Thursday, July 5, 2012

No Flowers?

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about purpose and re-purpose. I shared with my readers of the tool box I re-purposed and placed on my front porch. I had purchased an ivy plant, a spikey plant of some sort, and red geraniums to fill the tool box.

After two weeks of diligently watering these plants, the geraniums had not changed. There were no new shoots. No prospect of them flowering. I was a bit discouraged. And besides, I found no beauty in non-flowering plants!

So I went to the internet to do some research. What was I doing wrong (besides the usual reasons for killing plants in my home)?

I learned three things about geraniums.

1) geraniums require 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day to bloom – the plants sit in full shade all day long;
2) geraniums do not bloom in extreme temperatures – it has been near or above 100° daily since I planted them;
3) geraniums love fertilizer – I have only watered these poor plants…not a drop of fertilizer.

Like geraniums, we require some proper tending. Our Christian faith and walk depend upon it. If we look at the early church, we see exactly what God has provided for our spiritual nutrition.

Acts 2:42 (NIV) says, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.” Let’s take a look at these four elements.

Apostles’ Teaching
Jesus taught the apostles what He wanted them to share with believers. It was part of the commission Jesus gave to His disciples. “…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:20 – NIV) It was imperative that the apostles preach and teach the Gospel to new believers. Today, we have God’s Word so that we might know the full message of Jesus. Through its’ words, we are able to gain knowledge and wisdom on how we should conduct our lives.

The new believers were to be encouraged by worshipping together. Being strengthened by the number of other followers helped them when they were faced with opposition. Hebrews 10:25 (NIV) encourages us by confirming this principle. “Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Breaking of Bread
Although this could be an ordinary meal, scholars believe this to reference the Lord’s Supper. As we partake of this special meal, we remember what Jesus did for us and proclaim His gift of salvation until He returns. “The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’ For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (1 Corinthians 11:23b-26 – NIV)

While the first three elements of spiritual growth have been corporate in nature, this last element is a more private exercise. When we spend time alone with God, we are able to draw near to Him. We are able to know God intimately. Scripture repeats that we are to be in prayer mode at all times. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 (NIV) says, “Pray continually.”  Through this fellowship with God, our attitude changes. Our spirits are lifted. Our burdens are given to God. We celebrate our joys  with Him.

As we draw closer to God using these four elements, we cannot help but grow and bloom. Our souls will receive sunshine (Jesus), the perfect climate (fellowship with believers and God), and fertilizer (Jesus’ teaching) to encourage our growth.

I will not profess to be an expert on geraniums at this point. I only learned how to best care for them under the circumstances.

I cannot move this beautiful showpiece. I cannot control the weather. I can however provide the nutrients needed to produce healthy plants. I also can purchase artificial geraniums to create the image I was looking for. And that is just what I did.

Grace and peace be yours in abundance,


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