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The Garden

   Have you ever raised a garden? Do you remember the work that went into it? For today's thought lets consider a garden.
   First the ground had to be prepared but you couldn't do this anytime that you wanted, you had to wait until the ground was ready. You couldn't plow and work the ground while it was still frozen, you had to wait until it was softened. Now matter how hard that you try, it is extremely hard to plow a garden when it is frozen hard in the winter. No matter how anxious you are to plant the seeds you have to wait until the time is right otherwise you are throwing away good seeds. This is the same way with a sinners heart. No matter how much you want to plant the seeds of the gospel there, until that heart is softened by God the heart won't receive those seeds.
   Okay, now the time has come, the ground has softened so it can be broken with a plow. Will that ground break itself up ready to receive the seed? No, it will not. A plow can't be run without someone to drive it or run it. Even if you do not use a plow and only use a hoe that hoe can do nothing without a person who knows how to use it. The plow is a tool as is the word of God a tool. A tool that is in the hands of someone that doesn't know how to use it is a dangerous thing. You would not send a child out who has never driven a plow before to plow up a huge field for planting. Neither does God send out someone that has never learned how to use the word of God, to break up the ground on a sinners heart that is softening. If you plow when the ground is too dry, its very hard to break up, if you plow when it is too wet then the dirt will just clump up and will not be suitable ground for planting and you will have to plow again. This is what so often happens. A preacher or some other Christian sees a sinner beginning to soften and they rush in and try to break up that ground before its really ready to be plowed. If we get in too much of a hurry then we get out of God's timing and the seeds that we do plant will not grow.
   To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1
   Now the time has come to plant the seeds. The ground is soft and fertile and is ready to receive what we are to plant. The temperature has warmed and the season is right. We take our seeds to the garden. Do we just throw them randomly and see where they will fall and hope they will grow? Too often this is what we see Christians do. When we plant our garden we take our seeds and carefully put them where we want them to grow. We don't jump up and down on them and try to drive them deeply into the ground but we gently place them in the ground that has been prepared to receive them. We don't want to leave them on top of the ground for the water to wash away or move them to a more unsuitable area but we put them under the ground and into the soil that is ready to receive them. We gently cover the soil back over top of them and then we wait on God to cause them to grow. We do not have the power to make those seeds grow, only God does. just like we don't have the power to make someone come and serve God. All we can do is what is required in God's garden on his timing to see the seeds of the gospel spring forth.
   Well, now some time has past and we go out to check on our garden. We have been watching it everyday, anxiously awaiting our garden to bring forth life. Just as we are about to give up and think the seeds we planted must not have been good, we go out and look and behold the seeds have started to grow. We get excited. Our garden is growing!!! Do we then immediately rush in and start preparing for the harvest? How many times have you seen a church have some new seeds come up and immediately they are ready to send those out to work? That new little plant will not immediately bring forth fruit. It must still be tended and taken care of. It must receive food and water, if it doesn't it will die. If a new Christian isn't given the right kind of food then they will die. Just has you can over fertilize a new plant, thinking you are helping it by giving it nutrients it needs, so can a new Christian become overwhelmed also.
   The garden continues to grow but look!!! There are weeds in our garden. They are trying to choke out our little plants. What can we do? Well when our garden gets weeds, we don't wait until they are big weeds before we remove them , we get them while they are small. Have you very tried to uproot a big weed in a garden? Lots of times it will also uproot everything around it. Weeds often have large root systems and to uproot the weed it takes messing up a lot of ground. This happens especially if you have let the weed get too large before you try to remove it. But if you remove those weeds before they can hinder the growth of the little seeds you planted then those weeds don't have time to put down good roots to make it hard to get out. A gardener knows the difference between a weed and a plant even when they are very small so he knows which to pull and which to leave in his garden.
   Now the garden has grown. The seeds have developed into strong plants that have good root systems of there own. They are firmly rooted in the ground. They are receiving the water and food they need to thrive, so we should be seeing fruits off our seeds. We have seen the flowers come on and then develop into the fruit. But the fruit isn't ready at the time we first start seeing it. With some fruits it takes longer than others. We may have planted radishes and tomatoes and beans all at the same time but we will see radishes develop before the tomatoes and beans. It is the same with the fruits we see on a new Christian. Some of the fruits we will see before others. We may see the joy before we see the meekness. We may see peace before we see longsuffering. We may see goodness before we see faith. Fruits do not all develop at the same rate and they do not develop on a plant that is not mature enough to bear fruit. Fruit will feed others but a plant that isn't mature enough to bear fruit is not mature enough to give food to others it still needs to be fed itself.
   Now let me add this. Just because a plant is bearing fruit and producing does not mean it no longer needs fed. It does. It still needs to get the nutrients to keep producing that fruit. If the source of the food is no longer there the plant will die and the fruit it produces will go away. A gardener doesn't neglect his care of the plants just because they have reached the productive stage. He knows that to keep them producing for as long as possible he still has to take care of those plants. The insects will come in and try to damage the fruit so it is the gardeners job to watch for the insects. An insect is like some of the things Satan will do to a new Christian, trying to make the fruit look bad so others will not want it. If he hasn't succeeded in destroying the plants while they were young, then he will try to destroy their fruits so no one will want the fruits. This means the gardener must be ever ready and on the alert for things that could harm his garden.
   And I leave you with this thought, the seeds that you plant do it with wisdom. Don't throw them on the ground that isn't ready. Don't plant them and then forget about them. If you truly want to see a good harvest then be willing to do what is necessary. Don't go in and try to harvest in someone else's garden. Be willing to start from scratch.
Have a blessed day.

copywrited 1998 by Higher Faith Ministries. All rights reserved.

Copywritten 1996-2012 by Higher Faith Ministries Inc. Bristol TN. All rights reserved.