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Seeds of the Kingdom

What is God Saying?

by Grace Bull

18 November 2023

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Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
Mark 4:16-17, NIV

Have you ever asked God to speak to you, yet found that He seems to be quiet? It can feel very frustrating when that happens.

The Bible tells us a number of reasons why that might happen; some more obvious than others. We might be persisting in some sin, choosing to pretend that God hasn't noticed or wouldn't mind (Isaiah 59:2). Or our prayers can be hindered by the way we treat those around us, especially the way we treat our family (1 Peter 3:7).

And here is another possibility: in my experience, a common reason why God may seem to have little to say on a particular subject is that He has already spoken and I haven't acted on the last thing He said (Matthew 7:26). Perhaps I haven’t acted because I dismissed it, thinking that I must be making it up and it couldn't be God speaking. If I'm really honest, I sometimes think that just because I didn't like what He said! Or maybe I just forgot it because I was busy. Whatever our reason for having lost the last thing God said, He often waits until we act on that, before He speaks again.

So here is a question. Can you remember what the last thing God said to you was? Maybe it was through a Seed that you read recently. Or maybe it was through your Bible reading, or through a sermon in church. It impacted you at the time, but have you acted on it? It's a question I am asking myself too.

Today's verse is from Jesus’ parable of the sower, which is a story about seed landing in different types of soil. The seed represents God’s message and the soil is our hearts. Some seed lands on the path (a person with a hard heart) where the devil quickly snatches away the message. Some seed lands on soil with thorns, which represent our worries about life and money; these worries compete for our attention and choke the growth of the seed.

But sometimes God’s message lands on rocky ground, where the soil isn’t bad. The message is received with gladness and sprouts up quickly, but it only puts down shallow roots. These people are enthusiastic about their faith and the soil they have is good; but unfortunately they don’t have very much of it. Underneath the good soil there are many rocks – areas closed off to God, or hard towards Him. The seed gets started but it can’t withstand any pressure or trouble, because it hasn’t become deeply embedded.

I find this quite a challenging parable; do you? It is easy to think we are doing well, because we receive God’s word with gladness. But how deep are our roots? Are you and I at risk of being shallow Christians? Enjoying church and God when all is going well, but always moving on to the next thing. That can leave us quite shallow in our response to God.

One way we can be shallow is when we hear a good message, and think "oh yes, that's good", but we don’t act on it. Which brings me back to my earlier question. Is there anything that God has already spoken, but which you (or I) haven't done? Perhaps we accepted his message at the time, but by the next day we had moved on to other things, rather than meditating on the message, so that it became a deep part of us.

A possible problem with reading a new devotional every day is that we can move on each day to a new thought, but never really make the changes in our lives that would give us deep roots. So why not have a think. Maybe look back over some previous Seeds, or other devotionals you've read. Did the Lord speak to you through one of them? Has that become a permanent part of your life yet? Like the arrows on the ground mentioned in a recent Seed, sometimes we need to go back to the last time God spoke to us and start again from there, rather than looking for something new all the time.

Grace Bull is a member of the Ellel Ministries team, working in course development and the support of Ellel centres worldwide, having previously been a full-time GP (family doctor) for 15 years. Her passion is relationship with God and doing anything that will help other people to find that close relationship too.


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