Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life Lessons from a Pumpkin: A Treasured Moments Devotional

BlogheaderHalloween psalm 51 1-2 

A Treasured Moments Devotional ~ May you find God's love, hope, peace, and encouragement waiting for you in each of these treasured moments I share.

You may be asking yourself, "What life lessons can a pumpkin teach me?" Actually, a pumpkin is a great witnessing tool that describes many of the important lessons God wants each one of us, from ages birth through old age, to heed and truly take to heart.

Whether or not you celebrate Halloween, children (and some adults, too) can enjoy the art of carving a pumpkin each fall. As you prepare to carve the pumpkin, think of it as a blank canvas: one that you will shape and mold into a new creation. Your pumpkin certainly won't look the same once you have finished the carving process. Much like a pumpkin, each one of us is a blank canvas for God to mold. He will take his carving knife and shape us into the person He desires for us to be.

Job said to God, "Your hands shaped me and made me... Remember that you molded me like clay." ~ Job 10: 8-9

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ [has reconciled themselves to God], the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here!" ~ 2 Corinthians 5:17

Before you can carve your pumpkin, you must remove all of the nasty, dirty, gooey, yucky, insides or guts of the pumpkin. We have dirty, gooey, yucky stuff hiding inside of each one of us. Our dirty stuff is known as sin. Before God can shape us, He must first cleanse us from our sins. He lovingly does this through the blood of His beloved son, Jesus, who came to Earth in the form of man, was crucified for our sins, and died to redeem each and every one of us. To be cleansed of our sins, we must first believe in God, his Son, and be willing to accept this gift they have for us. Next, we must acknowledge and confess our sins to God and ask Him to shape our lives. He will guide us along our life's journey: teaching us, shaping us, comforting us, providing us wisdom and discernment through His written word and the Holy Spirit.

"Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." ~ Psalm 51:1-2

"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me." ~ Psalm 51:10-12

As you begin carving your pumpkin, you must cut a lid into the top. Think of the lid as an opening to your mind and ask God to teach you His ways. The best way to get to know someone is by spending time with them. Spend time with God. Converse with Him through prayer and meditation. Not only ask Him and petition for your needs but also praise Him for He is mighty, faithful, and merciful and thank Him for all that He has done and is going to do. Then, be still and silent and allow Him to speak to you through the Holy Spirit. Spend time reading His written word in the Bible. He had it transcribed so that you and I might know His words, His thoughts, His ways.

"How can a young person [anyone] stay on the path of purity [holiness]? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Praise be to you, Lord; teach me your decrees." ~ Psalm 119:9-12

"Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." ~ Psalm 25:4-5

 Next, you will begin to give your pumpkin a face. As you carve out the eyes, the ears, and the mouth, reflect upon your own eyes, ears, and mouth. Do we sometimes see, hear, and say things that are wrong or hurtful to ourselves or others? Our eyes, ears, and mouth can be sources of our sins. We need to keep each one in check and turn control of them over to God. He will not only help us to guard our eyes from seeing things we shouldn't but He will also help us to see the people and situations around us as we should: through His eyes. He will help us to not listen to malice, hate, slander, and gossip for all of these things are sinful. He will help us listen to His voice, His truth, and the voices of His people calling out to Him. God will help us keep our tongues in check. Our words are very powerful. They have the ability to hurt or to heal. Choose your words wisely: heal, edify, encourage one another with your words. 

"For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them. But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear." ~ Matthew 13:15-16

"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." ~ Ephesians 4:29

 "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." ~ Proverbs 12:18

Once you have finished shaping your pumpkin, it is ready for the finishing touch to be added. This is when a bright burning flame is added to the pumpkin so it can shine forth and reflect the light from within. Jesus is the bright shining flame that is burning brightly inside of each and every one of us who loves Him. We need to make sure that His light, truth, and love are shining brightly from within us so that all who look at us will see Him in us, through us by our words and actions, and at work within us by continuing to shape us into the person He desires us to be. Therefore, let the light of Christ shine brightly through you! Plant some pumpkin seeds of faith, hope, love, and kindness as well. Nurture the seeds, protect them from harm: sin, lies, hate and be prepared to reap in the harvest God will provide!
"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:6

Dear Father God, We thank you for Your goodness, mercy, and grace. Thank you for loving each and every one of us. We praise You, O Lord, as we see the splendor of Your hand at work as the colors change and autumn settles over our world. Father, please help to cleanse our hearts, minds, and souls. Shape each and every one of us into the person You desire us to be. Be our guide along life's journey and grant us Your wisdom and discernment along the way. God, help my thoughts to be pure, kind, and pleasing to you. Shield my eyes from sin and evil, Father, and help me to see people and situations through Your loving and compassionate eyes. Lord, open my ears so that I may hear even the whisper of your voice in the wind. Help me not to listen to gossip, slander, or malice but to only reflect upon things that bring You glory, honor, and praise. Father, I know my words have the power to hurt or to heal. Help me to choose my words wisely, to be an encourager, to provide words of love and comfort. May my lips rejoice in You always and bring You glory, honor, and praise! God, I am You vessel. Let Your light, goodness, mercy, and love shine brightly through me. May my words and actions reflect You and be pleasing unto You as well. Help me to see those people You put into my path and grant me opportunities to plant seeds and reap a harvest for You. I ask this all in the name of Your precious son, Jesus, Amen! 

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