January 2009


Sower1

This last Sunday I experienced an ever increasing event as of late, in that my understanding of Scripture was greater clarified. The hard part about the clarification of Scripture is that it is usually accompanied by a conviction, to in some manner also change my life. What I always thought of as a reference to the conception of eternal life in mankind turned into the realization that this is a perpetual struggle not only in the beginning stages but throughout a Christian’s life.

Eric led us this week in a teaching on “The Parable of the Sower” in Luke chapter eight. Jesus parallels the spreading of the Word to a farmer sowing seeds. The Farmer is metaphorical for our Heavenly Father who sows the seeds of the Word in our hearts. The seed is the Word and the soil is the hearer of the Word. There are four types of soil in this passage: the road, the rocks, the thorns, and fertile soil. The seed that falls on the road is trampled upon and never takes root. The seed that falls on the rocks will take small root but has no room to grow. The seed that falls amongst the thorns is choked out. But the seed that falls upon fertile soil will grow abundantly. What I realized as we pondered the meaning of this parable, was that this is not merely a struggle in becoming a Christian but is also a permanent struggle throughout a person’s walk with God. There are times when I have ignored a Scripture or ignored God and trampled on the words He gave me. There have been times when I have ingested His words but did not allow them to take deep root. There have been times when I allowed the comforts of this world to choke out the Word of God. And then finally there are times when I submit to God and become the fertile soil wherein His Word can take root and grow exceedingly in me. It all boiled down to the state of the human heart. When God’s Word falls on the road, our hearts are hardened and cannot accept the Word. When God’s Word falls on the rocks, our hearts respond temporarily and we all too quickly fizzle out of life. When the Word of God falls on the thorns, our hearts are open because it is convenient but we are easily distracted by everything around us and the Word is choked out. The moments in which the Word falls on good soil, are the moments in which are hearts are truly changed. So how does one know when they are good soil? Fortunately for us, there is irrefutable evidence of good soil in that it produces fruit. If we are good soil, and we are recipients of the Word of God, then we will be fruitful. What does being fruitful mean to you? And how can we better be bearers of fruit in our immediate circles of influence?

What is a sinful woman? And how does she differ from any other woman? At first glance one may not be able to tell the difference but as you grow closer to this woman certain things will be apparent about her character. She suffers consequences that others do not. And as time progresses these consequences begin to take a toll. This week we studied a story of this sinful woman. While this particular account in Luke (Luke 7:36-50) does not expound on her lifestyle it is obvious that she carried deep seeded pain around with her. To understand more fully her pain we took a journey into the Old Testament story of Hosea and Gomer. God prophesies the extent of the consequences suffered by a sinful woman (Hosea 2:2-13) and as we studied this list of consequences, the sinful woman of Luke came alive in character and pain.

As recognition of her situation took on form, the incredible gift of God’s grace grew in magnitude as we began to understand how immense grace truly is. We saw this woman’s overwhelming desire to leave her situation but the futility of that attempt without Christ as the Simon’s of her world told her she did not deserve to rise above her circumstances. And here enters the grace of God. God’s grace is exactly that: undeserved. But that gift of grace hinges on one thing. Are you willing to accept it? We have all sinned and fallen short. The individual’s view of God’s forgiveness and grace is dependent on our acceptance of His gift. Once you have accepted what Christ offers to you, your sin no longer has the power to define you. What defines you is Christ’s vision of restoration and wholeness. Do not let the Simon’s of the world tell you differently. Listen only to the words of Jesus, “I offer you peace and freedom. Stop running in your circle of sin and come away with me into the wilderness where there can be healing, restoration, and wholeness; where I can make you as beautiful as the day you were created. You think I cannot see beyond your sin, but that is a lie – I see all your potential, glory and beauty if only you will come in faith and anoint my feet with your tears. Come to the wilderness with me, so that I may respond (Hosea 2:21-23) to you and administer my grace to you.” (“Respond” in Hebrew is the word anah. It means to dwell in, sing, utter, speak, cry out, answer.) God is waiting for us to come to Him so that He may dwell in, sing to, and cry out in answer to us.

When the Simon’s say, “I see only what you have done,” hear instead the voice of Jesus as He says, “I see what you were created to be.” When Simon says, “You have no future,” hear The Great Lover of our souls declare to us, “I am your future.”