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Friday, June 1, 2007

Yellow Rose

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"An Enemy Did This"

"Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?"  He replied, "An enemy did this" (Matthew 13:27b, 28a).

Today I want to follow up on yesterday's message which was based upon the parable of the sower. As I have mentioned before, Brooksyne is a diligent home gardener. She was watering her new seedlings at 5:30 this morning.  We enjoy sharing photos of her flowers on this site. Above is one of her favorite roses. She also has an herb and vegetable garden that is more practical, although not necessarily as beautiful. There are a lot of steps to caring for her plants and one of them is weeding. I help her some but I must admit I find weeding very frustrating. After all they always come back anyway, so why bother!

As I shared yesterday a reality in both crop farming and home gardening is the importance of weed control which is a fundamental truth in Christian discipleship as well.  The Bible uses weeds to illustrate hindrances to our growth as Christians.  In the parable of the sower Jesus emphasized His plan that the seed of His word be fruitful in His followers.  But some seed was sown among the thorns (analogous to weeds), which choked the Word just as it was developing.

Although the Parable of the Sower is the most familiar of the "Kingdom" parables in Matthew 13 there's a second, less familiar parable called the parable of the weeds, which begins in verse 24.  The parable is rather short and you can read it here.  It speaks of a landowner who sowed good seed in his field, but while he slept his enemy came in and sowed weeds.  Later when the weeds appeared beside the intended crop his servants asked two questions.

"Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field?" Now I am pretty sure they knew the answer to this question was "yes".  They were just baffled by the problem.  The deficiency was not in the quality of the seed, for in this parable the landowner represents God who always sows good seed.

Secondly they asked him, "Where then did the weeds come from?"  Isn't that the very question we often raise in our own lives even in the midst of God's working in our hearts?  The answer in the parable as stated by the landowner expresses a vital truth.

"An enemy did this."  Later, in explaining the parable Christ plainly says, "The enemy that sowed them is the devil" (v. 39).  Indeed, this enemy continues his dastardly work in individual hearts and his venomous forces are visible in family units and in the world overall.  We must follow some good advice I recall as a child when we had a vegetable garden in our backyard. My Mom would remind us "you've got to keep up with the weeds."

Now I don't attribute the weeds in our flower and vegetable gardens to a literal enemy, but they're sure a reminder of the truth of this parable.  Today, may God help each of us as we continue to overcome the work of our archenemy in keeping up with the "weeds."  In our Christian journey there is always going to be an ensuing battle with our enemy, but we can be encouraged as we contemplate the verse that reminds us that we are more than conquerors; "Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer: Just like the persistent weeds, our enemy is ever on the attack trying to choke out the Word of God.  Father, we thank You that we can go on the offensive recognizing that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  Help us to be vigilant in sin's fierce war remembering that the crown awaits the conquest as You lead us by Your glorious might.  Amen.

Note from Brooksyne:  A special note to those especially discouraged by the weeds.  Don't let your discouragement paralyze you.  If some weeds have gotten out of hand call out to God for help, get some encouragement and support from other believers and begin to weed, one small weed at a time. Most all who garden know the most effective way to weed is not to just break off the weed at the ground level but dig beyond and pull out the root.  Weeds simply broken off come back more quickly and are often stimulated to grow even more vigorously.  So often we do the same thing in our spiritual lives – we lay aside a sin for a season, but don't really allow God to pluck it from our hearts.  It's like keeping a destructive habit under control in our actions but not expunging it from our lives.  Digging up the root of a weed takes more effort but the benefits far outweigh the temporary measure of just breaking it off.  May we apply this spiritual truth to our lives as well!

Weed control trayConcerning the red trays in yesterday's photo of our garden: Some were curious about the photo of my freshly planted garden where there were red trays surrounding the peppers.  I saw these last year so I thought I'd give them a try this season.  The red trays reflecting the sun are supposed to make the tomatoes and peppers ripen more quickly.  Each corner of the tray has a hole and is anchored deeply into the soil.  When you water the plants the tray holds the water so that it concentrates around the plant and they work as weed control!  We'll see how it goes for this season. It's fun to try new stuff but sometimes it turns out to just be a gimmick!

"The Parable of the Weeds" Matthew 13:24-30

Personal note: This Saturday my niece is getting married and last night Mike, my oldest brother and Genelle, my younger sister, drove up from North Carolina where Genelle lives. (Mike, who is from California has been visiting her the last week.)  This weekend is the very first time all my siblings will be together since our Mom's death in late 2005.

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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