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Singing Psalm 33 you plant a seed to love

Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’  The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” ~ Mark 12:29-31

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God

“We love because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God because he planted a seed to love you first.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” ~ John 12:24

You plant a seed to love God who brings life out of death.

When you embark on living your life as a Christian, you plant a seed to love the triune God with all that you are. You trust him and wait on him to grow that seed of love over time and multiply its fruit both throughout your life and generationally.

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God with all your heart

What your heart hopes for more than anything else is undying love. You want to know without a doubt that your love will not falter for those you love and so you plant a seed to love the Lord your God with all your heart since he is love and the source of love.

You trust the Lord to cause that seed to sprout and grow to produce many more seeds, a harvest of love.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.” ~ 2 Chronicles 16:9

Singing Psalm 33 reminds you to use the skills that you were gifted with and that you have honed or are honing to sing to him with a joyful, fresh heart thankful for each breath, not taking one breath for granted.

“And as you sing and play,    Your skillfulness employ.O sing a new song unto Him;    With shouts express your joy.” ~ Psalm 33:3

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God with all your soul

What do you have that you did not receive?

Therefore, then, whatever you have or will have, you gratefully receive it as a gift. How much better is that than grabbing it ahead of time for yourself?

I used to think that I created my own opportunities. I gave myself credit when things went well and felt like a failure when they didn’t. 

It has become clear to me through the years that God has been with me wherever I have gone, has opened and closed doors, has provided choices that weren’t a matter of right or wrong, and was with me leading me to converse with him to know which way he would have me go.

This has changed my approach to life. I hope to walk with him, thankfully receiving what he has for me and gently releasing what he does not have for me.

God used the song, He leadeth me: O blessed thought!, to plant a seed in my soul over 40 years ago. He has provided light, water, and trust over time to nourish this seed.

I aim to rest when he says to rest and to work when he says to work at whatever he has prepared in advance for me to do. 

Slowing down enough to listen to him is like a walk in the park. 

Rushing ahead listening only to myself was like a shot in the dark. Not a lot of peace in it.

“Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.” ~ 2 Samuel 10:12

Each of us wants our own way left to ourselves. When we get it, we find we aren’t the best at shepherding ourselves.

Thank you, Lord, for not leaving your people to themselves but instead turning us and leading us to yourself in your way at just the right time.

You can be reluctant to plant a seed to love anyone outside yourself when you shun the possibility of suffering, reticent to protect yourself, your eyes only looking at what you feel is best for you.

As unforthcoming and tight lipped we might be for fear of conflict or for fear of being talked out of self-based decisions, God is not thwarted, daunted, or surprised.

He will not be put off. He will have his way with his own. He went to great lengths and spared no cost to demonstrate that he loves you more than you could ever love yourself.

Jesus planted a seed when he offered himself as an atonement for the guilt of his people. With him, there is complete forgiveness when you sin even unintentionally. He is your peace, full of mercy, grace, and truth.

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” ~ Romans 12:1

The Lord your God delights in your repentance and uprightness. He is pleased when you trust him to give you both as gifts, as rewards for seeking him.

I plant a seed but haven’t arrived. I pause.

I don’t often know the way to go and so my eyes are on the triune God. Should I proceed, should I turn, should I wait? We converse. If I’m heading the wrong way, he lets me know through his Word, by the Holy Spirit working in my conscience, through the council of those whose walk is godly and upright.

Once your own counsel is carefully informed by God’s Word, be careful to keep it. You are then ready to keep your own counsel and not be tossed to and fro by every wind and wave of conflicting counsel.

“He must increase, but I must decrease.” ~ John 3:30

Were you made by those who steal soul care from God and offer counsel that contradicts his? Did you make yourself and are you expected to continue to remake yourself? Or did God make you with a covenant love commitment to grow you to maturity and completeness?

O Lord, would you please help your people to trust you in the big and in the little things and not to trust ourselves?

