Spring Cleanin’

by Pastor Dooc Adkins

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

I remember well the earliest days of Spring as a kid.  Whether at my mom’s house or later living with my grandparents, the same weird thing would happen. Both my mom and grandmother would start looking for dirt.  Not the outside kind but the inside.  Those cob webs, window sills, closet floors, back porches and dresser drawers were the first targets.  Man, they both had that “look” of “Mr. Clean” about them. Scary!  There were words used like:  spring cleaning, painting the kitchen, new curtains and somehow, I just knew that a lot of this would concern me.  Lord, I wished so many times I had a sister!

When spring arrives, more sunlight brightens your home as the days grow longer, and fresh air blows in once the temperatures warm up enough to open your front door as to welcome a breath of fresh air. But all the light and fresh air reveal what you may not have noticed during the dark, cold days of winter: Your house is a mess.  It’s not fun to see the clutter and dirt that needs to be cleaned up around your house, but the more light and air that flow in, the more motivated you are to do some spring cleaning.

Spring cleaning can be more than just a chore, however, it can show us in a spiritual way how cluttered and (we don’t want to admit it) what’s hiding in the corners and closets of life.  We can actually use the time to start cleaning up something far greater than your house: your soul.  The closer you get to Jesus – the Light of the world – and the more you invite the Holy Spirit to blow the fresh air of His love into your life, the more you become aware of how messy your soul has become.  Thankfully, there’s no sin too messy for God to clean up when you follow His divine cleaning plan of confession, repentance, and reconciliation.

So while you’re spring cleaning your house, invite God to clean your soul.  Here’s how:

Eliminate clutter. Get rid of distractions that block your intimacy with God.  Take an honest look at what might be interfering with making your relationship with God your top priority.  Are you devoting more time and energy to working, watching TV, shopping, playing sports, socializing with friends, pursuing a hobby, or something else than you’re devoting to time with God?  How much time are you really spending doing activities that nurture your connection with God, such as praying; participating in church; and reading, studying, and meditating on the Bible?  Are frazzled thoughts cluttering your inner life, or are you making time regularly for quiet reflection, and asking the Holy Spirit to renew your mind?  Eliminate clutter in your schedule and your mind to create space to focus on what’s truly important.

Scrub away dirt and disinfect. This is the hardest part. Cleanse dirty attitudes and behaviors and purify your soul. What kinds of unclean attitudes are lurking in your soul? Are you harboring bitterness against people who have hurt you?  Do you entertain judgmental thoughts about people you don’t like? Are you infected with anger, fear, or selfishness?  How do impure behaviors affect your life?  Are you struggling with a bad habit or even an addiction that causes trouble whenever it rears its ugly head?  Pray about each dirty attitude and behavior, asking God to help you clean up each specific one.  Whenever negative thoughts enter your mind, purposefully replace them with positive ones that reflect biblical truth.  Whenever you’re tempted to slide back into a bad behavior, pray for God to empower you to resist and overcome temptation.

Vacuum. Suck up everyday annoyances and persistent resentments that will stain your soul if you let them accumulate.  Keep short accounts with people rather than letting issues between you pile up and spill over into dirty arguments.  Ask God to help you learn how to deal well with difficult people and those whose personalities differ significantly from yours.  Whenever people offend you in minor ways, be willing to let the issues go.  Whenever people offend you in major ways, be willing to forgive them and reconcile if possible.  Remember that God expects you to forgive others since He has forgiven you.  Trust Him to empower you through each step in the forgiveness process.  Do all you can to live at peace with others and resolve conflicts quickly and wisely.

Dust. Wipe away old dirt of the past that is hindering you from moving into the future with confidence.  Ask God to show you ways you need healing from past traumas and losses.  Then patiently work through the healing process as God leads you.  Expect that each time you deal with one layer of dust from your past, you can see a bit more clearly as you move into the future.

Polish. Make your relationships shine by serving others as God leads you.  Be creative about figuring out how often you can bless others through your words and actions.  Remember that even a brief encouraging comment or small act of kindness can make a significant, positive difference in someone’s life.  Every day, look for opportunities to encourage or help the people with whom you come into contact.

