Diana Nesbitt

Always Go Deeper

Category: Devotional Thoughts

Created to Grow

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The crushed stone crunched beneath our feet as we walked between the rows of plants. Sunlight, diffused by the plastic that sheltered us from the cool May wind, warmed the greenhouse and intensified the throaty smell of geraniums and tender green plants.
“Want to ride on my back for a little while?” I turned and asked my just-turned-five-year-old nephew.
“Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.” His words came out in excited staccatos. I knelt down on the stones and he wrapped his arms around my neck, a feeling of which I will never grow tired, and groaned as I lifted him up. “I want to ride on your back for a long time,” he said, indicating that he did not think this situation needed to be temporary.
“Well, we’ll see how long I can last carrying you, because you’re getting big,” I said, feeling the weight of his body on my back as we continued to weave our way through the greenhouse.
Plants and children, perhaps the foremost features of a well-celebrated Mother’s Day, have much in common. They require nurturing – a word that has remained in my mind ever since I read this blog post. According to Google, the word nurture means “the process of caring for and encouraging the growth or development of someone or something.” Children and plants require food and water and sunlight and fresh air to grow. Sometimes they have thorns and hurt those who are lovingly caring for them. They have specific needs that must be met in order for them to flourish, but they cannot meet those needs on their own. They need someone else to meet those needs – they need to be nurtured.
We can all nurture those around us. And perhaps the most beautiful, life-giving way for anyone to nurture, that which our mothers do for us beginning at birth and from then on every day of our lives, is to give life out of pain. Out of gasping breathless pain she gives you your first breath. Out of her fear she gives you courage. Out of her worry she gives you security. Out of her depression she gives you joy. Out of her weariness she gives you strength. Out of her confusion she gives you clarity. Out of her hunger she gives you food. Because she went through it she fights so you don’t have to. And that is exactly what Jesus did for us on the cross, friends. He experienced separation from God the Father, hell, so we don’t have to if we choose relationship with God through Jesus. Out of His death He gave us life. So this thing that our mothers do so well for us, this thing any of us can do for anyone else, this nurturing, this process that we can see acted out in the rows of cared-for, growing green plants that we buy to beautify our gardens and give to our mom, is all an imitation of what our Savior does for us every day, because He created us to grow.
So, as the abovementioned blog post recommended, go thank someone who has nurtured you – someone who shared a conversation, a kind word, a smile, a hug, a meaningful gift, a helping hand, an answer to a question – someone who took the time to give you a piece of their lives to help you flourish.
To my mom, thank you for the million and one ways you have nurtured me throughout the years. Thank you for praying that I would exist someday. Thank you for proving the doctor wrong when he wondered how the blankity-blank you were going to nurse a premie every single hour for the first month of my life. Thank you for reading the piles of Little Golden Books to me that I dragged back to your bed every day at naptime. Thank you for giving me healthy food to eat. Thank you for teaching me how to brush my teeth, answer the phone and not to point at people in the store. Thank you for giving my Cabbage Kid Dolls voices and for talking for them while you cooked and cleaned and canned and sewed and were trying to go to sleep at night. Thank you for letting me fall asleep in bed with you and for letting me come back in the middle of the night when the coyotes were howling. Thank you for teaching me how to read and write and never, ever once getting impatient with me when I was in school. Thank you for letting me see the anger in your eyes when I did wrong. Thank you for bawling me out so bad when you caught me cheating on a test that I would never ever in my life ever dare to cheat again. Thank you for teaching me about God and that spending time with Him is the most important thing I could do every day of my life. Thank you for giving me your wisdom and for giving me freedom to make my own decisions. Thank you for praying with me. Thank you for praying for me. Thank you for life, Mom.
And thank You Jesus for giving my Mom life so that she could give me life.

Matthew Musings: Who’s Really in Charge?

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It was a question that presented a crossroads: either submit to the temptation to take the easy way out and skim over it, or make myself exert some brainpower, take a minute to think it over, and unlock a new insight into God’s Word. Thankfully, I chose the latter.

