Monday, April 6, 2009

Day By Day By Grace

Bob Hoekstra
April 6, 2009
Jesus Christ, Our Only Foundation

According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:10-11)

Another wonderful blessing in Christ is the foundation that He provides for all who live by His grace. As with buildings, lives also need solid foundations. Our foundation is a person, Jesus. "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ." By the grace of God enabling him, Paul ministered the gospel of Jesus Christ. "According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation." In doing this, he was laying the only reliable spiritual ground for living as God intended. So many people attempt to lay other foundations for their lives. Some turn to earthly riches. Others hope in human wisdom. Others put their confidence in personal power and influence. Such vain pursuits are like attempting to construct a building upon shifting, sinking sand.

Our lives need a rock foundation. It has always been the Father's purpose to provide such for His people. David experienced this through his pilgrimage, as he trusted in the Lord. "From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I" (Psalm 61:2). In the most extreme situations on earth, when circumstances were overwhelming him, David cried out to His God. He looked to the Lord to be to him a rock upon which he could stand above the rolling waves of impossibility. "He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved" (Psalm 62:6). David stood on the Lord alone as his solid spiritual ground. Standing by faith he would not be destroyed.

Of course, the ultimate expression of God being a rock to His people would be in the coming of the Son of God to earth as a man. This great plan the Lord promised through Isaiah. "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily" (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus is that proven, priceless, secure foundation. Now, all who stand on Him by faith will not be driven about frantically, searching for solid ground on which to plant their feet.
O Lord my rock, You are the only foundation that I will ever need for my life. I have tried to stand on so many things that proved to be sinking sand. Lord, I want to place all of my hope for spiritual stability in You. When circumstances threaten to inundate me, be to me my rock of refuge in the storm, Amen.

This has been brought to you by the following ministries:
Living in Christ Ministries
Blue Letter Bible
Sowing Circle

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Germination: Starting the new life.

As I said in the previous post, germination is an important part in the life of anything that is supposed to grow. It is the initial stage of growth and what happens there will greatly affect the quality of the plant or person later on. There are important steps in this process and I have got these pointers from .

The right conditions

In order for germination to occur, there are a number of things that must take place:

* Healthy seeds. Having a fresh supply of seeds is the best way to begin. While old seeds may still germinate, the chance is small unless they have been properly stored. Make sure that the seeds you are going to sow are not hollow, as a hollow seed is often synonymous with "bad."

For a man, or a new Christian, or for someone in the process of repentance, there needs to be humility. The health of a seed is synonymous with the humility of man. Renewal starts with accepting your inability or weakness to be good on your own. An old seed is a man who knows too much or thinks they know too much. He is able to reason for himself or has experienced much and therefore is not going to give in easily to renewal. However even if the chance is small, there is still a chance and the grace of God comes upon even the haughtiest men in the world. Take a look at Nebucchadnezzar and Paul.

Hollow means empty. Hollow means weak. I guess to start anew there must be a willingness inside, there must be an urge, a need to forge forward such that if a man is without that passion he cannot start the process.

* Soil. Providing the right soil, one that is rich in nutrients, is of the utmost importance. Choose a soil that is light and sterilized. Many nurseries and home improvement stores carry seed-starting soil.

Soil. The Word of God. This is essential. A place to set our roots. Knowing that the nutrients for faith are in the Word of God, we need to take it as an essential need. This is where we will find purpose, strength, hope, all the things we need to grow. (2Pet 1:3 According as his divine power hath given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: )

Soil is our access to all things that pertain to life and godliness, it is the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.

A base place to start is our Bible, and then Bible teachers, pastors and godly friends who can remind us of the Word. With the spirit of God actively interacting with your soul over the Word of God, there is going to be tremendous growth.

* Planting depth. One common mistake that leads to seeds not germinating is planting too deep. When this happens, flower seeds will not have enough stored energy to reach the soil surface.

We need time to grow and time to learn the basics. Therefore we cannot go for deeper things without having first understood the fundamentals. So when planting the seed, farmers also do not plant too deep and so it is with starting new life, we need to learn the easy things first and then proceed to the grit.

* Moisture. In order for seeds to germinate they should be given a moist environment. Providing a soggy environment can cause the seed to rot, because it needs oxygen. Providing too dry an area means the soil is not receiving the necessary water it needs. Finding a balance can be a bit difficult at first, but practice makes perfect!

