Soil Conditioning

Gardening is one of my pleasures in life. This spring I’m busy transplanting rose bushes, adding hydrangeas, and calculating what herbs to grow this season. It’s my version of “crop rotation.” As we dig the holes for our shrubs I’ve learned the importance of digging a very large hole, and since we live at the coast, it’s important to amend our sandy soil with rich, fertile loam. If we don’t take that precaution our plants will never thrive.

The gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke convey Jesus telling the parable of a farmer who sows his seed. This threefold repetition points out the importance of the message contained in the illustration, so we need to pay attention. Some seed falls along a path where it was trampled on and birds ate it up. Some lands on rocky ground, but when the plants begin to grow they wither due to lack of moisture and shallow soil. Even more seed falls among thorns, which grew up with the plants and choked the good plants out. Finally, the remainder of the seed fell on good soil where “… it came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown” (Luke 8:8, NIV).

Scripture informs us the seed described in Jesus’ parable is God’s Word. If the seed falls along the path, it means we’ve heard God’s Word, but don’t understand it. Satan steals it from our hearts; we do not believe and therefore are not saved. If it falls on rocky ground, we’ve received God’s Word with joy, but we have no root and fall away once difficulties arise due to not being firmly planted and established. If it falls among thorns, we’ve heard God’s Word but the worries, concerns, and pleasures of life choke out His truth and we do not mature in the Lord.

However, if the seed falls among good soil, we’ve heard God’s Word and we keep it and persevere in life. We produce a crop—evident by our good works, compassion for others, and all the fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

How do we ensure God’s Word falls on good soil?

Discipline is the slow-release fertilizer that continually works to fortify our soil.

Discipline is defined as, “training that corrects, molds, or perfects moral character” ( For the Christian, this training implies an ongoing process and would include practices such as prayer, reading and studying the Bible, attending church, and fellowship with other believers.

But it is through setting aside time with God that we become acquainted with Him and His Word. We cannot neglect to pray for wisdom and discernment prior to Bible study, asking the Holy Spirit to illuminate Scripture. Furthermore, meditating on the Word provides the necessary time to listen and understand. Luke 8:18 (NIV) charges us with, “Therefore consider carefully how you listen. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they think they have will be taken from them.” We’re to understand and become mindful of God’s Word in order not to forfeit it. Read Scripture, know Scripture, memorize Scripture.

Discipline requires time, commitment, and practice. As we fertilize and enhance our soil with discipline, only then will we become fruitful and produce a crop.

Father God, Please help me to grow in the knowledge and understanding of your Word. I know it’s only by disciplining myself to spend time alone with you and in your Word will I be able to safeguard the condition of my soil. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Bible Truths:

The Parable of the Sower appears in the following three gospel accounts:

Matthew 13:3b-23

Mark 4:3-25

Luke 8: 5-18

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Lean on Me

Smitten. That one word sums up how my husband and I feel about Remy, our rescued standard poodle. And Remy delights in us, confidently knowing he hit the jackpot the day we adopted him and took him out of what had been a painful situation for him. Leaning against us whenever the opportunity presents itself, he demonstrates his total devotion and affection for us. This is no gentle lean against our thigh, but similar to Velcro, he adheres his whole 65-pound body to us, leaning so “hard” that we can easily topple over. We’re Remy’s protection and his safe place.

Do I lean into God and is He truly my safe place?

Continue reading “Lean on Me”

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Out of the Box

Hanging in a bag tucked away in the rear of our closet, surviving many corporate moves, was my wedding gown. After about 20 years I finally took it in for professional cleaning, preservation, and had it boxed. Unfortunately, the process took its toll on my gown as many of the decorative pearls fell off. The lady performing the work was distressed and took it upon herself to hand sew new pearls onto my gown. Upon final receipt of my wedding dress, I couldn’t believe my eyes—it was better than it had been when I handed it over to her. Fully restored, my wedding gown surpassed how it originally looked.

Fast-forward many more years and a couple more moves. The box has transferred neatly from one closet to the next as we’ve moved across the country. Finally, in what we hope is our earthly “forever” home, I wondered why in the world it’s primly placed in a box. So, the next time we had some of our granddaughters over I asked if they wanted to play dress-up with Gramma’s wedding gown. Imagine their excitement over donning the gown and veil and feeling so very special.

So thankful I didn’t keep what had been made new and better stashed away in a box!

Continue reading “Out of the Box”

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A Fresh Start

We have a new year and a new beginning—ushering in thoughts of fresh starts, a chance to do things differently, or even over again. How will we use the New Year our Lord has given us? Even though it’s the middle of winter, my mind skips ahead to springtime when I first observe the daylily leaves in my garden pushing through the soil. Crumpled over at first, the leaves appear fragile. But with exposure to the sun and rain and air they are able to strengthen and flourish, eventually growing into mature plants with numerous beautiful flowers. I want to grow stronger and substantial this year. Will you join me in this endeavor?

What change do you desire in your life this New Year? Continue reading “A Fresh Start”

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Rejoice in Our Redeemer

I send Christmas greetings and pray His blessings for all of my beloved readers.

Only by embracing Jesus and asking forgiveness for our sins will we be saved and have communion with God the Father. If you’ve never invited Jesus into your heart, this Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on your sin and its consequence, which is eternal death, and to ask Jesus to deliver you from that. Faith in Jesus is the ONLY way. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6, NIV).

Knowing she was carrying the Christ child, Mary offered up a personal hymn of praise to God. Her song, also known as the Magnificat, begins with, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46-47, NIV). May we all rejoice in the birth of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, this Christmas.

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