My Unfruitful Garden

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The seeds that fell among the thorn bushes are the people who listen, but as they go on their way they are choked by the worries, wealth, and pleasures of life, and their fruit doesn’t mature. But the ones on the good soil are the people who hear the Word but also hold on to it with good and honest hearts, producing a crop through endurance.Luke 8:14-15

I had expected a bountiful garden — but it wasn’t looking too healthy. The rain had come, that wasn’t the problem. It was the soil. The sandy earth needed enriching, and I hadn’t put anything into it. The spruce trees surrounding the garden had pulled much of the moisture to their roots, and their acidic needles created an environment that stunted growth. The seeds I planted had been good, but the soil was lacking nutrients.

As I looked on my garden, I couldn’t help but see a spiritual parallel. God’s Word is the seed that comes into our lives. We know that He says He loves us unconditionally, that He will be our strength when we are weak. We know His grace and wisdom will be there to draw on when we need it.

The seed is good, but we still can find ourselves reacting throughout our day in ways that don’t reflect its goodness.

That’s why God tells us to tend the soil of our hearts. If we aren’t careful, the cares and worries of this world can create an acidic environment that stunts the seeds of God’s Word.

A closed mind allows the enemy of our souls to steal the seeds that bounce off the hard ground we allow in our hearts.

Then there are seeds that sprout but don’t take root and wither away. The appeal of God’s help and activity in our lives is attractive, but when trusting becomes hard, the seed withers.

Some seeds are simply choked out by life’s worries, riches, and pleasures; we don’t let God’s truths become part of who we are. It’s easy to read God’s Word or listen to a sermon and think, “That’s really good,” but forget to apply it as soon as we walk away.

Let’s allow God’s Word to take root in our lives and change us so that we produce a bountiful crop of love and peace and joy — that feeds others, too.

Dear God, sometimes I don’t pay attention to the soil of my heart. I let the seeds of Your Word bounce away. Today I ask that You would help me to keep my heart soft and not let it get hardened by events and people in my life. Keep me from a shallowness that lets go of what You say when the moment is tough. Help me to be careful not to let the worries of the world choke out Your Word and Your work in my life. By the power of Your Holy Spirit, help me think on Your Word, apply it to my life, and keep my heart soft. I know it is only Your crop in my life that truly brings peace and satisfaction. Thank You Jesus. I pray in Your name, amen.

Consider the soil of your heart for a moment right now.

By Gail Rodgers

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Bear Much Fruit

Devotional on John 15:5

We planted an apple tree in our back yard a couple of years ago. Each year we have pruned it and watered it and it is growing nicely. Last year it had a couple of apples on it and this year it is loaded with fruit. We can hardly wait for them to get ripe. I’m Looking forward to some delicious homemade apple pie!!!

We are called to be part of God’s orchard. Jesus is the vine and we are the branches. We have been designed to bear fruit. And as we stay on track with His desire and design we will be fruitful. And of course He prunes us and waters us too! I’m thinking that He is also looking forward excitedly for the fruit that we will produce.

My prayer for us this week

Jesus, you are the vine; we are the branches. If we remain in you and you in us, we  will bear much fruit; apart from you we can do nothing. If we do not remain in you, we are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If we remain in you and your words remain in us, we may ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us. This is to the Father’s glory, that we bear much fruit, showing ourselves to be your disciples. Amen.” John 15:5-8

By Alec Niemi


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