May the culture of expressive individualism ever seeking to make, remake, and find itself be released from its shrouded snare so that God’s people would “with shouts express their joy” for being found and freed through the upright Word and in the church community that God has given us.*

It’s not only that you can’t overcome God’s power, and you can’t. It’s that his ways are better than yours. 

They are.

In any situation, if you can imagine a better way, know that his ways are better in ways that you or I could not even know to ask for or imagine.

If you could somehow alter God’s providence and make things your ‘better’ way, which you can’t, know for certain that the situation you are seeking to rectify would worsen by orders of magnitude that you cannot fathom.

You, being finite, cannot consider all the variables that the infinite triune God is master over. If you could, then you’d be God, and God would not be God. Isn’t that the illusion Leviathan wants you to seek after? He laughs as he watches us try.

“Clubs are counted as stubble;    he laughs at the rattle of javelins…On earth there is not his like,    a creature without fear.He sees everything that is high;    he is king over all the sons of pride.” ~ Job 41:29, 33-34

But God rules over Leviathan with no problem:

“No one is so fierce that he dares to stir him up.    Who then is he who can stand before me?Who has first given to me, that I should repay him?    Whatever is under the whole heaven is mine.” ~ Job 41:10-11

Look, God’s job is filled. We are better off sticking with our day jobs than trying to do his 24/7 job. And our souls know it even if our minds stubbornly won’t grasp it.

You are a gift from the triune God that you receive. He planted a seed that is you, and you are in the process of becoming mature. Who you are continues to unfold in stages as an apple seed hidden in the ground, watered with sunlight provided becomes an apple tree that bears apples.

You might feel hidden and buried at times as you plant a seed that is yourself. Know that God is nurturing you with water and light and pruning you so that you would become mature. You get to plant a seed and bear fruit in character and in a life worthy of imitation as you follow the one who perfectly tends to you from root to fruit.

You get to keep unwrapping the gift that is you until the maturation process is complete freeing you up to worship God and be a blessing to others. 

You speak unceasingly to the faithful three persons in one God who made you. The triune God speaks to you redemptively, unceasingly by the Father’s initiation through the Spirit of Jesus, breathing his Word that was made flesh to live among you, die for your sins, and raise to live forever.

O Lord would you please help us trust you, our king who created us, that you speak to your people and invite us to speak with you and know that only you satisfy? Would you please lead us to follow you now and through death to everlasting life?

You get to learn how to express yourself as you line up your unique traits that God has gifted you with alongside his Word. You place yourself under the authority of his Word which trumps your feelings and traits when they differ from it. You continue to discern how you can be a blessing to others based on what God has given you to give according to his Word.

He transforms you into maturity in your inner being as he thinks best.

Your soul knows it is fitting to worship the Lord your God. In your innermost being, you plant a seed to love God with all your soul.

“He spoke, it was done, and continues to stand fast;    It all was accomplished when he gave command.” ~ Psalm 33:9

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God with all your mind

Green bananas are not ready for picking. They are not quite yet what they will be.

When you plant a seed, it is easy to be discouraged when you fall on either side of the spectrum between being negligent or harsh, anxious or angry. We are still wet behind the ears in learning agape love. Though your attempts to love might not look like love at first, you are not yet what you will be.

The Lord has each of us in different places on the continuum. The world might consider some of us late bloomers, but to the Lord, we’re blooming right on time.

“What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:36-37

What you will be, will be nothing like what you started as.

Perhaps you have some planting tools, and, like me, are not sure of the best way to use them. It’s simple. It’s easy.

Ask.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ~ Matthew 11:28-30

A little child plants a seed and stands there looking, expecting to see a sprouting shoot or perhaps even some fruit right away or very patiently waits until the next day to find it.

When you don’t see anything materialize, you might be tempted to think nothing is happening.

A lot is going on that you cannot see, but when you are not looking, at just the right time, you are in for a pleasant surprise. It happens in stages, by degrees. It might be hidden from sight but it happens all the same.

Plant a seed in the good soil of the Word of God and reap far more than you sow. If you have ever had a compost pile, you might find garlic or cabbage growing that you did not knowingly plant.

