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Steven Simala Grant
GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature, what in the world is going on down there in the U.S.? What in the world happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and the stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of color by now. All I see are patches of green.
ST. FRANCIS: Itís the tribes that settled there, Lord. They are called the Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it is so boring, itís not colorful. It doesnít attract butterflies, bees or birds, only grubs and sod worms. Itís temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing it and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and the warm weather probably makes the grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites very happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it has grown a little, they cut it......sometimes two times a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now let me get this straight...they fertilize it to make it grow and when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You arenít going to believe this Lord, but when the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense! I think I like my original plan a lot betterÖ (http://www.naturalhomeandgarden.org/lawnhumor.htm)
Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter (a dress shop?), Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem; Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich; and of course she is also Mum, Grandma, and now a great grandmother too!
They were the titles given at her coronation.
But our Queen has a very real faith in Jesus for which I thank God, because Jesus has been placed Ďfar above all rule and authority Öand every title that can be givení (1:21). Letís pray for her, and our government as the Bible instructs us to do.
THERE WILL ALWAYS BE WEEDS
Jesus described another kind of soil which is filled with weeds and thistles and torpedo grass and other kinds of things. When Giovanna and I moved into our house, it had been vacant for a year. Itís built in an old flood plain of Lake Pontchartrain, which means that swamp grass or torpedo grass was prevalent there. That torpedo grass had grown unimpeded for 12 months and so every afternoon after work, I would get out and do a couple of hours of weeding. Some six months later, I had pulled out 120 fifty gallon trash bags of torpedo grass and nearly broken back.
In addition, the torpedo grass had choked the life out of 40% of the landscaping. I asked a landscaping store what I could spray on my beds to kill the grass and the only thing that works is Roundup. The problem is that Roundup kills everything it touches and would have killed the rest of the landscaping. But hereís the thing: 12 years later, I am still fighting torpedo grass in my landscaping.
What that experience taught me through this parable is that there are always weeds we have to fight from taking root in our lives. Second, the soil in which the good things like my bushes and trees and flowers flourish is the very same environment that weeds flourish in. Third, that flood plain which is now my neighborhood is the natural habitat of the torpedo grass and what Iím doing is trying to introduce something new to that environment. Thatís what we do when we try to introduce the Gospel into our already existing lives. It canít thrive there because it gets choked out by the cares and desires of the world.
One person I read this week was talking about growing up as a child in a rural community that specialized in growing tobacco. Their first summer job was to weed the crop, and most of the time he and his fellow workers would walk the seemingly endless rows with a hoe, scuffing out weeds in relative comfort. But sooner or later when they got close to the fence, they ran into thistlesóhundreds and hundreds of these little thistles. They looked harmless enough, but you couldnít scuff them out with a hoe; you had to get down on your knees and pull those prickly little things out by the roots. So many times these workers thought it would be far easier to just those thistles stay there. After all, they werenít very big. But the wise farmer knew if they left them until harvest time, that whoever reached down to get a handful of tobacco would come away with a palm full of thorns.
You know, bitterness is a lot like those little thistles. We can push away hurts a...
All problems become smaller if you dont dodge them but confront them. Touch a thistle timidly and it pricks you; grasp it boldly and its spine crumbles.
The Battlefield Wounds Of Christ
Matthew 27:28-31 says, "They stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on His head. They put a staff in His right hand and knelt in front of Him and mocked Him. 'Hail, king of the Jews!' They spit on Him, and took the staff and struck Him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him. Then they led Him away to crucify Him." The prophet Isaiah enlightens us with this description of our Lord's battlefield wounds, "Just as there were many who were appalled at Him -- His appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any man and His form marred beyond human likeness" (Isaiah 52:14).
The Word of God gives us numerous details of the "Battlefield Wounds of Christ" which were inflicted upon the Savior of the World. "Jesus came to rule in the hearts and souls of man, and the rebellion of man's soul wounded Him. He came to rule the wills of His people and the resistance of self-will hurt Him. He came in righteousness to cast out unrighteousness and the wickedness of the world turned against Him." (unknown)
Though the Roman soldiers inflicted Him with a crown of thorns meant to cause pain, mockery and morbid enjoyment, God was allowing the proclamation of some powerful truths. Thorns were introduced with willful sin and were part of the curse spoken by God, "Cursed is the ground because of you [Adam]... It will produce thorns and thistles for you..." (Genesis 3:18). Figuratively, thorns signify affliction, the adversities of the wicked and the evils that spring up in the heart to choke out truth (Numbers 33:55; Proverbs 22:5; Matthew 13:7). Jesus' "crown" represented all our sin that He came to die for.
Another battlefield wound that was laid upon Jesus was flogging. Among the Romans it was customary to viciously whip a slave or criminal to cause even more excruciating pain for the victims about to be crucified.
The power of sin puts a person into bondage and causes him to become a criminal before the eyes of God. All sins are acts of rebellion against God's laws and decrees. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin" (John 8:34). Sin is in the heart of every criminal and unsaved sinner. Therefore, Jesus was stripped and flogged, His body afflicted because of our sin.
A third battlefield wound that was laid upon Christ was crucifixion itself. On the cross Jesus saw two classes of people, those whose hearts will remain hard and those who would repent and call out to Him. He not only bore the physical pain, but also the entire torture and suffering that are the consequences of human cruelty.
In Isaiah 53:6 we read that, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." Through the Battlefield Wounds of Christ sinners are offered forgiveness. Which class of people will you be in? Be like the repentant thief; put your trust in Christ for the salvation of your soul and receive Him into your life.