Posts Tagged ‘Weeds’

Genesis 2 – NOT GARDENING!

Gardening!

There’s an ugly looking weed that persists in growing in our garden and we are enemies. It has thorns. I have weed killer with a trigger that spurts out poison so I don’t even have to get near it.

I have always hated (my grandson says you shouldn’t say “hate”)…. I have always DETESTED gardening. Love the natural look but my wife doesn’t agree. Apparently God doesn’t either.

“Early in the first light of Saturday morning a man appeared, lying naked in the dust. His form is perfect in every way except there is no movement to animate his strong arms and legs, or smile to please his handsome face. Around him in every direction the sounds and smells of the forest in early spring fill the air with life, but here they fall upon senses that remain untouched.

“Oh God, He’s … dead!”

“No, not dead.” My senses rush at the sound of His strong clear voice and I am suddenly alert to every sound. “He has never been alive and he is not dead.”

The forest becomes silent as if in anticipation, and you draw back. Creation seems to be waiting for something momentous to take place. I can feel my face draining of colour. The world around me fades. His Breath floods through the trees and encompasses the strange figure in the dust with it’s touch.

My mind is still reeling with the first rays of understanding as Adam’s eyes open to the One who gives him life. His first moment is wrapped in the glory, love and spendour of His Maker. His first touch – the embrace of heaven’s welcome. The first words he speaks are those of worship and praise. And now the heavens respond with angelic voices echoing their shouts of pure joy that shakes the whole of creation with a tumultuous roar. At least, that’s how I think it might have happened. I wasn’t there, but reading about it stirs my imagination.

No sooner is he breathing and looking around and he is given a PURPOSE. Even before he is created from the dust of the ground, it says,

“no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was NO MAN TO WORK THE GROUND,” (Genesis 2:5 NLT)

He enters into the purposes of God. And I also have a purpose on this earth. It is clear from Genesis 1 and this passage that I am created to REPRESENT GOD on the earth – in His image (1:27), to EXERCISE RULERSHIP over God’s creation (1:28), TO SERVE AND WORK where God has placed me (2:8), to have a personal relationship with God and LISTEN AND OBEY what He has to say (2:16,17). I am also created with a need for COMPANIONSHIP (2:18-25). DISTINCTIVES of the Christian life. Things that give my life significance and identity. Things that Christ my Creator intended from the beginning, but which have been thrown out as religious wimp rubbish. Things like worship, companionship, discipleship, ministry. It is all here!

What does God do?…Adam and Eve are made RESPONSIBLE from day one of their existence. They are to “keep” (shamar) the Garden. This word means to watch over, to guard, to keep, to look after, to take care of.

No escaping it. I am created to be responsible – personally responsible – for the World in which I live and the way in which I live. Even the perfect, beautiful Garden of Eden has to be looked after and cared for. Adam and his helper Eve were…to cultivate the land and keep the garden from growing out of control (1:5), to feed and provide for themselves (1:16), to look after and care for the animals (1:19), to worship God and obey His commands (2:15), to share companionship and have children (1:28) and that’s an awesome responsibility in itself.

One thing is sure…God has given me a PURPOSE in life to fulfill. I am not made to be inactive and lazy. And somehow it relates well to gardening, as unfortunate as I may think that is.

“Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.” (Romans 12:11 NLT).

“Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.””  (2 Thessalonians 3:10 NLT).

The invitation is here for you choose to live in His purposes today. Like Adam and Eve, to have every need met by God physically and spiritually, to respond positively to Him and serve Him. To receive what He offers, to reject what He withholds or bear the consequences. An incredible opportunity to respond, worship, love and come under the authority of Christ. Chosen for a purpose (Now I’m starting to sound like the Blues Brothers – on a mission from God!). OK, OK, and to mow the lawn and keep the garden looking nice.

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:24–30 – SMOKING WEED – Part 10

Smoking

The world is amazed as a corrupt president is removed from power in Egypt. The people who protested on the streets of Cairo are hailed as heros. In the midst of their jubilation we hear of a reporter being raped and beaten as she seeks to cover the story on the streets of Cairo. Like the parable in Matthew 13:24-30, the world is full of WEEDS. So is my garden at the moment but that’s not the topic of this parable.

Amidst the devastation of flood waters in Australia heros are born. SES workers rescue people from rooftops, Churches open their doors of their meeting places as evacuation centres and send out work parties to clean up homes from the mud and debri. Yet looters thieve the pickings of people who have lost everything. WEEDS AMONG WHEAT?

Rapists among the heros. Looters, like vultures among those trying to help the weak and helpless. Child traffickers among those who build orphanages to protect the children of Cambodia. Self righteous hypocrites among genuine followers of Christ. WEEDS AMONG THE WHEAT. “Why does God allow evil people, hypocritical people and people who apathetically look on while evil happens in the world to exist?”

