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Friday, October 2, 2015

8 Things to Know About God's Garden

Photo Credit: Freshly Exposed Photography

The bible is full of parables about agriculture. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a blossoming flower participating in a science fair. I can state the problem in the form of a question, provide detailed observations of the process, and come to sound conclusions based on the evidence. Below are a collection of scriptures and reflections that I found to represent my growing environment: God’s garden.

God’s garden…

“But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Matthew 13:8-9 (NKJV)

Healthy plants grow from good soil. Although the soil appears as an abyss to the seed, the soil is continuously providing the seed with nutrients, water, and a resting place throughout the growth process. Once sprouted, the soil protects the plant’s roots - its foundation. Don’t despise the dark place; it may be the very thing feeding and securing your growth.

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4 (NKJV)

Plants receive all their energy from the sun. Plants cannot thrive without energy. Very few blooming plants excel in the shade. Christ is the sun in God’s garden. Without him we are unable to bear fruit.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24 (NKJV)

Traditionally speaking, gardens can be started from plants or seeds. All the plants in God’s garden start from seeds. You cannot be placed in his garden as a mature plant. You must die in order for your seed to be planted and yield much fruit.

And He said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground, and should sleep by night and rise by day, and the seed should sprout and grow, he himself does not know how.Mark 4:26 – 27 (NKJV)

“Stop trying to figure it out, and let God work it out,” has become my new motto. As a flower in God’s garden, I now marvel at the process it takes to sprout from a dark place and bloom above ground. The dark spaces used to worry me, but now they strengthen me to wait in expectation of the next phase in the process.

“Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” John 15:2 (NKJV)

After successfully sprouting through the soil, eventually a plant needs pruning. The plant type determines its pruning season, and what tools are necessary for the job. Essentially, pruning is wounding the plant for its own benefit by selectively removing certain parts. Pruning improves plant appearance and controls its size while also protecting others from the plant and influencing fruiting and flowering.

“…“The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.” Matthew 13:24-25 (NKJV)

All gardens, even God’s, have weeds. It’s part of the process. Unlike a traditional garden, the weeds that occur in God’s garden will not be removed until the good plants are grown. Removing the weeds too soon, may cause harm to the developing plants. Weeds are typically seen as an eyesore, but God authorizes the weeds to grow alongside his flowers with no fear. As we grow, we should embrace life’s weeds, confidently knowing they will be plucked in due season.

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven…” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NKJV)

Annuals are plants that complete their entire life cycle in one growing season. They typically remain in bloom all season, but need to be replanted each season. Perennials on the other hand, have a shorter bloom time and do not require replanting each season. In God’s garden you may find you’re surrounded with a lot of people/things that come and go each season, while other people/things consistently grow back although they previously appeared dormant. Despite the types of plants surrounding you in your day-to-day life, remember the best gardens are strategically planted to have a mixture of annuals and perennials.

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

As a growing flower in God’s garden, one should learn to appreciate the beauty of the garden as a whole - the weeds, the new buds, and the full blooms. Each plant is purposely chosen for the garden and is beautiful to the gardener. Everything is where it should be, and rain and snow will continue to fall to nourish the earth in the appropriate season for the development of all of God’s plants.

He Walks With Me (In The Garden) - Mahalia Jackson

I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear
The son of God discloses.

He walks with me and he talks with me
And he tells me I am his own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.

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