Faith: Seeds and Soil

This past week our Life Group has been studying the parable of the seed and the sower. This parable is found in Mark 4. A farmer went to plant some seed. The farmer was doing what farmers do. They sow seed. He was using a broadcast method–throwing the seed out onto the soil. Some of the seed fell on a footpath, and birds came along and ate them. Some fell on shallow soil and they initially took root, but there was hard rock under the shallow soil and those plants eventually died. Some fell in an area that had thorns and even though they also grew–eventually the thorns choked the good seed. Finally, Jesus gives us some good news—some of the seed fell on fertile soil and produced thirty, sixty and even one hundred fold!

As I was reading through this parable, I was thinking about the seed. Each seed had the potential to produce good fruit. It cost the farmer to purchase the seed, and yet he broadcasted the seed into areas where he probably knew they would not grow. As disciples of Christ, it is our responsibility to sow the seed.–God’s truth into those who do not know Him. Pastors and teachers of many or few, old or young faithfully sow into the hearts of the hearers–expectant for the planting to take root and bear fruit.

I want us to take a look at God’s promises about the seed. To put our trust and release our faith in the power of the seed. Jesus begins to unpack the meaning of this parable in Mark 4: 14: the farmer plants by taking God’s word to others. (NLT). Obviously the seed Jesus is talking about it God’s Word. Let us not grow weary in sowing God’s word by refreshing ourselves in the truth of the power of His Word.

Hebrews 4: 12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires

The promise in Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

the Word of God always produces fruit and it will accomplish all He wants it to. To those of you who are teaching young children–release your faith as you pour into these little ones. Do not be afraid to encourage them to memorize scripture–no matter their protests! When I was in the fifth grade our Sunday School teacher had us memorize for (stickers only) Psalm 100, Psalm 23, and the Lord’s Prayer to name a few. I still remember these words and God uses them to encourage, exhort and comfort me. I don’t remember her name, but I remember the Word! Release your faith when you pray God’s Word over your spouse, finances, or other troubles. The joy about having a relationship with Jesus is the blessing that He is true to His Word. Remember He is the Word, which became flesh to dwell among us!

We must remember the Word of God is alive and powerful. We may look at some of the soil God asks us to sow into and think, truly they must be the shallow ones, or the thorny ones–but it is not our job to judge soil quality. It is up to the Lord and them. It is up to us to make sure our soil is good and able to receive His Word so it produces the fruit He desires.

Our enemy would like to discourage us from sowing God’s Word. But we must remember, Romans 10:14:

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?

It is our call to share His Word. Let’s do it in faith and with faith!


Faith–the confident trust in our Lord and Savior that He who has begun a good work in you will continue to perform it until it is finished. Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about what we cannot see. (Hebrews 11:1) When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. for you know that when you faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. James 1:2-4

One of the benefits of my growing older and growing in my faith is I have come to not be so surprised by these tests that come our way. I think in my naive youth I thought that if I had enough faith I could/would keep things away from myself and my family. It was a very childish and immature way to think. When these tests or troubles as James shares, came my way, I would be caught off guard and struggle with them simply happening rather than walk them out in faith. I really was unaware of this childish perspective until the Lord showed me. I spent much too much time asking the “whys” of situations rather than simply applying the Word of God to the situation.

The Bible refers to different types of faith–little faith, (Matthew 17:20); weak faith (Romans 14:1) great faith (Matthew 15:28) at times I think I have experienced them all. Troubles and tests are part of what happens in this world. Job declares that the rain falls on the just and the unjust. It does not mean that we should not pray for protection, health and favor for ourselves or our families. But we need not to be blindsided about events that happen to us as believers.

Our faith is supposed to grow and develop. It is like a muscle and as we deal with the experiences of life we get the opportunity to exercise that muscle and watch it grow stronger. I am not where I want to be with my faith, but by God’s grace I can see areas where I have grown and developed a greater confidence and assurance in Him. I am grateful for it has led me to the Rock that is Higher than I, the One who is strong, stable and able to meet the challenges I face with power and authority.

Remember we walk by faith and not by sight–a life of trust. We can do this.

Faith, Battles and God’s Help

Last week I wrote about faith and moving from hysteria to history. I mentioned different life situations that can cause a feeling of panic or overwhelming stress that can take us by surprise. The day after I wrote that blog I encountered such an attack.

Several months ago I signed up for the United States Post Office Informed Delivery Service. This is a service that sends me an email of any mail I can expect to show up at my mail box. It has been a blessing because I only make trips to the post office when I actually have mail! However on Friday I saw I had a letter from the Department of the Treasury, yes the Internal Revenue Service addressed to Impart Ministries. This meant that I had made another mistake. I have been so careful to follow all their rules so it upset me. To be honest it also set up some grief triggers because my husband used to take care of all that stuff and now it was on me. Suddenly I found myself in a spiritual battle–which really outweighed the situation.

