Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)
We know how many seeds are in an apple, but only God knows how many apples are in a seed. We plant seeds of truth by spreading the gospel, as described in the parable of the sower in Matthew 13. Some seeds fall along the path and are snatched away. Some fall in rocky places where they are received with joy but have no root and soon wither. Some seeds fall among thorns where worries of this life choke them out. And some seeds fall on good soil where people hear the Word, understand it, retain it, and produce a crop. What places in your life are like valleys, mountains, or rough places that challenge your faith? Mountains are difficult challenges requiring endurance and perseverance. Valleys may be depressing events that lead to emotional fatigue, mental distress and physical exhaustion. In crooked places you don’t know which way to turn, you can’t see the path or discern the way. In rough places, like with illness and betrayal, the going gets tough; you can clearly see the way, but it is still very difficult to cope and keep going. When you hear the Word and understand it, you produce a crop yielding many times what was sown. Our job is to plant the seeds of truth. How many apples may be in the seeds you are planting and in the seeds from those apples in the future? Keep planting. Only God knows what the harvest will bring.
“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:13-15 NIV84) God is always faithful and keeps all promises. Store up his Word in your heart and you will draw strength from it when you need it most.
Maybe Spring hasn’t quite sprung yet, but it won’t be long. My spirit stirs and my thoughts joyfully turn to the inevitable first breath of Spring as I recall God’s promise: “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” (Genesis 8:22)
- eros – romantic attraction
- philia – brotherly love, fellowship
- agape – selfless, spiritual, unconditional
Eros involves a feeling of desire and longing that can wax and wane with changes in circumstances, perceptions and expectations. Phileo friendship also may change with the times, but agape love is endless and without bounds. Jesus personified agape love — the most noble, sacrificial love. He commands us to love others as he has loved us. Agape love is not merely a feeling, but an act of will.
When a fragile flower peaks up through the snow and ice, we marvel at God’s grace and rush to plan a spring garden.
Whatever our current situation may be, we visualize, strive for, and expect a miraculous new beginning because we are endowed with God’s spirit and trust in his enduring love. Signs of his sovereignty and majesty are all around us. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17) Rejoice in hope!