“What does Jesus’ healing ministry have to do with forgiveness of sins?” Thus read the question in my Bible study book.
Matthew chapters 8-9 reads like a rolodex of Jesus’ interactions with people and their responses to Him. However, there’s only one account of Jesus talking about forgiveness of sins in relation to healing. When the paralytic was brought to Him, Jesus told him that his sins had been forgiven. The Pharisees, of course, objected to this, saying that He was blaspheming by telling the man that He had forgiven his sins – something only God could do.
I thought over the recurring themes in these chapters: forgiveness of sins, healing, driving out demons, faith, authority… Jesus forgave sins, and He healed people, but how were the two related? This phrase stood out to me: “So that you will know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…”

When God created Adam and Eve, He gave them a free will but also gave clear instructions about what would happen if they sinned by exercising their free will to disobey His commands. Adam and Eve (and consequently every generation after them) chose to sin, and as a result, death and disease entered the world just as God had forewarned. However, just because God permits the existence of sin does not mean that it is stronger than He is. Through healing people of sickness and demon possession Jesus showed that He has authority over the consequences of our downfall as well as the forces that caused it. Sin is our problem, and Jesus came to free us from that problem. By healing people He gave tangible proof that He had the authority and ability to do just that.

Jesus’ ministry of healing and casting out demons was also a picture of the spiritual healing that He provides. The way that people received physical healing is the same way they obtained spiritual healing- through faith. Over and over again, Jesus said, “Your faith has made you well.” “Let it be done for you according to your faith.” He asked those who approached Him for healing, “Do you believe that I can do this?”
He told the Pharisees, “The healthy don’t need a doctor, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

The answer to the question is right there. Jesus came to heal us of our sin, and He illustrated that by healing people of the sickness caused by sin.
He also passed on His power to His disciples, giving them authority to heal and cast out demons and commissioning them to tell others about His ability to free people from the bondage of sin.

As hard as it is sometimes, if we would only truly grasp the reality of Christ’s authority over this world and that which He has given to His followers as ambassadors of His kingdom, we wouldn’t shrink back when an opportunity to declare the truth about Him arises. This is God’s world, and the people in it are only here by His grace. Christ’s ambassadors have authority, permission, and even more, commands from Him to do His work in His kingdom. We are not acting improperly or inappropriately when we speak for Jesus. Even demons recognize God’s reign and position of authority in the world. The fact that other human beings are blind to this shouldn’t sway our resolve to be bold and to act with the authority that we have from Christ, so that others too may experience His healing power in their lives.

How Prayer Is Like Pinterest

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At first I just didn’t get it. Pinterest. What was the point? Why should I be interested in yet another social media outlet where people waste yet more time cruising the internet, pinning pictures of pretty things they can’t have onto virtual pinboards for strangers to look at?

For quite a while I rejected the fad.  But as time went by, I learned about Pinterest and began to see how fun and useful it could be (crafting tutorials galore, hellooo!), and after holding out just a little while longer, I got my own Pinterest account.  And the more I used it, the more valuable of a tool it became to me. Sewing tutorials, writing tips, home decor inspiration, recipes, and more all stored on neatly categorized boards. Anything I wanted to remember on the internet, stored in one place.

Sometimes prayer is viewed the same way I first viewed Pinterest. A pointless waste of time. After all, does it do any good to spend time talking to Someone you can only believe is listening to you? The fact is, it does. And the more we take time to pray, the more value we see in it. {tweet that}

Like it took me time to realize the usefulness of Pinterest, it takes time and experience to realize the full power and effect of prayer in our lives.

Like an ever-growing collection of Pinterest boards, the more we pray, the more areas of our life we see the need for bringing before our Heavenly Father.

And like I sometimes think of Pinterest as my “happy place”, because through it I can escape into a world of beautiful pictures and inspiring words, prayer is a refuge, but it is much greater than any internet distraction. It’s a place to take all of our troubles and to claim the comfort of the Savior when life gets to be too much.

Prayer is a refuge much greater than any internet distraction. {tweet that}

So keep pinning things to your prayer board. It won’t be long before you’re addicted. 😉

“But as for me, God’s presence is my good. I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, so I can tell about all You do.”
~Psalm 73:28

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