Devotions from the Garden:
- Includes 90 devotions that explore the parallels of life with the elements of the garden to help you see God, sense His presence, soothe your soul, and help you rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day
- Is perfect for gardeners, flower enthusiasts, and nature lovers
- Is a great size for gift baskets, ideal for garden club meetings, and fitting for anyone looking for inspirational content to start their day
- Includes beautiful photographs with a fresh, contemporary design for timeless appeal
Come to the garden alone, and fill your soul with His presence. There's nothing on earth like the peace and loveliness of a magnificent garden. It's the place where Adam and Eve first fellowshipped with God, and where you, too, can escape from this chaotic world into His loving arms of beauty and serenity.
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Devotions from the Garden
Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life
By Miriam Drennan
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2015 Thomas Nelson
All rights reserved.
GODS TRANSFORMING GRACE
Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.
Philippians 3:20–24 NKJV
Perennial bulbs produce such gorgeous plants and flowers year after year that it's hard to believe their unsightly, humble beginnings.
Bulbs originate as somewhat withered-looking balls, some with fine, hairy roots extending outward, and others with crackly dry skin. On the inside of each is a small bud, protected by those ugly outer layers. If you were to set these bulbs on a shelf, they would stay lifeless and be purposeless. But when the fall season arrives and we bury them, we set the stage for something miraculous to occur. We will witness the complete transformation of our ugly bulbs.
Upon the first hints of spring—when days are a bit longer and the snow is melting-specks of green begin to dot the soil. Each day the warmer sun coaxes and calls, "Come on! Come out!" until finally the seedlings push through the dirt, the leaves emerge, and the stage is set for the tiny flower buds to sprout and open. At long last, beautiful masterpieces open up, sharing their vibrant color for all to see. The cold ground has given birth to these explosions of joy that greet the new season.
Year after year these lovely miracles reappear. New flower buds spread rainbows of color and joy as if to remind us that they weren't asleep or dead in the ground, that they had been in a season of transformation. After being swaddled in rich soil, protected from cold winter temperatures, watered with nourishing rain, and fed with the warm, bright sun, the ugly bulbs eventually emerge as something new and beautiful, unmistakable evidence of their transformation.
Maybe you feel more like a dormant bulb than a radiant blossom. You may feel lifeless, covered in dry, crackly layers of sin as the harshness of winter bears down on you. If that's the case, take heart and find hope in God's promises for you. In due season He will clothe you in sparkling joy and renewed hope; He will trade His beauty for the apparent ashes of your life, and others will see His transformation of you, His beloved child.
If you have bulbs in your yard, dig one up today. Or buy some new ones. Before replanting them, hold each for just a moment. Consider what it will become—and remember that the Lord holds you the same way.
Father, You know that on certain days I feel lifeless, worthless, and stale. During those times, remind me that You are indeed at work in my life and that I will eventually blossom, emerging for the purpose to which You call me and spreading the joy with which You fill me.CHAPTER 2
Do not withhold Your tender mercies from me, O LORD; Let Your lovingkindness and Your truth continually preserve me.
PSALM 40.11 NKJV
To gardeners, there is something very satisfying about perennials ...
Every spring we wonder about the soil, the mulch, and those aspects of the garden we tended to in the winter while the plants were dormant. After the somber tones of winter, we find ourselves very ready for spring's gift of color. Never too soon the faithful and colorful perennials pop up from the ground. And when we see that certain perennials have multiplied and spread during the winter, that additional and unexpected color is truly a bonus.
Whether we plant irises, hydrangeas, roses, raspberries, or hostas, their reappearance—year after year—is a lovely illustration of God's grace and forgiveness in our lives. When we're in a spring season spiritually, we remain close to our Life Source, gathering nourishment from His hand. In a spiritual summer, we are blooming and remain steadfast; we can weather the storms and most of the droughts. But at some point our bloom fades and withers, the weeds of sin overtake us, and we find ourselves in a season of spiritual dormancy.
But think about the perennials: much is happening during their hidden existence in winter's garden. Similarly, much is happening in our soul that we don't see, but God is still very much at work. Perhaps He is softening the soil of our heart after life's hurts and disappointments have created a protective crust. Or maybe He's gently watering and loosening the soil of our heart, preparing for the seeds of a new direction, a new ministry, or a renewed excitement about our relationship with Jesus.
God is at work even in seasons of your heart that seem dormant, that lack color, and that seem to bear no fruit. Be sure that He continues to pour out His grace so that, like perennials in the garden, you will blossom again and again, adding color to the world and joy to people around you.
Precious Father, thank You that even when I feel I'm in a season of dormancy, You are not distant or idle. Instead, You are ever faithful to Your promise to work grace and renewal in my heart and my life.CHAPTER 3
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Cleaning out a neglected bed is a dreaded task for even the biggest gardening enthusiast. As we pull out last year's overgrowth-dead weeds and vines hardened by winter-we cling to the hope that beneath it all, we'll find dark, rich soil from which new life will emerge. With the pull of each old growth, we find memories of last year's crop surfacing-some good, some not so good. There may be thoughts of those plants that produced in abundance and of others that struggled just to hang on.
