Monday, April 16, 2018


"The seed is the Word of God. The seeds on the road are those who hear the Word, but no sooner do they hear it than the Devil snatches it from them so they won’t believe and be saved. 

The seeds in the gravel are those who hear with enthusiasm, but the enthusiasm doesn’t go very deep. It’s only another fad, and the moment there’s trouble it’s gone. 

And the seed that fell in the weeds—well, these are the ones who hear, but then the seed is crowded out and nothing comes of it as they go about their lives worrying about tomorrow, making money, and having fun. 

But the seed in the good earth—these are the good-hearts who seize the Word and hold on no matter what, sticking with it until there’s a harvest."-Luke 8:11-15 (MSG)

When planting a garden, you search for good, fertile soil that will create abundant and life-filled plants. Your flowers won't grow very well when stifled by weeds or immersed in gravel. If the seeds don't start out in healthy soil, they will have a hard time growing to be healthy and long-lasting. In the same way that you ensure reliable and favorable soil, you also make sure to plant your seeds deep. If they are too close to the surface, animals and birds will make sure to find them and devour them.
It is the same way when we plant God's word in our hearts. When the seeds of God's promises have a firm foundation in our hearts we will flourish and see a harvest. Unfortunately it's very easy to plant these seeds of truth in soil that will decay and destroy. When we don't let the truths fully sink in and remain in a state of complacency, skepticism, and doubt, the seeds are only on the surface and have not been yet nourished , creating the perfect scenario for the enemy to snatch them before they start to grow. Oftentimes, too, we will hear the truth and be temporarily passionate about following God, but then that passion fizzles and fades away before it even has a chance to bear fruit. When the seeds are planted amongst gravel in our hearts, we can see following God as more of a fad and ride the up and down wave, based on circumstances in life. Some days we might be on fire and other days we abandon God's love altogether.
Personally, I think the most dangerous way our seeds can be planted is when they are surrounded by weeds. There are "weeds" everywhere, constantly threatening to crowd out and choke the harvest. These weeds are distractions and temptations and tendencies to sin. Some of these things can appear harmless and that's where it can easily become a murky, grey area. Lies get in the way. Anxiety and depression tangle themselves in. Material items and money grow right on top of your seed. Pleasure and selfishness shoot up tall, making the original plant almost unrecognizable. Busyness, success, and productivity creep their way into the garden. The soil is now toxic. These things are all around us.
The only way God's truth and love can remain in our hearts is when the seeds are planted on good soil. When we open our hearts completely, set our eyes totally on God, and don't welcome in distractions or allow ourselves to waver based on lies or distractions. When the seed is planted on good soil, it will grow. When you keep pursuing God, day after day, letting His word feed your heart and direct your life, you will be transformed. The seed will grow into a gorgeous, flourishing flower. If the seed only remains on the surface or is planted in unhealthy soil, though, it's only a matter of time before it dies. If you hear God's word, but don't allow it to change you and penetrate deep into your soul, it's only a matter of time before your forget, get bored, or fall completely out of step.
When the seeds of God's truth and love are planted on good soil, you will live a life of abundance. Your heart will be overwhelmed with abundant joy and full of His life. You will experience the fullness of growing in Him and turning back is no longer an option. The seed will grow into a plant that keeps growing and growing and growing- and eventually it will begin changing and influencing every aspect of your life. You'll see people different, you'll see yourself differently, and you'll see life differently. Love will be the foundation from which all that you do, say, and think stems.
Plant this truth on the good soil in your heart and it will never fade away: God made you for a purpose and He has a plan for your life that is bigger than you can fathom. The love of God is beyond comprehension- He will show you grace and mercy exactly where you're at and revitalize everything in your life that seems dead. He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross to save you from every bit of sin, every ounce of shame- He had overwhelming compassion and love for you and still does in this very moment. Believe that He died for you, that He loves you, and allow Him in the depths of your heart. Don't stop pursuing Him; allow Him to fill the deep wells within you that have been empty.
When this seed is planted on good soil it cannot be uprooted, it cannot die, and it will ignite a change everywhere. Not only will the seed in your heart grow with love, it will impact the hearts of others as they plant their seeds.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Devotional- Nothing Can Seperate

I'm going to start posting devotionals as often as I can. Thinking realistically, I probably won't have the chance to post one everyday- but I am going to try to share truth and encouragement that God puts on my heart after reading scripture. We are all constantly in need of truth, hope, and light- it is my prayer that through these devotionals you will be uplifted and encouraged throughout your day and that you will ponder God's love and His word more deeply. If you'd like to receive these posts and others, make sure to subscribe on the sidebar by putting in your email address and new posts will be sent straight to your inbox!

"Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:

They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.

We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.

None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us."-Romans 8:31-39 (MSG)

Is there any place God's grace doesn't reach? Is there anything that can separate us from Him? Is there anything you can do to drive Him away?

These questions often run through my mind. It seems basic, in theory, to embrace the concept of God's grace, but in daily life we sometimes don't let this truth permeate below the surface. It's hard to even fathom, really- that absolutely nothing on earth can come between you and God. That's a reason to celebrate; a reason to rejoice and permanently throw away that bag of bricks you've been holding and burn your checklist of things you need to do to please God. Read it again: "Nothing can get between us and God's love." Nothing. No emotional outbursts, anxious worrying, negative thoughts, selfish choices, love of the world, unkind words, worshipping of status, material, or money- absolutely none of that can separate you from God. The Bible says "not even the worst sins" could separate you from Him.

So don't listen to the lies. Don't listen to the lies that God's grace doesn't apply to you. Don't listen to the lies that it's too late or you're too far gone or what you've done is too horrible. The baffling and awe-inspiring thing is that you don't have to clean yourself up and become a walking, talking piece of perfection before approaching God. If you had your life together and never made any mistakes you would have no need for Jesus. Nothing you did yesterday, nothing you've done today, and nothing you'll do tomorrow can pull you from God's hand. His love and grace cannot be taken away. The reality is that you will fail- over and over and over again; but the important thing that you can't afford to miss is that in your failure, God's grace is made perfect. Nothing you go through, nothing you say, nothing you do can put a wedge between you and God.

The next piece of good news is that all of those dark, terrible things you feel weighing you down are not intended to stay there. With God inside of you, transformation is inevitable. Of course you will never be perfect and darkness and sin will never be completely extracted from your life on this earth- but even still, if God's spirit lives deep within you, He is constantly guiding and helping you to depart from your old ways and embrace His new and life-filled ways.

"But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!" -Romans 8:9-11 (MSG)

Wow. So as humans we are constantly experiencing the limitations of darkness and sin, but in the midst of that, God raises us to life. He turns our perspective and our choices from darkness and death to light and life. He delivers us from all of our mistakes and all of our shame. 

Let's walk away fully understanding both truths today: God's grace is available forever, no matter what we do or what we've done, but at the same time, as He lives in our hearts He is constantly helping us to change and become more like Him.