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  • "A Musing Pastor"

Preparing dirt.

I'm getting excited about digging in the dirt! Mid March is here and the promise of spring is fast approaching. With spring comes green plants and the prospect of having our first garden here in Lewistown. In years past, we learned a former pastor and spouse had a beautiful garden out in the back yard and so I began to eye that location. A healthy layer of sod covered this prime garden spot. Hmm, I suppose I could begin the long process of shoveling that sod under....or connect with somebody with a nice garden tiller. Which would be easier?

Enter our son who offered to bring his four-wheeler with plow and prepare the garden! Fantastic! Upon returning home from a meeting I was met with a plot of ground with no sod covering. I inhaled the sweet smell of fresh dirt and immediately was whisked back to days on the farm. There is something about spring and field prep. Turning sod, discing it fine, harrowing the sod and fertilizing are parts of a process. Of course newer modes of field prep exist and 'no-till' planting is popular.

The fertile soil of a person's heart is where God chooses to reside. God loves our hearts; God speaks to us; God follows wherever we go. The condition of our hearts are usually in need of some preparation though. In some cases, a heart is covered by thick sod of indifference. In other cases our heart is entombed in a dark season of grief, sadness, anger, or doubt. While still other hearts might be empty and feel hopeless.

Hearts and minds need to undergo preparations and sod may need to be broken apart. Refining and removal of rocks and roots are essential to allowing God entrance. The fly in the ointment here is that we cannot prepare and ready our hearts to recieve God without God's help. Certainly, one must confess sin, repent, and pledge their lives to serve Christ but the quintessential heart surgeon is Jesus Christ. He can cleanse the hearts of everyone; he purges hopelessness, doubt, fear, apathy, anger, and any other impediment that detracts from spiritual life and growth. He provides healing for our brokenness. It goes without saying that in some case, God may have to use implements to break through years of neglect and sin. This may be painful at first as God breaks through the covering of our hearts but the restorative pain will soon turn to recuperative life. Our hearts will become a place where things like hope, peace, joy, love, kindness, patience, and other beneficial attributes can flourish.

It's okay, God is gracious and merciful and will care for our hearts. God does the best work on hearts in the worst shape. Open your heart to God's care today and seek His nurturing and preparation.

"Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given

you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when

you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be

holy, because I am holy.” (1Peter 1:13-16, NIV)

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