Frustration can also set in as we remember why it's a good idea to clean the bed right after harvest while the soil is still soft and the vines and roots are pliable. Regret about not taking proper steps in the past in order to save time and energy in the present can easily fester. It's much more fun to start the new season by planting seedlings instead of pulling ugly, dead remains!
Maybe at this season of your life you are feeling like the neglected bed. Maybe unhealthy habits and ideas took root and took over. Maybe your heart has been hardened by the storms of winter. Maybe those seeds of hope struggled to hang on-and lost the struggle, leaving behind a sad emptiness. And maybe you're even convinced that it's too late to start over, too late to grow, flourish, and produce.
Don't underestimate the skill of your Master Gardener. He is not only willing to clean up your life, but He is able to make the soil of your heart soft and fertile again. He longs for His forgiveness and mercy to wash over you each morning like gentle rain. He is also ready to pull out what needs to be removed from your heart—and, yes, the process may be painful at times, yet the Master Gardener will then sow in you seeds of His goodness and love, preparing you once again to blossom and flourish.
God of mercy, grace, and forgiveness, thank You for untangling and weeding out the sin in my life. And thank You for planting hope where there has been pain, love where there has been bitterness, dreams where there has been brokenness. Thank You for the opportunity to grow, flourish, and produce fruit in Your name and for Your glory.CHAPTER 4
"See what the land looks like.... What about the soil? Is it fertile or poor? Are there trees there? Try to bring back some of the fruit from that land."
Numbers 13:18, 20 NCV
One of the first and most practical steps that gardeners can take before we plant anything is soil testing. Learning as much as possible about the soil—its texture, composition, drainage, acidity, and mineral density—will help us determine what we will have to add to the soil to help our plants thrive. Fertilizers, aluminum, lime, and other enhancers may be needed for optimal plant growth. The only way to know what to add—and how much—is to do some preliminary research.
Likewise, when God gave the land of Canaan to the Israelites, He instructed Moses to send each tribe's leader to explore the land before taking it. After all, their very survival depended on knowing the terrain. armies trained to fight in the desert would not fare as well if they were sent to battle in the jungle. The Israelites needed to learn about their new land before they could determine which areas to establish as their own, so according to God's instruction, they did some research.
We would be wise to follow the Israelites' example and do some research when we need to make decisions that will affect our spiritual growth and productivity. if our soil is lacking in wisdom and God's truth, we are easily weakened and blinded by the ways of the world. When we seek God—when we do our research by reading His Word, getting biblical counsel from other believers, and praying for His guidance and strength—we will be prepared to make wise decisions and to accomplish all that God has for us to do. Our lives will then be a living testimony to His goodness and faithfulness.
So what's the condition of your soil? When did you last enrich your heart and mind with the living power of God's Word? How often do you slow down to listen for the Lord's divine direction for your life? He is the Master Gardener of your soul: your survival depends on Him who has everything you need to bloom and to grow beyond your wildest dreams.
Heavenly Father, I turn to You with a humble heart, seeking Your wisdom and Your way for my life. Please give me understanding and insight about _____________ so I will make sound decisions based on Your guidance. Thank You for Your Word. It truly is a light to my path and a reliable source of guidance for my steps and peace for my soul.CHAPTER 5
BLUEBERRIES AND BOXWOODS
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
Soil pH tends to fall into two camps: acidic or alkaline. When you know your soil's pH level, you can better determine which plants will grow well in that soil. Blueberries, for example, need an acidic soil to thrive and produce fruit, but boxwoods flourish in a more alkaline soil. Placing either plant in the other's soil would assuredly kill it. So when we garden, our goal is finding the optimum pH level for whatever we want to plant.
What about the ideal pH for our own life? Our garden may not have grown the way we had hoped. Maybe the pH was off because of our own choices or maybe because of choices made by people around us. Other people's gardens may seem to be flourishing and even pest free. But when we look at other people—whether a neighbor or a celebrity, a coworker or a family member—we don't know the pH of the soil of their lives. We don't know what challenges they face, what plants they had hoped would grow but didn't, or what plants have grown that they wish hadn't.
The reality is this: no one lives in soil with the perfect pH, a pH that enables all dreams to come true and protects from all pain and loss. When we are in Christ, however, He provides what we need to grow and produce fruit right where we are. Our earthly soil will not be perfect, but Jesus enables us to thrive in any level of acid or alkaline.
One more point. The blueberry never envies the boxwood, and the boxwood doesn't envy the blueberry. Each is content in the soil where it has been planted by a Gardener who was careful and wise. So today, rather than looking at another's growth, thank God for where He has planted you.