Organize. Rearrange your life so you find “the time.”  Clear out your own agenda and invite God to show you His dreams for your life.  Then build your decisions for how to use your resources (time, energy, talent, money, etc.) around pursuing those things, so you can focus on what’s important without being sidetracked by what’s urgent.  Set specific and measurable goals to help you move closer to fulfilling God’s desires for you. Check your progress regularly, and make whatever adjustments you need to make to keep your life organized well.

It’s a great big job. Isn’t it? Yet, when you see the final outcome, nothing compares to a “clean house” where God resides.

Old vs. New

by Pastor Doc Adkins

With the New Year now in swing for us all, how’s it going?  I imagine for most it’s hard to tell given the snowy weather, cold temps and of course the flu and other winter illnesses. Maybe your NEW YEAR looks a lot like your OLD YEAR. When I thought about this thought of OLD vs. NEW the following came to my mind.

We hold onto the pain of past failures until they become woven into our hearts and minds. But that is not what Jesus has for us. In order to heal from the pain of our past failures and overcome the fear of future failures, we must practice our ABCs: acknowledge our feelings, ban the B’s, and choose to believe Jesus.

Acknowledge our feelings

Maybe it’s a lost business, a failed marriage, a friendship that ended over an argument — whatever it is, it’s important to acknowledge the feelings you have about the failure.

Remember, the enemy doesn’t want us in touch with our emotions, because you can’t heal from what you don’t feel.

Ban the B’s

When we are battling the fear of failure, it is so easy to fall back on these coping mechanisms.

We busy ourselves trying to make sure our perfect world stays that way. (Because, after all, any sort of failure from one of our world is a direct reflection on our ability to live life correctly, right?)

  • We binge eat our way through a package of Double Stuff Oreos rather than face certain failure in another relationship. (It won’t work out. It never does.)
  • We blame anyone and everyone for why we failed the last time and let that be the reason we don’t risk failure again. (If those people weren’t so dumb they could have seen that I was the best choice for the Committee.)
  • We bury our feelings altogether because out of sight, out of mind. (I never really wanted that job anyway. Whatever.)
  • We brood, constantly replaying our failure until it becomes a deeply rooted fear. (What was I thinking? Why did I say that? If I had only made a different choice that day.)

If you want to be free from the fear of failure and the pain of the past, you have to ban the Bad B’s.

Choose to believe Jesus

Brennan Manning, in his book Ruthless Trust, says this:

“Wallowing in shame, remorse, self-hatred, and guilt over real or imagined failings in our past lives betrays a distrust in the love of God. It shows that we have not accepted the acceptance of Jesus Christ and thus have rejected the total sufficiency of his redeeming work. Preoccupation with our past sins, present weaknesses, and character defects gets our emotions churning in self-destructive ways, closes us within the mighty citadel of self, and preempts the presence of a compassionate God.”1

This is a good preaching thought! When we truly accept the total redeeming work of Jesus, we have no choice but to decide we are going to stop beating ourselves up.

Because we will all fail. This is a reality of living on this planet. We all fail and will continue to fail. What matters is how we respond to our failure. We can choose to believe that Jesus can rewrite our stories and use our failure for his good (and ours), or we can become stuck in a cycle of failure.

A perfect example of this is the woman at the well.

The woman at the well was a mess. She was a failure in the eyes of her community. She was stuck in a cycle of failure, failing over and over again, marrying one man and then another and then another and then another and then another, until she gave up on marriage entirely and just lived with a guy. Her fear of failure eventually became the assumption of failure until it became actual failure.

The woman at the well feared that her life was colored by such failure that she could never rise above it.

But then Jesus showed her differently.

He knew her stories and her pain and offered her life and a future.

He addressed her failed relationships, but what He really wanted to do was show her that she had a bigger purpose in the kingdom despite her failure. And she believed Him. So she left her water jar behind, went back to her town, and said to the people,

Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah? — John 4:29

And what happened next? Did they blow her off? Did they say, “What do you know? You’re not even married!” No. They all came out to meet Jesus.

Jesus broke the cycle of failure by speaking truth to her. Just like He is breaking the cycle by speaking truth to us today.

“Yes, you had five husbands and are living with someone outside of marriage. So what? It doesn’t have to be your story. How would you like to lead people to eternal life?”

In the same way, He speaks truth over you and me today.

“Yes, you got fired from that job. So what? It doesn’t have to be your story.”