Singing Psalm 33 slows you down enough to ponder these things — you plant a seed, an idea in your mind that over time blossoms into love for God with all your mind.

When you embark on a new endeavor without immediate results, you do not bury a talent. You plant a seed.

Wait.

Water.

Watch.

Pray.

There is nothing you have thought, felt, or done or could think, feel, or do that is too slow, difficult, or shameful to take to the Lord your God that he can’t set straight. Don’t hide it from him. He already knows better and deeper about it than you ever could. The one who knows you best loves you most. He is patient with you.

The triune God will help you bloom where you are planted, where you are transplanted, or he will graft your branch into his vine for nurture and growth.

You plant a seed to love him with all your mind as he does it.

Ask that your goal wouldn’t be for your happiness only or only for the happiness of those you love as you plant a seed to love. Ask that your goal be for a conversing relationship with the source of happiness. If you knew you were going to heaven but God wouldn’t be there, you wouldn’t want to go.

Since his infinite ocean of love surpasses knowledge and both your love and knowledge together amount to a cup of water in comparison, is he not worthy of your worship and complete allegiance?

You plant a seed to love him with all your mind and to glorify him with all he made you to be. You set out to use every gift he apportioned to you as he sees fit. You intentionally forsake your preferences to fulfill his purposes.

He gives you freedom to choose based upon the direction you find as you search his Word and seek godly advice. Whatever you choose, you plant a seed to love God with all your mind, knowing that he will be with you and help you to grow and mature within that choice.

He gives you grace so that you are not thinking too high or too low about yourself. Rather, he moves you to not think much about yourself at all. 

Because God cares so much for you, you don’t need to care so much for yourself. You plant a seed instead to love him with all your mind and feed his sheep out of love for him.

You plant a seed to love the Lord your God with all your strength

If you are alive then the Lord has given you what you need, the strength you need to live. If you are weak and nearing death, you are on the threshold of life everlasting.

Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. What then shall we do with whatever strength is in them?

You plant a seed to love God with all your strength as you use the energy he gives you to know his Word and to serve and please him in all you do. You start small and go from strength to strength.

When the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary, he planted a seed. The fruit of her womb was the Lord Jesus Christ, the embodiment of every fruit of the Spirit incarnated.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” ~ Luke 2:52

“Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” ~ Hebrews 5:8

When Jesus returned to the Father, he planted a seed entrusting the Holy Spirit to live within each member of his body, his church. He lives within each of his sheep even though we are prone to stray.

Singing Psalm 33 you learn that kings cannot rely on the strength of an army or a horse for protection or to win a war.

If this is so, how much more ought you not trust in your strength of body, mind, education, or experience but in the Lord alone to defend, protect, and lead you to victory. God is the source of your strength in any and every way that you are tempted.

When your life produces things that are contrary to the Spirit of truth, contrary to his fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, you grieve him. 

Yet he remains with you, taking you through life by stages, ripening the fruit within you until he fully forms Christ in you.

He won’t stop until Christ is completely formed in you.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery. 

“For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. 

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.” ~ Hebrews 2:14-18

Singing Psalm 33 you plant a seed to love your neighbor

You plant a seed to love your neighbor as yourself.

Is it pleasing to God when you view others in a merely transactional way spending time with them considering only how it might benefit you? What a countercultural question!

What does the Word of God say?

“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.” ~ 1 Corinthians 10:24

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” ~ Philippians 2:3

“One who is righteous is a guide to his neighbor,    but the way of the wicked leads them astray.” ~ Proverbs 12:26

You plant a seed that is pleasing to God when you spend time with others considering how it might benefit them. You give to your neighbor what you would hope someone would give to you if you were in their circumstances. You plant a seed to love your neighbor as yourself. 

Whether or not you are sent to another nation or location within your nation, you are a missionary and an ambassador for Christ. You are a missionary first in your heart within your current location which is included in the “all nations” of which Jesus commissions you to go and make disciples.

