It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, a time to be thankful and rejoice in all the Lord has done for us and has provides for us; but in these days of illnesses, viruses, hospitalizations, and even deaths – of vaccines, lockdowns and oppression it can be hard to find something to be thankful for.
It takes more work to find that little something to rejoice over during times of stress, and hardship; but when we do… that thanksgiving makes things so much better, it lightens the load, it makes the days easier, and put a spring in our step.
Thanksgiving is so powerful!
But what happens when thanksgiving seems beyond us…well then… its time to check the harvest, and see what was brought in and how we could have improved the yield.
It’s time to check the soil and see if we can make improvements.
When the fruit is sour, or poor not producing as well as we would like, we need to check the soil!
Jesus had a lot to say about soil…
Mark 4:1 And he began again to teach by the sea side: and there was gathered unto him a great multitude, so that he entered into a ship, and sat in the sea; and the whole multitude was by the sea on the land.
2And he taught them many things by parables, and said unto them in his doctrine,
3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow:
4 And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up.
5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth:
6.But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.
7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8 And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9 And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
The Purpose of Jesus’ Parables
10 And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11 And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12 That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
(Matthew 13:18-23) (Luke 8:11-15)
13 And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
14 The sower soweth the word.
15 And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.
16 And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;
17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.
18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,
19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
20 And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.
Over the years, working in the ministry, I have seen people come and I have seen people go. Just like the explanation of the parable that Jesus gives – three main things take people out of the truth into error, or back into the world.
Jesus said they are;
The devil – who allow the enemy room in their lives to steals the word of God
The flesh – those who become offended – through persecution, or affliction because of the Word of God.
The world – through worry, covertness, or running after other worldly pursuits like needing to have the best car, or the best house, or the best education.
But Jesus mentions the fourth heart where the word of God sewn in good ground produces fruit.
If we study the different places in the Gospels where the story is mentioned, we see there are some characteristics of the good soil that we need to cultivate in our own lives:
The heart ( good soil) was…
1) Honest – Properly, beautiful, but chiefly good, i.e. Valuable or virtuous.
2) Good – Valuable or virtuous.
3) Able to Hear – To hear, listen, comprehend by hearing;
4) Able to Receive it -To receive, accept, acknowledge. Admit or delight in.
5) Able to Understand it – consider, understand, perceive.
6) Able to Keep it – cling to [it}
7) and able to have Patience – Endurance, steadfastness, patient waiting for.
Luke 8:15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
Matt;13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
They key to remember is that all ground can be worked on, changed and improved.
Just because at one time in your life your heart (soil) became, or was shallow with stones in it, or full of thorns or weeds, it can be corrected. It just needs work.
Even the soil of the dessert, which has been burnt over by the heat of the sun can bloom again!
Jer. 31:3 The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.
4Again I will build thee, and thou shalt be built, O virgin of Israel: thou shalt again be adorned with thy tabrets, and shalt go forth in the dances of them that make merry.
5Thou shalt yet plant vines upon the mountains of Samaria: the planters shall plant, and shall eat them as common things.
If your ground has become hard through pain, suffering, sorrow, abuse, if it is full of just being warn out through life – the Lord can help, he loves you too much to leave you in that place, to leave you in that pain. If Satan has fed you lies and you have strongholds in your mind, so that every once of truth seems stolen out of your heart by the enemy…
What does the Lord say about barren ground?
Look at the love the Lord has for Israel
Hosea 10;11 Israel is like a trained heifer treading out the grain— an easy job she loves. But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck. I will force Judah to pull the plow and Israel to break up the hard ground.
The Lord will do whatever it takes to help you break up that hard earth, water it, put the tractor to it, break it up any way he can, add some manure to it and some peat moss and fix that soil.
If your soil has no depth, if everything seems good on the surface, you have learned to hide your pain well and never let anyone see it – if shame has filled your life, if others have offended you and persecuted you has caused you to stumble, if your ground has become filled with stones so that nothing can grow – you can with the help of the Lord heal that ground; start rock picking and cleaning the mess up. It’s hard work but the Lord promises he will heal the land.
2 Chron. 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; 14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. 15 Now mine eyes shall be open, and mine ears attent unto the prayer that is made in this place. 16 For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that my name may be there for ever: and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.
Humble yourself, pray for forgiveness, forgive yourself for disappointing yourself through reacting poorly to pain or abuse, forgive others who have hurt you, abused you or failed you and ask the Lord to heal that rocky ground.
It takes work but it can be done.
And finally if the world with all its issues has left your ground full of weeds, don’t despair- they can be cleared.
The weeds of this world come from not trusting the Lord – dealing with people who don’t reference the Lord – people who don’t acknowledge his Kingship…they forsake him saying…
Hosea 10:3 Then they will say, “We have no king because we did not revere the Lord. But even if we had a king, what could he do for us?”
4They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
Come out of the world, reject its philosophies and ideology and all the paganism and sin – reject their laws and rights and politics… it will only produce unfruitfulness and sorrow and lead to death and destruction.
I John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
Rev.18;4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
So allow the Lord to heal your ground, work with him and the healing process to break up the hard ground, to soften it through water and a gentle rain, to put the manure to it, add in the peat moss, pick the rocks, and get the weeds out so that you may be fruitful, so that thankfulness can be restored.
Col.1:9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; 12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: 13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: 14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
As ministers we pray to see restored in your life a sense of deep thankfulness for all things, for the good, for the bad, for the struggles for everything that makes up who you are.
Giving thanks unto the Father- for in thanksgiving there is a deep knowledge of being loved, of being cared for and content, there is great comfort, there is tenderheartedness and peace in our homes and there is great Joy!
Thankfulness Challenge – over the next year – everyday find 5 things to be thankful for. Post them on your social media and watch the fruit grow!