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Picture Scripture, Week 1 - Tree (The Seeds and Roots)

Good Monday morning, Soul Sisters. Today marks day one of "Picture Scripture", a study written by one of our curriculum directors, Chris Baxter. Our prayer over every one participating in this study during this 7 week period is: "And He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures" (Luke 24:45). We are asking the Lord that we see with our eyes and then understand with our hearts the meaning behind each and every God- given image. Let's get started...

Scripture: Matthew 13: 1-9, 18-23; Jeremiah 17: 5-8. Read and highlight or journal anything that speaks to you.

The passage that spoke to me today was Matthew 13: 18-23. We have four types of soil that represent different responses to God's message. We all respond differently depending on our different states of mind. Some are hardened, others are shallow, others are contaminated by worries, and some are receptive. Now, picture the trees you can see from a window in your home, office, or car. Some of them are stunted from the start and never thrived - they may even be uprooted by weather. Others are dead but still standing, some have a combination of dead and live branches, and some are tall, straight, and thriving. Where does this growth (or lack of growth) begin? It first depends on the soil condition. For the seed to take a hold of the ground, to break open, and begin it's tiny "grounded root" the soil must be rich and fertile. If this soil is hardened, the seed cannot penetrate the surface and simply does not establish a root system which then allows that tree to grow upward. I have some absolutely huge trees outside my window. It's amazing to think they started from one seed on fertile ground. Those roots underground that we never see with our eyes set the stage for the survival of these trees.

Take some quiet time to focus on the underground elements of a tree: the seed, the soil, and the roots. With this in mind, consider the importance of being spiritually in God's rich soil. Where is your seed planted? How deep are your roots? Personally I have been all over the "seed and root map" in my lifetime. I've been hardened, shallow and worried far too often. The good news is we are offered grace with Christ. It's never too late for us to take an about face . I want to have that fertile soil for the seed to take root so I can hear the word, understand it, and flourish like the huge trees out my window.

Heavenly Father, we come to You today as imperfect human beings who haven't always been ready to accept Your word. We thank You for the gift of grace that covers us when we simply get off track. "But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it" (Matthew 13:23). Make our hearts and minds ready to be that receptive soil that we read about . We ask our seed be planted in Your rich soil and for the deep roots which are necessary for You to groom and grow us. As we proceed each day through this study, open our eyes to see and our hearts to understand the meaning behind each image we focus on. Amen