LOVE My Garden!

0721181019a.jpgThis has been the perfect growing year—good amount of rain and hot days. As you can see, I pack A LOT in my little garden. It’s enough to give us fresh cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, lettuce and snap peas for our dinner. I’ll purchase tomatoes to make into sauce, tomato soup (new “original” recipe last year and delicious! If you want it, just ask), and salsa—another tried and true recipe.

I find myself looking out my kitchen window, admiring the straight weed-free rows and healthy plants. It brings me such joy! I guess the saying is true: you can take the girl off the farm but not the farm out of the girl! I must admit a bit of pride in my heart as well, which is really dumb because…

  • God makes the seeds grow
  • God allowed me to grow up in a farming/gardening family to gain gardening knowledge
  • God gives me the strength to weed the garden
  • God even allowed someone to invent the Liquid Fence that keeps the critters out!

So, my pride needs to be all about Him—my gracious, glorious heavenly Father! As I am writing, I’m watching the yellow finch at the feeder which makes me think of the children’s song:

God sees the little sparrow fall it meets His tender view

If God so loved the little sparrow, I know He loves me too!

What a thought! He sees me, but even more than that, His heart is tender towards me. He protects me, leads me, strengthens me, and feeds me with His Holy Manna—the Word of God. He cares for ME! WOW!

When I look at my garden and experience the joy and satisfaction of a job well done, I think as well of God’s view of me.  Is He pleased? Am I growing straight and tall? Does He see that the little seeds of conviction are sprouting and bringing forth fruit in my heart? Am I “weed-free?” Am I tilled up and pliable in His hands? Am I bringing forth fruit for His kingdom and glory?

My husband loves to see a tree in the middle of a field where it can grow freely, not all trimmed and chopped because of power lines.  He will say, “That tree is doing exactly what God intended it to do.” That is what I want God to see as well when He looks at my outward life and my inward heart-garden! Oh, the joy to think that I can bring such joy to my Master Gardener!

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. {ungodly: or, wicked} But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Psalm 1:1-3

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I WILL NOT YIELD!!

Ah, and what if he hadn’t?  The title of this blog is a quote from my all-time favorite movie, Ever After, and yes, it is a chick flick of the chickiest kind!  It is the true Cinderella story, and this:

is Danielle, or Cinderella; however, she never would have gotten here if our dear prince would have stood by his words:

I WILL NOT YIELD!!

She would still look like this:

Little “Cinder-soot,” as her step-sister, Margaret, calls her.

I will not yield.  That is a great statement if you are being asked to do wrong, but when the Spirit woos us, pleads with us to give up a bad habit or wrong attitude, we will forever regret our unyielding ways!  We will stay on the ash heap of sin, slaving for our master, Satan.  He promises so much and NEVER delivers!

Yielding – it goes against the very grain of our fleshly pride!  We CAN’T yield: What would others think?  It will never work out if we yield.  Certainly I know better than…God?

 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Romans 6:16

It takes a lot of courage to yield, and a lot of faith.  It takes honesty and commitment.  It takes time and patience.  Sometimes, it takes blood, sweat, and tears.  Oh, but the joy of standing before our precious Prince of Peace, our Bridegroom, in brilliant white – spotless and wrinkle-free!  That’s the goal, folks: yield and we become princesses! (or princes! 🙂 )

Lessons From the Frozen Fruit Trees

With our unseasonably warm weather in March and then four to eight inches of snow on April 23rd, the fruit farmers are not going to have a bumper crop this year.  As I look across my yard to the neighbor’s apple trees I see very little fruit!

Can the same scenario play over in our lives?  Have you had a season of fruitlessness in your Christian walk, or are you in one right now?  To answer the latter question, ask yourself this question: has there been a previous time in my life when I was walking closer to the Lord and my life was more fruitful? If so, it might be a good time to look at the facts surrounding the situation.

Fact for 2012 fruit trees:

  1. The warm weather came too soon forcing the blossoms to bloom early.
  2. The cold weather came after the buds were forming and killed them
  3. No fruit

Fact for the Christian “fruit tree”:

  1. There can be wonderful seasons of hot preaching and warm hearts that produce the early signs of possible fruit.
  2. Satan has a real knack of freezing out the buds when our hearts turn cold
  3. The same result: no fruit

However, there are some major differences between the tree and the Christian.  For the farmer, he has no control over the weather; for the Christian, a cold heart can be stopped by an act of the will.  Satan whispers in our ears that the preaching doesn’t really apply to our lives or that the preacher is meddling :), and we turn our backs to God’s gentle prodding.  What do you think happens when the sheep are gently prodded but choose to stay on the wrong path?  The shepherd prods harder – the same is true of our Great Shepherd.  Sometimes Satan’s whispers cause the fierce arctic winds of bitterness to blow in and freeze our hearts.  I’ve heard it said that “idle hands are the devil’s playground.”  The same is true of a bitter spirit.  No wonder  Heb 12:15 says “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;”  There is nothing more deadly to the possible fruit bearing Christian than a bitter spirit.  Sad to say, it often becomes our blind spot. 

Another major difference is timing: the farmer must wait a full twelve months for another harvest; the Christian can stop the season of bitter cold whenever he or she chooses.  (I must add that there are times when the fight takes longer.  It may be because of our history of “coldness” and God needs to keep us in the trial longer to teach us.  However, there will be “sweet release” in God’s time if we stay on His path. See 2 Sam 24.)

The only solution for the fruit farmer is to plead with God over his crops.  As a Christian, we have two weapons in our defense against the deadly freeze: prayer and surrender.

  1. We must stay close to the heart of God in prayer.   “And He walks with me and He talks with me…” and I talk to Him.  Stay in touch with the Good Shepherd.  Talk to Him often and allow Him to speak to you through His Word.  No one likes a one-way conversation, including our Heavenly Father!
  2. Yield to His way.  This is the most difficult part of the Christian walk, but do know that a genuine walk with the Lord IS a walk of constant yielding.  When is it hardest to yield – ALWAYS!  We must yield because there is a difference of opinion between ourselves and God:  His path is not the path we want to take.  Unfortunately, we like our sins.  Notice I said WE!!  I see it all too clearly among my own branches!  Yielding requires us to be dead to self.  That’s tough, but if we could only see the blessed fruit hanging abundantly upon our branches because we HAVE yielded, we would never hesitate.  The other unfortunate factor is that we do walk by faith – the yielding of our heart’s will must come before the yield of abundant fruit!  Don’t take my word for it – look in the Book.  Just take a look at Psalm 119 and see all the blessings that are promised to the one who yields and follows.

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