing and blooming together, teach us to live together in peace and harmony. As flowers of all sizes and types are beautiful, help us to find beauty and act compassionately to everyone. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen

Hope Within: Hebrews 10:23

Garden Mums – blooming now

So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises! 24 Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love.

Hebrews 10:23-24 The Passion Translation (TPT)

A while ago, I started a prayer journal. In the journal, I made notes of the people that needed prayer, personal requests, and worries I wanted to give God to handle. Looking back at the journal pages, what do I see? Hope! Hope from answered prayers, hope in God’s continuing protection, and hope within me to rely on God’s guidance through life’s storms. Yes, I am clinging tightly to hope, knowing that God always keeps his promises.

Where have you encountered hope?

Prayer: Dear Loving Lord, Like the mums in the garden, which faithfully bloom year after year help us to cling to hope and faithfully follow You. Let us be bright and beautiful like the blossoms. Teach us to have hope within and encourage and motivate others toward compassion and beautiful works as expressions of love. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen

Compassion: Isaiah 54:10

Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isaiah 54:10 (NIV)

My word of the year this year is compassion. Surprisingly, it pops up often, usually when I least expect it. When I think of Jesus, I think of compassion, for He is the model of compassion. One definition of compassion; is a feeling you have when you become aware of another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering. God has compassion for us. He cares about us and gives us His unfailing love. He wants to help us. However, in turn, we need to take our worries and troubles to Him. To pray and to follow His path of righteousness.
How has dwelling on the word compassion changed me? I have tried to really listen to others and to view everyone as a child of God. Right now, however, I am still a work in progress.

When is it difficult to be compassionate?

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for your unfailing, unshaken love. When a variety of flowers and grasses are grown together, color and beauty increase. Teach us, to grow together in compassion and love. As one flower may be stark, grouping with other flowers makes the results spectacular. Lord, help us, in turn, to work together to achieve harmony and compassion. We thank you for the beauty of our world. In Jesus’s holy name. Amen

Light of the World: John 8:12

Franklinia tree (named after Benjamin Franklin) for more info: https://bartramsgarden.org/explore-bartrams/franklinia-tree/

12 When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12 (NIV)

Jesus said “I am the Light of the World.” We no longer have to walk in darkness because he is with us beside us. He shines brightly on us in us and around us. Let His light into your heart. Let it shine. Our job is to reflect His light into the shadows and dark areas around us.

Where will you shine God’s light?

Prayer: Dear Jesus, Light of the World, help us to bask in your sunlight and be illuminated like this Franklinia flower. Teach us to follow Your light when we feel surrounded by dark shadows. Like the Franklinia tree, which exists only in cultivation, not in the wild, help us to exist in You alone. In Your holy name. Amen

Praise: Psalm 13:5-6

But I trust in your faithful love.
    My heart is filled with joy because you will save me.
I will sing praise to the Lord.
    He has been so good to me.

Psalm 13:5-6 (NIRV) A psalm of David

Sing praises to the Lord, for He is good. Let your heart be filled with joy because he surrounds us with his extravagant, faithful love. His works are amazing, and the beauty of nature astounding. Worship His Holy name in praise! The photo and the scripture remind me of a favorite worship song of mine, “10,000 Reasons” by, Matt Redman. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXDGE_lRI0E)

What fills your heart with joy?

Prayer: Dear Lord, we celebrate your love. We thank you for the beauty of nature that surrounds us. Teach us to let the blue skies and bright colors of the monarch butterfly bring joy to our day. Like the clustered blossoms of the milkweed plant encourage us to join together and praise you. Lord, you have been good to us. We thank you for giving us hope and for saving us. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Salvation: Titus 2:11-13

Azalea

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people. 12 It trains us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 as we wait for the happy fulfillment of our hope in the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Titus 2:11-13 (NET)

The passage makes you want to shout with joy, for the grace of God has appeared bringing salvation to all. We are redeemed. We are admonished to lead godly lives while we wait for the glorious return of Jesus. Our hope is alive built on Jesus’s love.

Where are you doing God’s work today? How are you preparing for Jesus?

Prayer: Dear Lord, we thank you for your grace to us. Like the clean white flowers, help us to be pure and bright, to reject worldly desires. Use the trumpet-like flowers of the azaleas to remind us to prepare for the sound of the trumpet that will proclaim your return. We thank you for your love and the promise of salvation. In Jesus’s name. Amen

Great Love: Psalm 108:3-4

Columbine

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing of you among the peoples.
For great is your love, higher than the heavens;
    your faithfulness reaches to the skies.

Psalm 108:3-4 (NIV)

Lord, we are blessed with Your great love which is higher than the heavens. All our days, Your faithfulness surrounds us; it reaches upward to the skies. Oh, Lord, you are our rock and redeemer to you we raise our praise and hymns. We give thanks for your grace and forgiveness.

Where do you see God’s love?

Prayer: God, like the columbine blossoms are upright and bright, let our face be upturned to you. Teach us to open our hearts to others and reflect your love like the colorful open petals. Lord, we thank you for surrounding us with your great love and faithfulness. In Jesus’s name. Amen