The quarantine reminded me of a time our family moved to another state, I knew absolutely no one! It was hard for us! We desperately wanted to be a part of a church family again because we left ours behind! The only way we could go to church,as a family, was to watch church online! So many awesome sermons feed our family during this delicate transition in our life! Today, online services have blessed so many people!
We have a little garden in the window that showed us something new to think about. The plants in the window revealed what could happen if you’re stuck inside to long. My children continue to learn new things every year with me as we explore and watch each plant grow! It’s amazing how new things come to light each time we read God’s word! We grew tomatoes, basil and sometimes potatoes. This year we started with about forty tomatoes and only about ten made it! We’ve done so many learning projects as we discover new ways to grow food. In one of our observations, we noticed that something does happen to the plants when you keep them too long in their pot with lowlights in the window! They never grew to their full potential! Yes, you can get artificial lights and bigger pots, but as we dig in God’s word we learned you can’t grow and experience God fully unless you step out and establish relationships with your sisters and brothers in Christ. It’s God’s plan for us and it’s his design from the beginning!
We learn more of what Jesus taught in John 15! As we dig deeper in this story, it comes to light as we experience God’s word together in the garden! By talking about what we read and what we learned! We learn even more when we share our experience with our sisters and brothers! God is the gardener in our life and takes special care of each of us! Jesus is the vine! We need to stay connected to the vine and be rooted in God’s love through faith in Jesus! When we see and experience God’s goodness, like a plant desperately reaching for the sun! It looks like what God says, if you seek me you will find me, when you seek me with all your heart! Once we are rooted in God’s love for us, like healthy soil rich in nutrients for a plant, we are established as we grow deeper stronger roots in God’s love! It’s through faith in Jesus that we are established! So when storms come, we will not be moved! We can rest in Him as he works in us and around us!
During the process of transitioning out of quarantine, We have an opportunity to pray for each other like Paul did in Ephesians1 and 3! He prayed for All believers throughout all generations! That includes us! This is so powerful and deeply needed in the body of Christ! We need prayer and like Paul prayed for all believers to be strengthened through the power of the Holy Spirit! We need to pray for each other as we gradually step out of quarantine! Also, we need to pray for enlightenment in Ephesians 1:18-20, “8 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength 20 he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms” Like the plants in the window, we have been waiting as each stepping stone is presented to us! Keep praying! 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” As we pray continually through this, be patient with each other! Some people are jumping back in with both feet, while others are testing the water with their toes! Each step is a process, so we need to be sensitive to each other’s feelings and insecurities because a lot of fear swept over the news and social media! We need to remember in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” We need to make it personal to what is going on in our lives and our sisters and brothers! We need to remember the same power that raised Christ From the dead lives in you too!
Ephesians 3:16-21,”I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen!”
The most perfect gift we could give to someone is praying for them! We desperately need to be rooted and established in love, so we can experience God’s fullness that cannot be measured! As my son mesures each room of our house for new flooring, there is a stopping point with an exact measurement! With God, there is no limit, it goes on and on! His deep love for us has no limit! When we walk close with Jesus in our life, we grow closer to each other too! When I was reading this to my children! I asked them to hold out their right hand in front of them, that represents Jesus. Next, I asked them to hold out their left hand, that represents them. Finally, I asked them to clasp their hands together! I asked them, what does this look like to you? They answered, praying! As we spend time in prayer listening and reading God’s word, we grow closer in relationship with him! Colossians 3:1-4, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” They used their right hand for Jesus because he is seated at the right hand of God. We live our new life in Jesus, because he loves us and is our friend! John 15:14-15, “You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” Alway keep our hearts and mind on things above, then you will overflow with the fruit of the spirit! The Holy Spirit produces fruit and changes our heart as we are led by the spirit! Galatians 5:22-23, But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness and self control!” Through the power of the Holy Spirit that flows within us will strengthen our inner being! We will experience His deep love for us as we dig into his living word! The deeper we dig the more we discover as our lives reflect what God reveals in the Bible! Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. “ When you are alive in Christ, God’s plan unfolds inside your heart and mind as you step out in faith! When you step away from your old way of doing things by moving away from the window, and step into the light, you will see things differently! You will be rooted and established in God’s love! The power that comes from the Holy Spirit will strengthen you as you come together with your sisters and brothers!
The garden window is in need of constant care because it’s inner well being is weak! Our inner being can grow weak like the plants in the window if we’re not careful. 1 Thessalonians 5:13-14, “And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” We need to support each other by being the salt and light during this difficult process. Just like we noticed each vegetable plant needed something extra to keep them growing, because it’s roots were in smaller pots in shallow dirt, and they couldn’t grow any deeper! They were idle and not going anywhere! They were weak because they didn’t have enough sun! They adjusted to the shallow pot and growing weaker instead of stronger! No matter what, they were not able to grow deeper roots in the ground or reaching higher up to the sun! We fed them plants food, and they started to grow taller and green! Then beautiful yellow flowers grew on each branch but right when I thought fruit would grow, the flowers wither and die! They didn’t produce any fruit in the window. They didn’t have enough inner strength to keep going all by themselves. They didn’t have a relationship growing with other plants experiencing life in the sun where honey bees Swarm! Their life was drained! We need each other to pray, encourage and support each other, so no one is left stuck or idle. If we wait for perfection to start, it might not ever happen. Ecclesiastes 11:4-6, “Whoever watches the wind will not plant; whoever looks at the clouds will not reap. As you do not know the path of the wind or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things. Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.” Also, we don’t want to get comfortable with the convenience by depending on online! It will be like getting a bigger pot for your plant! The soil is full of everything that is temporary and the nutrients will run out! It’s tempting to turn on the phone or Tv to watch church, however we need real relationships with each other! If we just sit and do nothing, we can’t grow. If we wait for perfect timing or for the conditions to be just right, we will never do anything at all!
Slowly, we acclimate each plant outdoors where they grew deeper roots strong enough to hold themselves up! It was rough at first because the plants might look worse than before. Yesterday, We put our tomatoes outside to harden them for the garden, and we accidentally left them out all night! The weather hit them hard and they lost most of their green color and were limp! We quickly brought them indoors and hoped they would slowly come back. When we transitioned our plants carefully outside, we usually add support as they develop strong branches to support fruit. We need to do the same each other as we take each step out of quarantine, we have masks, six feet apart, take temperatures, wear gloves and follow all the protocols to ensure everyone is safe! 1 Thessalonians 5:11, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” For us to experience God’s overflow that can’t be measured, we need to be rooted and established in love as we walk in relationship with Jesus! Talking out our struggle and praying for each other along the way! Ephesians 3:18, “may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,” we need to take hold of all God gives us through relationships! We will experience how wide and how long and high and deep through sisters and brothers in the body of Christ! It is more than we can imagine. Just like how we Gradually take each plant outside, and with love and patience, you will begin to see the beauty from within and grow beautiful yellow flowers again that will produce a harvest!