I can't believe it has been a week since I last posted. I'm sure those of you who have talked with me in person will agree that it hasn't been because I haven't had anything to say. Basically, my cup runneth over, and my mind has been working overtime to sort it all out.
I went to the Beth Moore Simulcast Friday evening and Saturday morning. God allowed me to join with 70,000 other women to worship and to sing our hearts out. We prayed, laughed and studied God's Word! We were 70,000, joined together from around the world, by amazing technology and God's amazing hand. And, most of all, by His Holy Spirit that makes us all sisters through our faith in Jesus Christ.
Beth's text for the weekend was the "familiar" parable of the seed, found in Luke 8 : 4-15. I use the word familiar a little sarcastically. God's Word is so full of truth that it is impossible to be very familiar with any passage. In every little passage or parable,there is always more and more to be revealed. More of His Word to be revealed as our lives take on new experiences and our hearts grow to be more like His.
When Beth told what passage she would be teaching from, I just smiled. I had an experience with this passage about six months ago on the way home from one of Ethan's doctor visits. Ethan always gets to ride shotgun, so I either drive or ride in the backseat. I have found the backseat to be an amazing place to study. I very seldom get in the car that I don't have my Bible, a journal, a Bible study workbook, or a Christian book. My life has truly been changed by my backseat Bible studies!
In the car that day as I read this parable, I realized how so many times God had spoken to me from His Word, and even though my intentions were good, I had let the words slip away. I thought about how different my life would have been if I had held onto the words God had given me. If I had allowed God to bring a harvest from them. It was one of those moments when I understood "Godly sorrow." I was experiencing it.
At that moment, in the backseat of the car, I asked God to make my heart "good dirt." Actually, I begged Him to make it good dirt. I wanted, more than anything else in this world, for His Word to change me. To make me different. To make me into the person He wanted me to be.
And how do I know He heard me?
First, because I was desperate. I prayed for Him to do whatever it would take. Whatever it would take for Him to get my heart to a place where the seed would sprout. To grow. To produce. In the past, my heart was not good dirt. I knew my heart had kept His seed from producing the harvest it was sent to produce. And now, at this moment, I was willing. Willing for Him to do whatever He needed to do to keep me from missing another harvest.
Not all my prayers are so noble. Not all of them are filled with that much faith. To say, "whatever it takes" requires a lot faith and usually a lot of desperation." In the car that day, God blessed me with both. Faith and desperation.
I have prayed in desperation before. When I have been absolutely sick of myself. When I realized, one more time, that I couldn't do it. That everything I had done had made things worse. I have begged Him to take something out of my hands and into His. To do whatever it would take. I've prayed words to Him and wondered who was speaking? Me? Did those words come out of me? And I realized that the words had come from the real me. The new me. The one that wasn't afraid of Him or what He would do. Words that came from the desperate me. Desperate to let Him be the God He says He is.
I've had answers to these desperate prayers that came almost instantly. And, I've had answers that didn't. Answers that came through tears, tempter tantrums, and me telling God I couldn't do it. That I had changed my mind. But, He knew better. He knew what my heart wanted when I didn't.
You might think praying such prayers means that I am a humble and surrendered saint. No. It just means I want to be. Remember, the reason for this kind of prayer is usually desperation. Desperation because I have been willfully disobedient and full of unbelief. The Israelites in the wilderness had nothing on me when it comes to being "stiff-necked."
And here's the second reason I know He heard my prayer that day in the back seat of the car....Beth Moore's lesson from this past weekend.
"For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." Hebrews 4 : 12.
His word answers our questions. It tells us how, and how not to. It gives us the directions when He calls us to participate in what He's doing in our lives. Sometimes His word is like a map that tells us how to get where we want to go. It also tells us how we got to the place where we didn't want to go.
God is always The One that brings the harvest. It's His seed. His Harvest. But, to me, it's clear the soil mentioned in the parable had a choice. There was the soil that refused to be watered and stayed hard and rocky. Soil that didn't protect the seed and allowed it to be stolen. Soil that allowed weeds to choke the life out of the seed. Soil that didn't think the seed needed roots.
And then there's the good soil. Soil that had a good and noble heart.
How did that soil become good and noble? A place where the seed could grow? I know mine needs fertilizer. And that is what Beth gave us this weekend. Fertilizer. For a great harvest. A 100-fold harvest. And there are seven ingredients to this "fertilizer:"
1. Treasure the wonder (of His Word)
2. Protect you heart.
3. Expect the test.
4. Dig roots.
5. Stop the choke.
6. Retain the Word.
My plan is to share, on my next few posts, some of Beth's quotes for each ingredient. And of course, how I think it applies to my life. I pray that you will be blessed. And also, in the process of sharing with you, that I will be protecting and nurturing the new seeds that were planted this weekend.
Will be talking with you again soon,