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Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Star Barn, Lancaster County (Click to enlarge)
The Star Barn near Elizabethtown, PA
Click on photo to enlarge

"The Good Soil" (Part 2)

Message summary: Today we consider the characteristics of the good soil which is likened to the human heart that is receptive to the seed of God's Word. Lord let my heart be good soil!

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“But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word with a good and virtuous heart, and hold it firmly, and produce fruit with perseverance" (Luke 8:15).

Thank you, God, for water, soil and air,
large gifts supporting everything that lives.

Soil mixesMany people see soil as nothing more than dirt. But soil is a marvelous gift from God. On the third day of Creation the dry ground (soil) appeared followed by vegetation. Wherever you live, unless we have readers in the polar regions or extremely high elevations, you can see evidence of this divine work, even in concrete covered cities.

Soil is very complex and there is an entire field of soil science which studies the physical and chemical properties of soil. Good soil structure for growing is soft and crumbly, with granular aggregates that hold together even in water. Soil has many nutrients that plants need and these can be enhanced.

We keep various soils on hand for our growing projects. Recently we bought ten bags of raised bed mix since it was at a deep clearance price ($2.00 per bag down from $17.20!). But Brooksyne still prefers potting mix for her flowering plants. We also have top soil for filling in the uneven ground in the lawn.

Sowing seedThe parable of the sower is recorded in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 13:1-23, Mark 4:1-20, and Luke 8:1-15). In this parable the human heart is likened to soil that is receptive to the seed of God's Word. That's the kind of heart we want!

The description of the good soil is slightly different but complimentary in each account.
  • "As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty” (Matthew 13:23).
  • "But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold” (Mark 4:20).
  • “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word with a good and virtuous heart, and hold it firmly, and produce fruit with perseverance" (Luke 8:15).
Today we will consider the qualities of good soil from each account.
  1. "one who hears and understands"
  2. "one who bears fruit"
  3. "one who hears the word with a good and virtuous heart"
  4. "one who holds it firmly"
  5. "one who perseveres"
The good soil represents true disciples who understand God's word and produce a good harvest. They listen with a good and virtuous heart and are even willing to suffer in their perseverance for Christ.

Lord, let my heart be good soil!

Be encouraged today, (Hebrews 3:13)

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we thank You for soil, one of Your great creations from the very beginning that we easily take for granted. We want to be like the good soil mentioned in the Parable of the Sower; the one who hears the Word, absorbs its message, understands its meaning and as a result brings forth an abundance of fruit; the kind that has lasting eternal value such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Just like water, soil and air produce good vegetation, so also the Bible, prayer, and worship produce godliness in the believer. May we be faithful in doing our part. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Lord, Let My Heart Be Good SoilVideo  Asian singers

Lord, let my heart be good soil,
open to the seed of your word.
Lord, let my heart be good soil,
where love can grow and peace is understood.

When my heart is hard, break the stone away.
When my heart is cold, warm it with the day.
When my heart is lost, lead me on your way.

Lord, let my heart.. Lord, let my heart..
Lord, let my heart be good soil.

"Morning by Morning"  Video  Pat Barrett

I will trust where You lead
I will trust when I can’t see
Morning by morning
Great is Your faithfulness to me

Brooksyne's note: We sang this song on our church service this last Sunday. This verse caught my attention. Do we sternly rebuke fear when it arises in our life? When fear and doubt from the enemy overshadows courage and faith from God's Spirit let us speak out in the authority given to us by Christ:

All fear be reminded
My future is secure
My Father has spoken
And He keeps His every word

Looking back a few years to one of our favorite places, The Old Windmill Farm.

Stephen with curious horse on the Old Windmill Farm
This horse on the Old Windmill Farm was interested in checking out my suspenders. He would pull at the elastic suspenders till they snapped. This startled the horse, but he quickly got over his fear, and enthusiastically thought up a new game of "Snap the guy's suspender". I finally decided this horse had had enough horsing around at my expense! Perhaps it was the first experience he had with straps that stretch and he got a kick out of it, since the straps of a bridle do not stretch.

Brooksyne with mules, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18 (Click to enlarge)
I had so much fun leading a team of mules as the Lapp family, along with Stephen and Ester, rode on the hay wagon through the fields (probably four years ago). I was surprised they offered me the chance but I jumped at it as I still remember when Grandpa Sherrell let me lead his team of mules, as a young teen, after we had done a day's work of plowing on his 200 acre farm on Mountain Top, Arkansas. (In a few weeks I will be on the mountain again visiting with aunts, uncles and cousins.) It was a bit harder to lead Jesse's team since I had to stand and guide the mules. Grandpa had a bench seat on his wagon and I would guide the mules sitting down. Stephen tried it for a few minutes as well.  I'm sure the mules were relieved when Jesse eventually took the reins from me!

Goats, Old Windmill Farm 9/16/18
Can you guess whose baby I'm holding!

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Weber couple photo 7/3/22
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Thank you,

Stephen & Brooksyne

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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