Though Abraham was in a different location, he thought of his nephew, Lot, and conversed with the Lord asking him if he would destroy Sodom if there were 50, 45, 40, 30, 20, or 10 righteous people living there.

God refused to destroy Sodom even if there were only 10 righteous people living there.

Abraham interceded for his neighbor’s good and loved his neighbor as himself.

“The LORD looks from heaven to see all of mankind,    He looks from his throne on all dwelling on earth —The same One who made them, who all their hearts fashioned,    Who knows what they do and considers its worth.“ ~ Psalm 33:13-15

“The nation the LORD has embraced is most blessed,    Where he is acknowledged to be God alone…” ~ Psalm 33:12a

God embraces nations that contain people who trust him.

Just by being faithful where you are, you are loving your neighbor as yourself as God protects you and your nation just because you are there in it.

Therefore, your faithfulness to God is the most important way for you to love your neighbor.

Be open to listening to and speaking the truth in love. Plant a seed to love one another each day to guard against being deceived and hardening your heart:

“Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you, an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called, ‘today,‘ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed, we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” ~ Hebrews 3:12-15

You plant a seed to love your neighbor as Jesus loves you

In Jesus alone is the spring of everlasting covenant love that will never dry out. His covenant is a sure promise that lifts you above your circumstances ensuring that his love for you will continue. He will not, cannot stop loving you.

You plant a seed that is germinated by God and will not die but live through death as you aim to love your neighbor as Jesus loves you. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:12-13

How would it look if you love as Jesus loves and willingly lay down your life for others? Because of your hope in Jesus, you willingly and happily change your course and become available to serve those who are in need.

“O LORD, let your covenant love be upon us,As we hold to You and the hope that we claim.” ~ Psalm 33:22

Singing Psalm 33 you plant a seed to love the next generation

Melding metaphors a bit, you aren’t likened to just a piece of fruit, but to a piece of fruit that is eaten and whose seed falls to the ground, dies, and becomes a fruit tree that bears fruit, and the giving cycle continues when you submit yourself to God’s ways which likens you to a branch that lives and bears fruit if it is connected to the vine or that dies if it is disconnected from the vine.

You are following Jesus who planted a seed of covenant love for his church. He died for her and was raised to new life. “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” ~ Romans 8:29

Because your identity in Christ is solid, not fluid, you are rooted as you grow more and more like him each moment. The Lord lavishly displays a limitless variety of hues in the world he has made for you and of which you are a part. It is he who colors in your penciled face.*

You point others to know the one who colors in their penciled faces. With your eyes focused on Jesus, the Word of God, you learn of the joy of self-forgetfulness because of the richness with which he thinks about, plans for, and loves you.

You plant a seed to love the next generation when you die to worldliness and make your plans to learn to live according to God’s Word considering others better than yourself.

What is a church plant if not an intentional ministry where several people each plant a seed to begin God’s fruitful growth cycle in a new location?

Patients sometimes die after doctors did all they could to help them live. When you point someone to the doctor of his soul, you plant a seed that is from the Lord. Though he die, Jesus makes them live such that they will never die.

 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” ~ John 11:25-26

Your aim is to bless every life that the Lord gives you opportunity to touch by making the path clear for each one to seek and find their creator, governor, and redeemer — the triune God.

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” ~ John 17:3

You plant a seed that is yourself saturated with the Word of God.

The triune God intends to multiply that seed according to his unsearchable plans even if you don’t live to see it.

And even through death his plans will never fail.

“The LORD brings to nothing the plans of the nations;    He frustrates their council and makes their schemes fail.But all that the Lord in his heart has intended,    The plans he has made will forever prevail.” ~ Psalm 33:10-11

“The people he claims, his inherited portion,    The ones he has chosen, and calls as his own.” ~ Psalm 33:12b

“The LORD we await is our help and protection,    Our heart is glad trusting in his holy name.” ~ Psalm 33:20-21

References:

“Monumental” video hosted by Kirk Cameron https://youtu.be/XPGSAiw50fg

February 10-17, 2023


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