  • “Yes, your marriage fell apart. So what? It doesn’t have to be your story.”
  • “Yes, your child rebelled. So what? It doesn’t have to be your story.” You can choose to believe the truth that Jesus has a purpose for you beyond your failure and allow Him to rewrite your story.

Our futures are already claimed by God; we don’t have to stay stuck in a cycle of fear and failure.  Failure doesn’t have to be your story. He is still writing your story.

New Year… New Beginnings

by Pastor Doc Adkins

God can make the impossible possible. When God told 100-year-old Abraham that he and his 90-year-old wife Sarah that they would have a child, Abraham dropped to the ground in unbelieving laughter at such a ridiculous idea, and Sarah joined him in the laughter (Genesis 17:15-17; 18:10-12). But it happened.

When an angel told the young Virgin Mary she would have a baby to be named Jesus, she asked how that was possible. The angel’s answer: “With God nothing shall be impossible” (Luke 1:26-37). And it happened, Jesus was born just like God said.

He is saying that to you, too. Do you remember the time when a man brought to Jesus a little boy who often foamed at the mouth and fell down, sometimes into water or fire? This distraught father told Jesus, in effect, “I brought the boy to your disciples, but they couldn’t help us.” But Jesus could!

When the man said to the Lord, “If you can do anything…help us!” Jesus replied, “Everything is possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:17-23).

Our Lord said almost the same thing to his disciples at other times (Matthew 19:26 and Luke 18:27). And everyone who believes in Christ is his disciple and can trust him to help in seemingly impossible situations.

Faith and prayer are the keys to making the impossible possible—even though the process can be very slow and even if our faith is very small. Jesus said that faith as tiny as a mustard seed—one of the tiniest seeds on earth—can move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

When you face an impossible situation, remember:

“God is my strength and power” (2 Samuel 22:33).

“With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).

“We are more than conquerors through Him that loved us” (Romans 8:37).

“God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20).

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

As we begin a New Year together maybe it’s time to break old habits, barriers and busyness that seem always to slow down our spiritual progress and journey.  Maybe a “New Start” is the right thing for you and me.  Let me suggest….

  • the need for better Bible understand: Sunday School
  • the need to more worship: why not Sunday evening or Wednesday night Bible study
  • the need to trust God more: try tithing
  • the need for broader circle of friends: Men’s fellowship or Ladies Aide Circles
  • the need for more family time: Church brings families together under one roof

His Story is Out of a Timeless Book!

by Pastor Doc Adkins

..Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy… Luke 2:10

Yes! It surely is a marvelous story! Since it is getting closer to the Christmas season, I have been thinking a lot about the Christmas story. I have read through several portions of it from the Scriptures for years and every time I read and reflect on it, I am in awe all over again. We all know the feelings and emotions we have when we re-read a much-treasured book or even watch a movie that we love all over again, but when we read the Christmas story straight from the Scriptures it is much more powerful and has much more of an impact than what mere man can come up with to entertain us. Even when we act out the Christmas story for church plays and programs, it pales next to the actual words of God. Even Hollywood with all of its special effects could not reenact the Christmas story as our Almighty God saw fit to put each detail into place. Here are a few of the aspects of the marvelous story that enriches my soul.

How about when Mary encountered the angel?

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. Luke 1:35 Just think what a life Mary must have been living to be in the right place in her life to be chosen to bear God’s Son. Do you think you’d find her gossiping at the village gate? Do you think she was mean and nasty to people? Do you think she hurt people with her words? Do you think she was lazy? Do you think she was a liar? Do you think she overlooked a prayer life and fellowship with God? Wow! How close her fellowship with God must have been. I know that there are denominations that worship Mary, but sometimes others go way the opposite and don’t recognize her at all. I think she needs to be talked about more. She was God’s chosen vessel. The Bible says in Luke 1:28, And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Another aspect of this marvelous story that I always enjoy are those shepherds out in the fields.

Luke 2:8,9 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

Now, I must admit I don’t like anything that goes bump in the night. I don’t know why but my eyes just don’t seem to focus quickly in the dark. What must it have been like to be out there with those sheep, in complete darkness and have the “glory of the Lord” come down on you? Whew. How exciting. And then to top it all off—here come the angels!

