God’s Crop by Beth Smith *

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When I was teaching high school, I had a poster in my classrooms. It was a picture of a flower growing out of a tiny crack in a mass of rocks.  The caption read, “Bloom where you are planted.” Good idea—maybe even a little inspirational—but how typical of a teacher to tell you to do something without giving so much as a clue as to how to do it!

How do we bloom in God’s garden? God has created us to bring him glory. As the Master Gardener, he puts us in the best soil, setting our roots in his love. And oh what love! In Ephesians 3:17-19 (NIV), Paul writes: “I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge.”

Once we’re planted, God takes care of us so that we can grow. He waters us. You’ve seen grass, plants, and flowers all curled up and about to die because of drought conditions. After a good rain they’re all plumped up and beautiful again.  We get droopy and dried up if we don’t read God’s Word. If you feel as if you’re going through a dry period, Isaiah 58:11 (NLT) provides this encouragement, “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Get in there. Read his Word. Get watered.

God also feeds his garden. We’re fed by his Word. “Trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) in the Lord and do good; so shall you dwell in the land and feed surely on his faithfulness, and truly you shall be fed” (Psalm 37:3 AMP). Maybe faithfulness is God’s weed and feed product. As we feed on his faithfulness, we begin to see that we can trust him more and more. That trust begins to kill the weeds of fear and doubt and worry.

Plants must also be pruned to keep them healthy. (We don’t like to talk about that very much.) Jesus said that God cuts off branches which bear no fruit, trimming and cleaning the ones that do bear fruit so that they will be even more fruitful. Pruning makes us more productive in his kingdom. It’s painful to us when we don’t agree with God about what needs to go. Of course, we know in our spirits that God knows best. Hard as it is, we need to say, “Cut away, Lord.”

In winter weather, we often see tarps, old sheets, and old table cloths thrown over plants to protect them. God protects us in cold, hard, and difficult times. Read Psalm 121 sometime soon. It will confirm God’s care and protection of you.

In the hands of the Master Gardener we can be sure we’ll flower. We’ll be fruitful. We’ll fulfill our purpose – to glorify Him. That’s the way we’ll show God’s love and goodness to the world around us.

*In case you’re new to this blog, Beth Smith is my mom. You can read more of her work in Every Wednesday Morning, available at etsy.com.

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Leave It There!

34In 1855 Joseph Scriven wrote these words:

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer!

Most of us are pretty good at the concept of “take it to the Lord in prayer.” But how often do we yank whatever “it” is right back from him as soon as the going gets tough, or as soon as some problem is solved, causing us to think we can handle things on our own?

God’s yoke will be easy and his burden light only if we are relying on him. Does this make us into some sort of worthless puppets? No, surrender simply makes us into his servants. It’s not our job to be in charge, nor is it our responsibility to fret over our worthiness, our safety or the success of our efforts. The Master knows what he wants, and he knows how to go about accomplishing his will. Our job is that of compliance, regardless of how much (or how little) of the plan he may choose to reveal to us.

You’ve heard the joke before, haven’t you?
If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans!

What looks slow to us may be perfect according to his schedule. What looks like failure to us, may instead be a glorious success according to his purpose. I have a favorite sweater. It doesn’t look like much when it’s turned inside out, but if I look at it when I turn it back the way it belongs, it’s beautiful. God sees the whole plan, the “right” side of the fabric.

Why let pride or worry or discouragement overtake us, when we can live in the humble confidence of, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” Yes, Christ gives us strength. He wants to take the lead, each and every day. May we take everything to the Lord in prayer and leave it there!