New Growth

For me, the greatest thing about farming and ranching is how God’s word comes to life each day. I relish looking back and seeing where His word was at work in my life. God’s principles of sowing and reaping, preparing the soil of our hearts, and growing in Christ have special meanings for those who work the land. Recently, I marveled to see my summer grass emerging from the earth less than 10 days after being sown.

Thanking God when my seed sprouted and the summer forage crop emerged, He reminded me how I am but a co-laborer with Him here at our Cross-Dubya ranch. I thought of the prayerful days asking for the rain to stop and the land to dry up enough I could prepare the soil for planting. There were countless hours spent preparing the land, maintaining equipment, sowing the seed, and harrowing; all of it covered in prayer. Looking across the pasture at all the new growth, I felt a sense of pride well up inside me.

It was at that moment, the words of 1 Corinthians 3:7 sprang forth in my heart. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.” (NKJV) With that simple ego check, I knew God wanted my attention on Him. We’re each different, but when my heart brings scripture to the forefront of my mind, I recognize it as a learning opportunity. I know God is preparing to pour into my life.

On this morning, God wanted to show me that our work was just beginning. While the seed had sprouted forth with new life, the tiny seedlings were far from reaching their full potential. Sudangrass takes 80 to 100 days to mature, and will grow to reach almost seven feet tall. To reach full maturity, much work remains. Fertilization, hydration, sun, weed control, and rest are all required elements in growing a quality cover crop.

With my hungry cows on pasture, I expect little of it to reach full maturity. Still, if it is to produce the forage I need to grow and sustain my cattle herd, it will require more work. As is always the case, God uses our ranch as His classroom, and on this day He offered an important lesson on growth. He wanted me to understand how I need to be making these same investments in the spiritual growth of my family. It led me to consider in what ways I am sowing, tending, and supporting my family’s spiritual growth. How am I helping Him to mature their faith?

And moving beyond my immediate family, God prompted me to consider how I help others around me. My friends, strangers at a store, or brothers and sisters in Christ at our church; the example I set and life I lead affects all of them.

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Writing this, I can’t help but think of the young man sleeping in the room next to my den. As Jeremiah is spending some time with me and Nonni Diane, I’m asking myself what seeds I’m sowing into his life. As he grows to become an adult, what lessons from his time around me will he carry forward? Have I shown him compassion, grace, mercy, goodness, and so many other characteristics of Christ? Has he seen Christ in me at all?

Whether or not we realize it, Christians are all “God’s farmers”, and we each have a responsibility to work alongside Him to help grow other Christians. Have you considered what new growth you promote through your life and the example it sets? We might teach Sunday School, lead a Bible study or discipleship class, help someone understand scripture, or lead our family in prayer at meals. There are many ways we can help God increase the harvest, but I believe it all has to start with ourselves.

For our lives to make a positive impact on those around us, we must first ask God to help us grow. As He pours into you, the overflow will pour into those around you.

I pray this week that we each ask God to show us those areas of our life that we need to grow. Let us endeavor to become better co-laborers in carrying out His great commission, both within our families and the world.

God’s blessings,

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Please join me each Thursday evening at 9:30 Eastern as host Coach Mark Prasek and I take a trip Around the Cross-Dubya on PJNET TV. We discuss this week’s blog post, offer insight about the lessons learned, and enjoy the fellowship of friends in the live chat room.

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42 thoughts on “New Growth

  1. Yet another tremendous analogy, J. D.! We should all ask ourselves if we are farming with God when it comes to the people around us. There can be no harvest unless the crop is tended to, and we need to enlist God’s help to bring it to fruition.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. So very true! Thank you so much for your comments Ms. Martha. Please accept my family’s heartfelt condolences on the loss of your Mom. Our prayers for your family’s peace and comfort during this difficult time.

  2. Growing up in a farm family, I love the idea that all of us are “God’s farmers.”

    May I start each day with the intention to scatter seeds of faith by the way I live my life.

  3. Once again, I am both inspired and challenged by the way you paint pictures and make the Word of God so relevant as you lead us around the CrossW seminary. Even though Diane and I don’t have cows to feed, we did have occasion to plant grass seed a couple of times in the past year. Waiting for those first little green affirmation that there was life in those seeds was a call to realize that seeds are vitally important in maintaining and promoting life–both physically and spiritually. Thanks again, my friend, for gracing our day with some nourishing spiritual food to chew on.

    1. You are much too kind Mr. Ron. Yes, waiting for seeds to germinate and sprout forth with life require both faith and patience my friend. Thank you so much for being such a great encourager. I pray that one day I might become the man you think me to be sir.

  4. You have a God-given wisdom to see your farm as ideas for spiritual growth! Your posts are such a blessing and I always gain what I call “golden nuggets”! Blessings to you and your family!

  5. “New growth”! That’s what we all need–until it’s our time to go be with Jesus. What a wonderful lesson from God’s Creation. You always share your message in such a positive, hopeful, and encouraging manner. Thank you, my friend. I’m so glad your young friend is having some time with you and Nonna Diane. What a blessing for you all.

