1 Corinthians 3:9 - ...You are the vineyard, the garden, the house where God dwells.
One thing that I have learned from gardening is that certain plants do better depending on the season. No gardener would continue to plant a certain crop just because it did well in one particular season. A good gardener knows what to plant in spring, summer, fall and winter.
We are now God’s garden that He tends to lovingly. As we allow the good gardener to cultivate the soil of our soul, we will find healing and wholeness. Our good gardener heals our heart and remove the weeds of fear and doubt by the roots.
As our heart is transformed, our Gardener will plant new seeds of dreams and purpose. As God’s seasons for us change, so will the desires of our hearts. As we let go of the old and embrace the new, we will find new open doors of opportunity.
If we try to stay in an old season because it was good, we will find that we become frustrated and bitter. Holding onto the past simply paralyzes our present and sabotages our future. As we let go and let God do something new, we can take steps of faith into new places. As we receive the grace for the season, we will find that we grow, develop, flourish and thrive.
1 Corinthians 3:9 – … – …You are the vineyard, the garden, the house where God dwells.
In the beginning God made us in His image to steward a beautiful garden. We had perfect fellowship with Him as He dwelled with us in the garden in the cool of the day.
However, we lost everything when the world became upside down. We became separated from God and lost the perfection we had always known. God didn’t leave us lost, He sent His perfect love to rescue, redeem and restore us to Him and to our purpose.
As we receive Jesus and His finished work on the cross we become a part of the garden that God delights in. We are God’s children upon whom He lavishes His love. Each one of us is as one of His plants that He desires to grow and develop so that we flourish and thrive.
He plants us in good soil so that we are connected with the community of believers. He tills the soil by removing the weeds of fear and worry that would starve His plants of needed nutrients.
We are diverse so that we are stronger together and more able to survive disease and predators, each one of us united growing stronger, and bearing a multitude and variety of fruit. We are His well-watered garden in which He dwells and makes His purposes known.
The 45th Psalm is a beautiful messianic passage of Scripture revealing Christ and His Church; the Bridegroom and the radiant Bride. This scripture reminds us, His bride, that when we come to that quiet place with Jesus we can forget everything else: our past, our limitations and even the imperfections of our relationship with our natural father, no matter how good or bad it was.
The psalmist tells us to “Be here.” We can be still in His presence, be present and be at rest. The psalmist reminds us that He is wild for us, and that insight enables us to be without mask or pretense in His presence.
In that moment of unconditional love we can adore Him and worship Him, because we know that He loves us purely, without condition. In fact God sees us 100% righteous because of Jesus Christ's finished work on the cross.
As the bride we are richly blessed not because of anything we earn or deserve, but all because we are the bridegroom’s beloved. Now we can receive grace and favor freely because we are betrothed to the Altogether Lovely One.
Psalm 45:10-12 “Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word: forget your country, put your home behind you. Be here—the king is wild for you. Since he’s your lord, adore him. Wedding gifts pour in from Tyre; rich guests shower you with presents.”
In life we can worry so much that it robs our joy. Worry is like the weeds in a flower bed, they soak up all the nutrients in the soil leaving flowers to starve and decay. God created us to be light and free. He made us in His image to be connected to Him, and live in beauty and harmony while fulfilling our purpose.
We had everything in the garden: perfect fellowship with God, healthy relationship with each other, and we literally were given the fruit of our purpose which was stewarding the garden. When the world became upside down we lost our way and we lost our purpose. We had to make it all on our own and we became people of worry.
God loved us too much to leave us separated. He sent Jesus, love incarnate to earth to rescue, redeem and reconnect us back to Him. Jesus lived perfectly for us, died as us and was raised from the dead for our justification. As we receive Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, we receive His abundant supply of grace and the gift of righteousness that causes us to reign in life.