Luke 2:10-14 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

I could go on and on with more parts of the Christmas story that I love. Each aspect is so amazing how everything came together and prophecy was fulfilled. What a journey the wise men had and what emotions and joy that Simeon must have felt when he finally saw Jesus. What a marvelous story. This is not fiction but true events in history. This story is out of a timeless Book, the Bible. I’m so glad that God doesn’t ever update His version of His Book. It stays the same just like the God who authored it. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever. In all of your preparations for Christmas, take the time to read and reflect on the Christmas story straight from the Scriptures. You’ll be blessed. My suggestion is that you read the entire chapters of Luke 1 and 2 and Matthew 1 and 2.

Feeling Full

by Pastor Doc Adkins

But I have all, and abound: I am full…        Philippians 4:18

Thanksgiving!  What a blessed thought.  What is it?  What do I think of it?  Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been a big deal in my life.  Living with my grandparents on that old farm was truly a wonderful time during Thanksgiving.  My grandmother and my momma would begin preparing for the big day at the beginning of the week. The wonderful aroma of all kinds of great stuff fill the air, steamed up all the windows and tempted me every time I walked by them.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I was thinking about my blessings and everything that goes along with the holiday.  Of course my mind couldn’t help but wander to a little turkey, dressing, and big, big homemade rolls.  How full you can feel when you indulge in such a big holiday meal, let alone adding a piece of pumpkin pie on top of it.

When we start dwelling on the Thanksgiving holiday, we sometimes think of all those lists of things we are thankful for and we seem to think of them as separate items, but Thanksgiving is more than that.

It’s seeing how God works everything together until we are “full” of His blessings and of His care even through times when we don’t seem to have everything we need (or want).  It’s at those times that we should be thankful too.

I’ve read through that Philippians chapter four many times but when I read through it recently, the word “full” really caught my eye.

Paul is writing to the Philippians and expressing his thankfulness at their care for him and how God had supplied.  You really do need to read the entire chapter to get things in perspective but look at what it says in Philippians 4:11,12.

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Paul says, “both to be full and to be hungry”.

He goes on to say in verses 18,19,But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odor of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, well pleasing to God.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:18,19

It’s wonderful the way that God supplies our needs.  When I read through that chapter, I notice that Paul seems to be looking at the whole picture.  He saw how God had worked through everything for him and how God would supply the needs of those at Philippi.

I don’t think Paul was just making a thankful list but he was really seeing how God had worked through this situation and on into that situation and so on.  He surveyed the whole of how God had been working and supplying and Paul was “full.”

I don’t think there is anything wrong with writing out a list of things to be thankful for.  I think that’s great and sometimes we all need to do that just to reflect on how the Lord has blessed us but I think sometimes we forget to see the whole of how God supplied.

I know personally I don’t always think of those lean times or the times Paul was talking about when he said, “to suffer need”.  Not the things I put right up there at the top of my “thankful” list.  I think especially at the Thanksgiving holiday, we put those things in the back of our minds, but that’s how God takes care of us.  He does it through everything.

Even in those times where we don’t feel so blessed, the Lord is still there supplying our needs and working through our lives.  When I think of it that way, it tends to make me even more grateful and thankful for all of the ways that God supplies.

So…gobble til you wobble.  And be thankFULL.

Master Creator

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Here we are and it’s fall again in West Virginia. Also, in a while it will be just beginning to cool off from the summer heat.  Some of the trees are just beginning to lose a few leaves but eventually the fall weather will be here and the leaves will turn to their beauty and fall completely from the trees.

Fall is one of the most glorious times of the year.  It’s filled with the chill of the air in sharp contradiction to the vibrating warmth of the colors of the leaves, making it just breathtaking.  It leaves us just in awe of how wonderful God is and how so perfect each of His creations are.

As I look at the fall leaves and enjoy being out in a tree stand hunting or taking a drive with Sarah, I think about how beautiful a creation of God those are and I wonder how and what kind of a change God has for me.  Think about how leaves change color can be such a lesson to us.

Did you know that the yellow to orange pigments are there inside the leaf the whole time but we only see them in the fall because they are masked by so much green pigment?  During the summer the growth of the tree is making food inside cells in the leaves, which contain chlorophyll, which gives the leaf its green color.

