Thus, it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam [Jesus] became a life-giving spirit. —1 Corinthians 15:45 ESV

The backyard of our military duplex in Las Vegas looked across a river-like strip of desert into the backyards of another row of housing. Yet, at the edge of our lawn was an oblong patch of rich, brown dirt with green plants peeking through the earth. “Flower” beds lined our house, except that eggplants and okra grew instead of petunias and roses. Somehow, my mother had learned how to create fertile soil using manure, compost, and worms. It was a little taste of Eden amidst a barren landscape.

Adam and Eve tended a perfect garden without briars and weeds until they sinned and fell. Then, because of sin, life became difficult. Enmity, strife, thorns, insects, and many other nuisances made them long for Eden. I can relate! Every time I think, “This is it! We have conquered the last weed!” I wake up the next morning and find several more sneaking into the garden.

It’s like that in our spiritual gardens as well. We read and pray and seek and confess. We long for Heaven and seek the Kingdom of God. Then, we wake up the following day to find little “weed-lings” of sin alongside God’s bountiful grace. Like seeds that die to bring new life, we, too, had to allow God to put to death our old selves. Only then could the life of Christ resurrect us and make us new creations. However, we are also being made new, year after year, like perennials that die every winter and then spring forth to a more abundant life than the year before. The theological terms for what I’ve described are salvation and sanctification, but Ephesians 2:4-10 explains it like this:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our wrongdoings, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus so that in the ages to come He might show the boundless riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. (NASB)

You see, God is a master gardener. Like my mother cultivated plants in a lifeless desert, God creates new life in us. He then develops our souls throughout our lives, making us more like Christ. I know this to be true because He replaced my heart of stone with a heart of flesh, giving me spiritual life. Not only that, but He keeps cultivating the soil of my heart, adding worms, compost, and manure. (Yes, we all have manure-like events that grow our hearts to be more like His). For some, it’s a physical limitation; for others, it’s relational difficulties; and for many, it’s financial woes. Manure comes in many forms but is always an opportunity for new life. For growth. For a little more depth of intimacy with Jesus.

So, when manure is added to your garden, remember His great mercy. Remember that He is the Master Gardener. Remember that He loves you. Remember that He is the giver of life. Remember that He will raise you up in due time, whether here on earth or in Heaven. Remember that you are already seated with Him in the Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Remember that He will show you boundless grace in the ages to come. Remember that you don’t deserve it and have not earned it, for by grace you have been saved by faith. Remember that you are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that you would walk in them.

Remember, it’s all about Jesus, and we will soon be with Him in Paradise.

Father, please comfort those who are grieving as they read these words. Encourage those who feel like they are trudging through a mountain of manure and see no end to it all. Remind them who they are in Christ and that there is a purpose to all things and glory beyond anything they can imagine just around the corner. I pray for renewed hope and joy as they set their eyes like flint on eternity with Jesus. Amen.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and
peace in believing, that you may abound in hope
by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13 NJKV).

Marlene McKenna



Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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Click over to our Donation page … and thanks.





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