Where the Word is Sown
My goal this year is to follow the 700 club's New Testament bible study. But I've found myself falling behind and pondering sections for a week at a time. I'm not concerned about this though because I know the Lord is showing me something new. A bible study is only a place to get started. I love it when my Bible study becomes a conversation with God.
I read the parable of the sower and I asked the Lord, Where am I in this parable? Am I the rocky ground or the good ground? I felt the Lord say, "You have been every one of those soils."
And when a great multitude had gathered, and they had come to Him from every city, He spoke by a parable: “A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down, and the birds of the air devoured it. Some fell on rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. But others fell on good ground, sprang up, and yielded a crop a hundredfold.” When He had said these things He cried, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear!” Luke 8:4-8
Then His disciples asked Him, saying, “What does this parable mean?” And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.’ Luke 8:9-10
“Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away. Now the ones that fell among thorns are those who, when they have heard, go out and are choked with cares, riches, and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience. Luke 8:11-15
I understand from this parable that the seed is the word of God. Jesus is showing us four ways that we mediate on His word.
- Sometimes we read the word just to check it off of our list of daily Christian chores. But at the end of the day we feel empty because God's word wasn't planted in our heart. His word fell to the ground and was swept away by the doubts that fill our busy days. There is no life in ritual.
- We are the soil in this parable. I imagine large rocks squeezing in around me. They are the thoughts and the cares of my daily existence. Other seed/word fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. God reveals his word to us and we have a "Wow!" moment. But then life and its problems come along and overwhelm us. We let the plant die when we fail to water or tend to it. We water the word/seed when we meditate on it in our heart. Meditation is the way we tend our crop.
- Other seed/word fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. This happens when we try to live two lives; one foot walks with Jesus and the other foot walks in the world. We cannot serve two masters. Only one master will rule us. Yes there were times when the things of this world ruled my life, but I knew deep down that I needed Jesus more. The things of this world sometimes snare us and prevent us from getting closer to God. If we let the world rule our lives, its thorns will choke the life from us.
- I strive to be good soil ready for planting. The fourth soil is fertile and hangs on to the seed that is planted there. This is my heart's desire. I want to hold on to the word that God plants into my heart and feast on the fruit that springs up from my garden. I long for a crop that produces one hundred fold. I really strive for this in my life. It is my constant prayer. "Father, make me fertile ground for the seeds you want to plant in me, grow and harvest."
As I pondered these verses of scripture I started thinking about the disciples. They asked Jesus why he taught using stories. He told them that they could understand but the rest of the people would not understand. But in verse 9 we see that even the disciples didn't understand. I believe Jesus made a faith statement when he told them that they understand. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart saying, "Understanding depends on right or wrong mediation."
When Nick and I were married we decided that we would wait five years to have kids. We both wanted to finish and then settle down a bit before bringing kids into the picture. I didn't feel like parent material yet. So we waited. After the five years passed we figured it was time to get pregnant. I also suffered from a number of female issues that required lots of doctor visits.
Pregnancy was not happening so my doctor suggested fertility treatments. My 29th birthday loomed in front of me and I didn't want to take fertility treatments. I meditated on the problem and figured that the lack of pregnancy was a sign from God that I wasn't mom material. I remember standing by the bathroom sink in our small apartment and I was thinking about how I would tell Nick the Doctor's news.
I told Nick the news that night and he said, "No, I had a dream in the army." He told me a story about his time in Germany as an American soldier. His ARMY buddies were out partying and he was felt lonely. He chose to live his Christian faith and stay back at the barracks when his soldier friends visited the bars on the weekends. One of these nights he asked God, "Will I ever have a family, a wife and kids of my own?" That night God gave him a dream. In the dream he was camping with his wife and his fair headed son. The boy was about a year and a half in age. Nick told me this dream many times in our first five years of marriage. He was hanging on to something God showed him many years earlier. That day Nick said, "We will have a child." I remember getting mad at him and saying, "Maybe you picked the wrong girl!" He said, "No, I picked the right girl and I am going to have a son with you." Then he walked off to his office.