In the fall the chlorophyll breaks down because of certain elements, which cause the other pigments to break out, and we see what becomes our beautiful fall leaves.  There are three basic elements that affect that chlorophyll breaking down.  Those are temperature, light, and water.  During the fall the temperature drops having an effect. The days are shorter so there is less sunlight, and there is less water because of the rain level.

Considering all this, set me to thinking how that is how we are as Christians.  When we are sailing along without any problems we stay green and in the comfortable zone, but if it weren’t for the little less sunlight of a few bumps in the road in the way of trials, a few cold days of heartaches, and a little less water when we feel we can’t handle the burdens, then all of a sudden we become beautiful as a Christian.

God uses all those bumps, heartaches, and burdens to bring out our color and brilliance so that we can be a reflection for Him.  He is the Master Creator.  He knows what He is doing.

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.   Job 23:10

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.   Romans 8:28

When we get back to realizing that God is the Master Creator and begin taking in how awesome and powerful He is, just like we take in the beauty of the fall, it will cause us to be a little more vibrant in our color. Perhaps a little more vibrant in witnessing, reading our Bibles, our prayer life.

God knows us in such a personal way.  He knows each situation, each thing that becomes important for us, and each thing that we have weighing on our heart.  He knows every one of our joys, burdens, and sorrows. We forget sometimes that He gives us our color in only ways that He can.  We sometimes in a sense forget that He is God.

Be still, and know that I am God…    Psalm 46:10

“Son” Flowers

by Pastor Doc Adkins

For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 

When I often think of my childhood on the farm with my grandparents, it’s this time of the year that brings back floods of good memories. The harvest of the garden, the hay fields and corn fields are winding down.  All the work in the hot summer heat has paid off and only the remnants are left. Rest assured even they will   not go to waste. At the ends of the garden my grandmother planted sunflowers. Lots of really big sunflowers overshadowed the garden. Whenever you look toward the garden it was the sunflowers you saw first before anything else.  This time of year, the sunflower would take on the colors of majestic guardians of the garden.  I’d see their yellow and gold tones and with the colors you just knew Fall was upon us.

Sunflowers are one of those things you see everywhere such as on dishes, tablecloths, pillows, and other things for the home.  They are right up there with roses when it comes to popularity.

Did you know that even Picasso and Van Gogh painted sunflowers?  Probably because they are such a beautiful and distinctive flower.

Here are a few lessons we can learn from the sunflower.

Sunflowers Track the Sun.  Most plants are attracted to light but the flowering head of the sunflower actually tracks the sun following its path and moving toward where it is in the sky all during the day.

I read somewhere that sunflowers track the sun when they are in bud stage.  Isn’t that how it usually goes for us as Christians?  When we first come to know the Lord, we get excited about knowing all about Him and living for Him, but after a while we sometimes grow a little preoccupied with other things and get our eyes off of the Lord.

Wouldn’t it be great if as a Christian we’d track the Son of God and follow Him all day long?  No matter what was going on in our lives and throughout our day, we wouldn’t take our eyes off of the Son.

Sunflowers Need to be Stabilized. The second thing I’ve learned about the sunflower is that it needs to be firmly planted in the soil in order to grow.  Sunflowers grow so tall and their stems become so heavy that they will topple over if they aren’t stabilized in the ground.

I know as a Christian it’s very easy to topple over if we are not grounded in the Word of God.  We need to know what and why we believe what we do so our feet are firmly planted and we won’t falter in our Christian growth.

Sunflowers Produce Seeds. Did you know that a single sunflower can have up to 2,000 seeds?  When we think about sowing seeds as a Christian, just think of the potential reach that each of us can have to spread the Gospel.  It could be limitless if we would just sow those seeds.

Sunflowers Produce Oil.  The oil that the sunflower produces is considered a good oil with healthy benefits.  As Christians we should be producing the fruit of the spirit (love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith).  All of those have some healthy benefits on us as Christians and on others that we meet.

Sunflowers Resemble the Sun. Sunflowers not only follow the sun but when you look at them, they resemble the sun too.  Resembling the Son should be one of those things we do as a Christian.  Being Christ-like is an essential part of being a Christian.

Conclusion: When I think about the lessons from the sunflower, my mind goes to that fifth chapter of Ephesians where it’s talking about following God and all the ways we are to act as Christians.  It starts out in the first couple verses by saying,

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor.  Ephesians 5:1,2

The chapter goes on in detail on various topics of Christian living and mentions all those bad things we are to avoid, starting with “fornication” and it goes on from there.