    1. Thank you Ms. Katherine. A young person in the home brings a new energy into the mix don’t they? And yes, it’s so vitally important we continue growing until God calls us. That’s my prayer, to learn, understand more clearly, and gain a bit more knowledge each day. Praying wisdom will come. God’s blessings my learned friend.

  6. Dear J.D.,

    God has given you eyes to recognize amazing truths and share them with others. I hope that He will grow me more fully into His “farmer”–that I might reap a harvest for Him.

    Blessings to you,
    Tammy

    1. Oh how I’ve loved watching you grow from afar young lady. In just the few short years I’ve been blessed to know you as a writing friend, I see such growth in you, and I know for certain that should God tarry just a bit longer, you and your writing will produce a wonderful harvest for God’s kingdom. I’m proud of the woman and sister in Christ you’ve become.

  7. So much work behind and so much ahead, J.D. I pray for the right weather and the energy to get your forage crop ready for your herd. And I thank you for the question to ponder as to whether I’m sowing those seeds of to grow faith in my family and those around me. Thank you!

  8. I love the reminder that we are “co-laborers “ and that it is His work. Thank you for reminding us to be humble, that we are not the one in charge. I pray the Lord shows me the areas I need to grow. God bless

  9. J.D., your post helped me compare myself to a farmer sowing seed, and I’m glad. I appreciate this powerful question: “Have you considered what new growth you promote through your life and the example it sets?” As you said, we do need to allow God to equip us so that we can minister to others. What a privilege! Thank you, my friend.

    1. Your years as a teacher, a loving parent, and amazing friend assures me that you are one heckuva farmer for God Ms. Jeannie. You have planted many seeds, and I’m praying the harvest will be great as they were planted with tenderness and love sweet friend.

  10. Thank you for your wise lesson today, dear friend. Yes, prayerfully pondering the question about where God wants us to grow is a pivotal point. May the Lord answer each of us and guide us onward toward that goal. Also wishing you a blessed week, abundant with sprouting summer grasses, J.D. 🙂

  11. It’s a blessing to be a co-laborer with both you and Diane. Jeremiah is blessed to have y’all in his life, framing it for God’s glory as you plant and water seeds of the Gospel. Thanks for another soul-stopping analogy. 🙂

  12. Another beautiful visual and analogy that contains a challenge with a reminder. I am always thinking about growth that I can influence with my grands so I especially appreciated this post and with it conviction to persevere and self-examine. Thank you for the lift you give mid-week in my inbox that makes its way to my mind and heart.

  13. J.D. I like this idea that all believers are God’s farmers. Your summer grass is a perfect example of how we are to be sowing, tending, and supporting God’s spiritual harvest. I’m sure you and Diane are wonderful examples of this to the young man staying with you.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Debbie. We must “keep on keeping on” until the day my friend. Sure glad to be a co-laborer for Christ with you, Mr. Larry, and so many of our friends here.

  14. Wonderful lessons here. These are the kinds of “plant-based” illustrations Jesus liked to use. Your farming is much more serious than my playing at gardening. I admire the hard work, know-how, and persistence your ranch/farm takes. I don’t want to play at my discipleship responsibilities, but I know I have. It’s a much more serious business that requires fully committed diligence.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, but I dunno Ms. Dottie. Your gardens look much more successful that my pastures my friend. But then again, you only have to deal with little rabbits nibbling at something now and again. I have 1,500 lb. behemoths trying to see how much they can eat in a day. 😀 Always pleased when you get something out of the ideas God shares with me.

  15. With virtual dirt under my fingernails and a hankering to live on a farm, I am blessed by your beautiful analogy of planting and watering. Indeed, God makes the growth. Thank you, J.D. for being keen to share the richness of God’s principles and the many ways He shows us the simple basic truths through nature. Your family is very blessed to have you lead them.

    1. Thank you Ms. Kathy; and welcome to our Around the Cross-Dubya blog. I pray you’ll visit often and gain as much insight and inspiration from my posts as I do yours ma’am. God’s blessings.

  16. Love this: “There were countless hours spent preparing the land, maintaining equipment, sowing the seed, and harrowing; all of it covered in prayer.” As a praying warrior momma of 4 young, wayward adult children, I believe the key is the prayer. In that, He’ll cause the growth … in his good time. God bless your efforts and may you continue to see His goodness as you labor over his creation, Farmer Wininger

    1. Thank you Ms. Mary. We must pour ourselves into prayer so we can pour ourselves out to our children. Amen ma’am; I love you thoughts today. God’s blessings ma’am.

  17. “God uses our ranch as His classroom.” I like that. I like that a lot. He really does. But even more beautiful is how you view it and tell it to people like me awakening us to the touch of God in ordinary things. It is a powerful thing to see God wherever you go and in whatever you do. Such a blessing as are you. I miss reading your comments on my blogs.

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