Subdue The Land

Adam and Eve lived in a garden.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.”  Genesis 1

When God delivered the people of Israel from Egypt he wanted them to go into the Promised Land.  He told them to subdue it.

He said to them, “If the Gadites and Reubenites, every man armed for battle, cross over the Jordan with you before the Lord, then when the land is subdued before you, you must give them the land of Gilead as their possession.  Numbers 32 v 29

One of the meanings of “subdue” is “bring under control.”
God intends that we subdue that for which we have responsibility, whether it be work, family, property or land.  We will have the strength to do it.  God is pleased when we obey him.

I decided today I would subdue my garden after reading this scripture.

Despite our recent cold spell, when we had snow and wind, seed time is here.  I had been reluctant to work in the garden due to the bad weather.

Genesis 8 v 22. “As long as the earth remains, there will be planting and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night.”

The days have more light and the earth is warming up.  Plants, whose leaves died back over the winter are putting forth shoots.  Leaves are breaking out of their wrappings on the branches.  The cycle of nature takes its course despite the windy cold blasts that would make one stay inside warm.  The daffodils broke forth a month ago giving us beauty.  Their yellow trumpets swayed in the winds and remained till their time of glory passed.

I saw some tomato plants for sale at a bargain price in a local shop.  The garden centres would charge much more.  They tempted me to start some gardening even though it felt too chilly to do any outdoor work.  I planted them out in the safety of the greenhouse.  Last years tomato plants didn’t need much attention and produced fruit well into autumn.  Just plant them and wait for the harvest.  That doesn’t seem like hard work.

There is a plot of land beside my house.  In former years the land would have been a farmer wife’s garden.  It has been neglected for years, no longer lovingly tended.  Last year it produced of itself nettles and curling weeds that stood strong and tall all summer.   I did not have the courage to invade their territory.  Thankfully the winter defeated them and the shoots withered.

I planned this year to get out early and cut back any new growth.  My son strimmed that area a few weeks ago.  The grass, nettles and weeds made a come back.  Today I determined to go to war against the weeds.  I was not put off by the cool wind.  These weeds will sprout overnight!  I used my lawn mower as my weapon of war.  I powered my way over the rough ground and all before the mower was mulched.  I subdued my land!

I will plant potatoes that will flourish in the fertile soil.  It has been left fallow for years.  Wherever nettles grow, one can be sure the soil is good.  No back breaking work for me digging up the soil.  No, I will drop each potato in a small overturned sod and let nature take its course.  I have the added benefit of having a ready supply of fertiliser for my garden.  I live beside the sea.  I have gathered seaweed that was washed up from storms in the winter time.

I will be sure of having a harvest of potatoes and tomatoes at least in the autumn and all without much effort. The garden will once more be lovingly tended and enjoyed for the food it will produce.  I will wait to see what other seedlings the local shop will offer for my garden.  For now the potatoes are busy sending out roots unseen underground.  The tomato plants are enjoying my green house.

It is amazing that each spring the plants begin to emerge out of the soil.  Isaiah 61 v 11 explains,
“The soil makes the young plant come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
Abundant life comes forth!  I rejoice to see what the scriptures describe, happen before my eyes in my garden.  I will praise Him.

Living the Faith like St Patrick

The sun shone warmly on Ireland this St Patrick’s Day.  The Parade, Festivities and the Christian Walk and Talk in The Cathedral in Downpatrick were a great success.  I opted for a  bus tour of Christian sites.  Other years when our children were young we would have watched the St Patrick Day parade.  Today was different.

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Our tour guide told us stories about St Patrick, we visited ruined churchs and holy wells.  I live in the middle of all this history.  St Patrick’s Day is the second most celebrated day after Christmas in the world.  Cities throughout the world light up in green.  People drink green beer.  If you are Irish you are celebrated and welcomed.

Which of the stories about St Patrick is true?  Tourists come to Ireland to visit these ancient ruins and read what the history books tell them.  I hope they are inspired to look to the God of St Patrick, Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life for everyone today.

The people who lived all those years ago among these walls are now dead.  Looking at the broken down stone walls made me fell a little depressed.  I thought of the story in Scripture when the women went to the tomb in which Jesus was buried.  An angel said He is not here, for he is risen.

I consoled myself with the truth that the God St Patrick believed in, I believe in today in 2016.  I can pray to the same God.  He is the same God, yesterday, today and tomorrow.  He is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He is the God who healed me from Cancer.  It is said St Patrick worked miracles.  God worked a miracle for me in 2010, fifteen hundred years later.  I celebrate six years Cancer free this Easter Monday.

It is said St Patrick cast snakes out of Ireland.  I believe the snakes are symbolic of demons.  Jesus said I give you authority to cast out devils.  Luke 9 v 1.  The believer in Jesus today is given the same authority.  Mark 16 v 17.  And these signs will follow those who believe, in my name they will drive out demons.

I no longer want to look at ruins.  I want to be a living stone, that the scripture speaks of in 1 Peter 2v5, You are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple.  I want to use the authority Jesus gives me to drive out demons and heal the sick.  He delivered me from demons and healed me.  What God has done for me he can do for others today.