When I went to the post office to pick it up, my mail box was empty. It has happened before, so I thought its ok, I will get it on Saturday. I did my best not to worry and cast this care back onto the Lord. I knew there was nothing I could do about it, but just wait. Still the oppression grew. When I went to the post office on Saturday morning, no letter. In its place was a notice of failed delivery for a certified letter from the IRS. I have never had a certified letter from them before. My mind began to wander and wonder–what did I do? What possibly could this mean? The only thing I could think of was they were going to audit Impart Ministries. I reached out to my daughter Elizabeth and she prayed and encouraged me. But the power of the oppression still raged.

However, I had other mail in the box that day. One was a letter from an Impart Ministry supporter. It was out of time for her usual financial gift–so I was surprised to receive it. I opened it and read the following:

April 4, 2019

Dear Martha,

Felt very impressed (via a dream) to write to you today. I love you very much. I come against any fear, loneliness, lack, feeling of inadequacy, weakness, vulnerability, darkness, discouragement and helplessness. I rebuke, refuse them on your behalf. I raise up a standard against them. I call forth the angelic army of God to surround you with strength, tools of warfare, the blood of Jesus, the light of the Word and the oil of the Holy Spirit, faith, truth, righteousness, peace, the sword. No weapon formed against you shall prosper. I speak supernatural awareness of any trap or snare. You are encompassed about by godly guardians and protection. Walk in liberty, Patti

When I read this short letter, I started crying. So many of the areas that she mentioned were things I was struggling with. I shared the letter with a few people. God had given this woman a dream about me and she took the time to write this amazing prayer. It was overwhelming. I want to encourage us to follow through with connecting with people God puts on your heart. She had no way of knowing my situation. But it came in time.

You would think that the oppression would have immediately lifted with all this encouragement, right? But no, it was stubborn. I re-read the letter and began to sort through my tools of warfare. What hadn’t I employed? Ah, worship. I turned on my Spotify worship playlist and peace began to be restored. I had reached out to another friend for prayer earlier and she texted me a prayer right before I went to sleep. Liberty was coming, I was walking out of the darkness into His light once again.

My daughter had given me a scripture from 2 Kings 3 :14-24 on Sunday, and said “it’s a small thing for the Lord, whatever it is.” Monday, as I went to the post office to pick up the letter, I was calm and at peace. It was what it was. As I read it, I realized it was a mistake. It was a collection notice for something that I had proof was already settled. A mistake on their part. I called the number, but of course they were too busy to take my call. The next morning I tried again, praying for a caring, clear person to answer my call. After a thirty minute wait, I was connected to Ms. Lee. She was awesome and she agreed I had a zero balance owing. I even shared with her about my hysterical to historical blog. God is good.

As I shared this story with my Life Group last night, one of the other gals could really relate to this kind of attack. She too had been struggling with lies and oppression. This story became a help to her. God is in the midst of our struggle. He helps us as we walk through storms.

Father, I ask you to help your people as they walk through the storms of life. I thank you that you are true to your Word, a very present help in the time of trouble. Please send your peace, wisdom and solutions to those who are facing overwhelming problems. In Jesus Name, amen

Faith: Moving from Hysteria to History

It happens. Moments where we feel panic rising up within our soul. How are we going to deal with this? Whatever our “this” maybe. Loss of a job, loss of a relationship, a difficult diagnosis–life happens. When sudden bad news hits us–there is a feeling of panic or “hysteria”. It is normal, it is expected.

Hysteria may be our starting point, but as we take a deep breath and look up to our Heavenly Father we begin to move toward the story becoming part of our history. Even when we are in the middle, when we don’t have the conclusion written yet peace can reign and rule in our hearts. It is the time when we must truly walk in faith, by faith toward faith. It is a time when we want to give in to hysteria and maybe we do! But eventually we must capture those overwhelming imaginations and turn our thoughts to the One who Holds our Future. There are hard things that happen in this life. Difficult horrible sin related not nice stuff that impacts our world. I am so grateful that our God knows about it–and even when it does affect us, He is there to help us walk through it.

