Revelations in the Garden

Revelations in the Garden by Kim Spahr

Boy, my garden needed weeding but there was so much to do before my daughter’s family of five arrived!  We had so much fun going to the beach, park, and library. There was also water painting with my grandchildren, cooking, reading, and watching them run through the sprinkler. It was like heaven on earth that week.  

While I was busy having fun, the weeds were having fun too. My garden was one big blob of green when Dan and I took a walk through after they had left. It was difficult to see what was actually growing where. It took a lot of time to get the garden looking like a garden again.

Fortunately I don’t mind weeding. Weeding for me means I am away from TV and phone, and in the fresh air and warmth of the sun. I like the quiet and God and I have a chance to talk. I ask a lot of questions and He has lots of answers. He also shows me how gardening and life are alike. Here are a few lessons I have learned.

He told me when we let the weeds grow in our lives, it makes it unclear for others to see the pathway to follow to get to Him. If we say we are Christians and yet we allow our sin to get out of control, how can people see the garden God has planted in us? It’s hard to see the fruit that is growing in a big patch of weeds.

It is God’s word growing in our hearts that keeps the weeds from prospering and overcoming our fruit.  Psalms 119:105 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”

Another thing I noticed was when I weed often, the weeds aren’t so big and cumbersome to try and hoe.  So it is with sin in my life. It’s good to get the sin in my life taken care of right away instead of letting it grow and letting the root of the sin getting established in my heart.

I was weeding my peas one day and noticed a vine creeping up the stalks of my peas. Not only in my peas but in the lettuce and nasturtiums too. If I yanked on the vine it would easily pull out that which it had wrapped itself around. The parable of the weeds in the field of wheat found in Matthew 13:24 came to mind. In short, the servants asked if it was okay to go and pull the weeds up but the master told them to wait so they wouldn’t accidentally pull up the wheat too.  

I did do a little surgery with the vines but it took a lot of patience. It took a little snipping here and there until I could pull the root out and not harm the plant. Don’t you wish sometimes God could just yank the sin out of our lives? I wonder how we would fair if He did? God is a very wise caretaker of our hearts, isn’t He?

You should have seen the garden when I had all the weeds pulled. Dan saw it and said, “Wow!” A couple of my friends were amazed too. It really does look glorious. There are nice pathways to walk on. I can actually see the blossoms of my nasturtiums and calendula. How beautiful! My, what a bit (well, actually a lot) of water and some sunshine can do! Likewise what a bit (well, actually a lot) of time in the presence of Jesus and reading the Word can do!

You see, we will always have weeds in our lives until we see our Savior face to face but we don’t have to be perfect for people to say, “Wow! Your life is so different. I see peace and joy in your life? How does that happen? You don’t get upset when everybody else does? Why?” Then they can see clearly the pathway to Jesus.  

May the pathways of the garden in your heart be clean. May your weeds be few and far in between. May God send His rain and sunshine in abundance. Amen!

Seeds

Seeds by Kim Spahr

Well it’s that time of year again when gardeners are going crazy over seeds!  I haven’t fully gotten the hang of using the seeds from the flowers the year before.  So many choices of veggies and flowers! I tried a bit with my nasturtiums, calendula, and marigolds last year but only my calendula actually produced plants.  I should be planting them or starting them indoors or a greenhouse early, but I run a bit behind schedule (always).

Last year I got a small greenhouse made out of plastic to start seeds in.  It was not very successful to say the least. The plants needed to be watered more than if they were outside because of the extra heat inside the greenhouse.  Then the plants needed to be moved around from shelf to shelf because of the amount of light. The plants at the top got more light and heat (drying out faster, too) and the plants below got less light and weren’t growing at the same rate.  I learned that seeds need a lot of attention for the first month because once they sprout, they grow fast!

But isn’t that just like our relationship with God?  The more Light and Water you have in your life, the faster you grow in Christ!  Ever feel like you’re just being and not growing much in the Lord? Try spending some more time in the Light and drinking from the Water of Life.

Did you know that before a seed or a plant is placed in a garden, a gardener will put fertilizer or compost in the dirt so their gardens will grow faster and have healthier plants?  The type of soil you have can sometimes determine the type of plant or seed you can plant. But there is one plant that will grow in any type of soil and that is the weed. Grrr!

And do you know what?  They require no special care.  It doesn’t matter how much rain, sun, or how good or bad the soil is, they are just there.  No garden is without weeds. And so it is with us; it takes more care for a child of God so they grow to reflect the glory of God and produce fruit than it does for a person to who doesn’t know the Lord.

We need to weed so they don’t overcome the garden and choke what’s been planted.  As a gardener tends to the soil, plants, and weeds, so must we read the Word, worship and praise, and fellowship.  A person who doesn’t know Christ just grows up with no special care required.

Do you see the love of our Father who sent Jesus to die for our sins so the Holy Spirit could come and reveal Christ to us?  We can see how He prepares a safe place for us to grow and prosper if we make that choice to abide in Him. What a loving and caring Father we have!

