How Does Your Garden Grow?

The vines hung down like ropes with big green leafs and swayed softly in the light afternoon breeze. Some had large, deep red flowers while others were the palest of pink. Trees were tall and mighty and even fragrant. Some created a canopy along the path from here to there with just enough space to allow the sun to shine through in certain spots along the way. There was such peace there in this garden that was meant to be lived in forever.

The couple who lived in the garden took great care of it. They prepared the soil by pulling weeds, tilling, planting and watching with great anticipation as new life sprang forth from their efforts. It was as if this work they lovingly labored at was a connection to something greater than themselves.

One day they were in their garden and they sensed a subtle change. The vines had stopped swaying in the breeze, the flowers didn’t appear as vibrant and the trees weren’t giving off their fragrance. They didn’t think much of this change and continued with their daily work. That too, seemed a bit harder on that day.

The ground that once was easy to turn over had become hard like clay and took great effort to prepare. They noticed more weeds than usual and while they still watched with anticipation for new life to spring up, that appeared to happen more slowly or not at all. And their connection to something greater than themselves felt small and far away.

It wasn’t long before they started to quarrel with one another and they stopped going to their garden because they no longer felt any joy or anticipation. It had simply become a chore.

After an extremely long season filled with doubt, fear, worry and confusion, they went back to their garden which was completely overgrown and full of weeds. Weeds so tall they were choking what little life was left in their once peaceful garden that brought them so much joy. They chose to work in their garden once again and before long they cleared the weeds, tilled the soil and began to plant and something miraculous happened—their connection to something greater than themselves was restored. They decided that day, right there in the garden, that they would work a little each day tending their garden and cultivating the rich soil so it would never become hard as clay again.

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Have You Put On Your Helmet Today?

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Every time I come into the presence of the Lord, Holy Spirit reminds me to pray the armor of God over my family and not just pray this over them but to personalize with our names. When I get to verse 17 I am always struck by the helmet of salvation. The above translation is from NASB and as you can see this translation ‘shouts’ at us to take the helmet of salvation.

At verse 17 I am always led to stop and thank God not only for the protection of his helmet but for the healing it provides for those who believe in Jesus Christ and therefore have the mind of Christ.

I decided to do a little digging into the luxuriously rich soil in the garden of God’s word and found some interesting insights. In it’s original context the word salvation means salvation by God through Jesus Christ. The word salvation is derived from a word that means Jesus saves believers from their sins and delivers them into his safety and this word is derived from the word sozo, which means to make well, heal, restore to health.

The helmet of salvation protects the continuing work of Holy Spirit in us drawing us closer and closer to Christ and his characteristics and thoughts; protecting our minds from the temptations of the enemy AND the helmet of salvation offers restoration to our health, whether that be spiritual, mental, physical or emotional health.

While the helmet of salvation and its properties are the inheritance of each believer in Christ, we do have a responsibility of staying connected to God through reading and studying his word so our minds will be continuously saturated in His truth.

Precious One, remember your helmet today and everyday, you will need it.

Shalom!

 

Got Wisdom?

She lived in a beautiful garden. I imagine large trailing vines with deep red flowers hanging from stately trees with large canopy’s of branches and leaves giving shade in all the right places. On the ground were different varieties of flowers in different shades and color; without any rhyme or reason, just beautifully existing in the protection of the garden. She and her husband were charged with taking care of the garden and the animals that lived there. They had all they ever needed, I suppose one could say they were content. One day she started talking with a serpent. She should have known better but she couldn’t help herself; she was intrigued by the crafty well spoken troublemaker. The serpent began asking her questions about the garden. Specifically about the trees in the garden; he cut to the chase and asked her, “did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?”

Lately, I have been intrigued by this dialogue between Eve and the serpent. Interestingly, this story keeps coming up in conversations I’ve had over the past few weeks. Let’s back up for just a minute, does anyone else think that its odd that Eve is talking to a serpent to begin with? Like, hello, it is an everyday occurrence?Image Have you looked at pictures of serpents lately? This is what I imagine in my mind while reading this story.

Recently, I had the opportunity to see a picture of Michelangelo’s 6-Serpentdepiction of the serpent in this story and this is what his depiction looks like. Fascinating that this depiction shows the serpent with what appears to be a human upper body and a serpent like lower body. In which case, I can understand Eve even contemplating speaking with a serpent.

As Eve continued to listen to the serpent, she began to doubt God’s truth for her AND her husband. I believe she also began to doubt her contentment. Think about it, she and Adam had complete access to everything in the garden, except the fruit from on single tree. They even walked in the very presence of God. Then the unthinkable happened, she took one delicious bite of the forbidden fruit. She didn’t stop there nor could she contain herself; she offered it to her husband, and, he too ate of the fruit. Sin overtook them; the Fall happened; they were banished from the Garden for all eternity.

I believe we can surmise from Eve’s story that when we choose discontent in our life, it and the emotions and feelings surrounding the discontent can lead to sin. The hopeful side is that when we choose to abide, hang out with Jesus and just spend time in his presence we are more inclined to recognize the working of the serpent and call on the most powerful Name of all, Jesus Christ! We seek His wisdom.

Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble. When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet. Have no fear of sudden disaster or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked, for the LORD will be at your side and will keep your foot from being snared. Proverbs 3: 23-26.

These verses teach us this about God’s wisdom;

  • We will go on our way in safety.
  • We will lay down and not be afraid.
  • Our sleep will be sweet.
  • We will have no fear of sudden disaster.
  • The Lord will be at our side.

My friends, by day and by night, may you always seek God’s wisdom in all that you do. And, may the only fruit you eat be for your health, both physically and spiritually.

ShalomIMG_6025

Art via elfwood.com;christusrex.org;personal.umich.edu.