Observations on The Green, Green
Grass of Summer!


1. I watered early in the morning, before the sun came up.

Psalm 5:3, In the morning, O lord, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before and wait with expectations. Mark 1:35, Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place where he prayed. Lamentations 3:22,23, Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. Genesis 19:27, Early the next morning Abraham got up and returned to the place where he had stood before the Lord. Exodus 16:21, Each morning everyone gathered as much as he needed, (manna), and when the sun grew hot, it melted away. If David, Jesus, Jeremiah, Abraham and Moses and his people had this practice in their lives, why shouldn't I. How refreshing it is to begin the day with the Lord, knowing that the "sun is coming up" and will melt and burn through our day, robbing us of our relationship with the Lord. How much more frustrating it is when we don't spend time with Him in the morning, and sure enough, up comes the sun, and we are parched, and barren, and weak, because we have not eaten our spiritual manna to sustain us through the day. As a young believer many years ago, I was challenged to make this a daily habit. I struggle every day of my life to keep that habit active. But alas, "the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things creeping in chokes the word" Mark 4:19. Sidetracked by the enemy, I am disobedient to God, and I pay the price.
How hardheaded can I be. EARLY LET US SEEK HIM.

2. Water seeks it's lowest level in the valleys.

Whoa, this really hits home today. As I look at my life these last several years, I have been in the valley much of that time. Not many mountaintop experiences. The valley of the shadow of death has occurred many times. My mom and dad passed into the arms of the Savior during 1997 within 4 months of one another. Several friends have gone on to Jesus, taken before their time. Yet what does it mean that water seeks it lowest level in the valleys. I think in my life, that as I have passed through these valleys, God has used his word to minister to me, as the Great Comforter, has walked with me through these rough times. A few years ago, I ended up in the hospital with a ruptured bowel, and 62 stitches in my belly, and a lot of time to think about God. One morning in the hospital, He opened the curtains of His Word, and shined into the room, with the blazing message of Matthew 9:37,38. The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.

As God opened up my eyes in the hospital bed, I knew that I had one job to do the rest of my life. Build into men's lives, and teach them to be workers. Spiritual reproduction was to be my focal point of my life. All of the things I had been building in my life, a large business, large home, vehicles, boats, airplanes, etc., had choked the Word of God, and made me unfruitful and unproductive. I had made a huge mistake by disobeying the Bible, 2 Tim 2:4. No man that goes to war, entangles himself with the affairs of the world, in order that he might please Him who had chosen me to be a soldier. I have blown that one big time. And now I working to extricate myself from the affairs of this world. But from a practical standpoint, most folks are too involved in the world affairs, and hence very little spiritual reproduction is happening. So, the enemy (The Sidetracker), would whisper to me, "Hey, Jim, that is a great idea. Why don't you take the next year and work on getting yourself out of the mess you are in, and then you can get back to the main task." What a lie. He is the master of deception, and I have listened to him many times. Nope, here is what God says! Isaiah 43:2, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 46:4, "Even to your old age and gray hairs, I am He, I am He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you I will sustain you and I will rescue you." No, God does not want us to wait till we are delivered, to begin the ministry of harvesting the world, He wants us to begin right now, not later, but right now. Once again the Sidetracker whispers another lie into our ears. "You need more training, enroll in that class. You need to learn the Bible better, get you a Bible Study book and get started. Then you can get ready. You need to clean up that sin in your life that has really captured you. Join that support group, confess it, and then sometime in the future, you can get to work on the real task." LIES LIES LIES. And yet we fail to heed the what the Bible says about the devil, "We are not ignorant of his devices. I am afraid dear friends that we are. And he delights in that fact. Many good church programs have been encouraged by the enemy, the Sidetracker, as he whispers to us. Let us evaluate dear friends, what we are producing with the activities of our life. There are only two things that are going to last forever! The Word of God, and the souls of people. I resolve today to concentrate my efforts to that end.

3. The grass does not grow as strong and fast on the top of the little hills and swells. It takes gentle watering to soak the ground.

Gentle watering versus dump the truck!. You cannot force feed a new Christian. It takes gentle nourishing, and tender loving care. Too many times when someone makes a first time decision for Christ, they are handed a bunch of literature, told to read the Bible, attend church, and the person doing the follow-up speeds them on their way. You might think of the birth of your children, and what would have happened to them if we had performed that way. "Little Billy, your mom and I wish the best for you. Here is 6 bottles, several diapers, some baby food in jars, and even some pablum. It is real good for you. You go on out in to the world, and be sure and keep in touch. We will see you at church on Sunday, won't we? You be sure and grow up and don't get in any trouble." How absurd to think that way.

Nurturing a new believer, or a believer who has finally decided to get serious about his faith takes time. Lots of time. You know there are five things we do with our babies. We feed them. We love them. We play with them. We protect them. And we change their diapers. Committed to discipleship, and building in peoples lives is a costly, and time consuming business. Jesus talked of forsaking all and following him. True discipleship will cost you your life. Am I willing to do that. Hopefully I am. The eternal rewards are well worth the cost. The enemy would whisper to you, "You need to get started on that next week." Jesus would plead with me, "Go into all the world." TODAY!.

