Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Cultivating Your Soul

The Lowdown on Dirt: 7 Secrets for Cultivating Your Soul
By Rebekah Montgomery 
source: Right to the Heart 
"Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed…" Mark 4:3a–NIV
"Hanging basket" was once a term that sounded so summery to me. But for a while, in my case, it could be called a "lynching basket" just as well.
Time after time, as I saw drooping leaves and choked vines dangling from them, I realized that "hanging basket" was actually a pretty good description of a container used to execute plants.
I consulted my mother, whose thumb is so green she could grow linoleum. She didn't even have to look upon my scenes of gruesome plant massacres.
"Hmmm…" she said speculatively. "It's probably the soil. What are you using?"
"Garden soil."
"You need to use good potting soil."
Oh. Good soil.
In Jesus' parable of the farmer and seed, He talked about the fruitfulness of planting seed on good soil. But we're all basically clods. How is a heart transformed from rocky, thorny, and/or hard to become good, receptive soil?
Here are 7 secrets for rooting out rocks and thorns, busting up hardened sin, and cultivating fruitfulness in your heart's soil:
  1. Prepare your heart by prayer. Ask God to give you a desire for and an understanding of His Word.
  2. Read a lot and read a little. Read each book from start to finish, and then go back, taking a small section at a time to get a more detailed view.
  3. Dump perfectionism. You don't have to understand everything. Each time you read the Word, you'll understand more.
  4. Scrapbook or journal your spiritual progress. Write down what each Bible passage says, what it means, and what it means to you. Keep track of prayer requests, too.
  5. Talk about what you're reading with others. It might feel a little weird at first, but you'll remember more of what you read and you'll have some interesting conversations along the way.
  6. Get accountable. Find a friend who will check on your progress.
  7. Act on what you read. Ask God to help you put into practice the truths that He is teaching you through His Word.

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