My husband loves bright red flowers. This is probably due to the fact that his late mother Ruth always had her front porch planter boxes filled with red geraniums. It was her tradition, sure as Chevy's, apple pie, and lemonade.
My mother also, has a green thumb extraordinaire and manages gorgeous flower, vegetable and herb gardens. But I always saw myself as having a black thumb. It seemed every plant I touched died practically overnight. Our children did better with gardening than we did, especially our middle child. Finally, now I have come to realize that Mom was right after all. Gardening can be relaxing. But I resign myself only to flower gardening, and minimal at best. I'm trying to keep the red flower tradition going for my husband's sake.
So I was leaning over my front porch area where I was putting in some scarlet impatiens. Then my mind drifted to the new sermon (and series) started at church last Sunday 5/13/13 about Jesus' parables. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=51413748220 There is so much more beyond the "apparent" surface meaning of the parables as Jesus relayed them first to the public and the last four only to his disciples.
The very first of them, however, about the sower and the soil was what came to mind as I cleared out and prepared my soil for my little flat of flowers. First off I noticed that I had a lot of brush to clear first before I could plant anything. Over the winter, dead leaves had accumulated, dead grass clippings, stones and pebbles. I even found some of the kids rubber bands from when they were paper carriers! It felt good to rip out the old debris and I started to muse about my own heart.
Did you ever think you were a "pretty good person?" Well, I thought I was doing pretty good. I never murdered anyone, never robbed a bank, never shot someone. You know the things that could make you Miss or Mister Self Righteous. But read through the Word a few times and you will get a different picture of your heart.
Even the most beautiful smiling baby is described BY GOD as having one of these in Jeremiah 17:9: "The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], And desperately wicked; Who can know it?
That is why I have finally given up hanging onto my own little pity party and self righteousness which clearly sees the faults in others, but not so easily in myself. When I was a wee girl, I really got confused about when I heard Jesus said in Matthew 7:3 "And why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 7:4 "Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove the speck from your eye'; and look, a plank is in your own eye? I thought Jesus was being mean! I mean, the poor guy was only trying to help. (Such foolishness!)
God has been doing a work in my heart. This work is all of grace. I cannot boast in anything but Jesus's blood stained cross.(Galatians 6:14) I only know that one of my dearest friends told me once that I needed to get free (John 8:32) in order to help anyone else. As I pulled, tugged and threw last year's weeds out, I considered, if any of them had remained, the new plantings could not have grown.
So it is with my heart. I have junk in there that needs rooted out. And if I desire what God desires, I cannot go wrong. For He is in the business of washing "junked-up" hearts, hearts that need a good cleansing like David requested in Psalm 51. You might protest, "But that might be painful!" Tell me about it. I know. I have tried living my life in two ways. One way was my way. This is what I discovered about that way:
Proverbs 14:12 "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."
It doesn't have to be actual physical death, but it can be carnal death, (dying inside because you are completely miserable), for, in Romans 8:6-7, we are told:
Rom 8:6 For to be carnally minded [is] death, but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. Rom 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.
The other way is God's way...
John 12:24 "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 12:25 "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.
I am definitely not saying I have arrived. I am learning, ever so slowly that when I do things my way they end up disastrously. But if I, as Jesus says in verse 25 above, "hate my life in this world" means I will end up keeping it. In losing my life, I find His Life, which is higher than any life I could have dreamed for myself. And Jesus promises some pretty awesome rewards to all overcomers in the Church Age in Revelation 1 and 2. Check out especially His promise to the last church, Laodecia, which is the church of the Last Days.
I have started to plant my flowers... after I prepared my soil by clearing the junk. Next time, let's talk about having a soil prepared for the plant, or in our case, the receiving of the Word of God.
May God bless any and all whom this may reach...