By Meg Bucher
“Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.” Matthew 13:7 NLT
The Parable of the Farmer Scattering Seed tells the story of several different seeds and how the environment they were planted in and the way they were cared for determined the progress of their growth. It’s a smart and accurate comparison to our current lives and the way in which we decide to water the Word of God in them daily. This parable gives us great direction to follow, when determining to live our lives to the full, as Jesus died for. “The human heart is like receptive soil to the seed of the Word of God,” Greg Laurie explains, “The soil that the seed fell on represents four categories of the hearers’ hearts, four different reactions to the Word of God: the hard heart, the shallow heart, the crowded heart, and the fruitful heart.”
The Receptive Heart
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.” James 1:19-21 NLT
Per his usual, James put it bluntly! Though we can’t control every thought which enters our minds, we do have a say on whether they stay. In Christ Jesus, we have the power to hold our thoughts accountable to the Word of God. In doing so, we test what is good and what is not. When we seek God, we find Him!
Unfortunately, we are very distractible! Fostering a receptive heart to God’s Word is an active discipline. Scripture tells us to pray all of the time! Any parent who has ever gotten up from their quiet time with the Lord to lose patience with their child understands! The moment we allow our minds to drift from Him, we allow distraction an audience. Fix our minds on Christ Jesus, the Bible says, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith. We will never get it right and are not expected to! Jesus would not have had to die sacrificially for our sins if we were able to keep from sinning. But, living in a world cursed by sin means we constantly have to check our hearts, clear them by confession, and by the strength of the Spirit in us travel down the road of redemption. Such faith requires perseverance! But in Christ, it’s possible!
Exodus 12:22 22Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood in the basin and put some of the blood on the top and on both sides of the doorframe. Not one of you shall go out the door of his house until morning.
The Hebrew word for basin (caph) meant a drainage trough at the base of the door that kept rain from crossing the threshold and muddying the house. That is why it is sometimes translated threshold. Follow the Israelite head of his home as he takes a specific type of branch, hyssop, and from the base of the door marks the top and the sides. What has he just done? He has made a cross with blood over the entrance of his dwelling.
Now come forward in time over a thousand years to a hill just outside a gate of Jerusalem. There is a man bleeding from his feet, his head, and his hands. Jesus is bleeding there for you so that the Destroyer cannot take your life. A Roman soldier grabs a branch with a sponge on the end to moisten Jesus’ lips (John 19:29). What kind of branch is that? Hyssop!
Jump forward to today, two millenniums later. Night has come upon the earth for the world is in darkness, but in the house of the Lord there is light. Morning is coming. A new day will soon dawn, but until it does, you had better stay in the house (the fellowship of believers). The Destroyer is out in the streets and anyone not behind the cross of blood is fair game to him. “In Him (Jesus) is life and the life is the light of men.”
Consider: The message has remained the same for thousands of years. My soul is safe behind the cross of blood shed for me.+
The mighty arm
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.’ Psalm 89:13
Suggested Further Reading: Genesis 1:1–2:3
Remember the mighty power of God in creation. Man wants something to work upon: give him material, and with cunning instruments he straightway makes for himself a vessel; but God began with nothing; and by his word alone made all things out of nothing. ‘He spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood fast.’ Darkness and chaos lay in the way before him, but these soon gave place to the excellence of his might when he said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’ ‘In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and all the hosts of them.’ How rapid was that work, and yet how perfect, how gloriously complete! Now, Christian, I want you to draw living water out of this well. The God who in the old creation did all this, can he not work today? He made the world out of nothing, can he not make new creatures without the aid of human will? His word fashioned the creation of old, and his word can work marvels still. Spoken by whomsoever he pleases to send, his word shall be as potent now as in primeval days. There may be darkness and confusion in the sinner’s soul; a word shall remove all, and swift and quick, requiring not even six days. God can make new creatures in this house of prayer and throughout this city. The Lord has but to will it with his omnipotent will, and the sinner becomes a saint. O let creation encourage you to expect a new creation!
For meditation: Every Christian is a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17); God applies the same principles to his ‘new creations’ as he did during his original act of creation i.e. he gives them new life (Genesis 2:7; Ephesians 2:1), a new likeness (Genesis 1:26–27; Ephesians 4:24), new light to be separate from darkness (Genesis 1:3–4,6–7,14–18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; 6:14–18), new love (Genesis 2:18,21–22; Ephesians 2:14–16) and new labours (Genesis 1:22,28; 2:15; Ephesians 2:10). Are you one of God’s new creations in Christ Jesus?
Streams in the Desert – February 4
- 20234 Feb
I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth (Isaiah 58:14).
Those who fly through the air in airships tell us that one of the first rules they learn is to turn their ship toward the wind, and fly against it. The wind lifts the ship up to higher heights. Where did they learn that? They learned it from the birds. If a bird is flying for pleasure, it goes with the wind. But if the bird meets danger, it turns right around and faces the wind, in order that it may rise higher; and it flies away towards the very sun.
Sufferings are God’s winds, His contrary winds, sometimes His strong winds. They are God’s hurricanes, but, they take human life and lift it to higher levels and toward God’s heavens.
You have seen in the summer time a day when the atmosphere was so oppressive that you could hardly breathe? But a cloud appeared on the western horizon and that cloud grew larger and threw out rich blessing for the world. The storm rose, lightning flashed and thunder pealed. The storm covered the world, and the atmosphere was cleansed; new life was in the air, and the world was changed.
Human life is worked out according to exactly the same principle. When the storm breaks the atmosphere is changed, clarified, filled with new life; and a part of heaven is brought down to earth.
Obstacles ought to set us singing. The wind finds voice, not when rushing across the open sea, but when hindered by the outstretched arms of the pine trees, or broken by the fine strings of an Aeolian harp. Then it has songs of power and beauty. Set your freed soul sweeping across the obstacles of life, through grim forests of pain, against even the tiny hindrances and frets that love uses, and it, too, will find its singing voice.
Be like a bird that, halting in its flight,
Rests on a bough too slight.
And feeling it give way beneath him sings,
Knowing he hath wings.