The Garden of My Heart

The Garden of My Heart

gardenbloomMy flower gardens bring my husband and I great joy. They were planted strategically and have spread over time. Easy care perennials bring color at various times of the spring through late summer and annuals show a more consistent pop of color. A bonus to the flowers are the birds and butterflies that have come to our back yard. It is amazing to watch the little hummingbirds flit about, giant butterflies visit and we watch the brilliant goldfinches in our birch tree. Several neighbors have been beneficiaries of bouquets of flowers for their tables.

Taking care of a garden and keeping it healthy takes a little TLC and a watchful eye. My neighbor has a huge vegetable garden that has tripled in size this year. We watched as he built new raised plots, carefully planted, staked and screened in the new beds. He has invested a great amount of time and energy in protecting, watering and weeding .  If it’s so much work why do Gardeners garden?  The answer is, FOR THE HARVEST!

Living the Christian life is like a garden. We need to invest time and energy to nurture our souls and be careful of the things we allow into our hearts and homes.  Social media lacybybugscan steal that precious time and allow a lot of anxiety, negativity and even anger to creep in and eat away. I was not watchful while some insects quietly munched away on my hibiscus bush leaving the leaves looking like lace. Weeds are subtle because they grow slowly and often look like the plant they are next to. To be our best selves we need allow God to work in our hearts, carefully dead heading the things that don’t belong. If we are not careful to read “The Master Gardeners manual” we cannot tell the difference when Satan’s lies blend with the truth.

I think God loves gardens. He placed Adam and Eve in a garden with many kinds of foliage and fruit- not at a seashore resort. Jesus told the parable of “The Sower and the Seed” (Luke 8) to warn against the condition of our hearts and other scriptures are filled with life giving encouragement to help us grow strong.

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Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.              Psalms 1:1-3 (NLT)

Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?28 “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing,29 yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are.30 And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?       Matt 6:26-30 

What is the Kingdom of God? 31 It is like a mustard seed planted in the ground. It is the smallest of all seeds,32 but it becomes the largest of all garden plants; it grows long branches, and birds can make nests in its shade.        Mark 4: 30,31

Despite the circumstances we are now facing, we all  have a job to do. We can be water bearers to those who are dry and weary. We can give shade and assurance to those who are confused and angry. Let us share the flowers and fruit of compassion and kindness and be a beautiful bouquet drawing others to Him.

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Seeds of Potential

Seeds of Potential

WP_20150927_001Did you know that apples are not native to the US? They were introduced to North America in the 17th century by European colonists and their descendents.  My daughter lives in Leominster, MA -the birthplace of John Chapman the folk hero known as Johnny Appleseed.  It’s a really big deal. They have a Johnny Appleseed Festival in town every year. Most stories about the American folk hero are more fiction than fact. He really did plant apple orchards as far as the Midwest. He also never married, lived a very simple life and shared the message of God’s love to everyone including native Indian tribes.

An apple tree takes eight years of growing before it will bear any fruit. That’s a long time to wait while tending, watering and protecting the sapling before it produces anything. Then each year that tree will yield a varying amount of apples for many years to come.  How many apples in its lifetime?

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I keep a sign in my kitchen over the door frame and it reads:  “Anyone can count the seeds in an apple but only God can count the apples in a seed.”  Each seed has potential for life and growth and an abundant harvest. Each apple has the potential to be used in a lot of ways….eating, baking pies, muffins, pastries, making cider, applesauce, decorating and the list goes on.

The word potential means, “ having latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness”.   Synonyms for potential are possibilities, prospects, promise, capability and capacity.

The Bible tells us that most of the twelve disciples were hard working but uneducated men.  They were trying hard to understand and follow Jesus’teaching but questioned how they could possibly do what He asked.         5  The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” 6 And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.         Luke 17:5-6 (ESV)

Since we don’t have any mustard trees in New England, can I use the term “apple seeds of faith”?  Is your faith as small as an apple seed? When you go apple picking this season, take joy in His creation all around you.  I hope you know that God has a purpose and a plan for each of our lives. Every person has potential and so does each day. We need to find our gifts and abilities to develop and use them by reading the Bible – God’s manual and praying – or talking to the Master Gardener.   Every day we are given new opportunities and choices.  Just think of all the possibilities!           apple pie

Change or growth doesn’t happen overnight, nor can it usually be seen….just like the sapling. Sometimes we don’t see any “fruit” or results. That’s okay. Ask God to show you the potential within and take a small step forward even with “faith like an apple seed”.

 I AM A PROMISE
  I am a promise, I am a possibility
I am a promise, with a capital “P”
I am a great big bundle of potentiality.
And I am learning, to hear God’s voice
And I am trying to make the right choices,
          I’m a promise to be—anything God wants me to be.