Saturday, August 27, 2011

Garden Growth

by Bethany Lashbrook

This week’s verse: Genesis 2:9, "The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." (NIV)

Clint and I have not been very successful with gardens at our home. Three years now, we have planted various flowers, plants, and gardens. All have had portions that have failed. I tend them, water them, weed them, nurture them, and love them. I rarely miss a day without taking care of them.

I love watching flowers grow. I love knowing that I have planted something and I can help it grow!

But, on the flip-side, it’s very discouraging to watch something fail. I often comment that it costs more to water these plants than it did to buy them.

I was mentioning to our neighbor the other day about how hard it is to keep anything alive on our property and she reminded me that our homes were built over a landfill (yep - back in the day). We have found whole bricks buried in our yard while planting. Rocks of all sizes are in our hard clay-like soil. This is discouraging, yet, I don’t give up.

Now, apply this to represent God and me (of course!). God is the nurturer, the lover, the gardener, and I am the garden. Sometimes I grow. Sometimes I flourish. Sometimes I am beautiful.

And then sometimes I fail. My heart is as hard as a brick. My mind becomes hard as stone. I fail to receive any of the nutrients the Lord is trying to feed me. Sometimes I am ugly. And, yet, He doesn’t give up.

I’m so glad that we have a Lord that continuously, relentlessly, knowingly, and forgivingly loves us. To him, we are always beautiful - even at our most ugly moments.

Dear Father, thank you for our chance at life. We know you have magnificently made us in your image. We anticipate the day we get to meet you and see what a perfect man is like. Thank you for your forgiveness when we just can’t get it straight. Thank you for your unending love when our hearts are ugly and filled with grit. Thank you, Father, for you Son Jesus. And it’s in his name that we pray, Amen.

Application: Pray this week that your heart is opened to what God is calling you to do, to say, or to act on. Be still and listen. And then take action. Be prepared for what He has sent your way. Know, ladies, that he would never call us to do anything that we couldn’t handle!

Power Verses:
Ezekiel 17:22-24, “‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I myself will take a shoot from the very top of a cedar and plant it; I will break off a tender sprig from its topmost shoots and plant it on a high and lofty mountain. On the mountain heights of Israel I will plant it; it will produce branches and bear fruit and become a splendid cedar. Birds of every kind will nest in it; they will find shelter in the shade of its branches. All the trees of the forest will know that I the LORD bring down the tall tree and make the low tree grow tall. I dry up the green tree and make the dry tree flourish.'" (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 3:11, "Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end." (NLT)


Mollie said...

Good word, Bethany. I've begun looking at myself in the mirror each day and speaking out loud the fact that Jesus loves me just as I am. It doesn't matter what is out of shape or wrinkled, Jesus knew full well what He was getting when He chose me and yet He still loves me. That is comforting. That is security. It makes me more able to rest and to grow and to accept my state no matter what state it is in. Thank you for reminding me that know matter what He stays with me tending me all of my days.

Debby C. said...

Thanks for sharing thoughts and your heart with us. I needed that reminder that He loves me just as I am. I also needed the reminder that I am ugly sometimes. I will concentrate on that this week and try to be "beautiful" in His eyes.

Crazyforbooks said...

I just started college, and this is perfect for me. I see and hear things I know aren't of God, but trust Him to water me in this garden of unfamiliar soil.