Master Gardener, You know that there is no perfect pH in this world, and I know that means more work for You as You grow me to be the person You want me to be. Forgive me for being envious of others who seem to be in more beautiful gardens—and teach me to live with anticipation of Your plans for me.CHAPTER 6
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
Psalm 119:105 NKJV
Almanacs have been in the United States since the eighteenth century. Even today the still-popular Old Farmer's Almanac and Farmer's Almanac are considered highly reliable sources of information about gardening, home remedies, fishing, the moon's phases, recipes, astronomy, and weather forecasts. Since 1792, almanacs have usually had the final say after gardeners have consulted friends, neighbors, retailers, and—more recently—the Internet for information. Once they open the almanac and find exactly what they wanted to know, many gardeners wonder why they didn't consult this time-tested resource in the first place.
Too often today we treat the Bible the same way. When we need information, we poll the people we know, consult unproven sources, and sometimes find ourselves more conflicted than before we started our quest for answers and guidance. Had we first consulted the Bible and asked the Holy Spirit to guide our study, we would instead have a solid answer from a time-tested, God-breathed resource.
Granted, entire movements have arisen with their sole purpose being to disprove the Bible, to reveal it as contradictory or fabricated. But Christians are also vulnerable to abridging the Bible or distorting its truth to fit our personal, political, or social agenda. When this happens, we're not only deceiving ourselves, we are misleading others as well.
The Bible is not a random collection of isolated stories; it is purposeful and meaningful, its themes and lessons working together, always and ultimately pointing to Jesus. Instead of looking in God's Word for the answers we want to hear, let's seek instead the answers we need to hear.
Heavenly Father, thank You for setting forth Your truth in the living Word of Scripture. Thank You that Your Spirit works in concert with Your Word to guide me, grow me, and provide me with the wisdom You would have me know. I release to You those things I do not need to understand, that I will hear Your true voice more clearly.
Excerpted from Devotions from the Garden by Miriam Drennan. Copyright © 2015 Thomas Nelson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
1 God's Transforming Grace 10
2 Perennials 12
3 Neglected Beds 16
4 Soil Testing 18
5 Blueberries and Boxwoods 20
6 Almanacs 22
7 God's Timing 24
8 Dirt Under Your Fingernails 26
9 A Family Affair 30
10 Landscapes vs. Farmers vs. Gardeners 32
11 Sowing to the Flesh 34
12 Companion Planting 36
13 Crop Rotation 38
14 Grace in the Garden 42
15 The Mantis 44
16 Seed Cleaning 46
17 The Spark of Life 48
18 Nature's Plow 52
19 Germination 54
20 Repellers 56
21 Sun Exposure 60
22 Pinching and Deadheading 62
23 Grafted to Him 64
24 Native Plants 66
25 Engineered Holiness 68
26 Mulch and Root Flares 70
27 Pruning 72
28 Paintbrush Pollination 76
29 Root Systems 78
30 Root Rot 80
31 Fruit Trees 82
32 Succession Planting 86
33 Rainy Days 88
34 Drought 90
35 Honeybees 92
36 Pesticides 96
37 Living Among Weeds 98
38 Wind 100
39 Nothing Is Maintenance-Free 102
40 Zinnias 104
41 Watersheds 106
42 God's Greenhouse 110
43 Permaculture 112
44 Noah's Vineyard 114
45 Heirloom Plants 116
46 When Roots Go Haywire 120
47 Tomato Disorders 122
48 Unfailing Waters 124
49 Over watering 127
50 Staking 128
51 Blight and Powdery Mildew 130
52 Composting 134
53 Pulling Weeds 136
54 Untapped Harvest 138
55 Call of the Wild 140
56 The Seasons 142
57 Butterflies 144
58 Waiting 146
59 Netting 148
60 The Mustard Seed 150
61 Mystery Plant 154
62 No Formula for Flourishing 156
63 Blooms hut No Fruit 158
64 Monkey Grass 160
65 Straw Bale Gardens 162
66 Container Gardening 164
67 The Spiritual Garden 168
68 Pallet Gardening 170
69 Rock Gardening 172
70 The Forgotten Crop 174
71 A Time to Rest 176
72 Butterfly Gardens 178
73 Herb Gardens 182
74 Rain Gardens 184
75 Sowing to the Spirit 186
76 Ladybugs 190
77 The Riches of Remnants 192
78 Stumpers 194
79 Bringing the Firstfruits 196
80 Gifts from the Garden and the Heart 198
81 Year-Round Harvest 202
82 Planting, Watering, Growing 204
83 Thanks for the Harvest 206
84 Offering the Fruit of Our Labor 208
85 Remain in Him 210
86 The Plant That Struggled 212
87 The Soils 214
88 Growing As God Intended 216
89 The Sower 218
90 The Command of the Ages 222