We just passed a difficult anniversary in our family–the ninth anniversary of my husbands heart attack and massive stroke. Since it has been nine years I was not really prepared for the emotions that showed up about three in the morning. I found myself re-living that day in vivid reality. The difference was I have moved from the initial event and it is now my history. When my feelings brought it up again, I found myself asking the Lord to bring me another level of His Comfort and to show me how He comforts us. Even though the “hysteria” showed up, I could choose not to live there–because I know the ending and all the good things and answered prayers along the way I was able to turn to the Lord for help. He did not condemn me for my intense memories, but He helped me put them into perspective.

I remember thinking during the initial Hysteria event about how this would turn into my history one day. It got me through those initial days with hope. What holds us steady as we move from hysteria to historical? Our faith–based in the foundation of God’s Word. It is my relationship based on the truth I trusted in God’s Word and my history of His faithfulness that stabilizes me during my emotional “hysteria” situations. Maybe you are experiencing some hysterical moments right now. I want to encourage you are not alone. Our God is with you. Begin to look for His handiwork in the situation–no matter how small. Begin to trust His outcome–even it is not your expected outcome. He truly does work all things out for our good as we walk with Him. Some things we won’t understand till we reach heaven. I am learning to be OK with that. It is a process.

Sometimes our emotions (like on the anniversary) can take us back to our “hysteria” moment, but as we let the Holy Spirit comfort, guide and reveal His truth we move back toward resolution and history. If you have friends or family that are experiencing some “hysteria” circumstances currently please pray for them. Encourage them as you can to trust all their unknowns to the known God. Release your faith with them when they are struggling to believe. Continue to pray for them to help them move from the hysteria side to the history, It is a definite gift of love.

Faith and Opportunities

We gathered as a family this past Good Friday. My daughter Elizabeth and daughter in law Becca planned this informal gathering a few weeks ago. We would let the kids color eggs, maybe cook smore’s over the fire pit and simply enjoy each other. One evening as she was praying the Lord led her to add one more thing to our time together–communion.

This was something we had just never incorporated into our times together, but we were all in–at least the adults! We gathered the elements–a bun from the store, grape juice and small plastic cups and six children–ranging in ages from 12-2. It was different, but good for everyone except for a reluctant 12 year old. He finally, with persuasion joined us in the celebration.

As we partook of the elements God reminded me of a time in my life as a young girl where I was also a reluctant participant in communion opportunities. Our family were members of an American Baptist church where communion was served the first Sunday of every month. I remember dreading those Sundays for awhile. I was surprised to have those memories surface and all the emotions around them came flooding back. I had never shared any of this with anyone!

Later when we were finished, he and I were sitting together and I shared my own communion nervousness, fear and concern. I shared how I had picked up the cup and cracked it a little so it leaked all over me. I remember wondering if I had defiled the blood of Jesus! I shared how my dad looked at me disapprovingly but didn’t have anyway to help me fix the mess. I shared how I wondered if I was really worthy enough to “take the cup”–even though I had prayed the salvation prayer many times to make sure! His face began to shift from shame to connection. He shared how he too was always afraid he would spill the cup, so he set it on the floor but then worried that he would kick it over with his foot! I shared how I finally realized that the reason Jesus asked us to do communion was to remind us we needed a Savior! We were only made “worthy” because of His love and grace anyway. I was so grateful for the opportunity to share my story with him. This was not a planned conversation, but it was a set up by the Holy Spirit to help my grandson navigate his faith in a very real way.

Sometimes we forget to talk about some of the practical sides of our faith (like how do you keep from spilling your juice?) Or if you do it is OK). As a young girl, who loved Jesus with her whole heart, my struggle to feel worthy of the communion process was something I never shared with anyone. I don’t think my grandson would have shared his feelings with me if I hadn’t made the first move and shared my story. The relief on his face that he wasn’t alone was amazing. Who knows how God can use each of our “hidden back stories” as we love those around us and make use of the opportunities that come our way.

A quote from Winston Churchill: The pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, the optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. I am thankful I did not judge my grandson by his outward actions. I’m sure being reminded of my hidden story helped me see past his actions and speak to his heart. God’s mercy and grace at work.

Faith and Adoption

The other day I was meditating on my journey in this life. My triplet sisters and I were born in a two room mining camp cabin half way up Lake Chelan–an isolated little town called Lucerne, Washington. It is only accessible by sea plane or boat! My dad was an assayer for Holden Mines up the mountain from the cabins which were provided by the camp. There was a small store and a elementary school for the younger children. Years later we were able to visit and actually return to see our birthplace. We were born in late August–typically a very warm season–which I am sure in God’s wisdom helped keep these around three pound babies alive. The doctor was called. The seaplane pilot readied his plane and the doctor arrived to deliver the last one of us. Living at the home at this time were our mother, father and three older sisters. Our oldest sister was in Texas and our brother was going to high school while living and working with our father’s friend (five children total).

