How is your garden growing?

A friend has been giving me fresh cucumbers already, which make for delicious salads. His greenhouse has been very productive.

Keeping a garden was the first occupation of the first man, Adam. Gardening was important from the beginning. His first son Cain was a gardener too, “a tiller of the ground.” His second son Abel was a keeper of sheep. Cain didn’t obey directions for a sacrifice and ignored the opportunity to offer it correctly.

His defiant attitude led to the death of his brother and an insolent reply to God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Had he recognized and lived his responsibility as a brother, that sad incident would not have happened.

The Lord God operates as a keeper for us in many ways. Through prayer, he promises to keep our heart and mind with peace that passes understanding (Philippians 4:7). His power that created heaven and earth is what keeps us (Psalm 121:2-5). Position for believers is maintained as they commit “the keeping of their souls to him” (1 Peter 4:19).

The blessing the Lord gave Moses to impart to Aaron, who in turn gave to the people of Israel is well known. “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

Followers of Christ in turn are committed to keeping his commandments. This is obedience based on love. Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

While not a new command (it appears several times in the Old Testament, in the book of Deuteronomy in particular) it simplifies our relationship with God. His love initiated the relationship, and our response of love continues it.

Love of the Father is not to compete or coexist with love for the world; rather it is to conquer it. For this reason the Spirit convicted the church at Ephesus in the Book of Revelation for having “left thy first love.” First love for the Lord that is maintained and increased makes obedience to his commands more complete. The scripture says “love never fails,” so the fire and fervor of first love is vital for serving the Lord.

Water is essential to the growth of all plants. It’s amazing how water can restore plants after a dry spell. Water is included in God’s plan for salvation (Acts 2:38).

With that in mind, God says that when we follow his guidance, he will bless with abundance and “thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.” Life will be full and complete.

Heaven contains a river of life and the tree of life. Life will be abundant and eternal. Live your life for God in love and keep his commandments now so that heaven will be eternal reality.

Mitch Glover is pastor of the Sterling Pentecostal Church located on Swanson River Road at Entrada. Services on Sunday include Bible classes for all ages at 10:00 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. Thursday Bible study is at 7:00 p.m. (sterlingpentecostalchurch.com)

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