Have a wonderful spring! May your plants grow and prosper, reflecting the glory of God!

What A Mess

What A Mess by Kim Spahr

This has been the most difficult post to write. It’s partly because my desk is a mess and it’s partly because I am not quite at home in my office.  I have been here 3 years now and it still doesn’t feel like me.

On my desk is stuff. There really isn’t any room for a cup of tea.  I tried to start organizing this place but it hasn’t happened. There are pictures of my precious granddaughter that I don’t know what to do with and cards that my children have sent me for special occasions filled with sweet words they have written to me that I don’t know what to do with. I can’t keep them forever.  There is also a stack of DVDs that I have gotten a “good deal” on through the Friends of the Library that are not downstairs by our TV because I haven’t found the right kind of baskets that I want to store them in. People would argue I don’t even need to keep them because of Netflix (which I am totally out of the loop with). There are receipts that I thought I should keep that are obviously outdated by now.  My office needs a redo.

God says He can still speak to me in the midst of my mess.  My mess frustrates me and when I come home from work I don’t want to deal with mess. But we all have to deal with it sooner or later.  How about you? Is there a part of your life that is a mess that you don’t know quite how to deal with yet and the mess is driving your crazy?  Isn’t it so great that God can still talk to us in the midst of our mess and that things don’t have to be perfectly in place? Our lives don’t have to be perfect either for us to hear Him. Don’t think for a second that you have to get everything in order (be it a physical, emotional, or spiritual mess) before you can sit down and talk to God. The fact is He is always with us. Emmanuel. God with us.  That is His name. The world was a mess when He came as a babe and the world is a mega mess today and still He is here in the midst of it all. Hallelujah!

There’s a time to deal with mess (I am going to deal with my office this coming Saturday).  There is a time to be still in the midst of mess and know that He is Lord. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned, there has been a mess of some type and there will be until Jesus returns. We need His peace and it can only be found in Him. Take some time to rest in this coming holiday season and listen to Him talk to you.  It’s the holiday season that brings life to autumn and winter but boy how it can “come like a lion and go out like a lion” and we’re left drained and exhausted and needing a couple of days off from life to recuperate. Let’s take our cue from the seasons (and the bears) and rest.

My life verse is Matthew 11: 28, 29.  “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  

The Amplified Bible defines rest as relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet. Isn’t that what we are all looking for?  So let’s take some time acknowledging the presence of the living God with us and feel His peace enter our beings in every situation (I can feel the calm come over me just writing about it). Let Jesus lead you beside the still waters and restore your soul (Psalm 23).  Do you notice the word “rest” in “restore”? Hmmmmm……

Now there is a balance. There is a time to rest and a time to work.  Looking at my office I am either too busy or resting too much. Hmmmm.  Proverbs warns us numerous times about being slothful. Only you and the Lord know if it is one or the other. This mess isn’t going to disappear just by itself, but I do believe the Lord will give me ideas as I take time to give it to Him of how to organize all those pictures and what to throw away and what to keep.  He will help you to either get through the mess or to unravel it with His peace and strength. Hallelujah! He is good!

May the reality, the experience of the presence of God with you, Emmanuel, be inside of you this holiday season.  May you know the peace that passes all understanding. May joy of having Jesus as Your Savior fill you to overflowing. Amen!

Casting All Your Cares Upon Him

Casting All Your Cares Upon Him by Kim Spahr

Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully.

–1 Peter 5:7 (Amplified Version)

Trust in Him at all times, O people: pour out your hearts to Him, for God is our refuge.

–Psalm 62:8(NIV)

Now is the time!  Now you have His favor! Tell Your Father all your troubles, all your cares, all your hopes, and dreams. Now is the time!

Believe!

God is love.  God is light. In Him there is no darkness or deception.  No one loves you unconditionally but Him. There is no one who loves you consistently.  Only Him. He is the only One you can trust without need to fear of anything you have done.  HE is the only One who can do the impossible that you need done in your life today.  

I know He cares.  He gives me peace when I can’t see the final outcome.  He has provided for trips to see my children and their families.  He has helped me in my marriage. He changes my thinking so I can walk in freedom and not be so easily offended.  He gives me words of encouragement for others. He brings me to other people’s minds alerting them to pray for me.  

He gave up all His glory in heaven to die the most grueling death known to man so I can have freedom from worry and the power of sin.  He has given me the hope of heaven where there is no more weeping or disease, no one else doing you wrong. Heaven!

He cares and His promises in Christ Jesus are “YES! And AMEN!” (2 Cor. 1:20 NIV).

Now is the time!  Pour out your hearts to Him during your fast!

Waiting

At the beginning of the year my church, Restoration Church, does a three week fast.  I participated this year and one thing I heard God saying was, “Deeper. Give me all of your heart. I want you totally devoted to me.  I want to be your first love, your passion.” That is a tough one. I still ponder exactly what He means.

more “Waiting”