Now we can come to Jesus and exchange our sin, fears, worries, and despair with His perfection, peace, joy and restoration. As we grow in knowing Jesus, we will know perfect love which casts out fear. As we abide in Christ we will walk in supernatural rest and we will not need to worry because whatever we ask will be done for us.
“If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” John 15:7
We can walk through life trying to carry too much. We drag baggage along from the past, we try to control people and situations, and we worry about almost everything. Then we wonder why we can barely move at all. The more we try to hold on to things, the heavier our burden becomes.
When we come to God through accepting Jesus into our hearts, we can bring every weight, burden, worry, and concern to Him. The truth is we are not designed to carry the weights of this world. As we come to our Heavenly Father in prayer, we can lay down each and every one of our burdens at the cross of Christ.
Jesus paid the price for our well-being. He lived a sinless life for us, died on the cross as us and was raised from the dead for our justification. Now we can enter into that “Great Exchange” where we exchange our unrighteousness, sickness, anxiety and despair for God’s righteousness, health, peace and well-being.
Jesus said“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” As we relax into the loving arms of our Beautiful Savior, we will sense His peace. As we rest in Him, we will see our fears disappear and our burdens lighten. As we emerge from our time with the Lord we will be lighter and freer. We will be able to walk the path of life swiftly and effortlessly with a renewed sense of direction and God’s purposes.
Matthew 11:28 - “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest”
We can be fearful of the future because we don’t really know what is ahead. We can try to make all sorts of plans to ensure everything goes well, but the truth is that we know that we cannot control all of life’s variables.
God created us to be light and free. When Jesus walked the earth He offered people a real rest. He called to all those who were weary and burdened to come to Him and He would give them rest.
As we come to Jesus and receive Him in our hearts, we can find God’s supernatural rest. We can be filled by God’s Spirit and have the peace of God that transcends understanding, fullness of joy in His presence; and His endless love that is radical and unconditional.
As we learn to live and move in Him, we will find more and more that we have nothing to worry about it.
Our God goes before us and prepares the way. He leads us into lush green pastures, and He also is our rear guard. As we rest in His beautiful presence, we can know that we will lack no good thing. As we stay focused on the King of Kings and not our problems we will effortlessly step into all the good things that God has prepared for us.
Deuteronomy 31:8, Genesis 1:26-28, Matthew 11:28, John 15:5, Acts 17:28, Psalm 23, Psalm 34:10, 2 Corinthians 3:18
Sometimes we feel all alone in life. We can carry the weight of the world because we feel we have nowhere to turn. There was a young woman named Esther who was orphaned by war. She lost her family, her country and her culture. She was a stranger in a land not her own. The Bible tells us that she found favor with the King of Persia and they married. Esther went from orphan to queen overnight.
While Esther was queen she found out about an evil plot to kill her people. She wanted to seek the king on the matter but she hesitated because she knew the consequence of approaching the throne room without invitation in that day was death.
After she had prayed and fasted Esther sought the king’s help, knowing there was a chance of reprieve if he extended the golden scepter. Esther put on her royal robes and she approached the king. When the king saw Esther, she obtained favor in his sight. The king handled the matter and the people were spared.
The truth is the king was wildly in love with his bride. He did not hesitate to extend her favor. As we receive Jesus into our heart, we receive God’s unmerited favor. We are adopted into the Kingdom to royal position.
As we put on Jesus’ royal robe of righteousness that was won for us at Calvary, we can boldly come to the throne room of grace in time of need. No matter the circumstance that we face, we can seek the King’s help and know that He will handle the matter.
We the community of believers are the church, the beautiful bride of Christ. We can know that our King radically, relentlessly, and unconditionally loves us. We know this because He gave His life for us for as a ransom and there is no greater love than this. As we cast all our care upon our beautiful Lord Jesus, we can walk light and free and step into the good works He has prepared for us in advance.
