Well, for the first time ever, we have grown cantaloupes—just had one tonight for dessert, and it was delicious! I’ve tried before, but they never completely ripened before our sunshine and warm weather gave way to fall. I love living on top of a mountain, but it cuts our growing season by two weeks. So, what made the difference?
Putting paper down. I had a 4×8 foot sheet of the black stuff left from planting our roses, so I put it in the garden and covered it with straw. As the vines grew, I added newspaper and stretched out the straw. (The straw was really just for pretty!) I guess it worked because we now have fifteen cantaloupes! Yum! Can I find a spiritual application? Need you ask?
Find what works
We have cooler temperatures, about an average of five degrees, than the surrounding lower altitudes; so covering their little roots made all the difference. It retained the moisture and the heat. How is your spiritual growth progressing? Are you faithfully spending time alone with God? Perhaps you have always done your devotions in the morning, but now that is not possible. Have you always read through the Bible every year? Perhaps it’s time for a change. Something that has really helped me is to read through the Bible every other year, and then have a different plan for the alternating year. For 2016, I’m studying the Gospels using commentaries and the Amplified Study Bible. Just seeing different words has really been helpful. The Bible contains everything we need to live a successful Christian life. Sometimes we just need to dig in and find what works!
Know your situation/circumstances
Everyone is different. We try to make the Christian walk a one-size-fits-all. God has placed you into your circumstances and given you your set of difficulties and challenges, as well as blessings, to teach you something. The fifty-year-old woman is facing a totally different set of issues than the thirty-year-old new mom. How wonderful that we can all go to the same Source for strength and wisdom, as well as help each other. That’s why we have this thing called church! It’s a place where we can help each other along the way. We can read the same passage, hear the same sermon and each come away completely refreshed, challenged, and blessed because God’s Word is all-powerful! This is NOT situational ethics, but it is applying God’s Word to your situation which may be very different from mine.
I’ve been tempted to plant grass next year in my garden! It’s so much work and, at times, produces little fruit. But then the Lord sends a bumper crop of cantaloupes! Isn’t the same thing true in our Christian race? At times, it seems all uphill with no end in sight! We’re tired, discouraged, lonely, depressed, frustrated, confused, and just plain worn out! Don’t give up! Ask God for a little “shower of blessing.” He is SO faithful and He has given us countless promises to claim. Just when we think the race is not worth it, He does something extraordinary. Perhaps it’s just a smile from a stranger, but it’s all we need because we know Who sent it!
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Success to the end. King Ahab is not known for many good things, but this statement is always a challenge to me. When a neighboring king was threatening to annihilate Samaria, this was his response:
Tell him, Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
1 Kings 20:11
And don’t forget those famous, encouraging words from our little, blue friend: