May I ask you a question?

Genesis 2:4-9

This is the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs[b] came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.

Then the Lord God planted a garden in Eden in the east, and there he placed the man he had made. The Lord God made all sorts of trees grow up from the ground—trees that were beautiful and that produced delicious fruit. In the middle of the garden he placed the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

 

The Lord planted a garden.

A garden.

Not a desert.

Not a frozen tundra.

Why?

The garden is where life began. The garden is where abundant life existed. The garden is where God walked and talked with man. The garden is where the Lord tended the soil of man’s heart. The garden is where the enemy slithered in. The garden is where man doubted the goodness of God. The garden is where man trusted a created being instead of the Creator of heaven and earth. The garden is where man sinned. The garden is where Jesus suffered as His soul was “overwhelmed and crushed with grief” (Matthew 26:38). The garden is where our Lord and Savior surrendered His will to the Father to redeem mankind.

The sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve no longer dwell in a perfect garden, but the garden of our hearts (soul & sprit) still remain. The heart is planted by God. The heart is where we walk and talk with Him. The heart is where the enemy lies to us. The heart is where we doubt the goodness of the Father. The heart is where we trust the liar instead of the Way, the Truth and the Life.

May I ask you a question? garden.jpg

How’s the garden of your heart? (or is it a desert or frozen tundra?)

Is the Lord there?

Are you walking & talking with Him?

What’s the condition of the soil?

Are there rocks & weeds?

Are the birds eating the seed?

What’s growing?

What’s dying?

What’s producing good fruit?

What trees need to be cut & pruned?

What trees need to be uprooted and thrown in the fire?

God the Father created the garden. Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit was too.

God the Father created you. Jesus was there. The Holy Spirit was too.

God the Father planted the garden of your heart.

Jesus wants to tend the soil & sow the seed.

The Holy Spirit wants to be the spring that waters the garden of your heart, which will produce a great harvest for others to “taste and see that the Lord is good”(Psalm 34:8).

Will you let Him?

Identify

Matthew 7:15-20 New Living Translation (NLT)

15 “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. 16 You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can’t produce good fruit. 19 So every tree that does not produce good fruit is chopped down and thrown into the fire. 20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.

Webster defines a prophet as “one who utters divinely inspired revelations.” In essence, someone who speaks the Truth of God. Jesus warned the disciples to beware of false prophets. The same warning still applies. Sadly, the church often wrongly assumes that a false prophet will be obnoxious and overtly obvious to the sheep. The enemy isn’t that dumb. False prophets are disguised. They are difficult to SEE & KNOW because they seem harmless. wolf.jpgThey act like sheep. They attend worship services. They join small groups. They serve. They tithe. They pray in public. They quote (or misquote) the bible. Left unchecked, they become leaders. They begin shepherding other sheep. The sheep may not SEE & KNOW, but the Lord KNOWS. He SEES the heart. He cautions other sheep in the fold to beware(“be on guard, be wary.”) Why? Because, He knows that we, like sheep, have all gone astray (Isaiah 53:6). We’ve rebelled and wandered away from the Great Shepherd. And, as stubborn, sometimes stupid sheep, we can easily be led astray by fruitless fools who act like sheep.

James 1:19-22 New Living Translation (NLT)

19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger[a] does not produce the righteousness[b] God desires. 21 So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.

22 But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.

Do not despair. God has a solution to this problem; the Holy Spirit! He leads us into all Truth. He is our guard. He alerts us to the wolf. He gives us eyes to SEE & hearts to KNOW the false prophets. They are identified by their fruitlessness. They are NOT quick to listen, slow to speak, or slow to get angry. They are not producing righteousness. They are fooling themselves.

Lord,

You are righteous. You are slow to anger. You are quick to forgive. Open the eyes of our hearts, God. Helps us to see the anger that disguises itself in our souls. Help us confess it for what it really is; pride. Help us to repent; to be deeply grieved for going astray. Set us free from the desire for power and position. Give us a hunger and thirst for righteousness. Help us to beware of wolves. Help us to identify bad fruit. Help us to lovingly call your sheep to repentance. Deliver & heal your church from the viciousness of the enemy who threatens to steal, kill and destroy us. We declare that the gates of hell will NOT prevail against us!  

Amen.