1 Peter 5:7, The Book of Esther, John 3:29, Hebrews 4:16, John 15:13, Matthew 11:28, Ephesians 2:10
When we try to live up to society's ideals and standards we can either become extremely prideful, because we have strived to reach the goal, or incredibly disappointed because we have failed to measure up.
The reality is society's ideals are unrealistic and nearly impossible to sustain. When we try to attain them, we have to strive, push and control every variable in the process. Society tells us what we need to look like, what we need to wear, how much money we should make, what car we should drive so that we can finally be enough to receive the proverbial pat on the back.
The truth is we can come to God just as we are, and all of the pressure can come off. We can find acceptance through Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the Cross alone. He was perfect for us, died for us and was raised from the dead for us; and now we can rest in His perfection.
When we come to our devotional times of prayer we can have confidence that God sees us perfect in Jesus. As we simply receive Jesus Christ into our hearts, we receive His abundant supply of grace and His gift of righteousness that causes us to reign in life.
Romans 1:17 - For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “But the righteous man shall live by faith.”
In life we can thrive or wither depending on the health of our soul. Just like a beautiful garden our soul needs essential elements to grow. Even a beginner gardener knows that you have to have the basics: good soil, light, and water.
The soil is critical to the health of the garden. The Bible compares soil to the condition of our heart (Matthew 13:19). Before a gardener would plant he or she works the soil. They remove all the rocks, glass, and weeds by the root. As we come daily to our times of devotions of prayer, we can allow the Holy Spirit to remove all of the roots of rejection, fear, guilt, condemnation and shame in our soul.
Plants need light to grow. It is important when planting a garden to plant where the garden will receive hours of light a day. Jesus declared that He is the light of the world. He or she who follows Him will not walk in darkness but have the light of life. When we spend time in our devotions with Jesus, His light shines into our souls.
All gardens need water and water is particularly crucial during the growing seasons. Psalm 1 says that the man who meditates on the Word day and night is like a tree planted by rivers of water. It says this person will yield its fruit in season, its leaf will not wither and whatsoever he does will prosper. As we read and meditate on the Word of God, we are watering our soul.
As we allow the Holy Spirit to work the condition of our heart and we come each day to prayer and meditation on the Word of God, we grow effortlessly. In season we will become like a beautiful well-watered garden, flourishing and thriving in every realm of life.
3 John 1:2 - Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.
Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we need saving. Perhaps situations have turned out to be terribly different than we had imagined; maybe we’ve just made poor choices, or we got caught in self-destructive behaviors that we never thought we would.
When we find ourselves in deep waters that are threatening to pull us under, we are one simple prayer away from a lifesaver being tossed our way. God is our rescuer, savior, defender, protector and shield. When the children of Israel were under bondage to the Egyptians, God heard their moans. God sent them a deliverer, Moses. Moses approached Pharaoh many times demanding that he let God’s people go.
Ultimately Pharaoh relented and allowed God’s people to leave. However, when he saw them exiting Egypt, he changed his mind. He and his army began to pursue Moses and the Israelites. Moses and the children of Israel were fleeing but could not cross the Red Sea. God split the Red Sea and God’s people crossed through the water. When Pharaoh and his army tried to cross the Red Sea, the waters returned to their natural state crushing them in the process.
Today, as we feel trapped by our enemies of fear, guilt, depression, and self-condemnation, we can receive God’s mighty deliverer Jesus. Jesus Christ came to earth to live a sinless life, to die on the cross and be raised from the dead for us. So now in this great exchange we can take our sin, unrighteousness, fear, and pain and trade it for His perfection, righteousness, peace and well-being.
As we choose to be water baptized as a symbolic act of our new life in Christ, we cross through the waters and see the enemies of our soul crushed in the process. As we allow God’s saving power to rescue and restore every part of our being, we will walk as living memorials of God’s mercy and goodness.
Acts 7:34 - I have certainly seen the oppression of My people in Egypt and have heard their groans, and I have come down to rescue them; come now, and I will send you to Egypt.’