Down but Not Out | Daily Devotional | Ellel Ministries UK
Jesus welcomed the people, taught them about the Kingdom of God and healed those in need. Luke 9:11
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Seeds of the Kingdom

Down but Not Out

by Dean Gardner

But you, O LORD, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.
Psalm 3:3, ESV

My wife Gemma and I have lived in our present home for nearly two and a half years. Towards the end of last year I planted spring bulbs in our front and back gardens for the first time. Our back garden had been attractively landscaped by the previous owners, but our front garden is much plainer and barer, so we looked forward to some added colour when the bulbs grew.

It was with great excitement that we saw shoots begin to appear in February, and as more spring-like weather arrived, the shoots matured to stalks, and finally we saw the first daffodil open up in all its yellow glory. At the time of writing this Seed we now have a front garden bright with yellow daffodil heads. For me it’s been experiencing something of the satisfaction that keen gardeners must enjoy – seeing something you've planted as a seed or a bulb growing to display the beauty that was always locked up within it.

Perhaps my excitement and satisfaction reflects something of the character of God, in whose image we’re made. Jesus described his Father as a gardener who tends our lives in the same way a vine-dresser looks after a vine. Recently, when I looked out at the daffodils in our back garden I saw that two of them had fallen flat to the ground as though the flower heads were too heavy for the stalks – I felt sad that they couldn’t stand upright and show off their beauty.

I was amazed the next day to see that they had both begun to stand up again – perhaps it was the light rain that had fallen during the night, or the morning dew that had revived them. It seemed to me to be a picture of how our lives can be beaten down by the circumstances of life, but also of how God brings refreshment and encouragement through His word and the Holy Spirit to cause us to stand up again. In Hosea 14:5 we read the words of the Lord to his people Israel and to us: ‘I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon’ (Hosea 14:5).

Perhaps you feel like your head is down at the moment. Ask the Lord to refresh your spirit and your heart so you can lift it up again – He longs to do that.

Prayer: Father, Your word says that You've planted us as oaks of righteousness, and that even in our old age we can be like palm trees flourishing in Your courts. Help me to stay close to You, so my roots go deep into the soil of Your love and truth, and I bear fruit which glorifies You, even in dry and difficult times. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Dean Gardner worked part time in the Ellel Grange Ministry Office for four and a half years until October 2018 and is now part of the Associate teaching and ministry team. He now lives in Norfolk with his wife Gemma. In 1988 he experienced God`s amazing grace at a carol service and began a journey of restoration and healing with Jesus. He longs to continue that journey allowing God`s truth to change his own life but also to share that truth with others that they too might know Jesus for themselves.

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