Drainage

Winter is the perfect time to move plants. They are dormant. So in evaluating which plant might grow better in a different location from where it currently grows, I need to evaluate that plant’s needs. Very few plants that grow in our zone thrive in standing water so drainage is important. Some plants need well drained soil, others need more moist soil. Yet roots rot if there is no drainage. Plants need water, but flooding causes devastation in gardens.

Pools of water become stagnant if there is no outlet. For fresh water to come in there has to be an outlet for the water to flow out.

My friend Alice Marie and I were talking about a spiritual application of this concept last week. As followers of Jesus we have been given the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit fills us with the life and power of Jesus.

If we are filled with the Spirit and we don’t allow the Spirit to flow through us to others, we become stagnant and prevent a fresh flow of God’s Spirit through us. Just as in our gardens, we want some water to drain out for fresh water to re-fill.

What are some ways we allow the Spirit to flow through us?

  • Worship – when we praise God we fulfill our purpose – “the chief end of man is to love God and worship Him forever.” God created humans for fellowship. When we worship God in Spirit and truth we are pouring out our love for God. God’s love flows through us in worship. (John 4: 23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”)
  • Sharing the love of Jesus – God’s love flows through us in serving others. Matthew 25:36-413I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
  • Prayer – when we pray and listen – Holy Spirit speaks to us and we commune with God. Matthew 6:9-10 Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy.10 May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Philippians 4:6-7 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

As we worship, serve and pray, the Holy Spirit flows through us. We will not be a stagnant Christian receiving from God but never letting the Holy Spirit flow through us.

May we cause “drainage” in our lives so there is a freshness in following Jesus as His Spirit flows through us. Amen!

In My Garden With God

Natural Habitat

Will this camellia live or not?

Last month we had several days with temperatures in single digits. This is unusual for us and it has taken a toll on our evergreen perennials. Yet walking around our yard I noticed something. The native perennials like American Holly, dog hobble, balsam fur, white pine, native magnolia, rhododendron, and mountain laurel are just fine. Their leaves or needles are just as green as ever.

It is the non-native species that are suffering. Our variegated ornamental bush has lost most all of the green and white leaves that in the past looked lovely all winter. We have three different varieties of camellias which are all suffering with browning leaves and frozen buds. Several azaleas have leaves which are turning brown and only time will tell if they will recover or not. We have mostly perennials in our yard because we appreciate that they grow and bloom year after year. The big freeze has changed that!

Those native plants flourish because this is their natural habitat with the conditions perfectly suited for them. Seeds and plants have “planting zones” for a reason. They are flourish in specific temperature conditions.

This is true in our spiritual life as well. God has prescribed certain conditions that ensure optimum spiritual growth potential. We are studying Acts in our Women’s Community Bible study and I was reminded of those conditions this week.

Acts 2 describes the birth of the church of Jesus Christ. This is the CHURCH that we are ALL a part of if we have accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord. This church is not a building or a denomination or even a specific congregation, but is comprised of the followers of Jesus. In Acts 2 Peter gave his amazing sermon relating God’s plan to redeem us from the fall. Acts 2:41 – 42 says –

41 Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all.

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals, and to prayer.

So here are the four ingredients needed to create the “natural habitat” to ensure spiritual growth. Just as plants need sunlight, rain, the correct soil composition, and conducive temperatures, we need

  • Biblical teaching
  • fellowship
  • sharing meals
  • prayer

The apostles’ teaching is contained in the New Testament and often quotes portions of the Old Testament. Biblical teaching renews our minds and we learn what it means to follow Jesus. Fellowship encourages us and allows us to encourage others as we share in the ups and downs of living in this fallen world. Sharing meals together is a special way to connect with others. The Bible is full of places where God “shows up” while people are eating. Paul says in Hebrews 10:24-25 –

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

Prayer is essential. My dear friend, Ann Melton, shared this week that all our prayers should begin with praise. Jesus taught us that example in what we call the “Lord’s Prayer”. Prayer is our opportunity to communicate with God which involves listening as well as speaking. Prayer is our direct channel to God.

We must nurture our spiritual lives and cultivate the natural habitat that will allow us to grow and flourish spiritually.

Then our lives will produce beautiful fruit of the Spirit for the Glory of God.

In Season and Out of Season

Camellia

I was complaining to Phil recently about my camellia bush blooming out of season. “These beautiful blooms will all turn brown when it gets cold again!,” I fussed. “It is still winter and these flowers open up as soon as it gets warm.”

“Just enjoy them whenever they bloom.” Phil admonished me. “It doesn’t matter what season they bloom.” And this coming from someone who grew up thinking the four seasons were baseball, football, basketball, and hockey….

The more I thought about it, the more I realized Phil had a point. I LOVE the blooms of flowers. If I enjoy my camellia blooms in April, what is preventing me from enjoying them in December, January, and February, too?

Only my attitude.

They did turn brown two nights later, but I had already picked 5 and we enjoyed them in vases for a week. It was like a touch of spring in our house.

These early blooming flowers have also reminded me of God’s faithfulness and God’s desire that we be faithful.

Just as I should be thankful that the flowers are blooming instead of lamenting the timing, our Heavenly Father wants me to be ready to share the good news of salvation through Jesus whether the timing seems perfect or not. I need to be ready in season and out of season.

In II Timothy 4:2-4 Paul is encouraging young Timothy to be ready to share the truth of Jesus.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction. 

For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 

They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 

These verses, written around 2000 years ago certainly describe our current culture, don’t they? I know that I am often guilty of not recognizing opportunities to share the Gospel because it is “out of season” – not the situation or timing I am used to or comfortable with.

I need to be ready in season and out of season.

I am so thankful for the encouragement I receive in my garden with God.

 

# In My Garden with God   24