Sow & Gather

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The Good Soil Bears Fruit

TransformationMarci AnthonyComment
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But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance. Luke 8:15 NASB 

Some of my favorite things to do in the spring are shopping for flowers, plants, and walking through gardens. It inspires me to get my own flower garden and pots ready for the spring. I’m a wanna-be-gardener who has grand plans, but I’m happy just to get my pots filled and for a few plants to survive. 

Over the years I’ve learned to trust certain nurseries that purchase from local farmers who use organic materials and good soil to grow plants. Those plants have a longer survival rate, especially in Texas heat! 

Before I add my new plants to my old pots, I make sure that the potting soil is ready for my new plants. When you take the plants out of their container, the soil is rich and the roots are strong. For that new plant to survive, it needs to be surrounded by good, rich, nutrient-filled soil. There is nothing like the smell of pure, rich, composted dirt and mixing it all together with your hands! 

Planting reminds me of this verse which is a perfect picture of the heart, and the seed is the Word of God. This verse comes from a parable that Jesus told, and He was using soil as a metaphor for the heart. Some of the seed fell on a hard-packed path and it was trampled on, some fell on rocky soil so the roots could never grow deep, some fell among the thorns, and the thorns choked it out, and then some fell on good soil that grew up and produced a crop. 

My heart has been hard, my heart has been shallow and my heart has been full of weeds. God is the sower and His Word is the seed. When I open up His Word, the Bible, I need to make sure that my heart is ready to receive His seed. I need to humble myself before Him, pour out my sin, and ask that Jesus prepare my heart. I do this so I can hear His Word, and so that His Word can take root in my heart. 

How is the soil in your heart? Is it hard? Is it full of things that keep the roots from growing; are there any weeds that are choking it out? 

Create me in a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10 

Happy planting! 

Dig Deeper |

Luke 8:4-15; Mark 4:10 -20 

Action Item |

How is the soil of your heart? Is it ready receive the Word of God? 

Prayer |

Dear Father, You are the great Sower. I’m so thankful that you turn over the soil in my heart and prepare it for receiving Your Word. I want Your Word to take root in me and to produce fruit for Your kingdom. Amen 

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Failure Only Defeats Us When We Quit

New BeginningsMarci Anthony1 Comment
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"He said to Simon, 'Put out into the deep water and let down your net for a catch.'" Luke 5:4 (NASB)

My mom is probably the best cook I know. She is a country cook but her food is delicious and when there is a potluck, people actually ask her what she made so they can get a taste. Unfortunately, I did not inherit that gene. I remember one day when I was about twelve, my mom was gone for some reason so I was determined to make my dad dinner. I decided to make biscuits, which I had never done before.

I found my mom's recipe and began mixing in the ingredients. I read the words "baking powder" but thought “baking soda”. The little teaspoon was easy; it was the biggest spoon on the ring, or so I thought. I mixed everything together and placed the biscuits in the oven. They were so beautiful when they came out, but a little more yellow than my mom's. I was so pleased. I decided to taste my creation because I just knew it was going to be heavenly. To my surprise, I was not even able to get the first bite down because the over-powering bitterness drew my mouth shut.

So back to the beginning; I made a second batch. This time I used less baking soda but, as before, they were bitter too. My poor dad ate two even though they were awful.

Though that day I had set out with great hope and determination to accomplish my goal, I failed.

Peter experienced something similar. Early in his walk with the Lord, Jesus told Peter to let down his nets. Peter, being unconvinced, said to Jesus, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets." Luke 5:5. Immediately, the nets were so full that the boat began to sink. What if Peter had given up?

Failure in a moment does not equal failure for a lifetime.

From the roots of my own failure have sprung the tendrils of future success. I believed that my failure was equated with my identity. But I am reminded that my identity now rests in Christ. So I am encouraged to cast long and hard for whatever God has called me to do.

Failure can only defeat me when I quit, but if I use it as a spring board of motivation, then accomplishment could be right around the corner.

Going Deeper |

James 1:2-4; 2 Peter 1:5-8

Action Item |

Where has God asked you to go deeper? Decide to take the first step toward that calling. Have you experienced failure at something you thought God wanted you to do? Don't quit pursuing that goal.

Prayer |

Precious Lord, help me when I don't want to go on. Give me the grace to push forward, the courage to pursue You, and the wisdom to know what You desire for me. In Jesus name, Amen.

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Gather with us by sharing your "Action Item" or "Prayer" by clicking on the Comment link at the top of the post.