Prepared Hearts Equal Healthy Growth

This week, I’m honored to introduce my writing pal, Mrs. Carla G. Pollard to each of you. One of my greatest discoveries since launching into this calling to be a Christian writer has been the many friends, mentors, and teachers God has blessed me with. A few, like Ms. Carla, are ones who make me think, I want to be like them. From her effusive smile to her grace-filled lessons of faith, Ms. Carla encourages, supports, and helps all she engages with. Please welcome my friend, Mrs. Carla Pollard to the Cross-Dubya this week.

Prepared Hearts Equal Healthy Growth

We have a farmer who farms across the road from our subdivision. Every year we look forward to the bounty from his labors. He yields some of the best tomatoes you will ever eat. Jesus taught many parables about seed time and harvest. There is much we can learn from the process. Over the years, I’ve watched as farmers begin to work their fields.

Because the ground is hardened after remaining dormant during the winter months, the farmer guides his tiller back and forth over the earth, breaking it up and turning it over and over. He takes great care in preparing the soil. Healthy soil creates the perfect environment for germination, which results in healthy plants. Healthy plants yield a bountiful and healthy harvest.

As the farmer turns the ground over, he uncovers stones, old roots, sticks, and other debris which must be removed. He works to loosen the soil. Dark earth filled with nutrients is turned up and he mixes it with the topsoil. The garden takes on a soft and rich appearance.

After the farmer has cleared out the debris and loosened the dirt, He begins to hoe the rows, digging deep into the ground, making it ready for seed. He labors long and hard during the preparation process. The farmer wants to plant before the summer rains begin to fall.

God wants to yield a harvest in our hearts. He, like the farmer, takes great care in preparing us for His purposes. Sometimes, He turns our hearts over and over so that He can reveal hidden debris that doesn’t belong. It can be a tough process when the ground of our hearts is broken, but it’s worth the heartache when God’s fruit is revealed in us.

In Matthew 13:1-23 and Luke 8:11-15, Jesus is teaching about a farmer who went out to plant (sow) his seed. As he moves along, throwing out the seed, some of it fell along the path, some on the rocks, some among the thorns, and some on good ground. As he continues to spread the seed, something begins to happen. The seed that fell along the path is eaten by birds. The seed that fell in the rocky places springs up but dies because the ground was shallow, and the roots couldn’t grow. The seed that fell among the weeds is overtaken and choked out by the roots of the unwanted wild plants.

But the seed that fell on the soil which Jesus described as “good ground,” found a place to grow and flourish. That seed produced a bountiful harvest for the farmer.

Jesus’ disciples asked Him about His teaching methods. “Why do you speak to the people in parables?” (Mat. 13:10). Jesus explains that there is a difference between the crowds that come out to listen to Him and the disciples (students) who stay close and follow Him. The difference lies in their hunger for more of God and their quest for a deeper understanding of spiritual truths.

Apart from the crowds, Jesus unfolds the meaning of the farmer and his seed to the disciples. The seed is the Word of God (Luke 8:11). The ground is our heart (Luke 8:15). The different types of ground Jesus mentions describe our hearts at one time or another. They can be hard, filled with stones because of our past, or burdened with problems. We’ve all faced times like these.

As believers who are ready to cultivate new Christian growth, let’s lay the groundwork by preparing our hearts to receive God’s word so that His word can germinate, grow, and flourish in our lives.

We are transformed into the person God created us to be as we allow His Word to change us, cleanse us, and teach us. Click To Tweet

His desire is to make us Christ-like so that we can bear the image of Jesus to the world. When we receive and apply God’s word, it helps to accomplish this change in our lives.

Take a moment now and picture yourself walking through a beautiful, lush garden of flowers, fruits, and vegetables. Imagine the colors, shapes, and fragrances as you stroll the cobblestone path winding its way through the well-designed garden. As you walk through the garden, you see all the luscious fruits and vegetables ripening on the vine. You see the variety, the designs, and the vibrant colors. You can enjoy the aesthetic effect and even smell their fragrance permeating the air. But your body is not experiencing the full benefits of all the nutrients found growing in that garden. This is like the soul who is going to church but not reading the Bible.

Bible study is to our souls like eating a grape is to our bodies. We reach out and pull a ripened grape from the vine, toss it into our mouths, chew on it, savor it, and swallow it. It is then that we absorb all the nutrients. It is then we are refreshed and renewed.

Life-sustaining Christian growth occurs in Bible study. Click To Tweet

Every now and again, Father reminds me to plow up the ground of my heart. When I do, He takes His Word and reveals to me the rocks, sticks, and debris that keep me from receiving the full benefits of His blessings in my life. Through His Spirit and His care, I can clear out my heart, receive new seed from His Word, and begin the process again of growing a fruitful life.

