Hearing God in the Garden: A summer blog series
For anyone that knows just a little about me, it is no secret that I love my garden. I genuinely enjoy every aspect of it –well every aspect but the weeds (more about that in a future post). It is a quiet space for me to clear my head while at the same time it brings forth food that feeds my entire family. This garden fills my heart with gratitude. In the serenity of that space, the Lord speaks to me. I am proud of that particular area of our backyard, and I am so very thankful for what it provides in my life.
But guess what? It did not happen overnight. That beautiful space required preparation. The garden did not happen accidentally or without planning. The appropriate location had to be decided upon, the proper materials had to be ordered, adequate people had to be contacted, and the timing had to be right. If the prepping had not started in ample time prior to planting season, there would have been nothing to harvest. The planning was imperative, but the follow-through was necessary. Reaching the completion of the project took discipline.
Our relationship with the Lord reminds me of my garden in many ways but let us start with the planning and preparation because this is where it all begins. Did you know that God prepared for us? He created an entire world here for us and He did it by only speaking it in existence. It started with defining the day and night and ended with the creation of the first man and next the woman. It was vital that He prepare their dwelling place before He placed them in it. Did you know that He knew us even before we were born? He had a plan for us from the beginning of time and that has never changed.
"I made the earth and created man on it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host." Isaiah 45:12
God's creation was not accidental. There was order and that order was stupendous. It was designed and executed with purpose and filled with unbelievable beauty. Do you not believe me? Look around you. It is at dawn as the sun swaps places with the moon. It is in the picturesque painting of the evening sky. It is in the stars that sit assigned in the night sky. It is in you and me. There was meaning and purpose behind His creation and by His choice, design, and goodness we get to be a part of it.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
This world He prepared for us in the here and now, prepares us for eternity…. And guess what, He prepared eternity for us also. When I look at Jesus’ life on earth, it is evident the plan had been laid out from the beginning. The birth of Jesus was prophesied seven hundred years before He was even born. He was sent to the earth by His Father with a plan. He would be born to a virgin, walk a sinless life, die a sinner’s death, and be raised to be seated at the right hand of his Father. Do you know why? For us –every single one of us. So that He could take the weight of our sins and offer us forgiveness for ours. It was meant to be this way by design. God had prepared it in advance. And because of this preparation, we have the chance to be with Him in glory at the end of our life on this earth.
“In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going. John 14:2
Therefore, as much as our Savior prepared for us, how important must it be that we prepare for Him? Growing in God is a lifelong journey where we actively seek Him each day. This time does not just happen for the most part. It takes intentional planning on our part. Just as I did not wake up one morning to see a garden just appear in my backyard, you will not wake up one morning and find yourself closer to Christ without actively seeking Him and His plans. We must discipline ourselves to give God the First and Best of our day.
Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44
So how do we make ourselves ready? By simply preparing. Prepare your schedule to sit and Be with God so that you can learn from His Word. Prepare your minds to sit in solitude without distraction and rest in His presence while you gain a better understanding of what He wants from His followers. And prepare your hearts to hear from Him so that you can go into the world and make disciples just as He asks us.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
Are you spending your time, energy, and talents preparing for the here and now or for eternity with Christ?
Does your day consist of making it through the to-do list and giving God the remainder, or is time with Him truly your first priority?
Do you seek His plan and His Kingdom first before your own desires?
I have recognized over the years that when I place God and time with Him as my #1, everything after that has a way of working itself out because my heart is set on His desires instead of my own. However, when I allow the world takes precedence, the day just seems completely out of sorts. My wants become all about me and not about God. My plans become about fulfilling those wants and not about fulfilling my call as a follower of Christ. Those selfish moments not only interfere with my relationship with the Lord, but they quickly cause problems in the relationships that surround me daily.
Let us challenge ourselves to begin our days with God. Let us wake up and surrender every single day to Him. And let us encourage the community around us to do the same.
Spiritual Disciplines have been such a ginormous part of my growth in Christ. These disciplines changed my daily walk with the Lord and have taught me about reliance and dependence on Him! My prayer is that this space can help deepen your knowledge and understanding by teaching you to lean in closer to God. With that being said, my goal is to incorporate these disciplines slowly so that you can gain a clear picture and understanding of each one as well as learn how to incorporate them into your daily walk with the Lord. Here is a list of the 8 disciplines that we will cover. If these disciplines are already a regular part of your day, now is a great opportunity to reach out to a friend that could use some help learning and growing.
We have now covered the eight tangible spiritual disciplines that growing in God focuses on. IF you missed any of these, please go back and review them in the past blogs.
This week, the daily readings will focus on God's Creation and how He prepared Himself, and His disciples for His death, burial and resurrection.
This week's Bible Study:
MONDAY: Genesis 1:1-2:3
TUESDAY: Matthew 1
WEDNESDAY: Luke 1,2:1-21
Thursday: matthew 24-25
Friday: matthew 26-28
Saturday: john 14-16
Sunday: john 20-21
This week's verse to memorize and meditate on:
"In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also."
Tips and challenges this week:
If you have not already, begin implementing spiritual disciplines into your daily walk with God.
Some like to begin by adding one at a time.
Dig deeper and gain a better understanding of the meaning and purpose behind each discipline.
Find an accountability partner that can encourage you in your time spent with the Lord. (For help with this, check out our accountability groups. Scan the QR code at the bottom of this page for more information.)
Private Facebook Discussion Group
Would you like to dig a little deeper into your weekly reading and spiritual disciplines? Join our Facebook group where we learn, grow and encourage one another.
If you have questions or things that you don't understand, please email them to me and I will add them to the Q&A section. I can't promise you that I will have all of the answers, but I can promise I will do my best to find them if I don't have them.
Growing in God
Would you like a tool to encourage your growth in God? Check out my newly released 12-month spiritual disciplines book/journal. This journal will give you a brief understanding of 8 tangible spiritual disciplines as well as give you a space to implement these disciplines into your daily walk with God.
Are you searching for an accountability partner or a group? A person that can encourage you in your walk with the Lord? joyfully HIS has made this option available to you. Scan the QR code for more information or to sign up.