Gardens…

Morning all, I hope you all had good weekends. This is the third and last in my series of updates of re-posts over the weekend following on from Mountains and Rivers.

I came to realise, like many others over the lockdown restrictions, that it was such a blessing to have a garden – either a place which is yours, a sanctuary to enjoy and take pleasure from or a communal garden.    A place to reflect, enjoy the beauty of nature and time to relax.    Gardens draw us in and make us feel better – they are food indeed for the soul.   There is something in our DNA which draws us to a garden – even if we are not green fingered ourselves – we can appreciate the beauty. This is me with my dog peeking through a floral display in the park.

It got me thinking about gardens in the bible.

God was the first Gardener:

Genesis 2 v 8  “the Lord God planted a garden“- the Garden of Eden.    How amazing and beautiful that first garden must have been, planted and designed by God’s own hand.   It says that every tree planted was “pleasant for the sight” and “good for food“. God made that garden especially for Adam and Eve.   He took the time to create a special place for them.   A place of nourishment and also a place to meet for fellowship.    God would walk in the garden in the cool of the day and meet with Adam and Eve – a special time of relationship.  

I love that as Christians there is also a special place for each one of us – a place where we can go and meet with God – a place to be in His presence.

Life was in that very first Garden:

Life was formed there in the Garden of Eden. God created Eve from Adam’s side and the Tree of Life – eternal life- was also there in it’s midst.    Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness and the bible teaches that we find life – true life – in our relationship with Him.    When we come and meet with Jesus we meet Life.

Jesus said “I am the way, the truth & the life. No-one comes to the father except through Me“.     

We won’t find true life or relationship with God any other way. After Adam and Eve had eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil they were put out of the garden in case they ate of the tree of life and lived forever in sin.     Jesus through his death and resurrection has cleansed us from sin to make a way back into the garden of fellowship with God for us. We are now partakers of eternal life.

Death was also in that Garden:

When Adam and Eve ate of the tree of knowledge then death came.   God made tunics of skin to cover them – an animal had to die to provide those skins for clothing for Adam and Eve.  Death had entered into creation for the first time.  

Death was also drawing near to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.    Jesus met with his Father in prayer that night in the Garden.    On that night the Garden was a place of betrayal, pain and suffering for Jesus.   He was in great sorrow and in deep distress.   He had been betrayed, let down by His disciples and was facing death and torture.    

The garden is a place that God wants us to come when we too are in such times of sorrow – times of anxiety and fear.  Times when we feel overwhelmed and think that we can’t continue – when it all seems too much.    Times when people close to us have betrayed us or let us down. God will draw us to Him, will comfort us and strengthen us so that we can continue.

Beware of the enemy in the Garden:

Satan entered the garden of Eden and deceived Eve. Watch out for the lies of the enemy. Don’t let satan lead you astray by his lies and deception.

The garden can provoke others to jealousy. Jezebel schemed and plotted to have Naboth killed because her husband Ahab desired the vineyard garden that belonged to Naboth. The king wanted it for a vegetable garden but Naboth refused to sell. It was his inheritance and not for sale.

The enemy always wants to steal your inheritance in Christ. The enemy is jealous of your position in Christ and he will do what he can to steal from you. Guard yourself and trust in God. The enemy will try and stop you enjoying relationship with God. He will tell you that you are not good enough and all sorts of lies to interfere in your relationship with God.

New Life and hope was in the Garden:

When Jesus conquered the grave and rose from the dead, He appeared to Mary. She thought at first that he was a Gardener.   I had never really thought about that before but my friend mentioned it to me the other day.     Why would Mary have mistaken Jesus for a Gardener unless he was in a garden and it was a reasonable assumption to make.   From a place of sorrow and grief the garden became one of hope for Mary. There is hope in the garden – Jesus was dead but now He is alive.   The garden is a place of hope. It’s a place of victory. It’s a place of new beginnings.

Nourishment in the Garden:

The plants which were in the Garden of Eden were good for food and there was a river which flowed through it.    We all need food and water to survive and flourish.  

Jesus said “I am the bread of life.  He who comes to Me shall never hunger and he who believes in Me shall never thirst”  – “Man cannot live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God“. 

There is spiritual nourishment in spending time with God in His presence. Hearing what He has to say to us in those quiet times as we spend time in His word – the bible.   Jesus is the true bread of life and out of Him spring rivers of living water.  I am becoming more aware of my need to spend more time in His presence, in His word than being busy doing things for God.  I am blessed by the giftings and ministry which God has given me but being in relationship with Him is the most important thing – Reminding me of my first love.

Love is in the Garden:

Unconditional love is in the garden. God loves us.

You will hear God’s voice in the garden speaking to you. As He spoke to Adam you will hear His still small voice speak to you saying- I love you.

God is love. If you seek Him you will find Him. If you are looking for love you will find it in God the father and Jesus the son.

 

A Sacrificing Seed

Jesus replied, ‘The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honour the one who serves me.

Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour”?

No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’

Then a voice came from heaven, ‘I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.’ John 12:23-28

Last week I thought a lot about this scripture and Jesus’ words. There have been many, many Christian seeds that have fallen to the ground since Jesus himself suffered and died. Through the obedience of the Son to death there has been seeds of everlasting life sown for us all. We reap life eternal through Jesus’ death. The Seed sown for us who sprang to life in resurrection glory. Praise God.

Many Christian believers have been prepared to follow Jesus even to the point of death and martyrdom. Were those deaths in vain? Not at all.

In their deaths, the truth of Jesus’ words are revealed. I understood this a bit more last week when visiting Rome. What was once a pagan city, culture and nation turned to Christ and became Christian.

Those seeds that fell to the ground and died produced many seeds. Those seeds gave birth to life, grace, love, mercy, truth, endurance, faith, forgiveness and righteousness in Christ Jesus.

Our God has risen up.. Victory is His

Last night (Good Friday 10th April) I had a dream in which I was in a large upper room in a church building with lots of people – some I knew and some I didn’t.   During the course of the meeting my friend and I (we were not next to each other as we usually would be when seated in church) at exactly the same time spoke out a powerful tongue in unison.

As we spoke it out the words were so powerful and strong – the declaration in them went forth like a loud cry & a roar and we marched forward as we said the tongue.      This was a completely new thing to us – my friend has the gift of tongues and I often have the gift of interpretation to her tongue and we will bring a word in church meetings but never at the same time.      I remember being overawed in the dream because this was a new thing and the power of the Holy Spirit was tangible.     The Lord was doing something new amongst us.

The interpretation of the tongue was:

“Our God is a man of war.   See He goes forth.   He has arisen!  A mighty man of war.  He rises against His enemies and they will be scattered.    He has sent forth His arrows & pierced the darkness.  He has defeated death.  He has conquered.   He has risen on our behalf and the glory is all His.  All the glory belongs to Him and to no other.  He is a man of war and He strides out on our behalf across the nations.  He has conquered and has won the victory over death & disease. He is the victor.  All honour & glory belong to Him and no other.  He is the one true God & all the praise & honour is His.  Let no-one try & take the honour for themselves.  Woe to them who will claim the victory for themselves.  God has arisen and His enemies are scattered.  The victory is His.  Amen.”

This morning I looked for these words in scripture and it says:

Exodus 15 -The Song of Moses

1Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the Lord, saying,

“I will sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously;
the horse and his ridera he has thrown into the sea.
2The Lord is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him,
my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
3The Lord is a man of war;
the Lord is his name.

and

Psalm 68

1 Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.

But let the righteous be glad; let them rejoice before God: yea, let them exceedingly rejoice.

black and white cemetery christ church
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