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North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose 

    National Farmer’s Day was October 12 and there’s very few people in our little corner of the world that doesn’t have a connection to a family that works the land in some way. Most folks in rural areas appreciate the hard labor it requires to produce crops. The farmer has a unique and challenging task; for its dependent on Mother Nature’s sunshine and rain. Both of which are out of our control. Productive farming requires calculations and timing when it comes to planting seed and knowing when the crop is at its peak for harvest.    Agricultural references are a common theme throughout the Bible. The parable of the sower presents a powerful lesson pertaining to sowing and reaping, planting, and harvesting (Matthew 13:1-23). In another parable, Jesus portrays the human mind and heart as fields where rival farmers are competing for an opportunity to sow their seed and win the harvest. In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus plants the good seed and afterward the devil comes as an enemy and plants tares in the field. When this happens, in many cases the loving purpose of Christ is defeated in our lives, because the harvest yields bundles of tares only fit to be burned.

    In still another passage, the Bible talks about seed being planted in our heart and how God makes them grow. Somebody plants it and another waters it; they work together for the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. “We are God’s field” (1 Corinthians 3:6-9).

    All of these passages present principles in which we can gain wisdom and develop the mind of Christ to which daily life can be enhanced. The prophet Hosea writes, “Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that He may come and shower righteousness on you” (Hosea 10:12). This single verse is not addressed to those who don’t know God, but to those who have trusted God, but for some reason have neglected their spiritual nature. This lack of watchfulness causes a heart to become hardened and unproductive.

    Anyone that’s spent any amount of time on a working farm knows what fallow ground means. The soil was once in cultivation and yielded crops, but due to indolence or crop rotation, the farmer has let the plows stand idle in that piece of land. In this case, the ground becomes packed and hard. Weeds and grass often take up residence on fallow ground. Such a field must be worked to prepare it for future harvests. The prophet Hosea says those who have become cold and indifferent in their relations to God are in that condition, and he calls upon all such people to break up the fallow ground.

    So how does that happen? How can we plow up the fallow ground of our hearts? The first and greatest of all spiritual cultivation is prayer. I don’t mean a single outpouring of petition to God because of some sudden impulse or personal emergency for shelter and protection. God hears these prayers, but I’m referring to the great urge for purposeful, regular prayer at a stated time because you know that the Holy Spirit, who carries the Wisdom of God, is waiting for you to receive it. This kind of prayer is based on a yearning for divine communion with the mightiest force known to human kind. It’s a marvel of God that He hears and answers all of your prayers. In my opinion, there’s no such thing as unanswered prayers; it’s either “yes, no, or wait.” For thorough spiritual cultivation, prayer has to be a priority for the one who wants answers and understanding. It’s a duty and privilege for God’s children to keep their hearts worshipful, reverent, and in a proper state of cultivation to receive every good seed the Divine Farmer (God) seeks to plant in their soul. To do so is to be in a proper condition to bring a rapid, thorough, and mature harvest that graces the Spirit of God.

    I am compelled to share that prayer meetings are often less attended by church members and that’s a concern to me. The habit of stated prayer at regular times for the Christian church is to some extent falling into neglect. And I am sure that no Christian can live as they ought to live, exercising the influence they should and yield glory to God, without consciously devoting certain time every day to sincere worship of God. Prayer develops a spiritual atmosphere wherever it’s practiced. There’s a heightened spiritual awareness that takes place in the mind and heart of the one that prays. This makes it easier for the spiritual life to grow and thrive.

    There are some people who have intellectual conceptions concerning spiritual things and who claim to be Christian in theory. But the condition of their heart, if not totally surrendered to God, is not entirely Christian. It’s the divine influence of prayer that creates within a person, Christian truths that flourish and grow. A wise farmer works the land to glean what is produced. And a wise person will cultivate the “soil” of the heart to receive God’s planted seed. A wise farmer plows the fields at regular times without reference to the amount of corn that it will yield. A wise person will ready their heart so the seeds will grow under the right conditions. A wise farmer turns the soil over and over, so as to stay in a proper state of cultivation in which to grow a certain crop. A wise person takes the sensitive fields of the heart and consciously opens it to God; communing with Him concerning all the deep longings and aspirations that are our highest nature and greatest concern.

• 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. Amazon.com. You can contact him at: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Oct 15 2017. Filed under Church News, Churches, 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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