I stood there pondering what he said. Then the Lord took me back to the farm where I grew in Sumatra, Montana. One day my Dad came into the house and said to mom, my cousins and me, "Let's go out into the fields". So we all piled into a car and drove off to the wheat fields. When he parked alongside the field he explained to us, "The fields had been planted with wheat and now we need rain. We need slow rain for several days." I looked around. The sun was shining it was going to be a nice spring day. No sign of rain. That night my parents invited neighbors from Ingomar to join us for dinner. I remember sitting down to eat and we suddenly heard large drops of water splash against the metal roof. The rain was slow and easy. Around 8:00 PM our company decided they should head home because they didn't want to get stuck. Our roads were not yet graveled in those days. It rained for 3 days.
As I thought about the pregnancy news, God reminded me of the miracle rain that day. Jesus reminded me of the many miracles and answers to prayer my family experienced in my young years on the Sumatra farm. I knew in my heart that nothing is too big for God.
Five weeks later visited the doctor and leaned that I was three weeks pregnant. My pregnancy was uneventful. I was never sick. It was a very easy pregnancy. I felt great. However, I was working at Payless Pharmacy during the last 3 months of my pregnancy. The educated pharmacists fed me with endless horror stories about child birth. I started to believe the stories and mediate on them into the evenings. I found myself dreading childbirth. Daily I was told that I might need blood and that I should save my blood in a blood bank. For three months I meditated, "I will probably need blood". I was scared. Here I was living in Seattle, 29 years old, my first pregnancy and I was drowning in the horror stories these ladies shared with me every day.
But I believe the Lord put me there to learn. One night I heard a voice and it said, "You are going to need blood." I called the blood bank and asked if I could store up blood for myself. They told me I was too far along in my pregnancy to give blood. I would have to have to take the blood they offered. I started asking them hard questions. "What are my chances of getting HIV?" He said, "10%." What about Hepatics?" He said,"35%". There was a problem with the blood banks. I responded, "Those are not good odds at all."
I brought this subject up on my next visit to my doctor. He said, "How is it that they told you? They are not supposed to tell the public." At this point I made him write into his notes that the only blood I will take will only take blood from my husband and my dad. They both share my blood type. I was later informed by the same blood bank that they did not have a guy working for them and that I had privileged information. I believe it was the Lord who inspired me to call. I don't know who answered the phone. The Lord reviled to me that the blood was tainted. Folks, when my first baby was born I had a very bad delivery. I nearly died. I had an out of body experience and I know that meditation took me there. God's amazing grace brought me through that birth and through a healing period. It took five months before I was fully healed. A few months later the tainted blood problem was released to the local news media.
Three years later I found out I was pregnant with our daughter. On the day I found out I was pregnant I made up my mind that I was going to have a good birth. I chose not to listen to anyone who brought up the horrors of birthing. I was bold and shut them down when they started to talk. I determined not to go through that again. I told the devil, "You go bugger off!" I chose not to have the same birth as before with the Lord's help. I refused to meditate on the world's birthing stories. I put my mind on the word and believed God with all my might.
For the next 8 months I was one sick puppy. My eyes were sensitive to the lights, I could not stand the smell of meat and eggs. Nathaniel and Nick had to go out to eat if they wanted meat or eggs. I was eating a vegetarian diet. Heidi's little body grew out of saltine crackers and pink grapefruit juice. I was constantly praying over myself and I had other people praying for me too. Even with my queasy stomach I believed that God would help me in my time of need. After eight months meat started tasting good again and I was back to normal. I had an awesome birth and I was walking the very next day with no pain. My mom took care of me after the birth. She insisted that she was there to take care of me and that I should let her manage work in the kitchen. I told her I felt 100% good and she should let me continue my daily work in the kitchen.
I know that Satan is not my friend. He would happily let me experience a bad birth experience. But the Grace of God brought me through. These pregnancies taught me that my experiences are tied to the things I choose to meditate on in this life.
I can now see that I spent my first pregnancy among thorns. I can see how this scripture applied to me:
7 Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants.
13 The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don't have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation.
During the second pregnancy I changed my mediation. I put my mind on a different path. Even though the pregnancy was hard, I focused on the Word of God. Meditation on the Word helped me step through pregnancy one day at a time. Jesus walked me through it.