The people we interact with matter a lot. Getting those who are too staunch are a setback as well as those who are not serious at all. Getting balanced people to support us in this walk is crucial. God is sure to provide the right environment, the right people to encourage you or rebuke you in a good manner when in this process. Some rebukes may kill...

* Light (or lack thereof). Many seeds germinate best in dark conditions, although some need light. You can usually find light requirements on the back of seed packages. Alyssum, for example, needs light to germinate, while corn flower and pansies require darkness.

God's personal touch is important. His power that releases the goodness on the inside to come outside. Without His touch, it is hard to germinate into a full plant thus we need to depend on Him, to seek that personal touch that causes our insides to work out the goodness. His light may shine or you may sense darkness, every one has a perfect condition but in all it is God's touch that matters whether in the darkness or the light.

* Warmth. Don't underestimate the power of a little heat! Although seed germination temperatures vary by type of flower, many are between 70 and 85 degrees. If you starting seeds indoors, try using a grow light, heat mat, or placing on an oven or on a sunny windowsill.

Plants need particular temperatures to keep them alive so do we. Heat is in two ways here. One, the encouragement of friends, of people, the meditation on God's love. We need that warmth to keep us alive. Two, the heat that tests us. Whereas this heat shall come, this is God's garden and He regulates how much you need at any particular moment and will never let you have more than you can handle.

* Patience! There is only so much a flower gardener can do! Once you have planted your seeds, you'll have to wait anywhere from a few days to several weeks for them to germinate. The back of a seed packet should indicate how long the process should take. For seeds with a longer germination time, try planting in smaller groups over a couple of weeks. That way, if seeds don't germinate, you won't have to wait a long period of time before starting again.

Like I said, it is God's garden. He is working us to produce good fruit, to become mature plants. We cannot bloom in a day, we need time while we keep in mind the other factors.

Word to the wise

Be aware that some seed coats are extremely hard, which means that water and oxygen cannot get through until the coat breaks down. Seeds such as these can be soaked or scratched to aide the process. An example of such a seed is morning glory.

Some of us have big heads and formidable pride so it is hard for the goodness to get in till that breaks downs but like the gardener, God has his way of helping this process along. Some people underwent harsh disciplining like King Nebucchadnezzar who ate grass for a while, Jonah who was swallowed by a fish, Paul who became blind. Nonetheless, in the end, God's work triumphed and these men became champions and did that thing they should have done. They broke the habit,the norm, they germinated.

In God's garden He is in control, so when we yield to His work and power we are looking at a future of peace, joy and goodness.

God bless.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The root

The seed breaks and then out go the hands, looking for something to grab hold of and hold tight to.

Germination is a defining moment for any thing in life, not just for plants. It is a vital time in life where foundations are made and roots start to dig deeper for a steady hold to the upcoming structure.

Man from the moment he is born starts to germinate in the world. I have noticed from plants that there are plants which will thrive in a good conditions but will wither in bad conditions and then there are those who will adapt to the bad conditions and thrive.

In all this the root has a huge part to play.

The cactus has very little resources but uses all of them to the max.

This is from

Cactuses are thrifty plants that live in dry regions. They may not get much moisture where they live, but they manage to make the most of what they do get.

Since the cactus's long roots lie close to the surface of the ground, they can catch water from desert rains. And since the roots have a cork-like bark covering them, they can absorb the water quickly.

Because the cactus has no leaves, its stems do the job of manufacturing food for the plant and of storing its water. And because these stems grow upward rather than out, not too much of the plant faces the direct drying rays of the sun. These broad stems have a great deal of room for storing the water and a thick covering for protecting it.

In addition, the plant's sharp, pointed needles keep desert animals from sucking out this valuable liquid. However, cactus plants have saved the lives of thirsty people stranded in the desert.

A cactus plant only three feet tall may have roots spreading out to a length of ten feet across the desert!

I want to become a cactus but have the roots of mere grass. What should I do? How do we change our past? We cannot, we can only start by making critical decisions in the present.

Breaking free from anything is a decision of the present.

Today, I want to live.

Deut 30:19 I call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live,

Rom 8:1-3 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
But the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;

The root is faith in the love of Christ.