5 Habits - Word #4

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Thursday 9th January

In this week’s Everyday Devotions, we are exploring the power of God’s Word to change our lives. Let’s therefore dig deep into the Parable of the Sower, which Phil looked at in his sermon. We will look at over the next four days, asking different questions as we seek to grapple with what it means for us today.

Bible Meditation

Luke 8:4-15

4 While a large crowd was gathering and people were coming to Jesus from town after town, he told this parable: 5 “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds ate it up. 6 Some fell on rocky ground, and when it came up, the plants withered because they had no moisture. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up with it and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.” 9 His disciples asked him what this parable meant. 10 He said, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables, so that, ‘though seeing, they may not see; though hearing, they may not understand.’ 
11 “This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. 13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. 14 The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. 15 But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.
1) The seed that falls on the path represents those of us who are hard-hearted to the Word of God. We refuse to let it drop into our hearts to grow there. What do you think in looks like, in really practical terms, for us to close our ears to what the Bible says? Can you think of any times when you have been guilty of doing this yourself?

2) Jesus explains that “the birds” represent “the devil” stealing God’s Word away from our hearts. If you were the Devil, how would you plot war against you? What people, what pressures and what temptations might you use to stop you from allowing the whole of God’s Word to take root in your heart?

Hosea 10:12

12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
3) Through the Prophet Hosea, the Lord encourages us to make our hearts less like the pathway in the parable. He urges us to ‘break up’ the ‘unploughed ground’ of our hard hearts so that the seed of his Word can much more easily take root in our hearts. What would it mean for you to do this today? How can you confess the hardness of your own heart to God and plough up the areas of your heart where you know you are most tempted to dismiss the Word of God?

Hebrews 4:12

12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
4) What does God promise to do to your heart if you ‘break up’ the ‘unploughed ground’ in it before him today? Be honest with yourself and with God – how much do you want the sharp sword of his Word to change the thoughts and attitudes of your heart today?

Prayer Pathway

Prayer for today:
Lord God, thank you for your invitation for me to let you operate on my heart. I confess to you that I’m a bit afraid of what you will do. I am tempted to close my ears to your Word and to let the Devil snatch it away. But today I resolve to hear and obey your Word, no matter what it says. Even if I disagree with your Word, I commit today that I will follow what you say and not what the world around me says. I break up the hard areas of my heart before you today. I welcome your Word to be alive and active in my heart, changing my thoughts and attitudes to make them more like your own. Amen.

Pray in Luke 8:5&12: Ask the Lord to protect you from the Devil’s attempts to snatch his Word away from your heart today.

Pray in Hosea 10:12: Confess to God those areas of your heart that are the hardest towards his Word. Break up those areas before him in prayer, as you confess that you want him so much more than the things that snatch his Word away.

Pray in Hebrews 4:12: Ask the Lord to take the scalpel of his Word to your heart to perform spiritual heart surgery on you. Ask him to identify which thoughts and attitudes need changing. Ask him to make them clear to you and to give you grace and power through his Holy Spirit to think and act very differently in the light of his Word.
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders