LIFE GIVERS MINISTRIES
TOO MUCH NOT TO CHANGE US
I have found when Father wants to teach a new thing to His kids, He does it so gently that we understand it quickly. No big thing like “do it or else.” His understanding is beyond ours and He knows just how to bring us into His thoughts.
He often uses nature to show Himself and His works to us. Scripture tells us the heavens magnify Him. (Psalms 19: 1) He taught our ancestors about Himself from nature and the stars and all that He made. He speaks of the flowers and all that He made. He describes the flowers and how He has dressed them more glorious than anything man could make. The oceans stay in their boundaries; the night is made for the animals and beasts of the fields and the day for mankind. The grass withers and then appears again in its time (And the weeds!). Everything performs in its order, not because He speaks to it everyday but because He made them that way. The sun never asks Him if it is time to rise or set on one or the other, it just does what it has been made to do! Shine and warm the earth!
I am now surrounded by trees that are showing signs of what we call the fall of the year. They will be beautiful as they go along. Color will abound here in the foot hills of Georgia and all over the nation at the proper time! BUT, there are some that will not change and will hold on to their color regardless of the seasons change! We call them evergreens and they are just that—beautiful pines and cedars. They are a little different from the others but they do shed their leaves! Their time is all the time! They are constantly shedding and making a mess on my deck! That’s fine because I know they have a purpose in the whole scheme of things. I will find out one day I am sure.
I want to share some parallels here between mankind and nature, trees particularly.
Here in my part of the world, we have dogwood, elm, and evergreen oaks, oaks that shed their leaves, maple, hickory, pines and cedars. They are the most prevalent. What He has shown me might not apply to the trees where you live but that’s OK, we will go with what we have here.
I have been blessed to live here about fifteen years and watch the trees do what they were made to do. It always amazes me to see it every year and at the same time of the year. They never miss! Watching very carefully, I have come to the conclusion that they never stop to ask anyone if it is time for them to start losing their leaves! I know there are some of you that will say that is natural. I agree; but are the trees and the beasts of the field the only thing God made that is natural? They act natural because there has been no one to tell them any different! Are we not made to act natural also?
Let’s take the dogwood. In the wild the dogwood is the first one to bloom in the spring and the first one to lose its leaves in the fall. Over and over, every fall, without asking its creator if it’s time!
I have a beautiful elm in my yard by the corner of the deck. Every year for several years, Frank wanted to cut it down because he thought it to be dead. I was able to convince him it was not dead but just waiting for the time to bring forth new leaves! Each year I would bring it to his attention and finally he was convinced that the tree would be beautiful again. Soon after the dogwood turned its leaves, sure enough the elm’s leaves would start turning. Soon it would be a glowing yellow. Besides the turning of the leaves, I noticed the spring would bring seeds and pollen. The pollen is not fun for people with allergies but the seeds were great for the squirrels and birds. They flocked to our yard, which we also love. I noticed again, it never stopped to ask if it was time or if it was OK. Then we noticed the maple, oaks and hickory trees start without asking any questions. They just did what came naturally! Color abounded!
One tree in our yard has surprised me. A big maple, I believe, never sheds all of its leaves! There are always some that hang on until the new leaves push them off. Honestly, I have watched each year and wondered why the tree doesn’t just give them up and let them fall! It makes me think about people who want to hang on to their past. Know anyone like that?
Then there are the pines and the cedars. They are something else. Beautiful and green all year but if you look underneath and close to the trunk of these lovely trees, you will find brown, dead needles! They are sort of hidden until a strong wind is sent their way and exposes them to the ones around them! They never show their bare limbs. They always cover the deadness and try their best to look beautiful like the trees around them. Is this natural? Yes, because this sort of describes the people who never let their true selves show. They hang on to the past but try to make believe that they are OK. The trees are always shedding and probably don’t realize the mess that is always at their feet (and on my deck). By the Spirit, you can see people all around you doing the same thing. We call this “natural behavior,” but is it?
Did you know there are dogwood type people? Dogwood trees just submit to what God has created them to do. Turn their leaves, shed them and in springtime bring forth the beautiful white or pink flowers. Everyone welcomes the first sign of spring. Then the tree will put forth the leaves that bring shade to smaller plants and to us. It really is a lovely time of the year.
People with “dogwood” personality are a lot like that. When they first become believers and know that Jesus is Lord, they easily submit their lives to Him. We could call that their “spring.” They blossom and we all enjoy the beauty of the Lord working in their lives. Then we can watch their leaves start to show and they start nurturing others around them. Quietly and lovingly supplying a warm hug and understanding to younger growth around them.
And then there is the “elm” personality. When their spring starts they are so messy! They acknowledge Jesus is Lord and let everyone around them know about it! You don’t have to see the change; they let you know what happened before you ever see anything! You can hear them coming! Quietness is their last thought. Whether you like or not, their little seeds will fall on you and all around everywhere. They are so excited! Sometimes you can get caught up in their excitement and enjoy it with them. Other times they are a nuisance and leave a mess. Finally, they will settle down and become a beautiful shade tree and provide nourishment for others, just as the rest of the trees. In the meantime they provide food for the “hungry.”
Of course there are the maples. Some will let their leaves go willingly after they have had a spring of shedding “worms” all over the place and we walk on them to cause the horrible thing we call pollen! Drives people insane! That is their blossoms and then a beautiful shade tree appears. That is wonderful because they are such a big tree as they mature! Then there are those that holds on to the leaves. The year that we had an ice storm, I was watching to see if the leaves would drop, but no, they were still there after it was all over! Not until the new spring leaves started appearing did they finally give it up! The new life pushed out the old. The old has to give way to the new or there can be no new life.
Do we know anyone like that tree, who acknowledges the Lord, submit their lives to Him and hold on to the “old.” It’s hard for someone of this “personality” to grow spiritually. They were born into a “box” and raised in the same “box”. They are afraid if they let go of the past, which is their security, they won’t have anything to hold on to. All the time, God wants them to “let go, and let God” be their security. He wants us to let Him be our “all in all.” Eventually, the work of the Cross in our lives will “push” out the old life. Submission is the only answer. Learning to live “out of Him” is not the easiest thing to do but it sure is better than fighting against the goads! Paul found that out the hard way!
Let’s go on to the pines and cedars, the real obstinate tree “personality!” The pines in Georgia seem to be much taller than anywhere else. I am sure that is not always true but living here, it is. They are TALL! Therefore you would think the roots would be very deep into the ground. NOT! We just had one removed from our yard. The tree was leaning more and more each year and a strong winter wind would knock it over sooner or later. It was so shallow that they were able to almost push it over! But, they are forever green and providing food and shelter for the small animals and birds. They shed constantly and the dead pine needles are hidden in their boughs.
Sometimes you will find a Christian standing tall and proud in what God has done for him. We should be proud of what changes have come along through His Grace and Mercy, but not to the point that our “roots” aren’t down deep. If we are not careful “Pride cometh before a fall.” This haughty attitude will leave a mess that has to be swept up just like the dead needles of the pine tree. Haughtiness and pride can hurt others feelings AND TURN THEM AWAY FROM THE LORD.
If we adopt a prideful attitude, there will be some “dead” leaves that are hiding and when a storm comes they will fall and be exposed. Storms will come and we need to be sure we have already given up the dead leaves and planted our roots deep enough for them to hold. People are watching to see our reaction in a storm. We should be able to stand to show an example of His strength in our lives.
The “cedars” of this world also shed constantly and they have a “thorny” texture that can sting you if you are not careful around them. If you should start digging to get their dead leaves out they will “bite” you! It is necessary that they go through a strong wind for them to give up their dead leaves. They do have deep roots and grow along quietly under the ground to reproduce other cedar trees.
