Matthew 13 New Living Translation (NLT)
13 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. 2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. 3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:
“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. 4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. 5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. 6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. 8 Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!
I was raised in a Christian family. My parents took me to church, VBS, Youth Camp, Music Camp- as many church activities as they could taxi me to. In junior high, I had one of those emotional mountain top experiences at camp during a worship service as we sang the chorus of “Awesome God.” It was short lived, because once I returned home to the valley (literally- we lived in the foothills of CA!), my life resumed as normal: doing what I wanted to do, being involved in church activities, but never cracking the bible that sat on my shelf. I knew about Jesus, but I had no absolutely relationship with Him.
The seeds fell on the footpath, but the birds ate them up….
In 1999, when I was 9 months pregnant with our 1st daughter, I surrendered my life to the Lord. I sobbed and poured my heart out, confessing every sin I could think of & admitting that I had done a pour job trying to control my life. I received His forgiveness and asked Him to teach me how to follow Him.
Matthew 13 New Living Translation (NLT)
10 His disciples came and asked him, “Why do you use parables when you talk to the people?”
11 He replied, “You are permitted to understand the secrets[a] of the Kingdom of Heaven, but others are not. 12 To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.
In the beginning of my journey following Christ, I realized the importance of studying God’s word. Unfortunately, I was usually left feeling frustrated after reading my bible because I didn’t understand the “secrets!” Instead, I began reading devotionals and Christian self-help books. I did gain some knowledge and understanding of the scriptures through other people’s interpretations, but I had no idea of how to apply these truths to my life, and honestly I really just wanted to keep doing what I wanted to do.
The seeds that fell were on shallow soil with underlying rock…
After a few years, I began to ask the Holy Spirit to give me the desire to want to read the bible- and help me understand it. As I persevered in my daily reading plan, He was faithful to begin illuminating His truth through scripture. Eventually, however, I was faced with an even greater challenge than knowing what it says: doing what it says (I quickly realized that if I didn’t want to be convicted of the sin in my life, or in my marriage, I shouldn’t read it). One of the first things the Lord highlighted to me, through His word, was my inability to forgive, and the consequences it would bring to my life. For far too long, I had held onto anger towards my husband, and thoe bitter roots of unforgiveness were choking out my ability to see and hear from God.
The seeds fell among thorns….
The process of rooting out my pride and being able to forgive began when the Lord stopped me one day, in the middle of one of my tirades about Doug & said “I love him too…I died for him too. I have forgiven him….you need to forgive him.”
That completely broke me.
From that day forward, I made the choice to forgive my husband – until my heart was free from offense, and I could see him the way Our Father sees him. It’s a practice that I continue to exercise even now.
The seeds fell on fertile soil…..
For the first time, I realized an important secret of scripture: He is the farmer, and I am the soil. Because He died for me and adopted me as His daughter, all I need to do to obtain the secrets of His Kingdom is seek Him….and be willing to allow Him to till up any rocks and thorns in my life so that He can scatter His seeds & make them grow. As a result of my willingness, a harvest that is 30, 60, or even 100 times more than what He planted will be produced in my life- and my marriage.
Our God IS an awesome God, isn’t He?