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Summary: Message the lessons we can draw about spiritual growth from gardening principles.

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“Gleanings from the Garden”

Introduction

A great deal of information can be discovered about a person by examining the things they have made or created. Whether a building, painting, music, sculpture, a meal, a garden, a model, a poem, a person’s personality generally shows up in their work. Everything created by God illumines and points to the character of God and principles of life. God uses nature and animals to illustrate difficult or unknown principles all through the Bible. God regularly illustrates a spiritual reality in the physical realm first. Jesus used agricultural allusions a great deal. There is a significant correlation between the physical and spiritual worlds. Early science studied the nature of things in order to better understand the nature of God. God incorporated spiritual realities into all of His creation. The closer we look at nature the more we are able to observe that close association with Biblical truth. I like to garden as a past time.

As I share tips from God’s “Better Homes and Gardens” listen to what he has to say to you. Plan to go over the principles here this week and listen even more carefully.

1. Soil preparation & cultivation

Any garden must have soil in which to grow. The soil must be prepared in order to best germinate the seed and sustain the plant. Good seed planted in good soil facilitates fruitful plants. Jesus drew some vital teaching using the lessons from the soil. Matthew 13:1-31

The Parable of the Sower illustrates strongly the necessity of sowing seed in good ground.

The Seed is the Word of God which brings growth and life change.

The ground or soil is the life into which the seed of the Word of God is sown.

• Seed by the road -- birds ate the seed

These are those who hear but don’t really understand or take it to heart and Satan snatches away the truth before it can be assimilated. Let the seed of God’s word be sown into the fertile areas of your life where it makes a difference. Many never let the seed get past the intellect. Many never apply God’s word to the vital areas of your life.

Relationships, tongue, attitudes, finances.

Don’t plant seed in the road, be specific about where you invest your time and energy and the precious word.

• Seed in rocky soil -- Sprang up but withered because there was no depth of soil.

These are those who get excited at hearing the truth but have not had a core change (no root in them) and they fall away when tough times hit. Obstacles in the garden and rocks hinder good growth. What are the rocks in your soil that divert the seed and prevent good rooting in your life?

• Thorny soil -- sprang up and choked out by the thorns.

Those who hear and the seed takes root but gets choked out by worry and the deceit of riches so that there is no opportunity for fruit. Worry and materialism choke out spiritual fruit.

• Good soil -- plants grew and produced fruit at varying degrees.

“Plant in well cultivated soil” is written on every seed package. When we ignore the instructions we will get less than desired results.

Therefore putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls. James 1:21

For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Jeremiah 4:3

Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness;

Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the LORD until He comes to rain righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12

God speaks much about a hard unbelieving unrepentant heart. The first generation of Israelites was not able to enjoy the Promised Land because their heart was hard. They refused to hear and obey the voice of God. The writer of Hebrews warns us not to follow in their same way.

Repentance softens our heart so that the Word can affect the changes we need. Repentance breaks up the hard heart. Prayer brings about repentance and a soft heart to hear God. I believe it is humble prayer that best cultivates the soil of our life and the lives of those we want to see God’s Word grow.

A soft, well cultivated soil not only facilitates good germination but also makes weeding a breeze. Hard ground makes weeds hard to pull and you end up just breaking off the top the shows which leaves the root to keep propagating itself. A soft heart toward God makes dealing with the sin issues a way of life. If we have been resistant obeying what God has told us we will be resistant dealing with the sin that chokes out the effectiveness of the word in our life. Plants best germinate and thrive in good soil so take the time necessary to cultivate the soil and perhaps even add the nutrients necessary for good growth. (Fertilize)

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