Sunday, April 15, 2012


Shortly after moving back to Newnan, my wife and I bought our first house. You could still see where the previous owners had a garden, though, it had long since grown over. Given the setting and circumstances of settling in, it seemed only fitting to complete the domestication process by planting a garden.

I started by marking off the area in which to plant and started digging. With a general idea of what to expect and wanted results, I dug in. It got dirty. It got tiresome. It was a slow process. Alison, my wife, came out at one point that I was on my knees and planting tomatoes. “Do you know what you’re doing?”, she asked. “Nope. Just doing what I was taught as a kid.” Little did I know the lessons I would learn by applying what I had heard as a child.

What started out as side project quickly turned into a goal. That goal? Harvest. Honestly, there were alot of times that I got more joy out of watching Mrs. Smith from down the street harvesting crops until she needed help walking back to her car. She loved it. I loved it. We shared in the process. I would grow, she would pick and she would preserve what she was given. Often times she brought it back. Often times she would give it away.

Then came a hard lesson. There were the obvious obstacles; weeds, rocks, bugs, etc.. Nothing prepared me for the rainy season. Not the occasional rain, but one of those never ending, ground saturating, “waiting for Noah to paddle by any moment” seasons. It was unsettling to see my plants, my babies dying. They weren’t prepared. What did I do wrong? Did I not pull enough weeds? Was there not enough nutrients?

Just below the topsoil lies a hard layer of dirt. If the rainy season brings more than the topsoil can process or distribute, it puddles. If that puddle doesn’t subside soon, the crop drowns. It stagnates and rots. However, if you put in the necessary work, if you take the time to really prepare the soil and bust through that hard ground, your crop is better prepared to withstand the rainy season yield a longer, more bountiful harvest.

How many “fair weather Christians” have started out strong only to wither at the first hint of a storm? Are we, as the body of Christ, taking the time to prepare our own little spiritual garden to withstand the onslaught of spiritual warfare about to happen? Are they dug in? Are they fortified with Truth? Are they loved so much that, even when surrounded by weeds of sin, they stand tall in honor of the Son?

It’s time to dig deep, Christians.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Temporary Pleasures vs. Eternal Rewards

How many of you have ever pursued something that you were sure would bring you happiness? Maybe it was a vacation. Maybe it was a collection of comics that, if you had just one more, would make you complete. Was it the lottery? The same lottery that, if you had only exercised enough restraint, you wouldn’t feel the need to win in the first place?..... Even if you had won, the sudden surge of popularity, responsibility and the feeling of self sufficiency would ruin you. The comics kept coming, leaving you with another “just one more.”. The vacation wasn’t long enough. Even if it was, you eventually had to come back to “reality”.

Have you found yourself in the middle of a dilemma that you didn’t create? Maybe you’re a product of a shaky family life or woke up on skid row due to the loss of a job. Poor choices? Bad circumstances?

Matthew 19:16-30 The rich young ruler asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responds by saying “Sell all you have.... and follow me.” The rich young man walked away saddened because he wasn’t prepared to put aside temporary pleasures. Luke 16:19-31 Another rich man is so consumed in his material stuff that he totally misses the opportunity to sow kingdom seeds by ministering to the needs of another who just happened to be laying at his gate. The result? A complete role reversal.

John 9:1 Jesus encountered a man who was blind from birth. A temporary setback. Jesus healed him both physically and spiritually FOREVER. John 8 Jesus encountered a woman of the streets who had been condemned to death at the hands of the religious leaders. Jesus stood in her defense. Pardoned... FOREVER. Job, the richest most righteous man of his time, lost everything..... temporarily. He chose to worship and was restored ETERNALLY. Luke 5 Levi, engrossed in his work as a tax collector, answers the call to be a disciple of Jesus and discovers PURPOSE. Lazarus was dead. Jesus gave him LIFE EVERLASTING.

Do you see what I’m getting at? There is only one I AM! Only one “BEGINNING AND END”, “ALPHA AND OMEGA”, “EVERLASTING”, “JEHOVAH JIREH” and what he asks is that we FOLLOW HIM. Seek Him. Know Him. The reward? A relationship with the Master. Freedom. Wisdom. Joy. Everlasting life. Will it be difficult? Yes. Will it be painful? Probably. Will His commands defy every ounce of logic that we know? Absolutely. However, He asks that we be wise and walk by faith. It’s when we follow our own fleshly desires that we find ourselves dissatisfied or spiritually disabled.

We all have our own stories and each one is a part of His plan. Don’t you want to be a part of His happy ending? Are you a product of your circumstance or of the Saviour?