Saturday, 25 July 2009

“Once you were dead, now you are alive!”

“But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions- it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5 NIV).

It was clear, the winter had passed away and the snow had gone. But what came from underneath the snow I didn’t expect. The grass was brown and dry and it looked dead. I had no hope for our lawn. “Would it ever become green again?” I asked myself. How could it be that new life could arise from this dead grass? God is the author of creation and of life, and so day by day I saw green grass springing forth and eventually replacing the dead grass.

I made a similar observation which was also quite amazing. The rosebushes had also died in the fall. They went into a deep sleep during the wintertime, and now as spring was approaching, these bushes were also brown and lifeless. But one day something changed. I noticed that from the trunk of one of the rosebushes new life was springing forth. The brown branches suddenly changed their color. From the bottom of the bush new life was infiltrating the branch and slowly they began to change their color to green. Leaves began to grow and to my surprise, even more had sprung forth than in the last year. A miracle had taken place and the rosebush was standing there proudly as it became alive.

As Christians we have this hope and its name is Jesus Christ. Once you were dead, but now you have been made alive in Him. At an appointed time He came into your life and everything changed, didn’t it? This new life is indeed Christ in you, the hope of glory. But just as this rosebush resurrected and was filled with new life, the story doesn’t end there at all. The rosebush will eventually carry beautiful roses with an even more beautiful fragrance. Christ made you alive, that you would disperse the fragrance of His life and of the knowledge of Him. You are a miracle of God made alive to glorify His name on earth. Now rest in this knowledge and let God pour out His everlasting life through you.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Suzanne Tanner

Sunday, 19 July 2009

It’s Going To Be Worth It!

"Blessed it s the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him” (James 1:12 NIV).

I had always lived in apartments and so now that I live in America and I am married, I am blessed to have a home of my own. Along with a home comes also the privilege of enjoying the beauty of a garden. It brings a lot of joy to my heart to observe all the plants and flowers we have in the garden. I like to walk around the house and take a closer look at all the plants. I am amazed to see how much growth takes place day by day. And so one day the time arrived for the tulips to show up! First the leaves started to grow. For a time they were doing well, but all of a sudden there came an enemy that started to chew on the leaves and destroy them. We figured that it was a rabbit. The tulips were in danger as the leaves already looked very bad. Some tulips didn’t make it at all and were completely destroyed, but to my surprise I discovered that some in fact did make it through all that adversity, and stood the test so to speak! These tulips were standing there like proud soldiers and it was as if they were saying, “Hello. Do you see me? I’ve made it through! I persevered despite all adversity. I wasn’t discouraged and I pressed through.”

Doesn’t this story remind you a little bit of your own life? There is a constant battle going on and there is an enemy that wants to destroy the calling on your life. But like with these tulips that made it through all adversity, so the LORD would speak these words unto you: “Hold on to me, press through, endure, persevere, stand firm and don’t let the enemy put you down or lie to you. It is going to be alright and it is going to be worth it!” I encourage you today to stand the test and to fight the good fight. In due course the LORD will place upon your head something of worth. It is going to be a crown which will remain on you forever!

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Suzanne Tanner

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Be fruitful!

“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:5 NIV).

Have you ever taken a close look at a pepper? It’s just amazing how many seeds this vegetable carries! It is not just a vegetable; no it carries in itself again so much potential to multiply of its own kind. After I made this discovery I decided I would collect the seeds, dry them in the sun and transplant them with much expectation into good ground.

I made a similar observation with my ivy plant in the bathroom. Ever since I have given it once a week a cup of water it has been growing non stop. It has grown in all directions and so I had to cut it a little. I put the branches into a container with water to allow them to grow roots. After a week or so they were ready to be transplanted into good soil. I have repeated this procedure already three times! But the story continues: I bought some pretty flower pots and so now I am going to transplant the ivy and give it away as a gift. Indeed, the story continues and so isn’t this is a good picture of being fruitful?

You too can be very fruitful like this pepper or ivy, because the seed that you carry is godly: it is Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. Through Him you will be brought to a purposeful life again! As you remain in Him, and He in you, you will be inspired and begin to see a wonderful multiplication. Do not despise the small beginnings, take what the LORD has given you and use every opportunity to sow into the lives of others in love. Your joy will be made complete because your actions will bring glory to the Father in Heaven, and you will be called a disciple of the Most High.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Suzanne Tanner

Sunday, 5 July 2009

I long to be with you.

“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden” (Genesis 3:8 NIV).

Isn’t that just true that animals have a natural fear of man! I mean you just know it if you approach for example a bird that it will tremble and fly away from you. But you know what; in my hometown our wild animals are surprisingly friendly. I recently went for a walk in the park and met with the squirrels. I observed a couple that was running around and chasing each other. It was funny to watch them playing and enjoying their fellowship. And then they suddenly realized that I was there too and so they approached me with much curiosity. They came so close to me I could have touched them. And so I decided to sit down on a bench for a while and see what they would do. And sure enough one of them even jumped up and came so close to me. It brought a smile to my face and joy to my heart that this wild animal would want to be close to me and give me a chance to observe it so closely. That’s strange, I thought, these animals have practically lost their fear of man, because they had been fed all these years. So each time they see man they remember what they had done for them and little by little they gain confidence.

This is such a good picture of our relationship with the Heavenly Father! He desires so much for us to approach Him with this love and interest for Him. He wants us to get close to Him and for us to long for Him. Through the fall of man we have learned to hide from God, but this was not the original plan. No we were created for an awesome and unique communion with the Almighty One. And so Jesus Christ laid down His life for you, paved the way and gave you access to the Father. I encourage you to daily take this opportunity to approach your heavenly Father. See and experience the Fathers delight and pride in you. Then you will understand His longing for you and you will find peace for your soul.

Have a wonderfully blessed day!

Suzanne Tanner