3/12/2017 6:34:40 PM
How often do you look up? At the clouds, the varying hues of reds, pinks, and oranges at sunset, the night sky, trees and stars … if it is not a regular practice for you, I hope you might consider looking up. I personally think that God shows off at what we behold when we look up!
A week ago I was in my backyard1 and I looked up at my apricot tree, wondering when it might start budding. I kid you not, one day later, I saw a bud, three days later, multiple blossoms. Translation: spring is in the air!
Springtime is here! [Oh I know that as I write, the East Coast of the U.S. is getting pounded with snow … sorry, guys]
There is nothing like springtime for a gardener – it is like a fresh start, as life bursts forth from the earth. Planting seeds or seedlings in good soil, watering and taking care of them is cooperating with God in creating beauty. If you stop and think about it, tending our gardens is akin to tending our hearts, as gardening takes forethought for a desired outcome, as does thinking about our hearts.
Let’s break it down. This is also the Lenten season when folks are ‘giving things up’ – like swearing, for some. But here’s the thing--I have heard people comment about watching what they say, being sure to be careful with their words, riiiiight? Jesus said, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”2 We are unlikely to change what comes out of our mouths without changing what is in our hearts. Hmmm.
And how about our thoughts? If indeed we are what we think, once again we must pay attention to our hearts. Healthy gardens get ‘spring’ cleanings—when vines are trimmed and neatly tied in place … when old leaves and dead material are cleared away from beneath bushes, so that new growth gets sunshine and fresh air … so that little buds can flourish without being affected by decay.
A prayer I have uttered so very often came from the heart and mind of David: “Search me, O God, and see if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.”3
Are you bold enough to ask God to put his finger
on what needs to be cleared away—things like sloppy language,
selfish ways, proud thoughts, and habits that are not beneficial?
On the other hand, perhaps you and I have grown lax, and should
be certain of good and godly disciplines,
just like tying up a vine, making it strong. For instance, I know for certain I am a better woman when I meet with Jesus every morning—in the Word and in prayer. And in order to make my morning wakeup, I need to get in bed at a reasonable time most nights.
D.i.s.c.i.p.l.i.n.e. – one of my favorite words.
And once again I ask myself, ‘what is the last verse I committed to memory?’ Perhaps another should be tucked away, training my mind on good and right things. Here’s a practical verse:
“Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world,
but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you,
which is good and pleasing and perfect.”4
Okay, one last thought, before this foray into the garden comes to a close – feed your blueberries, blackberries, apricots and flowers with a good fertilizer … like Kellogg’s—it is my ‘go to’! Sure, water, fresh air, sunlight and reasonable soil will grow them, but a few vitamins will cause them to flourish!
1 - in temperate Southern California
2 – Luke 6.45
3 – Psalm 139.23-24
4 - Romans 12.2 NLT