North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    This is the time of year when crops are being planted and gardens are being cultivated. The plowing and the fertilizing are faithfully done with the hopeful expectation there will be a great harvest. All the elements of successful agricultural planning doesn’t happen automatically. There’s a marked intelligence that is brought to bear by the farmer in the choosing of machinery, the selection of certain seed for certain soil, the grafting of plants and trees, all of which gives way to peas, potatoes, corn, peanuts, cotton, and fruit of all kinds.    But there is another kind of gardening, a higher form of culture, going on all the while in the minds and hearts of every one of us. What kind of cultivation are we giving to the spiritual possibilities of our souls? This should be a question of great interest for every individual and family, not just the church. The Bible says, “You are God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:9). If we will submit to Him in loving obedience He will superintend the culture of our spiritual life and will bring forth as a result something far more beautiful and splendid than we could ever hope for.

    Hosea 14:5-7 says, “I (God) will be to Israel like a refreshing dew from Heaven; my people will blossom like the lily; it will send roots deep into the soil like the cedars of Lebanon. Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees as fragrant as the cedar of Lebanon. My people will again live under my shade. They will flourish like grain and blossom like grapevines.”

    The dew comes as a welcomed relief during the dry season. God doesn’t forget those who trust Him in times of drought. His dew will keep the branches from withering and fainting in the midst of the summer.

    A characteristic of Christian character is that of growth, always seeking the next stage of maturity. The Bible says, “My people will grow as the lily”. The lily grows rapidly and blooms in fragrance, so those who trust God will have abundant growth.

    Another characteristic of the faithful Christian is someone who’s well-rooted in their convictions and confidence. “Their roots will be deep in the soil like the cedars of Lebanon.” Lebanon possessed great cedar forests in Biblical times. These tall trees had great roots to run deep underground and hold the tree secure in times of storm. The roots serve yet another purpose. Running far below the surface of the soil, they act as pumps to tap the hidden streams of water, giving the tree life during the long summer time. A Christian’s roots of faith run down deep into the soil of God’s promises. They tap streams of communion with God through prayer and fellowship with Christ.

    When all earthly promises fail, the Christian’s hope is not destroyed, because of the comfort that is drawn from the hidden confidence in God. When the winds of opposition blow hardest, the soul stands in strong assurance that God is able to keep His children and bring them to victory.

    “Its branches will spread out like beautiful olive trees, as fragrant as the cedars of Lebanon.” I can remember, as a little boy and later as a teen, wandering around in my grandparent’s backyard. They had four or five huge cedar trees with wide branches growing along the fence line. Not only did they provide wonderful shade in the summertime, there was a distinct, refreshing smell that only an evergreen like itself could produce. The smell was almost intoxicating and I often revisit those days in my mind.

    The Scripture from Hosea 14 offers a picture as we ought to be as Christians. In the heart of God there’s a cherished ideal of us that is beautiful and fragrant like that. We must realize it! And live it out as if we belong to it, because we do! The world needs for its tired and wretched eyes the beauty of Christian character. The world needs to be refreshed by the fragrance of unselfish deeds and Christian conduct.

    This kind of life isn’t only good for the one in whom it characterizes, it’s beneficial to those who are about to faint and are ready to die. These poor souls come under the restful shade of such character and can be revived with hope. What a blessed thing it is to live in such fellowship with God that the simplicity of Christ’s spirit in us can cheer the faint, inspire the discouraged, and bring comfort to those that mourn. Stand tall as the cedar and shower those around you with the fragrance of true love, God’s love.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a teacher, U.S. Army Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. You can contact him at:

Posted by on Jun 25 2017. Filed under Church News, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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