4. Watering can be done much better by hand, than by turning on a sprinkler and walking away.

Oh, how this grips at my heart. How much Christianity is given out by the sprinkler system. We group a bunch of people together in a room, we call it fellowship, we know very little or nothing about their needs, wants, hurts, or pains. We turn on the God sprinkler, and flood the whole crowd with the same stuff. Some poor guy, who God has previously convicted of some horrible sin, and does not need a whipping, but a loving instead, sits under the sprinkler, and is bombarded with an endless supply of drip, drip, drip, when what he needs is to be gently taken in a tender embrace, and hugged, and told that God loves him. Instead he leaves the meeting, totally defeated, discouraged, and in despair. The guy sitting right next to him, is totally different. He needs the whipping, and on this day, the sprinkler does it's work. He responds, recommits his life to God, and is the much better man for it. Yet next week, when he attends the holy sprinkler session, he needs the same thing, because he has slipped, and coming out of the sprinkler this day, is the tender loving care sermon. Does this mean that our Sunday morning preaching sessions are in vain, and should be thrown out. God forbid! They do the work they were supposed to do. The problem is those under the sprinkler. They are sometimes like dormant grass seed, just laying there ready for the soaking. They have done nothing to prepare for what is about to happen, and many of them will do absolutely nothing about what they hear. No, what I am trying to say. The sprinkler is a necessary garden tool, but when we see a bare spot in the yard, or that fast growing weed, we need to take personal attention to that need. I don't do that, especially with the weeds. Yep I see them, pull out the lawn mower, and mow those suckers over. Now I can't see them grow. I mowed em down, like an old gangster movie. Big problem though! I didn't go after the root system. And a few days later, up pops the weed, out comes the mower, and the cycle is repeated year after year. When I first moved into my home, the builder put down beautiful sod, devoid of weeds. But you know how I hate yard work. Neglect of proper care over the last several years, has produced a lot of crabgrass, weeds, and other unnamed weeds. Oh well, at least they are green. Never mind the consequences of neglect. After all it takes too much time to go get the weed killer, put down turf builder, and fertilize the lawn. I guess it is much like my own life. I fail to spend that fertilizing time in God's word, and when the weeds of life do pop up, I mow em down, in a temporary fix, only to discover that years of neglect produce a strange looking lawn. What is the bottom line. We need tender loving care. We need to give tender loving care. We need to ask God to help us minister in a personal way to those in our fellowship who have that special need. Thank God for preachers who operate the sprinkler system each week. Thank God even more for those gardeners who get down on their knees, and help pull those weeds out of their friends lives. Yep, it is hard work, and the harvest is ready, the weeds are sticking up, the crops are ready to be harvested-------------But the laborers are few!

5. Rocks, twigs and other foreign objects impede the growth of grass.

The lusts of other things entering in. Mark 4:19. Desires, temptations, wants, needs. Everything seems to crowd into our lives and push into the background our time with God. After a few years, a rock gets imbedded in the soil, grass grows up around it, and the only time we see it then, is when we hit it with the lawn mower blade, or stub our toe as we walk through the grass. Twigs on the other hand will be chewed up by the mower, or course spewing their remains around the yard. How much easier it is to pick up these impediments to growth when they first appear, before they have had a chance to become imbedded in our lives. I believe regular and consistent fellowship with another close friend can accomplish this task. It helps of course, to have a set of guidelines or principles for our lives. Promisekeepers has neatly packaged this into Seven Promises. But of course we have to ask ourselves the tough questions about whether they are just words on a paper, or principles in our lives. Communication with a fellow pilgrim can assist in that. Share your concerns. Lifting big boulders might require some help, since they are too heavy for you to lift. Gal 6:2. Help each other carry their burden.

6. Good soil tends to wash away where the grass is not growing.

In the parable of thw sower, a story told by Jesus, in the gospels, preparation of the soil is very essential. You have bare spaces in your life that need some tender loving care. Just dumping a temporary fix on the problem is not the right solution. A bare spot in the lawn, requires gently loosening the soil, and carefully planting new seed, and then watering gently, until the seed takes root.

Just throwing some seed on hard, dry ground is our solution, and the first time the rains come, the seed is washed away. Take time my friends to grow it right.

7. The sun dries up the ground on the small hills, before it does in the valleys.

It is a known fact, and my own personal experience, that when you are on a "spiritual mountain top experience", that it is a "bright sunshine" experience. But upon returning to our normal lives, after that "weekend conference", we get hit by reality right in our face. Real security is not in the mountain top experiences, but in the valleys of our lives. Nestled down in the problems we face each day, God does his work in our hearts. I do not think much spiritual growth takes place while the sun is shining.

8. When planting a small tree in hard ground, it is helpful to dig deeper than the tree will go, and loosen the soil underneath, to give root system a head start.

It seems to be God's job to loosen the soil in our lives. Mostly I believe he uses trials and adversity to do that. Eph 3:17 "I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power. Being rooted in God gives us an unseen power to face life's difficulties.

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