Absorb God’s Word – Don’t Worry About Overflowing

Pitchfork Pots Flowing Over

Pitchfork Pots Over Flowing

Water absorbent crystals perform as the name implies: they absorb water. And they can absorb an amazing amount of water. When placed in pots with plants they slowly release the absorbed water and keep the plants hydrated over a longer period of time. Just when they need it.

Pitchfork Pot Overflowing

Pitchfork Pot Overflowing

I have used the crystals for several years but with these pots I apparently was thinking about something else and misjudged the number of crystals needed. As you see, after a 2 inch rain, the crystals expanded many times larger than their “dry weight”. They erupted over the side and took some of the potting soil with them to the ground. I’ll have to re-pot the moss roses and redistribute most of the crystals to other pots.

The sight of the engorged crystals and the thought of letting out the water as needed made me think of God’s Word – in a good way, of course. We need to absorb His Word daily – storing it for just when we need it. We don’t have to worry about taking too much in – that can never happen. Plus, if it overflows or even erupts from us, that’s all part of God’s plan to spread it around.

 Jesus said: A sower went out to sow his seed…Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” Luke 8:5, 8:11 ESV

We aren’t all called to be preachers, but we are all called to be sowers of the Word. Fill your seed bag to overflowing so there is an abundance to sow.

What Ingredients Create Our Spiritual Mulch?

Flower Bed Before Mulch

Flower Bed Before Mulch

The flower beds were a mess. Some still are since it’s a work in progress. I didn’t add any mulch in the fall, so the weeds were free to multiply and the warm winter helped them along.

But, thankfully, I’ve had some time and been able to work on the beds. Here’s what they’re starting to look like.

Flower Bed with Pine Straw Mulch

Flower Bed with Pine Straw Mulch

My favorite mulch (and the favorite of many folks around here in south Georgia) is pine straw. It’s abundant and relatively inexpensive. I like the way it looks, too – makes things nice and neat.

But, although it does look good, the main purposes of the mulch aren’t aesthetic. Mulch is used to stop the weeds from growing – hopefully to keep the ground dark enough that the weed seeds don’t even sprout. And, it’s used to retain the moisture when the summer gets hot and dry.

In my pondering as I put out the pine straw, I wondered if there was such a thing as spiritual mulch. We certainly need something to keep the spiritual weeds from growing – those thoughts or actions that begin siphoning off our nourishment that God provides. Those things that begin to shade our heart and mind from God’s presence.

We also need ways to keep the living water around us during times of spiritual drought.

I decided that prayer and Bible study are two necessary components of spiritual mulch. Consistent prayer (with the right attitude) keeps us close to God. Bible study continually reminds us who God is, who we are in relation to Him, and what He has done for us.

Those ingredients will keep the spiritual weeds from growing (and having worked hard at getting rid of weeds in the flower bed, I can say it’s much easier to keep them from growing than to remove them later) and they will keep the living water flowing from Jesus.

Pray without ceasing” 1 Thessalonians 5:17 ESV

On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37 ESV

Bible Study – Cherish the Knowns, Work on the Unknowns

Three unknowns

Three unknowns

Since I’ve started a bit of “birding” in the backyard, I’m discovering just how many unknowns I have. Here are three unknowns that decided to get a bite to eat at the same time. I thought I was fairly knowledgeable from my Boy Scout days (which I admit was quite a while ago), but, I’ve gone beyond my knowledge level of the cardinals, mockingbirds, and bluebirds – and realized my ignorance.

When I say “gone beyond”, though, I don’t mean I’ve forgotten them. I have learned that we have the Northern Cardinals, Northern Mockingbirds, and Eastern Bluebirds. But, whether I knew the more specific name or not, the bright red of the male cardinals will always make them a favorite of mine. The songs of the mockingbirds are beautiful, and the blue of the bluebirds is amazing.

It reminded me of Bible Study. As we’ve heard and read the Bible through the years, we’ve probably had more exposure to the well known, and appropriately well loved, verses and passages – “For God so loved the world..”, “The Lord is my Shepherd…”, the Christmas and Easter stories, etc. But, it’s also probable that even though they are familiar, the Holy Spirit has given us additional insight, understanding, and application of these passages at different times. By continuing to study and listen, we learn more about what we thought we knew completely.

And, if we expand what we read and hear to include the whole Bible, we learn more about our glorious God. Things we may have had in the back of our mind become clearer because there is wisdom throughout the entire Bible.

Thanks to help from some of you, I’ve learned of the Pine Siskin and the Chipping Sparrow, and now can enjoy my knowledge of them also. But, the red of the male cardinal will always be a favorite and the blue of the bluebird will always be amazing. As we search the Scriptures, we will discover more verses that will become cherished – but we will always rejoice and be comforted and amazed that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16 NKJV

Blessings from God – A Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

God has blessed me with a blank canvas (well, blank in most respects) in part of the area where we cut some planted pines. I’ve started with a few small trees and bushes but still have more room than I’ll ever be able to fill. Thoughts of a  bunch of knockout roses, and a native plant area, and grape vines, etc., etc.

Our Lord blesses us with other blank canvasses. Each day may not be totally blank (because of things required) but we can change what we’re doing or not doing, and paint a new picture that clearly shows our love of Christ. We can smile a bit more and generously give out encouragement and compassion.

But, the greatest blank canvas came with our salvation. The blood of Christ washed away all our sins – past, present and future. And, that blank canvas shines out God’s mercy and grace, because we know we aren’t sinless on our own.

However, our salvation doesn’t give us a canvas that is blank of responsibilities. We’re told in the Bible to keep a “short account” – meaning quickly acknowledging our sins, asking forgiveness, and turning away from them. We work to keep that canvas as blank as possible, while resting in the assurance that it’s Christ sinlessness that overcomes our sinfulness.

I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” Isaiah 43:25 ESV