In verses 15 and 16 it says,

See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.

I’m not going to type the entire chapter out here but I think that whole chapter is so important as guidance to our everyday Christian lives.  It is what getting up and following the Son all day and being a SON flower is all about.

It boils down to walking in the spirit, following God, and living Christ-like as a Christian should.  We’ve got to live that way in order to “redeem the time” and spread the Gospel of Christ. .

So, are you living like a SON-flower?

Eyes Wide Open

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD; for he shall pluck my feet out of the net.  Psalm 25:15

It is finally warming up around here and I’ve been noticing all the little bugs and insects around.  I also notice some days ago when I was at our camp in Hinton that a summer creature you see a lot around the river is the “dragon fly”.  That peculiar looking thing with two sets of wings, a long skinny body and BIG EYES!  REALLY BIG EYES!  They are funny looking creatures to say the least. I am not sure what purpose they have except when they land on the water in the river…fish love them.

I’ve read that their sight encompasses basically 360 degrees and that they can see everything at most angles.

Wish I could see like that, especially those things that seem to sneak up on me and sideswipe me.

There are things I wish I could have seen coming.  I know there are things that as Christians we should watch out for so we don’t get off track in our daily living. We need to have our eyes wide open like a dragonfly.

Eyes Open to Understanding.

If we would keep our eyes open to understanding the Lord, just think how much better we would get to know Him.

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. Ephesians 1:17, 18

Eyes Open to the Word.

I guess if we had our eyes wide open to what God’s Word says, we’d learn more and be better able to handle those things that get into our view.

Mine eyes prevent the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word. Psalm 119:148

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law. Psalm 119:18

Eyes Open to Temptation.

Just think how much smoother our lives would be if we were constantly on guard for this one.  We know we are supposed to be on our toes for it to come sneaking in but sometimes it’s there right in front of us before we see it.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  Matthew 26:41

Eyes Open to God’s Help.

We get into these situations and our eyes are bugging out because here comes trouble.  How much better we could handle it if we constantly had our eyes on God and were really relying on the Lord.

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.  Psalms 121:1

Without that 360 degree sight, dragonflies wouldn’t be able to be ready to make the quick maneuvers that they need to make in midair.  I think that when we keep our eyes wide open to certain things, we are better able to maneuver too.  We are better able to handle all those things that come sailing into our view.

All in all, I think we need to keep our eyes on the Lord because He’s the One who sees all.  The Lord can see up ahead where we can’t and that’s a nice fact to rest in.  He can see behind us where we may have missed something.  He can also help us handle those things that come whizzing past us.

So, maybe God created these little strange creatures like the ‘dragon fly ’just to teach us to keep our eyes wide open for Him to show us our way in life, too.

Upsy Daisy

by Pastor Doc Adkins

Psalm 30:1 “I will extol thee, O LORD; for thou hast lifted me up…”

I’m sure you are familiar with the expression “upsy daisy”. It’s a phrase I have heard most of my life and yet for whatever the reason it seems forever ago since I actually have heard it. But, the other day, I saw a grandmother with her little granddaughter or maybe even great granddaughter and the beautiful little gal evidently had just learned to walk. Actually, she was doing pretty well but, it wasn’t the walking that seem to be the challenging thing…it was the stopping. As soon as she  stopped …down on her little bottom she went and immediately Grandma, in that Grandma assuring voice proclaimed, “upsy daisy”. And you know what?  The beautiful little girl laughed out loud. You see “upsy daisy” is the phrase we use when we want to give encouragement to our children when they are learning to walk or when they’ve had a fall.  It means “up you go”.

I think that God does the same with us.  We go walking along in our Christian life and hit some bumps in the sidewalk or maybe we even fall into a big hole and God helps us up and says, “upsy daisy”.

He brushes us off and tells us everything is going to be okay.

It’s not fun when we are down and we find our lives turned upside down.  It’s sometimes hard to see everything in the right perspective when we aren’t standing upright.  But we have a God who cares about us and is there when we get down and He helps us up.

There are some great examples in the bible of some people who had some “upsy daisy” moments.

I think of Job first and foremost. I guess because when he went down, it was with such a sudden force and a big thud.  Here he was, going through life so blessed by God and all of a sudden, Job was laid low.