Sometimes we want to be independent. We are only willing to show our dead leaves during a storm. When hard times come we are willing to ask for help, but only when it gets so tough we can’t help ourselves! We are willing to help others anytime but we can’t ask for help and show our weakness. Instead we “bite” if someone reaches out to minister to us. But, our roots are deep and we are quietly growing new trees. Good things come out of our stubbornness, in the meantime, a lot of hurt also. This “tree personality” will love to minister to others but will not allow others to return the favor. They are above asking for help until dire times come their way. Usually these will go out of the area to get help rather than admit their weakness to their peers. Cedars are strong but they have their dead leaves just like the other trees.
That is what Father has been bringing forth in my spirit. The conclusion is that we, like the trees and the rest of creation were made to have the mind of Christ also. Not as something we “put on,” but as something that is our natural way of thinking! Paul tells us to ‘put on,” but what he is saying is to allow this mind to be in you.”
When we appeared on the earth, we had His mind. We knew Him because we had His Spirit and had just come out of Him. We were and still are a piece of Him. Just like the jar of sand from the beach in my cabinet. It is a part of the beach and still has all the elements of the beach it came from. Nothing has changed. This flesh was made by man, but God prepared it and put His Spirit into it. He has prepared us a body, spiritual body as well as a flesh body.
Isn’t it a natural thing for your child to cry when he is hungry, wet or in pain? We don’t have to teach him how. It is a “natural” thing built into us. It’s our parents and the school of this world that teach us to depend on mankind’s ways for life. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil thrives here in this place and we are soon leaning into it and away from our “natural minds.” If the parents happen to be living out of Him you have a better chance than most. (Count your blessings) The problem there is that they have been raised in a “box” and we will be raised in that same “box”. That is about where most of us are now; trying to get out of the “box.” It is not always easy!
We know He tells us to “be ye perfect, even as your Father in Heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) What is He saying? He has given us the potential to be as He is, here in this world, in this time!
I don’t believe we have to put on the mind of Christ, I believe we HAVE the mind of Christ already. When we were born we had the mind of Christ and we put on the mind of humanity. Paul was saying, you have the mind of Christ, so take off the mind of man and allow this mind of Christ to rule in you. Stop letting the mind you think you have be active and allow the mind that you DO have be active instead!
Paul knew about the mind of Christ because of the “road experience!” Thirteen to fifteen years spent with Holy Spirit on the back of the desert taught him something! He knew we have the mind of Christ and I think he was trying to relay to us that we had been using the wrong mind. (Maybe even that our box is too small.)
What I am seeing is that if we can believe that God is our creator and like begets like then why are our thoughts not His thoughts? I know God says “our thoughts are not His thoughts.” (Is. 55:8 and Is.55:9) In other words, man’s mind is lower than His, but we can put away man’s mind and allow His mind and thoughts to be ours. Commit your ways to the Lord… How can we do that without having His mind? We can work and try to make this flesh obey but it won’t work very long. We get tired trying to be good! Three months and we grow weary! Only by having the mind of Christ can we become perfect even as our Father in Heaven is. The only way I know to have His mind is to believe that we have it and act accordingly! We can’t ask for it because you can’t get something you already have.
He asks us over and over in scripture to believe. Not to believe in Him but to believe on Him. To believe in Him is like believing your car will start when you turn the key. Believing on Him means to believe what He says and that if He could do it we can too! If you believe, you shall be saved! Saved from what? There isn’t anything to be saved from. He destroyed the works of the “devil” (our minds) on the cross. Our minds no longer have any power over us. Why do we try to think like it does? His mind is what we are supposed to be using! Believe and you shall receive. Receive what? We already have salvation. He wants us to receive ALL that He has said we have. We really need to read the scripture as a book of the “now.” All you read in the New Testament is something He has already done for us. He wants us to believe that and trust Him.
