Sunday, July 30, 2017

How's your soil?

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.  Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted! Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” Matthew 13:4-9 NLT

It is not easy to cultivate good, fertile soil. For a long time when I read this parable of Jesus, I thought that good soil just happens. You are either good soil or shallow, weedy or rocky soil. But I realize good soil doesn't just automatically happen, either in my garden or in my heart. The Gardener has to be able to dig into the soil, to amend the soil with material that will make growth happen. Weeds must be pulled. And most importantly, I must give the Gardener access to my heart/soil for growth to happen. I now see it takes surrender to the Master Gardener's work in my heart in order for me to become "good soil."  I am learning that the surrender is not just a one time event but an ongoing process, often having to be repeated many times to take us to varying levels of growth. I'm glad my Master Gardener knows exactly how much and when to amend my soil to produce a fertile place for seeds to be planted and growth to take place.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Unforced Rhythms of Grace

Jesus is speaking to the crowds..... “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30The Message 

My grace is never forced on you. My grace flows from My heart to yours when your heart is open to Me. There is a rhythm to it, like a beautiful song has a rhythm - almost like 3/4 time in a waltz. As you enter into the dance with Me, allowing Me to lead you around the dance floor in My timing and with My holding you, you will flow into receiving and then dispensing My grace to others. But you cannot do this dance on your own. My dance of grace is an invitation, to real life, real rest, real relationship with Me and with others. You will walk through life and your most difficult relationships with a light step. This is your invitation to freedom. 

Jesus, thank You for always inviting me closer to You and into life and grace and wholeness. I'm excited to dance through my difficult relationships with You and first of all receive your grace and as I keep company with You, allowing Your grace to flow from me to others. I love You so much...I adore You. Thank You for opening my eyes to see You as You really are and to hear Your invitation to me toward life, love and shalom-wholeness.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Uncomfortable Grace

As I was rereading my last year's journal for today, I thought this was worth pondering here....

God has chosen to let you live in this fallen world because He plans to employ the difficulties of it to continue and complete His work in you. We want the grace of relief or release. What we really need is the grace of transformation. This is the 'theology' of uncomfortable grace. It may not be what we want, but it is precisely what we need. God is faithful and will use the brokenness of this world that is your present address to complete the loving work of personal transformation that He has begun.

New Morning Mercies, March 8, Paul David Tripp

Yes, Lord, how often I pray for the grace of relief when what I really need is the grace of transformation. May it be so!