Do you Love Me, do you love your garden?

This last three weeks, I began 3 sets of Bible studies. One is with a church I have never attended, one with an individual from that church, and one with 2 dear friends via phone/internet. At the same time, I am learning what it takes to grow plants here in my new desert home, Las Vegas. My thought being, “what a great way to renew both my inner and outer gardens.”  And while doing so, I can do some much needed weeding and revision of my website. smile  (as they say: “things come in 3’s.”)

Now to get to the point: The 3rd of my Bible studies is one called Homiletics. I am doing this with 3 Dear friends (note: this is important statement) Should you not know what this is,  Check it out :   As you see it is typically used by pastors as a learning tool for sermons however, it is a great study tool for anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge of the Word & for those who wish to share the seeds of that Word.  Now back to the flow of things: My 1st Bible study began was with the 7th Day Adventist Church. I was drawn to it based on the Way they focus on applying ” the teaching of the Bible” to Everyday Life. Once I had attended the service, I thought ” Yes, their teaching is much in line with my beliefs.”  Even more enticing was the fact that a woman was the founder of this church.   As many of you know, I am passionate about my walk with Jesus…it’s Me & JC. It is my heart’s desire to LIVE and Apply His Love and God’s Word in all I do. (like my outer garden this is constant work in progress) Therefore, I am continuously cultivating my inner garden with the teachings of His Word. In order to do that, I believe that requires interacting & sharing the seeds of His Word with my ‘neighbors. (neighbors, to me means: All God’s children). IE: my attending their Bible study. At the 2nd Bible study I met a woman who has followed the teaching of Ellen G White and the Adventist church for many years. After chatting for 3 hrs. I found her to be a wealth of knowledge and possibly even more passionate in her studies than I am.  She shared some seeds of Ellen G. White’s writings and invited me over for a more in depth Home Bible study the following week. With excitement I accepted.  During the week prior to the home bible study, I had a 3 way call with 2 of my dear friends to review how we would kick off our homiletics study. This included, some pre reading and preparation. So, just as you get out the tools for your outer garden, I pulled out a couple of my Bibles and a journal and began my readings and outline. For me things finally were feeling balanced. You see, I get serious mind exercise and mental/spiritual temptations while working my 40 hr week with CHMB. I get my hands in the dirt planting a few new plants on my patio garden. I take some hikes (killing 2 birds w/1 stone: as walking provides exercise) as I check out what type of plants will grow in the desert. And I now have scheduled in the feeding of my spiritual garden nights & on my days off. Yep, ” I “ have jumped in there and have a plan.

Now, here I am, at the beginning of a new week and God has once again come to my rescue. A rescue I wasn’t fully aware I needed. As I said above, I attended a few Bible studies with the new church, I have had one challenging week at CHMB (which required seeking Jesus spirit of mercy, patience, and Love… a lot), I have planted a couple of new plants, took a walk in Red Rock Valley, met with the passionate lady for home Bible study and learned a lot about 7th Day Adventist (from her sharing of Ellen G. White teachings & this ladies view of those teachings). Oh and I went on an interview about doing a little Volunteer work, then capped it off today with completing my Work Sheet for my Homiletics Study. (which led me to this post. One of my dear friends knew that would happen and said she couldn’t wait. well here ya go dear. smile) And as I say often, ” God is On Time ALL the Time”. You see, I had lots running around in my mind after all this excitement. Especially, after the Bible Studies at the church and the home Bible study. They revealed a few opposing views. So, when I got home yesterday “I “decided to get some air, do some more planting and moved things around on the patio, then I settled in to watch a couple of mindless movies. When I woke this morning, I had a plan of working some 1st then getting down into my homiletics. But, then I heard a still small voice say, ” Seek Me. ”  Of course I took that as my clue to get up, get my tools, and settle into my Homiletics worksheet Now. ” I “ started off with the worksheet and ” My “ plan of action.  I had skipped right past the worksheet saying “Pray 1st and Seek His guidance 1st”. Then about 30 minutes in I heard that voice again, “Seek Me” Ok..I got it this time! I stopped, prayed, had a chat with Jesus, apologized, and went back to His Word “seeing and hearing” what He had to say in a whole new Light. 3 hours later, I am Thanking the Holy Spirit for the nudges & thanking my friend, Donna who chose to begin our study with book of John chapter 21. (it isn’t a long chapter & to fully grasp this entire post, you should check it out for yourself)  But, Just in case you don’t read it for yourself, let me see if I can share the seeds I acquired ” In a nutshell“.

In these writings it was the Third Time, Jesus had appeared to the disciples after his death. And Again, all but One, did not See Him for Who he was yet, they followed what He said from the shoreline anyway. Even after revealing himself they didn’t Know it was him at 1st. He had to prove Himself Again. Finally, they knew within themselves it was Jesus, their Lord. Most took heed and listened attentively.  But, good ole Peter, for him the focus was still not completely on Jesus and Why He was there. He was there Again to share & receive the seeds of Love He had been cultivating prior to and after His death. To share “the Way” of Life to be lived “in His Kingdom“..(right here: on Earth as it is in Heaven). But, Peter like me, wasn’t fully giving his attention. He had his own Plan..a plan to Show Jesus what He could do. Peter took it even further, He wanted to show How strong He was & to be the focus of Jesus attention. Jesus was patient & allowed Peter to show Him. When Peter took it to far, Jesus felt the need to ask, (in front of the others )  ” Do you Love Me? Are you my Friend?”  Of course Peter’s answer was “Yes, you know I do” and Jesus response was,  Then  FOLLOW ME!”  (in other words, act like it)

If you read this Chapter in John you will see the full story and how Again, Peter had let Him down, 3 times (in front of others). And even after being asked ” do you love me? ” Peter showed his immaturity Again! And yet Again, Jesus showed His Love by disciplining him 1st lightly, then by bringing the Truth Clearly into view, all the while Keeping Peter close to Him & in the Family of God. Yes, I am saying, I am a bit hard headed like Peter. I didn’t take it quite as far as Peter did in this story however, I was headed down the same path. Praise God for my “Study of His WORD, with my Dear friends;  JESUS, Donna, & Kariamu which led me to a sharp Right Turn revealing while it is ok to study with others…I should Never go there without putting my BFF, Jesus as the Master Gardner  of my studies. Lack of doing so, only leads down a path full of ‘shades of grey.” A path where I can’t see and it is easy to loose my way. Clearly, I Must Always remember to: ” Slow down”, Pray, and Listen to what Jesus; the love of my life, my closest friend, has to say about it all. Then “Follow HIM!” This way I walk the Path filled with the Light of His Word which assures me I will produce good fruit in my gardens. No weeds of doubts, only His Love overflowing. With a Bonus of being entrusted with the seeds of Truth to share in my neighbors gardens. As you have probably figured out…you really need to read John Chap.21 to fully grasp my post. Yes, that is intentional. smile  In this the seeds of His Word will call You to dig in a little deeper, so YOU can reach the Root and be grafted in.

May the reading of this post reveal His Love for You, the reader written by, ME… His Beloved servant, Rev. Renee’ Jones.


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