A daily, Bible-based perspective of hope, encouragement and exhortation.
Monday, August 23, 2021
Sunflowers pop up all over our flower gardens due to the birds dropping the seeds here and there. At times we consider them to be weeds and pull them out, but when they stand tall and show their happy face they are invited to be among the rest of the flowers.
(click on photo to enlarge)
"An Enemy Did This"
Message summary: We must follow some good advice I recall as a child when we had a vegetable garden in our backyard. Mom would remind us "You’ve got to keep up with the weeds".
Listen to this message on your audio player.
“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).
Brooksyne is a diligent home gardener. At this phase of life it's mostly flowers since we can get vegetables in abundance at roadside stands which we have right here on Kraybill Church Road on an Amish farm. She's still planting this season since she enjoys bringing life back to the deeply discounted flowers now available including perennials which will grow back next year. Although we've had a lot of rain the last several days she normally waters daily.
For many years we have enjoyed sharing photos of her flowers and our landscaping. She also has an herb garden with basil, parsley, rosemary, chives, also several tomato and pepper plants that are edible, although not as beautiful.
One of the necessary and least desirable duties is weeding. I help her some but I must admit I find weeding very frustrating. After all they always come back, so why bother! I did recently spray for weeds using my new battery powered sprayer but I used a general herbicide that kills everything so I kept the spray off her flowers!
A reality in both crop farming and home gardening is the importance of weed control. This is a fundamental truth in Christian discipleship as well. The Bible uses weeds to illustrate hindrances to our spiritual 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. 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:
1) “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 appearance and reason for the weeds. Certainly the deficiency was not in the quality of the seed, for in this parable the landowner represents God who always sows good seed.
2) “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.
The landowner answered the second question, “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 destructive forces are visible in family units, in nations and in the world overall. Even churches are susceptible to the devil's weed seeding! We must follow some good advice I recall as a child when we had a vegetable garden in our backyard. 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" (1 John 4:4).
Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)
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. Help us to do our part in keeping up with the weeds. Amen.
Note: I find it instructive to apply this text as I seek to understand and make sense of all the deeply disturbing events taking place in our nation and world right now. As Martin Luther wrote, "But still our ancient foe, doth seek to work us woe". This is true not only of individuals but of nations.
Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
"I Will Trust My Savior Jesus" Video CityAlight
I will trust my Savior Jesus
When my darkest doubts befall
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Seems the hardest thing of all
We were especially blessed yesterday by the selection of music at our church and how our pastor addressed the current world situations. This video is cued to a Scripture reading at the beginning at two songs; "King of Kings" and "There Is A King" followed by the message. Video
Brooksyne's Note: Should you choose to listen to the video from Calvary Church I'd like to highlight a couple stanzas from the two songs included on the video. I was deeply moved in my spirit as the following stanza was sung in "There is a King" in light of current events.
"There is a King"
It won't be long we will behold Him
And every tear He'll wipe away
We'll be at home the war will be over
Soon we will meet our Savior face to face
When we sing "King of Kings" the following stanza stands out that speaks of Christ's resurrection. The songwriter gives us a pictorial view that I can't remember ever singing in other hymns, choruses or other contemporary songs. It's a subject matter not often referenced in sermons or books, not even at Easter. I'm speaking of when the "dead rose from their tombs" at the time of the earthquake following Christ's death: "The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many." (Matthew 27:52,53).
"King of Kings"
And the morning that You rose
All of Heaven held its breath
'Til that stone was moved for good
For the Lamb had conquered death
And the dead rose from their tombs
And the angels stood in awe
For the souls of all who'd come
To the Father are restored
Early this summer we put together a Gazebo from a kit. This summer we have been enjoying a lot of meals and time outside. Here's a night-time photo with our blooming Hydrangea tree in the background.
Saturday morning we had our friends Ken and Audrey over for breakfast. For most of our 45 years of marriage we invited friends over for dinner, but we've come to really enjoy Saturday morning breakfasts in recent years. We often refer to Audrey's as one of our companies we serve in Lebanon so it was delightful to have them over for fellowship. Audrey and Ken grow beautiful flower gardens so it was fun to walk through our yard and talk about the flowers we're growing this year. Also, our main entree, "Jalapeno Quiche" was very well received. I've shared the recipe with so many people over the years at their request so I will include recipe. Even though it has jalapeno jam the sweetness balances the spicy taste and is popular with those who don't eat spicy foods.
(A delicious recipe using pepper jam. It is very easy to prepare and is a crowd pleaser even for those who don’t usually like spicy foods.)
1 C. Hot Pepper Jam
2# shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Optional: Chopped bacon, ground sausage or chorizo
10-12 eggs, beaten
Chili powder, salt & pepper
In 9X13 dish spread 3/4 C. melted jelly over bottom (heat jam in microwave for easier spreading.)
Sprinkle shredded cheese evenly over top of jelly.
Beat eggs, season with chili powder, salt and pepper (to taste). Also add about 1/2 C. meat to egg mixture if you choose to add it. 1/4 C. jam should also be stirred into eggs.
Pour evenly on top of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees 30 to 40 minutes until browned on top. Let it sit for five or more minutes for easy cutting. Freezes very nicely and reheats in microwave.
Congratulations to our friends Jesse and Anna Ruth at the Old Windmill Farm. Their farm just won this award from Trip Advisor. This achievement celebrates businesses that consistently deliver fantastic experiences to travelers around the globe, having earned great traveler reviews on Tripadvisor over the last 12 months. We get blessed reading the reviews!
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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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