So much happened to Job in such a short time but God was with him all the way and in the end said, “upsy daisy, Job”.

Job is such a great example to show that when we don’t see God, God still sees us.

It’s like when a toddler falls down and doesn’t see his mother because she’s out of site for a little bit while he’s lying on the ground after he’s fallen.  It’s kind of scary.  But then after a few moments when he sees the face of his mother and knows she’s there to help him up, he’s okay again.

Job might not have been able to see God but God could see Job and Job knew God was still there within reach.  What’s worth remembering is that even though he couldn’t see God, Job still obeyed God.

Job 23:8-12  Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him
On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

It’s so exciting to see how God said, “upsy daisy” to Job.  The Lord had a way of showing Job that all was okay.  God lifted up Job and put him upright on his feet once again and “the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before” (Job 42:10).

And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and everyone an earring of gold.

Job 42:10-12a  So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning.


Maybe you feel like your life has been turned over on its head and you are feeling the pressure of an “upsy daisy” moment.  Just hold on. God knows you are down.  He’s not far from you.

I know it’s hard to be thankful for those “upsy daisy” moments in our lives but don’t you just love the fact that it is God that does the “upsy” part.  It is Him that lifts us up.  It may be through several circumstances that work together but God has His hand working in all of it.

There has been many a moment that I’ve wondered why I’d been brought so low but those are the moments that I’ve seen God the closest and had to rely on His encouragement the most.

If I just look around for Him and listen to His voice I know He’s there even when I’m down and I know I can get through anything when I have Him with me.

God has that way of giving us His presence and saying, “upsy daisy”. It’s all going to be okay.  You’ll get back on your feet again.  Up you go!

So, are you thankful for your “upsy daisy” moments?

The Flowers of God’s Garden

Julia Johnston, 1908 (Edited and Adapted by Doc Adkins)

“The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11

Have you ever seen a garden in full bloom?  Do you remember it?  I remember my Grandmother’s flower garden. Actually, she had them everywhere. Some were by the front porch of the farmhouse, some huge sunflowers at the end of the garden, and some flowers planted in pots she kept and accumulated from year to year. Each flower there was carefully arranged, carefully spaced, carefully pruned, and tenderly cared for.

I learned a lot about planting and caring for what you plant from my Grandmother and it in a small way reminds me of our relationship with God.

Despite the weather, the garden is always tended, the gardener never taking a break from his labors. Do you see it? Smell the air, with the odors of hundreds, thousands, billions of flowers, each one separate, and each one contributing to the bouquet. Feel the breeze, changing directions and bringing new petals to lie at your feet. You see this garden? This is the garden of God. Each flower and each plant is a life, a person, a soul.

Some of the flowers bloom fully and mightily, giving their all for their short span in the garden while some sulk and refuse to blossom.  Some flowers hold back their distinctive smells and colors while others refuse to be dragged down to the mundane. In every case, each flower is tended by the great gardener Himself. Each flower, each shrub, tree, bush, and plant is pruned so that it will have the maximum growth possible and will be displayed to its fullest potential.

Each plant is carefully planted and watered, from the seed to full maturity because the Gardener knows what is best for that plant. The Gardener also knows where He wants that plant and how He desires to show off and display the plant that each plant is the most beautiful to be seen. The Gardener has a plan for His garden and nothing will get in the way.

Each arrangement shows off every flower to its best potential, each skilled grouping takes every flower to its utmost. In every case the Gardener knows what is best, encouraging, cajoling, challenging, pruning, or just letting it go. Every flower is different, every plant is unique, and the Gardener knows each one by name. It is the most beautiful garden in the universe. Do you see it?

You are part of it. You are an integral part of it, not just a sideline attraction. You are the main show, the primary exhibition in God’s great garden of Life!

Don’t be ashamed of what you are in God’s sight but rather be glad for that is how God, our Gardener sees you. Glorious, filled, and given every chance to exceed! You are His prized selection! There is no pressure to perform, just be! Just by existing you make Him so proud! Don’t be ashamed if you are a petunia, a daisy, or lily. The orchids and roses display you to your best! He is pleased with you no matter what the beauty of the others may be, no matter the size of their petals or the depth of their roots. You are unique and only you can do and be where He wants you to be or to do.