Moving back to the trees, they live for today and do what they are supposed to do without any thought for tomorrow. Somewhere in scripture He tells US not to worry about tomorrow for it has enough evil of its own! (Mathew 6:34) He has promised us today, this second and nothing more. Forget tomorrow and enjoy NOW! What is it that we think most about? Matthew 6:25 lists them for us—food, drink and clothes. That is the reason we don’t have the time to think about the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. All the time we spend working and spending our wages could be spent more wisely thinking on Him and His Mind. We don’t do what comes naturally but what is un-natural in God’s sight. Be like Jesus was and think it not robbery to be equal with God! (Philippians 2:6) Remember, “It is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)
Jesus went into the mountains on more than one occasion to pray (communicate) with His Father. He also spent time in the Temple. He also said He did only what He saw His Father do and said only what He heard His Father say. He was concerned that Father have His way in His life. We don’t know how much time He spent in communication with His Father, but it wasn’t time ill spent, that is for sure. By that, I mean He didn’t spend time begging and pleading. He knew Father’s heart and mind before He went into prayer. His time in the day was spent walking with Him and staying close. He wanted to hear Father. Because He knew the mind of God, He healed the ones who He was supposed to heal. He didn’t heal everyone. Could it be because it wasn’t their time? He knew exactly what to do without quizzing anyone! He just acted on the spur of the moment. Because we use our human mind, we have to wait until the right time, place and person! We are known to fast a few days, pray and beg for the power and His blessings to be poured out before we make a move! Jesus knew who to touch and when because He trusted Himself to have the mind of God. He believed what God had told Him and acted like He believed! He knew who He was!
Scripture tells us we are as He is on this earth. How is He? Trusting His Father and living in us, sitting on the throne of our lives with His Father and wanting us to sit on that same throne with Him! With GOD!! (He even thinks it not wrong to be equal with God.) Can we be of that mind?
God sure doesn’t ask anyone before He does something! He just does it without any fanfare. It is NATURAL with Him. That is what our natural lives should be like! We sure could get more done if we spent time thinking like Him rather than begging and pleading before the throne for His mind, that we already have! He is trying to get us to use it and we keep telling Him we are not worthy. We are made in His image and we are not worthy?
Yes, in His exact likeness. Even the trees and the beasts of the fields aren’t made in His image but they act more like they have the mind of Christ than we do! What is holding us back from being like Him on this earth?
I believe it is because we don’t really know who we are. We don’t believe His word in Psalm 82:6. “I said, you are gods and all of you are children of the Most High.” In the middle of my bible, NKJV, the definition of “god” in this verse is mighty ones or gods (In the Hebrew, Elohim). This speaks a lot to me. HE made Jesus a little lower than the angels for a while but because of Jesus’ obedience even unto death He is not lower anymore and I am seated together with Him in high places! Doesn’t that excite you, Dear Readers? I do have the mind of Christ. It is not just words anymore. It is real as my heart beat!
Are you afraid to say you are equal to God? Then don’t say you want to follow Jesus. Because of unbelief, you can only stay on this earthly plane and not walk on a higher plane with Him. He doesn’t walk on this earthly plane anymore. He has led us away from this beggarly way and given us a higher ground to abide in.
How far do you want to follow Him? Jesus didn’t stop when it got rough; He set His face and went to a most horrible death because of His Love for His Father. Are we not to be the same and have the same determination? We are to do greater things than He did. If He thought it good to be equal with God, why do we think less of ourselves?
God gave us soul and spirit. The soul includes our minds, will and emotions. Do we think our soul was not made in His image as part of His plan? Ask yourself why He would have given us a Holy Spirit; it did come from Him, and a corrupt mind, which also came from Him! I know the story about Adam and Eve and the old apple tree but I also know Jesus went to the cross and defeated all of their mistakes. We don’t HAVE to think like that anymore. Only what we believe in our minds do we have. If you want to believe you have the mind of Adam then you have it. I choose life and that comes from God! If you believe you still have to be controlled by your human mind then you are living in the past! You need to “get out of the box”. You are still trying to “hold on to your old leaves”—Stubborn and proud making a mess for someone to clean up, namely Holy Spirit. But if you can believe that Jesus and the cross reconciled us back to the Father (2Cor 5:18-21) and all Adam caused has been forgiven, you have shed your “dead leaves,” exposed them so they can be swept away by the wind of Holy Spirit and will be able to shelter others who are coming up around you!
