Someone asked me this question? I ask you?

How has your spiritual life changed over the years?  

“Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.
—John 7:38b, NRSV

9 thoughts on “Someone asked me this question? I ask you?”

  1. The question Sara asked, “How has your spiritual life changed over the years?”; the scripture posted, “Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.”; and the pictures of plants in two different seasons, the trees in winter and the tomato fruits of summer, took me first to reviewing Sara’s book, “ Designs of One’s Heart”, subtitled, “Our Hearts Journey Through the Seasons of The Circle of Life”.

    In the chapter, “Winter Tells Us”, she said that one of her sons had a favorite saying, “from the Chinese philosopher Confucius, “Renew thyself each day. Do it again and again and forever, again.” She went on to say, “As we reflect on Winter, we want the Lord to create anew within us, each day, just as He does with the seasons of nature.”

    In Sara’s chapter “Autumn Proves Us”, she says: “The rhythms of the seasons as we have been designing our hearts in painting four different designs in a rhythmic recurrence of elements produced by a system of motion. In other words, Winter will come around again. Spring will come around again. Summer and Fall also will come around again. So, therefore, our gates must be able to open and to close.”

    I have seen these changes of motion in my own life. There are seasons when I look like the tree in the dead of winter with no leaves, and pruned back hard, also. Then there seems to be a spring season of some new growth, learning to make changes in a different season; and shifting into not forgetting to preserve any summer fruit that developed before fall brings still another change and challenge.

    One of the things that helps me cycle through the seasons is staying connected to the Daily Lily through Sara’s teachings here and interaction with other Lilies that comment and add. That creates an accountability that helps foster self-discipline and faithfulness, both fruits of the Spirit.

    A passage from “Lesson Three- Doing Power” in Sara’s book, “The Four Bees, Finding Your Spiritual Gifts” serves to remind me to renew myself daily by endeavoring to stay steady and utilize the hands-on gifts I have been given. Her passage states: “Don’t neglect stirring up your gift. God says that your gift has been imparted to you by the Holy Spirit. No man gave it to you and no man can take it away. It is solely yours to work. Bee a worker bee. Paul says to practice your gifts, cultivate them, meditate upon them. He says to throw yourself wholly into them so that your progress is evident to all, an example for all those you see and speak to.”

  2. Thanks Debi for the great reminders. It’s like water to the plant. When words are scripture based the soul finds new growth and fruit.

    What are some ways my spiritual life has changed over the years? My main thoughts for the last few years have been on my prayer life. Being more mindful of words I pray. Hoping to have meaningful conversations with Jesus and allowing the Holy Spirit to guide my words into Biblical actions.

    Example, follow up with myself or those I’v prayed about. Less mind rambling as I hope to allow compassion to guide my thoughts. “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23) I would say the word I’m looking for now would be “self-control.”

    From the quote Debi above gave us, “Renew thyself each day. Do it again and again and forever, again.” Romans’ 12:2 says it best, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

    I’m still growing! I’m still in seasons! And, I’m still working on my relationships with God and man. so I will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Always exciting to thrive in God’s garden!

  3. As a teacher of children, I have grown in the way I present a lesson.
    I use to tell the story, give out a coloring sheet, and play one of the games I had created called “Who Am I?” Then in prayer it came to mind that the whole Bible was about Jesus! Wow! So! 🤔 and 🙏 God showed me a better way. Change!! O.K. Then I asked the Lord. What would this look like! He showed me to tell the story but “ peel it back like peeling back an onion, one layer at a time.” Show the students that there are deeper and deeper meanings of the story. As I studied and studied, I asked God after seeing a layer or two myself if He would take over the words I spoke. His Words and not mine. The students loved it and I was so amazed at what God had me say. Whenever there was something in my journey that applied to story I would tell it explaining why it applied. This made God real to them! This new method excited the students and they asked many questions. What a way to teach the lesson and learn how God works in our lives.

    Waiting on the Lord and throwing out questions to Him about the way students should be taught, I learned God is all about changes and is at work in the changes. Jeremiah 33:3 Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

    As I have grown with my walk with God and asking Him everything about what I see, what is working, and what is not, I also asked about prayer. I love praying but a sentence or a prayer that is repeated all the time concerned me. With today’s world the children live in and darkness of the world I asked God, “How Lord do we get the children to really see the importance of prayer and to pray effective prayers, and most importantly to see God answers. God gave me a plan for change in teaching prayer to young children. It looks like the Lord’s Prayer – Thanking God for who He is and what He has done for them during the week, praying for the world/ missionaries,
    USA and leaders, others, and then self. What affective praying children they have become. (Glory to God for the change!) There has been many many prayers answered and miracles too. One example, one little girl came to me week after week to pray for a cousin of her’s who was in a car accident and was told he would never walk again who did walk months later, another was to baptized and prayed- as she kept hearing don’t do it – with God presence she with great joy and was baptized, others prayed for students in their classrooms and teachers too. They prayed for protection of schools and missionaries and the list goes on.

    Oh I forgot to say these children are first through 3rd graders.
    This was a big change for me as I’ve taught Sunday School for about 50 years and this change happened in the last three years.) Isaiah 40: 31 But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not be faint.)

    God has taught me so much about His heart for children.
    Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Focus on – Do not hinder them.”)

    I’m sure God will continue to work in my life to teach or as I say facilitate learning about God. As I grow spiritually and serve Him I am continually filled with joy.

  4. Debi and Rena, you both sure have grown in leaps in your journey and displaying your giftings. Sure have your candles aglow. “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
    Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭MEV‬‬

    Interesting how plants and blooms, children and growth have similarities in prompting spiritual growth.

    Debi quoted, “Don’t neglect stirring up your gift. God says that your gift has been imparted to you by the Holy Spirit.” Seems pretty clear ‘the stir’ is the 🌟 Star of the growth!

  5. I must say reading our spiritual growth comments gave me a jolly thought into the Rhymes of years gone by….Awesome…still and always order, details and togetherness makes the garden grow… a Nursery Rhyme is a spiritual awakening for a child and adult alike. A word fittingly spoken, written or mimed is a powerful reminder for our beings. So often in our living we forget just how woven we are together in the garden called life. We should garden our thoughts mindfully of how to care for one another in this journey called earth life. And, have high hopes for all for living in The Light of The Son!

    Some of the words might spring up in song as you read.
    “Mary, Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    All the flowers, all the colors
    All in a perfect row
    First the seeds
    And then the water
    Keeping a little space
    Daisies here, roses there
    Each one has their place

    Mary, Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    Forget- me- nots and marigolds
    Tied up in a bow
    Coralbells and goldenrod
    Standing up so tall
    Baby’s breath, candytuft
    And violets are so small

    Mary, Mary quite contrary
    How does your garden grow?
    Lavender and hollyhocks
    Grow from the seed we sow
    Pretty pinks, and pale purples…”

  6. Sara, you said, “We should garden our thoughts mindfully of how to care for one another in this journey called earth life”.

    I read this Nursery rhyme over and over it seemed the garden described was lovely. Was contrary Mary shown an illustration or example of a beautiful garden and then asked about her own? It’s hard to believe she could have had the kind of garden Sara describes, “still and always order, details and togetherness makes the garden grow”… after I looked up the meaning of contrary.

    “Contrary: (of a person) intentionally wanting to disagree with and annoy other people; Perversely inclined to disagree or to do the opposite of what is expected or desired.”

    It does not not sound from her disposition that she wanted to garden her thoughts “mindfully of how to care for one another in this journey called earth life”.

    I read up on one of the flowers in the rhyme’s garden, Forget-Me-Nots, from Sara’s book, “Designs of One’s Heart”, to try to gain some insight. Sara wrote about “Our seven components to enjoying the Garden of Renown.” One of those was a forget-me-not. She said, “But I want you to just look way out all around and you’re going to see tiny, tiny sky-blue flowers everywhere you look. It’s used here for our ground covering. You’ll see it everywhere you look so just keep this in mind. And it says forget-me-nots, our third component. Forget Me not and all My benefits that I have for you. ..”

    Seems Mary had her mind more on being contrary than on this third component.

    1. Very interesting insight Debi on Mary, the contrary. And, awesome to have your remembrance, time and patience into sharing a study some of us that write here shared in. It seems there have been many takes on the original of the rhyme. One thing for sure there is a dark and light to all the theories. That’s very understandable from the way most or all humans live and think. For get me nots beautify my eye, mind, thoughts and garden. Do I forget God’s benefits even while looking at them and all the beautiful flowers that so often surround me. Yes, I do. Am I caught spending more time worshipping the created than the creator? Probably? How do I know? It shows in my contrary attitude. When I get busy with fun things and people do we think about another’s journey especially if they are not doing well? I wonder?

      It’s real easy to see clearly into Mary, the contrary’s flower life when we mindfully garden our thoughts. We might just see an invasive weed at times.
      Note I read…meaning of Mary is “star of the sea”. Saint Jerome associated the Virgin’s name with the Latin phrase “stella maris”. Other possible meanings are (Hebrew) “wished-for child; rebellion; sea of bitterness”.

  7. Sara, I found Psalm 103:1-18, which speaks of God’s benefits in your book, “Dressing for His Glory -On Pursuing Excellence” in the chapter, “The Glory of Roses – Understanding God’s Character – Majestic”.
    (Psalm 103:2 states,”Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”).

    A question in your chapter says, “What are some of the attributes of God’s character listed in Psalm 103:1-18?” As we read the Psalm we find so many benefits listed…merciful, gracious, heals all our diseases, forgiving, etc… And you help show us how to ‘forget not his benefits’ by sharing a quote from A.W. Tozer, “The Knowledge of the Holy Spirit”: “We must practice the art of long and loving meditation upon the majesty of God. This will take some effort, for the concept of majesty has all but disappeared from the human race.” I think this quote really ties in to what you wrote above…

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