The doctor looked at our situation and knew that our parents could not raise three babies in those living situations (my mother had documented mental health issues). We were flown down the lake to Chelan hospital and eventually were put up for adoption. Many years later someone sent us the doctors account of our birth from a newspaper article! My sister actually met the pilot who flew us to the hospital as well. It really is an amazing story of survival. No pre-natal care for my forty year old mother who now days would be considered a high risk multiple pregnancy. She labored with only a 17 year old neighbor girl to help her. The doctor left her at that cabin and flew us away. I don’t know if she ever visited us at the hospital at the end of the lake or not. Her story was not an easy story to hear or to live, but she birthed amazing children. She loved Jesus with her whole heart and I am sure prayed for us as she understood. She always thought of us as her “three gems”. I think we were in our late twenties when we were reunited with her.

Our birth eventually led to two of our older sisters being placed into foster care. (In another amazing God interventions we met up with some of our siblings years later at my sisters wedding!) After we were reunited and older they began to share their adoption stories. Both of them were old enough to go to court and make a declaration that they wanted to be adopted into their new families. It was a deliberate choice they made that severed the ties from the old family and were received into these new families. As the reality of how our birth affected their lives I apologized to my sister one day. She said, “Martha, your birth really saved us. We needed the change, as difficult and hard as it was to be in the foster care system with its abuses it really was better than living like we were in Lucerne”.

I began to meditate on adoption. As eleven month old babies my sisters and I had no choice in the matter of where and who would adopt us. We were in the care of the state and they made the decision on our behalf. My older sisters were given the choice. I began to think about how God our Father chose to adopt us into His family. He paid the price and took care of His side. But we must choose to accept and choose to allow Him to be our Father. Not just in the name “Christian”, but in our actions and trust. As we choose to allow Him to truly “Father” us, our relationship can grow and develop into the precious vision He had when He began the process. If I turn away from His parenting, acting like an orphan I do not receive the benefits of the adoption. It is only when I choose to accept the position as His child and walk in that knowledge is my life changed by the process. 2 Corinthians 6:18 And I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Almighty God.

John 1:12-13 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave them the right to become the children of God–children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or but a husband’s will, but born of God.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law to redeem those under the law that we might receive adoption to sonship.

These scriptures remind us of God’s purpose and heart–to adopt us into the full relationship of a child of God. When this concept is full grasped it can be transforming. God chose you to be His Child, have you chosen Him to be your Father? This can take time but He wants to show us how to receive Him and to show us where we might still be living as an orphan in our hearts. Rejoice this Easter week to know by His blood and sacrifice we are truly His children.

The photo is of six of our siblings who gathered together to celebrate our 60th birthday. Our sisters Betty and Alice could not attend.

Faith and God’s Help

A few weeks ago I was reading in the book of Leviticus. Not a very inspiring book to many and to be honest, I was simply reading in that portion because it was what came next in my Bible reading plan. I remember almost apologizing to the Lord about my “lack of interest” in this scriptural portion. However, as I was reading a thought began to form in my mind. These priestly duties contained a lot of detail. Moses and the Holy Spirit gave them some very clear detailed instruction on how they were to perform their individual tasks. God cares about details.

One of my secret frustrations with myself is how difficult it is at times for me to find paperwork I need in my filing system. I have attempted a few times to re-organize my system, but it would just get overwhelming and I would make do. This may sound a little silly or presumptuous, but I just said to the Lord–“you like details.. Can you please show me how to organize my files so they make sense to me? (What I realized is that I had been trying to do a mix of how my husband used to do it–and what made sense to me–and it just wasn’t working). He began to help me see what to do. This overwhelming task of sorting through years of files became doable. My mind began to see how to do it, what changes I needed to do that made sense to me.

It was amazing to me how reading about the priestly duties gave me the faith and courage to tackle this task. I talked some of my thoughts through with my daughter Elizabeth who gave me a few hints and tips and I was off. It took awhile–but some amazing memories were uncovered as well. Some made me laugh, some brought tears–but mostly relief as I can now access the important papers I need.

Friends, what are you facing that seems overwhelming? James reminds us “you have not because you ask not:. We have a helper that wants to be a part of our lives. He wants to teach us new things, help us with our problems and bring solutions to some practical areas of our lives if we just ask. It feels so good to know that this task is under control. My friend brought over her industrial strength paper shredder–so I even have a safe way to dispose of the outdated financial papers. God is so good. He is a very present help in our time of trouble as we invite Him in. I felt loved and cared for once again by our Savior. I encourage you to ask for His help in every area of your life–it builds faith for the bigger issues as well!