There is nothing-no circumstance, no trouble, no-testing that can ever touch me until, first of all it has gone past God and past Christ right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with a GREAT PURPOSE, which I may not understand at the moment. As I refuse to become panicky, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as coming from the throne of God for some great purpose of blessing to my own heart, no sorrow will ever disturb me, no trial will ever disarm me, no circumstance will ever cause me to fret-for I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is- that is the rest of VICTORY!!!!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Flawless beauty........

As I stare at the little Mason Jar sitting on my mantle I see hues of red and yellow bursting from within. Six beautiful red tulips with their petals stretched open and three yellow daffodils freshly picked from my backyard, my heart smiles. Honestly, I don't know anyone who doesn't love fresh flowers. For me when I see fresh flowers I see this flawless beauty and growth signified. I especially love walking by a vase of flowers for days and days and watching each day as the petals open themselves up to the world more and more until its hidden center is exposed. Its a process though and watching the flowers go through stages I am reminded even more about the delicate mastery that it takes to grow such beautiful flowers. 

I must admit I have tried for the past 4 years to grow flowers outside of our home and it seems like regardless of what kind of flower I use or which spot I choose to plant them I am terrible at it. They always start out beautiful and I have this anticipation and optimism that "this time they are going to last." Then the next thing I know I am too busy to water them, or the sun is too intense or not intense enough and I end up ultimately with shriveled up green leaves. It seems so simple but it takes patience, and perseverance and somewhere between dropping them in the ground in June and mid July I am DONE!  One thing I have learned though is that even if I spend all the time in the world watering the flowers, trimming the dead ends and making sure they have the perfect amount of lighting the most crucial detail for the whole process is the foundation that I start with. Its not what I do mid July but what I do the very first day I put the bulbs in the ground. 

Matthew 13

New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Sower

That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  

Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”

11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:

“Though seeing, they do not see;
    though hearing, they do not hear or understand.

14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
    you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
    they hardly hear with their ears,
    and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
    hear with their ears,
    understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’

16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.

 18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means:19  
When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path.20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy.21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful.23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

The Parable of the Sower is one of my favorite stories in the New Testament. I think back over different times in my life and trials and struggles I have faced and the honesty of this Parable echoes forth. If we were to act out this Parable on Sunday morning and break it down to the 3 scenarios described I could find myself easily fitting into all three roles at one time or another in my life. As a teenager I heard people talk about Jesus but it just "wasn't for me." I merely allowed the enemy to prey over me and peck at my imperfections and struggles because I wasn't ready to allow Christ to be Lord and protector over my life. When I was 18 I decided to give my life over to Jesus and there was this excitement and optimism in my heart but after awhile my talk didn't match my walk. I wanted to love Jesus and allow Him to lead my life but I wasn't ready to surrender all the "stuff" and allow Him to really move into the depths of my heart. This was what the Parable described as "someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy, but since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the world, they quickly fall away." After a series of difficult events in my life about 5 years ago I found myself at a fork in the road. As I glanced out over my life I realized that although I played the "part" my foundation wasn't in Christ. When the paradigm started to slightly shift and the chaos started to swirl around me, when my circumstances became difficult and started to waiver so did my trust in God. It was in that fork in the road moment where I had to decide whether or not "this time it was really going to last."
Like my flowers planted in June I had to decide from the very beginning whether the soil which I would plant those roots in would help promote growth or only be temporary nourishment that would eventually lead to death. Although we still have to fight against the odds towards growth when we plant our roots deep in Christ He will grab a hold of us and hold onto us through whatever storms come our way. "The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail" Isaiah 58:11. When we choose Christ as our foundation and really spend time pruning and watering that relationship He will continually nurture us, love us, be patient with us and always stay right by our side and help us to persevere and grow into the most flawless and beautiful creation that we could ever imagine. 


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