Have you ever read about the parable of the soils found in Mark 4:13-21? You can read it here if you want to. Most often this parable is seen as a salvation passage. In other words, Christians are the result of seeds falling on good soil. BUT, let’s look at it from a different perspective today. Let’s look at it as a daily experience for each of us who claim Christ in our life. Let me explain. Every day of our lives, we encounter Christ. We encounter Him through people, our prayers, our study of the Word, or even in nature. The truth is, we encounter Christ in all aspects of life, throughout our days. The question is, do we recognize it? This passage would say that it depends on the soil of our heart.
Our heart/soil is unfertile. Satan doesn’t even let us see Him in our day. We don’t recognize Him. We don’t believe. Or, we’re simply indifferent to Him.
Our heart/soil is rocky. We see Him. We believe. But there’s no root to it. There’s no substance to it. It’s a surface experience.
Our heart/soil is thorny. We see Him. We believe and receive Him. It even takes root and grows. But then the thorns of life start to choke it out. The cares of the world…work, schedules, activities, whatever. The deceitfulness of riches chokes us. Lust of other things chokes us. We become ineffective.
Our heart/soil is good. We see Him. We believe. It takes root and grows. It bears fruit. It thrives to the point of producing a crop. Thirty, sixty, or a hundred times what is sowed.
The big question is…What is the condition, daily, of your, and my heart? And also…What are you and I doing about it? If we were farmers, we’d take great care of the soil we were preparing to sow seeds in. It takes thought, time and effort. We’d be tilling it, breaking up the ground, picking out the rocks, and getting rid of the weeds.
The Challenge…May each of us do whatever it takes to prepare the soil of our heart. To see Him and receive Him in our daily lives. And then to thrive and produce fruit. Every day.
“Savior’s Arms” by Passion Band featuring Kristian Stanfill is included on the “Living Hope” CD available exclusively at Pizza Ranch for only $5 or you can purchase a download of the album at pizzaranch.com/livinghope. Listen to Kristian talk about how this song came together and how it’s based on Psalm 23. Then watch the lyric video for this song of worship.
One day while delivering a pizza in Willmar, Minnesota, Mark Small noticed a gentleman in an electric wheel chair who had gone off the ledge of the sidewalk. His chair was stuck and he couldn’t get unwedged and the lady who was trying to assist him wasn’t strong enough to lift and free the chair. As Mark observed what was happening and he put his delivery on hold for just a few moments to get this gentlemen and his chair back on the right track. The owner of Willmar Pizza Ranch, Randy Van Klompenburg, said that before Mark had ever returned to the Restaurant from his delivery he had received a phone call explaining what Mark had done. “It’s nice when you receive a phone call complimenting an employee for “Doing The Right Thing”.
Scripture says, “If you forgive the sins of any, their sins have been forgiven them; If you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”(NASV) Grace cannot penetrate the umbrella of un-forgiveness. Jesus Christ died so that His Grace can be poured out to every living soul and in fact His grace is even now pouring down like rain. Unfortunately, His Grace can be restrained from both offender and offended when we allow some deep hurt to keep His rain from touching our lives. By harboring un-forgiveness we actually envelope ourselves and others in a full body umbrella that the Grace of God cannot penetrate and His free gift of forgiveness cannot fully touch us or those we harbor hurts against. Today fully surrender that hurt and turn it over to God so that you and the one who has offended you can stand unfettered in the pouring rain of the grace of Jesus Christ.
As I sit this morning with my devotion I hear the birds chirping and nothing else! This was such a relaxing time and allowing me to focus on God! Now as soon as my quite time was done I suddenly noticed the cars driving by and airplane going over and all of today’s distractions of the world.
Yes summer has arrived and as most of us would agree, not a minute too soon. Our senses are heightened to the wonderful aroma of charcoal-striped hotdogs roasting on an open grill, the delightful splashing sounds of kids doing cannonballs in the neighbor’s pool, and the sight of little tikes poking holes in Mason jar lids, anticipating a large catch of fireflies as the shade of evening is upon us.
What are your favorite summer time memories? Gardening, riding bike, running, camping, fishing, going for ice cream, my favorite is spending time with my grandchildren! As we think of these memories I encourage you to remember God and thank Him for those special times in our lives. Thank you God for the garden you provided me, thank you God for my family that I love to spend time with, you get the picture!
With gardening we think of Proverbs 18:20 “words satisfy the mind as fruit does the stomach: good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest”
With running and walking we think of Hebrews 12:1 “and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”
With fishing Luke 5:4 “launch out into the deep and cast your nets for a catch”
With family time Acts 10:2 “He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly”
As we go about our time this summer let’s keep our focus on God and praise Him several times throughout the day for the many blessings He gives us.
Dear God thank you for this time of devotion together and all God’s Children said Amen…
“Hold Onto Hope” by Ellie Holcomb is included on the “Living Hope” CD available exclusively at Pizza Ranch restaurants for only $5 or you can purchase a download online at pizzaranch.com/livinghope. Watch Ellie’s video below explaining the story behind the song and then watch the lyric video. You never know when someone in your life needs to hear these exact words today, so we encourage you to use the social links to share this song of hope.
Sunday night the small town of Garretson, SD was hit with a bad storm and strong winds. There was significant damage to this SE South Dakota town. The team from the Pizza Ranch in Brandon immediately kicked into gear to support relief efforts. On Monday, they supported the Red Cross by providing 50 pizzas to feed those cleaning up. Yesterday, some of the team members from the Brandon Pizza Ranch traveled the 10 miles to Garretson to help out. Austin, one of the managers of the Pizza Ranch, commented that the storms and wind directly affected a couple of the team members, as they had damage done to their homes and cars.
Each day we are presented with opportunities to serve others. We tend to live in our “if it’s convenient for me” world. Today’s encouragement and mission is a 3-parter, but don’t worry, it’s still pretty simple:
Pray to see an opportunity to serve
Be conscious of what God is revealing to you
Act in obedience to your opportunity to serve.
It’s time to do something positive for someone else when it’s outside of our “convenient” world!