Carla G. Pollard

 

Carla G. Pollard is a pastor, author, and teacher. She loves people and desires to see them reach their full potential through a vibrant relationship with Jesus. She is active in her community and is a shoulder-to-shoulder leader who ministers to the homeless, the imprisoned, the abused, the elderly, and infirmed. Her works have appeared in Prayer Connect, CBN Online Devotions, P31 Woman, Power for Living, The Bible Advocate and Together with God. She is a contributing author in Unimaginable: Finding Love through Pain and Sustaining Life’s Victories (currently in editing). Her inspiring messages resonate strength and happiness birthed through pain and sorrow. Carla’s motto is: Be faithful to Jesus; He’s faithful to you.

Carla invites you to connect with her through her blog at www.carlagpollard.com and on Facebook, and Twitter.

49 thoughts on “Prepared Hearts Equal Healthy Growth

  1. Enjoyed Ms. Carla; and thank you so much for guest blogging this week. A most appropriate lesson in sustaining and growing our faith ma’am.

  2. “As believers who are ready to cultivate new Christian growth, let’s lay the groundwork by preparing our hearts to receive God’s word so that His word can germinate, grow, and flourish in our lives.” What a great summary. Thank you, Carla.

  3. It’s such a pleasure to meet you here at J. D.’s place, Carla! Yes, if we are to remain true to Jesus, we must immerse ourselves in the Word and pray that our hearts would be nourished in such a way that others will see God’s good fruits in us.
    Blessings!

  4. Thanks to J.D. for the introduction, Carla, and thank you for the lessons you wrapped into the gardening process. Having raised more gardens in my early life than I care to count, I’m always impressed with the many things that they have in common. One in particular always challenges and inspires me. That is that the objective is two-fold. I want the fruit for the upcoming harvest, of course, but I also want the seeds it will yield for harvests yet to come. Preparing the soil for one holds the key to both. God bless you for reminding us of this simple, but vital truth.

    1. Amen! Great application there Mr. Ron. No surprise. Yes, the harvest is great, but to see how the seed we planted goes onto to plant so many more seeds, and reap so many more harvests. It’s exponential! Yet, it must all start with that first seed. Great thoughts sir.

  5. The difference between the crowd and the disciples >> “The difference lies in their hunger for more of God and their quest for a deeper understanding of spiritual truths.” May I always hunger for more of God and His Word and for a deeper understanding of His truth. J.D., thank you for sharing your friend with us all!

    1. With you there Ms. Barbara. Sometimes, it seems we try to make the simple so complicated and ritualistic that the simplicity of the gospel of Christ is “lost in translation.” Thanks so much for commenting ma’am.

  6. Carla, thank you for the great exposition on the Parable of the Sower. May the word of God (the seed) find our hearts to be the “good soil” and bring forth fruit that is visible to all those we come in contact with. You did a great job with article and I’m very proud of you.

    1. Always loved that term Mr. Joe. “Exposition” I liken it to spiritually exposing that God has hidden within His Word. Thanks for sharing with us today, and thank you so much for lending us your beloved this week.

  7. Carla, what a great job on the Parable of Sower! May the seed of the word of God find our hearts to be good soil and bring forth fruit that all those around us would clearly see in our lives. I’m so proud of you and your work. Love, Joe.

  8. I loved picturing myself walking through the ripened fields as I thought about the parable. Thanks for sharing your wisdom Carla.

  9. Wonderful message, Carla. God’s Word and the Holy Spirit are what really transform us into the likeness of Christ. Your article reminded me of the song we used to sing with our kids, “The Word of God is like a little bitty seed, scattered all around.”

  10. I love this parable and have felt God using it to speak to me on more than one occasion. In fact, I have the scribblings of a post based on it. I sure did enjoy this one. The heart/soil comparison gives me new insight.

  11. Carla and J.D., as a farm girl I loved your message and the anlogy you shared. I seem to need constant tilling and removal of “debris” that hinders my growth. I’m thankful that the Master Gardener is always with me, guiding the process. Blessings, my friends, and good wishes for a bountiful harvest in your “garden.”

    1. Thank you, Katherine. Our Master Gardener is the expert and not willing to lose any crop. Tilling is laborious, but the benefits are delicious I appreciate you and may He bless you and yours.

    1. Amen, Connie. His word and Spirit are our comfort, strength, sword, and shield in this world. I love the Bible and my love for it began the day I fell head over heals for its Author. Blessings dear Sister.

  12. I loved your analogy of walking through the garden but not receiving all of its benefits and how that relates to attending church but not reading our Bibles. The Word of God is filled with necessary nutrients for our growth.

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