You have weathered the storms that have tried to cause havoc and wreck your life. You have become an over comer, one that cannot be conquered. You can move freely knowing you have on and are living out of the Mind of Christ! Praise, Praise, Praise!!
Here is the kicker! You are not worried about what you do because you stay plugged into the source. You believe you are His Child, because you are starting to favor Him. Your winter has passed and new leaves are starting to appear!
I want to give just a short example of staying “plugged” in. At our place of business we have a vacuum cleaner that has to be plugged into the wall socket so it will be ready to use at the end of the day. It will run for about 45 minutes per 12 hour charge. When it is dead, it is dead. Quick as a wink, out of power! Our having the mind of Christ will depend on our ability and willingness to communicate with Father. When we find ourselves having to question or asking if the time is right, etc. then we will know we haven’t stayed “plugged” in. As long as we think on Him, we think like Him. No more need to fast, beg or plead, we will know just like the trees, because He knows.
Paul tells us to continually pray. Continually stay in communication with Him. Keep your mind on heavenly things and you won’t think about earthly things.
My desire for all who read this is that you will desire to “shed” your “leaves” and bring forth more “blossoms” than ever before. I have a strong feeling our Father will make it easy if we don’t get stubborn and try to hold on to tradition and the past. Jesus told the people in His day that they made the word of God of no effect through their traditions. (Mark 7:13) Let us not be so ignorant as to think that traditions will get us favor with God.
I don’t want anyone who reads this to think I have gotten to the place I want to be in God. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get there. I trust God to put blinders on me if I wander off track. No one is perfect but that HAS to be our goal here on this earth. Jesus said “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”
It is not my desire to hurt any ones feelings but I have to write as Spirit leads. It has taken me awhile to get this out because I wasn’t being obedient to Him. Please forgive me and I will do better next time. Until then, stay “plugged in,” shed those “leaves” and have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful, prosperous and closeness with Him New Year!
Oh, the beauty of the nature that Father has provided us with both to use and enjoy. I feel that the analogies that Barbara has presented in this writing are very pertinent and applicable to all of us at this time. So often we see announcements for a conference on “End-Times Prophecy, come hear what God is doing in this hour,” that it becomes laughable that so many will pay so much to not get any closer to what God is doing than they could if only they were willing to allow some of their leaves to be shaken off and their roots to be fertilized by Holy Spirit. It is so important that we learn to allow the mind of Christ to be foremost in our thinking, just as Jesus did when He walked the shores of Galilee. As Barbara previously stated, you can’t pray it in, or plead for it. Remember, “You can’t anymore become what you already are than you can come back from where you have never been.” That old quote begins to take on new meaning and again comes alive— “let go and let God.” On the surface, it sounds rather trite, but what a profound statement is really is. When you think about it, doing anything else, is not only silly but is really a waste of time that not only robs us of Father’s best, but delays our arriving at where He wants us to be. Believe me when I say— we will all arrive where Father wants each of us individually whether we agree with His plan and timing or not. That is His plan, and the smartest thing to do is get in step with it rather than the one that we have learned since we were sent here by Father to our earthly parents. Scripture emphatically states that we have already been reconciled to God so obviously, there is nothing else to be done. We are already everything that Father says we are so there is nothing we can ask, cry or plead for. We need to learn to be like Christ, have the mind of God and walk with that mind governing our lives. Christ never asked or pleaded for guidance; He just did what He saw Father do and said what He heard Father say.
Phil 2—Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.
Life Givers Ministries
PO Box 251
Lincolnton GA 30817
706 359 6977