Why doesn’t God force everyone to believe and to honour one another and Him? Way back in the Garden of Eden why didn’t God snuff out Adam and Eve the moment they sinned and start again? In the parable Jesus tells, even the angels don’t quite know what to do. “Should we pull out the weeds?” they ask (Matthew 13:28). 

I’m with the angels in this parable. I just want to get rid of all the evil in the world. I’m not sure where to draw the line with this, but there’s some obvious people who deserve to be UPROOTED first. Let’s get rid of all the religious hypocrites while we are at it. But Jesus says “‘No, …, you’ll uproot the wheat if you do.” (Matthew 13:29).

Jesus identifies the fact that we have an ENEMY who works against God’s kingdom purposes. We CO-EXIST with all kinds of evil people (sin has tainted our world) and to make hasty, malicious, unfounded judgments about them and try to uproot them would damage us. The reason is that I am tainted with sin too. I am hardly equipped to judge without taking the log out of my own eye (Matthew 7:5). How do I know who is righteous and who isn’t? My flawed judgment is likely to pull up the wheat with the weeds.

Besides, ALL of us deserve to be uprooted and thrown into the fire (What a horrible picture that is). Romans 3:23 (NLT) says “For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” But in God’s grace He let’s “both grow together until the harvest. Then” He says “I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’” (Matthew 13:30 NLT). It puts a whole new slant on smoking weed.

Of course the intention of this story is not to say that God wants to BURN THE WEEDS – those who don’t know Christ! The intention of the story is to show that He is allowing plenty of time BEFORE He judges the world. 2 Peter 3:9 (NLT) says “The Lord isn’t really being SLOW about His promise, as some people think. No, He is being PATIENT for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” It seems even weeds have a chance to be transformed (Now that’s the kind of miracle I need in my garden at present).

Jesus is saying that the only hope for an evil world is found in a holy God and because of Him we have an ancient invitation, a time capsule rediscovered again and again in John 3:16 (NLT) “For God loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that EVERYONE who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” He is still the only Way, Truth and Life we have (John 14:6).

Pastor Ross

Matthew 13:24-26 – Part 9 – TOXIC OR TRANSFORMED?

Wheat and Tares

He didn’t look much like a missionary to me. He was built like a tank in terms of muscles. Not the way I pictured a missionary should be. He should have been skinny from lack of support from his home church, with an old brown cardigan. He should have had an expression that indicated that he was near to a breakdown or had experienced one already.

This man however spoke without the pious tones I expected and without trying to make me feel guilty for not packing my bags and taking the next plane to deepest darkest Africa to preach to a lost tribe of pigmy cannibals for the rest of my life. “Here I am Lord, send me” wasn’t even his theme.

What he did do was to open up God’s truth in a way I had never heard before and I found myself inspired to study my Bible and apply it’s truth to my life. I found myself wanting to go into the world and represent Christ. I was shocked! I think I had Bangladesh in mind at the time.

I was reminded of this incident when I read Matthew 13:24-30. Jesus tells another simple parable about a farmer. He has already shared a story about sowing good seed on different types of soils in Matthew 13:3-9. The farmer in this parable is also sowing seed, but this time the seed doesn’t represent the MESSAGE of Christ but the SERVANTS of Christ. Jesus the farmer is sowing FOLLOWERS of Christ into His field – the world.

Even before the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 Jesus was sending disciples into the world. In Matthew 10:5-18 (NLT) “Jesus sent out the twelve apostles with these instructions: “… Go and announce to them that the Kingdom of Heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cure those with leprosy, and cast out demons. Give as freely as you have received! …Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. … this will be your opportunity to tell the rulers and other unbelievers about Me…” 

Someone said that the greatest mission field we have today is in the Church. Matthew 13:25 (NLT) says “But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away.” WEEDS sown amongst the wheat. Apparently there’s plenty of weeds in the Church. Titus 1:16 (NLT) says that “Such people claim they know God, but they deny Him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.”

It is called “Bastard wheat” because in its early stages it cannot be distinguished from real wheat. “When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew” (Matthew 13:26 NLT). I’m sure Jesus was looking at the Pharisees when He told this parable.

According to Matthew 13:39 Jesus says that the weeds are those who are not followers of Christ, and He lays it on the line by describing them as belonging to the devil. Prophetically they are people down through the ages who have not given their lives to Christ. They have not believed in Him and His work on the Cross for them. The Kingdom of heaven, Christ’s rulership, is not present in their lives. They therefore belong to the other kingdom. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4 (NLT) says “If the Good News we preach is hidden behind a veil, it is hidden only from people who are perishing. Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”

The miracle is that any seed that Jesus touches is wheat, born again, a new creation with all the potential to make a difference despite the opposition we may face in the world. The invitation of this parable is to assess from whose hand I have been sown into the world? Is what I contribute going to end up being toxic. Weed or wheat? Pharisee or follower of Christ? God bless you as you respond to the touch of Jesus today. Are you TOXIC or TRANSFORMED?

Pastor Ross

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